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Review $1200 build before I purchase

I'm building a new rig mostly used for gaming @ 2560x1440.
It doesn't need to run Crysis 3 at ultra settings, but should comfortably run near max settings for the latest FPS games.
I do plan to overclock, and eventually buy a second GPU once prices fall (in ~9 months).

Planning to buy these parts, and would like some feedback.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($209.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper N520 43.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($35.98 @ Outlet PC)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($174.98 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($66.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 840 Series 250GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($164.99 @ Adorama)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($269.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Cooler Master HAF 932 Blue ATX Full Tower Case ($159.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Cooler Master Silent Pro Gold 800W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.94 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $1353.80
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-05-16 19:42 EDT-0400)

I also have concerns about whether the pieces fit physically together.
Do I need low profile RAM to accommodate the CPU fan?
Will the case's side fan interfere with the CPU cooler?

I started with a 1200 budget, but not surprisingly those $$ keep adding up.

I'm still investigating if this build can be hackintosh compatible (that's why I chose the gigabyte MB), but its not a must feature.
17 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about review 1200 build purchase
  1. This would be my counter-proposal:

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($209.99 @ Amazon)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($24.99 @ Newegg)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($134.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($69.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($129.99 @ Adorama)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($67.19 @ Outlet PC)
    Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB Video Card ($433.98 @ SuperBiiz)
    Case: NZXT Phantom 410 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($69.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: SeaSonic S12II 620W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($65.98 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.94 @ Outlet PC)
    Total: $1312.01
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-05-16 19:58 EDT-0400)

    While it comes in over $1,200, it is still cheaper than your present setup, and more powerful to boot.

    Edit: I have not looked into hackintosh, so I am unsure if this build is compatible. There are aproximately equal Gigabyte boards, however, if that is a requirement.
  2. Ok, I took your advice for the motherboard, and optimized the memory and case, and got the price down to $1212.

    I still want the 800W power supply and better CPU heat sink, in order to support a second radeon 7950 in the future.


    PCPartPicker part list

    CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($209.99 @ Amazon)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper N520 43.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($35.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Thermal Compound: Arctic Silver 5 High-Density Polysynthetic Silver 3.5g Thermal Paste ($5.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($134.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Memory: Crucial Ballistix Tactical 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($55.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Samsung 840 Series 250GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($164.99 @ Adorama)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($269.99 @ NCIX US)
    Case: Rosewill BlackHawk ATX Mid Tower Case ($69.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: Cooler Master Silent Pro Gold 800W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($109.99 @ Newegg)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.94 @ Outlet PC)
    Total: $1212.80
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-05-17 02:02 EDT-0400)
  3. KrisAlt said:
    Ok, I took your advice for the motherboard, and optimized the memory and case, and got the price down to $1212.

    I still want the 800W power supply and better CPU heat sink, in order to support a second radeon 7950 in the future.


    PCPartPicker part list

    CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($209.99 @ Amazon)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper N520 43.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($35.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Thermal Compound: Arctic Silver 5 High-Density Polysynthetic Silver 3.5g Thermal Paste ($5.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($134.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Memory: Crucial Ballistix Tactical 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($55.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Samsung 840 Series 250GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($164.99 @ Adorama)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($269.99 @ NCIX US)
    Case: Rosewill BlackHawk ATX Mid Tower Case ($69.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: Cooler Master Silent Pro Gold 800W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($109.99 @ Newegg)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.94 @ Outlet PC)
    Total: $1212.80
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-05-17 02:02 EDT-0400)


    Only one thing here that needs changing: the PSU. If you want to plan for the future, I'm all for it. However, Cooler Master is definitely not your friend when it comes to PSUs. You want to buy SeaSonic, Corsair, or Antec.

    On the "not needed, but would be more optimal" side of things, XFX has somewhat subpar coolers. In your shoes, I would try to find an ASUS or Sapphire 7950 around that price.

    Edit: Just to let you know, this review is why I recommended the 410: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/solo-ii-400r-buc-ravager-seiran,3274-10.html The BlackHawk is entirely valid, however.

    Edit 2: An alternate 7950 you might consider: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814202026&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-na-_-na-_-na&cm_sp=&AID=10446076&PID=3938566&SID=
  4. What is your location for local deal consideration.
  5. PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($169.99 @ Microcenter)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($27.99 @ Newegg)
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($124.99 @ Newegg)
    Memory: Crucial Ballistix Tactical 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($99.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($124.99 @ Microcenter)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($67.19 @ Outlet PC)
    Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($309.99 @ NCIX US)
    Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower Case ($99.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk III 750W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($129.99 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Total: $1218.09
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-05-17 10:19 EDT-0400)

    16gb ram not needed, but well, its cheap...
    W8 for haswell
  6. Are you near Microcenter?
  7. giltyler said:
    Are you near Microcenter?


    Sadly no. Closest one is a few hundred miles away.
  8. Made a few more changes based on feedback.

    Upgraded to corsair power supply.
    Switched to nzxt case (thanks for the link Jack), I was concerned by the reviews over at newegg about build quality and the power button getting stuck, but I can deal with that for the cooling & temp. advantages.
    Switched to smaller but faster 128 GB 840 pro SSD.

    I'm still unsure about the video card.
    I found a review of 7950s on this site, and looking through my options:

    Asus: great performance, but expensive and bulky (takes up 3 pci slots)
    MSI: good performance, but has overheating and noise concerns
    Sapphire: cheapest one ($289), and good reviews
    Sapphire Vapor: good performance, but voltage is locked
    HIS 1: seems to have the best and quietest cooling
    HIS 2: seems to have the best and quietest cooling

    I chose the sapphire for now.

    PCPartPicker part list

    CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($209.99 @ Amazon)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper N520 43.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($35.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($124.99 @ Microcenter)
    Memory: Crucial Ballistix Tactical 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($55.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($129.99 @ Adorama)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($289.99 @ Newegg)
    Case: NZXT Phantom 410 (White) ATX Mid Tower Case ($69.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: Corsair Professional Gold 850W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($129.99 @ Newegg)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.94 @ Outlet PC)
    Total: $1207.81
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-05-17 19:35 EDT-0400)
  9. KrisAlt said:
    Made a few more changes based on feedback.

    Upgraded to corsair power supply.
    Switched to nzxt case (thanks for the link Jack), I was concerned by the reviews over at newegg about build quality and the power button getting stuck, but I can deal with that for the cooling & temp. advantages.
    Switched to smaller but faster 128 GB 840 pro SSD.

    I'm still unsure about the video card.
    I found a review of 7950s on this site, and looking through my options:

    Asus: great performance, but expensive and bulky (takes up 3 pci slots)
    MSI: good performance, but has overheating and noise concerns
    Sapphire: cheapest one ($289), and good reviews
    Sapphire Vapor: good performance, but voltage is locked
    HIS 1: seems to have the best and quietest cooling
    HIS 2: seems to have the best and quietest cooling

    I chose the sapphire for now.

    PCPartPicker part list

    CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($209.99 @ Amazon)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper N520 43.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($35.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($124.99 @ Microcenter)
    Memory: Crucial Ballistix Tactical 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($55.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($129.99 @ Adorama)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($289.99 @ Newegg)
    Case: NZXT Phantom 410 (White) ATX Mid Tower Case ($69.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: Corsair Professional Gold 850W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($129.99 @ Newegg)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.94 @ Outlet PC)
    Total: $1207.81
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-05-17 19:35 EDT-0400)


    Looks like a sterling build. I'm glad that you liked the 410, it's a personal favourite of mine, and that sale is killer.

    The one thing I would caution you on is the imminent release of the Haswell processor line, which will be only slightly more expensive, while offering superior performance (according to current reports). You may wish to consider waiting for them.
  10. Marcopolo123 said:

    16gb ram not needed, but well, its cheap...
    W8 for haswell


    I was under the impression haswell would mainly improve power efficiency and integrated graphics.
    Maybe a price drop on existing cpus though.
    I'm not too concerned about incompatible motherboards, since I hope this system will last me 4-5 years, after which I will replace it.
  11. KrisAlt said:
    Marcopolo123 said:

    16gb ram not needed, but well, its cheap...
    W8 for haswell


    I was under the impression haswell would mainly improve power efficiency and integrated graphics.
    Maybe a price drop on existing cpus though.
    I'm not too concerned about incompatible motherboards, since I hope this system will last me 4-5 years, after which I will replace it.


    Haswell is, according to present information, about 10% better than Ivy Bridge, and the 4670k, the Haswell version of the 3570k, is only marginally more expensive. It may well merit waiting.
  12. I was planning to take Jack Rev's advice, and go with Haswell.

    But most reviews I've read indicate moderate improvement (5% ?) if at all for gaming.
    Combined with less overclocking headroom, more expensive and untested motherboards, I think it makes more sense to stick with ivy bridge.
    I think I should save the $60 (between CPU and MB) and invest that in the GPU.

    Is that a general consensus?

    So this is my new build:

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Thermal Compound: Arctic Silver 5 High-Density Polysynthetic Silver 3.5g Thermal Paste ($5.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($102.99 @ Newegg)
    Memory: Crucial Ballistix 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($74.99 @ Amazon)
    Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($124.99 @ NCIX US)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 770 2GB Video Card ($405.91 @ Newegg)
    Case: NZXT Phantom 410 (White) ATX Mid Tower Case ($99.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: Corsair Professional 750W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($90.50 @ Newegg)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Total: $1280.28
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-05 19:33 EDT-0400)


    I switched MB from Asrock extreme4 to extreme3, since it is $30 cheaper, but the only difference I see are 2 less SATA6, 2 less USB3, and no gold caps.

    Went with the Crucial Ballistix 1866 since there is a 30% off deal going on, and I wanted low profile RAM.

    The biggest change is going from the radeon 7950 to the gtx 770.

    I plan on ordering the parts this/next week.

    Does anyone see any issues with this build?

    Thanks.
  13. I already bought the NZXT 410 case and HX750 power supply while I was waiting for Hawell, since there was an expiring promotion.
  14. Best answer
    KrisAlt said:
    I was planning to take Jack Rev's advice, and go with Haswell.

    But most reviews I've read indicate moderate improvement (5% ?) if at all for gaming.
    Combined with less overclocking headroom, more expensive and untested motherboards, I think it makes more sense to stick with ivy bridge.
    I think I should save the $60 (between CPU and MB) and invest that in the GPU.

    Is that a general consensus?

    So this is my new build:

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Thermal Compound: Arctic Silver 5 High-Density Polysynthetic Silver 3.5g Thermal Paste ($5.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($102.99 @ Newegg)
    Memory: Crucial Ballistix 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($74.99 @ Amazon)
    Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($124.99 @ NCIX US)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 770 2GB Video Card ($405.91 @ Newegg)
    Case: NZXT Phantom 410 (White) ATX Mid Tower Case ($99.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: Corsair Professional 750W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($90.50 @ Newegg)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Total: $1280.28
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-05 19:33 EDT-0400)


    I switched MB from Asrock extreme4 to extreme3, since it is $30 cheaper, but the only difference I see are 2 less SATA6, 2 less USB3, and no gold caps.

    Went with the Crucial Ballistix 1866 since there is a 30% off deal going on, and I wanted low profile RAM.

    The biggest change is going from the radeon 7950 to the gtx 770.

    I plan on ordering the parts this/next week.

    Does anyone see any issues with this build?

    Thanks.




    Looks sterling to me. You're in good shape.

    Edit: For what it's worth, Haswell is slightly better than 5% (according to what I've read), but an overclocked 3570k is still an absolutely fine option.
  15. barhdean said:
    I fail to see the first point.


    I beg your pardon? Which first point?
  16. I placed my order.
    Now the waiting begins :)

    Jack, thanks for helping me out.
  17. KrisAlt said:
    I placed my order.
    Now the waiting begins :)

    Jack, thanks for helping me out.


    The waiting is the hardest part, in my experience.

    My pleasure, mate. Happy gaming!
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