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Please comment on my build components

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July 26, 2012 9:28:53 AM

Hi everyone,

I currently have the following parts ready to order, could you please let me know if I can improve on this at the same budget? Also, would this build work for games like BF3 on high settings on a 32 inch HDTV?

Mobo: Asus P8H61-M LE/USB3 S1155 Intel H61 DDR3 uATX
CPU: Intel Core i5-3450 S1155 3.1GHz 6MB (stock version)
RAM: 8 GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600 Mhz
GPU: AMD Radeon HD 7950 (stock version)
PSU: AKASA 550W Dual 12V Rail
Case: Zalman Z11 plus (stock with 4 fans)

Assuming that I do not plan on overclocking anything for now, can I run this with the stock CPU cooler? Also, does the i5 come with thermal compound? Or should I order that too?

I also have a second PC running an AMD FX 6100. I've read articles stating that the i5 outperforms the FX series. Is this true for gaming too? Can any of the current games leverage the 6 cores that the FX has?

Any help would be most appreciated.

Cheers,
Sol

July 26, 2012 10:46:10 AM

Might want to upgrade that mobo to atleast H67. H61 gettin old bro. I dont like that PSU, never heard of the brand before. Everything looks fine other than those tho. :) 

You dont need an aftermarket cooler if not OCing. Idk if the i5 cmes with thermal paste, didnt come with mine when I purchased it, lol.

Yes, the i5 surpasses the FX in multiple tests. (except some multitasking tests) It is true in gaming and most games will run okay on the FX but not the same as the i5 can :D  Oh, and we need the resolution of your TV not size.
July 26, 2012 11:33:54 AM

First, we'll need your budget to determine if we can improve upon it. ;) 

I use that motherboard on my HTPC, and it's fine as long as you don't want to overclock or have a multiple GPU setup in the future. You may need to update the BIOS for it to recognise an Ivybridge CPU. That CPU is fine for gaming, and yes it will outperform the AMD part...the most cores a new game will utilise is 4 right now. However, if you already have an AMD PC, you could just use that for gaming...it's not such a poor CPU that it warrants a new build for a gaming system. If it's a retail CPU, then it'll come with a cooler...if it's an OEM CPU, then it won't.

Your GPU is good, too. I'm assuming your 8GB of RAM is 2x4GB sticks? I would get a 600W PSU minimum...Akasa are a good brand for cooling kit, I'm not sure about PSUs though. Look at Corsair, Seasonic, Enermax, Be Quiet! and Silverstone for known good PSU brands.

You said you weren't planning on overclocking 'for now'. With that CPU, you won't be able to overclock 'at all', as it has a locked multiplier. You'll need a 'K' series CPU to overclock, and a decent motherboard capable of giving you the features you need to overclock well.
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July 26, 2012 12:19:46 PM

Thanks guys. Here are some more details:

Budget: £ 650 - 700 (approx $ 1000). I already have Windows 7.
TV resolution: 1366 x 768 (I'll be buying a 32" full HD tv that's 1080p soon, and using it with the PC). Do you guys think my GPU can handle that with other effects on high?

RAM: 2 x 4 GB Corsair 1600 MHz.

CPU and Mobo - Suppose I stay with the FX 6100, would it impose any bottlenecks on gaming performance if I'm running the HD 7950 GPU? If now, I might just stay with that and save close to £ 200! Basically, personal AMD vs Intel preferences apart...is there a noticeable advantage in gaming with the i5 over the 6100?

PSU - I got the akasa 550W as a gift, so thought I'd use it. 500W seems to be the required wattage for the HD 7950 (600+ if you're using Crossfire). Do you think this would suffice? Else, I'll go for a better known Corsair or OCZ.

Thermal compound - I checked with a friend who recently got an i5 processor. His came with a grey strip of sorts on the heatsink that acts as the thermal compound. Apparently you just slap the heat-sink on to the CPU, and the compound spreads as the chip warms up.

Do you think I should rub that off with a solvent and go with the Arctic series compound?

Overclocking - If you think the CPU is sufficient for the games out there today, I won't be overclocking. So, would the stock heatsink/fan + Arctic series coolant suffice?

I wouldn't mind trying to overclock the GPU after a while (once I do some more reading on the subject). I've heard that the 7950 can be OCd to perform almost like the 7990. The case comes with 4 fans, so should be fine in terms of heat dissipation, right?

Thanks again, for all your advice!

Cheers,
Solomon
July 26, 2012 12:28:26 PM

I can't edit my previous message:

I meant that the 7950 can be OCd to perform like the 7970 (not 7990).
July 26, 2012 2:04:19 PM

RAM = OK. :) 

The AMD CPU won't perform as well as an i5...that's a given. However, is it perceptibly slower? Probably not. If you were looking at buying one or the other, I'd say go with the i5. As you already have the AMD CPU, I'd say you're going to be better off staying with that as the performance/cost benefit would be relatively low by the time you upgraded to an Intel system. The majority of games are GPU-bound, and a 7950 is the best mid-range GPU around at the moment.

PSU...I'd err on the side of caution and get a beefier unit. I'd not go for OCZ personally, if Corsair was my other option.

Thermal paste...that grey strip is the pre-applied stuff and is perfectly adequate. You should really replace it every 6-12 months, so when you do get some Arctic Silver 5 or something. Right now, don't worry about it.

Overclocking...the stock fan should be fine for the stock speeds. If you want a cheap aftermarket cooler, go for the Coolermaster Hyper-212. It's a cracking piece of kit for the price (and get some AS5 too...).

I've got a pre-OC'd GPU, so I'm not an authority on the subject. However...case fans are good at circulating air through the case, but if you OC the GPU, you want a good GPU cooler. Exactly the same way as you'd not rely on case fans if you OC'd the CPU and would want a good CPU cooler.

I also meant to say earlier, check out the usability of a 32" TV as a monitor...they look great at 10 feet or so across the lounge, but as a desktop monitor the pixel size can be large and blocky. There's some sort of relationship between screen size and resolution which determines the minimum viewing distance...I can't remember the exact name, but it might be worth looking into.
July 26, 2012 2:35:47 PM

Thanks Diellur. So here's what I'll do for now:

CUP/Mobo - I'll stay with what I have. I plan on upgrading to an Intel system in a year or so, and will scout for whatever CPU is doing well at that time.

GPU - Since I'm saving a little over £200 on the CPU/mobo, I'll reinvest maybe £100 more for a better GPU. I'll need to read some reviews/benchmarks before making a choice so that I get a decent performance boost for the additional £100. Any suggestions off the top of your head?

CPU cooling - Since my FX 6100 is not OCd, I'll stay with the stock fan and heatsink.

Case - My existing FX sits in a standard budget case with just one fan. I'll move everything into the Z11 plus.

TV: Viewing distance/etc: Interesting point, I did not think of this at all! I'm planning on a wireless keyboard and mouse, so I won't be right in front of it. I'll see if I can find some material on this. It's more of a space-saving thing anyway. My bedroom's a bit cluttered and I can't wall-mount the TV. Having the PC + TC on one screen would save me some space.

Thanks for all your help so far :)  Much appreciated!
July 26, 2012 8:55:26 PM

The increase in GPU budget would put you in the region of a GTX 680. That's a card that is full of win...give that a look in, it'll do you long beyond your planned Intel upgrade.

Your other plans seem fine. Just remember to get that other PSU...if you do up your GPU and OC in the future with an Intel rig, then put in some headroom. 700-750W range. In about a year, Intel release the Haswell CPUs, which will be another architecture change...probably well worth waiting for.
July 26, 2012 9:46:46 PM

I looked into the GPU, and as you rightly said, it's a winner.
Apart from that, I'll stick with the FX 6100 + mobo. I found the Corsair CMPSU 750 TX that should do nicely.

One final question:

As you mentioned that most games are GPU intensive, so a good GPU would make up for an average FX 6100, correct? I don't usually play the more processor-heavy strategy games. Could there be a situation where, although the GPU can handle the graphics aspect of the game, it would be severely limited by the CPU?

Thanks again, you've been golden!
July 27, 2012 6:25:48 AM

That's a decent PSU, well recommended...I nearly went with that one myself, only reason I didn't is that it wasn't available when I was buying my PSU.

Um, I don't think it's as straightforward as that unfortunately. A decent GPU will ensure that it doesn't bottleneck your system, and for a gamer it's certainly the most important part. I know from some benchmarks, the Bulldozer CPUs deliver less performance in CPU-bound games than an i5. However, that doesn't mean the game is unplayable...the thing with benchmarks is that they're purely a comparison game. You won't notice a difference, practically speaking.
July 27, 2012 8:18:39 AM

Id go by the benchmarks if you want to compare GPUs/CPUs. Although an i5 and 680 is probably balanced, with an IvyBridge.
July 27, 2012 8:54:31 AM

So it's settled. Here's my final build:

I'm staying with the FX 6100 and the current mobo.
GPU: GTX 680
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 2x4 GB
PSU: Corsair CMPSU 750 TX
Case: Zalman Z11 plus - this got delivered this morning. I got this for £ 46. Amazing price for such a great case!

The RAM, GPU, and PSU should see me through my next upgrade. Would be interesting to see how the Piledriver fares against the Haswell.

Thanks everyone, and especially Diellur, for your help with the components. I think I'm now set for a decent build.


July 27, 2012 12:05:20 PM

Nw333 said:
Id go by the benchmarks if you want to compare GPUs/CPUs. Although an i5 and 680 is probably balanced, with an IvyBridge.


I didn't say not to. :)  My point is that considering the OP already has a system, the performance increase in going to an i5 wouldn't be justified by the expenditure. Even though his AMD CPU wouldn't fare as well in a bechmark as an i5, it doesn't mean that it won't be perfectly adequate for a gaming system. I just wouldn't recommend it for a new-build, when no parts have been bought.

solman79 said:
So it's settled. Here's my final build:

I'm staying with the FX 6100 and the current mobo.
GPU: GTX 680
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 2x4 GB
PSU: Corsair CMPSU 750 TX
Case: Zalman Z11 plus - this got delivered this morning. I got this for £ 46. Amazing price for such a great case!

The RAM, GPU, and PSU should see me through my next upgrade. Would be interesting to see how the Piledriver fares against the Haswell.

Thanks everyone, and especially Diellur, for your help with the components. I think I'm now set for a decent build.


Looks good, you'll be set with that. And you're welcome, happy to help. :) 
July 27, 2012 1:55:00 PM

I'm pleased to report that the hardware aspect of the build went through with no issues whatsoever.

I started the build just after my last post. I thought I'd redo the thermal compound on the CPU/HS since I was taking it apart anyway. Had to settle for the Arctic 4 since 5 was out of stock (and I was in a rush...having received Battlefield 3 as a gift recently).

Took all the old components out of the mobo. Gave it a good cleaning with a can of compressed air. Cleaned out the old compound, applied the new one. Got all the other components in. POST was successful at the first go (a big deal for me, this being my first build).

Reformatted the HDD and went out for a bit. Windows installation is in progress now and should be done in a few mins. That just leaves the driver installs/updates, where I don't foresee any issues.

Can't wait to get BF3 started with the GTX 680!

Thanks guys... I wouldn't have gotten this great value + performance config without your inputs. There's nothing like the feeling you get when your first build purrs to life. :)  :) 
July 27, 2012 2:03:28 PM

Glad it went well...enjoy BF3. :) 
!