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Feedback requested

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March 14, 2011 11:23:16 PM

Hi! I know you get asked similar questions constantly because I've been checking the posts for about a week or two now. But I would really appreciate some feedback on a build that I am thinking about ordering. I am not a PC expert by any means, although I have tried to do some research on various components. I am just not all that familar with mobos and all the connections.

My goal is to get a decent computer that will hopefully run fine for several years before any changes or upgrades need to be done, and to learn to do upgrades myself one part at a time rather than to try to build the entire thing myself from the start. That's a little too intimidating for me. It will be used for some gaming, mostly Sims 3, and home enterainment, but could be used to do some freelance work in the future but nothing graphic intensive. I would prefer wireless internet access but am rather clueless about the type of wireless doo-hicky to add. (Did I mention I wasn't techie? I learn pretty fast, though. :D  )

I was thinking about something like the following, and am interested in feedback on the components and whether they will all work together well. Also, CP has some new MB's listed that support onboard video but I am partial to NVidia and can't imagine using onboard graphics at this point, but I'd be interested in your thoughts because OTOH I will probably not be overclocking. The memory comes standard on this build (which is the P67 configurator), I didn't add it. Thanks for any help!

•*BASE_PRICE: [+715]
•BLUETOOTH: None
•CARE1: Ultra Enhanced Packaging Solution - Protect Your Dream System During Transit [+19]
•CAS: Apevia X-Dreamer 3 Mid-Tower Gaming Case w/ Side-Panel Window & Temperature Display (Black Color with Black Ring & Blue LED Fan)
•CASUPGRADE: None
•CD: 24X Double Layer Dual Format DVD+-R/+-RW + CD-R/RW Drive (BLACK COLOR)
•CD2: None
•CPU: Intel® Core™ i5-2500K 3.30 GHz 6M Intel Smart Cache LGA1155 (All Venom OC Certified)
•CS_FAN: Default case fans
•FA_HDD: None
•FAN: CoolerMaster Hyper TX3 Gaming CPU Cooling Fan [-6]
•FLASHMEDIA: INTERNAL 12in1 Flash Media Reader/Writer [+10] (BLACK COLOR)
•GLASSES: None
•HDD: 1TB SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 16MB Cache 7200RPM HDD (Single Hard Drive)
•HDD2: None
•IEEE_CARD: None
•KEYBOARD: Xtreme Gear (Black Color) Multimedia/Internet USB Keyboard
•MB_ADDON: None
•MEMORY: 8GB (2GBx4) DDR3/1600MHz Dual Channel Memory Module (Corsair or Major Brand)
•MONITOR: None
•MONITOR2: None
•MONITOR3: None
•MOTHERBOARD: * [CrossFireX] GigaByte GA-P67A-UD3-B3 Intel P67 Chipset DDR3 ATX Mainboard w/ 7.1 HD Audio, GbLAN, USB3.0, 2x SATA-III RAID, 2 Gen2 PCIe, 3 PCIe X1 & 2 PCI [B3 Stepping]
•MOUSE: Coolermaster Storm Inferno Wired 4000 DPI Storm Tactical Laser Sensor Gaming Mouse
•MULTIVIEW: Non-SLI/Non-CrossFireX Mode Supports Multiple Monitors
•NCSW: None
•NETWORK: Onboard Gigabit LAN Network
•OS: Microsoft® Windows® 7 Home Premium [+104] (64-bit Edition)
•OVERCLOCK: No Overclocking
•POWERSUPPLY: * 850 Watts - Thermaltake TR2 RX Modular 80 Plus PSU - PN: W0319RU [+96]
•RUSH: 5% Instant Rebate for Non-Rush Delivery Order over $999 - Ships within 3 Weeks - Must Enter Coupon Code "NORUSH" during checkout
•SERVICE: STANDARD WARRANTY: 3-YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY PLUS LIFE-TIME TECHNICAL SUPPORT
•SOUND: HIGH DEFINITION ON-BOARD 7.1 AUDIO
•SPEAKERS: None
•TEMP: None
•TVRC: None
•USB: Built-in USB 2.0 Ports
•USBFLASH: None
•USBHD: None
•USBX: None
•VC_PHYSX: None
•VIDEO: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 1GB 16X PCIe Video Card [+120] (Major Brand Powered by NVIDIA)
•VIDEO2: None
•VIDEO3: None
•WNC: Zonet ZEW1642S IEEE 802.11b/g/n 300Mbps PCI Wireless Adapter Network Card [+29]
•_PRICE: (+1087)

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March 15, 2011 4:36:19 PM

To begin, I'm going to try to push you towards building it yourself. The main reasons are pretty simple. It's cheaper, you get more customization and it's a great knowledge building experience. Luckily for the novice, there are millions of guides on how to build a PC. My personal favorite (and the one I use when I need a refresher) is the one at the top of the forum through the stickies. The process of building is extremely simple, and only takes 2-3 hours, plus the installation of Windows (another hour or so). The hardest part is picking out the right parts, but you've already found a great source for help. I'll show what you could be getting if you build it yourself down below.

As for the build you're looking at, I've got some changes.

The major problem I see is that you've choosen a very bad PSU. Thermaltake's units are pretty much some of the lowest quality you can find. You want to stick to Corsair, Antec, Silverstone, SeaSonic or XFX for the best quality. The other issue is that you picked a simply massive unit. If you were going to try to SLI (run dual nVidia cards) with the GTX 460 1 GB, you'd only need a 650W at most.

The second major problem is that you picked a board that won't support SLI (or Crossfire, AMD's version of the tech). The board has two PCIe 2.0 slots (what video cards use), but the second one is restricted to a 4x speed. The "normal" speed is 16x. What this means is that the second PCIe 2.0 slot is essentially useless. To be useful for SLI, it needs to run at speeds of at least 8x. 4x simply doesn't cut. So you can either switch the board to something like the ASRock P67 Extreme4 or Asus P8P67 Pro or you can drop the PSU down to a 450-550W unit.

Next, if you don't want to overclock, you don't need an aftermarket cooler. If that's not an option, I wouldn't get anything cheaper than the Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus or Scythe Mugen 2 Rev. B (SCMG-2100).

After that, I'd drop Windows. You can find it for cheaper online (typically $90-100 with free shipping). No reason to pay them more than you need to.

Finally, the case you've picked is an extremely low end one. I don't know what's available, but I typically recommend the Rosewill Challenger (or Destroyer), Antec 300 (or 300 Illusion), or Coolermaster 690 for lower end builds.

So here's what I'd do with $1,100 (or your uses):

CPU: i5-25000K $220
Mobo: ASRock P67 Extreme4 $150. This hasn't been re-released with B3 stepping, but it should be out soon. I can find a different similar board if you want it now, but it'd likely be $180-190 (or if you don't want SLI, I can find another)
RAM: Corsair XMS 2x4 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 9 $85 after rebate
HDD/OS: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB and Windows 7 Home 64-bit OEM $160
GPU: GTX 460 1 GB $158 after rebate and shipping (with a free game)
PSU: XFX 650W $60 after rebate
Case: Rosewill Challenger $55
Optical: Cheapest SATA DVD burner $18 (with free shipping promo)

Total: $996, before $20 in promo codes and $70 in rebates ($906 after all discounts and shipping). Add $30 for the wireless card and another $50+ for a mouse/keyboard, and you've got a final total around $1,000 for a build with similar performance, but with a higher quality case and PSU, plus a better upgrade path (SLI).
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March 15, 2011 10:37:03 PM

Hi, thanks for replying!

I have considered trying to build it myself but I don't know...I will read the guide you mentioned. And think about it some more, because it sounds like I have some time to do that since you are saying the new updated motherboards for the i5 2500k are rather scarce right now? I read about the issues and the recalls, and I looked at what was available on Newegg today and it does look like several are sold out, including the one you mentioned. I probably won't try to set up SLI now but wouldn't mind having that as an option for the future.

Second, thanks for letting me know about the fan. I knew I didn't want liquid cooling but wasn't sure if I needed to substitute, and I take your answer for a no. stock cooling fans that come with the case are sufficient. Speaking of the case, yeah, it's ugly, but that was just the default one that comes with the build. Also, I appreciate the feedback about the power supply. I know it's larger than what I need now but there was a $30 rebate and I thought it might be good to have extra power for future graphics upgrades, but I do think I'll go with a 750 watt, and if I do decide to go with Cyberpower in the end I'll pick the corsair, since they don't offer the other brands you mentioned.

You are making me reconsider that build-your-own thing again. It seems like it's really the only way to get exactly the components you want. Thank you very much for taking the time to provide some feedback and advice, I appreciate it!

ETA: One other thing if you revisit this post - I noticed the graphics card you referenced is overclocked. Is that a good thing or bad thing, or does it matter either way?
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March 16, 2011 1:53:32 AM

I expect the LGA1155 boards to either be sold out or have limited options for a couple of weeks. However, you should be able to snag one fairly early if you regularly check the retailers.

You don't need an aftermarket CPU cooler until you start overclocking. If you're worried about noise, it would be a good idea to pick up an aftermaket cooler, as the stock CPU fans can be pretty loud.

GPU overclockig doesn't really matter one way or the other. I typically avoid the factory overclocked cards simply because they're typically more expensive for something that you can do yourself with a couple mouse clicks. However, in this case, I was just looking for a cheaper model. As there is very little difference between brands and models, with a few exceptions, I generally recommend either one of the cheaper models or one with an amazing warranty (like XFX's double lifetime warranty).
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March 16, 2011 10:55:00 PM

All good to know. With all the trouble in Japan, I sure hope components don't become even more scarce. Thanks again for all your help.

ETA: Just realized this may have sounded a bit insensitive! Sure didn't mean it that way; I'd sure rather do without a new computer than go through what the Japanese people are going through right now.
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March 16, 2011 10:55:19 PM

Best answer selected by Tangie.
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