Mid to High-End Gaming PC

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: December 2009/January 2010

BUDGET RANGE: $1500-$2500


PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, Headset/Microphone

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS:, but any reputable parts site is welcome

COUNTRY: United States

PARTS PREFERENCES: I usually use Intel processors, Nvidia graphics cards, Western Digital hard drives, and Creative Labs sound cards. The rest is fair game.


SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No for now, maybe later (depending primarily on money, secondarily on room in motherboard)


ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: This is going to be my first home-built PC. I'm making this thread to find out whether the (very tentative list of) parts I have currently picked are compatible with each other, basically. I'd like to know whether my power supply of choice is able to handle the various components, whether my motherboard is able to connect to and fit the various components, whether my currently chosen case will be able to fit all of the components and cool them properly, or anything that would cause a hiccup.

The whole point of this PC is that it's future-proofed. Sure, after a while I might want to upgrade some specific parts, but I'd like to buy a great, long-lasting PC now (that will be able to handle high-end games) and not even think about buying a brand new one until maybe 5 years down the road.

My very tentative list of parts is below:

NZXT Alpha Case

OCZ GameXStream 700W Power Supply
Since I have no idea how much power the components need, this is probably the most tentative item on the list. Please tell me if 700W is enough, or if I need more!

Intel Core i7 950 3.06 GHz Processor

Asus P6T Deluxe V2 Motherboard

Corsair 6GB (3 x 2GB) DDR3-1333 RAM

EVGA GTX 295 "Co-op FTW Edition" Videocard
This one I'm a bit leery about. EVGA has two versions of the GTX 295, one is just like all the rest (576 MHz Core Clock), but this "FTW Edition" has a bit of an increase in the numbers (684 MHz Core Clock, as well as others). Is EVGA the best way to go in the first place, or should I go with another company like BFG? Is the "FTW Edition" compatible with all the other parts? Does the "FTW Edition" require more power? Is there really that big of a benefit in getting the "FTW Edition" over the regular?

Creative Labs X-Fi Titanium "Fatal1ty Professional Series"

Western Digital 300GB Velociraptor SATA 10,000 RPM Hard Drive
Since this one is OEM, are there any special cables I need to get, or would my motherboard already have them? Will it fit in my case? Does the installation work like any other hard drive?

I do not have a pick for any kind of optical drive yet, so I am completely open to suggestions. I just need something that works perfectly for a gaming PC.

BIG QUESTION: Will all of these components work with Windows 7? I'd really like to use Windows 7 as my OS, and if there are any parts I need to change (or wait for) in order to have a PC that works perfectly with Windows 7, please let me know!

Thank you all for your time.
19 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. do you need the i7 950? cuz the i7 920 easily clocks to 975 speed

    the gtx 295 is over priced wait aand see what nvidia dx11 offers

    velociraptors are old tech any modern 7200rpm drive will match it
  2. Why wouldn't you consider overclocking? It's a huge performance increase at little to no risk. Also, is there a reason why you are playing on a 4:3 monitor instead of 16:9/10?
  3. Thank you for your replies!


    Exactly how does a 7,200rpm drive match a 10,000rpm drive? Is there a "modern" 10,000rpm drive that will do even better?

    And why wouldn't nvidia DX11 cards be overpriced as well?


    About overclocking, I'd like to have a PC that runs games well without overclocking, as a foundation. As more and more intensive games come out, I can then overclock from a faster base speed. I guess the key is that I don't want to HAVE to overclock to run the most recent games.

    And the reason I have a 4:3 monitor is because I've had it for a while, it works well, and I see no reason to get a new one.
  4. how does the i950 compares to the i920?
  5. Dont get Nvidia for GPU, at least not yet. Either wait and see what they come up with--and if it's actually at a reasonable price--or go with one of the excellent Radeon cards, perhaps one of their new Dx11 cards? From what I understand, they are completely amazing, lol.

    At any rate, since you're buying so far from now, the best thing to do is just keep an eye out on what's going on in the tech world, and build your list closer to your buy date.
  6. here is a review of the samsung f3 1tb see how it compares too a velociraptor and some other drives but if you want speed get an ssd

    well the gtx 295 is $450+ dollars but if nvidia follow the ati trend and the single single card the release match the 295 like the 5870 matched the 4870x2 it should be cheaper

    the i7 920 and 950 have bout the same overclock cieling
  7. 1st duke,

    Point taken. I will definitely give a good look at Nvidia's DX11 cards when they come out (which may be before the computer actually gets bought), but for now I'm sticking with the GTX 295. I just need to know whether this "FTW Edition" gives that much more benefit, and works with the other components I have picked.


    I am not looking for that much storage space in a hard drive, and I would like to use just one hard drive in the computer. An SSD is way too expensive for me, so I would much rather go with a 10,000 RPM that has enough space and, more importantly, speed to be able to function as the lone drive in the computer, rather than a big, but slow hard drive, which would (for my taste) require a faster second drive as the boot drive.

    Thank you all for your replies!
  8. Best answer
    I agree with most of the above. Absolutely no reason to buy a 950 when you can get a 920 with the exact same performance for half the price, and you are not going to notice that .3ghz at all in games if you leave them both at stock.
    For your resolution a gtx295 is a sheer waste of money. A single 4870 or gtx260 can handle almost any game at that resolution for less than $150. If you really want to make sure you are future and max setting proof get two for crossfire or sli, and you'll still have spent only about half of the gtx295. If you want more modern technology go with a 5850.
    Velociraptors day is long past. Any new 7200rpm drive on the market will give you better performance and more storage.
  9. Guys, I wasn't really looking for recommendations on parts (although that is welcome), I was looking to find out whether the components are compatible with each other or not. Do I need a different power supply? Is the case big enough to fit all of the components? Can the case properly cool all of the components?

    Please read through the entire first post and answer all of my specific questions first (to the best of your ability) and then feel free to give me part recommendations.

    Thank you.
  10. the parts will work fine

    all gtx 295's are basiccally reference designs get the standard evga one

    there is a 500gb version of the f3
  11. My son's recent build target was $2,750 (w/ KB, Mouse and extras) which is close enough to your $2,500 limit:

    ASUS Rampage II Extreme $359.99 (Alternate P6T Deluxe)
    Above R2E has Supreme FX X-Fi daughter board included so is a wash pricewise

    Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz $279.99 (OC'd to 3.7 GHz)

    Mushkin Redline 6GB (3 x 2GB) DDR3 1600 Model 998692 w/ 6-7-6-18 timings $212.99
    Lowest timings for DDR 1600 and low height to clear HSF

    Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1TB 7200 RPM SATA $89.99
    Great price, good performance very low sound and temps

    Antec Twelve Hundred ATX Full Tower Computer Case $159.99 (Alternate HAF 932)

    Antec 761345-75024-0 120mm Blue LED Case Fan 2 x $13.99

    Antec Signature SG-850 850W $239.99 (ouch just went up $30 - Alternate Corsair HX-850)

    Plextor Blk 8X BD 16X DVD 48X CD SATA BD Combo Model PX-B320SA w/LS OEM $124.99

    Prolimatech Shadow $79.99 (Prolimatech Megahalems is $20 cheaper)
    IC Diamond 7 Carat Thermal Compound $6.99

    EnerMax Magma UC-MA12 120mm Heat Sink Fans 69 cfm @ 18 dba 0.34 amp 2 x $14.99

    Windows 7 Ultimate $179.99

    That's $1,782 before vid cards

    Choices will depend on how long you keep cards and I am assuming a monitor upgrade to 1920 x 1200/1080 over its lifetime:

    -You are into PhySX and don't keep cards for more than 2 years - GTX 295 is $85 more than next best thing @ $464 but it's not DX11
    -You don't dig PhysX, will do 1920x 1200 within the next 4 years but that's it - Twin 5850s + GT 9800 @ $620
    - You don't dig PhysX and don't wanna mess w/ multiple cards - 5870 @ $379
    -Wait to see what nVidia drops in next 2 months.

    If ya don't know whether PhysX matters to you, read the review over at firingsquad and check the list of DX11 games / PhysX games:

    If ya still have cash to spend, an SSD might be in the cards.
  12. Yes, everything is compatible, but I would honestly change every single one of the parts you picked out for specific reasons. To answer your questions, yes 700W is enough, all of it will work with 7, EVGA is a good company, the MOBO comes with SATA cables, and I would recommend
  13. Thank you all very much for your replies!


    I started looking at the graphs that were in the link for the F3 you gave me, and I am definitely considering that option, so thank you!


    Thanks for sharing that build, and especially the PhysX/DirectX 11 information, that definitely helps narrow the search for a graphics card.


    Thank you for answering all of my questions. If you wouldn't mind explaining a few of the changes you would make, that would be greatly appreciated.

    Also, if anyone has any recommendations for a good Optical Drive that would be great!
  14. Hello Duckmeister, deadcell here. To best answer your well put request, all of these components will be compatible and will work great in you build. I just wanted to clearfy that, since thats the main reason of this thread. As for opinions and recommendations, as others stated, you should realy consider some of them. They will help maximize the build's performance without increasing your price range. You are working on a well funded rig and it should be imperative that you get the absolute best performance for your hard earned money. That beeing said, I have certain recommendations as well. You seem to realy like the 295, regardless of its heafty price. I have the BFG GTX295 and it has kept me very happy for a while now. So if you have to have this card, get BFG only. You can get the standard version from BFG or the so called OCFU version. They both match the EVGA specs. I have the standard version, but here is a hint, I overclocked it to the OCFU version's specs and it works just fine. Its seems to me that there are no hardware differences in these two cards, one is just overclocked and one is not. Save some green, get the one I got. The reason to go with BFG is quite simple. Life time warranty, trade-up program available through BFG (go to to learn more), and just great built cards. If I were you, I just wait to see what Nvidia's GT300 has to offer at this holiday season if not 1QT of 2010. They may have something that will sweep the floor with the 295 or the 5870, in time we shall see. As for the i7-950, those guys are right. The 950 and the 920 will reach the same clock when oc'ed. I have the 920 and I oc'ed it saftly to 3.2 with no voltage modifications while running on massive air with real good idle and heavy load temps. The 950 just seems to be a somewhat of a waste of money if you ask me, since you can get away with the 920 with these kinda numbers. You can spend the money you have saved in the CPU budget in other things that make a ton of difference, like running SLi with a second GPU. The Velociraptor "was" the fastest HDD, but like others stated as well, technology has changed. Now days you can get the Samsung F3 series, 500G that operate on a single platter, rather than 2 platters of 250, and hence perform faster. Don't focuse too much on the RPM as they were significant numbers of the past. Do some research, and I assure you that you will be convinced that Velociraptors are overpriced and perform the same, if not slower than these new HDD. I have 2x500G F3 series from Samsung (only $50 each) and they are fast... Also, the PSU will be fine, but perhapse not the best choice for SLi, if you want to go that route one day. Spend a little more money now on PSU and save a lot later. Look for continous power ratings rather than peak. Aim at 850W+ for SLi compatibility, regardless the fact that you don't want any right now, but may want that expendibility one day. As for optical drive recommendation, Pioneer DVR-A18MBK1. 50 bucks well spent. And yes, all of these components wil work great with the Windows 7 OS...
    Let me know if you have any questions or comments regarding what I just spit out.
  15. But the random access time is what really matters and what you'll really notice... and that's where the raptors excel.
  16. Yea i agree with deadcell the Velociraptors are way over priced. they mite seem more RPm's but you really should wait unto price drops. How much space are you looking for ?
  17. yadge,

    That's what I thought, I wasn't expecting it to be called "old tech" with the kind of numbers it was putting out in that category.


    Right now (on my current computer) I'm using around 170gb, and that's with a ton of crap I never use. 300gb would be more than enough for me, so that's why I'm kind of weary of getting something with 500gb or more.
  18. Best answer selected by Duckmeister.
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