Help Me Build My PC Catch-All

Starting from scratch to do what? You didn't even say laptops versus desktops, though if you're in the build thread, you probably want desktops.

Basically, are these business or gaming machines? If it's business, what are the major applications you need? Business programs range from Word (runs on pocket calculators) to Photoshop (likes a solid system) to video editing (wants everything you can throw at it).

If it's gaming, or a mix, are you going to be buying new monitors, or using something you already have? If it's something you've already got, what is the resolution of the screen or screens?

And what kind of gaming do you like to do?

Ranger Rick wrote:

Looking for recommendations for starting from scratch. I've had Macbook Pros forever and while it'll do the job in a pinch I'm tired of it either being slow in Parallels or dual-booting to Windows. My wife is in need of a new system, too.

Budget would be somewhere under $1000 per system.

I'd go back 5 pages or so. There have been lots of nice configurations posted from PC Parts Picker.

Malor wrote:

Starting from scratch to do what? You didn't even say laptops versus desktops, though if you're in the build thread, you probably want desktops.

Basically, are these business or gaming machines? If it's business, what are the major applications you need? Business programs range from Word (runs on pocket calculators) to Photoshop (likes a solid system) to video editing (wants everything you can throw at it).

If it's gaming, or a mix, are you going to be buying new monitors, or using something you already have? If it's something you've already got, what is the resolution of the screen or screens?

And what kind of gaming do you like to do?

Primarily gaming, and I already have a monitor which is 1920x1200 so not looking to replace it. If I'm doing photoshop, it will probably be on my mac.

I will be at least playing GW2, and probably XCOM, but I'm not generally an FPS person so I probably don't need the most screaminest vidjma card ever. Mostly want to focus on something that I will be able to keep relevant for a long time, replacing a part here or there when it's warranted.

muraii wrote:

I'd go back 5 pages or so. There have been lots of nice configurations posted from PC Parts Picker.

Alright, thanks, will do. These things move so much I wasn't sure how much digging back would be still relevant.

By the way, last time I built a machine for myself was probably... 2003 or 2004. Holy crap it's a different world. pcpartpicker.com is the greatest thing.

Ranger Rick wrote:

pcpartpicker.com is the greatest thing.

Isn't it though? Love that site.

Ok, you'd probably want an i5-3570K, an NVidia 660Ti, the motherboard of your choice (the ASUS P8Z77 series seems good, if you want a starting point), an SATA DVD, and either a spinning hard drive or an SSD. If you go SSD, then 8 gigs of RAM is plenty -- do it as two sticks, so you can add two more later.

If you go with a spinning drive for the extra space, you might prefer 16 gigs of RAM instead; it will give you a fair chunk of the performance benefit of the SSD, for an extra $50 or so. (SSD, spinning drive, and 8 gigs is ideal, but would be unlikely to fit in $900).

If you have any interest in overclocking, you might want an aftermarket CPU cooler; the Cooler Master Hyper 212+ is large and cheap. The fan is kinda crappy, but the metal heatsink alone is worth the $20 or so they charge for it; you can add a new $10 or $15 fan when that one wears out.

I'd suggest Windows 7 64-bit, myself. The extra stuff in Windows 8 is all Metro, and Metro forces you to use the Microsoft store for everything, and you can't turn Metro off, as it replaces your Start menu. You can kinda-sorta ignore it, but not very well. Basically, Windows 8 is about extracting more money from you, and I strongly suggest staying with 7. Lots of hassle in the Metro transition, and all the benefit accrues to Microsoft, not you. Even Solitaire in Windows 8 has been monetized; it has ads now, no kidding.

You can save a few bucks if you go with a 2500K, which is Sandy Bridge, the previous generation. Those older chips overclock like crazy, if you're willing to take some time and experiment. Usually, a 2500K will end up being about the same speed at max overclock as a 3570K at max overclock; the 2500s go much further. But the 3570K starts out faster by default.

You could also do a 3570 and defer the overclock until late in the machine's life; it could give you a fair bit of extra performance when you're feeling pinched, for no money. And the increased CPU wear won't matter to you then.

If you absolutely do not want to overclock at all, then don't buy a K chip; they cost more, and have some virtualization features stripped out. Just stick with a non-K chip, and don't bother with the aftermarket cooler; the stock unit should be fine.

Your posts would be so much better and informative without your agenda being pushed every single f*cking time.

Check out the [H] article I linked a few posts back.. it has an excellent breakdown of current cards and the latest drivers... good news its really hard to pick a bad card.. they are all very price competitive.. but there are clear winners at the ~$250 price point.

Your posts would be so much better and informative without your agenda being pushed every single f*cking time.

I invite you to use ignore.

When people ask for an opinion, that's what I give them. Everything that I said was true.

Malor wrote:
Your posts would be so much better and informative without your agenda being pushed every single f*cking time.

I invite you to use ignore.

When people ask for an opinion, that's what I give them. Everything that I said was true.

How do you survive each agonizing day knowing that there are millions of plebians buying iPhones and Windows 8 machines left and right all leading to the end of functional society and computing...

I threw this together earlier, already over budget. It's so easy to nickel and dime yourself with this... It's only $40 more for 16GB instead of 8, so why not?

Thoughts?

I don't have a problem with Windows 8 (have run it on my laptop some) although I am concerned about compatibility, still considering going back to Win7 for that, for now...

avggeek wrote:
  • Core i7-860 (late 2009 model)
  • 8 GB RAM OC'ed to 1600Mhz (in 4*2 GB config)
  • ASUS HD5870

I am also thinking of switching to a bigger monitor next year - would love to get one of those Korean 27", but may have to settle for a 23". Any suggestions on a video card?

I think the general consensus on the forums is that SLI/Crossfire is more trouble that it's worth yes? I'm currently trying to decide between a Nvidia 660Ti and ATI 7950. The 660Ti is fractionally cheaper, but I'm wondering if going with the 7950 allows me to be greedy and use Crossfire - note that I'm currently playing through my 2010 backlog so I'm expecting drivers will be reasonably stable by the time I get to anything approaching a recent title ;). For PSU, my current setup has a Corsair 750W unit.

Also, recommendations on choosing between a Intel 520 series and the Corsair NeutronGTX series SSD's? I know the Intel's are considered the safe bet for reliability but reviews seem to suggest the Corsair has good reliability and top of the line performance and the price differential isn't that high for me.

Am I correct in assuming that this RAM will not work in this MoBo?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...
http://dlcdnet.asus.com/pub/ASUS/mb/...

TheGameguru wrote:

How do you survive each agonizing day knowing that there are millions of plebians buying iPhones and Windows 8 machines left and right all leading to the end of functional society and computing...

The same way I survived the many other attempts by computer corporations to be abusive of their customers; fight it by telling the truth. Being locked into Microsoft as the only source for Metro applications is an absolutely, utterly sh*tty deal that nobody in their right minds should take.

If you take this deal, the next deal will be even worse. They will continue to get worse until you want to opt out, but you may not have any options if you're deeply enmeshed into this restrictive ecosystem.

Buying into Metro or an iOS device is like using a payday advance firm; it may solve an immediate problem, but it's costing you a lot to do it. It's a trap, one that could cause a great deal of grief in the future.

Help Me Build My P&C Catch-All. [size=3](sigh)[/size]

Oh, and Gameguru? When you start taking the time to answer all these questions, often pretty much the exact same question, over and over, for page after page after page, for years, then maybe you'd have the moral authority to tell me what kind of advice I can give. I do this because I like to help people, and selling them down the Windows 8 river is doing them harm, not good.

I could do what you want, and just go away, but somehow, I don't think you'd be willing to step up and help in the same way.

Malor wrote:

Oh, and Gameguru? When you start taking the time to answer all these questions, often pretty much the exact same question, over and over, for page after page after page, for years, then maybe you'd have the moral authority to tell me what kind of advice I can give. I do this because I like to help people, and selling them down the Windows 8 river is doing them harm, not good.

I could do what you want, and just go away, but somehow, I don't think you'd be willing to step up and help in the same way.

There will always be someone who gives advice. Giving that advice is easy and as you said it's pretty much the same over and over. In fact many people do give advice here and do it without the hyperbole and holier than thou attitude you have. I don't have you on ignore but I generally ignore anything you say when it comes to Windows 8 (including RT and WP8), Apple anything, nVidia vs ATI, and Intel vs AMD. I guess that means I ignore 90% of your advice and what is left is the pretty much the same advice everyone else gives.

Guru is trying to tell you that people would have more respect for you if you had respect for others and their opinions when they disagree with you.

Sooo, back to building PCs and all that.

Anyone come across a good article on builing a living room Steam Box? My google-fu is failing. Basically, i want something small enough to fit in the AV cabinet, with a big enough power supply to handle a graphics card just slightly behind the power curve. I want to move my Steam library into the living room.

Build will need to supply audio either as HDMI or TOSlink.

jonnypolite wrote:

Sooo, back to building PCs and all that.

Anyone come across a good article on builing a living room Steam Box? My google-fu is failing. Basically, i want something small enough to fit in the AV cabinet, with a big enough power supply to handle a graphics card just slightly behind the power curve. I want to move my Steam library into the living room.

Build will need to supply audio either as HDMI or TOSlink.

Sounds like a powerful HTPC build or maybe a Lanbox type build. Basically a small case that can accommodate a large video card.

There are a lot of video cards out these days that have an HDMI out than can supply sound. Shouldn't be difficult to find.

jonnypolite wrote:

Sooo, back to building PCs and all that.

Anyone come across a good article on builing a living room Steam Box? My google-fu is failing. Basically, i want something small enough to fit in the AV cabinet, with a big enough power supply to handle a graphics card just slightly behind the power curve. I want to move my Steam library into the living room.

Build will need to supply audio either as HDMI or TOSlink.

Game Guru did a fun small form factor build here. You could probably do something very similar but with a more home theater style case that would fit into an AV cabinet.

Focus on supporting 1080P gaming...I like high detail gaming so you need a $250+ videocard which will be a 2 slot card..Check out some of Silverstone MiniITX cases..some are very HTPC friendly...2.5" 750GB 7200rpm Laptop HD's make good HTPC gaming drives...cheap and reasonably fast...plus a good deal easier to integrate in the minITX cases...Or you can mATX and get a larger AV sized case which will have more room for BluRay and 3TB 3.5" Drives

jonnypolite wrote:

Sooo, back to building PCs and all that.

Anyone come across a good article on builing a living room Steam Box? My google-fu is failing. Basically, i want something small enough to fit in the AV cabinet, with a big enough power supply to handle a graphics card just slightly behind the power curve. I want to move my Steam library into the living room.

Build will need to supply audio either as HDMI or TOSlink.

Are you dead set on building it? If not what you described you wanted sounds a lot like the Alienware X51. It comes with a Geforce 660 but can also handle a 670.

http://www.dell.com/us/p/alienware-x...

Gumbie wrote:
jonnypolite wrote:

Sooo, back to building PCs and all that.

Anyone come across a good article on builing a living room Steam Box? My google-fu is failing. Basically, i want something small enough to fit in the AV cabinet, with a big enough power supply to handle a graphics card just slightly behind the power curve. I want to move my Steam library into the living room.

Build will need to supply audio either as HDMI or TOSlink.

Are you dead set on building it? If not what you described you wanted sounds a lot like the Alienware X51. It comes with a Geforce 660 but can also handle a 670.

http://www.dell.com/us/p/alienware-x...

The X51 looks too much like a game console IMHO. I would personally have something a little more stealth myself (which is what I like about my 360 Slim Matte version).

avggeek wrote:

I think the general consensus on the forums is that SLI/Crossfire is more trouble that it's worth yes? I'm currently trying to decide between a Nvidia 660Ti and ATI 7950. The 660Ti is fractionally cheaper, but I'm wondering if going with the 7950 allows me to be greedy and use Crossfire - note that I'm currently playing through my 2010 backlog so I'm expecting drivers will be reasonably stable by the time I get to anything approaching a recent title ;). For PSU, my current setup has a Corsair 750W unit.

Also, recommendations on choosing between a Intel 520 series and the Corsair NeutronGTX series SSD's? I know the Intel's are considered the safe bet for reliability but reviews seem to suggest the Corsair has good reliability and top of the line performance and the price differential isn't that high for me.

Erm, I guess my question got lost in the shuffle . Appreciate any suggestions folks.

After some feedback from other folks, I've made a few revisions, here's what I've got. Still a bit over budget, but don't really see where I could make a significant cut that would make much difference. How's it look?

Ranger Rick wrote:

After some feedback from other folks, I've made a few revisions, here's what I've got. Still a bit over budget, but don't really see where I could make a significant cut that would make much difference. How's it look?

You don't need a 750W power supply really. I did a calculation here adding an extra 660, a 5 GHz overclock on the CPU, boatloads of extra drives and fans and it came up with a minimum wattage needed of 603 W and a recommended wattage of 653 W. If you take it down to 1 660, the recommended PSU wattage is 556 W. I would go with a Corsair or Seasonic PSU of 650 W. If you have no plans to ever do SLI, I would go with a nice 550 W power supply.

Rykin wrote:
Gumbie wrote:
jonnypolite wrote:

Sooo, back to building PCs and all that.

Anyone come across a good article on builing a living room Steam Box? My google-fu is failing. Basically, i want something small enough to fit in the AV cabinet, with a big enough power supply to handle a graphics card just slightly behind the power curve. I want to move my Steam library into the living room.

Build will need to supply audio either as HDMI or TOSlink.

Are you dead set on building it? If not what you described you wanted sounds a lot like the Alienware X51. It comes with a Geforce 660 but can also handle a 670.

http://www.dell.com/us/p/alienware-x...

The X51 looks too much like a game console IMHO. I would personally have something a little more stealth myself (which is what I like about my 360 Slim Matte version).

check this one out

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6167/s...

avggeek wrote:
avggeek wrote:

I think the general consensus on the forums is that SLI/Crossfire is more trouble that it's worth yes? I'm currently trying to decide between a Nvidia 660Ti and ATI 7950. The 660Ti is fractionally cheaper, but I'm wondering if going with the 7950 allows me to be greedy and use Crossfire - note that I'm currently playing through my 2010 backlog so I'm expecting drivers will be reasonably stable by the time I get to anything approaching a recent title ;). For PSU, my current setup has a Corsair 750W unit.

Also, recommendations on choosing between a Intel 520 series and the Corsair NeutronGTX series SSD's? I know the Intel's are considered the safe bet for reliability but reviews seem to suggest the Corsair has good reliability and top of the line performance and the price differential isn't that high for me.

Erm, I guess my question got lost in the shuffle . Appreciate any suggestions folks.

Look at the 7870..performs about on par with the 660ti for about $80 or so less... and of course you can crossfire/sli any modern Nvidia and AMD card these days.

I have two Corsair NeutronGTX's but havent had a chance to install them... so far [H] seems to like them.. but testing SSD's can take a few weeks.. in general the 520's will have more mature firmwares.... the new GTX's will be..well new.

That one might do the trick, thanks GG.

Looks like a fine build, RangerRick. You don't need 750 watts, as others are saying; your CPU, even overclocked, shouldn't much exceed 120 watts, the motherboard/RAM will take another 25, and your video card will typically take no more than 200. As long as you get a single-rail supply, a 550 is usually enough to cover any single video card and any conceivable overclock. You'd only want 750 if you were trying for one of the super-efficient high quality builds that some manufacturers have. I'm not familiar with ThermalTake as a brand, so I don't know if it would qualify.

Seasonics are generally high-end offerings, and Corsair has a good range of quality and power levels. Their CX line is their cheapest/poorest quality, but it's still quite good, and their CX550 is just about ideal for a single-GPU, single-CPU overclocked build. Their TX line is better, which starts at 650 watts, HX is better still, and AX is super premium (and super expensive).

The CPU cooler you chose is a little odd, blowing top to bottom instead of front to back. Are you going that way to fit the Vengeance RAM sticks? It's kind of a bummer that a $32 cooler still comes with a sleeve bearing fan. Those are kind of crappy, and will often fail within 2 to 3 years. (Replacements aren't expensive or difficult to find, it's just kind of annoying.)

That's a good price on the 280 case. Good job spotting that.

I have that exact ASUS drive, and it seems pretty good... EAC says it has all the right features for ripping audio, and I've had excellent results when doing so. That's about all I use DVDs for anymore.