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A little advice please

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September 18, 2011 5:57:21 PM

So, I'm looking at building a new computer. I'm sure that this question is asked a million times a month here on Tom's, and adding to the horde is probably going to annoy some people, but I could really use some help to make sure I don't screw this up.

In advance, let me give a sincere "thank you" to anyone who expends some of their precious personal time to give me a hand with this.

Below are the components for the new build I'm looking at putting together here in a week or two. I'm especially interested in making sure that everything is compatible, and that I have chosen components that are worth the money I'm spending on them. Any advice/critique/help would be most appreciated.

In particular, I'd like to know if it is worth it to get an SSD drive for the operating system, and maybe 1 or two games that I play a lot, or if the increased in performance isn't worth the hefty price tag.

On another note, with the monitor and everything I'll need to get this going, the price is a bit more than I would like to spend, so if anyone has any advice on how to cut down on the overhead without losing a lot of performance, that would be most appreciated as well.

Note: All links lead to their newegg.com pages. If anyone knows a reliable place to get these components cheaper, let me know please :) 


HARDWARE

MOTHERBOARD--- BIOSTAR TZ68A+RCH LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX $129.99

CPU--- Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz $219.99

VIDEO CARD--- XFX HD-695X-CDFC Radeon HD 6950 2GB $279.99

POWER SUPPLY--- CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX650 V2 650W 80 PLUS BRONZE PSU $84.99

MEMORY/RAM--- G.SKILL 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) $46.99

CASE--- COOLER MASTER Storm Enforcer ATX Mid Tower Computer Case $79.99

CPU COOLER--- COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel Core i5 $29.99

SSD DRIVE (OS)--- Corsair Force Series GT CSSD-F120GBGT-BK 2.5" 120GB SATA III Internal (SSD) $219.99

HDD DRIVE (Storage)--- WD 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal HD -Bare Drive $79.99

OPTICAL DRIVE--- Sony Optiarc CD/DVD Burner 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW - OEM $18.99

MONITOR--- ASUS VH242H Black 23.6" 5ms HDMI Full 1080P Widescreen LCD W/Speakers $179.99

KEYBOARD--- Logitech Black 106 Normal Keys USB Wired Ultra-thin Illuminated Keyboard $51.99

SOFTWARE
OS--- Windows 7 (64-bit) Operating System [OEM] $99.99





Once again, thank you for your time and attention.

More about : advice

September 18, 2011 9:19:33 PM

Looks like a good build, I recently got done with my first build it's very satisfying when it starts up and installs windows in 15 min with the i5 and doesn't start smoking lol. You may get parts cheaper one by one in other places ya know sales and such on the particular item but there's something to be said for the convenience of NewEgg everything in the same box and returns are a snap IMO.
September 18, 2011 9:31:51 PM

Your configuration looks good but this 1600MHz memory kit is even better:
G.Skill Ripjaws X 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1600 CL9 (F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL) ($51.99)
It has a nice boost from 1333MHz to 1600MHz with only $5 more.

There are some parts which can help you cut your budget down without losing any performance at all. (Some parts even increase the performance a bit! :D )

About the motherboard, I think MSI Z68A-G45 ($129.99) is better in terms of features.
It fully supports CrossFire and SLI at x8/x8 and it even has front panel USB 3.0 for your chassis for the same price.
It doesn't have the remote control, though.

About the graphics card, these cards are very good (if you don't mind 2-year warranty):
PowerColor AX6950 2GBD5-2DH Radeon HD 6950 ($264.99)
HIS IceQ X Turbo H695QNT2G2M Radeon HD 6950 ($269.99) -- Slightly factory-overclocked, too.

About the HDD, Samsung SpinPoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB ($59.99) is almost as fast as WD counterpart but with $20 cheaper!

About the monitor, if 0.6" smaller screen is not a problem then get Asus VH232H ($169.99) instead.
And if you can live without HDMI and internal speakers then Samsung B2330 ($159.99) is a good alternative.

In my opinion, a keyboard costing more than $40 is considered expensive.
You might be interested in one of these keyboards:
Microsoft Wired Slim Keyboard 600 ($16) -- I'm using it and it's pretty solid for the price.
Logitech K200 ($18.99)
Microsoft Wired Slim Digital Media Keyboard 3000 ($23.99)
But if you need an illuminated keyboard then there aren't any better deals than your selection now.

Other forum members may have better suggestions than mine, though.

Hope this helps!
Related resources
September 18, 2011 9:56:12 PM

Do you plan on adding a second card eventually? If so that's not the board you want seeing how it runs dual cards @ x4.

What's your budget, and do you plan on running dual cards at some point in time?
September 18, 2011 10:01:52 PM

Why_Me said:
Do you plan on adding a second card eventually? If so that's not the board you want seeing how it runs dual cards @ x4.

What's your budget, and do you plan on running dual cards at some point in time?



Well, I had no plans to run dual cards, unless there is some compelling reason to do so. If there is, then perhaps I can reconsider, though it seems as though that would be more expensive and the increase in performance would have to validate such an expense.

As to my budget, with the current build outlined above I'm sitting at right around 1500.00. Which is actually more than I would like to spend. I'd like to spend around 1300.00, if I can get away with doing so without taking substantial hits in performance.
September 18, 2011 10:14:46 PM

Running 2 GPU's in Crossfire or SLI mode basically gives you double the power of a single card. Thus, it is very compelling to many gamers. Also, you don't have to buy 2 cards now. You can theoretically use one for now and in a few months or even a year or two buy another and run them in SLI for increased performance. The reason Why_Me asks is because you would need a better Motherboard for it to work properly.
September 18, 2011 10:20:06 PM

eagleblueline said:
Running 2 GPU's in Crossfire or SLI mode basically gives you double the power of a single card. Thus, it is very compelling to many gamers. Also, you don't have to buy 2 cards now. You can theoretically use one for now and in a few months or even a year or two buy another and run them in SLI for increased performance. The reason Why_Me asks is because you would need a better Motherboard for it to work properly.



Hmm, ok. That is a compelling reason to at least have the capability to do so.


Would the board that ZenithCS recommended above be sufficient?

MSI Z68A-G45 ($129.99)
September 18, 2011 10:35:00 PM

Yes, that would work just fine =) The 6950 2gb is also nice as you can flash it to the 6970. Although, I have also heard that they have blocked that feature and if that is the case I would direct you to either a GTX 560 ti or a GTX 570.
September 18, 2011 11:17:49 PM

Well, noticing that your monitor is not 2560 x 600 (1920 x 1080), I'd steer away from the $280 ATI card as it gets outperformed by the $220 560 Ti (900 MHz) ...especially since that 6950 is not a "reference" card and therefore can't be flashed. The $60 could be put towards a better MoBo which would allow a future or even up front upgrade to twin GFX cards.

I don't see you benefiting from anything that Z68 offers, see what I mean here:

http://www.ukgamingcomputers.co.uk/difference-between-h...

This combo at $375 would cost just $25 more than what you listed and be capable of the GFX card upgrade.....so ya still ahead $35.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

For RAM I'd get one of these for $53 .... savings now totals $32
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$80 a bit much for the HD ....savings now up to $52

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

As for the SSD, you decide ..... all I can tell ya is what I sen on the test bench:

Boot to Windoze w/ Vertex 3 SSD - 15.6 seconds
Boot to Windoze w/ Seagate XT - 21.2 seconds

Load MMO took 45 seconds average on both SSD and HD.....HD won 3 outta 5 tests by tenths of a second but difference was so small as to be statistically insignificant.

As for the PSU, the XFX Core Edition 750 is an easy choice over the 650 watt Corsair. The 100 extra watts allows the addition of a 2nd GFX card and they both get identical 9.5 performance ratings from jonnyguru.

At $220 for the SSD it's an even tossup between that SSD and a 2nd GFX card. On one hand, the 2nd GFX card will have the biggest impact on gaming but installing the SSD later means some reinstalling / reconfiguration. Given the time of year, I'd suggest getting the SSD now and add the 2nd card as an XMas present to myself (unless ya can get someone else to spring for it). Here's what the 2nd card will do (source Guru3D):

-------------560 Ti-CU 560 Cu SLI 6950 6950 X-fire
COD-MW 134 218 127 150
Bad Company2 51 98 50 96
Dirt 2 72 134 72 131
Far Cry 2 88 153 76 147
Metro 2033 26 49 25 50
Dawn of Discovery 73 123 78 90
Crysis Warhead 51 87 51 87
Total 495 862 479 751

The formatting stinks but ya can see that the 2nd 560 takes you from 495 to 862 total fps ..... the 2nd 6950 from 479 to 751 fps.
September 18, 2011 11:23:37 PM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $63.99 FREE SHIPPING 10% off with promo code PSUSV9, ends 9/30
Antec High Current Gamer Series HCG-520 520W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V v2.91 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $94.99
ASRock Z68M/USB3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

or...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $119.99 FREE SHIPPING
ASRock P67 PRO3 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... $304.98 FREE SHIPPING
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM
Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52500K

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... $67.48
Sony Optiarc CD/DVD Burner Black SATA Model AD-7260S-0B - OEM
Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $49.99 FREE SHIPPING
Patriot Signature 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory with heatshield Model PSD38G1600KH

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0055Y66A4/ref=ox_sc_a... $264.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Sapphire DIRT 3 EDITION Radeon HD 6950 2 GB DDR5 DL-DVI-I/SL-DVI-D/HDMI/DP PCI-Express Graphics Card 100312-3SR

http://www.amazon.com/ML228H-22-Inch-Ultra-Slim-Widescr... $148.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Asus ML228H 21.5" 1920X1080 2ms Full HD LED BackLight LED Monitor Slim Design 250 cd/m2 10,000,000 :1 (ASCR)

or....

http://www.amazon.com/ML238H-23-Inch-Ultra-Slim-Monitor... $176.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Asus ML238H 23" 1920 x 1080 2ms Full HD Swivel and Tilt adjustable LEDBacklight LCD Monitor Slim Design 250 cd/m2 10,000,000 :1
September 19, 2011 12:56:34 AM

Thank you all for the advice.
Ended up changing my mobo around so I could add another GPU later if I want to, just in case.
Switched out the ram for another brand with similar spec/ratings for a combo deal.
Upped my power supply to a 750 watt, to support the future video card addition.

I also ended up dropping the Solid State Drive for now. I'll look at getting one when tax returns come along, but I just can't quite swing the expenditure at this point. I suppose a regular ol' HDD will have to work for now.

Once again, thank you for all the advice everyone.
September 19, 2011 1:17:03 AM

You're welcome.
Have fun with your new rig! :D 
September 19, 2011 5:57:40 PM

So, even though I said I have it figured out now, I thought it might be a good idea to post what I'm going to be going with for this new build; just in case I am acting on erroneous assumptions or something, and to make sure that all the parts I'm going with are compatible. Perhaps I'm just nervous about spending money and then finding out I chose a "Bad" component or something.

So, here's the build I finally decided to go with.

MOTHERBOARD
MSI Z68A-G45 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel Z68

HDD
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

CASE
COOLER MASTER Storm Enforcer SGC-1000-KWN1 Black SECC / ABS Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

OPTICAL
Sony Optiarc CD/DVD Burner

VIDEO CARD
PowerColor AX6950 2GBD5-2DH Radeon

CPU+OS Combo Deal
Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 + Windows 7 OS

PSU+RAM Combo Deal
CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX750 V2 750W + CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM

CPU Cooler
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus



So, that's it there. I found some combo deals for things I was already getting and saved myself some money that way. Checked the RAM on the MOBO manufacturer's website and it's compatible.


So, everything look good?


P.S.: Some of my components are Bare Drives, can anyone who has the time tell me which cables and such I should pick up to make sure I can hook everything up?
September 19, 2011 7:50:11 PM

I would scrap the GPU in your build above and go for a gtx 560 ti or a gtx 570. I don't like mixing GPUs and CPUs like that and many games prefer Nvidia. Also, drivers on the AMD cards are usually not all that great =X.

And you would need a SATA power plug from your PSU and SATA cable that SHOULD come with your Motherboard. So no additional cables.
!