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Need Help Building My Own PC

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July 9, 2010 1:20:13 AM

Hey everyone, I was just wondering if you guys can help me build my own PC, or at least help me pick parts for it. Before I get any further, I would like to say that I have limited knowledge when it comes to custom-build PC's. I've always bought mine at Future Shop, Best Buy, etc. here in Canada, and I finally got sick and tired of paying for over-priced, pre-built PC's.

I was thinking of getting an Alienware but I did some research and came across numerous websites saying custom-build computers are better and cheaper. So I signed up here at Tom's Hardware after coming across this website. I've checked out a few threads before signing up and it feels like the people here are very knowledgeable, friendly and are really into this sort of thing.

Anyways, I've read about a few things here and there for the past week to get to know a few things about PC's(graphic cards, CPU's, RAM, hard drive's, etc.). What I know pales in comparison to what most of the people here know.

I have a budget of $1700 Canadian (willing to spend up to $2000 including tax if there's no other options for it).

I was wondering if you guys could browse this website and pick out parts for my PC (including towers, cables, fans, graphic cards, etc., pretty much everything needed to build and run a PC).

I would do it myself, but like I have stated earlier, I have no clue what's what in the world of custom-build PC's. I just buy them and use them. Now, I want to actually get into it as a hobby.

If you click on the item (or product) it will actually tell you where it's available; I live in Hamilton.

The PC I have now has 2 fans and is very loud. I would prefer to have like 3-4 fans on it keeping everything cool inside so it won't make much noise.

So far I've picked out:

- Intel Core i7 960 Quad-Core

That's how far I got with my limited knowledge of PC's. Will you guys please help me? Can you guys pretend you're building your dream PC with my budget? Any input will be greatly appreciated, thanks for helping me out. If not, thanks for dropping by.

More about : building

July 9, 2010 1:43:03 AM

Thank you, and here's the new information using the format you sent me:

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Before the end of July 31, 2010 (ASAP if possible)

BUDGET RANGE: $1700 Canadian - including taxes ($2000 only if necessary)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, movies, school, moderate multi-tasking (chatting, surfing, listening to music, downloading, etc.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitor, mouse and keyboard, operating system

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: http://www.canadacomputers.com/ and http://www.aimcomputer.ca/ (1 website sells items cheaper than the other and vice versa, so I'll be buying it from the cheaper one. It's convenient too since both stores are like 15 minutes away from me)

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Canada

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel (it's all I know)

OVERCLOCKING: No
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe

MONITOR RESOLUTION: I use my HDTV (52 inch) but will downgrade to my 32 inch HDTV

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: PC needs to be cool (temperatire-wise) and really quiet, I'm a "speed junkie", I want the PC to run as fast as possible, I don't need 1 TB of since I have a handful of external drives, upgradeability down the line (2+ years)
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Related resources
July 9, 2010 2:53:59 AM

Call me old fashion, but I prefer to walk into a retail store and deal with sales representatives than order online. That, and I've had many bad lucks ordering things online. Also, if I have any problems with any of the hardware I bought from Canada Computers, I can easily drive into the store and deal with it right away, compared to sending and shipping things back and forth.
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July 9, 2010 2:54:31 AM

also, because my connection is slow right now, I will just be posting EDIT* Canada Computer *EDIT items, so either I will later, or somebody else, or you will have to look it up on EDIT* newegg *EDIT...I'm not sure what the differences in shipping are, but it looks like if you are near a store, or are in ontario or quebec, shipping is free for over $100, while newegg.ca isn't as liberal with free shipping as the us site.
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July 9, 2010 3:04:38 AM

I'll wait until someone does a build for me, from scratch. Even if the list of items is from NewEgg, I'll still look at CanadaComputers and buy it from there. I'm really into dealing with sales representatives than ordering online.

Anyways, until someone is nice enough, or has the time to do a build for me, I will continue reading what I can about PC's. Thanks for the replies by the way.
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July 9, 2010 3:20:54 AM

CPU:
$310 i7-930
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4...
I think that it's not worth the extra cash for the 960, but maybe someone will disagree

MOBO Asus P6X58D-E $250:
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=2...

Memory, G. Skill 7-8-7 3x2Gb $170:
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=2...

GPU: EVGA GTX480 $500 (this way, you can do sli later)
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4...

PSU: Corsair, 650 or 750, modular $120-$140. I'm not sure which one, if you want to do sli sometime, probably the 750, but somebody else might be able to tell you if 650 would do you.
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=3...
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=3...

Case: Cool Master Half-22, $100
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=6...

Total: $1450-$1470

You still need a hard drive and an optical drive.

How much space do you want, and do you want blue ray?

I do not know how much sales tax is in Canada, so I'm not sure how much extra that is if you are buying those in store.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 9, 2010 3:31:30 AM

Nice build by jrhii but I'd recommend

G.SKILL 6 GB (3x2GB) DDR3-1600 CAS 7 latency.

It's a bit faster than the RAM he linked because of the 7 latency. Although I don't fault him because that website is a pain in the ass to sort out products by specifications.

Also more expensive though. Both RAMs are good, so don't think I'm knocking his, it's just that CAS 7 will be a bit faster.
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July 9, 2010 3:40:19 AM

I concur. If you see, I thought it was the 7-8-7-24 that uses the same heat spreader as the one I posted.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 9, 2010 3:41:21 AM

CAS 8 is 169 for 6 GB and the CAS 7 is 219.

50 dollar difference. CAS 7 is better, but idk if it's 50 dollars better. I'll leave that up to the OPs discretion.
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July 9, 2010 3:41:37 AM

jrhii said:
CPU:
$310 i7-930
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4...
I think that it's not worth the extra cash for the 960, but maybe someone will disagree

MOBO Asus P6X58D-E $250:
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=2...

Memory, G. Skill 7-8-7 3x2Gb $170:
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=2...

GPU: EVGA GTX480 $500 (this way, you can do sli later)
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4...

PSU: Corsair, 650 or 750, modular $120-$140. I'm not sure which one, if you want to do sli sometime, probably the 750, but somebody else might be able to tell you if 650 would do you.
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=3...
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=3...

Case: Cool Master Half-22, $100
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=6...

Total: $1450-$1470

You still need a hard drive and an optical drive.

How much space do you want, and do you want blue ray?

I do not know how much sales tax is in Canada, so I'm not sure how much extra that is if you are buying those in store.


500 GB for a hard drive should suffice. I'm also leaning towards the fastest hard drive out there. I heard the faster the RPM, the faster it will be. That should be great for me since I prefer speed over quantity. That and I want the overall speed of my PC to be as fast as it can go.

As for the Blu-ray, I'll pass. I rent/buy Blu-rays and watch in to my PS3 and/or Blu-ray player. Just pick the best/fastest regualr drive out there and with the money you save from it, spend it on something else.

Also, just multiply the final price by 1.13 for the sales tax here in Canada, in my province anyways. Thanks again!
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July 9, 2010 3:46:10 AM

cmcghee358 said:
CAS 8 is 169 for 6 GB and the CAS 7 is 219.

50 dollar difference. CAS 7 is better, but idk if it's 50 dollars better. I'll leave that up to the OPs discretion.



I have limited knowledge when it comes to custom-built PC's, so I'm pretty much trusting you guys with this one. If it fits into the budget, then I will pick it up. My budget is $1700 Canadian including tax, if it goes over by a bit, I should still be okay.
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July 9, 2010 3:49:54 AM

On a side note, who's better? nVidia or ATI? Because I would prefer to go with the better one. Sorry if this has been asked a billion times. I just started to take up PC building as a hobby a bout a week ago. I've been reading bits of info here and here just to build my basic knowledge
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July 9, 2010 3:58:23 AM

At the speed ddr3 ram is, there seems to be evidence that tighter timings will show more of a performance boost than higher speeds. 7-7-7 will be faster than 8-8-8, but since the one cmcghee358 is out of stock, and because $50 is a big difference for the speed, we will probably go with the 8-8-8.

As to the hdd, its not exactly that high RPMs will mean higher read/write speeds, but there is correlation. If we had the money, I would go for a SSD, but since they are still pretty expensive per gig, and you can't install a lot on them because they will be fairly small, I'm thinking I will skip it. you can probably get one cheaper later on.

http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=1...
$60

Black is Western digitals performance line of Caviar hdds, and ill be the fastest of theirs. I feel they are pretty reliable.

As to the optical drive, just buy the cheapest OEM dvd player that gets at least 22x speeds. You shouldn't spend more than $25 max on it. I picked one up for $15 USD at micro center on monday.
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July 9, 2010 4:00:36 AM

CPU:
$310 i7-930
http://www.canadacomputers.com/pro [...] _id=028693
I think that it's not worth the extra cash for the 960, but maybe someone will disagree

MOBO Asus P6X58D-E $250:
http://www.canadacomputers.com/pro [...] _id=030576

Memory, G. Skill 7-8-7 3x2Gb $170:
http://www.canadacomputers.com/pro [...] _id=026165

GPU: EVGA GTX480 $500 (this way, you can do sli later)
http://www.canadacomputers.com/pro [...] _id=030347

PSU: Corsair, 650 or 750, modular $120-$140. I'm not sure which one, if you want to do sli sometime, probably the 750, but somebody else might be able to tell you if 650 would do you.
http://www.canadacomputers.com/pro [...] _id=025887
http://www.canadacomputers.com/pro [...] _id=023483

Case: Cool Master Half-22, $100
http://www.canadacomputers.com/pro [...] _id=023780

HDD: WD Caviar Black 500Gb $60
http://www.canadacomputers.com/pro [...] _id=020449

Optical Drive: $25

Total: $1535-$1555
W/ Tax: $ 1734.55-1757.15
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July 9, 2010 4:03:27 AM

EMP-Static said:
On a side note, who's better? nVidia or ATI? Because I would prefer to go with the better one. Sorry if this has been asked a billion times. I just started to take up PC building as a hobby a bout a week ago. I've been reading bits of info here and here just to build my basic knowledge



They both have their strong cards. I picked out nvidia's flagship model. ATI currently has the fastest, the 5970, coming in at around $700 USD, but we don't have money for that, and the performance compared to the GTX480 isn't that big...not enough to warrant the $200 in my mind.
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July 9, 2010 4:03:36 AM

jrhii said:
At the speed ddr3 ram is, there seems to be evidence that tighter timings will show more of a performance boost than higher speeds. 7-7-7 will be faster than 8-8-8, but since the one cmcghee358 is out of stock, and because $50 is a big difference for the speed, we will probably go with the 8-8-8.

As to the hdd, its not exactly that high RPMs will mean higher read/write speeds, but there is correlation. If we had the money, I would go for a SSD, but since they are still pretty expensive per gig, and you can't install a lot on them because they will be fairly small, I'm thinking I will skip it. you can probably get one cheaper later on.

http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=1...
$60

Black is Western digitals performance line of Caviar hdds, and ill be the fastest of theirs. I feel they are pretty reliable.

As to the optical drive, just buy the cheapest OEM dvd player that gets at least 22x speeds. You shouldn't spend more than $25 max on it. I picked one up for $15 USD at micro center on monday.



I read about SSD's, and I will definitely pick one of those up as they become cheaper. Thanks for considering that into the overall picture of things.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 9, 2010 4:10:30 AM

If you want to SLI that 480 later, a 750W PSU is probably not going to cover it.

SLI Zone has a list of approved PSUs for 480 SLI (and tri-SLI, and 470s, etc.). The lowest wattage I see for dual-480 is 900W (though I didn't scan it thoroughly). I'm not saying you need to buy one of the PSUs on that list, but you probably want to pay attention to their wattage recommendations.

I would make the argument that nVidia right now has slightly better GPUs, but you get more value buying an ATI card. At the top end, the performance is not too far behind, and for a 5870 vs. a 480, you're paying about $100 less. With 470s dropping in price a little, you might consider those for just a little more than the ATI 5850s, however.

Of course, if you run applications that use CUDA, there's no reason to go with ATI. If you don't know what CUDA is, in all likelihood, you don't use it.
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July 9, 2010 4:27:31 AM

Yeah, I've not a clue to what "CUDA" is. Everyone here is throwing names and acronyms like no one's business, I'm just trying to keep up with everyone. Take it easy on me will you? I just got into PC about a week ago
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July 9, 2010 4:29:19 AM

if you went for a lower priced video card, you could keep the 750, and get an ssd or the faster RAM...of course if you don't want to run more than one video card, this isn't a problem.
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July 9, 2010 4:30:05 AM

jrhii said:
you save $140 before tax by going with a 470
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4...

or $90 by going with a ATI 5870, both of which I think could run sli/crossfire at 750.

or, get a 950 watt psu, $150 after rebate ($10 more than the 750+
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=3...


Since this is my first time making my own PC (I just got into this whole thing a week ago), I've decided not to do "SLI" or "Crossfire". Will this make a differnce into the overall picture, like affect the performance? Or will things be cheaper while keeping the same performance, etc?

EDIT: Yeah, I've decided to skip the SLI or Crossfire thing for now, I'd just like to get my hands on making my own PC (which I would call Level 1). Now, when I finally get the hang of things, then I'd "dip my hands into deeper water" and do this whole SLI/Crossfire thing, which I would call Level 2.

You guys are way out of my league so you guys can be at Level 100, while I'm still at Level 0.5. Anyways, I was wondering if you could give me the final list so I can compare prices between Canada Computers and AIM Computers. I'll be buying the parts from the vendor who sells it less.
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July 9, 2010 4:35:13 AM

well, you have the option to use sli or crossfire in the future, and you will be able to make your system last longer by just that (relatively) small upgrade. if you do, you will wan't to have a powerful enough psu now so you don't have to buy a second one later.
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July 9, 2010 4:37:03 AM

jrhii said:
well, you have the option to use sli or crossfire in the future, and you will be able to make your system last longer by just that (relatively) small upgrade. if you do, you will wan't to have a powerful enough psu now so you don't have to buy a second one later.



I see, alright. I'll take your word for it.
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July 9, 2010 4:37:55 AM

So, using 2 video cards on a new build is, in my opinion, only recommended if you need to hit a certain pricepoint for you video card, and the best video card for your price happens to be 2 less powerful ones working together. Otherwise, I thnk it is best to get one video card, even if it is less powerful than the 2 you can afford together, because you can always get a second one later.

It's not twice as fast, but it scales well enough to be worth the cost.

Also, from what I understand, multiple video cards work the best when using multiple monitors, or, more precisely, large resolutions, but their advantage can be seen at 1900x1080 and lower as well.
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July 9, 2010 4:40:47 AM

But if you do not want to, or do not plan on ever adding a second card to this build, I would just go with the GTX480
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July 9, 2010 4:43:39 AM

jrhii said:
But if you do not want to, or do not plan on ever adding a second card to this build, I would just go with the GTX480


I'd go with the cheaper option, whichever it may be. Could you also give me the final specs so I could compare prices from 2 different retail stores? I'm going to try and "squeeze every penny" and see how much I could save up, then use that money on something else for my 1st custom-build PC... or use that money to celebrate on havning a new PC, lol.

EDIT: By the way, thanks a lot for everything.
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July 9, 2010 4:52:40 AM

CPU:
$310 i7-930
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4...


MOBO Asus P6X58D-E $250:
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=2...

Memory, Mushkin 7-9-7 3x2Gb $170:
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=2...

GPU: EVGA GTX470 $360 (this way, you can do sli later)
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4...

PSU: Corsair 750, modular $140.
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=3...

Case: Cool Master Half-22, $100
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=6...

HDD: WD Caviar Black 500Gb $60
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=1...

Optical Drive: $25

Total: $1415
W/ Tax: $1598.95
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Best solution

July 9, 2010 4:55:04 AM

Not to be pushy, but I better get a best answer out of this when it is all said and done...I haven't gotten one yet, and I just want to get one/kinda think i helped enough to deserve one
Share
July 9, 2010 4:59:21 AM

jrhii said:
Not to be pushy, but I better get a best answer out of this when it is all said and done...I haven't gotten one yet, and I just want to get one/kinda think i helped enough to deserve one



I don't know what this "best answer" is (I just signed up a couple of hours ago), but you difinitely deserve it, as soon as I finish putting this whole thing together, lol.

EDIT: Wait a tick... did you just throw a bunch of hardware in my face that would total close to my budget in the hopes of getting the "best answer"? LOL!
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July 9, 2010 5:18:00 AM

Best answer selected by EMP-Static.
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July 9, 2010 5:19:42 AM

I gave you the "best answer" award. Not sure what it does though, lol. Care to explain? =)
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July 9, 2010 5:33:34 AM

nothing really. It is supposed to save people looking at thread for advice time, by putting the best answer up top...this theory failed here, but oh well. we also get points added to our profile, which is what gives you your rank. (currently, yours is youngster, mine is apprentice.)

I liken it (your ranking) to the Luck attribute in bethesda games, it supposedly has an effect on everything, but I never know when, and I highly doubt its effectiveness.
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July 9, 2010 5:39:27 AM

jrhii said:
nothing really. It is supposed to save people looking at thread for advice time, by putting the best answer up top...this theory failed here, but oh well. we also get points added to our profile, which is what gives you your rank. (currently, yours is youngster, mine is apprentice.)

I liken it (your ranking) to the Luck attribute in bethesda games, it supposedly has an effect on everything, but I never know when, and I highly doubt its effectiveness.


Yeah, I kind of realized it after I gave you the award, sorry, lol. I'm not quite sure what you're talking about in your paragraph...
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