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Clueless First Timer Asking Dumb Questions

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January 28, 2011 7:41:57 PM

First off, thanks for everybody who takes the time to read and respond.

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Purchase Date: ASAP

Budget: Close to $1000 without monitor, but I can go over by a couple hundred for good value.

Uses: Gaming (Empire Total War Shogun 2, Black Ops), plus playing movies, music, ordinary stuff.

Parts not required: Mouse, Keyboard.

Website: Newegg.

Country: USA, baby.

Overclocking: I'd like the option in the future, but doing my first build is enough of a challenge right now.

SLI/Crossfire: Need advice here. Don't know if I'll need it right away, but again maybe I'll want the option for the future.
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CPU: I'm pretty sold on the Intel 2500k, given the general consensus here that it's a good value.

Mobo: I know I want an 1155 P67, but I have no real idea beyond that.

GPU: [tumbleweed rolls by] No clear ideas here.

PSU: Again, help me!

Storage: Don't think I'll need an SSD right now. Any ideas on a good 1TB drive?

Cooler: If I'm not overclocking at the start, do I need an aftermarket CPU cooler or extra fans? Will I need thermal paste if I'm not OC'ing until later?

Case: Again, with no OC'ing, can I get by with just case cooling? My primary concern is getting a case that cools well and fits everything. After that, I just want a boring black case w/o LEDs and the like.

Optical: No need for Blu-ray.

Monitor: Could also use advice on a 1920x1080 20 incher or so. No need to factor that into my base budget right now.

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Obv, I need some basic advice. I'm confident I can read the guides and get the thing assembled, but I need help on parts and compatibility. Thanks in advance!


January 28, 2011 8:03:20 PM

CPU: i5-2500K $225
Mobo: I like either the ASRock P67 Extreme4 ($153) or the Asus P8P67 Pro ($190)
RAM: Any DDR3 2x2 GB kit that isn't from OCZ. I like Corsair's XMS3 1600 mhz CAS Latency 9 kit for $40 after rebate.
GPU: HD 6950 $260 after rebate
PSU: Antec Earthwatts 750W $80
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB $60
HSF: You don't need an aftermarket cooler until you start overclocking. You never need extra case fans, and thermal paste isn't necessary.
Case: HAF 922 $100. It has LEDs, but it's easily the best case out there. I also think you can turn off the LEDs.
Optical: Literally the cheapest SATA DVD burner you can find. $17 right now.

Total: $972 with the Asus board. $935 with the ASRock.

I'd probably go with the ASRock board and go ahead an pick up the Scythe Mugen 2 Rev. B for $40. You don't need an aftermarket HSF until you overclock, but if you wait to add it, you'll have to do a lot of extra work to install it. It's just easier to have it to start with.
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January 28, 2011 8:24:24 PM

CPU ... if you can go up to the 2600k I'd do that (if you do any kind of video / audio encoding). If not then stick with the 2500k

CPU Cooler ... COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 (great for the price and LGA 1156 coolers fit LGA 1155 boards)

MB ... ASUS P8P67 PRO LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard (read about it http://www.anandtech.com/show/4130/the-battle-of-the-p6...)

GPU ... listing the games that you want to play, almost any mid range (GTX 460 1GB / Radeon 5770) should do well at 1080P settings with most eye candy on. If you want a good card for now and a cheaper SLI / Crossfire down the road, then there are a few options. Below are more powerful choices.

GTX 560 - MSI N560GTX-TI Twin Frozr II/OC GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

Radeon 6950 - SAPPHIRE 100312SR Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity (which can be flashed to give 6970 performance and is more "future proof" with 2GB frame buffer)

PSU ... CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply (one place NOT to skimp)

HDD ... SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive (very good drive, have 2 setup in RAID1)

Case ... Antec Six Hundred Black Computer Case

RAM ... Patriot Gamer 2 Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model PGD38G1333ELK (I'm going to assume 64bit OS here ... really any memory from Patriot, Corsair, GSkill, etc will work but this set matches the color scheme of the MB)

DVD ... Sony Optiarc Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA CD/DVD Burner - OEM (really pick any of them under $20)

Monitor ... ASUS VH242H Black 23.6" 5ms HDMI Full 1080P Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 1000:1 (ASCR 20000:1)

Total comes to around roughly $1040 with the GTX 560 and $1080 with the Radeon 6950. If you add the monitor then about another $180 (not including shipping / Win 7). You might be able to find some combo deals / coupons to lower the overall cost.

Hope this helps
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January 28, 2011 8:44:15 PM

Hello dwightzinfandel,

2500K: If you can get it from microcenter, I would.. they're currently $175
save you a few dollars there.

I can give you some insight on how I chose to build my system.
Especially the thought I gave to motherboard choice.
I was deciding between the ASUS P8P67 Pro vs the MSI P67A-GD65.
I chose the MSI P67A-GD65 because at least in 1 review I read(and remember) it beat the ASUS board at stock speeds.
http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/motherboards/2011/01/1...
(in the end the review recommended the ASUS board over the MSI board)

I am in the same situation, where overclocking *might* be in my future but I'm not particularly brave with computer parts so I probably won't. So, importance to me goes to how good/fast at stock is the product. Now, we're not talking about huge margins for the MSI board but it did beat out the ASUS board.


To expand on MadAdmiral said about the fans/thermal paste and stuff.
The HAF is a high airflow case designed pretty darn well to direct good airflow through the case. Airflow is more important than bulk air.

The stock HSF will have a little sticky thermal pad on it that you can use, since you're not overclocking it will be enough to keep things under control.
If you decide later that you want to overclock you can pick up a good HSF/thermal compound as a starter kit for about $50. If you want to "futureproof" your choice later in case you decide to go for it.
Scythe SCMG-2100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Shin etsu G751
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Again, not necessary unless you want to have a hassle free option for later.

LG DVD burner... $16
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU: eVGA GTX560
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I offer you a different choice from MadAdmiral, mainly because I've always been happy with nVIDIA cards, and eVGA offers a fantastic warranty and step up program(which I made use of with the 8800GTS a few years back). customer support was top notch and the RMA for the step up was agony(waiting) but very timely. Both are great options, I just wanted to present a choice to you.

I've trusted corsair PSUs for my last 2 builds, and I would highly recommend one to you. After I had a PSU fry out(it was an antec) and take all of the components attached to it.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
its a little more money but personally, I find it worth it.

Hope this helps
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January 28, 2011 10:02:53 PM

hello everyone

why is everyone choosing the asus pro board over the deluxe version?

i know the deluxe version is like 40 bucks more, but seems to have more options and comes with a actual usb 3.0 front panel box.

i'm still debating myself but the case i like has a usb 3.0 on the front but looks to use a wire going through the case to the back and plugging in there, so with that board it gives me 3 usb 3.o's on the front.

i agree with the others i'd go with the 2600k, i think you'll find it worth the extra money especially if you do anything that can take advantage of the hyper threading, i originally was looking at the 2500k because its reported as the best bang for the buck.

with my new build i have a feeling my weakest component is the video card, i don't plan on upgrading it since i don't do heavy gaming, and its listed better than the intel hd 3000 on charts.

i hope i've been able to help out some and i look forward to hearing about the reasons for choosing the pro over the deluxe version fo the asus board, from looking at a comparison it looks like there is a lot more on the deluxe version, what all does it do different i don't know, i've not looked at the Manuel deeply yet, i'm still waiting for conformation that the asus boards do the hyper threading, its not listed anywhere they support it, but in the bios has an option for it.
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January 28, 2011 11:10:37 PM

There isn't much difference between the Pro and the Deluxe except for $50. You don't need to pay more than that.

There aren't any good case with USB 3.0 headers, making that feature on a board useless.
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January 30, 2011 6:30:51 PM

Thanks to everybody for your help!
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!