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New Build $2100 or less gaming rig. Need advice, first time builder.

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August 31, 2013 9:21:27 PM

Hi gurus of Toms Hardware! I finally got some money saved up for a new computer which will be replacing my good ol trusty Asus G73 laptop that I've had since the summer of '10.

I've heard building your own is the only way to go for money savings, learning, and easier upgrading as time goes along.

That being said I need help. Any configuration between $1500 and $2100 is good to go maybe $100 more if I really need it. I have a good headset, mouse, and speaker system. I guess I'll need a decent monitor, keyboard, and a sound card or motherboard that supports 5.1/7.1 surround sound.

Can someone help me put something together? I have an idea of a good keyboard and monitor so really maybe just advice on a sound card or whatever.

I don't think I'll really need SLI or Xfire right away but want to be prepared for it. I guess the strongest single GPU or whatever y'all think is best.

Hope I added everything that you guys need to put something together.

Thanks in advance you wonderful people!

PS: I don't know if I'll need specific tools to put it together when I get all the parts. If so let me know what's a good one to buy. Also my budget is flexible so if you go over a bit it should be fine. I love SSDs btw.

Thanks again! Let me know if I need to add more info. This will be so muh fun I'm excited!

EDIT: Let me know if I put this in the wrong forum I meant to put it in new build but I'm not my phone so it went directly into systems.
August 31, 2013 9:43:04 PM

I live in Alabama I doubt there is one here but ill check. What do you mean smaller form factor?

EDIT: Closest one is in Georgia, Atlanta isn't too far away I suppose I could make the drive if I had to.
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August 31, 2013 9:46:00 PM

Well, 1500 will give you a really nice build actually. Might go up a little bit if you need everything, but that is still plenty of money for it all.
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August 31, 2013 10:06:19 PM

Smaller form factor, the smaller your case can be. They are would be good if you only ever plan to use 1 GPU. Do you need wifi?
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August 31, 2013 10:10:18 PM

I'd rather have a mid size or large case for room to breathe and expansion later. I plan on doing SLI or Xfire in the future as funds allow. I probably won't use wifi but should get it just in case.
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Best solution

August 31, 2013 10:45:49 PM

Immaculate said:
without an OS.
You should wait until the Radeon 9000 series GPUs are released.

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1yABo


Horrible build for gaming on a few levels. However, what is the intended use for the Pc? If you wanted a machine capable of rendering video, that build would work out fine.

I'm going to assume gaming, so there are places to spend money, but not overspend because the performance isn't there for the money spent.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($219.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Eisberg 240L Prestige 60.2 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($129.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus Z87-PRO ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($177.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: G.Skill Sniper Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($67.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($176.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($62.99 @ Amazon)
Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 770 2GB Video Card ($409.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 w/Window (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower Case ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: OCZ ZX 850W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($18.49 @ Amazon)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Monitor: Asus VS24AH-P 24.0" Monitor ($226.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $1761.37
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-09-01 01:50 EDT-0400)

Best reasonable gaming Cpu for gaming. Excellent motherboard for overclocking and general use(comes with build in wi-fi connector too). Since the Swiftech h220 isn't available in the States anymore, this cooler is the next best thing. It's an all in one cooler that is designed to be upgraded later.

Excellent Ram for the price, especially ddr3 1866 from g.skill. One of the best video cards because of it's clock speed and cooling solution. Standard 1tb HDD paired with a new Samsung 840 Evo 250gb SSD drive. Put all of your games and OS on the SSD, and anything you just need stored(movies, pictures, songs, etc.) on the HDD.

Great case for looks, cable management, and cooling capabilities. The Psu is gold certified, semi-modular, and has plenty of power to run this system plus an added video card for SLI goodness. Included the optic drive and OS for good measure.

24" monitor from Asus that is also an IPS model for better picture quality. Toss in your keyboard and mouse and a set of speakers and you should still be under your 2k budget. You shouldn't need a sound card because the quality of onboard sound has vastly improved in the last few years.

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August 31, 2013 10:53:46 PM

Do you like this more?

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1yARe

I wasn't going for "reasonable" the first time. I was going for their budget they gave.
I also have that very exact memory you suggested and I clocked them at 8-8-8-24, @ 1600MHz. And they did better in WEI than X.M.P. enabled. thats why I chose the CAS8 models.
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August 31, 2013 11:58:30 PM

Immaculate said:
Do you like this more?

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1yARe

I wasn't going for "reasonable" the first time. I was going for their budget they gave.
I also have that very exact memory you suggested and I clocked them at 8-8-8-24, @ 1600MHz. And they did better in WEI than X.M.P. enabled. thats why I chose the CAS8 models.


Well, I can understand that. There are some games that take advantage of the 4770k's total ability, which makes it a good alternative to the 4670k if the budget allows for it. I wouldn't recommend spending 650 dollars on the 780 GPU though. You revised build is solid, but I'd make changes of course ;) 

I wouldn't buy that PSU simply because you can get more power from the OCZ i listed, and only lose the platinum to gold efficiency rating. Build quality remains the same though. I wouldn't pair a 30 dollar cooler with any Cpu in a 2000 dollar build. It's great for budget overclocking, but let's get something with a little more muscle here.

I'd also think about dropping the 2tb drive and picking up 2 1tb WD Caviar Black models for a raid 0(should have done so on my build) simply because of the faster access times, but more importantly, the 5 year warranty.

Granted, that's nitpicking and wouldn't actually affect performance, so it's a moot point. Regardless, I wish I had a 2000 dollar budget for a new build.

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September 1, 2013 1:00:36 AM

OP. If you plan to overclock the CPU above 4.2GHz, ditch the $30 CM212EVO, If your afraid of water cooling get the Noctua NHD-14. If your not afraid of water cooling, get the Corsair H90 or the NZXT Kraken 140mm cooler, you could also get the dual slot version of those liquid coolers if you prefer. Also with the Fractal case, you can remove top set of the HDD bays to help out a lot with airflow, after doing that you would have 3 HDD bays left and 2 SSD bays behind the MOBO.

If you don't plan to SLI, that $120 PLATINUM 760w Seasonic would be hard to pass up.
As for Seasonic USA, I wish someone would had mentioned them to me, I did my research on just about every part except the PSU.
If you really do plan to SLI GTX 780s (single most powerful GPU, except Titan). You would be smart to go 800w+.

850w GOLD SS USA: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

860w PLATINUM SS USA: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

1050w GOLD SS USA: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I also said 16GB RAM because on Skyrim with my 8GB with only Skyrim running it can use up to 75% RAM using the uGridsToLoad modifier.
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September 1, 2013 10:29:17 AM

Wow great builds and suggestions! Thank you!

Sword I have a question, why the 770 va the 780 and why not a 7970? Also will that build be SLI ready for an extra 770 if need be? Is the 4760K oveclockable?

Yes this rig will primarily used for gaming. Something that will play most of the newer PC games on ultra with good fps. First person shooters and the new mmorpgs. Thanks again.
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September 1, 2013 10:43:34 AM

Generally the 770 is recommended over the 780 simply because it's not worth the extra 250 dollars for the performance you gain. The 7970 or 7970ghz edition is a good buy, but with that budget it makes more sense to just get the 770.

Yes, the build I listed is ready for SLI(850w PSU included). Yes, the 4670k is overclockable, however, it runs hotter than the previous generation 3570k so slightly better cooling is needed. The cooler I listed is one of the best on the market right now(I love working with a larger budget), and has the ability to be "opened" up and adding a Gpu water block down the road if you wish.

The build will give you great Fps in almost all games right now on Ultra, and for the foreseeable future. The exception being Crysis 3, but that's just Crysis. Still good framerates, but not 60+ at 1080p on Ultra. That requires an almost insane Pc.
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September 1, 2013 10:55:01 AM

Awesome looks like you got it down pat. Is the cooler a water cooler, is it hard to install? I don't mind either way just curious, and the water block thing you mentioned for the GPU would I only need that for SLI?

Also how do two 770's perform in SLI? Sorry for all the questions. I'm so new to this. One more thing, do I need any special tools to build it? Or is there a good article I can read on building it from the ground up?

Oh last thing man, you said the onboard sound is good but does it support 5.1 surround sound from my Logitech speaker system you suspect?
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September 1, 2013 11:04:37 AM

It is a water cooling setup, but it starts as an AiO CLC(all in one, closed loop cooler) which means that it's totally filled and just ready to be installed. You don't need the waterblock for SLI, it's just an option. You'd need to add in another radiator most likely because 2 video cards generate a lot of heat for one rad. plus the Cpu, but again, it's only an option.

770's in SLI perform very well in most games, and are probably the sweet spot for SLI performance. Other options would be to get 2 780's for 500 more, or get a motherboard that is compatible and get 3 760's for triple SLI.

You will need a screwdriver and that's pretty much it. It's not hard to do, and gives a great sense of satisfaction after you build it and start to install the OS.

The audio codec on the motherboard supports 7.1 sound.
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September 1, 2013 11:11:29 AM

Most new socket 1150 mobos have realtek alc1150 instead of ALC898. Some new boards still have the old audio. Usually 7.1 If you don't plan to OC, which you really wouldn't even need to do until a couple years after CPU warranty is up, get an air cooler. The only tool you need is a phillips screw driver and a credit card to spread the thermal paste.
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September 1, 2013 1:37:04 PM

Immaculate said:
Most new socket 1150 mobos have realtek alc1150 instead of ALC898. Some new boards still have the old audio. Usually 7.1 If you don't plan to OC, which you really wouldn't even need to do until a couple years after CPU warranty is up, get an air cooler. The only tool you need is a phillips screw driver and a credit card to spread the thermal paste.


ehh I wouldn't use a credit card to spread the thermal paste unless its outdated.. just use a flat head screwdriver for that.
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September 1, 2013 2:11:09 PM

Rubbing alcohol will get it off.
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