How to stay up to date on PC parts after a hiatus?
March 23, 2011 9:44 AM   Subscribe

How does MeFi stay up to date with PC Tech?

Usually when you want to build a new computer there ensues a horrific amount of research into different computer parts, the alternatives, and why one is better over the other. Even more tormenting is the fact that PC tech changes every few months.

So for those of us who are never up to date on the scene: are there any tips and tricks or even great websites that do the work for you? And if not what is the most painless way to go about finding the best computer parts for a new PC?
posted by BurN_ to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
I've found it useful to go to Newegg and just use their Top Sellers or Best Rated searches. Start with the one thing you know you want. So say you know you want an Intel i5 processor. Okay, now you know what kind of motherboard you need. Search i5 motherboards by Top Sellers or Best Rated. Get one. Now you know what kind of video cards your MB supports. Rinse and repeat. I recently did this when building my new PC, and it went swimmingly.

Oh, and get a good power supply. I suggest Corsair.
posted by lholladay at 9:49 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

I always just do a survey of the most recent threads in relevant sub-forums at the ArsTechnica forums.
posted by kavasa at 9:50 AM on March 23, 2011

Tom's Hardware is always a great resource for me. They do some good, regular articles like their "System Builder Marathon" at various price points (the link goes the the current $1,000 system), "Best Graphics Cards for the Money", and "Best Gaming CPUs for the Money." Once you've chosen the major components like the CPU and video card, you should be able to find relevant round-ups on the support components like motherboards, PSUs, hard drives, etc.

Silent PC Review has some pretty good guides for some of the lesser components (cases, fans, PSUs, etc) and focuses on acoustic properties in addition to performance which a lot of other sites don't do or don't do well.

Most of the major sites have some helpful forum communities too so don't be afraid to ask questions there.
posted by VTX at 10:08 AM on March 23, 2011

This might help:

They update it every now and again too (this one is for March 2011)
posted by JeremiahBritt at 10:10 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

Bit-Tech has 4 levels of recommendations, updated monthly. Here's their March 2011 rundown.

Ars Technica has 3 levels of recommendations (September 2010 version) and an HTPC guide (December 2010 version), updated irregularly.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:24 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

Usually when I'm ready for an upgrade I give the System Building, Upgrading, and Parts Picking Megathread on the SomethingAwful forums a check. It is a surprisingly useful resource.
posted by the_artificer at 10:28 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Here is a giant 24 MB chart (a PNG image) showing various hardware and connections, possibly useful as a reference. Future updates might be found here.
posted by exogenous at 10:29 AM on March 23, 2011

There's also Anandtech.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:58 AM on March 23, 2011

I like Anandtech too. They typically have a several different price points of DIY systems, so you're not completely in the wilderness.
posted by electroboy at 12:23 PM on March 23, 2011

I'm reading the link provided by the_artificer, and I think it does a great job of discussing parts needed for a new system build. It doesn't get too in-depth like some other pc builder sites. I also like AnandTech Bench, which compares performance of different components -- the pretty graphs are over my head, but a general numbers / bar graph comparison is nice, especially when upgrading to a significantly newer system.
posted by indigo4963 at 12:54 PM on March 23, 2011

Tested regularly has good articles on this:

Upgrading a classic gaming PC

How to build a future proof 1500 gaming PC
posted by laptolain at 5:43 AM on March 24, 2011

I also like Hardware Revolution which is explicitly about doing it for you so you don't have to.
posted by lizarrd at 7:50 AM on March 25, 2011

Build a Pc reddit at Reddit is a great resource.
posted by zouhair at 6:12 AM on April 8, 2011

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