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  1. #1

    Advice on new PC

    Making a new thread because I'm special.

    The end draws near for my current PC - but I haven't been paying enough attention to matters hardware recently and so I'd really appreciate some advice. I've previously bought at up to 1,000 but I'm able to go higher this time. I'm after something that will last a while and let me see all the peggles on the next generation of games (for a couple of years, and with a single screen). Tentative specs -

    CPU: i5 4670K [any need for an i7?]
    Cooling: not sure [quiet is good, is water cooling worth it?]
    Motherboard: any advantage in going above standard? not intending to do SLI
    RAM: 8GB 1600 mhz [faster? 16GB, like a Valve Steam Box?]
    Storage: 256 or 500 GB SSD + HDD.
    Gfx: 2 GB GTX 770 [worth getting the 4 GB?]
    Case: Corsair Carbide 500R
    PSU: 600W

    Any thoughts welcome. I'm comfortable with doing upgrades myself but this isn't the right time to try out building from scratch, so if anyone has any particular recommendations for UK retailers that would be great.

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Grizzly's Avatar
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    Congrats, that's a very good build.
    You won't need the I7 - In almost all the games, you won't notice a difference between the two (And if you do, you can overclock to compensate).
    I am not an expert with cooling (I always use second hand parts - most of htem become with a cooler pre included), but water cooling defenitely is not worth the hassle - air cooling is effecient enough. However, you will need an aftermarket brand if you want to overclock, the stock coolers are not designed with that purpose in mind.
    As for the motherboard, you will need a "Z-series" chip, as those are the only motherboards that support overclocking.
    8GB should be good enough for now - 16GB is definitely overkill, although some call it future-proofing.
    4GB Vram is definitely overkill, as there are currently only a few games that use the 2gb your card has to it's fullest (and then the diffference is hardly noticable). Unless you plan on playing with monstrous resolutions or anti-aliasing, i'd stick with the 2gb.

    Building from scratch is not all that hard. Computer hardware is simply "plug it into the right socket" (with the exception of the CPU, which requires a little bit more care).

  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Boris's Avatar
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    Mobo: consider Gigabyte GA-Z87-HD3. It has 4 ram slots and the z87 chipset (which allows overclocking).
    RAM: 8GB is plenty. Leave the option open to upgrade to 16 by getting 2x 4GB sticks. Get the other 2 sticks when they're really cheap.
    SSD: 250GB is enough in my opinion. If you're made of cash, by all means go for 500. I'm using a 250 and I have at least four big titles on my SSD, plus a few development environments and office crap and still have some 70GB left over.
    If you have a 1440p monitor, a 4GB ram videocard might be worth it. If your screen is the garden variety 1080p, a 2GB is plenty.

    As for building, I don't know in the UK. I know a dutch retailer which will custom build any PC for 50 euros and give 2 years warranty on the workmanship, so I'm guessing there's is someone in the UK willing to do the same. However, building a modern PC is child's play. I get that people get uncomfortable handling 100+ euro sensitive equipment, but if you pay attention to ESD there isn't much that can go wrong. On the other hand, I also understand that people can't be arsed to spend 4 hours building their PC and rather pay someone 50 e to do it.

    Oh yeah, cooling wise grab a Gelid Tranquilo Rev 2 or a Cooler Master Hyper 412S. Both are good aftermarket coolers that don't break the bank.

  4. #4
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sakkura's Avatar
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    The GTX 770 is poor value at the moment. You can get an equivalent Radeon HD 7970 for about 80 less.

    If you can be persuaded to build it yourself, I'd suggest the build below. A decent cooler for overclocking, though you could upgrade to a Noctua cooler (NH-U12S, NH-U14S, NH-D14) if you want even better cooling. The motherboard and power supply allow for upgrading with a second graphics card down the line (the HD 7970 is compatible with the R9 280X, since they're basically the same). The Fractal Design Define R4 has decent cooling, low noise, and understated looks. But case choice is also a matter of taste, so go with what you like.

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (167.99 @ Aria PC)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler (23.98 @ Scan.co.uk)
    Motherboard: Asus Z87-A ATX LGA1150 Motherboard (110.24 @ Scan.co.uk)
    Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (57.98 @ Novatech)
    Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5" Solid State Disk (134.99 @ Amazon UK)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (62.99 @ Ebuyer)
    Video Card: Asus Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card (220.55 @ Scan.co.uk)
    Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower Case (71.90 @ Amazon UK)
    Power Supply: XFX 850W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (88.49 @ Ebuyer)
    Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224DB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer (12.98 @ Novatech)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) (69.00 @ Aria PC)
    Total: 1021.09
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-10-11 12:42 BST+0100)

  5. #5
    Lesser Hivemind Node sinomatic's Avatar
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    I got my current machine from chillblast.com - they include a 2 year warranty in the price and the customer service people were actually helpful the one or two times I needed to talk them (massive plus points in my book).

  6. #6
    Thanks very much all - a lot of helpful comments. Seems like there's consensus that there's no need for i7s, watercooling or 16GB of RAM, all of which is good news.

    I'll think over building it myself - although getting parts delivered can be a bit of a hassle. Over the years I've replaced most of the parts - the only one that led to Malcolm Tucker outbursts was the CPU cooler, which had a screw that was somehow underneath the heatsink.

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Boris's Avatar
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    Yeah. That happens. Mounting modern heatsinks is honestly the hardest and most rage inducing part of building a computer.

  8. #8
    Network Hub grasskit's Avatar
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    re: 7970 - get r9 280x. its newly released basically rebranded 7970, but cheaper in price with few slight tweaks.

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sakkura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grasskit View Post
    re: 7970 - get r9 280x. its newly released basically rebranded 7970, but cheaper in price with few slight tweaks.
    The cheapest 280X costs 15 more right now.

  10. #10
    Network Hub grasskit's Avatar
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    it doesnt for me, so depends on the region i guess

  11. #11
    Can someone please post a link to RPS article about mechanical keyboards?
    P.S. what is a good mechanical keyboard?

  12. #12
    I've thought of a couple of follow-up questions :)

    No one mentioned RAM faster than 1600 mhz - should I infer that money is better spent elsewhere?

    and Sakkura tipped a 850W PSU even though PCPartPicker estimated the wattage of that spec at 450W - was there a particular reason for recommending that PSU?

    P.S. I think you all might have talked me into building it myself - so are there any little things that I might forget to order? e.g. do I need to buy thermal paste?

  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sakkura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vanilla bear View Post
    No one mentioned RAM faster than 1600 mhz - should I infer that money is better spent elsewhere?

    and Sakkura tipped a 850W PSU even though PCPartPicker estimated the wattage of that spec at 450W - was there a particular reason for recommending that PSU?

    P.S. I think you all might have talked me into building it myself - so are there any little things that I might forget to order? e.g. do I need to buy thermal paste?
    1. For gaming, yes.

    2. That's to provide enough power for a second graphics card.

    3. Thermal paste is included with the cooler. You may need to buy an extra SATA cable, some motherboards only come with 2 included.

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