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Please rate/critique my first ever build

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November 10, 2011 11:09:47 PM

This rig will be primarily used for mid-range gaming, with the capability and upgradability of playing higher end games such as Skyrim, BF3 etc. Due to unforeseen financial constraints I've had to tone down my spending quite a bit (was originally going to spend 2k+) but I've come up with this list with eventual expandability in mind (6 or so months down the track or even sooner, part by part)

CPU: Intel Core i5 2500K @ $229 - No brainer on this CPU, heard and read nothing but good things about it.

CPU Cooler: CoolerMaster Hyper 212 EVO @ $39 - http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
Done enough research to know I should equip an aftermarket cooler, and once again heard nothing but good things about the CM Hyper 212 series.

MoBo: ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 Motherboard @ $ 135 -
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
This was the cheapest ATX MoBo with all the standard features I found. The main feature I need in a MoBo is SLI capability incase I decide to buy a second graphics card in the future (which I more than likely will)

Graphics card: ASUS GeForce GTX 550 Ti 1GB DirectCU @ $149 - http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
This is the biggest hit I have to suffer with the reduced funds. Was originally going to go with a 580, but this overclocked version seems to have good stats on it, even similar to the 560/570's on the site (unless I'm missing some important stat(s)

Case: Thermaltake Black Chaser MK-I Full Tower @ $165 - http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
Not skimping on a quality case, have been wanting a full tower from the outset, with plenty of room for expandability and cable management for good air cooling. Love the look as well.

RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws X F3-10666CL7D-8GBXH (2x4GB) DDR3 @ $65 - http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
Don't mind using a cheaper version of RAM atm to cut down costs, but from what I've seen G.Skill are a decent brand and this RAM although only 1333MHz (seems 1600+ don't give too much gains) the CL7 is appealing.

SSD: Corsair Force Series 3 120GB SSD @ $199 - http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
I know I could cut a significant amount of money by not buying an SSD, but I've read too many positive articles about them to not buy one. This one seemed the best value 120GB with the same read/write speeds of the more expensive ones.

HDD: Seagate Barracuda 1TB @ $119 - http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
Not concerened with massage amounts of storage or speed as I don't really download alot of stuff, the OS, games and main programs I use will be on the SSD.

Optical Drive: Cheap drive I've already got.

PSU: OCZ Z Series 850W Gold Modular @ $179 - http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
Haven't heard much about the OCZ brand, but this seems like a pretty solid power supply with a Gold rating. Another attractive thing is it's partially
modular, as I won't have the need for too many cables initially and the less clutter the better. 850W is proabably alot of overkill for this rig, but like I said I will be adding and upgrading parts as soon as a few months away.

OS - OEM or retail Windows 7 Home Premium - Don't think OS has much affect on gaming. Apparently OEM versions you have to register for a 'system builder license' or something, not sure about this one. Also OEM being locked doesn't sound good, does it get locked to the HDD or something?

Don't need any peripherals.

Been using PC Case Gear in Aus as a reference point for prices and specs of all these parts. I know of a few other places such as MSY I can buy from but I'm open to suggestions. I'm prepared to extend my budget if anyone has recommendations or finds something I have overlooked. Thanks heaps if anyone provides any input.

More about : rate critique build

a b B Homebuilt system
November 11, 2011 3:39:27 AM

OEM isn't locked to any component, no reason to pay for retail unless you need the support. You can get a 6850 for the cost of that 550ti.
November 11, 2011 4:28:22 AM

Like etk said, you should definitely change the 550ti to a radeon 6850, or better if you have the budget

For your psu, when you mean upgrading, do you mean getting another 550ti? Because a good 650w psu is penty for dual 550ti's or dual 6950's

I wouldn't get the Corsair Force Series 3, especially when its rated two eggs on newegg.
Go for something like these
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
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November 11, 2011 4:38:33 AM

The GPU seems a bit weak for the hardware, but if you plan on soon SLIing it then it might be acceptable.

HDD prices are shooting up due to flooding in Thailand (at least here in Canada) so you might want to pick up some soon.

With regards to the PSU, I know Corsair occasionally sells their HX550 modular PSU for $99CAD. With moderate hardware like yours, I doubt you'd need more than 550~650W. PSUs work best when they're around 20%-80% load anyway.
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
November 11, 2011 4:48:15 AM

You're paying way too much for that case. Go with a Corsair Carbide 500R, Graphite 600T, or Cooler Master HAF 932.

Go with EVGA over ASUS - much much better brand.

For SSD go with the Crucial M4, Intel 510, or Plextor SSD - the Force 3 has way too many BSOD errors and that sort of thing.

And do not pay that much for an OCZ power supply - OCZ is not the most reliable brand out there. If you're paying that much for a PSU go for a Seasonic, PC Power & Cooling, or Corsair.

November 11, 2011 5:16:18 AM

Quote:
OEM isn't locked to any component, no reason to pay for retail unless you need the support.

Ah thanks, I read this "An OEM operating system is registered to the system it is originally installed on and the support for the software is handled directly by the installer and not Microsoft or ourselves. You cannot transfer this software to a different PC once activated. We recommend the purchase of retail software if you plan on upgrading major hardware in the future." and got a bit paranoid about what it meant. I take it to mean that it would only be applicable if you were upgrading/replacing the SSD with the OS on it?

Quote:
For your psu, when you mean upgrading, do you mean getting another 550ti? Because a good 650w psu is penty for dual 550ti's or dual 6950's

In the short term. In the long term I'll likely buy a much better card, and perhaps even SLI it as well. That's why I wanted the buffer, but I guess I could scale it down.

Quote:
I wouldn't get the Corsair Force Series 3, especially when its rated two eggs on newegg. Go for something like these

I mainly chose the Corsair because it had the best read/write times of all them around the $200 price range. Not sure how much of a difference that makes though, but going by what you and g-unit1111 have said it seems I need to get a better quality one, the ones you listed are nice, thanks.

Quote:
Save $10 on the heatsink with an Xigmatek SD1283 Gaia. I have one and it works amazingly well, my i5 2500k never goes above 50C. Use that $10 you saved an get the http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... GTX 460 1GB Hawk. It is about equal in performance to the 6850 but does not have the micro stuttering issues when in SLI.
Oh, and you can get a good 1TB HDD for $70, no need to spend $110 on one.

Thanks, i'll check it out. I haven't been able to find a HDD on any Aus sites for less than $110 :/ 

@eddieroolz: Yea, I'm actually thinking about bumping up the card to the next level or 2 now. Thanks for the other advice as well.

Quote:
You're paying way too much for that case. Go with a Corsair Carbide 500R, Graphite 600T, or Cooler Master HAF 932.

Go with EVGA over ASUS - much much better brand.

For SSD go with the Crucial M4, Intel 510, or Plextor SSD - the Force 3 has way too many BSOD errors and that sort of thing.

And do not pay that much for an OCZ power supply - OCZ is not the most reliable brand out there. If you're paying that much for a PSU go for a Seasonic, PC Power & Cooling, or Corsair.

I don't care about the case, I've got my mind set on that one. I've heard good things about EVGA, i'll check them out too, and also the SSD's you mentioned. I wasn't very confident about the OCZ PSU either, so it looks like I'll take your advice and down the Wattage a bit and get a better brand.

As for the Graphics card, I've been going mainly by articles and reviews here on Tom's, especially the Graphics card hierarchy chart, which puts Nvidia cards a little bit above the others, at a higher cost of course, but the Nvidia cards also seem to have better clock timings. I could be wrong of course, I'm quite new to all this afterall, but thanks alot for replies!
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
November 11, 2011 4:12:51 PM

Quote:

I don't care about the case, I've got my mind set on that one. I've heard good things about EVGA, i'll check them out too, and also the SSD's you mentioned. I wasn't very confident about the OCZ PSU either, so it looks like I'll take your advice and down the Wattage a bit and get a better brand.


Definitely - one of the most important parts on the PC is your power supply (actually it's probably *THE* most important part). That's one area where don't want to skimp, or get a defective one, or anything of that nature. But the PSU you choose all has to do with what's in your system. It's either - no overclocking, SLI, low power GPUs, you go with a low wattage one (500 - 750). If you're running say - extreme liquid cooling and triple 580s, then you want like a 1500 watt PSU. Read this article - it will explain more about what PSU you should get:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/power-supply-psu-re...

And yes EVGA is an excellent brand - their tech support is really easy to deal with and they have excellent RMA turn arounds.

Quote:

Save $10 on the heatsink with an Xigmatek SD1283 Gaia. I have one and it works amazingly well, my i5 2500k never goes above 50C. Use that $10 you saved an get the http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 4127518MSI GTX 460 1GB Hawk. It is about equal in performance to the 6850 but does not have the micro stuttering issues when in SLI.
Oh, and you can get a good 1TB HDD for $70, no need to spend $110 on one.


Ooh - I'm not a fan of the Gaia. I had one and I'm convinced it's what fried my AMD build. It's got way too many loose parts, incredibly cheap thermal paste, and if you install it incorrectly you'll get all kinds of temp read errors and that sort of thing. If you really want a good air cooler, try the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo, Corsair A70, or EVGA M020.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 12, 2011 5:06:01 PM

As you carry over some major part of the hardware, you are in compliance with MS's license. It could be the RAM, the Case, the PSU...anything. If you change the motherboard you may have to call MS rather than doing the online activation, but it's not a big deal.
!