First Homebuilt, Need Second Opinions


First time poster and first time building a computer. All of this is purely theoretical now since I don't plan on buying components until I know what I have is decent enough and until I have the funds.

I'm planning on building a home PC for general office use and some gaming (SWTOR for now and maybe others later). I've looked around on NewEgg and I went over to Fry's Electronics and the rep there gave me a quote with what he thought was a good setup. Here's what he gave me:

Processor: Intel Ci5-2450P 3.2 GHz 6MB L3 (I had originally set on the i5-3540 3.1GHz Ivy Bridge but the rep told me to avoid the IB's since they generate more heat than their predecessors)
Motherboard: MSI Z77-G45 S1155 4xDDR3 32GB max
Memory: 2 x Viper Xtreme Series 8GB DDR3 2133MHz Dual PA (I thought that 16GB would be overkill and was originally going to go with 8GB)
Power Supply: CM eXtreme Power 550W ATX 12V v2.3
Graphics: Asus GeForce GTX550 Ti OC (The GTX550 Ti was what I had set on originally)

I'm still hunting for a hard disk, SSD and case, but any advice on any of this would be helpful. I'm more concerned about performance and reliability than price, though I obviously don't want to pay a fortune :lol:

Thanks! :)
8 answers Last reply
More about first homebuilt opinions
  1. The choices aren't bad at all for a budget system. Its overkill for "general office use", which isn't a bad thing if you want some longevity out of it.

    The 550 TI factor Oc'd isn't bad, I'd classify it as towards the lower end of "mid grade" graphics cards, its perfectly adequate for SWTOR, although if you wanted to take up some heavier gaming like Battlefield 3, I'd consider going with a stronger card. (my working definition of upper end of mid-grade would include Radeon 6870s, 560 TIs, etc) You may even be able to find an older GTX 460 for the same price as a 550 TI, and they are stronger cards than 550s.

    SSDs I think are impractical for a "home, general office use" computer, I wouldn't go with one unless you were building a heavy gamer system at their current price per gigabyte.

    As far as cases, I would pick something nice and decent that can be used for future builds, a good case can last you a lifetime of builds if you want it to.

    I personally have one of these, kinda pricey, but well worth the premium in my opinion:

    Something in the cheaper range could be a HAF 912, they're pretty decent as well

    Hard Drives- Depends on your storage requirements. Its hard to go wrong with either Seagate or Western Digital
  2. Longevity is good, yes. The more I can get out of it and the longer it can go, the better (giggity).

    I honestly don't know what I'm going to be using this for since I just graduated from college last week and am still looking for a job. The obvious ones are office use, multimedia, and gaming (even though I'm primarily a console gamer nowadays). I may do some video editing later on and, depending on what kind of job I get, using 3D modeling software such as SolidWorks or Catia V5.

    I'd like to do some more PC gaming if only to just take full advantage of the hardware. SWTOR is what I have in mind for now but I have plenty of older games lying around I can try to put on and maybe try out newer games (perhaps Diablo III).

    As far as being "overkill," which components could I maybe downgrade to save some money and still get decent performance?
  3. If gaming will be a use you're going to have in the near future I wouldn't downgrade anything, and if you're going to be using video editing, theres not much I would trim in the CPU department.

    Intel has a pretty big price gap between their dual core CPUs and their quads, the next step down would be an i3 dual core, which wouldn't be as useful for the 3D modeling and whatnot. General office use I would take to mean microsoft word, browsing the web, etc, the i3 will do that for you, but the video editing, not so much.

    You could go with a Sandy Bridge i5-2400 for a little cheaper, the Ivy Bridge really doesn't offer an improvement over Sandy:

    And this motherboard may be a bit cheaper than the MSI board (although they look pretty close in price)
  4. Like many of their units, the Crappermaster "Extreme" is a piece of dung: that is inefficient and cannot deliver what's on its label.
    4GB of RAM is "enough," but 8GB may provide some future-resistance. 16GB is overkill; no need to think of that unless it's dirt cheap, then "why not?"
    The GTX550Ti is somewhat weak for many games, and on those for which it is strong enough, there are other choices that draw considerably less power. If you want something a little stronger, look at a HD6850.
  5. Hard drives: I'd go with one of Seagate, Western Digital or Hitachi. These are all reliable brands. I just bought a couple of hard drives earlier this week and I noticed that Western Digital carried only a 2 year warranty while Seagate has a 5 year warranty. Also don't give into buying a massive drive because it's cheap. Most people don't need all that much hard drive space. Evaluate your needs and get a drive that is at least 5 times larger than your bare minimum in space needs.

    Solid State Drive: way too expensive right now. Many computing geekery blogs including Lifehacker and Wired are predicting a price war soon, so watch the prices but don't jump in just yet.

    Case: a full tower will be the most upgrade friendly and best for airflow, though it will obviously be larger. If I were to buy a new case right now with my eye on the future, I would choose one with a side fan (over the processor), USB 3 ports on the front or top, bottom mount PSU (very common now), and at least 8 expansion slots on the back (crazily enough some only have 5-6). Consider if you need to buy an optical drive (most people still do) and/or a card reader which you can buy for a 3.5" front bay.

    Processor: I heard the same thing about Ivy Bridge, which is why I went with Sandy Bridge for the system I just built. Unless you're going to overclock, the stock cooler is just fine.

    Motherboard: Gigabyte is selling some motherboards to be specifically long lasting. You might want to take a look at one those.

    Memory: 4 GB is really all you need for a home office computer and moderate gaming. You're not going to see a whole lot of difference with 8. Though memory is cheap at the moment. If you're looking to cut pennies here and there, here's a good place to cut.

    Power supply units do tend to loose efficiency over time. Run your build and any possibly future upgrades through ThermalTake's PSU Calculator which you can set to account for aging hardware:

    Graphics: Good choice. AMD graphics cards are running much cheaper right now than an Intel card and they're also operating just a little cooler.
  6. 16GB is overkill if you are looking to shave some cost (unless you do get into heavy video work and you can always double down later).

    Your Fry's rep is misinformed about IB heat. If you don't plan to overclock, get a non-K IB and stick with the stock cooler.

    Agree with Nekulturny about getting a good case - makes all the difference in the world.
  7. I didn't see your comment on modeling. That changes everything. You are going to want a much better graphics card and at least the 8 GB RAM. Also the processor listed is the bare minimum for effective modeling.
  8. FrozenFlame22 said:
    I didn't see your comment on modeling. That changes everything. You are going to want a much better graphics card and at least the 8 GB RAM. Also the processor listed is the bare minimum for effective modeling.

    Like I said, I don't know if I'll be doing any modeling anytime soon since I don't have a job yet. If I need to upgrade later on, I will. That said, I had the Student Edition of SolidWorks on my laptop (Toshiba Satellite A665 with Intel i7 @ 1.6GHz) that as GeForce GT330m and it ran just fine. But I may go with the HD6850 instead of the GTX500 Ti if that's the case.
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