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Expert opinion on new build please

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February 25, 2014 1:33:47 AM

I have used this site for years. GREAT information that one can count on. Thanks!

This will be my 2nd build. I'm a very good mechanic (but I suck at software). I have a kybd, mouse and a HP w2207 (widescreen) Monitor. Rather than tear down my 1st build which still runs fine, I want to build a newer gaming system. I can't run Crysis 3 on my current system for example, despite Amazon stating that it's XP compatible. How can it run on XP with DX 9...? lol.
So anyway, this is a list of what I've compiled after a ton of research. I would greatly appreciate any input.



-NZXT Phantom 630 Windowed Edition ATX Full Tower Computer Case
-Intel Core i7-4770K Haswell 3.5GHz LGA 1150
-ASUS Z87-PRO LGA 1150 Intel Z87 MoBo
-GIGABYTE GV-N770OC-2GD GeForce GTX 770 2GB GPU
-CORSAIR Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 RAM
-CORSAIR RM Series RM1000 1000W ATX12V v2.31 and EPS 2.92 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Full Modular Active PFC Power Supply (a little overkill never hurt...)
- SAMSUNG 840 Pro Series MZ-7PD256BW 2.5" 256GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) (To use as boot drive)
-Seagate Barracuda ST2000DM001 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
- Noctua NH-U14S 140x150x25 ( NF-A15 PWM) SSO2-Bearing ( Self-stabilising oil-presure bearing ) CPU Cooler
- Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM
- Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 Media Center Kit Dual TV Tuner w/ IR Remote PCI-E x 1
(to view DirecTv windowed on occasion via coax)
+ a couple $20 R/W DVD drives.

I have a couple e-sata 320 gb HDDs also.

So...any comments or suggestions would be appreciated. Barring any serious criticisms on the hardware choices, any build warnings, ideas, suggestions, etc would be VERY much appreciated! Note, all this new architecture, BIOS, and W7 is completely new to me....

Thanks, Chris

More about : expert opinion build

February 25, 2014 2:06:07 AM

Well, what is your build range/budget?

You wont need an i7.

Unless you plan to SLi, don't get a Z87 MoBo

770's are awesome cards :D 

16GB of RAM is excessive.

1000W PSU is a bit excessive, and in my opinion there are better brands then Corsair, let Corsair make their awesome RAM and cooling units and such. :p 

Pretty solid choice of SSD.

Don't get a Seagate.

That's a alright cooler, but, we can squeeze a better one in.

I recommend Windows 8, just bypass metro interface straight to the desktop.

Give me a budget range, and I'll try to tweak your build to the best price/performance I can!
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February 25, 2014 12:50:46 PM

Thanks for the reply Veladem.

No budget. The total for this one is about $2k...from Newegg. I don't know what you mean by "build range".

I know I don't need an i7, nor a Z87, or 16 gb RAM. I'm planning for the future and don't wish to build any more often than I have to. I am considering SLI at some point in the future. I want to keep the initial build as simple as possible.

I think Corsair makes GREAT PSU's. The 750tx in my 1st build has been rock solid. All the reviews are solid as well. Which ones do you like?

Same with Seagate. My boot HDD has been rock solid also. Again, why not Seagate. (it would be helpful if you included your reasons for your statements).

Which cooler do you recommend? I did a ton of research on them. I do not want a water cooler, and I intend to fill the case with 5-7 fans in a push-pull set-up.

I will NOT go with W8. Why would you suggest an OS that almost nobody likes??? I don't want/need a touch-screen interface. Even many game developers don't like W8. I must be missing something...



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February 25, 2014 3:51:32 PM

Well, for overclocking and SLi/CF I would suggest a Z87, if no SLi will be used then a H87 is fine.

You're right, an i7 is overkill for gamers.

Corsair has their great PSU's, but, I trust them more with RAM and heat sinks, I'd get a XFX core/pro.

Seagate has a high/higher risk of failure compared to the competitive price of a Western Digital drive like the blue.

Going for air, for now just get a Hyper Evo and go from there, it's great for price/performance.

You are missing something xD I only poke in jest! Windows 8 has slightly better gaming performance, and it also has better security, and is a bit lighter and less RAM dependent.

Best regards friend, Vel.
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February 25, 2014 4:05:36 PM

The build looks good. One word of warning - I don't think the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 is going to work how you envisioned it. I have two of those tuner cards in my computer and it works great for OTA programming, but it won't work with any encrypted content like DirecTV. You won't be able to use it for DirecTV unless you're using it between a set-top box and your computer. Even then, I'm not 100% sure it will work with DirecTV service. You will definitely need to have an IR blaster to change the channel on the set-top box and ensure that the signal coming out of the set-top box is unencrypted so the tuner can use it.
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February 25, 2014 8:10:12 PM

Thanks again for your input Vel.

The PSU type you suggest are not modular, and the biggest one (850) is out of stock. http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

The western drive in the same price bracket ($90)/size (2 tb) has many more bad reviews than Seagate on Newegg in recent months. I've also had Western HDDs and never had one fail. BUT, I found this one that has pretty good reviews and is still under $100. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168....

Re: the cpu fan. Is this the one you mean? http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

I'll give W8.1 another look....:-)

Thanks! Chris

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February 25, 2014 8:25:29 PM

TY shortstuff. Re: the Hauppage tuner, my house is wired (coax) to almost every room from splitters from one DirecTv receiver. I only have analog NTSC feed. I have not switched to digital TV mainly because I'd have to replace at least 3 TV sets and flat screens do not last any where near as long as CRTs. (My biggest tv is 30 years old...!). There's also an additional monthly charge for digital.
All 3 rooms with tv sets have an RF remote that works great from anywhere inside, even outside the house. All 3 remotes match, are labeled for each room and are coded to that particular type of tv, making it easy for my wife to use...lol.

I have an Encore ENLTV-FM Ver. 5.3 (PCI) w/Remote in my first build and it worked great for a few months. Now the video sucks, and there is NO support from that company. Just set it to CH 3 and used one of our RF remotes to change channels.

I was concerned as well, so asked the question through NewEggs' cool question/answer system and was reassured that it should work as I thought. After all, I'm simply splitting the signal to another TV...or monitor in this case, like I did with all the other tv sets.

So, I'm pretty sure it will work.

Thanks again for raising the issue though.

Regards, Chris
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February 25, 2014 8:50:49 PM

cpc143 said:
Thanks again for your input Vel.

The PSU type you suggest are not modular, and the biggest one (850) is out of stock. http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

The western drive in the same price bracket ($90)/size (2 tb) has many more bad reviews than Seagate on Newegg in recent months. I've also had Western HDDs and never had one fail. BUT, I found this one that has pretty good reviews and is still under $100. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168....

Re: the cpu fan. Is this the one you mean? http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

I'll give W8.1 another look....:-)

Thanks! Chris



Yes, that's the one, that fan is probably the best price/performance until water cooling loops.

Windows 8.1 is worth one last glance, many ways to bypass that silly GUI meant for mobile units.

And I suppose if Newegg is the only current source for you, no biggie, go with the Seagate.
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February 25, 2014 9:28:21 PM

Again, TYVM for your input Vel. I changed to this HDD: WD AV-GP WD20EURX 2TB IntelliPower 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive. I can buy pc parts from a lot of places, but Newegg rcoks...consistently.

Based on reviews, I'm sticking to the Noctua fan. Sorry :-(

W8 sucks, period. I know it's a tad faster, a tad more secure, installs easier over XP, but the tablet/smartphone gui is a major PITA. 8.1 supposedly brought back the Start button, but in truth did it half-assed. I've done a ton of research. I know that the GUI can be altered to make it very similar to W7, but nevertheless the stupid Tiles gui still run interference. Finding anything in W8 is an absurd waste of time and cumbersome to say the least. Just look at the reviews on NewEgg for W8, then look at them for W7. Or Google W7 vs W8.

Now since I think I have the hardware sorted out, where everyone can help me the most is with the build process itself. ie: Install order of components. Any cautions, things to worry about (I know how to avoid static electricity). BIOS set-up (assume I know NOTHING about BIOS). Any tricks to make it all go smoother would be much appreciated.

Thanks all,
Chris
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February 25, 2014 10:31:14 PM

Breadboard is the very first thing I do after checking all my parts for any type of shipping damage.

To breadboard simply place the MoBo on a cardboard or wood surface, and put in the main components.

MoBo
CPU
Heatsink (Stock is fine, aftermarket preferred.)
RAM
PSU

Then try a first boot, with DVI preferred or HDMI plugged in.

If you get a clean BIOS beep, assuming you have speakers, or the board has a built in speaker, or the case in witch you have the button on has one, then a clean BIOS beep is the first good sound.

Here is a very very good and thorough guide and how to;

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/274745-31-step-step-g...
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March 1, 2014 3:28:54 PM

Thanks again Vel. Just ordered all the components. I'm excited. Good step-by-step recommendation.

Question or two:
The "beep" comes from the mobo, right? I assume the Asus Z87 has a speaker...?

Is there a step-by-step way to test each component during the build? A way to bench test everything along the way would help a lot to eliminate any out-of-box component fails and speed any necessary RMAs.

Thanks again, Chris

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March 1, 2014 5:42:16 PM

A couple more questions:

Any specific advice re: installing an SSD as the boot drive (+ a 2TB HDD for everything else)? I've never had an SSD before, just flash memory USB sticks. Is it significantly different or complex than an HDD? I have the tweak guide and ssd user tips bookmarked, but I'm not sure I need to "tweak" it...
I do understand that they are quite fast, so may need to delay the boot order process slightly in the bios. Is that correct?

BIOS set-up: I'm real stupid re: Bios. Somehow it all worked (magic!) in my 1st build and I never messed with it after that. Any tips?

Please keep in mind that I only have one build under my belt and it was 6 years ago so talk real slow :-). I AM proud that it all worked, and still works. Very stable & reliable which was my objective for that build.
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March 1, 2014 6:06:49 PM

With a SSD I usually run a full wipe, and as for the HDD I just run a quick wipe.

LETS GET SOME PICS BRAH!!!
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March 1, 2014 8:35:17 PM

You mean FORMAT? Or a complete clean? What's a "quick wipe"?
Why would you need to do that with any new drive? Again, I must've missed a memo...

I'll post some pics when done.

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March 1, 2014 9:03:17 PM

Eh, you don't need to do it, but I don't like to install any OS over a fresh drive without first testing the drives integrity and such, and if you do get an error whilst wiping the drive, odds are, the drive could be faulty.

Also, a full wipe will more thoroughly write 0's to the drives. The drive should already have all 0's, but, I've always wiped before install to be safe.

The fast or quick wipe isn't as thorough, and the full/complete wipe tries to write all 0's more thoroughly.
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March 2, 2014 11:46:45 AM

Vel: Again, do you mean FORMAT? Or am I missing something (again)? I am not familiar with the term "wipe". How does one Format a drive before the OS is installed? Use another PC? If so, I would need an external enclosure or an available SATA harness, right?

Thx, Chris
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March 2, 2014 11:51:19 AM

cpc143 said:
Vel: Again, do you mean FORMAT? Or am I missing something (again)? I am not familiar with the term "wipe". How does one Format a drive before the OS is installed? Use another PC? If so, I would need an external enclosure or an available SATA harness, right?

Thx, Chris


Ah, sorry xD format wipe same thing, and when you put your OS disc into the optics bay it will give you the option to make partition and to also do different formats/wipes and such.
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March 2, 2014 12:59:19 PM

veladem said:
cpc143 said:
Vel: Again, do you mean FORMAT? Or am I missing something (again)? I am not familiar with the term "wipe". How does one Format a drive before the OS is installed? Use another PC? If so, I would need an external enclosure or an available SATA harness, right?

Thx, Chris


Ah, sorry xD format wipe same thing, and when you put your OS disc into the optics bay it will give you the option to make partition and to also do different formats/wipes and such.


Ah...ok, I get it now. Sorry I'm dense at times. So, Format first using OS CD. Got it. How about partitioning? What to do there? (I can't remember what I did last time....I'm old. lol)
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March 3, 2014 7:33:03 PM

Been wondering, is there more performance improvement...say in big games like Crysis3....with a gtx 770 SLI set-up or overclocking a i7 4770k say to 4.5gz. (assuming all temps are under control of course).
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March 3, 2014 7:36:59 PM

Even in a game like Crysis 3 I wouldn't recommend a i7 anything. i5 4670K

As for the partition sizes, that is 100% up to you and also dependent on if you want to run multiple OS's.
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March 3, 2014 9:11:26 PM

Too late...I already ordered an i7. Why do you say that?

You didn't answer my question. Bigger overall performance improvement with SLI or OC?

One OS, so no partitions. I can always change that later if needed. OS and programs on the SSD, everything else on the HDD.
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March 3, 2014 9:17:33 PM

Single card performance is better then SLi or CF.

OC will make very little difference with an i5 or i7.
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March 7, 2014 3:35:53 AM

Ok, build went well, Bios set up easy, everything working very well, & W7 Pro 64 bit installed easily 142 updates!!).

One problem: I have 2 drives. One Samsung SSD 256GB and one Western 2TB HDD. I intentionally left the HDD disconnected so W7 would make the SSD the boot drive...as recommended here. After W7 installed I hooked up the HDD. Here's the problem. My Computer does not "see" the HDD but the Bios and W7 Device Manager DO see it. It is UNusable without My Computer seeing it....

All drivers are updated btw. All updates are done. I'm a bit frustrated and snapping at the wife....lol

I've searched for an answer, but tire of it (!!!). Can someone point me to a solution PLEASE!

Thanks, Chris

HA! Nevermind...I figured it out. I had to format/initialize the disk through disk management, I guess because W7 install never saw it. Never used Disk Management and never used W7 either, but finally fumbled around enough to figure it out. Problem solved. Night all....:-)
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March 8, 2014 5:41:17 PM

Build is complete, runs great, looks awesome.

Ok, how do I upload pictures here? Vel?

Thx, Chris
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March 8, 2014 6:07:11 PM

You'll need to use something like Photobucket etc.

Upload them there, then get the IMG link URL, or paste the img location into [img ] URL [/img ] No spaces.
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March 8, 2014 10:18:57 PM

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March 8, 2014 10:34:30 PM

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March 10, 2014 3:11:24 PM

It's looking good. I don't like the fact that you're using adapters for your GPU power connectors, though. Your GPU has plenty of connectors to plug the GPU straight into the PSU without using those silly adapters. Is your CPU cooler fan pulling air through the cooler, or blowing the hot air down toward the GPU? If it's blowing the air down it should be turned to either exhaust out the back or top of the case.
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March 14, 2014 5:50:56 PM

Hi shortstuff, thanks for your input.
Not sure what you mean about the GPU connectors...The 770 connectors aren't long enough by themselves, so I did what looked obvious. I must've missed something. Is what you mean, pull the connectors off the GPU and plug the hard-wired PSU ones into the GPU? If so, I definitely missed that. I think I dressed those "extras" in the back before I installed the GPU.
The cpu fan blows UP, to two 200mm top exhaust fans. I'm reading 28c most of the time. The case has 6 fans total on a NZXT Sentry Mix 2 controller plus the Noctua NH-U14S cpu fan/heatsink and the PSU internal fan of course. The air flows quite well from front and bottom to upper back and mostly across the GPU and CPU, then out. All are extremely quiet at Max. All are filtered too. Even the "tilt" blue LED one has a Silverstone filter.

The rig just passed an "ultimate" test. I finally got to play Crysis 3. Ran it at Max settings. It ran completely smooth. Absolutely not a single glitch of any kind....not even with Steam. Finished it in two nights. What a wonderful job Crytec did (again)! The rig also boots in under 20 secs. I love that. I'm very pleased with how this came out. It exceeded my expectations.
I don't care for W7 much. XP is still the best OS from a users point-of-view IMHO. W7 is no where near as flexible and easy to use.
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March 17, 2014 7:07:13 AM

You are using adapters for the GPU (4-pin Molex to 6-pin and 8-pin). You shouldn't have to use those short adapters at all. The PSU has 6-pin and 8-pin cables that plug directly into the GPU without the need of an adapter.

I'm glad you're enjoying the system. I'm sure you'll get used to Windows 7 quickly. I know there's a slight learning curve to a new OS, but I've never heard of anyone that liked XP more than Windows 7. You'll learn to really like it and will find that you don't miss XP at all after a little while. What type of things are you finding less flexible or harder to use in Windows 7?
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March 17, 2014 8:46:44 AM

shortstuff_mt said:
You are using adapters for the GPU (4-pin Molex to 6-pin and 8-pin). You shouldn't have to use those short adapters at all. The PSU has 6-pin and 8-pin cables that plug directly into the GPU without the need of an adapter.

I'm glad you're enjoying the system. I'm sure you'll get used to Windows 7 quickly. I know there's a slight learning curve to a new OS, but I've never heard of anyone that liked XP more than Windows 7. You'll learn to really like it and will find that you don't miss XP at all after a little while. What type of things are you finding less flexible or harder to use in Windows 7?


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March 17, 2014 9:05:59 AM

Ahhh, that's what I thought you meant. As I said, I "dressed" those wires in the back before I installed the GPU. Out of sight out of mind. My oversight completely. I will fix it.

W7: I'm used to using the desktop as...well...as a DESKTOP. That's the whole idea of a desktop. In W7, everything is more hidden and therefore harder to find. For example, I cannot figure a way to set it up so my downloads go to my desktop, where I can then determine what I want to do do with the file. The best I can do is switch the download file to my HDD (where I want most if not all to go...I don't want to use the SSD for anything other than boot and a few programs). But I still have to go Computer, double-click on HDD, scroll until I find Downloads, double click to open, then find the file I downloaded. It was much easier & quicker in XP. W7s' desktop is not flexible at all, where XP Desktop was where everything was happening.

One small concern: My bios is reading my RAM at 1333 MHz. (Their CPUID CPU-Z app reads it at 666.3 !). The Corsair Vengence should be 1600. I contacted Asus re: the MoBo, and the guy that replied can hardly speak English and is suggesting things I'm not comfortable with. Also, I get no beep at normal boot. Never heard a sound at all. The MoBo has an LED error system also, so I'm not concerned. The system is running extremely well, so maybe I shouldn't worry about the RAM.

Thanks again for your input, Chris
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March 17, 2014 1:35:35 PM

All you have to do to get your RAM running at its rated specs is enable the XMP profile in the BIOS. The motherboard will have instructions on how to enable the XMP profile.
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March 17, 2014 2:33:00 PM

shortstuff_mt said:
All you have to do to get your RAM running at its rated specs is enable the XMP profile in the BIOS. The motherboard will have instructions on how to enable the XMP profile.


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March 17, 2014 2:35:59 PM

LOL @ shortstuff. I'm laughing 'cause I figured that out this morning. Didn't need any instructions. This bios is very user friendly. Found the XMP in advanced settings in 2 minutes. Reading 1600 now. Thanks again.
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