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First time Gaming Computer - $2000 range

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April 5, 2012 11:12:40 PM

Hey, I'm building a gaming computer for the first time and I've done some research and have an idea of what parts I like. I figured it would be helpful to run the parts past some people who know better than I do about building a computer. This is where I'm thinking of going at the moment:

Case: Fractal Design Define R3
Mobo: ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3
GPU: Nvidia GTX 680
PSU: Corsair AX850
CPU: Intel i7-2600k
SSD: Kingston HyperX 120GB
RAM: GSkill Ripjaws X 2x8gb
HDD: WD Caviar Black 1.5TB
OS: Windows 7 Pro
CPU Cooling: Corsair H60

I'm probably ordering all my parts from newegg.ca (I'm from Canada), and perhaps some parts from CanadaComputers.

I already have a mouse/keyboard and a monitor that I can use.

I'm planning on buying within the next month likely.

I don't think there's anything else to mention. Let me know what you think.

Cheers.
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
April 5, 2012 11:47:17 PM

Your parts are compatible, but I think you are spending more than you need to.

1) Few games use more than 2 or 3 cores. The extra hyperthreads on the 2600K will go largely unused. 2600K is good if you will be running multithreaded apps.
The 2500K will oc to about the same levels with conservative oc. I think the extra $100 could be spent elsewhere.

2) The GTX680 is a great card that is in short supply. Start looking for one now.

3) The GTX680 only needs a 550w psu. If you are considering that you might need 850w for a second sli gtx680, then ok. But, I think you would be better off to use a 650w psu which is less expensive up front, and if you ever need more graphics power, the high end kepler cards will be out, or at least the dual chip GTX680 should be available.

4) I is there some particular feature in Windows 7 pro that home premium does not have? For most home users, the answer is no.

5) For most gamers, 8gb is fine. If you want 16gb, check out a 4 x 4gb kit which should be cheaper.

6) Nothing wrong with the motherboard, but what feature does it have that you need that a less expensive version lacks?
For example, if your graphics upgrade strategy is to feplace the GTX680 with a single stronger card, then you do not need multiple pci-e slots and sli capability. Even a smaller M-atx board would do. For example,
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

7) There is no need for H60 in my opinion. It is noisy, has mechanical parts, and will not cool any better than a good air cooler in your case. H60 wants you to take up a 120mm intake fan position to give the cpu the most cool air. It does that, but disrupts the airflow in the case and deprives the graphics card which needs it more of some of the cool intake air. The cm hyper212 @30 or so will do the job. If you want one of the best air coolers, look at the Noctua NH-D14.

8) Then, there is the ivy bridge factor. I think the Z77 based motherboards are due to launch next week. It is not clear to me if Z77 will offer any compelling benefits over Z68, but it will pay to look.

Then, the ivy bridge quad cpu's are due to launch on April 29. Word is that they will be priced similar to 2500K and 2600K, but offer 10% better performance and possibly oc higher.

9) As a suggestion for a first time builder, take the time now to download and read, cover to cover, the manuals for the case and the motherboard.

------------good luck----------
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April 6, 2012 12:06:33 AM

geofelt said:
Your parts are compatible, but I think you are spending more than you need to.

1) Few games use more than 2 or 3 cores. The extra hyperthreads on the 2600K will go largely unused. 2600K is good if you will be running multithreaded apps.
The 2500K will oc to about the same levels with conservative oc. I think the extra $100 could be spent elsewhere.

2) The GTX680 is a great card that is in short supply. Start looking for one now.

3) The GTX680 only needs a 550w psu. If you are considering that you might need 850w for a second sli gtx680, then ok. But, I think you would be better off to use a 650w psu which is less expensive up front, and if you ever need more graphics power, the high end kepler cards will be out, or at least the dual chip GTX680 should be available.

4) I is there some particular feature in Windows 7 pro that home premium does not have? For most home users, the answer is no.

5) For most gamers, 8gb is fine. If you want 16gb, check out a 4 x 4gb kit which should be cheaper.

6) Nothing wrong with the motherboard, but what feature does it have that you need that a less expensive version lacks?
For example, if your graphics upgrade strategy is to feplace the GTX680 with a single stronger card, then you do not need multiple pci-e slots and sli capability. Even a smaller M-atx board would do. For example,
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

7) There is no need for H60 in my opinion. It is noisy, has mechanical parts, and will not cool any better than a good air cooler in your case. H60 wants you to take up a 120mm intake fan position to give the cpu the most cool air. It does that, but disrupts the airflow in the case and deprives the graphics card which needs it more of some of the cool intake air. The cm hyper212 @30 or so will do the job. If you want one of the best air coolers, look at the Noctua NH-D14.

8) Then, there is the ivy bridge factor. I think the Z77 based motherboards are due to launch next week. It is not clear to me if Z77 will offer any compelling benefits over Z68, but it will pay to look.

Then, the ivy bridge quad cpu's are due to launch on April 29. Word is that they will be priced similar to 2500K and 2600K, but offer 10% better performance and possibly oc higher.

9) As a suggestion for a first time builder, take the time now to download and read, cover to cover, the manuals for the case and the motherboard.

------------good luck----------


Those are some great suggestions. Just going to respond to some of the questions you raised so as to give everyone more info to base their judgments off of.

1) Good point on the CPU

3) I'm not planning on using two 680s in SLI, so you're right, I could probably go with a cheaper PSU with lower power.

4) I'm trying to build a computer with a long lifespan so I anticipate the possibility of having to increase my total memory to over 16GB sometime. Windows 7 Home Premium won't let me do that as far as I know.

5) I was going to go with 2x8GB memory because I figured I could just buy some more memory to add when I needed it. However, now that I think about it there'd be little chance of finding the same model to simply add in, so you're right that 4x4GB is the way to go.

6) You're completely correct about not requiring multiple pcie and sli, however I'm not sure the one you suggested will work since I believe (I may be wrong) that the gtx 680 is intended to be connected to pcie 3.0 which I don't think the mobo you suggested has. Am I incorrect?

7) Fair point with the H60. I'll go the route you suggested with the air coolers.

8) Yeah, chances are I won't even be buying these things before Ivy Bridge is set to be released, so I'll look into those and the prices when they do come out for sure.

9) Good suggestion.

I appreciate the thought you put into your response.
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
April 6, 2012 12:33:40 AM

On ram, yes, home premium is limited to 16gb.
No games that I know of use more than 2-3gb by themselves. So, unless you were a heavy multitasker, more than 8gb is really not needed. If you are using 64 bit enabled apps, like photoshop, then get all the ram you can; it will be used as workspace instead of hard drive i/o. But, ram is relatively cheap so I have no problem with populating with 16gb up front. In fact, considering that a 2x8gb kit is $105 and the 4 x 4gb kit is $85 the small difference might sway me to go to 2 x 8gb too.

If you install windows 7 home premium, you will see on the control panel an option to upgrade to a higher edition. I do not know what the price would be, but it seems like an easy option to upgrade if you ever needed pro. I may be as easy as ordering an upgrade key and entering it to unlock the upgrade.

I notice that you used 1600 ram. It turns out that sandy bridge is largely insensitive to ram speeds.
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4503/sandy-bridge-memory-...
Consider 1333 ram instead.
In the end, it is not a lot of bucks or difference whichever way you choose to go.

Today, no graphics card really pushes the limits of pcie 2.0, let alone 3.0. We are talking only a few fps impact.
Cards are forward and backwards compatible, so I think that it really is a non issue today.
I think this is one area where ivy bridge will be an upgrade, giving pcie 3.0.
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April 6, 2012 5:13:55 AM

Best answer selected by ssj4kevin.
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a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
April 6, 2012 5:44:24 AM

You are spending money where you can get performance

your build should look like.

Intel i5 2500k
asrock z68 extreme4
corsair vengence 2x4 gb 1600mhz ddr3
cm hyper 212 evo
evga gtx 680
pc power and cooling silencer mkii 950 w 80+ silver
Seagate baracuda 2tb 5900 rpm hdd
crucial m4 128 gb ssd
asus 24x dvd writer
Corsair carbide 600t white edition
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