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1000$-1500$ Gaming/Media Computer

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January 13, 2011 10:52:09 PM

I haven't build a computer in a little over a decade, so I'm more than a little rusty - but I've got some time and money on my hands for the next few weeks so I thought this might be a good project.


Approximate Purchase Date: 3-4 weeks

Budget Range: 1000$-1500$ Before rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming, watching movies, internet access, photo editing

Parts Not Required: Monitor, keyboard, mouse

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: www.newegg.com

Country of Origin: US - MN

Parts Preferences: none

Overclocking: Maybe - I'll need to keep doing some learning, but I'd like to take on the challenge

SLI or Crossfire: if needed

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: I've got a LCD TV in the living room, and all the housemates are grousing about the fact that we only have bunny ears hooked up to it - so this computer is my little home improvement project for the winter. The goal is to create an affordable gaming/home theater system for the common space that can take full advantage of the HD TV.

So something that looks nice and is a bit quieter would be good - but those are secondary to being able to output high quality video

I'm also a semi-professional photographer (I'd be a little more professional if there was more work going around), and if I could use this TV as a work station, that would be hot - but since I have a workstation already that is the lowest priority.

Credit goes to Tecmo34 and Don Woligroski (of SBM fame) for this build - though I take all credit for any mistakes/poor choices

Without further ado -

CPU-Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core

Mobo-ASUS P8P67 PRO LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

CPU and Mobo combo deal that was mentioned in another thread.

HSF- COOLER MASTER Intel Core i7 compatible Hyper N 520 RR-920-N520-GP 92mm Sleeve CPU Cooler

GPU-EVGA 012-P3-1570-AR GeForce GTX 570 (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

PSU-CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply

RAM-CORSAIR XMS3 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory

HDD-Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EARS 1TB 5400 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

Optical-ASUS Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 24X DVD Burner

Case-NZXT GAMMA Classic Series

I'm just using newegg right now to research the prices, but I have all this at about 1070$ plus shipping, though I'll want to get a copy of Windows 7, a mini-HDMI to HDMI cord, some extra fans for the case as well as a wireless adapter of some kind - and that brings me up to a little under 1300$ or so.

Since I haven't built a computer in years I'm hoping you fine folks might catch any major oversights that I may have made - as well as any refinements that might boost the value of the build. Just about the only part that I'm sure that I want is the CPU - after that I'm game to do the research on any and all suggestions.

Thanks in advance!

Kyle-
January 14, 2011 12:35:46 AM

I would not purchase a 5400 rpm drive, period....too slow; get any one of the plethora of 500GB-1TB drives for under $99, but, make sure it is 7200 rpm, SATA.

Otherwise, looks great.
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January 14, 2011 12:48:01 AM

mdd1963 is right about the harddrive. Live near the twin cities by any chance? Microcenter
has the best prices on CPU's and harddrives at the moment. If you can make the trip, get a Samsung Spinpoint F3 for $45 or $60

Since you are getting a k model CPU, just simply plan on overclocking. The motherboard you have selected has ample utilites to perform the task at hand. It is a whole new ballgame compared to your last machine 10 years ago.

The only other observation is the heat sink and case. Did you select a small heat sink to fit into your case? You don't mention one anywhere in the build. If you still need to choose a case, then get a 120 mm heat sink.



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January 14, 2011 1:50:10 AM

mdd1963 - Thanks for pointing that one out to me - I'll make sure to update that

eloric - Twin Cities native here, it's been a while but I'm pretty sure there are a couple of Microcenters around, I'll probably pick one up this weekend.

Doing this research helped me remember why I liked computers in the first place, I'm excited to really jump back into it. You are right about it being a whole new ballgame.

Of course I would forget to put the case in the original post (I've added it now).

The CPU/Mobo/GPU/HSF combination was taken from one of Tecmo34's builds in a related sticky, I decided to stick with it since it was moderately priced - but I'll read up more on heat sinks. I also didn't use the same case from that build, but I figured that the smaller heat sink was going to be fine either way.

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Best solution

January 14, 2011 12:18:43 PM

Your case is inxepensive, and got very good ratings, but consider spending more on the case, since it will last through more than one build. Here is a LIAN LI Lancool for $66, but you should buy this soon since the sale price may not last three weeks. Cooler Master and Antec also make good cases.

Are you sure you want the civilization game? The combo does not really offer that much of a discount unless you were going to buy that game anyway. Be aware since you are planning to purchase up to a month out that the combo probably won't last that long.

Check with your local Microcenter store before you go all the way to St. Louis Park! They are currently appear to be out of the i5-2500k processors - they are on sale for $180 plus tax when in stock, which is a big discount. Another item I would purchase there is the Samsung 1 TB hard drive for $60 plus tax.

Here is an inexpensive heat sink that should do the job: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus for $37. Microcenter sells for the same price, but tax is less than shipping - check to see if they have it back in stock when you go.

Good luck.
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January 14, 2011 2:56:53 PM

Eloric- Thanks again for all the helpful advice! It didn't take long for me to realize that the case you mentioned was a pretty good deal - and that you'r right, it wouldn't last - so I put in an order for it now. I've got about 50% of my budget ready to go now, which is why I started looking around now to catch deals like this.

I'm not going to lie, the Civ games have had me hooked for a long time now, though if I can get the CPU at that price, that would be great, so I'll keep my eye out and nab one if I can.

The Hyper 212 Plus was the other heat sink I was considering getting (from the SBM build I was referencing) - getting that rather than the cooler master will help offset the extra money I just spend on the case, so thats a great tip.

Thanks again for all the help!

I have to say that finding this site saved me a great deal of time and effort by helping focus my research and giving great feedback (here and on other related threads I've viewed).
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January 18, 2011 7:03:56 PM

Malmental -

Thanks for the suggestions - the ram in particular was a helpful comment.
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January 18, 2011 7:37:58 PM

I wouldn't count on a 650w psu pushing two of those 570's. This one down below is a OEM model...which means you just have to get a power cord...sub $10 at just about any electronics store...or newegg but then you have shipping charges.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $129.99
Seasonic SS-850HT 850W ATX12V v2.31,EPS12V v2.92 80Plus Silver Certified, Active PFC Power Supply - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $49.99
COOLER MASTER HAF 912 RC-912-KKN1 Black SECC/ ABS Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml... $180
Core i5 2500K LGA 1155 Boxed Processor

http://www.microcenter.com/at_the_stores/st_louis_park.... <--- Twin Cities/St. Louis Park

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $49.99 FREE SHIPPING
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBXL

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $69.99 FREE SHIPPING $15 off with promo code HARDOCP112C, ends 1/19
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
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January 18, 2011 9:08:34 PM



Why_me's last reference to the hard drive beats the one I gave you, but you have to buy it by tomorrow - the promo code expires on the 19th. Careful of the Case he recommended - it is a nice case, but only has one fan. Consider it if you have some extra 120 mm fans left over from another build.

The 650W power supply is close for the GTX 570, but ought to be adequate. I used this Antec Power Supply Calculator to come up with 547 watts (used 25 % for capacitor aging, and the i5-760 chip because it is not updated with the 1155 socket yet)
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January 18, 2011 11:47:41 PM

Haha I post this link really often now-a-days but here's my suggestion.

http://www.squidoo.com/electronicandmore

You could go to microcenter and pick up that 180$ 2500K, that'd be a good idea. BTW the reason I suggest the XFX 850 is because it is cheaper than the Seasonic after MIR and also they have a good 2x lifetime warranty. :D 
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January 19, 2011 5:29:02 PM

Why_Me - Thanks for the heads up on the HDD - I put in for one yesterday - thats a great find.

Regarding the power supply/GPU - as much as I might love to get my hands on 2 of those 570's, it took me 19 months to save up for this and I just don't have 700$ for GPU's. That being said, if this goes well my next project is going to be building a 500-800$ internet/media computer for my folks to celebrate their retirement, (I'd like it to have a decent GPU/Blu-Ray to output to a HDTV as their eyes are going - and my mom really likes Blu-Ray movies) and since my X-mas budget projections look to give me a little extra padding I think I'm going to try to spring for a better PSU for this build then and kick this PSU down into my parents build. Then saving up for a second GPU in early 2012 should be easy!

So taking all of the suggestions into account my semi-final draft of this build is as follows -

Case - LIAN LI Lancool PC-K58W Black 0.8 mm SECC (thanks to Eloric) - 66$ with shipping - purchased

CPU - Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 95W (thanks to Eloric and Why_Me) 180$ - purchased

Mobo - ASUS P8P67 PRO LGA 1155 Intel P67 184.99$ - not purchased

PSU - Corsair CMPSU-650TX 89.99$ - not purchased

HSF - Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus(thanks to Eloric) 27.70$ - not purchased

GPU - EVGA 012-P3-1570-AR GeForce GTX 570 (Fermi) 359.99$ - not purchased

RAM - G.SKILL ECO Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBECO(thanks to Malmental) 74.99$ - not purchased

HDD - SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM(Thanks to Eloric, Why_Me, mdd1963) 54.99$ - purchased

Optical - LG Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16.99$ not purchased

I'm planning on doing lots of little upgrades over the next year as I sock money away - like getting a Blu-Ray optical drive, an SSD, photo editing peripherals, the aforementioned PSU upgrade, more RAM - many of those ideas were generated from the feedback I got on this thread (so thanks to you all for that!). Unfortunately my budget doesn't allow for me to get all the extras right away.

As always feedback is appreciated, but I'm starting to feel pretty good about this build.
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January 19, 2011 11:24:16 PM

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002G1YPH0/ref=s9_simh...

If you get it from Amazon it is cheaper than Microcenter and Newegg. Price fluctuates weekly but it is always in the ballpark of 25-30$. Free shipping, no tax and it also includes a second fan. Always a plus.

Also are you using Premiere? If not going Cuda isn't the best decision all the time. Many reviews have been done now and although Cuda speeds up transcoding, it decreases the quality of the picture which is why it speeds up so much (though it may not all just be that)

This is based off a mobile platform but still can be applied.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/asrock-e350m1-amd-b...

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4083/the-sandy-bridge-rev...

Another GPU suggestion is the 6950, the 6950 seems as though it's going to drop price to 279$ to combat the 560 Ti release. This should be interesting because the 6950 is coming out with non-reference coolers already and the 6950 is pretty OCable. It is able to surpass the 570 since it can flash to a 6970. Only by a bit though. We shall see.

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Radeon-HD-6950-1-GB-Cr...

And some money saved going with the 6950 or the 560 Ti should be put towards the SSD. I recommend the Mushkin Callistos or the OCZ Vertex 2s or soon to be released Vertex 3s if they are cheap.
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January 22, 2011 5:00:22 PM

Best answer selected by Kjamess84.
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