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~$800 Gaming/Emulation Build Advice

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January 12, 2011 2:28:40 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: One to two weeks

Budget Range: ~$800 before rebates

System Usage: Gaming, GC/Wii Emulation (Dolphin), Photoshop and other programs, and everything else (of course the first two will be the hardest to do) I also do some of everything so I want a system able to do pretty much anything.

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor (and others, see below)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: None

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: None

Overclocking: No (most likely not)

SLI or Crossfire: No (most likely not)

Monitor Resolution: Will be using another monitor for a while until I eventually get a 1920x1080 (or 1200?) monitor.

Additional Comments: I would certainly like a quiet PC. Noise is something that would probably annoy me. I don't like things being hot and power hungry either.

Here are my ideas on parts so far:

CPU: i5 2500(K or no K)
Core i5 2500K LGA 1155 Boxed Processor
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
or
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This depends on whether I'll be near a Microcenter sometime soon or not and if I decide whether it's worth making the trip. If I don't go to an MC, I'll probably just get a non-K version as I don't plan on OC'ing anyway.

GPU: No idea whether to choose Nvidia or AMD. I hear (seen actually) 68xx cards have texture shimmering which I would most likely OCD about. I also don't know who has better drivers in general and all that. I do like lifetime warranties.

HDD: I already own a SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 1TB. It cost me $55. (Black Friday)

ODD: Whatever DVD drive is good at burning and reading. It doesn't have to be the cheapest as the difference can't be much between them.

OS: I already own Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium OEM System Builder. It cost me $85.

Case: Whatever is good. If I have front-end USB 3, of course I'd like to have the case match that.

Mobo: I really don't know if I should go with H67 or P67. I know what both of them do, but I'm still not sure. I do like that I could run 1600 DDR3 with the P67, but I want to know why the i5 2500 still says only up to 1333 DDR3 is supported even though the P67 can go above that. Does running a higher memory multiplier do anything at all? Is it akin to changing CPU multiplier and makes anything work harder? I also would like USB 3. I know front-end USB 3 is becoming much more common so it would be nice, if possible, to get that as long as it doesn't cost a fortune.

RAM: I was thinking some 1600 DDR3 with CAS 7. I also hear about new RAM coming out specifically for Sandy Bridge CPUs, but I don't know when or how much better that is.

PSU: Something really trustworthy and safe. Having headroom to add in another HDD or something would be nice. I probably won't SLI/Crossfire so I don't think that's a concern. I'm not a fan of multi-GPU.

From the HDD and OS, $140 of my budget have already been spent. The remaining budget is $660.

I plan on using this build for quite a few years so having it last is very important to me. I also like good warranties. I'll mention, I could up my budget more to get a better GPU (as long as it isn't a GTX 580! haha) and I'm seriously considering doing so. I just don't want to spend money on something that won't make much of a difference and then in two years have choices that are so much more powerful anyway that the saved money could've already bought me another, better GPU. That said, I doubt I'll be upgrading anything in the future if I can help it (as long as upgrading isn't really smart for some reason). I'm really not sure what to do.

I've never built a computer before and I've never had a gaming computer. I, therefore, do not have any experience with deciding what kind of GPU is really needed or any of that.
January 12, 2011 4:11:48 PM

if you aren't going to do crossfire/sli, or any overclocking, get the 2500 and an H67 motherboard.

the higher speed RAM will make a very slight improvement in overall performance.

a Seasonic 520W 80+ Bronze S12II PSU is $60, and will handle anything short of the 5970, 480/580, though it might be pushing it with a 570 or 6970

For GPU, I'd suggest a GTX 460 ($180), HD 6850($190), Hd 6870 ($240) HD 6950 ($300), or GTX 570 ($330) depending on how much you want to spend.
January 12, 2011 5:56:57 PM

Your budget is too small for Intel and a decent video card

Intel Core i5-2500 + GIGABYTE GA-H67A-UD3H
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
LG Black 24X DVD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Rosewill CHALLENGER
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SeaSonic S12II 520
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SAPPHIRE 100315L Radeon HD 6850
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$687.93

If that's too much get this combo instead:
GIGABYTE GA-880GA-UD3H + AMD Phenom II X4 955
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Related resources
January 12, 2011 11:42:59 PM

I'm considering waiting for the GTX 560. It should come out this month, right?
January 13, 2011 12:23:57 AM

in the next few weeks
!