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It's ALIVE! Any thoughts on this build?

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October 4, 2013 8:00:22 AM

I'm building a gaming PC for the first time. :bounce: 

I think I've got all the components that are important to me and I've cut corners on the components that are not quite as important (e.g. a fancy optical drive). To keep costs down, I'll be harvesting a couple 2G RAM sticks and a Dynex 520W PSU from my current PC. The plan was to stay at or around $500, but I'm settling for a hair over $600. I play mostly FPS stuff and do some very small-scale home music recording.

Here's ma build: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1KJ9F

Any thoughts on incompatibilities, better options for same or lower price, etc?

More about : alive thoughts build

October 4, 2013 8:12:09 AM

MauveCloud said:
Dynex is not a good psu brand:
http://www.eggxpert.com/forums/thread/323050.aspx


Wow! Thanks for that. Scratch "harvest PSU" off my list...

Do you have a recommendation for a budget-friendly PSU that would support my system? (PCPartspicker estimated the need at 288W)
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a b 4 Gaming
October 4, 2013 8:13:33 AM

I would not trust the Dynex as far as I could throw it, but you'll likely not pull 250W from it, so you should be ok.
Check some benchmarks; I know some FPS titles are becoming better-threaded, but you may still get better overall performance with an i3 and a stronger graphics card. The only problem there though is that PSU, which I would not trust to be good for anywhere near 520W (400W maybe). As is, you could always make a PSU/Graphics card your first major upgrade, if/when you need it.

Edit: If not re-using the Dynex, get a 380W Antec Earthwatts or 450W Antec VP-450. Either would support any graphics card with a single PCIe power connector.

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October 4, 2013 8:41:31 AM

Onus said:
I would not trust the Dynex as far as I could throw it, but you'll likely not pull 250W from it, so you should be ok.
Check some benchmarks; I know some FPS titles are becoming better-threaded, but you may still get better overall performance with an i3 and a stronger graphics card. The only problem there though is that PSU, which I would not trust to be good for anywhere near 520W (400W maybe). As is, you could always make a PSU/Graphics card your first major upgrade, if/when you need it.

Edit: If not re-using the Dynex, get a 380W Antec Earthwatts or 450W Antec VP-450. Either would support any graphics card with a single PCIe power connector.



Thanks Onus. Basically the build I put together is a cut-corner copy of one that Newegg has on DIY SuperDuperComboUberSale right now, so if I'm going to replace my PSU it might make sense to just go with their little pre-made deal:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboBundleDetails.aspx?I...

It includes a Rosewill CAPSTONE 450W PSU and a 1TB of hard disk space and they'll turn all those pesky little mail-in rebates into an up-front discount.

Also, it looks like the i5 3.0 doesn't come with a cooling unit. How important is it really to have a fan on the CPU?

ALSO-also, I kind of have my heart set on a quad-core (not necessarily for any evidence-based reason; it's mostly emotional), but you think the i3 + a better graphics card might work better for me, eh? Is there a particular website you might recommend where I can check out that comparison?

Thanks for all your help -- it seems like the more answers I get, the more questions I have :p 
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a b 4 Gaming
October 4, 2013 8:50:11 AM

you absolutely need a heatsink on your CPU!
That bundle has a retail i5, meaning it will come in the box with the stock intel heatsink/fan combo.

you will be fine using that.
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October 4, 2013 8:55:31 AM

HillBillyAsian said:
check this out and see if you like it.
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1KKi4


Oh, that's pretty. I do like the HD 7950 graphics card.

I wonder, though: Is putting in DDR3-2133 RAM overkill if the ASRock
970 EXTREME4 mobo only supports up to DDR3-1866? (Am I understanding RAM speeds correctly?)
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a b 4 Gaming
October 4, 2013 9:00:30 AM

zorgnak said:
HillBillyAsian said:
check this out and see if you like it.
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1KKi4


Oh, that's pretty. I do like the HD 7950 graphics card.

I wonder, though: Is putting in DDR3-2133 RAM overkill if the ASRock
970 EXTREME4 mobo only supports up to DDR3-1866? (Am I understanding RAM speeds correctly?)


it downclocks it to 1600 natively anyway, you would have to go into the bios to set it at 1866, for the performance vs price of the ram it's tough to beat, and yea budget gaming I always stay with amd
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October 4, 2013 9:13:00 AM



Oh, that's pretty. I do like the HD 7950 graphics card.

I wonder, though: Is putting in DDR3-2133 RAM overkill if the ASRock
970 EXTREME4 mobo only supports up to DDR3-1866? (Am I understanding RAM speeds correctly?)
[/quotemsg]

it downclocks it to 1600 natively anyway, you would have to go into the bios to set it at 1866, for the performance vs price of the ram it's tough to beat, and yea budget gaming I always stay with amd[/quotemsg]

I see! I understand. So, sadly NCIX.com (currently the best deal) is backordered on the Kingston Predator, but I wonder what you would think about a couple Corsair Vengeance LP 4GB DDR3-1866's ? Currently Newegg has a comparable price on them to what NCIX had on the Kingstons.

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a b 4 Gaming
October 4, 2013 9:24:19 AM

That Newegg combo isn't half bad; the only thing I really don't like about it is the single stick of RAM. I'd get another one for dual-channel mode. The GTX650Ti is modest but decent. You can always upgrade it later. The 450W Capstone is a good PSU, and will handle a card even as powerful as a GTX760 (similar to the way the VP-450 handles one in the recent $1300 SBM; the difference is the Capstone won't need an adapter).
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a b 4 Gaming
October 4, 2013 9:24:39 AM

zorgnak said:


Oh, that's pretty. I do like the HD 7950 graphics card.

I wonder, though: Is putting in DDR3-2133 RAM overkill if the ASRock
970 EXTREME4 mobo only supports up to DDR3-1866? (Am I understanding RAM speeds correctly?)


it downclocks it to 1600 natively anyway, you would have to go into the bios to set it at 1866, for the performance vs price of the ram it's tough to beat, and yea budget gaming I always stay with amd[/quotemsg]

I see! I understand. So, sadly NCIX.com (currently the best deal) is backordered on the Kingston Predator, but I wonder what you would think about a couple Corsair Vengeance LP 4GB DDR3-1866's ? Currently Newegg has a comparable price on them to what NCIX had on the Kingstons.

[/quotemsg]

you always want to buy in kits, not seperate modules it ensures the timings will work properly between them
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1KKUV
updated it with some corsair vengence ram though :D .
edit: or http://pcpartpicker.com/parts/partlist/ with kingston blu series ram which is cheaper. your choice lol
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a b 4 Gaming
October 4, 2013 9:44:28 AM

I like that build with the low-profile RAM. The only thing I'd do is add a Xigmatek Gaia to cool the CPU, unless you have no desire at all to overclock (and even then it would be quieter than the stock). The Gaia is cheaper and slightly superior to the more frequently parroted Hyper212 EVO. It works well for me, on both my AMD and Intel rigs.
Edit: Do be aware that the NZXT Gamma Classic, though not bad for a cheap case, has bare minimal cable management, including insignificant space behind the mobo tray such as for PCIe power cables. I've built in this case, and I'd buy another, but probably only for budget builds.
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October 4, 2013 10:02:43 AM



[/quotemsg]

Onus said:
That Newegg combo isn't half bad; the only thing I really don't like about it is the single stick of RAM. I'd get another one for dual-channel mode. The GTX650Ti is modest but decent. You can always upgrade it later. The 450W Capstone is a good PSU, and will handle a card even as powerful as a GTX760 (similar to the way the VP-450 handles one in the recent $1300 SBM; the difference is the Capstone won't need an adapter).


Yeah, I didn't like the single RAM stick either :p  And I think I like having that HD 7950 from HillBillyAsian's build in there. *sigh* Now the question is: Do I want to go AMD or Nvidia? ARGH.
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a b 4 Gaming
October 4, 2013 10:16:09 AM

AMD vs. nVidia is a tough call. Keep in mind that most AMD cards come with free games now, and the current promotion lets you choose the titles you want (from a small set, all highly rated). If you're not interested in the free games, perhaps you like nVidia's PhysX in the few games that support it, or maybe you prefer the better OpenCL performance of AMD. Both sides have had driver issues from time to time. Performance is generally comparable, although I believe the low end favors AMD and the upper ranks may favor nVidia.
I'm currently running AMD cards, primarily because I used to mine BTC (something nVidia could never do well); if my HD7870 were to die though, I'd probably get a GTX760.
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October 4, 2013 10:24:50 AM

Onus said:
I like that build with the low-profile RAM. The only thing I'd do is add a Xigmatek Gaia to cool the CPU, unless you have no desire at all to overclock (and even then it would be quieter than the stock). The Gaia is cheaper and slightly superior to the more frequently parroted Hyper212 EVO. It works well for me, on both my AMD and Intel rigs.
Edit: Do be aware that the NZXT Gamma Classic, though not bad for a cheap case, has bare minimal cable management, including insignificant space behind the mobo tray such as for PCIe power cables. I've built in this case, and I'd buy another, but probably only for budget builds.


I think getting an aftermarket CPU cooler might be a later upgrade. I don't know anything about overclocking CPUs and this build will be such an upgrade from my current sad machine that I'll probably be more than happy with stock settings for a while (or at least until my fiancée lets me back in the house after spending $600 on a gaming machine).

I have no particular love for that case, in fact something with a front USB port or two would be preferable. I need: 1. cheap; 2. functional

As far as GPUs go, I think AMD. I'm kind of hemming and hawing between the HD7950 (3GB, really? :sarcastic: ) and the HD 7870 2GB. Looks like about $30 difference, which is not a negligible amount to me. I'm only going to be running a 20" display...
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October 4, 2013 11:05:29 AM

Okay, so I think my last two questions are:

1. HD7950 (3GB, really? :sarcastic:  ) or the HD 7870 2GB ? It'll be a 20" single display.

2. I need a cheap yet effective case that will give me front-end USB access (I keep finding cases with front USB ports, but Partspicker keeps warning me that they don't have front USB 3.0 ports).

Thoughts?
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a b 4 Gaming
October 4, 2013 11:15:55 AM

With a 20" display, if it is only 1600x900, even a HD7870 borders on overkill. If you need to save money, I'd probably get a GTX650Ti Boost Edition or a HD7850.

Here's a relatively inexpensive case that includes front USB3.0 ports: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... for $35, but includes NO FANS.
A much nicer case, currently 15% off, is this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... which comes with three fans.
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October 4, 2013 12:03:38 PM

Onus said:
With a 20" display, if it is only 1600x900, even a HD7870 borders on overkill. If you need to save money, I'd probably get a GTX650Ti Boost Edition or a HD7850.

Here's a relatively inexpensive case that includes front USB3.0 ports: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... for $35, but includes NO FANS.
A much nicer case, currently 15% off, is this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... which comes with three fans.


Noice. More fans is better, rite?? And the Rosewill Challenger case actually has an additional 15% off right now, so it comes out to $50.99.

This is how the build is looking: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1KNUY

It seems like an extra $60 got added in there somewhere along the way, but I've checked and rechecked and there's nothing else I can skimp on :p 

Whaddaya think?

EDIT: Well, I can shave $30 off with this Newegg CPU/MOBO combo deal: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

I don't know how important that MOBO downgrade is, though.
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a b 4 Gaming
October 4, 2013 12:19:41 PM

Since you are counting rebates, check out this HD7850, which is cheaper, offers similar performance, and includes two free games: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
With a $10-off promo code (not a rebate), this DDR3-1600 will be a little cheaper, and you probably won't notice any speed difference: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Otherwise, it looks good. Those changes save a little money, but they're niggles you should feel free to ignore if you prefer your current selections.
Edit: I would NOT get that MSI motherboard. Even though you don't plan to initially overclock, it appears on a Googledocs spreadsheet I am unable to link at work showing that it has weak VRMs that may pop under load.
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a b 4 Gaming
October 4, 2013 1:35:17 PM

zorgnak said:
HillBillyAsian said:
check this out and see if you like it.
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1KKi4


Oh, that's pretty. I do like the HD 7950 graphics card.

I wonder, though: Is putting in DDR3-2133 RAM overkill if the ASRock
970 EXTREME4 mobo only supports up to DDR3-1866? (Am I understanding RAM speeds correctly?)

2133 RAM usually has such high latency that there is very little benefit over 1866 or even 1600

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October 4, 2013 5:01:19 PM

Onus said:
Since you are counting rebates, check out this HD7850, which is cheaper, offers similar performance, and includes two free games: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
With a $10-off promo code (not a rebate), this DDR3-1600 will be a little cheaper, and you probably won't notice any speed difference: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Otherwise, it looks good. Those changes save a little money, but they're niggles you should feel free to ignore if you prefer your current selections.
Edit: I would NOT get that MSI motherboard. Even though you don't plan to initially overclock, it appears on a Googledocs spreadsheet I am unable to link at work showing that it has weak VRMs that may pop under load.


Onus said:
Since you are counting rebates, check out this HD7850, which is cheaper, offers similar performance, and includes two free games: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
With a $10-off promo code (not a rebate), this DDR3-1600 will be a little cheaper, and you probably won't notice any speed difference: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Otherwise, it looks good. Those changes save a little money, but they're niggles you should feel free to ignore if you prefer your current selections.
Edit: I would NOT get that MSI motherboard. Even though you don't plan to initially overclock, it appears on a Googledocs spreadsheet I am unable to link at work showing that it has weak VRMs that may pop under load.


THank you all very much for your help, Onus, SmeezeKitty, Mauve, HillBilly, Lowrider. We've been through a lot together this past 24 hours. My eyes and brain feel like they're coated in marshmallow fuzz and I can't seem to relate to people anymore. Only my cats will still communicate with me.

So, with a tear in my eye, I present to you for final approval my budget gaming rig, clocking in at just under $750 (including shipping and a monitor):

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1KX2Y

Let me know what you think. And I assume I'm not missing anything like, "Oh, ha ha, I just got all my sh** in the mail but none of this stuff comes with cables!" Right?

EDIT: And I'm adding a Xigmatek Gaia because CPUs can't sweat or pant and I suppose I'll probably want to overclock before too long...
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a b 4 Gaming
October 4, 2013 7:30:40 PM

Looks good to me. Enjoy it!
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October 4, 2013 8:13:03 PM

Onus said:
Looks good to me. Enjoy it!


Thankyousir! It's been a pleasure and thanks heaps for all your help (and everyone's tips, realy). I can't say enough good things. Hopefully I'll remember all the little people down the road and check in to say how it goes...
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October 5, 2013 7:47:04 AM

Onus said:
Looks good to me. Enjoy it!


Hey Onus,

Another question, if I may be so bold: if I'm going to be overclocking my GPU and CPU (*sigh* after all, why would I not?), how does that impact power consumption in terms of what my 550W PSU can provide? If I'm at about 400W according to the sum of my components' power draw, I wonder how much headroom that leaves me. Also, is there a way to tell what the current power consumption is at a given time so I can factor that into how much overclocking I can get?

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a b 4 Gaming
October 5, 2013 9:32:16 AM

You can plug your system into a Kill-a-Watt meter, or some UPS units have a front panel display which will tell you how much power you're drawing (e.g. right now, Phoenix and its monitor are pulling 90W from mine).
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October 5, 2013 9:37:55 AM

Onus said:
You can plug your system into a Kill-a-Watt meter, or some UPS units have a front panel display which will tell you how much power you're drawing (e.g. right now, Phoenix and its monitor are pulling 90W from mine).


Groovy! Thanks again.
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October 13, 2013 8:07:16 AM

Just an update:

Tahnks again to everyone who helped me put this together! It took me about 4 hours altogether once all the pieces arrived on wednesday. Crysis 3 and Bioshock: Infinite are the only two games I've played so far and they're ever-so-smooth and crispy on all high graphics settings. Sending my monitor back to Newegg for a replacement because there's one brightly discolored pixel right in the middle of the screen, but everything else is great. Now to work on overclocking...

Wooooo!
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