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Old 01-05-2013, 04:05 AM   #1
Mahna Mahna
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Default First time builder choosing parts to buy within the week

Building a new PC, that will mostly be used for basic tasks, but also for the occasional game such as LoL (but I don't mind the low end of the graphic options.) Attempting to future proof/resist it as much as possible, would like it to last upwards of 5-6 years with as few spot upgrades as possible. All for very near $680, so bang-for-buck is in play here too (less than that is ok too. ) I am in the US but sadly nowhere near a microcenter. I already have a USB keyboard, USB mouse, and monitor.

I will likely be buying parts before Tuesday.

CPU: i5-3570K--$220 ($205 after a $15 gift from newegg.) Possibly the most future resistant processor available without spending my entire budget on it. Using stock fan for now. Allows for overclocking is bonus. Planning on using the integrated graphics for now; saving money on a video card allows me to buy this overslot processor and other components for better longevity. I can buy a dedicated card later and keep the system fresh.

MoBo: My finalists are (in decreasing price as well as inclination order):
MSI Z77A-G45 Thunderbolt $130 after combo deal with CPU, has Thunderbolt for future resistance, but otherwise does not seem to have many more features than the following two...unless I'm missing something. (Without the combo, this one is eliminated.)
MSI Z77A-GD55 $133 after $8 of shipping. (Although if you're getting something with free shipping, dunno if newegg still charges you on other items; assuming it does.) Seems like the former is the better option with the combo. This one I was looking at before checking combo prices though. MSI has good reviews on Cust. Service, so that's a definite plus for these first two.
ASRock Z77 Extreme4 $136 after $8 of shipping. This thing has an incredible reputation. Seems like it should always be considered. Another question I have is between this and the GD55 why buy one or the other? Is price really the only discerning factor between them?
ASRock Pro3 $76 with the combo. Picked this up from the Sticky atop the forum. Maybe I've been aiming too high on a mobo this whole time, although I remember coming across this earlier in my searches. Is the extra $54-60 worth it for the other mobos?

Memory: Crucial Ballistix DDR3 8 Gigs--$36. Also has a combo with the processor if I haven't used that already.
Samsung DDR3 8Gigs as found in the sticky--$40. Option A seems better right now.

HDDrive: Seagate 7200 1TB SATA 6.0 -- $65 Between these two will likely be determined by how good I'm doing on budget.
Seagate 7200 1.5TB SATA 6.0 -- $75 This one has awful reviews on NCIX, but has much better ones on other sites like TigerDirect.

Optical Drive: Samsung DVD burner -- $16. Outside of a rare CD rip or burn, everything's digital, so why not get the cheapest available?

OS: Windows 7 -- $90

Subtotal: $542-548 with the higher end mobos and 1TB harddrive, $488 with the Pro3 and 1TB harddrive.


I'm missing a couple of important pieces! (In case you hadn't noticed. )
PSU ?
Computer Case ?

And I have ~$132 or $192 to spend on them. The Mid-Range Sticky generally has these two listed for under $130, so I think I have budget for the better mobos. Unfortunately, the latest suggestion has gone pricey, and the case is out of stock; maybe I'm not seeing a combo deal, and I'm also not currently including rebates. Either way any leftover from the budget will be put toward Computer Security and then MSOffice.

PSU: I looked a bit for a PSU, but really wasn't sure how much wattage I need. I don't think I need a lot with the system as it stands, but if and when I add a graphics card later, potentially another drive and more memory, my demand will increase significantly. I think it would be better to get one that will support the upper end now, as opposed to spending again to get a better PSU in the future. But I'm really lost as to what to look for, (how much wattage, what connectors I need for any given mobo, etc.) I'm also really nervous about the PSU because I don't want to fry the whole thing
Basically, help!
***If you make a recommendation I would be much obliged if you explained why it is good for my build and what makes it good for the build.

Case: Mostly I want to nail down the PSU before I decide on a case, these two seem to go hand-in-hand a lot anyway.

If you read all that, thank you for reading all that. Any input is greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-05-2013, 09:58 AM   #2
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Single graphics card systems don't need more than about 500-550 Ws IF the PSU is a good one and not some cheap overspec'd one.
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:24 AM   #3
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You have been doing your homework so I would say you are doing well.

I would go with your $488 build and the psu and case from mfenn's guide. You could even go with this. 430W for$25 after rebate. The Pro3 is all you need. I have one paired with my 3570k and expect it to last 4-5 years. For you an upgrade path would be to add a discrete gpu and an SSD.
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:26 AM   #4
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CPU+mobo 3570K is great for longevity if you decide to do something CPU intensive in the future, but otherwise not really needed. i3-3220 $110 + Asrock H77M $65
RAM Samsung is better, I would buy that ($40)
GPU You have the budget for a dedicated GPU. Asus 6770 Passive $78 AR shipped
HDD ST1500DM003 seems to be the best value ($75)
SSD You can afford a Plextor M5S 64GB $50 for your operating system and program files (excluding large games); ETA 1 week, I would order it now to avoid a price increase
Optical good ($17)
PSU Corsair CX430 $20 AR AP
Case Corsair 300R $50 AR AP
OS Win 8 $88

= $593 AR AP shipped
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lehtv View Post
CPU+mobo 3570K is great for longevity if you decide to do something CPU intensive in the future, but otherwise not really needed. i3-3220 $110 + Asrock H77M $65
RAM Samsung is better, I would buy that ($40)
GPU You have the budget for a dedicated GPU. Asus 6770 Passive $78 AR shipped
HDD ST1500DM003 seems to be the best value ($75)
SSD You can afford a Plextor M5S 64GB $50 for your operating system and program files (excluding large games); ETA 1 week, I would order it now to avoid a price increase
Optical good ($17)
PSU Corsair CX430 $20 AR AP
Case Corsair 300R $50 AR AP
OS Win 8 $88

= $593 AR AP shipped
You are much more knowledgeable than I am about the overall PC building process, but I would suggest a HD7770 instead of the 6770 for the graphics card. I was able to get a 7770 for 89.99 after rebate. The 7770 is faster and uses less power, and to me is worth the 10.00 extra. Only problem is if the OP cannot find one on sale at the present time. In that case your suggestion is fine or he could also go with a 7750 if he can find one at the same price as the 6770.
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:58 PM   #6
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Maybe the OP can wait until such a deal pops up, but he may have to wait for a while since there's no Black Friday or Christmas sale in sight. It would definitely be worth it- heck even at current prices the 7770 is worth it, it just depends on how fast he needs it to be.

Also the cheapest 7750 is $85 AR right now. In terms of bang for buck, a 6770 for $78 AR beats the 7750 - they are the same speed. Power consumption is a non issue IMO, they are all low power. But the fact that the 6770 is passively cooled is definitely a nice bonus.
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Old 01-05-2013, 02:48 PM   #7
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Get an SSD in there as Lehtv suggested.
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Old 01-05-2013, 03:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lehtv View Post
CPU+mobo 3570K is great for longevity if you decide to do something CPU intensive in the future, but otherwise not really needed. i3-3220 $110 + Asrock H77M $65
RAM Samsung is better, I would buy that ($40)
GPU You have the budget for a dedicated GPU. Asus 6770 Passive $78 AR shipped
HDD ST1500DM003 seems to be the best value ($75)
SSD You can afford a Plextor M5S 64GB $50 for your operating system and program files (excluding large games); ETA 1 week, I would order it now to avoid a price increase
Optical good ($17)
PSU Corsair CX430 $20 AR AP
Case Corsair 300R $50 AR AP
OS Win 8 $88

= $593 AR AP shipped
This looks good to me.

A quad core isn't necessary for general tasks and won't be unless we see a huge shift in the prevalence of multithreaded computation. With the current trend of moving all serious computation "to the cloud," I just don't see the need to have a ton of compute on tap for a typical client workload.

Fast local storage is another matter. Having an SSD speeds up everything you do on the PC by a noticeable margin. So much so that it pains me to use anything without an SSD these days. Given the choice between a quad core with only an HDD and a dual-core with an SSD, I will take the latter option every time.
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Old 01-06-2013, 12:04 AM   #9
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Thanks for the replies so far. I know I write a lot, I've attempted to highlight key sentences, but sorry for length.

lehtv's suggested build is great, but I'm still leaning toward the i5 3570K and integrated graphics at $220. The recommended i3 3220 and Asus 6770 combined is $188, only $32 less--minus a $15 gift on the i5 is a difference of $17; my brother is running games on his laptop with HD 3000, and HD 4000 is that much better. Gives me better options down the line too, although the "cloud" development is a very good point.

Updated Build, Likely beginning to buy tomorrow.
CPU: i5 3570K -- $220
GPU: Integrated Intel HD 4000 -- $0
MoBo: ASRock Pro3 -- $85 with shipping.
Memory: Samsung -- $40 (Why is the Samsung the better option? Better brand or is it in the specs?)
HDDrive: ST1500DM003 -- $75
SSDrive: Plextor M5S -- ($35) $50 Everyone seems adamant about a SSD, and there's some room, so I'll plan on getting one. I will probably get a 64GB $50 SSD after I receive the $15 code from the CPU.
Optical: $16
PSU: Corsair CX430 -- $20 Great for the price; disappointingly not modular, but can't have everything for $20. It shouldn't have any problems with power for this build with the 3570K?
Case: Corsair 300R -- $50 Looks fine, seems like it has nice cable management.
OS: Win 8 -- $88 Very nice find for the most recent windows OS.

Total: $629

----------------Motherboard indecision/basically a separate post--------------
I'm not completely sold on the motherboard.

The Pro3 looks like the best option from ASRock. There are a number of other combos with the CPU, like the Z77M or the Pro4 for close to the Pro3's cost, but the Pro3 tends to stomp on the other options for features per cost. The ones with enough features to warrant consideration over the Pro3 are in the range of the Extreme4, and then the price gets a bit high, and beaten by MSI's Z77A GD55.

I'm still considering an MSI product though, but I think it's mostly based on partially-conscious hipster reasons:
  • ASRock is almost too heavily recommended/too mainstream
  • I like the customer service reviews
  • bios is reviewed as user friendly
  • the MSI products have a MUCH larger markdown than the ASRock, greater than 20% when ASRock Pro3 is 10% off
  • the blue color looks pretty
The lower end MSI models tend to get beat in features by the Pro3. Nevertheless, I continue to come across variations of the G45 Model, including the normally $170 Z77A G45 Thunderbolt that I would pay $123 for AR AP AShipping--"merely" $20 more than the Z77A G45 @$103 and $28 than the combo'd Z77MA G45 @$95--both of which are already good deals from their listed price, and I do find deals persuasive. There's also the GD55 which is compared to the ASRock Extreme4 on the LogicalIncrements Guide, for $118.

I am well aware that I've never bought a motherboard before so it's pretty gorram senseless to have a brand preference, but I'd be a pretty easy sell on an appropriate MSI board. On the other hand I would like to know if I really am being stupid for even considering anything beside the ASRock Pro3, (due to it being the best bargain/not normally being overpriced.) It would help settle the bargain maniac in me.

I like the >20% off of the MSI boards, compared to the Pro3's 10%. Below is a breakdown. The latter figures include the $8 shipping fee.
MSI Z77A G45 Thunderbolt: Listed @ $170, available for $123, 27% off
MSI Z77MA G45: Listed @ $120, available for $95, 21% off
MSI Z77A G45: Listed @ $130, available for $103, 21% off
MSI Z77A GD55: Listed @ $135, available for $118, 21% off
ASRock Z77 Pro3: Listed @ $95, available for $85, 10% off
Other ASRock boards are even less of a markdown

The four MSI boards listed are the likely suspects, but if the Pro3 is beating them on features and price but only losing on markoff then that's the obvious choice. Unfortunately I'm unclear on how to evaluate the different features.

The G45 (compared to the Pro3) has more PCIe slots, S/PDIF out, but no PCI slots. There's a huge difference between the lists of "internal I/O connectors" as well as "features" in the product details, but I have an even worse grasp for evaluating those.

Once that's settled, the G45's become easier to evaluate: Is the mATX worth the lacking PCIe 2.0 & S/PDIF, the different form, and the extra 2 USB 2.0? Is the Thunderbolt worth the extra $20?

The Z77A GD55 is another beast. If there was a combo deal with the i5 3570K, it would probably be the favorite over the Z77 Pro3 right now. As is, the extra features might be worth the extra money, but my evaluative capabilities fail me once again.

It might be better taking this line of thinking to the Motherboard room. Is that a better idea than asking in this thread?

Once again thanks for reading and all input.

Last edited by Mahna Mahna; 01-06-2013 at 12:08 AM.
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
partially-conscious hipster reasons
. That is darn funny.

The % off is just tickling an analytic itch you seem to want to scratch. Bottom line price and features needed is the best measure. Get the Pro3. Thunderbolt has little utility for those on limited budgets. USB 3.0/2.0 will serve your needs for the foreseeable future.

The Samsung RAM is great RAM, low voltage and reliable. You can get other very good RAM for $5 less if you would like. The Samsung is particularly popular with overclockers because of the low voltage.

The CX430 will handle your build fine with room to upgrade to a single GPU down the road. $20 is crazy good.
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Old 01-06-2013, 01:20 PM   #11
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You're right about my itch; I get numbers so it's something I understand in this otherwise completely new field. I'll go with the Pro3.

Samsung is fine, I was just curious about what makes it superior, so thanks for explaining

I remember I saw in the comments about the 300R case that someone said he had to fight to fit the CX430, but he did get it in eventually. Is that reason for significant concern?
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Old 01-06-2013, 01:40 PM   #12
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I doubt you'll have any trouble fitting a regular sized ATX Corsair PSU into a regular sized ATX Corsair case
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Old 01-06-2013, 02:01 PM   #13
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"Fighting" to put in the PSU is kind of subjective. Agree with lehtv, there should not be an issue there. A quick scan of the net did not dig up any other issues.
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Old 01-06-2013, 04:37 PM   #14
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The OP might be mistaken for the Antec 300 & 300-2 that is a tight fit with the PS installation.
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:37 PM   #15
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I noticed on the specs for the HDD it says it's compatible with Windows 7, end list.

I'm guessing the implication is that you need to have windows 7 at least and that it won't have any problems with windows 8, but I wanted to double check before I buy.
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:23 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raincity View Post
The OP might be mistaken for the Antec 300 & 300-2 that is a tight fit with the PS installation.
Yeah the Antec Three Hundred (Two) have this annoying metal tab that is supposed to hold the PSU in place, but really just gets in the way. Nothing a pair of pliers won't fix though. (I know, I know, moot point since the OP is getting the 300R.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mahna Mahna View Post
I noticed on the specs for the HDD it says it's compatible with Windows 7, end list.

I'm guessing the implication is that you need to have windows 7 at least and that it won't have any problems with windows 8, but I wanted to double check before I buy.
Windows 7 and Windows 8 are basically the same operating system once you get away from the UI, so it will be fine. Not that there is much of a compatibility worry with any HDD in the first place.
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:24 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riversend View Post
The % off is just tickling an analytic itch you seem to want to scratch.
Yeah, an easy counter argument to the "higher percent off is better" theory is that the MSI boards were just over-priced in the first place.
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:41 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfenn View Post
Yeah, an easy counter argument to the "higher percent off is better" theory is that the MSI boards were just over-priced in the first place.
Definitely crossed my mind, but I figured I'd already written enough in that post.

Thank y'all for all the help.

I'm ordering stuff now; I'm planning on updating this from time to time with progress.
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:10 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mahna Mahna View Post
I'm ordering stuff now; I'm planning on updating this from time to time with progress.
Thanks! Post pics if you can.
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:49 PM   #20
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Ok update time:

Everything has arrived!

The case came first, and arrived with broken pegs on the face plate. This gets complicated so sorry for length again.

I started an RMA with newegg and shipped it off back to them today. They would have done an advance RMA (where they send the new part without receiving the old one first) but the case is now out of stock(!). If they receive and finish processing the RMA before the model is restocked, they will simply refund my money. I did like the case though I'm sure there's many comparable out there. I would be frustrated if I received a refund instead of a replacement; as it would put me back to square one in that dept. Plus I can only assume it would take more time, and press me even closer to the 30 day limit on newegg's return policy.

I had also previously contacted Corsair support about the broken face plate, and I received my reply this evening (after I had dropped off the case to UPS.) They sent me a voucher to get a new face plate for no expense at all. I wish I had seen this before I sent the case back, as I would have preferred to keep the case and the UPC for the rebate instead of risking the refund due to the case being out of stock.

So some questions regarding that situation:
  1. Do anyone know if it's possible to stop and RMA and have them ship it back to me (again?)
  2. Is it possible to get UPS to stop the package and return it?
  3. Should I not worry about it because y'all can find me another just as good case for the same amount if it comes to that?
  4. Should I redeem the voucher from Corsair right now regardless of what happens with the RMA?
  5. Is it a good idea to try to test to see whether anything else has arrived DOA, or should I wait for a case to do that?
I'm going to be trying to figure out these answers myself, but if any of y'all have insight it would be welcomed!
-----------------
EDIT IN: Redeemed the voucher, called newegg and ups. UPS can't stop it, it's in transit already. Newegg left memos to turn the RMA around without processing it. Hopefully it works. *fingers crossed*
-----------------

No pictures yet. I will make sure to do that later during the build and such. As it is now y'all probably don't want to see a still boxed PSU/mobo/CPU etc.

The Harddrive I got from NCIX doesn't have any cables with it, that I can see through the packaging anyway. Will I need to buy some separately?

Last edited by Mahna Mahna; 01-12-2013 at 02:19 AM.
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Old 01-12-2013, 03:58 AM   #21
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I'd recommend doing a test bench build with only the essential hardware just to determine there are no other DOA parts. E.g put the motherboard on an antistatic bag with a piece of cardboard under it. Install the CPU, the cooler, one RAM module, connect the necessary power cables and peripherals and start it up (the motherboard should have a power on button). If it starts up fine, get into BIOS and configure the memory to its rated settings, and check CPU and motherboard temperatures. Then remove the memory module and test the other one, if that works too, install both. Connect SSD and install the OS. When your case arrives you can just move everything into it, route the cables and boot to Windows.
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Old 01-12-2013, 01:54 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lehtv View Post
I'd recommend doing a test bench build with only the essential hardware just to determine there are no other DOA parts. E.g put the motherboard on an antistatic bag with a piece of cardboard under it. Install the CPU, the cooler, one RAM module, connect the necessary power cables and peripherals and start it up (the motherboard should have a power on button). If it starts up fine, get into BIOS and configure the memory to its rated settings, and check CPU and motherboard temperatures. Then remove the memory module and test the other one, if that works too, install both. Connect SSD and install the OS. When your case arrives you can just move everything into it, route the cables and boot to Windows.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mahna Mahna View Post
The Harddrive I got from NCIX doesn't have any cables with it, that I can see through the packaging anyway. Will I need to buy some separately?
That is normal for an OEM drive (i.e. 95%) of what is on Newegg or any other online retailer. The motherboard should come with two.

Actually, now that I think about it, you should use some of this waiting time to get another SATA cable from Newegg since you will need 3 total (HDD, SSD, ODD). You could also just steal one from your old computer.
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