Looking to build a new PC -- need some advice

By Pliskin ยท 14 replies
Aug 27, 2012
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  1. So basically, I used to be all about PC gaming and building my own computers from scratch while in highschool. I managed to get a job at a computer store and all that, but moved on to college and bigger and better things.

    So recently I've noticed my PC begin to perform rather pathetically. I built it back in 2006 and I'm started to realize how low-end it is, when trying to play some newer games.

    My current system is;
    AMD Athlon 64 x2 Dual Core 5000+ 2.59 GHz
    4gb RAM
    K9N Neo V3 Motherboard
    nVidia GeForce 8600 GT GPU

    with about 6 HDD's around 500gb a piece.

    I'm looking to build something brand new and top of the line, but within a 1500$ budget. My problem is that when I fell behind in computer tech, I couldn't catch up. I have no idea what people are talking about when they say i3, i5 and i7(I know they're processors, but I have no idea what the specs are).

    As far as I know, all I want is a new PC that can run things like DayZ (that game is such a ***** for my GPU and processor), Diablo 3, and Guild Wars 2 seamlessly. I'm averaging maybe 20-30 frames on all three, maybe 15 on DayZ.

    I was hoping someone could point me in the direction of what processor, mobo, ram and other hardware I should consider when building my new PC. I know I want a good GPU like the geforce gtx 560 ti or higher.

    Sorry for the wall of text!

    tl;dr looking to build a good gaming pc with about 1500$


    • What are you going to use the PC for? gaming
    • How much is your budget? ~1500
    • Where are you located and what sort of system do you currently have, if any? (I.e. fill out your profile) Canada, 2006 low end gaming system.
    • Are you going to buy online or from a retail store? (be sure to think about shipping costs in this case) Either one is fine, preferably retail
    • Are you going to re-use anything from your current rig? HDD's
    • Do you need peripherals like a monitor, keyboard and mouse, amongst others? No
    • Have you already bought any components? No
    • Do you already have an Operating System (OS) or will you be buying one? (this may add a significant amount of cost to a low-budget system) Buy a new key
    • Will you need any aftermarket cooling, such as a CPU\GPU cooler or a watercooling setup? Probably not
    Gloria Taylor likes this.
  2. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,714   +3,695

    Usual specs for Intel's CPUs:
    • i3 = 2 cores with hyper-threading
    • i5 = 4 cores without hyper-threading
    • i7 = 4 cores with hyper-threading
    People usually opt for the i5 since games don't normally take advantage of hyper-threading
    Thats a good choice. I'm currently looking into the 660 Ti and non-Ti version.

    I'm happy with my current system though its a year or so old now.
    • PC name: Home Built PC
    • CPU: Core i7-2600K @ 3.4GHz
    • Motherboard: MSI P67A-G45
    • Memory: PNY XLR8 8GB DDR3-1600
    • Graphics: EVGA GeForce GTS 450 1GB (FPB)
    • Audio: Realtek HD Audio (onboard)
    • Storage: OCZ Agility 3 60GB - Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200.12
    • Case: Thermaltake Dokker
    • Cooling: Corsair CX600 V2 (600W PSU)
    • Other Peripherals: ASUS PCE-N13 Wireless Adapter
    • Operating System: Windows 7 Professional SP1(64-bit)
  3. xcylent

    xcylent TS Booster Posts: 231   +17

    Hey Pliskin!
    good to see you taking up an interest in computers again.
    Anyway, times sure have changed since 2006, so it may be worth your while to spend an hour or two on a website like www.NCIX.com or www.tigerdirect.com since you're in Canada, and just get acquainted with newer technology and components.
    plus it is quite fun to throw together a few quick lists while you're at it, just to exercise your knowledge.
    Anyway, for the purpose of foundation, I'll just throw together a quick list for you, which I'm sure others will add to.
    One thing that would help to know though is what kind of 'looks' man you are.
    Do you prefer a flashy, colourful, showy sort of LED windowed build, or a more sleek, sexy-silent, refined build?

    I'll throw together a quick list now anyhow, here we go!

    (showy) CoolerMaster Storm Trooper - $149
    (refined) Corsair 600t - $139
    only a $10 difference between these two, so shouldn't effect the overall cost too much. keep in mind these are only for the purpose of a cost foundation, and you should feel at complete liberty to change the case or any other components to something more your liking.

    CPU: intel i5 3570K - $229
    Probably the obvious choice for a gaming PC in this day and age. this thing is a powerhouse. feel free to upgrade or downgrade this as you see fit.

    CPU cooling:
    Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus - $30
    now I know you said you don't really need any aftermarket cooling, but it's always a good Idea to have one - just for the purpose of comfort. plus lower temperatures = longer life. also this cooler is quieter than the stock intel cooler.
    once again, feel free to disregard this.

    Graphics Card: EVGA GTX 660ti - $299 (after rebate)
    this particular card can be found here, and it also comes bundled with Borderlands 2 so you can play (or sell) it at your heart's content. for that price, it's a steal.

    SSD: Samsung 830 64GB - $99
    SSD's are pretty much the norm for gaming/high end PC's nowadays, plus with the price being relatively low, this Samsung SSD is sure to kick some serious speed into your OS/games.

    HDD: Seagate ST1000DM003 1TB 7200RPM HDD - $89
    not sure how much storage you would need so went with 1tb to be safe. relatively inexpensive, this thing should last you quite a while.

    Memory: 8GB Kingston HyperX - $39
    this was marked down from $58, and can be found here. for that price, it's a steal.
    8GB should be more than enough for gaming and everyday computing so I think you'd be fine with that.

    Motherboard: ASUS P8z77-V LK - $134
    Great all-round solid mobo.Plus it's by ASUS so you can expect great features and excellent quality/reliability.

    Optical Drive: LG DVDRW - $17
    Just a standard Optical Disk Drive. reads, writes, all that jazz. inexpensive, too.

    Power Supply: Corsair HX-650W - $119
    This is currently sitting in my rig right now. Great reliability, 80+, modular, active PFC, and rock solid stability.
    plus since it's 650W you'll have no issues running a single-card setup.

    Total: $1204
    (give or take $10)

    So this list is well under your budget, and would seriously kick *** in gaming!

    once again, please note this was just done to lay a foundation of parts, feel free to switch around parts to your liking.
    plus I'm sure some other members will comment as well.
    Good luck, and if you have any further questions please do not hesitate to ask.
  4. Pliskin

    Pliskin TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I appreciate the quick replies guys, and thanks for the advice.
  5. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    Nice build xcylent. However since the OP will be reusing the HDDs from his old system I suggest that the $100 be better spent on a GTX 670 over the 660Ti.
  6. xcylent

    xcylent TS Booster Posts: 231   +17

    Ah, good catch Ritwik. I must've missed OP's non-lack of HDDs.
    in that case, I completely agree. put the extra money toward a 670 or perhaps even a 7970?
  7. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    Good build xcylent, except I would change a couple of things:
    Get the 128GB instead, it's only slightly more expensive than the 64GB and will be a bit quicker.

    That RAM is rated at 1.65V, go for a 1.5V kit instead, e.g. this Crucial kit

    Since you have a bit of money left over consider investing in a nice mechanical keyboard or 120Hz monitor, judging by the games you play I think anything higher than a 660Ti/7950 will be a waste.
  8. Pliskin

    Pliskin TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Currently I'm using an HP 2010i widescreen monitor (1600x900 res) and I'm pretty happy with it. I'm looking for more performance in my PC than looks at this point, and when I do get my new computer, I'll look into buying more displays or upgrading the one display to something bigger.

    But I do have another question about SSD's. I have no idea why most people say they are basically "required" for gaming because they have so much more performance than a regular HDD. I know they lack moving parts, but why exactly is a 64GB SSD 99 dollars when I can get a 1TB HDD for roughly the same price?
  9. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    Screen resolution is pretty crucial to gaming performance, for example a 2560x1600 screen has almost 3 times as many pixels as 1600x900 so would require a GPU 3 times as powerful to get the same fps.

    SSDs won't give you much benefit when it comes to pure gaming (apart from quicker load times), but will speed up your OS and make everything feel snappier. Most people only install the OS, programs and games on the SSD (because they will see the most benefit) and keep larger data, video, music files on a separate HDD. Youtube some videos of SSD vs HDD comparisons to appreciate the difference.
  10. Pliskin

    Pliskin TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Checked out some videos like you said and I'm pretty impressed with the performance, but I cant help but feel like they're expensive for the amount of storage you get.
  11. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    You can't really think of price per GB for SSDs in the same way as HDDs, you only need enough storage for your OS, applications and games (optional). 64GB is a bit too small, 128GB drives are at the best price point at the moment for most users. I have a 256GB SSD because some games nowadays take 20GB of space, but very few people could claim to have a genuine need for 512GB+ SSDs.
  12. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,714   +3,695

    There are a few people such as myself who only need 30GB for an OS partition and the 64GB SSD is perfect in size.
  13. Pliskin

    Pliskin TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks again for all the help guys, you're all awesome.


    Here's a screenshot of the quote I got. 1400$ for all of these. Some of the items changed (Corsair case and PSU because they can't order them apparently, but whatever) and theres a 2 year part warranty and 3 year labour warranty that come along with the PC. I also switched the Samsung SSD out for a Kingston SSD(I've just had a better experience with Kingston items than I have with Samsung).

    Also, unless I'm missing in on the list, it seems they forgot to add the Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus, unless they just don't deal with aftermarket cooling systems.

    Anyways, if you could, I'd love it if anyone would look over the list and tell me if they're doing a good build or they're just charging me a ridiculous amount extra!

    Thanks again!
  14. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    Well that's actually a reasonable quote for a complete system build, although I think you're still better off building the PC yourself. There's loads of guides and youtube videos and I'm sure the people here would be more than willing to help. Advantages are lower cost and if/when you have a hardware failure you can just send in the faulty component for RMA rather than the whole system. You'll find Asus, Gigabyte, etc. all have warranties on their parts.

    Regarding the RAM, again make sure it's rated at 1.5V, any higher and you're unnecessarily adding extra heat to the CPU.

    The Samsung 830, along with the Intel SSDs are the most reliable drives on the market, Samsung make every single component of the 830 in house while Intel have a very rigorous testing procedure (hence Intel drives also cost more). The Crucial m4 is also a decent value choice but I wouldn't stray outside of those 3 for consumer SSDs.
  15. xcylent

    xcylent TS Booster Posts: 231   +17

    To follow up on what a few people have said:

    a) the SSD is useful but not necessary. However if your budget is accommodating, it is still good a very good idea to have one since they are quite useful and will speed up your general computing quite a bit. Like slh28 said, you could also look into upgrading the size from 64 to 128GB. this may not be entirely necessary, since some people only use like 30-40GB space total on their boot drive (like me or cliffordcooley) but it is really up to you :)

    b) the RAM is 1.65V, and whereas some may argue that you should go with 1.5V for lower temperatures, it really won't make too much of a difference performance-wise. however if you want to be on the safe side, go with the lower voltage for slightly lower temperatures. I only listed that RAM because it was on a great discount.

    c) the list you got quoted seems alright but there's some refinements you could do to it. e.g. better PSU, cheaper RAM, better case, cheaper DVD drive, (possibly) cheaper motherboard, etc.

    anyway you'd also probably want to look into upgrading your monitor since 1600x900 is quite a low resolution, and once you go to 1920x1080 you'll never want to go back :)

    anyway, any further queries please ask!

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