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First time PC builder


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#1 Yski

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 06:27 PM

Hi there!

As the tittle says, I have no experience when it comes to building PCs and since my laptop can no longer handle what I throw at it I decided it's time to change that.

I'd like to be able to play and record gw2 at a decent FPS and medium graphics. Since no-one likes raw footage, I'd also need to be able to edit the said footage. I'm not planning to make several videos a day, but something like once or twice a week doesn't sound too far fetched.

I've also been getting more and more into programming. So far I've only worked on simple 2D games and other relatively simple projects, but that's likely to change in the future. Simply put, I'll need a computer that can handle a bit of programming.



With that in mind, my budget is around 800 - 1000 euro (Which basically means around 1000 dollars due to higher prices) and based on plenty of lurking here and on a few other forums I've come up with something along these lines:
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/yNgb

From what I've seen, this seems to be more or less what I'm looking for.

I'm a laptop user, so I'll also need a screen and a keyboard, though neither of these need to be anything special. Keyboards are generally pretty cheap so I didn't include it, but since screens tend to be more expensive I added one to give me a general idea on the price.

As for the case, I don't really care what it looks like but I heard buying a bad one is a bad idea. I more or less just picked one at random from someone else's build, so I'm open to suggestions if the one I picked is too small or otherwise not good.

I'm not planning to do any overclocking yet, but I like to have the option to do so later. From what I've understood that means I'll need better coolers eventually, but for now stock coolers should be enough.

The main problem I have with the current build is that computer parts are a lot more expensive here in Finland, which means we're stretching the budged. If there's something that doesn't need to be as good as it is for my purposes (For example, do I really need an SSD?) I'd love to swap it for a cheaper alternative.

Thanks in advance for sharing your wisdom with an inferior tinkerer :)

EDIT: Figured out I should include this in the OP as well: the current final build http://pcpartpicker.com/p/FVgP

Edited by Yski, 25 February 2013 - 06:42 PM.


#2 NibriCevon

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 09:16 PM

The CPU/GPU is easily enough for GW2 at high graphics. (I run a 2500k + 660 Ti + SSD + 1TB and I have the game maxed at 1080p.) I play 5-player dungeons and >5-player PvE with guild-mates. I recorded a Twilight Arbor run this morning and performance was good enough that I forgot that I was still recording when I left the dungeon :lol:

What would help you a lot for GW2 and for your programming is changing the hard disk to a 7200RPM version. Everyone has stories about hard disk brands, so my advise is to find out which one is the easiest to return in your area if it goes bad. Barring that, shoot for one that has the best warranty. I've had hard drives last anywhere between 10 minutes and "will that ever quit?" - this was all different brands: Samsung, WD, Seagate, Hitachi (now WD-owned)

Since you're going to be recording your gameplay, I strongly recommend putting your recordings on a different drive than your GW2 or you will get "stuttering" that essentially drops your FPS below 15 if you record in some place with lots of stuff happening. The video hard drive can be a very poor / old disk if you want, just as long as it isn't the same one GW2 is installed on.
Personally my setup is:
Kingston HyperX 3K SSD - OS
WD Caviar Black 1TB "FAEX" - GW2
Old laptop hard drive - My game recordings

EDIT: Don't ask me about cases - I'm a hobby roboticist so I stuff electronics in small spaces for fun :P

I tried moving GW2 to my SSD - measured about 20-30% faster loading times for Lion's Arch but that was about it. (I later returned GW2 to my regular hard disk to reclaim space.)

Hope this helps!

Edited by NibriCevon, 23 February 2013 - 09:18 PM.


#3 Zerk2012

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 12:25 AM

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Asus P8Z77-V LX Motherboard (Socket 1155, 32GB DDR3 Support, ATX, Intel Z77 Express, USB 3.0, CrossFireX Support, Dual Intelligent Processors 3)- Asus

£81.99
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Intel 3rd Generation Core i5-3570K CPU (4 x 3.40GHz, Ivy Bridge, Socket 1155, 6Mb L3 Cache, Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0)- Intel

£168.61
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Corsair CML8GX3M2A1600C9 LP Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1600MHz CL9 DDR3 Memory M...- Corsair

£47.00
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Seagate 1TB 3.5 inch 7200RPM 64MB Cache SATA3 Hard Drive- Seagate

£50.00   
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Samsung S22B300HS 21.5 inch Widescreen LED Monitor - Gloss Black (1920 x 1080 Full HD, 5ms, HDMI/VGA)- Samsung

£99.99
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XFX FX-787A-CNFC Radeon HD 7870 Graphics Card 2GB PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDMI/Mini DisplayPort/DVI-I/DVI-D (Core Edition)- XFX

£181.86  
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Zalman Z11 Plus Midi Tower Case (ATX, M-ATX, Supports Bottom PSU Installation and Aperture for Cable Management, Anti-Vibration Rubber Stand)- Zalman

£51.98   
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Logitech X-140 Multimedia Speakers (2.0)- Logitech

£15.86   
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Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO (120mm)- Cooler Master

£27.99
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Samsung 24x SATA Retail DVD Writer with 3 Bezels- Samsung

£12.51
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Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium with Service Pack 1, 64-bit, English, 1 Pack, DSP OEI (PC) (This OEM software is intended for system builders only)- Microsoft OEM Licence; DVD-ROM

£69.99
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Xfx Pro 550w Power Supply Unit (core Edition) (Manf Part Code: P1-550S-UKB9)- XFX

£53.95

You should be able to switch this over to amazon Germany and get shipping to Finland or find them their. Ready to overclock the speakers are not really high quality but will work 856 form UK missing mouse and keyboard but a nice system.
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Edited by Zerk2012, 24 February 2013 - 12:48 AM.


#4 Yski

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 04:41 PM

Thanks for the advice!

How big difference is there between a Radeon HD 7870 and a Geforce GTX 660 2GB graphics card? Based on a quick search they seem to be about equal, so is there a particular reason to choose one over the other, or should I simply choose the one that happens to be cheaper or has a better warranty etc?

Other than that I swapped my HDD for a 7200 rpm one and added speakers (I had completely forgotten about those :unsure:)

I'm still unsure about the SSD. Do I really need faster loading times or could I just leave it out and save some money without sacrificing the actual performance? Besides, I can always upgrade later if I decide I don't like loading screens. Then again, as Nibri pointed out I'll need another drive to store my recordings in. It'll either be 2 HDDs or HDD + SSD so I wouldn't really save that much even if I chose to go without an SSD.


Currently the build would look something like this: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/FEXL

The problem of the price remains though: even in the German Amazon something that costs 200 dollars costs about 200 euros. If I were to go for a slightly cheaper alternative, what should I change? How much would I lose in terms of performance?

Edited by Yski, 24 February 2013 - 04:52 PM.


#5 Elder III

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 05:01 PM

You could get an HD 7850 and save a little while still being able to play GW2 on default Best Appearance settings or very close to it.  You should also look into a cheaper case since there are allot of options out there.

Shopping via PCPartpicker in the USA is not going to help at all if you live in FInland since you either have to buy locally or find something that will ship to Finland, and that may involve very high custom taxes etc...  Have you checked into what it would cost to ship to Finland?

#6 typographie

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 05:21 PM

View PostYski, on 24 February 2013 - 04:41 PM, said:

How big difference is there between a Radeon HD 7870 and a Geforce GTX 660 2GB graphics card? Based on a quick search they seem to be about equal, so is there a particular reason to choose one over the other, or should I simply choose the one that happens to be cheaper or has a better warranty etc?

The 660 is approximately between the HD 7850 and HD 7870 in speed, with the 7870 being a bit faster. Here, the GTX 660 is close enough to the HD 7870 in price that I'd get the latter. As Elder said, if you needed to save some money you could roll back to the 7850, it should be fast enough. Its also a pretty good overclocker.

The best reason to choose Nvidia or AMD comes down to which offers the fastest card in your budget. In American prices its usually AMD right now (between these cards, anyway), though it might differ in Europe.

Edited by typographie, 24 February 2013 - 05:21 PM.


#7 Yski

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 05:25 PM

I'm only using PcPartPicker to keep track of what I need. I find it handy since it allows me to save the build and instantly tells me if there are any compability issues etc, but I won't actually buy the parts from there. I'll still need to do a bit asking around and comparing the prices before I can decide where I do the buying, but I'll probably either buy them here in Finland or possibly from Germany (which is part of the EU so there shouldn't be any custom taxes).

HD 7850 seems like a good idea. It appears there is a 1GB and a 2GB version, is there any difference between the two?

Edited by Yski, 24 February 2013 - 05:27 PM.


#8 typographie

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 05:39 PM

View PostYski, on 24 February 2013 - 05:25 PM, said:

HD 7850 seems like a good idea. It appears there is a 1GB and a 2GB version, is there any difference between the two?

VRAM use is tied heavily to monitor resolution. If you're only using a single 1920x1080 display, 1 GB of VRAM is enough for the vast majority of games (I think GW2 uses less than 700 MB for me). Having an extra gigabyte won't speed up most games, but I sometimes wish I had more for Battlefield 3 and [heavily modded] Skyrim, both of which are a bit VRAM-starved with a 1 GB card.

Edited by typographie, 24 February 2013 - 05:40 PM.


#9 Yski

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 05:57 PM

1GB it is, then.

As for the case, I really have no idea what kind of case is good and what isn't. How much room do I need to fit all the parts in? What about the cables? Airflow? There seems to be a huge amount of things to take into account here and I don't really seem to learn much just by looking at the specifications.

Can anyone recommend a case that gets the job done but isn't too expensive? You people are amazing by the way :D

Edited by Yski, 24 February 2013 - 05:58 PM.


#10 Yski

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 06:37 PM

Ok, I picked a slightly cheaper case from another thread and changed the graphics card. Here's my build for a final check: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/FVgP

Is there something that should still be changed or is this good to go? If everything looks fine the next step would probably be me figuring out where to buy all this..

Thanks for all the help!

Edited by Yski, 25 February 2013 - 06:41 PM.


#11 Elder III

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 06:39 PM

Something like this is a good buy here in the USA.

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16811119227

Enough space for all your components and a good quality product from a name brand.  Anything from a name brand that is similar in size to that case would be plenty for your build.  Just make sure it has at least one front fan and at least one fan in the rear as well.  A top fan is nice, but not necessary if you aren't planning to overclock.




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