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Gaming build suggestions ($2000-$2500 budget)

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April 29, 2014 4:30:14 PM


I'm looking to build a desktop gaming PC (I've been a laptop user for about 10 years now, and I've finally come into enough money to get myself a gaming PC) and I really need some build suggestions, since I'm pretty lost when it comes to what parts are best. I'm new to all this, but I want to learn.

Approximate Purchase Date: Either this week, next week, or sometime this month (if I can figure out what parts to get).

Budget Range: $2000-$2500

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, watching movies, digital art, internet browsing

Are you buying a monitor: Yes

Do you need to buy OS: Yes

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Whichever site has the cheapest

Location: St Albans, Victoria, Australia

Overclocking: I don't think I'll be overclocking

SLI or Crossfire: I don't think I'll need this

Your Monitor Resolution: I don't know much about resolution to be honest, since I've been using this same laptop for eternity, I just know I want to be able to play 720p and (preferably) 1080p movies, and games at max settings without frying anything. I don't want a massive monitor, though, since a really big monitor is a hindrance to my general computer usage (and two monitors is out of the question at the moment).

Additional Comments: I'm not interested in playing games like Crysis or Battlefield or COD. I mostly want to play games like the Assassin's Creed franchise, MMOrpgs like Guild Wars 2 and Secret World at max settings, The Morrowind franchise, The Witcher franchise, and the Bioshock franchise. I'd really like to be able to play future games, too. I want my computer to last a few good years without urgently needing to upgrade anything.

I don't need a mouse or a keyboard, but I'm also looking for a good set of speakers that won't sound too tinny or too heavy on the bass.

I hope all that's helpful enough.
April 29, 2014 4:50:10 PM

For that price range I would hold off a few more months. Unless you want it right now, I needed a new PC and planned on spending 2k+ until I looked into everything that is suppose to drop this year and decided to go with a budget build to hold me off, except I spent like 300 on a custom water loop and got the NZXT H440.
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a b 4 Gaming
April 29, 2014 4:55:52 PM

I think this would be best for your needs:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($269.00 @ PCCaseGear)
Motherboard: ASRock Z87 Extreme4 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($189.00 @ PCCaseGear)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($99.00 @ PCCaseGear)
Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.00 @ Mwave Australia)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($67.00 @ CPL Online)
Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 770 2GB DirectCU II Video Card ($429.00 @ Mwave Australia)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower Case ($148.00 @ CPL Online)
Power Supply: Antec High Current Gamer 620W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($118.00 @ CPL Online)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($115.00 @ CPL Online)
Monitor: Asus VE248H 24.0" Monitor ($188.00 @ CPL Online)
Total: $1721.00
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-04-30 09:50 EST+1000)

The monitor is 24", if you want there are quite a few 21.5" monitors that display 1080p also (for less $$).
-CPU- The i5 is perfect for gaming, i7 is not needed but if you wanted it, it would be an extra $100
-GPU- Gtx 770 should be able to play the Witcher 3 Beautifully when it comes out (the most graphically intensive game on your list)
-RAM- 8gb is enough, 16gb is overkill and can be added on easily in the future.
-CASE- The case is typically personal preference, The fractal R4 is quiet and has good airflow but you can pick out a different one. Try to stick with Corsair, Coolermaster, Fractal Design, and NZXT for good quality cases.
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a b 4 Gaming
April 29, 2014 5:01:11 PM

Mortiwrath said:
For that price range I would hold off a few more months. Unless you want it right now, I needed a new PC and planned on spending 2k+ until I looked into everything that is suppose to drop this year and decided to go with a budget build to hold me off, except I spent like 300 on a custom water loop and got the NZXT H440.


You could hold off while waiting for the new intel processors to release (should be in 1-2 months) but I wouldn't hold my breath for the new GPUs since we don't have a release date for those. Regardless, its not like the i5-4670k is going to become obsolete all of a sudden. If you keep waiting for the next new thing in tech, you will never get anything :) 
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April 29, 2014 6:00:11 PM

numanator said:
Mortiwrath said:
For that price range I would hold off a few more months. Unless you want it right now, I needed a new PC and planned on spending 2k+ until I looked into everything that is suppose to drop this year and decided to go with a budget build to hold me off, except I spent like 300 on a custom water loop and got the NZXT H440.


You could hold off while waiting for the new intel processors to release (should be in 1-2 months) but I wouldn't hold my breath for the new GPUs since we don't have a release date for those. Regardless, its not like the i5-4670k is going to become obsolete all of a sudden. If you keep waiting for the next new thing in tech, you will never get anything :) 


Yea that's why I said if he wants it now go for it but new processor would mean new mobo ect. So holding off may be worth if he has a rig now.
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April 29, 2014 6:30:45 PM

CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($326.98 @ SuperBiiz)
CPU Cooler: NZXT Kraken X60 98.3 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($119.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus Maximus VI Extreme ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($373.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: Corsair Dominator Platinum 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($199.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Seagate 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Hybrid Internal Hard Drive ($111.09 @ Amazon)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 780 3GB Superclocked ACX Video Card ($499.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: NZXT Phantom 820 (Black) ATX Full Tower Case ($219.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: SeaSonic X Series 850W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($148.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B3ST/BLK/G/AS DVD/CD Writer ($25.10 @ NCIX US)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
Monitor: Asus VG248QE 144Hz 24.0" Monitor ($269.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $2372.09
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
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April 29, 2014 6:41:27 PM

Mortiwrath said:
numanator said:
Mortiwrath said:
For that price range I would hold off a few more months. Unless you want it right now, I needed a new PC and planned on spending 2k+ until I looked into everything that is suppose to drop this year and decided to go with a budget build to hold me off, except I spent like 300 on a custom water loop and got the NZXT H440.


You could hold off while waiting for the new intel processors to release (should be in 1-2 months) but I wouldn't hold my breath for the new GPUs since we don't have a release date for those. Regardless, its not like the i5-4670k is going to become obsolete all of a sudden. If you keep waiting for the next new thing in tech, you will never get anything :) 


Yea that's why I said if he wants it now go for it but new processor would mean new mobo ect. So holding off may be worth if he has a rig now.


How much more expensive do you think the new processors would be?
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April 29, 2014 6:49:16 PM

Welcome to the desktop gaming world, where everything is cheaper than laptops!
You can get a really nice build bor under $1500, and if you plan on spending $2000+ without overclocking, then you can aim for nVidia 780ti.

I wouldn't recomemnd i7-4770k, just get the i5-4670k, or even better, some non-k i5. This will save you some $ on the MOBO as well, because you would be going with B85 instead of Z87. As for memory, I would choose 1866MT/s, 8gb is enough but you can have 16gb (it's not very expensive).
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April 30, 2014 3:43:44 PM

numanator said:
I think this would be best for your needs:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($269.00 @ PCCaseGear)
Motherboard: ASRock Z87 Extreme4 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($189.00 @ PCCaseGear)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($99.00 @ PCCaseGear)
Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.00 @ Mwave Australia)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($67.00 @ CPL Online)
Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 770 2GB DirectCU II Video Card ($429.00 @ Mwave Australia)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower Case ($148.00 @ CPL Online)
Power Supply: Antec High Current Gamer 620W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($118.00 @ CPL Online)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($115.00 @ CPL Online)
Monitor: Asus VE248H 24.0" Monitor ($188.00 @ CPL Online)
Total: $1721.00
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-04-30 09:50 EST+1000)

The monitor is 24", if you want there are quite a few 21.5" monitors that display 1080p also (for less $$).
-CPU- The i5 is perfect for gaming, i7 is not needed but if you wanted it, it would be an extra $100
-GPU- Gtx 770 should be able to play the Witcher 3 Beautifully when it comes out (the most graphically intensive game on your list)
-RAM- 8gb is enough, 16gb is overkill and can be added on easily in the future.
-CASE- The case is typically personal preference, The fractal R4 is quiet and has good airflow but you can pick out a different one. Try to stick with Corsair, Coolermaster, Fractal Design, and NZXT for good quality cases.


What about Hitman Absolution, or Watch Dogs when it comes out? Do you think it could play those? While I'm not interested in some FPS like the ones I mentioned in my original post, I still don't want to limit myself to what games I can play just in case I end up getting interested in something similar that's graphically intense.
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a b 4 Gaming
April 30, 2014 4:27:59 PM

So the parts that would effect your graphics most is the CPU and GPU. The gtx 770 is a high end GPU, there are only 2 better than it in Nvidia's lineup and those go for $600 AUD and $840 AUD but the extra performance is not really worth the extra price for playing on a single monitor. Basically the gtx 770 is the best video card pricewise and performance wise for playing on a single 1080p monitor. The gtx 780 is better but not really worth the extra you would pay for it unless you were playing across 3 screens or at 1440p.

In short, the gtx 770 rocks, would play Hitman Absolution at max settings.

In regards to Watchdogs, we won't know for sure untill it is released but I can guarantee at least High settings. Their released recommended specs seem a bit far fetched since it posts that an i7 is recommended but we will not know untill it is released if it actually takes advantage of the i7 hyperthreading or if it just will get 1-2 FPS more than the i5 like most games.
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a b 4 Gaming
April 30, 2014 4:35:20 PM

If you wanted to "future proof" a bit or go a little overkill, this build would be good:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($389.00 @ CPL Online)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler ($88.00 @ CPL Online)
Motherboard: ASRock Z87 Extreme4 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($189.00 @ CPL Online)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($99.00 @ CPL Online)
Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.00 @ Mwave Australia)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($67.00 @ CPL Online)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 780 3GB WINDFORCE Video Card ($619.00 @ PCCaseGear)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower Case ($148.00 @ CPL Online)
Power Supply: Antec High Current Gamer 620W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($118.00 @ CPL Online)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($115.00 @ CPL Online)
Monitor: Asus VE248H 24.0" Monitor ($188.00 @ CPL Online)
Total: $2119.00
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-05-01 09:33 EST+1000)

I wanted to throw a Asus Maximus IV Hero motherboard in here too but it was posted as $330 AUD (o_O)
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April 30, 2014 5:20:59 PM

numanator said:
If you wanted to "future proof" a bit or go a little overkill, this build would be good:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($389.00 @ CPL Online)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler ($88.00 @ CPL Online)
Motherboard: ASRock Z87 Extreme4 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($189.00 @ CPL Online)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($99.00 @ CPL Online)
Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.00 @ Mwave Australia)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($67.00 @ CPL Online)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 780 3GB WINDFORCE Video Card ($619.00 @ PCCaseGear)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower Case ($148.00 @ CPL Online)
Power Supply: Antec High Current Gamer 620W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($118.00 @ CPL Online)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($115.00 @ CPL Online)
Monitor: Asus VE248H 24.0" Monitor ($188.00 @ CPL Online)
Total: $2119.00
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-05-01 09:33 EST+1000)

I wanted to throw a Asus Maximus IV Hero motherboard in here too but it was posted as $330 AUD (o_O)


Thanks for your help. Are there any hard drives with more storage? I wouldn't mind paying extra for more storage. I'd like a minimum of 2TB if I can.

Do you think it'd be worth waiting for the new processors, though? I don't mind waiting 2 months.
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a b 4 Gaming
April 30, 2014 5:36:15 PM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($389.00 @ CPL Online)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($39.00 @ Mwave Australia)
Motherboard: MSI Z87-G43 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($149.00 @ PCCaseGear)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($95.00 @ PCCaseGear)
Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.00 @ Mwave Australia)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($99.00 @ PCCaseGear)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 780 3GB WINDFORCE Video Card ($579.00 @ PCCaseGear)
Case: Corsair 200R ATX Mid Tower Case ($85.00 @ PCCaseGear)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 650W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($145.44 @ Mwave Australia)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NSB0 DVD/CD Writer ($21.00 @ Mwave Australia)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($115.00 @ CPL Online)
Monitor: Asus VE248H 24.0" Monitor ($188.00 @ CPL Online)
Total: $2003.44
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-05-01 10:36 EST+1000)
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a b 4 Gaming
April 30, 2014 5:43:09 PM

I don't think there will be too much of a difference between the new cpus and the ones currently out. Just read up on them real quick and looks like they will just be a refresh of the existing cpus, so the i7-4770k would be replaced with a i7-4790k, not really a new generation, just new marketing IMO, supposed to be clocked 100-200 Mhz higher. It would be up to you if you want to wait or not.

There are plenty of hard drives with more storage.

If you want lots of space this would work:

Storage: Seagate Barracuda 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($104.99 @ NCIX US)
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May 2, 2014 2:57:12 AM

numanator said:
I don't think there will be too much of a difference between the new cpus and the ones currently out. Just read up on them real quick and looks like they will just be a refresh of the existing cpus, so the i7-4770k would be replaced with a i7-4790k, not really a new generation, just new marketing IMO, supposed to be clocked 100-200 Mhz higher. It would be up to you if you want to wait or not.

There are plenty of hard drives with more storage.

If you want lots of space this would work:

Storage: Seagate Barracuda 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($104.99 @ NCIX US)


Okay, thanks. I decided not to wait, but I have a question about video cards:

You suggested the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 780 3GB WINDFORCE Video Card, and someone else further up suggested the EVGA GeForce GTX 780 3GB Superclocked ACX Video Card.

Completely disregarding price, which is the better video card? I've done some reading through other threads and I saw people mention an r9 280x card, too. Is that any better than the other two?
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a b 4 Gaming
May 2, 2014 3:08:19 AM

They are the same graphics chip (made by Nvidia) with the fans/cooling being added on by different companies(EVGA, Asus, Gigabyte, etc.). Personally, my most trusted brands are EVGA and Asus for graphics cards, then gigabyte, then sapphire, then the rest. Usually there will be small differences in terms of what speeds the card is initially set to run at depending on how the manufacturers set them up. Either one would be fine but I would personally get the EVGA or Asus if the price difference isn't too much more (last card I owned was an Asus, current card is an EVGA, Never had problems with either one. Both are also known for their good customer support when something is wrong)
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May 2, 2014 3:17:28 AM

numanator said:
They are the same graphics chip (made by Nvidia) with the fans/cooling being added on by different companies(EVGA, Asus, Gigabyte, etc.). Personally, my most trusted brands are EVGA and Asus for graphics cards, then gigabyte, then sapphire, then the rest. Usually there will be small differences in terms of what speeds the card is initially set to run at depending on how the manufacturers set them up. Either one would be fine but I would personally get the EVGA or Asus if the price difference isn't too much more (last card I owned was an Asus, current card is an EVGA, Never had problems with either one. Both are also known for their good customer support when something is wrong)


So would you suggest the EVGA over the Gigabyte card then? (just saw you said you'd get the EVGA if the price difference wasn't much more - disregard that)

Another video card question: disregarding price, should I go GTX 780 or GTX 780Ti? I read that the Ti should be able to play Watch Dogs at max settings, and I'm willing to throw down extra money on it if it'll make a difference in what I can play, but I'm only going to be using one monitor so I don't know if it's worth it for one monitor?

Also, you mentioned how you wanted to throw an Asus Maximus IV Hero motherboard in but it was a bit too pricey so you didn't; once again, disregarding price, would you say the Asus Maximus IV Hero motherboard is better than the ASRock Z87 Extreme4 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard?
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a b 4 Gaming
May 2, 2014 12:45:48 PM

The 780 ti is better than any other single card, but in comparison to the gtx 780 the performance increase is not that large compared to the price. The 780 ti is about 13% stronger for $250-300 more, which IMO is not worth the extra money. If the gtx 780 can't play watchdogs at ultra (i highly doubt that it can't) then it would pretty much mean that they programmed the game so that almost noone can play it at ultra (like crysis does when it first comes out). Price/performance wise I don't feel the 780 ti is worth the extra over the 780.

Here are some BF4 benchmarks that show the difference between the 2 cards: http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/graphics/2013/11/27/ba...

At ultra the ti is getting about 10 fps more on average (BF4 is a good comparison tool since it is one of the mose graphically adn cpu intensive games out now).

For the maximus hero, it has more features, is better for overclocking, has great sound quality. In the end everything comes down to price though, the Maximus Hero was alsmot 2x more than the extreme 4, which probably isn't worth it.
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May 2, 2014 4:19:06 PM

numanator said:
The 780 ti is better than any other single card, but in comparison to the gtx 780 the performance increase is not that large compared to the price. The 780 ti is about 13% stronger for $250-300 more, which IMO is not worth the extra money. If the gtx 780 can't play watchdogs at ultra (i highly doubt that it can't) then it would pretty much mean that they programmed the game so that almost noone can play it at ultra (like crysis does when it first comes out). Price/performance wise I don't feel the 780 ti is worth the extra over the 780.

Here are some BF4 benchmarks that show the difference between the 2 cards: http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/graphics/2013/11/27/ba...

At ultra the ti is getting about 10 fps more on average (BF4 is a good comparison tool since it is one of the mose graphically adn cpu intensive games out now).

For the maximus hero, it has more features, is better for overclocking, has great sound quality. In the end everything comes down to price though, the Maximus Hero was alsmot 2x more than the extreme 4, which probably isn't worth it.


Great, thanks! I'm guessing the 780 will hold up for at least two years and a better card might be out by then anyway, right?

What are the AMD Radeon cards like, though? Do you like AMD or not? I read that some people say the 290x is noisy/runs hot.

If the Maximus Hero has more features and better sound quality then I'm going with that even if it is 2x more expensive, since sound is pretty important to me.
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