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Motherboard/case choice for a novice PC builder

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May 8, 2013 7:39:03 AM

Hi.

My name is Stephanie and I am a novice when it comes to building a PC. I want to build a powerful gaming computer - within reason - and although I have read extensively on the process of building your own PC I would very much appreciate any advice from experienced builders and gamers here on the forum. I do not know which motherboard or case I should choose but here are the components I am hoping to buy; are they compatible and which motherboard would be best?

Intel 3rd Generation Core i7-3770k
Corsair 16GB 1600MHz CL10 DDR Vengeance
Seagate 2TB 7.2RPM 3.5 TG/B SATA 6MB Barracuda XT 7200.12
Asus Nvidia GeForce 2GB 680 DirectCU II OC Graphics Card
Asus Blu-Ray Writer Drive (S-ATA BD-R, DVD+R 16x)
Asus ROG Xonar Phoebus 7.1 PCI Express Soundcard
Corsair 120mm Hydro Series H80i

Many kind thanks! : )
a b 4 Gaming
a c 171 V Motherboard
May 8, 2013 7:45:25 AM

1. You don't need an Intel Core i7-3770K for gaming. A Intel Core i5-3570K will work for 95% of all games -- barring those very few games that use hyper-threading.

2. The GTX 680 is way overpriced. Get the GTX 670 instead for $100 less, while only losing about 10% in performance. Expensive right? You're paying $10 per percentage increase there. But if you're not an nvidia fan and must go with them, the Radeon HD 7970 is priced about the same as the GTX 670 and is better than the GTX 670.

3. The H80i from Corsair is weak. If you want water cooling, get a custom kit. The ones from Corsair does not use water but rather a commercial coolant. Just get a high end heatsink. It will perform better than the H80i. I recommend one of these: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO, Phanteks PH-TC14PE, or Noctua NH-D14.

4. Do you plan on overclocking?
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a b 4 Gaming
a b V Motherboard
May 8, 2013 7:52:35 AM

hey there...
couple advices from my side;

1. if you are not gonna use SLI/XFIRE an ATX mid-tower case will be fine for you
2. for any ATX mid tower case, typically any ATX motherboard will do just fine (also mini-ATX will work since its not SLI/XFIRE)
3. if you are not going to try extra overclocking, a cooler master hyper 212 evo (air cooler sink) will do miracles for like 25-30$ price tag.
4. soundcard is usually useless, unless you are willing to do some professional sound recording and connecting instruments to your pc. any motherboard sound chip does the same job for gaming
5. for performance i would add a SSD with 120-128GB capacity (preferably samsung 840 pro series, its one of the best choice for these days comes for 130-140$)
6. a 1600MHz memory shall come with CL9 timing already, CL10 is a kind of slow version, GSkill/Corsair is a good choice.
7. as for motherboard z77 chipsets from gigabyte/asus/msi/asrock will do fine. just be sure to choose an "overclockable" board usually marked as xtreme/x/pro. otherwise your unlocked K series cpu will be wasted.

here is a list you may use it as a reference....

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($229.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($27.98 @ Outlet PC)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($124.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($139.39 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($68.66 @ Amazon)
Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 680 2GB Video Card ($442.48 @ SuperBiiz)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 431 Plus (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 620W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($86.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1338.44
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-05-08 10:52 EDT-0400)

good luck
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May 8, 2013 7:54:54 AM

ksham said:
1. You don't need an Intel Core i7-3770K for gaming. A Intel Core i5-3570K will work for 95% of all games -- barring those very few games that use hyper-threading.

2. The GTX 680 is way overpriced. Get the GTX 670 instead for $100 less, while only losing about 10% in performance. Expensive right? You're paying $10 per percentage increase there. But if you're not an nvidia fan and must go with them, the Radeon HD 7970 is priced about the same as the GTX 670 and is better than the GTX 670.

3. The H80i from Corsair is weak. If you want water cooling, get a custom kit. The ones from Corsair does not use water but rather a commercial coolant. Just get a high end heatsink. It will perform better than the H80i. I recommend one of these: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO, Phanteks PH-TC14PE, or Noctua NH-D14.

4. Do you plan on overclocking?


Thanks so much Ksham for your generous advice. As a novice, I'm really grateful for help from an experienced builder. I had been thinking about the i5 but as a novice I was somewhat convinced that the higher the price, the better the product - I guess that is simply not the case, as you've demonstrated.

Would the i5 in conjunction with the 670 be able to run games such as medal of honour and call of duty smoothly? Would you rather go for the Radeon or the GTX 670? I'm definitely going to investigate your cooler suggestions! I'm not planning on overclocking, but then again that's probably because an inexperienced builder - would you recommend it?
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a b 4 Gaming
a b V Motherboard
May 8, 2013 7:59:44 AM

DharmaRecruit said:
ksham said:
1. You don't need an Intel Core i7-3770K for gaming. A Intel Core i5-3570K will work for 95% of all games -- barring those very few games that use hyper-threading.

2. The GTX 680 is way overpriced. Get the GTX 670 instead for $100 less, while only losing about 10% in performance. Expensive right? You're paying $10 per percentage increase there. But if you're not an nvidia fan and must go with them, the Radeon HD 7970 is priced about the same as the GTX 670 and is better than the GTX 670.

3. The H80i from Corsair is weak. If you want water cooling, get a custom kit. The ones from Corsair does not use water but rather a commercial coolant. Just get a high end heatsink. It will perform better than the H80i. I recommend one of these: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO, Phanteks PH-TC14PE, or Noctua NH-D14.

4. Do you plan on overclocking?


Thanks so much Ksham for your generous advice. As a novice, I'm really grateful for help from an experienced builder. I had been thinking about the i5 but as a novice I was somewhat convinced that the higher the price, the better the product - I guess that is simply not the case, as you've demonstrated.

Would the i5 in conjunction with the 670 be able to run games such as medal of honour and call of duty smoothly? Would you rather go for the Radeon or the GTX 670? I'm definitely going to investigate your cooler suggestions! I'm not planning on overclocking, but then again that's probably because an inexperienced builder - would you recommend it?


the difference between i5-3570K and i7-3770K is the hyper-threading only. so for most games these days even the latest ones, it doesnt effect that much. hyper threading comes into effect when you are working with multi-processes. then you will realize the difference.
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a b 4 Gaming
a c 171 V Motherboard
May 8, 2013 8:01:16 AM

To answer your questions:
1. Yes and no. Depends on what resolution you play at. At 1080p, it's fine.
2. The HD 7970 is about 5% faster and more powerful than the GTX 670 and they are both priced the same. Versus the 10% for $100 for the GTX 680.
3. If you don't know how to overclock, don't do it. A bad voltage on your part will fry the CPU, motherboard, and possibly other components. It can also make your system unstable.

We can provide you with a good build. What's your budget? What country do you live? What currency system do you use? Do you need any peripherals (monitors, keyboard, mouse, wifi card, speakers, etc.)?
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May 8, 2013 8:11:08 AM

ksham said:
To answer your questions:
1. Yes and no. Depends on what resolution you play at. At 1080p, it's fine.
2. The HD 7970 is about 5% faster and more powerful than the GTX 670 and they are both priced the same. Versus the 10% for $100 for the GTX 680.
3. If you don't know how to overclock, don't do it. A bad voltage on your part will fry the CPU, motherboard, and possibly other components. It can also make your system unstable.

We can provide you with a good build. What's your budget? What country do you live? What currency system do you use? Do you need any peripherals (monitors, keyboard, mouse, wifi card, speakers, etc.)?


Hi there, thanks for your kind advice again. I live in Northern Ireland (UK), we use pound sterling and my budget is around £2000 ($3000+) although I may not need to spend that much. I'm looking for a fairly robust system, capable of playing demanding games and for general blu-raying viewing and burning. I've been looking at the Dell Ultrasharp U2713H 27 Inch Monitor. I would like good quality speakers for movie viewing.

Thanks so much! : )

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a b 4 Gaming
a c 171 V Motherboard
May 8, 2013 8:26:48 AM

Geez, that's a high budget. This is a lot of equipment if you're starting out. So a few points:

1. A SSD for faster boot times. You may want to Google and read up on how to better manage it.
2. An awesome sound card in the Asus Xonar Essence STX. Very expensive, but you won't be disappointed. The motherboard will have audio output, so if you feel a bit overwhelmed or want to save money, feel free to remove it.
3. A wifi card. You need this if you plan to use wifi. If not, remove it.
4. The case is awesome. Great build quality with a stunning finish. It has a window so you can see the glory inside.
5. I opted for 2x 23" monitors instead of one giant 27". If you prefer the 27" instead, feel free to swap. I think multiple monitors is better. You can multi-task better. Play a movie in one screen and do something else on the other. I wouldn't suggest you play games with both screens. Your character will be split on the edge and it'll look terrible. You can opt for 3 monitors but the 7970 won't play well at that resolution. Stick with one screen.
6. The logitech speakers has great sounds at a decent price.
7. I left out the keyboard and mouse. Those are your preference.


PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor (£143.59 @ Aria PC)
Motherboard: ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£69.03 @ Amazon UK)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£77.99 @ Amazon UK)
Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk (£103.95 @ Amazon UK)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£46.20 @ Aria PC)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card (£313.97 @ Amazon UK)
Sound Card: Asus Xonar Essence STX 24-bit 192 KHz Sound Card (£143.00 @ Ebuyer)
Wireless Network Adapter: TP-Link TL-WDN4800 802.11a/b/g/n PCI-Express x1 Wi-Fi Adapter (£27.98 @ Amazon UK)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 w/Window (Titanium Grey) ATX Mid Tower Case (£86.62 @ Aria PC)
Power Supply: XFX 650W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (£68.47 @ Amazon UK)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS95 DVD/CD Writer (£14.99 @ Amazon UK)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) (£68.39 @ Aria PC)
Monitor: Asus VX238H 23.0" Monitor (£142.50 @ Amazon UK)
Monitor: Asus VX238H 23.0" Monitor (£142.50 @ Amazon UK)
Speakers: Logitech Z506 155W 5.1ch Speakers (£69.99 @ Ebuyer)
Total: £1519.17
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
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May 10, 2013 2:00:39 AM

ksham said:
Geez, that's a high budget. This is a lot of equipment if you're starting out. So a few points:

1. A SSD for faster boot times. You may want to Google and read up on how to better manage it.
2. An awesome sound card in the Asus Xonar Essence STX. Very expensive, but you won't be disappointed. The motherboard will have audio output, so if you feel a bit overwhelmed or want to save money, feel free to remove it.
3. A wifi card. You need this if you plan to use wifi. If not, remove it.
4. The case is awesome. Great build quality with a stunning finish. It has a window so you can see the glory inside.
5. I opted for 2x 23" monitors instead of one giant 27". If you prefer the 27" instead, feel free to swap. I think multiple monitors is better. You can multi-task better. Play a movie in one screen and do something else on the other. I wouldn't suggest you play games with both screens. Your character will be split on the edge and it'll look terrible. You can opt for 3 monitors but the 7970 won't play well at that resolution. Stick with one screen.
6. The logitech speakers has great sounds at a decent price.
7. I left out the keyboard and mouse. Those are your preference.


PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor (£143.59 @ Aria PC)
Motherboard: ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£69.03 @ Amazon UK)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£77.99 @ Amazon UK)
Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk (£103.95 @ Amazon UK)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£46.20 @ Aria PC)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card (£313.97 @ Amazon UK)
Sound Card: Asus Xonar Essence STX 24-bit 192 KHz Sound Card (£143.00 @ Ebuyer)
Wireless Network Adapter: TP-Link TL-WDN4800 802.11a/b/g/n PCI-Express x1 Wi-Fi Adapter (£27.98 @ Amazon UK)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 w/Window (Titanium Grey) ATX Mid Tower Case (£86.62 @ Aria PC)
Power Supply: XFX 650W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (£68.47 @ Amazon UK)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS95 DVD/CD Writer (£14.99 @ Amazon UK)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) (£68.39 @ Aria PC)
Monitor: Asus VX238H 23.0" Monitor (£142.50 @ Amazon UK)
Monitor: Asus VX238H 23.0" Monitor (£142.50 @ Amazon UK)
Speakers: Logitech Z506 155W 5.1ch Speakers (£69.99 @ Ebuyer)
Total: £1519.17
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)


Thank you so much Ksham! Wow, so much information and great advice!
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May 13, 2013 12:04:42 AM

Sry I had a similar question and though it best to ask it here.
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a b 4 Gaming
a c 171 V Motherboard
May 13, 2013 12:07:42 AM

Hi John. Please start your own thread instead of hijacking someone else's. This thread is also marked as solved so it would make even less sense to post your problems in it.
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