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Opinions on $1500 work / gaming PC?

Last response: in Systems
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November 11, 2011 9:55:58 AM

Hey guys,

I was hoping to get some input on my next build. I've done a lot of research, so I'm pretty confident in my choices, but perhaps there are some newer/better components that I missed which are comparably priced.

I'm upgrading because my old system is dead. I upgraded it only last year with an Intel i5 750 2.66ghz, a P7P55 LX Asus motherboard, 4 GB of ram, a 1TB Seagate drive, and a Coolermaster GX 750W. I reused the Geforce GTX 260 I had, as well as a 500GB Western Digital drive and a 750GB Seagate.

It wasn't long after I upgraded though that I ran a smart test, and the 1TB Seagate began erroring on bootup every time. It continued to work fine, but I think the bad sector count was high. (I don't know why a measly 100 bad sectors on a drive with a terabyte of storage is even an issue or unexpected.)

Then after that, the sound on my left speaker went, which I traced to the onboard sound. I found plugging the speakers into the front port of the PC made the sound work again but it wasn't long before that blew as well, so I installed a Soundblaster I had, which actually had a lot less static than the onboard sound, so that was an improvement. But I don't trust the board now that the sound fried, and it doesn't support PCI 3.0 or Sata 3.0.

I also began to experience my system freezing while a drive was accessing (the drive light would be stuck on), and glitched pixels on the left side of the screen and crashes in 3D games because the Geforce had decided now was a good time to die.

The system was still running even with this though amazingly enough, but the straw that broke the camel's back was when I moved and tried t use a SATA dock to load the contents of my 500GB C: drive onto my laptop. This killed the drive. It worked for like five minutes, then locked up during the copy operation and eventually the system wouldn't eve recognize it was connected. I think that means the PCB is fried. I hope that's what it means anyway. Reconnecting it to my motherboard, it is detected but it says no OS is installed when I try to boot and it just clicks. Which normally is a sign of crashed heads but the fact that it died while in the dock, and was not being detected at all makes me think the PCB is fried, so I guess I'll have to try replacing that at some point and swapping the rom chip to get my data back.

ANYWAY...

From the old system, I'll be using the case, power supply, cpu, and probably the one 750GB Seagate drive which hasn't yet shown any signs of failure.

For the new system, I'll be buying these additional parts:


RAM:
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) 9-9-9-24 - $45

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

Why 8GB? Because:

1) I saw some benchmarks (on Tom's Hardware I think) indicating that 8gb can improve the FPS in games by up to 20%, while any more than that has little to no effect.

2) I do graphics work on my PC in apps like Photoshop which need lots of ram, and sometimes I leave these running while I game so I don't have to reload all my work. The extra ram will make it less likely this data will be paged to disk and will likely speed up rendering as well.

Why that particular ram?

There's faster ram available, but my research indicates that lower timing scores won't make my system any faster because it's no longer a bottleneck. So, why not go for the cheaper ram?


Motherboard:

ASRock P67 EXTREME4 GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel P67 - $170

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

Why this board?

It's got SATA 3.0, and PCI 3.0.
It's not an Asus or a Gigabyte, which are both brands I've owned in the past which have died on me.

This similar model got high marks from Tom's hardware:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

But the one I've chosen has the newest firewire, is $5 cheaper, has an extra audio port (which I haven't yet determined the function of since both boards say they support 7.1 audio) and I don't need onboard video.


Processor:

Intel i5 750 2.66ghz - $250-$300?

This is the cpu I have in my current system. It seems to still be fine, and it would cost a lot to replace it with one which is likely to only be a little faster since I only bought this a year ago.


Power supply:

CoolerMaster GX 750W - $100

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

This is the power supply from my current system. It also seems to be fine.


Optical drive - ???

I haven't settled on one yet. But, if I decide to get a Bluray burner, I would go with:

LG Black 12X BD-R 2X BD-RE 16X DVD+R 12X DVD-RAM 10X BD-ROM 4MB Cache SATA Super Multi WH12LS30 LightScribe Support - $80

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

I chose this one, because although I liked the look of the Lite-On one better, and the scores appear the same, if you look at the breakdown of the scoring, 20% of users gave the Lite-On one star and said it couldn't read the discs, while only 8% of users were very unhappy with the LG. Also, the LG is $20 less. (I'm aware o the rebate on the Lite-On but I don't want to wait 6-8 weeks for my money.)


OS:

Windows 7 Home Premium OEM - $100

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


Drives:

OCZ Vertex 3 - 120GB - $200

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

This should be enough space for my OS, applications like Adobe CS5 suite, and all my Steam games. I'll use this as my boot drive.

And for my hard drive, I'm looking at getting a SATA 2 or 3 model, 7200 RPM, 2TB. I was considering getting two 2TB drives and setting up a raid backup system, but with drive prices what they are now, I may wait. I'm also not sure I want two drives running at once at all times since I think some of my problems with drives in the past have been caused by heat, and it would probably be noisy too. Not sure what to do about backups though. I guess I can find space on the 750GB drive to back up my most important files.

As for specific drives, if I got a Western Digital, which I'm leaning towards because of their slightly better benchmarks, it would likely be a Caviar Black. But, if the Blues turn out to be much less expensive, I might go that route instead. The SSD will be housing most of my most often read data, so I won't get much of a performance boost from the Black, and there'd be less heat and noise which is a plus.
November 11, 2011 9:59:40 AM

Oops, forgot to include the video card:

EVGA 012-P3-1571-KR GeForce GTX 570 HD w/Display-Port (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP - $340

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

Why this card? I like Geforces, the EVGA seems to have the best design and support, what I've read indicates 2GB of ram would not improve performance, and this card is a good upgrade from my 260 being about 10x faster, and it's not unreasonably priced.
November 11, 2011 10:13:28 AM

The i5 750 won't work with the ASRock P67 extreme4 gen3, everything else seems alright
Related resources
November 11, 2011 11:13:53 AM

Why is that? The tech specs say it supports the i5?
November 11, 2011 11:27:57 AM

scswift said:
Why is that? The tech specs say it supports the i5?



It supports the 2nd generation Sandy Bridge i5, not the 1st gen i5 that you have.
November 11, 2011 11:28:59 AM

Ah, ***... I see. The i5 750 uses an LGA 1156 socket while this board has the newer LGA 1155 socket. Damn Intel and their confusing naming conventions. They even gave the NEWER socket a LOWER number. I was wondering what the 750 stood for since I found like seven different GHZ speeds for the same model number as well.

Well ***. I don't think I want to spend another $300 for a new CPU, but I don't know if there's another equivalent motherboard with all the latest features. I guess I'm gonna have to look at some more motherbords, and research cpu prices.

What would you reccommend? Is there a good reason to upgrade my CPU at this time? Is there one which is significantly faster and uses the new socket and is not over say $300?

Switching motherboards would certainly be the cheaper route, but I wonder if that's the best decision. If I go with only a MB upgrade, then that MB's socket will be obsolete when I do decide to upgrade the CPU. Then I'll have to swap motherboards and that's a big pain in the ass.

Hm...

Well, thanks a bunch for pointing that out. That would have really sucked if I got a motherboard and found I couldn't plug in the CPU.
November 11, 2011 11:36:27 AM

You can upgrade to a i5 2500k with the 1155 cpu socket. It can be had for under $200. I got my at Frys 3 months ago for $150.
November 11, 2011 11:39:10 AM

Hm... looks like I could sell the processor on ebay and get over $100 for it... I guess that would make upgrading the CPU sting a bit less, but still.. It's $300 for a processor which is like 20% faster than what I've got. That ain't much. And even the highest end proccessor available which is probably over $1000 is only twice as fast.
November 11, 2011 11:42:58 AM

Goodegg:
Hm, that one gets very good scores in Photoshop benchmarks. I'll look into that.
November 11, 2011 2:09:23 PM

You may want to buy a CPU cooler as well, because most fans provided with the CPU aren't going to do a good enough job. Possibly the i5 2500K with a Coolermaster Hyper 212 EVO - very cheap and does a great job.
!