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Old 04-23-2011, 02:45 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default My First Custom PC Rig (Gaming and Productivity, Mid-Budget) - Please Advise

Hey, this is my first time building a custom PC, so I'd like some help. I have an intermediate understanding of computer science, just haven't gotten down to building my own machine from the ground. I'm really excited about this, and look forward to getting some good advice. I'll first give a brief description of what I plan on using the computer for, and then the parts that I have been looking at lately.

I am a college student and, as of right now, am using a Samsung QX 410 laptop as my computing system. I feel as though its functionality is being stretched a little thin. As a student, I find myself leading a pretty mobile life as I am going to and from school and study sessions and the occasional LAN party. However, I also find myself sitting in my apartment doing homework, research, writing, designing, and playing video games. I believe that adding a desktop to my arsenal would make a ground shaking addition and really better shape the application of technology into my daily activities.

I want a computer that is fast and productive with reliable hardware and a long life expectancy. I want overclock capabilities without the cost of reducing hardware integrity. It should be able to play any game that is currently on the market today at full graphic qualities. I do some video and photo editing, but not a lot (this isn't too important). And I especially want it to last me a few years (at least 6-7). Granted, I understand that sometimes computer parts wear down or become obsolete, however, I don't want my rig to be completely useless 6 years from now. I plan on upgrading my rig with better parts as needed, and want it to have compatibility with the future.

That said, let's get on with it.

Budget: $1,000 - $1,800

Antec SONATA IV Black 0.8 mm SECC ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 620W Power Supply

I'm looking for something that isn't too big as it may end up going on top of my desk. I also don't want anything that is super flashy. My idea with going for a little bit higher wattage is so that I have the ability to add more parts (video, sound, network cards) if needed. I also want the power supply to be on top, as I believe that having it up is better for the integrity of the machine.


BYTECC 10 ft. HDMI High Speed Male to DVI-D Male Single Link Cable Model HMD-10

I already have a Phillips 22" HDTV that I use with my Xbox 360 and watch Movies on. This will be so that I can connect this new rig to my TV and stream movies from the internet or my HD.


ASUS P8P67 PRO (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

Motherboards, I am not so familiar with as my experience has been with replacing cards and drives, not boards. However, I feel like this board has some leading edge power to last me a few years and give me the kind of umph I want. There is also a slightly cheaper "non-Pro" version that I am looking at if I need to knock some green off the final budget.


EVGA SuperClocked 01G-P3-1563-AR GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

Seemed like a pretty good card to me. I'm not looking for completely awesome here, but something that will definitely cut it. I'm prepared to possibly add another card in the future if this one isn't enough, but my plan is for this one to do the trick. I want my computer to have two outputs, one to my monitor and one to my HDTV.


Intel Core i7-2600 Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I72600

Processor, Video Card, Memory, and Hard Drive are the four main things that I really want to excel for my rig. I think this processor states that. I was thinking about going one up for the i7 2600k, but then again, I'm also not made of money. I feel this CPU is more than enough for what I plan on doing with my computer.


G.SKILL Sniper Low Voltage Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR2

These looked like some good cards. 8GB RAM seems to be a pretty safe number to go for. I could always upgrade if I need more. I might try to look for something a bit cheaper, I think I could find something around similar quality for 20-25 bucks off. Any suggestions?


Corsair Force CSSD-F120GB2-BRKT 2.5" 120GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

No need in saying it, but SSD is the thing of the future.... well the present, really. But the price they go for is extremely high right now. In looking at this, I'm thinking that 120GB is adequate for an OS and my applications, and having it as a Solid State should really boost the computers performance.
Note: I have not yet added a storage HD to my list yet, any suggestions?


ASUS VW246H Glossy Black 24" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor

24" Is about as big as I can fit on my desk, and it's also plenty big enough for what I intend to use my computer for. I also have a 22" HDTV which I plan to use as a secondary.


Logitech C310 USB 2.0 HD WebCam

For this, I'm not really set on this exact model quite yet. I might go for something cheaper. It seemed like a pretty good deal for the quality, however the only Web Cam application I use is Skype. I may be using it more in the future, but for now... this item could possibly use some revisiting. However, 40 bucks isn't too big of a deal so if anything I'll just stick with this.


SONY Black SATA DVD-ROM Drive Model DDU1681S-0B

Cheap, and it's SONY so can't really go wrong there. Was thinking about getting a BLU-RAY but don't actually use them at all at this point, so I suppose that is something that I could think about adding in the future, but not something that I plan on having on this list.


Logitech Z130 5W Speakers

Sound isn't too big of a deal for me, I may end up getting a sweet set of speakers from a buddy of mine which I would then couple with getting a sound card. But seeing as I am just using on board sound for this, these seem to do the trick.


Subtotal: $1,537.89

Somethings you will notice are missing:
Mouse and Keyboard, already have. Both are bluetooth (the ASUS board I have listed has on board bluetooth).
Sound Card. I will get if I feel like it could help my gaming, but for now, seems like a waste.
Network Card. Also seems like a waste, but will consider upgrading to one in the future.
Fans/Cooling. Never worked on a Gaming/High Performance rig before. The CPU has Heatsink and Fan included, but should I look into getting more Fans or Cooling?

Finishing comments:
Just to restate, I want my rig to be able to handle most tasks, I don't want to be needing to upgrade parts in at least 2-3 years, and I want the parts I buy to last even longer than that if necessary. I really want this computer to focus around the idea of getting the job done, but being able to do more than that if necessary. I want to be able to upgrade it when the time comes, but I don't want that time to come for a while.

Please, leave a comment. And let me know if you have any further questions, although I trust this was pretty thorough.


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Old 04-23-2011, 03:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: My First Custom PC Rig (Gaming and Productivity, Mid-Budget) - Please Advise

from what i understand the i5 2500k is almost just as good as the i7 2600 and it allows you the ability to overclock if you wish which would then leave the i7 2600 for dust, though if you where to do that you would need to get a aftermarket cooler which would probably be no more than $100-$150

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Old 04-23-2011, 08:52 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: My First Custom PC Rig (Gaming and Productivity, Mid-Budget) - Please Advise

Don't buy the Super Clocked version of the video card. Buy the regular version of the car and overclock it yourself using EVGA Precision or MSI Afterburner.

Spend the money you save on the non Superclocked card on the 2600K cpu.

Buy a Full Tower case. Your new system will generate a lot of heat and a Full size case will give you better ventilation.
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Old 04-23-2011, 10:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: My First Custom PC Rig (Gaming and Productivity, Mid-Budget) - Please Advise

I think a full tower might be a bit of hassle for lugging around to LAN parties.
also agree with above posters, if you want to overclock, the K series CPU is what you want.
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Old 04-23-2011, 11:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: My First Custom PC Rig (Gaming and Productivity, Mid-Budget) - Please Advise - Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W Continuous Power ATX12V Ver.2.2 / EPS12V version 2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC "compatible with Core i7/Core i5" Power Supply

ASUS P8P67 PRO (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM

The Sonata is a pain to work inside from what I have heard. I have an Antec 300 and can vouch for it being easy to work with, as well as being a cool running box. It is solid and not gaudy. It can handle three more 120mm fans (two in front, one in side) if you want to get them. I figure a 650W would be good for what you have listed.

The combo is the same mobo but a different set of RAM from G.Skill. It has a lower latency than what you had.

Antec 300 Illusion / Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W / ASUS GeForce GTX 960 GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5
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Old 04-24-2011, 01:41 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: My First Custom PC Rig (Gaming and Productivity, Mid-Budget) - Please Advise

@lipzo Thanks man, the i5 2500k would definitely be better than what I have here, especially for overclocking. I'm gonna try and see if I can fit the i7 2600k instead, but that runs up pretty high, cost-wise.

@Slaymate Awesome, with your idea I could hopefully afford the better CPU. The full size case isn't exactly what I'm looking for. I want it to be able to fit on my desk and yeah, be somewhat transportable if need be.

@Clown Good point on the full tower.

@Trotter Thanks for the links! That case is definitely an improvement from the case I had, and cheaper too. I was actually looking at that board/mem combo you posted, but couldn't add it to my wishlist on newegg for some reason. But yeah, that's also a better alternative then what I had.

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