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Building Complete Custom PC, Need Some Verifications

Last response: in Systems
February 13, 2012 6:34:05 PM

Hello, this is my first post to the forum. I'm looking to build a new PC from scratch; I've worked as an on site computer tech for over a year now and certainly know what I'm doing with software and hardware as well but have never built my own PC from scratch before. I have pretty much everything picked out but just need some confirmation on whether that should work perfectly, and also whether or not I'd be able to dual boot OS X Lion, and Windows 7.







As far as I know, that RAM should work for either the AMD and the Intel, correct?

Video Card:


HDD: I have a 1.5 TB 3.5" and a 1TB 3.5" external HDD made by Western Digital so I'm assuming I can just use those?

Optical Drive: I also have a random optical drive from an old HP PC that should work. I won't really be using it for much more than installing the OS anyway and technically I could just use an ISO from one of the HDD's if I'm correct.

Power Supply: Here I have nothing picked out yet. Any idea what voltage I would need to run a system like this, and any recommendations? I would like the highest performance possible without being too pricey; I wanna keep this PC under $1500 if at all possible.

Monitor: Already have one, and planning on buying an LCD or LED probably 3D TV sometime this year so that'll be the dedicated monitor.

So yeah I believe those are all the requirements. Basically what I want to know is whether either configuration would be able to dual boot OS X and W7, and also which would be the best choice; Intel or AMD. I've always worked with Intel in the past and have not had anything to complain about with them. But at the same time, AMD has an 8-core option for practically the same price, if not cheaper.

I am going to be using one HDD that's dedicated to gaming. The other will be dedicated to music production. And one of those will be partitioned to dual boot OS X and W7 or I may end up getting another HDD at some point and having that one dedicated to OS X.

Best solution

a c 78 B Homebuilt system
February 13, 2012 6:58:51 PM

I can't tell you about OSX, but it should be just fine as long as you install it AFTER you install Windows. In any multi-boot environment the Windows should be installed oldest to newest followed by all non-microsoft OSs.

Case - Looks ok

Motherboard - Why did you choose this, it seems like a pretty inefficient choice. The Maximus 4 is best for micro cases and your case is full atx. You are paying money for the smaller form factor and getting 0 usefulness out of the investment.

A regular Asus or Gigabyte Z68 ATX motherboard for $125 will be fine instead of the $200ish that you are looking at for the Maximus if you can even find it somewhere that it isn't sold out of. The extra $75 is the value I mentioned above that you aren't getting.

Processor - Depends on what you are doing, but the 2600k is usually only a hair better than a 2500k and you again pay 50% more for the privilege. Another $100 that you aren't getting much value from most likely.

Only if you intend to heavily use things that work with Hyper Threading and can use a whole 8 threads would I suggest you get a 2600k.

Definitely don't try to get an FX 8150 and put it in an Intel motherboard. You should not get one and try to put it in an AMD board either. The FX 8150 has to OC just to equal a stock 2500k in pretty much every program. The 2500k OCd makes the 8150 OCd look very sad too.

RAM - Should get Crucial or Kingston instead. I would suggest CT2KIT51264BA1339. 16 GBs is likely to be overkill whereas 8 will most likely be very hard for you to use up. If you did get the above and you found 8 wasn't enough, you could always just get a 2nd set.

Video card - Both are fine

HD - You can do that, but with $1500 and the above savings you can fit in a Crucial M4 256 GB SSD for your boot drive and use the others for data. Load times of stuff like games are greatly reduced when they are installed on SSDs.

Optical Drive - A new Asus 24x DVD costs about $25 and it is not a bad idea to get one of these instead of using a many years old drive.

I used to use an old DVD drive I got in 2005 and my computer took like 10 minutes to boot up. I switched it out with the above DVD drive and now the system that is otherwise the same boots up in under 30 sec. That whole +9min30 was purely from using an old CD drive.

I tested it and just unplugged the old drive, instant boot, plugged it back in and ultra slow boot, unplugged and instant boot again. Then I got a new drive.

Something to keep in mind. They get old after a while just like other things and it could decrease your OS experience.

At least keep it in mind if you don't experience slow downs with the HP drive now, because you may later. Such problems aren't always easy to diagnose if you don't know what to look for. Even after many years of doing tech support I never thought it was possibly my DVD drive that was making me boot slow. I only found out because I made a hardware change (case) and forgot to plug it back in.

PSU - Get an XFX 650w. Not just any 650w, I mean that maker/model.

Dual Boot setup - I would suggest you install both OSs on the same boot drive and have all the data on the same data drive. You don't need to partition the data drive most likely. If you just leave it as NTFS then both OSs should be able to read it.

Whether you get the above SSD or not, you should just split the same boot drive in half and put each OS on that. This is better than if you put each OS and data on its own drive.

Drives with OSs on them fail much more than those which don't, so by putting both OSs on the same drive you just have to reinstall in the worst case and all your data stays safe. It is much better to lose 2 OSs and no data than 1 OS and half your data.
February 13, 2012 9:10:50 PM

Best answer selected by RenaadoEiburamu.
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February 13, 2012 9:35:26 PM

Well first of all thanks a lot for the quick and informative reply, much appreciated!

Motherboard: I hadn't realized that I was paying more for the small size and just figured the smaller the more space in my PC, therefore helping with cooling. Which one of these would you recommend? Slight price differences but can't tell much of a difference other than that. Also I hear the ASUS video card is pretty huge and only fits in some motherboards. Would it have to be an ASUS or is Gigabyte fine?

Processor: I do a lot of multi-tasking, like running 10-20 tabs in my chrome, bittorrent, music program, games, and for music production I sometimes have 20+ instances of a synth running but you think that should all be fine on the i5 2500k? I do realize they are practically the same and the i5 is quite a bit cheaper but figured since I was using it for music production I'd need all the multi-tasking I could get. Also I want this PC to last a good 5 years without really having to upgrade which is why the i7 seemed like a good choice. But I also don't know that much about hyper threading and may have misunderstood it as any program where I'd be multi-tasking. And yeah wasn't planning on putting the FX 8150 in the Intel, was for if I went with the AMD but by the sounds of it that's a bad choice.

RAM: I thought I was saving money by buying all 16gb at once but I searched the one you suggested and that was the same price.

Video Card: Any idea if the ASUS performs cooler or quieter? There's a decent price difference so I figured there must be a reason.

HD: Yeah I was actually planning on getting an SSD at a later point in time but figured since I have 2 large HDD's it wasn't quite necessary yet. Also I do have a 160GB 3.5" that's in my HP desktop at the moment, and a 500GB 2.5" and 160GB 2.5" that're in my Alienware laptop so I have quite a few haha. I use the 1.5 TB as my data backup for everything, and my 1TB as a second backup at the moment, so I was thinking of installing W7 on the 1TB, keeping the 1.5TB as my data backup, and then installing OSX on either a separate partition on the 1TB, or by itself on one of the other 3 HDD's I have. That way if I need to reinstall OS's I still have all my data backed up, and I should only have to reinstall one OS, unless I get really unlucky and somehow both fail simultaneously.

Optical Drive: Thanks for the tip, might go ahead and get a new one. I knew they were cheap but didn't see any point in getting a second one as I wouldn't ever have thought it would affect system boot. It does make sense in a way though because it usually tries to read what's in the drive before booting.

PSU: So this one would be fine?

About the dual boot, I tried doing it on my laptop but the thing that was keeping me from it was my BIOS didn't have the correct options so I just wanted to make sure that the BIOS on the motherboard would work for it.
February 13, 2012 11:52:44 PM

Oh also another thing I thought of, does the cpu come with the heatsink and fan or do I have to purchase that separately?
a c 78 B Homebuilt system
February 14, 2012 12:43:14 AM

If OSx needs a certain instruction set then you would have to know what it is and look for it on the motherboards yourself. You are the first person I ever heard of in my long history of tech support that wants to install OSX.

I use Ubuntu Linux myself and many people ask about that, but I never heard one OSX request.

Anyway, you will get no help here with that.

Motherboards - I would get this one GIGABYTE GA-Z68A-D3H-B3. There is not a whole lot of difference between them, though.

Processor - You can search whatever specific programs you intend to use and 2600k or something and see if people are discussing that program and that processor. It is pretty likely, because there is a lot of interest out there for using 2600s if they are better for various things. The 2600ks usually aren't better, but for some things they are.

All that really depends on how the program writers coded the programs, so it is different for every program. Two that do the exact same things could have one with no threading and the other with threading.

I can definitely tell you, though, that more tasks doesn't mean more thread usage by default. If you have a bunch of programs only written to use cores and not threads then you could have 4 at 100% and the other 4 at 0% usage.

RAM - This is one of the biggest problem children with new builds. The one I suggest has about the lowest failure rate of any sort of RAM. Most sets have many times higher failure rates than the ones I suggested.

The price may be close, but Corsair RAM is about 5 times more likely to fail right out of the box and the Corsair XMS models are about 13x as likely.

I like to limit the risk of parts failure as much as possible, especially if the cost is close to the same.

Video card - Most perform close to the same. The three biggies in terms of the differences are the fan number and placement on the card, the amount of ram on the card, and the number of processing units on the cards.

The cards with say 2GB RAM instead of 1GB are better for multiple monitors and higher resolutions.

The ones with two fans or even 3 fans on the card will keep the card cooler than cards with 1 fan, but they will be louder and they keep the heat in the case. Cards with 1 fan on the far end that pushes the air out the back help a lot to keep the internals in the PC cooler by getting all the heat out instead of leaving it in the case.

Different numbers of processing units on the same card is more uncommon, but there are 560 TIs that have 448 processing units and others that have 368ish, and the 448 ones do perform better.

Mostly, though, you can just expect if it has the same model it will be about the same as another with the same model. The differences are minor for the most part.

EVGA has a good name in the video card space, and Sapphire too, Most brands are OK, though. Powercolor makes a lot of interesting cards that are uncommon types.

Mostly though you can just get whichever one of a given model that has the lowest price and not worry too much.

HD - If you have like 10 laying around you can do what you want, I said as much as I really need to say about it already.

CD Drive - Just a thing you come across when you are in the game long enough. It is generally a good idea to keep your hardware on close to the same level, though, anyway. Technology of all types is advancing, CD drives too.

10 year old PSUs are completely unable to power today's systems, they focused mostly on the 3.3v and 5v lines and today its all about the 12vs.

Things change over time and its good to stay current, especially if its cheap.

That being said, if the drive seems fine by all means keep using it till you notice a problem.

PSU - Yes, that is fine for pretty much any single card setup, even if it is OCd.

CPU Cooler - Most processors come with a basic heat sink and a fan in the box. These do OK, especially if you aren't OCing. 90% of people get by just fine on those things. If you want to OC the processor, though, or just keep it extra cool, then the Hyper 212 is pretty cheap and performs really well.
February 14, 2012 1:20:16 AM

Alright great I think that's all the info I need.

Thank you very much, I really appreciate the time you took to help me out! :)