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If anyone out there likes to critique builds, I need advice.

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October 20, 2012 6:09:43 PM

Just some background if you want to know what I'm looking for:

So, I've never been too demanding with PCs. I'm a console gamer and just like to surf the web and run microsoft office. However, with my engineering major and roomates getting me to play computer games, I'm pushing the limits of my 2.3GHz dual core laptop. Mainly I'm trying to build one that will be able to keep up with the tech nowadays without having to change out parts for awhile. Not a huge PC gamer (actually quite bad with a keyboard as compared to a controller) but I would like it to be able to run some games without having to lower settings all the way to the minimum and still have low FPS.

What my current plan is:

Processor: AMD FX-4100 Zambezi 3.6GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) Socket AM3+ 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor
Link

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD3 AM3+ AMD 990FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
Link

Storage Device: Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2CCA 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
Link

Memory: Patriot Gamer 2 Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model (comes free with promotion, might change)
Link

GPU: EVGA 01G-P3-1556-KR GeForce GTX 550 Ti (Fermi) FPB 1GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
Link

Drive: LG DVD Burner (cheapest one I can find)

Power: Antec BP550 Plus 550W Continuous Power ATX12V V2.2 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
Link

Case: Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case with Upgraded USB 3.0
Link


Here's some of my reasoning behind these choices:

1. Have an external hard drive for all my files so I only need programs and games on the SSD, and I'm barely pushing 20GB on my laptop.

2. Would like to stick to SATA III and USB 3 so I don't get outdated too fast.

3. The graphics card just seemed like a good mid-ground when looking at current games (starcraft, civilization, total war) recommended requirements.

4. Quad core processor instead of stronger dual core because I believe programs will start switching to multi-threading since its possible now.

That's basically my thought process on this build; it's my first one so I'm hoping it all works out and I'm completely open to advice, trying to stay around $600 and don't need a monitor.
October 20, 2012 6:24:04 PM

Just saw the new post about making it easier for people to get the info for the build; hopefully those links work haha.

basically approx $600 (preferably less if I can skimp on some things)

Don't need a monitor/keyboard/mouse (will be using just stock dell stuff and my HDTV as a monitor for now.

Anything else just ask! Hopefully everything makes sense
October 20, 2012 6:27:53 PM

Let me ask, what is the MAX you can spend on this build? without skimping...
Related resources
October 20, 2012 6:31:52 PM

ehh, probably like $700 or $750, but I'd prefer to get a basic build with a good processor/motherboard/case/power and cheap out on the rest and replace it as I feel necessary.
October 20, 2012 6:33:35 PM

An i5-3450, even with a basic H77 mobo, would give much better performance than the FX-4100, for only marginally more.
The 550Ti is a particularly feeble card. The Radeon HD7770, at similar price, is better, however, if you want decent gaming performance at 1080p, you should be trying to get at least HD7850 (or nVidia GTX660).
October 20, 2012 6:43:49 PM

Something along these lines, as a starting point, to discuss:-
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3450 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($186.97 @ CompUSA)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.D 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($197.55 @ Newegg)
Case: Antec Three Hundred Two ATX Mid Tower Case ($54.98 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Antec Basiq Plus 550W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($54.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS224-06 DVD/CD Writer ($19.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Total: $704.45
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
October 20, 2012 6:48:51 PM

That_New_Guy said:
ehh, probably like $700 or $750, but I'd prefer to get a basic build with a good processor/motherboard/case/power and cheap out on the rest and replace it as I feel necessary.

You basically you want a cheap system that may or may not have a good power supply (Insurance policy) and can barely handle its self? lol dude let me help:

If i were you I'd change your Motherboard, Processor and graphics card to these:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you want a better quality Power Supply: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
October 20, 2012 6:49:19 PM

malbluff said:
Something along these lines, as a starting point, to discuss:-
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3450 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($186.97 @ CompUSA)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.D 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($197.55 @ Newegg)
Case: Antec Three Hundred Two ATX Mid Tower Case ($54.98 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Antec Basiq Plus 550W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($54.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS224-06 DVD/CD Writer ($19.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Total: $704.45
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

Drop everything I said. This is the exact build I'd do if i was Original Poster
October 20, 2012 6:56:01 PM

Haha go easy on me Rockdpm, this is a first attempt. I just figured out the basic components a couple days ago.

I'll take a look at the posted changes, do some research so I have a better idea of what I'm posting and questioning.

And get back to it soon.
October 20, 2012 7:03:33 PM

That_New_Guy said:
Haha go easy on me Rockdpm, this is a first attempt. I just figured out the basic components a couple days ago.

I'll take a look at the posted changes, do some research so I have a better idea of what I'm posting and questioning.

And get back to it soon.

I didn't mean to offend it was some joking critisism. didn't mean to startle. I would take a look at malbluff's rig he recommended.. much better build
October 20, 2012 7:59:07 PM

@Rockdpm: no offense taken, I thought it was funny what you pointed out about my first build with the power supply. Like I said before: first build, looking for fun in doing it, trying to learn something. Feel free to say whatever haha

wish I had known about the site malbluff was using before I posted this cause I was doing most of the comparability checks in my head which apparently didn't work out too well haha

I originally wanted to go with Intel, but reading up on sites steered me away from it. I don't plan on overclocking or anything so I think Intel would be the better bet for me, thanks!

a couple questions though:

1) Why switch from SSD to Hard-drive, especially one with a TB of data? wouldn't it be better for me to have my OS, couple of programs and like 1 or 2 games on a SSD, then use my external 500GB HD for storage? it just seems like spending money on something (I think) I won't use.

2) Why should I get some $200 gpu? I'm not really planning on diving into computer games right away and that seems like one of the parts that could be replaced in the future for better performance. why not go with this one or even this
Or are there just brands you would normally stick to when purchasing GPU's


Not against anything, just trying to ask the right questions for a better understanding :) 
October 20, 2012 8:10:23 PM

Why are you guys mentioning Rosewill and Antec Basic PSUs at that price? If I were the OP, I'd get a Corsair CX430 ($25 with rebate on newegg at the moment) or CX500 instead.

Also, I have a 550ti (and i5 750), and it's enough to play most games with medium-high settings at 1080p. Going for something better (like a 7770) wouldn't be a bad idea to future-proof things though. Even if you don't need more, I would still recommend looking at a newer AMD card - the 7750 has similar performance to the 550ti, yet doesn't even need a PCIe power connector - I think the TDP is 55W. (compared to the 116W of the 550ti)

For storage, I think 60GB is a bit tight. If you get an SSD, I'd recommend getting at least a 128GB one. As for using the external drive for files, what about a backup? I'd advise using the external drive as a backup, and an internal one as the main storage. (maybe without SSD at this price point)
October 20, 2012 8:23:11 PM

livebriand said:
Why are you guys mentioning Rosewill and Antec Basic PSUs at that price? If I were the OP, I'd get a Corsair CX430 ($25 with rebate on newegg at the moment) or CX500 instead.

Also, I have a 550ti (and i5 750), and it's enough to play most games with medium-high settings at 1080p. Going for something better (like a 7770) wouldn't be a bad idea to future-proof things though. Even if you don't need more, I would still recommend looking at a newer AMD card - the 7750 has similar performance to the 550ti, yet doesn't even need a PCIe power connector - I think the TDP is 55W. (compared to the 116W of the 550ti)

For storage, I think 60GB is a bit tight. If you get an SSD, I'd recommend getting at least a 128GB one. As for using the external drive for files, what about a backup? I'd advise using the external drive as a backup, and an internal one as the main storage. (maybe without SSD at this price point)

because the corsair cx 430 is a price of crap. The rosewill I recommended is gold rated. Sure it's rosewill because if a power supply is gold rated that means it passed a number of industry standard tests to get that good of a rating. I'd like to see you run a 690 and a i7 3960x on ur cx 430... Can't be done? Yea obviously.. So why say to me that a rosewill 450 watt gold rated can't handle the specs above... Because it can do it. Trust me I've read and studdied enough, I know what I'm talking about
October 20, 2012 8:30:07 PM

That_New_Guy said:
@Rockdpm: no offense taken, I thought it was funny what you pointed out about my first build with the power supply. Like I said before: first build, looking for fun in doing it, trying to learn something. Feel free to say whatever haha

wish I had known about the site malbluff was using before I posted this cause I was doing most of the comparability checks in my head which apparently didn't work out too well haha

I originally wanted to go with Intel, but reading up on sites steered me away from it. I don't plan on overclocking or anything so I think Intel would be the better bet for me, thanks!

a couple questions though:

1) Why switch from SSD to Hard-drive, especially one with a TB of data? wouldn't it be better for me to have my OS, couple of programs and like 1 or 2 games on a SSD, then use my external 500GB HD for storage? it just seems like spending money on something (I think) I won't use.

2) Why should I get some $200 gpu? I'm not really planning on diving into computer games right away and that seems like one of the parts that could be replaced in the future for better performance. why not go with this one or even this
Or are there just brands you would normally stick to when purchasing GPU's


Not against anything, just trying to ask the right questions for a better understanding :) 

To be honest, had forgotten your comment, about SSD. Just swap that in, it makes no difference to anything else.
With regard to graphics card. Like I said, in my earlier post, you could use HD7770 (not that 550Ti), but how well you will do with that, depends on your monitor resolution. If, say, 720p, you will probably be happy with that. If your monitor is full HD (1080p), then HD7770 may last you a while, but I guarantee you will want something better, sooner, rather than later. I know you said you can upgrade, but if you find yourself doing that, in a few months, you would have been better going there, from the start. Of course, it's your decision, and you MAY be happy, longer term with something like HD7770, at virtually half the price.
October 20, 2012 8:39:01 PM

I appreciate your help! I'll look into the GPU a bit more but for the most part I think I'll stick to the build you posted. It seemed really good and in my price range. This build will probably be going down in either mid november or december (holiday break). I'll do some more reading up to that point and make sure I make the right choice!
November 23, 2012 4:29:56 PM

well I got all the parts finally. Black Friday sales helped out quite a bit! Ended up upgrading a lot of things but the initial build was a great starting point. Here's what I went with

PartPicker

Main reasons:

found an i7 for the price of the i5 (why not, right?)

Z77 motherboards were cheaper on newegg compared to the H77's. Even if I don't plan on overclocking, I could try in the future if I read up on it more and want to give it a try.

Some place had bundles of TB HDD and SSD so I bought one of those and plan on using the SSD for programs and OS for fast start-uo.

Power source only needs around 370W or 400W so I got the 430W and it was 80 Plus certified so it should be good.

Some website had the memory units for half price, which ended up being cheaper than the DDR3 1600. Pretty sure I can't use the memory to its full capacity without overclocking but it should be fine.

Graphics card: I wanted to get at least a 2GB buffer so it won't be outdated quickly by new programs/games and then I remember someone saying go with the GeForce 650 so I picked it.

Ended up spending $807 so I feel like I did well.

How's it look?
November 23, 2012 7:39:33 PM

I still don't like the fact you went with the bare minimum on your power supply... but other than that I think you did well in the end
November 23, 2012 11:19:19 PM

yea.. i was kinda worried. but it says its 80 plus certified so I hope its all good. I didn't want to buy some 700W power supply if I was only going to use 350-ish
November 24, 2012 2:17:31 AM

Some 80 Plus PSU's arent good quality. But like I said. You go with the bare minimum.. your gonna use the bare minimum
January 3, 2013 12:28:14 PM

Got everything put together, and it turns on! Followed this to set up my ssd

Everything seems to be going well so far. One thing I noticed was that my RAM was set at 1333 in the BIOS; it's 1866 and I don't think that will work without overclocking, but shouldn't it still run at 1600? Also, I'm wondering if there's a way to have my OS and major programs on the ssd, but all the unnecessary windows files (such as my documents,pictures and other user files) on the hdd.. I know I have 128G and it's not a big deal but I'm OCD about stuff like that. Guess that means time to start reading up on junctions!
January 3, 2013 8:22:46 PM

You can manually set your RAM speed in the BIOS...Without OC'ing your CPU. Its something every computer enthusiast must do
!