Need Help: ~$1300 SB Gaming Build

Hey folks,

I think I've gotten together a decent set of components for my first-time build. Just have a few questions to run by you experts!

Approx. Purchase Date: ASAP, likely by the end of next week if possible.

Budget Range: Max, about $1300 after rebates, but there's a little wiggle room.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Mainly gaming, nothing else taxing: multitasking, streaming HD, etc.

Parts Not Required: Speakers, keyboard, mouse, monitor

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: None, but I've mostly been using Microcenter (there's one very nearby to me) and Newegg.

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: SB CPU, otherwise none.

Overclocking: Probably if I can find some good guides, but no big OC'ing.

SLI or Crossfire: No; potentially down the road though.

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Parts so far:


Antec Nine Hundred Two V3 Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Barracuda 7200.9 500GB 7,200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive ST3500641AS-RK

Onyx Series OCZSSD2-1ONX64G 64GB SATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

MSI R6950-2PM2D2GD5 Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity

CORSAIR Enthusiast Series CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply

Core i5 2500K LGA 1155 Boxed Processor

CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 Desktop Memory Model CMZ8GX3M2A1866C9

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

GIGABYTE GA-P67A-UD3P-B3 LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

All of which adds up to about $1150 before taxes and shipping.

So, as for my remaining questions:

I'm completely lost when it comes to PSUs, and so went by some of the tools and guides I found on here. Is the one I have picked out sufficient for my needs and for some light OC'ing? I assume it wouldn't be sufficient if somewhere down the line I wanted to add another graphics card; what about (see below) unlocking the 6950, how would that change my power reqs?

How about the case - it's not overkill, is it? I thought about the Antec 300 as well.

Once I have the thing constructed, does anyone have any comments on how difficult it would be to OC the 2500k just a little bit? It's something I want to do if it's easy and possible, but I want to make sure I know what I'm doing. Along those same lines, is a separate cooler necessary if I'm not going far above baseline?

Similarly to the OC'ing issue, how about unlocking the 6950 to a 6970 - comments or thoughts on doing that?

This is my first effort, so don't be too harsh! :) Thanks!
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  1. So it looks like you have the main setup pretty good but i fine tuned it a little. All the prices are from newegg, but check with microcenter before you buy. When i built my computer newegg had the i7-860 for $300 but i got it at microcenter for $200.

    Case - yours is fine, the antec 300 or haf 922 are also good cases - $70-100
    harddrive - spinpoint f3 500 tb - faster $50 (or get 1tb model for $55 on newegg for limited time with the code they have)
    GPU - 6950 is a good choice, i included 2 in your build, but you can drop one if you want and add it later - $490
    PSU - corsair 750tx - $110 - better for if you decide to crossfire the 6950's in the future (or now) 650 is pushing it a bit
    RAM - g.skill 4gb kit - $50-55 - 8gb is overkill for gaming, 4gb is perfect
    cpu cooler - hyper 212+ - $35 - for overclocking
    CPU+MOBO combo - i5-2500k + GA-P67A-UD4-B3 - $395

    total : $1225 after shipping - $75 MIR's = 1150
    Add $100 if you need windows 7

    SSD is optional, but for a pc mainly for gaming, it shouldnt be your top priority. It wont effect gaming much, but you get nice boot times. I'd get a 60-90gb OCZ vertex 2, agility x25m...basically any ssd with the latest ssd driver or intel.

    To answer some of your other question:

    Overclocking the i5 is very easy and you will find plenty of guides to help you on the internet. I believe many i5's have been able to around 4ghz on the stock cooler. If you wish to proceed further safely, an aftermarket cooler is recommend to keep temperatures within a safe range.

    As for flashing the 6950 bios to 6970. Just remember that your 6950 will have the same chip that was rejected from being a 6970 card. This doesnt mean that its a bad chip, but that it wasnt as "perfect" as the others put in the 6970. So if you do flash it, dont count on it working, it might be unstable, or it might run perfectly and still have some room to oc.
  2. Thanks for the advice, guys. For now I've decided to go with the SSD, as I will be making use of it for some other applications, and use only one 6950; maybe add the second later.

    Last question; about motherboards. I've been looking around a little more. What differences could I be looking at between the Gigabyte UD4 and the ASRock Extreme4, or Extreme6?
  3. So here's what I've lined up for purchasing.

    Case: Antec 902 V3, already bought. ($100)

    CPU: a 2500k, ($180)

    HDD: Spinpoint F3 1TB, ($60)

    CPU Cooler: CM 212+, ($23)

    Mobo: Gigabyte P67A-UD4-B3, ($180)

    Optical: From LG, ($19)

    GPU: 1x 6950 2GB, with plans to add a second down the road. ($245)

    PSU: Corsair TX750 V2, ($105)

    RAM: G.Skill Sniper 8GB, 1600Mhz, CL9. ($75)

    OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit ($100)

    SSD: OCZ Vertex 2 60GB. ($110)

    After adding $28 tax from Microcenter and including all the MIRs (already done in the subtotals), that comes out to just about $1197. Does anyone see anything I'm missing horribly on?
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