High-End Gaming Rig vs. "Mid"-End Gaming Rig

Hello Geeks/Nerds/Smart people in general. I am currently in a long process of designing a Gaming PC, by long I mean that I have "done my research"! However the budget I started off with soon grew, like baby on steroids. I started off with a $2000 budget but then got carried away and went up to ~$3000. Like I said it went up. Now, as I am sure you are all thinking go for your budget, I would like to let say that the new budget is not an issue. Really the only difference between the two is that the 3k budget would require me to get a job, not that that is an issue as I would have done that anyway. (Note: I'm 16, so a job is not a necessity of life... Yet.) My question is which PC build listed below offers a better Performance/Price ratio.

High-End Gaming Rig ($3k)

CPU: Intel Core i7 980x 3.33Ghz
Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115223&cm_re=intel_core_i7_980x-_-19-115-223-_-Product
Motherboard: EVGA x58 FTW3
Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813188065&cm_re=evga_x58_ftw3_motherboard-_-13-188-065-_-Product
RAM: Patriot Viper II Sector 7 24Gb
Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820220497&cm_re=patriot_viper_ii_sector_7_edition_24gb_%286_x_4gb%29_2-_-20-220-497-_-Product
PSU: Raidmax 1200w
Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817152045&Tpk=Raidmax%201200w
SSD (boot): Intel X25-M 80GB
Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820167028&cm_re=intel_x25-m_80gb-_-20-167-028-_-Product
HDD (storage): 2x Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB @ 7200rpm
Link WD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136533&cm_re=western_digital_caviar_black_1tb-_-22-136-533-_-Product
GPU: 2x nVidia GTX 580 (make your choice on brand)
Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130587&cm_re=nvidia_gtx_580-_-14-130-587-_-Product
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium OEM
Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116754&cm_re=home_premium_oem-_-32-116-754-_-Product
Case: TBD

"Mid-End" Gaming Rig ($2k)

CPU: Intel Core i7 950 3.06Ghz
Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115211&cm_re=i7_950-_-19-115-211-_-Product
Motherboard: Asus Sabertooth x58
Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131665&cm_re=asus_sabertooth_x58-_-13-131-665-_-Product
RAM: Patriot Viper II Sector 7 12Gb
Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820220499&cm_re=patriot_viper_sector_7_12gb-_-20-220-499-_-Product
PSU: Cooler Master Silent 1000w
Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817171056&cm_re=cooler_master_silent_pro_1000w-_-17-171-056-_-Product
SSD (boot): Intel X25-M 80GB
Link: Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820167028&cm_re=intel_x25-m_80gb-_-20-167-028-_-Product
HDD (storage): 1x Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB @ 7200rpm
Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136533&cm_re=western_digital_caviar_black_1tb-_-22-136-533-_-Product
GPU: 1x nVidia GTX 580 (make your choice on brand)
Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130587&cm_re=nvidia_gtx_580-_-14-130-587-_-Product
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium OEM
Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116754&cm_re=home_premium_oem-_-32-116-754-_-Product
Case: TBD

Budget Range: maximum $3000
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, music editing, video editing, web surfing, etc.
Parts Not Required: Peripherals, Monitor, Chassis
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg.com, Tigerdirect.com, NCIX.com (US).
**Please stay clear of Geeks.com, their selection/interface is horrible!!**
Country of Origin: United States of America
Parts Preferences: Intel CPU (AMD is not out of the question, but I'm just trying to debating these bulds at the moment), nVidia GPU (same thing with the CPU. Just keeping the decisions to a minimum.)
Overclocking: Yes
SLI or Crossfire: Yes
Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 on 3 monitors
Additional Comments: This is my first build, however I am not new to computers, just PCs. I realize that my builds may not be perfect. TBD stands fir To Be Decided. If there is any Information I left out that could help, just ask. As of now I'm only looking Intel and nVidia.

I apologize for the length of this post, I tend to type a lot. Thank You in advance for your help and for reading all this.
22 answers Last reply
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  1. I say, if you have the money, go for the best parts :). I say go for the 3k build. Its got a 6-core processor which will absolutely destroy any application, even at stock speeds...weather it be gaming, music or video editing. If you agree, I would change up a few parts in your 3k build to make it a bit better though. BTW for the 580, I recommend EVGA.
  2. Thank you for your opinion. You mentioned you would change a few things? What do you have in mind?
  3. Hmmm, do you need to buy this now? How intense is the video and music editing? Is it like for a job or is it just a spare-time kind of thing? What I'm thinking is that you could wait for Sandy Bridge to be fixed (by April), grab an i7 2600k and overclock it a bit and get performance pretty close to the i7 980x (http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/142?vs=287) for a lot cheaper. That platform is supposed to be compatible with the new Ivy Bridge processors coming out later in the year as well, so you'd have an upgrade path.

    Here's what I would suggest for the current build, though:

    SSD: Vertex 2's are faster than x-25Ms. This one is $20 more expensive than the Intel, but much faster and more capacious:

    HDD: For Storage, might as well get the cheaper and faster Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB

    RAM: These run on lower voltage and are $5 cheaper. Lower voltage means you may be able to get tighter timings out of them since you have some headroom between 1.5V and the limit of 1.65V.

    PSU: I hear Cooler Master PSUs are a mixed-bag. Not sure about the Cooler Master Silent in particular. If you can't find any glowing official reviews of that one, I'd go with a Corsair 950TX

    Sabertooth, i7-950, and GTX 580 are good.
  4. Thank you mortonww. I purposely left out the ETP (estimated time of purchase). My purchase range is around December of this year. I figured that if I had put that down that it would hinder the responses. Sorry.
    I agree with the Samsung HDD. I had originally used that in my plan, but my iPod was restored and I forgot that I had it. Thank you for reminding me.
    As for the Sandy Bridge CPU, I was hopping (sp?) that they would cause the price to drop. I also don't know much about them yet. I had originally tried to make my "Mid-Range" build based off of a core i5 sandy bridge, but the lack of motherboards and my knowledge of them caused me to turn back.
    As for the video editing and music editing, they are spare time things. Sorta.
    I'll have to look into the PSU and RAM you mentioned.
  5. Honestly, I think you should wait until Sandy Bridge gets fixed. If you want to spend this kind of money--why have it be outperformed by $1000 systems 4 months from now? Honestly, $3K is a lot of money to spend.

    What monitor setup do you have? I would say that you should be considering a 3D gaming setup if you don't have lots of monitors yet. If you do, make sure you have 3 good monitors.

    But also, since you want the absolute best, you may as well wait 2 weeks to see NVidia and AMD's dual GPU offerings--which should work more smoothly than SLI anyways.

    PSU--get one from a great manufacturer: Corsair, Silverstone, Seasonic, Antec, XFX, or anything that gets an awesome jonnyguru review.

    But the bottom line is--there has not been a worse time to build a computer in the last couple years. WAIT a couple weeks.
  6. Ok, I'll take your advice. Seeing as how i don't have the money now anyways. I had heard of a new duel GPU that was going to be released, but after waiting few months and hearing nothing new on the subject i lost interest and hope. My current monitor setup is a ViewSonic (forgot model #, to lazy to go check the box) 24" 2ms response 1920x1080. It's hooked up to my PS3 as of now. But i plan on getting to more for my PC. As far as 3D gaming goes, I personally think that this whole 3D thing is just a gimmick. We've had the tech for years. Anyway, i haven't experienced games in 3D yet, so I'm not sure on that.
  7. Well if you are buying december of this year, thats a LOT of time and a LOT can change which includes, new technology, parts, and most of all prices, so wait until late in the year and then repost another thread, chances are, new CPU's, new GPU's...etc...etc.
  8. +10^ Yeah. Ivy Bridge will be out, new GTX and Radeon cards, new SSD controllers (probably cheaper too).
  9. I saw an NVidia 3D setup at Fry's when it first came out and I was pretty impressed. But some people don't see 3D very well so it's not worth much at all to them. If you're spending that kind of money though, I'd go for 3x the Tiger Direct 28" 1920x1200 monitors for $250 each. They might get cheaper by the time you buy though.

    Also, 12GB RAM will get the job done for quite some time, so there's no reason to waste the cash on 24GB--especially since you can upgrade your RAM down the line easily if you're using 4GB sticks.

    I'd rather have an awesome $2250 computer with 3x 28" monitors and dual GTX 580's than find a way to waste an extra $750 elsewhere.

    Anyways, post again when you've got the cash and you're ready to buy later this year. There will be new CPU's, new chipsets to replace X58, Bulldozer, and GPU's.
  10. Thank you for all your help! BTW do you have a link for the monitors you recamended? When I first looked at monitors with that high of a res they were way more than that, and on the same website. I wish I had known this before since that is about as much as I spent on my 24"!
  11. Thank you for the link. The monitor is nice however it lacks a dvi port or a display port. I realize that the dvi signal is the same as hdmi, but the hdmi would be taken up by my ps3. Although this could be fixed via hdmi splitter I would rather not have to change the setting any time I wanted to use that monitor. It's just one more thing for me to forget. Besides I already have a monitor so I'm just going to get 2 more of them. But thank you anyways for the link. If I had known about this deal a few months ago, if it was the same price then, I would defiantly have gone for it.
  12. It's been this price since November--well actually it was a very similar Hanspree at the time. You can get a DVI to HDMI adapter for the back of your graphics card. That's what I use for linking to my TV since I haven't bought a mini-HDMI to HDMI adapter. But no Display Port is bad--a part of why it's cheap. It has a better resolution than most monitors, that's the main reason I like it.
  13. U2711, it is as expensive as h*ll it isn't 3D (but as you said I think as well it's a gimmick) so you probably wanna buy it when it goes on sale but it is great. 2560x1440 will put all that GPU horsepower.
  14. Haha...that screen is amazing--and totally not as good as three 32" 1080p TVs for gaming, in my opinion. I can't justify it for any situation other than if money is no object. But this guy's buying a magnetic drive instead of 5 256GB SSDs for a RAID 5 1TB drive--which makes me think that money means something to him.
  15. If you get a job you'll have less time to play with your new toy.
  16. Man, save your money for now, don't buy yet. Wait for IVY BRIDGE.
  17. Geeknation,

    I have a few suggestions for you. If you look at my sig, you will see what I run.

    I believe that I can get you cheaper parts, and a better balanced system for what your looking for.

    Also, if you plan on the 950 with sabertooth, i can tell you some great OC settings.

    I need to run out for the day. When I get home in about 15 hours, expect a very long post from me. Have a great day man!
  18. Errrr... I'll just post my config. lol. My cost was alittle less than $2K.

    i7-950 @ OCed to 4.0GHZ
    Corsair H70
    Asus Sabertooth X58 motherboard
    12 gigs of corsair XMS3 7-8-7-20 ram @1600mhz
    Samsung 24X dvd-burner
    X2 EVGA 570 SCs with Hi-flow brackets
    Creative Fatality pro titanium sound card (PCI express)
    OS drive is a 300GB Velociraptor
    Data drive is a 2TB WD Black (Sata3 model)
    Corsair HX1000W PSU
    HAF-X case / with megaflow fans.
  19. Hmm, I must be tired, forget my post about suggestions. If your planning on purchasing 7-9 months from now, other than a few exceptions, like burners, PSU's and monitors, dang near everything else will change.

    I would wait for ivy bridge, 600 series nvidia gpus, better SSD's with the newer sandforce or better controller with better speeds and capacities. And possibly DDR4 ram.

    One thing that I can tell you now or later, is this:

    In my 23 years of computer building, and my personal opinion, is that ASUS is hands down the best (for at the very least tied for first place) when it comes to motherboards. Every motherboard regardless of brand has always had a maximum 3 year warranty. ASUS's new sabertooth line is 5 years, and is here to stay. Who cares if gamers like myself change computers every 2-5 years anyways. It's all about reliability, ease of use, and options. The 5 year warranty is just their way of saying, this thing is a tank. And I love tanks!

    So, long story short. No matter what you consider purchasing now or later, Sabertooth (for the money)(Bang-for-buck) is the only way to go. (Unless you have money out the ying-yang and need say.... quad sli. Then grab the EVGA Classified series.)

    Please note that this is only my opinion.
  20. Wow, I'm glad I got bored. I thought this thread died last night. But, just to clear things up the idea of the post was so that when I do build my rig I have a better idea of what to look for. Let's face it, if the better choice were to be the $3k build and I didn't know, I then would not have gotten a job immediately and would not have been able to afford the better build. I merely put the parts in to show where the prices came from.
    Based on your answers I'm probably going to go with th "mid" build. Although I will probably get a job just incase. So thank you for your responses and opinions, they defiantly helped me out.

    P.S. nativeson8803
    Nice answer, that is probably the best point that anyone said. Especially since if I got a job I would have wasted even more money.
  21. FYI: The Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB is faster than a 300GB Velociraptor, last I heard.
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