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ShaneB
Oct 21, 2002



Welcome to the (even newer) Parts Picking and System Building Megathread! Three cheers to Crackbone for running the last one for over a year and keeping the OPs updated quite nicely.

Don't be scared! Don't be overwhelmed. It's easy to feel that way with the plethora of parts one can choose from to build a new system or upgrade an existing system. There are honestly not TOO many real options to choose from in the end, and the OPs will give you a few general system builds from which to work with. I will personally attempt to keep the system guides as up to date as possible.

First things first: read the OPs. They aren't that long and will probably answer 90% of the questions you might have. As much as you'd like to think you are a special snowflake with unique needs, you probably aren't. Or at least not special enough that your unique needs aren't brought up in the OPs.

Since we know everyone (including me) wants people to confirm that their choices are totally awesome and perfect, you are going to post a list of parts even if you choose from one of the recommended systems. You might even have questions about your list of parts.

PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF DEAD BABY JESUS, tell us the following:
- What's your budget?
- what your use-case(s) might be. Web surfing and Microsoft office? Casual gaming? Hardcore gaming? Video transcoding on a regular basis? 3D modeling? HTPC? Photo editing?
- How serious are your multimedia needs? Are you a pro or just a dabbler?
- If you're hardcore about gaming, what is your monitor resolution? How many pixels you want to push matters quite a bit.

ALSO we really love PC Part Picker. It lets you piece together a system and make a nice little cut-and-pasteable list for you to share with everyone in this thread. USE THIS when you are speccing out a system.

Guide links (or feel free to scroll down):
- Common building questions and guidelines
- Quick picks for hardware in various categories
- I'm building a whole new system! Recommend me everything! (or) Can I upgrade what I already have?

I think Tech Report's System Guide is a pretty good read as well, but they heavily favor some brands (like Corsair) due to sponsorships, and some of Corsair's parts (PRIMARILY their CX line of PSU's) are to be skipped.

If you have never put together a system before, don't worry. It's really astoundingly easy nowadays and almost kind of a pleasure to get everything hooked up and running. Tech Report has a nice long video documenting the process:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b85h_ujZ_vg

oh wait I mean

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ea_bs5G1yYU

The last thread is great, too!

ShaneB fucked around with this message at Apr 10, 2014 around 19:12

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ShaneB
Oct 21, 2002



COMMON QUESTIONS AND GUIDELINES - READ THESE
Updated 7/15/2014

1. Are prebuilt systems any good?
2. How can I future-proof my system?
3. Do I need lots of cores or Hyperthreading?
4. Intel or AMD CPU?
5. Help me understand Intel chipsets and CPUs!
6. Should I overclock? Do I need to overclock?
7. ATI or Nvidia graphics card? What brand? What about onboard graphics?
8. Should I run two graphics cards in Crossfire or SLI?
9. How much RAM do I need?
10. What kind of motherboard should I get?
11. How much wattage does my PSU need to have?
12. Do I need a sound card?
13. Do I need aftermarket cooling?
14. Should I get a solid state hard drive?
15. What kind of case should I get?
16. What monitor should I get?
17. Is Windows 8 worth upgrading to?
18. What gamepad should I get?
19. Can I just re-use my old hard drive?
20. I'm really not sure I can build this system myself. Can I pay someone to do it for me?
21. Should I get a Blu-Ray drive?
22. RAM: One sticks? Two sticks? Red sticks? Blue sticks?

1. Are prebuilt systems any good?
If you'll only be using office apps and web browsing, prebuilt systems are cheaper than building yourself. The more powerful you want your system, the more advantageous it becomes to build your own.
If you want a pre-built office box, stay with big name companies like Dell, HP. If you want a prebuilt gaming system (which we don't recommend) Falcon Northwest and Origin PC are good choices. Smaller vendors will cut corners on important hardware, overcharge, or both. The Dell Outlet or Lenovo Outlet has particularly good deals on lower-end hardware.
If you're on a tiny budget but still want to game, a Dell Outlet Inspiron + Geforce 750/750ti is your best bet. It won't win awards but you'll be able to game at an acceptable framerate.

2. How can I future-proof my system?
Funny story: you can't. Buy parts with the best price-to-performance value for your money now, and save the rest. Anything you buy today will be outclassed by what's available in 2-3 years, regardless of if you spent $1000 or $4000.
For example, if someone tried to future-proof a gaming system three years ago, they would have gotten an i7 2770, 16G DDR3, a GTX580, a 256G SSD, and paid ~$2500 for all of it. Today, a $1000 system picked from this guide would perform as well or better.
A $900-1200 system (excluding monitor/OS) can run current games with high settings at 1920x1200. If your system costs more than that, you're probably overspending.

3. Do I need lots of cores or Hyperthreading?
An non-hyperthreading, quad core CPU is probably, PROBABLY, your best choice. Why? Because more than 4 cores and hyperthreading (a feature found on Intel i7 CPUs) adds no performance in gaming/general desktop work, and sometimes actively makes things worse. Why is this? Because software isn't always designed for it. The extra cores or threads are only beneficial in heavy multimedia (video encoding/transcoding) or scientific applications that crunch a lot of data. Even the latest Adobe products like Photoshop and Lightroom don't utilize hyperthreading, which is kind of disappointing. So unless you have done your research and know your use-case(s) benefit from hyperthreading or more than 4 cores, get an Intel i5 CPU. You are not "future-proofing" your PC by getting an i7.

4. Intel or AMD CPU?
Intel Haswell (4000 series) CPUs are the best choice unless you have a very niche need. AMD chips have higher power usage and are still beaten soundly in single-thread performance.

5. Help me understand Intel chipsets and CPUs!
OK, so Intel socket 1150 is the only type that works with the Haswell CPUs. These come in Consumer and Business lines. The 87 series chipsets are now replaced with the 97 series, and the "B" line of motherboards are apparently gone. Your current choices in the 97 series are Z and H. Z is high end performance and overclocking, H is more consumer/business. But if you aren't overclocking H is almost certainly just fine for your needs, you aren't losing frames and clock cycles.

Basically if you want to overclock, you need a Z97 chipset motherboard (along with an Intel K-series processor). If you don't care about overclocking, your best bet will be going with a cheaper H97 chipset motherboard.

Intel CPUs come in K and non-K flavors. K CPUs can overclock, non-K cannot. As mentioned above, Z97 motherboards allow overclocking, others do not.

In summary:
- Best performance (for the money) without overclock: H97 + i5 4590.
- Best performance (for the money) with overclock: Z97 + i5 4690K.
- Cheap but functional Intel setup: H97 + i3 4360.

6. Should I overclock? Do I need to overclock?
SHOULD you overclock? It's pretty much "free" speed and you can get a signficant bump over stock on a $30 air cooler (the popular and recommended Hyper 212). However, you will have to buy a potentially more expensive Z97 motherboard and K-series processor to do so. Haswell CPUs also don't overclock to the same high clock speeds as previous generations of Intel CPUs, but are more efficient, making them clock-for-clock stronger. Do you NEED to overclock? It can be a fun activity for some people, and result in faster processing of photos as you import them into Lightroom, faster video encoding, a few more frames per second on your games, and so on. But a contemporary Haswell-based computer is drat fast. If you don't want to deal with overclocking, just stick with a non-K CPU and a H97 motherboard. We have a giant awesome thread all about overclocking here: http://forums.somethingawful.com/sh...hreadid=3465021

7. ATI or Nvidia graphics card? What brand?
Both companies have great cards. Both companies have competitive products. AMD cards have recently (in the past 3 months or so) been overpriced due to cryptocurrency miners buying them up, but that craze appears to have passed and R9 series cards seem to be available at original retail price once more. There is a GPU megathread here: http://forums.somethingawful.com/sh...hreadid=3484126

Nvidia has recently started the "Green Light" program, which requires board manufacturers to get approval on their board designs from Nvidia themselves. This should more-or-less enforce a base level of quality from every manufacturer. There are not, by my knowledge, ATI brands that stand out as being significantly more poor than others.

From The Lord Bude: EVGA cards tend to have coolers that cool the best in absolute terms, and overclock the highest, although they carefully bin their chips by overclocking potential to ensure all the best overclockers go into their more expensive premium editions. You'll get the overclocking potential that you pay for. EVGA has the best reputation for customer support, timely and generous RMA terms, etc. EVGA cards come with PrecisionX, which is literally the same software as afterburner with a different skin.

MSI has the quietest cooler, although it isn't quite as cool as the EVGA one (the difference is pretty much academic though).

Asus cards seem to have a more aggressive stock fan profile that can lead to loudness, but this can be dialed back in software. Gigabyte cards tend to be aimed at people who don't want to tweak their card - they often bring out the model with the highest out of the box overclock. They also have their own software for overclocking although under the hood it's more than likely the same thing that powers precisionX and afterburner.

Ultimately, read some reviews, try and find roundups that compare the same card across multiple brands, or read multiple reviews from the same site.

You can certainly feel free to use onboard graphics if you don't really do any gaming. It works quite well.

8. Should I run two graphics cards in Crossfire or SLI?
A $200-300 card will handle every contemporary game at 1920x1200/1080 at high or ultra settings at 60FPS or so. Dual card solutions require more power, run hotter, and depending on the game don't benefit at all or suffer weird performance issues. SLI can be useful in certain circumstances like tri-monitor gaming, 3D gaming, or resolutions over 1200p.

Pros:
  • Potentially higher minimum framerates over even the single fastest GPUs in some situations
  • Higher average framerates for graphically demanding games
  • You can purchase a 2nd card later to add to SLI/CFX at usually cheaper prices if you want more performance later on
  • Two lower-end cards in SLI/CFX can provide the same framerates as one higer-end card for potentially lower cost
  • More capable of handling multi-monitor and very high resolution setups

Cons:
  • Requires a beefier and more expensive power supply to handle the extra video card(s)
  • Creates more heat and noise
  • Requires planning when buying or building a computer, as without the right motherboard SLI/CFX is useless
  • Some games don't work with SLI/CFX
  • Some games require driver fixes for stability
  • Some games perform worse with SLI/CFX
  • Screen tearing and micro-stuttering can occur
  • Requires a case that can handle multiple video cards without issue

9. How much RAM do I need?
8GB of DDR3 1600 (1.5v or lower) is more or less the current sweet spot. Yes, even if you are doing photo editing or gaming. If you are doing professional-level A/V or scientific work, faster RAM (DDR1866) can net you single-digit performance increases in specific tasks. We very much do not like RAM with large heatsinks or fins, because they don't help and can get in the way of other parts, especially CPU coolers. See question 22 for more RAM discussion.

10. What kind of motherboard should I get?
The Quick Pick boards are solid boards with everything an average user needs. You shouldn't spend more than what those boards cost unless you need specific ports, features, or SLI/CrossFire support. MicroATX boards are as full-featured as full ATX boards, so mATX may be preferable to get a smaller system footprint, unless you KNOW you need all those slots.

11. How much wattage does my PSU need to have?
Wattage is not the most important choice when buying a PSU. The power supply is the only part of your system that can destroy everything else in your computer, so buy a well-constructed unit from a reliable brand. Also, any PSU, even a good brand, should probably be replaced after ~5 years.

We recommend:
- Corsair (but NOT CX/Builder Series models. Why? Because there are better PSUs for the money than the CX series. They aren't TERRIBLE, just not good.)
- Seasonic
- Antec (Earthwatt or True Power series)
- XFX

Other brands may cut corners or give deceptive power ratings. There are other good brands, but it's impossible to keep a comprehensive list. Below are general wattage guidelines. These recommendations only care about your video card - the other components in a system don't vary enough to matter for PSU sizing.

- Integrated graphics/no PCIe power plug on the video card: 300w
- 1 PCIe power plug on the card: 400w
- 2 PCIe power plugs on card: 500w

12. Do I need a sound card?
Most likely not. Onboard sound is quite good and some recent tests have shown high-end Realtek audio chipsets to compete with far more expensive ones found in discrete equipment. However, there HAVE been issues with onboard sound having some bugs (buzzing, crackling) on certain motherboards, so read reviews. If you are doing audio production work or have high end speakers or headphones, you might look at something like an Asus Xonar card. You can also talk in dedicated audiophile/music production threads for more information.

13. Do I need aftermarket cooling?
The included stock CPU cooler is adequate for general use. Aftermarket cooling can make things quieter and cooler, and better support overclocking. Modern heatpipe-heatsinks offer great performance while being cheaper and easier to install. The larger air heatsinks like Noctua and Phanteks offerings best most watercooling setups with lower noise, but are huge and cost quite a bit. Watercooling is best reserved for people who have less room, want to take up less room, or want to spend a bit less than the large heatsinks. For cases, airflow and cooling is not really a big deal; any modern case with front and rear 120mm fans will be fine even with overclocking and a powerful GPU. If you are worried about a few degrees C difference between case choices, read external reviews to see how they fare in cooling tests.

14. Should I get a solid state hard drive?
Probably. Absolutely? They make using a computer kind of awesome and could be considered the greatest benefit for day-to-day computing that has come around in a long time. Windows starts faster, apps open quicker, game levels load faster, and so on. (Note: there weirdly is no real benefit for storing and processing photos on a SSD, because you are essentially CPU limited. Just a sidenote.)

We recommend a 120G drive at minimum, or 240+ if your budget will allow it. The default choice right now is the Samsung Evo series. If you want something else we HIGHLY recommend you visit the SSD Thread, as there are a lot of sub-par drives out there now. You want to keep about 20% of your SSD free for best performance, and games keep getting bigger, so keep that in mind.

15. What kind of case should I get?
You do not need a full-tower case. Modern mid-tower cases can fit a large heatsink, dual video cards, 4+ hard drives, fans, and still have room for cable routing. While almost any case will get the job done, a well made case will make building and maintaining your system much easier. "Airflow" is not an issue - 2x120mm fans are plenty, and more fans will be noisier and possibly even detrimental to cooling.

Look for:
Tool-less drive mounting
Removable dust filters
Cable routing
Noise reduction paneling

Avoid:
Full-tower sizes
4+ fans pre-installed
Bundled PSUs

The Quick Pick has some best-in-class cases.

16. What monitor should I get?
This is too big a subject to cover here very well, but: There are two main display types: IPS and TN. IPS is far better than TN, and is affordable even on a budget. Some of the best-in-class IPS screens are the Dell Ultrasharp line. TN should be reserved for people who must have 120Hz screens.
Additionally, screens commonly come in 16:9 aspect ratio, which is fine, but many people swear by (more expensive) 16:10 screens.
You can read more in the Monitor and Display Megathread

17. Is Windows 8 worth upgrading to?
If you're buying a new OS, get Win 8.1 64-bit. It's MS's newest OS and will get the lion's share of MS's attention for patches/security updates. If you can't stand the new start screen you can get Win-7 style replacements (like Classic Shell) for free.
If you have an existing Win 7 license you don't need to upgrade, any OS before that we recommend you upgrade.

18. What gamepad should I get?
The Microsoft Xbox 360 controller. It works out of the box with Vista and up, and is the default gamepad on most PC games. Wired is cheapest but you can buy a pack with an official MS wireless adapter as well (avoid knockoff units).

19. Can I just re-use my old hard drive?
Research from large data centers (like Google) has indicated that past 3 years drive reliablity is significantly more sketchy. If you have a hard drive that is older than 3 years old, you should seriously think about replacing it, or only storing data you don't care about losing.

20. I'm really not sure I can build this system myself. Can I pay someone to do it for me?
PC stores (like Micro Center in the USA) will often build your PC for you for a small fee. Be wary of sales pressure, as sales people will often want to move certain parts. Go in knowing what you want and don't listen to their evil lies. The Lord Bude recommends PCcasegear in Australia as having awesome prebuilts, with no markup beyond assembly fee, that all use goon approved parts and don't rip you off.

21. Should I get a Blu-Ray drive?
Blu-Ray player software isn't free or included with most off-the-shelf blu-ray drives. You can get one of the best quality blu-ray players in a used PS3 for drat cheap, with the added benefit of playing a ton of fabulous video games. If you really use your PC for everything you do, and like owning physical media, it's up to you to determine if it is worth it. But realize playback software isn't free.

22. RAM: One sticks? Two sticks? Red sticks? Blue sticks?
So while arguments could potentially be made that a single stick of RAM is just peachy, you are effectively cutting your memory bandwidth in half by running one stick instead of two. There is basically no reason not to run dual sticks of RAM. Also: 1.5v RAM (which is what you should buy) has no need for heat spreaders and big goofy heatsinks with fins that stick up over the RAM. Do not get RAM with that crap, as it may impede heatsink installation.

ShaneB fucked around with this message at Jul 15, 2014 around 14:19

ShaneB
Oct 21, 2002



Quick Picks
Updated 7/15/2014

NOTE: THIS IS NOT A DEFINITIVE LIST!!!
This list has some of the "best values" for gaming/general desktop use, and should only be used as a starting point.

All QP links go to the PC Part Picker website, which shows pricing from various retailers.

Intel CPU


Intel Motherboard
Hey, don't get any of the MSI "Gaming" boards, which feature a network interface that can and will bluescreen your computer.

Memory
Note: Arguments, strong arguments, could be made for running 8 Gigs of DDR3 1866

Graphics
Graphic card prices are always in flux. AMD cards have recently been overpriced in most locations because of the bit/alt/dogecoin rush, but seem to be available and back to mostly normal prices. The whims and wishes of the cryptocoin fans are hard to understand, however, so this may chance at a moment's notice.

Nvidia vs AMD options in these tiers are quite competitive. Certain games may be better optimized for one or the other, so read reviews to make your decisions.

Anandtech has some pretty slick benchmarks, allowing you to quickly compare FPS for various games on different GPUs. Realize these are not absolute numbers, but are definitely something you can use to make a decision.


If you think you need higher than this you are either lying to yourself or REALLY like frames per second. But feel free to look at Radeon r9 290x's and 780ti's, both of which are not great values in the least.


Hard Drive

People really like adding WD Black drives to their proposed builds, thinking they need really fast 7200 RPM drives. You don't need these. They are more expensive, louder, consume more power and are generally not necessary. You have a SSD for your OS and apps and games. Your MP3s, digital images, and MKVs can all load just fine from a slightly lesser drive than a WD Black.

Solid State Drives

Optical

Cases

Power Supplies
As long as you select based on # of PCI-E plugs, these choices are interchangeable. Buy on price and efficiency, not power. The only exception is modular units, which let you connect only the cables you need. See who makes many PSUs here.


Wireless Adapter

Monitors
In general, most LCDs will be fine for the average user, and price is the biggest driver. I don't want to suggest things in here, because there are so many interesting options and price points for a monitor. Go to the SA Monitor Megathread for suggestions.


Aftermarket Cooling

There are a number of closed-loop, easy to install, watercooling solutions available to users now. If you want to get into watercooling vs. air-cooling, it would behoove you to talk in the Overclocking Megathread.

Operating System

Gamepads

Recommended Vendor List
In the U.S.:
NewEgg, Amazon, NCIX, Micro Center often has CPU prices that beat everyone else, and package deals for quality motherboards, but these prices are usually in-store only

Canada:
NCIX, Canada Computers, DirectCanada

Europe:
Amazon UK, SCAN Computers, Aria

Australia
ITSDirect, Umart, PC Case Gear

Japan
Tsukumo, Twotop

ShaneB fucked around with this message at Jul 15, 2014 around 14:18

ShaneB
Oct 21, 2002



SYSTEM SUGGESTIONS
Updated 5/18/2014

Q: I'm building a totally new system, what should I get?

Great, read below.

The "Goons will like this" base system

The "Goons will like this AND I want to overclock" base system

The "SA Value" base system

The "SA Penny-Pincher" base system

Q: Wait, can I just upgrade from my existing system?

Honestly, if you have a pretty fast Intel 2-series (Sandy Bridge) or Intel 3-series (Ivy Bridge) CPU and motherboard, and just want your games to run better, you can quite possibly just throw a new GPU in there (see above) and be plenty happy. If you don't yet have an SSD, think about getting one of those for your OS, apps, and games. These two upgrades will breathe plenty of new life into your system. If you have an overclocking 2-series or 3-series CPU, think about throwing $30 into an aftermarket cooler and overclocking your CPU - these series overclock quite well. Even Nehalem i5/i7 CPUs are totally fine for a lot of users, depending on your expectations.

If you have something older than even THAT, you might want to seriously think about building from the ground up - a new CPU, motherboard, RAM, with other things you believe are necessary.

ShaneB fucked around with this message at May 18, 2014 around 17:33

ShaneB
Oct 21, 2002



Feel free to suggest changes, additions, or write parts that I can plug into the OPs.

The Lord Bude
May 23, 2007

I'M DISAPPOINTED THAT CORTANA WILL BE A CIRCLE AND NOT THE ACTUAL SEXY WOMAN FROM THE GAME.


I assume it was a typo when you suggested H81 or B85 chipset mobos for high non overclocking performance. H81 is the ultra barebones not worth it chipset for people who need the cheapest possible system, you should have said H87, which is similar to B85.

Also the Antec True power Classic PSUs are seasonic built and are useful for people who need a 140mm PSU.

Your case section:

You should add the corsair obsidian 250D to the mITX section, and the Obsidian 450D to the mid tower section. I would also suggest adding the coolermaster N200 and corsair SPEC cases as Ultra budget options.

CPU coolers: The NH-D14 is pretty old now, Noctua's new NH-U14s outperforms it depending on the review you read. You should at the very least add the U12s and U14s to the list.

PC stores: Add ITSdirect to the list of Australian Stores. They are from my experience best in class for customer service, prompt shipping, and computer assembly.

You might also want to note that for people too nervous to build themselves, PC stores often will build your PC for you from your list of parts for a small fee. Also, PCcasegear in Australia has awesome prebuilts, with no markup beyond assembly fee, that all use goon approved parts and don't rip you off. If someone in Australia wants a prebuilt gaming pc, they should go there.

edit: made more suggestions

edit2: tell people about pros/cons of blu-ray drives (don't be judgemental about it though), also this is a good site I found where you can see who the OEM of PSUs are:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews...rer,2913-4.html

You should also tell people to refer to johnnyguru reviews.

The Lord Bude fucked around with this message at Apr 8, 2014 around 16:05

Ignoarints
Nov 26, 2010


Still supporting SLI more but all in all, sweet OP

Crackbone
May 23, 2003

Vlaada is my co-pilot.


Nap Ghost

You changed poo poo in my OP! I would have never agreed to you taking over the thread had I known that. Fucker.

Seriously though, I dig the changes.

Crackbone fucked around with this message at Apr 8, 2014 around 16:12

novak
Aug 8, 2006

Turnin' on the screw

Can I get an opinion on my new build? The rig is going to be used only for gaming, not planning on overclocking. HDD + OS and eveverything else missing will be recycled from an older machine. Case is going to be a Fractal Design R4.

DrAlexanderTobacco
Jun 11, 2012

Help me find my true dharma

Unless I've missed it in the (Excellent) OP, Logical Increments is a fantastic site to get a good idea of what components are in what price range, and what they'd go well with WRT other components.

Ignoarints
Nov 26, 2010


novak posted:

Can I get an opinion on my new build? The rig is going to be used only for gaming, not planning on overclocking. HDD + OS and eveverything else missing will be recycled from an older machine. Case is going to be a Fractal Design R4.



It looks fine but do you need hyperthreading? I7 xeons seem to be a good idea if you need an i7 but I imagine a 4570 is still cheaper (and slightly faster)

Ocular
Sep 20, 2005

I am currently saving up for BRATZ Forever diamonds set

Hi guys, just wanted to say thank you for such a greatly informative thread. My current PC has finally thrown in the towel after a number of years, and lately I've been itching to upgrade. My current PC started shutting off randomly a few weeks ago, and the frequency of the shutdowns became much more common until it would stay on for maybe 2-3 hours before just shutting off completely. Most of the time after a shutdown it would not even POST for a while. Eventually I was able to have it boot up successfully, consistently, however it's now just locking up after 3-5 minutes in Windows, Safe mode, BIOS, whatever. Luckily, I've run into a good chunk of cash and have decided to take the plunge on a new build. This current PC is simply a nightmare at this point, and so far out of date.

My general uses for this build will primarily be heavy gaming and streaming video at 1920x1200 with the liklihood of a secondary monitor at some point. I don't intend to increase the resolution beyond 1920x1200, if I do acquire a secondary monitor it would just be for general use while in a game and such. Please forgive my overall ignorance, I've been out of this game for a long time.

Unfortunately I have had poor experiences ordering hardware online, and have opted to simply purchase all my components directly through my local Canada Computers. The price is generally the same, with the exception of a few sales here and there.

Simply put, at 1920x1200 I'm aiming for top end performance with all/most new releases, to be more specific, I'll be playing a lot of Arma 2 and 3, as well as DayZ Standalone and Planetside 2, amongst other fairly graphically/CPU intensive games. I'm hoping to build a system that will last me a fair while, although I fully acknowledge that future proofing is impossible. I just want a system that will keep my rear end covered for the next fair while, essentially. I'd certainly love to max out Arma and DayZ with no issues, initially, but of course I am looking to perform well in new releases coming up. My goal is to just run everything more or less totally maxed out with no issues, if possible.

My build is based mainly off the OP with any changes just to accommodate the fact that I am buying locally. The build I have thrown together quickly is as follows. Any advice is greatly appreciated. All components are available at my local Canada Computers immediately.

quote:

Intel Core i5-4670K Quad-Core Processor
ASUS GeForce GTX 760 2GB GDDR5 (GTX760-DC2OC-2GD5)
MSI Z87-G45 Gaming Socket 1150 Intel Z87 Chipset
Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600MHz
Corsair Carbide Series 330R Quiet Mid Tower ATX Case
Seasonic G-650 Modular 80PLUS Gold 650W PSU
Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5" SATA 6Gb/s Solid State Drive

I intend to do some overclocking, but I'm not sure what aftermarket cooler I should be aiming for, for the CPU, would the stock cooler be ample enough for moderate overclocking of this chip?

I am able to salvage my 800gb of internal storage, along with my 2TB external drive. I really want this SSD however I am contemplating dropping the SSD from this build for the time being just to bring the initial costs down, then in a short while I would order it online as locally it appears relatively pricey, and online I can save something like $50. It's not a huge deal or anything. I've never used an SSD, so if they are as amazing as they seem I might just throw caution to the wind and spend the cash on it.

My budget is strange, realistically I have a budget of around $1500, but I'd prefer not to spend all of it. This build along with the SSD comes to roughly $1200 locally, which is a comfortable spot for me, so I am prepared to take the plunge. I`d just certainly appreciate a sanity check with this build. Thanks again!

One other thing, I couldn`t help but be tempted by an i7-4770K and GTX 770; looking over the price to performance ratio it really doesn`t seem worth it. For heavy gaming at 1920x1200 would I be perfectly set with the build I put together or is there really any reason I should even be considering the 4770K and GTX 770? Thanks so much in advance, I really appreciate it. Sorry for rambling.

Ardlen
Sep 30, 2005
WoT

If you are going to be overclocking, you shouldn't use the stock cooler.

For gaming, there is no reason to get a 4770K. The 770 is a maybe.

Ignoarints
Nov 26, 2010


Ocular posted:

Hi guys, just wanted to say thank you for such a greatly informative thread. My current PC has finally thrown in the towel after a number of years, and lately I've been itching to upgrade. My current PC started shutting off randomly a few weeks ago, and the frequency of the shutdowns became much more common until it would stay on for maybe 2-3 hours before just shutting off completely. Most of the time after a shutdown it would not even POST for a while. Eventually I was able to have it boot up successfully, consistently, however it's now just locking up after 3-5 minutes in Windows, Safe mode, BIOS, whatever. Luckily, I've run into a good chunk of cash and have decided to take the plunge on a new build. This current PC is simply a nightmare at this point, and so far out of date.

My general uses for this build will primarily be heavy gaming and streaming video at 1920x1200 with the liklihood of a secondary monitor at some point. I don't intend to increase the resolution beyond 1920x1200, if I do acquire a secondary monitor it would just be for general use while in a game and such. Please forgive my overall ignorance, I've been out of this game for a long time.

Unfortunately I have had poor experiences ordering hardware online, and have opted to simply purchase all my components directly through my local Canada Computers. The price is generally the same, with the exception of a few sales here and there.

Simply put, at 1920x1200 I'm aiming for top end performance with all/most new releases, to be more specific, I'll be playing a lot of Arma 2 and 3, as well as DayZ Standalone and Planetside 2, amongst other fairly graphically/CPU intensive games. I'm hoping to build a system that will last me a fair while, although I fully acknowledge that future proofing is impossible. I just want a system that will keep my rear end covered for the next fair while, essentially. I'd certainly love to max out Arma and DayZ with no issues, initially, but of course I am looking to perform well in new releases coming up. My goal is to just run everything more or less totally maxed out with no issues, if possible.

My build is based mainly off the OP with any changes just to accommodate the fact that I am buying locally. The build I have thrown together quickly is as follows. Any advice is greatly appreciated. All components are available at my local Canada Computers immediately.


I intend to do some overclocking, but I'm not sure what aftermarket cooler I should be aiming for, for the CPU, would the stock cooler be ample enough for moderate overclocking of this chip?

I am able to salvage my 800gb of internal storage, along with my 2TB external drive. I really want this SSD however I am contemplating dropping the SSD from this build for the time being just to bring the initial costs down, then in a short while I would order it online as locally it appears relatively pricey, and online I can save something like $50. It's not a huge deal or anything. I've never used an SSD, so if they are as amazing as they seem I might just throw caution to the wind and spend the cash on it.

My budget is strange, realistically I have a budget of around $1500, but I'd prefer not to spend all of it. This build along with the SSD comes to roughly $1200 locally, which is a comfortable spot for me, so I am prepared to take the plunge. I`d just certainly appreciate a sanity check with this build. Thanks again!

One other thing, I couldn`t help but be tempted by an i7-4770K and GTX 770; looking over the price to performance ratio it really doesn`t seem worth it. For heavy gaming at 1920x1200 would I be perfectly set with the build I put together or is there really any reason I should even be considering the 4770K and GTX 770? Thanks so much in advance, I really appreciate it. Sorry for rambling.

SSD's kick rear end for your OS, and loading times in some games. This kind of sounds trivial until you actually own one. It's hard not to recommend one to anybody if they have the money for it.

The jump from 4670k to 4770k is discussed a lot, but for gaming it simply it isn't worth it. The jump from 760 to 770 is significant enough to justify the cost. Planetside 2 is in my experience almost entirely CPU limited (to clarify, not improved enough by hyperthreading to buy an i7 though). Arma 3 is just intense overall. I highly recommend considering a 770 for Arma alone

http://www.techspot.com/review/712-...arks/page3.html

(oh hey look, a very rare 660ti SLI benchmark hooray)

Ignoarints fucked around with this message at Apr 8, 2014 around 17:27

Coxswain Balls
Jun 3, 2001



College Slice

ShaneB posted:

18. What gamepad should I get?
The Microsoft Xbox 360 controller. It works out of the box with Vista and up, and is the default gamepad on most PC games. Wired is cheapest but you can buy a pack with an official MS wireless adapter as well (avoid knockoff units).

What's wrong with the knockoff units? The one I got from DX has worked great for over a year and didn't force me to buy another controller I didn't need. The only hassle is a slight modification to the official device driver so it sees the 3rd party unit, but otherwise it functions exactly the same as the first party adapter.

rumspringa57
May 7, 2007


For those wondering if Xeons can be used as a cheaper alternative to an i7 minus the integrated GPU, my experience says yes, they can.

I just built a machine with a Xeon E3-1240 V3 (http://pcpartpicker.com/part/intel-cpu-bx80646e31240v3) and a Z87 board (http://pcpartpicker.com/part/asrock...d-z87mocformula). No CPU issues so far. I'm pretty sure this board and CPU combo can support VT-d too. At least there was a BIOS setting to enable it.

On the other hand, I've had a hell of a time getting the Linux NVidia drivers to work properly with the GTX 750 Ti.

beejay
Apr 7, 2002



Toilet Rascal

DrAlexanderTobacco posted:

Unless I've missed it in the (Excellent) OP, Logical Increments is a fantastic site to get a good idea of what components are in what price range, and what they'd go well with WRT other components.

It's really not fantastic. It recommends a whole bunch of bad things like AMD processors all over the place, as well as really off-the-wall motherboard recommendations. The power supply recommendations range from "eh" to "way overkill" and don't make sense. The SSD recommendations are poor. The video card recommendations don't really line up the way that most of us would suggest. Also the entire thing is based on weird tiers of price instead of taking into account what people are actually going to do with the computers. So yeah. Just use this thread.

Crackbone
May 23, 2003

Vlaada is my co-pilot.


Nap Ghost

Coxswain Balls posted:

What's wrong with the knockoff units? The one I got from DX has worked great for over a year and didn't force me to buy another controller I didn't need. The only hassle is a slight modification to the official device driver so it sees the 3rd party unit, but otherwise it functions exactly the same as the first party adapter.

They're knockoff units, so there's no certainty they'll work. It's good you got a good one but it's not typically that simple.

Crackbone
May 23, 2003

Vlaada is my co-pilot.


Nap Ghost

DrAlexanderTobacco posted:

Unless I've missed it in the (Excellent) OP, Logical Increments is a fantastic site to get a good idea of what components are in what price range, and what they'd go well with WRT other components.

Sorry, logical increments is poo poo. It tries to flowchart a PC in discrete categories of cost, which doesn't work, and it doesn't take into account what you're doing with the PC, which is more important.

OnceIWasAnOstrich
Jul 22, 2006



I currently have a computer that is mostly ~3 years old with a nicely overclocked 2500k. I don't see much point to replacing the CPU considering all the other things that would need to be replaced and the minimal improvement over a 4.6ghz Sandy Bridge. I do have a 2gb 7850 that doesn't quite cut it for the 1440p monitors I am using. I am thinking about the options I have for replacing the graphics card.

The main problem I have is the power supply in this computer is a 5 year old Seasonic 430W. First of all it hits the 5 year warranty expiration next week, so I'm starting to worry about it lasting, but also I am not sure if it could even handle a ~230W GPU on top of what is probably ~130-140W for the overclocked processor in addition to all of the hard drives and random other crap in the system. Is it time for a new power supply?

Also, I don't think this is the solution, but I have also considered adding a second 7850, since it seems to have relatively comparable performance to a 770, maybe a little better excluding any Crossfire issues (which I am not that familiar with, is it still terrible?) and would be probably $250 cheaper, $200 if I managed to sell the 7850, and $150 cheaper than a 760 which it significantly outperforms.

Ignoarints
Nov 26, 2010


OnceIWasAnOstrich posted:

I currently have a computer that is mostly ~3 years old with a nicely overclocked 2500k. I don't see much point to replacing the CPU considering all the other things that would need to be replaced and the minimal improvement over a 4.6ghz Sandy Bridge. I do have a 2gb 7850 that doesn't quite cut it for the 1440p monitors I am using. I am thinking about the options I have for replacing the graphics card.

The main problem I have is the power supply in this computer is a 5 year old Seasonic 430W. First of all it hits the 5 year warranty expiration next week, so I'm starting to worry about it lasting, but also I am not sure if it could even handle a ~230W GPU on top of what is probably ~130-140W for the overclocked processor in addition to all of the hard drives and random other crap in the system. Is it time for a new power supply?

Also, I don't think this is the solution, but I have also considered adding a second 7850, since it seems to have relatively comparable performance to a 770, maybe a little better excluding any Crossfire issues (which I am not that familiar with, is it still terrible?) and would be probably $250 cheaper, $200 if I managed to sell the 7850, and $150 cheaper than a 760 which it significantly outperforms.

My only exposure to crossfire was two 7870's and it ran like poo poo. That was years ago though. It is probably time for a new power supply however, and definitely so if you plan another video card

Bingemoose
Mar 23, 2014

Hurr Durr muts saf gotam cety

Anybody have any thing bad to say about the alphacool nexXxuS ut60 360mm?

Also does it fit in the corsair 450d case?

Siroc
Oct 10, 2004

Ray, when someone asks you if you're a god, you say "YES"!


ShaneB posted:

High/ultra quality 1920x1080 gaming:
[*]GTX 760
[*]Radeon r9 270x

Absolutely maxing out 1080p, medium/high quality gaming at higher than 1920x1200, 3 Screen Gaming, 3D gaming:
[*]GTX 770
[*]Radeon r9 280x

I'm being too picky here. There's an ultra-high quality 1080p listing, but jumps straight to higher than 1920x1200. What's low/high quality for 1920x1200?

Edit: I saw the Corsair 350D was on sale after rebate for $59.99. Anyone have complaints about it's noise level?

Siroc fucked around with this message at Apr 8, 2014 around 18:20

Hace
Feb 13, 2012

<<Mobius 1, Engage.>>


Interchangeable with 1920x1080, honestly. A 1200p display might run 1 or 2 fps slower than a 1080p display with the same GPU, but it's hardly anything to worry about.

A 760/270X is what you should be looking at, basically.


e: As an owner of a 350D, it's plenty quiet for me. It doesn't really attempt to suppress noise however, so if you want something super silent you might prefer. the DS4 or a Define Mini.

Also somebody messed up, because the 450D is mid-tower ATX case, not an mATX case

Q: Wait, can I just upgrade from my existing system?

Honestly, if you have a pretty fast Intel 2-series (Sandy Bridge) or Intel 3-series (Ivy Bridge) CPU and motherboard, and just want your games to run better, you can quite possibly just throw a new GPU in there (see above) and be plenty happy. If you don't yet have an SSD, think about getting one of those for your OS, apps, and games. These two upgrades will breathe plenty of new life into your system. If you have an overclocking 2-series or 3-series CPU, think about throwing $30 into an aftermarket cooler and overclocking your CPU - these series overclock quite well.

If you have something older than Sandy Bridge, you might want to seriously think about building from the ground up - a new CPU, motherboard, RAM, with other things as you believe are necessary.
[/quote]

I'm probably being pedantic, but I'd say even Nehalem i5/i7 CPUs are totally fine for a lot of users, depending on their expectations.

Hace fucked around with this message at Apr 8, 2014 around 18:30

atomicthumbs
Dec 26, 2010


We're in the business of extending man's senses.


The Aerocool DS-Cube is a pretty good Micro-ATX case.

Maybe the OP should have a list of brands to avoid, and why (Gigabyte's motherboard fudgery, Seagate's failure rates, etc.)

track day bro!
Feb 17, 2005



Grimey Drawer

Ok to follow up from this post I dug out the box for my psu which is apparently a seasonic s12.

To be fair a friend did give me it because he planned a build and then went out and bought a different powersupply so this one was never used, but it is way older than I realised. Although it sat completely unopened in the box for years, I dont think its going to be haswell compatible.

But after googling, the xfx offering in the op doesnt appear to be compatible either? So would this one be any good?

Crackbone
May 23, 2003

Vlaada is my co-pilot.


Nap Ghost

smelly cabin filter posted:

Ok to follow up from this post I dug out the box for my psu which is apparently a seasonic s12.

To be fair a friend did give me it because he planned a build and then went out and bought a different powersupply so this one was never used, but it is way older than I realised. Although it sat completely unopened in the box for years, I dont think its going to be haswell compatible.

But after googling, the xfx offering in the op doesnt appear to be compatible either? So would this one be any good?

What do you mean not compatible, are you talking about Haswell compatiblitiy? Haswell compatible just means it supports a new sleep mode. As long as you don't enable that sleep mode any modern PSU will be compatible with your equipment.

BlackFrost
Feb 6, 2008

Have you figured it out yet?


Some time has passed and I must say I'm really happy with my build! The comprehensive guide in the OP (well, the last thread's OP--this one is similar though) helped me out a lot, and you guys gave some helpful tips. I'm amazed that I was able to put together a quality gaming rig without dropping over $1000. The fans are so quiet compared to my old machine, too--the only thing I hear coming out of there now is the HDD now and then.

Thanks, goons. Definitely going to pop back in here whenever I need advice on picking out hardware.

track day bro!
Feb 17, 2005



Grimey Drawer

Crackbone posted:

What do you mean not compatible, are you talking about Haswell compatiblitiy? Haswell compatible just means it supports a new sleep mode. As long as you don't enable that sleep mode any modern PSU will be compatible with your equipment.

So my S12 will work with the new motherboard? It has an eps 12v 8 pin connector.

Coxswain Balls
Jun 3, 2001



College Slice

Crackbone posted:

They're knockoff units, so there's no certainty they'll work. It's good you got a good one but it's not typically that simple.

They seem pretty well reviewed to me. The only non-simple part about it is the driver installation, but once you get that out of the way it works exactly like the official one. Even with any issues that may arise from it being a knockoff, Microsoft doesn't sell the adapter on its own, so for only $10 it's well worth a shot if you don't want to buy another controller you'll never use.

Kraven Moorhed
Jan 5, 2006

So wrong, yet so right.

Soiled Meat

Heya folks, great OP with a lot of great documentation! I'm a little on the fence whether or not I should do a complete upgrade or not. My current processor and video card are still performing well on the games I usually stick to, but I haven't bought a AAA title in awhile and Watch Dogs looks like it'll be a rough time on this PC; in fact, I think my processor scoots in just below the minimum requirement while my video card is the minimum requirement:
AMD Athlon x4 640 (3.01 GHz)
Geforce GTX 460
Both my RAM and HD are pretty decent (no solid state yet, but loading times don't bother me much). So if I'm going to do an upgrade, would I be better off bumping up to an i5 with a new motherboard, or getting a decent video card? Either way I know I'll get bottlenecked by the other, but which should I do first?

Ocular
Sep 20, 2005

I am currently saving up for BRATZ Forever diamonds set

Thanks very much for the help a few posts up! Much appreciated.

Booyah-
Dec 21, 2004



Someone on craigslist is selling this build for $600, whereas the components come out to ~$700. He built it a few months ago.
http://pcpartpicker.com/user/jpanside/saved/3TwI

It's almost the same as what I spec'ed out for myself a few days ago with a i5 4570. The only sketchy thing I see is that the PSU is a Corsair CX series which the OP says to avoid.

The main difference is that the GPU is a GTX 750Ti, whereas I would have bought a GTX 760. My use case will be playing fairly intensive FPS games (Battlefield, Arma, etc.) on a 1080p monitor. I don't care so much about 100% max settings, but I would like the games to look nice. More importantly I want to still be able to play games that come out within the next 3 years.

Is the 750 Ti going to be a significant downgrade over the 760 for my case?

Hace
Feb 13, 2012

<<Mobius 1, Engage.>>


Kraven Moorhed posted:

Heya folks, great OP with a lot of great documentation! I'm a little on the fence whether or not I should do a complete upgrade or not. My current processor and video card are still performing well on the games I usually stick to, but I haven't bought a AAA title in awhile and Watch Dogs looks like it'll be a rough time on this PC; in fact, I think my processor scoots in just below the minimum requirement while my video card is the minimum requirement:
AMD Athlon x4 640 (3.01 GHz)
Geforce GTX 460
Both my RAM and HD are pretty decent (no solid state yet, but loading times don't bother me much). So if I'm going to do an upgrade, would I be better off bumping up to an i5 with a new motherboard, or getting a decent video card? Either way I know I'll get bottlenecked by the other, but which should I do first?

You kind of have to take the minimum/recommended specs with a grain of salt. Wait until after it comes out, and some sites will probably benchmark CPU/GPU performance, and you can see how demanding the game will actually end up being from that. I really doubt a major studio would release a AAA game that couldn't run on a dual-core system.

Ignoarints
Nov 26, 2010


Caddrel posted:

Someone on craigslist is selling this build for $600, whereas the components come out to ~$700. He built it a few months ago.
http://pcpartpicker.com/user/jpanside/saved/3TwI

It's almost the same as what I spec'ed out for myself a few days ago with a i5 4570. The only sketchy thing I see is that the PSU is a Corsair CX series which the OP says to avoid.

The main difference is that the GPU is a GTX 750Ti, whereas I would have bought a GTX 760. My use case will be playing fairly intensive FPS games (Battlefield, Arma, etc.) on a 1080p monitor. I don't care so much about 100% max settings, but I would like the games to look nice. More importantly I want to still be able to play games that come out within the next 3 years.

Is the 750 Ti going to be a significant downgrade over the 760 for my case?

I'd recommend a 760. But, if you really are saving money there is no reason you can't part out what you don't want. If you haven't already just try and knock off a little more to make it worth your time.

Hace
Feb 13, 2012

<<Mobius 1, Engage.>>


Caddrel posted:

Someone on craigslist is selling this build for $600, whereas the components come out to ~$700. He built it a few months ago.
http://pcpartpicker.com/user/jpanside/saved/3TwI

It's almost the same as what I spec'ed out for myself a few days ago with a i5 4570. The only sketchy thing I see is that the PSU is a Corsair CX series which the OP says to avoid.

The main difference is that the GPU is a GTX 750Ti, whereas I would have bought a GTX 760. My use case will be playing fairly intensive FPS games (Battlefield, Arma, etc.) on a 1080p monitor. I don't care so much about 100% max settings, but I would like the games to look nice. More importantly I want to still be able to play games that come out within the next 3 years.

Is the 750 Ti going to be a significant downgrade over the 760 for my case?

I would heavily recommend against buying whole computers off of Craigslist, especially if you're only saving $100 (and also because you shouldn't use Crucial SSDs or CX PSUs).

Booley
Apr 25, 2010



Grimey Drawer

My current motherboard is dieing (2 DIMM slots don't work, I'm getting consistent graphical glitches across multiple different video cards and now at least one SATA port is dead). I'm going to replace it, but I have a 3770k. As far as I can tell there's no performance gain going up to a 4670 or 4770, but I'm a bit unsure about purchasing a new motherboard for an outdated socket. Is socket 1150 going to be around long enough for it to make sense for me to buy a new processor and motherboard, or should I stick with the one I have?

Booyah-
Dec 21, 2004



Hace posted:

I would heavily recommend against buying whole computers off of Craigslist, especially if you're only saving $100 (and also because you shouldn't use Crucial SSDs or CX PSUs).

Okay, thanks for the advice everyone.

Crotch Fruit
Jul 1, 2007

ASK ME ABOUT
CRUSTING MY
JORTS OVER THE
INTERNATIONAL
FEMINIST LEGO
AGENDA


atomicthumbs posted:

The Aerocool DS-Cube is a pretty good Micro-ATX case.

Maybe the OP should have a list of brands to avoid, and why (Gigabyte's motherboard fudgery, Seagate's failure rates, etc.)

I for one would like to know more about the Gigabyte hate. All my systems have used Gigabyte motherboards and I have never had stability or any other issues.

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SL the Pyro
Jun 15, 2013

My soul cries out
with the desire to
FRACTURE
your puny spine.


what do you mean that hotkey disappeared


Well, my computer has arrived and is all assembled... but there's a problem; my ASRock z87 Extreme4 motherboard's PCI slots aren't working right. Some testing with the graphics card and the network card has determined that everything is plugged in right, they're even receiving power from the slots (i.e.: even with the back power connectors on the GPU plugged in, its fans won't spin unless the GPU itself plugged into the PCI). It's all in the right spot, the motherboard just... doesn't realize anything is there. The UEFI system browser says that the slots are even Empty. Meanwhile, everything else works perfectly.

I'm sure this is probably because I've missed something stupidly obvious, but for the life of me I can't figure out what it is. Just what the hell is going on here?

Crotch Fruit posted:

I for one would like to know more about the Gigabyte hate. All my systems have used Gigabyte motherboards and I have never had stability or any other issues.
Gigabyte has been doing cost-cutting measures on their mobos lately, like using copper in place of gold or something.

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