Help me build! Gaming / Movie PC

Approximate Purchase Date: Between now and Christmas (I am willing to wait if there are new parts coming out or deals on the way)

Budget Range: $1000 (not including monitor and I am flexible)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: FPS gaming, other gaming, movies

Are you buying a monitor: Yes

Parts to Upgrade: Entire Computer

Do you need to buy OS: Yes

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Wherever it is cheapest. I will probably go to microcenter for the processor and get the rest online

Location: Cambridge, MA USA

Parts Preferences: Intel CPU, SSD hard drive at least 120GB (no HDD needed), some USB 3.0 ports

Overclocking: Maybe, could you explain what this means?

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe, could you explain what this means?

Your Monitor Resolution: I don't have a monitor yet, but I am thinking of getting a 27" QNIX QX2710. It is a PLS 2560x1440 resolution monitor. I'd like to run it at 120Hz and high (not necessarily ultra) settings if you could tell me how much that will affect price it would be much appreciated. If you have other suggestions for 2560x1440 monitors my ears are open. I'd also like to know the difference between IPS and PLS because my friend keeps telling me to get IPS, but some forums I have read say they are basically the same thing.

Additional Comments: At least 8GB of RAM (what would be the benefits of going to 16GB, how far would that future proof). Could you explain how much of an impact I will see if I go from an Intel i5 to i7? I am new to building, so explanations are appreciated and if you have any questions I will try to answer them ASAP.

Why Are You Upgrading: I don't have a PC.

Thank you for your help in advance!!
9 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. I do apologize, but I will need some upper limit in terms of budget. "Cheaper the better" is true for most people.

    I'll answer your other questions in the meantime.

    Monitors: Some of them can cost a lot. I would not look for any cheaper than $400. So you can buy a large expensive one or for about the same price, you can buy three 23" to 24" monitors. PLS is rather new technology. I personally have not tested it myself yet, but from what I've seen, it offers higher brightness and lower power consumption. Outside of that, it works just as well as IPS. I don't event know many monitors of the PLS variety.

    Memory: Considering that all games play within 8GB of RAM currently, upgrading to 16GB is almost a personal preference. But if you plan to run a lot of applications in the background or virtual machines, that 16GB can help go a long way. I have builds with 8GB and 16GB and outside of running virtual machines, I've never once broke the 8GB threshold.

    CPU: From an Intel Core i5 to Intel Core i7, you gain access to Hyper-Threading technology. In short, you get 4 additional virtual cores. For gaming, this upgrade has very little to no gain. Most games do not support Hyper-Threading as of right now and only a select few do. I can't speak for the future, but I do not think Hyper-Threading will be popularized for gaming within the next few years. I would go for the i7 if you are a heavy multi-tasker and or run multiple virtual machines.
  2. What is your budget?
    My rule of thumb for a balanced gamer is to budget twice the cpu cost for the graphics card.

    I like the QNIX. You can find it on ebay for $310 shipped directly from Korea.
    I would ignore IPS and PLS differences. The technologies have negligible impact .

    On the cpu, the i7 offers hyperthreading. The extra $100 or so offers little to the gamer. Games rarely use more than 2-3 cores so the extra threads go largely unused. I5-4670K is as good as it gets for gaming.
    The "K" suffix designates a cpu with a unlocked multiplier. It allows you to increase the clock rate from the default34 to 40 or beyond with a suitable aftermarket cooler. That is about a 20% increase in compute power for a 5% increase in cpu cost. A good deal.

    No game, by itself will use more than 2-3gb of ram. 8gb is the norm. But, ram is cheap, and I like 16gb. Windows will keep more code in ram available for instant reuse. There is no need for superfast ram or fancy heat spreaders, DDR3 1600 or 1866 in a 2 x 8gb low profile kit is fine.

    sli(nvidia) or crossfire(amd) are means to harness the power of two graphics cards to deliver faster fps to a single monitor.

    Here is my canned rant on planning for dual cards:
    -----------------------------Start of rant----------------------------------------------------
    Dual graphics cards vs. a good single card.

    a) How good do you really need to be?
    A single GTX650/ti or 7770 can give you good performance at 1920 x 1200 in most games.

    A single GTX660 or 7850 will give you excellent performance at 1920 x 1200 in most games.
    Even 2560 x 1600 will be good with lowered detail.
    A single gtx690,7990, GTX780ti or R9-290X is about as good as it gets for a single card.

    Only if you are looking at triple monitor gaming, or a 4k monitor, might sli/cf will be needed.
    Even that is now changing with triple monitor support on top end cards and stronger single card solutions.

    b) The costs for a single card are lower.
    You require a less expensive motherboard; no need for sli/cf or multiple pci-e slots.
    Even a ITX motherboard will do.

    Your psu costs are less.
    A GTX660 needs a 430w psu, even a GTX780 only needs a 575w psu.
    When you add another card to the mix, plan on adding 200w to your psu requirements.

    Even the most power hungry GTX690 only needs 620w, or a 7990 needs 700w.

    Case cooling becomes more of an issue with dual cards.
    That means a more expensive case with more and stronger fans.
    You will also look at more noise.

    c) Dual gpu's do not always render their half of the display in sync, causing microstuttering. It is an annoying effect.
    The benefit of higher benchmark fps can be offset, particularly with lower tier cards.
    Read this:,2995.html

    d) dual gpu support is dependent on the driver. Not all games can benefit from dual cards.

    e) dual cards up front reduces your option to get another card for an upgrade. Not that I suggest you plan for that.
    It will often be the case that replacing your current card with a newer gen card will offer a better upgrade path.
    The Maxwell and amd 8000 or 9000 series are due next year.
    -------------------------------End of rant-----------------------------------------------------------
  3. Thank you for your answers so far. I'm thinking I want to spend around $1,000 not including the monitor. I'm leaning towards single gpu after your description.
  4. Best answer
    Try this:

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($199.99 @ Microcenter)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.99 @ NCIX US)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z87 Extreme4 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($119.99 @ Microcenter)
    Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($59.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.00 @ Amazon)
    Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon R9 280X 3GB Video Card ($299.99 @ Amazon)
    Case: Corsair 500R White ATX Mid Tower Case ($69.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: OCZ ZT 650W 80+ Bronze Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($69.99 @ Microcenter)
    Optical Drive: LG GH24NS95 DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ Microcenter)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 - OEM (64-bit) ($97.99 @ NCIX US)
    Other: Microcenter Intel Bundle Discount (-$30.00)
    Total: $1032.91
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
  5. Thank you Thank you Thank you
    GPU looks awesome for the money!

    Any reason why you chose that brand for the SSD or memory? I'm linking a cheaper kingston SDD that I found and wondering if there is a difference. I also see that a lot of people recommend G.Skill memory. What are your thoughts.

    Go Sox!
  6. Good quality RAM and Samsung makes some of the best SSDs on the market. If you want G.Skill RAM, go for it. They are also good. Not a lot of arguments on what RAM to use really outside of latency, CAS, and overclockability.

    And yeah, I live in Boston. #BostonStrong!
  7. So it is worth it to get the Samsung SSD over the Kingston one?
  8. Which Kingston one? The Hyper3K is a good one.
  9. Eh, I called a friend and he said he thinks Samsung is more reliable, so I'm just going to get that. Microcenter doesn't have any power supplies left =/, but its $10 more at amazon and I get 5% back there so not that big a diff.

    I'm pretty pumped and I think I am going to pull the trigger. Thanks so much!!
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