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$1600 Enthusiast Gaming Build

Last response: in Systems
January 16, 2011 4:15:43 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: March 2011

Budget Range: $1500 - $1600 before rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Movie watching, General (internet browsing, word processing etc.)

Parts Not Required: OS, keyboard and mouse

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: or

Country of Origin: Canada

Parts Preferences: No preferences

Overclocking: Yes

SLI or Crossfire: Will upgrade to crossfire/sli in the future

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1200

I want this PC to play the newest games on max settings at 1920x1080 for a decent period of time. This computer should be upgradeable so I can somewhat keep up with tech for a while. I plan on using this PC for a long time, thinking 5 years before any major upgrades. i will definitely overclock my parts for optimal performance, but nothing major (i.e. liquid cooling) is necessary

as much as id like it to be black and red, i wont sacrifice performance for aesthetics. Main problem being with the blue asus motherboard

These are the parts I've chosen so far:

Public Wishlist:

Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge



CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600

XFX HD-695A-CNFC Radeon HD 6950 2GB

CORSAIR CWCH50-1 High Performance CPU Cooler

Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM


ASUS VH236H Black 23" 2ms 1080p Monitor

ASUS Black 24X DVD+R

COOLER MASTER Megaflow 200mm Red LED Case Fan
(I'm replacing the side fan with this and putting the all black fan from the side to the extra fan bay at the top of the case)

Subtotal comes down to $1583.39
Grand total including shipping and 13.5% taxes is $1832.38

Any adjustments, advice, recommendations and/or thoughts about this build would be greatly appreciated.
Note that this is my first time building a PC


More about : 1600 enthusiast gaming build

January 16, 2011 10:09:44 AM

If you are thinking of gaming for 5 years, I'd start off with a better video card, GTX580 is the current king, with lots of memory for texture heavy future titles, and still very fast in single card config at 1080p....

(Another option for some is reflashing the 6950 BIOS to 6970 config...they are the same card!)

Best solution

January 16, 2011 12:09:29 PM

Scroll to the bottom, that's my take. The 1200-1500 should fit your wants just fine. Oh and IMO I don't think the H50 is worth the extra $70. It is low maintenance, true, but it really isn't true water cooling, true water cooling isn't an integrated pump and reservoir. Also it performs equal to the air cooling level so cheaper air coolers perform the same around the same loudness. Yes the H50 isn't quiet, it is in fact fairly loud.

I recommend the Hyper 212+ like on my site, get it on Amazon cheaper and two fans as well as free shipping.
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January 16, 2011 4:48:38 PM

Thanks for all the help but a few notes I should make here:
The reason I chose a single 6950 was that so eventually I could toss in another 6950 to crossfire it when it starts under-performing.
Also I originally had planned to put a thermaltake frio into my case but realized (after extensive measurements with a printout) that the giant blue heatsinks on the asus motherboard would interfere with large fans. I then chose to use an h50 because it takes up relatively little space around the cpu and according to 3dgameman cools 10*C less than a xigmatek dark knight.

And finally, the reason I dont want to trade the mobo is because of ASUS's quality products, great UEFI and overclocking features, and great features.

I felt I shouldnt settle for another, lesser board just because it has more space around the cpu


P.S. I will definitely use the 1TB spinpoint! Had better reviews anyways
January 16, 2011 6:13:16 PM

Well Asrock is a part of Asus and they make great boards. The Extreme4 is a great board and also has UEFI. They also maintain pretty decent OC's from reviews I've seen, they hold up to Asus.
January 16, 2011 6:47:40 PM

I compared both the asus p67 pro and the asrock extreme 4 and both seemed more or less identical but there are a few differences

one major difference is the board layout, one guy fit a megahelms cooler on that board :o 
in that case, will I be able to fit my choice cooler, the thermaltake frio, on that board? I also seems to have rather large heatsinks. Note that i want a push-pull fan configuration with my frio

second difference is that the asus mobo has turbo boost technology support. Does this mobo support make a significant difference? Seeing as overclocking the new sandy bridge processors is highly dependent on Turbo Boost I might side with the asus pro.

January 16, 2011 8:46:36 PM

MoBo / CPU - Save $65 w/ the combo

PSU - TX Series PSU is inadequate for overclocking and twin GFX, if ya wanna stick w/ corsair, would recommend the HX series. Better yet, the XFX Black Edition 850 is only $110 to the Corsair's $162

RAM - Vnegeance high heat sinks look like they will interfere w/ most CPU coolers.

Cooler - Faux water coolers like the H50 can't compare with the better air coolers. As shown here, it's a full 5C below the best ones

Monitor - Get the new LED version

To provide's an alternate build

-The HAF-X is a great case, but having built with both, I found the DF-85 outshines it with inlet air filters, hot swap 2.5" bay, built in fan speed control, ability to accept CPX form factor cases and greater ruggedability. Case selection is most often a matter of aesthetics so if ya like the HAF by all means choose it, but at least get a HX850 or XFX Black Edition 850 as the PSU.
-The CP-850 is a performance match for the Corsair HX, XFX Black (all get 10.0 performance ratings on jonnyguru) but the CP-850 is quieter. Any one of them can power twin 570's
-The SCMG 2100 outperforms everything mentioned in this thread, the H50 bu a full 5C and is $38. The Shin Etsu TIM has the best test results out of 80 entries in benchmarkreviews roundup.
-This build includes a BlueRay Reader / DVD Writer.
-The Seagate is currently the cheapest among the WD Black and Spinpoint F3....any one is a good choice
-The 570 is on par with the 6950 in a single card configuration but outshines it by over 10% in SLI compared with 6950's in X-fire according to Guru3D's comparisons
-RAM is low profile and won't interfere w/ CPU coolers
-With the above improvements, it's $60+ cheaper than your original build

Case - $170 - Antec DF-85
Case Fans - Later - Antec Red 120 mm
PSU - $140 - Antec CP850
MoBo - $400 - ASUS P8P67 Pro
CPU - incl above - Intel Core i5-2500
Cooler - $38 - Scythe SCMG 2100
TIM - $6 - Shin Etsu
RAM - $114 - (2 x 4GB) Corsair CAS 9
GFX - $360 - EVGA GTX 570
GFX - Later - Same
HD - $70 - Seagate 7200.12 1TB 7200 rpm
SSD - Later - OCZ Vertex 2 3.5" 120GB
DVD Writer - $60 - ASUS BR Model BC-08B1LT
Monitor - $170 - ASUS VE247H 23.6" LED

Cost $1,528

One item I'd weigh heavily is whether to include the SSD now rather than later and save the reinstall of the OS. Dropping the BlueRay drive for your original choice would save about $40. That plus the $60 savings would put you within $100 or so of putting the SSD in now.

January 16, 2011 8:55:56 PM

BTW, here's how the Frio stacks up against the competition in the test with all having two high speed fans

Cooler / Temp. Difference / Diff from Frio
Prolimatech Megahalems 56.1 -6.6
Thermalright Venemous X 56.8 -5.9
CoolIT ECO A.L.C. 58.9 -3.8
Scythe Mugen 2 60.8 -1.9
Thermaltake Frio 62.7 +0.0
Titan Fenrir 65.6 +2.9
Xigmatek Thor's Hammer 66.3 +3.6
Corsair H50 67.4 +4.7

The H50 did 4.7 degrees worse, the Mugen 2 did 1.9 degrees better and the Megahalems did 6.6 degrees better.
January 16, 2011 9:35:02 PM

is an 850W xfx black edition psu sufficient for dual 6950's and overclocking? id think the corsair 950W tx would be better but I might be wrong

btw, GREAT build JackNaylorPE

January 16, 2011 9:42:07 PM

the radeon 6970 is only about $10 more than a gtx 570, is that worth it?
also note that I dont plan to game on more than one 1920x1080 monitor.
January 16, 2011 10:42:22 PM

I've decided to stick with the HAF X for its aesthetics and generally better reviews (people complained of cheap plastic components in the DF-85).

Just double checking:

the gtx 570>6970>6950 on a 1920x1080 setup right?

will the corsair 950W TX series be able to SLI two gtx 570's?

will I be able to fit a Scythe SCMG-2100 on my asus p67 pro mobo in spite of its outrageous heatsinks?


Thanks a bunch
January 16, 2011 11:03:13 PM

I dont plan to buy my PC until 2 months later so I'm fine with something being temporarily out of stock

the best aircooler I could think of thats small enough is the xigmatek dark knight cooler
which is rated pretty well and at a great price point at $36

but the corsair h50 which due to its design fits as well cools 10*C cooler at load but with a price of $80
is it worth it?

also the asrock board seemed great but still has huge heatsinks. I wish mobo manufacturers would realize that 90% of people who would buy their "deluxe" boards would also use aftermarket coolers and benefit from small mobo heatsinks.

theres no way for me to tell what will fit and what wont without actually trying to assemble the parts themselves.
January 16, 2011 11:19:56 PM

as of now my cooler of choice is the Thermalright Venomous X - RT 120mm CPU Cooler

im pretty sure that'll fit my mobo as it is a few mm bigger than the dark knight which im confident will fit as well. Also it is one of the top sir coolers, second to the giant and expensive megahelms cooler
January 17, 2011 2:05:41 AM

the 5970 is already a dual gpu (1GB each) affair, and is already mem BW challenged in some titles....

GTX580 is superior, IMO....
January 24, 2011 7:36:54 PM

Best answer selected by xalexon.