Help Build a Gaming/Multimedia rig [~1250$]

I'm looking to spend around 1250$.

This'll be used for graphic-dependent gaming and media.

I'm looking to build with an AMD processor, unless you can convince me otherwise. :)

I could SLI/Crossfire, I've never done it before.

I've built my own system before (around a Phenom X4 and a GTS 250) but it lacks some of the power (and cooling) that I really want to have.

Cold and powerful, are what I'm looking for.

If you guys could help me out that'd be great.


Approximate Purchase Date: 2 weeks

Budget Range: (e.g.: 1$ - 1250$) before/after rebates (doesn't matter)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming, multimedia, surfing the internet, etc.

Parts Not Required: peripherals: mouse, speakers, keyboard, monitors

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: AMD, I have my heart set on the HAF X 942

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

Monitor Resolution: (1920x1080)

edit: I will probably be running more than 1 monitor.
22 answers Last reply
More about help build gaming multimedia 1250
  1. I don't know why you'd spend 1250 on a PC and only get an AMD CPU. They're extremely far behind Intel in the desktop market. Even the new i3 dual cores outperform the X6s in some games. IMHO, that's pathetic.

    Go with an Intel i5-2500K and a good P67 motherboard (unless you can get a comparable Z68 board for the same price; you won't gain much from it). I have the Gigabyte UD4 and am extremely pleased with it. It has one of the best expansion port layouts I've ever seen (currently have 1 PCI card, 2 dual slot GPUs, and 2 PCI-E x1 cards in it), and is supposedly a good OCer.

    Get a solid 8GB RAM kit. Get 1600-1866 MHz; you won't get anything noticeable with faster speeds. I'd recommend G.Skill, Patriot, and Kingston for brands.

    For 1920x1080 gaming, I'd recommend the 6950 or 6970. I've never had a game stutter yet on max settings, and the native 3 monitor support is extremely useful (I have 3 monitors for work and 1 for gaming ;)).

    Depending on which GPU you get and if you decide to Crossfire/SLI, I'd recommend around 750W. If you go dual 6950/6970, I'd probably suggest 850W. Look at Corsair, Antec, and XFX for PSUs.

    The HAF series is great. Since you can probably afford it, stick with the 942.
  2. Hm.. Why the 6950 over a gtx?
  3. The 6950 outperforms the GTX 560Ti @ 1920x1080 and above. I haven't looked at the charts, but I believe the 6970 outperforms the 570.
  4. Would I want more than 8gb ram?

    What about SSD vs HDD?

    Would I want to SLI/Crossfire if I'm doing multimonitors?
  5. gtx 560 ti vs Radeon 6950 2gb
    6950 does outpreform the 560 in most cases but it runs considerably hotter. If you get a 6950 make sure to get one with an aftermarket cooler, such as the Twin Frozr
  6. This is what I'm looking at now, which almost break's the bank:

    MSI R6950 Twin Frozr II OC Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP



    CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V v2.2 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready

    AMD Phenom II X4 965

    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (x2)

    WD Black 1TB

    HP 24X Multiformat DVD Writer

    LITE-ON Black 4X Blu-ray Reader

    COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus

    COOLER MASTER Megaflow 200 (x3)

    Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound

    Completely shopped on Newegg; retails for around 1,280$. That's with AMD (which, I think, is considerably cheaper then Intel). Any ideas on what I can do to shave off some of the cost?

    I don't plan on going to the 6 core realm just yet - as there's not many combinations of games/media/programs that utilize the full 4 cores anyways.
  7. no need for the extra fans... the haf x already comes with 4
    and doesnt the OP say you already own the haf x?

    For gaming and surfing there is no practical use for 16gb of ram. 8gb is more than enough
    just going to leave this here for the intel side

    2500k - $179.99
  8. Oh, I know Intel has the better Chipset, I was looking at the benchmarks last night. The thing is: I don't know what to look for (product wise). I've only built AMD systems.

    I'll most likely buy the 2500k, is there anything I need to know about installing it? PSU/Mobo/After-market cooling?

    edit: I was looking at the Gigabyte UD4 (per Boiler's signature) for expandability in the future, is this a good option or is the ASRock P67 better?
  9. I'm an AMD fan as well and if Bulldozer hadn't been pushed back to September, you'd might have better AMD choices. AMD has been awesome in the graphics department for a while now and I'm really hoping they can optimize Bulldozer for the release in September to be as competitive as their GPUs.

    However, if you can't wait long enough to see how good the new Bulldozer chips will be, then I also agree that the i5 2500K with an HD 6950 would be your best bang for your gaming bucks according to the reviews I've read. I really hate saying the i5 2500K is the best deal, but in the current situation I really have no choice as I'd be lying otherwise lol.

    Also, I believe your choice in the 8GB kit of GSkill RAM is a good choice. Though I don't believe you will need more than 8GB. I can't max out my 8GB of DDR2 right now gaming. Could save some money there. OCZ was my favorite brand of RAM but they have exited the RAM market, so G.Skill is my choice now too.

    Do the 6950's run too hot or are too noisy to get one without the aftermarket dual-fan cooler? You could save several dollars by getting the XFX or Sapphire cards, the two cheapest 6950's on newegg at this time. They have MIR's too. Sapphire is my favorite brand currently, never used XFX as they had just got into AMD GPU's when I had bought my current card.

    The blu-ray drive you chose is an OEM drive. OEM's don't come with software. There's a chance NewEgg might still ship some blu-ray playing software with it but not likely and then you'll have to buy software to play it. My personal opinion, and what I'm doing now, is that I'd be better off waiting for a deal on a new or even refurbbed stand-alone blu-ray player to use instead.

    Those are my opinions, hope they help. I can't help you with MOBO choices though as I've always been an AMD guy so I know jack-sh*t about Intel chipsets. I'm saving myself for Bulldozer and hoping AMD pulls it off. We'll see I guess.
  10. Right now I'm changing my build up.

    I'm looking to include:

    MSI R6950 Twin Frozr II OC Radeon HD 6950 2GB (x2) (Crossfire)
    8gb Ram

    After all the suggestions - that seems to be the best combination.

    Now could someone else help me fill in the rest: PSU, Motherboard (supports crossfire/intel), ram, hdd(s), cooling fans/heatsinks.

    Also, would crossfire(ing) two 6950's (with their Twin Frozr coolers) still run hot?
  11. My 6950 doesn't run *that* hot; I've never seen it above 65C, which is pretty good for a GPU (it's rated for somewhere close to 90C as maximum). In testing, the 6950 did not run hotter than was expected/rated by the manufacturers, so you won't be killing the GPU or voiding your warranty.

    IMO the Twin Frozr is not a great choice, because the fans work differently.
    On a reference model, the fan takes in air from the case and pushes it over the GPU and out the expansion slot, thereby removing it from the case.
    The Twin Frozr (as with many custom coolers) takes air from outside the case, pulls it over the GPU and into the case.

    If you're worried about heating up your case, the Twin Froze technically does not help you there, but that's without accounting for how you set up your case airflow.

    I think you'll be fine with 1 6950; worst comes to worst you can buy a second and drop it right in, boot up and then restart to apply the driver.

    Any motherboard that has 2 PCI-Express x16 slots running at x16/x4 will support Crossfire, though x16/x8 is more desirable. I would suggest looking at the Gigabyte P67X-UD3-B3. It has most of the same features as my UD4 for about $20 less. I do love my board though.

    With the HAF X you won't need extra fans; it comes with plenty to keep it cool.
    Go with a Hyper 212+ heatsink for the CPU. It's cheap and works really well.

    I'd recommend a good 850W PSU for 6950 Crossfired. Look at the Corsair 850HX and XFX 850 Black Edition.

    8GB of G.Skill RAM (what I have):
    I have a promo code but it's not transferrable :(

    HDD: Samsung F3 1TB -
  12. Is there an advantage to the Gigabyte p67x-ud3-b3 against
    ASRock P67 EXTREME4 (besides the obvious difference of 5$.)

    edit: I'm almost positive I want to do Crossfire, is there a brand of 6950's I should look into?
  13. The Gigabyte, IMO (and others will agree), has better manufacturing quality. I'm not sure about the OCing capabilities, but the UD4 OCs well from the reviews I've read.

    I also like the port layout on the UD series; I have 2 PCIE x1 network cards, 2 dual slot GPUs, and a PCI sound card. The configuration is different for the UD3 and UD4, but I'd be able to set these all up on the UD3 as well.
  14. As for 6950s, Sapphire, MSI, and Gigabyte are the first that come to mind.
    Sapphire is along the lines of EVGA w/respect to NVidia GPUs, but my MSI reference 2GB is a great card, and had a good rebate when I bought it and the last time I check a week ago.
  15. Hm, so as per your previous posts - I should go with the non-aftermarket coolers, so that they expell the hot air from my case? MSI R6950-2PM2D2GD5 Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit

    Right now I'm looking at:

    ASRock P67 EXTREME4 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 - $159.99
    Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W - $224.99
    G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 - $89.99
    MSI R6950-2PM2D2GD5 Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit (x2: Crossfire) - $559.98
    WD Black WD5002AALX 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" - $59.99

    Total: $1,094.94

    No PSU/DVD-RW yet. Any suggestions?
  16. If you're going for a 500GB HDD, there's also a version of the F3. I'd recommend it over the WD Blacks because they are indeed faster and just as reliable, and significantly cheaper. WD used to be my go-to brand for HDDs but they think they can charge and extra $40 for the SATA III connections, when their platters are the same density (i.e. same speed) as the SATA II drives. Now, ironically, I have 2 Hitachi drives :/

    DVD RW drives are like $20 a pop. You should be able to fit in the XFX 850W in your budget.
  17. This is the PSU I have chosen:
    ORSAIR Enthusiast Series CMPSU-850TX 850W ATX12V v2.2 / EPS12V v2.91

    Is this appropriate for my current setup?
  18. Edit: Trying to format the list of items.
  19. 850w is good for that setup.

    6950s with aftermarket coolers will run quieter and cooler than reference ones, especially in crossfire. Only thing is only some non-reference models can be unlocked to a 6970. So check the reviews if that is a deal-breaker for you. If not I would reccomend getting either MSI twin frozr or ASUS DCii 6950s
  20. attackllama said:
    850w is good for that setup.

    6950s with aftermarket coolers will run quieter and cooler than reference ones, especially in crossfire. Only thing is only some non-reference models can be unlocked to a 6970. So check the reviews if that is a deal-breaker for you. If not I would reccomend getting either MSI twin frozr or ASUS DCii 6950s

    But don't the twin frozr models blow hot air into the case? Will the HAF X be able to mitigate that?
  21. userzim1 said:
    But don't the twin frozr models blow hot air into the case? Will the HAF X be able to mitigate that?

    That is true. Fortunately the HAF X is a very roomy case and if the excess heat is very significant you should be able to set up case fans in a way that will help it. Do some searching of other forums and you might be able to other peoples experiences with this.

    Edit: Found this, looks like reference cards are better for crossfire
  22. It's probably due to one GPU pushing hot air into the PCB of the other. One gets choked, and the other is being directly heated; a lose-lose situation.

    With reference cards, you'll see a difference in temps between the two (one is pulling less air due to the PCB of the other in the way), but with my Tri-SLI 470s (reference coolers) I never had any overheating issues (had them when I tried to OC them, but that's another story).
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