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Gaming PC Build help?


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#1 BrianBuilds

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 02:09 AM

Hi there, I'm building a gaming pc. I have a few questions, and would also like you guys to help me look over the rest of the build. This is technically my first build, but I have experience building computers for other people. My goal of this build is first and foremost, reliability. I want it to last around 5 years. I'll probably overclock when I feel it's starting to get slow. Noise also concerns me, but I realize its either performance or noise, not both, especially when overclocking.

Plan to do some D3, BF3, and mostly RTS/TBS gaming. Rest of time browsing net, word processing, listening to music, watching movies. Might also run a VM, but obviously not while gaming. Might also get into movie editing and music production.

CPU: i5-2500k (already bought at Microcenter, cheap price)
Mobo: z77 Sabertooth (already bought at Microcenter, combo with CPU)
CPU Cooler: CM 212 Evo (may replace fans with quiet ones if it bothers me)
RAM: 8gb or 16gb of Corsair Vengeance Low Profile/Voltage White sticks (not sure if I should get 8 or 16)
Case: Corsair Vengeance C70 white, Antec 1100 (still looking around for choices, I like the look of C70, features of 550D, but require a window as well as front panel USB 3.0, I also like filters all over because I don't have the time for frequent maintenance)
Case fans: a few of the Cougar fans or the new Corsair fans
optical: cheapy OEM samsung burner (already have)
PSU: Corsair TX750M (already purchased off a great tiger deal for $77 before a $20 rebate)

Questions related to SSD/HD:
SSD: Looking to make use of Intel SRT (do not have the time nor the patience to monitor SSD capacity and uninstall/move things, this is best compromise for me), but can't decide on which SSD to use. I want 60-64gb for sure, emphasis on reliability/long life first, then performance second. Would also like a 5 year warranty. I've heard Intel ones are good, but even they have a few different ones out. Not sure which one to pick, or if I'd be better off with other brands. I've heard especially bad things about OCZ, will stay away.

HD: Will a 1TB Velociraptor be justified, or would I be better off with a 1TB Caviar Black, which is between 1/2 and 1/3 the price? I'm also concerned with noise, would either present a problem?

I have monitor, keyboard, and mouse, but want to replace my speakers. I want a good set of 2.1 channel speakers, was looking at the Corsair SP2200 but the eventual crackling scared me away.

You may have noticed I haven't mentioned a GPU. My system was able to handle all the games I wanted to play at settings I was satisfied with, so I won't be replacing the GPU until there's a taxing game out. I'll probably be getting the new GPU in early 2013 to play CoH 2. I'll just drop in my 8800gt for now, which is still running like a champ. Sadly, other parts had crapped out on me so I decided to build something new now. I will be ordering in a few days, and hopefully finished building within two weeks, assuming nothing needs to be RMAed.

Thanks for the help! :thumbsup:

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#2 DJBPace07

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 02:56 PM

I would get a larger capacity SSD, at least 120GB so you can at least launch a few programs from it besides the OS. Prices for SSD's are coming down thanks to competition. Intel SSD's are good, but there are other choices, such as Samsung, Corsair, Mushkin, and Crucial. I think, out of those, Samsung actually makes its own NAND memory. In a nutshell, all SRT does is use up to 64GB of SSD space in a RAID-0 format to make the cache of traditional hard drives a bit faster. You will still see better performance with a dedicated SSD, but SRT can be useful with traditional HDD's but don't expect a gigantic speed increase. Ultimately, the practical applications for SRT are going to be fewer over time as SSD prices are dropping.

As for the standard drive, the Velociraptor is good but it will generate heat and make more noise. I would simply get the WD Black as, in most PC's with an SSD, freqently used programs are on the SSD with the hard drive only holding user data (Music, movies, etc.) where speed isn't an issue. I keep my games on an 7200 RPM Western Digital Black and haven't noticed any bad effects.

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#3 BrianBuilds

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 08:59 PM

I would get a larger capacity SSD, at least 120GB so you can at least launch a few programs from it besides the OS. Prices for SSD's are coming down thanks to competition. Intel SSD's are good, but there are other choices, such as Samsung, Corsair, Mushkin, and Crucial. I think, out of those, Samsung actually makes its own NAND memory. In a nutshell, all SRT does is use up to 64GB of SSD space in a RAID-0 format to make the cache of traditional hard drives a bit faster. You will still see better performance with a dedicated SSD, but SRT can be useful with traditional HDD's but don't expect a gigantic speed increase. Ultimately, the practical applications for SRT are going to be fewer over time as SSD prices are dropping.


I've been reading up on SRT and it seems it can help the OS boot as fast as a dedicated OS SSD (since all the files are cached anyways). Besides that, I don't have a specific requirement for speed, but the biggest point is that even with a bigger SSD I would still have to manage files/applications and I really don't want to be doing that. I would still consider the 120gb SSDs because the rest can be used as a separate partition, but using a drive larger than 120GB has seemed to cause problems for other users (not sure how long ago that was and if it was patched). No matter the size, do all Intel SSDs have a 5 year warranty? Whats the difference between 330 and 520? And do other companies offer 5 year warranties?

Thanks for the suggestions, I'm more and more convinced that a Velociraptor is just throwing away money.

I'm still unsure about the amount of ram, a case, or speakers I could choose.

Edited by BrianBuilds, 02 July 2012 - 09:59 PM.


#4 DJBPace07

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 12:03 AM

I have an older Intel 160GB SSD and haven't had any problems, I've installed a 256GB SSD in another computer and it too has no issues. If you're going to go through the effort of setting up SRT and buying an SSD, you should may as well just get an SSD of a larger size and put the OS on it. It just seems simpler. If you get an SSD and use SRT with the traditional hard drive and install your applications on the SSD, the SRT will be of no use as everything will be on the fastest drive anyway. SRT seems to function best when loading applications. It just seems as though SRT is a stopgap measure until SSD prices become more affordable, at which point, SRT seems unnecessary.

Out of curiousity, may I ask why you don't want to mess around with keeping track of hard drive space? Unless you have a very small drive and tons of files with no organization on that drive, it's pretty simple and painless. By the way, in a similar vein, have you taken a look at the Windows 8 Storage Spaces?

Warranties on hard drives are typically three years, which makes sense as most problems manifest themselves within that time frame anyway. Traditional hard drives start to fail at about five years, but with SSD's, the reason for failure is different as there are no moving parts. Intel drives come with a five year limited warranty. All other manufacturers offer a three year warranty. In practice, unless the NAND memory is faulty or if there is some other kind of manufacturing defect, SSD's rarely fail and when they do, they are typically DOA or shortly thereafter.

The differences between Intel's 520 and 330 have to do with memory layout and firmware. The 520's use the SandForce controller and are considered enthusiast level parts, Intel brought this over to their 330 line and made it more affordable. The 330's are essentially a binned 520 with slower speeds, otherwise, they are nearly identical.

As for the other topics, RAM amount varies based on use. For a general home PC, I would go for 4GB, a gamer 8GB, someone who renders or manipulates data should have more. For the case, it depends on what kind of graphics card you will eventually get and whether or not you will be using more than one. If you go for enthusiast grade cards or use Crossfire/SLI, you may want a larger full ATX, otherwise, a mid ATX will do. Aluminum cases are often higher quality, side windows or vents will make the case more noisy. As for speakers, again, it depends. I use a simple pair of Logitech speakers I got five years ago, they're plain but do their job. However, when I want good immersive audio, something you cannot get on 2.1 speakers, I go for my AKG K-701 headphones, which are monitoring cans. With audio, the principle of garbage in/garbage out applies, the sound is only as good as the weakest link in the chain, the file, the audio chips, and the speakers. In other words, if your music collection is all from iTunes or ripped in a non-Lossless format, the best audio card or speakers won't make it sound much better.

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#5 dpunisher

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 06:43 AM

That Intel SRT was devised at a time that SSDs were bordering on really expensive, around $2.50+/gig. I remember when SSDs dropped to $2.00/gig and geeks were dancing in the streets. At this point in time, Intel SRT really is pointless for most, as SSD prices are under $.70/gig so 128 and 256 gig SSDs are affordable. I grabbed another M4 256gig to throw in my laptop a couple weeks ago when they dropped to $170.

DJBPace07 is right on with his advice.

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#6 rotor123

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 04:53 PM

My first and oldest Intel SSD is also a 300Gb 320 Series. I bought that size to make it easier to clone my boot drive. I bought it Before Intel changed the warranty on it to 5 Years. It has never given a problem.

One thing I do with all the SSDs in my computers is keep them approx 1/2 full.
The one in this computer is 75.8Gb free out of 111Gb and is loaded up with all my software and Win7-64.

I would trust Intel or Samsung SSDs. Excluding the Intel 520 Series I still do not trust the Sandforce 22xx controller based drives.

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#7 coxchris

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 11:01 PM

justr put my 2 cents

Corsair makes SSD I never had a problem with my drive I have http://www.corsair.com/us/ssd/force-series-gt-ssd/force-series-gt-90gb-sata-3-6gbps-solid-state-hard-drive.html

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#8 BrianBuilds

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 01:31 AM

After hearing the "larger" SSD talk from all you guys as well as some friends, I'm back to considering a storage setup. I could try to get the largest possible SSD that I can afford. The thing is, I'm still worried about app/data management. I'm a student, and don't have the off time to deal with or wait for file tranferring. When I do have off-time, I'd rather it be spent playing the games then managing them. Suggestions? How do you guys manage files/installs? I'll always have nightmares of when I was new to windows and computers and tried to just drag the whole program files folder elsewhere.

Also, I never heard of Storage Spaces, and a google search doesn't seem to come up with a really good explanation? How will it help? Maybe it'll convince me to make use of the $15 Windows 8 that my mom won't be using.

#9 coxchris

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 11:19 AM

Brian,

My setup consist of two hard drives:

Corsair GT SSD 90 for my OS and my favorite application like Itunes, google chrome, and etc
I have a 360 GB WD drive for my programs, games, and personal stuff.

There are many ways of using the cloud if that what you meant by storage spaces. Google Drive, Drop box, Skydrive

These programs are storage space inside the internet cloud. IE big flash drive or a postal box.

For example If I have a file with school work and I dont have a flash drive I can upload it to google drive and it will be there for me whenever i need it.

I use Google doc aka Google Drive to keep a record of PX-e booting and other inventory sheets at my volunteer job

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#10 DJBPace07

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 12:46 PM

Here's a (Long) MSDN article on Storage Spaces: Building Windows 8 - Virtualizing storage for scale, resiliency, and efficiency
A less dense account of Storage Spaces: Ars Technica - Windows 8 Storage Spaces detailed: pooling redundant disk space for all
An even less dense version: Supersite for Windows - Microsoft Talks Windows 8 Storage Spaces

I don't worry about running out of space. I have a 160GB Intel SSD with my OS and other frequently used programs, with my games on one 320GB Western Digital Black drive, with my music, movies, and other data files on one 750GB Western Digital Black drive. I haven't had to delete anything in years.

Edited by DJBPace07, 04 July 2012 - 12:47 PM.

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