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Looking to build a gaming PC with a $1200 - 1500 budget (monitor and OS required)

Last response: in Systems
September 27, 2013 7:11:55 AM

Hi all! For the first time in 10 years, I'm in the market for a new computer. Last time around, I was a snot-nosed kid and just bought a Dell, but now I've gotten a bit more adventurous.

I could really use some solid advice in putting together a build.

Note that I need absolutely EVERYTHING except for a keyboard and a mouse.

Approximate Purchase Date: Any time between now and Thanksgiving - would prefer sooner, but I'm totally willing to wait a couple of months if doing so allows me to get more bang for my buck.

Budget Range: $1200-$1500. $1500 (after rebates) is a hard cap that must cover absolutely everything (including shipping). I'd prefer to spend on the lower end of my range if possible, but will happily go to the higher end if necessary.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming (Love the Elder Scrolls and Total War franchises, would love to get as awesome performance as possible out of Skyrim and Rome Total War II.) Also needs to be solid for watching movies / streaming content. (I don't have a TV). I do a bit of video editing, but only really amateur stuff and don't need my build to really reflect the state of the art in this.

Are you buying a monitor: Yes, and I need solid recommendations.

Do you need to buy OS: Yes

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Amazon where possible is preferred, but Newegg, etc. are fine, as are in-store-only deals in my vicinity.

Location: Boston, MA, United States

Parts Preferences: Want an Intel CPU, otherwise I have no preference at all.

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

Your Monitor Resolution: As good as possible!

Additional Comments: I used my last computer (a Dell Dimension 8400) for *10 years* (upgrading parts occasionally, but the same motherboard/processor throughout). I don't know that I would necessarily wait that long before starting over again, but I do definitely prefer to hold on for a long time. So something with a lot of upgradeability potential is strongly preferred.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: My poor Dell Dimension that I've had since college won't even turn on anymore. Also, it could only really handle Oblivion at medium settings.
September 27, 2013 8:32:18 AM

This one meets your qualifications:

That CPU and GPU combination should be able to tackle any game on the market currently and give you a little room to grow down the road. For a huge day to day speed increase, I might recommend adding a solid state drive as your OS disk. I like the Samsung 840 Pro - fast, reliable and comes in a lot of different sizes. 128GB is more than enough for the OS and a few games but if you don't want to have to ever worry about space go with a 256GB model. You could also increase your RAM by adding another memory kit to get you to 16GB but that's overkill unless you are doing a lot of things simultaneously. You could also increase the size of the monitor or step up to a model that has a 120HZ refresh rate but that gets pricey.

Hope that helps
September 27, 2013 8:50:03 AM

MoBo - $354 - MSI Z87-G45
CPU - included - Intel Core i5-4670k

Cooler - $75 - Phanteks PH-TC14

Case - $150 - Corsair 500R
PSU - included - Corsair TX750 $20 off w/ promo code EMCXLVN57, ends 10/3

RAM - $95 - (2 x 4GB) Muskin CAS 9 DDR3-1866

HD - $140 - Seagate SSHD 2 TB

GFX - $260 - MSI Gaming N760 TF 2GD5/OC GeForce GTX 760

DVD Writer - $19 - Asus DVD Burner

Monitor - $280 ASUS VG248QE Black 23" 144 Hz Monitor

OS - $100 - Win 8-64 Home Pre

The why's.....

-All items are current generation .... no end-of-life components....

-PSU sized for later addition of 2nd GFX card .... Merry XMas :) 

-MoBo has won well over 20 awards, Mil spec components, great reviews.

-Storage combines an SSD and HD in one component

-Monitor is 144 Hz, 3D capable with Lightboost for elimination of motion blur.
Related resources
September 27, 2013 10:13:57 AM

Thanks everyone for your suggestions.

As I am a novice with the current generation of motherboards - what are the advantages of the various sorts that have been floated here?
September 27, 2013 10:25:07 AM

kosmokrator said:
Thanks everyone for your suggestions.

As I am a novice with the current generation of motherboards - what are the advantages of the various sorts that have been floated here?

Depends on what motherboard you buy and what you actually want to do with it. Each board has different advantages and disadvantages.
September 27, 2013 11:17:18 AM

kosmokrator said:
Thanks everyone for your suggestions.

As I am a novice with the current generation of motherboards - what are the advantages of the various sorts that have been floated here?

Depending on the other parts of your system, the motherboard gives you flexibility to overclock or expand. The Intel "K" chips are able to be overclocked, so you'll want a motherboard that supports that. Also a concern would be the type of BIOS (UEFI is common), number of USB 3.0 ports, number of SATA ports, fan headers, etc.

I learned a lot from doing a lot of reading here as well as reading the reviews on Newegg for boards I was interested in.
September 29, 2013 7:20:41 AM

Hi all,

Me again. I've done a bit of research on this and I've come up with a list of parts here (note that I may not end up getting everything FROM Amazon, but I put the list together there)

Antec 300 Case
ASUS P8Z77-V LX LGA 1155 Intel Z77 mobo
Intel Core i5-4670K
Corsair Enthusiast Series TX 750 Watt PSU
Kingston HyperX 8 GB memory
Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB DDR5 graphics card

(plus monitor, OS, Hard drives, optical drive)

My questions are:
1. Am I missing anything?
2. Will these parts be compatible?
3. Will this rig run current games on reasonable settings?
4. Any serious liabilities?
5. Do I need a CPU cooling device if I don't intend to overclock?