Newcomer needs some advice to build new desktop

By Gulio · 41 replies
Nov 21, 2010
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  1. Hello everyone.
    I'm new here, my friend told me this was a good forum to get some feedback and advice for building a new desktop.

    I don't really know a lot about hardware, so try not to use too complicated computer terms :p

    Anyway, I've had a laptop for a while now, but I'm turning into a gamer, so i need a stronger system. Also my laptop gets insanely hot so I really need something else.

    I went to alternate to build my desktop, and I think I pretty much got what I want, but maybe some of you spot some bad choices.
    Remember: I need to start completely from scratch, I don't have anything so I also need a case and DVD bay etc.
    I want to spend about €1000,- I think, my current setup is €1145
    I'm looking for a powerful gaming PC.

    So here is my setup so far:

    Graphics Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 470 -- €239,90
    Processor: AMD Phenom II X6 1090T (6 x 3200 Mhz) -- €204,90
    Motherboard: ASRock 890GX Extreme3 -- €104,90
    Harddisk: Western Digital WD5000AADS (500 GB, 2 times) -- total of €71,98
    RAM memory: Kingston ValueRAM 6GB DDR3-1333 Tri-Kit (3 x 2 GB) -- €79,90
    Power Supply: Scythe Chouriki 2 Plug-in 850W -- €132,90

    and I dont know if this is also the place to post these things, but...:
    Case: Cooler Master Gladiator 600 -- €61,90
    DVD-rewriter: LiteOn IHAS124 (Serial-ATA) -- €17,99
    Keyboard: Logitech Illuminated Keyboard -- € 59,90
    Monitor: Iiyama E2209HDS-B1 (21,5") -- €179,90
    OS: Windows 7 64 bit

    (these are all Alternate's prices, so I may get them cheaper)
    (Also, I already have a mouse (Predator gaming mouse or w/e) and a headset (fatal1ty gaming headset stereo jacks))

    There is already one problem though: my processor won't go with a tri channel RAM, so I need to change one of those.
    My cousin told me that 3 x 2 GB was for some reason MUCH faster than 2 x 2, so i tried to get that but now it seems I can't.

    So, am I missing something? or do I really need to change something? or just other reccommendations?

    any help is greatly aprreciated, I'm kind of scared to make these choices since I don't know a lot and it's a lot of money for me.

    Thanks in advance!

    EDIT: also, sorry if I made some spelling or grammar mistakes, I'm Dutch :)
  2. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,754   +2,429

    Buy a GT-460 video card, then add a second one later for SLI.

    Best thing on the CPU is grab a 1055, then overclock it. You would also be well advised to look for a good after market CPU cooler for either CPU. That wasn't in your list.

    I'm gonna say I prefer Gigabyte, but Asus boards are well received also. Somebody that knows ASRock is going to have to ring in on that one.

    For HDDs, WD is fine. However I'd go, (and have gone), with the WD "Caviar Black" models.

    No, you need a dual channel RAM kit. The only boards using tri-channel RAM are Intel socket 1366, and obviously, they take Intel CPUs.

    I would recommend higher performance RAM than the KVR. Something by Corsair, Kingston "Hyper X, or GSkill.

    They don't market these monitors here in the "colonies", Iiyama E2209HDS-B1 (21,5") -- €179,90. That said, it seems a bit pricey. I'd have to know what panel tech is being used, before I comment further.

    Scythe supposedly make good products. You don't really need an 850 watt PSU, but what the heck, knock yourself out.

    One DVD burner is about as good as the next. Right now I'm using Sonys.
  3. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    It looks OK to me, not sure on the PSU though, so will let others suggest if its suitable - Power wise it is.

    If it was me, I'd go with the following instead:

    GigaByte GA-890XA-UD3 129.90 Euros
    G.Skill DIMM 8 GB DDR3-1333 Kit 99.90 Euros

    The motherboard is a matter of personal taste as I much prefer Gigabyte to everything else. The RAM above is dual channel RAM, 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1333 sticks.

    As for RAM:

    Most modern motherboards utilise either dual channel RAM, or triple channel RAM. Your CPU and motherboard above utilise dual channel RAM. The idea is that using 3 sticks in triple channel allows them to offer a performance benefit over the more usual dual channel design.

    Though it has been argued on here that it really doesn't make any real tangible difference in real world terms.

    I would stick to dual channel, either 4 GB or 8GB total size, dependant on your budget.

    Also, don't forget you will need the following as well:

    1. SATA connectors to connect your drives to motherboard
    2. DVI or HDMI lead should your monitor not come supplied with them.
    3. Speakers if you would like to hear anything.

    P.S. Your English is fine. :)
  4. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    I might be wrong, but he'll have to crossfire since SLI isn't supported on the 890GX.
    SAPPHIRE 100315L Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity
    GIGABYTE GA-890GPA-UD3H AM3 AMD 890GX HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
    CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply
    OCZ Reaper HPC Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage Desktop Memory Model OCZ3RPR1600C8LV4GK
    RAM change isn't mandatory, but the OCZ reapers are nice.
    The powersupply is for if you're crossfiring, else you can go down to a corsair 550w or similar, I know those might be expensive in the UK [EDIT:] or wherever.
    Yes, you'll probably want a Cavier Black; Sata 6GB/s isn't necessary.
  5. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    Prices in Europe can be somewhat different to the UK. The € symbol is for Euro's, used in Ireland, and most of Europe. Although the UK is part of Europe, we stuck to our currency around the time that the EU pretty much all changed over to one single currency.
  6. Gulio

    Gulio TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks all!

    Hmm, I see the 460 SLI is pretty powerful, but also really expensive. I'd rather have something powerful right away than having a weaker gpu and waiting for buying the second one so it actually gets good.

    I don't know how overclocking works at all D: I kind of don't want to get in the trouble of having to do that and stuff. Are you sure it will make a big difference between the 1090T? Also the CPU comes with a cooler, I thought that was fine (I also read that in the reviews)

    Thanks for the advice, I'll look into that

    hmm, I don't know anything about panels..... I can swap the monitor though, not a big deal. just picked one that looked fine to me.

    thanks for the suggestions!
    I'm looking into that motherboard. I hear more and more people say that Gigabyte is the way to go. Also, I don't think I need 8 GB of RAM, I'll probably go with hellokitty's OCZ Reapers.

    Thanks for the reminder :p

    When I look at benchmark I see that the 6850 is weaker than the GTX 470, are you sure it's a better choice?
    as for the motherboard, I'm not sure which i want yet, although i think it'll be Gigabyte
    PSU: That one looks better. Some people told me that 850W is overkill, so I mught use that 750 one. although what's up with the "compatible with core i7"? will it still work on my AMD?
    Probably gonna pick that RAM :)

    So, I'm changing:
    perhaps GPU

    any other suggestions?

    EDIT: Quick question: What do you guys think is better? One big HDD or 2 smaller ones? my cousin recommended the latter because then the computer could access it faster or something, but buying one big one is cheaper.
    thinking about these:
    1000 GB: Western Digital WD1002FAEX (Bulk, Caviar Black)
    640 GB (2 times): Western Digital WD6401AALS (Bulk, Caviar Black)
    (wanted to post a link but that's prohibited....)
  7. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    The AMD Radeon HD6870 is the prefered choice. The HD6850 is its little brother so to speak.

    A HD6870 will be absolutely fine at full HD (1080p) resolution for pretty much every game at high settings and detail.

    You need to go for a AMD GPU if you want to have the option to crossfire later on. In essence you can install a 2nd GPU which will increase performance in say 2-3 years, or whenever its needed.

    If you go the Nvidia route with the setup you have, you'll only ever be able to run one GPU. I haven't seen a SLI capable AMD3 motherboard yet, though its possible they exist, I doubt it from what I've seen.

    The GTX470 in my opinion is overkill, but its your decision. :)

    Regarding hard disks, I would use one hard disk for your OS/games/Applications and another physical disk for your documents and files, pictures etc. You should be able to get a 6G/Bs SATA3 hard disk with 500+ GB for cheap enough, since you have SATA3 ports you might as well use them.

    EDIT: 2 640GB disks as above is plenty good enough.
  8. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    Well IDK I was under the impression that you wanted to SLI.

    It's been a bit confusing, but current build is like this:
    AMD Phenom II 1055T X6.
    2x WD Caviar black 500/640 (640 is often almost the same price).
    4GB OCZ Reaper or similar (not essential that it's the same obviously, it's just that on newegg the reapers are quite cheap and fast).

    If you don't plan on CF, you can save some money and go with these:
    CORSAIR CMPSU-550VX 550W ATX12V V2.2 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply
    GIGABYTE GA-870A-UD3 AM3 AMD 870 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
    SAPPHIRE 100314SR Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity
    Case/peripherals are all the same.

    1). Not that it does anything.
    2). Only if they are the same price/cheaper; else it's just a waste of money.
  9. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,754   +2,429

    And yet, isn't AMD always bitching about Intel's, "unfair, anti-competitive, trade policies"?
  10. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    I was of the impression that SATA3 allowed for a higher data bandwidth over the commonly used SATA2 variants, though in all honesty I'm not sure a traditional mechanical hard disk could reach anywhere near the thoroughput it can handle.

    You obviously know better, which is cool, but could you provide me with some reliable links so I can read for myself please, because every one I've read in the past confirms my thoughts as above. :)

    I totally agree with you, I was perplexed when I realised you couldn't actually run SLI with a AMD3 motherboard - though that feeling has vanished with the HD6870 now being better than a 1GB GTX460, as I no longer need to worry about SLI for my next build. :haha:
  11. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    I wouldn't say obviously.
    But you're entirely right about mechanical hdd's not being able to saturate SATA2.
    Even if you take a look at benches with WD Velociraptors or 15,000 RPM drives (the ones that use SATA anyway), they're not that close. If I remember, I think the Velciraptors were near [EDIT] 150MB/s.
  12. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117


    I didn't mean that in a rude sense, hence me asking politely for a link so I could read myself. :)

    I'm pretty surprised as well, I honestly thought a Baracuda XT or Velociraptor would have been faster than that - You live and learn. :)
  13. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    However that came out (sometimes, text can't do everything), I didn't mean to be rude either.
  14. Gulio

    Gulio TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for all the help everyone!

    I've made some new decisions. Here is the new build so far:

    GPU: Sapphire HD6870 (Full-Retail, 2x DVI, HDMI, 2x Mini-DP, CrossFireX) -- €239,90
    CPU: AMD Phenom II X6 1090T (Boxed, OPGA, "Thuban", Black Edition) -- €212,90
    Monitor: Hewlett-Packard x22LED (WS230AA) (Retail, VGA, DVI-D (HDCP), black) (22") -- €169,90
    PSU: Corsair CMPSU-750TX (Retail, Zwart) -- €99,90
    Case: Cooler Master Gladiator 600 (Retail) -- €61,90
    DVD burner: LiteOn IHAS124 (Bulk) -- €17,99
    Keyboard: Logitech Illuminated Keyboard (Retail) -- €59,90
    Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-890GPA-UD3H (Retail, FW, RAID, Gb-LAN, VGA, Sound, ATX) -- €119,90
    HDD: 2 x Western Digital WD6401AALS (Bulk, Caviar Black) (640 GB) -- 2x€57,90
    RAM: OCZ 4 GB DDR3-1600 Kit (Light-Retail, OCZ3RPR1600ULV4GK, Reaper ULV) -- €107,90

    having a few problems though:

    1) Alternate's builder is telling me that my motherboard doesnt have enough SATA connections and that I should buy a SATA controller. I'm kind of unsure what to do with this, even the more expensive GIGABYTE motherboards don't have enough. Is this really the case?

    2) I just don't know what kind of motherboard to pick in general, I know so little about them..... I want to crossfire in a few years though I think.

    3) I can't decide between the GTX 470 and the HD 6870. Every review has an other outcome. I want to SLI/Crossfire in a few years though so I thought i'd grab the hd6870 so i dont have to change my CPU. Still then, there are so many kinds of HD6870's, all by different manufacturers and all a little different, but they have a big price difference. I don't know which one to pick.....

    4) I don't know what to look at when buying a monitor. I'm just picking one that looked good to me, but I have no idea if it's a good choice. I want a 22 inch one to use for gaming though.

    so if you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.
  15. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    What the ffff?
    Gigabyte one is great.

    You can't SLI with that board, so you're stuck with 6870's unless you want to switch to an i5 and P55.
    As for the card, there aren't huge differences; cheapest one is fine, though I'd recommend the cheapest Saphire, XFX, HIS, or visiontek. Gigabyte, asus, diamond, powercolor, msi...ect aren't bad though. this price range, i'd just look for cheapness. Unless your one of those people who really care about perfect contrast and color quality, and you don't seem like it.
  16. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,754   +2,429

    Listen, this board has 8 SATA ports. You won't find more than 10 on any board. The additional two ports would be rear ports, and they would be eSATA anyway.Besides, you're showing 2 HDDs and one optical for your build. Any optical drives would go on the SATA 300Gbs ports, (2 available), and any HDDs would connect to the SATA 600Gbs ports, (6 available). Isn't 5 left over enough?

    I'm thinking maybe you need another builder, not another board or another SATA controller.
  17. Gulio

    Gulio TS Rookie Topic Starter

    ah, well I'll take your words for it then :p

    So I'm guess the build above is pretty much gonna be it.
    I'm looking to change my monitor and keyboard I think (that is, if you guys think that motherboard is ok).
    any suggestions? gonna use this thing for a lot of gaming, but I don't really like the big keys since I'm so used to a laptop, also I'd like an illuminated one.

    or just suggestions about any parts, they would all be greatly appreciated, thanks.
  18. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    I would recommend this build instead:
    Grand Total = ~£1040. All prices are including VAT, and delivery is free on everything.

    A great system that will be able to handle anything you throw at it with ease. Since you stated you're a relative newbie at this, lemme lay it out for you

    1)The CPU outclasses everything from AMD (and trades blows with the X6 CPUs, but only in heavily-threaded apps). It simply is the best buy for your intended budget.

    2)The motherboard is of very high quality, and has all the features you'd need, including support for USB 3.0 as an added bonus.

    3)The RAM is top-notch (RAM from the "Big Three" memory vendors i.e. Corsair, Crucial and OCZ, is the best you can get).

    4)The GPU is on-par with the more expensive HD 6870, and is the better buy for it's fantastic price.

    5)The hard drive is the fastest in its class, and beats all its competitors by a noticeable margin, while being cheaper.

    6)An SSD is a must for a high-end gaming PC, and this one offers blazing-fast performance, thanks to its top-of-the-range SandForce controller. I'd recommend using it for your OS and games.

    7)The PSU is a steal at its price, is modular for easy cable management, and is 80 Plus Bronze certified, which will ensure you save money on your power bill.

    8)The monitor is from one of the best brands on the market (the others being LG and Acer), and offers the best balance of price and features.

    9)This is one of THE definitive gaming cases that is not only roomy, but allows for a lot of ventilation and comes with a significant number of fans already installed, for some great cooling too. It also has washable dust filters that can easily be cleaned.

    Hope I helped! :wave:
  19. Gulio

    Gulio TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Gah, just when I thought I almost had my build complete, you come along with an entirely different one :p

    Thanks for all the suggestions though! they are greatly appreciated, I don't want to buy the wrong things with thise amount of money.

    I need a bit more time now, sorting these 2 builds out. So what are your opinions?

    The second build is too expensive for me in total though, it's about €1400 (when i add a keyboard and dvd writer, and buy it at Dutch prices), and my budget lies around €1100 (or perhaps €1200).
    I'm very interested in that cheap 1TB HDD and that SSD though.
    I'm not so sure about the GTX 460, reviews say the HD 6870 is better, but more expensive.

    Actually I can't decide whether to go with INTEL + NVIDIA or AMD + ATI. (boy I hope this doesn't turn into a fanboy flamefest). that is, GTX 460/470 + i7 930 or HD6870 + Phenom X6 1090T.
    I've read everywhere that AMD is more future proof though, but intel is a tad better in performance (and also more expensive).

    So, kinda stuck here...

    (thanks for the new insight though, Rage ;))
  20. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    Or the Spinpoint plus one of these:

    OCZ 90GB Vertex 2 SSD 3.5" SATA-II Read = 285MB/s, Write = 275MB/s 50,000 IOPS £139.16
    Kingston 128GB SSDNow V100 2.5" SATAII Read=250MB/sec, Write=230 MB/sec for £152.19 (saving £18.21)

    If the difference between a HD6870 and 1GB GTX460 is an SSD, I'd go with the GTX460 and use the £50 difference (or more) in price to pay towards an SSD.

    Yes the HD6870 is better, but then its more expensive as well, and the GTX460 1GB version is stil more than capable at HD resolutions.

    Use the savings and get a better SSD with 80+GB capacity.

    Lets get some perspective though, either AMD or Intel is going to be good enough for the next couple of years at the very least. You won't be "wasting" money if you go either route.

    But in short...

    If you want GTX460's with the option to SLI later, you need Intel CPUs.
    If you want HD6870's with the option to CF you could choose either Intel or AMD (as long as the motherboards support CF).
  21. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    I agree with Leeky's SSD comment, although I would only recommend going for SSDs with a SandForce controller, since they offer the best performance on the market. Corsair's Force series is among the most inexpensive (when it comes to SandForce drives), so check them out.
  22. Gulio

    Gulio TS Rookie Topic Starter


    I decided not to go for an SSD. I think I will wait for when they are cheaper (because I believe they ARE the future).
    I think I overestimated the SSD's, it's only the load times that decrease (dramatically, yes) but I don't mind grabbing a drink while Windows starts :p

    Also, I can use the extra money.

    I'm still unsure whether to buy an AMD or intel.
    for AMD it's the Phenom II X6 1090T
    for intel it's the i7 870 or the 930
    give me some advice.
    also, if you're recommending intel, which socket should I choose? I heard that when I choose a 1333, I'm bound to the more expensive motherboards and it's also pretty old and blabla.

    As for the video card, I think I'm still getting the hd6870. (or is the intel + nvidia combo just way better, and why?)

    I think I'll pick this PSU: (does this support crossfire? Alternate said something weird about it)
    and this Case: (think it'll fit when I crossfire?)

    thanks for all the help!
  23. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    i7 = Socket 1366

    i5 = Socket 1156

    Phenom II = Socket AM2+\AM3

    The AM3 socket offers the best upgrade path, but the 1336 offers the best performance path and possibly an upgrade to the six-core Gulftown CPUs, if they become cheaper in the future.

    I would personally go for my suggestetd i7 machine, since the HD 6870 performs roughly the same as the GTX 460 1GB, and with the latter's fantastic overclockability, you can easily surpass the 6870's performance. Still, it's your prerogative.

    Lastly, check out; you can get some stuff for cheaper there, including that Cooler Master PSU you've chosen, which is decent. However, I'd recommend getting an 80 Plus Gold or SIlver rated PSU (the Cooler Master PSU is rated Bronze), for higher efficiency (the different 80 Plus ratings refer to the efficiency of the PSU at different levels above 80%, with Bronze being lowest [around 81-85%] and Gold being the highest [around 90-94%]) and lower heat output, as well as ensuring that you save more on your electricity bill.
  24. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    AM3 ^^.
    i7-930 is a good bit faster than the X6 though.
  25. Gulio

    Gulio TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Why the 460 and not the 470?

    and is the i7 870 better than the 930? if I pick the 870 i can also buy a cheaper motherboard. or is the 1156 socket just not the way to go?

    I THINK I'm going for intel / Nvidia, although I'm still not sure :/

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