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First Time Builder seeking advice

Last response: in Systems
July 29, 2012 6:45:41 AM

Hi this is my first time building my own computer and I have been spending my free time over the past few months learning about all the parts I need and what to look for.

Approximate purchase date: I want to have the new computer assembled and ready when Windows 8 comes out (around the holidays). So I am thinking of buying the parts in the next few months.

Budget Range: Looking at what I want and pricing, I think it is reasonable to approximate between $2k and $2.5k (obviously cheaper is better).

System Usage from Most to Least Important: 1080p Youtube Videos (upload and watch), High resolution gaming, surfing the internet (Facebook/Twitter/Wikipedia/various blogs are most common sites), Excel/OneNote/Outlook/Word, Skype, DVDs).

Are you buying a monitor: No.

Parts: The following is what I was thinking...

Case: Lian Li PC-8NWX {$150}
Motherboard: Asus P9X79 {$250}
Processor: i7-3820 {$280}
PSU: OCZ ZX Series 1250W {$210}
Memory: Corsair Dominator (2x4GB) {$70}
GPU: nVidia Geforce GTX 690 {$1000}
DVD: Asus DRW-24BST {$20}
Hard Drive: OCZ Vertex 3 (240GB) {$290}

Do I need to buy an OS: I'll get Windows 8 when it comes out in the Fall (the basic version nothing flashy).

Preferred Website for parts: For prices I was just comparing what is on Amazon and Google shopping and trying to find the cheapest. Don't really have a preference.

Location: Utah

Parts Preference: The only brand preference I have is I want an Intel processor and an nVidia graphics card. I currently have an AMD Athlon II X2 220 Processor 2.80 GHz and an ATI Radeon HD 5700 Series graphics card. I would like to try out the other brand. I wouldn't mind if someone gave me a reason I shouldn't go for Intel/nVidia as I am willing to change my mind but all things being the same, I want the Intel/nVidia.

Overclocking: Probably no to start out as I have never done it before and it seems complicated but I wouldn't mind the option of being able to do it in the future.

SLI: Just one gpu to begin with, but I would like to get another in a few years to sli with to help my system keep up with heavier demands the future may hold.

My monitor resolution: I am using a dual monitor setting (can't do anything on one monitor anymore too tedious). One is 1920x1080 and the second is 1366x768. In the future I would like to upgrade and get a touch monitor with potentially a higher resolution and begin to use a triple monitor setup.

Additional comments: First I have no idea what kind of psu I will need. I want one that will be future proof for the upgrades I will want, obviously something that my system needs, and has good power management. I choose the one I did because it seemed like it could handle anything but I am not sure if it is overkill. Second I am not sure what hard drive I should get, I choose that one because it seemed what I wanted but it is hard to tell which to get since I never used an SSD before. I don't use many programs as I hate bloatware and stuff I don't use but I really only use excel/onenote/outlook/word, winzip, windows media player, google chrome, internet explorer, visual studio, rosetta stone, microsoft security essentials and gimp to crop photos, oh and this webcam software that comes with the webcam. Other programs I download and quickly remove once I am done with them like audacity, fraps, skype and firefox. New games I enjoy to play and want to play at high frame rates are Skyrim (with lots of mods I make and download), LA Noire, Mass Effect 3, Splinter Cell: Conviction, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, FIFA, and the Sims 3 (with expansions). I also some times play older games that shouldn't be a problem for a new computer (Age of Wonders, Panzer General, and Baldur's Gate). Upgrades I think about getting in the future are Windows 8, a touch monitor, another gtx 690 for sli, a cac reader called SCR333 by SCM, a blu-ray drive, and more memory (why not its cheap and to keep my computer fast).

Why I am upgrading: I really want a computer that has a lightning fast startup time (i7 and powerful SSD supposed to do the trick) and be able to play skyrim on max settings with mods at a good frame rate. Also I want to be able to say I built my own computer because I think it would be a cool accomplishment and would help me learn more about computers.

I can give links to any product I mention that may be unclear if necessary. Thank you for all help and criticism you are willing to give, it's how I'll learn!
July 29, 2012 7:29:38 AM

What if I told you that you can build it for $1.3k and still be just as good?
July 29, 2012 7:32:27 AM

@azeem40. Cheaper is always better in my opinion. How do you get it that cheap?
Related resources
July 29, 2012 7:34:43 AM

I'll show you. :) 
July 29, 2012 7:38:01 AM

Here you go.
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($229.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($34.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($114.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($43.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($94.98 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($114.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($437.86 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 500R Black ATX Mid Tower Case ($124.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 520W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($69.64 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1284.41
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-07-29 03:38 EDT-0400)

This will work. If you really want, you can get an amazing 2560x1440 monitor. :)