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Building a System -- Comments/Suggestions?


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#1
mclimbin

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Hi all, this is my first post here. What a great place!

I'm planning on building a system for the second time. The first time was over 5 years ago, and I'm still using the old system. My current motherboard has a swollen capacitor and is unstable, so I thought I would take the opportunity to build a new computer. I'm posting here to see what you experts think of my hardware choices, and if you have any suggestions or other input.

I'm not a huge gamer (though the wife would disagree with that statement), but I do like to game now and then, and really do appreciate nice graphics and smooth playability when I game. I don't need a screaming fast gaming machine, but rather just one that can hold its own against the new games that are out there. Upgradability is important so that I can still use the machine in a couple of years. Besides gaming we use the computer for watching movies (netflix and DVDs), internet, and Office software--I'm an English teacher so I use Word and PPT fairly often.

I thought I would use my old case. It has two fans, one on the side above the CPU and one on the back. What are the advantages of getting a new case, other than the cosmetic advantages?

Processor: Intel Core i5-2500K
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16819115072

The research that I did suggested that the $90 more for the i7 is not worth it for most users. Since multiple threading is not necessary for good graphics, I don't think I need the i7--gaming will be the most intensive activity that I'll be using the machine for. I think that $90 would be better spent toward a nice gpu. Agree?

Mobo: ASUS P8Z68 DELUXE/GEN3
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813131791

I like this motherboard because it is SLI ready. I won't be getting a second GPU right away, but I'd like the option to do so in the future. Likewise, I'll be starting with 8 or 16 gb ram, but the possibility of 32 in the future is nice. I've never done any overclocking, but it might be fun to try it out, and it seems that this board allows that with relative ease.
I would like to have an on board graphics card for emergencies and troubleshooting, but it's not strictly necessary. I chose this board because the rating was good and it had all the things I wanted.

A side note about motherboards: is it me or do about 10-20% of motherboards arrive DOA? It seems to me that all motherboards can be bad before you install them. A mobo with only 10% one star (or egg) ratings seems to be the best we can hope for. Crazy! Can you imagine if 10% of the Hondas we bought just didn't work?!?

GPU: Something like: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti
There are so many 560/550 Nvidia cards out there, it's often difficult to decide which one to buy. They are all sli ready and seem to be good. I'll probably choose a card that has a high rating and is around $200-$220.

I'll probably also get a BD combo drive, since my dvd drive door is getting kind of sticky, and so my daughters can watch their blue ray disney disks when I can pull myself away from the screen.

I'll also get a relatively cheap after market cpu heatsink/fan, to keep that cool while I'm overclocking.

I'll start with 8 gb ram; not sure from who, I'll probably look at the ratings and the price again.

I have a 500w power supply. If my calculations are correct, it should be enough for now, but if/when I get the second gpu, I'll probably have to upgrade the power supply to 700w also.

I have a 1 Tb hard drive that I'll format (saving data before, of course) and install Windows 7 Home Premium 64. I have a 1 Tb external hard drive that will make that easy.

I'm going from 32 bit XP to 64 bit Win7. I've heard conflicting things on whether I'll be able to run most of my old software or not (old versions of photoshop and adobe, Office 2007, etc).

What do you think of this system? Are my assumptions mostly correct? Do you have any suggestions or advice?

Thanks! (Sorry it turned out to be such a long message!)
Michael
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#2
mclimbin

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After doing some research I have answered some of my own questions. I think that a new case would be a good investment, especially one that has a removable filter as iammykyl suggested in this thread:
http://www.geekstogo...d-your-input-d/

That is, the Antec 300 Illusion. http://www.newegg.co...N82E16811129066

After doing more research on SLI/Crossfire setups, I think I will forgo that option. The microstuttering problems sound like a pain to deal with. I'd rather just get a nicer graphics card and not worry about the dual gpu thing.

This leaves me with a new decision to make. Maybe I can get a cheaper motherboard that will work just as well but does not have the SLI capabilities built in. I'll look around at the other threads to see what was suggested there.
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#3
iammykyl

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Gday mclimbin. Posted Image

Overall, pretty good selection of parts. You have not given a budget so I will list the core components and you can get back to us with how much you can spend on the rest.Some info.

Boxed retail CPUs from AMD and Intel come with heat-sink and fan that are warranted to keep the unit within it"s thermal threshold, and do the job very well. If you use an after market cooler and/or over-clock, you void the warranty, so to do either, is at your own risk. I always recommend using the stock cooler and if you do over-clock and the temps are not controllable, then use a different cooler. Efficient case cooling is the key to controlling temps.

What are the advantages of getting a new case, other than the cosmetic advantages?


Case design has advanced a lot in 5 years so unless a top end one is being reused, I suggest you get a new one, some examples, (I only have 10 shares with AntecPosted Image)
http://www.newegg.co...9^11-129-179-TS

The research that I did suggested that the $90 more for the i7 is not worth it for most users. Since multiple threading is not necessary for good graphics, I don't think I need the i7--gaming will be the most intensive activity that I'll be using the machine for. I think that $90 would be better spent toward a nice gpu. Agree?




Agreed.

Motherboard is over the top,It does not have any video outlets on board, so you would not have access to integrated graphics, will give some to compare with.
I take rating with a pinch of salt, convinced a lot to the good ones are written by the manufacturers.

A side note about motherboards: is it me or do about 10-20% of motherboards arrive DOA?


I think failure rate is a lot less than that,. Some hard evidence,

A side note about motherboards: is it me or do about 10-20% of motherboards arrive DOA?




GPU: Something like: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti




Would be a good choice, play most games on high or ultra setting.




I'll start with 8 gb ram; not sure from who, I'll probably look at the ratings and the price again.




For your usage.




8GB, more than enough, be extremely unusual to run out of RAM.


16GB, enthusists photo/video rig.

32+GB, proffesonal workstation.


RAM should be selected from the Mobo manufacturers QVL list and also check that the CPU is supported.


I have a 1 Tb hard drive that I'll format (saving data before, of course) and install Windows 7 Home Premium 64.


OK, providing it is a SATA drive. Yes to Windows7 64bit. An option for a later upgrade would be a SSD for the OS and use the 1TB for storage and use the external for backups.


I'm going from 32 bit XP to 64 bit Win7. I've heard conflicting things on whether I'll be able to run most of my old software or not (old versions of photoshop and adobe, Office 2007, etc).


You will have to look at your documentation, or inset a disc, to see if 32bit and 64bit are supported.


I have a 500w power supply. If my calculations are correct, it should be enough for now,


The wattage is probable at the min requirements. Very critical is the amperage on the 12v rail, it has to be enough for the GPU. Please post the make and model , so we can check.


Suggestions for the build. I suggest you register on Newegg so you can create and save a wish list enabling you to make alterations and keep a running total.


What features do you really need?


http://www.newegg.co...6^13-128-506-TS


CPU, has integrated 3000 graphics, http://www.newegg.co...N82E16819115072


RAM. will need to be confirmed with QVL. http://www.newegg.co...N82E16820233254


GPU. choose, discuss, http://www.newegg.co... GTX 500 series


BL. suggestion only, you will need to do research before deciding on one, http://www.newegg.co...N82E16827129066







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#4
mclimbin

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Thanks for the response iammykyl. Happy New Year!

Budget is about $750. To tell the truth, the wife has suggested that I just order a Dell 830 XPS and be free of the hassle of putting together the machine. She'll let me make the final decision but she thinks I'm crazy to pay that much for parts and then have to do all the work to put it together. She doesn't get that that is the part that is fun. The biggest problem with the XPS is that it has no future--not much of it is upgradable.

For cases, what am I looking for besides removable filters and enough space? Actually a quieter machine would be nice, but I'm not sure if that is something we can look for online without seeing the box in person. Anything else important?

Starting with 8 gigs RAM, ok, check. Sounds like that will be enough to last me a while. I'll be sure to check that it is compatible with the motherboard (following your link--thanks). First I have to decide on a mobo, I guess.

The PSU that I have is a Rocketfish RF-55OWPS, 550 Watt Power Supply.
http://www.rocketfis.../RF-550WPS.html

It sports two +12V output rails. I don't see anything about the amperage on the box. Can you tell me what I should be looking for? I understand that I need to decide on my other components before choosing a PSU, so we'll see if this one is powerful enough for my needs.

I assume an SSD for the OS drive would make windows run faster? I haven't done any research on those; I'll look into it and see if it's feasible.

For the CPU, this one is the same that is offered on NewEgg, right?
http://www.microcent...duct_id=0354589

It looks the same to me, but there are some differences in numbers and such. I'm not sure if they are important or not. They both run at the same speed. The price is much better! That is a shop that is about 90 minutes away from me, but the price is so good that it would be worth the drive. They don't have everything that NewEgg has in stock, but pretty close, and everything seems at least a little cheaper. Plus, I wouldn't have to wait for shipping. Yes, I know, it's strange: it's actually cheaper to buy something at a brick and mortar store than on the internet. What has the world come to?

I had a question about OEM Win7. I actually posted the same question in another thread here, but I'll ask again because that's the way I am. Is it possible to get an official OEM version of windows 7 with the purchase of a motherboard? Or will I be buying something that is basically piracy?

Speaking of the motherboard, can you tell me what to look for there too? That is, why did you say that the ASUS P8Z68 DELUXE/GEN3 was overkill, and how are the others that you recommended better? There doesn't seem to be a big difference between the others in the group that you sent me and the ASUS. Or am I missing something?

I think this is the main thing I want to focus on now: choosing a good, appropriate motherboard for my needs. It's important to me that it is at least a little future proof. I have a feeling I could go with a motherboard that is a little cheaper than the Asus P8z68 already mentioned.

Any suggestions you have are appreciated. Thanks!
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#5
iammykyl

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I had a question about OEM Win7.


OEM software is sold together with hardware and is legal. It does have restrictions, in the case of Windows OS software. when you install to the motherboard, any motherboard, and activate it, it is linked to that particular model, specifications. You may not legally use the software on another computer. A retail Windows OS can be installed on different computers and motherboards.

For cases, what am I looking for besides removable filters and enough space? Actually a quieter machine would be nice, but I'm not sure if that is something we can look for online without seeing the box in person. Anything else important?


Read the article. The P280 in my selection is the "ideal" case, but of course there is a cost involved. The three hundred and nine hundred are reasonable quiet and with adjusting the fans can be very quiet.
http://www.silentpcr...Recommendations

I assume an SSD for the OS drive would make windows run faster? I haven't done any research on those; I'll look into it and see if it's feasible.


A SSD loads the OS, programs very fast but you do not gain a significant performance boost. An SSD was suggested for a future upgrade.
http://www.techradar...is-best--936111

For the CPU, this one is the same that is offered on NewEgg, right?



Yes and what a great find.

why did you say that the ASUS P8Z68 DELUXE/GEN3 was overkill, and how are the others that you recommended better? There doesn't seem to be a big difference between the others in the group that you sent me and the ASUS. Or am I missing something?


Overkill because I do not think you will every use all the extra features it has. The other boards are better in that they have the same basic advanced features without the fancy extras, and cost a lot less.
Let's sort out which board in the next post.

Your PSU, http://www.hardwares...ly-Review/748/9
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#6
mclimbin

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OK, how about this motherboard?
P8Z68-V LX LGA 1155 Z68 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.microcent...duct_id=0371775

From the list you gave me, it was hard to decide which one would be best. They were all so similar, so I chose one of the ones with the warranty. :)

I checked the QVL for this mobo and the place I'm going to buy my parts doesn't carry any of the sets of 2x4gb 1600 RAM from the list. I can pick this up at Fry's, though, which is not too far away:

Kingston HyperX KHX1600c9d3 ($58)
http://www.frys.com/product/6193699

I'm thinking about this PSU:
Silencer Mk II 650 Watt ATX Power Supply
http://www.microcent...duct_id=0337655

I appreciate all the feedback. You have let me know what I don't need to spend money on so that I can be sure to get the things that are necessary (like a better PSU).

By the way, I'll be getting a new Antec box too, probably the 300, though I'll wait till I get there to decide which model (it'll be some Antec model).

Edit: Looking at this PSU also:OCZ Technology ZS Series 750 Watt ATX Power Supply
http://www.microcent...duct_id=0367316

$30 cheaper and more powerful.

What was it you were saying I should check with respect to the amperage/rail?

mc

Edit 2: Tentative Build (from http://www.microcenter.com/index.html)

Antec Three Hundred ATX Mid Tower Computer Case $49.99
ASUS P8Z68-V LX LGA 1155 Z68 ATX Intel Motherboard $119.99
Intel Core i5 2500K LGA 1155 Boxed Processor $179.99
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit OEM (PC) $109.99
OCZ Technology ZS Series 750 Watt ATX Power Supply $99.99
Kingston HyperX Memory (2x4gb) (From Fry’s: KHX1600C9D3) $58.
LG 22x DVD±RW Burner with Dual Layer Support - OEM $18
Total: $636
Tax: $48
Grand Total: $684

Oh, luckily, the PSU will come out of a different budget. I'll have about $320 for that, and will probably go with a GTX560Ti as mentioned earlier.

Please comment/correct/etc. :)

Edited by mclimbin, 02 January 2012 - 04:41 AM.

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#7
iammykyl

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Your PSU is a very good choi9ce> I know it will be good for this build], but will do a final calculation at the end of the selection process.
Review. http://www.hardwares...-Review/1084/1

CASE

(it'll be some Antec model)


Great, I need the revenue. There are 2 Three Hundred models, the Illusion is the better performer, though more glitchy.

From the list you gave me, it was hard to decide which one would be best. They were all so similar,


From the lowest to highest price, there is a lot of difference, but you really have to look hard. Mostly in the speed and number of the PCI-E slots. Some have eSATA or different RAID, sound, LAN, 1 has Display Port, unusual at any time, and more.

Keeping it simple and at this price range. Your board plus 2 others. Non of these boards has a Floppy connection, if this is essential for you, will have to look at other ones.
http://www.newegg.co...1^13-157-271-TS

The Asus is the least best spec one. Does not have PCI-E 3.0. nO SUPPORT FOR Ivy Bridge, even with a BIOS Flash. Not important at the moment but could be in 3 years time when you are still using the build. Second slot if you every need it. only runs at x4.
I don"t like the Self Optimization feature.

The Asrock Pro supports PCI-E 3.0. Support for Ivy Bridge with BIOS Flash Only 1 slot on this board so now Crossfire or SLI, slightly better audio. 2 less USB 2.0,other wise almost identical to the Asus.

The Asrock Extreme3, 2 PCI-E slots, second will run at x8, support for Ivy Bridge with BIOS Flash, eSATA, otherwise the same as the Asrock Pro.

If there are any other features that are essential for you like Fire Wire, Display Port or more USB, you will need a more expensive board.

Select a Mobo, then we can look at the RAM.
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#8
mclimbin

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Thank you for explaining all that for me. I agree, the Extreme 3 looks the best. Let's go with that one!

I still have a couple of questions, though.

What is the difference between "USB ports" and "Onboard USB"? Is it just the placement of the ports, i.e., the onboard usb ports are the ones in the back, and the others are the ones that go to the front panel?

Also, I'm embarrassed to admit I'm still a little unclear about what the Z68 gives me. I understand that the H68 gave onboard video and the P68 gave overclocking ability. It seems that the Z68 improves or accelerates graphics somehow? I've read about it in a few places but it's still unclear to me.

I read here (below) about the Z68, and the two benefits of the z 68, the virtu thing (which you don't like and neither do the reviewers at bit-tech.net) and the SSD thing (which doesn't apply to me now, but might in the future). Sorry to be so slow, but I think I'm missing something.
http://www.bit-tech....l-z68-chipset/1

Also, since the Extreme 3 has no onboard video, why does it have a dvi port and an hdmi port? Probably related answers, there.

As for the power supply, do you like the Silencer over this model?
OCZ Technology ZS Series 750 Watt ATX Power Supply
http://www.microcent...duct_id=0367316

Just looking at the numbers, the OCZ is more powerful and cheaper. I'm interested in this so that if/when I decide to go SLI, I won't have to buy a new power supply too. I understand we have to wait until all the components are decided on...

Thank you again for your time!
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#9
mclimbin

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OK, slight problem. Micro Center, the place I'll be purchasing the components, doesn't carry the Extreme 3.

I did a search of all Z68 boards available at Micro Center, and it looks like none of them support PCIe-3.

http://www.microcent...6996 4294945564

Fry's, another store nearby, carries an MSI board that supports PCIe-3, for around $200.
http://www.frys.com/...CH:MAIN_RSLT_PG

<Groan>

Getting kind of complicated...

Edited by mclimbin, 02 January 2012 - 07:52 PM.

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#10
iammykyl

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If there is a problem ordering from Newegg. happen you can give your location and we can see if there is another local outlet we can use.
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#11
iammykyl

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What is the difference between "USB ports" and "Onboard USB"? Is it just the placement of the ports, i.e., the onboard usb ports are the ones in the back, and the others are the ones that go to the front panel?


On-board USB, directly wired from the Mobo to the back USB ports.
USB headers, sockets on the Mobo, use for front case USB, (wire and plug usually present), extra sockets to back panel, card reader.
About USB 3,0. http://www.datapro.n..._explained.html

Also, I'm embarrassed to admit I'm still a little unclear about what the Z68 gives me. I understand that the H68 gave onboard video and the P68 gave overclocking ability. It seems that the Z68 improves or accelerates graphics somehow? I've read about it in a few places but it's still unclear to me.


Took us all some time to understand as at the beginning there was a lot of muddled information. The following is a simple explanation. The Z68 has matured, with all the BIOS updates so have no fears about using it. With socket 1155, I would still use an H chipset for something like a HTPC rig but Z for everything else.

http://www.pugetsyst...-right-for-you/

I read here (below) about the Z68, and the two benefits of the z 68, the virtu thing (which you don't like

I do like Virtu feature. I did say "

I don"t like the Self Optimization feature.

" Contained on the Asus board> IE If you alter voltage on a component, (tweaking) the next time you start the computer, this feature can try to reset everything to the default optimized setting, can be a pain in the ??




Also, since the Extreme 3 has no [/size]on-board video, why does it have a dvi port and an hdmi port? Probably related answers, there.

]


The ports give access to the CPU embedded on-board graphics.

PSU.

the Silencer is the better unit, but we will wait until the end.
Just seen your post #9, have replied.
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#12
iammykyl

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Asrock Mobo, online, http://www.1stchoice...sp?ID=36901&r=g
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#13
mclimbin

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Thanks for all that explanation.

OK, I like the Asrock, and I actually have no problem with New Egg, it's just that I like the idea of driving somewhere (semi) local where I can buy everything and not have to wait for shipping. Mostly because I am impatient, but also because returns would be easier.

If you can find another outlet local to me, that would be great. A google search on my side just found Fry's and Micro Center. It looks like Fry's doesn't carry Asrock, and MC doesn't carry that model. There are lots of little shops around, of course, but I am assuming that their prices will not be as good. I can maybe call around to see what they have, or what they can get.

I am in the north Bay Area, California.

The funny thing about being impatient is that I actually have to leave town for about a week, so I won't be able to purchase anything until then. I was thinking of purchasing everything the day I get back and start working on the build then. Maybe I can buy some parts online and time the shipping so that it will arrive when I am home. There will be someone here at the house while I am gone, but I'd rather be the one who accepts the packages.

Anyway, that gives us a few more days to work out the details on this build.

Let's assume that I'll use the Asrock, and get it either online or otherwise. I think it's the best price for the best specs, and thanks to you for pointing me in that direction.
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#14
iammykyl

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CPU. SB 2600K http://www.microcent...duct_id=0354589 $179.00.

Mobo. Asrock Z68 Extreme3,????

RAM. This would be a better one, May not be on the QVL, (only so many modules can be tested by a manufacturer) But does comply with specs, have used it many times, is also 1.5v, so is more stable to over-clock.
http://www.frys.com/...CH:MAIN_RSLT_PG $54.00.

LG 22x DVD±RW Burner with Dual Layer Support - OEM $18




Case

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16811129066 $69.00.

PSU. http://www.microcent...duct_id=0367316 $99.00.

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit OEM (PC) $109.99



GPU. http://www.newegg.co...3^14-130-623-TS $230.00.


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#15
mclimbin

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That looks like a great build. I'm going to bug you about motherboards a little more, since I can't purchase the parts yet. What do you think of this one? I'm not sure about it because it is an mATX board. I don't know if it would work.

Gigabyte GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 LGA 1155 Z68 mATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.microcent...duct_id=0364087

Or how about this one? This looks OK to me. I wonder what you think?

Gigabyte GA-Z68AP-D3 LGA 1155 Z68 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.microcent...duct_id=0375352

Also, for future reference, or if I want to spend a little more money, what is a recommended size ssd?

Edited by mclimbin, 05 January 2012 - 09:45 AM.

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