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First build gaming pc advice

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April 19, 2012 11:47:51 PM

Hi I'm building my first computer with gaming in mind, and I wanted to make sure my specs were ok and that everything was compatible. I've done some research and based on wht I found this should be able to run most games on max settings at a good frame rate, with maybe some exceptions. Also I will be running at 1920x1080. I dont currently plan on overclocking but may choose to do so in the future, and also would like the option of expanding to dual gpus. Here are the parts that I am planning on getting over the next few weeks.

CPU: i5 2500k or i5 3570k

Mobo: ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813157271

GPU: SAPPHIRE 11200-00-20G Radeon HD 7850 2GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6814102986

RAM: CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820145345

SSD(Boot Drive): Samsung 830-Series MZ-7PC064B/WW 64GB SATA III
http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B007 [...] PDKIKX0DER

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500 GB SATA III 7200 RPM 16 MB Cache
http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B004 [...] PDKIKX0DER

PSU: Corsair Enthusiast TX V2 Series 750-Watt 80 Plus Performance Modular Power Supply
http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B005 [...] s=1&sr=8-1

Case: NZXT Guardian Black SECC Steel Chassis ATX Mid Tower Case 921RB-BL
http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B004 [...] 508&sr=8-2

I feel pretty good about this build after doing a lot of research and was just being cautious, hopefully if I missed anything compatibility wise someone can point it out. Thanks!!!

More about : build gaming advice

April 20, 2012 12:35:30 AM

All your links are broken. Anyway, here are my suggestions.

If you can afford it, get a 120GB SSD. 64GB is enough space for Windows and one game, two if you don't put anything else on the drive and the games are small. You'll constantly be bumping into the drive's capacity limits, and may have issues getting games to patch because there's not enough space for the patch data and the game at the same time.

Unless you're planning to go with Crossfire later, I'd get Corsair's 650W PSU. 750W is overkill for that system.
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April 20, 2012 1:07:05 AM

This system looks very similar to something else someone else was trying to build recently. I wrote some long posts weighing the pros and cons of several issues and options available regarding PSU, GPU and SSD choices discussing possible upgrade paths and the related trade offs in performance/cost and flexibility. Please refer to the following thread which I hope can help you make a more informed decision:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/342796-31-first-build...

Below I'll provide some relavant highlights from that thread but I highly reccomend reading that thread as its jam packed with useful info.

1) I prefer nvidia GPU's. I like EVGA.
2) Corsair 650W PSU is ideal for any single card setup. If you plan SLI or xFire in the future might want to invest in an 850W (perhaps 750W is fine) now so that you won't have any problems adding a second card in the future.
3) I believe that mobo you are looking at supports Intel SRT technology. If you intend to use your SSD in conjunction with that a ~60GB drive is fine though if you plan on using the SSD directly as a boot drive don't go for anything less than 120GB. In either case if you can afford the cost of a 120GB drive its a good idea to grab the 120 over the 64 as it will give you better flexibility and performance. larger capacity SSD's typically have higher bandwidth and thus perform better than their smaller capacity counterparts. Unlike HDD's two identical 60GB SSD's in a raid configuration will not necessarily outperform a single 120GB SSD for this reason.
4) The Corsair TX series is great, TXM offers similar performance with a semi modular design. HX series offers similar performance but with a fully modular design. AX series is the best being an 80+ gold PSU with a fully modular design.
5) Intel Ivy Bridge CPUs are around the corner
6) nvidia 6xx series are expected soon
7) Windows 8 is coming out in October
8) HighDPI monitors are expected to change the common desktop resolution over the next several years.

I definitely recommend reading that thread I linked above and all associated links/videos. Hope it helps you make better decisions towards a cost effective, optimal performing, upgradable system.
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April 20, 2012 2:46:06 PM

Thanks for your suggestions. I was originally going to go with Evga but after doing some research I found that to run the most intensive games it is best to have a GPU with 2Gb and the Radeon 7850 seems to be the only one with those benefits in a price range I can afford. In terms of the SSD I was not aware of the Intel SRT but after reading on your other post it sounds like it will be sufficient to use a 64gb although I'm tempted and might go ahead and get a 128gb. I had only planned on keeping the OS on it so 64gb would have been enough but now I'm wondering if thats a waste. I'm definitley going to wait for Ivy Bridge as I don't think they're too far around the corner, but what I wasn't aware of was that the new Nvidia Kepler cards were coming out so soon. I was looking at the GTX650 TI and wondering if that would have as high of performance? Thanks for your help!!!
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April 20, 2012 2:50:20 PM

Also just wanted to make sure that the motherboard i chose will be compatible with the new gpu? I know it will be compatible with ivy bridge.
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April 20, 2012 3:18:09 PM

Yup, the mobo you chose should be compatible with that GPU but will only operate at PCI-express 3.0 speeds with the Ivy Bridge CPU.
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April 20, 2012 3:36:04 PM

Sorry you mean only Ivy Bridge will allow it to operate faster?
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April 20, 2012 3:56:16 PM

I believe so. yes.. According to the specs on newegg for the ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 : http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

By adapting PCI-E 3.0 quick switch IC onboard, the ASRock motherboards can support the Next-Gen PCI-E 3.0! PCI Express 3.0 can maximize the bandwidth for the next-gen PCI Express 3.0 VGA cards, provide ultimate graphics performance. (To run the PCI Express 3.0 slots in Gen 3 speed, please must install the Ivy Bridge CPU which supports PCI Express 3.0. If you install the Sandy Bridge CPU, the PCI Express 3.0 slots will run only at Gen2 speed.)
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April 20, 2012 4:21:27 PM

Ok cool thanks!!! I've decided to go with the 64gb Ssd with only the is on it using the intel srt I should be good to go yes?
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April 20, 2012 4:26:24 PM

Yes, I believe that should be fine; however, I still reccomend grabbing a 120GB SSD over the 64GB SSD. 120GB is a better size for "applications/OS" and so if you ever decide to use it as a boot drive instead of Intel SRT cache drive you will be able to do so comfortably.

Though Intel SRT only supports a cache SSD partition up to 64GB (since their experiments determined little to no benefit of having a larger cache) the remaining portion of the drive can still be partitioned and used for applications or data so it doesn't go to waste.

Finally larger SSD's have slightly better performance than smaller SSD's. I think a 120GB SSD is the sweet spot regarding size, cost, performance and flexibility...

Having said all that,if you plan to use Intel SRT the 60 or 64GB SSD will be fine.
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April 20, 2012 4:51:30 PM

That makes perfect sense, at first I probably won't have too many apps/games and a 128gb Ssd actually sounds like a plan, and I'll hold off on the big storage drive until necessary. (it should be able to add later yes?)
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April 20, 2012 4:53:28 PM

If you plan on using Intel SRT, the storage drive (HDD) is required now while the SSD can be added later. If you plan on using the SSD as a boot drive, the SSD is required now while the HDD can be added later.

Or.... you can take a risk and go to some trouble...

Install OS/Apps on storage HDD drive now and migrate them over to an SSD when you buy an SSD in the future but I wouldn't reccomend this as its a pain in the ass and things can go wrong.

If its convenient to buy the SSD now, and an HDD later by all means use the SSD as a boot drive and forget about Intel SRT. Personally I've never used Intel SRT; however, I have heard good things about it. Using the SSD as a boot drive WILL give you slightly better performance while Intel SRT may *slightly* improve the longevity of the SSD, I wouldn't worry too much about whether you use SRT or not. Do whats most convenient and what you are comfortable with. At least with a 120GB SSD you have both options available while with a 64GB SSD you will be more restricted.

When it comes to choosing the SSD do some investigation to get a reliable drive. I have heard both positive and negative stories about SSD's. Of course the performance is always amazing... but I have heard of issues regarding life span with some SSD's. I don't have enough experience to recommend a specific brand or model.

Also you might notice some SSD's come in 60, 120, 240 GB sizes while others are in 64, 128, 256 GB sizes...

Physically a 60GB SSD ships with the same amount of flash as a 64GB SSD... In the case of the 60GB SSD 4 GB are disabled and used as redundant flash so that as some of the flash burns out and becomes unusable this redundant space can take over thus extending the life of the drive (and providing the expected lifespan they advertise)..... In the case of 64GB SSD, a higher quality flash is used making the need for the redundant flash unnecessary since the expected life of this higher quality flash meets the advertised lengths without the need for the redundant memory.

Which flash is better...? I don't know. I wouldn't really worry about +-4GB etc. but I would worry about lifespan, reliability, performance and cost.

In other words if you have decided on a ~120GB SSD, I would compare 128GB SSD's as though they were the same capacity and would rather look at the other attributes to make a decision. Yes if you choose the 128GB you get an extra 8GB, but how does this SSD compare in the other attributes which I value more than that minor 8GB difference in capacity.
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April 20, 2012 5:28:18 PM

geogolem said:
Yup, the mobo you chose should be compatible with that GPU but will only operate at PCI-express 3.0 speeds with the Ivy Bridge CPU.

Just need to point something out here. There will be literally no difference in your video card's performance between PCIe 3.0 and PCIe 2.1. The only difference in the various revisions are available bandwidth, and we still don't have cards that max out PCIe 2.1. Even the 6990 only uses about 55%-60% of the available bandwidth in 2.1.

I'm not talking about a difference so small you can't notice it, I mean there is exactly zero performance benefit for PCIe 3.0 over 2.1. Single GPU cards have just now, in the last several months, become fast enough that PCIe 1.0 isn't enough. It will be another two to three years at least before there is any benefit to PCIe 3.0 outside SLI/Crossfire with the highest end dual-GPU cards.

The real benefit of 3.0 is in SLI/Crossfire when you have to split your available lanes and end up with x8 lanes. The 6990, 7970, 590 and 680 will all be bottlenecked by an x8 PCIe 2.1 interface, though not by much. Under PCIe 3.0, however, x8 is more than enough bandwidth to get their full performance.

It's like speed limits on the highway. If you car can go 100 mph and the speed limit is 70 mph, you get slowed down. If your car can go 100 mph and the speed limit is 2000 mph, however, your car doesn't suddenly start going 2000 mph just because it's allowed to.
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April 20, 2012 5:34:27 PM

^^^Yes, I mostly agree.... I wouldn't reccomend a PCI-express 2.1 card though as often there are issues when using this in a non 2.1 slot. 3.0 and 2.0 are at least interchangable on a functional level and like you say will not affect performance of most cards on the market today. 2.1 on the other hand has incompatibiltiies with 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 although some of those might be addessed with firmware/bios updates or something...

I only really mentioned it for awareness and thought about describing the details as you have but was too lazy because the OP already said he was going to wait for IB CPU's so it shouldn't really matter... He also plans on buying the 7950 which is 3.0 card.. so all should be well.

Perhaps if he adds another 7950 in xFire config in the future PCI-Express 3.0 may offer some benefits. I don't know. Either way it seems to be just working out for him..

It makes his system slightly more "future-proof" if that really means anything.
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April 20, 2012 6:09:07 PM

geogolem said:
^^^Yes, I mostly agree.... I wouldn't reccomend a PCI-express 2.1 card though as often there are issues when using this in a non 2.1 slot.

That is incorrect. The only issues are with PCIe 2.1 cards going into 1.0/1.1/2.0 boards, and these are very, very rare (and only occur in low end cards). The issue arises because PCIe 2.1 increased the available power through the slot, allowing cards to use more power without external power connectors. If you have one of these cards that is making use of all of the PCIe 2.1 slot power, and has no external connectors, you'll have a problem in older boards because the card can't power itself fully. In all other cases, your card will work just fine.

Quote:
3.0 and 2.0 are at least interchangable on a functional level and like you say will not affect performance of most cards on the market today. 2.1 on the other hand has incompatibiltiies with 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 although some of those might be addessed with firmware/bios updates or something...

Incorrect. There are no issues with 2.1 cards going into 3.0 slots, or vice versa. I've even got a 2.1 card in a 1.0 slot on my mobo, and it works just fine because it draws its power primarily from a pair of 6 pin connectors, rather than the slot.

In the overwhelming majority of cases, any PCIe card will work in any PCIe slot. The exceptions are so incredibly rare as to be not worth mentioning, as it simply confuses people who are already overwhelmed by the plethora of numbers they need to compare when making a decision.

In case you're interested, here's a brief history of PCI express. There's more info on the Wikipedia article, but it really glosses over everything and doesn't go into much more detail than I have here.

PCIe 1.1 was just a clarification to the standard and under the hood improvements that are invisible to hardware.

PCIe 2.0 doubled the available bandwidth and made further changes under the hood that are invisible to hardware, specifically to point to point data transfer.

PCIe 2.1 added some of the management/debugging features that were planned for 3.0, and increased power through the slot. Compatibility issues with power use rarely arise with PCIe 1.0/1.1 motherboards and low end 2.1 cards.

PCIe 3.0 doubled available bandwidth again, even though you'll see PCIe 2.0/2.1 list 5 GT/s bandwidth, and PCIe 3.0 at 8.0 GT/s. The effective bandwidth is doubled by reducing overhead from 20% to almost nothing by using a more sophisticated signaling method. Numerous changes to the standard were also made (and I haven't read closely enough to speak about), though the PCIe SIG claims full backward compatibility with all previous revisions.
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April 20, 2012 6:31:11 PM

I don't necessarily think anything I said was incorrect. Officially PCI Express 2.1 breaks compatibility while PCI-Express 3.0 retained backwards compatibility with 2.0. The reason for the break in compatibility is exactly for the increase in power you describe. Since then firmware/bios updates have been released for specific mobos that will re-instate this compatibility.

Please refer to the following wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCI_Express

PCI Express 2.1
PCI Express 2.1 supports a large proportion of the management, support, and troubleshooting systems planned for full implementation in PCI Express 3.0. However, the speed is the same as PCI Express 2.0. Unfortunately, the increase in power from the slot breaks backwards-compatibility between PCI Express 2.1 cards and some older motherboards.[citation needed] Most motherboards sold currently come with PCI Express 2.0 connectors.

Officially 2.1 broke compatibility with the other PCI-Express standards although in many cases it is possible to make it work. I'm guessing we're both sort of right and most of the incompatibilities have since been resolved.

Anyway a good history lesson on PCI-Express...

Another reason I wouldn't recommend 2.1 cards is unrelated to 2.1 in general.. I prefer nvidia and the 2.1 cards were only released by AMD. Personally I would rather spend more on a lower performing nvidia card than spend less on a higher performing AMD card... Thats just me.. I dont like AMD graphics. I know, that apparently AMD has offered better price/performance recently but that doesn't budge me, I always go nvidia!(based on my past experience). Having said that, don't let me stop you from going AMD ;)  and I'm not necessarily disagreeing with anything Willard is saying.

[EDIT] after having done a little more research it appears 2.1 cards will work in 3.0 slots and most of the problems were only with 2.0 or older slots but even most of those issues have been resolved. I still wouldn't reccomend a PCI-Express 2.1 card for the many reasons you can gather from this post but I stand corrected... apparently as Willard has pointed out there are less compatibility issues than I previously thought.
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April 20, 2012 6:47:09 PM

I just wanted to get my two cents in on your hard drive choices. If you plan on using an ssd for your boot drive get it first, migrating your OS from a HDD is just a pain in the butt and last time I did it I ended up just installing from scratch. With the SSD, save yourself the trouble and get the 120. I made the mistake of the 60 and ended up upgrading not too long after for space filling up. On top of that I prefer to keep my boot drive at half space or less for optimal performance. And as another user said, you will see performance boost going from majority of 60g to 120g or bigger.
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April 20, 2012 7:12:32 PM

Ya I think im gonna get the samsung 128gb sounds like my best option thanks for the input!!!
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a b 4 Gaming
April 20, 2012 7:35:57 PM

This topic has been moved from the section CPU & Components to section Systems by Mousemonkey
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