Joining The Masses: Building My First Gaming PC, Part 1

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Blueberries

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I don't know when you're ever going to use a deprecated blu-ray player, or why you'd cheap out on the video card if it's a gaming PC, I think the case is ugly, that picture of the PSU isn't modular and I hope the one you bought is, and there's better RAM for the same price. Samsung 850 Pros are 3D VNAND, better in every way, and cheaper than corsair force (at least from the websites I surveyed).

Also if your PC is going to average 350W ideally you want a 700W PSU for peak efficiency.

The motherboard choice was great though, that's a very good motherboard! Some things to think about next time.
 

Morbus

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My suggestion as a veteran of five (yeah baby!!!) self-built rigs, is that you ditch the Z97 mobo and go for a H97 and get yourself an i5 instead of the i3. The reason for that is that the Z97 is for overclocking and that i3 CPU doesn't support overclocking.
All in all, a pretty great rig for the money. I like it!
 

azathoth

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Personally, I would have scrapped the SSD for thr time being, and used the money to invest in a Quad-Core processor.
The SSD whilst being an excellent way if improving system response, would not benefit you as much as a Quad-Core processor would. As well, you could have always added a SSD at a later point in time without any waste.

That being said, I am really enjoying this article and can't wait for part two.
 

jimmysmitty

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I don't know when you're ever going to use a deprecated blu-ray player, or why you'd cheap out on the video card if it's a gaming PC, I think the case is ugly, that picture of the PSU isn't modular and I hope the one you bought is, and there's better RAM for the same price. Samsung 850 Pros are 3D VNAND, better in every way, and cheaper than corsair force (at least from the websites I surveyed).

Also if your PC is going to average 350W ideally you want a 700W PSU for peak efficiency.

The motherboard choice was great though, that's a very good motherboard! Some things to think about next time.
The Blu-ray makes sense. I still buy some things on BR as I like to own a few things physically just in case the internets goes down.

Doubling the PSU wattage is smart if you want to also make the PSU last longer. I needed about 400W with one of my builds and had a 850W Corsair that lasted 5 years and is still in perfect condition.

I can agree with the RAM and SSD. I only use Intel or Samsung SSDs. I do still love Corsair PSUs, cases, RAM and AiO liquid coolers. Oh and their keyboards but Samsung and Intel make the best SSDs.
 

Blueberries

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My suggestion as a veteran of five (yeah baby!!!) self-built rigs, is that you ditch the Z97 mobo and go for a H97 and get yourself an i5 instead of the i3. The reason for that is that the Z97 is for overclocking and that i3 CPU doesn't support overclocking.
All in all, a pretty great rig for the money. I like it!
The z97 is worth keeping if it means keeping thick alloy chokes, capacitors, and better mosfets/voltage regulators.

Also there's no way you should spend an extra $100 on an i5 when the SMALL increase in multi-core performance would go almost unnoticed in a percentage of video games and never used otherwise.

You should have waited until you had at least $800 saved up, bought a GTX 970, and researched your parts more if your goal was GAMING. $600 is hardly budget for a gaming PC, they're supposed to be expensive.
 

thundervore

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I find this hilarious that a tech site posts a "building my gaming rig" article and went for a setup that's outdated before the parts even shipped.

This rig will be outaded in one year and sold off as parts soon.

You should have waited until you had $1000 and build a better system that would last you for the next 5 - 7 years not 1-3
 

afroman340

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First of I want to say, that for a first time build I think this is a great start with much dependability down the road...

I agree though with blueberries, for gaming pc i would of upped the budget because your probably going to want to replace your card in just a year or two (a 970 or even a 290 would of been a good choice). Other then that I think that's a great gaming starter system you came up with. I3 will get you by for a while, and then you can save more for an i7 eventually.

I think the blu ray player is a good touch. I know people say they really dont have much use, but i think if possible an optical drive in the tower is a good utility (as long you have no other priority components for the 5.25 and you can even take it out and use it as an external if you need the room). You already have a use for it now but it may still be valuable down the line.

Don't comment much, but I thought you deserve props for making the jump.
 

PraxGTI

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Nice write up! Its nice to see some first timers taking a crack at it. I think you made good overall choices. A good rule is that when it comes to hardware there are no right or wrong answers. Everyone has their own preferences or opinions and as such I can see a lot of flak in the comments.

I really enjoyed how your write up highlights what a great resource Toms Hardware is for everyone that uses it. I have been using Toms Hardware for probably nearing 10+ years now. Unfortunately I also haven't had the budget to do a build in 7 years.

Good Article! I hope you find yourself trying more new things in the PC arena.
 

2Be_or_Not2Be

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I do agree with the other suggestions about going with an i5 processor. The extra horsepower can pay off if you do any video rendering or with some heavy games. However, you can always upgrade later (as I thought a while back when I bought the i3-3225).

Ignore the comment about getting a 700W PSU; it obviously isn't the most efficient when you only have a small load of ~368W. That 500W hits the sweet spot of efficiency.

I would, however, get a different case than the one selected. If you're not going to use hardly any of that large capacity, why not just go with a more space-efficient mini-ITX case, like the Silverstone SUGO or ThermalTake Core V1? You can take the money saved & invest into a 256GB SSD, like the value-oriented Crucial MX100 256GB. If you have more funds available, then the more-expensive Samsung 850 Pro could be a performance boost.
 

ajcroteau

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This is a great start to a gaming machine... The motherboard has got some headroom in case you decide you want to move up to a faster processor such as an i5 or an i7 Haswell processor. The case looks decent but i'm a big fan of the windows and lighting you can add inside. 8GB Ram is good for most games however you might want to look into bumping up to 16GB soon as more and more games come out. The SSD and HDD is pretty standard these days... I do like the performance of Samsung SSDs... I think the PSU is a little underpowered for a gaming rig but you can upgrade that too in time... I think BR player is probably at this unnecessary because you'll most likely download games 99.9% of the time through a service such as Steam or UPlay... All in all a solid start to a gaming machine...
 

Blueberries

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Actually the power supply sweet spot is 50% of its load. Ideal is around 40% idle and 50% at load.

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/343495-28-power-supply-efficiency-myths

As for the author, don't lose hope, for part 2 of the article take your time with cable management. You can still make us proud!
 

Grognak

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Yeah, scrap the SSD for now and get a cheaper mobo - honestly, H81 is plenty for a single GPU rig with no overclock - and get an i5. Otherwise decent GPU but I wouldn't recommend a non-modular PSU in a small case, it's only $10-20 more depending on the model and you'll get better cable management and airflow. Don't mind the elitists, they're a plague on Tom's.
 

D-7 BATTLECRUISER

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Why bother with an internal HD at all? Go with a USB HD. By the time you have it filled up you can buy another one same size half the price. I have to give serious critism to anybody gaming on a dual core instead of quad core and did I hear you write you think you're going to be recording gameplay or broadcasting, no you won't be not with a dual core i3 cpu you wont. For that sort of money why not go with an AMD? They have a much better value prop where they compete, in the better bang for the buck range.
 

D-7 BATTLECRUISER

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-No kidding Right LOL
 
... it's better to invest more money into the GPU because it's the bigger bottleneck issue in terms of performance.
XFX Radeon R9 280X 3GB: $260 before $30 rebate
AMD FX-6300
Gigabyte GA-970A-UD3P
Patriot 120GB SSD
$230 before $10 rebate
EVGA 600 B 80+ Bronze 600W: $55 before $20 rebate

$545 before $60 in rebates

ASRock Z97 Pro4
Intel Core i3-4160
Corsair Force LS 120GB
Sapphire Radeon R9 280 3GB
EVGA 500 B 80+ Bronze 500W

$546 before $40 in rebates


 

synphul

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We each have an ideal for what's perfect for our own wants and needs. For a first build I think it came out pretty decent with that budget. I might have made a few tweaks here and there but it's not a bad system. Sometimes you're stuck on a restrictive budget and it can be a challenge within those limitations. Everyone has to start somewhere and for a first build could do a lot worse.

I was a little surprised to see this 'simple' of an article but actually kind of enjoyed it. There's a lot of first time builders or inexperienced builders who come to tom's with questions, this is something they might really be interested in and can relate to.
 

AdviserKulikov

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At such a low budget, you probably would have been better served going for an AMD CPU. The FX-6300 is a steal, and the AM3+ motherboard is low cost as well. You could then put those savings towards a better graphics card, like a GTX 960, or R9 290. But it's not a bad build as is, very good for a first go.
 

kardinin

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you should look into the issues radeon have with i3s. There is apparently a driver overhead for radeon cards. Your Radeon 280 will actually have a significant bottleneck (and thus perform like a lower-tiered card) when you pair it with the i3, because the CPU will be unable to feed the graphics card enough information for it to render at its full potential. If you are tied to this budget, look for an Nvidia card instead, since this overhead phenomenon doesn't exist in the same degree...
 

jimmysmitty

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100% true. Every PSU hits its best efficiency at 50%, no matter 110V or 220V. Just watching min in the Corsair app (AX860i) and if it is idle it is maybe 88% efficient at best but under around 50% load it gets Platinum within +/-1%.

And yes, do proper cable management. I cringe when people do a build and have cables everywhere. More zip ties is not a bad thing if it keeps your system clean and tidy.
 
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