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Help with my first attempt at building a computer

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 
EDIT: My most recent post contains my build, for now.


Hello. I am building my first computer and I would like some advice on the components that I have selected. I will primarily be using the computer for video gaming, but I will sometimes be running research experiments in the background. Essentially, I want to be able to play a game while I am waiting for the experiment to finish running.

I am not very familiar with overclocking. How hard is it usually on the system components? I was not planning on doing so because I am wary of reducing the lifetime of my system components.

CPU:

Intel Core i7-3770K: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116501

Probably going with this one.

Memory:
Kingston HyperX Blu 2x4GB 1600 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820104262

I still really am not sure what RAM to get beyond DDR3. How do these ones look? The voltage is 1.65V. Is that an issue with many motherboards?

GPU:

Geforce GTX 680x http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130781

OR

Radeon 7970 GHZ http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121671

I'm leaning a bit more towards the GTX 680, mostly because of the benchmarks at PassMark. Is that a good benchmarking site to use? I've been using it for most of my decisions. However, it does not have the Radeon 7970 GHZ, which performed better than the GTX 680x here: http://www.techspot.com/review/603-best-graphics-cards/page12.html

Other than that the GHZ and GTX 680 are about the same price.

Mobo:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157295

www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128549

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128552

These are three mobos that AlPh4kil1 suggested. I would like some help understanding the differences between them. Especially the onboard LAN that each has. What do the chipsets of the sniper entail? I am looking at this site http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1933/1/ to try and figure out what the sniper offers over the other ones, but could use some help.

Internal Drive:

SDD

Either

SAMSUNG 840 Pro Series 256GB SSD http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147193&name=Internal-SSD

OR

Intel 520 Series 240GB SSD Cherryville http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820167088

HDD

Seagate Barracuda http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148840&Tpk=ST1000DM003

Still deciding between Intel and Samsung. Anyone else with an opinion?

OS:

Windows 7.

PCU, Case, Optical Drive, Keyboard, Monitor:

Optical Drive - What is a good optical drive that can play blueray/dvd/cd? Is there a cheap option that can do reads and writes? I'm not planning on doing that much cd/dvd/blueray writing, but if it is a negligible increase in price to be able to it would be nice to have the option.

Case - Feel free to give suggestions. I would prefer a cheap but reliable option with decent airflow. If I decide to go with a watercooling kit, does it matter what the airflow is like?

PCU - Corsair HX 750 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139010

Keyboard - $10.00 Keyboard

Monitor - What are some good options for budget monitors that are still good for gaming? Could someone give me an example of both a budget monitor and some high end options? I mostly want multiple monitors so I can play a game on one monitor and then do something else on the other. Is this possible/what do I need to do this? Do the monitors have to be the same if I want to do this? How about if I decide I want to use both for one game?


Cooling System:

Corsair H100i http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835181032

And then some fans. I assume fans won't be that hard to figure out.

Final Thoughts:

I think that is about it. If I have overlooked anything, please let me know. I appreciate any advice that anyone has to give.
Edited by kazooki117 - 12/2/12 at 1:47am
post #2 of 48
It doesn't sound like you have any reason to be going with the 3930K, so I would just stick with the 3770K.

Do you really want a 690? What kind of monitor configuration are you using? A single GTX 670 will power 1080p just fine, and is good even at 1440 or 1600. Don't buy a GPU now with the intent of keeping it for years - it's a bad investment. Get the video card you need now, and then plan to upgrade again in a year or two - the price ends up the same, but you get better performance over the whole period.

Don't get a Velociraptor, they are a compete waste of money now. If you have a SSD for primary use, then just get a WD Blue. I'd go ahead and get a 256GB SSD if you have the budget for it, better not to have to worry about managing space.

As for PSU, you can get by with a quality 750W, something like the Seasonic X750, Corsair HX750, or Rosewill Capstone 750-M would be fine.

I don't think I'd go with that Z77 motherboard either - I'd stick with something from Gigabyte, Asus, or ASRock. There's no reason to spend more than $150 on a motherboard unless you really need some kind of connectivity that only an expensive board offers (like Thunderbolt). A $150 board is going to perform and overclock nearly identically to the $200+ boards.
Edited by Forceman - 12/1/12 at 8:00pm
post #3 of 48
Overclocking is very easy. Sure it decreases the lifespan of a CPU but not by much. An overclocked CPU will run minimum 3 years. Unless you overload it with voltage and overclock it to 6ghz for daily use (which 95% of us don't)

Go with the 3770k. Most of us aren't even utilising the full use of a quad core so a hexa core would be useless. Also, the average upgrade cycle of a gamer is 3 years. Most high end parts now will be obsolete in a year or so. The only reason you'll need a socket 2011 is to use it's hyper threading but as you're primarily gaming you won't need it.
Also we've had quad cores for a while and they're still very good. Stick with the 3770k.

If you're going with Socket 1155 and the 3770k then I think you're better off with 4x4GB. Unless, you plan to use 32GB of RAM in the future (which most of us don't)

The Hydro Copper is designed for water cooling. If you don't have water cooling it will overheat. Go with the normal fan version OP.
Also you're better off getting a 7950. Like forceman said, getting a gpu and expecting it to last 3 years isn't good. Look at the 8800 Ultra. That's 3 years old.

For the motherboard they both will work but as I am primarily focusing on LGA 1155 either of these boards will do.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128549
If you want something more feature packed
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128552

But, if you want to save money get this. It's got a load of features for a low price.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157295

For SSD go with the 840 Pro and HDD go with the Seagate. The Velociraptor's aren't very good.

OS I'd go with Windows 7. It's easier to use. Windows 8 boots up faster but I never really liked it.

PSU - Get this OP http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139010

And for cooling get the h100i. It's a great cooler and very simple to install.
Edited by AlPh4Kil1 - 12/1/12 at 8:15pm
post #4 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by kazooki117 View Post

Hello. I am building my first computer and I would like some advice on the components that I have selected. I will primarily be using the computer for video gaming, but I will sometimes be running research experiments in the background. Essentially, I want to be able to play a game while I am waiting for the experiment to finish running.

I am not very familiar with overclocking. How hard is it usually on the system components? I was not planning on doing so because I am wary of reducing the lifetime of my system components.

CPU:

Either

Intel Core i7-3770K: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116501

OR

Intel Core i7-3930K: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116492&Tpk=i7-3930K

I want to be able to keep the CPU for a long time without having to upgrade. Right now almost nothing can use hex core, but how far into the future will that remain the case? If hex core will be useful 3 years down the line over quad core, then I would rather go with hex core.
If you aren't interested in overclocking then the "K" series CPU's are an extra you won't use
Quote:
Memory:

2x CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233276&Tpk=CMZ8GX3M2X2133C9R

Would it be better to get 2 8GB sticks versus 4 4GB sticks? What is the difference between a 4GB stick and an 8GB stick? I really am not sure what RAM to get beyond DDR3. I looked at the benchmarks on PassMark and these ones performed well and were cheap enough.
The ram that the mobo needs is dual channel so you want to add them in pairs. Difference in 4 vs 8GB is the amount your system has to work with. biggrin.gif Do you need the 8GB? If not then you can save a little money and just get the 4GB set. On the older x58 platform the more you added the more likely it was going to be unstable or not recognize all of the ram installed as useable because of the added stress to the IMC in the CPU.
Quote:
GPU:

Geforce GTX 690x http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130781

What is the difference between that version and this version: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130803

Is it just the water cooling? Will that make a big difference?
To me the only difference is the factory installed water blocks. EVGA makes awesome cards and they usually have decent warranties with great customer service. You can't use the cards with the water blocks without using a DIY water cooling kit/ setup.
Quote:
Mobo:

For the 3930K: Gigabyte http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128562

For the 3770K: EVGA Z77 FTW http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813188120

As far as I can tell both of the motherboards should work, but if not, please let me know.
As far as I know the mobo selections look good but I personally haven't used them. Maybe someone else that happens by can answer this.
Quote:
If it was me I would go with the Intel based SSD's. I have heard they are rock solid. The 520 is faster and has a better warranty.
Quote:
HDD

Either

Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200 RPM http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148840&Tpk=ST1000DM003

OR

Western Digital VelociRaptor 1TB 10000 RPM http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822236243&Tpk=WD1000DHTZ

I'm not that sure which of these choices is best. I'm planning on having my OS and other programs on the SDD and everything else on the HDD. I have a few questions about the choices.
First of all, Will the RPM difference between the barracuda and velociraptor be that noticeable? On the passmark benchmarks the velociraptor is clearly superior.
Second of all, how much space does Windows 7 or 8 take up? Do I necessarily need to go as big as 256GB? Right now everything fits on 250 GB of space on my laptop, but that is without any of the games I would like to have (as my computer right now can't even really run them).
I would not get the velociraptor because the 10K spindle speed means extra heat and wear n tear on the drives parts. The best bang for your buck is a WD black HDD if you are looking for speed and reliability. It had a decent warranty too. Speed only then I would get the velociraptor and get a backup solution so you're ready when it breaks. The backup solution should be in place anyway but IMO you will have a slightly bigger need it for it with the velociraptor. Win 7 is around 30GB after SP1/ all security updates are loaded up. I would get a 120GB or just slightly bigger if you are going to shift all of your personal files/ folders to the HDD's (entire user folder).
Quote:
OS:

Either Windows 8 or Windows 7. I haven't quite decided. There are a lot of complaints about Windows 8, but it is extremely cheap compared to Windows 7. If I ever want to have more than 16GB of RAM, I would have to go with Windows 7 professional. I don't really want to have to upgrade my computer that much for a good 3-5 years, if possible.
I woulld steer the hell away from and I mean not even look at Win8 for a desktop machine at all !!!! It is designed for a touch screen monitor and who wants to reach across the desk to swipe stuff around anyway? Most people don't have a touch monitor on their desktops and the mouse usage on it is just pitiful from what I have heard. Win7 pro 64 bit all the way.
Quote:
PCU, Case, Optical Drive, Keyboard, Monitor:

These I have not picked out quite yet.

Optical Drive - What is a good optical drive that can play blueray/dvd/cd? Is there a cheap option that can do reads and writes? I'm not planning on doing that much cd/dvd/blueray writing, but if it is a negligible increase in price to be able to it would be nice to have the option.

Case - Feel free to give suggestions. I would prefer a cheap but reliable option with decent airflow. If I decide to go with a watercooling kit, does it matter what the airflow is like?

PCU - Again, I just need one that is reliable while also being cheap. So, the cheapest option that is still reliable enough and has enough wattage for the system. You don't need to necessarily calculate the wattage of my system for me, I can do that once everything is set in stone, but general advice as to which brand/series I guess is what I'm looking for. Unless if you WANT to calculate out my wattage needs. I certainly wouldn't mind.

Keyboard - I was planning of going with a $10.00 keyboard and upgrading later if I really needed to.

Monitor - No idea what I'm going to do here. I'll probably start with a budget option and upgrade to a set of better ones later.


OPTICAL: Most of them from LiteOn or LG are decent. BD burners are going to be more expensive that just a BD-ROM. Search around on a site called MYCE.com to find out the best ones to use. Those guys over there are optical drive junkies. The site used to be called CDfreaks.com but they decided to change it awhile back.

CASE: The case is a personal preference mostly due to the looks of it. If you are going to go water cooling then you want a case with ample room inside for the extra gear involved with that. Look around in the water cooling section here and in other sites to see what people are using.

PSU: Anything from Seasonic or Corsair's AX or HX line. You get what you pay for in life and the PSU is no exception. A cheap PSU can turn some of your gear in to useless crap if it decides to send a voltage spike into the system on its way out. It is the one component that I would definitely not cut corners on.

KBD: If you are going to game you could look into getting a decent mechanical key-switch type like a Ducky. There is a huge tutorial on this subject on OCN so I suggest you read up on that so you are familiar. You can get a cheap MS keyboard/ mouse combo just to get you going until you can make an informed decision on it.

MONITOR: You could do that. There are a few decent ones out there. ASUS makes really good ones. You might want to consider a multi-monitor setup so you can take advantage of the Nvidia Surround tech too. Decent gaming monitors are going to be a fairly good bit of the budget if you go multi.

Quote:
Cooling System:

I have always liked the thought of water cooling. Would I just need to buy one kit, like the Corsair H100i, or is does that just cover the CPU? Would the H100i work with my set up? The GTX 690x has it's own cooling, I think. Should I bother with water cooling, or just go with fans? It would be cool to keep my system as quiet as possible, but I guess it isn't necessary (I hear the velociraptor can be noisy).
To get started with WC you could get the "all in one" types like the H100i. They will only work on the CPU though. The cards are normally air cooled but as you linked to up above there are factory water blocked versions. I have never used any DIY water cooling stuff so someone else will have to take over that subject but it's only worth it if you plan on overclocking (unless you want the look of the water cooling gear being seen through the window).
Quote:
Final Thoughts:

I think that is about it. If I have overlooked anything, please let me know. I appreciate any advice that anyone has to give. Sorry if this it too long or in the wrong spot.
NP on the long post. It's better to take your time selecting each piece of the system build than to rush it together and then have second thoughts later on or realize that you made a mistake in selecting parts. To help keep your build organized during the part selection phase you can use a site called http://pcpartpicker.com/ . Good Luck with it! thumb.gif
Edited by DOS_equis - 12/1/12 at 8:32pm
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post #5 of 48
Thread Starter 
The OP has been updated in response to the first two replies. Thank you for your advice!
post #6 of 48
Don't bother with 2133 RAM. There is no appreciable performance difference with anything faster than DDR3-1600, so just get 8GB of DDR3-1600. I'd also get either the low profile version of the Vengeance, or a different brand - those tall heatspreaders do nothing and they can get in the way of the cooler (depending on what you get).
post #7 of 48
You probably don't want to do a full "custom" watercooling loop on your first build. For reference, "custom watercooling" is where you:
Run hoses which feed "waterblocks" mounted to each of your heat-generating components. The water will pass over these components and carry away their heat more efficiently than air. This water is then fed through a radiator which has enormous surface area for optimal transfer of heat from water to air outside of your case. This process often requires disassembling components that come air-cooled such as graphics cards, careful planning of what blocks, pumps and other accessories you need, and can get very expensive very quickly. The reward is enormous overclocking headroom, but the cost is price and the risk of a leak if you aren't careful.

Kits such as the Corsair H100 series and any other all-in-one (AIO) cooler come preassembled, and require basically no more work than your standard air cooler, however, generally speaking, you can only cool your CPU with one of these systems. For a first time builder, an AIO cooler is totally OK and safe, but I strongly advise AGAINST going for a fully custom loop. I have assembled and disassembled a whole lot of computers and laptops, but my first custom watercooled build which I am currently undertaking is a different beast altogether.

All that aside, I would like to offer input on the differences between AMD and Nvidia. For starters, many of the reviews that you have read comparing AMD's 7000 series and Nvidias 600 series are WRONG. This is not a fault of the reviewers, but rather a result of the fact that these GPU's have all been out for quite some time. AMD and Nvidia have both updated the drivers and refreshed their manufacturing processes for their cards, and the result is that the products on the market today are quite different than the ones that were available to reviewers when they reviewed the products at their launch. That is one thing to bear in mind when relating what you read here to what you read in your own research (which I hope you are doing, because in the end, you should make your own educated decision thumb.gif )

As of the reviews, Nvidia's and AMD's flagship cards were neck-and-neck on average, though often a particular game or benchmark will favor AMD or Nvidia. Since launch however, AMD and Nvidia have both had several EXCELLENT driver updates, however the performance of AMD cards has been boosted even more than it's competition, and on average, AMD wins squarely over Nvidia, and on average, you pay less per unit of performance for an AMD cards. You'll have to decide on the amount you're willing to spend on a GPU yourself, but I am firmly of the belief that you generally get more for your money with AMD this time around.

There are two things I would like to append to that paragraph: 1) Your mileage may vary! Look at specific (recent) benchmarks. I haven't looked carefully enough to memorize which architecture is better at which game, but if you play drastically more of one game than another, you may want to see if it plays better on AMD or Nvidia. The "average" performance I cited above may not represent you if you only play, say, an Nvidia optimized game
2) Driver stability: Don't let anybody convince you that "x companies drivers are garbage" or anything like that. There are occasional minor issues with basically every graphics driver ever released, and while AMD has a history of poor driver support, their record, especially with the 7000 series has been very good. The same goes for Nvidia who also have had some notorious driver releases in the past, but my point is that they all work fine as long as you don't break the physical card and don't get extraordinarily unlucky.

Monitor: I am a victim of the "Korean monitor" phenomenon, so perhaps my opinion on this matter is flawed, but look into 2560x1440 resolution monitors sold on ebay by Korean stores. Here is a quick rundown of what is magical about these monitors:
I am sure you have heard of the Apple "Cinema display" or the super expensive 27" Dell U2711 monitors. They are marvels to work and game on due to their immense size and pixel density, but due to their high-end nature, their prices range from $700 to $1100. The panels for these monitors are manufactured by LG, but as you can imagine, the production of a 4+ million pixel panel is a fraught affair so after production, panels are graded(on a letter grade scale, A, A- and so on) based on the probability that they have an imperfection. and often if a panel is suspected to have a flaw, it is downgraded, and then sold at a discounted price. These A- panels are what you find in Korean monitors such as the Yamakasi Catleap, Crossover 27q and Acheiva Shimian, and generally speaking, they cost between $300 and $400. Although it may sound like you are getting an inferior product, the reality is that you are getting a very, very high end monitor which may have a problem as slight as a color temperature error of a few degrees. In the worst case scenario, you have one or two dead pixels which are almost invisible on such a dense display, and in many, many cases there are no detectable flaws whatsoever! If you wish, you can pay about $15 - $30 extra for a "pixel perfect" monitor for extra assurance against dead pixels. My roommate has a Crossover 27q, and it is absolutely gorgeous, with no flaws that we can detect, and a sturdy metal construction.
The downsides are the following:
-Potential minor blemish in panel (though probably unnoticeable anyways)
-Must be purchased through ebay (though many, many members have done so and been satisfied with the buying experience and support)
-Warranty exists, but must be shipped back to korea for service, which is fairly expensive

Upsides:
-$1000 monitor for $350 on average
-Massively upgrades the way you primarily interface with your computer
-Monitors rarely break so who needs to warranty them anyways?
-The monitors with no OSD (on-screen-display) that only have Dual Link DVI inputs are the cheapest of the bunch, but also have very good refresh rates due to the fact that nearly no image processing happens inside of the monitor

Also, if you live near a microcenter, they have a $400 WQHD display similar to the Korean ones which has a US warranty and can be returned to microcenter. Overlord Computers also has some sort of budget WQHD monitor in the works.

I guess I'll leave the plug for these fancy monitors at that more or less, but think about how important a monitor is in your interactions with your computer--It's probably worth a bit of extra dough to get the most out of that interaction. There are several huge threads in the "monitors" section of OCN dedicated to discussing these monitors, so I would suggest you take a peek there to get a glimpse of their massive, awesome beauty. I suggest against a multi-monitor setup in general because it doesn't work with some games and you have ugly bezels in your field of view which really ruins the effect for me.

Whew I'm sure I have more to say about other stuff, but that should give you some places to start looking. Here is a link to a recent GPU review roundup for comparison (though their prices for many of the GPU's are just wrong so take their price/performance winners with a grain of salt)

http://www.techspot.com/review/603-best-graphics-cards/page12.html
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post #8 of 48
OP go with a 7970. It'll be a good purchase. That $1000 you spend on the 690 will be obsolete the next year or so and you plan to have this last a good 3 years? You can always just add another 7970 for crossfire.

Just wondering OP when will you be purchasing this? We could be around the corner of the 700/8000 series GPU's
post #9 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by DOS_equis View Post

If it was me I would go with the Intel based SSD's. I have heard they are rock solid. The 520 is faster and has a better warranty.

The samsung 840 pro is the fastest drive on the market. That intel drive still uses the old sandforce controller which means it gets most of it's speed from data compression. If you look at a ATTO disk bench of the sandforce drives, you will notice that the smaller data transfers are pretty slow. The non-sandforce drives can move small and large files without slowing down as much which means that drives like the 840 pro have a massive advantage.
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AMD 390x 128 GB ECC DDR4  1TB PCI-e SSD Custom WC Loop 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Linux 16:10 Samsung PLS 4K monitor Corsair RGB keyboard with custom cherry MX supe... EVGA 1600 watt titanium  
CaseMouseAudio
Caselabs Magnum STH10 DIY my own mouse Snell J 3 
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Yin&Yang
(19 items)
 
Soon
(15 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 4820K Gigabyte X79 UP4 GTX 660 (waiting for new AMD cards) Samsung green  
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Adata SP900  Seagate 2TB hard drive (the power of 1 edition)  Custom WC Loop Linux (various versions) 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung SyncMaster T240HD Coolermaster XT Green switches XFX 1000w Corsair 800D 
MouseMouse PadAudioAudio
Razer Naga Epic 2014 edition Razer Vespula Stax Lambda Nova Classic Custom DIY DAC 
AudioAudioOther
300b PP monoblocks Snell J3 NZXT Hue 
CPUCPUMotherboardGraphics
8 core xeon E6 @ 3.5ghz 8 core xeon E6 @ 3.5ghz EVGA X99 SR?  AMD 390x 
GraphicsRAMHard DriveCooling
AMD 390x 128 GB ECC DDR4  1TB PCI-e SSD Custom WC Loop 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Linux 16:10 Samsung PLS 4K monitor Corsair RGB keyboard with custom cherry MX supe... EVGA 1600 watt titanium  
CaseMouseAudio
Caselabs Magnum STH10 DIY my own mouse Snell J 3 
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post #10 of 48
Thread Starter 
Ok, I've updated the OP again. Thanks everyone for the replies!
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlPh4Kil1 View Post

OP go with a 7970. It'll be a good purchase. That $1000 you spend on the 690 will be obsolete the next year or so and you plan to have this last a good 3 years? You can always just add another 7970 for crossfire.
Just wondering OP when will you be purchasing this? We could be around the corner of the 700/8000 series GPU's

Yeah I don't think I'm going to go with the 690.

Probably some time after the new year, Jan-Feb time frame.


Still trying to decide between graphics cards and SSD. Leaning towards the Samsung on the SDD.

Also still trying to figure out the monitor situation. I added some questions in the OP, but essentially I'm thinking of one monitor for games, and the second for doing other things while the game is going.

I think I picked out a reasonable RAM, but not sure.

I'm thinking I like the Sniper motherboard, but I am also not sure on that.
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