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Comments on my first homebuilt system, and need advice on monitor

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November 9, 2011 8:47:09 AM

Hello all!

I've just put together my first PC! And it all started beause i got the mobo, cpu and psu at less than half price from a hardware reviewer :) .

I've read countless posts in the last three weeks figuring out what to get and have used this site heavily and it has helped alot!.

Now i've finally ordered it all, and i would like to know how good it is (as when i started all this my hardware knowledge was more than 10 years outdated).

I tried making it a beast, but still without breaking the bank. And since most people on here seem to have great experience (and oppinions on pretty much anything ;) ) i figured i'd post my specs here to get some good constructive info/critisism.

Here goes:

Motherboard: EVGA X58 SLI http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/x58-motherboard-i7,review...
CPU: core i7 -920 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Heatsink: Noctua NH-U12P SE2 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PSU: OCZ GameXStream 700W http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GFX Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 6950 Toxic http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Ram: 3x2 GB G.Skill 1600mhz cl7 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Case: Antec P193 V3 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Monitor: ?

That's the system as it is and it will cost me 1311$ (excluding monitor). Is it solid? Or have i done something completely wrong?

With regards to the monitor i've searched far and wide and cannot determine what i should get. I've looked at ASUS VH242H and all ASUS monitors similar, i've looked at SAMSUNG XL2370 and SAMSUNG P2570. But i can't figure out what to go for. The ASUS monitors available for shipping in my country are a bit lacking (i live in Denmark), so even though i had set my mind on a VH242H i couldn't find a site in europe that sold it.

I am going to use the monitor mostly for gaming, i'll also be using it to write and read alot, and occasionally i'll use it for movies (usually use my tv for that). If possible the monitor should NOT be glossy, i find the reflection very distracting (and it's hard to find one without it :S). It also seem that some monitors have problems with win7 64bit which i plan on using.

Any comments / critique / advice is greatly appriciated :D !
a b B Homebuilt system
November 9, 2011 8:54:20 AM

Well, the 1366 is old and you shouldn't have bought it. Sorry :p  I'd try and cancel the order and get a Sandy Bridge socket 1155 CPU.
November 9, 2011 9:19:24 AM

You mean the CPU? I've read that it can be OC'd easily to 4ghz which is the plan.

If you mean the motherboard. I don't have much knowledge of mobo's, how much impact does it have on gaming and performance? I got it for 140$ which seemed a pretty good deal at the time.

My goal is to be able to run all current games and all future games (the next 4 or so years) at highest or close to highest settings at 1900x1080 btw :) 

Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
November 9, 2011 9:24:59 AM

I mean both the CPU and motherboard. The 1366 and i7-??? was released in 2008. Socket 1155 and Sandy Bridge (i?-????) is the current generation. i5-2500K is the current leader in gaming performance.

Now the 1366 isn't bad as such - I have one and it still performs great. I bought it in 2008. You could newer, better tech for cheaper nowadays.
November 9, 2011 9:29:55 AM

i might be able to deliver it back, since i am studying on the same university as the guy i bought them from. Could you come with some links to a good mobo/cpu combo for under 450$ combined then?

And still, in what way would it affect gaming performance? Or is it simply that i can get newer stuff at just slightly higher cost?
a b B Homebuilt system
November 9, 2011 9:35:12 AM

You got that mobo+cpu for $450? Then you can get newer and better stuff for cheaper!

Here's a great combo for 367 that's more than enough for gaming: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

If you have programs that use multithreading look for the i7-2600K.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 9, 2011 9:46:00 AM

I would change the RAM as well G.Skill has 8GB (2x4GB) for less than $50 a couple extra dollars saved for you but if your doing editting and designing stuff go for 16GB.
November 9, 2011 11:24:56 AM

+1 for finneousPJ you want a z68 Mobo if you want 4 or more years from it for peak gaming performance, that board and i5 2500k is less than $450 by a good bit, take the extra $ and upgrade your memory to 8gb,

Also not sure if you plan on sli in the future, but if you do I would suggest a 850w PSU, 700 will probably get the job done but I like to have space to play with settings
November 9, 2011 12:01:08 PM

I can attest to FinneousPJ's z68 motherboard choice. That's the motherboard I bought, and it's been fantastic. (other than the fact that it doesn't have native USB 3.0 internal headers, but I didn't expect that on a board of this price-point) The only reason you'd want the ASRock z68 Extreme4 rather than the Extreme3 is because the Extreme4 has a third PCIe 2.0 x16 slot for a graphics card or something, while the Extreme3 only has two of those slots. But it's not that big of a deal, and you save $50 by going with the extreme3.

I bought my first computer last month, and these are my specs:

Case: Rosewill Challenger U3
CPU: i5-2500K
GPU: Gigabyte Radeon 6950 1GB
Motherboard: ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB
SSD: Crucial M4 128GB
PSU: OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W Modular
Optical Drive: LG CD/DVD Burner
Extra: Wireless Adapter
Extra: Silverstone PCI Express Card with USB 3.0 Internal Connector
Case Fans: 5 of them. One front, one top, one back, and two side.

All in all, I spent about $1,150, and everything's working great. If you aren't afraid of building in a mid-tower case, I'd recommend the $60 Challenger case over your $180 Antec case, so you can save a bit of cash. I also bought probably double the RAM you need because I do a lot of video editing, so you should only buy 8GB if you plan on just gaming. There's another $50 saved. You might not want the SSD, and so you could spend more money on a bigger PSU or a better graphics card or whatever.

The Noctua heatsink you got is very high quality. You should be pretty pleased with that. I read a bunch of "silent PC" websites that Noctua is one of the top quality brands when it comes to quiet but efficient fans and heatsinks.

The machine you bought isn't bad, it's just that if you're willing to return some of that stuff, it's possible for you to have a better machine for less money.

As far as a monitor goes, I've been doing a bunch of research on that as well, but I've decided that I'm going to stick with my huge LaCie CRT monitor because...I'd rather save a few hundred bucks than have the latest and greatest LCD. However, if I were going to buy an LCD monitor right now, I'd get the Dell Ultrasharp U2412M for $360, since it's an extremely high quality IPS monitor. But since you seem more interested in gaming, you might want a TN monitor instead of an IPS, and you probably want like 1ms or 2ms refresh rates. You might also consider a 120hz monitor instead of the standard 60hz.
November 9, 2011 1:32:36 PM

Thanks alot for the replies!

I didn't pay 450$ for mobo and cpu, but 320$. The 450$ was just an upper limit so to speak :) .

I just don't understand why the ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 mobo is cheaper than the one i got atmo. If this one is newer and better?

I'm not planning on using multiple GPUs, but the option is nice to have for later. I'm planning to get a SSD, but i don't know much about it (haven't researched about it yet).

Concerning the RAM, from what i could read low latency is just as important as clock speed. And the reason i chose 3x2 was because the motherboard supported 3 ram sticks better than 2 (can't remember the technicalities).

I found this 'formula' to calculate the effect of the ram: (1/(0,5*mhz))*cl And from that it showed that the 1600mhz cl7 scored best. Am i doing it all wrong?

I see that the rams have already been shipped from amazon. How important would you say it is to get some other ram?
November 9, 2011 1:35:36 PM

And about the heatsink, yeah. That's also one of the things i have no concerns about at all ^^
a b B Homebuilt system
November 9, 2011 1:38:23 PM

You are correct the 920 has a triple channel memory controller. The 2500/2600 do not, they have two channels.

That's an arbitrary formula. Memory performance is dependent on a lot of things, including software. In real life you won't know the difference.
November 9, 2011 3:09:22 PM

I am quite confused, since it seems that i get contradicting info... In this thread http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/305880-10-current-s... there's a reply saying that going from a lga1366 to lga1155 is actually a downgrade for intel cpu's??

And is the i5 2500k still superior if i also want the ability to have say two games open at the same time, or if i like to have many background programs open while gaming?

Just mailed the guy and he sounded pretty upset seeing as he already spent the money on something else. He was open for finding a solution at least.

For these pieces it will cost me 175$ for the ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3. and 290$ for the i5 2500k cpu.

the motherboard and cpu i currently got was for 320$ as i posted earlier..

Remember i live in Denmark so i can't order from newegg :) 
a b B Homebuilt system
November 9, 2011 3:21:58 PM

That's someone who already had a 1366 system for years - the point is you shouldn't be buying one now. It's three years old and poor value for money.

And damn those prices are expensive. Order from Germany if Denmark's that expensive :p 
a b B Homebuilt system
November 9, 2011 3:29:28 PM

But anyway if you can't return it it's no biggie. You should have asked before buying though :p 
November 9, 2011 3:33:31 PM

denmark IS expensive ;) . And the price is the cheapest in scandinavia. I don't know of any german sites that aren't in german which i don't understand lol.

But with those price differences, you would still say it's a bad deal?
a b B Homebuilt system
November 9, 2011 3:37:02 PM

Yes, because three years is a lifetime in hardware and the 1366 is dead whereas 1155 is getting Ivy Bridge soon. But it's a fine system for the time being I guess. As I said I own a 920 for three years now and I'm not planning to upgrade yet lol, it's still going strong.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 9, 2011 3:38:35 PM

That's not the cheapest store in Germany though.
November 9, 2011 3:51:20 PM

That german site.. you sure they ship to DK? Their shipping details are all in german, even when the language is set to eng :( . And the few swedish sites i have found have similar prices

So last question about mobo/cpu would be: How long time would you recon the combo i currently got will run everything at max/close to max ?

I realise that gfx card has most to say in that area, but still :) ?
a b B Homebuilt system
November 9, 2011 4:04:49 PM

No idea really, but I do know they ship to Finland so why not? Skicka email :p 

I dare not guess lest you come and hold me to my word; a year, two? As I said currently I don't see myself upgrading anytime soon, never had any problems running games on my 920.
November 9, 2011 4:04:56 PM

FinneousPJ said:
But anyway if you can't return it it's no biggie. You should have asked before buying though :p 


Yeah, Shawish,
Just because you don't have top-of-the-line at this moment, doesn't mean you got a bad deal. You still have a fairly nice machine. You don't need to stress over returning it and ordering all new parts if you're only concerned about running games decently. You've by no means got an enthusiast's machine, but you can still play games with good quality and good framerates.

My advice is to keep what you've got, save up your money, and wait a year or two before trying to upgrade.
November 9, 2011 4:08:55 PM

ok. I think it's best if i keep with what i got then. Better to keep the good relationship with my student buddy :) .

Thanks alot for the info though.

@zippycorners: running games decently wasn't the plan, it was to run all current games and the coming releases (sc2hots, d3, bf3, mw3) on ultra. Will i be able to do that with what i got? The way you're saying it brings doubt in my mind
a b B Homebuilt system
November 9, 2011 4:11:36 PM

You might need a second 6950 ;) 
November 9, 2011 4:12:57 PM

even though i'll unlock it to a 6970? hm, from what i've read it seemed enough with just one of em :( 
a b B Homebuilt system
November 9, 2011 4:19:54 PM

Depends on how sensitive you are. You will get FPS dips into 20s I'd guess with a single 6950 with average in the high 30s low 40s in the most GFX intensive games. CF is going to double those figures TBH, AMD has really done a great job with the scaling.
November 9, 2011 4:22:50 PM

hmm... it just makes the rig much more expensive, by 365$ :p . Damn.

can that mobo i got CF? it just says SLI on it but the guy i bought it from claimed it could CF.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 9, 2011 4:27:23 PM

It can CF. Buy a single 6950 2 GB for now. If the performance feels inadequate THEN buy a second one.

:lol:  If you look at my rig on the left you'll see I'm pretty much running the same things you are. I'm planning to get a second 6950 for Christmas ;) 
November 9, 2011 4:30:46 PM

ha, cool =)!. And good idea lol ^^

i'm just torn between the mobo/cpu now. If i do like you and buy another for CF, would the build last for 4-5 years? I won't hold you to your word, i just want to know how the longevity of the build is + -.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 9, 2011 4:31:56 PM

I'm hoping to get another 3 years, we'll see.
November 9, 2011 4:32:59 PM

3 years on ultra :D ?
a b B Homebuilt system
November 9, 2011 4:34:49 PM

I guess I might have to make due with High at some point :D 
November 9, 2011 4:37:07 PM

haha. yeah, that's true. But if i choose to CF, will i have to buy better gfx cards or would a new mobo/cpu with same gfx cards be better?

I'm having a hard time seeing what i'm missing out on with the current mobo/cpu :p 
November 9, 2011 4:53:54 PM

And if i choose to CF would i need another PSU?
a b B Homebuilt system
November 9, 2011 5:24:07 PM

Shawish said:
haha. yeah, that's true. But if i choose to CF, will i have to buy better gfx cards or would a new mobo/cpu with same gfx cards be better?

I'm having a hard time seeing what i'm missing out on with the current mobo/cpu :p 


I'm not sure I understand. I'll reiterate: the 1366 is a dead, three years old platform.

Shawish said:
And if i choose to CF would i need another PSU?


In theory 700W is enough, however I'm not familiar with that particular PSU. You could try and search for reviews online.
November 9, 2011 5:30:52 PM

FinneousPJ said:
I'm not sure I understand. I'll reiterate: the 1366 is a dead, three years old platform.


What i meant was, when the time comes that 6950 in CF struggles with high settings in games. Will buying new gfx cards (while still using the 1366) give me more of a boost than buying a new mobo/cpu?

Like if there's no errors or the like with the 1366, why not just keep using that untill i need a faster processor? From what i've read it will be a while before the processor i7 920 will be struggling?

FinneousPJ said:
In theory 700W is enough, however I'm not familiar with that particular PSU. You could try and search for reviews online.


I've read reviews on it that says it's very good. However, it only has 1x6pin and 1x8pin, so i can't CF with it :S. Unless i can get some adapters(or what it's called), is that easy to get?
a b B Homebuilt system
November 9, 2011 5:36:22 PM

Shawish said:
What i meant was, when the time comes that 6950 in CF struggles with high settings in games. Will buying new gfx cards (while still using the 1366) give me more of a boost than buying a new mobo/cpu?

Like if there's no errors or the like with the 1366, why not just keep using that untill i need a faster processor? From what i've read it will be a while before the processor i7 920 will be struggling?


Oh. When the time comes that 6950 CF struggles in games (that's hard to imagine :lol:  ) chances are you might need a new processor as well. But I believe that'll be years from now.

Shawish said:
I've read reviews on it that says it's very good. However, it only has 1x6pin and 1x8pin, so i can't CF with it :S. Unless i can get some adapters(or what it's called), is that easy to get?


The fact they didn't include the connectors is a sign even the manufacturer doesn't have 100% confidence in this unit. A XFX 650W PSU for example has four PCIe power connectors. I'd look into a different unit.
November 9, 2011 5:58:56 PM

can you recommend a good PSU for 6950 CF :) ?

and it seems to me that the need for a new processor is more than a couple of years from now, more like 4-5?
a b B Homebuilt system
November 9, 2011 6:06:32 PM

Where are you buying from I could have a look.
November 9, 2011 6:09:55 PM

I know you can't order from Newegg, but I don't know which other website you want to use, so I'll just let you search for their names.

600W Modular OCZ $50 <-- This is the PSU I bought. I don't plan on CF, so it works great for my single 6950.
625W Modular Enermax Crossfire Certified $100
750W Modular Antec Crossfire Certified $140
775W Modular Thermaltake Crossfire Certified $100

These all have high reviews, are modular, and are pretty good options for CF. Other than the OCZ, of course.
November 9, 2011 6:17:56 PM

thanks alot zippy, i'll look into those :) . I mainly shop on pricerunner.dk edbpriser.dk komplett.dk and amazon.co.uk. All but the last is danish :) 
November 9, 2011 6:41:14 PM

ah cool! thanks alot mate ^^. I'll give my mate the PSU back and buy that one. And keep the mobo/cpu i think =)


Any advice on monitors? The dell ultrasharp seems a bit expensive? Or is that nessecary to get a great monitor?
November 9, 2011 6:43:20 PM

Oh and on the PSU, i'd like one that is silent. The one you linked is quite loud (or so the user review says)
a b B Homebuilt system
November 9, 2011 6:45:50 PM

I shouldn't think it's any louder than average. It has a large 140mm fan which should be quite easy on the ears.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 9, 2011 6:47:41 PM

I've seen reviewers note that PSU to be extremely quiet. I'd that opinion as just that.
November 9, 2011 7:37:49 PM

Regarding monitors, here's a quote from a Tom's monitor review from April 2011:

"If you're buying a monitor for grandma, there isn't anything wrong with purchasing one of the many budget LCD options available. [However], if you're a gamer, wider gamuts should be your preference because the gamut required to adequately represent the colors in titles like Just Cause 2 is much larger than what's needed to watch an episode of House (which usually uses a smaller and darker color palette)."

According to Tom's reviews, here are the best monitors by size:
24" = Dell U2412M - - - - - - - - ~$350
23" = Samsung's PX2370 - - - ~$200
22" = DON'T DO IT.

I recommend reading the latest monitor review by Tom's, though. The Dell U2412M isn't the only good choice.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 9, 2011 7:40:12 PM

I agree (with the reviewer) don't buy into the Full HD 16/9 mumbo jumbo, 1920 x 1200 FTW
November 10, 2011 7:57:39 AM

Yeah FinneousP3, it seems it was just an odd reviewer. Should i care that the PSU is not modular?

And with regards to the monitor, thanks for the link zippycorners, i think i've set my heart on the U2412M now :p 
!