Build a PC: Recommended Builds (May 2013)

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Matthew Persico

You've marked only the PSU as "new" in the Baseline build. But the only prior Baseline build I see is from November, from which EVERYTHING has changed. Am I missing something? I am going to build my first machine, so I'd like to understand exactly what I am doing. And yes, I am on a budget, so no Ultra stuff for me. :-)

Thanks!

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D1RTYD1Z619

I listen to the podcast, read the reviews and articles on the website and it seems like MaximumPc is starting to know less and less about computer tech. Those recommendations suck. I bet anyone of us in the comment section could do better.

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kixofmyg0t

Serious question. Why not a 8350 for the baseline? It's cheaper and faster(especially when overclocked but that's a option) than the i5.

I'm throughly surprised that AMD GPU's made it into any of these builds honestly.

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Deadtroll

Yeah their only faster, outperform Nvidia in every price point below 450 dollars, and are cheaper.

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Baer

I have no problem with building a 3-4K$ rig and I know that most can not or would not spend more than $4K on components. I also agree that almost no one needs it. My issues is that if you are going to build a medium high end rig do NOT CALL IT ULTRA!! Call it what it is, medium high end or high performance/High value. As soon as you start to consider price in the equation it is no longer "Ultra" or "Ultimate".

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aarcane

I'm surprised you didn't redouble the memory for the Ultra build, or rehalve it for the two lower builds. 16GB is nothing in today's world, especially with content creation and development, where it's not uncommon to be running virtual machines for testing purposes.

I say either up the Ultra memory to 32-64GB or at least half the baseline to 4 and 8GiB respectively, so that it FEELS like an upgrade.

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Cowman

For terms of gaming PCs, the performance and ultra builds are just 'too high-end'. At least for gaming, the Intel Core i5 3570K is most likely the best value CPU. I think that for the baseline build, I would switch out the P8Z77-V for either the ASRock Z77 Extreme4/Extreme4-M or something from Gigabyte, to save some money. Also, because I think that SSDs are a little bit over-rated due to their price being super high per GB of data, I would drop the SSD to trade loading times for a better graphics card - maybe the MSI 660Ti PE/EVGA 670, and because the parts don't necessarily need a lot of power, I would drop down the PSU to 520W, because with only 1 HDD, I would still have enough power to OC. I'd say stick to the 650W or 620W if you want to expand, but it's not super-necessary.

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Deadtroll

I am in agreement with most of the people who have commented. The Ultra build sucks. Their is absolutely no need for the Corsair 900D in this build. you could have fit those components in a 125 dollar case and their would not be any difference. In my opinion the only reason to use a 900D is if you are planning on building a serious water cooling loop. To the very least that would entail multiple gpu water blocks and a cpu water block. The only reason I would ever buy a dual gpu like a 690 or a 7990 is if I did not have the room for dual gpu's or more importantly, quad cpu builds. For the case that he chose he should have had 4 Titans running in SLI, and a custom water loop. Of course their is no point to having 4 titans in SLI, but that is the fun of an Ultra build. If you had the money to throw away what would you do with it. I think a sandybridge e processor is in order for an ultra build also.

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don2041

When I build a rig its built for the fastest I can get for the money I have. I want 100% usability and I don't give a shit what it looks like. You should see my 4x4 its ugly as sin but goes and does everything I want it to.

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Baer

The name "Ultra" means the best that can be, this build is far from that.
How about a recommendation with every single component the best available, don't even look at price. Not that many of us would build using all the best possible top end components but it would be nice to see what is recommended as the top of the line with no cost limit.
This Ultra should be labeled good or oven high end but ULTRA? nope!

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Warkral

Why? Why build a $13,000 computer no one can afford then show us? Less then 1% of gamers can afford to build a computer that costs more then a car and I for one am tired of seeing them when making suggestions on building an "Ultra" computer. Thank you Maximum for making the ULTRA suggestions something that is realistic for the majority of high end gamers.

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SpecNode

My thoughts exactly, do they even know what their doing? It looks like a build a novice PC user would put together.

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steven4570

just out of curiosity, what would an "experienced PC user" put together? The case and power supply are the only things i would change, and they would be cheaper option as well.

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SpecNode

More fans, better hard drives, better cooling, Tri/Qual SLI/Crossfire, etc.

There's very little point in using this case unless your water cooling or just like how it looks. One graphics card in this system would look ugly too from an aesthetic standpoint, and silly in general.

This case isn't for a single GPU or an all in one setup...

Ultra build should be around 5-6K dollars with the 900D or higher. Most normal gamers are not going to buy this case anyway so why make it budget friendly?

The sad part is.... comparing the budget and ultra....the budget isn't that much weaker or lower quality...

Put 2 670s in SLI in the budget and it will perform very similarly for half the cost. The hyper evo 212 can do 4.2ghz easily too. You shouldn't need more wattage/amps either, the 670s are very power efficient.

In general the Ultra build is a shameful disgrace...

And don't let me get started on the performance build, it makes absolutely no sense!

These builds are what I would typically see from a first time PC builder. The budget build is actually a pretty good though.

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ramstein2k4

That ultra build is pretty poorly thought out... Why get a 690 for 1k on an x79 board with 40 pci-e lanes? The point is to use multi gpu so each card has 16 lanes, with no plx nonsense. Two 680s are cheaper, more reliable, and will perform better to boot. 690 only makes sense on 1155. You also have no need for a 1200w psu, and certainly not from coolermaster.

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OpTicaL

The 900D is not worth the price or should be considered "ULTRA". First off it's not full aluminum, for a $360 (Newegg), I expect full aluminum and full front USB 3.0 ports, what's up with the 4x USB 2.0?

The reviews I'm reading about how big this case is–Lian-Li has a whole line of HPTX cases that out spec the 900D from the PC-P80N to the new PC-D8000 which is a super HPTX.

I personally own the PC-P80N and it has 11 expansion slots, 1 more than the 900D (for the epeen), 4x front USB 3.0 ports, fan controller, it's full aluminum and doesn't overlook things like a PSU vent. I paid $350 for it when it was on sale on Newegg and the price dropped naturally to $350 a year later. Came with 5x 140mm fans and 1x 120mm exhaust fan.

Don't see the point of this case in terms of build quality or liquid cooling potential when a Lian Li PC-D8000 can be had on Newegg for $331.99 which literally eats this case for lunch.

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ramstein2k4

Besides usb, the 900d has much better features for the market its targeting. People like to use their own fan controllers, and the 900d is far more modular than either lian-li for water cooling. It might be steel and not look as classy as lian-li or silverstone, but for rad capacity there is no better $360 case on the market.

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tomwx319

Why X79 motherboards? Your not even recommending more than 32GB of RAM.

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steven4570

they probably chose it for the 6 core cpu.

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AFDozerman

Just out of curiosity, have you guys ever considered building an ultra budget rig with maybe a Pentium or A-4 running Linux to see how much perfomance you can squeeze out of Ramdisks, strategic use of GPGPU, and overclocking?

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SpecNode

The 900D build is great except for a few things.

Who chooses cooler master for a high end build power supply unit wise?

Loud fan and poor ripple suppression on that unit.

Also even for a system where price is not a concern 1200 watts is a bit more than you need even with SLI, but not a big deal. Grab a good seasonic or Corsair power supply such as the SeaSonic X-1250 or AX1200i.

Seagate isn't as good as western digital too. If money is no concern get some good western digital drives, they will run cooler and quieter. You should have added a 3TB red drive.

Everything else is pretty standard options. A ultra no money system using a 900D should be utilized better such as extra fans, SLI, etc.

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beta212

I feel like the authors over did themselves this time, Nice job! The issues you brought up are debatable, there is "SLI" in the 690, and in my experience western digital drives are pretty much the same as seagate drives, and yes I agree while all those free games are extremely tempting, the frame latency issue for crossfire should be solved before it's considered. Once those are solved I would jump to amd any second if nvidia raises their prices any further, considering amd got all those console deals.

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Diversemanx

Quoting your own words that "At the Ultra tier, money is of no concern", why are you building with a Corsair 900D case that you only gave a verdict of 8 in the June 2013 issue? You say it is because you want the option to mount a 420mm radiator in the future. In the June issue you give cons to the case concerning "flimsy drive trays, odd angle for tightening expansion slot thumbscrews, screwed-in top, lame magnetic filters for lower-partition panels; bay covers require interior access; zero lighting". Does the ability to maybe install a 420mm rad in the future outweigh all these cons? At the ultra level where money is of no concern, is there no other case you can build your ultra system in that can beat an 8 verdict? Don't get me wrong, I love Maximum PC and all the great reviews. I just find this choice of case very strange after just reading my June issue and the related Corsair 900D review.

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tony2tonez

Considering money no option. I still love the new cosmos case that was built with last years dream machine. I still have the cosmos 1000 and love that case. My next build is going into it.

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tom_m

An 8 is still a pretty good score. Overall, the 900D is very roomy and has lots of locations to mount larger radiators. It has a few issues, but none are bad enough that we'd avoid it.

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Diversemanx

I'll give you that for sure, an 8 is a pretty good score. The 900D is just not Ultra level that's all. Or, maybe my take on the Ultra level is not the same as Max PC's. At this level I am thinking all the components of the system should have been reviewed and given a verdict of at least a 9 at a bare minimum by Max PC. I am thinking that the Ultra level stood for products and components that stand out in quality and or performance from the rest. Max PC used to feature their "Best of the Best" near the back page of every issue. I believe that the "Baseline", "Performance", and "Ultra" builds replaced this section. However, unless I am mistaken, the "Ultra" build was intended to retain the "Best of the Best" in product / component selection. Just my 2 cents.

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spaulding

Also the cooler is questionable since the Kraken was stated to be better in reviews also. Kind of surprised the Dual Titans or 7990 isn't in the thing either.

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tom_m

We haven't reviewed the Kraken yet, and Crossfire only has an early prototype driver right now to address its frame latency problem.

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spaulding

I'm rocking a pretty old PC at the moment:
QX9650
780i
660Ti (upgraded from 8800 ultra 4 months ago or so)
750GB barracuda (4 years old)
1TB WD (4 years old)

Currently looking at a new system. Was going to wait on Haswell but unsure since the only boost is the graphics really it seems and a good Mobo for a Haswell chip is probably 6+ months away.

The question I guess is should I go for a new system now or wait a little for prices to drop slightly? Also should I do IB or go with SB-E and possibly upgrade that chip in a year or so with an IB-E?

My current idea is this http://pcpartpicker.com/user/straynar/saved/1vPO
Basically 2 660Tis running in SLI, Revo drive for OS and system programs, SSD as game drive, and possibly buying a 3TB or something for backup stuff. Power calculation is around 830W with the CPU clocked up to 5.2 with 1.5V and everything running at 100%. So basically 1000W is 25% overhead and will probably only really use 550-600W tops at any time.

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anger

i have the rig u named:
120gb revo drive
3820 with a 125 strap ratio
twin 120mm air cpu fan
32gb ddr3 1600 (8 x 4gb double tall hyper-x models)
silverstone raven case
8800 ultra
asus x79 sabertooth
and a crappy 550watt ps

I have had my 2011 rig since the day i could get a 3820 from newegg to upgrade with, and i'm totally happy with it. Added bonus is no power cords for anything but the mobo and gpu.

No voltage changes...just a ratio input away from 4.6ghz on air.

It's the best investment I've had since my pentium d 950 that still runs at 4ghz on air

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tony2tonez

My rig is older than yours as your CPU and GPU are better than mine. But I'm still going with has well as my next build. I want graphic improvement as I don't game but Photoshop mostly.

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tom_m

The LGA 2011 motherboard that Sandy Bridge-E uses will give you more PCI Express lanes to run multiple video cards (40 versus 16), and the QX9650 is probably holding you back a little. I'd consider going with Sandy Bridge-E, but it depends on your budget. If you live near a Microcenter, you can pick up the i7-3820 for $230. It can overclock using the gear or strap ratio. If you're using DDR2 RAM right now, you'll also need to switch to DDR3.

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spaulding

Yea my rig is 4-5 from DS and was great at the time but that age is showing. Noticed improvements upgrading the graphics but know for a fact that I can get more out of a CPU upgrade too. The RAM is DDR2 and only 4GB of it. I honestly don't need multiple video cards just something I want to do because I'm looking at doing a tri monitor setup possibly in the future.

I also have to pick everything up online since I don't live near anything other than a Best Buy that sells parts (and I wouldn't really say BB sells anything other than crap).

I'll look at the 3820 and may go with that because I thought I wouldn't be able to bump it at all. The cheaper card running slightly slower isn't really an issue to me since I don't use many things that are CPU intensive.

Thanks for the advice though.

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tom_m

It turns out that Best Buy will price match Amazon and Newegg. The full list from BB's website: "Amazon.com, Apple.com, Bhphotovideo.com, Buy.com, Crutchfield.com, Dell.com, Frys.com, hhgregg.com, HP.com, HomeDepot.com, Lowes.com, Newegg.com, OfficeDepot.com, OfficeMax.com, Sears.com, Staples.com, Target.com, TigerDirect.com and Walmart.com." Here's the link.

I also suggest using PC Part Picker to shop around (assuming you didn't know about it already).

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spaulding

Thanks for the advice. I've been using PC Part Picker for a while now, I think since I first saw it recommended a while back in the mag. I would so go to BB and price match now if I knew I could get everything in once place, just know I'd be short case, ps, and GPU at the minimum. That is VERY good info though for all us BB haters though (might use it when I get a new TV in a few months when the 1080s are being phased out).

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