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$800-$1500 Mid-High level gaming

Hello everyone. As a first time builder, I have followed this forum rather extensively the past few weeks, and thought that I should probably register to get direct advice, critique, comments, etc.

Approximate Purchase Date: I intend to settle upon a build now and buy later (probably in 6-7 months or so) in hopes that the prices will come down a little as well as a slightly naive belief that I will be able to refrain from buying the highest end parts when purchase time rolls around.

Budget Range: $800-1500

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming (though I'm a MMORPG kinda guy, I looked at FFXIV and figured that those sort of graphics may be what the future will look like.. and a related note, I have FPS'ed since the days of tau gun jumping).

Parts Not Required: let me know!

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg and microcenter

Country of Origin: I'm in the U.S.A. but if this means, parts' origin, then uh no preference.

Parts Preferences: whatever works best, though I lean towards NVIDIA (GPUs) and ASUS (MOBOs)

Overclocking: no real intent to do it if the videocards are sufficient as is.

SLI or Crossfire: I intend to use SLI down the road, but for now, budget would allow for one card.

Monitor Resolution: using the tv as a monitor at 1920 x 1080.. would love to see a game rendered at that level if not higher!

My running build thus far is:
CPU: Intel i7 2600k

MOBO: ASUS P8P67 Deluxe

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
(though, I may consider bumping it up to 16 GB if prices are any better at time of purchase)

HARD DRIVE: Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s

VIDEO CARD: ZOTAC ZT-40406-10P GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP
(plan on getting 1 for now and if games should ever require another (let's hope that's a ways down the road), then put them into SLI)

SOUND CARD: Do I need one?

(I have no idea what sort of power I'll need really. I figured if I run SLI, I'll need around 700W or so..., but this is probably overkill for now... recommendations?)

COOLING: Should I get a after market fan??

BD DRIVE: Sony BD Burner

NETWORKING: For a MMORPG, I should be fine with a wireless PCI/mini PCI/PCI express card. Although, my worries are whether I have any room on the MOBO (again, first time building and I'm worried that I'll have all these parts and run out of space on the board).

CASE: Whatever will keep the components cool and housed. Recommendations are welcome!

OS: Windows 7 Ultimate or Professional.

Thanks in advance for all the help!!

edited for case requests.
21 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about 1500 high level gaming
  1. Everything looks good ,but your video card is not exactly the best choice this card is a a better choice for your resolution and a much better manufacturer.Although the Ati 6950 is much better it's all your choice.


    As for the OS all you need is Windows 7 OEM

    The stock fan for the i7 is atrocious I would go with this one:

    Also what Case do you plan on using?
  2. Thanks for the reply. As for CASE, I meant to ask for opinions (mainly because I'm not sure what would be large enough to house it all).
  3. This case is one of my favorites ,good airflow and spacious.

    Now this Case is an absolute beauty with everything you could possibly ask for.
  4. Best answer
    Couple suggestions to help balance build

    1. MOBO+ CPU- the p8p67 pro has all the features you need and is cheaper buy it in a combo with the i5 2500K at microcenter (i5 2500K is great for gaming, only go i7 if you need hyperthreading for rendering)

    2. RAM- if gaming 4gb should be enough you can get 8gb 2 x 4gb for much cheaper than that, also they will be more future proof, I would recommend going with 4gb if only running one game at a time if going for multiple 8gb would be better


    both sets clash with the color scheme if you really mind this you should look into the vengeance series by corsair, I prefer the ripjaws x due to my good experiences with g skill and the cheaper prices and smaller heatsinks
    8gb vengeance-

    3. HDD- the samsung spinpoint f3 1tb is only 55 dollars after promo code at the egg right now

    4. GPU- the 460 will be able to run games at high on 1920x1080 but to get max (which I recommend) the gtx 470 would be a good choice, it can be found for a good price $245 evga sc AR at newegg

    It would be a better idea to find a gtx 470 on craigslist in your town, ask to test the card run some stress tests make sure you can file a warranty for it and buy it then you should be able to get it for 220

    5. Sound Card- unless you're running a 1000+ audio setup a sound card isn't necessary
    6. PSU- 750w will be enough to run dual 470s get this xfx (better quality than the corsair and cheaper AR)
    7. cooling- extra cooling products are not necessary if you do not intend to overclock your CPU at all, but if buying a K series I would at least go for 3.8ghz w/turbo or 4 without

    if you do go for a mild overclock all you'll need to do is install the heatsink properly and use an aftermarket TIM, shin etsu is the best out there
    if going for a higher overclock (4.2-4.8) the hyper 212+ is great amazon has it with free shipping and an extra fan
    if going for mid-high overclock (4.8-5.1) the scmg-2100 will do well (one fan will be enough with this beast)
    if going for high overclock (5.1-5.3) the promlitech megahalems is the best high end air out there this doesn't come with fans so I would recommend the 2 scythe kazes don't go beyond that if you're a beginner

    8. BD drive- if you really need burn that's a good drive, if not get one that does only reads for much cheaper personally I think blu-ray is too immature to be used right now and would recommend the best 24x dvd drive out there for much cheaper
    9. Networking- this rosewill seems to be working okay for people ideally online games should be run of LAN on your mobo
    10. Case- the HAF 922 is the best case for your budget and right now it's on major sale 90 bucks including shipping after promo code, that's a good deal the only downside is you don't get front panel usb 3.0, I'm pretty sure there is a 5.25'' adapter with ports you can buy later if you really need front USB 3.0
    11. OS- Windows 7 Professional is probably good enough has the XP mode as well as support for gobs of RAM only get Ultimate if you need the languages and the encryption (free programs will encrypt pro for you)

    Wheewww I'm done 30 min.
  5. forgot to add BUY NOW now is a good time to purchase your parts, you have to pull the trigger some time and right now there are good deals so go for it... you'll be happy you have this computer earlier sooner than later it'll be a beast
  6. 1. MoBo - get the combo w/ the 1 GB 460 and save $20

    2. 16 GB is useless for a gaming rig

    The following two builds are the same except for Case / PSU combo. Both give you an SSD, 10.0 Performance rating PSU for solid overclocking ability and twin GFX card support (1 now, add another when ya ready with the case door fan). If ya need the OS, I always use the Pro version as I have more than 5 PC's on my home network (12) and I like XP mode for compatibility w/ old programs if needed. I wouldn't get a BR burner as the media is just too expensive

    Alternate No. 1 - Full Tower - $1595

    Case - $140 - Antec DF-85
    Door Case Fan - Later - Antec 120 mm
    PSU - $120 - Antec CP850
    MoBo - $490 - ASUS P8P67 Pro
    CPU - incl above - Intel Core i5-2600K
    Cooler - $40 - Scythe SCMG 2100
    TIM - $5 - Shin Etsu
    RAM - $100 - 2 x (2 x 4GB) Corsair CAS 9
    GFX - $370 - EVGA GTX 570 Superclocked
    GFX - Later - Same
    HD - $55 - Spinpoint F3 1TB 7200 rpm
    SSD - $195 - OCZ Vertex 2 3.5" 120GB
    DVD Writer - $80 - ASUS BR Model BC-08B1LT

    Alternate No. 2 - Mid Tower - $1535

    Case - $90 - Coolermaster HAF-922
    Case Door Fan - Later - CM Red 200 mm
    PSU - $110 - XFX Black Edition 850
    MoBo - $490 - ASUS P8P67 Pro
    CPU - incl above - Intel Core i5-2600K
    Cooler - $40 - Scythe SCMG 2100
    TIM - $5 - Shin Etsu
    RAM - $100 - 2 x (2 x 4GB) Corsair CAS 9
    GFX - $370 - EVGA GTX 570 Superclocked
    GFX - Later - Same
    HD - $55 - Spinpoint F3 1TB 7200 rpm
    SSD - $195 - OCZ Vertex 2 3.5" 120GB
    DVD Writer - $80 - ASUS BR Model BC-08B1LT
  7. Couple things about your build Jack
    1. i5 2500K not i5 2600K (this pisses me off)

    also remember he has a nearby microcenter so he should buy the combo there p8p67 pro+CPU for much cheaper

    2. dual 570s for 1920 x 1080 that's ridiculous
    3. vertex 3 pros coming out soon should wait for those
    4. @OP if you don't need LS get the DVD drive I mentioned for cheaper
    5. the RAM doesn't make sense you linked to a 2x2gb set that is good

    @OP For RAM selection grab this shell shocker for xms3 this is a good set that'll work and is a great deal at the moment (matches colors yay :D )

    Buy RAM now, it's an awesome deal
  8. Building a similar i5 2500K / ASUS P8P67 PRO build soon but I just had to pull the trigger on that RAM deal. Thanks JoelMartinez!
  9. Your welcome!

    @OP what do you think of all this? For future reference don't rely on the email notification takes forever. At least for me
  10. Wow... you guys are amazing and detailed. I apologize for the belated delay but I was checking this at work and have just gotten home after some extensive errands.

    While I would love to pull the trigger now, I'm afraid I just don't have the funds for it..despite all those awesome deals.

    Is the 2600k that much of a waste for regular gaming? I wanted to buy something that would last for years down the road.

    Regarding 2 x 4gb, that is a good idea and one I thought about, but 4gb of ram are a bit more than 2 gbs...
    What are the vertex pro 3s?

    RE: the MOBO, the PRO sells out fast and I guess I could always use the extra USBs, I suppose I don't need the deluxe. Is it any different architecturally?

    The BD Drive.. well, I don't have any intentions of burning drives, I assumed that BD will be the storage disc for awhile and might as well have one that burns. Though, I have never really used my DVD burner, so yeah I'll probably get a read only drive. However, it will be BD read, because I anticipate that games, etc. will be on those discs sooner or later for the PC.

    Networking: I do prefer running a cord, but as I'm set up now, it's not going to be possible yet. From what I understand, MMORPGs do fairly well over wifi.

    Thanks again everyone!
  11. I can't snoop out deals for you if you aren't gonna pull the trigger now but I can give you a general idea of what you want

    1. Yes, if the i5 2500K begins to seem slow to you up your overclock I would start at stock and if you're happy keep it there with the scmg-2100 I recommended previously. Why use a heatsink at stock? Because your CPU will last longer and give you the ability to overclock an older (2 year CPU) to the same clocks a new one would achieve once you need the performance.

    2. If going for 8gb 2 x 4 is the way to go it is about the same (like 10 more) but is more stable (less sticks means more stable)
    3. The vertex 3 pros are SSDs they are based on the SF-2000 controller and are extremely fast they will be available by the time you purchase
    4. Architecturally there is no difference, there are a couple extra trinkets in the deluxe (none of which are necessary)
    5. Since you're buying later there may be better blu-ray drives out, If games go to blu-ray then just download them off steam, Really I don't see a need for Blu-Ray in a gaming machine.
    6. If you get all the driver stuff right (read all the reviews there is a guy who talks about this) then you'll get decent speeds

    De nada :D
  12. Thanks again Joel! As a general point and one I forgot to mention regarding RAM, I wanted to stay around a CL of 7. Clearly with 2 sticks a cl of 7 would be better than higher cls.. but spread out over 4, how important does latency become?
  13. latency is basically just efficiency and you won't really be able to see the difference in gaming, and cas 9 overclocks decently with SB (would recommend it for below 4.5)

    Forget 4 sticks you won't be able to run as efficient or as fast if you have 4, 2 sticks would run better.

    with 4 sticks maintaining a good latency is harder because you have more possible low points, and with 4 it's as important if not more important the 2 stick.

    CL 9 should be fine, how far do you want to overclock?
  14. I'm new to this whole overclocking thing, haha.. so I guess, if at all, it would be only mildly so. I don't want to spend gobs of money on a cooling system and/or have my tower sound like it's about to take off.

    regarding the ram, so to clarify:
    2x4gb would be fine at CAS 9
    if I go 4 sticks, then lower CAS would be better? 9 still sufficient though?
  15. If you're new go for the hyper 212+ option or stock cooling with aftermarket TIM

    Yes, if you can find a good deal on lower latency stuff go for it
  16. been reviewing all the builds (again, big thanks to BinaryCode, JackNaylorPE and joelmartinez).
    between the GTX 460 (2GB) and GTX 470 (1280MB), how important is clock speed vs memory size? I would imagine they have similar architecture...
    and out of curiosity, how would a 460 fair?
  17. a 460 will be able to run games on high but a 470 would be able to run them on max, the fermi architecture is preety good for the 460 and 470 but in the 480 it is insanely hot and inefficient.

    2gb is worthless on one monitor for 2 then 2gb becomes worth it go for the 470
  18. err I meant to ask about the 465s.

    Anyway, can the single 470 handle 2 monitors so long as only one is running the game and/or so long as its just web browsing/spreadsheets?
  19. Yes, but maybe not at max frames
  20. Best answer selected by yongsoo.
  21. This topic has been closed by Maziar
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