First time Builder needs help

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First time Builder needs help

Postposted on Wed Aug 29, 2012 8:28 am

hi - ive fiddled a bit with adding parts to old computers, but never built one from scratch. Im looking to spend a max of $700- $6oo prefered USA, and i have monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers ect all covered. ive got several working DVD drives and cd drives ect, but i am using a hard drive i feel is dying, so i definitely need a new one.

Im not a huge gamer, although i am currently working with making 3D designs,and i use a program called Secondlife(memory hog) alot. my current system is an emachine that is sorely underpowered and out of date, with the highest video card i could get for it, the Radeon hd 5550. Anyways i want to build a machine that can handle major 3-d graphics, but not necessarily needing to be a gaming computer per say. I use windows 7 and can get that fairly cheap as a student so i wont include that as part of my overall cost. I need your help and suggestions, ive been reading reviews on everything and ive got a fairly good idea what i might like.. but im open to suggestions from pros.

what i want in a decent system:

STRONG GRAPHICS CARD (plan to eventually double whatever card i get as i save enough money)
HARD DRIVE- at least a 1TB hard drive
MOTHERBOARD that supports 16 gigs+ memory (8 with current system goes fast)+ can handle updating CPU in future perhaps?
STRONG CPU - no older crap - i want newer technology more oomph for the money
POWER SUPPLY- at LEAST a 400-500 watt power supply (higher good if under 600-700 price range)
PC CASE - Durable enough for travel in a trunk 2-4 times a year - Roomy enough to fit stubby hands and upgrades inside (i do NOT want a laptop thank you anyways)
CONNECTIVITY TO HDMI TV (vision problems needs large screen - have cord)
UNDER $700 TOTAL including shipping to 53704 Zip code ($600 again being the preferred target)
I have used AMD based computers all my life so im actually quite comfortable with them. (not a necessity i suppose)
basically if it was your money and you wanted the best system you could get for it, what would you want to get for your own use?
Much thanks in advance for all your suggestions - JJ
cantstopthemadness
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Re: First time Builder needs help

Postposted on Wed Aug 29, 2012 11:15 am

I would check out TR's System Guide as a starting point. From that, you should consider upgrading to an i5-3450 for an extra $75 then grabbing a 120-128GB SSD for ~$100 which will vastly increase system responsiveness. OCZ Vertex 3, Samsung 830, or an Intel 330 are all good choices. (I realize $575 from the Econobox build - $18 for optical drive + $75 for i5-3450 + $100 for SSD = $732...keep reading)

Use a power supply calculator to figure out exactly how much wattage you need.

Are you okay with the idea of a mATX motherboard/case? Most people don't need all the slots in a full ATX board and mATX boards and cases are generally cheaper while also being smaller for packing into a trunk.

You live in Madison? Going to UW? There are a couple of Microcenters nearby in Chicago and the Twin Cities. If "home" is somewhere near or on the way past either of those locations, that's the place you should buy your motherboard and processor. That will save you ~$80 from what it will cost on newegg.

PS. If you need, I can lend some help during the build, let me know in a PM.
i5-3570K, ASRock Z77 Pro4-m, Asus GTX660 TOP, 120 GB Vertex 3 Max IOPS, 2 TB Samsung EcoGreen F4, 8GB G-Skill @1.25V, Silverstone PS07B
DPete27
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Re: First time Builder needs help

Postposted on Wed Aug 29, 2012 1:04 pm

cantstopthemadness wrote:Hi. I've fiddled a bit with adding parts to old computers, but never built one from scratch.
Welcome to the Tech Report. As DPete27 suggested, you should check out the System Guide.

cantstopthemadness wrote:I'm looking to spend a max of $700- $600 prefered USA.
STRONG CPU - no older crap - i want newer technology more oomph for the money
MOTHERBOARD with 4 DIMM slots that can handle updating CPU in future perhaps?
16 GiB of DDR3 memory
STRONG GRAPHICS CARD (plan to eventually double whatever card i get as i save enough money)
No SSD because the budget is too tight
HARD DRIVE- at least a 1TB hard drive
Existing Blu-ray/DVD drives
POWER SUPPLY- at LEAST a 400-500 watt power supply (higher good if under 600-700 price range)
PC CASE - Durable enough for travel in a trunk 2-4 times a year - Roomy enough to fit stubby hands and upgrades inside (i do NOT want a laptop thank you anyways)

If you were closer to Chicago, you might visit a Micro Center. They offer absolutely unbeatable in-store combination deals with the Ivy Bridge Core i5-3570K processor and certain Z77 motherboards (like the ASRock Z77 Pro4-M). This is the best bang-for-the-buck deal around but saving less than $150 wouldn't justify the 300-mile round trip. Otherwise, you'll probably want the Sandy Bridge Core i3-2120 CPU from the Econobox in the System Guide.

A Z77 or H77 motherboard from Asus (most expensive), Gigabyte or ASRock should serve. Don't buy one that has only two DIMM slots.

2x8 GiB of memory is affordable if you're finding that 8 GiB is cramped on your current system. Using these high density DIMMs will let you expand to 4x8 GiB = 32 GiB of memory if you somehow need more RAM in the future. Note that Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit has a limit of 16 GiB. The Professional and Ultimate editions allow up to 192 GiB. I used this 2x8 GiB PC3-12800 kit in my most recent build. With the H77 chipset, you might as well stick with less expensive PC3-10600, like this kit from Kingston or this kit from G.Skill.

In light of very recent GPU price cuts, you might want to upgrade from the Econbox's Radeon HD7770 graphics card to a Radeon HD7850 for $75 more or (even better) to Radeon HD7870 for $15 more than that.
i7-4770K, H70, Gryphon Z87, 16 GiB, R9-290, SSD, 2 HD, Blu-ray, SB ZX, TJ08-E, SS-660XP², 3007WFP+2001FP, RK-9000BR, MX518
JustAnEngineer
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Re: First time Builder needs help

Postposted on Wed Aug 29, 2012 1:32 pm

Don't plan to double a graphics card. Just get a good one now that you pick for the resolution you want to game at. If you are using a large TV as a monitor, you are only looking at most a 1080 resolution. So for a $700 budget, you really can't go with a STRONG video card, but you can go with a good video card. But, for your budget, I'd look at going for something like this:

GIGABYTE GA-Z77MX-D3H LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - $130
I don't see the use for 16GiB of RAM, unless you have an application that uses it. Might be a good place to trim the budget.
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL7D-8GBRH 1 for $49, 2 for $98. Its CAS 7, instead of 9.
Intel Core i5-3470 Ivy Bridge 3.2GHz (3.6GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2500 BX80637i53470 - $200. You can go 100 mhz less for $5 less, but for $5, why save here? OR, you can stay in budget and go with:
Intel Core i3-2120 Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz - $125
Sony Optiarc 24X DVD Burner - $18
Antec NSK 4482 Black / Silver 0.8mm cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 380W Power Supply - $100 (includes shipping) - Cheap, but sturdy. Not flashy, but case prices are a great place to save money.
Samsung F3 1 TB - $70
EVGA 02G-P3-1559-KR GeForce GTX 550 Ti $170, and a $30 rebate, brings it down to $140. Also includes Adobe PS Elements X... might be worth it to you.
OR
XFX HD-687A-ZHFC Radeon HD 6870 1GB - $175, and a $30 rebate. Includes Dirt3. Not sure if that is worth it to you.
Either video card would do fine at 1080.

Total price with i5: $707-712
Total price with i3: $637-642

Add $49 for 16 GiB of RAM.

Caveat: The i3 processor is SB, not IB. But performance for your budget and resolution should still be more than adequate.
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