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Author Topic: Building a single purpose gaming pc? UPDATE - Built!  (Read 1191 times)
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Teggy
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« on: December 27, 2011, 10:50:03 PM »

So, I am thinking of building a PC, but it would be strictly for gaming. I was even thinking I could get away with building it without a DVD player and just use Steam, but I figure I will have to get an OS on it somehow.

I figure I will need
Case
Power supply
Mobo
Processor
USB card
Wireless/network card
DVD drive

The idea would be to build as frugally as possible so I could have high performance on games like SWTOR now, but be able to swap out upgrades over time.

Any good guides people can recommend? Any pieces I am missing? Any features I need to build in at the start (crossfire)?

Thanks!
« Last Edit: January 02, 2012, 09:17:38 PM by Teggy » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2011, 11:09:29 PM »

You can download windows to a USB stick and install it that way, no DVD drive needed.  You don't have a hard drive or video card listed.  I don't see the need for the USB card since the motherboard will have plenty of USB ports unless you want to get USB 3.0 right away.  You might want to add a CPU fan other than the one that will come with the CPU, I like the CoolerMaster hyper 212 for around $25-30.

I just upgraded my PC due to a faulty mother board and I was happy that I had another Coolermaster product, the HAF 932 full size case that made swapping out the full sized ATX format board quite easy.  I'll list the things I upgraded to but this wasn't a budget build by any means nor was it top of the line stuff.  Still waiting for the new video cards to arrive using the smaller die process, will upgrade the card then.

New stuff
Intel i5-2500K CPU
ASUS P8Z68-V/Gen 3 motherboard
Crucial M4 256GB SSD
8 GB Crucial DDR3 RAM
CoolerMaster Hyper 212 CPU cooler (p.s. the fan comes with thermal grease so unless you really want Arctic Silver paste you won't have to buy any extra)
Windows 7 home premium

Fast booting system with the SSD and all but really unnecessary for gaming as a rule, probably not worth the expense at the moment.


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Teggy
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« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2011, 11:51:46 PM »

Oh yeah, HDD, video card and RAM. LOL.
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« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2011, 11:52:12 PM »

Case:
Get a large case. I have an Antec 300 and with a EVGA 560TI 448 Cores Classified it's tight (570 performance, 570 size). GPUs are long these days and CPU coolers can be large.

PS:
Get a higher wattage (520W min) from a GOOD Brand. Seasonic is a good brand pretty much across the line. Other companies can be spotty. Read a review of your choice before buying. If you ever plan on SLI/Crossfire, get a 750W+. Good is better than higher wattage.

Mobo:
Considering you said frugal, skip Intel and go with AMD. Get a 990fx or a 990x, this will let you go SLI/Crossfire later if you really really want. I have the Asus Sabertooth 990fx (~$190) and it's a very nice board. The Asus M5A99x (~$150) is also good along with the 970 based board as well (which unofficially supports CrossFire). If you do decide to go Intel, its much more expensive in the scheme of things and the money is better spent on the GPU anyway. Yes, you're going to read loads of system build guides that say go Intel and then put a cheaper GPU in as a result. Don't do this. Take the money you save on AMD and get a better GPU.

Processor:
Again, frugal = AMD = Phenom II. Their new processors (FX series) aren't as good and are priced accordingly. I have a Phenom II X4 955, the 965 is more popular, faster, and not much more expensive. The Phenom II X6 1100T is also a good choice, though the FX hex core is probably a better option (for the cost). Most older games are single threaded, so buy the fastest clock speed you can afford factoring in any 'Turbo' mode. A faster clock speed quad core will be faster in games than a slower clock speed hex core.

USB Card:
You won't need one. The 990fx boards have USB 3.0.

Wireless/NIC card:
If you must have Wireless, any N card will work. Then again, I wouldn't use wireless.

DVD Drive:
I'd get a blu-ray drive just to play movies on the computer. It's not that much more, but BUY A RETAIL package. OEM drives lack the player software, which will run you $100. Kinda defeats the purpose.

Three other things you left off.

First, get good RAM. Corsair has always treated me well and I just bought 8GB of their Vengeance LP. Get Low Profile, it may be a little more expensive, but it won't interfere with the CPU cooler.

Second, don't bother with SLI or Crossfire at the start. At the pace GPUs are replaced, your $1000 SLI setup is about as good as a $500 single card in 6 months anyway. Now, in a year or two (or three) you can just pickup a second card and get a nice performance boost on a cheaper card.

Third and the most important part of a gaming computer, the GPU. If you must have AMD, I don't know what to tell you. The 7970 looks nice, but its new and crazy expensive. Get a GeForce 560TI or higher.
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Teggy
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« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2011, 05:06:25 PM »

Here's my first swat at it (sorry for formatting, I'm working on my phone). DVD drive was free so I just went with that.  Any thoughts?

1   
Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 3.5" SATA 6.0Gb/s Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Item #:N82E16822136769
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
$109.99
1   
MSI 22X Internal Burner Black IDE Model DH-22AP
Item #:N82E16827100057
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
$24.99
1   
EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti FPB (Fermi) 01G-P3-1561-AR Video Card
Item #:N82E16814130604
Return Policy: VGA Standard Return Policy
$249.99
1   
AMD Phenom II X4 960T 3.0GHz Socket AM3 Quad-Core Desktop Processor
Item #:N82E16819103995
Return Policy: CPU Replacement Only Return Policy
$124.99
$109.99
1   
CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply
Item #:N82E16817139006
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
$139.99
$129.99
1   
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory
Item #:N82E16820231314
Return Policy: Memory Standard Return Policy
$43.99
1   
BIOSTAR TA990FXE ATX AMD Motherboard
Item #:N82E16813138341
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
$129.99
1   
Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Computer Case
Item #:N82E16811129066
Return Policy: Limited Replacement Only Return Policy
$69.99
Grand Total:   $843.93
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« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2011, 05:51:40 PM »

It's not a gaming rig without an SSD as at least the boot drive.  World of difference.
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Teggy
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« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2011, 06:16:16 PM »

Is there an actual benefit outside the speed of boot up?
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« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2011, 06:37:28 PM »

Yes. IO access. Think about your swap memory, etc.

The slowest thing in your PC is drive dependence.
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« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2011, 08:34:40 PM »

Quote from: Teggy on December 28, 2011, 06:16:16 PM

Is there an actual benefit outside the speed of boot up?

Not really. Yes, an SSD will decrease load times. Unless you've got a 580/590GTX as the video card, it's better to get a faster video card than invest in a SSD. Assuming $850 is your budget, it's going to mean moving from a 500GB drive to a 60GB drive without decreasing something else. Personally, I'll take the extra storage over speed. As a separate note, swap isn't really used on a computer, definitely not when playing a game. A 32-bit application can address 2GB of ram (4GB if it's large address aware). With 8GB of RAM, you're well within the limit where you need to worry about swap. Looking at task manager right now, I've got 4.5GB of 8GB ram free.

I'd make two changes. First, drop the WD Blue drive and upgrade to a Samsung Spinpoint. It saves you $30 and gives better performance. You lose the DVD burner, but if you still need one there's a Samsung (Newegg N82E16827151233 ) for $18. Second, Take the $30 and add $10 and move to a 560 TI 448 Cores (EVGA part  012-P3-2066-KR ). 570 GTX performance for $40 more. As a caveat,  the 560TI 448 cores is a "limited" run part, so you probably won't be able to SLI it in the future.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2011, 08:45:15 PM by Calavera » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2011, 03:42:48 AM »

As a gaming rig (only) I agree. The only thing the SSD will help with is level (and potentially) game loading. The OS itself will also be able to function faster, based on IO calls. The only FPS benefit I've been able to dig up is that if you have an IO intensive background app (such as a full system scan from antivirus) decides to kick off, it won't tank your frames.

Still, with a 64GB SSD and a 1TB drive, and using mklink /j, you could first install to the SSD and move out larger folders.
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Teggy
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« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2011, 04:23:53 AM »

Thanks for the input. I think for now I'll just go with the one drive and I can always upgrade with an ssd later. Also, at least on Newegg, the 7200 rpm Samsung drive is the same price as the WD.  I'm wondering if it will be most cost effective to go 560 now and go SLI when a good deal comes around. I still have to add another $100 for windows.
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« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2012, 09:22:44 PM »

Phew! I did it! Powered up on the first try even. I think the most nerve wracking part was understanding what needed to be plugged into the power supply and what needed to be plugged in to the motherboard.  The only place I got tripped up was when I realized the free DVD drive I got was IDE only. That was easily solved with a trip to Best Buy.

My only question (for now) is about the fans. My case has 4 fans - top and rear and 2 "optional" fans in the front. My motherboard supports 2 case fans (+ the CPU fan), so I plugged in the top and rear fans. The power supply (at least out of the box) doesn't support the fan connectors. How would I run those extra fans? Does it even matter?
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« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2012, 10:02:48 PM »

Quote from: Teggy on January 02, 2012, 09:22:44 PM

Phew! I did it! Powered up on the first try even. I think the most nerve wracking part was understanding what needed to be plugged into the power supply and what needed to be plugged in to the motherboard.  The only place I got tripped up was when I realized the free DVD drive I got was IDE only. That was easily solved with a trip to Best Buy.

My only question (for now) is about the fans. My case has 4 fans - top and rear and 2 "optional" fans in the front. My motherboard supports 2 case fans (+ the CPU fan), so I plugged in the top and rear fans. The power supply (at least out of the box) doesn't support the fan connectors. How would I run those extra fans? Does it even matter?

Congrats on the build!

For the fans, you can get a 3-pin to 4-pin adapter if you want to hook up the two front fans. I'm actually kind of surprised they included 3pin fans with the case, Antec usually includes 4 pin Tri-Cool fans. Personally, I'd suggest taking one of the front fans and mounting it on the side-panel blowing into the case. The side intake is designed to blow directly on the video card, where as the front fans are designed to help cool the HDs. It's funny that the Newegg details doesn't list the 120MM side intake...
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« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2012, 04:46:57 AM »

Since its been about a year since I built this PC I thought I would update with the changes I've made since then:

1. NZXT Sentry Mesh fan controller - I needed something to control my 4 fans. There were lots of crazy looking options, but this low tech option (5 sliders) does the job.

2. Actiontec MyWireless wireless HDMI / XBOX 360 wireless receiver - if I want to play on the big screen I can.

3. EVGA GeForce GTX 660 Ti - not really the smartest upgrade for my 2GB 560 Ti, but somehow it wound up in my cart, and it came with Borderlands 2. I still need to sell the old card.

4. AMD FX8320 - hoping this one will last me a while and put me closer in line with some of the i5-2500k builds. I thought I would see some improvement in Guild Wars 2 with this, but seems about the same as with the Phenom II.

5. Crucial M4 256GB SSD - hopefully installing this tomorrow.  I deleted a bunch of games and should able to move my entire drive over.

At that I think I should be done with upgrades for a while as long as my willpower holds out   icon_confused
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« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2012, 11:13:05 PM »

With your system, my strategy would be to focus on 'fast enough' for the cpu... amd's are good, but they just aren't super competitive on the high end of things, at least in raw performance... and spend more money on the GPU, where you can absolutely make a difference.

The 660ti is a good gpu to go with. It's the lowest tier of the 'performance' range of the 600 series, and practically speaking, going up in tiers to the 670 and 680 units, only nets you approx 5% or so on performance with each step. (varies depending on game, resolution, and eye candy).

The crucial m4 is a nice choice for the ssd. It's not the fastest beast in the woods, but it's in there, and there haven't been any significant issues I can remember cropping up with those.

Which OS? Are you planning to make the SSD your boot/system drive?

Atomic
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« Reply #15 on: November 24, 2012, 11:48:34 PM »

It's Windows 7. I successfully migrated my boot drive over to the SSD, although there were some stumbles. It's super fast from the password entry to everything ready to go - really nice.
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« Reply #16 on: November 24, 2012, 11:53:15 PM »

http://www.elpamsoft.com/?p=SSD-Tweaker

You'll want that. Especially since you didnt directly install to the SSD, it will set a bunch of things for you that you might want to/ought to already be set, if you had, in order to optimize windows to run on the ssd.

(also stuff there that windows wouldn't set on its own)

Atomic

You can do it manually if you like, but there's not a lot of reason to.

Btw, with 8 gigs of memory online, and I assume 64bit windows 7, you could turn off your pagefile completely and never miss it, unless you use some particularly huge piece of software that needs large blocks of memory... think photoshop.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2012, 11:56:19 PM by TheAtomicKid » Logged
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« Reply #17 on: November 25, 2012, 12:36:02 AM »

Quote from: Teggy on November 24, 2012, 11:48:34 PM

It's Windows 7. I successfully migrated my boot drive over to the SSD, although there were some stumbles. It's super fast from the password entry to everything ready to go - really nice.

just wait until you need to boot a PC with a regular hard drive now.  it'll be painful biggrin
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« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2012, 03:11:33 PM »

Oops, I slipped again. TigerDirect was selling my video card for a silly low price + a copy of ACIII (the overclocked 660 Ti was cheaper than the standard 660 Ti - don't know if it was a mistake or what) so I will be going SLI. Figure that will keep me future-proofed for quite a while.

But now I am done! I swear!
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