Need help: Building my 2nd System Ever

I'm planning on building my own computer for the second time in my life. I've done a few barebones systems in the past but this will be only my second time messing around with motherboard and CPU. I'm not very knowlegable about computer hardware. So I'm hoping to find some good advice as I progress on my build. This thread will probably be divided into two parts.

Step 1: Selecting the parts
Step 2: building the machine

For step 1 so far I have the following:

* CPU: I'm probably definitely going with the i7-3770 (non-k/non-s), unless someone talks me down from the ledge.

* Motherboard: Not sure what I want here yet. I'm thinking an ATX for under $100 would be suitable. Any recommendations would be appreciated.

* GPU: GeForce GTX 550 Ti (this will be cannibalized from my old machine)

* PSU: Corsair TX650W (will also be cannibalized from my old machine)

* RAM: Not sure yet what I want to get but I've been eyeing some Corsair Vengeance. Also not sure how much RAM I want to put in my machine yet.

* SSD: Not sure yet what I want to get here either.

* HDD: Will cannibalize my old one.

* DVD/burner: Will cannibalize my old one.

* OS: Window 7. I will be tying to used the same installation I have on my old machine because I will be trashing my old system and my Windows 7 is relatively new. So I don't want to lose it.

Does anyone have any recommendations, tips or advice for the above? I figure Black Friday will be "D-Day" for purchasing my parts so any advice I can get in the next few days would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks for any help!

Gary
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  1. Hi Gary

    What is the purpose of this machine? Gaming, General use, CAD, Video/audio editing?

    It will have a big effect on which parts are appropriate for your usage, and make it easy for us to assist you ;)

    Fungi
  2. Because you already have a gaming graphics card, let me assume that gaming is a primary interest.
    Here are my thoughts:

    1. A 3570K is the top cpu for gamers. Few games can use more than 2-3 cores, so the extra $100 you spend for the hyperthreads on the 3770 are largely wasted. And, for 5% more for a "K", you will get 25% more performance when you overclock conservatively. I would keep that option open, even if you do not oc initially. It really is easy.

    2. Any Z77 based motherboard will do the job. It will allow an overclock, plus some other features which will probably go unused. They are no more expensive. No need for anything more than $100-$150.

    3. Ypur psu is a good one, able to power a graphics card as good as a 7970 or GTX690.

    4. No game will use more than 2-3gb by itself. A 8gb kit of 2 x 4gb DDR3 1600 ram is good.
    Get low profile ram. Tall vengeance heat spreaders are mostly marketing and can interfere with cpu coolers.

    5. Try to get a SSD into your budget. It will make everything feel so much quicker.
    120gb would be the minimum, and it will hold the os and a handful of games. Use your hard drive for bulk storage.
    Intel 330 or Samsung 830 would be best for reliability.

    6. You should be able to reuse your old windows license. If it is OEM, it is theoretically tied to your original motherboard.
    But Microsoft is lenient if one has to replace a failing motherboard, and a duplicate is not readily available.
    If you need to talk to Microsoft about activation, assure them that this copy is only being used on this one pc.

    7. I would buy a $30 aftermarket cpu cooler like the cm hyper212.

    8. The weak part of your plan for gaming is the GTX550ti. If you can sell the GTX550ti and replace it with a much stronger card, think about doing that. Not necessarily now, but later. Do not be tempted to try sli with two GTX550ti. Synthetic benchmarks look great, but the gameplay may not be so hot.
    Your psu would be OK, but you would need a more expensive sli capable motherboard.
    Then, some games do not play nice with sli, and microstuttering could bother you.
    Read more about that:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-geforce-stutter-crossfire,2995.html

    9. I assume you will reuse your case too.
  3. Hi

    Just a suggested basic intel 1155 system, good for gaming and general use. I have personally assembled and tested ALL of the products I now suggest for builds, I have been a Tech since 94 and try to steer people to what they need rather than what is popular... Just some background, I wish all posters on this site had actual 1st hand knowledge before they post :)

    So...

    CPU : Unless you are doing intense video editing or need a powerful workstation I would stay away from the 3770 and go for a i5 3750 or 3750K (if you want to try overclocking- its easy and can turn into a real obsession) the hyper-threading really does not enhance the already powerful 4 cores.

    MOTHERBOARD : I have put together a few systems now using this inexpensive MSI board "MSI Z77A-G41 LGA 1155" its only $80 at NEWEGG.COM right now and it is a solid board. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130653

    RAM : Any cheap DDR3 will do I like the G.SKILL Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 in blue to match your MB only $49 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231550

    COOLER : I love the HYPER 212 EVO, I recommend it for all the builds I make.

    SSD : You will want one!!! Intel 330 Series Maple Crest SSDSC2CT120A3K5 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) ONLY $115
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820167121

    Just some suggestions, there let me know if you have any questions...

    Have Fun
    Fungi

    ps rant NOT directed at geofelt !!!
  4. Thanks for some great advice! And you all guessed right, this will be for gaming and also I do like to work with 3D graphics programs, usually low end ones like Poser, Bryce, and Wings3D. When I'm doing graphics I usually multitask pretty heavily so that was why I was leaning toward the i7 3770.

    As far as overclocking, I don't plan on doing any but who knows down the road, so maybe I should get an i7 3770 k?

    I already have a case, a Corsair 300R.
  5. Gary Childress said:
    Thanks for some great advice! And you all guessed right, this will be for gaming and also I do like to work with 3D graphics programs, usually low end ones like Poser, Bryce, and Wings3D. When I'm doing graphics I usually multitask pretty heavily so that was why I was leaning toward the i7 3770.

    As far as overclocking, I don't plan on doing any but who knows down the road, so maybe I should get an i7 3770 k?

    I already have a case, a Corsair 300R.


    With heavy multitasking, the most important thing is to have sufficient ram.
    Ram is cheap. I suggest a 16gb kit of 2 x 8gb low profile ram.
    I have used g.skil, and the ares low profile series looks good to me.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231558

    Even when multitasking heavily, it will be difficult to keep all 8 threads of the 3770 busy.
    I think 4 fast cores will be better for the usual work where individual core speed is more important.
    And, remember that the hyperthreads use residual cycles of the main 4 cores, and are equivalent to perhaps 1/4 of a full core.
    Really, the extra $100 you spend for a i7 can be put to better use elsewhere.
    And...definitely pick a "K" cpu. The potential improvement is compelling.
    Whenever you ultimately sell the "K" I would expect that you would get enough back to pay for the price premium.
    If $100 is not that important to your budget, by all means get the 3770K; otherwise, the 3570K will do the job.
  6. Thanks for the recommendations. I went ahead and bought the RAM you recommended. Looks like a good deal. Now for processor, are you saying that the i5-3750K is faster PER PROCESSOR than the i7 3770K? Now I think I saw a comparison somewhere of CPUs and the i7-3770K came out as one of the best models, the only ones rated better were like $500+. So if you were in my shoes would you go with the i5-3750K then?

    Thanks again for everyone's helpful replies. I hope to have my shopping list narrowed down by Black Friday so I can take advantage of what I hope will be some good deals. :)
  7. Gary Childress said:
    Thanks for the recommendations. I went ahead and bought the RAM you recommended. Looks like a good deal. Now for processor, are you saying that the i5-3750K is faster PER PROCESSOR than the i7 3770K? Now I think I saw a comparison somewhere of CPUs and the i7-3770K came out as one of the best models, the only ones rated better were like $500+. So if you were in my shoes would you go with the i5-3750K then?

    Thanks again for everyone's helpful replies. I hope to have my shopping list narrowed down by Black Friday so I can take advantage of what I hope will be some good deals. :)


    Per processor, the 3570K will be the equal of the 3770K.
    The $100 you save can be used on a better graphics card which is very important for the gamer.

    Actually, I did exchange my 2600K for a 3570K and feel that I run better.
  8. What is the difference between i7, i5 and i3? Why are the i7s so much more expensive than the i5 if they are equally powerful?

    Also I don't think I'll be overclocking my CPU as I've heard overclocking can add to the wear and tear or shorten the life of a CPU. Is that true? So if I'm not going to overclock is there any reason to get a "K" model? I'm thinking if I do get a CPU, then it will be a non-K model. So I guess the choice for me is between the i7-3770 and the i5-3570, unless it just makes more sense to get a "K" model.
  9. Gary Childress said:
    What is the difference between i7, i5 and i3? Why are the i7s so much more expensive than the i5 if they are equally powerful?

    Also I don't think I'll be overclocking my CPU as I've heard overclocking can add to the wear and tear or shorten the life of a CPU. Is that true? So if I'm not going to overclock is there any reason to get a "K" model? I'm thinking if I do get a CPU, then it will be a non-K model. So I guess the choice for me is between the i7-3770 and the i5-3570, unless it just makes more sense to get a "K" model.

    A i3 will have two cores, some will have hyperthreading.
    i5 will have 4, and i7 will have 4 plus hyperthreading, a higher starting clock rate(3.4<3.5), and a bit more cache.
    I have seen nothing which shows how much value added cache is worth.

    A "K" has an unlocked multiplier. Intel lets you raise it(overclocking sort of) from the default 3.4 or 3.5.
    If done conservatively, to 4.3 or so, without increasing voltages, it seems to be safe.
    I think the chips will be long obsolete before they ever fail.
    Intel will sell you a $20 insurance policy to replace a chip damaged by even stupid actions, they are that confident.

    If $100 is unimportant to you, buy a 3770 instead of a 3570.
    It will be about 4% more capable in games.
    if $20 is not that important, preserve your option with a "K" variant.

    Today, the 3570K is the best chip for gaming if value is of any concern.
  10. OK. That sounds good then.

    So here is my parts list so far:

    * CASE: Corsair 300R (Already purchased)

    * CPU: i5-3570k

    * Motherboard: Still not sure which one I want.

    * GPU: GeForce GTX 550 Ti (cannibalized from my old machine)

    * PSU: Corsair TX650W (cannibalized from my old machine)

    * RAM: G skill 2x8 GB (already purchased)

    * SSD: Intel 330 (already purchased)

    * HDD: Will cannibalize my old one.

    * DVD/burner: Will cannibalize my old one.

    * OS: Window 7. I will be tying to used the same installation I have on my old machine because I will be trashing my old system and my Windows 7 is relatively new. So I don't want to lose it.

    So basically I have everything picked out except a motherboad at this point. For motherboard I'm guessing I probably want one with the Z77 northbridge.
  11. Looks like a good plan to me.

    I can't think of a Z77 based motherboard that will not work well for you.
    Pick your favorite brand, they are all good.

    Your 3570K will run any graphics configuration out there.
    In time, I anticipate that you will want to update the graphics card if you play fast action games.

    I would not try to buy another for sli. SLI with low end cards is more prone to microstuttering.
    Your psy will run even the fastest of cards, plan on selling the GTX550ti in favor of a single much stronger card.

    On windows, you may have to talk to MS about activating your OEM copy which is theoretically tied to the old motherboard.
    But, if the old motherboard is trashed, and a suitable replacement is not available, MS is lenient about activating on a different motherboard if you assure them that it is being used on only one PC.
  12. So far hopefully this will be a $600 rig as it stands now. Maybe sometime in the early Spring I'll spring for a new GPU.


    What I've spent so far
    Case: $80.00
    RAM: $60.00
    SSD: $140.00
    _____________

    Total: $280.00

    Additional Projected costs
    MB: $100
    CPU: $220.00

    _____________

    Total: $600.00
  13. Well, I went a little up in price for my CPU. I just purchased a Xeon E3-1230 V2 server CPU for 240.99 including shipping. Apparently it's basically an i7-3770 without onboard video. Since I'm going to be using a video card I don't see at first glance where I need onbard video.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0085MQUTU/ref=ox_ya_os_product

    Now I'm down to where I just need to pick out a motherboard. I'm still pretty vexed on which one to get though.
  14. I recommend Asrock's B75 PRO 3, got it for my 3770 and its a great board for the price ($75 or so). I don't think that is an overclockable processor so don't bother with Z77/75. B75 is just H77 without the RAID.

    EDIT: That Xeon only turbo's to 3.7, versus 3.9 on the i7.
  15. Thanks for the recommendation. Looks good for the most part but reading the reviews I'm a little put off by the complaints about bloatware on the driver CD. One small advantage of building my own machine is the hope that I can avoid most bloatware. So getting it on the Motherboard CD sort of defeats the purpose a little bit, I think. :(
  16. Gary Childress said:
    Thanks for the recommendation. Looks good for the most part but reading the reviews I'm a little put off by the complaints about bloatware on the driver CD. One small advantage of building my own machine is the hope that I can avoid most bloatware. So getting it on the Motherboard CD sort of defeats the purpose a little bit, I think. :(


    Throw the mobo CD out, the drivers are heavily outdated and you can download what you need from Asrock's website - no bloat.
  17. Gary Childress said:
    Thanks for the recommendation. Looks good for the most part but reading the reviews I'm a little put off by the complaints about bloatware on the driver CD. One small advantage of building my own machine is the hope that I can avoid most bloatware. So getting it on the Motherboard CD sort of defeats the purpose a little bit, I think. :(


    No need to install the extra software.
    Just be selective, don't take the default which will include everything.
  18. OK. This may be my last question for now. I'm a little concerned about compatibility. Are these motherboard, CPU and RAM all compatible with each other? Someone said my CPU takes ECC RAM which is not what I have. Any enlightenment on this would be appreciated. I read that ECC RAM is not the best choice. I'm hoping I can use what I have with the CPU regardless without degrading performance. Would someone be able to comment here?

    CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117286
    Motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157314
    RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231558

    Thanks.
  19. Gary Childress said:
    OK. This may be my last question for now. I'm a little concerned about compatibility. Are these motherboard, CPU and RAM all compatible with each other? Someone said my CPU takes ECC RAM which is not what I have. Any enlightenment on this would be appreciated. I read that ECC RAM is not the best choice. I'm hoping I can use what I have with the CPU regardless without degrading performance. Would someone be able to comment here?

    CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117286
    Motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157314
    RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231558

    Thanks.


    Your cpu is on the supported list; you are good so long as you add a discrete graphics card:
    http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?cat=CPU&Model=B75 Pro3

    Your cpu is a server cpu. When installed on a server motherboard that takes ecc ram, then it will support ecc as an option.
    On a B75 based motherboard, you are good with that ram. A quick e-mail to g.skill support will will probably be a more authoritarian confirmation of compatibility.
  20. OK. I checked the G.Skill website and looked under the RAM. The ASRock B75 Pro is NOT on the "Qualified Motherboard List". I take it that I shouldn't try the RAM with an ASRock B75 Pro then?

    Wow! I didn't realize RAM was such an issue when I bought it. :(

    EDIT: It says on the chipset specifications that it works with B75 boards.
  21. Gary Childress said:
    OK. I checked the G.Skill website and looked under the RAM. The ASRock B75 Pro is NOT on the "Qualified Motherboard List". I take it that I shouldn't try the RAM with an ASRock B75 Pro then?

    Wow! I didn't realize RAM was such an issue when I bought it. :(

    EDIT: It says on the chipset specifications that it works with B75 boards.


    You are good.

    The motherboard QVL lists may not get updated much after launch.
    It only reflects the specific parts that have been tested.
    Today, ram seems to be much more standard and compatible than in the past.
    I doubt that you would have any problem with the ram you selected.
    If you go to the G.skil ram configurator and enter your motherboard, you will get a list of kits that G.skil says are compatible. Your ram is on that list.
    If you should have any problem, which I doubt, G.skil will offer support.
    http://www.gskill.com/configurator2.php?pid=2&model=1617
  22. Thanks very much for all your help so far geofelt! I went ahead and purchased the ASRock B75 Pro 3 today. Motherboard was the last thing I was holding on so hopefully by this time next weekend I'll be at stage II, putting the machine together.

    :)
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