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Thread: Building a PC with my son..

  1. #1

    Building a PC with my son..

    Could anyone give me some pointers in regards to building a ďgaming pcĒ at all? Many moons ago,(20 years), I used to fettle with a base computer, upgrading memory and dvd re writers, hard drives etc..Iíd really like to do something with my son where we could spend some quality time to ďbuildĒ something from scratch..
    Is it as easy as procuring a tower, hard drive, motherboard etc and just putting it together? Iím keen on getting him a couple monitor setup but donít just want to buy it all pre made..
    Any kits out there? From memory, Alien ware was the emerging market leader at the time.
    Any help would be much appreciated!

  2. #2
    Master Rod's Avatar
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    That Raspberry kit would possibly for the bill.
    https://www.google.com/url?q=https:/...MlwKmJ9TwCblq_

  3. #3
    PC building is just expensive LEGO now; it's designed to be easy for anyone to do. Compatibility can be a challenge for some components, but you get online checkers for that sort of thing. Actually assembling things can be done in a matter of hours at most if you have all the things you want, so it's not much of a project really. You could go down the water cooling route to give you more assembly time (i.e. not all in one [AIO]) but again, once that's done, it's done other than periodic flushing.

    The Pi suggestion from Rod could be much more of a long term thing, which sounds like more what you're after?

  4. #4
    Pc building is pretty easy these days some times get the odd problem but loads easier than 15/20 years ago.

  5. #5
    Journeyman leo1790's Avatar
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    My lads recently done his first build, he made a list of what he needed. Case, motherboard, processor, graphics card, ram, monitor, mouse and keyboard.
    He then hammered all the YouTube tutorials and reviews and got it down to a select few components (within his budget) and then kept his eyes open for any deals/discounts.
    He got quite a few bits from awd-it, but also amazon and possibly scan?
    I think he enjoyed the research more than the finished product as he's moved onto researching the hell out of cars now and deciding what he's going to buy and soup up. He's only 13 though so God only knows how he thinks he's going to drive it.

    Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Master
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    Compatability is the main issue but if you buy it from a business like Scan you can chat with their staff and ask them if your build is compatable.

    I can build a PC in 20 minutes because i have done it dozens of times.

    Everything just screws or slots in.

    I read a Motherboards manual though, the whole thing because knowing that part well is very important i think.

    I would hold off though because new ram, cpu`s and graphics cards are being released in the near future.

    The new RAM will be called DDR5 and it will be all the rage when it hits the shelves

  7. #7
    Master Skier's Avatar
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    I've built loads of PCs over the years and they're not difficult but you need to be patient and get it right first time in terms of tidy cable runs etc. as your intention to sort that out later will never materialise. I'm not a gamer but have built two machines for gaming friends; one was on a good budget, the other was of the opinion 'cost is of no importance, build me the fastest thing you can.' This turned out very expensive and the delays getting some very high-end components can be frustrating. Added to this, water cooling adds complexity and limits case choice. As other have stated, if you're building a true gaming PC you need to decide the following (in roughly this order):

    - Do you want/need water cooling? If you do, it will add cost, time and complexity. For what follows I'll assume you decide against this.
    - Determine which processor you want to use as the socket type will drive motherboard compatibility. Get the most powerful processor you can afford within reason. I'd be looking at an Intel Core i7 10700 as a minimum and ideally something like the Intel Core i9 10850. If you went for the latter this means you'll need a socket LGA 1200 motherboard.
    - Select a motherboard and don't skimp but here you need one that has the features you feel you need and most will. Here, generally, you get what you pay for but no need to go mad.
    - Select RAM; buy 32GB as two modules; this should be plenty. If the motherboard you select has 4 RAM slots you can expand later if required but it's unlikely you'd need to.
    - Graphics Card - buy a good one. I'm not a gamer but have a powerful one to drive an ultra-wide 49" monitor.
    - Monitors. Have a look at 49" Ultra-wide monitors that are they equivalent of 2 x 27" monitors and, IMHO, only consider 5120 x 1440 e.g. THIS (which is what I purchased). More expensive than 2 x 27" monitors but simply brilliant. you could obviously go 2 x 27" initially and upgrade later after your wallet has recovered.

    Let us know what you decide and how it goes. If you have further questions I'm happy to assist if I can.

  8. #8
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leo1790 View Post
    My lads recently done his first build, he made a list of what he needed. Case, motherboard, processor, graphics card, ram, monitor, mouse and keyboard.
    He then hammered all the YouTube tutorials and reviews and got it down to a select few components (within his budget) and then kept his eyes open for any deals/discounts.
    He got quite a few bits from awd-it, but also amazon and possibly scan?
    I think he enjoyed the research more than the finished product as he's moved onto researching the hell out of cars now and deciding what he's going to buy and soup up. He's only 13 though so God only knows how he thinks he's going to drive it.

    Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
    Same here. He enjoyed all the way about a year ago when he'd saved enough money to build a computer that wouldn't look bad at NASA. Last month he took the machine apart and cleaned it thoroughly. He also installed a second hard disk (behemoth-style storage capacity) for all his games. He also upped the cooling.

    And, your story about the cars: mine is busy looking at... cafť racers! I wish he would be looking at cars, like your son.

  9. #9
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skier View Post
    I've built loads of PCs over the years and they're not difficult but you need to be patient and get it right first time in terms of tidy cable runs etc. as your intention to sort that out later will never materialise. I'm not a gamer but have built two machines for gaming friends; one was on a good budget, the other was of the opinion 'cost is of no importance, build me the fastest thing you can.' This turned out very expensive and the delays getting soe very high-end components can be frustrating. Added to this, water cooling adds complexity and limits case choice. As other have stated, if you're building a true gaming PC you need to decide the following (in roughly this order):

    - Do you want/need water cooling? If you do, it will add cost, time and complexity. For what follows I'll assume you decide against this.
    - Determine which processor you want to use as the socket type will drive motherboard compatibility. Get the most powerful processor you can afford within reason. I'd be looking at an Intel Core i7 10700 as a minimum and ideally something like the Intel Core i9 10850. If you went for the latter this means you'll need a socket LGA 1200 motherboard.
    - Select a motherboard and don't skimp but here you need one that has the features you feel you need and most will. Here, generally, you get what you pay for but no need to go mad.
    - Select RAM; buy 32GB as two modules; this should be plenty. If the motherboard you select has 4 RAM slots you can expand later if required but it's unlikely you'd need to.
    - Graphics Card - buy a good one. I'm not a gamer but have a powerful one to drive an ultra-wide 49" monitor.
    - Monitors. Have a look at 49" Ultra-wide monitors that are they equivalent of 2 x 27" monitors and, IMHO, only consider 5120 x 1440 e.g. THIS (which is what I purchased). More expensive than 2 x 27" monitors but simply brilliant. you could obviously go 2 x 27" initially and upgrade later after your wallet has recovered.

    Let us know what you decide and how it goes. If you have further questions I'm happy to assist if I can.
    I sent this list to my son and he took his hat of for that list as in 'impressed!' But added that it's an extremely expensive list, hitting 2500 euros or even more. His comment: "From your watch website, I think? Expensive taste!"

    His alternative:
    • don't go for water cooling. A really big fan will do (as said, he upped the fan last month)
    • get a good CPU, but i7 or i9 are really the high end of the range; really expensive because relatively new.
    • indeed get the best motherboard you can afford
    • 32 GB is for video editing or really 'heavy' games - but that's only a small list
    • videocard: don't skimp. Prices vary <200 euro up to > 2000 euros. Halfway up 3 - 400 euros will get you a proper one; watch for sales etc
    • that super resolution is really awesome, but in real life a 1080p will do. Make sure that it's a 144 hz.


    With a little luck and looking for online sales etc on various sites, it must be possible to finish it all under 1000 euros.

  10. #10
    Superb responses, many thanks. Will digest and report back!

  11. #11
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    Some additional info and numbers:
    • water cooling will add 150 euros to your total
    • a i9 CPU is about 990 euros and the video card needs to be able to communicate properly with the CPU. A 'heavy' CPU = a 'heavy' (more expensive) v/card
    • 32GB (180 euros) is not needed when you're not editing. A 16GB is 120 euros
    • a proper A-brand video card is around 400
    • a 49" ultra wide is 800 or more. But rather clumsy on a desk. Smaller is as good as well. 1080p and... really, really you need 144hz.
    • hard drive: the biggest you can find. Games take a lot of space. It's sometimes better to get two hard drives. One for games and one for daily routine.


    Funny thing is, you can upgrade your computer as much as you want. It's - like said- a big Lego building.

    Keep all the bills etc for warranty. He bought everything from Dutch stores with proper warranty schemes. It can be bought cheaper in - let's say- China. But that's not what he had in mind warranty-wise.

    Finally: get a proper housing. Some are really pieces of art but have limited cooling slots. And, don't skimp on a proper keyboard and mouse. It prevents injuries. I think that my son has had 3 different keyboards before he was happy with what he has now.

    As said, he works at an Apple repairshop. He's experienced and not fazed when he opens a computer or Mac. It took him less than two hours to build his computer. And it ran perfectly the moment he hit the button. According to stories I've heard, that's rather amazing. Often, the parts need to be 'aligned' to communicate (my words, I'm not into that tech-speak).

  12. #12
    Master
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    AMD Ryzen processors are best bang for buck nowadays, intel are playing catch up, and even where they match AMD theyíre a lot pricier.

    There are new Nvidia GPUs just releasing, so some of the older stuff will be cheaper until itís stock out.

    Doing the research for a build is half the fun, as is modifying the cases a little. Some of the custom case modifications out there are amazing, so although the components are fairly modular you can still go to town with windowed cases, cooling and lighting.

    It will also likely be a work in progress, as there will always be something to upgrade or fiddle with going forwards.

  13. #13
    Master
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    Use PCpartpicker that will get you compatible components and places to buy them. Plus you can see other builds to help you. It is dead easy to build a PC tbh these days.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by thieuster View Post
    Some additional info and numbers:
    • water cooling will add 150 euros to your total
    • a i9 CPU is about 990 euros and the video card needs to be able to communicate properly with the CPU. A 'heavy' CPU = a 'heavy' (more expensive) v/card
    • 32GB (180 euros) is not needed when you're not editing. A 16GB is 120 euros
    • a proper A-brand video card is around 400
    • a 49" ultra wide is 800 or more. But rather clumsy on a desk. Smaller is as good as well. 1080p and... really, really you need 144hz.
    • hard drive: the biggest you can find. Games take a lot of space. It's sometimes better to get two hard drives. One for games and one for daily routine.


    Funny thing is, you can upgrade your computer as much as you want. It's - like said- a big Lego building.

    Keep all the bills etc for warranty. He bought everything from Dutch stores with proper warranty schemes. It can be bought cheaper in - let's say- China. But that's not what he had in mind warranty-wise.

    Finally: get a proper housing. Some are really pieces of art but have limited cooling slots. And, don't skimp on a proper keyboard and mouse. It prevents injuries. I think that my son has had 3 different keyboards before he was happy with what he has now.

    As said, he works at an Apple repairshop. He's experienced and not fazed when he opens a computer or Mac. It took him less than two hours to build his computer. And it ran perfectly the moment he hit the button. According to stories I've heard, that's rather amazing. Often, the parts need to be 'aligned' to communicate (my words, I'm not into that tech-speak).
    Problem with warranties is, w/o alternative components to swap in/out, not always easy to determine where a fault lies (MB, CPU, ram etc).

  15. #15
    Journeyman
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    PC Part Picker - https://uk.pcpartpicker.com/

    Overclockers UK - https://www.overclockers.co.uk/

    Definitely recommend a large monitor. Please get 27" 2560 x 1440 at a minimum. Do not get 1920 x 1080 as that is not right for this decade anymore.

    Recommend this 43UN700-B 42.5" 3840X2160 4K UHD IPS monitor. It will change your experience entirely.

  16. #16
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    be careful when putting an intel cpu into the board...can quite easily damage the pins on motherboard... on the otherhand AMD cpu and boards are very easy and take a bit more heavy handling upon assembly if u slip

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Ontological View Post
    Definitely recommend a large monitor. Please get 27" 2560 x 1440 at a minimum. Do not get 1920 x 1080 as that is not right for this decade anymore.

    Recommend this 43UN700-B 42.5" 3840X2160 4K UHD IPS monitor. It will change your experience entirely.
    You need to also state that the rest of the OP's hardware will need to be sufficiently powerful (and thus costly) to actually drive those 1440p and 4k screens. You need a lot of oomph to e.g. play a modern FPS at bearable frame rates on such monitors.

    Furthermore, it's incorrect to state that 1080p is not right for this decade: the people who get paid millions to stream games and take part in online tournaments still use that resolution! It entirely depends on what you want to do with the screen.

  18. #18
    Grand Master hogthrob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hughtrimble View Post
    You need to also state that the rest of the OP's hardware will need to be sufficiently powerful (and thus costly) to actually drive those 1440p and 4k screens. You need a lot of oomph to e.g. play a modern FPS at bearable frame rates on such monitors.

    Furthermore, it's incorrect to state that 1080p is not right for this decade: the people who get paid millions to stream games and take part in online tournaments still use that resolution! It entirely depends on what you want to do with the screen.
    Yes, you'd be spending £550 upwards just on the graphics card for decent 4K gaming frame rates.

  19. #19
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    Oh, I'm trying to set high expectations :D

    A PC should be something to be cherished, and really enjoyed. 4k is hard to drive for sure, but 1440 should definitely be standard these days. It's much more immersive.

    Depends on the games and graphics settings of course. You can shift some settings to medium without noticeable deterioration in quality.

    The key is to have a budget, and then double it!

  20. #20
    Master
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    A 4K monitor isnít that hard to drive with a modest video card.

    I have an Nvidia 1070ti, and play a lot of games at 4K, including MS Flight Sim 2020, with no issues.

    I find that at 4K resolution a lot of games look better than lower resolutions with all the candy turned on, but it is game dependent to an extent.

    As long as Iím hitting a minimum 30fps, to my eyes everything looks great.

  21. #21
    Master
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    Built one in the summer for lockdown escape sim racing and it was easier than I thought.

    I bought a case off eBay
    MSI Arsenal Tomahawk motherboard
    Crucial 1TB SSD drive
    16GB Corsair DDR 3200 RAM
    Red Devil 5600XT GPU
    Ryzen 5 3700X CPU
    70w PSU and one extra fan for the case back.

    Came in at a smidge over £1k but plays everything I want at max graphics settings on a 1440p gaming monitor.

    If you want the exact specs let me know because at least youíll know it all works together and some bits might be cheaper now.

    Worth considering the windows licence cost. I had a code from a previous machine but if you need to buy windows 10 and donít want to go the dodgy route itís not cheap.

  22. #22
    Craftsman
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    I'm on the other end of the scale. My son got a Raspberry Pi kit for his birthday. After struggling with monitor compatibility issues (and then supply during lockdown), broken SDCards and a few other minor issues we are finally up and running. Next project may be a RetroPie gaming setup

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Tooks View Post
    A 4K monitor isn’t that hard to drive with a modest video card.

    I have an Nvidia 1070ti, and play a lot of games at 4K, including MS Flight Sim 2020, with no issues.

    I find that at 4K resolution a lot of games look better than lower resolutions with all the candy turned on, but it is game dependent to an extent.

    As long as I’m hitting a minimum 30fps, to my eyes everything looks great.
    30 fps! Blimey, impressive you can deal with it that low. It would save me lots of money if I could, but the games I'm into would just not be fun/bearable.
    Last edited by hughtrimble; 6th October 2020 at 10:32.

  24. #24
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by hughtrimble View Post
    30 fps! Blimey, impressive you can deal with it that low. It would save me lots of money if I could, but the games I'm into would just not be fun/bearable.
    In reality, Iím usually way above that, that was the minimum below which I notice stuttering.

    The rest of the system needs to be up to snuff as well, Iíve got a 12 core Ryzen on a modern motherboard with 16GB of RAM, and SSDs for the OS and storage.

    I still subscribe to Custom PC, the monthly tests that show new GPUs pushing 160+ FPS vs last gen cards Ďonlyí managing 120 FPS and therefore the new card is Ďawesomeí always make me laugh, but then they need to keep their advertisers happy.

    What games are you playing?

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Tooks View Post
    In reality, I’m usually way above that, that was the minimum below which I notice stuttering.

    The rest of the system needs to be up to snuff as well, I’ve got a 12 core Ryzen on a modern motherboard with 16GB of RAM, and SSDs for the OS and storage.

    I still subscribe to Custom PC, the monthly tests that show new GPUs pushing 160+ FPS vs last gen cards ‘only’ managing 120 FPS and therefore the new card is ‘awesome’ always make me laugh, but then they need to keep their advertisers happy.

    What games are you playing?
    Mostly FPS-types, where frankly a high refresh rate monitor is more important than resolution (although I do like to keep things pretty). Otherwise it's things like Kingdom Come: Deliverance, Skyrim, Witcher 3. Those three are what I'd call masterpiece games, whilst the FPS (CoD Warzone getting a lot of time at the moment) are what are most enjoyable with a group.

    I'd recommend Duskers if you fancy a crack at a very old school type game, with everything completed using text commands. It's impressively tense!

  26. #26
    Master
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    Cheers, Iíll check those games out.

    I still play the CoD games, and Iíve revisited some older stuff like Half Life 2, which at 4K seems to be like a new game, like youíre seeing the world as created by the designers/developers for the first time.

    Iíve not ventured back into online gaming since I got my backside handed to me playing NASCAR online a few years back!

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Tooks View Post
    Cheers, Iíll check those games out.

    I still play the CoD games, and Iíve revisited some older stuff like Half Life 2, which at 4K seems to be like a new game, like youíre seeing the world as created by the designers/developers for the first time.

    Iíve not ventured back into online gaming since I got my backside handed to me playing NASCAR online a few years back!
    Oof I bet it is! There's a reason people still talk about Half Life 3 after all these years.

    Which reminds me that I need to keep an eye out for Half Life Alyx in a Steam sale - the VR Half Life that was released quite recently.

  28. #28
    Journeyman
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    I started teaching my son PC building about 25 years ago....(I'd been doing it for 6 or 7 years already at that time). He is now an 'IT Professional' working for an American Stockmarket Trading Company based in Chicago. He is based in the London office, but has travelled all round the world, servicing their international offices and earns Mega Bucks, compared to what I did as a design engineer.....

  29. #29
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by hughtrimble View Post
    Oof I bet it is! There's a reason people still talk about Half Life 3 after all these years.

    Which reminds me that I need to keep an eye out for Half Life Alyx in a Steam sale - the VR Half Life that was released quite recently.
    I remember reading about Half Life Alyx, might check it out as the daughter has recently got an Occulus headset, but like you will wait for the sale!

    I keep meaning to set the VR headset up for the flight sim and DCS World, but not had the time yet.

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Tooks View Post
    I remember reading about Half Life Alyx, might check it out as the daughter has recently got an Occulus headset, but like you will wait for the sale!

    I keep meaning to set the VR headset up for the flight sim and DCS World, but not had the time yet.
    I really enjoyed my Rift S for a good few months, especially during lockdown, but I've found myself gravitating back towards 'traditional' games. I imagine I'll get back into it at some point.

  31. #31
    Grand Master hogthrob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pete-r View Post
    Worth considering the windows licence cost. I had a code from a previous machine but if you need to buy windows 10 and donít want to go the dodgy route itís not cheap.
    I've used this company several times. Always worked fine. https://theunitysoft.com/product/win...e-license-key/

  32. #32
    This thread has had its first wallet breach - 27inch 1440p 165hz Dell monitor inbound...should be both pretty and speedy for plenty of titles.

    Now to see what GPU to move to...

  33. #33
    Master dice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hughtrimble View Post
    This thread has had its first wallet breach - 27inch 1440p 165hz Dell monitor inbound...should be both pretty and speedy for plenty of titles.

    Now to see what GPU to move to...
    If your budget is set to high, the new NVidia 3x GPUs are pretty insane value compared to the 2x series currently available at the same cost. Would hold out for one of those.

  34. #34
    Grand Master hogthrob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dice View Post
    If your budget is set to high, the new NVidia 3x GPUs are pretty insane value compared to the 2x series currently available at the same cost. Would hold out for one of those.
    Good luck actually getting a 30x0 card.

  35. #35
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hogthrob View Post
    I've used this company several times. Always worked fine. https://theunitysoft.com/product/win...e-license-key/
    Overhere, Microsoft has a 'student'- discount scheme. Students can obtain Windows and Office through their school / university. Windows for next-to-nothing (15 euros) and Office for free. Isn't there a UK version of that scheme?

    Menno

  36. #36
    I looked at doing one a year or so back but found it was cheaper to buy one ready built.

  37. #37
    Craftsman
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    It probably is cheaper to buy one ready made, but you would be missing out on a great chance to bond with your son and teach him something useful he will have for the rest of his life.

    I have done this for both my kids. On the run up to their birthday, we pick the parts together and order them.
    Then on their birthday, they get the parts and we build the machine. This was great for going through what each component does.
    This helped them loads when the computer science class at school started covering PC internals, they were well ahead of the game.

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