**Bench your new or old PC at the Race your PC Thread
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This OP is a constant work in progress.
- If you have something to add or critique, PM me
12/16/2011: Reformatted OP in preparation for 2012 Thread.
http://tinyurl.com/HazPCDec2011 - Updated Spreadsheet.
Expect AMD's new 7xxx series GPUs to be released in the next 3 weeks as well?
12/11/2011: Added Anandtech's excellent BENCH resource under the 'information to fill out' section.
11/30/11: Intel Roadmap to Q4 2012. Subject to change and delay.
10/27/2011: Thai Flood(s) are causing HDD prices to skyrocket, not much to do.
10/12/2011: AMD AM3+ Bulldozer Reviews are up (FX-8150)
I will not be recommending any AMD Bulldozer CPUs in my builds as of now.
Bulldozer Review and News thread: http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=428387
9/9/2011: Inside the second: A new look at game benchmarking Why FPS isn't everything, and multi GPU still has issues.
5/28/2011: Best overall i5/i7 2500K/2600K P67/Z68 overclocking guide (clunk.org)
If you want help with a build fill this out AND try making one of your own from the resources in the OP :)
Use PCPartPicker to find the best prices.
Basic Desktop Questions:
Your Current Specs: CPU / RAM (DDR2/DDR3) / Motherboard / GPU
Budget: Price Range + Country
Main Use: Light Gaming, Gaming, Emulation (PS2/Wii), Video Editing, 3D work, general usage (Word, Web, 1080p playback). Rate importance on a 1-5 scale.
Monitor Resolution: What resolution will you be playing your games at? Are you going to upgrade later? Are you buying a new monitor?
List SPECIFIC games that you MUST be able to play: Self Explanatory
Are reusing any parts?: List make and model (e.g. Corsair 520HX 520W)
When will you build?: When do you want your computer, do you need it in a week, can you wait a month or two?
Will you be overclocking?: Yes, No, Maybe (This means yes)
FALCON GUIDE – This is a general UPDATED guide with lots of price segments and a ton of good information at the bottom. Lite version
Tech Report Christmas 2011 Buying Guide - Updated once a season, I generally agree with everything on these lists.
Picking your parts
CPU and GPU Benchmarks: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/GPU11/ Select CPU or GPU and view single products, or compare them.
A great resource. Note the speed benchmarks are run at, and some games and tasks work better on one setup versus another. e.g. Video editing (multi core), RTS (core speed), Games (AMD/nVidia optimizations)
Intro to dual cards: SLI & Crossfire
In my opinion I'd only suggest dual cards from a performance a high end perspective. If you are willing to plunk down $600+ for GPU alone you go two cards.
How much power do I need?
For lower end systems, even with a GTX 460 or HD6850, a good PSU that can deliver 380W on the 12V is enough. For higher end systems a 500 or 550W is reccommended.
Above that tier are 750W systems for dual card capability or fastest single card, then a high end 850W or a 1000W for more graphics.
Prospective laptop buyers please fill this out.
What laptop should i buy? Laptop-GAF
Hazaro's PC Builds:
Choosing a case: Picking a case reflects what you are looking for, and your personal tastes. Note that some cases might not be able to fit taller rifle coolers (Like the CM 212 Plus, or more commonly a ThermalRight Silver Arrow) or longer video cards (Like a 6950 or GTX 580). Additionally some of the LED fans in cases can have off switches.
Thank your friendly neighborhood feist and TheExodu5. Updated 11/15/11
$40-60 $70-$100 $120-$200
$40 - BitFenix Merc Alpha/Beta ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, $80 - Cooler Master CM 690 II Advanced ,,,,,, $140 - SilverStone RV02/FT02
$40 - NZXT Source 210/210 Elite/220 ,,,,,,,, $100 - Fractal Design Arc ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, $150 - Corsair 600T
$45 - Diablotek Evo/Rosewill Challenger ,,,, $100 - Lian Li Lancool PC-K62/K63/K68X-E ,,,, $180 - Cooler Master HAF X/CM Storm Trooper/Xigmatek Elysium
$60 - Cooler Master HAF 912/922 ,,,,,,,,,,,,,, $100 - Corsair 400R/500R ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, $ N/A - Various Lian Li
[QUIET OPTIONS] $60 - BitFenix Shinobi ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, $100 - Fractal Design Define R3/Define XL ,,,, $150 - Anidées AI-6B/Antec P280Accessories: Monitors, Keyboards, Mice, Microphones, Headphones and Speakers
Monitor: 20", 22", 24", Gaming and IPS
Mouse: $20, $40, 2x$60
Keyboard: $20, $40, $60, 2x Mechs, G15 style
Headphones/Headset: $20 $40 $80 $120 + Headphone GAF link
Mic: Zalman clip on and Logitech USB mic
Putting it all together
Thermal Paste: Apply as a ~4mm ball to the CPU. Press the heatsink down and tighten. Line method is ok. If you take the heatsink off, clean it with alcohol and reapply or you will trap air.
Video How-to: 15 minute video how-to / 40 Minute how-to / Tested March 15th $1,500 build (100 minutes, but entertaining) / How to Build a Gaming Computer (Carey Holzman - 120 minutes) / Newegg - 40 minutes
Help! PC won't Turn on/POST/Boot
Chief Value (Parts)
Micro Center (Parts)
Tiger Direct (Parts, Bing Cashback)
AVADirect (Custom Built)
Falcon Northwest (Custom Built)
MAINGEAR (Custom Built)
NCIX (Parts, Assembly, Price Match)
Canada Computers (Parts)
Memory Express (Parts, Assembly, Price Match)
Tiger Direct (Parts)
PriceBat (Price Comparison)
PriceCanada (Price Comparison)
Shopbot (Price Comparison)
Overclockers UK (Parts)
Ebuyer (Parts, Custom Built)
Aria PC (Parts)
Dino PC (Custom Built)
YoYoTech (Custom Built)
PC Case Gear (Parts)
Scorpion Technology (Parts)
staticICE (Product Finder)
The Tech Report
+Jonnyguru - LEGIT PSU reviews
+HardwareSecrets - LEGIT PSU reviews
+Silent PC Review - Silent Computing
Steam Mover / Steam Tool for SSDs
CPU-Z gathers information on your CPU, FSB, VCORE voltage and memory timings.
GPU-Z gathers information on your video card and GPU.
Real Temp / Core Temp allows you to monitor the temperature of your CPU core(s).
HWMonitor allows you to monitor fan speed, temperature, voltage, etc.
Piriform Speccy overall computer hardware monitoring
ATTO / CrystalDiskMark Tests read and write speed of your hard drives.
MSI Afterburner (aka RivaTuner) allows you to manage GPU overclocking, fan speed/profiles and chart many aspects of your GPU.
FURMark allows you to stress test your video card.
Fraps allows you to record real time video, take screen captures and display your FPS.
Memtest86+ allows you to run a full memory scan to deal with the blue screen of death and system errors.
MemtestG80 allows you to test for soft errors in GPU memory for NVIDIA CUDA-enabled GPUs.
nHancer/Radeon Pro allows you to optimize the display, improve the performance and fully utilize your NVIDIA graphics card.
OCCT / Prime95 allows you to stress test your CPU and GPU. allows you to stress test the stability of your computer.
Dxtory/nVidia driver options allows you to limit the frame rate on most games. Excellent for older games or just getting a locked 45FPS
Online Security Thread
The 2011 high-res PC screenshot thread!
Triple buffering: "Why we love it"
PC games blog list
2011 Thread Part 1
2011 Thread Part 2