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Building my first system with a budget of around $1000-$1300, need advice to select best part for its price.

Hey guys, I decided to dive head first into the world of PC building to replace my 10+ year old Dell desktop. I had to replace different parts of it in the last couple of year, and I'm finally giving it up.

Why Are You Upgrading: My old Dell was not a gaming PC, but it did everything I need at the time. Now I want to build one to run my Steam games. I don't need a super computer that can run game at 120 fps. But I want one that can run it at a stable 60 fps. I also may do some Photoshop and some video rendering.

Approximate Purchase Date: I'm currently not in a rush. I want to see what kind of deal I can get during BF and CM.

Budget Range: $1000-$1300 after everything. I live in San Francisco BTW, so tax is a huge factor.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Video watching, surfing the net, gaming, others.

Are you buying a monitor: Probably will wait, but I want system that can dual screen. I have a older 720 dell moniter that is connected through DVI. It still working great so I'm good on that front.

Parts to Upgrade: Everything. Though I collected a few parts already which is include in the budget:
Fractal Design Define R4 Blackout ATX Mid Tower Case for $62.99
Antec Neo Eco 620W 80+ for $53.99 with a $25 rebate.

Do you need to buy OS: Yes. I want to see if I can get a discount through my school.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: No Preference

Location: City, State/Region, Country: San Francisco Bay Area

Parts Preferences: No Preference

Overclocking: Not now, but I want to be able to in the future.

SLI or Crossfire: Not now, but I want to be able to in the future.

Your Monitor Resolution: Something 22 inches 720p

Additional Comments:
I know my power supply is not the greatest. I don't plan to be overclocking or have SLI in the system as of now. I'm getting that power supply because I might have to building a lower budget PC in the future and I can reuse this power supply. Then I will get a new power supply and GPU to boost this build.

I went though PC parts picker and this is what I have now.
http://pcpartpicker.com/user/gwhsmystery/saved/77RTwP
23 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about building system budget 1000 1300 advice select part price
  1. Best answer
    Made some changes.

    You don't need i7 here. i5 4690k would do the job for you.
    Mobo is changed to Asus Z97-A.
    GPU is changed to MSI GTX 970 4G. This GPU has overclocked to 1500MHz on air cooling. Very good one.
    Change the RAM to G.Skill Sniper series 1866MHz with CAS 9. 8GB is enough for your stated needs. If need be, you can add another modules to increase the capacity in future.
    No change in Storage.
    Case is your Choice.
    This PSU is not recommended but as you said, you would like to keep it so did not change it.
    OS is added.

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($234.95 @ OutletPC)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($28.99 @ Micro Center)
    Motherboard: Asus Z97-A ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($137.99 @ NCIX US)
    Memory: G.Skill Sniper Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($73.80 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($128.99 @ Amazon)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($101.99 @ NCIX US)
    Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 970 4GB Twin Frozr V Video Card ($349.99 @ B&H)
    Case: Fractal Design Define R4 Blackout ATX Mid Tower Case ($99.98 @ OutletPC)
    Power Supply: Antec Neo Eco 620W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($39.99 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: LG WH16NS40 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($59.98 @ OutletPC)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ OutletPC)
    Total: $1346.63
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-10-12 02:28 EDT-0400
  2. Wouldn't the i7 be more future proof? I mean, if the i7 is better for future programs, I'm willing to spend a little extra for it.

    Just asking since the only difference I know about is that it's more expensive and it's newer.
  3. The i7 won't really future proof your machine. Unless you're doing video editing, or music production, go with an i5. The only benefit you'd get from the i7 is hyper-threading, which won't really benefit your listed activities in real-world scenarios.
  4. andrewl923 said:
    Wouldn't the i7 be more future proof? I mean, if the i7 is better for future programs, I'm willing to spend a little extra for it.

    Just asking since the only difference I know about is that it's more expensive and it's newer.


    i5 is good enough for your requirements. There is no such thing as future proof because tech is changing so rapidly. Go for i7 only if you are into heavy graphics work/vid rendering etc. For your stated requirements, i5 will do the job for now and for the time to come.
  5. Well, the 4790k was on sale today and I jumped on it.
  6. Good for you. Good luck for your PC build.
  7. Just quick question. Is there anything difference between the mobo you pick vs mine? I keep hearing Sabertooth is a good board, but I don't know how to tell if the mobo is good for its price.
  8. Asus SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK2 is a good choice if this is the mobo you were considering but Z97-A has M.2 socket and RAM overclocking capability upto 3200MHz plus it has more PCIe slots than Sabertooth Mark 2.

    That is why recommended Z97 A.
  9. Short of enthusiast goodies, and so on, any of the boards mentioned are going to do a good job; MSI Z97 Gaming 5, ASUS Z97-A, or the ASUS Sabertooth Z97. All of them will give you comparable quality, and roughly the same hardware support (might have a few less SATA connectors on one, and so on). Pick one that fits your price range, and has the hardware support you want. If you have two that are roughly the same price, pick the one that has the extra goodies you'd prefer to have. Unless you're going to take things to an extreme, there's no point in stressing over MoBo selection once you know the hard specs required.
  10. yes, that was what I was looking it at. I hope it would drop another few dollars be purchasing it though.
  11. Overall Z97-A has better options than Mark2. Anyhow, it is your choice. you can also look upto Gigabyte Z97 Gaming Series 5 mobo.
  12. The Z97-A and the Sabertooth Mark 2 are both going to give you some enough for the basics. It seems like it depends on what kind of enthusiast board you prefer. The Sabertooth appears to have more of the interactive "features," where the Z97-A looks like it would support more "features" for the hardware OC'ing enthusiast (better memory OC'ing compatibility, for example). You also get an M.2 socket, and SATA Express, with the Z97-A. You have a trade-off with each board, of course.

    Pick whatever one will give you the hardware support you want now, and might want in the future. If they both have it, then pick which one fits your budget, or has all the bells and whistles you want. I'd rather have the hardware support over pizazz any day, but some don't. Either one will be fine, though.
  13. Is the Z97-AR a good board? It's $120 plus tax right now. I also return my psu and got the Seasonic SS-660XP2 instead. So that reduced my budget by a little bit.

    http://www.frys.com/product/8129255
  14. Asus boards have a good reputation, so I wouldn't oppose to it because of build quality. If it gives you the hardware support you're looking for, and it's the best one in its price range for what you're looking at, then go for it. No one can really tell you what's going to be "best" for your use until you say what hardware and software features you want/require.
  15. Yes, this is a good mobo with:

    Max RAM speed support is 3200MHz OC
    Supports SLI/CF
    Plenty of expansion slots
    M.2 Socket 3
    Intel® I218V, 1 x Gigabit LAN
    Crystal Sound 2
    5-Way Optimization
    5X Protection
    Thunderbolt Header

    Good Luck,
  16. given the monitor resolution its hard to recommend a more powerful graphics card than say a R9 270x
  17. The OP states he wants the option to SLI down the road, so I would assume that means a new display would be in the future. While the 270 is fine (the 270X is about the same performance), it would need to be upgraded, whereas the 970 is barely pushing the budget limits... might as well get it now, since he has the plans to upgrade later.
  18. Skylyne said:
    The OP states he wants the option to SLI down the road, so I would assume that means a new display would be in the future. While the 270 is fine (the 270X is about the same performance), it would need to be upgraded, whereas the 970 is barely pushing the budget limits... might as well get it now, since he has the plans to upgrade later.


    And I should buy a Formula 1 race car to do my shopping in because I may take up racing sometime in the future
  19. Yes... such an equivalent comparison... I bet your F1 car blows your daily commuter car budget, though. If someone had thrown in the R9 295X2 in the mix, then I'd agree with you. This is more like buying an expensive sports car.

    We're only giving the OP a build that is going to give him what he's asking for; since it's relatively vague, might as well throw in a higher-end GPU since it doesn't kill the budget.
  20. Guys, guys. Come on please, we are and we should only strive to help out the OP in best possible way. Please, if you disagree from someone's point of view, it is OK but way to express that disagreeableness should be more positive. Instead of attacking someone's idea, it is better to give your opinion.

    Humble request.
  21. I do not see how encouraging the OP to spend money unnecessarily can be of any help to him

    Far better to realise that any graphics card update is needed only if he is also upgrading/changing monitors , and any advice given must be based on knowledge of what that monitor might be .

    In the meantime I stand by my comment . The 720p resolution is no challenge at all and even an R9 270X will max any game .
    More graphics power is likely to cause image problems rather than improved game play
  22. It was mostly playful banter on my end; I'm used to it.

    I should note that I'm running a 22" Samsung monitor at 1080p, so the 720p resolution may simply be a maximum output of the current GPU. Since we don't know what the original hardware is, and what monitor is being used, or even if the resolution needs to stay at 720p, speculating a lesser performing GPU may be unnecessary. Unless the monitor pre-dates 1080p resolution support, or the OP is against going to 1080p resolution, a 970 wouldn't really be too harmful to recommend. It might cause screen tearing, if the monitor is of lower quality, but we don't know what hardware is being used; so it's purely speculative information at this point.

    720p isn't entirely a "no challenge" because we don't know why the OP is running 720p on a 22" screen. Unless it's a special resolution (and not the standard 1280 x 720), an upgrade to 1080p would probably be welcome; 720p resolution on my 22" screen is pretty ridiculous for me, but it could be comfortable to the OP. I will say things get distorted at that resolution, though.

    If the OP is just looking for a cheap GPU to get by, and prefers to upgrade the GPU later on, then a 270/270X would be fine. If he is fine with getting the better GPU now, has a screen that supports 1080p, and doesn't have a use for a lower-end GPU when it's swapped for a better GPU, then where is the real harm in getting the 970? The op did say this:

    andrewl923 said:
    Additional Comments:
    I know my power supply is not the greatest. I don't plan to be overclocking or have SLI in the system as of now. I'm getting that power supply because I might have to building a lower budget PC in the future and I can reuse this power supply. Then I will get a new power supply and GPU to boost this build.

    That to me says the GPU will be upgraded, and therefore recommending a 970 would eliminate the need for spending an extra $200 on a GPU that will be replaced. If the 270 won't be used in the other build, there's no reason to spend the extra money on a GPU that will be used now, and then probably not used again.
  23. I got tired of reading all the posts.

    I just post my recommendation for your preference with cool red and black looks.

    PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/WnrLbv
    Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/WnrLbv/by_merchant/

    CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($219.98 @ SuperBiiz)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($28.99 @ Micro Center)
    Motherboard: MSI Z97-G45 Gaming ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($124.99 @ Newegg)
    Memory: AMD 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($92.99 @ Amazon)
    Storage: AMD 120GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($89.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($79.98 @ OutletPC)
    Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 970 4GB Twin Frozr V Video Card ($349.99 @ B&H)
    Case: Zalman Z11 Plus ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Micro Center)
    Power Supply: Antec High Current Gamer 620W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($49.99 @ Newegg)
    Total: $1086.89
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-10-16 21:08 EDT-0400
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