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First Computer Build

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March 3, 2011 2:21:47 PM

Hello everyone. New poster to TH but been reading for 2+ years. Never found any need to make any posts because I could either find the answer to my questions or did not have the proper answer to help another individual. I wanted to start out by giving my appreciation ahead of time for (hopefully) the help to come :) 

I work with computers daily being the VP of marketing for my company(which includes a bit of IT/Web). I am familiar with the majority of components and I would say my computer education level is above average so I am not “new” to this industry, but I am “new” to computer building. I have always utilized my company’s Dell account and abused the Dell Outlet, but time and time again I run into problem computers and un-upgradable systems. My reason for building my own PC is to allow myself for future upgrades, by building it I believe I will have a better understanding of it (which helps when things go wrong) and lastly I want the self-satisfying/pride feeling that hey… I built this PC myself  My budget is on the lower side but I don’t want to limit myself either. Somewhere around the $1000 mark is ok (+/- a few )

Ok, enough introduction. Sorry to take that 2 minutes away from your life but I see too many bland posts here about new builds and I always thought it helps to know who you’re talking to before you help them (even just a little bit)

Here we go.
Main purpose for this build is to increase the performance over what I am already using (Dell XPSM1730 laptop). I will be building a desktop and not a laptop this time to save both on $$ and future upgrades. Computer will be used for the majority of adobe products (photoshop, illustrator, premier pro, after effects, etc etc…) and also I see a lot of my free time going to gaming (mainly MMO’s). I have never owned a PC where I can crank the graphics up to Ultra and enjoy 30+ FPS and considering how much time I spend in front of my PC, why not get what I want…

CPU: After a lot of debate I decided to go with the AMD Phenom II x6 Black Edition Thuban 3.2GHz http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I was looking at the i7 but after some research I decided saving the $100 bucks tipped the scale a bit more than a tad extra processing power from the i7. All the reviews I read are positive and for the type of computing I need that processor should exceed my requirements for at least a few years (hopefully).

Cooling/Heat Sync: A good friend recommended the Zalman brand to me although I see a lot of people going coolermaster. My current choice for CPU cooling is this Zalman http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Good choice? Bad Choice? Ok choice? I could do better for the price, etc…

Mobo: I am a bit stuck here but my current choice is the ASUS Crosshair IV Formula mobo, I have read only good reviews (and many of them) which helped my decision. My thoughts is that is overkill. I don’t plan on using SLI or Crossfire (2x graphic cards) so having that technology on the board is a waste to me. What I do like about that board is the options it gives and superior sound capabilities. My lovely gal bought me a nice set of Logitech G930 7.1 surround headphones http://www.logitech.com/en-us/gaming/headsets/devices/7...
and I want to make sure I am utilizing them with a proper sound card. This is one of the few boards that offers above average sound capabilities. The price is a bit high for me but, from what I have researched, this is one of the cheaper MOBO’s that offer the sound capability I want. I wouldn’t mind shaving off $50-75 bucks off the MOBO which will give me some more options on the graphic card but I don’t want to sacrifice the sound capability the crosshair gives. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Graphics: I have always used the Nvidia chipset but I have always been on intel machines. I have read many posts about ATI w/AMD vs. Nvidia w/intel and at the end of the day it seems that the matching does not matter much. As I mentioned I want to run MMO’s on MAX graphics (especially the new RIFT game which has amazing graphics ) and also my various adobe software. As I mentioned above I have never been able to run anything on Ultra in my many years of “gaming” and I want that capability. I don’t need SLI/Crossfire support and I was hoping to keep the cost somewhere between 200 and 300. I think that would allow me to get a superior graphics card. From the reviews I have been reading EVGA seems to be one of the top brands (esp for their software) but I am open to any suggestions. This was the comparison I was looking at but honestly I am a bit lost of comparing the specs

Memory: Obviously this depends on the MOBO I go with but I was looking around 8 gigs (4x2). Do I need 8 gigs? With a 4x240 pin board it only makes sense to get 4x2. Brand’s that I have read good reviews on are corsair and gskill. This is one of the departments that I fall “below average” in my understanding of components. Can I buy 2x3 right for 6 gigs (leaving 2 slots open) and add 2 more slots in later? I am not sure if you need all slots used or can keep some empty.

Let’s see, what other vitals….
Obviously windows 7 64 bit home premium (just to save a few more bucks on the cheaper version of windows)
Was looking at the Corsair CMPSU-750TX 750W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
for a power supply. Most of the video cards require at least 500-550 so I should be ok with 750, right?
Just going to go with a standard $20 CD drive I think the brands I was looking at was ASUS and Lighton. Both were just under 20 bucks.

Undecided on a Case and fans. I don’t need anything flashy but I want a case that will keep cool.

Keyboard/mouse/speakers are all taken care of.

Thanks in advance for all the help everyone 

More about : computer build

March 3, 2011 3:47:09 PM

CPU - 6-Core processing may be a waste right now as there are few programs designed to take advantage of all six cores. That may (or may not) change tomorrow, so it's pretty much a coin toss for me.

Cooling - Unless you intend to over-clock your system, there really isn't a need for a third-party cooling system. The stock heatsink/fan will do just fine. Some people purchase these just because they're quieter, but you'll be using some noise-canceling headphones.

Motherboard - You saved $100 by going with the AMD Hex-Core processor and, IMO, you're throwing it away on the motherboard for the sole purpose of superior sound. I'm no audiophile, so to you, it may be worth it. I think you'd be just fine with a $90-$120 motherboard that has the same SB850 south bridge. Just my opinion though.

Graphics - Really need to know what your monitor resolution is. For NVidia cards, I'll go with EVGA. For ATI cards, I tend towards Sapphire. On the ATI side, I'd look at the HD6870 or HD6950. On the NVidia side, I'd look at the GTX 560 TI. All fall within the $200-$300 range and assume a monitor resolution of 1920x1080/1200.

Memory - 8 Gigs should be fine. I don't see any problems going with 4x2GB memory modules. I don't believe they make 2x3GB modules, but 3x2GB modules (triple channel) are made. Dual-Channel or Triple-Channel depends on the motherboard you finally select. No, you do not need to fill all memory slots. You could go for 2x4GB RAM and later add and additional 2x4GB set of RAM for a total of 16GB of RAM, but that's probably more than you'll ever need with this system.

Power Supply - Good choice. Since you're never going to go with an SLI/Crossfire setup, you could probably drop down to a 650 watt Corsair and save a few bucks, but it never hurts to have a more capable power supply.

Optical Drive - Probably not going to notice any difference between any of them.

Computer Case - Really the only requirement I have for any case that I select is that it has at least one space for a front intake 120mm fan and at least one space for a rear exhaust 120mm fan and a clear airflow. I see a lot of people recommend the CoolerMaster HAF932. If the stock fans are too loud, I generally go with Scythe replacement fans.

Hope this helps and enjoy your build!

-Wolf sends
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March 3, 2011 6:00:59 PM

Wolf

Thanks so much for all the help, comments and your time spent responding to my post. With your comment about the 6 core, it sounds like i should do a bit more research on what CPU to use-yes i fell for the marketing on this one. I have been reading alot about the new SandyBridge i5 2500k chips and how amazing they are, and for only 30 more dollars then the Phenon II x6. I am also reading that getting a MOBO for them right now is "fun" due to a recall on the 1155 chipset boards.

Thanks for your opinion on the MOBO-i was thinking the same thing. Is that extra 100 bucks for the crosshair really worth it if i'm only going to utilize the sound capabilities of it? Guess thats more of a personal question for me.

I have not yet purchased my monitor yet so i do not have a resolution to work with.
Thanks for your recommendations in this department !

You really cleared up a lot of memory questions i had, thank you!Regarding Triple Chanel-i'm going to want to stay away from that, correct? It really only works on the high $$ MOBO's?

I will check out the 650 corsair-a few bucks is a few bucks :) 

Thanks for the tips on choosing a case, sounds like some sound advice :) 

much appreciated sir!
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March 3, 2011 6:25:32 PM

The more expensive i 7 isn't required to get a performance boost over the AMD 6 core. Even the i5 2500k perorms better than that chip at slower clock speeds. It's also very easy (or so I read) to overclock to 4+ GHz on air.

I think for your CPU-intensive tasks (adobe creative suite), you'll appreciate the performance of an intel 2nd generation core processor. Here's a comparison of the i5 2500k and Phenom II x6 1090T:

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/146?vs=288

So I would recommend

i5 2500k ($230)
ASUS P8P67 PRO ($190)
RAM: 8 GB G.Skill 1600 MHz ($100)
Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB ($65)
PSU: XFX 750 W ($100)
Case: HAF 912 ($60), CM 690 II ($80)
GPU: GTX 570 ($315 with rebates)


And that's $1060 with the HAF 912. Gives you the ability to SLI later if you want.
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March 3, 2011 6:37:03 PM

Regarding memory, my wife is a creative professional working on some of those programs, and with big AE projects and the like we have found that having a lot of RAM does make a difference. Price seems similar between 2x4 and 4x2 sets - if you consider yourself a heavy user of these programs (more than playing around) - I'd plan on two sticks of 4g with the thought you you might upgrade later.
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March 3, 2011 6:43:13 PM

mortonww said:
The more expensive i 7 isn't required to get a performance boost over the AMD 6 core. Even the i5 2500k perorms better than that chip at slower clock speeds. It's also very easy (or so I read) to overclock to 4+ GHz on air.

I think for your CPU-intensive tasks (adobe creative suite), you'll appreciate the performance of an intel 2nd generation core processor. Here's a comparison of the i5 2500k and Phenom II x6 1090T:

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/146?vs=288

So I would recommend

i5 2500k ($230)
ASUS P8P67 PRO ($190)
RAM: 8 GB G.Skill 1600 MHz ($100)
Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB ($65)
PSU: XFX 750 W ($100)
Case: HAF 912 ($60), CM 690 II ($80)
GPU: GTX 570 ($315 with rebates)


And that's $1060 with the HAF 912. Gives you the ability to SLI later if you want.



Any idea on when we'll see ASUS 1155 chipset MOBO's again? I know that huge sandybridge 1155 recall just happened. I think there are only 1 or 2 options out right now for the 1155's and they are not top name brands.


Thanks much for the build advice! You don't think there will be any need to upgrade the stock CPU heat sync/fan? (noise aside)
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March 3, 2011 6:44:10 PM

kskerns said:
Regarding memory, my wife is a creative professional working on some of those programs, and with big AE projects and the like we have found that having a lot of RAM does make a difference. Price seems similar between 2x4 and 4x2 sets - if you consider yourself a heavy user of these programs (more than playing around) - I'd plan on two sticks of 4g with the thought you you might upgrade later.



Thanks for the tips :)  i might just take your advice and to 2x4 with the plan to add 2 more 2x4's if i find it necessary.
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March 4, 2011 9:01:57 AM

You definitely don't need a 750W PSU if you don't ever plan on using more than one graphics card. Get one of the following:
Antec Truepower New TPN-650 80Plus Bronze Modular $80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Seasonic S12II Bronze 520 80Plus Bronze $70 ($10 shipping)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you want something Gold rated and don't mind the blue fan then you can get this:
Kingwin Lazer Gold 550W 80Plus Gold Modular. It is based on the Super Flower Golden Green platform, so there's no worries about quality.
$110 ($2 shipping)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Quote:
Cooling/Heat Sync: A good friend recommended the Zalman brand to me although I see a lot of people going coolermaster. My current choice for CPU cooling is this Zalman http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6835118046
Good choice? Bad Choice? Ok choice? I could do better for the price, etc…
You can definitely do better for the price. For instance the Prolimatech Megahalems is one of the best single stacked heatsinks around, much better than a Zalman radial style heatsink, and costs the same after adding a quality 120mm fan.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The Gelid Tranquillo is about $42 and is a reasonable performer and known for being quiet.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

B3 stepping 1155 motherboards may start to become available mid March, but more widely available in April.

Triple channel only works on 1366 motherboards btw.

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March 4, 2011 1:09:06 PM

Thanks Silvune :) 

this is a outstanding community and each reply has educated me just that little bit more.

FYI checked newegg this week in regards to the B31155 MOBO's, they had 4 the other day, sold out of one and brought in a 5th today. Still only Bio/MSI so i'll be waiting for a ASUS to hit the market.

Also-thanks for the suggestions on the powersupply. I don't mind any of the fancy coloring/lights but is 550 going to be ok (a few of the video cards i'm looking at are recommending a 550W supply, is the bare minimum enough?

Thanks much!
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March 4, 2011 2:01:08 PM

I think that you'd have to be looking at some of the most power hungry video cards to justify more than 550W for a single card setup, because peak power consumption on most single card setups is hardly going to be above 300W, usually 200 or 250W, which doesn't stress a good 550W PSU. You may also justify going larger if you are running stressful programs a lot, things like folding and video editing, and maybe leaving them running overnight or things like that.

The recommendation for 550W minimum is taking into account poorer power supplies which are less capable, ones that most self respecting, well enducated hardware enthusiasts would not buy.
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March 8, 2011 3:14:09 PM

Well i made the leap... I think i did ok for my first time.


CPU-Still need to order (Sandy Bridge i5 2500k)
MOBO-still need to order (some P67 Mobo, hopefully ASUS-depends on how long i can wait)
RAM- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Video- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PSU- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
HD - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CD/DVD- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
OS- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CPU Heat Sync-Still need to order (was reccommened Zalman but the above recommendation is also noted prolimatech)
Case- Still need to order (undecided)
Case Fans-Still need to order (undecided)

The above (with rebates) ran 637.12 I think I got us some good deals. Between the instant discounts, promo codes, and rebates I think I knocked off about $90-100 and got some stupid free game with the video cards I’ll never play

Figure the CPU is 230, mobo somewhere around 200, case at 75, Heat Sync at 75, and some random case fans at 30 (total for a few)
Puts the total at ~1200.
A bit more then I wanted to pay, but I have built us a machine that will last 5+ years (hopefully).




Also-to save some money up front question. Can i refrain from buying the heat sync for the CPU if i'm not planning on over clocking it right away? It does come with a stock OEM intel one which I’m sure sucks but will it suffice for the time being. Is it unheard of to install a upgraded heat sync later on. Does it cause issues (when the computer is off of course) to unplug stuff (mobo) and plug it back in (so I could install the heat sync). If I can save 100 bucks I could get myself a better monitor for the time being.

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March 8, 2011 3:19:37 PM

Looks good besides the Hard Drive. The 500 GB Spinpoint F3 is a bit faster. Not a big deal, though. Should be a pretty awesome build. You could wait to get the heatsink to save money, but if you're going to get one eventually, will it be worth the hassle of removing the motherboard possibly, removing thermal grease, applying thermal grease, /then/ mounting the heatsink and replacing everything. Or would it be better to just do it from the start? I personally chose to not buy a heatsink at first when I built mine and I regretted having to tear everything down when I decided I wanted to overclock.

Also, the Hyper 212+ is pretty reasonably priced and performs pretty well at $30. You should check frostytech.com for CPU heatsink reviews and comparisons.
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March 9, 2011 8:33:28 AM

Btw, this is the reason why I don't think the Zalman radial style heatsinks are worth buying: http://www.silentpcreview.com/zalman-9900max-cnps5x

Personally I think the Antec Truepower New TPN-650 would be worth $10 over the Corsair 650TX, at least the old version, as it is more efficient and modular, the upside is that I didn't see any other 650W PSUs for $70.
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March 9, 2011 2:24:01 PM

Yea, regarding the hard drive-i have 2 2TB external's so there was no need for a large internal. Figured i would save the 40 bucks by getting a slightly slower/smaller HD. From what i hear-upgrading the HD is one of the easiest things to do (minus reinstalling software).

I jumped on the Corsair 650TX due to the high amount of positive feedback and the killer deal i got on it. Reg 119.99 and i got it for 69.99 after rebates/combo discounts. I have a feeling i will regret not getting a modular when i am trying to zip tie all the cables to look nice and avoid any fans.

THanks for the Zalman review-i was only taking the advice from one friend but i will be purchasing another style/brand now. Good point on the Heat Sync also-why do it later at the cost of more trouble then doing it right from the start. Maybe i'll take the 40 bucks i saved on the crappy HD and apply it to a nice Heat Sync.

Regarding the Heat sync, i see there are some nice combo deals with the CPU i want to get, anything listed below worth while looking into?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductCombos.aspx?Item=N...

i see a few name brands listed like Therma, Cors, and Antec. I will cross reference those models listed with that website you were so kind to provide me (silentpcreview) but if anybody has any personal positive experience with any of the combo deals listed, saving 10 bucks is saving 10 bucks :) 

as always-thanks for all the help everyone. You have already made my first computer build experience so much better!

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March 9, 2011 2:53:46 PM

Personally I would choose between these two:
Combo with Scythe Mugen 2 Rev B $261
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
SPCR reviewed it and liked the performance but not the mounting, I think there's a possibility Scythe updated the mounting system since then and xbitlabs (another good site for heatsink reviews imo) reviewed it, so you should get a better idea of the mounting system from that.

Combo with Thermaltake Frio $269
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
Comes with fan control knob, so you can adjust the speed of the fan according to your requirements.

The Corsair 650TX hasn't been $120 for quite a while by now, newegg saying that that is it's normal price is just a marketing gimmick, loads of people fall for it.
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March 9, 2011 3:37:35 PM

well, they got a Marketing Director to fall for it. oh well.

Thanks for the combo tips, i'll read into both of them.

Again-can't say enough thanks to the TH community for all the help for a first time builder.

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March 9, 2011 7:51:03 PM

Quote:
the tx 650 was good in its day bu its showing its age the new tx650 v2 is much better but actually quite expensive
Yea, I'm pretty sure there are even some Gold rated ~600W PSUs that cost around the same as the V2. And that's not mentioning the fact that it only has 2 PCI-e connectors still, unlike loads of other 650W PSUs.

I have some concerns about whether the RAM with tall heatspreaders like those Ripjaws will be too tall for either the Scythe Mugen or Frio. I don't know whether they will fit or not, but it is something to consider. However in that xbitlabs review it showed a picture of the Mugen pointing at the ceiling of the case and it looked there was some room between it and the DIMM slots. So maybe if you have that option then it won't be a problem. Another solution if a problem arises is to see if you can install the RAM sticks in the DIMM slots furthest away from the CPU socket.
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March 11, 2011 12:53:14 PM

Returned the board, didnt realize i bought the M (micro atx).



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March 14, 2011 7:20:15 PM

So thanks to everybody's help on Tom's Hardware I bought all of my components. Should have everything by Friday which means a weekend build. Hope i did ok with decisions, pricing, and components. Any thoughts after the fact for a first time computer builder guy ?


CPU Intel i5 2500k http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
219.99

Motherboard ASUS P8P67 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
164.99

CPU Cooler Prolimatech Megahalems http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
64.99

Video Card EVGA GeForce 570 HD http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
307.24

Memory G Skill Ripjaw X Series 2x4 GB (8 total) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
74.99

HD WD Caviar Blue 500GB 7200RPM 3 Gb/s http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
39.99

Power Supply Corsair Enthusiast Series 650 TX http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
69.99

DVD Rom Lite-On 24x http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
22.99

O/S Windows Home Premium 64 bit http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
99.99

Case Cooler Master HAF 932 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
119.98

Extra Fans 2x Apevia 120mm Blue LED case fan http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
17.98

Thermal Compound Arctic Silver 5 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
9.99

All prices included rebates/discounts
1213.11 Subtotal
10.73 Total Shipping
1223.84 Grand Total
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