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Time to build a new PC been out of it for a while so would like advice

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October 26, 2012 6:36:23 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: e.g.: Would like to buy the parts between now and Black Friday. I have a pretty open time frame would just like it to be completed before the new SimCity comes out early 2013

Budget Range: (e.g.: 300-400) Before / After Rebates; Before / After Shipping: Budget $500-$1000 after rebates and shipping

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Windows 8 Pro, Media Center Extender for Xbox360, Software development (Microsoft C#) and some games like Age of Empires Online, new SimCity (2013), and other real time strategy games.

Are you buying a monitor: No and Yes. I have 2 older Dell 19" UltraSharps I would like to use to start and later add a new 3rd monitor (middle/main) so being able to drive 3+ monitors is required.

Parts to Upgrade: (e.g.: CPU, mobo, RAM) The only parts I might reuse for now would be external DVD Burner, and possible a large case don't remember the brand/model. I'd like to get a much smaller case if possible.

Do you need to buy OS: No I have Windows 8 Pro.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: amazon.com (Have Prime) newegg, anywhere that has a decent price and is reliable.

Location: Tampa, FL

Parts Preferences: by brand or type (e.g.: I would like to upgrade to Intel CPU): 4 core minimum processor.

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: Probably not the games I play don't use/need it.

Your Monitor Resolution: (e.g.: 1024x768, 1280x1024, 1440x900, 1600x1200, 1680x1050, 1920x1080, 1920x1200 or if you're upgrading please state what you'd want to get) I don't recall the resolution but the higher the better for me.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: Current build is very old and outdated. Want to build something fast and new for the newer development products from Microsoft and for SimCity that comes out early next year.

I use to be way into hardware and builds and new a lot but it's probably been 7+ years now since I did my last build and it's time for a new one rather than just upgrade what I have.

I will try to be as detailed as possible. I'm looking for hardware suggestions to meet my needs I can do my own price hunting. I will probably start buying some of it now but will also wait to see what I can get during black friday.

I already have Windows 8 Pro for it but that's really it. I will be using it for my Xbox as well so running Media Center will be important. Mostly will be use for email/internet and software development with Microsoft products since that's what I do for a living but I want it be good enough to place some games. I mostly like real time strategy games on the PC like Age of Empires online. I have Sim City pre-ordered so it needs to run well too.

Here is a quick list of software that will be installed: IIS, .NET, Microsoft Visual Studio 2012, Office 2013 (Outlook, OneNote, Word, Excel, Access), MS SQL 2012, Lync and lots of various other smaller programs. That's the build of what will be used.

Hardware wish list.
SSD probably 128 for the OS
SATA 2TB + data drive (maybe a 10k rpm)
Min 8 gig of ram but will probably want 16
The smaller the case the better without compromising space for everything and airflow
MIN 3 Monitors, right now I have several Dell 19" Ultra Sharp monitors I will use. I will probably add a new monitor bigger wide screen later as the center and use 2 of the 19" Ultra sharps on the side for a total of 3 so the mobo/processor and case/power supply will probably need to support and be able to fit correctly 2 video cards.
I'm thinking a 4core processor min would be open to 6 or 8 all depends on price.

Budget I was thinking $500 to $1000 but closer to $500 I can get the better.

I don't have a Micro-Center or anything here in Tampa, FL so most if not all will be ordered online. I won't be over clocking and I don't need SLI (I don't think) since I don't plan on playing any games that would use it.

As far as a DVD/CDR burner I have an external I can use it's older but I would be open to getting something new if there was room in the case for it.

Plenty of USB 3.0 ports would be nice as well as external SATA ports. gigabit ethernet port of course. the onboard sound is probably good enough for me.

More about : time build advice

October 27, 2012 7:34:26 PM

I have taken the liberty of selecting components for a system that meets or exceeds your requirements and totals $720 USD, simply click here to see the components and cheapest vendor.
October 27, 2012 7:51:06 PM

That is awesome thank you, I didn't know where to even begin especially with the processor and motherboard.
Related resources
October 27, 2012 11:34:43 PM

My pleasure, it is not too difficult once you know what to look for.
October 28, 2012 12:03:59 AM

I could use the case and PS I have it's pretty big. The only reason I was thinking a new case is I'd like something very small if possible can hardly lift the one I have.

Also question on the video card. I want to be able to drive atleast 3 monitors so would I just get a second of the same?
October 28, 2012 12:44:49 AM

So you are looking for a smaller case? It would be worth knowing what power supply you have currently to ensure it will safely power your new parts.
The video card I listed should more than drive the three monitors, if you plan to game across them then it may cause a problem, but if its just your desktop and game on 1 screen it should be fine. You can buy another 7770 if you need the power but it should not be necessary.
October 28, 2012 3:12:27 AM

I'll have to take it apart to see it's been so long I don't remember the brand or wattage.

On the video card I see it has 2 DVI ports in the picture but newegg says

HDMI
1 x HDMI
DisplayPort
1 x Mini DisplayPort
DVI
1 x DVI

But looks like that's wrong. So I'm guessing I would plug my two existing Dell 19" Ultra sharps into the DVI ports and then the new monitor I end up getting I need to make sure it's HDMI or Mini DisplayPort.
October 28, 2012 8:30:35 PM

From newegg.com: "...the AMD Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition is set to drive next generation displays at up to 4K resolution." I am not aware of a display that is 4000pixles in any direction, also this is in reference to AMD's EyeFinity which is where the GPU will use multiple displays as one large display, as opposed to multiple smaller displays, meaning full-screen will span all connected displays as opposed to filling just one screen.
The card clearly has 2 DVI ports, and I believe they are "Dual Link" which means an adapter will allow each to power 2 displays, for 4 displays on the DVI ports. Alternatively one could theoretically run a single display from each of the ports on the card.
In short, the card will support multiple displays on its own.
October 28, 2012 10:22:04 PM

How would you connect 4 dvi monitors to what is show as only 2 DVI ports? Do you have to by some adapter or something?
October 28, 2012 11:28:33 PM

Yes, they make a "Y" dongle, it looks like a splitter but he computer will recognize each display independently.
October 29, 2012 11:58:00 AM

I think I've seen that before and it blew my mind cause I didn't know how that worked. So thanks for that. Does the card come with this Y cables or is it something I'll have to order?

Next is I'd like to get yours/anyones opinion on what was recommended vs what newegg I see has on sale at the moment (got an email)

Recommended Intel Core i5-3450 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor $179 Amazon
VS
AMD FX-4100 Zambezi 3.6GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) Socket AM3+ 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor FD4100WMGUSBX $94.99 Newegg

Recommended Asus P8H77-V ATX LGA1155 Motherboard $115.99 Newegg
VS
ASUS SABERTOOTH 990FX R2.0 AM3+ AMD 990FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS $174.99

Recommended Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory 40.99 Newegg
VS
Kingston HyperX Blu Red Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 Desktop Memory Model KHX16C9B1RK2/8 $39.99 Newegg

Recommended Corsair 300R ATX Mid Tower Case 64.99 Newegg
VS
Thermaltake Dokker Mid-Tower Computer Case Single Bay HDD Docking Station High Airflow Design VM600M1W2Z $44.99 Newegg (Looks like this one won't matter as it's discontinued and out of stock but would still like opinions so I know what to look for in the future when a deal comes up.)
October 31, 2012 3:06:22 AM

MrSmoofy said:
I think I've seen that before and it blew my mind cause I didn't know how that worked. So thanks for that. Does the card come with this Y cables or is it something I'll have to order?

Next is I'd like to get yours/anyones opinion on what was recommended vs what newegg I see has on sale at the moment (got an email)

Recommended Intel Core i5-3450 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor $179 Amazon
VS
AMD FX-4100 Zambezi 3.6GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) Socket AM3+ 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor FD4100WMGUSBX $94.99 Newegg

Recommended Asus P8H77-V ATX LGA1155 Motherboard $115.99 Newegg
VS
ASUS SABERTOOTH 990FX R2.0 AM3+ AMD 990FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS $174.99

Recommended Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory 40.99 Newegg
VS
Kingston HyperX Blu Red Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 Desktop Memory Model KHX16C9B1RK2/8 $39.99 Newegg

Recommended Corsair 300R ATX Mid Tower Case 64.99 Newegg
VS
Thermaltake Dokker Mid-Tower Computer Case Single Bay HDD Docking Station High Airflow Design VM600M1W2Z $44.99 Newegg (Looks like this one won't matter as it's discontinued and out of stock but would still like opinions so I know what to look for in the future when a deal comes up.)


If you would like to go with an AMD processor in a gaming computer (or a computer set up to accommodate gaming) then I recommend looking at Best Gaming CPUs For The Money: October 2012, in which they (the Tom's Hardware Staff) recommend only the AMD FX-4170, and even that recommendation is weak; if you would like to step into something less expensive you could look at an i3 or Pentium (re-branded old architecture, but still good enough) processor, look at the Gaming CPU Hierarchy Chart and you will see that the AMD chips are not on the same level as current generation Intel Core iX processors. The motherboard will follow which processor you get, if you get a processor and plan to overclock it, be sure the motherboard is well equipped to do so.
The RAM you have selected is simply a different brand than what I selected, that is personal preference.
The case is also largely personal preference, the criteria I searched by was a) mid-tower case, b)USB 3.0 front connectors, and c) low cost/performance ratio as tested in One In 15: Picking An Overall Winner. Having a hot-swap bay on your case is cool, but I personally do not see it being very useful unless I was regularly doing tech work on other peoples computers.
All of my suggestions are just that, suggestions, if you have preferences and would like me to take them into account that is no problem, I just work with what I am given.
October 31, 2012 10:25:42 AM

noreaster said:
If you would like to go with an AMD processor in a gaming computer (or a computer set up to accommodate gaming) then I recommend looking at Best Gaming CPUs For The Money: October 2012, in which they (the Tom's Hardware Staff) recommend only the AMD FX-4170, and even that recommendation is weak; if you would like to step into something less expensive you could look at an i3 or Pentium (re-branded old architecture, but still good enough) processor, look at the Gaming CPU Hierarchy Chart and you will see that the AMD chips are not on the same level as current generation Intel Core iX processors. The motherboard will follow which processor you get, if you get a processor and plan to overclock it, be sure the motherboard is well equipped to do so.
The RAM you have selected is simply a different brand than what I selected, that is personal preference.
The case is also largely personal preference, the criteria I searched by was a) mid-tower case, b)USB 3.0 front connectors, and c) low cost/performance ratio as tested in One In 15: Picking An Overall Winner. Having a hot-swap bay on your case is cool, but I personally do not see it being very useful unless I was regularly doing tech work on other peoples computers.
All of my suggestions are just that, suggestions, if you have preferences and would like me to take them into account that is no problem, I just work with what I am given.


I understand. I will not be overclocking think I've only ever done a couple times in my life never been an overclocker. As for gaming I'm not a BIG PC gamer I mostly place real time strategy games like Age of Empires online and will be playing the new Sim City but I do want to be able to turn on all the graphics features without problems. Most of the work the PC will do will be programming which is not intensive till I compile the program I'd not like to have to wait around for that to complete which is why I was considering a 10k or 15k drive for the data drive (until I saw their price). I definitely will want the ram fast and I'll be going with a min of 8gb and will probably do 16gb or add 8gb shortly after it's built and running.

The only reason I brought any of those other options up was simply because they were on sale I do not know enough about any of the processors or mother boards to properly compare and determine which one is better. I've always known Intel processors to be better and AMD processors to be cheaper and figured both brands were probably on par with each other these days but it sounds like not.

When I think of a Gaming PC I think of someone playing FPS games like Call of Duty or Cyris or WoW. I don't play that on PC I have an Xbox360 for that. If my Xbox 360 had a mouse and could look/work the same as a PC for the games I do play I wouldn't play games on my PC at all haha.

Anyways really appreciate your expert input and comments.
November 6, 2012 11:20:22 AM

noreaster said:
If you would like to go with an AMD processor in a gaming computer (or a computer set up to accommodate gaming) then I recommend looking at Best Gaming CPUs For The Money: October 2012, in which they (the Tom's Hardware Staff) recommend only the AMD FX-4170, and even that recommendation is weak; if you would like to step into something less expensive you could look at an i3 or Pentium (re-branded old architecture, but still good enough) processor, look at the Gaming CPU Hierarchy Chart and you will see that the AMD chips are not on the same level as current generation Intel Core iX processors. The motherboard will follow which processor you get, if you get a processor and plan to overclock it, be sure the motherboard is well equipped to do so.
The RAM you have selected is simply a different brand than what I selected, that is personal preference.
The case is also largely personal preference, the criteria I searched by was a) mid-tower case, b)USB 3.0 front connectors, and c) low cost/performance ratio as tested in One In 15: Picking An Overall Winner. Having a hot-swap bay on your case is cool, but I personally do not see it being very useful unless I was regularly doing tech work on other peoples computers.
All of my suggestions are just that, suggestions, if you have preferences and would like me to take them into account that is no problem, I just work with what I am given.


So I ended up with the diablotek Black Midtower case (refurbished) since it was Free after rebates.

I also ordered a retail box AMD Phenom II x6 Processor 2.7Ghz, 3.2 GHz Turbo Core 6 Core 9.0 MB Cache Socket AM3 with Heat Sink Fan

So far that's it. I went to turn on my old PC and believe it or not either there is a short of the Powersupply died (it's the second one in it)

So I started reading about Power Supplies on here and wish I had known all I know now previously I probably would not of gone through 2 power supplies.

That said I'm wondering about the one you recommended. I'm one for kind of future proofing on some items and the power supply seems like a good idea. To start I plan on just having the USB connectors, motherboard, processor, 1 SSD for OS and 1 HDD for the data drive, a DVD/CDR reader/writer, and 1 video card.

In the future I could see myself at a minimum adding more HDD's and if some game comes along where I want/need dual video cards that's always possible.

After reading all about power supplies I think I have some additional preference input on that.

1. Modular, mostly for the reason I can remove cords for things I'm not using yet or may never use
2. More Power? If I end up with more HDD or a second video card I don't want to be short on power or maxing out the PSU all the time.
3. better 80 PLUS certification? Is 80 PLUS GOLD overkill?

I'm thinking of not going cheap as I now understand what happens so I'm willing to spend up to $100 on a PSU to make sure I get something decent that will last a while and not have issues if I add more hardware later.
November 7, 2012 6:35:25 PM

So here is what I'm looking at so far. Will be a bit more than my price point of $500 but that's ok I think I can get some of these items a bit cheaper maybe during Black Friday or I may just go ahead and pull the trigger. Not 100% sold on the Graphics card yet or which PSU to get but I think what I have picked so far should be plenty fast enough and last long enough (a few years) before I do this again. Also left to decide on is a Blu-ray/dvd/cdrw reader/writer and whether I will go ahead and buy a new data drive or use one or two of the existing ones from the old system that are raid together. Still need to power that thing up somehow and get the data off first before I take it apart and resell anything that I can out of it.

Price Price after Rebates
Case
Diablotek ABYSS CPA-8818-BK Black Edition SECC / Plastic/ Metal Mesh ATX Mid Tower Computer Case $49.99 $0.00

Processor
AMD Phenom II X6 1045T 2.7Ghz, 3.2 GHz Turbo Socket AM3 $104.99 $93.99

Motherboard
GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD5 AM3+ AMD 990FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard $164.99 $144.99

Memory
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Desktop Memory Model F3-14900CL10D-16GBXL $79.99 $59.99

SSD (OS)
SAMSUNG 830 Series MZ-7PC128B/WW 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) $89.99 $89.99

Video Card
XFX CORE Edition FX-777A-ZNF4 Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card $119.99 $99.99


$488.95
!