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Gaming/Building a pc


QUESTION: Hi, i hope you can help me, i want to build a gaming pc but i dont know a huge amount about it. I have selected parts that i think will work together(links are at the bottom) but i dont know if i have forgotten anything, or if the parts will even function together, please advise me on any changes i should make. Thanks for you help, Ciaran Coghlan here are the links: Case: Motherboard: Ram: Graphics: Cpu: hdd: ssd: power supply: disk drive: colid=66ITSUPMWYCO&coliid=ICCC6EWKUK6Q1

ANSWER: I would strongly advise you to completely re-think this build. There are a number of problems that I see from the outset, that will likely result in a lot of damaged hardware as proposed.

Firstly, the Antec case you've selected appears to have gone out of stock (Amazon does not list it as available anymore); so I would either wait for it to come back into stock, or select another case (anything marked as compatible for ATX will be suitable; this is primarily an aesthetic consideration). Here's an example:

Again, anything marked for ATX that suits your fancy, should be no problem. I would ensure that whatever you select uses 120mm fans for cooling though, as that will generally result in a quieter computer.

Moving onto other considerations:

- The power supply you have selected is both inadequate and of very low quality. It should be replaced with something more robust and built by a reputable and quality manufacturer (Antec would be a fine example; other examples would include Enermax, Corsair, XFX, and PC Power & Cooling). Try this one out:

- Do you actually need that much memory? 32GB is substantial overkill (As in, it will not make any performance benefit) for gaming, however if you're working with DCC applications (e.g. if you do professional level HD video editing, or work with CAD/CAM for work) it may be worthwhile. I would suggest slimming that down to 8GB (or thereabouts), which will trim around $200 of fat off of the pricetag. You can actually buy from the same manufacturer:

Or go with another manufacturer and save a few more dollars: (There will be no appreciable performance difference between the two; one just costs more due to branding)

- The graphics card is out of place in this machine. The primary determinant of performance with videogames will be the graphics card, and the one you have selected is outclassed by the rest of the hardware you have chosen. I would suggest something along the lines of a GeForce GTX 680 or Radeon HD 7970. However I'll come back and touch on this point in a moment.

- The SSD/HDD combination is also something I'd tend to shy away from - I understand that it is "trendy" these days, however there is minimal advantage to spending the extra money on an SSD just to install the OS onto (the size of the disk you selected would allow for little else), and there is still a reliability concern when it comes to SSDs. My advice would be to just stick with the 3TB drive you selected, and partition it (so you will have, for example, a 200GB partition for the OS to install onto, a 1.5TB partition to install applications onto, and a 500GB partition to store documents and media files; the advantage of this versus just using the drive as "one big space" is that if/when you need to re-install the OS, you don't lose data).

- Finally, I'd suggest looking at what kinds of games you'd like to play, and tailoring the processor and graphics card selection to that. While the 3770K and a GTX 680 would give you top-shelf performance, if you aren't looking to play modern games that demand that level of performance, you can save some money and go with a less expensive graphics adapter and CPU (and that may be a situation where the GTX 660 would make a lot of sense!); look at resources like System Requirements Lab or published specifications from the game developers for the titles you're interested in, to get an idea of what you really need in terms of performance. If you have the money and want to ensure the machine will have no trouble with newer titles, the 3770 and GTX 680 (or 7970) configuration would be a good choice.

The only other components I'd see as "needed" would be a monitor, and an operating system. When it comes to a monitor, size and resolution are the primary things you have to consider - how big of a display do you want, and how high of a resolution would you like it to have? Generally, a 24" widescreen with a 1080p resolution is a good choice, and there are numerous options (I would suggest manufacturers like Samsung, Asus, and Dell (because they tend to offer the best warranties) - but there are numerous good choices out there; generally Acer Group is the only manufacturer I'd stay away from). Higher resolutions will be more demanding on the computer when it comes to playing videogames - that's where more graphics processing power will come in handy. If you're interested in a very high resolution display (e.g. 2560x1600 or 3840x2160), you should seriously consider a more robust graphics processor like GTX Titan or a multi-card solution (like a pair of HD 7970s or GTX 680s). Multi-monitor is also something worth considering, both for productivity (you can get more work done if you have more space to do it in), and for gaming (both nVidia and AMD have solutions to allow you to play videogames across three (identical) monitors - nVidia Vision Surround and AMD Eyefinity).

As far as an operating system, Windows 7 or Windows 8 would be my suggestion - I would go for the 64-bit Professional version of either. Windows 8 is a little bit different to use compared to previous versions of Windows, and may require some getting used to, but both are competent operating systems and will allow you to play a very wide range of games. Given that you're building this system yourself, you can purchase the "OEM" or "System Builder" version to save some money.

Here are links to both: (Windows 8)
( (Windows 7)

The price is essentially identical, so it really comes down to personal preference. If you're more familiar with Windows Vista or Windows 7, Windows 7 may be an easier choice, but if you really aren't worried either way, Windows 8 will be just as capable. There is little to no reason to purchase the Ultimate edition of Windows 7, unless you specifically need one of the features it offers.

Here's the comparison information for Windows 7:

The motherboard, while expensive, is a good choice - Intel makes a very stable and reliable motherboard, and you should not expect any issues with a flagship product. The optical drive is also a good choice - Lite-On is one of the largest and most popular manufacturers for a reason, and while their drives may be somewhat louder than competitors, they are generally very reliable against the competition.

Also you should remember other peripherals that you may need, like a keyboard, mouse, speakers or headphones, webcam, microphone, printer, scanner, etc as needed (At the bare minimum you will need a keyboard, mouse, and some sort of speakers). Since you've mentioned gaming, depending on your overall budget, you may be interested in looking at a surround sound speaker system, or a gaming headest (which will include a microphone for communication), or a "control pad" (like the Xbox 360 Controller for Windows); there's really a lot of options when it comes to additional peripherals, and you're basically only limited by your budget, physical space, and personal tastes.

If you have any further questions, feel free to ask.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank again for your previous email, it was greatly appreciated. I have considered your suggestions and have come up with the following: Case: for the graphics i have two options: or which would you recommend? I have also included a bluray drive i will stick with my motherboard, procssor and hdd and reduce the amount of ram, also i will use the power supply you recomended. Thanks for your time. Kind regards Ciaran Coghlan

That case will be fine, and J&R is a reputable and quality retailer. On the graphics adapters, I'd go with the Radeon simply because it costs $50 less and will be easier to source (as of this writing, the GTX 770 is showing out of stock - which does not surprise me, it's a new release, and therefore "popular"). The 770 is marginally faster, but nothing I'd spend $50 for. See this review for more:,9.html Both cards are near the top of the heap in terms of performance.

The Blu-ray drive is a fine choice, but remember you will need third-party playback software to handle Blu-ray discs themselves (Windows Media Player in Windows 7 will play DVDs natively, Windows 8 omits this feature (you'll need to provide your own decoding software, like WinDVD or PowerDVD), but neither will play Blu-ray media out of the box). Corel makes one of the best options:



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I have nearly two decades of experience in IT, computer repair, and related fields and will attempt to provide the most solid, brand-agnostic advice when it comes time to purchase a new computer, or upgrade an existing machine. I can answer anything from the seemingly basic to the downright complicated - and will do my best to provide this information in a clear and concise manner. I have a personal interest in PC gaming, and can apply my experience to such an end. Questions related to 3D games on OS X or other platforms are less likely to get answered.


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