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Thinking about a new PCFollow

#1 Apr 10 2014 at 12:24 PM Rating: Good
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My desktop is fast approaching a decade old, and it just doesn't cut it for current generation games. I'm looking to upgrade, and wanted to get some idea of what specs I should look for and what to avoid. A few specific questions:

* Windows 7 or Windows 8? (No Apple!)
* 8GB memory appears to be the standard, but I see models with up to 16 (or 32 for gaming machines). Do I need the 16, or is 8GB enough?
* Any tips on processors and video cards? I don't really understand "dual-core" vs. "quad-core" or AMD vs. Nvidia.
* Is Alienware really worth the cost, or are you paying for the brand name?
* Any other tips would be much appreciated!

I'd like to keep the total cost under $1,000, which doesn't look like it will be all that difficult.
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#2 Apr 10 2014 at 12:36 PM Rating: Excellent
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Alienware equals massive premiums as far as I know, building it yourself is by far the best bang for your buck. AMD vs Nvidia is a difference in ease of updating drivers (AMD sucks apparently, I've got Nvidia) and AMD doesn't keep up with Nvidia abouve the midrange cards. There's no real choice in processors, it's intel or bust and an i5 fits in your budget easily (i7 only offers hyperthreading over the i5 and that's no use for gaming).


Edit: oh and 8GB ram should be plenty and if not you could always go with 2x4 and add another set of 2x4 later for 16GB.

Edited, Apr 10th 2014 8:53pm by Aethien
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#3 Apr 10 2014 at 1:08 PM Rating: Excellent
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I'm mainly going to echo Aethien: a current i5 is the way to go for nearly anyone. Most games won't take advantage of what the i7 offers for the extra cost. I'd skip the AMD processors entirely.

Conversely, AMD probably offers a better return on your dollar for graphics cards on the lower/mid end (but Nvidia currently compares better on the higher end). I've used both Nvidia and AMD and had fine luck with each. Anecdotes/Data and all that but I tend to look at most of the horror stories from either camp as overblown. I'd use the Tom's Hardware recommendations to narrow down your selections and then ask advice base don that when you're ready.

8GB is fine to start with and will probably be fine for the foreseeable future. Memory is one of the cheaper and easier upgrades as well so I wouldn't worry about going past 8 to start. Heck, 8GB will be more than enough really but you'll be future proofing a little and some games (Watch Dogs) are recommending 8GB.

I haven't tried Win 8 to have an opinion. Alienware is a brand name at this point, owned by Dell.
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#4 Apr 10 2014 at 1:10 PM Rating: Good
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Apparently AMD has really stepped up their game in the low-end range. Most people still use Intel for their high-end rigs, but if you're looking at the lower- or mid- budget ranges, a lot of people like some of the newer AMD options. The biggest issue seems to be their power draw, not their performance.

They also let you overclock on a budget, which makes them really competitive against the i3 chips (which are all locked against overclocking, to the best of my knowledge).

Demea, since you have most of your peripherals, all you really need to do is check your PSU's wattage, and then price out a mobo/gpu/motherboard combination (assuming you plan to reuse your case and drives). Though getting new drives is probably smart.
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#5 Apr 10 2014 at 1:15 PM Rating: Excellent
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I've overclocked an i3 though it was a Clarksdale 1156 socket chip so maybe that doesn't count.
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#6 Apr 10 2014 at 1:30 PM Rating: Excellent
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idiggory the Fussy wrote:
Apparently AMD has really stepped up their game in the low-end range. Most people still use Intel for their high-end rigs, but if you're looking at the lower- or mid- budget ranges, a lot of people like some of the newer AMD options. The biggest issue seems to be their power draw, not their performance.
AMD processors are very much at their limit because AMD can't afford to develop a new architecture so they're stretching what they have now which results in affordable budget options that draw loads of power and produce tons of heat. Really not a good option if you can afford to put an i5 in your system.


Also, spending $100 on an i7 over an i5 is entirely worth it if you plan to do a significant amount of rendering and video editing since hyperthreading is good for that. Similarly an SSD isn't going to do anything for games but is worth it for lots of other things.
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#7 Apr 10 2014 at 1:42 PM Rating: Excellent
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His Excellency Aethien wrote:
Also, spending $100 on an i7 over an i5 is entirely worth it if you plan to do a significant amount of rendering and video editing since hyperthreading is good for that.

True, but Twiz said he was upgrading for gaming purposes.
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#8 Apr 10 2014 at 1:48 PM Rating: Excellent
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Which is why I added the video thing, just figured I'd mention what it is good for alongside what it isn't good for. And if he's planning to become the next Youtube star it'll be worth the investment. Smiley: tongue


Edit: Reddit's /r/builapcforme subreddit is also good for parts lists so you don't have to think about parts much. There's even at least 4 different $1000 build threads on the front page so you probably don't even need to make a thread.

Edited, Apr 10th 2014 9:53pm by Aethien
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#9 Apr 10 2014 at 3:41 PM Rating: Good
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Quote:
And if he's planning to become the next Youtube star it'll be worth the investment. Smiley: tongue

Sadly, none of my talents are appropriate for public viewing.

Re: upgrading my current box (giggle), I looked into this a few months ago and found that my power supply was too low for most current generation hardware. I don't have the specifics I'm front of me, but I'll check again tonight.

Thanks for the tips, guys (giggle).

Edited, Apr 10th 2014 4:42pm by Demea
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#10 Apr 10 2014 at 4:15 PM Rating: Excellent
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Demea wrote:
* Windows 7 or Windows 8? (No Apple!)

Windows 8.1 is presently horrible based on interface alone. but there is a fix patch coming in the next 2 months give or take. As of now, 7 hands down. in 3 months, we'll see. 64 bit OS either way. Apple sucks too.


Demea wrote:
* 8GB memory appears to be the standard, but I see models with up to 16 (or 32 for gaming machines). Do I need the 16, or is 8GB enough?

8 is likely enough. ram is dirt cheap though so adding more later is easy.

I have 32 GB and am contemplating swapping out for 64 GB. If you do alot of 3d model rendering it comes in handy. Certain games will also use it. No reason other than cost not to go higher.


Demea wrote:
*
* Any tips on processors and video cards? I don't really understand "dual-core" vs. "quad-core" or AMD vs. Nvidia.

Processors:
Intel High end processors are better than AMD high end processors.
AMD high end processors are cheaper than Intel high end processors
At the mid range AMD is still cheaper, Intel still performs better, Intel processors will run somewhat cooler and more energy efficient due to smaller nanometer design.
A core I-5 Quad core 3.2 Ghz processor is probably fine for most gaming PC's. Make sure you match the socket type to the board
The Intel Core I-7 processors give you hyperthreading, which is basically virtual CPU cores (so a quad core becomes an Octo-core processor.
The Socket 2011 Intel processors are the most expensive, but you also get 8 dedicated ram slots with 4 ram channels. You pay a premium for that though.
I personally prefer Intel over AMD. I currently have a Hexacore I7 with hyperthreading (12 logical cores.
Video cards:
I prefer Nvidia over AMD specifically because Nvidia drivers are less annoying to install and maintain than AMD ones. Hardwarewise Nvidia wins at the high end currently, but that varies by month. Get what you are used to and prefer. Either will be fine for gaming.

Demea wrote:
*
* Is Alienware really worth the cost, or are you paying for the brand name?

No, and especially not since Dell bought them out. Now you are paying for a brand name on a Dell computer. There are other companies to try if you still want to buy high end pre-assembled.

Demea wrote:
*
* Any other tips would be much appreciated!
I'd like to keep the total cost under $1,000, which doesn't look like it will be all that difficult.


1. You want a Solid State hard drive (250GB minimum) to install the operating system and your most used games and programs on.
2. You want a paid of at least 1TB hard drives to install as a mirrored data array for your files
3. Pick a good, high end case. You will likely have it longer than any other component of your computer and it's the one piece that takes the longest to swap out. Start with a Cooler Master CM 690 III or a Cooler Master Haf X then branch out based off your design and look preferences. Large fans move more air with less noise.
4. Don't buy a cheap no name power supply, and always leave some room for hardware expansion (most graphic cards for gaming require at least 525 watts, I wouldn't put anything smaller than a 650 watt PSU into a gaming computer). Also make sure you get a modular power supply. Will make life easier for the build.
5. I prefer Asus motherboards, with Gigabyte as a second choice.
6. The case you buy will likely come with all the fans and screws you need. The motherboard will likely come with the cables. The CPU will come with a cooling fan unless you buy a socket 2011 Intel CPU in which case you will need to buy one separate.
7. Buy a tube of Artic Silver Thermal Grease to have on hand in case you need to take the CPU fan off and back on.
8. If you want I can put together a reccommended build list based on that budget. Does $1,000 include the operating system ~$100?
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#11 Apr 10 2014 at 4:16 PM Rating: Good
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Being able to reuse your case will save you $40-140.

If you don't need a monitor or a new OS, that's another $200 saved. If you do need an OS, I grabbed a key from the software swap subreddit for $10.

I'd probably grab a new drive unless you've recently upgraded your current one. $50-60 for 1 TB.

I can't attest to the influence of having a SSD for your OS, but I've never seen anyone upset about spending the money for that upgrade.

Otherwise, it's really just setting the price point you actually want to spend, and then seeing how much power you can squeeze into that while still having a MOBO and PSU you're happy with.
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#12 Apr 10 2014 at 4:21 PM Rating: Excellent
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idiggory the Fussy wrote:
If you don't need a monitor or a new OS, that's another $200 saved. If you do need an OS, I grabbed a key from the software swap subreddit for $10.

You know that's technically illegal per the terms of the microsoft OEM EULA right?
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#13 Apr 10 2014 at 4:29 PM Rating: Good
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Dread Lörd Kaolian wrote:
idiggory the Fussy wrote:
If you don't need a monitor or a new OS, that's another $200 saved. If you do need an OS, I grabbed a key from the software swap subreddit for $10.

You know that's technically illegal per the terms of the microsoft OEM EULA right?

What I don't know can't hurt me.

This conversation never happened.
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#14 Apr 10 2014 at 5:11 PM Rating: Good
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My hesitation to build my own rig is that I know almost nothing about hardware specifications. Bus speed? Overclocking? DDR1/2/3? Not a ******* clue.
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#15 Apr 10 2014 at 5:16 PM Rating: Good
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Meh, most of that doesn't matter. Kao/people on Reddit will tell you if you make poor choices.

Putting a rig together is really just adult legos. Make sure you touch the case before touching a part, so you discharge your static, and ***** the standoffs into your case before you put in your motherboard.

The vast majority of the work is selecting your parts, and that's where you can easily get the most help. As long as you don't drop them when you get them, you'll probably be fine.
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#16 Apr 10 2014 at 5:21 PM Rating: Excellent
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There are also manuals with your parts that tell you exactly where what should go and loads and loads of instructional videos on youtube.
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#17 Apr 10 2014 at 5:32 PM Rating: Excellent
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Demea wrote:
My hesitation to build my own rig is that I know almost nothing about hardware specifications. Bus speed? Overclocking? DDR1/2/3? Not a @#%^ing clue.

Provided you're buying modern components, it's not a big deal and people can point out any issues. I'm not a build-your-own zealot though. I think it's worth it to do once just so you're comfortable with your machine and going in to upgrade it later but if you'd rather have someone else do it then more power to ya. I don't think the cost savings are truly substantial versus the time you'll spend and can potentially spend hunting down a problem but rather you do it for the experience. Whether the "experience" is worth it is up to you.
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#18 Apr 10 2014 at 6:36 PM Rating: Excellent
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There may be webshops that will put the whole thing together for you as well, more expensive since you're ordering everything in one place and you pay a fee to get it put together but probably still considerably cheaper than going with a premade PC.
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#19 Apr 10 2014 at 7:30 PM Rating: Excellent
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Savings on a mid to low end build are never enough to justify build your own as a cost savings method. You can however build a top of the line gamer rig for hundreds less than they charge you to order one usually. The other cost savings you get with a build your own is in the next upgrade cycle. If you made good choices in terms of case and whatnot, typically you can upgrade the core components only and still have a PC that performs like brand new, where with a buy from the store you often end up with a non upgradeable unit these days. There are exceptions of course. But typically I only have to buy a new motherboard and processor at upgrade time. Maybe ram too and video card. But case, power supply, drives, auxiliary cards, cooling gear typically only have to be swapped out as they fail or every 3 rebuild cycles or so. During that same time you would have purchased 3 entire new computers. It makes sense if you have the ability, time and inclination to do so, and if you are looking at high end video cards it can save you a bunch of cash in the long run. But your computer is also only as good as the skill of the one who built it too.
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#20 Apr 10 2014 at 11:57 PM Rating: Excellent
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When your upgrade cycle is once a decade, you're probably doing close to a full swap anyway.
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#21 Apr 12 2014 at 11:07 AM Rating: Good
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It looks like most newer machines use HDMI for video output. I have two DVI monitors. Am I just resigned to upgrading?

Also, how much of a difference does dedicated video card memory make? 1GB vs. 2GB (I've seen up to 4GB as well)?

Edited, Apr 12th 2014 12:13pm by Demea
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#22 Apr 12 2014 at 11:13 AM Rating: Excellent
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You sure? I'd see what card it has and check the specs on that directly. Even the newer mid-high range cards I'm looking at feature DVI output.

You want as much dedicated memory as you can get, really. And try to get DDR5 over DDR3 memory for the graphics card. Obviously this is all budget dependent.

Edit: By as much as you can get, I realistically mean 2GB to 3GB unless you're going to run multiple monitors. 2GB is becoming the standard and 3GB would give you some breathing space. I wouldn't go as low as 1GB if I could help it and 4GB seemes excessive unless you're running a multiple monitor set-up for some high res gameplay.

Edited, Apr 12th 2014 12:21pm by Jophiel
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#23 Apr 12 2014 at 11:27 AM Rating: Excellent
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Not that there's any particular reason to use Watch Dogs as a standard (aside from it being an upcoming AAA game) but its recommended specs call for a 2GB video card.
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#24 Apr 12 2014 at 11:45 AM Rating: Excellent
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I think ibuypower.com is supposed to be decent price-wise for custom spec'd PCs, but I've never really checked it out to see how it compares.
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#25 Apr 12 2014 at 12:27 PM Rating: Excellent
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Spoonless wrote:
I think ibuypower.com is supposed to be decent price-wise for custom spec'd PCs, but I've never really checked it out to see how it compares.


Be careful - someone I know got a box from them that had an inadequate PSU for the video card they dropped in and they had to RMA it twice.

Not saying they won't give you a good deal but double check the components they're including.
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#26 Apr 12 2014 at 2:04 PM Rating: Excellent
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Demea wrote:
It looks like most newer machines use HDMI for video output. I have two DVI monitors. Am I just resigned to upgrading?

Also, how much of a difference does dedicated video card memory make? 1GB vs. 2GB (I've seen up to 4GB as well)?

Edited, Apr 12th 2014 12:13pm by Demea

It depends on what you want to do with gaming. Most games will make use of all the video memory you can throw at them, but it does tend to get to the point of diminishing returns after the 3GB mark. 2GB should be adequate. That being said I have 2 780 GTX TI's with a total og 6GB video memory now. That replaced the 6GB memory total pool of the two 580 GTX's I just pulled out of the system. If youdo any 3d rendering or want to play MMO's in "extreme video settings mode" it comes in handy. That being said a $1,000 budget does not allow for a super high memory video card.


Spoonless wrote:
I think ibuypower.com is supposed to be decent price-wise for custom spec'd PCs, but I've never really checked it out to see how it compares.

They can be decent. You have to be careful about the components they use, especially on their lower end boxes.
Catwho wrote:
Spoonless wrote:
I think ibuypower.com is supposed to be decent price-wise for custom spec'd PCs, but I've never really checked it out to see how it compares.


Be careful - someone I know got a box from them that had an inadequate PSU for the video card they dropped in and they had to RMA it twice.

Not saying they won't give you a good deal but double check the components they're including.

Power supply and motherboard tend to be the two areas they skimp on. Selling gaming PC's with lower than reccommended power supplies and no SLI upgradability, etc.
Other companies to check out include http://www.originpc.com/ https://www.maingear.com/ http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/ There are others. Falcon northwest is nice too at the higher end.
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#27 Apr 12 2014 at 3:50 PM Rating: Good
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I put together a rig for just under $1,000 (http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/saved/1G0LXB). Let me know your thoughts.

A few things to note:
  • I don't have a solid state HD on there. Unsure how much this improves performance, if it's worth the extra money.
  • The rig comes with liquid cooling and a build-in fan, but I'm unsure if I need more cooling than that.
  • Unsure if I need to upgrade the internal network card from the on-board to an Intel LAN 10/100/1000 card. Thoughts?
  • This doesn't include the OS or any software. Smiley: frown
Thanks in advance for the tips!
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#28 Apr 12 2014 at 5:43 PM Rating: Excellent
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Demea wrote:
I put together a rig for just under $1,000 (http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/saved/1G0LXB). Let me know your thoughts.

A few things to note:
  • I don't have a solid state HD on there. Unsure how much this improves performance, if it's worth the extra money.
  • The rig comes with liquid cooling and a build-in fan, but I'm unsure if I need more cooling than that.
  • Unsure if I need to upgrade the internal network card from the on-board to an Intel LAN 10/100/1000 card. Thoughts?
  • This doesn't include the OS or any software. Smiley: frown
Thanks in advance for the tips!

An SSD vastly speeds up boot times. I would imagine it would speed load times within a game as well.
If you're not overclocking, the watercooling is probably overkill, and money you could apply to upgrade something else.
Onboard NIC should be just fine.

I put together 1. It's 100 dollars more, but you get an SSD for OS/games, and 1 TB for data. Also swaps out the liquid cooling for air. And I changed the case to Kaos recommended case.

http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/saved/1G0M6M

Edited, Apr 12th 2014 7:56pm by Kastigir
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#29 Apr 12 2014 at 7:59 PM Rating: Excellent
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I went with: http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/saved/1G0MDU

Lowered the CPU from an i7 to an i5 with the potential to overclock. Could even take the slightly cheaper non-K version if you'll never overclock it.
Went from 16GB RAM to 8GB; RAM is a cheap upgrade later on if you should ever need it and you don't need 16GB right now
Used the savings to get an a 64GB SSD for a boot drive and a copy of Win7 Home Premium, also slightly upgraded the HD to a Western digital Black Caviar.

Left the water cooler just in case you ever decide to try overclocking it. Plus it only saved $30 to drop it to stock fan. With the free upgrade on the GPU, I think that's a good choice.
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#30 Apr 12 2014 at 8:24 PM Rating: Excellent
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Off topic but I don't get why all "gamer" cases go for the hideous leds, bulges and windows thing. I just don't see why you would ever want your PC to have bright lights shining in every direction or a way to look at the ugly plastic and metal inside.
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#31 Apr 12 2014 at 9:12 PM Rating: Excellent
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I think a nicely assembled system with good cable management and a nice case can look pretty slick. All personal opinion though, just like some people like the look of car engines or other machines. And it's easy to have a system that looks crappy with bad lighting, cables all over, etc. Or just a ****-ugly case.

Plus, a system with stuff as basic as an aftermarket cooler, heat sink fins on the memory or a temp display on the case easily impresses the plebs who think computers are made out of techno-magic Smiley: grin
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#32 Apr 12 2014 at 11:11 PM Rating: Good
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Jophiel wrote:
Plus, a system with stuff as basic as an aftermarket cooler, heat sink fins on the memory or a temp display on the case easily impresses the plebs who think computers are made out of techno-magic Smiley: grin

Nothing says "the future is now" like a tribal engraving on your space-age computer. Smiley: nod
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#33 Apr 12 2014 at 11:32 PM Rating: Excellent
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Demea wrote:
I put together a rig for just under $1,000 (http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/saved/1G0LXB). Let me know your thoughts.

A few things to note:
  • I don't have a solid state HD on there. Unsure how much this improves performance, if it's worth the extra money.
  • The rig comes with liquid cooling and a build-in fan, but I'm unsure if I need more cooling than that.
  • Unsure if I need to upgrade the internal network card from the on-board to an Intel LAN 10/100/1000 card. Thoughts?
  • This doesn't include the OS or any software. Smiley: frown
Thanks in advance for the tips!

A SSD speeds up boot times, and zone loading / software loads immensly. We're talking going from 45 second boot times to under 10 seconds from power button press, and a similar speed increase for program loads. Plus, a solid state drive has no moving parts in it. They still wear out over time, but much less risk of a catestrophic bearing failure.
The liquid cooling option will make the entire machine quieter. I personally would pick that Corsair Hydro 140mm unit since your case has a mount for it. Better airflow, and better components than that aztek (sp?) one. Either is going to be more than adequate though.
The internal network card is going to be fine. it's a direct bus port into the motherboard chipset, so probably slightly faster than an add in card. You only really need an add in card if you are planning on doing something out of the ordinary like bonding multiple ports, or dual network homes.

As far as your overall build, I like it except for the video card. The 750 GTX is a low end card, and it only has half the memory pipes (think bandwidth) of the higher end cards, so it's pretty crippled compared to the higher end ones. Enough that it may be noticable. You could drop the processor a bit and up the video card and get better overall performance for what my understanding of how you use computers is. If you are doing a bunch of rendering or video / music editing, you want the additional cores and hyperthreading.

Since they offier it, I would also encourage you to leave the first 1TB drive in, and add a second one in a raid 1 array. In that configuration, you can lose one entire data drive and still have all your data intact. For $70, it's pretty cheap insurance. A SSD by itself isn't going to be big enough for most people. This is about the minimum I would reccommend if you can swing it. http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/saved/1G0MQK You could always go with the lower end video card and upgrade later, but then you are spending more in the long run. Same with the ram. The SSD is worth it, but with OS and program installs you need at least the 250GB to not be constantly running out of space. The Samsung drives are generally a bit faster than the ones they had at the 240GB mark. I'm running a samsung 256GB pro series in the main computer here. The secondary actually has an older Crucial M4 SSD in it as it's primary. The media PC downstairs has another Samsung 120gb in it as its primary drive, Very few programs on it so it doesn't need as much, but even then it runs closer to the edge than I like


His Excellency Aethien wrote:
Off topic but I don't get why all "gamer" cases go for the hideous leds, bulges and windows thing. I just don't see why you would ever want your PC to have bright lights shining in every direction or a way to look at the ugly plastic and metal inside.


Part of it is the Sci Fi aspect, Part of it is to show off the technical ability. I've put lights in some of mine because I wanted to play with the technology. For a long time that was also the only way to get into a really good quality case (Thermaltake back in the day, etc.) Plus they kind of work like a night light.

Besides, who wouldn't want to show off their motherboard setup?
Screenshot
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#34 Apr 13 2014 at 1:55 AM Rating: Excellent
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ITT: Kao says your budget can go eat a **** Smiley: laugh
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#35 Apr 13 2014 at 3:45 AM Rating: Excellent
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More cases should go with the sleek and minimal futuristic look, PC's are already crippled in the looks department because of the many different parts so they'll never get the looks of an iMac but there are so few good options at all there must be a niche for one of the manufacturers to design something that doesn't look like a 14 year old dreamt it up.

Anyway, I think games are largely unaffected by SSD's? I know D3 did the whole preloading thing but that got so much hate because it caused catastrophic fps drop for a few seconds whenever you used an ability the first time unless you had it installed on an ssd or flash drive.

And if you don't install games on it, 120GB should be plenty. 64gb probably works as well though you'll feel restricted by it sooner or later.
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#36 Apr 13 2014 at 6:32 AM Rating: Excellent
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Yeah, I went with the 64 just as a boot drive for Windows that stayed sorta within budget. Games can go on the standard drive. As you know, you can always find that next upgrade that'll be just ever so much better for just another $40.

I'm also the only one who thought that he might want an OS beyond buying dodgy used keys off Reddit. But if he's good with that then he could drop my OS, go with a larger SSD and stay in line. Or just drop the SSD altogether which is frankly more of a luxury item than a necessity, especially if you're the sort who never turns their system off anyway.

Edited, Apr 13th 2014 7:38am by Jophiel
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#37 Apr 13 2014 at 6:43 AM Rating: Excellent
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If you don't care much for startup time and you mainly game an SSD isn't really needed anyway so you could cut it out entirely. I'd certainly pick a better graphics card over an SSD.
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Astarin wrote:
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#38 Apr 13 2014 at 7:32 AM Rating: Excellent
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http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/saved/1G0N44 - $1,006

Changes from Original:
- i5 processor, K series for overclocking if you ever feel so inclined. Can save $24 by dropping to the non-K version if you'll never OC. i7 is unnecessary for gaming and a waste of $70 for the budget.
- Stayed with the liquid cooling in case you decide to overclock. Can save $25 or so dropping to stock air if you'll never OC but then you might wish you had another case fan.
- 1TB Western Digital Black Caviar HD. This should last you a decent while, adding another HD is pretty trivial later on. Dropped the whole SSD idea. You can get a 2TB mystery drive for $2 more instead but I went with the reliability factor here.
- Dropped memory from 16GB to 8GB; Memory is a trivial upgrade and you don't need 16GB for anything right now. Games won't use that much.
- Upgraded video to a R9 270 - Tom's Hardware's sole recommendation in the ~$185 range. Radeon whiners can go pound sand.
- Added a copy of Win7 Home Premium. Can do Win 8.1 standard for the same price, I haven't used Win 8 and don't have any opinions good or ill
- If you're skipping an OS, go with the GeForce GTX 760 (total new value: $1,021)

Edited, Apr 13th 2014 8:33am by Jophiel
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#39 Apr 13 2014 at 9:01 AM Rating: Good
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How does one overclock a CPU anyhow?
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#40 Apr 13 2014 at 9:20 AM Rating: Excellent
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Typically you go into the BIOS and fiddle with the voltage, clock speed, etc. Some processors come with software to do this via a Windows interface but most still go the old school route for better control.
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#41 Apr 13 2014 at 10:20 AM Rating: Good
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Jophiel wrote:
Typically you go into the BIOS and fiddle with the voltage, clock speed, etc. Some processors come with software to do this via a Windows interface but most still go the old school route for better control.

TECHNO-MAGIC!

I doubt I'll ever decide to do that, so I'm dropping the liquid cooling system.

Edit: Nevermind, that Tom's Hardware link had the answer I was looking for.

Edited, Apr 13th 2014 11:29am by Demea
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#42 Apr 13 2014 at 10:54 AM Rating: Good
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I replicated this build using an NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti on ibuypower.com (link), and somehow it came out to $60 less. As best I can tell, the only differences are the case (Cooler Master Elite 431 vs. NZXT Source 210 Mid Tower) and the hard drive (Western Digital Caviar Black vs. generic 1TB HD with the same specs). ibuypower also has a few extras thrown in (one year of McAfee).

Are the case and name-brand HD really worth the money?
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#43 Apr 13 2014 at 11:03 AM Rating: Excellent
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Demea wrote:
I replicated this build using an NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti on ibuypower.com (link), and somehow it came out to $60 less. As best I can tell, the only differences are the case (Cooler Master Elite 431 vs. NZXT Source 210 Mid Tower) and the hard drive (Western Digital Caviar Black vs. generic 1TB HD with the same specs). ibuypower also has a few extras thrown in (one year of McAfee).

Are the case and name-brand HD really worth the money?

The case is actually a better case. As for the HD, I would go with a good brand like WD, Seagate, Samsung, etc.
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#44 Apr 13 2014 at 11:17 AM Rating: Excellent
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Demea wrote:
I replicated this build using an NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti on ibuypower.com (link), and somehow it came out to $60 less. As best I can tell, the only differences are the case (Cooler Master Elite 431 vs. NZXT Source 210 Mid Tower) and the hard drive (Western Digital Caviar Black vs. generic 1TB HD with the same specs). ibuypower also has a few extras thrown in (one year of McAfee).

Are the case and name-brand HD really worth the money?


Never buy an OCZ anything. ESPECIALLY never buy an OCZ power supply. Unless you want your computer to melt, then go for it.
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#45 Apr 13 2014 at 11:30 AM Rating: Excellent
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Demea wrote:
Jophiel wrote:
Typically you go into the BIOS and fiddle with the voltage, clock speed, etc. Some processors come with software to do this via a Windows interface but most still go the old school route for better control.

TECHNO-MAGIC!

I doubt I'll ever decide to do that, so I'm dropping the liquid cooling system.

You can drop the K version of the processor then as well. The only difference between an i5-4670K and an i5-4670 is that the K version is unlocked for overclocking. That and twenty bucks.

As a counterpoint to Kao's warning, I have used that exact power supply for a couple years now, trouble free.

For the same cost, I'd take the R9 270 over the GTX 750 Ti but that's just me. See also performance charts here.

Edited, Apr 13th 2014 12:45pm by Jophiel
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#46 Apr 13 2014 at 1:01 PM Rating: Good
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Jophiel wrote:
For the same cost, I'd take the R9 270 over the GTX 750 Ti but that's just me. See also performance charts here.

Good info. I think I'll go with the ATI in that case. (Edit: brainfart)

Based on all the feedback, I arrived at this. Includes the OS, and it's under my target budget. About to pull the trigger. Any glaring errors before I do?

Edited, Apr 13th 2014 2:06pm by Demea
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#47 Apr 13 2014 at 1:15 PM Rating: Excellent
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It will work.
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#48 Apr 13 2014 at 2:30 PM Rating: Excellent
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Your budget is $1,000, you're at $981 and a Fairy laser engraving is $19 -- Just sayin'.

Once you fix the fairy engraving issue, it looks good to me.

You can upgrade the memory one tier to Ripjaws/Vengeance/etc, then use coupon code SPRING0410 at checkout for 5% off an order $1,000 or more for a total of $954.75 -- or find some other minor upgrade to put you just over $1k to use the 5% off coupon. Say... fairy engraving. Anyway, it'll help absorb some of the shipping costs.

Edited, Apr 13th 2014 3:44pm by Jophiel
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#49 Apr 13 2014 at 2:50 PM Rating: Excellent
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Another potential upgrade would be to go back to liquid cooling ($20) for quieter operation. That puts you right at $1,001
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#50 Apr 13 2014 at 3:01 PM Rating: Good
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Done. With the coupon and shipping, it came out to just over my budget. Now I have to wait a few weeks for them to assemble and ship the thing (boo, delayed gratification).

Super huge thanks to everybody for the advice. Rate-ups all around (except for Kao, who is systemically impervious to my gratitude).
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#51 Apr 13 2014 at 3:14 PM Rating: Excellent
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Awesome. Forged against the unyielding anvil of internet forum nerd crowdsourcing, it shall be a thing of beauty, no doubt.

You did go Fairy engraving, I hope.
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