Building a PC

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Building a PC

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Postby Oz » Fri Nov 21, 2014 4:59 am

As I have mentioned elsewhere, I’ve spent this week preparing for my first time building a PC from scratch. Since there are quite a few geeks on EGF, I thought I should ask for your input on my upcoming rig. I want enough power for gaming, but I do not need a monstrous machine. I’m not sure how new and spec-demanding the games I will be playing are, but I want to be prepared for anything. My purpose is to start building computers with a more straightforward build. Here are the parts that I’ve chosen based on my research:

CPU: Intel iCore i5-4460 3,2 GHz

I do not want to overclock my first build so I looked for a CPU that offers the best performance without stock settings and does not require an aftermarket cooler (although I’m still pondering whether I should get one).

GPU: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 770 2GB

I’m not sure if 2GB is enough VRAM for gaming although I think it should be able to deal with pretty much any game - even if I have to lower settings on some of the heavier games. Going for a good 4GB card raises the price significantly here in Finland (only using Finnish shops for inexpensive shipping and closer customer service).

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z97X-SLI

RAM: G Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4 GB) 240-pin DDR3 1600

Based on what I have read, better RAM sticks are only an advantage if I was willing to fiddle with them.

Hard drives: For OS, programs and a couple of games: Crucial 128 GB M.2 M550 (SSD)
For everything else: Western Digital 1TB Caviar Blue 7200 RPM (HDD)

I want to try an SSD drive since they were way too expensive back when I got my earlier PC. It should help with launching and loading times as well as enchance the load speed of textures in games (but has no effect on FPS).

Power supply: Corsair RM750 750W

The PSU unit’s fan seems to be spin only when it is under heavy load so I am not sure if I will go with this one, but it seems to be the best and least noisy option in its price range.

Case: Corsair Carbide 200R (mid ATX tower)

The case needs to be big enough for the extraordinarily long GPU card that doesn’t fit in all mid-sized towers.

Operating system: Windows 8 Pro (64bit)

I'm going to take the plunge and cope with a Windows OS newer than the good old XP.

For reference and quicker links to Amazon/Newegg, here are the parts listed on the Pc Part Picker website: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/qHWkzy

So does anyone have any tips or ideas for a first-time builder?
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Postby UrsusArctos » Fri Nov 21, 2014 7:19 am

I haven't built a PC since 2006 so I'm totally out of touch with present-day specifications. One tip I've heard is to kind of have a cuff with a conducting wire attached to your wrist to discharge static when putting things together. Never used that one myself, but I never needed to.

As for getting an aftermarket cooler - I've never pushed my CPU to the point that it needed an aftermarket cooler, but my gaming requirements were never that high, even back in the day. Intel chipsets used to have idiot-proof heatsink and cooler installation, so if that trend continues installing an aftermarket heatsink/cooler shouldn't be too difficult.

Operating system: Windows 8 Pro (64bit)

I'm going to take the plunge and cope with a Windows OS newer than the good old XP.


Have you already bought this? Windows 7 is probably a better choice than Windows 8 at the moment. There's always a cycle to Microsoft products - first you get a good product (XP), then a truly crappy one (Vista), then a good one again (Win 7) and another not-as-good one (Win 8). Win 8 is better than Vista, but the wholly new interface and all sorts of weird stuff make it harder to use than familiar Win 7. Win 7 also has extended support until 2020, at which point you can upgrade to the new Windows version (Win 10/Blue).
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Postby Oz » Fri Nov 21, 2014 8:45 am

View Original PostUrsusArctos wrote:One tip I've heard is to kind of have a cuff with a conducting wire attached to your wrist to discharge static when putting things together. Never used that one myself, but I never needed to.

That's a good idea. I was wondering how I could protect the parts from static electricity.

View Original PostUrsusArctos wrote:As for getting an aftermarket cooler - I've never pushed my CPU to the point that it needed an aftermarket cooler, but my gaming requirements were never that high, even back in the day.

Based on what I have read, it depends on whether one is going to overclock the CPU or not. Even though the coolers that come with even the top CPUs are only so-so, they should be adequate for stock settings.

View Original PostUrsusArctos wrote:Have you already bought this? Windows 7 is probably a better choice than Windows 8 at the moment.

This is something that occurred to me after I made the post. It is sick that Windows 7 Professional is more expensive than Windows 8.1 Pro. :irked:
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Postby Melchior » Fri Nov 21, 2014 8:54 am

Gonna throw a few things at you -

Static Strap, as mentioned by Ursus.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA4DA1ZF7855&cm_re=static_strap-_-99-888-207-_-Product

Arctic Silver heatsink compound. This works way better than the stock stuff that comes with the CPU. If the CPU has it preapplied, just wipe it off with a damp cloth. STATIC STRAP.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835100007&cm_re=arctic_silver-_-35-100-007-_-Product

Aftermarket cooler. The stock fans, for all intel CPUs, are shit... for lack of a better term. This will shave probably 10-15 degrees more off. This is essentially entry level for aftermarket coolers. Socket type 1150 is supported.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103099


Also, Windows 7 all the way. Even if it costs more, it will be better in the long run.

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Postby soul.assassin » Fri Nov 21, 2014 1:17 pm

Build looks okay, doesn't have to be an overkill setup. Personally, in most cases we work or browse more often than we play, so it's kind of a cliche to OC the rig.

Air-cooled heatsinks are okay provided that you first have to make measurements to fit it correctly into the case before purchasing one.

8gb of memory is sufficient at the moment. 2gb of VRAM is ok, but GDDR5 is faster than GDDR3.

Personally, I consider Windows 7 flexible and more familiar than the jarring Win8 interface, or at least wait for the next version, which should address Win8's shortcomings.

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Postby Oz » Fri Nov 21, 2014 6:21 pm

View Original PostMelchior wrote:Arctic Silver heatsink compound. This works way better than the stock stuff that comes with the CPU. If the CPU has it preapplied, just wipe it off with a damp cloth. STATIC STRAP.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835100007&cm_re=arctic_silver-_-35-100-007-_-Product

Aftermarket cooler. The stock fans, for all intel CPUs, are shit... for lack of a better term. This will shave probably 10-15 degrees more off. This is essentially entry level for aftermarket coolers. Socket type 1150 is supported.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103099

Thanks. I'll keep these in mind. Most likely I am going to use the stock cooler and compound and if I feel the need for an upgrade, I'll get these.

View Original Postsoul.assassin wrote:Build looks okay, doesn't have to be an overkill setup. Personally, in most cases we work or browse more often than we play, so it's kind of a cliche to OC the rig.

Air-cooled heatsinks are okay provided that you first have to make measurements to fit it correctly into the case before purchasing one.

8gb of memory is sufficient at the moment. 2gb of VRAM is ok, but GDDR5 is faster than GDDR3.

Personally, I consider Windows 7 flexible and more familiar than the jarring Win8 interface, or at least wait for the next version, which should address Win8's shortcomings.

Thanks. I guess OC'ing is also a fun hobby in itself - not so important for a good gaming rig. I guess I'll go with Windows 7 then.
"I'd really like to have as much money as you have, Oz" - robersora
"No you wouldn't. Oz's secret is he goes without food to buy that stuff. He hasn't eaten in years." - Brikhaus

"Often I get the feeling that deep down, your little girl is struggling with your embrace of filmfaggotry and your loldeep fixations, and the conflict that arises from such a contradiction is embodied pretty well in Kureha's character. But obviously it's not any sort of internal conflict that makes the analogy work. It's the pigtails." - Merridian
"Oh, Oz, I fear I'm losing my filmfag to the depths of Japanese pop. If only there were more films with Japanese girls in glow-in-the-dark costumes you'd be the David Bordwell of that genre." - Jimbo
"Oz, I think we need to stage an intervention and force you to watch some movies that aren't made in Japan." - Trajan

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Re: Building a PC

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Postby Dima » Sat Nov 22, 2014 8:51 am

Overall it's a good rig but i would like to point something.

View Original PostOz wrote:GPU: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 770 2GB

I’m not sure if 2GB is enough VRAM for gaming although I think it should be able to deal with pretty much any game - even if I have to lower settings on some of the heavier games. Going for a good 4GB card raises the price significantly here in Finland (only using Finnish shops for inexpensive shipping and closer customer service).


GTX 770 is a good card. One other pro is that your motherboard supports SLI so you can always buy a second card for more power. As for the VRAM i think 2GB will cut for the most games (if not all). My card has only 1GB and until now i never had major problems (but i have yet to try new games like Evil Within, Unity which i plan to do next month). Most PC games these days are unoptimized because companies are going for the easy cash, ending up making bad ports and asking silly requirements (see Unity).

Mayyyybe you would like to wait for the Maxwell series to come out. Not of course to buy one of the new cards but in order to get the card you want cheaper.


View Original PostOz wrote:RAM: G Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4 GB) 240-pin DDR3 1600

Based on what I have read, better RAM sticks are only an advantage if I was willing to fiddle with them.


True but still i suggest you to go with 2 x 8GB. Ram always plays an important part in a PC system so the more the better. Don't make the same mistake as i did when i made my rig. There is a reason why most developers are always asking MORE RAM. There are phones out there with 4GB ram these days, PS4 has 8GB ram and still developers are asking for more. I think with 16GB you will be gold for the next 5+ years. So if you can spend more money, go for it.

View Original PostOz wrote:Hard drives: For OS, programs and a couple of games: Crucial 128 GB M.2 M550 (SSD)
For everything else: Western Digital 1TB Caviar Blue 7200 RPM (HDD)

I want to try an SSD drive since they were way too expensive back when I got my earlier PC. It should help with launching and loading times as well as enchance the load speed of textures in games (but has no effect on FPS).


Yep, go for an SSD drive for the OS and the programs. All my systems are running on an SSD drive in order to get the best loading times. Difference is night and day. For the rest, it doesn't matter the capacity. Sooner or later you will end up filling it so you will get an external drive.

View Original PostOz wrote:Operating system: Windows 8 Pro (64bit)

I'm going to take the plunge and cope with a Windows OS newer than the good old XP.


Go with Windows 7 (which i consider them superior to XP) the best windows out there. No reason to install 8, especially with 10 coming up soon.
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Postby Sailor Star Dust » Sat Nov 22, 2014 1:43 pm

I just want to mention: Regarding Windows 7 vs Windows 8. My Lenovo G560 was Windows 7 64-bit while my new Acer ES-1 is Windows 8.1 64-bit. Windows 8 is a bit of a learning curve from Windows 7 (admittedly, was Windows 7 was its own learning curve, because I was used to XP) BUT I honestly find Win 8.1 easier to use than 7 once you know what to tweak. And yeah, I'll probably update my new machine to Windows 10 whenever it's out.

The OS you choose honestly boils down to personal preference and comfort.

My computer reviews here, for reference:

2010 Lenovo

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Postby Dima » Sat Nov 22, 2014 4:09 pm

View Original PostSailor Star Dust wrote:I just want to mention: Regarding Windows 7 vs Windows 8. My Lenovo G560 was Windows 7 64-bit while my new Acer ES-1 is Windows 8.1 64-bit. Windows 8 is a bit of a learning curve from Windows 7 (admittedly, was Windows 7 was its own learning curve, because I was used to XP) BUT I honestly find Win 8.1 easier to use than 7 once you know what to tweak. And yeah, I'll probably update my new machine to Windows 10 whenever it's out.


He says he wants a PC for gaming. Windows 7 have better compatibility with games (especially the old ones). Personally i only know one game that takes advantage/runs better on Windows 8 and it's Battlefield 4.
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Postby Sailor Star Dust » Sat Nov 22, 2014 11:58 pm

^
Huh. I thought for sure Win 8 would have long ago "caught up" with Win 7 in terms of gaming/etc (my Acer machine obviously isn't a gaming one), though I'm well-aware how Windows in general can be...
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Postby Monk Ed » Sun Nov 23, 2014 12:16 am

My gaming rig is a Windows 7 while my (gaming) laptop is a Windows 8. I haven't gamed nearly as much on my laptop but when I have I haven't had any problems. But I'm also not trying to play old PC games on it. What games does Win8 give trouble?
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Postby Ironfoot » Sun Nov 23, 2014 1:54 am

For an all around general PC gaming rig, this should be pretty good. A few things to note:

-> Make sure to take full advantage of the 6Gb/s SATA on the Motherboard, especially with the SSD. Installing Windows 7 in this way will make your computer very fast. The cables for these are separate from the standard 3Gb/s but they are very cheap if they don't come included.

-> That being said, gaming load times will do remarkably better on SSD drives than the standard IDE, so you may want to invest in a larger size SSD in the future.

-> 8 GB RAM will be fine for the next 2 years, but you may need to upgrade after that time period. More RAM is better than less.

As a side note, gaming is at a very similar point that was seen in 2007 with the release of Windows Vista, where companies refused to support the problematic OS and remained largely on XP until Windows 7 arrived. Waiting for Windows 10 and, more specifically how companies react to its release is a better decision IMO. Then we'll have a better idea of how well games will be supported for the OS. Considering that it's meant to be a direct bridge from Windows 7, there is a chance that 10 will be better than its predecessor.

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Postby Dima » Sun Nov 23, 2014 3:42 am

View Original PostSailor Star Dust wrote:^
Huh. I thought for sure Win 8 would have long ago "caught up" with Win 7 in terms of gaming/etc (my Acer machine obviously isn't a gaming one), though I'm well-aware how Windows in general can be...


It has now (i think). But you can never never be 100% sure, especially when it comes to old games, so why not go with the safe option? In general if he wants so much to go with Windows 8, then he should, i don't think he will experience any problems.

View Original PostMonk Ed wrote:My gaming rig is a Windows 7 while my (gaming) laptop is a Windows 8. I haven't gamed nearly as much on my laptop but when I have I haven't had any problems. But I'm also not trying to play old PC games on it. What games does Win8 give trouble?


Half Life 2 was one but it was fixed. Another one was Fallout 3 but the users that bought it through Steam said that they didn't have any problems running it. The others bought the disc version (GOTY edition). If i remember correctly GFW was causing problems on Windows 8 when they launched.
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Re: Building a PC

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Postby Oz » Sun Nov 23, 2014 4:02 am

View Original PostDima wrote:GTX 770 is a good card. One other pro is that your motherboard supports SLI so you can always buy a second card for more power.

*snip*

Mayyyybe you would like to wait for the Maxwell series to come out. Not of course to buy one of the new cards but in order to get the card you want cheaper.

I'm not sure if it's worth it to go with 2 cards, especially given that the rest of my machine won't be able to keep up with that. I figured it's more of an advantage only if you buy two top of the line cards. As for waiting for prices to drop, I don't think the effect is as fast and drastic in Finland as it is elsewhere. I will already end up paying 1300 euros for this setup even though it could be much cheaper if I lived in the US.

View Original PostDima wrote:True but still i suggest you to go with 2 x 8GB. Ram always plays an important part in a PC system so the more the better. Don't make the same mistake as i did when i made my rig. There is a reason why most developers are always asking MORE RAM. There are phones out there with 4GB ram these days, PS4 has 8GB ram and still developers are asking for more. I think with 16GB you will be gold for the next 5+ years. So if you can spend more money, go for it.

8GB should do fine for a few years and I don't know how RAM-dependent my PC usage will end up being. If 8GB becomes a problem, I can always upgrade it to 16GB later.

As for Windows 7 v Windows 8: With old games, GOG supports Windows 8 pretty well so it is not like compatibility would be a major problem with the newer OS. But I don't really like the odd interface Windows 8 has. I've seen it on Xard's PC and it hasn't really won me over at all. By the way, which OS is harder on the system?

View Original PostIronfoot wrote:-> Make sure to take full advantage of the 6Gb/s SATA on the Motherboard, especially with the SSD. Installing Windows 7 in this way will make your computer very fast. The cables for these are separate from the standard 3Gb/s but they are very cheap if they don't come included.

I was thinking of using the M.2 connector on the motherboard directly. Or should I hook it up with SATA instead?

View Original PostIronfoot wrote:-> That being said, gaming load times will do remarkably better on SSD drives than the standard IDE, so you may want to invest in a larger size SSD in the future.

Yeah. Originally I wanted a 256 GB SSD, but the prices were so much worse - at least for the reliable drives. I figured most of the games I play at the moment do not take up that much space and I can leave some of them on the HDD (since load times are not crucial for all of them). After figuring out that it is possible to spread Steam games on multiple drives, I decided to go with the smaller drive.

View Original PostIronfoot wrote:-> 8 GB RAM will be fine for the next 2 years, but you may need to upgrade after that time period. More RAM is better than less.

As I replied to Dima above, I think it should be fine enough for now so I can wait for the prices of good 16GB RAM to drop.

Thanks for all the replies and advice.
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Postby pwhodges » Sun Nov 23, 2014 5:26 am

View Original PostOz wrote:By the way, which OS is harder on the system?

8 is a bit more efficient than 7 - each version is generally refined over the previous when doing the same stuff. For a mere $5 my Win 8.1 machine looks and behaves like a Win 7 machine, but with the benefits of the later system.
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Postby Monk Ed » Sun Nov 23, 2014 8:56 am

View Original Postpwhodges wrote:url=http://www.stardock.com/products/start8/]For a mere $5[/url] my Win 8.1 machine looks and behaves like a Win 7 machine, but with the benefits of the later system.

For a mere $0 mine does too. (Although to go the full full way i.e. window stylings and everything takes a bit more work, but the most important thing people miss from Win7 is back with just this.)
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Postby pwhodges » Sun Nov 23, 2014 10:05 am

When I got Start8, Classic Shell wasn't yet quite up to it. I'm glad it's now a viable competitor.
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Postby Ironfoot » Sun Nov 23, 2014 12:24 pm

View Original PostOz wrote:I was thinking of using the M.2 connector on the motherboard directly. Or should I hook it up with SATA instead?


Missed that. In that case, I would go with the M.2 for the SSD. The speeds are up to 10Gb/s and this saves the 6Gb/s SATA connectors for the IDE and/or other drives.

The one thing I would be concerned about with the motherboard are the reviews. It seems many are getting the board DOA. It goes into a endless power loop even after resetting the CMOS, so I would suggest finding a backup to purchase in case this might be a problem for you.

Yeah. Originally I wanted a 256 GB SSD, but the prices were so much worse - at least for the reliable drives. I figured most of the games I play at the moment do not take up that much space and I can leave some of them on the HDD (since load times are not crucial for all of them). After figuring out that it is possible to spread Steam games on multiple drives, I decided to go with the smaller drive.


Yeah, RAID is also an option. But since you mentioned GOG, then space shouldn't be a problem at least for now.

Thanks for all the replies and advice.


No problem. My "Unit-02" was built from the ground up too, so I'd figure I share a few things. Too bad there weren't any M.2 connectors at the time.

Oz
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Re: Building a PC

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Postby Oz » Sun Nov 23, 2014 1:03 pm

View Original PostIronfoot wrote:The one thing I would be concerned about with the motherboard are the reviews. It seems many are getting the board DOA. It goes into a endless power loop even after resetting the CMOS, so I would suggest finding a backup to purchase in case this might be a problem for you.

Looking at Newegg's reviews, customers who got it DOA are not that many. At least it does not seem any different from reliable products. The reason why I chose this motherboard in particular is that it belongs to a quality series, but it is stripped of unnecessary features and comes with a feasible price tag.

EDIT: Oh, and I am thinking of asking the shop I'm ordering it from to update the BIOS for me so I guess it should mean I won't be getting a dead mobo.
"I'd really like to have as much money as you have, Oz" - robersora
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"Oh, Oz, I fear I'm losing my filmfag to the depths of Japanese pop. If only there were more films with Japanese girls in glow-in-the-dark costumes you'd be the David Bordwell of that genre." - Jimbo
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Ironfoot
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Re: Building a PC

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Postby Ironfoot » Sun Nov 23, 2014 1:56 pm

View Original PostOz wrote:Looking at Newegg's reviews, customers who got it DOA are not that many. At least it does not seem any different from reliable products. The reason why I chose this motherboard in particular is that it belongs to a quality series, but it is stripped of unnecessary features and comes with a feasible price tag.

EDIT: Oh, and I am thinking of asking the shop I'm ordering it from to update the BIOS for me so I guess it should mean I won't be getting a dead mobo.


Well then, all I can say is good luck and hope you don't get one of the QA rejects. The price point is pretty good for what you get, especially for the M.2.


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