Build Advice First PC build - setup, suggestions, changes, etc.

Feb 15, 2023
Hello guys,

I'm 30 already and I've recently decided it's time I try building from scratch at least once despite my inaptitude and lack of certain knowledge needed for the task. I just want to try it at least once and even if I fail, I'll know I have no regrets. Saving money is also a target and I think I'll save around 10% to 20% of the cost if I build it myself instead of buying a set configuration or ordering one online, besides - I will be able to buy from different vendors for the lowest price.

The reason I'm posting this is because I feel uncertain in so many aspects and places that I would like some help - opinions on parts, compatibility, hints on how to actually PERFORM your first build - things like that. I will greatly appreciate your help and maybe name my first born daughter after you if you leave a mark on my heart. Or if there is one.

I'll use my computer for gaming mainly - both multiplayer and some demanding single player titles. I would also like to try some video and photo editing, but not too much on the heavy side. While giving advice, please keep in mind - I'm trying to go as cheap and as compatible as possible.

The build I have decided on looks like this - I'm going to explain my reasoning and thought process below. Please don't laugh (out loud) or ban me from this tech forum.

Motherboard - I chose the Z790 series because I want to go with Intel's Gen 13 family and I would also like to add DDR5 RAM. I know it's an overkill, but I plan on using this PC for the next 3-5 years with as little changes as possible but also with enough possibility to apply them if I deem necessary or I feel bourgeoisie enough. I want to have an ATX motherboard because I want to have 3 or 4 M.2 slots as I download a lot of stuff. I'm also planning to get a full tower case in order to have enough space inside it. I don't like my current motherboard which is an MSI - I feel like its build is pretty clunky and its "gamer" look was only to add to the price. One the 1st day I broke the optical audio input slot's as it had a plastic part (why?)I have never seen before - it just came right off after I connected the speakers cable. I prefer to go with Gigabyte or ASRock as I have used them before and it felt way better. I don't want a wireless modem or any other extras, just good performance and maybe some flashiness (if it's not skyrocketing the price, otherwise - we are going plain as f**k, I'll add LED lights instead).

CPU - I watched a lot of comparisons between AMD and Intel as the fight is right in the middle at the moment and in the end I chose to go with i5 13600KF. I might also go with the i7 13700KF if there is a good price for it, but in general I'm not sure if I'll need that much power and I'd like to save a couple of bucks. I'm don't want to bend the pins on an AMD CPU when I'm placing it and to be honest, I think Intel might have an upper hand at the moment. I'm also thinking of going for an NVIDIA GPU and I think that it will stick better with Intel.

CPU Cooler - I have next to nothing I know in this section. I've learned that current gen Intel CPUs are a bit warmer and I don't want to risk it, so that's why I decided to go with a liquid cooler. I sometimes wake up at night, chased by the same nightmare in which I pour water over my build while trying to install it while a deep narrating voice with a Liverpool accent in the back states "Uuuh, that's moist!". I'm not sure if a 120 is enough, a 240 might be more suitable for the task. I've put the NZXT cooler more like a reference than an actual choice, so I'll need your help here more than necessary.

RAM Memory - I don't know a lot about memory - just the general speed in MHz, what is CAS latency and that there are general timings in ww-xx-yy-zz about certain tasks performed by RAM but I'm not able to tie that up in terms of compatibility to the other parts of the PC setup. If you have other recommendations, please feel free to share them.

Storage - The three M.2 sticks are only placed as a reference to see if everything clicks. I currently have 1 x 512GB ADATA GAMMIX S11 and 1 x 1TB ADATA GAMMIX S11 and I'll get 1 or 2 more, depending on the slots that I have on the MB. If you have some recommendations that is better in price/performance - I'm all ears.

GPU - I had a real hard time choosing between RTX 4070 Ti and the 7900XT. I'm still not 100% sure which one to get, but I'll probably go with the 4070 Ti because if the Intel - NVIDIA combo. I want to game on 2K so I'm planning on buying a suitable monitor with a high refresh rate (144Hz - 165Hz). I'll also keep mu two current monitors - 1 x 27" 144Hz 1080p and 1 x 24" 75Hz 1080p connected to this setup as I like my retina crispy. From what I've picked up from comparisons, the NVIDIA card is better than AMD in pure performance but the 7900XT is better at multi-rendering and multi-everything, so I might go back to the crossroads with your advice.

PSU - I viewed some threads with data on different manufacturers and I that's why I've put the be quiet! Straight Power 11 750W in here, although I might need more power because of the GPU.

Case - I literally have no idea. I want it to be as visible as possible and with a good air flow. I might put a couple of more fans on top of the stock ones for better cooling (if the case allows me to).

That's it, hope I haven't forgotten something. Please just keep in mind - if you offer me a replacement for some part, please give more than one example. The reason is I live in the (almost) third world country Bulgaria and sometimes supply is ridiculously scarce. I might be able to order stuff from the German or UK Amazon but I don't know for certain.

Thank you very much for your attention. And thank you for your help. I hope this post is not too long and I have not broken a rule or two. Or offended anybody.
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You'll likely get some advice to get a non F CPU so as to have integrated graphics, which can be useful at times. Might cost 25 more.

Air or liquid is a reasonable question. Air will certainly match a 120 mm liquid cooler. You know the strong points of each. Either will certainly work. You need to confirm that the particular liquid cooler you have chosen is high quality. I don't know. Have you seen reviews?

Some people are much less concerned about temps than others. Don't know about you. Would you raise a ruckus if 75 rather than 65?

Power supply. You might get comments saying you need 850 or so considering one of those graphics cards is rated at around 300 watts. Have you seen reviews of that specific 750 watt PSU?

That specific motherboard is in the lower priced tier for full ATX, DDR 5, PCIe 5.0.....have you looked at Gigabytes in the next price tier above?

That case is frequently recommended along with other Fractals and Lian Li.
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I'm also planning to get a full tower case in order to have enough space inside it.
I want it to be as visible as possible and with a good air flow.
Bad idea. Space inside a case does not mean better airflow. SFF cases have @ 15L of air volume inside. MATX is closer to 30L, ATX is 40-50L, full towers are 70L and Super Towers are @ 80L. For rough estimates.

What that means is a single intake/exhaust 120mm setup is going to take seconds to totally replace the air inside a SFF case, but can take 8 minutes or more to replace the full volume of a Super Tower.

Now that'll change a bit with equipment, so SFF suffers a lot with larger gpus etc, as they impede flow, and doesn't make much of a dent even with the largest gpus in a Super Tower, there's too much air to move.

MATX has the best airflow of all the cases, in general, with ATX mids not far behind. Now. Since cases can put 3x fans at intake.

Only time I'd recommend Full or Super Towers is for full custom water cooling, where space is a luxury and offers cooling options not found in smaller cases.

Air just needs to move, preferably move well, doesn't mean it needs to be gale force winds to be effective.

Something like this (Y60 or Y4D) would be Visible, and have decent airflow.
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if u want to do video editing, u need more cores and a fast SSD. if those are not the top priorities, step down to i5

PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: Intel Core i7-13700F 2.1 GHz 16-Core Processor (€398.84 @ LK-Webservices)
CPU Cooler: EVGA CLC 280 113.5 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler (€74.89 @
Motherboard: Gigabyte Z790 GAMING X AX ATX LGA1700 Motherboard (€251.99 @ Galaxus)
Memory: G.Skill Flare X5 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR5-5600 CL30 Memory (€150.89 @ Alternate)
Storage: Sabrent Rocket Q4 1 TB M.2-2280 PCIe 4.0 X4 NVME Solid State Drive (€89.99 @ Amazon Deutschland)
Video Card: Zotac GAMING Trinity GeForce RTX 4070 Ti 12 GB Video Card (€899.00 @ Galaxus)
Case: Fractal Design Pop Air ATX Mid Tower Case (€94.90 @ Alza)
Power Supply: Asus ROG-STRIX-850G 850 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply (€160.34 @ Amazon Deutschland)
Total: €2120.84
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2023-02-16 09:01 CET+0100
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Jan 30, 2021
I would throw the option in of a ryzen 5 7700 and a AM5 platform for the simple fact of future proofing even if you did pricing the z790 ddr5 and a 13600k will be close to the same price..
Difference is zen 5 and zen 6 will still be a viable option on AM5 where as the 13th gen and z790 will be a dead platform in a year !!

my issues with the Nvidia 4080 12 gb /4070ti aside i would recommend a 7900xt as apart from RT performance that really is a moot point on both as with out upscaling tech neither are great but the 7900xt is the faster GPU but yes also more expensive ..
(people do get scared on with AMD drivers but ive had little to no issues with them )

That said alot of people are raving about the 4070ti because of the price so i guess yeah its cheaper and i cant really make a definitive recommendation on Nvidia because i just havent used their GPU's !!

850w psu as the lowest ( maybe just me but with PSU's i like to overkill as a rule of thumb ) and ive stuck with corsair ive used them for 3 years and i have a few of them and never had any issues..

ive got samsung 980 pro's in a few of my systems but ( and in light of the current samsung 980.990 issues i will say stay clear ) i think the firecuda 530 is a great option ( arguably the best of the best for life span ) but pricey another is the WD sn850x 2tb got mine on sale for cheap..

AIO arctic freezer ii every day of the week be it a 240 280 360 or the monster 420 .. not exactly pretty but if you want the best of the best the Arctic is that and at a cheaper price !!

Ive got both the 360mm on my 5800x3d and the 420mm on the 7600x (the 420m is ready for the 7900x3d )

both the 13600k 13700k are hot little cpus not unlike zen4 but when the Arctic freezer ii series AIO's are doing what they do at their prices air cooling is almost a waste of money !!

cases should be based on your components the lian li o11 mini air is a super cool case ATX mobo ATX psu at a smaller size a 280mm rad front or top mounted about a 34cm long gpu no issues with front mounted AIO my fav case is the cooler master nr 200p max or a nr 200p upside down mod for the better colours but sff meaning your limited on sfx psu's and itx mobos

I currently use the thermal take ceres 500 as i can fit my 7900xtx and the monster 420mm arctic freezer ii( only just ) in there

maybe if pricing this build is more expensive do take into account ( as i do with all my builds ) future proofing what you spend now on long life span products and quality products over short life span and cheaper lesser quality saves you massive head f..ks and gives you piece of mind later on !!
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Jun 29, 2019
If you'ld like a prudent value build, check my thread, I've given it some thought, and I'm at least 80% knowledgeable :)

On component selection:
I like Intel for a first time builder.
I think I see more issues with amd builds.
On the motherboard, Z970 is a good choice
The default turbo mechanism will boost performance as high as conditions permit.

m.2 is a size metric. Yes, motherboards may differ in the number of m.2 connections available.
There is no performance advantage with multiple ssd devices.
But I would not worry much about that. Buy a 2tb or larger m.2 pcie ssd to start with. If in time you need more bulk storage, you will have plenty of sata connections and 2.5" ssd devices come in some very large sizes.
Do not be much swayed by vendor synthetic SSD benchmarks.
They are done with apps that push the SSD to it's maximum using queue lengths of 30 or so.
Most desktop users will do one or two things at a time, so they will see queue lengths of one or two.
What really counts is the response times, particularly for small random I/O. That is what the os does mostly.
These experts could not detect which pc had the fast or slow ssd's installed:

On processors, there is a continuous spectrum pf price/performance.
You get fair value at every level. 13600KF is a reasonable choice. Spend some $25 more for the non F version and get integrated graphics.
That lets you get going and testing earlier.
Often there are issues with graphics cards and having integrated graphics helps to sort that out.

Modern intel or amd processors and motherboards are built to boost performance as high as workload and conditions permit.
That is a good thing; no overclocking or "tweaking" is required.
Your temperatures on a few cores will always be high. But if it reaches 100c, the system will back off a bit.
One of the conditions is thermal limits. A good cooler helps move the max performance higher.
I do not like liquid cooling unless you are an overclocker or competitive gamer.
Stick with a top end air cooler like the Noctua NH-D15.
The NH-D15 will cool as well as a 280 sized aio.
In addition, it will be quieter and easier to install.
AIO coolers do not last forever.
In time the mechanical pump will fail or get clogged.
Air will eventually intrude through the tubes making the cooler ineffective.
Budget for a replacement in 5 years.

On ram, the first rule is to buy enough. Today, that is likely a 2 x 16gb kit.
Only if you have apps that can use ram for workspace might more be useful.
As to speed, Intel does not depend on ram speed for performance.
Probably DDR5 6000 speed is about right.

On graphics cards, I am no expert. My sense is that nvidia has the better driver environment.
Tom's gpu hierarchy chart can give you approximate performance comparisons.

On a case, my best advice is to buy a case with the looks you love. It will be with you for a long time.
I like the quality of Lian li. As a suggestion look at the Air mini:

As to the actual build process:
MY build process:

Before anything, while waiting for your parts to be delivered, download
and read, cover to cover your case and motherboard manual.
Buy a long #2 magnetic tip philips screwdriver.
A small led flashlight is also useful.

I find it handy to buy a power switch like this for testing.
1. I assemble the critical parts outside of the case.
That lets me test them for functionality easily.
A wood table or cardboard is fine.
2. Plug in only the necessary parts at first. Ram, cpu, cooler, psu.
Do not force anything. Parts fit only one way.
Attach a monitor to the integrated motherboard adapter if you have one, otherwise to the graphics card.
3. If your motherboard does not have a PWR button, momentarily touch the two pwr front panel pins with a flat blade screwdriver.
4. Repeatedly hit F2 or DEL, and that should get you into the bios display.
5. Boot from a cd or usb stick with memtest86 on it. memtest will exercise your ram and cpu functionality.
They boot from a usb stick and do not use windows.
You can download them here:
If you can run a full pass with NO errors, your ram should be ok.

Running several more passes will sometimes uncover an issue, but it takes more time.

Probably not worth it unless you really suspect a ram issue.
Normally, one does not update a bios unless there is a fix for something that is impacting you. I violate this rule on a new build and will update to currency up front.
If there is a severe problem, the impact is small.

6. Install windows.
7. Install the motherboard cd drivers. Particularly the lan drivers so you can access the internet.
Do not select the easy install option, or you will get a bunch of utilities and trialware that you don't want. Drivers only.
7. Connect to the internet and install an antivirus program. Microsoft defender is free, easy, and unobtrusive.
8. Install your graphics card and driver if you tested with integrated graphics.
You will need to remove the graphics card later to install your motherboard in the case.
As a tip when screwing the motherboard into the posts, give the screw a small counterclockwise turn until you feel a click.
That lets you know that the screw will engage properly.
Make a note of how the graphics card latches into the pcie slot.
The mechanism will be hidden under the card and may be difficult to work if you have not previously checked how.
9. Update windows to currency.
10. Only now do I take apart what I need to and install it in the case.
11. Now is the time to reinstall your graphics card.
12. Opinions vary on updating the bios. On a new build, I will update to currency right away. My thought is that I have no big loss if
I encounter a problem. Use the usb option, not the windows option.