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~$1300 Gaming Build (upped to ~$1600)

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April 15, 2011 11:29:18 PM

Budget Range: Up to $1300 Before Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Music

Parts Not Required: Mouse, Keyboard, Speakers, Monitor, OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: No preference

Overclocking: Yes

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe in the future.

Monitor Resolution: 1680x1050

Additional Comments: As mentioned before, this will be mainly a gaming PC. I've also been interested in adding a sound card to my rig, specifically for music. I understand that there's no such thing as "future-proofing", however I'm willing to go above my budget if the result is a substantial upgrade to the system.

Here are my parts so far.

Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52500K
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $224.99


ASRock P67 EXTREME4 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $159.99


MSI N480GTX Twin Frozr II GeForce GTX 480 (Fermi) 1536MB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $309.99


G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9S-4GBRL - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $40.99


CORSAIR Enthusiast Series CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $89.99


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... - $64.99


COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $99.98


ASUS Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X 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 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $21.99


COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $34.99

GRAND TOTAL (w/ shipping): $1,059.43

Additional-additional comments: I didn't include a sound card in this build because the one that was recommended was no longer available, and I don't know enough about them to make an educated decision :(  Also, if I end up doing SLI, will my power supply be enough to power them both, or should I upgrade that?

Thanks for the help!
April 16, 2011 12:45:04 AM

If you want to SLI in the future, you need a SLI capable mobo. Asus P7P68A Pro or Ga- P67A-UD4 are the cheapest options on newegg.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Swap PSU to an xfx 750W if you want the headroom for SLI down the road. XFX 650W if not.
$110 after rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM is cheap enough you might as well grab 8gb.
ex $105
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Forget the GTX 480. That card was a big mistake by Nvidia.
Grab a GTX 570 instead. $310 after rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Look for combo deals to save a some more money.

Also, to really take advantage of a 570 you'll want a 1080p monitor. Cheap one would be this Acer one for $130
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Sound card wise, unless you're an audiophile and audio professional, you aren't gonna be able to tell the difference btwn motherboard and an expensive aftermarket one.

Even if you are, you're talking about a really high end speaker system before you can notice a real difference.
Related resources
April 16, 2011 12:48:17 AM

banthracis said:
If you want to SLI in the future, you need a SLI capable mobo. Asus P7P68A Pro or Ga- P67A-UD4 are the cheapest options on newegg.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Swap PSU to an xfx 750W if you want the headroom for SLI down the road. XFX 650W if not.
$110 after rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM is cheap enough you might as well grab 8gb.
ex $105
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Forget the GTX 480. That card was a big mistake by Nvidia.
Grab a GTX 570 instead. $310 after rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Look for combo deals to save a some more money.

Also, to really take advantage of a 570 you'll want a 1080p monitor. Cheap one would be this Acer one for $130
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Sound card wise, unless you're an audiophile and audio professional, you aren't gonna be able to tell the difference btwn motherboard and an expensive aftermarket one.

Even if you are, you're talking about a really high end speaker system before you can notice a real difference.

The cheapest SLI mobo on Newegg is the Asrock P67 extreme4 in that link I posted up above. It retails for $160 @ newegg, and $164 + free shipping at superbiiz.
April 16, 2011 1:02:22 AM

Thank you both so much for the reply, they've been extremely helpful. I have a couple follow-up questions/comments.

@banthracis:

I went ahead and swapped out the MOBO that I had for yours because, as you noted, the one that I had chosen did not have SLI capability. Hypothetically if I were to SLI the 570, would the result make it approximately equal to the 580?

On the same topic, is there either a formula or a website that I can go to that will tell me how well cards perform when they are "SLI'd" compared to individual GPUs? I'm debating going straight to the 580 if two 570's are equivalent.

Also, good to know regarding the aftermarket sound cards. If I'll require a really high end system in order to experience any difference, there's really no point in having it. I do, however, have a pair of fantastic headphones, sound engineering quality. Nonetheless, it seems that the cost would end up outweighing the benefit.

Thanks again for the helpful responses!
April 16, 2011 5:15:55 AM

I think I've decided to just go for the GTX 580. Combined with the rest of the specs I've chosen, what kind of wattage should I look for in a PSU? is 850W too much?
April 17, 2011 12:39:33 AM

donutz0r said:
I think I've decided to just go for the GTX 580. Combined with the rest of the specs I've chosen, what kind of wattage should I look for in a PSU? is 850W too much?


Well gtx 570 SLI does a TON better than a single GTX 580.

GTX 570 is only $305 after MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GTX 580's are $470 after rebate


GTX 580 is ~15% more performance than a GTX 570 for a 54% increase in cost.
GTX 570 sli is equivalent to 1 GTX 590, or ~50% more performance than a GTX 580 for 30% more money.

When you look at it, you realize just how abysmal the GTX 580 is, in terms of performance for money.

Full list of benchmarks here
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4008/nvidias-geforce-gtx-...

Power wise you're fine with a good 750W PSU.

SLI 570's hit 578W system power under furmark, a single 580, 452W.
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4008/nvidias-geforce-gtx-...
http://guru3d.com/article/geforce-gtx-570-sli-review/13
Not completely same setup, but anandtech didn't list 570 sli power, so I grabbed guru3d's numbers isntead.
April 18, 2011 4:00:06 AM

So much awesome advice! Thanks guys :D  After a lot of deliberation, I have decided to up how much I'm willing to spend. This is what I have currently chosen and what I will go for if I get the OK from you guys.



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... - $224.99

PNY VCGGTX570XPB GeForce GTX 570 (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card (X2)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $669.98 ($334.99 each)


ASRock P67 EXTREME4 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $159.99


G.SKILL Sniper Low Voltage Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $104.99


XFX Black Edition P1-750B-CAG9 750W ATX12V v2.2 / ESP12V v2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $129.99


COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $99.98


SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $64.99

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $34.99


ASUS VH232H Glossy Black 23" 5ms Widescreen Full HD 1080p LCD Monitor w/Speakers & HDMI
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $169.99

Grand total: $1,686.39



I've decided to SLI the GTX 570s and get a 1080p monitor. How does everything look?
April 18, 2011 5:34:42 AM

TERRIBLE!!!!! You need three monitors FIRST. Then get one 6950 2gb and run eyefinity!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You really are wasting money on two 570s for a single monitor.
April 18, 2011 6:16:51 AM

@brennon7

Although I don't find your response to be overly helpful, I appreciate the time you took to make this post. However, I feel I will wait for a second opinion.
April 18, 2011 2:41:15 PM

donutz0r said:
@brennon7

Although I don't find your response to be overly helpful, I appreciate the time you took to make this post. However, I feel I will wait for a second opinion.


You're spending way too much money for the end product to be a single 1080p experience.

Doesn't matter the horsepower you are putting under the hood if you are MONITOR limited at 1080p. Two 570s is complete overkill and you are obviously only purchasing two to satisfy some need to claim you have an sli 570 rig.

Consider the following:

http://www.guru3d.com/article/geforce-gtx-570-sli-revie...

A single 570 will max out almost every game at 1920 x 1200. Thats greater than 1080p. You will not visibly see a difference in SLI vs. Single with a 1080p monitor.

Don't forget a 60hz monitor is capped at 60fps. So what if it says 60+ fps on fraps.
April 18, 2011 3:08:39 PM

Ignoring your borderline rude response, it was a much more informative post than your first one. Thank you for making the effort.

However, you do realize that the majority of people ask things on these forums because, well, they need advice? I'm not sure where you're getting your assumption that I am "obviously only purchasing two to satisfy some need to claim have an sli 570 rig." Who would I boast to? My girlfriend? I suppose I could. She WOULD be super impressed.

I figured that two cards was better than one and I wanted to build a computer that could more than handle everything that is thrown at it now and for a while into the future. If I will see no difference between a 570 and a SLI 570 at all, then of course it makes no sense in purchasing two cards.

If you had explained this in your first post instead of writing "TERRIBLE!!!!! You need three monitors FIRST. Then get one 6950 2gb and run eyefinity!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!", I probably would have been more comfortable with your advice to begin with. However, you didn't even explain your reasoning. Why would anyone follow that kind of "advice?"
April 18, 2011 4:26:10 PM

I am playing devils advocate (ie.. being rude and critical).

As a general rule NEVER start a build with SLI. Unless of course you are wanting Nvidia Surround and then you would need sli.


Suggestions:
Buy two more monitors identical to the one you currently have and switch to a single 6950 2gb card.

If they don't sell those monitors any more, pick them up off ebay.
April 18, 2011 4:52:13 PM

FYI, playing "devil's advocate" means that you're taking an opposing stance for the sake of debating the other side of the argument. It has nothing to do with critical or being rude :D 

Anyway, it seems like a waste of money to buy two GTX 570's based on the monitor that I plan on using, so I do appreciate the advice.

If everything else looks good, I will go for the purchase.
April 18, 2011 4:59:16 PM

I believe 8gb ram is overkill! You could save some money going with a 4gb kit.
April 18, 2011 5:25:56 PM

Done.

Thanks guys!
April 18, 2011 5:57:14 PM

donutz0r - one other thing to add to the SLI debate. A single card will max out all current games with one monitor. Somewhere down the line you might want to add a second card to deal with the latest software (Crysis 3, etc.) so you will once again be able to max out with one monitor. But consider, in a year or two, whenever you decide that's necessary, that second gtx 570 will be SO MUCH CHEAPER. So, as others have said, don't SLI until you have to.
April 18, 2011 7:31:28 PM

Brennon is correct that SLI for your current resolution is overkill. My post was more to demonstrate that a GTX 580 isn't worth the money.

My advice would be to go with a single GTX 570, which will run any game right now at 1080, and SLI down the road if you need to/ decide to use multiple monitors.

1 6950 2gb or 6970 2gb, GTX 570 or GTX 580 will not run a 3 monitor 1080p setup for gaming. You need sli or xfire at those resolutions.

As for RAM. Stuff is so damn cheap right now, it's kinda silly not to get 8gb. Do you need 8gb for gaming? No. But considering it's about $30 more for the extra 4gb right now, its a very worthwhile investment.
April 18, 2011 7:32:58 PM

Above build looks fine. Go with a single GTX instead of SLI and you'll be fine.
April 19, 2011 12:23:54 AM

What about a single GTX560? And then a potential double, that's what I'm considering or is the 560 not enough to max out a single monitor single game?]

Also I looked at the link posted about the watts required for 2 580s in SLI and it's ~777. Just pulling a number out of my ass lets say 2 570s is 750. If you overclock you want even more. Does anyone know how much more Watts you'll need to overclock? Specifically I'm looking to one day overclock 2 560s in SLI, 800 watts enough?
April 19, 2011 1:38:30 AM

570's are 773w at the outlet, 657W actual used assuming 85% efficiency. 560's in SLI are 571w at the outlet, 485 actual assuming 85% efficiency.
580's are 850w @ outlet, 722 actual with 85% efficiency.
Found anandtech's numbers for 570's.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4209/amds-radeon-hd-6990-...

A good 750W is enough for OCing with 560's. Plenty of overhead there.

Exact usage depends upon OC voltage and Amperage usage. Just apply Ohm's law and you can get a guestimate of usage.
If you don't wanna do some basic math you can cheat with this website.
http://www.csgnetwork.com/ohmslaw2.html
April 19, 2011 6:21:02 PM

ETA: After a lot of debate amongst myself, I found that the GTX 570 seemed to be the best value for my graphics card in terms of price/performance. Plus the option to SLI down the road.


I just built a system with the helpful advice of these guys on the forums. Specs are:
Intel i5-2500k (stock cooler, so not overclocked yet)
MSI P67A-GD65 (B3) motherboard
EVGA SuperClocked GeForce GTX 570
Corsair CMPSU-850HX (might be overkill but will allow me to SLI later)
G.Skill Ripjaws X series 8GB RAM DDR3 1600 (CL8)
Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB HD
Cooler Master HAF X Case

I game at 1680 x 1050 on one system and at 1920x1200 on the other identical system. I'd be careful when people throw around the concept that you can have max settings on all games, now and in the near future. In my very little experience as a pure novice in building systems, I'd say it depends on the game and it depends on what you expect for performance.

Right now, the only game I have loaded on the new PC's is Rift (a new MMORPG). I'm not going to say I'm disappointed, but I am a little bit. Granted, Rift has a ton of posts on their forums talking about getting subpar framerates with pretty killer systems. So perhaps it's more a function of that particular game than anything else.

However, things I've noticed. I get high teens to low 30's in terms of fps in crowded areas. I get 40-50 fps in other spots that are less intense. I have it set for the default "Ultra" settings, so no anisotropic filtering and 2x AA (i think these are defaults). Granted, every "looks" wonderful, it's beautiful. But having real smooth framerates seems beyond the reach of my system with this game.

In addition, I find that after rebooting my computer and starting Rift, my framerates are 20-30 fps HIGHER - this lasts for about 30 minutes to an hour and then degrade to the numbers I mentioned above. No clue what causes this - memory leak in the game? temperatures getting too high with time?

Anyway, bottom line is I think you are building a great system and probably can do a better job of tuning things up and optimizing things than I did :) . Performance might really be dependent on what games you play though is my word of caution.

I apologize for semi-hijacking your thread to describe my system, but just wanted to give a data point for what sounds like a similar build.

~ Mach
April 19, 2011 7:17:42 PM

When I say it'll run any game at 1920, we mean 40 FPS avg on Tom's and anadtech's benchmark suite per their settings for individual games.

MMORPG are horrible for getting consistent results, hence they're not really used to benchmark. In your case you probably have either driver issues, or game has issues in it's programming. Don't play rift so I can't comment on exact cause, but your hardware should be fine.

Rift spec wise is not system intensive at all. I presume there is something software or hardware wise going on in your PC causing a major FPS loss.

These guys did FRAPS testing in what I presume is a lower traffic area and got 62 FPS average w/ ultra settings, w/ a GTX 570. If you're getting below 40FPS regardless of place, you've got something besides hardware holding you back.

http://www.dpigaming.com/rift-benchmark-ultra-quality/
April 19, 2011 9:56:41 PM

You are going to be impressed with what the Intel® Core™ I5 2500K even before you overclock. Once you overclock this processor and put an aftermarket heatsink on it you will be in love. These 2nd generation Intel Core processors are one of the best designed we have ever come out with.

Christian Wood
Intel Enthusiast Team
April 20, 2011 6:49:35 AM

macheras said:
I apologize for semi-hijacking your thread to describe my system, but just wanted to give a data point for what sounds like a similar build.

~ Mach

Not hijacking at all, man! Coincidentally, I plan on playing Rift as well on this new rig, so your post was a perfect compliment to the thread :D 
April 20, 2011 12:53:51 PM

Awesome :) . Like I said, I think you have a great build and you'll be happy with it for sure :) . Not sure if you went with the single GTX 570 or not, but I don't regret my decision on that at all. The extra $150 for the 580 didn't seem worth it to me.

And banthracis, I probably made it sound worse than it was for me it is. I looked close last night and I was 40-50 fps in the main city and I was over 70 fps in a lot of other areas. Granted, it did drop to 20's-30's with a lot of people around during big fights from time to time. But yeah I totally understand how it's hard to use a mmorpg as a benchmark, seems to be a TON of variables. I've seen numbers similar to the link you provided, but it's certainly never consistent.

Any ideas of what else I can do to make sure I'm not bottlenecking myself? I install pretty much everything "stock" and I'm not knowledgeable enough right now to tweak things. I do monitor things like CPU temps, GPU temps, GPU usage, etc. though and everything "seems" normal to me. I've learned enough to tell me that if my GPU usage is not high enough, then I'm CPU bottlenecked. I get up to 80-90% usage so I'm thinking that's not an issue (thanks to my i5 2500k :) , IntelEnthusiast - i will probably overclock as suggested sooner rather than later hehe). CPU temps get to about 48-49 C at load (28-32 C at idle) and GPU max temp has been 72 C and that's with automatic fan at about 55% only. A custom fan profile can probably keep that down even cooler.

~Mach
April 20, 2011 3:42:12 PM

I ended up going with the individual GTX 570. Based on what everybody was saying and all of the charts I was reading, it made no sense to purchase an additional GPU if I only plan on using a 1080p monitor. I did, however, break down and got the i7-2600K (I had some extra money bestowed upon me :) ).

I can't wait to see how everything looks ingame when it's put together :D 
April 20, 2011 3:50:26 PM

Excellent! If you were anything like me, you spend the next few days saying things like "i never saw *that* before!!" and "I didn't know there was a damn fort on that hill!!".

I was on low-rendering mode on an older gaming laptop and it was a whole new experience with the new pc i built. Enjoy it!

~Mach
!