Old 05-13-2014, 07:24 PM   #1
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Default Building/Buying a good desktop

So, my laptop is taking his last breath (and I might lose everything in the process), I need another PC soon. I'm not sure if I should buy one or build one, it might depend on the price. My budget for the computer is between 2,000-3,000 $. I will mostly do design work, that means a good video card and a shitload of ram - basically, performance. I want something that lasts for a while too.

Since it would be my first build, I'm not sure what I should be aware of, so that's where I need your help. I went to pcpartpicker.com and try to build something out of thin air, this is where I'm at :

For the parts, refer to http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/user/noname219/saved/4G4g
(keep in mind that I'm not building a gaming desktop, I'll mostly use it for design stuff)

A few notes
Storage : 2TB for the hard drive is enough for me, I just bought a brand new external drive for my backups, Seagate 2TB.
Operating system : Windows 8.1 is more capable than Windows 7, and since I don't hate it…
Monitor : I might add a second one someday
Mice : already have one, Logitech Performance MX
Keyboard : I don't play really rhythm games anymore, but I'll probably go for a mechanical keyboard (will look for that thread on the forums)
…more in the following posts that I don't want to add here

Last edited by noname219; 05-14-2014 at 03:57 AM..
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Old 05-13-2014, 07:47 PM   #2
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Default Re: Building/Buying a good desktop

Unless you REALLY want it, I would avoid full towers since they're gigantic. For keyboards, I recommend anything mechanical; I personally like the CM STORM line. I only use 1080p for gaming, so I couldn't comment on that monitor. I highly recommend the Asus VG248QE though for its 144hz refresh rate, but really it depends on if you want 1080p or not. Do you really need that much ram? If you're only gaming, you really don't need anything more than 8gb. I would also recommend G.Skill's Ripjaws ram over Corsair's Vengeance, but once again that might be personal preference. Also, I would throw an SSD in there if you could. The faster load times on games is insane, I can't imagine ever going back. Finally, I think I would try to get a Haswell i7. I don't see a point to getting an Ivy Bridge at this point.
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Old 05-13-2014, 08:04 PM   #3
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Default Re: Building/Buying a good desktop

1. A sound card is generally stupid unless you have some kind of surround sound system.
2. Full towers are ridiculously huge unless you use 5+ harddrives and multiple graphics cards
3. The i7-3770k is the older model of the i7-4770k that you can get for $250 at microcenter. The 4770k is a 1550 socket and would require a newer motherboard. There is even a new version of the haswell i7 that just came out, but for some reason is less powerful than the 4770k.
4. For the cost of the computer you should be getting a solid state for your OS. The speed increase over a HDD as a boot device is hugely significant.
5. Unless you are doing surround gaming a 4gb version of the 770gtx is going to be wasted. You could save 100 dollars here and get a solid state.

Edit: Didn't read what you were using the gfx card for. Might be useful then.

As an example of why an SSD is so great if you've ever used photoshop it can take 20+ seconds to load off of a harddrive. With a solid state it is 1 second or less.
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Last edited by Izzy; 05-13-2014 at 08:10 PM..
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Old 05-13-2014, 08:15 PM   #4
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Default Re: Building/Buying a good desktop

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pseudo Enigma View Post
I'm no expert, but paying $500 for a 1440p monitor seems really steep. That and Asus has never given me satisfaction lol
27 inch, 1440p seemed nice to me . Never had any Asus product, so I don't know their reputation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kibblre View Post
Unless you REALLY want it, I would avoid full towers since they're gigantic. For keyboards, I recommend anything mechanical; I personally like the CM STORM line. I only use 1080p for gaming, so I couldn't comment on that monitor. I highly recommend the Asus VG248QE though for its 144hz refresh rate, but really it depends on if you want 1080p or not. Do you really need that much ram? If you're only gaming, you really don't need anything more than 8gb. I would also recommend G.Skill's Ripjaws ram over Corsair's Vengeance, but once again that might be personal preference. Also, I would throw an SSD in there if you could. The faster load times on games is insane, I can't imagine ever going back. Finally, I think I would try to get a Haswell i7. I don't see a point to getting an Ivy Bridge at this point.
I usually do stuff that requires a lot of power (Photoshop, photo editing), although I'm not sure if it relies more on the CPU or the RAM, probably both. It's not a gaming build though, but I would like to handle high-end pc games.
Don't have any preference for Corsair, so I changed it.
Added a SSD of course. (Samsung 840 EVO 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk)
Changed the CPU to a Haswell one, had to change the motherboard to avoid any compatibility issues.
Changed my OS to Windows 8.1.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Izzy View Post
1. A sound card is generally stupid unless you have some kind of surround sound system.
2. Full towers are ridiculously huge unless you use 5+ harddrives and multiple graphics cards
3. The i7-3770k is the older model of the i7-4770k that you can get for $250 at microcenter. The 4770k is a 1550 socket and would require a newer motherboard. There is even a new version of the haswell i7 that just came out, but for some reason is less powerful than the 4770k.
4. For the cost of the computer you should be getting a solid state for your OS. The speed increase over a HDD as a boot device is hugely significant.
5. Unless you are doing surround gaming a 4gb version of the 770gtx is going to be wasted. You could save 100 dollars here and get a solid state.

Edit: Didn't read what you were using the gfx card for. Might be useful then.

As an example of why an SSD is so great if you've ever used photoshop it can take 20+ seconds to load off of a harddrive. With a solid state it is 1 second or less.
1. Removed
3. Changed to the 4770k
4. Yep, I forgot the SDD
5. Seeing your edit, should I keep the video card or changed it ?

What should I get instead of a full tower ?

Btw, the price is around $ 2,000 so far : http://pcpartpicker.com/p/3JvYW
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Old 05-13-2014, 08:17 PM   #5
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Default Re: Building/Buying a good desktop

Mid towers are usually the go to unless you're doing a mini build. I've got the Fractal Design Define R4 and I love the hell out of it.
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Old 05-13-2014, 08:17 PM   #6
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Default Re: Building/Buying a good desktop

I prefer mid towers, but in the end it just matters if it can hold everything you want it to hold and it looks the way you want. This is my computer which is a mid tower. Just big enough to work with while building and can hold most of everything. This might actually be a tiny bit smaller than the typical mid tower.
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...rMay2014-2.jpg


I'm not sure about graphics card memory for video/image editing. I am not familiar with that.
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Old 05-13-2014, 08:25 PM   #7
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Default Re: Building/Buying a good desktop

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kibblre View Post
Mid towers are usually the go to unless you're doing a mini build. I've got the Fractal Design Define R4 and I love the hell out of it.
I almost went with that one at first ^^.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Izzy View Post
I prefer mid towers, but in the end it just matters if it can hold everything you want it to hold and it looks the way you want. This is my computer which is a mid tower. Just big enough to work with while building and can hold most of everything. This might actually be a tiny bit smaller than the typical mid tower.
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...rMay2014-2.jpg

I'm not sure about graphics card memory for video/image editing. I am not familiar with that.
With the amount of pieces I will get, I'm sure everything will hold nicely in a mid-tower.
As for the graphics card, I'll be looking around for what I should get. edit : GeForce GTX 770 seems like a good choice, but I'll go with the 780 series instead. For 50$ more, it does a better job (http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/high_end_gpus.html).

Also, other than the operating system, what should I put on the SSD card ?

edit2 : saved a hundred bucks on the PSU. Changed it to a 650W instead.

Last edited by noname219; 05-13-2014 at 09:08 PM..
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Old 05-13-2014, 11:07 PM   #8
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Default Re: Building/Buying a good desktop

All of your software goes on the ssd. If it is big enough you can put games. I guess if you don't have a huge abundance of video you could possibly fit everything within 124-256gb.
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Old 05-13-2014, 11:11 PM   #9
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Default Re: Building/Buying a good desktop

don't put files on your ssd that you access on a regular basis
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Old 05-13-2014, 11:20 PM   #10
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Default Re: Building/Buying a good desktop

That's what I was thinking with the SSD.

Yeah, I'm starting to think that building a PC might not be the solution I'm looking for. I've looked around for pre-built PCs with similar specs and the price is more or less the same.

With Dell, I could get something for 2,200$ that meets most of my criterias (Dell XPS 8700 : Intel i7-4770 3.4 GHz, 24 GB (4 x 8) of memory, 2 TB hard drive + 256 GB SSD, 24 inch monitor, Radeon HD 8870). On the downside, the video card is a fucking joke - I'll try to change it to GeForce. The default keyboard might not suit me, and I'm stuck with MacAfee for a year…
But, I'm not sure how smoothly it would go if I decide to build one on my own.

Anybody has the Razer Blackwidow keyboard ?

Last edited by noname219; 05-13-2014 at 11:23 PM..
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Old 05-13-2014, 11:29 PM   #11
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Default Re: Building/Buying a good desktop

Are you doing anything besides photo editing and games on this machine? You seem to be spending like $1000 more than you actually need right now, but that depends on what else you'll be using it for.

Also that monitor seems like a bit much. Maybe go for an IPS panel in the ~$200 range?
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Old 05-13-2014, 11:35 PM   #12
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Default Re: Building/Buying a good desktop

Quote:
Originally Posted by arcnmx View Post
Are you doing anything besides photo editing and games on this machine? You seem to be spending like $1000 more than you actually need right now, but that depends on what else you'll be using it for.

Also that monitor seems like a bit much. Maybe go for an IPS panel in the ~$200 range?
Mainly photo editing (Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator, InDesign, etc.), sometimes I have to work with 2 GB .psd files or have to export 200 photos or more. Last time I changed the monitor for a Dell U2412M 60Hz 24.0" Monitor for 266$ which would suit my needs.
I could change the video card for a 4770, that would save me around 150$, and a 50$ keyboard instead of the Blackwidow (even if non-mechanical).

Last edited by noname219; 05-13-2014 at 11:44 PM..
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Old 05-13-2014, 11:51 PM   #13
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Default Re: Building/Buying a good desktop

Well, it seems like you're mainly budgeting for games. That graphics card is $350 more than you need for photo editing. You could shave $150 off the cpu+mobo, $80 off the liquid cooler (unnecessary unless you're overclocking), $40 off the RAM, $50 off the case, $100 off the keyboard, and $50 off the monitor.

For a total of $820 extra that you're spending on performance. Something to keep in mind.

Also why aren't you using http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/? This is going to hurt a lot if you're planning on importing all of this.
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Old 05-14-2014, 12:21 AM   #14
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Default Re: Building/Buying a good desktop

Yes, yes, .ca.

http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/user/noname219/saved/4G4g

Changed a couple of things and the bill has dropped down by about 700$ (not to mention the custom fees - prices are worst in Canada, that would mean 450$ less in the US).
-Slightly slower CPU by 0.1 GHz, -40$
-Big difference on the CPU cooler, I don't think I'll overclock, -80$
-50$ off the motherboard
-Kept the 16Gb of RAM, but -50$
-Video card is the GTX 770 series, -200$
-23 inch Asus monitor, -130$
-Microsoft Sidewinder keyboard (ugh, will continue to look around), -70$
-Everything is the same

Last edited by noname219; 05-14-2014 at 12:25 AM..
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Old 05-14-2014, 12:42 AM   #15
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Default Re: Building/Buying a good desktop

Heh, I didn't mean to bully the price down for you :P

I just meant to keep in mind what you actually need, because that thing is still going to be a powerhouse/excessive even after the cuts. If you have the budget for it, go splurge on cool stuff. It's just helpful to be aware that mech keyboard for your rhythm games is costing you another $70, etc.

Overall looks pretty good right now, though if you're willing you could get a fancy IPS and spend a little more on the monitor since you'll be doing graphics work. And the keyboard, well, that's up to you.

The CPU is a tough choice. Get someone to buy a $250 4770K from microcenter and ship it to you D:
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Old 05-14-2014, 12:54 AM   #16
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Default Re: Building/Buying a good desktop

Oh well, I sure have the budget for a 2500$ pc but if I can save a few hundred dollars, that's always appreciated.

Hehe, I'm tempted with that Blackwidow keyboard, I've heard good things on it and if I get back to rhythm games, that will be the sweetest thing ever, I'll probably keep it.

Besides, is it a long and complicated process to build the computer once you have all the pieces ? (+ installing the operating system, drivers and softwares)

Last edited by noname219; 05-14-2014 at 01:12 AM..
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Old 05-14-2014, 01:04 AM   #17
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Default Re: Building/Buying a good desktop

Windows 8 auto finds drivers for practically all modern hardware. Assembling the components can take about an hour, maybe 2 if you've never done it before.

Also I have the new razer blackwidow. First mechanical keyboard I've owned so I don't know how to compare it. It makes loud clicky sounds which is new. Not terribly annoying, but you should expect to hear clicks. For stepmania it is the most consistent feel to it I've ever had. It also simply matches my computer and the extra programmable function keys are very useful in games and other shit. $140 for a full mechanical with extra function keys and back lighting isn't so bad.
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Old 05-14-2014, 01:15 AM   #18
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Default Re: Building/Buying a good desktop

That's good to know.

Meanwhile, I found the same Dell desktop as I mentioned earlier but for 1589$. Here's the stuff :
XPS 8700
Operating System : Windows 8.1 (64Bit) Canda MUI
Processor : 4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-4770 Processor (8M Cache, 3.4 GHz)
Hard Drive : 2TB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive + Intel® SRT 32GB SSD Cache
Video Card : NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 635 1GB DDR3
Memory : 24GB Dual Channel DDR3 1600MHz - 4 DIMMs
Optical Drive : 16X CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW), write to CD/DVD
Monitor : Dell UltraSharp U2412M
Keyboard : Dell KB213 Wired Multimedia Keyboard, canada MUI
Mouse : Dell Laser Mouse
Including Microsoft Office + a bunch of non-interesting stuff

Pros : mostly the same processor than I was looking for, larger hard drive, impressive memory, monitor doesn't look that bad (but quite pricey for 400$!!!), all comes from the same source and all the stuff is already installed and mounted
Cons : SDD is too small, video card is alright, and the keyboard/mouse might be shitty (an assumption), don't know the watts of the power supply, I don't know if I'll break the warranty seal if I change pieces (need to check that)

I'm thinking about buying a few other pieces and upgrading it (a better video card + keyboard + sdd). In the end, it's gonna cost me more or less the same than if I build my own...

Last edited by noname219; 05-14-2014 at 01:24 AM..
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Old 05-14-2014, 01:19 AM   #19
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Default Re: Building/Buying a good desktop

I can guarantee that will be shit in comparison. Down to the horrible airflow in the case and the shitty 3 year old graphics card. You could build that PC for way less than $1600.
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Old 05-14-2014, 01:29 AM   #20
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Default Re: Building/Buying a good desktop

There seems to have only one fan on the XPS 8700. Plus the SSD drive is only used for cache purpose.
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