I have saved up for 5 months so far and this PC will be the last major purchase I will make for myself for a long time so I want to get it right. Here is what I am thinking to build....
Approximate Purchase Date: 10% chance to buy in 2 weeks, 90% early to mid April
Budget Range: I have £1000 saved although I really hope to spend less, especially if I keep some of my current components. If I have to buy everything new then it will probably be around that and I will sell my current PC and old monitor to recoup some cash.
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming 100%
Overclocking: Yes, I intend to play Morrowind and FSX which need big strong clocks
SLI or Crossfire: No
Monitor Resolution: I bought a 24" Iiyama E2473 HDS last week
Additional Comments: The idea of this build is to future proof myself for the next 3 years at least. I doubt I will have this much free cash to spend on PC parts for a very long time. I am aware that my graphics card choice is probably overkill now at 1080p but I am wondering whether it will be in 2014?
I ideally would like to keep the power supply as it is pretty new but if it is not enough then it is not enough and I will get a new one.
CPU: Q6600 @ 2.4ghz (it will not overclock)
MotherboardL Asus p5n-e-sli
RAM: 4GB corsair DDR2 RAM
Graphics: GTX 260
HDD: 500gb seagate (I will add this as a second HDD with all current data, I will be damned if I have to mod oblivion and morrowind to 100+ mods and stable again).
On the offchance anyone knows; how much is that worth with the PSU (newish), case, a copy of Windows vista and a 22" Yuraku LCD screen. I am hoping it is worth about £300.
That is the current plan. What are your thoughts concerning futureproofing, choice of parts, bang for buck, etc. All thoughts welcome.
My other question is about building it. I have installed and changed parts on my PC before successfully and enjoyed it but I am flirting with the idea of getting it prebuilt and pre overclocked to save myself messing things up.
How risky is it putting it all together? Like I say I have done a few things but I have never touched a motherboard or CPU before.
If I should put it together how easily will my parts fit and is it easy to overclock the CPU and GPU? Trying to overclock my Q6600 was a nightmare and it never even worked.
I know this is a long message and alot to ask people to consider in their spare time but thanks in advance to anyone who gives their advice.
The i5-2500k is pretty easy to overclock, so no troubles there.
As far as building a PC goes, even if you've never touched a motherboard before, it's pretty simple. The only complicated step in building a PC is applying the thermal paste to a CPU cooler, and even then it's not that difficult. Read the instruction manuals and you should be good to go without them on your next times
Hard drive: Personally, I would skip out on the Barracuda Green, or any other 'power saving' or 'green' HDDs. They're mostly on special because the companies are stopping their production (see Tom's article sponsored by Seagate on the subject)
CPU Cooling: Only heard good things about this cooler!
Power supply: If I were you, I would think of getting a bigger one. 700w-800w?
Thanks for the advice quicksand. Building it myself doesn't sound too hard from what I have read and I do take care but I have images of shorting the chips by being clumsy. Just how vulnerable is the motherboard and CPU? I always wear an electrical band but I always worry that the slightest brush or nudge from anything will ruin the entire board. It would save me some cash though so I may go for it.
What advantages does that memory have over the corsair?
I didn't realise that was the green HDD, I will get a normal one if they are better. I may just get a 500gb as well because I already have another 500gb one to go in as well.
Is 550W really not enough for the rig, even if I wait for Ivy Bridge which use less power? Even the 7950 is claimed to use less power than a GTX 560ti.
Building it yourself isn't that hard. I've built a bunch of PCs and I don't even own an anti-static wrist band. The hardware is more vulnerable to being bent or hit, more than anything, so just watch out for any physical hits.
About that RAM, sorry, I thought it was a pair of 1333 latency, they look fine!
The green HDDs spin slower than the regular ones to "save power" but they don't because it just takes more time to access the data, so the rest of the pieces stay powered and spend more power than the HDD would if it was a full speed one. (that article has it better formulated and better explained!)
As for getting a 500GB one, good idea, because those floods in Thailand have shot up the prices of just about ALL HDDs on the market right now. Wait for it, and get yourself another hard drive or SSD in a bit; it'll be worth it.
As for the PSU, IMHO I would go with a bigger one, 750 to be on the safe side.
I would love to hear the other posters' opinions on this.
CPU: No single processor is ever guaranteed to overclock like all those that you've heard of. Don't base your overall clockspeed on the reports from others, your CPU may have a significantly worse/better (more betterer?) threshold than most.
GPU: I'm a fan of XFX's double lifetime warranty. I don't know about the second half; but they stood by their claim on my old 4850, even after 3 years. For the extra $10-20(USD), I'd rather spend more in the short run than end up scr#wing myself in the long run for a slightly cheaper vid card but no lifetime warranty
*That being said, I've got an X850 (AGP) from Sapphire that's still running smooth in my W98 rig for Thief, Planescape and Baldurs Gate runs
PSU: 550W is fine for the PSU, your 7950 has a single minimum spec of 500W and your PSU is fine on the single rail. If you're not looking to Crossfire your video card, stick w/ the 550W.
HDD: I'm a fan of mirroring my hard drives. It may cut down on read/write times but it significantly increases your CYA factor
As for building your 1st PC, it's not a difficult process. Once you're sure you have it lined up properly, don't be afraid of applying a little bit of pressure when slotting the DIMMs or your video card.
The 5 major tools I've found handy - headlamp, needle nose pliers, long-shaft free spinning phillips screwdriver, zipties and patience
EDIT: I forgot to mention the occasional bandaid, rarely is any PC built without some sort of irritating "bloody baptism"