Pinoy PC Hardware Building Guide 2018

PC Building Guide

So you want to build a PC but don’t know where to start? Our simple guide is here to help you. If you don’t want to read everything. I’ve divided the guide into multiple questions and links, so click away. If you are still too busy to read, you just read all the bold texts.

Updated January 2019.

PC Builds from PHP 20k to PHP 100k
Which parts to pick first?

System Requirements of games
Operating System
| Processor |

Motherboards |

Graphics |

| RAM / Memory – What is Dual Channel?  – RAM Frequencies |

Storage – SSD vs HDD – m.2 vs 2.5 SATA? |

| Power SupplyBronze, Silver, Gold?Modular vs non-modular |

PC Casing / Tower Guide
The best PC cases under 5,000 pesos available locally
Graphics Settings

Monitor Specs Guide
Our list of Best Gaming Monitors available locally

Which parts to pick first?

 

But I don’t know how/want to assemble a PC myself!
Can I pay to have it assembled? How much?
Second hand/used vs Brandnew?
Do gilmore stores really offer the best prices?
Then how do I find the best prices?
Can I order online from Lazada or Shopee or other stores?


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System requirements
You have to understand the hardware, for example let’s look at the system requirements for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.

ACodyssey

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s System Requirements

OS: now to the Operating System, This is the main software your system uses. Applications, Games, will be installed in your OS and run from it. It provides the necessary user interface and enables communication between software and another software or hardware. You have two main options which are Linux and Windows, each with their many distributions and versions.

I will say Windows 10 is the best gaming OS. You have all the new features and security updates, and there will be no compatibility issues with new games and applications. Almost every PC game supports it. Windows 7 and 8 are still fine though and will perform similarly if you want to save yourself the hassle of reinstalling or changing the Operating System. Many games nowadays only supports 64 bit and the maximum memory that 32 bit supports is up to 4 GB only, so there’s really no reason to stay at 32 bit.


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cpu

Intel’s Core i7-8700k 

Processor: also called the CPU (No, your whole CPU tower/box/set is not the CPU). There are lots of processors already released, ranging from Intel core series’ yearly releases, we now have AMD’s Ryzen plus their older FX and A series. The general rule is to make sure your processor is at least a quad-core and is above 3.0 GHz to play newer games at a minimum. Their tier level is basically divided into four parts. Ryzen has the Ryzen 3, 5, 7 and the Threadripper. while Intel has the i3, i5, i7, and i9. Starting from the first Ryzen and 8th gen i3, all the processors in their lineup are now quad core.

NAMINGIntel has been releasing Core i processors for 10 years now, so be careful when browsing online. 1st gen i7s aren’t any better than newer gen i5s, despite the names.  The first model number indicates the generation for both AMD and Intel (Ryzen 5 2600, Core i7-8700k), while the second number always go hand in hand with the tier number. Ryzen 3 2200, Core i5-8600k).

AMD                              intel

AMD Ryzen and Intel Core 

Intel processors are much better suited for gaming, as their clock speeds(the GHz or gigahertz) are usually higher than their Ryzen counterparts, which is what gaming and basic applications needs the most. But Ryzen processors have decent clock speeds as well while offering higher core counts (e.g. 6 cores / 12 threads) which is beneficial for productivity workloads like photo and video editing, 2D and 3D design, and simulation software. The higher the core count, the better.

Hyperthreading (Intel) or Simultaneous Multithreading (AMD) are their respective ways of making individual cores work harder and able to do parallel tasks, making it look like it is functioning as multiple cores, so if we see a spec like 4 cores / 8 threads, it means that multithreading is turned on and those 4 cores can function similar to, but not 100%, like an 8 core processor.

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Bottleneck – First of all don’t ever use this site ‘thebottlenecker.com/calculator’ because it is 100% inaccurate, not reliable, and doesn’t follow any logical algorithm. Bottleneck means that a component is holding back the performance of another. from the word itself, water entering into a bottle’s neck will slow down the water flowing through it, you have to widen the neck(upgrade) or increase the pressure(up the settings).

Everything can be a bottleneck, the CPU, GPU, RAM, Storage, even the cooling. but we’ll talk about CPUs and GPUs. CPUs typically handle the logical computations of applications, like the AI, physics, commands, and scripts in video games, While the GPUs typically handle the graphical computations, the ability to display 2D and 3D graphics, high resolution textures, detailed 3D models, and post-processing effects.

Take for example a game that heavily uses scripting, AI, and physics computations, utilizing all of your CPU, and it can only compute 60FPS (Frames per second) worth of computation for that game. On the other hand your GPU is super fast and can handle 120FPS worth of graphical computations. The game will still run at 60FPS, under utilizing the GPU’s capabilities, you may see the GPU usage at around 50% only, while CPU will be at 100%, this is called a CPU Bottleneck. This is easily solved however even without CPU upgrades, you can up your graphics settings in order to utilize your GPU even more. Crank up the settings, increase the resolution, anti-aliasing, and you’ll see a higher GPU usage without any FPS loss. Increase the settings too much and it becomes a GPU bottleneck.

The opposite can happen where for example the CPU can handle 80FPS worth of computation but the GPU can only produce 60FPS, this is usually the case and is mostly acceptable unless the differences are very extreme(Very low CPU usage and 100% GPU usage). Also a lot of the games themselves under utilize CPUs especially those with high core counts, so sometimes the bottleneck is not in your system.

Overclocking – Pushing your components over the designed or intended specifications, increasing the clock speed, measured in Hz (Hertz), MHz(Megahertz), GHz(Gigahertz). For example a 2133MHz RAM overclocked to 3200MHz, a 4.3GHz 8600k CPU overclocked to 5.0GHz, a GTX 1080 GPU at 1607MHz overclocked to 1800MHz, or a Monitor overclocked from 60 to 75Hz. Basic overclocking can be done through software while advanced CPU and RAM overclocking can be done through the BIOS. CPU overclocking will require an unlocked CPU and a certain motherboard chipset. Most AMD processors are unlocked while Intel requires processor models denoted with a K (i7-7700k, i5-8600k).

CPU Cooling – The CPU uses a lot of power therefore it generates a ton of heat. CPUs require adequate cooling in order to dissipate heat and function. Most processors have a built-in air cooler (aka Stock Cooler) on them that is more than enough. However for unlocked CPUs that can be overclocked it may require you to buy what you call an aftermarket cooler to handle the overclocked speed and higher temperatures. Some of them doesn’t even have cooler included on the box, like the Core i7-8700k, making it a requirement to buy one. So check it first or ask the store. Too much heat will automatically shutdown your system as a preventive measure, but expose it often enough and it can easily kill a processor or shorten its lifespan.

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Should you go Air Cooling or Liquid Cooling? (See: our list of best coolers available locally)

AMD

AMD’s stock cooler

Air cooling is a more simple, usually cheaper, but still an effective method of cooling. All stock coolers are air coolers. It uses heatsinks that sucks up all the heat from the CPU and dissipates heat throughout the case with the help of it’s dedicated fans. Exhaust fans will then take the hot air out of the case while intake fans suck in cooler air. There are air coolers that can rival or best the performance of liquid coolers like the Cryorig H7, and the Cooler Master 212X

AIO

NZXT Kraken X62, an aftermarket AIO liquid cooler

Liquid Cooling or LCS (Liquid Cooling System) on the other hand is typically the better but more expensive/complex method, it has the added risk of the liquid leaking out and damaging your other components, or the pump dying and stopping the circulation. There are two types: Closed Loop (AIO or All in one) and Open Loop/Custom Loop. Closed Loop is the much simpler type, you just install the CPU block/pump combo on the CPU itself and the radiator on the sides of the case and it’s ready. Make sure the sizes are compatible. Most radiators are in 120mm, 240mm(2x fans), 360mm(3x fans), 140mm, and 280mm(2x fans) sizes. It will fit the standard 120mm or 140mm case fan mounts. You don’t have access to the liquid or the insides of the device, and have no reason to. Open loops are custom-made and more expensive, but can offer the best temps and aesthetics when right. You have to buy the pumps, radiators, tubing, fittings, liquids, set it up, and test it making sure there are no leaks.

Good examples of AIO Liquid Coolers are the NZXR Kraken series, ID-COOLING liquid coolers and Deepcool Captain EX series.

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PCfan

Optimal fan configurations. (Intake and Exhaust Fans)

Case Cooling and Fans – The fans in your case are important factors in cooling your system, it’s best to let the front/bottom fans take in cool air, and top/back the exhaust. It is optimal to position the exhausts near the back of the case because the components are much closer to it, while laws of physics states that hot air naturally rises(imagine hot air balloons) therefore it’s best to go with the flow. Your components should compliment the airflow inside, CPU fan direction should go towards the top or back, GPU intake at the bottom and exhaust on the sides and back, PSUs should have the intake at the bottom and exhausts to the back.

Fans – The most common sizes are 80mm, 92mm, 120mm and 140mm. The specs of the fans generally doesn’t make that much of a difference unless you really want to maximize your system’s cooling. The higher the size the higher the airflow. The higher the RPM, the higher the noise and airflow. CFM means cubic feet per minute and it means the amount of air the fan can move in a minute, this is usually the most telling spec because it already takes the RPM and size into the equation. Static Pressure is another spec that tells how much air the fans can exert on objects such as radiators, meshes, and case obstructions in general.

Push Pull

Corsair Hydro Series™ H80i v2 in a push/pull config.

Push Pull Configuration – It means having fans at both sides of the radiator or the case. One fan is ‘pushing’ air into the case while the other fan is ‘pulling’ air. This will result in a higher and more efficient airflow


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MSI B450 Gaming Plus

MSI B450 Gaming Plus. AM4 Socket

Motherboards: Motherboards aren’t listed in the system requirements because they offer no substantial performance benefit in themselves, but they are just as important as they hold everything in place and handle communications between the different components. They can affect your computer’s capability, compatibility, and future upgrade paths. There are what you call chipsets, that determine its general specifications and features. There are different chipset models for both AMD and Intel models. A socket type determines what line of CPUs your motherboard can support, the chipset and socket type always go hand in hand. Motherboards provide the ports and slots that you can connect devices into. Graphics Cards ports called PCI-E, RAM slots, SATA ports for disks, USB ports, Ethernet ports, audio connectors, built-in sound processing, and power delivery connections coming from power supply.

There are 4 basic standard form factors or sizes for motherboards. ATX is the most common. It is followed by the smaller and usually the cheapest: mATX or microATX or uATX with the less commonly used features omitted, like the PCIE expansion ports and for some, the RAM slots as well. ITX or Mini-ITX is the smallest form factor that only includes 1 PCI-E slot and 2 RAM slots in favor of a smaller footprint, but still more than enough to build a powerful PC. It is generally more expensive than both mATX and ATX sizes and are harder to come by. eATX or extended ATX motherboards are typically reserved for enthusiast level users. It has more RAM slots, usually 8, and has more PCI-E slots and lanes. Its the most expensive and most of the time can only support enthusiast level CPUs as well, meaning those Ryzen Threadrippers, Core i9s and Core i7 extremes. There are other less known form factors but we’ll not focus on them for now.

AMD’s Ryzen series uses the AM4 socket powered by different chipsets:
A320, the cheapest and most basic.
B350 and the newer B450 which offer mid-range features like overclocking or more expansion slots/ports.
X370 and the newer X470 which offers high-end features on top of mid-range: Better overclocking, and multiple graphics cards support to name a few.
On AMD you can overclock starting with the B350.

Intel’s Core series have used a lot of different sockets and chipsets throughout the years, the latest being the LGA1151 v2, some just call it LGA1151 thus be careful because v1 and v2 aren’t compatible with each other.
H310 is the most basic chipset.
B360 and H370 are both mid-range.
While the Z370 and the newer Z390 are the high-end models.
On Intel you can only overclock on the Z series chipset motherboards.

If you are on a tight budget and don’t care about much about extra USB ports, overclocking, or additional expansion ports/slots, getting the A320/H310 chipsets will do the job, they can even handle Core i7 and the Ryzen 7 processors. Get the mid-range ones if you like the aforementioned additional features, some even includes RGB lighting and gaming oriented aesthetics, only go high-end if you know what you’re doing and budget allows for it.


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8Memory: also called the RAM (Random Access Memory). Although this is technically a storage, this is NOT regarded as one. This is your temporary but ultra-fast storage that will be used by games and applications, ever wonder what’s the point of loading screens? your system is loading all your data from the slow disk(storage) to the faster memory, that way you’ll have almost instantaneous access to the relevant files while using an app or playing a game. If you had to load all the stuff from disk, your application would heavily stutter or suffer intermittent split-second freezes, this is what happens when you try games with insufficient RAM. The minimum you need to get a stutter free gaming experience is 8GB of RAM.

Dual channel is basically taking advantage of additional bandwidth by having to take up two slots of RAM, but still functioning as one. Two guys having two computers each working on a single project is faster than two guys with one computer. Dual channel is always recommended for gaming. That means buying a dual channel configured pair of RAM sticks (4x2GB dual channel). If you have an extra budget, you can bump it up to 16GB (8x2GB dual channel). You can also buy a single 8GB stick first, then add one later(identical stick is recommended, but not necessary), if you have future plans or have limited RAM slots.

RAM Frequencies – RAMs operate at a default frequency and then there are overclocked versions of it to improve performance. DDR4’s default speed is at 2133MHz, other RAM manufacturers sell higher frequency RAM kits, ranging from 2400MHz up to 3200MHz and even higher. You have to go to the BIOS and activate the profile first, basically overclocking it, otherwise they operate at a default speed of 2133MHz, regardless of the what frequency packaging says. They offer minimal gains in terms of performance on Intel platforms and have shown better gains on AMD processors. This should be low on your priority list. Taking performance and price into consideration, a RAM frequency of 2400MHz to 2666MHz is recommended.


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GPU.jpgGraphics: the Graphics Processing Unit(GPU) aka Video Card – This is where all the visuals are processed, the better the graphics processor, the higher the graphics settings your PC can handle. we have two competing powerhouses: AMD and NVIDIA. Each with their own manufacturers and brands like Gigabyte, MSI, Asus, Zotac, Palit, and Sapphire.

VRAM is used to store graphics related gamefiles(e.g. textures) for near instantaneous access, much like how a RAM functions, as well as the ability to handle higher resolutions. If you don’t have enough VRAM, the game will continuously load files back and forth from the Disk/RAM to your VRAM, causing stutters and graphical glitches. RAM isn’t everything though, as a 4GB GPU can still be beaten by a 2GB GPU at the right conditions. 4GB is the minimum VRAM I can recommend for modern gaming, the higher the better.

The DDR version of your motherboard does not matter, as it uses its own connector/interface called PCI-E. DDR2, DDR3, DDR4, as long as your motherboard has a PCI-E x16 slot, a PCI-E GPU would work, regardless if its GDDR3, or GDDR5.

geforcevega.png

AMD Radeon and NVIDIA Geforce

This was once an intense back and forth battle, but starting from the NVIDIA 900 series, AMD started to lose their footing and NVIDIA slowly took majority of the market share (66% NVIDIA vs 33% AMD, data courtesy of Jon Peddie Research). Like processors, AMD and NVIDIA has already released a lot of GPU models throughout the years, with the latest being the AMD’s Vega and 500 series, and NVIDIA’s GTX 10 and RTX 20 series.

As with processors, the first number indicates only the generation, while the second number indicates the tier level. a Radeon RX 580 says that it’s part of the 500 series and 80 means that it is on a high-end side of the lineup. A higher first number doesn’t always mean a better GPU though, for example a GTX 780Ti is still better than a GTX 1050. Most of the time, a certain card is as powerful as two tiers above it’s corresponding tier on the previous gen. (e.g. 1070 is equivalent to 980Ti, two tiers up from last gen 970, 980, to 980Ti).

AMD’s RX 560 to 580 directly competes with the GTX 1050Ti and GTX 1060, while the VEGA 56 and 64 competes with the GTX 1070 and 1080. AMD hasn’t come up with an answer yet for the GTX 1080Ti, RTX 2080, and RTX 2080 Ti.

The GTX 1050/1050Ti and RX 550/560 can be considered as entry-level cards, well enough to run most games at 1080p or lower resolutions without maxed graphics.

The GTX 1060 and RX 570/580 are recommended for gaming at 1080p60FPS while the VEGA 56/64 and GTX 1070/1080 are for higher resolutions and refresh rates (1080p144FPS or 1440p60/144FPS). The 1080Ti/2080/2080Ti cards are generally for Multi-Monitors, Ultrawide or 4K Resolution setups.

The specs of your monitor should heavily factor in your choice of GPU, check out the Monitor Specs Guide, Check out the bottlenecking section to find out more about GPU and CPU bottlenecks.


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Storage: This is where all your files are stored. Don’t call it Memory, that term is reserved for the RAM, I’d recommend at least 1 TB of storage for the average gamer. It’s enough to store 10 or more games plus your OS and personal files. If you have money to spare, get an SSD to store your OS and most used apps/games, even a 120GB will do. 256GB is my recommendation.

SSD vs HDD

SSD.jpgSolid State Drives (SSDs) are much more faster and the difference compared to HDDs are very noticeable, but they usually offer a higher price to capacity ratio, at roughly around 7000 pesos for 500GB. They usually come in a 2.5 inch SATA form factor or the more newer and smaller m.2 form factor(that uses SATA or PCI-E aka NVMe interfaces).

A common misconception, but m.2 drives aren’t always faster than 2.5 inch SATA drives. A 2.5 inch SATA drive is just as fast as a m.2 SATA drive. What’s fast is the m.2 NVMe drives because they use up PCI-E lanes instead of SATA, and PCI-E has a much higher bandwidth.

SSDs contain no moving parts and aren’t prone to mechanical failure, but have a predetermined number of read/write capacity or ‘endurance’ that can be tracked, that means it will inevitably lose it’s capacity to read and write data. The endurance is generally high anyway so I wouldn’t worry about it unless you frequently use a lot of read/write on the disk.

HDDHard Disk Drives (HDDs) – The more traditional storage that we’ve been used to in years, they offer plenty of storage at a cheap price. 1 TB is  around 2200 pesos. They typically come in 3.5 inch form factor but there are 2.5 inch drives, commonly used in laptops and external/portable drives. They are more prone to many sorts of failures and are significantly much slower than SSDs. They are best used as high volume storage of files not needing high read and write speeds like backups, documents, personal photos, and videos.


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evga.jpg

Semi-Modular PSU. EVGA 650GQ.

Power Supply Unit (PSU) – This is different from the AVR or Automated Voltage Regulator. This is mounted inside the case and what powers your whole system. A lot of people cheap out on this component but in fact it is a very critical part of your computer. A failing PSU can damage or even kill other components so a good investment is necessary. For budget builds like Ryzen 3, Intel i3. a 450W branded PSU is generally enough, prices range from 1500-2000 Pesos. For most builds involving Ryzen 5, and Core i5s, 500W – 600W will be enough that can range from 2000 to 6000 pesos. Everything in your system uses up power, but the most power hungry components are the processor and the graphics card. This is a good website to roughly estimate your build’s power consumption and determine your recommended PSU wattage.

PSU Table.jpg

When looking at the specs table of a power supply, the most important part to look at is the +12V railings column. This the main power that your computer uses. For example this 650W PSU has a +12V rating of 648W, which means it is rated to support up to 648 Watts, true to its 650W name.

There are efficiency ratings on power supplies called 80PLUS: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum. A higher rating means a more efficient model, meaning it will draw less power from the socket and result in a lower power bill. A lot of people invest money on a more expensive but higher rated PSU(Gold, Platinum) because it can actually save them money in the long run with lower power bills.

vs450.png

Non-modular PSU. Corsair VS450.

Modular vs semi-modular vs non-modular? Modular means that all the cables are removable, so you can only connect the ones that you’ll be using, reducing clutter and freeing space. Swapping PSUs are also a breeze as you can leave the wires connected to the components. Semi-modular means that most cables are removable, usually only one power cable cannot be removed: the 24PIN, which is always required anyway. In non-modular, the cheapest variant, all cables cannot be removed and will be hanging around inside your case even when not needed.


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Video Preset: This just means that graphics settings of the game that the system requirement is optimized with. Most games have a low, medium, high, ultra preset graphics settings in them, with some putting more tiers in between. it’s a good practice to NOT use those presets. Tinker on your own and come up with your own settings, use a compromise between low and ultra, a balance between visuals and performance. There are graphics settings you can lower that heavily improves performance but doesn’t even decrease the visual fidelity of the game.

Monitor Specs Guide

Size – This is the first thing that you look for, this is the listed size for the monitor, measured diagonally across the center. It’s not the height or the width. Most common sizes are 19″, 24″ and 27″.

Aspect Ratio – While almost every monitor is now 16:9, there are still aspect ratios out there: The old and obsolete 4:3 and 16:10 ratios, as well as the newer ‘Ultrawide’ ratio 21:9. They determine the overall shape of your monitor, how wide or narrow it is.

Resolution – This is an important feature as it determines how many pixels your monitor will output. 1920×1080 or 1080p is the most common, followed by 2560×1440 or 1440p, and 3840×2160, or ‘4K’ resolution.

To get the number of pixels, multiply both numbers. for example in 1920×1080, the horizontal resolution (1920 pixels wide) is multiplied by the vertical resolution (1080 pixels tall) and you get 2 million pixels. Naturally, the higher the resolution, the more pixels you need to output. As a result it is more taxing on the graphics card to play at higher resolutions. Playing at a 1440p monitor using the same specs, you will get lower frame rates compared to a 1080p monitor.

Refresh Rate – Think of cartoons. They are made of up multiple drawings played one after another to produce an illusion of movement, or animation. Most films are in 24 FPS, or frames per second, Meaning they display 24 different images or ‘drawings’ in a single second. The more frames in a second, the more smooth looking it is.

The standard FPS for PC gaming is 60FPS. and most monitors can output 60 FPS with their refresh rates of 60 Hz. 60 Hz typically means how many times the monitor will refresh its image in a second so it goes hand in hand with the FPS. Higher end monitors can output higher refresh rates(e.g. 144Hz) and will result in a much smoother experience, as long as you can also output a high FPS to match the refresh rate.

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Panel Type –
There are three panel types now commonly available to the market. TN, IPS, and VA.

TN is the cheapest panel to produce. It has the best response time but isn’t very good at colors. Viewing angles are limited, resulting into negative-looking images(low contrast, saturation, etc) when looking outside the narrow viewing angle.

IPS is the best panel for color reproduction, accuracy, and it has the best viewing angles. It is preferred by almost everyone.

VA is a combination of both panels, offering good response time with decent color reproduction and viewing angles. It also has the best black and white color levels.

Response time – It determines how fast your monitor can change it pixels. normal ranges are around 4-5ms for most monitors. with gaming monitors having 1 ms response time. It isn’t the most important spec, but for fast paced games, a lower response time will mean less ghosting, ghosting is similar to the motion blur effect, when things move too fast, it can create a blurry images.

G-SYNC / Freesync – If activated, the refresh rate of the monitor constantly matches the FPS output of the game, eliminating the graphical glitches and hiccups the mismatches can produce. In normal monitors, the refresh rate is fixed. If for example it is set at 60Hz, and the FPS goes far beyond 60Hz, it can create screen tearing. When the FPS dips below 60Hz, it can create stuttering. Gsync and Freesync aims to fix these problems.

G-Sync is the more expensive tech, resulting in a price increase of around 10k PHP for  models with it included and only works for NVIDIA GPUs.
Freesync
on the other hand is significantly cheaper, offering no increase in pricing, and they only work for AMD GPUs. There are no problems with buying Freesync monitors even if you are using NVIDIA GPUs, you just won’t be able to use the freesync feature, which is totally fine as having it didn’t add anything to the price.

 


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PC Casing / Tower Guide

Eclipse P300 salestool_finalPC cases come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, they commonly go hand in hand with the motherboard size. A modern PC case can support multiple motherboard sizes. The main support will be for its intended size while offering options for succeeding smaller sizes.

An ATX case will look the best with an ATX motherboard but can support mATX and ITX motherboards as well. While an mATX motherboard cannot support an ATX, it can support an iTX. a ITX case only supports ITX motherboards.

PCfan

Optimal fan configurations

Fans also come in different shapes and sizes. 80mm, 92mm, 120mm, 140mm, etc.  Modern cases are designed to support the most commonly used sizes which are 80mm, 120mm and 140mm. There’s always a rear fan mount, while the top, front, and bottom mounts can vary. Various cases can support two top fans, others three. Many cases can support three front fans, some only two. Optimal fan configurations are shown in the picture: Intake at the front and bottom, Exhausts at the back and top. This fan configuration goes along with the laws of physics as cold air is heavier than hot air, as a result cold air falls down while hot air rises.

For water cooling you’d have to install a radiator with a fan on it, this is just like a bigger and bulkier fan that can span multiple 120mm or 140mm slots. Some radiators are as long as 360mm, using up a series of three 120mm fan mounts.

Additional features you should look at are the mounting options. How many 2.5 inch drives(SSDs or laptop hard drives) can be installed into it? How many 3.5 inch mounts?

Also look for cable management features, such as cut outs for cable ties and if theres a PSU Shroud to hide most if not all of the PSU along with the cables. Adequate room behind the motherboard tray to fit all the cables is a must, as well as dust filters on the fan mounts. RGB and fan controllers are a bonus but not necessary.


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Which parts to pick first?

First pick a CPU(aka processor) and GPU(aka Video Card) combo along with the desired RAM size. Those three are the most important components when it comes to performance, I would personally call this the triumvirate. For example you want a decent mid-range system then pick between a Ryzen 5 or Core i5 processor, after that pick a GPU to go along with it like the GTX 1060 or RX 580. then pick the amount RAM and denominations you’d like to start with. like 4x2GB, 4x4GB, 8x2GB. Using two sticks in dual channel is usually better than one at the cost of using two slots. Know these three and you’ll basically know a system’s performance in games and applications.

After you pick the triumvirate then it’s now easier to find a matching motherboard with the right features you need and the socket type to support it. Now pick the appropriate Power Supply Unit that can power your system using this calculator website . You can now pick the less essential components like the storage: SSDs, HDDs, and the PC case and fans, depending on your motherboard size and supported interfaces. If you are overclocking or just want a better looking CPU then now is the time to pick your preferred CPU cooler, just make sure it supports your chosen socket type.


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But I don’t know how/don’t want to assemble a PC!
No worries, You can always bring the parts to most computer stores and they will assemble it for you at a price, it can range from PHP 100-1000 depending on the store. if you bought all or most of the parts at that store, they may agree to assemble it for free.

Second hand/used vs Brandnew?
If you have a fixed budget for building a PC, going used will always get you the best performance for that fixed amount of money, however it comes with it’s own issues, you get an older technology and there are limited future upgrade paths, warranty is limited or expired already. Unless the seller is a personal friend, you will feel more secured when you buy a brand new shiny PC.

Do gilmore stores really offer the best prices?
Not really, in fact some of them might even offer overpriced hardware. It’s still better to canvass.

How do I find the best prices?
While It’s a common practice to browse through most of the stores to find the best prices for a component, it’s a hassle for full PC builds when it comes to receipts and warranties. You’d have to pick only 1-3 stores you want so you’d buy most of the parts from them.

For Central Metro Manila (Gilmore Stores), I’d recommend checking out PCHub, or JDM Techno computer as the first two options. There are other options like PC Express, and PC Options.
For other parts of Metro Manila, EasyPC (Alabang, Makati, North Edsa QC, Ortigas EXT/Cainta)
For Northern Luzon, Bermor Techzone (Ilocos Norte), PC Configure (Pampanga)
For Visayas, Strategic Technologies(Bacolod)
I’d also recommend online shopping and delivery.

Can I order online from Lazada or Shopee?
Yes, online shopping is pretty much viable now in the country, Just make sure to check the product or seller ratings to avoid being scammed, if it’s too good to be true, don’t buy it.
Great alternatives are stores that offer cash on delivery services, like ayoscomputer or Softbox Solutions

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