New Gaming, 3D rendering and Photoshop system build help needed. $2100 budget. Posting template included.


First post here on Tom's hardware. Quite a wealth of information on this site/forum as I have been researching. I am in the process of choosing a new system and would appreciate any comments/concerns/recommendations people may have.

The following is some information that may help others help me.

General information and usage:

I'd prefer not to build the system myself at this point in time. Additionally, buying the parts myself and putting the system together would not save me a substantial amount of money, plus I get a warranty and a single place to call for tech support (should I need it) going through someone like AVA Direct.

I am not into "upgrading" every couple of years.

I am looking to have a stable, future proof system.

I will not be overclocking. For me to do so would require some research on how to accomplish it and then have the added worry that I may be harming the system in some way.

I generally leave my computer running 24/7 (only used when I'm not sleeping or at work). I got into this habit after some hard drive failures and did some research which stated shutting down and rebooting daily was bad for the hard drives (I know this may be silly but my current computer is very outdated. Specs are at the end of this post). I may change this habit for the new computer or at least utilize the "hibernate" function.

Approximate Purchase Date: Now

Budget Range:
$2000 - $2100 shipped to California

System Usage from Most to Least Important / Programs I would use most that require the most out of the computer::
I can't really place any one as more important than the other as I do all of the following on a regular basis:

  • Use of Abobe CS4+ (mainly Photoshop and some Flash)
  • Cinema4D/Maya (rendering 3D images/animations)
  • Gaming (mostly Steam based games but other options will be possible for me with this new system)
  • Occasional video editing/rendering but nothing that would be considered hard core by any means
  • Browsing the internet
  • Watching movies

Game playing information:
I'd like to be able to play the newest (and future) games.
I will only have a single video card (I'm not into adding 2 and 3 cards...more heat/power/more potential problems). This "could" change in the future but very far out.
I only use a single monitor for playing.
I am not into recording any games as I play.
I shut all non essential processes down when playing (i.e. browser windows, other misc. programs).

Are you buying a monitor: No

Do you need to buy OS: Yes
Please note that if you're using an OEM license of Windows, you will need a new one when buying a new motherboard. <-- Should this be a concern since the only options for OS's through AVA Direct are OEM?

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:
Since I am not building the system myself, AVA Direct seems to have the best reviews and options compared to others (i.e. IBUYPOWER, CyberPower) and the prices for the system components I have configured seem to be better than others (i.e. DigitalStorm, MainGear, Origin, Puget Systems)

California, USA

Parts Preferences:
Whatever is stable, reliable and future proof.

Overclocking: No.

SLI or Crossfire: Not at this time, but down the road it may be an option.

Monitor Resolution / Model:
HP 2311x - Full HD 1920 X 1080 resolution

Why Are You Upgrading:
My current system is very outdated. Specs are at the end of this post.

With that said, I've come up with the current configuration on the AVA Direct website. (Unfortunately I cannot link to the actual configuration since it does not save for some reason but the following is a link to the page where I started in case you would like to configure it with my options and see other options available to me)

You can, however, look at the following configuration page which has all of the same parts which I chose in the AVA Direct configuration:

And finally, the system:
(Note all parts are linked to the site for quick viewing. Visiting the link above shows the actual lowest price for each item)

Parts I chose on the AVA Direct configuration page:

DESKTOP PC Core™ i7 / i5 Z87 Performance Custom Computer System $2024.09

Tower Cases:
FRACTAL DESIGN ARC XL Full Tower Case w/ Window, EATX, 9 Slots, No PSU, Plastic/Steel

Power Supplies:
SEASONIC M12II-650 Bronze 650W Power Supply w/ Modular Cables, 80 PLUS® Bronze, 24-pin ATX12V 2x EPS12V, 4x 8/6-pin PCIe, Retail

Socket 1150 Intel Z87 Chipset Desktop Motherboards:
ASUS Z87-PLUS, DDR3-3000 (O.C.) 32GB /4, PCIe x16 SLI CF /1+1*, SATA 6Gb/s RAID 5 /8, mini-DP + HDMI + DVI + VGA, USB 3.0 /6+2, HDA, GbLAN, ATX, Retail

Socket 1150 Haswell Desktop Processors:
INTEL Core™ i7-4770 Quad-Core 3.4 - 3.9GHz TB, HD Graphics 4600, LGA1150, 8MB L3 Cache, DDR3-1600, 22nm, 84W, EIST HT vPro VT-d VT-x XD, Retail

CPU Coolers:
Stock cooler

Thermal Compound:
ANTEC Formula 7 Nano Diamond Thermal Compound

DDR3-1600 Non-ECC DIMM Memory:
CRUCIAL 16GB (2 x 8GB) Ballistix Sport PC3-12800 DDR3 1600MHz CL9 (9-9-9-24) 1.5V SDRAM DIMM, Non-ECC

PCI Express x16 Video Cards:
EVGA GeForce® GTX 780 Superclocked w/ ACX Cooler 967-1020MHz, 3GB GDDR5 6008MHz, PCIe x16 SLI, DP + HDMI + 2x DVI, Retail

SATA Hard Drives:
SAMSUNG 500GB 840 EVO Series SSD, TLC Samsung MEX, 540/520 MB/s, SATA 6 Gb/s, 2.5-Inch 7mm, Retail

Storage Drives:
SEAGATE 1TB Barracuda®, SATA 6 Gb/s, 7200 RPM, 64MB cache

Storage Subsystem Configuration:
RAID No RAID, Independent HDD Drives

DVD Burner/Optical Drives:
LITE-ON iHAS124 Black 24x DVD±RW Dual-Layer Burner, SATA, OEM

Network Cards:

Sound Cards:

Operating Systems:
MICROSOFT Windows 8.1 64-bit Edition, OEM w/ Media
(though I am not completely sure if I want to go with windows 8.1 or windows 7 yet)

WARRANTY Silver Warranty Package (3 Year Limited Parts, 3 Year Labor Warranty)

So what are your thoughts on the above system. Is it stable, reliable and future proof? Any areas where you feel I could save money or swap things around? I've also made a post on the AVA Direct forums and received some responses which can be viewed at:

Thanks for reading and any recommendations, approvals, constructive criticism, etc. you may have!



As for my current system (if anyone is interested in what I am coming from), It was custom built with the help of a friend. It has been a great one but it is showing its signs of age. I got the feeling my computer was a bit outdated when my MB died about 3 years ago. I went to my local Fry's Electronics and they told me they only had "one" motherboard left in stock that had a 775 socket.

Operating System
Windows XP Professional 32-bit SP3
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 @ 2.40GHz 37 °C
Conroe 65nm Technology
4.00GB Dual-Channel DDR2 @ 400MHz (6-6-6-18)
MSI G41TM-E43 (MS-7592) (CPU 1) 37 °C
HP 2311 (1920x1080@60Hz)
512MB NVIDIA GeForce 7950 GT (EVGA) 57 °C
465GB Western Digital WDC WD5000AVDS-63U7B1 (SATA) 38 °C
189GB Maxtor 6L200M0 (SATA) 43 °C
465GB Seagate FreeAgentDesktop USB Device (USB (SATA))
Optical Drives
USB Audio Device
An old mid tower with window and 4 fans (not sure of the brand name)
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More about gaming rendering photoshop system build needed 2100 budget posting template included
  1. Hmm. Perhaps my post is a bit too detailed/long? Or is it just "out of view, out of mind"? I would definitely appreciate any recommendations on this build.


    In the world of PC gaming there is no such thing like not upgrading in a couple years, this build will last for about four years with games in maximum settings before you need to reduce the settings a little bit but just overclock if you need more performance. Anyway just choose between windows 7 or 8 and make sure it is 64-bit because 32-bit got some memory limitations (between Therese two OS though I prefer windows 7).
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