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~$1000 new mid-level gaming build

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February 6, 2010 6:07:42 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: end of the month

BUDGET RANGE: (e.g.: 600-800) $700 after rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: WoW (Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 in the future), web surfing, movies

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: monitor (have Samsung SyncMaster T240)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: US

PARTS PREFERENCES:
I've done a little bit of research.

Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80605I5750 - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$199.99
seems most popular right now

Sony Optiarc 24X DVD/CD Rewritable Drive Black SATA Model AD-7240S-0B - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$27.99

Video card < $150

Would like at least 4GB RAM

500 GB HD

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe, if it's easy and safe to do

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1200 normal use (gaming doesn't NEED to be this high)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
Not a hardcore gamer. Just want to be able to play WoW at 60 fps, and be able to comfortably play Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 when they come out.

I would be happy to get a cheap video card now, and then upgrade it later when SC2 comes out. I imagine I don't need a beefy card to get decent performance for WoW. Also, would rather not have a fan on the video card. One of the last ones I had had a fan, and the fan died. I didn't know it died and the card eventually overheated and burned out.

I really need suggestions for motherboards, PSUs, and RAM. Just too many to choose from. I just want a solid motherboard and PSU. My last rig built like 7 years ago started crapping out where it wouldn't POST and would just randomly shut down.

Thanks!
February 6, 2010 6:16:34 PM

Does the $700 budget include OS?
I hope not as you are roughly looking at this budget:

CPU $200
Mob $160
Memory $100
Graphics Card $100
Case $80
PSU $50
HD $60
DVD $30

Total = $780 before OS

Obviously there are ways to cut this a bit - but it gives you a rough idea.

In your budget range I would really recommend going with AMD as it has better performance at that level. I will admit though, that I am not that familiar with the new budget offerings by Intel using other sockett 1156 CPUs - not the i5-750, but I don't know if there has been enough real experience as they are so new - although certainly benchmark reviews are now available.

What are your preferences for a case?
Large? Small? Plain? Showy? Lights? Clear side panel? Any particular cases you like? Why?
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February 6, 2010 6:37:23 PM

hahaha, thanks for breaking it down rockyjohn. OS should be included in the budget.

Maybe I should rethink the budget, because I would prefer to stay towards the i5-750. I want the the CPU to last a while. Sounds like bumping the budget to $1000 will give more flexibility.

I'd like a plain small-medium size case. Clear side panel is not necessary. Simple is good. Front side USB ports would be nice though.
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February 6, 2010 9:23:52 PM

Ok - here is one I put together earlier in the week - prices should not have changed much:

I think this would provide and excellent i5 System:

CPU
Intel Core i5-750- Retail - $200 and free shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard
GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD4P LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard w/ USB 3.0 & SATA 6 Gb/s – Retail $185 + $8 shipping http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You might be interested in an article about the UD – ultra durable – feature of the Gigabyte mobos:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gigabyte-ultra-dura...

And here is a review on the mobo above and 6 other mobos in the same price range:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/lga-1156-motherboar...

The conclusion on the last page of the article states:
Quote:
The four boards that remained 100% stable are Gigabyte’s $170 P55-UD4P, Biostar’s $185 TPower I55, Asus’ $195 P7P55D EVO, and EVGA’s $200 P55-SLI. Of these, Gigabyte’s P55-UD4P has the second-highest CPU overclock, highest base clock, highest memory clock for high-end four-module configurations, lowest power consumption, and lowest VRM temperature. Gigabyte’s P55-UD4P also has the lowest price of the four top-quality boards and is thus the best value in its class.


Memory
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL8D-4GBHK - Retail - $109 with free shipping
Timings: 8-8-8-21
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Graphics Card
BFG GTS 250 1GB PCI-Express Video Card - Retail - $110 AR plus $8 shipping
http://www.frys.com/product/5866223?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN...

Here is THG list showing the best cards for each budget level and the GTS 250 was selected individually and in SLI for the $250 budget level. BFG is my preferred manufacturer and their cards come with a lifetime warranty.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-graphics-card,...

Case
COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case – Retail - $70 and free shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU
OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ700MXSP 700W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply compatible with core i7 - Retail - $60 AR with free shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hard Drive
Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive - $95 and free shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD RW
Pioneer Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 40X CD-R 32X CD-RW 2MB Cache SATA CD/DVD Burner LabelFlash Support - OEM - $33 + $2 shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Total Cost - $862 - AR and before OS and taxes where applicable, plus $19 shipping = $881

Plus Windows 7 64 Bit OEM - $105 with free shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Grand total $986

Note that it has a mobo that can SLI so if you later need more graphics horsepower you can just add anothe modest GTS 250 instead of a buying a more expensive card. The GTS 250 is on the THG list of preferred cards for its budget ranges - both individually and in SLI as noted above.




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February 6, 2010 9:54:55 PM

Optional cases you might want to check out:

COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UW Black Aluminum Bezel , SECC Chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail - $50 + $19
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case – Retail – $70 + $20 shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

LIAN LI PC-A06FB Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail - $80 + $17 Shipping
Nice aluminum case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

XCLIO Windtunnel Fully Black Finish 1.0 mm SECC Chassis ATX Full Tower Computer Case – Retail - $95 AR + $25 shipping
Note this is a HUGE case – don’t order online before seeing in person
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


COOLER MASTER Storm Scout SGC-2000-KKN1-GP Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail - $90 + $20 shipping
Note nice handle on top
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SILVERSTONE Kublai Series KL01-BW Black Aluminum front panel, SECC body ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail - $100 AR + $20 shipping
Note this is the case I have – I prefer having the door on front style-wise.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec Nine Hundred Two Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case – Retail - $115 + $15 shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec P183 Black Aluminum / Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail - $150 + $19 shipping
Well insulated quiet case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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February 7, 2010 5:10:51 AM

ok how bout this in case your thinking or going amd

955 plus 4gb of= $245 http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

dfi motherboard one of the best(imo) i have this particular $140 model
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

dvd burner $25 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

hardrive $60 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

os http $104 :/ /www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683211675...

graphics 5850 $300 cant get much better than this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

case and psu $130 = http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

grand total is 1005 bucks but that 5850 will last you a while and ass for overclocking all you need to do is set the multiplyer a little higher these easily go to 3.6 ghz (mine did it without a vcore change mind you)
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February 7, 2010 3:44:39 PM

Awesome, thank you very much rocky and taco! So many cases to pick from! :D 

I never thought about SLI, but I like how it leaves me a marginally cheaper upgrade path.

Does the CPU and Video lead me towards the 700W PS? Would getting a 500W be enough? Or am I just contradicting my "I want a solid motherboard and PSU" statement?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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February 7, 2010 5:14:01 PM

Forgot to mention that I do have a Fry's in the area. I think I'll go there to check out the cases and see if I can save on shipping.
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February 7, 2010 5:17:16 PM

Tacoslave, that build is great (altough I prefer Gigabyte mobo's myself) for the CPU and GPU. Definately get that build if you know what's good for you. A few minor things: the Samsung F3 is a bit faster than that Seagate. Get a better brand PSU (OCZ, Corsair or Antec for example). I'm not a fan of thermaltake cases, but that's just me.

500W will do nicely. With 600 you can safely crossfire and overclock. 700W is overkill at any rate.
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February 7, 2010 5:25:14 PM

I just can't justify paying $300 for the video card when all I do right now is play WoW.
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February 7, 2010 5:33:18 PM

With that said, I'm starting to rethink the i5-750...
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February 7, 2010 7:46:41 PM

damngood said:
So many cases to pick from! :D 

Yes there are and it mostly is personal style preference. You do need to make sure it has good air flow and adequate room, but a lot meet the basic requirements. Its a good idea to see what Fry's has - that is where I purchased mine - and now they look in person.

Does the CPU and Video lead me towards the 700W PS? Would getting a 500W be enough? Or am I just contradicting my "I want a solid motherboard and PSU" statement?

5OOw is generally good enough for one graphicsa card and 700w is for two. The 700w version is part of of paying a little more now to make upgrade, or adding one later, easier.

What city do you live in? Fry's in San Jose has the Antec Earthwatts 650 PSU on sale for $60 - won't save you any over the one on the list but will get you a better PSU and also better even tho 50w smaller. And they have the graphics card that will save you $8 shipping - plus it looks like there is currently an availability problem on mail order but not local store purchase.
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February 8, 2010 6:17:47 PM

damngood said:
I just can't justify paying $300 for the video card when all I do right now is play WoW.

yeah then maybe you should just get that 4860 i mentioned above it should max out wow no problems.
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February 9, 2010 6:30:47 AM

Thanks again for your replies everyone.

I actually ended up getting the 1TB Seagate for $80.89 along with the Thermaltake enclosure.

Also paid a bit more to get this Crucial memory after reading this article:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ddr3-4gb-p55,2462.h...

I've been doing more research on the motherboards. I like the idea of USB 3.0 and SATA 6GB/s to make the motherboard features last for a while. But, the all the Gigabyte P55s don't allow you to Crossfire/SLI AND use USB 3.0 and SATA 6GB at the same time. So I was looking at the Gigabyte UD3P (even comes with a combo with the i5-750 to save $15) http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Since I won't be running two video cards, I'm looking at other video cards now. Was looking at ATI 5770s and 5750s
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thoughts?
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February 9, 2010 1:41:13 PM

damngood said:
I actually ended up getting the 1TB Seagate for $80.89 along with the Thermaltake enclosure.

Also paid a bit more to get this Crucial memory after reading this article:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ddr3-4gb-p55,2462.h...



I guess you did not see any of the follow-ups to that article that pointed out how the Crucial memory price skyrocketed up after that article and the heavy demand it created. The Crucial memory you selected has CAS 9 timings so it is a fair amount slower than the CAS 8 memory I recommended and the CAS 9 cost $10 more. Just the opposite of the value proposition in the article.

damngood said:
Since I won't be running two video cards, I'm looking at other video cards now. Was looking at ATI 5770s and 5750s
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



I recommend instead getting the BFG GTX 260 for $180 or $20 more than the 5770.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It has about the same performance, each beats the other in some games, and comes with a Lifetime warranty compared to a meager 2 years for the ATI card. In addition you get the advantages of CUDA and Physx with the nVidia card. Also have you read about the issues with the 5xxx series of ATI cards?

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/ATI-Grey-Screen-Lines-...

So there are three good reasons to go with the GTX 260 over the HD 5770. And it you are instead considering the 5750, then stick with the GTS 250 I first recommended. It is $20 cheater than the 5750 plus you have the same three reasons as with the 5770.
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February 9, 2010 1:49:29 PM

Quote:
No no no no OS should not be included in the buget you should steal that.....God can't you people pirate some more ?


Which part of the terms of use didn't you read?
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February 9, 2010 1:49:50 PM

Quote:
No no no no OS should not be included in the buget you should steal that.....God can't you people pirate some more ? LIke seriously would microsoft need your 150$ on their OS when only BIl gates has more money then my country times 7.....Why would you pay for something you can get for free better yet.Remove 150 $ for windows Download that i can guide you through it if you don't know how and add another or better video card or a CPU so much easier.And who ever says pirating is wrong then i don't wanna be right....


What you do and recommend is illegal, wrong, and violates the terms of use you agreed to when using this forum - so it makes you a liar as well.
Obviously none of such behavior bothers you, but that is to your condemnation as well - only making it worse.

http://www.tomshardware.com/terms.html
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February 9, 2010 1:58:57 PM

rockyjohn said:
I guess you did not see any of the follow-ups to that article that pointed out how the Crucial memory price skyrocketed up after that article and the heavy demand it created. The Crucial memory you selected has CAS 9 timings so it is a fair amount slower than the CAS 8 memory I recommended and the CAS 9 cost $10 more. Just the opposite of the value proposition in the article.


This is what I get for trying to do my own research :(  I didn't see the followup articles, but I had noticed memory prices going up since that article.

Thanks for the article about the 5xxx series too!
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February 9, 2010 2:02:33 PM

damngood said:
Thanks for the article about the 5xxx series too!


Most people are recommending the ATI 5xxx series, as at most price points, they outperform nVidia cards. In fact, rockyjohn is the first person I've seen in a month or so straigiht-up recommend an nVidia card for gaming. If you play a lot of PhysX games or need CUDA, then yes, you need nVidia. Otherwise, you should probably shop around for the best card that fits your budget.

Check THG Best Cards for the Money for your price range.
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February 9, 2010 2:30:55 PM

coldsleep said:
Most people are recommending the ATI 5xxx series, as at most price points, they outperform nVidia cards.


According to the THG "Best Cards" article you linked, nVidia cards win or tie up to about the $150 price level, which includes all mainstream cards and the majority of purchases, so that statement is not accurate at all.

It's also important to realize how misleading many performance comparison can be. Generally the performance of nVidia and ATI cards proceed in a fairly linearly order, first one then the other, then x again, then y, then x again, then y. Which is faster depends on which cards you choose to compare with which. Pick one starting point and all nVidia cards are faster. Pick the next card as the starting point and all ATI cards are faster. If you pick who did the most recent major series upgrade, then they have the very fastest card, like ATI now. Wait for the competitor respond, like nVidia is scheduled to do this quarter, and they will have the fastest. Off course since less than 1% or so actually buy the fastest card, this makes little difference.

coldsleep said:
If you play a lot of PhysX games or need CUDA, then yes, you need nVidia.


Of if you place any value on getting a lifetime warranty over a meager 2 year one (recognizing that this also reflects model choices as you can get nVidia cards without a lifetime warranty and ATI cards with them - but I don't beleive the respective costs and lengths of warranties was considered at all in the article) , or don't like having very fundamental issues like artifacts that show very basic issues with a card as reported by THG in the article linked above.

I think the only times ATI cards are the clear winner is when you need DirectX 11 or to support 3 displays. But I think over time that Physx and CUDA are going to be increasingly important to future applications - games and others - and therefore provide the best choice trying to anticipate future requirements. In addition, if you later don't choose to go SLI but get a new faster graphics card, this old one will make a nice dedicated Phys card - another advantage.
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February 9, 2010 2:54:12 PM

rockyjohn said:
According to the THG "Best Cards" article you linked, nVidia cards win or tie up to about the $150 price level, which includes all mainstream cards and the majority of purchases, so that statement is not accurate at all.


Under $150 has 5 price points that the article lists. 1 is given to ATI, 1 to nVidia, and 3 are ties between ATI & nVidia. It's true that my statement was not entirely accurate. On the other hand, I thought that this computer was directed at gaming, and even with a sub-$1000 budget, you should still be spending more than 10-15% of your budget on GPU.

Wait for the competitor respond, like nVidia is scheduled to do this quarter, and they will have the fastest. Off course since less than 1% or so actually buy the fastest card, this makes little difference. said:
Wait for the competitor respond, like nVidia is scheduled to do this quarter, and they will have the fastest. Off course since less than 1% or so actually buy the fastest card, this makes little difference.


Agreed. I would actually recommend to anyone that is considering buying that they wait until Fermi is out, as it will likely affect the prices of at least older models, if not the high-end ATI models.

Of if you place any value on getting a lifetime warranty over a meager 2 year one, or don't like having very fundamental issues like artifacts that show very basic issues with a card as reported by THG in the article linked above. said:
Of if you place any value on getting a lifetime warranty over a meager 2 year one, or don't like having very fundamental issues like artifacts that show very basic issues with a card as reported by THG in the article linked above.


You mean the issue that the article you linked indicates they've fixed in 58xx cards? I'm neither an ATI nor an nVidia fanboy, I was just saying that I was surprised to see someone apparently suggesting nVidia over ATI at all price points.

Warranty seems to vary by the card manufacturer rather than strictly ATI vs. nVidia. This nVidia card offers a 1 year warranty, while XFX offers what they call a "double lifetime" warranty.
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February 9, 2010 4:14:38 PM

coldsleep said:
On the other hand, I thought that this computer was directed at gaming, and even with a sub-$1000 budget, you should still be spending more than 10-15% of your budget on GPU.

Agreed. I was just disagreeing with the general statement you made about ATI cards saying that "as at most price points, they outperform nVidia cards.

coldsleep said:
I would actually recommend to anyone that is considering buying that they wait until Fermi is out, as it will likely affect the prices of at least older models, if not the high-end ATI models.


Agreed.

coldsleep said:
=You mean the issue that the article you linked indicates they've fixed in 58xx cards?

Yes, the earlier article first revealed an major issue that was apparently unknown to ATI. This one reported it was fixed for the 58xx cards but NOT for the 57xx cards. Still an issue - and in my mind a significant one - and applies to cards poster is looking at.

coldsleep said:
I'm neither an ATI nor an nVidia fanboy, I was just saying that I was surprised to see someone apparently suggesting nVidia over ATI at all price points.

I confess to being an nVidia fanboy - because of their long term historical dominance in graphics cards and, more importantly, their revelations about the revolutionary technologies they are researching and developing now. I don't recommend basing a decision on the apparent momentary advantage of ATI without considering the other factors. Instead I recommend looking at all the facts and circumstances. In their article, THG's goal is to choose only one card at each budget level without considering other variables that would naturally result in users with different conditions choosing different cards. I am surprised though at the number of people who seem to think ATI is the winner in all or even most cases right now - it is not.


coldsleep said:
Warranty seems to vary by the card manufacturer rather than strictly ATI vs. nVidia.

Yes I edited my post to reflect that. I did it before you posted, but apparently after you had already started your response so you did not see it.
Note that in this particular case, the poster was going with a 5770 card with only a 2 year warranty for $160 and I was recommending the nVidia GTX 260 card with a lifetime warranty $180. The XTX 5770 card with a lifetime warranty cost $190 - $30 more than posters card of the same type but the shorter warranty and $10 more than the GTX 260 with the lifetime warranty and also Physx, CUDA, and no artifacting issue.
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February 10, 2010 12:29:23 AM

How about I just flip a coin to decide on the video card? :) 

Any comments on USB 3.0/SATA 6Gb/s?
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!