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First Build Advice: $2,000 Gaming Computer

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June 18, 2010 11:41:40 PM

Hello, I am a new person looking for advice or comments on my first build. I was going to buy from Cyberpower, and kept reading here to learn about parts. Thank you for all the information here. All the talk on this forum converted me - I'm going to take the plunge and try to build my own!

Here is my info:

Purchase Date: This week
Budget: $2,000 or so
System Usage: Gaming (Starcraft 2, WoW), movies, internet, office
Parts Not Required: Monitor, speakers, keyboard, mouse
Preferred Website: Newegg
Country: USA
Parts Preference: Intel, ATI, Asus
Overclocking: No
SLI or Crossfire: No, never
Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Comments: I'd like a good, solid computer that will last a little. Want to handle SC2 and MMOs on highest settings. I've never done FPS, so I don't need super high end.

My planned major parts:

CPU: I7 860 $250 newegg link I've decided to go 1156. I think the 860 is a nice balance between a 750 and 930, with some of the good points of both. 750 would rock, just paying a little more to get 860.

Mobo: Asus Sabertooth 55i $180 newegg link This seems to be a neat one, that emphasizes reliability instead of OC (which I don't plan to do). My other choice was Gigabyte's UD4. I've thought about it and am willing to lose USB3 and Sata3 potential.

RAM: G Skill Eco DDR3 1600 4x2GB $250 newegg link Really worried about compatible RAM for the MB. A user review from Newegg said this worked, and it was one of my choices anyway because of the good Cas number.

GPU: ATI 5850 $300 Overkill for my games probably, but I'm determined not to short the graphics card on this computer. This should really do well on SC2 and hopefully handle near future games for a nice while. I suppose that's my small version of future-warding.

PSU: Seasonic X750 Gold $180 newegg link Has really good reviews. I've decided this is an important part and I'm going to pay extra for a really good one.

CPU Cooler: Xigmatek Dark Knight $50 I have not really researched the cooler yet. This one is well spoken of.

SSD: WD Siliconedge Blue 128GB $270 newegg link It looks like SSDs are the way of the future. Wish I could wait a bit for prices to come down, but can't and I want it for the fresh install. I hope these are really worth the price.

HD: WD Caviar Blue 1TB $80 newegg link To hold movies and apps that don't fit on the SSD. Might get two.

Case: Thermaltake Armor A90 Black $90 newegg link Looks fun and has pretty good features. I think it's neat and sharp without being over the top.

Also, Optical Drive, Windows 7, some sort of Office, thermal gel, extra/better case fans. $yet-more I guess at this point I'm less concerned about price than about doing something wrong.


So any thoughts? I have these questions if anyone feels like helping:

* Anything incompatible or dumb new mistakes?
* Do I need 750W, or would 650W do? I've looked at calculators and they say something like 540W. I know W is not the thing and V is. I've tried to figure out the 12V rail thing, but not succeeded so far. It will probably be always-on, so I don't want too powerful if not needed.
* For a non-overclocked i7 with a 5850: how much do I have to be worried about cooling? How many case fans do I really need? The case comes with front, top, and rear (side optional). I'm thinking of replacing them with silent but low power ones to keep it quieter, but I'm worried about hurting cooling too much.
* My case is nice but lacks cable management. How much of cable management is about airflow and safety, and how much is about just aesthetics? I'm wondering how harmful it is if I'm forced to go across the motherboard.

Thanks anyone who read through all this. I've learned a lot reading at this site. I think assembling the parts should not be bad, but I know nothing about BIOS yet, so that's worrying. We'll see. I would have never dared to try to build my own if I had not been here, so thanks everyone for all the help and information here.
June 19, 2010 12:08:08 AM

First... I would get a different SSD... WD are new to the field and aren't without issues. Stick with either the Intel X25-M G2 or OCZ Vertex|Agility 2 as they are much more reliable.

Second... Get the Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB drive. Same price with faster speeds.

Third... Stick with a 750W PSU to give you the option to Crossfire down the road.
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June 19, 2010 6:27:34 AM



If you are worried about power consumption, go with a power supply that is 80 PLUS certified like http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I would go with 750W because a little headroom is always a good idea when choosing a PSU.

If you are not planning on overclocking, the fan that comes with the i7 should be fine but they are notoriously hot running chips so passive or silent cooling is probably not a good idea. You can always try it and monitor with a program like realtemp to make sure you are not running too hot.

Cable management can surely affect cooling and temps as its all about air flow. Take a look at this case for a few bucks more. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Great air flow and plenty of room if you can deal with a large case...
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