#1 Edited by Colourful_Hippie (4338 posts) -

I'm planning on building a new PC and was looking for thoughts on the parts I've accumulated so far.

Here's my list.

I have 3 CPU's listed with i7 k series being the one I'll most likely get (as for why I want i7, it's mostly because I plan on using the Dolphin emulator a lot more). The case I haven't decided on yet because I'm also looking at the fractal design R4 and the phantom 410 as other candidates. I have two video cards on that list and depending on how much of a discount I'll get through my friend who works at tiger direct, I might just go for the titan but at the bare minimum I'll go for the 680.

I also plan on throwing in a SSD. I'm thinking about this or this.

I appreciate any suggestions, thanks.

EDIT: OK, I updated my list with some changes. I still kept the PSU mainly because I haven't looked at others just yet.

#2 Edited by Bollard (5432 posts) -

@colourful_hippie: Whatever you do, don't buy that 60GB SSD. I made that mistake, get the Samsung drive, Tested recommended it. I'll probably be replacing my 64GB SSD with the same one (although if I do it I'll do it proper and get the 250GB.)

And I like Sabertooth's. A lot. But the cost compared to the mobo you have now is er, a slight difference.

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=2406886&CatId=6976

Oh I forgot to say other than that build looks good. I'm probably upgrading my current PC to something similar next year. Although I have an 850W supply, your 700W will probably be fine. Wouldn't go any lower though for sure.

#3 Posted by Alexander (1721 posts) -

120GB absolute minimum, I have 120GB and I get by, but I like to have at least two games on there and what with Battlefield 3 being a whopping 20+GB I'm already feeling the pinch. At some point I will go 250GB for sure.
I have the Fractal Define R3, love it to bits, really well thought out case although not the best if you're intending to have watercooling without any case modification. I'm not sure if they addressed that with the R4 (I don't think so) it's essentially the same case but wider. Design-wise I think Fractal are one of the best, I'm not into cases that look like stealth fighter jets or transformers, give me sleek every time. Don't go for that NZXT it looks awful!

Think about whether you really need an i7 when i5 is ample for any game out there.

#4 Edited by Bane (397 posts) -

There are two things you don't go cheap on: the motherboard and the power supply.

That motherboard is not one I would pick. It's missing PCI-e 3.0, SATA 6 Gb/s, and USB 3.0 ports, and it's micro-ATX. I'd suggest finding something a little more modern. I'll second Chavtheworld and recommend a Sabertooth. That's what I went with a few weeks ago and it's pretty damn awesome.

#5 Edited by Colourful_Hippie (4338 posts) -

@chavtheworld: @bane: Do you have other mobo suggestions? Preferably in the $150 to $200 range? And if that PSU isn't great I wouldn't mind having other suggestions in a similar price range. Would this be a good one?

@alexander: The SSD is for the system and OS primarily. I don't plan on putting a bunch of games on it but I think I'm gonna go with the samsung one. As for i7, if you read the OP I said that I want the i7 because of my interest in emulation.

#6 Posted by Alexander (1721 posts) -

@colourful_hippie: I think it's safe to assume if you are thinking of getting a Titan you'd be doing more than running emulated Gamecube & Wii games, but if you are concerned as to whether the 3570K can handle Dolphin don't be, maybe the i7 would yield slightly better performance but I'd certainly read up on whether or not that extra $100 would be wasted. My SSD, without games (or media) is 65.8GB full, granted I put my Desktop on there and have some large programs, but I'm glad to hear you're going 120GB, Samsung have a good reputation and Intel are overpriced.

#7 Edited by Colourful_Hippie (4338 posts) -

@alexander: Just found this other SSD, you think it would be any better?

#8 Edited by Alexander (1721 posts) -

@colourful_hippie: The write speed isn't that fast at 280 MB/s (read 525 MB/s). This one, has a write of 510 MB/s, read of 550 MB/s for a little more it's well worth it. Now that I look at it, the Samsung is even slower with write 130 MB/s.

On Amazon, people upload their own read/write tests into the images of the product page, good to check those out.

#9 Edited by JJWeatherman (14558 posts) -

Spend a little bit more on a more advanced and reliable motherboard. Look up the ASUS Sabertooth, which should only be about $100 more. I mean, if you're spending over $500, possibly $1,000 on a GPU, you can afford a quality motherboard. Mobos are important, too.

I have a Samsung 840 SSD, which I like, but I'm sure the one you have is fine. They're all pretty similar, but I've heard the best things about Samsung and Intel on the SSD front, so maybe consider that.

Have you checked to make sure your PSU is a quality one? It's an important thing to do. There are tiered lists out there that will let you know.

#10 Posted by Bane (397 posts) -

@colourful_hippie: That motherboard is much better. Head on over to Tom's Hardware, they do reviews on several motherboards at once, categorized by price range.

As for power supplies I prefer those with a single 12v rail over those with multiple rails. I don't think it really matters much what kind you use as long as you check for a couple of things: 1. does each rail have the amperage to run the video card, and 2. when you've got modular cable connections make sure there are enough connections on each rail to support the hardware you want to use.

#11 Posted by Bollard (5432 posts) -

@colourful_hippie: The PSU is fine, no need to change unless you want to. It's just one of those situations where bigger is better just in case you ever do something crazy and go triple SLI or have 5+ hard drives. But your first choice looks good.

Even if it is just for the OS, 60GB won't cut it. I have only Windows on mine and because of updates and things that force themselves to install on the C:// drive, it constantly threatens to get too full. And having a drive nearly full kills its life and performance.

#12 Posted by JJWeatherman (14558 posts) -

This PSU is much better. You can find the M12II in lower wattages for slightly cheaper, as well. There are lots of other options, but I actually own a 520W M12II myself, and it's been great.

Here's that Sabertooth. Also, I noticed your selected RAM frequency is 1866 MHz. The Sabertooth should more easily support that and negate headaches.

Anyway, hope you're figuring everything out.

#13 Edited by Colourful_Hippie (4338 posts) -

@jjweatherman: Thanks! I'll swap out the PSU for that one. I still think I'll stick with this mobo though.

EDIT: Or I might go with this one.

#14 Posted by JJWeatherman (14558 posts) -

@jjweatherman: Thanks! I'll swap out the PSU for that one. I still think I'll stick with this mobo though.

EDIT: Or I might go with this one.

If you insist, ha.

Only thing is, your 1866MHz RAM is only technically supported on both these mobos via overclocking. I've heard about lots of people having issues when it comes to this stuff, so maybe swap out your RAM for some good ole fashioned 1600MHz stuff. I personally have 1333MHz and have found it to be fine, but for your more expensive build I can see why you'd want something a little quicker. Honestly, I'm no expert, and I'm not sure it will really be a problem, but I think 1600MHz will be fine for you, so maybe consider going with that. It may even be a few bucks cheaper.

#15 Edited by Colourful_Hippie (4338 posts) -

@jjweatherman: Yeah I honestly have no idea about the details on this stuff so this is all news to me. Thanks for pointing out the overclocking issue. Do you think there are mobos that would do fine around the $200 range? Otherwise I guess I'll just get slower RAM.

#16 Edited by JJWeatherman (14558 posts) -

@colourful_hippie said:

@jjweatherman: Yeah I honestly have no idea about the details on this stuff so this is all news to me. Thanks for pointing out the overclocking issue. Do you think there are mobos that would do fine around the $200 range? Otherwise I guess I'll just get slower RAM.

Well, let's see. Looking at this page, there aren't too many options for native 1866 support. I've filtered by Intel socket 1155 boards that support 1866MHz RAM. If you want an open-box Sabertooth, it'll be $200, but I'm always hesitant to buy open-box stuff. You just never know. The Sabertooth is sort of widely regarded as a great mobo, but if you don't want to spend that much, maybe just go for the 1600MHz RAM. Again, I'm no expert on RAM, but I'm preeetty sure 1600MHz will be totally fine. Perhaps someone else can second that notion.

(Actually, looking at those filtered options again, only the Sabertooth seems to support 1866 without an "O.C." next to it, haha.)

#17 Posted by Bane (397 posts) -

@jjweatherman brings up a good point worth considering. However, I can tell you that based on my own experience you should be fine.

The RAM you've chosen will most likely be auto-detected by the motherboard and set to run at 1600 MHz which is fine. If you go into the BIOS, which looks like the same UEFI I've got on my Sabertooth, you can enable the XMP feature of the RAM which will boost it up to 1866 MHz. The motherboard will also automatically adjust the CPU settings to match, making it dead simple to run the RAM at its specified speed.

#18 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4338 posts) -

@jjweatherman: @bane: Thanks guys, I think that just convinced me to just go ahead with the sabertooth that JJ suggested. Just rather not take chances with the mobo. I won't be building till sometime in May so I'll probably find that one for less or get a decent discount through my friend.

#19 Posted by JJWeatherman (14558 posts) -

@bane said:

@jjweatherman brings up a good point worth considering. However, I can tell you that based on my own experience you should be fine.

The RAM you've chosen will most likely be auto-detected by the motherboard and set to run at 1600 MHz which is fine. If you go into the BIOS, which looks like the same UEFI I've got on my Sabertooth, you can enable the XMP feature of the RAM which will boost it up to 1866 MHz. The motherboard will also automatically adjust the CPU settings to match, making it dead simple to run the RAM at its specified speed.

Ah, okay. Cool. I assumed things like that would be more or less automated, but I wasn't sure. Things are easy these days.

#20 Posted by JJWeatherman (14558 posts) -

@jjweatherman: @bane: Thanks guys, I think that just convinced me to just go ahead with the sabertooth that JJ suggested. Just rather not take chances with the mobo. I won't be building till sometime in May so I'll probably find that one for less or get a decent discount through my friend.

Nice, I've been thinking May for my upgrade as well. I've been trying to find information on when the new Nvidia 700 series GPUs will be out, but haven't really found much on that yet other than apparently fairly soon. So maybe by May those will be out and we'll have a whole new world of GPUs to consider! At the very least, 670s and 680s should come down in price, so I'm cool either way.

#21 Posted by Lind_L_Taylor (3963 posts) -

What about the backup system? I've been using Buffalo 2Tb USB 3.0 external drives for my backup systems. I've used both Acronis and Norton Ghost to run periodic backups. I like Ghost better between the two but it's not without its problems. I've also restored from backup for both systems & it's worked pretty well.

#22 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4338 posts) -

@lind_l_taylor: I already have a 1.5 external but I might go ahead and get another that's USB 3.0, not 2.

#23 Edited by Lind_L_Taylor (3963 posts) -

@lind_l_taylor: I already have a 1.5 external but I might go ahead and get another that's USB 3.0, not 2.

Which backup software do you plan to use? Another alternative is to just use the Steam backup & then reinstall everything else if you have to start over. My game box is used for so many other things though. It's about 5-6 years old now but it still holds up, or at least I'm satisfied with the results. I've got another more powerful machine collecting dust but it's meant for VMware images (16G Ram, Intel i7 8 cpu, 128G SSD primary drive & 1Tb secondary, no need for a powerful video card however so it doesn't have one, nor a sound card).

And how are you fixed for sound? I've often bought specific sound cards in the past, sometimes to get a good output connector to hook to an external stereo for instance (I've got an old Pioneer Elite & some speakers that I hook my game PC to on occasion (just mini-RCA jack on sound card to standard l/r RCA inputs on the Elite), but I also have an old Creative 7.1 surround with speakers for different options for sound output). I also have an Cambridge DACMagic that I've contemplated using with this gear (currently it's being used with my Macbook Pro -> DAC Magic -> custom headphone tube amp on occasion). Over the years of various purchases of stereo equipment, I've discovered through my own experience that the best high cost to performance investment is in the speakers. Everything else has extremely tiny improvements by comparison. Basically I bought a lot of gear over the years to mess with sound & PC performance as a hobby.

#24 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4338 posts) -

@lind_l_taylor: I don't really use anything special for backing up, I just use what windows has. The only big thing I have to move over is my steam library which I can just move to the external and then back to the new PC. I was considering a sound card but I honestly don't see any compelling arguments out there to bother getting one. I do have a 5.1 system, nothing too special now because I no longer have the yamaha speakers that were installed in the walls of my previous house. I just brought the Bose front speaker with me and I'll eventually get to getting replacement speakers so I don't have to borrow my friend's old JBL's. My current PC (pre-built) came with an optical out so I've just been using that and like I said before I don't see a compelling reason just yet to bother with a dedicated sound card.

#25 Posted by Lind_L_Taylor (3963 posts) -

Sounds good. You know what else was interesting is that I just read yesterday that some speakers are being produced with optical inputs, although they're not that cheap yet. I don't know if that is a trend that will continue however but perhaps for PC entertainment. I've also been using a sound card in one system that is at least 10 years old. It still works & I have moved it from system to system over the years (I think it was an Audigy 7.x).

@lind_l_taylor: I don't really use anything special for backing up, I just use what windows has. The only big thing I have to move over is my steam library which I can just move to the external and then back to the new PC. I was considering a sound card but I honestly don't see any compelling arguments out there to bother getting one. I do have a 5.1 system, nothing too special now because I no longer have the yamaha speakers that were installed in the walls of my previous house. I just brought the Bose front speaker with me and I'll eventually get to getting replacement speakers so I don't have to borrow my friend's old JBL's. My current PC (pre-built) came with an optical out so I've just been using that and like I said before I don't see a compelling reason just yet to bother with a dedicated sound card.