Tech Question

I’ve decided I am just going to rebuild my old box rather than buy a new system. I have a full tower that is water cooled and has multiple fans and a 1200 watt power source, I have two 24″ monitors, and my blu ray and dvd r/w are fine, and I have a Razer black widow keyboard, a Cyborg RAT 9 mouse, and harmon kardon sound sticks. Basically, I just need to replace my guts.

I need a new top of the line motherboard that can handle as much memory as possible, I need memory, two new video cards I can crossfire, maybe a new solid state drive for the OS, and a processor. Figure I will break down and buy Windows 8.

The one thing to keep in mind is I want to be able to keep my two currents hard drives- I have a 120 solid state and a 1 tb hd, and I would like to make them my second and third drive respectively.

So, dorks, what do you suggest? Don’t give me pieces parts, but the complete mobo/processor/hd/memory combo.

Thanks.






103 replies
  1. 1
    Geir Magnusson Jr says:

    What do you use the machine for? (serious question)

  2. 2
    Gozer says:

    I’d highly recommend TechReport’s X-mas system guide:
    http://techreport.com/review/2.....stem-guide

    They give tons of different recommendations of complete builds at all different price points.

    I used some of their guides to build my current system (~3 years old) and it’s still humming nicely. The only upgrade I’ve done is a coupla SSDs in RAID-0 for my system drive.

  3. 3
    Punchy says:

    Heres yer answer–go to Besy Buy, buy a damn computer, and give us a goddamn Boys/Skins open thread. Christ in a strip club….

  4. 4
    Seanindc says:

    3 options…

    1) call newegg
    Or
    2) call tigerdirect
    Or
    3) go to Microcenter and have them tell you what to get

    Each of those 3 places will help you with specific components based on what you want and how you want to scale up from your original build. They live for helping people build sick systems instead of the usual grannies trying to dial into AOL

  5. 5
    Baud says:

    I kind of like Windows 8. #shootmenow

  6. 6
    Jamey says:

    Get a Mac! (Ducks flying laptop…)

  7. 7
    John Cole says:

    @Geir Magnusson Jr: Gaming, video editing, and photoshop.

    Also too, porn.

  8. 8
    Joel says:

    Non tech answer: I’m going to keep flogging Sam Wang’s latest. Sorry, but you gotta read it.

  9. 9
    Raven says:

    Please free us from the whining anti-football people and give us a Cowboy-Skins thread.

  10. 10
    Violet says:

    Basically, I just need to replace my guts.

    Sounds painful.

  11. 11
    pharniel says:

    What connector for the drives? SATA or SATA II or esata?

    Honestly as long as they are one of those you really can’t purchase a motherboard that won’t let you do that.

    Keeping HDDs has actually been the easiest parts of upgrades so long as you’re not stuck between upgrade cycles (IDE to EIDE to SATA f’erx)

    What exactly are you playing that you need a crossfire on two 24″ monitors?

    My current GTX260 runs Boarderlands 2 at almost max just fine on a system with a 32″/24″ combo of screens. World of Tanks and WoW also ran just fine.

    My FPS in Planetside 2 is only 30 or so…

    On that note might I suggest http://www.tomshardware.com/re.....,3107.html

    two hd 7770’s for the cheap side and hd 7850’s for more expensive perhaps?

    Most of the MoBo’s I was pricing are intel so I’m a bit out of touch when it comes to crossfire and AMD kit but…

    Make sure the FSB is high and there’s enough SATA and SATA II ports.

    Maybe something like http://www.newegg.com/Product/.....ageSize=20 will help.

  12. 12
    gian says:

    I think you may want to suggest a budget range. If you have money to burn look into falcon northwest.
    If you have a budget range it can help narrow down what people will suggest.

    You actually fried motherboard Cpu and memory? How certain are you that the power supply is good?

  13. 13
    James Hare says:

    You will NOT like Windows 8. Stay with 7. Windows 8 is far too touchscreen oriented to be used on a standard desktop.

  14. 14
    Raven says:

    Is tiger direct good? There’s one pretty close.

  15. 15
    pharniel says:

    But yes – I essentially go to toms, or new egg or pc gamer ( I built my last unit also too, 3 years ago now from their ‘mid-tier’ list and it’s running fine.)

  16. 16
    Andy says:

    If you want to build a Hackintosh or Dual-Boot machine, you could do worse than Lifehacker’s guide.

  17. 17
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    OT: SoS Clinton was admitted to the hospital for a blood clot.

  18. 18
    belae says:

    I would recommand z77 mb (any tier 1 or 2 oem would be fine, asus, astek, gigabyte, msi etc ) with i5 3570K, pretty much any decent ddr3 desktop memory sets (8*4, or even 16*4) and 240/256 samsung 830 or corsair m4 ssd for your os drive. If you have a microcenter close you, they have very good deal on MB/cpu combos, (usually 40-50 off). And their CPU price is best even compare to newegg/tigerdirect/amazon. If you are just playing games/regular web stuff, any thing above 8gig (4*2) is waste for the system. Baseline best case price deal would be 220-250 for MB/CPU from microcenter (higher at 270-300 from newegg/amazon), 20-30 for 8 gb memory , and 50-70 for 16 gb, and 100-140 for 32 gb. SSD should run about 160-180. These price may only be possible abit of hunting and after rebates. I would run OS on the bigger os and maybe set up intel ssd caching for the 1tb with the older 128gb ssd.

    PS, i see you do some video editing, photoshop, then 16 or maybe even 32 maybe needed for memory and I would go with Core i7 3770K for abit more threading.

  19. 19
    BGinCHI says:

    @Joel: Wang flogger.

  20. 20
    Badmoodman says:

    Commodore 64.

    (ain’t we helpful?)

  21. 21

    OT but we are taking the Puppy on her first overnight trip tomorrow to a pet friendly motel. It should be interesting. We are trying to get her used to overnight stays so that in the future she will be used to being in motel rooms. I hate the kennel thing and would much rather take her with us.

  22. 22
    Pinkamena Panic says:

    Same question as Cole. I’ve got the plan for HOW to put the thing together, and I can handle the software acquiition side of things; I just need to know what I’m putting together.

  23. 23

    @Raven: TigerDirect has been pretty good in terms of service and price on new equipment. I just dumped a modest fortune into a new laptop for the college freshman, and the fully outfitted, competively-priced HP was on the porch two days after. NewEgg is better for components (RAM, discs, add-ons) but I like Tiger for the quick service and prices on most new stuff. I hear there are actual stores popping up in some of the old CompUSA and MicroCenter spaces in FL, that would be cool, as all I ever dealt with was online/phone.

    @belae: i7 all the way, the performance is totally worth the extra scratch.

  24. 24
    Will Reks says:

    I’ve been using this regularly updated parts guide for my last few builds.

    http://www.logicalincrements.com/

  25. 25
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Badmoodman: There are times when I miss my Commodore 64. I really liked a Rocky Horror Picture Show game that was designed for the Commodore 64 and never remade for Wintel machines.

  26. 26
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    I’ve never gone wrong with the latest Gigabyte mobo for the latest chipset (I’m ambivalent about Intel vs. AMD, but am with Intel right now). I like the OCZ Vertex 4 that I just bought, but

    Newegg’s got a sale on right now.

  27. 27
    PurpleGirl says:

    Cole — thanks for this thread. Everyone else — thanks for the comments on sources for components and machines.

    My tower died a few years ago and since I haven’t kept up with the technology, I’ve not had ideas about what to replace it with. (In the past I’ve drawn up the specs for a whole machine or done piece-meal upgrades myself.) I like my netbook but I’d like to replace the tower.

  28. 28
    Rock says:

    What kind of monitors do people like? I’d like to get a pair of dual 24″ or 27″ monitors, but most of online reviews love Dell and I’m not wild about what I have at work. I personally prefer matte to glossy.

  29. 29
    Laen says:

    I like Ars Technica’s system guides. Gives you multiple options and price ranges.

  30. 30
    Col. Exception says:

    “As much memory as possible” limits you to the x79 platform, which supports more memory than any other as you can have up to 8 sockets populated with 8GB modules.
    If you’re not looking to spend $500+ on a CPU, that leaves you with one choice, the i7 3820. Otherwise, the next cheapest option is the 3930k at around $550. You do get an additional 2 cores, 4 threads, and some cache. Good for video encoding.
    As far as GPU’s go. I’d go with a pair of 660Ti’s, or if budget allows 670’s.
    Memory, go with whatever the cheapest 1600mhz 8x8GB kit you can get your hands on.
    Motherboard, since you want to watercool, an asus p9x79, sabertooth x79, or rampage iv extreme, depending on budget.
    Keeping your old SSD/HDD is kind of pointless unless you intentionally bottleneck your new system.

  31. 31
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    I’d avoid Winders 8. It’s MS’s attempt to compete with Apple’s tablets and isn’t a good fit on the desktop. Plus, there’s the “Secure Boot” stuff that they’re attempting to force on everyone. Plus, it’s being adopted slower than Vista. It’s a flop – avoid it.

    Stay with Win7 (Pro, 64 is probably a good fit for you).

    I’ve had good luck with Gigabyte motherboards.

    Amazon had a sale on the M4 SSDs from Crucial a day or so ago. I snagged the “512 GB” version for $350. I’ve had good luck with the “256 GB” version on this laptop. They’re not the absolute fastest SSDs now, but they’re a lot faster than any spinning drive and are reasonably priced.

    16 GB of RAM is probably the most you could conceivably need now. You can get systems that take 64 GB or more of RAM if you want a server motherboard, but that’s overkill unless your business depends on it.

    Don’t waste your money. Don’t buy the absolute fastest CPU now. 6 months from now faster CPUs and SSDs and video cards and so forth will be out. If you go with Intel, make sure you’re not getting something that won’t be upgradeable unless you’re aware of what you’re doing.

    If I were you, I’d pick a budget and get the best you can for that figure.

    I was a long-time fan of Newegg, but Amazon often has better prices and if you’re on Prime then you can’t beat the shipping speed.

    (My most recent build was an AMD FX-8150 Bulldozer system with a Gigabyte board. It’s ungodly fast for my needs, but I don’t game.)

    HTH a little. Good luck.

    Cheers,
    Scott.
    (Whose first PC purchase was a 486/66 for $4000; it was $1000 cheaper a few months later.)

  32. 32
    Ted & Hellen says:

    My god, I only understood about ten percent of this post.

    Why do you people have dual monitors? Two porn channels at the same time?

    What’s a “tower?” Is that anything like, you know, a computer?

    wtf?

  33. 33
    Ted & Hellen says:

    and what the hell are “sound sticks?”

  34. 34
    Mister Tactful says:

    You can get up to speed pretty quick on what the best current hardware is by browsing Reddit’s /r/buildapc. But they are heavily biased towards gaming.

  35. 35
    Leszek Pawlowicz says:

    Another vote for Windows 7, not 8. If you don’t have a touchscreen, 8 doesn’t make a lot of sense.

  36. 36
    dmsilev says:

    When you say ‘as much RAM as possible’, what do you really mean? Is 32 enough? Most motherboards will give you a minimum of 4 slots. Do you need 64? More? Once you get above 64, and hence need more than 8 banks of RAM, you’re probably talking about workstation and/or server motherboards, which are $$$.

  37. 37
    Morzer says:

    @Violet:

    Sounds like the Steelers’ defense…

  38. 38
    Narcissus says:

    Speaking of porn, what’s the deal with the new google image search, am I right john cole

  39. 39
    Morzer says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    A sound stick is what you need if you spend enough time watching porn.

  40. 40
    cat says:

    @John Cole:

    Also too, porn.

    “Were gonna need a big HD”

    But seriously…

    The top tier Intel X79 LG2011 MB’s will support up to 64GB as they have 8DIMM slots. You can start with 32GB using 8GB DIMMS and upgrade later if you really feel you need more.

    They also have the 6GB SATAIII drives and will have hardware RAID controllers that will support it on the SATA 6GB slots. If you really are serious about MM Editing you will want this. Stripped RAID SDD drives are where its at. 200MB/s sustained writes and 10 second boots. You will just archive off your projects to your HDD/USB drives to free up space on your SDD.

    NVIDIA vs AMD is really up to you, but its more likely your editing/encoding tools will be CUDA(nvidia), massively parellel code, enhanced to speed them up. AMD cards only support openCL.

  41. 41
    Harold says:

    back away from the windows 8. it will put you out of commission for days.

    and it rather sucks on dual monitors

  42. 42
    Firebert says:

    We put Windows 8 on my girlfriend’s computer, and she really doesn’t mind it. There’s a semi-normal desktop within it. Personally, I boot into Ubuntu almost always, so I have no opinion.

  43. 43
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @John Cole: As mentioned above, without a budget we’re sort of flailing around.

    As a basis-point, you might want to look at B&H’s offerings. They have PC-based video editing workstations that range from $2400 – $8500. Of course, that includes stuff you don’t need and software you already have, but it’ll give you an idea of what commercial video-editing PC configurations are these days.

    The $8000 system has dual quad-core 2.1 GHz Xeon (server) processors, 24 GB of RAM, a single video card, etc., etc.

    You can spend as much as you want on this stuff. ;-) If you really want more than 16 GB of RAM, the modules get much more expensive, or the motherboards get much more expensive (for more than 4 slots).

    Budget, please.

    HTH.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  44. 44
    Noskilz says:

    In general, I would argue strongly against SLI video card set-ups. Maybe the technology has improved radically in the last year, but that just gives you one more very delicate system to go south on you.

    Unless you have some particular technical need for two(or more, I’ve heard of triple and quad sli set-ups) video cards, just go with the best single card you’re comfortable paying for and which meets your needs.

    Tom’s Hardware occasionally puts up articles where his team specs out and builds systems to various purposes ( http://www.tomshardware.com/ ) which might save some time.

    But what you actually need that graphics hardware to do will matter more than the specs on the box. If your intended application is happier with ATI or NVIDIA, that’s something to consider carefully.

  45. 45
    Gozer says:

    @Ted & Hellen: I have dual-monitors to have all the relevant system-info (temperature, voltage, etc) up when I’m doing something particularly intensive with my PC. Dr. Mrs. has two so she can enter her data into STATA or SPSS on one screen and edit spreadsheets/word docs on the other. She’ll also have scholarly articles up on one while she edits/writes on the other.

    Its really handy and one of those things that you didn’t know you needed until you have it.

    EDIT: This is for Monsieur Cole: What brand is your PSU? If its some no-name I’d recommend getting a newer one (Corsair is what I’d go with). Their supplies are fantastically efficient and will handle just about anything you throw at them. Thus far my venerable 1000w Corsair has chewed up any and all configurations I’ve thrown at it.

  46. 46
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @belae:

    Good advice (z77/3770K) though if he is going to go with a K series processor then get a good heatsink to OC it with. No need to waste money on a K if you aren’t going to use it as intended.

    That’s like getting a Shelby Mustang and driving it like grandma. :)

  47. 47
    belae says:

    You could put 64 in a Z77 mb, 16*4, though some mb dont officially support it. For normal photoshop 16gb mem should be more then enough unless you are working on very very big files. To go above 64, you would need x79 mb which is at least 100 buck more, and x79 cpu is another 100-200 buck more. For GPU, i would go with 7970 with water cooling if you tower case support it and already have a water cooling set up. May have to increase you radiator size to 360mm or do dual radiator. And I would consider upgrade to a cheap korean ips lcd 27 inches (2560*1440), they go for 300-350 on ebay, microcenter sell one for 400 with warranty service. A dell/hp 27 ips will run you 600-800. Bigger IPS lcd is must for serious photoshop work. Though a 30 inch would be better but those run 800-1000, however I have had very good luck picking up used ips monitor in local CL. I got an almost new dell 3008 ips for 500.
    Amd has better multi monitor support (esp in games). Unless your program/code specially use CUDA (nvdia), I would stick with AMD.

  48. 48
    Maxwel says:

    Another recommendation for TechReport’s system guide. It comes out quarterly, at least.

    What’s the use of a 120gb SSD if it’s not for the os?

  49. 49
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @cat:

    They also have the 6GB SATAIII drives and will have hardware RAID controllers that will support it on the SATA 6GB slots. If you really are serious about MM Editing you will want this. Stripped RAID SDD drives are where its at. 200MB/s sustained writes and 10 second boots. You will just archive off your projects to your HDD/USB drives to free up space on your SDD.

    If you mean “hardware RAID” based on a add-on controller card, I would personally avoid that. I’ve read too many horror stories about high-quality, expensive, add-on RAID controllers dying or having some bug in the firmware that caused the drives to be corrupted or … It’s not worth it on the desktop, IMHO.

    If RAID is important in a business setting, either use well-debugged software RAID (e.g. on Linux), or pay the big bucks for server-grade stuff. PC-hardware-based RAID is asking for trouble – especially with consumer-grade drives.

    An example linky to support my case.

    YMMV.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  50. 50
    PopeRatzo says:

    @Gozer:

    If you’re a gamer, stay away from Windows 8 until next year. If you 1200w PSU is a good brand name one, get a pair of HD7850s and a pair of decent SSDs (one for system, one for apps) a pair of great big honking hard drives for all those porn and game files, and the ASUS Sabertooth mobo. It’s so cool looking.

    If you’re into gaming and porn, then you want your rig to look sharp so you can fantasize about what a badass studd you are. Because all of us badass studs run very cool gaming rigs with lots of multicolored LEDs in the case. Personally, I like the CoolerMaster Storm because it’s got the big window on the side to display the LEDs to greatest effect.

    Get some high-end air fresheners to cover up the smell of funky drawers (who has time to change when you’re up 3 days playing Far Cry 3?) and you’ve got it goin’ on, bro.

    And if you’re ever looking for someone to play a little Borderlands 2 co-op, just drop me an email. You sound like my kind of guy. My wife goes to the Joint Mathematics Conference in San Diego in January, and I’ll have a whole week to rock Handsome Jack before she comes home and makes me go back to teaching Literary Theory.

  51. 51
    joeyess says:

    Heres yer answer–go to Besy Buy, buy a damn computer, and give us a goddamn Boys/Skins open thread. Christ in a strip club….

    This. This is why I come here. Loving Misanthropes unchained.

    Reply

  52. 52
    Culture of Truth says:

    I built my own machine. I found Ubuntu to be just fine. my 2 cents.

  53. 53
    Peter says:

    Windows 8

    Cole. Cole no. What are you doing.

  54. 54
    Origuy says:

    For coding, dual monitors are nice because you can run the debugger on one screen and the program on the other. Lots of memory is useful, too, because the program development tools (compiler, linker, etc.) tend to be memory intensive.

  55. 55
    Hello Rochester says:

    Buy a Mac Mini.

  56. 56
    Narcissus says:

    So what are you into Cole, ponygirls or something

  57. 57
    NotMax says:

    If you must go with Win 8 (and if you can avoid doing so, all the better), you might want to spring Stardock (at a mere $4.99 for the basic package, it is eminently affordable and will make Win 8 much more user friendly for mouse and keyboard operation).

  58. 58
    browser says:

    Ars Technica System Guide never fails me.

    http://arstechnica.com/gadgets.....mber-2012/

    Gives suggestions for a few builds based on cost (Budget Box to God Box), but the really nice thing is that they give you a pretty concise overview of the latest technologies and what’s on the way in the context of hardware–you know what’s coming and what’s becoming obsolete. They also note substitution parts, which gives you flexibility.

    Someone mentioned newegg upthread; dunno if you know, but buy a CPU from them and I think you can get the OS at the OEM price.

    And don’t get Windows 8. You only reward bad behavior.

  59. 59
    Shalimar says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Why do you people have dual monitors? Two porn channels at the same time?

    I was assuming porn on one and World of Warcraft on the other.

  60. 60
    phein53 says:

    Contact Kevin at KC Computers, kc-computers.com.

    Perfect 10’s for customer service for more than a decade on resellerratings.com.

    Up in your neck of the woods (NY).

    I’m on my second set of innards from Kevin since 2000. Helpful, available, reasonably priced.

    Just go.

  61. 61
    tofubo says:

    don’t give me sugar and don’t do 8, seven is bad enough

    Intel Core i7-3770S Ivy Bridge
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/.....6819116503

    GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UP4 TH
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/.....6813128558

    HIS H785F2G2M Radeon HD 7850 2GB 256-bit GDDR5
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/.....6814161406

    32GB kit (8GBx4), Ballistix 240-pin DIMM, DDR3 PC3-12800
    http://www.crucial.com/store/m.....AEA5CA7304

    OCZ Vertex 4 VTX4-25SAT3-512G.M 2.5″ 512GB SATA III
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/.....6820227820

  62. 62
    toschek says:

    Asus Maximus V Gene or Formula MB + 3770k or 3750k for your processor, I’ve got a 32GB DIMM kit for mine, g.skill ripjaws.

    Crucial M4 drives are good.

    Screw Windows 8. Stick with 7, 8 is Vista 2.0.

  63. 63
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet:

    If RAID is important in a business setting, either use well-debugged software RAID (e.g. on Linux), or pay the big bucks for server-grade stuff.

    Hardware RAID ages terribly. Fine if you’re in a server environment, but firmware hits EOL pretty quickly, cards cope badly with the growing size of HDs, and so on. You can split the difference these days and put the drives in a NAS which, if you’re willing to play about, offers decent throughput and gets your crap off the desktop box.

    (I’m dicking about with ZFS right now on a honking server, and I love it to death. That’s the kind of hardware that you don’t want in your home unless you have a soundproof room and someone else pays the electricity bill.)

  64. 64
    Tone In DC says:

    I have an MSI X77 based board, an i7 3770 and 16 GB of Kingston CL9 RAM. The video card is a year old Geforce 550 Ti.

  65. 65
    rikyrah says:

    I have nothing to contribute, but look forward to reading the suggestions

  66. 66
    roshan says:

    All of the below was taken from Build a PC subreddit. Look at the right-hand side bar for info.

    Computer Parts Database.

    Also, use PCPartPicker.com to shop for the stuff. It gives recommendation on compatability too.

  67. 67
    Wascally Wabit says:

    Hey, until recently, I used to work at Microcenter, so I wanted to chime in with my two cents.

    First off, if you have two monitors, stay with Windows 7. Eight is pretty bad right now, especially for multi-tasking.

    Really, all the hardware advice you are getting is good. Everything is more powerful than you really need, and RAM is super cheap and plentiful. Unless you plan to be into heavy OS virtualization, I really can’t see more than needing 8 gigs at the moment, as most of our software has plateaued in terms of system requirements.

    I know I am a little short of specifics, but having background is almost always good.

  68. 68
    Soonergrunt says:

    G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2133 (PC3 17000) Desktop Memory Model F3-17000CL9Q-16GBZH
    Item #: N82E16820231503
    $129.99

    ASUS Sabertooth X79 LGA 2011 Intel X79 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
    Item #: N82E16813131801
    $339.99

    Intel Core i7-3820 Sandy Bridge-E 3.6GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 2011 130W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80619i73820
    Item #: N82E16819115229
    $299.99
    -$20.00 Instant
    $279.99

    SAMSUNG 830 Series MZ-7PC256B/WW 2.5″ 256GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
    Item #: N82E16820147164
    $199.99

  69. 69
    Tory says:

    Avoid Window’s 8 unless you have touch screens, or you are going to add a touch screen overlay to your monitors. Win8, much like Vista is a nice promise of what 9 will be as Vista was for Win7. It can be made functional for mouse use, but for all the new and good points, there is a mass of negatives. As such, and as Win8 being out makes 7 cheaper, go with 7. Everything is compatible with it, and 8 being new isn’t going to be able to accept and work with everything from hardware to software.

  70. 70
    Tory says:

    @pseudonymous in nc: Too Right. As someone that works in a datacenter. Even a 1U supermicro makes a crap load of noise.

  71. 71

    My rig:

    MOTHERBOARD:
    ECS Black Deluxe P67H2-A2 SLI (B3) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
    Didn’t think I’d care about USB 3 until I had it. My USB 3.0 compatible external hard drive backs up my photos in seconds now, instead of minutes. Also, the reason for this one over the EVGA equivalent was 1) it was cheaper, and 2) both PCIE slots are x16.

    VIDEO: Two of these (out of stock at Newegg):
    EVGA 01G-P3-1380-KR GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) SSC+ 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
    But just find two SLI ready EVGA video cards and you’ll be fine.

    CPU:
    Intel Core i5-2400 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz (3.4GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor
    If I had to do it over again, I’d go I7. Live and learn.

    MEMORY:
    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666)
    Can’t have too much memory. This MB will go up to 32MB, so double this if you can afford it. Stick to GSKILL or OCZ brand IMHO.

    The SSD is 128MB, but the price is coming down fast. go for 256 or higher. I run Win 7 as that’s the OS that supports directx 11.

    My favorite game right now is Civ V, Gods and Kings, and while not the most graphic intensive game out there, I can max out everything and it still screams. Rome: Total War and Caesar IV also look fabulous. Any first person shooter is gonna be good, though I don’t play that kind of game.

    Take away:
    Motherboard with dual PCIE ports SLI ready.
    Two high-end nvidia video graphics cards (like evga or ecs) that are SLI capable
    More memory than you think you’ll ever need.
    An SSD for your OS and main games, so you don’t have to wait too long to get playing.

  72. 72
    Death Panel Truck says:

    So, dorks, what do you suggest?

    What a first world problem you have there. Must be hell on earth for you.

  73. 73
    stormhit says:

    The people being anti Windows 8 are largely wrong, other than the dual monitor complaints. It adds a lot and the supposed huge loss of a cascading start menu can be approximated with a taskbar toolbar in about 2 minutes anyway.

  74. 74
    toschek says:

    And I also would go with EVGA 4GB GTX 670 cards if your wallet can handle it. I’m running two of these in SLI, driving 3x Apple 27″ LED Cinema Displays in NVidia 2d surround and framerates are like butter in Dark Souls, Borderlands 2, etc.

    8gb as others have noted is plenty. I work from home and my job is all about virtualization, testing and development, so 32gb was where I needed to be, but if you’re just doing gaming and some Photoshop don’t bother going over 8gb.

    Avoid Windows 8, it’s not fun to use without touch controls. I tried it for a month and went back to 7, multitasking in Windows 8 is a chore.

  75. 75
    bago says:

    The thing with win8 is that it’s not very discoverable. Once you swallow the idea that the start menu is an entire screen, (start typing on the start screen), you then just have to get used to the charms system. Its a UI shift, but it’s no bob.

  76. 76
    bago says:

    The core tech is there, but the MBA ‘s demanded we ship to make quarterly numbers.

  77. 77
    Arclite says:

    I’m just appalled at the number of people who didn’t read the request carefully, and subsequently ended up recommending all sorts of stuff JC doesn’t need or want: monitors, complete systems, Macs, cases, etc. etc. So much utter fail to provide proper advice.

    tofubo at comment 61 has a great rec, so I’ll build off of that.

    Processor: Since you’ll be doing both gaming and photoshop/video editing, Tofubo’s rec of the Intel Core i7-3770S Ivy Bridge 3.1GHz is a good one, but since you’ve got water cooling, you may as well go with a Core i7 K model which is unlocked and can be easily overclocked for additional performance. That’s not critical for most games these days (except Skyrim), but will certainly help speed up Photoshop renders and video transcoding (and don’t bother with AMD procs since they are so much slower at these tasks). Here’s the Newegg page. Also, it’s 400MHz faster base clock and only $20 more in price ($329).

    Paste: You’ll need to connect that proc to the water cooler with a thermal interface to ensure maximum thermal transfer for optimal cooling. Arctic Silver 5 is one of the best. Here’s the Newegg page. It’s $10.

  78. 78
    Arclite says:

    Motherboard: I like Tofubo’s choice of motherboard, the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP4. Gigabyte is a fantastic company. They use a full 2 oz of copper in each motherboard to maximize stability and longevity. I’ve had a couple of Gigabyte mboards in the past and never had any issues with them. This particular one is outfitted with dual thunderbolt I/O connecters which are among the fastest you can get. Exporting an hour of 1080p video supposedly takes 30 seconds or something. Also has USB 3.0, that fancy UEFI BIOS, onboard 8 channel audio which is decent, SATA 6, etc. It supports a total of 32 GB of memory. Also supports up to triple SLI (three video cards working in conjunction). Here’s the Newegg page. Currently $184.

    Memory: Tofubo’s rec of Ballistix is a good one, Crucial makes high quality memory, and the set he rec’d is very fast, perfect for Photoshopping/vid editing. It’s quite expensive, however, and also out of stock at Newegg, so you’d have to order direct for $300 (see his link). If you wanted to save some money, you could order slightly slower (shouldn’t even be noticeable) memory. I’ve got 8 GB of Corsair Vengeance in my PC for the past six months and have had no trouble. Here’s the Newegg page. Price is about half the Ballistix at $150.

    Hard Drive: I like Tofubo’s rec of a 512 GB solid state drive (See his link). Prices have really come down on solid state drives, and OCZ makes some of the fastest there is. A year ago, this would have cost your over $1000. Now it’s only $489. Alternatively, if that’s too rich for your blood, You could get the 256 GB version of the Vertex 4. Here’s the Newegg page. Price is only $230.

  79. 79
    Arclite says:

    Graphics: I’m going to diverge from Tofubo’s AMD Radeon rec, and suggest picking up a couple of NVidia cards in SLI for gaming duties. They tend to be more powerful, and also they have PhysX built in which makes games like Batman Arkham City and Borderlands 2 look amazing. Again, I’m going to recommend Gigabyte here, because in addition to producing a quality product, they put multiple massive fans (“Windforce”) on their graphics cards where other manufs use only one. This has a triple effect.
    – First, it keeps the card cooler than usual, extending the life of the card, since heat is the number one chip degrader.
    – Second, it lets them run quieter since there are more fans running more slowly.
    – Third, it lets the card be more easily overclocked.
    I’ve got a Gigabyte GV-N670OC-2GD GeForce GTX 670 2GB in my rig currently, and I barely hear the graphics card. No high pitched whine, just a low hum, it’s nearly silent. Having two of those in SLI would be sublime, but at $400 each, that’s really A LOT of cash for graphics. So instead I’m going to rec the Gigabyte GV-N660OC-2GD GeForce GTX 660 2GB. This card has about 60% the capability of the top of the line NVidia card (GTX 680) at less than half the cost. Two of them together should exceed the performance of that card. Here’s the Newegg page. Only $230 each, so it will give you massive graphics ability without breaking the bank. Also currently there’s a $20 rebate per card (so $210 per card), and it comes with the just-released Assassin’s Creed 3.

    Magnetic Dust Covers: I’m assuming your PC shit the bed due to overheating from being clogged with dust from your pets. I lost a $400 graphics card (NVidia 8800 Ultra) for the same reason. There are different kinds, but the ones I use have magnets that stick right over all my air intakes. They’re completely washable, and even without pets I find I wash them every 3 months or so. Here’s the Newegg page. At $9 each, they’re a cheap way of extending the life of your PC.

    Windows 8: If you’ve already got Windows 7, I’d stick with that, but if you’re upgrading from Vista, I suppose you could go with 8. It’s supposed to be more stable than 7 (fewer BSODs) but you have to deal with that FSM-awful Metro interface. There are ways around it, so you might want to do some research before considering. Myself, I’ll stick with W7 for now and see what W9 looks like in a few years.

    That’s my recommendation.

  80. 80
    Arclite says:

    HOWEVER,

    If you really need more than 32 GB of memory, then you’ll have to shell out a bit more cash, b/c you’ll need a 2011 pin proc (and should get a six core proc if you’re going to go this route) and a 2011 pin X79 chipset motherboard.

    Six Core Proc: The cheapest six core option is the Intel Core i7-3930K Sandy Bridge-E 3.2GHz. This will really make Photoshop and Premiere sing, but at a cost. First it’s half again more than an Ivy Bridge proc. Second, it draws almost twice as much power being based on the older 32nm process. You have plenty of power in your 1200 watt PS to handle it, but you’ll see it in your electric bill if you run it a lot. Here’s the Newegg page. Currently listed at $569.

    X79 Motherboard: I didn’t see any thunderbolt X79 motherboards, but this Gigabyte GA-X79-UP4 has all the other goodies though: USB 3.0, UEFI BIOS, 6 SATA 6 slots, onboard 8 channel audio, etc. It also has those 8 memory slots. As someone suggested earlier, get 4 x 8GB first, see if it’s enough and upgrade later when you need more (assuming you need more than 32 GB). Here’s the Newegg page. Currently listed at $569.

    But honestly, this seems like overkill to me. My original rec should be sufficient for whatever you’re doing.

  81. 81
    Stan says:

    > Figure I will break down and buy Windows 8.

    Nooooooo!!!

  82. 82
    Robert Sneddon says:

    Windows 8 on a desktop is very much like Windows 7 only a bit faster and more stable. I just finished installing Win8 on the cheapass homebuilt machine I’m typing this on and it set up my dual monitors during the install without prompting, and that’s with two uncommon resolutions (2560×1440 and 2048×1152) so I don’t know what the complaints are about Win8 and multiple monitors on desktop setups.

    TIFKAM (The Interface Formerly Known As Metro) UI is for touchscreen systems but it takes one mouse click on the Desktop tile to switch into a conventional desktop which is where I spend 99% of my time. Metro is there because Win8 can also run on tablets etc. and it defaults to being the first UI on startup since a desktop is difficult to drive with only touch.

  83. 83
    Maude says:

    Make sure the motherboard fits the case.
    Win 8? I will read the rants. It’s Vista 2.

  84. 84
    WarMunchkin says:

    @PurpleGirl: What kind of budget are you working with? You can make a good computer nowadays with any kind of budget, but the parts you’d get definitely scale with the amount you’re willing to spend.

    for John:
    The real question for you is how much video editing do you do to justify dropping an extra 1K for slightly faster processing time? There are choices you can make – a video card for gaming might have different drivers than a “workstation” video card that’s more optimized for video editing. I’ll assume you budget for a gaming PC, unless you’ve got a part time gig at Hollywood.

    Processor: I recommend an unlocked processor. Since you have a strong cooling setup, my sense is that you’re accustomed to overclocking. I recommend the Intel i5-3750K for gaming. The “K” at the end means that it’s unlocked and you can overclock it to high heaven. The i7-3770K (LGA 1155) or i7-3930K (LGA 2011) hasn’t given that many more benefits for gaming, but for video editing, hyperthreading on the i7s will be better (and if you want this, it’s another chipset and it will throw off the rest of my recommendations).

    Motherboard: Gigabyte Z77-UP5 TH, according to Tom’s Hardware The thing about the Z77 boards nowadays is that while they support 32GB of memory, chances are, you’re not even going to use 16GB in the next few year.

    Memory: Honestly, I have never had any noticeable difference between brands of memory. Get a set of two 8GB sticks (make sure it isn’t 4x 4GB) so that you can expand to 32GB later. I’ve never bothered overclocking with memory, so I won’t recommend a particular frequency.

    SSD:Get a reliable brand. Different brands use different controllers, and this is really important. SSDs also have problems when they get to a certain fullness in some cases, so you need to decide whether this will be a small drive to store your OS only, or store more things (apps and games). There’s an example heirarchy chart.

    GPU: Nothing to add here. If I were raining money down from the heavens, dual Nvidia GTX 680s, since you have that monster power supply. But this is pretty much a “what’s my budget” choice.

    Don’t use Windows 8 yet, it’ll just annoy you. You can get a system builder’s Windows 7 from amazon still.

  85. 85
    Skinker says:

    ASRock Z77 OC Formula LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Extended ATX Intel Motherboard
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/.....6813157328

    Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge 3.5GHz (3.9GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000 BX80637I73770K

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/.....6819116501

    G.SKILL Trident X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2400 (PC3 19200) Desktop Memory Model F3-2400C10D-16GTXI
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/.....6820231589

  86. 86
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @Arclite:

    I’m just appalled at the number of people who didn’t read the request carefully, and subsequently ended up recommending all sorts of stuff JC doesn’t need or want: monitors, complete systems, Macs, cases, etc. etc. So much utter fail to provide proper advice.

    “Apalled”? “Utter fail”? Really? Lighten up, OK?

    Considering JC never said how much he wanted to spend, and since there were some questions about why people would need dual monitors, it’s not surprising that the discussion and recommendations were open ended.

    Why, it’s almost as if Cole was trying to generate an open-ended discussion on his blog. Why on Earth would he do that to us?!?!

    ;-)

    The only budget number I recall seeing was that he “didn’t have $2k lying around” for a new PC. Presumably he doesn’t want to spend that much to replace the motherboard, etc.

    If his budget were $1k, he probably doesn’t want to spend $350 on a motherboard, $300 on a processor, $800 on graphics cards, $300+ on RAM…

    IOW, sensible recommendations are going to depend on his budget. Otherwise, it’s all just kibitzing.

    One final comment from me on this: He never told us why his system blew up. Bad caps on the motherboard? Power surge? Overheating? Marginal “1200W” power supply?

    On my recent Bulldozer build, I got what seemed to be the highest quality power supply I could justify – a Kingwin 850W modular 80Plus Platinum – for its efficiency and ease of installation. At $180, it’s not cheap, but I expect it to last for at least a couple of generations. (I don’t game.)

    If JC’s system didn’t have an obvious failure (dust and overheating, bad capacitors on the motherboard, etc.), then he probably should replace the power supply as well.

    My $0.02.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  87. 87
    Simon says:

    John, just go to guru3d.com. They have the most intelligent/coherent/concise reviews of this stuff I have ever found. No, I have no relation to them except that I am broke and covet that shit and like to read about shit I cannot afford. Anyhoo, go there and do your research.

  88. 88
    sheithappens says:

    Figures that Republican fawner Cole is as ignorant about Computers as he is of just about everything else.

    What exactly do you need an overpriced 1200watt power supply for? For running 4 overpriced video cards? That’s about the only reason I could think of and if you are running 4 video cards well…then you are 14 and living in your parents basement too.

    Does it have a neon light inside it as well…and a flame job on the side…oh wait, no that’s what the overpriced case with the window is for….amirite???

    I suppose you are also one of these clowns who buys monster cable at like $50 a foot or whatever because you believe all the marketing bullshit that they work better and sound better because…ahhh, it’s got ELECTROLYTES!

  89. 89
    Justdale says:

    I’m late to the party and most of the ground has been covered.

    GPU: I work for NVIDIA. Go with GeForce. :-)

    Mobo: I have had good luck with the ASUS workstation series (P9X79 WS is the newest). Lots of PCI in a logical layout, and can use Xeon as well as Core (important for my work, probably not for John’s).

    Processor: assuming you are buying consumer i7, look for the “elbow” in the current pricing. The price/performance curve is not linear, so I buy whatever is still reasonable on the day I order. You are almost always limited by other components.

    Memory: more is better, easy to upgrade later.

    Power supply: I usually get 1000w with a single rail. I have had too many instances where multi-rail PSUs didn’t have enough amperage left on a rail even though the total draw was under the limit. Again, might be a “me thing not John thing” since I often run with 3 or 4 GPUs (for CUDA).

  90. 90
    Justdale says:

    I’m late to the party and most of the ground has been covered.

    GPU: I work for NVIDIA. Go with GeForce.

    Mobo: I have had good luck with the ASUS workstation series (P9X79 WS is the newest). Lots of PCI in a logical layout, and can use Xeon as well as Core (important for my work, probably not for John’s).

    Processor: assuming you are buying consumer i7, look for the “elbow” in the current pricing. The price/performance curve is not linear, so I buy whatever is still reasonable on the day I order. You are almost always limited by other components.

    Memory: more is better, easy to upgrade later.

    Power supply: I usually get 1000w with a single rail. I have had too many instances where multi-rail PSUs didn’t have enough amperage left on a rail even though the total draw was under the limit. Again, might be a “me thing not John thing” since I often run with 3 or 4 GPUs (for CUDA).

  91. 91
    Pococurante says:

    Desktops are ecological overkill. Get a laptop. I bought for my son Dell’s cheapest model at $675 after tax and he has no problem running his games at full quality.

    No one over the age of 24 will notice those few more FPS that costs a grand or more.

  92. 92
    Nied says:

    This was the core of the system I built for myself 2 months ago:

    Intel Core i7 3770K
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/.....6819116501

    Asus Sabertooth Z77
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/.....6819116501

    Samsung 840 pro SSD
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/.....6820147193

    Seagate Barracuda ST3000 3TB
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/.....6822148844

    I tossed 16GB of RAM in that and it flies. I took a risk buying the 840 SSD on release day but I’m happy to say it payed off, my boot times (with Windows 8) tend to be in the mid single digit seconds, and most of that is taken up with the Mobo POSTing. I bought a Radeon 6970 last year so I stayed with that. If you’re thinking of going with Windows 8 I’d go with an AMD card, nVidia seems to have a blind spot when it comes to drivers for new OSes.

    Don’t listen to the haters on Windows 8, I’ve been using it on my work desktop since the Release Candidate and after the initial pain of breaking my old habits built up from XP-7 I’d say I actually like the interface better than 7. The dual monitor support is leaps and bounds above any previous version of Windows, the new task manager and explorer (not IE) are gigantic improvements, and once you understand the fact that the new not-Metro interface is just big start button the rest of the interface choices make much more sense. I will echo what other people have mentioned and say MS could have made the interface more discoverable so be ready to put in some effort to re-learn how to use things. I have to give a special shout out to the new Metro remote desktop app, I’m a SysAdmin and spend a lot of time remoted into servers at our Colo and that app has single handedly increased my productivity tenfold.

  93. 93
    sheithappens says:

    btw, anyone who thinks more memory makes your computer go faster doesn’t know the first damn thing about computers. Anything above 4Gig for Win7 is usually a waste for 95% of the users out there. If you are a power user than 8Gig. If you are a graphic artist working for Pixar….maybe 16Gig.

  94. 94
    mclaren says:

    You’re going to buy Windows 8?

    Ahahahahahahaahahahahahahahaha!

    Here’s a better suggestion: take your computer system and throw it out the window.

    Cole, you’re too dumb to own a computer.

  95. 95
    sheithappens says:

    @mclaren: I wasn’t going to mention Win8 so I could enjoy laughing at him when he comes on here complaining about how his printer drivers don’t work and how the interface has him all confused and now he has to buy a new printer and new monster cables because the guy at the shop that sells monster cables said that was his problem.

    Since you cannot fix stupid may as well laugh at them as they throw their money away.

  96. 96
    justdale says:

    @sheithappens: I don’t know what you do with your computers, but having more system memory does makes a lot of things go faster. Modern OS’s will do aggressive file system caching can benefit apps that don’t have large memory footprints.

    Of course I’m talking about workstations and servers running science code. For games and lightweight knowledge worker stuff (word-processing, spreadsheets, web browsing, etc) there isn’t a lot of benefit as long as you are not swapping. Of course, RAM is cheap compared to other components, so it’s not like the savings would justify slugging along with 2GB…

  97. 97
    Arclite says:

    @I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet:

    “Apalled”? “Utter fail”? Really? Lighten up, OK?
    Considering JC never said how much he wanted to spend, and since there were some questions about why people would need dual monitors, it’s not surprising that the discussion and recommendations were open ended.
    Why, it’s almost as if Cole was trying to generate an open-ended discussion on his blog. Why on Earth would he do that to us?!?!

    Okay, my reaction was probably a bit over the top, but JC was pretty specific about what he needed and why, so I got annoyed at all unnecessary suggestions. He’s obviously not going to buy new monitors, but there was a monitor suggestion. He’s not going to buy a Mac, but there were several Mac suggestions. And trying to do video editing on a laptop (per Pococurante at 91) will be slow and probably fry the proc bricking the laptop.

  98. 98
  99. 99
    sheithappens says:

    lol…I am quite aware of what ‘modern’ OS’s do. Thanks for pointing out you also do not fully understand how cache works in addition to memory.

    But yea, I think you need 128GB of memory to make it run better because…caching! Lol.

    That would be my advice to Cole. Spend as much as possible on memory because memory makes it go faster. Doesn’t matter how much you have. Adding more makes it go faster. Just ask justdale…lol.

    Great advice from the BJ peanut gallery as usual.

  100. 100
    LongHairedWeirdo says:

    @Ted & Hellen:
    Two monitors can mean “full screen game on one, something else on the other”, or it cam mean “Remote desktop on one monitor, other work on the other”. It’s definitely a multi-tasking thing. If you only ever do one thing at a time, it’s a waste of your money, but if you do lots of stuff at once, you’ll try it once and all-but take out a loan with a testicle (or something equally important for women-folk) as collateral to get the 2 monitor rig you *need*.

  101. 101
    LongHairedWeirdo says:

    The one thing to keep in mind is I want to be able to keep my two currents hard drives- I have a 120 solid state and a 1 tb hd, and I would like to make them my second and third drive respectively.

    Okay, so, you’re buying *another* solid state drive?

    Because you want your boot drive to be solid state, or you’re wasting a huge advantage of the solid state drive. The solid state drive will boot in 15-30 seconds (if properly configured – you don’t want it set to IDE emulation!), while a spinning disk will take much, much longer. The SSD should also have your swap file.

    You can also put programs here that you want to *pop* into action. Anything worth waiting a bit for can go on old fashioned disks. That includes most games – you typically won’t care if they come up super-quickly – you just want them to run smoothly once they load.

  102. 102
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    For those who haven’t noticed the Tunch post, Cole says one of his graphics cards died but the rest of the system is fine.

    So… :-)

    It was fun.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  103. 103
    Justdale says:

    @sheithappens:
    Being an Internet troll doesn’t involve rereading data, so extra memory getting used as filesystem cache won’t help there. For many science codes and some creative workflows it helps substantially.

Comments are closed.