Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

$2000ish gaming build- advice most welcome

Last response: in Systems
Share
March 12, 2011 11:05:24 PM

I'm building a gaming PC for a friend, since her crappy off-the shelf HP died recently, and I'm looking for some advice, since this is my first time buidling a PC from scratch (I've only upgraded and repaired a few systems in the past). Her budget is about $2000-$2300 Aussie dollars, which doesn't buy you quite as much in Australia as overseas since we tend to pay a premium for the latest hardware. I plan to build the system within the next two weeks or so, whenever I can get my hands on my preferred motherboard - it's a Sandy Bridge, and I've been told about two weeks for the revised B3-stepping boards to come into some of the local stores. Unfortunately it's a bit too fiddly to link to all the places I'm planning on buying from, as I've had to shop around a lot to get the lowest prices, and they're all local stores in my state or online retailers based in Aus - I've tried very hard to find the lowest prices possible.

Basic rundown of what I'm looking for:

Budget: About $2000-$2300 Aussie dollars

System usage: primarily gaming, including resource-intensive games eg. Crysis, Fallout: NV, Metro 2033; also for web-surfing and word-processing; no large amounts of video encoding or anything able to take advantage of more cores / threads

Parts not required: keyboard and speakers

Parts preferences: Intel for the processor, since that's what I'm most familiar with, plus the fact that Sandy Bridge seems to be the best choice for high-end machines at this point; Nvidia for the graphics, since she wants to use PhysX and maybe Stereoscopic 3D in the future (can't afford at 3D monitor at the moment); 2TB hard drive minimum; 1920x1080 full HD monitor (22"-24"); full tower case for the extra airflow.

SLI: Yes, since that seems to deliver good value for the performance, plus Nvidia is pretty good at delivering driver updates for SLI setups (I've had an SLI rig for 3 years with no problems, and performance that has increased over time due to drivers)

RAID: This is an area I'm not sure about. I'm considering 2 HDD's in RAID 0, since two Spinpoint F3's seem to be faster and a
fair bit cheaper than one WD 2TB Caviar Black, but I'm not sure if the disadvantages of RAID 0 outweigh the benefits. Also not sure on how easy to implement that setup would be, need to do more research.

Blu-ray: My friend wants to be able to watch Blu-rays, but doesn't care about burning them, so a Blu-ray / DVD combo drive is the go

Overclocking: Maybe. Would like to overclock if possible, but I suspect the build I've chosen might not be good enough to support a worthwhile OC without spending a lot more money on the cooling, which would blow the budget.

Additional comments: The main considerations with this build are performance and stability; noise is also a factor (can put up with some, but don't want it sounding like a jet engine). I've thought about water-cooling, but I have no idea where to start with that, plus it's more expensive, hard to find parts for here, and a lot more fiddly to set up. So unless someone can give me some good advice that's easy to follow, I'll stick with air-cooling. I don't think the system should be majorly bottlenecked in anyway, although that's still a concern. My main concern is that the system will run too hot,
especially with overclocking, so any advice on that would be fantastic.

And here are the parts I've selected so far:

CPU: Intel Core i5 2500K 3.30GHz

CPU Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P-SE2

Video Card: x2 MSI Twin Frozr II GTX 560 Ti 1GB 880/4200 MHz (only $20 more per card for the Frozr over the standard,
not sure if that's worth it or not)

RAM: 8GB G.Skill Ripjaws DDR3 1600MHz 8-8-8-24

Motherboard: Asus P8P67-PRO (available in two weeks or so)

HDD OS: 60GB OCZ Vertex 2

HDD Storage: x2 Spinpoint F3 7200RPM 32MB Cache in RAID 0 | OR | x1 2TB Western Digital Caviar Black 7200RPM 64MB Cache

Optical: Samsung SH-B123A 12x Blu-ray / DVD Combo

PSU: 850W XFX Black Edition 80+ silver (should be more than sufficient, at least for a non-OC'd system, please advise if it's enough to OC on)

Case: Cooler Master HAF X

Case Cooling: As shown in the page here under "air flow": http://www.coolermaster.com/product.php?product_id=6653 - not sure how many fans to use, esp. on the VGA holders; also not sure if this is the best case, something cheaper with similar cooling might be nice

Monitor: Asus VH242H 23" 1920x1080

Mouse: Logitech G9x (I've had one for 3 years and loved it, despite the high price)

OS: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit (available through student offer for $50)

System price comes to about $2270 all up (if that seems high, it's because living in Australia sucks :p )

That's pretty much it, advice would be especially welcome on the case, cooling sytem, HDD setup, and any way in which I can make it cheaper without reducing performance. Sorry for the long post, and thank you so much in advance!
March 13, 2011 4:46:41 AM

MannyB said:
I'm building a gaming PC for a friend, since her crappy off-the shelf HP died recently, and I'm looking for some advice, since this is my first time buidling a PC from scratch (I've only upgraded and repaired a few systems in the past). Her budget is about $2000-$2300 Aussie dollars, which doesn't buy you quite as much in Australia as overseas since we tend to pay a premium for the latest hardware. I plan to build the system within the next two weeks or so, whenever I can get my hands on my preferred motherboard - it's a Sandy Bridge, and I've been told about two weeks for the revised B3-stepping boards to come into some of the local stores. Unfortunately it's a bit too fiddly to link to all the places I'm planning on buying from, as I've had to shop around a lot to get the lowest prices, and they're all local stores in my state or online retailers based in Aus - I've tried very hard to find the lowest prices possible.

Basic rundown of what I'm looking for:

Budget: About $2000-$2300 Aussie dollars

System usage: primarily gaming, including resource-intensive games eg. Crysis, Fallout: NV, Metro 2033; also for web-surfing and word-processing; no large amounts of video encoding or anything able to take advantage of more cores / threads

Parts not required: keyboard and speakers

Parts preferences: Intel for the processor, since that's what I'm most familiar with, plus the fact that Sandy Bridge seems to be the best choice for high-end machines at this point; Nvidia for the graphics, since she wants to use PhysX and maybe Stereoscopic 3D in the future (can't afford at 3D monitor at the moment); 2TB hard drive minimum; 1920x1080 full HD monitor (22"-24"); full tower case for the extra airflow.

SLI: Yes, since that seems to deliver good value for the performance, plus Nvidia is pretty good at delivering driver updates for SLI setups (I've had an SLI rig for 3 years with no problems, and performance that has increased over time due to drivers)

RAID: This is an area I'm not sure about. I'm considering 2 HDD's in RAID 0, since two Spinpoint F3's seem to be faster and a
fair bit cheaper than one WD 2TB Caviar Black, but I'm not sure if the disadvantages of RAID 0 outweigh the benefits. Also not sure on how easy to implement that setup would be, need to do more research.

Blu-ray: My friend wants to be able to watch Blu-rays, but doesn't care about burning them, so a Blu-ray / DVD combo drive is the go

Overclocking: Maybe. Would like to overclock if possible, but I suspect the build I've chosen might not be good enough to support a worthwhile OC without spending a lot more money on the cooling, which would blow the budget.

Additional comments: The main considerations with this build are performance and stability; noise is also a factor (can put up with some, but don't want it sounding like a jet engine). I've thought about water-cooling, but I have no idea where to start with that, plus it's more expensive, hard to find parts for here, and a lot more fiddly to set up. So unless someone can give me some good advice that's easy to follow, I'll stick with air-cooling. I don't think the system should be majorly bottlenecked in anyway, although that's still a concern. My main concern is that the system will run too hot,
especially with overclocking, so any advice on that would be fantastic.

And here are the parts I've selected so far:

CPU: Intel Core i5 2500K 3.30GHz

CPU Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P-SE2

Video Card: x2 MSI Twin Frozr II GTX 560 Ti 1GB 880/4200 MHz (only $20 more per card for the Frozr over the standard,
not sure if that's worth it or not)

RAM: 8GB G.Skill Ripjaws DDR3 1600MHz 8-8-8-24

Motherboard: Asus P8P67-PRO (available in two weeks or so)

HDD OS: 60GB OCZ Vertex 2

HDD Storage: x2 Spinpoint F3 7200RPM 32MB Cache in RAID 0 | OR | x1 2TB Western Digital Caviar Black 7200RPM 64MB Cache

Optical: Samsung SH-B123A 12x Blu-ray / DVD Combo

PSU: 850W XFX Black Edition 80+ silver (should be more than sufficient, at least for a non-OC'd system, please advise if it's enough to OC on)

Case: Cooler Master HAF X

Case Cooling: As shown in the page here under "air flow": http://www.coolermaster.com/product.php?product_id=6653 - not sure how many fans to use, esp. on the VGA holders; also not sure if this is the best case, something cheaper with similar cooling might be nice

Monitor: Asus VH242H 23" 1920x1080

Mouse: Logitech G9x (I've had one for 3 years and loved it, despite the high price)

OS: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit (available through student offer for $50)

System price comes to about $2270 all up (if that seems high, it's because living in Australia sucks :p )

That's pretty much it, advice would be especially welcome on the case, cooling sytem, HDD setup, and any way in which I can make it cheaper without reducing performance. Sorry for the long post, and thank you so much in advance!


Hey mate across the ditch in New Zealand here :) 
If you can save money on the power supply (TP-750, XFX 750W) they will both allow SLI + Ocing and save some dough. Also, the twin Frozr edition is probably not worth it really, esp. if she is doing her own ocing.

Consider getting a bigger SSD and REALLY shop around online for the best deal. The Raid 0 should easily overcome the WD 2TB too.

Lastly, drop the RAM to 4GB, and then to CAS9 if it saves $$.
March 14, 2011 7:23:52 AM

Thanks for the advice- managed to save some money by shopping around a little more, and by dropping the HAF X for the HAF 932 (should still have good enough airflow), and the Frozr's for standard GTX 560's from Inno3D. Was able to just squeeze in the 120GB model of the Vertex 2! Decided to keep the 850W PSU, since I'd prefer to have some leeway there, especially if I end up OC'ing it; the 850W wasn't hugely more expensive than the 750W anyway. Was also able to keep the 8GB of RAM. Pretty happy with the system overall now, as long as there aren't any cooling deficiencies or bottlenecks of any kind.
!