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Rusty Gamer - First Build - need a hand

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February 25, 2012 11:08:59 PM

Hello all. First time posting on Tom's, but not reading. It's been a long while since I've stayed up to date with my rig. As a matter of fact, the last system I consciously bought was an Inspiron 9800 with 6800Go chip probably about 8 yrs ago. For the past several yrs I've been using an equally old desktop (a hand-down from my brother who recently bought a Dell desktop), swapping old burnt out gfx cards for other old and weak cards mainly for the lack of disposable income and unwillingness to compromise when shopping for anything whatsoever.

Recently I've been thinking of building a decent gaming PC on my own, but have no experience in it. I've been reading up a little here and there and I figure there's always youtube to guide you through the actual process, but I realy could use help from the tech experts here on Tom's forums in picking the right components for my purposes. I mainly want to be able to play new games at decent settings (have been playing nonstop M&B Warband online for the last 3 yrs and the FPS is killing me) and budget of right under $1K (with a little flexibility). I don't know how often I will upgrade, but want to have an option for Crossfire in the future.

I am at the following status right now - still need to decide on what version of Windows 7 is the best value, pick up the i5-2500K which I found for about $160 and a good power supply to go with everything below (I am thinking around 650W). Please let me know what you think, appreciate any suggestions, criticism - as I said I am doing this for the first time. I thank everyone in advance.

case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

mobo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

gfx card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM (will switch to lower profile if causes problems)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

storage (would like to take advantage of Intel Smart Response)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CD drive (inconsequential nowadays - they're all the same price)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Let me know if I've made any stupid mismatches. Thanks.

More about : rusty gamer build hand

February 25, 2012 11:17:56 PM

Better late than never...


Approximate Purchase Date: flexible

Budget Range: $1,000 +/- 200

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming, don't care about noise (within reason)

Parts Not Required: credit card, monitor, sense of humor and anything else outside the tower

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: the most dirt cheap with reasonable reliability

Country: Pennsylvania (right near Transylvania)

Parts Preferences: generally hear anything covered with gold is good

Overclocking: Yes / No / Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Yes / No / Maybe - in the future

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: going for airflow at budget, but due to the size of the gfx card i picked - things will get hairy
February 25, 2012 11:55:10 PM

Quote:

Parts Not Required: credit card, monitor, sense of humor and anything else outside the tower

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: the most dirt cheap with reasonable reliability

Country: Pennsylvania (right near Transylvania)


:lol: 

Good choices to start with but Xclio cases are flat-out junk (they're a tier 5 vendor with Raidmax, Ultra, Xion, Apevia etc). Spend an extra $15 and get this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Or this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Also watch the low voltage RAM - Sandy Bridge does not mix well with 1.35V, you must have 1.5V to be compliant with Intel's RMA guidelines.

Also watch the bulk Asus DVD burners - I had one and it nearly exploded on me.

Try this build instead for a ~$1200 build:

Case: Corsair Carbide 400R - $99.99
PSU: Corsiar Enthusiast Series TX650 V2 - $89.99 ($10.00 MIR)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD3P - $189.99
CPU: 3.30GHz Intel Core i5-2500K - $229.99
Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo - $34.99
RAM: PNY Optima 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) - $39.99
SSD: 128GB Crucial M4 - $149.99
HD: Seagate Barracuda ST 1TB - $129.99
Optical: LG DVD Burner - $15.99
Video Card: EVGA Geforce GTX 560TI - $249.99

Total: $1251.90
Related resources
February 25, 2012 11:57:09 PM

Everything so far is looking great, that card should fit in the case. If you want some other options for cheap but good cases:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (I have this one, it works great)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (similar to above but it stands out less)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you have a Fry's near you, you can pick up some RAM really cheap.

If you get Windows 7 Home Premium rather than professional, you will lose the Windows XP virtual machine, and some features related to domains.
February 26, 2012 12:04:06 AM

g-unit1111 said:
Quote:

Also watch the low voltage RAM - Sandy Bridge does not mix well with 1.35V, you must have 1.5V to be compliant with Intel's RMA guidelines.
Quote:

No, low voltage RAM is fine, you need to worry about high voltage RAM (>1.6v)
February 26, 2012 12:06:23 AM

I agree to most suggestions above.
-Get some 1600MHz RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-Grab the 2500k only if you want to overclock. Otherwise the much cheaper i5-2400 will do the trick.
-I would swap the mobo above for the ASRock Extreme3 Gen3 you had before. From a price/features standpoint, It eclipses the Gigabyte in my view.

Be sure to look and see if you have a Microcenter near you. They offer significant discounts on processor/mb combos.

With that, you might be able to upgrade to a GTX 560 Ti 448:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
February 26, 2012 12:13:45 AM

Quote:
-I would swap the mobo above for the ASRock Extreme3 Gen3 you had before. From a price/features standpoint, It eclipses the Gigabyte in my view.


I only recommend that Asrock board for the price, I don't recommend it on any build above $1K. If you've got the money to spend, I want to balance it out across all the parts, I don't want to cut corners on things like the case to get say a video card that the system can't handle.

Quote:
-Get some 1600MHz RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820220569


1600 is fine but Patriot is not the best RAM maker on the market. Go with Crucial, Corsair, Kingston, PNY, or G.Skill over them.
February 26, 2012 12:31:33 AM

g-unit1111 said:

I only recommend that Asrock board for the price, I don't recommend it on any build above $1K. If you've got the money to spend, I want to balance it out across all the parts, I don't want to cut corners on things like the case to get say a video card that the system can't handle.

Just curious, what does the Gigabyte offer over the ASRock?
February 26, 2012 12:37:20 AM

striker410 said:
Just curious, what does the Gigabyte offer over the ASRock?


It's mainly personal preference but I like the Gigabyte brand better. This board also has tons of USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, additional SATA ports for HD expansion, and can run up to 3 video cards in PCI-E x 16 for tri-SLI configurations.
February 26, 2012 12:39:09 AM

g-unit1111 said:
It's mainly personal preference but I like the Gigabyte brand better. This board also has tons of USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, additional SATA ports for HD expansion, and can run up to 3 video cards in PCI-E x 16 for tri-SLI configurations.

This is true. Don't you need 3 PCI-E slots for tri-SLI though?
February 26, 2012 3:35:02 AM

Thank you guys.

As far as cases: I personally don't think a bottom mounted PSU is a good idea, even though the top case manufacturers are doing it almost exclusively. Hot air rises and my rig will be located on the floor (carpet), which is also not good. The video card I picked is 11.61" long and pretty thick/wide, so it will fence off the bottom-mounted PSU almost point-blank from the rest of the case. So between filtering for top-mounted PSU, the depth that would fit the card and under $70, I only came up with a few options (also I was looking for as many airflow features as possible):

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... personally, I liked this one - nice and roomy and comes with lots of unneeded crap, but with shipping it costs as much as the next one (which is much higher grade)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... this one is better quality, but a little more expensive and I wanted to have some kind of an opening in the top for hot air to get exhausted or naturally rise

I basically decided on the one I picked bc it met all of my requirements, had good reviews and was half the price of the more expensive ones.


And motherboard: This was the hardest choice for me - all the recommended builds I see have a mobo around $200 at least, but personally I don't understand the justification for the price differences in a lot of these. Is this due to reliability? I am just looking for a quality board with decent features (dual-GPU in the future).

All the other suggestions noted - will make adjustments (I thought the low voltage memory was going to be a good buy...).
February 26, 2012 4:17:16 AM

striker410 said:
I agree to most suggestions above.
-Get some 1600MHz RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-Grab the 2500k only if you want to overclock. Otherwise the much cheaper i5-2400 will do the trick.
-I would swap the mobo above for the ASRock Extreme3 Gen3 you had before. From a price/features standpoint, It eclipses the Gigabyte in my view.

Be sure to look and see if you have a Microcenter near you. They offer significant discounts on processor/mb combos.

With that, you might be able to upgrade to a GTX 560 Ti 448:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

He has picked a AMD HD 6970 why would he want to downgrade to a GTX560 TI? I have one in my Intel rig and it is most defiantly not better than my HD 6970.
February 26, 2012 4:21:45 AM

Bottom mounted PSUs are generally better because even though they blow downwards, they still expel the heat outside the case. With a top mounted, you have to turn it upside down, blowing air down onto the CPU heatsink and back into the case. While it would make sense to have it blow upwards, Any heat that escapes the case is better than it recirculating in the case.
I think the ASRock Extreme3 is fine. Just my opinion. Will allow you to grab a GTX 560 Ti 448, which will give a big performance boost.
February 26, 2012 4:23:09 AM

bryonhowley said:
He has picked a AMD HD 6970 why would he want to downgrade to a GTX560 TI? I have one in my Intel rig and it is most defiantly not better than my HD 6970.

Notice the 448? That stands for 448 core. Look up some benchmarks and you'll see with a mild OC the 448 can catch the 6970 easily.
February 26, 2012 1:30:18 PM

it's a notch under the 6970 on the hierarchy chart along with regular GTX560 Ti...
!