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Looking to build/buy a gaming computer, less then $1500

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May 6, 2011 6:10:20 PM

hoping to get some opinions, preferably i would like to buy a pre-built pc since i've never actually built one. but everywhere i look i'm told it easier than it looks.

$1500 is the max i want to spend, lower is always better. its likely i will never want to play something graphics intense like crysis 2, i'm looking for something that will potentially be able to play skyrim and can play something like similar like fallout new vegas.

i'm not even sure where to begin with choosing parts, so if you suggest building my own could you also suggest components.

any help would be appreciated.

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May 6, 2011 7:21:49 PM

It's true, building your own PC is easier than it looks. You still have to be careful about static and delicate CPU chips etc. but thats fairly obvious. I'll give you some guidelines for a gaming build on this budget.

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500k
Best gaming CPU around, awesome value and great for overclocking. If you don't want to overclock however, get a cheaper i5-2400.

RAM: 2x2GB or 2x4GB 1600Mhz DDR3
4GB is plenty for games at the moment but RAM is cheap so a lot of people just get 8GB anyway. Also be sure to go with a decent brand such as Corsair, GSkill, OCZ etc. Higher frequency and lower CAS latency is best, i wouldn't bother getting any faster than 1600Mhz though.

Motherboard:
If you don't want to overclock or SLI/Crossfire then you can get pretty much any socket 1155 motherboard so long as it fits your RAM and case. If you want to overclock but not crossfire (which i reccommend) then the ASUS P8P67 or equivalent is a good choice. If you want to SLI/Crossfire and overclock (or just SLI/Crossfire) then the ASUS P8P67-PRO or equivalent is a good choice. As for motherboard manufacturers, most of them are pretty decent but if unsure i'd stick to ASUS, ASRock, MSI and Foxconn. They've always been good to me at least.

Graphics:
This depends on how much cash you have as you can never really have too good a graphics card for gaming but on your budget i would aim for something like GTX 570, HD 6970 or GTX 560Ti. One thing to mention though, if youre playing in high resolutions then more graphics memory is best.

Power Supply:
This depends on the parts you choose, whether you want to overclock/SLI and how many USB devices you have. With no overclocking and 1 GPU i'd say ~550W, with heavy overclocking i'd say 600W. With Dual GPU's and/or lots of USB devices i'd go for something like 750-850W. Also this is the place you definitely want to go with a decent brand such as Antec, Corsair, OCZ, Cooler Master, XFX, Seasonic. Also try to get a modular PSU if you can, it means less wires which means more airflow and less mess inside your case.

Hard Drive:
Depending how much you spend on the rest of your build, you might be able to afford a ~60-80GB SSD to use as your boot drive but if you don't want to or you cant afford it, i reccommend either the Samsung Spinpoint F3 or the Western Digital Caviar Black Series Hard Drives. If you do get the SSD then you can afford to get a cheaper HDD such as a Seagate Barracuda as your storage Drive.

Case:
With cases a lot of it is personal preference but for gaming the HAF 912/922/932/X and the Antec 300/902/1200 are decent. You should get something that is nice and big with decent airflow and cable management. It would be a good idea to look at some reviews.

CPU Cooler:
You only need to bother with a CPU cooler if you want to overclock, if it's a minor overclock then the Cooler Master Hyper 212+ is a popular choice. If you want something more heavy duty then have a look at the higher end Scythe, Noctua and Cooler Master coolers. I would reccommend sticking with air cooling over water cooling.

Hope this helped, let me know if you have any more questions.

EDIT: Forgot to say, theres a really great guide on here for building your own PC, i'd say stick to that and you cant go wrong.

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May 6, 2011 7:42:00 PM

looking through the sticky'd guide i noticed a list in recommended builds by usage thread. it seems to have pretty much everything you listed.

* CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52500K
* MOBO: ASUS P8P67-M PRO (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
* RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBXM
* HSF: COOLER MASTER Intel Core i7 compatible Hyper N 520 RR-920-N520-GP 92mm Sleeve CPU Cooler
* HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
* PSU: XFX Black Edition P1-750B-CAG9 750W ATX12V v2.2 / ESP12V v2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular ...
* GPU: EVGA SuperClocked 01G-P3-1563-AR GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support ...
* DVD: SAMSUNG DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223L LightScribe Support - OEM
* Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
* Thermal Compound: Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM

its the Gamer: $1,046.90 option, http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/269162-31-recommended...

is this about what you suggested, and what would you say the ease of building this might be? i dont really see myself needing to overclock, so would i not need to get the HSF (heat sink fan?) and the thermal compound? also, looking at the link for the HD, would i need to buy the sata cables separately?

thanks for the help.
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May 6, 2011 7:48:38 PM

jmsellars1 does a good job of putting together a build for you. Something to pay attention to on the ram make sure that you the memory that you get is 1.5v not the older 1.65v or above memory. The Intel® Core™ I5 2500K works great for gaming, but if you are going to be overclocking look for a better HSF then the stock one that comes with the processor. A number of people can report that it is fairly easy to overclock the Intel Core I5 2500K well over 4GHz with just air.

Christian Wood
Intel Enthusiast Team
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May 6, 2011 9:04:42 PM

monkmith said:
hoping to get some opinions, preferably i would like to buy a pre-built pc since i've never actually built one. but everywhere i look i'm told it easier than it looks.

$1500 is the max i want to spend, lower is always better. its likely i will never want to play something graphics intense like crysis 2, i'm looking for something that will potentially be able to play skyrim and can play something like similar like fallout new vegas.

i'm not even sure where to begin with choosing parts, so if you suggest building my own could you also suggest components.

any help would be appreciated.

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261222-31-build-advic... <---- This cuts right to the chase. :) 
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May 6, 2011 9:07:42 PM

If the Hard Drive says OEM or Bare Drive after it, that means it won't come with the cables, if it does then it should. It's hard to say how hard it will be to build but the things that do make it harder are aftermarket coolers, non modular PSU's and cheap cases. One thing i should say about that build, with that motherboard and PSU it would seem a waste to not get 2 GTX 560Ti's. With regards to overclocking i would say gear up for it but just learn to do it when the time comes as it will give you a performance boost when you need it.
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May 16, 2011 5:36:27 PM

Best answer selected by monkmith.
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