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Comments on hardware for first time build - father/son project.

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October 23, 2011 2:24:59 PM

Goodmorning,

I'm preparing to build a first computer with my 14 year old son. This will be his computer. My goal is to expand his understanding and appreciation of technology. Dads job is hardware selection. I will act as guide (we'll work together) through the building process but my son will do the actual build, testing and configuration.

This computer will be primarily used for gaming (he's currently a fan of flight simulators and racing games but I can see that his tastes are changing towards more sopsticated gaming as he gets older) however it will also be used for homework and general internet as well as video streaming. My hope is to get about 4 or 5 years out of this system before he outgrows it. Perhaps at that time I'll "inherit" it for my less demanding use.

Listed below is some supporting information and a list of components that I've selected for the build. I've spent considerable time researching, nevertheless I'd appreciate any and all feedback that you more experienced folks might choose to offer.


Approximate Purchase Date: Prior to Thanksgiving (early November)

Budget Range: Up to $1200.00 After Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: (gaming, surfing the internet, watching movies)

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, optical mouse, speakers, monitor

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg
Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences:by brand or type: See below

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

Monitor Resolution: 1280x1024 current monitor

Additional Comments: WIndows 7, Mozilla/Firefox, hardware components listed below.....

1. COOLER MASTER Storm Enforcer SGC-1000-KWN1 Black SECC / ABS Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case ATX PS2 / EPS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2. KINGWIN Lazer Platinum Series LZP-550 550W ATX 12V v2.2 / EPS 12V v2.91 / SSI EPS 12V v2.92 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS PLATINUM Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

3. Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52500K
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

4. ASRock P67 EXTREME4 GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

5. ATI Radeon 6950 1 gb graphics card. NOTE: I haven't nailed down the specific card yet. We'll use one card for now (no crossfire at this time).

6. G.SKILL Sniper Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR1
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

7. HITACHI Deskstar 7K1000.D HDS721010DLE630 (0F13180) 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

8. ASUS 24X DVD Burner - Bulk 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

9. COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I realize that I'll need a few other items/cables but I believe that the list above covers the major components.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts you might have and for your time!

Missinginaction
October 23, 2011 2:37:07 PM

Maybe you are spending too many dollars for the first pc...Flight simulator and racing games aren't that demanding...For me your best bet, Is getting a good PC with less money and upgade in the future according to you son's needs ;) 
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October 23, 2011 3:06:00 PM

I will have to say Flight Simulator is very demanding and sophisticated. Probably no game require more buttons and control and cpu power if you turn the realism settings up.
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October 23, 2011 3:09:16 PM

Thanks for the reply mich.....

I should mention that the kid's been after me for a new desktop for about 6 months now. The old Dell that he was using finally gave up the ghost last spring. I believe that the Pentium 4 processor overheated. Of course with the Dell there was just a heat sink, no fan or any other mechanism to cool the CPU.

The reason I'm looking at an unlocked processor and a bit more computer than he needs right now is that I'm trying to plan ahead.

Over the years I've always found that whenever I lowball a project I end up with regrets later on.

Thanks again,

MIA :) 
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October 23, 2011 3:12:59 PM

From the looks of it, the parts are compatible and are good in price per performance.

Of course, I am no expert in fine tuning the system.

Wait for some really good system builders here to fine tune it for you.
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October 23, 2011 3:13:52 PM

The unlock processor will be the 2500K not 2500.
And take a look at the Z68.
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October 23, 2011 3:15:42 PM

Ok, just have to tell you that Flight Simulator does not benefit form CF/SLI.
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October 23, 2011 3:22:57 PM

With your current monitor and res , I would go with AMD. Even a cheap $100 card can play anything at high with that res :) .

FX-4100 $130
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Gigabyte AM3+ motherboard $95
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HAF 912 + Optical drive $67
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Seagate 1tb $65
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Corsair 500w + 8gb ram $95
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

AMD Radeon 6870 $170 ( would have no problems maxing any games out with your res)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$622 :o 

Notes
I'd get a better monitor.
No need for cooler since you won't be overclocking.
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October 23, 2011 3:24:52 PM

Right about the 2500K, I was cutting and pasting a lot there and pulled the wrong CPU....I'll go fix :fou: 

As far as the MS Flight Simulator, I've read that the program puts much more stress on the CPU than on the graphics card. I have no idea why this is. What research I've done says that a strong cpu is required for Flight Simulator.

As for the Z68 vs. Z67.....is there any other difference other than the onboard graphics included on the Z68?
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October 23, 2011 3:26:33 PM

missinginaction said:
Right about the 2500K, I was cutting and pasting a lot there and pulled the wrong CPU....I'll go fix :fou: 

As far as the MS Flight Simulator, I've read that the program puts much more stress on the CPU than on the graphics card. I have no idea why this is. What research I've done says that a strong cpu is required for Flight Simulator.


MS flight simulator. Any old computer can handle that.

Operating system Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2)
Computer processor 2.0 gigahertz (GHz) or more
Memory 1 gigabyte (GB) or more of RAM
Hard disk space 4 gigabytes (GB) available hard disk space
Video card DirectX 9 (or later version)-compatible video card
128 MB or more video RAM, Shader Model 1.1 or later version
DVD drive 32x speed
Sound Sound card, speakers, or headset
Pointing device Keyboard and mouse or compatible game controller (such as Xbox 360 Controller for Windows)
Internet connection for online play Network adapter for LAN multiplayer gameplay
Broadband Internet access for Windows Live multiplayer gameplay
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October 23, 2011 3:27:51 PM

The weather, physics such as plane body stress, aerodynamics, lift, gravity,, gyro drift, etc, all simulated by the cpu.

Definitely a 2500k is better than the AMD cpu.

Yeah, the minimum system requirement by MS is outright lie. You run at like 1fps if you have the minimum system.

If you want decent frame rate on high realism and graphics, you need a high end build.
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October 23, 2011 3:29:39 PM

Pyree said:
The physics of the weather, plane body stress, aerodynamics, lift, gravity,, gyro drift, etc, all simulated by the cpu.

Definitely a 2500k is better than the AMD cpu.


Seriously, he doesn't need a 2500k. Look at his res, look at the game requirements. He would only be wasting money on stuff that he won't need.
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October 23, 2011 3:30:28 PM

Yeah, Microsoft thinks minimum means 1 FPS gameplay... It's actually a fairly demanding game if you want to max it.
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October 23, 2011 3:31:37 PM

Cutebeans, have you played the game? ...didn't think so.
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October 23, 2011 3:31:54 PM

^+1

The minimum system requirement by MS for FSX is a outright lie.

You will need a high end system if you want decent fps with high realism and graphics.

Even 2500k will dip below 20fps in heavy traffic area busy airport, that is how demanding the simulation is.
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October 23, 2011 3:38:16 PM

Cutebeans, you would be right if the requirements were right. Unfortunately, they're not. Just take our word on this :p 
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October 23, 2011 3:39:48 PM

Pyree said:
^+1

The minimum system requirement by MS for FSX is a outright lie.

You will need a high end system if you want decent fps with high realism and graphics.

Even 2500k will dip below 20fps in heavy traffic area busy airport, that is how demanding the simulation is.


A bad coded game isn't a reason to spend a million for a PC.... +1 for a more budget build with 955 and 6850
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October 23, 2011 3:40:12 PM

Guys......before we get too focused on MS Flight Simulator he also likes to play...

IL2 Sturmovik
Wings over Vietnam
Wings over Israel
IL2 Sturmovik Cliffs of Dover
Lock On

he also plays

F1-2011, a racing game

My understanding is that some of these games can be challenging to run on windows 7 but I'm trying to give you an idea as what we're currently looking at. I can also tell that he's getting interested in more challenging strategy and action games (although he's not quite there yet) so I'm trying to build with some headroom.


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October 23, 2011 3:45:59 PM

Fair enough. It's not a bad proposal to go with an AMD CPU to save some (or a lot of) money. However, if you have set aside 1200 and are ready and willing to spend it on this PC, there's no reason not to go with the 2500K IMO.
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October 23, 2011 3:48:22 PM

FinneousPJ said:
Cutebeans, have you played the game? ...didn't think so.


Yeah, you're right. :bounce:  Looking at his res and stuff an AMD build with a 6870 can max out the current games right now except BF3 and (MS Flight X)??? of course. IT's up to him.

I thinks it's safe to say the games he listed, the amd would not have any problems maxing them out.
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October 23, 2011 3:50:49 PM

But what if the son buys a new screen on Xmas and the new system is suddenly inadequate? Wouldn't be too nice.
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October 23, 2011 3:52:11 PM

Good point about the monitor. What he has now is OK, but I'd like to upgrade to a 23-25" monitor with better resolution in the future. Kid's eye's = good (monitor doesn't matter so much), my eye's could use a little help!

Thanks for all of the thoughts everyone. A little later I'll take a hard look at the ideas that everyone has been good enough to post here.

One question that hasn't been addressed though......

Forgetting about money :o  for a minute, are there any red flags or issues that any of you see with the components that I originally selected.

My thinking was to build a pretty strong system that would be upgradeable to a point, reasonably energy efficient and reliable.

Thanks again for all of your posts,

MIA
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October 23, 2011 3:57:15 PM

The PSU seems a bit questionable. Otherwise it's all good and compatible.
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!