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Is This a Good Build?

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September 9, 2012 4:17:21 AM

Hi, Folks,

I've recently been on one of the other Tom's Hardware forums, looking for the answer to problems with a custom-built I'd recently purchased.

Turned out the solution was to return the tower to the builder/seller.

Since that is the case, I've decided to give a go to building my first box. It's main purpose would be video creation and editing, and graphic and website design for myself and business clients--along with being able to (badly!) play the occasional game of Need for Speed in any of several of its permutations. I would like to have the capacity to add a second monitor at some point, but not right away.

One of the other forum members suggested I consider adding the following components to what I have. With shipping, handling and rebates, the cost of these components would be around $610 dollars. Thanks to the necessity of sending back the tower, this is pretty much the top of my budget, though I might be able to squeeze out another $30 to $40 if I absolutely have to.

I would like to have this new tower up and running within the next week or so--basically as quickly as I can order and receive them.


My question is, would this be a good build?:

CPU: Intel Core i5-3450 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor

Motherboard: ASRock B75 PRO3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard

Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory

Storage: Western Digital RE2 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive

Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition 1GB Video Card

Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 ATX Mid Tower Case

Optical Drive: Sony DDU1681S-0B DVD/CD Drive

I already have the following:

PSU: CORSAIR Builder Series CX500 V2 500W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply, which a bought just about three days ago, while I was trying to fix the issue with the build;

Display: BenQ GW2450, 24" (again, I would like to have the ability to add a second one at some point)

OS: Windows 7 Ultimate x64

External Drive: Western Digital WD Elements 2 TB USB 2.0 Desktop External Hard Drive: it's not plugged in all the time, but often enough.

I have a 7-slot usb port with its own power source, a SIIG Soundwave 7.1 usb external sound card, both of which are constantly plugged in...

I also have a Canon ip4920 printer and a Mustek 17" scanner that currently only get rare use, and probably won't see constant use any time soon.

Any and all suggestions/comments will be gratefully accepted.

Unless, you know, you're rude. :D 

More about : good build

September 9, 2012 8:52:13 AM

I don't have time right now (sorry) to come up with a full build, but I can make some quick suggestions.

1. With Ivy Bridge if you can find a comparably priced Z77 mobo it will be a better choice.

2. If you could spend an extra $50-75, or save on something else, you would see a massive increase in performance by changing to a 7850 rather than a 7770. The 7850's are amazing for their price!
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September 9, 2012 10:25:11 AM

Everything is good. Except that you should switch the hard drive to a Caviar Blue or Black, since the RE series are for RAID arrays. This will save you money. I would also choose the 7750 over the 7770 because it gets all of its power from the motherboard, and uses much less power. If possible, add an SSD or two(one to use as a scratch disk and the other for OS and apps). It's worth it. By the way, I don't think a disk larger than 60GB can be allocated as a scratch disk. If you can't afford one to use as a scratch-disk, I'd just get one for booting OS and apps.
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September 9, 2012 3:46:34 PM

Okay, showing my newbie chops, here... but what is a "scratch disk "? I would like to add at least one SSD to the tower, but frankly, I've been a bit intimidated by them and the whole discussion of having your OS on it and everything else on the regular HDD (which, I just realized, is listed as 500GB. No WAY I can get away with less than 1TB, and a bit bigger would be even better.).

I will seriously consider what Thrallsman said, re. the video card. Since the main purpose of the tower is for doing video and graphics work, the better (compatible!) card I can get, better. If "better" is the word I want to use. I was given to understand, though, that the B75 would be a good choice because it's a nice, workman-like board, pretty powerfil, but nothing fancy. I won't be doing any overclocking on this rig, so it seems a good choice, but if the Z77s will create a smoother flow, so to speak (I'm asking, not stating; I simply don't know), all the better.

I saw just yesterday where Newegg discontinued the 7750., a fact that gives me a bit of pause, since I'd like to have components that still have active support when I encase them... anyway, I will definitely do a bit of reasearch, relative to your suggestions.

Thanks for your comments, folks. Any others are still welcome, at least 'til I start placing orders tomorrow (Monday) afternoon.


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September 9, 2012 4:13:21 PM

There's nothing to be scared off in an SSD+HDD setup. Think of it like this, the C drive is SSD. Thats all there is.
But just to offer my two cents, if you're really budget conscious, go for a WD caviar black. Its like HDD on steroids, everything is fast. Its no replacement for SSD, but the next best thing there is.
Go for a Z77 chipset. Inbuilt USB 3, dual PCIEx8 (if you want Crossfire), its pretty much future proof.
And I agree, for the price/performance ratio, the 7850s are pretty good. Excellent for single screen HD gaming, will do well with dual for most games.
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September 9, 2012 7:45:41 PM

Hmmm... I'm thinking of increasing my budget...

A question about the 7850: does this run off the mobo or the PSU? I'm seriously considering going with the 7750 despite it's age, because of the fact that it connects in with the motherboard. After the issues with the last computer not working well with a 500W PSU (though really, it should have worked), I'm a little leery of putting too much weight on the PSU, Corsair or not.

I have looked at sending the CX500 back and going for something a little more robust, but I've heard the CX600's aren't really as good, value-wise, and I'll be taking a 15% "restocking fee" hit if I return it to Newegg, since it isn't defective.

Also, I'm looking for a... better-looking... case that works with the system as it currently reads. The one listed below is going for $50, but I would be willing to go up to $75 for one that has a "glass" side, decent airflow, is relatively quiet, and carries a somewhat sleeker look.

Here are the new specs, with current changes in bold:

CPU: Intel Core i5-3450 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor
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Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V LK ATX LGA1155 Motherboard

Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
- -
Video Card: Asus Radeon HD 7750 1GB Video Card
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Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 ATX Mid Tower Case

Optical Drive: Sony DDU1681S-0B DVD/CD Drive


Plus what I already have:

PSU: CORSAIR Builder Series CX500 V2 500W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply, which a bought just about three days ago, while I was trying to fix the issue with the build;

Display: BenQ GW2450, 24" (again, I would like to have the ability to add a second one at some point)

OS: Windows 7 Ultimate x64

External Drive: Western Digital WD Elements 2 TB USB 2.0 Desktop External Hard Drive: it's not plugged in all the time, but often enough.

The current cost on this set up works out to just short of $700. And, because I am going to go ahead and raise the budget (and owe a relative :ouch:  ), I can squeeze up to $800--but seriously, if i can keep it lower than that absolute top, it would be a good thing.
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September 10, 2012 12:52:23 AM

The 7850 needs a connector from the PSU, but its for the cooler fans as far as I know, so not much load on the PSU. The card itself is still powered by the mobo. Its good value for money, and full HD gaming is easy-peasy.
Also, some mobo's will have an extra SATA power port for powering the PCIe if you want to use SLI/Crossfire, or your card needs more power.

Asus video cards are expensive, you can get the MSI or Gigabyte for less.
Also, Asus mobo's are expensive, you can go for Asrock or Gigabyte for less. Same (or better) reliability, and better value for money.
You can use the savings + (stretching your budget) towards getting an SSD for your setup. An SSD + WD Caviar Black is the ultimate speed combination IMO.
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September 10, 2012 6:29:28 AM

I had a chance to look at the prices on the various components though PCPartPicker.com, and at this time, there is just no way I can add $100 to the cost of the rig by going with the 7850 video card. For now, I'm going to go with the 7750, then upgrade in the future. Compared to what I'm currently using, it'll seem lightning-fast, and the direct connection into the mobo will save power.

The MSI and Gigabyte versions of the mobo and video card are indeed less costly than the ASUS, but unfortunately, with the mobo, the sellers that have it for the lowest prices are both out of stock, with no idea of when they will get more. I was able to find the video card with Gigabyte for $5.00 less, but that isn't enough savings to add an SSD at this time, either.

This means I'll be staying with the current specs... with one exception: I found an AZZA Helios 910 ATX Mid Tower case on sale for $60.00 (including a rebate and shipping) on Newegg. If the reviews are anything to go by, it is universally well-spoken of. As far as I can tell, it should allow me to (relatively) easily place all my components--my mouth to God's Ears--and offer very good air flow for the computer. I'll start ordering everything tomorrow afternoon, and will hopefully have a new computer by next Sunday, if not sooner.

Thanks to everyone for your comments and advice; I GREATLY appreciate your help! I will be bookmarking this for future reference, and will let you know if I have any hair left by the time I finish building this computer.
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September 10, 2012 12:03:09 PM

It looks great! Except that another part which I would prefer to go for is the Asrock Extreme 4 motherboard over what you currently have, if I might add. Sorry to bother you again. Is there any reason why you might want Z77?
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September 10, 2012 3:15:29 PM

Quote:
...Is there any reason why you might want Z77?


Solely because the two other folks who gave an opinion about the build both opined that thd Ivy Bridge/Z77 combination is a "better" one. I'm assuming they were speaking relative to gaming peformance... but since I will be doing videos and graphics, that would apply here, too.

I assume. :whistle: 

Also, the original Asrock board I had listed wasn't the Extreme 4, but the very workmanlike B75. I never even looked at the Extreme 4 as a possibility, but I have no qualms about doing so now. "This afternoon" covers several hours, and can be stretched to "this evening," for ordering, if need be.

Essentially, my method of choosing components, since I know very little about the build aspect of all of this, has been to take the suggestions offered, run over to PCPartsPicker, see who has it and what it costs, then run over to Newegg to check out what the users have to say about it. If there are too many recent bad reviews, then I pass and see if there might be something with the same or closely similar specs that has better reviews.

By-the -by: Is there any great difference between the i5 3450 and the i5 3470 besides a couple of tenths in GHz? The 3470 is actually a little less expensive and has excellent reviews, so I was thinking of going with that. Since I won't be overclocking this box, it seems like a decent deal, but I'm more or less making this up as I go along...
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September 11, 2012 6:08:31 AM

Get the 3470. It's the higher model. If it's cheaper, why go for the 3450?
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September 24, 2012 12:07:51 AM

Best answer selected by kevalin.
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