Need help with a $1000 Gaming and Excel PC

Hell everyone, this is my first post on Tom's Hardware! I'm looking to build a PC for a first time and I am feeling overwhelmed just reading how to assemble a PC, so I was hoping that some of you kind folks could help me out with the actual build.

Approximate Purchase Date: ASAP

Budget Range: $1000 - could stretch to $1200 if it will get me a lot more bang for my buck

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, heavy Excel for sophisticated fin'l models referencing large data sets, sometimes using Steam Big Picture to play some games on the TV, playback movies when connected to a TV.

Parts Not Required: Can ignore mouse, keyboard and monitor.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: No preference, but I've had good experience in the past. That said if I can save using other sites I'm more than happy to do so.

Country: USA - living in the Phoenix, AZ (Scottsdale) area

Parts Preferences: I want a case that is quiet, without any windows and neon lights. So maybe not a stereotypical gaming case. I also want the case to have some USB ports easily accessible from the front.

Overclocking: I'm kind of really scared of this, so no.

SLI or Crossfire: I want to build a PC that can crossfire/SLI, but do not necessarily want to buy the 2nd video card now. The idea is that in a year or two I can purchase the 2nd card relatively cheaply and extend the life of the PC for gaming purposes.

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1200 26 inches

Additional Comments: Thank you for your help! I really appreciate it. I play league of legends and path of exile, but I have avoided playing more graphically intense games because my computer was 7 years old and couldn't run other games at a level where it was even fun to play them. So unfortunately I can't really specify any games in particular that I want this machine to run.
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  1. Best answer
    [PCPartPicker part list]( / [Price breakdown by merchant]( / [Benchmarks](

    **CPU** | [Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor]( | $219.99 @ Newegg
    **Motherboard** | [Gigabyte GA-Z87X-D3H ATX LGA1150 Motherboard]( | $129.99 @ Newegg
    **Memory** | ( | $76.50 @ Newegg
    **Storage** | [Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive]( | $59.66 @ OutletPC
    **Video Card** | [Asus GeForce GTX 770 2GB Video Card]( | $330.98 @ Newegg
    **Case** | [Fractal Design Core 3000 USB 3.0 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case]( | $74.99 @ NCIX US
    **Power Supply** | [Corsair Enthusiast 850W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply]( | $99.99 @ Newegg
    **Optical Drive** | [Samsung SH-224DB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer]( | $16.98 @ OutletPC
    **Operating System** | [Microsoft Windows 8.1 - OEM (64-bit)]( | $99.98 @ OutletPC
    | | **Total**
    | Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available. | $1109.06
    | Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-01-27 01:04 EST-0500 |

    I went with the overclocking "K" version of the CPU just in case you get the bug and decide to overclock in the future. :)

    I also included a motherboard that is capable of SLI and a quality 850W PSU that will run two GTX 770 cards in SLI in the future.
  2. Thanks so much shortstuff! I'm going to leave this open maybe until tomorrow to see if anyone else wants to share some ideas too
  3. Any time. Good luck with the build!

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-4570 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($197.98 @ SuperBiiz)
    Motherboard: ASRock H87 Pro4 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($92.98 @ SuperBiiz)
    Memory: G.Skill Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($76.50 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.99 @ Newegg)
    Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 780 3GB Video Card ($505.91 @ Newegg)
    Case: BitFenix Shinobi Window ATX Mid Tower Case ($59.99 @ Newegg)
    Case Fan: BitFenix Spectre PWM 51.3 CFM 120mm Fan ($11.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA NEX750B BRONZE 750W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($59.99 @ NCIX US)
    Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($16.98 @ OutletPC)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($84.99 @ NCIX US)
    Total: $1146.35
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-01-27 02:20 EST-0500)
  5. Thanks for the response lucasz! Can you give me an idea of the trade-offs between this build and the one shortstuff posted?
  6. I can list the main differences.

    It saves $22 by going with the non-overclockable and slightly slower i5-4570 (3.2GHz - 3.6GHz) vs the i5-4670K (3.4GHz - 3.8GHz) CPU.

    The motherboard only has one PCI Express 3.0 x16 slot and is not capable of running multiple GPUs, so you wouldn't be able to run SLI in the future.

    The RAM is slightly slower (DDR3 1600 vs DDR3 1866).

    It includes a better GPU (GTX 780 vs GTX 770).

    The PSU does not provide enough power to support SLI.

    Windows 7 vs Windows 8.1. I prefer to use the newest OS at the time since it includes the latest DirectX version and optimizations for current hardware. I currently run Windows 8.1 on my personal machine and really like it. That decision is up to you.
  7. Sorry can't give you links of hardware I am sending this from a tab.
    So for this build I want you to go with intel i5 4670k, ($220)it really is a awesome pc for gaming and is best cpu for that price range,
    For cpu cooler I want you to go with cooler master hyper 212 evo ($30), as I have chosen k version it can be overclocked and for that cooler that comes with box is not enough .
    For mobo go with z87 chipset , either asus z87-a or asus z87-pro, I personally prefer asus and these two mobo would cost around $140 and have crossfire and sli.these will surely do well with haswell in gaming, if u get non k cpu don't buy z87 mobo instead get z77 cause. Think z87does not support non k.
    For memory get any ddr3 8gb with good speed less than $75
    Video card asus geforce 770 ($330), this gpu will surely play any latest games at max execpt some games like crysis 3 at very high to high.
    Power supply never cheap out on psu as it could damage other parts.get corsair ax75 ($150)
    For case it's always a personal preferrence.sorry for my grammar, as I told you I amsending this from tablet
  8. Thanks Taha! lucasxv, thanks for the input, but I definitely want to be able to SLI/crossfire. That case looks nice, though I don't want a window. Thanks for the explanation shortstuff
  9. Why not sort of combine the two builds? Get the 4570 (because you don't want to overclock) and get a new H87 motherboard that supports SLI (shouldn't be more expensive). Then get the RAM shortstuff suggested since it is the same price. Also get the 780 and a power supply that supports SLI later on.
  10. I'll just have to do the math and see how it fits into my budget, but that's what I was kind of considering as well. But overall I think I want to leave myself with options. So getting the K processor might be better for that reason. If I decide to overclock later I can figure it out then
  11. The thing that will give you the most performance will be the 780 over the 770, keep that in mind too.
  12. I think you could getaway with SLI at 750 watts as long as you don't OC anything. I think shortstuff's build will be the best for you and your excel spreadsheets. The extra processor and Ram power will be a godsend over the long run. The 770 will run games just fine and two of them in SLI is very good at 1080p. Go with his build. Maybe go with a 750 watt PSU if you have to save the extra money. But I believe the $ difference is negligible enough to keep the 850. Best of luck.
    Don't forget to pick a best answer. (I recommend shortstuff. He earned it ;))

    AND BTW a 780 is overkill for gaming on a budget, especially if you want to run SLI in the NEAR future. I have a single 780 and it is nice. But, it's overkill.
  13. Thanks for the help everyone! Now to start shopping
  14. Pacificstar said:
    Thanks for the help everyone! Now to start shopping

    Anytime. Come back if you need more help.
  15. Hah, I probably will
  16. DeltaRecon2552 said:
    Pacificstar said:
    Thanks for the help everyone! Now to start shopping

    Anytime. Come back if you need more help.

    So I finished the purchases. After accounting for delivery costs and a deal I found on OEM windows 8.1, I ended up buying everything from Newegg and getting the best price I could from them
  17. Good luck man! Have fun with that SLI! LOL. It should work out well for you.

    If you can, in the future, grab an SSD to run Windows and excel and a couple games. It'll cut the load times down a lot.
  18. Cool and good luck for your build :)
  19. Thanks! Can anyone tell me if it's OK that my screwdriver has a magnetic tip?
  20. You should be fine.
    That's all I use.
  21. Thanks again deltarecon! With regard to forum etiquette, is it OK for me to continue posting in this thread if I have further questions?
  22. Definitely. Or you can PM me. Which ever works.
  23. If I have all my parts but the OS, is it OK to assemble everything and then just wait until the OS arrives? Or should I just plan on doing it all at once.
  24. You can assemble everything to make sure you're able to access the BIOS and everything starts up like it should. If everything looks good you can enable the XMP profile for the RAM, make sure your drive(s) are all showing correctly in the BIOS, and check the CPU temp in the BIOS. Another thing you can do before the OS arrives is run Memtest86+ to test for RAM errors. Do an overnight test to fully test the RAM.
  25. Pretty much what he said. Unless you have a backup hard drive with an OS on it, your computer is very limited.
  26. ZOMG, I got worried when I read XMP profile because I had never heard of it before. I had to google what that means. So having read that it means I can overclock the RAM, should I do so? What are the benefits of doing so, and are there any downsides? Or do you mean I have to go into the BIOS and set the speed of the RAM to 1866?

    ... Does what I said even make sense?

    Here's a link to the newegg page for the RAM:

    Memtest+ webpage is a giant wall of text. I'll have to do some reading figure out how to run it
  27. The RAM will likely run at 1600MHz until you enable the XMP profile. The RAM is rated to run at 1866MHz, but you will need to enable the XMP profile before it runs at that speed. It's not overclocking the RAM, it's just getting it to run at its rated speeds. It's perfectly safe and what XMP profiles are meant for.

    For Memtest86+ you download a file, create a bootable disk/drive from the file, and boot the system from the disk/drive. The test starts automatically when you boot from the disk. From the main page click on "Download (Pre-built & ISOs)" and pick the file you want to use. If you will be using a CD then you can download the "Download - Pre-Compiled Bootable ISO (.zip)" file. If you will be using a USB drive then choose the "Download - Auto-installer for USB Key (Win 9x/2k/xp/7)" file. Those are all under the "** Memtest86+ V5.01 (27/09/2013)**" heading.
  28. Thanks shortstuff, I know I shouldn't feel so intimidated by this all but whenever I see some acronym that I don't know I just get nervous haha.
  29. So I just realized the case I bought (which shortstuff recommended) has an intake on the bottom for the PSU. However, I have carpets in my home. Do you guys think it'll be OK if I put it on a large piece of cardboard until I can get some kind of proper platform under it? I'm kinda thinking it'll be fine as long as I clean the filter fairly often
  30. It will be fine to do that. Having the system on the floor isn't ideal, but it will be fine until you get something else. Like you said, just make sure to clean the filter often.
  31. Thanks! I'm going to assemble everything tonight and see if I can get to BIOS, and install windows tomorrow when it arrives and do the memory check
  32. Good luck!
  33. Is it supposed to be kind of difficult to screw in the mobo standoffs? I can't seem to get them all the way down with just my fingers
  34. Nevermind, my screwdriver with replaceable head has one that fits over the standoffs perfectly and now i'm screwing them in with 0 problems
  35. All my fan headers on my motherboard are 4 pin, however all my fan plugs are 3 pin. Any suggestions on what I should do?
  36. The 3-pin fans will plug in to the 4-pin connectors with no problem. They are keyed, so they should only go on one way.
  37. Thanks shortstuff One more question for you, does it matter which SATA connector I connect my HD and optical drive? The manual doesn't seem to say anything in particular, so I am planning on connect HD to 0 and optical to 1
  38. That sounds just fine. It doesn't really matter since you can set the boot options in the BIOS, but I always plug my main system HDD to the SATA 0 port.
  39. for the tiny plugs (HD activity light, reset switch, power LED, etc) red wires are positive and white wires are negative right? That's the case for the power LED which are separated. The others are stuck together in pairs.
  40. Yes, I believe that's right. Different case manufacturers sometimes use different colors. It doesn't really hurt anything to hook them up backwards. If the lights don't work then reverse them and they should work.
  41. Huzzah, I am done! Thank you so much for your help shortstuff. It took me a really long time for this first build, partly because I was trying to manage the cables well (I may have failed still), and partly because I got nervous over silly things. Still, I booted up no problem and got to the UEFI, and was able to turn on XMG mode for the memory and I think it automatically picked up the timing and speed of the memory. Tomorrow my windows 8.1 arrives, and I'm very excited! Still need to test all the ports, but I think things are working well. I don't really have any usb 3.0 devices to test but the regular USB on the front and back seem to be working with no problems.
  42. Awesome! Nice work! It's a great feeling to see something you hand-picked and built come to life. I'm sure you'll enjoy the system for a long time. It's a very nice system. Careful, computer building is very addictive. :)
  43. shortstuff_mt said:
    Awesome! Nice work! It's a great feeling to see something you hand-picked and built come to life. I'm sure you'll enjoy the system for a long time. It's a very nice system. Careful, computer building is very addictive. :)

    Amen to the last sentence!
  44. Thanks again guys!
  45. I've been craving a good build lately, but I've built such high quality systems for all my friends and family members the systems never die. Even the system I build for my mother-in-law over 7 years ago is going strong, and that's with a 1GHz overclock on the CPU. :) I'm not really in the business of building and re-selling systems any more, but I might just have to put a build together to satisfy my craving. ;)
  46. Hahaha, my last computer I kept for 7 years. It might be the same for this one, it depends on how busy I get/how much free time I have as I get older
  47. Hi everyone! My buddy is looking to put something similar together with around the same budget. The only difference is that he prefers an SSD over a spinning disk. Has anything changed materially in the last 6 months, that he shouldn't just try to adjust my build?
  48. The new Z97 and H97 motherboards have been released along with the Haswell Refresh CPUs. SSDs are good for boot up devices but I wouldn't recommend using them for mass storage/media since they are still quite expensive.
  49. Thanks Numanator. He's going to be using it JUST as a gaming machine, and probably won't bother to keep more than 1 or 2 games installed on it at any given time. I guess that's just a decision he'll need to make on his own.

    Can you recommend a good resource for mobos/CPU's? Or if he wants to go cheaper is the refresh an opportunity for him to get some deals?
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