Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question
Solved

Advice on my first build

Last response: in Systems
Share
September 24, 2011 6:55:25 PM

Hi all,

I am about to build my first custom PC and would appreciate the communities advice and comments on the parts I've selected.

First of all I should point out that I do not plan on playing games on this system (although if it is capable of being used for games then maybe I'll try some out).

I have been stuck using an Acer Aspire ZA-3 laptop (netbook) with a 1.33Ghz Atom Z520 CPU, 2 GB Ram and an 80 GB HD.
The OS is Win 7 Ultimate.

I use it for web browsing, watching movies and doing web stuff like ftp, editing web pages etc.

My existing laptop is so crap that I can't even run Ubuntu on it (Ubuntu stopped support for the GMA-500 integrated graphics this laptop has).

I'm basically sick of how slow this laptop runs and so am building something better.


I can't afford to build the whole system at once, so plan to buy the basics (please tell me if I've forgotten anything) and then later I'll upgrade with the remaining components.

Anyway enough back story.... here is what I've picked


Motherboard - Gigabyte GA-Z68AP-D3 (rev. 1.0) LGA1155 / Z68 Chipset / 4 x DDR3 / 2 x SATA 6Gb/s / 4 x SATA 3Gb/s / ATX

CPU - Intel Intel® Core™ i5-2500K Sandy Bridge Processor (6M Cache, 3.30 GHz) (BX80623I52500K)

RAM - Kingston 4GB 1066MHz DDR3 Non-ECC CL7 SODIMM (1x4GB) (KVR1066D3S7/4G)

SSD Drive for OS - Intel 80GB Solid State Drive NAND Flash X25-M, 2.5" (SSDSA2MH080G2K5)

PSU - Thermaltake TR2 800W Power Supply (TR-800P)

CASE - Lian Li PC-V354 Black with USB 3.0 Computer Case


I also need this PC to connect to the internet via WiFi as my condo does not have wired internet so I'm looking at this Wifi Card - ZyXEL NWD310N Wireless N PCI Card


OS will be Win 7 Ultimate 64bit and I want to also play around with Ubuntu so will setup dual boot.

All the above will cost me just over US$1,100 here in Thailand.


I already have an Acer G245H 24" widescreen monitor which I will use and I already have a Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB external drive I will use for external storage.



Planned upgrades when I have a bit more cash are :-

2nd Acer G245H monitor (and maybe later still a 3rd one) - I used to have a PC with a Matrox Millenium 400 (I think it was) and 3 screens. What graphics card should I get to run these 3 Acer monitors ? will this one do it ?
ASUS NVIDIA GEFORCE GT 220, 1GB DDR2, VERSION 2 (ENGT220/DI/1GD2(LP)/V2)

Increase the RAM from 4GB to 8GB and then 16GB

Add an internal 1TB drive


I look forward to your comments!

Thanks

Sean

More about : advice build

September 24, 2011 7:31:08 PM

bloody high end machine for web use and ftp... um if cash is an issue i would look at downgrading the MB, CPU, and perhaps just using a platter HD instead of a SSD... i would highly recomend getting at least 8GB of ram, at this present time my web browsers are using 1.3GB of ram, if i only had 4 gigs that would be a huge chunk. you can easily spend a few hundred less by downgrading some of these higher end components.

having said that if you do want to spend the money then its a solid build that would be a great base for a high end gaming or 3d rendering comp. the onboard video card can do a fair amount but at present AMD's integrated GPU's are far faster than intels.

the geforce 220 is not worth it.. its about half the speed of a nvidia 9600gt. i would be surprised to see it beat out the integrated video...
m
0
l
September 24, 2011 7:58:43 PM

Thanks for the quick response :-)

I'm trying to build something that will be noticeably faster at opening and closing windows than my laptop. I typically have 6-7 tabs open in chrome and using Google+ the screen scrolls so damn slow its killing me.

Thanks for the advice on the geforce 220, will nix that from my list. Presumably the integrated video will only work with one monitor. If I want to have 2 screens from the start will one card suffice?

The SSD is in there just to make it all faster..... I can go with a platter HD to save some cash.

I'm tempted to start with 8GB Ram....

As far as games go I've not played any for years (I had an Xbox about 6 or 7 years ago but didn't use it much). I really like WRC so Dirt3 look to be right up my alley... might want to try that.

Mostly I just want to be able to have plenty of tabs open in Chrome, be downloading with utorrent and not feel like the computer is swimming through a tar pit !!

Thanks for the advice
m
0
l
Related resources
September 24, 2011 8:33:23 PM

If you're not gaming or encoding then the discrete GPU will do just fine. However if you want to play newer games (like Dirt3) then your build changes drastically.

If you don't have a discrete GPU you can get a psu around 300W and have more than enough power. The Antec Earthwatts is a popular choice.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SSDs make a big difference in boot times, but be aware that 80GB is not much space. If you want to add a nice 1TB HDD for storage (especially since you mentioned ftp), check out the Samsung Spinpoint F3.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You don't want a Rev 1.0 motherboard. If you don't have a graphics card you can basically get the cheapest Z68 board you can find. I recommend the ASUS P8Z68-V LE, but you can go cheaper if you want.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I have to disagree with ncc74656. 4GB of RAM is enough for the browsing/ftp/web designing needs. If you buy 2x2GB now and find that it's not enough, you can always add 2x2GB more later and it won't cost you much more than if you'd originally bought 4x2GB (except for shipping).

The 2500K is a great processor for a lot of things, but for your needs maybe consider a build based on an AMD Phenom x4 (x4 means quad core). They're considerably cheaper ($100 for 3.0ghz and $140 for 3.5ghz) and will perform the tasks you mentioned very well.

Also, the integrated graphics in the 2500K will support dual monitors.
http://ark.intel.com/products/52210/Intel-Core-i5-2500K...(6M-Cache-3_30-GHz)
At the bottom it says "Dual Display Capable."
m
0
l
September 24, 2011 9:04:15 PM

listen the the guy above, the 2X2 GB allows for upgrade to 8GB with out having to throw out ram but considering the price of ram i dont see why one would not start with 8GB. web browsing uses alot of ram these days. im using a couple gigs atm with maybe 60 tabs open or so.

the small SSD is a good point, with such a small drive its sort of pointless imo for a C drive unless you want to add a SSD later and raid-0 them. for your budget and purposes just buy a decent platter drive.
m
0
l
September 25, 2011 12:26:45 AM

Oh, I should mention - do NOT get 1x4GB RAM. 2x2GB will run much faster than 1x4GB because two sticks is dual channel and one stick is only single channel. Get 1600mhz RAM instead of 1066mhz - it will be significantly faster. The RAM you linked has CAS latency 7 which will work fine, but it won't be any faster than CAS latency 9 which will be cheaper. You also want 1.5V, which the RAM you chose does have, but make sure the next RAM also has it. This would be a good 2x4GB kit, though there are other choices that would perform the same:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

In terms of hard drive size, I use a 60GB SSD as my boot drive and I install programs on a different drive. An SSD by itself is not going to be enough space, but booting from an 80GB SSD and using a standard HDD for programs and mass storage is a very common thing to do and will give good performance and boot times. If you can't afford both, though, go with a standard 7200rpm drive like the Spinpoint I mentioned earlier.
m
0
l
September 25, 2011 9:11:16 AM

danraies said:
If you're not gaming or encoding then the discrete GPU will do just fine. However if you want to play newer games (like Dirt3) then your build changes drastically.

If you don't have a discrete GPU you can get a psu around 300W and have more than enough power. The Antec Earthwatts is a popular choice.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SSDs make a big difference in boot times, but be aware that 80GB is not much space. If you want to add a nice 1TB HDD for storage (especially since you mentioned ftp), check out the Samsung Spinpoint F3.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You don't want a Rev 1.0 motherboard. If you don't have a graphics card you can basically get the cheapest Z68 board you can find. I recommend the ASUS P8Z68-V LE, but you can go cheaper if you want.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I have to disagree with ncc74656. 4GB of RAM is enough for the browsing/ftp/web designing needs. If you buy 2x2GB now and find that it's not enough, you can always add 2x2GB more later and it won't cost you much more than if you'd originally bought 4x2GB (except for shipping).

The 2500K is a great processor for a lot of things, but for your needs maybe consider a build based on an AMD Phenom x4 (x4 means quad core). They're considerably cheaper ($100 for 3.0ghz and $140 for 3.5ghz) and will perform the tasks you mentioned very well.

Also, the integrated graphics in the 2500K will support dual monitors.
http://ark.intel.com/products/52210/Intel-Core-i5-2500K...(6M-Cache-3_30-GHz)
At the bottom it says "Dual Display Capable."



Thank you for the advice.

I'm in Bangkok, Thailand and whilst there are loads of computer stores here, there are very few that speak enough English to go to for build advice. They will just sell you whatever makes them the most rather than what would suit the customer best.

There is one online store here which is what I am using to select components as it is in English and has prices.

I will use the advice I get here to then find stores selling the recommended parts or the parts I've chosen.


The motherboard you suggest, the ASUS P8Z68-V LE, isn't available at the online store I have here (that doesn't mean it isn't available in one of the offline stores though). The online store has the following model :-

ASUS P8Z68-DELUXE SOCKET LGA1155 / Z68 CHIPSET / 4 X DDR3 / 2 X SATA 6GB/S / 4 X SATA 3GB/S / ATX - US$ 274

The Gigabyte model I was looking at is US$ 144 here, there are also Intel MBs.... presumably H67 is better than H61 but by how much ?

My problem is that I come from the old school of computers where CPU upgrades mean't a dramatic increase in the speed of the whole OS. You may not remember what it felt like to change from a 68000 to a 68030.

I'm sick of working on this Atom processor with slow drives (transferring 50 gigabytes of files across USB2 and getting 5mb/sec) or doing a virus scan with Microsoft Security Essentials and having to wait hours for it to finish.

I want something that will be significantly faster in all aspects. When I click to close a tab in chrome I want it gone instantly, when I click the notification icon for Google+ I want the pop down window to appear instantly, when I hover over someone's name in Google+ the info box shouldn't take 5 secs to appear......


I love computers but these days there is just so much choice and there is no definitive 'that is faster than that, by this much'

Going from the crappy Atom processor will an i3 seem much faster? or do I need to go to an i5 or i7 to see any noticeable difference ?

Will a faster processor make the USB transfers quicker or do I need to make everything USB3 ?

Will more RAM (I have 2GB now) really make a difference ? (I always tell people it does but I've never really had more than 2GB so what do I know!)

Everything I've read says an SSD, even with the cost is a real speed improvement - my netbook takes almost 3 minutes to fully boot and has very little on it (that is after using Soluto to optimize the boot time). I leave my netbook on all the time because I don't want to sit through a 3 minutes boot each morning.... I'm hoping an SSD will be much faster and I might be able to turn the computer off at night.

Will SATA3 be enough for me to see a speed increase or should I make sure all my drives are SATA 6G ?

Aside from the speed of everything being able to have 2 and then 3 screens is very important. The i5 supports 2 screens but where are the connectors ? Won't I need a motherboard with 2 VGA connectors if I want 2 screens?


I just want to be able to go and buy something and know before I start that when I use it I'll notice enough of a speed improvement over my netbook to justify spending the money.

What worries me is that I used a friend's new Acer Laptop recently with an i5 and 4GB RAM and it wasn't exactly blowing me away with its speed.

It seems like the speed of computers has hit a plateau and you can't get a faster experience when just using windows. All the benchmarking is based around making games go faster but nothing really talks about windows opening quicker or programs launching quicker, webpages scrolling faster and smoother etc


This is one of those times where although I live and love computers, they really piss me off sometimes !! Its also one of those time where I wish money was no object so I didn't have to compromise.

Apologies for the minor rant and all the new questions :-)

Sean



m
0
l
September 25, 2011 9:28:40 AM

It seems like booting faster is your biggest priority. If so, then go for an SSD. Get a smaller (60gb) one so that it's cheaper, and use it only for windows, and a few select programs you run often. (SSDs shouldn't be maxed out, best to use only about 80% of capacity) Then get a platter HDD for storage and everything else.

One thing about your friends laptop, it may be an i5 processor, but which one? Laptop versions are often (if not always) "weaker" than desktop versions, mainly to lower power consumption.

You'll have to decide if you do want to game or not, as decent GPUs tend to start at $180-ish and upwards (of course it depends on the game and your monitor resolution)

For PSU, I suggest something from Antec, Corsair, XFX, Seasonic, PC power & cooling, and be quiet. If you're not gaming, 350 to 400w is enough. If you are, then we need to know your GPU to suggest wattage.

If your basic needs are just web browsing, watching videos, etc, then an i3 cpu+h67 mobo is sufficient. Or you can go with AMD, like an Athlon x3 445or Phenom x4 955 with an AM3+ mobo (so you can upgrade to bulldozer which is expected to be released soon). Both options are good for gaming also, in case you do decide you want to game.

For ram, like mentioned above, 8gb of ram are pretty cheap these days, so I'd suggest to go for it. Just remember that you need 1.5v for intel i3/i5/i7.
m
0
l

Best solution

September 25, 2011 9:40:00 AM

I'll try to get to everything...

The P8Z68-V Deluxe will work great, but you can go a lot cheaper. H67 is better than H61, but Z68 is the chipset you want. Any Z68 motherboard from a reliable brand (ASUS, ASRock, MSI, Gigabyte) will be fine, so go for something in the low to mid $100 range.

The i3 will be significantly faster, yes. However the i5 is quad core whereas the i3 is dual core. If you're thinking i3 you might be better off with an AMD Phenom II x4 like I mentioned before - same price range as the i3.

USB transfers are a complicated process. If you're transferring to/from a standard HDD (meaning a magnetic drive with a platter as opposed to an SSD), USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 won't make a difference. Standard HDDs can't spin fast enough to make use of USB 2.0 speeds, much less USB 3.0.

I don't have a lot of familiarity with the older processors, but it is doubtful that a faster processor will significantly improve your sequential read/write speeds (this is what is used in large USB transfers). However, a faster processor will mean you'll be able to do other things while you transfer - especially if you go from dual core to quad core. My old computer had a dual core 1.8ghz processor and my new one has a quad core 3.7ghz processor (i5-2500k). The transfer time is the same for large USB transfers, but on my old computer I couldn't even use my browser during the transfer whereas with my new one I can browse/watch video/torrent/whatever without noticing the difference.

Yes, RAM will make a difference. If you can afford it go 8GB and it will be a long time before you need to upgrade. If you can't afford 8Gb, 4GB is a significant upgrade from 2GB. This is because the operating system itself often takes up over 1gb at idle. Windows 7 is a significant upgrade from Windows Vista in that respect, also.

An SSD is a very nice feature and if you're looking at boot times an SSD will make the biggest difference. If you can afford it, you should get it. However an SSD is basically a luxury item, as it usually needs to be used in conjunction with a larger drive for storage.

If you're using standard HDDs, sata 6gbps vs. sata 3gbps won't make any difference at all. This is because the limiting factor in data transfer on standard HDDs is the speed that the drive can spin. However, if you're using an SSD then a sata 6gbps port will be about twice as fast (obviously) as a sata 3gbps port provided that the drive you choose supports sata 6gbps speed.

If you want 3 monitors then you'll need a discrete graphics card. The best choice is probably the cheapest Radeon card you can find with Eyefinity. I recommend a Radeon 5670. For two monitors you can use onboard graphics on the 2500K (not sure about other processors). VGA is an old interface - you're not going to find anything really that has two VGA connectors. Motherboards usually have hdmi, vga, and dvi connectors. If your only choice is two vga cables then you'll need an adapter to use the dvi connector on your motherboard.

If you use an i5-2500K with an SSD I'm pretty confident that you won't see any delay in starting or closing applications and you'll be able to open plenty of tabs without things slowing down.

If you want to post a budget, we can give you an idea of what you should expect in terms of parts. (And don't say you don't have a budget - $500 or $1500 or $5000 makes a big difference.)
Share
September 25, 2011 10:21:36 AM

Sky03 said:
It seems like booting faster is your biggest priority. If so, then go for an SSD. Get a smaller (60gb) one so that it's cheaper, and use it only for windows, and a few select programs you run often. (SSDs shouldn't be maxed out, best to use only about 80% of capacity) Then get a platter HDD for storage and everything else.

One thing about your friends laptop, it may be an i5 processor, but which one? Laptop versions are often (if not always) "weaker" than desktop versions, mainly to lower power consumption.

You'll have to decide if you do want to game or not, as decent GPUs tend to start at $180-ish and upwards (of course it depends on the game and your monitor resolution)

For PSU, I suggest something from Antec, Corsair, XFX, Seasonic, PC power & cooling, and be quiet. If you're not gaming, 350 to 400w is enough. If you are, then we need to know your GPU to suggest wattage.

If your basic needs are just web browsing, watching videos, etc, then an i3 cpu+h67 mobo is sufficient. Or you can go with AMD, like an Athlon x3 445or Phenom x4 955 with an AM3+ mobo (so you can upgrade to bulldozer which is expected to be released soon). Both options are good for gaming also, in case you do decide you want to game.

For ram, like mentioned above, 8gb of ram are pretty cheap these days, so I'd suggest to go for it. Just remember that you need 1.5v for intel i3/i5/i7.



Thanks for the comments. I'm getting some great advice and its really helping.


Booting fast is important, but I realise this is a PC not my Galaxy Tab so its always going to need some time to start up.

Immediate cost is more important than ultimate cost, or in other words I want something asap but want to be able to keep pouring money into it to make it better each time.

So rather than putting in an SSD at the start, maybe the Samsung SpinPoint F1 Desktop Hard Drive, 1TB, 7200RPM, SATA, 3.0Gbps, Cache 32MB (HD103UJ)

That Samsung Spinpoint is 1850 as opposed to 5690 for the 96GB Kingston SSD I was looking at so quite a big saving.

I can swap the Spinpoint for an SSD in a month or so.


Thanks


m
0
l
September 25, 2011 12:09:33 PM

danraies said:
I'll try to get to everything...

The P8Z68-V Deluxe will work great, but you can go a lot cheaper. H67 is better than H61, but Z68 is the chipset you want. Any Z68 motherboard from a reliable brand (ASUS, ASRock, MSI, Gigabyte) will be fine, so go for something in the low to mid $100 range.

The i3 will be significantly faster, yes. However the i5 is quad core whereas the i3 is dual core. If you're thinking i3 you might be better off with an AMD Phenom II x4 like I mentioned before - same price range as the i3.

USB transfers are a complicated process. If you're transferring to/from a standard HDD (meaning a magnetic drive with a platter as opposed to an SSD), USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 won't make a difference. Standard HDDs can't spin fast enough to make use of USB 2.0 speeds, much less USB 3.0.

I don't have a lot of familiarity with the older processors, but it is doubtful that a faster processor will significantly improve your sequential read/write speeds (this is what is used in large USB transfers). However, a faster processor will mean you'll be able to do other things while you transfer - especially if you go from dual core to quad core. My old computer had a dual core 1.8ghz processor and my new one has a quad core 3.7ghz processor (i5-2500k). The transfer time is the same for large USB transfers, but on my old computer I couldn't even use my browser during the transfer whereas with my new one I can browse/watch video/torrent/whatever without noticing the difference.

Yes, RAM will make a difference. If you can afford it go 8GB and it will be a long time before you need to upgrade. If you can't afford 8Gb, 4GB is a significant upgrade from 2GB. This is because the operating system itself often takes up over 1gb at idle. Windows 7 is a significant upgrade from Windows Vista in that respect, also.

An SSD is a very nice feature and if you're looking at boot times an SSD will make the biggest difference. If you can afford it, you should get it. However an SSD is basically a luxury item, as it usually needs to be used in conjunction with a larger drive for storage.

If you're using standard HDDs, sata 6gbps vs. sata 3gbps won't make any difference at all. This is because the limiting factor in data transfer on standard HDDs is the speed that the drive can spin. However, if you're using an SSD then a sata 6gbps port will be about twice as fast (obviously) as a sata 3gbps port provided that the drive you choose supports sata 6gbps speed.

If you want 3 monitors then you'll need a discrete graphics card. The best choice is probably the cheapest Radeon card you can find with Eyefinity. I recommend a Radeon 5670. For two monitors you can use onboard graphics on the 2500K (not sure about other processors). VGA is an old interface - you're not going to find anything really that has two VGA connectors. Motherboards usually have hdmi, vga, and dvi connectors. If your only choice is two vga cables then you'll need an adapter to use the dvi connector on your motherboard.

If you use an i5-2500K with an SSD I'm pretty confident that you won't see any delay in starting or closing applications and you'll be able to open plenty of tabs without things slowing down.

If you want to post a budget, we can give you an idea of what you should expect in terms of parts. (And don't say you don't have a budget - $500 or $1500 or $5000 makes a big difference.)



Thanks Dan, this really helps.

My budget to start with was 40,000 baht (or approx US$ 1300.00) and I planned to spend upto 80,000 baht (approx US$ 2600.00) over the following months (and maybe more if I get more work).

Your advice about USB transfers is very helpful. I didn't realise the bottleneck was the speed of the drive. Actually USB transfers may not be an issue with this new PC. Because the internal HD on my netbook is only 160GB and I had partitioned it to 2X 80GB (approx) I was always running out of space for downloads (mostly TV shows and movies). I bought an external Acer HD which I recently opened and found out its a WD Caviar Green WD10EAVS. Because the netbook has only 3 USB ports and I need one for my wireless mouse/keyboard and sometimes 2 for the external DVD, I have been downloading to the internal drive then when there is a free USB port transferring to the external drive. As you pointed out during those transfers the whole netbook comes to a crawl. I see now, with what you've said, that with an internal 1TB drive I won't have these issues anymore.

So that means my plan to use my existing 1TB external drive over USB as storage in conjunction with an SSD for booting is out.

So I'll go with a regular internal HD (the Spinpoint you recommended looks ideal) to start with and put an SSD in for booting at a later stage. That will be a significant cost saving for the initial build.

For the CPU, I get what you are saying about the difference between i3 and i5. I have previously used AMD and have nothing really against them. I'd just rather go with Intel this time. Given the modest difference in price I'd rather spend the extra at the start and get the best CPU I can. Here are the options I've got - http://www.invadeit.co.th/category/cpus-processors/inte...

The most expensive is the i7 at 10,490 baht (US$ 339) and the one I'm looking at as best cost option is the i5 2500 at US$222
I won't be doing any overclocking so the K model isn't necessary (right?)

I have to have a wireless card for internet so can't save there.

Your advice on the ASUS P8Z68-V Motherboard seems like the best option.

RAM - I'm pretty keen to start with 8GB. RAM isn't a big expense and having decided to delay the SSD I've got a lot more wiggle room.

OS - no choice but to pay for Win7 64bit

Case - Going to have to go around the computer mall and choose from the hundreds of options available.

PSU - http://www.invadeit.co.th/product/power-supplies/silver...


I'm definitely a lot clearer about where savings can be made. I've kind of got a list now that comes in 30% under my starting budget which is great.


Thank you for all the advice, I'll be sure to post back when I've actually built the PC (maybe before if something new catches my eye!)


Thanks to everyone that offered help!

Sean
m
0
l
October 2, 2011 5:01:15 AM

Best answer selected by seanchk.
m
0
l
!