First Time Builder - Budget up to $1500

Approximate Purchase Date: 2 - 4 weeks

Budget Range: $1500 before rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming, streaming HD video

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:,

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: no specific preferences

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: I want to maximize value/dollars spent (best bang for the buck).


I've been lurking and reading a bunch of threads similar to this one, and and zeroing in on a parts list:

CPU - Intel Core i5-2500 Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (since I won't be overclocking the K is not necessary, correct?)

RAM - G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600

HD - SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive (I don't think I need a 1TB drive or a SSD)

PSU - XFX Black Edition P1-750B-CAG9 750W ATX12V v2.2 / ESP12V v2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS SILVER Certified (seems a good solid choice)

DVD - ASUS Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW (I won't be burning any disks)

OS - Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM

My questions/concerns are as follows:

1. I'm unsure of the motherboard choice since I won't be overclocking the CPU but may do SLI/Crossfire either down the road or right now.
2. Case choice is low on my priority list - as long as it's big enough and has good air flow - less than $100 would be nice.
3. I'm having a hard time settling on a GPU - I'm looking for the best 'bang for the buck' and am willing to do SLI/Crossfire right away, but I guess I'd rather keep it a single GPU system (570 or 6970?)
4. I want a nice 1920 x 1080 backlit LED monitor - the ASUS ones look nice and Dell seems to be having a sale right now.

It seems everything but the GPU(s) can be had for less than $1100 - leaving $400 - $500 for the GPU(s).

I appreciate your help!
8 answers Last reply
More about first time builder budget 1500
  1. MB - GIGABYTE GA-P67A-UD4-B3 or ASRock P67 EXTREME4. I like ASUS, but needing 8x/8x for multiple GPUs their boards in that feature set are more expensive and you aren't gaining anything. If you want ASUS, the ASUS P8P67 DELUXE is a great board.

    GPU - You can't go wrong with either the GTX 570 or the HD 6970. I would go with the HD 6970 only because of its slightly lower power requirements.

    Can't really recommend a monitor...
  2. Also... The 750w XFX PSU you listed is a good one, but keep in mind that a GTX 570 will draw 330w at full load and the HD 6970 will draw around 290w. Running a single GPU will be fine, but you will run into problems trying to run dual cards while at full load.

    OS - Any reason why you are going with a 32-bit OS? May want to consider changing that to Win7 Home Premium 64-bit (..for System Builders).
  3. I forgot to ask if maybe I should take a different PSU right now in preparation for a future second 570 (or whatever GPU I end up with)?
  4. Here is preliminary build #2. I've rethought some of my original needs (2500K instead of 2500 - why deny myself the future potential for overclocking for a measly 20 bucks?) and have come up with:

    Case - NZXT Phantom PHAN-001WT White Steel

    CPU - Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz

    MB - MSI P67A-GD65 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

    RAM - G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory

    HD - SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

    GPU - SPARKLE SXX5801536D5NM GeForce GTX 580 (Fermi) 1536MB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

    PSU - Thortech Thunderbolt 850W TTB850G ATX 12V v2.3 / EPS 12V v2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

    DVD - ASUS Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW

    OS - Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM

    Monitor - Asus VE228H 21.5" Full HD HDMI LED BackLight LCD Monitor w/Speakers ASCR 10,000,000:1

    Combo 1 - $50 off P67A-GD65 + Thortech 850W
    Combo 2 - $10 off i5 2500K + 580 GTX
    and plus $25 off the Ripjaws for the promo code which ends on 4/6

    I've linked to Newegg for everything for the sake of viewing continuity, but in actuality some items are sold out and/or Amazon has better prices, so I would order from them in those cases.

    Total - $1563.53 (including the promos and combo deals, not including shipping charges)

    My only question about this build would be the PSU - does anyone know anything about it? Reviews are few and far between. I guess with this build I would not look to getting a second 580 in the future.

    I have become a total addict to creating builds and finding the best prices btw.

    Thanks for looking.
  5. That actually looks really good
  6. only thing I would change is change case to haf 922, It has lots of space fOr long video adds and three fans also at this price range I would add an ssd- 80GB for OS and programs and that 1TB for storage
  7. I've made a few tweaks to the above build (preliminary #2) and have managed to drop the overall price by $45:

    Change the case to the NZXT Phantom Black - $20 promo ends 4/6
    Change the memory to G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 - $49.99

    I would order the Samsung f3 and the ASUS dvd drive from Amazon, and everything else from Newegg.

    With the promo code and the combo deals the total would be, before shipping: $1518.69

    I'd still like to hear more opinions on the PSU - I kind of have a first timer's jitters about pulling the trigger...

    Or I could change the GPU to MSI N570GTX Twin Frozr II OC GeForce GTX 570 (Fermi) 1280MB

    and the PSU to CORSAIR Professional Series AX850 850W ATX12V v2.31 / EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Power Supply

    and with a combo deal ($28 off the PSU and CPU) and the case promo code come to a total of $1443.69 - so $75 less for a GTX 570 instead of a GTX 580 and probably a better PSU.

    Any thoughts? I want to make sure I get this right before I order. Thanks for looking.
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