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First build...help me!

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#1
Hi! I'm trying to build a new rig for under $1300. Over the past month or two, I've been looking over every website and forum I could to compare parts. This is what I've come up with, & all the parts are from newegg. Would you guys please give my build a look over and give some advice? I'm looking to buy either this month or maybe next month. I'll be playing at 1080p and just plan on doing some minor overclocking down the road. Thanks!

Case: COOLER MASTER Storm Sniper SGC-6000-KXN1-GP Black
$149.99

Mobo: MSI Z68A-GD65 (G3) LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
*I don't know much about mobo's, but from what I've read this is one of the few boards with pci express 3.0 compatibility. Is this something I should try to get if possible for future upgrades?
$179.99

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K
$205.99

CPU cooler: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7
*The Frio's and V6 models look absolutely gigantic
$25.99

GFX: GIGABYTE GV-N570OC-13I Rev2.0 GeForce GTX 570
*Seems like a really good design with a good overclock already applied
$315.00 after rebate

PSU: CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX850 V2
$114.99 after rebate

HD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5"
$59.99

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL
*Is this a good option?
$51.99

DVD Drive: ASUS 24X DVD Burner - Bulk 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS - OEM
$18.99

OS: Windows 7
$99.99

Grand total: $1,263.55 shipped

I'm most uncertain about the ram & mobo choices
 
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#2
The mother board got a 9.5 in TPU from cadaveca. You should read his review. All in all looks like a great build.
 

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#4
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#5
About the only thing I'd say is it might behoove you to get a pair of hdds. A system and data drive. Having a data drive is going to be more useful than you initially realize. Get some 300+Gb drive you can use as a system drive until you can buy a high performance system drive (or ssd).
 
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#6
Those two monitors come down to personal preference I think. Do you like glossy, or non-glossy?
Also, nice system. Should be good to go for quite a while.
 
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#7
About the only thing I'd say is it might behoove you to get a pair of hdds. A system and data drive. Having a data drive is going to be more useful than you initially realize. Get some 300+Gb drive you can use as a system drive until you can buy a high performance system drive (or ssd).
You mean using an ssd to store windows & important programs on and then having the 1 tb for everything else?
 

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#8
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#9
Depending on how many games/Albums/Movies you have/get you might need more than 1 TB for data.
 
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#10
You mean using an ssd to store windows & important programs on and then having the 1 tb for everything else?
Exactly, if you're like me, and I know a lot of people are in this way, your data drive will fill faster than you thought it would. It will also provide you with a way to prevent you from having to re-download drivers in the event of a disastrous system drive error, or simply corruption of your system for whatever reason. No less there are weird things you have probably run across that you won't want to lose.

Your budget's pretty high atm, so I can imagine not wanting to spend a lot more right now, but try getting something like a 320Gb drive to use as your system drive, something with fairly good performance, if you can't afford a 10,000rpm sata drive or an ssd right now. That way your data is intact, and can easily be transferred over to your new installation on whatever high performance system drive you buy.
 
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#11
Can't find fault with any of those parts, pull the trigger. :toast:
 
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#13
Exactly, if you're like me, and I know a lot of people are in this way, your data drive will fill faster than you thought it would. It will also provide you with a way to prevent you from having to re-download drivers in the event of a disastrous system drive error, or simply corruption of your system for whatever reason. No less there are weird things you have probably run across that you won't want to lose.

Your budget's pretty high atm, so I can imagine not wanting to spend a lot more right now, but try getting something like a 320Gb drive to use as your system drive, something with fairly good performance, if you can't afford a 10,000rpm sata drive or an ssd right now. That way your data is intact, and can easily be transferred over to your new installation on whatever high performance system drive you buy.
Can you post a link of a good one?

Wouldn't I have to reinstall everything including windows if I added a ssd later? I don't really want to buy one now because in addition to the parts above, I'm picking up a new monitor, mouse, and keyboard since I'm coming from a laptop... which is obviously getting quite pricey. I'm trying to keep the pc under $1300 and keeping the total under $1600 with the other peripherals I need. Just trying to find the sweet spot between cost/high performance. I'm sitting at ~$1580 for everything at the moment.
 
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#14
Can you post a link of a good one?

Wouldn't I have to reinstall everything including windows if I added a ssd later? I don't really want to buy one now because in addition to the parts above, I'm picking up a new monitor, mouse, and keyboard since I'm coming from a laptop... which is obviously getting quite pricey. I'm trying to keep the pc under $1300 and keeping the total under $1600 with the other peripherals I need. Just trying to find the sweet spot between cost/high performance. I'm sitting at ~$1580 for everything at the moment.
No. You can clone the system drive using software tools. Western Digital has a free version of Acronis True Image (a fantastic disc cloning program) that you can use if one of the drives in your system is a WD branded one. (Free version won't work unless at least one of the drives in the system is WD, so that might be a reason to buy a WD drive.)

There are also freeware tools that do the same without the need to buy a Western Digital drive, such as Macrium Reflect, and will get the job done just as well, but Acronis is #1 for user-friendliness.

When you go to upgrade, you'll clone the system drive to the new high-performance HDD or SSD (assuming the drive you buy has enough space to fit your cloned image), and then set the old system drive as a secondary. Once you've booted to the new drive and made sure that the clone process went perfectly, you can safely wipe the old drive to use it as a storage drive, or keep it as is for a backup...
 
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#15
Ah, I didn't really know there were programs for that. So a viable option would be to keep the 1tb wd I have selected up there and then pick up an SSD later and just clone the OS over? Then use the 1tb to store data on? What size ssd would be optimal for windows and a few programs? ssd's still seem pretty expensive per gb
 
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#17
Ah, I didn't really know there were programs for that. So a viable option would be to keep the 1tb wd I have selected up there and then pick up an SSD later and just clone the OS over? Then use the 1tb to store data on? What size ssd would be optimal for windows and a few programs? ssd's still seem pretty expensive per gb
Yep you could definitely do that. Just remember that the 1TB drive will (generally) be slower than, for example, the 320Gig drive that ubersmurf linked to. Single platter drives are almost always better performing. I don't know a whole ton about drive mechanics so do your own research or find somebody a bit more knowlegable to advise you on which specific drive to buy ;)

That said, the F3s are supposed to be quite snappy drives, and if you do plan to upgrade to an SSD, or maybe buy a couple smaller high performance drives to RAID in the future; the 1tb F3 will likely hold you over till then. Game load times, windows bootup times, and windows filesystem navigation (opening files in programs, going through folders, exploring the HDD) are the things that will be most effected by the speed of the HDD. Once the level is loaded in your favorite game, the HDD speed won't come into play again until the game needs to load something else.

Personally, I'd want at least 128GB SSD. Win7's install can be around 12GB depending on features, and it doesn't take much to pump that up when you add in windows updates, a few programs, and whichever games you want to be run off the SSD. Then you have to consider RAM swapfile (so as much ram as you have, you are going to need at least that much excess free space. Double is better), temporary files, and every installer on the planet unzips to the temp folder, so you need enough free space to acommodate the install of whatever the biggest thing you'll ever install is, or double that if you're installing it to the SSD system drive. A 64GB drive would be the absolute minimum size to get IMHO.


OH! Big PS! If you plan on keeping just the 1TB drive for now and then going to a separate system and data drives setup later, make sure you partition the drive to have a small C: portion and a large D: portion. Then later on you can clone the C: portion to the new high performance drive, and delete the C: partition off the old one, use Acronis or something else to expand the D: partition to the full size of the drive.
 
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#18
Ah, I didn't really know there were programs for that. So a viable option would be to keep the 1tb wd I have selected up there and then pick up an SSD later and just clone the OS over? Then use the 1tb to store data on? What size ssd would be optimal for windows and a few programs? ssd's still seem pretty expensive per gb
Time for a lesson in disk cloning, and some opinions.

1) You can clone one drive to another. Most of the time programs like to have a target that is the same size, or larger than the original drive. The largest commercial solution is Norton Ghost. I like clonezilla (free!), but have heard good things about Acronis (paid). You really have to do research first, because some SSDs prefer a fresh OS install, and others resist any disk cloning, violently.

2) Initial partitioning of the drive will matter. If you're going to migrate to an SSD later, then choose an OS partition size equal to that of the SSD you are willing to buy. IE 60GB, 128 GB, 240 GB, etc... This way you know that you can work with a boot disk this big. Partition the rest into data. Once migrated, keep the original OS partition as a back-up in the event of a drive failure.

3) Do you use office at all? Basic office, without e-mail, will run about 99 USD. Something that should be mulled over.

4) Both monitors are acceptable. As others have stated, choose based upon screen finish. I personally find glossy monitors as unacceptably difficult to work with. Additionally, LED monitors generally last longer, because they generally have LED backlights. LCD occasionally uses ccfl or eefl. Both light sources have a burn-out time much sooner than an LED. You must note that I say this only if you intend to keep the screen 4+ years, because that's the first time (barring instantaneous/under 2 months failures) that I've experienced them failing.


Edit: Newegg is currently running a sale on HDDs and SSDs. It runs until the 19th. While an SSD seems like it would be a frivolity given the current budget, it might be worth looking into. If you're unsure an SSDs price will justify the performance (~99% of casual users would fall into this category) there's a Hitachi 2 TB on the sales list I can personally recommend. 4 drives in raid 5, and not a hiccup in the last year of operation.
 
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#19
Time for a lesson in disk cloning, and some opinions.

1) You can clone one drive to another. Most of the time programs like to have a target that is the same size, or larger than the original drive. The largest commercial solution is Norton Ghost. I like clonezilla (free!), but have heard good things about Acronis (paid). You really have to do research first, because some SSDs prefer a fresh OS install, and others resist any disk cloning, violently.

2) Initial partitioning of the drive will matter. If you're going to migrate to an SSD later, then choose an OS partition size equal to that of the SSD you are willing to buy. IE 60GB, 128 GB, 240 GB, etc... This way you know that you can work with a boot disk this big. Partition the rest into data. Once migrated, keep the original OS partition as a back-up in the event of a drive failure.

3) Do you use office at all? Basic office, without e-mail, will run about 99 USD. Something that should be mulled over.

4) BOth monitors are acceptable. As others have stated, chooe based upon screen finish. I personally find glossy monitors as unacceptably difficult to work with. Additionally, LED monitors generally last longer, because they generally have LED backlights. LCD occasionally uses ccfl or eefl. Both light sources have a burn-out time much sooner than an LED. You must note that I say this only if you intend to keep the screen 4+ years, because that's the first time (barring instantaneous/under 2 months failures) that I've experienced them failing.


Edit: Newegg is currently running a sale on HDDs and SSDs. It runs until the 19th. While an SSD seems like it would be a frivolity given the current budget, it might be worth looking into. If you're unsure an SSDs price will justify the performance (~99% of casual users would fall into this category) there's a Hitachi 2 TB on the sales list I can personally recommend. 4 drives in raid 5, and not a hiccup in the last year of operation.

Ah yes! I forgot about SSD sector alignment. That does throw a pickle in there. It may be better to do a fresh install, research is needed. I won't say any further because I haven't done the research into it myself.

As for 3: If you don't need the clip-art and such, OpenOffice may be good enough for your needs. It's shaping up nicely from what it used to be back in the day. Supports Microsoft Office formats, and usually 98% of the page formatting survives the translation. You may need to fix minor errors every once in a while if you work back and forth between MSO and OOo a lot. Try it out and see (if you haven't already) before you buy anything. OxygenOffice is OOo with some clipart and stuff included.
 
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#20
I would just like to chime in here...

In all my years on the MSI forums, the moderators and MSI staff really tend to think that G.Skill or Mushkin RAM does not play well in their motherboards.

If you look at their support forums you will see posts where as soon as the OP mentions the above two RAM manufacturers, they will tell you to change your RAM before anything else.

I would recommend something along these lines:

CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM...

CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM...

Either of these Vengeance kits would be better compatible with a MSI board. I have owned a few of their products.

I personally have the 4x4GB kit of Vengeance in my Z68A-GD80 right now.
 
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#21
Information overload! Haha, you guys are awesome

This would likely be fine for the time being and inexpensive.
Yep you could definitely do that. Just remember that the 1TB drive will (generally) be slower than, for example, the 320Gig drive that ubersmurf linked to.
So you're recommending the 320gb over the 1tb because it will be faster? So it's better to have several smaller drives than one massive drive even though its more expensive that way per gb?

Time for a lesson in disk cloning, and some opinions.

1) You can clone one drive to another. Most of the time programs like to have a target that is the same size, or larger than the original drive. The largest commercial solution is Norton Ghost. I like clonezilla (free!), but have heard good things about Acronis (paid). You really have to do research first, because some SSDs prefer a fresh OS install, and others resist any disk cloning, violently.

2) Initial partitioning of the drive will matter. If you're going to migrate to an SSD later, then choose an OS partition size equal to that of the SSD you are willing to buy. IE 60GB, 128 GB, 240 GB, etc... This way you know that you can work with a boot disk this big. Partition the rest into data. Once migrated, keep the original OS partition as a back-up in the event of a drive failure.

3) Do you use office at all? Basic office, without e-mail, will run about 99 USD. Something that should be mulled over.

4) Both monitors are acceptable. As others have stated, choose based upon screen finish. I personally find glossy monitors as unacceptably difficult to work with. Additionally, LED monitors generally last longer, because they generally have LED backlights. LCD occasionally uses ccfl or eefl. Both light sources have a burn-out time much sooner than an LED. You must note that I say this only if you intend to keep the screen 4+ years, because that's the first time (barring instantaneous/under 2 months failures) that I've experienced them failing.
Thanks... I guess I'll have to do more research on ssd's and which ones will clone well or maybe just pony up and buy one now. I'm still using office 2003 :D I use the computers at my university if I need a newer version of office. BTW, the mid range ssd's in that sale are sold out, there's just the tiny one and the big ones

I would just like to chime in here...

In all my years on the MSI forums, the moderators and MSI staff really tend to think that G.Skill or Mushkin RAM does not play well in their motherboards.

If you look at their support forums you will see posts where as soon as the OP mentions the above two RAM manufacturers, they will tell you to change your RAM before anything else.

I would recommend something along these lines:

CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM...

CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM...

Either of these Vengeance kits would be better compatible with a MSI board. I have owned a few of their products.

I personally have the 4x4GB kit of Vengeance in my Z68A-GD80 right now.
Thanks! I haven't been to the MSI forums, good to know.
 
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#22
So you're recommending the 320gb over the 1tb because it will be faster? So it's better to have several smaller drives than one massive drive even though its more expensive that way per gb?
Not neccessarily. If you can get a drive with a single platter (one actual disc inside) they usually spin up faster, among other things, and all else being equal gives them a slight edge over multi-platter drives. The bigger capacity drives usually use two or three smaller capacity (same physical size) discs stacked literally on top of each other inside in order to make up the size on the box. A well designed multi-platter drive will outperform a poorly designed single-platter, however.

Further, having multiple smaller discs (here meaning seperate hard-drives, not referring to platters) instead of one big one gives you the opportunity to RAID. With an appropriate controller, you can RAID two or more drives together in a Raid-0 striped set. Then when data is written to the drive, it is written some on the first drive and some on the second, so the whole operation can be (theoretically) up to twice as fast, and more as you add more drives. There's of course some overhead and inefficiency in the controller, and the fact that if one of the drives in a Raid-0 set fails, you lose all the data (since it's spread across all the drives in the set). That's why there's options like Raid 50 which is a combination of Raid 5 and Raid 0, gives you some fault tolerance but is expensive (only end up with a fraction of the capacity of the sum of the drives). It's a lot more simple to set up and use than it sounds, but may be best not to mess with RAID at this point unless you want to do a bunch of research first, so you know what you're getting into. This is basically where SSDs are being used today, instead of RAID-0 arrays. SSDs are fast without the increased risk of data loss, but still expensive.

Like I said, I don't know a whole lot about how the mechanics effect the performance, so you'd be better to look for hard drive reviews or ask somebody else when you get down to deciding which specific one to buy. Select the drive you want, then look for reviews of it online. If it performs as well as the other drives in the same price range, buy it. :toast:
 
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#24
Got another quick question:

After looking over a lot of reviews, I've decided to go with the MSI twin frozr 570gtx.

The ii version can be had for $310 on tigerdirect while the iii version can be had for $370 on newegg, my question is does the iii version justify the $60 premium?
 
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#25
No, personally I would rather have the 6970 but the 570 will do fine for $310
 
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