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First Gaming Build -- Approx $1000 budget; graphics card / power supply help and part review?

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April 28, 2014 9:09:04 AM

Hey all! This is the first time I'm building a computer, so I really am incredibly inexperienced with what I am doing. My boyfriend, who is experienced with computer builds, said he would help me put everything together, but I'm trying to do the part selection leg work and whatnot more-or-less on my own so he isn't stuck doing everything.

This PC is going to be used extensively for gaming and digital art programs (and obviously just general use), though I don't really do much concerning 3D work. Primary art programs are Photoshop Elements and some lighter programs like PaintTool SAI, so I'm guessing that a decent gaming computer shouldn't have issues with that.

Approximate Purchase Date: As soon as possible. Once I finalize my part list I'm going to do a bit of price shopping, however

Budget Range: Max I want to spend is around $1000, though a little bit over I'm not too concerned about, and obviously anything under that is welcome.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Digital Art (no to very little 3D), Netflix, General Use

Are you buying a monitor: Might get a second one down the road, but for the time being I have one


Parts to Upgrade: None. Entirely new build

Do you need to buy OS: Yes. Likely getting Windows 8.1

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg.com, but I shop around a lot so I will likely be buying from the place with the best deal

Location: Erie, PA, USA

Parts Preferences: Going with an Intel CPU

Overclocking: Likely no. I'm just not really sure if I want to get into all that -- I don't play super competitively or anything, so it doesn't seem like something I really need.

SLI or Crossfire: Also likely no

Your Monitor Resolution: 1280x1024 / 1920x1080 / 1920x1200 (just to account for the fact I might want to go a bit bigger when I get a second monitor)

Additional Comments: I'm really looking for a build that will last for a bit as far as new games coming out and whatnot, and hopefully something that has some degree of upgrade capacity. Entire reason I'm going the gaming PC route is so I don't have to constantly upgrade my consoles, so yeah xD Also, I am really in to blue LEDs. That's probably a bit cheesy, but it's just an aesthetic thing I want.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: I'm currently gaming on a laptop. It doesn't do gaming very well xD


Currently Selected Parts:
  • Case: XION XON-985-BK Already purchased because I got it on sale for $50 a little while ago.
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-4670 or Intel Core i5-4670k From research, it seems the only difference between the two is that the 4670k model can be overclocked? If that's the case, I'm probably going to go with the regular 4670
  • Motherboard: Asus H87-Plus or Asus Z87-A Again, it seems the main difference is the ability for the Z87 to be overclocked?
  • Video Card: I'm completely open for suggestions here because I have no idea what I'm looking for and don't want to end up picking something that will be bottlenecked by the CPU or something
  • Memory: Crucial Ballistix Tactical 8GB was also looking at the Mushkin Enhanced STEALTH 8GB but it seems to lack any sort of warranty
  • Hard Drive: Seagate Hybrid Drive 1TB to start, then was looking at the Seagate Barracuda 2TB for further room
  • Power Supply: Again, I'm really not sure here seeing I keep reading horror stories of power supplies frying things and it being a lot more complicated than just picking a good brand and appropriate wattage.
  • Cooling: I think I'm probably going to have to replace the case fans (they are 3-pin, motherboard is 4-pin I believe), but it is it something I should just add to gradually, or should I go all in with the fans straight from the get-go?


  • Any help is most appreciated!
    April 28, 2014 9:17:52 AM

    GTX 770 or R9 280X
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    a b 4 Gaming
    April 28, 2014 10:03:46 AM

    i5 Build:

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-4570 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Newegg)
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H87-D3H ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($101.24 @ Amazon)
    Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($68.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($80.99 @ Amazon)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($56.98 @ OutletPC)
    Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 770 2GB TWIN FROZR Video Card ($319.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: Antec High Current Gamer 620W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($67.99 @ NCIX US)
    Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
    Total: $993.15
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-04-28 13:04 EDT-0400)

    XEON E3 Build:

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Xeon E3-1230 V3 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor ($244.99 @ Amazon)
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H87-D3H ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($101.24 @ Amazon)
    Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($68.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($80.99 @ Amazon)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($56.98 @ OutletPC)
    Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 770 2GB TWIN FROZR Video Card ($319.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: Antec High Current Gamer 620W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($67.99 @ NCIX US)
    Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
    Total: $1048.15
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-04-28 13:02 EDT-0400)

    The XEON is identical to the i7, but doesn't have integrated graphics and can't be overclocked, neither of which matter in this case. For an extra $50 you get double the threads, which would be helpful with longevity as games are starting to become multi-threaded, like BF4 for example.
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    Related resources
    April 28, 2014 10:04:40 AM

    Something like this: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/3A6QE

    Roughly around $915. Always look for the combo deals at newegg. None jumped out at me, but I didn't dig through everything. Nothing wrong with the Crucial RAM, but G.Skill is just as good and cheaper. I've been using it for years and never had a stick fail.
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    April 28, 2014 10:13:30 AM

    My case has 3 pin fans and mobo has 4 pin connectors, however they still plug in and work fine. It's clear to where to leave the open connector.
    I just recently purchased a i5-4670k with a asrock z87m extreme4 mobo for a total of 275$ from micro center. Just an FYI for what seems to be a cheaper price than elsewhere for that CPU.
    Think it's even cheaper if you go with an MSI mobo...
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    April 28, 2014 10:20:22 AM



    Derek06 said:
    My case has 3 pin fans and mobo has 4 pin connectors, however they still plug in and work fine. It's clear to where to leave the open connector.
    I just recently purchased a i5-4670k with a asrock z87m extreme4 mobo for a total of 275$ from micro center. Just an FYI for what seems to be a cheaper price than elsewhere for that CPU.
    Think it's even cheaper if you go with an MSI mobo...


    Unfortunately, she's about 7 hours from the nearest Microcenter.
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    April 28, 2014 10:22:50 AM

    I didn't use Microcenter in either of my builds.
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    April 28, 2014 10:25:01 AM

    Transmaniacon said:
    I didn't use Microcenter in either of my builds.


    That was in reply to Derek06. It grabbed your info when I quoted. I fixed it. :) 
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    April 28, 2014 10:31:27 AM

    No worries, I was hoping I didn't recheck it by accident in pcpartpicker
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    April 28, 2014 6:26:08 PM

    Thanks for the feedback, everyone =3 It was all really helpful. Upon some urging from a few friends of mine, I ended up going AMD rather than Intel because it's quite a bit cheaper in comparison, and this is what I ended up getting with that setup

    http://pcpartpicker.com/p/3AnFo

    Of course, any suggestions are still welcome. I feel like this may possibly be pretty solid aside from some tweaking though.
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    April 29, 2014 10:10:14 AM

    And you may want a bit faster of a hard drive. The green series is slow. Its the eco friendly version. You want at least 7200 RPM.
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    April 29, 2014 11:32:43 AM

    Mm, my boyfriend said to get a 750w psu just to ensure there's enough power there in the event I do decide to overclock and/or crossfire in the future and to ensure it can be easily used in future builds as well. Is XFX usually a decent brand? I was going with Corsair because they seem to be almost unanimously reliable.

    Would this be a better hard drive then? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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    Best solution

    April 29, 2014 12:28:40 PM

    For the price of that drive, get two of these: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    Or this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    I believe that XFX is made by Seasonic. Its a good one. If you're dead set on 750w for "just in case", look at Seasonic, Corsair TX series, XFX... There are others, but those are good.
    Share
    April 29, 2014 3:25:02 PM

    I'm staying away from Seagate. Pretty much everyone I've talked to around where I live have had horrible experiences with Seagate hard drives dying within five months. Believe me, I went to those first as a budget option, then was talking to a couple of buddies and the immediate response was "NOOOOOOOOOOOO". One guy has had three or four Seagate drives fail on him in that time frame. I'll see if I can find something a bit cheaper in the hard drive section in an alternate brand though.

    I think I'll pick up the Corsair TX. Pretty fair price going on Amazon. Thanks!
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