Building a New PC - Need Advice!

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#1 Posted by PatVB (363 posts) -

I just started a new job, and my first big purchase is going to be a new gaming PC. I've been using a laptop for years, so I'm long overdue for an upgrade. I want something that will be able to run new games like The Witcher 3 at high settings.

Is this Tested build from last year still a good purchase? Specifically, the second of the three listed. $1500 is about the most I'm willing to pay, but are there any upgrades I can make without raising the cost too much higher? Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks!

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#2 Edited by Mike (17288 posts) -

@patvb: Do you need a monitor, speakers, mouse, keyboard? Do you want to keep it small and quiet, or go larger and have more room to work with? Is noise an issue or do you want it pushing air like a wind tunnel? Are you going to use it for any other heavy lifting besides games? Are you the type of person that likes to tweak every little setting and may overclock at some point, or do you just want it to be stable and will leave it alone for the most part?

I love this stuff, I'll be happy to put together an updated version of the Tested build for you. I just built yet another new machine last week so I'm pretty current with all of the best buys and price points. That article wasn't so long ago and most things are more or less the same, but there are some updated Intel CPU's that just came out along with a new chipset, and the GPU landscape has shifted a little bit.

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#3 Posted by PatVB (363 posts) -

@mb: Excellent questions! I've got a mouse, but need a keyboard, monitor, and speakers. As for the other stuff, it doesn't necessarily need to be super small and quiet, but I don't want a deafening monster either. And games are the most strenuous thing I'll be doing on it. Other than that, it'll be for streaming video. Thank you so much!

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#4 Edited by Mike (17288 posts) -

@patvb: Alright...I'm working on something here. The direction I'm going in is a very high end gaming PC in a mid tower case with a lot of storage and a top of the line monitor. Here's what I came up with that fits into your budget, I'll explain each part and why I chose it. There is a lot of room to play with here in both directions just depending on what you want from each component, the options are infinite. But this is at least something to start with. This is a well balanced build that doesn't skimp on anything, but isn't overkill either.

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/yXrzFT

Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/yXrzFT/by_merchant/

CPU: Intel Core i5-4670 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($219.97 @ OutletPC)

I went with the non-K variant 4670 and the stock CPU cooler based on the assumption you will not be overclocking your CPU. This is as much as you need for gaming and then some. The stock cooler is all that is needed if you're not overclocking, so don't spend the money on a Noctua or something like that. However, if you do think you may want to OC one day, you may want to spend a bit more and get a nice aftermarket cooler now. Add $100 for a K-chip and a Noctua NH-D14 if you want to overclock. The new i5-4690 chips were just released but consume a little more power for only 100mhz more base clock speed...may or may not be worth it depending on your preference. If you do want the new series CPU you will need a compatible motherboard with either the Z97 chipset or Z87 that can be firmware upgraded to run a Devil's Canyon chip.

Motherboard: MSI Z87-G41 PC Mate ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($71.99 @ Amazon)

Very well regarded mid-range motherboard, it's all you need if you aren't going to OC. Lots of ports and features, plenty of DIMM slots for memory.

Memory: Corsair Vengeance LP 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($89.98 @ OutletPC)

Low profile DDR3, you don't need "gaming" memory or anything faster than 1600mhz. Avoid RAM with giant heatsinks, it's not necessary and could cause clearance issues at some point. 8gb of RAM is all you need for gaming, and you can always cheaply upgrade to 16gb later on if you feel like you ever need it. Which you probably won't.

Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($129.99 @ Amazon)

I consider SSD's a must for new builds, and this is a nice one. Plenty of room for Windows and your most often used apps and games. $129 is nothing for how fast your boot times and load times become and how silent it will help make your PC.

Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($82.99 @ NCIX US)

2TB of mass storage for all of your parked games and recorded video. You can easily add more hard drives later, and by the time you actually need them they will be even cheaper.

Video Card: Asus Radeon R9 280X 3GB DirectCU II Video Card ($302.98 @ Newegg)

Current price to performance sweet spot in GPU's. Not the best in the world, but going up to a 290x or GTX 780 will be 60% more expensive for not nearly 60% more performance. And this is coming from someone who did buy the 60% more expensive one. I prefer Nvidia cards but most people seem to be recommending the 280x as the "best buy" right now.

Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower Case ($79.99 @ Newegg)

Awesome looking case with great features that isn't too big, and it's quiet. Comes with two case fans and room for five more. Add $30 for a pair of Corsair AF120 Quiet Series case fans for a total of four. (Recommended but not necessary). A good case will run you $80-$100, so just pick the one you think looks the coolest that has good reviews. There are a lot out there.

Power Supply: SeaSonic 660W 80+ Platinum Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($138.98 @ OutletPC)

Quiet, efficient, and stable power. Fully modular so you only use the cables you actually need instead of having a rat's nest that you need to hide somewhere. Don't skimp on your PSU. 660w is plenty enough to run a pair of GPU's and everything else you will need. There are options here from several of the big PSU companies such as Corsair, but for a good modular PSU expect to pay $100-$150. I recommend a minimum of a Gold rating at 600w+ and at least semi modular. Get one that is regarded as being quiet - the good ones' fans don't even kick on until they're under quite a load, and are nearly completely silent.

Monitor: QNIX QX2710 Evolution II Matte 120Hz 27.0" Monitor ($338.00)

The current enthusiasts' favorite 1440p monitor...because 1080p isn't enough anymore! You could save $200 here by going down to a 1080p monitor, but you're going to be looking at this thing a lot so you may as well get a nice one. Since you stream you may elect to go with a pair of 1080p monitors instead of a single 1440p for additional real estate, one for your game and one for everything else. A lot of flexibility here, it's all personal preference. You could save about $150 by getting a single high end 27" 1080p monitor.

Keyboard: Logitech K120 Wired Standard Keyboard ($9.15 @ B&H)

Standard keyboard. I'm not a big proponent of "gaming" keyboards, I'd rather spend the money on a good mouse.

Speakers: Cyber Acoustics CA-3090 10W 2.1ch Speakers ($25.53 @ Amazon)

Decent speakers with a subwoofer...not garbage but not top of the line either, you can change this if speakers are important to you.

Total: $1489.55

Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available

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#5 Posted by PatVB (363 posts) -

@mb: This is perfect! Thanks, duder!

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#6 Posted by deactivated-58ca104190dca (324 posts) -

Everyone has their own preferences, personally I'd go for an Asus motherboard over an MSI one, two smaller SSDs as you need a lot less space for windows & then have the other for the games you constantly play, a GTX770 for less gaming hassles, two monitors is a must these days, gaming keyboards are great & studio monitors are so much better than pc speakers though they cost a lot more too.

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#7 Edited by teaoverlord (591 posts) -

@hone_mcbone: People always recommend nvidia cards, but I've never really had any hassles with AMD cards.

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#8 Posted by Corevi (6795 posts) -

Yeah I'd go with an Nvidia card like the 770 twin frozr, most games hate to work with radeon cards.

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#9 Posted by Shaka999 (550 posts) -

@patvb: Since you made a PC parts thread would you mind if I asked some questions? I'm in a very similar situation and I dunno how the mods would feel if another topic popped up

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#10 Posted by Mike (17288 posts) -

@shaka999: You can create a new topic, dude. In cases like this it's not as if the same answers apply to everyone, and since there is nearly an infinite number of parts combinations it doesn't make sense to have everyone use the same topic for different questions. Just put it in the PC platform board.

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#11 Posted by Shaka999 (550 posts) -

@mb: Awesome, thanks!

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#12 Posted by FinalDasa (3057 posts) -

I have these links bookmarked for the one day I build mine, hopefully they help.

Link 1.

Link 2.

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#13 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (6228 posts) -

Everyone has their own preferences, personally I'd go for an Asus motherboard over an MSI one, two smaller SSDs as you need a lot less space for windows & then have the other for the games you constantly play, a GTX770 for less gaming hassles, two monitors is a must these days, gaming keyboards are great & studio monitors are so much better than pc speakers though they cost a lot more too.

Yeah, I agree. I'd would go with Asus unless I'm building something cheap...because except their color scheme Asus makes good boards and have nice bios tools. I don't have first hand experience with ASRock or Gigabtye, but they seem like good boards as well.

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#14 Posted by Mic_D (17 posts) -

So i thought it best to re-use this thread as the OP basically describes my situation.

This is what I'm thinking of going with. I am on a bit of a budget so I can't go too crazy so if there's something that sticks out as being wasteful or unnecessary, please point it out. That said, it's primarily a gaming machine and I'd like to not be upgrading parts in the next 2 years.

- 1 × Rosewill Throne Full Tower Case - White

- 1 × NZXT Sleeved LED Kit 100cm Length Blue (CB-LED10-BU)

- 1 × Intel Core i7 4820K Quad Core LGA 2011 3.7GHz CPU Processor

- 1 × Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO CPU Cooler

- 1 × Gigabyte GA-X79-UP4 Motherboard

- 1 × G.SKILL RipjawsZ 16GB (4x 4GB) DDR3 1600MHz Desktop Memory .

- 1 × High Performance CPU Thermal Compound Application

- 1 × TP-LINK TL-WN951N 300Mbps Wireless-N PCI Adapter

- 1 × Microsoft Windows 8.1 - 64-bit - DVD OEM

- 1 × BenQ EW2740L (VA) 27" 4ms HDMI Full HD Low Blue Light LED Mo...

- 1 × Gigabyte GeForce GTX 760 OC 2GB Video Card

- 1 × Corsair CS750M 750W 80+ Gold Modular Power Supply

- 1 × Samsung 840 Pro 256GB 2.5" SATA III SSD MZ-7PD256BW

- 1 × Western Digital WD2003FZEX WD 2TB Black 3.5” 7200RPM SATA3 H...

- 1 × LG 24x Internal SATA OEM DVD Burner Drive GH24NSB0

- 1 × ASUS Xonar DGX 5.1-channel Gaming Sound Card

Thanks for advice you can give.

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#15 Edited by Mike (17288 posts) -

@mic_d: Spend less money on a CPU and more money on a video card...if this is a gaming rig you will get zero benefit from spending $100 extra on an i7 versus an i5. Same with the RAM, you don't need 16gb. Get 8gb and put that money into a GPU as well. Go with an i5-4670k or i5-4690k, 8gb of DDR3 1600mhz RAM, and a GTX 780 or GTX 780 Ti. Since you're getting an LGA 1150 CPU you can drop that motherboard and get something like an Asus VII Hero or VI Formula and skip that sound card. You absolutely do not need an LGA 2011 socket or an i7 for games.

Unless you're doing some video rendering or 3D modeling and need those extra threads and additional 8gb of RAM, all of that stuff is going to be completely wasted on games.

The other thing is that since you're going all out, you may as well go for a 1440p/120hz or 144hz monitor like the Qnix QX-2710.

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#17 Posted by Mic_D (17 posts) -

@mb: Thank you. That's exactly the sort of feed back I was hoping for.

I'm a designer so I do spend a lot of time using 3d modelling software. So even though I said its a gaming machine (which it absolutely will be) I'd still like to keep that functionality.

Thanks again .

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#18 Posted by pcorb (676 posts) -

@mic_d: Any particular reason you need a full tower case? The market has shifted towards mid and micro tower PCs in recent years, and it's much easier to find a good case in those form factors on a budget. I'd recommend you switch to aN Enthoo Pro for a good all-round case or a Deep Silence 2 or Define R4 if you'd like something as silent as possible.

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