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First Time Build - Critique

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November 3, 2011 2:27:27 AM

Am planning on building a gaming PC, primarily for Bf3 and also to replace my current one, and had a few questions.

1. Need help with PSU. This is my first time building so I have no clue what to get.
2. Can anyone make any recommendations as to the below setup, either performance/price wise?
3. Does everything look compatible and any concerns as to whether it will all fit into a mid tower case.

Here's what I'm planning on:
OS: Windows 7 (64bit)
CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K (I plan on overclocking (lots of reviews saying 4.5ghz should be no prob with this cpu))
CPU Cooler: Corsair H100
GPU: N580GTX Lightning
Motherboard: ASUS P8Z68-V PRO
PSU: ?
RAM: 8GB (2x4gb DDR3 1600)
Storage: either 64Gb OR 128GB Crucial m4 2.5-inch SATA 6GB/s (for OS and maybe a few games) and Maxtor 250GB 6B250S0 HD (for storage)
Optical Drive: Sony DVD RW DW-Q28A ATA Device
Resolution: 1920x1080
Case: Fractal R3 (comes with two 120mm fans)

Again, this is my first build so I'm learning as I go. Any recomendations would be helpful.

More about : time build critique

November 3, 2011 2:30:27 AM

Go with the Hyper 212 + CPU cooler, 250 GB HDD may not be enough for most people but hey if you can work it more power to you most people would go with a 500GB HDD. PSU go with a 650W Bronze certified should do good unless you plan on going SLI go for a 750W
November 3, 2011 2:51:31 AM

A 750w would be perfect for your system, you don't want to get less if you want to OC both CPU and GPU. If you want plan on getting another 580 to SLI in the future you will need a 950w or more though.

I would stick to air if it's your first build, you can get 4.5ghz no problem on air.

Make sure the RAM you get is rated at 1.5v

The Fractal R3 is great if you want a silent case more than anything else, but there are cases with much better cooling (and better looking) out there.

Just my 2c



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November 3, 2011 2:59:02 AM

My advice would be to NOT overclock your first build right when you buy it. A. The 2500k is OP for almost anything. B. Overclocking is not risk free. Do it in a year after you read about it daily on every tech site you can find.
Also I may hold off on 8gb of ram. I don't know what you are using your new build for but 4 is enough for 90% of the people out there. As for the PSU anything between 600 and 700 should be fine. The brand is very important though. Enermax, Corsair, Silverstone, seasonic, or PC power and cooling are usually good bets but make sure you know who really makes the unit. Sometimes you can find a steal with a rebadged off brand that is the exact same unit inside( the lepa 900, is a enermax EMG900EWT)
Also like Emelth said, any HDD under 500 is going to fill up fast now days. One last thing. Your GPU is OP for 1080p. I know graphics are a very personal thing but you could get away with a 6970 or a 570 with a 1080p monitor. Good luck and If you do end up getting a 580 you will have one hell of a beast for the next few years.
November 3, 2011 3:06:00 AM

His primary focus is BF3 at 1080p. A GTX 580 is actually perfect for Ultra settings at 1080p and it would be silly to save a couple bucks and get less than 8GB on that setup, especially since BF3 is a memory HOG.
November 3, 2011 3:24:29 AM

Silly compared to getting a 250gb HDD with 8gb of ram? I know 4 might not be ideal for new programs coming out in the near future but a 4gb set up with a 1tb hdd would be a lot more(not less) ideal for the overall picture IMO. And the 570 in BF3 with all setting topped out gives you an average of40-50 FPS depending on the site....can you justify the extra cash for what averages out to be less then 5 FPS? You are right 8 gb is better with BF3 but you have to admit the price of the 580 is not justified. Get the 570 and 8gb of ram...the happy medium. Or go with AMD for the GPU as they look to be on top of the BF3 benches.
November 3, 2011 3:31:16 AM

A GTX 570 is decent for 1080p on Ultra, but a 580 is ideal especially since it OCs better in general, just my opinion though. Some say a gtx 570 is all they need to run it, but if you want ~55-60fps average you want a 580.

I just meant going for 4gb instead of 8gb was silly, because I currently have 6GB in my system and I feel it's the minimum these days, especially in BF3. Also, memory is very cheap so I just don't see a reason not to get at least 8gb.
November 3, 2011 3:44:56 AM

Ya I agree with you about the mem, you were right. I was thinking that sense he was wanting to get a 250gb hard drive price might be a deciding factor, and IMO 4gb and a 1tb would make a better overall PC then 8gb and 250gb. If price is not the issue then forget my idea. In the GPU department...the 580 and the 570 have both been under the 6950. at around 45 FPS. It sounds like its a driver issue with BF3 but you have to assume, the fix will improve both cards.
November 3, 2011 11:07:19 PM

Thanks for the replies. I'll take a look at some of the suggestions.
November 3, 2011 11:39:03 PM

Hi, I am a little late to the party but I have some options for you to consider:

1. If you are going to run a single 580 GPU then it is an excellent choice for a single card setup. Two 6950s in crossfire are faster and cheaper but the setup is much more involved also. For a first build the 580 is a great gaming card

2. It is a mistake to not get a 1 TB HDD. Though costs have risen you can still get a Samsung F3 Spinpoint or a Seagate Barracude v.12 for around $75. Having had a 500 GB drive, a 1 TB HDD is the only way to go. This is especially true if you start adding music and photos to your computer

3. For a single GPU a 650 W PSU will work. If you can get the Corsair HX850 on sale it is frequently as cheap as many silver rated PSUs. It frequently is on sale on Newegg for $120 - $150. It has many advantages over cheaper PSUs.

Though the HX850 supplies much more power than your computer will use but this is a benefit because you will be running at about 50% of the PSU's capacity. At this range it will be silent, run cool and produce about 92% efficiency. It also is very stable and will not damage your components. I have the PSU and I am running just one ATI 6950 and it is a superb PSU. It also has a 7-year warranty and come with every cable know to man.

3. I do not think that you have made a good choice with your motherboard because it is not PCI-E 3.0 compliant and Ivy Bridge compatible. Boards with these attributes are called "Gen 3" boards. I would suggest that you get this Asus board which is Gen 3 version of the board you have chosen - the link is here:

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

These have just been released by Asus and they will be what almost every builder will be using within a very short time. This is because the PCI-E 3.0 slots of the Gen 3 boards are MUCH faster then the Gen 2 boards PCI-E slots

4. Do NOT get less the 2 x 4GB 1600 RAM, it is just silly to downgrade to 4GB of RAM. RAM is getting dirt cheap, I have seen 2 x 4GB Gskill RAM on sale on Newegg for $45 - $55 which is chump change. There is a significant improvement in performance by moving up to the 2 x 4GB RAM. Also, look for 1866 RAM on sale. I saw it on sale at Newegg for $65 about three weeks ago. Gskill, Corsair, Patriot, Mushkin are all good manufacturers.

5. The Crucial M4 is a very good SSD. The Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120GB SSD is the fastest on the market right now but also look at the Kingston Hyper X Extreme, the Corsair GT Force 3 (emphasize the GT) and the Patriot Wildfire. Don't get less than a 120 GB SSD - you will need the extra space and they don't cost that much more. If budget is an issue, the Corsair Force 3 120GB (non-GT) is often VERY cheap. It was $109 on Newegg last week.

6. You may not have to overclock right at first because the 2500K is an EXCELLENT gaming CPU even when not overclocked. Make sure you research and learn about overclocking before you attempt it.

7. The Fractal case is good case. It will be quiet but it will not cool as well as the Corsair 500D which is about the same price. The 500D may be a better gaming price. If you have the budget, the Corsair 650D has much the same look as the Fractal 3 but it cools better and has several other upgrades not included with the Fractal 3.

Good luck with your build - you have made some excellent choices.
November 4, 2011 2:53:10 AM

Appreciate the lengthy reply! Thank you.
I was doing some more research on some of the other suggestions. Here are some things I want to change:

New case I think I'm going to go with is the Antec P180 Mini. It looks a little better and still suppose to be a quiet case. It's also smaller than the Fractal or Corsair 500D. Also, the 580GTX should fit as long as the bottom HD cage is removed according to others that have a similar setup. Also Corsair H100 will probably not fit, so I'm thinking about the H80 instead.

I realize this is now going to change my motherboard selection to a micro ATX. I searched for micro atx boards on newegg but once I select that it doesn't give me the option to look for boards with PCIe 3.0. Maybe they're too new and not out yet??

I originally wanted a board SLI capable for possible upgrades in the future but now that's not a top priority. I don't really need it right now and would probably would not use it.
Would like both USB 2.0 and 3.0.

I was comparing these 5: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007627%2050001315%20600093976%20600093977%20600036416%20600009017&IsNodeId=1&bop=And&ShowDeactivatedMark=False&CompareItemList=280%7C13-128-523%5E13-128-523-TS%2C13-128-495%5E13-128-495-TS%2C13-128-503%5E13-128-503-TS%2C13-131-786%5E13-131-786-TS%2C13-131-759%5E13-131-759-TS

Do you have one that you could recommend besides the above?

As for the 250GB HD, it's a carry over from my current/old PC. I know it's low compared to today's standards but I have a good 20GB free left on it and when I move over a few of my games to the SSD I should have some more space, which works fine fore me. I also have an 500GB external HD so I think I'm good on storage. May as well save some money If I don't need it.

Again, thanks for the help.
November 4, 2011 4:25:13 AM

Putting a 580 and a watercooling system into that little thing is just asking for heat issues. I would avoid it like the black death but if you are set I would stick to air cooling as the CPU fan cools other parts of the case
November 4, 2011 6:54:59 AM

a_glazed_donut said:
Appreciate the lengthy reply! Thank you.
I was doing some more research on some of the other suggestions. Here are some things I want to change:

New case I think I'm going to go with is the Antec P180 Mini. It looks a little better and still suppose to be a quiet case. It's also smaller than the Fractal or Corsair 500D. Also, the 580GTX should fit as long as the bottom HD cage is removed according to others that have a similar setup. Also Corsair H100 will probably not fit, so I'm thinking about the H80 instead.

I realize this is now going to change my motherboard selection to a micro ATX. I searched for micro atx boards on newegg but once I select that it doesn't give me the option to look for boards with PCIe 3.0. Maybe they're too new and not out yet??

I originally wanted a board SLI capable for possible upgrades in the future but now that's not a top priority. I don't really need it right now and would probably would not use it.
Would like both USB 2.0 and 3.0.

I was comparing these 5: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007627%2050001315%20600093976%20600093977%20600036416%20600009017&IsNodeId=1&bop=And&ShowDeactivatedMark=False&CompareItemList=280%7C13-128-523%5E13-128-523-TS%2C13-128-495%5E13-128-495-TS%2C13-128-503%5E13-128-503-TS%2C13-131-786%5E13-131-786-TS%2C13-131-759%5E13-131-759-TS

Do you have one that you could recommend besides the above?

As for the 250GB HD, it's a carry over from my current/old PC. I know it's low compared to today's standards but I have a good 20GB free left on it and when I move over a few of my games to the SSD I should have some more space, which works fine fore me. I also have an 500GB external HD so I think I'm good on storage. May as well save some money If I don't need it.

Again, thanks for the help.


Hello again :) 

I have to agree with the above poster that it is a mistake to go to the micro ATX format and the smaller case. You are building a gaming computer and while there are micro ATX gaming computers (the Asus Maximus Gene is an excellent Micro ATX gaming board), I think that a mid-size case is by far the best choice.

Gaming computers use more horsepower, more resources, than any other computers except dedicated scientific computers and high-end CAD resources. In a small case you are limited with the type of CPU coolers that you can use, even as you mention above. You also have poorer overall cooling and less room for expansion (can you say SLI with two 580s???).

Let me give you a real-life example. With my build I have a 120GB SSD, a 1 TB HDD and a 1.5 TB HDD. I really did not think that I would need the 1.5 HDD but it was cheap. Recently I checked my 1 TB HDD and it is 3/4 full. Now I am thinking of getting a third HDD. Because I have the Corsair 650D I have plenty of space to expand with no sweat. You won't have that option with a small case.

You have to be happy, so in the end get the build that works for you. However, you severely limit your options and your performance by going with a small case. Many gamers swear by the giant full-size cases like the Corsair 800D or the CM HAFX 942.

Getting a case can be confusing but if you are looking at cooling performance and quietness probably the Silverstone Raven is the best choice - but it is large. Many gamers also like the NZXT Phantom - the link is here: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This case is also supposed to be fairly quiet but it is also a very large case. Remember that ANY case that moves a lot of air will make some noise.
There are no noiseless fans.

The Corsair 650D is a good case for you to consider. Set on low speed, the fans are very quiet and it is still a competent cooling case. You may also want to look at the Silverstone Fortress FT02. It is one of the best cooling cases available

BTW, building a computer is a complicated thing to do. Text responses don't work very well in this world (unfortunately a lot of young posters don't understand this). I try to take the time to clearly explain the options that new builders have. Hopefully it is helpful to you.

Good luck with you build.


November 4, 2011 7:13:25 AM

Hey, thanks again everyone for all the replies! I will have to think more about this and whether I want a case that's big enough for me to upgrade later. Kind of wanted to go smaller but I guess gaming components don't like confined spaces. I was planning on buying everything around Thanksgiving or Christmas to see if I could get some deals so I've got some time to think it over. Again, thanks for all the help so far. I'll probably be back with some more questions.
November 4, 2011 7:17:15 AM

The review from Silent PC does not state that the case is all that quiet. Here is the link: http://www.silentpcreview.com/article810-page4.html

Also, while you are thinking - make sure to get a Gen 3 board when you make your choice.

One other thought, last year I was not all that impressed with the Black Friday sales I saw so be careful. You may not get the best pricing around the holidays. DO check the deals and if you find a great deal then snap it up but make sure that you know what you want first.
November 4, 2011 7:28:07 AM

Hey just a quick heads up. Newegg is having a 24 hour sale and all Corsair PSUs are on sale with 15% off. The cost for the Corsair HX 850 is $150 after rebates - $22.50 which puts the cost at $127.50 (or less) which is a steal for this PSU. It comes with a 7-year warranty and it is probably the highest rated 850W PSU in existence even beating out Corsair's own gold rated AX 850.
November 4, 2011 5:17:32 PM

a_glazed_donut said:
Hey, thanks again everyone for all the replies! I will have to think more about this and whether I want a case that's big enough for me to upgrade later. Kind of wanted to go smaller but I guess gaming components don't like confined spaces. I was planning on buying everything around Thanksgiving or Christmas to see if I could get some deals so I've got some time to think it over. Again, thanks for all the help so far. I'll probably be back with some more questions.


Hey that sale is only for 24 hours
November 4, 2011 11:34:38 PM

looks like I missed it:(  I wrote my last message before I went to sleep last night and haven't checked this thread until I got home from work. I'll keep an eye out on the specials though.

Btw, I went to the link you had posted and listened to the recordings of the different fan settings in the P180 and that thing is louder than my current PC. So I guess I'm still on the hunt for a good case. I'm browsing the case recommendations from SilentPC right now. I just don't want to go with a huge full tower case.
November 4, 2011 11:59:32 PM

Quote:
PSU go with a 650W Bronze certified should do good unless you plan on going SLI go for a 750W

Actually SLI'ed GTX 580's use up to 719 watts... That would definitely not fit a 750 watt power supply. Even an 850 would be uncomfortable with HDD's, an i5 and everything else going. I would recommend a 1000w PSU as a minimum. That would offer great upgradibility.

Quote:
I just meant going for 4gb instead of 8gb was silly, because I currently have 6GB in my system and I feel it's the minimum these days, especially in BF3. Also, memory is very cheap so I just don't see a reason not to get at least 8gb.


+1 Definitely! 4 gigs at this budget would be crazy! It's only 50 dollars for 8 so why not?

Quote:
I do not think that you have made a good choice with your motherboard because it is not PCI-E 3.0 compliant and Ivy Bridge compatible. Boards with these attributes are called "Gen 3" boards. I would suggest that you get this Asus board which is Gen 3 version of the board you have chosen - the link is here:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813131790


+1 also


1.I would get a HAF 922 or X to compliment your build.
2. Corsair makes great PSU's and their 1050 watt one is great.
3. Get the biggest case you can deal with/like. Bigger= More upgradebility.
4. Get a Motherboard with PCIE 3.0 compatibility for a future upgrade path.
5. Really unless you have all of your videos on your computer 250 gb will be fine for a HDD!
November 5, 2011 2:08:14 AM

a_glazed_donut said:
looks like I missed it:(  I wrote my last message before I went to sleep last night and haven't checked this thread until I got home from work. I'll keep an eye out on the specials though.

Btw, I went to the link you had posted and listened to the recordings of the different fan settings in the P180 and that thing is louder than my current PC. So I guess I'm still on the hunt for a good case. I'm browsing the case recommendations from SilentPC right now. I just don't want to go with a huge full tower case.


Too bad about missing the Corsair HX850 sale but it will go on sale again soon. For a one GPU build it is the best PSU for the money. For two GPUs the Corsair AX1200 is the best PSU on the planet but it is a $100 more.

Take a close look at the Corsair 650D; I own this case and it is fairly quiet and everything else about it is amazing. It's cooling is very good. You may want to consider the Silverstone Fortress also. It cools better than the 650D and is reasonably quiet but falls behind it in just about every area.

Really with a gaming case you are going to have some wind noise because they move a lot of air. I don't think there is a perfectly quiet gaming case because they don't cool well and you WILL need a very good cooling case.
November 5, 2011 2:09:10 AM

raptorxrx said:
Quote:
PSU go with a 650W Bronze certified should do good unless you plan on going SLI go for a 750W

Actually SLI'ed GTX 580's use up to 719 watts... That would definitely not fit a 750 watt power supply. Even an 850 would be uncomfortable with HDD's, an i5 and everything else going. I would recommend a 1000w PSU as a minimum. That would offer great upgradibility.

Quote:
I just meant going for 4gb instead of 8gb was silly, because I currently have 6GB in my system and I feel it's the minimum these days, especially in BF3. Also, memory is very cheap so I just don't see a reason not to get at least 8gb.


+1 Definitely! 4 gigs at this budget would be crazy! It's only 50 dollars for 8 so why not?

Quote:
I do not think that you have made a good choice with your motherboard because it is not PCI-E 3.0 compliant and Ivy Bridge compatible. Boards with these attributes are called "Gen 3" boards. I would suggest that you get this Asus board which is Gen 3 version of the board you have chosen - the link is here:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813131790


+1 also


1.I would get a HAF 922 or X to compliment your build.
2. Corsair makes great PSU's and their 1050 watt one is great.
3. Get the biggest case you can deal with/like. Bigger= More upgradebility.
4. Get a Motherboard with PCIE 3.0 compatibility for a future upgrade path.
5. Really unless you have all of your videos on your computer 250 gb will be fine for a HDD!


Great post. I don't think that the OP is going to SLI anytime soon. Maybe the next build.
!