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Want to build my first gaming computer

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January 3, 2012 6:46:53 PM

I recently have decided to build a computer and any input is good for me. My budget for my computer is $900-$1000.
No monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers needed.
I would like to have a SSD and HDD together simutaneously.
I also would like to go with an Intel i5.
Nvidia or ATI are good for me.
and yeah that is pretty much it.

Thank you for your help.

More about : build gaming computer

a b B Homebuilt system
January 7, 2012 8:51:29 PM

What will you mainly be using the computer for -- really just a gaming computer? So how much gaming, any heavy business applications, or just light gaming and mostly just e-mail and Internet?

Do you have any other components already or do you need everything other than what you listed?

Will you overclock, or run at standard settings?

Are you near a MicroCenter store?

My first thought for this type question is an i5-2500K, 8gb G.Skill Ripjaws X, a budget ASUS P67 board, a cheap case, as much ATI video as your budget will allow (ATI has the best price/performance now), an Intel 320 ssd, a WD blue HDD in whatever size you can afford/need, and a good power supply.
January 8, 2012 3:55:19 AM

Mainly gaming, no overclocking, everything than what I listed. I want to be able to run the total war series games. And I just would like to know how to set up and what kind of tools will be needed to set up computer. Also what do I need to run the computer once it is completed.
Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
January 8, 2012 1:45:05 PM

So you should watch a couple YouTube videos on how build a computer by Newegg, a great place to buy parts.

I would go with an Intel i5-2500, ASUS or MSI Z68 motherboard, G.Skill Ripjaws X ram, an ATI 69XX video card, Intel 80gb 320 SSD, a WD Blue or Black 1Tb HDD. Look at some of the Tom's Hardware Buyer's Guides and reviews for your case and power supply. If you aren't overclocking, even the Intel retail fan will work fine. Definitely Windows 7 64 bit, Home Premium should suffice unless you want to run XP Mode -- then you would need to go to the Professional version.

There are newer faster things always coming out, particularly the new ATI 79XX video cards, so depending on how soon you buy, you may want to move up as your budget allows.

About the only tool you need is a Phillips head screw driver.
January 8, 2012 6:53:17 PM

Realbeast if the CPU says it comes with heatsink solution and fan does that mean I do not need thermal paste??
Also I would like to know is it like legos when building the motherboard??


Thank you by the way.
a b B Homebuilt system
January 8, 2012 7:40:34 PM

Sure, and welcome to the forums. I find a lot of great information here.

If the CPU comes with a retail heatsink/fan, it will have a layer of thermal transfer material already applied -- you can see that it is a white colored area on the heatsink. So no, you do not have to apply paste to the fan that comes with an Intel processor.

You would apply paste if you bought a different heatsink though. If you ever do use paste, remember to apply a very thin layer and smooth it well with something like a credit card so it covers the contact area in a very thin and smooth layer.

The assembly of the parts is not difficult, just take your time and go step by step. The parts are pretty tough, and are not really that easy to damage as long as you don't build up a static charge. I don't wear a static wrist strap and never have in hundreds of builds, but I am careful to touch metal stuff prior to touching parts and not shuffle around in socks on a wool carpet or anything. :) 

It also is best if you hold memory, video cards and the like by the edges or flat surfaces and if you don't hold stuff on the electrical contacts or pins. Once you watch some of those Newegg how to videos, you will find it an easy process. And the installation of Windows 7 is far easier than earlier operating systems.

Just one thing to remember -- go into your bios before installation and make sure that the SATA mode is AHCI, rather than IDE. AHCI is the default mode on many newer motherboards, and it is better to use because then Windows 7 automatically enables its own ahci drivers, which make your ssd run to its full potential.

If you run into any questions during your build, someone is always around to give a quick answer here.
January 8, 2012 8:20:46 PM

A question about RAID setup?? how is that done? I hope to have a slave HDD and run my SSD as a primary for of course the speed.

I also would like to know which is better the 32 bit windows 7 or the 64 bit windows 7??
a b B Homebuilt system
January 8, 2012 8:27:27 PM

Don't use RAID -- too much hassle and your ssd will do fine in ahci mode.

I run a number of large RAID arrays off Adaptec cards, but that is for a specific reason -- I need 15Tb to hold hundreds of bluray images, and I've used RAID 0 for my OS drive with 2 or 3 Raptors in the past, just no longer necessary with ssds. And raided ssds do not yet do TRIM, plus not a really noticeable speed difference -- just better benchmarks.

Definitely go 64 bit Win7, and put in 2 4Gb RAM sticks. If you go with 32 bit, only about 3.5 Gb of RAM is available.
January 8, 2012 10:05:37 PM

Then how do I set up a slave Drive for storage??
a b B Homebuilt system
January 8, 2012 11:50:24 PM

With SATA drives you simply need to connect the drive, no master or slave like IDE. You can just direct programs and other stuff to the secondary drive for storage.

With an 80Gb ssd your OS and most of your programs can be on the ssd. Just install lesser used programs and less often used games to install to the hdd (d: or e: depending on your setup) so that you don't use up all of your ssd space.
January 9, 2012 2:12:19 PM

So basically I can have to drives without RAID the SSD for my OS and the HDD for games??

but would I be able to use the SSD's performance for those games??
a b B Homebuilt system
January 9, 2012 2:21:55 PM

Yes, install your OS and some of your most often used games and programs on the ssd. All other games and data on the hdd.

60-80gb is actually a lot more space than you might think and unlike a hdd, an ssd that is say 90% full does not show degraded performance.

edit: When you build your machine, plug your ssd into sata0 on the motherboard and only install the hdd AFTER installing Windows 7. That way there will be no chance for your system reserved partition to end up on the hdd, which can happen and will cause issues if you take out the hdd in the future.
January 9, 2012 9:07:17 PM

Thank you Realbeast I will remember that when setting up.

Look forward to setting it up I ordered the parts already.

a b B Homebuilt system
January 9, 2012 9:16:06 PM

Great! Once you build that first computer you will become an addict! I speak from 30 years of addiction. :D 

January 10, 2012 8:10:53 PM

Realbeast will the standoffs for my case be already pre-installed or do I set them up to put my motherboard on??
a b B Homebuilt system
January 10, 2012 10:14:39 PM

They may be pre-installed, depends on the particular case. If not, they will come in a small bag and you can screw them in to the standard ATX holes in the case motherboard tray. Just hold the board up against the tray and you will see which holes to use. Most ATX boards use 9 (3x3).
January 11, 2012 2:12:32 PM

And once the motherboard is on the standoffs? Are there more screws to secure the board??

Also do you know how to set up disk caching for the SSD??(is that a BIOS setup thing you have to do)
a b B Homebuilt system
January 11, 2012 2:33:42 PM

Modern cases have standoffs that are threaded and the screws to them go through the motherboard to hold it securely.

I would NOT recommend disk caching as you will have a large enough ssd to use it alone, that is really meant for tiny ssds to improve hdd performance. Your best performance is using the ssd alone and the hdd for its storage functions.

It is now called Intel SRT and HERE is an explanation of it -- it is basically a form of RAID with both the ssd and hdd. You have to set the bios mode to RAID and use the Intel RST software.

There is a good thread on the topic HERE -- particularly note the first post in that thread by RetiredChief. I totally agree with his comments on the issue.
January 11, 2012 5:20:42 PM

OK so if I use my SSD as my OS boot drive then there is no chance of it dying, right? And then it can be in AHCI mode? and then I can use my HDD as storage,right?

Also can I install my HDD on the tower but not plug it into the motherboard, until the OS is completely installed in the SSD?? And after the OS is on the SSD how do I proceed to plugging in the HDD without damaging it and the board??(things like power down the tower, unplug the power supply and then plug in the HDD).

Thank you once again!!
a b B Homebuilt system
January 11, 2012 5:34:22 PM

There is always a chance of anything dying, so backup is always important. The chances of an Intel SSD dying is lower than the chance of a hdd dying, since the hdd is mechanical.

AHCI is the best mode to get all of the features of the drives. Yes, HDDs like AHCI mode too. I've been using it since XP, long before I bought an ssd.

Yes, you can install the hdd and just not attach the power or data cable until the OS is installed. The cables plug in without too much pressure, and I connect/disconnect them all the time with no problem -- just do it while powered down, you do not need to disconnect the PSU just have the computer power off.
January 12, 2012 4:33:34 PM

Realbeast I have set up my SSD as my os boot drive and loads up smoothly, but I had to add a partition before hand to have windows xp on(because the copy of windows 7 was from the university and it needed a previous os to upgrade from). What I was wondering is that the partition that I created for the XP was to large and I have free space in my D: drive where the XP is. Then I have and C: drive that is holding the windows 7 partition is there a way to get rid of the XP partition so I can free up space or will it jeopardize my windows 7 partition??(the windows 7 partition has 24.9 GB free space; and the XP partition has 5.08 GB free space).

Also the slave seagate HDD I setup as the slave, where do I find the folder to send programs??

And my graphics card is doing something funny when I install the drivers, it starts showing like little slits in the screen when I refresh?? how can I fix this??

edit: Want to know how to free up some space on SSD, be able to direct programs to HDD, and fix monitor problem with graphics card?

Thank you
a b B Homebuilt system
January 12, 2012 4:42:23 PM

In disk management (start button, right click on computer, select manage, then disk mgmt) delete the XP partition -- BE CAREFUL to choose the correct partition to delete. Then right click on the C partition and select extend drive and extend it into the deleted partition space.

Create a folder called Program Files on your storage drive and direct installers to use that to install what you want there.

Try uninstalling your graphic card drivers completely and then re-install the latest version that is available on the card maker's web site.
January 12, 2012 5:47:21 PM

By the way building a computer and seeing it work is amazing!!!

ok so how do I find the storage drive if it does not appear on My Computer but it does show on BIOS and hardware manager?

I did unistall the drivers and its fine when plugged into the graphics card port but when I install them and it reboots thats when the problem appears (with the lines going horizontally). Also if i plug it into the onboard video its fine too. Do you think I have to disable one or are they on different modes when I put in the drivers? To sum it up: Both ports show my windows 7 desktop screen fine. Problem is when I input the graphics drivers for the ATI Radeon graphics card and the monitor display cable is plugged into the Radeon port then it reboots and the desktop begins to spawn horizontal slits.

Thank you
a b B Homebuilt system
January 12, 2012 5:56:05 PM

The drive just has not ever been partitioned and formatted. Just go into Disk Management find the drive -- it will show up as unpartitioned space, right click on it to create a primary partition with the full size of the drive and then do a "quick" format NTFS (you can use MBR if the drive is 2Tb or less, but must use GPT if over 2Tb).

You can try turning off the onboard video when using the Radeon to see if that helps.
January 12, 2012 6:14:19 PM

To create a primary partition is it called "initialize"?

And it won't let me delete the XP partition says "active system partition. How do I delete the volume from there?
January 12, 2012 6:28:28 PM

Should I delete the files on that disk then try and delete it. It says it has an active system on it.
a b B Homebuilt system
January 12, 2012 6:43:49 PM

Yes initialize. It will bring up a wizard.

You can edit the bootloader with something like EasyBCD, which is free for non-commercial users.

You could also download HIRENS BOOT DISK and run Parted Magic, which is one of the many utilities on it. After you run Parted Magic, click the edit partitions button on the desktop, if it is not on the desktop go to the start menu, choose system tools, and select Gparted. This will bring up a graphical view of your drive, with multiple drives make sure the correct one is selected in the upper right. Right click the XP partition and select delete, then you can drag the edge of your windows 7 partition to fill the rest of the drive. Then click the Apply button on the upper toolbar. Gparted will apply your actions, shutdown, and you should be able to boot into your newly enlarged windows 7 partition.
January 12, 2012 6:50:19 PM

OK.
January 13, 2012 8:05:26 PM

Realbeast everything is set up but now my video card is artifacting when drivers are installed.

Edit: When the monitor cable is in the RADEON HD 6870 port without drivers it displays on the monitor perfectly, but as soon as the drivers are installed the monitor then reboots, it starts acting up when reboot is complete at the windows login screen appears is this a software problem or a hardware problem?

Any help I can send you pictures of the screen with artifacts.

Also to know, I installed XP first, then Windows 7, then I installed motherboard drivers, after that I installed the latest 11.12 catalyst controller and when it rebooted I refreshed the screen and artifacts began to appear, I then proceeded to restarting the computer, and removed the drivers when rebooted after that. I restarted the computer again and reinstalled the catalyst controller again but same problem occurred.

Thanks
a b B Homebuilt system
January 13, 2012 11:16:46 PM

It sounds like a driver issue, rather than hardware.

Double check that you are downloading the correct drivers x86 (32 bit) or x64 (64bit), download them again in case they are corrupted, completely uninstall the graphic drivers, and reinstall the new download.
January 14, 2012 3:31:50 AM

thank you

I was sweating over the fact if it was hardware.
January 14, 2012 7:37:39 PM

When I install the driver (older one) it reads "WARNING: current driver does not work with display adapter, try installing a newer driver or enabling ATI adapter in display manager" does this help for any diagnosis? whether being driver or hardware.

Also I am using a regular monitor cable not HDMI and I am using a converter from regular to HDMI.
a b B Homebuilt system
January 14, 2012 7:44:01 PM

First, use a VGA or DVI cable and not a cable with an HDMI converter.

Are you 100% sure that you downloaded the correct driver from the ATI site, 32 or 64 bit to match your Windows 7 version?

Before re-installing a graphic card driver always completely remove the old driver first and then restart.
January 14, 2012 8:14:02 PM

Yes I did for sure get the updated.

And uninstalled anything ATI and rebooted.

So should I buy a cable that plugs directly into the port without a converter?
a b B Homebuilt system
January 14, 2012 8:33:04 PM

Did you not get a cable with your monitor, or are you using your old monitor?

When you say HDMI converter, do you really mean DVI to VGA converter? If that is the case, DVI connector converter to VGA cable, then as long as the cable is in good shape it should be fine, although some folks claim that a DVI cable provides better image quality at high resolutions.
January 15, 2012 3:36:54 AM

My bad it was from VGA to DVI.
January 18, 2012 9:51:24 PM

Realbeast I am having a real problem here cannot fix the artifacting, can a lack of power cause artifacting from what I described.

edit: My monitor picks up display from the PCIe card when no drivers are loaded, and there is no artifacting whatsoever. As soon as I install previous or updated drivers and it reboots the display shows artifacts. Onboard graphics are fine no matter what with or without the ATI drivers.

Can you give me some troubleshooting tips?

I no longer have an adapter to convert the cable from VGA to DVI. Both connctors are DVI.

Any Help???
thank you.
January 18, 2012 11:10:00 PM

This topic has been moved from the section Work & Education to section Systems by Pyree
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