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Seeking Help Completing an Affordable Gaming Build - Case, PSU & GPU

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July 8, 2014 11:25:43 AM

I’m a second-time poster now seeking advice on an affordable gaming build after building an HTPC about a year and a half ago. I'm coming off a 3.5 year old first generation i7 laptop with an HD5650, so anything will seem like a big step up. With that said, I'd like to build something with legs so that I'm not building something completely new in another 3-4 years. As I'm not a hardcore gamer, maybe something where I could drop in a 2nd GPU in about 2-3 years to extend this build for another 2-3 years.

Why Are You Upgrading: Laptop is running slow, slow, slow! Even after reinstalling Windows 7. The hard drive is probably about to crash, and it has always had overheating issues when running dual monitors anyway.

Approximate Purchase Date: This week. Today if possible. I'd like to build on Saturday.

Budget Range: Shooting for around $1000, but I'll extend another $100 to $150 to meet my goals. I generally don't trust rebates, so the less of those the better. I've already spent $768 and saved about $140 on coupons/codes alone depending on the day you compare.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Work Productivity (primarily MS Office with limited use of Adobe CS4), Storage of Personal Files

Are you buying a monitor: No

Parts to Upgrade: I'm completely comfortable with most of the components that I've already purchased, but I'd appreciate help on these last few items: Case, Power Supply, and GPU (maybe).

Do you need to buy OS: No

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg & TigerDirect for free 2-day shipping without tax, Micro Center (about 10 minutes away), and Amazon free 2-day shipping with tax

Location: Northern Virginia, US

Overclocking: Maybe (Probably in the near future, but not a big priority today)

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe (in a couple of years as noted above)

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 (I have 2 screens, but will just game on 1 for now)

Parts Preferences:
Overall: Intel & Nvidia (but I could be persuaded to go AMD on the graphics)
Case: Durable but not ridiculously heavy ATX Mid Tower. Style that's either classic but contemporary (like the Fractal Arc Midi R2 or Corsair 400R) or leans artistic but not too gamer (like the NZXT Phantom 410). Strongly prefer 2 USB3.0 ports on the front panel; fan control on front panel a plus; fan LED control on front a plus.
Power Supply: Semi or fully modular with a 80+ Gold or Platinum rating required. Hoping for enough wattage to grow with me; maybe in the ballpark of 750W? I have no idea how much extra wattage overclocking does or doesn't pull.
GPU: I've already purchased an EVGA GTX 760 w/ ACR, but I'm reconsidering a GTX770 if I could find one below $300 by a reputable company. It seems like there is enough of a performance jump between the 2 to make a $50-60 bump worth it for now, and in a couple of years, 2 770s in SLI would be much more powerful than 2 760s, no? I've heard great things about EVGA, and their prices correspond to the reputation. What other companies are good? I've never bought a video card before.

Purchased Parts:

CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz Quad-Core
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD3H-BK ATX LGA1150
Memory: G.Skill Sniper Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866
Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5" SSD
GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 760 2GB Dual Superclocked ACX (could return for a 770 as mentioned above)

Parts to Purchase:

Case: I'm strongly considering the Corsair 400R
Power Supply: No clue. EVGA SuperNOVA NEX 750W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply?
GPU: Any GTX 770 recommendations?

Full proposed build including future CPU Cooler and HHD @ PCPartPicker
July 8, 2014 11:36:21 AM

I would look at the r9 280x, better performance (generally) than the 770, has 3GB of RAM so you don't have to worry about hitting that limit at 1080p, and is cheaper. They just dropped the prices down.

I would get a 750W or 850W PSU if you do plan on going SLI/crossfire in the future.
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July 8, 2014 11:44:06 AM

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/69LD7P
Here is my 2 cents. 280x, legit 750w single rail PSU, R4 case. Cool and Quiet. Classic look. And WD black have not been proven faster for gaming. Went with a blue.
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July 8, 2014 12:41:12 PM

Gorgonzer said:
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/69LD7P
Here is my 2 cents. 280x, legit 750w single rail PSU, R4 case. Cool and Quiet. Classic look. And WD black have not been proven faster for gaming. Went with a blue.


What are you considering a legit PSU? Just a good brand like Seasonic or Corsair?

I'm more interested in the 5 year warranty on the WD Black than the speed, but I've considered the Blue.

Have you used the R4? I'm curious as to whether the front panel limits air flow.
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July 8, 2014 12:46:47 PM

I bought myself an inexpensive reference r9 290 a couple of weeks ago, then spent under $100 on after market water cooling (super simple) with the Kraken G10 bracket, Corsair H55, and copper vrm/vram heatsinks. I previously owned a r9 280x, and this upgrade was well worth it to me.

As for the case, I think the one you're thinking of would do you well. And as long as you've got a good branded 750w+ PSU, you're in the clear.

EDIT: After doing math, you're down to about $350 for a case, psu, and gpu? If that's the case,
Corsair CX750 ($90 ($80 w/ JUCPR10 promo code on Newegg))
Radeon 270x ($200)
$60 remaining for a decent mid-atx case. I use the CM 431 Elite, for $60. Which would fit perfectly.
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July 8, 2014 12:50:58 PM

Yes I have one. The venting up the sides of the front of the case is more than enough for the fans installed. Have seen 240mm radiators mounted in front as well. Just for reference.
Im not a big proponent of mulit-rail PSU's. If you have all the power available through 1 rail, nothing will be power starved as all the power is available to all components. A multi-rail will only allow a fixed amount of power to run through each. The one on your original list is a 4 rail at 20a max. Where as the one i suggested is single rail at 62a.
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July 8, 2014 12:59:13 PM

KyleADunn said:
EDIT: After doing math, you're down to about $350 for a case, psu, and gpu? If that's the case,
Corsair CX750 ($90 ($80 w/ JUCPR10 promo code on Newegg))
Radeon 270x ($200)
$60 remaining for a decent mid-atx case. I use the CM 431 Elite, for $60. Which would fit perfectly.


I've already bought a GPU which I would take back if I got a more powerful one, so I'm really at about $485 left for a case, psu and gpu.
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July 8, 2014 1:01:07 PM

Gorgonzer said:
Yes I have one. The venting up the sides of the front of the case is more than enough for the fans installed. Have seen 240mm radiators mounted in front as well. Just for reference.
Im not a big proponent of mulit-rail PSU's. If you have all the power available through 1 rail, nothing will be power starved as all the power is available to all components. A multi-rail will only allow a fixed amount of power to run through each. The one on your original list is a 4 rail at 20a max. Where as the one i suggested is single rail at 62a.


Thanks for the clarification on the PSU. Seems that a more powerful single rail is actually required to provide the necessary amps to the GPU anyway.
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July 8, 2014 1:02:58 PM

Urbanitus said:
KyleADunn said:
EDIT: After doing math, you're down to about $350 for a case, psu, and gpu? If that's the case,
Corsair CX750 ($90 ($80 w/ JUCPR10 promo code on Newegg))
Radeon 270x ($200)
$60 remaining for a decent mid-atx case. I use the CM 431 Elite, for $60. Which would fit perfectly.


I've already bought a GPU which I would take back if I got a more powerful one, so I'm really at about $485 left for a case, psu and gpu.


Oh, good! Then I'd suggest the SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X r9 280x ($340) which is one of the best, if not best, models of the card for cooling and OCing. It also comes with $150 in games, 3 games at most, free with purchase from Newegg.

The $80 psu I recommended (which is 62a on single 12v rail) plus a moderate case would fit your budget perfectly.
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Best solution

July 8, 2014 1:37:01 PM

Urbanitus said:
Gorgonzer said:
Yes I have one. The venting up the sides of the front of the case is more than enough for the fans installed. Have seen 240mm radiators mounted in front as well. Just for reference.
Im not a big proponent of mulit-rail PSU's. If you have all the power available through 1 rail, nothing will be power starved as all the power is available to all components. A multi-rail will only allow a fixed amount of power to run through each. The one on your original list is a 4 rail at 20a max. Where as the one i suggested is single rail at 62a.


Thanks for the clarification on the PSU. Seems that a more powerful single rail is actually required to provide the necessary amps to the GPU anyway.


Correct. http://pcpartpicker.com/p/Z4bjBm This will get all 3 of your remaining items under budget. FYI the corsair CX PSU's are problematic and are not to be trusted. The high end ones HX,AX,TX are solid.
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July 8, 2014 3:32:04 PM

KyleADunn said:
Urbanitus said:
KyleADunn said:
EDIT: After doing math, you're down to about $350 for a case, psu, and gpu? If that's the case,
Corsair CX750 ($90 ($80 w/ JUCPR10 promo code on Newegg))
Radeon 270x ($200)
$60 remaining for a decent mid-atx case. I use the CM 431 Elite, for $60. Which would fit perfectly.


I've already bought a GPU which I would take back if I got a more powerful one, so I'm really at about $485 left for a case, psu and gpu.


Oh, good! Then I'd suggest the SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X r9 280x ($340) which is one of the best, if not best, models of the card for cooling and OCing. It also comes with $150 in games, 3 games at most, free with purchase from Newegg.

The $80 psu I recommended (which is 62a on single 12v rail) plus a moderate case would fit your budget perfectly.


I guess if y'all are already proposing 280Xs between $320-$340 then I should just go ahead and buy a 290 at $360.

EDIT: Although the 290 only has a 2 year warranty while the suggested XFX 280X has a lifetime warranty...
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July 8, 2014 3:53:20 PM

Urbanitus said:
KyleADunn said:
Urbanitus said:
KyleADunn said:
EDIT: After doing math, you're down to about $350 for a case, psu, and gpu? If that's the case,
Corsair CX750 ($90 ($80 w/ JUCPR10 promo code on Newegg))
Radeon 270x ($200)
$60 remaining for a decent mid-atx case. I use the CM 431 Elite, for $60. Which would fit perfectly.


I've already bought a GPU which I would take back if I got a more powerful one, so I'm really at about $485 left for a case, psu and gpu.


Oh, good! Then I'd suggest the SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X r9 280x ($340) which is one of the best, if not best, models of the card for cooling and OCing. It also comes with $150 in games, 3 games at most, free with purchase from Newegg.

The $80 psu I recommended (which is 62a on single 12v rail) plus a moderate case would fit your budget perfectly.


I guess if y'all are already proposing 280Xs between $320-$340 then I should just go ahead and buy a 290 at $360.

EDIT: Although the 290 only has a 2 year warranty while the suggested XFX 280X has a lifetime warranty...


Aye, I bought my r9 290 (reference) at $260! But that was from some crazy nut who thought they were going to drop to $150 after mining started to die out.

A R9 290 would be your best bet, and if you buy a reference design, you can Kraken it up for fairly cheap. Hopefully all goes well for you!
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July 9, 2014 10:14:44 AM

Gorgonzer said:
Correct. http://pcpartpicker.com/p/Z4bjBm This will get all 3 of your remaining items under budget. FYI the corsair CX PSU's are problematic and are not to be trusted. The high end ones HX,AX,TX are solid.


Thanks to all, but I finished the initial part of this build closest to what Gorgonzer suggested: http://pcpartpicker.com/user/Urbanitus/saved/Hz6qqs

I debated the cheap 290, but it was the XFX lifetime warranty that convinced me to go 280X. If I'm going to try to Crossfire at a later date, then I figured that I wouldn't want the first card to already be going out of warranty. I also went with a slightly different Fractal Define R4 that included a window for just $2 more at Micro Center. Finally, I probably made the classic first time builder mistake of getting a PSU that's way too big, but after I played around with Outervision's eXtreme Power Supply Calculator, I went for a 1000W 80+ Gold PSU to save lots of headroom for overclocking and the additional future gpu.

With an anticipated $45 in rebates, I've spent right at $1,100. Next month or later, I'll purchase a HDD and CPU Cooler to finish up.
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July 9, 2014 10:21:42 AM

Urbanitus said:
Gorgonzer said:
Correct. http://pcpartpicker.com/p/Z4bjBm This will get all 3 of your remaining items under budget. FYI the corsair CX PSU's are problematic and are not to be trusted. The high end ones HX,AX,TX are solid.


Thanks to all, but I finished the initial part of this build closest to what Gorgonzer suggested: http://pcpartpicker.com/user/Urbanitus/saved/Hz6qqs

I debated the cheap 290, but it was the XFX lifetime warranty that convinced me to go 280X. If I'm going to try to Crossfire at a later date, then I figured that I wouldn't want the first card to already be going out of warranty. I also went with a slightly different Fractal Define R4 that included a window for just $2 more at Micro Center. Finally, I probably made the classic first time builder mistake of getting a PSU that's way too big, but after I played around with Outervision's eXtreme Power Supply Calculator, I went for a 1000W 80+ Gold PSU to save lots of headroom for overclocking and the additional future gpu.

With an anticipated $45 in rebates, I've spent right at $1,100. Next month or later, I'll purchase a HDD and CPU Cooler to finish up.


Good PSU. Single 83A rail. Solid maker as well. Let us know how it all goes!
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