My notes while researching each part of a desktop PC, what function it performs, etc.read more
First and foremost decision is case/case size. • 17.25 inches, 438.15mm tall (can do more) • 15.5 inches, 393.7mm long (can do more) • 10.5 inches, 266.7mm wide • Should have noise dampening. Budget: • $1600 (including mouse and keyboard) Tara says that she'd rather it be next to the TV than behind the TV. Let's say: • I want to hit 1440p at 120fps (max refresh rate of TV). • And 4k at 50-60fps. • Hackintosh potentiality ⁃ Giving up on this; too much constraint and seems like Macworld couldn't even get Messages to work for instance. Components: • CPU ⁃ (Deven) Intel is pricier but gives better performance than AMD per core, but better multitasking for AMD. ⁃ (Deven) 4 is the average core count. Should choose CPU to reduce bottleneck with GPU: https://pc-builds.com/calculator/ ⁃ Intel - Core i5-9600K 3.7 GHz 6-Core Processor ⁃ Anantech recommends this. ⁃ The upgrade pick is $140 more, the i7-9700k (8 core processor), and they say it only gets at most 2% performance increase. ⁃ Combined with GPU choice, this results in making the GPU the bottleneck, which is what we want. ⁃ AMD vs Intel? ⁃ Intel's actually include integrated graphics, which is nice (for low heat/web browsing/no fan noise since it's passive cooling), AMD doesn't have that. ⁃ Frankly, Intel still wins out, because games don't really use more than 2 or 4 threads. Since we're going with a 6 core Intel anyway, it's hands down better Intel, since they dominate on single core performance. • Motherboard ⁃ Has to be compatible with Intel, since that's what we're going with. Socket should be LGA1151. ⁃ Don't buy what you don't need here: this is really just plumbing, can upgrade later if you want to overclock (in which case you may want a better board), but spending $100 now vs $200 now is not really going to make any difference, so just get a cheap one that has what you need. ⁃ Only buy high end if you need a lot of ports or if you need high end ports or built in WiFi. ⁃ (Deven) says SLI (NVIDIA support for multiple graphics cards on the CPU) doesn't matter, because in practice it doesn't work well at all. Online seems to confirm this. ⁃ Should choose one that natively supports the chipset that my processor supports the 390. ⁃ https://pcpartpicker.com/products/motherboard/#c=135&sort=-rating&s=30&page=1 ⁃ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGA_1151#Coffee_Lake_chipsets_(300_series) ⁃ Decent option it seems, has RGB which we need, $150: ⁃ Upshot: should just get one that has RGB/no lights, and don't really worry about anything else (we can get WiFi later easily). ⁃ https://pcpartpicker.com/product/QDVD4D/msi-mpg-z390-gaming-plus-atx-lga1151-motherboard-mpg-z390-gaming-plus ⁃ Appears to be configurable, which is great: https://forum-en.msi.com/index.php?topic=316839.0 ⁃ https://pcpartpicker.com/product/3yrmP6/msi-mag-z390-tomahawk-atx-lga1151-motherboard-mag-z390-tomahawk ⁃ Looks like might not be configurable: https://forum-en.msi.com/index.php?topic=315525.0 ⁃ Rejected: Gigabyte - Z390 I AORUS PRO (also has WiFi, but this is for the smaller form factor, so we shouldn't get this). It's not for ATX, which means it has fewer slots for RAM, is just smaller, etc. • RAM ⁃ Probably doesn't need to be more than 16GB? But should be fast RAM. ⁃ If getting high-speed RAM, may need to overclock it? ⁃ Basically everyone seems to suggest no more than 16GB is needed. Plus, the MHZ speed of the RAM appears not to really matter either (that much). ⁃ Should definitely get DDR4, think that's required for the board that I have now. ⁃ People say G.Skill is reputable. Basically everyone says just go with 16GB, at whatever MHz (ideally 3000MHz), and get one that looks nice and that's cheap. ⁃ Corsair - Vengeance LPX ⁃ But looks kind of ugly. ⁃ Upgrade pick: G.Skill - Trident Z RGB 16 GB ⁃ For just $15 more, let's get the much nicer looking RAM. The other option is the RGB Vengeance, but I think G.Skill's looks better. ⁃ Maybe should read a bit more about RAM • GPU ⁃ If doing VR, should aim for 90fps. ⁃ NVIDIA appears to be the more high-end, non-budget pick. ⁃ These are very expensive, apparently can look at prior generations which should give similar results at lower price point. ⁃ This will likely have a dedicated fan. ⁃ Blower means like a closed case around the CPU, with a fan that blows through the case (seems to be usually for smaller cases), compared to open air which just has big fans sitting visibly on the card. ⁃ "Binned" means that it was tested specifically and performed on the higher range of the performance potential. ⁃ Looks like RTX 2070 might be a good option (Reddit) - $600. ⁃ Deven thinks this a good choice. He thinks I could do 1440p at 144fps and 4k at 60fps. ⁃ You get to choose the manufacturer of the GPU for the same model of GPU. ⁃ Basically, they all have the same capability, because they're fundamentally the same card. ⁃ NVIDIA and AMD make the chips and boards, then sell them to EVGA and others so that they can package it as a standalone product, with fans and maybe even overclocking it, etc. ⁃ Some may install more RAM onto the board, which will cost more. ⁃ Main things appear to be trust, price, and warranty. ⁃ Other than that, I care a lot about: ⁃ Fan size/count (big fans should be quieter) ⁃ Manufacturer options: ⁃ Gigabyte ($480) ⁃ Someone mentioned coil whine. Some people say stay away. ⁃ ASUS ($520) ⁃ Split between this and the MSI, but deciding to go with MSI. ⁃ MSI ($560) ⁃ I'm basically even split between this and the ASUS. ⁃ https://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/GeForce_RTX_2070_Strix_OC/35.html ⁃ Okay, you can turn off the dragon part that I didn't like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQtWVfqNe4I ⁃ So it's all over. Definitely getting this card. Some indication that it is quieter from people and you may have to do a toggle with ASUS it seems to quiet mode, which I don't want. ⁃ EVGA ($570) ⁃ Probably not. Can be a bit loud on highest setting. Only 2 fans. ⁃ I think probably the sequence is: ⁃ NVIDIA Geforce RTX 2070 is good ($600) ⁃ I think on max settings on 4k, this will get 40-60fps. ⁃ It will get 100fps on 1440p (2k). ⁃ It will get 140fps on 1080p. ⁃ Everything I'm seeing says that this is the best GPU for my budget ($1500 PC) and frame rate desires, just looks perfect for Q1 2019. ⁃ Upgrade pick: AMD Radeon VII ($700) or could look at older GTX 1080 Ti ($700) ⁃ Crazy upgrade pick: NVIDIA Geforce RTX 2080 Ti ($1200) ⁃ If I were to upgrade GPU, Deven suggests sticking with the same GPU manufacturer (AMD, NVIDIA). ⁃ Probably will be happy sticking with my GPU though. • Storage ⁃ SSDs ⁃ Apparently come in SATA and NVMe (faster). ⁃ Definitely want this for at least the OS, and maybe even some of the games. ⁃ Going with the Wirecutter's recommendation, just a 500GB SSD. Samsung - 860 Evo. ⁃ Can add an 2TB HDD at a later date for like $60, but just not worth it now, since 500GB may end up being enough. ⁃ The upgrade pick would be a PCEe card, which is $140 instead of $80, and basically nobody achieves any real benefit from that compared to an SSD connected to SATA, unless you're doing massive copying (basically, they say even gamers don't need anything faster than SATA right now). ⁃ Note: will want to get a quiet HDD if I end up getting one, often can be the loudest thing in the build. ⁃ HDDs ⁃ Come in 2.5 inches (usually laptops, and 5400RPM) and 3.5 inches (despots, 7200+ RPM). • PSU ⁃ Do not cheap out here. It should have a good warranty and it's going to need to power all future components. ⁃ Non-moduler ⁃ Cheapest, but has a bunch of cables that you're not going to use, and you have to find a place for them, which could construct airflow and restrict performance. ⁃ Semi-modular: ⁃ The best option for most people. Cheaper than full-module, but only come with essential cables. ⁃ Be sure to buy one for your region (U.S. AC matters here). ⁃ This will likely have a dedicated fan. ⁃ This will likely be loud, try to get a quiet one. ⁃ (Deven) GPU will probably require more draw than it says. ⁃ Looking into quiet ones, one that comes up a lot is "be quiet!" ⁃ Can get the 550W, only $104.99. ⁃ Seems like people also may recommend the SeaSonic Focus Plus • General Fans ⁃ Gaming PCs usually need a ton of fans. That means the GPU fan, the PSU fan, the fans that come with the case, and even more. ⁃ Liquid cooling can be good, because you're not as restricted by airflow (you just run the tube through small gaps). Basically you're just taking cool water and running it from restricted and heated areas to less restricted areas that can be cooled. ⁃ Liquid cooling is harder to install and more expensive. ⁃ Dedicated CPU cooler is also necessary (I think heatsink?), which directly mounts to CPU. ⁃ Placement of fans and airflow matters a lot, more fans isn't always better. • CPU Cooler ⁃ Need to make sure that it's not going to run up against the RAM sticks (apparently they're close together). ⁃ Be Quiet Dark Rock 4 seems like it might be an option, it's very quiet, but expensive $75. ⁃ Going with this. It's up to 200 TDP (watts). ⁃ Lots of people basically say Noctua or be quiet, and Noctua has an ugly look that wouldn't go well (it's not black). ⁃ Looks like they're basically the same in terms of quietness. So going to go with the Be Quiet. • WiFi card ⁃ Could buy this later, for just like $15. Will stick out the back, but no need to decide on the motherboard based on one that comes with it. • Case ⁃ Carbide Series 678C looks interesting (expensive, but noise dampening, glass side, nice looking front panel). ⁃ Obsidian Series 500D RGB SE Premium Mid-Tower Case (expensive, but looks really cool, RGB lighting and everything) ⁃ Really starting to get set on this one. $250. ⁃ People really do seem to say that the cases don't make much of a difference, it's fans and your ventilation. ⁃ If the fans end up being too loud, could swap them out with different fans. They appear to be pretty quiet based on some reviews. Some people saying they're even as good as the quietest ones. Also, being able to control the RPM is essential, so I could adjust the RPM to make it a lot quieter. ⁃ If the case ends up being not dampening enough, could swap out for different case. ⁃ Silent Upgrade pick could be a case from be quiet, if it becomes an issue. Could look at this: https://www.pcgamesn.com/silent-gaming-pc-build-guide Misc additional: • Headlamp (basically essential for constructing). • Ethernet cable (matching color with your case). • HDMI cable (matching color with your case). Sequence: • (Deven) Case, CPU, Motherboard, GPU/RAM -> Power Supply Cost hierarchy: • (Deven) GPU > CPU > Motherboard >= Power supply > RAM Honestly, I think choosing case, then GPU first is a good move. Then buy the cheapest CPU that makes your GPU the bottleneck (the GPU is definitely going to be the most expensive component). Reputable brands: • (Deven) EVGA, Gigabyte, MSI, ASUS, Corsair, Thermaltake, MSI Compatibility: • CPU <> Motherboard • RAM <> Motherboard • CPU <> RAM • CPU <> CPU cooler • Beside the TV is: • 10.5 inches wide (this can be increased or decreased, if we shift the TV stand a bit) • 15.5 inches long (can extend beyond the TV stand, though, so this is a very soft limit). • 17.25 inches tall (this is to the top of the TV stand (outside). Underneath the TV (compressed and limited to under the stand). This is a poor fit. • 16.5 height absolute max. • 13.25 long absolute (because the stand has notches that come down). • Unlimited inches wide (because it's under the stand). Underneath the TV (not compressed and limited to under the stand). This would be an acceptable fit. • 15.5 height absolute max. • 15.5 inches long (can extend beyond, but it would look weird). • Unlimited inches wide. Given these constraints, probably going to need a mid-tower. Which can fit • Standard full-size ATX motherboards • 18-20 inches tall • 17-20 inches long • 6-8 inches wide Basically, SATA is the connection type, which is older (what HDDs used to use), and is actually the limiting factor for SSDs sometimes. But NVMe uses PCI express, and basically releases this limitation. ATX means Advanced Technology eXtended, it's just a motherboard and power supply config developed by Intel. ATX only supports for RAM slots (Extended ATX has 8, for up to 128GB). TDP (thermal design power) s the maximum amount of heat generated by a computer chip that the cooling system in a computer is designed to dissipate Graphics Card is not synonymous with GPU. GPU is the graphics processing unit (the chip/chipset). PCB: printed circuit board, which is what the boards are called with all the little lines/etchings in them. Basically, all of those lines are wires connecting various components on the board. This is a lot better than having loose wires connecting the things. Can be manufactured easily and with automation, and they can be coated to prevent loose wires from interfering with the pathways. • You could have two layer PCB (just the top and the bottom covered in copper tracks, or you could get fancier and have 4 layers, where you can't see the inner 2 layers and they have connections between various tracks. • "Tracks"/"traces" are the etchings, "vias" are the holes that go through the board (which connect all the layers). So if you needed to connect a component on the front with the back, you'd use a via. • Basically it's alternating layers of copper and non-conductive substrate. • Really got popularized/mass manufactured during WW2 for proximity fuses. • Through-hole construction: where the wire leads of a component are passed through holes in the PCB and then soldered into place. This is old school. • Surface-mount construction: the components would just have little tabs that you soldier directly to the top of the board, so you don't have to pass through a hole. This is new school. ⁃ Surface mounting is used for transistors, integrated circuit chips, resistors, and capacitors. • The pattern of traces etched into the copper layer is called the "artwork". Basically you coat the thing in something that's not photo sensitive, and then you project an image of light of the sketch that you want and it'll cause the traces to form. • Where you connect the components are called "pads" • The surface of the PCB may be coated to protect against stray wires from touching the traces. • In four-layer PCBs, usually two layers are ground and power, and the other two are connections between components. • A very basic PCB used for prototyping is called a "breakout board", because you're kind of breaking out of that plane of connections and allowing someone to manually connect wires to each of those connections. (todo) Motherboard/circuit board: • In the early days, there was no "motherboard", there was a backplate, which basically you plug everything into (the CPU, the RAM, the storage, etc), and then that backplate just basically connected everything together so it could work together. • The motherboard is really the mother of all the components, because it connects them all together. • Think about it this way: if you wanted to expand the ability of your existing computer, by like, adding a third hard drive, but there was no place to connect the hard drive, you'd need to get a different motherboard. So the motherboard matters for expanding capability, sometimes. • You plug in daughter cards into the motherboard, examples of daughter cards are sound cards, graphics cards, network cards, hard drives, etc. • Booting: ⁃ The real booting starts here, actually. • Should read a bunch more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motherboard#History • Also here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chipset • May be good to watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUADuU5puYo • Basically, for a given CPU that you have, you need to match with a motherboard that fits that CPU (has the correct standard socket, which in my case is LGA1151). (todo) Chipset: Power supply: • Converts AC to DC is one primary function. Why is DC necessary, though? • Even when the computer is off, you need to have some power there so that when you press a button the computer turns on, so the power supply is always providing a 5-volt signal (called VSB, for standby voltage) so that the power button can send a signal to the power supply to turn itself on (and boot up the components). Construction pre-op: • Build on table. • Need a Phillips #2. • Remove carpet from underneath table (to prevent static build up). From: https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/gaming/how-to-build-a-gaming-pc.html Main Construction Notes: • Be careful not to damage or touch the CPU anywhere but its edges • Often if your computer doesn't boot the first time, you should first try reseating the RAM. • If the computer doesn't turn on at all, then check the power supply.