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Building a new computer!


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#1 trashcan7

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 07:25 PM

I'm going to be building a new desktop for casual gaming, nothing intense (STARCRAFT II wheee!!!), basic video editing, and lots of programming. So I obviously don't want to go overkill, but at the same time I want to future-proof my computer. I'm pretty much new to this, so I need a lot of help. And this is all very preliminary, since I'll be working on this sometime in the winter.

Processor: Intel i5 760 - $170 at a Microcenter sale right now. Good deal, right? Or is AMD a better deal?
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_...duct_id=0341729

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-P55-USB3 LGA 1156 Intel P55 USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - $120
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16813128425
I am so confused on this right now. It seems pretty expensive, and I feel like there's a cheaper model for my needs.
For example, P7H55-M PRO Socket 1156 H55 mATX Motherboard - $100
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_...duct_id=0326528
And integrated memory is tempting since I don't feel like getting a separate video card. But if integrated in general does suck, then I'll go for the video card.

OS: Windows 7, probably 64-bit

RAM: CORSAIR 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16820145278

CD/DVD Drive: dunno

Hard drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...acuda%207200.12

Graphics card: dunno. GeForce 9800?

PSU: I think 500W should be more than enough(?)

Case: Who knows.

Edited by trashcan7, 20 September 2010 - 09:12 PM.


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#2 DJBPace07

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 10:55 PM

AMD is usually the better deal when it comes to low through upper-mid range desktops. Future proofing is a concept and will ultimately fail, however, you may be able to hold off obsolescence longer by getting a better system now. Here's a suggestion.

Case: COOLER MASTER ELITE 335 RC-335-KKN1-GP Black SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower - You're not doing anything needing SLI/CrossfireX, so this case should be more than enough. If you were going to be using the huge high-end graphics cards, or using those technologies, a Full-ATX case is suggested. Be careful with cases as shipping can be quite high if you aren't careful. $49 (Before $10 mail-in rebate)

Motherboard/CPU combo: This is just too good to pass up, go for the M4A87TD/USB3 AM3 870 motherboard paired with the Phenom II X4 965 at this Micro Center combo page. That is one of the newer AMD 8 series chipsets which allows for USB 3.0 and SATA 6, brand new technologies. Normally, I would go for a Phenom II X4 955 over the 965 as they are identical hardware wise, but that price for that processor is one of the best on the net currently. In real world gaming tests the Phenom II X4 965 matches performance with most of the i5 line and it also comes unlocked for easy overclocking. Note, this combo is available for in-store pick-up only. If you don't live near a Micro Center, a GIGABYTE GA-870A-UD3 AM3 AMD 870, which also has USB 3.0 and SATA 6, along with CrossFireX, paired with an AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz will be a good Newegg alternative, but a little more expensive. If you have to go the Newegg route and want to save more cash, the AMD Athlon II X4 640 Propus 3.0GHz would be a great alternate CPU, but not as powerful as the Phenom II models above. $229

RAM: CORSAIR 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 - This is a single stick of 4GB memory. You need a 64-bit OS to use 4GB or more of memory. $85

Power Supply: SeaSonic S12II 520 Bronze 520W - This is an excellent power supply from a good brand and should be more than enough for what you are doing. The Asus board in the Micro Center combo does not allow for CrossFireX, but you go for the Gigabyte motherboard at Newegg you get the option to use it. If you later decide to use Crossfire with the Gigabyte board, I suggest getting the SeaSonic S12II 620 Bronze 620W for a bit extra. $59

Graphics Card: SAPPHIRE 100283-3L Radeon HD 5770 1GB - Using on-board graphics with gaming is going to be a painful experience. This is a solid, mid-range graphics card which comes with DirectX 11 and EyeFinity. Radeon 57xx or Radeon 58xx graphics cards will run circles around a GeForce 9800. Since you didn't list a budget, I will give you two alternatives. The HIS H575Q1GD Radeon HD 5750 1GB which is a little less powerful and the more powerful XFX HD-583X-ZAFV Radeon HD 5830 1GB. $139 (Before $15 mail-in rebate)

Optical Drive: LG 22X DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model GH22NS40 - A basic drive. $17

Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black WD5001AALS 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s - Getting a drive with 32MB of cache is usually suggested for a slight speed increase. $59

Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit OEM - You need this. $99

Grand Total: $743 (Micro Center combo), $765 (Newegg for everything) (Before rebates, shipping, and taxes)

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#3 trashcan7

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 11:37 PM

Wow, thanks for the awesome and detailed reply! I hadn't actually expected specific products for each component, but thanks!

I do realize the future-proofing will fail, but I just want something that'll stay good for longer than 2 1/2 years, unlike my current desktop.

For the motherboard/CPU, that does sound almost too good to be true. How can it be at such a lower price if it's similar to the Intel i5 line? That's $70 less expensive!

RAM: I heard it's better to get two sticks of 2GB than 1 stick of 4GB. Is this true?

#4 DJBPace07

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 02:13 AM

AMD really cannot compete with Intel in the high-end CPU market, so they compete on price. This may change when Intel releases LGA 2011 CPU's and AMD launches Bulldozer CPU's. Remember, with most i5 and Phenom II comparisons, real-world gameplay at resolutions you game at should be used. From most of the benchmarks comparing i5's and Phenom II's, the differences in gaming at standard resolutions aren't that far off. At my monitor's resolution of 1920 x 1200, the Phenom II X4 965 and the i5 750 are within 3 frames per second of each other. As for the RAM question, it depends. Both motherboards max out at 16GB of RAM with 4GB in each slot, therefore, by using a single 4GB stick, you simply keep adding more to reach the max, unlike using two 2GB sticks. However, unless you are doing video editing or 3D rendering, 16GB is serious overkill for most home users. I usually suggest 4GB for all builds and 8GB for gaming/performance rigs. In a dual-channel memory setup, two identical sticks will result in a performance gain using benchmarking tools, however, in day-to-day tasks, there really is no difference.

Overclockers Club - Intel Core i5 750 Core i7 870 Review
TechSpot - Intel Core i5 750 Processor Review
PC Perspective - Intel Lynnfield Core i7-870 and Core i5-750 Processor Review

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#5 trashcan7

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Posted 26 September 2010 - 12:07 AM

Couple more questions:

You mentioned overclocking the processor in your first post. I have no idea how to do this. Is overclocking pretty much the main feature of this processor?

If I get everything you outlined in your post, I won't need any separate cooling thing?


So I won't actually be building this computer until December-January-ish (as I mentioned in my original post). Which of these components (if any) do you think I should wait on to see price drops? Or maybe they'll be at some electronics stores (especially around Christmas season).

#6 Blaze413

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Posted 26 September 2010 - 01:55 PM

most motherboards now come with overclocking tools that make it super simple so i wouldnt worry about it...and the only extra cooling u may want to incluse is another case fan

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...8-121-_-Product

or no color http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...5-060-_-Product

just look under newegg as 120mm fan...there r a variety of colors out there..but i recommend brands such as apevia, scyth =my 2 favorite for fans

and if u can order from newegg....if u register on their site they usually have some great deals on componants for Christmas and other holidays

good luck!

#7 tg1911

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Posted 26 September 2010 - 04:49 PM

...and the only extra cooling u may want to incluse is another case fan

That would depend on how much you plan to overclock the CPU.
With a mild OC (10-15%), your stock cooler should be able to handle it, but if you plan on more than that, I'd seriously consider an aftermarket cooler.

Personally, I'd go aftermarket, anyway.
They tend to cool more efficiently than the stock heatsink/fan.
On a non-overclocked CPU, going from the stock HSF to an aftermarket one, my temps dropped by 15C.

If you do decide to go aftermarket, be careful when selecting the HSF, as some of them are very large, and might not have the necessary clearance to fit in your case.
MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P, CPU: Phenom II X4 955 Deneb BE, HS/F: CoolerMaster V8, RAM: 2 x 1G Kingston HyperX DDR2 800, VGA: ECS GeForce Black GTX 560, PSU: Antec TruePower Modular 750W, Soundcard: Asus Xonar D1, Case: CoolerMaster COSMOS 1000, Storage: Internal - 2 x Seagate 250GB SATA, 2 x WD 1TB SATA; External - Seagate 500GB USB, WD 640GB eSATA, 3 x WD 1TB eSATA

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#8 DJBPace07

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Posted 26 September 2010 - 09:56 PM

Do use caution when choosing aftermarket coolers, you will void your three year warranty if you use an aftermarket cooler. However, should you have to send back the CPU, there is no way they would be able to determine if you used one, assuming you cleaned off the thermal paste off the stock cooler. Stock cooling should be enough unless you want to go past the 3.5 GHz. range on Phenom II X4 CPU's. Also, note that AMD has just recently released a new quad core CPU, the AMD Phenom II X4 970 Deneb 3.5GHz which is basically just a higher clocked version of the CPU you are getting.

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#9 trashcan7

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Posted 27 September 2010 - 12:44 AM

What's the price range of a decent aftermarket cooler?
I think I'll just stick with going to 3.5GHz and stay with the stock cooler. No reason to go crazy.

Graphics card - I think the 5750 will be good enough for me. How much better is the 5770? Is it worth the extra $20?

#10 DJBPace07

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Posted 27 September 2010 - 10:09 PM

The price range depends on the actual cooler itself, some can be as low as $20 or as high as $50. The Radeon 5750 is about 10 to 20 frames per second slower than a Radeon 5770 depeding on application and setup. For reference, 30 FPS is the bare minimum a card should be able to perform for a reasonable play experience, 30 to 40 FPS is considered average, 40 to 50 FPS is considered good, and anything above 60 FPS is best. I would spend the extra $20 since in the grand scheme of building this PC, $20 isn't really that much. Below is some reviews of the 5750 which can help.

When looking at reviews, try to find results that match the resolution you will be playing at for a more accurate picture on performance, also, the testing rigs these sites use are often very high end so take that into consideration while evaluating their results.

PC Perspective - AMD Radeon HD 5770 and HD 5750 Review - Juniper and DX11 for all
HardOCP - AMD ATI Radeon HD 5770 and HD 5750 Review
Tom's Hardware - Radeon HD 5770 And 5750 Review: Gentlemen, Start Your HTPCs

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#11 Blaze413

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 06:55 PM

for aftermarket cpu coolers...here a few ranging from least expensive to most:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...3-075-_-Product

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...5-096-_-Product

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...8-059-_-Product

and those are just a few..just make sure u get one that matches the am3 socket type on ure cpu :thumbsup:

#12 DJBPace07

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 10:05 PM

Warranty issues aside, aftermarket coolers can be great additions, especially if you're OC'ing. I've used the ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro on an old Socket 939 AMD system I have and really like it. Right now, I'm using the ZALMAN CNPS9700 LED 110mm in the Intel system I have, but it also supports AM3 CPU's.

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#13 tg1911

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 10:42 PM

Really like my CoolerMaster V8.
Does an outstanding job, and is quiet.
Would probably require a full-tower case, as it is fairly large.
MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P, CPU: Phenom II X4 955 Deneb BE, HS/F: CoolerMaster V8, RAM: 2 x 1G Kingston HyperX DDR2 800, VGA: ECS GeForce Black GTX 560, PSU: Antec TruePower Modular 750W, Soundcard: Asus Xonar D1, Case: CoolerMaster COSMOS 1000, Storage: Internal - 2 x Seagate 250GB SATA, 2 x WD 1TB SATA; External - Seagate 500GB USB, WD 640GB eSATA, 3 x WD 1TB eSATA

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