Desktop Gaming Computer Guidance

This is an excellent resource! I wish I had found that when I was looking for a new one!

The PSU that died on me is actually in the “avoid” section of that list :stuck_out_tongue:

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Update: Had a chat with a good friend about prebuilt vs custom build and he strongly encouraged me to build it myself. He argued it’s a good learning experience and that it’ll be easier to upgrade in the future since I’ll already know where everything is.

I like the “building your own lightsaber” aspect of it. This weekend I’m going to sit down and make a build in PCPartPicker and compare the price to similar prebuilts. After watching a few Gamers Nexus videos, I understand that I have to be discerning in shopping around for them.

Anyone have any strong opinions on cases? I don’t need anything with fancy lights. Could I fit a VR-ready build into a mini case?

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Glad you’re doing a build! I’ve taken to not pushing that on folks as I know different people have different levels of anxiety around DIY, but personally I do find building PCs to be fun and rewarding. One piece of advice; don’t get too bogged down with optimizing for the best combination of parts or getting the absolute best deal. Set your budget and pick parts accordingly, and get it on order. I recommend consolidating to one or two shops to make the purchase easier as well. Bargain hunting and min-maxing the build as a newbie is going to simply complicate an already very involved project. Being discerning is good, being miserly is going to suck the fun out of the experience.

For cases, I usually just go with one of the best sellers or high rating ones. There’s not too much difference between the top cases as they all are pretty easy to work with, and aesthetics is in the eye of the beholder. I’m personally partial to a basic case with no fancy LEDs or windows, but to each their own.

A mini case will likely be a bit too small, and at the very least will make the build harder to assemble. I would stick with a mid-tower for your first build to ensure that you have plenty of space to work with and you don’t have to sweat the logistics of cooling airflow.

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Cool, I hope you’ll enjoy it! I agree with you on the “making it your own” aspect of it and you’ll gain a lot of experience and knowledge from your first build.

Just one aspect to prepare yourself for (which I hinted at earlier) is doing troubleshooting on your own when something goes wrong. It’s all good and fun to put a PC together, less so when six months later it no longer boots and you’ll have to work out which part it could be, go through a warranty process and wait several weeks for a replacement which hopefully fixes it :melting_face: Not trying to dissuade you, just want to be up front about an aspect of PC building that I don’t always see people bring up.

As for cases: Pick one you like and look for video reviews. Those often show a bit of how to draw cables inside of it which is always good to know (good cases have specific holes and spots to aid with cable management). It’s definitely possible to go for smaller cases and still have a full power computer (for example the Bitfenix Prodigy M or, quite a bit smaller than that even, the Sugo 14) but there’ll be a few more things to consider compared to the standard “full size” tower and, as Navstar points out, the smaller the case the more difficult it’ll be to work in. But if you want to put in the extra work, it’s definitely possible.*

* There’s even a niche community of “small form factor” (SFF) PC builders out there, where case sizes are measured in litres but still fit powerful graphics cards. I have one and really like how little space it occupies! Of course, overclocking is ruled out (I even undervolt my CPU/GPU to create less heat without sacrificing performance), part selection is very limited and building inside of it more than a bit of a pain. This is a lot more extreme than the Bitfenix case linked above, mind you.

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I personally like the look of the Lian Li’s line of cases. They tend to be sleek and not focused on RGB lighting.

My first ever case was one of those Corsair cubes and it was goofy but I liked it a lot except for how hard it was to move. Super easy to work in and I never had to worry about it getting knocked over. Had some cool sliding trays for HDDs as well. Plus it’s a giant cube!

The only downside is it’s not been refreshed AFAIK to use newer USB standard so the front two ports are USB 2.0 I want to say. There is a smaller version of it now but I’m not sure how it holds up. One looks like it’s all glass which sounds like a dust/fingerprint nightmare.

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Speaking from experience in that the computer I am replying to this on is in a mini-case (and on a micro-ITX motherboard), this is very very true. Cable routing in this case was… exciting… and (without water-cooling… which would add complexity anyway, and would need me to make even more exciting after-market mods to the case for the radiator) temps were hard to manage for some time. And actually doing anything on the motherboard once it was in the case was an exercise in patience, too, given the small amount of access space around it.
(But I do have 2xSSDs via SATA and nothing on the M.2 ports… partly because (ironically) I was worried about the air-temp on the motherboard being too high to be good for media longevity… so there’s even more cabling to get in the way than there might be.)

Basically any fairly modern ATX desktop case is brilliant compared to this.

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Hey again all! I built my PC on Monday! Thank you to everyone who provided feedback and advice. I really appreciate it.

I took a slow and steady building approach to avoid making mistakes. It took more than 10 hours to build and I’ll have to troubleshoot the RGB on the fans but the computer is otherwise up and running! I’m pretty proud of myself. I learned a lot through the process and I don’t regret the decision to build it myself. :slight_smile:

Definitely overkill for the types of games I usually play but now I have an excuse to dip into some AAA titles I’ve been ignoring.

Parts Used
CPU: Intel Core i7-12700k
CPU Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4
Motherboard: MSI MAG Z690 Tomahawk Wifi DDR4 ATX
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX (2 x 16 GB)
Storage: 2 x Samsung 970 Evo 1 TB M.2 NVME SSD
GPU: GeForce RTX 3070 Ti
Case: Lian Li Lancool II Mesh C
Case Fans: be quiet! Light wings
PSU: Corsair HX1000 Platinum
OS: Windows 11

I also picked up an ASUS TUF Gaming 24.5" 1920 x 1080 monitor, a new mouse, and a Royal Kludge brown switch mechanical keyboard for my desk.

Photo below

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That’s a neatly constructed setup (nice cable management too). It’s satisfying making the whole thing work from scratch, isn’t it?

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Oh, that looks lovely! Good job! And let there be peace upon your build :ghost:

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