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Buying Custom PC - Need Advice

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March 30, 2010 4:54:17 PM

I know there are a lot of questions in here, many of which I could probably seek out answers for... I appreciate any responses that can help me answer some of these concerns, thank you.
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APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Would like to purchase ASAP

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Audio Production > Gaming > Movies > Music > Work

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitor, Sound Card, Speakers, Keyboard, Mouse

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: No Preference

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1360 x 768 (Usually what I use)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Needs to be quiet for recording
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I customized a desktop on IBUYPOWER.com and saved it to my cart. I have many questions...

Total Price: $1215 ($1130 + $65 Shipping)
My Budget is $1,000-$1,300

Site: IBUYPOWER.com
Is this a good place to go? My concerns are cost effectiveness, customer service and warranty quality.

Mother Board: MSI P55-SD60 -- Intel P55 Chipset CrossFire and SLI Supported w/8-ch HD Audio, Gb LAN, Dual Channel DDR3, S-ATA RAID, USB 2.0, 2 PCI-E MB
I have no idea what to do with this, upgrade, downgrade, suggestions?

Processor: Intel® Core™ i7 860 Processor (4x 2.80GHz/8MB L3 Cache)
Is it worth spending the extra $85 to upgrade form i5 to i7

Memory: Memory 8 GB [2 GB X4] DDR3-1333 Memory Module - Corsair or Major Brand
Is it worth spending $94 to upgrade from "Corsair or Major Brand" to "Corsair XMS3 Dominator w/DHX technology"

Video Card: ATI Radeon HD 5670 - 1GB
My gaming consists of WOW and Counter-Strike. I need HDMI for my TV/Monitor. Will this be sufficient?

Hard Drive x 2: 320 GB HARD DRIVE -- 16M Cache, 7200 RPM, 3.0Gb/s
I got 2 of these, 1 for the operating system/installations and the other for data. I keep most of my stuff of externals (2TB & a 500gb).
Would it make more sense to Raid these for the same price?

Power Supply: 700 Watt -- Power Supply SLI Ready
This is actually $5 cheaper then the 600 Watt SLI Ready. Do I want SLI Ready? Is 700 Watt overdoing it?

Overclocking Power: Drive Level 1 - Up to 10% Overclocking
Is this a good idea?

Liquid Cooling Fan: Liquid CPU Cooling System w/ 120mm Radiator [SOCKET-1156]
Will this do the trick with minimal noise or should I upgrade?

Meter Display: NZXT Sentry 2 LCD Touch Screen Fan Controller /w Temperatures Display Black
I like this feature, is it worth spending the extra $70 for the NZXT Sentry LX Aluminum Fan Control, Clock, and Temperature LCD Display?

Network Card: Intel Pro 10/100/1000 Network Card
$34 to upgrade form onboard, worth it?
Also, where is the option for a wireless card, is it already in there?

Voltage Regulator: Opti-UPS SS1200-AVR Mighty Voltage Regulator
Is it worth $20 for this? What about the LAN Surge Protector?

Wiring: Professional wiring for all cables inside the system tower Achieve exceptional airflow in your chassis
Worth it for $19?

Optical Drive: 24X Dual Format/Double Layer DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW Drive

Reader: 12-In-1 External USB Flash Media Card Reader/Writer

USB/Bluetooth Expansion: [6-Port] NZXT Internal USB Expansion System + Bluetooth Module

Operating System: Windows 7
Had to pay an extra $107 for this :( 

More about : buying custom advice

March 30, 2010 5:32:25 PM

IBuyPower uses crap PSUs, unless it specifically says "Corsair" or other known good brand name. Furthermore, the system described above (using only a HD5670) would run just fine on a 380W Antec Earthwatts. For $1215, you could do a lot better all over if you build it yourself. Are you comfortable with doing so? It isn't that hard, and there are a lot of decent online guides, videos, and tutorials.
Looking at some of your questions, no, the extra network card is not needed. What is your resolution? You may want something more powerful that a HD5670 if you're at 1680x1050 or higher, unless you're willing to lower some settings.
There may be no need to overclock this system, in which case a decent air cooler will be practically inaudible.
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March 30, 2010 6:17:48 PM

Second all of that. And that's a really bad build for $1,200. Here's something that would be much, much better:

CPU/Mobo: i7-930 and Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R $480
RAM: 2x G.Skill Pi Series 3x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $175 each ($350 total and you can get by with 6 GB)
GPU: HD 5770 $150 after rebate
HDD: Seagate 7200.12 500 GB $55
Case/PSU: Antec 300 Illusion and Neo Eco 520W $120
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $24
HSF (if OC): Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus $35
OS: Windows 7 Home 64-bit OEM $100

Total: $1,314 w/ 12 GB or $1,139 w/ 6 GB. This would utterly decimate the prebuilt. I can honestly say that every single part in this build is better.
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March 30, 2010 6:31:07 PM

I know it can be a little intimidating, the prospect of ordering your own parts and building it yourself. Don't let that deter you however. It's one of the most rewarding tasks you can take on as a computer owner. You'll end up with higher quality parts, you'll know your pc literally from the inside out, and you'll have a sense of accomplishment that is tough to match.

Stick with the MadAdmiral, he's as knowledgeable as they come. With a little guidance from the good people here at Tom's you'll have a rig up and running in no time and proudly be able to state that you built it yourself.
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March 30, 2010 8:24:48 PM

Thank you for the responses fellas!
Alright, you've convinced me, I'll build it myself.
When I was in highschool I used to build desktops, so I do have some decent knowledge on it.

--

My concerns are:

#1 The amount of time I have to put into it. I know building it doesn't take long, but the amount of reading and research takes up a lot. I'll just consider it a fun little side project since Im not in a hurry.

#2 Warranty. I know I get parts warranties when I build myself, but 1 big warranty is always nice cuz it can be tough to figure out which component is causing a given problem. Hopefully this forum will be a great tool for that.

#3 Similar to 1, SO MUCH RESEARCH.... I'd rather just have it kinda hand fed to me what I should buy. There's so much to consider!

--

If I'm to build it myself, I'd like to try to keep it at $1,000 if I can help it (no need for monitor, sound card, keyboard, mouse or speakers)

I'll use this thread as a guide to put it together, here's an idea of what I'd like:

Motherboard: This is where I'm most clueless. I want one that will support all the parts with the potential for upgrade. This is something I'd like to replace last.

CPU: I-7 860 sounds good. I'd be willing to downgrade to an I-5 if its all I need, or upgrade if its not to expensive and worth it.

Ram: It sounds like quality>quantity with Ram. I'm assuming I should go for the more expensive solid name brand rather then the generic. 4GB would be nice to start and possibly upgrade to 6 or 8 at some point.

Graphics: It needs to be able to run (smoothly) dual monitors (3 if possible), high rez, 1 being a 32in TV with HDMI (HDMI port necessary). The only gaming I do is WOW and Counter Strike. Other then that I watch a lot of movies with my computer.

Hard Drive: I'd like to have 2 hard drives, 1 for windows/installations and 1 for data. They don't have to be huge since I keep most of my data on externals. 320 for the windows and 320-500 for the data. Would it be better to just get 2 identical HDs and RAID them for performance?

Power Supply: 500W with SLI sound right? What is SLI and is it necessary???

Case: I like fancy cases, with LEDs and liquid cooling. I also need it to be very quiet since it will be in a recording studio.

Also want: DVD Burner, Quality Network Card, Quality Wireless Card, 12in1 Reader, Plenty of USBs, Meter Display

I'm guessing Newegg is the best place to go for parts?

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March 30, 2010 8:44:46 PM

kylelgk said:
I'd rather just have it kinda hand fed to me what I should buy. There's so much to consider!

You've already been "hand fed" an excellent build by MadAdmiral. There's no need to change any of those components.
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March 30, 2010 9:18:34 PM

$1,300 is a little much if I'm going to build it. Plus, I provided some more specific details about what I want in that last post. I will take Admirals suggestions into consideration.
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March 30, 2010 9:22:23 PM

His build is $1,140 with 6GB of RAM. You could get it down to $1,100 if you don't need the aftermarket HSF. Do you need the price lower than that? If so, you'll probably need to go with an LGA 1156 system which would require changing the CPU, motherboard, and RAM.

Using these components saves $115 putting the system under $1,000.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... $422.98 (Intel Core i7-860 + ASUS P7P55D-E combo)

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBRM - Retail $119.99
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March 30, 2010 9:30:40 PM

Great thanks I added it to my cart
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March 30, 2010 9:48:41 PM

Since I want 1 hard drive for windows/installations and the other for data, should I get identical hard drives and performance raid them, or just keep them completely separate?
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March 30, 2010 9:52:13 PM

I wouldn't mess with RAID. I'd just keep them separate.
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March 30, 2010 9:59:22 PM

Nope, Raidmax and Apevia make some of the worst power supplies around. You absolutely can't cut corners on the PSU if you want a stable system. A quality PSU is the most important component as far as system longevity and stability.

The combo MadAdmiral posted is excellent and the price is right.

I thought you said you could do $1,000 if you built it yourself. Why are you still trying to cut corners?
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March 30, 2010 10:05:06 PM

I'm not, I just dont know any better.... I don't like the style of the case he listed, wanted something a little fancier

Edit: Plus that case isnt available, itd be on backorder
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March 30, 2010 10:14:17 PM
March 30, 2010 10:28:29 PM

Between Mad Admiral and shortstuff, it isn't too likely I'll have much to add other than opinions, and those you'll probably form yourself.
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March 30, 2010 10:28:57 PM
March 30, 2010 10:30:41 PM

I don't see an operating system.
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March 30, 2010 10:51:56 PM

windows 7 I guess :(  ... either that or XP... what do u guys recommend
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March 30, 2010 11:05:28 PM

You have the wrong ram kit for that CPU. The i7-860 uses the 1156 socket and only supports dual channel ram. You should look at either a 4gb or an 8gb kit.

Furthermore, I believe the i7-860 isn't really that much better than the i5-750, but more expensive. I'd suggest either getting an i5 or getting a socket 1336 i7 CPU (the 9xx ones). The i5 OC's great as well.

It really depends on what you use your PC for. If its mainly for gaming and other not so CPU-intensive tasks, the i5 will probably be just fine, and quite a bit cheaper than an i7 930 and a matching Mobo.
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March 30, 2010 11:31:31 PM

Alright so I need to either switch the ram or the CPU?

Im using this computer for Audio Production. I'm not sure if its more intense then gaming, but I know it uses a lot of resources.

Please send me a good link for the correct ram

thanks :) 
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March 31, 2010 12:27:10 AM

That is good RAM.

As for audio being more intense than gaming, it depends on what you're doing exactly. Productivity builds are just as intense as gaming builds, but the power comes from a different source. For gaming, the GPU is the single most important part. For productivity builds, the CPU is often more important. Once you get into super heavy encoding builds, both the CPU and RAM need to be focused on.
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March 31, 2010 1:24:53 AM

MadAdmiral said:
That is good RAM.

As for audio being more intense than gaming, it depends on what you're doing exactly. Productivity builds are just as intense as gaming builds, but the power comes from a different source. For gaming, the GPU is the single most important part. For productivity builds, the CPU is often more important. Once you get into super heavy encoding builds, both the CPU and RAM need to be focused on.


k thanks... can you help me find ram other then the one I listed that you think would be best price/quality wise?
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March 31, 2010 2:22:10 AM

That's pretty much the best you can get. The only other ones I would check are the 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 G.Skill Ripjaws. If they're the same price, go with the Ecos, as the lower voltage uses less power and allows more headroom for overclocking.
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March 31, 2010 2:36:27 AM

MadAdmiral said:
That's pretty much the best you can get. The only other ones I would check are the 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 G.Skill Ripjaws. If they're the same price, go with the Ecos, as the lower voltage uses less power and allows more headroom for overclocking.


So it sounds like I'd be better off with the Ecos then the Ripjaws. It's only $10 more so its definitely worth it.

Other then that I'm GOOD TO GO! I qualified for Newegg preferred account and got the 12 month payment plan with 0 interest :D 

This is what I have, am I missing anything?

Give me the go ahead and I'll click submit!

Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Power Supply: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CPU Cooling: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Ram: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Video Card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Hard Drive x 2: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
DVD Writer: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
OS: Windows 7 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Also threw in a Power Strip, some thermal grease and a warranty plan ($35) for the graphics card

$1194 (Subtotal)
$38 Shipping

Total: $1233

Anything else?
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March 31, 2010 4:25:27 PM

BUMP...

So it sounds like I'd be better off with the Ecos then the Ripjaws. It's only $10 more so its definitely worth it.

Other then that I'm GOOD TO GO! I qualified for Newegg preferred account and got the 12 month payment plan with 0 interest :D 

This is what I have, am I missing anything?

Give me the go ahead and I'll click submit!

Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Power Supply: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CPU/Motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
CPU Cooling: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Ram: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Video Card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Hard Drive x 2: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
DVD Writer: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Windows 7: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Also threw in a Power Strip, some thermal grease and a warranty plan ($35) for the graphics card

$1194 (Subtotal)
$38 Shipping

Total: $1233

Anything else?


Edit: Is it possible to run 3 monitors with this graphics card. If not, which one could? And whats the point of having 2 graphics cards?
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March 31, 2010 5:27:50 PM

RAM: That's not the right kind. That's a triple channel kit. You need dual channel. I think the link got changed...

You could run three monitors off the GPU. However, if you do anything that graphical intense (like gaming), then it simply wouldn't handle it. If you want to game using Eyefinity, you really should get the HD 5870 at least.

The point of having two GPUs is you can use the power of both. Typically, it's used as a cheap way to drastically improve your gaming performance without spending a lot of money.
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March 31, 2010 5:38:58 PM

Woops, I switched the link back to the other one

So I could run 3 monitors with the one I have? If I'm gaming I'll deactive 2 of them and only use the HDMI TV

The HD5870 is like $450! The one I'm getting (HD5770) is $170 lol.... Will the one I already linked up there be sufficient for what I want?

Also, what would be better, getting 2 of the HD5770 vs the HD5870? Would this even be necessary or should I just stick with one?

BTW Thank you all for helping me so much, especially admiral
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March 31, 2010 5:40:26 PM

Best answer selected by kylelgk.
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March 31, 2010 6:01:14 PM

2x 5770 would be about the same as the 5870. However, some applications/games don't recognize Crossfire, so you could lose the benefit of the second card. I certainly wouldn't recommend starting a build with Crossfire, as you lose an upgrade path.

As long as you're not trying to play games with max details at 1920x1080 resolutions, the 5770 will be fine.
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March 31, 2010 6:09:57 PM

K im placing the order now, is there anything else I should add to that list?

I'm sure I'll be on here like crazy while I build it... I wanna make sure I do EVERYTHING right... that thread in your signature admiral should help
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April 4, 2010 5:28:47 PM

I already placed the order, but I'm still curious about the wirless card?
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April 4, 2010 10:52:30 PM

If you absolutely need to use wireless with the desktop, just grab any wireless card. Wireless will be slower than a wired connection, so it's advisable to try to use a wire if you need to have consistent speed and connectivity.
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April 6, 2010 9:07:45 PM

So I got all the parts yesterday and assembled it today. It booted on the 1st try! lol

I do have a couple questions however...

It came with 4 SATA cables, but 2 of them are "6gb" ... I hooked up 1 of the normal ones to the DVD drive and the other normal ones to 1 of the hard drives. I hooked up one of the 6gb SATA cables to the other HD but I dont think the PC is recognizing it. Do I need to buy another normal SATA cable?

Also I didnt realize the HD's I bought were 3GB 16meg Caches... Would it be worth it to exchange them for 6gb 64meg caches?
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April 9, 2010 5:25:38 PM

bump
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April 9, 2010 5:45:19 PM

I don't think the cables matter. Or at least they don't right now.

When you sya the PC doesn't recognize the HDD, do you mean the drive doesn't show up in the BIOS or that it's not showing up in the "My Computer" folder? If it's the second one, you will need to format the drive before it is visible. If it's the first one, try using a different cable, a different port, etc. It could just be a faulty drive.

There is no reason to buy the other drives. They perform the same.
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April 9, 2010 7:49:14 PM

When I plugged the hard drive in via the SATA 6GB chord it didnt show up in the bios... I havent tried it since I installed windows so I dunno if it will show up in My Computer
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April 9, 2010 7:51:30 PM

If it doesn't show up in BIOS, it won't in Windows. Try different cables and ports. Also try using a different power connector.
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!