Newbie building gaming PC!

Approximate Purchase Date: Late November or early December.
Budget Range: I can spend a maximum of $1600 (before rebates and after shipping and taxes).
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming! I have a laptop for school work.

Parts Not Required: OS, keyboard, speakers, mouse.
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Any reliable site without CA sales tax, otherwise, NewEgg. 
Country of Origin: United States, California.
Parts Preferences: Intel (i7 - quad core) and ATI.
Overclocking: No.
SLI or Crossfire: No.
Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080
Additional Comments: Do I need to buy thermal paste when building my own PC? I'm not tech savvy and I've never built my own PC before. How difficult would it be for complete newbie like me to build a PC? Thank you for your time. ;)
6 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. If you use the stock fan/heatsink that comes with the CPU it already has thermal paste applied to the bottom of the heatsink.
  2. Why no SLI or Crossfire? For gaming at $1600, you can get a pretty fast rig. But without the option for SLI or Crossfire, some of your budget has to be unnecessarily diverted to other components that will have minimal or no impact on gaming performance? You could get a gtx 480 or a radeon 5970, but a pair of 470's is faster than both and very much within your budget. So what's the purpose of having a no sli policy on a gaming rig?

    Since your purchase date is late november/early december, your build will probably change once AMD's new GPUs come out.

    CPU: Intel Core i7 950 ($300)
    MOBO: ASUS Sabertooth X58 ($200)
    RAM: G.SKILL PI Series 6 GB (3 x 2GB), 1600 MHz, CAS 7, 1.5 V ($155)
    GPU: In order of speed: 2 x GTX 470 ($520 for superclocked gigabyte ones) > HD 5970 ($550 for the HIS) > gtx 480 ($429 for the MSI)
    HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB ($70)
    CASE: HAF 922 ($90)
    PSU: Corsair 950 TX ($120)
    MONITOR: Samsung LED ($170)

    TOTAL: $1625 with the pair of 470's, -$90 with a single gtx 480, +30 with a 5970

    prices from newegg. And yeah, the processor heatsink will have thermal compound pre-applied.
  3. @mortonww

    Awesome! I didn't think my budget would allow SLI/Crossfire (shows how much I know - LOL). Thanks so much dude. :D

    Edit: Bummer! ~1800 after taxes. =(
  4. Best answer
    Oh really? okay, let's see

    CPU: Intel Core i5 760 ($208)
    MOBO: ASUS P7P55D-E ($200) with USB 3 and SATA 6
    RAM: G.SKILL ECO 1600 MHz, 4 GB (2 x 2GB), CAS 7, 1.35 volts ($95)
    GPU: 2 x gtx 470 ($520)
    CASE: HAF 912 ($60)
    PSU: Corsair 950TX ($120)
    HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 500 GB ($55)
    Monitor: Same ($170)

    TOTAL: 1428

    Should work out to be $1600 or below with tax and perform within 5% of the build in the previous post. I would recommend getting a CPU cooler like the Cooler Master Hyper 212+ ($30) for a mild overclock and maybe a Noctua NH-D14 (~$60) for a more serious overclock (voltage tweaks). Even if you don't plan to do it now, it's good to have a cooler for when, in the future, you decide to get some free extra performance out of your rig. You would rather not have to remove the motherboard and remove thermal paste, etc.

    Hope this works out.

    EDIT: If you live near a microcenter, the i5 760 can be had for $170, so there's that.
  5. Thanks again dude, this fits my budget perfectly! I will definitely look into getting a CPU cooler. You are awesome. :D
  6. Best answer selected by Baozi.
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