First time computer build, any advice?

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First time computer build, any advice?

Postposted on Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:18 am

Hello everyone! This is my first time posting on here, but I figured I’m getting closer to my first build ever, and I would ask for your help/advice. Feel free to let me know what you think, all feedback is appreciated.

I have taken a look at the system guide they have on this site and honestly I am leaning towards that system (the $1500 one), especially because what I want is probably over-kill. In any case I figured I’d post it here and get some advice from the community here since a lot of you know/have experience with building systems.

This is going to be my first system build I have ever done, and I have been doing research for about a year now on how to build a system, so I feel confident there. The true test will come once I apply what I learned.

I have slowly begun to move away from my PS3, and gaming more on my PC. I would love to play Skyrim on max settings as well as Guild Wars 2 (mainly the two I play currently), and hopefully move on to some first person shooters, which is what I mostly did on the console. I do a lot of movie watching, web browsing, tons of projects with word and power-point. I do photography as a hobby and edit my RAW images in Lightroom 3 and photoshop (just a hobby, nothing serious).

I have a budget close to $2100, and that includes shipping, but judging on what you say here I may end up saving money which is a bonus. As far as where I’m ordering my items from, probably Newegg and/or Amazon, though Amazon would probably be better for me in terms of shipping. Because I live in Alaska, Neweggs shipping is high compared to free shipping from Amazon. Do any of you have recommendations as far as which is better to order from?

I plan on making my purchase soon, maybe within the next couple of weeks to a month. Only reason for holding off a little is because I’m currently in college, and been busy with lots of projects and mid-terms.

Case: Corsair 650D http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811139006
• I like the way it looks, and it seems like it will be easy to build in it, especially for a first timer like me. My only concern is will it have enough airflow to keep the system cool, reason I ask is because in the winter when I need to have all windows closed, in a small room, my temp with all my electronics on can get up to 80 deg F after a few hours(at least heater never has to come on LOL). Living in Alaska I don’t have a way to cool my room down much unless I want my room to freeze.

Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V Deluxe LGA 1155 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131818
• Has a ton of features, I read Bluetooth and built in WiFi though I don’t need it to be. Other than that I like the amount of USB ports it has, for a lot of peripherals. Let me know if it is probably more than I need. Plus watching JJ on Neweggs youtube channel, sold me on Asus lol.

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116501
• Here is where I’m not sure. From what I read I could go with the i5-3570k and be fine? Regardless I would like it to be an unlocked processor, I would like to learn and get into overclocking.

CPU Cooler: Corsair H100 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835181017
• Seems like air cooling and these closed loop water cooling systems do a very similar job in terms of temperatures from what I have seen. The only reason I would go with an H80 or H100 is to keep the inside looking more “clean” instead a big bulky air fan. As far as doing the H100 over the others, we have it in stock at my local Best Buy, and I can get it for a bit cheaper (I work there part-time)

Power Supply: Corsair Pro Series Gold AX750W http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139016
Or http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139012
• I know there are calculators but the ones I saw don’t have the current processors. The new generation of video cards don’t seem to require as much power anymore, and at least for now I don’t see myself going with any kind of SLI configuration. Guessing I could probably save some money and go with a Corsair HX650W?

Video card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 2GB http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125423
• Seems like a good price point compared to everything else for a 670, plus looks to have good cooling. Guessing will run almost every game in the market at high/max settings in 1080p which is what I want.

Memory: Corsair Vengeance (either 8GB, 12GB, or 16GB) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233280
• Don’t know here, would I benefit at all by going higher than 8GB? As far as to which memory in particular I don’t know yet, I was leaning toward the link I posted.

SSD/HDD: Samsung 830 Series 256GB http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147164
HDD 1TB, 2TB or 3TB (Haven’t decided yet) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822236339

Drive: A blu-ray, I’ll have to look at reviews. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827106374
OS: Wither Windows 7 or 8 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116986
Sound: Maybe one of the Xonar Asus cards like the one in the system guide.

Everything else, headsets, mouse, keyboards and monitor I already have.
cosio_3
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Re: First time computer build, any advice?

Postposted on Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:55 am

My initial thoughts:

@Case
There are a slew of new models from all vendors, many with all the features the Corsair case has, if not more in terms of cooling options. Since there are sooooo many and it mostly depends on taste, i'd advise you to take a long and hard look at different cases priced around $100.

@Motherboard
Seems too expensive and all the features you need can be found in cheaper models. You can look at Asus's lineup of ATX Z77 motherboards and choose the first that meets all your requirements and that features heatsinks around the CPU socket and enough power phases. I don't think you need to go above $200 bucks with this item, unless there is a peculiar feature that you absolutely need and it can be found only on high end motherboards.

@CPU
Since you will be OCing you should buy the i5 3750K. I know you mentioned some productivity programs that might benefit from a slightly beefier chip with multi-threading but you mentioned also that you just do it for fun. If you would have been serious about it you would have gone for a SB-E anyways. So compromise here, as you won't notice a significant slow down.

@CPU cooling
H100 is quite good, beats all air coolers afaik but with a twist, it has to have high rpm fans (i.e. noisey) fans to do so. Given Ivy's limitation with OCing, 4,4-4,5 GHz for 24/7 use is your best bet and for that a tower cooler is good enough and you won't have to worry about the pump breaking down or anything else in the long run. If a fan breaks, replacement is easy, cheap and fast.
Personally i'd get a Thermalright Archon or something like it, extremely powerfull and yet very quiet at load.

@PSU
For your budget a platinum rated PSU should be a given. Just look for a model from the regular well established manufacturers and read a review or two before deciding. This is def. a place where you should spend some of the cash you saved if you follow the above recommendation, the rest of the savings should be directed to the video card.

@GPU
Like I said a big chunk of the budget should go to this particular item. Imo you should get a HD 7970 GHZ edition with custom cooler and maybe with some factory overclocking or a GTX 680, again with custom cooler and factory OC. Regardless what you choose get one that has underneath the main heatsink for the GPU, heatsinks for the VRMs and memory modules. Also mind the warranty, preferrably register your card right after purchase on the manufacturer's website and pay a little extra for an extended 5 years or hell even 10 years warranty just for your peace of mind. EVGA offers this extended warranties afaik, just to mention one manufacturer (it's actually an AIB partner but you get what i mean).

@SSD
No comments there, good choice.

@OS
Depends on taste, personally i'd buy Windows 7 Ultimate (you need the 64 bit version since you'll be rocking 16 GBs of RAM).

But even if you don't take any of my advice your build still looks awesome.
Good luck
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Disclaimer: All answers and suggestions are provided by an enthusiastic amateur and are therefore without warranty either explicit or implicit. Basically you use my suggestions at your own risk.
Arclight
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Re: First time computer build, any advice?

Postposted on Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:58 am

cosio_3 wrote:Hello everyone!
Welcome to the Tech Report!

cosio_3 wrote: I do photography as a hobby and edit my RAW images in Lightroom 3 and photoshop (just a hobby, nothing serious).
Memory: Corsair Vengeance (either 8GB, 12GB, or 16GB) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233280
• Don’t know here, would I benefit at all by going higher than 8GB? As far as to which memory in particular I don’t know yet, I was leaning toward the link I posted.
I suggest 2x8 GiB, similar to what you have selected.

cosio_3 wrote: Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V Deluxe LGA 1155 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131818
• Has a ton of features, I read Bluetooth and built in WiFi though I don’t need it to be. Other than that I like the amount of USB ports it has, for a lot of peripherals. Let me know if it is probably more than I need. Plus watching JJ on Neweggs youtube channel, sold me on Asus lol.
Take a look at the P8Z77-V LK or P8Z77-M Pro, instead. Are they missing any features that you must have? Would the extra $150 in your wallet be a good thing?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813131837
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813131833

cosio_3 wrote:CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116501
• Here is where I’m not sure. From what I read I could go with the i5-3570k and be fine? Regardless I would like it to be an unlocked processor, I would like to learn and get into overclocking.
For gaming, the Core i5-3570K offers close to the same performance as the Core i7-3770K for $100 less.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6819116504

Arclight wrote:I'd buy Windows 7 Ultimate (you need the 64 bit version since you'll be rocking 16 GBs of RAM).
How about Windows 8 Professional 64-bit for $140 -30 code "EMCJNJA87"?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6832416552
As a college student, you may be able to get a better deal on Microsoft Windows and Office through your university.
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 computer build, any advice?

Postposted on Wed Oct 24, 2012 7:35 am

For the OS, why bother with Ultimate instead of Professional? Are there really compelling features in Ultimate? I mean, I'm running the gamut from Vista Home/Business/Ultimate to Win7 Home/Pro/Ultimate and for my typical use I don't see much of a difference, truth be told.
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Re: First time computer build, any advice?

Postposted on Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:29 am

For the CPU cooler, the Thermalright Archon that Arclight mentioned is definetly one of the best out there, but it's a little pricey. You can spend half as much money and get 90%+ of the performance by going with a CoolerMaster Hyper 212 EVO.

+1 for i5-3570K.

How about the Fractal Design Arc Midi case for $75 shipped?

I would say that a GTX 670 is the absolute highest you should go for a GPU. I would personally shoot for something closer to the $300 range like a 660Ti or 7950

If you're looking for a monitor, I highly recommend the 23" Asus VS239H-P. (which I recently bought and its great!!) It's got an eIPS screen for much better color accuracy than TN panels and it still has a fast 5ms response. Plus its the cheapest 23" IPS monitor you'll find anywhere.

Use this PSU calculator. It will have everything you need. An 80 Plus Gold certified PSU from Corsair or SeaSonic is plenty. Platinum is only 2% more efficient and will oftentimes cost you much more.

On a side note, I've never heard anyone complain about room temperatures being too high in the winter...especially in Alaska. What's the deal there? Just turn the heat off in your computer room.
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Re: First time computer build, any advice?

Postposted on Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:36 pm

Just want to add that I have been successful with spending more on the mobo and chip, and skimping on the graphics at build time. I have big hands and I am not happy to pull all of that stuff out for a change, so I tend to go above the performance I expect to need in the next coupe of years on those deep components and plan to replace the graphics card or add RAM later.
-Eric

Please don't quote me on this.
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Re: First time computer build, any advice?

Postposted on Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:58 pm

Thanks everyone for the responses so far, more than I was expecting. I'm glad I came here first before making my purchase.

As for the processor, I think I will go with the i5 3570k vs the i7. I read a little more into it and I don't think I need to spend extra for the hyper threading especially since I am not doing anything hardcore with things that would benefit from it (plus I save money which is always good :D )

For the cooling, I'll take a look at the recommendations. The only reason I was looking at the H100, was because I like the aesthetic factor of it inside a case. I appreciate the feedback as well on the case, I took a look at the Fractal Design Arc Midi, I like the simple sleek look to it. The thing with the Corsair 650D was that I can easily install the H100 in the top of the case above the motherboard, and it also has that sleek elegant look to it, nothing to fancy going on with it.

@DPete27, wasn't really looking for a monitor, but thanks for the suggestions, depending on how much I save from this maybe I'll splurge on something like that as a secondary or third monitor. The temp thing in my room is just because it is a small room, and if I have the door closed, with all the electronics in the room it can get hot, the heaters don't turn on anyways unless it gets below 70ish, just figured I'd mention it because I'm not sure how much of an impact ambient temps effect a PC, but honestly I'm not to worried about it.
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Re: First time computer build, any advice?

Postposted on Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:11 pm

I would recommend having someone there who has put together some computers to keep you from making some common blunders in assembly and keep you from freaking out if something doesn't go as planned.
Coran Fixx
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Re: First time computer build, any advice?

Postposted on Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:15 pm

Coran Fixx wrote:I would recommend having someone there who has put together some computers to keep you from making some common blunders in assembly and keep you from freaking out if something doesn't go as planned.


Hey now, no one held my hand!

...but it is nice to have a second set of eyes.
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Re: First time computer build, any advice?

Postposted on Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:18 pm

ericfulmer wrote:Just want to add that I have been successful with spending more on the mobo and chip, and skimping on the graphics at build time. I have big hands and I am not happy to pull all of that stuff out for a change, so I tend to go above the performance I expect to need in the next coupe of years on those deep components and plan to replace the graphics card or add RAM later.


This isn't bad advice, but do make sure that the GPU you put in now can do what you want to do now.

Another way to look at it is to understand that the GPU emphasizes maximum frame-rates and detail settings while the CPU emphasizes minimum frame-rates and overall smoothness. If both are adequate, add CPU first.
Canon 6D||[24-105/4L IS USM|100/2.8L Macro IS USM|70-300/4-5.6 IS USM|40/2.8 STM|50/1.4 USM|85/1.8 USM|Samyang/Bower 14/2.8 Full-Manual Rectilinear Wide-angle|
Canon EOS-M|11-22/4-5.6 IS STM|22/2 STM|EF-M 18-55/3.5-5.6 IS STM|
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Re: First time computer build, any advice?

Postposted on Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:33 pm

Coran Fixx wrote:I would recommend having someone there who has put together some computers to keep you from making some common blunders in assembly and keep you from freaking out if something doesn't go as planned.


Unfortunately I do not know anyone (friends or family) who has built a computer before. So I'm flying solo on this and doing the best I can. If it is anything like pulling apart a PS3 to reapply thermal paste on the cpu/gpu then I should be ok. I'm mainly following one of the newegg youtube videos where they go in depth in making a system. I know in the video they actually put together the motherboard, cpu, vid card and powersupply outside of the case to ensure everything was working properly before putting it in the case, I figure that is a start.

@ Airmantharp As for video card I am probably going to stick with the gtx670, I'll have to look and see what the amd counterpart is and compare them, though I hear the drivers aren't always up to date on the amd cards for newer release games.
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Re: First time computer build, any advice?

Postposted on Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:32 pm

cosio_3 wrote:So I'm flying solo on this and doing the best I can. If it is anything like pulling apart a PS3 to reapply thermal paste on the cpu/gpu then I should be ok. I'm mainly following one of the newegg youtube videos where they go in depth in making a system. I know in the video they actually put together the motherboard, cpu, vid card and powersupply outside of the case to ensure everything was working properly before putting it in the case, I figure that is a start.


We all started there...and without the benefit of the internet for some of us.

Iyaz Akhtar @ twit.tv just got through doing an episode of "Know How" on building a system.
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Re: First time computer build, any advice?

Postposted on Thu Oct 25, 2012 1:58 am

If you encounter something you don't know how to do, have patience and ask. The best place to look the first time though is the webpage of the manufacturer of the particular item you are trying to install. User/installation manuals do have their uses when you're a newby. For the motherboard i wouldn't have it any other way, check the manual to make sure you're plugging things where you should.

The risk of damage due to cables not connected in the right manner is small since only a few are pin compatible, but the risk is there. So have patience, do some reading for each item before you get them (all manufacturers offer user/installation manuals for download on their webpage) and watch a few "how to" guides on youtube. It's not rocket science, but the biggest down side when you're doing it the first time is that it can get really depressing if one or more items are DOA, damaged or don't perform as advertised.

Most importantly be carefull with the motherbord when installing it on the stand-offs, be carefull with the CPU-don't bend pins on the socket, and be carefull when you connect the power cables from the PSU and the ones from the front panel. Remember that you will need some consumables besides the list of items above, like thermal paste (if they don't include it for the CPU cooler you will buy, or even if it does you might need in the future), cleaning solutions for the thermal paste (i think Artic had something like this), a few micro fiber cloths and cable ties for wire management. The PVC cable ties can be found for a really cheap price in specialized stores for eletric components.

PS: before touching any component with your hands remember to touch a metal object to ground yourself (discharge electrostatic energy). I remember i used to get eletro static shocks quite often when i worked a few years ago in an office that had no object you could ground yourself besides the door handle and since i used to work for hours before leaving the office i almost always got a small shock when i reached for the door.
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Re: First time computer build, any advice?

Postposted on Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:42 am

Especially in winter, less humidity in the office = more zappy zap.
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Re: First time computer build, any advice?

Postposted on Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:23 pm

@Arclight thanks for the info. Yea the only thing i'm dreading is products DOA, seems like any review I look at for any component on newegg has had some kind of complaint about it.

Not sure if anyone can answer this, but would it make sense to go with a motherboard that has thunderbolt ports? I don't have anything that is thunderbolt, but I figure its more of a future proof kind of deal, what are your thoughts. I was looking at these two if I learn that it is a good way to go:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131853&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-Motherboards%20-%20Intel-_-ASUS-_-13131853&AID=10440897&PID=3938566&SID=

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128559&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-na-_-na-_-na&AID=10446076&PID=3938566&SID=
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Re: First time computer build, any advice?

Postposted on Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:27 pm

cosio_3 wrote:@Arclight thanks for the info. Yea the only thing i'm dreading is products DOA, seems like any review I look at for any component on newegg has had some kind of complaint about it.

Not sure if anyone can answer this, but would it make sense to go with a motherboard that has thunderbolt ports? I don't have anything that is thunderbolt, but I figure its more of a future proof kind of deal, what are your thoughts. I was looking at these two if I learn that it is a good way to go:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131853&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-Motherboards%20-%20Intel-_-ASUS-_-13131853&AID=10440897&PID=3938566&SID=

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128559&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-na-_-na-_-na&AID=10446076&PID=3938566&SID=


Thunderbolt is a very expensive (for now) way to push PCIe out of the computer. It's usefulness with custom PCs is pretty much non-existent if you don't have a specific peripheral that needs it in mind, so it's not really worth the extra cost. USB3 and eSATA cover almost every angle already, and both are far cheaper solutions overall.
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Re: First time computer build, any advice?

Postposted on Mon Nov 12, 2012 2:49 am

Sorry I have not been back lately, but I finally bought my parts and finished my build the other day. I did make some changes to it, and ended up going with a Phantom Switch 810 just because it looked similar to the 650D, but had better cooling. I opted for the H100i, though it makes a not so loud grinding noise every one complained about in reviews for the h100 (doesn't bother me too much at least not yet). I did notice though that my i5 3570k, under 100% load hit up to 79 deg C, so I took off the H100i reapplied some xigmatek thermal compound and at full load hit as high as 59 deg C, guessing must have been some kind of user error the first time.

Anyways I wanted to thank all of you for your input/advice. I appreciate it so much. Hopefully it is ok to post this here since it is a follow up to the original post here.


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cosio_3
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Re: First time computer build, any advice?

Postposted on Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:20 am

Really nice rig, have fun with it.

Just remember to clean the dust from time to time and it should be fine.

Congratz.

PS: What GTX model is that video card btw?
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Re: First time computer build, any advice?

Postposted on Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:31 am

Arclight wrote:
PS: What GTX model is that video card btw?


Probably overkill, but it is the 4GB Galaxy GTX 670
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