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We all start from somewhere right? For some, you might've started building since you were 5 👶 but for others, they might have started today.

From all my seasoned PC builders, do you have any tips for baby PC builders 👀?

I know when I first started building I had almost no idea what I was doing and definitely took way longer than I should have 🤦‍♀️. For example, one big tip 💡 I have is to always cable manage the smallest things. It makes upgrading and changing pieces out of your rig way easier👍

Do you have any other tips? Comment them down below! 

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

do your reseach, know what your trying to achieve, pc parts turn over quick so build to last next 5 years atleast. cant stress enough to research what your buying and how it all mates together. most retailers have questions and answers and reviews, know as much as possible before you buy so you can buy with confidence.

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  • 3 months later...

Best advice I can give is to always be 1 generation behind the newest.

Latest CPU is intel 13th gen, so go for 12th gen.

Latest GPU is Nvidia 4080, so go for 3080.

You will never lose out by being one generation behind, every game and application will still run perfectly, but you will save a lot of money in the long run.

Buy used parts where you can and where it makes sense to, and don't hold on to anything you're not using. The moment a piece of hardware is sitting on a shelf, get it on eBay! You can always buy another one if you end up needing it (which is never!)

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  • If you want a machine, get the biggest case you can find.

Big cases seem like they might be a bad idea, and if you have to move a lot it can be, but they offer so much utility and functionality that I cannot recommend a mITX case at all. If you want a tiny little laptop for a desktop, then just get a laptop. It will be cheaper.

  • Latest and greatest is awesome, but expensive.

It is totally worth it if you are on the bleeding edge of gaming or computation. If you only have time to use the PC a few times a month, you can deal with less.

  • Air coolers are cheap and reliable.

Liquid cooling solutions are cool, but make upgrades nearly impossible. Custom liquid cooling loops must be regularly maintained. AIOs are a good half-way, but the pump will eventually fail and the fluid will eventually run dry. An air cooler will last as long as the fans do and the sealed copper pipes will last much longer than flexible rubber tubes or fragile plexiglass.

  • Fads are temporary.

Trendy items make money for the retailer and will be outdated as soon as stock is gone. What is cool to you is dope and will be yours as long as you have it. If you buy an RGB PC because you like it, then great! If you buy a case shaped like a shark because your friends think it's cool, you will find yourself always looking for the next cool thing to show them.

  • The PC will fail if anything gets too hot.

Running your PC when it is cool out is comfortable and fun. Running your PC in the middle of the day will warm your room up to uncomfortable levels, especially in humid environments.

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I'd amend that saying custom loop cooling does not need to be regularely maintained. that's something that people keep saying for some reason..

Changing the coolant once a year isn't really a deal breaker, and it takes 5 minutes.

If anything they require less maintenance than air coolers because .. they run cooler.  Less fan speed means slower dust buildup on the radiators compared to an aircooler fin stack. That was my experience anyway.

But anyway, the initial investment is consequent, and the benefits do NOT match the price tag 🙂 Consider it a "nice to have" rather than a magical solution to boost performance in irrealistic ways. And in the context of new PC builders, definitely go with Air cooling first. 

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... air cooling if it's sufficient of course 🙂 some newer CPUs do require at least an AIO because of the high power usage. I forgot that one 🙂

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  • 3 months later...
On 1/14/2023 at 3:36 AM, plshelpmec0rsair said:
  • If you want a machine, get the biggest case you can find.

Big cases seem like they might be a bad idea, and if you have to move a lot it can be, but they offer so much utility and functionality that I cannot recommend a mITX case at all. If you want a tiny little laptop for a desktop, then just get a laptop. It will be cheaper.

  • Latest and greatest is awesome, but expensive.

It is totally worth it if you are on the bleeding edge of gaming or computation. If you only have time to use the PC a few times a month, you can deal with less.

  • Air coolers are cheap and reliable.

Liquid cooling solutions are cool, but make upgrades nearly impossible. Custom liquid cooling loops must be regularly maintained. AIOs are a good half-way, but the pump will eventually fail and the fluid will eventually run dry. An air cooler will last as long as the fans do and the sealed copper pipes will last much longer than flexible rubber tubes or fragile plexiglass.

  • Fads are temporary.

Trendy items make money for the retailer and will be outdated as soon as stock is gone. What is cool to you is dope and will be yours as long as you have it. If you buy an RGB PC because you like it, then great! If you buy a case shaped like a shark because your friends think it's cool, you will find yourself always looking for the next cool thing to show them.

  • The PC will fail if anything gets too hot.

Running your PC when it is cool out is comfortable and fun. Running your PC in the middle of the day will warm your room up to uncomfortable levels, especially in humid environments. 

Soon I'll be more experienced in it, because I'm working on my term paper, which is connected to coptures. This site http://essaypapers.reviews/ helped me a lot with one part of writing, and now I'm focused on the main one.

This is very useful information; thank you! I also want to build my first PC, and now I need to find a lot of info to do everything right

Edited by frankpaulson
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There are more parts that can fail. This alone makes liquid cooling less reliable and a big risk.

On 1/14/2023 at 6:58 AM, LeDoyen said:

... air cooling if it's sufficient of course 🙂 some newer CPUs do require at least an AIO because of the high power usage. I forgot that one 🙂

If you want a beast, you put it in a cage sized appropriately. If the cage is too small, the beast will die. You want a teeny-tiny PC for rats, you can deal with rat sized cooling. If you want a machine, you have to get reliable cooling.

The advantages that liquid cooling provides are the ability to act as thermal-reservoir, remove heat efficiently, and do so with low noise. This is easily achievable by large air-coolers. Large air-coolers have the mass, the heat pipes, and the fans to be quiet, efficient, and effective.

Not every case can accommodate a large air-cooler of course, but not every PC needs to be a beast. Bigger fin-stacks can hold and remove more heat. Low speed fans can push air through just fine. and not create significant noise.

If you are so worried about dust build up that you buy a liquid cooler, then just add filters to all your case intakes. The pipes of any liquid cooling setup will collect dust too. If dust is such a problem in your home, then you shouldn't buy a 5000$ PC, buy a vacuum.

On 1/14/2023 at 5:18 AM, LeDoyen said:

custom loop cooling does not need to be regularely maintained. that's something that people keep saying for some reason..

It is not a good idea to be in the habit of neglecting your liquid cooling loop. It will eventually fail, and if you don't catch the leak, the leak will destroy your PC. If you want to upgrade anything water cooled the upcharge is 2-3x the cost of the upgrade if you don't do it yourself. If the case is ever dropped or disturbed the cooling loop will begin leaking. If you ever move homes/apartments you have to drain the loop if you don't carry the dang thing in your lap. Can you imagine treating a PC with more care than your kids.

You will only need liquid cooling if the case does not provide enough airflow to the air coolers, so don't get an mATX case. Get an mITX case if you care more about portability or want to put the PC behind a screen. If you want a decent PC, get the case that gives you room for good air cooling.

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such anger hehehe

the upcharge when upgrading with watercooling is only the price of a new waterblock for the new component. it's not 2 or 3 times the price of the upgrade. a 150-200$ block for a 1000 - 1500$ card isn't that hard to swallow if you got the money for the card to begin with. You don't change the radiators, pump, 90% oif the tubing.. it's actually pretty quick to do.

And there's a difference between saying you have to change your coolant every 2 months and never changing it. Same deal with water leaks.. people complaining about how unreliable custom loop is are either all thumbs or never used it themselves and just fantasize on all the horror stories seen online. Draining the loop before moving the case? of course, but it takes 5 minutes. to drain or fill. what's the big deal?

An Aircooled PC is more at risk because of how heavy the CPU cooler and GPU are, they have to be taken out if you don't want a cracked motherboard or GPU PCB,  which takes significantly longer.

I'm not saying watercooling is always superior, Aircooling and watercooling both have their advantages.

But custom loop water cooling is definitely not for new PC builders anyway.

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  • 5 weeks later...

I wont hop in on the flame war of liquid cooling...

ANYWAYS...

If your building your first PC - 

1.) Stick with a ATX sized case- Dont hop right in on a ITX super tight build just because. This is  a new fad thats been around recently. I've done it and stuffed 360mm worth of radiators into a Silverstone Raven build with a custom loop, but I've been doign this for YEARS.

2.) Check and double check, dont just force ANYTHING. Let's say RAM isnt seating... physically look at it, maybe it's flipped around, maybe you didnt quite get it all the way into the lower stationary clip. Just look closely. Same goes for power connectors for components and motherboard. Inspect the plug, do all the pin shapes match? Are you using a 8 pin PCIE or a 4 x 4 motherboard connector? Read it.

3.) CPU paste- This is a huge contention point. I will say kits like Thermal Grizzly that have the plastic spatula to spread the paste thinly ALL across the CPU are a sure way to do it correctly. Also, Line the cooler up as close as you can before making contact with the CPU IHS (Cover). You will hear, "NO pea sized in the middle,"  "NO do an "X."" I'm just telling you after years of experiance what has ALWAYS worked for me. I have had issues with other methods.

4.) Once you have things set up get familiar with either your BIO's fan settings or whatever software drives your motherboards fan curves. These will be used to adjust how much cooling you need vs how quite the system can be without overheating depending on your tastes.

5.) Know your hardwares temp limits. Know max temp for CPU and for GPU to start with.

6.) Once you have a grip on how to adjust the fans, the components maximum temps, then run a stress test. If your not overclocking, doing anything way out there any test will work to load up your CPU and preferrable GPU as well to see how hot your system will get and adjust the fans accordingly. OCCT is free to test CPU and you can test your GPU as well with something like furmark or Valley Benchmark by Unigine. There's Prime 95, CPU-z, Cinebench, all kinds of benchmarks that can stress test your system. I'd say test for an hour or so should be a fairly good starting point. Exspect to possibly change curves if you live in a hot climate, or test at the hottest time of the year. Ambient air temp matters exponentially.

Heat management will give you peace of mind when you go on a 12 hour gaming binge lol

Protip- Try to make sure you have MORE intake fans than exhast (Should be easy in most cases). This causes positive pressure in the case that helps control dust (of course depending on filter types). Also, try to have consistent flow (follow case flow front to back and if possible bottom to top to follow how heat rises) that dosent get too obstructed or so fans dont conflict (IE facing eachother blowing in from both ends).

I'm sure there are more but here's some that may help.

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Well, I think I bucked the trend.  I finished my first build in December 2022 as shown attached.  I recommend not doing what I did, namely building a beast on the first go.  But it was a blast!   I got a lot of help from Zotty's posts, and from DevBiker and LeDoyen...thanks guys!

I found using a contractor's table saw allowed me to make very precise cuts in hardline tubing.  I found that tube bending requires being creative, and somewhat quick as the tubes cool and harden faster than I expected.  Don't overheat the tubes as they will bubble the tubing.  I found it was very handy to purchase a second power supply for filling and bleeding the liquid cooling system.  And I found that having a wiring diagram was crucial for the build, as well as remembering how to re-connect fans and controllers if you mod from your first intention.  And having lots of fans look great, but the mass of wires is difficult to hide.  Having the larger case allowed me to hide everything in the rear chamber but it is not show-off worthy.

Finally, don't be afraid.  I started knowing nothing, and with some research and communication here in the forums, the project was great fun and very satisfying.  Good luck!

IMG_5182.JPG

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