Help a newbie build a computer

Discussion in 'PC Discussion' started by Damask, Jun 30, 2016.

  1. Damask

    Damask Seventh Year

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    Context: It's the current year and I'm using a desktop computer with Windows XP 32-bit installed, 700GB HDD space, 3.25 GB RAM, an AMD Athlon II X2 245, 2.91 GHz processor, and heaven only knows what GPU, motherboard, PSU and other stuff. The whole thing was built circa 2009, by the household computer whiz, that is, Dad, and he's no longer living with us and it's about fucking time I learned to do it myself anyway. My happiest moments with this PC were: in 2012, when I replaced my PSU with one that didn't BSOD/start the godawful overheating alarm whenever my GPU was required; in 2015, when I upgraded from 2 GB RAM and added an extra 232GB HDD. In some of my uni classes, I had to use Windows 7 and got massively confused. Lots of websites tell me to update my web browser, lots of browsers have become unavailable in the 32-bit version. I've had one utility (downloaded today) refuse to open in the 32-bit version and another barf on me by throwing the Out of Memory Exception which apparently happened because of XP. The point of this rant being, life is hard at the end of the Cretaceous.

    Most of what I know about computer hardware, I've learned in the past three hours. Until now, I've failed to learn because there was always someone to do it for me. What I need from you guys is to point out incompatibilities between these pieces of hardware, and to answer a couple of questions about the processor and the power source.

    What I'm going to use it for: some older 3D games, 3D modelling (Autodesk software) and texturing (Photoshop, incl. OpenGL painting on 3D models), mostly on the low-poly side, possibly some CAD work after I graduate. More advanced, resource-intensive uses are unforeseen, but not ruled out. I also have a monster of a modded game which loads a few tens of thousands of downloaded items upon startup, and I need it to do this in less than 3 hours, hence the SSD, I guess.

    Budget: I'm mostly thinking of buying the components piecemeal, I can't afford to do it all at once. I've come up with two possible builds, one that's mid-range for most usual work and low-ish budget ($850-$1000), and one that mid-to-high range, better suited for professional use (in case I'm going to use it for work a few years from now), and in the $1500-$2000 price range. It should take me about half a year to buy all the stuff, less for the cheaper build.

    I'd like to keep my current peripherals, I like them. And I really don't give a shit about most other components; maybe considering a UPS, although I might reconsider if it takes up too much space.

    The More Expensive Build
    • CPU: Intel I7-5820K, 6-core, 3.3GHz/3.6GHz, 15MB, LGA2011-v3 socket
      Importantly, I don't know whether a 6-core processor is overkill for what I want to do with it. 3D modelling and other software I might use as a future engineer are famously hungry for processing power, and I don't know whether/when I'll move past low-poly 3D modelling.
    • Motherboard: ASUS X99-A/USB 3.1, 2011-v3 socket, 8xDDR4, 8xSATA3, ATX
      (This is overkill for me, but I noticed that the motherboard I was initially considering had a 1151 socket, lol)
    • GPU: MSI NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970, GTX 970 4GD5T OC, 4GB GDDR5, 256bit
    • SSD: A 480GB, SATA3 one; whichever
    • Extra HDD: A 2TB, 7200RPM, SATA3, 64MB one; whichever
    • RAM: Kingston HyperX Fury 16GB DDR4, 2133 or 2666, should be enough
      PSU: CORSAIR Builder Series CX750M, CP-9020061, 750W, 120mm, 85% efficiency, modular
      ... but my local store says this one is out of stock, so, alternatively, one that's double the price and seems overkill: HXi Series HX850i, 850W, 14cm fan, modular, CP-9020073-EU, 92% efficiency
      I also have no idea how to calculate the power demands of a build. Please help. How power-hungry is this whole thing?

    The Less Expensive Build
    • CPU: INTEL i5 6400, quad-core, BX80662I56400, 2.7GHz/3.3GHz, 6MB, 1151 socket
    • Motherboard: ASUS Z170-K, 1151 socket, 4xDDR4, 6xSATA3, ATX
    • GPU: ASUS AMD Radeon R9 380, STRIX-R9380-DC2-2GD5-GAMING, 2GB GDDR5, 256bit
    • SSD: A 240GB, SATA3 one, whichever
    • Extra HDD: A 1TB, SATA3 one, whichever
    • RAM: Same
    • PSU: See above
    For both builds, I haven't searched for a case, for an audio board (I mostly have audio off), for peripherals, network cards, DVD writers and whatever.

    Also, please tell me whether I need coolers and I haven't included them. I don't plan on overclocking the computer.

    Also also, if someone could tell me how difficult it is for a non-moronic newbie with internet access to physically assemble all of this without getting angry and starting to jam components into random sockets, I'd appreciate it.

    So, what do you think?
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2016
  2. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

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    How far away is "after you graduate" ? If we're talking 4 years you might as well plan on building again then when you know if you'll be using CAD or not, etc.

    $850-1k is not "low" budget imo, that's midrange.

    If you're a student without a lot of cash I wouldn't suggest going for your more expensive one. Unless you really need specific components I'd save the cash for now. Future proofing is important (I've been running my rig for almost 6 years), but at some point you're better off picking up a good build and planning to upgrade later rather than dropping a ton of cash on components that will be dated by the time you planned on needing them.

    If I was on a tight budget and needed a computer, I'd probably go with something like this:

    CPU: AMD FX-8350 Black Edition ($159.95 @ Amazon)
    Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-78LMT-USB3 (rev. 6.0) ($61.98 @ Newegg)
    Memory: G.SKILL 16GB (2 x 8GB) Ares Series ($55.99 @ Newegg)
    Video Card: ASUS GeForce GTX 970 GTX 900 TURBO-GTX970-OC-4GD5 ($259.99 @ B&H)
    Power Supply: EVGA 750W 220-G2-0750-XR ($84.99 @ NCIX)
    Storage: Western Digital 1TB Blue WD10EZEX ($49.99 @ Amazon)
    Case: COOLER MASTER HAF series RC-912-KKN1-GP ($64.99 @ Amazon)
    Total: $737.88
    Price may include shipping, rebates, promotions, and tax
    Generated by PC Hound
    That's about what I spent on my current rig, for which I also went AMD despite Intel being a better (and pricier) choice.

    What I'm probably going to buy for myself when I build soon is more along these lines:

    CPU: Intel Core i7-6700K 8M ($349.99 @ Newegg)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z170M Extreme4 ($124.99 @ Amazon)
    Memory: G.SKILL 16GB (2 x 8GB) TridentZ Series ($84.99 @ Newegg)
    Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 08G-P4-6173-KR ($444.98 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: EVGA 850W 220-G2-0850-XR ($127.98 @ Newegg)
    Storage: SAMSUNG 500GB 850 EVO MZ-75E500B/AM ($154.85 @ Amazon)
    Case: Corsair Obsidian Series 350D CC-9011029-WW ($99.99 @ Amazon)
    CPU Cooler: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R2 ($29.49 @ Amazon)
    Total: $1,417.26
    Price may include shipping, rebates, promotions, and tax
    Generated by PC Hound
    Granted I only plan to spend around 1k-1.2k when I build, but I might drop down to a RX 480 or a 6600k, etc. Or I might wait til new stuff comes out and see what's what on prices.

    I'm in no rush - but I have no regrets building for $720 as a student. It's lasted almost 6 years of gaming. And while I don't do any serious 'work' in terms of CAD and whatnot, it'd have been better for me personally to have just built again for what I needed rather than spending double the amount as a student.

    But what's right for you will be what's right for you.

    Good luck!

    And HardForum is another good website to check out for this sort of thing. I recommend it a lot, but they do seem to know their stuff in terms of picking out parts.
     
  3. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Oh, and I managed my first build without screwing it up too bad. I did a shit job of cable management and screwed one or two minor things up, but for the most part it wasn't as bad as I expected. I read an article and watched 3-4 youtube videos of people putting together other rigs, then had a go.

    It was frustrating as fuck because half the shit you order will not come with instructions, and damn near everything thinks it should be installed 'first.' But I was patient and careful to not bend things or sweat on things, and it turned on and ran the first time I hit the power button.
     
  4. Damask

    Damask Seventh Year

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    Thanks, but my mother's paying, so I'm not exactly on a super-tight budget, and I'm willing to wait a little longer to save up for better hardware. The "student" part isn't that relevant in the context, and we have free college in my country anyway. I'll be graduating in 2 years. Hopefully I'll get employed sooner. I was thinking of selling some models on TurboSquid in the meantime, but my current computer isn't very good at handling stuff past 8k polygons or somesuch, and I don't have a very good camera for textures. Maybe I'll delve into higher-poly stuff once I have the hardware for it.

    Also, I need an SSD. I just need it. No ifs, ands, or buts. Because of the aforementioned monster modded game.

    I tried to select the components for the cheaper build according to compatibility, while not compromising too much on the specs that I deemed really important for my usage. Yeah, it's mid-range more precisely, I wasn't considering a low-end computer for the stuff I mean to use it for.

    Biggest question for now remains whether I (will) need 6-core or not, because I can save about $370 depending on whether I buy quad-core or hex-core, which has implications for the kind of motherboard I buy and, I suppose, for the power source.

    I was hoping for instructions for installing every hardware piece within the packaging, but oh well, I guess not.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2016
  5. Innomine

    Innomine Unspeakable Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Haha, yeah, no there's nothing resembling instructions. However, it becomes a lot easier when you consider that it's just lego with components that cost hundreds of dollars, instead of cents.

    THe one thing you want to be really careful with, is installing the CPU into the motherboard. You can easily damage the CPU doing this. I don't know enough about what you are doing to judge what kind of CPU you need, but unless there is a specific requirement for 6 core, I don't think you should need it. And your wish for an SSD is justified, now that I've used one, going back to a regular HDD is painful beyond comparison.
     
  6. Sacro

    Sacro Seventh Year

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    Firstly, you don't need a PSU with so much wattage. If you don't plan to do SLI/Crossfire, 500W is more than enough - 600W would still be somewhat resonable, but 700+ is just plain overkill and wasted money. Also, don't get a 970 - either get a RX480 (preferably a custom model from a reseller, so you'd need to wait a bit), or wait for the GTX 1060.

    As for the the CPU, that depends entirely on the programs you plan on using. I know that most CAD software, for example, can't really take advantage of a 6-core CPU. Use google and see if it would benefit the programs you're going to use. Get a Samsung 850 evo or Crucial MX200 for the SSD, though you could also look into M.2 or PCIe SSD's.

    For the cooler I'd recommend either the Noctua NHD-15 (though if you don't overclock it's kinda wasted) or the Thermalright HR-02 Macho Rev. b. Oh and if you want detailed step-by-step instructions for the assmebly, just look on youtube. There's a ton of videos that show how to assemble a PC.
     
  7. Damask

    Damask Seventh Year

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    May it be so. I'm mostly worried about assembling everything in a way that seems to fit, hitting the power button, and irreparably frying some component worth hundreds of dollars. Anyway, of course, I'll do it with a YouTube video or ten around me, it's a no-brainer...

    Thanks. I searched for a modular PSU from Corsair (because it was recommended to me as a good brand, and everybody everywhere seems to be saying "if you're getting a PSU, for all that is holy, GET MODULAR") and there were only three results, all of them 750+. Does this one sound good?

    SIRTEC EP-650S, 650W, modular, 13.5cm fan, active PFC

    Or this one:

    COOLER MASTER GM Series G550M, 550W, 120mm, RS550-AMAAB1-EU

    Not intending to do SLI/Crossfire. (That's when you use two GPUs in parallel, right?) I hear you don't get much performance gain (25-50%) even though you pay double. I can barely afford one good GPU.

    Why is that? I've searched for a review for RX 480 and it said that it's pretty much equivalent to the GTX 970, and can surpass it when overclocked (which I don't intend to do). They're also in the same league price-wise. I assume GTX 1060 is going to be less expensive than the rest of the 1000 series (1080 and 1070), but from what I've seen so far about 1080 and 1070, they're both way, way too expensive for me, completely ruled out. Even if the GTX 1060 going to be around $500, it's still ruled out.

    Apparently Photoshop can use all 6 cores (source 1, source 2), though not all of the time. I've frequently run into all sorts of bottlenecks with Photoshop, ranging from insufficient RAM, full scratch disks, and processing so slow that I had to wait for a document to save/load or for a transformation to apply so much that I could make myself a coffee until it was done. Tho' that's understandable given my current specs. It's a tool I use every week at least, or several hours a day for a couple of weeks when I get really busy. And for my kind of work (texturing) I go crazy with the number of layers.

    I haven't found conclusive results for 3ds Max, though. As for CAD I'm going by hearsay.

    Okay. TBH I was initially planning to buy the SSD according to whichever is cheapest. Does brand name/model matter here? I mean, it's just storage. How wrong can it go?

    Dang. So I do need coolers. I thought it was just something you added when overclocking. Thanks for the recommendations.
     
  8. Innomine

    Innomine Unspeakable Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Two things, firstly, "it's just storage, how wrong can it go?" think about that statement for a second. Ever had a hard drive fail on you, with all your important information on it? Trust me, you don't want that happening. Storage is one thing you want to absolutely make sure you do right. The brands/modesl Sacro recommended are good.

    Secondly, you do not need a cooler. I wouldn't worry about it at all, I never bothered with anything but the stock cooler and I haven't had a single problem.
     
  9. Damask

    Damask Seventh Year

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    Hah. No. Not even a USB. Probably that's why I'm unduly dismissive of that. I noticed that Samsung SSDs are a bit expensive, that's why I was wondering.

    But yeah, you're right, better safe than sorry.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2016
  10. KaiDASH

    KaiDASH High Inquisitor DLP Supporter

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    Do you have some shops you're likely to buy from? Makes it easier to price things out.
     
  11. Damask

    Damask Seventh Year

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    One so far, but their stock isn't as full as I'd like, and if I search more I might find lower prices somewhere. I have an Excel document with the list of components I want to buy and their prices, and so far it looks like it's about $1750 for the more expensive build.
     
  12. KaiDASH

    KaiDASH High Inquisitor DLP Supporter

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    For the main parts (cpu / motherboard / ram) I'd recommend something like this: http://pcpartpicker.com/list/sJ8qYJ

    You don't need a K series processor if you're not overclocking, and the enthusiast tier 2011-3 platform is also unnecessary. We'll split the difference and get you a i7 6700 so if you need it, you'll have hyperthreading.

    I'll also note that because of it's higher turbo boost speed, the 6700 performs similarly to the 5820k in most multi-threaded applications and better in single threaded apps.(link)

    This saves you money on the processor, cpu cooler (the 5820k does not come with one), motherboard (as you can get a cheaper mainstream board) and ram (as 2011-3 should have a quad channel kit, which costs slightly more than the equivalent amount of ram in dual channel). This is a partlist for a 5820k build, which is almost $250 usd more for largely minor gains.

    Then filled out with your other needs (psu, gfx card etc) you'll end up with something like this http://pcpartpicker.com/list/KBKLD8 which if you were out buying tomorrow would be great.

    If you don't need so much graphics grunt (which from your story it seems you may not) something like a GTX 950 or R9 380 would serve you well and be very up-gradable in future if you do need more power.
     
  13. Damask

    Damask Seventh Year

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    Thanks. Didn't know there were websites that could check compatibility between parts and tell you the wattage requirements for each build. Might've spared you guys the questions. :)

    One question: in your final suggested build, the memory cards are DDR4 2666 whereas the motherboard supports the DDR4 2133 memory type. Is that not an issue?

    Can you please explain this one? I'm sorry, I'm very very new to all this stuff and, while I'm trying to google what I can, I haven't the foggiest how to google this one.

    Okay, so quad-core it will be. Glad to hear the i7 6700 has a CPU cooler included, one less component for me to worry about. Also glad I don't have to buy the 2011-v3 motherboard, it was an unwanted expenditure anyway. When does turbo speed kick in?

    Also, is the whole thing future-proof enough? Or, to ask this another way, how many and which components am I going to have to upgrade?
     
  14. KaiDASH

    KaiDASH High Inquisitor DLP Supporter

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    ah, yeah.

    The h170 chipset will limit you to a ram speed of 2133, regardless of how fast the ram you buy is rated for. So change that out for a DDR4-2133 kit.

    Socket 2011-3 supports quad channel ram, so for optimal performance you want to use a quad channel kit. You can use a dual channel kit, but there's no reason to when the price difference is so small.

    Turbo boost takes effect any time your cpu is under load, and increases your cpu speed to suit your current workload.

    The cpu, in terms of raw power, will be fine. The rate that intel improves their cpu's is quite slow: From 2011 to now (at the same clock speed), there has only been a 25-35% increase in performance and realistically the older chips are still plenty fast.

    You may find you want more ram, but that's a cheap upgrade.

    Graphics cards improve at a much faster rate, so you may need to upgrade there depending on what you buy now and your needs for it.
     
  15. Sacro

    Sacro Seventh Year

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    Never heard of Sirtec, so I'd personally avoid that one. The GM550 is pretty good, the Evga that Kaidash linked should also be pretty good. Some other recommendations would be the Seasonic G-series, be quiet! Straight Power 10 series, Superflower Leadex Gold series, and the Corsair RMX series.

    To make it short: From the advertised 4GB of VRAM on the 970, only 3.5GB are connected with full speed. The other 0.5GB are much much slower, which can reduce performance if they're needed. Besides, you can get the 8GB model of the RX480 for the same price (or even cheaper) as a 970, so why get a card that has 3.5GB VRAM instead of 8GB?

    As for the 1060, it's rumored to be unveiled on the 7th, so if that'll hold true there'll be more information then. It certainly will be cheaper than a 1070, but if it'll be cheaper than a RX480 remains to be seen. Like with the RX480, I'd also recommend to wait for custom models for it though.

    @Innomine
    Some new CPU's from Intel come without a cooler, such as the i5 6600K, i7 6700K and of course all the socket 2011-3 chips. So if you buy one of those, you do need to also buy a cooler, since there isn't one included.
     
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