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Spectacular_Insanity 2012-02-13 04:48

Building my own gamer PC
 
Well, out of the blue I finally decided to stop buying expensive and over-marketed pre-built PCs and I'm planning on building my own. Currently I'm doing the homework involved (which involves three self-help books and generous use of the internet). Right now I'm not so concerned about the physical task of building my PC. I figure between my books (one even comes with a construction DVD) and the manuals that will come with the parts, I'll be well covered. My main concern is getting the most bang for my buck. Keep in mind that my budget for this PC is around $1000, but I'm willing to stretch it as far as $1250, but only if I have to. Under $1000 is preferable, though I'm not sure if it's realistic for my high performance expectations.

That's right. I need help choosing my components. I just know there are plenty of people with more experience than me on this forum, that have looked at who-knows-how-many different components before building their own monster (which is what I'm probably going to name my baby when I'm finally done, since this is turning into a monster of a pet project).

So far I've only bought the case. It's a LIAN LI Lancool PC-K7B Black Aluminum/ SECC ATX Mid Tower Computer Case. It's got room for three 5.25” and one 3.5" external drives, four 3.5” internal drives, and 7 full size expansion slots. I hope that's enough space. A new case for $70 was hard to pass up, and since I don't trust Ebay, it seemed like an okay deal. I probably could have found a cheaper case, but I couldn't find any good ones that had three or more fans. They were all either small, used, or from websites I didn't really trust. For my uses of being able to upgrade my graphics/audio cards in a few years time and adding more memory, I think it's big enough.

I'm not planning on adding a lot of extra stuff onto my PC, so I figured a mid-size case would be fine. And cheaper. For the most part, I just need room for dual hard-drives and my graphics/audio cards. And wireless/ethernet adapters. The case has two intake fans and one outgoing fan, so I think it should be sufficient cooling for what I'm going to be using it for. I'm not going to be overclocking my graphics card(s) or processors, so hopefully a few air-fans are good and I won't need anything ridiculous like a liquid-cooling system.

The thing I REALLY need help with is figuring out what motherboard and chipsets to use. Most of the online sites I'm looking at seem to have motherboards with integrated chipsets (I think), but I'm not impressed with the Intel i7/i5 series and so I wanted to get different chipset with a dual- or quad-core processor. Plus I want enough space on the board for a PCI slot, maybe two. I know for sure I want an accelerated graphics card, but should I get a motherboard with an extra PCI slot just in case I want to double it up or add another kind of adapter card? Or is that unnecessary?

I'm not going to be playing Crysis or anything insane like that, but I want enough performance to play games like The Old Republic without losing tons of framerate. I won't be playing on max settings most likely, and most of the time I'll be playing cheap free online shooters, anyway. Like Combat Arms or AVA. My current laptop just isn't built to handle gaming, and it shows.

I'm also not sure how much RAM I need. I was thinking I could go minimalistic with around 2 GB, but I wanted input, because I'm not really sure. I'll be running Windows 7, so I know I'll need an above-average graphics card, but I got no clue what kind of RAM I need, and minimum/recommended system requirements on packaging don't give me an idea of what a gamer would use.

On the hard drive side I thought about using an SATA type, but if I'm making a mistake there and should go with EIDE, please tell me before I go out and buy anything. I'm also not sure what RPM it should be, though honestly I care more about storage space than speed on my hard drive, of all things. I was planning on getting one massive 1TB hard drive, and scrapping the secondary. I'm just afraid that it will be hella expensive to do that.

I just pray to god I'm actually asking the right questions here because as you can tell, I'm a PC noob trying to become something more. I'm not gonna pretend I know how to run more complicated programs like Ubuntu Linux, but I'm getting an idea of how the hardware works and interacts, at least. Needless to say, I got a long ways to go, which is why I only bought the case for the time being.

Just for reference, these were the books I bought myself to help me get started:
Spoiler for Reference list:

I'll take any and all help I can get with my pet project. Input and suggestions to why/why not you would use (or wouldn't use) certain parts would help me greatly. Pros and cons of hardware components are some things I don't feel confident in assessing yet.

I probably missed some stuff here, but if you sat through this huge wall of text you should know that you're already my hero. Thank you.
Spoiler for My current list of COMPONENTS:

Jaden 2012-02-13 06:39

Think tech support would have been the appropriate forum, oh well, might get moved. Oh, and the problem with books on this subejct is that most of them aren't written this year or last year. :p The internet and the manuals that come with the hardware are the best sources for information. Anyways, I recently put one together so here's my opinions on the subject.

About the budget: do you need a monitor, speakers and peripherals like keyboard/mouse? If not you should be able to get a beastly machine.

About the chipset:

For the best value (well, depends what deal you can find), AMD Socket AM3 motherboard with AMD Phenom II X2 560 processor. Their latest AM3+ socket has been a bit disappointing, can't really recommend it over what Intel offers.

Intel chipset has more options with better performance.
For the motherboard, you want LGA 1155, H67 for value, P67 being necessary if you want to overclock.
For the processor, I'd suggest i3 2120 for a decent dual core, or i5 2500k for a beastly unlocked quad core. Anything beyond that wouldn't add much, and upcoming tech this year will of course be on a new chipset.

Sound card is unnecessary, as motherboards will have it integrated. Unless you want higher grade amplification, more channels, or whatever...I don't really know about sound.

As for the GPU, single-card setups offer all the power you need. There's quite a lot of choice on this market. My pick would be HD 6770 for value, or 560ti for performance.
Many companies manufacture those, I can't tell the differences. Would just get the cheapest one.

For RAM, 4gb DDR3 1333mhz is becoming the standard.

DVD drive: whatever, man, it's just for installing some stuff. These days you can almost get by with just memory sticks and the internet. :p

SATA hard drves are pretty much the only choice these days, are they not? 7200RPM is the standard for desktop spindle drives.

Oh, and you need a power supply. I got this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817371035
The new ones from Antec are quite reputable, but again there's a lot of choice. 450-500W should easily power whatever setup you'll have.

Dhomochevsky 2012-02-13 07:14

Aren't you overthinking this a bit? :heh:
Going so far as to read three books on the topic.

Todays high end pc hardware is actually running away from what the typical game needs. Most games are produced for consoles and pc at the same time and are aiming at the lowest common denominator.
Console hardware changes very slowly and is usually weak compared to pc. So even moderate pc hardware can usually play modern pc games without efforts on high settings.
The higher end things only come into consideration, if you want a setup that stays viable extra long, or you're planning some extraordinary things, like playing on giant, or mutiple screens at really high resolutions.

I'd say you should be fine with a bit of forum help. ;)

The fact, that you are talking about PCI soundcard, LAN and wireless adapters makes it seem your books are a bit outdated. There still are cards like that for people that want to upgrade, but at least for LAN and WLAN, it comes all included with the motherboards nowadays.
Graphics too, but that's not a viable gamer choice.

Dist 2012-02-13 08:33

... You're overthinking it. One can build a computer without no previous knowledge just by reading the English manual that comes with the motherboard. It's seriously simple, if you do it by instructions, it's impossible to break anything, and you'll be just connecting wires here and there. Also when looking at your questions, it seems clear to me that those books indeed are outdated. For example, most motherboards come now with at least two PCI-E slots if not more. Also EIDE is ancient technology from 1994 .. Yeah, you'll want to go with SATA II or III. Also do not think about adding two graphic cards .. SLI has a lot of problems even now, especially with older games.

For ram .. NO. That will NOT be enough. Also if you're going to build a computer, ram is least of your worries : Ram is dirt cheap. Get 4GB minimum, though I would suggest to get at least 2x4GB sticks so you can add more later if necessary. It says you're graphic designer, so if you use Photoshop and will work on things that use tens if not hundreds of layers, you'll need at least that 4GB to run things smoothly, preferrably that 8GB. Also some games use way more than 2GB so .. Incidentally, I have 16GB of ram.. Do I need it? No. But it was so cheap that how could I resist? At least now I can run anything and everything I want without closing applications.

Although it says you won't be playing anything heavy .. There may be time when you want to? And if you're willing to blow $1200 on a computer, then you'll definitely get a computer that'll run Crysis on maximum settings.

Sound card is not needed. It will have absolutely no effect on anything, unless you have high grade headphones. If you do, then get Asus Xonar DG .. It costs like $50 and is excellent for it's price.

Here is my suggestion for your set up :

MSI NGTX580 Twin Frozr
8GB G.Skill Ripjaws 1600mhz
i5 2500K 3.3Ghz
Asrock Z68 Pro3
Samsung 1TB HDD (Or any other model you want, doesn't really matter)
Crucial M4 128GB SSD (Optional. Will make your Windows and games load INSTANTLY. It takes 30 seconds from boot up for me to start using my computer)

= $1175 (Prices from newegg, I don't know any US Shops so I used this as reference)

IF you're certain that you will never play any heavier games (Just know that new games keep coming constantly .. perhaps there will be something you want to play), then you can swap the GTX580 for GTX560 Ti and save about $200. Dropping the SSD will decrease the price with $160. If you went with GTX560 Ti, and no SSD, you'd still have quite beastly computer for a mere $784.

Edit : It seems like you're forgetting something .. If the current computer is a laptop, then you'll need a new monitor to go with your computer. I have no experience on that field, other than that you'll definitely want at least 24'' Full HD monitor.

Random32 2012-02-13 15:49

1. For single GPU set up gaming only, i5 2500K is overkill. An overclocked Phenom II X4 is enough.

2. I would wait for more AMD 7000 series cards and nV 600 series cards to come out. They are faster and should at least push current cards like the GTX580 cheaper. Right now, I would recommend the AMD Radeon HD 7950 as opposed to the GTX580, it consumes less power, and is only slightly faster now, but I would expect the gap increase as AMD's driver devs get used to the new "GCN" uArch and write more efficient drivers.

3. SLi and xfire don't scale that well. It's improving, but it's still pretty far from where it should be.

4. Buy a good PSU. 500 watts should be enough, though more is good for future proofing. Antec, Seasonic, Corsair are good brands.

5. SSD's are nice. They make your computer feel faster since stuff loads quicker.

-KarumA- 2012-02-13 18:21

http://i1002.photobucket.com/albums/...uide/Guide.png

Check your budget category and you'd have enough left to spend on a soundcard.

It depends if OP knows and wants to OC, the problem then is that he needs the right cooler added to his list. Phenom's are cheap, a lot cheaper then Intel but remember the market for them is rather unknown since AMD is stepping out of the market and has not released anything on what they are going to do. An i5 can suffice the more latest games if you ever decide to play anything higher.
It all depends on budget if you ask me, if it fits get an i5 of not get Phenom, that is what I did.

The new amd cards are already out, the Nvidea will come out in April and witht he games you listed Sli and xfire is def not needed. The new Nvidea cards are quite expensive though.

Couple of tips; buy a good brand psu of enough wattage, no need to go overkill unless you regularly upgrade your hardware. So 750 watt is not needed.

You said a minimum of 2gb, think at least 4 and since ram is very cheap right now I would just go for 8 just for the heck of it. Don't be retarded buying 16gb.

No need to read 3 books on building a pc, no need to do it naked either. There are youtube video's that show how to build it and if you still have no clue read your mobo manual.
Remember to use stand offs (somehow some people forget it) and the 6pin psu cable =p lastly dat sound when you install new RAm on a new mobo, you'll hear it but don't worry about breaking your stuff lmao.
Buying stuff 2nd hand is not always a bad idea if you know where to buy it and know who you buy it from; I got my second handed parts from graphics design companies, gamers and an electronics shop; gpu, psu and case. Don't buy harddrives online 2nd hand, nor anything else basically.

spikexp 2012-02-13 18:22

Quote:

Originally Posted by Random32 (Post 4004169)
1. For single GPU set up gaming only, i5 2500K is overkill. An overclocked Phenom II X4 is enough.

Wrong, on game that use lot of cpu (like bf3 multiplayer), a i5 2500k will blow any amd cpu out of the water.

2. I would wait for more AMD 7000 series cards and nV 600 series cards
Agree.

3. SLi and xfire don't scale that well. It's improving, but it's still pretty far from where it should be.
AMD xfire scale almost to 200% (2 x the power of one card)

4. Buy a good PSU. 500 watts should be enough, though more is good for future proofing. Antec, Seasonic, Corsair are good brands.
Agree, a 500 watts will run almost every single gpu config.

5. SSD's are nice. They make your computer feel faster since stuff loads quicker.
SSD are godly

A simple config:
p67 motherboard (asus p8p67 /pro or gigabute ud3 and over)
i5 2500k
8gb of 1600mhz ripjaw x ram
500gb hard drive + 128gb ssd (crucial m4 is cheap these day)
good quality 550 watts PSU
7950 GPU (might cost too much for your budget), or 6950 2gb.

iceyfw 2012-02-13 20:44

do you live in the U.S.? if you do, it might be worthwhile to go to a micro center if you can. they sell the i5-2500k for $179.99, and also in the past used to sell a motherboard bundle offering $60 off any Z68 or P67 board with the purchase of a i5-2500k. their sales ad for this month don't show it unfortunately.

Spectacular_Insanity 2012-02-13 22:08

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jaden (Post 4003411)
About the budget: do you need a monitor, speakers and peripherals like keyboard/mouse? If not you should be able to get a beastly machine.

About the chipset:

For the best value (well, depends what deal you can find), AMD Socket AM3 motherboard with AMD Phenom II X2 560 processor. Their latest AM3+ socket has been a bit disappointing, can't really recommend it over what Intel offers.

Intel chipset has more options with better performance.
For the motherboard, you want LGA 1155, H67 for value, P67 being necessary if you want to overclock.
For the processor, I'd suggest i3 2120 for a decent dual core, or i5 2500k for a beastly unlocked quad core. Anything beyond that wouldn't add much, and upcoming tech this year will of course be on a new chipset.

Sound card is unnecessary, as motherboards will have it integrated. Unless you want higher grade amplification, more channels, or whatever...I don't really know about sound.

As for the GPU, single-card setups offer all the power you need. There's quite a lot of choice on this market. My pick would be HD 6770 for value, or 560ti for performance.
Many companies manufacture those, I can't tell the differences. Would just get the cheapest one.

For RAM, 4gb DDR3 1333mhz is becoming the standard.

DVD drive: whatever, man, it's just for installing some stuff. These days you can almost get by with just memory sticks and the internet. :p

SATA hard drves are pretty much the only choice these days, are they not? 7200RPM is the standard for desktop spindle drives.

Oh, and you need a power supply. I got this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817371035
The new ones from Antec are quite reputable, but again there's a lot of choice. 450-500W should easily power whatever setup you'll have.

Ah, I almost forgot about the power supply. That would have been embarrassing to get all the other parts and not be able to plug them in. :heh:

I already have a basic laser mouse and keyboard. I'm probably going to get a 19" monitor. To be honest, I'm not all that concerned with that, since monitors are simple and straightforward compared to all the other components.

Thanks for your other suggestions, I'll be looking at them sometime this week.



Now that your guys mentioned a soundcard, I probably won't need one. Assuming it supports the basic game drivers, it's not a huge concern, but I wanted to know if it was necessary, or if I should just stick with the default ones. I'll probably just stick with the default ones, as I can't see myself being able to justify a different soundcard when I'm not doing anything like audio software editing.

I knew going into this my books were kind of outdated, though admittedly I read the oldest one first, since it was the shortest and most simplified. The others are newer, but a bit more... involved. But as I said I got no idea what I'm doing.

But thank you everyone for your hardware suggestions. I truly appreciate it, since now I have an idea what to look for, especially for motherboards. You would not believe how lost I was feeling when I look at all those shop-online websites with dozens of different brands and type variations. :)

Irenicus 2012-02-14 06:30

You seem to have a lot of good advice already, so I'll just lend my support to some:

First, an under ~1000$ budget with good performance is very doable.

Second, building a computer isn't hard. A bunch of manuals from the parts you buy are really all you need, and maybe a few youtube demonstration videos to build your confidence or something. If you put everything right, and if every piece you've got is working as it should, it will feel ridiculously simple (the headaches come when something's not working as it should and you have to troubleshoot).

  • You do need the i5. A 2500K is unnecessary if you do not overclock; an i5-2400 will do just fine (the "K" is for overclockable, and it's a bit faster at default settings). However, if the price difference are not that high, and they tend not to be, you might as well spend. An AMD Phenom II x4 can play a lot of things very well right now, but not everything -- and newer games will demand more and more. Sandy Bridge is really that much better.

  • I'm not sure what kind of problems you have with Intel motherboard chipsets? Well it's not like you have much of a choice, motherboard chipsets are basically dictated by the CPU's you'll be using on them. Although, while P67 motherboards are just fine, Z68 has been around for a while and have more future-proof functions (note: these two chipsets are both for the Intel Sandy Bridge series, i.e. the i5's you'll hopefully be getting). As for which one you'll buy, consider your future expansion plans, or lack thereof, and plan accordingly. If you are never going to set a dual-GPU configuration, why overspend? Regardless, find one that has a good review in terms of stability (look for keywords like, "solid"). You want a good motherboard, not necessarily one with the most functions.

  • I agree that you shouldn't skimp on the PSU quality. The wattage doesn't have to be overkill (~500 is okay, much more will just be inefficient), but get at least a Bronze Certified one from a trusted band. Seasonic actually builds PSU for more than just its own brand, and they tend to be good. Look for those.

  • XFire/SLI do scale better these days, but two-GPU configurations are ridiculously overkill for a 19 inches monitor and the resolutions you'll be using on it. If you can, wait for the AMD 7000 series to fully arrive in the market and choose a good GPU at your budget point. I'd argue that at a ~1000$ budget point a ~$200 GPU is fine. Some people spend more, ~$300+; but I think they're overdoing it, and maybe playing on a bigger monitor than yours. And you want some budget room for other components.

  • When you get the monitor, get an IPS panel LCD. As The Fluff said in another thread, "IPS panels outclass [TN's] in all sorts of hilarious ways." You might get a bigger one than the planned 19", in which case know that you'll be demanding a bit more from your GPU as you up your resolution (even so, a ~200$ GPU is plenty of power).

  • 8GB RAM is the new standard, basically. People say you don't need more than 4, but I say Windows 7 can use all the RAM that you throw at it. It's not like RAM is expensive, either. That said, 16GB and beyond right now is for people who actually need the RAM for heavy memory programs or just have some spare cash. Oh, and 2GB, as your OP post mentioned, is not fine. You need more. Period.

  • You do not need a sound card. It is better to use on-board if you are not prepared to spend ~100$ on a really good one, otherwise you're just wasting your money on what might even be worse than the on-board. Back in the day, and your books may date from that time, on-board sound was rubbish. Nowadays it's, well, standard. If you're an audiophile, you'll already be knowing much more than me on what to get (and be prepared to spend a few hundred dollars just for a good sound card and a high-end headphone).

  • Think of an SSD not as a storage investment but a convenience/happiness investment. You will still need an HD, preferably a big one (at least as big as you need for current usage + later buy some backups and get into a good habit of backing up your data). SSD is too expensive right now for media data storage.

  • As for the HD itself, choose a standard 7200 RPM; higher RPMs are pointlessly expensive in the era when speed = SSD. And of course get one with a good reputation. You *don't* want a dead HD a few months down the road. HD prices had been relatively cheap for a long time, but the impact of the flood in Thailand (where a lot of HD's are manufactured) was pretty bad and still lingering. A 1TB is still perfectly affordable though.

Dist 2012-02-14 10:43

Quote:

Originally Posted by Random32 (Post 4004169)
1. For single GPU set up gaming only, i5 2500K is overkill. An overclocked Phenom II X4 is enough.

I have i5 2500K with GTX580. How is it an overkill? Why get less if you can get more, if your budget allows you to do so? You have to think about future too, not just what is -now- good. Also it's clear that you're a AMD fan, why else would you strike Intel down so fast.

I had Phenom II X4 before this set up, and I can tell you, it was awful. Since his budget clearly allows it, again I ask, why get less if you can have more? Even though he said he would not play Crysis or something, you again have to look at the future. Why spent $150 now on an X4 and then change it for new processor after an year, when i5 would last him years.

I agree with Irenicus on some points, but for soundcard, there is Asus Xonar DG for like $50 which is seriously good. Of course if you're an audiophile you wouldn't settle for it, but it's at least 10x better than on-board. Still, if you don't have an expensive headphones it would be pointless to get one. I have no idea what the OP meant by game drivers compatible with on-board .. The on-board will play anything you throw at it, drivers arent relevant.

Another is monitor. Seriously .. an IPS panel. Yeah sure, they're great.. But oh wait, let's look at the price first... Yeah. And for OP : If you're gonna waste $1000 on a computer, that will play games at Full HD (1920x1080 resolution), then why on earth would you settle for 19'' monitor? I admit, when I got my 24'', I felt it was huge .. Few weeks and I wanted bigger. You'll get used to it, and you'll start loving it.

Not much to say about PSU's, other than that you'll want to get one from a known brand. Some random cheap won't cut it. Aside from just being bad, they have the tendency to blow up and take out some of the other parts of your computer as well. I only have experience with one PSU : Enermax 625W so I would recommend it, but I think it was quite expensive. Has served me fine for these 3,5 years tho.

And lastly : Seriously, get sandy bridge. (i5-2500K or K-less version but kinda pointless considering the price difference, Z68 or P67 and G.Skill ram. Well you could get any but they recommend these for SB).

As a side note : You don't need to do audio editing to have a reason for a soundcard. If you like music, then a good headphones are a must. When I finally decided to spend about $250 on a new headphones after using years some $30 crappy ones, I have to say, all my favourite tracks are now like from another world.

Paranoid Android 2012-02-14 11:50

2500k is not an overkill. It's probably the smartest choice because it runs fine normally and you can overclock it significantly (just upgrade the cooling unit) in the future when counterparts (non-overclocked counterpart) become obsolete. i7 extreme is overkill because it isn't good for anything as of now and it will be useless when Ivy-Bridge comes out in April.

i5 is definitely the way to go with a $1000 budget. I'd only go phenom II X4/X6 if I have a much tighter budget. It's pretty much the dead center of modern processor spectrum. In at most 2 years, it will become obsolete (for gaming).

I personally like p67 over z68.

I would say 22"~24" for LCD monitor. 27" Is nauseating x_X. But it depends on games you play I guess. (try playing gunz/S4 league, jebus!)

GTX560 for your budget. Anything higher might break your budget if you include the monitor.
Cut the SSD, it's not a necessity, you can always add one later on. 7200rpm, 500 GB. +1TB external if you keep a lot of multimedia.

1x6GB DDR3 RAM. 6 GB is bare minimum for a gamer with Win7/8. And expand next year to 2x6. 2x6 cheaper than 3x4.

If it wasn't for the monitor, this should cost $700-800. My i7 laptop with HD6570 was less than $1000 bought last august.

Random32 2012-02-14 12:24

If his budget allows it, the i5 is clearly better, but if he has to get a GTX580 (or worse, a GTX560) instead of a faster card such as the 7970, it becomes more of a tradeoff. I personally think that a faster GPU is more worth it since a Ph2X4 generally won't be a bottleneck.

the only reason to get the i5 at his budget is if he wants specifically to play a CPU intensive game, he is doing something intensive other than gaming, he's going to upgrade to Ivy Bridge later (not Haswell of later since Intel is switching to 1150 after IVB, more upgrade path than AMD though since this is the last generation on AMx socket), or he's willing to stretch his budget a bit and get the i5 without cutting money from the GPU budget. Otherwise, going with AMD and a faster card would provide better performance in the other games.

Paranoid Android 2012-02-14 12:53

Quote:

Originally Posted by Random32 (Post 4005685)
If his budget allows it, the i5 is clearly better, but if he has to get a GTX580 (or worse, a GTX560) instead of a faster card such as the 7970, it becomes more of a tradeoff. I personally think that a faster GPU is more worth it since a Ph2X4 generally won't be a bottleneck.

But it's some much easier to upgrade your GPU compared to CPU.

Kitame 2012-02-14 14:45

the thing about gaming PCs is that they're vague, you need to tell us what resolution and what settings you'll use it for, but to be precise:
you'll need to start at Llano A8 or intel i3-2100 level since they're the most entry level processor gaming setups, you could save a little if you plan to go with an A4 or pentium G620.
to note, the Llano is a dead end, meaning it's socket wont be reused, while intel's socket LGA1155 will be reused by ivy bridge though some boards would require a bios update.

for GPU wise, you could target a HD6570 or GTS250 as a minimum standard, since these would be a perfect candidate for playing games at 720p resolutions with decent settings.

cases are, well, cases, you don't really need a hundred dollar case to hold a piece of hardware right? i could even run my whole setup without a case, mind you. what you look at the case for is their functionality like being tool-less or whatever.

for motherboards, you'll ask yourself first, do you want to go with amd? or intel? which amd line? the FM1 or the AM3+? then you'll ask yourself what features do you need, like do you need tons of expansion slots? tons of usb ports? tons of satas?
well it all boils down to what you prefer, plus don't forget to read feedbacks as this is usually a deciding factor if the product is good or bad.

for rams... well to put it simply, 2GB = wtf?, 4GB = not bad..., 8GB = plenty, 16GB = i guess you're something, (8x4GB)32GB = you making portraits with insane resolutions?, (8x8GB)64GB = must be a server, definitely a server..., (16x8GB)128+GB = you rendering earth or something?

for harddrives, well ask your self, how much space do you need? to enlighten you about something, windows 7 64bit uses about 25-30GB w/ drivers, patches and so on included in it, a game on average uses 10GB, so to calculate, all in all an OS+5games(surely that'll be enough right? unless you play 24/7) sums up to about 80GB usage. meaning you won't really be needing anything bigger than 250GB of space unless you're running a fileserver or something.
but theres this funny thing about harddrives, there exist an alternate form of a harddrive called solid state drive, or SSD for short. these SSDs are capable of running 2-5x faster(hdd = 50-150MB/s || ssd = 200-500MB/s) than an ordinary harddisk which is quite awesome, plus it's delay in accessing files is nearly instant, though one problem about this thing here is that it's more expensive than a harddisk in GB/price.

as for the soundcard, well to give you a clue, you wont be needing anything better than the onboard ALC889 or ALC892 if you don't own a headphone worth 100+$ or a speaker system comparable to a theater. meaning what good will your shiny soundcard do if your headphones sounds crap?
if you'll ask what kind of headphones then for starters, try looking for headphones made by seinnheiser, audio technica or AKG. and no, skullcandy and Beats isn't listed.

sorted by their capability:
note: change the case if you don't like cheap, flimsy cases.
and you'll have to add an aftermarket cooler for the other setups, specially the hexacore since it doesn't come with one.

perfect for 720p gaming w/ max settings & 4AA/AF
Spoiler for AMD:


perfect for 1080p gaming w/ max settings & 4AA/AF
Spoiler for Intel:


perfect for 1440p gaming w/ max settings & 4AA/AF
Spoiler for Intel:


perfect for 1440p gaming w/ max settings & 16AA/AF
Spoiler for Intel:


perfect for triple monitor (3x1440p) gaming w/ max settings & 16AA/AF
Spoiler for Intel:


PS:
i suggest grabbing the first one, since its the cheapest and it's nice. grab the 2nd one for future proofing yourself, you could just upgrade the CPU into an ivy bridge quad and the GPU into anything better when the time comes.
anything past the first two lists is for real-hard-gamers.
sorry for posting links and lists >,>

Spectacular_Insanity 2012-02-16 16:08

Okay, so I decided to get all my stuff from Newegg.com. I got a list of components here that are sitting in my cart, but I haven't hit the BUY button yet because I'm not sure. I'm fairly certain they're all compatible, though I might have missed something. I wanted some input before I make this hefty investment.

I just decided I'll go ahead and break my budget. Okay, well, shatter it. Just a little.

EVGA Z68 FTW 160-SB-E689-K2 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Extended ATX Intel Motherboard
-Not sure about this motherboard. I think it comes with a chipset, but I don't know if it's one that's gonna do what I want it to.
Thermaltake TP-1500M 1500W ATX 12V v2.3 & EPS 12V v2.92 SLI Certified CrossFire Certified 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
-It was recommended with the motherboard. I figured that and the silver certification was indicative of quality. You know, since you guys said to not skimp on the PSU. Motherboard/PSU combo deal link
Intel 320 Series SSDSA2CW120G3K5 2.5" 120GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
-An indulgence, admittedly. I don't really need an SSD, but I'm impatient, and I hate waiting for stuff to load. :heh:
Intel Core i5-2500 Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2000 BX80623I52500
-I won't be overclocking. At least, I can't imagine myself playing at high enough settings to need to overclock.
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL
-Sticking with 8GB standard. I doubt I need 16GB. I can always upgrade later if I really need it.
Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
-I got huge amounts of anime to back up. I definitely need it.
ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
-Whatev's. It's just a DVD burner but still, I I trust ASUS as a brand name.

All in all, after the discounts and Promo codes, it all comes out to $1189.93, plus $10.63 shipping. Higher than I would have preferred, but I think it seems to be everything I'll want in a PC for a while to come. I do want expandability and upgrade-ability for the future, a large part of my reason for building my own PC in the first place.

I still haven't accounted for the monitor, wireless adapter card, or graphics card, but the first two can wait. I'm mostly wondering right now about the Intel i5 chipset and the ATX motherboard combo I listed here. Since I still don't fully understand what I'm looking at/doing, I can't figure out if the motherboard already has a chipset or not, and even if it does, if I should go ahead and buy it, then swap it out for the i5.
...Or maybe I'm overthinking it again and the motherboard doesn't come with a chip at all.

Just need a suggestion for a graphics card now. I think.

So, what do you guys think of this set-up? (Hopefully I'm not making a complete fool of myself here.)

P.S. I hope that everything fits in the case. A mid-size tower case is fine, right?

iceyfw 2012-02-16 16:26

GEEBUS. are you planning to x3 crossfire or sli with that 1500w psu?! that motherboard form factor is also EXTENDED ATX form factor and might not even have enough clearance in that case you first posted. Extended ATX is a bit longer compared to your average standard ATX form factor and most of the old cases don't support it.

SeaSonic Platinum Platinum-860 860W modular PSU for $219.99 + $11.30 S&H and choosing another board will save you some cash and to get an even better GPU. just my opinion on course over that motherboard bundle you chose.

Ledgem 2012-02-16 16:28

Looks like a good setup to me. The 1 TB hard drive is something I would take issue with, but this is a bad time to buy hard drives. The industry is still recovering from the floods in Thailand, and it seems as if all capacities got bumped up by one full price bracket. I don't think the prices are expected to return to normal until some time after this summer.

I don't know about the graphics cards - look over various benchmarks to make your decision, I suppose.

Edit: for reference, even though prices have gone down since the actual flood, I bought some 1.5 TB hard drives last May for $65 each. That exact same model of hard drive is currently selling for $140, and even 500 GB hard drives are going for around $70. I'm looking forward to when prices go back down.

0utf0xZer0 2012-02-16 16:37

Motherboard and PSU are definitely more expensive than you need.
I would consider getting the K version of the 2500, it's only $20 more for the unlocked multiplier (makes overclocking easy)
I agree with Ledgem - if it weren't for the Thai floods driving prices up, I'd recommend more than 1TB for an anime collector.

Also, I highly recommend getting an external hard drive for backup. You don't want to entrust a large collection to a single drive.

Spectacular_Insanity 2012-02-16 17:00

Quote:

Originally Posted by iceyfw (Post 4009493)
GEEBUS. are you planning to x3 crossfire or sli with that 1500w psu?! that motherboard form factor is also EXTENDED ATX form factor and might not even have enough clearance in that case you first posted. Extended ATX is a bit longer compared to your average standard ATX form factor and most of the old cases don't support it.

SeaSonic Platinum Platinum-860 860W modular PSU for $219.99 + $11.30 S&H and choosing another board will save you some cash and to get an even better GPU. just my opinion on course over that motherboard bundle you chose.

Thanks. That's what I wanted to know. Is that PSU still good with the motherboard, or should I pick another motherboard, instead?

If I do need to change them both, I would probably go with these:
ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard $121.99
-Not sure if it's got enough PCI slots, but it's 1155 and relatively cheap. Definitely worried about there only being 3 PCI slots, though....
SeaSonic Platinum Platinum-860 860W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS PLATINUM Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
-Your suggestion looks very nice, with fan controls, too. :)

I would prefer something with more slots for expandability. My other top pick for a motherboard would be this:
ASRock Z68 Extreme7 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard $269.99

And for a graphics card:
EVGA 01G-P3-1556-KR GeForce GTX 550 Ti (Fermi) FPB 1GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card $139.99
-Not sure if this graphics card is suitable to my setup. Do I need a better one?


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