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=GEN=Smartlink

Building a Gaming PC

9 posts in this topic

Greetings;

 

We already gone over the worst parts, well almost. After this last bit we will have reviewed all the parts of your PC, leaving only your operating system, I will cover that in part 5, including tips on how to improve you gaming performance by tweaking Windows Vista and Windows 7

 

The Sound Card;

 

Most Motherboards already come with a built in sound card and they do an excellent job. So why buy a sound card? One word: immersion. The 3d positioning on built in card and the sound quality will never match a Sound Blaster's X-FI. When sound quality is important to you, you have basically 2 options, buy a dedicated sound card or pay a little more for your motherboard and get one with a high end card built in. The Sound Blaster's X-FI goes for around 60$ to 130$ depending on model. So if you really wish to buying a sound card, you should consider putting 50-80$ in your motherboard and get a high end sound card already built in! Normally every motherboard company makes a high end gamer focused board with a top sound card. Like Asus Maximus line (some models) or the Gigabyte's Assasin line (some models)...

 

SupremeFX IV, Creative Sound, Core3D, are the very best on board sound card you can get at the moment. The usual Realtek ALC898 does the trick well also, most people do not find the need to get the high end ones anyways!

 

The Power Supply Unit or PSU;

 

Your gaming rig is likely a power hog so the choice of power supply is an important one. It's imperative that you DO NOT BUY THE CHEAPEST ONE. Power consumption of your video card idle or watching a movie will be below the 20 Watts, play a 3d game like Battlefield 3 and it will easily jump to above 100 watts. Your power supply must be able to handle such rapid change of power draw. So one should avoid obscure brands and stick to Corsair, CoolerMaster, Antec or OCZ, since top end manufacturer will use better components, this will give you a stable and more durable PSU. Most of them are also MODULAR, leaving you the capacity to remove unused cables to clean up the interior, that helps air flow.

 

If your in a area prone to tension drops or brown outs, you should consider getting a ups battery backup (uninterruptible power supply). APC and Tripp Lite are the leading manufacturers and have a very reliable lineup.

 

The other important aspect of the decision is of desire for a second GPU, or even more! And the requirements of the video cards will also have a impact on your power supply selection. For example, Asus-branded GTX 680 card requires two six-pin power connectors, something other's 680 not always need. So check your GPU power and connection requirements!

 

Finally how much power do you need? Always check the PSU requirements of EVERY components of you rig, then always aim for 100 watt above. Power supplies get terribly unreliable if you run them much past about 70-75% of their max load on a regular basis. So by always planning to leave 100 watt spare you re not only giving you the room to stay below that, but you usually allow your self some room to upgrade some parts down the road without having to change the PSU.

 

Single card systems can easily run on a 550 to 650 W power supply, for a Dual-Card SLI or CrossfireX 650 W is a bare minimum and could get you in trouble, I would recomment 750 to 850 W, for three-way video card setup I would get 1000-1200 W. For the crazy people trying the four-way video card setups I would not try it with anything under 1200 W, but 1400 W should be a better option!

 

The CD / DVD & Blu-ray;

 

Currently there is no reason to spit out the extra cash a Blu-ray drive will cost you. 99.9% of the people only really need a CD/DVD reader/burner combo. They can go as low as 20$... As for Blu-ray combo's, well they go from 90$ to over 150$. Unless you are absolutely stick on getting one in your PC, save the $$$ and use the saving on other components. Asus, Samsung, Sony and Lit-On are brands you can easily trust in this department.

 

The Hard Drives;

 

Most hard drives will give you an equal gaming experience. There is only one thing that could make a difference and that would be investing in a Solid-State-Drives (SSD'S). These hyper-fast drives use the same technology that USB Thumb drives are using but are larger and use a faster connection then the USB. It is perfect to install your OS and your games, SSDs do not employ any moving mechanical components. They are typically less susceptible to physical shock, do not require defragmentation, are silent, and have lower access time and latency, but are, at 2011 market prices, more expensive per unit of storage. You can rely on standard mechanical drives for media storage and everything else.

 

Standard mechanical drives are still a perfect for a gaming rig. You will have to defrag it once in a while, but if you stick to the big brands lines like Western Digital "Caviar" or Seagate "Barracuda"...

 

The Enclosures;

 

Well this is a place where aesthetics and personal preferences will prevail. Sturdy, good air flow and enough room for all your parts should be the only technical considerations to have. Your can get amazing cases for 100-150$. Top favorites are Antec Nine Hundred, NZXT Phantom 410 and the Corsair Carbride 500r. All these cases have convenient cable management options built-in that will reduce clutter and greatly improve air flow in your case.

 

The CPU Fans & Cooling Options;

 

Stock cooler's are fine for most people, only think abut replacing your CPU cooler if you intend to overclock your gaming rig. Make sure your case as adequate air flow, remove unused cables, tie up cables to leave more open space, run your cables behind the backplane... Like mentioned in the previous section, good cases will have proper fans and great cable management, or cable routing features to improve air flow and thus eliminating the need to stress out over proper ventilation!

 

In fact 70% of air flow issues are related to clutter, the other 30% are usually link to improper fan installation (often in the wrong direction, lol)

 

I did not cover overclock in the series of posts because, let's face it, if you overclock you do not need to read these lines. If you wish to know more about over clocking send me a PM, if I have enough demands I will consider doing a tutorial and general overview on overclocking.

 

Water cooling is an option only serious overclockers should consider, it's expensive and tricky. I personally ran a water cooled gaming rig for about 4 years, until I suffered a catastrophic failure that ended with a large amount of liquid spilling inside my case, something you definitely do no wish to see. As it turns out liquids and computer components do not interact well with each other, who would have thought! :wink:

 

Thankfully now a days there are some self contained liquid cooling solutions that you do not need to thinker with, removing the risk of leaks!

 

The Everything else;

 

Keyboard, mice, gamepads, monitors, joysticks, wheels, speakers, headsets and the numerous accessories out there are all a question of personal preferences. Looks, feels and tastes all come in consideration, so I cannot really place in a explanation or recommendation here. You should always research you planned purchases (on reviews sites or even google), stick to big name brands. Just those 2 tips should ensure you make good buys!.

 

Tomorrow, part 5, Windows Vista & Windows 7 Tuning for gamers!

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Outstanding Smartlink.

 

This have been veru helpful. One question.

 

What is the acceptable temps for a quad core cpu and an ATI 5770 video card?

 

Thank you

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What is the acceptable temps for a quad core cpu and an ATI 5770 video card?

 

Thank you

 

Well it depends on the exact processors, (the Core 2 and Core i7 lines of CPUs have a true max safe temperature of 100C, it you burnt it)

 

Core 2 Quad Q6600 - 95w TDP, 71°C max temp, so aim for 50's at full load

Core 2 Quad Q9450 - 105w TDP, 75°C max temp, so aim for 55 at full load.

 

It really depends on your exact CPU, could you give me a model number?

 

For you video card, it's easier, these cards are usually rated to around 100°C Max also (but again this would kill the card), so it should always be below 75°C on full load.

 

Your case it self should always be below 50°C, unless you live in hell or Hawaii :-)

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Thank you Smart.

 

I was using game booster which gives me a read out and this is what I have : HP Computer with 8gb ram , 600 watt ps and the cpu runs at 80 to 85c and the card I believe was at 82c to 88c.

I only have one exhaust fan in the back and I side intake fan. The video card sits right below the intake fan of the PS. I was thinking of just taking the side panel off to cool the machine.

 

Thank you for your help sir.

 

When I get home I will look up the mld # of the CPU

Edited by =GEN=SixFour.pro

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I was thinking of just taking the side panel off to cool the machine.

 

I would advise against this, it's actually a common mistake people make, this will worsen your temps. Removing side panel screw's your air flow. Unless you aim an external fan directly towards the open panel. The panel provides a restriction that channels air circulation in your case more efficiently.

 

Make sure you case fans are running at proper speed, are not dusty. Use compressed air to clean your case fanss, CPU and Video card Fans also. This will help.

 

Waiting to ear from you to get you CPU model!

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Smart,

 

It is an AMD Athlon ll 630 Quad Core.

 

Played about 20 minutes of Black ops with the following temps. cpu at 52c and video card at 86c

 

Since I have no room for an intake fan upfront, I have the exhaust fan on the side and one in the back.

Edited by =GEN=SixFour.pro

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Smart,

 

It is an AMD Athlon ll 630 Quad Core.

 

Played about 20 minutes of Black ops with the following temps. cpu at 52c and video card at 86c

 

Since I have no room for an intake fan upfront, I have the exhaust fan on the side and one in the back.

 

CPU temp are way fine, no issue there... Only if it would get to 60-65c should you start planning upgrading or changing you CPU cooler.

 

The 86c of your video card worries me on the other hand. This is temps I would expect from an overclocked card. But I think I know where the problem is... Your side fan should be PUSHING IN air, not an exhaust. The only exhausts you need are the fan in the back, and the one in your power supply.

 

So if side fan is not in pushing air in your case, reverse it and see if this helps!

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