First Time Building My Own Computer, Need Advice

So, I am currently trying to build my first computer and am really only using it for high end gaming (besides my little brothers editing projects for call of duty videos). I am interested in building a computer that will be able to run everything from high to max settings for at the least the next two years. In 2009 i bought my first gaming computer, an alienware m17 laptop, because I was going to college and wanted something for gaming and school. However now that I know better I am trying to build a PC and am looking to go a little cheaper in the area of
1000$. I am interested in Intel and Nvidia, but am open to AMD and Radeon components as well. The big adversion I have to Radeon is basically just the DX11 and PhysX features that Nvidia produces so well. If I can get some advice on the best possible gaming PC I can build for 1000$ I would be very grateful.
Thank You
-Jonathan
46 answers Last reply
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  1. its actually the wrong time to be buying a new build. in the next month to 3 there will be a whole new range of hardware available. from new cpu's to new gfx cards.
    nvidia are just about ready to release there kepler cards, and intel are gonna release there ivy bridge cpu's... admittedly there's likely not to be a great deal of difference in gaming performance from the cpu side of things so buying a sandy bridge 2500k, a z68 motherboard, and a decent cooler. will still set you up for top draw gaming for the next 2-4 years. but gfx cards do have a marked impact on the gaming performance. so getting your hands on the latest gfx cards may well give better results for a similar price as lower speced cards.

    currently you would be safe with a 2500k gtx 570 setup that will cost about 1000 depending on what else you throw at it and it will be good for high to max gaming for the next 2 years easily. but the kepler cards are touted as likely to offer x2 the performance for not a great deal more money and the comparable cards, say the 670 are gonna replace the 570 but will offer at the least gtx 580 performance. but for 570 money which in some circles means its a bargain.

    if i was gonna be building a rig in the near future i would hold off till the new cards arrive and as the new cpu's are just round the corner i would also hold off on that too... but if you must you mus and like i say the 2500k, 8gig or ddr3 1600 and a gtx 570 on a z68 motherboard is a great starting point...
  2. Hexit has a great suggestion. I'd get 8gb ram (Since it's cheap) A quad core 3GHZ+ CPU and an 570/6970. Make sure you get a good psu (800 watt) so if you decide to get sli/crossfire you will be futureproofed. Also make sure to get good cooling.
  3. Thank you very much for the advice. Seeing as ivy bridge comes out in April I will probably wait for that. As for the Kepler, do you know when the suspected release date is because I could probably wait for that as well. Also one more question would be when I build my pc would it be easy to switch out parts and such in the coming years?
  4. @grammernazi yah thanks. Would I need anything more than 8gb? But yah was planning on the cooling and psu.
  5. Well if I personally think that more then 8 is a little overkill, but ram is pretty cheap so if you wanted to get another sick of 8gb in the future it would only cost around $25.
  6. Yah that's what I was thinking. Do you know when the Kepler cards are coming out? Also would a 570 be able to max out everything that is currently out? Or is a 580 a lot stronger for the extra 100$?
  7. Also if it isn't too much trouble I'd really appriciate everything else I'd need for my CPU besides: ram, motherboard, graphics card, and processor. Thank you!
  8. the paper launch of kepler cards is scheduled for 12th march

    and availability of them being guessed at between 23rd and 26th march--though how many will actually be

    available is anybodys guess
  9. Hi everyone,

    I am on the same track for a build, but i figure that since the kepler card is out, prices are dropping on GPUs, and it sounds like sandybridge architecture is all you really need for maxed out gaming on titles today and sometime into the future? Why pay premium prices when proven gear can max out titles instead?

    I'm am thinking about this setup:
    i7 2700k - i read that the 2500 is sufficient but how about future-proofing this core component to a certain degree?
    ASUS P8Z68 - is this good enough of a MoBo? I am not planning on doing any OC'ing.
    Corsair Vengeance 16GB DDR3 1600
    2xSLI GTX570 stock - having an SLI setup, wouldn't it outperform a single 580? Also, read that OCing is sometimes giving issues on BF3?
    SeaSonic Platinum 860W - should i go for 1000W?
    500GB hardrive 7800
    blurayR,DVDRW
    Case, how about a Corsair Carbide 500R or a Thermaltake Element T?
    CPU cooling looking at the Corsair H80, or could i go for the H100?
    Do you have any ideas on how to get the best fans for that case?

    Thank you for your feedback, this is going to be my first build!
    J
  10. after seeing the latest rumors of the new xbox config that may have a hexa core at the heart of it. a quad core with hyper threading looks a lot more future proof than the 2500k... but like i say its just a rumor...
  11. Quote:
    i7 2700k - i read that the 2500 is sufficient but how about future-proofing this core component to a certain degree?


    the extra future proofing from the 2700k is pretty minimal. In the future, you probably want Ivy bridge anyways. But if you dont plan to overclock, Why even get a k processor?

    Similarly, the P8Z68 is a good overclocking board, and if you dont plan to use those features, maybe get something cheaper. This will allow you to spend that money you save on a z77 board in the future.

    I personally would go for 1x680 GTX with 2gb vram than 2xGTX 570 with 1.5 gb vram. This is because I own a 2x570 setup, and I can feel the hurt from the 1.5 gb vram in certain levels in battlefield 3 etc on 1920x1080. Also, the new card will give you all the new features and support in the future and you wont have to deal with SLI rendering and driver issues. The 680 will also make your rig easily upgradable, by dropping in a second card.

    If you are not overclocking, H80 is Overkill. Start with stock cooler, and if you decide to OC, or are having heat problems, upgrade to H80.

    Take the money you save from the processor and mobo, and spend it on a Boot Drive SSD. You wont regret it.
  12. hi kulladoctor,

    thank you for the detailed response.

    i hear you on the processor and several have told me to get a i52500. Bottom line is, will i suffer FPS drops in BF3 on a 1080 27in single monitor on high/ultra + ambient occlusion with an i5 versus an i7? i'm only into getting the i7 to max out my FPS.

    I've heard that SLI always outdoes a single GPU. And wouldn't i be paying premium for a 680 while all the rest of the GTX's prices are falling ? What about driver tweaks regarding the brand new 680, isn't it better to take something tried and tested?

    As for cooling, i find that liquid cooling setup seems smaller, neater and more efficient than putting that massive air cooler on the MoBo. Are there some serious drawbacks to going for a h60 by corsair as an example?

    What's your POV?

    THank you!

    J
  13. To be honest use the following:

    I've built this over a year ago and to be fair this build will be fine for the next 4 years HONESTLY. lol

    gtx 580 sli matrix cards x2
    nzxt case phantom full red
    8GB corsair vengence red
    Fatality 67 motherboard
    1200 W corsair gold edition
    i5 2500k cpu
    GT heat sink ( standard red )

    This cost me around 1,500 a year ago, I have over 15 MMORPG on my computer. Which all run perfectly at 60 FPS.

    This build is also very extravagent, full red system which looks extreamly impressive.

    Again this is only my opinion but for your price range I would def recommend this.

    Let us know how you go on your decision making.

    Luke
  14. With Ivy Bridge around the corner, ideally I would wait it out before I buy a CPU b/c you will get the option to go with Ivy Bridge (get higher speeds/cores for the same price) and will be able to buy Sandy Bridge for Cheaper.

    That being said, if you cant wait, I would err on spending less, rather than more on the CPU now, preserving your upgrade options and minimizing the cost of a mistake. Besides, most games coming out between now and Q4 2013(estimated PS4 launch) will not take much advantage of 8 (hyper threaded) cores, and clock speed for each core will be more important. Getting an i5 2500k is probably your best bet, as it will run everything fine for now, and in 6-12 months, if you feel like you are CPU limited, you can always read a couple of articles and bump the clock speed up by 20-30% and get a good boost in performance.

    For BF3 in particular, performance is only CPU limited in large online matches (32-64 players) especially at your resolution and monitor size. But here is where the 2xGTX570 may hold you back a little.

    VRAM is important at 1080 and higher resolutions. Getting 2 cards does not increase your VRAM at all. So what ends up happening (and I speak from personal experience with 2xGTX570s) is that you will get 60+ FPS most of the time on ULTRA, but on large levels (like the single player mission "Rock and a hard place") it may drop really quickly to an unplayable level for a couple of minutes if your cards run out of RAM when loading textures.

    The second problem with 2x570 is SLI rendering issues. SLI setups can cause flickering shadows, jittery lights etc. There is no way to tell if your particular setup will show these effects, or how much they will bother you, but they bother me with my rig, and take away some of the 'wow' factor of playing beautiful games on Max settings.

    Driver trouble can also be a pain. I replaced my first set of 570s after they refused to SLI for no apparent reason. After this did not fix the problem, I spent a week troubleshooting, clean installing and even changed my motherboard. It turned out that my Asus wireless pcie card has drivers that conflict with SLI, and now I have to keep it disabled to run in SLI mode. Just check Nvidia SLI forums if you dont believe me.

    The 680 may be new and possibly have driver issues too, but overall it would probably be just as reliable as an SLI setup, and may provide better image quality. Sure, your fps may drop from 60+ to 55 but that 10% performance hit will be unnoticeable in actual game play in all current Games.

    On the flip side, the 680 will give you future proofing in the form of the latest visual effects and features, pcie 3.0 support and the ability to SLI in the future.

    Finally for cooling: if you are not going to overclock at all, it doesn't matter which cooler you have in there, the CPU will run within spec temps . However, tying this back into my point about potential overclocking in the future, if you are going to get an aftermarket solution, don't compromise and go with the one you want (H80).
  15. Quote:
    Yah that's what I was thinking. Do you know when the Kepler cards are coming out? Also would a 570 be able to max out everything that is currently out? Or is a 580 a lot stronger for the extra 100$?

    you can get my specs for $1000 withous sli. the 580 is only 10to 15% faster than 570 so its a rip-off. if you want a 580 save and get 670 or 80
  16. hey everyone, thank you for your responses, i am narrowing down and am ready to buy components asap.

    @luke,
    thanks for your response. Your rig must look like a Ferrari LOL, all red. Very nice. You took the red RAM bc you are OCing?
    i hear you on the 580s, i am leaning that way too but there seems to be disagreement on 570SLI vs 580SLI vs single 680 or even 680SLI... hum...
    the i5 seems the way to go today, i don't want to wait any longer.
    1200W doesnt seem like overkill?

    @kulladoctor,
    I am new to this but i'dl rather buy something tested and common than wait for the next gen. I play on only 1 monitor 27in1080 and no multiplayer, so my requirements are only stability and smooth graphics at Ultra.
    I hear you on the SLI driver issue. My 560tids gave me so many issues. But, since i want to have immediate enjoyment, won't 2xSLI580 perform better than a single 680? Was your closing comment that if i run 2xsli580 i get 60+ while with a single 680 i get 55? In that case a single 680 makes more sense, is that what you are telling me?

    Thank you,
    j
  17. 2x580 def do better than 1x680. 2x570 would do better too, but only 10-20% better. Just make sure your 580's are >= 2gb if you can. 2x570 with >= 2gb would be fine too.
  18. @kulladoctor,
    thanks for the reply. I am a bit confused though!
    you are saying that i had best avoid 2x570 bc lagging, best go with 2x580? And either setup is better thatn 2x680? I've read that the HD 2.5GB version of the 570 is to avoid, as is the 3GB 580 version though...
    j
  19. What I mean is that 570's compute power is enough, but the standard 1.5 gb ram may cause short periods of lagging in the most demanding situations. So IMO, 2x570 with 3gb of ram is the best.

    This setup will cost you less than 2x580 w 1.5 gb ram, and will be free of the VRAM bottleneck that the 2x580 w 1.5gb ram has, when playing on 27' monitors.
  20. Sorry for typo in my post I understand your confusion now- I meant to say 2x580 is faster than 1x680. Edited it now. And could you link me to where you read that the higher ram cards are to be avoided? I have not heard of this before.
  21. Quote:
    Hi everyone,

    I am on the same track for a build, but i figure that since the kepler card is out, prices are dropping on GPUs, and it sounds like sandybridge architecture is all you really need for maxed out gaming on titles today and sometime into the future? Why pay premium prices when proven gear can max out titles instead?

    I'm am thinking about this setup:
    i7 2700k - i read that the 2500 is sufficient but how about future-proofing this core component to a certain degree?
    ASUS P8Z68 - is this good enough of a MoBo? I am not planning on doing any OC'ing.
    Corsair Vengeance 16GB DDR3 1600
    2xSLI GTX570 stock - having an SLI setup, wouldn't it outperform a single 580? Also, read that OCing is sometimes giving issues on BF3?
    SeaSonic Platinum 860W - should i go for 1000W?
    500GB hardrive 7800
    blurayR,DVDRW
    Case, how about a Corsair Carbide 500R or a Thermaltake Element T?
    CPU cooling looking at the Corsair H80, or could i go for the H100?
    Do you have any ideas on how to get the best fans for that case?

    Thank you for your feedback, this is going to be my first build!
    J


    Some of these thought may be redundant but I thought I would just add my 2 cents.

    For the processor, the "k" at the end of the number means that the multiplier is unlocked, i.e. the processor is overclock-able. If you aren't planning on overclocking, get a processor like the i5-2400, or i5-2500. The stock performance compared to the "k" version should be about the same. Also, if you don't plan on overclocking you could get a cheaper mobo maybe like this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157271

    I guess it's up to you, but 16gb of RAM is probably overkill. I would go for something like this: 8gb @1333. Would save you some money too. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820220557

    That power supply is awesome! You should probably be fine with 860W, although if you want some headroom you might consider going up to 1KW.

    Finally, I tend to lean toward a single 680 as opposed to 2x570's. It's cheaper, uses less power, and gives a path to upgrade in the future (could eventually add another 680). I couldn't find any side by side benchmarks for the two, but you can check out some benchmarks here http://www.anandtech.com/bench/GPU/88 (GPU 2011 for 570SLI, GPU 2012 for 680)

    PS: For a build with this big a budget, you should consider getting a SSD. A great 64gb drive for window/games is only like $110 now.

    Good luck!
  22. Hi,

    I forget where i read that thread about the issues with the 570HD 2.5GB, but it was in a couple of articles about benchmarking. I also forget the context. I'll see if i can find it... will post it as soon as i locate it!

    To be honest, if i can get by nearly everywhere maxed out but in a few parts of BF3, then i'll settle for 2x570s like you have. Already with my 2x560tids, i've maxed out every title very nicely. I can get a gtx570 for 299USD free shipping, sounds like a good price? It seems hard to get a 580 under 400USD. So in an SLI setup, that's a savings.

    I hear everyone on the 680, but with only one i can't play bf3 maxed out, and then i'ld have to wait a while before spending another 500USD++... doesn't make sense to me. And right now they are out of stock and top dollar. I would rather keep the 570s till a next title really needs me to upgrade.

    Then again, i am just a total beginner here!! Just trying to learn as much as possible...

    J
  23. You could totally max out bf3 on a 1x680, I think.
  24. about the 2560mb 570's, take it from me they kick ass. never had any problems, and get great framerate with them across 3 monitors. if you get them get the evga ones. if you are going nvidia you will need the vram boost, especially if you want your new build semi future proof. if it was me though and you are already looking to sli, wait till the 690 comes out.
  25. hello everyone,

    thank you so much for all the help that you have given me. I would never be able to do any of this were it not for your support!

    last q: where can i get win 7 home 64 at a good price?
    j
  26. newegg get the oem disk.
  27. regarding a wifi card - i need to access internet and the signal is low, so i need a card with high gain antennas. i was going to use my left over one from my other build, but it's giving me issues. are there usually problems with wifi hardware and compatibility with other hardware? there was a post with an issue where SLI on 570s was impossible unless the wifi card was disabled! can anyone recommend a good wifi, high gain card compatible with the ASUS p8z68 pro v gen3 board and SLI 570s?
    thanks,
    j
  28. i have same motherboard--though only one gtx570

    i also have thick victorian walls so its hard to get a signal through them

    one of these does the job--its usb so i can also stick it in my laptop to use in the garden and still get 5 bars

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ALFA-AWUS036NH-2W-Wireless-N-WiFi-USB-Adapter-Antenna-/300511303863?pt=UK_Computing_Networking_SM&hash=item45f7de98b7

    or if you have a very large property you can stick one of these on the alfa--when my home broadband goes

    down--which it is at the moment even after 2 weeks of phoning bt (in india)

    i can pick up the nearest bt openzone from a hotel hundreds of yards away to still get internet access--just

    needs a pigtail to connect to the alfa--this is a serious bit of aerial

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Biquad-QuadGrabber-Dish-Feed-Wireless-Antenna-High-Gain-/360381726183?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item53e86cbde7
  29. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833127218
    costs more, but seems powerful? i really have range issues at home!!
  30. i prefer usb to an internal card

    2 reasons--internal cards have the aerial at the rear of the pc so the case blocks some of the signal

    usb you can move about to get the best signal and also use in a laptop as well if needed

    the parts i listed already i can get a signal from a hotel thats 300 yards away and its not even in line of

    sight--its blocked by houses and at least 50 feet lower down than me

    but heres its bigger brother--this is a really serious bit of kit--have even seen people attach these to sattelite

    dishes to get ranges of several miles away--or use on boats to get wifi from the shore

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Quad-Grabber-II-USB-Wifi-Card-Long-Range-Wireless-Antenna-Free-Internet-/360385774597?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item53e8aa8405
  31. I had the 2x570 + wifi problem. I have the PCE-N15 from ASUS. So avoid that for sure. The issue is with the driver, which is from Reltek, so to be safe avoid any wifi with the same/similar driver as the PCE-N15
  32. i hear you, man. your setup looks tight, but it's pretty hardcore looking. I just need something small in my pad. my zonet 1642d works pretty well, i am mostly worried about compatibility bc my current rig is a mess and i just want to rebuild making sure i use all new components.
  33. @kulladoctor,
    k, got it. d-link seems to get bad reviews, what's your POV? Never heard of Roswill...? Linsys? What are you using now?
    j
  34. anybody heard of this one?
    Premiertek PL-18N USB 2.0 GAMEBASE Adapter 2X9DBI ANTENNA
  35. I am using a network cable :P. 20 ft of cat 6 will cost <$10 :). As for wireless, i dont have much experience with that (and look how my last purchase turned out). But from what I have heard, pcie is better than USB.

    They are all pretty cheap (under 40 dollars) so I wont worry too much. Dlink has non reltek drivers, so hopefully you wont get compatibility issues with that.
  36. anyway i went w this usb adapter, premiertek gamebase, thinking that it may make less interference with my MB setup. also was reviewed as having the best range by a moderator on Toms'hardware.

    any ideas on a good mouse? i just ordered one and it's small. I am looking for something with good support, doesn't need to have too many gaming buttons.

    Finally, any good guide to BIOS setup? Is there anything i need to look out for when it comes to SLI setup, aftermarket CPU cooler, fan controls, etc etc... i don't have a clue yet. thank you. J
  37. hi,

    any clues where i can find a good BIOS setup guide online, so that correctly take into account SLI, fan management, aftermarket CPU cooler, etc... I have no idea how to do it yet!

    thanks,

    J
  38. This topic has been moved from the section Video Games to section Systems by Mousemonkey
  39. Hello everyone,

    Help 1.01. :-)
    With the Seasonic 1050, the fan is open on the 'top' of the unit, and it says that if you place the PSU in the case, the fan 'could' face the Mobo in certain cases. That sounds very nebulous. My case is an Obsedian 650D, which has a grill on the bottom where the PSU sits, with a dust filter. If i set up the case as described above, the fan will face the Mobo and will not suck in cold air from the bottom. Could i put the PSU upside down? Anyone have any ideas about this?

    How do you safely remove pre-applied thermal paste? My H60 comes pre-applied, but i want to apply artic. Any ideas?

    I went through the manual for the ASUS P8z68 V pro Gen3 and the EZ function for BIOS setup looks...well, really easy. Seems that there are no major changes to be done BIOS wise when it comes to SLI setup or fan management. Am i wrong?

    thanks,
    J
  40. hi,

    does anyone know the difference between the CPU-FAN_OPT header and the CPU_FAN header onthe ASUS p8z68 pro v gen3 MOBO?

    also, there is a 4 pin CHA_FAN_1 header, isn 't that strange?

    thanks,
    j
  41. Hey Jonathan,

    you can place the power supply upside down, and this is how most people do in with a bottom mounted powersupply. Check the Tom's hardware cooling guide for confirmation.

    I think you can just use alcohol to remove thermal paste, but googling this quickly yields many guides that are more of an authority on the matter than I.

    You dont have to make any bios changes for SLI on the Asus board, but you can go through the settings to disable things that you are not using (extra network adaptor, onboard audio etc) to speed up boot time. I think Tom's has an article on bios settings somewhere on the website.

    finally, the OPT fan is just an optional CPU fan. I think the manual specifies this. I dont have mine on me right now, but that is how I have used the OPT header.
  42. Hi Kulladoctor,

    Guess what?!?! IT BOOTED!!!!!! That moment before i hit On was like watching a shuttle launch. yikes. I took my time though, making sure the back side didn't look like an italian pasta plate, and cleaning up the wiring. It looks sweet, really does, blue ASUS board with blue vengeance sticks. I'm thinking now about blue wire webbing. I used Artic paste, worked fine. Putting on the H60 was a little tricky, but not that bad actually. In fact, nothing was a problem, everything flowed nicely.

    I can't beleive i did it!


    BIOS booted shows idle temps of 29c for both MObo and CPU. I figured out the fan issue. No sweat (pun!).


    I HAVE 2 QUESTIONS!


    1. Voltage on CPU. The 8pin to 2x4pin connector from PSU to the top left side of the mobo... i went back and forth between ASUS and Seasonic (nice PSU btw, comes in a black velvet pouch WTF), and in the end i plugged in only ONE 4pin connector into the 8pin connector on the mobo. I was worried that if i put all 8 pins, it might be more that 12V and fry the mobo. Any idea on that? The voltage readout in BIOS is 1...something, ie, the blue bar is only 1/4 filled, while other voltage figures are equal to the value stated on the left hand side of the bar indicating voltage. Cause for issue? What do you think? Do you want me to post that voltage figure?


    2. I bought Vengeance Blue 16GB 1600 RAM, but in BIOS it says that the 16GB of RAM is at 1333 only?! I called ASUS, they said call back tomorrow to talk to specialist about OCing my RAM? What? Does the Mobo ASUS P8z68 Pro V gen3 with i5 2500 (NO K) default the mem to 1333? Is my memory faulty? The red LED on the mobo does not flash saying that memOK failed, and all RAM shows up in Win 7. what do i do? Argh.


    Thanks,


    J
  43. you should plug in both halves of the 2 x 4 to 8 pin connector

    otherwise you may get blue screens under load

    go into the bios--under AI tweaker and just set the ram speed to 1600mhz--leave ram voltage at 1.5v

    shows you here where the settings are

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiOnq2jeB1U

    your mouse may not work properly in the uefi bios--mine doesnt but can still navigate with the keyboard
  44. Ok will do thank !
  45. Ya, I had the same issue with my vengence ram. If the Rep hasnt oc'ed it for you already, I would go into bios, and manually increase ram to 1600. Then, if the computer fails to boot, or fails under stress tests, I would up the voltage to the ram (you shouldnt need much more than a few 0.01 volt increases.) and try again. The memory should be fine under 1.6-1.65 volts (not that you would have to go that high for 1600).

    Here are a couple of stress tests to make sure its working:
    1. Prime95. Use the torture test to test ram. Run this overnight.
    2. Intel Burn In. Mainly for CPU testing, but run this for 20 minutes to more quickly detect problems.

    If you feel comfortable with this, it may be nice to know that this is exactly the same procedure to oc your CPU. If doing this to your ram gives you the confidence, I highly encourage returning the 2500 and getting a 2500k if you can, and getting a 20-30% performance boost very safely.
  46. And, congrats on your first build! I recently did my first build too, and I know how satisfying it can be. Glad everything went smoothly (almost!).
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