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Building my first PC

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July 15, 2011 7:08:55 PM

Hi,

I'm building my first PC, but I am quite familiar with the components and installation. I have been out of the technology loop for the past few years because of other priorities but I finally have the opportunity to build a dedicated gaming rig. I really want to play games like Crysis 2, Skyrim, and Metro 2033 on max settings, preferably without having to OC (I'll do some in the future when I can replace any burnt out parts, but I am not going to chance it just yet).
Here is what I was looking at:

CPU: Intel i7-960 3.2GHz
MB: GIGABYTE GA-X56A-UD3R
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 6970 2GB
Memory: Corsair DDR3 1600 12GB
Case: Corsair SE White Graphite 600T (Mid ATX tower)
PSU: KINGWIN Lazer 1000W (Mostly for the looks, probably a waste of money..)
Optical: Generic DVD burner
HDD1: SSD 128GB Crucial C300
HDD2: 1TB WD Black
Monitor: Samsung 23" B2330HD
OS1: Windows 7
OS2: Kubuntu 11.04

I will probably get another 6970 next summer to crossfire and really go over the top, but as of right now I am hoping this will be enough to kill any game on the market, or that will come on the market this year.


More about : building

July 15, 2011 7:35:48 PM

It will be a overkill if you use a 6970.
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July 15, 2011 7:51:07 PM

If you want a path to upgrade, dont go with a lga 1366 processor. Get a LGA 1155 motherboard and a i5 2500k. It is newer technology and will perform better for a lower price. You will be able to OC a 2500k much farther than a 960. LGA 155 is dual channel so get 4 or 8 gb of ram. That PSU is overkill, for 6970 crossfire you only need an 850w and you will still have room for OCing
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July 15, 2011 7:55:52 PM

I hope you like a big eletric bill if you get a 850 watt or 1000watt :p 
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July 15, 2011 7:59:13 PM

At this point I am not looking to OC, the only upgrade I hope to do is another 6970.
The PSU is overkill, but its $10 cheaper than the 800w on newegg at the moment, its the only reason I am choosing that model.

In terms of the CPU, I plan on doing some compiling and photo editing as well, its why I'm lured towards the i7 instead of the i5. I am also concerned that in a three or four years the i5 will be obsolete whereas the i7 will be running bottom of the barrel, and thus require an upgrade sooner.

I appreciate the input :) 
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
July 15, 2011 7:59:55 PM

addison said:
I hope you like a big eletric bill if you get a 850 watt or 1000watt :p 


FYI: A psu will expend only the watts it needs, regardless of the ratings.
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July 15, 2011 8:00:19 PM

Get that PSU and wait till you learn if only gives about 600 watts of power. I wouldn't buy any PSU just to show off, we ALWAYS reccomened you get a corsair +80 bronze PSU.
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July 15, 2011 8:03:55 PM

How much wattage would you recommend, even with the addition of another 6970?
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July 15, 2011 8:05:51 PM

Only a 850watt is all you need Blake.
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July 15, 2011 8:07:15 PM

When it comes to gaming there are very few games that can take advantage of more than 3 threads. Because of the lack of software taking advantage of additional threads the value of hyper-threading in both the 1st generation Intel® Core i7 processors and the 2nd generation Intel Core i7 processors don’t add a lot of value to those processors. So right now the best value and performance in a gaming computer is coming from the Intel Core i5-2500K. This processor has a very attractive price point and matches up well with P67 or Z68 boards which only support dual channel member. So to make sure that there is no question about this if you go with the Intel Core i5-2500K you will out before any 1st generation Intel Core processor in a gaming environment and do so least expensively .

Christain Wood
Intel Enthusiast Team
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July 15, 2011 8:07:58 PM

Because there achtually tested and corsair makes AWESOME PSU'S. Corsair is always your best PSU friend.
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July 15, 2011 8:09:12 PM

... Why would he spend 90$ for a 2600k when he could keep the 2500k and get the same performance. Also do you even care about AMD?
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July 15, 2011 8:14:37 PM

Ok, so you've sold me on the 850 PSU, and I'm about to look into 2500k CPU. Which CPU and motherboard would you suggest, keep in mind I'd prefer not to OC just yet.

And I'm not too interested in AMD at the moment, just because I'm considering making a Hackintosh.
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
July 15, 2011 8:16:21 PM

My thoughts:

Today, the sandy bridge processors are more efficient, clock for clock, and will generally give you better performance, regardless of cost than the i7-9xx.
For gaming, there is nothing better than the 2500K. You will save $90 over the i7-960, and get a superior performer as well.

A P67 or Z68 motherboard will be cheaper than a X58 motherboard. It will be compatible with the upcoming 22nm ivy bridge processors. Only a bios/firmware update will be required.

The kingwin 1000 was not so well reviewed at jonnyguru. Do some research there.
An equally strong unit for less is the PC P&C silencer950 $120 after rebate. :
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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July 15, 2011 8:25:04 PM

That does look good! So now one more question before the revised build, 6GB or 8GB of RAM?
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July 15, 2011 8:25:45 PM

4gb is all you need.
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July 15, 2011 8:33:09 PM

In my research I've been reading about people's computer using 4.5GB+... In fact, most of what I read people had suggest 6-8GB, 8+ was overkill.
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July 15, 2011 8:45:25 PM

Really 4 is all you need, because you need good cooling for a a lot of ram.
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
July 15, 2011 8:49:19 PM

Blake330 said:
That does look good! So now one more question before the revised build, 6GB or 8GB of RAM?


Ram is cheap, I suggest a 8gb kit of 2 x 4gb. The Z68 and P67 motherboards will have 4 ram slots, so you are normally looking at either 2 sticks or 4 sticks. That is different from the X58 which will have 6 slots and wants 3 or 6 stick kits.

You want documented ram compatibility. If you should ever have a problem, you want supported ram.
Otherwise, you risk a finger pointing battle between the ram and motherboard support sites, claiming "not my problem".
One place to check is your motherboards web site.
Look for the ram QVL list. It lists all of the ram kits that have been tested with that particular motherboard.
Sometimes the QVL list is not updated after the motherboard is released.
For more current info, go to a ram vendor's web site and access their ram selection configurator.
Enter your motherboard, and you will get a list of compatible ram kits.
While today's motherboards are more tolerant of different ram, it makes sense to buy ram that is known to work and is supported.

Few individual programs will use more than 2gb of ram, but you may have several such programs resident at the same time. Windows will keep things in ram in anticipation of reuse.
Here is a study on the value of 8gb+:
http://blog.corsair.com/?p=65
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July 15, 2011 8:52:16 PM

I also plan on doing photo editing, which is why I was leaning towards the 8GB (I said 6 just because I still had the triple channel stuck in my head).
I will check the list and post my updated setup.
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July 15, 2011 8:58:32 PM

Just out of curiosity, is it worth buying DDR3 2333(as an extreme example) ?
(I still plan on getting 1600)
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July 15, 2011 9:18:44 PM

Alright, so the revised build is:

CPU: Intel i5 2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost)
MB: ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 6970 2GB
Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaw DDR3 1600 8GB
Case: Corsair SE White Graphite 600T (Mid ATX tower)
PSU: Corsair 850W 80+ Bronze
Optical: Generic DVD burner
HDD1: SSD 128GB Crucial C300
HDD2: 1TB WD Black
Monitor: Samsung 23" B2330HD
OS1: Windows 7
OS2: Kubuntu 11.04
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
July 15, 2011 10:29:25 PM

Why do you wnat the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z ? It is intended for triple and quad sli cards, or for record seeking overclockers.

1) It is much more expensive than what a normal user will need.

2) It is an extended ATX size. Will it fit in your case?

3) Here is a normal ASUS ASUS P8Z68-V motherboard that I think will suit your needs at half the price:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Otherwise, things look good
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July 15, 2011 10:42:56 PM

I wish I hadn't seen the Maximus, it has all the bells and whistles and looks like a lot of fun...

I do plan on overclocking at some point, which is a draw towards a board that is designed for it. I had assumed it would, but I will look into it.

How much does the chipset effect gameplay?
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
July 15, 2011 10:50:34 PM

Blake330 said:
I wish I hadn't seen the Maximus, it has all the bells and whistles and looks like a lot of fun...

I do plan on overclocking at some point, which is a draw towards a board that is designed for it. I had assumed it would, but I will look into it.

How much does the chipset effect gameplay?


The chipset has no effect on performance.

Any P67 or Z68 motherboard will overclock a 2500K to reasonable levels which is in the 4.0 to 4.5 range. That is what they are designed to do, and it is simple.
How well you do depends on the cpu chip sample, and not much else.

The current Intel nehalem and sandy bridge cpu's have an excellent integrated ram controller.
It is able to keep the cpu fed with data from any speed ram.

The difference in real application performance or FPS between the fastest and slowest ram is on the order of 1-3%.

Synthetic benchmark differences will be impressive, but are largely irrelevant in the real world.


Fancy heat spreaders are mostly marketing too.


Only if you are seeking record level overclocks should you consider faster ram or better latencies.

DDR3 1600 ram is reasonably priced, that is as good as you need, and perhaps not even that.
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
July 15, 2011 11:03:41 PM

Blake330 said:
I found this, $100 cheaper than the Maximus.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It has PCI 3.0, which the 6970 could take advantage of, since it is 2.1... unless once again I am potentially wasting money.

By the way, I appreciate all of this.


Better, but do you need it's features?

A 6970 will not be limited in a meaningful way by pci-e 2.0, let alone 3.0

Use the newegg comparison listing to see exactly what you get and what you miss from different motherboards.
For example, if you need pata capability, it is present on the asrock board, but not the asus P8Z68-V which has eliminated legacy features.
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July 16, 2011 2:47:35 AM

I hate trying to choose mother boards... I have decided I do want the Z86 from what I've read.

I am trying to figure out what features I will and will not use... Costumer reviews are nice, but there are so many DOA, slow boots, sleep problems, and what have you..

I think the one I've decided on is this one
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
Its an ASRock Z68 Extreme4, the ASUS didn't have support for the CPU turbo boost.
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