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$1k casual gaming build - check it over?

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July 21, 2010 1:10:20 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This week.

BUDGET RANGE: Around $1000.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: WoW, Starcraft 2, other casual games (no Crysis here)

OVERCLOCKING: Yes

I am a first time builder finally concluding a multimonth research process and ready to seal the deal. I have already picked out parts. I am posting the parts I believe are optimal for my needs with justification, but I would like to get people's opinions and a general sanity check from the fine folks here.

CPU: Intel Core i5-750
This chip gets lots of awesome reviews. Has a lot of OC capability on air without raising voltages much, and Intel has a clock-for-clock advantage over AMD (or so I've heard). Comboed with case for $20 off.

Motherboard: ASRock P55 Extreme
This mobo gets great reviews all over the Internet for budget overclocking on P55. Comboed with OS for $10 off.

Video card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 5770 - OC @900 MHz
Radeon HD 5770 occupies an ideal price point with great performance. This particular model was chosen on account of an excellent combo with the PSU ($30 off) and the ability to overclock it even a bit further while not being particularly more expensive than the other 5770s on the market.

Monitor: Asus VH242H 23.6" 1920 x 1080
I hear great things about this monitor as being a quality 24" for gaming that doesn't break the bank. While the link goes to Newegg, I'll be purchasing it from TigerDirect ($10 more, but don't have to pay tax and shipping).

Memory: Crucial 2x2GB DDR3 1333
This memory has great reviews from various benchmark/oc sites, including this one. I mostly care about the ability for the memory to provide headroom while I oc the CPU, but if I can get the latency low, that's also great.

PSU: OCZ Fatal1ty 550W
Solid reviews from PSU stress-testers. The several calculators I checked put my power needs at 525 watts absolute max, so this baby is enough power for my current needs. Besides which, it comes in a great combo with the video card for $30 off.

CPU cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
Great reviews for air cooling value. I intend to OC, and this just seems like an excellent choice.

Case: NZXT M59
Cheap, looks cool, has two fans build in and room for more, and should fit all my stuff. Combo with CPU for $20 off.

Hard drive: Seagate Barracuda 500 GB 7200 RPM 16 MB cache
It's a hard drive. Ample room and a $15 promo code discount. What's not to love?

Optical drive: Lite-On 24X iHAS24
It has a solid feature set and a bargain price.

Operating system: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit OEM
I believe the appropriate word is "duh." Comboed with my mobo for $10 off.

Total cost: After tax (I live in New Jersey, so Newegg is instate :( ) and shipping, $1086.53 with $30 off in rebates, for a final price of $1056.53. Six percent over budget isn't awful, but I'd like to not go higher.

So, experienced hardware type folks, what do you all think? Is this good for my needs? Is there a part or combo deal I'm overlooking? Am I including a lot of jank? Feedback very welcome before I pull the trigger on this.
July 21, 2010 1:25:30 AM

That looks really good to me actually. I didn't comb through for combo deals, but I see you have a number of them. Great video card, great monitor, great budget HSF, fast cheap HDD, solid CPU... solid everything really.

I'd be tempted to spend an extra $50 here or there, but obviously it adds up and like you said, it doesn't need to be insane. For what you want to use it for, this setup will do extremely well.
July 21, 2010 2:24:07 AM

The motherboard looks alright, but you may want to consider something with USB 3.0 SATA 6 GB/s support. Only other thing I'm not crazy about is your PSU because of the dual rails. I would recommend one with a single rail such as a Corsair. There's a Corsair with a Seagate combo for twice the capacity:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Also, I own that monitor and it definitely is amazing.
Related resources
July 21, 2010 2:43:34 AM

USB 3.0 isn't really relevant to me (no external, no digital video/audio recording, no need for super high speeds), and I heard SATA 6 was more of a marketing gimmick than anything, because it doesn't matter how fast the data transfer is if the disk physically cannot read/write fast enough to fill it (and I don't see SSDs getting cheap/fast enough soon enough for me to care before I upgrade).

I was worried about the dual-rail thing, but I did some research and read an article on single vs. multi-rail PSUs here, which dispelled a few myths and helped me understand the issue better. This PSU pushes 18A per 12V, which is ample for my needs, and has all the connectors I need. The few sites that have reviewed it are all positive and recommend it. Besides, between the discount and the combo deal, it's so cheap it's practically free.

Thanks for the rec on the monitor! I'm glad someone is willing to step up and validate what I've been hearing.
July 21, 2010 3:39:29 AM

I feel your pain with the taxes. New Jersey over here also. I got 2 systems that were over 150 more because of taxes. its stupid
July 21, 2010 3:58:40 AM

Build looks good, especially with having to fit a monitor & OS in there.

At 1920x1080, I'd prefer going with a 5850, but the taxes are eating up that money.

The only real suggestion I have is that you might look at getting a slightly larger PSU for overclocking headroom & CrossFire in the future. Perhaps this Antec Earthwatts 650 for $80 or the Seasonic SS-650HT for $80?
July 21, 2010 5:42:12 AM

That combo is hard to beat though... I think it's $10 with his graphics card. There is virtually the same combo with an OCZ 550W on there also, so $10 more for definite OC headroom. But cold is right.. if you plan on CrossFire, get a 650W.
July 21, 2010 1:15:06 PM

Yeah. If I ever went Crossfire, I'd upgrade the PSU to something with more oomph. I think I'll trade up to that 550W - it's $10 more, but the PSU I currently have has $6 shipping, so it's really only $4 more for that much more security and robustness.

Any more opinions before I pull the trigger on this?
July 21, 2010 7:36:53 PM

two_eyes said:
Yeah. If I ever went Crossfire, I'd upgrade the PSU to something with more oomph. I think I'll trade up to that 550W - it's $10 more, but the PSU I currently have has $6 shipping, so it's really only $4 more for that much more security and robustness.

Any more opinions before I pull the trigger on this?


You could improve on the RAM I suppose, It wouldn't make a huge difference, but you have a 1333MHz set there at Cas 9, which is.... slow.
Here's a few 1600MHz kits with tighter timings of Cas 7... for $10-20 more, which is well worth it.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Or if you prefer, an Eco kit:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Since the eco kit is low voltage AND 1600MHz, it would provide you with much more OC'ing headroom than the Crucial kit.
July 22, 2010 1:34:50 AM

Okay. Just pulled the trigger. Holy buyer's anxiety Batman - nobody told me how stressful committing $1100 would be, especially when I'm going to be building it myself. Hopefully everything will go well.

Some prices went up between yesterday and today (boooo), and the memory I wanted (because according to every review site I could find, it overclocked like a dream AND was under $100) went out of stock. So I ended up buying a 700W PSU combo (to give myself a little more headroom and prepare myself in case I want to Crossfire another 5770 in a year or so) and the Eco kit that redechelon recommended.

Should get the parts some time next week, and then I get to build for the first time. Here's hoping for a successful initial boot :) 
July 22, 2010 2:57:58 AM

Ah, isn't it fun though?

I think you'll be happy you got a better PSU also, the option to upgrade is nice and CF 5770's is a beautiful thing.

Have a good time building it, hope all goes smoothly!
Anonymous
July 25, 2010 10:20:30 PM

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to thank the original poster and the people who gave their two cents on his build for all the research and knowledge that obviously went into this thread. I'm doing the same thing as two_eyes for the release of starcraft 2. I'm currently gaming on a mid-level laptop that likes to overheat and shut down while running the sc2 beta at low-medium settings. So, I basically copied all the parts two_eyes put together and made the modifications noted in the above thread. Here's what I put together on newegg:

1. Motherboard: ASRock P55 Extreme LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard

2. OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM

3. Processor: Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor BX80605I5750

4. Case: NZXT M59 - 001BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

5. Power Supply: Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W Continuous Power ATX12V Ver.2.2 / EPS12V version 2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC "compatible with Core i7/Core i5" Power Supply

6. Optical Drive: ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM

7. CPU Cooler: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-G1 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" Long ...

8. Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBRM

9. GPU: GIGABYTE GV-R577SO-1GD Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card

10. Hard drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

11. Keyboard: LITE-ON SK-1688A/B Black PS/2 Wired Standard Keyboard

I was able to find 1 and 2, 3 and 4, and 5 and 6 as combo deals. With shipping, the total comes out to $918.87 for me, but that's before a monitor. I live in PA so no sales tax.

First, can anyone comment on this before I "pull the trigger"? :) 

Second, are any of these components radically outdoing the others? I don't want to have so much speed/RAM/power/resolution/etc that the components can't make the most of each other. Keep in mind I'm getting the 650V PSU for the headroom discussed above.

Third, (while I'm here) can anyone recommend a good bang for buck 22" monitor from $150-250? I plan on using it to watch TV as well so I think it should have a TV tuner built in. Or maybe I should put the tuner into the tower. Thoughts?

Fourth, would anyone endorse getting "opened box" parts from newegg? I saw the power supply open box for about $50 off.

Fifth, is there anything in here I really don't need to play Starcraft 2 on ultra? I'd like to play other future games on high settings as well, but nothing is definite there. For instance, do I really need a CPU cooler with the other fans in the case?

Sixth, are there any cables or peripherals that I'm missing? I'm a first time computer builder so it could be something pretty obvious to others.

Seventh, if this were your computer, which component would you upgrade first?

Once again, thanks for the help that you've all given me already. Peace!




July 26, 2010 12:27:50 AM

Quote:
Hi everyone,

Just wanted to thank the original poster and the people who gave their two cents on his build for all the research and knowledge that obviously went into this thread. I'm doing the same thing as two_eyes for the release of starcraft 2. I'm currently gaming on a mid-level laptop that likes to overheat and shut down while running the sc2 beta at low-medium settings. So, I basically copied all the parts two_eyes put together and made the modifications noted in the above thread. Here's what I put together on newegg:

1. Motherboard: ASRock P55 Extreme LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard

2. OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM

3. Processor: Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor BX80605I5750

4. Case: NZXT M59 - 001BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

5. Power Supply: Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W Continuous Power ATX12V Ver.2.2 / EPS12V version 2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC "compatible with Core i7/Core i5" Power Supply

6. Optical Drive: ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM

7. CPU Cooler: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-G1 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" Long ...

8. Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBRM

9. GPU: GIGABYTE GV-R577SO-1GD Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card

10. Hard drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

11. Keyboard: LITE-ON SK-1688A/B Black PS/2 Wired Standard Keyboard

I was able to find 1 and 2, 3 and 4, and 5 and 6 as combo deals. With shipping, the total comes out to $918.87 for me, but that's before a monitor. I live in PA so no sales tax.

First, can anyone comment on this before I "pull the trigger"? :) 

Looks good to me.

Second, are any of these components radically outdoing the others? I don't want to have so much speed/RAM/power/resolution/etc that the components can't make the most of each other. Keep in mind I'm getting the 650V PSU for the headroom discussed above.

No.

Third, (while I'm here) can anyone recommend a good bang for buck 22" monitor from $150-250? I plan on using it to watch TV as well so I think it should have a TV tuner built in. Or maybe I should put the tuner into the tower. Thoughts?

I don't have a 22" to recommend, but I do have a 24" in that price range... it rules: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Fourth, would anyone endorse getting "opened box" parts from newegg? I saw the power supply open box for about $50 off.

I have never purchased an open box, but I'd say it's worth a try.

Fifth, is there anything in here I really don't need to play Starcraft 2 on ultra? I'd like to play other future games on high settings as well, but nothing is definite there. For instance, do I really need a CPU cooler with the other fans in the case?

The CPU cooler will allow you to overclock if you want (you should, it's not hard), getting more money out of your CPU. If you're not planning on overclocking, the stock fan would do fine.

Sixth, are there any cables or peripherals that I'm missing? I'm a first time computer builder so it could be something pretty obvious to others.

All the cables you need should come with the components. Unless cords in your case are short and you need extensions.

Seventh, if this were your computer, which component would you upgrade first?

In the future? I'd get another 5770 and an SSD.

Once again, thanks for the help that you've all given me already. Peace!

Anonymous
July 26, 2010 8:30:57 PM

Thanks for the feedback redechelon!

Another question about monitors - there are some amazing deals out there like the one you linked me to, but will I be able to play games at the native resolutions of these fancy monitors for long? I don't want to get a 24" and then realize in 6 months that I have to dial the resolution down to play a game at a decent frame rate. Would you agree that 22" @ 1680x1050 might be a better size and native resolution for my GPU? I'm sticking with the 5770 for now although I'm watching various used and new 5850s on ebay right now.
July 26, 2010 9:23:21 PM

Quote:
Thanks for the feedback redechelon!

Another question about monitors - there are some amazing deals out there like the one you linked me to, but will I be able to play games at the native resolutions of these fancy monitors for long? I don't want to get a 24" and then realize in 6 months that I have to dial the resolution down to play a game at a decent frame rate. Would you agree that 22" @ 1680x1050 might be a better size and native resolution for my GPU? I'm sticking with the 5770 for now although I'm watching various used and new 5850s on ebay right now.


Yeah I suppose that resolution would be better with the card, although like you said, you can just turn the resolution down while having the option of 1920x1080 if you choose. It would be fine with the higher resolution in games like SC2, but not so much for high-end shooters. In the future, if you decided you wanted more juice, 2 x 5770's would be awesome (actually it IS awesome, that's what I had in my last setup) for the 1920x1080 monitor... so it's kind of your choice.

Just a thought.. but if you're considering used 5850's, may I suggest the GTX 460... the card is a dream come true. It performs close to the 5850, but is $200. If you haven't yet, I highly recommend you read some reviews on it. It's pretty much the best of all worlds... performance, price, temps, noise, SLI-scaling, etc.
Anonymous
July 27, 2010 3:19:42 AM

Good lord, redechelon, you saved me from a suboptimal purchase! You're right, I've found some reviews that said the 460 is THE card since it delivers the most FPS/$ in starcraft 2. You think that power supply would still be ok though? Is there some formula for knowing before trying it out or is it just guesswork?

Of course, the 460 can easily push 1920x1080 so I'll just have to get a bigger monitor too now :) 
Anonymous
July 27, 2010 3:38:37 AM

What I meant to say was, do you think that powersupply is still future proof should I decide to SLI some 460s at a later date?

(although I doubt I'll want to.)
July 27, 2010 4:58:27 AM

For the record, and since this was originally my thread after all, I ended up rejecting the 460 because I wanted to keep as close to my budget as possible (still ended up going $100 over...) and the only 460 that came with a good combo deal were the 768 MB ones (i.e. the relatively crappy ones).

As for formulas, try this and this. Then figure in some headroom.

My cooler arrives tomorrow, going to put my box together and see how it goes :) 
July 27, 2010 6:23:01 AM

two_eyes said:
For the record, and since this was originally my thread after all, I ended up rejecting the 460 because I wanted to keep as close to my budget as possible (still ended up going $100 over...) and the only 460 that came with a good combo deal were the 768 MB ones (i.e. the relatively crappy ones).

As for formulas, try this and this. Then figure in some headroom.

My cooler arrives tomorrow, going to put my box together and see how it goes :) 


768MB aren't crappy by any means... in fact lots of the reviews done that praise the card so much, were of the 768MB version. The 1GB version doesn't see too much of a benefit, but will help with larger resolutions. There's also a $30 difference, which is arguable. I would advise to get the 1GB version if he gets a larger monitor, but I would happily "settle" on a 768MB.. still whoops a 5830's ass in MANY different categories: performance, price, temps, noise, sli-scaling.. I mean, that's almost too good to be true. Better AND cheaper. Although prices should drop...

Don't get me wrong, I'm not comparing the card to a 5770, there's a $50 price difference. Which is a lot considering that's a third of the card's cost.
July 30, 2010 2:33:17 AM

Two_eyes, how's the setup going?

I found a pretty good deal on a GTX 460 1gb, but now I want to try skimping on the case. Can either of you recommend a cheap case that can fit all this stuff? As I've never built a computer before, it's hard for me to know how big of a case I'll need.

By the way, the 5770 is no doubt a great card. I'm just trying to "future proof" my comp with the 460, although I too will get buyer's anxiety for sure. It definitely comes at a price, and really, there's no such thing as future proof with computer technology.

The GTX 460 deal is at Superbiz.com. Coupon code SCHOOL15 :) 
July 30, 2010 2:52:41 AM

Hmm...Nevermind, I think. I can see the original poster did some good shopping. I can keep shopping forever to try and save 10 bucks here and there, but I should just go for it already.

I was just wondering about the case below, but I don't think it comes with any combo deals that I need so forget it.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
July 30, 2010 3:10:29 AM

Here's some of my favorite mid-tower cases from least expensive to most expensive:

Antec Two-Hundred
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec Three-Hundred
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Cooler Master 922
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Lian Li Lancool PC-K62
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec Nine-Hundred Two
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'm a bit biased when it comes to cases considering 3/4 I had were Antec...
I've had a 200, 300, and now a 1200... They've always been amazing for the price, so I keep going back... but obviously this is just my preference. I like the clean style, not bling.

The Lancool is supposed to be amazing, I've seen many reviews that compliment it very much... many spots for fans and you don't need any tools to assemble/disassemble.
Same with the 922, just heard great things about that line (922, 932, 942...). Nice airflowwwwwwwwwww
August 4, 2010 1:08:42 AM

jdebarde said:
Two_eyes, how's the setup going?


So, I haven't come back to this thread in a while, mostly because I built this thing last week (on a related note, you have to shove memory in HARD for it to latch in properly!) and have been spending all the time that I haven't spent prepping for grad school playing on this thing. Starcraft 2 on Ultra runs as sweet as you please, and I haven't even overclocked anything (well, I did bump my CPU from 133 bclock to 150 without changing anything else, but that was just because I could and it took about ten seconds).

It is so beautiful. I think I might be in love.
August 4, 2010 8:41:22 PM

Good to hear! I just submitted my order a few seconds ago. :D 

Again, great choices with all your components. As a grad student myself, I share your nerdy pleasures, budget and anal retentiveness. :p 

BNet ID: EneMan, ID: 200

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