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June 13, 2015, 9:03 p.m.

About legonate416

Hello there! This profile is a work in progress, so bear with me in my mistakes. :P

My Bio

About Me
My PCs, Benchmarks, and the Games I Like to Play
Friend List
Favorite Comments

Helpful Links/Essays (heh)

The Parts that Power a Computer
Comparisons for the Newbie
Why Ryzen is Generally Better than Kabylake/Coffeelake

Here we go!

About Me

My name is Nathan, and I’m an 18-year-old technology enthusiast. Typically, I like working with any sort of computer, phone, tablet, whatever. I have built two computers in the past, and I have a lot of experience in disassembling/reassembling both desktop computers and laptops. I’m not really all that knowledgeable in terms of specific details on computer parts, but I will help anyone who wants to learn to build a computer (for gaming or otherwise), as it is one of my passions.

I completed my standard Associate of Arts degree in June 2017. I plan on going to a university in California for my BS in Computer Science. After I graduate, I plan on either getting a standard job, or to develop apps for the Android (and perhaps IOS) system.

However, the biggest aspect of my life is not technology, but my faith. I am a Christian Fundamentalist. I believe the Bible is truth to the last word. I believe that God created the universe in six days, like it is said in Genesis 1&2. I believe that Creation has fallen into sin by the disobedience of the first two humans in Genesis 3. I believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, sacrificed himself on the cross, so that we may live with Him. I believe that Christ gave us a mandate to tell others about the Gospel, and here I am telling you. God loves you, no matter what walk of life you come from, no matter what sins you have committed. Some may scoff at even the existence of God. Romans 1:20-21 says:

20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

God took every step necessary except one. All you need to do is accept the free gift that He offers to every human, anywhere.

My PCs, Benchmarks, and the Games I like to Play

My Computers/Benchmarks
Right now I own a single laptop, however I have built two desktops for myself previously. I sold my desktop recently to be able to afford a decent laptop I can use for general college work and light gaming/video rendering. I call it APOLLO (a reference to a book series called Dragons in our Midst. LARRY, LOIS, and APOLLO are all references to the AI computers in the books.)
Intel UHD 620
For maybe 80% of the games I play, this is plenty. More on that in the next section…

In terms of video games, I used to invest my time heavily into them. I probably played 600-700hrs/yr. Nowadays I just can’t find the time for them, or I’m just not interested in playing them. It’s probably reduced to around 200-300hrs/yr. This has allowed me to come back to PCPartPicker without a huge issue. In time, I may drop video games altogether. But enough of the dreary stuff, here are my top 3 games that I find fun and interesting, in no particular order:

Age of Empires 2RTS
Easily my all time favorite game, ever. The strategy is simple, yet engaging. But what makes it even more fun is the LAN parties that my family and friends have sometimes. This makes it a classic, and even if I stop playing video games regularly, I will still be playing this.

Again, the LAN parties make this meh-tier game great. Like AOE2, it runs even on the slowest computer these days. I can’t count how many hours I’ve put into this game just to play with my siblings.

If I had to pick a game that had good graphics as well as being a fun game to play solo, this would be it. It’s probably the best free-to-play game on the market, regardless of my many qualms with the game and the developers. Be warned, though. It’s a massive time-sink due to the many layers of RNG put in place. A point in favor for it is that nearly everything can be earned for free. (The only things that you would be ‘forced’ to pay for are cosmetics, and are unnecessary.)

Friend List

Xorex64 (CF)
Geekazoid (CF) [Deleted]
dan_castellaneta [Deleted]
Bespers [Banned]
IwannaPC (CF)
S0nny_WarBucks58 (C)
AlphaLineGaming [Unknown]
Tiny_Voices (A)
Chuck38 (C)
will_rippey [Unkown]
Geode1010 (C)
assimilation [Unkown]
RaspberryPiFan [Deleted]
PieManCoder (MU)
Gorkti200 (A)

Key: (Worldview) [Ban/Deletion status]

Favorite Comment(s)


"Legonate's downloads and uploads are literally delivered on thumbdrives via carrier pigeons."


The Parts that Power a Computer

CPU (Central Processing Unit)
This is the most important part of the system. Anything the computer calculates or does goes through the CPU. This part will determine how fast rendering, video editing, and your framerate will be in general usage. As of October 2017, it is kind of a confusing mess of what CPU you should buy for what price bracket. And as such, it is more dependent on who you more affiliate with rather than what use cases you have (unless you need an integrated graphics card, in which case go with Intel). Keep in mind that until January 2018, Intel motherboards will cost approximately $50 more than an AM4 B350 (overclockable) motherboard. However this chart will account for CPU costs alone, so I won’t have to go back and edit it again anytime soon. :P

Price AMD I don’t care Intel
<$60 Athlon X4 950 Athlon X4 950 N/A
$100-$150 R3-1300x i3-8100 i3-8100
$150-$180 R5-1500X R5-1500x i3-8350k
$180-$200 R5-1600 i5-8400 i5-8400
$200-$280 R5-1600x R5-1600x i5-8400
$280-$300 R7-1700x R7-1700x i5-8600k
$300-$350 R7-1700x R7-1700x i7-8700
$350-$400 R7-1800x i7-8700k i7-8700k
$400-$500 R7-1800x i7-8700k i7-8700k

This is the piece of PCB and metal that connects all your other parts together. Directly connected to it, you’ll find your CPU socket, your RAM slots, your PCI(e) ports, your CMOS battery, and your Sata(e) connectors. This is where you’ll connect your case/CPU fans as well. There are several motherboard types as of April 2017, and I’ll do my best to explain the Prefixes (the numbers don’t mean a whole lot). Here are the Desktop Intel Chipset prefixes:

Intel Prefix Meaning
Z The highest tier. Allows overclocking of the CPU and RAM, and supports SLI/Crossfire configs in the appropriate size factors (e-ATX, ATX, mATX). RAID is supported.
Q A rare business board. Close to ‘Z’ except no CPU/RAM overclocking, and no Crossfire/SLI. The Q170/Q270 variant supports RAID, but Q150 does not.
B A widely available business board. No CPU/RAM overclocking. Some support Crossfire, but no SLI, period. Does not support any RAID setups.
H The low-tier consumer boards. No CPU/RAM overclocking or SLI. H170/H270 variant supports RAID/Crossfire, H110 does not.

And now for the Desktop AMD (Ryzen) Chipset prefixes:

AMD Prefix Meaning
X ’Enthusiast’ tier. Allows CPU/RAM overclocking, RAID, SLI/Crossfire.
B ’Mainstream’ tier. Allows CPU/RAM overclocking, RAID, but no SLI/Crossfire.
A ’Essential’ tier. No CPU/RAM overclocking. Supports RAID, but no SLI/Crossfire.

RAM (Random Access Memory)
This is where your data for running applications are stored. All data here is erased when the system is shut down. Thus if you don’t save a document, the data will be lost because it was not stored in the actual storage, only the RAM. DDR3 is not compatible with DDR4, and vice versa. They are completely different physically. In terms of necessary quantities, 8gb of RAM is considered the minimum for gaming. 16gb is judged as the minimum for any productivity work, such as video editing, rendering, etc. As for RAM speed (the mhz), it does in fact matter. If you plan on getting a Ryzen CPU, speedy ram can help immensely, as the Northbridge of Ryzen runs at 1:2 clock speeds of the memory controller. This can help a lot when it comes to gaming. As for Intel CPUs, there is some study on ram speed helping performance (here and here ), it’s not quite as pronounced as Ryzen’s boost.

GPU (Graphics Processing Unit)
This is the PC part that calculates what goes on with your display, the graphics and the detail. Deciding on this part will dictate what settings you will be looking at getting in your games. If you’re going to be building a gaming PC, you’ll want to spend a chunk of your budget on this. There’s a certain myth that is flying around that AMD GPUs run hotter than Nvidia’s. It’s completely false. In fact, in some cases, Nvidia GPUs run hotter. If you don’t care about gaming, it might be better to look at making sure you get a CPU with an integrated GPU. Or, if you plan on working with programs like 3DS MAX or Autocad, to get a business grade graphics card like a Nvidia Quadro or an AMD Firepro. Otherwise, as for gaming, this is generally what you should get under certain budgets. Note that DX12 and Vulkan are the future, however today most games support DX11 or are only in DX11. However, nowadays, the difference is negligible between the two and because of the wackiness of GPU prices in general, I’d recommend buying used GPUs from the last generation. However, if you want to buy new, I won’t stop you and here's a chart to help:

Price Primarily DX12/Vulkan Primarily DX11
<$120 RX 460 GTX 1050
$110-$160 GTX 1050 TI GTX 1050 TI
$160-$240 GTX 1060 3gb GTX 1060 3gb
$240-$350 RX 580 4/8gb GTX 1060 6gb
$350-$450 GTX 1070 GTX 1070
$450-$700 GTX 1080 GTX 1080
>$700 GTX 1080 TI GTX 1080 TI

PSU (Power Supply Unit)
This is one of the easiest parts to overlook and skimp on, as it doesn’t impact performance at all. However, don’t go cheap on this part. Generally a ~500w PSU is fine for the modern-day gaming build. (600-700w if you plan on using a dual-GPU configuration). The quality of the PSU’s innards are not based on the ‘gold’ or ‘bronze’ or ‘platinum’ rating, that is merely the efficiency. A popular myth that I see these days is that PSUs draw exactly what is said on the side (520w, 600w, 750w, etc.). This is false. PSUs only draw what is necessary to power the system. Which means if you have a 1000w PSU, and a system that only draws 150w, you won’t draw more than 200w (due to efficiency discrepancies. If PSU’s had perfect efficiency, you’d only draw 150w.). Some popular but good choices are:

Manufacturer Model Name/Version
Antec High Current Gamer (HCG), EarthWatts, Ture Power Classic
Corsair CXM, RMx, RMi, HXi, HX, AX, AXi
EVGA B2, GS, GQ, G2, G3, P2
Seasonic G, X, S12II, M12II
Super Flower Golden Green HX and up (needs clarification)

Generally, you’ll want to stay away from:

Manufacturer Model Name/Version
Corsair CX
EVGA W1, B1, B3
Diablotek ALL OF THEM

The case is a part that is unique. It can make a terrible build look fantastic, or a great build like it was some reject DOS system from the last century. I would research this part quite a bit, especially in relation to what motherboard size you are getting, in order to make the most out of your PC and make it look fantastic (or terrible, if you don’t want your system stolen). Be wary that some support 5.25” optical drives, and some don’t. If you’re looking to save money on the case, I would advise to not go any lower than $40. And if you don’t care about cosmetics all that much, don’t spend more than $60.

CPU Cooler
This is something you shouldn’t need to worry about unless you get an Intel ‘K’ CPU (which doesn’t come with a stock cooler) or you want to overclock your CPU. The stock cooler is fine in 99% of cases if you’re not in either of the situations listed above, and yes, it does come with thermal paste. You don’t need to buy any, unless you plan on removing the CPU cooler at any point later on.

There are three types of storage devices. One is your standard HDD (Hard Disk Drive). This is the best money per gb of storage that you can get, but it is also the slowest, as it reads and writes the data onto magnetic spinning platters. The second is the SSD (Solid State Drive). This is the drive that has no moving parts, and is all digital. It is the fastest of the three, being around 5-6 times the speed of a standard HDD, but it makes up for that speed in high prices. A 1tb SSD will run you about 4-5 times the price of a 1tb HDD. The third is the SSHD (Solid State Hybrid Drive). This is basically a HDD on steroids, as it is a standard HDD with a small amount of SSD to complement it.

Comparisons for the Newbie

There are several benchmarking utilities I can recommend to check out when comparing PC parts.

YouTube sources:
Digital Foundry

Benchmarking Websites/Utilities:
Full System: UserBenchmark.com
GPU Intensive: 3DMark.com
CPU Intensive: Cinebench R15

Why I recommend Ryzen over Coffeelake/Kabylake in most situations

There are several reasons why Ryzen is better than Kabylake in most situations. Before we get into them, I would like to say that there are two situations in which you should prefer Intel over AMD in this instance. First, if you need that integrated GPU. Ryzen does not have any sort of iGPU, in order to conserve space on the die for more cores. Intel, however, has been known to put relatively powerful iGPUs on their CPUs (not good enough for gaming, but decent for office work). The second situation is,IF you are in the situation where you are playing games on a 144hz panel (or even 240hz, which seem to be coming out now), you will want to go with Intel. Intel’s chips have a slightly higher IPC than Ryzen, meaning their single core performance is something AMD’s Ryzen can’t match. However; this is not another AMD Bulldozer controversy. Most people, including myself, only play games on a 60-75hz panel, and both Kabylake and Ryzen can easily reach the 60-75fps threshold without any issues.

Ryzen is better simply because it is an all-rounder chip. It can game well. It can render/edit videos even better. With high-speed ram and a decent amount of overclocking, it can be one of the best CPUs on the market today. Not to mention that all this is at such a low price for consumers, As for Coffeelake, the elephant in the room, there are various things wrong with it right now (October 2017). The first being that availability is basically out the window for both CPUs and appropriate motherboards. It makes no sense to pair locked CPUs with high-end motherboards, especially when motherboard prices are so high.

Not to mention the only unlocked CPU that can be justified is the 8700k, and only because it barely edges out the 8c/16t Ryzen chips in multithreaded scenarios when overclocked. The 8350k and Z370 makes no sense when you can get a 1600 (which comes with a CPU cooler) and B350 for less. The same can be said about the 8600k, where you can get a 1700 and B350 for less than an 8600k/Z370/aftermarket cooler setup.

As for the locked CPUs, they could be good value when the lower end motherboards come out in Q1 2018, but we won’t know for sure until we verify that the B360/H370/H310 motherboards provide the same overall performance that the Z370 boards do today. Because of the low base clock on the i5-8400, I am skeptical as to how it will perform on lower end motherboards, especially since turbo boost is never guaranteed. It is only the optimal performance scenario.

Anyway, that’s me! If you made it through all the way, congrats! Have a cookie.