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Finalizing First Build ($1000 budget)

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January 19, 2014 5:19:20 AM

Should I make any last changes before building my first PC in a couple weeks? I have a $1000 budget and already own the RAM and OS, though am unsure which OS to use:

RAM - G Skill 16GB DDR3-1600mhz

Storage

Samsung 840 EVO 120GB SSD - $100
Seagate 2TB 7200RPM HDD - $100

OS

Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 Ultimate 64-bit

Motherboard

ASROCK Z77 Extreme 4 - $130

CPU

Intel Core i5 3350P - $170

GPU

Sapphire Dual X AMD R9 270X - $210

Optical Drive

LG CH12LS28 12x SATA - $70

Case

Fractal Design R4 - $90

PSU

Corsair AX750W 80+ Gold - $130


I live in Australia.

January 19, 2014 5:23:51 AM

Too much power, get a cheaper 650W. If your willing to swap the i5 3350P for the i5 4440 and an H87 AsRock Performance board and get a better GPU it'll give you a much gaming performance.
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January 19, 2014 5:30:54 AM

You are getting a locked i5, which means you won't overclock it. In that case save some money and get a H77mobo and a cheaper (but still good PSU) then put more money into the GPU. You could get a 770 and a 550W PSU to run it. In the end...gaming performance improves.
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January 19, 2014 5:47:23 AM

Would the ASUS P8H77-V ($110) be a good replacement to the Z77 Extreme4?

Also what would be a better PSU? I quickly calculated using an online PSU calculator and the recommended one was $160.
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January 19, 2014 5:50:54 AM

I'm in Australia aswell and I'm surprised you found an AX750 for that price. I retract my power supply suggestion as that is a very good PSU.
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January 19, 2014 5:53:02 AM

What is the purpose of this build? If it's gaming then get 2x4GB instead. And maybe look into a less expensive case.

If you have a couple fans, 2 HDD/SSDs, 270x, and a locked i5 then 500W is enough. There is no way this would consume more than 450W.
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January 19, 2014 5:58:48 AM

I already have the RAM, so I'm going to use the 2x8 GB sticks I have. The more memory the better, right?

These are the prices I just found upon an Internet price search, not exactly sure I'll get the same prices for Australia, and even then I'm willing to extend the budget another $100 or so, but for that reason alone.

Can anyone recommend an exact PSU rather than just average wattage? The one that was recommended to me after calculating was $160 and 650W.

Should I invest in a couple Noctua NF-F12 fans a bit later down the road?
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January 19, 2014 6:04:54 AM

No, not for gaming. 8GB is plenty, better spend that money on better cpu or gpu.

A decent 550/600 watt psu will be plenty for your system including overclocks. Get the XFX 550 for examplel. The recommended wattages like 650 watt are just to prevent customers from buying crappy psu's and toasting their precious electronics.

For $1000 AUSD you should be able to get a better build, with a i5 4440 and gtx 760 for example.
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January 19, 2014 6:13:38 AM

I think you missed the part in the OP saying I already owned the RAM. The 16GB is finalized and I intend to use my PC for much more than just gaming, so I wouldn't recoup any money by not using it, I'd be spending more on getting a lesser amount of different RAM.

Which OS should I use - Win 7 or 8.1? Is the H77 MOBO I mentioned above better than the ASROCK Z77? Should I think about Noctua fans for the near future?
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January 19, 2014 6:22:09 AM

Ah sorry, i thought you owned 8GB and planned on buying additional 8GB. And no i wouldn't either buy 8GB ram to replace 16GB of ram, haha.

And OS, if windows 8.1 is not much more expensive you should use that. It will be longer supported, windows 7 already has not the latest DirectX. Not a big deal yet, but it could be in the future.

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/lifecycle
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January 19, 2014 6:32:19 AM

So I should use Windows 8.1? I think you also missed the bit of me already having the discs for both Windows 7 and 8.1 Ultimate, so I wouldn't pay anything for that instead. Also you still haven't answered the other questions.
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January 19, 2014 7:53:00 AM

I read that the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H (which I found for $130, same price) is a much better board than the Z77 Extreme4. Should I go with this board instead?
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January 19, 2014 8:19:54 AM

Looks like I'm keeping the ASUS haha. I'll just stick with the 750W PSU, as it'll save me having to change it if I upgrade to more demanding parts (on top of hopefully never having to worry about voltage issues for now).

How long will this build last before I need to upgrade (as in, when parts become really outdated, not just something like 1080p very high in games to 1080p medium)?
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January 19, 2014 7:38:41 PM

750W is major overkill but if you are happy with it..OK. I only suggest a 600-650W cuz it is enough for future upgrades and saves some money. Since you are going with the Extreme 4 mobo then you should grab a i5-3570k so in the future you could overclock....i mean cuz you already have plenty of power and a Z77 mobo, so might as well leave that door open.

I'd assume this build to last 5 years. Right now this build with a 280x will max out all games. It'll take 2/3 years before games change then you might have to switch to High Settings instead of Ultra. Then you got another 2/3 years on High. Looks solid.
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January 19, 2014 7:53:05 PM

Well your system is very well put together so far. However I would recommend a MSI 660 OC. The reason is because they perform the same if not better than the 270, you can record with shadowplay and get no fps drops, and it cost the same. Also, I know people like to know that they have plenty of watts for their comp, however I believe a 600 watt would run this system fine, and it would save you money.
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January 19, 2014 8:53:04 PM

Dizzysquirrl said:
Well your system is very well put together so far. However I would recommend a MSI 660 OC. The reason is because they perform the same if not better than the 270, you can record with shadowplay and get no fps drops, and it cost the same. Also, I know people like to know that they have plenty of watts for their comp, however I believe a 600 watt would run this system fine, and it would save you money.


The 270x (which is what OP listed in first post) will outperform all 660 OC. My suggestion is OP should go for a 770 or 280x (depending on which is cheaper). That'll last years to come.
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January 19, 2014 9:02:58 PM

Would the Corsair HX650W (Pro Series) 80+ Gold PSU ($110) be a good choice over the AX750W ($130)?

I couldn't seem to find any 600W PSUs from Corsair.
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January 20, 2014 4:04:11 AM

The HX650 is very good. I have one. Also, 650W is plenty for any GPU..almost any. Let's say it's enough power for any GPU under $600usd. Save some money and put it towards your GPU.
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January 20, 2014 5:20:20 AM

Okay i'll use the HX650W then.

That drops my budget to $980 leaving $20 to upgrade any of my other stuff (not including the $100 buffer I have for price changes and shipping, raising my budget to $1100).

Is there any GPU's for $230 that offer better performance than than R9 270X or are there other components I could use the extra $20 for?
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January 20, 2014 5:26:31 AM

How about Corsair AF fans?
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January 20, 2014 5:38:15 AM

First off, awesome graphics card pick :-) Seriously bang for the buck the 270X is hard to beat right now. I agree with the others find a good 650 watt PSU and you should be fine.

I also agree that with your CPU choice I would drop the motherboard to an H77/87/81 and so on. ASRock makes some solid boards, Gigabyte also makes one with their higher end audio, the AMP series. The key is look for a feature set you need. For example many of these boards only have two RAM slots. If that is enough for you (16 gig will work in this) then you are fine.

You mentioned other uses, if you need to keep the cost down you could also consider and AMD FX solution, the 6 core is a steal and gives good game performance. A Six core with a 970 motherboard could knock as much as $100 off the cost and you could overclock down the road with it if you wanted.

As for the case, the R4 is a great case. My personal setup for this case is to remove the two front bays, put two 140mm in the front and a single one 140mm on the bottom as intake with the rear as exhaust. I mount the 3.5" HD in the second 5.25" bay and the SSD can be mounted anywhere thanks to 3M 2 sided tape :-) The positive air pressure keeps things nice and cool.

On the OS, since you already have it I would go Windows 8.1. It has some nice optimization and can easily be run in the desktop mode using a number of free programs or by using Start8.

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January 20, 2014 6:35:46 AM

I'll look into the motherboards recommended tomorrow. I'm sticking with an Intel Core i5 CPU for my build as I heard Intel makes the best CPU's, even if AMD has similar performance stuff for a bit less.

The main features I'm looking at are PCI-E 3.0 (at least 2 slots, only one and I'd have no room to place any peripherals to use as it'd be taken up by the GPU), USB 3.0 functionality with multiple slots etc. Oh, and also for my build to make no audible noise if possible.

Apart from that I can't really think of anything else apart from some higher-quality fans (to help with cooling and being silent) I heard the Noctua NF-F12 fans are amazing at cooling and are also silent - would they be better or worse than the Corsair ones?

Oh, and thanks for the fan placement tips for the case - I'll keep that in mind when I'm putting together all the parts!
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January 20, 2014 7:25:43 AM

Can you link the websites you buy from in Australia?

I have one Noctua NF-A14. Noctua fans run quiet and come with accessories to dampen sound and to connect two 4pin fans to one header. I love mine.
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January 20, 2014 7:30:54 AM

As for Intel being the "best" that is not all the time true. Intel does better in benchmarks but in day to day use the difference is hard to notice if at all.

Concerning fans, Noctua fans are great but a bit expensive. I actually found I could cool the case well using the Fractal fans and they are very quiet. Also look at Cougar, I really like the fans I have used. Plus I hear good things about BeQuiet.

Concerning PWM fans, the use is kind of a mixed bag. Not all 4 pin headers in motherboards are PWM. The CPU header is but the others are kind of hit and miss model to model.
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January 20, 2014 10:54:41 AM

I was starting to recheck the prices and it turns out that the aus price of the Sapphire R9 270X GPU isn't anywhere near $210, it's more like $260-270! I looked into it a bit and that's the RRP for it in Australia, basically $50-60 more than in the US.

Seeing as the current cost of everything assuming that the price of the GPU was $210 would total up to $960, that puts me a little over-budget (by $10-20).

The only options I can think of is to find a good American seller that ships to Australia with minimal shipping costs ($210 + shipping fees), try and cut down overall part costs for my build, wait for the prices to go down within the next few weeks (which, seeing as the R9 270X is a new GPU, is highly unlikely) or choosing a similar performance but cheaper GPU.

Anyone got any ideas?
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January 20, 2014 4:42:11 PM

Over budget, help?
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January 21, 2014 6:02:30 AM

You chose some high end choices.

Ways to cut back...buy a case locally. Only get 2x4GB RAM. No SSD for now. Find a much cheaper PSU for 550-650W. Consider getting a fx-6300.
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January 21, 2014 6:09:33 AM

If you go with an AMD 6 core and a good 970 motherboard you can save at least $100 (using US currency) and this could allow you to keep the SSD and stay in budget. Should be able to shave some fund by going with a good 550 watt PSU. Unless you are using this as a media center PC I would drop the Blu-ray drive. If you need an optical drive just get a DVD or you might find you can live without one all together. I have not used an optical drive in my personal PC for almost 4 years now.

For the video look around and see if you can find a 7870 or even a 7850 on sale at a decent price. The 270X is around the same performance as a 7870 Ghz edition. Also consider a 270 none X, that between a 7870 and 7850 in performance, actually pretty close to the X but for less cost.

The suggest of cutting the RAM makes no sense because he already owns it so it is outside the budget issues.
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January 21, 2014 6:25:23 AM

Don't worry, I sorted it all out all w/ Australian prices. I'll put up my build in the next post, this could take a while - I'll also link the links.
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January 21, 2014 6:38:03 AM

RAM - G Skill (2x8GB) 16GB DDR3 RAM [ALREADY OWNED]

Storage

Seagate Barracudda 2TB 7200RPM 3.5" HDD
$92.80 at http://greenboxit.com.au/product_info.php?products_id=5...

Samsung 840 EVO 120GB SSD
$102.68 at http://greenboxit.com.au/product_info.php?products_id=2...

OS - Windows 8.1 Ultimate 64-bit

MOBO

ASRock Z77 Extreme4
$105 at http://www.umart.com.au/newindex28.phtml?id=10&bid=2&si...

CPU

Intel Core i5 3570
$234

GPU

Sapphire Dual X AMD R9 270X
$247.42 at http://greenboxit.com.au/product_info.php?products_id=2...

Optical Drive

LG CH12LS28 12x SATA DVD/Bluray
$54 at http://www.computeralliance.com.au/

Case

Fractal Design R4
$145 at http://greenboxit.com.au/product_info.php?products_id=6...

PSU

Corsair HX650W 80+ Gold
$149 at http://www.skycomp.com.au/
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January 21, 2014 2:20:40 PM

I found the Intel Core i5 3570 LGA1155 CPU for $234, which puts the total costs at $1130. Although it's $30 over budget I'm willing to pay the extra $30. What do you think of my build?
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January 21, 2014 4:11:16 PM

The build looks great. It'll play lots of games maxed out and BF4 on High. Also case will be quiet and looks awesome.
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January 22, 2014 3:54:34 AM

Is there anything I could possibly modify to make it cheaper and have similar (or better yet, better!) performance and stay within budget, even though it's only $30 over which doesn't really make any difference at all? Australian prices for components are way too high IMO...

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January 22, 2014 8:38:20 AM

Hmm...I'd prefer 2TB HDD, the PSU you linked is only 80+ bronze rated and seeing as my chosen PSU has an 80+ gold rating for barely more I'll keep that as I'd prefer to get the best quality one I can get. Also I read that the Fractal Design R4 is literally inaudible with all the parts plus the normal 2 fans at full blow unless you put your ear right up to the end of it. Also it looks sleek and stuff and has cable-management behind where the MOBO goes - not changing this case for the price I can get it for.

The only thing I could probably really think of changing is getting an optical drive that can't read/write bluray, only CD/DVD - the problem is that as time goes on file sizes are increasing steadily and I prefer physical copies of stuff - I also have a growing number of Bluray media I intend to use.

I honestly believe this is the best I could get for my budget w/out going with an AMD CPU and compatible MOBO or a $15-20 DVD drive, even if I'd end up w/ a better GPU which doesn't matter much as the R9 270X appears to already be capable at 1080p for the next few years.

Anyway, thanks for all the help you've all given me over the past few days to make my first build as best as it could be for the budget - it's really a significant improvement IMO over what it was 4 months ago when I started planning it!
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January 22, 2014 8:53:15 AM

Glad to help, enjoy your build and be sure to get us pictures of the finished system.
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January 22, 2014 6:08:24 PM

The PSU I linked is top quality and saves a little money. If possible you could get a 3570k in case you overclock in a year or two.
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!