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Lots of advice needed for new complete system

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February 13, 2012 5:52:05 PM

I recently moved to Canada and need a PC but the switch of continents introduces new challenges:
1) I have no equipment here at all, no monitor, mouse, etc.
2) I haven't adjusted to the different living costs so I don't know what good prices are yet
3) I don't know where the good places to buy from are

My design goal is to get a system which offers the best value for money while still meeting my needs

Approximate Purchase Date: As soon as I can decide what to buy :-)

Budget Range: Not sure! See introductory note

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming, programming (some reasonably cpu-intensive simulations included), surfing the internet, watching movies

Parts Not Required: N/A. Need everything

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: No preference

Country: Canada

Parts Preferences: No preference

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Probably not unless there are economic advantages

Monitor Resolution: 1920*1080 (although happy to change my mind if there are good reasons to adjust)

Additional Comments: I'd like an SSD but as far as I can tell there's no economic case to get one any bigger than a 'OS and applications' drive. Please correct me if I'm wrong

There are a couple of parts I was thinking about so far, both based on my research suggesting they offered excellent value for money. I am not heavily invested in them and am very happy to learn about better options. They are:

Intel i5 2500K
http://www.amazon.ca/Intel-i5-2500K-Processor-3-3GHz-LG...

MSI N560 GTX Ti Twin Frozr
http://www.amazon.ca/MSI-Computer-Video-Card-N560GTX/dp...
February 13, 2012 6:52:25 PM

Those 2 parts are a good start.

To compare prices check these sites out:

www.newegg.ca

www.ncix.ca

www.cbit.ca

www.canadacomputers.com

If you do plan on getting an SSD (which I reccomend) look into the Samsung 830 or Crucial M4 for the 128GB version. You don't really want to go below 120GB for an SSD drive. The SSD drive will allow your games to load faster, as well as booting up/restarting. It won't increase FPS, but it will make your system snappier.

Right now RAM is very cheap - it might not go any lower and in fact might be going up possibly. So I suggest 8GB, since thats a sweet spot right now.

BTW prices in canada for exactly the same items found in the states are usually anywhere from 10% to 40% more expensive. Sometimes some items are similar in cost though - and may even be less if they are on sale.
February 13, 2012 7:08:05 PM

I can recommend two different builds and share the details if you are interested:
1) Budget system (i3 based) that goes for about $700 USD
2) Gaming system (i5 based) that goes for about $1300

Both price ranges are before rebates and can be shaved by perhaps 10-15% by shopping carefully and buying parts (including alternatives) over a 2-3 week period.

Let me know if you want the details on one or the other.
Related resources
February 20, 2012 11:32:47 PM

Chainzsaw, thanks for the tips

QuietPC, thanks, I'd be interested to see your $1300 gaming system spec

Having done some more research I came up with the following provisional build:

Case - Cooler Master RC-922M-KKN1-GP HAF 922M
http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B0026FCI2U/ref=ox_sc_ac...

PSU - CORSAIR Builder Series CX600 V2 600W
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

CPU - Intel Core i5-2500K
http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B004EBUXHQ/ref=ox_sc_ac...

Cooler - Cooler Master RR-B10-212P-G1 Hyper 212 Plus
http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B002G1YPH0/ref=ox_sc_ac...

Thermal Paste - Arctic Silver
http://www.amazon.ca/Mad-Dog-Multimedia-Arctic-Silver/d...

RAM - Patriot Gamer 2 Series Division 2 Edition DDR3 8 GB PC3-12800 1600MHz
http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B004GUT33A/ref=ox_sc_ac...

GPU - MSI N560GTX Ti Twin Frozr IIOC GeForce GTX560 1 GB
http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B004JLNZXU/ref=ox_sc_ac...

SSD - Crucial CT128M4SSD2 128 GB m4
http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B004W2JKZI/ref=ox_sc_ac...

Secondary HDD - Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1TB
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

Optical Drive - Samsung SH-B123L Internal Blu-Ray Combo W/Power DVD 12x
http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B0044683HI/ref=ox_sc_ac...

Monitor - ASUS VS Series VS247H-P Black 23.6"
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

Mouse - Kensington K72343US Pro Fit USB/PS2 Full Size Wired Mouse http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B002F9NSLM/ref=ox_sc_ac...

ie=UTF8&m=A3DWYIK6Y9EEQB

Keyboard - Logitech K120
http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B003ELVLKU/ref=ox_sc_ac...

Speakers - Creative A220 2.1
http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B003FWHTTA/ref=ox_sc_ac...



After thinking about it, I think my requirements can be better phrased as the system that offers the best performance per dollar while giving 'good' gaming performance on new releases for the next 18 months or so. I haven't looked around for the best price for the components yet so most of these are sourced on amazon for convenience. Questions I have:

Are all these components compatible?
Will this system meet my objectives?
Are any of these components unreliable or just bad choices?
Is one or more of these components significantly lower or higher performing than the others?
Are there better value alternative components that fit my requirements?
HDD - I've listed the 1TB model because it's the smallest one I saw that has the 64mb cache, is the cache something that will be significant in performance? Does it make sense to wait for prices to fall rather than buying a bigger drive now?

Any and all other advice also most welcome

Thanks :-)
February 21, 2012 5:45:41 PM

Another question I forgot:

Will this motherboard allow me to overclock the 2500k easily and stably?
February 21, 2012 6:00:02 PM

Which motherboard? You didnt list one :p 
February 22, 2012 1:05:02 PM

Alright that's not too bad of a motherboard, although I don't usually roccomend asrock - they seem to be not too bad lately - some people get them DOA others will have a completely fine MOBO - but yeah it's decent.

As for your power supply - i would spend an extra 20 bucks for a Seasonic 620W PSU:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Seasonic makes one of the best PSU's in town - efficient and reliable.

Other than that - I can't really see any changes necessary. If anyone else has some good reccomendations feel free to jump in and join the good fight for a good computer!
February 22, 2012 1:56:49 PM

Which motherboard would you recommend if I was going to avoid ASRock?

Thanks for all the replies Chainzsaw, much appreciated :) 
February 22, 2012 2:38:25 PM

TBH that asrock should be fine. But if you would really like a different reccomendation here you go:

Asus P8Z68 V pro/gen 3 219.99

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Edit:1) No problem for the reccomendations.

2) As for your HDD's it doesn't really matter how much cache is on them - the cache will help some, but not much. Due to the nature of HDD technology - having more cache on the HDD doesn't do much, it might increase burst rate for a few seconds but after that it would normalize. As for the prices of HDD's it will take at least another 6 months to "normalize".
!