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Building my own computer, need advice

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September 12, 2012 9:19:42 PM

Well, I don't really have any experience building computers, nor any knowledge of computer parts, but since I figured now would be as good a time to as any to learn (as my old computer fell three stories down...long story).

So I started looking around for some good computer parts and details about them online and came up with these:

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

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

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

My budget here is strictly $500 (w/ shipping), although less is always great :p . I was wondering on what kind of processor I can get for a lower price, as I think quad cores are a must for new games. I have a mouse, moniter, keyboard, windows, etc. I just need the tower.

I will be doing quite a bit of multi-tasking here, as well as using video editors, photoshop, indesign, and of course playing a couple of games (which I want to play on med settings with no lag, while using recording software).

This leaves me with about $120 or so for cooling, power, and RAM.

This leaves me with the problem of a case, which means I might have to scale down on some of the parts. However, a recent friend of mine got a new computer and donated his old one to me. I don't know what he did to it but it works like crap. However, the computer is a compaq presario CQ5814. Will that case work? I'm not planning to move my computer much.

Any scaling back with the parts would be great as I'm willing to reduce what I do with the computer. However, I would still like it to be good enough to play most games on medium settings with no problems, and of course work with the adobe creative suite.

I really could use all the help I can get, thanks if you do happen to stop by.
September 12, 2012 9:49:59 PM

*NEVER*, repeat *NEVER* purchase anything reused or refurbished - especially critical components like the CPU. Tread extremely carefully as it's 100% cavaet emptor.

For $500 you might try something like this:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i3-3220 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($129.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($87.55 @ Newegg)
Memory: Mushkin Silverline 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7750 1GB Video Card ($104.98 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 430 ATX Mid Tower Case ($36.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Antec 380W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($49.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($24.97 @ Newegg)
Total: $554.44
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-09-12 17:49 EDT-0400)

With rebates it will be significantly less but all the components are brand new and in box, with warranties.
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September 13, 2012 6:25:31 AM

Hi there. I pieced together some parts I think you are going to like. Take a look at these(all at newegg, btw) :

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/hjuL

Core i5 2310 3ghz 4core turbo + quad core cpu(For both your work and the games that use more than 2 cores)
Biostar H61 LGA1155 Micro ATX mobo(Very high ratio of good reviews to poor ones on newegg vs other h61 mobos)
2x8GB gskill ddr3 1333 1.5v CL9(For work, play, and caching courtesy of windows 7. It's somewhat ssd like.)
HDD: the 500GB HDD that came with the pc your friend kicked down to you
HIS HD7770: cool/quiet, blower/vent. With driver updates, like HD6850/GTX460 1GB stock(HD6870/GTX560ti OCed).
http://hardocp.com/article/2012/02/14/xfx_r7770_black_e... this oc is cake, +=icing
This should let you play BF3 at 1200p on ultra(w/fxaa and ssao, w/o aa and motion blur) in multiplayer smoothly.
Case: the micro atx tower case from the pc your friend kicked down to you. The interior looks halfway decent.
xfx 550w 80+ bronze w/ball bearing fan, 44A +12v rail(528w), 1 pcie 6+2pin and 1 6pin, jonnyguru.com approved
Optical Drive: the dvd burner that came with the pc your friend kicked down to you
The usb keyboard and optical mouse that came with the pc look pretty decent as well.
Total: 473.93 after 25 bucks worth of mail in rebates(498.93 w/o rebates). Some rebates end soon. Better hurry.

I hope that copy of windows is version 7 home premium sp1 64bit RETAIL and NOT the OEM copy that came on
that kicked down PC's HDD. OEM copies of windows are tied to the mobo they were first installed on and can't be
transferred to another mobo/system. You can reinstall a retail copy as often as you like(as long as you uninstall
it from the previous system first). You can buy an oem copy, but that'll set you back about 100 bucks more.

I got the specs and pics for your pc after a bit of light googling. Probably the main reason it is so slow is because
of the amd brazos fusion apu (1.6ghz dual core that's about as fast as a 2.2ghz single core athlon 64/P4 3.2HT).

Here is the page at hp.com with the specs for that compaq pc of yours:

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c02...

Here is the several MBs large pdf manual for your pc with color pictures to assist in various upgrading endeavors:

http://h10032.www1.hp.com/ctg/Manual/c01835707.pdf

If you need to buy a copy of windows, let us know so we can do more tweaking to help keep you under budget.

Edit:If your 250w psu has decent amperage on the +12v rail(if unsure, pop the hood and look at the label on the
power supply), dump the xfx 550w and bump the gpu down to HD7750(BF3 multi on medium same res). That will let
you buy a copy of windows 7 home premium sp1 64bit oem. Ask for feed back on that first(watts=Amps times volts).
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September 13, 2012 9:59:38 AM

I modded the build to include a copy of windows. All parts(except what you have) are different. Take a look:

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/hjVW

core i5 2400 3.1ghz quad core cpu(4cores almost always 3.2ghz w/turbo, 3.3ghz with 3 or 2 cores, 3.4ghz with 1core)
ASRock B75M-GL LGA1155 Micro ATX mobo(all good reviews on newegg, adds usb 3.0 and sata 6gbps)
2x4GB gskill Ares ddr3 1333 1.5v CL9(play hard, work some, enjoy a little caching goodness)
HDD: your 500GB hdd
HIS HD7750 1GB(the cooler looks puny, but it quietly keeps the gpu cool. You can oc, but I wouldn't with a 250w psu)
case: your compaq micro atx tower
psu: your 250w psu(if it can take the heat. A reviewer of hd7750 on newegg has it and i5 2400 on a 240w psu)
optical:your dvd burner
os:windows 7 home premium sp1 64bit oem. If you want to play bf3(minimum code path dx10), you need it.
your usb keyboard and optical mouse(your friend gave you those with the pc, right?)
total: 489.51 after a 10 dollar mail in rebate(499.51 w/o rebate). Do you have speakers and/or a headset?

The i5 2400(95w) and hd7750(55w) will never use anywhere close to those wattages with both prime 95 and Furmark
loaded simultaneously, let alone in a realistic heavy use of power like a game(or some work for the cpu). Almost
every pc part uses +12v power in one way or the other, but the cpu and gpu are by far the worst culprits.

I hope to hear you either have a retail copy of windows, or a lot of amps on your +12v rail.
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September 13, 2012 4:33:31 PM

jtenorj said:
I modded the build to include a copy of windows. All parts(except what you have) are different. Take a look:

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/hjVW

core i5 2400 3.1ghz quad core cpu(4cores almost always 3.2ghz w/turbo, 3.3ghz with 3 or 2 cores, 3.4ghz with 1core)
ASRock B75M-GL LGA1155 Micro ATX mobo(all good reviews on newegg, adds usb 3.0 and sata 6gbps)
2x4GB gskill Ares ddr3 1333 1.5v CL9(play hard, work some, enjoy a little caching goodness)
HDD: your 500GB hdd
HIS HD7750 1GB(the cooler looks puny, but it quietly keeps the gpu cool. You can oc, but I wouldn't with a 250w psu)
case: your compaq micro atx tower
psu: your 250w psu(if it can take the heat. A reviewer of hd7750 on newegg has it and i5 2400 on a 240w psu)
optical:your dvd burner
os:windows 7 home premium sp1 64bit oem. If you want to play bf3(minimum code path dx10), you need it.
your usb keyboard and optical mouse(your friend gave you those with the pc, right?)
total: 489.51 after a 10 dollar mail in rebate(499.51 w/o rebate). Do you have speakers and/or a headset?

The i5 2400(95w) and hd7750(55w) will never use anywhere close to those wattages with both prime 95 and Furmark
loaded simultaneously, let alone in a realistic heavy use of power like a game(or some work for the cpu). Almost
every pc part uses +12v power in one way or the other, but the cpu and gpu are by far the worst culprits.

I hope to hear you either have a retail copy of windows, or a lot of amps on your +12v rail.


A 250W PSU will not be able to handle any sort of modern GPU, and you should never take Newegg reviews seriously - read professional reviews from multiple sources before judging whether a product is good or not. B75 motherboards are meant for business systems that use a lot of older hardware - they should have no place on a gaming system. Use H77 instead.
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September 13, 2012 5:51:37 PM

I disagree. Just because it has those ports doesn't mean it is bad. Just don't use them.
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September 13, 2012 9:10:00 PM

thanks everybody, especially jtenorj, for the response! :D 

I do not have a retail copy of windows, in fact =( I guess I'll be spending $100 more which cuts my budget down to $400.

However, I lowered my expectations a bit. I won't be primarily running new games on my pc, at least not for a while. No bf3 for me. I'll mainly play WoW and SC2 occasionally, and even then I'm fine with medium settings with no lag (those games need considerably less unless I'm crazy). I will be doing this casually and won't need to run recording software, but probably some teamspeak or skype.

I'll still be using the adobe creative suite, though.

I'm guessing that this means I can somewhat downgrade the cpu a tad? I hope :p .

I've yet to pop the lid and look at the psu, what exactly am I looking for?

Thanks again for all the help, I cannot overstate how much I appreciate this!
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September 14, 2012 12:40:40 AM

g-unit1111 said:
A 250W PSU will not be able to handle any sort of modern GPU, and you should never take Newegg reviews seriously - read professional reviews from multiple sources before judging whether a product is good or not. B75 motherboards are meant for business systems that use a lot of older hardware - they should have no place on a gaming system. Use H77 instead.


That has yet to be determined. We don't know how many amps are on the +12v rail. There are people out there
running a hd7750 on power supplies with less wattage than this(maybe even with an even higher tdp cpu like the
first 45nm core i7s that had 130w tdp). Based on the description of intended system use in the original post, it
seems weighted less heavily on gaming and more heavily on getting stuff done. B75 is perfectly acceptable.

@avatarair: If you were thinking of saving money by using that compaq case to build in, you shouldn't have
any trouble loosening the thumbscrew on the back of the case and opening the side panel. The power supply(top
rear area) should have a label affixed to it sporting information about how many amps(A) are on the +3.3v, +5v,
and +12v lines coming from the psu(it may have 2 or more +12v rails with the same or different tdp on each one,
and there may be a printed limit on the total wattage available from all/both +12v rails at once). Please jot it all
down or take a picture and post it here. You may totally be able to get away with using it for this build. The pc was
produced in the middle part of last year, so the psu is only a little over a year old. Also, did you click on that last
pcpartpicker.com link I posted? It had a list of upgrade parts and prices at newegg including core i5 quad, mobo,
ram, gpu, and windows 7 home premium sp1 64bit oem. The total is under 500 for all that even if you don't get
around to cashing in on that 10 dollar mail in rebate. It is dependent on your ability to use your current psu, tho.

Edit: I need to slow down a bit reading. I guess it is just a question of how to get the information. The above
method should work. I don't know of any psu that doesn't list its vital specs on an affixed label. Unless it's a
highly irregular oem model, the info you seek should be in there and stare you in the face once the case is open.

There are usually some other rails, but they are fairly inconsequential. They are +5v sb(standby) and -12v rail.
If you have more than one +12v rail, they will be listed as a,b,c or d or 1,2,3 or 4.
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September 14, 2012 10:03:39 AM

12v rail says 218w max
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September 14, 2012 10:42:28 AM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3450 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($179.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($38.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($62.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7750 1GB Video Card ($96.97 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Antec EarthWatts Green 380W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($37.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($24.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $511.90
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)

$10 over, but this build is really worth it. Just try to obtain a copy of Windows in any way possible.
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September 14, 2012 2:45:26 PM

Your current psu will be fine for a sandy i5 quad and hd7750. I know you didn't restrict vendor choice to newegg ,
but your original links were on newegg and the pcpartpicker list from g-unit1111 was from newegg too, so I stuck
with them. You might save a little money getting parts from other places, but you can get an i5 quad cpu, 2x4GB
ddr3 1333 1.5v CL9 ram, B75 micro atx mobo, hd7750 and win 7 home prem sp1 64bit oem all at newegg for
under 500 and still be under even if you don't take advantage of any rebates. Here's that link again:

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/hjVW (Click the "@ newegg" link next to each item to see it's product page there.)

Intel core i5 2400 3.1ghz quad core cpu w/HSF(Generally 3.2ghz minimum with 4 cores firing thanks to turbo, even
faster using fewer cores. This will let you get work done and record/stream bf3 multiplayer w/o being bottlenecked.)

ASRock B75M-GL Micro ATX mobo(Maybe it's built for business, but it's just as capable for gaming. This adds
support for USB 3.0 and SATA 6gbps versus the H61 mobo I suggested earlier.)To reiterate, this is a LGA1155 mobo.

G.skill Ares 2x4GB DDR3 1333 1.5v CL9(A nice fit with a sandy i5 quad. Excessive for gaming; a good amount for
working purposes; and if you aren't using it all, Windows 7 will cache frequently used data to speed things up 4 u.)

HIS HD7750(The heatsink/fan on this gpu will keep it cool even if overclocked while staying quiet, and the card will
let you smoothly run bf3 MP on medium @1200p while recording. It will be even faster in other titles, save Metro.)

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Service Pack 1 64 bit OEM(You need it, you got it. Yes, it's overpriced versus
say Linux, but it really makes things easier. Just please don't pirate it or any other software for that matter.)

You can use the case, psu, dvd burner, 500GB HDD, keyboard and mouse from the pc your friend gave you. The
total comes to 489.51 shipped after you cash in on a 10 dollar MIR(499.51 if you don't want to mess with it).
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September 14, 2012 3:40:49 PM

jtenorj said:
This should let you play BF3 at 1200p on ultra(w/fxaa and ssao, w/o aa and motion blur) in multiplayer smoothly.


1080p/1200p ultra, at like 15FPS. Multiplayer gets much worse. :D  The 6850 is overall a better choice unless the PSU is like 300W. (which it shouldnt be lol.)
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September 14, 2012 4:46:11 PM

Nw333 said:
1080p/1200p ultra, at like 15FPS. Multiplayer gets much worse. :D  The 6850 is overall a better choice unless the PSU is like 300W. (which it shouldnt be lol.)


Did you read that page at hardocp I linked in the line right above what you quoted from my post? Primary testing
of the three contenders was done in bf3 single player(with higher settings), but the OCed xfx 7770 allowed them
to frag peeps online at the same res on ultra by turning a few settings down. They also OCed the card even higher
later in the article, which would allow for still better performance. That is all beside the point though, since the
7770 is no longer a consideration due to budget concerns. The hd7750 suggested by several folks including myself
should let to OP be competitive in bf3 on medium @1080p/1920x1200 or a combo of lower res/higher settings.

Btw, recent driver updates have sped up all gcn based cards notably. The hd7770 may have been a tad slower than
hd6850 at launch, but now it should be about the same speed if not faster. Both it and hd7750 have tons of OCing
potential as well, but use a lot less power while doing so. With a psu that can put out 218w on the +12v rail, the OP
can run a 3ghz+ 95w sandy i5 quad and even a somewhat OCed hd7750(the former won't be a bottleneck in bf3
multiplayer even while recording/streaming gameplay, and the hd7750 will meet the OP's requirements of gaming
on medium settings or better save perhaps Metro 2033 and the yet to be released Metro Last Light).
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