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First Time Builder! Building an upgradable gaming desktop with a $2,000-$3,000 budget.

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February 23, 2014 2:00:57 PM

This is my first time building a gaming desktop and I really need help picking parts that are compatible. I want a desktop that I will be able to upgrade when necessary down the road. Ideally, I would like to keep the final price within the $2,000 to $3,000 range, but I am willing to slightly go over if there is a big performance difference. Also, I would like to run games on the higher end of graphics settings.

Thank you in advance!

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a b 4 Gaming
February 23, 2014 2:16:10 PM

This was very fun for me to make;

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2YNef
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2YNef/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2YNef/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i7-4820K 3.7GHz Quad-Core Processor ($324.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Phanteks PH-TC12DX 68.5 CFM CPU Cooler ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus P9X79 ATX LGA2011 Motherboard ($243.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($142.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Crucial M500 240GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($133.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($87.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: PNY GeForce GTX 780 Ti 3GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($669.99 @ Microcenter)
Video Card: PNY GeForce GTX 780 Ti 3GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($669.99 @ Microcenter)
Case: NZXT Phantom (White) ATX Full Tower Case ($113.77 @ Mwave)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($19.98 @ OutletPC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 - 64-bit (OEM) (64-bit) ($99.97 @ OutletPC)
Total: $2547.63
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-02-23 17:15 EST-0500)
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February 23, 2014 2:22:19 PM

Hi EcoMCG!

Thank you for the quick response!

I looked at your part list and this warning came up:

"Some Intel X79 chipset motherboards may need a BIOS update prior to using Ivy Bridge-E CPUs."

Is this something I should be concerned about?

Thanks again!
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a b 4 Gaming
February 23, 2014 2:25:22 PM

pinkfreud said:
Hi EcoMCG!

Thank you for the quick response!

I looked at your part list and this warning came up:

"Some Intel X79 chipset motherboards may need a BIOS update prior to using Ivy Bridge-E CPUs."

Is this something I should be concerned about?

Thanks again!


You just need to update the BIOS there are tons of youtube videos on how to do that! ^_^
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February 23, 2014 2:31:44 PM

Awesome! I think that this is what I've been looking for.

Is there a set of tools/equipment that you would recommend having ready in order to begin with the building process?
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a b 4 Gaming
February 23, 2014 2:40:29 PM

pinkfreud said:
Awesome! I think that this is what I've been looking for.

Is there a set of tools/equipment that you would recommend having ready in order to begin with the building process?


Magnetic Screwdriver, Anti, Staic Wristband. ties for cables, a knife for opening boxes, and I think that it!
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February 23, 2014 3:00:56 PM

EcoMCG was right, this is super fun because a budget of up to 3000$ is overkill but will get you the best performance possible. So just to give you an option, ive made a list as well. I chose a lot of Asus parts because I trust them for quality.

PCPartPicker part list: http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/p/2YOVi
Price breakdown by merchant: http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/p/2YOVi/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/p/2YOVi/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i7-4820K 3.7GHz Quad-Core Processor ($355.00 @ Canada Computers)
CPU Cooler: Corsair H80 92.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($103.50 @ Vuugo)
Motherboard: Asus Sabertooth X79 ATX LGA2011 Motherboard ($329.99 @ Memory Express)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($160.98 @ Newegg Canada)
Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($105.98 @ Newegg Canada)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($84.99 @ Memory Express)
Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 780 Ti 3GB Video Card ($805.56 @ DirectCanada)
Case: NZXT Phantom (Black) ATX Full Tower Case ($149.99 @ Memory Express)
Power Supply: Corsair Professional 850W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($131.25 @ DirectCanada)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($18.50 @ Vuugo)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro (OEM) (64-bit) ($139.99 @ Canada Computers)
Monitor: Asus VG248QE 144Hz 24.0" Monitor ($294.79 @ DirectCanada)
Total: $2680.52
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-02-23 18:02 EST-0500)

Hope this helps, and have fun with the build! This should last you a very long time before youll need any sort of upgrading!

Edit:

(these prices are in Canadian dollars, so the build will definitely cost you less in the states)
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February 23, 2014 3:51:49 PM

Thanks EcoMCG! I will get all of these items while I wait for all of the parts to come in.

Thanks dempy19! I am now going to have a harder time deciding what to order now. Have you built a desktop with these specs? Have you had good results?
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February 23, 2014 4:16:29 PM

Well to be honest, EcoMCG put together a better computer for gaming because he has 2 video cards and saved on other parts. To defend my decision however, I put more money into a better cooling solution, and motherboard. everything else is pretty much the same. so to be quite honest get the parts from his list, however, I would change the Seagate barracuda to a western digital caviar black as they are more reliable.
Also, you would like windows 8.1 pro OEM rather than the non-pro version.

here is my setup, whish isn't as upgradeable as yours will be but it gives me amazing results as I play all games on ultra quality with very high framerates.

PCPartPicker part list: http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/p/2Xwog
Price breakdown by merchant: http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/p/2Xwog/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/p/2Xwog/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($254.99 @ NCIX)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($32.50 @ DirectCanada)
Motherboard: Asus MAXIMUS VI FORMULA ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($319.00 @ Canada Computers)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($89.79 @ DirectCanada)
Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($105.98 @ Newegg Canada)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($84.99 @ Memory Express)
Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 780 3GB Video Card ($567.00 @ Vuugo)
Case: Thermaltake VN300M1W2N ATX Full Tower Case ($149.99 @ Memory Express)
Power Supply: Corsair Professional 850W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($131.25 @ DirectCanada)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($18.50 @ Vuugo)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro (OEM) (64-bit) ($139.99 @ Canada Computers)
Monitor: Asus VG248QE 144Hz 24.0" Monitor ($294.79 @ DirectCanada)
Keyboard: Razer BlackWidow 2013 Wired Gaming Keyboard ($79.99 @ Canada Computers)
Mouse: Mad Catz R.A.T. 7 Wired Laser Mouse ($79.99 @ NCIX)
Total: $2348.75
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-02-23 19:01 EST-0500)

Also if you don't already have peripherals like a mouse, keyboard and monitor, I suggest leaving at least 400$ of your budget towards that. its up to you completely but there are ways to save some money on parts in the list which you can either save (money in your pocket is much better than money in other peoples pockets lol) or invest into other things like a second monitor or whatever your heart desires!
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February 23, 2014 5:40:16 PM

Would you recommend for me to get the parts that you listed for the cooling solution and the motherboard? I will definitely make a note of getting windows pro and the western digital caviar black.

I will also be sure to factor in those other $400.

Thanks for all of the help! Both you and EcoMCG!
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February 23, 2014 7:36:48 PM

its really up to you and what you would prefer, the cooling solution i provided is a closed-loop water cooler, where the Phanteks one EcoMCG posted is a really good air cooler. the air cooler will take up more space in your case and will definitely cause restrictions with your ram slots. also if you are going to overclock your cpu, which i would recommend, then the water cooler will do a better job keeping temperatures low.

as for the motherboard, the P9X79 only has 2 Sata 6gb's slots and to be able to connect everything youll have in the system plus upgrades in the future you will need much more. in which case i would scrap both suggestions and go for this one here:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

this motherboard not only looks amazing but has the most potential for future upgrades! It also comes with a wifi module that works amazing, and i know this because my motherboard came with it too, and i play all my games lagg free with super fast download and upload speeds. although you may want to connect a LAN cable, all up to your preferences.
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February 23, 2014 8:39:44 PM

ok so here is the build that includes both mine and EcoMCG's parts list. ive changed the video cards to the asus model which is the same price, but corresponds to the motherboard you already have (Asus motherboard with Asus GPU makes sense to me at least).

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2Z1DO
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2Z1DO/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2Z1DO/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i7-4820K 3.7GHz Quad-Core Processor ($324.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Corsair H100i 77.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($97.16 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Asus X79 DELUXE ATX LGA2011 Motherboard ($345.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($142.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 450 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($203.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital BLACK SERIES 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($149.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 780 Ti 3GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($699.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 780 Ti 3GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($699.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: NZXT Phantom (White) ATX Full Tower Case ($113.77 @ Mwave)
Power Supply: XFX ProSeries 1050W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($198.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($19.98 @ OutletPC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro (OEM) (64-bit) ($136.97 @ OutletPC)
Monitor: Asus VG248QE 144Hz 24.0" Monitor ($276.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Total: $3398.77
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-02-23 23:34 EST-0500)

As you can see however it is over your 3000$ budget and doesn't include a mouse and keyboard (those should be chosen by the user, you, since everyone has their own opinion on those but I would most certainly suggest getting a mechanical keyboard). An option that you really should consider is dropping one of the video cards for now, since one of these cards will max out every game out there right now and will lower your cost by 700$ making your total 2700$ after shipping and handling. I also bumped up the power supply to a 1000W one because the 850W one would be on the edge of being enough after getting another video card, so to be safe go for the 1000W one. The monitor included is the one I have and is really great for gaming and you can also upgrade it with g-sync and is 3-D capable, however, its completely up to you if you go for that one or another one!

All in all, this is a beast of a machine, definitely will produce the highest tier of performance and will last you a very long time!
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February 27, 2014 12:03:02 AM

Wow dempy19! Thank you so much!
This thread has really given me the final push to build my own desktop. I will stay in touch just in case I run into any problems since it is my first attempt.
Thanks EcoMCG as well!

It's nice to have such a friendly community on this site.
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February 27, 2014 3:13:56 PM

You're very welcome, be sure to let me know when youre done, id love to see the build once youve finished! good luck and happy gaming!

Just remember to choose the best answer so others with similar inquiries will know what helped you most :) 
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