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$1000-$1500 for a designer/light gaming system

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July 2, 2013 8:30:48 PM

Hi guys, I'm in need of a new system. I've been using an HP DV7T-6100 entertainment laptop for the past few years, and it's finally given out on me. I've decided to go for a desktop based on economics and my specific needs. Here are my needs:

Approximate Purchase Date: I'd like to have it up and running within the next few weeks.

Budget Range: $1000-$1500; I'd obviously prefer the lower end, but I do have about $200 worth of credit on Amazon that can go towards components and if an extra hundred here or there can give a significant boost in performance, I'm willing to listen.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: I'm an industrial designer by trade, so my most used programs are Photoshop, Illustrator, and Solidworks. After that, I use it for light gaming (Minecraft/Civilization), movies, and internet.

Monitor: Not for now, I have a Cintiq external monitor that I've been using for work. However, I definitely need multiple monitor support, as I will probably eventually be getting a second monitor.

Parts to Upgrade: I've got a laptop, so pretty much everything. I've got a mouse/keyboard/speaker set that I use with my laptop, so I'll probably keep using those unless I find a good reason to upgrade.

OS: Yes please. Windows 7 or Windows 8.1

Preferred Websites for Parts: I've bought from newegg, amazon, and tigerdirect, but I'm open to wherever is cheapest. Also, I do have that $200 credit at Amazon, so that will help.

Location: Providence, Rhode Island. Locally, I've got Best Buys for parts, and that's about it. There's a Microcenter in Cambridge Massachusetts that's not an unreasonable trip if it's worth it.

Parts Preference: No brand loyalty here, I want what works best for my needs.

Overclocking: Maybe. I've never done it before, but could be convinced.

Monitor Resolution: I've got a Cintiq 21UX(?)

Additional Comments: As sated above, the main software I use are Photoshop, Illustrator, and Solidworks. I play Civilization and Minecraft, but I would love to have a system that can handle games like Skyrim with nice graphics settings. Even though I'm a designer, I don't neeed a system to look pretty, I'm form over function. I used ot build systems when I was younger, but it has been about a decade or so since I built one from the ground up. I don't think I'll have too much trouble though.

Why I'm Upgrading: My laptop is bricked.

Thanks for your help guys, I hope I can give back to the community in the future.
a b 4 Gaming
July 2, 2013 9:08:01 PM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($279.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-C14 CPU Cooler ($73.00 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD3H ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($159.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($135.54 @ Amazon)
Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($111.73 @ Amazon)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($94.99 @ Microcenter)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 760 2GB Video Card ($259.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Cooler Master HAF 922 ATX Mid Tower Case ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic G 550W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($79.99 @ Amazon)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($87.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $1353.19
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-07-03 00:01 EDT-0400)

I selected the top Intel I7-4770K for its four cores and eight threads for the best performance in your productivity applications.
The new Haswell Intel's tend to run hot so to overclock it significantly, you need some major cooling. The suggested air cooler will do as well as most water coolers, but quieter than almost any other.

I recommend a full 16G of ram for with your applications, you can use it. Only 8G is needed for a pure gaming machine. Note the ram is only two modules and they are low profile, no heat spreaders. This is so you can fit a massive cooler on your processor. the Gigabyte UD3H is fine.

I saved you some money on the graphics card. The GTX 760 gives you the best performance per dollar nowadays. Since your monitor is only a 1600X1200, you don't need alot. The CoolerMaster HAF (high air flow) are very popular. The Seasonic power supply is of top quality.
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July 2, 2013 9:10:01 PM

Well you aren't a heavy gamer, so no need for a high end GPU. I think an Intel i5 is perfect for your needs, and you don't need to overclock at all. Save money and get the non-K version. A mid-range GPU should perform really well. I picked an efficient PSU, with enough watts if you want to connect more beefier parts in the future.

Check it out :
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-4570 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($159.99 @ Microcenter)
Motherboard: MSI H87M-G43 Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($89.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($54.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($94.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($66.61 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB Video Card ($159.98 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 200R ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Microcenter)
Power Supply: Rosewill Capstone 550W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($71.99 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.98 @ Outlet PC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($87.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $854.49
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-07-03 00:09 EDT-0400)
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Best solution

July 2, 2013 9:32:01 PM

CPU- Intel Core i7-3820 Quad-Core http://www.amazon.com/Intel-i7-3820-Quad-Core-Processor...

GPU- Nvidia GTX 660 http://www.amazon.com/EVGA-GeForce-SUPERCLOCKED-Graphic...

PSU- Corsair 750w Power Supply http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Builder-Bronze-Certified-...

RAM- Corsair Vengeance 16gb http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Vengeance-Desktop-Memory-...

Storage- Western Digital Cavier Blue 1TB http://www.amazon.com/WD-Blue-Desktop-Hard-Drive/dp/B00...

Motherboard- GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD4 http://www.amazon.com/GIGABYTE-GA-Z68XP-UD4-1155-Intel-...

Case- HAF XM http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-HAF-XM-RC-922XM-KKN...

CPU Cooler- Cooler Master Hyper T4 http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Contact-Heatpipes-R...

Blu-ray Drive- Asus Black x12 http://www.amazon.com/Asus-DVD-ROM-Internal-Blu-Ray-BC-...

SSD- Sandisk Ultra Plus 128gb http://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-Ultra-2-5-Inch-Solid-SDSS...

OS-Windows 7 http://www.amazon.com/Windows-Premium-64bit-System-Buil...

I tried not to go for maximum price limit, this will pretty much handle anything you throw at it.

Total: $1185.27

Although there are some optional things in there such as the ssd and blu-ray drive but you can take them out if you want.
The operating system is also optional but i don't know the price of windows 8.1 yet.





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July 5, 2013 1:58:39 AM

Thanks for your advice guys. looking over your recommendations, this is what I'm looking at right now:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($279.99 @ Microcenter)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD3H ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($149.99 @ Microcenter)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($129.29 @ Amazon)
Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($96.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 660 2GB Video Card ($194.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 300R ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Rosewill Capstone 550W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($71.99 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($87.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $1136.19
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-07-05 04:54 EDT-0400)

I don't have a CPU cooler since I don't plan on overclocking right now. I figure I can always do that later if I change my mind, but since this is my first build in a long time I'd rather keep it simple. This also brings my price out-of-pocket to right around $1000 since I can use my Amazon credit for the RAM and PSU.

How does this look? Any conflicts I'm overlooking? Any obvious better choices that won't break the bank? Anything I'm spending needlessly on?

Thanks again!
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a b 4 Gaming
July 5, 2013 2:06:42 AM

JoeBDK said:
Thanks for your advice guys. looking over your recommendations, this is what I'm looking at right now:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($279.99 @ Microcenter)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD3H ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($149.99 @ Microcenter)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($129.29 @ Amazon)
Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($96.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 660 2GB Video Card ($194.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 300R ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Rosewill Capstone 550W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($71.99 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($87.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $1136.19
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-07-05 04:54 EDT-0400)

I don't have a CPU cooler since I don't plan on overclocking right now. I figure I can always do that later if I change my mind, but since this is my first build in a long time I'd rather keep it simple. This also brings my price out-of-pocket to right around $1000 since I can use my Amazon credit for the RAM and PSU.

How does this look? Any conflicts I'm overlooking? Any obvious better choices that won't break the bank? Anything I'm spending needlessly on?

Thanks again!


Great build. I'd just recommend an extra $60 if you can afford it for the GTX760. The latest board from Nvidia and a lot more speed.
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July 5, 2013 2:18:38 PM

babernet_1 said:

Great build. I'd just recommend an extra $60 if you can afford it for the GTX760. The latest board from Nvidia and a lot more speed.


I think I can go for that, my only concern would be if there would be enough room in the case I selected for it, I've read that it's a bit on the long side.

Also, are there any miscellaneous parts/cables/etc. that I'll need to purchase? Last time I built a system, everything was included with the parts I bought, but I'm not sure if things have changed since then.
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a b 4 Gaming
July 5, 2013 2:32:30 PM

JoeBDK said:
babernet_1 said:

Great build. I'd just recommend an extra $60 if you can afford it for the GTX760. The latest board from Nvidia and a lot more speed.


I think I can go for that, my only concern would be if there would be enough room in the case I selected for it, I've read that it's a bit on the long side.

Also, are there any miscellaneous parts/cables/etc. that I'll need to purchase? Last time I built a system, everything was included with the parts I bought, but I'm not sure if things have changed since then.


The 300R case can handle 420mm graphics cards, that's 16.5 inches, you're covered. New motherboards include the SLI cables. One problem is your SSD. It is the one that doesn't have any power adaptors or 3.5inch mounting kits. There is a Samsung 840 that costs about $10 to $20 extra that has all that.
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July 11, 2013 3:49:18 PM

Hey guys, I'm going to be starting my build soon, I've got my last few parts arriving on Saturday. The only thing that ended up changing was the power supply, I switched to the SeaSonic SSR-550RM 550W PSU (the original PSU was going to take another week to arrive). My only concern right now is, looking at the motherboard (Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD3H) and case (Corsair 300R), the included case fans are both 3-pin and the motherboard has 1 3-pin and 3 4-pin fan connectors, so would it be a good idea to get an additional 4-pin fan to take advantage of the PWM feature? If so, any recommendations? I'll be stopping by Microcenter tomorrow, so I can grab one there if necessary.

Thanks,
Joe
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a b 4 Gaming
July 11, 2013 4:03:30 PM

Yes, I'd get a PWM fan. You get what you pay for.
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