Building my first PC soonish. Can I get some Bomber wisdom?

#1 Edited by StarFoxA (5158 posts) -

Here's what I'm planning on buying:

  • Intel Core i5-4670K CPU
  • ASRock Z87 Extreme4 Motherboard
  • MSI Radeon HD 7950 GPU
  • 8GB Corsair Vengeance
  • Samsung 840 Pro 128GB SSD, Seagate Barracuda 1TB HDD
  • Corsair 400R Mid Tower
  • Asus VS239H-P Monitor
  • Microsoft Sidewinder x4 keyboard
  • Razer DeathAdder Mouse

Etcetera, more info in the PCPartPicker link. I do plan on overclocking, and down the road I'd like to get a second monitor and some better headphones (I'm looking at the Astro A40s right now, if there are any audiophiles on here let me know how those are for gaming/music).

Any recommendations/tips/input? This is my first build, so toss any tips that may be useful for a first time build!

#2 Edited by chiablo (939 posts) -

Looks good so far.

#3 Posted by afabs515 (1108 posts) -

Looks pretty similar to my first build, but I didn't have the gaming mouse/keyboard. Looking great so far. The only advice I have for you is to be careful when dealing with processor stuff. When I was changing my CPU fan from the stock fan to a quieter one, I put too much thermal gel on and started freaking out while wiping the excess away. Also, those fans can be fucking hard to get situated. So just be careful you don't accidentally break the CPU. Everything else is really easy to set up, so long as you follow the instructions. My computer booted successfully on its first attempt, and I ain't no engineer. Good luck! Hope it goes well, and welcome to the PC master race!

#4 Posted by LiquidPrince (15964 posts) -

Looks pretty good, but I would upgrade to at least a 7970.

#5 Posted by fleabeard (185 posts) -

Antistatic Wrist Strap

#6 Edited by Slag (4450 posts) -

@starfoxa: Looks like a nice system very similar to my build I made in August.

If you can you might want to check out the case in person to make sure you like it and especially if you think it will be especially to work inside. I was looking at the case you were and decided I didn't like it as much as the Fractal R-4 I ended up getting.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/corsair-obsidian-550d-fractal-design-define-r4-gigabyte-luxo-m10,3356-13.html

I think I've also seen comparable monitors for less than 139.99, so you might want to shop around a bit.

On the mobo I decided to go with the Asus 787-A instead of the Asrock, it was cheaper than the Asrock when I bought it

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/z87-express-motherboard-review,3582.html

plus I like that Asus boards have that connector which all those tiny HDD LED pins etc. into one Q-connector, takes a headache out of the build. I don't believe AS-Rock boards have those. But both are good boards.

#7 Posted by Veektarius (4869 posts) -

Are you sure that's enough RAM?

#8 Posted by Tyrrael (228 posts) -

@liquidprince: Why, exactly? The 7950 performs almost the same as the 7970, and you can get one for $100 less. Not to mention, a little ways down the road when the price comes down even further, you could throw another one of these in there and get performance that would be on par with or exceed the performance of graphics cards that cost 2-3 times more. It seems to be a pretty decent decision to me.

#9 Edited by Aleryn (704 posts) -

@fleabeard said:

Antistatic Wrist Strap

I STRONGLY second this. Make VERY SURE that your tools are not magnetized. You also might consider picking up a forehead-flashlight at your local hardware store, they look goofy but are really helpful when you need great light and both hands. Only consider LED based ones, the old incandescent ones suck comparatively. Get some cable-ties too, though you likely already know about that bit.

I've really liked this toolkit over the years, and it comes with the wrist-strap: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16899261003

You should have enough RAM for now, I just hope your board can accommodate 32gb for later expansion.

#10 Posted by TheHBK (5488 posts) -

@starfoxa: The Z87 Motherboards are for the Haswell CPUs that came out in June. So you will want a Z77 motherboard for the 3670K Ivy Bridge. Or you will want the 4670K to go with that ASRock Z87. I do like the way the ASRock motherboards make overclocking easy.

Might want to go with 16 GB, just because it is pretty cheap but not necessary.

For the graphics card, I would go with the newly, or soon to be release R9 280X Equivalent to a GTX 770 but 100 bucks or more cheaper with more ram too. Or go with a GTX 760 at $250, because you can one later on in SLI which from what I have read outperforms a GTX 780 and might be on par or better than the new R9 290X card from AMD.

#11 Posted by Slag (4450 posts) -

@thehbk said:

@starfoxa: The Z87 Motherboards are for the Haswell CPUs that came out in June. So you will want a Z77 motherboard for the 3670K Ivy Bridge. Or you will want the 4670K to go with that ASRock Z87. I do like the way the ASRock motherboards make overclocking easy.

good catch, I agree with this.

#12 Posted by LiquidPrince (15964 posts) -

@tyrrael said:

@liquidprince: Why, exactly? The 7950 performs almost the same as the 7970, and you can get one for $100 less. Not to mention, a little ways down the road when the price comes down even further, you could throw another one of these in there and get performance that would be on par with or exceed the performance of graphics cards that cost 2-3 times more. It seems to be a pretty decent decision to me.

The overclockability of the 7950 puts it on par with the stock 7970. But you can overclock the 7970 to places where the 7950 can't follow.

#13 Edited by 2HeadedNinja (1633 posts) -

My tip would be (besides 16gig of ram) to stay calm and organized while building the PC. I've done it a few times and especially the CPU part can be nervewrecking. Don't be afraid to use the appropriate ammount of force when nessecary but still be carefull. Don't close the case until you installed the OS and ran the PC for a couple of hours just to make sure you can take a look at fans etc.

You can look forward to that awesome first time you turn on the PC and everything runs as expected though :)

[edit:] Oh ... and don't panic :) ... if something doesn't work there is probably an easy fix for it.

#14 Edited by JJWeatherman (14558 posts) -

General thoughts (some of which already mentioned):

  • CPU and mobo don't match. Either bump the mobo down to a Z77 or the CPU up to a 4670K.
  • I have a similar monitor, and it's great.
  • I have that exact keyboard, and while fine, it feels a little cheap. Of course you'll have to shell out more to get something that feels better (like a mechanical keyboard), but just something to think about.
  • It comes down to preference, but if it were me, I'd forego the SSD for now and instead put that significant portion of money into a better graphics card. An SSD is a luxury, but the GPU is what really matters.
  • Lastly, maybe consider a higher quality PSU. This list is a good reference, and as you can see, your choice is categorized as tier 3, which could be better. You can usually find the higher tiered PSUs for just as cheap, so it's probably worth it to check things out a bit there.
  • GoodLuckHaveBatman?
#15 Edited by Barrock (3536 posts) -

You should get a 360 controller for the PC.

#16 Edited by StarFoxA (5158 posts) -

@afabs515: I don't really care if they're specifically "gaming" keyboard/mouse, I just needed something functional, and those seemed to have decent reviews on PCPartPicker/Reddit.

@veektarius: I'm only going to be gaming, so 8GB should be fine.

@liquidprince: I plan on overclocking and getting a second 7950 down the road, so I don't think a 7970 is necessary. Plus, 7950 is under $200 now, that's a crazy deal.

@fleabeard: Is this necessary? I'd read that I could just ground myself by constantly touching metal, e.g. the case.

@thehbk: @slag:@jjweatherman: Whoops, meant to put 4670K, not 3670K. Good catch, guys.

@barrock: Already have one!

Also, to anyone suggesting upping the RAM, RAM prices have skyrocketed. Upping it to 16GB would add $60-$100 to this build, so it's not something I immediately want to do. Maybe in the future, if I need more.

#17 Edited by Tearhead (2169 posts) -

@starfoxa: You definitely don't need that anti static or flashlight junk. Just touch something metal every now and then to ground yourself, you'll be fine.

#18 Edited by MonetaryDread (2040 posts) -

My real suggestion is to wait until next summer to buy a PC. Right now is the worst time to build because all the hardware is going to be outdated in a year. Just look at the requirements for Watch Dogs, or Call of Duty: Ghosts. The PC you are building is costing you a fortune and barely exceeds the recommended requirements. Things are only going to be more demanding a year from now (just imagine the graphical leap from perfect dark zero to gears of war), and next year also coincides with the release of all the next-gen PC hardware. You have to realize that both ATI and Nvidia have re-released the same hardware that they first debuted in 2011. The real next-gen gear comes out in Spring 2014, and like every console launch in history, people who bought a PC instead get butt-hurt after seeing poor performance in games. In the next year you are going to see a lot of people whining about unoptimized PC ports.

Mark my words, 'when every PC gamer is crying about unoptimized PC ports this winter, it's not because the software is unoptimized. It is because hardware manufacturers fooled everyone into thinking their hardware was more powerful than it really is.'

@tyrrael said:

@liquidprince: Why, exactly? The 7950 performs almost the same as the 7970, and you can get one for $100 less. Not to mention, a little ways down the road when the price comes down even further, you could throw another one of these in there and get performance that would be on par with or exceed the performance of graphics cards that cost 2-3 times more. It seems to be a pretty decent decision to me.

Because throwing a second ATI card has no real world performance increase over a single card. FRAPS claims that is running almost twice as fast, but the card is rendering runt frames (three nearly identical frames interpolated into a single image). These runt frames make the game seem like it is running at a low fps, choppy fps, or you will see awful frame tearing. AMD released a driver update that mostly fixes the problem, but it is still not up to the standards set by Nvidia.

Now, it is not like I am saying do not buy an ATI card. The R9 270x is the best value in video cards right now, just don't expect to throw a second video card in your system to get better performance in the future. For multi-GPU (a mostly useless feature), the only real option is Nvidia at the moment.

Edit: The anti-static bracelet is only useful if you live in an area where static is an issue (low humidity areas). If you live in a place where static isn't an issue, you can just rest a forearm on your metal case while working on the desktop. Just wear rubber soled shoes, and make sure you are not standing on carpet, or in the vicinity of pets.

#19 Edited by TIEfighter77 (80 posts) -

@monetarydread said:

My real suggestion is to wait until next summer to buy a PC. Right now is the worst time to build because all the hardware is going to be outdated in a year. Just look at the requirements for Watch Dogs, or Call of Duty: Ghosts. The PC you are building is costing you a fortune and barely exceeds the recommended requirements. Things are only going to be more demanding a year from now (just imagine the graphical leap from perfect dark zero to gears of war), and next year also coincides with the release of all the next-gen PC hardware. You have to realize that both ATI and Nvidia have re-released the same hardware that they first debuted in 2011. The real next-gen gear comes out in Spring 2014, and like every console launch in history, people who bought a PC instead get butt-hurt after seeing poor performance in games. In the next year you are going to see a lot of people whining about unoptimized PC ports.

Mark my words, 'when every PC gamer is crying about unoptimized PC ports this winter, it's not because the software is unoptimized. It is because hardware manufacturers fooled everyone into thinking their hardware was more powerful than it really is.'

This. I'm just going to overclock my i7 2600K and wait until next year to upgrade CPU & mobo. I've just upgraded mu GPU and RAM and that's it until then.

#20 Posted by fleabeard (185 posts) -

Better safe than sorry with that wrist strap for your first build. This crappy dry weather in my area is making me get shocked anytime I touch a door handle, I wouldn't open my PC without one right now.

#21 Edited by mikey87144 (1781 posts) -

@starfoxa: I have your case and it's great. No complaints and it was very easy to build in. I would suggest getting the evo version instead of the pro for the SSD to save some cash. If you've never used a PC with a SSD before the slight speed difference between the pro and evo isn't worth the cost. Also the evo is rated for 10 years of service. By the time it might start to show signs of dying you'll already have moved on to something bigger and cheaper.

When I built my first PC I did it on carpet without the anti-static strap but I do live in a humid area and I do also have central air running through my house. Had I known about the strap before starting I probably would have used it but when I learned of it I was already in the midst of my build. You can be too paranoid about it from what I've heard but still it does pay to be a bit cautious.

#22 Posted by jakob187 (21676 posts) -

Personally, I would go with NVIDIA. Then again, that's due to my continually sour experiences with ATI cards.

I use Corsair Vengeance, and it's pretty good RAM. I would say that you might as well kick it up to 16GB though. No harm in it unless you are looking at a specific price tag.

Beyond that, it's a good computer. Glad to see you aren't going overboard with SLI. I've never been a big fan of it myself. Maybe we can both get Red Faction Guerrilla for PC and relive some of the good ol' days.

#23 Posted by Slag (4450 posts) -

@starfoxa: I went without an antistatic wrist band myself.

Unless you live somewhere like Arizona and are bad about constantly grounding yourself you can easily get away without one. Just do some common sense stuff like do not work on a carpeted surface, do not wear socks, etc and you'll probably be ok.

Up to you.

#24 Edited by PimblyCharles (1476 posts) -

I'd go with NVidia over AMD for the GPU, only because of better drivers/support.

#25 Posted by StarFoxA (5158 posts) -

@monetarydread: See, I was thinking about that, but there will always be new parts on the horizon. I doubt developers will leave things like the 7950 in the dust immediately when it comes to upcoming games, as they'll lose a significant amount of customers running older cards. I don't know, that'd just be my assumption.

@fleabeard: I do live in Florida, so we have crazy humid weather all the time. I'm not concerned about static at all.

@jakob187: I did consider an Nvidia card, but the equivalent card was more expensive. I hear driver support is much better nowadays. We'll see how it goes! Getting another 8GB of RAM is on my list of things to do, but I figured 8GB would be good for now, and I could upgrade later. Guerrilla is definitely on my list of games that I need to re-purchase on PC!

#26 Posted by Zlimness (555 posts) -

You seem to have researched well, nothing looks off to me. The Carbide 400R is great if you need a lot of ventilation for future overclocking needs. I have the 500R and it's really nice to work with. Some parts feel a bit cheap, but nothing's perfect.

The GPU will be fine for most games. I have a 7970 Ghz and I feel like I have juice to spare.

I wouldn't invest in more RAM right now either. It's pricey atm, as you said.

I'd consider buying a beefy PSU if you plan on having two GPU cards and additional cooling. 650W might be enough, but with 750W you can sleep more easy at night.

I have the same mouse. It's comfortable and doesn't look weird as fuck.

#27 Edited by preaser (38 posts) -

An audiophile will tell you never to buy an Astro product. Or even a headset for that matter. As far as nVidia vs AMD goes, I've gad a much more trouble-free experience with nVidia's driver solution over the years, especially when a brand new game comes out.

#28 Edited by MonetaryDread (2040 posts) -
@starfoxa said:

@monetarydread: See, I was thinking about that, but there will always be new parts on the horizon. I doubt developers will leave things like the 7950 in the dust immediately when it comes to upcoming games, as they'll lose a significant amount of customers running older cards. I don't know, that'd just be my assumption.

There will always be new parts on the horizon. Yet the new parts next year are the actual next gen parts. Think of it this way. Just imagine the PS4 and Xbox One face a delay till Winter 2014, but as a concession Sony released an updated PS3 for the same price as a PS4, only you can now turn on AA for any game you own, or maybe get a slightly more consistant frame rate than you did before. Would you buy the updated PS3, or save your money for the PS4? That is the exact situation that video card manufacturers are in right now.

Developers will not leave the 7950 in the dust, but I am sure you will feel dissapointment in a year when you have turn the graphics down to medium / low. Just think back to when the 360 launched. The current top-of the line chips were the GTX 7800 (the $600 option). By the time 2007 rolled in people were complaining about how they had problems running Bioshock on 1080p w low settings, and forget about Oblivion, that game ran at less than 30fps with that card. A year later the 8800 series came out and my $300 8800GTS still runs PC console ports better than the 360 / ps3 version. The funny thing is, before the 8800 series came out tech nerds everywhere were saying that the 7800 was fast enough, that the increase in power and new DX10 was not worth waiting for.

How about the Geforce 2 Ultra (the top card in 2000 a year before the PS2 launched), in a year the card started having troubles running Gothic or IL-2 Sturmovic. Then by the time Battlefield 1942 (2002) came out the card was struggling to maintain consistant frame rates at 720p.

So why would buying a mid-range card at the same time as a console launch be any different than in previous generations?

If you are dead set on buying a PC, everything is great for now. The CPU should be perfect till the end of the generation, the ram is great, the SSD is great... everything is great. But I would spend as little as possible on your GPU with the intention of upgrading at Black Friday 2014.

PC gaming is an awesome way to play video games if you enjoy the medium. Yet because of the flexibility it offers you, that means there are a lot of options out there, and a lot of options means that internet nerds have something to argue about. These arguments cloud up any real history or information out there and just confuse people who are starting a new hobby. Now, hopefully I am wrong about all this. I hope that Mantle is actually used, and as powerful as ATI says it is, enabling PC owners to get more bang-for-their-buck with older hardware. Or maybe developers will learn from the previous generation and find workarounds for the massive power difference between a new console launch and high-end PC's (the new consoles are a hell of a lot more efficient than current PC hardware), and can release games that run smoothly on lower hardware.

I doubt it though.

#29 Posted by Andorski (5330 posts) -

Just a couple of thoughts/suggestions:

  1. I believe that the CM Hyper 212 EVO comes with thermal paste. It's probably not as good as the Arctic Silver compound you plan on buying, but I would rather just use what you get for free. The 212 EVO is a good CPU cooler for its cost but isn't anything extraordinary. Using a premium thermal paste would be a waste.
  2. You can definitely find 8GB DDR3 RAM at around $75. You might have to drop from 1866 to 1600 speed, but the drop would be indistinguishable in practical use.
  3. You don't need an anti-static wrist strap or non-magnetized tools. People use them just for peace of mind. As far as static goes, just ground yourself when doing your build (I periodically touched a metal screw on my case when building) and don't build on carpet while wearing socks. Also, the magnetization of a screw driver is too weak to do any damage to your motherboard. I prefer using magnetized tools since it makes it easier to screw in components that are in hard to reach spots.
#30 Posted by StarFoxA (5158 posts) -

@preaser: You have any other recommendations as far as headphones go?

@monetarydread: Thanks for the super detailed input, man, I'll certainly take it into consideration.

#31 Posted by e30bmw (356 posts) -

Not to hijack this thread, but I have a quick question on my own build that I'm in the middle of doing. Pretty similar stuff to what the OP listed, but I haven't decided on a GPU yet. I was set on getting a 770 but then AMD announced their new cards. Now I'm not sure what to get, any suggestions?

#32 Posted by StarFoxA (5158 posts) -

@e30bmw: This helped me choose my card. The 7970 GHz is very similar to the R9 280X from what I hear, which is $100 cheaper than the 770.

#33 Posted by e30bmw (356 posts) -

@starfoxa: Yeah, that's kind of what I gather. Does anyone think there is any chance of Nvidia dropping their prices in the next ~2 weeks. Because if not, I'll probably just save the 100 bucks and get the R9 280X.

#34 Edited by noizy (669 posts) -

Personally, I like monitors that have adjustable height (telescopic post). Worst case if you can't get adjustable heigth on a specific model, get something with VESA mount brackets so that you can mount them on something else. I would recommend two monitors.

#35 Edited by jayjonesjunior (1090 posts) -

My expert opinion? Bigger Storage HD and a mouse that isn't from Razer.

#36 Posted by StarFoxA (5158 posts) -

@jayjonesjunior: Do you have a specific mouse recommendation? I just want a functional wired mouse with no insane bells and whistles.

#37 Posted by rjayb89 (7724 posts) -

http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Wireless-Gaming-Mouse-G700/dp/B003VAM32E/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1381978097&sr=8-3&keywords=logitech+g7

I have that mouse (it's also wired, by the way). Works great, very customizable and stores three profiles. However, the Logitech Setpoint software is fucked for me on Windows 8 for some reason. I can set up the profiles just fine on my Windows 7 laptop, and the mouse itself will store the set profiles even across different computers. Also, the default back and forward buttons don't work very well with Windows 8.

You know what, forget what I said if you're going to end up using your new computer (if you're going to use Windows 8) for your eventual web surfing.

Online
#38 Posted by StarFoxA (5158 posts) -

@rjayb89: Yeah, I'm gonna swing with Windows 8, I can get it through my college.

#39 Edited by laserguy (444 posts) -

I got some wisdom. If your building a computer, dont get fired from your job. Then you wont get your vitamins.

#40 Posted by BawlZINmotion (714 posts) -

Without knowing your budget I cannot detail too much, but I wouldn't touch hardware manufactured by Microsoft or Razer. I love Microsoft for software, but not hardware. And with Razer you're paying more for style, not substance. For peripherals I like Logitech. Regardless these are the alterations I would make to your list:

  • ASUS Sabertooth (motherboard)
  • XFX Radeon (GPU)
  • Max out your RAM, you can never have too much.
  • Solid state drives are not worth the money.
  • I usually go with Samsung for monitors. Since you're going to be spending a lot of time looking at this piece of hardware, you really need to buy something you've seen for yourself. Go to one or more stores and check out as many as you can, then make a decision based on that.
  • I use a Logitech G110 keyboard, but they're discontinued. I love it and apparently the G710 is comparable, but mechanical!
  • I use a Logitech G9 mouse, also discontinued but it's going on 4 1/2 years without issue and I have 3 in their boxes waiting to replace. It's also a lot shorter and lower profile than most gaming mice, allowing you "claw" it.

As far as headsets go, I struggled with that for a long time. Most wiring on those I've purchased have failed within 2-3 years, so spending too much money is not something I'm keen to do. I used to buy from Razer, but after 3 sets I believe they're durability is garbage. I pulled my last headset apart to attempt a repair, but the wiring is such shit/cheap it just kept breaking whilst trying to soldier pieces together. I eventually ended up with a Logitech G35 (on recommendation) and love it. Plus all three can be easily managed from Logitech's "gaming" software suite.

For reference, here is my machine (built in May 2010, except the GPU):

  • Intel i7 930
  • EVGA X58 LE
  • XFX Radeon HD 6950
  • 12GB triple channel DDR G.Skill Trident 2000
  • Seagate Barracuda 500GB x2
  • Coolermaster Storm Scout
  • Samsung SyncMaster P2570
  • Logitech G110
  • Logitech G9

Aside the Crysis series and Battlefield 4, it conquers settings in all games.

#41 Posted by StarFoxA (5158 posts) -

@bawlzinmotion: My budget is around $1200 ideally (not including headphones). I'm largely interested in having an SSD to improve boot times for the OS and select few games/applications. I don't want it to be something I add in later, I'd like that from the get-go.

I tried to find relatively inexpensive peripherals that looked functional. I'll check out your recommendations!

I'll have to be sure to go to a store to double check on monitors and cases.

#42 Edited by noizy (669 posts) -

@starfoxa said:

@jayjonesjunior: Do you have a specific mouse recommendation? I just want a functional wired mouse with no insane bells and whistles.

Logitech G400

Do you prefer palm grip or claw grip? If you like palm grip, ensure you get a "big" mouse like the G400. I've been using the G400 or its previous iteration (the MX518) for years now. It fits well in the palm, is not filled with too many buttons you'll trip on, is wired, has a good sensor (seriously, you don't need anything over 2000dpi as you'll never use it unless you run a super high resolution; I run at 1400dpi on dual 1080p. If you need more info on mouse DPI settings read this). If you like claw gripping your mouse, might want to look at a smaller mouse. I prefer palm grip as it's less strenuous.

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