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First Computer Build, ~$1700 Gaming Rig, Need Advise

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April 18, 2012 3:02:15 AM

Hello everyone :) 

Please bear with me as this is my first post on these forums, so I'll try to get the template right but I'm sure I'm bound to screw it up somehow, lol. I'm working on building my first computer from parts, and I've got a few questions I'm hoping someone might be able to help me out with...

1: Will the parts I've listed/linked below all work together? It would be truly disappointing to buy them all and realize too late that I messed something up big time and something like the RAM and the Motherboard just don't fit, or some such.

2: Will the 650 Watt PSU I've linked be sufficient for the power needs of this machine?

3: Will the fans provided in the case I've linked, coupled with the Heatsink I've linked, provide adequate cooling needs?

4: Is there anything I've blatantly forgotten to include in this list?

Thank you for any help you might be able to provide!

~~~~~~~~~~~

Don't Need:
Monitor, Keyboard, Mouse

Motherboard:
GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UD5H LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

Processor:
Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 3000 BX80623I72600K

Video Card:
GIGABYTE GV-R797D5-3GD-B Radeon HD 7970 3GB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card

Primary Hard Drive:
Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

Secondary (Storage) Hard Drive:
Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

Memory:
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2133 (PC3 17000) Desktop Memory Model F3-17000CL11D-8GBXL

Power Supply:
CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX650 V2 650W ATX12V v2.31/ EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC High Performance Power Supply

Heatsink / Fan:
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7

Optical Drive:
ASUS 24X DVD Burner - Bulk 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS - OEM

Case:
COOLER MASTER HAF 932 Advanced RC-932-KKN5-GP Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case with USB 3.0, Black Interior and Four Fans-1x 230mm front RED LED fan, 1x 140mm rear fan, 1x 230mm top fan, and 1x 230mm side fan

Wireless Networking Card:
TP-LINK TL-WDN4800 Wireless N Dual Band Adapter IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n PCI Express x1 Up to 450Mbps Wireless Data Rates Support 64/128 bit WEP, WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK, 802.1x

Operating System:
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM
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April 18, 2012 11:38:23 AM

Thank you for the comments :)  Here are my answers to the questions on the afore-mentioned page...


Approximate Purchase Date: I'll likely be buying the parts in a few weeks.

Budget Range: $1750 (After any instant rebates)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: 1: Gaming, 2: Streaming Video, 3: Internet, 4: Everything Else

Parts Not Required: Monitor, Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com

Country: United States

Parts Preferences: Intel

Overclocking: Highly doubtful. I don't know how, really, and I don't want to risk destroying my machine.

SLI or Crossfire: Only using 1 Vid Card

Monitor Resolution: Currently using 1600 x 900

Additional Comments: My primary concern is to have the ability to run pretty much any game I throw at it, at max video settings.
April 18, 2012 11:46:38 AM

You may want to consider getting a gtx 680. It is the best single GPU at the moment.
April 18, 2012 11:51:55 AM

I considered the 680, but (at least at newegg, where I'd prefer to buy all of my parts at once), every 680 is currently out of stock.

Not that I wouldn't be willing to wait until it is in stock, but as it seems to be such a hot ticket item right now, I'm willing to settle for something that might not be the current pinnacle of human achievement, but where the difference between the two is likely splitting hairs... Is the 680 so much better, that I'd be totally blown away? If so, I'd consider waiting, but if not, I'm cool with going with the Radeon.
April 18, 2012 7:17:43 PM

OK,

In two weeks we should be seeing the new Ivy Bridge processors, so you should wait for that rather than get the 2600K.
http://www.tomshardware.com/news/intel-cpu-ivy-bridge-p...
Unlike many, I have no objection to a hyperthreaded processor for a high-end system. I expect more and more strategy games to use multiple threads well.

http://www.tweaktown.com/news/23564/intel_cuts_desktop_...

You don't need so much motherboard if you are not overclocking or doing SLI/CF. Consider this ASRock board
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Using such highly clocked RAM is an overclock of your CPU and voids the warranty. In fact, the max rated RAM speed for current Intel chips is 1333 CL9, 1.5V. Perhaps that will change for Ivy Bridge processors, but I would not expect more than 1600 CL9.

Unless you are getting a larger monitor, there is no reason to get so much GPU. You are just throwing money away. Always buy GPUs as if they will be obsolete in two years, because they will be.
April 18, 2012 9:28:51 PM

Thanks for all the comments, I really appreciate the advice.

I've gone and reconfigured my components list, taking into consideration your words of wisdom, and saved it as a public wishlist on newegg.

My thoughts:

Ivy Bridge: I can only imagine how expensive this will be when it's first released, as it'll be the ultimate latest and greatest... Not sure I want to deal with the hassle of out of stock items or really high prices. The 2600K should be way more than I need as it is, I'm guessing... Unless you know something I don't? (Which is entirely plausible, lol)

Motherboard: Done and done. Thanks for the tip.

RAM: Downgraded it to 1333, good call.

GPU: Yeah, I know it's overkill... Probably like driving a Ferrari to get the groceries, lol, but I can't help myself. Plus, I might consider getting a larger monitor next year, so I'll put it to good use.
April 19, 2012 6:39:25 AM

Intel doesn't do it like that. Release day prices for Sandy bridge were very close to what they are today, perhaps $5-10 more. PRE-ORDER prices may have been higher. The bulk prices, as shown in the link, are usually quite similar to your price... that is because the big retailers get big discounts from Intel.

You are right that the i7 2600K is a great CPU and more than you need. The same thing was once said about Athlon 64 x2 5400, and Intel Q6600, and many other CPUs. At some point they stopped being adequate. Wait a week for benchmarks and then make your decision.

I'll be clearer about the GPU. Suppose you buy a 7870 now and a 9870 at the end of next year. Now, the 9870 buries the 7970 in all benchmarks, so it's good for another 18 months.
Both cost around $300, we'll say $650 total cost for maximum settings gaming that takes you into 2015. Your 7970, not so long.

Usually the best video cards are obsolete in two years max. GTX 295? Gone and forgotten, roughly equal to a 7850 today. It was released just over 3 years ago, at a price of $500.

Spending $500 on a new monitor AND a new GPU will get you the better game experience now.
April 19, 2012 11:49:51 AM

Well, this will be the first time I've ever owned a computer with a dedicated graphics card. I'm used to running games on absolute minimum settings (when I can run them at all). Currently, I'm using a Mac Mini with 2GB of Memory and integrated NVIDIA Geforce 9400 graphics... So I'm pretty certain that while yes, any top of the line graphics card I buy now will definitely be eclipsed by something bigger and badder later, it will be a VERY long time before I feel the need to purchase a new one, as I don't plan to do that until games have so far-outclassed my graphics capabilities that it feels like I'm back on my Mac Mini again. Basically, I won't consider a vid card obsolete until it's forced to run stuff on minimum settings. I plan for this machine to last me at least 5 years. Granted it won't be top of the line 5 years from now, but it'll still be good enough for me.

I would love to buy a new monitor. I'm currently on a 20" HP 2009m. It's one of the biggest monitors I've ever owned. But, while I'd love to spring for a new 30" behemoth, they cost at least $1K, and I only have a certain budget for this entire project this year. I'd rather pour my whole budget into creating the biggest, baddest, beastiest computer I can, which can handle better graphics than my current monitor can even display, and use next year's budget to upgrade my monitor, speakers, and so forth. Unless you know a way of tweaking the cost of my rig to accommodate such an amazing monitor alongside an excellent cpu and gpu with a total price tag of no greater than $1700?

As for Ivy Bridge... That's very good news. If the cost of an i7 Ivy Bridge CPU is roughly the same as what I'm looking at spending already, then that will absolutely be worth waiting for. Especially considering its native support for PCIE 3.0x16. Thanks for the heads up.

Again, thank you for all the help. It's been exceptionally informative, and has absolutely steered me in the right direction with this.
April 19, 2012 11:55:56 AM

Don't forget the ssd mounting tray
April 19, 2012 12:11:06 PM

I actually decided not to go with ssd, because I don't think I can afford to get one sizeable enough to install all the games I'd like (hell, WoW alone is like 20GB), and I read that ssd doesn't actually make a ton of difference in terms of actual game playability. So I opted for a tried-and-true 7200 RPM'er. Getting a Western Digital 1TB Caviar Black SATA 6Gb/s HDD instead.
April 19, 2012 4:43:24 PM

http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Carbide-Series-Gaming-Com... $90.98 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Corsair Carbide Series 400R Mid Tower Gaming Computer Case - CC-9011011-WW

http://www.corsair.com/pc-cases/carbide-series-pc-case/... <----- a better look at that case

http://www.amazon.com/XFX-ATX-550-Power-Supply/dp/B004R... $74.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
XFX Core Edition PRO550W (P1-550S-XXB9) 550W ATX12V 2.2 & ESP12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... <----- that same psu on newegg

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $79.99
ASRock B75 PRO3 LGA 1155 Intel B75 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.us.asp?Model=B75%20Pr... <----- a better look at that board

http://pcper.com/news/Processors/Intel-Ivy-Bridge-Proce... $225
Intel i5-3750K Ivy Bridge CPU 3.4Ghz-

http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Hyper-Sleeve-RR-B10... $26.81 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler, RR-B10-212P-G1

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $44.99 FREE SHIPPING
G.SKILL Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-1600C9D-8GAB

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $109.99 FREE SHIPPING
ADATA S510 Series AS510S3-120GM-O 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) - OEM

http://www.amazon.com/Seagate-Barracuda-3-5-Inch-Intern... $99.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Seagate Barracuda 7200 1 TB 7200RPM SATA 6 Gb/s NCQ 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive ST1000DM003

http://www.amazon.com/Asus-24xDVD-RW-Serial-Internal-DR... $17.99 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25
Asus 24xDVD-RW Serial ATA Internal OEM Drive DRW-24B1ST (Black)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E... $500
GeForce GTX 680 2GB

http://www.amazon.com/Windows-Premium-64bit-System-Buil... $99.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit (Full) System Builder DVD 1 Pack

http://www.amazon.com/ML228H-22-Inch-Ultra-Slim-Widescr... $159.00 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Asus ML228H 21.5" 1920X1080 2ms Full HD LED BackLight LED Monitor Slim Design 250 cd/m2 10,000,000 :1 (ASCR)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... <----- that same monitor on newegg

Total: $1,530.71 *not including shipping and mail in rebates
April 19, 2012 8:38:07 PM

There you have it :)  A far more reasonable build. Now that I have a good sense of where you are at and what needs to happen I'm going to offer a differing build from Why_me though.

B75? WTH??? I've fallen behind the times it seems :p  :lol: 

You don't need special adapters to mount the SSD in the Corsair case... you don't need to "mount" an SSD at all actually. A little Velcro tape works too.

Let's have a look at the video card roundup:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car...

So my revised list, just where I would differ from Why_me:
  • SAMSUNG B350 Series S24B350HL Transparent Red 23.6" 2ms GTG HDMI Widescreen LED Monitor
  • SAPPHIRE 11199-03-20G Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video ...
  • AMD Gift - Dirt3 Game Coupon - OEM
  • SeaSonic M12II 520 Bronze 520W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS 12V v2.91 SLI Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
  • Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2CCA 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) with Transfer Kit
    TOTAL: $814.96

    That comes to a bit less than his build, and I would add a reasonable speaker set possibly:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    April 19, 2012 10:18:30 PM

    Proximon said:
    There you have it :)  B75? WTH??? I've fallen behind the times it seems :p  :lol: 

    http://www.asrock.com/mb/index.us.asp?s=1155 <----- I first saw those B75 boards show up on the Asrock site a little over a month ago, but every board maker has them. There's a few sites that break down the difference between Z77/Z75/H77 and B75. Some of those boards have all the goodies like over clocking, Intel Smart Response, etc... and some only have some of the goodies. A lot of peeps though don't use all that stuff so it makes it nice when doing a budget build.
    April 22, 2012 3:56:21 PM

    Wow, that is a lot of excellent advice... Thanks for the help guys.

    That said, here are some questions I have...

    * Everything I've read says that Seagate Barracuda is *absolute* crap. Loads of 1-Egg reviews about DOA equipment, equipment that fails after a few months, and loads of other horror stories. I'm very hesitant to go with Seagate for those reasons. What are your thoughts on the matter?

    * Regarding the PSU... I was initially going to go with a Bronze certification rated PSU, but I thought going for the Gold certification would be a better choice. Am I wrong? Does the efficiency really matter all that much? Also, I was aiming at 650 Watt PSU, figuring that would cover any power needs I might have. Will 520-550 Watts be sufficient? Is 650 Watts overkill?

    * Regarding Monitors: Actually, I've found a buyer for my current computer, so I'll be able to afford a good new monitor afterall. My current monitor is a 20". I'm considering buying a 27", as I've found a few good ones in about a $350-$400 price range.

    * Regarding downgrading from a 7970 to a 7870 Vid Card: How will this affect the graphical performance of this machine? Can the 7870 pump the pixels to the same degree as the 7970? What sort of performance difference will I be looking at if I do this, and is it worth the $100 drop in final price? My initial plan was to get the best CPU and GPU that I could muster to afford for this box.
    April 22, 2012 6:05:36 PM

    lasellj said:
    Wow, that is a lot of excellent advice... Thanks for the help guys.

    That said, here are some questions I have...

    * Everything I've read says that Seagate Barracuda is *absolute* crap. Loads of 1-Egg reviews about DOA equipment, equipment that fails after a few months, and loads of other horror stories. I'm very hesitant to go with Seagate for those reasons. What are your thoughts on the matter?

    * Regarding the PSU... I was initially going to go with a Bronze certification rated PSU, but I thought going for the Gold certification would be a better choice. Am I wrong? Does the efficiency really matter all that much? Also, I was aiming at 650 Watt PSU, figuring that would cover any power needs I might have. Will 520-550 Watts be sufficient? Is 650 Watts overkill?

    * Regarding Monitors: Actually, I've found a buyer for my current computer, so I'll be able to afford a good new monitor afterall. My current monitor is a 20". I'm considering buying a 27", as I've found a few good ones in about a $350-$400 price range.

    * Regarding downgrading from a 7970 to a 7870 Vid Card: How will this affect the graphical performance of this machine? Can the 7870 pump the pixels to the same degree as the 7970? What sort of performance difference will I be looking at if I do this, and is it worth the $100 drop in final price? My initial plan was to get the best CPU and GPU that I could muster to afford for this box.

    Here's the WD version of the 1TB h/d.

    http://www.amazon.com/Western-Digital-Caviar-Internal-D... $134.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
    Western Digital Caviar Black 1 TB SATA III 7200 RPM 64 MB Cache Internal Desktop Hard Drive Bulk/OEM - WD1002FAEX

    That XFX psu I linked is manufactured by Seasonic and is about as good as it gets in that wattage class. It's a fine line between gold, silver, and bronze rated. The only draw back on that psu is that it's not modular. That Seasonic psu Proximan is modular and it's a dandy.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $59.99
    SeaSonic M12II 520 Bronze 520W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS 12V v2.91 SLI Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

    Here's a non modular psu worth taking a look at also. Not as solid as that XFX in regards to amps, but it has plenty enough to push that build.

    http://www.amazon.com/OCZ-Series-80PLUS-Performance-com... $69.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
    OCZ ZS Series 550W 80PLUS Bronze High Performance Power Supply compatible with Intel Sandy Bridge Core i3 i5 i7 and AMD Phenom

    http://www.amazon.com/HD7870-DC2-2GD5-DisplayPort-Utili... $349.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
    ASUS HD7870-DC2-2GD5 Radeon 2GB DDR5 VGA/DVI/HDMI/DisplayPort GPU Tweak Utilities PCI-Express 3.0 Graphics Card HD7870-DC2-2GD5

    http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/HD_7870_Direct_... <------ Here's a review w/benchmarks on that Asus 7870.

    That Adata SSD went up in price but you can't go wrong with either of these SSD's down below.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $119.99 FREE SHIPPING
    Mushkin Enhanced Chronos MKNSSDCR120GB 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $119.99 FREE SHIPPING
    Kingston SSDNow V+200 KW-S2120-4B 2.5" 120GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (Stand-alone Drive)
    April 22, 2012 8:01:25 PM

    Ok, so here's my updated build...

    The Starting Lineup: $1512

  • $080 - MOBO: ASRock B57
  • $332 - CPU: Ivy Bridge i7-3770K
  • $360 - GPU: ASUS HD 7870 DC2 2GB PCIE3.0
  • $230 - SSD: Mushkin 240GB SATA III
  • $140 - HDD: WD Caviar Black 1TB 7200RPM SATA 6Gb/s
  • $090 - RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB DDR3-1600
  • $090 - PSU: Seasonic 620W Bronze Modular
  • $100 - Case: Antec 900 ATX Mid-Tower (I like the blue lights, lol)
  • $027 - HSF: Cooler Master Hyper 212
  • $018 - DVD: ASUS 24x
  • $045 - NET: TP-LINK Dual Band Wireless N Adapter

    After My Current Computer Sells: $345

  • $345 - Monitor: Acer 27" Widescreen LCD

    Total Cost: $1857

    Note: Decided against buying speakers, as I already have a good set.
    April 22, 2012 9:01:39 PM

    I've used most major brands of hard drives, with very few issues. I tend to favor WD because of past excellent service from their support staff.

    I would recommend the Rosewill Capstone 650 as an excellent gold rated PSU, but it's not in stock last I checked. After that, any of the Seasonic-built PSUs are the next choice. I myself use a Seasonic X650, but that may be out of your price range. I do not think you need 650W, but it's an acceptable cushion. 750W would be overkill for sure.

    27" is a lot of monitor. It would be too large for me, but much depends on how near you are seated to it. I find 24" to be the most I can tolerate in MMOs and FPS because I have to quickly see everything on my screen. This all varies from person to person. Keep in mind that the resolution of the monitor is the same as a 23" monitor. They (pixels) are just spread out more.


    List looks pretty good.
    !