David Janik-Jones
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Ontario
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Now, despite using Apple products since the late 70s, I'm not an anti-Windows person. I know my tech stuff, reasonably competent in Windows and Linux, and am capable of doing PC-assembly stuff.

I don't computer game much these days (World of Tanks and Combat Mission stuff aside, and perhaps XPlane if my son lets me onto his new system) but my youngest (15) has decided he'd like to go the PC gaming rig route for his gaming fix.

Sounds good to me, as I'm only pitching in a small part of the monies. So here's the part list that two inexperienced PC types are considering for the gaming build ... I'd love feedback from other savvy PC gaming types. Thanks!

Note: This stuff is being sourced in Canada so it's about 25% more expensive than the US pricing you'd expect and will probably come from my local Canada Computers store (http://www.canadacomputers.com) or NCIX.

- MSI Z170A Gaming M5 Socket 1151 Intel Z170 Express Chipset mobo (the cool kids say "mobo" instead of motherboard, amiright?)
- Intel i5 6600 3.5GHz unlocked CPU
- 16GB G.SKILL Trident Z Series 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 3200MHz RAM
- Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO CPU cooler (we've considered Noctua but they are twice the price of Cooler Master here in Canada)
- EVGA SuperNOVA 650W 80Plus Platinum power supply
- MSI GeForce GTX "Twin Frozr VI" 1060 GAMING X 6G GDDR5 video card
- 250GB Samsung SSD
- 1 (or 2TB) Western Digital Black HD
- Windows 10 (ewwww, I feel dirty)

What cool (but not too expensive or too large) case would people recommend to cram all this stuff into? And do you need to buy fans for the case besides the one(s) the manufacturers provide?

Thoughts?
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Josh Jennings
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My case is this one which doesn't really fit your requirements of not too expensive or too large, but one thing that I like about it that I recommend you seek out is a toolless case. Not having to use a wrench or screwdriver on this thing has been incredibly convenient when having to troubleshoot issues and replace parts (which happens often with a custom-built rig). There are some cases that do it very cheaply, like this one.
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David Janik-Jones
Canada
Waterloo
Ontario
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Slywester Janik, awarded the Krzyż Walecznych (Polish Cross of Valour), August 1944
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Cool, thanks. What do you think of the components?
 
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Paul - the
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Looks good to me. Sometimes the shops sell Nvidia 980 TI cards for a reasonable price (still above what the 1060 cost but still). Might be an option?

I recently build a computer for my son and went for the "Fractal Design Define S" case. I found it really good and sturdy. Well worth the money.
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Paul - the
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Also, I find that you don't need a huge amount of HD space anymore. I would look into buying one 500 GB SSD and skip the HDD.
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maf man
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I tried to start a thread about PC resources here:
https://videogamegeek.com/thread/1536999/pc-building-knowlag...
that should have some reasonably useful links for you.
I don't have a great case recommendation as I just would go with a brand you trust and see if theres one on sale or something. Most of my friends go with a case with no fan or PSU and they then buy those separate and it always turned out well for them. You may not need more fans in whatever case you like but if theres spots I personally like having 2, and its not that much more money. As long as you don't over clock and you intend to have the PC in a normal temp room your probably fine with 1...heck my gaming pc from 2010 didn't even have a case fan.

If you intend to never overclock your CPU theres no reason to pay the extra for the unlocked version. They really are the same so don't spend the money just to get a feature you wont use.
Maybe consider going to 1070s for the video card. from what I've read and my personal opinion I think its worth the money (usually less than a $100 difference)

All in all I think its good....I tend to choose other brands like getting an ASUS mobo but all of thats just my personal choice with no facts to back it up so I think your good.
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Finally. I'd buy a real cooling paste like Arctic Silver 5 or similar. The one that comes with the cooler is just not that good. Shouldn't cost much.

Also be very careful when inserting the CPU. The CPU motherboard pins are VERY easy to damage. So only open and remove the CPU lid when you are about to install the CPU and not a second before. Drop it down very carefully in the correct direction and then immediately lock it down.
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maf man
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Doomfarer wrote:
Also, I find that you don't need a huge amount of HD space anymore. I would look into buying one 500 GB SSD and skip the HDD.

ooo yeah thats a good point to consider....but think about what you'd do on it. I'm a bit add on computer games and files so I like having that extra HD but one of my friends just uses a external and keeps his files super slim. Its kinda a good organizational thing for him too. It is fairly easy to install a secondary drive after the fact too.
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mafman6 wrote:
Doomfarer wrote:
Also, I find that you don't need a huge amount of HD space anymore. I would look into buying one 500 GB SSD and skip the HDD.

ooo yeah thats a good point to consider....but think about what you'd do on it. I'm a bit add on computer games and files so I like having that extra HD but one of my friends just uses a external and keeps his files super slim. Its kinda a good organizational thing for him too. It fairly easy to install a secondary drive after the fact too.


Unless you take a lot of photos (or download huge amount of porn) 500 GB should be enough for most people. With today's download speeds you can always delete and reinstall games when needed.
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Xander Fulton
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Doomfarer wrote:
Also, I find that you don't need a huge amount of HD space anymore. I would look into buying one 500 GB SSD and skip the HDD.


Ehhhh...I dunno about that. My Steam library, alone, is nearing 1 tb.

I suppose - if you have a fantastic internet connection - you could just install the handful of games you are actively playing at a time, instead of 'everything'?

You could certainly take advantage of the hybrid SSD/HDD things, or Intel's SRT to get the best of both words, as one option. Basically caching the most-used blocks to an SSD, and still have the huge HDD for the full library.
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Rob Robinson
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Have a look at bundles.

Nowadays you can buy a mobo, with the chipset, fan, heatsink and ram already bolted on.

Plug and play in 20 minutes without the need to bother with sitting the CPU ,etc.
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Matthew Sklar
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Those look like pretty good components. I built a very similar rig four years ago, with the same heatsink.

I like the idea of a HDD and a SSD. I've configured Steam and everything "non-essential" to install to the HDD, and have Windows and some everyday programs on the SSD.

That heatsink comes with one 120mm fan but supports two. I would recommend getting a second one to improve airflow around the CPU (that’s what I did). Just be sure to check the directions of the fans; if you are using two you want to make sure they don’t send air toward each other!

As for a case, what is inexpensive to you? Here’s a couple of $90 options that I would consider:
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=6_112&...
http://www.ncix.com/detail/zalman-z11-neo-mid-tower-3d-10880...

Whatever you pick, for a fancy gaming rig, a window is a great feature. You want to show off all your fancy new components! Maybe even get some lights (or a fan with built-in lights) to install in the case.

My rig uses the Zalman Z11. It comes with 5 fans and has room for a few more. I bought enough extra fans to fill up all the slots. Based on my experience, I would not recommend putting a fan on the bottom of the case; I did that and after a few months the fan got clogged with dust and cat hair (even with a filter screen installed) and started making too much noise. All in all though, I’m very pleased with the look and performance of this case. With all the extra fans, my average CPU temp is around 35-38°C!

One last thing about fans: if you get a case with a lot of fans, you might want to consider a fan controller. I have this one.
It supports five channels (you can set it up to have multiple fans on one channel) and looks cool and flashy! My computer doubles as an HTPC, so it’s nice to have the option to turn the fans down when not as needed to lower the noise coming from the case. Even “quiet” fans still produce a decent hum when you’ve got 8 of them!
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Josh Jennings
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I agree with Sklar about the HDD. I have the same setup on my system. I've already had one SDD go bad, so I'm a little paranoid about installing software on it, especially software that is updated often since it only has a finite number of writes. I installed the OS on the SDD, but moved folders that are written to often, such as Documents and Downloads to my HDD.

The suggestion of arctic silver thermal paste is good, but just know that it voids the warranty of your motherboard. Most motherboard warranties only cover a very specific thermal paste that you can't buy in stores. So just be careful when installing the heat sink!

That parts look good. I haven't kept up on what's good recently other than graphics cards because I built my system 6 years ago and it's still got most of the original parts. My system still handles everything I throw at it well after I upgraded the graphics card to a GTX 970 at the beginning of the year. I would recommend that you double-check each part to make sure it's compatible with your motherboard and check those ratings/reviews closely. I picked highly-rated parts for my rig and they've aged very well.

Good luck!
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Paul - the
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thermogimp wrote:
I agree with Sklar about the HDD. I have the same setup on my system. I've already had one SDD go bad, so I'm a little paranoid about installing software on it, especially software that is updated often since it only has a finite number of writes. I installed the OS on the SDD, but moved folders that are written to often, such as Documents and Downloads to my HDD.

The suggestion of arctic silver thermal paste is good, but just know that it voids the warranty of your motherboard. Most motherboard warranties only cover a very specific thermal paste that you can't buy in stores. So just be careful when installing the heat sink!

That parts look good. I haven't kept up on what's good recently other than graphics cards because I built my system 6 years ago and it's still got most of the original parts. My system still handles everything I throw at it well after I upgraded the graphics card to a GTX 970 at the beginning of the year. I would recommend that you double-check each part to make sure it's compatible with your motherboard and check those ratings/reviews closely. I picked highly-rated parts for my rig and they've aged very well.

Good luck!


Seriously. How on earth can the CPU paste void the mobo warranty? I think you have gotten things mixed up here.

It's SSD, not SDD. Modern SSD have so many writes so this is a moot point nowadays. Please don't spread old fears. Also, HDD breaks down more often due to mechanical errors so still better with SSD for important stuff. If paranoid go RAID or do backups often.
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maf man
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Doomfarer wrote:
Seriously. How on earth can the CPU paste void the mobo warranty? I think you have gotten things mixed up here.
...
Also, HDD breaks down more often due to mechanical errors so still better with SSD for important stuff

showing that you used CPU paste yourself may void some warenties as your then profiled as someone who would dig in this computer. Many options out there have paste pre-applied so the fact that you did your own paste means you scraped off what was there. From the companies standpoint you meddled with things your not ment to so you probably touched something you shouldnt have and they don't want to promise they can find out what you did and fix it correctly. All that being said I still think its bitchy of them.

As for the hard drive stuff, just don't go too cheap. Both have their quirks but at this point I trust a SSD as my main. It wasn't all that long ago SSD were unreliable and I still suggest never running cleanups on them.
oh and also if your a bethesda fan, put those games on your SSD will save so much time
 
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Josh Jennings
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Doomfarer wrote:

Seriously. How on earth can the CPU paste void the mobo warranty? I think you have gotten things mixed up here.


Hmmm... yeah, I was a bit mixed up. It was voiding the CPU/GPU warranties, but it seems that this is an older issue that doesn't affect home-built systems anymore. I know that it used to be a problem, especially with AMD CPUs.

Doomfarer wrote:

It's SSD, not SDD. Modern SSD have so many writes so this is a moot point nowadays. Please don't spread old fears. Also, HDD breaks down more often due to mechanical errors so still better with SSD for important stuff. If paranoid go RAID or do backups often.


Yeah, I mixed up the acronym. Also, my SSD was less than 5 years old and it failed. I did say that I'm a bit paranoid about it. I didn't try to dissuade him from buying an SSD and nothing that I said there was untrue. I just personally prefer the SSD/HDD combo, especially because you can get much more space/cost on an HDD.

And perhaps I've been lucky but the only HDD I've ever had break down on me was an external drive that I accidently dropped it while it was running. I understand that more moving parts means a higher change of breaking, but I haven't experienced it personally. The backups are good advice. I think that a good RAID setup is probably going to be too expensive for the system that DaveyJJ is setting up, but I would recommend backing up important data to other systems on the network and/or remote systems. Since he's building a gaming rig I doubt there is much that he'll need to back up though.
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Matthew Sklar
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Doomfarer wrote:
or do backups often.

A million times yes! Always backup your important data, and don’t rely too much on cloud services. Personally, I use a combination of Google Drive as well as spare hard drives that I keep around the house. Although unlikely, you never know when your preferred cloud storage operator might decide to unexpectedly shut down! For local backups, I have a hot-swap bay installed and use regular internal HDDs since I find them to be cheaper and more reliable (but mostly cheaper) than portable drives.

Doomfarer wrote:
Modern SSD have so many writes so this is a moot point nowadays. Please don't spread old fears. Also, HDD breaks down more often due to mechanical errors.

I generally agree with this, although I would still advocate going with HDD for main storage mainly due to cost. I’m not too sure what today’s market is like, but when I built my rig in 2012 SSDs over 128GB were too expensive (for my budget, at least). I also like the idea of having important documents on a separate drive from the OS, as a small extra precaution in the event of a virus or something. If my Windows installation becomes corrupt for whatever reason, I like to be able to swap out my documents disk into a separate box for easier file recovery.
 
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