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Old 12-27-2011, 08:16 PM   #1
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Default Building a PC for the first time, need questions answered.

EDIT: Disregard anything that doesn't affirm that my budget is now 1800 dollars and that I am getting a monitor.

Hey guys, I need to build a computer. I have until January 16th to decide what I want and whether or not I want to build it myself.

I would like to build it on my own, but since I live in a college dorm far away from family with no transportation I do not really have a PLACE to build it. I also have NO experience with hardware, unless you count being able to clean the case of a computer.

Therefore, I am thinking about using an online configurator. I am only considering ibuypowerpc and cyberpowerpc, and I am leaning towards cyberpower. I have a 42 inch LG tv I will be using as the monitor, so I do not need to buy one. My budget will be about 1600 dollars even, and I do not really want to go over that if it is avoidable.

For specifics on what the computer will be used for, I can probably limit it to a few things. I will be doing a good amount of gaming, so I am going to need a good graphcis card. Also, I am starting my first computer programming class, so I want something with a good amount of processing power. Also, I want to have a liquid cooling system so that I do not have to worry about getting a computer until I am out of college, or at least have my B.S. in math. I would like to do some video/audio editing also, but the software for those types of things are pretty expensive, and pirated versions seem to be sketchy and I get a lot of controller errors when I use them. I will of course use the computer for everyday things for college like research and essays.

I was wondering whether or not you guys think cyberpower is better than ibuypower or vice versa, or whether you think it is a terrible idea to use them. I really don't think I should build it myself, and if I do, I won't have liquid cooling. I do not want to risk messing up all the parts I've bought with a mistake on the liquid cooling installation.

I will tell you some specifics I am looking for and also post a build that I have made using cyberpowerpc's configurator.

I would like windows 7. I am not familiar with mac or linux and want to stick with windows.
I would like a good keyboard and mouse. I COULD wait till next semester, but I am going to go ahead and get a razer keyboard and mouse.
I want the processor to be at least 4 cores (preferrably 6) and at least 3 GHz.
I would prefer the GPU to be at least 1 gb GDDR5.
I want liquid cooling.
I want 16 gb RAM, but I can settle for 12 (for now).
I do not need a monitor.

I was wondering whether the 17-2600k is really worth the extra money. I read that it performs almost the same as the i5-2500k, but I do not know. I do not need the top of the line machine, I just need something that has power, performance, is quiet, and will last. Also, since I will have liquid cooling, will that make overclocking an option? I am going to set the overclocking to 10% for now just in case.

My Build right now on cyberpower: (EDITED)

Case: Azza Solano 1000 Full-Tower Advance Cooling Case w/ Dual 230mm Fan + Extra 3 Fans

CPU: AMD FX-8150 3.60 GHz Eight-Core AM3+ CPU 8MB L2 Cache & Turbo Core Technology

OC: Extreme OC (Extreme Overclock 20% or more)

LC: Asetek 510LC Liquid Cooling System 120MM Radiator & Fan (Enhanced Cooling Performance + Extreme Silent at 20dBA) (Dual Standard 120MM Fans (Push-Pull))

MOBO: [CrossFireX] GigaByte GA-970A-D3 AMD 970 Socket AM3+ ATX Mainboard w/ On/Off Charge, 7.1 Audio, GbLAN, USB3.0, SATA-III RAID, 2 Gen2 PCIe X16, 3 PCIe X1 & 2 PCI

Memory: 16GB (8GBx2) DDR3/1600MHz Dual Channel Memory

Graphics Card: AMD Radeon HD 6870 1GB GDDR5 16X PCIe Video Card

PSU: 700 Watts - XtremeGear SLI/CrossFireX Ready Power Supply
HDD: 1TB SATA-III 6.0Gb/s 32MB Cache 7200RPM HDD (If I have the money, should I get a HDD cooling fan?)

Optical Drive: 24X Double Layer Dual Format DVD+-R/+-RW + CD-R/RW Drive

Sound: Asus Xonar DS 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Audio Card

Keyboard: Razer Lycosa Black USB Gaming Keyboard

Monitor: 22" Widescreen 1680x1050 Asus VW224U LCD Display (Black Color)

Mouse: Razer Black Naga Molten 5600 DPI USB Wired Laser Special Edition Gaming Mouse

Mouse Pad: Razer Goliathus Fragged Standard Mouse Pad - Speed

What is a thermal display and do I need one?

Wireless Network Card: Linksys WMP600N Wireless-N Dual-Band Adapter (This will allow me to connect to a wireless network?)

OS: Windows 7 Home Premium

I am also getting all three ultracare options.

Final Cost + Shipping:

$1750

What do you think?
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Old 12-27-2011, 10:22 PM   #2
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Default Re: Building a PC for the first time, need questions answered.

Lets answer a few of your questions, the i7 2600k will be nice to have the extra processing power to be able to render video but shouldn't make to much difference for the other things you want to do. Your RAM really isn't an issue in terms of processing latency your talking about nanoseconds of delay between the number of sticks you choose to have is personal preference. Because you are looking to only hook up 1 monitor there is not much point to hooking up 2 graphics cards you are better off spending the money on 1 better one. The 7850 is perfectly fine for using a TV which I assume is 1080p.

Start to use the computer first before you decide to get a hard drive cooling fan, there is no point to get water cooling for a hard drive so that is an additional add-on if you want later. You may consider going up to a sound blaster Xtreme you be thankful when you begin gaming on your new computer.

Mouse is dependant on your personal preference, wired of course will always keep connection but you may get annoyed if your cord keeps bunching up. Wireless card looks good, you may decide to look into a wired connection in your dorm room, it is usually available they just need to be activated.

The new sound card should bump you up another $15-20 keeping you near your $1600 budget.
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Old 12-27-2011, 11:12 PM   #3
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Default Re: Building a PC for the first time, need questions answered.

EDIT: There is a wired connection in the dorm but I need wireless for when I am at home.

I don't really need to render videos. I just need to be able to record using FRAPS. It slows down the FPS on some PC's and I want to make sure I can still run games at max while recording. Also, using cyberpower I don't think that the 7850 is an option.

I will take your advice on the soundcard and also the HDD. I don't want liquid cooling on the HDD, just a fan.

I would prefer a wireless mouse but I do not know which one to go with.
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Old 12-28-2011, 12:10 AM   #4
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Default Re: Building a PC for the first time, need questions answered.

I personally have the Razer Mamba which I think is an excellent mouse, I'm not sure if you like the Naga for the side control pad, but that's really the only difference. If your not worried about having to render videos then the i5-2500k is going to be just fine for you. FRAPS will run smooth and fine without affecting your gaming.
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Old 12-28-2011, 03:43 AM   #5
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Default Re: Building a PC for the first time, need questions answered.

There is little reason to go with a dedicated fan for the hard drive. They are not as failure prone as some people or reviews online would lead you to believe. Doesn't mean you should run them at 90+ degrees fahrenheit every day, but they won't be hurt too badly by temps in the 80-90 range under load.

6 cores is overkill for gaming, most games can't take advantage of it, and by the time you find a game that DOES take advantage of 6 cores, you'll already have the latest 18-20 threaded CPU anyway. Get a high speed quad core (the i5's and i7's are fine, as are the AMD Bulldozer CPUs in some cases).

To be honest, the sound card doesn't matter much anymore in this day of multicore CPUs and such. To further clarify, I do a lot with my sound, and when my Creative X-Fi died, I had to "suffer" down to the onboard 7.1 on my motherboard.

Truth be told, there's no difference on my Logitech Z-5500's. Even on headphones I'm hard pressed to find a difference, and there's no electronic noise. If you can save the money, you can ditch the add-in sound card for gaming. Most chores are being handled by the GPUs these days, and an extra cycle or two being eat up for sound on the CPU won't matter much, if at all.

As for your question on the RAM - 4GB is getting long in the tooth. I'm recommending all builds going forward to use 8GB or more. I'm at 8GB and I'm only just now starting to use all of it (have had it for about 3 years).

As for the rest of it, I pretty much agree with dIxie.
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Old 12-28-2011, 09:04 PM   #6
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Default Re: Building a PC for the first time, need questions answered.

I've actually updated the build and my budget last night. I will edit my original post to reflect what I have now.
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Old 12-29-2011, 01:48 AM   #7
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Default Re: Building a PC for the first time, need questions answered.

Quote:
What is a thermal display and do I need one?
Thermal display? Have a link for that? Thermal Printers are one thing, Thermal Displays... ?

Do you mean a fan controller / fanbus?
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Old 12-29-2011, 05:53 AM   #8
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Default Re: Building a PC for the first time, need questions answered.

Quote:
Originally Posted by og View Post
Thermal display? Have a link for that? Thermal Printers are one thing, Thermal Displays... ?

Do you mean a fan controller / fanbus?
From what I am reading here it seems to be a fan controlling screen that is attached to your case. In some cases they are touch sensitive screens but mainly they serve as a fan controller and a temperature display.
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