Help EA build his next computer

Original Poster
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 19287
I imagine this thread is mostly for Vic and Paquito.

So my computer is 6 going on 7 years old and I've decided it's time to build a new one. The performance gains in Nvidia's 1080ti or AMD's new Vega architecture coming out are sufficient for me to upgrade.

The last computer I got I didn't build because I ended up with a sweetheart deal. This means I've gone a very long time without building my own computer. I'm a little nervous about it, but it should be fine.

I'm looking for advice on what to get/do in terms of components. I'm looking to go as state of the art as I can for $1500 at the top end, though cheaper if it can be justified. I'm willing to wait until the summer based on what's coming down the pipeline if need be. It should also be built to last. I'm willing to eat a significant chunk of that in a top tier videocard. Outside of that, I've been perusing online reviews trying to get a sense of what components make sense.

What do you recommend I do?
Mar 15, 2017 11:58 PM
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I pay zero attention to hardware, and haven't built a computer in 17 years. Vic's probably your guy. Wirthling may know a thing or two.

I was planning on building a desktop computer in the next year or so, and I was going to my college aged cousin for advice. I may also just buy a System76 desktop, because they're supposed to pretty expandable, and I want to run Ubuntu as my OS rather than the latest flavor of windows.
Mar 16, 2017 12:49 AM
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I put this one together in November, and it cost me roughly 1200. I did that on Black Friday, though. I'll just link you the parts that I ordered, and you can adjust as needed.

Windows Home
16 Gigs RAM
500 Gig SSD
i5 6600k
600 W PSU
GTX 1070
An Okay Midtower case if you want a new one.
An MSI Gaming Motherboard
Noctua cooler that allows for a modest overclock.

I didn't do a lot of research when I put this together, but it's far from shabby. As your budget is a bit higher than mine was, you might look at bumping the CPU to an i7 6700k and of course the video card. I'm sticking with a 1070 until single GPUs can handle 4K a bit better, so this PC should do me for at least a couple of years. If you're looking to get another 6 or 7 years out of your new PC, I think you'd want to get the nicer CPU and GPU at a minimum along with a more powerful power supply. That way you can put a second video card in there to run in SLI or at least put in a more powerful card down the road. Vidoe cards have actually started taking less power recently, but I feel like it's better to go overkill on the power supply in case that trend doesn't continue.
Mar 16, 2017 12:57 AM
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You might also consider a bigger SSD or HDD. 500 gigs is actually a little tight, especially with newer games being routinely in the neighborhood of 40 gigs, so I ended up ordering an external drive.
Mar 16, 2017 1:00 AM
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Also consider how cool you want your CPU to run and if you're thinking about an overclock. For myself, OCing this i5 seems pretty pointless unless I get a second video card. Like, knocking it up to 4.4 Ghz gives me some kind of measly 1% performance boost. That overclock is doable on this cooler, though it does run in the 65 C range under normal normal load (not stress testing, that's low 70s). Those temperatures are totally safe so long as you pay more attention to Intel's literature and not some ubergeek on the internet who says 60C is too hot.
Mar 16, 2017 1:09 AM
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I think there's never a good time to buy, but there have been some material advances since the last time you built a system, and it would be pretty impressive to you to get into them.

I can't speak for video cards (although the 1080 series seems to manage 4k output so unless you're dedicated to UHD VR output it should last a while), but things like a PCIe SSDs, USB-C functionality and so on are mainstream now. PCIe SSDs are MINDBLOWING. It's like having your whole OS and every program in RAM.
Mar 16, 2017 1:18 AM
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If you want to play games at 4k I think you need a 1080 minimum, but even one of those can't do every game at 4k with ultra settings and keep a really high frame rate. Some benchmarks. Obviously the ti will be a bit more powerful, but I really doubt it'll be able to maintain 60 fps in even most new games depending on how high you want to crank your settings.
Mar 16, 2017 1:26 AM
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So the build I've been planning is pretty similar to that Default. I was going to go with a 500 gig SSD because I'm having a hard time justifying more in expense. I was even trying to see if I could get away with 256. If it comes to it, I'll buy external storage at a later time.

I was going to go with a 7th gen I7 and a nothing special, mid-range Asus motherboard I scoped out. I wanted to buy a corsair liquid cooler, but I've never installed one of those and am not 100% confident I won't screw it up if installation is delicate. The benchmarks coming out on the 1080ti are very impressive for the cost, but I initially planned on getting a new AMD vega gpu when they come to market a little later this year. I can build a computer now and run off my old video card until then. I was going to do 16 gigs of new RAM. Not sure if upgrading to a higher quality make like ripjaw is worth it or not at this point. It seems like a few manufacturers have monopolized the market and now sell under different brands like it is the dogfood industry.

There's a decent power supply I already have access to, so I'm set there. I have to get a new case, but I found one I'm pretty set on in terms of price, build, and cooling ability.

Mar 16, 2017 1:27 AM
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DefaultIf you want to play games at 4k I think you need a 1080 minimum, but even one of those can't do every game at 4k with ultra settings and keep a really high frame rate. Some benchmarks. Obviously the ti will be a bit more powerful, but I really doubt it'll be able to maintain 60 fps in even most new games depending on how high you want to crank your settings.

The ti that just came out is showing 35ish % gains on the 1080. It's superior to the Titan X. It'll handle 4k gaming of today and a little into the future. I don't care about 4k gaming so much, but I want to have the ability to adequately handle VR in the near future without having to splurge on a new upscale video card in a year and a half.

You're always going to feel like your purchase was made obsolete shortly after whenever you build new. It sounds like Nvdia's upcoming volta line is going to be a huge jump, but I'm not prepared to wait that long for a new comp. I think the latest generation seems like a good jumping in point since there's been some good leaps recently and it's all based off of established manufacturing processes for this era.
Mar 16, 2017 1:33 AM
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I think you get minimal boost for RAM, so yeah, not necessary at all. I also didn't pay that much for those. They were over 50 bucks cheaper when I bought them. I've never installed a water cooler, but from what I've read they're not too hard to install. The main reason that I've always stuck with air is that, well, there's no way for air to quit working. Even if your CPU fan goes out, the fins on your cooler seem to do a lot of the work.
Mar 16, 2017 1:34 AM
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Esoteric AllusionI imagine this thread is mostly for Vic and Paquito.

Fuck you then. I'll show myself out.
Mar 17, 2017 12:05 AM
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I'm currently rocking a i5 6600k, a 1070 video card and about 16 gb ram. I can play pretty much anything in 1440p in Ultra. Well except for Watchdogs 2, but you'd need a CPU from the future to run that well. I know you're against it but look at getting a bigger SSD, games are pretty large these days and can fill up even a 500 gig one pretty fast. I myself have three of them (a 120, 250 and 750 gig) and I still can't put all my games on them.
Mar 17, 2017 12:10 AM
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Esoteric AllusionSo the build I've been planning is pretty similar to that Default. I was going to go with a 500 gig SSD because I'm having a hard time justifying more in expense. I was even trying to see if I could get away with 256. If it comes to it, I'll buy external storage at a later time.

I was going to go with a 7th gen I7 and a nothing special, mid-range Asus motherboard I scoped out. I wanted to buy a corsair liquid cooler, but I've never installed one of those and am not 100% confident I won't screw it up if installation is delicate. The benchmarks coming out on the 1080ti are very impressive for the cost, but I initially planned on getting a new AMD vega gpu when they come to market a little later this year. I can build a computer now and run off my old video card until then. I was going to do 16 gigs of new RAM. Not sure if upgrading to a higher quality make like ripjaw is worth it or not at this point. It seems like a few manufacturers have monopolized the market and now sell under different brands like it is the dogfood industry.

There's a decent power supply I already have access to, so I'm set there. I have to get a new case, but I found one I'm pretty set on in terms of price, build, and cooling ability.


Why not wait to build your computer when the new AMD Gpus come out then? I mean building a new computer with a 6-7 year old GPU isn't going to give you much a boost in most games. Plus all the stuff you want now will be cheaper.
Mar 17, 2017 12:12 AM
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Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 19287
Detrimental
Esoteric AllusionSo the build I've been planning is pretty similar to that Default. I was going to go with a 500 gig SSD because I'm having a hard time justifying more in expense. I was even trying to see if I could get away with 256. If it comes to it, I'll buy external storage at a later time.

I was going to go with a 7th gen I7 and a nothing special, mid-range Asus motherboard I scoped out. I wanted to buy a corsair liquid cooler, but I've never installed one of those and am not 100% confident I won't screw it up if installation is delicate. The benchmarks coming out on the 1080ti are very impressive for the cost, but I initially planned on getting a new AMD vega gpu when they come to market a little later this year. I can build a computer now and run off my old video card until then. I was going to do 16 gigs of new RAM. Not sure if upgrading to a higher quality make like ripjaw is worth it or not at this point. It seems like a few manufacturers have monopolized the market and now sell under different brands like it is the dogfood industry.

There's a decent power supply I already have access to, so I'm set there. I have to get a new case, but I found one I'm pretty set on in terms of price, build, and cooling ability.


Why not wait to build your computer when the new AMD Gpus come out then? I mean building a new computer with a 6-7 year old GPU isn't going to give you much a boost in most games. Plus all the stuff you want now will be cheaper.

I am waiting, most likely. They're out in May. I prepare a lot for big purchases. It's one of my foibles.

I'm on the fence about a 1080ti at close to $700 or a AMD Vega card that will be significantly cheaper, have worse performance, but will have some more future-proofed technology on board.

I don't care about playing games on max settings at 4k resolution. I do care about VR immersion.
Mar 17, 2017 12:15 AM
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Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 8760
Esoteric Allusion
Detrimental
Esoteric AllusionSo the build I've been planning is pretty similar to that Default. I was going to go with a 500 gig SSD because I'm having a hard time justifying more in expense. I was even trying to see if I could get away with 256. If it comes to it, I'll buy external storage at a later time.

I was going to go with a 7th gen I7 and a nothing special, mid-range Asus motherboard I scoped out. I wanted to buy a corsair liquid cooler, but I've never installed one of those and am not 100% confident I won't screw it up if installation is delicate. The benchmarks coming out on the 1080ti are very impressive for the cost, but I initially planned on getting a new AMD vega gpu when they come to market a little later this year. I can build a computer now and run off my old video card until then. I was going to do 16 gigs of new RAM. Not sure if upgrading to a higher quality make like ripjaw is worth it or not at this point. It seems like a few manufacturers have monopolized the market and now sell under different brands like it is the dogfood industry.

There's a decent power supply I already have access to, so I'm set there. I have to get a new case, but I found one I'm pretty set on in terms of price, build, and cooling ability.


Why not wait to build your computer when the new AMD Gpus come out then? I mean building a new computer with a 6-7 year old GPU isn't going to give you much a boost in most games. Plus all the stuff you want now will be cheaper.

I am waiting, most likely. They're out in May. I prepare a lot for big purchases. It's one of my foibles.

I'm on the fence about a 1080ti at close to $700 or a AMD Vega card that will be significantly cheaper, have worse performance, but will have some more future-proofed technology on board.

I don't care about playing games on max settings at 4k resolution. I do care about VR immersion.

Still wait because whenever AMD puts out new stuff Nvidia's stuff gets cheaper.
Mar 17, 2017 12:23 AM
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Joined: Sep 2003
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Also the 1080 Ti can play video games at 4k at close to or at max settings, so it should be really good for VR. I would still wait before splurging though as it seems that recently AMD has gotten their act together and might put out a cheaper card that competes with it.

Here's a site I like to use whenever I make a new build it's pretty helpful - http://www.logicalincrements.com/
Mar 17, 2017 12:30 AM
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Joined: Apr 2006
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What kind of PC monitor are you getting?

If you plan to play any competetive FPS games (like Overwatch), having a good monitor really helps. A 144hz monitor with low response time (~1ms) is recommended.

Personally, I like IPS monitors over TN panels as I think the overall color from IPS monitors is better.
Mar 17, 2017 4:31 AM
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Joined: Apr 2006
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another thing, depending on your budget, you may want to get a smaller SSD drive and a traditional HDD drive rather than a single large SSD drive. You'll probably spend less if you go for the small SSD and HDD drive combo plus you'll get a lot of hard drive space if you ever decide you want to play lots of games and/or create videos.

Mar 18, 2017 5:13 AM
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Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 4393
Esoteric Allusion
Detrimental
Esoteric AllusionSo the build I've been planning is pretty similar to that Default. I was going to go with a 500 gig SSD because I'm having a hard time justifying more in expense. I was even trying to see if I could get away with 256. If it comes to it, I'll buy external storage at a later time.

I was going to go with a 7th gen I7 and a nothing special, mid-range Asus motherboard I scoped out. I wanted to buy a corsair liquid cooler, but I've never installed one of those and am not 100% confident I won't screw it up if installation is delicate. The benchmarks coming out on the 1080ti are very impressive for the cost, but I initially planned on getting a new AMD vega gpu when they come to market a little later this year. I can build a computer now and run off my old video card until then. I was going to do 16 gigs of new RAM. Not sure if upgrading to a higher quality make like ripjaw is worth it or not at this point. It seems like a few manufacturers have monopolized the market and now sell under different brands like it is the dogfood industry.

There's a decent power supply I already have access to, so I'm set there. I have to get a new case, but I found one I'm pretty set on in terms of price, build, and cooling ability.


Why not wait to build your computer when the new AMD Gpus come out then? I mean building a new computer with a 6-7 year old GPU isn't going to give you much a boost in most games. Plus all the stuff you want now will be cheaper.

I am waiting, most likely. They're out in May. I prepare a lot for big purchases. It's one of my foibles.

I'm weird like this too. If I'm buying a new pair of Nike runners or something, I'll read a load of reviews, maybe check out forums for user feedback, etc. But if I'm blowing one and a half grand on something like a computer, I'll basically spend weeks reading up on all the components, options, opinions, the market - just about everything before making the purchase.
Mar 22, 2017 10:17 PM
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Probably not what you're after, but this thing is gorgeous.
Mar 25, 2017 8:59 AM
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