Building a PC for the first time - are these good specs?

#1 Edited by fetchfox (1268 posts) -

These are specs that I found on an Norwegian forum and are supposedly great and works together, but I'd like a second opinion:

Cabinet: Fractal Design Define R3

Processor: Intel Core i5 2500k

Video: Asus GeForce GTX 560 Tues DirectCU II

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68AP-D3

Memory: Kingston HyperX 1600MHz 8GB

Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda® 7200.12 1TB (only item I picked out myself)

SSD: 64GB Crucial m4

Cooler: Arctic Cooling Freezer 13 Pro

Optical Drive: Samsung SH-S222AB

Power Supply: OCZ ModXStream 500W

I've also never built a PC, but I've looked at tutorials and some videos, and it seems doable.

EDIT: added Norwegian forum link for anyone interested.

#2 Posted by endaround (2146 posts) -

That power supply seems on the low side. It should be OK I think but it looks to be close to maxed out.

#3 Posted by fuzzywalls (1 posts) -

I agree the power supply might be a little low for the setup, but everything else looks well above the average. With the 8GB of memory you want to be sure you get a 64 bit operating system or you will only be able to make use of 4GB of it, just in case you didn't know.

#4 Posted by Gizmo (5389 posts) -

Crank that PSU up to 600w and you're good to go.

Also, remember not to short circuit any of the cables and if you run into any problems during initial set up, run a "bread-board" build. I set up my first home built PC this summer and it was hella stressful.

#5 Edited by fetchfox (1268 posts) -

@endaround: I thought so as well (based on the other forum). @fuzzywalls: I know, but thanks anyway. @Gizmo: Thanks, will be doing that. The video tutorial I'm following starts with a bread-board build just in case, so I'll be doing that first.

I'm building this to mostly play games, so will this build play, lets say... Skyrim on ultra (pluss, pluss) smoothly?

#6 Posted by ZimboDK (848 posts) -

Looks alright. You may want to shop around for a GTX 570 though. Not that the 560 is bad (I have one, and love it), but the price may have lowered to a level that fits your budget. I'm not sure about the SSD though. It's really small. I have a 72GB HDD, and it's a struggle to find space at times. If you can afford a bigger SSD, go for it. And as others have said, bigger PSU. 550 Watt minimum,

#7 Edited by nobel (57 posts) -

Everything looks OK. I have the case myself. It is *amazing*. I'd look at the graphics card one more time. I'm in Denmark, so i imagine things are priced pretty much the same as in Norway. When i recently bought new parts i was looking at the ASUS card you mention, and i recall coming to the conclusion that the price was a bit too steep for what i was getting. I'd look at a GTX560TI, or the 570 as ZimboDK mentions. When it comes to the SSD: I'd recommend you use that as a cache for the larger drive. This a new feature supported in the Z68 chipset (wich is on your motherboard). Anandtech has a great article on the technology: http://www.anandtech.com/show/4329/intel-z68-chipset-smart-response-technology-ssd-caching-review/2 (sorry, i can't format the link/post in IE at work, apparently.)

#8 Edited by spazmaster666 (1967 posts) -
@ZimboDK said:

Looks alright. You may want to shop around for a GTX 570 though. Not that the 560 is bad (I have one, and love it), but the price may have lowered to a level that fits your budget. I'm not sure about the SSD though. It's really small. I have a 72GB HDD, and it's a struggle to find space at times. If you can afford a bigger SSD, go for it. And as others have said, bigger PSU. 550 Watt minimum,

It's fine for just Windows and a few essential apps. I currently run a 128GB SSD that is not quite half-filled. Even with just Windows installed and some other key apps (Office, Chrome, Photoshop, etc.) it's a much smoother experience compared to booting and running the core OS off of a hard drive.
 
Anyway, yeah I would probably go with at least a 650W PSU, especially if you're going to be overclocking (which I assume you will since you're getting the K edition CPU). Also try to get at least a GTX 560 TI (the GTX 560 is just a higher clocked version of the GTX 460) or better yet the ATI HD 6950.
#9 Posted by RobotHamster (4171 posts) -

I've been looking to build a new pc soon too, about how much is yours going to cost?

#10 Edited by fetchfox (1268 posts) -

@ZimboDK: I'll look into that other card, thanks. I'll only be using the SSD for windows and a few other apps, so it should be fine. @nobel: Hm, interesting article, thanks. It seems like a good idea. @spazmaster666: Does OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W sound like the smart choice then? The cost is, surprisingly, the same. What does overclocking do and what are the benefits/downsides to it? (I'm as green on this and you can get).

@RobotHamster: My prices are based on the Norwegian market, so I doubt it'll help you, but just in case: around 1 351 USD (8100 NOK).

#11 Posted by icoangel (47 posts) -

I would go for a GTX 570 (in fact I have one and love it) as others have said other then that not a bad pc. Good luck with the build.

#12 Posted by fetchfox (1268 posts) -

@icoangel: It's a lot more expensive, and the difference does not seem to be worth the price: GTX 560 Ti; 1620 NOK - 270 USD. GTX 570 DCII; 2499 NOK - 417 USD. So far the only component that I'll be switching out is the power supply (OCZ ModXStream 600W instead of 500W).

#13 Posted by sins_of_mosin (1556 posts) -

I'd save the money and not get the SSD. For gaming, its pretty worthless and you could use that money to get a 570.

#14 Posted by Gav47 (1542 posts) -

Do you really need the features of the Z68 chipset? The SSD caching nice but I'm not sure I'd pay the extra 50-60 for it. Keep the SSD its not essential but its its so frigging nice to have your computer boot up and be ready for work in under a minute.

What resolution will you be playing games at?

#15 Posted by AlexW00d (6275 posts) -

@fetchfox: Yeah you definitely need a better PSU. And either stick with a 560ti or lose the SSD and crank it up to a 570 or a 6970. Also don't worry about the building, it's pretty easy even for someone with no real clue, just as long as you follow the instructions. Almost everything can only go its slot the way it should. Also, watch the Tested.com video for a nice guide to follow as you're doing it.

#16 Edited by spazmaster666 (1967 posts) -

@Gav47 said:

Do you really need the features of the Z68 chipset? The SSD caching nice but I'm not sure I'd pay the extra 50-60 for it. Keep the SSD its not essential but its its so frigging nice to have your computer boot up and be ready for work in under a minute.

Yeah, now that I think about it, he probably doesn't need to get Z68 over P67 since the Z68 also has to sacrifice some ports to accommodate the integrated graphics. @fetchfox said:

@spazmaster666: Does OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W sound like the smart choice then? The cost is, surprisingly, the same. What does overclocking do and what are the benefits/downsides to it? (I'm as green on this and you can get).

Yeah that's a good PSU. I would probably go a little higher than 600W (with at least 40-50A combined on the 12v rail) personally though since you may be upgrading that video card in the future so it's always better to have a larger PSU. But for your current system, it's definitley sufficient. As for overclocking, for the GPU if you decide on an nvidia card you can download MSI Afterburner and adjust the clocks pretty easily, just use google to figure out what's safe in terms of voltages and if you go ATI, it has a built in overdrive feature in Catalyst Control Center; for the CPU google "Sandy Bridge Overclocking Guide" and you'll find plenty of guides that go through step-by-step how to overclock including adjusting voltages and multipliers as well as using prime95 to test for stability.

#17 Posted by fetchfox (1268 posts) -

@Gav47: @spazmaster666: There's an 700W version of the OCZ, so that might be the best choice (does that have 40-50A combined?). As suggested I think I'll drop the SSD and go for the GTX 570 DirectCU II instead. And what is the P67 motherboard you're referring to?

Hm, overclocking sounds interesting. I'll probably take a look at that later on.

#18 Posted by Matthew (1912 posts) -

@fetchfox: Overclocking means pushing something past it's limits. Your cpu is built to be pushed past its limits. The regular 2500 (without the K) isn't really meant to be faster than it is. When you throw in the K and get the 2500K, you have a cpu that can easily see 4.0ghz. The same logic applies to gpu cards. An overclocked 560 can almost reach the same numbers as a regular 570.

But you NEED to be careful when playing around with it. Overclocking means you're supplying more power to a specific component than the makers intended. So you have the ability to literally fry the piece you're trying to overclock. Thats why we see people talk about after-market coolers, or something better than the stock cooler supplied. Thats why we pc people make it a point to try to keep everything as cool as possible, even getting to the point where we're running liquid in our computer tower to keep our desired temperatures. (liquid cooling is pretty much the best kind out there, but it does cost a bit more)

I myself just built my first computer about 3 months ago, and it went fairly smoothly. I have the occasional bluescreen, but I'm pretty sure I just have to reinstall windows to take care of that. I haven't overclocked personally (I bought a 'superclocked' 580, which basically means a factory overclocked card) but I do have the ability to....don't really think I'm going to have to get to that point for a couple years though.

Looking at your build right now though, yeah, just like people are saying, bump up your psu to something at least 600 (just to give you that ability to overclock if you choose to), make sure you get a 64bit version of windows or else windows just recognized like 3.8gigs of ram, and that 560ti is a pretty good card. I have that same case, I love it. I also have a 64gb ssd, and if you're just planning on putting windows on it (like I have), it works like a charm. 20sec boot times are a thing of wonder!

#19 Posted by Joker369 (877 posts) -

Get an ATI card, they run much better with an Intel CPU

#20 Posted by warxsnake (2650 posts) -

Go for a seasonic PSU

best PSU company.

#21 Edited by fetchfox (1268 posts) -

@Matthew: Overclocking seems like a dangerous "game", I might look into it later. As I said in my last post I'll probably drop the SSD and go for the 570 card. I have a 64 bit windows 7 premium unboxed, so no problem there. Found a good price on an OCZ ModXStream 700W PSU, so I'll be going for that.

#22 Posted by MB (12425 posts) -
@fetchfox: Getting an SSD and putting Windows and my most frequently used programs on it was the biggest upgrade I could have gotten for around $180 or so, which is what I paid for my Corsair Force 3 drive. I highly recommend getting even a small one if only to put your OS on. Try to work it into your budget if you can, SSD's are awesome. 
Moderator
#23 Posted by Gav47 (1542 posts) -

Z68 and P67 are code names chipsets that Intel uses to break up motherboards into different product levels. Chipsets control what features you have access to such as no. of SATA ports for hard drives, optical drives etc., PCIe slots which are used by GPUs, soundcards, RAID cards and network cards.

At the bottom you have H67, its your barebones chipset that will be used for your typical office machine and makes use of the integrated graphics on the processor, it has limited PCIe slots and no overclocking option, can be used for gaming but its not recommended.

The middle chipset is P67, no intergrated graphics so have to use a GPU, not a problem in this case. motherboards that use this chipset usually have at least two PCIe slots and can be used for overclocking making them the go to for the majority of builds.

Z68 is the top of the line chipset, it can use integrated as well as discreet graphics ( discreet is the term used to describe graphics cards like the 560) this means you can switch between integrated and discreet to save power when you're no gaming. Z68 also makes use of two pretty useful Intel technologies he first is quicksync which allows you to transcode video files super fast which is great if you want to stream movies to you're TV or tablet. The second tech is SSD caching, this allows you to keep a traditional hard drive as your install drive and plug in an SSD and have files you use a lot (like the majority of Windows) cached on to it so you still get the speed advantage.

Seasonic are indeed the best PSU company but that shits expensive, just get one that has a 5 year warrenty. Here's a PSU calculator http://www.coolermaster.outervision.com/

#24 Posted by RiotBananas (3600 posts) -

WHERE'S HITMANAGENT47 WHEN YOU NEED HIM

#25 Edited by spazmaster666 (1967 posts) -
@fetchfox said:

@Gav47: @spazmaster666: There's an 700W version of the OCZ, so that might be the best choice (does that have 40-50A combined?). As suggested I think I'll drop the SSD and go for the GTX 570 DirectCU II instead. And what is the P67 motherboard you're referring to?

Hm, overclocking sounds interesting. I'll probably take a look at that later on.

Yes, the 700W version has a combined 12v output of 46A, which should be fine. As for the SSD vs. better graphics card, that's a tough call. Even if you just install windows on the SSD, you're going to find the overall Windows experience to be a lot snappier but obviously it has little to no effect on in-game performance. So if all you care about is how well games will perform, then definitely go for the better video card over the SSD. As for the motherboard, the ASUS P8P67 Pro or the Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD4 are great choices for a solid P67 motherboard.  
 
@warxsnake  said: 

Go for a seasonic PSU

best PSU company.

Yes, they do make great PSUs, but Seasonic is more of an OEM company. So a lot of the branded PSUs (i.e. Corsair, OCZ, PC Power & Cooling, etc.) are made by Seasonic.
#26 Edited by Sjupp (1910 posts) -

@fetchfox: Guessing you guys have about the same prices as us swedes, I strongly recommend you find a way to get parts from the US. I haven't bought anything since I noticed how great the difference is so I can't recommend any good way of doing it but I mean, the next gen card from ATI (HD 7970, out in jan 9 or something) will be $550 WHICH IS FUCKING RIDICULOUS. (The current gen nvidia card GTX 580 goes for about $680 here in Sweden)

Fuck you americans for having cheap video games / computer parts

Edit: The GTX 580 is a last gen card, my bad. Still, the 590 costs 970 motherfucking dollarz in sweden compared to its $699 (according to wikipedia)

#27 Edited by fetchfox (1268 posts) -

@MB: I'll think about it and see if I can afford it after everything ells is decided. @Gav47: @spazmaster666: Thanks for the info. I'm going to stick with the Z68 because of its SSD capabilities which @nobel linked me to on page one, and it's really not expensive. I might go for both the SSD and the graphics card.

@Sjupp: Importing would be nice (for several products), but anything imported with a value of over 200 NOK (33.4 USD) is so heavily taxed that you might as well buy it in Norway. The price for the GTX 570 in Norway is 418 USD (2499 NOK), so that fits my budget. I see no reason in going for a more expensive card considering the power of the 570.

#28 Edited by fetchfox (1268 posts) -

Need some help here guys: I completed the computer (on friday) except for one little problem... the atx12v 4Pin Wire from my 700W PSU is too short for my cabinet and doesn't reach the entrance on the motherboard. Can anyone guide me to a PSU with longer wires (this is one of three that comes out directly from the PSU, not a separate wire). The cabinet is the same as in the tested video.

the PSU in question here is the OCZ MODXSTREAM PRO 700 WATT PSU.

EDIT: could I possibly stretch the wire underneath the graphicscard or is that way to risky against/close to the motherboard?

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