new build advce

spacediver

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 14, 2013
Messages
2,621
Been on an intel core 2 duo E8400 @ 3 ghz on an ASUS p5q mobo for the last few years and it has served me very well. I recently upgraded my video card from a 9800GT to a GTX 660 and was pleasantly surprised at how well games run on it even with a relatively old cpu.

I think I'm ready to upgrade the rest of the system, but it's been a while since I've kept up to date with things and I have a few questions.

(budget is $1000-$2000)

Is there anything I should avoid when it comes to solid state hard drives?

What about motherboards - are they all pretty fantastic these days?

cpus - what should I go with?

Do I need to buy a separate cooling fan, even if I'm not planning on overclocking?

I use this for gaming, and I'd like to be able to play some relatively recent games with high quality graphics, but bear in mind I'm on a CRT so I'm not stuck at a native resolution. I would like to be able to play 1920x1200, but can also do 1600x1024 or 1280x800 if need be.

I also watch videos through MadVR with high quality filters, and I notice that my current system struggles with 1080p content when run through those filters.

I am open to upgrading my video card in the near future also.

I'll probably be running windows 7 64 bit for what it's worth (currently using xp).

appreciate any advice :)
 

Dangman

Ninja Editor SuperMod
Joined
Dec 15, 2005
Messages
46,062
please answer the stickied "ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS FIRST!" so that we can help you better.

Though off the bat:
1) Any SSD with the word "Sandforce" or "OCZ" in the name or description. Go to recommendations these days are the Samsung Evo, Samsung Pro, and Crucial M500 series.
2) Not all mobos are good.
3 to 4) Can't answer without answers to the stickied questions
 

spacediver

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 14, 2013
Messages
2,621
thanks for the reply - here we go!

1) What will you be doing with this PC? Gaming? Photoshop? Web browsing? etc.
Gaming, watching Blu-ray content through MadVR, web browsing, Matlab, etc.

2) What's your budget? Are tax and shipping included?
$1000-$2000 not including tax - will buy parts at local computer stores.

3) Which country do you live in?
Canada (Toronto)

4) What exact parts do you need for that budget?

Motheboard
Cpu
Power Supply
Solid State HD (~500 gigs, although a terabyte would be preferable if possible)
Case
Ram
Blu-ray drive
DVD drive (in case the blu-ray drive doesn't read dvd's)
Network Card (assuming motherboard doesn't have one)
Sound Card (assuming motherboard doesn't have one)
Cooling fan (not sure if I need this)
I think that's everything. Hope I haven't missed anything.

5) If reusing any parts, what parts will you be reusing?

Will be re-using peripherals, video card (GTX 660), and display (FW900 widescreen CRT). Am open to upgrading vid card in near future, or even now if necessary.

6) Will you be overclocking?
Possibly, but not if it requires extensive cooling apparatus and/or hassle.

7) What is the max resolution of your monitor? What size is it?
2304x1440, but its optimal resolution is 1920x1200. 24 inch, 22.5 inch viewable.

8) When do you plan on building/buying the PC?

Was thinking this wknd, but can wait for a month if need be.

9) What features do you need in a motherboard?

I have an external SATA hard drive that I'd like to be supported, so I think I'd need eSATA. Motherboard needs to support a decent solid state HD. Don't need RAID or onboard video. USB 3.0 would be nice, so long as there are no issues with that.

10) Do you already have a legit and reusable/transferable OS key/license? If yes, what OS? Is it 32bit or 64bit?

No, but can budget extra for this. Right now I'm thinking Win 7 64 bit.
 

tiraides

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jan 8, 2004
Messages
11,066
Which local computer stores are you considering? Do you have links for these stores?
 

Dangman

Ninja Editor SuperMod
Joined
Dec 15, 2005
Messages
46,062
Canada Computers is a 2 min bike ride :)

I don't think you can fit a computer case on a bike unless you have a side car....

Anyway, here's what I recommend:
$340 CAD - Intel Core i7-4770K CPU
$83 CAD - Kingston HyperX Blu KHX1600C10D3B1/8G 8GB DDR3 1600 RAM
$314 CAD - Samsung 840 Evo Series 500GB SSD
$16 CAD - Asus DVD Burner
$65 CAD - LG Blu-Ray Drive
$105 CAD - Seasonic G Series SSR-550RM 550W Modular PSU

-----
Total: $923 CAD

Yes it's missing a motherboard. And here's why: Your eSATA requirement is dramatically raising the price of the motherboard and severly limiting your motherboard choices. Nor do I like the idea of recommending a separate eSATA card considering that the majority of those are crap. SO I'm still mulling over what route to recommend.

As for the rest of the parts:
If you're going to be doing a ton of MatLAB work in the next few years, then stay with the Core i7. But if you're only doing MatLAB stuff once ever several months, you can save money by dropping down to the Core i5 4570:
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4_1210_65&item_id=060641

In regards to a 3rd party HSF, if your home is often hot/warm or your whole area is often hot/warm, then yes get a 3rd party HSF. If your area/home is cold/cool all year around, really no need to get a 3rd party HSF.

As for the case, I recommend the following cases:
$72 - Corsair Graphite Series 230T Black ATX Case
$72 - Corsair Graphite Series 230T Black ATX Case
$79 - Corsair Graphite Series 230T Black w/ Window ATX Case
$93 - Corsair Carbide Series 400R ATX Case
$105 - Antec 1100 ATX Case
$110 - Corsair Carbide Series 500R ATX Case
$120 - Corsair Vengeance Series C70 Arctic White ATX Case
$120 - Corsair Vengeance Series C70 Gunmetal Black ATX Case
$120 - NZXT Phantom PHAN-002OR Black Finish w/Orange Trim Full Tower ATX Case
$120 - NZXT Phantom PHAN-001WT White Full Tower ATX Case
$130 - NZXT Phantom 530 Black Full Tower ATX Case
$150 - Corsair Graphite Series 600TM ATX Case
$160 - Corsair Obsidian Series 750D ATX Case
$160 - Corsair Special Edition White Graphite Series 600T ATX Case
$170 - Corsair Obsidian Series 650D ATX Case
$170 - NZXT Phantom 630 Gunmetal Full Tower ATX Case
$170 - NZXT Phantom 630 White Full Tower ATX Case
$230 - Silverstone FT02B-USB3.0 ATX Case
$250 - Silverstone FT02S-W-USB3.0 ATX Case
$245 - Corsair Obsidian Series 800D CC800DW ATX Case
 

spacediver

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 14, 2013
Messages
2,621
Thank you very much for taking the time and effort here Dangman. Really appreciate it.

I think I may be wrong abut the eSATA requirement. My current HD is an external one that is connected to my current motherboard through a separate card, which I guess is an eSATA card (been so long since I built this thing and I did it with the help of a friend). The motherboard itself has a six red SATA ports, two of which are in use. One for my internal SATA drive and one for my external SATA drive via the eSATA card.

Even if the card I'm using now ain't the greatest, I'm planning on doing installing my OS on the SSD and using my old drive for backup and storing content, so I don't think it'll be as much of an issue.

I use Matlab regularly for research (signal processing, modeling, etc.), so I'll go with the i7.

If I'm not planning on burning DVDs, but only running them, is it worth getting a burner? (i.e. will the Blu-ray drive read DVDs?)

I have a small room, and my CRT generates quite a bit of heat, but it is Toronto, and I do have an AC for summer. I might stick with the stock HSF, and see how things perform (I'm assuming the cpu has an accurate thermal sensor whose readings I can easily access), and upgrade if necessary at a later time.

Thanks for the list of cases - I'll do my research into them. I'm not too concerned about cable routing features, build quality, or sophisticated LED systems. I would like something that's easy to assemble/disassemble and has decent ventilation. Sound proofing is nice, but not high priority.


As for biking, with the help of bungee cords, I've biked a few km with an air conditioner strapped to my backpack :p

But I might just take a couple trips, or walk back with the case :)
 

FlyBy

n00b
Joined
Apr 12, 2014
Messages
25
please answer the stickied "ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS FIRST!" so that we can help you better.

Though off the bat:
1) Any SSD with the word "Sandforce" or "OCZ" in the name or description. Go to recommendations these days are the Samsung Evo, Samsung Pro, and Crucial M500 series.
2) Not all mobos are good.
3 to 4) Can't answer without answers to the stickied questions

I am in the same boat, building my first PC.

Why do you say stay away from ssd that says sandforce?
 

E4g1e

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
May 21, 2002
Messages
7,225
I am in the same boat, building my first PC.

Why do you say stay away from ssd that says sandforce?

We do not recommend Sandforce-based SSDs because of their relatively poor write performance with "incompressible" (or already-compressed) files.
 

Dangman

Ninja Editor SuperMod
Joined
Dec 15, 2005
Messages
46,062
Thank you very much for taking the time and effort here Dangman. Really appreciate it..
FYI, many of the parts I recommended are only on sale for this weekend only. SO definitely get those parts ASAP!

I think I may be wrong abut the eSATA requirement. My current HD is an external one that is connected to my current motherboard through a separate card, which I guess is an eSATA card (been so long since I built this thing and I did it with the help of a friend). The motherboard itself has a six red SATA ports, two of which are in use. One for my internal SATA drive and one for my external SATA drive via the eSATA card.
Is your eSATA card a PCI-Ex1 card? If so, then I recommend this mobo:
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=26_1207_1206_1201&item_id=060725
If I'm not planning on burning DVDs, but only running them, is it worth getting a burner? (i.e. will the Blu-ray drive read DVDs?)
THe blu-ray drive will read DVDs just fine. In fact, it can even burn DVDs as well.

I have a small room, and my CRT generates quite a bit of heat, but it is Toronto, and I do have an AC for summer. I might stick with the stock HSF, and see how things perform (I'm assuming the cpu has an accurate thermal sensor whose readings I can easily access), and upgrade if necessary at a later time.
I would recommend getting the HSF anyway considering that it's such a PITA to install a new HSF after you've already built the PC>
Thanks for the list of cases - I'll do my research into them. I'm not too concerned about cable routing features, build quality, or sophisticated LED systems. I would like something that's easy to assemble/disassemble and has decent ventilation.

Every single case on my list just happens to be exactly that :)

Sound proofing is nice, but not high priority.
If you want lower noise, then I recommend these cases:
$95 - Fractal Design Define R4 Arctic White ATX Case
$112 - Fractal Design Define R4 Black Pearl ATX Case
$114 - Fractal Design Define R4 Titanium Grey ATX Case
$110 - Antec P280 ATX Case
$130 - Corsair Obsidian Series 550D ATX Case
I am in the same boat, building my first PC.

Why do you say stay away from ssd that says sandforce?

Past quality, performance, and reliability issues with Sandforce based SSDs have pretty much ruined my trust of any Sandforce based SSD. Considering that there are now better quality SSDs for the same price as Sandforce based SSDs, I'm not seeing a good reason to go Sandforce.
 

spacediver

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 14, 2013
Messages
2,621
FYI, many of the parts I recommended are only on sale for this weekend only. SO definitely get those parts ASAP!

Good to know :)

Is your eSATA card a PCI-Ex1 card? If so, then I recommend this mobo:

Not sure, here's a picture of it:



I would recommend getting the HSF anyway considering that it's such a PITA to install a new HSF after you've already built the PC

Again, good to know, thanks.
 

rastaban

Gawd
Joined
Jul 30, 2011
Messages
818
I checked your local store's site for Lian Li cases since many of them come with eSATA front panel ports (just attached internal cable to mobo SATA port). I didn't see any satisfactory ones with eSATA, but the Lian Li PC-7HX is only $85. It's one of the best cases I've ever used (I think I paid $130 for one about a year ago). Definitely go see it in person before you pick a case. Take note of how easy it is to clean the fan filters.

A note on currently available SandForce drives. I don't think they're bad at all, it's just that the SF-2200 series controllers are relatively old now and are expected to be replaced with SF-3700 this year (will also support PCIe). Most people don't make many transfers of large incompressible data on their primary SSD's (like media files) so I consider that a non-issue. OCZ was the first to release the SF-2200 series under exclusive contract so received the brunt of the backlash when BSOD problems surfaced. Soon after Intel released their SSD 520 with "properly" validated firmware did BSOD issues reportedly decline, although this is arguable. I've been using an OCZ Vertex 3 for for almost 2 years in a C2D-gen notebook, and it's been perfecty stable.
 

Henri108

Limp Gawd
Joined
Dec 6, 2013
Messages
465
In regards to a 3rd party HSF, if your home is often hot/warm or your whole area is often hot/warm, then yes get a 3rd party HSF. If your area/home is cold/cool all year around, really no need to get a 3rd party HSF.

On the other hand, if your room is hot already, it will get hotter with a HSF. With no OC I don't see a reason to go with a HSF. It will keep total cost down significantly: cheaper non-OC'able mobo, slightly cheaper cpu (although would go with a K-version for resale value), no extra fan('s),and no seperate HSF. Total between an OC'able system and non-oc will easily save you more than 100$ depending on what you are looking at. (if I wouldn't want to OC my gaming pc, my build would be 400$ cheaper)
OC'ing is an enthousiast thing and frequently won't be very cost effective compared to the performance gains and time you put in to it (calculate as little as 20$ an hour for learning to actually doing an OC and testing,...) plus the extra cost of your system like mentioned above. OC'ing is for fun if you have spare time and don't mind spending money on a hobby.
 

rastaban

Gawd
Joined
Jul 30, 2011
Messages
818
I'd say the issue with the stock HSF is not it's ability to dissipate heat, but the noise it generates under load. I'd gladly pay $30 to silence it.
 

spacediver

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 14, 2013
Messages
2,621
I checked your local store's site for Lian Li cases since many of them come with eSATA front panel ports (just attached internal cable to mobo SATA port). I didn't see any satisfactory ones with eSATA, but the Lian Li PC-7HX is only $85. It's one of the best cases I've ever used (I think I paid $130 for one about a year ago). Definitely go see it in person before you pick a case. Take note of how easy it is to clean the fan filters.

Thanks, sounds tempting. I have a fairly tenuous grasp on eSATA, but I should be able to use my current connector with any motherboard so long as the mobo has a sata port right?
 

rastaban

Gawd
Joined
Jul 30, 2011
Messages
818
I can't tell from your photo, but does that eSATA port have a power source? It should behave the same in the new system.
(I just realized the eSATA ports on the Lian Li cases are not powered)
 

rastaban

Gawd
Joined
Jul 30, 2011
Messages
818
Since you're going with the 4770K, may as well pick a mobo that has overclock potential.

Your best mobo options at CanadaComputers are:
Asus Z87-A - $152 CAD
Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD3H - $166 ($151 after MIR)
Gigabyte G1.Sniper Z87 - $174 ($154 after MIR)
MSI Z87 G45 Gaming - $170 ($155 after MIR)

The Asus has a Realtek NIC, the UD3H has an Intel NIC, and the latter 2 have Killer NICs. The Asus has a lower end audio codec while the other 3 are all pretty good despite being different. The latter 2 have onboard headphone amplifiers which is convenient if you don't have an external one (I don't know about the quality). The UD3H gets an additional 2 SATA ports off-chipset. The MSI does not have any legacy PCI slots.

(here are some comments on the other options I just made in another thread)
 
Last edited:

spacediver

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 14, 2013
Messages
2,621
Thank you. I'm using a fiio e17 external DAC/amplifier, so not overly concerned about quality of the audio dac (I'm assuming you meant dac and not codec?).

As for video, do you think the GTX 660 combined with the above suggestions will be powerful enough to run most games at high quality settings and at 1920x1200 at a respectable framerate? (i.e. at least 60)
 

rastaban

Gawd
Joined
Jul 30, 2011
Messages
818
The codec is a dac, and the headphone amplifer is a separate unit on the board that can power headphones up to 600 ohms (reportedly). You can just optical out or USB out for the Fiio then.

I think a GTX 660 is just shy of running modern games on high at 1200p. A 660 Ti (760) should be close though.
 

spacediver

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 14, 2013
Messages
2,621
Ended up walking over just now but it was closed - weird, as the website said they are open on sundays until 6pm, and only the quebec locations were listed as closed for the easter holiday. Hopefully I'll be able to get those specials if I go in tomorrow.

After some thought it turns out I don't actually need 500 gigs of solid state, so I decided to go with 250 gigs as I can store media content on a different non solid state drive.

Here's what I'm going with:

Mobo: Gigabyte G1.Sniper Z87: $153.99

Cpu: Intel Core i7 4770K: $339.00

RAM: Kingston HyperX Blu 8GB DDR3 1600MHz: $82.99

SSD: Samsung 840 EVO 250GB: $149.99

PSU: Seasonic G-550 Modular 80PLUS Gold 550W: $104.99

Blu-Ray: LG (WH14NS40) Internal 14x Blu-ray Writer: $64.99

Case: Lian Li PC-7HX: $84.88

HSF: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO: $35.99

Total, before tax: $1016.82

Not bad at all, and leaves me headroom for a better gfx card if it turns out I need one.

This will complement the Sony GDM FW900, Das Keyboard Cherry MX Brown, Wingman Gaming Mouse/Deathadder 3.5 frankenmouse, and Artisan Shiden-Kai mouse pad rather nicely :)

As for sound, I use the FIIO E17 Alpen, and a pair of BeyerDynamic DT990's (32 ohm).

Looking forward to putting this all together - it's been a long long time since I've built a system from scratch!

Thanks for all the help and advice!
 

Dangman

Ninja Editor SuperMod
Joined
Dec 15, 2005
Messages
46,062
Here's what I'm going with:

Mobo: Gigabyte G1.Sniper Z87: $153.99
At $174 (I ignore MIR), that mobo is not a good choice for the money considering that you're not 100% sure about overclocking. In other words, what features does that Gigabyte mobo have that justifies the exra $22 for it over the Asus Z87-A?
 

spacediver

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 14, 2013
Messages
2,621
At $174 (I ignore MIR), that mobo is not a good choice for the money considering that you're not 100% sure about overclocking. In other words, what features does that Gigabyte mobo have that justifies the exra $22 for it over the Asus Z87-A?

I play quakelive at a competitive level, so I figured the Killer NIC could help. I could be wrong though. I also figured an extra $25 would be an acceptable match to the likelihood of me experimenting with overclocking, since I'm not dead set against overclocking.
 

Dangman

Ninja Editor SuperMod
Joined
Dec 15, 2005
Messages
46,062
I play quakelive at a competitive level, so I figured the Killer NIC could help. I could be wrong though. I also figured an extra $25 would be an acceptable match to the likelihood of me experimenting with overclocking, since I'm not dead set against overclocking.
It wouldn't help out that much to justify the $25 alone. In addition, the Z87-A overclocks very well as you can see here:
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2013/06/03/asus_z87a_lga_1150_motherboard_review/
 

spacediver

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 14, 2013
Messages
2,621
interesting, gonna do some more research tonight. Based on Kyle's review (thanks for pointing that out to me btw), the only reason I'd get the Gigabyte is if the Killer NIC makes a diff. I already use QOS for prioritizing traffic on the router, but if I can be convinced that Killer prioritizes traffic within a computer so as to provide a more stable gaming experience (framerate and ping wise), then I might go for the gigabyte. With a well tuned computer, however, it may turn out that there is no advantage.
 

Dangman

Ninja Editor SuperMod
Joined
Dec 15, 2005
Messages
46,062
Judging from the two HardOCP reviews of mobos with KIllerNIC in them, I'm convinced it's not worth extra money:
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2014/01/29/asrock_z87_killer_fatal1ty_motherboard_review/
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2013...ing_lga_1150_motherboard_review/#.U1RLXfldVWw

AsRock mobos tend to be extremely overpriced in Canada for some reason. That AsRock Z87 Killer Fatal1ty actually costs less than Asus Z87-A here in the U.S. Hence why I'm not recommending that mobo since it's $170 CAD or $18 more than the Z87-A.
 

spacediver

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 14, 2013
Messages
2,621
yea just did some more reading, seems like it might not be worth it. Did some reading on the realtek NICs and they seem to be problem free. Looks like the Asus it is.
 

spacediver

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 14, 2013
Messages
2,621
just picked up all the components. Did it in two bike trips. The second I had to go to a different store to pick up mobo (went with Asus), cooling, and case (lian li 7HX is hard to find, but I'm glad I got it), but biked home from subway station. Carried the case in one hand while biking - got a lot of interesting looks! Will report back on performance changes once installed :)
 

spacediver

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 14, 2013
Messages
2,621
hahaha must have been one hell of an awkward ride
good thing it's not steel :)

Wasn't that bad! The cardboard box had a nice slot for a hand grip. 10 min bike ride and spent most of it going over 30 kph so I wouldn't tire out. Hardest part was keeping torso stable.

Just installing the parts now, and had a bit of a freak out. I noticed the case didn't come with standoff screws, so I biked down to canada computers, and begged the guy to let me in (it had just closed). They said I should contact lian li since they don't sell the screws separately. But I remember the manual said nothing about standoff screws in the instructions, and they weren't part of the inventory. So I had a closer look and it turns out that the standoffs are already "built in". (at least I think this is the case).

Rastaban, you worked with this case before - do you remember anything about built in standoffs?

edit: nm, just found the answer - first sentence in this link :)
 

spacediver

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 14, 2013
Messages
2,621
been working since 7pm non stop, it's now nearly 12:30am. I'm making progress through the build. Had some ridiculously tedious moments.

Figuring out how to install the back bracket on the cooler master cooling system was a pain in the ass. After I figured that part out, I watched a number of videos on how to properly install the heatsink, and I think I did a decent job. But I notice that I'm able to twist the heatsink so the surface where it contacts the CPU twists also. Is that supposed to happen?

Took me an hour and a half to figure out how to mount the SDD in the 2.5 inch bay. Oh wait, literally 5 seconds ago just looked at it and noticed that I have it on the underside of the bay surface as opposed to the top. Bloody hell.

Oh, and installing the IO shield was a royal pain in the ass (even if you ignore the fact that I didn't realize you have to put it in place before you install the mobo). Lots of false starts, hehe :p

So far, I've installed:

Motherboard
CPU
RAM
HSF
PSU
SDD
Blu Ray

So I think I'm nearly done - there are a whole bunch of wires coming out of the chassis that I'm in the process of figuring out, but I'll get there :)
 

Dangman

Ninja Editor SuperMod
Joined
Dec 15, 2005
Messages
46,062
How much force are you using to make it twist? If not much, then yeah that's a problem. If a lot, then no, not a real problem.

Oh and as a challenge, here's the cable mangement I did recently with a friend's Source 210 Elite build:


Considering that your PSU is modular and that you have a larger case, you should be able to get cable management results similar to the above which was done with a non-modular PSU and smaller case. :D
 

spacediver

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 14, 2013
Messages
2,621
How much force are you using to make it twist? If not much, then yeah that's a problem. If a lot, then no, not a real problem.


Needed a fair amount of force. I had it in my head that it would be unmovable without breaking it. Good to know it's ok.


Oh and as a challenge, here's the cable mangement I did recently with a friend's Source 210 Elite build:


That is very impressive cable routing. Up until a couple hours ago I wasn't even aware of the concept.

Here's what I have so far:

Btw, just powered it on and seems to work, though haven't connected monitor yet. All fans are working, though they're not going very fast (I guess this is normal since I'm not stressing the components).

Second pic shows how I've mounted the SSD. Hope I've got it right!



 

rastaban

Gawd
Joined
Jul 30, 2011
Messages
818
The HSF should not be able to twist once the thermal paste cures. As long as your screws are secure, you'll be fine.

Here's a reference of the 7HX build I did. The drive cage is closer to the left side panel than other LL cases, so in this case I had to position all the SATA connectors on the right side of the cage behind the mobo tray.

http://imgur.com/a/Jlv8B
 
Top