Building my first computer

Hey there, I’m thinking of building my first computer soon and I’ve got a rough parts list sorted. Here's what I'm planning to buy, sorted by shop:

Yoyotech
CPU: Core i5-2500K - £156.68
Case: Antec Dark Fleet DF-30 - £77.90
RAM: G.Skill F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM - £74.92
Video Card: Radeon HD 6950 2 GB - £198
SSD: Crucial 256GB M4 SSD - £352.13

DCL Digital Components
Optical Drive: Pioneer BDR-206DBK - £103.37

Amazon
Motherboard: ASRock Z68 Extreme4 - £142.52
Power Supply: Seasonic SS-850HT - £148

http://www.awd-it.co.uk
Heatsink: Xigmatek Gaia SD1283 - £19.40

I've got a few questions before I start:
1. I want this thing to run Crysis at Max spec. Do I need to make any changes to the build?

2. The reason I'm looking at the ASRock Z68 Extreme4 is because it was recommended here: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/toms-hardware-supercombo,2973.html. Is this the same motherboard, and is there any brick an mortar shop that sells them in London? http://www.amazon.co.uk/AsrockZ68-Extreme4-Motherboard-Supports-CrossFireX/dp/B0050DQSLW/

3. Likewise, can I get that power supply and heatsink in a brick and mortar store in London?

4. As well as the SSD, I also want lots of storage. I was looking at Ars Technica's God Box (http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/guides/2011/03/ars-system-guide-march-2011-edition.ars/4) and they recommended the Hitachi Ultrastar 7K3000 3TB. I can't find any of them anywhere, and I'm not sure if that would give me the right sort of bang for my buck, or if I need that sort of speed for a storage drive. Any recommendations? Also, I'm not using a RAID array. They scare me. I'm happy using multiple storage drives, though.

5. Do I need any more cooling? (I'm not using water cooling by the way. I've had a light socket get submerged in water and that’s more than enough suggestion as to why not to put water in computers.)

6. I also have an old Dell Dimension E520 I got 4 years ago, which will probably gather dust once I've got this thing built and running. Can I take any parts out and put them into my new computer? If you want to know what parts it's got just tell me how I can find out, because I don't have a clue :p

7. And finally, do I need to add anything to connect to my bluetooth devices? I want to use my Android phone as a remote.

Thanks in advance for any help.
13 answers Last reply
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  1. First off, your pc build is fine.
    If you wanted to run crysis at max settings you can, for a higer FPS tho i'd grab a second 6950.

    As for where to buy your stuff, i wouldnt know because im not from London.

    For cooling, just fill your computer with case fans. As you didnt hint to overclocking the addition fans will do fine.

    And for reuseing your old computer, at most i would ever take is the cd drive but ur getting a Blue ray drive so theres no point.

    And as far as your bluetoothing goes i dont know
  2. Comments about your build: Which radeon 6950 2gb will you get? Is this a reference card or an aftermarket card?

    SSD, PS, CPU Cooler, Ram, and everything else looks great.

    1) If that is your goal,no.
    2) That is a good board, I am about to order myself that board too
    3) What PSU you get, stick with corsair, seasonic, antec as those are the most reliable options
    4) Samung spinpoint f3 1tb is the best 1tb drive out there. The desktar drives are very loud. The spinpoints are cheap so maybe you can get 2 or them or even 3. You could also look into the western digital caviar black 2tb drives.
    5) depends on how much you want to OC your processor, video card, and ram
    6) depends...optical drives and hard drives that have sata cables should not be a problem. Since memory is cheap, I would suggest to just go buy new memory unless you have 1600 DDR3 memory in you dell.
    7) You need a bluetooth dongle like this:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833320057

    Hope this helps.
  3. chillin15 said:
    Comments about your build: Which radeon 6950 2gb will you get? Is this a reference card or an aftermarket card?

    SSD, PS, CPU Cooler, Ram, and everything else looks great.

    1) If that is your goal,no.
    2) That is a good board, I am about to order myself that board too
    3) What PSU you get, stick with corsair, seasonic, antec as those are the most reliable options
    4) Samung spinpoint f3 1tb is the best 1tb drive out there. The desktar drives are very loud. The spinpoints are cheap so maybe you can get 2 or them or even 3. You could also look into the western digital caviar black 2tb drives.
    5) depends on how much you want to OC your processor, video card, and ram
    6) depends...optical drives and hard drives that have sata cables should not be a problem. Since memory is cheap, I would suggest to just go buy new memory unless you have 1600 DDR3 memory in you dell.
    7) You need a bluetooth dongle like this:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833320057

    Hope this helps.


    He can max it out but he'll have a shitty fps
  4. starravier said:
    He can max it out but he'll have a shitty fps


    That depends on what resolution he is running in. If he is running in 1080 res, he should be fine with a fps on average of anywhere between 40-60.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/crysis-2-performance-best-graphics-card-multiplayer,2901-5.html
  5. I have an MSI Reference 6950 2GB + i5-2500K and don't have any stuttering on max in Crysis 2, and I've got playable framerates on Arma 2 on max settings.

    The Extreme4 is a solid board - I was going to get the P67 Extreme4 but I found this Gigabyte UD4 for less on a forum.

    +1 to the Samsung F3. It's the fastest drive out there - I got my Hitachi drives back when the F3 was ~$75, so they were a bargain. I'd pick an F3 now, for sure.

    Your CPU cooler will support pretty good OCs; it's very similar to the Cooler Master Hyper 212+ in performance, and I've heard people hit 4.5+ GHz on the older and hotter i7-900 CPUs. As long as your case airflow is set up efficiently, you'll have plenty of cooling.

    Water cooling isn't bad for your computer, just FYI ;) My 6950 sits at 40C :D
  6. Quote:
    Which radeon 6950 2gb will you get? Is this a reference card or an aftermarket card?

    There's more than one? :o I don't know what reference and aftermarket mean, but I’m assuming that the card I'm planning to get (this one - http://www.yoyotech.co.uk/item-detail.php?products_id=4374278) is a reference and ones based on it are aftermarket. Based on advice so far, I’m thinking I'll get one card, then upgrade to two if I’m not satisfied with the performance. You can do that right?
    Quote:
    3) What PSU you get, stick with corsair, seasonic, antec as those are the most reliable options

    I'll take a look at PSUs from those brands.
    Quote:
    4) Samung spinpoint f3 1tb is the best 1tb drive out there. The desktar drives are very loud. The spinpoints are cheap so maybe you can get 2 or them or even 3. You could also look into the western digital caviar black 2tb drives.


    I'll check out the spinpoints. They look like they've got pretty good value, and if I decide I don't want 3TB storage right off the bat I can always upgrade when need that extra space.
    Quote:
    5) depends on how much you want to OC your processor, video card, and ram

    I haven't got to overclocking yet, and I didn't actually know you could OC RAM. I'm planning to OC what I can, but as I’ve never done it before I'll try and tread lightly. Is there anything else you can OC which I didn't know about?
    Quote:
    I would suggest to just go buy new memory unless you have 1600 DDR3 memory in you dell

    I'm not sure what 1600 DDR3 actually means (I like to think Dance Dance Revolution is involved), but I’ve got a validation page which I believe might shed some light on the issue: http://valid.canardpc.com/show_oc.php?id=1932645
    It says DDR2. Can I not put that in my new PC, and do I need to upgrade Dance Dance Revolution?
    The Extreme4 is a solid board - I was going to get the P67 Extreme4 but I found this Gigabyte UD4 for less on a forum
    Quote:

    Is this the motherboard you're talking about? http://www.yoyotech.co.uk/item-detail.php?products_id=4373859

    Is there any difference between it and the ASRock Z68 Extreme4? I honestly can't figure out what difference a motherboard makes apart from what sockets they have.
    Quote:
    Water cooling isn't bad for your computer, just FYI ;) My 6950 sits at 40C :D

    Yes, I know water cooling isn't bad for your computer PROVIDED NOTHING LEAKS. Given the previous incident with the lightbulb, and the time when I was a kid and the roof had to be replaced after a leak destroyed my bed, I’m not gambling when it comes to leaks.

    Now going to look into some of that stuff, thanks for the help guys!
  7. Quote:
    There's more than one? :o I don't know what reference and aftermarket mean, but I’m assuming that the card I'm planning to get (this one - http://www.yoyotech.co.uk/item-detail.php?products_id=4374278) is a reference and ones based on it are aftermarket. Based on advice so far, I’m thinking I'll get one card, then upgrade to two if I’m not satisfied with the performance. You can do that right?


    That is an aftermarket card (it's based on the cooler - custom cooler = aftermarket PCB design). Here's what a reference card looks like: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127555

    You can add a second GPU provided the motherboard supports Crossfire (AMD) or SLI (NVidia), which most of the new ones do. Previously, there weren't enough PCI Express lanes to allow for too many slots; nowadays, we've getting plenty. The ASRock and Gigabyte boards that had been linked both support CF/SLI.


    Quote:
    3) What PSU you get, stick with corsair, seasonic, antec as those are the most reliable options

    I'll take a look at PSUs from those brands.

    That Seasonic you have listed should do fine, especially for 2x6950s. If you can find something just as reputable but cheaper, I'd go with that.

    Quote:
    5) depends on how much you want to OC your processor, video card, and ram

    I haven't got to overclocking yet, and I didn't actually know you could OC RAM. I'm planning to OC what I can, but as I’ve never done it before I'll try and tread lightly. Is there anything else you can OC which I didn't know about?

    You can OC the northbridge (at least, you used to), and the Intel HD Graphics, but for the average user there's no reason. Really only the OCed CPU makes a difference. If you start benching hardcore (literally boosting performance to get more points in benchmarks), then OCing everything becomes important.

    With the new i5-2500K, it's much easier. Many users have reported getting 4 GHz simply by increasing the core multiplier without a change in voltage.

    Quote:
    I would suggest to just go buy new memory unless you have 1600 DDR3 memory in you dell

    I'm not sure what 1600 DDR3 actually means (I like to think Dance Dance Revolution is involved), but I’ve got a validation page which I believe might shed some light on the issue: http://valid.canardpc.com/show_oc.php?id=1932645
    It says DDR2. Can I not put that in my new PC, and do I need to upgrade Dance Dance Revolution?

    DDR stands for "double data rate" ;)

    You need DDR3 memory, not DDR2, so the old RAM is useless here. That RAM you had listed initially will be perfect.

    Quote:
    The Extreme4 is a solid board - I was going to get the P67 Extreme4 but I found this Gigabyte UD4 for less on a forum

    Is this the motherboard you're talking about? http://www.yoyotech.co.uk/item-detail.php?products_id=4373859
    Is there any difference between it and the ASRock Z68 Extreme4? I honestly can't figure out what difference a motherboard makes apart from what sockets they have.


    Well I have the P67 version and not the Z68, but yes they're basically what I was talking about. In general, each board tends to have different features, different port layouts, and different extra components (some have better NICs built in, others have hard power/reset buttons for benchers, etc.). The Gigabyte and ASRock boards you have there are basically the same.

    Quote:
    Water cooling isn't bad for your computer, just FYI ;) My 6950 sits at 40C :D

    Yes, I know water cooling isn't bad for your computer PROVIDED NOTHING LEAKS. Given the previous incident with the lightbulb, and the time when I was a kid and the roof had to be replaced after a leak destroyed my bed, I’m not gambling when it comes to leaks.


    Watercooling these days is actually pretty simple; leak-proof O-rings are now standard (didn't use to be - had to use plumbers tape sometimes, which didn't always work), and as long as you attach the fittings properly (as simple as turning a screw), you're solid.

    Also, you always leak test before attaching the system to the hardware ;)
  8. So I would stick with your seasonic psu, stick with the asrockz68 extrme4 mobo, stick with the 6950 2gb (one of them and if you do not like the performance, get another one), get a bluetooth dongle (the one I linked you to), not use any parts from your old dell in your new system, and watch these videos from newegg:

    Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPIXAtNGGCw
    Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_56kyib-Ls&feature=relmfu
    Part3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxaVBsXEiok&feature=relmfu

    Also, if you are uncomfortable with water cooling, I would opt for just using case fans.

    As far as OC'ing, I would read up on OC'ing but if you are looking for a quick OC, you can just OC your processor to something mild like 3.8ghz without touching voltage.
  9. OK, I've had a look at your suggestions and revised my parts list a little. The only real changes are in bold though.

    Yoyotech
    CPU: Core i5-2500K - £156.68
    Case: Antec Dark Fleet DF-30 - £77.90
    RAM: G.Skill F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM - £74.92
    Video Card: Radeon HD 6950 2 GB - £198
    SSD: Crucial 256GB M4 SSD - £352.13
    HDD: Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB - £118.18
    Motherboard: GA-Z68XP-UD4 - £165.59
    Power Supply: CMPSU-850AXUK - £149.32


    DCL Digital Components
    Optical Drive: Pioneer BDR-206DBK - £103.37

    http://www.awd-it.co.uk
    Heatsink: Xigmatek Gaia SD1283 - £19.40

    As you can see I'm getting nearly all of my parts from Yoyotech now, based on the fact that they're brick and mortar and I can take things back fairly easily if I need to. The only part I’m buying online is the heatsink, which is not only cheap but not too likely to go wrong. (ohgod I just jinxed it didn't I?)

    For the HDD I was about to get the Spinpoint, then I realised its by Samsung who I’m not too keen on. So I looked at the Caviar Black, but then saw the Caviar Green and thought, do I really need top performance if I’m running all my games/software off an SSD? So I went with the Green for better power consumption/cost per gigabyte.

    For the motherboard I picked the Gigabyte UD4 even though it's slightly more expensive, just because I can buy it brick and mortar.

    As for the power supply, I went with the CMPSU-850AXUK for the 80PLUS Gold certification.

    Quote:
    You can OC the northbridge (at least, you used to), and the Intel HD Graphics, but for the average user there's no reason. Really only the OCed CPU makes a difference. If you start benching hardcore (literally boosting performance to get more points in benchmarks), then OCing everything becomes important.

    uHH, I don't actually know what northbridge is seeing as I haven't done much research into overclocking yet, but I guess I’ll...
    :sol:
    ...cross that bridge when I get to it.
    YEAAAAAAAAH!
    Quote:
    Watercooling these days is actually pretty simple; leak-proof O-rings are now standard (didn't use to be - had to use plumbers tape sometimes, which didn't always work), and as long as you attach the fittings properly (as simple as turning a screw), you're solid.

    OK, one, you call it leak-proof. They called the Titanic unsinkable. And two, as simple as turning a screw? Yeah, I know I’d get that wrong somehow.
    Quote:

    Thanks! That’s actually really useful! I've only seen part one so far, and I didn’t know about 80 plus before I saw that. I'll have a look through the others when I get time and talk about it then if I’ve got any questions.
  10. Quote:
    Yoyotech
    CPU: Core i5-2500K - £156.68
    Case: Antec Dark Fleet DF-30 - £77.90
    RAM: G.Skill F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM - £74.92
    Video Card: Radeon HD 6950 2 GB - £198
    SSD: Crucial 256GB M4 SSD - £352.13
    HDD: Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB - £118.18
    Motherboard: GA-Z68XP-UD4 - £165.59
    Power Supply: CMPSU-850AXUK - £149.32


    DCL Digital Components
    Optical Drive: Pioneer BDR-206DBK - £103.37

    http://www.awd-it.co.uk
    Heatsink: Xigmatek Gaia SD1283 - £19.40

    I'd call that pretty solid.

    Quote:
    As you can see I'm getting nearly all of my parts from Yoyotech now, based on the fact that they're brick and mortar and I can take things back fairly easily if I need to. The only part I’m buying online is the heatsink, which is not only cheap but not too likely to go wrong. (ohgod I just jinxed it didn't I?)

    That's a pretty good idea - I don't have any stores near me, so I've had to learn everything from the internet. It's not that it's bad, but sometimes you just don't want to deal with it. And it makes returns easier, since you can talk to a real person.

    The only moving part on the heatsink is the fan, and those are cheap to replace ;)

    Quote:
    For the HDD I was about to get the Spinpoint, then I realised its by Samsung who I’m not too keen on. So I looked at the Caviar Black, but then saw the Caviar Green and thought, do I really need top performance if I’m running all my games/software off an SSD? So I went with the Green for better power consumption/cost per gigabyte.

    What's wrong with Samsung? The F3 is the best 1TB drive out there, hands down. If you're going to be running anything off the hard drive, you may want a faster drive, because the Greens are pretty slow; I'd probably get a Caviar Blue or Samsung F4 2TB, since they're still pretty fast.

    Quote:
    For the motherboard I picked the Gigabyte UD4 even though it's slightly more expensive, just because I can buy it brick and mortar.

    No harm done either way. I believe Gigabyte's warranty is a little longer as well, which is always just a nice thing :)

    Quote:
    As for the power supply, I went with the CMPSU-850AXUK for the 80PLUS Gold certification.

    Corsair's AX series is one of the best.

    Quote:
    You can OC the northbridge (at least, you used to), and the Intel HD Graphics, but for the average user there's no reason. Really only the OCed CPU makes a difference. If you start benching hardcore (literally boosting performance to get more points in benchmarks), then OCing everything becomes important.

    uHH, I don't actually know what northbridge is seeing as I haven't done much research into overclocking yet, but I guess I’ll...


    You won't see a difference with an OCed Northbridge or RAM, but the computer will. You'd be surprised how much money people pour into their computers to get that extra 1 point in 3DMark (Liquid Nitrogen is generally used). They hit 300+ FPS, but the eye can really only notice a difference up to 60 FPS; it's a bit excessive ;)
  11. Quote:
    What's wrong with Samsung? The F3 is the best 1TB drive out there, hands down
    I'm sure the F3 a great drive, but I'm not keen on Samsung because of their building of military robots/my dad complaining about their in-car computers breaking down all the time (he's a car mechanic). I wasn't mentioning this before because I don't want to start a political debate.
    Quote:
    If you're going to be running anything off the hard drive, you may want a faster drive
    Would I really want to run programs off Mechanical Drive when I've got an SSD?
    Quote:
    You won't see a difference with an OCed Northbridge or RAM, but the computer will. You'd be surprised how much money people pour into their computers to get that extra 1 point in 3DMark (Liquid Nitrogen is generally used). They hit 300+ FPS, but the eye can really only notice a difference up to 60 FPS; it's a bit excessive ;)
    :o That is a bit excessive. I don't know much about benchmarking, but I studied Game Design at uni, so I know about framerates. I didn't think they went that high, though.
  12. Quote:
    Would I really want to run programs off Mechanical Drive when I've got an SSD?

    Depends on how many programs you have. I try a lot of programs I can get as a student, so I have about 500GB worth of games, work-related applications, and some fun programs that I play with on the side, so I'd easily run over a 120GB SSD. That's why I got 1.5TB of 7200RPM disk drive space.

    Quote:
    :o That is a bit excessive. I don't know much about benchmarking, but I studied Game Design at uni, so I know about framerates. I didn't think they went that high, though.

    Benchmarking is just running a program that is designed to test your system hardware. 3DMark, for example, tests your video by playing a video, and your CPU by running complex physics calculations and displaying the result on the screen - the faster they go, the better your CPU/CPU's settings. There are other benchmarks that really push your RAM, so that's where OCed RAM comes into play.

    You can really only hit 300+ FPS with Liquid Nitrogen (LN2) cooling everything, because you need to massively overclock everything in the system.
  13. Hey guys, sorry for the long period of quietness. I'm being evicted and had to frantically search for somewhere to live. Now that I've found a place, I'm going to actually make this thing.

    It's been a while since I last looked at this. Checking back, I've found a number of things on my parts list are now cheaper, and now the Pioneer BDR-206DBK is available at Yoyotech. And as well as that, the Crucial m4 series just got better firmware: http://www.tomshardware.com/news/crucial-m4-ssd-firmware-update,13314.html

    Has anything happened in the last month that might make me want to change my parts list?
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