Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 22
  1. #1
    Network Hub MOKKA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    156

    Building a new PC, need some advice.

    Hello everyone,

    I'm about to build myself a new PC, thankfully enough money isn't that much of a problem this time around (I hate my job, but I love the money I get from it), so I intend to spend around 1200 (975 pounds, 1.500$) for it. Thanks to the 'hard choices' Series on RPS, I was able to skip the tedious part of me having to do all the research about what kind of hardware actually is good right now. I only pay attention to this stuff when I need to build myself a new PC, which means every 4-5 years.

    I will now present you with some kind of first draft of what my PC might look like and of course I hope to get some feedback from you where and how I might be able to improve it.

    So here we go:

    CPU: Intel Core i7 3470K (~210)
    Motherboard: Asus P8Z77 -V (100)
    Graphics Card: Asus GTX670-DC2T-2GD5 (~400-430)
    This is the main setup, as you might notice I mostly copied the stuff mentioned in the 'Hard choices' posts for now.

    This of course is not the full machine, I still need RAM (I'm thinking about 16GB, simply because I can afford it), a PSU (have no Idea what I need for this, right now I have one with 500W but I'm certain I need a new one), a HD (I'm thinking about 2TB) and a SSD, because everyone is saying that you need one of those nowadays.

    I estimated that this kind of setup would cost me around 1100.

    So here are my main questions:

    Is my 'core Setup' adequate for this amount of money? Or can I improve it somehow?
    Have you any specific recommendations for the other parts I still need to buy (HD, SSD, PSU, RAM)?
    Do any need anything else?

    One last thing: I plan on building this thing with my own hands. There is nothing more satisfying than running your 'hand made' machine for the first time without any kind of weird problem happening.

    P.S.: The actual act of buying and building this PC is going to happen in August, as I still need to save some money for it.

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Terra Australis Incognita
    Posts
    4,492
    Is it adequate? Christ yes, that'll easily last quite a while. Not sure if it'll do 4 or 5 years because that's a lifetime in computers but it'll scream along for a while.

    HDD/SSD: You'll want an SSD, to the point where I'd say need one as a system drive. 120GB or there-abouts should be perfectly adequate unless you can afford a 256GB one. I don't have too many specific recommendations except to say that there's a lot of issues regarding reliability and particular manufacturers, with the manufacturer changing depending on who you ask.

    For what it's worth, I've had 3 SSDs based on the Sandforce controller, and all have met untimely deaths for no discernible reason. Two were OCZ drives, the other was a Corsair, all using Sandforce. Others claim there's zero issues with them and they're perfectly fine to use. OCZ no longer use Sandforce and have switched to Indilinx, their own in-house firmware. Intel released new SSDs earlier this year which use Sandforce. Go figure. I'd suggest that you really check out reliability issues on particular brands before committing to buy, but whatever you get they're definitely worth it.

    In any case, get an SSD and then get a massive HDD for storing stuff. SSD will only help with load times or games that rely heavily on streaming, so it's usually fine to leave them on a HDD.


    RAM - 16GB is overkill for gaming... or really most things outside of video editing or similar applications, but by the same token if you're going to spend the money on it go for it.

    PSU - To be honest I'm not particularly well versed in this area either with all of the technicalities, but the general rule is not to get a generic PSU and to over-estimate your requirements. I do know that a lot of people significantly over-estimate actual draw but it's probably better to have the higher capacity and not use it. I'll take a random guess at 700-800w.

  3. #3
    Network Hub
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    147
    the max power supply you will need will probably be 600W tops. go for something from Corsair, Enermax, Tagan, Cooler Master, and if you can, get a modular one. It makes building a system so much easier.

  4. #4
    http://images10.newegg.com/BizIntell...alc/index.html
    That will help you determine what wattage PSU to buy. A little extra never hurts. Go with PC Power and Cooling- they're the best. OCZ is good too. I'm guessing you'll want 750 watts, and that's an over estimation I believe.

    SSD would be nice. I've never used one, but they're supposedly amazing. Get a sandforce 2 or whatever they're called.
    You'll need a mechanical drive regardless. Get a 3 TB Seagate Barracuda. You can get it at amazon for $154.

    16 GB of ram is overkill. is this for gaming? Photoshop? If you can afford it, just go ahead and get the 16 gigs. I have 6 GB and it's not enough, but 12 is probably more than fine for anything.

    Also, I really want to post new threads. How do I go about getting approval to post new threads? I want to buy a monitor and am looking for input.

  5. #5
    Network Hub
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    356
    If you do not plan on doing a lot of heavy multithreaded tasks, I would actually say do not bother with an i7, get a i5 2500k and just overclock the hell out of it, the i7 really doesn't offer any extra performance in games since CPUs are pretty much never the bottleneck nowadays.

    The money you save on the CPU should be enough to push you up to a 680, a 680 will have a much more significant impact on game performance than the i7.

  6. #6
    Lesser Hivemind Node
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    602
    I have a Vertex 3 (so SF-based) SSD on my current computer. Stable out of the box, I updated the firmware twice just to make sure it'd stay that way. Never had a bluescreen or data loss because of it. Ridiculously fast (I always laugh when I need to reboot and when I come back online people go "wait, I thought you said you were rebooting?"). I can personally highly recommend one, though I have read much about the issues with them.

    If you're uneasy with it, you have a few choices:
    1) Intel. Whatever controller they use, their drives are always extremely reliable, much more so than any other manufacturer. They target businesses first and they mean it. On the flip side, performance will generally be a bit lower than comparable offerings from competitors.
    2) Samsung. Their SSD 830 is quite nice, fits straight with the others, but it has one large difference: Samsung controls everything about it. It's their own controller, NAND and SDRAM. What this means is that the likelihood of incompatibility-related issues are basically nil. Rock solid and quite the looker, even if (sadly) you'll never see it again once installed.
    3) OCZ's Octane drive. It's new and unproven, though Indilinx never really had issues with stability. It has advantages over SandForce, namely that speed does not depend on data compressibility and that, with the Indilinx acquisition, controller and drive are made in-house, which should reduce the chance of bugs and the time it takes to resolve them.
    4) Older drives. There's a ton with Marvel or older SF controllers which didn't exhibit the stability issues that plagued SATA 6Gbps SF drives. They might not be the fastest around, but they still cream any HDD and should be available at a lower price or a higher capacity.

    Personally I'm very happy with my Vertex 3. There are a lot more choices than I've listed, too. I wouldn't be able to point at a company and say "NEVER buy those". For some, OCZ would fall into that category. For me, no, though to be on the safe side I'd probably hold off buying one of their drives until we see how their Indilinx controllers turn out. Intel and Samsung are the safe(est) bets if you need stability. If you want to experiment, then choices are plentiful!

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Grizzly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    The Bishopric of Utrecht
    Posts
    1,865
    Quote Originally Posted by byteCrunch View Post
    If you do not plan on doing a lot of heavy multithreaded tasks, I would actually say do not bother with an i7, get a i5 2500k and just overclock the hell out of it, the i7 really doesn't offer any extra performance in games since CPUs are pretty much never the bottleneck nowadays.

    The money you save on the CPU should be enough to push you up to a 680, a 680 will have a much more significant impact on game performance than the i7.
    This. The I7 provides rapidly diminishing returns, and the 2500K can be overclocked to the pointt that it can actually beat the 1000 dollar i7s. I recommend that you read this in that case

    I actually also recommend that you get a decent sound card, such as the Asus Xonar series - Ever since I got my first discrete sound card, I can't really live without it, and a lot of those sound cards can do excellent things with surround sound (including faking surround sound on stereo headphones, which is a great plus), and it nets you some extra performance, EAX support, and less sound bugs with games with a demanding sound engine.
    However, lots of people do just fine without sound cards, so whether or not you get one is up to you. I am just saying that I would.

    Also, apperently, the 680s have some problem with production: The supply can not keep up with the demand. The Ati 7970 is almost as good, though. But I recommend you get an 680 when you can find one.
    Last edited by Grizzly; 21-06-2012 at 10:07 AM.

  8. #8
    Lesser Hivemind Node
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    602
    I'll just say this about AMD vs Nvidia: AMD's hardware tends to give Nvidia's a good run for its money. They trade blows and tend to swap tactics and focus every so often. This generation seems to favor Nvidia (faster card that consumes less power and thus is much cooler), but regardless of that there's one thing that Nvidia has been doing better: drivers.

    It's been a while since I've used Nvidia's drivers, so maybe things changed for the worse (hopefully not), but last I used them they were just ridiculously better than AMD's. AMD's software team has been closing the gap lately, but Nvidia still does a lot of things better, tends to have more immediate support for new games, the interface and functionality are more polished and deep, etc. Don't get me wrong, AMD's drivers aren't bad, they're just weaker than Nvidia's.

    Therefore, and especially this generation, if you can wait to grab a 680, do yourself a favor and do just that.

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Grizzly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    The Bishopric of Utrecht
    Posts
    1,865
    This generation seems to favor Nvidia (faster card that consumes less power and thus is much cooler
    I disagree - AMD latest 7000 series trumps Nvidia in that regard, and when it comes to price/value comparisons, AMD beats just about every NVIDIA card (untill the 560, and the 680). Atleast, according to toms hardware. However, at the high end of the spectrum, Nvidia is doing a bit better - at the mid range and budget, AMD does a lot better.

    I can't really comment on the drivers unfortunately, as I have been using AMD for a few years now - I don't really see much of a problem with the AMD drivers at the moment though.

  10. #10
    Lesser Hivemind Node
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    602
    No, you'll see that they're trading blows the vast majority of the time with no clear winner (looking at the benchmarks between the 7970 and 680, one is better at XYZ and the other at ABC). However, AMD's stuck with an extremely large, power-hungry architecture, whereas Nvidia has a much more nimble one.

    For the middle-end, I wouldn't know, I don't really track those. However, we're too early in this latest cycle for Nvidia's typical bang for buck card to come out.

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    1,077
    I just installed an SSD on Monday night, and I can't believe the difference it makes. It cut my load times in BF3 to about a 10th of what they were before. It used to be my friends could join off me after I told them I had found a server, and they would get into the game a good 15 seconds before me.
    "What were we talking about? Pegasuses, pegasii, that's horses with wings. This motherf*cker got a sword that talks to him. Motherf*cker live in places that don't exist, it comes with a map. My God."

  12. #12
    Network Hub
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    356
    Quote Originally Posted by FriendlyFire View Post
    No, you'll see that they're trading blows the vast majority of the time with no clear winner (looking at the benchmarks between the 7970 and 680, one is better at XYZ and the other at ABC). However, AMD's stuck with an extremely large, power-hungry architecture, whereas Nvidia has a much more nimble one.

    For the middle-end, I wouldn't know, I don't really track those. However, we're too early in this latest cycle for Nvidia's typical bang for buck card to come out.
    Generally speaking AMD always wins when it comes to bang for you buck, especially when it comes to mid to mid-high end, a good example is the 560 Ti which is about 50-60 more than the 6870, yet is only marginally out performs in some areas, but the 6870 beats it in others like power consumption, pixel rate and memory bandwidth.

  13. #13
    Lesser Hivemind Node
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    602
    That was truer last generation because AMD was still trying to undercut Nvidia. This generation introduced their GCN architecture, which raised prices. If you look at the price of a 7970 vs a 680, yes a 7970 is still a bit lower, but not quite as dramatically as a 6970 vs 580.

    To be honest, I'd gladly pay a bit more to get better drivers.

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Grizzly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    The Bishopric of Utrecht
    Posts
    1,865
    Quote Originally Posted by FriendlyFire View Post
    That was truer last generation because AMD was still trying to undercut Nvidia. This generation introduced their GCN architecture, which raised prices. If you look at the price of a 7970 vs a 680, yes a 7970 is still a bit lower, but not quite as dramatically as a 6970 vs 580.

    To be honest, I'd gladly pay a bit more to get better drivers.
    And I would gladly pay less for the better card :P. Although the problem with this discussion is that you are talking about the High End of the spectrum (in which Nvidia does do quite well, I agree), whilst at the entry, budget, and even mid range, ATI tends to outperform Nvidia. Since I will never be able to afford any high end card any time soon, I am always talking about, say, the 6770, the 6850, that sorta thing.

    I actually haven't run into any problems with the AMD drivers yet - This might be due to the fact that I do not play the latest of games when they come out (Although BF3 apperently wrecked both Nvidia and AMD at the beta launch)
    Last edited by Grizzly; 21-06-2012 at 10:27 PM.

  15. #15
    Network Hub MOKKA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    156
    Wow thanks for all the information!

    As I said, I rarely pay attention to hardware so please excuse me if I might sound a bit ignorant now.

    RAM: I know that 16GB is a bit overboard, but as I said: I can afford it and also it might come in handy for some of the stuff I would like to try out once I get my new PC. Also I always dreamt of going overboard with RAM, I don't know why exactly, but I always wanted to do this.

    Processor: I never dabbled into overclocking my Processor so I have no Idea how this actually works. I only have very distant memories of this being something of a wicked science where you can easily ruin your hardware when you don't know what you're doing. But this was at least 10 years back. However, I will only dabble in this, when I'm sure that I'll be able to acutally handle this without running at the risk of my inneptitude ruining a brand new Processor. Sure this might mean that I 'waste' money on a more expensive processor, but this way I can at least be somewhat sure that it's going to work right from the start. As much as I like building my own PC, I don't like them when they don't work right away.

    Graphics Card: Again, I might be a bit ignorant here, but I 'grew' up with Nvidia cards. So far all my PCs had Nvidia Cards and I had never any trouble with them. This does not mean that I' don't like AMD, since at the same time all my Processors were from AMD, it's just that I feel more comfortable with a card from Nvidia. I think I need to take some time read myself into this whole stuff again. From what I saw so far the 670 I chose was reviewed quite nice.

    SSD/Storage: I recently bought myself a Seagate Barracude with 2TB as I needed more Storage right away. Right now I have 2,5 TB of Storage (I still have my 500GB HD) and I think this is enough for now.
    Regarding the SSD, what kind of slot are those things using by the way? Because if I'm unlucky here, this could mean that I need to buy a new case as well. Which would be a shame since I kinda like my current case, mostly becuase it's NOT black.
    Right now I think, I'm going to use a 128GB SSD as a System drive, and my 2,5TB for storage.

    Soundcard: This isn't my main concern right now. Right now it would be overkill anyway, since neither my speakers nor my headphones aren't very good to really benefit from a better Soundcard. So I'd rather spend my money on more 'functional' hardware before I start forking out money for this. Which does not mean that I won't be buying a soundcard sometimes later.

    Misc.: Is it mandatory to buy seperate coolers for your processor? So far I always used the one which was delivered with the processor but since I've never really pushed the limits when it came to hardware I'm not sure if I might have to invest some money in more efficient cooling devices.

    My main concern when I build new PCs is longevity, mostly because I'm not sure whether or not I will have the money available to upgrade them on a regular basis. I'm happy if I'm able to do this, but the PC should be able to last for at least 3 years without me getting concerned that it might need a major overhaul.

    Thankfully enough, there's still plenty of time until I have to finally decide on what to buy, so please by all means tell me what you think.

  16. #16
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Grizzly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    The Bishopric of Utrecht
    Posts
    1,865
    RAM: I know that 16GB is a bit overboard, but as I said: I can afford it and also it might come in handy for some of the stuff I would like to try out once I get my new PC. Also I always dreamt of going overboard with RAM, I don't know why exactly, but I always wanted to do this.
    8Gb is also a bit overboard nowadays. I'd say you should wait a bit, and buy 16GB when DDR4 comes along or something :P.

    Processor: I never dabbled into overclocking my Processor so I have no Idea how this actually works. I only have very distant memories of this being something of a wicked science where you can easily ruin your hardware when you don't know what you're doing. But this was at least 10 years back. However, I will only dabble in this, when I'm sure that I'll be able to acutally handle this without running at the risk of my inneptitude ruining a brand new Processor. Sure this might mean that I 'waste' money on a more expensive processor, but this way I can at least be somewhat sure that it's going to work right from the start. As much as I like building my own PC, I don't like them when they don't work right away.
    I'd still say that the i5-2500k is a better choice in that regard - it is esentially the same as the i7s when it comes to ... just about everything (even at stock cores), and it is a lot cheaper. So there's less monetary risk involved if you do decide to overclock.

    Soundcard: This isn't my main concern right now. Right now it would be overkill anyway, since neither my speakers nor my headphones aren't very good to really benefit from a better Soundcard. So I'd rather spend my money on more 'functional' hardware before I start forking out money for this. Which does not mean that I won't be buying a soundcard sometimes later.
    If you do, get one of the Asus Xonars (DGs, or their new phonar thing...). They can do EAX 5, and apperently can mimic surround sound on headphones in a rather excellent fashion (My current soundblaster can do that too, and it is awesome).
    They also do not appear to have crappy drivers, unlike the Soundblaster ones (which I am currently using, but are a lot of effort to get working in all the games).

  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lukasz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    1,692
    ins't i5 3570K better choice than 2500K?

  18. #18
    Network Hub
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    356
    Quote Originally Posted by Lukasz View Post
    ins't i5 3570K better choice than 2500K?
    Not really, the 2500k is both much cheaper, and the Ivy Bridge CPUs have a real issue with heat making them not very good overclockers, you can overclock a 2500k quite easily to 4.5 - 4.7Ghz on air cooling, you'll struggle to do the same with an Ivy Bridge due to the much smaller die size, current coolers aren't really designed to handle heat concentrated in such a small area, at around 4.5Ghz on an Ivy Bridge you are basically pushing the thermal limit of the chip.

    If you do not need the overclocking headroom Ivy Bridge is fine, but a 2500k can be picked up for about 50 - 60 less if you can get an OEM chip and I would say the 5-10% performance increase at stock speeds isn't enough to warrant an extra 50.

    Edit: Also Ivy Bridge CPUs actually become less efficient than a Sandy Bridge when you start getting higher in the clock speeds, sort of 4Ghz+.

  19. #19
    Lesser Hivemind Node
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    602
    SSDs can fit pretty much anywhere, you just need to get the proper adapter for it. There's plenty of brackets around and the screw layout is obviously standardized so any of them will do. It's just a bent piece of metal supporting an extremely light thing so quality/brand doesn't really factor into that.

    About the RAM, I personally also have 16GB (mainly just because I can, though I sometimes need to run Mathematica with data-heavy workloads, which can easily eat up 8GB+). There are a few funny things you can do with so much excess RAM (outside of running three games while encoding video all at the same time): a RAMdisk. Basically lets you partition a large chunk (maybe 10GB!) of RAM as an NTFS partition, which you can then use for anything you'd like.

    Some people use that as a cache drive for Firefox or Photoshop. At such a large size, you can put games on it (I fitted most of Skyrim on that). There's a ton of funny (if ridiculously niche) things you can do with that, just remember that the RAM will not keep whatever is put on it, so always keep a copy of what you write there unless you don't care about it (which is why it's perfect as a swap disk). Is it necessary? Not in the slightest. Is it cool? You bet :D

    There's something awesome about having a drive with a peak read of 6GB/s and a peak write of 10GB/s (my own benchmarks). If you're curious, I'm currently using the free ImDisk Virtual Disk Driver for my RAMdisk needs.

  20. #20
    Network Hub
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    456
    Quote Originally Posted by Grizzly View Post
    If you do, get one of the Asus Xonars (DGs, or their new phonar thing...). They can do EAX 5, and apperently can mimic surround sound on headphones in a rather excellent fashion (My current soundblaster can do that too, and it is awesome).
    They also do not appear to have crappy drivers, unlike the Soundblaster ones (which I am currently using, but are a lot of effort to get working in all the games).
    I've heard the Xonars have awful drivers and are very bad at emulating EAX. They're not significantly cheaper than Sound Blaster either. I do a lot of gaming, I watch movies and shows, as well as music production, and I LOVE Creative's Sound Blaster drivers. They're easily configurable and allow me to toggle between modes depending on my situation (e.g., go to 4 speaker mode, disable EAX and Crystalizer, and make my EQ flat for when I'm DJing, all with a single click). I'm very happy with my ~$100 Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •