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First-time Build, High(ish) Gaming Rig

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February 5, 2011 4:06:02 AM

Okay, so first, hello!

My apologies for this being a first thread, and what looks to be yet another of a slew of its kind. I feel kind of bad for barging into any forum with a "hay can u guyz halpz meeee?!?!" type of thread.

Also, not helping my case in not sounding like a fool, but I couldn't really tell the difference between the Homebuilt and Newbuild subforums. I really hope this is the appropriate place!

Although from the forum-scrounging that I've done it seems like everyone here is really helpful and friendly, even when having to deal with the inexperienced and possibly under-educated such as myself! Hopefully I can keep from drooling embarrassingly all over the place for a few posts. :D 

Just a heads-up, I'm trying to go from a "had someone I know build it", 6-year-old rig with an AGP mobo and still using a monstrous (as in girthy, albeit not a bad screen) CRT monitor to a fancy new gaming system that I'll be building myself.

But, without further ado...

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Approximate Purchase Date:

As soon as I feel secure with what I plan to build!


Budget Range:

Before rebate, around $2000 as an absolute max including OS and monitor. Around $1800 would be ideal, and less would be fantastic, but to be honest the idea of having a nice gaming and all-around rig has me frothing at the mouth and willing to pay a bit more for the awesome.


System Usage from Most to Least Important:

Gaming, and then everything else that's not professional work e.g. I don't do 3D rendering or video editing. It'll be my one-and-only home computer.


Parts Not Required:

Mouse and Keyboard for certain. My speakers are something ancient and falling apart, but they'll suffice for now. Working on looking up details on a nice monitor after this, something that will be ideal for gaming. 1920x1200?


Preferred Website(s) for Parts:

New to buying computer parts for the most part. I've done Newegg previously for a couple of minor-ish parts (and Amazon for damn near everything else), but I'll be shopping around for the best prices from websites I've seen pop up (New Egg; TigerDirect; Buy.com; CDW.com; J&R; Amazon).


Country of Origin:

U.S.A. and in California. Tied into above, it would be beneficial tax-wise to avoid sites based in California, though I don't know how easy that'll be).


Parts Preferences:

Not very picky as long as it's quality. I'm leaning towards using a full tower case this time around as it may make building it a bit easier for a novice like me (and help keep things cool during non-air-conditioned parts of the upcoming summer). Not concerned about the size.


Overclocking:

I was originally leaning towards "no" but the more I read the more it sounds like it's silly for me not to do so. I've got reading to do before attempting this, though.


SLI or Crossfire:

Yes, but! Maybe not right away unless it's viable fund-wise. This I've left open as a future upgrade as popping in a second (or third) card seems easy enough, unless it's highly recommended to do so right off the bat for a gaming rig with the proposed parts.


Monitor Resolution:

1920x1200, again assuming this is what I should go for with a gaming rig. Right now I've been using 1024x768, so I kind of worry about my head exploding from sudden exposure to such an upgrade.


Additional Comments:

None! I'll try to be as thorough with what I've learned with the following. I've crammed a lot into this skull of mine, but I've only spent the last three days researching and learning an absolute ton about how this all works and what might be the best for my budget.

Adding a topic in here...

Skill:

I've replaced the RAM, PSU, and GPU on my old rig, but that's about the extent of my direct experience messing with the innards of a computer and it was one filled with IDE connections. Crossing my fingers that this new stuff isn't too hard to manage.

I'm also an instruction-reader, so I should be able to follow directions well whether it's from forums, guides, or my part manuals.

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The Grand List of My Research Endeavors
(and a few notes/questions in regards to each)
(prices simply based on Newegg)
(third set of parenthesis)

Case:

Antec Twelve Hundred v3 Black Steel $160
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This was the one I was set on up until about ten mintues before starting this post. Then I saw a recommendation for:

Cooler Master HAF X Black Steel/Plastic $200 ($20 promo, free s/h)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It's technically more expensive, except there's a short-term $20 off promo code and free shipping (as opposed to the $20 shipping of the Antec), so they end up the same price. I'll be honest; I'm certainly leaning towards that Cooler Master.

Others options (sans links):
Antec Nine Hundred Two Tower $120
Cooler Master 690 II Advanced $90
Antec Three Hundred Illusion $70


CPU:

Intel Core i7-950 $300
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I haven't really debated this at all, especially with all the Sandy Bridge processors being unavailable for a while. However, I haven't looked much into hex core processors as I assume the bang vs buck ratio becomes undesirable quickly.


After-Market Heatsink:

Cooler Master Hyper 212 $30 (and add'l purchase of Antec Silver TP)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I've heard this is a bit of a pain to install, but apparently it's worth it and there's plenty of instruction videos and guides on it. Of all things involved with building my first computer, not putting on the heatsink correctly and burning out my CPU is my greatest concern.

Other options (sans links):
Arctic Freezer Pro $30
Cooler Master Hyper N520 $35 (issues with this being 3-pin only?)
v8 Cooler Master $60


Motherboard:

EVGA X58 FTW3 132-GT-E768-KR $265 ($30 rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Picking a motherboard was probably the hardest thing to research, though that's debatable with deciding on a GPU, and even now I feel like I'm missing something. This and my "other options" seemed pretty much neck-and-neck, though EVGA seems to have better warranty and customer service in case I need it (and I hope I won't).

Other options (sans links, as always):
ASUS P6X58D-E Intel X58 Motherboard $220
GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R $210


GPU:

AMD Sapphire Radeon HD 5870 $220 ($20 rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Okay. So. With all my scrounging around, I believe I've settled on AMD over nVidia for current needs. I can be argued out of this. As for AMD, this was *still* a hard choice while comparing it to the 5850, 6850, and 6870. The xx50's are about $40 cheaper. This (5870) seemed to be the best performer of the group at least.

However, I'm just getting one GPU at the moment unless funds or heavy convincing tells me otherwise. I will eventually get a second/third and, if so, is there a large difference between each of these four performing in a Crossfire configuration?

Of course, being coaxed to nVidia opens another can of worms for me.


Interal Speaker:

Internal PC Mini Speaker
http://www.goldmango.com/20523a.html

Not really a decision, except I can't tell which cases actually have an internal speaker and which I would have to buy one for. I think the Antec Twelve Hundred has one... I think.


PSU:

XFX 850W Black $150 ($40 rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Nice big rebate with this, and seems to be way up there in quality and performance. I don't know if 850W is a bit much, but I figure better safe than sorry if I plan on getting additional GPU's down the road.

Other option (sans... oh, you know the drill by now)
Corsair 850TX PSU $130 ($10 rebate)


Storage:

Crucial RealSSD 64gb C300 $135 (will need micro SATA adapter purchase)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Phew, a SSD. Here's another debatable decision. I do have a a couple of storage drives: an ancient (6+ year) 105gb and new (unused) 2tb Spin-whatever HDD's, but they're kind of slow on the read speeds.

Now, I could go for this as a boot drive and applications/games, or I could go for a smaller 30/32gb SSD at half the price for mainly just the OS and wait for those next-gen drives to come out in a few months and pick up a bigger SSD for cheap(er) then to use as a tertiary drive for games/applications.

I've done a bit of reading on setting up a SSD as well as tweaking to used efficiently, so I *should* be all right on installing/using one correctly.


RAM:

Corsair Dominator 3x2gb TR3X6G1600C8D $130
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Seems highly recommended, and 12gb is unnecessary. Something tells me I need to do some reading on setting the voltage (and timings?) on these to their ideal settings in the BIOS.


Optical Drive:

LG Black Blu-ray Disco Combo 10x16x 4mb $70
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I don't even own a Blu-ray, but this might(?) be preparing myself for the future? It doesn't seem that long ago that games started coming on DVD's instead of multiple CD's, and perhaps they'll be on Blu-ray before that much longer. Of course, everything seems to also be going heavy on digital downloading as well...


OS:

Windows 7 Home Premium $180
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Seems kind of obvious, unless I've completely missed somehow being able to upgrade straight from XP on the cheap. Also, I'm sure I can weasel a cheap, student-discounted one from someone, which is an annoyance as I'll be back in classes around June.


Monitor:

???

Absolutely no research as of yet done on this (probably tomorrow), but I do plan on just using a single monitor, possibly going large if I can afford it. This very well may replace my also-aging television, so this can almost be considered a double investment.

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A small novel later...

I do appreciate any opinions, advice, or hot dogs (Nature's perfect food) you can spare! The sooner I can put a stamp on the list the sooner I can get cracking with building it. Hopefully with minimal tears and maximum computerage as an end result!
February 5, 2011 7:13:07 AM

Well, looks pretty good!

For the monitor, as a rule I would ALWAYS buy a Samsung as the seem to be of the best quality at the moment. I'd recommend the P2370HD as its big, beautiful, and also has a HD tuner to replace your TV http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824001381&Tpk=Samsung%20P2370HD

For the GPU, What about the Radeon 6950??

If not two 6850s seem to work quite well!

I'd save some money on the Case and get he Cooler Master CM690.
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February 5, 2011 10:56:11 AM

GTX 570 is the way to go mate, with a2nd one down the line. (In your budget anyways).

Don't get that blu-ray drive... honestly.
In the ridiculous chance we'll move there you can always buy one later, for a LOT cheaper (Supply to meet everyones demand.. instead of enthusiast demand meets supply.)

Honestly speaking, dropping $250 upwards on a mobo and getting a decent card isn't the way to go. Especially since that mobo is technically already half-outdated.

First things first, you'll probably have hard it a million times, but gaMing pcs need a GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD graphics card, with everthing else somewhat secondary.

I'd suggest a cheaper i5 760 and a 1156 socket board, with 2x GTX 570s.
It'll give you 80% plus performance compared to that i7+single 570.

Don't bother getting the motherboard with '16x/16x' lanes, just get one with 8x/8x at best.
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Related resources
a b 4 Gaming
February 5, 2011 11:13:01 AM

earthbounddx said:
Right now I've been using 1024x768, so I kind of worry about my head exploding from sudden exposure to such an upgrade.
A real possibility.

Hello earthbounddx;
No more flying for you, eh? Going to a nice 24" 1920x1200 IPS panel widescreen monitor will definitely have some side effects. Mostly, you asking yourself why you didnt do it sooner.

Your skill set & experiance is more than adequate (and more than many successful builders have acquired) for what you plan on doing.
No real advantage to skipping the California online stores as they make most of them collect tax (but there are some exceptions but you might be dealing with questionable 'gararge' buiilders with a fancy website who might have sketchy return polices, re-stocking fees, etc).

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a b 4 Gaming
February 5, 2011 11:21:52 AM

Since you haven't set a firm date for the build you might be a good candidate to wait while the Sandy Bridge motherboards get sorted out... late March or April.
The new SB CPUs and motherboards are just about that good to wait for them.
A glitch in the motherboards is halting current sales while the relatively minor engineering fault is fixed.

Here is a comparison with the SB i7 2600K and the i5 760 which most would suggest for a build like yours.

This is the chart on the opening page of the benchmark tool above.
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a b 4 Gaming
February 5, 2011 11:25:36 AM

earthbounddx said:
I do appreciate any opinions, advice, or hot dogs (Nature's perfect food)
Have you been to Pink's lately?
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February 5, 2011 3:50:24 PM

ukee1593 said:
Well, looks pretty good!

For the monitor, as a rule I would ALWAYS buy a Samsung as the seem to be of the best quality at the moment. I'd recommend the P2370HD as its big, beautiful, and also has a HD tuner to replace your TV http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824001381&Tpk=Samsung%20P2370HD

For the GPU, What about the Radeon 6950??

If not two 6850s seem to work quite well!

I'd save some money on the Case and get he Cooler Master CM690.


The problem with the Radeon 6950 is that the good, 2gb version is $60 more than 5870/6870 and nearly $100 more than the 5850/6850. My dilemma is figuring out which card if paired up in a Crossfire is the best price for the value.

Which follows into...

vibhas said:
GTX 570 is the way to go mate, with a2nd one down the line. (In your budget anyways).

Don't get that blu-ray drive... honestly.
In the ridiculous chance we'll move there you can always buy one later, for a LOT cheaper (Supply to meet everyones demand.. instead of enthusiast demand meets supply.)

Honestly speaking, dropping $250 upwards on a mobo and getting a decent card isn't the way to go. Especially since that mobo is technically already half-outdated.

First things first, you'll probably have hard it a million times, but gaMing pcs need a GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD graphics card, with everthing else somewhat secondary.

I'd suggest a cheaper i5 760 and a 1156 socket board, with 2x GTX 570s.
It'll give you 80% plus performance compared to that i7+single 570.

Don't bother getting the motherboard with '16x/16x' lanes, just get one with 8x/8x at best.


The GTX 570 is about $350, a price around that point where it will make my non-existent wig spin on my head. Is really worth the nearly 60% increase in price? Especially since I could Crossfire two Radeon 5850/6850's for right about the same price. How does it compare?

I do agree now with holding off on the Blu-ray. It was a nice idea as I don't have any other Blu-ray players currently, and it would be my one-and-only, but I didn't see how dirt-cheap DVD players are right now. Definitely a good idea just to throw a Blu-ray in later if I need it.

Hmm... so would anyone else recommend the i5 760 with 2x GTX 570's over the i7 950 with 2x 5870's?

Also, my ignorance shines through at this point once again, as to be honest I haven't a clue (until I go look it up) about the difference between the 8x and 16x lanes.

WR2 said:
Since you haven't set a firm date for the build you might be a good candidate to wait while the Sandy Bridge motherboards get sorted out... late March or April.
The new SB CPUs and motherboards are just about that good to wait for them.
A glitch in the motherboards is halting current sales while the relatively minor engineering fault is fixed.

Here is a comparison with the SB i7 2600K and the i5 760 which most would suggest for a build like yours.

This is the chart on the opening page of the benchmark tool above.
http://img535.imageshack.us/img535/7364/ss052.jpg


Sadly, I'm quite aware of the awesome inside those Sandy Bridge processors. I forgot to explicitly mention that I'm building this as soon as possible as my ancient rig has gone under: dead motherboard, and I'm not really excited about replacing it with another AGP. This is as good an excuse as any to finally get a good rig, but I'm without a computer of my own until I actually build it.

I really, really wish I could wait the two or three months, but I'll go crazy before then.

WR2 said:
Have you been to Pink's lately?


Hahaha, nah. I've just watched the Rifftrax of "The Happening" one too many times. :p 
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a b 4 Gaming
February 5, 2011 6:34:56 PM

Best Gaming CPU: $200 And Up Dec edition (Jan edition had the SB of course).
Best Graphics Cards For The Money: January 2011

What kind of gaming style do you have? Intense or relaxed? Need to turn the graphics up to Max quality or happy with 'just lookin' good'?
Pretty sure you'll be using a 1920x1200 or 1920x1080 monitor.
While the 5870s still hold their own vs the 6870 the difference (in price & in performance) isn't enough to set one apart from the other @ 1920x1200, IMO.
Yes, the 5870 is about $40 more but you'll get that most of that back when you re-sell it buy your next build (once you start, you don't stop).
Getting a good price for a ' new 6870' vs a 'old 5870' from someone who doesnt visit the forums here shouldn't be a problem.
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February 6, 2011 12:11:38 AM

My gaming style has been for the last few years "if it runs reasonably, it'll make do" but, at heart, I am by far and large an intense gamer. I've been a reluctant modest gamer, and I'm ready to break into visuals so good that they make me weep. :D 

However! I've had it! I was initially just annoyed I happen to be missing out on a great CPU needing a computer at this time rather than a couple months from now, but with all the reviews of the Sandy Bridge basically saying there's no reason to get anything else, not even the i7-900's for their, normally, better Crossfire/SLI configuration.

I may just have to wait to get this processor. I'm not happy about it, but I'm not going second rate! Plus it looks like the 2500K is $70-80 cheaper than the i7-950.

So... with this determination, I guess I can hold back and wait for good deals on quality parts and potential price drops over the next month or two. I'll also get a better chance to scrounge through a lot f the articles on this site that haven't had the chance to read in my rush to compile a good rig from near-zero knowledge of builds and parts in a few days.

Okay, so two current questions:

There seems to be a big debate over getting a monitor supporting 1920 x 1200 or just settling for 1920 x 1080. As most games are meant for 16:10 ratio, I assume that this should be a no-brainer, but I'd like to know if I'm missing something important in the discussions.

That wasn't technically a question, I know. Shush.

Anyway, the other question is speculatory: Sandy Bridge is the anticipated CPU (again, at least), SSD's may be having a big price decrease later this year, but is there anything big for GPU's within the next few months?

Also, thanks again for all the advice (and links). It's pretty awesome of ya!
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a b 4 Gaming
February 6, 2011 12:25:51 AM

earthbounddx said:
My gaming style has been for the last few years "if it runs reasonably, it'll make do" but, at heart, I am by far and large an intense gamer. I've been a reluctant modest gamer, and I'm ready to break into visuals so good that they make me weep. :D 

However! I've had it! I was initially just annoyed I happen to be missing out on a great CPU needing a computer at this time rather than a couple months from now, but with all the reviews of the Sandy Bridge basically saying there's no reason to get anything else, not even the i7-900's for their, normally, better Crossfire/SLI configuration.

I may just have to wait to get this processor. I'm not happy about it, but I'm not going second rate! Plus it looks like the 2500K is $70-80 cheaper than the i7-950.

So... with this determination, I guess I can hold back and wait for good deals on quality parts and potential price drops over the next month or two. I'll also get a better chance to scrounge through a lot f the articles on this site that haven't had the chance to read in my rush to compile a good rig from near-zero knowledge of builds and parts in a few days.

Okay, so two current questions:

There seems to be a big debate over getting a monitor supporting 1920 x 1200 or just settling for 1920 x 1080. As most games are meant for 16:10 ratio, I assume that this should be a no-brainer, but I'd like to know if I'm missing something important in the discussions.

That wasn't technically a question, I know. Shush.

Anyway, the other question is speculatory: Sandy Bridge is the anticipated CPU (again, at least), SSD's may be having a big price decrease later this year, but is there anything big for GPU's within the next few months?

Also, thanks again for all the advice (and links). It's pretty awesome of ya!


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $189.99 - $179.99 after mail-in rebate card
ASUS VE247H Black 23.6" 2ms Full HD HDMI LED BackLight LCD Monitor w/Speakers 300 cd/m2 10,000,000:1 (ASCR)
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February 6, 2011 1:59:58 AM

Don't know if you have one in your area, but if you do you can pick up a Core i7-950 3.06GHz Boxed Processor at Micro Center for $199 plus tax. Just picked one up last week. Only thing is you have to do in store pick up. Also i keep hearing people recommending the crucial c300, but unless your going with the 256 gb one there is a huge dropoff in write speed vs other ssd's out there (such as the ozc vortex 2 64gb - newegg $119 ) with only a marginal gain in read speed. Im no expert on ssd by any means but that drop off deterred me from going with that option. Anybody else have thoughts on this?
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a b 4 Gaming
February 6, 2011 12:05:16 PM

Probably no major changes in the GPU landscape. But AMD & NVidia might have a go at each other and drop a new model or two trying to grab an slightly larger share of the market. Should be more action in the mid-range gaming and consumer cards to follow the new top end gaming releases.

1920x1080 LCD panels are just less expensive to produce than 1920x1200 parts and so they've been steadily driving out the 1920x1200 models - which are are a price premium. TN panels (2-6ms fast response 160x160 degree views angles) vs IPS panels (above 6ms response 178x178 viewing angles) are another variable of the overall cost.

If you're nimble and flexible you can sometimes pick off a good deal on a IPS panel LCD monitor. Not currently available but it shows how you can find a good price on occasion. Dell U2311H 23" 1920x1080 or Dell U2311H 23" 1920x1080 is now $280 on the Dell site. $190 for the 23" 1920x1080 TN Dell ST2320L.
To get a 24" 1920x1200 IPS panel you're looking at something like the Dell UltraSharp U2410 $600 @ Dell

You can find them on sale now and again: Dell UltraSharp U2410 $430 and other sales Dell UltraSharp U2410
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a b 4 Gaming
February 6, 2011 3:17:34 PM

I know you're going to be in for an annoying month or two.
Focus on the time you'll have knowing you got the best available.
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February 12, 2011 6:27:29 PM

Why_Me said:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $189.99 - $179.99 after mail-in rebate card
ASUS VE247H Black 23.6" 2ms Full HD HDMI LED BackLight LCD Monitor w/Speakers 300 cd/m2 10,000,000:1 (ASCR)


Actually had that saved as a favorite option! Seems pretty popular. Quick question: how do you tell whether the screen is IPS or TN? I assume perhaps through the manufacturer's website, but is there an indication in "Detail" sections such as that Newegg link?

Unrelated, basically biding time until the SB is re-released while watching prices. Since it may be a couple months before I can put a rig together and see if any of the parts I purchased aren't working correctly, I'm a bit leery of grabbing any yet.

Yet, being the key word here, NE has an Agility 2 120GB SSD for $175 after MIR:

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

Should I jump on this? Reviews should be taken with a grain of salt (like the "one egg" review that was given because there were bad reviews!), but a lot claim of DOA's and failures within a couple weeks of use, so I'm as reluctant as I am eager to take up this deal.
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Best solution

a b 4 Gaming
February 12, 2011 9:51:52 PM

earthbounddx said:
Actually had that saved as a favorite option! Seems pretty popular. Quick question: how do you tell whether the screen is IPS or TN? I assume perhaps through the manufacturer's website, but is there an indication in "Detail" sections such as that Newegg link?

Unrelated, basically biding time until the SB is re-released while watching prices. Since it may be a couple months before I can put a rig together and see if any of the parts I purchased aren't working correctly, I'm a bit leery of grabbing any yet.

Yet, being the key word here, NE has an Agility 2 120GB SSD for $175 after MIR:

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

Should I jump on this? Reviews should be taken with a grain of salt (like the "one egg" review that was given because there were bad reviews!), but a lot claim of DOA's and failures within a couple weeks of use, so I'm as reluctant as I am eager to take up this deal.

Forget that monitor. With your budget and taste...you might as well have the best of the best when it comes to a gaming monitor. :) 

Here's a copy paste of a build I did earlier in your same price range. Add another one of those gtx 560's for SLI and your off to the races. Two of those 560's will easily beat out a gtx 580. When those get outdated in a few years and then ebay them and start over with new & better vid cards. But for now...two of those in SLI will eat up any game out there. :) 

http://www.benq.us/products/product_detail.cfm?product=... <--- More info. on that monitor

http://apcmag.com/first-look-the-benq-xl2410t-.htm <--- Review on that monitor

http://www.google.com/#sclient=psy&hl=en&site=&source=h... <--- more reviews

http://www.amazingcellulars.com/BenQ-XL2410T-236-LED-LC... $395.08
BenQ XL2410T 23.6" LED LCD Monitor

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $129.99 - $99.99 after mail-in rebate FREE SHIPPING
XFX Black Edition P1-750B-CAG9 750W ATX12V v2.2 / ESP12V v2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.php?name=I7-2600KBX&tit... $329.99 Free Shipping
Intel Core i7 Processor i7-2600K 3.4GHz 8MB LGA1155 CPU, Retail - BX80623I72600K

Asus Pro P67 1155 Mother Board goes here $190...less if combo with 2600K on newegg.

or

AsRock Extreme4 P67 mobo for $154

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002G1YPH0/ref=s9_simh... $28.05 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Cooler Master RR-B10-212P-G1 Hyper 212 Plus Universal Direct Contact Heat-Pipe 120mm Fan CPU Cooler

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $104.99 FREE SHIPPING
G.SKILL Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $249.99
GIGABYTE GV-N560OC-1GI GeForce GTX 560 Ti (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... $229.99 - $209.99 after mail-in rebate card FREE SHIPPING
OCZ Vertex 2 OCZSSD3-2VTX120G 3.5" 120GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
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February 14, 2011 1:42:42 AM

You're much better off dropping the expensive add-ons that won't improve performance and putting it towards your gfx card.

I don't know if anyone pointed it out, but spending $200 on a case when you're considering spending about that much on a gfx card for a gaming computer is almost criminal!
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a b 4 Gaming
February 14, 2011 2:53:35 AM

focus_pRo said:
You're much better off dropping the expensive add-ons that won't improve performance and putting it towards your gfx card.

I don't know if anyone pointed it out, but spending $200 on a case when you're considering spending about that much on a gfx card for a gaming computer is almost criminal!

+1
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February 14, 2011 8:44:22 PM

That was certainly the big correction needed with my initial build proposed. I'll be spending a lot more on my GPU, and will be going for at least an SLI of those GTX 560 Ti's if not more.

I'm not making any real decisions on this until the SB rerelease closes in and I can better gauge the differences in price and performance between the various cards, as well as how much I'll actually be spending on the rest of my setup. And also whether I want to nab a really nice pair of headphones or spend the money on a better GPU...

Now on to that monitor!

Okay, so it has several nice reviews, and isn't unreasonably priced for all the bells and whistles. But for a "gaming" monitor, doesn't it seem silly that it's not the "gaming" resolution for its size, 1200p? On the other hand, I do understand it keeps the cost down.

The big thing is the panel type. I thought most people who knew their monitors hissed and spit whenever a TN panel was mentioned? Since I'm upgrading from a CRT, so I'm not familiar with various flat-panel monitors and their specs, but this seems to be a big deal to most. In fact, I'd wager to say that for a good monitor for gaming the three most important things are refresh rate (120mHz), panel type (IPS), and having a response time of absolutely no more than 5ms.

RAM!

As for the memory, it seems like everyone is highly recommending those Ripjaws for gaming/overclocking. Since the cost is comparable, can I assume that the Sniper series better in a way I don't yet see?

CPU!

I do have a good budget to work on, but I don't want to be frivolous with what I've got to spend. Is the 2600k actually worth the ~$100 and close to 50% cost increase from the 2500k? Seems like that could be money better invested in the GPU if I were to put it anywhere.

SSD!

I've heard that the OCZ Vertex 2's and the OCZ Agility 2's are near identical in performance. Is this true? This will help simplify a decision in this section if so.
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a b 4 Gaming
February 14, 2011 10:18:46 PM

earthbounddx said:
That was certainly the big correction needed with my initial build proposed. I'll be spending a lot more on my GPU, and will be going for at least an SLI of those GTX 560 Ti's if not more.

I'm not making any real decisions on this until the SB rerelease closes in and I can better gauge the differences in price and performance between the various cards, as well as how much I'll actually be spending on the rest of my setup. And also whether I want to nab a really nice pair of headphones or spend the money on a better GPU...

Now on to that monitor!

Okay, so it has several nice reviews, and isn't unreasonably priced for all the bells and whistles. But for a "gaming" monitor, doesn't it seem silly that it's not the "gaming" resolution for its size, 1200p? On the other hand, I do understand it keeps the cost down.

The big thing is the panel type. I thought most people who knew their monitors hissed and spit whenever a TN panel was mentioned? Since I'm upgrading from a CRT, so I'm not familiar with various flat-panel monitors and their specs, but this seems to be a big deal to most. In fact, I'd wager to say that for a good monitor for gaming the three most important things are refresh rate (120mHz), panel type (IPS), and having a response time of absolutely no more than 5ms.

RAM!

As for the memory, it seems like everyone is highly recommending those Ripjaws for gaming/overclocking. Since the cost is comparable, can I assume that the Sniper series better in a way I don't yet see?

CPU!

I do have a good budget to work on, but I don't want to be frivolous with what I've got to spend. Is the 2600k actually worth the ~$100 and close to 50% cost increase from the 2500k? Seems like that could be money better invested in the GPU if I were to put it anywhere.

SSD!

I've heard that the OCZ Vertex 2's and the OCZ Agility 2's are near identical in performance. Is this true? This will help simplify a decision in this section if so.


As far as I know, they don't make a 3D 120mhz - 2ms LED IPS monitor. LG has a 120mhz 5ms IPS but it's not 3D capable.

The G.SKill Sniper RAM has low heat sinks allowing for larger cpu coolers. Seeing how the P67 boards don't rely on the RAM in regards to o/c, there's no need for RAM these days with a tall heat sink.

As far as the 2600K goes...it's hyper threading enabled, and it fits within your budget...but as far as it being cost efficient...well no if it's for gaming.

G.Skill, Mushkin, Corsair, OCZ...all make SSD's that run about even speed wise.
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February 14, 2011 11:26:53 PM

Being 3-D capable is really, really low on the priority list. I've been nothing but underwhelmed with movies using it and it seems like it'll muss up perspective something fierce on any games that aren't side-scrolling. Until I get a convincing argument or an excellent example (or a few more years pass and they make 3-D something stellar), I'll pass on it with a side of m'eh.

So are most SSD's now finally up to snuff with their controllers? Less worries about them actually performing quite terribly against expectations and listed specs?
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February 15, 2011 8:46:01 PM

3-D aside, that may actually be an excellent monitor simply because it's near impossible to find an IPS with a 120Hz refresh and a reasonable response time. Along with that, further investigations have enlightened me on the fact that no IPS panel yet has an excellent (under 6ms) response time at all. TN panel it is, I guess.

Edit: Although now I'm starting to second-guess the impact having a 120Hz refresh rate would have with a monitor of about this size. I wasn't considering the monitor to be one of the harder decisions in building a new computer. :/ 
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a b 4 Gaming
February 15, 2011 9:05:15 PM

earthbounddx said:
3-D aside, that may actually be an excellent monitor simply because it's near impossible to find an IPS with a 120Hz refresh and a reasonable response time. Along with that, further investigations have enlightened me on the fact that no IPS panel yet has an excellent (under 6ms) response time at all. TN panel it is, I guess.

Edit: Although now I'm starting to second-guess the impact having a 120Hz refresh rate would have with a monitor of about this size. I wasn't considering the monitor to be one of the harder decisions in building a new computer. :/ 

http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews/benq_xl2410t.htm <--- I think you will find this informative.
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April 11, 2011 7:22:58 PM

Best answer selected by earthbounddx.
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April 11, 2011 7:33:58 PM

Bit of a delay in responding, but I was busy BUILDING MY NEW COMPUTER. And it actually works! I practically had tears running down my face when it started up with no problem* coming up!

I did find that link reviewing the Benq XL2410T very informative, and in fact, that along with some other research ended up with my buying it! It's a gorgeous monitor!

End the very end, I got very close to what was recommended:

HAF-X Case
ASUS P8P67 Pro Motherboard (ASRock Extreme4 v3.0 wasn't (isn't?) released; no regrets in the least, however!)
Intel i5-2500k
Hyper 212 Plus Heatsink (I knew it was going to be big, but phew!)
2x GTX 560ti GPU's in SLI
2x4gb G.Skill Sniper Memory (the low profile was an excellent consideration)
50gb OCZ Vertex 2 (boot and apps; I already had a 2tb for media)
XFX 850w Black Edition PSU

Damn this computer is amazing. Next stop is to start playing around with overlocking!

Thanks for all the help, everybody!

*Except the 140mm rear chassis fan that wasn't working, but was just an $11 fix.
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