Help Me Build My PC Catch-All

FeralMonkey wrote:

Huh. For some reason I hadn't even considered keeping the card while upgrading the rest.

Well, per Garion, it's a pretty good match for that resolution, so yeah, you can keep it awhile yet.

This is the label on that Antec PSU. White text on light gray makes for crappy contrast:

IMAGE(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8041/7992790596_20496375e3.jpg)

Okay, so what it's lying about is the 5V and 3.3V lines; you can have up to 180 watts total between both lines. Fortunately, you'd essentially never need to load both (or either one) to that degree, so that's not a problem. But even then, this label is not telling the truth, because 19 + 17 is 36 amps, and 36 amps at 12 volts is 432 watts. And then they're saying that it can also support another 180 watts on 3.3 and 5V, plus 14 more watts on the standby. They're claiming that a 500 watt supply can put out 626 watts.

It can't. If it could, they'd sell it as a 600, maybe a 650. So this label is not accurate, and I wouldn't personally use that supply on anything I really cared about. The official specs suggest it should run a modern PC okay, but we can see clearly that the specs are wrong. We just don't know where they're wrong. If the shortage is in the 12V supply, you could blow up a very expensive PC by trying to drive it with this unit.

Up to you... it claims it can do it, but I don't trust it.

edit: Plus, it claims it pulls 1150 watts from the wall, to put out 626 watts to the PC... 54% efficiency. So, even taking it at its word, it's a very inefficient supply, and in reality, it may be even worse.

Thanks, guys. I'll add a psu to my list of parts, too.

Seasonic and Corsair are probably the two brands that are built the best in semi-mainstream supplies. Seasonic makes particularly good units, but they're pricey. I guess they must be fairly high-margin, because I've seen some deep discounts on them occasionally... more than 50% at Newegg, a few times. Regardless, jonnyguru.com has torn many of them apart, and says very nice things about all of them.

Corsair has several lines of supplies, from the CX (cheap) up to the AX (really expensive). But they all seem to be at least decent, even the cheapies. I don't remember seeing any big price moves on them, so I don't think it matters much when you buy one.

edit: actually, the supply in this computer is a Corsair 850TX (midgrade), which was on a really huge sale at Best Buy -- much cheaper than Newegg would have sold it at the time, and Newegg was cheaper then. So you might see good deals on Corsair at retail, but I don't remember seeing much online.

Just got this Seasonic a month ago and its amazing. I got it on sale for $120 but it's totally worth the extra money. I love that the fan rarely turns on.

Hey guys, I'm planning on building a new PC to replace my laptop, and I'm looking for some advice. I've been doing some research the last few weeks, and have put together a tentative parts list, but I could really use an expert's eye to look everything over. This is going to be my first time building my own PC, so I could really use any recommendations you might have. If you have any thoughts, or ideas about how I might get better bang for my buck, I would really appreciate it. Here's what I've got so far.

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/hJlc

drewskisama wrote:

Hey guys, I'm planning on building a new PC to replace my laptop, and I'm looking for some advice. I've been doing some research the last few weeks, and have put together a tentative parts list, but I could really use an expert's eye to look everything over. This is going to be my first time building my own PC, so I could really use any recommendations you might have. If you have any thoughts, or ideas about how I might get better bang for my buck, I would really appreciate it. Here's what I've got so far.

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/hJlc

The 560Ti is not a good value at this point for $200.. get a 660 for another $20 more if you insist on Nvidia.. if not the AMD 7850 and 7870 are excellent options as well.

Your Powersupply makes me cry as well.. go with a budget Corsair over the Rosewill (Smokewill)

TheGameguru wrote:

The 560Ti is not a good value at this point for $200.. get a 660 for another $20 more if you insist on Nvidia.. if not the AMD 7850 and 7870 are excellent options as well.

Your Powersupply makes me cry as well.. go with a budget Corsair over the Rosewill (Smokewill)

See, this is exactly why I needed a second look. I'm not too bothered about the whole Nvidia vs AMD debate, so I'll take a look at the ones you recommended. Thanks for the help!

http://slickdeals.net/f/5197768-HP-Z...

Sweet deal for an awesome LCD..

For video card, most of us, right now, seem to be in the NVidia camp, where we were much more AMD-focused a couple of years ago. In this generation of cards, NVidia is cheaper for the same price (although that can almost change on a week-to-week basis, so sanity-check this), and definitely offers much stronger drivers at the moment. AMD's driver quality is poor, especially if you like playing older games, and they're end-of-lifing cards they probably shouldn't be. I just heard, for instance, that the 5XXX cards will no longer be supported in Windows 8, which is ridiculous. The 5870 I have sitting here is a great card, and it's just ludicrous that it can't be used in Windows 8.

Guru's perpetual enthusiasm for all things ATI (now AMD) kind of baffles me, but anytime there's an opportunity, he'll be in there swinging for the team.

In this generation, I think you're better off with NVidia. I moved from a 5870 to a 680, and am much happier when retrogaming, which is something I do a lot of. But, yes, you want a 660Ti over a 560. Much stronger card, for only a little more money.

For CPU: the 2500K you picked is a great chip, absolutely competitive with the current offerings, if you overclock it. Most or all of those chips will do 4.4Ghz on air, and overclocked to that degree, they'll absolutely keep up with the newer 3570K chips, which have been sandbagged a bit so that they don't OC so much. But overclocking is never a guarantee; you might get a relatively crappy chip that will only do, say, 3.8Ghz, in which case even a stock 3570K will be faster.

Basically, it takes care, feeding, and attention to get top-grade performance from a 2500K, or you can just drop in a 3570K, and get about halfway between stock and OCed 2500K, with no additional effort. Then, if the speed becomes limiting, you can overclock it some, up to about the same overall performance level as the 2500K. If you're inexperienced and don't want to fiddle too much with the machine, a 3570K would probably be a better choice. At Newegg, they're about $30 more, so the price difference isn't outrageous.

Also note that if you plan to overclock, you will want an aftermarket CPU cooler, especially on the 2500K. The stock coolers that come with the chips are fine in regular use, albeit somewhat noisy, but you need more heat dissipation if you plan to run the chips faster than their official ratings.

For power supply: yeah, Guru's right, you don't want Rosewill. Seasonic and Corsair are the brands you mostly want, although some other brands are starting to get competitive now -- I should probably spend some time over at jonnyguru.com again. I believe I've seen some really nice-looking OCZ units mentioned in this thread, for instance, but I haven't made space in my head for them.

Assuming you're going to overclock, you'll want a supply that puts out 34 amps at 12 volts, which most single-rail 550s will do, and some 500s. I just went looking at Newegg, and they have this TX650 on sale for $90, with another $10 mail-in rebate, if you do those. You don't need a supply quite this big, but that's a good price, and the TX supplies are Corsair's middle quality build. The CXs are cheap but decent, the TXs are quality, and the AX units are hyper-premium models. I'm running an 850TX in my own machine -- it's wildly bigger than I need, but it was marked down so far that I grabbed it.

Don't cut corners on your power supply, because if it blows up, it can take out the entire computer. You don't have to get stupid and spend a fortune, but saving thirty or forty bucks now could cost you hundreds down the line.

Looking at other components: that motherboard is very good. The RAM is fine, but be aware that the Corsair Vengeance sticks have hyper-tall heatsinks, and that ASUS puts the RAM slots very close to the CPU, so it's quite common to have that RAM block the ideal fan placement on many of the tower-style aftermarket CPU coolers. Perfectly fine with the stock fan, and fine with the liquid-loop coolers like the Corsair H60, but if you end up buying a tower-type CPU cooler, you'll want shorter RAM.

For hard drive, that WD Green is going to be pretty slow... 5400RPM drives kind of suck. You should consider a Samsung Spinpoint F3 instead. I've used a bunch of those drives, and I really love them. They're very quiet, and very fast. But for some reason, they stopped making 7200RPM drives bigger than 1TB, so I eventually stopped using them. Bummer, because I really like them. They were the product that introduced me to the Samsung brand, and it was an outstanding introduction.

Guru's perpetual enthusiasm for all things ATI (now AMD) kind of baffles me, but anytime there's an opportunity, he'll be in there swinging for the team.

[quote]

uh.. they make really great video cards.. As someone who buys and uses everything I don't really on internet FUD and nonsense to sway my decisions.. I have the luxury in life to be able to invest heavily in my chosen hobby.. this affords me the real world experience and knowledge. I'm predominately Nvidia right now except for my main system which is still powered by dual 7970's as they offer the best gaming for my 3 30" LCD setup.. Certainly is very close with the 4GB 680's they are basically equal power wise.. I find ATI/AMD multimonitor support better hands down than Nvidia's right now.

I'm jettisoning my various "extra" systems because the 8XXX series is coming soon and I suspect ATI/AMD will hit this one out the park. There are many like myself who were not shocked that Nvidia has the "performance" lead..because they should.. they were late to the party by 8 months so as far as I can see it they are playing catch up.. by the end of the year AMD will once again probably have a significant 20% lead at the high end ($500) and thus once again I will come here like I did a while ago and proclaim the 4GB 680 a complete and utter non-purchase if you want high end gaming.. and then 8 months later with certainty Nvidia will take the lead again.

Things like power draw.. efficiency.. price.. its all nonsense to me at the $500-$600 level.. I want the best.. I dont care how much it costs as long as it not sounding like a jet engine. I certainly know that this isnt for everyone which is why I provide sound advice at all price levels..again since I probably own them all.

I find that the drivers are about even.. in my extensive experience over the 20 years I've been building gaming PC's I've seen both camps have some specific game issues.. neither has ever made a completely unworkable driver set.. PC gaming is and will always require some measure of effort.. and far to many people are quick to point to their video cards if they have really bad freezes, crashes. I've certainly run into them.. but again with both cards.. usually there are workaround shortly.. and/or driver rollbacks..hotfixes etc.. So in the end I rarely allow "driver quality" to influence my purchasing decision when it comes to Video Cards.. I look at the price/performance relative to gaming resolution.

And ordered:
http://ncix.com/products/?sku=75199&...

Should have it in a week or less.
Thanks for your enablement.

I don't know how much overclocking I'm going to do, at least at first anyway. I've never done it before, and I don't want to spend a bunch of money on this new computer then do something stupid by overclocking the thing too hard. Maybe once I've actually built the thing and have a better feel for it I'll be more tempted to try, though. Sounds like the 3570K might be a better choice for me, but I'll have to do some more research.

And thanks for the heads up about the power supply. I hadn't really put tons on thought into that one, but I think your advice of spending a little more now to save a lot later is a really good idea.

I'm not too concerned about a specific model of hard drive, so I'll look around. I think I've pretty much decided to get a SSD and boot off of that, and then have another drive for backups and large storage and stuff like that.

Thanks for all the advice guys. This has really helped.

drewskisama wrote:

I think I've pretty much decided to get a SSD and boot off of that, and then have another drive for backups and large storage and stuff like that.

This is really the best upgrade anyone can do right now. I moved from a Core 2 with 8800m GTS, 3gb's RAM to a quad-core i7 with 560m and 8gb ram. it's definitely a faster computer, but once I stuck in an SSD a few months later, it was amazing. Booting to Windows in something like 20 seconds as opposed to a minute is great, even if you don't do it much. Photoshop opening in seconds instead of 30+ seconds is also a beauty to behold. It just frees you up to work more quickly.

Close behind an SSD upgrade though is screen resolution. I swapped the monitor out on my older 17" from a 1440x900 to 1920x1200, and I loved that. This 15.6" 1920x1080 is just as nice. My next big computer purchase will either be this server I've been working on or a 27" 2560x1440 monitor. That type of resolution get's me all giddy.

This is really the best upgrade anyone can do right now.

My experience contradicts this fairly strongly. Yes, boot times improve, but how often do you really boot up your computer? I really don't see that much difference in load times after a couple of weeks of using a Windows 7 system with lots of RAM -- if you use Photoshop a lot, it eventually figures that out, and starts caching the Photoshop files all the time. If your 'working set' of files, the stuff you use every day, will fit in the Windows cache, much of the SSD advantage is negated.

The biggest differences I see are boot times, and that multiple programs can be hitting the drive at once, with no visible slowdown. You can be running a network backup while using your computer normally, or running several disk-intensive programs at once, and the computer doesn't blink. But I don't think most people use their computers this way; if they're running something really disk-intensive, it's usually the only thing, and RAM cache will hide an awful, awful lot of drive speed problems.

This isn't true at all on the Mac; SSDs matter enormously on the OS X side of the fence. But Windows decouples the use of the OS from the speed of the drive much more completely.

Because of the associated disadvantages of space management, I tend to think that adding an SSD is about the last thing you should do on a Windows box, unless and until you can afford 200+ gigs (probably 256). That's enough space to be pretty comfortable. I was always managing space on my 160 gig Intel drive; the 256-gig Corsair, while not quite as fast or as nice, drastically reduces my need to be constantly removing things. You wouldn't think the extra 90 gigs would matter that much, but they really do.

I guess it really depends on what you use your computer for. If you're genuinely using the computer to work with, and you're working it hard, then an SSD could make a large difference. But if you're just gaming, or running office-type stuff, or web browsing, or using it to watch videos, there's hardly any difference at all, as long as you've got a fair bit of RAM. (probably 16 gigs..... $90ish.)

And once again I'll say I agree with Citizen in saying that an SSD is a huge upgrade and that as someone who's rig is purely for gaming and general personal use it was STILL a huge upgrade even when I already had tons of RAM.

I don't know. You say 16gb and you you wouldn't feel a big difference. Like I said though, I used this laptop for a good 3 or 4 months before installing the SSD, and there was an amazing boost. Yes, boot times definitely, but as a laptop user who takes his laptop to and from work most days (and usually turns it off before leaving), that's booting at least twice a day, and usually once more at night before putting it away, unless I'm downloading something.

But I just didn't see Windows work as amazingly as you're talking about, Malor. I guess at 16gb, being double of what I have, there is even more space for Windows 7 to breathe and start caching. Or maybe I just use my computer enough to really see the difference.

I would agree with you though, if you are mainly gaming, either save up and invest in a large one, and I would suggest 256-512gb, to be able to load those games from SSD.

I actually load all my games from my second hard drive because I only have a 120gb SSD, and I have a healthy amount of work files stored on it. I can have maybe one or two games loaded on the SSD, but the vast majority are from the HDD. But it's still totally worth it to me.

I dunno. All I can say is that I bought the fastest drive on the market at the time (Intel G2), and on my i7-920 with 12 gigs, it was okay, but nowhere near worth what it cost. I mean, yeah, it was better, but it wasn't $500 better.

Now that SSDs are getting down to the $150 range, yeah, that's probably enough of a boost to be worth it.

Malor wrote:

I dunno. All I can say is that I bought the fastest drive on the market at the time (Intel G2), and on my i7-920 with 12 gigs, it was okay, but nowhere near worth what it cost. I mean, yeah, it was better, but it wasn't $500 better.

Now that SSDs are getting down to the $150 range, yeah, that's probably enough of a boost to be worth it.

Yeah.... no way I would have spent $500 on it. I got mine about 6 months ago for $150, and that was a great deal at the time. Now the 120gb have dropped to $60 at times. I wouldn't hesitate for a second.

Citizen86 wrote:

but as a laptop user who takes his laptop to and from work most days (and usually turns it off before leaving), that's booting at least twice a day, and usually once more at night before putting it away, unless I'm downloading something.

As a laptop user in a similar situation with my work laptop, have you considered changing your power options to Hibernate instead of Shut Down when you leave the office? One of the first things I do is change my power settings so that lid down == do nothing, and hitting the power button Hibernates.

I've been doing that for years, and my "start up" times when I get home or get to the office are drastically reduced. It's a lot quicker to reload RAM from the HDD and "resume" where I left off instead of having to cold boot all the time.

The only time I ever hit Restart or Shut Down is when I have updates or am forced by new software installs.

A lot of Dells do not like undocking and redocking unless you do a full shutdown.

McIrishJihad wrote:
Citizen86 wrote:

but as a laptop user who takes his laptop to and from work most days (and usually turns it off before leaving), that's booting at least twice a day, and usually once more at night before putting it away, unless I'm downloading something.

As a laptop user in a similar situation with my work laptop, have you considered changing your power options to Hibernate instead of Shut Down when you leave the office? One of the first things I do is change my power settings so that lid down == do nothing, and hitting the power button Hibernates.

I've been doing that for years, and my "start up" times when I get home or get to the office are drastically reduced. It's a lot quicker to reload RAM from the HDD and "resume" where I left off instead of having to cold boot all the time.

The only time I ever hit Restart or Shut Down is when I have updates or am forced by new software installs.

That's an interesting idea. I do happen to usually set closing the lid to do nothing when plugged in, I think that's pretty important for my laptop. Hibernate isn't too bad, but I like to save what I'm doing and shut down, if simply to keep the OS fresh. And like I've been saying, since I have a SATA 3 SSD now, it really doesn't take very long at all to be up and running.

I need some firing power.
My son's computer is 5+ years old and I need some convincing power to get him a new one. The caveat is that I want to keep it under $500.
I already have my old AMD HD6870. NO mouse/keyboard or monitor needed. Just a box with stuff in it. I also just picked up a 600Watt PS so also not needed.
My biggest problem always seems to be the pairing of a CPU and MB. I never know what to look for.
EDIT: TO KICK IT OFF>>>How about this setup?

Box Antec Three Hundred Buy local to save shipping
MB ASUS Sabertooth 990FX
CPU AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black
HD SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB
RAM G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB
DVD rom, though I likely can canabilize it out of the old machine.

If you have any suggestions, I'd appreciate it!

Oh if we can use Newegg.ca as a reference that would be great.

I'd really suggest going Intel. They're significantly stronger for gaming these days. With $500 and the graphics card and all the other stuff taken care of, you should still have plenty of budget for a 2500K or 3570K plus a decent but not loaded up Z77 motherboard.

I think you could even go a bit lower on the Intel scale than that and be better than the AMD at this point.

MannishBoy wrote:

I'd really suggest going Intel. They're significantly stronger for gaming these days. With $500 and the graphics card and all the other stuff taken care of, you should still have plenty of budget for a 2500K or 3570K plus a decent but not loaded up Z77 motherboard.

I think you could even go a bit lower on the Intel scale than that and be better than the AMD at this point.

It's been years since i've bought Intel.
Looking at the prices I don't see how I could get all the above with an Intel CPU and MB and keep it under $500. The CPU starts $250. The MB i can see one for $130 that looks decent.

Bumps me over the limit and that's not including the Case.

Thoughts?

groan wrote:
MannishBoy wrote:

I'd really suggest going Intel. They're significantly stronger for gaming these days. With $500 and the graphics card and all the other stuff taken care of, you should still have plenty of budget for a 2500K or 3570K plus a decent but not loaded up Z77 motherboard.

I think you could even go a bit lower on the Intel scale than that and be better than the AMD at this point.

It's been years since i've bought Intel.
Looking at the prices I don't see how I could get all the above with an Intel CPU and MB and keep it under $500. The CPU starts $250. The MB i can see one for $130 that looks decent.

Bumps me over the limit and that's not including the Case.

Thoughts?

I don't know Canadian prices, but the CPU and motherboard in the US would be right at $300 even at a 2500K ($215+$90). Even cheaper if you go to an i5-3330 ($190).

Memory would be about $35-$40 for 8GB, and a 1TB drive should be about $100.

So all of that would add up to ~$420, and you still have room for a case under $500.

Not sure how that would price out in Canada. But you can use this site to play with builds and find good prices across multiple sites.

Somebody posted a CPU performance comparison chart on a respectable site a little while back. Anybody still have the link?

EDIT: Put this together quickly with Canadian prices. It actually uses an Intel i5-3330p (minus the built in graphics) if you want to save a bit of extra cash. I didn't know that existed.

You can play with it from here.

Thanks for this link http://pcpartpicker.com/ca/
This is amazing!

For budget builds its a far far far better return on $/performance to "skimp" on CPU vs GPU. Don't be scared to drop down to a dual core sub $100 CPU if it means extra $$ for a GeForce 660 or AMD 7870. Spending 2500K money on a $500 build is a colossal waste and will gimp you on the gaming side of performance.

If you have a 6870 already then it makes sense getting a 2500K as then next year you can drop a $250 video card in a get a real nice performance boost.

I agree with Guru in this case. With that budget skew toward the videocard.

Thaks GG,
I already have the 6870 so I am recycling it into this build.
I forgot I still need to get the OS too so that's going to push me over. I may need to wait for another month or two for this unless someone has a Win7 to sell cheap!

I have a build now with the 2500K for just over 500 +tax/shipping unless I am able to have it all shipped to the stoere and I can pick it up.

CPU Intel Core i5-2500 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor $199.99
Motherboard MSI Z77A-G45 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard $94.99
Memory G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-2133 Memory $59.99
Storage Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $69.99
Case Cooler Master CM 690 II (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case $79.99
Total (5 / 5 Items): $504.95

Some have mail-in rebates that I HATE but whatcha gunna do?

Thanks for all your input folks. We're going to hold off and I will continue troubleshooting to find the fault causing it to shut off. We'll revisit this when we can afford this and when he really needs a computer for school. at 8 yrs old it's just an entertainment system to him.