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Codemus
2013-08-01, 01:57 AM
Hello!

I find myself in a bit of a corner here. Due to some poor decisions, my laptop fried. I'm not a computer person really. So now I need to buy a new one, but I haven't the faintest idea where to start. I'd like to be able to play stuff like battlefield 3 on max settings.

I don't really care about price, since I can just save up longer if I have to.

Should I just go with the best I can get from BestBuy? Or order it piece by piece? Does BestBuy do that already? I don't know where to even start.

Brother Oni
2013-08-01, 03:25 AM
Even if you have no idea about computers, you should have an idea about what you want.

For example, you say your laptop fried - do you want a new laptop, or a desktop? Do you just want it to run games?

You say price is no object - you may want to rethink that stance as some desktop replacements (laptops that have the same performance as a desktop) can be very expensive.

Are you willing to learn about computers, or do you just want it to work? If you just want it to work, then the pre-assembled option is the way to go, while buying your own parts and building a desktop is a significantly cheaper option.
Building a laptop from components is tricky and not recommended for beginners.

So suppose you just want a laptop that works - is weight a limitation? What sort of battery life do you want? Are you just having it permanently on your desk?

Once you've worked out what you want, then we can start on the specifics which you've partially stated (run Battlefield 3 on max settings).

Codemus
2013-08-01, 07:32 PM
Even if you have no idea about computers, you should have an idea about what you want.

For example, you say your laptop fried - do you want a new laptop, or a desktop? Do you just want it to run games?

Just run games. I had thought desktops were superior to laptops, but if its the same either way then I don't care which.


You say price is no object - you may want to rethink that stance as some desktop replacements (laptops that have the same performance as a desktop) can be very expensive.

Well, I have been toying with the idea of taking out a small personal loan at my bank. Something I could use to work on my credit score. I could get a larger one if I need to.


Are you willing to learn about computers, or do you just want it to work? If you just want it to work, then the pre-assembled option is the way to go, while buying your own parts and building a desktop is a significantly cheaper option.
Building a laptop from components is tricky and not recommended for beginners.

I could probably get it put together myself if pushed to it. More likely I'd take it to some one else to assemble. Pre-assembled is probably the way to go however.


So suppose you just want a laptop that works - is weight a limitation? What sort of battery life do you want? Are you just having it permanently on your desk?

Weight is no factor, I'll be leaving it at home most of the time. Battery life I didn't think about, but its fine if its on the low side. Yeah, its pretty much gonna stay on my desk.


Once you've worked out what you want, then we can start on the specifics which you've partially stated (run Battlefield 3 on max settings).

Grinner
2013-08-01, 07:51 PM
Just run games. I had thought desktops were superior to laptops, but if its the same either way then I don't care which.

Superior is a relative term. You can spend however much you want. If price is truly no object, you could easily get a supercomputing cluster set up, but that's not very practical, is it?

Dollars to doughnuts (or DRAM, as the case is), desktops are more cost efficient, since portability isn't a huge factor in their design.


Weight is no factor, I'll be leaving it at home most of the time. Battery life I didn't think about, but its fine if its on the low side. Yeah, its pretty much gonna stay on my desk.

Sounds like you want a desktop.

Erloas
2013-08-01, 10:13 PM
Sounds like you would be better off with a desktop.

You really are much better off building it yourself, and it isn't hard to do.

And you really do need to give a price range and what exactly you mean by "max settings" because it depends a lot on the resolution of your monitor. Also some people consider max settings just with quality set to high and not necessarily having any specific level of AA or AF. Also everyone has a different idea of what the minimum FPS should be and it varies by the game, some are good at about 30FPS, some want a minimum of 60FPS.

Considering that you don't have a desktop right now you'll need a monitor as well as everything else, you could easily spend $3000 on a high end system and monitor, but you could also get a system that will play it pretty well for $600. And if you don't want to build it yourself increase those prices by about 50%
Add probably another 50% on top of that second number if you want a laptop instead of a desktop.

It is usually actually easiest to pick a target budget, some minimum requirements (such as monitor size and resolution, special wants/needs like an SSD or 2TB of hard drive space) and then build the best computer you can within that.

Codemus
2013-08-02, 07:08 PM
Sounds like you would be better off with a desktop.

You really are much better off building it yourself, and it isn't hard to do.

And you really do need to give a price range and what exactly you mean by "max settings" because it depends a lot on the resolution of your monitor. Also some people consider max settings just with quality set to high and not necessarily having any specific level of AA or AF. Also everyone has a different idea of what the minimum FPS should be and it varies by the game, some are good at about 30FPS, some want a minimum of 60FPS.

Considering that you don't have a desktop right now you'll need a monitor as well as everything else, you could easily spend $3000 on a high end system and monitor, but you could also get a system that will play it pretty well for $600. And if you don't want to build it yourself increase those prices by about 50%
Add probably another 50% on top of that second number if you want a laptop instead of a desktop.

It is usually actually easiest to pick a target budget, some minimum requirements (such as monitor size and resolution, special wants/needs like an SSD or 2TB of hard drive space) and then build the best computer you can within that.

Alright, I see what you are saying. I can go up to $5,000 maximum, but I would prefer to keep it about the middle of that and $0. I'll definitely need a monitor, size wise I guess 20 or up? The last desktop monitor I had was one of those ginormous 90s era monitors. Hd resolution I guess. Thats 1080p or I or whatever right?

I don't know what an SSD is, but 2TB hard drive seems excessive. So lets go with that, I'd rather not have to delete games to make room for newer games again.


Superior is a relative term. You can spend however much you want. If price is truly no object, you could easily get a supercomputing cluster set up, but that's not very practical, is it?

Awesome as that is, its definitely out of budget. Point taken.

Don Julio Anejo
2013-08-02, 10:36 PM
$2500? That is actually.... enough for a very high-end machine, monitor and stuff included.

Unless you want a really good monitor, you can actually build an amazing machine that will get you 60+ fps for BF3 for about $1500 or less, and a nice 23" monitor for $200. $300 if you want a 24" with resolution of 1920x1200 (way better if you do work on it, doesn't matter if you play games/watch movies). Heck, if you're willing to spend that much, you might as well try a multi-monitor setup

Some items I'd recommend:

- a 256 GB or so SSD. It makes your load times (ex: Windows start, level loads, etc) extremely fast and makes a machine very, very responsive. Just don't get any from OCZ. Edit: an SSD is the new generation of hard drives. They're made from solid state memory (hence the name) and have extremely fast access times, but are also more expensive than normal hard drives so it doesn't make sense to buy like 1 TB of SSD space only to have most of it be taken up by movies collecting dust.

- a single mid-high video card is generally better than a crossfire/SLi setup (2+ cards in parallel).

- Any card that's AMD 7870 or nVidia GTX 660 Ti or higher will be more than sufficient to run Battlefield 3 at max. Since you've got some cash to burn, I'd suggest a GTX 770 ($400), which is about similar to last generation's GTX 680 and should last you a solid 4 years or so before you even have to consider changing it. It will also allow you enough performance to run a multi-monitor setup if you so choose.

- You don't need that much hard drive space if you don't stockpile lots of games/music/movies/pictures (i.e. I've got like... 2 TB of photos? But then I do photography and each shoot is like 10 gigs). That said, a difference between, say, a 1 TB hard drive and a 2 TB drive is like 20 bucks even after the recent price hike.

- If all you want is to play games, a mid-range gaming CPU (for example, i5-4670k) will serve your needs for years to come. You don't need to get an i7 since it gives you more cores but with the same clock speed. Productivity software (especially math/video) can usually utilize them quite well. Games? Not so much. Battlefield, for example, only uses 4 cores.

This is the general gist. You don't need to go any higher in specs, since it won't make much difference in games (now OR down the road), but will cost you more. You're better off buying mid-high end stuff now and replacing it 2-3 years down the line than high end stuff now but having to hold on to it for 5 years. Any higher end stuff is only useful for specific applications that actually warrant it (i.e. hash cracking, virtualization, video editing, etc).

shawnhcorey
2013-08-03, 08:04 AM
Last time I bought a computer, which was several years ago, I got a bare-bones (no OS), 64-bit, 4-core desktop with 4GB RAM and 500GB hard disk for about $800. And that included some accessories, like a 1920x1080 (1080p) monitor. There are bargains out there if you look for them, especially if you can live without money pits like Windows. :smallbiggrin:

factotum
2013-08-03, 08:18 AM
especially if you can live without money pits like Windows.

Couple of points:

1) He already said he mainly wants this machine for playing games, so living without Windows is pretty much a non-starter.

2) In the UK, an OEM copy of Windows can be had for around 70, which is about the price of a low-end Intel dual-core CPU--hardly seems to me that Windows is going to be the most expensive component of the rig, no matter how you slice it!

shawnhcorey
2013-08-03, 08:23 AM
1) He already said he mainly wants this machine for playing games, so living without Windows is pretty much a non-starter.

1. You'd be surprised at how many games have a Linux version.

2. The OP isn't the only one reading this thread for advice.

Erloas
2013-08-03, 10:45 AM
There are bargains out there if you look for them, especially if you can live without money pits like Windows. :smallbiggrin:
You can easily install Windows on a computer without it, so the bargain doesn't change. You're getting the same hardware for the same price.

However I wouldn't call Windows a money pit at all. Even if you bought a new version every time it came out you're still getting at least 3 years out of it which is about $3 a month (because you can always get Windows for about $100). If your time is worth anything at all you'll be spending more time getting stuff to work on Linux then what Windows is going to cost you. Even the highly computer literate will take a while to get up to speed on Linux and there are all sorts of issues with various programs and games. That is less then 15 minutes a month (if you're time is only worth $12/hr) you have to spend on figuring out problems, not even counting the initial setup and learning time.

Granted the support for Linux and the time required to get stuff to actually work has came down a lot lately. There are a lot more things that support Linux but there are still a lot of things that don't.

If you aren't highly computer literate then Linux is going to cost a lot more time and be significantly harder to find help for when you need it.

shawnhcorey
2013-08-03, 11:29 AM
If you aren't highly computer literate then Linux is going to cost a lot more time and be significantly harder to find help for when you need it.

First of all, it was always easy to find help with Linux. Second, it cost no more time to learn Linux than it does to learn Windows.

Erloas
2013-08-03, 11:52 AM
First of all, it was always easy to find help with Linux. Second, it cost no more time to learn Linux than it does to learn Windows.

It is easy to find help with Linux if you can easily find tech support groups online. That however isn't easy for people that aren't fairly computer literate. If, like a lot of people, you get tech support from friends/family it is going to be a lot easier with Windows.
As for learning it, Linux is a lot harder to learn, especially if you just want to do simple things. I help too many people with their computers already and I know Linux would not work for them. Also you are indirectly taught Windows at school and work and a big part of learning is immersion, the same way learning a new language is easier in a country where everyone speaks it compared to learning it out of a book.

shawnhcorey
2013-08-03, 12:17 PM
...a big part of learning is immersion, the same way learning a new language is easier in a country where everyone speaks it compared to learning it out of a book.

In other words, just install it. In a month, you will wonder what all the fuss was about. :smallwink:

Codemus
2013-08-03, 06:53 PM
Thanks Don! Does cooling stuff matter? Like is water cooled better than fan? Also, I never even considered a multi-monitor set up before. Seems like it would be a little disorientating to use.

Grinner
2013-08-03, 07:06 PM
Thanks Don! Does cooling stuff matter? Like is water cooled better than fan?

Yes, but is it worth it? Exotic cooling systems can get really expensive, and unless you're doing some intense overclocking/overvolting, they're probably more than you need.

Don Julio Anejo
2013-08-03, 07:09 PM
Thanks Don! Does cooling stuff matter? Like is water cooled better than fan? Also, I never even considered a multi-monitor set up before. Seems like it would be a little disorientating to use.
The cool thing about desktop computers is that they're like Lego: it's about the same level of difficulty to assemble them, and if you want to add something, you can always do it later with little to no hassle.

Cooling.. matters if you plan on doing hardcore overclocking (i.e. making your CPU/video card run faster than it's set to at the factory). You can even go into extremes like a liquid nitrogen cooling system for benchmarking (jocks compete over who can bench the most.. nerds compete over who can benchmark the most), but obviously it's an extreme. Any CPU you buy will usually come with a fan, which is fine for running at stock (default) speeds, or even minor overclocking. If you wish, you can always buy a decent air cooling fan (i.e. Coolermaster Hyper 212+ or EVO) for $30 and that'll give you quite a bit more headroom.

Hold off on liquid cooling and the like unless you either a) want to show off ("check out my cool shiny neon water pipes") or b) plan to do hardcore overclocking. Even then, the difference between good $30-40 air coolers (abovementioned Hyper 212+) and $100 water coolers (i.e. Antec H20 series) isn't very significant, it's only when you get into custom high-end cooling solutions that there's a noticeable temperature decrease at high CPU speeds.

Multi-monitor.. if you plan to game, go with 3 screens instead of 2, as you don't want the middle of your screen to be split. Also go with monitors that can be flipped sideways, in case you prefer it this way (gives you more vertical vision). But even though I have 2 monitors, I find it way more useful for work than games. For example, left side is the paper I'm actually writing, and right side is the million different journal articles I'm using as references. To be fair, I haven't tried them in games because they're monitors with different quality and resolution, so it won't work well.

Also, ignore people who tell you to install Linux. Even though I use it as a secondary OS for some work and stuff, it's a big learning curve (if even "where the hell is this setting") and frankly, it's less stable, more buggy and more confusing than Windows 7. You can always install it in a virtual machine or on a different partition and play with it (it's free anyway), but only use it as a main OS if it's your own decision and you're comfortable with it. Not because some people on the Internet told you to.

shawnhcorey
2013-08-03, 07:18 PM
If you're going to build your own, get double the power supply you think you'll need. Some of them go unstable when they get near they power rating. Getting something twice as big as you maximum draw will avoids the unstable region.

Don Julio Anejo
2013-08-03, 08:32 PM
If you're going to build your own, get double the power supply you think you'll need. Some of them go unstable when they get near they power rating. Getting something twice as big as you maximum draw will avoids the unstable region.
Eh, supposing you need 400W (a decent mid-high system), an Antec or Corsair 450-500W PSU will be way better than a No-name Chinese Knock-Off Brand 850W. The latter is just as likely to die on its own.

But yes, get some headroom on the power supply. 650W should cover all your needs though for almost any single-GPU config.

Rawhide
2013-08-03, 10:04 PM
The original poster has listed some very specific requirements. Suggesting anything you that you know does not fit these requirements is disruptive and might be considered trolling.

The original poster wants a very decent gaming computer, and has listed "Battlefield 3 at max settings" as one of the main requirements. Given that Battlefield 3 is not available for Linux, this immediately means that Linux is not an option as the only operating system. Do not even suggest that the original poster use Linux as the only operating system when it is obviously not what they require. You can suggest dual booting (if there's a reason it is better for some games), but you must also include an operating system that can play Battlefield 3.

Additionally, there may be "many" games that run on Linux, but it is still a very small minority. Suggesting that someone should not install the operating system most games require is also not appropriate when that person is creating a gaming rig (even without the specific requirement of Battlefield 3).

This is not the place to run a "Linux campaign". It is not appropriate to push your preferences on people, especially when it doesn't fulfil their basic requirements.

The above should be considered to have been written in "mod voice", though I didn't feel it appropriate to use red text. -The Hairy Modfather

Runestar
2013-08-04, 09:44 AM
I think you are better off getting a more knowledgeable source (say some PC forum) to list down the specs for you, and getting a PC shop to assemble your computer for you. I find that many pre-assembled desktops sold tend to stinge on areas like graphic cards (as the really good ones tend to cost more) to cut costs, and this is really what impacts your gaming performance the most.

Codemus
2013-08-04, 07:16 PM
So cooling doesn't matter unless I overclock (I don't intend to do so), I should go for a larger power supply to be safe, and if I go multi-monitor I should get at least three. Though it could be neat, I'm not sure I would need more than one.

Well, that was some pretty solid suggestions. Anything else? Hm, I guess a nice gaming keyboard and mouse? That stuff just has extra buttons from what I've seen, so should I care about that stuff?

scurv
2013-08-04, 08:08 PM
A quick shopping list of what we just put together for my brother. Expect to spend 1500 for this, But in all honesty if you are saving up for a machine save first then parts shop.

Processor (http://www.amazon.com/AMD-FD8350FRHKBOX-FX-8350-FX-Series-Edition/dp/B009O7YUF6/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1375663399&sr=8-3&keywords=processor+8+core) $200 Make sure you go for nothing less then 3.5 ghz even if you choose to go with another processer

Ram (http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Vengeance-Desktop-Memory-CMZ16GX3M2A1600C10/dp/B006EWUO22/ref=pd_bxgy_pc_text_y) $150 You can add more later but right now it seems that 16k is what you need for decent gaming.

MotherBoard (http://www.amazon.com/ASUS-SABERTOOTH-990FX-R2-0-Motherboard/dp/B008YDJHWM/ref=pd_sim_pc_1) $180Keep in mind you tend to get what you pay for with these.

PowerSupply (http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Silent-Pro-RSA00-AMBAJ3-US/dp/B002RWJGCM/ref=pd_sim_pc_16) $170 Whatever you do make sure you have at least 900 watt powersupply!!! your friends might tell you that their 600 watt one is enough but the more it is under load the more power it will pull. And if a power supply goes out it can and quite likely will take the rest of the pc with it!!

Vid Card (http://www.amazon.com/EVGA-GeForce-SUPERCLOCKED-Graphics-02G-P4-2662-KR/dp/B00966IREK/ref=pd_sim_pc_41) $200 I would get this last, You can get a cheepy and limp by with that till you save up for a good one. Although this is what my brother spent his tax return on and all said and done it does nicely.

As a side note I would invest in a watercooler for this. Although I would keep it to 2 monitors unless you are getting into some deep stuff. Keep in mind prices and how top of the line this is will change as time goes on. But if you are wanting to buy pieces for a machine as you save the money...this would not be the worst rout to go.

<<edit>>
as far as a putting this together i would recommend visiting utube. For the most part there is only one way it can go together. The power switch can get a little hairy to connect at first but look to the manual and don't worry you won't break it as long as you do not use caveman <smash> mechanics on it.

If you wish to avoid that hassle, Take all of this, A HD and a copy of windows to some mom and paps pc shop and give them 100 to put it together and install the os. Or hell give me a ring on skype I'll talk you though it.

Omnipotent_One
2013-08-04, 09:45 PM
Here's a list I put together. For 2k including the monitor this should play any modern game at max settings: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1ojNZ

Replace windows 8 with 7 if you prefer. The build isn't necessarily perfect. Don't be afraid to swap some parts if you prefer. (other posters are welcome to chime in)

Erloas
2013-08-04, 11:40 PM
I think you are better off getting a more knowledgeable source (say some PC forum) to list down the specs for you, and getting a PC shop to assemble your computer for you. I find that many pre-assembled desktops sold tend to stinge on areas like graphic cards (as the really good ones tend to cost more) to cut costs, and this is really what impacts your gaming performance the most.

Eh, this is as good a place as any. There are people here that also frequent those types of forums and there you always end up with the "too many bosses" situation where everyone has their own idea of what is best and complicate the answer rather then making it more clear.

As for getting another shop to put it together for you, it is hardly necessary, and I think a lot of shops are going to look down on the idea because it essentially means you're going to expect them to support and potentially troubleshoot parts you didn't buy from them. It is easy (but can be a bit time consuming) to put the computer together yourself.


And now I'm going to basically do what I said the major problem was with going to dedicated forums for help...

I would almost completely disagree with every single suggestion scurv made.

At that price range I would go with an Intel processor, they are simply better for mid to high end computers. I love AMD for budget systems, but nothing in the $1000+ range.

The motherboard, while nice, is complete overkill for a non-overclocked single GPU setup. You're spending a lot of money for features you aren't using.

The RAM, I'm not sure if over 8GB is worth it, given the budget its not a bad option though. Again though, not OCing and you could get RAM that is practically identical except for the heatsinks for about $20 less.

The power supply is overkill, and there is actually an issue with overkill on power supplies. They actually preform best in about the 60-80% range of their total power, that is where they are the most efficient. Efficiency drops off quite a bit at either end and at idle your computer is probably going to be around 100-120W (or 10-12% of a 1000w supply) and even at full load you're probably not going to have more then 300-350W. The specs for the card itself says a 450W supply and they put a fair amount of padding in those specs because of cheap power supplies and wanting to stay in the more ideal power load of the supplies. A 600W supply would only be needed if you wanted to SLI two of them. For a single card setup I would look for a good quality supply in the 450-500W range.

The video card is a reasonable choice, though for a budget in the $1500 range an SLI/crossfire setup is a good option. That card is a pretty good choice, but for a computer that is primarily going to be for gaming and the budget you are looking at I would put a bigger percentage towards the video card. That is the most important piece for gaming performance.

I would also recommend not getting a watercooling system. It is a fair amount of cost that also greatly increases the difficulty of putting the system together. And if you aren't overclocking it does very little for you. Unless you are very worried about noise (which hasn't been mentioned yet) there is no reason to.

While it is a big out of date and not necessarily your budget, this looks like a reasonable place to start for your build. (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/mini-itx-do-it-yourself-pc,3509.html) It gives you some idea to work from. It is also specifically a mini case build, which I don't really care for and influences the choices a lot, but you can see which parts they decided to spend more money on and they build well balanced machines.

As for the multi-monitor setup, it depends how you use them. If you want your game across all of the monitors then you want 3 because you don't want the center of your screen and crosshairs right at the edge of the 2 monitors like you would get with 2 screens. If you just want 1 screen for your game and a second screen for chat/browser/desktop/etc then two monitors works just fine.
Depending on final budget I would also look at 26-30" range for a single monitor.

scurv
2013-08-05, 03:55 AM
Eh, this is as good a place as any. There are people here that also frequent those types of forums and there you always end up with the "too many bosses" situation where everyone has their own idea of what is best and complicate the answer rather then making it more clear.

As for getting another shop to put it together for you, it is hardly necessary, and I think a lot of shops are going to look down on the idea because it essentially means you're going to expect them to support and potentially troubleshoot parts you didn't buy from them. It is easy (but can be a bit time consuming) to put the computer together yourself.


And now I'm going to basically do what I said the major problem was with going to dedicated forums for help...

I would almost completely disagree with every single suggestion scurv made.

At that price range I would go with an Intel processor, they are simply better for mid to high end computers. I love AMD for budget systems, but nothing in the $1000+ range.

The motherboard, while nice, is complete overkill for a non-overclocked single GPU setup. You're spending a lot of money for features you aren't using.

The RAM, I'm not sure if over 8GB is worth it, given the budget its not a bad option though. Again though, not OCing and you could get RAM that is practically identical except for the heatsinks for about $20 less.

The power supply is overkill, and there is actually an issue with overkill on power supplies. They actually preform best in about the 60-80% range of their total power, that is where they are the most efficient. Efficiency drops off quite a bit at either end and at idle your computer is probably going to be around 100-120W (or 10-12% of a 1000w supply) and even at full load you're probably not going to have more then 300-350W. The specs for the card itself says a 450W supply and they put a fair amount of padding in those specs because of cheap power supplies and wanting to stay in the more ideal power load of the supplies. A 600W supply would only be needed if you wanted to SLI two of them. For a single card setup I would look for a good quality supply in the 450-500W range.

The video card is a reasonable choice, though for a budget in the $1500 range an SLI/crossfire setup is a good option. That card is a pretty good choice, but for a computer that is primarily going to be for gaming and the budget you are looking at I would put a bigger percentage towards the video card. That is the most important piece for gaming performance.

I would also recommend not getting a watercooling system. It is a fair amount of cost that also greatly increases the difficulty of putting the system together. And if you aren't overclocking it does very little for you. Unless you are very worried about noise (which hasn't been mentioned yet) there is no reason to.

While it is a big out of date and not necessarily your budget, this looks like a reasonable place to start for your build. (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/mini-itx-do-it-yourself-pc,3509.html) It gives you some idea to work from. It is also specifically a mini case build, which I don't really care for and influences the choices a lot, but you can see which parts they decided to spend more money on and they build well balanced machines.

As for the multi-monitor setup, it depends how you use them. If you want your game across all of the monitors then you want 3 because you don't want the center of your screen and crosshairs right at the edge of the 2 monitors like you would get with 2 screens. If you just want 1 screen for your game and a second screen for chat/browser/desktop/etc then two monitors works just fine.
Depending on final budget I would also look at 26-30" range for a single monitor.


Lol, As i said it is what we put together for my brother. So for raw performance right now it is the most recent playtested system i have seen that would do as the OP requests. And anymore you do need 16 gig of ram for most recent gaming if you are wanting smoothness at max settings. That I playtested two weeks ago on a 8 gig vs a 16 gig setup myself. Although what you are using for a vid card will still have quite a bit to say about it. Mine is slightly dated.

Also as an electrical engineer I would like to see the citation of your powersupply selection for not going above wattage.

Erloas
2013-08-05, 09:16 AM
Also as an electrical engineer I would like to see the citation of your powersupply selection for not going above wattage.

I thought about posting some parts of my sources for that recommendation before but didn't think anyone would care.
For the power required here are two reviews for the GTX 660 showing max total system power.
Single GTX 660 as well as OCed on the next page (http://www.anandtech.com/show/6276/nvidia-geforce-gtx-660-review-gk106-rounds-out-the-kepler-family/16)
And here is another site with the GTX 660 in single and SLI configurations (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-660-geforce-gtx-650-benchmark,3297-23.html) showing even under full load the SLI configuration doesn't use more then 450W.
Both show system idle in the 110-120 range, and these are on benchmarking systems with high end OCed processors to eliminate the processor as a much as possible from affecting the results. The TDP of the GTX 660 is 140W.

As for the efficiency of the power supply here is one saying how the efficiency can start to drop around 20%, sometimes a fair amount by 10%. (http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDFAQs&op=FAQ_Question&ndfaq_id=10) Of course it might not drop off a lot, it depends on the PSU. There they also say they tend to be the most efficient in the 40-60% range.
And here is another page (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/power-supply-psu-review,2916-3.html) also showing the "typical" power curves of some power supplies showing about the same thing. Page 8 is also worth the read.
And a 3rd saying about the same thing. (http://www.motherboards.org/articles/guides/1487_7.html)

Of course you still don't want to run near the peak of the supply either. But to me it is a waste of money to pay quite a bit more for a part (and good power supplies aren't cheap) when you'll never use what you've paid extra for. The fact that you could be loosing efficiency in the process is just additional waste (especially considering most computers run at close to idle power usage a fair amount of time, the majority of the time if you are the type to leave it running 24/7)

Codemus
2013-08-05, 11:02 AM
So what would be a reasonable motherboard then? And can all this fit in any case, or will I have to go for a specific one depending on the motherboard or some such like that?

I'm starting to get a good idea of what I need to get together to get the performance I want out of it. I'm probably nowhere near done yet, but I'd like to say thanks to everybody that provided input. Really, thanks a lot, you've all been very helpful.

Erloas
2013-08-05, 12:05 PM
So what would be a reasonable motherboard then? And can all this fit in any case, or will I have to go for a specific one depending on the motherboard or some such like that?
There are practically only 2 case, ATX and micro/mini-ATX. Your normal "mid-tower" is the most common and they are ATX cases (though the larger cases can fit the smaller boards). As long as you don't get a slim case pretty much everything will always fit. There used to be situations where video cards were extra long so there would be issues with some cases. That is pretty much a thing of the past now, though.
If you want lots of hard drives or DVD/cd drives/burners you have to get bigger cases but that is about it.

As for motherboards, I tend to go for ASUS, Gigabyte or MSI motherboards, but ASRocks seems pretty popular now and I've seen them and ECS motherboards used quite a bit in review and build articles too. Mostly just look for the required specs you have and get something that fits. The biggest considerations in cost is generally multiple video card setups like Crossfire and SLI. The second biggest cost tends to be the heatsinks on the motherboard, or more accurately how well they tend to overclock which has a lot to do with how well the parts can dissipate the extra heat. Most support several types of RAID setups, but it hasn't even been a discussion so far. The probably obvious but worth at least making sure you know is that you have to find a motherboard with a socket that matches your CPU. RAM is all DDR3 now and everything else is pretty universal.

Codemus
2013-08-05, 01:24 PM
Awesome, getting close to a complete list. What about CD drive(s)? I can't imagine there being much difference between brands except whether they can burn discs or not.

Erloas
2013-08-05, 01:40 PM
Awesome, getting close to a complete list. What about CD drive(s)? I can't imagine there being much difference between brands except whether they can burn discs or not.

It is hard to find drives that can't burn, and they all pretty much use the same format anymore (there used to be a lot of different types of CD and DVDs for burning). There isn't a whole lot to look at there, they are all pretty comparable. I wouldn't worry about it unless you expect to be burning lots and lots of discs where longevity might become a concern.

Codemus
2013-08-05, 02:15 PM
Great, one less thing to worry about then. I think I've about got everything in that case. And I think it all works together. Here is everything I've decided on, priced through Amazon.

Hard Drive- SAMSUNG 840 Pro Series MZ-7PD256BW 2.5" 256GB SATA III MLC Internal SSD($226.15)

Video Card- ZOTAC NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 2GB GDDR5 2DVI/HDMI/DisplayPort pci-e Video($399.99)

Monitor - ViewSonic VX2770SMH-LED 27-Inch IPS LED Monitor (Frameless Design, Full HD 1080p, 30M:1 DCR, HDMI/DVI/VGA)( $269.99)

Power Supply - Corsair Gaming Series 600-Watt 80 Plus Certified Power Supply Compatible with Intel and AMD Platforms - CMPSU-600G($101.78)

Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium ($90.91)

Processor - Intel Core i5-4670K Quad-Core Desktop Processor 3.4 GHZ 6 MB Cache - BX80646I54670K($219.00)

Motherboard MSI Computer Corp. Motherboard ATX DDR3 1333 LGA 1150 Motherboards Z87-GD45 GAMING($154.99)

RAM- Corsair Vengeance 8 GB ( 2 x 4 GB ) DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) 240-Pin DDR3 Memory Kit for Core i3, i5, i7 and Platforms SDRAM CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9 ($71.35)

Case - Rosewill ATX Mid Tower Computer Case with Dual USB 3.0 and Four Fans, Black LINE GLOW ($59.99)

CD Drive Lite-On Super AllWrite 24X SATA DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Drive - Bulk - IHAS124-04 (Black)($20.95)

Keyboard Mad Catz V.7 Keyboard for PC ($54.06)

Speakers- Logitech X-530 5.1 Speaker System ($59.99)

Total Price (more or less, skipping over a few things here) = $1729.15

How does that all look? Should I change anything?

EDIT: That was spaced better in my word document. Just gonna fix it a bit.
EDIT 2: Looks like some of it is slightly cheaper on Ebay.

flare'90
2013-08-05, 03:06 PM
You may want a secondary hard disk to store files and non-essential programs.

Erloas
2013-08-05, 03:21 PM
Some links would have been nice :)

Overall it looks pretty good. I couldn't say if everything hits the best price/performance but it all looks like reasonably good choices.

Although I would probably drop the SSD to 128GB and use that extra $100 to pick up a 500GB-1TB normal hard drive for general use. For storing pictures, movies, less used games and applications you are better off on a normal hard drive and it isn't that hard to fill up 256GB. You also don't want to fill it up completely, you need some free space on discs for proper use.
A lot of new AAA games require 10-20GB of drive space so it can go fairly quickly. 128GB is more then enough for your OS and most used games and applications which will see the most benefit from being on a SSD.

The video card is probably a bit of overkill for a single 1080p display but considering longevity it is not really a bad choice.
Personally I would try for a higher resolution monitor (though the rest of the specs on it look great) but that is one of the changes which tends to jump the price up a lot.

I would also look at a gaming mouse, I didn't think it was that big of a deal until I got one and now I'm glad I did.

I would also compare prices to Newegg.com They have great customer service and shipping times, individual parts may or may not be less. They also often have free games with some of their parts, especially video cards. The reviews on Newegg tend to be more useful then other sites too.
I would personally never buy computer parts off ebay (of course I would hardly ever buy anything from ebay) even though it is essentially just a store front now rather then actual auctions, but RMAs do sometimes happen and it is nice knowing exactly who you are working with if it does come up.

factotum
2013-08-05, 04:05 PM
You also don't want to fill it up completely, you need some free space on discs for proper use.

This is particularly true with SSDs, because the wear levelling algorithms they use to try and avoid writing too much to one particular part work a lot better when you have free space available!

Don Julio Anejo
2013-08-05, 04:05 PM
Good choices, a few comments though:

- Highly do not recommend the display you listed. 1080p for a 27" panel is way too little, 1080p is at best sufficient for 22-23" monitors. For a 27", you need about 2560x1440 (or 2560x1600). These are quite expensive, though, and might be overkill for gaming and hard to use in general life (screen would either be too far away to comfortably see, or too close and you wouldn't be able to see the entire thing in your field of view).

- You can save money by getting the Samsung 840 (non-pro) version - I've seen them on sale before for $170 or so. While it benchmarks way worse, you won't see much difference in real world applications, the most important thing about SSD drives is their access time (virtually instant), especially when compared to regular HDs. I.e. you want to open a file? A hard drive has to physically spin the platters to where the file is. Although I'd recommend 256 GB, I have 128 and it's not enough to have more than 2-3 games with mods installed.

- Speakers, you just aren't going to get a good 5.1 system for $60, and Logitech isn't a good brand for them to begin with. If you only want to spend $60, get a 2.0 system preferrably from Altec Lansing (cheapest non-sucky brand), or if you want something better, get a $100-ish 2.1 system. The "0.1" refers to presence or absence of a subwoofer. Otherwise, get used to constant crackle.

- A simpler PSU is fine. You're just paying an extra $30 for the "Gamer Series" tag and a couple of extra PCI-E connectors (which only matter if you want more than 2 video cards). A regular but still good PSU can be had for $30 cheaper (example (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139028)).

Codemus
2013-08-05, 04:33 PM
Cool, I'll do a little more looking around then. As to the extra Hard Drive, I had my old laptop's hard drive converted to an external drive when it kicked the bucket. So unless it absolutely has to be internal, I've got it covered.

So a gaming mouse huh? I briefly looked at a few, saw they mostly just had extra buttons, and dismissed them. But I may have been a bit hasty. I never really looked at the high end of the speakers either, so I'll take another look there as well.

Something else I just thought of, is this thing wireless? I have a wireless network at home, and my old laptop just had wireless connectivity built into it. But now that I'm building my own, it seems like I have to include something for that.

Erloas
2013-08-05, 04:56 PM
So a gaming mouse huh? I briefly looked at a few, saw they mostly just had extra buttons, and dismissed them. But I may have been a bit hasty. I never really looked at the high end of the speakers either, so I'll take another look there as well.The higher DPI and response rates make them feel more smooth and controlled. And while I don't use it a lot, mine has a DPI changing button and I do occasionally switch it back and forth for some mini-games within other games and doing some things like photo editing where you only want it sped up or slowed down for short periods of time. Not having the extra buttons, especially on the thumb, is something you just don't realize you are missing until you've had it and then not. Having a good scroll wheel is also something I didn't realize was a problem until I got a cheap mouse with one that simply never felt right.


Something else I just thought of, is this thing wireless? I have a wireless network at home, and my old laptop just had wireless connectivity built into it. But now that I'm building my own, it seems like I have to include something for that.
No, it doesn't have wireless built in. You can get motherboards with it but it isn't that common. I would find an internal PCI-E wireless card if you need one, as the thumb cards aren't nearly as good. If you can go hardwired it is always better though.

scurv
2013-08-05, 05:45 PM
Ok the Ford/Chevy, or AMD/intel debate aside. (and considering both are major manufacturer you will not go wrong with ether if you keep it in competing price ranges. and use a little google ninja review powers to augment your judgement)

I am looking for something with hard formula on how those numbers were derived. But the listed sites show a basic comparison between name brand and the generic knockoff powersupplies, And even still their efficacy were from highest to lowest range was 57 to 80ish percent. A far cry from the efficiency drop-off that happens at 20 percent. And at that point the reason that said efficiency drops off is it is now taking more power to generate said voltage then is being used by the load. But that is the nature of the beast for power conditioners. if you care to get into some rough tech talk see inside of the spoiler, Understand it has been a while sense i have had to deal with power-supply theory and quite frankly at this moment i have little urge to relearn it in depth unless there is a need.

The quoted formula that tom (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/power-supply-psu-review,2916-3.html)used is applicable to simple rectifier circuits, When you deal with power conditioner systems, Or A DC to DC power supply, or switching power supply will have poor efficiency as per definition when it is unloaded. The reason why a switching power supply is used is two fold, Power efficiency and power filtration. Older power supplies are horrendous compared to the modern power supply when you look at them in terms of power waste I am going to skip a bunch of boring details, but to put it in in simple terms you would spend much waste in bulky components to filter the power (Low freq power is difficult to filter, think of old tyme radios and that nifty dolby filter that could get rid of that pesky 60/120 hz hum) and your regulators would be soaking up the max power (voltage) that was not being used by your load. But one day someone figured out that if you turn that wall outlet ac into DC, then run it though a high freq oscillator that made a square wave, that you fixed many engineering issues. One is you did not have semi conductors in a half on/off state which is very power expensive, So by keeping them fully on or off you kept power waste very low, And two is high freq's can be filtered with much smaller capacitors then lower freq's

Now to keep this in laymen's land I am going to use examples. First is the example of turning on a vacuum cleaner. When you do so you will note that the lights in your house dim for a moment, The reason for that is vacuums use motors ( kinda like the ones you find in fans. and hard drives, although those motors are more complex, but still adhere to this principle well enough)which is a complex reactive circuit. One part of this is the coils that have a charge to come to fully energized state (becoming magnetic when power is applied it takes time for that action to happen) And the second part of this is until said vacuum motor is at full speed it is essentially a short as far as the power outlet is concerned. Due to the low freq and low inductive load, XL = 2 Pi f L, In this we know what 2 is, Pi we will call 3.14, F is the freq and in that case it will be 50/60 Hz and sadly in the case of most motors the inductance is a fraction of a Henry. so you end up with something looking like maybe 20ish Ohms there with a surge current of something quite higher then what is sustainable by your circuit breakers. until the mechanical action fully kicks in to raise that effective value of that resistance and lower the current pull.

The other components that need charged are the capacities components in both the power-supply its self and in the mother board. and considering the micro-miniature nature of the integrated components them self their capactive load has to be taken into account as well. And these are literately a short circuit by the formula when you first turn them on!!

Now all of this above load has to be soaked by said power supply And add to it the initial boot/clear sequence by the integrated circuits on the motherboard/processor, That although they are designed to work with power up they can still be power intensive as they clear and set all the ram lines in the ram sticks and in the internal cachs inside of the processor.

But to tally up what one can expect from a gaming machine for power usage (and if you are brave with an amp meter you can derive these numbers yourself)
Processer you are looking at 100 watts. Maybe 200 if you are going very high end in gaming. And keep in mind that turbo is another word for overclocking as far as power usage is concerned. this is powered if i recall by both the 12 volt rails and the 3.3 volt rails

Motherboard, This one is more complex considering you have several feeds going into it, You can expect the board to use 30 to 200 watts by its self if you take into co-processer, and Ram. As a note more gaming performance is more state changes those IC's need to make per sec and thus more load on the power-supply.

Graphics cards anymore are getting scary in power use. As a note the bigger the heat sink on it, the more power it uses but you are looking at 50 to 200 plus watts again here, Also note these numbers are load dependent, Put your pc under load for high end gaming and feel how much warmer the air coming out of it becomes.

And harddrives are about 10ish watts each

Fans will pull about 2 watts each (expect quite a bit of range on this number)

But all in all even with a 1000 watt power supply it is highly doubtful that you will take it under 20 percent load in normal useage aka 200 watts.

The rough formula that is used when deciding on what power-supply to use for engineering reasons is 1.5 times expected load. So if say your expecting to use 600 watts to keep your machine running you would want a 900 watt power supply, The reason for this is that the closer to the max power of a powersupply that you use, The less its life expectancy will be and the more noise issues/less effective power filtration that you will have.

Don Julio Anejo
2013-08-05, 06:26 PM
Massive wall of text on power supplies

While I don't doubt your engineering knowledge (I only have the bare essentials to understand what you said, not why it happens), your parts knowledge is a little out of date.

Case in point: Haswell chips have a TDP of 84W or around there. That's at max load on all 4 cores, all the time. Something that rarely happens in real world usage, even in gaming - it's usually only seen for things like encoding video. Case in point: this test (http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2013/06/12/intel-core-i5-4670k-haswell-cpu-review/6) shows TOTAL system power draw for an i5-4670k system at 79W at stock clock while idle, and 125W at full load (video encoding test, so GPU wasn't utilized). The number rises to 162W for the CPU overclocked to 4.6 GHz (from 3.4 stock).

You can expect a video card to use another 200 or so maximum (for GTX 770). So yes, a 10-20% draw on a 1000W power supply is quite likely to occur during real world usage, and a 500-600W is more than sufficient for any generic home computer.

Cool, I'll do a little more looking around then. As to the extra Hard Drive, I had my old laptop's hard drive converted to an external drive when it kicked the bucket. So unless it absolutely has to be internal, I've got it covered.
You can actually take this hard drive and mount it internally, the connectors should be standard (PSU connector and SATA port) and most cases these days mount 2.5" hard drive cages.


So a gaming mouse huh? I briefly looked at a few, saw they mostly just had extra buttons, and dismissed them. But I may have been a bit hasty. I never really looked at the high end of the speakers either, so I'll take another look there as well.
I used to think so too, then one day I was at Staples with a $20 store credit card, looking to buy a mouse for my laptop... Came across Steelseries Kana, and it was the first case of love at first sight in my life. It's the antithesis of what most people consider to be a gaming mouse: it's small, has very few buttons (the normal 2, wheel/mid button and a button on each side) and very comfortable to use. The DPI makes a huge difference too.

Honestly, having to use my old mouse in League of Legends after this makes it akin to torture, and not the good kind with Angelina Jolie circa 2006 doing kinky things while you're handcuffed.

Erloas
2013-08-05, 06:49 PM
I enjoy the electronics side of this too, but not being relevant to the build I'll spoiler it.



The rough formula that is used when deciding on what power-supply to use for engineering reasons is 1.5 times expected load. So if say your expecting to use 600 watts to keep your machine running you would want a 900 watt power supply, The reason for this is that the closer to the max power of a powersupply that you use, The less its life expectancy will be and the more noise issues/less effective power filtration that you will have.
I happen to have a degree in electronics (slightly different then electrical but there is a lot of crossover) so I already knew a lot of what you were saying.

But there are a few things to also keep in mind, those (and I'll leave this part off from now on) high quality power supplies give you what they are rated at for continuous use already. A 500W power supply can run that constantly, the peak power required at startup is not shown (or not commonly shown at least), so that 500W supply can peak over 500W with no problem.

The power usage of CPUs and GPUs have came down a lot in recent years, I think the huge run-up of crazy power drawing video cards mostly stopped about 4-5 years ago and have been coming down since then. After all there isn't a reviewer around that doesn't cover power usage (and associated noise and heat) with their video card reviews now, those are now important factors to the enthusiasts these cards and reviews are being sold to.

As I said, the GTX 660, with a fully loaded and overclocked i7 CPU running at full was drawing in the range of 300W, slightly less. Even at 1.5x that you are only at 450W (which happens to be what they list as the card's requirement even with a TDP of 140W for the card itself). Even SLI wasn't even using over 500W.

As the current build calls for a GTX 770 I looked at the numbers for that, the TDP is now 230W (so a not insubstantial 90W more then the 660). The idle power usage is almost identical though. AnandTech puts their total system power under load at 383W with a single GTX 770.

And a review of the chosen processor, the i5 4670k (http://www.anandtech.com/show/7003/the-haswell-review-intel-core-i74770k-i54560k-tested/2) shows the entire system with an idle power usage of 33W and under (CPU) load at just under 100W. Obviously the system used for the GPU reviews is pretty power hungry it its OCing (where they are trying to eliminate as many other bottlenecks as possible and show just the GPU speed). So this system would be somewhere between those.

Tom's figures the idle usage of just the GTX 770 to be about 12W (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-770-gk104-review,3519-25.html).

And in reality it is hard to get a full power usage situation in normal circumstances. Usually either some of the CPUs cores are sitting at least partially idle or the GPU is, it takes a synthetic setup to get everything to run at full for any length of time.

Codemus
2013-08-06, 09:29 AM
So after going back to the drawing board on some things, this is what I've come up with. Links to the things I changed as well.

Hard Drive- SAMSUNG 840 Series MZ-7TD250KW 2.5" 250GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) ($189.99) Link (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147186)

Video Card- ZOTAC NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 2GB GDDR5 2DVI/HDMI/DisplayPort pci-e Video($399.99)

Monitor - Acer GD235HZbid Black / Orange 23.6" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen 1080p NVIDIA LCD 120Hz 3D Monitor 300 cd/m2 ACM 80000:1( $249.99) Link (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824009222)

Power Supply - CORSAIR CX500M 500W ATX12V v2.3 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply ($59.99) Link (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139050)

Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium ($90.91)

Processor - Intel Core i5-4670K Quad-Core Desktop Processor 3.4 GHZ 6 MB Cache - BX80646I54670K($239.00)

Motherboard MSI Computer Corp. Motherboard ATX DDR3 1333 LGA 1150 Motherboards Z87-GD45 GAMING ($154.99)

RAM- Corsair Vengeance 8 GB ( 2 x 4 GB ) DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) 240-Pin DDR3 Memory Kit for Core i3, i5, i7 and Platforms SDRAM CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9 ($71.35)

Case - Rosewill ATX Mid Tower Computer Case with Dual USB 3.0 and Four Fans, Black LINE GLOW ($59.99)

CD Drive Lite-On Super AllWrite 24X SATA DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Drive - Bulk - IHAS124-04 (Black)($20.95)

Keyboard Mad Catz V.7 Keyboard for PC ($54.06)

Gaming Mouse - Azio Levetron GM2000 Black 6 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB Wired Optical 2000 dpi Gaming Mouse ($24.99) Link ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16826465002)

Speakers- Altec Lansing MX6021 2.1 Expressionist Ultra Speaker System (Black) ($189.00) Link ( http://www.amazon.com/Altec-Lansing-MX6021-Expressionist-Speaker/dp/B0025VKUR0/ref=pd_sim_sbs_e_4)

Price = $1805.02


EDIT: I might switch the Case out for this (http://www.amazon.com/Rosewill-Steel-Computer-REDBONE-U3/dp/B006CSKMKW/ref=sr_1_27?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1375799678&sr=1-27&keywords=Rosewill+ATX+Mid+Tower) instead of their other one however, if only because its red and I sorta fell into a red/orange/black theme.

scurv
2013-08-06, 05:39 PM
When making power consumption estimates always round up, But the thing to consider is one the OP stated that he wishes to run a gaming system at max settings, That indicates that he might quite well have the desire to continue to do so into the considerable future So that being said when one builds a computer you are not only building it for today you are building it for 5 years from now. So that being taking into account You can count on at that time a graphics card update at least and the requirements for games to have risen as well. Also as the OP has indicated price is not an issue so one can expect him to spend for the higher end components the ones that tend to use more power and deliver more performance.

when considering power usage if you do not acquire a supply that can provide for the PEEK power usage then when you do have that occasion of peek usage you will have a failure.
But looking at the listed site a low(ish) end i5 under full load is at 125 watts And if you look to the max on the intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition You are seeing 400 plus watts of power useage! I mean granted that is a chip that will cost you a thousand dollars.

And quite frankly when putting together a gaming machine I can never understand why people will save $50 with the bare minimum power specs required Only to lose their computer when it goes out due to a state of intense use. Such as running games on max settings While it would be quite safe at the time of construction in time said pc will become dated and although it might still be highly viable as a gaming machine it could quite likely fry the power supply due to it being loaded more then had been planed for at the construction, Or some viruses that can ramp up cpu useage. Or my personal fav people that keep adding accessories to their machine. In any case using a power supply that can not supply your machines max needed power plus a safety margin is pushing a gamble, But as I tell bean counters "its your dime"

<<Edit>> @ the Op the specs on your graphics card recomends a 600 watt power supply. But its your dime.

<<Edit Edit>> Don quite a few of your quoted figures was in the range that i had listed. Although Looking at Processors It is scary to see them at the 400 watt range.

Don Julio Anejo
2013-08-06, 09:04 PM
So after going back to the drawing board on some things, this is what I've come up with. Links to the things I changed as well.

Monitor - Acer GD235HZbid Black / Orange 23.6" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen 1080p NVIDIA LCD 120Hz 3D Monitor 300 cd/m2 ACM 80000:1( $249.99) Link (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824009222)

You're paying quite a bit of money for a 120Hz 3D monitor. If you intend to play games in 3D (which is a major fail and mostly a gimmick these days), or watch 3D movies (in which case you'll need a Blu-Ray drive), you're paying quite a bit extra for features you probably won't need.

If you do want 3D, ignore what I have to say. Otherwise, IPS screens will give you much better color depth, contrast and viewing angles (albeit at slight expense to blacks) than any TN screen. Consider this Asus (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824236174) or this Dell (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824260055). I have the 21.5" version of the Dell and like it quite a bit. Anything significantly better (i.e. Dell U2410M) is around $350, but the latter is a photo editing screen first.

The two screens are fairly identical, although the Dell can be flipped vertically and has better screen uniformity and more consistent sample to sample (uniformity I need for photo editing but doesn't matter much for games). No point to spend significantly more on better screens (i.e. various Eizos or Apple Cinema) as there will be little difference in games. Higher end screens are more along the lines of "but this is exactly 5200K color temperature!" and "there is an extra shade of grey visible in the 1-16 range!"


Speakers- Altec Lansing MX6021 2.1 Expressionist Ultra Speaker System (Black) ($189.00) Link ( http://www.amazon.com/Altec-Lansing-MX6021-Expressionist-Speaker/dp/B0025VKUR0/ref=pd_sim_sbs_e_4)
Haha these sound awesome, I wish I could afford something like that :smallwink:


When making power consumption estimates always round up, But the thing to consider is one the OP stated that he wishes to run a gaming system at max settings, That indicates that he might quite well have the desire to continue to do so into the considerable future So that being said when one builds a computer you are not only building it for today you are building it for 5 years from now. So that being taking into account You can count on at that time a graphics card update at least and the requirements for games to have risen as well. Also as the OP has indicated price is not an issue so one can expect him to spend for the higher end components the ones that tend to use more power and deliver more performance.

In about 8 years building systems I have yet to come across a commonplace (read: not Sandy Bridge EE/double AMD 7970) system that would require more than 500-600W power. Most power-hungry mid-high cards (i.e. GTX 570-580, which are now two generations behind) max out at 240-250W or so, and no game will make them run at 100% unless you're playing on like... 3+ monitors? Recent trend has been to make stuff more power efficient (if I had to guess, so they can cram in more cores/threads down the line into the same thermal design).


But looking at the listed site a low(ish) end i5 under full load is at 125 watts
The low-end i5 you're looking at is most likely Sandy Bridge, which is again, two generations behind current Haswell and 125W seems about right.

And if you look to the max on the intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition You are seeing 400 plus watts of power useage! I mean granted that is a chip that will cost you a thousand dollars.
Wut? i7-3960x has a TDP of 130W at stock, which makes sense given that it's a Sandy Bridge chip. 400W+ you're looking at is more likely for the entire system combined with an overclocked CPU running maximum load.

You're actually better off using AMD chips to demonstrate your example as they tend to draw more power.


And quite frankly when putting together a gaming machine I can never understand why people will save $50 with the bare minimum power specs required Only to lose their computer when it goes out due to a state of intense use. Such as running games on max settings While it would be quite safe at the time of construction in time said pc will become dated and although it might still be highly viable as a gaming machine it could quite likely fry the power supply due to it being loaded more then had been planed for at the construction, Or some viruses that can ramp up cpu useage. Or my personal fav people that keep adding accessories to their machine. In any case using a power supply that can not supply your machines max needed power plus a safety margin is pushing a gamble, But as I tell bean counters "its your dime"
Because a) it's enough, and b) PSU quality matters way more than stated wattage? A good Corsair, Antec or Seasonic CPU will be way more efficient and stable at its stated wattage (ex: 500W) than a middle of the pack Coolermaster or Thermaltake to the point where you'd need 600W PSU for the latter, and both will be miles ahead of a cheap knock-off "1000W for $20 because why pay more?" *airquote* 1000 Watt */airquote* supply?

Yes, for the OP, I'd get 600W, but when video card makers state wattage, they don't know what kind you're using and have to put in more leeway.

If you look up tests, you'll see that good PSUs give out their stated wattage or more, while even middle of the pack ones give numbers that are 10-20% smaller. Good site: Hardware secrets (sorry don't have it bookmarked, but Google is your friend).

Erloas
2013-08-07, 10:00 AM
When making power consumption estimates always round up, But the thing to consider is one the OP stated that he wishes to run a gaming system at max settings, That indicates that he might quite well have the desire to continue to do so into the considerable future So that being said when one builds a computer you are not only building it for today you are building it for 5 years from now. So that being taking into account You can count on at that time a graphics card update at least and the requirements for games to have risen as well. Also as the OP has indicated price is not an issue so one can expect him to spend for the higher end components the ones that tend to use more power and deliver more performance.Given the trends of GPUs, and all components, power requirements are going down, not up. So if OP does want to upgrade in the future it will probably be with a significantly more powerful video card for the same or less power. Sure the option for SLI in the future is there, but since you need identical cards for SLI there is a good chance a matching card can't be found 2-3 years from now and even if it could it would still probably not be a better choice then a newer single card.
Considering the GTX 770 can handle so many games at high settings now at 2560x1440, it should handle everything for at the much easier 1920x1080 of his monitor for a long time to come.


when considering power usage if you do not acquire a supply that can provide for the PEEK power usage then when you do have that occasion of peek usage you will have a failure.
But looking at the listed site a low(ish) end i5 under full load is at 125 watts And if you look to the max on the intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition You are seeing 400 plus watts of power useage! I mean granted that is a chip that will cost you a thousand dollars. If he were building a system with a highly OCed i7 Extreme Edition CPU then he would need a different power supply. With the CPU he picked, and the fact that he isn't planning on OCing, all of the benchmarks say the system isn't going to use more then 400W even at PEAK loads, and those are with a much more power hungry CPU. 400W PEAK is still 20% less then 500W continuous rating of the PSU.

Even if he were planning on some OCing, he obviously doesn't seem the type to go crazy with it (because if he were he wouldn't be asking these questions here). And he might not use much, if any more, power OCing. After all when I OCed my e8400 I'm using now I actually lowered the core voltage in the process, which has a much larger impact on power usage then the increased frequency.


And quite frankly when putting together a gaming machine I can never understand why people will save $50 with the bare minimum power specs required Only to lose their computer when it goes out due to a state of intense use. Such as running games on max settings While it would be quite safe at the time of construction in time said pc will become dated and although it might still be highly viable as a gaming machine it could quite likely fry the power supply due to it being loaded more then had been planed for at the construction, Or some viruses that can ramp up cpu useage. Or my personal fav people that keep adding accessories to their machine. In any case using a power supply that can not supply your machines max needed power plus a safety margin is pushing a gamble, But as I tell bean counters "its your dime"If he had picked a low quality power supply I would be with you all the way. I say the same thing you are saying all the time, but in this case I know the quality of the PSU, I know the intended use of the system, and I know the power usage. With the newly picked GPU it might be worth bumping up to 600W just for extra assurance, and in case a bit of OCing in the future is considered. But still, this is no where near needing an 800-1000W supply.


If you do want 3D, ignore what I have to say. Otherwise, IPS screens will give you much better color depth, contrast and viewing angles (albeit at slight expense to blacks) than any TN screen. Consider this Asus or this Dell. I have the 21.5" version of the Dell and like it quite a bit. Anything significantly better (i.e. Dell U2410M) is around $350, but the latter is a photo editing screen first.
I would also second this. Especially since you need to buy another $80-130 worth of parts to make the 3D work. (It isn't really clear to me what is required to get the 3D functioning, I haven't looked into it too closely. But the monitor says it is 3D ready and additional things are required to make it work.)

I personally thought the speakers were a bit of overkill. I would have probably went with the next step down. Of course I never listed to anything that loud, so I wouldn't use anywhere near the 200W RMS it can put out. But I was always impressed with the quality of the Altec Lansing speakers I had in the past. I currently use a Creative Labs 7.1 system that I've had for probably 8+ years now and I really like them. 7.1 is almost too many speakers, it is hard to get the back and side ones in a good place without a dedicated room, but if speaker placement behind you isn't an issue I wouldn't do anything less then 5.1 any more.

Codemus
2013-08-07, 10:07 AM
You're paying quite a bit of money for a 120Hz 3D monitor. If you intend to play games in 3D (which is a major fail and mostly a gimmick these days), or watch 3D movies (in which case you'll need a Blu-Ray drive), you're paying quite a bit extra for features you probably won't need.

If you do want 3D, ignore what I have to say. Otherwise, IPS screens will give you much better color depth, contrast and viewing angles (albeit at slight expense to blacks) than any TN screen. Consider this Asus (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824236174) or this Dell (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824260055). I have the 21.5" version of the Dell and like it quite a bit. Anything significantly better (i.e. Dell U2410M) is around $350, but the latter is a photo editing screen first.

The two screens are fairly identical, although the Dell can be flipped vertically and has better screen uniformity and more consistent sample to sample (uniformity I need for photo editing but doesn't matter much for games). No point to spend significantly more on better screens (i.e. various Eizos or Apple Cinema) as there will be little difference in games. Higher end screens are more along the lines of "but this is exactly 5200K color temperature!" and "there is an extra shade of grey visible in the 1-16 range!"

Uh, heh, whoops. I completely overlooked the part where it said 3D. :smallredface: No thanks, 3D gives me headaches. I suppose I have to go looking some more.


Yes, for the OP, I'd get 600W, but when video card makers state wattage, they don't know what kind you're using and have to put in more leeway.

Ah, I see what I did. I didn't look at your example, and misinterpreted what you meant by a simpler power supply. I'll have another look.

EDIT: I've added a few more things to the list of pieces that I need to buy, a wireless repeater and network card. It has to be wireless because where the cable enters the house is on the opposite end, and a floor above on top of that, of where I want the computer to go. It works well enough with just the wireless router, I get one bar on my xbox 360, but hopefully these two items will shore up that problem.

Wireless Repeater - NETGEAR WN2000RPT-100NAS Universal WiFi Range Extender 802.11b/g/n ($58.00) Link (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833122376)

Wireless Network Card - TP-LINK TL-WDN4800 Dual Band Wireless N900 PCI Express Adapter, 2.4GHz 450Mbps/5GHz 450Mbps, IEEE 802.1a/b/g/n, WEP/WPA/WPA2 ($42.00) Link (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833704133)

Problem is, I dunno if that network card is gonna be good enough. Any thoughts?

tyckspoon
2013-08-07, 05:41 PM
Problem is, I dunno if that network card is gonna be good enough. Any thoughts?

Probably better than you need, in all honesty - it's got dual-band capability which you won't be using and shouldn't be paying for unless you also have or plan to get a dual-band router and repeater as well (Dual-band means it can operate at 5 GHz frequency in addition to the 2.4 GHz most devices use.) I would probably also look for a repeater that has an external antenna so you could replace it with a bigger/stronger one if needed, but odds are the one you're looking at will do fine.

Don Julio Anejo
2013-08-07, 06:43 PM
Wireless Repeater - NETGEAR WN2000RPT-100NAS Universal WiFi Range Extender 802.11b/g/n ($58.00) Link (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833122376)

Wireless Network Card - TP-LINK TL-WDN4800 Dual Band Wireless N900 PCI Express Adapter, 2.4GHz 450Mbps/5GHz 450Mbps, IEEE 802.1a/b/g/n, WEP/WPA/WPA2 ($42.00) Link (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833704133)

Problem is, I dunno if that network card is gonna be good enough. Any thoughts?
Consider one of these: powerline adapters (http://www.newegg.com/Powerline-Networking/SubCategory/ID-294?Tpk=powerline).

Short version, they run LAN through your power grid and are literally "plug-and-play" so as soon as you connect them, it's like you're connected with a LAN cable to your router. Don't get latency issues and don't get random wi-fi disconnections. However, the two rooms have to be on the same physical power grid. Not a problem for most people, but I do have one friend who can't make them work in his room because his house is too big.

You can also buy a set with a wireless extender built-in so you have two for the price of one.

Erloas
2013-08-07, 10:58 PM
As for the repeater, what do you have for a wireless router? I've went through a number of cheap ones through the years and well, they have all been cheap. I got this one about a year ago (http://www.amazon.com/ASUS-Dual-Band-Wireless-N-Router-RT-N56U/dp/B0049YQVHE/) and I couldn't be happier with it. It also gives me better connection strength in the same location compared to my old one (also N). If you don't have an N type router now, that would be a better choice then the repeater.

Codemus
2013-08-08, 12:47 PM
Probably better than you need, in all honesty - it's got dual-band capability which you won't be using and shouldn't be paying for unless you also have or plan to get a dual-band router and repeater as well (Dual-band means it can operate at 5 GHz frequency in addition to the 2.4 GHz most devices use.) I would probably also look for a repeater that has an external antenna so you could replace it with a bigger/stronger one if needed, but odds are the one you're looking at will do fine.

Alright, I can drop it to a simpler one. Seemed like the 2.4 GHz are the norm, so I'll just look around some more.


Consider one of these: powerline adapters (http://www.newegg.com/Powerline-Networking/SubCategory/ID-294?Tpk=powerline).

Short version, they run LAN through your power grid and are literally "plug-and-play" so as soon as you connect them, it's like you're connected with a LAN cable to your router. Don't get latency issues and don't get random wi-fi disconnections. However, the two rooms have to be on the same physical power grid. Not a problem for most people, but I do have one friend who can't make them work in his room because his house is too big.

You can also buy a set with a wireless extender built-in so you have two for the price of one.

Ah, now that is a problem. The power grid in my house is kinda crazy. An example being one breaker turns off a single outlet upstairs and the laundry room in the basement. That one unfortunately wont work out for now, but its seriously making me reconsider where I want to place my computer. I'll have to find that breaker map and see where I can put it.


As for the repeater, what do you have for a wireless router? I've went through a number of cheap ones through the years and well, they have all been cheap. I got this one about a year ago (http://www.amazon.com/ASUS-Dual-Band-Wireless-N-Router-RT-N56U/dp/B0049YQVHE/) and I couldn't be happier with it. It also gives me better connection strength in the same location compared to my old one (also N). If you don't have an N type router now, that would be a better choice then the repeater.

I have a Linksys e1000 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA0AJ0WZ6191). However, I've kinda been locked out for the moment. I had a program on my laptop that let me access the router, so I could open ports and junk. But since it fried, I haven't been able to get back into the router. Heh, I wasn't joking when I said I was bad with computers.

Erloas
2013-08-08, 01:41 PM
Ah, now that is a problem. The power grid in my house is kinda crazy. An example being one breaker turns off a single outlet upstairs and the laundry room in the basement. That one unfortunately wont work out for now, but its seriously making me reconsider where I want to place my computer. I'll have to find that breaker map and see where I can put it.I haven't used the powerline adapters yet myself (though it would have been good option before my last set of wireless purchases, just forgot about them), but I think it just means they all have to be coming from the same breaker panel. They don't all have to be on the same breaker though, because in most houses the a single breaker doesn't cover more then 1-2 rooms.

Having read a bit on it, it seems to work across breakers but you loose some signal quality. Depending on the age of the wiring, distances, and what else you have on the circuits you could get good signal, bad signal, or signal that drops out (like if one circuit was in the kitchen and when someone uses the microwave and introduces a lot of noise on the power line).


I have a Linksys e1000 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA0AJ0WZ6191). However, I've kinda been locked out for the moment. I had a program on my laptop that let me access the router, so I could open ports and junk. But since it fried, I haven't been able to get back into the router. Heh, I wasn't joking when I said I was bad with computers.That is pretty good router so probably not an issue there.
And to access your router again you can always reset it. Which would require setting it up again, but if you remember the ID and password you should be able to reset it without having to change the wireless settings on the rest of the stuff you connect to it. There is generally a little hole somewhere near the back with a little push switch in it, if you push that it will reset the router to factory default settings then you can set it up again with a new computer.

Codemus
2013-08-08, 01:51 PM
That is pretty good router so probably not an issue there.
And to access your router again you can always reset it. Which would require setting it up again, but if you remember the ID and password you should be able to reset it without having to change the wireless settings on the rest of the stuff you connect to it. There is generally a little hole somewhere near the back with a little push switch in it, if you push that it will reset the router to factory default settings then you can set it up again with a new computer.

Cool, so thats what that does. Glad to hear that its not permanent, now I just need to get this desktop.

scurv
2013-08-10, 02:54 PM
I am having trouble as a professional electronics tech of 15 years experience in working with mostly military equipment I grant, But even still in grasping the logic of having a power supply that can not provide for peek power demand.

The Op States that he wishes to play games on max settings, And quite frankly one can download format factory and decide to convert their movie/music collection and easily max out their processor. So kindly explain to me the logic in advising someone to design a system that will fail in three to five years when game standards have gone up.

I troubleshoot to the component level on nearly a daily basis. And root causes for quite a few failures is Effective age, Lack of heat dissipation, And short-sights in engineering. When considering effective age of a component you take into account its hours of operation, hours not in use and at what percent of its peek capacity it is operating at. Looking at those 'good' power supply's that are being indicated I am seeing a still fairly cheep dc to dc converter with fair design just adequate heat dissipation. And still being made with the lowest quality components you can find on the market. Professional advice, Spend the extra few dollars on a good power supply. That couple hundred extra watts can add years of operation to your system. Although a inline wattage test on this machine shows that when playing games at max settings with a stock I5 and a gforce 9400 gt shows I am using 600 to 650 watts of power, Based on an inline measurement of 120ish volts and 5ish amps of current being pulled. Mine is not a top of the line machine and the game in question i used to test it was skyrim



As a note, I do tend to use pc power supplies in conjunction with car audio due to that durable 12 volt line (and them being cheep as in laying around free). With some fry tests I have done with toss aways It is quite possible to exceed the rated wattage significantly and have adequate performance, at a shortened life expectancy and far more cooling issues.

But hay, its your $50 your 'saving'

<edit>
Don, I found the 400 watt figure from the site you linked
http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2013/06/12/intel-core-i5-4670k-haswell-cpu-review/6

Don Julio Anejo
2013-08-11, 03:03 PM
(lots of stuff)
I... just don't know where you're getting the numbers from. Unless you've figured out a way to plug in a vacuum cleaner into your motherboard and keep it running, you're pulling numbers about... 2 times what manufacturer states you should be at max load.

9400 GT should barely pull like... 50 watts? There's also no way it can run Skyrim at max settings unless you're playing at something like 800x600, not to mention it's a DDR2 card, so its video memory is slower than your computer's. Add 200 absolute max for your CPU, motherboard and any peripherals you may have plugged in.

How are you measuring your load?

Erloas
2013-08-11, 04:22 PM
I am having trouble as a professional electronics tech of 15 years experience in working with mostly military equipment I grant, But even still in grasping the logic of having a power supply that can not provide for peek power demand.
I've also got an inline power meter that I've used too.
Simply put, we aren't recommending power supplies that can't meat peak demand of the system. We are recommending power supplies that have an AVERAGE power output 30-40% higher then the PEAK power requirements of the hardware.

I can't possibly believe your system is pulling 600-650W. I can't specifically remember what my system is pulling, maybe I'll connect the meter next time I shut down my computer and see. One thing you do have to remember is that a 500W power supply is 500W available at the PC side, the power draw from the other side will be higher. A 500W supply at 80% efficiency will be 625W at the wall, a 500W supply at 70% efficiency will be 714W at the wall. I could imagine you might be seeing 600W at the wall with your system under load if you also happen to be measuring the monitor and have a power supply without a great efficiency.

My laptop has a 9400 GT, and I know it isn't drawing anywhere near that much power otherwise the battery wouldn't last long at all. Can't find the power supply to verify what it is rated for but it isn't that very high. Granted laptops are lower powered cards but they aren't going to be 1/5 the power.

tyckspoon
2013-08-13, 03:59 PM
<edit>
Don, I found the 400 watt figure from the site you linked
http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2013/06/12/intel-core-i5-4670k-haswell-cpu-review/6

~430 watt *total system draw* (CPU test only, so minimal usage of GPU.. but that would include RAM, motherboard, and fans, at a minimum) on a ludicrously high-end chip overclocked by more than a full gigahertz, with associated over-volting for more power draw, and artificially loaded via benchmarking programs to force it continually work harder than almost any actual end-user requirement would ever manage. Note that the *non* overclocked version of the test for that chip came in at more than 200 watts less power usage.. which suggests that unless you were pairing it with an absolute monster or two of a video card (which..ok, if you're sinking 1k+ into a chip, you probably are) that chip would still be perfectly happy with a 5-600W PSU.