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First Build (Gaming PC)

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May 26, 2012 9:06:08 PM

I've never put together a computer from scratch, so I've been spending lot of time checking reviews and looking at benchmarks, reading guides and articles covering what I need to know. I tried to put together a solid, balanced gaming PC that will be both great for gaming and also relatively quiet.

I want to be able to play games smoothly on High/Ultra settings, without needing to overclock in the next year or two. I plan light-medium overclocking in the future.

I would greatly appreciate feedback on my build from those who are more knowledgeable than I am. I posted a couple of days ago and received great feedback and guidance that helped me get to where I am now.

Approximate Purchase Date: In 1-2 weeks.

Budget Range: Irrelevant, since where I live hardware is significantly more expensive. I'm leaving out the "country" and "preferred website" sections for the same reason.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, surfing the Internet, light photoshopping.

Parts Not Required: Monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers.

Overclocking: Yes, in the future.

SLI or Crossfire: No.

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

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Processor:
Intel Core i5-3570K Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000 BX80637I53570K

CPU Cooler:
Noctua NH-D14 120mm & 140mm SSO CPU Cooler

Motherboard:
ASUS P8Z77-V PRO LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

Graphics Card:
Gigabyte GTX 670 Windforce 3X 2GB GDDR5 Dual DVI HDMI DisplayPort PCI-E Graphics Card

RAM: CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Profile Desktop Memory Model CML8GX3M2A1600C9

SSD: Intel 520 Series Cherryville SSDSC2CW120A3K5 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD3200AAKX 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

Power Supply:
SeaSonic X660 (SS-660KM) 660W ATX12V V2.3/EPS 12V V2.91, 80Plus Gold Certified, Active PFC Power Supply

Computer Chassis:
The black version of: Fractal Design Define R3 Arctic White w/ USB 3.0 ATX Mid Tower Silent PC Computer Case

Will this build allow me to play most recent games (D3, Skyrim, etc) smoothly? Are the components relatively quiet? The PC is going in my bedroom.

More about : build gaming

May 26, 2012 9:17:18 PM

Everything looks good to me. I'd probably swap the Intel SSD with the Crucial M4. That should be able to play all games at ultra I'd guess.
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May 26, 2012 9:29:49 PM

elayman said:
Everything looks good to me. I'd probably swap the Intel SSD with the Crucial M4. That should be able to play all games at ultra I'd guess.


I wouldn't say that the M4 is necessarily better than the 520, they should perform about the same, but the M4 will almost certainly be cheaper. The best reason for updating to an SSD is the low seek times and high 4K read/write times, although if all you've ever used is a traditional HDD then any SSD will be blazing fast.

To Stormborn, that build will be able to handle pretty much anything on any settings you feel like using.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/598

There is almost nothing that can outdo a GTX 670 right now, especially not when paired to a 3570K.
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Related resources
May 26, 2012 10:02:56 PM

Stormborn said:
I tried to put together a solid, balanced gaming PC that will be both great for gaming and also relativley quiet.


Great picks by you;

Processor: i5 3570k
Graphics Card: GTX 570
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 8GB [2x4GB]
HDD: WD Blue 320GB
SSD: Intel 520 120GB


Changes I recommend:

Motherboard: ASRock P67 EXTREME4 GEN3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Reason: When I pick any hardware in general, hardware track record is generally extremely important to me. Not only does this motherboard have great specifications to suit your needs, it also has a rock solid track record. As a added bonus, it's $50 cheaper than the one you picked.

Aftermarket Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212+ OR 212+ EVO [The 212+ is $3 cheaper before a $10 rebate, both will perform similar]
[Hyper 212+] http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
[Hyper 212+ EVO] http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Reason: The newer generation of Intel processors has a 28NM die which uses even LESS power - a whopping 77w. There really is no need for something as extreme as a $80 Noctua cooler. The 212+ EVO is based off the 212+ which has a absolute rock solid track record for silent performance cooling.


Case: Antec P280 [Designed for quiet computing without sacrificing airflow]
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Reason: I noticed that your going for a silent/quiet computers and the Antec P280 will deliver! This case was made for quiet computing without sacrificing airflow or asthetics. Sure, the Fractical Design may look slick but the P280 has a very sophisticated look w/ the finished aluminum front panel. There is a "one" step for removing a washable dust filter behind the front panel, which is absolutely brilliant!
There is a video review of this case by Linus which you should take look at [Link below].
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIwvek4tDf8

Power Supply: Corsair 650w Enthusiast Series [$89.99 + Free Shipping + $10 Rebate]
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Reason: Corsair has been known for their quality power supplies [enthusiast series], their track record is absolutely legendary [as Antec w/ their Cases]

In conclusion, this wraps up the recommendations. Yes, this rig will be able to run all the games you mentioned at 1920 x 1080 Resolutions at max or near max settings without a hitch.

~Coffee

Quick Edit: I can personally vouch for the Antec P280 Case, Cooler Master Hyper 212+ Cooler and Corsair Power supply because I am using them right now.
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May 26, 2012 10:03:40 PM

elayman & claysm:

Thanks for your input. I appreciate it.
If the Crucial M4 is cheaper then I'll definitely go for it, if both perform about the same. I could put that money into buying a better keyboard or mouse.

Is the M4 as reliable as the 520?
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May 26, 2012 10:15:14 PM

coffeecoffee:

Wow, so much useful information! Thank you!

ASRock motherboards as quite difficult to find here, so I don't think that's an option for me. I'll look out for it, regardless.

It gets pretty hot here during the summer, most days the temperature is over 33C and quite humid. Do you think the Cooler Master Hyper 212+ will be able to handle that well, and be as quiet as the Noctua?

I was actually considering the Antec P280, along with the Silverstone Fortress FT03 ATX Case. I can tell the P280 is a great chassis, but I'm not a fan of the aesthetics. I'm still not sold on either cases. I'll do some more research and choose one of the three, as they all seem like good choices to me. I don't mind sacrificing better aesthetics (though it's all subjective) for a more quiet case with better airflow, if the difference is significant.

Sadly the store I'll be purchasing the parts from doesn't have Corsair PSUs. The options are: Antec, Seasonic, Thermaltake and Zalman. I figured Seasonic was the most reliable of the above. I'm open to suggestions though...
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a b 4 Gaming
May 26, 2012 10:51:21 PM

Antec and Seasonic are the ones you should choose. If you can, get the 550W EA.
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May 26, 2012 11:02:30 PM

From checking the reviews on the Antec earthwatts EA500 500W on Newegg, it seems that this PSU doesn't work well with a UPS - which I intend to use. Is there a different Antec PSU you would recommend? or a Seasonic for all that matters...
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a b 4 Gaming
May 26, 2012 11:07:27 PM

Reviews on newegg are just noobs. They complain for one part that turns out bad. It has nothing to do with the UPS you use.
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May 26, 2012 11:20:28 PM


Stormborn said:
It gets pretty hot here during the summer, most days the temperature is over 33C and quite humid. Do you think the Cooler Master Hyper 212+ will be able to handle that well, and be as quiet as the Noctua?


Yes, it will definitely get the job done, but it will be slightly more noisy than a Noctua, but again.. that's why you have the Antec P280 case for. It's lined with a special noise dampening material; so in practice, the noise difference between a Noctua and the Hyper 212+ is nearly unoticeable to the human ear.

Stormborn said:
From checking the reviews on the Antec earthwatts EA500 500W on Newegg, it seems that this PSU doesn't work well with a UPS - which I intend to use. Is there a different Antec PSU you would recommend? or a Seasonic for all that matters...


Your best bet at this point would be a Seasonic PSU. The one you linked in your original post is out of stock and it doesn't have enough reviews to make it a solid buy.
You should take a look at this one.

SeaSonic M12II
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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May 26, 2012 11:35:51 PM

azeem40:

Haha, alright. I'm pretty new to this so I'm not an expert on which site's reviews are trustworthy. Thanks for the input.

coffeecoffee:

That one looks perfect! Much cheaper than the PSU I was thinking of using.
Since it's modular I should expect it to be pretty quiet as well, is that right?

Edit: The Fractal Design Define R3 also has noise dampening material, so I suppose it'll get the job done as well. Take a look at this review: http://www.anandtech.com/show/5090/antec-p280-when-enth...

It seems that there's only a minor difference between the Fractal Design R3 and the Antec P280, with the P280 being slightly better. Definitely something to consider. I think I could go with the Hyper 212+ and the R3/P280.
I wish the P280's front panel was less shiny.
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May 26, 2012 11:54:13 PM

The Seasonic PSU is partially Modular meaning...there are extra connectors you can use if you wish - they include extra connection wires for 4pin molex, PCI-e, etc. In other words, you'll have less intestinal wires hanging about in your case.... which again isn't really a issue.... *cough* P280 *cough* :p PP sorry I'm biased on this b/c I have the P280 myself.. and.. it's just brilliant at keeping noise at bay. ^_^;;

Well... the P280 has a "one-step" removable dust filter..... >_> who wants to spend 2 minutes removing a dust filter when you can do it in 2 seconds? This is by no means an exzageration either. Btw, the P280's front panel isn't as shiny as they made in out to be in the Review.... I mean.. IT is brushed aluminum.



~Coffee
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May 27, 2012 12:44:42 AM

Oh that's great. Less wires hanging about is always a good thing.

I'll check if these cases can be seen on display somewhere, so I have a better idea of what they look like in person. Not just the aesthetics but the size as well. Both the P280 and R3 are great options, so I can't *really* make a wrong choice.

Thank you all for your help! Your suggestions (coffeecoffee, claysm, elayman) will save me around 150$, which is A LOT of money!

Take a look at the updated build:

Processor:
Intel Core i5-3570K Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000 BX80637I53570K

CPU Cooler:
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO

Motherboard:
ASUS P8Z77-V PRO LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

Graphics Card:
Gigabyte GTX 670 Windforce 3X 2GB GDDR5 Dual DVI HDMI DisplayPort PCI-E Graphics Card

RAM: CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Profile Desktop Memory Model CML8GX3M2A1600C9

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

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD3200AAKX 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

Power Supply:
SeaSonic M12II 620 Bronze 620W ATX12V V2.3 / EPS 12V V2.91 SLI Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

Computer Chassis:
The black version of: Fractal Design Define R3 Arctic White w/ USB 3.0 ATX Mid Tower Silent PC Computer Case
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May 27, 2012 1:15:11 AM

^ looks good!
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May 27, 2012 1:20:37 AM

elayman said:
^ looks good!


Thanks! I didn't realize how much cheaper the M4 is compared to the 520. The 520 actually costs about 80$ more here, which is crazy.
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May 27, 2012 5:06:02 AM

Glad you saved some dough! Feel free to select the best answer when you've decided.
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a b 4 Gaming
May 27, 2012 5:13:29 AM

Stormborn said:
elayman & claysm:

Thanks for your input. I appreciate it.
If the Crucial M4 is cheaper then I'll definitely go for it, if both preform about the same. I could put that money into buying a better keyboard or mouse.

Is the M4 as reliable as the 520?


No, nothing is as reliable as the intel drives. They get that by skimming the cream off of Micron's flash memory batches. Reliability is the primary reason to buy an intel drive. However the m4 is considerably faster.

The closest drives to intel for reliability would *probably* be sandisk's. I say probably, because they're the only company that's been making enterprise level ssd's longer than intel, and they're also the only ssd manufacturer that makes their own flash memory.

I expect their consumer drives to be highly reliable, though they only recently started making consumer level drives. Their "extreme" drive is even faster than the m4 (uses toggle nand instead of synchronous).

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

The drive goes on sale for $120 from time to time. The m4 also occasionally pops up for $100.

have fun!
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May 27, 2012 9:25:13 AM

quilciri:

Thanks for the information! I appreciate it. Reliability is important to me, but is it really worth the extra 80$ I'd be paying for the Intel SSD? I'm trying to go for good balance of cost-benefit. Sandisk wouldn't be a good option here - they're even more expensive than Intel where I live, for some reason.

It'd be great to hear from people who have experience with either the Intel 520 series or the Cruical M4. If I'll be paying 80$ more for reliability only, I'd like to make sure it's worth it.
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May 27, 2012 3:14:10 PM

I've never heard anyone complain about the M4. I put one in two of my friends rigs with no issues so far - one had to update BIOS to fix some comparability issue though - but I think that's for any SSD.
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May 27, 2012 4:54:06 PM

Stormborn said:
quilciri:

Thanks for the information! I appreciate it. Reliability is important to me, but is it really worth the extra 80$ I'd be paying for the Intel SSD? I'm trying to go for good balance of cost-benefit. Sandisk wouldn't be a good option here - they're even more expensive than Intel where I live, for some reason.

It'd be great to hear from people who have experience with either the Intel 520 series or the Cruical M4. If I'll be paying 80$ more for reliability only, I'd like to make sure it's worth it.


As far as SSD durability and reliability goes, Intel definitely takes the crown. However, a Crucial M4 will do the job just fine. For the $80 between the two, I would take the crucial M4 anyday because I would rather put that $80 into other hardware; since it's extremely unlikely for a Crucial M4 SSD to fail.

~Coffee
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May 27, 2012 6:29:17 PM

elayman & coffeecoffee:

That's good to hear, thank you for the input. I believe those 80$ will do me more good when invested in something else. I'll go with the M4.
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a b 4 Gaming
May 28, 2012 3:31:34 AM

Stormborn said:
quilciri:

Thanks for the information! I appreciate it. Reliability is important to me, but is it really worth the extra 80$ I'd be paying for the Intel SSD? I'm trying to go for good balance of cost-benefit. Sandisk wouldn't be a good option here - they're even more expensive than Intel where I live, for some reason.

It'd be great to hear from people who have experience with either the Intel 520 series or the Cruical M4. If I'll be paying 80$ more for reliability only, I'd like to make sure it's worth it.


The extra reliability isn't really worth the speed sacrifice and extra cost for a gaming machine. Intel's consumer drives seem to be more used as entry level enterprise drives.

The M4 was a great drive in it's day, and enjoys continued sales on that reputation, but ssd tech is moving fast right now. The overall fastest enthusiast drives right now would be toggle NAND, sandforce based.

I know I'm leaving some out, but here's a few (besides the sandisk):

Samsung 830 SSD
Mushkin Chronos Deluxe
Patriot WildFire
OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS
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a b 4 Gaming
May 28, 2012 6:30:21 AM

Vertex 3 has many driver issues. I do not recommend it. Get the Vertex 4.
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May 28, 2012 8:06:00 AM

quilciri said:

Samsung 830 SSD
Mushkin Chronos Deluxe
Patriot WildFire
OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS


Thanks for your suggestions. Both Samsug and Mushkin aren't available. The other two are, but I know absolutely nothing about their manufacturers.

Would you recommend the Corsair Force Series GT?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Is the difference in performance between the M4 and one of the SSDs above something that I would notice? I figure it has to be, since here the difference in price is about 100$.
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a b 4 Gaming
May 29, 2012 1:41:30 AM

The performance increase isn't worth $100. If that's how much more you need to pay for a toggle drive, just get the m4 or a similarly priced synchronous NAND drive.

I don't know why the price difference is so great where you are. In the U.S. the price difference between toggle and synchronous drives is negligible.

Azeem, I think you meant to say the vertex 3 has had issues with the integrated marvell controllers on some motherboards, which has been fixed in firmware for a while now.

I don't recommend the vertex 4, however. Thanks in part to the Indilinx controller OCZ swapped to instead of using sandforce, the vertex 4 is slower than the max iops vertex 3. Being new, it also commands a price premium over other drives.
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May 29, 2012 1:58:49 AM

Just an interesting thought on the power supplies, Corsair buys its power supplies from SeaSonic, so they are actually extremely similar.
In terms of the SSD choice, the Intel is definitely one of the most reliable, while the M4 is cheaper. So whichever is more important to you.
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a b 4 Gaming
May 29, 2012 2:50:46 AM

Vertex 3 is Sandforce-based..
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May 29, 2012 8:06:52 AM

Thanks for your replies, everyone. I appreciate it.

quilciri:

I'm honestly not sure why the price difference is this big. Maybe they don't import as many toggle drives and so in order to make a profit they need to sell them more expensively. The hardware market isn't competitive here, which is also a factor. They'll sell it at whatever price people are willing to pay.

I'll stick with the M4. I've never used an SSD before so I don't think I would notice the small difference between it and the Intel 520. Reliability is important, but with the 100$ difference I could probably just buy a new reliable SSD in 3 years when the warranty on the M4 expires.

claysm:

If I happen to come across a Corsair PSU, I'll look into it!
I'm going with Seasonic since it's the most reliable company available for me at the moment.
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!