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New Build for Budget Minded Cousin

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January 21, 2013 4:44:47 PM

Okay, I'm trying to help my cousin put together a build, and this is what I've found so far, I'm looking for opinions on how well the items go together, and future-proofing. He already has Win 8 OS, A monitor, keyboard, mouse, and an optical drive. I found these all off of PC Part Picker, but not sure how reliable it is.

A few notes:

He will never crossfire/SLI (he is wary of the diminishing returns and such, and I didn't have enough knowledge to tell him otherwise)

He is a gamer, but the most graphic intensive game he has at the moment is Skyrim, with the DLC and a lot of mods.

He does video and audio editing, using Pro-Tools, and Photoshop/Dreamworks.

This is a build he plans to have for another 2 to 4 years.

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/yDUl
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/yDUl/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/yDUl/benchmarks/

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($84.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($124.62 @ NCIX US)
Memory: Mushkin Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($47.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital VelociRaptor 500GB 3.5" 10000RPM Internal Hard Drive ($135.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 550 Ti 1GB Video Card ($114.48 @ SuperBiiz)
Case: Cooler Master HAF XB (Black) ATX Desktop Case ($99.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: SeaSonic S12II 620W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($82.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Total: $716.02
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-21 13:38 EST-0500)

I was unsure about the processor, so I gave him a fast quad core, where as he can upgrade to an FX 8 core in the future if he wishes.

I also gave him an average GPU, that he can upgrade in the future too.

I went with Seasonic for the PSU as I've heard they are one of the better brands (next to PC P&C)

The HDD I wasn't sure of, but he wants one almost as fast as an SSD, without having to pay that price, and he has TONS of videos/music files from his editing.

He was concrete and set on the case, so very little room for change there.

I was also unsure on the memory but he wants either 1600 or 1866 whichever is more stable and safe.

I went with the said motherboard for good expandability, USB 3.0, etc. I wasn't sure if the USB would be able to plug directly into the board, or if it would have to go around to the back, I didn't want that. Also, he wants a soundcard, but I have little to no knowledge on that, and left it as maybe a future upgrade when he has more money.

He gave me a $750 dollar budget max, so any help would be great.

Comments? Advice? Part changes?


Intel/AMD/Nvidia, no preference at ALL. Best bang for buck and future-proofing.
January 21, 2013 5:14:53 PM

This is what I would go with. The Phenoms are outdated and Intels i5 will outperform. There is no need for an aftermarket cooler if you are not going to overclock. The case, motherboard, and HDD are too expensive. The 620W PSU is a bit overkill. 500W will do fine (good choice on brand though). Here is what I would go for so you get the most out of Skyrim and its mods. The case I provided has a front USB 3.0 port. For sound, unless he is really doing some serious studio quality sound recording/mixing, the integrated audio will be fine. Sound quality and real-time recording usually fall on the CPU and RAM, not so much the sound card (for the average user anyway, like myself).

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($209.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Mushkin Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($35.57 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7870 2GB Video Card ($249.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Cougar Solution (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($39.99 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling Silencer MK III 500W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($64.58 @ NCIX US)
Total: $740.09
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-21 14:14 EST-0500)

Before rebates, this comes out to $756.10.
January 21, 2013 6:43:17 PM

Hm...He really liked the case, due to the LAN box appearance, mobility, and the way the layout was inside... Other than that it looks good to me.
Related resources
January 21, 2013 6:57:27 PM

Hi. If he really must have that case, then this might be an alternative. He can also just go with an FX-8xxx build right now and he won't need to upgrade the processor later on. And the same with the graphics card (HD 7870 or GTX 660). All that's left is to add a 120/128GB SSD in the future because he simply can't have everything with that budget right now.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($209.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Mushkin Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($35.57 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: PNY GeForce GTX 660 2GB Video Card ($194.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master HAF XB (Black) ATX Desktop Case ($99.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Rosewill Hive 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $750.50
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-21 15:55 EST-0500)
January 21, 2013 7:08:58 PM

Just an amalgamation of the two builds above, with a change in the cpu, with the i5-3470 being the best value :

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($188.79 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Mushkin Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($35.57 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: HIS Radeon HD 7870 2GB Video Card ($209.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master HAF XB (Black) ATX Desktop Case ($99.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Rosewill Hive 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $719.31
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)


Total main base doesn't reach 750$.
You can change the card for a 660 gtx(i prefer a non reference card), for less 10$ : http://pcpartpicker.com/part/zotac-video-card-zt6090110...
January 21, 2013 7:11:25 PM

does he need windows also?

and does he prefer a faster processor and less video. or faster videocard+slower cpu?

January 22, 2013 4:41:59 AM

neither he or I know enough to pick the gpu/processor speed/combo, idk about a window, unless that top vent would help with free air cooling, otherwise window would be cool.

Also DJ, what is a non reference card?
January 22, 2013 4:46:25 AM

The only question I have left is pertaining to the HDD's. Is seagate as reliable as WD? And what can I do to install on there to let him know when an HDD is bad or going bad?
January 22, 2013 4:46:36 AM

With a custom cooler system, some have also a different pcb.
Usually it means better temperatures, a higher possibility of overclock.
The zotac is a good one.
January 22, 2013 6:15:17 AM

djangoringo said:
Just an amalgamation of the two builds above, with a change in the cpu, with the i5-3470 being the best value :

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($188.79 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Mushkin Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($35.57 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: HIS Radeon HD 7870 2GB Video Card ($209.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master HAF XB (Black) ATX Desktop Case ($99.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Rosewill Hive 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $719.31
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)


Total main base doesn't reach 750$.
You can change the card for a 660 gtx(i prefer a non reference card), for less 10$ : http://pcpartpicker.com/part/zotac-video-card-zt6090110...


+1.. if you prefer wd you can get the 1tb caviar blue.. there is no difference in price
http://pcpartpicker.com/part/western-digital-internal-h...
January 22, 2013 1:14:28 PM

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/yXqD
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/yXqD/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/yXqD/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($149.99 @ Microcenter)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Mushkin Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($35.57 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: PNY GeForce GTX 660 2GB Video Card ($194.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Rosewill Line-M MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($52.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Rosewill Hive 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $608.50
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-22 10:14 EST-0500)

Base Total: $674.31
Combo Discounts: -$10.00
Mail-in Rebates: -$20.00
Shipping: $2.99
Total: $647.30

savedup about 25 there. :) 

January 22, 2013 3:14:18 PM

musicmelody said:
The only question I have left is pertaining to the HDD's. Is seagate as reliable as WD? And what can I do to install on there to let him know when an HDD is bad or going bad?



Seagate is as reliable as a WD HDD, for hdd testing, if needed, test it with Hiren's BootCD.
!