Advice for ~$800 Sandy Bridge Gaming System

I think I know what I want, but I want the expert advise of more knowledgeable people such as yourself to show me what I don't know and to give me some good advice and make sure I don't mess up somewhere :P. I've Listed the parts (not very many specifics, sorry), and then after that I listed descriptions of what kind of parts I'm looking for. I'm hoping for some input on my choices (links to products/deals are certainly welcome, but I'm hoping for more general advice and knowledge).

Thanks now in advance, especially if its tl;dr.

Approximate Purchase Date: 1-2 months (Purchase piece by piece Deal hunting)

Budget Range: Hopfully staying around ~$800 after rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Moderate Video editing/encoding, Video playback/streaming

Parts Not Required: Monitor, Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers, RAM (already have, see below)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com (anywhere reliable with cheapest price)

Country of Origin: United States

Parts Preferences: Sandy Bridge Chipset, new LG1155 Core-i5 CPU, NVIDIA GeForce 460 FERMI

Overclocking: Not ATM, want option open in future (still only casual OC)

SLI or Crossfire: SLI, for future upgrade/expansion

Monitor Resolution: Currently 1440x900, might upgrade in the future, happy for now.

Additional Comments: I want high importance on being upgradable, want this computer build to last, with upgrades, for many years (through all of college). I'm buying it piece by piece, when deals and bundles come along, so some items like the case I don't have picked out, just requirements it needs to meet (and thus some questions on those requirements :D )

PARTS

RAM: (ALREADY PURCHASED)
PNY XLR8 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
Newegg.com
$30 After MIR

CPU:
Intel Core-i5 (2400 or 2500K depending on budget)
Product not available till March
$195-$220

Motherboard:
LGA-1155
Product removed until March!
$130-$160

Optical Drive
LITE-ON Black 2MB Cache SATA CD/DVD Burner
Newegg.com
$15.99

Harddrive
Western Digital Caviar Black WD5002AALX 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5"
Newegg.com
$59.99

Computer Case
Waiting for good deals.
$40-$80

PSU
Not sure on PSU needs, saving for last unless I find a REAL sweet deal
$45-$80

Video Card
Galaxy 60XMH6HS3HMW GeForce GTX 460 GC 768MB GDDR5 192-bit
TigerDirect.com
$89.99 After MIR + $3.75 S&H

OS
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit OEM
$99
(have a 32-bit Pro version, but I should go 64-bit right?)


Parts Descriptiont

RAM
Already bought this, was looking for DDR3, 4GB worth, @1600, with some heat spreaders and CAS latency below 9. I think I got them for a really nice bargain (even if they look really plain, oh well--bling is 2nd to Price/Performance!)

CPU
I definately want the new "2nd generation" intel chip, can't afford the i7, hoping I can afford the i5-2500k, but if not its ok I'll go with the 2400, I've never OCed before so I won't lose sleep over it!

MotherBoard
Can't do much with this atm, since they're all removed from market to even look at but I'll list what I want anyways. This is what I'm looking for I think: P67 chipset, 4 240-pin that support DDR3 @1600, 2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots (second slot running higher than x4 if in SLI), 6GB/s SATA, USB 3.0, IEEE 1394 (for my analog-digital tape deck), e-SATA, SLI support, BIOS that allows overclocking a plus.

Optical Drive
I'll burn DVD's fairly often, so I need the discs to have minimal errors, especially since I often give these to people without using them myself. I hardly read from discs though. I can go a month without using my Drive easily, so it can be cheap.

Harddrive
Can't Afford SSD (yet ;) ) but I would still like a fast harddrive. Been using an old 5400 PATA for FAR too long. Was looking at 7200RPM, with 32mb or 64mb cache (don't know how much an improvement that is), and SATA 6gb/s (I hear varying reports on wether 6gb/s provides any difference above 3gb/s, would love clarification). 500GB, up to 1TB. Hope to run RAID 0 in the future, so need dependable disks. Always had good fortune with Western Digital (have had 7 WD drives, all still work, even after 1,3,5,7 years) but I'm open to any high standard drive.

PSU
I've never bought a PSU, I honestly know little about them besides their WATT and 80+ cert. I'm thinking I'll need a 700 Watt or more. I don't really know what I'm talking about but if it helps, I read NVIDIA GEFORCE 460 GTX 768MB cards use up to 320watts, the Core-i5 chips say 95 watts, I want the ability to run up to 4 harddrives, 2 video cards in SLI, and lots of fans. is 700 watts too little? overkill? and what brands and specs do I need to look for and avoid? THANKS!

Case
As much as I'd love an antex twelve hundred case, I'm not that rich! I'm pretty much just waitin for a really sick deal on a case that meets at least my minimum needs, and doesn't look like a plastic brick. If only the LED's weren't almost always blue or red! I need to keep this under $100 dollars sadly.

Video Card
The Meat of any gaming computer. I was originally looking into a Nvidia GeForce 460 1GB card, and usually saw them never drop below $150. Just found that Galaxy 768mb card for only $90 so I'm really debating buying it now, and hopefully later in the year buying a better card, and making my system SLI. I'm happy enough with the average 12% decreased performance of this smaller card, my biggest hangup is I can't find a SINGLE technical review or benchmark of this exactly model made by Galaxy. I'd prefer not to just go off Newegg reviews (which go from loud noisy whiney fan, to quiet and whispy). If anyone can help I'd love you.


Thats what I'm aiming for and been looking for. How is it? What should I change/improve? Thanks!
6 answers Last reply
More about advice sandy bridge gaming system
  1. First, you are already aware of the recall, correct?
    http://www.tomshardware.com/news/cougar-point-sandy-bridge-sata-error,12108.html

    Whoops... just saw you already were aware of that :)
  2. Etherel15 said:
    I think I know what I want, but I want the expert advise of more knowledgeable people such as yourself to show me what I don't know and to give me some good advice and make sure I don't mess up somewhere :P. I've Listed the parts (not very many specifics, sorry), and then after that I listed descriptions of what kind of parts I'm looking for. I'm hoping for some input on my choices (links to products/deals are certainly welcome, but I'm hoping for more general advice and knowledge).

    Thanks now in advance, especially if its tl;dr.

    Approximate Purchase Date: 1-2 months (Purchase piece by piece Deal hunting)

    Budget Range: Hopfully staying around ~$800 after rebates

    System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Moderate Video editing/encoding, Video playback/streaming

    Parts Not Required: Monitor, Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers, RAM (already have, see below)

    Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com (anywhere reliable with cheapest price)

    Country of Origin: United States

    Parts Preferences: Sandy Bridge Chipset, new LG1155 Core-i5 CPU, NVIDIA GeForce 460 FERMI

    Overclocking: Not ATM, want option open in future (still only casual OC)

    SLI or Crossfire: SLI, for future upgrade/expansion

    Monitor Resolution: Currently 1440x900, might upgrade in the future, happy for now.

    Additional Comments: I want high importance on being upgradable, want this computer build to last, with upgrades, for many years (through all of college). I'm buying it piece by piece, when deals and bundles come along, so some items like the case I don't have picked out, just requirements it needs to meet (and thus some questions on those requirements :D )

    PARTS

    RAM: (ALREADY PURCHASED)
    PNY XLR8 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
    Newegg.com
    $30 After MIR

    CPU:
    Intel Core-i5 (2400 or 2500K depending on budget)
    Product not available till March
    $195-$220

    Motherboard:
    LGA-1155
    Product removed until March!
    $130-$160

    Optical Drive
    LITE-ON Black 2MB Cache SATA CD/DVD Burner
    Newegg.com
    $15.99

    Harddrive
    Western Digital Caviar Black WD5002AALX 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5"
    Newegg.com
    $59.99

    Computer Case
    Waiting for good deals.
    $40-$80

    PSU
    Not sure on PSU needs, saving for last unless I find a REAL sweet deal
    $45-$80

    Video Card
    Galaxy 60XMH6HS3HMW GeForce GTX 460 GC 768MB GDDR5 192-bit
    TigerDirect.com
    $89.99 After MIR + $3.75 S&H

    OS
    Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit OEM
    $99
    (have a 32-bit Pro version, but I should go 64-bit right?)


    Parts Descriptiont

    RAM
    Already bought this, was looking for DDR3, 4GB worth, @1600, with some heat spreaders and CAS latency below 9. I think I got them for a really nice bargain (even if they look really plain, oh well--bling is 2nd to Price/Performance!)

    CPU
    I definately want the new "2nd generation" intel chip, can't afford the i7, hoping I can afford the i5-2500k, but if not its ok I'll go with the 2400, I've never OCed before so I won't lose sleep over it!

    MotherBoard
    Can't do much with this atm, since they're all removed from market to even look at but I'll list what I want anyways. This is what I'm looking for I think: P67 chipset, 4 240-pin that support DDR3 @1600, 2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots (second slot running higher than x4 if in SLI), 6GB/s SATA, USB 3.0, IEEE 1394 (for my analog-digital tape deck), e-SATA, SLI support, BIOS that allows overclocking a plus.

    Optical Drive
    I'll burn DVD's fairly often, so I need the discs to have minimal errors, especially since I often give these to people without using them myself. I hardly read from discs though. I can go a month without using my Drive easily, so it can be cheap.

    Harddrive
    Can't Afford SSD (yet ;) ) but I would still like a fast harddrive. Been using an old 5400 PATA for FAR too long. Was looking at 7200RPM, with 32mb or 64mb cache (don't know how much an improvement that is), and SATA 6gb/s (I hear varying reports on wether 6gb/s provides any difference above 3gb/s, would love clarification). 500GB, up to 1TB. Hope to run RAID 0 in the future, so need dependable disks. Always had good fortune with Western Digital (have had 7 WD drives, all still work, even after 1,3,5,7 years) but I'm open to any high standard drive.

    PSU
    I've never bought a PSU, I honestly know little about them besides their WATT and 80+ cert. I'm thinking I'll need a 700 Watt or more. I don't really know what I'm talking about but if it helps, I read NVIDIA GEFORCE 460 GTX 768MB cards use up to 320watts, the Core-i5 chips say 95 watts, I want the ability to run up to 4 harddrives, 2 video cards in SLI, and lots of fans. is 700 watts too little? overkill? and what brands and specs do I need to look for and avoid? THANKS!

    Case
    As much as I'd love an antex twelve hundred case, I'm not that rich! I'm pretty much just waitin for a really sick deal on a case that meets at least my minimum needs, and doesn't look like a plastic brick. If only the LED's weren't almost always blue or red! I need to keep this under $100 dollars sadly.

    Video Card
    The Meat of any gaming computer. I was originally looking into a Nvidia GeForce 460 1GB card, and usually saw them never drop below $150. Just found that Galaxy 768mb card for only $90 so I'm really debating buying it now, and hopefully later in the year buying a better card, and making my system SLI. I'm happy enough with the average 12% decreased performance of this smaller card, my biggest hangup is I can't find a SINGLE technical review or benchmark of this exactly model made by Galaxy. I'd prefer not to just go off Newegg reviews (which go from loud noisy whiney fan, to quiet and whispy). If anyone can help I'd love you.


    Thats what I'm aiming for and been looking for. How is it? What should I change/improve? Thanks!



    RAM: No sure of PNY memory. I would have gone with Kingston, Corsair or Gskill

    CPU/MTHBOARD: out until march

    HDD: For $6 more u can upgrade to SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152185. If not the 500 is just as good.

    OPTICAL DRIVE: Stick with the lite on (price) only other I would recommend would be the ASUS Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827135204

    CASE: Not need for the ANTEC 1200 when you can just get the 900 and be happy

    POWER SUPPLY: You could probably get away with 650W PS. But if you had to get a 750W Antec EarthWatts EA750 750W Continuous Power
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371026 or
    CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139006

    VIDEO CARD: No way I would touch that Galaxy card. If you had to go with the 460 768mb I would get this one from ASUS ENGTX460 DirectCU TOP/2DI/768MD5
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121390 or
    MSI N460GTX Twin Frozr II SOC GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 768MB
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127519
  3. Thanks for the good input CThunder.

    So you prefer the antec and corsair PSUs, is there something special about them besides reliability? I'll have to try to keep an eye out for a 700 watt variety on sale, $100 is sadly a bit out of the price range I was hoping for atm.

    I usually go Asus, MSI, Gigabyte, or Sapphire for my cards too, but that card just looked super tempting at $90. Can't find much about Galaxy at all though except I keep hearing that they're a good quality in europe. Have you heard specifically about Galaxy being bad, or do you just not trust a lesser-known brand?

    Newegg has a few open-box ASUS and MSI 460 1GB cards (I think I'll survive without a driver CD and a cheap adapter for $60 off). Would you recommend open-box if you knew the product was of good quality?

    Thanks for the help!
  4. I think the 'specialness' of the psu's IS the reliability. From what I've heard all it takes it one little eff-up from a bad power supply and your whole system is fried...
  5. +1^
  6. Etherel15 said:
    Thanks for the good input CThunder.

    So you prefer the antec and corsair PSUs, is there something special about them besides reliability? I'll have to try to keep an eye out for a 700 watt variety on sale, $100 is sadly a bit out of the price range I was hoping for atm.


    I usually go Asus, MSI, Gigabyte, or Sapphire for my cards too, but that card just looked super tempting at $90. Can't find much about Galaxy at all though except I keep hearing that they're a good quality in europe. Have you heard specifically about Galaxy being bad, or do you just not trust a lesser-known brand?

    Newegg has a few open-box ASUS and MSI 460 1GB cards (I think I'll survive without a driver CD and a cheap adapter for $60 off). Would you recommend open-box if you knew the product was of good quality?

    Thanks for the help!


    1) reliability
    2) I can't find much on the card either. Nor have heard anything bad about the card. But if I am spending my money I am going with either ASUS, MSI or HIS. I love the cards because of their reliability, performance and cooling. I do know the ASUS GPU is an excellent card both in cooling solution and in OC'ing ability. I am saving myself for an ASUS EA 6850 Direct CU (out of stock) which is another excellent card both in cooling solution and in OC'ing ability.
    3) Yes I would especially for a any ASUS GPU.

    Checkout this review on the Asus 460 (This is why I prefer ASUS GPU's
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/3810/nvidias-geforce-gtx-460-part-2-the-vendor-cards/1
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