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First ever gaming PC, in need of guidance! (£1000 budget)

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January 19, 2014 3:07:22 PM

I've already chosen the parts I'm going to use but I'm hoping to use this thread to scrutinise them, as my PC knowledge is almost zero.

The build as it stands now:

Case- Cooler Master HAF 912 - £65.90
PSU - Corsair CXM 600 Bronze - £58.32
GPU - EVGA GTX 770 2GB VRAM - £275.99
CPU - Intel i5 4670K (Haswell, 1150) - £166.90
Motherboard - ASUS Z87-A - £103.04
CPU Cooler - Noctua NH-D14 (AIR) - £64.90
RAM - Crucial Ballistix Sport Low Profile 16GB - £113.00
HDD - Western Digital Black 1TB HDD - £65.00
Fans - Non-issue, will be provided by my brother.
CD/DVD - Salvageable from old tower
OS - Windows 8.1 Pro Student - £49.99

Budget: £1000
Overall cost: £963.04

Feedback would be greatly appreciated, as well as links to relevant PC building guides.

Thanks!

More about : gaming guidance 1000 budget

January 19, 2014 3:16:04 PM

sounds good. what speed is your ram?
January 19, 2014 3:55:02 PM

randomperson135 said:
sounds good. what speed is your ram?


I'm aiming for at least 16GB, which will be more than enough for me.
January 19, 2014 4:00:40 PM

-Adriano- said:
randomperson135 said:
sounds good. what speed is your ram?


I'm aiming for at least 16GB, which will be more than enough for me.


But what's the speed? 1600Mhz? 1866? 2133? The minimum recommended is 1600Mhz.
January 19, 2014 4:14:51 PM

Francisco Costa said:
-Adriano- said:
randomperson135 said:
sounds good. what speed is your ram?


I'm aiming for at least 16GB, which will be more than enough for me.


But what's the speed? 1600Mhz? 1866? 2133? The minimum recommended is 1600Mhz.


I believe it's 1866, although that's likely to be wrong as I don't know most of the jargon. The full title of my RAM device is Crucial Ballistix Sport XT 16GB (4 x 4 GB) DDR3- 1866.
January 19, 2014 4:17:45 PM

-Adriano- said:
Francisco Costa said:
-Adriano- said:
randomperson135 said:
sounds good. what speed is your ram?


I'm aiming for at least 16GB, which will be more than enough for me.


But what's the speed? 1600Mhz? 1866? 2133? The minimum recommended is 1600Mhz.


I believe it's 1866, although that's likely to be wrong as I don't know most of the jargon. The full title of my RAM device is Crucial Ballistix Sport XT 16GB (4 x 4 GB) DDR3- 1866.


Yes, the speed is fine, but it is better to get 2x8GB instead of 4x4GB.
January 19, 2014 4:27:00 PM

Francisco Costa said:
-Adriano- said:
Francisco Costa said:
-Adriano- said:
randomperson135 said:
sounds good. what speed is your ram?


I'm aiming for at least 16GB, which will be more than enough for me.


But what's the speed? 1600Mhz? 1866? 2133? The minimum recommended is 1600Mhz.


I believe it's 1866, although that's likely to be wrong as I don't know most of the jargon. The full title of my RAM device is Crucial Ballistix Sport XT 16GB (4 x 4 GB) DDR3- 1866.


Yes, the speed is fine, but it is better to get 2x8GB instead of 4x4GB.


Yeah I thought that but didn't question it too much, I'll definitely review that part now, thanks a lot.
January 23, 2014 3:58:38 PM

Sorry to come in after the thread's been sitting a while, but I was asked by OP's brother (who I assisted with his own system design a while back) to come by and give my two bits.

I feel that you could get a lot more for your money than you are with that build, I must admit:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (£161.99 @ Aria PC)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler (£57.89 @ Ebuyer)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme6 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£106.43 @ CCL Computers)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£63.14 @ Amazon UK)
Storage: Crucial M500 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk (£62.01 @ Amazon UK)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£43.99 @ Amazon UK)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 780 3GB Video Card (£379.99 @ Novatech)
Case: Zalman Z9 ATX Mid Tower Case (£36.75 @ Amazon UK)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply (£44.96 @ CCL Computers)
Other: Windows 8.1 Pro Student (£49.99)
Total: £1007.14
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-01-23 23:53 GMT+0000)

As you can see, for only about 50 pounds more, you can get the next tier up of GPU and an SSD. You need to use an older CPU and drop a bit of RAM, but 8GB is all you'll see gaming benefits from anyway, and Ivy OCs better than Haswell anyway. The Caviar Blue is also an absolutely fine HDD, and, honestly, I don't think there's much point in getting higher-end HDDs. You'll see more gains investing more in flash storage, and the Caviar Blue/Barracuda tier is perfectly fine.
January 23, 2014 9:14:18 PM

Jack Revenant said:
Sorry to come in after the thread's been sitting a while, but I was asked by OP's brother (who I assisted with his own system design a while back) to come by and give my two bits.

I feel that you could get a lot more for your money than you are with that build, I must admit:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (£161.99 @ Aria PC)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler (£57.89 @ Ebuyer)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme6 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£106.43 @ CCL Computers)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£63.14 @ Amazon UK)
Storage: Crucial M500 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk (£62.01 @ Amazon UK)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£43.99 @ Amazon UK)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 780 3GB Video Card (£379.99 @ Novatech)
Case: Zalman Z9 ATX Mid Tower Case (£36.75 @ Amazon UK)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply (£44.96 @ CCL Computers)
Other: Windows 8.1 Pro Student (£49.99)
Total: £1007.14
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-01-23 23:53 GMT+0000)

As you can see, for only about 50 pounds more, you can get the next tier up of GPU and an SSD. You need to use an older CPU and drop a bit of RAM, but 8GB is all you'll see gaming benefits from anyway, and Ivy OCs better than Haswell anyway. The Caviar Blue is also an absolutely fine HDD, and, honestly, I don't think there's much point in getting higher-end HDDs. You'll see more gains investing more in flash storage, and the Caviar Blue/Barracuda tier is perfectly fine.

+1 to this build! If you wanna cut down the budget I guess you could remove the CPU cooler and although the system wouldn't run quiet you'd save money.
January 26, 2014 11:24:51 AM

Jack Revenant said:
Sorry to come in after the thread's been sitting a while, but I was asked by OP's brother (who I assisted with his own system design a while back) to come by and give my two bits.

I feel that you could get a lot more for your money than you are with that build, I must admit:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (£161.99 @ Aria PC)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler (£57.89 @ Ebuyer)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme6 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£106.43 @ CCL Computers)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£63.14 @ Amazon UK)
Storage: Crucial M500 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk (£62.01 @ Amazon UK)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£43.99 @ Amazon UK)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 780 3GB Video Card (£379.99 @ Novatech)
Case: Zalman Z9 ATX Mid Tower Case (£36.75 @ Amazon UK)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply (£44.96 @ CCL Computers)
Other: Windows 8.1 Pro Student (£49.99)
Total: £1007.14
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-01-23 23:53 GMT+0000)

As you can see, for only about 50 pounds more, you can get the next tier up of GPU and an SSD. You need to use an older CPU and drop a bit of RAM, but 8GB is all you'll see gaming benefits from anyway, and Ivy OCs better than Haswell anyway. The Caviar Blue is also an absolutely fine HDD, and, honestly, I don't think there's much point in getting higher-end HDDs. You'll see more gains investing more in flash storage, and the Caviar Blue/Barracuda tier is perfectly fine.


That looks amazing, I can't believe you managed to get an SSD and a GTX 780 on that budget! I'll definitely be using these parts, but I have some concerns.

I have since decided to buy a seperate CD/DVD drive, so I'd love some advice on a cheap and reliable model; also, I'm not sure whether the RAM is compatible with the quite large NH-D14.

You've done so much for me, I'm glad I encountered someone like you to ease my transition to PC gaming.

Thanks!
January 27, 2014 6:03:14 AM

-Adriano- said:
Jack Revenant said:
Sorry to come in after the thread's been sitting a while, but I was asked by OP's brother (who I assisted with his own system design a while back) to come by and give my two bits.

I feel that you could get a lot more for your money than you are with that build, I must admit:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (£161.99 @ Aria PC)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler (£57.89 @ Ebuyer)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme6 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£106.43 @ CCL Computers)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£63.14 @ Amazon UK)
Storage: Crucial M500 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk (£62.01 @ Amazon UK)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£43.99 @ Amazon UK)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 780 3GB Video Card (£379.99 @ Novatech)
Case: Zalman Z9 ATX Mid Tower Case (£36.75 @ Amazon UK)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply (£44.96 @ CCL Computers)
Other: Windows 8.1 Pro Student (£49.99)
Total: £1007.14
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-01-23 23:53 GMT+0000)

As you can see, for only about 50 pounds more, you can get the next tier up of GPU and an SSD. You need to use an older CPU and drop a bit of RAM, but 8GB is all you'll see gaming benefits from anyway, and Ivy OCs better than Haswell anyway. The Caviar Blue is also an absolutely fine HDD, and, honestly, I don't think there's much point in getting higher-end HDDs. You'll see more gains investing more in flash storage, and the Caviar Blue/Barracuda tier is perfectly fine.


That looks amazing, I can't believe you managed to get an SSD and a GTX 780 on that budget! I'll definitely be using these parts, but I have some concerns.

I have since decided to buy a seperate CD/DVD drive, so I'd love some advice on a cheap and reliable model; also, I'm not sure whether the RAM is compatible with the quite large NH-D14.

You've done so much for me, I'm glad I encountered someone like you to ease my transition to PC gaming.

Thanks!


It's amazing what you can fit in when you optimize a bit!

For the optical drive, a cheap ASUS or Samsung would be my default pick. Something along the lines of this:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224DB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer (£11.96 @ CCL Computers)
Total: £11.96
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-01-27 13:58 GMT+0000)

I wouldn't worry too much about the Ripjaws. It's shorter than it looks, and it's what Tom's used when they did the CPU cooler roundup that the NH-D14 ended up winning (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/LGA-2011-i7-3960X-A...). That said, if you're looking to be entirely sure, G.Skill Ares, Crucial Ballistix Sport Low Profile, and Corsair Vengeance Low Profile are all great low profile RAM options.

I'm glad to be of service! Unfortunately, I have found a potential issue in the build I suggested: Zalman's specifications page is rather lacking, so I'm not sure if the NH-D14 will fit inside the case itself. Additionally, the Gigabyte 780 may be about 2mm too long to fit within the listed case clearance, though the picture they have on the GPU clearance listening (http://www.zalman.com/global/product/Product_Read.php?I...) shows that there should definitely be enough room for a 292mm card in place of a 290mm. Neither issue is massive, but if you'd like a different, better-documented suggestion for a case, I'd entirely understand.
January 27, 2014 12:48:18 PM

That optical drive looks perfect, and only £11! I'll add that to my parts list.

The Cooler issue seems to rule out that case unfortunately, after googling it I found this thread: http://forum.giga-byte.co.uk/index.php?topic=2373.150 . The general consensus is that the D-14 is a very tight fit in the Z9, and for that reason I think I'll avoid the Zalman, which is a shame really because it's a fantastic piece of kit for the price. A little more help to find a fitting case would be greatly appreciated, as my only other idea is the Cooler Master 912 Plus, which is a little on the pricey side at ~£100.

Thanks for all your digging, I always thought forums were populated by trolls, but you have proven me wrong!
January 27, 2014 1:11:21 PM

-Adriano- said:
That optical drive looks perfect, and only £11! I'll add that to my parts list.

The Cooler issue seems to rule out that case unfortunately, after googling it I found this thread: http://forum.giga-byte.co.uk/index.php?topic=2373.150 . The general consensus is that the D-14 is a very tight fit in the Z9, and for that reason I think I'll avoid the Zalman, which is a shame really because it's a fantastic piece of kit for the price. A little more help to find a fitting case would be greatly appreciated, as my only other idea is the Cooler Master 912 Plus, which is a little on the pricey side at ~£100.

Thanks for all your digging, I always thought forums were populated by trolls, but you have proven me wrong!


You definitely don't need to spend 100 pounds to get a case which will support the NH-D14 (and if you were to, I definitely wouldn't recommend any relative of the HAF 912, which, as the owner of one, I consider a low-mid-end case at best). Some nice fellows have created an incomplete compatibility list, and between that and official manufacturer's specs, I've come up with a short list of suggestions.

At the lowest end would be the NZXT Source 210 Elite

Case: NZXT Source 210 Elite (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case (£38.65 @ Scan.co.uk)
Total: £38.65

and the Corsair 200R

Case: Corsair 200R ATX Mid Tower Case (£47.98 @ Dabs)
Total: £47.98

Of the two, I prefer the Source 210, but Corsair's work is widely regarded as excellent, so I included them for variety.

A bit higher up in cost would be the 200R's big brother, the 300R

Case: Corsair 300R ATX Mid Tower Case (£62.90 @ Amazon UK)
Total: £62.90

Once again, I'm not its biggest fan, but it's a solid case.

At the top tier of what I'd recommend spending would be two cases which I consider equal yet different. The Fractal Design Define R4

Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower Case (£76.99 @ Amazon UK)
Total: £76.99

and NZXT Phantom 410

Case: NZXT Phantom 410 (Black/Orange) ATX Mid Tower Case (£80.89 @ Scan.co.uk)
Total: £80.89

The R4 is an excellent quiet case (and, in fact, the winner of a roundup of such cases that Tom's Hardware did a while back: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/lian-li-pc-b12-nano...), while the 410 is a high-performance case with excellent cooling (and, coincidentally, also winner of a TH roundup: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/solo-ii-400r-buc-ra...), so it'd come down to which you preferred of cooling and quiet, though both are fairly solid in both regards. That said, they also cost twice as much as the Source 210 Elite, so you'd have to make the call as to whether it's worthwhile to you.

I'm glad to be of service. We do have our share of trolls, but some of us are trying hard to be an asset to the community. However, if I've been of help, you should be thanking your brother. He's the one who asked me to look over you build, and without him, I'd never have seen this thread.
January 28, 2014 8:13:36 AM

I've now decided to go for a higher end case, and after seeing your reply I'm torn between the Fractal Design Define R4 and the Corsair Vengeance C70 (my brother's case). The R4 is a great looking minimalistic case whereas the C70 is a little more professional, according to my brother the C70 has a lot of holes in it for fans, which is quite a problem for me as my room gets ridiculously dusty thanks to an open coal fire. On that basis, which would you choose?

My brother is also very helpful, without him I'd probably be buying a pre-built PC (LOL). But it is your willingness to devote your time and effort to helping total strangers that has allowed me to get the absolute most for my money, which I will no doubt feel very blessed for in a couple of years as the parts I used in my previous design become obsolete.
January 28, 2014 11:50:07 AM

-Adriano- said:
I've now decided to go for a higher end case, and after seeing your reply I'm torn between the Fractal Design Define R4 and the Corsair Vengeance C70 (my brother's case). The R4 is a great looking minimalistic case whereas the C70 is a little more professional, according to my brother the C70 has a lot of holes in it for fans, which is quite a problem for me as my room gets ridiculously dusty thanks to an open coal fire. On that basis, which would you choose?

My brother is also very helpful, without him I'd probably be buying a pre-built PC (LOL). But it is your willingness to devote your time and effort to helping total strangers that has allowed me to get the absolute most for my money, which I will no doubt feel very blessed for in a couple of years as the parts I used in my previous design become obsolete.


I'll always recommend a Define R4 over a C70, to be honest, but particularly so in a high-dust environment. None of the reviews or spec sheets I've seen even list dust filters on the C70, whereas the R4 has them on both of its intake sides (bottom and front), and even covers the PSU intake. You might want to get the windowed variant of the R4, though, given that your CPU cooler would block the fan mount any way, and it would remove an unfiltered hole through which dusk might enter.

I don't know, I'd say that saving you from the prebuilt would be the biggest act of heroism there. It's like comparing the guy who knocked you out of the way of a speeding train to the doctor who cleaned out your scrapes afterwards. :p 
That said, I'd like to thank you for being so appreciative and open to input. I've had a lot of folks ask for advice, then disregard most of what I said, and many more simply didn't consider that a 'thank you' might be nice. I'm a big believer in helping folks no matter what, but being appreciated for your efforts is always an excellent feeling.
January 28, 2014 12:25:49 PM

That's my PC all sorted then, time to give my wallet a good kicking and buy all the parts. Strangely enough, I'm very much looking forward to building it. Thanks for all your help and you can rest assured that your assistance is greatly appreciated! In fact, you should have a superhero name, how about 'JackMan' :')

I'll send you a picture of the build via PM when it's all done so you can see your brilliance in action. Thanks so much!
January 28, 2014 1:47:40 PM

-Adriano- said:
That's my PC all sorted then, time to give my wallet a good kicking and buy all the parts. Strangely enough, I'm very much looking forward to building it. Thanks for all your help and you can rest assured that your assistance is greatly appreciated! In fact, you should have a superhero name, how about 'JackMan' :')

I'll send you a picture of the build via PM when it's all done so you can see your brilliance in action. Thanks so much!


Marvelous! It's not strange at all to anticipate building, though. In my opinion, the most exciting parts of a build are when you get the build finalized, when the first part(s) arrive, and when (at long last) it turns on for the first time. Honestly, building kind of addicted me. I nearly begged most everyone I know to get a new computer back when I started out, I was so desperate to make another system.

I actually do have a heroic alias: my forum name. My real name is - shockingly - not Jack at all, just thought that "Jack Revenant" had a nice ring to it.

I can't wait to see it! Don' hesitate to PM me if there are any issues during your build, as well. I'm here to help.

Good luck and happy building!
!