Putting together a new computer Please help

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ClockworkDream13
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Putting together a new computer Please help

Postby ClockworkDream13 » Tue Sep 15, 2009 2:18 am UTC

Well my computer is about four or so years old now, and I'd like to be able to play a couple of games that have come out recently and will be coming out. Combine this with a renewed source of income from getting a new job, and I think I'd like to build my own computer. So I'm going to list the parts which I've come to, say a bit about and feel free to evaluate and (Hopefully) suggest better options. I'm looking to spend about $1000-$1500 for a computer that can play pretty much any game on the Highest settings at a resolution of 1680 x 1050, with the exception of games that are/will be on the splitting edge and have incredible requirements.

First off, the case. I picked this one - ENERMAX Uber Chakra
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811124121
I'm neutral about LEDs personally, I've never used them before, and I figure if they are too bright I can just turn them off. This seems like a nice full-tower case that isn't too expensive and has some big case fans on it. From I understand the larger fans move more air (cooling better) and make less noise.

Next the power supply - Zephyr 1000W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817339030
Its a relatively cheap PSU at $180 for 1000w and after running my theoretical system through one of those power calculator things, I'm not sure which one, it came up with something around 850 watts. From what I've heard and read PSUs tend to have an advertised power which is larger than that which they really supply, plus I'd like to have the capacity to upgrade in the future. (Add another video card for crossfire)

Hard drive Western Digital 300GB Sata HDD 10K RPM
http://www.amazon.com/Western-Digital-3 ... 755&sr=1-2
For a little while I was trying to decide between getting a 10k rpm hard drive vs. getting two larger 7200 rpm hard drives and running them in RAID 0, but from what I've read, and there is a strong chance I'm wrong on this so feel free to correct me, running a 10k rpm hard drive is faster than running two 7200 rpm hard drives in RAID 0. Obviously I could run two 10k hard drives in RAID 0, but that would cost more money than I'm willing to spend right now, although it could be an option in the future.

Motherboard - MSI 790FX-GD70
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813130223
Picked this largely because it is compatible with the processor I'm looking at, provides opportunity for crossfire, and it uses DDR3 ram.

Processor - AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6819103692
Picked the 965 over the 2.6 ghz i7 because from what I've seen in benchmark test they are pretty comparable, both performing well in different areas. I've used primarily AMD processors up to this point and so I figured what the hell.

Video Card - Radeon HD 4780 2gb
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814102826
Picked this card for a couple of different reasons. I used a Radeon x1300 in my old computer and it has held up well over the years, so I'm somewhat biased for Radeon vs Nvidia. I wasn't sure about getting HD 4870 X2 because I've heard about overheating problems which is something I'd like to avoid. This card is right in the sweet spot as far as price as well, and Sapphire sends with a different fan than the stock one so hopefully I won't have any heating problems and it should reduce fan noise as well. I understand that as of right now the extra gig of video memory doesn't make too big of a difference but it seems to me that the problem is more with drivers not being able to utilize it, which means that as new drivers come out my card will be able to better utilize that extra gig. Plus the thought of getting two or maybe even three (It should be possible with my mobo, if someone could confirm this that would be great) of these and have 4-6 gigs of video ram makes me giggle a little bit considering my current computer only has a half-gig of of video ram and a 1 gig of ddr2 ram. But thats something I'd like to consider in the future, getting another one of these and doing the whole crossfire bit.

RAM - 6gb ddr3 1600 mhz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820227365
Just picked out some relatively cheap sticks that have a decent speed. I was having some difficulty finding a pack of 2 or 4 sticks of RAM it seems that most these days are selling in packs of three for reasons I can only begin to speculate at. Ideally I'd like to be able to get 8 gigs but I'm not sure if that's a viable option anymore or if I'm just missing something really obvious.

Well there it is. I'm keeping my 22" monitor I have now, although I'm considering picking up another for dual display at some point in the future. I have a keyboard and mouse, as well as some computer speakers, all of which will be upgraded or replaced sometime in the future, but its not really a concern. and I figure I can just pick up some $30-$40 disk drive. One of my questions is, is it worth to pick up a dedicated sound card? Is the difference noticeable? It seems to me on the computing side of things, processors are so fast nowadays that the processing power of CPUs are so much greater now that the burden a dedicated sound card takes off a CPU is pretty much negligible. As far as sound goes I'm a musician so I feel I do a fairly decent job of picking up sound, but I wouldn't consider myself an audiophile by any means. So you guys and gals recommend getting a sound card at some point in the future? Finally does anyone know of any good guides for actually building the machine. I've replaced parts in my computer like the video card and RAM, ect. I would like to think that I have tech level of about a solid medium, I'm not intimidated by when I look into the innards of a computer and I know what every major component is, so would a guide even be helpful, or is more of a case of just going "this screws in here".

Thanks a lot in advance for your time on this matter!

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J the Ninja
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Re: Putting together a new computer Please help

Postby J the Ninja » Tue Sep 15, 2009 5:39 am UTC

Are you sure you can turn of those LEDs? Usually, they are built into the case fans. You can't turn them off without opening the case up and unplugging the entire fan.

Next...the PSU....ok: "You get what you pay for." There is a reason that one is so cheap. I don't know where you got the idea you need a 1kw PSU for that rig. A 600-750w unit should be plenty, especially if you don't bother with the second GPU.

IMO, I'd do an SSD instead of a Velociraptor. In any case, all it will really do for gaming is speed loading times. It's really not worth it.
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Themata
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Re: Putting together a new computer Please help

Postby Themata » Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:51 am UTC

Be prepared to RMA that graphics card, though I'm not sure if the issue applies to 4870s, or is only for 4890s.

I got a 4890 Vapor-X a few weeks ago, got one from a faulty batch. Fan spins to 100% when I boot up the computer and fails to send any signal to the monitors. Multiple reboots later the system starts up properly. I did some research and it's happened to a lot of people. Apparently Sapphire have declared it as a hardware fault in a particular batch, I'm RMAing mine soon. Assuming you don't get the issue though, theyre beautiful cards and run very cool.

ClockworkDream13
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Re: Putting together a new computer Please help

Postby ClockworkDream13 » Tue Sep 15, 2009 2:52 pm UTC

J the Ninja wrote:Next...the PSU....ok: "You get what you pay for." There is a reason that one is so cheap. I don't know where you got the idea you need a 1kw PSU for that rig. A 600-750w unit should be plenty, especially if you don't bother with the second GPU.


When I ran it through the power calculator I did so with a couple of upgrades such as a second gpu, a sound card, ect. which would account for that. I wanted the option to do various upgrades. With that knowledge would it still be recommended that I get a lower wattage, but more reliable brand, evening out the cost to about what I have now?

Also what would be some good reliable brands of PSUs that aren't too expensive, and how significant is the risk of getting an off-brand/cheaper PSU.

Pinky's Brain
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Re: Putting together a new computer Please help

Postby Pinky's Brain » Tue Sep 15, 2009 3:15 pm UTC

I don't even think the PSU is cheap, a 850 Watt Corsair is 119$ after rebate ... that is a good deal BTW.

snet
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Re: Putting together a new computer Please help

Postby snet » Tue Sep 15, 2009 4:27 pm UTC

well im not allowed to post links but i came across a wikipedia article recently detailing the specs and requirements of the new series of ati cards coming out and they have octo-gpu solution coming out that requires 300watts idle and 2000 at peak so... maybe you want to wait a bit, and the release date it said on the article was near the end of october/

Carnildo
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Re: Putting together a new computer Please help

Postby Carnildo » Wed Sep 16, 2009 3:44 am UTC

ClockworkDream13 wrote:
J the Ninja wrote:Next...the PSU....ok: "You get what you pay for." There is a reason that one is so cheap. I don't know where you got the idea you need a 1kw PSU for that rig. A 600-750w unit should be plenty, especially if you don't bother with the second GPU.


When I ran it through the power calculator I did so with a couple of upgrades such as a second gpu, a sound card, ect. which would account for that. I wanted the option to do various upgrades. With that knowledge would it still be recommended that I get a lower wattage, but more reliable brand, evening out the cost to about what I have now?

I've got some serious doubts about any wattage calculator: the Newegg calculator says I should be using a 400W PSU for my system, but actual power usage peaks at around 160W measured at the wall, so I could probably use a 200W PSU.

Also what would be some good reliable brands of PSUs that aren't too expensive, and how significant is the risk of getting an off-brand/cheaper PSU.

The brands that I'm aware have reputations for quality are Enermax/Sparkle, Zalman, PC Power & Cooling, and Corsair. The risks of getting an off-brand PSU include explosion, fire, and the destruction of your computer (seriously: cheap PSUs have a habit of catching fire when overloaded or failing, where quality PSUs simply shut down). Lesser risks are instability, frequent crashes, and hard-to-trace malfunctions.

Kaldra
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Re: Putting together a new computer Please help

Postby Kaldra » Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:40 am UTC

My only comment is on the case. I have that exact case. Yes, the LEDs on the large side can be turned off. And the fan can blow in, out, or be off. Keep in mind though that the case is HUGE. As in, I get comments when anyone walks into my room "WOW that case is big." Having the I/O ports on the top is really helpful, but both of the USB ports broke. One physically broke, the little plastic piece in the center came out. And when that happened the other one stopped working. Other than the USB ports though, I love the case. It's a bit of a beast to haul to LAN parties and the like, but the cooling is incredible.

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cerbie
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Re: Putting together a new computer Please help

Postby cerbie » Fri Sep 18, 2009 12:55 am UTC

Next the power supply - Zephyr 1000W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817339030
Its a relatively cheap PSU at $180 for 1000w and after running my theoretical system through one of those power calculator things, I'm not sure which one, it came up with something around 850 watts. From what I've heard and read PSUs tend to have an advertised power which is larger than that which they really supply, plus I'd like to have the capacity to upgrade in the future. (Add another video card for crossfire)
Forget it. You're not running a quad-socket box with several GPUs. Get a 600W or so, to have some headroom. Chances are your peak draw will be under 250W, though, unless you have multiple high-end GPUs. 1kW is completely unnecessary.

I'm partial to Seasonic, Corsair, and Enhance, but the chances of going wrong with any 80+ supply that has good reviews are pretty slim.

Motherboard - MSI 790FX-GD70
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813130223
Picked this largely because it is compatible with the processor I'm looking at, provides opportunity for crossfire, and it uses DDR3 ram.
Expensive, but you do get more PCI-e. You can go down well under $100, but you do sacrifice PCI-e to do it. It's likely overkill, compared to finding a cheaper board with a 4x slot or two.

RAM - 6gb ddr3 1600 mhz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820227365
Just picked out some relatively cheap sticks that have a decent speed. I was having some difficulty finding a pack of 2 or 4 sticks of RAM it seems that most these days are selling in packs of three for reasons I can only begin to speculate at. Ideally I'd like to be able to get 8 gigs but I'm not sure if that's a viable option anymore or if I'm just missing something really obvious.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231277
Get two of those, if you want more RAM (cheapest 2x2 set w/ free shipping and good reviews). Three stick sets are because Intel's Xeon socket uses triple-channel, including the Core i7.

One of my questions is, is it worth to pick up a dedicated sound card?
If you want additional sound quality, yes. Current HDA chips, especially some of Realtek's, have great potential, but they are stuck right near switching power supply and digital I/O electronics, so often give you some noise. It can be worth it to have a soundcard, but give the onboard a chance, first.

It seems to me on the computing side of things, processors are so fast nowadays that the processing power of CPUs are so much greater now that the burden a dedicated sound card takes off a CPU is pretty much negligible. As far as sound goes I'm a musician so I feel I do a fairly decent job of picking up sound, but I wouldn't consider myself an audiophile by any means. So you guys and gals recommend getting a sound card at some point in the future?
Consider Echo, M-Audio, ESI, and E-MU (Creative) for prosumer stuff, at reasonable prices (which also includes exceptional stereo output quality for the cost), if you want to go higher than a basic Envy24 card.

Finally does anyone know of any good guides for actually building the machine.
http://www.mechbgon.com/build/index.html

Overall, though, also consider the new Core i5 CPUs from Intel. 90% of the goodness of the i7, but cheaper. That said, the Phenom II are priced competitively, so...
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Game_boy
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Re: Putting together a new computer Please help

Postby Game_boy » Sun Sep 20, 2009 2:40 pm UTC

CPU: Fine, though if you're not in it for absolutely max performance you can trade 200MHz for $55 and a few watts by going for a 955. Core i5 is roughly competitive price-wise with Phenom II.
GPU: Fine. However DX11 cards that should be much faster are coming out starting on the 23rd and through October.
Motherboard: You can get a lot cheaper on AM3 by going for a 770V or 785G board.
RAM: 3 sticks is only for Core i7. You want a 2x2GB setup. Don't worry, 4GB is still plenty.
PSU: Way too much. 600W would be perfect; I'd expect typical power consumption for that PC to be around 250W... (ignore the calculators and TDP ratings, they're worst-case)
Sound: If you can tell the difference between a normal and expensive stereo, or are an sound engineer, then yes. But integrated sound is good enough for the vast majority of applications.
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