25th Mar 2012 at 3:49 AM
Last edited by margonaute : 27th Mar 2012 at 7:39 PM.
Comparing a few video cards—or, um, a Vybe?—NOPE, self-build
All signs have been pointing to the Nvidia Geforce 7900 GS card on my 5ish-year-old Dell desktop failing, so I'm doing my best to be less stupid when it comes to PCs and figure out which video card to replace it with. This is a computer that I mostly only use for TS2 (all EPs), though it might be nice to try running TS3 at some point if that's possible. I'd like to spend ~$100 for the video card (I am planning to upgrade my PSU to something like this).
My current specs:
Dell XPS 410
OS: Windows XP Professional Service Pack 3
Processor: Intel Core 2 CPU 6300 @ 1.86GHz (2 CPUs)
Memory: 3070MB RAM
DirectX Version: DirectX 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)
PCI Express x1, x4, and x16 (PCI express 1.1a)
Based on some other threads here and a few hours of face-scrunching research, I'm looking at these cards (though I'm not sure if they'll be overkill considering my CPU speed):
Radeon HD 6670 (like this one)
Radeon HD 6750 (like this one)
Radeon HD 6770 (like this one)
Do these seem to be in the right neighborhood? Or would something like a Radeon HD 5550 (comme ca) be good enough, considering my CPU?
I haven't been looking much at Nvidia GPUs at the moment since I find it overwhelming enough to focus on AMD, but if someone has an Nvidia recommendation that they think makes more sense, do pass it on.
Another small question: are GPUs backwards compatible when it comes to Directx since I have Directx 9 with Windows XP?
Any advice is most welcome. Anything I'm missing? Am I way off track? There are SO MANY TABS open in my browser right now, but at least I think I'm learning?
I need other info before I express my recommendation on specific models.
- What size monitor do you have and what resolution do you use? Do you see yourself using this monitor in the next 2 years or would it need upgrading soon, too? Still VGA or an LCD?
- This upgrade means there's not going to be a new PC build/purchase in the coming years, say next year or 2? Not interested in Windows 7 or 8? If the GPU is starting to fail, wear and tear on components may mean the CPU is not far behind.
- And you're willing to spend $180 approx. on this upgrade? Are you open to say, the suggestion to put the $$$ towards a total new build? And then spend the time now to research while you build up that nest egg? Because it's better to buy components all at once, rather than piecemeal.
CPU won't support TS3. And those cards are a tad overkill for this CPU, and you'd be introducing bottlenecks with not much improvement, with that same CPU, RAM and OS.
25th Mar 2012 at 1:25 PM
Last edited by margonaute : 25th Mar 2012 at 5:43 PM.
Hm, I kind of suspected as much wrt the CPU bottlenecking...
The monitor is a 19" LCD set at 1280 x 1024, though I usually run TS2 at 1024 x 768 since that was the default for full screen mode. I'm fine with that. After considering it some more, I don't know that I'm ready to think about replacing (or heaven forbid, building!) the whole computer for some time; I do mostly use this one just for TS2. I was pretty satisfied with my play experience before my current card started dying, so for now I'd just like to get back to being able to play rather than necessarily being able to play *better*.
So it sounds like, for these limited purposes, I'd be all right with something much lower grade (for the PSU as well? Currently has the stock 375W)? Any suggestions for what series to look into?
And hey, TS3, who needs ya?
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I really am trying to be less computer-ignorant, but the world of GPUs is particularly overwhelming!
Edit: Then again, now I've wandered over to Maingear, and their Vybe SS QuickShip sounds so... quick! and painless! (also like a euphemism for a totally different kind of hardware!)
Motherboard: Intel® DP67BA Featuring USB 3.0 and SATA 6G [B3 Stepping]
Processor: Intel® CoreT i5 2320 3.0GHz/3.3GHz Turbo 6MB L3 Cache GT1
Processor Cooling: MAINGEAR Certified Intel® Retail Cooler
MAINGEAR Redline Overclocking Service: YES! - RedlineT Overclock My System!
Memory: 8GB Kingston DDR3-1333 (2x4GB)
Graphics and GPGPU Accelerator: NVIDIA® GeForceT GTX 550 Ti 1GB GDDR5 w/ PhysX [PERFORMANCE]
Power Supply: 600W Seasonic® 80+ Certified Power Supply ROHS
Hard Drive Bay One: 500GB Hitachi 7200rpm 16MB Cache SATA
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
So I guess I'm wondering if there is a quick-and-dirty GPU/PSU upgrade I could do for sub-$150, OR does the Vybe sound like a reasonable replacement (esp. in terms of expandability, e.g.)? Blerg!
Anything above that price is gonna need a new PSU.
The challenge is finding a product that is still in stock which is not too expensive or too much requirements-wise. The bottleneck is when you choose a new generation product and it is going to be throttled back to a PCIe (1.1) x16 when that product is a PCIe 2.0 16x or PCI-2.1 16x, due to the motherboard only supporting PCIe (1.1) x16. Any more powerful GPU is also not going to reach its full potential due to the CPU's horsepower.
I should point out however that the first series in the Discrete line from both AMD & Nvidia always have Yellow "Maybes" on later addons for TS2. Looking at numbers only - like streaming processor units or core processors - even the current generations' entry level discrete cards are much superior than the top line of 5 years ago, for TS2, so I think the GT520 may do you. But I have no proof personally or any youtube link to show performance or anything. You may want to research more.
If you decide to go with the GPUs you listed up there, any of the PSU brands mentioned in the sticky would be best. This http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...N82E16817139026 is another $50 or so. But personally I'm leery of spending good money on a PC that may not have much juice left. Still, it's your money, your decision.
Oh, and you'd done good on the research! I mean not many people would know to look out for the PCIe requirements.
That system looks good enough for TS3 even. Still on low-mid settings mind you, but it'll do. But wait! That price is without monitor, keyboard and mouse? Maybe a tad expensive. You can do a shopping list on newegg and compare a self-build one with that combo; just not overclocked. But having an OC'd system is sometimes more trouble if you're not inclined to tweak things yourself.
Oh, then again (yes, just checked the TS3 SysReq page) the 550 has a Yellow Maybe already. I think I read somewhere it has issues on Pets fur, but that was before some driver updates. I'm not sure of current status. You need more research as well, looks like, as the config for that vybe is for the GTX 550 Ti. If I find anything, I'll post again.
Supposing I were to look into a self-build (which, EEK, SCARY TIMES!)(but yes, learning is good too...), if I wanted to give myself the option of TS3 on higher settings, would that just involve looking into a better GPU, or something more than that?
If I'm wary now but decide to get all buildy later, would the Vybe seem like it could support decent upgrades down the line?
Keyboard and mouse I've got (I'm trying to stockpile wired mice 4-EVA); monitor I'm excited to upgrade if I do go for the whole shebang. I guess where they get you on making price concessions is the convenience factor... (But QuickShip! So quick and easy! It's like they can see my weakness!)
I just want to reiterate also how grateful I am that you've taken the time to respond to these questions. It can be so overwhelming trying to navigate all of this stuff on your own, so I really, really appreciate that there are people out there like you who are kind enough to volunteer their expertise!
I'll give the list a shot and report back! Question: does self-build necessarily mean literally putting all the components together yourself? *nervous* (But teaching myself to fish, right?)
For monitors, I was looking at this ASUS display with the Vybe. It runs ~$300, which would be the top of my monitor budget. That one I was mostly interested in for the adjustability of its stand and the fact that it seemed like it might entice me to do some of my architectural modeling/rendering stuff at home instead of work (<--- which, I realize, would potentially open up a whole 'nother can of worms as far as computer specs go; but I don't intend to do much of that on my home machine so don't plan to make that sort of capability a focus for this). But I'm flexible on monitors as well.
Self-building is scary at first, but it really isn't all that tough, and if you get stuck on something, the internet has guides and videos and all sorts of instructions and diagrams for every step. Don't sweat it too hard - you seem to have a few brain cells to rub together, so I'm sure you can handle it.
ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
HITACHI HDS721050CLA362 (0F10381) 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
EVGA 01G-P3-1460-KR GeForce GTX 560 (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
SIIG IC-710012-S2 7.1 Channels PCI Interface SoundWave
Antec EarthWatts EA-650 GREEN 650W ATX12V v2.3 SLI Ready CrossFire Certified 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply
Model #:EA-650 Green
Kingston HyperX Blu 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 Desktop Memory Model KHX1333C9D3B1K2/8G
Intel Core i5-2320 Sandy Bridge 3.0GHz (3.3GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2000 ...
$189.99 (Further research!: PassMark shows Intel Core i5-2450 as better performance/value for $10 more, so that seems like a good swap.)
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM
ARCTIC COOLING ACFZ11-LP 92mm Fluid Dynamic Freezer 11 LP Intel CPU Cooler for Power Users
Missing from this list:
—mobo is out of stock at both newegg and tigerdirect, but the latter suggested ECS P67H2-A2 Black Deluxe Motherboard as an alternative.
$79.99 after rebate
—and a case, which I'm mostly just futzing about, comparing aesthetics; but let's say $40-$100ish? Perhaps the Antec Three Hundred Two ($69.99) or the Bitfenix Outlaw ($54.99). Then again these($109.99) two($101.99) Fractal Design cases are awfully pretty.
—monitor: I think this ASUS one looks good for $199.99
Some other things I wasn't sure about but just picked:
the CPU cooling
the difference between the various GTX 560/560 Ti models
the ethernet adapter
Thoughts? Adding it all up (assuming I chose reasonably) it looks like it's coming to ~$900-960 sans monitor.
[ETA: Thanks, HP. Let's hope so! If I do go through with it, maybe building a computer will help make up for the inadequacy I feel when it comes to knowing anything about cars?]
It's my own personal totally subjective opinion that you should stay away from Hitachi hard drives. I like the Samsung Spinpoint series myself.
The Nvidia GTX 560 you chose and a Radeon 6870 offer similar performance, but the 6870 is cheaper by $20. They are both perfectly good choices so either works, but just wanted to point that out in case you wanted to do something else with the money.
Difference between GTX 560 and GTX 560 Ti:
GTX560 Ti = 384 shader cores
GTX560 = 336 shader cores
Did you specifically want a sound card? These days you can skip buying a dedicated one since it provides near zero framerate benefit and onboard (integrated on motherboard) sound is just fine for stereo or 5.1 gaming.
I don't know about that CPU cooler, haven't heard of it before but will look up on it later when I have time.
Out of all your pieces, your case is the one that's most likely to last the longest. Screws sizes, bay size conventions and motherboard size conventions don't change that fast, been practically the same for the past 15 years. So to me it makes most sense to invest in a good case. It makes installation a pleasure, you'll be sure to have enough room for your video card (it REALLY sucks when you can't use the card you want just because it won't fit) and your ventilation will be ok. I use a CoolerMaster CM II advanced myself and I love it. As for your suggestions, Anandtech is great site and I trust their reviews. If they say its a good buy go for it.
Once you've got all your pieces chosen just two more things I'd suggest you check: Does your case place its power supply on the bottom or the at the top? If its at the bottom you should get an appropriate power supply since you'll have to flip a standard one upside down and it'll make installation awkward (but doable in any case). Also make sure you have enough room in the case you choose for the video card you choose. Cards these days can get quite long (11inches+) and depends on manufacturer, just make sure the case has room and the placing on the motherboard doesn't block any slots (like PCIe or RAM) you want to use.
I'm just blowing off steam and delaying having to deal with something else, procrastinator extraordinaire - that's me! Plus I don't mind helping out when someone has shown they have done some research on their own as you have, so you're very welcome. And yes, I've drooled over Fractal casings for a long time, too!
Append the ID#s below to the end of this URL to view the wishlists. Just the digits in bold.
ID= 19956526 Maingear's Vybe S configuration as a basis $855 vs vybe's $1,199 (excluding shipping and other taxes of course).
Difference is there's no overclock so I removed the cooler (from your list), used onboard Audio and Ethernet (as does Maingear). It has stock mobo and RAM. And the MS Office Starter 2010 is a joke - limited functionalities on Word and Excel and it has Advertisements! Why do Maingear claim their systems are "bloat-free"?
The PSU I chose is higher @620W and it's more expensive because it's modular; there's no 600W. I guess Maingear charge @$340 to overclock and assemble for you, hopefully with the cable management all done for proper airflow. Pretty steep IMO. Mainly 'cos I don't thing you need an Overclocked system. And they don't elaborate on the chassis. Cannot see what front ports it has and their placement (I've been burned too many times when I cannot have even 2 USB plugged it at the same time because of a stupid design) and how many internal bays. And Overclock with "MAINGEAR Certified Intel® Retail Cooler"? That's a bit fishy, image shows the regular Intel stock cooler. I mean where does the $340 all go? $29 add-on for a $24 (newegg's price) CoolerMaster Hyper TX3, and the "MAINGEAR Redline Overclocking Service" is purported to be a $49 cost offered for free, just doesn't add up, does it? Sure, they have to make money, as they are a business, but a 30% markup? Yikes.
ID= 19956286 my modified version $1,500; with SSD and monitor all in.
I would still want to tweak it to have a non-stock Motherboard + RAM, get better chassis to match the CPU+GPU. I did get bigger HDD with bigger cache (vs the 16mb of Hitachi). All to sorta meet the @$150 middle-ground, more or less. A $250 GPU with a $79 casing is another kind of "bottleneck". So may have to reduce the SSD size. But I still meet the $1500 budget, all told.
Still more tweaking needed also because EVGA's GTX 560 has this requirement "Minimum recommended 500W power supply with +12 Volt current rating of 30 Amps". While Seasonic's in the wishlist has only 24amps on the +12V x2 (2 separate outputs). I think it's OK, though. But this is one area where I'm weak at, so I'm not 100% sure on this.
So, all that extra tweaking kinda depends on your preferences. And as usual, you can shave off some cost still, if you look for combo(s) that fits your wishlist, like this CORSAIR TX750 750W + EVGA GTX 560 Ti 1GB. That PSU may be overkill however, but I would give the newegg tech-heads the benefit of the doubt and think they know what they're doing, and the GPU's requirements are met at least.
The chassis looks a bit like this BitFenix Shinobi Case to me, apart from the red strips. So I used the features list of that model to substitute with a similar case to match to vybe's configuration as much as possible. I would overspend on a chassis than on a GPU because GPU tech change so fast, while the chassis is an investment for the next build as well. What I look for when comparison shopping is like ajaxsirius mention above :
- PSU placement, in addition to,
- front ports : what types and how many, 2 or more USBs is a must, as is Audio so I don't have to reach to the back to plug in headphones, Firewire/eSata is nice to have
- how many PCI slots (in case I wanna go SLI/XFire later) and enough expansion bays for my HDDs
- good cable management grommets, position-wise
- enough stock fans included so I don't have to get any of the (extra) optional ones
- overall size, in case I want to overclock in future - must be able to fit the coolers of the Overclockers' favorites at least.
If you want to go for an IPS panel monitor (as I see Maingear list some of them) - I recommend Dell's Ultrasharp line. It has height adjustment, tilt and swivel (view word docs in portrait), vs most monitors only have tilt adjustments. Dell's 23" version is $239 last I check - that's the one I have. And it's pretty sharp! Graphics look spectacular.
Protip: Look for unboxing videos and see how the monitor wobbles when the unboxer nudge it accidentally; also another reason why I like Dell's big rectangular base, vs other monitors' small(er) circular/oval base.
Building / Assembling it is easy now with how-to videos littering the web. Just search. Better if you can find one with the exact chassis and some of the parts.
Advantage for self-configure + self-build is as you can see, you can tailor the build to your specific requirements and likes and dislikes. The chassis and monitor I feel is a personal choice - must be something I like to look at as they are the ones visible.
ps: you know that started off as a short 3 paragraphs of 2 sentences. It took a life of its own, I swear. Sorry for that wall of text. But I hope the info helps.
26th Mar 2012 at 5:51 PM
Last edited by margonaute : 27th Mar 2012 at 8:06 AM.
Thank you both for your feedback. All of this information is such a help. And after the initial trepidation wore off, I'm actually feeling kind of excited to start a project!
ellacharm3d: Your procrastination is my gain! (... aaand also my procrastination.) I couldn't get the links to work for me; both just said "this wish list is empty"...? Is there another way to link to them? But you've convinced me—learning and value over QuickShip convenience!
used onboard Audio and Ethernet
/cue me, actually looking at a picture of a motherboard up close and discovering that's what you plug your ethernet cable into. The more you know!
I'll definitely take a look at the monitors you suggested, and if you get a chance, I'd still like to check out the wishlists you put together.
It's my own personal totally subjective opinion that you should stay away from Hitachi hard drives. I like the Samsung Spinpoint series myself.
My Korean mother approves of this message.
CPU cooler: Is that only needed if you're overclocking things? I just included one to follow the spec list (or rather, it might've been listed as one of the "Most Popular" buys alongside the CPU I had selected). But you need something for a CPU fan/cooler though, right?
For the PSU, how do know if it's standard or for bottom placement? I'm looking over the one I picked and can't seem to tell...
And thanks for the input on the cases. Makes the hours I spent last night reading case reviews seem less silly! (This may be overkill for my first build, but check out how charmingly '60s-plastic-era mod/Stormtrooperish this Corsair Graphite Series 600t White is!)
Thanks again to both of you! Another question: What are your thoughts on those extended warranties they always offer you at the end? Do those make any sense? Also, I'm wondering if there's a negative reason why the ECS P67H2-A2 Black Deluxe Motherboard is so cheap ($79.99). Is it outdated somehow? Most reviews I could find listed the price as being ~$195, but they're all about a year old, whereas other mobos they've mentioned haven't dropped in price so steeply.
All CPUs come with a fan. It's not necessarily an amazing fan, and you certainly do need a better fan if you plan to overclock. However, the stock cooler is usually ok if you're not overclocking - and do have a care when looking at extra coolers. I had one which came highly recommended a few years ago, which was so big that it totally screwed up my airflow. CPU temperature dropped 10-15C when I got rid of it and put the stock cooler back on.
"On the page, punctuation performs its grammatical function, but in the mind of the reader it does more than that. It tells the reader how to hum the tune." - Lynn Truss, Eats, Shoots and Leaves
I've added them to the post above as well. And if still cannot see them, you can browse the public wishlist to the ones dated 3/25, and look for
They're on page 4 & 5 respectively at the time of this post.
If you want to connect to the 'net wirelessly, then of course you need the router (+modem) and wireless adapter. But if you have these already on the current machine, they can be transferred over as well. They may need new drivers for Windows 7, is all.
The tigerdirect link is giving me a redirecting error message in browsers I tried. Is it just me?
Thanks for the updated links! For tigerdirect, the link is showing up as the second entry for me if you google ECS P67H2-A2 Black Deluxe Motherboard.
In the wishlists you made, you picked a micro ATX mobo. Is the only real difference from ATX that there are fewer expansion slots and it's slightly smaller? I don't see myself doubling up on video cards, so it seems like a micro ATX would suit my needs and hopefully be a little cheaper? At the moment, the motherboard is giving me the most trouble in terms of decisions (or functional ones, at least; I feel like I could look at cases and monitors for a century...) (Though I am leaning more and more toward the Stormtrooper Corsair 600t White! So cute!)
I suppose I should stop harassing you all and move over to a full-on computer-y forum just about now?
That's the thing - no matter from which machine (I tried on Android table, and MacBook) or any browser, from above link or through a web search, the page always returns a "too many redirects" error.
The ECS motherboard looks to be fine, features-wise. They are probably getting rid of excess stock. Which means support for BIOS and other updates may have slowed down or stopped. Though, my opinion is, if it does not garner a lot of reviews, compared to other motherboard brands, there must be a reason people don't buy this brand/model. Have you read what the review sites have to say about this item? Is it favorable?
Another trick I use is to plug in the model# and the terms "issues" "problems" to see what crops up for that item.
Intel MicroATX mobo - yes. I was just using it as a placeholder because the actual mobo is out of stock, and the non-Intel-Stock mobos (Asus, MSI, Gigabyte, etc) have too many features that would skew the price. Which is why I mentioned I wanted to go forward with non-stock for this item and the RAM, see?
MicroATX vs a regular ATX? Difference is it has less of everything - like USB ports, SATA 3.0/6.0 GBs ports, PCI slots, etc.
We have threads that go on for pages - it is fine. Otherwise we won't have a Computer Hardware section, now would we?
But getting a second opinion is never a bad idea. Just that when you venture onto non-Sims-gaming forums, the hardcore gamers scoff at us. And they always recommend the most expensive and the top of the heap, just so they get the bragging rights of the highest FPS (whether on low resolution or not, nobody knows) and the highest benchmarks scores. But with Sims being a 32bit and DX9 game, that's all a bit wasteful. Plus, they don't know the idiosyncrasies of Sims-gaming, do they?
Of course, if you play games other than Sims, the better specs help considerably. And if you do plan on getting SimCity next year, then factor that in as well. That most likely need a beefier machine than what a minimum spec'd PC on TS3 can deliver - comparable to the DX11 games on the market today is my guess - if you want it to play well, not just simply loads.
29th Mar 2012 at 1:32 AM
Last edited by margonaute : 29th Mar 2012 at 3:58 AM.
Well, I had the folks over at tomshardware look at my spec list, and after some adjustments think I've decided on:
CPU: i5 2500K — $191 (incl tax, on sale at the local Micro Center)
Mobo: GigabyteGA-Z68AP-D3 — $106 / $91 after rebate
PSU: Corsair Enthusiast TX 650W — $76 / $66
GPU: EVGA GTX 560 — $180 / $165 (purchased and on its way!)
RAM: Corsair XMS 8GB DDR3-1333 — $48 / $28
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 7200 RPM 32 MB Cache — $120
ODD: LG DVD burner — $18
OS: Windows 7 — $99
Total: $838 / $778 after rebates
I also picked up an almost new ASUS PA238Q monitor from a neighbor who was moving out, for $200 !
Case is still TBD. The Corsair 600T White Edition I was so taken with is starting to look a bit huge and expensive for me..... I feel like I'll never decide! I'm so picky when it's something that's going to be sitting in my living room. One definite plus about the 600T, even if it is oversized for me, is that every review I've seen says it's a pleasure to work in, really user-friendly, and the build quality looks really good... Decisions! ETA: Oo, liking the NZXT 210 Elite White! It's like the little sister of the 600T, and at a third of the price. That might be the one!
It was suggested that, since I was holding off on an SSD, that I instead start off with a small one (64 or 128) and hold off on buying a HDD until prices (hopefully) go down. Rationale being that it's much easier to start off installing the OS on the SSD rather than transferring later. My question would be, would 64GB be enough for Windows 7, TS2, and, say, Photoshop and Illustrator? I guess 128 would be a safer bet and allow the addition of TS3, maybe Sim City (!), and some other programs. Samsung 830 Series was recommended ($105 for the 64GB and $170 for the 128).
In any event, with the current Dell, I go make myself a cup of coffee every time I have to start it up, so I figure anything else will seem like a dream! Very curious to see how my 20-minute loading time with TS2 changes on the new machine (dreading the installation process). I realize that a lot of the time is just from the number of CC packages the game has to read, but it's gotta go a little faster, right?
That combo looks good!
And a Z68 mobo is more versatile than a P67.
The rationale behind getting an initial SSD (even a smallish one) is so true! I'd say go for it. It's easier to reinstall OS when your HDD don't need to be touched at all so it need not be backup, repartitioned, reformatted, just to take out the OS.
I saved longer to get it and I haven't regretted it at all.
I've been thinking of getting that Intel320 160GB (or 520 180GB), as my new OS drive. Yes, the Samsung 830 series looks attractive, too (I've just been teetering on the 128GB capacity, cos if I upgrade I need to consider the effort to open up the case must be worth my while). Then my current 80GB can be a dedicated Sims drive. Mwahahaha.
Ugh, I'm the worst about second-guessing myself (see also my deciding at 3AM that I'd rather save $20 with the Radeon 6870, ordering one and putting in a return for the 560 on the way from amazon, and discovering they're charging $9 return shipping, gah! But, uh, still saving $10?). But Micro Center also has the i3 2100 on sale for $90 less than the i5 2500, and now I'm wondering if I shouldn't just get that... Performance-wise, since I think TS3/the new Sim City might be the most advanced games I see myself playing, do you think I would really see much difference between the two?
If I did that, someone suggested I could even go with an H61 mobo (like this one, $70 and has USB 3.0) since I won't be overclocking...
29th Mar 2012 at 9:03 PM
Last edited by margonaute : 30th Mar 2012 at 12:22 AM.
I know! No more 3AM credit card access! Supposedly, it's because I selected a "Reason for return" that indicated it wasn't their fault. What if I wanted to return it for spite?? I guess I could try to argue, but I'm really lazy about that sort of thing.
THANK YOU for the i3 warning. It makes my life that much easier! (By the way, nowhere else on the internet am I moved to use so many smileys; but they just become strangely irresistible when I see them down there...)
Also just want to thank you again for nudging me in the direction of self-building. It always seemed so intimidating from a distance. Who knew all it would take was a week of research for all those letters and numbers to start to fall into line?* But really, I think I'd been feeling a sort of base-line of anxiety for some time from not having any understanding of what a "good computer" was these days. And even though some of the finer points surely escape me still, it feels *so much better* to know now!
*Let's hope I'm not eating these words in a few days when I actually have to start putting everything together!
ETA: Opinions on the final (???) decisions
Now I've got cases narrowed down to the NZXT Source 210 White, which at $50 has the same kind of look as the 600T in a scaled-down version at less than a third of the price. Wish it had some dust filters, maybe a front fan, and of course given the price, it'll be otherwise pretty basic; but it seems good, no?
OR either the Fractal Define Mini or Arc Mini, both of which are priced at $106 at Micro Center. Choosing between the two of those would just be a matter of which I end up liking the looks of more, but means I'd have to pick out a microATX board. Here are four picks: ASUS P8H61-M PRO $74.89
- H61 but read somewhere here that it supports Ivy Bridge now (not sure how much that matters)
- no USB 3.0 (but I don't have any USB 3.0 devices... yet?) and 3GB SATA
- ASUS seems to be a good brand
- local buy, so I can yell at the Micro Center guys if things go wrong
AsRock H61M U3S3 $69.99
- H61 with USB 3.0 and 6GB SATA
- heard mixed things about AsRock
Haven't ordered the mobo, then?
How about RAM and CPU?
RAM and CPU relies on motherboard platform (to an extent, but RAM + CPU for 1155 socket usually are interchangeable; again to an extent as long as you're not switching to AMD platform) and the motherboard size plays a part in the casing choices. So, it's all related.
I need to read to refresh my memory and read some more, what the differences are for H67 vs P67 vs Z68. (You may have read some of these, I think, sorry for the redundancy, I wanted to have all of them in one post so I can revisit them). And on choice of motherboard, we never did discuss how many USB ports you need and what's nice to have for "future-proofing" etc etc. Plus all the other requirements, pointed out in these articles on "how to choose a motherboard". Since, I thought you've made your final decision with the recommendation from the posters @tomshardware.
So, to confirm, if they have not been ordered...
- what are your requirements for a motherboard?
- you're not going to be overclocking.
- don't need an IGP or need to swap since this is a Desktop.
- would you be adding more GPUs in SLI or Crossfire, in the future, you think?
- not to add to the confusion, but you're not looking into AMD motherboards and processors, so we can cross this out?
Also, I can't comment on the casing unless I know what requirements you have for them. Those things I mentioned in post#11. We're not basing our decision on just looks right?
Oh! wth...instead of copy+pasta-ing each one individually, here are some other opinions on the topic; I like the newegg one and the one from tomshardware, others are pretty much covering the same ground: http://bit.ly/HndsBi
I don't think I would be overclocking, but the tomshardware folks have urged me to leave open the possibility since I'm getting the i5. So that would leave the P67 or Z68.
I don't intend to double up on GPUs, and given that, I think most mATX boards are fine for my needs as far as expansion slots, i/o, number of ports, etc. And definite no on the AMD processors!
Of the four I listed above, the ASUS P8H61 is no longer in stock, so that one's out. The three remaining all seemed like they could be fine for me, so at this point it's just a matter of trying to weigh cost vs. value. As I see it, the H61 board would save me $40-$60 now, has 6GB SATA for my SSD (purchased) and USB 3.0, BUT would not allow me to overclock if I wanted to, wouldn't support Ivy Bridge (I don't think), and is an AsRock board, which seems to have a slightly less good rep than ASUS or Gigabyte.
Between the P67 and the Z68, I think I'd go with the Z68 since they're almost the same price and that one I can buy locally, which would be good in case it's DOA. About $60 more than the H61 board, for the possibility of overclocking and support for Ivy Bridge CPUs. I guess what I'm trying to decide is if the H61 one, at roughly half the price of the better one, would be good enough to last me a few years to the next point when I'd be thinking about upgrading components anyway, you know? The key point in question is what "good enough" means for me!
Reading motherboard reviews is kind of maddening, as it seems roughly half of them for *any* mobo are furious people who installed everything and didn't hear their POST beeps. Gah. But that also pushes me more toward the Z68 board here at Micro Center. $60 for added peace of mind?
As far as cases go, all three seem to be good for what I need in terms of HD bays, expansion slots, I/O, etc., and perform decently for cooling, so at this point, it is more or less down to looks! So I guess there I'm just looking for opinions or possibly if you've ever seen one in person or had experience building in one of these. The two Mini cases seem to be slightly higher build quality than the NZXT, come with equipped with dust filters and/or noise dampening material, and have removable/configurable hard drive bays—at double the price. So here again, it's a matter of me deciding what's more important and what I like the looks of more. But I also like to get second opinions!
I know, I'm impossible! (Not that I actually buy into astrology, but) they say Libras are balanced, but I think we also can't stop weighing everything!