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 Post subject: My first build - gaming desktop
PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:47 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:11 am
Posts: 14
So, I have recently gotten up the gumption to think about building my first computer. I started thinking that I wanted a laptop, but I quickly realized that a desktop would be much simpler and cost-effective.

I have mainly been following the lifehacker guide, http://lifehacker.com/5828747/how-to-bu ... lete-guide, and using PCPartPicker http://pcpartpicker.com/ for my build selections, but have of course referenced MPC guides also.

My requirements:
  • 3D-capable. I have traditionally been an ATI Radeon (now AMD) user, but, while AMD does have a 3D-capable GPU now, I think NVIDIA is a safer bet.
  • Quad-channel RAM. Everyone I have talked to says that quad-channel really doesn't show much in terms of increased performance and, while I am sure they're right, I want it anyway.
  • Able to play big budget games on max settings. (Typically I don't play games less than a year old, but with a better machine that may change.)

So, here's what I have so far:
-----------------------------------
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3820 3.6GHz Quad-Core Processor ($229.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Corsair H80 92.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: MSI X79A-GD45 (8D) ATX LGA2011 Motherboard ($229.99 @ NCIX US)
Memory: Patriot Intel Extreme Master, Limited Ed 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3-2133 Memory ($98.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Patriot Intel Extreme Master, Limited Ed 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3-2133 Memory ($98.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($156.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.99 @ B&H)
Storage: OCZ Agility 3 512GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($424.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 1GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($234.37 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 1GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($234.37 @ NCIX US)
Sound Card: Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD 24-bit 96 KHz Sound Card ($135.03 @ Amazon)
Case: Corsair Obsidian Series 800D ATX Full Tower Case ($259.92 @ Mac Connection)
Power Supply: Cooler Master Silent Pro M 850W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($133.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Optical Drive: LG WH14NS40 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($69.98 @ Outlet PC)
Monitor: Acer GD235HZbid 120Hz 23.6" Monitor ($219.99 @ Amazon)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 Professional (OEM) (64-bit) ($129.99 @ NCIX US)
Mouse: Razer Abyssus Mirror Special Edition Wired Optical Mouse ($33.98 @ B&H)
Other: NVIDIA 3D Vision Wired Glasses Kit ($99.99)
Total: $2951.53
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-13 18:02 EST-0500)
------------------------------

...So, clearly I'd prefer not to pay that much... but I also want to future-proof it, so what balance should I be looking for?

Is this too ambitious for a first time builder? Should I start with a cheap build for my first time? Is SLI and a CPU cooler going overboard?

Any suggestions are appreciated.

[Edit] I probably wouldn't get all those hard drives (4.5TB is way overkill) or both sets of RAM, but I'll keep the SSD.

I also did a bit more research and it looks like the GTX 570 would be a better buy. Any thoughts?


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 Post subject: Re: My first build - gaming desktop
PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 6:28 pm 
Smithfield
Smithfield

Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:37 pm
Posts: 5288
If you don't want to pay that much, then you're going to have to clench your teeth and make some compromises.

  • The first is the platform. No X79. If you go to a Z77, you can shave off over $150.
  • Don't get the H80 unless you plan on overclocking. If you want something other than stock, get a Cooler Master Hyper Evo 212
  • I'd tone the SSD down to 256GB, or even 128GB. If you need the load times to go down, just move games in and out as necessary.
  • GTX 560 Ti is a generation behind. You're already not "future proof". Get a GTX 670 or two.
  • Blu-Ray doesn't have a lot of value on a gaming computer. I'd just stick with a DVD drive.


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 Post subject: Re: My first build - gaming desktop
PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 8:03 pm 
Clawhammer
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I like firstyme builders, they are allOVER the map. And you're no exception. Yet, take solace as we trivialize (but assist) with your x86 journey.

Okay, do you have a valid reason why you want quad-channel memory? Just cause ain't good enough and will cost you atleast $150, maybe $300 more. Other than game playing, what else with this new rig be doing often...not occasionally. What are your 3D plans? What specs do you have in your current machine now? And what is your ideal budget? We'll clench our teeth at this one, so give it to us straight.

For more reading, good build tips exist here too.


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 Post subject: Re: My first build - gaming desktop
PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 8:39 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:11 am
Posts: 14
Latios,

Response to each point:
  • As I understand it, X79s are the first boards, along with the new gen of i7s released sometime last spring, to support LGA 2011 architecture - the first to support quad-channel RAM, one of my requirements.
  • The Corsair was one of, if not the top rated liquid coolers on CNET. But I don't have any particular reasons for oc'ing the CPU, so if it's overkill, I accept that.
  • This drive (although in the AGT4 model and not the the ATG3 I chose) is ranked #16 out of several hundred SSDs in terms of price/gigabyte. I would, however, consider switching to the AGT3-25SAT3-480G which is a few cents cheaper per gig.
  • I will definitely look more closely at that - however the GTX 570 seems to be one of the best in terms of price/performance (in 3DMark anyway). Is there another performance metric I should consider?
  • If that LG Blu-ray burner with its M-Disc burning ability is one thing I blow my money on for the sheer awesomeness factor, I'm willing to accept that. Besides, it seemed like one of the best values among Blu-ray burners.

Thanks for your advice.


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 Post subject: Re: My first build - gaming desktop
PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 9:06 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:11 am
Posts: 14
Yes, I know what you mean. I realized too late that I didn't set a price cap for myself from the beginning. At first, I looked at performance Dell pre-builts in the range $1200-$1600 and thought, "oh yeah, I can easily get a great self-built performance machine at that price!"

Oh, how naive I was!

Anyway, this new rig would be almost exclusively for gaming. I may do some very mild photo/video editing (which is more than I do now), but no plans for any other processing-intensive tasks.

The rig I have now is a late 2007 Dell Inspiron 530. It's decent enough except that the MOBO is currently maxed out at 4gigs RAM - a real problem when almost 2gigs are always used by various processes. (I realize I could take steps to fix this, but I really don't want to expend much more effort on this PC. It's already given me enough grief.)

Thanks for your help.

[Edit] Oh, and with regards to quad-channel RAM, I understand where you're coming from, but I am going to, in as respectful a manner as possible, ignore that. IF I take a look a my wallet after I get a better sense of the final build and am still not very satisfied, I will consider dropping that requirement.


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 Post subject: Re: My first build - gaming desktop
PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:11 am 
Clawhammer
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loonybin0 wrote:
this new rig would be almost exclusively for gaming. I may do some very mild photo/video editing (which is more than I do now), but no plans for any other processing-intensive tasks.


Let's do this the easy way. Forget X79, Z77 is your solution and even that is a stretch since you won't be OC'ing. Here is your shopping list.

3570k | $170
AsRock Pro4 with $50 MicroCenter bundle discount | $60
8GB Samsung MV-3V4G3D | $35
Gigabyte 7950 | $270
Barracuda 3TB | $90
Agility 4 256GB | $130
Seasonic X650 | $90
Samsung SH-222 | $15
True Spirit 120 | $30
Fractal Arc Midi | $50
----------------------------------------
$940

Anything else is overkill. Don't believe me, I know, so read this because I don't want to regurgitate it all to you. He had LGA2011 fantasies initially too, just like you. Read the whole thread and you'll find how jazzed he is with his new build. He got more for spending half as much as he planned. That's just the way we roll here, we Maximize your PC.


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 Post subject: Re: My first build - gaming desktop
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 2:18 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:11 am
Posts: 14
Ok, I looked at Kleinkinstein's build, made a few modifications, and here's what I came up with:

Part | Name | List OR Amazon Price | Kleink OR Newegg OR same Price
CPU | Intel Core i5-3570k | $215 | $170
CPU Cooler | Thermalright True Spirit (120) | $42 | $30
MOBO | ASRock Z77 Pro4-M | $109 | $60
RAM | Patriot Intel Extreme Masters Viper 3 (4 x 4GB) 2133MHz | $100 | $100
HDD,SSD | OCZ Agility 3 480GB SSD | $370 | $300
GPU | EVGA GeForce GTX 570 HD | $275 | $275
Sound Card | Creative Labs SB0570L4 Sound Blaster Audigy SE Sound Card | $27 | $27
PSU | SeaSonic X650 Gold- 650W | $170 | $90 [edit] BTW what kinda wattage am I looking at? Is 650W enough?
Disc Drive | LG BDXL Rewriter WH14NS40 | $80 | $55
OS | Windows 8 Full (64-bit) | $140 | $140
Monitor | Acer GD235HZbid 23.6" 3D LCD | $250 | $250
Mouse | Razer Abyssus Mirror Edition | $40 | $33
Misc. | NVIDIA 3D Vision Glasses Kit | $99 | $99
Case | Fractal Design Arc Mini Case | $100 | $50
Total:-------------------------------------$2,017 | $1,679

Kleinkinstein, in a couple of cases I wasn't sure if that was the part you meant, so correct me where necessary.
I did finally cave on my lga 2011 requirement as Kleink knew I would. I would be really happy with the $1,679 if I could get it. How are you finding those prices?

Also, Latios thought I should get the next gen of NVIDIA GPUs (and I do need NVIDIA for 3D Vision to work) since the GTX 500s are already not current enough. I'm willing to dish out a bit more to make that happen if it is worth it. What do you guys think?

Thanks,
Loony


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 Post subject: Re: My first build - gaming desktop
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:18 pm 
Smithfield
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Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:37 pm
Posts: 5288
loonybin0 wrote:
Also, Latios thought I should get the next gen of NVIDIA GPUs (and I do need NVIDIA for 3D Vision to work) since the GTX 500s are already not current enough. I'm willing to dish out a bit more to make that happen if it is worth it. What do you guys think?

The next generation of GeForce GPUs would be the GeForce 700 series. You should be looking at the GeForce 600 series, and for the most part, paying $230 for a GTX 560 Ti is kind of WTF, they're going for as low as $150 now.

If you were willing to spend $450 on a GPU, the GeForce GTX 670 is what you should be looking at.


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 Post subject: Re: My first build - gaming desktop
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 6:00 am 
Clawhammer
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Yeah, you need to rethink your GPU. I'm not following the 560 efficacy at all.

And why do you need such a big ssd? Go with a faster 128 or 256 for your OS, apps and key games then put all your data on a fat spinner. Feels like you've been suckered into the Patriot Intel Extreme Masters Viper marketing machine. Much better options exist. And if you truly want/need 16gb, go 2x8 not 4x4. Everything else looks good...but before I go, I must ask about the BR burner. Will you be really burning BR's or just playing them?


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 Post subject: Re: My first build - gaming desktop
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:10 am 
8086
8086

Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:11 am
Posts: 14
Ah, Kleinkinstein! Why must you always protect me from throwing my money away? :wink:

Reasons for the choices:
As I hinted before, this 480GB SSD I can get from Newegg for $300, or $0.64/GB, making it like #7 best value/GB of any SSD that I have seen, and #3 among best value AND 6Gb/s speed.
Quote:
Go with a faster 128 or 256 for your OS, apps and key games then put all your data on a fat spinner.

Am I missing something? Both Agility 3 and 4 have 6Gb/s speeds. Is there some other factor that plays a role?
_______
Quote:
Feels like you've been suckered into the Patriot Intel Extreme Masters Viper marketing machine. Much better options exist. And if you truly want/need 16gb, go 2x8 not 4x4.

...better options like...? It is possible I'm not looking in the right places, but where I look I cannot find any 2x8GB 2133MHz sticks that are cheaper than 4x4GB sticks. Now, if you wanna argue that the 2133MHz PC3 17000 is way overkill, I'd accept that.
_______
Quote:
...but before I go, I must ask about the BR burner. Will you be really burning BR's or just playing them?

Yes...yes, I will.
_______
Quote:
Yeah, you need to rethink your GPU. I'm not following the 560 efficacy at all.

That , I agree with now. I didn't fully understand the way the NVIDIA GPU lineup worked, but now I think I do....

Image

Also,
Quote:
If you were willing to spend $450 on a GPU, the GeForce GTX 670 is what you should be looking at.

I have actually found a GTX 680 for about $460, so if I can get the full build with the GPU below $2k, I'll throw that in. If not, I'll grab the 670.


A few more questions:

I have this feeling like I need a sound card...am I crazy if I get a cheap one like the Sound Blaster?

Am I still kosher with a 650W PSU?

Thanks,
Loony

[Edit] Also... at the risk of sounding like more of a moron, will all this stuff actually fit in that case?


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 Post subject: Re: My first build - gaming desktop
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:26 am 
Smithfield
Smithfield

Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:37 pm
Posts: 5288
Regarding the SSD of choice
Memory is a funny thing. In regards to secondary memory, which are HDDs and SSDs, you have to be mindful of a few things. Namely the number of transfer requests and the size of those transfers. What really kills performance is the smaller requests that are made numerous times. And typically this is what running the OS and key apps are doing. So it's not really to help load times (although that's cool too), but the one thing that people who switch over to an SSD really appreciate is that the system is now snappier and more responsive.

Games on the other hand, tend to make few, but very large transfers. The actual game engine for a lot of modern games can still fit on a CD with enough room for another copy (Skyrim for instance, in all its beastliness, takes up around 250MB for the core module). Since it's reasonable to assume the engine will run completely in RAM, the only thing left to load is the assets, and the one that tends to be shuffled in and out is the map. Various benchmarks (you can Google this) have also show that for a lot of games, loading times decrease logarithmically with memory speed, not linearly. And in my instance, I put Skyrim with about 12GB worth of mods on the SSD to see if anything would change. But nothing really did load time wise.

Other (indie or older) games are so small that their load times are laughable and will run completely in RAM.

In any case, 128GB is a good size for most people. It has enough room for Windows and applications, and maybe a handful of games you're currently playing. A clever use of symlinks will also make moving say Steam games back and forth painless.

Regarding the memory
Don't get DDR3-2133. Benchmarks have shown that beyond DDR3-1600 (though I want to say DDR3-1333), performance doesn't improve on real-world applications practically at all. Stick with DDR3-1600, your options will open a lot more.

Regarding the Blu-Ray burner
If you're burning movies, that's cool. If you're burning back up disks, I'm on the "no, not worth it" fence. Mostly because finding a computer with a BD-reader, let alone an optical drive in the future is grim.

Regarding the GPU
Get a GTX 670. I found one on Newegg for $360, and it performs 10% at worst case against a GTX 680.

Regarding the power supply
650W is good for a single GPU system. If you want two, get 850W.


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 Post subject: Re: My first build - gaming desktop
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:57 am 
Clawhammer
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1. Yes, get that GTX 670. Great price and it will provide more pixel pushing than that little Acer GD235HZbid can handle.
2. You don't need (won't use, yes really!) more than 8GB so get some magic ram for a cool $35 and OC it to your hearts delight. Or if you simply demand 16gb, then 1.35v Mushkin Blackline is the best elixir.
3. Not all ssd's are created equal. Get the new 840 Pro 125, Vector 128 or Intel 520 120 instead of that Agility4. Benchmark them all here. Night and day difference to old and crusty Indilinx controlled Agility.
4. As LXT says, don't burn BR discs for backup. It's all needless and old technology. Get a big 2-3TB hdd or three for all your coveted data.

And not only will all this fit, you'll have room left over for a water loop. That Arc Mini is great mATX case, luv those Fractals. But I find that both the Silverstone TJ08-E and PS07 with their internal orientation really is the optimal mATX layout and use of space.


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 Post subject: Re: My first build - gaming desktop
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:36 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:11 am
Posts: 14
kleinkinstein wrote:
1. Yes, get that GTX 670. Great price and it will provide more pixel pushing than that little Acer GD235HZbid can handle.

Ok. Sold.
_____
kleinkinstein wrote:
2. You don't need (won't use, yes really!) more than 8GB so get some magic ram for a cool $35 and OC it to your hearts delight. Or if you simply demand 16gb, then 1.35v Mushkin Blackline is the best elixir

I'm guessing it's okay that I pay a little extra for mushkin quality?
_____
kleinkinstein wrote:
3. Not all ssd's are created equal. Get the new 840 Pro 125, Vector 128 or Intel 520 120 instead of that Agility4. Benchmark them all here. Night and day difference to old and crusty Indilinx controlled Agility.

Again, a little extra for better quality? [Edit] Ah, yes, just looked at the benchmarks page... the Samsung seems to be the clear winner for reads, and reasonably good for writes... I guess I'll go with that one.
_____
kleinkinstein wrote:
4. As LXT says, don't burn BR discs for backup. It's all needless and old technology. Get a big 2-3TB hdd or three for all your coveted data.

Noted.
_____
kleinkinstein wrote:
And not only will all this fit, you'll have room left over for a water loop. That Arc Mini is great mATX case, luv those Fractals. But I find that both the Silverstone TJ08-E and PS07 with their internal orientation really is the optimal mATX layout and use of space.

I'm not sure that I'm sold on any of those cases... I may need to keep looking until I find one just right with looks I love, but you would recommend the layout inside the SilverStones as optimal?

I'll update the parts list and post it again in a minute.

Thanks,
Loony


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 Post subject: Re: My first build - gaming desktop
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:14 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:11 am
Posts: 14
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Thermalright True Spirit (120) ($30.00)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Pro4-M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($109.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Mushkin Blackline 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($69.98 @ Outlet PC)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($254.95 @ B&H)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($339.99 @ Newegg)
Sound Card: Creative Labs SB0570L4 Sound Blaster Audigy SE Sound Card ($27.00)
Optical Drive: LG Electronics 14x Internal BDXL Blu-Ray Burner Rewriter WH14NS40 - Bulk Drive with Software - Black ($80.00)
Power Supply: SeaSonic X Series 660W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($169.74 @ Mwave)
Monitor: Acer GD235HZbid 120Hz 23.6" Monitor ($249.99 @ Amazon)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 Professional Full (64-bit) ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Mouse: Razer Abyssus Mirror Special Edition Wired Optical Mouse ($33.98 @ B&H)
Case: Silverstone TJ08B-E MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($99.99 @ Amazon)
Other: NVIDIA 3D Vision Glasses, Wired ($100.00)
Total: $1985.58
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-18 19:03 EST-0500)

I'm not saying that's the case I want... I'm not really happy with the choices I'm seeing as far as mATX mini-towers. What about something more unconventional like this? I have a sort-of small built-in desk area where this machine will go, so size and ventilation are concerns. Any ideas?

Thanks,
Loony


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 Post subject: Re: My first build - gaming desktop
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:24 pm 
Smithfield
Smithfield

Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:37 pm
Posts: 5288
This is just a preference pitch: try to limit your vendors as much as possible. The more vendors you have, the more you may have to pay for shipping and the more headaches you may have with shipping and RMAs. I understand that PC Parts Picker lists price with shipping, but that's for individual components. For something like Newegg, I've never had more than two separate shipments for entire builds, which means shipping is generally cheaper... or maybe free (I know some places will throw in free shipping for large orders) .

Don't get the sound card, it's on par, if not worse than current on-board offerings.

The case you were thinking about limits the CPU cooler's height, as the PSU will sit over the CPU


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 Post subject: Re: My first build - gaming desktop
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 6:32 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:11 am
Posts: 14
Yeah, those are just the automatically selected retailers, I would probably get most everything off of Newegg.

Also, I found the case I definitely want if I go mini-tower: the SilverStone SG09. Will everything fit in it you think? Will it be tight?
If I can't get that, I'd just get a mid-tower.

[Edit]...Not sure what I was thinking, it seems clearly too small now and no room for a regular sized optical drive anyway.

I'll keep looking.

Hmm, I also just found the LG BDXL product page. It says there that the drive dimensions are 5.75" x 1.63" x 6.5". But isn't the standard drive bay 5.25"? Would that still fit in a regular drive bay?


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 Post subject: Re: My first build - gaming desktop
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:20 am 
Clawhammer
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If it was my money, it would be spent on the Lite-On iHBS212-08.


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 Post subject: Re: My first build - gaming desktop
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:24 am 
8086
8086

Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:11 am
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Is there some clear advantage? This one and this one appear to be sold out, and this one is not really that much cheaper than the LG, which also has M-DISC (which, granted, is a totally impractical feature, but worth it as the final frontier/last hurrah for optical media).


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 Post subject: Re: My first build - gaming desktop
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:21 am 
Smithfield
Smithfield

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An optical drive is an optical drive :P

Also the 5.25" form factor meant the size of floppy disks, not the drive.


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 Post subject: Re: My first build - gaming desktop
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:53 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:11 am
Posts: 14
So, I talked to someone on the Tom's Hardware forum today, and they say the Anandtech benchmarks are actually less accurate than these benchmarks that rate the OCZ Vector as the fastest SSD in "real-world scenarios". I'm not sure it matters much at this point unless there is a huge price difference.

BTW I decided on my case. I'll update my parts list soon.


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