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Old December 8, 2010, 11:05 PM
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Default Advice/Recommendations for a nub?

Hi, this is my first time posting on this forum (though I have been lurking on here for some while), so I'd like to hi!

I think it'd also be helpful to tell you Hardware-Canuckers that I have never built a computer before. This'll be my first time, and I've done what I think to be a decent amount of research regarding components and how to build a computer. I've always been following the latest hardware news and reviews, especially about video cards and CPUs, so I don't think I am a complete noob in that regard.

With that out of the way, let us proceed to the good part!


1. What YOUR PC will be used for. That means what types of tasks you'll be performing.

I hate to say this, but I'll probably end up using what is supposed to be a gaming computer to surf the net 50% of the time.

Another 45% will be spent doing homework/schoolwork, because I have pretty extensive amount of that given my academically-heavy course load.

The remaining 5% will be spent playing games such as Half-Life 2 (damn I want to play this so bad!), Diablo 3, Guild Wars 2, and other similar games that aren't graphically super-intensive (I hope).

2. What YOUR budget is. A price range is acceptable as long as it's not more than a 20% spread.

Well, I technically have enough money to buy a VERY, VERY nice rig, but that'll leave me no money to actually buy the games that I plan to play. So I'm looking to spend, hopefully, around 700 - 800 CAD, but will have absolutely no problem shelling up to 1000 if such a comp will last me longer and presents a better value in terms of price/performance. However, I have to include the OS too (7 Home Premium 64-bit ver.), so my true budget will probably be ~900 CAD max.

3. What country YOU will be buying YOUR parts from.

Canada. I'm too worried that shipping components all the way from the states will increase the likelihood for me to get DOA/faulty/damaged parts. I've never built a comp before, so I don't really know how to diagnose the components for problems and such. Judging from the reviews I've read too, getting faulty components is not uncommon. Especially with RAM and PSUs. Yikes!

4. IF YOU have a brand preference. That means, are you an Intel-Fanboy, AMD-Fanboy, ATI-Fanboy, nVidia-Fanboy, Seagate-Fanboy, WD-Fanboy, etc, etc, etc, you get the picture.

I prefer Intel because their processors perform better in games, I think?

With regards to graphics cards, I'm absolutely neutral. If nVidia offers a better purchase, then I'll buy nVidia. If AMD offers a better product, I'll go with AMD.

5. If
YOU intend on using any of YOUR current parts, and if so, what those parts are.


I'll probably re-use my monitor, speakers, keyboard, and mouse, but if I don't, it will not affect my budget.

6. IF YOU have searched and/or read similar threads.

If by similar, you mean computer builds and help-me-threads in general, then yes, I have read quite a lot. Some people sure have a lot of money. >.>

If by similar, you mean threads for computer builds that are similar to what I want, then not really.

7. IF YOU plan on overclocking or run the system at default speeds.

Definitely default. I have no idea how to overclock, and I don't really want to risk damaging any units in my first attempts. The only way I'll overclock is if I have super-cheap components that I wouldn't mind throwing away (to gain some practical experience with overclocking), which is not applicable in this case.

8. WHEN do you plan to build it?

Near the middle of December, so I can game during the Winter break. If I haven't made up my mind at that point, I'll build it during the summer of 2011.

9. What resolution do you use?

1680 x 1050, which is the highest of my current monitor. Though I may buy a 24" inch LED (not sure if it's edge-lit or back-lit) monitor which I saw going around for $200. It has a highest rez of 1920 x 1080 and the brand is BenQ. Is the price reasonable for such a monitor?

I would prefer to play on highest settings at 1680 x 1050, if possible. Not because I have high expectations, but because I need the graphics to achieve a relatively high-level of fidelity if it's a first-person shooter with a relatively realistic art-style (think Half-Life or Counter Strike), otherwise I get EXTREMELY nauseous to the point where I can't even look at the screen without feeling like I want to vomit.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

With all that said and done, here are some parts that I'm interested in:

Intel Core i5-760
G.Skill RipJaws 8GB RAM
nVidia GTX 460 768mb
CoolerMaster Storm Scout or Haf 922
Unfortunately, I don't know too much about motherboards or PSUs other than the fact that I should be looking for LGA 1156 motherboards using the P55 chipset, and that watts are not a good way to measure the quality of a PSU (it's the amperes that can be delivered on the 12v and how efficiently/effectively it can be delivered).

The ironic thing is that I consider myself a gamer and tech-enthusiast even though I rarely game and have never bought actual computer hardware. My current computer (which I've had for 3 years) is an off-the-shelf one with an Intel GMA 3100 for an integrated graphics solution... Needless to say I've had some fun playing the latest games at the fastest speeds... Sarcasm aside, that means any upgrade will be a huge step-up for me. So if anyone could give me recommendations, that would be very helpful.

Lastly, I want to apologize for this post as I know it reeks of noobishness. However, I hope I have conveyed my thoughts/needs pretty well. Thanks to anyone in advance if they should take their time to help me out!





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Old December 8, 2010, 11:40 PM
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Just pick out a gigabyte / asus motherboard and a Seasonic / Corsair / SilverStone / Antec PSU and you'll be fine.

Sounds like you've got the start of a reasonable build.
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Old December 9, 2010, 12:08 AM
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welcome aboard man.


hmm..if you build now..like right now try to go for a nice ud3/4p as per above. super specials are around the corner. that means you can get cheaper what you would not normally get. roughly 100 bucks will get you an 850 watt psu, way overkill for your needs but will be a good base of operations for a few years to come on your upgrades.

between a 100 dollar i3 with ht and a quad core with no ht on the 1156 socket, i would go for the cheaper one and clock it to hell and back(easy)

try hd 6850 for graphics, cm922 all the way or maybe even 912 or ps04b from silverstone.

or if you can wait till sandy bridge comes out in january...which means price drops on current stuff, maybe cheaper than the christmas specials maybe not,at least right away.


on the lcd front, a led one 24 incher wont be super economical,right now. maybe go for a more conventional one? 24 inch sammys are dirt cheap
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Old December 9, 2010, 06:13 PM
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Thanks for the advice, guys!

By the way _dangtx_, what is ud3/4p? I don't think I've ever heard this term before. Also, how much money do you think should be spent on the motherboard and PSU when you're dealing with a budget of around a 1000?

I'm not in a major rush to build the computer (though damn, do I ever want to play Half-Life... I blame my awesome Physics prof). I'm a pretty patient guy and I can wait awhile if new upgrades are just down the road (like the GTX 560 ^.^).
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Old December 9, 2010, 07:13 PM
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correct me if i'm wrong..

but I believe he's referring to the Gigabyte 1156 motherboards to go along with your i5-760 (GA-P55-UD3P for example). The abbreviations, UD for example - means that it's Ultra Durable, the 3 is just a number to compare with other boards of the same class (lots of P55 variations, some have more features and thus more $$$), and the P can stand for a number of things: silent pipe, extra PCI E slots, extra SATA ports, and RAID? (not sure on this one).

Off the top of my head, I can't tell you what the main differences are between these 2 boards but a quick google will help you. :)
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Old December 9, 2010, 09:08 PM
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yes, thats it.


well like i said score a bigger wattage then what you would need(500 watts) from seasonic corsair and the like for cheap(as in for more or less the same money of what a regular 500-600 watts goes) and youll keep it for a long time and probably upgrade hw later on without getting a new one. or get an antec earthwatts 500.
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Old December 9, 2010, 09:36 PM
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Hmm, given your description of its potential usage, it almost seems like your PC would be perfectly suited to a dual-core, as opposed to a quad. Intel's i3's are real speed demons in their own right, and that will mean you can save yourself a little more cash.

Another option would be to investigate AMD's offerings. At the resolution you're running at, AMD's Phenom 955 would be more or less par with an i5-760 when it comes to gaming. You'd get a very good quad core, for about fifty dollars less than the Intel i5-760. The AMD platform may be a little cheaper too, although the discrepancy between the AM3 and P55/H55 platforms has really narrowed. However, if you want to reach for the i5-760, go for it, as it's easily the superior product, and this is coming from a 955 owner.

With memory prices these days, 8GB of RAM isn't ridiculous at all; but what you'll be doing, it will be overkill. But hey, it's always good to have more of it.

I own an HAF 922, and absolutely love it. Keeps things cool, especially my GTX 470. While I'm not much for the looks, it is built very well, and great to work in.
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Old December 9, 2010, 10:30 PM
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I recommend the MSI GTX 460 Cyclone. The Cyclone cooler is wayyyy better than the stock one.
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Old December 10, 2010, 02:24 AM
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In my opinion you probably don't want to shell out the extra for an Intel Quad unless you are set on having it. For surfing/downloading/music/word processing you don't even need more than a single core but if you want to play any newer games you need at least a dual core. I wouldn't use anything less than a i3 myself. They are great little chips and pretty good prices, I think the i3 540 is the best performance/price ratio right now:

Newegg.ca - Intel Core i3-540 Clarkdale 3.06GHz 4MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 73W Dual-Core Desktop Processor BX80616I3540

if not probably one of the best price/performance ratio all around is on the Athlon II X4 processors in the AM3 socket. They are quads at AMD's low end but still more performance than a dual core:

Newegg.ca - AMD Athlon II X4 620 Propus 2.6GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Processor ADX620WFK42GI - Processors - Desktops

They are great for your situation because your not using it for number crunching but the extra performance can help in CPU heavy games.

You can find a great CPU rating guide here:

PassMark - CPU Benchmarks - List of Benchmarked CPUs

Just note its very general and some chips perform better in some situations than other but if you want a general overall on how chips stack up against each other its where I turn since it has most every one listed.

Which ever way you go pick up a board from one of the more preferred manufacturers (ASUS, Gigabyte, EVGA) and then 4GB of RAM (as someone already said you probably won't ever need 8) and the hard part is all done.

Hope that helps some
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Old December 10, 2010, 02:34 AM
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or for 10 bucks more Newegg.ca - AMD Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition Deneb 3.0GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM2+ 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ940XCJ4DGI - Processors - Desktops

cant beat rice/performance on those either :)
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