Building my first Gaming PC

#1 Posted by Crick120 (12 posts) -

So, I've decided to build a Gaming PC since I've begun buying some games on steam that don't run too well on my laptop. I've picked out a set of parts for a decent start but I just need some feedback on my choices. My budget is limited but I think what I have chosen right now is keeping within that.

This is my build in progress:

Case: NZXT Phantom 410 (OWN)

Motherboard: Asus Maximus V Gene

Processor: Intel Core i5-3570K

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB)

Graphics Card: GIGABYTE GV-N65TOC-2GI GeForce GTX 650 Ti

Power Supply: Corsair CP-9020039-NA Enthusiast Series TX650M Modular Power Supply

Hard drive (HDD): Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" SATA Internal Hard Drive

Hard drive (SSD): SAMSUNG 840 Pro Series MZ-7PD128BW 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive

Disc Drive: Asus Blu-Ray Combo Reader (Own)

Programming: Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit

So I'm asking if this build is not only decent, but if it will all work together as well. I can only assume right now that it does with what I've been looking up, but I would rather have some opinions on this before I start to pump out the rest of my cash on the internals.

#2 Posted by mosdl (3223 posts) -

What resolution are you planning on using?

Enthusiast Series PSU sounds like overkill really, you could save a bit there.

#3 Posted by Zurgfrog (153 posts) -

If you don't really plan on overclocking your cpu then just get the I5-3570 and save yourself a few bucks, unless of course you plan to overclock then that's a fine cpu

#5 Posted by VACkillers (1023 posts) -

Everything looks really good... I would suggest if you can at all afford it, go with a higher graphics card, 650 Ti not that great... how much do you have?

#6 Edited by Grilledcheez (3919 posts) -

I would recommend getting a better graphics card, 660ti if you can afford it, or a 760 (they just came out).

#7 Edited by VACkillers (1023 posts) -

a GTX 760 is cheaper then a 660 ti if you live in the UK/US

#8 Posted by Godlyawesomeguy (6375 posts) -

I would shoot for a better graphics card if you can afford it. What is your budget, if you don't mind my asking? I am trying to save up for a PC right now and am shooting for 1200$, and as of now I have 550$.

#9 Posted by Crick120 (12 posts) -

My budget is around $1300 CDN and so far it's about 50 bucks under that. I'm currently looking into pricing in my town here since I'm neighbours with the Computer Store's Manager, but I might be able to bleed another 100 bucks tops. I was looking at the GTX 660 Ti but the one I had chosen was around 325 bucks. I just took another look and I see many different results by different brands, which is the better brand? Asus, PNY, Gigabyte, MSI, or EVGA? Also I had a look at the 760, but is it compatible with my motherboard and processor?

#10 Posted by Crick120 (12 posts) -

@mosdl: I have a HDTV that I normally use for a computer screen via HDMI so I plan on going 1920x1080 perhaps. Also do you have any suggestions for an alternative power supply?

#11 Edited by GaspoweR (2514 posts) -

@crick120: Solid all around PSU would be the Seasonic M12II 620 Bronze. I suggest using PCPartPicker and then putting in your parts to see if they are all compatible as well as going to Logical Increments as a guide for your components but is currently updated so now the CPU's and MOBO are all based on the newer Haswell architecture processors. Both sites are also good resources to check out for other alternative parts as well. Here's also what I was able to come up with using the parts you mentioned with some modifications and an additional part: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1cvBI.

In terms of the motherboard, you can never go wrong with getting a high-quality MOBO if you're planning to upgrade down the line but at the same time you can also go for a cheaper one. Not necessarily super cheap, but there are cheaper alternatives. You can then use the money you save into spending for a much better graphics card. You can either go for a GTX 760 or if you want something a bit cheaper go for a Radeon HD 7870 for about $50 less (price difference varies by brand and version). Asus graphics cards are usually known to have better cooling and are generally quieter than the other manufacturers but Gigabyte and EVGA (I think EVGA only makes Nvidia cards) are also great manufacturers. Also if you buy a Radeon card, it comes bundled with codes for free games, which last I checked includes Crysis 3, Bioshock Infinite, FarCry 3 Blood Dragon, and Tomb Raider. I dunno if it has changed since then though and it would also vary by card.

Another consideration if you are planning on overclocking is if you are planning on getting a good CPU cooler since the stock cooler would definitely not be enough as a cooling solution long-term but in general getting a good CPU cooler (preferably a liquid cooling loop such as the Corsair H80i or the CM ) is never a bad idea even if you are not planning on overclocking. If so, then it'd be better if you don't get an unlocked processor but that's really up to you. The i5-3570K is a great CPU in general.

Also lastly, do you need a Blu-Ray player to play Blu-Ray movies? Currently Windows doesn't really have native support for that so you might need to buy/download a codec that can play Blu-Ray.

EDIT: Lastly, are the parts you listed as OWN means that you already own those parts? Just checking. Also the 650Ti is a lower mid-tier card so depending on the game you might have to make some adjustments with the graphical settings if you are planning on playing them at 1920x1080 resolution especially with more demanding games (i.e. FarCry 3, Metro 2033/Last Light, Crysis 3, BF3, etc).

#12 Edited by Rowr (5238 posts) -

@crick120 said:

My budget is around $1300 CDN and so far it's about 50 bucks under that. I'm currently looking into pricing in my town here since I'm neighbours with the Computer Store's Manager, but I might be able to bleed another 100 bucks tops. I was looking at the GTX 660 Ti but the one I had chosen was around 325 bucks. I just took another look and I see many different results by different brands, which is the better brand? Asus, PNY, Gigabyte, MSI, or EVGA? Also I had a look at the 760, but is it compatible with my motherboard and processor?

Generally you don't have to worry too much about Graphic card compatibility with Motherboards in the same way you do with the CPU. You probably want something with a pci 3 slot, which i think you will find with most new motherboards.

As far as the brand i find it doesn't tend to matter too much for graphics cards (get the cheapest one), most of the time they are fairly identical but if you are worried about it check some reviews between the specific brands to see if any positives or negatives pop up for the model you want.

#13 Posted by Crick120 (12 posts) -

@gaspower: thank you very much for the list, after removing the parts I already have (the case and bluray drive) the switching to the canadian prices, my overall price was lower than before. Now, I can still fit in the Asus Maximus Motherboard. Is it better than the Gigabyte motherboard you provided before? I can pop the extra cash to keep the Asus Maximus in my list if it's really worth it. Again thank you very much for this.

#14 Posted by TheHBK (5407 posts) -

Yes, this all works. Generally it will all work together, just worry about the processor and motherboard features. I would recommend going with a cheaper PSU, the TX is nice but for a build you don't have to go that crazy. Look up the CX600M. Try to find that money to get the GTX 760, just came out, 250 bucks US. Get he EVGA one with the ACX cooler and you can overclock it nicely.

I would get that money by ditching the SSD. I know people have different feelings on it but if you are choosing between the benefits of an SSD and a better Graphics Card, the graphics card wins out all the time.

Also someone check with me on this but I have seen that if he wants to go cheaper, perhaps a couple of 650 TIs in SLI might be an option?

#15 Posted by Dalai (6880 posts) -

@thehbk said:

Yes, this all works. Generally it will all work together, just worry about the processor and motherboard features. I would recommend going with a cheaper PSU, the TX is nice but for a build you don't have to go that crazy. Look up the CX600M. Try to find that money to get the GTX 760, just came out, 250 bucks US. Get he EVGA one with the ACX cooler and you can overclock it nicely.

I would get that money by ditching the SSD. I know people have different feelings on it but if you are choosing between the benefits of an SSD and a better Graphics Card, the graphics card wins out all the time.

Also someone check with me on this but I have seen that if he wants to go cheaper, perhaps a couple of 650 TIs in SLI might be an option?

Agreed. Solid state drives still feel like a luxury and you can always add one later on if you think you need one or the prices drop to something close to par with standard HDDs. And use that money for a better graphics card.

#16 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4281 posts) -

Don't get a 650 dude. At the bare minimum get a 760

#17 Posted by Stonyman65 (2406 posts) -

I'd spend a few extra bucks and upgrade to the Corsair HX series of power supplies. Those seem to be made a bit better and run better too. For the extra few bucks, I think it is worth it especially if you plan on rebuilding the machine down the road and still salvage old hardware.

SSDs are great, and pretty cheap these days too. If you can swing it, I would recommend getting one of the smaller ones (120GB or so) and use that as a boot drive and a place for your important games and apps. I have a Corsair ForceGT in my machine and I can boot up and get into steam to run a game in about 40 seconds (I timed it). The speed over a conventional HDD is pretty amazing,. Wouldn't trade it for the world.

As for graphics, the way that I look at it is that regardless of what you buy, you will probably end up replacing it within 2 or 3 years anyway, so I wouldn't go crazy getting a really high-end card unless you are running at high resolutions. If you are just running at 1080p, a decent mid range card like a GTX 660ti or the AMD equivalent would be all you really need for the time being.

Other than that, the build is pretty solid.

#18 Posted by Stonyman65 (2406 posts) -

@thehbk said:

Yes, this all works. Generally it will all work together, just worry about the processor and motherboard features. I would recommend going with a cheaper PSU, the TX is nice but for a build you don't have to go that crazy. Look up the CX600M.

No, that's the opposite of what he should be doing. The TX series of PSU are probably about the bare minimum you should use for a system like this. Going with a Tier 2 PSU like the Corsair AX series would be much better and only costs about $30 dollars more. As I said in another thread before this one, don't skimp on the PSU. Get the best one you can afford that has enough headroom the handle what you have and what you might add later (ie more hard drives, a second GPU etc...) 750w minimum.

#19 Edited by GaspoweR (2514 posts) -

@crick120: No prob! The other guys here are also offering up some good suggestions like what @stonyman65 man mentioned. It's always a good idea to invest in a good PSU and motherboard. If you're planning on adding an extra graphics card down the line to SLI/Crossfire, its important that you get a good higher wattage PSU (700-750W minimum as Stonyman65 mentioned), which is more expensive but is needed in order to make sure that things would be stable. There are some games however that do have compatibility problems with SLI/Crossfire or don't support it at all so you wouldn't be able to take advantage of it so for the most part its better to just have one good card especially if you are only doing a single monitor set-up. Here's also a tier list for PSUs so you can decide which one you are actually looking for. I suggest looking at the Tier 2 PSUs. In general, Seasonic and Corsair make great PSUs and the one I suggested is a Tier 2 PSU that is good for a single mid-range graphics card set-up.

Asus in general makes great motherboards. Gigabyte, ASRock and MSI also make pretty good MOBOs as well.

@stonyman65: By the way, just wanted to point out that the GTX 760 that just came out is the replacement for the 660 Ti and is also $50 cheaper so the OP is better off getting the 760 instead of the 660 Ti (which actually had memory bandwidth issues). Also the Corsair AX series is a Tier 1 PSU and the TX is actually Tier 2. Just a heads up!

#20 Posted by Tyrrael (110 posts) -

Here's my 2 cents:

  1. Case - No problems here. Unless there is a certain special feature you want, this is mainly personal preference.
  2. Motherboard - If I'm not mistaken, this is a micro ATX motherboard. I'm not sure why you chose to get an mATX board, especially with a standard ATX case, but it isn't a bad choice if it is indeed what you wanted. The ASUS P8Z77-V Pro is also a great choice and is a standard ATX MB. I actually have the ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe which is the next step up from the Pro, and it has been great.
  3. Processor - An excellent choice. This processor has one of the best price/performance ratios you could hope for. It's solid, allows for easy overclocking and runs pretty cool. Even when playing games for several hours with my Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO, this CPU has never reached 60 degrees. This reminds me. Have you thought about a 3rd party CPU cooler? I highly recommend the Hyper 212. It is phenomenal.
  4. RAM - No problems here. A fine choice.
  5. Graphics Card - The 650 Ti is a decent card, especially for the price. You can always get a second one later for SLI, and if you want a single GPU solution later, upgrading a GPU is much easier than upgrading a CPU, so not a bad choice to save some money here. It will run most games at reasonable settings.
  6. Power Supply - It's not a bad PSU, but I would highly recommend getting at least a 750W just in case you want to add more hardware later on. The Corsair HX750 is a great PSU, and it's gold certified which is a plus.
  7. Hard Drive (HDD) - A fine choice. This is one of the most commonly used HDDs out there, and it is very reliable and among the best for gaming as compared to other HDDs of this type. (7200 rpm and Non SSD)
  8. Hard Drive (SSD) - This, in my opinion, is totally unnecessary. I would highly recommend forgoing this for now and putting the money to work elsewhere. You can always get one later if you choose.
  9. Disc Drive - No problems here.
  10. Programming(?) Operating System - A very good choice. Although, it was either this or Windows 8, and well, let's just not talk about that abomination.
#21 Edited by DonPixel (2585 posts) -

If you not planning to use dual screen: AMD vid cards are pretty good nowadays, I bought a 7870 OC on sale, it runs BF3 ultra 1080p W/60fps no problem. It was like 200 dlls .

Plus is pretty quiet on heavy load, eventhou its in a Prodigy mini ATX

#22 Posted by GaspoweR (2514 posts) -

@donpixel: Is that a Gigabyte card? Got the Prodigy case too by the way except mine's colored red.

#23 Posted by Kidavenger (3380 posts) -

Skip the SSD if you need money for a better videocard

#24 Edited by Crick120 (12 posts) -

Thank you all for the suggestions so far. Using the site I was given above for choosing parts plus the setup I was given, I now have the following parts chosen in the link shown here.

The parts will cost me $1148.24 CDN. without a SSD. I should mention that I would like to perhaps have a backup wireless network adapter. If there are any suggestions on this or on the list I gave above, just post them on the forum. I should have the computer built in 5-6 weeks, end of August at the latest.

#25 Posted by Ravenlight (8033 posts) -
#26 Posted by GaspoweR (2514 posts) -

@crick120: Alright, pretty solid choices,sir! Enjoy your build!

#27 Posted by MOAB (358 posts) -
#28 Edited by DonPixel (2585 posts) -
#29 Posted by GaspoweR (2514 posts) -

@moab: What PSU did you get beforehand?

#30 Edited by MOAB (358 posts) -

@gaspower: i don't remember the brand, but i know it was the cheapest psu that could handle 2 8800's back in 2007. it pretty much wiped out everything i had... i didn't build another computer until last year. it's been smooth sailing with my seasonic platinum.

#31 Posted by GaspoweR (2514 posts) -

@moab said:

@gaspower: i don't remember the brand, but i know it was the cheapest psu that could handle 2 8800's back in 2007. it pretty much wiped out everything i had... i didn't build another computer until last year. it's been smooth sailing with my seasonic platinum.

Wow, Platinum grade PSU's must cost around 200-300 bucks right?

#32 Posted by MOAB (358 posts) -

@gaspower: yeah, it was about $200 during a sale. it gives me the safe feels!

#33 Posted by Crick120 (12 posts) -

Alright, so I have my parts chosen, now comes the hard part once they all come in. Building and configuring the computer. Anyone have any ideas or references I could use once all my parts come in? I really don't want to have to spend more money having my supplier do all this stuff for me and finding out it was much easier to do it myself.

#34 Edited by JJWeatherman (14485 posts) -

@crick120 said:

Alright, so I have my parts chosen, now comes the hard part once they all come in. Building and configuring the computer. Anyone have any ideas or references I could use once all my parts come in? I really don't want to have to spend more money having my supplier do all this stuff for me and finding out it was much easier to do it myself.

Good news: the hard part's actually over. I'd highly recommend watching one or both of these Tested videos before starting to build:

Those will give you a super solid understanding of the basics, and you can come back and reference them as you build. It's really pretty simple as long as you have some idea of what you're doing.

#35 Posted by AlexW00d (6061 posts) -

@crick120: Yeah picking your parts is the hard part of building a PC. The actual building is the easy part. It's like Lego, except there's only 1 way a part can go.

#36 Posted by Crick120 (12 posts) -

Okay, so in a couple days all of my parts will be ordered (probably in about 1-3 weeks after the order. My cooler was already back ordered once so hopefully I'm not slowed down again.) I have a non-magnetic toolkit and a grounding band to prevent static. I have a guy that I'm friends with who knows how to build a pc so he'll be helping me out with that. That just leaves configuration and data transfer. I plan on moving the majority of my files and programs from my laptop onto my new pc. A lot of this is digital content (steam games and other basic programs) so reinstalling is going to kill me. (I have a location to reinstall my stuff that is available to me on weekends.) Now before any of this can happen there's still the factor of configuring my pc. I'm assuming it's not as easy as sticking the OS software into my optical drive so any pointers about configuring will be appreciated.

#37 Posted by cbk486 (143 posts) -

@crick120:

What do you mean by configuring? I you mean just installing the operating system? If you do have the installation disk then, yes, it is that easy. Let me know if I misunderstood your question.

#38 Posted by Andorski (5109 posts) -

@crick120 said:

Now before any of this can happen there's still the factor of configuring my pc. I'm assuming it's not as easy as sticking the OS software into my optical drive so any pointers about configuring will be appreciated.

It's exactly that easy. Pop in the Windows OS CD into your PC and it will go step by step with creating your Windows log-in, choosing your primary drive, and setting up your internet connection. It's an extremely user-friendly process.

Once you boot up Windows though it is best if you install the latest drivers for all your components. What I usually do is open up "Device Manager" and go down the list of hardware components for Windows to automatically check for updates. I do this for all my PC's components except for the motherboard and GPU. For those I go to the manufacturer's website and download the drivers there. For the motherboard, I just update the day I built my PC and never update it again unless I'm having major issues. For the GPU, nVidia has software that will automatically tell you when the latest drivers are out and will let you install them easily. No need to search for them.

#39 Posted by Crick120 (12 posts) -

I now have my PC all configured and everything. Only problem now is getting my games from my laptop onto my desktop via a high speed connection where the only connection I can use is at an auto garage, only at night, and have such a limited amount of time in case police drive by thinking I'm robbing the place (my folks own the garage btw).

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