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First Build, could use some advice! Intel i7-3930k base.

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July 12, 2013 11:23:47 PM

Hi everyone, this is my first post here but I've been using the site a lot to decide on components and just how to build in general. I've had the i7 sitting around since last year's intel summer deal (I know, such a waste on my part) and I really need to just get myself over the hump and build this thing! I think part of me is scared off since I've never done something like this before, but I almost have all the components and am ready to get started. Anyways, enough with the intro, I have a couple questions on ways to finish off my build that I'd like to get your advice on. Here are the components I have so far:

Intel i7-3930k
Intel 520 series 180 GB ssd
Will also buy a standard HD but that can be done later
Asus x79 Sabertooth (Have not purchased this yet but after reading these forums I think it is the best board for what I'm trying to do).
XFX P1850BNLG9 Pro Series XXX Edition ATX Semi-Modular Power Supply - 850W
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO (Not OC'ing so I don't think I need liquid)
Corsair 400r (a little small but I was able to get it for free so can't complain)
Windows 7 Home Premium (limits my RAM but it was also free...)
Generic optical drive

So my main question is about graphics cards. I just have no clue where to begin. I was thinking of spending around $200-$250 on the card because it sounds like when you spend in the $300-$500 range you start getting diminishing returns for your money. On the other hand, I also don't want to have my GPU be the bottleneck on my system because I'd like to be able to play games on high settings for the next year or two (I've always had mid-tier laptops/desktops so this would be a treat for me. I feel like I haven't gotten the full PC gaming experience yet.). If you guys have any recommendations on specific cards for my system or how much I should spend I'd really appreciate it! The other main thing I need is RAM. I've been looking at Corsair RAM, but if you guys have any other brands or specific types you could recommend that'd also be great. Also, should I even be buying a sound card, and how much should I really be spending on a networking card? I know these are a lot of questions, so whatever info you could provide would be much appreciated, don't feel like you have to answer everything! I am still pretty new at this, but this forum has taught me a ton so far.


July 12, 2013 11:37:49 PM

Is this only for gaming? What's your monitor resolution?
What's your budget?

For the sound card, the built in audio on the motherboard is generally good enough unless you have a high-end speaker.
Are you talking about wired networking or wireless networking?
July 12, 2013 11:45:23 PM

It is mostly for gaming (that should be the only thing that pushes it to its limits). Everything else I'd use it for I'm currently using a 5 year-old laptop for. My current monitor is a Dell ST2210. It has an HD input; I'll just list the specs from the Dell site since I don't know what the most important thing to look for in a monitor is.

Panel Size:
21.5"

Aspect Ratio
Widescreen (16:9)

Panel Type:
TN – Twisted Nematic

Optimal Resolution:
1920 x 1080 at 60Hz

Contrast Ratio:
Dynamic Contrast Ratio 50000:1 (max)

Brightness:
250 cd/m2 (typical)

Response Time:
5ms


I can always buy a new monitor if necessary, but this one is only a couple years old so I wasn't planning on it. Would I be able to see a noticeable difference with a new monitor?

Edit: I don't have a hard budget, but I'd like to keep the video card somewhere in the $250 range unless you guys think it would really be worth the money to spend more. Basically I'd like to keep it reasonable (I don't have a ton of money to spend to get top of the line everything) but if there is good value to be had in spending a bit more now so that it'll last a bit longer I can also do that. For the RAM I was thinking around $100 but that budget is the same situation as the GPU. For networking I will be using wireless (at least for now).
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July 13, 2013 3:56:32 PM

I think I'm pretty set on the Asus, I know I want to stick with that brand. Good reputation and 5-year warranty. Plus it'll allow me to expand in the future if I need to.

For the RAM does it really matter much between brands or are most RAMs relatively similar?

But yes, the only things I have left to buy are the mobo, ram, and gpu. The GPU is the thing I need the most advice on though as I don't have much of a clue what to look for. Current games that I own that I'd like to play smoothly are Civ 5 and Bioshock 2. I have other games but they are at least 3 years old and I'm assuming any GPU I buy will be able to run them. In the future I'd like to be able to run Bioshock infinite, Starcraft 2, Mechwarrior online and BF4.
July 13, 2013 4:23:10 PM

For the gpu, a Radeon HD 7950 should be fine: http://pcpartpicker.com/part/sapphire-video-card-100352...

For the RAM, any brand will do the same thing. Just keep the specs at 1.5v, CAS 9 and 1600/1866mhz (whichever is cheaper).

For the motherboard, the ASRock Extreme6 basically as the same features if you compare it side by side. The differences between the two are features I doubt you're going to use. ASRock has a great reputation for their motherboards but you will only get a 3-year warranty (doesn't matter much because you generally want to upgrade every 3-4years). Don't forget that the Extreme6 is $100 cheaper.
July 13, 2013 4:23:39 PM

As a point of reference, the two I've been looking at today are:

ASUS HD7870-DC2-2GD5-V2
Newegg

and the Nvidia Geforce GTX 760.

Straight up I would normally take the GTX 760, but that particular HD 7870 is $50 off right now and I can get it for under $200. What would be a better value, the 760 at $250 or the AMD at $200? Or if anyone else has a particular card that they'd recommend I'd love to hear some personal experiences. This is probably a stupid question, but in the tom's hardware review on the 760 it looks like they are testing an Nvidia branded graphics card, but online I can only find other companies selling the 760. I'm assuming nvidia is making the gpu part of the card and the individual brands are making the rest. Is there a way to just buy the entire thing made by nvidia or do they only supply the gpu to other companies to finish off the cards?
July 13, 2013 4:30:24 PM

I would suggest the 7950 because it's stronger than the 760.
Also, NVIDIA is the company that makes the gpu itself and then they ship it off to other companies with a reference design cooling on it. Then, the companies have a choice of either ditching the reference cooler and putting on their own cooler or keep the reference design but putting their brand on it.
You can't get a NVIDIA branded card because they ship it to companies and the companies put their brand on it.
However, you should be glad that you can't buy an NVIDIA brand card because the companies usually put a much better cooling design on the card that will cool mcuh better than the reference design. So if anything, the other brands are better.
July 20, 2013 1:03:33 AM

realchaos said:
I would suggest the 7950 because it's stronger than the 760.
Also, NVIDIA is the company that makes the gpu itself and then they ship it off to other companies with a reference design cooling on it. Then, the companies have a choice of either ditching the reference cooler and putting on their own cooler or keep the reference design but putting their brand on it.
You can't get a NVIDIA branded card because they ship it to companies and the companies put their brand on it.
However, you should be glad that you can't buy an NVIDIA brand card because the companies usually put a much better cooling design on the card that will cool mcuh better than the reference design. So if anything, the other brands are better.


I just realized I never properly thanked you for all your help. Thanks again for all the advice/tips, it was very informative.
!