First Computer Build in a Long Time --- @$1500 to spend

I've been wanting to build me a computer for several years now and I finally have the opportunity to do so. I'm looking to spend about $1500.
I'm not a big gamer, but I do like to play games every now and again, so I'd at least like the capability to play some of the less-intense ones if I want. I'll be looking into Rome Total War 2 for sure though when it comes out. I do like Fallout 3 also.
I like playing with web design and will be using it for editing graphics, maybe videos to.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, I know I probably don't need to spend as much as I am, but since I am, I want as much bang as I can get. About the only thing I really want to have is a dual monitor set-up.

Ok, my rough draft is posted here:
http://pcpartpicker.com/b/y0J
I'll be honest, I used a "build" on Tom's Hardware as a starting point for much of what is listed.

I've tried to include everything I could think of. It's still a little under budget, so if you think I can upgrade somewhere or something I forgot to include, please let me know.
Now as far as the motherboard goes, it supposedly comes with built-in W-Fi. Any comments on the efficiency of it? Should I just get a wireless adapter? Is the ASUS Sabertooth worth looking into, or is it just overkill?
How much PSU is too much?
Is it really worth it to Overclock?
Is there a noticeable difference between Seagate and Western Digital?
How necessary is it to get a CPU cooler?

I think that's enough questions for now.
I'm sure I'll have more as I get response.

Thanks
16 answers Last reply
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  1. CPU cooler is used mostly when you are overlooking increasing the energy used so therefore increased heat.

    So PSU after thorough research on forums 650w is more than enough if you are using single GPU. but having more is always a good thing incase you want to upgrade after.

    Overlocking can improve at least from 3.4 to 4.5ghz from most of the threads that i have seen. You'll have to google that....

    lol i don't it matters if it is seagate or western digital, u just need cheap storage i think...

    also i doubt inbuild wifi is any good :D , but i didnt take the time to look at it and compare....maybe someone who's not lazy will look onto it.
  2. A few changes...
    1. Lose the sound card... Onboard is better than that card.
    2. Change the PSU to the Corsair 650 watt - $58 after MIR and discount code EMCNAHC67
    3. Upgrade the GPU to a 7950 GTX 660 Ti or GTX 670
    4. Get this Lite-On DVD burner at newegg http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827106289 $17.99 plus free shipping
    5. Look for an HDD that runs at 7200RPM in your budget range.

    As per your questions...
    WD is better quality than Seagate. Having said that... the quality on HDDs is actually very good these days across all brands. I actually have seen higher failure rates on SSDs recently than on HDDs.

    I always hardwire my PCs so my opinion of WiFi adapters vs onboard isnt very useful. I say on board should do the trick.

    Sabretooth isn't going to make your PC run faster. I think most people get them for the unique look.

    Since you are getting an overclocakble CPU I'd go for an aftermarket cooler to take advantage of it. Otherwise just get the non -K version and save a few dollars. The fact is the CPU isn't a limiting factor on most tasks (especially gaming). The GPU is what causes noticeable slowdowns... That is why I recommend bumping up the GPU as it is in your budget. If you feel like Overcloking the Coolermaster Hyper 212 EVO is an inexpensive cooler that cools within a few degrees o th best coolers.
  3. You definitely want an aftermarket cooler on that rig, otherwise why buy an excellent overclocking processor.
    Your best choices:
    High end air:
    Noctua NH-D14
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835608018
    Best moderately priced air:
    Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103099

    Were I trying to hit a number, you'll see the most bang for your buck increases in a few places:
    For general productivity:
    Larger SSD - SSDs have more speed than USB flash drives because they read & write several chips in parralel. Bigger SSD = More chips = Higher speed. Plus you can store more on them, ie a 240GB is enough for all the games you are likely to be playing at one time.
    7200 RPM Secondary drive - Especially if you go for the 120GB ssd, a 7200 RPM secondary drive will be much faster, when you are using it

    For Gaming:
    Better graphics card. Note though that the one you have listed is perfectly serviceable and will play all modern games at some reasonable resolution.
    Not listed, but huge upgrade: Better monitor. Check out the articles about the 27" 2560x1440 Korean IPS panels and I think you might find the room in your budget to make the PC cost $1200 and spend the $300 on a korean monitor.
    Also not listed, but huge upgrade: Better sound. Unless you spent a lot on your PC speakers or run your PC sound into a receiver with dedicated speakers, the onboard sound is probably limited by your speakers, and not the other way around. You'll see a bigger improvement with high quality speakers (example: http://www.amazon.com/M-Audio-Studiophile-Powered-Monitor-Speakers/dp/B0051WAM64/ref=dp_ob_title_ce/180-7126934-3738634), and integrated sound. Than dedicated sound card + normal PC speakers. If you want both go for something like the Asus Xonar series for your sound card.


    You might want to increase the Ram to 2x8gb chips for later upgrade purposes, or if you ever envision doing large image Photoshopping, Video Editing, or running Virtual Machines. For general surfing, gaming, etc 2x4gb is fine.

    Your other part picks are fine, although as stated above your Power supply is overkill (but it *is* 80+ gold so it might cost you the same, or less as a cheaper power supply over time, especially if you live in a high power cost market like California).
  4. Overall, I'd say you could do better with a $900/1000 system. Then, in two years you could upgrade parts.

    Playing Shogun 2 and running web design aren't GPU intensive. So, I'd suggest spending $200 or less on a GPU.
    For photo editing, you can get i5s that are fantastic. And when you use an i5 with a SSD your editing will be amazing, and you won't regret it.

    Your mobo, case, and PSU are overkill. You could save at least $100 there, and definitely don't buy a sound card.

    You should look into a quality monitor. If you want photo editing then you want a good screen. Also, if your building a great system you want eye candy. Get a 24" 1220p screen.
  5. forget about the "concept" of upgrading parts in a couple years - it just doesn't work that way in most cases

    bu more importantly - does your budget include the 2 monitors? I don't suggest Korean monitors like someone's mentioned, and prefer an actual warranty from a brick and mortar place in the US to purchase from, which is why I suggest these monitors
    http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?c=us&cs=04&l=en&sku=320-2676
  6. Quote:
    1. Lose the sound card... Onboard is better than that card.

    Would you have any recommendations for a sound card?

    Quote:
    WD is better quality than Seagate. The quality on HDDs is very good these days


    So I should get WD instead of Seagate? What is the difference between all the Black, Blue and Green labels?

    Quote:

    Sabretooth isn't going to make your PC run faster. I think most people get the for the unique look.

    I got that after watching the Newegg video. It seems to be more like an "industrial strength" mobo.

    Quote:

    Since you are getting an overclocakble CPU I'd go for an aftermarket cooler to take advantage of it. Otherwise just get the non -K version and save a few dollars. The fact is the CPU isn't a limiting factor on most tasks (especially gaming). The GPU is what causes noticeable slowdowns... That is why I recommend bumping up the GPU as it is in your budget.


    I see.
  7. Phil from Loreauville said:
    Quote:
    1. Lose the sound card... Onboard is better than that card.

    Would you have any recommendations for a sound card?

    Quote:
    WD is better quality than Seagate. The quality on HDDs is very good these days


    So I should get WD instead of Seagate? What is the difference between all the Black, Blue and Green labels?

    Quote:

    Sabretooth isn't going to make your PC run faster. I think most people get the for the unique look.

    I got that after watching the Newegg video. It seems to be more like an "industrial strength" mobo.

    Quote:

    Since you are getting an overclocakble CPU I'd go for an aftermarket cooler to take advantage of it. Otherwise just get the non -K version and save a few dollars. The fact is the CPU isn't a limiting factor on most tasks (especially gaming). The GPU is what causes noticeable slowdowns... That is why I recommend bumping up the GPU as it is in your budget.


    I see.


    I recommend using the on-board sound card. The only reason to get something better is if you do all out audio editing for professional purposes. On board sound is really very very good.
    In the case that you needed to do pro-editing at around $100 and up is the only place you'd see any additional functionality of the cards but really no additional quality of sound. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829132006
    At $200 the sound quality is better but unless you have highly discerning ears you won't even notice
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829132054

    As far as WD drives - black is the fastest andhas the best warranty, blue is fast, green is for low power consumption, and red is low power too but is RAID capable.

    Sabretooth essentially is a bunch of plastic stuck on a regular mobo... Some sites have shown it actually traps heat under the plastic and causes loss in performance. But it looks cool... It is nice if you are a clumsy person that drops stuff onto your mobo a lot...
  8. Guys, I can't tell you how much I appreciate your input.
    Thanks.
    like I said, this is something that I've wanted to do for a long time.

    I've updated the build with some of your suggestions.

    I'm still looking at video cards, but I'm leaning towards the GTX 660 (the free copy of borderlands 2 at newegg has my attention).

    I added the WD 1 TB Caviar Black. I figure if I want more space I'll get it later and I changed the PSU to a 650 watt Corsair.

    What is a WD ""Bare Drive"?
  9. Bare drives/OEM drives include nothing but the drive, in a plain brown box. As opposed to a retail box drive, which comes in pretty branded packaging suitable for resale with the manufacturers name, drive size, etc. Sometimes also comes with accessories such as software, often 2.5->3.5" mounting brackets in the case of SSDs, occassionally screws or cables.
  10. Very important thing to remember I see noone has posted is that you need Low Profile RAM like the G.Skill Ares because the heatsinks clash with the cooler.
  11. Low-ish profile ram is a good idea from an upgrading perspective, but with only 2 slots filled he could use any ram he wants - it almost always is only an issue with the first ram slot. With the Coolermaster Evo or Hyper 212+ you can always swap the fan around to pull configuration on the back side instead of push from the RAM side, too, if it is an issue.
  12. Like I said before.....
    I'll be having 2 monitors (separate from budget).
    Am I correct in assuming that all I'll need is a GPU with 2 DVI ports? Or do I need something else like a special cable or adapter?
  13. Phil from Loreauville said:
    Like I said before.....
    I'll be having 2 monitors (separate from budget).
    Am I correct in assuming that all I'll need is a GPU with 2 DVI ports? Or do I need something else like a special cable or adapter?

    It entirely depends on what connections the displays have on it (HDMI, DisplayPort or DVI)- but for all intents and purposes, yes your assumption is correct.

    Gaming on 2 screens is not suggested because of the big black divider you'll have in the center - 3 screens (sometimes described as surround gaming) is suggested for gaming
  14. So is it as easy as hooking up a monitor to each DVI port?
    What is a Dual DVI port?
    I won't be doing much gaming with 2 monitors, just working on my websites.
  15. If you got 1920x1080 monitors (1080p) it is a simple as connecting each monitor to a DVI or HDMI port. If you got a 2560x1440 Korean monitor (or two), you need "Dual Link DVI" - basically this uses a "Dual Link DVI" cable with more pins (and the connector has more pins active) and supports higher resolution. Many graphics cards have only one Dual Link DVI port, so if you get/are thinking about getting two korean monitors you need to specifically look for & purchase a graphics card with 2 dual link DVI ports. On non-korean high resolution monitors with more inputs, you can usually get >1080p using an HDMI cable or Display port.
  16. don't confuse "Dual DVI port" which means there are 2 DVI connectors (of some Type) - with "Dual-Link DVI"
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Visual_Interface
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