My new PC build
since I've finished my university tests, I've spent tons of time on absorbing any information I could find concerning building my new computer. My current PC is over three years old now and the graphics card is (mostly) dead. I cannot play any games with 3D graphics anymore. Even playing Recettear for a prolonged period of time crashes my PC in an awesome fashion! (That sounds crazy, I know.)
So a new PC is long past due. As I've said above, I've done my homework, but I haven't been able to find satisfying options for all components. So I'm asking for your help.
My current PC build, plus all my thoughts on it, can be found here, on Google Docs.
(The next paragraph is mostly pointless, as everything can be seen in the spreadsheet.)
I've found two cases that sound kind of nice, but I'm not yet sold on any.
I'm basically set on the CPU and its cooler (that's why they are in boldface). It's a Intel Core i5-2500K. I've heeded the advice of forum posters here and elsewhere that said that anything more expensive wouldn't be worth it.
I have no clue on the PSU. However, the power supply calculator said that my system would need about 450 W, so I guess I should be safe with a (quality) PSU with at least 550 W, or very, very safe with 600 W.
The CPU choice limits my motherboard options considerably, so I've simply chosen a recommended MSI P67A motherboard. I'm open to other suggestions, though.
I've narrowed down my choices of graphics cards to about four, but now I'm stuck.
I'm not 100% sure that 4 GB of DDR3 RAM will be enough. However, it seems pointless to buy more as this is one of the most trivial upgrade options available - if I need more RAM in the future, I could just buy more RAM in the future. I haven't decided on brands, though.
I want an SSD, and ~128 GB of storage space sounds like the sweet spot of price/performance to me. I have no clue how to choose a specific model here.
- I think this will be at least the third PC I'm building for myself, so I know how this works. But every three years, all my knowledge about hardware becomes so hopelessly outdated that it seems nothing I knew is still relevant...
- I will hand down the PC I'm building right now to my little brothers in about three years time. So I will not be able to e.g. reuse the case in a later build. (I might be able to reuse the PSU.)
- I do not need a version of Windows 7 due to MSDNAA.
- As you can see in the spreadsheet, right now I intend to transfer ~1.5 GB of storage drives (500 GB internal SATA HDD, 1 TB external USB HDD) and maybe my current 20'' widescreen display to the new PC. I obviously still have keyboard and mouse. But anything else will (have to) be new.
- I'll (try to) overclock the CPU. I've never done anything like that before, but I will be very careful about it and do it strictly according to a guide. The extra CPU cooler is for that purpose.
- This is supposed to be a gaming PC, but I don't really play the most hardware-demanding games right when they come out. However, I can definitely see myself playing AAA games like DX:HR or Skyrim 1-2 years after they came out.
- I don't need a "future-proof" PC. That seems like a fantasy, anyway. I'm fine with buying a new one every three years. But not much earlier than that.
- I've included lots of links with more information in this spreadsheet, so it might be helpful to others who are currently building a PC at a similar price point.
Now to my questions:
- Is there any gross oversight/inconsistency in what I've chosen so far? Except for the CPU, what would you change?
- Do you have any recommendations for the parts where I had no clue? (a ~128 GB SSD and a ~600 W PSU) If possible, I want a modular PSU if it doesn't mean a gigantic price hike.
- I don't really have a budget per se, but I don't want to waste money. Right now, the PC components cost about ~1100 $, but if it's somehow possible to pay less without sacrificing too much, I'd be happy, too :). In general, I'd benefit more from recommendations for downgrades than for upgrades. I probably won't benefit that much from an extremely fast PC, so if I really want more Nice Things™, the money would be better spent on peripherals. I might play nice-looking games like Skyrim in the future or I might not, but I have no desire to play a 2011 equivalent of Crysis.
- I will give my current PC to my little brothers once I'm finished building this new one. There's a Geforce GT 8800 512 MB in it which would still be a very nice graphics card - if it weren't broken, as mentioned at the very top of this thread. I don't think there's any warranty on it anymore. Is there anything I can still do with it? If not, what's the price point for a similar replacement card?
- Any recommendations on peripherals, specificially new speakers? I already have a MX 518, but all other peripherals are still up for grabs.
EDIT: Right, I'm from Germany, so I most likely won't benefit from hardware vendor suggestions from anyone outside Germany.
Originally Posted by MondSemmel
As for the mainboard - I'd go Z68. Judging by your name you probably speak German, so here's a good article for you. (sorry folks)
And concerning the SSD - http://geizhals.at/eu/626829 or http://geizhals.at/eu/618147 look like good bets.
I believe an 8800 GT will set you back about £10-50, depending on whether you're buying it new or not, new tends to be around the 30-40 mark. Obviously you're in Germany and the only thing that comes to mind about the german market is that hardware prices on the whole tend to be cheaper in comparison to a lot of the rest of central and western Europe? Might be wrong there. At a guess I'd say a new 8800 GT 512mb, probably about 35 euros, definitely under 50. Used could be significantly less.
Baking it might be worth a shot, depends what the problems are with it. If you can solder and can identify the issue(s) with it and they are fixable through soldering, I'd recommend doing that rather than baking. If not, well by all means stick it in the oven, nothing to loose but remember to be safe.
The "for any length of time" thing about the graphics card makes me wonder if it just a heating issue. Try opening up the box, cleaning any dust out of the heatsink/fan on the graphics card. Potentially remove the heatsink, clean off the old thermal paste, apply new and reseat properly.
As for a new card - http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...orce,2997.html is always the starting point.
As for other bits that might be nice - a good headset is an alternative to nice speakers. A good chair maybe? 360 pad is useful for games that really need analogue, non-mouse control. Good monitors are always nice, but make sure it's a good one. not just a big one. Of course, the higher resolution you go the more grunt you need?
Motherboard wise - I've had an older MSI that was pretty ropey. My current MSI (which I forget the exact name of) has been highly configurable and dependable however.
Memory - I've had good experiences with Crucial and OCZ. Lower latency is always nice. More is always nice, but you don't often see a need for more than 4gb at the current time.
RAM fluctuates in price a lot. Right now, it's extremely cheap for 8GB of DDR3 - Just £40 at the moment, which is an absolute steal considering 4GB cost me around £50 last year. This is the best time to invest in lots of the stuff.
Originally Posted by CMaster
Here's the RAM.
Oh, and the price of RAM should be as cheap in Germany. :)
Thanks for all the replies so far!
When I'm finished building my new PC, trying to repair my old 8800 GT sounds like an intriguing option. I guess I'll actually try that. However, applying new thermal paste sounds a lot more palatable to me than baking a hardware component...but I guess I'll still have to read up on that.
The GPU problem is definitely a heating problem; I just assumed from the severity of the problems that they resulted from permanent hardware damage due to excessive heat. If that assumption is wrong, of course, this graphics card may still be savable...
If I have to replace the GPU, however, I'd rather not buy a 8800 GT again. It has a tiny, tiny cooler and apparently already had some cooling problems back when it first appeared on the market, as far as I remember.
I'm not sold on the Z68 features yet. I realize it's the latest chipset, but the SSD-for-caching option, at least, doesn't interest me one bit. Lucid Virtu, however, does sound intriguing.
A nice headset sounds interesting. I've always shied away from these because I thought they'd be a lot worse for one's long-term hearing. But maybe I'm wrong? I don't have the room for a 7.1 surround sound system, but I could actually try a 7.1 headset.
Concerning the graphics card issue, I have actually consulted tomshardware and found that same article, but from ~July. But in the price bracket I'm interested in, nothing seems to have changed since.
I haven't yet found an article that compares different SSDs, and I don't want to blindly purchase a particular product. Does anyone here know of one?
Headphones are only bad for your hearing if you turn them up too loud. So don't (in-ear phones are much worse for this, but again it's just a function of too loud).
As for SSDs - I'm no expert, but Tom's Hardware have a recent wrap up of 120gb SSDs here. They have been known to do some stuff wrong in the storage arena, but they agree in the end with what I've heard most from people in general - that the OCZ Vertex 3 is the consumer SSD to go for.
Also not an expert here, but I've read a lot about SSD's lately (while looking for one for my new PC), and the main objection against the OCZ Vertex 3 (and other Sandforce based SSD's) is that they're more unreliable/break down more. Some interesting links about reliability:
Originally Posted by CMaster
- A reliability test at Tweakers, a Dutch site, but terms and numbers speak for themselves mostly (if not, here's a google translate of it, or you can ask me)
- A newegg research by Notebookreview (still in progress I think, not all brands/models are covered yet)
- Some info about an infamous BSOD at Anantech
Those articles convinced me to switch to the Crucial M4 (or Intel ones, but those are more expensive/slower)
Some good roundups on SSD's to compare:
- Newest Bit-tech review (of the OCZ Agility, but it compares to most of the newer SSD's). Bit-tech is mostly a nice site to drop by, and the Hardware -> Storage section has quite a lot of reviews
- Anandtech's midrange SSD test (little bit outdated, but covers a lot of mid range SSD's). Anandtech seems to test the SSD's considerably, with a lot of knowledge.
- Hardware.info recent test (Dutch again). Hardware.info is not always good, but they do a lot of tests (google translate link)
- Hardware Revolution test (mainly by one guy, who knows an incredible ammount of things). Great site for different custom computer builds for all budgets, though a little bit too much SLI minded for higher budgets
- Toms Hardware roundup (freshly in from today, not sure how reliable/good it is, haven't read it yet). Toms Hardware is a great testsite, but it sometimes really gives strange "best SSD's / GPU's for your money" advices, as you can read in the comments
Again, thanks for all the help! I haven't yet had time for them specifically, but the recommendations on how to (potentially) repair my broken GT 8800, a headset instead of speakers, and the huge list of SSD information all look very helpful.
I'm a bit closer to picking all my parts now - only 2 graphics cards remain in the running, for instance, and I've settled on one of 2 Z68 boards or one specific P67 board. Despite the price difference of +25$, I might actually benefit from the Z68 boards - as I understand it, the P67 boards cannot actually use the new integrated graphics chip inside my new CPU. That wouldn't normally be a problem, but I've had so much bad luck with my graphics cards in the past that it's quite likely that I'd benefit from having a alternative available if I ever have to get my new one replaced...
I think I'll post a new thread on a pure tech forum like Tom's Hardware now. Now that my list has shortened, most differences between components are so miniscule that only tech gurus will even see them/be able to make recommendations based on them. Still, if you have more general recommendations (or are one such guru) and have the time, I'm always open to suggestions!