Building a Gaming PC

CousinDave

Registered User
Dec 11, 2007
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#1
Okay I want to build a Windows PC for Gaming, I'm not saying I won't use it for anything else, but I have an iMac & MacBook for all of my regular computing. I also have a MacMini that I use as a HT-PC as well as a Windows HT-PC

The Windows HT-PC I originally built it last year for gaming, I wanted to play Star Wars: The Old Republic, which I played for about a week before I decided that I hated it, and modified the computer to use it as a HT-PC.

For the gaming computer I already have a case & a liquid cooler. I've got a 128 gig SSD & a 1TB HD & a Blu-Ray drive, Logitech gaming keyboard & mouse, everything else I need.

I'd like something that would let me play Skyrim on the highest setting other than that I'm primarily interested in games on Steam. I have a Xbox360, Wii, PS3, & various legacy systems.

While I plan on setting this up at a desk and with a computer monitor, I'll want the option of hooking this system up in my theater room, so I'd need HDMI output, but my projector has a PC input - I'm not sure if one or the other has better resolution, if using the PC input instead of HDMI I'll need an optical audio output for multi channel sound. My current set up allows for 7.1 but I plan on buying a new 9.2 A/V receiver as soon as Yamaha releases the new models and the current ones get discounted. I'm really eyeing up a Yamaha RX-A3010. Just going to depend on how much they get blown out for, when I got my current A/V receiver I paid less than 47% of the original selling price about 3 years ago & I'm hoping for a similar deal sometime later this year. The new receivers from Yamaha were supposed to be out in August, but obviously they haven't shipped yet. The CEDIA show was last week and they were on display there.

Okay so back to building this Gaming PC, I will need the following

MotherBoard
Processor
Memory - I'd like to get 16gig to start but still have the option to upgrade
Power Supply
Graphics Card
Sound Card of necessary

I see these kits at NewEgg:

http://www.newegg.com/Special/ShellShocker.aspx?nm_mc=EMC-SD092012&cm_mmc=EMC-SD092012-_-SD091312-_-item-_-combo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboBundleDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.1068638

Neither are everything I'm looking for


While I'd like to get something that's pretty "state of the art" I'd rather be able to upgrade later as opposed to having to replace just about everything, so I don't want to get the top of the line i7 processor, I'm guessing a mid level <$300 i5 or similar AMD will be fine

Blue Heeler mentioned this graphics card, which I'm guessing if its good enough for him it'll be good enough for me.

Oh and I'll need to get a decent computer monitor. My iMac is a 24" model and I'm okay with the size. My concern here is whether the computers resolution is greater than 1080p otherwise I'll just pick up a Vizio - I've got 2 36" Vizios that I got in 2007 and both still work fine, but they're not 1080p. I also got a 32" 720p Haier late last year for under $200 and its fine for a bedroom set, although the built in speakers sound like ass.

I get an extra discount (well not a discount, but more points for cash back) for using my USAA MasterCard at NewEgg, Tiger, PC Mall, J&R and most other large reputable internet retailers except B&H & Amazon. But Amazon using Dr. Steve's affiliate link sends him some money.
 

SOS

ONA
Wackbag Staff
Aug 14, 2000
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#2
A prioritized numerical list of questions would help.
 
Dec 12, 2007
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#3
A prioritized numerical list of questions would help.
Yeah, you paragraph questions are taxing on my patience. Are you telling us a story or asking a question?
 
Apr 30, 2011
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#4
Lots of questions going on there...

If you are after gaming pc you want most of your money spent on GPU. Nvidias sweet spot right now is in the gtx660 ti that start at $300 but can perform as good as their $400 cards. These cards are coming with free download steam coupon for Borderlands 2 also so even if you dont want it you could sell the coupon. The 500 series of cards are probably going to have to drop in price as those will still be good cards for a while too.

For CPU you really dont need much horsepower for gaming so going AMD will save you some money. However AMD is not advancing their CPUs as well as Intel is in terms of performance. What ever CPU you choose try to find the latest chipset motherboard to go with it, ASUS boards are most reliable imo.

If you get a modern GPU card you should have whatever options you want for multiple display hookups, not sure if your projector will be in another room or how far away but there are cat5 extenders for hdmi or VGA(w/ audio) if needed. 1080 should look just as good on pc or hdmi input at the projector. Onboard sound on most new motherboards should have the audio output options you need, most have optical or coax.

16gb memory is limitation on windows 7 home but not sure most people including gamers need 4gb let alone 8gb but since memory is cheap go right ahead. The newer the chipset on the motherboard will give you the best options on memory.

Power supply wattage depends mostly on how much graphics you put in and the newer gpus and cpus need less and less power. Corsair has real good rebates and pricing right now on newegg.
 
Dec 12, 2007
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#6
I made my gaming PC from horse manure and cotton candy. Running dark souls: prepare to die edition on it currently.
 

Monstercloud

Registered User
Feb 15, 2005
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#7
If you are after gaming pc you want most of your money spent on GPU. Nvidias sweet spot right now is in the gtx660 ti that start at $300 but can perform as good as their $400 cards.
From what I've heard, 670's are the way to go in the nVidia route, being cheaper than 680's while still being perfectly able to OC equal to/greater than 680's.

That being said, there's really nothing wrong with AMDs. They are cheaper and just as powerful (more so in some benchmarks) as their counterparts. In the end, it doesn't matter that much what you choose, AMD or nVidia. Different games will run better on different cards, drivers will be wonky with different games, and new games might have unoptimized settings until both developer and driver fix it. If you do go AMD however, I'd avoid Sapphire. I've had a hard time trying to OC mine with Afterburner, and using their OC tool, I barely get anything out of it without running into driver crashes.

For CPU you really dont need much horsepower for gaming so going AMD will save you some money. However AMD is not advancing their CPUs as well as Intel is in terms of performance. What ever CPU you choose try to find the latest chipset motherboard to go with it, ASUS boards are most reliable imo.
CPU > Motherboard. A good motherboard is important, but a good CPU even more so.

Get an Intel. You'll be paying a bit more, but I'd rather spend more money on a better CPU than a better GPU, especially since most games (outside of the graphically intensive ones) rely on CPU more than the GPU. If you plan on overclocking (make sure to get an intel with "k" at the end), be sure to get an aftermarket cooler to suit your needs, along with a case that has a good airflow. Your OC capabilities will rely on the quality of your motherboard, so you can't skimp on the cost of that either if you plan on going that route... which you should do anyways regardless.

I personally like my ASRock MB.

16gb memory is limitation on windows 7 home but not sure most people including gamers need 4gb let alone 8gb but since memory is cheap go right ahead. The newer the chipset on the motherboard will give you the best options on memory.
8GB will keep you set for a while. RAM is cheap, and games don't use that much anyways, so when they do, you won't need to upgrade. Just be sure to get 64 bit version of Windows 7. x86 (32) only uses 4GB of RAM, no matter what version you get.

Power supply wattage depends mostly on how much graphics you put in and the newer gpus and cpus need less and less power. Corsair has real good rebates and pricing right now on newegg.
The PSU is another one you really shouldn't blow off, at least when it comes to price. Unless you plan on doing SLI/Crossfire, 650w will do you just fine. If you plan on adding alot to the case, I'd recommend using this link to see what you need for wattage. I'm using a Corsair PSU atm.. they actually honor their rebates.


If you plan on hooking up your PC to a home theater, I'd definately recommend getting a good sound card. Just make sure to do your homework, sound cards seem like a pain in the ass to shop for, between odd noises and some flat out not working for Windows 7.

For a decent monitor, really depends on what you're looking for. I went for the risky route, and got a korean 27" S-IPS 2560x1440 monitor, paid $320 for it. While it looks nice, the downside is if anything goes wrong, you're shit out of luck, as obviously the warranty is meaningless. Getting a good monitor really is a pain in the ass to shop for. I wouldn't recommend just buying a TV as a replacement however.
 
Apr 30, 2011
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#8
From what I've heard, 670's are the way to go in the nVidia route, being cheaper than 680's while still being perfectly able to OC equal to/greater than 680's.


For a decent monitor, really depends on what you're looking for. I went for the risky route, and got a korean 27" S-IPS 2560x1440 monitor, paid $320 for it. While it looks nice, the downside is if anything goes wrong, you're shit out of luck, as obviously the warranty is meaningless. Getting a good monitor really is a pain in the ass to shop for. I wouldn't recommend just buying a TV as a replacement however.
The 660ti just came out and seems like the 670 is barely better than it for over $100 more. That $100 might be better spent on other parts of the build.

Which korean brand? Korea seems to build more displays since Samsung and LG do so much volume. And no matter what brand after the first year when it fails you are shit out of luck.

Absolutely agree with using a LCD tv as a monitor for gaming unless you just want to go big screen and dont want to spend several thousand.
 

CousinDave

Registered User
Dec 11, 2007
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#9
Yeah, you paragraph questions are taxing on my patience. Are you telling us a story or asking a question?

Yea we all know I tend to ramble on and in just about every post of mine only about 10% of it has any relevance

I just don't understand all this computer information today, back in the 90's I knew what it all meant, I mean a 486 66MHz was faster than a 33MHz which was faster than a 386, then Intel decided to start naming their CPUs because you can't copyright a number. Now when it comes to overclocking and ivy vs sandy bridge an i5 can be faster than an i7 -ughhhhhh

My brother says this is what happens when you start using OSX - you get stupid, although I saw he now has a MacBookPro
 

Monstercloud

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Feb 15, 2005
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#10
Which korean brand? Korea seems to build more displays since Samsung and LG do so much volume. And no matter what brand after the first year when it fails you are shit out of luck.
I went with PCBank. It doesn't have the most the visually pleasing bezel, and the stand is a little wonky, but the catleap (aside from having a stupid name) seemed to have a risky record of defects.
 
Apr 30, 2011
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CLT
#11
Yea we all know I tend to ramble on and in just about every post of mine only about 10% of it has any relevance

I just don't understand all this computer information today, back in the 90's I knew what it all meant, I mean a 486 66MHz was faster than a 33MHz which was faster than a 386, then Intel decided to start naming their CPUs because you can't copyright a number. Now when it comes to overclocking and ivy vs sandy bridge an i5 can be faster than an i7 -ughhhhhh

My brother says this is what happens when you start using OSX - you get stupid, although I saw he now has a MacBookPro
The better question is on those major core parts you want to buy what is your budget?
 

SOS

ONA
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Aug 14, 2000
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#12
Make sure you understand what show_reference and Monstercloud wrote. They discussed things you would need in detail. They know more about this.

What is the resolution and refresh rate of your monitor or tv?

Most video games are primarily made for consoles and ported to PCs/Macs. This is the time of the cycle between the end of PS3/xbox360 and the new consoles that will come out probably in 1-2 years. So what you build now may or may not be able to handle the next generation of video games.

Skyrim Specs:
and as a recommendation, you would need more powerful parts to run at the ultra settings and that is going to cost more.


Recommended

* Windows 7/Vista/XP PC (32 or 64 bit)
* Quad-core Intel or AMD CPU processor
* 4GB System RAM
* 6GB free HDD space
* DirectX 9.0c compatible NVIDIA or AMD ATI video card with 1GB of RAM: Nvidia GeForce GTX 260 or higher; ATI Radeon HD 4890 or higher
* DirectX compatible sound card
* Internet access for Steam activation
means atleast:
Windows 7 or 8: 64 bit
Processor: i5 or greater, quadcore AMD or greater
RAM: 8 gigs
Graphics card: 1 gig RAM (see what show_reference and MonsterCloud wrote and compare it to the link to the list below)
sound card
PSU(power supply unit)
cables
network card (for required STEAM activation)


Check out for ranking CPUs:
http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html

Skyrim specs for finding a GPU:
http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:System_Requirements
 
Dec 12, 2007
25,878
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#13
My brother says this is what happens when you start using OSX - you get stupid, although I saw he now has a MacBookPro
Well at this point an ape can put a PC together.

Most motherboards have preset default bios and you never really need to touch them unless your OC'ing a cpu/gpu. So its just pick a budget, pick your parts, put it together and pop in a operating system disk and chances are it will run if you didn't mix any wires up or get the wrong chipset for memory.
 
Apr 30, 2011
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CLT
#14
I went with PCBank. It doesn't have the most the visually pleasing bezel, and the stand is a little wonky, but the catleap (aside from having a stupid name) seemed to have a risky record of defects.
If that is all there is to complain about than you are doing good. Going name brand is not always a guarantee either, especially when all brands occasionally roll out a dud and it may not be widely known until well out of warranty. Sony is a good example of this in displays.
 

Monstercloud

Registered User
Feb 15, 2005
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#15
If that is all there is to complain about than you are doing good.
There's some backlight bleeding in 3 of the corners, but it's only noticeable if the screen is black. I've had the monitor for about 5 months now, and aside from the rare cases of screen tearing (remedied by 1-2 restarts), I'm pleased. The only downside is when I built my computer, my video card (6950 1gb) was for a 22" 1680x1050 monitor... runs just fine, but yeah....

what is your budget?
This.
 

Bobobie

Registered User
Oct 1, 2005
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#16
Since playing Minecraft, I wish I'd have went with a more powerful Intel CPU. I went cheap with a Phenom II X4 Black Edition. A lot more powerful than my old Core 2 computer, but low end compared to even the newer low end Ivy Bridge stuff. GPU intensive games like Skyrim or Fallout3 or NV it doesn't really matter, but you never know what kind of game you'll want to play in the future.