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Critique my Sub $1000 Sandy Bridge Gaming Build

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January 17, 2011 3:54:50 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: (+/- 1 Week Around Feb 1st)

Budget Range: ($800 - $1000) After Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: (Gaming, Audio Recording, General Use, possibly hackintosh)

Parts Not Required: (OS, Keyboard + Mouse)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: (Prefer Newegg, as I pay no tax there, but there is a microcenter nearby (20min), and I'd be willing to drive if it would save some $$, also I have amazon Prime, so I'm open to parts there)

Country of Origin: (USA)

Parts Preferences: by brand or type (intel, would like to go sandy bridge)

Overclocking: I have no experience overclocking, but I wouldn't be adverse to trying

SLI or Crossfire: Not at first, but would like to have the option as an upgrade path

Monitor Resolution: (1920x1080)

Additional Comments: (This is my second build, I built a HTPC last year, and this is my first gaming PC)

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Build I put together on Newegg:


Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52500K
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Rosewill CHALLENGER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HIS H685F1GD Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR CMPSU-550VX 550W ATX12V V2.2 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR XMS3 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASRock P67 PRO3 LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: $797.64 with Shipping Before Rebates

So I need a 1080p Monitor, I was thinking 21.5 inch(ish) and I like the look of the Dells...

Dell 21.5-inch Wide ST2220MB Flat Panel Monitor
http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?c...
$161 with tax/shipping

So that puts me at $958.64 before rebates, $910 ish after rebates.

I'm super excited for this build!

Questions:

1. Critique my build! Is there anywhere I save some $, or squeak some more performance out of this build? I'd love to add an SSD if I can drop the budget a little, it seems like that would be a worthwhile investment.

2. Is the 6850 going to be able to handle 1080p gaming sufficiently? I chose it because It seems like a good budget card that I can easily add another one in crossfire to bump up my performance. Am I better off with a GTX 460 for around the same price (seems like nVidia is easier for hackintosh, although that's a VERY secondary concern), or is it just a matter of preference? I've been out of the PC gaming world for a while so I bought a bunch of stuff during the steam sale this holidy in preparation :)  STALKER, Crysis, The Witcher, a bunch of Telltale stuff, etc. Also plan on buying Starcraft 2, and Diablo 3 when it comes out.

3. Is it worth it to get the 2500k as opposed to the 2500 if i'm not SURE i'm going to overclock? Stability is super-important to me, but I know overclocking has gotten a lot more mainstream/easier/more stable. Thoughts?

And thanks!!
January 17, 2011 4:12:40 PM

lowfatevan said:
Approximate Purchase Date: (+/- 1 Week Around Feb 1st)

Budget Range: ($800 - $1000) After Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: (Gaming, Audio Recording, General Use, possibly hackintosh)

Parts Not Required: (OS, Keyboard + Mouse)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: (Prefer Newegg, as I pay no tax there, but there is a microcenter nearby (20min), and I'd be willing to drive if it would save some $$, also I have amazon Prime, so I'm open to parts there)

Country of Origin: (USA)

Parts Preferences: by brand or type (intel, would like to go sandy bridge)

Overclocking: I have no experience overclocking, but I wouldn't be adverse to trying

SLI or Crossfire: Not at first, but would like to have the option as an upgrade path

Monitor Resolution: (1920x1080)

Additional Comments: (This is my second build, I built a HTPC last year, and this is my first gaming PC)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Build I put together on Newegg:


Rosewill CHALLENGER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HIS H685F1GD Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR CMPSU-550VX 550W ATX12V V2.2 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR XMS3 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASRock P67 PRO3 LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: $797.64 with Shipping Before Rebates

So I need a 1080p Monitor, I was thinking 21.5 inch(ish) and I like the look of the Dells...

Dell 21.5-inch Wide ST2220MB Flat Panel Monitor
http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?c...
$161 with tax/shipping

So that puts me at $958.64 before rebates, $910 ish after rebates.

I'm super excited for this build!

Questions:

1. Critique my build! Is there anywhere I save some $, or squeak some more performance out of this build? I'd love to add an SSD if I can drop the budget a little, it seems like that would be a worthwhile investment.

2. Is the 6850 going to be able to handle 1080p gaming sufficiently? I chose it because It seems like a good budget card that I can easily add another one in crossfire to bump up my performance. Am I better off with a GTX 460 for around the same price (seems like nVidia is easier for hackintosh, although that's a VERY secondary concern), or is it just a matter of preference? I've been out of the PC gaming world for a while so I bought a bunch of stuff during the steam sale this holidy in preparation :)  STALKER, Crysis, The Witcher, a bunch of Telltale stuff, etc. Also plan on buying Starcraft 2, and Diablo 3 when it comes out.

3. Is it worth it to get the 2500k as opposed to the 2500 if i'm not SURE i'm going to overclock? Stability is super-important to me, but I know overclocking has gotten a lot more mainstream/easier/more stable. Thoughts?

And thanks!!


Great HDD! The 1155 is a good path for your budget. 550W is not enough if you want the path to SLI open. CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX would be a better choice. I personally don't like going with the ASRock mobos. I'd recommend going with ASUS or GIGABYTE. Don't try to skimp on the mobo, it's a very important part of a pc. I'd definitely recommend the GTX 460 instead. Mainly because if you want to add a second card, nvidia scales much better than ati. And also it's just a great card (I have it :)  ) I think your RAM is sufficient. Don't buy an SSD now especially with your budget. Wait for the prices to drop although SSD are a great upgrade option. I'd say do this build and when your next opportunity for upgrade arises, add an SSD. One more suggestion, wait a few more weeks to get some more reviews on the 1155 platform mobos. Good Luck!
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January 17, 2011 4:24:16 PM

jey1234 said:
Great HDD! The 1155 is a good path for your budget. 550W is not enough if you want the path to SLI open. CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX would be a better choice. I personally don't like going with the ASRock mobos. I'd recommend going with ASUS or GIGABYTE. Don't try to skimp on the mobo, it's a very important part of a pc. I'd definitely recommend the GTX 460 instead. Mainly because if you want to add a second card, nvidia scales much better than ati. And also it's just a great card (I have it :)  ) I think your RAM is sufficient. Don't buy an SSD now especially with your budget. Wait for the prices to drop although SSD are a great upgrade option. I'd say do this build and when your next opportunity for upgrade arises, add an SSD. One more suggestion, wait a few more weeks to get some more reviews on the 1155 platform mobos. Good Luck!


Thanks jey!

This GIGABYTE MB seems about the same, but it only says Crossfire support, is that just semantics, or does this MB not support SLI?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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January 17, 2011 5:19:17 PM

lowfatevan said:
Thanks jey!

This GIGABYTE MB seems about the same, but it only says Crossfire support, is that just semantics, or does this MB not support SLI?

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


That board has the second slot running at only x4, so a second video card could be bottlenecking the rest of the system, and no, it does not support SLI.

Also, and it might just be me, but I do not see a CPU in your original post?
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January 17, 2011 5:29:02 PM

OK

added the CPU to the OP.

So if I swap out the MB for this

Intel BOXDP67BG LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video Card for this:

EVGA 01G-P3-1366-TR GeForce GTX 460 SE (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU for this

CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

and LCD for this

ASUS VH222H-P Black 21.5" 5ms HDMI Widescreen Full HD 1080P LCD Monitor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

that puts me at $1011.17 shipped before rebates

thats RIGHT at the top of my budget though, and I was hoping to buy a decent set of computer speakers.
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January 17, 2011 5:39:52 PM

You could save some money and drop down to the 650W and still have enough power for GTX 460 SLI.

The card you have listed is a crippled version of the GTX 460 and one I would advice you not to get, if you must, drop down to a 650W PSU and get a "real" GTX 460.
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January 17, 2011 5:57:59 PM

lothdk said:
You could save some money and drop down to the 650W and still have enough power for GTX 460 SLI.

The card you have listed is a crippled version of the GTX 460 and one I would advice you not to get, if you must, drop down to a 650W PSU and get a "real" GTX 460.


I'm not sure how to identify a "real" GTX 460,

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

is that one?

That ends up being the same price after the rebate.

Would I be restricted by a 650 W PSU with this build?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
is $20 less and ships for free as opposed to the 750.
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January 17, 2011 6:03:57 PM

When I did the PSU calculator, WITH a GTX 460 in SLI, my build calls for 446W minimum. I know you want more, but I'd assume 200 extra W would be enough.
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January 17, 2011 7:48:49 PM

As a rule of thumb, stay away from intel boards. they make great cpus but bad motherboards. 650W is enough for sli. If boards dont mention `Sli Certified` then they don`t fully support sli even if they mention crossfire. Its not the same thing. The best mother board for sli porposes and your budget would be the gigabyte GA-P67A-UD4. Its the same one in the combo you mentioned in your latest post. lothdk is right, that evga 460 is bad. You could see it by the ``SE`` in the name.

The COMBO: Since it has the same cpu that you wanted and the board I recommended along with a good reference 460 GTX gpu, it definitely is a good buy. the only component that could be better is the ram since its not the popular ddr3 1600 but ddr3 1333. That could be compromised or upgraded in the future. I don`t think you can go wrong with it.
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January 17, 2011 9:40:40 PM

Ok, I think this might be it.

Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52500K
ASUS P8P67 PRO LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
Civ 5 Combo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

CORSAIR XMS3 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HIS H685F1GD Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS VH222H-P Black 21.5" 5ms HDMI Widescreen Full HD 1080P LCD Monitor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6824236067

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6822152185

COOLER MASTER ELITE 335 RC-335-KKN1-GP Black SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Comes in @ $985.90 shipped before rebates.

$930.90 after rebates.

Now lets have a talk with the wife. :) 
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January 18, 2011 12:03:17 AM

thanks badgj31!

talked to the wife and i just put in the order!

thanks for the advice guys.
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January 18, 2011 12:32:40 AM

lowfatevan said:
thanks badgj31!

talked to the wife and i just put in the order!

thanks for the advice guys.


No problem! Enjoy! I took several notes from your build so, thank you. I'm planning a VERY similar i5 2500k build that if I were to order today, would look very similar to yours minus a few changes I wanted specifically. I just have to talk to my wife yet, haha.

Also, take a look at the new Intel G3 SSDs when they come out next month. Might be a reasonable, more affordable upgrade for your computer in a while.
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January 18, 2011 12:35:49 AM

BADGJ31 said:
No problem! Enjoy! I took several notes from your build so, thank you. I'm planning a VERY similar i5 2500k build that if I were to order today, would look very similar to yours minus a few changes I wanted specifically. I just have to talk to my wife yet, haha.

Also, take a look at the new Intel G3 SSDs when they come out next month. Might be a reasonable, more affordable upgrade for your computer in a while.


yeah, i really want an ssd, but couldn't justify it right now with $1000 dropping this month, plus we just went on our honeymoon so the credit card bill is up there! thanks for the tip though, i'll keep an eye out.
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Best solution

January 18, 2011 9:36:01 AM

wait you ordered? too bad was going to recommend a slightly better build with a better psu gpu and case

well good luck with the build ;) 
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January 18, 2011 10:24:22 AM

mrhoshos96 said:
wait you ordered? too bad was going to recommend a slightly better build with a better psu gpu and case
http://gyazo.com/37ce1edaa8d798ae812f3458dae6ea1f.png
well good luck with the build ;) 


Thanks man, I did end up swapping out the case I had above for the haf 912 (after badgj41 suggested)
So what I ordered is essentially that build with the HIS 6850 instead of the sapphire.
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January 18, 2011 10:27:55 AM

Yah but the sapphire was higher quality as well as the psu plus it was more efficient.
But no worries i hope you enjoy the new rig :D 
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January 24, 2011 11:17:10 PM

Best answer selected by Lowfatevan.
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