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Considering building my own gaming PC

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October 8, 2012 3:28:40 PM

I posted here yesterday but I would like more opinions and I didn't notice this setup. I am apprehensive about building my own simply because well ... with my luck I may fry something. I did watch the newegg video so it seems a bit easier than expected but plugging everything onto the motherboard seems a bit overwhelming. Anyways here goes...

Approximate Purchase Date: e.g.: As soon as possible my computer has not been working correctly for over a week even after about 6 formats.

Budget Range: I guess 1,000$ is about the max.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, web browsing ... don't really use the computer for much else.

Are you buying a monitor: No, I currently have a Samsung SyncMaster P2370HD

Parts to Upgrade: Everything. Just want an entire new system. My current is 4 years old and the parts are even older ...yay to not knowing what I was ordering on iBuypower.

Do you need to buy OS: No. I just bought Windows 7 Home Premium thinking upgrading would help my currant computer from Via to 7 .. did not help have exact same problems.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I have only bought parts of newegg so not really sure where else is recommended.

Location: East Providence, RI, USA.

Parts Preferences: Solid parts so I am assuming name brand items. I definitely want an Intel based computer with nvidia graphics card.

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Nah not in my budget and I don't think I need it.

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: The type of games I currently play (maybe I would play better ones if I had a decent PC) Tf2, Dota2 and Diablo 3. I have major issues with those 3 games as is so I don't even bother looking to others.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: I think (THINK) my hard drive is failing on my comp. Computer doesn't respond half the time, slow, games often crash, blue screen. I have already reformatted it with Windows 7 oh about 6 times now. Seems there is an issue each time either it blue screened, graphics card will not update, and windows updates totally crash my system. There are about 200 of them and half usually fail in the process. System restore fails and so does the create an image. I would love to get it in sort of working condition so I can give it to my parents but the only time it runs properly is when it is freshly installed and NO WINDOWS UPDATES.

More about : building gaming

October 8, 2012 3:44:36 PM

Someone has posted this setup on my last thread http://pcpartpicker.com/p/jDD4 It looks awesome but if I can't convince my hubby to go up nearly 300$ what should be cut to make to as close to 1k as possible.

Definitely getting excited. Someone I know said he would build it for me :) 
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October 8, 2012 3:50:09 PM

The one I posted will do the job quite well. Almost identical in most areas.

Case is a bit less expensive since its on sale

Power supply is less expensive but has plenty of juice and from a good manufacturer.

Video card is one step down, saves a bit of cash as well and still plenty of power. I would recommend the AMD 7870, but you said you wanted Nvidia.

The CPU cooler I chose is less expensive and will definitely still get the job done.
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October 8, 2012 3:50:35 PM

Which version of windows 7 Home Premium? 32bit/64bit
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October 8, 2012 3:56:37 PM

64bit not SP1 if that makes a difference.

Ty for the quick replies :) 
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October 8, 2012 3:59:34 PM

85$ over is fine. Just trying to keep it reasonably around 1K. Ideally I wanted to spend 1,500$ on a new computer but um hubby doesn't want to spend that much :( .
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October 8, 2012 4:46:18 PM

64 bit is SP1.

i think that that's the best build for 1085. If you can stretch the budget to even 1300, we could give you more power.
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October 8, 2012 4:51:51 PM

as long its 64 bit and you can update to SP1 in windows update
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October 8, 2012 5:03:36 PM

Well it appears I need to buy a full retail Windows 7 in order to build a new computer. All I bought was the "Upgrade to Windows XP and Vista" I really thought it would fix a lot of my issues. I saw that they sell a "system builder" version for cheaper but it sounds complicated and if I were to replace a single piece of hardware it would screws up the whole operating system. I suppose the only benefit to having bought this upgrade to windows 7 is my husband can upgrade his laptop.

I have been having so many issues with Windows update I only noticed an option for SP1 on the first reformat. Since then I haven't seen it and each windows update causes more issues than the last. They either fail or I can't even download them manually. The only option I get is to shutdown and install all 200 what not updates. So I did that yesterday and what happened most of them failed and my computer became slow as crap.

Venting ... I hate computers sometimes. So costly and so many issues.
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October 8, 2012 5:04:25 PM

I will probably have to settle for a computer close to 1k now that I have to add windows to the list :( 
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October 8, 2012 5:07:40 PM

Quote:
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/jIFB
cant really get anything better than that for 1k and nvidia graphics ( AMD will get you better bang for buck on the GPU)
Total (before mail-in rebates): $1059.91
Mail-in Rebates: $-20.00
Total: $1039.91
Lowest Possible Total: $1009.91
You could easily save 20-30 dollars on the PSU however i hooked you up with a nice bronze certified modular unit.


Hmm no idea what this is or what it does Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk. I just realized all the builds have that and my computer has nothing like this.
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October 8, 2012 5:13:18 PM

It is a solid state hard drive. Generally, you will want to install Windows and a few key applications or games on it. It will help the PC run a lot quicker.
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October 8, 2012 5:14:03 PM

RebeccaJM said:
Someone has posted this setup on my last thread http://pcpartpicker.com/p/jDD4 It looks awesome but if I can't convince my hubby to go up nearly 300$ what should be cut to make to as close to 1k as possible.

Definitely getting excited. Someone I know said he would build it for me :) 


In principle, I like this build.
A 3570K is as good as it gets for gaming.
A strong graphics card is the key to good gaming, and a GTX670 is about as good as you can get withour rapidly diminishing returns.



I would modify some details.

1) A cheaper cooler will be sufficient for a conservative overclock to the 4.0-4.3 level.
I suggest this $20 cm hyper212: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2) A GTX670 needs only a 500w psu. Even a $1000 GTX690 only needs a 620w psu.
Seasonic is about the best quality psu maker out there today.
How about thid 620W unit for $80?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

3) I like direct exhaust graphics coolers. They get the gpu heat out of the case directly. Other types do a good job of getting heat off of the gpu, but then dump it back into the case where case cooling has to deal with it.
I suggest this EVGA GTX670FTW: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

4) Stick with the Samsung 830 SSD for quality. Intel 330 is equally good. If you do not need to store large files, like video's, you might want to consider the Intel 330 180gb unit and defer on the hard drive. Hard drive prices are coming down, and you can always add one later. As a ssd nears full, it will slow down. you don't want that.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

5) With a SSD, windows updates are incredibly fast. If your dvd is not sp1, do not worry. In the process of applying all of the updates to reach currency, sp1 will be one of the updates.

6) On your old pc, download a diagnostic program from the hard drive maker. You might want to reinitialize the drive. That is a process by which the surface is analyzed and any weak sectors are set aside and replaced by a spare.
Better yet, do your folks a favor and replace the hard drive with a SSD.
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October 8, 2012 5:19:03 PM

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/jIMT

This build is my recommendation. $1,041, including Windows 7.
Better power supply, motherboard, solid state drive and case. Little bit less GPU.

I went with an AMD GPU on the build because they really are the better bang for your buck. Any particular reason why you want Nvidia?
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October 8, 2012 5:23:21 PM

RebeccaJM said:
Well it appears I need to buy a full retail Windows 7 in order to build a new computer. All I bought was the "Upgrade to Windows XP and Vista" I really thought it would fix a lot of my issues. I saw that they sell a "system builder" version for cheaper but it sounds complicated and if I were to replace a single piece of hardware it would screws up the whole operating system. I suppose the only benefit to having bought this upgrade to windows 7 is my husband can upgrade his laptop.

I have been having so many issues with Windows update I only noticed an option for SP1 on the first reformat. Since then I haven't seen it and each windows update causes more issues than the last. They either fail or I can't even download them manually. The only option I get is to shutdown and install all 200 what not updates. So I did that yesterday and what happened most of them failed and my computer became slow as crap.

Venting ... I hate computers sometimes. So costly and so many issues.


Windows home premium comes in several flavors.

I think you bought windows 7 home premium upgrade. That should be entirely suitable for your old build. That assumes you want to replace vista on the old build for your parents. Good idea, I think.
Since a copy of windows can be used on only one pc, you need a second copy for your new build.

Probably, you want home premium oem 64 bit, on sale now for $80. It is easy to install. SP1 will already be present. Boot from the dvd and install.
The only negative is that the oem copy becomes tied to this pc as defined by the motherboard. So long as you keep the same motherboard, there is no problem making other hardware changes. Even that rule is not enforced.

Full retail will cost more, but you get MS support, and the license can be transferred in the futute to a different pc.
Probably not worth it.

What is the configuration of your old PC?
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October 8, 2012 5:55:24 PM

-Current computer specs:
Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit (6.1 Build 7600)
BIOS Phoenix Award BIOS V6.00PG
Processor AMD Athlon 64x2 Dual Core Processor 5000+ 2.6GHz
4GB Ram
Graphics card GeForce GTS 250
Motherboard is Asus M2A-VM
HD Western Digital 300GB not sure on exact name.

Now that it is reformatted (again!) and no updates it runs perfectly.

-When I clicked the Microsoft OEM 64bit on pc part picker someone had said they replaced their hard drive and couldn't reinstall windows. They said the OEM version was linked to all parts of the computer not just the motherboard. So when he replaced the hard drive well he couldn't install Windows. So that scares me a bit. Plus no Microsoft support so if something ever happened then I am screwed it sounds like.

-My husband wants an intel and so do I. I feel they are superior and AMD seems to be lacking. Plus I have an AMD processor and I would like a change. As far as Nvidia well what is everyone else's feelings on that? Is Nvidia better than Radeon? I am open to suggestions. I have only ever had Nvidia so zero experience with Radeon.
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October 8, 2012 6:00:08 PM

Quote:
lol make sure you give your husband some good lovin so he stays away from porn....
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/jIK1


LOL yea maybe that will get that 1,500$ computer. But if you see my current specs I just listed I bet even all the 1K suggestions for a new comp will be an insane upgrade.
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October 8, 2012 6:15:17 PM

One theory on why you have problems:
When you do a clean install, windows loads the os starting at the fastest outer rings of the hard drive.
As you do updates, the updated data is placed on parts of the drive closer to the center axis. If that part of the drive is defective, you couls start to fail at that point. WD Data lifeguard has some utilities specific to your drive that you might try.
You will need the specific model number to find the appropriate download:
http://support.wdc.com/product/download.asp?level1=6

But... It really should be a moot point.
I suggest you buy a SSD for your folks and replace the hard drive. It will make everyday desktop operations feel so much faster.
If they will not store large files such as video's, then a 80gb or 120gb ssd will be all they need. Even a 60gb ssd might work.
It will cost about $1 per gb. If still nothing works for whatever reason, It will cost you about $150 for a cpu/mobo/ram replacement.

With OEM, you get full windows updates, regardless of the version. What you don't get is a 90 day person to person help in installation, and I think you are well past needing that. Usage issues are probably easier to resolve using these forums.

I happen to like Intel for cpu too. They seem to be much better today than amd. But, amd has it's fans.
On the graphics side, you will get comparable performance at every price point between nvidia and amd.
Some like the nvidia drivers and support a bit better. I happen to be in this camp too, but when I have used amd graphics previously , it worked well enough. Since you are comfortable with nvidia, I see no reason to go out of your way to change.
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October 8, 2012 6:46:58 PM

Quote:
As far as CPUs go Intel is definately king of the mountain now, there are some budget AMD options that are viable, however if youre spending over 100 on CPU Intel just cant be touched right now.
Nvidia and AMD both make great GPUs however right NOW, AMD definately has a lead in performance/price.
If you get a nice intel or samsung SSD that thing is never going to fail you so just put your windows on there and forget about it.

Based on what ive read from you; here is a very nice option for you, will provide GREAT real world performance while being easy to install and maintain (i cant really recommend overclocking for you lol..) and play ANY game on MAX settings.
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/jJ8M


Definitely considering this build or something similar. I like the fact that it is basically 1000$ and it looks leaps and bounds better than what I have.

I am surprised Radeon would would be better than Nvidia right now. I always just assumed Nvidia was the superior product. Although I have had issues with Nvidia as far as drivers go so many it is time to try something new.
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October 8, 2012 6:49:49 PM

geofelt said:
One theory on why you have problems:
When you do a clean install, windows loads the os starting at the fastest outer rings of the hard drive.
As you do updates, the updated data is placed on parts of the drive closer to the center axis. If that part of the drive is defective, you couls start to fail at that point. WD Data lifeguard has some utilities specific to your drive that you might try.
You will need the specific model number to find the appropriate download:
http://support.wdc.com/product/download.asp?level1=6

But... It really should be a moot point.
I suggest you buy a SSD for your folks and replace the hard drive. It will make everyday desktop operations feel so much faster.
If they will not store large files such as video's, then a 80gb or 120gb ssd will be all they need. Even a 60gb ssd might work.
It will cost about $1 per gb. If still nothing works for whatever reason, It will cost you about $150 for a cpu/mobo/ram replacement.

With OEM, you get full windows updates, regardless of the version. What you don't get is a 90 day person to person help in installation, and I think you are well past needing that. Usage issues are probably easier to resolve using these forums.

I happen to like Intel for cpu too. They seem to be much better today than amd. But, amd has it's fans.
On the graphics side, you will get comparable performance at every price point between nvidia and amd.
Some like the nvidia drivers and support a bit better. I happen to be in this camp too, but when I have used amd graphics previously , it worked well enough. Since you are comfortable with nvidia, I see no reason to go out of your way to change.


I believe this is my hard drive WDC WD3200JS-00PDB0 ATA Device I put it into the western digital website and nothing came up. If all it needs is to be updated then that's fantastic because I am really not interested in putting a whole ton of money into my currant computer. All my parents and siblings do is use the internet for various reasons. My husband and I are the gamers lol.

I may actually go with AMD for the graphics card if it saves me money and may actually be better performance than why not? The only thing I am dead set on is the intel cpu.
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October 8, 2012 7:00:29 PM

Running a test now on HD see what happens....
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October 8, 2012 7:09:41 PM

I pretty much agree with that everyone said above but i just had to make you a build. the best of the builds above in my opinion (the one jrgong suggested) simply makes too much compromises.Ill try to make it fit your budget and improve its overall quality.

Ill just make a pros and cons list comparing the build i made vs the one made by jrgong.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor ($209.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: MSI Z68A-G43 (G3) ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($34.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: OCZ Agility 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($74.48 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card ($359.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Lian-Li PC-8NW USB3.0 ATX Mid Tower Case ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($49.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS224-06 DVD/CD Writer ($19.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($92.07 @ Amazon)
Total: $1021.47
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

PROS :
Overclockble CPU (this means the potential for very high CPU performance if you've got some free time to tweak your PC)
Much better power supply (self explanatory)
Better SSD - faster loading times, more storage space
Much better case - more room for a high end graphics card, better build quality
Better optical drive - faster CD/DVD burning and smoother playback


CONS:
More expensive.
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October 8, 2012 7:23:59 PM

$1021.47 is perfectly reasonable. Being new to all this a lot of the builds look similar but I still love all the opinions and options. Wish I had came here 4 years ago when I customized but pre-built my currant computer. I am totally dead set on building my own because all the computers I try to build on cyberpower or ibuypower are all around 1200 to 1500. If I can make a thousand dollar PC that is better than theirs why not!

As far as CPU goes what is the difference between Sandy bridge and Ivy? Say I wasn't interested in over clocking which would be best? I am not sure if I would want to or even need to overclock. I only ever messed with attempting to overclock my current system was because performance was so terrible in all my games.

I am in the process of doing a full test on my PC's hard drive. Lets see what kind of errors it finds. It must have something wrong with it is every time I update it the whole PC goes to hell.
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October 8, 2012 7:33:07 PM

RebeccaJM said:
$1021.47 is perfectly reasonable. Being new to all this a lot of the builds look similar but I still love all the opinions and options. Wish I had came here 4 years ago when I customized but pre-built my currant computer. I am totally dead set on building my own because all the computers I try to build on cyberpower or ibuypower are all around 1200 to 1500. If I can make a thousand dollar PC that is better than theirs why not!

I am in the process of doing a full test on my PC's hard drive. Lets see what kind of errors it finds. It must have something wrong with it is every time I update it the whole PC goes to hell.


1) Post your diagnostic results.

2) Post a list of links to your current build thinking.

3) The physical assembly process is not time consuming or difficult. Power plugs are keyed to fit only one way. As a suggestion, download and read, cover to cover, the case and motherboard manuals. Also, buy a #2 magnetic tip phillips screwdriver. It makes holding the motherboard and other screws easy for installation. Pay particular attention to the front panel leads and where each goes.
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October 8, 2012 7:36:03 PM

Rebecca,

Ivy bridge is Intel's latest design. I'm sure a lot of people could go into the specifics a lot deeper than I can, but simply put, Ivy bridge is more powerful and more efficient than Sandy. Ivy also allows you to utilize PCI Express 3 if the motherboard and graphics cards support it, allowing for theoretically more speed there as well.
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October 8, 2012 8:09:28 PM

geofelt said:
1) Post your diagnostic results.

2) Post a list of links to your current build thinking.

3) The physical assembly process is not time consuming or difficult. Power plugs are keyed to fit only one way. As a suggestion, download and read, cover to cover, the case and motherboard manuals. Also, buy a #2 magnetic tip phillips screwdriver. It makes holding the motherboard and other screws easy for installation. Pay particular attention to the front panel leads and where each goes.


Results -

Test Option: QUICK TEST
Model Number: WDC WD3200JS-00PDB0
Unit Serial Number: WD-WCAPD3221215
Firmware Number: 21.00M21
Capacity: 320.07 GB
SMART Status: PASS
Test Result: FAIL
Test Error Code: 06-Quick Test on drive 1 did not complete! Status code = 07 (Failed read test element), Failure Checkpoint = 65 (Error Log Test) SMART self-test did not complete on drive 1!
Test Time: 03:04:12, October 08, 2012

Test Option: EXTENDED TEST
Model Number: WDC WD3200JS-00PDB0
Unit Serial Number: WD-WCAPD3221215
Firmware Number: 21.00M21
Capacity: 320.07 GB
SMART Status: PASS
Test Result: FAIL
Test Error Code: 08-Too many bad sectors detected.
Test Time: 04:01:13, October 08, 2012

That doesn't look good. Is it fixable or am I in need of a new hard drive?

Haven't decided on any one build yet. Thinking about the last one listed just not sure on that CPU. Thinking of the one jrjong posted. Simply because I don't think I am all that interested in overclocking my own system. I just wonder why the CPU jrjong listed is less expensive than the one Kamen posted.
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October 8, 2012 8:53:42 PM

Quote:
Because only K varients allow for overclocking, which allows intel to sell them for a ~30 dollar price premium. I just picked the best non-K IvyBridge i5, which should suit you VERY well.


I like your system a lot I may go with yours and maybe change the case to Kamens suggestion. Still want to think about it before I make the decision.

As far as the SSD goes now what goes on that? Just Windows and games? Then put everything else on the 1TB hard drive like music, pictures, driver downloads. Now won't all windows updates automatically go onto the SSD? I know those updates take a lot of space and SSD's aren't huge like traditionally hard drives.
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October 8, 2012 9:05:16 PM

Good news on the hard drive fail.
Now you know what the problem is.

You can try to fix it by reinitializing the drive.
You should have an option in the utility to do some sort of a erase and reformat operation.
Naturally, you can't do this under windows while windows is running on the same drive.
There should be a stand alone cd based version, or, you can temporarily put the drive in your new pc and run the utility then.

A SSD is 50x faster than a hard drive in random i/o. That is what windows does mostly. Install windows on your SSD,
Leave other drives disconnected, or windows will try to put a recovery partition on the extra drive.
A 120gb SSD is sufficient to hold the os , half a dozen games and small files like photos. music and drivers take up little space too.
Unless you will store video files which are huge, I think you may not need a hard drive at all.
If you can, recall how full that 320gb drive was.
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