Useful Links for Building A Computer

There are several websites I use frequently for researching and purchasing computer parts.  Some are obvious and well  known, and some you may have missed.  I hope you’ll find these links helpful, there is a lot of information out there and not a lot of it is helpful.

Google

http://www.google.com

Google is a pretty obvious resource.  I feel like I shouldn’t even have to mention it, but then again I often see people with questions that google can answer very quickly.  Knowing how to use google isn’t terribly difficult but you do know how to phrase search terms.  When comparing two purchase options, it’s often helpful to search “Option A vs Option B”, as chances are you’re not the first to have thought of such a mystery.

Newegg

http://www.newegg.com

One of the most popular websites out there for buying computer parts, Newegg will always be my favorite simply because of the way you can filter out different products when searching for something.  Once you have an idea of what motherboard or processor you want, it becomes very easy to search for exactly what time of memory you need, or what size case, etc.  I’ve spent hours just surfing Newegg and looking at different combinations and reading reviews on different products.  While Newegg may not be the best place to start, it’s definitely the best place to finalize your build.  Newegg is also awesome for their Shell Shocker deals, which I subscribe to on

Amazon

http://www.amazon.com

Amazon is not often the first choice for some computer building enthusiasts, but I’ve grown pretty fond of it.  If you’re an Amazon Prime account holder, you can get Prime Eligible items to your doorstep in 2 days, and next day for only $3.99 per item.   Amazon’s prime eligible selection is not as large as you may need, but you’ll probably find that most popular hardware is prime eligible.  Furthermore, if you live in California like me Newegg has sales tax, while Amazon doesn’t.

eXtreme Power Supply Calculator

http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp

When choosing power supply size, it takes a lot of research to be able to find the exact power requirements of most items.  Often finding the TDP (Thermal Design Power) rating of most devices is difficult for anything besides CPU’s.  This handy calculator will let you know if your power supply will be able to manage your upgrade, or just tell you what size you need to buy for your new computer.  Don’t take the results as gospel however, for example if you get a result of 630W you should probably buy something more than a 650W PSU. In engineering we use what’s called a factor of safety, and I tend to prefer to use a factor of safety of at least 1.2 when buying power supplies.  Basically a FoS of 1.2 on a 600W requirement would mean you buy at least a 720W PSU. (600 * 1.2).

Reddit

http://www.reddit.com/r/buildapc

Even I’ve stopped by this awesome little reddit for advice on building a new computer.  It never hurts to ask questions when considering a new build.  There are a lot of knowledgeable people that post there, just remember to take all advice with a grain of salt.

AnandTech

http://www.anandtech.com/

AnandTech is in my opinion the best place to get information about hardware.  I used to be fond of Tom’s Hardware, but recently I’ve become very disenfranchised with that site.  AnandTech has very in-depth reviews and has a plethora of benchmarks when they review new hardware.  Their benchmark charts can make comparison shopping much easier.

Passmark CPU Benchmarks

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html

Is one CPU “better” than another? It’s often hard to tell.  Often different processors be better suited for different tasks, however the theoretical processing power any given processor is useful when making decisions. Synthetic benchmarks should never be used to say “Processor A is better than Processor B, but can often show you how much better a certain $200 processor is than a certain $100 processor.

These aren’t the only websites I use, but the ones that I think you may find the most helpful in starting out your research.  There are many good forums out there which have a lot of advice, and Google is a great place to find those forums.  Of course, don’t forget you can always just ask me for advice.