View Full Version : Building my new computer...

03-02-2011, 12:48 AM
Okay, so after several weeks of research I have decided to build my next computer.

Obviously it will be a desktop system. I have done the price comparisons and researched the latest parts. I have concluded that I will be able to build a new system with all the key ingredients for approx. $1,500.

Here is what I am thinking right now:

Case: Antec DF-5 Black $160
Mobo: ASUS P8P67 Pro $190
CPU: Intel Core i7 2600K $330
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB (SATA III 6.0 GB/sec.) $60
RAM: G. Skill Ripjaw X Series 16GB (built for P67 systems) $200
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570 $350
PSU: 1000 watt $100
OS: Windows 7 $100

Total: $1,490

I decided to go with a motherboard that offers USB 3.0 and SATA III. I was looking at the X58 series motherboard, but decided to opt for a mobo that will work with the new "sandy bridge" intel chip. I hear it's an overclocking dream, so upgrading will consist of a cooling system and tweaking the CPU, which can run cool and stable at 5.0 GHz with a minor cooling systems.

The case is a full tower that will allow me to add the extra storage space I will need down the road. The PSU and motherboard will support SLI if I decide to upgrade the graphics. Full towers also offer better cooling capabilities. :thumbsup:

I already have a blu-ray drive, though I will have to spend some extra coin for the software. :sad:

I am confident about putting it all together, as I work with electronics on a regular basis and have 15 years experience. However, I am still a bit nervous about getting the CPU right, so I spoke to a local shop. They told me they would put it all together for me for $150, to include running initial start up and testing. They would load an Ubuntu disc and let me play around with it to be sure they put it all together correctly. I have not made a final decision on this yet. I could also have 'em load the OS, but that's another $100!!! :cross-eye

Anyway, I will probably pull the trigger on this thing soon. I haven't rocked a desktop system in years, but I am looking forward to having a power house performance PC. My wife uses a lot of graphics intensive programs and I would like to pick up a few games (COD: Black Ops, Bioshock II, etc.). I'm not a big gamer, but I enjoy playing from time to time. I also plan on doing some video transcoding.

Once I have the added space I would also like to set it up to run as a sort of home media server. I will likely add a few 3TB Western Digital Caviar Green drives. :D

Just out of curiosity, has anyone purchased a new PC lately? Anyone running SATA III 6.0 GB/sec. or USB 3.0 ports?

Any recommendations for the system?:twisted:

03-04-2011, 09:03 PM
Surprised nobody's replied yet...

That sounds like a pretty awesome build! Personally I stick with AMD for my CPU since they're more cost effective, plus the $300 range can get you a six-core now from them. But, that extremely limits your motherboard options at the moment since the norm is quad-core. Other than that you seem to be sticking with the brands that I regularly see best reviewed and am personally confident in, so nothing else to really note there.

The only oddity that really sticks out is the PSU, I'm not really sure you need 1000 watts. $100 is a very surprising price for it, although I'd be concerned about the quality with such a low price on it. You may be able to save some money by going with a lower wattage and to determine that I use newegg's calculator (http://educations.newegg.com/tool/psucalc/index.html).

CPU installation is pretty intimidating but they do provide plenty of instructions for doing so, plus you can most likely find a plethora of tutorial videos on youtube. I've even installed one myself and managed to not destroy it. :D I suppose $150 isn't a terrible price for getting it all built and tested, but it really isn't that complicated. The $100 OS installation is completely lame, though. Granted, it's very tedious work, but there's nothing that makes that worthwhile when there's probably hundreds of free tutorials out there to help you and you have even the slightest inkling as to what you're doing.

Last thing, if you're going to be doing a lot of video editing then I've heard that can really kill the harddrive depending on how extensive the editing is. You'll probably want a harddrive solely for keeping the files on that you'll be editing, and possibly keeping it in a removable tray. It'd probably be good to do some extra research on that.

03-05-2011, 05:56 PM
I was looking at some PSU's from Newegg here:


I may actually have to go a little higher, the components listed are for my base system, I plan to upgrade to SLI and add more hard drives down the road and I don't want to have to shell out cash for a new PSU later on.

Thanks for posting the link, recommended power will be closer to 1100 watts by the time I'm done.

I'm not sure why no one else posted. Maybe most SSGers are "out of the box" kinda guys or they are afraid this will turn into another PC vs Mac thread. lol

I am looking at installing a few 3TB WD Caviar green drives to hold my videos, pictures, music, etc. I also plan on setting the system up as a type of home server for sharing multimedia. This way I can stream media to other computers in the house.

On a side note, I also picked up a few upgrades for my new Gateway. I am switching out my hard drive for a 750GB Western Digital caviar black, 7200 RPM, 16MB cache and 8GB of RAM, Crucial DDR3 1066MHz. I also picked up this little laptop cooler to keep my system running cool:


On another side note I bought the new Gateway because my old HP died on me, black screen of death. A little research shows that HP had some problems with the Nvidia chips during the same time frame I bought mine. I looked at the class action lawsuit, but my specific model was not covered. I found a computer repair company that claims they can fix the GPU (HP Black Screen) for $80.00 plus they clean up the system, redo the heat sink paste for the CPU/heat sink. If they can not fix it, then I'm only out $30 for shipping. So I plan on sending it in.

If they can fix it, I will swap out the DVD drive for a blu-ray player and give it to my daughter, since her old AMD HP laptop also just died.

03-08-2011, 10:23 AM
For the OS, are you going with 32 bit or 64 bit? I have Windows 7 64 bit and love it, the only problem is playing older games. It gets difficult where you have to play with the compatibility mode in order to get a slightly older game to work right. I do most of my gaming on 360 so its not a huge issue.

I plan on building a computer myself, after searching for a desktop pre-built and finding almost nothing to my specs. I saw some nice bare-bones kits on TigerDirect, so I might be ordering one soon and posting my own progress on this thread.

My question is : When is a monitor too big? I was thinking in the range of 27" to 29", but it will probably be smaller than that. I do watch 80% of my TV shows and 50% of movies on my computer, so I want something nice for that aspect.

03-08-2011, 01:20 PM
I plan on running Windows 7 64 bit, which is what I have on my laptop right now. If you are having issues running games you may want to run a dual boot system.

In terms of monitor size, for me it all comes down to practicality. I would not go with anything larger than a 27 inch simply because of the prices. 27 inches seems to be the sweet spot in terms of affordability, once you get into the 30 inch realm they get REALLY expensive, like $1,000+ expensive. You can find a nice 27 inch for around $400. That's a HUGE difference! HP makes 2 really nice 27 inch monitors for $320-$380 if you go to their website.

I plan on picking up their 25 inch 2511x which is running full HD at 1920 X 1080 for $289.99! :thumbsup:

03-31-2011, 09:32 PM
Well, I did it, finally pulled the trigger on the last parts I needed to build my system! Final shipments should be in on Monday. I bought all the parts off Newegg. I did make a few slight changes, but I managed to slide in under the $1,200 mark. So here is what I ended up with:

Cooler Master HAF 922 Case: $89.98
ASUS P8P67 LGA Mobo: $164.99
Intel Core i7 2600K CPU: $328.99
OCZ StealthXstream II 700w PSU: $34.99
G.SKILL Ripjaw X Series RAM (16GB 1600MHz): $149.98
Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB SATA 6.0 HDD: $59.99
EVGA SuperClocked GeForce GTX 570 GPU: $339.99
Shipping: $15.43

Total: $1,184.34

Those prices are "final costs" which includes promo codes, discounts and mail in rebates. Total mail in rebates $65.00 ($10-case, $20-GPU, $35-PSU). So upfront out of pocket costs = $1,249.35. Also this does not include monitor, keyboard, mouse or OS. On a side note, the GPU comes with a free copy of 3D Mark 11, which is a $20 value. Also I did not buy an optical drive because I plan to use my internal blu-ray drive which is currently in an external enclosure. I may end up grabbing a $20 DVD drive from Newegg. I was planning on using a 1000w + PSU because I do plan to upgrade to dual GPU's in a year or two, but for $35 I couldn't pass it up (discount+promo+mail in rebate). lol

04-17-2011, 01:48 AM
Well, I ended up having to iron out a few issues, as it turned out my power supply wasn't quite up to the task. I ended up buying an Antec High Current Gamer (HCG-900) 900w psu.

The upside is that it will support my SLI setup once I upgrade. Also the old PSU will be used to build my daughter's computer, which will be a much lower end system. :laugh:

I also ended up buying a lot more stuff for the computer than I had initially anticipated.

The first issue I was having was the CPU temperature was running high. The stock heat sink and fan that Intel ships with their chip is pretty much garbage. They use cheap plastic clips to hold it to the board. I used Arctic Silver when I built the system, but temps were still high. So, I ended up buying a Corsair Hydro Series H50 closed loop liquid cooler. I got a good deal at Best Buy. So now the CPU is running super cool.

The next issue I was having was with the PSU. It was rated high enough over all, but the 12v rails simply did not have enough amps to drive the card. Evga says 38 amps!!! The new Antec resolved the issue.

Also, I ended up reinstalling the OS from scratch as I was experiencing instability issues and may have had a bad install. Once I finished the re-install everything was fine.

I also had some minor issues with Direct X 11, which were resolved with a driver update.

So now the system is up and running and stable. I have run a few benchmarks and I am VERY happy with the results.

The new Intel chip is amazing. It's a real beast. Transcoding is lighting fast and multitasking is a breeze.

The ASUS board uses the new EFI BIOS which is awesome! The sheer amount of additional software tools included with the board is amazing as well, cool new features like DIGI+ VRM keeps voltage rock steady, TPU, AI Suite II, EPU, BT GO! ASUS really out did themselves.

I am also really pleased with the new technology integrated into the new P67 platform. SATA (revision 3.0) with 6GB/s is not than just a wide bandwidth, changes in NCQ, improved power management, etc. results in faster data transfer rates. On average a SATA III drive will see a boost of 40%-50% in data transfer rates when connected to a proper SATA III port over the SATA II port. So for you nay sayers, understand that SATA III is much more than a marketing gimmick. Besides, I plan to upgrade to a SSD in a few months and I will need the bandwidth. :thumbsup: USB 3.0 speeds are also much faster than previous USB 2.0.

To push my graphics I decided to go with the EVGA GTX 570 HD SuperClocked GPU. Again Evga does not disappoint! The software tools they provide are simply amazing, EVGA OC Scanner and EVGA Precision are great for monitoring GPU temperature, stress testing, over clocking, adjusting fan speed, etc. Not to mention EVGA's support is fantastic, their warranty covers overclocking, and their forums are a fantastic tool for advise.

G.SKILL also delivered with their RAM. I am running 16GB (4 X 4GB) at 1600MHz. I could have gone with faster RAM, but the board only support 1600MHz unless overclocked and I don't really want to go down that road. Regardless, the memory modules were fully compatible with the new board and run cool, performance is outstanding as evidenced by a 7.9 (max) Windows Experience Index (WEI score).

The case is super cool, as in mass air flow! The Cooler Master HAF 922 has plenty of space for all my components and space for three 200mm fans and two 120mm fans. It came stock with two 200mm and one 120mm fan. I added a third 200mm fan and plan on installing a second 120mm fan soon. Since I am running the Corsair H50, which installs a 120mm fan and radiator in place of the rear 120mm fan, I can use the old fan on the bottom of the case for exhaust. :) Front ports include the standard UBS 2.0 ports, eSATA, head phones, and mic. Top switches include power, reset, and fan LED (*on/off).

I installed a 200mm red LED fan up top to match the front 200mm red LED fan. It looks great!

The hard drive is rock solid as well. I ran the bench marks and sustained red write speeds are well over 100MB/s. I went with a smaller 500GB drive for my primary drive but I plan to add more storage later. I am looking at a 2-3TB Western Digital Caviar Green.

I was initially looking at the 120GB Intel 510 series SSD, however the Photofast GMonster3-VX2 drives will be out shortly and not only offer faster read/write speeds but a lower price point for the same capacity, $200 vs $300 for the Intel.

I also ended up loading Norton 360 5.0 and Norton Utilities, along with the standard software Firefox 3, DiVX, Object Dock, iTunes, etc.

I did end up buying CyberLink Media Suite 9 and even managed to find a coupon code for a free copy of YouCam 4.0 Deluxe. :D So my Blu-Ray support should be top notch. I know there are a few people who loath CyberLink (their "free" software included with most drives never works right) but I have always had good results with their products. That includes the copy of Power DVD that came with my Gateway laptop, which plays Blu-Rays flawlessly. :D

I ended up going with an HP 2511X monitor and I am very happy with the performance so far. I bought directly from HP and shipping was very fast (2 days!). I found yet another coupon code online and save a good deal on money on the purchase.

For my webcam I went with the Logitech HD Pro C910 which records in full 1080p and sits perfectly on top of my HP monitor without getting in the way of the screen thanks to the well thought out design.

I also decided to add another optical drive and managed to pick up a Lite On iHAS424 which is a speedy drive for around $20. Install was a breeze!

So anyway, there you have it, a not so quick little review of my new build. :laugh: