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Looking for brief advice on first PC build

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November 13, 2013 4:11:21 AM

Hi guys, I'm planning to buy and assemble my very first PC somewhere at the end of the month, as part of celebrating the end of the torturous A levels. I hope to gather a couple of opinions on my choices/potential choices, thank you in advance for your time.

Potential parts I'm eyeing at the minute (prices in SGD at the local shop, a rough 1USD->1.25SGD conversion):

Leadtek GTX760 2GB (OC version:$365) $343
OR
MSI GTX660 Ti Power Edition 2GB OC $368
OR
Gigabyte R9-280X OC 3GB GDDR5 $449 (Check: Is it Windforce ie. triple fan? Not elaborated upon in the shop's list, guess I'll have to take a half-hour ride to the shop to find out for myself!)
_____________________________________________________________________________

CM Storm Scout II $149 (w/ 1 fan)
OR
CM Cosmos SE $229 (w/ 4 fans)
OR
Corsair Carbide 300R $109 (w/ 2 fans)
OR
Corsair Carbide 400R $138 (w/ 3 fans)
OR
Corsair Graphite 600T White $238 (w/ 3 fans and fan controller)

(Fan count according to CM/Corsair site)
_____________________________________________________________________________

Intel Core i5 4670 & ASUS H87 Plus $451
OR
Intel Core i5 4670K & ASUS H87 Plus $475 (ASUS H87s can now overclock with 4670K after BIOS update?)
OR
Intel Xeon E3-1230V2 $338, eBay
+Asrock H77M $129
_____________________________________________________________________________

AVEXIR Core 1600C9 (8GB=2x4GB) $115
Seagate 1TB Hybrid/7200/8GB+64MB $128
CoolerMaster ExtremePower2 525W $69
CM Seidon 120V Closed-loop $78 --> Stock cooler can be used if provided (and feeling lucky)
Scythe Gentle Typhoon fans $28 x (? Qty unknown)
_____________________________________________________________________________

Budget: <SGD $1400

Little note: AMD CPU is less feasible, the ONLY AMD the local shop stocks is the A10-6800K, costing me SGD$50 less than the i5-4670 because the only decent full-sized ATX motherboard is Asus F2A85-V-PRO, at $215 (which costs more than the Asus H87 Plus).

Question!
- Since I've got a good deal at the local shop with Leadtek's 760 -- Should I SLI it if the budget allows, or should I go for 7970/R9-280X? (In terms of better value)

- Seagate's 3.5" hybrid drive: To buy or not to buy? With the limited budget, a separate SSD doesn't look very viable (especially if I blow my budget on the GPU).
I currently have 1x 128GB SSD (Internal of my laptop, so it's unlikely I'll remove it to put on the new PC), 1x 1TB 2.5" drive, 1x 320GB 2.5", and 2x 120GB 2.5" (from almost 6 years ago. I don't even know if they work properly anymore)




I'll be straining it mainly for gaming purposes -- but currently only have a 720p screen (until it breaks / further notice). That said, the screen is 6 years old and could die anytime, so I'm anticipating a single 1080p monitor sometime soon.

I understand that I don't exactly need the CPU overclock since my Photoshopping/Video editing etc. would be very infrequent (last time I opened those applications were a couple of months ago), so I'm currently most likely to go for:

- ASUS H87 Plus and Core i5-4670, Leadtek GTX760 / 760SLI (if budget allows--futureproofing!), Corsair Graphite 600T (If there's surplus budget) / Carbide 400R (if budget's tight)


Thank you for your opinions, especially against my most likely config, so I'll be able to see the pros and cons better! Hopefully I'll have a great experience with my first PC build (and hope this thread helps those after me considering a similar budget build on similar components) :) 

More about : advice build

November 13, 2013 5:06:32 AM

You simply can't overclock with an H87 board.

Graphics card - Get a 770 if you can. If you can't get the 760

Case - Storm Scout II

CPU - Intel i5 4670k & an ASUS Z87 Plus not H87 Plus.

I wouldn't go with CM on the PSU as they mainly make cases. I would rather use a Seasonic or Corsair. You should get the Asus VS247H-P instead of going SLI.

And what are torturous A levels?
November 13, 2013 5:27:42 AM

My bad, I just realized that I didn't explain that those are the exams for university admission around here ;) 

Thanks for your input, I am indeed clueless about things like the PSU choice.

That said, the issue with 770 is that it literally costs twice as much as this cheaper Leadtek 760, that's why I am considering SLI at all. To put it in perspective, a 770 would cost me 70+% more than a R9-280X!
Related resources
November 13, 2013 5:33:22 AM

Note on CPU:

- I don't really need the CPU OCing, so I'm not likely to go for the K version unless I have surplus budget to play with

- AMD A10-6800K is the only AMD I have access to buying, would it be good enough for 1080p high settings gaming and occasional rendering in general if I oc it? OCed 6800 vs the locked i5-4670-- how far behind is it? Last time I checked CPUboss, pretty far behind o.o

Thanks
November 13, 2013 6:56:17 AM

The only time you need an A10 is on a tight budget when you can't afford a discrete card. Sli 760 is good and get the H87 board if you are not overclocking. I forgot there was a price increase with your currency so my bad. Other than this the build should do great.
November 13, 2013 7:38:49 AM

I'm a little over budget if I go for 760 SLI though, I'm thinking of ways to bring the cost down. Would it bottleneck graphics performance if I switch to a lower end i5 instead? May be able to save $40 or more there. Together with a cheaper case etc. I could force the budget below 1500...

Alternatively, a single R9-280X is also very attractive to me, as it means that I can afford to use a better case (and other misc. components).

Any thoughts, on value between the two?
November 13, 2013 8:03:47 AM

icehawk_1995 said:
I'm a little over budget if I go for 760 SLI though, I'm thinking of ways to bring the cost down. Would it bottleneck graphics performance if I switch to a lower end i5 instead? May be able to save $40 or more there. Together with a cheaper case etc. I could force the budget below 1500...

Alternatively, a single R9-280X is also very attractive to me, as it means that I can afford to use a better case (and other misc. components).



Any thoughts, on value between the two?


Well then I'd rather you get a single 760. Or look for a GTX 670
November 13, 2013 8:03:48 PM

Putting some prices into perspective once more:

- i5-4440 would be $45 cheaper than the i5-4670
- An average GTX670 -> $100 more expensive than Leadtek GTX760
- GTX680 -> Another $100 on top of the GTX670
- The average DirectCuII versions of R9-280X or GTX series from ASUS would cost $30-100 higher than some other brands.

I'm asking also because the GTX760 usually costs ~$400 from other brands but I find a Leadtek being sold for $50 less at my local store -- priced below $350 instead. This puts it in the same price range as the 660Ti, which is less powerful and more outdated. Is there a reason why I shouldn't be buying this (much) cheaper Leadtek version (instead of MSI/ASUS/Gigabyte/EVGA)?

I'm a little wary about such a big price cut, but so far I haven't been able to find anything wrong with Leadtek's version. Maybe just an extra-good deal for the same card? (It does cost over $70 less than the ASUS version)
November 14, 2013 3:53:18 AM

Since my dad's going on a trip to Hong Kong next week, he may be able to get a better deal there (more competitive prices, no consumer taxes etc). That way I should be able to fit a 7970-priced card into my setup quite comfortably. (Again, even Leadtek's cheaper GTX770 costs around $560, which is much more than the $450-470 deals for R9-280X / 7970 I should be able to get from MSI/Gigabyte etc.)

I think I'll be going with a single GPU card, and either H87/4670 or Z87/4670K, if I have surplus budget. I'm starting to find that SLI is too costly, because I'll need a good mobo with at least two PCIe 3.0 slots to effectively utilize it, and a much more powerful and expensive PSU too.

Should I go for an Asus, MSI or Asrock motherboard? MSI's lower end ATX Z87s are the cheapest, costing hardly any more than Asus' H87 Plus. Are they any good? I'd prefer to still have my overclocking capabilities and the 4670K if my budget allows it--and with better prices in Hong Kong, I'll likely be able to make this small upgrade to Z87/4670K too.
November 14, 2013 4:49:15 AM

icehawk_1995 said:
Since my dad's going on a trip to Hong Kong next week, he may be able to get a better deal there (more competitive prices, no consumer taxes etc). That way I should be able to fit a 7970-priced card into my setup quite comfortably. (Again, even Leadtek's cheaper GTX770 costs around $560, which is much more than the $450-470 deals for R9-280X / 7970 I should be able to get from MSI/Gigabyte etc.)

I think I'll be going with a single GPU card, and either H87/4670 or Z87/4670K, if I have surplus budget. I'm starting to find that SLI is too costly, because I'll need a good mobo with at least two PCIe 3.0 slots to effectively utilize it, and a much more powerful and expensive PSU too.

Should I go for an Asus, MSI or Asrock motherboard? MSI's lower end ATX Z87s are the cheapest, costing hardly any more than Asus' H87 Plus. Are they any good? I'd prefer to still have my overclocking capabilities and the 4670K if my budget allows it--and with better prices in Hong Kong, I'll likely be able to make this small upgrade to Z87/4670K too.


I would prefer ASUS because they have more credibility in motherboards. If you can afford a Gigabyte that would be good. ASRock is good at making lower end boards but I would choose ASUS over it.
November 14, 2013 5:03:36 AM

Thanks for your help, I figured Asus would be decent.
I found this Gigabyte board: http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=...
Locally, it costs about the same as an Asus Z87-K or Z87-C. Gigabyte's comparable H87 board (H87-D3H) also costs about the same as Asus H87-Plus.

Since I'm clueless about minor differences between motherboards, I'll need full advice here as to which board is preferable, for the Z87 and H87 respectively. I still haven't decided if I'd want to OC my CPU, but it appears very feasible, especially since I may have a little extra room with the budget now that I'm likely to be buying my stuff somewhere with prices as much as 10% lower. Thanks!
November 14, 2013 5:09:54 AM

I would prefer the Gigabyte board for H87 but ASUS for Z87 because for OC, Asus is more reliable. But Gigabyte has a better design if you are not overclocking. It has it's plethora of USB 3.0 headers and it's sleek looking design. That is my opinion on the motherboards.
November 16, 2013 6:18:32 AM

Hi again!
After some more research, I came up with a few possible builds, and would like an opinion on which is better and why (for regular gaming and occasional use of Sibelius/Photoshop/Vegas etc.)

Keeping these parts constant: Corsair 600T case, CX600M PSU, Crucial/Kingston/Avexir 1600Mhz 2x4GB RAM

1: CPU-oriented
i5-4670k with Asus Z87-K and CM Seidon 120V liquid cooler
GTX760

2. GPU-oriented
i5-4670 with Asus H87 Plus and stock cooler / more affordable aftermarket cooler
R9-290 or R9-280X

Which would be a more balanced build between the CPU and GPU? Thanks
November 16, 2013 6:29:17 AM

I would choose 2. but with the 280x. If you can find a non reference design like Gigabyte Windforce or MSI TF then get the 290 but if you can't the 280x is fine.
November 16, 2013 6:44:50 AM

I have access to Gigabyte's, MSI's and Powercolor's versions of the R9-290 locally (all at the same price). I'm also comparing prices with that of shops in Hong Kong in the coming week, so hopefully I can find these cards going for a lower price.

That said, since the 290 is completely new, the chances of further discounts are next to none. All I would benefit from is that I won't have to pay my local 7% service tax. Possibly though, AMD may price it a little lower in Hong Kong because the general price level there is generally lower (with the exception of housing haha).

I might be able to find a GTX670/680 or ATI 7970 for a discount more easily there, since these are older cards that may be going on clearance anytime.
I'd like to go back to the age-old question of AMD versus nVidia. I know many people who swear by nVidia because of AMD's driver support inferiority and what-have-you. I have never personally used an AMD GPU before (I'm now using an OEM GT520M on my laptop, and that is, of course, extremely obsolete), any tips when choosing the card?

I'm still in favour of nVidia if the price-to-performance difference is negligible, at least because of lower heat/noise (if not better looks and driver support too), but is there anything else I should know before choosing either brand? Thanks :) 
November 16, 2013 6:56:01 AM

Get the MSI 290. The reason I told you to get a non-reference design is due to noise and heat issues. If you can find a 770 and afford it I would choose that over the 290 and the 280x. If the 670/680 goes on clearance sale you could consider it but remember that 6xx series will be outdated soon like the 5xx series. The 760 ti is to come out and Q4 I think so you should consider that too. videobenchmark.net to compare cards.
November 16, 2013 7:10:30 AM

Yeah I read a couple of 290/290X reviews and they were quite unanimous about a noise and heat issue (as well as huge power consumption under load). That said, they do easily perform as well as the GTX780, and that's really impressive. With the newest architecture, they're also the most future-proof, yes?

I'm asking about the 6xx series only in case they come up with clearance sales. If 660 or 660Ti have large price drops though, does it make sense to SLI them two-way instead of buying a single 280X (assuming for the same price)? There's better performance and not much more power consumption/heat, but SLIs are always so demanding on the overall quality of the parts...
November 16, 2013 8:42:11 AM

I would buy a single good card against SLI or Crossfire because of lower power consuption and the option to go 2 cards with the single I bought in the future. The 290 is future proof enough to play any game on 1080p.

Speaking of 1080p. If you can save some money and get a 760 ti or a 280x (both equivalent of 670 but more future proof) then you can get a way better monitor than the one you have now. For your fans I wouldn't need any with the Storm Scout ii but if you want then get the Corsair Quiet Edition fans.

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...
November 16, 2013 8:49:02 AM

Hi again, I'm faced with a new potential issue at the moment. I tried looking, but I couldn't find an answer: http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Z87K/#specifications

Do today's mainstream PC motherboards come with wireless network adapters? I may have a problem as my current desk position is not within reach of LAN cables, even if I extend them (since it's on the other side of the room and I can't just lay a cable across the room all the time).

The key issue here is that I do have another desk to put my PC where the LAN cable reaches it, but it's not deep enough for the Corsair 600T, so if I must place my PC there then I possibly have to go for the Coolermaster Cosmos SE or Corsair Carbide 400R, which have lower depth.

Any advice on the wireless/wired networking possibilities?
November 16, 2013 8:52:44 AM

Also, I haven't ruled out the Storm Scout 2. But how many fans does it come with? Because Coolermaster was quite vague about the number of included fans, and I thought only one fan was included--making it effectively as expensive as the 600T or Cosmos SE after I buy another 2-3 fans for it.

Does it come with enough fans? If I can get enough fans with the Scout 2 so I don't have to buy extras, I'd welcome the idea. It costs $149 as opposed to the $229 Cosmos SE and $238 600T (In SGD). That means another $70-80 freed up!
November 16, 2013 8:54:08 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwXAWsp9wps

The only time a motherboard has wireless adapter is if it actually shows an adapter. If you live in an apartment and can't do the thing above then you might as well buy a wireless adapter.

Storm Scout ii Fans

Top: 120mm fan x 2 (optional)
Front: 120mm red LED fan x 2 (with LED on/off function)
Rear: 120mm black fan x 1
Bottom: 120mm fan x 1 (optional)
Side: 120mm fan x 2 (optional)

The ones listed as optional you can buy and add them.
November 16, 2013 9:09:30 AM

Ahh, so it does come with two front fans and a rear. On Coolermaster USA's site, the front fans were very vaguely stated:

Front: 120mm fan x 2 or 140mm fan x 1 (optional)
Rear: 120mm red LED fan x 1 (with LED on/off function)

Thanks for clearing it up, I may be getting the Scout II instead, to free up my budget.

Also, thanks for the tip about the lack of wireless adapters in general. I guess I'll figure something out along the way to make sure that my build gets connected to the internet ;) 

I'm likely to have all the internals bought in Hong Kong in the coming week (Credit: My dad, since he's buying it for me on his trip). Depending on which GPUs/CPUs/Mobos are more value for money over there, I'll vary the build a little to maximize each penny. Shouldn't be far from this config though! Thanks for your help again :) 
November 16, 2013 9:22:29 AM

No problem. I hope you do consider running an ethernet cable through/along the walls. :) 
!