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#1 Strawalker  Icon User is offline

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New to computer science. Goal oriented Advice?

Posted 19 February 2016 - 12:35 PM

I am interested in learning how to build computers from scratch, develop and implement software and how to program in general.

My ultimate goal is to be able to build a high end gaming PC, capable of handling the processing/graphical demands of most recent gaming releases.

I am looking for any advice on how to start, where to begin or suggested learning paths to reach this ultimate goal. If any mentors out there with experience in this area are interested in taking on a mentee, I'm interested in learning.

Also, I have an early 2011 MacBook Pro 13" which I love and two high-ish end but "broken" laptops (Dell and HP) that I would like to "fix" and use for PC gaming, but have no idea where to start.

Any advice on how to optimize the MacBook's performance capabilities is welcome as well. MacBook specs: 2.7GHz Intel Core i7, 16GB 1333 MHz DDR3 Memory and Intel HD graphics 3000 512MB.

Again, I am completely new to this field and eager to learn, so any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks - Mike

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#2 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: New to computer science. Goal oriented Advice?

Posted 19 February 2016 - 02:16 PM

Moving to 'hardware' as this has little do with game programming.

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My ultimate goal is to be able to build a high end gaming PC, capable of handling the processing/graphical demands of most recent gaming releases.


Building a machine is not really a hard task. I typically start by the processor. You can look at what's new and out there, and start investigating prices. Plenty of hardware review sites can give you the 411 on the latest and greatest.

So say I pick an Intel Core i7-6700K 8M Skylake Quad-Core for 381..
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16819117559

Aight. I then look at what the chip is and start to find a motherboard. In this case LGA 1151.

Looking at the boards I am given a large set of options. I then do research on some of board identifications and realize the 'z' boards (in this specific case) are "enthusiast" boards. Now I sift through the options.. I check max RAM.. how many SATA porst.. audio options.. usb options.. form factor.. and pci slots.

I find my board - MSI Z170A TOMAHAWK AC LGA 1151 for $149.99
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813130876


Next I go for RAM.. that's pretty easy. Look at the specs on the board gives you an idea (DD4 in this case).. and I shoot for 16gb. I find a pair for 8 gb chips and grab them.
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16820231902

(there's nuanced areas about clock speeds, latency, etc that you can investigate)...

Next would be videocards. Our motherboard supports PCI 3.. so I start reviewing hardware review sites to see what is new and hot. I settle on a EVGA GeForce GTX 980 $497.99
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16814487079

Now it's an issue of power. Typically I go off the min requirements of the graphics card (in this case 500w) and bump that up a bit. I decide on a 750w modular supply for $129.79. I then verify the power supply has the right pin connector for the motherboard and also the graphics card.

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16817139137

.. and so on and so on.. you can then drop down to hard drives, NICs, keyboards, mice, and monitors. The moral of the story is start with one component and work from there. Have a host of hardware review sites (examine many).. compare notes on what is new.. review any monthly "builds" to see a skeletal workup on options.. etc.


Quote

Also, I have an early 2011 MacBook Pro 13" which I love and two high-ish end but "broken" laptops (Dell and HP) that I would like to "fix" and use for PC gaming, but have no idea where to start.

That depends what 'broken' means. Beeps, lights flickering, powering up, noises, etc all help.
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#3 Strawalker  Icon User is offline

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Re: New to computer science. Goal oriented Advice?

Posted 19 February 2016 - 10:47 PM

This is really great, exactly what I was looking for.

I will take a look at the two laptops this weekend and post a follow up regarding the specifics of their conditions.

Any recommendation on classes to take or instructional books in computer science that would help me to better understand the function and value of these parts, how and why they are better or worse performing than others?

Thanks again - Mike
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#4 macosxnerd101  Icon User is offline

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Re: New to computer science. Goal oriented Advice?

Posted 19 February 2016 - 11:08 PM

Building gaming computers is really not what computer science is about. CS is a science, and you cover lots of different topics in a good CS program- introductory computer programming, data structures and algorithms, theory and math, machine learning, AI, architecture and organization, HCI and GUI, etc. You may find architecture and organization courses to be interesting (though not especially relevant for building a computer). These areas focus on low-level aspects of computing. Electrical/computer engineering courses in circuits may also be of interest.

If you're interested in help-desk type work, I'd look more at information systems courses.
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#5 Strawalker  Icon User is offline

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Re: New to computer science. Goal oriented Advice?

Posted 19 February 2016 - 11:15 PM

Yes, thank you for this "introductory computer programming, data structures and algorithms, theory and math, machine learning, AI, architecture and organization, HCI and GUI, etc." I get that gaming is but one small facet of computer science and usage in general; it would really be more of a new hobby I would like to explore. I am interested in learning the practical/science aspect of it as well, and I will keep a look out for these suggested courses when it comes time to take classes. Thanks again - Mike
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#6 Strawalker  Icon User is offline

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Re: New to computer science. Goal oriented Advice?

Posted 19 February 2016 - 11:22 PM

Another thing:
If it is determined that the two laptops I mentioned are beyond repair, what would you suggest as options for 1. High end; and 2. Entry level replacement parts for a gaming laptop? I would like to turn one into a traveling gaming laptop, nothing too expensive but able to handle first person shooter online multiplayer like Call of Duty or similar. The other will ideally be used as a high performance gaming laptop alternative for when the desktop/monitor are unavailable.

I am looking for a laptop oriented response similar to that from modi123_1 above. Thanks - Mike
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#7 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: New to computer science. Goal oriented Advice?

Posted 20 February 2016 - 11:51 AM

View PostStrawalker, on 19 February 2016 - 11:47 PM, said:

instructional books in computer science that would help me to better understand the function and value of these parts,

There are sometimes hardware classes at community college, or search amazon for "computer hardware".

Example: http://www.amazon.co.../dp/0789756102/


View PostStrawalker, on 19 February 2016 - 11:47 PM, said:

how and why they are better or worse performing than others?

It's not that hard to figure out.. again, read hardware review sites.. examine their metrics.. typically they throw in why x is better than y.. etc.


View PostStrawalker, on 20 February 2016 - 12:22 AM, said:

If it is determined that the two laptops I mentioned are beyond repair

How was that determined?

View PostStrawalker, on 20 February 2016 - 12:22 AM, said:

what would you suggest as options for 1. High end;

Huh?

View PostStrawalker, on 20 February 2016 - 12:22 AM, said:

2. Entry level replacement parts for a gaming laptop?

Step back and look at a laptop. It's substantially smaller and more compact than a desktop, right? Your average COTS laptop is designed and built in such a way to maximize space.. it's rare that one part from laptop company A would fit in laptop from company B.. well excluding a hard drive and RAM.. Parts are soldered into the board or have a specific shape that are not universal. You can take an average desktop and make it into a gaming rig, but your average laptop less so.
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