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Putting Together First Gaming Computer (Second Draft)

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June 26, 2012 8:19:30 PM

Original thread for first draft: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/351547-31-putting-gaming-computer

Thank you all for your feedback. It's been really useful to see where I've gone way overboard. :p 

Taking what everyone on here and other forums have said, I have adjusted my build accordingly and it can be seen on PCPartPicker.com:

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/aPzX

Explanations for my changes are as follows:

CPU: I took mastrom101's advice and bumped up my CPU.
Motherboard: I took cranked and mastrom101's advice and went with a less crazy motherboard.
Memory: I took cranked and mastrom101's advice and went with faster but less memory. I don't really want or need Windows 7 Professional to support 16 GB, and I won't be doing video editing frequently enough to justify 16 GB of memory.
Hard Drive: I went from 2 TB to 1 TB with better reviews. For the 2 TB hard drives, it seemed like there were a lot more issues in the reviews or less reviews overall than for 1 TB drives, I assume because they are newer and have some issues that have already been ironed out with the 1 TB drives. I also already have 500 GB and 640 GB external hard drives, so if 1 TB isn't lasting for me, I have some backup options (as well as just putting in another internal hard drive). I've been sitting on about 300 GB of space for OS, games, documents, and downloads for about two years, so I can live with a smaller internal drive.
SSD: I know the previous link I gave for the SSD had an absurd price, but that was because of an Amazon price error. It was previously $270 on Amazon when I first found it, and I've seen that other sites have it even cheaper.
Video Card: I took cranked and mastrom101's advice and bumped down to a GeForce GTX 670. I saw the comparisons on tomshardware.com charts, so that made a lot of sense.
Case: I went with a case that was a step up from what mastrom101 suggested since it had a few extra features and had a rebate that brought it to $10 more than the one linked in his post.
PSU: I took the advice of every single person who laid eyes on my build. :p  I reduced it to a 700W PSU since lowering other things in this build gave me an estimated wattage of 428W (and 559W if I SLI'ed another GTX 680 card). Would it be better to pay more and get the one kajabla suggested (I mainly picked this one out because of the better price and the focus on making it quiet, though that's not a big issue for me unless it sounds like a motorcycle under my desk)?

Just to clarify some other things in my build, I had wanted two monitors mainly for doing work on the computer (e.g. programming IDE or photo/editing software on one screen, browser for reading info on the other screen). All gaming would be done on one screen, and the other screen would be turned off or used to read something game-related while playing rather than alt-tabbing. I know the goofiness of two-monitor FPS'ing where you can't see the target, but I don't think I'd make too much use out of a three-monitor setup. :) 

Are there any other tweaks I should make for my build? I really appreciate everyone's help on this forum making this learning process a lot easier. :) 
June 26, 2012 8:35:06 PM

Any reason you're going with a Micro ATX board instead of a Full ATX?

The Antec 900 is not a very good case considering what it is up against. I would spend a little more money and get a Corsair Carbide 400/500r, a HAF XM, or a NZXT Phantom/Phantom 410. If you simply can't find the extra money, the Antec 1100 is better for around the same price.

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June 26, 2012 9:03:51 PM

I went with a Micro ATX board because that one was recommended for me and I don't really have much need for more PCI slots (I might add a wireless card if I really need one in the future, and there's a PCI Express slot in there for it). It has enough PCI slots to run an SLI setup if I eventually get another GTX 670, and that's all I really need. :) 

Can you elaborate on your opinion about why the Antec 900 case is not very good considering the alternatives (excluding the 1100, which looks a bit better)? I looked up those other cases and couldn't see any significant differences and on NewEgg.com the Antec 900 case has five stars and almost 5900 reviews.
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June 26, 2012 10:46:48 PM

The Antec 900 is by no means a bad case, it just (imo) isn't as good as several other cases at that price. It has great cooling and airflow, with solid construction and fairly high-quality parts. However, it is one of the older cases on the market now (2006, I believe), and lacks tool less drive bays, coupled with the fact that cable management is terrible with the 900 (Not good for your first build. :p ).

I would recommend the Corsair Carbide 500r. It is actually cheaper than the 900 (including shipping), and has far superior cable management, is equal in terms of cooling performance, and has an extra drive bay. It is also slightly bigger than the 900, making things easier to work when you are actually putting it together. It should also be slightly quieter than the 900 when Idle.

Here are a couple of reviews on the Carbide:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4972/corsair-carbide-500r...
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Corsair/Carbide_500R...

And a link to the Newegg page ($20 Promo Code :) ):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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June 26, 2012 10:56:06 PM

Thanks for the explanation. I didn't realize that case was that old, but that makes sense that it's had six years to gather all those comments. :)  I'll investigate the Corsair Carbide 500r as a replacement. I'm all for more space to work in; I always hated trying to add a new drive or card in the cases that came with the HP systems I had years ago because of how cramped it was. The Carbide also makes a nice GLaDOS-themed computer to boot. :p 

Besides extra PCI slots, is there any benefit of a regular ATX motherboard over a Micro-ATX motherboard? I know some people said the motherboard gets a little cramped due to the closeness of cards, but is that only a usability issue or does it impact other things like cooling?
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June 26, 2012 10:58:36 PM

I definitely second the Carbide 500R, but on a gaming build - ditch the GENE-Z as your expansion options will be quite limited, and the i7-3770K won't be needed on a gaming system - you can cut that to the i5-3570K and invest the difference elsewhere. Two monitors will also be useless - get one or get three, but not two.
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June 27, 2012 6:42:28 AM

An mATX board is perfectly fine because:
Not everyone needs more than one GPU or multiple SATA ports.
They are cheaper, but the quality doesn't degrade either.
Most still support 1333 MHz RAM.
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June 27, 2012 7:09:22 AM

Alright, I think I have a winner here:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($339.98 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($139.99 @ Microcenter)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($109.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Hard Drive: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($249.95 @ B&H)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($417.55 @ Newegg)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($417.55 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 500R White ATX Mid Tower Case ($119.18 @ Mac Connection)
Power Supply: Corsair 650W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHES212-08 Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Monitor: Asus VS247H-P 23.6" Monitor ($184.99 @ B&H)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($99.95 @ B&H)
Total: $2279.10
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)

Yes, I know I don't need an i7 for gaming, but since I will use this computer also for video/photo editing as well as software development, it should be useful. I went with some suggested parts from this forum and others, which brought my price down enough to go SLI'ing with two GeForce GTX 670s which I'm excited about. :) 

Any final things I should take into account? This has been a great experience for me and I really appreciate everyone's help. :) 
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June 27, 2012 4:08:29 PM

BunBun007 said:
Alright, I think I have a winner here:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($339.98 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($139.99 @ Microcenter)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($109.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Hard Drive: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($249.95 @ B&H)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($417.55 @ Newegg)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($417.55 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 500R White ATX Mid Tower Case ($119.18 @ Mac Connection)
Power Supply: Corsair 650W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHES212-08 Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Monitor: Asus VS247H-P 23.6" Monitor ($184.99 @ B&H)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($99.95 @ B&H)
Total: $2279.10
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)

Yes, I know I don't need an i7 for gaming, but since I will use this computer also for video/photo editing as well as software development, it should be useful. I went with some suggested parts from this forum and others, which brought my price down enough to go SLI'ing with two GeForce GTX 670s which I'm excited about. :) 

Any final things I should take into account? This has been a great experience for me and I really appreciate everyone's help. :) 


That looks pretty good to me but you'll need a bit higher wattage PSU if you're going to run those dual 670s, maybe something like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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June 28, 2012 7:32:21 PM

Alright, I believe this is the final build:

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($339.98 @ NCIX US)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($34.98 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($139.99 @ Microcenter)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($109.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Hard Drive: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($189.99 @ Newegg) (I was glad to catch this deal :) )
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($417.55 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 500R White ATX Mid Tower Case ($119.18 @ Mac Connection)
Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($88.74 @ CompUSA)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHES212-08 Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer ($76.21 @ B&H)
Monitor: Asus VS247H-P 23.6" Monitor ($184.99 @ B&H)
Monitor: Asus VS247H-P 23.6" Monitor ($184.99 @ B&H)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($99.95 @ B&H)
Total: $2046.53
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)

Just to clarify again, I will do gaming on a single monitor but when I do programming or video/photo editing, I may want the software and a browser open and visible at the same time, hence why I have a second monitor.

With the 1600 vs. 2400 RAM, I heard that the difference is negligible for gaming but could be useful for other tasks (video/photo editing, software development, etc.). Would this benefit for other tasks be automatic or would it require overclocking? At the moment, I'm looking for a plug-and-play computer, so I won't be doing any overclocking. A similar question is whether I need a CPU cooler if I won't be doing any overclocking (i.e. is the fan the CPU comes with not sufficient?)? If both the 2400 RAM and CPU cooler speed the computer up without requiring overclocking, I'll get those.

I dropped one of the GeForce GTX 670s under the assumption that I will live off one of them for now and then when I start encountering performance issues with newer games I'll grab a second one, which will hopefully be cheaper by then.
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June 28, 2012 8:41:52 PM

BunBun007 said:

Hard Drive: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($189.99 @ Newegg) (I was glad to catch this deal :) )


Argh I missed that one - I really want to get a different SSD.

Quote:

With the 1600 vs. 2400 RAM, I heard that the difference is negligible for gaming but could be useful for other tasks (video/photo editing, software development, etc.). Would this benefit for other tasks be automatic or would it require overclocking? At the moment, I'm looking for a plug-and-play computer, so I won't be doing any overclocking. A similar question is whether I need a CPU cooler if I won't be doing any overclocking (i.e. is the fan the CPU comes with not sufficient?)? If both the 2400 RAM and CPU cooler speed the computer up without requiring overclocking, I'll get those.


You'll never notice the difference between 1600MHz vs. 2400MHz. On default settings your motherboard will always run the lowest speeds and timings it can handle, and you never want to run more than your motherboard can handle or risk frying your whole build.

The fan the CPU comes with is fine if you don't do any overclocking. You actually don't need the unlocked CPU either - you can get the i7-3770 and save a few bucks there.
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June 30, 2012 6:20:45 AM

Alrighty, then here's the final final build. :) 

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($339.98 @ NCIX US)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($34.98 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($139.99 @ Microcenter)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Z Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-2400 Memory ($96.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($109.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Hard Drive: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($189.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($417.55 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 500R White ATX Mid Tower Case ($119.18 @ Mac Connection)
Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($88.74 @ CompUSA)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHES212-08 Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer ($76.21 @ B&H)
Monitor: Asus VS247H-P 23.6" Monitor ($184.99 @ B&H)
Monitor: Asus VS247H-P 23.6" Monitor ($184.99 @ B&H)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($99.95 @ B&H)
Total: $2083.53
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)

Parts are ordered, and I look forward to building this! Thanks everyone for your help! :) 
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June 30, 2012 6:22:18 AM

Best answer selected by BunBun007.
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