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$1000AUD gaming / general use build

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April 6, 2011 3:40:19 PM

Hi everyone,

My 4-year old Q6600 / 8800GT system died recently (mobo failure), which is inconvenient because I'm planning to build a new high-end dream gaming system at the end of the year, once I have enough money. However, my parents are looking for a new desktop to replace their 6-year old system, and are willing to pay about $600. So my plan is to build a $1000 system now with $400 of my own money, and use it until I can afford the dream system, and then give it to them.

Basic lowdown:

Country: Australia (VIC)
Purchase date: Sometime in the next few days
Budget: $1000AUD or less
System usage: for me, gaming; for my parents, web-surfing, photoshop, fairly intensive spreadsheet calculations
Parts not required: monitor, speakers, mouse, keyboard, OS
Preferred website: PC Case Gear (www.pccasegear.com)
Parts preferences: Intel and Nvidia due to familiarity, although I'm open to AMD if necessary
Overclocking: No
SLI / Crossfire: No
Monitor resolution: 1680x1050
OS: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
Additional comments: low noise would be nice, but I'm not willing to pay much more for it

Current parts selection:

CPU: Intel Core i5 2300K
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212+
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Motherboard: MSI P67A-GD55 Motherboard B3
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Graphics: EVGA GeForce GTX 460 1GB FTW Edition
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

RAM: 4GB G.Skill DDR3 1333MHz 9-9-9-24
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

HDD: Samsung SpinPoint F3 1TB HD103SJ
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Optical: Pioneer DVR-219L DVDRW
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

PSU: Seasonic M12II 520W
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Case: CoolerMaster Elite 370 Window
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Case front fan: ?


These parts are the result of only a few hours of research - any advice / suggestions for changes are welcome. The only part I'm not sure on is the front fan for the case - it only comes with a rear fan (120mm @ 1200rpm), and can take one front fan of 120mm or 140mm. What size and speed would be best to match the rear fan?

I guess my main questions are:
1) Are any of the parts overkill / can I substitute any cheaper ones?
2) Are there any significant bottlenecks?
3) Is the 520W PSU sufficient?
4) Are the case and fans good enough cooling-wise?

Any advice would be much appreciated, cheers!
April 6, 2011 4:33:07 PM

One question, as I'm also running a Q6600 with 8800gt, i'm deathly curious as to what motherboard failed on you :p 

On to your questions!
Since this machine is going to be with you for less than a year, and will become just a regular desktop machine, I'm assuming you won't need a whole ton of power, and won't need to overclock.
So I would actually recommend a different approach.

CPU: Intel Core i3-2100
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Motherboard: ASUS P8H67 Motherboard B3
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

The Core i3 is a great little processor - obviously the i5 is whooping butt right now on the charts, but since you will be making another super gaming pc at the end of the year, we don't need to visit chart whooping right now.
The H67 chipset is often overlooked but still an excellent choice.
Also, and this is a personal preference due to experience, I don't use MSI motherboards (had multiple bad experiences) - and I prefer ASUS, thus I recommend ASUS.


As for your video card, I would ask what resolution you will be using? For example, if you are going to be playing at 1680x1050, then I would recommend the GTX 550 TI
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April 6, 2011 6:09:36 PM

Thanks for the prompt reply!

The Core i3-2100 suggestion sounds good - I suppose my only hesitance comes from the fact that I'm stepping down from a quad-core to a dual-core, but since the quad core is 4 years old I guess that makes sense.

Looking at the site, the other option would be to go with the Asus P8P67 LE mobo - it's P67, but $20 cheaper and I can't see any features missing from the specs that I'd really need. I don't need the onboard video of the H67, not that the P67 has any critical features that I need. Will probably go with the LE, unless there's a detail I'm missing?

I had a look at the 550 Ti, but it seems like the 460 1GB gives a reasonable return for the extra investment, and since I can fit it in under budget I think I'll stick with it. Resolution is 1680x1050, but I'm an eye-candy nut who likes playing with the details cranked right up, so I'll pay a little extra for smoother framerates at high details.

As for my old system, I was using an Asus P5N-E SLI motherboard. It didn't completely fail, as it would boot, but it would fail to recognise any SATA devices plugged in about 75% of the time, and when it did pick them up, it managed to corrupt a lot of the data on my hard drive - this happened even after testing it with different PSUs and HDDs. Weird problem, but as far as I know there's no way to fix it apart from replacing the mobo, which given its age means getting a new system. The system was also kept in a rather dusty room for a long time, and that was causing problems as well, even after cleaning, which is the main reason why I've decided to build the system from scratch rather than transfer some of the old parts over - although I could probably salvage the DVD drive, that would save $59.

With the i3-2100, P8P67 LE and keeping the old DVD drive, the price is now $868.00, which is good.

The thing I'm still not sure about is the front fan - what size and speed? Obviously cooling isn't super important because it's not going to run that hot, but it's still not something I want to neglect.
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April 6, 2011 6:21:23 PM

Yikes! Thats the same mobo i'm on *cross fingers*.

How about an Antec case?

You wouldn't have to worry about fans with that one. As for fans in general, I usually go for bigger and slower - as you can get more airflow with less noise that way.

Oh, and for PSU with that setup, 520w should be plenty - also can't go wrong with Seasonic.
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April 7, 2011 5:09:10 AM

The Antec looks good, I'll go with that. I'm in agreeance with the fans - I recently built a gaming rig for my friend with a HAF 932 case with 200mm fans, which were nice and quiet.

With my PSUs I unashamedly go with whatever gets good reviews on jonnyguru, since they seem to test them with proper equipment, and the Seasonic came up very highly recommended.

I wouldn't fret about the mobo - I think there's a reasonable chance either the dust contributed to it (there was a LOT on the mobo at one stage), or I somehow damaged it during cleaning. I doubt it's a problem with all the P5N-E mobos, since I couldn't find anyone else online who'd had similar issues.

Thanks a lot for your advice, it's been very helpful - I think I've got my sub-$900 build sorted now!
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