How is my build?

85 Tauren Warrior
1665
I also have a question about the ASUS p8Z68-V/Gen 3 motherboard. It has two PCIe 3.0 Slots but then says this: 2 (single @ x16 or dual @ x8)

What is this x16/x8? If I choose to use dual cards is this going to be some sort of bottleneck if they're not both x16?

I also want to mention that I'll be purchasing this PC from CyberPower. Some express concern that the parts you get when you order from them are cheap/bad quality. They do have some brand name options though and I tried to stick to those. Do you think with what I've chosen it will be a problem?

Here is a link to the build: http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/saved/1DY0MK

(note that I changed the PSU)

This may change in a couple months when I plan to buy (Ivy Bridge..etc) but it will be mostly the same.
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100 Blood Elf Paladin
9210
With CyberPower, either you get cheap, no-name power supply, or pay tons for an overkill power supply. The Corsair power supply is good though, although severe overkill unless if you will CrossFireX / SLi.

Rest are off-the-shelf parts more or less though.



PCI-E 3.0 bandwidth is equal to the following 2.0 bandwidth:

3.0 8x = 2.0 16x
3.0 4x = 2.0 8x

As long as it's at least 8x, there will not be any bottleneck. PCI-E 2.0 4x is where you would notice bottleneck.





And man, that's really really REALLY expensive for a system with 7950. :/

You want a data drive real soon, I'd guess. 120GB runs out pretty damn fast.

At this point, I would recommend Crucial m4 or Corsair Performance Pro. SandForce based SSDs are bleh, except Intel 520.

Unless you will watch Blu-Ray movies on your computer, don't.




Also going to mention that for the games you are planning to run, Radeon 6870 is more than enough to max things out.
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85 Tauren Warrior
1665
And man, that's really really REALLY expensive for a system with 7950. :/


You seem to say that in way that implies the 7950 is not so powerful/good? I would like to get a high end card (but now that I'm waiting I may choose to go Nvidia 6xx later), but it seemed like the best option in terms of price/performance/energy usage of all the high end cards.

Also can you clarify what you mean by off-the-shelf parts?

I'm not too sure of the idea that building the PC yourself is always cheaper. I understand it gives you the benefit of choosing better parts (but most of these parts seem fine), but doesn't seem to save much $$$$.

I looked up all the parts on Newegg and added them up.

Azza case: 144.99
Intel Core i5 2500k 229.99
AMD 7950 479.99
Crucial 128gb SSD 174.99
CM Hyper 212 Evo 34.99
ASUS P8Z68-V/GEN 3 179.99
Corsair Ven. 2x4GBRAM 44.99
LG Blu Ray drive 59.99
Corsair 850W PSU 172.99
Windows 7 HP 64 Bit OS 99.99
______________________________________
Total Cost $1622.9 --------------------------- Cyberpower Cost: $1533

Maybe this is just the way it is for the specific build I have, but it Cyberpower somehow comes out $90 cheaper even though all the parts are the same (Cept for the SSD - chose Crucial from Newegg) and are brand name.

At this point, I would recommend Crucial m4 or Corsair Performance Pro. SandForce based SSDs are bleh, except Intel 520.


Also - I think the intel 320 series I chose doesn't use the sandforce? I would go with the Crucial as you say but because Cyberpower doesn't list it as an option I think the intel 320 is the second best.

Yeah I agree with you on the data drive - I will get one.
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100 Blood Elf Paladin
9210
Intel 320 is an older generation SSD, and will be slower (while still costing a lot).

From NewEgg, Intel 320 120GB is $200.
Crucial M4 128GB is $164.

Value is clear in this case, I believe.



7950 is pretty good, but I -think- there'll be huge drop on the prices of 7900 series in two months. Because:

Radeon 7870 is expected to cost $250. Seeing 7950 is $450, there's a huge pricing gap between these two products. It seems inevitable that 7900 series will drop price by quite a bit once Kepler arrives.

Radeon 6870 remains best bang for the buck.




Saving money from custom-built PC primarily comes from buying cost-optimal parts while retaining good quality / feature set. In that build, there are already many ways where cost can be saved, and yet, lose no performance.
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85 Tauren Warrior
1665
Saving money from custom-built PC primarily comes from buying cost-optimal parts while retaining good quality / feature set. In that build, there are already many ways where cost can be saved, and yet, lose no performance.


Kalganized, I appreciate the quick responses every time.

These are my main concerns with building my own PC:

1) I've never done it before.

I'm not sure how difficult it is to actually put the parts into the case, install coolers, PSU, etc and not break something. The most I've done was install a graphics card myself and maybe adjust a few hard drives. I could look up a guide for this, but every case/part if going to be different. Nonetheless I definitely can do it, just will need a lot of guidance the first time

2) Selecting the right parts

The main benefit you say is having the ability to choose quality parts. I agree. The thing is, I'm not you. I have to post on here enough times just to figure out which part is the best to choose among JUST the CyberPower options. Having it completely custom built probably opens up so many more options. I'll admit I've learned ALOT over the past couple of weeks researching parts and reading forums posts (many thanks to you). But I'm still no expert.

In that build, there are already many ways where cost can be saved, and yet, lose no performance.


I don't really know of these "many, many ways" myself. I worry that I won't choose the correct parts, etc.

Nonetheless I'm willing to give it a go, especially since I'm waiting on Ivy Bridge and have time to look into it more thoroughly. Strangely, the idea of building the system also seems somewhat fun to me, despite what I posted above.
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100 Blood Elf Paladin
9210
As for the parts, that's why we're here. I would recommend quality parts at lowest possible prices.

As for the installation, guides are all over the web -- such as DIY guides from NewEgg and Youtube, and on countless tech websites. Few other people here have never built from before, but taking a little time to look up videos and guides, have done it -- and have expressed how easy it is.

If you've dealt with graphics cards and hard drives, rest will be just as easy and no-brainer once you see how it actually goes. If you still have questions after seeing videos and such, you can ask us and we can give you an answer.




If you are waiting on Ivy Bridge, I wouldn't really suggest that you buy right now if you can wait. Motherboard recommendation will differ when Ivy Bridge motherboards are released soon. But if you need a new computer right now, you can do so and still be able to upgrade to Ivy Bridge, but you will be spending $52 or $80 on a throwaway CPU.
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85 Tauren Warrior
1665
Yeah I won't be buying right now. Will wait for Ivy Bridge/new MBs. Not really necessary for me to get it now so there's no reason not to be patient.

If I'm going to build it myself this will give me the time to look around a bit. Do you know if there are any cases that make it particularly easier for first time builders? I see some people complain about cases not having a removable MB tray, etc - is this something that makes it much more annoying to install the MB? Not that I want to sacrifice getting a good case because of my noobiness though.


Motherboard/Processor/GPU I will wait on because there are new releases soon.

As for the SSD - if I go custom I will get the Crucial. You are not the only one who has recommended it to me. May I ask why it so well received? They are not the only ones that don't use the sandforce controller.

I know that having a good PSU is integral to longevity. What are the optimal ones in the 800-850 range? I chose that Corsair 850W because it seemed like the best FROM the Cyberpower options, but I'm sure there are more.

Also for RAM. Would likely be going 2x4GB (incase I ever go 16 in the far future). Have no idea what brand is the best to get, though.
Edited by Ult on 2/14/2012 9:40 PM PST
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100 Blood Elf Paladin
9210
CoolerMaster HAF 912 is a pretty good case that remains low-priced, but has good airflow inside.

Removable MB tray, well, some people swear by it, but I personally don't find much need for it -- but then again, I'm not a very big person. If you have thick arms / big hands, removable MB tray may be helpful.




Crucial (formerly Micron) is a memory company prior to SSD, and they have been in business of selling memory modules for a very long time. Their RAM was considered "best of the best" for consumers in terms of quality and reliability for a long time.

Compounded with the fact Marvell controllers used in Crucial M4 and Corsair Performance Pro is pretty stable, that is why they were well-received.

Indilinx controllers are pretty decent too, but some people are wary of OCZ name in general.

SandForce was decent, but their 2000 line stumbled pretty damn bad, with non-stop issues at first, and still issues here and there today. I mentioned Intel 530 was an exception (despite the fact it uses SandForce 2000 series), because they use special, custom firmware that no other SandForce SSDs have access to, that has issues fixed.




You do not need 800~850W unless if you will CrossFireX / SLi. If you aren't going to, a high-quality 600W is good enough for any single card setup, and 500W if you aren't ever going to buy very high-end graphics card.




Many people usually get Corsair RAM or G. Skill Ripjaws X.
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85 Tauren Warrior
1665
And man, that's really really REALLY expensive for a system with 7950. :/

In that build, there are already many ways where cost can be saved, and yet, lose no performance.


I'm trying to find ways to reduce the cost after doing some of the things you mentioned. Let me know if there are any other obvious things I can do. Note that this is comparing to the NEWEGG costs I posted above:

Azza case: 144.99
Intel Core i5 2500k 229.99
AMD 7950 479.99
Crucial 128gb SSD 174.99
CM Hyper 212 Evo 34.99
ASUS P8Z68-V/GEN 3 179.99
Corsair Ven. 2x4GBRAM 44.99
LG Blu Ray drive 59.99
Corsair 850W PSU 172.99
Windows 7 HP 64 Bit OS 99.99
______________________________________
Total Cost $1622.9 --------------------------- Cyberpower Cost: $1533


Choosing the HAF 912 instead of the AZZA will save ....................... $95
Downgrading to CORSAIR Gaming Series GS600 600W saves .......... $93
Didn't see the cheaper Crucial M4 SSD .. saves ..........................$11
Changing MB to ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 saves ......................... $58
(would it be better to keep ASUS P8Z68 or are they the same?)
__________________________________________________________________
Total Saving ................................................................................ $257

That brings cost for everything from Newegg to be $1365. I'm wondering about your suggestion to lower the power supply, though.

You do not need 800~850W unless if you will CrossFireX / SLi. If you aren't going to, a high-quality 600W is good enough for any single card setup, and 500W if you aren't ever going to buy very high-end graphics card.


When I select the AMD 7950, CyberPower tells me that I need to get a PSU that's at least 700W. I've also read that you should always get a PSU thats 100w over what you need "just in case" - which is why I ended up at at least 800. Perhaps CyberPower is just trying to get me to spend more, but are you sure a 600W would be ok for the 7950?



I know that the AMD 6870 would likely save me some and not cost too much in performance. However, I should note that my original goal going into this was to stay below $2000. Given that I've gotten it to roughly $1360 (still have the 7950) with your help makes me happy enough - don't mind splurging on a high end card - could even go 7970.


A lot of this is really just theorizing because I'm not planning to buy for 2 months. Nonetheless I think it's really helpful anyway. Thinking about what I bought in the past (way overpriced PCs from Dell) just makes me laugh at myself now. I ended up paying such high premiums because I was just uninformed.
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100 Blood Elf Paladin
9210

When I select the AMD 7950, CyberPower tells me that I need to get a PSU that's at least 700W. I've also read that you should always get a PSU thats 100w over what you need "just in case" - which is why I ended up at at least 800. Perhaps CyberPower is just trying to get me to spend more, but are you sure a 600W would be ok for the 7950?


Yes, they are trying to get you to pay more. AMD's official power supply requirement for 7950 is 500W.

A high-quality power supply does not need "just in case", as they can actually put out the rated 500W maximum.

One example of such a power supply is:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817703035



Are you really planning to watch Blu-Ray movies on your computer? :o You didn't answer that question.





Also, if you aren't going to CrossFireX / SLi, you can pick up even cheaper motherboard:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157270
Edited by Kalganized on 2/15/2012 1:00 AM PST
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85 Tauren Warrior
1665
I'm not really "planning" so much to watch Blu-Ray movies on my computer. Nonetheless I've never had the capability to watch them as I've never even had a player. It didn't seem that much more expensive to just include a blu-ray drive in the PC so at least I'll have the ability to watch them.

I normally watch 95% of movies on my computer anyway. Most of them are purchased from iTunes but there have been a number of cases where I wanted to purchase movies that weren't available on iTunes but they did come on blu-ray.
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100 Blood Elf Paladin
9210
A price difference between a standard DVD burner and a Blu-Ray drive is $40. That's why I mentioned it. :X
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100 Human Mage
19810
I'm going to chime in on the HAF 912. I bought one to replace the case for my older PC and it's very nice. I removed the 2.5" hard drive cage and the lower 3.5" hard drive cage and there was plenty of room for my large graphics card (very similar to the one Kalg picture on Page 1). When I built a PC for a co-worker we used an HAF 912 for his also and I've heard zero complaints.
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85 Tauren Warrior
1665
The 2.5'' hard drive cage is where my SSD will have to go though? So I won't be able to remove it if needed?

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100 Blood Elf Paladin
9210
You can remove the 2.5" cage and install the SSD in normal hard disk cage provided you have a bracket.

Even if you don't, it really doesn't matter:

SSD has no moving part. Just set it down flat on the top of the bottom hard drive cage or something. It'll be OK.
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85 Tauren Warrior
1665
Haha. I've been reading a number of other threads on here since building a PC has now become a mini obsession.

One trend I've noticed:

Firstimebuilder_1: What case do i get??????

Kalganized: HAF 912

Firstimebuilder_2: What about this other one????

Kalganized: No, HAF 912

---------------------------------------------

Me: I want to get a FULL tower

Kalganized: Get HAF 912

Me: But but but...

Kalganized: HAF 912.



Guess I'm getting the HAF 912 XD

--------------------------------------------

On a more serious note: Any idea of when we'll be seeing the newest high end nvidia card (I think that's gtx 680?)? Will it beat the 7970 and will they have one that competes with the 7950 too? Seem to find conflicting reports when doing searches.

It's a shame that there's a wait for all these new parts. It took years for me to be convinced that I should try building the PC myself and I've actually become a little anxious just to get started on it lol (who knew - two weeks ago I was 100% sure of getting a prebuilt). Not going to though, as I really don't want to get an i5 2500k when there's a better one for the same price on the horizon. Don't really want to get some cheap processor and dump it later either, as that will require me taking the whole motherboard out of the PC again (and it will waste money).



Will there be any disadvantages to putting the Ivy Bridge on one of the current boards, like the Asrock as opposed to using the new MBs that are being made FOR the new CPUs? I know that the current z68 ones will support the CPUs but I read that they might not take full advantage of the improvements in performance. Hopefully I won't have to wait even longer after Ivy's are released for new, optimized MBs to come out.

Waiting sucks :(
Edited by Ult on 2/15/2012 9:42 PM PST
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100 Blood Elf Paladin
9210
Oh, I only suggest HAF 912 because that's the best case for the $ (imo) and will fit in many people's budget. Full towers are more expensive and if you are budget limited, it doesn't make sense to put $$$ in something that has zero bearings in your performance.


However, sometimes, people want certain other tower, and if they have the budget for it, I don't stop them. ;)




As for the new graphics cards... Everything is a rumor right now. So don't believe in anything until you see cold, hard benchmarks. However, I mentioned to Aeox in some other topic, that prices on 7900 series are very likely to drop if Kepler is any good.



There are some features that won't be used if used with existing Z68 motherboards, but they have no impact on gaming performance. Also, some of the key features in Ivy Bridge Z77 motherboards are already on Z68 motherboards -- namely, PCI-E 3 support / USB 3 support.
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85 Tauren Warrior
1665
It's quite interesting how much you can learn in a few days just by reading posts and reading about parts. I probably know 20x more on this subject than I did 5 days ago. It funny, I currently have a sociology class that I spend hours in every week, professor is not so good and I walk out everyday thinking -did I learn anything? Though, I'm a political science major so I guess I asked for it (have to take some really dull courses in the other social sciences as a requirements :P).

It's all funny thinking about my ignorance on this topic when I last bought a PC/PC parts. I watched a video today of a guy building a PC, and he said to never touch the circuitry on the parts. Last time I installed a video card, I had my hands all over those metal parts, lol. Didn't even think about static either.

Also - is there a particular brand of video card to buy? By that I mean like ASUS, etc (not nvidia vs AMD - though why don't they just manufacture their own cards??) See multiple brands pop up by just searching AMD 7950 on Newegg.
Edited by Ult on 2/18/2012 9:03 PM PST
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100 Blood Elf Paladin
9210
ASUS, HIS, Sapphire, MSI, Gigabyte, XFX etc. all produce cards based on either standard reference design, a non-reference design but with standard cooler, and finally, a custom design with high-end cooler with high-quality components.

It's toss-up more or less, but when it comes to high-end parts of a graphics card family, there are few you need to take a closer look at.

For example, MSI TwinFrozr III series, ASUS DirectCU II series, Sapphire Toxic series, HIS IceQ, etc...

I personally prefer MSI TwinFrozr however.



nVidia and AMD does not produce their own card because that means they will lose partners who build using their chips. Why would the partner companies build cards for them when they have to compete with AMD / nVidia?

3dfx (a powerhouse 3D graphics chip developer back in late 90s/early 2000s) made that fatal mistake (alongside other major screw-ups) and ended up being bought out by nVidia.
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