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New to PC Building... Help!


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#1
Morg

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Hello, FA. For a while I've been thinking of building a PC as my next upgrade from my aging laptop. However, I'm completely new to the process and was wondering if I could gain any feedback/tips.

 

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/tZMDTW is my current goal. I've got a Win8.1 code already, as well as all peripherals (may want to buy a 2nd monitor + an SSD later on).

 

I would be using my computer to:

  • Play + stream/record GW2 and other games (hoping to future-proof a bit)
  • Video editing/rendering
  • Normal student activities

Should I aim for lower/higher specs, any serious flaws? Thanks!

 

Edit: am poor college student skimping where possible makes my wallet hurt less


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#2
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Morg, please list your budget and what you already have. Because that is not the best choice. I can help you with everything and pretty sure Higgins can too.

 

 

What I mean by list what you have already is , like cd drive HDD, maybe a case so on and so forth. If you do not then just list budget.


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#3
Faulty Krew

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Btw , try this  http://pcpartpicker.com/p/cPJGNG


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#4
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Partswise, nothing. Budget is 600-850 USD

 

Edit: looks pretty solid budgetwise, I wasn't sure of i5's generation differences after Ivy Bridge or of graphics cards in general. SSD is certainly something I've been looking to pick up, but I might buy later so I can get my machine assembled asap. Trying to play on my current setup makes me want to vomit lol


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#5
Valor Zhinsin

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when I built my first rig I made some  basic mistakes.  The first mistake I brought a package deal . The case, motherbroad and power supply together.  that means I  saved  money  but I built on hidden problems.   You can not go wrong with a oversize case and  power supply that is more then you need.  motherbroad was a unknow bland too.  and that all gave me problems down the road.  You a gamer that  means you need a good video card that you can afford.   So take your time and read up

           be very careful unpacking you stuff  you will have to save the boxes and the packiing for a while.                                       Vic Zhinsin


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#6
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           be very careful unpacking you stuff  you will have to save the boxes and the packiing for a while.                                       Vic Zhinsin

 

Yep keep all the boxes and invoices for a bit. 

 

Definitely go SSD for your boot drive, and buy a large regular drive 2tb-5tb is good for games and other files.

 

If you get an SSD that's big enough you can put all your favorite games on it. GW2 loads MUCH faster on SSD.

 

I can show you how to deal with Steam games and trick some of them to be in another folder(ie. on the ssd).



#7
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So z97 mobo + i5/i7 "K" series is really whats important and of course the vid card.  Just a bit of future proofing really.


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#8
Anvil Pants

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To do a separation of "boot drive" and "other drive" (meaning, Windows and its essential parts on one disk, and everything else on another disk), you'll have to fuck with Windows configuration more than you're used to. Here are the instructions for what you'll have to do. In the same way, you'd also need to change the location for user profile directories (which contain all manner of files that get made in the name of the currently logged in user, including "My Documents" and all that). This could lead to unwanted fun in a year or three. Some of us would happily do it, come what may.

 

Anything less than those two steps, however, is not a separation of "boot" from "other", and anything less than the above will fill the suggested 120GB SSD before the end of your PC's life, because Windows updates and personal files alone would fill 120GB fairly quickly in absence of geek-level maintenance.

 

Then you'll also hit the fact that while putting Windows alone on an SSD will indeed make Windows boot and run faster, Windows is not the slowest and most disk-drive intensive software that you'll install: your games, movies, and downloads (read: "likely everyday use") are. Which is to say that doing the separation will not make GW2 load and play noticeably faster. The separation will make Windows boot very fast, run faster on average, and that puts Windows in a position to hurry up and wait for GW2.exe to read files from the slower disk, because the slower disk will be a bottleneck when GW2.exe wants to load 1 or more GB of highest-resolution textures into memory (RAM) when you log in, switch maps, or start rendering 70 specular Charr simultaneously.

 

If lightning-fast boot times are not a priority for you, then forget about the Solid State Drive disk for now (cuz newbie hassle and storage constraints on your budget), and buy two or more traditional HDD instead. Try for >= 10,000 RPM motors on both HDD (that's how fast the disk spins), and confirm that HDD, motherboard, and cables are all SATA 6.0Gbps rating (that's how fast data travels from disk to RAM).

 

Don't do the Windows Registry thing to get a full separation between "boot" and "other". Instead, make the boot disk 1 to 2TB and the other disk >= 2TB. Then, when you install things like GW2, you just tell the installer to put it on the "other" disk. When you set up Steam, the first thing you do is make a setting for its "Steam Library" default location, and that goes on the "other" drive. Etc.

 

You don't have to trick Steam, when you tell it to use non-default library location before you install the game(s) you want to be there.

 

f49Icuu.png

 

The goal is simply to have Disk B (the "other" disk) tasked only with reading data for the game you're playing, while Disk A (the "boot" disk) does whatever the fuck it does. That's the fact that leads to improved performance. Neither has to be an SSD to make that a fact. If you were purposing a single SSD in a position for maximum performance improvement, you'd put it in as Disk B, so that your software runs faster, not Disk A. The next improvement would be to have both disks be SSD.

 

Also note that, quite relevant to the earlier warning about changing "program files" and "user profiles" locations, then trying to upgrade Windows and installed software on top of that, whether you install Windows 7 or 8 today, you're getting Windows 10 for free later.

 

Today's Windows 7 Profesional 64-bit sits at about 40GB after catching it up on patches. I have a 4-year used system that sits at 300GB filled. The 300GB could be lower if I wanted to try harder. And fuck... who knows what Windows 10 as an upgrade to 7 or 8 will look like on disk? You can bet that they won't fully account for rare non-standard configurations, though.

 

When you're done, remember that there's always a honeymoon period with new PCs, just like "new car smell", where everything runs faster than on your old machine, not just due to new and faster hardware, but also due to software not yet having had time to shit all over the file system (then smear it on the walls and draw ASCII penises in it).


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Cunticulum Vagae
 

10/2015 to Present - FA - Legendary PvF Keep Lord and BOMB-funded mercenary.

 

7/2015 to 10/2015 - Mag - Bae is gae pass it on.
 
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10/2012 to End of Time - #1 pug NA


#9
Anvil Pants

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Starting from scratch, replacing a laptop, the builds haven't included a complete peripheral set. Here's where I took it. To bring it back down to near or at budget, next pass would look at the graph at the bottom, looking for replacements for all the parts that shot up in price c. January 20th.

 

Something Faulty did (which is a good move on budget) was to exclude any separate CPU heatsink/fan assembly. An un-used boxed CPU will come with a heatsink/fan (HSF) (and probably thermal paste) in the package. If the packaged HSF has a pad of thermal paste already applied, don't add more. That would likely create bubbles which trap heat, and the two pastes may not be made from the same materials.

 

Original build has a WiFi card included. I take that choice to mean that as a college student, you're bound to campus or roommate WiFi. When that changes, the motherboard has a wired ethernet port built in (they usually do, these days).

 

In a tight budget, take a RAM upgrade before an SSD, and deal with the slower boot and program starts. Trust the fact that it starts slower but idles at a higher speed than it would have without the additional RAM.

 

A pure gaming PC choice (ideal over budget) would have SSD, and HDD spinning at 10,000 RPM. The budget choice is 7,200 RPM, no SSD. But if you don't take more than 8GB of RAM, you're really going to feel the absence of the SSD, because RAM will fill up and Windows will swap data frequently.

 

Original build had RAM as DDR3-1600, and Faulty's is DDR3-1866. The "-XXXX" is indicating data throughput. I agree with Faulty, and would fill the board with it (all 4 slots). Even on a budget, if possible. This particularly because Morg wants to record gameplay. That's a CPU and RAM heavy process; even if you offload the video capture process to the GPU card, because I don't think that the data can avoid passing through system RAM to get to the HDD. When the software says "direct from the video card" and talks about doing processing on the GPU and in the Video RAM (VRAM), that's fine, and can be good or bad depending on how awesome the video card is. Regardless, there will be a point at which the processing goes to CPU, data goes to RAM, and numbers get crunched there to finish the job.


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Cunticulum Vagae
 

10/2015 to Present - FA - Legendary PvF Keep Lord and BOMB-funded mercenary.

 

7/2015 to 10/2015 - Mag - Bae is gae pass it on.
 
12/2014 to 7/2015 - FA - Shoutbox hero, and Bunzy's reason to wake up every day.
 
11/2014 - YB - Volunteer companion and errand runner at the Veteran's Affairs retirement community. Savior of the PvF Forum.
 
10/2014 to 11/2014 - JQ - LOL TIER 1 GVG GUISE
 
07/2014 to 09/2014 - SoS - Freelance saltminer of internal forum drama.
 
07/2013 to 06/2014 - DB - Destroyer of Anvil Rock, and Official Asshole of Dragonbrand.
 
10/2012 to 06/2013 - AR - Democratically Elected Grand and Progressive Arch Battlepope of The Anvil Rock Defender's Alliance. Abuser of character model culling, veil, portal, confusion, and Lyssa rune, as frontline Mesmer zergdog trash map-queueing pugmander.
 
10/2012 to End of Time - #1 pug NA


#10
Morg

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<snip>

Over the years, I discovered I truly hate laptops! I've already purchased a standalone monitor, keyboard, and mouse thankfully. I'm truthfully not sure if I need a WiFi card. My campus housing usually includes ethernet ports, but I've had trouble getting my computer onto the ethernet network in the past. Our current set-up process requires you to go on an unsecured WiFi network (?!?) to register into the secure WiFi network, to then register your computer over Ethernet via some bullshit program.

 

Question - does having a second HDD matter a lot? I would most likely purchase a single HDD to start, and look to add in another at a later date when I've got additional funds. And just to be sure, I don't need any additional fans?

 

Thanks everyone who's responding, my IRL buddies have all bought their computers from places like iBuyPower and I really didn't want to do pre-mades... I've heard a lot of bad stuff about that, and most of them have had problems so it's certainly not anecdotal


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#11
Anvil Pants

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You can get away with one HDD. You can also get away with 8GB RAM instead of 16. Each part dropped in this way simply reduces what you'll be able to do simultaneously, including whether or not recording at 720p or higher will be possible. Pare it down too far, and you wont even be recording 420p.

 

The second HDD is nearly essential for recording, and in that case you want the game on Disk A and the video recorder output going to Disk B, so that the drive that reads game files isn't seeking data while the drive that records video is constantly trying to write somewhere else.

 

This is as far down as I would take it, with planning to not record. The price history shows that the part list can possibly be tweaked down to ~$600.

 

You might get away with 20 FPS 420p recording through Overwolf, which bundles a working recorder (possibly the only good part of the program, until they try to "improve" it). For performance (impact on game FPS and input response) it beat the lowest-end settings for Open Broadcaster on one of my potatoes. It won't be publishable, but it will be legible for review. You probably won't be streaming from your campus network, anyway.

 

This would be my goal, again looking for like-kind alternatives to hit ~$800.

 

You could tweak the bare minimum option down to ~$600, and use price drop alerts to bargain shop the rest of the build.


Cunticulum Vagae
 

10/2015 to Present - FA - Legendary PvF Keep Lord and BOMB-funded mercenary.

 

7/2015 to 10/2015 - Mag - Bae is gae pass it on.
 
12/2014 to 7/2015 - FA - Shoutbox hero, and Bunzy's reason to wake up every day.
 
11/2014 - YB - Volunteer companion and errand runner at the Veteran's Affairs retirement community. Savior of the PvF Forum.
 
10/2014 to 11/2014 - JQ - LOL TIER 1 GVG GUISE
 
07/2014 to 09/2014 - SoS - Freelance saltminer of internal forum drama.
 
07/2013 to 06/2014 - DB - Destroyer of Anvil Rock, and Official Asshole of Dragonbrand.
 
10/2012 to 06/2013 - AR - Democratically Elected Grand and Progressive Arch Battlepope of The Anvil Rock Defender's Alliance. Abuser of character model culling, veil, portal, confusion, and Lyssa rune, as frontline Mesmer zergdog trash map-queueing pugmander.
 
10/2012 to End of Time - #1 pug NA


#12
Faenix Shaia

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Hmm, good advice all around so far. I built my GW2 rig just before the early starter period of Aug 2012 and it still performs above average for it's age. If you want to future proof - always a tough call - then from Anvil's post for the ~$800 mark that would be a great place to work from.

 

Anvil, not sure 16gb is necessary though - perhaps something to upgrade to down the road if required - may be a 750W psu, 240/256gb SSD (sub $100) now and a 2TB for storage. Personally would stick to WD though, Seagate is uhm...not my friend when it comes to reliability.

 

Not sure about the Asrock board if future proofing is the goal - no SLI or Crossfire support. However, who needs multi-gpu setups when you're a poor student, heh  ;) If it is a concern would look at an MSi mobo - notoriously good quality for a reasonable amount of money. ASUS...oh wait, poor student, nuff said.



#13
Anvil Pants

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Anvil, not sure 16gb is necessary though - perhaps something to upgrade to down the road if required - may be a 750W psu, 240/256gb SSD (sub $100) now and a 2TB for storage. Personally would stick to WD though, Seagate is uhm...not my friend when it comes to reliability.

 

16GB RAM on a multi-purpose gaming machine isn't something you work toward, unless you have to or don't know why not to play it that way.
 
 
SuD8lKO.png
 
AcolIn1.png
 
 
I boot into 3-4GB of RAM consumed, and that's where I idle until I work or play. I idle 6-9GB when doing shit, and have unintentionally pushed it into 14GB or so, but that's very rare. It would be less rare for someone doing video recording of gameplay, and then video editing, audio mixing, and rendering.

 

A fresh Windows 7 will boot into 1.5-2.5GB of RAM consumed. Over time and as a consequence of normal use, Windows learns what to prefetch and hold in or near the RAM. That in conjunction with continuous software installs and updates leads to an ever-growing consumption of idle RAM usage for most Windows machines.
 
My idle RAM state is relatively low for the fact that my Windows 7 installation is nearly 4 years old, while only rebooting when a software installer needs it.

 

I'm also fairly strict about what programs run at boot or allow to idle. As you see above, the bulk of my RAM use is Chrome. Those RAM hungry processes are all of the sandboxes it needs to work the way it does. Every window gets a parent process. Those are the big ones at the top. Every browser tab gets a process. Those are the middle ones, usually. Every Chrome app or extension gets a process. Those are the remainder.

 

I can easily go above 8GB of RAM consumed, without ever launching a game. As do most people, and it's far more efficient (computationally and electrically) to give the extra RAM and let the data rest there, than to not give the RAM and force windows to use its HDD pagefile, instead. The extra 8GB of RAM costs the same as a few TB on HDD at purchase, but the RAM uses less electricity, is obscenely faster at delivering data to compute, and will probably outlive the same-priced HDD.

 

That's exactly why we have RAM as a PC component.

 

Not sure about the Asrock board if future proofing is the goal - no SLI or Crossfire support. However, who needs multi-gpu setups when you're a poor student, heh  ;) If it is a concern would look at an MSi mobo - notoriously good quality for a reasonable amount of money. ASUS...oh wait, poor student, nuff said.

 
Future proofing a budget build is some mixture of fine art (in choosing parts) and dumb luck (in finding exceptional deals).
 
SLI and Crossfire is best done with cards that are built for forming the connection themselves. They use their own i/o bus and controllers on board, and have a cable or ribbon included for the attachment. A motherboard packaged with "SLI/Crossfire" support is indicating that the board has that same sort of i/o controller soldered on, and it can route the data across its PCI bus. That, however, would tend to clog the PCI bus.
 
I have an ASUS board like that, which can do Crossfire between a Radeon card and an APU. That uses the PCI bus, as well. Its performance enhancement isn't discernible to the eye, and I CBA to benchmark it.


Cunticulum Vagae
 

10/2015 to Present - FA - Legendary PvF Keep Lord and BOMB-funded mercenary.

 

7/2015 to 10/2015 - Mag - Bae is gae pass it on.
 
12/2014 to 7/2015 - FA - Shoutbox hero, and Bunzy's reason to wake up every day.
 
11/2014 - YB - Volunteer companion and errand runner at the Veteran's Affairs retirement community. Savior of the PvF Forum.
 
10/2014 to 11/2014 - JQ - LOL TIER 1 GVG GUISE
 
07/2014 to 09/2014 - SoS - Freelance saltminer of internal forum drama.
 
07/2013 to 06/2014 - DB - Destroyer of Anvil Rock, and Official Asshole of Dragonbrand.
 
10/2012 to 06/2013 - AR - Democratically Elected Grand and Progressive Arch Battlepope of The Anvil Rock Defender's Alliance. Abuser of character model culling, veil, portal, confusion, and Lyssa rune, as frontline Mesmer zergdog trash map-queueing pugmander.
 
10/2012 to End of Time - #1 pug NA


#14
Morg

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Alright, so last week (or week before?) Higgins and I sat down and pieced together a build as well. I further modified it a bit (original RAM voltage exceeded 1.5V limit, mainly) http://pcpartpicker.com/p/w4v2f7

 

I'm really not sold on CPU coolers at the moment, I picked out a water cooling system for the time being but am questioning the necessity of it, if anyone's got good suggestions for CPU coolers I'm all ears. I do not trust the stock cooler at all.

 

This is going a bit above my budget, but my parents surprised me and are willing to pick up the selected case and PSU's cost for me + my tax return was apparently $90 more than I thought it would be.


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#15
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Alright, so last week (or week before?) Higgins and I sat down and pieced together a build as well. I further modified it a bit (original RAM voltage exceeded 1.5V limit, mainly) http://pcpartpicker.com/p/w4v2f7

 

I'm really not sold on CPU coolers at the moment, I picked out a water cooling system for the time being but am questioning the necessity of it, if anyone's got good suggestions for CPU coolers I'm all ears. I do not trust the stock cooler at all.

 

This is going a bit above my budget, but my parents surprised me and are willing to pick up the selected case and PSU's cost for me + my tax return was apparently $90 more than I thought it would be.

The stock cooler will last forever, but won't give you a lot of room to play with if you want to OC it. So you'll need to come up with a solution regardless.

 

Good looking build.

 

8gigs of ram is enough for most sane people. I don't have a gaming system, but more of a workstation and I have 32gigs of ram, but I run vm's and shit. 

 

GW2 doesn't go above 2gig on its own. I think it hovers around 900meg-1.6gig memory used in most cases. I haven't looked in awhile.

 

For those big zergs and all the graphics efx that come along with combos/aoe CPU and GPU mean more than the memory.



#16
Haematic

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GW2 is brutal on my CPU.

 

I just overclocked it by 30%, and I'm @ about 4.5 (per core), with my i7 ivybridge 3770k running @ about 38-45c.

 

Now I can stream and GW2 in high res, before it was choppy.

 

It still amazes me how much it relies on your CPU.... lol

 

Edit: I also have the i7 for 4k rendering when I make videos, otherwise I wouldn't advise doing it with that i5.

Edit Edit: Do liquid cooling.


Haematic - International Terrorist, Inclina Deus - Ranger

 

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#17
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GW2 is brutal on my CPU.

 

I just overclocked it by 30%, and I'm @ about 4.5 (per core), with my i7 ivybridge 3770k running @ about 38-45c.

 

Now I can stream and GW2 in high res, before it was choppy.

 

It still amazes me how much it relies on your CPU.... lol

 

Edit: I also have the i7 for 4k rendering when I make videos, otherwise I wouldn't advise doing it with that i5.

Edit Edit: Do liquid cooling.

All that AI and real people running around, needs a lot of CPU in the popular zones and in WvW.

 

Add that to all the AOE/combo spam that the GPU needs to handle....

 

GW2 is pretty hard on computers.



#18
Haematic

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All that AI and real people running around, needs a lot of CPU in the popular zones and in WvW.

 

Add that to all the AOE/combo spam that the GPU needs to handle....

 

GW2 is pretty hard on computers.

Yeah my computer is pretty "new" with updated hardware, and it still takes a beating from GW2.

 

The only thing I'm missing still is my SSD for GW2.

 

GW2 eats more of my CPU than my video rendering software when I'm rendering 4k resolution.. lol


Haematic - International Terrorist, Inclina Deus - Ranger

 

The following future subject(s) of Borlis Pass, Delune, Haematic, and Ms. Spring Sunshine, henceforth decreed to be INTERNATIONAL TERRORISTS and OUTLAWS by command of the all-seeing and glorious Borlis Authorities, have been judged guilty in absentia of committing the crime of Injustica, and are hereby condemned by law to suffer 10,000 years of unrelenting capital punishment, to be carried out by licensed agents of this Law on sight.

 

i7-3770k OC @ 4.5ghz (1.29v), GTX 980 FTW ACX2.0, (4x)4gb HyperX RAM, EVO850 SSD x2 x500gb, ASRock Z77 Extreme 4, -- 70c @ load (CPU), Air cooling with NH-D14, 35c ambient.

 

Legends Never [DIE]

Twitch - Haematic: FA Streamer
YouTube - Haematic: WvW / Roaming / PvP Videos

RIP Beaches Get [WET], Vincere Est Totum [VeT][TiN]

 

[–]QuickRain 1 point

1 month ago

Respected Commanders: Hae from DIE

 

 


#19
Faulty Krew

Faulty Krew

    Tech Support

  • FA Member
  • 747 posts
  • GW2 User ID:guppysb.8524
  • Kon Charr Castrator
  • Guild:[PVP]
  • Race:Asura
  • Class:Necromancer
Haem you should not be using x264 to record, rather use NVENC in whatever software you use, or use shadow play, you should not be lagging with the gtx670
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#20
Haematic

Haematic

    :dankbrien:

  • Guild Leader
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,678 posts
  • GW2 User ID:Haematic.4913
  • Haematic
  • Guild:[DIE]
  • Race:Human
  • Class:Warrior

Haem you should not be using x264 to record, rather use NVENC in whatever software you use, or use shadow play, you should not be lagging with the gtx670

I use a separate hardware item to record, I don't have a problem recording - only streaming live HD 1920 x 1080 on twitch.

 

LiveGamer HD http://gamerzone.ave...e/live_gamer_hd

 

 

My hardware can stream, but it streams at a lower quality, so I encode @ x264 to do the HD streaming.

 

Shadowplay is tits compared to my LiveGamer HD :P


Haematic - International Terrorist, Inclina Deus - Ranger

 

The following future subject(s) of Borlis Pass, Delune, Haematic, and Ms. Spring Sunshine, henceforth decreed to be INTERNATIONAL TERRORISTS and OUTLAWS by command of the all-seeing and glorious Borlis Authorities, have been judged guilty in absentia of committing the crime of Injustica, and are hereby condemned by law to suffer 10,000 years of unrelenting capital punishment, to be carried out by licensed agents of this Law on sight.

 

i7-3770k OC @ 4.5ghz (1.29v), GTX 980 FTW ACX2.0, (4x)4gb HyperX RAM, EVO850 SSD x2 x500gb, ASRock Z77 Extreme 4, -- 70c @ load (CPU), Air cooling with NH-D14, 35c ambient.

 

Legends Never [DIE]

Twitch - Haematic: FA Streamer
YouTube - Haematic: WvW / Roaming / PvP Videos

RIP Beaches Get [WET], Vincere Est Totum [VeT][TiN]

 

[–]QuickRain 1 point

1 month ago

Respected Commanders: Hae from DIE