So now that my tax rebate has come in my fiance has talked me into blowing it on a new PC (it wasn't difficult) since my current rig is really starting to show its age. After doing some research and being totally overwhelmed with all the information available online, I've come up with the following build. If any of you more savvy folks could spare a moment to see if I've made any gross errors in judgement I'd certainly appreciate it. Thanks in advance!
GPU: ZOTAC AMP! GTX560 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814500210)
MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-Z68AP-D3(R2.0) (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128538)
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 4GB DDR3 (http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Vengeance-PC3-12800-1600mHz-Platforms/dp/B004RFGALC/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1333214961&sr=1-1)
HDD: Western Digital 750GB Sata6 7200RPM (http://www.amazon.com/Western-Digital-Caviar-Cache-Desktop/dp/B00461LT7C/ref=sr_1_4?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1333214893&sr=1-4)
Network Adaptor: TP-Link Wireless N (http://www.amazon.com/TP-Link-TL-WN951N-300Mbps-Wireless-Adapter/dp/B0034CL2ZI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1333215357&sr=8-2)
Power Supply: Corsair Enthusiast TX650 (http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Enthusiast-Certified-Compatible-platforms/dp/B004LB5AZY/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1333219082&sr=1-1)
just looked at the link for the hard drive you have, and the 1 tb drive looks like it is the same price as the 750 tb. those parts should work.
That's a great setup there, should play most things on high very smoothly in 1080p. Since it's not very expensive at all, it might be worth grabbing 8GBs of RAM instead. It's not really necessary, but it can help. And RAM is just so dirt cheap these days anyway.
Also you've picked the 2500k, so if you plan on overclocking you might as well grab a Hyper 212 Evo, it's a $30 heat sink that will make a world of difference when you overclock. If you don't want to OC at all, you might as well save some money and just get the i5 2500.
However, it's a weird time to build a PC. Ivy Bridge CPUs will be rolling out in about a month, and the GTX 600 series is starting to sprout, I've heard that the 660s will be comparable to a 570 now, which is a great boost over the 560 Ti you're looking at.
If you wait a couple months basically, you'll be right on time for the latest round of components. You're basically building last year's sweet spot PC, but that's probably about to start to change.
I'm no expert, by the way, this is all just based on observation.
@zmaster: Good catch, didn't notice it because it's not actually sold by Amazon.
@MikkaQ: Actually the i5-2500k is cheaper than the 2500 for whatever reason. Crazy Amazon pricing. I'm going with 4GB RAM because I'm still rocking a 32-bit OS. I can always pick up another stick later if necessary.
Thanks for the heads up on the upcoming market shift, I just don't know if I can wait a couple months. Now that I've gotten it in my head to make this PC it's all NOW NOW NOW. I'll finally be able to play all these games I've bought on Steam at a reasonable frame rate.
@StarvingGamer: Yeah I understand that temptation. Obviously it's still a great PC you have there. That's pretty funny that the unlocked processor is cheaper now, but I guess that's just a matter of demand.
Might I ask why you're sticking with a 32-Bit OS? PC games actually take advantage of 64-bit now, and it's not the compatibility-breaking mess it was 5-7 years ago, unless you're really into legacy software.
@MikkaQ: No, it's mostly just because I have a copy of 32-bit Vista and don't want to pirate my software. Would there be a significant enough performance bump to justify the extra ~$125 for Windows 7 and another stick of RAM?
@MikkaQ: WTF I can't edit my post on the new site? Uggghhhhhhh...
Also keep in mind that I am sorta at my spending limit building this computer already.
It's probably worth the money to move on from Vista alone. Windows 7 is a much better OS overall. Also most applications you'll use on a daily basis are now native 64-bit, games haven't quite caught on though.
Simply going from 3GB to 4GB of RAM will help you a lot. 4 is kinda the new minimum, 8 will give you more than enough breathing room. You realistically don't need more than 6 if you're just gaming, but the boost from getting all the juice out of the RAM is worth it.
When it comes to PCs, building for the long-haul is almost always better, so if you can stretch to get an OEM copy of Windows 7 and some extra RAM you'll get a lot more out of the computer.
Considering 2 sticks of 4GB ram is 40$ in a pack, and OEM Windows 7 Home Premium is about 109... it's kinda worth it.
You have a good build but you're really going to feel that 32-bit limitation first. Within 6 months you're going to need to upgrade RAM and that will require a jump to Win7 x86_64. If you can fit it in I'd say upgrade to a 64-bit OS even with the 4GB RAM and add memory later. At least it will save you the hassle of reinstalling later.
Switch to 7, double the RAM, and avoid a no-name brand like Zotick or whatever. The big brands have enough problems, don't introduce another possibility. Remember: there's no such thing as a deal.
Also keep in mind that's a 560, and NOT a 560 TI which is a fair performance different, and not in a good way. The 560 TI costs more, but not THAT much more, and you will notice the bump.
For brands: Sapphire, XFX, EVGA, MSI, ASUS, and GIGABYTE are all usually winners and the bigger brands. I hadn't heard of ZOTAC until now, and that doesn't inspire confidence.
I have that exact power supply and the first one I ordered had broken SATA power ports. Second one was fine. I ordered from Newegg so RMA was no prob. I would assume Amazons RMA process is just as good. Never had to RMA anything through them. Other than that, looks good.
Zotac have been around for ages. The AMP! card is alright but probably not worth it over the standard edition. When going for a card from a smaller manufacturer (someone other than ASUS, Gigabyte, etc) go for their reference card. The only issue you can run in with a smaller manufacturer is in regards to your warranty and even then they're usually better than the bigger companies cause they want to keep their small customer base. Long as the card is reference there's going to be no difference between a card from a small company or a large company.
Having said that I do love my ASUS GPUs, mostly for the DirectCU models. Had a look on newegg and the MSI 1GB GTX-560Ti Twin Frozr II is the same price as the Zotac and comes with a free game.
Get this card:
Its got one of the best coolers on the market (DirectCU-II) and the 560 ti is better than the regular 560.
Plus its only $15 more expensive.
I've got this card (570 version) and its virtually silent, due to the great cooling system. It also allows you to overclock the card, making it even faster, without paying extra.
Also, about your OS: Windows 8 is probably coming later this year, but you will see a good performance boost from getting W7 with 8GB of RAM. Current games run much better on that than Vista or XP. You can buy the W8 upgrade when it is finally released (no dates have been announced yet)
Look at it like this:
If you repair your car and replace the engine with a spanking new engine, you'll get a lot of extra performance. But if you reuse the old oil, your engine will still hick up sometimes and degrade performance. Your new engine needs its new oil to work well!
Change that oil (OS) and you'll be a happy driver for years!
@MikkaQ: @villainy: @Mirado: Alright you've talked me in to it, another stick of RAM, copy of Windows 7 64-bit, and an extra fan are in the mail. Thanks for the input guys.
@sander_dutch: I'm assuming this card would be good as well?
It looks like it's functionally the same card, overclocked a little extra for $5 more which I make up by not having to pay for shipping (and dodging the sales tax) with Amazon Prime.
@StarvingGamer: Yep, that card will do fine.