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Rate/Advise on this gaming setup for 2012-2013?

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August 4, 2012 6:32:45 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: August 5-16, 2012

Budget Range: $1,000-1,500 Before rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, surfing the internet, watching movies, and lastly mild interest in game designing (hobby)

Parts Not Required: mouse

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg, tigerdirect

Country: Purchasing in USA, do not know where parts are assembled as of yet

Parts Preferences : prefer intel, but price has influence

Overclocking: Maybe, leaning towards yes

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe (want to be able to use in future, single GPU for now)

Monitor Resolution: don't have monitor yet, leaning toward 1920x1080

Additional Comments: I would like a quiet PC, would like to be somewhat future proof for 2-3 years

Hello community,

I'm completely new to PC building, and this is my very first time trying to come up with a system. What I'm looking for is:
-a system that will last 3 years or more
-moderate to heavy gaming (I don't play every new game, have a rather small library but the little I have I game a lot on)
-would like to be able to upgrade if a new game or software comes out (don't need to go max)
-would like to be able to upgrade to 3D gaming when income becomes more expendable

I already did some research over the past few days and came up with the following setup:

Power supply: Ultra LSP 650W PSU
~$55

Motherboard: ASUS P8Z77-M Pro
~$150

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K, Newegg and Tigerdirect
~$220 ($210 w/ rebate)

HD: Crucial m4 256GB SSD, Newegg and Tigerdirect
~$210
Chose SSD for speed, and do not want to do RAID mode (unless there's a good enough counter argument). 250gb is good enough for now, will probably add more SSD when they go mainstream (and cheap).

RAM: Patriot G2 series 8GB DDR3 1600 Mhz, Newegg and Tigerdirect
~$47

Optic drive: Lite-On internal Blu-ray Burner
~$75

Extra fan: Corsair Hydro Series H60
~$65
Have no idea where or how to put the liquid cooler, but I want to be able to have a cooling system for an SLI setup in the future. Have never put together a pc before, will look into it but I want the pieces available first (some are on sale for a limited time, hence why a slight sense of urgency).

For graphics card and case, I'm indecisive:

Graphics card: EVGA Superclocked GTX 560 Ti
~$230 ($200 w/ rebate)
I'm open to suggestions for graphics, but I just need to run some older games flawlessly at least(Orange Box, BioShock 2, Portal 2, Team Fortress 2), maybe a few current ones, and maybe some new ones down the road. Used to have moderate to poor experiences with Valve's games on an 8600M GT and 2 GB of ram, Core 2 duo t7500 processor

Case: Cooler master HAF 912, Newegg and Tigerdirect
~$60
For case, my mobo has 4 3.0 usb ports and 4 other 2.0 usb ports. Does that mean I need a case that has a usb port for each mobo port to use them all or can I buy a usb adapter, and access them all from the front? Stupid question, but what would the two front usb ports be connected to, the mobo?

So the total price is ~$1,112, maybe $1072 if you factor in the potential rebates. That still leaves me around $388 to $428 to spend on a monitor, keyboard, and speakers if I want to stay at $1500. Haven't even factored in cost of shipping.

I'd love it if you could point out any incombatibilities or anything else wrong. I'd also appreciate any more advice on anything, from the parts I've chosen to monitor or speaker selection, to cheaply obtaining Win7 62 bit OS.
a c 118 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
August 4, 2012 8:11:39 AM

Hi,

Power supply
First and foremost. Ultra power supplies are absolute trash. And thats a mistake that happens with a lot of first time builders, in that they buy great components and power them with a crappy PSU that either kills itself and takes all the brand new parts with it, or it kills their parts slowly with their terrible voltage regulation.

High quality power supply:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

----
CPU
I see you have gone with the 2500K. I would stick with that. Some people might say blah blah Ivy Bridge newer. For gamers, the Ivy Bridge costs more and has absolutely zero practical advantage. Yes the Ivy Bridge gives native PCI 3.0 support. Guess what? That has absolutely zero practical advantage over 2.0. (I know I sound like an arrogant jerk- but just thought I'd get that out of the way)
----------

Optical Drive
Unless you plan on actually playing Blue-Ray movies on your computer, my advice would be to save yourself quite a bit of money and just get a DVD-RW drive for $20. Optical drives really are a dying technology. Yes Blue-RAY burners give you more capacity than DVD media, but Flash technology is going to replace it sooner or later. As far as software purchases, very few people are still running Dial-up. You can see the signs of the technology change by going to Walmart and Staples.

You will find already when you buy a Copy of Microsoft Office for example, you're not buying actual optical disks, you're buying a placard with a product key on the back of it, you take that, go home and download the software and use the key on the placard to activate it. Games are already heading this way too and will continue to do so. I doubt you'll ever find software on blue-ray.
-----

Watercooling
Simply put, watercooling is less necessary these days, and no less dangerous than it ever was. Watercooling might be cool, but in terms of performance, theres not much an H60 can do that a good air cooling unit can do for you (and much safer and cheaper too)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

----
Sli/Crossfire

Generally its more advisable to buy a video card that meets your needs now, and have it be good enough that by the time its no longer up to snuff, its more practical to replace it with a single better video card.

The 560 TI should handle all of the games you mentioned at very respectable resolutions. Although you might consider looking at something more powerful like a 7850 or a 7870. But again, by the time you should need to upgrade the graphics card, its probably going to make more sense just to replace it with a single more modern one rather than bootstrap a 2nd outdated card onto the system. As such, it might make more sense for you to consider a cheaper motherboard with less emphasis on picking one for "future uses".

This is actually a very decent motherboard, which pretty much the same features as the Asus one you were looking at:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Quote:
Stupid question, but what would the two front usb ports be connected to, the mobo?

Yes. Please excuse my cheesy drawing, but the ports on the bottom of the board are where you plug USB 2.0 to the front of the computer case, and the 3.0 is where the wires leading to USB 3.0 on the front of the case is plugged in. If the case doesn't have 3.0 ports, it just doesn't get used. The USB 3.0 ports on the back of the motherboard, won't work until drivers are installed, but the USB 2.0 does. (Ivy Bridge motherboards like the Z77 do have native USB 3.0 support-which means no drivers need to be installed), but Sandy Bridge does not, hence a Sandy Bridge CPU (2500K) on an Ivy Bridge motherboard will require USB 3.0 drivers to be installed prior to their use.



---

Other stuff:

Decent monitor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Keyboard- This one isn't everybody's cup of tea, but I've had one for 5 years, I love it:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Speakers, really depends on your expectations. I have a cheap Logitech pair of speakers and small subwoofer from walmart. Its pretty decent. I also have a big 5.1 Monsoon set in storage that I had on a rig years ago. I don't have the space for it on my rig anymore. What are you looking for? Cheap and decent? Surround? High quality?
August 4, 2012 7:23:45 PM

to nekulturny,

Is 650W enough for the power supply though? Should I bump up to 850 or higher if I intend on adding up to 32 Gb of ram in the future, another SSD, and maybe a newer more powerful graphics card?

Was thinking of SLI to do 3D gaming, haven't done much research into whether or not SLI is required or more efficient for that.

I just quickly glanced at the motherboard you posted, but all I'm saving is $15. Does anything stand out on the Asus 8z77 m pro vs the AsRock Z77? Sorry, only had 15 min to read your response.

Speakers, maybe cheap and decent. Also brings in the question of whether I should get a sound card; the mobo I chose, 8z77 mpro had integrated sound.

Sorry fort the blunt, brief response, will read again after 8 hours.
Related resources
a c 118 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
August 4, 2012 8:33:07 PM

Quote:
Is 650W enough for the power supply though?


It is for a single video card yes, for Sli I would go 750 watt, you can go 850 watt if it makes you feel more comfortable, but 750 would be sufficient, honestly 650 would probably too, but 750 is a more comfortable number. The trend is as far as upgrading your video card in the future that computer parts are performing better and using less power to do it.

The Corsair TXv2 series are available in 750 and 850 watt variants.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The video cards are by far going to be the most power draining components on your system, additional RAM modules will use almost nothing, an SSD will use 3-5 watts, and even a traditional modern SATA hard drive only uses about 10 watts.

Quote:

Was thinking of SLI to do 3D gaming, haven't done much research into whether or not SLI is required or more efficient for that.

Well like I said, usually you're better off with a single video card setup. Buy the best video card you can today, currently the best "Bang for the buck" video card on the market is the GTX 670, although it does have a $400 price tag.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The most powerful video card on the market in terms of performance and overclockability is the AMD 7970. Although, stock to stock its not that much better than the 670.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Quote:
I just quickly glanced at the motherboard you posted, but all I'm saving is $15. Does anything stand out on the Asus 8z77 m pro vs the AsRock Z77? Sorry, only had 15 min to read your response.


Not really no. The Asrock board is a Tom's Hardware Recommended buy however. Both of them are more or less identical in terms of features. And both have a 3 year warranty. The difference is purely in brand name.

Quote:

Speakers, maybe cheap and decent. Also brings in the question of whether I should get a sound card; the mobo I chose, 8z77 mpro had integrated sound.


I wouldn't bother with a sound card unless you're buying super expensive ($150+) speakers, even "budget" motherboards nowadays have pretty good on-board sound card support, even for surround sound.

These are the speakers I have currently, sorry I was wrong they're Altec Lansing not Logitech. Like I said, they're not super super great, but they're not bad for what they are and what they cost:
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Altec-Computer-Speakers-three...

This is the set I have in storage, of course the Altec Lansings couldn't compete to those:
http://monsoonaudio.blogspot.com/2010/04/profile-monsoo...


Quote:
Sorry fort the blunt, brief response, will read again after 8 hours.

Lol, no problem, you're fine.
August 5, 2012 7:11:38 AM

Thanks for your responses nekulturny,

I've decided to change my psu to the one you recommended, the corsair tvx 750, and opted to not go for liquid cooling as this is my first build and I'm not experienced enough to play with that.

1) Do I need separate fans for my cpu and graphics card, or will the fans that come with the components be good enough? (ie, do I have to buy CM Hyper 212 evo for each component)

2) I would really like to do 3D gaming, but are my specs good enough for it? I would like the framerate to remain 50 or above; 60 might be too costly for me right now, I don't think I ever want to buy a $400 graphics card. (Is the cpu good enough, do I have enough HD space, is 8gb of ram enough, will I need more cooling units?)

3) For graphics card, is 1Gb enough for the next few years, or is it barely pulling through for today's most current games? The 560 ti is only 1Gb, yet the 7870 is 2Gb. If I do opt for the 7870, will the AMD graphics card work on an intel based system (cpu and mobo is intel based)?

4) My cpu is a 2500k, so if I wanted to utilize the 3.0 support on an asus 8z77 m pro, I'd need to install the drivers. Will 3.0 be more mainstream in the years to come or are we going to stay at 2.0 for some time? And if I ever need to use 3.0, will I have trouble with eiter my cpu or mobo?

5) Will the HAF 912 case be large enough to fit extra fans, and I do plan on upgrading down the road, so a bigger mobo might be a possiblity. The asus 8z77 m pro is a micro atx, so it should fit the HAF 912, which is a mid tower. Would you recommend shelling out double or so to get a full tower (better cooling/airway and room for upgrading)?

6)Last, I want to be able to utilize maximize ram, so I know I'll have to use Win7 64 bit as my OS. Do you know if 8g is the cap off, and also if it's possible to get the OS cheaper than $100 MSRP? My last OS was vista on a dead laptop, and I don't know if it's better to play it safe and shell out the $100 for a legit copy of the OS.

Thanks for taking the time to read my questions and responding, you're awesome. You've taught me quite a lot.
a c 118 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
August 5, 2012 9:28:36 AM

Quote:
1) Do I need separate fans for my cpu and graphics card, or will the fans that come with the components be good enough? (ie, do I have to buy CM Hyper 212 evo for each component)

The CM Hyper 212 is only for the CPU, they wouldn't fit on each component lol. But no, the fans that come with a good computer case will be sufficient.

Quote:
2) I would really like to do 3D gaming, but are my specs good enough for it?


Unfortunately, I really don't have any experience to offer you on 3D gaming. I assume thats the thing where you wear those goofy goggles, but I don't know much about it beyond that.

Quote:
3) For graphics card, is 1Gb enough for the next few years, or is it barely pulling through for today's most current games? The 560 ti is only 1Gb, yet the 7870 is 2Gb. If I do opt for the 7870, will the AMD graphics card work on an intel based system (cpu and mobo is intel based)?


VRAM is only one consideration to be taken into account. You also have to consider the architecture of the GPU and the speed of the memory. The VRAM (video memory), comes into play moreso when you get into higher resolutions and running multiple displays. There are some games where yes, the 560 TI does take a hit because of its lesser VRAM than the 7850. But overall even without that consideration the 7850 is a superior performing gaming card. Yes, AMD video cards work on Intel systems. Just like Nvidia cards work on AMD systems. Intel makes good CPUs, but they couldn't make a high performing discrete gaming card if their business depended on it. In that sense they need AMD.

Quote:
4) My cpu is a 2500k, so if I wanted to utilize the 3.0 support on an asus 8z77 m pro, I'd need to install the drivers. Will 3.0 be more mainstream in the years to come or are we going to stay at 2.0 for some time? And if I ever need to use 3.0, will I have trouble with eiter my cpu or mobo?

PCI 3.0 or USB 3.0? USB 3.0, yes you install the drivers and it works. The only advantage to having USB 3.0 "out of the box" is if you were installing windows for the first time and you only had a USB 3.0 device to do it with. And even then it would be for the speeds of USB 3.0, as its not like you couldn't still install, you would just have to use the USB 2.0 port and install at 2.0 speeds. So native support for USB 3.0 might sound nice, but really its quite irrelevant.

As far as PCI 3.0, with a Sandy Bridge chip, the system will never have PCI 3.0. Now you might consider it more "future proof" but honestly it isnt. Video cards don't fully saturate all the PCI 2.0 lanes yet let alone 3.0. If you want more information on it though, far be it from me to not let you see the whole picture. There is an article here you can read for more info on it including benchmarks of how they stack up against one another. This is the conclusion page of it though for the short version:

http://www.hardocp.com/article/2012/07/18/pci_express_2...


Quote:
5) Will the HAF 912 case be large enough to fit extra fans, and I do plan on upgrading down the road, so a bigger mobo might be a possiblity. The asus 8z77 m pro is a micro atx, so it should fit the HAF 912, which is a mid tower. Would you recommend shelling out double or so to get a full tower (better cooling/airway and room for upgrading)?


The HAF 912 is a decent case, it does accommodate extra fans, although with a single video card setup, its largely unnecessary. Even running 2 video cards unless they're old space heaters like GTX 480s, its probably not necessary. The HAF 912 does support full size ATX boards. I'd consider getting an ATX motherboard instead of a microATX. No real reason, but just because theres no real reason to get the smaller more condensed ATX. They really don't cost any less than comparable full sized ones. Hell, $150 is more than I'd pay for a microATX.

As far as full towers and mid towers. A full tower doesn't necessarily guarantee you more space, its sort of like asking someone the difference between a 2 door sedan and a coupe. You could say the 2 door sedan is bigger, but some coupes are big for a coupe and some 2 door sedans are small for a sedan. The line gets blurred. Generally however, a full tower will have 5 or more 5.25 inch bays (CD ROM bay), more hard drive slots, and will support EATX boards (bigger than ATX). I would say the HAF 912 is big for a mid tower.

Regarding cooling, honestly its pretty hard for manufacturers to screw up airflow, any modern reputable case is going to be fine for temperatures.

As far as the case itself, its important to get one of quality for sure. A good case can last you a lifetime assuming you don't get bored with its aesthetics. Thats why I'm generally in favor of buying a fairly expensive case if you can afford it. But also since the case's appearance will be the defining piece (since its what you and others will see) picking something you think is attractive is the highest consideration. I will say that CoolerMaster while decent, often cheaps out on certain "little touches". For example, the HAF 912 is not painted inside and out. The inside and back is bare metal. That personally would annoy me, despite how well overall the case is made.

Some brands and models you might check out would include anything Corsair makes, Antec, NZXT, all make very decent cases. I personally have an NZXT Phantom full tower on my Phenom II build, I think its absolutely awesome. Very well made in ever respect. No corners were cut to save a few pennies. But it also comes with a $120 price tag. My boyfriend has a basic budget case, I don't even know who made it, but its ugly, plain and wreaks of cheapness.


Quote:
6)Last, I want to be able to utilize maximize ram, so I know I'll have to use Win7 64 bit as my OS. Do you know if 8g is the cap off, and also if it's possible to get the OS cheaper than $100 MSRP? My last OS was vista on a dead laptop, and I don't know if it's better to play it safe and shell out the $100 for a legit copy of the OS.


Windows 7 Home supports up to 16GB of RAM, Windows 7 Professional supports I think 192GB of RAM or something ridiculous like that. So you're fine there.

As far as getting Windows7. This is as cheap as I can find it:
http://www.discountmountainsoftware.com/miwi7hoprfuv6.h...

I have an unlimited license of Win7 I got through Microsofts Academic alliance, unfortunately I've used it to the point that every time you do a new install it has to be called into Microsoft to validate who I am and crap. I'd let you use it if not for that, quite frankly screwing Microsoft out of a $100 would make me happy. But alas, they might end up having the last laugh on me at this point.

Quote:

Thanks for taking the time to read my questions and responding, you're awesome. You've taught me quite a lot.


Thanks, and you're welcome. If I missed anything let me know.
!