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Looking for build advice before I purchase

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February 26, 2013 3:10:44 PM

Hello. I finally got around to making a forum post to ask for a bit of advice before I build this new PC. I've never built one myself before and am pretty excited but also pretty daunted. I've done some research and have a solid understanding of some of the basics of hardware and feel like I have a relatively decent build, but I'd appreciate any advice and instruction you can give.

I originally made an order with Cyberpowerpc, but after some major delays I opted to cancel my order and order the parts/build it myself. (On that note, do parts have warranties if I buy through newegg, or do I need to explicitly opt into a warranty or something?)

Approximate Purchase Date: As soon as the refund processes - likely ~48 hours.

Budget Range: About $1600 after shipping and rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Primarily high end gaming, but also some web surfing and programming

Are you buying a monitor: Nope, already have one.

Parts to Upgrade: I'm not sure I understand this one, or it may not be relevant given that I'm getting a whole new system.

Do you need to buy OS: Yes, though I plan on purchasing one (Win 7 64x)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg

Location: City, State/Region, Country - Tuscaloosa, AL, USA OR Pinson, AL, USA

Parts Preferences: Intel processors/NVidia GPUs

Overclocking: No, though factory GPU overclocking is fine.

SLI or Crossfire: I would like the option in the future

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080, but considering larger (have figured no so far because 4gb cards are far more expensive and 1920x1080 seems plenty big enough)

Additional Comments: I play games like mad; absolutely everything on the spectrum. Crysis 2/3, Warframe, Mechwarrior Online, Blacklight Retribution, Aion, you name it. I really want optimal game performance above all.

In addition, would really like to keep an SSD as my primary drive.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: Currently on an Asus N53S - she's faithfully run everything I've thrown at her, but it ain't always pretty.

Current parts list:

Ok, here we go. My original parts list for the cyberpower order:

*BASE_PRICE: [+929]
BLUETOOTH: None
CARE1: Professional Wiring for All WIRING Inside The System Chassis - Minimize Cable Exposure, Maximize Airflow in Your System [+19]
CAS: * Apevia X-Trooper LED Light Mid-Tower Case w/ Side Window [+1] (Blue LED Light Color)
CASUPGRADE: None
CD: 24X Double Layer Dual Format DVD+-R/+-RW + CD-R/RW Drive (BLACK COLOR)
CD2: None
COOLANT: Standard Coolant
CPU: Intel(R) Core™ i5-3470 3.20 GHz 6MB Intel Smart Cache LGA1155 [-160]
CS_FAN: Maximum 120MM Case Cooling Fans for your selected case [+9]
ENGRAVING: Custom Message - Max 35 characters (including spaces) [+0] (Courier New)
ENGRAVING_MSG: Moonlight
FA_HDD: None
FAN: * CoolerMaster Hyper 212 Evo Gaming Cooling Fan [+4]
FLASHMEDIA: None
FREEBIE_VC: FREE $150 Value In-Game Hawken, Planetside 2 and World of Tanks w/ NVIDIA GTX 660 or Above [+0]
FREEBIE_VC2: None
GLASSES: None
HDD: 240 GB Intel 520 Series SATA-III 6.0Gb/s - 550 MB/s Read & 520 MB/s Write [+179] (Single Drive)
HDD2: 1TB Western Digital Caviar Blue SATA-III 6.0Gb/s 7200 RPM HDD [+94] (Single Drive)
IEEE_CARD: None
IUSB: Built-in USB 2.0 Ports
KEYBOARD: AZZA Multimedia USB Gaming Keyboard
MB_SRT: None
MEMORY: 8GB (4GBx2) DDR3/2133MHz Dual Channel Memory [+29] (Corsair or Major Brand)
MONITOR: None
MONITOR2: None
MONITOR3: None
MOTHERBOARD: * [CrossFireX/SLI] ASUS P8Z77-V LK Intel Z77 Chipset DDR3 ATX Mainboard w/ IRST, Lucid Virtu MVP, 7.1 HD Audio, GbLAN, 3x PCIe x16 (2 Gen3, 1 Gen2), 2 PCie x1 & 2 PCI (Extreme OC Certified) [+33]
MOUSE: AZZA Optical 1600dpi Gaming Mouse with Weight Adjustable Cartridge
NETWORK: Onboard Gigabit LAN Network
OS: Microsoft(R) Windows 7 Home Premium [+104] (64-bit Edition)
OVERCLOCK: No Overclocking
POWERSUPPLY: * 750 Watts - Corsair CMPSU-750TXV2 80 Plus Power Supply - Quad SLI Ready [+51]
RUSH: No Rush Service, Estimate Ship Date 10 Business Days
SERVICE: STANDARD WARRANTY: 3-YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY PLUS LIFE-TIME TECHNICAL SUPPORT
SOFT1: Free Microsoft(R) Office(R) 2010 STARTER EDITION (Reduced-Functionality versions of Word and Excel that include advertising) [+0]
SOUND: HIGH DEFINITION ON-BOARD 7.1 AUDIO
SPEAKERS: None
TABLET: None
TEMP: None
TUNING: None
TVRC: None
USB: None
USBFLASH: None
USBHD: None
USBX: None
VIDEO: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 2GB 16X PCIe 3.0 Video Card [+242] (EVGA Superclocked [+0])
VIDEO2: None
VIDEO3: None
WNC: 802.11b/g/n 300Mbps PCI Wireless Adapter Network Card [+26]
_PRICE: (+1560)
_view_: {EFC2B834-409F-435B-9A5E-790D22FE4100}
_load_: 2/13/2013 4:36:08 PM


After looking at newegg, with the same amount of money, I can do this:

Case: APEVIA X-TROOPER Series X-TRP-NW-BK/450 Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 450W Power Supply Reason: I like the way that it looks and the frontal USB ports. Really, the main reason here is aesthetics and the blue lighting. If it were a -bad- case I wouldn't push for appearance over performance, but reviews are solid where I've looked. (The only problem is that it won't take a CM 212)

I also have a question here - as far as I understand, the motherboard I want has 1 USB 2.0 header, 2 USB 2.0 ports and 4 external rear USB 3.0 ports. Does this mean that I can only use two of the front USB ports? Is it possible to get a PCI card with a header on it to run to the frontal ports?

Primary drive: SAMSUNG 840 Series MZ-7TD250BW 2.5" 250GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) Reason: I really like the speed and load time increases with SSDs and want more than just my OS here. I'd like to hot swap my "game of the month" onto the SSD for better load times and feel that 240gb is a very healthy but generally cost effective balance of size/price.

Secondary drive: Western Digital WD Green WD10EARX 1TB IntelliPower 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive Large size and relatively affordable.

Graphics card: EVGA 02G-P4-2685-KR GeForce GTX 680 SC Signature+ w/Backplate 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card Very solid performance and a straight upgrade to what I had with cyberpower. Also like the $150 deal on a few games I play.

CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 Ivy Bridge 3.2GHz (3.6GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2500 BX80637i53470 The most performance I'll need for games as they're primarily GPU intensive. Why get any higher?

Power Supply: CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX750 V2 750W ATX12V v2.31/ EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC High Performance Power Supply I trust corsair, and a 750w gives me the head room for SLI in the future if I want it.

Motherboard: ASUS P8Z77-V LK LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS I trust asus and their reliability, and the board is SLI capable.

RAM: CORSAIR 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 Desktop Memory Model CMV4GX3M1A1333C9 Two of these. Corsair again, solid 8gb of RAM at a reasonable clockspeed considering I'm not OCing.

CPU Fan: COOLER MASTER Hyper N 520 RR-920-N520-GP 92mm Sleeve CPU Cooler Compatible with Intel 1366/1155/775 and AMD AM3 People say coolermaster is good, I can't fit a 212 and this is from coolermaster. Others have said that a 92mm fits with my case, so it works.

DVD Drive: SAMSUNG Black Single: 18X Dual: 8X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA DVD-ROM Drive Model SH-118AB I THINK that this is an internal enclosure that will fit in one of my case's 5.25 drive bays, but I can't find anything definitive. I just chose this because I couldn't find any others.

Wireless PCI card: Rosewill RNX-G300LX Wireless Adapter Card IEEE 802.11b/g PCI Up to 54Mbps Data Rates 64/128bit WEP WPA WPA2 802.1x, 802.11i, AES, TKIP with 2 dBi Antenna I really want wifi access on my desktop and this one had good reviews.

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Used to and prefer win7 to win8

Thermal paste: ARCTIC MX2 Thermal Paste -4gram This is what I need to apply internally, right?


In addition, will I need any tools to assemble the PC? Any suggestions for better price/performance?

-Really- fixed on intel/Nvidia.


Thank you so much for your time!

More about : build advice purchase

Best solution

February 26, 2013 3:28:11 PM

Don't bother with Cyber Power. On that budget you can build your own. Here is what I would suggest:

Quote:
Thermal paste: ARCTIC MX2 Thermal Paste -4gram This is what I need to apply internally, right?


Don't waste your money. The stuff that comes with your CPU fan is better.

Quote:
RAM: CORSAIR 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 Desktop Memory Model CMV4GX3M1A1333C9 Two of these. Corsair again, solid 8gb of RAM at a reasonable clockspeed considering I'm not OCing.


Corsair makes pretty decent RAM. I'd go with Mushkin or Samsung myself.

Quote:
Graphics card: EVGA 02G-P4-2685-KR GeForce GTX 680 SC Signature+ w/Backplate 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card Very solid performance and a straight upgrade to what I had with cyberpower. Also like the $150 deal on a few games I play.


I'd personally rather get a 670 FTW and then you can SLI it and it will perform about the equivalent of the GTX 690 for far less money.

Quote:
Wireless PCI card: Rosewill RNX-G300LX Wireless Adapter Card IEEE 802.11b/g PCI Up to 54Mbps Data Rates 64/128bit WEP WPA WPA2 802.1x, 802.11i, AES, TKIP with 2 dBi Antenna I really want wifi access on my desktop and this one had good reviews.


Store reviews are to be taken with huge grains of salt. I've had products that have had good reviews (Intel SSDs, Asus optical drives, among other things) that turned out to be massive disasters.

Quote:
CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 Ivy Bridge 3.2GHz (3.6GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2500 BX80637i53470 The most performance I'll need for games as they're primarily GPU intensive. Why get any higher?


On your budget get the 3570K - having a good CPU helps even in good GPU intensive games.

Quote:

Case: APEVIA X-TROOPER Series X-TRP-NW-BK/450 Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 450W Power Supply
Reason: I like the way that it looks and the frontal USB ports. Really, the main reason here is aesthetics and the blue lighting. If it were a -bad- case I wouldn't push for appearance over performance, but reviews are solid where I've looked. (The only problem is that it won't take a CM 212)


No no no no no no no no no no no. Apevia is one of the absolute worst case manufacturers on the market. Their cases are very poorly constructed and fall apart very easily. Stay away from them. If you want a case with blue lighting you can do it yourself by adding a clear window and an LED lighting strip (see this: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/modding-lighting-pc... ). But Apevia is a garbage brand, do not buy under any circumstances. I can't stress enough how crappy these cases are - I owned one and the front USB ports shattered, the LCD temperature gauge never gave correct readings and the door and LED lights eventually fell off. Apevia, Ultra, Logisys, Topower, Diablotek, Coolmax, Xclio, Xion, Raidmax - these are all brands to avoid like the plague.

Here's what I would suggest:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($229.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U9B SE2 37.9 CFM CPU Cooler ($60.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($144.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($55.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($84.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: OCZ Vector Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($148.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($380.04 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 w/Window (Titanium Grey) ATX Mid Tower Case ($144.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk III 750W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($145.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($21.98 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1518.91
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-26 12:27 EST-0500)
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February 26, 2013 3:34:10 PM

Wow, thanks for the promptness!

Gotcha, I'll choose a different case for sure.

Didn't know the CPU fan came with thermal paste, thank you.

Thank you for all of the advice! Would respond at greater length but in a hurry :p 

Anyone else have anything to add?
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February 26, 2013 3:42:46 PM

Jtsessions said:
Wow, thanks for the promptness!

Gotcha, I'll choose a different case for sure.

Didn't know the CPU fan came with thermal paste, thank you.

Thank you for all of the advice! Would respond at greater length but in a hurry :p 

Anyone else have anything to add?


The 212 Evo includes stuff that's better than Silver 5. So you're essentially buying the same part twice. You only need extra thermal compound if you run out (or purchase a fan with poor quality stuff - Xigmatek comes to mind).

That's definitely on my case manufacturers to avoid list. Top tier brands for case manufacturers are NZXT, Corsair, Fractal Design (the Define R4 is one of the best right now), Cooler Master, Antec, Lian Li, Silverstone, Bitfenix, and Azza.

Mid tier brands would be like Cougar, Rosewill, Thermaltake, In Win, and Zalman.

Then the really low end brands would be Apevia, Raidmax, Xion, Xclio, Diablotek, Coolmax, HEC/Compucase, Apex, Topower, Sentey, Ultra, etc.
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February 26, 2013 3:45:25 PM

Man this is a wall of text haha. I'll just answer a few of the questions while i can.

Warranty will be from the individual manufacturer (i.e. if you bought from Gigabyte, you contact Gigabyte). Otherwise I'm sure newegg will do something like first 30 days they can return/refund/replace, but if you get a defective part, in all honesty, go straight to the manufacturer. I used to work for an online retailer/PC distributor, if you RMA through them to fix a defective item, they act as the middle man, taking it from you, then sending it to the manufacturer, so save your time.

For the parts you chose on newegg:

I would choose a different HDD if you plan to store your secondary games in there. Green is Western Digitals efficient and 'storage' drive, it runs slower, quieter, and low power, and is generally used to store a ton of movies, files, etc. If you plan to use your secondary drive for games, and want to go with WD, go with Black for the best performance, and Blue for the mix of value/performance.

GPU is a solid choice if you go with nvidia based cards. Especially if you're planning on playing games like Crysis 3 on near max settings (the hi-performance recommendation for the game is GTX 680 and i7-2600K). For CPU, I would maybe get a little step up to something like i5-3570K for performance and future OC capability, and if you *really wanted to future proof, the i7-3770K (but of course, not really needed/required). I would also get an aftermarket cooler if you think you'll be pushing it with lots of power. My aging EVGA GTX 465 SC would overheat in hot summer weather, so i got the Gelid Icy vision, replaced the stock cooler, and it never ever goes above 60C with factory OC. and from what i know, EVGA wont void your warranty with an aftermarket cooler (just want you to put the old one back if there is a defect.)

I would get a different CPU fan than what you chose. If clearance is a problem with your case and a larger air cooler, you can always go with a closed loop water cooling system, like the Corsair H50/70/80/100i etc. There are also other brands that have them. (if you do, I would definitely recommend doing a push/pull configuration with the radiator).

I would go with this wireless card instead:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

higher data rates, and wireless N, recently got it for myself and it works great. The one you listed was the card i had before, which worked wonders as well, but needed a new one once i moved that to my spare PC.

Thermal paste usually comes with new heatsinks that you buy, but if you want a "good" one, go with Arctic Silver 5. Honestly, does it make a difference? maybe a small one, i just like it cause it is easy to spread and works well.

Tools will just be basic everyday tools, screw drivers, tweezers (to remove dropped screws or something), ESD wristband for safety.


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February 26, 2013 3:53:01 PM

g-unit1111 said:


PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($229.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U9B SE2 37.9 CFM CPU Cooler ($60.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($144.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($55.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($84.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: OCZ Vector Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($148.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($380.04 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 w/Window (Titanium Grey) ATX Mid Tower Case ($144.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk III 750W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($145.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($21.98 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1518.91
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-26 12:27 EST-0500)



I would make very little, if any, changes to this build. The only thing I would change would be the PSU (but his is quality, the X750 by seasonic is just as good, but a few dollars cheaper). The RAM I would try to find Samsung Green 2x4Gb(doubtful that you'll find it reasonably priced, but worth looking). Other than that, I have no additional tweaks.
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February 26, 2013 4:01:16 PM

eyeage said:
I would make very little, if any, changes to this build. The only thing I would change would be the PSU (but his is quality, the X750 by seasonic is just as good, but a few dollars cheaper). The RAM I would try to find Samsung Green 2x4Gb(doubtful that you'll find it reasonably priced, but worth looking). Other than that, I have no additional tweaks.


That PSU actually is either a rebranded Seasonic or Super Flower, I'm not entirely sure. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/power-supply-oem-ma...

Either way it's a solid power supply. Partially modular (which I mostly prefer over full modular but that's a preference thing) and it's rock solid from the reviews I've read.

Quote:
Thermal paste usually comes with new heatsinks that you buy, but if you want a "good" one, go with Arctic Silver 5. Honestly, does it make a difference? maybe a small one, i just like it cause it is easy to spread and works well.


It's not necessary to spend money if you don't need something. Arctic Silver V is MX2 where the stuff that comes with the 212 Evo is non conductive MX4.
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February 26, 2013 4:02:52 PM

Thank you all for the input; didn't know that about the green drives, thought it was just part of the name! xD

Thank you for the wireless card suggestion as well.

I think I'll shop around for one of the cases sold by the brands you recommended that I like the aesthetics of, g-unit.

Why the gigabyte GA motherboard in particular?

Does anyone else have anything to add?

In addition, does anyone have any opinions on the best guide for actually assembling the components they'd recommend?


EDIT: Also, why is the version of windows 7 that I chose $200, but the one you chose is only $100? O.o

Also, I've heard that, while a solid SSD, the vector only has a bit of speed in its favor, but the samsung is great all around. Why do you suggest the vector?
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February 26, 2013 5:02:30 PM

@Jt
Not sure what you mean about green drives. My mention was Samsung Green RAM (not drive), and green drives (by western digital) are lackluster, but the "caviar blue" are quality.

The reason our widows is $100 is because it's a "builder's" OS.

MOBO is preference. There are a few good ones to choose from. Gigabyte has a good reputation. I, personally, have the ASRock extreme4, and I like it. To me, I'd look for the best deal. For me, it was the ASRock.

The SSD has a few names flying around. My opinion is the Samsung 840 Pro series, but vector is an extremely solid one as well.

I own the R4 w/ Window case in his build, it's nice. I have the NZXT Hue (lighting system), and it makes it pretty bad@ss.

@G-unit.

The PSU in your build is great, and if it weren't for the currently discounted price of the X750 (Making it $5 cheaper), I wouldn't have mentioned the change.
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February 26, 2013 5:05:54 PM

Yeah, I meant the mention of the "green" HDD xD

"Builder's" OS? How will it differ from the one I'd chosen?

Taking a look at this case: NZXT Whisper as I really like the aesthetics here, but you say that NZXT has better build quality, too, and it's basically the same price as the other case you suggested.

At Amazon, though, one reviewer states that "First things first. This case is not suitable, nor is it intended, to house a high-end gaming rig. If that's what you're looking for than move along, nothing to see here." (the top voted highest review) but never explains why.

Would this case be a good choice, and would it be compatible with that setup?


Lastly, where do you actually put systems like the NZXT hue? Do you just sorta stick it around the inside of the case? Not sure how that works but interested.

Also, the case I'm looking at says it has "space for some number of fans." Do I need to be buying fans for whatever case I choose as well? O.o



Thanks so much!


EDIT: Actually, that case may be discontinued; a lot of sites say that it's out of stock. Meh. Will keep looking.
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February 26, 2013 5:31:07 PM

The R4 is a "quiet case". So it's a bit quieter than most cases. I have 3 fans in mine and my temps and noise levels are good. The hue goes in a 5.25 drive (like your optical drive), and it has a LED light rope. It really only works for cases with a window. THIS is the case I have, and the one he suggested.

Builder OS means you provide the support. Though, I've had windows for about 10 years and I've never called them for support. So, ymmv, but I doubt you'll need it.
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February 26, 2013 5:34:28 PM

I'm thrilled with the R4's build quality, but it doesn't really appeal to me aesthetically. I know it may sound silly to be so insistent upon this, but if I'm gonna spend this much on a computer that I'll be using for so long, I really wanna choose a case that's "me", you know?

Oh, so you run the LED rope through the case, I see. Didn't know it went in a drive bay.



And on the last bit, it sounds like the only difference is that I can't call and get tech support for windows. Is that correct? If so, I totally agree, I never use that :p 

Thanks again!
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February 26, 2013 5:39:02 PM

Yes on the OS, and the case is definitely subjective. Corsair, Lian-Li, Fractal, NZXT... all good brands to consider in the $100+ segment. Pcpartpicker.com has a nice tool for you to browse cases. Narrow it down to those manufacturers, and look at what's offered.
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February 26, 2013 5:40:23 PM

Got it, thanks so much!

I'll edit this post with what I find to see if anyone has any comments.
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February 26, 2013 5:42:21 PM

Can probably throw cooler master in there too.
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February 26, 2013 6:29:53 PM

Every time I seem to find a fan with good cable management, sleek design, ~$150 or lower, etc, it seems like it's discontinued, even with pcpartpicker.

Do I need a full tower, or will others do?

Also, should I buy some twist ties or something to manage the cables?
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February 26, 2013 6:47:04 PM

My friend had shown me a similar case, but thermaltake's cases all look like radiators to me xD I don't -mind- how that case looks, and I love the blue fans and trust their company, I'm just trying to see if I can't find something that looks "sleek" too. I like simple and streamlined more than I like bulky, y'know?

I'll continue considering that case, though, as it seems to have some nice features. Thank you!




EDIT:


Alright, used the feedback I've gotten so far and some of the components I had originally had in mind and came up with this. Feedback? Should I find a way to push the card up to a 4gb or up to a 680? Like I said, I'd considered upgrading to a 25XX monitor and the 4gb should give me what I need to upgrade later, so not sure whether to try to plan around that or not.

Anyways, lemme know!
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February 26, 2013 7:14:11 PM

Jtsessions said:
My friend had shown me a similar case, but thermaltake's cases all look like radiators to me xD I don't -mind- how that case looks, and I love the blue fans and trust their company, I'm just trying to see if I can't find something that looks "sleek" too. I like simple and streamlined more than I like bulky, y'know?

I'll continue considering that case, though, as it seems to have some nice features. Thank you!




EDIT:


Alright, used the feedback I've gotten so far and some of the components I had originally had in mind and came up with this. Feedback? Should I find a way to push the card up to a 4gb or up to a 680? Like I said, I'd considered upgrading to a 25XX monitor and the 4gb should give me what I need to upgrade later, so not sure whether to try to plan around that or not.

Anyways, lemme know!


If you check out that article I linked to - with a few minor tweaks you can customize pretty much any case with any custom lighting you want. That article built a rig where you could change the lighting based on mood.

Thermaltake makes some decent cases but they're kind of a mixed bag if you ask me.
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February 26, 2013 7:57:02 PM

Wow, I missed that the first time I read it. Thank you, looking at it now!

EDIT: Ok, here is what I have so far. Phantom case, really fits what I like in aesthetics and has solid build quality and good cable space/airflow/etc, took the SSD down to half the size as I think that'll still be plenty for a handful of games and the OS which saved me $100, scaled power supply down some too because corsair is still quite solid and I won't need that many watts, which saved a little bit.

Opted to buy some blue LED fans to fit the lighting I wanted and then used the extra money to move up to a 3770 i7 processor. I would have gone with a 680 but those're going to be too large to SLI and cost a fair bit more, and I've heard that an EVGA 670 FTW is as good as a stock 680 anyways, and that unclocked a 670 is only 4.5% worse than a 680 anyways, so I figured that I'd futureproof better with a better processor.


Thoughts? I feel like this is quite a bit better than my original cyberpower build. Thank you all for the input!
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February 26, 2013 8:52:24 PM

Btw... I'd stick with mid atx towers. My mid ATX tower is pretty big and has more room than I'll ever need.
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February 26, 2013 8:54:12 PM

Do you think so? Space and size are no concern for me, and I'd figured that a larger case would afford me more cable management options and better airflow and gives me more freedom to change it up in the future if I decide that I'd like to change out some components for larger ones. Do you have anything to add to that?
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February 26, 2013 8:55:22 PM

Also, unless you want a jet engine in your office/room.. I'd suggest holding off on additional fans. I would only buy extra fans if you need them (ie, you find out your components are getting too hot after overclocking). My entire system, sans my GPU, stays under 40 degrees with overclocking, and my fan speeds are at 35%. My GPU only heats up during intense gaming, and only gets to about 50 degrees while the GPU fans hit about 60%.
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February 26, 2013 8:57:24 PM

Ok.. here's a link to my build.. it's a mid-atx build... you tell me if it was big enough...
Click

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February 26, 2013 9:08:04 PM

Also, 3770 is pointless unless you're planning on doing some intensive video rendering or intensive graphic design. This system will work just as well (better psu, however), and saves you a couple hundred.

Note that the case you've selected already comes with 4 fans.
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($223.79 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($32.98 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($144.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair XMS3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($52.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($73.49 @ Outlet PC)
Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($128.11 @ Amazon)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($369.99 @ Amazon)
Wireless Network Adapter: Rosewill RNX-N250PC2 802.11b/g/n PCI Wi-Fi Adapter ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Phantom (Black) ATX Full Tower Case ($119.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 650W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($115.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($18.98 @ Outlet PC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $1391.26
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-26 18:08 EST-0500)
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February 26, 2013 9:12:11 PM

eyeage said:
Also, unless you want a jet engine in your office/room.. I'd suggest holding off on additional fans. I would only buy extra fans if you need them (ie, you find out your components are getting too hot after overclocking). My entire system, sans my GPU, stays under 40 degrees with overclocking, and my fan speeds are at 35%. My GPU only heats up during intense gaming, and only gets to about 50 degrees while the GPU fans hit about 60%.


Yeah I see people wanting to spend an extra $100 on fans for their builds. DON'T DO IT!!! My rule of thumb is exactly four following the guide on Tom's. Use one 200mm fan on the top. One 120mm fan on the side. One 140mm fan in the front, and the rear exhaust fan. That's really all you need.
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February 26, 2013 9:51:42 PM

Actually, those fans are blue LED fans; only one of the fans that comes with the case is by default blue and I'd like the added color. I've also heard that more fans = slower fan speeds for the same results = quieter fan operation, not louder, and I figured that fan areas with only one LED fan would look a little funky. I didn't get an LED fan for the back, though, as you can't even see it. Given those points, what do you think?

I went with the 3770 because I'm looking at benchmarks and reviews of the 680 vs the 670 ftw and seeing that there's a 4%ish increase in performance for a massive hike in price. I figured that if that money went anywhere on the build that would last, it'd be a strong CPU, because while the 3770 would be heavy overkill, I really wouldn't need to upgrade it and it'd be futureproof as hell. If I don't use a 3770, what would you suggest I switch to? 3570? And where would you put the money that could have gone into the 3770?

Lastly, with the mention of mid cases being enough, I'm really fixed on the nzxt phantom now; I could pick up the 410 instead of the regular, but I'm really wanting to get something where cable management is easier and where I won't have any space issues now or ever. Do you think that the 410 would work out with my specific setup?

Thanks again, really feel like we're almost at optimal.
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February 26, 2013 10:03:06 PM

Sometimes bigger = harder cable management.

No point in 3770, 3570k will be enough to last many years
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February 26, 2013 10:04:29 PM

Alright, given that, where would you put the money saved by using a 3570k?
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February 26, 2013 10:24:27 PM

Quote:
I went with the 3770 because I'm looking at benchmarks and reviews of the 680 vs the 670 ftw and seeing that there's a 4%ish increase in performance for a massive hike in price. I figured that if that money went anywhere on the build that would last, it'd be a strong CPU, because while the 3770 would be heavy overkill, I really wouldn't need to upgrade it and it'd be futureproof as hell. If I don't use a 3770, what would you suggest I switch to? 3570? And where would you put the money that could have gone into the 3770?


That's not going to future proof a build. IMO the only real way to make something truly future proof is to keep all your expansion options open. Limiting expansion options will limit what your build can do. What you have to understand is that the software is always going to be five steps or more behind the current hardware that's out. It will be years before games and other software will catch up to the extra threads that are used on the 3770. The thing is there's always going to be new CPUs and GPUs coming down the pike, it's inevitable.

Quote:
Lastly, with the mention of mid cases being enough, I'm really fixed on the nzxt phantom now; I could pick up the 410 instead of the regular, but I'm really wanting to get something where cable management is easier and where I won't have any space issues now or ever. Do you think that the 410 would work out with my specific setup?


There's several varieties of the Phantom:

- There's the smaller Phantom 410: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- There's the standard Phantom: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- And there's the full tower Phantom 630: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- And the super tower Phantom 820: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I also really like the Switch 810: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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February 26, 2013 10:26:28 PM

That's a good point; Where could I put the money that would have been spent on the 3770 to best improve my current setup, then?

Thank you for the case listing, checking them out now!
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February 26, 2013 10:35:48 PM

Jtsessions said:



After looking at newegg, with the same amount of money, I can do this:

Case: APEVIA X-TROOPER Series X-TRP-NW-BK/450 Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 450W Power Supply Reason: I like the way that it looks and the frontal USB ports. Really, the main reason here is aesthetics and the blue lighting. If it were a -bad- case I wouldn't push for appearance over performance, but reviews are solid where I've looked. (The only problem is that it won't take a CM 212)

I also have a question here - as far as I understand, the motherboard I want has 1 USB 2.0 header, 2 USB 2.0 ports and 4 external rear USB 3.0 ports. Does this mean that I can only use two of the front USB ports? Is it possible to get a PCI card with a header on it to run to the frontal ports?

Primary drive: SAMSUNG 840 Series MZ-7TD250BW 2.5" 250GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) Reason: I really like the speed and load time increases with SSDs and want more than just my OS here. I'd like to hot swap my "game of the month" onto the SSD for better load times and feel that 240gb is a very healthy but generally cost effective balance of size/price.

Secondary drive: Western Digital WD Green WD10EARX 1TB IntelliPower 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive Large size and relatively affordable.

Graphics card: EVGA 02G-P4-2685-KR GeForce GTX 680 SC Signature+ w/Backplate 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card Very solid performance and a straight upgrade to what I had with cyberpower. Also like the $150 deal on a few games I play.

CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 Ivy Bridge 3.2GHz (3.6GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2500 BX80637i53470 The most performance I'll need for games as they're primarily GPU intensive. Why get any higher?

Power Supply: CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX750 V2 750W ATX12V v2.31/ EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC High Performance Power Supply I trust corsair, and a 750w gives me the head room for SLI in the future if I want it.

Motherboard: ASUS P8Z77-V LK LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS I trust asus and their reliability, and the board is SLI capable.

RAM: CORSAIR 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 Desktop Memory Model CMV4GX3M1A1333C9 Two of these. Corsair again, solid 8gb of RAM at a reasonable clockspeed considering I'm not OCing.

CPU Fan: COOLER MASTER Hyper N 520 RR-920-N520-GP 92mm Sleeve CPU Cooler Compatible with Intel 1366/1155/775 and AMD AM3 People say coolermaster is good, I can't fit a 212 and this is from coolermaster. Others have said that a 92mm fits with my case, so it works.

DVD Drive: SAMSUNG Black Single: 18X Dual: 8X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA DVD-ROM Drive Model SH-118AB I THINK that this is an internal enclosure that will fit in one of my case's 5.25 drive bays, but I can't find anything definitive. I just chose this because I couldn't find any others.

Wireless PCI card: Rosewill RNX-G300LX Wireless Adapter Card IEEE 802.11b/g PCI Up to 54Mbps Data Rates 64/128bit WEP WPA WPA2 802.1x, 802.11i, AES, TKIP with 2 dBi Antenna I really want wifi access on my desktop and this one had good reviews.

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Used to and prefer win7 to win8

Thermal paste: ARCTIC MX2 Thermal Paste -4gram This is what I need to apply internally, right?


In addition, will I need any tools to assemble the PC? Any suggestions for better price/performance?

-Really- fixed on intel/Nvidia.


Thank you so much for your time!


PCIe Network cards are garbage, a USB dongle is better in almost every case, it doesn't take up PCIe real estate and generally have less issues overall.

MX2 sucks, besides just use the stuff with your cooler, but if you insist NT-H1 or TX-2 outperform it for the same price/cheaper.

Apevia is garbage, cheap quality and bad service, a good budget case is the Corsair 300R or 200R, or the Antec 302 or NZXT Budget lines(Classic or Source)

A Radeon 7970 is equal than a GTX680 at stock and flies away when overclocked, not to mention 384-bit bus for 8X/16X AA/AF and multimonitor with Eyefinity. Also if you hate AMD it's still ATI, the name is just AMD.

An HX650 will be better, a 650 can still support SLI especially with your non-K CPU and it's modular and gold+ certified, same price.
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February 26, 2013 10:40:16 PM

I suggest you put the savings into a monitor, or into your pocket.
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February 26, 2013 10:46:11 PM

darkspartenwarrior said:
PCIe Network cards are garbage, a USB dongle is better in almost every case, it doesn't take up PCIe real estate and generally have less issues overall.

MX2 sucks, besides just use the stuff with your cooler, but if you insist NT-H1 or TX-2 outperform it for the same price/cheaper.

Apevia is garbage, cheap quality and bad service, a good budget case is the Corsair 300R or 200R, or the Antec 302 or NZXT Budget lines(Classic or Source)

A Radeon 7970 is equal than a GTX680 at stock and flies away when overclocked, not to mention 384-bit bus for 8X/16X AA/AF and multimonitor with Eyefinity. Also if you hate AMD it's still ATI, the name is just AMD.

An HX650 will be better, a 650 can still support SLI especially with your non-K CPU and it's modular and gold+ certified, same price.


Got it, thank you for all of the advice!




Eyeage, thank you, I'll check out monitors and see if I can't pick up the second 1920x1080 I've been wanting.

One last question, I opted to get a 670 2gb because people have said that you only need 4gb for 2560 displays or multimonitor. Right now I use HDMI with my laptop and play a game on my single 1920 monitor while skype stays up on my laptop screen. If I use two 1920x1080 monitors with this build and have skype up on the second monitor, will 2gb be enough to game without performance issues since it isn't high intensity?

Hell, can I set the game to run with the GPU and skype to run with integrated the same way I can with my current laptop? That'd keep VRAM lower, right?


Thank you so much for all of the help.
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February 26, 2013 11:37:34 PM

Jtsessions said:

One last question, I opted to get a 670 2gb because people have said that you only need 4gb for 2560 displays or multimonitor. Right now I use HDMI with my laptop and play a game on my single 1920 monitor while skype stays up on my laptop screen. If I use two 1920x1080 monitors with this build and have skype up on the second monitor, will 2gb be enough to game without performance issues since it isn't high intensity?

Hell, can I set the game to run with the GPU and skype to run with integrated the same way I can with my current laptop? That'd keep VRAM lower, right?



2GB is enough for 2 monitors as long as you don't

-Mod(heavily)
-use 1440p+
-expect high AA/AF settings

You can use Lucid Virtu to use the Integrated GPU to run the 2nd monitor while you game on your 2nd monitor, make sure that your 2 monitors are the same.
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February 27, 2013 9:45:49 AM

You'd only need 4Gb if you ran heavily modded games. I'm on 1440p without issue with 2Gb. I only suggested it, because in the future it could be necessary. If I was spending $400 on a GPU, I'd be getting 4Gb. As it were, I got a $250 card, so it wasn't worth the jump for me. For $40, yeah, I'd get it.
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February 27, 2013 6:11:12 PM

Alright, changed my build to this. Downgraded the 3770 to the 3570k and swapped for an EVGA FTW 4gb for larger monitor/dual monitor expansion later. Thank you for the feedback ^^
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February 27, 2013 7:40:40 PM

Jtsessions said:
That's a good point; Where could I put the money that would have been spent on the 3770 to best improve my current setup, then?

Thank you for the case listing, checking them out now!


I personally would put it into getting a bigger SSD or putting it toward getting a second GPU, or even a larger monitor if you don't feel like adding a second GPU. The best SSD on the market currently is the OCZ Vector - most tests show it matching or even surpassing the Samsung 840 Pro in most tests.
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February 27, 2013 7:43:48 PM

I actually scaled the SSD down to 120 from 256, as I'd thought about it and realized that if the OS took 20-30gb, I'd have 100gb left for applications and whatever few games I happened to be playing at the time and I could just offload whatever I wasn't playing onto the 1tb drive with my media. I felt that the $100 saved in doing so would better benefit me elsewhere. Regardless, the difference between the 3570k and 3770k isn't enough for a second GPU, but I currently shifted that money towards a 4gb EVGA FTW so that I could go dual monitor with a main 2560 monitor. I think that'll give me better performance for my money.

I'll check out the vector now! Thank you!

EDIT: Hearing the performance of the vector is slightly better, but not enough to -seriously- notice over the 840, but I've also seen some people complaining of vector drive failures, some pretty early on. I really don't see anything like that for the samsung, and while I'm sure that the amount of failing vectors is small, I think that I trust a leg up in reliability over a small step up in speed. I'll probably stick with the vector.

Also, on the motherboard that you recommended, I'm having some trouble finding info on the following things and wondered if you knew about them off hand:

1. How many headers will I have, and how many front USB ports will that support?
2. Will this motherboard support a front case eSATA cable?
3. How many external rear USB ports will I have?


Thanks so much!
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February 27, 2013 8:14:08 PM

Memory
Number of Memory Slots
4×240pin
Memory Standard
DDR3 2666(OC)/1600/1333/1066
Maximum Memory Supported
32GB
Channel Supported
Dual Channel

Expansion Slots
PCI Express 3.0 x16
2 (x16, x8)
PCI Express 2.0 x16
1 @x4
PCI Express x1
3
PCI Slots
1

Storage Devices
SATA 3Gb/s
4 x SATA 3Gb/s
1 x mSATA connector (The SATA2 5 connector will become unavailable when the mSATA connector is installed with a solid state drive.)
SATA 6Gb/s
2 x SATA 6Gb/s
SATA RAID
0/1/5/10

Onboard Video
Onboard Video Chipset
Supported only by CPU with integrated graphic

Onboard Audio
Audio Chipset
VIA VT2021
Audio Channels
8 Channels

Onboard LAN
Max LAN Speed
10/100/1000Mbps

Rear Panel Ports
PS/2
1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
Video Ports
D-Sub + DVI
HDMI
1 x HDMI
DisplayPort
1 x DisplayPort
USB 3.0
6 x USB 3.0
eSATA
2 x eSATA 6Gb/s
S/PDIF Out
1 x Optical
Audio Ports
6 Ports

Internal I/O Connectors
Onboard USB
2 x USB 3.0 + 6 x USB 2.0
Other Connectors
1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
1 x PCIe power connector
1 x mSATA connector
1 x CPU fan header
4 x fan headers
1 x front panel header
1 x front panel audio header
1 x S/PDIF Out header
1 x Clear CMOS jumper
1 x Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header
1 x power button
1 x reset button
1 x Clear CMOS button
1 x Voltage Measurement Points
1 x BIOS Switch
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February 27, 2013 10:10:52 PM

It looks like I have one header here, but I've heard that they serve two USB ports. Is that true?

Doesn't seem like it has front case eSATA support, but I can't really tell :S

And lastly, what exactly is an "internal usb port" for if headers are what give you front case support? xD


Thanks for the specs!
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March 6, 2013 11:00:13 PM

Best answer selected by Jtsessions.
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