Building a New PC - Need Help, Advice

#1 Posted by MormonWarrior (2545 posts) -

http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/2LNOOCKB4U6Y7/ref=topnav_lists_3

I'm planning on buying these parts and building a good gaming PC sometime in the next few months. I intend to use it to play emulators as well as contemporary stuff from Steam (Like BioShock Infinite, XCOM, etc.)

I'm wondering if there's a good alternative to some of these parts so I could cut down on cost. Several of the things on there (mouse, keyboard, monitor) won't need an upgrade nearly as often as a video card and all that so they'll basically be a one-time expense. That I understand. I'm just wondering since I'm not into competitive multiplayer and just want my games looking pretty and running smoothly if there's a way I can get cheaper stuff.

(The CPU needs to be that good according to the Dolphin site to run GameCube and Wii games.)

Also, any tips or links on how to actually build the thing and set it up would be appreciated. If there's anything else I need, I'd like to know.

#2 Edited by Mirado (992 posts) -

Get a better power supply. I don't mean in terms of wattage (550 should be fine), but in terms of efficiency; the standard for PSU efficiency is called the 80 PLUS certification, and without getting too technical, PSUs labeled with that will run cheaper in the long run and can usually be trusted to be made of higher quality components. Go for at least 80 PLUS Bronze (there are five levels; plain certification, bronze, silver, gold, and platinum).

It'll cost you a bit more which I know is the opposite of what you are trying to do here, but PSUs are the absolute last thing you should skimp on. It'll pay for itself over time, as well.

#3 Posted by MormonWarrior (2545 posts) -

@mirado: Is there a specific brand you'd suggest?

#5 Edited by Mirado (992 posts) -

@mormonwarrior: Corsair is the brand I've dealt with the most; I have an AX850 in my current gaming PC, and it's powered my overclocked CPU/Crossfire'd GPUs nonsense for a good two years without much issue. Too much for your needs, but they have other models that might fit the bill.

However, I don't mean to imply you should only buy Corsair, or that my experience is anything more than anecdotal. I have no first hand experience of the model you've linked, but it seems to meet the requirements. If you don't trust the user reviews, see if any major website has reviewed that particular model.

Either way, it's better than what you chose originally, at least on paper.

#6 Posted by MormonWarrior (2545 posts) -

@mirado: Cool. Thanks for the tip. In your experience do you have to buy a bunch of screws and other such stuff to put the machine together or are the necessary components included with the parts? I imagine it depends on what I get but in general is that the case?

#7 Edited by Mirado (992 posts) -

@mormonwarrior I've never had to buy any screws. Your case should (should) come with all the necessary parts to lock down whatever components need to be locked down inside it. The only time I decided to buy extra mounting hardware was when I first got an SSD, but that came with its own 2.5" to 3.5" bracket anyway, so I just had an extra. It was better for me to be safe on that bit as I don't remember them listing it specifically.

No, I can honestly say that I've never had to purchase screws or anything like that as a totally separate item.

#8 Posted by Sisyphean (73 posts) -

Any reason why you're not picking up Windows 8? I'm only curious; I haven't had a chance to try it. It's pretty much the same price, and from what I've read, the general consensus is that it is a more efficient OS. The interface issues that everyone got really pissed about can apparently be resolved.

Looks like a solid system. As far as that PSU goes, I don't really know much about that brand. Seasonic, Corsair, PC Power & Cooling, etc. are among the most touted PSUs. Seasonic is one of the most well-liked, and they apparently manufacture some PSUs for several other brands including certain Corsair and NZXT models. If you're looking for an alternative, there's a Seasonic for about the same price. I have no personal experience with it, though. I'm using a 650W PC Power & Cooling PSU that has been running beautifully for about half a decade. In any case, like @mirado said, it wouldn't hurt to look for reviews from some reputable websites for your PSU of choice.

#9 Posted by Andorski (5204 posts) -

How much lower are you trying to drop the budget on this build? I can only think of a few nitpicky things to change in order save a few bucks. You can drop the Arctic Silver 5 thermal compound. You don't have a CPU cooler on the list and the stock cooler that the Intel CPU comes with has thermal paste pre-applied. Since you are going stock cooling only then I assume you won't be overclocking. If so, then you can go with the i5-3470. Save $25 and the performance hit should be insignificant at stock speeds. You should do more research onto what CPU's are necessary to run the Dolphin emulator; I have no idea how CPU taxing emulators are.

You can also drop the DVD drive. If this is some sort of HTPC that is going in your living room and you plan to watch DVDs on it, then go ahead and buy it. For regular PC builds though the DVD drive is a vestigial component. Same thing goes for the Internal Card Reader and Bluetooth adapter. Only get these things if you see yourself using them on a regular basis.

Since you are starting on a fresh build, just go ahead and get Windows 8. Download Classic Shell or Start8 so you can skip the Metro UI and have the Start Menu back while also having the added features of Windows 8 (e.g. Microsoft Security Essentials integrated into Defender, better Task Manager and File Explorer, more resource efficient OS, faster boot times, etc.). Although since you plan to use emulation software, you should check Dolphin's OS support and see if Win8 has any issues. If so, then stick with Windows 7.

One more thing, if you want to save as much money as you can, I recommend using a site like PCPartPicker. You can add all your components onto a list and it will tell you the cheapest places to buy those parts.

#10 Posted by Sisyphean (73 posts) -

Good points from @andorski on the CPU and the vestigial components. If you really are looking to lower the cost, I thought I would mention that you might consider downgrading the headset, mouse, and keyboard. You can get cheaper items that would still be perfectly serviceable. I've played games competitively with pretty basic I/O devices.

#11 Edited by Cirdain (2998 posts) -

@mormonwarrior: The Liteon you're getting doesn't write/burn anything, not even DVDs or CDs. I was looking at it when I ordered components yesterday; If you wanted something that only reads it's fantastic but I figured I'm probably going burn some music or somin' on a CD at some point. I went with a Pionner BDC-207DBK. [Redacted]

Also, I've been told that Hybrid Modular PSUs are pretty good, I'm getting a be quiet! L8 630W.

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#12 Posted by MormonWarrior (2545 posts) -

Thanks for all the recommendations. Yeah, the Dolphin site recommends the "Ivy Bridge" CPU for best performance so that's what I'm going with. I may just go with Windows 8, assuming there's no issues with any of the programs I wish to use. The bluetooth thing is necessary if I'm going to use Wii remotes/PS3 controllers with any of my games, and the disc drive is necessary to rip stuff. I also like the internal card reader because I use SD cards a lot for several things...I dunno, I think my build is going to be pretty expensive one way or another.

#13 Posted by MormonWarrior (2545 posts) -
@cirdain said:

@mormonwarrior: The Liteon you're getting doesn't write/burn anything, not even DVDs or CDs.

Are you sure about that? The page seems to list burning tech that the player uses and it's listed as a DVD RW drive...all the reviews mention it burning well too.

#14 Edited by Sisyphean (73 posts) -
@mormonwarrior said:

Yeah, the Dolphin site recommends the "Ivy Bridge" CPU for best performance so that's what I'm going with.

The i5-3470 is an Ivy Bridge CPU, and it's pretty close to the 3570 in performance.. It only lacks overclocking capabilities and has a slightly lower clock speed (only a 0.2 Ghz difference). If you're not overclocking, it's an easy way to save.

@mormonwarrior said:
@cirdain said:

@mormonwarrior: The Liteon you're getting doesn't write/burn anything, not even DVDs or CDs.

Are you sure about that? The page seems to list burning tech that the player uses and it's listed as a DVD RW drive...all the reviews mention it burning well too.

It looks like it burns, from what I can tell.

Also, I just noticed that your motherboard doesn't support SLI. That's not a problem right now, but it will be if you think you might add a second Nvidia card into your machine in the future. If you want the SLI support, there's a similar board in that price range from Gigabyte.

#15 Posted by MormonWarrior (2545 posts) -

@sisyphean: Since I don't have the money right now anyway, saving $20 on the CPU doesn't matter too much. I don't plan on overclocking my machine (I mean, what's the benefit? I'm primarily a console gamer but I want to play DmC and other such games at their prettiest) but if I get a marginal benefit for just a little extra, that might be okay.

I changed some of my components to be cheaper ones (i.e. keyboard, mouse). I don't know what to do about a gaming headset. I have nice Sennheiser cans already and a webcam that would take care of the microphone needs for now so I wouldn't buy it soon.

By the way, how's the video card I chose? Is this a recommended one for what I'm looking for, or should I go cheaper?

#16 Edited by Sisyphean (73 posts) -

@mormonwarrior: Since that CPU is already pretty adequate for most gaming situations, you probably won't get major benefits from overclocking it. You may well see some benefit with emulation. It's my understanding that those types of applications tend to be much more intensive. I'm not the best person to ask, though. I don't have a lot of experience in high-end emulation and overclocking. If you have an inkling that you might mess with overclocking, and you don't mind spending the extra dollars, it certainly wouldn't be a bad choice. We're just trying to help you tighten the budget.

The 660 Ti is a solid card. I would definitely not downgrade. Your video card is generally the single most important component in terms of gaming performance. If there is one place where you should splurge, it is there (especially since you said that your primary motivation is being able to make these games look super good). So get the best thing you can afford. Ideally, you'll want something that will get you a solid 60 FPS at your resolution of choice, on high/ultra settings, for all current games and most that will be coming in the near future. Look at some card reviews and see how they perform at the resolutions and settings you desire. That would give you a more solid grasp of what you can expect from your card of choice.

#17 Posted by Cirdain (2998 posts) -

@mormonwarrior said:
@cirdain said:

@mormonwarrior: The Liteon you're getting doesn't write/burn anything, not even DVDs or CDs.

Are you sure about that? The page seems to list burning tech that the player uses and it's listed as a DVD RW drive...all the reviews mention it burning well too.

It looks like it burns, from what I can tell.

Also, I just noticed that your motherboard doesn't support SLI. That's not a problem right now, but it will be if you think you might add a second Nvidia card into your machine in the future. If you want the SLI support, there's a similar board in that price range from Gigabyte.

Sorry I was looking at a different Liteon that reads blue-rays. Sorry about that.

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