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Opinions on a gaming build

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January 23, 2013 5:27:20 PM

Hey all,

I'm new to these forums, but in doing countless hrs of research over the past couple weeks, every answer leads to here anyway.

My 12 yr old son came to me before Christmas and told me all he wanted for that and his B-day (coming up) was a gaming pc. He'll be 13, and has a laptop, but has never had a desktop. I'm not rich, but he's a great kid who knows his stuff when it comes to computers and I'm the kind of person who would be bothered by the thought that I skimped on something for one of my kids.

So, given the above, and my budget (900 usd), I tried to come up with something practical (in terms of later upgrades), yet useful now. I checked prices online and ultimately went to Frys near where I live, and they had about the same prices (especially considering shipping) with the exception of the cpu, and they matched Amazon (who was having a sale on it) for me on that too.

This is what I bought:

Carbide series Corsair 200r case, because it had a front usb 3.0, next range down did not

MSI z77a-g45 mobo...it had 4ddr3 slots for up to 32gb ram, 2 pcie 3.0x16, 1pcie 2.0x16, xfire and sli rdy, usb 3.0

Intel i7 3770k (I just thought for 20-30 more it should be unlocked compared to the 3770...seems important to gamers)

Antec 25 650 watt atx12v v2.3 pwr supply

lg 24x dvd rom (I'm convinced this doesn't matter all too much)

Toshiba 1tb 7200 rpm sata 6.0 Gb/s hard disk (I know I can add a solid state drive later)

Patriot Viper 1x8 GB pc3-12800 1600 mhz (I figured this way I don't waste memory when I add 8 more @ a time)

EVGA GeForce gtx 650 ti 1 GB GDDR5 video card (I understand that the X is game grade, but that this is about the lowest end such card...I'm fine with that for now. When I upgrade his later, I can throw this in my pc or something. It fit in my budget.)

For OS I can get windows 7 ultimate or 8 from my daughter (college kid discount) for 20 bucks, and I learned they are an upgrade, but I can use one of my current recovery discs to boot, then overwrite with the upgrade.

So my thinking here is the cpu, mobo, and power supply should be good for the near future. Buying him more ram is no big deal later, and most of what I'll add over time (like a ssd) won't waste anything I already bought?

It was under 9 and I have the convenience of local warranty/access. BTW, the guy at Fry's that helped me was awesome, I was getting the 3770k before I got there, and he gave me honest, practical opinions on everything else.

Thoughts?





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January 23, 2013 5:36:45 PM

It is a good build but you could have saved on some things and I would have change some things. First, the i7 serves no purpose for a gaming rig. Only 2 games (on the market now, and in the near future) support hyperthreading. This is the only advantage of the i7 over the i5. Second, I would have got 2x4GB ram modules instead of 1x8 because with one, you loose out on dual channel capabilities. The k version of the CPUs are used for overclocking, so if your son doesn't want or know how to overclock, you could have went with a non-k version and a cheaper motherboard. With the savings from above, you could have went with the 7870 or GTX 660 ti as the GPU just to get some gains in FPS. All in all, though, your son will not be disappointed.
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January 23, 2013 5:40:08 PM

a 3570K is a better choice for a gamer

use a dual channel RAM kit . Twice the bandwidth and more performance . 2 x 4 gig is plenty

if the guy at Frys recommended a single stick of RAM hes a fool
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January 23, 2013 5:41:30 PM

Hi, you sound like a good father, and it's nice of you to do this for him.

First of all, you need to get a 3570k, not a 3770k. The 3770k is a i7 for 100 dollars more for only hyper-threading, which a gaming PC does not need.

The i5 is basically the best gaming processor you can get, a gaming PC does NOT need an i7\3770k.

Secondly, I would either recommend a GTX 670, HD 7950, or 660ti if he's only playing at 1920x1080/1200p.


All PC components should come with a warranty for 2+ years typically, so you can replace them easily yourself; just make sure you register all your components and keep recipients.

Get a western digital 1TB black drive, it's fast, and western digital has the most reliable drives.

Get Windows 8 while it's on sale and install "Start8" or "Classic Shell." Make sure you get 64bit. Make sure you upgrade off of a 64bit machine if you do the digital upgrade.

I would not recommend a SSD for your son yet. They are best served for applications and the operating system and Windows 8 loads very fast on a HDD too. Buy him it as a present later.

http://www.stardock.com/products/start8/

http://www.classicshell.net/


A good case is a Graphite Series 600T Mid Tower Gaming Computer Case to get, you can use the one you chose though, it should be good for a first gaming PC.

A good heatsink for this build would be the Hyper 212 for a budget: http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Hyper-212-RR-212E-2...

It's better to do memory in pairs 2x4 4x4. Go with some Corsair Vengeance 2x4GB.

Case:
http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-CC600TWM-WHT-Special-Grap...

Processor:
http://www.amazon.com/Intel-Core-i5-3570K-Quad-Core-Pro...

Memory:
http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Vengeance-PC3-12800-1600m...

GPUs:
http://www.amazon.com/GIGABYTE-GV-N670OC-2GD-GeForce-Wi...

http://www.amazon.com/Gigabyte-Mini-Displayport-PCI-Exp...

http://www.amazon.com/MSI-Overvoltage-N660TI-PE-2GD5/dp...

Hard Drive:
http://www.amazon.com/Western-Digital-Caviar-Internal-D...


That guy at FRYS sounds like he tried to scam you if he recommended an i7 for gaming and a single stick of memory only.

Avoid overclocking heavily too, he shouldn't need above 3.8ghz.
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January 23, 2013 6:10:33 PM

Best answer selected by Sinsabul.
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January 23, 2013 6:33:24 PM

Wow, thanks everyone on the input. I didn't know about the dual channel issue on the ram. I pulled the specs after reading this, and indeed, this 1x8 is not dual channel, although viper 3 totally makes dual channel (and quad apparently too). I'll just exchange this for the right dual channel kit. It doesn't need to be this brand either. You guys have a favorite for near cost (within 20 bucks)?

Also, I'll stick with the i7 and the k for these reasons: he's really getting into this stuff, and I actually want to encourage him to learn about things like overclocking...responsibly. I'm going to make him help me build this, for starters...this weekend. I'll also make him read up on things before letting him play with any settings so he goes with tried settings and doesn't blow his cpu, and he's not touching that stuff for awhile anyway. As for the i7 part, it might even be a bit of fluff based on current games, but sometimes playing hero dad means the shiniest paper on the package, and I assume it's still as good quality as the i5 extra cost aside.

Now, I get the saving on the i5 and spending more on the video card, and I actually weighed that over the past couple weeks, and the kicker is that I need a better video card too, but nothing like he does, so I figure over the summer we'll go higher end on his and I can throw his in my machine and be perfectly happy with what I do, so no waste there in the long run. So far, the heaviest graphics he deals with is for Skyrim that I know of.

Lol, in defense of the Fry guy, I TOLD him I was getting the i7. As for the Memory, he is indefensible there. Maybe he's not a hardcore gamer. I should have had the foresight to sign up on here first and ask you all, but at least it's close. As I add on to my son's, I'll be asking here. Certainly when I go to build another. Thanks all!

-Sins



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January 23, 2013 6:57:36 PM

Sinsabul said:
Wow, thanks everyone on the input. I didn't know about the dual channel issue on the ram. I pulled the specs after reading this, and indeed, this 1x8 is not dual channel, although viper 3 totally makes dual channel (and quad apparently too). I'll just exchange this for the right dual channel kit. It doesn't need to be this brand either. You guys have a favorite for near cost (within 20 bucks)?

Also, I'll stick with the i7 and the k for these reasons: he's really getting into this stuff, and I actually want to encourage him to learn about things like overclocking...responsibly. I'm going to make him help me build this, for starters...this weekend. I'll also make him read up on things before letting him play with any settings so he goes with tried settings and doesn't blow his cpu, and he's not touching that stuff for awhile anyway. As for the i7 part, it might even be a bit of fluff based on current games, but sometimes playing hero dad means the shiniest paper on the package, and I assume it's still as good quality as the i5 extra cost aside.

Now, I get the saving on the i5 and spending more on the video card, and I actually weighed that over the past couple weeks, and the kicker is that I need a better video card too, but nothing like he does, so I figure over the summer we'll go higher end on his and I can throw his in my machine and be perfectly happy with what I do, so no waste there in the long run. So far, the heaviest graphics he deals with is for Skyrim that I know of.

Lol, in defense of the Fry guy, I TOLD him I was getting the i7. As for the Memory, he is indefensible there. Maybe he's not a hardcore gamer. I should have had the foresight to sign up on here first and ask you all, but at least it's close. As I add on to my son's, I'll be asking here. Certainly when I go to build another. Thanks all!

-Sins


You did good.

Personally, Given your description and saying that your son is really getting into computers I would have also gone with an i7. Especially for only $20 more. 1) Your not going to see a performance decrease in games. (maybe if it was a pro benchmark but as far as a noticeable difference sitting there you wont' see it.) 2) Having the i7 opens more doors for him other then gaming. The multithreading and loads of Ram will come in useful if he say... Decides he wants to take a stab at Video Editing, Or some heavy 3d graphics. (there's many other examples where he could benefit that's just one) Where as a i5 would have slowed him down here.

For the Ram I recommend Corsair, G Skill, Crucial are the brands I like. (It would be a good idea to find LOW PROFILE ram) The reason for this is when you guys do decide to Overclock that proc your going to need an aftermarket heatsink/cooler. Some ram will conflict with this if it's to high and ends up not having enough clearance to be installed properly.

When you guys get ready to build. Teach your son right from the get go that things like using an anti static wrist strap (or properly grounding yourself) are extremely important. I would highly recommend going over a how to guide and get him in the habit NOW of reading/researching first. Doing second. Here is a link to a guide here on toms.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/building-pc,511.htm...
To many people think they know it all (myself included Ive made simple stupid mistakes when it would have taken 2 minutes to do the research) and end up starting a thread on here asking for help ;) . It may sound dumb but READ THE MOBO MANUAL. So many of the threads on here and answered in that wonderful little book that comes with your purchase.

Same goes for when you guys are ready to Overclock. Read/research first. Help him to understand what overclocking is, why it's done, how to do it properly etc. All in all, Great job. You could very well be setting your son up for success in the future. Who knows this may drive him towards being a computer engineer of some type some day and racking in big bucks.

Good luck and have fun!

P.S. as far as the Fry's guy. IMO I doubt he knew about the dual channel Ram. Most likely he saw 8GB. We need to remember that the majority of these big pc shops. (best buys, frys, micro centers etc) are Low to Min wage jobs who hire for CUSTOMER SERVICE and typically have little to zero tech/computer knowledge stepping into the job. Just my 2 cents.
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January 23, 2013 7:29:00 PM

For only 20 bucks more for an i7, that isn't to bad Id say.

Building a PC is really easy once you know what goes where. Things you should make sure you do correctly is: correct amount of thermal paste, stand offs, and cable management. Those are usually things I've seen people screw up on the most.

Take your time and ground yourself for sure like mention above.

If you go to buy your son a gift later for his computer you should invest in a 120/144hz monitor for him, a must for PC gamers who play shooters, or anything in general.

Good Luck with building the PC it's a good experience for your son!
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