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Help Choosing my Hardware

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March 20, 2012 5:14:04 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

March 20, 2012 5:29:24 PM

Also: I'm not concerned with overclocking at this point in time. Which is why I went with the i5-2400.
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March 20, 2012 5:31:05 PM

Only one thing: Change the RAM to Crucial Ballistix sport 2x4gb 1600MHz. It is $10 cheaper and comes with higher speed. In this case, going from your RAM speed to 1600MHz will make a difference.
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Related resources
March 20, 2012 5:34:05 PM

Hi! Welcome to the forums.

Thank you for detailing what you want. It's going to help quite a bit.

I'll start by answering your questions.

Quote:
Can I drop down to a GTX 550 or 460? Will it really make that much of a difference?
Yes. While you really only need a GTX 460 for Starcraft, I would suggest getting a Ti. Why? Because they performance difference is rather large. Getting a 560 Ti will let you play all the games out now, as well as those coming out soon. You can find them for $200 AR fairly easily. A 6870 is a good option that performs similarly for cheaper.

TL;DR VERSION. GTX 560 Ti or 6870.

Quote:
Do I need 8GB or can i get away with 4GB?

4GB would certainly be alright. However 8GB of 1600MHz RAM is only $40. I'd say it's worth it, if not for future-proofing. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A few other notes about your build in general.
-You have a non-overclockable CPU. Drop the CPU fan, stock will be fine.
-This mobo might be a better option: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... More for less.
-This PSU is plenty for a GTX 560 Ti: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

That's it! You did a good job putting things together.
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March 20, 2012 6:01:52 PM

I'll just offer an opposing view here, not because what has been said is wrong in any way but just to give you more to think about :) 

You haven't mentioned the resolution on the display. This will make a difference as to how much GPU you need.

As a strategy gamer you might want to invest in the 2500K. You could certainly save enough from this build to fit it in. A bit more performance out of the box and you can learn about overclocking later.

I would rather see a Seasonic-built PSU than a Delta-built one, although both are good. However, you can also get a Superflower built PSU that will perform better at the same price.

Capstone 550W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

To match that performance with a Seasonic-built PSU you would have to spend quite a bit more:
Seasonic 560W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And be aware that any RAM frequencies beyond 1333Mhz are considered an overclock of the CPU by Intel, because the RAM controller resides on the CPU. So technically running anything faster than 1333 CL9 voids the warranty. Of course, if you pay them a bit more you can do it guilt free:
http://click.intel.com/tuningplan/



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March 20, 2012 6:04:27 PM

striker410 said:
Hi! Welcome to the forums.

Thank you for detailing what you want. It's going to help quite a bit.

I'll start by answering your questions.

Quote:
Can I drop down to a GTX 550 or 460? Will it really make that much of a difference?
Yes. While you really only need a GTX 460 for Starcraft, I would suggest getting a Ti. Why? Because they performance difference is rather large. Getting a 560 Ti will let you play all the games out now, as well as those coming out soon. You can find them for $200 AR fairly easily. A 6870 is a good option that performs similarly for cheaper.

TL;DR VERSION. GTX 560 Ti or 6870.

Quote:
Do I need 8GB or can i get away with 4GB?

4GB would certainly be alright. However 8GB of 1600MHz RAM is only $40. I'd say it's worth it, if not for future-proofing. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A few other notes about your build in general.
-You have a non-overclockable CPU. Drop the CPU fan, stock will be fine.
-This mobo might be a better option: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... More for less.
-This PSU is plenty for a GTX 560 Ti: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

That's it! You did a good job putting things together.



Thanks a lot man. Really helping me out. A concern of mine (acknowledging I'm no tech guru):
-I dont need a CPU fan since I'm not overclocking? I wasn't aware that there was a stock fan.

And thanks again. These forums are extremely helpful.
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March 20, 2012 6:29:21 PM

Wildcat52 said:
Thanks a lot man. Really helping me out. A concern of mine (acknowledging I'm no tech guru):
-I dont need a CPU fan since I'm not overclocking? I wasn't aware that there was a stock fan.

And thanks again. These forums are extremely helpful.

Yup! Looks just like this.

And a random unboxing video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dLIG7TTOE8 The fan actually takes up most of the room in the box, haha.

be sure to check out what Proximon said above. He brings up some really good points.
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March 20, 2012 6:45:34 PM

Okay so I've changed a couple things around. Oh and I will probably only get a monitor that supports 1900x1080. At least for now. Here is one new idea:

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

CPU Cooler: none

MOBO: ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard ($121.99)

RAM: Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model 996995 ($39.99)

GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 1GB Video Card (229.99 -- 199.99 mail in rebate)

PSU: SeaSonic M12II 520 Bronze ($86)

This puts me around $700 including my Case (CM 690II Advanced)


A second idea would be to add they hyper 212 cooler and go with the i5-2500k. Which adds about $60 to $80 on my build.

So let me k now if you see anything wrong with this build. I guess it's time for me to make a decision concerning the 2400 and 2500 processors. And again. Thank you all so much, I wouldn't be able to do it without forums like this.
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Best solution

March 20, 2012 6:57:29 PM

Save a couple bucks, go for the Rosewill Capstone Proximon linked above.

There's really only one big difference between the i5-2400 and the 2500k. The 2500k can overclock, the 2400 cannot.

Since you aren't going to overclock, the 2400 wins. HOWEVER, you won't have the capability to overclock in the future with your 2400, meaning the 2500k has a lead here.

My suggestion? Get the 2500k, leave the cooler for now. Use the 2500k at stock and when it's time, buy a cooler and overclock. Cost increase is minimal but you get a big jump in versatility.
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March 20, 2012 7:12:06 PM

striker410 said:
Save a couple bucks, go for the Rosewill Capstone Proximon linked above.

There's really only one big difference between the i5-2400 and the 2500k. The 2500k can overclock, the 2400 cannot.

Since you aren't going to overclock, the 2400 wins. HOWEVER, you won't have the capability to overclock in the future with your 2400, meaning the 2500k has a lead here.

My suggestion? Get the 2500k, leave the cooler for now. Use the 2500k at stock and when it's time, buy a cooler and overclock. Cost increase is minimal but you get a big jump in versatility.


Ah! Good idea. I'll do that. i5-2500k it is then. I'll just wait until I decide to overclock before I buy a fan. The reason I'm not concerned with OC'ing is that I am a computer noob and I just don't want to risk it. I'm already sort of nervous about building it myself, but like I said, I'm really excited to do this and we have this new thing called the internet. So that eases my worries substantially.

I will go with the Rosewill.

And since I'm planning on going with 1900x1080 resolution, do you think the 6870 is a better choice (I can always SLI later)? Or should I stick with the 560Ti?

Sorry for the endless questions. I plan on buying parts starting within the next couple of days and I want to get to a point where I actually have a (basic) understanding of what I am buying.

Thanks again to Striker and Proximon, you guys are great.

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March 20, 2012 7:21:15 PM

That is completely up to you. They perform somewhat similarily, with the GTX 560 Ti having the edge. I would say the 6870 is a better choice, purely do to price/performance. If you were an experienced overclocker, the GTX 560 Ti would get my pick hands down. http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/290?vs=330
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March 30, 2012 6:10:54 AM

Best answer selected by Wildcat52.
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