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New Build Gaming PC Help

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April 19, 2013 4:47:28 AM

I'm completely new to custom PC's, and want to start building my own.

Looking to spend about ~£900 but can go over.
I'm told Intel i5 processors are the best for starting out, unsure what else I need to get for a stable gaming PC. Not fussed about overclocking or anything like that. Being able to upgrade in future would be useful though.

Thanks.

More about : build gaming

April 19, 2013 5:28:50 AM

You will need to consider several things:

1. CPU - Intel is better than AMD but slightly more expensive. But it's worth it. An i5 is probably all that you need if you are just gaming. If you want to overclock then make sure you get a K series CPU.

2. CPU cooler - Stock air coolers are okay but can be noisey. If it's in you budget then look at a Corsair or Coolermaster closed loop liquid cooler. They will be quieter and cool really well.

3. Mobo - Motherboards come in many styles with many bells and whistles. Figure out what you want but consider this: For gaming you will want a decent GPU. New GPUs will be PCIe 3 capable so make sure the Mobo is PCIe 3 as well; and make sure that the PCIe3 lane is x16 capable. This will make sure you do not have any bottlenecks. If you are planning to use crossfire or SLI your graphics cards in the future, make sure the Mobo is capable of that and look for multiple PCIe3 lanes which should be at least x8/x8 with two GPUs. (Finding a Mobo that can run x16/x16 would be great but probably a little overkill and more expensive).

4. Memory - For gaming get at least 8 GB. That will be more than enough, though if you can afford it get get more. Make sure you select memory that is comparable with your CPU and Mobo. To prevent bottlenecks get at least DDR3 1600 that is XMP capable. Again, if you can afford it get faster memory, though if you read some reviews on TH you'll find that there is a point of diminishing return (speed v. price v what you notice). There is a lot of good memory out there. Corsair and Gskill seem to be the top two. I've used both and found that Corsair is more expensive than GSkill (mainly you're paying for the name). I'm using Gskill now and it's wicked fast.

5. SSD - there are many opinions on which solid state drives are the best. One thing for certain is that once you go to a SSD you'll notice an immediate per performance boost. Make sure you get one that is 6GB/s and make sure your Mobo has at least one, if not two SATA 6GB/s connectors.

6. PSU - I'd get at least 750 watts but depending on what you plan to put in (fans, GPUs, sound cards, etc.) you may consider 1000 or 1200 watts. To make you build easier, get a PSU that is modular which allows you to only use the amount of connectors you need. I like corsair PSUs but there are so many good brands, just read the reviews on TH and make a choice.

7. Case - cases come in all shapes and sizes. I prefer using full towers. This allows for greater airflow, easier access inside the case, and the placement of more fans. Like what I said with PSUs, read reviews on TH and find what you like.

8. Case Fans - Same as PSU and Cases - find out how many you can put in your case/need and make a choice. I really like Cougar products they are quiet, move great air, but are expensive.

9. Cables and tie downs - if you need to buy any cables that are not included with components that you buy, try to by rounded. They are easier to run and allow better airflow in the case when you run them. Also, when you build, run the cables in a manner that maximizes airflow and use tiedowns/zip ties to secure the cables to the case.

10. GPU - Graphics processors are changing day to day. read the reviews on TH to figure out what you want. I prefer NVIDIA products. One thing to consider is that once the rest of you build is complete, you can always upgrade your GPU at a later date. But you want some type of independent GPU. The ones on the CPUs are crap for gaming compared with an I GPU.

I hope this helps a little. The key is to do your research, read the reviews on TH and the. Make your decision.
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April 19, 2013 5:37:55 AM

Welcome, PureLilium!

Intel is great. Ahhh, but so is AMD. If you are just starting out, and with your budget, AMD might be the better route. I prefer Intel + Nvidia gaming systems. But regardless of my preference, an AMD system is perfectly fine.

Here is one strategy you can use to help you to configure a good system. Go to CyperPower at http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/. Shop around their website. You will find AMD builds and Intel builds. You can also customize your own computer based on one of their base builds. This can be a very educational experience. Once you have configured two or three PCs from CyberPower, go to http://pcpartpicker.com/ and enter your parts from you CyberPower configs and see what happens. This is just one way to get started. At some point you will make all your final decisions and order the parts. I spent months researching my gaming PC. If you are careful, you will find that one question leads to another and another and another. But for me this research was fun and educational. (Personally, I’m not a gearhead; so I paid CyberPower to build mine. But outside the U.S., this is not an option.)

Also, there are lots of good magazines and their respective websites: PC World, Maximum PC, CPU (Computer Power User). YouTube is another great source of info. Type in “building a gaming PC.”

Here is one important general guideline. You need to avoid bottlenecks---where one component of your PC restricts the full performance of another component. A high performing graphics card combined with a cheapo processor, for example, will limit your graphics card’s full performance. A general rule of thumb is to spend approximately the same amount on the CPU as you do on the GPU. (I actually find that I spend about 25% more on the GPU.) See this helpful video about bottlenecks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGdo75gasaQ.

Good luck. And be in touch if you have more questions.



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i7 3770K OC @ 4.2Ghz / ASRock Extreme 4 Z77 / evga FTW 670 2X-SLI / Creative SB Audigy SE PCI Sound Card / 32 GB Corsair Vengeance 1600 / 128 GB OCZ Vertex 4 / 2 TB WD Caviar Black / 2 TB Seagate Barracuda / Asetek 510LC Liquid Cooling System / LG 14X Blu-ray R/W / Corsair 1000w PS / AzzA Genesis 9000 full tower / Windows 7 Professional 64 / 144hz 1ms 24-inch Asus monitor

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April 19, 2013 7:31:35 AM

Looks like you’ve done some good work!

Two things: What about an SSD? Most gamers enjoy the performance boost of having an SSD dedicated to Widows and a few other tasks. Did you intentionally omit the SSD from your build?

More importantly, the graphics card. That 550 is definitely going to limit an otherwise strong gaming system. I would recommend at least the 660 Ti. Or, better, the GTX 670.



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i7 3770K OC @ 4.2Ghz / ASRock Extreme 4 Z77 / evga FTW 670 2X-SLI / Creative SB Audigy SE PCI Sound Card / 32 GB Corsair Vengeance 1600 / 128 GB OCZ Vertex 4 / 2 TB WD Caviar Black / 2 TB Seagate Barracuda / Asetek 510LC Liquid Cooling System / LG 14X Blu-ray R/W / Corsair 1000w PS / AzzA Genesis 9000 full tower / Windows 7 Professional 64 / 144hz 1ms 24-inch Asus monitor

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April 19, 2013 7:41:56 AM

I've updated the list :')

I've added a Samsung SSD, it think it was blanked out because when I started the region was set to US and that part wasn't available in the UK. aha

And okay right, I've upgraded the video card to 660 Ti
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April 19, 2013 7:52:41 AM

This is a good system for the money. I see that you are a little above your budget, so we’ll try not to stretch things too much further. But before you make a final decision, may I ask which games you want to play on this? This will help determine if any modifications are needed before you make the final purchase.

Also, I still cannot see the SSD. Just tell me, How many gigs is it?


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i7 3770K OC @ 4.2Ghz / ASRock Extreme 4 Z77 / evga FTW 670 2X-SLI / Creative SB Audigy SE PCI Sound Card / 32 GB Corsair Vengeance 1600 / 128 GB OCZ Vertex 4 / 2 TB WD Caviar Black / 2 TB Seagate Barracuda / Asetek 510LC Liquid Cooling System / LG 14X Blu-ray R/W / Corsair 1000w PS / AzzA Genesis 9000 full tower / Windows 7 Professional 64 / 144hz 1ms 24-inch Asus monitor
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April 19, 2013 8:04:04 AM

Thanks for the quick replies :')

Oh I understand now, right so there's a 120GB SSD I've added but do I need the 1TB internal hard drive too? Sorry I'm a little unsure of the difference

I'm looking to play Skyrim, DayZ and most likely crysis 3 :')

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April 19, 2013 8:25:18 AM

The SSD is for applications that you want/need to load faster. Everything else should be on your HDD. The HDD is storage. You can always swap data between them. But it's best to keep the SSD writes to a minimal.
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April 19, 2013 8:27:02 AM

Thanks for the info.

The 120GB SSD will easily hold Windows. And your budget is stretched. So, you’ll probably have to stay with the 120Gb SSD. But I do want to let you know that the only regret I have with my system (below) is my 128GB SSD. It is crazy how fast it fills up, even when I’m careful about saving and installing things to my hard drives. If I had to do it over, I’d get at least a 256GB SSD. But, again, 120 will be OK; you’ll just have to be very careful to not accidentally fill it up with data other than you operating system.

Yes, you definitely need the other hard drive. The hard drive is where you will install your games and programs and where you will save your other data. The SSD is a Solid State Drive and has no moving parts. If you put Windows on it (and only Windows on it) and boot from it, then your hard drive (and other system resources) will be freed from Windows operations, which will allow better gaming performance. In other words, let the SSD do Windows tasks, while letting your hard drive (and other system resources) do what you want them to do: focus on the game! In fact, the hard drive is more important than the SSD. An SSD is a luxury; the hard drive is a necessity.

Skyrim and Crysis 3 are very demanding games. (I don’t know anything about DayZ.) So it is good that you upgraded to the 660 Ti. But please know that you will not be able play Crysis 3 on ultra settings with this build. However, you will be able to play at medium (and some high) settings. Your system will play most games beautifully. But if you are an anti-aliasing fan and insist on ultra settings at 1080 + fps, then you’ll still need a stronger card. If possible, get the 670. If not, then the 660 Ti is still a fine card.

Hope this helps!


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i7 3770K OC @ 4.2Ghz / ASRock Extreme 4 Z77 / evga FTW 670 2X-SLI / Creative SB Audigy SE PCI Sound Card / 32 GB Corsair Vengeance 1600 / 128 GB OCZ Vertex 4 / 2 TB WD Caviar Black / 2 TB Seagate Barracuda / Asetek 510LC Liquid Cooling System / LG 14X Blu-ray R/W / Corsair 1000w PS / AzzA Genesis 9000 full tower / Windows 7 Professional 64 / 144hz 1ms 24-inch Asus monitor

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April 19, 2013 8:36:40 AM

If you're going for the GTX 670, a few more can afford you the HD 7970. So at that price, you may as well.
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April 19, 2013 9:01:14 AM

Okay i've upped the SSD to 240GB :') it sounds as though it's worth it!. Thanks for the info

And is there a big difference with the HD7970? Would I need to change anything else so that the system can use this?
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April 19, 2013 9:14:47 AM

It's about $50 more expensive, but way better than the GTX 660 Ti. It should fit into that case. One thing I would change is the PSU. Will the Corsair TX 750W V2 work for you?
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April 19, 2013 9:24:04 AM

Now you are leaving the good performance territory and entering great performance territory.

Yes, there is a huge difference with the 7970 when compared to the 660 Ti. It’s a great card, and it will “future proof” you a little longer. It requires more power, but you have enough. I still like Nvidia (overclocled 670) at the moment, because of (1) PhysX, (2) Nvidia is winning the driver war, (3) SLI stability is greater than Crossfire stability (4) and I prefer to pair Intel with Nvidia. But the 7970 is a great card.

And, no, you will not have to do any additional modifications to your current config if you choose the 7970.



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i7 3770K OC @ 4.2Ghz / ASRock Extreme 4 Z77 / evga FTW 670 2X-SLI / Creative SB Audigy SE PCI Sound Card / 32 GB Corsair Vengeance 1600 / 128 GB OCZ Vertex 4 / 2 TB WD Caviar Black / 2 TB Seagate Barracuda / Asetek 510LC Liquid Cooling System / LG 14X Blu-ray R/W / Corsair 1000w PS / AzzA Genesis 9000 full tower / Windows 7 Professional 64 / 144hz 1ms 24-inch Asus monitor

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April 19, 2013 9:55:31 AM

One 7970 should be fine. It plays all current games on max setting.
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April 19, 2013 12:08:38 PM

Okay cool, i think i'll go for that card.

Also what can i check to know whether the 750W PSU one will work?

*note it also says that one isn't modular? what does this mean :')
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April 19, 2013 12:20:43 PM

Read this: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/power-supply-psu-re...

I think 750 watts will be fine, but I don't know for sure. When it comes to power supplies, I go way overkill so that I never have to worry about it. Also, if you ever want to add another card in crossfire, you'll need the extra power.

Maybe someone else who knows PSUs better than I will came along and give better advice on this subject.


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i7 3770K OC @ 4.2Ghz / ASRock Extreme 4 Z77 / evga FTW 670 2X-SLI / Creative SB Audigy SE PCI Sound Card / 32 GB Corsair Vengeance 1600 / 128 GB OCZ Vertex 4 / 2 TB WD Caviar Black / 2 TB Seagate Barracuda / Asetek 510LC Liquid Cooling System / LG 14X Blu-ray R/W / Corsair 1000w PS / AzzA Genesis 9000 full tower / Windows 7 Professional 64 / 144hz 1ms 24-inch Asus monitor
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April 19, 2013 12:29:20 PM

Above 600W is fine. Modular means that the cables on the PSU are detachable. This helps with cable management so if you don't end up using some of the cables, you can just not plug them in versus having to find a place to stash them in the case.
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