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New build, $1000 Work/Gaming/Video Rig

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April 15, 2011 2:20:54 AM

Let me preface this by saying I know next to nothing about selecting components for a computer, but have friends that are pretty knowledgeable and will be helping me with assembly. I've been using my 5-year old Dell D820 laptop for everything from music to movies, web browsing and VERY light gaming (Age of Empires 2), but I'd like to move into 2011 :lol:  and build a desktop. I'll be running Windows 7 Pro 64-bit and would like the system to handle itunes/web browsing/Photoshop and LIGHT gaming. I'd be playing games that are 1-2 years old, no brand new cutting edge stuff. I have a console for that.

Approximate Purchase Date: Within the next 2-3 weeks


Budget Range: $1000


System Usage from Most to Least Important: Surfing the internet, music, gaming, movies


Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS


Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg, open to other sites if needed


Country of Origin: USA


Parts Preferences: by brand or type: best bang for the buck


Overclocking: Maybe


SLI or Crossfire: No


Monitor Resolution: Dell S2409W 1920 x 1080


Additional Comments: I don't need a bunch of showy parts, but a light-up case would be cool.



My friend spec'd out some parts basically following the Marathon $1000 build from March on this site:



Will that setup give me enough performance to do what I'm looking for? I imagine anything newer than my laptop will feel super fast, but I'm hoping for reasonable longevity before I need to upgrade anything. Is 4GB RAM okay or should I be looking at 8? What about the video card? I'm open to suggestions on all fronts.

Thank you!
April 15, 2011 2:59:47 AM

You can do much better for $1000.


i5 2500k ($230)
ASUS P8P67 PRO ($190)
GTX 560 Ti ($230)
Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB ($65)
HAF 912 ($60) + fans and stuff ($25?)
Antec Earthwatts 750 ($80)
8 GBs G.Skill Ripjaws X 1600 MHz, CAS 8 ($120)
Some DVD drive ($20)

TOTAL: $1020

You will get a significant performance boost from the 560 Ti over the 460 768MB you have specced. The RAM is better, the hard drive is faster, the case is roomier, and the power supply is larger to allow for ANY future upgrade (including another 560 should you ever decide to add one).

EDIT: Missed the blu-ray drive. Swap it back in. New total: $1075
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April 15, 2011 3:23:57 AM

bruce wayne said:
I'll be running Windows 7 Pro 64-bit and would like the system to handle itunes/web browsing/Photoshop and LIGHT gaming. I'd be playing games that are 1-2 years old, no brand new cutting edge stuff. I have a console for that.

...
Will that setup give me enough performance to do what I'm looking for?


That system will easily to everything you've listed, and more. If you get it exactly as listed I'm sure you wouldn't have any regrets.
You could, however, save some more money without any noticeable loss of performance.
From your description it sounds like you're not very likely to overclock your CPU. If that's the case, then I would point you towards I5-2500 (without the K) or even to the considerably cheaper, but still very fast I5-2400 processor.
Here are two articles with good things to say about that CPU.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu-cor...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu-cor...

That's a $35 price difference, which isn't huge but it's worth considering.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you step down from the 2500K (either to the vanilla I5-2500 or to the I5-2400) then you can also save a bit of money by getting a motherboard with the H67 chipset (as opposed to the generally more expensive P67 like the one in your list). The only real advantage of the P67 board is that it allows more flexible overclocking of the 'K' series CPU. You can use a P67 motherboard w/ a non-K CPU, no harm there or anything, but again just a place to save a few bucks (like say $50-60).

The price listed for your video card there is really a pretty good deal once you factor in the mail in rebate, so I can't argue with that (it's actually even $10 LESS than the price you show there atm). The hard drive, case, and DVD drives are all some of the more popular value recommendations from system builders on this forum, so that looks good.
The power supply isn't a really high quality unit, but it's more than enough for what you're asking it to do, and if that rebate is still available then the price @ $35 after rebate is tough to argue with.

With regard to the memory, 4gb is fine. 8gb might be nice, but it's easy enough to upgrade later. I only really recommend people to start w/ 8 if their intended use might at some point cause them to want a bigger jump to say 12 or 16. In your case starting w/ 4 is a good start and then you can add some more later if you feel that your needs have changed.
One little side piece of advice is that memory sets work best together if they're the same specs. So if when you get your memory you can take the label or manufacturer specs from the package and tape it to the inside of your case. Then in like 2 years when you're thinking of upgrading and you're trying to remember what type of memory your original stuff was you can find it right there.

Best of luck, and make sure you stop back in to let us know how it works out.
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April 15, 2011 3:36:12 AM

I just want to respectfully disagree with some of the things posted just above me.

You have $1000 to spend, why downgrade every single component to save money instead of getting a much better base build at $1000?

You can save money by using an H67 board with an i5 2500, but then you lose any overclocking ability in the future (a free upgrade down the line), you lose PCIe bandwidth for add-on cards or SLI.

You can save money by getting slower ram and less of it, but if you're using photoshop, you'll appreciate faster ram, more of it, at lower latency.

I would say stick as close to your $1000 budget as you can and you'll have no regrets. I think the build I posted is pretty solid for $1000.

Benchmarks: gtx 460 768 MB vs. GTX 560
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/315?vs=330
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a b 4 Gaming
April 15, 2011 3:56:58 AM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $124.99
ASRock P67 PRO3 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $42.99 FREE SHIPPING
Mushkin Enhanced Silverline 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model 996768

http://www.asrock.com/news/events/201102ex/warranty.htm... <---- Asrock two year warranty

http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?Model=P67%20Pro3 <---- more info, specs, and pics of that Asrock board

http://ixbtlabs.com/articles3/mainboard/asrock-p67-pro3... <---- review of that Asrock board
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April 15, 2011 4:04:08 AM

Aren't the ASUS boards generally made of higher quality components than the ASRock? If I remember correctly, ASRock used to be owned by ASUS, but are not any longer. Is there anything to be said for sticking with an ASUS board that's perhaps $20 - $25 more expensive than the ASRock just for the sake of solid reputation for quality?

This board is the mATX version of the ASUS in my build at $149
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Still leaves the option open for SLI unlike the ASRock. That may not matter because you said "LIGHT" gaming, but for just $25 you get that and the more reputable ASUS brand board, which has a longer warranty than the ASRock as well.

And he did say he was using photoshop, so why is everyone cheaping out and recommending low amounts of slow, high latency RAM? It may not make much of a difference for gaming, but Photoshop benefits from faster RAM. And he has the budget to opt for the higher quality parts.
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April 15, 2011 4:05:19 AM

Agreed.
I would never argue that you're going to get a better PC at $750 than you do at $1000.
Using the full $1000 budget will definitely get you a better PC. I was just offering a less expensive alternative that would still suit the listed uses.
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a b 4 Gaming
April 15, 2011 4:19:45 AM

mortonww said:
Aren't the ASUS boards generally made of higher quality components than the ASRock? If I remember correctly, ASRock used to be owned by ASUS, but are not any longer. Is there anything to be said for sticking with an ASUS board that's perhaps $20 - $25 more expensive than the ASRock just for the sake of solid reputation for quality?

This board is the mATX version of the ASUS in my build at $149
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Still leaves the option open for SLI unlike the ASRock. That may not matter because you said "LIGHT" gaming, but for just $25 you get that and the more reputable ASUS brand board, which has a longer warranty than the ASRock as well.

And he did say he was using photoshop, so why is everyone cheaping out and recommending low amounts of slow, high latency RAM? It may not make much of a difference for gaming, but Photoshop benefits from faster RAM. And he has the budget to opt for the higher quality parts.


Times have changed. btw take a look at that board you linked and then take a closer look at the PCI-E slots...not the 4x slot but the other two, and then tell me if you would want to SLI/Crossfire on that board. I know I wouldn't. You would be lucky to squeeze two cards on that board unless you wanted to run one @ 4x. For $10 more I could get a real SLI board (Asrock extreme4).

Now back to the Asrock boards. Since the release of the Asrock X58 extreme, Asrock has gotten it together. They have great bios, gotten excellent reviews and they are putting it to the big guys. OZC was the RAM to have a few years back, now it's junk. G.Skill ran them off the map in the memory dept. (I called that one over three years ago btw). G.Skill undercut the prices and put out a solid product and now it's the RAM to have. It took peeps awhile to get off the OCZ and Corsair bandwagon ...but hey when I was a kid Ford and Chevy were it, and now it's Toyota and Honda...times change and so has Asrock. Why spend more $$ on a board when a peep can get a solid board for cheaper and put the extra cash towards something else like a vid card, RAM, etc...

Here's a few reviews on the these Asrock P67 boards.

http://www.madshrimps.be/articles/article/1000116#axzz1... <---Review on the Asrock extreme4 motherboard after the latest bios update

http://www.hardwareheaven.com/reviews/1098/pg2/asrock-e... <---Review on the Asrock extreme4 motherboard after the latest bios update

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4080/welcome-to-sandy-bri... <--- Review before the latest bios...and it still smoked the Asus and Gigabyte boards in it's class
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April 15, 2011 4:36:17 AM

Quote:
btw take a look at that board you linked and then take a closer look at the PCI-E slots...not the 4x slot but the other two, and then tell me if you would want to SLI/Crossfire on that board. I know I wouldn't. You would be lucky to squeeze two cards on that board unless you wanted to run one @ 4x. For $10 more I could get a real SLI board (Asrock extreme4).


You're saying you wouldn't want the cards as close as the blue and white slots for thermal reasons? That's probably fair. It may not be that big of a deal if he goes with an MSI twin frozr 560. That card shouldn't have much trouble drawing air.

The reviews look good for the ASRock boards, but I guess I'm just trying to figure out why they're so much cheaper. Is it because they're using lower-quality capacitors, heatsinks, or what? If nothing else, it's worth considering the extra 1 year of warranty on the ASUS board.

As far as saving money on the motherboard to go towards other components, I agree. But he has a budget that would allow him to simultaneously have a board with a longer warranty, very decent gaming graphics, and a large amount of fast RAM, so I don't think this is a case where cash needs to be siphoned off from one category to improve another. He can have it all. For example, why get 4 GB of 1333 CAS 9 when you can afford to get 8 GB of 1600 MHz CAS 8? Especially for creative suite applications like Photoshop.
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April 15, 2011 3:33:18 PM

Thanks for the quick replies, guys. I will take a look at these components and revise my shopping list. I am not running Photoshop right now because I don't think my laptop would handle it. As far as the system requirements, I'm open to having some headroom with the parts if that will ensure I'll never be taxing the system and it will have some room to grow. If that changes some of your suggestions then cool, otherwise I'll come back with a revised list like I said.
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April 16, 2011 3:31:58 AM

Okay I read your suggestions/comments and this is what I put together. Thoughts and opinions welcome and please check that I picked the right/compatible components e.g. RAM, vid card. Is the difference between the ASUS and ASRock mobo just the price? Is performance the same? I decided I don't need a Bluray player so that knocked off ~$50. I also have a Logitech speaker system that's 5.1 capable so I imagine a sound card for that is easy enough to add at a later date?

Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52500K
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASRock P67 PRO3 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SPARKLE SX560T1024D5MH GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...

Case:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Open to other suggestions that have the same look and feel... I like the look of the In-Win Android case but it seems to have mixed reviews. And it’s out of stock on Newegg, as is the Antec 300.

Antec EarthWatts EA750 750W Continuous Power ATX12V version 2.3 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC "compatible with Core i7/Core i5" Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBRM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA CD/DVD Burner - Bulk – OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Total: $900.93
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a b 4 Gaming
April 16, 2011 4:26:59 AM

2500K+GA-P67A-UD3-B3 330$: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

G.Skill Ripjaws X DDR3 1333 8GB 85$: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HIS 6870 + Free Game 180$ AR: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

BP550 80+ 50$ AR: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

F3 1TB 65$: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: AR 710$

No case yet, let you decide on that. Saved you a few hundred dollars.
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April 16, 2011 4:49:34 PM

aznshinobi's build is very economical, but I wouldn't suggest saving money on a gaming build by getting a weak graphics card. If you go with the rest of those components, you could afford to upgrade to an EVGA gtx 570 Superclocked edition for $310 ($50 mail in rebate until 4/29, i think)
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April 16, 2011 5:08:45 PM

ha well i wouldnt call a 6870 a weak graphics card seeing as it can play any game out there on high settings. maybe not the highest possible, but high, and definitely will ROCK 1-2 year old games AS THE OP SPECIFIED.

seeing as you are only a light gamer, you may also want to consider an SSD, as it will make your general computer usage much faster (in certain respects).

however keep in mind that new games can be super awesome:
http://www.ea.com/battlefield3
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April 16, 2011 5:14:32 PM

aznshinobi said:
Wtf...
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/290?vs=330
Barely a huge difference in performance.
244$ AR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Totals to about 774 AR
560 Ti vs 6950 2GB
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/293?vs=330


In my last post, I suggested the $310 gtx 570 superclocked edition (not a 560 Ti, which is what those benchmarks use to compare) which is on sale right now for $50 off and still fits within budget. The OP does say games that are 1 - 2 years old (Crysis is 3 years old), but also stipulates a budget of $1000, which this would still fit into if he/she uses the components selected in your last post. 570 SC is a good value at $310, a better card, and fits in under budget. I don't see why it would be a bad decision to get it.

Stock-clock gtx 570 vs Radeon 6870
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/290?vs=306

Stock-clock gtx 570 vs. Radeon 6950
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/331?vs=306

Stock-clock gtx 570 vs. Radeon 6970
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/306?vs=292

And I am recommending a heavily-discounted superclocked edition of the gtx 570
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a b 4 Gaming
April 16, 2011 5:40:45 PM

570 vs 6970
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/306?vs=292
Your talking about overclocks, the 6950 2GB is only 244$ AR, that unlocks into a 6970 2GB and then your talking about saving 60$ for about the same performance.

Also, you should know that if we're talking bang for the buck, might as well go CF.
Cheapest is 155$ AR and it's the DirectCu 6850.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

6850 CF vs 570
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/306?vs=302
Absolutely crushed.

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April 16, 2011 5:54:03 PM

I agree with the first part of your post, for sure. That's why I linked the 570 vs. 6970 benchmarks. I don't want to convince OP on specifically an NVIDIA card, just the best one that fits the budget. And I think he can do better than a 6870, for sure.

Is being able to flash a card guarunteed? From all the talk about it, I would guess it's got a pretty decent rate of success, but how long will it be the case that AMD is shipping 6970s as 6950s to fill demand (I'm guessing this is the reason it's so successful?).

With crossfire and sli, they seem like good decisions on paper, but microstuttering is inherent to both, and just from anecdotal evidence ([H]ard Forums, tomshardware), the AMD drivers make crossfire somewhat of a nightmare at times.
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a b 4 Gaming
April 16, 2011 6:10:09 PM

AMD drivers have no issues in my opinion. I've been using the newest and latest drivers for my 5850 with no issue at all. Granted it is not relative to CF, but normal drivers are solid.

The rate of success is pretty much 90%+

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April 16, 2011 6:14:07 PM

Yeah, single card drivers in the 5 series don't seem to have much issues, but I've seen numerous posts about 5 series crossfire woes and also some members of this forum and [H]ard who sold their crossfired 6870s for a single stronger card just out of pure frustration. I don't have a mental log of all the specific problems caused in specific games, but I couldn't recommend a crossfire setup without making the OP aware of the troubles people are having with it.
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April 16, 2011 6:31:59 PM

i mean i dont think your making a bad recommendation morton. i completely agree that no oc/crossfire/sli $1000 builds should use the gtx 570 for gaming, especially at the price you linked. i still think the ssd should be considered because gaming is not a top priority on this system.
edit: to clarify, you WILL NOT be able to tell the difference between the 6870 and 570 when you are playing age of empires 2. you WILL be able to tell you have an SSD every time you start your computer, a program, or load files.
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April 18, 2011 9:33:05 PM

I went with the ASRock over ASUS and put the difference towards the GPU. Should be ordering parts this week. Thanks everyone for the help :) 

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