Looking to build PC for first time!!! Please provide some help/guidance on build.

Guinness74

Member
May 21, 2011
33
0
66
Hey everyone.

I've been an avid gamer for a while (MMOs, RPGs, FPSs, etc.) but always bought rigs though boutique PC manufacturers. I always knew enough about the internal workings to be dangerous but certainly never felt like a pro (still have no clue how to OC). That said, I've always had the nagging feeling that I was overpaying for something that I could probably figure out how to do myself. With my current rig about 6 years old (I have several bottlenecks - my Asus 680i SLI MB, e6600 dual core, 4GB ram, to name a few), I was contemplating just taking the leap and building my own rig this time around. My goal is to have a good gaming rig that will have longevity. I can't afford to buy/upgrade my rig that often so I am hoping to have this one last for another 5-6 years with the occasional upgrade (RAM, GPU, etc.)

To that end, I could use some guidance on several things: 1) are my current rig bottlenecks such an issue that I should upgrade, 2) am I crazy to try to build a gaming rig by myself for my first foray into custom building, and most importantly, 3) how does my first stab at a build look to the "experts". I took the following format from the recommended sticky for my proposed build post.

1. System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Internet Surfing, Office Productivity, Photo editing

2. Budget Range: $1700-$2000 after rebates, including peripherals

3. Country of Origin: USA

4. Parts Preferences: I would like to use an Intel CPU a LCD (LED backlighting) monitor and full tower case

5. Parts Not Required: Speakers (unless you would recommend a good deal, I have Klipsch but only 2.1), OS (have Windows 7)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com, amazon.com

6. I have searched threads both on this site as well as others. I feel I've picked up some learning, which I have applied to my initial build.

7. Overclocking: Yes, If I could figure out how to do it, so if its relatively easy to do, that would be a plus.

8. Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 (unless you have better suggestions)

9. Approximate Purchase Date: June 2011

Additional Comments: Looking for a quiet PC, but essentially want to know if I am overpaying for certain parts, underpaying for others, and basically allocating my funds correctly. Would love to get this rig cheaper if possible without losing a ton of performance but don't know enough about whether this is even a good rig for the money, as $1900+ seems pricey and want to make sure I'm not in full on over-kill mode.

Here is my first cut so far:

MB: ($189.99) ASRock Z68 Extreme4
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 20Extreme4

CPU: ($224.99) Intel i5 2500K
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] -_-Product

[COLOR=blue !important][FONT=inherit !important][COLOR=blue !important][FONT=inherit !important]CPU [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=inherit !important][COLOR=blue !important][FONT=inherit !important]Fan[/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/COLOR] & Heatsink: ($39.99) COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6835103065

MEM: (2x $94.99 = $189.98) 2 x G.Skill Ripjaws Series 8GB Kit (16GB total) 240 pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] -_-Product

GPU: ($249.99) EVGA GTX 560 Ti (single card)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 28Fermi%29

PS: ($89.99) Corsair Enthusiast Series CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] W%20ATX12V

Case: ($154.48) COOLER MASTER HAF 932 Advanced RC-932-KKN5-GP Black Steel ATX Full Tower
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] -GP%20Blac

Hard Drive: ($84.99) Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5"
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6822136533

Solid State Drive: ($119.99) Intel 311 Larson Creek 20GB SLC SSD (for Caching)
STILL LOOKING FOR THIS ONE ONLINE

DVD/BR Burner: ($84.99) LG Black 12X BD-R 2X BD-RE 16X DVD+R 12X DVD-RAM 10X BD-ROM 4MB Cache SATA Super Multi WH12LS30 LightScribe Support - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6827136226

Media Reader: ($19.99) Koutech IO-RCM621 All-in-one USB 2.0 3.5" USB 2.0 Front Panel Multi-format Card Reader
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 0USB%202.0

LAN Card: ($27.99) Intel EXPI9301CTBLK 10/ 100/ 1000Mbps PCI-Express Network Adapter
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] CI-Express

Sound Card: ($169.99) Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD 24-bit 96KHz Sound Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6829102033

Peripherals:

Monitor: ($209.99) ASUS VH238H Black 23" Full HD HDMI [COLOR=blue !important][FONT=inherit !important][COLOR=blue !important][FONT=inherit !important]LED [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=inherit !important][COLOR=blue !important][FONT=inherit !important]Backlight[/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/COLOR] LCD Monitor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6824236117

Keyboard: ($64.19) Logitech G110 [COLOR=blue !important][FONT=inherit !important][COLOR=blue !important][FONT=inherit !important]Gaming [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=inherit !important][COLOR=blue !important][FONT=inherit !important]Keyboard[/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/COLOR]
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 20Keyboard

Mouse: ($37.99) Logitech MX 518 8 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB Wired Optical 1800 dpi Gaming Mouse
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6826104178

TOTAL COST: $1,971.10

Any help & guidance would be greatly appreciated. Also, if anyone has some counsel on the best guide/walkthrough on how to put a custom rig together, that would be great. Last thing I want to do is spend another $1000+ dollars replacing parts that I blew through due to my own ignorance/stupidity.

Thanks much!
 

dma0991

Platinum Member
Mar 17, 2011
2,723
1
0
If this rig is mainly for gaming you would do just fine with 8GB of RAM, 16GB is not necessary. As appealing as Intel SRT is I don't think it would be a good value if you're getting the Intel 311 as a cache. No doubt it is SLC but its size is too small. You could do better with a 40GB MLC SSD from OCZ or Corsair.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4337/z68-ssd-caching-with-corsairs-f40-sandforce-ssd/5
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-610-_-Product

LAN card is also optional as the onboard LAN should be sufficient for just about anything you can use it for.
 

SViscusi

Golden Member
Apr 12, 2000
1,200
8
81
Your rig looks nice, if you're looking to save a few bucks you might want to reconsider the X-Fi and intel nic.
 

birthdaymonkey

Golden Member
Oct 4, 2010
1,176
3
81
In addition to the LAN, is there any particular reason why you'd want to get an X-Fi? $180 is a lot to pay for a Soundblaster these days. If you're concerned with fidelity for music, you'd be better off investing in some new speakers with an onboard DAC that will take the digital output from your motherboard's built in soundcard--that, or a USB DAC. As I understand it, soundcards are pretty much useless now if you're just concerned with gaming sound.

Also, if you want to spend $65 on a keyboard you might as well take the leap into a serious keyboard with mechanical switches rather than a Logitech rubber-domer.
These are just a few dollars more:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-011-_-Product

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-109-_-Product

Or do some research about mechanical switch types and such and make a selection based on your preferences.
 

Guinness74

Member
May 21, 2011
33
0
66
In addition to the LAN, is there any particular reason why you'd want to get an X-Fi? $180 is a lot to pay for a Soundblaster these days. If you're concerned with fidelity for music, you'd be better off investing in some new speakers with an onboard DAC that will take the digital output from your motherboard's built in soundcard--that, or a USB DAC. As I understand it, soundcards are pretty much useless now if you're just concerned with gaming sound.

Also, if you want to spend $65 on a keyboard you might as well take the leap into a serious keyboard with mechanical switches rather than a Logitech rubber-domer.
These are just a few dollars more:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-011-_-Product

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-109-_-Product

Or do some research about mechanical switch types and such and make a selection based on your preferences.

No particular reason for the sound card. I will use the rig primarily for gaming sound as well as playing my music from iTunes. I am no audiophile. I wasn't sure about the capabilities of a MBs onboard soundcard. Sounds like it might be a better route to invest in some speakers instead of the $180 for soundcard. I thought that was expensive myself when I spec'ed it out.
 

RyanGreener

Senior member
Nov 9, 2009
550
0
76
Yeah onboard sound is usually sufficient these days. No point in getting an expensive sound card like that.
 

mfenn

Elite Member
Jan 17, 2010
22,400
5
71
www.mfenn.com
OP, you're off to a decent start, but there are a few items that are either superfluous or not great values. I'll go down the list:
- Mobo: I don't really see anything in the description that warrants the Extreme4. Check out the Pro3 instead.
- CPU: Good
- HSF: Good
- RAM: Overkill. An 8GB kit like this Mushkin Silverline is more that enough for gaming.
- GPU: $250 is a bit high for a 560 Ti. You can get a cheaper 560 Ti or a 6950 2GB for $233 AR.
- PSU: A bit overkill. The Antec HCG 520 is enough for a single-GPU rig and is significantly less expensive.
- Case: This is somewhat personal preference, but make sure that you really like a case before you spend $155 on it.
- HDD: Expensive for what it is. The Samsung F3 1TB performs about the same and costs less.
- SSD: At your budget, you don't really need to bother with SRT. You can get a full-blown SSD like the Intel 320 120GB instead.
- ODD: Do you really need a Blu-ray burner? You can get a normal DVD-RW for $20.
- Card Reader: Fine
- NIC: Unnecessary
- Sound Card: Unnecessary
- Monitor: You can get an ASUS IPS for about the same price.
- Keyboard: Seems a bit high for what it is. You can get a normal rubber-dome keyboard for $20.
- Mouse: Good
 

mnewsham

Lifer
Oct 2, 2010
14,539
428
136
OP, you're off to a decent start, but there are a few items that are either superfluous or not great values. I'll go down the list:
- Mobo: I don't really see anything in the description that warrants the Extreme4. Check out the Pro3 instead.
- CPU: Good
- HSF: Good
- RAM: Overkill. An 8GB kit like this Mushkin Silverline is more that enough for gaming.
- GPU: $250 is a bit high for a 560 Ti. You can get a cheaper 560 Ti or a 6950 2GB for $233 AR.
- PSU: A bit overkill. The Antec HCG 520 is enough for a single-GPU rig and is significantly less expensive.
- Case: This is somewhat personal preference, but make sure that you really like a case before you spend $155 on it.
- HDD: Expensive for what it is. The Samsung F3 1TB performs about the same and costs less.
- SSD: At your budget, you don't really need to bother with SRT. You can get a full-blown SSD like the Intel 320 120GB instead.
- ODD: Do you really need a Blu-ray burner? You can get a normal DVD-RW for $20.
- Card Reader: Fine
- NIC: Unnecessary
- Sound Card: Unnecessary
- Monitor: You can get an ASUS IPS for about the same price.
- Keyboard: Seems a bit high for what it is. You can get a normal rubber-dome keyboard for $20.
- Mouse: Good

The ODD, now i know blu-ray is cool (because it is newer) BUT it is a waste of money, WHO actually BURNS blu-rays? No one that I know, you download EVERYTHING these days, Netflix has HD quality too! there isn't even a need for a blu-ray PLAYER just get a DVD burner MAYBE a blu-ray player (IF you already have a collection of blu-rays)
 
Last edited:

Guinness74

Member
May 21, 2011
33
0
66
In addition to the LAN, is there any particular reason why you'd want to get an X-Fi? $180 is a lot to pay for a Soundblaster these days. If you're concerned with fidelity for music, you'd be better off investing in some new speakers with an onboard DAC that will take the digital output from your motherboard's built in soundcard--that, or a USB DAC. As I understand it, soundcards are pretty much useless now if you're just concerned with gaming sound.

Also, if you want to spend $65 on a keyboard you might as well take the leap into a serious keyboard with mechanical switches rather than a Logitech rubber-domer.
These are just a few dollars more:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-011-_-Product

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-109-_-Product

Or do some research about mechanical switch types and such and make a selection based on your preferences.

Re: the speakers. Speakers is one area that I'm not sure I need to upgrade. I have a somewhat dated set (Klipsch Promedia 2.1), but I believe they are still solid.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-008-_-Product

That said, will I need to get another set if I go with onboard sound from the MB vs. dedicated sound card?

One other thing I've been hearing is whether I should wait altogether until the end of the year when Ivy Bridge comes out. I am told that CPU could see a 20%+ increase in speed. So if that is the case, is now even the best time to buy or should I just suck it up and wait?
 
Nov 26, 2005
15,109
315
126
May I suggest some input devices?

I've found 3 things that really improves on input lag problems, in my experience. Others may not agree but this is just from my personal experience and hands on use.

If you are going computer monitor/LCD (lets not confuse this with a TV LCD) I would suggest a 120Hz panel. All 120Hz panels today are TN panels. If you are more concerned with color correction then an IPS panel is what you want. Personally I noticed a difference going from a 2ms 60Hz panel to a 3ms 120Hz panel.

A good mouse with a 1000Hz polling rate or higher will also help! I like the Cyborg R.A.T. 7 it has been rock solid despite the negative reviews. And it is highly customizable to fit your hand size.

My last input device I bought was a gaming keyboard. I didn't think they were a big factor but it turned out to be quite an eye opener. If you play a game were dodging is a factor or double tapping either W, A, S, D keys then a good gaming keyboard is a must. Basically you will want to look into mechanical switching keys. There are several different kinds of switches too. The switches I know of are Cherry MX Switches. They come in a few different styles. Here is the best guide to understanding your keyboard. I personally use a Steel Series 6Gv2 which uses Cherry MX Black switches.
 

birthdaymonkey

Golden Member
Oct 4, 2010
1,176
3
81
No particular reason for the sound card. I will use the rig primarily for gaming sound as well as playing my music from iTunes. I am no audiophile. I wasn't sure about the capabilities of a MBs onboard soundcard. Sounds like it might be a better route to invest in some speakers instead of the $180 for soundcard. I thought that was expensive myself when I spec'ed it out.

You would be hard pressed to tell the difference between a soundcard or your onboard sound on any set of PC-oriented speakers. Onboard sound has come a long way in the past five years... really the only reason to invest in a soundcard now is if you're driving some expensive headphones or doing analog out to a decent amplifier+speakers or powered monitors.
 

birthdaymonkey

Golden Member
Oct 4, 2010
1,176
3
81
I hadn't really given a ton of thought to the input devices...thats great feedback. Thanks!

Odd how a lot of people spend hundreds on CPUs and GPUs and skimp on the items that actually interface that expensive hardware with their body. Kinda like buying cheap tires for a [preferred fancy car brand here].

Definitely check out the guide that BTRY linked... I bought a Das "silent" (not very quiet) that uses cherry brown switches a couple months ago and it's been one of my most enjoyable hardware purchases for the money.
 

mfenn

Elite Member
Jan 17, 2010
22,400
5
71
www.mfenn.com
One other thing I've been hearing is whether I should wait altogether until the end of the year when Ivy Bridge comes out. I am told that CPU could see a 20%+ increase in speed. So if that is the case, is now even the best time to buy or should I just suck it up and wait?

There is always something faster just around the corner. If you want to build a new PC, now is always a good time.