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First time PC build for CAD and gaming

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January 8, 2013 1:29:45 AM

What's up everyone, I'm looking at building my first desktop to replace an MSI EX625 laptop that died a month ago (I do have an Acer netbook so portability is not an issue). I'm a college student studying engineering and I'd like to be able to do some CAD and CFD simulation on this machine for when I don't want to go to campus. SolidWorks ran fine in the past on my MSI laptop (Core 2 Duo and HD4670), but I'll also be using ANSYS Fluent this semester and even the simpler stuff my class is doing can take hours to run on a slower computer. I'm pretty sure that this program benefits from having a lot of cores on the CPU, which is why I chose the FX-6300. I'll also be doing some gaming, preferably in HD but I don't mind if I can't turn the graphics settings all the way up on new games. My goal was to find a balance between good performance in these applications and spending less than $600 on parts I don't already have.

What I have already: 180GB SSD (Christmas present), a 23" HDTV for a monitor, a printer, and Windows 7 and Office 2007.

PCPartPicker build list (includes the SSD):
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor ($129.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock 960GM/U3S3 FX Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($60.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: Kingston HyperX 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($39.99 @ Microcenter)
Storage: Intel 520 Series Cherryville 180GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($191.33 @ Amazon) (Already have this)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7850 1GB Video Card ($154.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Antec Three Hundred Illusion ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $689.24 ($497.91 without SSD)
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-07 21:43 EST-0500)

What do you think? I also had two specific questions on this build:

1. I decided to go with a micro ATX motherboard because of the low price, but would it be worth it to pay $10 more for an MSI 970A-G46 full ATX board? Here is the newegg page: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2. Will the PSU be sufficient? The recommendation for the graphics card is 500W but PCPartPicker and the eXtreme Power Supply Calculator put my system power at 310 W and 340 W respectively. Since the PSU has 336W of 12V power, it seems like it should work but I don't want to buy everything and then find out that's not the case.

Thanks and I appreciate your help!

EDIT: Updated the build based on suggestions, check below.

More about : time build cad gaming

January 8, 2013 3:27:25 AM

No, you need to upgrade the PSU a bit.

This combo, with the case and PSU, will work well for you
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

The Antec case doesn't have front USB 3.0 ports...

Or this Corsair has a good promo code
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And this Antec Neo Eco 520C is decent
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Your chosen memory is 1.65V. This may be OK for an AMD build, but you would be better off with lower voltage anyway, especially with an overclockable CPU.... and unless you are going to OC the CPU it's not a great deal.
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January 8, 2013 4:23:41 AM

I put together a build for you I think would be a lot better for the money.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i3-3220 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($109.99 @ NCIX US)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($89.99 @ Amazon)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti 2GB Video Card ($164.99 @ Microcenter)
Case: Antec Three Hundred Illusion ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $541.92
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-08 01:15 EST-0500)

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/wtC3

I also do 3d modeling and rendering. You will want an Nvidia graphics card to use CUDA cores. The one I picked is the same one I will be buying myself! It's also the same motherboard I have. I would not recommend AMD processors 95% of the time. Even Intel's i3s beat all but the highest AMD FX 8350. I selected 16gb memory for you, but you can save $45 if you decide to go with 8gb. Some graphics programs though are dependent on how much memory you have, the more you have the bigger the scene you can do at a higher resolution. That's also why a 2gb graphics card would be better than a 1gb, can do larger, more complex scenes. That EVGA card is factory overclocked and should do well for both gaming and rendering.
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January 8, 2013 4:42:54 AM

I would go with this since the debate is i3 or 8350. The 7850 beats the 650 Ti too. The 650 Ti is only neck-and-neck with the 7850 in BF3 and SCII. It wins, hands down, in the rest.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Ben chmarks

CPU: AMD FX-8350 4.0GHz 8-Core Processor ($189.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-78LMT-S2 Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($49.98 @ Outlet PC)
Memory: Mushkin Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($35.57 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($172.08 @ NCIX US)
Case: Apex PCV-588 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($44.95 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $529.55
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-08 01:42 EST-0500)
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January 8, 2013 5:02:25 AM

Brandon, interesting point about the CUDA cores. How much of an impact do they have on CAD performance? I'm not going to be rendering anything super detailed but I did occasionally manage to get the HD4670 in my last computer to lag in SolidWorks.
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January 8, 2013 5:17:06 AM

pstrong1 said:
Brandon, interesting point about the CUDA cores. How much of an impact do they have on CAD performance? I'm not going to be rendering anything super detailed but I did occasionally manage to get the HD4670 in my last computer to lag in SolidWorks.


Well you can render faster using the graphics card (GPU) instead of CPU. All software programs are different though, so you might want to check on the software you are planning on using and see if it makes use of graphics cards. I use Sketchup and Blender most often, Blender really can make use of the GPU. I have used Autodesk products just a little bit, but I'm not sure about them and graphics card. I have never rendered from AutoCAD just played with 3d modeling. But I think it would be a safe bet to get Nvidia if you're doing graphics things. People that just game are usually better off with AMD cards because they offer more performance for the same price.
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January 8, 2013 6:11:41 AM

Well from browsing forums it appears that Nvidia performs better and is more stable than AMD in Solidworks so I'm going to look for some Nvidia cards. This $180 Zotac GTX 570 looks like a very good deal but can anyone comment on Zotac's quality? Of course, I would upgrade the PSU if I used this card:

http://www.microcenter.com/product/403512/ZT-50206-10M_...


EDIT: Also found a Zotac GTX 560 Ti for $150 here, to save on cash and power:

http://www.amazon.com/ZOTAC-GeForce-DDR5-Video-DisplayP...
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January 8, 2013 6:50:20 AM

Judging by that card's specs it seems overpriced. For your budget I would recommend a 650 ti. The TI cards have a higher number of CUDA cores for their price. Have a look at this website and scroll halfway down to see the GE FORCE graphics cards. https://developer.nvidia.com/cuda-gpus

Basically you have 650 TI, 660, 660 TI, 670, 680, 690. The higher the better performance (but more expensive). So the 650 ti would be alot better than the 570.
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January 8, 2013 5:41:58 PM

Second try here. I chose a GTX 660 over the 570 for the better performance and specs and lower power usage (with the 570 I would need a $60 PSU which wipes out the price difference). The only issue is that this mobo has no SATA 6 Gb/s, will this make an impact on my SSD performance?

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor ($129.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-78LMT-S2P Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($49.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: Kingston HyperX Blu 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($36.99 @ Microcenter)
Video Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 660 2GB Video Card ($194.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Antec Three Hundred Illusion ATX Mid Tower Case ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($18.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $550.90
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-08 14:33 EST-0500)

Results from eXtreme Power Supply Calculator Pro:
Recommended PSU Wattage: 410 W
+3.3 V: 5.0 A
+5 V: 10.9 A
+12 V: 28.2 A
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January 8, 2013 6:35:50 PM

That PSU is fairly new and there's just a simple test done on a Korean site, but it seems like it's OK.
Rather than rely on the program creators numbers for a PSU calculator, I prefer to go someplace where I can check the numbers myself:
http://forums.atomicmpc.com.au/index.php?showtopic=264
He hasn't gotten to the lower 600 series yet, but it should give you a good idea.

Keep in mind that overclocking the CPU may increase the power draw by as much as 100W. Still within the PSU specs though, looks like.
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January 9, 2013 10:42:02 PM

Thanks for all the help, I'll probably go with this as my final build based on some recommendations I got for a mobo and GPU. I already bought the case when it was on sale so it'll be $15 less than listed here.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor ($129.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-78LMT-USB3 Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($50.38 @ NCIX US)
Memory: Kingston HyperX Blu 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($36.99 @ Microcenter)
Video Card: Galaxy GeForce GTX 660 2GB Video Card ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Antec Three Hundred Illusion ATX Mid Tower Case ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($18.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $556.30
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-09 19:38 EST-0500)
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