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[Computer Build Thread] - Haswell? More like Has...damnit, I had something for this...

AlectharAlecthar Alan ShoreWe're not territorial about that sort of thing, are we?Registered User regular
Welcome to the Penny Arcade Computer Build Thread!
Visit the Blog!

Welcome to the PC Build Thread, where we don't judge you for spending way too much money on printed circuit boards. Except when we do.

More seriously, the PC build thread exists to provide a resource for PAers who want to build their own computers. We provide advice about component choice, shopping for components, assembling the PC itself, and even a little bit of troubleshooting for new builds, if you're having issues. We also talk about new and interesting components and even dabble in talk about peripherals (mice, keyboards, sometimes speakers and monitors). The thread has a companion blog used to keep a lot of more in-depth informational posts on specific component choices and the like.

The natural question at this point is probably "Why should I build my own computer when I could just have a bunch of underpaid assembly line workers do it for me?" There are a number of answers to that question:
  • Knowledge: Building your own computer is a learning experience. To start with, you'll probably end up doing a lot of research on the current state of consumer computing hardware, along with learning a bit about how various computer components work within a complete system. You'll also gain valuable knowledge about the actual assembly of a PC, something that definitely comes in handy if you find yourself doing family tech support.
  • Quality: PCs from companies like Dell and HP are built cheaply. Sometimes this isn't a huge issue. Intel, for example, doesn't sell a separate "from the junk pile" line of CPUs. Hard drives are generally of fairly consistent quality among manufacturers. However, depending on the PC, you may end up with a fairly anemic, or even cruddy, generic PSU, along with motherboards that are generally pretty limited in their flexibility and feature-set, and don't even get me started on the cases they use. Building your own PC gives you complete control over the quality of the components you use.
  • Flexibility: A prebuilt PC sometimes comes with proprietary components, or in a case with a proprietary form factor with a weird sized PSU. When you build your own PC, you can select the components with an eye towards whatever degree of flexibility or upgrade-ability you deem appropriate. Because retail component design adheres to certain standards, you end up with a more modular system that can be changed more easily.
  • Value: If all you need to do with a computer is browse the internet, consume media, and use productivity software like MS Office, there's admittedly little reason not to buy a pre-built machine. Building your own is usually more expensive than buying a complete system when you're talking about a relatively inexpensive machine. When it comes to a PC with real horsepower, though, manufacturers believe we're willing to pay a serious premium. Building your own Gaming (or Workstation) PC almost always saves you significant amounts of money in addition to the previously mentioned benefits.
If the benefits of building your own PC have convinced you to do so, you should ask yourself some questions. The answers to those questions should be included in your request in this thread, the more information we have about what you want and how much you're willing to pay to get it, the better the advice you'll get.
  • What kind of computer do you need? Maybe it's a standard gaming PC, or maybe you need an HTPC, or a Server, or even a serious Workstation.
  • What's your budget for this project?
  • What needs to be included in that budget? Do you need a monitor, keyboard and mouse to go with it? Are there components that don't need to be included because you're carrying something over from a previous PC?
  • What are your performance needs? For games, what resolution do you game at, and what kind of performance do you want to see there? For professional tasks, what are you doing and what kind of numbers would you like to see?
  • Do you have any partiality towards specific manufacturers, like Intel/AMD, AMD/NVIDIA, or perhaps specific vendors?
  • Do you have any specific needs? That is, are you looking for quiet operation, small form factor, significant upgrade-ability, or other specific features?

It's after you've answered those questions that the real fun begins. Below are some additional resources to help you out. Welcome to PC building!

Where to Buy:

US
There are a number of solid online purchasing options available to US consumers. My personal favorite is Newegg, though there are other options like Tiger Direct, and (of course) Amazon. Brick and mortar buyers can find some components at big box retailers like Best Buy and Fry's, though I've found that prices from online retailers are significantly better than these stores. The exception to that seems to be Microcenter, which often has great deals on processors and motherboards in particular.

Canada
A previous thread recommended strategy is price-matching through NCIX. Newegg also has a Canadian site you can purchase from.

UK
Online retailers in the UK include Ebuyer, which apparently has a wide selection of components, Novatech, which also does custom systems and apparently has some fans in UK PC forums, and dabs.com, a site recommend by our very own Big Isy, who cited their frequent free shipping/free game deals.

Australia
Our very own Tef put together a very thorough buying guide for Australians:
Tef wrote:
Online retailers (Australia-wide)
www.pccasegear.com - Based in Melbourne, these guys are as close to an Australian Newegg as you will find. PCcasegear are known for their reliable service and good RMA (returning faulty equipment) policies. They have a somewhat decent range of equipment, for Australia and while generally pretty cheap, there certainly are cheaper options out there. For people in Melbourne, you can also visit their store front and pick up the parts personally.

www.msy.com.au - A cheaper alternative to PCcasegear that is still reasonably reliable. MSY does suffer from a limited range and volume of stock on occasion. As of October 2011, they do not have a delivery system in place (in progress, according to MSY) so you will have to pick up the parts from their brick and mortar shops. Fortunately, they have numerous store fronts around the country, so finding one nearby shouldn't be too hard to do. Be aware that when you're shopping online make sure you set your store location to the store that you'll be picking the parts up from. MSY filter their displayed products based on what shop you've selected and it's very annoying to get to the checkout and realise all your parts are only available in far north Queensland.

Other Australia-based Online Retailers
www.mwave.com.au www.megabuy.com.au www.umart.com.au - These are some other notable budget PC shops. They'll ship anywhere domestically and are usually competitively priced. Do note that they're budget resellers (particularly in the case of megabuy) and their customer support and shipping status/timeframes may not always be as great as what you'll find from MSY/PCcasegear.

International Purchasing
An option exists to purchase parts overseas and ship them in yourself, thus avoiding the mark-up from Aussie vendors. www.priceusa.com.au is the only vendor the writer has experience with and therefore is the only one this writer is prepared to recommend with confidence. There are several caveats associated with international orders, namely that support/returns will be more difficult due to distances and there is a potential for longer lead-times on orders (though this is not always the case). Recommendations for overseas shipping would be that you don't order cases and possibly PSUs from overseas, as the associated hikes in shipping costs make this expensive (it should go without saying that you should do your own research on this point though, as it may be more cost effective depending on where you can buy domestically).

There also exists the option of organising a deal through the PA forums. This will be more difficult as it will require the forumer to takes reception of your goods and then ship them to you themselves. You will need to organise such a deal between yourselves and please be aware that this is an imposition on people and you certainly shouldn't expect people to firstly jump at the chance to help you out and secondly do this for you without some kind of repayment (*cough*steam wish lists*cough*). Moral of the story is that it may be an option for you, but don't count on it. It maybe be worth your while sending an extremely polite and well-written PM to the lovely JWashke (his PA forum handle) as he has mentioned that he MAY be available to help out his poor Australian brethren.

Purchase Support and Services
www.staticice.com.au and www.ausprices.com are two good price comparison sites that you can use to find who's selling what and for how much. The former is probably the highest quality of the two; just make sure you're looking at the Australian version (i.e. .au at the end)

While ostensibly a forum for PC overlockers, forums.overclockers.com.au has a surprisingly good quality sub forum relating to the state of PC part purchasing in Australia. They are a good location for solid advice on retailers (after PA, of course!). The author recommends against the Whirlpool forums, as their wiki isn't really up to date and the quality of posts is, shall we way, subpar. Their wikis and forums sections on networking and all things internet are fantastic, however, and are highly recommended for questions pertaining these matters.

Failing all that, send a mention or a PM towards Tef or chrishallett83, both Australian forumers, who are usually more than happy to offer advice.

Build Thread Component Guides:
Processors and Motherboards
Video Cards
Memory
HDDs and SSDs
PSUs and Cases

Good Online Resources:
Anandtech - A great site with in depth reviews on loads of tech.
Tom's Hardware - Not my favorite site in the world, but their monthly roundups of SSDs, CPUs, and GPUs are useful, and they have some good comparison tools.
[H]ardOCP - Solid PSU reviews, and also some solid motherboard and video card reviews.
jonnyguru - Basically some of the best PSU reviews out there.
Overclock.net - One of my favorite non-PA forums. There's loads and loads of good info here, from optimizing SSDs to overclocking to in-depth information on motherboard VRM setups.

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Posts

  • Day of the BearDay of the Bear The Qun demandsRegistered User regular
    mmmm

    that new thread smell

    m6eoUgQ.jpg
  • SarksusSarksus Registered User regular
    Alecthar wrote: »
    Sarksus wrote: »
    Alecthar wrote: »
    Sarksus wrote: »
    Nice. I shaved like $200-250 off. Now I have to decide if I still want to pay $169 for the Corsair 600T. A case in the $80 would be more practical but that stormtrooper look is so enticing.

    As the owner of a 600T, I feel comfortable recommending that you get something else. Maybe one of the Fractal Design mid towers. The 600T is great to build in, but for the price you don't get the level of cooling you should, and it doesn't allow you to do much with the fan setup.

    What of either of these?

    Corsair 200R

    Fractal Core 3000

    At around that price range I'd go Bitfenix Shinobi.

    At around $100 you could go with the Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 or Define R4.

    But the Fractal 3000 has one 120mm fan and two 140mm faaaaans

  • AlectharAlecthar Alan Shore We're not territorial about that sort of thing, are we?Registered User regular
    Sarksus wrote: »
    Alecthar wrote: »
    Sarksus wrote: »
    Alecthar wrote: »
    Sarksus wrote: »
    Nice. I shaved like $200-250 off. Now I have to decide if I still want to pay $169 for the Corsair 600T. A case in the $80 would be more practical but that stormtrooper look is so enticing.

    As the owner of a 600T, I feel comfortable recommending that you get something else. Maybe one of the Fractal Design mid towers. The 600T is great to build in, but for the price you don't get the level of cooling you should, and it doesn't allow you to do much with the fan setup.

    What of either of these?

    Corsair 200R

    Fractal Core 3000

    At around that price range I'd go Bitfenix Shinobi.

    At around $100 you could go with the Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 or Define R4.

    But the Fractal 3000 has one 120mm fan and two 140mm faaaaans

    There are definitely things about the Core 3000 that recommend it, including the number of included fans and the position of the HDD cages, but there's not a whole lot of space behind the motherboard tray for cables (even compared to the Shinobi). The HAF 912 is also a strong option, if you can tolerate the looks.

    $60.00 cases are really a study in what you're willing to sacrifice to save money.

    Day of the Bear
  • SarksusSarksus Registered User regular
    I am good at sacrificing. My current case is a Rosewill aluminum box with some HDD cages and I think it cost $40.

  • Day of the BearDay of the Bear The Qun demandsRegistered User regular
    edited June 2013
    the haf912 is a really really good case for it's price

    It's just incredibly ugly in my opinion, but if you wanna make sure you've got space for everything and it will all stay cool no matter what, that thing with maybe an added 200mm fan and you're set

    Day of the Bear on
    m6eoUgQ.jpg
  • AlectharAlecthar Alan Shore We're not territorial about that sort of thing, are we?Registered User regular
    Looking around, the Tempest 410 looks pretty nice as well, despite NZXT's recent mania for stupidly oriented drive cages.

  • Day of the BearDay of the Bear The Qun demandsRegistered User regular
    Hmm that does look nice. I dig the open front, although it looks like it'd be tight with longer GPUs. GOod airflow design though.

    m6eoUgQ.jpg
  • StormwatcherStormwatcher Blegh BlughRegistered User regular
    Carbide 200R for life

    Steam: Stormwatcher | PSN: Stormwatcher33 | Switch: 5961-4777-3491
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  • Day of the BearDay of the Bear The Qun demandsRegistered User regular
    I'm doing a build for someone in the 200r this week. Somehow this will be the first time i do a build in a corsair case at all.

    m6eoUgQ.jpg
  • DrijenDrijen Registered User regular
    I think I've made a terrible mistake.

    I got the model numbers/measurements all messed up with those Corsair coolers and got the h110 (no not at list price, I'm not that bad, my job has like... 2 good perks) instead of the smaller 240mm h100i or a single space option. Take my computer down to bare motherboard and quickly realize that the thing will not fit in a Fractal R4 without either mounting the fans outside the case or taking a hacksaw to the case itself.

    Ok, no big deal, I'll just politely ask to swap it out! Hell, I'll add some other shit I don't need to the new order to match the price even! Submit a support ticket. Wait three days. Come home to find a new comment 'Please contact your point of sale for any and all return/exchange requests'.

    I replied with all the salient info and basically begged them to spend the same amount, if not more, money with them to get something that will actually work for me. Fingers crossed.

    Anyone deal with Corsair directly for something like this?

  • Day of the BearDay of the Bear The Qun demandsRegistered User regular
    does the r4 not sport 140mm fan mounts up top? I know my R3 did.

    m6eoUgQ.jpg
  • BarcardiBarcardi All the Wizards Registered User regular
    edited June 2013
    Well, shit, im pretty sure i messed up my install.

    Everything is on and running, I am looking at the bios after the first time install. However my Corsair H50 watercooler seems to be keeping the Hanswell chip at like 86 deg F, 30 deg C. Now, am I dumb or is that hot?

    Also, my 1866 memory is running at 1333, hmmmm.

    Pros though: Fans are working and super quiet, power supply is working and super quiet, graphics card i can bearly hear. This thing is certainly quiet.

    Barcardi on
  • DrijenDrijen Registered User regular
    edited June 2013
    It does, but the whole radiator is longer than 2 140mm fans by a significant amount. Enough so that the far side runs right up against the metal inset around the i/o plate. I can squeeze the rad in and mount the fans on top outside the case but no thanks. Basically I'm just an idiot at numbers and am hoping for leniency for first offense. Not even like I need the thing, although I guess not ever worrying about overclocking a 2500k to the gills is nice. It just fit my budget at the price I paid in a way that made getting a less expensive model a trivial savings.

    Drijen on
  • BarcardiBarcardi All the Wizards Registered User regular
    edited June 2013
    Also, should i be worried if i can hear the "liquid" of the cpu cooler moving around?

    edit: dear god, bios with a mouse is so friendly, i missed out last gen.

    Barcardi on
  • chrishallett83chrishallett83 Hi! Registered User regular
    edited June 2013
    Barcardi wrote: »
    Well, shit, im pretty sure i messed up my install.

    Everything is on and running, I am looking at the bios after the first time install. However my Corsair H50 watercooler seems to be keeping the Hanswell chip at like 86 deg F, 30 deg C. Now, am I dumb or is that hot?

    Also, my 1866 memory is running at 1333, hmmmm.

    Pros though: Fans are working and super quiet, power supply is working and super quiet, graphics card i can bearly hear. This thing is certainly quiet.

    30C is a very normal idle temp.

    For the memory, you probably need to adjust a setting in the memory section of the BIOS to enable XMP.

    chrishallett83 on
    Day of the Bear
  • FoomyFoomy Registered User regular
    Barcardi wrote: »
    Well, shit, im pretty sure i messed up my install.

    Everything is on and running, I am looking at the bios after the first time install. However my Corsair H50 watercooler seems to be keeping the Hanswell chip at like 86 deg F, 30 deg C. Now, am I dumb or is that hot?

    Also, my 1866 memory is running at 1333, hmmmm.

    Pros though: Fans are working and super quiet, power supply is working and super quiet, graphics card i can bearly hear. This thing is certainly quiet.

    30C at idle sounds perfectly fine to me. The max temp for haswell are somewhere around 80C

    Steam Profile: FoomyFooms
  • BarcardiBarcardi All the Wizards Registered User regular
    edited June 2013
    Wow, ok, color me happy then.

    If anyone is looking for a larger micro tower i cannot recommend the Corsair 350D enough, this thing is amazing.

    edit: the electricity of my monitor is louder than my computer during idle, wow.

    Barcardi on
  • BarcardiBarcardi All the Wizards Registered User regular
    Ok quick question, is it ok to power a solid state drive from the same SATA power cable as my regular hard drive?

  • Day of the BearDay of the Bear The Qun demandsRegistered User regular
    Yes

    m6eoUgQ.jpg
  • WulfWulf Disciple of Tzeentch The Void... (New Jersey)Registered User regular
    Getting annoyed with my current case, so I bought a Corsair 500R and an X60 from Amazon. Weekend project hoo!

    Everyone needs a little Chaos!
  • DisruptedCapitalistDisruptedCapitalist Registered User regular
    edited June 2013
    So as I mentioned in the last thread, I took of the heat sink last night to see if I applied the paste right. Here's the pics:

    0625132238_zpsbdb670d5.jpg
    0625132239_zpsf227615a.jpg

    So it looks like it spread pretty well (in fact, I may have used too much since it seems like it went over into the blades of the sink too.) So I reapplied and started up again. Still 48-50 degrees idle, 66-68 degrees while playing FTL. I looked at my order from NewEgg from years ago and it looks like I didn't buy the heat sink separately, so I guess I shouldn't expect more from a stock fan and heat sink.

    DisruptedCapitalist on
  • IncindiumIncindium Registered User regular
    The CPU fan on that is spinning up under load right?

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  • DisruptedCapitalistDisruptedCapitalist Registered User regular
    Hmm. good point, I'll have to check that. The default settings on the "Smart Fan" option in the BIOS set it to 100% at 70 degrees, so maybe it's not fast enough. I might as well set it at 100% since it's certainly not the noisiest fan in my system at any rate.

  • a5ehrena5ehren AtlantaRegistered User regular
    You definitely used too much paste, but that shouldn't be a huge issue. The stock HS/F isn't great (and that is definitely it), but it is pretty quiet from what I've read. I've never used the stock HS in a system I've built, though.

  • DisruptedCapitalistDisruptedCapitalist Registered User regular
    cool, thanks for the tips guys.

  • Day of the BearDay of the Bear The Qun demandsRegistered User regular
    Also your temps are fine

    m6eoUgQ.jpg
  • SarksusSarksus Registered User regular
    Holy hell that is a lot of paste.

  • DisruptedCapitalistDisruptedCapitalist Registered User regular
    yeah, that was based on the "pea size" that everyone always seems to recommend, but the Wolfdale is much smaller than the Core i5 so I suppose I should have aimed more for a grain of rice than a pea.

  • HounHoun Registered User regular
    That's how I was trained to paste. In fact, I was almost fired for not using enough paste when chips started overheating. I'd even say that's a bit on the light side.

  • SarksusSarksus Registered User regular
    edited June 2013
    Keep in mind paste is only supposed to join the processor and heatsink by filling in microscopic imperfections. I would characterize the correct amount of paste as a thin film spread across the metal, with a grain of rice being closer to the ideal than pea size. If I remember correctly I would get idle temps of 35C on my Core 2 Duo E8400 using the stock heatsink when I last measured.

    Edit: I should reiterate that your temps are fine. There's no reason to worry about getting them below 40C. As long as your load temps are at a safe level it doesn't matter what they specifically are.

    Sarksus on
    Day of the Bearchrishallett83
  • chrishallett83chrishallett83 Hi! Registered User regular
    Again, spread that shit by hand - you want it as thin as possible while still giving complete coverage of the heat spreader. I can make out the writing on the heat spreader when I'm done wiping the goo around with an old credit card. Can't read it, but I can see it.

    Or get really anal retentive and lap your processor and heatsink down to like an 8000 grit, and polish to a dead-flat mirror finish.

  • DisruptedCapitalistDisruptedCapitalist Registered User regular
    edited June 2013
    yeah well, with a 6-year-old processor with a stock HS/F, I don't think I'll be putting too much more effort into it. ;-) With any luck I'll be able to afford an i5 by the late Fall.

    DisruptedCapitalist on
  • tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    Usually I just do grain of rice aligned with the processor core and then let the heatsink do the work. If the cooler is impossible to get off when I want to change it then it's been done correctly.

    steam_sig.png
  • GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    edited June 2013
    Again, spread that shit by hand .

    Clarification/warning: do not literally spread it by hand.

    I have a Cooler Master Hyper 212+ on my Ivy Bridge chip, and I use the "thin center line" application method on the chip itself, and also "tint" the actual heat pipe contact area of the cooler with the paste by applying a little bit and then spreading it very thin with the edge of a credit card.

    I would agree with @tsmvengy about the "If you can't get the cooler to come off, you did it right" rule of thumb, although it is seriously always a butt-puckering moment when I DO need to remove the cooler because I am always worried I will yank the chip out of the socket and damage it for that reason. D:

    Gaslight on
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    The bacteria in your poop exist everywhere.
  • chrishallett83chrishallett83 Hi! Registered User regular
    Gaslight wrote: »
    Again, spread that shit by hand .

    Clarification/warning: do not literally spread it by hand.

    I have a Cooler Master Hyper 212+ on my Ivy Bridge chip, and I use the "thin center line" application method on the chip itself, and also "tint" the actual heat pipe contact area of the cooler with the paste by applying a little bit and then spreading it very thin with the edge of the credit card.

    You can spread it by hand, just wear a glove. You won't get as good a finish, but it's doable.

  • SarksusSarksus Registered User regular
    For best results use your tongue.

    GaslightDisruptedCapitalistDay of the Bearchrishallett83
  • Day of the BearDay of the Bear The Qun demandsRegistered User regular
    On anything smaller then 2011 I do a dot in the center and just screw the cooler in evenly. On 2011 I like to do two crossed lines from corners through center because dang it's a huge chip

    m6eoUgQ.jpg
  • DisruptedCapitalistDisruptedCapitalist Registered User regular
    Sarksus wrote: »
    For best results use your tongue.

    I'll try that tonight and let you know how it turned out. :mrgreen:

  • GriswoldGriswold (a superset of all possible mathematics) (his body disintegrated)Registered User regular
    edited June 2013
    Foomy wrote: »
    Barcardi wrote: »
    Well, shit, im pretty sure i messed up my install.

    Everything is on and running, I am looking at the bios after the first time install. However my Corsair H50 watercooler seems to be keeping the Hanswell chip at like 86 deg F, 30 deg C. Now, am I dumb or is that hot?

    Also, my 1866 memory is running at 1333, hmmmm.

    Pros though: Fans are working and super quiet, power supply is working and super quiet, graphics card i can bearly hear. This thing is certainly quiet.

    30C at idle sounds perfectly fine to me. The max temp for haswell are somewhere around 80C
    Surprised no one went pedantic on this. TJMax for Haswell is 100C, and you won't see throttling until about 95C.

    Sarksus wrote: »
    For best results use your tongue.
    This is true regardless of context.

    Griswold on
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  • FoomyFoomy Registered User regular
    Griswold wrote: »
    Foomy wrote: »
    Barcardi wrote: »
    Well, shit, im pretty sure i messed up my install.

    Everything is on and running, I am looking at the bios after the first time install. However my Corsair H50 watercooler seems to be keeping the Hanswell chip at like 86 deg F, 30 deg C. Now, am I dumb or is that hot?

    Also, my 1866 memory is running at 1333, hmmmm.

    Pros though: Fans are working and super quiet, power supply is working and super quiet, graphics card i can bearly hear. This thing is certainly quiet.

    30C at idle sounds perfectly fine to me. The max temp for haswell are somewhere around 80C
    Surprised no one went pedantic on this. TJMax for Haswell is 100C, I believe, and you won't see throttling until about 95C.

    Sarksus wrote: »
    For best results use your tongue.
    This is true regardless of context.

    I was just guesstimating from what I sort of remembered, and then going for a lower value to be safe.

    Steam Profile: FoomyFooms
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