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Critique my attempt at a first build (non-gaming workhorse)

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June 28, 2012 9:20:15 PM

Hi folks,

This will be my first attempt at building a system. I have upgraded memory in the past, but that is all.

I do not need a graphics card, the main purpose of this machine will be personal use... internet, streaming video, personal finance software, very occasional and very light gaming. I don't need a ton of storage space, but with HD's pretty cheap I might as well get some, right?

My current system has lasted 9 years with updating RAM and having to replace a motherboard here or a PSU there. I would like the same sort of longevity out of this new system. What has pressed me to replace this system is the fact that the machine is struggling to keep up with simple internet video/animation as well as I have used up my 128GB hard drive and need more storage space.

I have spent many hours over the past week reading and researching articles as to what would be best for my situation. However, since I didn't have any experience with this and didn't know anything about anything this time last week, I want to make sure I am on the right track and everything will work together.

So, here we go: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/b1mF

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77-D3H ATX LGA1155

RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1066 Memory

Boot Drive: Mushkin Chronos Deluxe MX 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk

Storage Drive: Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive

Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 Plus ATX Mid Tower Case

PSU: Corsair 500W ATX12V Power Supply

Optical Drive: LG GH24NS90 DVD/CD Writer

OS: Wait until Win8 is released


ETA: Is 500W too much for this system?

Oh, and I do not plan to overclock.
June 28, 2012 9:37:29 PM

The build does look solid and should work fine the one thing that I would change is the ram and I would go with 1600mhz ram and it won't be a big increase in expense as you can get an 8gb set of Corair ram for 46.99 at Newegg.
I would also go with Windows 7 and not wait for Windows 8 , I'm not hearing a lot of good things about Win 8.
June 28, 2012 9:39:13 PM

If the purpose of the computer is just normal internet search,and very very light gaming here is what my brother uses

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Acer+-+Aspire+Desktop+-+4GB...;jsessionid=B9FC1367E2CF533EEEE34AD5AAF18B30.bbolsp-app01-47?id=1218591034096&skuId=4995147&st=aspire desktop&cp=1&lp=1

he uses it for what you posted it can even play batman arkham city(not well though)
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June 28, 2012 9:40:58 PM

I recommend going with a newer Ivy Bridge model if you're going to use the integrated graphics. If you don't plan to overclock, then the i5-3550. or i5-3450. If you're overclocking down the line, then i5-3570k and a Cooler Master 212+ CPU cooler.

Note that the Ivy Bridge CPUs are designed for 1600 mHz RAM. However, the difference between 1600 mHz and 1066 mHz is hardly noticeable to the user. Sandy Bridge CPUs like the i5-2500k can handle 1333 mHz.
June 29, 2012 12:18:07 AM

Thanks for the quick replies. I had thought about the Ivy Bridge processors, but had misread the article (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i5-3570-low-po...) about them and thought it was advising against them. Just re-read it and now see that they were talking about the -T and -S versions.

Also, thanks for the tip about the memory. I was making my choice based on the lower timing. You're probably right, I guess it would be better to have 1600 speed with 9 timing than 1066 and 7 timing.

For integrated graphics, do I need a motherboard that has it, or does the CPU take care of that for me?

Is 500W PSU too much? I was originally thinking I would stick a graphics card in this system at a later date, so I was looking at larger PSUs than I need now, but now I am thinking I won't need that graphics card ever. I've done some online calculations and don't think I'll even exceed 300W. Surely I could step down to the 430W Corsair and still have plenty of juice if I ever wanted to upgrade something, right? Or is 430W even too much?

Is 120Gb of SSD overkill? I'm surely don't need that much at this point, but if this system is going to last me a long time I don't know how much I'll need 5 years from now.

So based on the new suggestions http://pcpartpicker.com/p/b2pN ...

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77-D3H ATX LGA1155

RAM: Corsair XMS3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory

Boot Drive: Mushkin Chronos Deluxe MX 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk

Storage Drive: Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive

Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 Plus ATX Mid Tower Case

PSU: Corsair 430W ATX12V Power Supply

Optical Drive: LG GH24NS90 DVD/CD Writer
June 29, 2012 12:34:31 AM

The 120gb SSD is not overkill and you have to remember that all of those Windows updates are going to be going into the Windows folder and over time it adds up.Plus you do not want to fill the SSD past 75 to 80% , I use a 256gb SSD for the boot drive.
When booting for the first time and before you load the OS onto the SSD you will need to go into the bios and change the IDE to AHCI on the sata drive , that improves the SSD's performance. Also anytime there is a change of some kind or a blue screen crash or something that causes the bios to reset make sure you go into the bios and change the sata drive back to AHCI because by default it will switch back to IDE.
Your build looks good and should work very well , if you end up doing any overclocking then you may want to get an after market cpu cooler.
June 29, 2012 1:08:30 AM

If you do end up with a high end graphics card for gaming like the 7850, you'll need at least 500W. However if you get something similar to the 7770, then no, you'll be fine.

For integrated graphics, the motherboard just needs to have connections for a monitor. The CPU will do the processing of graphics for you. Essentially, your mobo choice is fine.

You're build looks perfect right now.
June 29, 2012 1:42:49 AM

inzone said:
When booting for the first time and before you load the OS onto the SSD you will need to go into the bios and change the IDE to AHCI on the sata drive , that improves the SSD's performance. Also anytime there is a change of some kind or a blue screen crash or something that causes the bios to reset make sure you go into the bios and change the sata drive back to AHCI because by default it will switch back to IDE.


Is this for all SSD's or just this particular type? That might be a pain to keep up with.


Also, since this is my first build, is there anything I am not thinking about with these particular selections? In other words, are any of these selections geared more toward a regular builder who might have more building equipment (special tools, cables, etc.) at their disposal that I won't have?
June 29, 2012 3:11:27 AM

Yes all SSD's are much better when the sata mode is set to AHCI.
You don't need any special tools with the selections thatyou have made. Most all computers need screwdriver and pliers. A small head phillips is mostly the main tool.
It never hurts to have a tube of thermal compound since a reapply of a heatxink would need more thermal compound. It's not expensive but it can come in handy.

Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM
$9.95
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thermal compound should always be applied in a ery thin layer. A plastic applicator is best and I usually use a credut card.
July 2, 2012 6:12:55 PM

OK. After some more research and thought, I have made a few tweeks to save a little money in some places and redirect the savings to better use. However, there still may be some more fat that can be trimmed. Let me know what you think.

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/bfeK

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($214.98@ NCIX US)

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77-D3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($119.99 @ Amazon)

Memory: Crucial Ballistix 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($24.99 @ Newegg)

Hard Drive: Plextor PX-M3S Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($199.99 @ Newegg)

Case: Rosewill CHALLENGER ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Newegg)

Power Supply: Corsair 430W ATX12V Power Supply ($26.98 @ Newegg)

Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ Newegg)

Monitor: Acer G235HAbd 23.0" Monitor ($126.00 @ Newegg)

Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($99.95 @ B&H)

Total: $880.06


The big ticket items are obviously the processor and the SSD, but I'm not sure I'd save a ton of money downgrading either one. I could always go with a smaller SSD, but I'd need a separate storage drive and that would eat up any savings I'd receive.

Could I get away with keeping XP instead of upgrading to win7?
July 2, 2012 8:34:57 PM

Corsair Force Series GT CSSD-F240GBGT-BK 2.5" 240GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
$234.99 and a $40 rebate makes the final price $194.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=20-233-...

Corsair Force Series 3 CSSD-F240GB3A-BK 2.5" 240GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
$199.99 and a $30 rebate makes the final price $169.99.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Corsair is having some good rebates now and with the Force GT you can save $5 over the Olextor and with the Force Series 3 you can save $30.
July 3, 2012 1:35:50 AM

Thanks for the tip. I guess there is a different SSD rebate popping up all the time? I have only been watching prices for a few days and it seems like a new SSD has a new incredible price just about every day. Maybe sales aren't what they were hoping for. Anyway, I think I am going to watch prices fall a little, start collecting the rest of the hardware and buy the storage last.
July 3, 2012 1:54:40 AM

If you watch the prices long enough you will get the idea of where the stable price is and then you can know how good the rebate is. There are always rebates on Newegg and the only thing that I don't see rebates or sales on are Intel cpu's. SSD's have a lot of rebate offers as do the video cards.
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