7 Red Flags When Choosing Cheap PC Components

Eldritch

Posts: 437   +701
You should build a rig with all your worst recommendations and test it, to see just how bad it is and how long it takes to burst into flames :)

Actually, it most likely won't catch fire. A 2 core cpu with a tiny GPU will be right at home in even low quality PSUs.

Pairing the said PSU with a i9 and RTX 3090 on the other hand......
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 2,422   +2,941
TechSpot Elite
I've always said that for gaming, you want your PC to be GPU-heavy and CPU-average. These days, I've added that you want SSDs for operational programs (like the OS and games) while using HDDs for media storage and data backup. That's how I explained things to clueless retail customers when I worked at Tiger Direct. I told them that the CPU just has to be fast enough to stay out of the video card's way.

This is still true today because my RX 6800 XT, a top-tier current-gen video card, is an almost perfect FPS match to my R5-3600X, a low-to-mid-tier last-gen CPU.

The formula has never really changed. Just chant the mantra "GPU-heavy, CPU-average" and you'll never go wrong. :laughing:
 

JKnight

Posts: 194   +333
These guides are always helpful. First time PC-builders can get overwhelmed by the jargon about an item. Do your research, read and watch reviews from multiple sites, and watch price trends. You don't buy something expensive if you don't need it.
 

dangh

Posts: 623   +977
Just on the micro motherboards - nearly all of them have only 2 ram slots, and that's quite normal. There is lack of space and not much can be done about that. I got 2x16gb to make it running what I need and still be able to use small factor case.
 

p51d007

Posts: 3,215   +2,749
It always amazed me how friends would show me the stuff they bought, to build a new PC
with a case included power supply that was so light, you could lift it with one finger.
If you spend a ton of money on the board, CPU, GPU etc...SPEND the extra for a good
power supply. Garbage in...garbage out. Some of those cheap switching regulator PSU's cause more problems than they are worth!
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 2,422   +2,941
TechSpot Elite
I just noticed something! I have that "balding" motherboard, the Biostar A320MH! Truth be told, I only bought it because Canada Computers had it on sale for $40CAD. Kinda hard to go wrong with a price like that! :laughing:
2022-06-18-image-5-j.webp

Now, it's true that it's as basic as it gets with 2 RAM slots and ZERO M.2 slots but, as was demonstrated some time ago (by Tim I believe), game loading time differences between SATA SSDs and NVMe drives is identical at best and insignificant at worst. I never bought it for gaming anyway.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 2,422   +2,941
TechSpot Elite
You should build a rig with all your worst recommendations and test it, to see just how bad it is and how long it takes to burst into flames :)
They don't need to do that. It has already been made and it's called the Alienware R-series. :laughing:
I never run into any of those issues because I simply buy premium components always. Sorry for being richer than the majority :cool:
I "kinda" buy premium products. Like, I only buy X-series motherboards but I tend to get the mid-grade ones at most. I bought an RX 6800 XT because it was the only one that had halo performance without the halo price, etc.
 

RedBear

Posts: 50   +42
If your board only has two RAM slots and you (rightly) bought a dual-stick kit, you won't be able to add another pair of sticks in the future.
Does it matter? Finding two identical sticks might already be a challenge and at any rate if you're upgrading you might want to increase your memory frequency/timings, so it's better to pick a new, larger capacity, dual stick to begin with. 4 RAM slots mostly make sense for people who need larger memory capacity in the first place, not the average gamer.
 

madboyv1

Posts: 1,778   +679
If your board only has two RAM slots and you (rightly) bought a dual-stick kit, you won't be able to add another pair of sticks in the future.
*frowns in ITX*

2022-06-10-image-2-j.webp


I know it's easy to hate on Rosewill, and specifically in this case (pun intended) the ā€ŽRANGER-M, but in it's defense it does come with a late 2000s / early 2010s style BLUE case fan. Have LED will game. Also, do you have ANY idea how hard it is to find a case with a 5.25" exterior slot, LET ALONE a 3.5" exterior bay slot? šŸ¤£

edit: I'd like to note the top helpful review for this case on Amazon is pretty amazing.
 

bviktor

Posts: 906   +1,321
I've been building rigs for 20 years, and I gotta say this article is pretty nice. Top mounted PSUs are the worst :( And also the friggin' front panel connectors, after all these years, they stil suck monkey b@lls.
 

hwertz

Posts: 146   +81
I just noticed something! I have that "balding" motherboard, the Biostar A320MH! Truth be told, I only bought it because Canada Computers had it on sale for $40CAD. Kinda hard to go wrong with a price like that! :laughing:
2022-06-18-image-5-j.webp

Now, it's true that it's as basic as it gets with 2 RAM slots and ZERO M.2 slots but, as was demonstrated some time ago (by Tim I believe), game loading time differences between SATA SSDs and NVMe drives is identical at best and insignificant at worst. I never bought it for gaming anyway.
True. 2000MB-3000MB/sec of NVMe is like 10x the speed you can get over SATA, but in reality your system is not just doing one large linear read; so the main speedup from SSD is avoiding the 20-100ms seek times of spinning rust, so if you were thrasing through 4K reads, that's 0.2MB/sec off the hard drive versus 100s of MB/sec off the SSD even over SATA.

That said, even in my notebook, I've used the strategy of having an SSD + a HDD. Ubuntu Linux fully supports putting / (system software) on one drive and /home (where all the big stuff will end up) on another, so years back I did put Ubuntu on the like 24 or 32GB SSD and /home on the 500GB or whatever hard drive. On my current system (even on my notebook) I made sure to have SSD + HDD, so I can have plenty of space without paying the high per-GB price of SSD, but can put the system software on the fast SSD.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 2,422   +2,941
TechSpot Elite
True. 2000MB-3000MB/sec of NVMe is like 10x the speed you can get over SATA, but in reality your system is not just doing one large linear read; so the main speedup from SSD is avoiding the 20-100ms seek times of spinning rust, so if you were thrasing through 4K reads, that's 0.2MB/sec off the hard drive versus 100s of MB/sec off the SSD even over SATA.

That said, even in my notebook, I've used the strategy of having an SSD + a HDD. Ubuntu Linux fully supports putting / (system software) on one drive and /home (where all the big stuff will end up) on another, so years back I did put Ubuntu on the like 24 or 32GB SSD and /home on the 500GB or whatever hard drive. On my current system (even on my notebook) I made sure to have SSD + HDD, so I can have plenty of space without paying the high per-GB price of SSD, but can put the system software on the fast SSD.
Yup. That's essentially what I do too. I have an M.2 SATA drive for my system (that's all there was when I bought it), an NVMe for gaming and HDD for bulk storage and backup.
 

Ben Myers

Posts: 199   +80
I never run into any of those issues because I simply buy premium components always. Sorry for being richer than the majority :cool:
I have spent too much time trying to convince CEOs of small companies to buy the best fully tricked-out business laptop, regardless of price. After all, they are their company's most valuable employees and they need to use to best productivity tools possible. But many CEOs are almost brain dead when it comes to computers, so it's been a VERY hard sell. The difference of even two or three hundred bucks can make all the difference in the world.

I cannot begin to explain how chintzy much of corporate America and government America is with dollars spent on computer gear.
 

poohbear

Posts: 696   +626
A thing about single channel RAM; 1 stick of DDR5 is already dual channel. 2 sticks of DDR5 are actually QUAD channel. The single RAM stick being single channel is DDR4 and earlier tech. Another reason to upgrade to DDR5 that many sites don't mention.
 

techseven

Posts: 35   +25
A thing about single channel RAM; 1 stick of DDR5 is already dual channel. 2 sticks of DDR5 are actually QUAD channel. The single RAM stick being single channel is DDR4 and earlier tech. Another reason to upgrade to DDR5 that many sites don't mention.

Interesting! So regarding DDR5 you are saying there is no need for 2 slots to utilize dual channel, but 2 slots are required for quad channel?
 

someOtherGuy

Posts: 31   +19
A thing about single channel RAM; 1 stick of DDR5 is already dual channel. 2 sticks of DDR5 are actually QUAD channel. The single RAM stick being single channel is DDR4 and earlier tech. Another reason to upgrade to DDR5 that many sites don't mention.

The memory access is a bus, and every stick is connected to it, that's a "single channel" scheme: you can only "address" one "memory stick" at any given time. The "advancement" at some point was to split such bus so you could "address" multiple sticks at the same time, hence the dual channel, tri-channel, etc.

IF the DDR5 standard "allows" for 2 different channels to address the same stick, then they basically redefined the "single channel" case: going forward each stick will be connected to 2 channels by default and there would be little incentive to have a stick connected to only one channel (if it's even possible at that point). So, the suggestion still works: buy as many sticks as your CPU/Chipset (wherever your memory controller lives) supports in parallel, meaning that is able to use them at the same time.