First Build - Compatibility and other Questions


Aug 31, 2012
Hello everybody, this is going to be my first build. I've been doing a lot of research over the past couple weeks and have created a tentative parts list. I'll be replacing my Dell laptop and have been torn between the portability of a laptop (as I'm a college student) and the power of a desktop. So I figured I'll build myself a desktop before my laptop fails, then get another cheapie for internet and note taking in school when it does. So here's my info:

Approximate Purchase Date: Hopefully before the end of Sept.

Budget Range: ~$800-1000

System Usage from Most to Least Important: I'm an amateur photographer, so the main thing I need to be able to do is run photoshop (smoothly and quickly). I'm often running both Lightroom and Photoshop together. I do a lot of internet browsing. I don't do much gaming aside from a few rounds of some MOBA or MMO every once in a while with my gamer friends.

Are you buying a monitor: Yes, something in the 20-24" HD range, probably ASUS.

Do you need to buy OS: Yes, gonna see if I can get Windows 7 through school at a discount.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I've mostly been looking at Newegg for parts, but not opposed to buying elsewhere.

Location: Toledo, OH

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Your Monitor Resolution: Most likely 1920x1080

And here's the tentative parts list:

CPU: I'm thinking Intel Core i5-3570K Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000 BX80637I53570K - $230
Probably more than I need... Would I be better saving the $10-15 and going with an i5-3570 or i5-2500K? I kind of wanted to stick with Intel because I've consistently read they are better than AMD, at least for gaming. I'll look into other recommendations though.

Mobo: ASUS P8Z77-V LE PLUS LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - $170

Graphics: This is one I wasn't too sure on... How great of one do I need to run photoshop programs and the rare video game? Thinking maybe: ASUS GT630-2GD3 GeForce GT 630 2GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card - $80
Really looking for recommendations on this one.

Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9Q-16GBXM - $90
Again, probably way more than I need, but it seems like the consensus is the more the better when running photoshop programs.

Storage: Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) for OS and browser stuff (per a recommendation on this forum). - $70
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive for general storage. - $110
I have another WD 1TB external I use solely for my RAW file storage for my photography. I'll probably just remove it from the case and install it in the new computer.

Monitor: I'm not quite sure yet, but liking this Asus VE228H 21.5" Full HD HDMI LED BackLight LCD Monitor w/Speakers - $145
I'd love the 27" Asus, but it's out of my budget.

Other: Gotta pick up a CD/DVD burner. What's the difference between these two: - $25 - $20

Also going to pick up a 3.5" card reader and 5.25" adapter for one of the front bays. - ~$35

I also need a wireless card. My room is the furthest away from our router in our house so I'm looking for recommendations on a good one. - $ ???

All this will be going into an NZXT Phantom Black/Green case. Possibly with a few green LED fans swapped in/added on later. - $120

I've got a temporary mouse, keyboard, speakers till I can afford matching green lit stuff.

Power Supply: This is where I have no idea... How much power will I need? I'd prefer a modular system, but not a must. Looking recommendations on brand here as well. - $ ???

I know this has been a long thread with lots of questions past the "will these work together," so I thank you in advance for any advice/recommendations!


Aug 16, 2011
Okey Lets Do this.

Cpu - You Shouldnt get the "K" Series if you are not going to overclock, I highly recommend the I5 3450 same performance at Stock and Turbo.

Motherboard - Expensive... You are not Going to Overclock or Make use of the Pci Express 3.0. Get a B75 Motherboard.

Graphics Card - Its a Nice Video Card for Photoshop , Windows Aero, 1080p resolutions and Light Gaming you Can always try to go a little higuer like a Gtx 550 ti but thats for you to Decide. I dont think you will see more performance on your Work if you go for the Ti instead of the Gt 630.

Memory Ram - perfect.


Monitor - Good.

Cd burner - Do you Really Use it? Anyone Is Fine just get a Sata.

Wireless Card - I live in Mexico so the house is made of a Double Layer of Concrete, and im 3 rooms away from the Wireless modem, i had 1 bar on my laptop, Connected this baby and got Full Reception Since then, even when im at the Garage i only loose 1 bar and its like 20mts away.

Power Supply - This Bad Boy its strong as hell -

Always Invest more On CPU and GPU than in the Motherboard.


Aug 31, 2012
Thanks for the replies. Since posting this, I've discovered the pcpartpicker website and am loving it so far.

A couple questions. Will I need an aftermarket CPU cooler if I'm not planning on OC'ing?

And do you guys think the price jump to an i7 would be worth it for what I plan on doing? It seems some think the higher end i5's work great for photoshop, others say you need an i7. Would the hyperthreading on the i7 help a lot for multitasking with 2 PS programs and other applications running at the same time? With my current laptop, I can't run Adobe Lightroom and an internet radio like Pandora at the same time without one or both lagging.

I've added the power supply to the build and tweaked some parts and have this so far.

I've still got the i5-3750K on there, looking at maybe going i5-3550, although it's only a $10 price savings.

idroid, great page you linked to! Which build within my budget would you recommend for my purposes (very light gaming, lots of multitasking and photoshop use).

Thanks again!


Aug 18, 2012

*yes, an aftermarket is a must-have component for overclocking.

*no, the i7 CPU is only good for HEAVY video editing and extreme photoshoping with a countless amount of layers.

*your PSU is extremely overkill, a quality 430w PSU can easily power it up

*My recommendation is a modified version of my 730$ build, here: .
#it includes only 8GB of RAM because i hardly doubt you will ever need more than that and in the (extremely unlikely) case you actually need more than that you can buy another 8GB ram kit.
#the 212 EVO will allow to overclock your CPU to ~4.3Ghz easily (perhaps more)
#64GB SSD = garbage... they are relatively slow and (IMO) useless... a 128GB is a lot faster.
#the monitor i included has a bigger monitor with lower response time
#get the 560ti ONLY if the apps you're using support CUDA, if they don't support CUDA or support CUDA AND AMD APP get the 7870


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