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First Build - Many Newbish Questions

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January 2, 2013 4:41:14 AM

Prepare for lots of reading.
I, like many others here it seems, am building a computer for the first time. I have quite a few questions because I literally cannot afford to make any mistakes. I'd like to keep it under about $800 if at all possible. I lost about 75% of my student aid for this next year of college so I'm running a little low on funds. I'm going to be a computer science major, but I'm still very new to computer hardware. I'd also like to order parts as soon as possible because school will be starting back up soon. I originally wanted to get the stuff for myself for Christmas but that obviously didn't happen.
This computer will be used for gaming, light video editing, programming, internet browsing, standard school stuff (Microsoft Word, Excel, etc), and possible 3D modeling. Pretty much the only computer I'll be using for as long as possible. Also I may do a bit of overclocking, but nothing major.
Games to be played include, but are by no means limited to, Skyrim, Minecraft, Team Fortress 2, DotA 2, Torchlight 2, Garry's Mod, and The Elder Scrolls Online (if it's free-to-play). I don't have the money to get into WoW, so that's probably out of the equation.
Here's an incomplete list of parts I'm looking at. I feel like I will need to make a lot of sacrifices here...good news is I haven't ordered anything yet.
Note none of these parts are permanent - I am open to better and/or cheaper (while still reliable) suggestions:
CPU: Intel i5-3750k - $219.99 (Amazon)
Motherboard: Cheaper suggestions are welcome, but I don't want to sacrifice too much quality.
Asus P8Z77-V (possibly LK) - $179.99 or $119.99 for LK (NCIX) Asus will probably be too expensive for me, anyway...
ASRock Z77 Extreme4 - $134.99 (OutletPC)
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaw seems to be a popular choice. I'd like at least 8GB. - Prices vary
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 7200rpm - $89.99 (Amazon)
GPU: Completely undecided. I don't want to start a debate, but...GeForce or Radeon?
PSU: Also undecided. Corsair seems to be a favourite to some. I've read that at least 500W is a good choice?
Case: Not terribly important, but I'd like one with a window. (Explain later) Doesn't need to be very expensive. Like... <= $50 if possible.
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS 124-04 - $16.99 (Newegg)
I do not need a blu-ray player. I won't be doing too much burning.
OS: Windows 7 (OEM) 64x - $89.99 (OutletPC)
Monitor: Not sure. Open to suggestions.

Issues to be tackled:
I live in Hawaii near the ocean. The salt air here eats electronics alive. Losing yet another computer to the salt is a terrifying thought to me. Two desktops ago, our hard drive failed because the arm was corroded completely through. Our current desktop, a Gateway all-in-one, is suffering from some kind of hardware failure, but we'll never know what until we take it to get looked at since we can't take the back off. I want to shelter this computer as much as I can from the salt so, therefore, I need to use wifi to connect to the internet (computer will be in my room instead of in the living room). Moving the computer to my room raises a different issue. It will be better protected from the salt, but at the same time I don't have as much air circulation in there. We don't have an AC either. I use fans to cool my room off on warm days. ALSO, I have two dogs. Their hair gets everywhere. This is mainly why I want a case with a transparent side panel. I'd like to be able to better monitor the parts. The salt air makes cleaning dust a lot harder. Instead of dust coming off nicely, it has to stick to things.

Actual Questions:
Is there a real noticeable difference between DDR3 1600 and 1333 ram?
Does 3D modeling put a lot of stress on the processor/ram/anything? I've never done it before.
Would the stock fan be enough? Should I add extra fans due to my situation stated above? Double-edged sword, here. More fans means more air flow which means more salt can get in.
What should I plug the thing into? I've read it's not good to plug a computer directly into the wall. Would a surge protector suffice?
I'd like at least 1TB of space on my HDD. SDD and boot speed isn't terribly important to me. The HDD is going to hold pretty much everything. Should 1TB be enough?
Do I need a sound card? What exactly is it for?
Will it be better and/or cheaper to get a MoBo with wifi or to get one without and buy a wireless adapter or something? Anyone have personal experience with this?
My understanding of the OEM version of Windows 7 will not allow me to install it on a different MoBo. So if mine fails, I'll need to buy another copy?
Modular vs non-modular PSU?
As for the GPU...I honestly don't know what to get. Any help here would be lovely.

Remember: I'm in Hawaii, so no Micro Center for me. I was amazed by some of their prices, but then I found out they're mostly in-store pickup only. Major disappointment to me. :C

That's about it. I know, lots of stuff still needs to be decided. Any and all help/advice will be very, very much appreciated.

~Stormbane
January 2, 2013 5:23:29 AM

Stormbane said:

Is there a real noticeable difference between DDR3 1600 and 1333 ram?

yes but its not that much. anything above 1600 and the returns don't justify spending the money.

Stormbane said:
Does 3D modeling put a lot of stress on the processor/ram/anything? I've never done it before.

yes the more cpu cores the better.

Stormbane said:
Would the stock fan be enough? Should I add extra fans due to my situation stated above? Double-edged sword, here. More fans means more air flow which means more salt can get in.

the stock cpu fan is fine unless you plan on overclocking. case fans depend on the case and how many fans it comes with. as for worrying about salt in the air i don't have that problem so i'm not sure.

Stormbane said:
What should I plug the thing into? I've read it's not good to plug a computer directly into the wall. Would a surge protector suffice?

you can plug it into the wall its not really an issue. my house got struck by lightning and i got zapped through my mouse. the computer was fried. my tv and xbox that were plugged into a cheap 6 way with surge protection survived. take that for whatever its worth.

Stormbane said:
I'd like at least 1TB of space on my HDD. SDD and boot speed isn't terribly important to me. The HDD is going to hold pretty much everything. Should 1TB be enough?

most likely 1TB will be enough. not knowing exactly what you do with your computer makes it impossible to say for sure. content creation programs can use a lot of space. also look into getting an ssd in the future they are worth it.

Stormbane said:
Do I need a sound card? What exactly is it for?

no. on-board sound is fine.

Stormbane said:
Will it be better and/or cheaper to get a MoBo with wifi or to get one without and buy a wireless adapter or something? Anyone have personal experience with this?

whatever is cheaper overall.

Stormbane said:
My understanding of the OEM version of Windows 7 will not allow me to install it on a different MoBo. So if mine fails, I'll need to buy another copy?

its tied to your motherboard. people claim you can call ms and they will reactivate it if you do change the motherboard. the chances of you changing your mb is slim and i wouldn't worry about it.

Stormbane said:
Modular vs non-modular PSU?

modular is nice because you don't have to worry about the extra cables. that said if your on a budget i would consider that a luxury and get the cheaper non modular

Stormbane said:
As for the GPU...I honestly don't know what to get. Any help here would be lovely.

if your into gaming spend as much as possible on the gpu. i know that dint answer the question but after all other parts all totaled up then spend everything else on the gpu.


January 2, 2013 6:18:14 AM

Quote:

Is there a real noticeable difference between DDR3 1600 and 1333 ram?
Does 3D modeling put a lot of stress on the processor/ram/anything? I've never done it before.
Would the stock fan be enough? Should I add extra fans due to my situation stated above? Double-edged sword, here. More fans means more air flow which means more salt can get in.
What should I plug the thing into? I've read it's not good to plug a computer directly into the wall. Would a surge protector suffice?
I'd like at least 1TB of space on my HDD. SDD and boot speed isn't terribly important to me. The HDD is going to hold pretty much everything. Should 1TB be enough?
Do I need a sound card? What exactly is it for?
Will it be better and/or cheaper to get a MoBo with wifi or to get one without and buy a wireless adapter or something? Anyone have personal experience with this?
My understanding of the OEM version of Windows 7 will not allow me to install it on a different MoBo. So if mine fails, I'll need to buy another copy?
Modular vs non-modular PSU?
As for the GPU...I honestly don't know what to get. Any help here would be lovely.


1. No - on default settings your motherboard will run the RAM at the lowest speeds and timings that it can handle. You can run at stock speeds but going over will cause system instability and failure.

2. No - it actually puts more of a stress on the GPU than anything else.

3. That's debatable. Extra fans will keep your system cool but the way your system's airflow is setup is determined by your case. I'd heavily suggest reading this: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cooling-airflow-hea...

4. If you need more than a standard surge protector get an Uninteruptable Power Supply. They run off a battery that will allow you to safely shut down your system in the event anything bad happens. APC is a highly reputable manufacturer of these units. I own a couple of them myself.

5. 1TB should be plenty - with all the movies, music, everything else on my laptop hard drive I still have 200GB free. An SSD is great to have - they dramatically speed things up. Good ones right now are the OCZ Vector (you will pay a premium for this drive), Samsung 840 Pro, Crucial M4, and Plextor PX-M5 Pro.

6. No - the onboard audio will work fine.

7. Just get a cheapo wireless adapter - it's not necessary to spend tons of money on a motherboard with this stuff built in.

8. That's kind of tricky - I've used many copies of Windows dating back to 95 across a number of installations and motherboards and never run into a problem with it.

9. I personally prefer non modular power supplies - that depends on how many cables you want to have in your case.

10. Depends on what the primary use is. If it's gaming you want to get the best you can get for your budget. If not then you want to at least get a good one but you don't want to go cheap in this area.
Related resources
January 2, 2013 6:42:51 AM

huh?

1) he didn't ask what the mb defaults to. he asked if 1600 is faster and worth it over 1333. and the answer is yes. buy 1600 ram and enabling the XMP profile will not cause system instability.
http://www.anandtech.com/show/6372/memory-performance-1...

2) also the more cores on a cpu make a big difference in 3d modeling programs like maya and 3d max.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i7-3930k-3820-...

8) windows OEM is tied to the motherboard. not sure what windows 95 has to do with a windows 7 OEM version.
January 2, 2013 5:58:38 PM

Quote:


1) he didn't ask what the mb defaults to. he asked if 1600 is faster and worth it over 1333. and the answer is yes. buy 1600 ram and enabling the XMP profile will not cause system instability.
http://www.anandtech.com/show/6372 [...] -gskill/14


It makes a huge difference what the motherboard defaults to. There's no difference in RAM speeds and that's what I was trying to point out. If you don't know why that happens you should research more before giving advice.

Quote:
2) also the more cores on a cpu make a big difference in 3d modeling programs like maya and 3d max.


Not necessarily. I've got 3-D modeling programs like Revit to run on far less than a 3930K. Sure it helps but it's not necessary to spend the extra money.

Quote:
8) windows OEM is tied to the motherboard. not sure what windows 95 has to do with a windows 7 OEM version.


Not with Windows 8. There's a specific clause in the user license for system builders. If you had read that correctly I've been using OEM versions of Windows dating back to Windows 95 - never run into any problems with the end licensing agreement. It's only after I started posting here that I see people arguing about it ad nauseum.
January 2, 2013 6:01:03 PM

The i5 3570k should be good enough for what I need it for, right? I mean, I won't be doing 3D modeling 24/7.
As for the motherboard, is ASRock reliable? Anyone have any good suggestions?
Also, for the wifi adapter, any suggestions there as well?

Sorry about all the questions. I've been doing research but I'm still unsure as of what to get.
January 2, 2013 6:05:23 PM

Stormbane said:
The i5 3570k should be good enough for what I need it for, right? I mean, I won't be doing 3D modeling 24/7.
As for the motherboard, is ASRock reliable? Anyone have any good suggestions?
Also, for the wifi adapter, any suggestions there as well?

Sorry about all the questions. I've been doing research but I'm still unsure as of what to get.



1. Yes - it will handle 3-D modeling fine.

2. Yes - the Extreme 4 is a solid board for not a lot of money. I'd also recommend the Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H.

3. This is the one I use: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
January 2, 2013 8:07:34 PM

g-unit1111 said:
Quote:


1) he didn't ask what the mb defaults to. he asked if 1600 is faster and worth it over 1333. and the answer is yes. buy 1600 ram and enabling the XMP profile will not cause system instability.
http://www.anandtech.com/show/6372 [...] -gskill/14


It makes a huge difference what the motherboard defaults to. There's no difference in RAM speeds and that's what I was trying to point out. If you don't know why that happens you should research more before giving advice.

Quote:
2) also the more cores on a cpu make a big difference in 3d modeling programs like maya and 3d max.


Not necessarily. I've got 3-D modeling programs like Revit to run on far less than a 3930K. Sure it helps but it's not necessary to spend the extra money.

Quote:
8) windows OEM is tied to the motherboard. not sure what windows 95 has to do with a windows 7 OEM version.


Not with Windows 8. There's a specific clause in the user license for system builders. If you had read that correctly I've been using OEM versions of Windows dating back to Windows 95 - never run into any problems with the end licensing agreement. It's only after I started posting here that I see people arguing about it ad nauseum.


pretty much all your points are bad. you need to do research.

of course there are differences in ram speeds. maybe you should google XMP profile or try reading the anand article. on my zz77 board my ram is currently running at 1600 and i can easily manually set it to 1866.

so you got a program to run on a slower cpu? that has zero to do with modeling programs benefiting from more cores. sure you could run it on a duel core slower but that doesn't mean you shouldn't get a cpu with more cores. again did you even look at the tomshardware article? here again you can clearly see that maya and blender both modeling programs benefit from the 3770k with 4 cores/4 threads and the 8350 with 8 cores over the 4 core cpu's.
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/fx-8350-vishera-review,re...

windows oem is tied to the motherboard. sorry wrong again.
http://www.microsoft.com/Oem/en/licensing/sblicensing/p...
Quote:

Q. Can a PC with an OEM Windows operating system have its motherboard upgraded and keep the same license? What if it was replaced because it was defective?

A. Generally, an end user can upgrade or replace all of the hardware components on a computer—except the motherboard—and still retain the license for the original Microsoft OEM operating system software. If the motherboard is upgraded or replaced for reasons other than a defect, then a new computer has been created. Microsoft OEM operating system software cannot be transferred to the new computer, and the license of new operating system software is required. If the motherboard is replaced because it is defective, you do not need to acquire a new operating system license for the PC as long as the replacement motherboard is the same make/model or the same manufacturer's replacement/equivalent, as defined by the manufacturer's warranty.

The reason for this licensing rule primarily relates to the End User Software License Terms and the support of the software covered by those terms. The End User Software License Terms are a set of usage rights granted to the end user by the PC manufacturer, and relate only to rights for that software as installed on that particular PC. The system builder is required to support the software on the original PC. Understanding that end users, over time, upgrade their PCs with different components, Microsoft needed to have one base component "left standing" that would still define the original PC. Since the motherboard contains the CPU and is the "heart and soul" of the PC, when the motherboard is replaced (for reasons other than defect) a new PC is essentially created. The original system builder did not manufacture this new PC, and therefore cannot be expected to support it.
January 2, 2013 8:18:57 PM

Quote:


pretty much all your points are bad. you need to do research.

of course there are differences in ram speeds. maybe you should google XMP profile or try reading the anand article. on my zz77 board my ram is currently running at 1600 and i can easily manually set it to 1866.


Missing the point again. Overclocking your RAM can cause serious system failure and I've seen it happen. It's when you start messing with the voltages that causes this. That's why Intel will void your warranty if you start running RAM over a certain speed. The design of Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge has the RAM controller on the CPU die itself - and if you try to return a defective CPU to Intel they will ask you for this information. I don't encourage that on my builds and I'd expect everyone to follow this.

Quote:

so you got a program to run on a slower cpu? that has zero to do with modeling programs benefiting from more cores. sure you could run it on a duel core slower but that doesn't mean you shouldn't get a cpu with more cores. again did you even look at the tomshardware article? here again you can clearly see that maya and blender both modeling programs benefit from the 3770k with 4 cores/4 threads and the 8350 with 8 cores over the 4 core cpu's.
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/fx-8 [...] 550-9.html


FX 8350 vs i7-3770K: http://vr-zone.com/articles/amd-fx-8350-vs-intel-core-i...
- http://www.cpu-world.com/Compare/450/AMD_FX-Series_FX-8...

It's not that you can have more cores, it's how the CPU uses them. That is what makes the difference. If you look at the second benchmark this shows that the i7 easily beats the FX-8350 on a number of tests. Only in certain areas do the numbers reverse.
January 2, 2013 8:54:53 PM

ivy bridge supports 1600 now. using 1600 is NOT considered overclocking. read intels own specs. then this right from the extreme4 board "4×240pin DDR3 2800+(OC)/2400(OC)/2133(OC)/1866(OC)/1600/1333/1066" notice how 1600 isn't OC. also who said anything about voltages? there are plenty of 1.5V memory that have XMP profiles for 1866 or 2133. they wont cause any system instability. i guess you know better then anand when in the article they recommend 1600 and 1866 memory. plus i was only talking about 1600 to begin with.

http://ark.intel.com/products/65523
Memory Types DDR3-1333/1600

whats your point both the 3770k with hyperthreading and the 8350 with its integer cores are both essentially using 8 cores. so i'm not sure how comparing two 8 "core" processors proves anything. you need to compare the 8 core 3770 & 8350 to the 4 core 3570 & 4300. straight from the tomshardware article.

Quote:
A pretty easy analysis, 3ds Max 2012 clearly benefits from as many cores as you throw at it. Overclocking is enough to push the 4.625 GHz Core i7-3820 up next to a stock Core i7-990X. However, it’s the 4.5 GHz Core i7-3930K that really redefines performance here.


i'm not sure why i'm even debating with you because it's a waste of time.
January 2, 2013 9:23:24 PM

Quote:
A pretty easy analysis, 3ds Max 2012 clearly benefits from as many cores as you throw at it. Overclocking is enough to push the 4.625 GHz Core i7-3820 up next to a stock Core i7-990X. However, it’s the 4.5 GHz Core i7-3930K that really redefines performance here.


i7-3820 can't go past 4.2, it doesn't have unlocked multiplier so the most you can get is 4GHz+the turbo which amounts to 4.2GHz peak frequency.
January 2, 2013 9:36:03 PM

not true its partially unlocked so you can get up it to 4.3GHz using the multiplier and then using bclk settings you can get a higher overclock.
January 2, 2013 11:46:17 PM

Soooo...would GeForce GTX 650 be enough or should I go for 660? Or would one suggest Radeon? I'd like to keep it relatively cheap, or at least have a good excuse for shelling out more money.
Also what's the difference between, say, GTX 650 and GTX 650 Ti?
January 2, 2013 11:50:46 PM

Stormbane said:
Soooo...would GeForce GTX 650 be enough or should I go for 660? Or would one suggest Radeon? I'd like to keep it relatively cheap, or at least have a good excuse for shelling out more money.
Also what's the difference between, say, GTX 650 and GTX 650 Ti?


On your budget you could easily get a good Radeon - the 7850 is far better than the GTX 650 and 660. The Radeon 7870 GHz edition and GTX 660TI are about on par with each other.
January 3, 2013 12:24:22 AM

the 660 is better then the 7850.
January 3, 2013 2:15:06 AM

jonjonjon said:
and this is even after that large boost by the catalyst drivers. not including an newer nvidia drivers. and if its a 1GB 7850 its not even a fair comparison.

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/AMD/Catalyst_12.11_P...


Those benchmarks actually show the 7870 surpassing the 660 - Catalyst 12.11 actually provides a 84% speed increase. :ouch: 
January 4, 2013 8:13:06 AM

g-unit1111 said:


1. No - on default settings your motherboard will run the RAM at the lowest speeds and timings that it can handle. You can run at stock speeds but going over will cause system instability and failure.

2. No - it actually puts more of a stress on the GPU than anything else.

3. That's debatable. Extra fans will keep your system cool but the way your system's airflow is setup is determined by your case. I'd heavily suggest reading this: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cooling-airflow-hea...

4. If you need more than a standard surge protector get an Uninteruptable Power Supply. They run off a battery that will allow you to safely shut down your system in the event anything bad happens. APC is a highly reputable manufacturer of these units. I own a couple of them myself.

5. 1TB should be plenty - with all the movies, music, everything else on my laptop hard drive I still have 200GB free. An SSD is great to have - they dramatically speed things up. Good ones right now are the OCZ Vector (you will pay a premium for this drive), Samsung 840 Pro, Crucial M4, and Plextor PX-M5 Pro.

6. No - the onboard audio will work fine.

7. Just get a cheapo wireless adapter - it's not necessary to spend tons of money on a motherboard with this stuff built in.

8. That's kind of tricky - I've used many copies of Windows dating back to 95 across a number of installations and motherboards and never run into a problem with it.

9. I personally prefer non modular power supplies - that depends on how many cables you want to have in your case.

10. Depends on what the primary use is. If it's gaming you want to get the best you can get for your budget. If not then you want to at least get a good one but you don't want to go cheap in this area.


1. The problem here is not with the voltage of the RAM or the frequency. The problem comes from the extra voltage the CPU pulls to control the RAM. This is why SB is limited to DDR3 1333 by Intel and IB is limited to 1600Mhz, CL9 1.5V.
But I want to make it clear that I too have observed this... vulnerability... in modern Intel CPUs and I also strongly recommend that you not exceed the DRAM rating for the specific CPU used.

2. Neither of you are right, as no actual program has been specified. There are many programs for "3D modeling" and each one will have it's own relationship to the CPU, memory, and GPU.

3. I don't know of any reason why humidity would play a factor in component damage. It might cause some extra corrosion on aluminum and copper heatsinks I suppose. If you can't run an air conditioner then run a dehumidifier and keep the door closed. If room temps are typically above 80 degrees a small cooler upgrade would not hurt. You don't have to spend much.

4. Surge protectors and UPS will not help you at all if your electrical system lacks a proper ground wire. A proper ground is the only way to protect against lightning strikes. A Line Conditioner is the best way to deal with a poor AC power source that you cannot control.
January 4, 2013 8:37:05 AM

Personal attacks and bickering removed. Let's just keep it civil and address the OP rather than each other, shall we?
!