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First time builder looking for advice

Last response: in Systems
September 27, 2010 1:28:06 AM

Hello everyone,

I have decided it is time to get me a new computer and instead of buying myself a pre-made one I think I want to build me my own. I am completely new to building computers, therefore, any help and advice you can offer is greatly appreciated.

My main goal with the new computer will be playing games like WoW, Call of Duty, and future games like Diablo 3. I am not gunning for top of the line stuff, however I would like to be able to play at 1920/1200 resolution with high settings and maintain a decent frame rate on my new PC.

I have browsed around on the forums and read some articles to try and help find myself some solid components for the PC; browsing newegg this is what I have choosen so far:

Hard drive:
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

ASUS P7P55D-E LX LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

Video Card:
ASUS ENGTX460 DirectCU/2DI/1GD5 GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video ... (2)

Power Supply:
XFX Black Edition P1-750B-CAG9 750W ATX12V v2.2 / ESP12V v2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular ...

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL

Intel Core i5-760 Lynnfield 2.8GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80605I5760

COOLER MASTER HAF X RC-942-KKN1 Black Steel/ Plastic ATX Full Tower Computer Case

Optical Drive:
LITE-ON 24X DVD Writer Black SATA Model iHAS424-98 LightScribe Support

CPU Cooler:
Cooler Master Intel Core i5 compatible Hyper TX3 Socket 775/1156/AMD 130W 92mm "heatpipe direct contact" CPU Cooler RR-910-HTX3-G1

I am honestly unsure of how all of the components will work together, I read the Intel chipsets play nicely with NVIDIA though so I decided to go that route. One of my main concerns is the powersupply I choose, running two graphics cards will that be high enough wattage or will I need to upgrade? I also wonder if 4gb of RAM will be sufficient for what I have in mind.

I thank you all in advance for any and all the help you are able to offer me.

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a b B Homebuilt system
September 27, 2010 3:29:29 AM

Your build is plenty fine.

If you plan on going with a second video card, a minimum would be 850W but ideally you would want 950-1000W. Keep in mind your motherboard does not support dual graphics cards. You will need one with at least two PCI-E slots and that supports SLI if you're going Nvidia route or Crossfire if you're going with ATI. There really is no difference if you use Nvidia on an AMD board or ATI on an intel board so don't worry about matching nvidia/intel and amd/ati.

Unless you use some memory intensive programs, 4gb ram is plenty.
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September 27, 2010 7:37:11 PM

Best answer selected by UPS Panda.
a b B Homebuilt system
September 27, 2010 7:53:52 PM

if you want dual 460's 650 watts will do fine
750 for dual 470's
850 for dual 480's
950 for overclocked 480's
a b B Homebuilt system
September 28, 2010 12:31:36 AM

Actually, that motherboard is not compatible with your CPU. The i5 760 is a socket LGA 1156 and the new mobo you picked has a LGA1366 socket. This one would be a better choice:

It's the "pro" version of the motherboard you originally picked and a bit cheaper than the second one. Also, it seats your CPU and has dual PCI-E slots, spaced for airflow.

The Corsair power supply is a very good quality one and will be plenty for your use. Regarding obsidian86, though it is true for the wattage requirements for the graphics card set up, my reason in recommending going with a higher wattage power supply is so you wouldn't be using the power supply at near 70-80% capacity and more closer to 50-60%. You can go with he smaller wattage if you want but the longevity of the power supply degrades quicker when used at a high percentage of its rated maximum, similar to a car that is driven really hard all the time vs a car driven very lightly. Obviously the car driven lightly would last much longer than the one driven really hard all the time. Another factor in degrading is heat, which any 80 plus bronze certified power supply would not produce much of because of efficiency. Google "80+ certified" for more info on this.

Regarding the dual 460s or single 470, actually a single 460 will allow you to play those games at 1080p at max or near max resolutions. The dual 460s is comparable to a 480 but you can go with a 470 to "future proof" your build by having the option of dropping in another 470 when you feel a single card isn't up to par anymore. It's really up to you, either is plenty overkill and would allow you to play nearly any game at maximum settings on 1080p.
September 28, 2010 2:34:43 AM

The 1000W recommendation seems a little over the top.

While the car analogy sounds good, can you link to evidence that supports the claim? It would really only be useful to know by how much, or about how much, the PSUs life is shortened by running it at full speed all of the time.

Let's assume just for a minute that is a true statement and that it cuts years off the life of the PSU - there are inconsistencies in the analogy and assumptions that may not be valid here.

In your analogy the car is driven hard all the time. But for OPs stated use cases, it is more likely that the PSU will not be running near max all the time. The real analogy would then be how long does a car last when driven near max some of the time. And who cares about analogies, how long does a PSU last when you sometimes approach its max raitng? Is there a big difference in lifespan if you hit 95% 5 hours a day, 7 days a week vs. 95% 3 hours a day, 4 days a week?

Also your target range of 50%-60% with 1000W would mean running at 500-600W. In reviews this range was only hit when OCed and stressed with Furmark. Under more likely worst-case use, Crysis, the OCed cards hit in the 426-445W range. At the same time, when idle the SLI cards (not OCed) sat around 173W. So typical use puts SLI'ed cards between 170 and 445 W. Then even at a 50-60% range a 1000W PSU is overkill.

445W/0.60 = 741.7W. So with a target of 50-60%, a 750W PSU would still be sufficient. But it's going to be overkill for a machine not running at 100% for 100% of the time.

In a closer to real life use case, playing Crysis full bore but not all the time, with OCed SLI cards pulling a system 450W - even on a 650W PSU you're just under 70%. Is that really so close to max that a 1000W PSU is warranted?