Hey there. I'm fairly young and new to the computer building scene. My current computer is noticeably falling behind. I started adding things before I new too much, about safely installing hardware and things that motherboards can support and dual channel and all that jibber-jabber, but I've started doing the Comp TIA A+ and so far I've learned a few things and recognized a few past mistakes.
I bought this computer from Kajiji.ca in September; used so I didn't have to put much effort into it. Before that, I had a computer from early 2002 that was on it's last legs. It had been on those legs since I was 12. I knew more about computers and operating systems from before 2005 than anything, so comparably, the newer one was an amazing computer.
Current specs are:
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield, 775 socket
MSI P965 Platinum motherboard
DDR2 PC2-6400 (originally 4GB) 7.2GB RAM (You can tell I didn't know much here. I didn't even know about the static protection stuff. I did know, however, my motherboard could support 8gb of 400mhz and 4gb of 800mhz)
>2 x 2 PNY 2GB
>1 Kingston 1GB
>1 Patriot 2GB
GeForce 550 ti MSI 1GB DDR5
500W supply of some kind
IDE SAMSUNG HD 735LJ 7200rpm
TSSTcorp CDDVDW SH-5223Q
The DVD/CD combo, graphics card and harddrive I intend to use for the new one.
I originally wanted to just get a second graphics card for SLI, but then learned my motherboard didn't support it, thus began this experiment.
My new build is as follows: Intel core i5-2500 3.1GHz (3.4 GHz with boost) Quadcore- $199.99 CA
Asus Sabertooth P967
G. Skill Ripjaws DDR3 8GB (2 x 4GB) (PC3-12800) 1600- $49.99
Kingwin ABT-750 750W supply- $59.99
2 X GeForce 550 ti MSI 1GB DDR5 in SLI- $129.99
(Prices from Newegg.ca) (Any parts not listed are from previous build)
What I'm looking for from you guys is an adult/semi/professional opinion. I need to make price cuts somewhere. Is there something cheaper with better, or similar performance? I admit that I have that motherboard on there because it seemed the best at that price, but I think it might be too much.
As you can see, I've already found the cheapest power supply for what I need, with excess.
Any suggestions are appreciated. (I assume help/opinions about prebuilds belong in the area)
Unfortunately, just because you found a cheap power supply with more watts does not mean it's any good. In other words, more watts do no equal better quality. In this case, Kingwin is a very poor choice no matter what the wattage.
For your chosen rig, a "good" quality 550 watt would be fine. However, if you decided to go with higher powered dual cards later, you would need one with higher wattage. The most trusted PSU makers are Antec, Seasonic, Silverstone, Corsair, and XFX. For a dual card rig, I recommend a 80 Plus Certified at least. Most of the better makers start at the higher Bronze level.
As for the rest of your rig, it would help to know things like budget, monitor resolution, overclocking or no, etc. Doing two lower end cards in SLi is more of an exercise in learning SLi that performance. You might wish to review Tom's graphics charts and see how dual 550 Ti's fare compared to more powerful single card solutions. Here is also a handy Nvidia tool. http://www.geforce.com/Optimize
If you plan on CPU overclock, then you will also need a good aftermarket cooler like the Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus. If no overclock, then you can save a little money by dropping to i5-2400 which is only 10% slower at stock speed.
That motherboard is kind of expensive. It is also based on the older P67 chipset. Most folks these days are opting for the z68 chipset. I would look for an ASUS or Gigabyte z68 board with dual x16 slots that run at x8 in dual card mode. Some boards may list a third slot a x4.
I will read the rest of that article and put more effort into finding the appropriate power supply.
In the future, I plan on getting more powerful cards, but the cheapest thing for me to do now is just get the SLi with the 550's. A single one, overclocked, is doing well enough to play my games, but I've always been an enthusiast(550's SLI rests at 60% on the chart for Gamer and 30% for enthusiast). I don't have too high paying of a job, which comes hand in hand with being a student, which is why I was hoping to keep it all under $500(Excluding shipping and taxes) so that I can have all the parts in three months time.
My monitor resolution is 1680 x 1050 on, I think, a 21 inch.
I do already have an aftermarket cooling system of some sort. It's a gigantic heat sink that has a couple speed-adjustable fans attached. I really don't know what it's called, but it's been doing well. I've actually probably got five or six fans set up in this thing. Maybe seven. I am planning on experimenting with overclocking at some point, but not till the thing is together. Maybe I'll destroy the rest of my old motherboard, ram and CPU trying to see what limits are and experimenting.
As for the new motherboard, I was looking at the ASRock Z68 recommended above, and if I have to get a more reliable power supply, I might have to find one that's cheaper.
Do you have a suggestion for a reliable power supply with $105.03 Canadian left to spare, Mr. tlmck? Or do you think I'll have to cut on the motherboard again?
The ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 is a good MB selection. I can attest to the 2500K/MB combo, I own them.
As for the GPU(s), do not get the 550's for SLI. A 560TI will actually cost a about $25 less than 2X550TI's but offers the same number of cores as a single 560TI.
Cheapest power supply is NEVER to be considered and once you have finalized parts for a build it is probably the most important decision. I saw this on Newegg for $73 incl. shipping Antec NEO ECO 620C 620W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply
It's not the cheapest or most powerful but look around and you can find a PSU price you like.