New PC build 2012 – part 1


After less than two years of service my MSI 770-C45 motherboard decided to give up the ghost and die on me. I finally fixed it up with a new motherboard bundle I picked up on the cheap at Maplin but now that I’ve ended up with two motherboards and two CPUs, it’s also given me a chance to look into upgrading my new PC build 2012.

Original PC build (set up on 24 Dec 2010):

Case: Coolermaster Elite 334
PSU: 650W Antec TruePower modular
HDD: 500GB Samsung F3 Spinpoint
GPU: XFX ATI radeon HD 4890 1GB
Mobo: MSI 770-C45
Memory: Corsair 4GB DDR3 1333Mhz Module CL9 (9-9-9-24) 1.5v
Processor: AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE 3.2Ghz

So far, here are the parts I’ve picked up for my PC build.

Heart: Intel Core i5-3570K (aka The Beast)

Intel Core i5-3570K

I haven’t ever named my PC components before but I may make an exception in this instance after managing to pick up The Beast at about £40 off the RRP. A big win in my book for a powerful Intel processor, which generally holds its value for years.

My original build had a Phenom II x4 955 BE, which, while it performed well enough was getting a bit long in the tooth and frankly, the opportunity to upgrade was too hard to resist. The economics of the situation meant that I was going to fund the new build with the proceeds from the sales of my older build – which I estimated at about £100 or so extra to utilise.

I figured I could pair The Beast up with a cheapish mobo and keep the same components. So I estimated a return of £250 or so from selling my components, which would certainly help to fund a new CPU and motherboard if I kept things tight.

Body: Primary choice – AsRock Z77 Extreme4AsRock Extreme4 motherboard

After my previous motherboard died, I’ve grown very interested in having features on the motherboard that will aid the troubleshooting process. I was at a loss to determine why my PC failed to POST and originally thought my problem was with the power supply. That kinda sucked considering it was a warranty replacement that I had used for less than two weeks. Read about my temporary PC-less existence from when I sent my PSU for a warranty replacement until I received the replacement.

I had a Maplins really close to where I stayed so I picked up a PSU from there to test out (thanks to the reassurance of their 28 day return policy). Long story short, I found the problem wasn’t with the PSU and that I needed to get a new motherboard. So I purchased a bundle that was on sale and soon, my PC was up and running again, albeit quite a lot slower than before.

Body: Secondary choice – Gigabyte GA-Z77-D3H

Gigabyte Z77 motherboardThis motherboard received strong reviews as the best motherboard in the £80 range. It’s got the features I wanted like USB 3 and that LucidLogix Virtu MVP technology (though I haven’t seen conclusive evidence that it works…).

The main problem with this board is that it lacks a debug LED to help me diagnose problems. It also lacks on-board power and reset buttons – I found out the hard way how much more convenient it would be if they were available on the board.

This ends Part 1 of my New PC Build 2012. Part 2 will come after I pick out the other parts like the RAM, casing, sound card, and so on.

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