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[Mid-High End Gaming]First time to build a computer

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November 6, 2011 6:29:57 PM

Hello, this is my first time posting on Toms Hardware. It's a helpful site, and I've read some posts for technical advice and such.

I am planning on building my own gaming computer for high end games such as Battlefield 3, but have not had any experience creating my own computer.
I have never built my own computer, and am a bit confused on a few things. First off, I am concerned that I will buy a motherboard and power supply that are incompatible (or won't be enough voltage or something like that) with the rest of my PC parts (RAM, video card, processor, sound card, etc.). In the past, I have primarily dealt with prebuilt computers, and they do the whole process for you, so I have no knowledge of putting these things together (and making sure they are compatible with each other!).

I went through "the first step" of building your own computer. I found a bunch of different computer parts for my computer, and have compared my computer build to prebuilt systems on a variety of websites, and feel quite pleased. Essentially, I found a bunch of parts on NewEgg.com that high high ratings and are a good price value compared to the other parts.

I initially was hoping to spend a maximum of $1500 on this P.C., but surpassed that (The price is currently $1740 without tax and shipping). I haven't included anything like the operating system (Windows 7), so the price is likely to go even higher. Anyway, could you guys take a look at these system specs and tell me if they look good, and if I'm missing anything?


Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost)
4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I72600K
$319.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SUS P8Z68-V PRO LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
$209.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMZ8GX3M2A1600C8
$74.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX650 V2 650W ATX12V v2.31/ EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC High Performance Power Supply
$94.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168....

COOLER MASTER RC-692-KKN2 CM690 II Advanced Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
$89.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAPPHIRE 100312-3SR Radeon HD 6950 Dirt3 Edition 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity
$264.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS VH242H Black 23.6" 5ms HDMI Full 1080P Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 ASCR 20000:1 (1000:1) W/Speakers
$179.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HT | OMEGA CLARO Plus+ 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Interface Sound Card
$174.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=29-271-...

Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
$149.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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
$19.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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
$25.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CyberPower Intelligent LCD Series GreenPower UPS CP1350AVRLCD 1350 VA 810 Watts 4 x 5-15R Battery/Surge Protected
4 x 5-15R Surge Protected Outlets UPS
$133.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total $1740 U.S.D.
a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
November 6, 2011 6:48:40 PM

I would be happy to but the list does not show up on my screen , it's blank.
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 6, 2011 6:50:01 PM

Dang 1700 and you only have 1 card and no SSD although 500 of that is peripherals. If you plan on buying a second 6950 get the 750W corsair. You can also save $100 and get the i5 2500k. You don't need the hyperthreading.
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Related resources
November 6, 2011 6:54:38 PM

inzone said:
I would be happy to but the list does not show up on my screen , it's blank.


Oh, sorry, I used
Spoiler
to make a spoiler. If you click the blank screen, my system specs will appear.

crewton said:
Dang 1700 and you only have 1 card and no SSD although 500 of that is peripherals. If you plan on buying a second 6950 get the 750W corsair. You can also save $100 and get the i5 2500k. You don't need the hyperthreading.


You can have two video cards? Would you suggest like.. 2 1gb cards or something? Also, what is SSD? And I'll look into downgrading the processor to i5 2500k. Thanks for that advice :) 
Edit: I did some research, and found out what an SSD is. So I guess SSDs are better... I found one on New Egg http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 6, 2011 7:03:18 PM

Yes you can use up to 4 graphics cards depending on the motherboard :p  For a $1500 build I'd generally expect to see 2x6950 2GB cards with an SSD (solid state drive). SSDs are much faster than hard drives and increase your level load times and windows boot time.

You could also go with your $500 in peripherals and use tom's 1000 build (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/overclock-cpu-ssd,3...) and modify it your desires. I'd stick with your mobo your 650W psu would handle the 2x460s and you could beef up the SSD to 128GB.
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November 6, 2011 7:15:52 PM

crewton said:
Yes you can use up to 4 graphics cards depending on the motherboard :p  For a $1500 build I'd generally expect to see 2x6950 2GB cards with an SSD (solid state drive). SSDs are much faster than hard drives and increase your level load times and windows boot time.

You could also go with your $500 in peripherals and use tom's 1000 build (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/overclock-cpu-ssd,3...) and modify it your desires. I'd stick with your mobo your 650W psu would handle the 2x460s and you could beef up the SSD to 128GB.


I'm fairly new with these terminology, I'm sorry, so could I confirm what you said? What does mobo mean?

Okay, so that $1000 build looks good. I am planning on spending $1200 - $1500, so I'll probably upgrade the RAM and Video card and put in the 128 GB SSD on Tom's $1000 build.

So how does this sound, I'll do the $1000 build (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/overclock-cpu-ssd,3...) but add these:

RAM: These 4x2 GB Ripjaws only $70. I think I'll buy two sets of these 4x2 GBS so I'll have 16GB? :)  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video Card: I'm not sure on this one.. Maybe two 1GB cards..

SSD: The 128 GB SSD http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

EDIT: I found these 4x2 GB ripjaws only $47.. I think they are so cheap because they are on sale or something.. They have alot of positive reviews though. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 6, 2011 7:30:27 PM

You won't need 16GB of RAM, the ripjaws you linked are great.

mobo=motherboard sorry for that one :p 

The 2xgtx460s are great for the price you could also go with 2x6850s or 2x6870s just depends on much you want to spend.
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Best solution

November 6, 2011 7:41:52 PM

First, I would definitely go down to the i5-2500K.
Second, I would look into finding a cheaper Z68 motherboard, something along the lines of $150-160.
Third, I would look into not bothering with an audio card, unless you need the 7.1 channel, basically if it is a HD/BluRay media pc.
Fourth, unless you are going to overclock your CPU, you probably do not need a CPU cooler, but if you still want one, the Cm Hyper 212+ is a solid $25 cooler.
Fifth, if you end up getting a 120GB or 128GB SSD(solid state drive) and I would DEFINITELY suggest getting one, possibly look into holding off on a harddrive. The reason for this is that there is a huge price spike in harddrives right now so if you can get by for the moment without one, I would suggest waiting until they go back down to their normal prices of ~$80 for 1TB harddrive(roughly $.08 per GB).
Second to last, which is the one of the hardest things to do is finding out what graphics card to buy. A simple way to decide that is just figure out how much you want to spend and then go to... http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-graphics-card-... and find the one in your price range.
Last, your RAM, power supply, and case look good!

Good Luck! Building a pc the first time around is hard, but you seem to be doing a great job researching and figuring out your pc components.
Share
November 6, 2011 7:42:40 PM

crewton said:
You won't need 16GB of RAM, the ripjaws you linked are great.

mobo=motherboard sorry for that one :p 

The 2xgtx460s are great for the price you could also go with 2x6850s or 2x6870s just depends on much you want to spend.


Ah, I'm planning on 16 GB of RAM for more performance, and its so cheap anyway :) . Thanks so much for your advice by the way, my old build was not price efficient. Do you think two 6870s would be better? Its only $10 more each card so I would gladly buy them if it would be an upgrade. After this I think I have a pretty good build, just have to make sure everything is compatible with each other.
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a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
November 6, 2011 7:47:31 PM

More RAM doesn't equal more performance.
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November 6, 2011 7:50:04 PM

Delirious788 said:
First, I would definitely go down to the i5-2500K.
Second, I would look into finding a cheaper Z68 motherboard, something along the lines of $150-160.
Third, I would look into not bothering with an audio card, unless you need the 7.1 channel, basically if it is a HD/BluRay media pc.
Fourth, unless you are going to overclock your CPU, you probably do not need a CPU cooler, but if you still want one, the Cm Hyper 212+ is a solid $25 cooler.
Fifth, if you end up getting a 120GB or 128GB SSD(solid state drive) and I would DEFINITELY suggest getting one, possibly look into holding off on a harddrive. The reason for this is that there is a huge price spike in harddrives right now so if you can get by for the moment without one, I would suggest waiting until they go back down to their normal prices of ~$80 for 1TB harddrive(roughly $.08 per GB).
Second to last, which is the one of the hardest things to do is finding out what graphics card to buy. A simple way to decide that is just figure out how much you want to spend and then go to... http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-graphics-card-... and find the one in your price range.
Last, your RAM, power supply, and case look good!


Good Luck! Building a pc the first time around is hard, but you seem to be doing a great job researching and figuring out your pc components.


Thank you for taking the time to provide your input on my build. I was unaware of the hard drive price spike, many thanks for that warning, I might wait until Black Friday to try to get good prices on the hardware.

About the sound card, I thought a sound card was required to get sound. I thought if you don't buy a premade PC with integrated sound, you would have to buy a sound card. If I don't get a soundcard, how would my PC get audio(I tried searching the answer to this topic before I started looking for a soundcard, and couldn't find anything).
Lastly, about the video card, I'm now trying to decide between three options. 2 x Radeon HD 6870 or GeForce GTX 570 or 2 x GeForce GTX 460 1 GB. I'm not sure what Crossfire and SLI is (for the dual chips). I would like to pick whichever card combination has the highest performance, as the prices are very similar.

EDIT: SLI and Crossfire look a bit complicated. I'll look into them more, and if I'm not confident I can figure them out I'll just go with the single GeForce GTX 570
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November 6, 2011 8:19:52 PM

Best answer selected by Enigmatic.
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November 6, 2011 11:27:33 PM

Enigmatic said:
Thank you for taking the time to provide your input on my build. I was unaware of the hard drive price spike, many thanks for that warning, I might wait until Black Friday to try to get good prices on the hardware.

About the sound card, I thought a sound card was required to get sound. I thought if you don't buy a premade PC with integrated sound, you would have to buy a sound card. If I don't get a soundcard, how would my PC get audio(I tried searching the answer to this topic before I started looking for a soundcard, and couldn't find anything).
Lastly, about the video card, I'm now trying to decide between three options. 2 x Radeon HD 6870 or GeForce GTX 570 or 2 x GeForce GTX 460 1 GB. I'm not sure what Crossfire and SLI is (for the dual chips). I would like to pick whichever card combination has the highest performance, as the prices are very similar.

EDIT: SLI and Crossfire look a bit complicated. I'll look into them more, and if I'm not confident I can figure them out I'll just go with the single GeForce GTX 570


About the audio...most motherboards today come with integrated sound and it is like 5.1 at the least...just check the I/O panel in the pictures in case it isn't listed under the description. What you are looking for is the normally a 2x3 set of circle ports colored green, red, black, blue, orange, and grey(I think are the normal colors). For instance the...

SUS P8Z68-V PRO LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
$209.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813131730

had sound integrated on the motherboard already(look at one of the pictures and they are labeled as analog audio ports).

For the video card, I would go with the GTX 570 out of those choices because this is a new build so normally it is best to give yourself the ability to make a quick and simple upgrade later, which would be adding in a second video card and doing SLI or Crossfire much later down the road. SLI is simply NVidia's way of having multiply graphics card in a pc to work together and Crossfire is ATI's version of doing that. In order to do that normally you need the same graphics card, so in your case, another GTX 570, if you end up going with that. Now if you are trying to have 3 monitors hooked up to the pc(which I don't think you are) then you need to go with 2 graphics card right now.
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November 6, 2011 11:29:02 PM

BTW when you are done figuring everything out, be sure to post your final build so people can give it the once over and make sure it looks good.
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November 8, 2011 1:19:11 AM

So this is my final build. Once again this is my first time to build a P.C. so a few questions? Looks good? Everything is compatible with each other?

RAM:
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL
$46.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SSD:
Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
$218.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU:
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
$219.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video Card:
EVGA 012-P3-1570-AR GeForce GTX 570 (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
$339.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case:
Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
$69.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Fan:
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
$25.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD Drive:
LITE-ON Black 18X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA DVD-ROM Drive Model iHDS118-04 - OEM
$17.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power Supply:
CORSAIR Professional Series Gold AX750 (CMPSU-750AX) 750W ATX12V v2.31 / EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
$169.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard:
ASUS P8Z68-V PRO LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
$209.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Monitor:
ASUS VH242H Black 23.6" 5ms HDMI Full 1080P Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 ASCR 20000:1 (1000:1) W/Speakers
$179.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


$1500 U.S.D
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November 8, 2011 5:44:29 AM

Enigmatic said:
RAM:
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL
$46.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video Card:
EVGA 012-P3-1570-AR GeForce GTX 570 (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
$339.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power Supply:
CORSAIR Professional Series Gold AX750 (CMPSU-750AX) 750W ATX12V v2.31 / EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
$169.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard:
ASUS P8Z68-V PRO LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
$209.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Monitor:
ASUS VH242H Black 23.6" 5ms HDMI Full 1080P Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 ASCR 20000:1 (1000:1) W/Speakers
$179.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


For the most part it looks good, everything is compatible...

Try http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... for RAM, I think it is the newer version of the RAM you have listed.
Possibly http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... for your monitor, it is the same price after the rebate and is LED backlit, so better picture, better response time, and uses less power.
I have to say that I like your PSU, since I plan on getting the same PSU or near similar(depends if anything new has come out) for my new PC build next year.
Also there is nothing wrong with going with a touch cheaper graphics card(~$270) and motherboard(~$160) or PSU(TX750 instead of AX750, ~$95) and motherboard(~$160) and so then you can still get your UPS http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... , but that is completely up to you. A UPS is handy but I think most people don't bother. They only come into play when you have random quick blurps(like less than 5 seconds long) of power outages(it will keep your pc on during the whole blurp), or if it is a longer power failure then you will be able to turn off your pc properly. I have one but the batteries die in it after awhile and those are just a pain in the neck to replace, expensive and rare, normally you have to order online and pay an arm and a leg to ship this huge heavy battery. It is a novelty like a stand alone ice maker in the kitchen. Very nice to have at times especially for gatherings, but a pain in the neck to maintain, since all what they want to do is break down every other month.
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November 8, 2011 8:29:32 PM

Delirious788 said:
For the most part it looks good, everything is compatible...

Try http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... for RAM, I think it is the newer version of the RAM you have listed.
Possibly http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... for your monitor, it is the same price after the rebate and is LED backlit, so better picture, better response time, and uses less power.
I have to say that I like your PSU, since I plan on getting the same PSU or near similar(depends if anything new has come out) for my new PC build next year.
Also there is nothing wrong with going with a touch cheaper graphics card(~$270) and motherboard(~$160) or PSU(TX750 instead of AX750, ~$95) and motherboard(~$160) and so then you can still get your UPS http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... , but that is completely up to you. A UPS is handy but I think most people don't bother. They only come into play when you have random quick blurps(like less than 5 seconds long) of power outages(it will keep your pc on during the whole blurp), or if it is a longer power failure then you will be able to turn off your pc properly. I have one but the batteries die in it after awhile and those are just a pain in the neck to replace, expensive and rare, normally you have to order online and pay an arm and a leg to ship this huge heavy battery. It is a novelty like a stand alone ice maker in the kitchen. Very nice to have at times especially for gatherings, but a pain in the neck to maintain, since all what they want to do is break down every other month.


That is interesting about the monitor. I'll definitively consider that monitor instead, I'll email my uncle (who builds computers) which one he thinks is better. Also, I'll look into UPSs, they look like they could be very useful at times. Do the UPSs protect your PC from damage? Because I haven't seen anybody use them before (like you said, many people don't bother getting one).
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November 8, 2011 10:28:21 PM

A UPS is a surge protector with a battery backup for some of the plugs. You should use a nice beefy surge protector that can handle the load of the pc(monitor, printer, and whatever else extras you have included) no matter what, and really this is the big thing that will help protect your computer. Honestly, it is a huge personal preference, I think, and again I would guess that most don't bother with them. I just noticed that you had it in your original post and was making sure you were fine with dropping it.
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November 9, 2011 12:00:03 AM

Delirious788 said:
A UPS is a surge protector with a battery backup for some of the plugs. You should use a nice beefy surge protector that can handle the load of the pc(monitor, printer, and whatever else extras you have included) no matter what, and really this is the big thing that will help protect your computer. Honestly, it is a huge personal preference, I think, and again I would guess that most don't bother with them. I just noticed that you had it in your original post and was making sure you were fine with dropping it.


Okay, thank you for that info. I might consider getting one later. I'll be looking for parts at Black Friday, maybe I can find a UPS there.
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