Hey there! Woke up last week and realized... man, does my computer feel old! So I set about doing some research into getting a new rig. I was initially looking at custom builders, but in the end, I felt that these were either too expensive, or not exactly what I wanted (along with the fact that some custom vendors don't even list the brand they use for some parts!).
What I do want: I want a good solid performance, medium to high end build
. This rig will be used primarily for Gaming, but also possibly software development, 3d graphics editing, music, web browsing, and word processing. I do not wish to spend more than around $2250 (£1,364). I would like for this investment to last me at least 3 years. I would also prefer to use up as little desk space as possible (I keep my computer on the floor).
My experience level relating to hardware is somewhere in the range of moderate to low. I haven’t done this in at least 6 years, and have rarely kept up with hardware during that time.
I am open to advice on any changes that might improve my buy, and hope it helps anyone else out there searching for something similar. Thank you for your input!
-Note: Used newegg for all pricing for the time being. All prices in pounds going forward are close estimates.
: Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor
... $200 (£121)
: MSI P55-GD80 LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard
... $210 (£127)
: Radeon HD 5850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5
... $310 (£187)
: Kingston HyperX 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333
... $240 (£145)
: Corsair P128 (CMFSSD-128GBG2D) 2.5" 128GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid state disk (SSD)
... $370 (£224)
Power Supply: Corsair 650w
… $100 (£60)
CPU cooling device
: Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2
… $32 (£19)
: Windows 7 Home
… $120 (£72)
Main Components Cost
: $1582 (£958)
Secondary / Upgradable Components
: LIAN LI Lancool PC-K62 Black 0.8 mm SECC, Plastic + Mesh ATX Mid Tower
... $130 (£78)
: Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM
… $75 (£45)
: Logitech Illuminated (slim w/ backlighting)
… $55 (£33)
: LG W2353V-PF Black 23" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Full HD 1080P Widescreen LCD Monitor
… $220 (£113)
Secondary Components Cost
: $480 (£290)
Viewsonic 15” VA520 monitor
PoS..ahem..“Lower End” keyboard
Cd/Dvd R/W Drive
Floppy Drive (yes, I still have one)
Mx518 Logitech Mouse
Lian Li PC-70 aluminium full tower case
Decent speaker set with subwoofer (nice to rest feet on)
Old Internal 120GB hard drive
Old Internal 250GB hard drive
Total cost using all upgradable components, filler salvage components
: $2062 (£1247)
: (Fairly sure about these)
I went with the i5-750
because it seems like a great way to lower my costs and still get great performance. Reviews put it behind the i7 9xx by a good margin, and the i7 8xx by a slight margin. I cannot afford the i7 9xx easily, and the main difference from the i7 8xx series seems to be hyperthreading. While it is true I may be using some 3d editing tools… I think the lower cost justifies this loss in performance to one of my secondary uses for this machine. True, more games may support SMT as time goes on, but I do not think we will be seeing a major difference in the near future. However, since the i9 will probably use the same socket as the i7, this makes the i5 a poor choice for upgradability in the future. I am not much concerned about this though, since I will not be upgrading for quite some time (would be worth it more to buy a new system at that point anyways).
: MSI P55-GD80 LGA 1156 ATX Intel
I chose this motherboard because it has good functionality, cooling, arrangement, and looks. It received good reviews for stability as well. This above all else, sold me on it (in combo with the i5) – nothing hurts worse than to have a motherboard fail. It also includes a nice auto-clocking feature – this should help me easily increase clock speed without going manual. It looks to be a great value for price, at $210 (£127).
: Radeon HD 5850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5
I was looking to get a decent GPU from the start, but not topline. I started looking at the Nvidia GeForce Gtx 285 for awhile, but then I happened upon this one. Looks to be about the same module, but costs less ($310 (£187) total). I’m all over that =)
: Corsair P128 SSD
After reading up on ssd’s I was at first amazed (“I WanT ThaT!”), then concerned when I saw some of the performance issues a lot of them had been having. This unit however, got decent reviews, and I am willing to try it out. 128GB size-wise is what I use currently anyways. This probably won’t be enough storage long term, which is why I plan to use another HDD to archive, and store extremely large files that I won’t be accessing as often.
: Windows 7 Home
I currently have XP. I don’t hate it, I just don’t like many things about it. I was thinking I would have to switch to Ubuntu or buy a Mac upon an upgrade, but Windows 7 came along and it looks to be more stable and usable than Vista. Still some features to be desired, but enough to secure my purchase.
: Laid eyes on a LG W2353V 23”
and nearly fell in love… at the tune of $210 (£113). Would complement the GPU, and be a great upgrade.
: (Things I am not entirely sure about)
Not too sure about what to get. In my current computer, I’m running 4GB ram I believe, but this is limited by the x32 Windows Ram-Hammer. As far as ram goes, Kingston seems to be one of the most reliable brands out there, and my eye is currently on: Kingston HyperX 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3
, but I am open to others. Note that the motherboard I have chosen supports dual channel, so most likely the ram should be 4GB or 8GB 1333. Is the 8GB a good amount for my uses? Will I see a justifiable increase in performance?
I am fairly impressed with my old Lian Li PC-70 case. It is a solid aluminum roomy case. However, it does restrict airflow more than I would like. Have a few cases in mind, but the higher and lower contenders are: the
. Other cases I noted included the Cooler Master Sniper, and the Antec 900/902. The PC-7F case has all the great features and benefits I’ve come to love with my old case (solid, vibration reducing, fairly quiet), with slightly improved air flow and dust filtering. The PC-K62 is not aluminum, but is more airy and allows for more fans. I am currently leaning towards the PC-K62. Is this the best case for this build?
I’m a bit lost on power units. I read somewhere that a 550w should work fine with an i5 build, but unsure if that is true. I have chosen a Corsair 650w
($100 (£60)) to start out with. Do I need more power?
CPU Cooling Device
Currently have chosen the Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2
. Basically what I need here is a fan that will cool the CPU well enough when I moderately over-clock, and not randomly morph into a jet engine or a rattle. Seems to be a good fit… decent airflow, relatively quiet, not expensive ($32 (£19)) – things I like. 900 - 2500 RPM(PWM), Air Flow: 45 CFM, .8 Sone.
Pretty secure in the Corsair P128 SSD
as noted above. However, for my HDD archive drive: do I salvage my hard drives from my old machine (they are a couple years old), or buy a new one for around $75 (£45)?
My current keyboard (your average cheapo) performs decently, but I find often that the keys require a lot of force on average to depress, and it wears my hand out after a bit of typing. Also, it takes up a bit more space than I would think necessary (1” to 3” border around the entire thing – no buttons on this area). I want a keyboard with a full set of keys, standard layout, tilting options, hardly any frills, space saver, decent spacing between buttons (if possible), and backlighting (if possible). Doesn’t matter if it’s wired. My current choice is the Logitech Illuminated Keyboard
. It is standard, slim, backlit, and supposedly allows for a great typing experience. However, I am at a loss as to whether this keyboard would be good for gaming. Another option (I found upon visiting this forum) is the Saitek PZ30AU Black Standard Eclipse Keyboard
. It has a fairly minimalist design as well, is backlit with what looks to be a good typing experience. These are both in the same price range. Any opinions on which of these is the better choice?
Long post, I know. If you got to this point without skipping, kudos
. However, If you are like me and don’t always read everything, help out by providing feedback on what you did see. Thank you!