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First system build, emphasis on gaming

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November 2, 2011 10:21:35 PM



Approximate Purchase Date: within the next few months

Budget Range: 700-900 After Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming, surfing internet, streaming video although streaming is not all that important.

Parts Not Required: monitor, keyboard, or mouse.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: either newegg.com, or tigerdirect.com would consider amazon or walmart for mainstream parts like memory and vid cards if available.


Country of Origin: US


Parts Preferences: by brand or type I prefer intel over AMD for processor, and Nvidea over ATI. other than that, I'm looking for good quality for a good price. I'm open to all suggestions relating to memory as well.

Overclocking: No


SLI or Crossfire: Yes, I want to be able to do SLI down the road, but don't nessesarily want to incur the additional expense of the 2nd card right now.


Monitor Resolution: 1600x1200, 1680x1050, 1920x1080, 1920x1200)


Additional Comments:
Would like to have a quiet machine, at least as quiet as a PC can be with 2 vid cards, fans, etc.
Key would be to have the capability to upgrade a good amount to keep the machine relatively current for the next 4-5 years without doing a complete system overhaul. Would need to have plenty of juice to run all current and upcoming games (diablo 3, starcraft 2, etc.) on at least high setting.

Parts I am looking at...

Motherboard - MSI P67A-G45 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I'm thinking this might be overkill, I'm open to suggestions to change this as long as it supports SLI, and has the L1155 socket for my i5 chip. I'm not sure about which chipset I should be looking at.

CPU - Intel Core i5-2500 Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I looked at the i7, and I like hyperthreading, but from what I read its impact on gaming is minimal. I won't be doing much video editing or streaming content really.

Case - Antec Nine Hundred Two V3 Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Gaming Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
might be a situation where I saw the pretty blue LED lights on the case and said, I have to have that... I think I could find a lower price case than this. I just really want it to be quiet and have enough fans and room to cover the heat of SLI cards once I add the 2nd. maybe this one?
Rosewill DESTROYER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case, comes with Three Fans-1x Front Blue LED 120mm Fan, 1x Top 120mm Fan, 1x Top 120mm Fan, 1x Rear 120mm Fan, option Fans-2x Side 120mm Fan, 1x Top 120mm Fan, 1x Bottom Fan
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power Supply - CORSAIR Enthusiast Series CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This may be a stupid question, but does a power supply need to say SLI or Xfire ready to be able to power it? 650w should cover all these needs with room to spare so i don't overtax it, but I'm not 100% sure I did the calculations right.

Video card - GIGABYTE GV-N56GOC-1GI GeForce GTX 560 (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
i've always like the nvidea cards more than the ATI, and is there much of a differenct between the same card made by gigabyte, msi, evga, etc? They all have the same card, but slightly different prices.

Memory - Kingston 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory Model KVR1333D3N9/4G
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I'll be getting 2 sticks for a total of 8GB. Is there an appreciable difference between memory with a 8 or a 9 CAS rating? what about getting 1333 vs 1600 speed? seems like common opinion is that 1333 is what is used unless you are overclocking...

Hard Drive - SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I can probably get away with a 750gb drive, I have a 250 gb external drive thats not even 1/4 full and my internal is 80gb, and that's only 3/4 full.

dvd drive - LG CD/DVD Burner Black SATA Model GH22NS70 OEM - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
thought about blue ray player, but i won't be using one on my PC, I have a regular one. I'm not dead set against getting one for the PC though.

Any help or refinements would be appreciated.
November 2, 2011 10:44:36 PM

Im thinking I have to click your links to see your parts
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November 3, 2011 2:09:04 AM

updated to fix formatting and to make it easier to analyze the build. thanks for the feedback, its my first post on the boards.
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November 3, 2011 2:15:35 AM

You will need a better PSU if your gonna SLI/CF down the line 750-800W would do, go for the 560 TI not just the regular 560, for the RAM get DDR3 1600 and make sure the volt is 1.5, besides that all the rest is good
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November 3, 2011 3:12:42 AM

Your monitor will have a resolution . Its important to know what that is before deciding how powerful a graphics card you need . At 1600 x 1200 the GTX 560 is a fabulous graphics card . At 1920 x 1200 its OK but you will be turning detail down to get good frame rates

In general you should probably use a Z68 chip set motherboard . Its far more versatile than P67

For RAM you should be looking for a 2 x 2 gig kit of dual channel RAM running at 1.5 volts or less . A single stick will halve the size of the pipeline and slow speed of the computer .
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November 3, 2011 3:38:05 AM

I really think you should be looking at an i3-2100 for the CPU. If you want to upgrade it sometime, why waste money on an i5-2500 when an i3-2100 can play all the current games?

Ivy Bridge will be compatible with socket 1155, so you can upgrade the i3 to whatever you want next year and you won't feel the pain of replacing a $200 processor. Instead you'll just be replacing a $120 CPU that was completely capable: http://www.anandtech.com/show/4083/the-sandy-bridge-rev...

Then you can spend $80 more towards graphics today and end up with a machine that games at higher settings and better frame rates. Also, I wouldn't set my heart on a specific card--just buy whatever GTX 560Ti/6950 that comes on sale.
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November 3, 2011 9:49:31 AM

Today is the day to buy a Corsair PSU since they're 15% off today.

Forget about the rest of your parts for a minute and buy a great Corsair deal before it's gone. Btw, is there any particular reason you linked the first generation Corsair TX650 instead of the V2?
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November 3, 2011 9:59:23 AM

I agree with Emelth that you want the GTX 560 Ti, 1600 1.5V DDR3, and a 750W PSU. I'd get the Corsair TX750 V2 that's 15% off today. I'd find an old HDD or borrow one off a friend because it's not worth paying $140 for an HDD today just because of flooding in Thailand. At that price, you should buy a 120GB SSD instead.

Also, here's two links that show the difference between 1600CL8 & 9: http://www.anandtech.com/show/4503/sandy-bridge-memory-...
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/memory/display/sandy-b...
It's really not a big deal, but you can see there's a big dip with 1333MHz on the second link. Just pick up one of the 8GB (2x4GB) 1600CL9 or CL8 kits on sale. Sign up for Newegg's email list.

Considering cases don't improve your performance (for the most part) and you're not an overclocker, you may as well get something like the cheaper case. I'm a fan of the Thermaltake
V4 for low priced functional cases.
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November 3, 2011 10:42:39 AM

^+1
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November 3, 2011 1:01:27 PM

I like to OC, so I've got a bias. But the way most people around here see it is that if you're gonna spend $210 for an i5-2500, you should spend $220 and get an i5-2500K. It'll get you a big performance (15-40%) bump and add years to the useful lifetime of your system. If you don't want the "K", I suggest you spend less on your CPU so that the choice not to get it doesn't haunt you two years from now.

I'm pretty sure it's possible to get an i5-2500K, SLI capable Z68 mobo, Corsair TX750, and GTX 560 Ti in a $900 build. In fact, that should be pretty easy with the sales coming up this month.
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November 3, 2011 3:17:22 PM

very good feedback guys, I appreciate it. The info on the memory being used in pairs always confused me. Is there a link that can help me understand why using 1 stick would half the pipeline and using 2 sticks gives it full power? The info on using the i3 chip instead of the i5 is good, I will consider that. I'll take a look at the overclocking section of the forums, but in general is overclocking hard to do? i know in the past there was a lot involved in it and the dangers of frying the CPU were higher than they are now. It is a signifigant performance boost i would love to take advantage of, but can it be done safely by someone who has nver built a system before?
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Best solution

November 3, 2011 5:02:33 PM

Overclocking is substantially easier and safer than it used to be. So long as you're not in a huge hurry, there's little chance of damaging your components. It'll take intermittent effort over the course of a Saturday to get a good OC on one of the Sandy Bridge chips, but no longer than that. If you had someone who had overclocked a CPU before around, they could probably get a 99.8% stable overclock in under 30 minutes.

Feel free to post a thread about that (and link this thread and PM me the link). With Unlocked multipliers, you just change the multiplier number in the bios (like from default 33x to 40x and then boot your computer up at the new speed. The CPU runs at the system clock (100MHz) times the multiplier. For pretty much all Sandy Bridge CPUs, as far as I've heard, you can hit 4.0GHz without doing anything but changing that multiplier setting.

The i7-2600K I'm using now went from 34x to 43x with a 0.1V decrease to save on heat. Once I get my new cooler in the mail (even a fairly cheap one like a Hyper 212+ should do), I'll be able to overclock past 4.5GHz. There are some programs you run to monitor temps and stress test the machine for stability.

Anyhow, this might sound like a bunch of nonsense to you. If that's the case, feel free to look at the bios on your current computer on boot up and poke around at the settings. So long as you don't save anything on exit, there's zero chance of messing anything up. If it's an OEM machine (Dell, HP, etc.), chances are a lot of the settings are locked.


RAM: Dual Channel is faster than Single Channel/Unganged. It's not twice as fast (more like 107%), but it allows the computer to access both sticks simultaneously because all of their settings match each other. If you just buy one of the dual channel kits (like one of those 8GB (2x4GB) 1600CL9 kits, your computer will automatically run in Dual Mode. Wikipedia has a good article on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-channel_memory_archi...
I looked around a bit and found some misleading info in forums, so you might want to stick to Wikipedia and benchmarks. So for certain tasks it can be much better and others it makes very little difference. But usually it's just simpler to get a matched kit.
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November 3, 2011 8:56:13 PM

I read the wikipedia article, and I think I originally was on the same page as you on this, but i might have not explained my understanding correctly. I can buy any specific DIMM as long as it is bought in pairs and installed in the correct bank on the Mobo (match the colors) they should run in dual channel right? Or are there specific DIMMS that will not run in dual channel even if I buy 2 of the same DIMM's and install them in the right slots... In other words, do I need to buy one of the dual channel kits, or can i just get 2 of the same DIMM and install correctly?

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November 3, 2011 10:16:18 PM

2 sticks of the same capacity (e.g. 4GB) that run at the same speed automatically (or are set at the same speed manually in motherboard settings) installed in two slots of the same color will run in dual channel...so long as you don't disable dual channel manually.

So you can buy the sticks individually. But it's probably worth it to just get a set. DDR3 won't get much cheaper than $35 for 8GB 1600CL9 kits, which you can find nowadays. The lowest it'll ever go is $25 (aside from strange price-mistake like deals).
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November 3, 2011 11:55:50 PM

So I was looking into these outrageously expensive hard drives that we're faced with now. It looks like the only way to get a reasonably priced drive is to find a place that hasn't hiked up external HDD prices yet.

Best Buy has some good prices still for External My Books. They'll have Green drives, so you may want to add in the Samsung Spinpoint when prices drop or pick up a cheap SSD and do SSD caching with the My Book if there's a good SSD sale this month. Pretty soon, you can be sure that they'll catch the External HDD loophole and jump those prices up too.
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March 14, 2012 5:11:14 PM

Best answer selected by psufan14.
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