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Need help, $750-900 gaming build - first time building!

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November 14, 2013 5:28:05 PM

Hi, I just recently stumbled upon this website while looking for help building a new gaming computer. Everyone here seems quite knowledgeable, so I thought I would reach out for some help.

My current gaming computer hasn't been working for almost a year (I'm not sure why). It was originally built in ~2008 with an upgraded video card in ~2010 and I think it is time for an upgrade. I finally have some money to achieve this!

Some facts and things that I am looking for:

- I have never built my own gaming PC before, either bought it pre-built or had a local computer store build one.

- I'm excited to learn how and feel confident that I will be able to!

- I am looking to spend somewhere between $750 - $900.

- I am looking to purchase within the next week.

- Live in the United States.

- Would prefer to purchase parts from amazon and/or newegg (if possible - unless I can save a ton of money somewhere else).

- I need a wireless adapter.

- I already have monitors, keyboard, mouse, speakers, and headset.

- I would like to get an SSD for faster load times in gaming and general use (unless the difference is not very noticeable, I'm not sure).

- I would prefer an optical drive (blue-ray is not needed)

- I'm looking to play new modern games like BF4, Assassin's Creed, etc.

- I don't have any experience with overclocking, but if it is worth it and not a difficult thing I am willing to try it.

- Do not intend to use SLI/Crossfire at this time and probably will not be in the near future.

- I already have an OS, so that is not needed.

I also had a couple of questions:

- I have always liked nVidia and like the special they are offering with the 2 free games bundled with a graphics card.
- I also have always had Intel processors.

Are you getting more bang for the buck from AMD vs. Intel/nVidia and is it even possible to get those with a build in my price range?

Any other points, advice, or help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

a b 4 Gaming
November 14, 2013 5:44:26 PM

Starting point, I'm sure others will have differing opinions and such, but this is a good place to start:

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/22tie

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($209.98 @ OutletPC)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.98 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($124.98 @ OutletPC)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($174.99 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 760 2GB Video Card ($249.99 @ Microcenter)
Power Supply: Corsair Enthusiast 750W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($16.98 @ OutletPC)
Total: $936.88

You'll want to keep your old HDD and probably the case so you don't end up spending on those (would take away from performance) and just load your OS onto the SSD.
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a c 275 4 Gaming
November 14, 2013 5:51:53 PM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-4430 3.0GHz Quad-Core Processor ($174.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: Asus H87-PRO ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($94.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.98 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 760 2GB Video Card ($249.99 @ Microcenter)
Wireless Network Adapter: Rosewill RNX-N250PCe 802.11b/g/n PCI-Express x1 Wi-Fi Adapter ($20.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 500R White ATX Mid Tower Case ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($55.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224DB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 - OEM (64-bit) ($97.99 @ NCIX US)
Total: $899.88
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-11-14 20:49 EST-0500)

Unable to overclock, but you'll have great stock performance.
Included OS because you didn't list that under what you have.
Decent wireless adapter.
Couldn't include a SSD at this budget, but added a 1tb HDD.

I would not re-use the old case. The prebuilt computers come in horrible cases. First off, we don't even know what size it is (ATX, mATX). Second, they offer very little room to work with.
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a b 4 Gaming
November 14, 2013 5:52:51 PM

In answer to a few of your questions (and a couple quiestions of my own)

- wireless adapter - will you be moving this computer frequently (e.g. lan parties, etc)? If you computer will be staying in one place, might I suggest a powerline adapter instead? It's a happy middle ground between wireless and hardwired. You'll get lower latency, higher bandwidth, and a more reliable connection to your router.

- SSD - yes, they definitely make a difference in load times and boot time. However, they do little for in game performance, and most budget gaming builds are better served putting that money towards a video solution.

- AMD video cards are (generally) better "bang for your buck". I recommend AMD cards for single GPU configurations. However, Nvidia is the better choice for 2 GPU configurations. Frame latency, more commonly called microstutter is an issue inherent in multi-GPU configurations. Right now, Nvidia's drivers include better frame pacing (spacing the frames from each GPU out evenly) than AMD does. It's likely AMD's drivers will catch up in a year, but right now Nvidia is in the lead there.

- If you are willing to overclock, AMD tends to be the better value in budget builds. Intel multiplier-locks the majority of their processor line, AMD leaves more of their processor multiplier-unlocked (overlocking friendly).
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November 14, 2013 5:57:00 PM

Neglected to include some information so I updated my original post to include it.
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November 14, 2013 5:59:50 PM

robax91 said:
Starting point, I'm sure others will have differing opinions and such, but this is a good place to start:

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/22tie

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($209.98 @ OutletPC)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.98 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($124.98 @ OutletPC)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($174.99 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 760 2GB Video Card ($249.99 @ Microcenter)
Power Supply: Corsair Enthusiast 750W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($16.98 @ OutletPC)
Total: $936.88

You'll want to keep your old HDD and probably the case so you don't end up spending on those (would take away from performance) and just load your OS onto the SSD.


My HDD is fairly new due to my old one crashing last year and it is 1 TB so I can definitely just transfer it. Should I reformat it though?
Would it be worth spending the extra bit on a new case? I think it is a thermaltake.
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Best solution

a b 4 Gaming
November 14, 2013 6:01:09 PM

That helps. At the upper end of you budget, you can fit a 3570k now. My humble suggestion.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($209.98 @ OutletPC)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.98 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($115.89 @ OutletPC)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 770 2GB Video Card ($321.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Case: Rosewill REDBONE U3 ATX Mid Tower Case ($27.50 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Antec HCG M 850W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($79.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224DB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)

Total: $860.31
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

The rig can accommodate a second 770.
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November 14, 2013 6:01:59 PM

realchaos said:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-4430 3.0GHz Quad-Core Processor ($174.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: Asus H87-PRO ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($94.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.98 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 760 2GB Video Card ($249.99 @ Microcenter)
Wireless Network Adapter: Rosewill RNX-N250PCe 802.11b/g/n PCI-Express x1 Wi-Fi Adapter ($20.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 500R White ATX Mid Tower Case ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($55.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224DB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 - OEM (64-bit) ($97.99 @ NCIX US)
Total: $899.88
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-11-14 20:49 EST-0500)

Unable to overclock, but you'll have great stock performance.
Included OS because you didn't list that under what you have.
Decent wireless adapter.
Couldn't include a SSD at this budget, but added a 1tb HDD.

I would not re-use the old case. The prebuilt computers come in horrible cases. First off, we don't even know what size it is (ATX, mATX). Second, they offer very little room to work with.


Sorry, I forgot to include, I do have an OS. If I bring my 1TB over from my old pc would it free up enough money to improve anything else or get a SDD?
I think my old case is a thermaltake and is a midtower, but not positive and not home to look at it right now.
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November 14, 2013 6:04:48 PM

quilciri said:
In answer to a few of your questions (and a couple quiestions of my own)

- wireless adapter - will you be moving this computer frequently (e.g. lan parties, etc)? If you computer will be staying in one place, might I suggest a powerline adapter instead? It's a happy middle ground between wireless and hardwired. You'll get lower latency, higher bandwidth, and a more reliable connection to your router.

- SSD - yes, they definitely make a difference in load times and boot time. However, they do little for in game performance, and most budget gaming builds are better served putting that money towards a video solution.

- AMD video cards are (generally) better "bang for your buck". I recommend AMD cards for single GPU configurations. However, Nvidia is the better choice for 2 GPU configurations. Frame latency, more commonly called microstutter is an issue inherent in multi-GPU configurations. Right now, Nvidia's drivers include better frame pacing (spacing the frames from each GPU out evenly) than AMD does. It's likely AMD's drivers will catch up in a year, but right now Nvidia is in the lead there.

- If you are willing to overclock, AMD tends to be the better value in budget builds. Intel multiplier-locks the majority of their processor line, AMD leaves more of their processor multiplier-unlocked (overlocking friendly).


The internet situation at my house is kind of goofy, the internet that comes through the LAN in the house is not the internet I use - the LAN internet that my family uses is too slow.
I am not sure what a powerline adapter is, could you explain further?
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November 14, 2013 6:06:33 PM

All of these builds look really good. I noticed that you all selected Intel processors, are they superior to AMD?
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November 14, 2013 6:08:30 PM

Aiyok said:
The internet situation at my house is kind of goofy, the internet that comes through the LAN in the house is not the internet I use - the LAN internet that my family uses is too slow.
I am not sure what a powerline adapter is, could you explain further?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_line_communication

In short, you send your LAN through the power lines in your house rather than running cables/using potentially crappy wifi. I use them, they're awesome.
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November 14, 2013 6:10:01 PM

Aiyok said:
All of these builds look really good. I noticed that you all selected Intel processors, are they superior to AMD?


They're not superior per say. They do perform better in certain use scenarios, but to say that they are better would be wrong.
If you're looking at single threaded performance, Intel does perform better (generally), but as soon as you start looking at the multi-threaded performance, they start trading blows (of course, this is looking at comparing the consumer grade processors, the enthusiast Intel ones are very powerful).
So it really does depend on the use case scenario, and which program you're using.

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a b 4 Gaming
November 14, 2013 6:11:47 PM

Aiyok said:

The internet situation at my house is kind of goofy, the internet that comes through the LAN in the house is not the internet I use - the LAN internet that my family uses is too slow.
I am not sure what a powerline adapter is, could you explain further?


It's a pair of wall-socket adapters that can send packets (encrypted between the two adapters) over the electrical circuit in your house/apartment, etc.

e.g.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA24G...

You run a short cat5 cable (usually included with the adapters) from your computer to one adapter. plug it into an electrical outlet . Plug the second one into an electrical outlet near your router/modem and run a cat5 between them. Sync'ing the adapters is usually as simply as pushing a button on each.

Not quite as good as a cat5/6 straight to the switch, but way better than wireless.
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November 14, 2013 6:20:38 PM

eXplicitss said:
Aiyok said:
The internet situation at my house is kind of goofy, the internet that comes through the LAN in the house is not the internet I use - the LAN internet that my family uses is too slow.
I am not sure what a powerline adapter is, could you explain further?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_line_communication

In short, you send your LAN through the power lines in your house rather than running cables/using potentially crappy wifi. I use them, they're awesome.


quilciri said:
Aiyok said:

The internet situation at my house is kind of goofy, the internet that comes through the LAN in the house is not the internet I use - the LAN internet that my family uses is too slow.
I am not sure what a powerline adapter is, could you explain further?


It's a pair of wall-socket adapters that can send packets (encrypted between the two adapters) over the electrical circuit in your house/apartment, etc.

e.g.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA24G...

You run a short cat5 cable (usually included with the adapters) from your computer to one adapter. plug it into an electrical outlet . Plug the second one into an electrical outlet near your router/modem and run a cat5 between them. Sync'ing the adapters is usually as simply as pushing a button on each.

Not quite as good as a cat5/6 straight to the switch, but way better than wireless.


Okay, that seems pretty cool. I am definitely going to consider going that route instead of a wireless adapter.
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a b 4 Gaming
November 14, 2013 6:26:08 PM

Aiyok said:
All of these builds look really good. I noticed that you all selected Intel processors, are they superior to AMD?


At about $800, there is a breaking point for gaming machines. Once you can fit an I5 into your budget, you're at the point where the AMD machine must be overclocked to be competitive (strictly from a gaming perspective). Below that threshold, AMD chips are the go to for my builds.

Several games now are able to make use of four threads. Two thread chips are falling behind gaming wise. However, there are only two games right now that can make use of more than four cores. Crysis 3 can use up to 8, and I forget the other, but it was a AAA game, and could use up to six.

Like Blade of Grass said, Intel has very strong individual cores compared to AMD. an I5 3570k or 4670k walks away from AMD in every game that uses 4 or fewer threads, which is 99.999% of games right now. In Crysis 3, however, 8-core AMD FX-8350 takes a slight lead over the 3570k.

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November 14, 2013 6:30:06 PM

quilciri said:
Aiyok said:
All of these builds look really good. I noticed that you all selected Intel processors, are they superior to AMD?


At about $800, there is a breaking point for gaming machines. Once you can fit an I5 into your budget, you're at the point where the AMD machine must be overclocked to be competitive (strictly from a gaming perspective). Below that threshold, AMD chips are the go to for my builds.

Several games now are able to make use of four threads. Two thread chips are falling behind gaming wise. However, there are only two games right now that can make use of more than four cores. Crysis 3 can use up to 8, and I forget the other, but it was a AAA game, and could use up to six.

below ~$160, the only intel chips are dual core. Of those, the only ones i would recommend in a gaming machine are the hyper-threaded I3's - they can split each physical core into 2 logical threads, lessening the performance loss in games that can use those threads.

AMD has 3, 4, 6, and 8 core chips at many price points..I used an athlon x3 455 (a triple core chip which I bought for $80) for a long time. It also proved to be quite the overclocked for a multiplier locked chip (stable through overnight prime95 @ 3.9 ghz - stock 3.3ghz)


Gotcha. So I want an intel in my system for sure since my price range can allow it.
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a b 4 Gaming
November 14, 2013 6:33:59 PM

below ~$160, the only intel chips are dual core. Of those, the only ones i would recommend in a gaming machine are the hyper-threaded I3's - they can split each physical core into 2 logical threads, lessening the performance loss in games that can use those threads.

AMD has 3, 4, 6, and 8 core chips at many price points..I used an athlon x3 455 (a triple core chip which I bought for $80) for a long time. It also proved to be quite the overclocked for a multiplier locked chip (stable through overnight prime95 @ 3.9 ghz - stock 3.3ghz)
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November 14, 2013 6:36:03 PM

With keeping my old HDD it frees up money to improve other aspects. Is it more worthwhile to get the better video card like your build has Quilciri or to get an SSD like your build Robax91?
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a b 4 Gaming
November 14, 2013 6:45:33 PM

That depends on what you want, and to a large part on what games you want to play.

The ssd will improve boot and load times, and generally make you system feel "snappier" for any software installed on the ssd itself. If you tend to play single player games, then the ssd has a strong case.

The ssd will not do anything for in game performance. I tend to leave them out of budget builds because if you are playing multiplayer games, once you system (snappily) loads the level....you wait for all the non-ssd players (and players with slower connections) to load anyway before the round/instance/etc can start.

Having said that, I use one or more ssd's in every system I have that sees frequent boot ups (gaming machine, laptop, and a small one in HTPC), and I do recommend considering an ssd as your next purchase.
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November 14, 2013 6:50:05 PM

quilciri said:
That depends on what you want, and to a large part on what games you want to play.

The ssd will improve boot and load times, and generally make you system feel "snappier" for any software installed on the ssd itself. If you tend to play single player games, then the ssd has a strong case.

The ssd will not do anything for in game performance. I tend to leave them out of budget builds because if you are playing multiplayer games, once you system (snappily) loads the level....you wait for all the non-ssd players (and players with slower connections) to load anyway before the round/instance/etc can start.


I see. I will be playing some single player games but probably spend most of my time playing some kind of online game. I guess I will opt for a nicer graphics card instead of the SSD. I can always purchase the SSD later on when I get a little more money.
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a c 275 4 Gaming
November 14, 2013 6:50:20 PM

You can get the best of both worlds:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-4430 3.0GHz Quad-Core Processor ($174.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: Asus H87-PRO ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($94.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.99 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon R9 280X 3GB Video Card ($299.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Corsair 500R White ATX Mid Tower Case ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($55.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224DB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $870.91
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-11-14 21:48 EST-0500)

You can't overclock this like the other builds, but you get a strong gpu to get high-max on every game and a SSD for fast booting and loading times.
you get a great quality case for airflow, cable management, and any other upgrades.
Unable to crossfire.
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November 14, 2013 7:00:09 PM

realchaos said:
You can get the best of both worlds:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-4430 3.0GHz Quad-Core Processor ($174.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: Asus H87-PRO ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($94.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.99 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon R9 280X 3GB Video Card ($299.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Corsair 500R White ATX Mid Tower Case ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($55.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224DB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $870.91
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-11-14 21:48 EST-0500)

You can't overclock this like the other builds, but you get a strong gpu to get high-max on every game and a SSD for fast booting and loading times.
you get a great quality case for airflow, cable management, and any other upgrades.
Unable to crossfire.


I do like this build. For this video card it is a 3gb vs the other ones being 2gb, what affect on performance does this have?
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a c 275 4 Gaming
November 14, 2013 7:03:42 PM

2gb of vram is enough for 1080p. So there won't really be a performance increase at 1080p.
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November 14, 2013 7:07:18 PM

realchaos said:
2gb of vram is enough for 1080p. So there won't really be a performance increase at 1080p.


So the resolution of your monitor are what the gb of vram apply to? Would that change with a better monitor or two monitors?
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a c 275 4 Gaming
November 14, 2013 7:25:20 PM

Yep it's all about the resolution of the monitor. You don't game on two monitors since the middle will be split between the two screens, so even if you do go with dual monitor 2gb is fine because you'll only be gaming on one.
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November 14, 2013 7:31:43 PM

realchaos said:
Yep it's all about the resolution of the monitor. You don't game on two monitors since the middle will be split between the two screens, so even if you do go with dual monitor 2gb is fine because you'll only be gaming on one.



Okay, I see what your saying. Never was quite sure what the vram applied to.
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November 14, 2013 8:11:25 PM

Should I reformat my old HDD before placing it in the new PC?
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a b 4 Gaming
November 14, 2013 8:28:17 PM

You will need to reinstall windwos after installing the hdd in the new machine. it is technically not required to reformat the HDD, but I recommend it along with running chkdsk to mark any sectors that have gone bad.
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November 14, 2013 8:32:56 PM

quilciri said:
You will need to reinstall windwos after installing the hdd in the new machine. it is technically not required to reformat the HDD, but I recommend it along with running chkdsk to mark any sectors that have gone bad.



Okay, cool. Thanks!
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November 14, 2013 8:38:13 PM

Thank you everyone for all your help! I really feel confident in any of these builds and that I will have a gaming computer that I will really enjoy. Thanks again!
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!