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First Time Building Gaming PC

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April 13, 2012 5:16:25 PM

I am trying to build a descent pc that can run WOW and SC2 either at max or close to, and stream and download 1080p videos. I am trying to keep my price under about 700, but I know that isn't super realistic, but I am willing to go lower on like the graphics, but I want it to be fast and responsive. I am planning on having two monitors, so I will probably need to be able to handle watching videos and playing games. (I assume that's where having a multicore processor comes in handy?)

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a c 83 B Homebuilt system
a b Ý World of Warcraft
April 13, 2012 5:45:07 PM
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For gaming, concentrate more on the graphics card than the cpu.
For starters. look a this $650 build exercise from tom's.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/build-gaming-pc-ove...

If I were to change something, I sould substitute a SSD for the hard drive. It will make the pc feel much more responsive.
When you run out of room, hard drive prices should have come down, and you can add one for storage and expansion.
Look for 60gb at least. 80gb or 120gb would be better.
April 13, 2012 5:45:17 PM

Also, with overclocking, is there certain CPUs that can and can't and is it worth it for the price of the additional cooling or would I get more performance from just buying a better CPU? (and is it louder I guess with the extra fans? Unless you use water cooling I suppose, but that is more expensive right?)
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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
a b Ý World of Warcraft
April 13, 2012 5:58:57 PM

Duffs said:
Also, with overclocking, is there certain CPUs that can and can't and is it worth it for the price of the additional cooling or would I get more performance from just buying a better CPU? (and is it louder I guess with the extra fans? Unless you use water cooling I suppose, but that is more expensive right?)


That's only true on Intel - most AMD CPUs have an unlocked multiplier already but even then the performance of them is somewhat questionable. I would not use water cooling on such an inexpensive build - too many things can go wrong and when they do you're often likely to run into issues with warranties and things like that.

Quote:
For gaming, concentrate more on the graphics card than the cpu.
For starters. look a this $650 build exercise from tom's.


I definitely agree with that 110% - the GPU can often make or break the performance of a build more than the CPU ever could.

Quote:
If I were to change something, I sould substitute a SSD for the hard drive. It will make the pc feel much more responsive.


Absolutely not on any sort of sub-$800 build. You trade speed for space and that's never a good thing when - on a 64GB SSD - formatting takes 10% of a drive, a full Windows install takes approx. 16GB and games and programs can take anywhere from 2GB - 25GB. Doesn't give you much left, that's why when I build a build with an SSD in mind I always recommend a second storage solution.

Here's a $700 - $800 build I typically recommend:

Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 - $59.99 ($10.00 MIR)
PSU: Seasonic S12 II 620W - $89.99
Motherboard: Asrock Z68 Extreme 3 Gen 3 - $121.99
CPU: 3.30GHz Intel Core i3-2120 - $127.99
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaw X 1600Mhz 1.5V - $46.99
HD: Samsung / Seagate Spinpoint F3 500GB - $79.99
Optical: Lite On DVD Burner - $17.99
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7850 - $259.99

Total: $794.89 - $10.00 MIR = $784.89
a c 83 B Homebuilt system
a b Ý World of Warcraft
April 13, 2012 6:02:25 PM

CPU's without a "K" suffix have only limited overclocking capabilities, and they will cost $220+

It is better, in general, to spend the $100 difference on a better graphics card than on the "K" cpu.

If your budget were higher, and a $220 cpu is still wanted, then I would wait to the end of the month when ivy bridge quads will launch.
You will get perhaps 10% more for your dollar.

If the games you play are highly cpu bound and multi core enabled, then ok on a more expensive cpu.

But the higher settings and better fps are more dependent on a stronger graphics card.
Most of today's games do not use more than 2-3 cores, so a quad is usually not that helpful.

If you have a limited budget, you need to have the appropriate balance between cpu and gpu.
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
a b Ý World of Warcraft
April 13, 2012 6:12:31 PM

geofelt said:
CPU's without a "K" suffix have only limited overclocking capabilities, and they will cost $220+

It is better, in general, to spend the $100 difference on a better graphics card than on the "K" cpu.

If your budget were higher, and a $220 cpu is still wanted, then I would wait to the end of the month when ivy bridge quads will launch.
You will get perhaps 10% more for your dollar.

If the games you play are highly cpu bound and multi core enabled, then ok on a more expensive cpu.

But the higher settings and better fps are more dependent on a stronger graphics card.
Most of today's games do not use more than 2-3 cores, so a quad is usually not that helpful.

If you have a limited budget, you need to have the appropriate balance between cpu and gpu.


Exactly - to me on builds the GPU come first, bar none. Everything else can wait, especially the SSDs or liquid coolers. But you don't need the liquid cooler unless you're running a CPU with an unlocked multiplier.
a c 83 B Homebuilt system
a b Ý World of Warcraft
April 13, 2012 6:36:55 PM

On cooling, for the most part, the stock cooler does an ok job. It is a pain to mount, and may get noisy under load, but it is OK.

For a first time builder, I like a simple $30 cooler like the CM hyper212 or Xigmatek gaia.
The backplate mount is easier than the Intel pushpins.
The 120mm fan will be cooler and quieter.
Any more than that, you are in the enthusiast range.

Liquid cooling is really air cooling. It is a matter of where the heat reansfer takes place. Liquid coolers will also need fans for the radiators.
In a decently ventilated case air coolers are just as effective.

My rationale on SSD's:

Current hard drive prices are inflated due to the Thailand flods and shortages.

For the $90 or so you will spend on a 500gb hard drive, you can get a 64gb SSD. That is sufficient for the os and a handful of games.
$150 should buy you a 120gb SSD which should be sufficient for 6-8 games. You may never need more.

But, now rereading your original post, I see that one of the uses will be to download video's. That is what takes up a bunch of hard drive space.
500gb may not really be sufficient for that. The hard drive storage space for video's needs to be properly estimated. Not that you can't add another hard drive, but a 1tb or 2tb drive does not cost double. Some of the larger economical hard drives may not be great performers for the os.

The best approach may well be to use a 64 gb ssd for the os and apps, and a much larger, slower hard drive for video storage.
April 25, 2012 8:29:05 PM

Best answer selected by Duffs.
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