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Thread: Question about building a computer

  1. #1 Question about building a computer 
    Forum Freshman
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    Mar 2011
    Hello all! I've been thinking about trying to build a computer becasue it sounds like it could be a lot of fun and it sounds like a useful thing to be able to do. I've been doing some research on the topic, and I'm running into a disagreement in many of my sources. Some of my sources state that any components can go together, while others state that al lot of components need to be compatible with each other- namely the RAM, Motherboard, CPU, Videocard, and hard drive need to be compatible with each other. Which side should I believe? This whole endeavor is still in the planning/theory stages and I'd like to proceed with good information before buying any components. Thanks everybody!

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  3. #2  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope MagiMaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    The motherboard has specifically shaped slots to fit specifically shaped pieces, so no, not everything can go with anything. In general, the motherboard determines what type everything else has to be. (There will be a list of available slots and connections somewhere.)

    Also, you need to make sure you have enough power from the power supply to run everything. Having too much isn't strictly a bad thing, but it will make the computer run hotter and waste more electricity (and will usually be louder).

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  4. #3  
    New Member
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    Apr 2011
    >> Which side should I believe?

    Hehehe... as with all things comp sci, probably both.

    Numerous components will fit together, especially those produced around the same time period. However trying to stick together components made 10 (or even 5) years apart is gonna cause problems.

    Different components will also have different compatibility with other components. Namely whether you go with an Intel CPU or AMD CPU will determine the motherboard & RAM that you can use, but have less affect on the Graphics Card, PSU & other peripheral cards.

    And it'll all have an affect on what software you can run.

    In short, if you just take someone else's design, buy the parts, stick them together (making sure you know the relevance of pinouts, thermal paste, bios settings & drivers) it'll probably be pretty simple.

    Otherwise, you got a lot of reading to do. Start with something like AnandTech's Buyers Guide: to see what kind of components will fit together, and what's recommended. Then some how-tos on building PCs, then scour forums for any technicalities on specific components.
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  5. #4  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    South Africa
    Having too much isn't strictly a bad thing, but it will make the computer run hotter and waste more electricity (and will usually be louder).
    This isn't the case in my experience. The components will only use the power that is needed. The system will not use 700W say if you have a 700W PSU installed.

    Anyway, the point to start from is to choose the CPU you are interested in. The latest CPU's from Intel are really the best in terms of both price and performance IMO. The new $320 Sandy Bridge i7 2600K socket 1155 CPU will outperform the previous generation $1000 i7 980X in most benchmarks, as even the $220 i7 2500K will.

    From there you can choose the motherboard that will suit your needs. As far as that goes, you will not have compatibility issues, except for the odd brand specific thing here and there (some Xonar sound cards have issues on some motherboards for instance), but for that a bit of Googling would resolve any doubts. Any SATA HDD should work on any board with SATA ports. Any PCI-E graphics card should work on any board with a x16 PCI-E slot. Any DDR3 RAM should work on any board with DDR3 slots, etc. The few cases where problems arise are mostly due to the brand blundering and not because of a lack of like-with-like compatibility.

    But yeah, you have to do a LOT of reading and/or you could ask for advice here as well. We'll be happy to help.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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