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Putting together a custom PC for the first time ever

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May 27, 2012 4:32:27 PM

Hey guys, just a little background - I've been using computers for years and I've usually been buying pre-built stuff from branded manufacturers like Dell and recently Apple. However lately I've been scouting around for newer computers and I realized that for the price I'm paying these big brands, I could totally put together something much better for myself!

I think about 10 years ago, I went to my local computer shop and asked them to put together a computer for me. I chose the basic parts like processor, GPU, storage options and etc, but I'm not sure why but that comp kept failing on me, so safe to say I'm a bit apprehensive at trying to put together a PC by myself. Anyway I've spoken to some friends and I've scouted websites for information and have come up with a list, so maybe you guys can tell me what's good/bad and if I might run into any compatibility issues down the line. Thanks!

Budget: ~AUD2,000 (since I'm based in Australia)
Preferred parts website: I source from various Australian retailers such as MSY, Scorptech and PC Case Gear, so usually I try to keep an eye out for components which are similar but comes with a cheaper price tag.

Casing: Antec DF-30
Motherboard: G-B Z77MX-D3H
CPU: Intel Core i5-3550
CPU cooling: Corsair CWCH H40
RAM: Corsair Vengeance CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9R 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3
Storage: 1TB Western Digital Caviar Black SATA III
GPU: ASUS 2GB Radeon 7870 $395

PSU: Corsair TX650
Optical drive: LG DVD R/W
Monitor: 27” Samsung S27B350H
Sound card: ASUS Xonar Essence STX
Software: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

The goal of this PC is to be a decent gaming build along with good sound for movie watching, music listening and a bit of light recording. The thing is that friends have told me not to cheap out on components like the motherboard, but I'm not sure what a "cheap" motherboard is and what a good one would be like. Also power consumption is also key since I don't want my PC randomly shutting itself off due to insufficient power. There's also the issue of overheating which I've had bad experiences before when it comes to laptops, which is why I chose that particular case and RAM since they seem to be sufficient enough for cooling..or so I hope!

Any suggestions or recommendations or corrects are more than welcome! Thanks in advance =)

More about : putting custom time

May 27, 2012 4:45:59 PM


1: why not get a k chip. it isnt that hard to overclock. most boards have easy guides to oc
2: for about the same price, a asrock extreme4 is a better choice for a board
3: a cooler master hyper 212 evo is much better than the h40 or h60 and is much cheaper
4: mushkin blackline or crucial ballistix sport is a cheaper alternative to corsair ram. the ram i suggested is also low profile to fit under heatsiks
5: seagate's barracuda 1tb hard drive with 64mb of cache is cheaper and is just as fast as the black drive if not faster
6: a better video card is a gtx 670. it will max out any game out there right now on a 1080p monitor. a good card is the asus directcu2 or the gigabyte windforce editions.
7: the psu you have is good. i recommend getting a ocz zt550-650w psu though because they are fully modular(= easier cabling) and that they are cheaper. get the 550w if you are planning to just run one card. get the 650w if you ever plan to get 2 670s and run SLI
8: why are you getting such a large montor at 1080p get something like a asus ve247h. they are smaller, much cheaper and have better pixel density(=clearer images)
May 27, 2012 4:50:44 PM

something else to talk about

1: if you are just watching movies why are you getting an audiophile class sound card. get something like a asus xonar dx
2: get a more basic case such as a antec one or a antec 302. they are cheaper and have the same build quality

Related resources
May 27, 2012 4:54:39 PM

I wouldn't get a micro ATX motherboard like you selected - it loses the ability to expand in the future, and you're going with a larger case, you don't need it.

Stick with something like this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Also, I'd drop the liquid CPU cooler - they aren't really any better than the air coolers, and they cost more, and more likely to fail. Are you planning on overclocking? If not, drop the cooler altogether, otherwise you can get either of these (but then you should get the 3570k for overclockability):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'd recommend you stick with some low profile ram since the heatsinks don't really do anything but cause issues with fitting aftermarket cpu coolers: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You shouldn't need a Sound card - the motherboard's onboard audio should be sufficient

Also, I think the 7950 is slightly better than the 7870 for not a whole lot more dough, may as well upgrade that since I've saved you a bit on the cpu cooler and sound card.

Best solution

May 27, 2012 5:03:55 PM
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http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... $105.00
CoolerMaster HAF 912 Advanced

http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... $129.00
Silverstone Strider Plus 750W ST75F-P 80 PLUS Silver 100% modular

http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... $165.00
ASRock Z77 Extreme4 Motherboard

http://www.vortez.net/articles_pages/asrock_z77_extreme... <----- review of that board with benchmarks

http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?Model=Z77%20Extre... <----- another look at that board along with a link to the most recent bios update

http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... $245.00
Intel Core i5 3570K

http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... $39.00
CoolerMaster Hyper 212 EVO CPU Cooler

http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... $65.00
G.Skill Ares F3-1600C9D-8GAO 8GB (2x4GB)

http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... $22.00
LG GH24NS90 24x SATA DVD-RW Drive OEM

http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... $99.00
Seagate Barracuda 1TB ST1000DM003

http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... $129.00
SanDisk Extreme Solid State Drive 120GB

http://kb.sandisk.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/10476/kw/... <----- recent firmware update for that Sandisk SSD

http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... $499.00
EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB

http://www.anandtech.com/show/5818/nvidia-geforce-gtx-6... <----- gtx 670 review with benchmarks

http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... $99.00
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit with SP1 OEM

Total: $1,596.00 AUD inc. GST *not including shipping
May 27, 2012 5:11:22 PM

TheBigTroll said:
1: why not get a k chip. it isnt that hard to overclock. most boards have easy guides to oc
2: for about the same price, a asrock extreme4 is a better choice for a board
3: a cooler master hyper 212 evo is much better than the h40 or h60 and is much cheaper
4: mushkin blackline or crucial ballistix sport is a cheaper alternative to corsair ram. the ram i suggested is also low profile to fit under heatsiks
5: seagate's barracuda 1tb hard drive with 64mb of cache is cheaper and is just as fast as the black drive if not faster
6: a better video card is a gtx 670. it will max out any game out there right now on a 1080p monitor. a good card is the asus directcu2 or the gigabyte windforce editions.
7: the psu you have is good. i recommend getting a ocz zt550-650w psu though because they are fully modular(= easier cabling) and that they are cheaper. get the 550w if you are planning to just run one card. get the 650w if you ever plan to get 2 670s and run SLI
8: why are you getting such a large montor at 1080p get something like a asus ve247h. they are smaller, much cheaper and have better pixel density(=clearer images)


Thanks for the reply!

1. Not planning on doing any overclocking so I didn't see the need for a 'k' chip
2. Yea I realize I probably shouldn't have gone with the mini atx mobo, but what makes the asrock "better"?
3. Thanks for the tip on the RAM!
8. True I agree with you on the pixel density, but theres just something about a 27" monitor that makes everything look so much more epic, heh.

As to the sound card, well I've always been really fussy about sound and I plan to get some high quality speakers eventually, so I would like a sound card that can match it, but it's not really a necessity but thanks for the alternatives, I'll take a look at them.
May 27, 2012 5:14:05 PM

You can always get a soundcard later down the road if you are unsatisfied with the sound quality. They put pretty good hardware on the motherboards these days :) 
May 27, 2012 5:14:57 PM

elayman said:
I wouldn't get a micro ATX motherboard like you selected - it loses the ability to expand in the future, and you're going with a larger case, you don't need it.

Stick with something like this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Also, I'd drop the liquid CPU cooler - they aren't really any better than the air coolers, and they cost more, and more likely to fail. Are you planning on overclocking? If not, drop the cooler altogether, otherwise you can get either of these (but then you should get the 3570k for overclockability):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'd recommend you stick with some low profile ram since the heatsinks don't really do anything but cause issues with fitting aftermarket cpu coolers: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You shouldn't need a Sound card - the motherboard's onboard audio should be sufficient

Also, I think the 7950 is slightly better than the 7870 for not a whole lot more dough, may as well upgrade that since I've saved you a bit on the cpu cooler and sound card.


Cheers! I was a bit worried about heat that's why I went with liquid cooling. The last thing I want is to burn out my processor and have to buy a new one. Anyway the general consensus here seems to be that fan cooling for CPU should do the trick, so I'll definitely be taking a look at that. Thanks for the tips!
May 27, 2012 5:16:15 PM

You won't burn out your CPU on the stock heatsink/fan if you aren't overclocking. Why waste the money on the aftermarket one? They are slightly quieter, so I guess that's a good reason though :) 
May 27, 2012 5:57:38 PM

By the way the price difference between the GTX 670 and the Radeon 7870 is about AUD130, so there's a huge discrepancy lol. Since I don't really play games that require a huge boost in graphics (i.e. Diablo 3, SC2, and WoW), what do you guys think about the GTX 570? I see in the Toms Hardware reviews that it doesn't trail the 7870 too far behind.
May 27, 2012 5:58:40 PM

Why_Me said:
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... $105.00
CoolerMaster HAF 912 Advanced

http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... $129.00
Silverstone Strider Plus 750W ST75F-P 80 PLUS Silver 100% modular

http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... $165.00
ASRock Z77 Extreme4 Motherboard

http://www.vortez.net/articles_pages/asrock_z77_extreme... <----- review of that board with benchmarks

http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?Model=Z77%20Extre... <----- another look at that board along with a link to the most recent bios update

http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... $245.00
Intel Core i5 3570K

http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... $39.00
CoolerMaster Hyper 212 EVO CPU Cooler

http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... $65.00
G.Skill Ares F3-1600C9D-8GAO 8GB (2x4GB)

http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... $22.00
LG GH24NS90 24x SATA DVD-RW Drive OEM

http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... $99.00
Seagate Barracuda 1TB ST1000DM003

http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... $129.00
SanDisk Extreme Solid State Drive 120GB

http://kb.sandisk.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/10476/kw/... <----- recent firmware update for that Sandisk SSD

http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... $499.00
EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB

http://www.anandtech.com/show/5818/nvidia-geforce-gtx-6... <----- gtx 670 review with benchmarks

http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i... $99.00
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit with SP1 OEM

Total: $1,596.00 AUD inc. GST *not including shipping


Thanks for the links ;)  Yea I saw the $99 Win 7 OEM but I'm not sure if I would be qualified to purchase it? Seems like there are some restrictions to it according to the page.
May 27, 2012 6:01:20 PM

^ it just means you a building the computer yourself - I don't think it comes with microsoft support or something - which isn't any good anyway
May 27, 2012 6:12:27 PM

xen0s said:
Thanks for the links ;)  Yea I saw the $99 Win 7 OEM but I'm not sure if I would be qualified to purchase it? Seems like there are some restrictions to it according to the page.

It's a fear tactic MS uses to try and get people to pay for the full retail version. MS should just be happy their getting $100 for it and not getting it jacked off the net for free. You won't have any problems purchasing and using the OEM version.
May 27, 2012 11:57:08 PM

Quote:
WHAAAT?? The GTX 670 sell for 400-420$ in newegg and the 7870 for up to 370$ i tough the price diference was smaller because i saw a 7870 for 396$

well those price are coming down in a few weeks when the GTX 6xx cards go back in stock :??: 


hes in austrailia -_-
May 28, 2012 12:46:42 AM

Quote:
i know but its still shocking to see such a high price diference

A lot of it depends on the market value of the Australian dollar. It's like comparing peso's to yen.
May 28, 2012 6:52:06 AM

Thanks for all the help guys! Seems like I was fairly off in terms of my hardware choices haha, but we all gotta learn! Anyway I'll be putting together my PC soon and I'll be back to let you guys know how it went =)
May 28, 2012 6:52:26 AM

Best answer selected by xen0s.
!