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Mad Cow

Mad Cow's Build a Killer Gaming Rig on a Budget Thread

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The CPU is great. That GPU would definitely be a good start. The issue I have with the mobo is it is ITX, so unless you are building specifically for a tiny case, I would get something bigger. Those tiny ones are a pain to get stuff all fit in at times. You need RAM, hard drives/SSD's and an optical if you want that.

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The CPU is great. That GPU would definitely be a good start. The issue I have with the mobo is it is ITX, so unless you are building specifically for a tiny case, I would get something bigger. Those tiny ones are a pain to get stuff all fit in at times. You need RAM, hard drives/SSD's and an optical if you want that.

When you say "GPU" you're talking about the video card, right?

What mobo would you recommend for about the same price?

And which CPU would be great? Did I mention one? :confused: I thought the CPU was like the Intel i3/i5/i7 chip you'd put in the mobo.

And I've already got a Corsair 600w power supply and 1TB HDD.

Edited by Andy Dufresne

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The CPU is great. That GPU would definitely be a good start. The issue I have with the mobo is it is ITX, so unless you are building specifically for a tiny case, I would get something bigger. Those tiny ones are a pain to get stuff all fit in at times. You need RAM, hard drives/SSD's and an optical if you want that.

When you say "GPU" you're talking about the video card, right?

What mobo would you recommend for about the same price?

And which CPU would be great? Did I mention one? :confused: I thought the CPU was like the Intel i3/i5/i7 chip you'd put in the mobo.

And I've already got a Corsair 600w power supply and 1TB HDD.

Yes, GPU is video card. The CPU you chose is fantastic value. Nice there. How big is your case? Will it hold a full ATX mobo, or does it need to be smaller?

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Yes, GPU is video card. The CPU you chose is fantastic value. Nice there. How big is your case? Will it hold a full ATX mobo, or does it need to be smaller?

Sorry, I'm still confused. What are you referring to when you say CPU? I thought that was the processor chip.

I have a normal sized case. It currently has a full sized board in it...I think.

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The CPU is great. That GPU would definitely be a good start. The issue I have with the mobo is it is ITX, so unless you are building specifically for a tiny case, I would get something bigger. Those tiny ones are a pain to get stuff all fit in at times. You need RAM, hard drives/SSD's and an optical if you want that.

When you say "GPU" you're talking about the video card, right?

What mobo would you recommend for about the same price?

And which CPU would be great? Did I mention one? :confused: I thought the CPU was like the Intel i3/i5/i7 chip you'd put in the mobo.

And I've already got a Corsair 600w power supply and 1TB HDD.

Here's what I'm getting at.

I'm pretty sure if I get an EVGA Z87 Stinger and pair it with an i3-4160 with 8gb of RAM that I'll be able to do just about anything (well, except for the pro gamer type stuff) in terms of video.

But for the casual, extra PC that is only going to run Minecraft and some Steam deal games, is that overkill?

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Okay, so...

EVGA GeForce GTX 750 Ti

ASRock H97M Pro4

Intel Core i3-4160 Haswell Dual-Core 3.6GHz LGA 1150
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2400

-----------------------------------------------------------

$401.45 (from Newegg)

And all that will run Windows 8.1, yes? (God, it better!)

Edited by Andy Dufresne

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Okay, so...

EVGA GeForce GTX 750 Ti

ASRock H97M Pro4

Intel Core i3-4160 Haswell Dual-Core 3.6GHz LGA 1150

G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2400

-----------------------------------------------------------

$401.45 (from Newegg)

And all that will run Windows 8.1, yes? (God, it better!)

With ease. Might as well spend $20 on a DVD burner and maybe a little for a card reader?

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With ease. Might as well spend $20 on aI DVD burner and maybe a little for a card reader?

I think I'm going to get a portable Blu Ray drive since the DVD drive in my laptop is on the fritz.

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FWIW I have given up my love of AMD video cards. Their drivers are just problematic it seems. Their software for multiple monitors is superior, but I just love how NVidia cards just seem to work with fewer problems.

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Also, if you can get to about $300, that NVidia 970 is a freaking monster for the price.

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FWIW I have given up my love of AMD video cards. Their drivers are just problematic it seems. Their software for multiple monitors is superior, but I just love how NVidia cards just seem to work with fewer problems.

Yup. Rocking a 7970 in my main gaming rig. The GTX 970 is such huge value I got one for my Lan Party box (ITX-sized!). It. Just. Works. Better performance, and lower power-consumption too. Definitely in the green camp now. Definitely considering a 970 or perhaps even a 980 to replace the 7970...

Edited by Zasada

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Been playing Elite: Dangerous lately. Space sims aren't for everyone, but I'm loving it. Of course I had to buy a new toy to play it "properly".

Wow, is that out already? I remember reading it and liking what I saw. How is it? What does it compare to?

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Also, if you can get to about $300, that NVidia 970 is a freaking monster for the price.

Picked up two Asus strix 970's. Got them today! Was able to sell both my 770's for about $255 a piece to offset the cist.

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Been playing Elite: Dangerous lately. Space sims aren't for everyone, but I'm loving it. Of course I had to buy a new toy to play it "properly".

Hopefully it's more exciting and involved and less formulaic than the snorefest that is Eve Online

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Been playing Elite: Dangerous lately. Space sims aren't for everyone, but I'm loving it. Of course I had to buy a new toy to play it "properly".

Wow, is that out already? I remember reading it and liking what I saw. How is it? What does it compare to?

It's technically an MMO but I rarely run into any other human players. Lots of NPCs. Very deep game -- there are different ways you can earn credits (which are ultimately spent on ship purchases and upgrades). You can earn credits by exploring, trading (lots of commodities and economic factors), bounty hunting (generally what I do), piracy, and mining. Some of the travel can be a bit boring depending on how much of it you do.

What I like most about the game is that there are real trade-offs you have to make. If you spec/outfit your ship for bounty hunting, that comes at a real cost to the other activities. Adding weapons, shields, etc means you won't have as much cargo capacity or the ability to jump to more distant star systems (and thus you have to take the long way to many or not go at all). Conversely, if you outfit your ship for trading with lots of cargo capacity, it's going to be harder to fight and you need to get good at running from pirates.

There's also a faction/political element that I'm just beginning to pay attention to. By completing missions for one faction, that will make you friendlier with them and open up better missions. But that could come at the cost of another faction hating you and attacking you if you encounter them. There's one system right now undergoing a revolution and I'm supporting the rebels. Hopefully I chose the right side!

Mostly I think I'm liking it because I just needed a change from the FPS/RTS overload I've been getting lately. It's different. It's even hard to learn how to dock your ship efficiently.

It's not like EVE in that multiplayer interaction is really at a minimum right now. You can play at your own pace and not feel like you're missing out because you're not in the cool kids club. More multiplayer elements are supposed to get added to the game in time. Right now even grouping with friends is very tough, which is something I'd like to be able to do easier.

So while it's technically an MMO, it really doesn't feel like one right now. More like a single player game in a universe that keeps changing.

In terms of comparison, the combat feels like X-Wing vs Tie Fighter but less sandboxed (running is a viable strategy). And then add economic, political, and exploration elements. There aren't many games like it today. If you gamed back in the good old days, it feels more like the old "Elite" game, VGA Planets, or maybe Wing Commander.

Oh and one last thing which I found out the hard way: Don't die. While you can re-buy your ship with insurance (kind of like a repair bill in WoW), you lose all the bounties/cargo/navdata/ore you had on you at the time. Once I had about 50K credits in bounties ready to turn-in and I flew like an idiot out of a space dock, ran into another ship at the entrance and got blown up by the station authorities. Now I'm more careful when "carrying" items of value. I can be reckless when I've already turned-in all my bounties or have an empty cargo hold.

Edited by Zasada

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Should I delay my install by a couple days to get the AMD FX-8310 instead of using the i3?

Seems like the AMD is well reviewed and that $90 is a nice price.

You'll need a different motherboard as well since AMD and Intel use different sockets.

Overall, the i3 is going to get you better single/dual-threaded performance (games, largely) and the AMD chip will do better at 3+ threads (video encoding, multitasking, etc). The AMD chip will generate more heat and use more power, but you probably won't notice any change in your electric bill.

I tend to be an Intel fan these days but at the various price points AMD can be competitive. Once you get up to the i5 quad-cores with Intel, however, AMD doesn't really have anything that competes.

If you take the money you save by using the AMD chip (you'll save on both the chip and the mobo) and plough that into a nicer video card, that would be a good move for gaming performance.

Edited by Zasada
  • Like 1

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Should I delay my install by a couple days to get the AMD FX-8310 instead of using the i3?

Seems like the AMD is well reviewed and that $90 is a nice price.

You'll need a different motherboard as well since AMD and Intel use different sockets.

Overall, the i3 is going to get you better single/dual-threaded performance (games, largely) and the AMD chip will do better at 3+ threads (video encoding, multitasking, etc). The AMD chip will generate more heat and use more power, but you probably won't notice any change in your electric bill.

I tend to be an Intel fan these days but at the various price points AMD can be competitive. Once you get up to the i5 quad-cores with Intel, however, AMD doesn't really have anything that competes.

If you take the money you save by using the AMD chip (you'll save on both the chip and the mobo) and plough that into a nicer video card, that would be a good move for gaming performance.

True, but the fact is that he is only paying $99 for the Intel CPU. Hard to argue with that price on that chip.

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Should I delay my install by a couple days to get the AMD FX-8310 instead of using the i3?

Seems like the AMD is well reviewed and that $90 is a nice price.

You'll need a different motherboard as well since AMD and Intel use different sockets.

Overall, the i3 is going to get you better single/dual-threaded performance (games, largely) and the AMD chip will do better at 3+ threads (video encoding, multitasking, etc). The AMD chip will generate more heat and use more power, but you probably won't notice any change in your electric bill.

I tend to be an Intel fan these days but at the various price points AMD can be competitive. Once you get up to the i5 quad-cores with Intel, however, AMD doesn't really have anything that competes.

If you take the money you save by using the AMD chip (you'll save on both the chip and the mobo) and plough that into a nicer video card, that would be a good move for gaming performance.

True, but the fact is that he is only paying $99 for the Intel CPU. Hard to argue with that price on that chip.

Yup. Honestly, I'm largely indifferent between the two. Personally, my next CPU purchase will be for my home server when Skylake comes out. H.265 hardware accelerated encoding!

Andy Dufresne -- if you have a Microcenter near you, let me know. They have smokin deals on Intel CPU/mobo combos. That would change things.

Edited by Zasada

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Andy Dufresne -- if you have a Microcenter near you, let me know. They have smokin deals on Intel CPU/mobo combos. That would change things.

Yes we do.

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In that case, I would recommend:

This CPU ($140) and this mobo ($30 with combo discount).

That gets you a faster clocked chip with more L2 cache for a few less bucks.

You can still get the RAM and vidcard from NewEgg, or spend a little more and get it at the same time from Microcenter.

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Good suggestions, thanks.

Since the other stuff is already en route, I think I'll just stick with it and see where it gets me.

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Look at me! I build computers now! :pickle:

What's with having to download LAN drivers through the BIOS before the MB will connect to the internet?

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Look at me! I build computers now! :pickle:

What's with having to download LAN drivers through the BIOS before the MB will connect to the internet?

Motherboards usually have the cd that has all the LAN, chipset and audio drivers.

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Anyone ever built mitx form factor recommend it? I'm not exactly a surgeon and concerned I'm going to have a lot of fat finger frustration putting something small together, but would like something I can easily move between two locations.

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Hey Cow. I still want to build a mini machine one of these days. But more important right this minute, I need a new monitor that can double as a PS4 screeen and also an occasional TV. Looking for a 24-30". What do you got?

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Hey Cow. I still want to build a mini machine one of these days.

Anyone ever built mitx form factor recommend it? I'm not exactly a surgeon and concerned I'm going to have a lot of fat finger frustration putting something small together, but would like something I can easily move between two locations.

My Lan Party rig is an ITX box. Fits in a rollaboard, so I can travel with it. I have built three (one for me, two for friends) with roughly these specs:

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/JXzQ99
CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($231.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z87N-WIFI Mini ITX LGA1150 Motherboard
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($58.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 850 EVO-Series 500GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($219.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 4GB Video Card ($328.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Case: Silverstone SG05BB-LITE Mini ITX Desktop Case ($37.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Power Supply: Silverstone 450W 80+ Bronze Certified SFX Power Supply ($59.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Total: $937.94
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-04-27 17:22 EDT-0400
Fitting a GTX970 into a shoebox rig provides perhaps the best power/mobility combination outside of a specialty gaming laptop. But not many 970s are sized to fit in an ITX case -- this one is.
The trade-off here primarily comes in price and noise. ITX gaming rigs are never cheap (although in this case it's not much more than a comparable desktop), and the fans are definitely audible when gaming.
The box does have the capability to fit a 3.5" HDD (one of the rigs I built for my friend is a 256GB SSD & 4TB HDD) but given how cheap large SSDs are getting, and how the airflow in the case is better without a 3.5" HDD, I would just get a big SSD if you can afford it.
VLP DDR3 also helps a bit with airflow in that case, but not required if you prefer other RAM.
Edited by Zasada
  • Like 1

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Hey Cow. I still want to build a mini machine one of these days. But more important right this minute, I need a new monitor that can double as a PS4 screeen and also an occasional TV. Looking for a 24-30". What do you got?

I am sitting in my office right now with a BENQ 27" LED as part of a 2 monitor system. It has both DVI and HDMI so would have both hookups simultaneously.

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Hey Cow. I still want to build a mini machine one of these days. But more important right this minute, I need a new monitor that can double as a PS4 screeen and also an occasional TV. Looking for a 24-30". What do you got?

I am sitting in my office right now with a BENQ 27" LED as part of a 2 monitor system. It has both DVI and HDMI so would have both hookups simultaneously.

No 2K or 4K gaming for you?

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Hey Cow. I still want to build a mini machine one of these days. But more important right this minute, I need a new monitor that can double as a PS4 screeen and also an occasional TV. Looking for a 24-30". What do you got?

I am sitting in my office right now with a BENQ 27" LED as part of a 2 monitor system. It has both DVI and HDMI so would have both hookups simultaneously.

No 2K or 4K gaming for you?

For primary PC gaming, a DVI input will have much higher than 1080p resolution either way about it. :shrug:

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Hey Cow. I still want to build a mini machine one of these days. But more important right this minute, I need a new monitor that can double as a PS4 screeen and also an occasional TV. Looking for a 24-30". What do you got?

I am sitting in my office right now with a BENQ 27" LED as part of a 2 monitor system. It has both DVI and HDMI so would have both hookups simultaneously.

No 2K or 4K gaming for you?

For primary PC gaming, a DVI input will have much higher than 1080p resolution either way about it. :shrug:

I'm talking about 2560 x 1440. What am I missing about the DVI input on a 1920 x 1080 monitor?

Edited by MaxThreshold

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Hey Cow. I still want to build a mini machine one of these days. But more important right this minute, I need a new monitor that can double as a PS4 screeen and also an occasional TV. Looking for a 24-30". What do you got?

I am sitting in my office right now with a BENQ 27" LED as part of a 2 monitor system. It has both DVI and HDMI so would have both hookups simultaneously.

No 2K or 4K gaming for you?

For primary PC gaming, a DVI input will have much higher than 1080p resolution either way about it. :shrug:

I'm talking about 2560 x 1440. What am I missing about the DVI input on a 1920 x 1080 monitor?

Hey Cow. I still want to build a mini machine one of these days. But more important right this minute, I need a new monitor that can double as a PS4 screeen and also an occasional TV. Looking for a 24-30". What do you got?

I am sitting in my office right now with a BENQ 27" LED as part of a 2 monitor system. It has both DVI and HDMI so would have both hookups simultaneously.

No 2K or 4K gaming for you?

For primary PC gaming, a DVI input will have much higher than 1080p resolution either way about it. :shrug:

I'm talking about 2560 x 1440. What am I missing about the DVI input on a 1920 x 1080 monitor?

Max, what are you running with? I have the Benq and an Acer on the way, both only 1920x1080 though as far as I can tell. I hope that's enough for a 27".

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I'm in the market for a new GPU. Is $314 after tax/shipping a good deal on a 970?

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I'm in the market for a new GPU. Is $314 after tax/shipping a good deal on a 970?

That's at the low end of the range. Pretty good. Might be even better if you're getting a version with a stock overclock and/or custom cooler.

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Max, what are you running with? I have the Benq and an Acer on the way, both only 1920x1080 though as far as I can tell. I hope that's enough for a 27".

I just have a 25" Asus VE258Q which is 1920 x 1080.

Looking to upgrade to a good 2560 x 1440p Monitor.

Edited by MaxThreshold

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May be looking to get a new computer soon. Do you have any current suggestions for an easy-to-put together gaming computer? Main intensive uses of it will be gaming and photo editing. Probably looking at a $700-800 budget, and don't really need a new monitor.

I've done easy stuff inside my computers before (memory and video cards), but haven't done a real build before.

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Max, my current monitors are 3 X 27" LCD's. They are only 1920 X 1080, but frankly, I cannot imagine the need for any more. :shrug:

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Max, my current monitors are 3 X 27" LCD's. They are only 1920 X 1080, but frankly, I cannot imagine the need for any more. :shrug:

I'm a big fan of high DPI displays. Running 30" 2560x1600 right now. Hoping to go to 30" or 32" 4K soon.

Admittedly I'm probably an outlier in this department. I got a Retina MacBook Pro (and dealing with the pain of OSX) just for the display. Both of my mobile devices are high-DPI. I just can't look at low-DPI displays (like my wife's Macbook Air) any more without noticing pixels.

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May be looking to get a new computer soon. Do you have any current suggestions for an easy-to-put together gaming computer? Main intensive uses of it will be gaming and photo editing. Probably looking at a $700-800 budget, and don't really need a new monitor.

I've done easy stuff inside my computers before (memory and video cards), but haven't done a real build before.

Most computers these days are easy to put together, subject to the case you choose. ITX builds are really cool (I have an NCase M1 V4 on the way for my home server rebuild) but can be tough to work in such a small case. So if you don't care about desktop (or floor) footprint, just get a standard ATX or micro-ATX case and all should be good.

I would recommend waiting a month (or so) for Skylake to come out. Normally I don't advocate waiting for the "next best thing" since you would find yourself always waiting and without a PC to use. But in this case Skylake looks to be 3-4 weeks away.

Also waiting for Skylake gets you on the DDR4 platform which will provide more upgrade options in the future if you want to add RAM (photo editing can be very RAM-intensive).

Do you have a Micro Center nearby? If so, that really helps on the price side.

For the video card, nVidia's GTX 970 feels like the sweet-spot right now in price/performance, but that might cause you to break your budget. Next-best would be the GTX 960. AMD cards can be good but personally I prefer nVidia drivers these days, and also the latest nVidia cards use less power and run cooler, requiring a less-beefy PSU. I have an AMD card in my primary gaming rig and a GTX 970 in my ITX Lan Party rig and frankly have more stability in the latter, despite the more difficult thermal environment.

Edited by Zasada

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It's getting to be time for a rebuild myself, probably going to start watching prices. I like the suggestion to wait for Skylake + DDR4, as long as the prices aren't higher just because it's new. I'm wondering if we'll be able to find the 4790s with some really good deals, I often like to buy the 2nd best thing on the market when building a computer to keep the cost down a little.

I've always ended up with AMD cards, but for the longest time I was on their CPUs as well, and went Intel last time around and it's been pretty rock solid. Might have to look at nVidia again.

Probably looking at something like the following:

4Ghz+ CPU + cooler

16+ GB Ram

new Motherboard

1TB SSD

What am I forgetting? I have a pretty good PSU as long as it'll work. Will look at video cards, but might wait on that depending on budget, etc.

Probably also need some sort of disk reader/writer, both of mine seem to have died. I could reuse the same case, but I wouldn't mind getting something more soundproof than my current one.

Considering going to water cooling, to reduce noise as well. Not sure I really want the extra complexity and risk that comes with that though.

Just starting to look around, I figure I'll probably get around to building by late fall, early winter - might look to grab parts around Black Friday.

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It's getting to be time for a rebuild myself, probably going to start watching prices. I like the suggestion to wait for Skylake + DDR4, as long as the prices aren't higher just because it's new. I'm wondering if we'll be able to find the 4790s with some really good deals, I often like to buy the 2nd best thing on the market when building a computer to keep the cost down a little.

DDR4 prices are higher than DDR3 but are dropping. CPU pricing is funny in that the last-gen really doesn't get discounted much when the new-gen arrives. The new-gen simply replaces the last-gen. Plus, you'll get added performance and performance-per-watt by going with Skylake.

BD-RWs are cheap these days. Should be easy to find one when you get into the market. Re-using the PSU should be fine provided it is of adequate quality/power.

Water cooling can be fun but I prefer the simplicity of air cooling. A good air cooler can be almost as quiet and effective as a water cooler at the same price point. Water coolers have pump noise on top of fan noise so their noise can actually be louder than air coolers as they age.

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Not a gaming machine, but thought I could get some build help here sooner than in the HTPC thread.

I'm running Windows Media Center with a cablecard tuner (Ceton Infinitv 4) to watch and record live TV from my cable provider. I've ripped dvd's/BR, converted and/or moved live tv recordings to my media drive(s), which is currently about 10 TB spread across 1 internal drive and a 4 disc USB 3.0 enclosure. I'm using the WMC Media Browser plugin to access media outside the LiveTV folder. I'm also running Plex to serve media to tablets to take on the road.

I'm getting tired of fan noise by my TV, so I started researching a NAS appliance and then decided it'd be more economical to build something myself. I came across unRAID as an OS and put together the following build:

Case: Fractal Design 804-BL http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811352047

w/ PSU: Corsair 450W http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139058

or

Case: Silverstone DS380B http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811163255&cm_re=silverstone_case-_-11-163-255-_-Product

w/ PSU: Seasonic SS-350SFE http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151063&cm_re=seasonic_ss-350SFE-_-17-151-063-_-Product

M/B & CPU: ASRock C2550 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157419

RAM: Crucial 2x8GB http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148704

w/ PSU:

Flash Drive: Cruzer 16GB http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005FYNSUA/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B005FYNSUA&linkCode=as2&tag=brisblo0b-20

Data & Cache Drives: Repurposed

Costs about as much as a discless 6 bay NAS, with a lot more room for expansion & much higher processing power.

Anyone have suggestions/recommendations on the OS or the build? Is it worth the extra cost for hot-swappable drives (Silverstone case)?

Edited by Dragons

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Also, if you can get to about $300, that NVidia 970 is a freaking monster for the price.

It is absolutely wonderful.

  • Like 1

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CPU pricing is funny in that the last-gen really doesn't get discounted much when the new-gen arrives. The new-gen simply replaces the last-gen. Plus, you'll get added performance and performance-per-watt by going with Skylake.

I don't understand CPU pricing - isn't there a lot of dead stock laying around?

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Skylake was officially released today, but you cannot find it in stock. Next week is likely. I am running an ancient i5-3570, 16 GB RAM and GTX 670 here at my office, so it is time for an upgrade. :nerd::bag:

I will post details here as I order. Looking like ASRock has several great mobo offerings. Will probably stick with the i5-6600 for the office, and go for the i7 for home. :yes:

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