Help me Cut PC Costs

#1 Edited by Shortbreadtom (688 posts) -

Hi guys. I have been planning on building a gaming PC for about a year now, and have recently gone to a shop to get advice from an employee as well as pricing for parts. He and I put together a checkout list of all the parts I am planning to use. Unfortunately the price came out to about 200 CHF (I live in Switzerland) over what I can pay. Even though the guy was super nice and helpful, he is still a salesman and as such I am dubious about the necessity of certain components.

This is where the GB community of PC gamers comes in. I am very much a novice, having never built a PC before, so I have no idea where to cut the costs of this. Below is a list of all the parts and their prices of all the components. Also, any advice on the parts I have chosen would be good as well.

Info on the machine: I hope it to cost around 1500 CHF (around 1620 USD) and am aiming to use a GTX 680 as the graphics card. All the prices have been taken from the Steg Computer site (Steg is a well respected Swiss PC shop).

Motherboard: Asus P8B75-M________________94.50

CPU: Intel i5 3570k_______________________234.00

RAM: Patriot Memory 16GB DDR3 1600MHz___99.90

GPU: EVGA GTX 680 SC__________________562.00

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Green 1000GB___109.00

SSD: OCZ Vector Series 256GB____________289.90

DVD Rom: 118AB/BEBE Samsung__________21.90

PC Case: Cooler Master Silencio 550________92.90

Power Supply: Corsair CX750______________99.90

OS: Microsoft Win7 SP1 HP64, E___________114.90

Total:________________________________1699.89CHF (1826.27 USD)

The main area where I see a lot of money being spent is the SSD. Is this component necessary? Am I spending too much money on it?

Thank you for any help you can offer.

#2 Posted by Andorski (5202 posts) -
  1. Drop the RAM to 8GB.
  2. Drop the SSD to 128GB, raise the HDD to 2TB, and use Steam's swapping beta feature to store games on the HDD and have your games that you are currently playing on your SSD.
  3. Drop the DVD drive. You think you need it, but you probably don't.
  4. Drop the PSU to a 650W and see if there are cheaper alternatives at that wattage.

These would be decent places to start, but I doubt you would drop below your threshold. It's probably best to research other GTX 680's and see if you can find a cheaper version that you can overclock yourself.

#3 Posted by Shortbreadtom (688 posts) -

@andorski: Thanks for the help. The SSD did seem extremely expensive, and since I'm not entirely sure what more memory there will actually do your advice makes sense.

#4 Posted by louiedog (2335 posts) -

Andorski's advice is good and I agree with it. 8 GB RAM should be enough for right now and that's the single easiest thing to upgrade later.

I also agree about the DVD drive. I was working in my system 2 years ago and forgot to reconnect the optical drive. I haven't found a reason to reconnect it yet. The only machine that I have right now with a functioning optical drive is an 8-year-old laptop which hasn't been turned on in awhile.

When I need to reinstall Windows I put it on a USB drive via another computer. If you don't have access to another computer at home (seems unlikely) you could buy a 4-8 GB drive for $5 and keep a Windows installer on there. If you have a bunch of older games on discs now might be a good time to rip them to .isos and keep them on a hard drive for the future. The only reason I'd get new games on disc is if they were on sale and I just wanted the Steam/Origin code from the box or if I moved somewhere and my only ISP options had a low bandwidth cap.

#5 Posted by mikey87144 (1668 posts) -

You can save money now by cutting out the SSd. It's a great improvement in terms of... everything for your PC but not a necessary one. You don't need the disk drive unless you plan on ripping DVDs. Not sure what the digital games situation is like in your neck of the woods but the optical drive is almost obsolete.

#6 Edited by jakob187 (21645 posts) -

A couple of things:

1. The ASUS B75 motherboard is going to be more for businesses rather than home use. You'll want to go with the H77 for better home/gaming use. That will run you a little extra on Newegg (think it's about $109), but you'll be much happier in the end with it.

2. For your HDD, you have a Caviar Green. Go with the Caviar Black 1TB. Again, you'll be much happier with it in the end for gaming and other uses.

3. Why go with the 680? I know that the CUDA cores are high, but as it stands, there's not really anything that will be coming out for a while that can utilize it to its fullest advantage. As it stands, you can drop down to a 2GB 660 GTX SC and save about $200 USD. It'll be about half the CUDA cores, but you'll have the same clock speed and same general performance. I actually have a 650 GTX in my comp right now, and it runs Far Cry 3 at max settings with 60FPS just fine, as well as Max Payne 3. I haven't tried Crysis 3 yet, but the first Crysis with mods fucking wrecks.

4. Don't cheap out on the RAM, man. Patriot is bunk shit. Get Corsair Vengeance. The question is how many sticks you are wanting to use on that 16GB (2 x 8GB or 4 x 4GB). I would personally recommend the 2 x 8GB just to keep the box cooler in general. Moreover, Corsair Vengeance is generally accepted more by most motherboards, so you shouldn't have to worry about compatibility issues. Also, those two sticks are about $10 more USD than what you are listing at the moment, but they are 1866 speed.

5. Is there any particular reason for the SSD beyond gaming? If not, by all means, go for it. I don't have an SSD, but that Caviar Black works more than fine for what I'm doing.

6. DVD ROM? Who needs a DVD ROM in this day and age? Honestly, to prevent ever needing to spend money on something like this again, just get a cheap external drive...unless, again, you actually need the DVD ROM for something.

7. GET SOME ARCTIC SILVER! Do NOT trust that shit paste they put in with the processor!

Beyond that, the build is solid up and down. I would just make those few recommendations, as it'll give you a little bit more bang in a couple of places and give you a cost cut if you drop the video card down a bit. I know people like to get the latest and greatest a lot of the time, but I'll put it this way: I've got a buddy that's still running an LGA 775 board with a relatively inexpensive build, and he's still pumping 60fps at max settings on most modern games. People like to overspend on their builds in a lot of crazy ways. The rig that I made for myself (which was basically a motherboard, HDD, video card, processor, and power supply that I needed) was about $600 overall. Funny enough, it was basically everything that I just listed, except I went down to the 1GB 650 GTX video card because I knew I could pump out some major performance from that muthafucker.

Hope all this helps a bit.

*EDIT* P.S. - I also don't have an Intel i processor. I'm rockin' a G860 Pentium with Sandy Bridge. Fucker still cranks fast as hell. I'll be upgrading that once the "next-gen" shit starts hitting.

#7 Posted by itspizza (430 posts) -

You can probably get a cheaper case (mine was only $50 and its awesome), and the video card is kind of overkill. Depending on your monitor, you could get something for half that price and be fine. Move down to 8GB (you can always add more later), and like someone above me said, go down to 650W (still more than enough). Right now I have a 1TB hard drive and a 128 SSD, so you'd probably be fine getting a smaller SSD.

#8 Posted by Shortbreadtom (688 posts) -

Wow, thanks for all the great advice guys.

@louiedog: But isn't the DVD drive also for CDs and DVDs? Is it not worth the 20 bucks for that?

#9 Posted by jakob187 (21645 posts) -

@andorski: Why drop the RAM down? You can get 16GB cheap as hell. Might as well get it while you can. Also, you can nab a 750W Corsair for a solid price right now as well. Future proofing a power supply is always a wise decision.

If anything, I think he just needs to drop the SSD overall as they will end up getting much cheaper in the next year or two, and it is nowhere near a necessity right now with SATA 6.0 shit available. As for going up to 2TB, I run a 1TB WD Caviar Black right now, have about...I don't know, 100 games on there, and I'm a little over half full on my HDD right now. 2TB is a bit of overkill IMO unless you are doing some kind of rendering/3D modeling/CAD/etc.

#10 Posted by Andorski (5202 posts) -

@jakob187: What resolution are you running Far Cry 3 in, and is your GTX 650 being OCed? My stock 570 can only run FC3 at med-high settings at 60fps at 1080p.

#11 Posted by jakob187 (21645 posts) -

@shortbreadtom: Just leave the CDs and DVDs behind, man. Get an external (borrow one if you need, that's a much better option), rip over whatever you need, and then tell the physical media to fuck off. The only thing you would need it for beyond that is if you had a wild hair up your ass to hunt down a copy of Starship Troopers on PC and wanted to install it...

...which I have a copy of...and it actually full works on Windows 7...with no issues...which is fucking scary. Also, that game sucks sack.

#12 Edited by jakob187 (21645 posts) -

@andorski: I'm running it at 1600x900 on an Acer 20". I can understand if someone is going beyond that where it could have some issues, but I've also tweaked and played with settings on so much shit...plus had a little help from an Ubisoft employee via Steam on tweaking the settings just right... Thanks go to WAR Snake.

#13 Posted by Shortbreadtom (688 posts) -

@jakob187: I don't know why I find you so fucking hilarious. But I do. Also, some great advice.

#14 Posted by jakob187 (21645 posts) -

@shortbreadtom: What's worse about that Starship Troopers copy...is that it was sent to me by the publisher when I was writing reviews. They didn't like my review of the game.

#15 Edited by Shortbreadtom (688 posts) -

@jakob187: You were a reviewer? Work for anyone we would know?

#16 Posted by VoidProd (93 posts) -

GTX 670 is only slower than a 680 by a few frames in almost all cases, but is noticably cheaper.

Drop the ram to 8gb. Yeah it's cheap, but it's also a waste of 50$

Drop the psu to 550w. (but don't go for a cheap brand)

The ssd... If you're not going to install windows on it aswell as games, a 128gb will get you far.

#17 Edited by jakob187 (21645 posts) -

@shortbreadtom: Nah. Ran an independent webzine (back when webzines existed) called BonusStage. Lasted for about three years, but I got to the point that reviewing games was making me hate games because I was breaking them down to these aesthetic things rather than just fucking enjoying them.

Also, I have a trade demo of Disgaea: Hour of Darkness and Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne...because Atlus was fucking awesome about that shit. Who wants to touch me? I SAID WHO WANTS TO FUCKING TOUCH ME?!

#18 Edited by louiedog (2335 posts) -

Wow, thanks for all the great advice guys.

@louiedog: But isn't the DVD drive also for CDs and DVDs? Is it not worth the 20 bucks for that?

If you use those things, then yes. I ripped all of my CDs to mp3 at least a decade ago and haven't purchased physical music since. The same with DVDs, just not quite as long ago. Most people I know don't use their PCs for either of those things, even if it's connected to a TV.

#19 Edited by believer258 (11668 posts) -

I disagree about the DVD drive, I've used mine a decent bit. You don't need it, but you could probably find a use for it. Plus they're really cheap and there are a lot of other things on there you could knock down a notch or two without sacrificing a DVD drive.

Meanwhile, everyone else seems to have things covered pretty well.

EDIT: Also, this is going to make me sound even more old-fashioned, but you also don't need an SSD. They're really expensive for a fairly small amount of storage and all you really do with one is shave a few seconds off of load time and maybe knock down the noise level a little bit.

#20 Posted by Shortbreadtom (688 posts) -

To get back to the PC, someone recommended I get an H77 motherboard. Any recommendations for which one?

#21 Posted by Shortbreadtom (688 posts) -

@gothmoogle: Will a GTX 680 not last me much longer though?

#22 Edited by Dauthi693 (130 posts) -

@shortbreadtomBut isn't the DVD drive also for CDs and DVDs? Is it not worth the 20 bucks for that?

It does but basicly the only time i use a drive this days is to insert my windows DVD or burn music . In my mind its more a convenice thing having a portable one when you desl with more than 1 computer.

The HDD is a green drive i.e the slower power saving version go for the blue or black version.

The SSD can be dropped but i would just get a 128GB version

The case?? I hate recommeding cases.

I 680 just isn't worth the extra over the 670/7970 for me personally but you want it so... yea.

#23 Posted by alternate (2687 posts) -

don't most pc people just save on costs by pirating the games :-P

#24 Edited by Dauthi693 (130 posts) -

@shortbreadtom said:

@gothmoogle: Will a GTX 680 not last me much longer though?

No not really its like 2-4 Frames faster on the games where you need the extra frames. So y might get an extra 6 months out of it but more likely what will want to make you upgrade will push you over with either card. Just as it fastest single Nvidia card is suffers from the fastest GPU Premium because people will pay it for the fastest card.

Also for the SSD would grab a 120 GB samsung 840.

As for mother board would go for a Z77 board to overclock the CPU and is close to the price point http://www.steg-electronics.ch/de/article/gigabyte-z77m-d3h-134936.aspx

#25 Edited by envane (1159 posts) -

670 would be a better bet , sandisk ssds are better priced and perform better than samsung ssds , id get neither and make sure its intel or corsair but whatever .. you want to save money here

fuck that arctic silver , get nt-h1 yo .. everyone has their personal fav thermal compound now but its a safe bet that a fresh application beats the preapplied coating anyday.

#26 Posted by Devildoll (877 posts) -

Get a regular 680, instead of a factory overclocked version. or you could even go with a 670.
Perhaps cut back on that ssd and get a 120 gigger instead.
If you plan on running games of your mechanical hard drive, get a seagate barracuda or western digital caviar black instead of that slow green.

@jakob187 said:

Shortbreadtom marked this as the best answer


7. GET SOME ARCTIC SILVER! Do NOT trust that shit paste they put in with the processor!

For all the build's ive done for my pals, ive used the stock intel heatsink and the stock cooling paste, nothing has gone wrong.

#27 Edited by jakob187 (21645 posts) -

@dauthi693 said:

As for mother board would go for a Z77 board to overclock the CPU and is close to the price point http://www.steg-electronics.ch/de/article/gigabyte-z77m-d3h-134936.aspx

If the guy plans on overclocking, I would also recommend a Z77 board. If you are not planning on doing that, an H77 is perfectly fine.

@envane said:

670 would be a better bet , sandisk ssds are better priced and perform better than samsung ssds , id get neither and make sure its intel or corsair but whatever .. you want to save money here

fuck that arctic silver , get nt-h1 yo .. everyone has their personal fav thermal compound now but its a safe bet that a fresh application beats the preapplied coating anyday.

The only difference that you'll find between the 660 that I linked above and the 670 suggested here is in the CUDA cores and the GDDR5 on each card (670 is 256-bit while 660 is 192-bit). The overall performance difference that you will find is going to be about 2-4 FPS, and you're talking about $100+ extra going to a 670. We're not talking about apples and oranges here. We're talking about oranges and tangerines. However, I'm not saying that the 670 would be bad. Even dropping down from the 680, it will cut you some costs and keep your machine future-proofed a bit more. Honestly, I would say that you should hit up Norm and Will over at Tested when it comes to video cards, as they get way more technical than I can about why some of the newest cards are less powerful than previous ones.

As for the Arctic Silver stuff, yeah - thermal paste really does come down to personal preference. However, I never trust any of the compounds that come with a processor. Every past experience has been terrible with them, and I've done a fair number of builds overall. With Intel chips, it's not nearly as bad...but with AMD chips, it's a fucking nightmare, especially if the paste gets too bonded to the heatsink. At that point, you might as well buy a new motherboard and processor. I've seen that happen one too many times. NT-H1 is good stuff as well.

@devildoll said:

If you plan on running games of your mechanical hard drive, get a seagate barracuda or western digital caviar black instead of that slow green.

Further proof that the Western Digital Caviar Black HDDs are the shit. Seriously, get one of those bad boys and you'll be a happy camper.

In the end, I just hope that all of this has been helpful and brought down the cost of your PC build. Right now, it's a pretty great time to be a PC gamer. It's so fucking cheap when it comes to games.

#28 Posted by Shortbreadtom (688 posts) -

@jakob187: You know what Jakob187? This has been helpful. I just want to thank everyone who helped me out, this has certainly given me some stuff to think about.

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