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Help Choosing My Hardware

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March 20, 2012 5:07:19 PM

Hey Everyone,
So about a week ago I decided to build my first PC. I've never done anything like this before, but considering I grew up with a keyboard in-hand, I feel prepared. (Not to mention I have Google). This is my first post on TomsHardware, so if this is not in the correct format, my apologies.

So let me preface this by commenting on what I want to get out of this PC. I play a lot of Starcraft 2. I want it to be able to handle that. With zero problems. I also plan to play Diablo 3 when it's released. Now, I am more concerned with these games running smoothly than I am how awesome they look. I would like better than average graphics, but I am not one of those gamers obsessed with playing everything on Max settings. I'm more concerned with saving money and achieving decent/better than average graphics WITHOUT lag. Sorry if that is a bit redundant but I want a computer that can handle large-late games (SC2) with multiple teammates. Okay, here are my parts:

CPU: Intel Core i5-2400 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($179.99)

CPU Cooler: Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.33)

MOBO: Asus P8P67-M PRO (REV 3.0) Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($149.99)

RAM: Corsair XMS3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($55.78)

HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($84.99)

GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 1GB Video Card ($229.99)

PSU: SeaSonic 620W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($86.99)

CASE: Cooler Master CM690 II Advanced ATX Mid Tower Case ($79.99)

So my questions are about my GPU and my RAM. Can I drop down to a GTX 550 or 460? Will it really make that much of a difference? (Keeping in mind I'm not concerned playing any game on Max graphics settings - high? sure. slightly above average? most definitely). Also. My RAM. Do I need 8GB or can i get away with 4GB?

Thank you all so much.

More about : choosing hardware

a b B Homebuilt system
March 20, 2012 5:28:20 PM

Wildcat52 said:
Hey Everyone,
So about a week ago I decided to build my first PC. I've never done anything like this before, but considering I grew up with a keyboard in-hand, I feel prepared. (Not to mention I have Google). This is my first post on TomsHardware, so if this is not in the correct format, my apologies.

So let me preface this by commenting on what I want to get out of this PC. I play a lot of Starcraft 2. I want it to be able to handle that. With zero problems. I also plan to play Diablo 3 when it's released. Now, I am more concerned with these games running smoothly than I am how awesome they look. I would like better than average graphics, but I am not one of those gamers obsessed with playing everything on Max settings. I'm more concerned with saving money and achieving decent/better than average graphics WITHOUT lag. Sorry if that is a bit redundant but I want a computer that can handle large-late games (SC2) with multiple teammates. Okay, here are my parts:

CPU: Intel Core i5-2400 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($179.99)

CPU Cooler: Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.33)

MOBO: Asus P8P67-M PRO (REV 3.0) Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($149.99)

RAM: Corsair XMS3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($55.78)

HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($84.99)

GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 1GB Video Card ($229.99)

PSU: SeaSonic 620W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($86.99)

CASE: Cooler Master CM690 II Advanced ATX Mid Tower Case ($79.99)

So my questions are about my GPU and my RAM. Can I drop down to a GTX 550 or 460? Will it really make that much of a difference? (Keeping in mind I'm not concerned playing any game on Max graphics settings - high? sure. slightly above average? most definitely). Also. My RAM. Do I need 8GB or can i get away with 4GB?

Thank you all so much.

I'd stay with the 8g's of ram but maybe buy some with a good name but a little cheaper. I'd go with the 460. You could also get a cheaper mobo Something like this
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or this (if you want to stay with the P67)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Just my thoughts. :) 
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March 20, 2012 5:32:09 PM

Chaz21 said:
I'd stay with the 8g's of ram but maybe buy some with a good name but a little cheaper. I'd go with the 460. You could also get a cheaper mobo Something like this
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or this (if you want to stay with the P67)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Just my thoughts. :) 

Ok awesome. Thanks for that. I really appreciate all the help I can get.

So overall, do you think it's an okay setup?
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 20, 2012 5:35:26 PM

Wildcat52 said:
Ok awesome. Thanks for that. I really appreciate all the help I can get.

So overall, do you think it's an okay setup?

For the money it looks good to me. :) 
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March 20, 2012 6:09:45 PM

Chaz21 said:
For the money it looks good to me. :) 

Awesome.

Would you mind giving me the sparknotes version of the differences between the Z68 and P67?

I know that the Z68 allows for SSD caching (future-proofing purposes), but that's about all I know.

What would be the main differences?
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 20, 2012 6:14:23 PM

Wildcat52 said:
Awesome.

Would you mind giving me the sparknotes version of the differences between the Z68 and P67?

I know that the Z68 allows for SSD caching (future-proofing purposes), but that's about all I know.

What would be the main differences?

In a nutshell:
http://www.pugetsystems.com/blog/2011/06/09/h67-p67-and...
Hope this helps.
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March 20, 2012 6:50:03 PM

Quote:
NOOOOO dont but anything yet, either wait for the GTX 660 & GTX 660ti or buy the GTX 560ti, DO NOT BUY THE GTX 460 you will regret doing that.

Yea. I am going to stick with the GTX 560 Ti.

Thanks for the heads up!
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 20, 2012 7:46:23 PM

Wildcat52 said:
Yea. I am going to stick with the GTX 560 Ti.

Thanks for the heads up!

Keep in mind that I made my suggestions according to your criteria:
..."I am more concerned with these games running smoothly than I am how awesome they look. I would like better than average graphics, but I am not one of those gamers obsessed with playing everything on Max settings. I'm more concerned with saving money and achieving decent/better than average graphics WITHOUT lag."
The GTX 460 1GB meets all the stated requirements.
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March 20, 2012 7:57:47 PM

you really don't need a CMhyper 212 for a stock, non k i5 either. No overclocking so the stock fan should be fine.
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March 20, 2012 8:19:50 PM

Chaz21 said:
Keep in mind that I made my suggestions according to your criteria:
..."I am more concerned with these games running smoothly than I am how awesome they look. I would like better than average graphics, but I am not one of those gamers obsessed with playing everything on Max settings. I'm more concerned with saving money and achieving decent/better than average graphics WITHOUT lag."
The GTX 460 1GB meets all the stated requirements.

Yes, you are right Chaz. Thanks for that.

I decided to stick with the GTX 560Ti just so I don't have to buy a new graphics card for future games. I am considering the 6870 as well. As it is less expensive and is comparable to the 560Ti.
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March 20, 2012 8:24:21 PM

AlderonnX said:
you really don't need a CMhyper 212 for a stock, non k i5 either. No overclocking so the stock fan should be fine.

After some more advice I think I am going to go with the i5-2500k. RTS games are CPU heavy, so I think having the extra firepower will be beneficial. I am not going to overclock yet, but I'm allowing myself to have that capability in the future. And when/if I decide to overclock, I'll buy the extra fan. Would you agree?
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March 20, 2012 8:26:51 PM

Yes that is a good plan, Newegg has a CM430 mid tower on sale for 39.99 (after rebate)
as well
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March 20, 2012 8:27:35 PM

Or if you don't want to have to buy a new graphics card for a fairly long time, wait a few weeks until the 7850 comes out, it's only marginely more expensive than the 560 ti and is comparable to the 570 which is more expensive, just my opinion :) 
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 20, 2012 8:28:11 PM

Wildcat52 said:
Yes, you are right Chaz. Thanks for that.

I decided to stick with the GTX 560Ti just so I don't have to buy a new graphics card for future games. I am considering the 6870 as well. As it is less expensive and is comparable to the 560Ti.

Have you seen these latest charts? If not they might help you in deciding.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car...
These are dated the 15th of this month.
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March 20, 2012 10:17:45 PM

Okay so after a little bit more advice and some tweaking I've come to this:
CPU: i5-2500K
GPU: AMD Radeon 6870
MOBO: Asrock Z68 Extreme 3
Cooler: None (b/c I am not overclocking..yet)
RAM: Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 8GB
PSU: Rosewill Capstone 550W
Case: CM690II Advanced
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint 500GB @ 7200 RPM
I have found some good deals on Newegg and I think I can get this rig for around $700! I'm super excited by this. I still need an OS and a monitor. But I am more concerned with the actual PC right now. Anything jump out to anyone immediately? I appreciate everyone's help.
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 20, 2012 10:44:39 PM

Wildcat52 said:
Okay so after a little bit more advice and some tweaking I've come to this:
CPU: i5-2500K
GPU: AMD Radeon 6870
MOBO: Asrock Z68 Extreme 3
Cooler: None (b/c I am not overclocking..yet)
RAM: Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 8GB
PSU: Rosewill Capstone 550W
Case: CM690II Advanced
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint 500GB @ 7200 RPM
I have found some good deals on Newegg and I think I can get this rig for around $700! I'm super excited by this. I still need an OS and a monitor. But I am more concerned with the actual PC right now. Anything jump out to anyone immediately? I appreciate everyone's help.

The only thing I'd change:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
3 12v rails
Modular
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March 20, 2012 10:45:50 PM

Wildcat52 said:
Okay so after a little bit more advice and some tweaking I've come to this:
CPU: i5-2500K
GPU: AMD Radeon 6870
MOBO: Asrock Z68 Extreme 3
Cooler: None (b/c I am not overclocking..yet)
RAM: Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 8GB
PSU: Rosewill Capstone 550W
Case: CM690II Advanced
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint 500GB @ 7200 RPM
I have found some good deals on Newegg and I think I can get this rig for around $700! I'm super excited by this. I still need an OS and a monitor. But I am more concerned with the actual PC right now. Anything jump out to anyone immediately? I appreciate everyone's help.


That latest build looks fairly balanced and should meet your needs admirably.

My only suggestion is that you get that CM cooler now. I have the CM690II Advanced case and it's fantastic, but socket 1155 boards don't seem to line up well with the
access port in that case's motherboard tray - meaning that if you want to install the new cooler down the line you'll have to remove the motherboard and everything on it. It's easier in this case than in most cases I've used, but it's still a fair old pain.

Oh, and I'm not familiar with Rosewill's PSUs - we don't get Rosewill stuff in Australia - and I suspect the Seasonic is a better option but I also suspect it costs considerably more in the US. Maybe look into the quality difference between the two. 550w is ample though.
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March 20, 2012 11:24:01 PM

Thanks to everyone for helping me out! I am going to go ahead and buy the 2500k from a nearby microcenter and I'll be sure to ask a million questions about everything else in the future haha :) . Again. Thanks for all of your help!
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 20, 2012 11:27:14 PM

Wildcat52 said:
Thanks to everyone for helping me out! I am going to go ahead and buy the 2500k from a nearby microcenter and I'll be sure to ask a million questions about everything else in the future haha :) . Again. Thanks for all of your help!

You'll probably get all your stuff at that microcenter - cheaper too. I know I did! :D 
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!