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New build advice please

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March 29, 2012 1:07:15 PM

Hey all,

I need some advice with a new build. I have to buy a new PC because my old one died in February. I had posted about it here :

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/forum2.php?config=tom...

I mainly need advice for the motherboard and the processor, for the new build.

My work on PC involves surfing the internet, watching movies, listening music. Also, occasionally, I would convert videos from one format to another.. or, for iPod, or, my Android phone. So, would prefer a build which would be able to do that nice and fast.

Also, I am a software programmer, and just learned .NET, so I would also run Visual Studio and other such programming tools.

So, please suggest something which will suit my needs well, and will be of a reasonable price which I can afford.

I look for a build which will be for a long run, and I won't have to upgrade it for some years. It should be reliable with a good performance. Also, my PC remains on throughout most of the day, shutting down only at night. Thought I would mention it, in case it matters.

I did some searching by myself, and rounded my results to three ATX motherboards from Intel. I like ATX mobos because more devices can be connected to them... I like to be able to connect a number of hard drives, for example. Also, ATX mobos offer more expandability... therefore too, I want to go for ATX motherboards.

So, these are the Intel ATX motherboards that I have rounded off... ATX being the preference. I have not chosen motherboards which were marked as EOS, or EOIS.

Intel Desktop Board DZ68BC : http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/motherboards/des...

Intel Desktop Board DZ68DB : http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/motherboards/des...

Intel Desktop Board DH67CL : http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/motherboards/des...

DH67CL seems to be on the low end side, and is coming quite cheap too. So, will it be OK for my needs, or should I go for any of the other two boards?

If there are any other ATX Intel motherboards that will suit my needs, please tell.

For the processor... I wanted to go for i7, but it's quite costly.
I think i5 will be quite good for my needs?
Can i3 be considered for my needs? If yes, then it would be great, as it would really help me with the price.

But, as I said earlier, I want a PC for which I would not need to upgrade for some years, and will also be reliable, and give me good performance. For that, I am willing to go for higher price parts. But, if what I want can be got for a lower price, I would be very happy.

So, if i3 would be sufficient, then please tell so. If not, then please suggest a suitable i5 processor which would be great for my needs, and will be compatible with the above boards.

I am not a gamer, so, I don't think I have a need for a graphics card... so a processor with in-built graphics would be great. I think I might have narrowed down motherboards keeping that point in mind too. I hope I do not need an extra graphics card, do I? In my previous build, I didn't had an external graphics card, and I never felt the need for one, except when maybe watching movies of high end graphics nowadays. But, I think with the newest motherboards and processors, I still won't need one?

i5-2500K seems good, but it's price is a bit high. If some other i5 processor can meet my needs, quite good... otherwise, if i5-2500K would be the best bet, then I am willing to go for that too.

For RAM, Corsair 2 GB DDR3 would be good?

For HDD, I might go for Western Digital 500 GB Caviar Blue maybe. I haven't had good experience with Seagate lately, so I wanna avoid it. But if, the recent Seagate drives are reliable, please suggest me a good one.

As for the power supply, how much watt would be sufficient? I might go for a CoolerMaster, or Corsair.

Also, I wanted to ask about router too. Can I ask here? I might not buy it with the PC, in case I do not have the budget for it... but if I can get advice on that too, would be good. Just want to connect my PC, and my Android phone with it. Android phone also for browsing mainly, and downloading software.. no heavy stuff. So, basically I wanted a single band router with WPA security, and 802.11n with a fairly good range.

I think that would be it.

I am from India, and I plan to buy the PC from here only. We don't buy from online websites here, therefore, I have not put any links for any online website. Also, the price would be in Indian rupees, so I have not mentioned the prices too.

For the above reasons, and also that I needed advice for limited parts only.. so I have not followed the standard format for asking about new builds. I hope that's OK :) .

Thanks in advance.

More about : build advice

a b V Motherboard
March 29, 2012 5:42:47 PM

For programming, hyperthreading will be used, so an i7 would definitely be worth it, but if you don't program much an i5 will work just as well. Consider the i5-2400 (or i5-2500k if you are thinking of overclocking)

An i3 would also be sufficient for you. Consider the i3-2120.

An i3 can do the same thing an i7 can do, but the i7 will do it quicker. So, it depends on how much you're willing to spend on your computer.

NOTE: if you go with the i5-2500k, you need at least a P67 board, but I would recommend a Z68-based one.

For RAM, go with at least 4GB, preferably 8GB (the difference in price isn't too great).

HDD: WD Caviar Blue is a good drive, but then again so is the Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 . Personally, I prefer Seagate, but whatever really :p 

For the power supply, I think you should go with a minimum of ~380 from a reliable brand (Antec, XFX, ThermalTake, Corsair, Seasonic). I would suggest either an Antec Earthwatts 380w or Corsair Enthusiast 500w.

Personally, I absolutely love the D-Link DIR655. It's a single band router with great range. I've used 4 of them (1 in a small business and 3 in homes) and no problems whatsoever. The only criticism I have: I can't run DD-WRT or any custom firmware :( 

Other thoughts
Consider an SSD, such as the Crucial M4, OCZ Vertex 3, Mushkin Enhanced Chronos (Deluxe), Kingston HyperX... It really speeds things up.

As for the motherboard... I would suggest ASUS, ASRock or GIGABYTE Z68 boards. Then again, I've never really tried Intel as a motherboard manufacturer.
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March 29, 2012 6:44:15 PM

Thanks a lot for the reply :) .

Well, I would have liked to go for i7, but as I said, the cost is quite high. So, that is just beyond me. Anyways, I won't be doing that much heavy programming I guess, so i5 should be sufficient.

I am not into overclocking and stuff... just the activities I listed out :) .

Really? Would i3 be sufficient?

How much of a difference it will make if I go for an i3 processor, and not i5?

If i3 would be sufficient, then I might go for it. But, I think it might play on my mind that had I bought an i5, it would be better :D  ... but if i3 would really be sufficient, that would be great :) .

I will check out the processors that you suggested.

How about i5-2320? Between all the i5 processors... what should I look for to see which one to choose? Or, even comparing i3 and i5 .. what should I look for to make choice?

OK, I will think about getting 4 GB of RAM. I don't think I will need that much, but if there is not much difference, I will go for it.

About power supplies, the Indian markets are really typical. They mostly keep whatever is cheap and what sells more. Of what you mentioned above, I think we have Corsair only. I haven't heard of any other names in the Indian market. One another good one is CoolerMaster which they keep. Other than that, they also keep cheaper ones, of 450 W. But, they are not reliable. And what power they actually provide, no one knows. Also, they have very less number of connectors, which is quite a problem, as I want more connectors.

The one shop I talked to suggested Corsair 430 W. Corsair 500 W was a bit costlier.

Thanks for the router, I will check it out. Well, I won't be running any custom firmware on it. I just need it for very simple purpose as I told.

I have used Intel motherboards, and they are quite reliable, and have good experience with them. My last one was an Intel motherboard only, and it gave me no trouble whatsoever, until it burned out.. I think the PSU or the UPS was responsible for it.

Also, Asus or Gigabyte boards are costlier than Intel. Also, I wouldn't know how to choose motherboards besides Intel. :??: 

Would be nice to have more replies regarding the processor... and also the motherboard choice.
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Related resources
a b V Motherboard
March 29, 2012 6:53:54 PM

Quote:
Thanks a lot for the reply :) .

Well, I would have liked to go for i7, but as I said, the cost is quite high. So, that is just beyond me. Anyways, I won't be doing that much heavy programming I guess, so i5 should be sufficient.

I am not into overclocking and stuff... just the activities I listed out :) .

Really? Would i3 be sufficient?


The i3-2120 is a perfectly capable CPU - it's what I'm using and it's been a really flawless system so far - I've been quite impressed with the way it turned out. If you want a bit more power the i5-2400 is a good halfway point.

Quote:
How about i5-2320? Between all the i5 processors... what should I look for to see which one to choose? Or, even comparing i3 and i5 .. what should I look for to make choice?


Go for the 2400 - it's a good price / performance standpoint between the dual core i3-2120 and the quad-core unlocked i7-2600K.

Quote:
The one shop I talked to suggested Corsair 430 W. Corsair 500 W was a bit costlier.


I'd only recommend either of those if you plan to use onboard (Intel 2000 / 3000) HD video - if you plan to run any sort of GPU I'd invest the money in getting a better PSU.


Quote:


I did some searching by myself, and rounded my results to three ATX motherboards from Intel. I like ATX mobos because more devices can be connected to them... I like to be able to connect a number of hard drives, for example. Also, ATX mobos offer more expandability... therefore too, I want to go for ATX motherboards.

So, these are the Intel ATX motherboards that I have rounded off... ATX being the preference. I have not chosen motherboards which were marked as EOS, or EOIS.

Intel Desktop Board DZ68BC : http://www.intel.com/content/www/u [...] z68bc.html

Intel Desktop Board DZ68DB : http://www.intel.com/content/www/u [...] z68db.html

Intel Desktop Board DH67CL : http://www.intel.com/content/www/u [...] h67cl.html


Intel boards are good and last forever but they're very bland on features they offer - the Gigabyte boards may run a little bit more but they use a far better BIOS than Intel does.
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a b V Motherboard
March 29, 2012 7:00:52 PM

Well, if you're not overclocking and internal USB3 headers aren't too important for you, go with that Intel H67.

The i3-2120 is a good processor. It should be enough for your light usage.

Corsair is a more reliable PSU brand than CoolerMaster, go with the 430w one.

:) 
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March 29, 2012 7:17:03 PM

g-unit1111 said:
The i3-2120 is a perfectly capable CPU - it's what I'm using and it's been a really flawless system so far - I've been quite impressed with the way it turned out. If you want a bit more power the i5-2400 is a good halfway point.

Go for the 2400 - it's a good price / performance standpoint between the dual core i3-2120 and the quad-core unlocked i7-2600K.


Thanks :) . I will inquire about the price of i3-2120 then. If there is not much difference between i3-2120 and i5-2400, then I will go for the latter.

In case I want to go for i5, and i5-2400 is not available, should I go for i5-2320, or should I go for i5-2500? How is i5-2500?

g-unit1111 said:
I'd only recommend either of those if you plan to use onboard (Intel 2000 / 3000) HD video - if you plan to run any sort of GPU I'd invest the money in getting a better PSU.


Well, as I said, I don't have a need for a graphics card.

In an another forum that I posted on, a guy said that if I have to do video conversion, it requires graphics card... is that true? I don't think its true, because I have been converting videos on some PCs, which do not have a graphics card, and I have had no problems converting or viewing videos. I think the viewing might make a difference with a graphics card, but with conversion, I think it depends more on RAM and processing power of the CPU, right?


g-unit1111 said:
Intel boards are good and last forever but they're very bland on features they offer - the Gigabyte boards may run a little bit more but they use a far better BIOS than Intel does.


Could you explain a bit more about this? What BIOS features will I lose if I go for Intel motherboards?
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March 29, 2012 7:25:20 PM

quicksand10 said:
Well, if you're not overclocking and internal USB3 headers aren't too important for you, go with that Intel H67.

The i3-2120 is a good processor. It should be enough for your light usage.

Corsair is a more reliable PSU brand than CoolerMaster, go with the 430w one.

:) 


Thanks again. Things are now getting clearer for me, with all these helpful replies :) .

If I decide to go for the H67 Intel motherboard, what will I lose on, compared to the Z68 mobos? Will I lose much? It's quite a difference in price between the H67 motherboard and the Z68 motherboards. According to the quotation I got, the prices are :

DH67CL : 5300 INR(Indian Rupees)
DZ68DB : around 8500 INR
DZ68BC : 13500 INR

So according to price, the Z68 motherboards seem to be better. I will take another shot at comparing the motherboards again tomorrow. Meanwhile, if you can help me choose among these, would be great :) . Atleast in the processor area, things are bit clearer in terms of choices.

Oh, and also, the shop from which I got quotation, he was saying that DZ68DB was not being shipped from Intel .. is that true?
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a b V Motherboard
March 29, 2012 7:25:40 PM

Go with an i3-2120. You will be happy. If you want an i5, get the i5-2400 or the i5-2500k. In my honest option, the i5-2320 isn't worth it.

You probably won't miss the BIOS options, which is why the I won't insist on my recommendations for ASUS, Gigabyte, ASRock and other big motherboard manufacturers. If you usually leave the BIOS options at default settings, then the H61 Intel board will be sufficient. Otherwise, go with a board from one of the manufacturers I mentioned earlier.

Also, for converting video, you don't need a video card. For video editing, some programs can use hardware acceleration, but most won't and, as such, having a discrete card won't really make a difference.
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March 29, 2012 7:40:03 PM

Thanks :) .

It's late in the night here. So tomorrow, I will take the advices here in account, and look around more. The advices really are helpful.

I won't be doing much video editing, so I guess I am better off without a graphics card. And in any case, I do feel the need for it, I can always go for an external graphics card, right?

I will have a look at Asus motherboards tomorrow, and see their prices too.

Thanks a lot!
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a b V Motherboard
March 29, 2012 9:01:46 PM

Quote:
In an another forum that I posted on, a guy said that if I have to do video conversion, it requires graphics card... is that true? I don't think its true, because I have been converting videos on some PCs, which do not have a graphics card, and I have had no problems converting or viewing videos. I think the viewing might make a difference with a graphics card, but with conversion, I think it depends more on RAM and processing power of the CPU, right?


I'm not sure - I've never done video conversion on my PC(s) so I don't know the answer to that.

Quote:
Could you explain a bit more about this? What BIOS features will I lose if I go for Intel motherboards?


Well most Intel boards use the Award BIOS - where Asus and Gigabyte use the Phoenix BIOS. Award is good for what it does but it's not very overclock friendly should you choose to do so, nor will it support faster RAM speeds or UEFI although Intel generally has reasoning behind that.
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April 1, 2012 11:23:26 AM

I am back again. Looked up a bit on the suggestions. Have few questions.

In processors, I see now that i5 have got 4 cores, whereas i3 have 2 cores. So I think i3 processors will be fast enough, but if I want more power, then I should go for i5.

Are i3 processors faster than the Intel Core2Duo processors?

I compared i3 processors, and zeroed in on three of them : i3-2120, i3-2125 and i3-2130.

Is i3-2120 still best out of them?

The comparison page is here : http://ark.intel.com/compare/53426,59080,53428

Not much difference between them.

For i3-2120 I see that "Embedded options available" is Yes. What is "Embedded options available"? And is it because of that, for which i3-2120 is being recommended?

What is "Max TDP" ? Something to be concerned of?

Also, I noticed that the "Instruction Set" is 64-bit. Does that mean that these processors are 64-bit? Will they require 64-bit Windows to run?

Will you guys still recommend i3-2120 out of these three?

In case i3-2120 is not available with the vendor, which one should I go for?

================

Coming to motherboards, the comparison of three Intel motherboards is here :

http://ark.intel.com/compare/55744,50101,56461

Will DH67CL work for my needs?

I don't see much difference between the motherboards, so why is there such a price difference between the three?

Of course, DZ68BC is a bit on higher side.. but not much difference in DZ68DB and DH67CL, except for firewire, and graphics output. Is that so much of a difference?

I also noticed that for USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 configuration, its shown as 6 8, and 2 0 for one.. and 6+8 and 2+0 for another. Why such a notation?

================

Sorry for all the questions, but trying to learn, and make things clear for me so that I can make an informed decision.

Thanks for all the help :) .
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April 1, 2012 11:27:18 AM

g-unit1111 said:
Well most Intel boards use the Award BIOS - where Asus and Gigabyte use the Phoenix BIOS. Award is good for what it does but it's not very overclock friendly should you choose to do so, nor will it support faster RAM speeds or UEFI although Intel generally has reasoning behind that.


Well, I won't be overclocking definitely, so I think that's OK for me.

Also, I think if I go for an Intel motherboard, they will atleast provide the speed at which their integrated RAM is supposed to perform? If yes, then that's also OK :) .
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April 1, 2012 7:53:15 PM

Anupam said:
I am back again. Looked up a bit on the suggestions. Have few questions.

================

Sorry for all the questions, but trying to learn, and make things clear for me so that I can make an informed decision.

Thanks for all the help :) .



The reason Z68 boards cost more is because the chip in the motherboard (z68) is more recent , and will allow compatibility with the new generation of chips (ivy bridge) intel will launch this year..

For your needs, what u said u can/should go with i3 2120 or i3 2130 or even the 2100 if it costs alot less than those 2 , i3 processors have 2 cores BUT they have hyperthreading so they act like quad cores sharing the load.. u wont notice much/if anything between i3 2120 to i5 2400 for your usage..

Back on the motherboards, theres the h61 h67 p67 and z68 , they were released on that order, if u plan to overclock, u have to use p67 or z68(preferable z68) IF you r not going to overclock any h61 or h67 will do, perhaps ull find better h67 boards with more features , h61 is harder to find these days i think..

Make sure it supports sataII at least sataIII prefered, and maybe usb3 if u plan on using .. just one slot pcie 2.0 x16 is enough in your case, dont bother with more...

The reason im aware of all this is because the last week ive been reading every single review, build advice thread's and benchmarks, and im in the process of building my own I32120 or 2100 , depends on availability, mine will have a graph card though, because i plan to game on it.. IF you think u might want to game on ur new pc, consider a good psu, at least 450w .. from a good brand, corsair ocz coolermaster(+/- ive heard) .. do not hesitate to ask more, good luck
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a b V Motherboard
April 1, 2012 8:31:12 PM

Quote:


In processors, I see now that i5 have got 4 cores, whereas i3 have 2 cores. So I think i3 processors will be fast enough, but if I want more power, then I should go for i5.

Are i3 processors faster than the Intel Core2Duo processors?


I upgraded my work computer from a Core 2 Duo T6600 to an i3-2120 and it is a *HUGE* difference in performance. The T6600 motherboard and CPU are currently being used as an HTPC.

Quote:
Will you guys still recommend i3-2120 out of these three?


Absolutely. If you can squeeze the i5-2400 into your budget that would be ideal, but the i3-2120 is a far better choice than the FX-4100 is.

Quote:
In case i3-2120 is not available with the vendor, which one should I go for?


All i3 Sandy Bridge CPUs should be available everywhere unless the vendor is out of stock (which rarely happens).

Quote:


Will DH67CL work for my needs?

I don't see much difference between the motherboards, so why is there such a price difference between the three?

Of course, DZ68BC is a bit on higher side.. but not much difference in DZ68DB and DH67CL, except for firewire, and graphics output. Is that so much of a difference?


H67 is a good choice for sure - H61 isn't, it's the most basic SB motherboard out there. There's other manufacturers besides Intel, you don't necessarily have to get the Intel-branded motherboard, I like Asus and Gigabyte the best.

Quote:
For your needs, what u said u can/should go with i3 2120 or i3 2130 or even the 2100 if it costs alot less than those 2 , i3 processors have 2 cores BUT they have hyperthreading so they act like quad cores sharing the load.. u wont notice much/if anything between i3 2120 to i5 2400 for your usage..


That's correct - the i3s have fewer cores than say the AMD FX-4100. But they utilize those cores far more efficiently.

Quote:
The reason im aware of all this is because the last week ive been reading every single review, build advice thread's and benchmarks, and im in the process of building my own I32120 or 2100 , depends on availability, mine will have a graph card though, because i plan to game on it.. IF you think u might want to game on ur new pc, consider a good psu, at least 450w .. from a good brand, corsair ocz coolermaster(+/- ive heard) .. do not hesitate to ask more, good luck


I built my work computer last year which is based around an i3-2120, 16GB RAM, Crucial M4, and Cooler Master HAF 912, and it's been amazing, probably my favorite computer I've ever had if I had to pick one.

As far as the PSU goes that's determined by what GPU you get - 450 may not always be enough. If you plan to run on integrated video that's one thing but if you're using a dedicated GPU you will need at least 500 - 600W.
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April 2, 2012 7:53:42 AM

Thanks a lot for your replies. Really helpful :) . All the replies have really helped me in making decisions.

So, here is the configuration I am thinking of buying.

Motherboard : DH67CL

Its ATX. Plus it has USB 3.0 ports, and also SATA 3.0 ports.

Processor : i3-2120/2125/2130

Might go for any of the three, depending on the price and availability. i3-2125 seems to appeal because it has Intel HD Graphics 3000, whereas the others have HD Graphics 2000. On the other hand, i3-2130 has more clock speed. So, lets see :) 

RAM : Corsair 2 GB 1333 MHz

On an another forum, someone told that if I use 32-bit OS, then even if I go for 4 GB, only 3 GB will be used. Is that true? Well, I will be using Windows XP 32-bit on the PC.. so I don't see any point in going for 4 GB, unless it's really necessary. Thoughts?
Also, if anyone can help me with the particular model number, would be good :) . I will check for myself too.

HDD : Western Digital Caviar Blue 500 GB

As I will be using Windows XP, and WD drives employ some kind of alignment technology for XP... does it pose any performance problem, or any other kind of problem? Will it be OK?
Or, should I just go for a Seagate drive?

Optical Drive : Samsung or LG? Someone also suggested Asus. Is it good?

PSU : Corsair CX430 V2

Will it be enough?
It comes with only three 4-pin peripheral connectors. So, one will be used for the optical drive, and the two for hard drives. In case I need to connect more hard drives, can I use split connectors? Are they recommended?
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