Gaming/Media build for ~$1,500

BUDGET RANGE: Flexible, but preferably around $1,500
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming (FFXIV, Starcraft 2, Diablo 3), Media Center (stream blu ray rips), SQL Server Development, possible future use of C# (If I ever get the time to learn)
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitor, Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers (would like new speakers If I can get it into the budget)
PARTS PREFERENCES: Don't even know these days ... always been a fan of asus/antec
OVERCLOCKING: Doesn't matter
CROSSFIRE: Wow I'm getting old, no idea what this is
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Hey all. Haven't built a PC in over 3 years. I started browsing around here and on NewEgg and truthfully, I'm lost. To many hardcore enthusiasts that are way into the best of the best speccs, and I just don't know what I need right now. Hell, I don't even know who is better these days between AMD and Intel. Basically looking for some good mid to high level hardware that will hold out for a few years.

Few things to note here ...

1) I am a large man, and I get really pissed off over building PC's ... Need something with some convenience in regards to braided power cords, good locations for fans, easy to remove HDD's, etc. etc. Basically a nice case designed for those of us with fat, sweaty, sausage fingers. Also a fan of a "bells and whistles" case that gives off a nice look and gives lots of external convenience (ie, USB, audio, etc.).
2) I don't really play anything on my PC these days minus Warcraft 3. I plan on getting into games that we don't yet have speccs for (FFXIV, Starcraft 2, Diablo 3), so unsure what to scope for in regards to a video card, but I do know that I want to invest decently into a video card that will last for at least these 3 games.
3) I wouldn't really focus on the performance for a SQL perspective as what I do at home is not that intense compared to what I do at work where I have crazy machines to work on. At the least, I know I want a decently fast HDD to support my database activities.
4) One of my larger focuses is to rip my 250+ blu rays and create a media center. I realize this is going to be a ton of disk space and I'm not sure what my best bet is in regards to possibly doing something internal with a very large case, or relying on external. I think I would want at least a raid 1 for some FT, but ugh, that's gonna be a ton of disk! Looking for some ideas/recommendations. This also means I need a blu ray drive.

Hope this helps ... I just feel so lost and I really hope you guys can help to kick me in the right direction. Also, is there any websites out there that are about on par in regards to pricing to build you a PC these days? I see there are many (like, but obviously they make a profit off you in some sense, but are any rather close? If I can do without the headache of a build without paying for an OS (I have an MSDN subscription), than I may travel that route.

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  1. Well you certainly wont get an overly hardcore response from me! hopefully just some general ideas and ones that will fit within your budget. I posted some similar options for another person just before but here goes

    Case - I would suggest either the CM Storm Scout Case ( (79.99) or another option would be the Antec nine hundred two (

    Pretty sure both are toolless so make it easy for the person with "large hands" to easily add and remove components without having to get crazy with little screwdrivers etc.

    CPU - I would recommend the i7 920 chip - capable of being overclocked if and when you want but offers a great 1366 socket chip for the money.(288.99)

    Motherboard - You have mentioned your preference for ASUS - but perhaps consider Gigabyte as well (209.99). A few guys on these forums have agreed that the Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R is a great MB that has the new features of USB 3.0, 6 GB Sata etc. The equivalent Asus board is more expensive than this. ( this would give USB 3.0 and 6 GB sata (309.99)

    RAM - could be an option. (156.99) and would mate well with the MB, and is 1600 MHz.

    HDD - I like the look of the WD 1TB HDD. (119.99)

    PSU - You like Antec so stay with them for the PSU - (109.95)

    GPU / GFX - crossfire is ATI's version of SLI or running 2 cards together (FYI). Take your preference of what you prefer in the GFX card range either ATI or NVidia. If you want NVidia go for a GTX version card such as a GTX285 or GTX 295 ( ($559.99) the draw back on Nvidia at this stage is that it doesnt support DX 11. SO for new games that will cause a problem at some stage. AT the moment ATI is leading
    You could get the Asus ( (699.99) and that would be the top of the line GFX card on the market currently.

    Add a cheap DVD drive and you are away. The cost for this (going with the ATI solution) would be $1665.00 - so not far off your budget spend. If it was a little high you could downgrade the GFX card to a 5870 XFX model ( (409.99) and that would give you a spend of $1376.00 - so room to chuck in a DVD drive and you are away.

    Hope I havent missed anything out :P
  2. Some good suggestions there...but I would change few things...

    CPU - Agree with the Intel i7 at that price range but not 920 but is the replacement of 920 and just costs $6 more...

    CASE -
    Big hands, easy installation, only this case comes to my mind...
    CM Haf 922
    - Long enough to fit in long graphic cards
    - Side facing HDD cage -> Very easy access

    The above cases have their disadvantages
    Storm Scout - It is a very good case but cant fit long cards like the HD 5850 and above...
    Ante 902 - It has the HDD cage facing inwards, that might be a problem once all the components are installed in place(assuming you have a large graphics card) then accessing the HDD bays would be an issue for large hands...

    HDD -
    You mentioned SQL databases and for those, the HDDs with high I/Os will be best suited...
    I generally dont recommend these drives for their price but for your usage, I dont see why not...
    Western Digital VelociRaptor WD3000HLFS 300GB 10000 RPM
    These drives have very high I/O rate thanks to the 10000rpm...

    Graphics card - HD 5970 would have been good but even a HD 5870 for now would be good...Later on add 1 more in Crossfire to gain more performance...

    BD Burner

    BD Combo -> BD Read/ DVD Read, write...
  3. Briefly read through both of you replies and thanks, I will dive into this a bit more later (late for work). Real quick though, I've always been a fan of nVidia and would probably prefer to stick with them. Unless there is some specific reasons to go with ATI?

    What is the big reasoning to go with intel over AMD these days? I've never bought intel, but it seems like that is what everyone is liking these days.

    Also, about the SQL thing, again, my home work is not resource intensive, I am not scoping the hardware around those needs, but at the least I would like to stick with 10k rpm drives.

    Great start here, thanks guys!
  4. Reason for suggesting Intel over AMD ->
    In High-End market - $1000 and above builds, Intel rules...
    If your budget was less than $1K, then surely you would have got AMD suggestions...
    Above $1K, going with Intel is better...

    Reason for ATI over Nvidia -> Currently ATI is the leader in the graphics market...They have the latest DirectX 11 cards at all price ranges and sadly Nvidia has none...
    And also the price of these parts are not very it makes them a better buy currently...

    As for the HDD, if your SQL usage is not as intensive as I thought it would be, then you can change to this setup -
    A SSD for OS and apps

    A 7200RPM drive for others...

    Cost would come to nearly the same as that 300GB Raptor but in load times it will be significantly faster...
  5. Hello everyone,

    Well, I'm hoping (hoping!) to be able to do this soon. I took a stab at putting together a machine today ...

    I want to use either TD or NewEgg because of the 12 month same as cash option. I've compared between TD and NewEgg on the above products, and TD seems a bit cheaper.

    Anyways, thoughts? My biggest concerns right now are the video card and motherboard. With trying to stay in my price range (if not shave off a few bucks if possible), is what I have picked out decent? I'm still not sure about Nvidia vs. ATI ... I'm also willing to part ways with the BD player for the time being to hit budget if it makes sense to grab something else. I also think for the time being that my old WD Raptor will suffice until I have extra $$ for SSD's.

    Open any suggestions!

    Thank you
  6. As stated before, been out of the game for far to long ...

    I came across this bundle for an AMD alternative that seems promising:

    I'd probably just want to get 2GB more memory.

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