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First Build

After a few blue screens on my 2yo toshiba laptop...it's time for a change. I've gotten by with cheap laptops for a years, but I really don't need mobility anymore. It's time to build my first desktop.

I've been reading the forums and reviews on this site for about a month and I think I know the basis of what I'm looking for. I don't game much (civ v only - but it would be nice to actually have that run smoothly). Interwebs, music, video, and productivity are important . Who knows, maybe I will get more into some games with the new rig - my laptop is more than limited.

Let me know if something below looks bad, incompatible, or if there's a cheap upgrade. I'm sold on the CPU and 99% sold on the graphics card. Definitely going with SSD/HDD but open to different brands/models/capacities. Case/power is up in the air. Soundcard I'm clueless. I think I'm sold on the memory as well.

Case: Antec Sonata IV (w/ 620w power)
Motherboard: ASRock Z68 Extreme 7 Gen3
CPU: Intel i5-2500k
Graphics: Sapphire Radeon HD 6950 2gb
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 2x 4gb
SSD: Samsung 830 64gb
HD: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500gb
Sound Card: Vantec UGT-S100 7.1

Whatcha think?

Thanks in advance.
26 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about first build
  1. This is a decent build. Why did you opt for a sound card? Most mobo's these days comes with decent onboard sound cards. I would rather take the money from the sound card and get a bigger SSD, but that's just my suggestion
  2. Andre2807 said:
    This is a decent build. Why did you opt for a sound card? Most mobo's these days comes with decent onboard sound cards. I would rather take the money from the sound card and get a bigger SSD, but that's just my suggestion


    Makes sense - I was clueless on the sound card portion. Good to know it's not necessary. Thank you. OCZ makes some inexpensive SSDs, but the reviews made it sound like Samsung was as good as it got when you go with a low capacity SSD. I've never had one, so I assume any will seem fast to me.

    For the same price I can go with an OCZ 120gb...
  3. Then go for it! And good luck! I'm also building my pc! Receiving my parts next week
  4. I would go for the 120 just because it's similarly priced.

    But I'm curious, are you hooked on that case?

    I'd drop that case and go with something like the Antec 300 and a 650w PSU


    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129066 <--- Antec 300 = $41.99 after MIR

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371044 <--- (Just one I selected to get some kind of pricing basis) = 64.99 after MIR

    It'll shave off some cost at the least. And let you be sure your PSU is better quality as well.
  5. Not hooked - but I liked the integrated 620 plus rated power supply, which would be another $100ish dollars on its own anyway. The case was the last component I chose, and I picked the one I did simply from the Tom's reviews. When I first started this build idea I was looking at $15 cases...so I'm very open to changes there.

    I ran the power calculator for the components I chose, and it seems like 600+ watts is the range for me, and at $150 combined I didn't think the case/power was a terrible deal.

    Thanks!
  6. Andre2807 said:
    Then go for it! And good luck! I'm also building my pc! Receiving my parts next week


    What components did you decide to go with - and if you don't mind me asking, why?

    Thanks!
  7. mingwyo said:
    Not hooked - but I liked the integrated 620 plus rated power supply, which would be another $100ish dollars on its own anyway. The case was the last component I chose, and I picked the one I did simply from the Tom's reviews. When I first started this build idea I was looking at $15 cases...so I'm very open to changes there.

    I ran the power calculator for the components I chose, and it seems like 600+ watts is the range for me, and at $150 combined I didn't think the case/power was a terrible deal.

    Thanks!

    Antec cases are some of the very few that come with pretty good power supplies. You do not need to worry about the Antec PSU that came with the case.
  8. jsc said:
    Antec cases are some of the very few that come with pretty good power supplies. You do not need to worry about the Antec PSU that came with the case.


    Thanks for the info. It was one of the higher ranked cases reviewed on this site, so I assumed so. However I found out that a corsair bronze and a cooler max tower are combined less expensive.
  9. mingwyo said:
    What components did you decide to go with - and if you don't mind me asking, why?

    Thanks!


    CPU: Intel Core i3 2120
    Mobo: Asus P8H61 Pro
    Graphics: Gigabyte GTX 560 Ti OC
    RAM: Corsair XMS3 1333Mhz 4Gb
    PSU: Antec HCG 620W
    HDD: WD Caviar Blue 500Gb
    Case: Zalman Z9 Plus

    I went with this build because: 1. I can't afford the i5-2500K & Z68 Combo; 2. It's my first build.
  10. Andre2807 said:
    CPU: Intel Core i3 2120
    Mobo: Asus P8H61 Pro
    Graphics: Gigabyte GTX 560 Ti OC
    RAM: Corsair XMS3 1333Mhz 4Gb
    PSU: Antec HCG 620W
    HDD: WD Caviar Blue 500Gb
    Case: Zalman Z9 Plus

    I went with this build because: 1. I can't afford the i5-2500K & Z68 Combo; 2. It's my first build.


    Your first build was too expensive because you were going with an Asrock Extreme 7 Gen 3 motherboard. No need to go that high if it is your first build and you just want to build yourself a rig. I have an Asrock Extreme 3 Gen 3 (go here) and it is doing really well for me.

    The 2500k will make your rig last a lot longer than a 2100 will. Also, building your first rig and overclocking is where all the fun is! I recently just built my first rig as well, got all of my parts on Black Friday, so I am just as new to this as you are. And if you do decide to go with a 2500k, you'll need a CPU cooler as well. I suggest this a Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo it is cheap and does a great job. Or you can go for the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus instead, since it is $10 cheaper.

    How much is your budget? I spent... $1,500 total because I had to get a monitor, keyboard, and mice as well, but it looks like you don't need that. I spent probably $1,300 total on my rig.

    As this is your first build, I highly suggest you get a case with routing holes for cable management. It will make building your system a lot easier and make it look a lot nicer. I am really glad that I went with the Corsair 600T SE because it had routing holes which made building my rig really easy. So, this is something you should think about. Something like NZXT Phantom will do well.

    As for your GPU, no need for a 2GB card if you are not playing on a monitor bigger than 24inches. I have a Gigabyte 6950 1GB, the overclocked version, and it is handling Skyrim on Ultra Details with HD texture mods installed and I am still getting 40-60 FPS. You'll save some money going with a 1GB card.

    As for a PSU, I suggest you go with this. It is modular, meaning the power cables are not preattached so you can attach which ones you want, this again will make your build look a lot cleaner, and make it much easier to put together your system. Just something to consider.

    Just some considerations for you. Hopefully this helps you. Let me know if you have any questions.
  11. Thanks Shoda. I have gone back and forth on certain parts about a thousand times.

    That mobo is priced right for sure, but how does it compare to a Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD3 (my choice du jour).

    Re: 6950; the 2gb was the same cost as the 1gb - so even though I read the reviews saying the extra 1gb doesn't do sh!t, I may as well. Also I'm holding out hope I would get an older model that can be tweaked to a 6970.

    I have moved towards a 560ti now however, although I think they are very similar cards (briefly I dipped down to a 6850 + i3 and my build dropped below $850).

    After thinking I would downgrade to a i3-2120, I'm back to the i5-2500k. I know folks that live near Microcenters, so maybe I can get it for $180 with their help.

    My most recent model is around $1059:

    Case: Cooler Master HAF 912
    Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo
    CPU: Intel i5-2500k
    Graphics: EVGA GTX 560ti
    HD: Seagate ST Barracuda 1TB
    Memory: Corsair Vengeance 2x 4gb
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD3
    PSU: Corsair Enthusiast Series TX650
    SSD: Samsung 830 64GB
  12. Best answer
    Your build looks fine to me. The 6950 is a little better than a 560ti. However, you cannot really go wrong with a 560ti either so it really is up to you.

    As for unlocking the BIOS into a 6970, if I am correct, even newer ones can be unlocked. I have a Gigabyte 6950 OC 1GB and I did not want to take the chances of unlocking since I do not have an extra card on hand, so I just left it. Also, not many people have this card so finding posts about people being able to unlock this card was tough. I'd say, go for a 6950 2GB instead of a 560ti. Just look around at brands and see which one are more able to unlock than others before you decide on one.

    Here is a link comparing the 560ti and the 6950 2GB.

    http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/293?vs=330
  13. I should always go with my gut and the 2g sapphire was my first choice. Amazing how quick I've been changing my mind reading other people's opinions. Thanks for the help.
  14. Which one are you looking at? You should post a link to it.
  15. shoda said:
    Which one are you looking at? You should post a link to it.


    Yup - sorry, I actually read the directions before my 2nd post. :D

    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=754336&Sku=A271-6956]
  16. shoda said:
    Your build looks fine to me. The 6950 is a little better than a 560ti. However, you cannot really go wrong with a 560ti either so it really is up to you.

    As for unlocking the BIOS into a 6970, if I am correct, even newer ones can be unlocked. I have a Gigabyte 6950 OC 1GB and I did not want to take the chances of unlocking since I do not have an extra card on hand, so I just left it. Also, not many people have this card so finding posts about people being able to unlock this card was tough. I'd say, go for a 6950 2GB instead of a 560ti. Just look around at brands and see which one are more able to unlock than others before you decide on one.

    Here is a link comparing the 560ti and the 6950 2GB.

    http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/293?vs=330


    Ironically Civ V is literally the only game on my computer - and the GTX actually wins that comparison...
  17. Why not get it from Newegg instead? Same price, plus you get a Dirt 3 game code as well. However, you do have to pay shipping, but I think it is worth it since you get a free game as well.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102945
  18. shoda said:
    Why not get it from Newegg instead? Same price, plus you get a Dirt 3 game code as well. However, you do have to pay shipping, but I think it is worth it since you get a free game as well.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102945


    Dirt 3 comes from Tiger too and I get the double mileage from United through....

    Starting to lean towards the 448 core 560ti now because of that benchmark site. Man I'm crazy. Is Galaxy a crap brand? They seem to win the price battle for all cards...
  19. I haven't been in the building your own system that long so I do not know how Galaxy is as a company, but I have seen some of their cards given pretty good reviews. I think it really just depends on what card you're going with. I'd say, Google whatever card you decide on getting first and read up on reviews and such to see if anyone has had problems with that card and such.

    If you're looking at the 560ti 448 I'd say just spend a little bit more and go with a 570 instead, since it is better and you're basically paying a lot already so might as well add another $20 - $40 and get the higher card.
  20. shoda said:
    I haven't been in the building your own system that long so I do not know how Galaxy is as a company, but I have seen some of their cards given pretty good reviews. I think it really just depends on what card you're going with. I'd say, Google whatever card you decide on getting first and read up on reviews and such to see if anyone has had problems with that card and such.

    If you're looking at the 560ti 448 I'd say just spend a little bit more and go with a 570 instead, since it is better and you're basically paying a lot already so might as well add another $20 - $40 and get the higher card.


    Will do. I'm hesitant when prices are pretty consistent but there's one big difference ($259 on tiger).

    The same comparison between the two at the resolution I would use (1680x1050) for Civ V is pretty positive for the 448 core 560ti. Don't know if I want to push the GPU over $300. Think I would rather put that $40 into a larger SSD...
  21. mingwyo said:
    Will do. I'm hesitant when prices are pretty consistent but there's one big difference ($259 on tiger).

    The same comparison between the two at the resolution I would use (1680x1050) for Civ V is pretty positive for the 448 core 560ti. Don't know if I want to push the GPU over $300. Think I would rather put that $40 into a larger SSD...


    With that resolution I would say there is no need to look at a 448, or 570. A 560ti or a 6950 will be more than enough.
  22. Of course now I'm thinking http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814133428&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-RSSDailyDeals-_-na-_-na&AID=10521304&PID=4176827&SID=1i5lmmhtfjx55] x2 in SLI.

    $200 is tough to beat.

    See this is why I need to just buy the stupid parts and get on with it. I feel myself descending into lunacy... :ouch:
  23. Perhaps I should have read up on monitors first. I think I'm shooting for a 24" monitor and that's 1920x1080.
  24. mingwyo said:
    Of course now I'm thinking http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814133428&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-RSSDailyDeals-_-na-_-na&AID=10521304&PID=4176827&SID=1i5lmmhtfjx55] x2 in SLI.

    $200 is tough to beat.

    See this is why I need to just buy the stupid parts and get on with it. I feel myself descending into lunacy... :ouch:


    Do you already have a monitor? I'd say, if that monitor is doing fine for you right now do not upgrade since it'll only result in you spending more. Just get a graphics card that should last you a year or two and then upgrade your monitor later.

    I am not too family with 480s so you can check the benchmark site that I gave you. However, if you were shooting for future proofing your system then I'd go with a 6950 that can unlock its BIOS. That should last you longer than a 480 since a 480 is about to become 2 generations ago once the Nvidia 600 series come out sometime this year.

    I am using a 24" monitor right now with a 6950 and I am doing fine. Skyrim on Ultra details with HD Texture Mods installed as well, so if you had a smaller monitor the 6950 will work even better for you. But yeah, like you said, just go with a card that you think will satisfy you and be happy lol. However, as of right now, too much thinking won't hurt either since AMD just released their new 7970 and once their 7950 comes out prices should start dropping.
  25. shoda said:
    Do you already have a monitor? I'd say, if that monitor is doing fine for you right now do not upgrade since it'll only result in you spending more. Just get a graphics card that should last you a year or two and then upgrade your monitor later.

    I am not too family with 480s so you can check the benchmark site that I gave you. However, if you were shooting for future proofing your system then I'd go with a 6950 that can unlock its BIOS. That should last you longer than a 480 since a 480 is about to become 2 generations ago once the Nvidia 600 series come out sometime this year.

    I am using a 24" monitor right now with a 6950 and I am doing fine. Skyrim on Ultra details with HD Texture Mods installed as well, so if you had a smaller monitor the 6950 will work even better for you. But yeah, like you said, just go with a card that you think will satisfy you and be happy lol. However, as of right now, too much thinking won't hurt either since AMD just released their new 7970 and once their 7950 comes out prices should start dropping.


    Other than the TV in my room which I can use...no. Monitor is separate. May drop a few extra $ to get a 1920x1200. Still working with a laptop, so all peripherals need to be purchased, but that's a separate budget. For tonight, I think I've settled on the 560ti 448 cores. Same price as my original choice - the 6950 - and benchmarks a little better.

    We'll see what I say about that tomorrow.

    I think I also dropped my mobo to a Gigabyte Z68AP-D3...saves a bit more $ and doesn't dip too far in performance. Gets the build below $1k....
  26. Best answer selected by MingWyo.
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