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New Build for a Noob

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October 31, 2012 10:56:01 PM


I have never built a computer before and have always wanted to. I now have a real job and money to spend so it is the perfect time.

Approximate Purchase Date: Now

Budget Range: $1000-$1,200

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming ( Starcraft 2, Battlefield 3), surfing net, watching movies, working in microsoft office

Are you buying a monitor: Yes

Do you need to buy OS: Yes

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I'll leave that to you guys.

Location: Detroit, Michigan

Parts Preferences: Intel

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920 X 1080 if cost feasible

Additional Comments: I'm a complete noob. I remember back (I'm talking 10 years ago) my friend would build computers and use a cpu/motherboard combo. Do they still do that? If so, I'd prefer that.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: Current computer is 10 years old.

Thank guys!

More about : build noob

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October 31, 2012 11:21:42 PM
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Tada:


PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($169.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Xigmatek GAIA SD1283 56.3 CFM CPU Cooler ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($117.86 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($33.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($54.99 @ Microcenter)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($87.99 @ B&H)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($349.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Zalman Z11 ATX Mid Tower Case ($45.94 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Antec EarthWatts Green 650W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ Newegg)
Monitor: Asus VE228H 21.5" Monitor ($129.99 @ NCIX US)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1151.70
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)


It would be feasible to downgrade the GPU a bit and spend more on the Case & PSU if you prefer, but otherwise I feel like this build would be excellent bang for you buck and should last you for many years to come.

Also I'm sure someone is going to chime in at some point and tell you to get an AMD GPU instead, which would be fine if you have no brand preference between them and nvidia, but a 670 for $350 is pretty tough to beat.
November 1, 2012 12:46:22 AM

Any reason you wouldn't go with Windows 8?
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November 1, 2012 12:49:11 AM

Nah, just personal preference on the interface, the guts are largely the same and Win8 even makes some improvements in a few places from what I understand. If you're interested, then by all means swap it out. :) 
November 1, 2012 1:48:05 AM

Thank you for your insight. The CPU price you quoted looks like its for in store pickup only though.

Could anyone else chime in on the build or suggest something different? I'm just trying to get as many opinions as possible.
November 1, 2012 2:10:10 AM

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/m6lQ

Well, I kinda piggybacked off of ckholt's build. However, there are a few differences, mostly due to taking advantage of combo discounts. Case, PSU, optical drive, hard drive, monitor, and perhaps most importantly, the video card are different (with the video card being a MSI HAWK Radeon 7870 model rather than his 7950). By switching the PSU with the one from his build, however, you can gain enough savings to get a 7950 instead (or close to it anyway). His build is pretty good, though. Windows 7 is kept with this one because it's bundled with the mobo for some extra savings.
November 1, 2012 2:25:48 AM

It looks to me like there's a microcenter in Detroit: http://www.microcenter.com/site/stores/default.aspx

Not likely to find a better price online. :) 

Also I had an Nvidia GTX 670 in my build, not an AMD 7950. ;) 

It's worth noting that BF3 tends to run better on nvidia cards.
November 1, 2012 2:27:32 AM

Whoops. My mistake there.
November 1, 2012 2:32:48 AM

ckholt83 said:
Tada:


PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($169.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Xigmatek GAIA SD1283 56.3 CFM CPU Cooler ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($117.86 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($33.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($54.99 @ Microcenter)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($87.99 @ B&H)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($349.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Zalman Z11 ATX Mid Tower Case ($45.94 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Antec EarthWatts Green 650W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ Newegg)
Monitor: Asus VE228H 21.5" Monitor ($129.99 @ NCIX US)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1151.70
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)


It would be feasible to downgrade the GPU a bit and spend more on the Case & PSU if you prefer, but otherwise I feel like this build would be excellent bang for you buck and should last you for many years to come.

Also I'm sure someone is going to chime in at some point and tell you to get an AMD GPU instead, which would be fine if you have no brand preference between them and nvidia, but a 670 for $350 is pretty tough to beat.


Get a 7950 if you want to save money. It is $300 BEFORE rebate. It is also roughly as strong when they are both overclocked.
November 1, 2012 2:34:28 AM

ckholt83 said:
It looks to me like there's a microcenter in Detroit: http://www.microcenter.com/site/stores/default.aspx

Not likely to find a better price online. :) 

Also I had an Nvidia GTX 670 in my build, not an AMD 7950. ;) 

It's worth noting that BF3 tends to run better on nvidia cards.


After the new drivers they perform much closer to each other. Also that is ONE game!
November 1, 2012 2:46:23 AM

CaptainTom said:
After the new drivers they perform much closer to each other. Also that is ONE game!


It's one of the only two games that the OP has listed for usage, which is why I pointed it out. If he spends a lot of time in that ONE game, then the performance gain is a lot more significant. I also wouldn't necessarily advocate that a first time builder and self proclaimed noob try overclocking his GPU right out of the gate to try and match the potential of a 670.
November 1, 2012 8:16:01 PM

ckholt83 said:
It's one of the only two games that the OP has listed for usage, which is why I pointed it out. If he spends a lot of time in that ONE game, then the performance gain is a lot more significant. I also wouldn't necessarily advocate that a first time builder and self proclaimed noob try overclocking his GPU right out of the gate to try and match the potential of a 670.


Yeah because pushing a button is so hard lol (That's what overclocking is now). Again, check the benchmarks on BF3 after the newest drivers. The picture has changed. Last, it is one game! He will not play it more than every game he gets in 2-4 years combined.


At the end of the day, either of these cards can max BF3 with ease. However one is the better deal. ;) 
November 1, 2012 8:20:39 PM

Ice908 said:
Thank you for your insight. The CPU price you quoted looks like its for in store pickup only though.

Could anyone else chime in on the build or suggest something different? I'm just trying to get as many opinions as possible.


the i5 3570k is the best gaming cpu for the money.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

There is a microcenter in detriot and the cpu is $60 cheaper then newegg, amazon ect. Is the drive worth either a better computer or $50 after tax? 40 after tax+gas?
November 1, 2012 11:19:20 PM

Ah, fanboys.

So yeah, the 7950 did get a ~7% improvement bump with the new 12.11 drivers, but you can see that the 670 still maintains a healthy performance lead at stock speeds in the benchmarks here: http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/AMD/Catalyst_12.11_P...

As for overclocking performance, I assume that your claims are in reference to this article or perhaps a similar one: http://www.hardocp.com/article/2012/08/23/galaxy_gtx_66...

Here is a pertinent quote from the conclusion:

"Firstly, we were surprised how well the overclocked HD 7950 did in our results as this card has no doubt received some performance benefit from the latest driver set. The Radeon HD 7950 often gets the backseat at stock frequencies in our testing, and it seems that extreme overclocking is its saving grace. Keep this in mind though; we are using a custom video card, the XFX Radeon HD 7950 Black Edition, which overclocks extremely well. Not all Radeon HD 7950 based video cards can overclock this high. It takes a video card with voltage control and well designed custom cooling in order to achieve clock speeds as high as we did, near 1.2GHz. Also, we had an incredible memory overclock of 6.8GHz on this video card, giving us a huge memory bandwidth boost.

It is the GPU overclock that provides the most performance on Radeon HD 7950 and it takes near 1.2GHz for the Radeon HD 7950 to shine in this comparison. Unless you have a high-end custom video card with voltage control and great cooling, you won't be able to get the HD 7950 up to these clock levels most likely. We've had some poor overclocks on HD 7950 cards in the past, so it takes a video card with enthusiast performance in mind to get this level of gameplay. Our HD 7950 overclock represents pretty much the best performance you can get out of a custom built Radeon HD 7950 and we just want everyone to be clear on this."

Just as easy as pushing a button, right?

The 670 performs significantly better right out of the box with no modifications, and the model that they overclocked to reach the same performance levels as an overclocked 670 is actually a hair more expensive than the 670 I just linked: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


I recommend AMD cards all the time despite my own admitted preference for nvidia, but a 670 for $320 is a killer deal and it fits nicely into the OP's budget. The only way a 7950 is a better value is if he's willing to risk frying his hardware trying to tweak voltages for an extreme GPU overclock on his very first build.
November 2, 2012 12:53:41 AM

Honestly, I'm new to OC'ing myself, and I'm not about to do that with the 7870 I got just a few days ago (not that I need to, at the moment I only have older games that won't tax it at all). For a guy new to the 'game', so to speak, I don't think I'd recommend having to figure out voltages and tweaks to do any overclocking. I'm not really one to talk, but the idea of frying a GPU that costs $200 and up isn't exactly my idea of fun. If the OP's only playing certain games that work best with nVidia, then I'd say go with nVidia cards. And if the 670 is in budget, and there's nothing else pressing to put more cash into, then go for it.
November 2, 2012 2:02:57 AM

ckholt83 said:
Ah, fanboys.

So yeah, the 7950 did get a ~7% improvement bump with the new 12.11 drivers, but you can see that the 670 still maintains a healthy performance lead at stock speeds in the benchmarks here: http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/AMD/Catalyst_12.11_P...

As for overclocking performance, I assume that your claims are in reference to this article or perhaps a similar one: http://www.hardocp.com/article/2012/08/23/galaxy_gtx_66...

Here is a pertinent quote from the conclusion:

"Firstly, we were surprised how well the overclocked HD 7950 did in our results as this card has no doubt received some performance benefit from the latest driver set. The Radeon HD 7950 often gets the backseat at stock frequencies in our testing, and it seems that extreme overclocking is its saving grace. Keep this in mind though; we are using a custom video card, the XFX Radeon HD 7950 Black Edition, which overclocks extremely well. Not all Radeon HD 7950 based video cards can overclock this high. It takes a video card with voltage control and well designed custom cooling in order to achieve clock speeds as high as we did, near 1.2GHz. Also, we had an incredible memory overclock of 6.8GHz on this video card, giving us a huge memory bandwidth boost.

It is the GPU overclock that provides the most performance on Radeon HD 7950 and it takes near 1.2GHz for the Radeon HD 7950 to shine in this comparison. Unless you have a high-end custom video card with voltage control and great cooling, you won't be able to get the HD 7950 up to these clock levels most likely. We've had some poor overclocks on HD 7950 cards in the past, so it takes a video card with enthusiast performance in mind to get this level of gameplay. Our HD 7950 overclock represents pretty much the best performance you can get out of a custom built Radeon HD 7950 and we just want everyone to be clear on this."

Just as easy as pushing a button, right?

The 670 performs significantly better right out of the box with no modifications, and the model that they overclocked to reach the same performance levels as an overclocked 670 is actually a hair more expensive than the 670 I just linked: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


I recommend AMD cards all the time despite my own admitted preference for nvidia, but a 670 for $320 is a killer deal and it fits nicely into the OP's budget. The only way a 7950 is a better value is if he's willing to risk frying his hardware trying to tweak voltages for an extreme GPU overclock on his very first build.


If there is a 670 for $320 than yeah that is an amazing deal. That would be like finding a 7950 for $250. I have yet to see one for that much. But if it is available of course go for it. I'm not a fanboy, I have owned a 560 ti.
November 4, 2012 2:18:09 AM

Best answer selected by Ice908.
November 4, 2012 2:19:43 AM

I will be driving to Madison Heights tomorrow to pick up the processor. Thanks!
!