This fancy new stuff just confuses me
May 23, 2012 12:56 PM   Subscribe

It's finally time to build a new PC. Help me decide on some specifics.

I built a fairly beefy Sandy Bridge-based machine last year for my pinball machine that has somehow become my desktop machine after a laptop failure. It's time to get the pinball machine going again, so I need a new desktop.

I've pretty much decided I'm going to go ahead and get a 3570K and some Z77 board to go with it, but beyond that I'm having a hard time making a decision.

Which Z77 motherboard? Which roomy tower case? Which PSU? Which video card? In the past I've always used Nvidia and I had to use Nvidia for the pinball machine thanks to some compatibility issues with Radeon drivers, but for this one I can pick anything.

Is there any reason not to get an Intel 330 SSD?

I'd like to keep the computer itself to around $800, because I'd like to have some money left over for a couple of new monitors. I have 8GB of memory that can be reused and can wait on the video card(s) to help keep the initial cost down, but I'd like a PSU and mobo that can handle an SLI/Crossfire setup down the line.
posted by wierdo to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
go to techreport's forums. They have excellent people there that give great advice.
posted by royalsong at 1:11 PM on May 23, 2012

I used Falcon's Guide when I built my PC last month - it purports to name a recommended part for each price range, and while I have no idea if I actually got a good deal I'm personally happy with what I spent and what I got for it. In particular it recommends either the Asus P8Z77-V or the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H as the best motherboard to go with the 3570K processor.
posted by theodolite at 1:15 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've had good luck with the ArsTechnica system guides, but I haven't used them in a long time: Newest version I could find.
posted by punchee at 3:05 PM on May 23, 2012

Notable gaming blog Rock Paper Shotgun has started a series of articles on hardware. These might be slightly newer than the Ars Technica guides (though those are still the gold standard of hardware guides in my mind).

Graphics cards
Intel CPUs

All articles about hardware
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 7:35 PM on May 23, 2012

Alternatively, the SA thread about PC building has several other recommendations.

Neither goons nor RPS really endorse SLI/Crossfire. Unless you're an edge case, odds are one better processor is going to beat the pants off of two not-as-good processors tied together. I recently purchased the NVIDIA GTX 560 Ti and have zero complaints.

And it's a good time to buy with the holiday coming out. I expect some forthcoming sales from Newegg and Tiger Direct.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 7:48 PM on May 23, 2012

I should mention that, for me, it's not actually about having SLI, it's about having enough PCIe slots with enough lanes to run two good video cards separately and the PSU to support them. The plan is to have a triple (and perhaps later) a quad monitor setup.

Unfortunately, the Ars guide is somewhat out of date at this point, if you'd like to have Ivy Bridge, although it appears they're working on a new one given the forum activity. I spent an inordinate amount of time figuring out what to put in my pinball box, so I was hoping to avoid a repeat of that. Looks like that's not really an option.
posted by wierdo at 8:17 PM on May 23, 2012

Radeon Video cards with "AMD Eyefinity 2.0" support will drive up to six monitors from a single card. I think Nvidia has something similar but, off the top of my head, I think in only supports up to three monitors.
posted by VTX at 7:39 PM on May 24, 2012

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