Computers & Electronics

Really considering building my first PC, have a few questions.

  • Last Updated:
  • Aug 1st, 2020 12:28 pm
[OP]
Jr. Member
Jun 15, 2020
109 posts
284 upvotes

Really considering building my first PC, have a few questions.

1. What are your thoughts on slowly purchasing parts over time, as they go on sale? For example I often see good deals on specific parts here, I was thinking of just slowly accumulating different parts over a month or two rather than buying every part immediately as I see most new PC builders do.

2. How difficult is it to determine compatibility between parts, is my best bet just to ask someone here? For example I think certain motherboards only fit certain CPUs, so I don't want to end up accidently buying incompatible hardware.

3. Is it really necessary to work with anti-static gear, constantly discharging charges, etc.? I've seen some instructional videos and they all emphasize making sure to not work on carpet and wear anti-static equipment, claiming that otherwise there is a risk of making equipment defective. The last thing I want to do is ruin a new CPU or something.

Thats mainly what I've been wondering, thanks.
16 replies
Deal Addict
User avatar
Mar 1, 2003
1802 posts
296 upvotes
Scarborough
1) Only makes sense if you're getting enough savings from the sale, otherwise it just might go on sale later when you actually want to build the system. Last year I built my system over the course of a month between Black Friday and Boxing Day, taking advantage of several big discounts.

2) Create a parts list over at https://ca.pcpartpicker.com and it'll tell you of any potential incompatibilities.

3) In nearly 20 years of building PCs I've never once used an anti-static bracelet nor have I fried a component. That having been said, I still avoid doing any building on carpeted floors and I'll occasionally ground myself by touching a metal doorknob.
Ever wanted to shoot guns legally? See here: http://forums.redflagdeals.com/ever-wan ... n-1185701/
Public Mobile $10/month plan
Newbie
Oct 4, 2019
34 posts
23 upvotes
Calgary
I feel that #1 is entirely up to personal preference. I personally don't see anything wrong with it, but I personally bought all of the parts for my latest build (last year) within the span of a few weeks. I think that constantly waiting for a sale might actually be counter-intuitive, since you might either be waiting for a price that never comes, or you buy it only for the price to go down the next day. But you're free to do as you wish, if you feel it's effective.
For #2 definitely use ca.pcpartpicker.com. You can use it to build your initial parts list with a built-in compatibility filter, and keep track of prices as well. You can check out Reddit for some inspiration for your build, with r/buildapc and the new r/bapccanada being popular for recommendations.
In my opinion, #3 just depends on how paranoid you are. I've repaired dozens of machines without any anti-static straps or mats, and haven't had any issues. I have carpet flooring as well, and it hasn't caused any issues (I'm barefoot if it helps). I think humidity has something to do with it as well, since static has more potential to form in dry air. I keep the humidity in my home around 60% and it hasn't been a problem for me. Grounding yourself frequently is just as effective as using an anti-static strap in my opinion. As long as you "drain" the static charge frequently by touching a grounded surface you should be good. Again, this is quite a polarizing issue so you're bound to get multiple opinions.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Mar 31, 2017
6729 posts
2994 upvotes
trihardbangz wrote: 1. What are your thoughts on slowly purchasing parts over time, as they go on sale? For example I often see good deals on specific parts here, I was thinking of just slowly accumulating different parts over a month or two rather than buying every part immediately as I see most new PC builders do.

2. How difficult is it to determine compatibility between parts, is my best bet just to ask someone here? For example I think certain motherboards only fit certain CPUs, so I don't want to end up accidently buying incompatible hardware.

3. Is it really necessary to work with anti-static gear, constantly discharging charges, etc.? I've seen some instructional videos and they all emphasize making sure to not work on carpet and wear anti-static equipment, claiming that otherwise there is a risk of making equipment defective. The last thing I want to do is ruin a new CPU or something.

Thats mainly what I've been wondering, thanks.
All i will say to you is never to wear a glove when installing the cpu onto mobo. The glove can get caught on the pins, and the pins being so fragile an tear right off, in the case of intel it;s on the mobo. As for anti statick wrist things, never used it. But then i never tried installing a system on carpet before.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Jun 27, 2004
14251 posts
3484 upvotes
Vancouver.bc.ca
If you wait too long to assemble, you may end up buying a dud part that can't be returned to the store. Doing warranty claims with the manufacturer isn't as convenient.

BTW, first time out, treat it as a learning experience. Expect that you won't make the best choices in parts :) .
Deal Guru
User avatar
Feb 10, 2007
13194 posts
4535 upvotes
Never buy parts separately unless you have spare parts you can upgrade at anytime.

Just buy everything at once (at least within 1 - 2 weeks period). Most you'll probably save by waiting is probably $150 max... not worth it
[self promotion rule violation, removed twice already][self promotion rule violation, removed twice already]Trolling or Threadcrapping Trolling - woooooooo 3k on a laptop woooooooo 3k on a laptop woooooooo 3k on a laptop woooooooo 3k on a laptop
Deal Addict
User avatar
Aug 21, 2009
2430 posts
1609 upvotes
North Vancouver
Do whatever makes you feel comfortable. I do my homework and then decide on what I want and then wait for the right price on the major items, not the minor stuff. I've usually found everything I need withn 30 days, sometimes longer. Good luck!
Frisbeetarianism is the belief that when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck. (George Carlin)
Guns don't kill people, people kill people. And monkeys do too - if they have a gun. (Eddie Izzard)
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Mar 31, 2017
6729 posts
2994 upvotes
just wait until cybermonday/black friday, or around boxing week and grab it all. Lowest prices then.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
May 11, 2009
7458 posts
4077 upvotes
Debtario
If it's your first time, do your homework.

Some newbie mistakes I've seen:

- Buying newer CPUs than what the motherboard/chipset supports, even if it's the same socket. Caveat: some motherboards need a BIOS update to support newer processors, in these cases you need an old CPU to boot and update the bios before you can install the newer CPU!

- mixing up form factors (EATX, ATX, mATX, ITX...) You can put a smaller motherboard into a case made for a larger one (as odd as it may look), but not the other way around.

- along the same line, mixing up RAM. Ram types (DDR3 and DDR4) are not interchangeable. Neither is desktop RAM (DIMM) and laptop ram (SO-DIMM), though some tiny motherboards (ITX) and those in small form factor machines do use laptop ram!

Those are the big ones I can think of. Also goes without saying don't force connectors in that don't fit, most connectors these days are keyed so you can only plug them in one way, unlike the old days where you could plug in AT power supply cables the wrong way and make stuff go boom.

Don't get too caught up on anti-static straps, touching the case or bare metal every so often is good enough. That said, it's a good idea to avoid touching the gold plated connectors and try to handle chips/ram/cards by the edges and as little as possible.
"I possess a device, in my pocket, capable of accessing the entirety of information known to man. I use it to look at pictures of cats and get in arguments with strangers"
Deal Addict
Jul 26, 2004
4900 posts
1941 upvotes
Start researching and keeping an eye out on the price for components your want. A good place to check price history is "triple ... camel.... " Amazon actually has pretty decent prices/sales for alot of popular components. If anything it'll give you an idea what the lowest price recorded is so you can make your own purchase decision.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Jun 27, 2004
14251 posts
3484 upvotes
Vancouver.bc.ca
M1K3Z0R wrote: - Buying newer CPUs than what the motherboard/chipset supports, even if it's the same socket. Caveat: some motherboards need a BIOS update to support newer processors, in these cases you need an old CPU to boot and update the bios before you can install the newer CPU!
FYI, if you buy the board + CPU from Memory Express, they have a service called Quickmount, where they will upgrade the BIOS for you. Nice that they do this, because as M1K3Z0R basically said, it would really suck trying to borrow an older CPU from somewhere.
Sr. Member
Apr 8, 2020
715 posts
460 upvotes
After your research (only after) check Kijiji (you need to act fast when you see something good) you can get excellent deals for medium/older level parts

for example Kijiji in GTA
AM4 parts :
cpu 2200G - $40 ( was gone same day)
mobo Asus X370 chipset - $50 (was gone same day)
16GB ram - $60
etc
Deal Guru
User avatar
Jun 27, 2004
14251 posts
3484 upvotes
Vancouver.bc.ca
Came across Louis Rossman talking about assembling a new system, and he said something I totally agree with @ 59:18 of the clip):


Basically, he says not to waste hours researching minute details for performance gains that you won't even notice.
Deal Addict
Sep 3, 2005
1664 posts
279 upvotes
trihardbangz wrote:
3. Is it really necessary to work with anti-static gear, constantly discharging charges, etc.? I've seen some instructional videos and they all emphasize making sure to not work on carpet and wear anti-static equipment, claiming that otherwise there is a risk of making equipment defective. The last thing I want to do is ruin a new CPU or something.
Myself I occassionally wear an antistatic strap. It's unlikely you'll be able to detect when you've damaged a component from static. The components on the board are designed to withstand volts and static build up can be 100's of volts. The voltage build up doesn't have to reveal itself by way of a "shock". It can be present and damage the components. The damage won't come across as a brown, burnt smelling component. It will be internal to a chip. Some of it will be partial damage and can accumulate over time.
For most damage the detection is in how stable the computer is, but the OS's are pretty good at keeping the kernel running stable. This is why it's hard to detect. It's easy to blame Windows or a PSU or RAM when the culprit could be a static damaged chip on the board.
I used to work in a shop where I had to ensure there was minimal static surfaces as we were working on because we handled PCB bare boards with chips and components. I had to check the grounding between our work surfaces and the wrist straps. I also had to check that grounding with the floor. Our floor didn't meet the requirements so I applied this conductive polish to the floor with a mop and grounded the floor from the electrical socket.
Sr. Member
Oct 9, 2004
536 posts
5 upvotes
...
When I first started building PC's, I wore an anti-static bracelet, but that was because my floors were all carpeted. Nowadays, I just touch a bare piece of metal to discharge myself. Just be aware of how much you're moving around and touch a piece of metal if you feel you might have built up some. It's a good idea to build it outside of the case to make sure everything works, and then put it all in the case. I just build it on top of the motherboard box myself on a wooden table. Then I put everything into the case.

If you buy parts slowly, you may be out of the return window if any of those parts are DOA or have issues when you finally get everything you need. You would then have to RMA with the manufacturer. I would keep an eye out on perhaps the most expensive parts, or if a few of the parts go on sale, and buy everything then. Also, as you're waiting, newer hardware might be released during that time and might be similarly priced. As long as you are aware of that and won't have any feelings of buyer's remorse, keep waiting...

For parts compatibility, check pcpartspicker or google.

Buy used if you don't mind that - the issue with that is you won't have any other parts to test the used part you just bought, and will have no idea if it works or not. Unless the seller does what I do and shows the part working in person on pick up. At least then, you know that it was working when you picked it up.

I recently did this - bought a used AS-IS 3950x at auction with some slightly bent pins for $320, back in May (retails for $1k.) I then researched what other parts I needed and picked up some Gskill Royal CL16 3600 ram in June for $120 (retails for $230.) I bought those two parts used without knowing if they worked or not, as I didnt have a motherboard or cpu cooler to test them. I had my eye on a B550 motherboard and while waiting for the motherboard to be released, I bent all the pins back on the 3950x (there was less than 10 and only slightly bent - easy fix.) Motherboard was available at the end of June, bought new. Picked up a used Noctua D15 for $60. Put it all together and once I verified it was all working, bought an NVME drive to finish it off. Parts from my previous build included the power supply, two ssd's, the graphics card, case and fans.

In my case of buying used and waiting, I do have a little experience, it was not a scratch build so I was able to use parts I already had. Took a gamble on the cpu... AMD Ryzen was new to me, but I did as much research as I could along the way, and I am very pleased with the end result and the costs involved. Nothing wrong with buying used if you're trying to save money.
Deal Fanatic
Sep 10, 2002
6039 posts
558 upvotes
Vancouver
Good luck with #1 right now. Because of covid, overseas manufacturer aren’t producing as much (but it seems like it’s slowly ramping up).

I had to buy my parts piece by price and didn’t have much choice on some parts and had to do a lot research over and over for choice replacement.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Feb 6, 2003
2012 posts
346 upvotes
COU
You might want to start by buying a new desktop from a company that builds from non-proprietary components.

Learn how to do things like installing your o/s and upgrading components one at a time.

After a while you will be completely comfortable and it will make the new build very easy.

I started that way with a Micron computer back in the 90's. Now I build everything from components. It's mostly my personal preference as I have to have it "my way". My sister bought one off the shelf a few years ago (I was short of parts).
Something like a Patriot?. Can't remember. It was good and inexpensive out of the box. I've cascaded a bunch of parts to it subsequently.

Never used a anti-static strap. Never had an issue. I avoid building on a rug like a poster above. Build on top of a desk or workbench so you can stand up. Just a lot easier on your back. Get a computer screw kit. Get a good Phillips screwdriver set. At least a number 1 and a number 2.

Buy everything at once.

There are some reddits that will look at your components and give some advice and let you know if there are incompatibilities.

Those are just a few things off the top of my head. I just rebuilt my server last weekend so those are fresh in my mind.

Top

Thread Information

There is currently 1 user viewing this thread. (0 members and 1 guest)