A new build... after 8 years

Phimp

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Dec 9, 2006
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My Athlon 3700+, 2GB memory, 6800GS build has been in daily service for 8 years and is now quite pathetic... A new build is very long overdue.

update: I'm down to only needing suitable memory, PSU, cooling (cpu/gpu/case?), SSD(s), HDD (maybe), and the OS...
Ultimately I'm looking for critiquing and suggestions as it's been so long since I've spec'd out a build that I've just kinda been winging it with this one. I've revised every part on the list several times based on reviews, benchmarks, compatibility, noise levels, etc. But could use some outside opinions. I could spend $200 on craigslist and have something that outperforms what I'm using now so the build is mainly a fun project that will be a pleasant upgrade.

1) What will you be doing with this PC? Gaming? Photoshop? Web browsing? etc
A little bit of everything. I may run HDMI to my Denon AVR4308ci in the theater... so bluray playback along with 1080 h264 decoding/encoding. I plan on testing the waters and hopefully jumping head-first into the latest graphics-intensive games (FPS mostly), I regularly have 25+ web tabs/pages open, photoshop & lightroom (up to 300MP or so image sizes).
2) What's your budget? Are tax and shipping included?
Originally it was ~ $800, then 1000, then 1500... it's pretty flexible, I plan on purchasing individual parts as they are on sale - I'm using PCPartPicker
3) Which country do you live in? If the U.S, please tell us the state and city if possible.
Pierce County in WA, US
4) What exact parts do you need for that budget? CPU, RAM, case, etc. The word "Everything" is not a valid answer. Please list out all the parts you'll need. Update* I have almost everything! Only need GPU cooling and a 2nd storage drive...
5) If reusing any parts, what parts will you be reusing? Please be especially specific about the power supply. List make and model.
displays, keyboard/mouse, audio system
6) Will you be overclocking?
If it would provide enough performance gain with keeping noise/temps down then maybe, but don't currently plan on OC'ing
7) What is the max resolution of your monitor? What size is it?
1920x1080 37" Westinghouse, and two other displays at 1680x1050, possibly to a projector at 1920x1080 as well. However, I will never game on multiple displays.
8) When do you plan on building/buying the PC?
I have already started purchasing parts (I knew if I didn't pull the trigger and order something then I was just going to keep delaying the project) but have no deadline, if I can find all parts in a month then great, if it takes 4 months then I still won't lose any sleep.
9) What features do you need in a motherboard? RAID? Firewire? Crossfire or SLI support? USB 3.0? SATA 6Gb/s? eSATA? Onboard video (as a backup or main GPU)? UEFI? etc.
I researched this and chose the MSI Z97-G45 Gaming Motherboard, however it seems almost all ATX motherboards these days support newer features like USB3.0, SATA6, etc. I won't be using RAID or onboard video. I absolutely had to have a digital audio output (optical on the 990FXA) to go to my receiver - hopefully the digital output works well on this board for DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD.
10) Do you already have a legit and reusable/transferable OS key/license? If so, what OS? Is it 32bit or 64bit?
Looking to purchase Win 8.1 64bit



PCPartPicker part list

***Case: Silverstone GD08B (Black) HTPC Case (Purchased For $141.99)
***Motherboard: MSI Z97-G45 Gaming ATX LGA1150 Motherboard (Purchased For $106.19)
***CPU: Intel Core i7-4790K 4.0GHz Quad-Core Processor (Purchased For $277.80)
***CPU Cooler: NZXT Kraken X31 69.5 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler (Purchased For $73.99)
***Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 770 2GB TWIN FROZR Video Card (Purchased For $289.99)
***Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (Purchased For $152.10)
***Storage-OS: Samsung 850 Pro Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Drive (Purchased For $199.99)
***Power Supply: SeaSonic 660W 80+ Platinum Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply (Purchased For $141.98)
***Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (32/64-bit) (Purchased For $104.51)
GPU Cooler Bracket: NZXT G10 Video Card Cooler ($29.98 @ OutletPC)
GPU Cooler: NZXT Kraken X31 69.5 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($73.99 @ Newegg)
Storage-Other: Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($129.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $1722.50
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-08-04 12:34 EDT-0400

Previously selected and now replaced parts:
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3 ATX AM3+ Motherboard (Purchased For $107.99)
CPU: AMD FX-8350 4.0GHz 8-Core Processor ($174.98 @ OutletPC)
Storage: Western Digital BLACK SERIES 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($74.49 @ OutletPC)
Power Supply: Corsair Professional 750W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($116.98 @ Newegg)

After seeing this fellow fit two Corsair H75's side by side in the Silverstone GD07 case (w/ the fans mounted externally) I am now set on two NZXT Kraken X31 (120mm) AIO coolers for the CPU/GPU. It will require a small modification to the drive tray/bracket but I don't mind as I will likely be using an external Bluray drive if I need to.
 
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Dangman

Ninja Editor SuperMod
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Dec 15, 2005
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Too late to return that Gigabyte mobo?

I ask because AMD is not your best bet here.
 

Phimp

Gawd
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Dec 9, 2006
Messages
596
It can be returned if needed. I've always been a fan of AMD so I naturally went that route after seeing reviews and generating the idea that something like the i7-3770 would be a bit of a bump up for intensive gaming but not much of a difference for multithreaded photo/video editing. I decided I could spend $100 elsewhere like a better SSD and would still be content. It also seems even with a small AIO like the NZXT X31 the 8350 can comfortably be pushed to around 4.4GHz making it a lot more of an even comparison?

What would be a better Intel motherboard/cpu/memory combination?
 

Phimp

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Dec 9, 2006
Messages
596
It seems I ruled out Intel a bit too soon...
Should I send the AMD motherboard back and pick up the i7-4790K & MSI Z97-G45 combo on newegg for $394.98 for only $77.01 more than the FX-8350 & 990FXA I had planned?
My largest concern with an i7 is cooling. An NZXT Kraken X31 should be slightly more efficient than a Corsair H75, which doesn't seem to be too good of a match for the i7-4790K. The likes of a CM 212 EVO or Noctua NH-D14 wouldn't fit the 138mm height limit of the Silverstone GD08 case and lower profile HSF's would be louder than the X31 at about the same level of performance...

Thoughts? The combo deal ends today..
 

Dangman

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Dec 15, 2005
Messages
46,062
It seems I ruled out Intel a bit too soon...
Should I send the AMD motherboard back and pick up the i7-4790K & MSI Z97-G45 combo on newegg for $394.98 for only $77.01 more than the FX-8350 & 990FXA I had planned?
My largest concern with an i7 is cooling. An NZXT Kraken X31 should be slightly more efficient than a Corsair H75, which doesn't seem to be too good of a match for the i7-4790K. The likes of a CM 212 EVO or Noctua NH-D14 wouldn't fit the 138mm height limit of the Silverstone GD08 case and lower profile HSF's would be louder than the X31 at about the same level of performance...

Thoughts? The combo deal ends today..

Yes send that AMD motherboard back. As for the cooling, think about it this way: You were planning to overclock an even hotter and power hungry AMD CPU. So the signfiicantly lower power and lower heat 4790K isn't going to be a problem cooling wise with the Kraken X31.
 

Phimp

Gawd
Joined
Dec 9, 2006
Messages
596
After spending the last couple hours delving into the i7-4790K, I decided to bite the bullet and just ordered the combo with the Z97-G45. The AMD motherboard hasn't even shipped yet from NCIX so I'll give them a call tomorrow when they open to cancel/refund the order.

I've updated the first post to reflect the current parts list for the build.

I noticed the Intel motherboard seems to only support memory speeds higher than 1600 if overclocked? Am I reading that correctly? the AMD board was 1866 and 2000 (OC) whereas the Intel board specs state 1600 and 1866 (OC), 2000 (OC), etc..
 

Dangman

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I noticed the Intel motherboard seems to only support memory speeds higher than 1600 if overclocked? Am I reading that correctly? the AMD board was 1866 and 2000 (OC) whereas the Intel board specs state 1600 and 1866 (OC), 2000 (OC), etc..

Officially the max supported speed is 1600. However if you happen to "overclock" the RAM, then the system will technically support that higher RAM speed. However, it's really not worth worrying over since Intel platforms really do not benefit that much from RAM speeds higher than DDR3 1600 anyway.

As for the rest of the parts:
Why the X31?

While a good PSU, that Corsair HX750 Gold is no longer available from Newegg at that price. The next available retailers for that PSU are charging around $140 to $150 for it. At that point, it's not a good buy for your situation as you're not going to need 750W of power. I recommend this higher quality, better performing, and quieter PSU instead:
$145 - Seasonic SS-660XP2 660W Modular PSU

The WD Black drives aren't worth the extra cash IMO since you can get a 1TB drive for $20 less:
$53 - Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s Hard Drive

Or a 2TB drive for $10 more:
$84 - Seagate Barracuda ST2000DM001 2TB 7200RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s Hard Drive

Or a 3TB drive for $25 more:
$100 - Seagate Barracuda ST3000DM001 3TB 7200RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s Hard Drive
 

Phimp

Gawd
Joined
Dec 9, 2006
Messages
596
Officially the max supported speed is 1600. However if you happen to "overclock" the RAM, then the system will technically support that higher RAM speed. However, it's really not worth worrying over since Intel platforms really do not benefit that much from RAM speeds higher than DDR3 1600 anyway.
Gotcha, 1600 it is for this build then.

Why the X31?
I fell in love with the case I'm using and decided I'll make it work for my build. It has a problem with temps inside the case - is limited to 80mm exhaust fans on the rear and a few 120mm intake fans. I'm also limited to a max of 138mm height for a HSF.
I made my rounds through research of low profile HSF's that have an emphasis on both performance and sound levels. I arrived at the lower profile Noctua solutions, however they all block a ram slot on most motherboards. The Noctua HSF's were similiar in cooling and noise as the NZXT Kraken X40 single 140mm AIO cooler. After comparing the X40 to other AIO solutions I decided it was the horse I was betting on - so with the X31 having just been released (a 120mm version that will work in my case) with similiar performance to the X40 it was my natural choice - decreasing internal case temps, increasing airflow inside the case, low noise, ... and it looks pretty good.
link - along with longer lines/tubing than similiar AIO coolers like the Corsair H75 and it's back by a 6 year warranty.
Also, wanting a quiet GPU cooler for when the graphical demands are high and having discovered the Kraken G10 - a bracket to mount an AIO cooler such as the X31 to a GPU.
I plan to install them similiar to this:


While a good PSU, that Corsair HX750 Gold is no longer available from Newegg at that price. The next available retailers for that PSU are charging around $140 to $150 for it. At that point, it's not a good buy for your situation as you're not going to need 750W of power. I recommend this higher quality, better performing, and quieter PSU instead:
$145 - Seasonic SS-660XP2 660W Modular PSU
Ahh, just missed it. I've added Seasonic to my saved list of parts, It's dropped price to a shocking low a couple times recently too!

The WD Black drives aren't worth the extra cash IMO since you can get a 1TB drive for $20 less:
$53 - Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s Hard Drive

Or a 2TB drive for $10 more:
$84 - Seagate Barracuda ST2000DM001 2TB 7200RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s Hard Drive

Or a 3TB drive for $25 more:
$100 - Seagate Barracuda ST3000DM001 3TB 7200RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s Hard Drive
For the past several years I've been using a WD 160GB HDD in my rig as all of my Music/Video/etc is on my Windows Home Server, so it's not about the total storage size. From what I've read the 1TB Black drives have phenomenal performance with a decent noise level as a bonus so I kinda defaulted to it... I just don't want to pollute my OS drive with misc user files, photos, photoshop files, web dev stuff, etc. For now, I may just transplant my 160GB SATA drive into the new build to hold the user folder.

This will be my first SSD experience - would it be a good idea to partition so game installs aren't mixed in with OS files? Or is that only a concern with HDD's & fragmentation?
 
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Dangman

Ninja Editor SuperMod
Joined
Dec 15, 2005
Messages
46,062
I fell in love with the case I'm using and decided I'll make it work for my build. It has a problem with temps inside the case - is limited to 80mm exhaust fans on the rear and a few 120mm intake fans. I'm also limited to a max of 138mm height for a HSF.
I made my rounds through research of low profile HSF's that have an emphasis on both performance and sound levels. I arrived at the lower profile Noctua solutions, however they all block a ram slot on most motherboards. The Noctua HSF's were similiar in cooling and noise as the NZXT Kraken X40 single 140mm AIO cooler. After comparing the X40 to other AIO solutions I decided it was the horse I was betting on - so with the X31 having just been released (a 120mm version that will work in my case) with similiar performance to the X40 it was my natural choice - decreasing internal case temps, increasing airflow inside the case, low noise, ... and it looks pretty good.
link - along with longer lines/tubing than similiar AIO coolers like the Corsair H75 and it's back by a 6 year warranty.
Also, wanting a quiet GPU cooler for when the graphical demands are high and having discovered the Kraken G10 - a bracket to mount an AIO cooler such as the X31 to a GPU.
I plan to install them similiar to this:

Fair enough. Though double check to see how well the X31 stacks up against other AIO liquid coolers.

For the past several years I've been using a WD 160GB HDD in my rig as all of my Music/Video/etc is on my Windows Home Server, so it's not about the total storage size. From what I've read the 1TB Black drives have phenomenal performance with a decent noise level as a bonus so I kinda defaulted to it... I just don't want to pollute my OS drive with misc user files, photos, photoshop files, web dev stuff, etc. For now, I may just transplant my 160GB SATA drive into the new build to hold the user folder.
The 1TB Black drives are faster than other mechanical drives but they're not fast enough to justify the higher costs since you're seeing hard limitations of mechanics at that point. In other words, short of 10K speeds SCSI drives, if you're looking for performance, SSD is the way to go. Hard drives for consumers/enthusiasts at this point are mainly storage drives. Not a good idea to reuse that 160GB Sata drive as it will end up slowing the PC down on account of its age and rather low performance.
This will be my first SSD experience - would it be a good idea to partition so game installs aren't mixed in with OS files? Or is that only a concern with HDD's & fragmentation?
Not a good idea to partition it. Just let Windows 8.1 handle it and you're set. That's only a concern with HDDs really.
 

Phimp

Gawd
Joined
Dec 9, 2006
Messages
596
I just finished reading the results of this linked review of the NZXT Kraken X31 and comparing it with several reviews/testing for other AIO water cooling solutions that use only a single 120mm fan/radiator setup. The Corsair H80i and a few others were quickly taken out due to having too thick of a radiator to fit inside the case next to the motherboard - although it's performance is similar to the H75 which is in the same ballpark as the X31.
I grew tired of researching these AIO kits and just pulled the trigger on one Kraken X31 for the CPU along with the G.Skill memory I've been watching on NewEgg.

All that remains is the Seasonic PSU, Samsung 850 Pro SSD, and the OS. Then the new rig will be put together and in use.
Shortly thereafter I'll add the Samsung 840 Evo SSD and the NZXT G10 & X31 too quiet down and cool the GTX 770.

So now it just comes down to letting PCPartPicker send me notifications when these items have a price drop... or I become tired of waiting and just buy it all :D

Again, I've updated the parts list in the initial post.

Thanks for the help so far!
 
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Phimp

Gawd
Joined
Dec 9, 2006
Messages
596
Patience is not one of my virtues... :)
So much for ordering things one at a time and waiting for the best deals, etc lol
I just ordered the Samsung 850 Pro 256GB SSD, the Seasonic PSU, and Win 8.1.
When all the parts come in within the next week (free shipping options lol) I'll take photos through the installation process. Soon, I'll have to add the 2nd storage SSD and the other X31 to cool the 770 GTX when the noise starts to bother me.

In the meantime, I'll have to refrain from throwing my crap box pc off the balcony... my younger brother ridiculed me for not having dabbled in a little Minecraft gameplay, so I purchased and downloaded it... My current rig is getting around 5 fps (yes that's a total of five frames per second) on 640x480 with all settings on the lowest and all optional features disabled. Granted, I'm now using two 8400GS's since my 6800gs bit the dust a while back.
Oh dear god I can't wait to go from this to Crysis 3 on max settings :)

Side project: My Windows Home Server v1 box has been humming along for several years now and for the last year has been within a few hundred GB of being 100% filled. It is home to a 250GB, 750GB, 750GB, 1.5TB, 2TB, 2TB, 2TB drives. I recently purchased a 3TB drive to discover the limitation of ~2.1TB max drives in WHS. Now, seeing the how cheaply (relative term) you can obtain 4/5/6TB drives... I'm trying to devise the best plan for an upgraded home server - stripped down Windows 8.1 with drivepool installed? But I suppose that'll be another thread at another time. I just hate not putting old hardware to use - it still kills me that as outdated as my Athlon 3700+ rig is, that I'll have no purpose for it in a couple weeks. I have already repurposed old builds as a massively overkill pfsense router, and a WHS, what next? :confused:

I'm signing closing documents for my first home purchase tomorrow so I may be a little too busy/distracted from the installation/setup of the new build when all parts come in but I'll try my best to stay on track :)

Thanks for the help Dangman, much appreciated! It's been a few years since I've even been on [H] and I instantly remembered why I always enjoyed it so much - the other members.
 

Dangman

Ninja Editor SuperMod
Joined
Dec 15, 2005
Messages
46,062
Patience is not one of my virtues... :)
So much for ordering things one at a time and waiting for the best deals, etc lol
I just ordered the Samsung 850 Pro 256GB SSD, the Seasonic PSU, and Win 8.1.
When all the parts come in within the next week (free shipping options lol) I'll take photos through the installation process. Soon, I'll have to add the 2nd storage SSD and the other X31 to cool the 770 GTX when the noise starts to bother me.
Yeah, not surprised that happened. Happens to all of us :D.
Side project: My Windows Home Server v1 box has been humming along for several years now and for the last year has been within a few hundred GB of being 100% filled. It is home to a 250GB, 750GB, 750GB, 1.5TB, 2TB, 2TB, 2TB drives. I recently purchased a 3TB drive to discover the limitation of ~2.1TB max drives in WHS. Now, seeing the how cheaply (relative term) you can obtain 4/5/6TB drives... I'm trying to devise the best plan for an upgraded home server - stripped down Windows 8.1 with drivepool installed? But I suppose that'll be another thread at another time. I just hate not putting old hardware to use - it still kills me that as outdated as my Athlon 3700+ rig is, that I'll have no purpose for it in a couple weeks. I have already repurposed old builds as a massively overkill pfsense router, and a WHS, what next? :confused:.
Best hit up the Data Storage subforum for more info about what storage solution to go with. There's literally a dozen or more solutions out there. There is no one perfect solution unfortunately.

I'm in the same boat actually: Waiting for a good HDD deal (need to buy six 3TB hard drives) and trying to figure out which solution to go with.
I'm signing closing documents for my first home purchase tomorrow so I may be a little too busy/distracted from the installation/setup of the new build when all parts come in but I'll try my best to stay on track :)

Thanks for the help Dangman, much appreciated! It's been a few years since I've even been on [H] and I instantly remembered why I always enjoyed it so much - the other members.
No prob man, good luck with the build!
 
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