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thebigJ_A
26-01-2012, 07:56 AM
So, I've finally got some money saved up for a new PC, and I thought I'd seek advice. I plan on building it myself, to save money, to learn more about PCs and know my machine inside & out, so I can set it up to be upgradeable, and just because it seems like (slightly scary) fun!

It's going to be meant for gaming, and I've got about $800 (though if I can spend less without too much loss of capability, that's cool, too). I'm just going to use my old 19" 1440x900 monitor for now, I'll get a new one at a later date, so that's money saved right there.

I want something that'll play today's games at respectable settings, with room to improve down the road.

Here's what I'm thinking atm:

Processor: i5 2500k (http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115072) (overclocking is something I'm curious about, too)

mobo: ASUS P8P67 Pro (http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131771)

power supply: I was thinking 750w, but maybe 650 is enough? Regardless, there's an astonishing difference in price for PSUs even of the same wattage from the same manufacturer so idk.

GPU: GTX 560ti. Just a matter of picking which one. How much of a difference does 2GB memory make compared to 1GB? There's only like a $20 difference. Anyone have a specific card recommendation?

RAM: 8GB. This stuff seems cheap enough, though I'm not sure how much difference there is between 1600 and 1333

Hard Drive: I'll find something. I figure 500GB is fine for the moment. These seem more expensive than the last time I checked, though...

Optical drive: I'll likely just pull my old one out of my crap PC. It ought to work, right?

Case: Here I'm lost. I know i need an ATX, but beyond that... I want something inexpensive, but that has room for expansion. Never having built a comp before, I feel like this is one choice I could really screw up on my own.


Tell me if I'm missing anything. Hmm, with just a quick eyeball guesstimate, I appear to be over budget. How'd that happen? I was sure the last time I mucked about on Newegg I came in below that. :/

FuriKuri!
26-01-2012, 09:31 AM
Looks ok. You will be fine with 4GB instead of 8GB of RAM, it's an easy upgrade once you get more cash. 650w will likely be fine if you get a decent brand. Some people rant on about getting the best possible 1000w PSU but they're full of it. I generally buy corsair PSUs, I'm yet to be disappointed.

Your optical drive will NOT work since it's old and will (probably) have one of these (http://www.google.co.uk/search?tbm=isch&hl=en&source=hp&biw=1013&bih=993&q=ide+connector&gbv=2&oq=ide+connector&aq=f&aqi=g3g-m6g-S1&aql=&gs_sm=e&gs_upl=1426l2902l0l3043l13l13l0l0l0l0l91l930l13l13 l0) coming out of it when your mobo needs one of these (http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=sata+connector&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=KwwhT-3mMsmB8gODtYS7Bw&biw=1013&bih=993&sei=LQwhT5SvMs358QO6ycDQBw) (IDE vs SATA).

Get any ATX case you like. It doesn't really matter, pick one you think is pretty. Cheap generally just means heavier and uglier. You only need to worry about size and 'expandability' if you're planning on having a 6-drive RAID. Make sure you're getting one without an included PSU though if you're getting that separate.

JohnnyK
26-01-2012, 11:23 AM
mobo: ASUS P8P67 Pro (http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131771)
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157271
This seems to be the most-recommended board for the i5-2500k wherever I check.


power supply: I was thinking 750w
Don't let wattage be the deciding factor; make sure you get a good brand PSU with cable management, eg. http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817171052


GPU: GTX 560ti. Just a matter of picking which one. How much of a difference does 2GB memory make compared to 1GB? There's only like a $20 difference. Anyone have a specific card recommendation?
You won't need the 2GB at your current resolution, but at eg. 1920*1200 it could come in handy; you can't really go wrong with either a 560Ti or a Radeon 6950, although you could wait to see what the prices are on the 7950 (should be available next week I believe)


RAM: 8GB. This stuff seems cheap enough, though I'm not sure how much difference there is between 1600 and 1333
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231314
Timings are important


Case: Here I'm lost.
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119233 or the HAF 922 if you have a little extra.

Not sure what the overall price comes out at now, but it should be a start. If you have a bit of money left, I'd strongly consider an SSD, but that will probably stretch your budget by too much.

thebigJ_A
26-01-2012, 12:02 PM
It seems the best I can do, while keeping that CPU and GPU, after digging through combo deals etc., is about $960. (And that's with an "open box" mobo)

@JohnnyK Thanks, that case had a combo deal with memory that dropped my cost by a good $30. The PSU, though, is only $5 cheaper than the same brand's 750w one.

JohnnyK
26-01-2012, 01:27 PM
Np. The case is a bit of a ricer, so if you like sleek then look elsewhere, but it's gottan rave reviews everywhere.

The 750W-PSU is 99$ (http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817171053), and I doubt you will need the extra wattage at any point.

http://pcpartpicker.com/ca/p/45Is - here's a suggestion without drives; 800 bucks after MIR and without shipping.

The Tupper
26-01-2012, 01:56 PM
I'm continually on the brink of building my own PC but am shit scared of breaking something and not knowing what (especially installing and configuring the motherboard). Good luck with it and let us know how it goes.

thebigJ_A
26-01-2012, 02:01 PM
Np. The case is a bit of a ricer, so if you like sleek then look elsewhere, but it's gottan rave reviews everywhere.

The 750W-PSU is 99$ (http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817171053), and I doubt you will need the extra wattage at any point.

http://pcpartpicker.com/ca/p/45Is - here's a suggestion without drives; 800 bucks after MIR and without shipping.


And the 650w is $95. I'm in the US, so the prices to some of the things you linked are different.

Thanks for that pcpartpicker site. I've put in what you did on the American version and it comes up similar (after putting in Windows and a hard drive) to where I'm at. That is to say, mid 900s. I guess I'll just have to resign myself to spending somewhat more than I anticipated, which also means waiting a couple more weeks.

JohnnyK
26-01-2012, 02:55 PM
I'm in the US, so the prices to some of the things you linked are different.
Ah, you linked to newegg.ca in your original post, so I went from there :)

SMiD
26-01-2012, 03:52 PM
I know you mentioned OC'ing in your original post, but I didn't catch a proper heatsink/fan combo in your list of goodies. Might I recommend the Cooler Master Hyper-212+. It's a little large, but does an excellent job of cooling and is suprisingly quiet. I've taken my i5-2500k to 4GHz very easily with this thing. I'm at work at the moment, but I can get you some specific numbers later on when I get home.

thebigJ_A
26-01-2012, 04:21 PM
Ah, you linked to newegg.ca in your original post, so I went from there :)

Did I? Huh, weird!


I know you mentioned OC'ing in your original post, but I didn't catch a proper heatsink/fan combo in your list of goodies. Might I recommend the Cooler Master Hyper-212+. It's a little large, but does an excellent job of cooling and is suprisingly quiet. I've taken my i5-2500k to 4GHz very easily with this thing. I'm at work at the moment, but I can get you some specific numbers later on when I get home.

Yeah, I planned on getting one of those. I'm going to hold off on that, though. I'm breaking the bank as is. (Stupid question, you can replace the stock fan after it's installed, right?) I figure I'll get the thing up and running, maybe bump up the CPU a bit (I hear it's easier nowadays) and see how things go. A month or two from then, assuming I've not blown anything up, I'll look into OCing.

Thanks for the suggestion, I've added it to my "wish list" on Newegg!

SMiD
26-01-2012, 04:26 PM
...you can replace the stock fan after it's installed, right?...

Absolutely. You'll need to make sure you clear the old paste away from the CPU first, but it's a fairly simple procedure. Cooler Master also provides fairly comprehensive installation instructions, so you'll have no issues there.

JohnnyK
26-01-2012, 04:36 PM
+1 for the Hyper, great fan; to be fair though, you should be able to get a fair bit of OC'ing done even with the stock fan.

Smashbox
26-01-2012, 04:41 PM
I had a lot of trouble finding a case that wouldn't look silly in my house and eventually settled on this one: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811112328

It's been quite good.

KilgoreTrout_XL
26-01-2012, 06:13 PM
Cooler Master also provides fairly comprehensive installation instructions, so you'll have no issues there.

Really? I have a CM Hyper-212 EVO, which I like just fine, but I thought the instructions were kind of useless. The ones I got required a magnifying glass and a basic working knowledge of hieroglyphics.

Check out the NZXT H2. Great case, really easy to work with too. I have it in black (should have gotten the white one though):

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811146071

thebigJ_A
26-01-2012, 06:59 PM
Really? I have a CM Hyper-212 EVO, which I like just fine, but I thought the instructions were kind of useless. The ones I got required a magnifying glass and a basic working knowledge of hieroglyphics.

Check out the NZXT H2. Great case, really easy to work with too. I have it in black (should have gotten the white one though):

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811146071

That's actually a really cool case. I don't get the big door in the front. Doesn't it block the air intake for the front fans? Regardless, it's a bit too pricey. My budget's a lot tighter than I'd thought (when did hard drives get so expensive?), so if the case is more than, say $60, and isn't also paart of a combo with something else I need to reduce my cost further, I can't consider it. :(

I wish there were videos for every item. They're much more useful than a picture and list of specs.

JohnnyK
26-01-2012, 07:16 PM
when did hard drives get so expensive?
Floods in Thailand.

Also, forget waiting for the Radeon 7950, indications are it will probably be around 400-450$.

KilgoreTrout_XL
26-01-2012, 08:43 PM
I don't get the big door in the front. Doesn't it block the air intake for the front fans?

Aw, bummer, because you would really dig the door if you saw one in person. It's magnetic and fairly heavy and shuts with a really satisfying "THUNK". There are two big intake fans behind it, and a big slit for air to get in where you pull the door open. With that CPU cooler, an extra case fan, and tidy cables, the CPU/GPU temps have been pretty astonishing so far.

Smashbox
26-01-2012, 08:48 PM
Great looking case, too. Why didn't I buy that one?

thebigJ_A
01-02-2012, 09:41 AM
Jesus i am so angry right now!

I finally had everything just how I wanted it, got my tax returns deposited, ready to go. I had everything in my newegg cart (barring the processor, which I ordered for $50 cheaper somewhere else). I was just going over everything one last time to be extra certain I didn't fuck up.

So, I pull out my credit card and load back up the shopping cart page.... HALF the stuff was gone. All the combo deals expired right as I got ready to pay. It's now like $80 more for the exact same items. I hate everything right now. >:(

gimperial
01-02-2012, 12:21 PM
How long are you going to be using your 19" monitor? If you won't be upgrading to a 1080p within a year or two, then you could save quite a bit of money on your video card at your current resolution with something like the 6850.

You also don't need 750w PSU, any of these will do (compatible with the 6850):


Antec Earthwatts EA-500D (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371035)
Seasonic S12II 520W (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151094)
XFX ProSeries 550W (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817207013)
Corsair 650TX V2 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139020)

And modular:


Antec TruePower New 550W (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371020)
Corsair 650TXM (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139031)
Seasonic X650 Gold (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151088)


As for RAM get 1333.

thebigJ_A
01-02-2012, 12:59 PM
I'm planning on upgrading monitors (by quite a bit) in the coming months, so I wanted as much overhead as monetarily possible.

Too late anyway, I've gone and bought it all! :O

And frankly I'm a bit terrified, atm. Dropping near a grand on something is a big deal for me, when it's something I have the power to completely screw up. It's exhilarating too, though!

(Should I have bought one of those wrist strappy thingies that ground you, btw? I really don't want to fry anything!)

I went with that Asrock extreme3gen3 mobo that was recommended, as well as the CPU cooler and haf 912 case.

gimperial
01-02-2012, 04:22 PM
I'm planning on upgrading monitors (by quite a bit) in the coming months, so I wanted as much overhead as monetarily possible.

Too late anyway, I've gone and bought it all! :O

And frankly I'm a bit terrified, atm. Dropping near a grand on something is a big deal for me, when it's something I have the power to completely screw up. It's exhilarating too, though!

(Should I have bought one of those wrist strappy thingies that ground you, btw? I really don't want to fry anything!)

I went with that Asrock extreme3gen3 mobo that was recommended, as well as the CPU cooler and haf 912 case.

I've never used them, just try to stay off carpets and ground yourself before touching components.
When you're done you'll be surprised how easy it is, just a case of inserting stuff into slots - and fortunately the slots come in different shapes so you don't stick the wrong thing in the wrong slot!

And if you have problems post here and someone will help!

KilgoreTrout_XL
01-02-2012, 11:35 PM
Putting it together is a lot of fun- especially if everything arrives from newegg in working order. Stay away from shoes and socks and carpets- use a hardwood floor or something. I'm a worrier, so I use a static bracelet when I'm dealing with CPUs. I have heard from multiple people that they're a waste of $10, but that doesn't seem like a lot to waste.

At least you'll have the opportunity to install that 212 CPU cooler before putting the mobo into your case. It's not absolutely necessary, but i bet it would have been easier. You may have to fiddle with the position of your RAM dimms to make room for the fan that attaches to its huge heatsink too.

I have a Dell u2412m and would recommend it to anyone (it was on sale for $299 recently, looks a bit higher now).

Feldspar
02-02-2012, 12:31 AM
I've never used a static wristband, and I doubt they're really necessary as long as you are careful, but if you find you get static shocks off everyday objects as a matter of course then you might want to stump up for one.

Just remember to wash your hands first and take things nice and easy. Spend time routing your wires to get good airflow, it'll pay in the long run, and check you have plugged in everything (I remember turning a machine on, wondering why the fans turned but I got no picture, having a minor panic and then finding out I'd just forgotten to plug the power into graphics card).

Smashbox
02-02-2012, 12:37 AM
Go slow and take your time- I'd never built one until last year, but it was a breeze with online resources.

thebigJ_A
02-02-2012, 05:57 AM
Well, I ordered almost everything from Newegg, and it's already on the road. But, I ordered the CPU from someplace called "NCIX", because it was on sale for $50 cheaper. The down side to that is, even though I placed that order a day before the Newegg one, they've not even gotten around to taking my money yet.

I've got a sinking feeling I'll be sitting on 90% of a PC, waiting on that one essential bit to arrive for days. :/

Once I've got it put together, is there anything I should do before installing Windows with regards to BIOS settings and such? (I have to say, I'm glad mobos have graphical BIOSes these days).

I plan on downloading all the drivers to a SD card or USB memory stick with my old comp (before I cannibalize it for anything salvageable) so I can install them immediately. Is there a certain order to install them in, or does it not matter?

thebigJ_A
02-02-2012, 06:19 AM
Oh cool, I just found out that, since I got a Z68 mobo, it comes with software (Lucid Virtu) that automatically switches from the onboard graphics to the GPU depending on what I'm doing.

I've never really been into pc hardware, but I'm starting to see the appeal. I've spent much of the past few days on places like Tom's Hardware just reading about how stuff works and all the tech involved.

Feldspar
02-02-2012, 08:28 AM
With a modern motherboard you should find it auto detects everything important, so you shouldn't have to mess with anything on the BIOS except maybe the boot priority on first boot. You can always go back and play with stuff once it's up and running. Install graphics card drivers first, otherwise you're looking at a pretty poor display, and then the motherboard drivers (only really adds special features).

Then install a game, just to check that everything works properly. The real fun starts when you start moving your music and games collection across...

thebigJ_A
02-02-2012, 09:37 AM
With a modern motherboard you should find it auto detects everything important, so you shouldn't have to mess with anything on the BIOS except maybe the boot priority on first boot. You can always go back and play with stuff once it's up and running. Install graphics card drivers first, otherwise you're looking at a pretty poor display, and then the motherboard drivers (only really adds special features).

Then install a game, just to check that everything works properly. The real fun starts when you start moving your music and games collection across...

Crap I hadn't even thought that far ahead! What's the best way to do that? Should I just install (if it's even possible, considering it's fairly old) my (crappy, slow) old hard drive, copy things into the new one, then uninstall it? IDK, this PC's full of junk, too. Just sorting what I want to keep from what I don't is going to be a project in and of itself.

gimperial
02-02-2012, 10:28 AM
Crap I hadn't even thought that far ahead! What's the best way to do that? Should I just install (if it's even possible, considering it's fairly old) my (crappy, slow) old hard drive, copy things into the new one, then uninstall it? IDK, this PC's full of junk, too. Just sorting what I want to keep from what I don't is going to be a project in and of itself.

Windows 7 will have pretty much all the drivers you need, so you shouldn't need to install any (apart from video card which are updated monthly with huge improvements). Win7 is unlike Vista/XP where you need to download a bunch of drivers every time.
If your old hard drive is SATA, then just plug it in but install windows on the new one. If it's IDE your motherboard miiiight support IDE, so you should be fine. Either way there's no reason you need to "uninstall" your old one, you can just have 2 hard drives.

Odeon
02-02-2012, 07:42 PM
Sorry for the super-long post, but I thought it would be helpful to cover all of the main bases since this will be your first build. Like gimperial said, post another reply if you have any hiccups with getting everything installed, which means you don't want to make your current PC unbootable until the new one is all done.

NewEgg is great and their prices are usually hard to beat, but their sales tend to be pretty short-lived. I've heard of NCIX, but I don't think I've ordered from them, so I have no idea how long they take. You'll want to give them a call and ask why your order has been delayed so much. Some places need that kick in the trousers before they get things rolling.

The need for an anti-static wrist strap depends a lot on the environmental factors where you live. In a place like northern Texas where it's dry and there's lots of natural static electricity you'd be a fool not to use one, but in places where it's uncommon to get a shock from grabbing something metal you're probably fine skipping it. So you'll have to use your common sense here, but I definitely second the recommendation to avoid carpet at all costs.

You'll want to have a clean, flat, well-lit surface prepared to get everything assembled. You'll have lots of parts laying around at first and you don't want to have to stack them or have them fall to the ground because there's not enough room for everything. You're going to be moving the case around a lot to get everything mounted, plugged in, and routed, so the more space you set aside the better. And definitely do your best to hide the extra length of any and all cables in the cable routing openings and the space in the case behind the motherboard. Having any cables hanging around in front of the motherboard will reduce the airflow in the case and could cause temperatures to rise over time, especially with dust build up. If/when you start attempts at overclocking, this will make a BIG difference.

Follow the instructions that come with the CPU cooler to the letter to make sure that it's seated properly against the CPU. If it's installed in any way that leaves is less than 100% flush with the CPU, your CPU could overheat pretty quickly.

Pay close attention to the correct pair of slots to install your RAM into. Since all four RAM slots are black on the mobo you bought, you'll want to read the manual to make sure that you install the RAM into a dual-channel pair for the best performance. It's not going to hurt anything if they're not in a correct dual-channel pair, but there will be reduced performance if you have them in separate pairs, which will set them for single-channel.

I don't think it's imperative to install the graphics card into the first full PCIe slot, but it's usually recommended. I believe that air flow is better when the GPU's fan isn't facing the power supply. But you'll want to make sure that you don't install any other cards right next to the GPU fan if you have any other cards to install, like a wireless network card for instance.

Plug the new hard drive into the first available SATA slot. It should be labeled something like SATA 1 on the motherboard itself, but it can be hard to read the lettering so have the manual ready. If you have it in the first SATA port, there won't be any problems with setting it as the primary drive in BIOS for when you plug in the second drive. However, some motherboards give IDE ports higher priority than SATA ports, so if your old drive is IDE, you'll want to double-check that it isn't set as the primary drive when you plug it in.

Don't install the second hard drive until you've got Win7 installed on the new one. Sometimes there's an odd connection that seems to be made with extra hard drives and Win7 goes a little wonky if you remove it later. I haven't seen this happen too often (and it shouldn't be happening at all, but there you go), but it's easier to do it that way and know you won't have a problem than to find out you do have a problem after the fact. The only way to clear that connection seems to be re-installing Win7 with just the one drive plugged in.

Once you've got Win7 drivered and all that, turn off your PC and plug in the second hard drive and when you get back into Win7 it should detect it and assign it a drive letter. Once that's done, you can take your time moving data around and getting rid of the old stuff.

thebigJ_A
03-02-2012, 01:30 AM
Thanks for all of the advice, you guys are great.

Apparently when I payed NCIX it went through Paypal (I could have sworn I used my debit card, but w/e). It's going through as an "eCheck", which takes a few days to clear.

Meanwhile everything else is sitting on my table, mocking me. Newegg was fast. Everything was at my house in less than two days. I'm using them from now on, I think, even when it's more money. I wanna play with my new toys now! ;)

thebigJ_A
03-02-2012, 05:08 AM
What about the OS that's on the old drive (vista 32-bit)? Will that be an issue?

gimperial
03-02-2012, 09:31 AM
What about the OS that's on the old drive (vista 32-bit)? Will that be an issue?

Once you have windows 7 on the new drive, it won't be an issue.

Also make sure you install Windows 7 64 bit.

Feldspar
03-02-2012, 11:19 AM
You might want to do a quick cable count, buying OEM components sometimes means you don't get the cables included, but then most motherboards seem to come with extra. If you haven't built a PC before it is unlikely that you've got a longer SATA lead stashed away somewhere (or indeed a shorter one), so don't get annoyed, exasperated or dismayed if you have to take a trip or two to a local electronic store.

gimperial
03-02-2012, 05:22 PM
That's a good point, your mobo should come with 2 SATA connectors from googling around, but if they don't reach/you need more, just buy some at a local store, especially if you have 2 SATA hard drives and a SATA DVD-Rom.

thebigJ_A
03-02-2012, 07:50 PM
OEM? I'm not sure what that means. The mobo came with two SATA3 cords, an SLI bridge, and a few other things.

So, I've gotten the processor (cancelled my order and drove to a store, even got it cheaper there) and I think I'm ready to go. First I'm going to put the basics together outside the case, make sure I get a POST beep, then I'll build it. I wish I'd gotten a modular PSU. IDK how I'm going to deal with all these cables.

I also grabbed another 120mm fan, but I'm not sure where I should mount it. Is it better to have more intakes or outtakes? I could put it as a second intake the front, or as an intake on the side, or I could make it a second outtake on the top. It's got an LED on it, but I don't really care if it lights up in an odd spot, I just want the best cooling I can get.

thebigJ_A
03-02-2012, 07:54 PM
Oh, and I'm seeing like a half-dozen different ways to spread the thermal paste, and everyone swears by their method. What do you guys say?

gimperial
03-02-2012, 08:26 PM
The two i've heard is to make a rice-sized drop, and let itself spread out when you push the processor down.

I don't like to take chances and use a business card of some sort to spread it out evenly. Just be sure not to over do it with the thermal paste, you shouldn't need much at all.

As for your fan, I'd probably put it on the side (blowing on the GPU+CPU? not sure how your case is laid out wrt to the fan). There's a lot of debate on whether you should have positive or negative pressure (http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/238184-31-case-airflow-positive-negative-pressure), but position is pretty important too. Positive pressure tends to help keep dust out.

You could always experiment after you've put everything together (just leave the fan till last), especially if you'll be overclocking and running prime95 or w/e, just see what the temp is after 5 minutes with the fan in different places. I doubt you will see a huge difference though, maybe a few C. And maybe wait see if anyone else has any input!

thebigJ_A
03-02-2012, 09:24 PM
Cool. I've got the CPU cooler in place. Is the fan really supposed to block the 1st DIMM slot like that? I mean, it doesn't matter right now, I can just put the RAM in slots 2 & 4, but if I want to upgrade later, I'd need a new cooler! Putting it on the other side makes no sense, as that would have it right next to the back case fan. They'd be pulling air in opposite directions. And orienting the cooler so it blows up/down would block two slots.

Can I just say, putting in a cpu is terrifying! It took more pressure on the lever than I thought, and the slight creak noise damn near stopped my heart.

Mistabashi
03-02-2012, 09:36 PM
It's common for CPU coolers (or the fan at least) to overhang the first RAM slot, usually you can still fit lower-profile DIMMs in there but you'll have to either remove the fan or in some cases the whole cooler. If you're using RAM with daft heatsinks on then you're more likely to have issues.

You can always turn the fan on the cooler around to blow in the opposite direction, however it's usually best left in it's default configuration.

SMiD
03-02-2012, 09:36 PM
I believe the fan on the 212 can be mounted on the other side and reversed. You'd just need to adjust the bracket. Also, provided your RAM doesn't have those heat fins sticking off the top, you can move the fan so it sits slightly above the top of the 1st DIMM. I'm like 73% sure that's what I did.

Edit: Ninja'd!

thebigJ_A
03-02-2012, 09:58 PM
I've got giant blue fins on the RAM. It's Corsair Vengeance 1600. Are those fins useless? I guess they might be cool-looking, except that I have a brown and silver mobo.

Whatever, it's not a problem now. Though, the instructions to the mobo did say to put identical RAM in all four slots, if you use all four, so the future might involve rejiggering.

Time for the test boot! (Which means no monitor for the old pc, so my Kindle Fire will have to serve for internet needs)

gimperial
03-02-2012, 09:58 PM
Can't you turn the 212 so it's blowing from the bottom up (towards the top exhaust fan) if you need the 1st ram slot? (edit: never mind, too late!)

Is your ram 4gb x2? Either way, if you have 2 sticks, they have to be in the 1st and 3rd (which you can't do) or in the 2nd and 4th slot, which you can do.

e: yeah you should have gone for the g.skills 1333 someone posted, but too late now!

thebigJ_A
03-02-2012, 10:03 PM
4x2. I'd thought 1600 was faster than 1333. Why would I have been better with slower?

gimperial
03-02-2012, 10:06 PM
It's not better but they're cheaper and the speed difference is negligible, and in games there is no difference - but mainly I meant that they don't have such large heatsinks! Anyway don't worry about it as it's too late and not that importnat, but make sure they're in the 2nd and 4th slot (a2 and b2).

good luck!

thebigJ_A
04-02-2012, 09:18 AM
Hello, from my new PC!

It took me like twelve friggin' hours, but I did it! I didn't even have any issues (yet, knock on wood).

I did have to use the mobo company's driver disk, as I couldn't get online otherwise, and it stuck a bunch of stuff on my comp. IDK what's junk and what's legit yet.

So tell me, what do I do now to get the most out of this new toy of mine?

Feldspar
04-02-2012, 11:15 AM
First off - Big congrats, you've joined the select few who are not afraid to build with expensive electronic Lego.

My first thought is always to play something demanding and watch it run smoothly with all the features turned up to 11. After that, well, only install things when you need them, you may be surprised how many things you thought were essential, but you never actually use. Oh, and now you probably have a mountain of polystyrene and other superfluous packaging, you should think about getting rid of that.

thebigJ_A
05-02-2012, 06:51 AM
Thanks!

Now, what do I need to get started with overclocking? The GPU I know I can do in the Nvidia control panel (though how to decide what to set it on escapes me), but I'm a bit hazier on the CPU stuff.

The ASrock mobo's UEFI BIOS has something in the OCing section called 'Turbo 50', which is apparently a sort of auto-overclocker. ASrock's driver disk also installed software called 'ASrock Extreme Tuning Utility'. That shows me temps, fan speeds etc., and also lets me change settings from in windows. I'll not use it for that, just for checking the stats.

Anyway, just to see, I turned on the Turbo 50, and my CPU is bouncing around from 1600 to 4800MHz. IDK if it's supposed to change like that, but the temperature is only 35C. Is that a safe thing to have set?

Oh, I also installed this software called "Virtu", which is supposed to make it so the onboard graphics run while doing nonintensive stuff, and the GPU only kicks in for gaming and the like. Is that something you guys/girls have heard of?

Odeon
05-02-2012, 09:13 AM
There's this thread (http://www.overclock.net/t/1178853/i5-2500k-asrock-extreme3-gen3-ocing-help-first-timer), where someone has the same hardware as you and is also a first time builder and overclocker. Then there's this thread (http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/265056-29-2600k-2500k-overclocking-guide), which has specific settings for the i5-2500k and the i7-2600k. Then there's this post (http://www.overclock.net/t/913294/step-by-step-overclocking-2500k-for-lamas#post_14399607), with links to threads that will fill in any blanks.

The built-in OC setups are usually okay to test CPUs with, but the 2500k was more or less built for overclocking, so I don't think you'll want to stick with that. And you definitely don't want to use the software overclocking for more than testing too, so it's good that you're avoiding that. The changing CPU speed is due to SpeedStep technology, which basically clocks your CPU down significantly when it it's under light loads to save power, and that temp is very good.

I don't have any experience with Virtu myself, but if it works, you'll save a lot of power and your GPU will last longer by using it, so I'd say it's worth a shot to try it out.

gimperial
05-02-2012, 03:08 PM
I don't have any experience with Virtu myself, but if it works, you'll save a lot of power and your GPU will last longer by using it, so I'd say it's worth a shot to try it out.

Won't you need to keep switching the monitor output from GPU to onboard every time? Otherwise the GPU will still be in use, just (I guess) passively. Never heard of Virtu so I'm not sure how it works.

Odeon
05-02-2012, 05:18 PM
I think it must use the DVI connector on the GPU but 2D and maybe low-end 3D graphics would actually be processed by the on-board GPU. I believe AMD/ATI has their on-board graphics built into the CPU's board and there's no video-out port on the motherboard, so it's gotta do something similar.

thebigJ_A
06-02-2012, 03:54 AM
After doing a bit more research, i got rid of Virtu. It's very good for things I'll not ever do, while causing a hit in fps in games. Usually that hit is too small to notice, but in a few (Metro 2033, for one) it's significant.


I had other questions. When I go into the hardware monitor in the BIOS, it shows a CPU temp (forget the exact term it uses atm) that is always like 20 degrees hotter than the cpu temps I get from any monitoring software in Windows. Is that normal? Is it perhaps measuring something else?

Also, there's a setting in there that seems to affect how many watts the CPU can get. It's at 150 right now. Is that something I should up for OCing? I tried using the auto overclock 4.4 setting and running prime95 for a little while and the temp got to 80, which sounds high to me.

I'm a little disappointed in the OCing of my graphics card atm. I read in a couple of placed that a core clock of 950, and a memory clock of 2150 should be reachable without much trouble on a 560 ti, but it was unstable (artifacts) when I put it at that.

What about using MSI afterburner to change the shader clock and voltage (I know the voltage is risky)? How much to those add?

Lastly, for now ;). What is the practical, real world difference between having this CPU at, say, 4.5Ghz over 4.4? Is it significant?

Feel free to pick and choose a question to answer, oh guides of mine!

Odeon
06-02-2012, 07:58 PM
After doing a bit more research, i got rid of Virtu. It's very good for things I'll not ever do, while causing a hit in fps in games. Usually that hit is too small to notice, but in a few (Metro 2033, for one) it's significant.
Good to know. If I ever get the cash together to make a new build for myself, I'll be sure to avoid that option.


I had other questions. When I go into the hardware monitor in the BIOS, it shows a CPU temp (forget the exact term it uses atm) that is always like 20 degrees hotter than the cpu temps I get from any monitoring software in Windows. Is that normal? Is it perhaps measuring something else?
There are a variety of sensors inside of CPUs and motherboards, so the temperature reading for the CPU varies widely depending on the sensor being read. Your mobo is probably using the sensor on the mobo that's closest to the CPU to read the temp and might be guesstimating on the actual value, but I'm not an expert on such things so I could be proven wrong by another post.


Also, there's a setting in there that seems to affect how many watts the CPU can get. It's at 150 right now. Is that something I should up for OCing? I tried using the auto overclock 4.4 setting and running prime95 for a little while and the temp got to 80, which sounds high to me.
The CPU OC process usually involves repeatedly upping the FSB or multiplier setting by a small amount and testing it to find the highest stable overclock speed, then doing the same for the other setting, then increasing the voltage by a small amount and repeating the whole process. By doing this multiple times over a bunch of incremental changes, you can find the absolute maximum stable clock speed of a given CPU. As you can imagine, this can take what feels like an eternity, so I'd recommend one of the many online OC guides for your CPU. I linked a couple of them in post #50 and it'll take a fair bit of reading, but is worth the time to really understand what you're doing and why. Plus it will certainly be quicker than trying the whole incremental process from scratch.


I'm a little disappointed in the OCing of my graphics card atm. I read in a couple of placed that a core clock of 950, and a memory clock of 2150 should be reachable without much trouble on a 560 ti, but it was unstable (artifacts) when I put it at that.

What about using MSI afterburner to change the shader clock and voltage (I know the voltage is risky)? How much to those add?
There's a full step-by-step guide to OCing a GTX 560 Ti here (http://www.legionhardware.com/articles_pages/nvidia_geforce_gtx_560_ti_overclocking_guide,1.htm l). I'm still rolling along with my GTS 250, so I can't say how effective the guide is, but some of the comments indicate that it's a good one.


Lastly, for now ;). What is the practical, real world difference between having this CPU at, say, 4.5Ghz over 4.4? Is it significant?
To my thinking, there probably isn't a huge difference in day-to-day use, but if you want to do something like SETI@Home or one of the many other similar programs or if you do any audio or video encoding/decoding more often than once a month, it could make a noticeable difference. I strongly doubt that there would be much difference in games since your CPU is very unlikely to be a bottleneck in anything you play, but there could be some exceptions down the road.

gimperial
06-02-2012, 08:42 PM
I had other questions. When I go into the hardware monitor in the BIOS, it shows a CPU temp (forget the exact term it uses atm) that is always like 20 degrees hotter than the cpu temps I get from any monitoring software in Windows. Is that normal? Is it perhaps measuring something else?

Also, there's a setting in there that seems to affect how many watts the CPU can get. It's at 150 right now. Is that something I should up for OCing? I tried using the auto overclock 4.4 setting and running prime95 for a little while and the temp got to 80, which sounds high to me.

I'm a little disappointed in the OCing of my graphics card atm. I read in a couple of placed that a core clock of 950, and a memory clock of 2150 should be reachable without much trouble on a 560 ti, but it was unstable (artifacts) when I put it at that.

What about using MSI afterburner to change the shader clock and voltage (I know the voltage is risky)? How much to those add?

Lastly, for now ;). What is the practical, real world difference between having this CPU at, say, 4.5Ghz over 4.4? Is it significant?

Feel free to pick and choose a question to answer, oh guides of mine!

I'm not sure about UEFI, but in BIOS my idle temps were always higher than in Windows - something to do with the BIOS not throttling down as optimally as windows (the B stands for basic, after all). I wouldn't worry about it unless they're higher than 60-70.

As for overclocking, google around or maybe someone else can chime in, but I think you should be able to do it just by changing the multiplier with the 2500k (which is partly why it's so popular). I wouldn't touch anything changing the CPU's wattage. Auto-/Software overclockers tend to not be very conservative with voltages as they prefer to go over than under, so you could reduce temperatures by quite a bit by doing it yourself and using a smaller voltage - the lowest that you can get it stable at, basically.

4.4GHz to 4.5GHz is not going to be a big difference at all, especially in games.

thebigJ_A
23-02-2012, 11:21 AM
Hey, I'm back, and now I'm looking for a monitor.

Yes, I know there was a post today on it, but frankly, that lower end one recommended doesn't even exist in any store I can find (maybe it's a European model?). not even Newegg. There's one with a similar, but not identical, model number that's out of stock, but it doesn't look like the picture in his article.

If that one's close enough, it's at the top end of my budget at $200. Any other suggestions?

JohnnyK
23-02-2012, 11:24 AM
Overclocking: http://www.clunk.org.uk/forums/overclocking/39184-p67-sandy-bridge-overclocking-guide-beginners.html

gimperial
23-02-2012, 06:45 PM
Hey, I'm back, and now I'm looking for a monitor.

Yes, I know there was a post today on it, but frankly, that lower end one recommended doesn't even exist in any store I can find (maybe it's a European model?). not even Newegg. There's one with a similar, but not identical, model number that's out of stock, but it doesn't look like the picture in his article.

If that one's close enough, it's at the top end of my budget at $200. Any other suggestions?

I mentioned it in the comments to the monitor article - what about the Dell Ultrasharp U2311H (I think there's a newer model, U2312-something), it should be around $200 in the US. It's an excellent IPS panel, you will love it - the colours, viewing angle, contrast etc.


http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/02/22/hard-choices-the-only-4-monitors-you-should-buy/#comment-920663

That's my comment, read the others underneath it so you get an idea of how great it is :)

KilgoreTrout_XL
23-02-2012, 09:13 PM
Also, there's a setting in there that seems to affect how many watts the CPU can get. It's at 150 right now. Is that something I should up for OCing? I tried using the auto overclock 4.4 setting and running prime95 for a little while and the temp got to 80, which sounds high to me.

I'm a little disappointed in the OCing of my graphics card atm. I read in a couple of placed that a core clock of 950, and a memory clock of 2150 should be reachable without much trouble on a 560 ti, but it was unstable (artifacts) when I put it at that.

What about using MSI afterburner to change the shader clock and voltage (I know the voltage is risky)? How much to those add?

Lastly, for now ;). What is the practical, real world difference between having this CPU at, say, 4.5Ghz over 4.4? Is it significant?

Feel free to pick and choose a question to answer, oh guides of mine!


You have a different board than I do, so I don't know in the ins and outs of the BOIS. In any case, your #1 concern should be the core voltage/VCORE, not the CPU temps. Generally speaking, you want to make sure that the core voltage isn't set so that it automatically increases as you increase the CPU multiplier. I accidentally (and stupidly) didn't confirm a manual voltage offset, but still increased the CPU multiplier to 4.4, booted up, and was shocked when I checked CPU-Z the Vcore was at 1.49v. That's firmly in the "about to kill your CPU" range as far as I am concerned, though I guess some run higher. I would check here (http://www.overclock.net/t/1138581/official-asrock-z68-discussion-owners-club) to get started.

My gtx 560 ti is factory overclocked at core: 900 mHz, memory: 1002mHz, shader: 2100mHz. Runs great. People are going much higher in this thread (http://www.overclock.net/t/1139872/nvidia-gtx-560-560-ti-oc-club) though, and you will need to get the right voltage for yours anyways.

The best way to put your new rig through its paces is Witcher 2, I think. Ignore the tutorial's unimpressive looks though. It's easily the ugliest part of the game.

thebigJ_A
24-02-2012, 01:27 AM
The best way to put your new rig through its paces is Witcher 2, I think. Ignore the tutorial's unimpressive looks though. It's easily the ugliest part of the game.


Funny, that's the first game I bought once I was done building it. Plays like a dream on max (though I do have that lower res monitor, that helps).


Actually, that makes me think of something. Right now, with my 1440x900, I've been able to max everything I've thrown at it, and games look great. I'm a bit nervous that, in getting a better monitor, I'll end up losing visual fidelity due to having to lower settings.

thebigJ_A
24-02-2012, 01:55 AM
I mentioned it in the comments to the monitor article - what about the Dell Ultrasharp U2311H (I think there's a newer model, U2312-something), it should be around $200 in the US. It's an excellent IPS panel, you will love it - the colours, viewing angle, contrast etc.


http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/02/22/hard-choices-the-only-4-monitors-you-should-buy/#comment-920663

That's my comment, read the others underneath it so you get an idea of how great it is :)

The U2311 I can only find online for like $350-400, again from weird no-name sellers. There's an E2311, a P2312, and an (out-of-stock) ST2321 on Newegg, all for about $200. Are any of these the same thing?

There are just so many monitors, and every company has there own model number codes, so it's impossible for someone like me to know what the differences are. :/

How about this one? It's got a lot of positive reviews: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824236079

gimperial
24-02-2012, 10:34 AM
That's a TN panel.

http://www.ebay.com/ctg/Dell-UltraSharp-U2311H-23-Widescreen-LCD-Monitor-Black-/85017403?rt=nc&_catref=1&_dmpt=Computer_Monitors&_pcategid=80053&_pcatid=47&_pdpal=1&_refkw=u2311h&_trkparms=65%253A12%257C66%253A2%257C39%253A1%257C 72%253A6064&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=u2312hm&x=0&y=0

The U2312HM is basically the replacement for the U2311H. Looks like it's just over $200, less if you go for used.

Odeon
25-02-2012, 07:12 AM
I can't help much with monitor replacement suggestions. I finally upgraded my old 20" Dell CRT (max res of 2048 x 1536, it weighed at least 50 lbs and took up a cubic kilometer of desk space), which I got on the cheap from a friend before LCDs were the norm, with a 19" square LCD (1600 x 1200 max res) that was already slowly dying, which I got for free from a co-worker. Then just this year I finally actually bought a new widescreen 21.5" LCD (1920 x 1080 max res) for $105 with California sales tax and shipping from NewEgg. It's a HannSpree HF225 and while it's a great replacement for the old one, it doesn't compare to what you could get for $200.

Right now, with my 1440x900, I've been able to max everything I've thrown at it, and games look great. I'm a bit nervous that, in getting a better monitor, I'll end up losing visual fidelity due to having to lower settings.

I can tell you that if you find yourself wishing for better frame rates at max quality, you can always set the game to run in a lower resolution. It typically doesn't mess up the look of the game too much in my experience, especially if you keep the same aspect ratio as your monitor, but then I've never been able to afford hardware that lets me run at max quality in anything but the lowest resolution options. And I hate playing games in very low resolutions, so I tend to lower the quality a bit and up the resolution. If your new monitor has a 1920 x 1080 (or 1920 x 1200) max resolution, you'll have every resolution option between that and 1024 x 768 (or a similarly low resolution) for most games.

thebigJ_A
25-02-2012, 08:02 AM
That's a TN panel.

http://www.ebay.com/ctg/Dell-UltraSharp-U2311H-23-Widescreen-LCD-Monitor-Black-/85017403?rt=nc&_catref=1&_dmpt=Computer_Monitors&_pcategid=80053&_pcatid=47&_pdpal=1&_refkw=u2311h&_trkparms=65%3A12%7C66%3A2%7C39%3A1%7C72%3A6064&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=u2312hm&x=0&y=0

The U2312HM is basically the replacement for the U2311H. Looks like it's just over $200, less if you go for used.

Well, I put it a bid for the ebay one, we'll see how it goes.

How can I tell whether something's a TN or not? Most of the monitors I've checked don't list it.

thebigJ_A
01-03-2012, 09:06 AM
So, I went with an AOC I2353PH: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0062K9LXE/ref=oh_o00_s00_i00_details


It's an IPS, it's new, and it's cheap, but there was a generally positive (too technical for me) review on AnandTech. Here's hoping. Besides, it can hardly be worse than my old monitor.

Oh, I also got a second, identical, 560 ti (I found a couple hundred bucks I'd misplaced and figured, why not?) to SLI. Do I need to download Nvidia drivers for that separately, or will it work since I've already got them for the first? Is there anything in particular I ought to do/know about SLI?

Oh, and should I reset the first card's overclock first? Or will they both get set to what the 1st one is at?

Mohorovicic
01-03-2012, 11:47 AM
Oh, I also got a second, identical, 560 ti (I found a couple hundred bucks I'd misplaced and figured, why not?)

Because you just wasted a hundred bucks?

thebigJ_A
02-03-2012, 01:56 AM
Care to elaborate, or was that just a troll?

thebigJ_A
02-03-2012, 04:12 AM
For some reason the second GPU runs hotter by like ten degrees. It get's up to the low 80s under load, though I haven't run Furmark for more than a few minutes yet. The fan on the second GPU doesn't go as fast either. It maxes out at ~3300 rpm as opposed to 3550. I am a bit nervous it gets so hot, but I can't imagine any way to make it cooler. I've got a fan in every single slot of the HAF 912 case, including a 140mm blowing directly onto the GPUs.

Also, as the benchmark goes on, an odd buzzing sound starts to build up. That's why I haven't run it for very long, as I'm afraid of that noise. I assume it's the gpu, since it stops the instant I exit furmark

gimperial
02-03-2012, 04:46 PM
The bottom one always gets hotter.

I think what Mohorovicic meant was that it's always better to get a single better GPU, especially with the newgen AMD 7000 and Nvidia 600 series out this month.

As long as your hottest GPU is below 85 which it seems to be, you shouldn't have anything to worry about it.

I'm not sure about Nvidia, but when I had 2 cards in crossfire, you had to turn Crossfire on in the ATI control panel, it could be turned on and off. The overclocks were set separately for each card. In the future though I'm going to stick to single cards.

thebigJ_A
03-03-2012, 10:50 AM
I didn't have hundreds of extra dollars at the time to get an uber-card. Since I had one brand new card, i wouldn't just toss it when i could SLI it. Far easier to spend a couple hundred once, then a couple hundred more a few months later, no? It is for me, anyway, I'm a poor man.


I haven't heard the buzz in any games yet but I'm still apprehensive about it.

Odeon
05-03-2012, 06:49 PM
I'm in the same poor gamer boat you are and upgraded to a GTS 250 (yes, I'm THAT poor) about two years ago with the intention of adding a second one down the road. But the more I've read about the hassles and headaches of SLI - things like the second card being hotter than the first, greater power requirements (my PSU is an Antec 480W), driver problems, and most importantly, lack of support by most games - I've decided to stick with single-card installations too. Yes, it's cheaper to add a second mid-level card than to pony up for one of the latest and greatest, but the problems associated with both SLI and Crossfire are far greater than the potential benefits. An integrated dual-GPU card like a 4870x2 would probably be a lot more useful than two 4870's in Crossfire, probably requires less power, and definitely gives fewer driver and game support headaches, but then you're back up to top-of-the-line costs again anyway.

Buzzing from a video card is usually a fairly bad sign. Are you sure that it's coming directly from the second card and not somewhere else? If so, is it a grating kind of buzzing sound like one of those game show ring-in buzzers or something else? Having never tried SLI myself, I'm not sure if Furmark makes use of the second card natively or if it has to be enabled in both the NVIDIA Control Panel and the Furmark software itself. But it's possible that the second card is being used through the Control Panel but not by Furmark, causing some kind of compatibility-like issue that results in the buzz.