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Old 08-27-2012, 03:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default First gaming computer, just need clarification on some quick stuff

Right, my main worry has been over the graphics card. With the amount that is out there, and since i keep learning about more things as i dig in deeper, i get more and more confused.

The stuff i am buying (please note i am not definitely using these sites, as i'm from the UK so can't use the Newegg site for buying, but Newegg is where i searched for it all, as i trust it more, and it contains good YouTube videos):

Graphics card:
Asus nVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti Graphics Card (1GB , GDDR5, PCI Express 2.0, HDMI, nVIDIA 3D Vision Ready): Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories

Processor:
Newegg.com - AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ965FBGMBOX

RAM:
Newegg.com - G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-8GBRL

PSU:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Powercool-55...7339096&sr=1-7

Case:
Newegg.com - Rosewill Blackbone Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Motherboard:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Asus-M5A78L-...9942663&sr=1-5

I will be using my existing 500GB hard drive, with Windows Vista, so i don't have to mess about reinstalling, and when i can afford it, i will buy an SSD, then upgrade to Windows 8. I'm reusing an old optical drive, because i will be downloading most of my stuff online.


Onto my main questions - i saw something about 'crossfire', when using AMD CPU and GPU together, and i was worried i am being less efficient in buying an NVIDIA graphics card.

Although i have checked a lot of stuff, such as case sizing, and the AM sockets, i am still worried about compatibility, so if anyone can have a quick scan through to double check, i will be extremely happy.

I will be using the computer when i go to University and do computer science, so i could be running some heavy stuff, and messing around with 3D graphics, so i was wondering whether this could handle anything up to that, aswell as games like Battlefield 3.

Finally, am i going wrong on the PSU? I wanted to make sure it was 80+, as i don't know if i will be overclocking in the future, and wanted to make sure the power supply was efficient, but at only 550W, i am slightly worried it isn't enough.


If you notice anything else i need to know, please tell me. As i said in the title, its my first build, and i am 16, so practically all i know is based on Newegg YouTube videos, and stuff i have read online.

Thanks a lot,
Danny

P.S. I read the thread on online stores for buying the parts, but when i checked, parts are the same price on UK sites as they are on Newegg, without taking the ratio into account. By that, i mean the processor is $109 on Newegg, which is around £70, but on the British sites, it is around £90.
Does anyone have an explanation, or alternative?
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: First gaming computer, just need clarification on some quick stuff

i would look for 1600 speed ram. the price point is marginal enough to spend the extra 5 bucks (3.1646 British Pound Sterling)

i wouldnt recommend getting a powercool psu. i would stick with antec, corsair, seasonic, or possibly a few other specific models from other manufacturers with a 'it's legit' from a reputable member here. the corsair tx 650 is probably a good match. 650 is just on the high side of what you need.

cases are personal preference, but you get what you pay for. pay a few pounds more for a good case and cable management and ease of use, as well as the ability to use if for more than a few years will make it worth it. also, cheap cases can slice open your hands. im not saying that this one will do that, but im wary of rosewill cases. theyre cheap, but see the first sentence.

the motherboard you picked out is a microatx. you probably want to get something in the standard atx form. maybe this one would be better
Newegg.com - ASUS M5A99X EVO AM3+ AMD 990X SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS

if the copy of vista is oem, then you may have trouble getting it to work on a new setup and motherboard.

cpu + gpu is some sort of hybrid acceleration. crossfire is gpu + gpu, and as the mb that you picked out and i linked to dont have more than one x16 pci slots, you dont have to worry about it.

the processor is an older am3 chip, the mb accepts am3 and newer. compatible. the case is a midtower, can easily fit either motherboard.

unless you are doing applications that you plug in the data and wake up the next morning for results, the chip is fine. dated, but fine. the gpu will probably hold you back a bit. youre probably going to want at least a 560 ti for bf3.

550 w is enough for the psu, but if the difference is just a few dollars for the 650 watts on a quality psu, then go for it. when you upgrade to a much better gpu, youll know that youll be set then too.


stuff costs more in europe. it just does. especially electronics. also, you guys have that VAT thing going on. if you shop around, you can get better prices.
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: First gaming computer, just need clarification on some quick stuff

We need a budget first and foremost so we can get you the best deal on the parts at hand.
Secondly, if budget permits we will probably go with an Intel processor for 2 reasons. The Phenom 2 line is aged and the FX line is pretty craptacular unless you just have a seriously low budget for gaming.
Next thing I will point out, the 550ti is only an "ok" card. What I typically recommend is the 560ti for high end gaming at 1080p paired with something like a 2500k.
The PSU is a no no. You want something Corsair, Antec, or Seasonic in the 550w+ range. Reason being, quality comes first and the main place you want that quality is in your power source.
Last thing I'm going to say no to is Windows 8. No point, I say grab Windows 7.
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Old 08-27-2012, 05:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: First gaming computer, just need clarification on some quick stuff

Budget is probably no more than £350, so $550 ish?

If i get the Phenom 2, couldn't i upgrade to the next line of FX processors when they arrive? I just read something about them on Techspot, and i guess that will still be a AM3+ socket?
I am happy with a dated processor for now, and Intel seems way too overpriced in comparison to the specs, unless i'm missing something there. For the same £80 - £90, i am only on a Pentium price range, aren't i?

Since you have seen my budget, i suspect you will take back the 560ti comment? I'm not expecting high-end for $550, however i have taken a quick look, and this 560Ti is actually cheaper than the 550 Ti i found:
Newegg.com - EVGA SuperClocked 01G-P3-1463-KR GeForce GTX 560 (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

I guess i skipped over something important, but maybe Newegg is just having a deal on that graphics card.

Also, i thought a GTX 550 would be able to run games like Battlefield at a decent FPS, at least at mid graphics? If you have heard of Planetside 2, that is a game i am really looking to being able to run on this computer.

Power source is something i didn't have a clue about - i had just seen that 80+ is important somewhere.

What about this 600W corsair PSU instead?
Corsair CMPSU-600CXV2UK Builder Series 600W Power Supply: Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories

Not 80+, but if its a reliable company, i guess it should still be pretty efficient?

I don't like the look of windows 8, i admit but at the rate they are going, they will stop compatibility for Windows 7 in a year or 2. Its also very cheap for an upgrade from Vista to windows 8, like $40?

I would prefer not to spend another £30 on a motherboard if i can help it - and this has all the stuff i think i need. Is there anything else i could get from a full sized ATX motherboard, that i can't from MicroATX?

Yeah, the case isn't so much of a problem for me, as long as it is easy accessing the side panel. My old computer had some weird locking mechanism, whereas i am very fond of simple thumbscrews, which this seems to be.
I am trying to choose between 3 Rosewill cases - all of them are ATX, just slightly different features.
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: First gaming computer, just need clarification on some quick stuff

Since you plan to spend more money later, then why not get an i3 with a socket 1155 board, then grab a 2500k or 3570k later? The FX line is considerately slower for gaming than both the 2500k and the 3570k. Also, with a faster clock for clock speed the i3 would be faster at games anyways. You would also have higher memory bandwidth to help in that regard. The i3 2100 on Newegg is barely more than the 965BE. Another thing to take note, the Phenom 2 line is faster at single threaded performance than the FX line, meaning games will run slower unless you have one of the faster FX 4100 chips.

The 550ti will run games around medium yes, maybe slightly higher. I didn't expect your budget to be so low, so the 550ti might be your only option.

If you can afford the budget, try to go for something that isn't the builder series. The Builder series is made by a different OEM, where as the TX, GS, HX, and AX series are all made by Seasonic. If all you can afford is the 600w BS then I would feel more comfortable with that than the Rosewill. Antec also make good PSUs with a cheaper price range too.

7 support will last for quite a while. Vista is still support, and Vista will be dropped before 7. I'd say 7 has at the minimum 8-10 years left of life. Windows 8 is hated by many simply because Microsoft are trying to treat us like idiots with the Metro interface. It wont sell as well as they hope meaning longer life cycle for 7.

If you are only using a single GPU then it doesn't matter if you have an ATX or mATX motherboard.
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Old 08-28-2012, 08:34 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: First gaming computer, just need clarification on some quick stuff

Aren't i3's dual core only? If i was going to go down the Intel route, i would have to go for an i5, because the jump between the 2 is too big really - i doubt an i3 would be enough. I am currently running a dual core pentium 2.93Ghz processor, so going to an i3 would be small change, wouldn't it?

If i need to upgrade my computer in the future, i will actually have a job by then, so i can afford to sell off my processor/motherboard cheap, then buy either a new AMD processor on a different chipset if it is any good, or i could be more likely to just go for Intel.

Either way, a phenom 2 still goes far beyond console gaming right? And thats all i need for now


What about this 560?
Newegg.com - EVGA SuperClocked 01G-P3-1463-KR GeForce GTX 560 (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

That is within my price range, so i could go for that?

When you said 'If all you can afford is the 600w BS then I would feel more comfortable with that than the Rosewill', did you mean than the powercool, or are you suggesting i get a tower with a case preinstalled?

I thought Vista support had stopped, since the next version of Office won't be working with it...
Either way, i will be happy to get rid of Vista - that will probably benefit my gaming than any hardware can!
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Old 08-28-2012, 10:18 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: First gaming computer, just need clarification on some quick stuff

You have to take into consideration performance per core, per cycle. Games aren't dependent on how many Ghz or how many cores you have, it's how many cycles per clock, per core you get. First gen Core processors were faster per core per clock than Phenom 2 which is why I made the switch from a 955BE to an i5 750 in 2009. Sandy Bridge is even faster than that. You would essentially have more performance than a Phenom 2 in games that are only single or dual threaded. Not only that, but the i3 also supports HT giving it 4 threads total with 2 cores. Then, much higher memory bandwidth comes in to play giving the system an overall snappier feel if you had an SSD to throw in to the mix. A Pentium processor doesn't even come close to the performance of the Core i series. In the end, it's your decision, but I would personally take a Z77 board and an i3 and quickly grab a 2500k or 3570k later. As you already have drivers, OS, programs, and everything else setup. Just pop the new CPU in and go.

That 560 is still faster than a 550ti if you can afford it.

When I said the Rosewill comment I got confused with another post. What I was saying, is if all you can afford at the moment is the builder series Corsair then I would feel more comfortable if you bought that then your other choice.

Vista support wont end until 2017 and 7 further than that. By the time the year comes around for 7 to lose support they will probably have quickly released a new OS after 8. Just what I'm feeling, because 8 has so much hate already. For the record, XP is even still support until 2014 officially. Some games already don't work on it due to DirectX limitations though.
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Old 08-28-2012, 02:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: First gaming computer, just need clarification on some quick stuff

Oh okay, thanks a lot, i really need to learn more about this stuff.

Turns out i may be in a bit of luck that means i can take my budget up a tad. How about this i5 2500k, at £160 (cheapest i could find it), with this cheap motherboard, which is pretty much an Intel equivalent of the AMD motherboard i suggested earlier:
Intel Sandybridge i5-2500 Core i5 Quad-Core Processor (3.30GHz, 6MB Cache, Socket 1155) (Retail Boxed): Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories

Asus motherboard P8H61-MX USB3/SI LGA1155 mATX OEM- microdirect.co.uk

For 'supported memory speeds', the site said this:

'Supported memory clock speeds (MHz): 2200(O.C.)/2133(O.C.)/2000(O.C.)/1866(O.C.)/1600/1333/1066'
Does that mean it will accept 1600MHz RAM?

If not, i'm happy going for this at an extra £10, which says it does:
ASRock H77M Intel H77 (Socket 1155) DDR3 Micro ATX Motherboard [H77M]


Overall, that will take me to £424, which is still a pretty cheap gaming computer, and i can upgrade in the future if i need to.

The second motherboard has a typical PCI express 2.0 x16 slot, but also a PCI Express 3.0 x16 slot - is that used for more modern graphics cards? If so, could i just add a second graphics card in the future, instead of having to replace my 550Ti?
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Old 08-28-2012, 02:10 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: First gaming computer, just need clarification on some quick stuff

Quote:
Originally Posted by danhodge View Post
Oh okay, thanks a lot, i really need to learn more about this stuff.

Turns out i may be in a bit of luck that means i can take my budget up a tad. How about this i5 2500k, at £160 (cheapest i could find it), with this cheap motherboard, which is pretty much an Intel equivalent of the AMD motherboard i suggested earlier:
Intel Sandybridge i5-2500 Core i5 Quad-Core Processor (3.30GHz, 6MB Cache, Socket 1155) (Retail Boxed): Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories

Asus motherboard P8H61-MX USB3/SI LGA1155 mATX OEM- microdirect.co.uk

For 'supported memory speeds', the site said this:

'Supported memory clock speeds (MHz): 2200(O.C.)/2133(O.C.)/2000(O.C.)/1866(O.C.)/1600/1333/1066'
Does that mean it will accept 1600MHz RAM?

If not, i'm happy going for this at an extra £10, which says it does:
ASRock H77M Intel H77 (Socket 1155) DDR3 Micro ATX Motherboard [H77M]


Overall, that will take me to £424, which is still a pretty cheap gaming computer, and i can upgrade in the future if i need to.

The second motherboard has a typical PCI express 2.0 x16 slot, but also a PCI Express 3.0 x16 slot - is that used for more modern graphics cards? If so, could i just add a second graphics card in the future, instead of having to replace my 550Ti?
If you can do the 2500k then that would be your best bet and a great performance gain over any AMD chip.

Take into consideration that only the P and Z based chipsets will allow overclocking with unlocked multiplier chips (like the 2500k). You can't OC with the FSB/BCLK. So even though those H series boards will work fine (stock is plenty quick enough anyways) just know you can't OC until you upgrade your board.

Yes, either of those boards will take 1600mhz RAM.

On the second board the main slot is a PCI-E 3.0 slot at 16x, where as the second slot only runs in 2.0 4x. You will need an Ivy Bridge CPU to run PCI-E 3.0 (2500k is Sandy Bridge), but all PCI-E slots are backwards compatible. What that means, is with a 2500k that first slot will run in 2.0 16x mode. No you can't add a second card due to the second PCI-E slot being electronically 4x. Would not be wise anyways, single card setups are almost always better due to power consumption, heat, and drivers/scalability. Before you ask 2.0 slots will not hurt your performance.
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Old 08-28-2012, 03:50 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: First gaming computer, just need clarification on some quick stuff

I'm sticking with a stock fan, so overclocking would be a bit unwise anyway. Will my processor/heatsink come with any thermal paste, or should i buy some arctic silver?

That seems fair, with a micro ATX motherboard, i wasn't expecting that much room for stuff anyway.
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