Help Me Build My PC Catch-All

TheGameguru wrote:

Edwin.. Kinda light on storage.. a single 128GB SSD?

I have my Raspberry Pi acting as a file server with a 3 TB USB hard drive on the network.

Sorry if this is not building a PC thing (didn't know of other threads)

Are these good deals for Internet service?

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I'd say the 25/10 is about the same speed but a lower price than I pay for my Comcast Blast! Extra. I'm at about 30/10 or something like that, but I'm paying roughly $60/mo (not including the basic cable I was forced to get along wit the deal). But with the intro rate about to end soon, I'll be paying probably $80 in the next couple months. So I'd say that either of those sounds like an awesome deal compared to what I have here in Chicago.

I just got my friend's system all put together but it won't post. The RAM POST LED is on so I know something is up with the RAM. I've tried one stick in each slot so I seriously doubt all four sticks and channels are bad. I'm worried that I picked the wrong one.

RAM: F3-1600C9Q-32GXM
Mobo: P8Z77-V

Thoughts?

edit: GSkill lists the ram as compatible with the motherboard here.

Personally, I don't know that I can call any amount of severely capped bandwidth a good deal. The 25/10 package would almost certainly double in price for my house with a 125GB cap, and the 50/50 would pick up a hefty increase as well.

Yeah the way I go right now with streaming services like Netflix and Amazon I'd probably destroy even the 250gb cap at least 9 or 10 months of the year.

I haven't actively monitored usage in my house, but between me, my wife and my kids? 300GB/month is probably a bit low.

Edwin wrote:

I just got my friend's system all put together but it won't post. The RAM POST LED is on so I know something is up with the RAM. I've tried one stick in each slot so I seriously doubt all four sticks and channels are bad. I'm worried that I picked the wrong one.

RAM: F3-1600C9Q-32GXM
Mobo: P8Z77-V

Thoughts?

edit: GSkill lists the ram as compatible with the motherboard here.

I have to ask even though I'm sure you are on top of it. Are you positive you are getting them jammed in all the way? It takes a surprising amount of force. You should almost feel like you're going to be breaking something.

125 GB and 250GB without streaming movies, shows, or anything like that. That's what I would be putting my caps through. Online gaming, reading this site, my Google Reader and Google searches. My online gaming is mostly with shooters, Orcs Must Die 2 and Firefall (an MMO FPS).

Am I going to fly by these caps? Is there a way to monitor my monthly usage right now?

Strangeblades wrote:

125 GB and 250GB without streaming movies, shows, or anything like that. That's what I would be putting my caps through. Online gaming, reading this site, my Google Reader and Google searches. My online gaming is mostly with shooters, Orcs Must Die 2 and Firefall (an MMO FPS).

Am I going to fly by these caps? Is there a way to monitor my monthly usage right now?

I've read that some ISP's provide a page where you can check your bandwidth usage. This is often likely to be inaccurate though. Your best bet might be to flash DD-WRT on your router and use it's bandwidth monitoring page.

Check your router. My old WRT54G running DD-WRT kept track of my monthly usage. Some others might as well (sadly my current Belkin doesn't).

You can also use a utility like Netlimiter 2 to monitor usage and tell you exactly what each program uses.

tuffalobuffalo wrote:
Edwin wrote:

I just got my friend's system all put together but it won't post. The RAM POST LED is on so I know something is up with the RAM. I've tried one stick in each slot so I seriously doubt all four sticks and channels are bad. I'm worried that I picked the wrong one.

RAM: F3-1600C9Q-32GXM
Mobo: P8Z77-V

Thoughts?

edit: GSkill lists the ram as compatible with the motherboard here.

I have to ask even though I'm sure you are on top of it. Are you positive you are getting them jammed in all the way? It takes a surprising amount of force. You should almost feel like you're going to be breaking something.

Yes. Turned out that the CMOS just needed to be cleared. Friend is super happy and his machine is a work of art.

Strangeblades wrote:

125 GB and 250GB without streaming movies, shows, or anything like that. That's what I would be putting my caps through. Online gaming, reading this site, my Google Reader and Google searches. My online gaming is mostly with shooters, Orcs Must Die 2 and Firefall (an MMO FPS).

Am I going to fly by these caps? Is there a way to monitor my monthly usage right now?

If you're not streaming, then you should probably be fine, but I'd get the biggest cap you can get though. And then have your own monitor as well; the ones the companies use rarely err in your favor.

So I've gone 360, and am now getting an i5-2500k CPU.

What's my best bet for a $100 ish Z77 board?

Leaning toward the Asrock Z77 Extreme 4. I've had Asrock boards before and they've been great.

http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=70...

I've read good reviews about that board and almost got it myself for my friend's build.

Well, I just placed my order:

i5-2500k
Asrock Z77 Extreme 4 Motherboard
Kingston HyperX DDR 3 1600 8gb
Coolermaster Hyper 212+
Bitfenix Merc Alpha Case

Came in under $500.

My PNY GTX 560 Ti will be going in this badboy.

El-Producto wrote:

Came in under $500.

/contented sigh

I love where the PC scene is right now.

I agree, that seems like a way better upgrade then I was expecting. I'm assuming this rig will be good for a couple of years (hope).

I just want it to run Guild Wars 2 and Arma 3 reasonably well.. and would love my loadtimes to be quicker in the DCS sims.

I almost bit on an SSD.. but I think I'll wait.

Sorry, I'm just catching up with the thread, but did you get a power supply? If one comes with the case, you might want to post us a picture of the label, or a link to the make and model number, if you can find it. You won't need anything particularly large, but it'd be a good idea to let us eyeball it real quick, and make sure there's nothing obviously crappy in the specs.

I've been thinking about putting together a gaming PC for the last few months, but the last PC I built was over 13 years ago, and boy has technology marched forward.

Ideally, I'm looking for something that can play Skyrim decently, with room for future upgradability, while staying between $600 and $1000 pre-shipping.

Here's what I've been thinking about as far as a desktop is concerned - any place I'm going overboard and could save myself some money? Any place where I'm not thinking forward enough?

-Intel Core i5 - 3500 Ivy Bridge 3.3ghz
-ATX-sized Z77 motherboard (probably ASUS P8Z77-V LX)
-8 gb (2x4gb) DDR3 1333
-Gigabyte GeForce GTX 560 Ti
-Seagate Barracuda 1 tb 7200 RPM SATA 6
-620W modular power supply
-Win7 64-bit Home Premium

I've already got peripherals and monitor taken care of, thanks to setting up a workspace for my work laptop.

That looks okay, El Producto. That's a dual-rail unit, but the rails are strong, so you should be able to plug in any one motherboard and any single video card. It'll definitely be fine for your chosen setup.

I'm looking for something that can play Skyrim decently

Skyrim is designed to run on consoles, so it really doesn't take much computer horsepower. If that's all you care about, you can go very cheap on everything but the video card, and go midgrade there, and be fat and happy for ages.

In your budget range, you can do a more standard build, aiming at something solid that will last a good long time. I'll tailor my comments toward our 'usual build', which is typically around $1K, $1200 if you want an SSD. You don't have to go this high; our thinking tends to be 'cut no corners, but don't be ridiculous'. But you can cut some of those corners without much of a problem.

Intel Core i5 - 3500 Ivy Bridge 3.3ghz

The K series offers some overclockability, although it's not as good in the 35XX line as it was in the 25XX chips. The 3570K seems to be the default choice at the moment. You can just run it at stock clocks for now, and then, most likely, overclock it a fair bit when and if the CPU performance is getting slow. If you actually need the CPU performance now, of course, you can just do it now -- this is good for emulation and CPU-intensive games like Dwarf Fortress. But most folks aren't CPU-bound.

If you do a K chip, you'll probably want an aftermarket CPU cooler. The Coolermaster 212 is fine, and is very cheap, but be aware that it has a sleeve bearing fan, which will wear out relatively quickly. You'll probably need a new fan in two or three years, which will cost from $5 to $20, depending on the quality you choose. You can also just buy a ball or fluid bearing fan now, if you don't want to have to think about it. Ball bearing fans are good, and fluid bearings are claimed to be extraordinarily durable.

probably ASUS P8Z77-V LX

Should be okay. It's a lot less expensive than the other boards in that line, and it has all the basic stuff. The only real drawback from my perspective is the lack of Intel networking, but if you ever get to the point that you need gigabit-level network throughput (the Realtek ports won't usually push more than 300Mbit or so), you can always just add a $30 Intel PCIe card down the line somewhere.

8 gb (2x4gb) DDR3 1333

1600 is only a tiny bit more expensive, and it can give you about a 10% performance boost. Most 1333 RAM can be run at 1600 anyway, but I prefer buying stuff that officially says it's supported. And going to 16 gigs will give you better drive caching, which will make the computer as a whole feel a fair bit faster. RAM is so cheap that the extra $50 to go to 16 gigs seems like a slam-dunk to me. Get something with the normal 9-9-9-11 or 9-9-9-12 timings, at 1600Mhz, and that'll be great. I see tons of 4 gig chips for $25 each on Newegg. I like Crucial and Mushkin, personally.

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 560 Ti

Those are good cards. You could also consider the 660Ti. It's brand new, and I'm not sure how to characterize the overall performance yet, but it should be quite a lot faster than a 560. If the price difference isn't too dramatic, that could be a good upgrade. I'm uncertain on this, however, because I don't yet understand the 660 well enough to know where it fits in the performance spectrum. Basically, I'm raising a question, whether you want a 660, rather than giving you an answer.

620W modular power supply

620's in kind of a weird space. It's more than you need for one CPU and one video card, but not enough for SLI. If you're not OCing, a single-rail 430 is fine, and a single-rail 550 will cover an overclock quite nicely. The only real reason to go higher is to support a second video card, and you'd want a 750 for that, to be sure you could run any two single cards.

A 620 could potentially increase overall lifespan of the supply, since you won't be pushing it as hard, and if it's a good Seasonic unit, it might be a fair bit quieter if you run it at low overall load. But if you ever plan on adding another video card, go larger.

It's exciting to see all the cool mini-ITX systems out there. I won't be able to afford one for a while but it give me hope I can have something decent.

http://dreamwarecomputers.com/index....

Wow - thanks so much!

I'm not really looking to overclock, but you're thinking it might be worth the extra $20 to go to 3750K instead of 3550? I'll probably run Ivy over Sandy, when NewEgg is $220 for the 2500K, $230 for the 3570K, and $243 for the 2550K.

As for networking, I've recently moved around my infrastructure, so the new rig would be wifi-only to start. Eventually I'd like to run a wire, but when that happens I can always upgrade to a PCI-e card as you mentioned if the onboard NIC is too slow.

Sounds like 1600 is the way to go for RAM, but it'll probably come as 2x4gb then another 2x4gb down the line.

Didn't know about the 660 Ti coming out, looks very nice

And I'll guess a downgrade to 550w power supply would be a good idea.

So, where's the latest "standard builds" thread hiding out, would love to compare notes. And its nice to know that my complete shot in the dark at building a new system wasn't too far off the mark.

Well, honestly, the 2500K and the 3570K are almost the same, CPU-wise. The 3570 is faster at the same clockspeed, but the 2500K overclocks further, so they end up peaking at about the same overall speed. If you'd rather have a little more speed without worrying about OCing, then go 3570. Oh, and the 3570 has much stronger onboard graphics, but you won't be using those anyway.

The 2550K is a touch faster officially than the 2500K, but since you can overclock nearly all 2500Ks to 4.4Ghz, the sticker speed isn't that important. And it comes without onboard graphics at all. You don't care about CPU graphics either way, but I see little reason to pay $23 extra to have them left out.

You know, honestly, I think you're probably right to pick the 3550K over the 3570... I've just been echoing what new builders here have been picking, without thinking about it all that well. The 70 comes with the much stronger HD 4000 graphics, but that's not relevant for a gamer build. And both chips will probably overclock similarly.

Caveat: the tech-heads here don't seem to have a lot of experience with the 35XX series; most of us jumped on the earlier 2500Ks, and the newer chips barely move the needle, so I'm not aware of any of the real enthusiasts buying one. It's been mostly new/novice builders with the 35XXs, and we haven't gotten many (any?) reports back on overclockability. So there could be some actual overclocking difference between the 3550 and the 3570 that we don't know about.

That does not mean, however, that you should buy a 2500, because you have to overclock it to get it to run as well as an Ivy Bridge. It sounds like you don't want to do that, so a 3550K will probably be a better pick for you, and then you can overclock someday, if and when you need it.

This kind of is the standard builds thread. You're just supposed to read the last fifty pages, reading all the various builds, and then pick one that looks right, in your expert opinion. Easy! You actually did get very close to our build of vague consensus, and had you gone ahead with exactly what you had decided on, you would have probably been very happy. My suggestions are tweaks, not major overhauls.

We probably should put together a standard list... Certis had suggested that a few years ago, but at that time, Ars Technica was doing really nice build lists, and there wasn't much value we could add. But Ars has gotten extremely irregular with updates, so maybe it's time for us to step into the breach.

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McIrish, if you have a MicroCenter nearby, hit them up for your CPU and Motherboard. The latest flyer I've seen from them puts the 2500K at $160 with the AsRock Extreme 4 Z77 board at a hundred bucks, but only if you buy em together. That's a really outrageously good deal IMO.

Edwin wrote:

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Cool stuff. My only issue with it is that it's all MSRP; it's not a difficult thing to get any of those cards at $40 or so less than the prices listed though, makes me wonder if that changes things much or not.

That system seems well-balanced around that monitor resolution. Is there a specific problem you're trying to solve?

If you just want a general 'go faster, be shinier', then from that base, upgrading the video card will do you the most good. Depending on the games you're playing, though, you may not see that much difference, as the 5770 is generally pretty good at 1680x1050.

Just general "go faster turn on more shiny details " pretty much. The entire system was bang-for-buck when I built it in ... 2010? Maybe 2011 spring?

For the longest time all I played was l4d2 and tf2. Now it's usually D3 and Civ 5. Skyrim runs ok but not great. Same with GTA4.

Edit: one thing I really like about my current system is that it doesn't seem very loud. I'm no expert though. Ive never had any ATI driver problems and the only graphical issues I ever saw were due to an improperly seated CPU HSF.