New Guy Needs Help

Hello all, 

I'm super new to the PC building world. I'm the resident IT guy at work (because none of the girls know what to do) but I'm pretty limited when it comes to building a desktop. I've tried to do some reading online but it's quite overwhelming when all the CPU's, GPU's and motherboards have 50 characters in front or behind the name of the company. However, in the face of all that, I'm really excited about my first ever build! I need some help though.

I want this to be a mid-range gaming PC, geared to get away from my PS3 for games like BF4, Skyrim, ect.

Here's what I've got so far:

Power Supply: 650W  Modular Corsair (whatever happens to pop up as a good deal)

CPU: Intel i7 3770K

GPU & Motherboard: This is my problem area. I know about the 1155 slot for the processor, I know the board has to have that. What I don't know is where to begin after that. I need something with a simple BiOS for a beginner, and something compatible with the GPU as well. I'm not even sure if I need to worry about compatibility. (HELP!)

Tower: Already have one

RAM: RIPJAW 8GB (2x4) (Seems to be all the rage)

Storage: an SSD for my OS and a 2 TB seagate from my old setup.

I think that covers it besides an aftermarket cooling system or something. 


Any and all recommendations and mentorship would be greatly appreciated. I want my first build to be as painless as possible, but rewarding as well. 

 Thank you.

Let us know your budget and people will post a few different options for it just gaming, as that CPU may not be the best option for you. 

Budget is around $1000 for CPU/Board/GPU. I have all the other parts if I need them. Just wanted the feeling of doing an entire build from scratch. It's just gaming and general internet foolery. Not going to be recording/rendering or anything like that. Thanks for the help.

Hi Adamateyou, what case do you have and what size motherboard can it fit?

I think the 3770 is an Ivy Bridge, so I bet any motherboard with the Intel Z77 chipset is likely to be good and will allow overclocking (since that's what you apparently want to do).  You want good voltage regulation on a motherboard, after that it's a matter of features.  Asus and Gigabyte are two safe brands, especially if you stick with Z or X chip sets.  All BIOSes include puzzle solving and a kind of adventure element, you will love it.

I would recommend reading up on power supplies a bit, is great, also, Corsair has some good technical resources on their web site.  Corsair's AX600 or 650 might be a good choice.  Seasonic is another good brand, one of the few that actually make their own products.

All graphics cards are going to be compatible.  They use PCI-e 16x slots and everything works fine with any operating system as long as it's Windows.  You did want to run WIndows, didn't you?

Once you decide on a motherboard and which GPU, the rest will be easy.


can you tell use the exact case you have, some cases look "cool" but have pretty shitty cooling and airflow

also if you can't tell use the model then tell use if it has any top vents, side vents, bottom vents, wether or not the PSU is top or bottom mounted, the PSU vent, front vents and how many and where the fans are located, also how many PCI brackets on the back, 1,2,4,7 or 10+

Hey thanks for the reply. All I can get from the case is that it's an "ASUS CG Series." It has rear vents and side vents. As I've been reading, I'll probably need a better case. I didn't realize just how important it is to keep the case cool, especially with overclocking. PSU is top mounted, vent to the back. Case recommendation?

Reservation Station,

Thank you for the reply. I'm not sure of the exact case I have. I may need a new one anyway. This one is pretty beat up. It's very tall and wide though. An ASUS case. Looking at the sizes of motherboards I believe it could fit the largest. You were right about wanting to overclock (although I have no idea how to) but I can't wait to learn. I've always considered myself well versed in computers, but I've just scraped the surface. I'm going to take a look at those resources you've provided. Everything must be carefully planned huh?

so what is your budget including Case, GPU, MoBo, SSD, and cooling solution, PSU is fine

Somewhere around $1000 but depending on my bonus this year $1500 wont be out of reach.

Hey Adamateyou, here is a link to a build for you:

 This totals out to < $800 without the graphics, given the budget of $1000, I go with a Radeon 7870 or GTX 760 for the graphics card for an extra $200-$300. If you want better graphics performance, go with a cheaper motherboard or the i5 3570k cpu.

Hope this helps!

Hey Oliver,

Thanks for the build. Had a couple of questions. Does the board I choose limit the capabilities of the CPU/GPU?

Also, I see you added 4 sticks of RAM. Is there an advantage to 4 instead of 2?

Thanks :D

Oops sorry, I didn't mean to add a kit of 4 sticks of ram. Go with the dual channel(2x4GB). Four sticks is generally not necessary unless you are rendering on a high end X79 platform or upgrading your system in the future from 8GB to 16GB. 

As for the board limiting cpu/gpu performance, I don't believe a motherboard can directly affect performance of either unless you have a PCI 3 graphics card on a board with PCI 2. You may suffer a slight decrease in bandwidth in this respect but it won't be that bad. My system was built this way since I didn't believe the difference between PCI2 and PCI3 are that important yet.

Okay I recommend this for the MoBo, its has 8+2 power phase with is pretty good for overclocking, its got decent reviews and full of features

This is the best air cooler you can buy, if you do liquid cooler don't buy an all in one, go custom loop, and its a lot easier than you think, if you're interested in doing liquid, let me or brennenriddle know

by the time you get the money the 290 and 290x will be out, get that instead, but look for a MSI or saphire one that has a heat sink like this

this SSD is pretty good

here are some cases that have good cooling and will support the heatsink hieght

also a non windowed version of the 300R

wait I thought you already had the ram, PSU, and CPU?

if you don't then go ahead and get haswell as its Literally 10 bucks more

Moderate planning is good I would say, but mostly there are choices to be made.  Do you prefer a large case, small case?  That will affect which motherboards you can use.  My sense is that BF4 and Skyrim have moderate graphics needs, so the suggestion of HD 7870 or the equivalent Nvidia were both good.

With a good power supply you can run any consumer graphics card you want.  The motherboard limits which CPU (by socket compatibility, and by the amount of power it can deliver) but it doesn't limit the GPU.

Off the top of my head, the 7870, that's the card I have, can require 120 Watts sustained.  Haswell CPUs top out at around 85 Watt TDP (some are far less).  That's say 250 Watt altogether and I use a 500 Watt supply that can deliver 38 Amps at 12 Volts.  My power supply is at the bottom of the case and so draws in cold air regardless how hot the case gets.  That's important because excessive heat "de-rates" the PSU.

Regarding motherboards you might enjoy learning a little about voltage regulators (VRM) and power stages.  The technology they use is amazing and they are always putting new cool stuff in the better boards.

Here is a matrix of Gigabyte's Ivy Bridge boards, there's a decoder at the bottom of the page.


I prefer a large case. At least, I feel it is the best option for air flow, allows for any size board, and I have plenty of room. I looked at the website  you posted on Gigabyte boards and that was nice to see what some of the terminology means. I'm still trying to get all these acronyms down.

So now that I know motherboards limit what type of chip set that can be used and how much power can be directed to them, I have a question. I'm sure this might relate to overclocking the CPU, but what kinda of "power rating" is sufficient in a board? Or what is to much. I guess I'm just trying not to get a board that is too much (tech) for what I am wanting it for.

I looked up TDP or Thermal Design Power. If I'm understanding that correctly it's the amount of energy that needs to be dissipated depending on the amount of power going to the CPU. Is that all about cooling?

I'm definitely going to do some more reading into motherboards, it's pretty cool stuff like you said.

Thanks again for all the help you've been giving me.


Oh! Okay. I was just wondering if there was some trick to having more sticks to equal 8GB. Guess not, lol. I've been learning a little about boards and getting some tips from a few people. I love forums!

I do have those components, but I kinda want to start from scratch if I can afford it. Just depends on what happens.

Haswell is RAM I assume?

Thanks for the recommendation!

Quick question: Will the 290 or 290x work with that ASrock board? What does the x mean?

Also that 300R windowed case looks sick!

I had one more question I forgot. I'm playing on 1 screen at 1920x1080 (pretty sure). Will a 290x be overkill? I was reading and it's some crazy resolution I've never heard of.