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First Gaming Build, $1000 Budget

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June 7, 2011 11:59:05 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: 1 Week.

Budget Range: $1000 Maximum, before MIR.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, hopefully get ready for BF3, Crysis 2, Metro 2033.

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

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg.com, tigerdirect, microcenter (have one nearby), ANY OTHER PLACE THAT ships to US and is CHEAP.

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: No, real preference just show me which is the best.

Overclocking: Yes

SLI or Crossfire: In to the Future.

Monitor Resolution: 1920 x 1080

Additional Comments: Lighting?

Parts List (so far):

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500k from Micro Center for $179.99
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W - $109.99, $99.99 MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CASE: HAF 922 $99.99, $89.99 MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CD/DVD: LITE-ON Black 24X $20.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MOBO: ASRock P67 EXTREME4 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel P67 - $159.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: CORSAIR Vengeance 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 - $68.99, $58.99 MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU: MSI N560GTX-TI Twin Frozr II/OC GeForce GTX 560 Ti $249.99, $229.99 MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU Cooler: Thermaltake Frio Overclocking-Ready - $49.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total ~$888 after MIR

EDIT: Switched to MSI N560GTX-TI Twin Frozr II/OC GeForce GTX 560 Ti

EDIT2: Fixed Price!

EDIT3: Fixed Price AGAIN!
June 8, 2011 12:06:06 AM

Could switch to HAF 912 and save for the future or for other better quality stuffs.
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June 8, 2011 12:46:23 AM

Saving money is a biggie, more bang for the buck!
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June 8, 2011 1:37:29 AM

Still cant decide between Antec and HAF 922 or even 912 and antec equivalent case.l
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June 8, 2011 1:49:40 AM

Alright, where to start...

Good deal on the CPU. I wish I lived closer to a Microcenter :( 

PSU looks good for a single GPU, and even SLI/CF depending on the card.

I'd get the Gigabyte P67X-UD3 (not the P67A); it's almost the same price as the Extreme4, but has better quality and warranty, IMHO.
Doesn't MC have CPU/Mobo deals on occasion?

Get a 2x2GB kit or 2x4GB kit; the 3x2GB kit is for triple channel on the X58 boards. If you run 3 RAM sticks on P67, they'll run in single channel mode, which is significantly slower than dual channel.

You'd be fine with the HAF 912; it's still a big mid-tower, and has more features than its Antec counterpart (300/300 Illusion).

I'd go with a 6950 1GB rather than the 560Ti, because it simply performs better at 1920x1080 and up. It's the same base price as well, which is a plus. I'd go for a Sapphire or MSI card, since they make some of the better ones.

The Frio is a very big and loud cooler. It has issues fitting on some boards due to the chipset heatsink configurations. You'll be fine with a Cooler Master Hyper 212+ (~$30), which can easily support 4.5+GHz OCs. The new Sandy Bridge chips run much cooler than previous CPUs, so they're much easier to cool for much less $$$.
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June 9, 2011 1:22:07 AM

Thanks for the helpful info Striker :D !

Switch the CPU Cooler to Cooler Master 212+ $29.51
http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Hyper-Sleeve-RR-B10...

Switched Ram to: CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 $84.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Switched to HAF 912: $59.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Switched Motherboard to GIGABYTE GA-P67X-UD3-B3 LGA 1155 Intel P67 $154.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: ~$890.51, ~$860.51 after MIR

Still not sure about the GPU, I want to Overclock and I heard the GTX 560 ti tends to overclock better.
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June 9, 2011 5:00:29 AM

Derp's "All Thats Necessary" Build
Motherboard
MSI P67A-G43 $125/Gigabyte GA-Z68MA-D2H $125
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813128495
Ram
GSkill Ripjaw X 4Gb (2x2Gb) 1333Mhz $47
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820231438
HDD
Samsung Spinpoint F3 $50.09
http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-SATA [...] 696&sr=8-3
DvD
LG DvD+RW $20
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6827136216
Case
Zalman Z9 Plus $70
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6811235027
Cpu
Intel Core i5 2500k $180
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] _-19115072
Cooler
CoolerMaster Hyper 212+ $30
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/a [...] B002G1YPH0
Gpu
Gigabyte Windforce GTX 570 $345
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6814125365
PSU
Silverstone Strider Essential 700w $85
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6817256072


Revised Total
$962 before MIR
Thats my build. Working links are here http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/312822-31-bestconfigs.... Just some food for thought and a different approach at the same problem
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June 9, 2011 5:05:40 AM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
you might wanna try this ram; it's $15 more, but this sure is FAST and really a good deal.. Gskill also make better RAM than corsair.

Considering that the GPU is the most important part however, and you are spending $1000~, around $1500+ after including the os/monitor etc that you've already bought, you should really chuck some more $$ into it. Getting a 15%~ increase in fps for $50-100 increase (5-10% of the total system cost) is increasing the value of your system; more than 1% increase in performance per additional 1% increase in price..

so, I suggest a GTX 570.

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

($285) EVGA lifetime warranty or whatever - Better quality than MSI.. It's $55 more than your current GTX 560 Ti, but will give around 15-17% increase in performance. Thats a less than 5% increase in cost of your whole system for more than 15-17% increase in performance...

Here is a comparison between the 560ti/570.. http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/330?vs=306

However..there is a small catch; the 560Ti's in SLI, after overclocking the CPU/GPU would leave a small amount of headroom with that psu. The 570's just don't come with that peace of mind with a 750W tx.

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

$110 AR, 900W antec psu..

http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...

9.5/10 from jonnyguru. The only bad thing is that it isn't modular. But neither is the TX 750v2. 150w for another $10 is really excellent.. buy the hcg900w!

all up, an extra $55 for each gtx 570 ($110 total), and $10 for the psu. $120 more than what the SLI'd gtx 560ti will cost. But to be honest, at 1920x1080 resolution, as you can see from the benchmarks, a single gtx 570 will run everything. (At 1920x1080), above 30fps.. easily.. any game, any setting any time. Especially with overclocking. So buy the gtx 570, buy the hcg 900. Or just buy a cheaper 600~W psu (XFX/antec) and buy a single gtx 570 - Either way, you'll be very happy.
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June 9, 2011 11:28:51 PM

Can you give me a reference card of the 6950 2gb that I can flash properly?
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June 9, 2011 11:45:55 PM

Would there be problems if you flashed two cards, overclocked them, and ran in CFX?

Can the flashed 6950's OC to 1ghz core clock at least?
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June 9, 2011 11:49:25 PM

Also are all the 6950's 2gb reference design?
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June 9, 2011 11:59:08 PM

You can run them in CFX as for 1000mhz core, that would be more of up to the card you get then if its flashed or not I think. And no not all 2Gb are reference cooler but I think reference here is referring to pcb and bios which I think all are reference pcb (someone correct me if I am wrong).
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June 10, 2011 12:02:22 AM

^The reference PCB is only compatible with the reference cooler. Therefore if the card has a NON-reference cooler, the PCB is non-reference as well and will NOT flash.

@Bronos, that card you linked IS a reference design, and Sapphire makes some of the best AMD cards. It doesn't surprise me that it is one of the most used 6950s
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June 10, 2011 12:09:05 AM

And aftermarket coolers dont work on reference cards? Just because it has a non reference cooler doesnt mean it has a non reference pcb, it might but it doesn't mean it has to.
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June 10, 2011 12:33:17 AM

Okay so here is my build so far:

CD/DVD Drive: LG DVD±RW SuperMulti Drive Black SATA Model GH22NS50 Bulk $19.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case: ZALMAN Z9 Plus Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case $69.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU: SAPPHIRE 100312SR Radeon HD 6950 2GB $274.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: Antec High Current Gamer Series HCG-900 900W ATX12V v2.3 $129.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin $99.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-P67X-UD3-B3 LGA 1155 $144.99 (New Sale)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU Cooler: Cooler Master 212+ $29.51
http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Hyper-Sleeve-RR-B10...

HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 7200RPM $60.93
http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Spinpoint-Cache-Desktop-H...

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500k $179.99
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Total: $1,010.37
AFTER MIR: $970.37

Any other way to save a dollar?
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June 10, 2011 12:35:46 AM

I dont think you need a 900w power supply for that bulid. but if you can afford it or are planning on going CFX then go for it.
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June 10, 2011 12:54:29 AM

mgf derp said:
And aftermarket coolers dont work on reference cards? Just because it has a non reference cooler doesnt mean it has a non reference pcb, it might but it doesn't mean it has to.


An aftermarket cooler is different than a custom manufacturer cooler. If the card comes from the factory with a non-reference cooler, then the PCB will have to be custom (to accommodate mounting, VRAM placement, etc etc). If you put and aftermarket cooler on a reference card, the PCB should still be compatible with the BIOS unlock.

That's what I meant.


I wouldn't go with the Antec 900 HCG. It didn't get good reviews from HardOCP because it didn't reach 80% power output: http://www.hardocp.com/article/2011/02/15/antec_high_cu...

I'd recommend sticking with a Corsair PSU, preferably something like the 850HX, which is a great PSU OEMed by Seasonic.
Another good PSU is the PC Power and Cooling Silencer series, and I know they have 950W model that is also a Seasonic OEM.

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June 10, 2011 4:20:43 AM

boiler1990 said:
Keep in mind that the 6950 keeps up with the 570 in a decent number of games at the higher resolutions, and it has playable framerates whenever the 570 does too. The 6970 doesn't even perform much better than the 6950; you could just get 2 and crossfire them.

6950 vs 570
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/293?vs=306

6970 vs 570
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/292?vs=306

6970 vs 6950
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/292?vs=293


Those are average fps benchmarks - Drop 20-30% or more for your 'lowest fps' which is where it really hurts.

Anyways; 31fps vs 45 fps is the difference between semi- unplayable (It drops below 30, obviously) and playable. Furthermore, you can turn up the eyecandy with the difference - The performance difference is above 10% in terms of fps.

I'd recommend the 570 over the 6950 2gb at the current price :) . But up to OP to decide whats best for him. But yeah; the 570 will be a jump up from either 560ti/6950/6970 (a small one from the 6970), but its performance is undoubtedly superior to all in the majority of games - The graphics is the most important, and you are still getting excellent value from each additional dollar you spend, so why not put your dollars where it matters?
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June 10, 2011 4:26:56 AM

Bronos said:
Apparently this one is the most used and tested:

SAPPHIRE 100312SR Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit

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

Hey bud, my point here is that this 6950 which you can flash is just $30 cheaper than the 570. There is an argument for say, a $220 6950 2gb vs the 570, but this one is so much more expensive than the regular 6950's that you can almost buy the 570.
Even after you flash it, the '6970' loses out against the 570. Plus, it's not exactly legal - I'd prefer a $285 proper card over a $255 one that is weaker in performance and has had it's BIOS settings altered. I don't know if it's reversible or not, but esp. if its not, it really isn't worth potentially losing warranty etc either.

A lot of us won't really recommend products that require home-illegal-alterations, but your choice again. Its just a $255 '6950'
doesn't make too much sense when a superior brand gtx 570 offers 10~% more performance (10% or more i should say), for only 10% more cost to your card, and like 2-3% more to the total cost of your system.

By the by, I recommended the Hcg900 watt, not becuase he needs 900 - 800 would easily suffice, but because

a) There isn't an equal/better psu of 800+ wattage for cheaper
b) Additional headroom never hurts
c) It's really high quality.
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June 10, 2011 4:29:43 AM

boiler1990 said:
An aftermarket cooler is different than a custom manufacturer cooler. If the card comes from the factory with a non-reference cooler, then the PCB will have to be custom (to accommodate mounting, VRAM placement, etc etc). If you put and aftermarket cooler on a reference card, the PCB should still be compatible with the BIOS unlock.

That's what I meant.


I wouldn't go with the Antec 900 HCG. It didn't get good reviews from HardOCP because it didn't reach 80% power output: http://www.hardocp.com/article/2011/02/15/antec_high_cu...

I'd recommend sticking with a Corsair PSU, preferably something like the 850HX, which is a great PSU OEMed by Seasonic.
Another good PSU is the PC Power and Cooling Silencer series, and I know they have 950W model that is also a Seasonic OEM.

Only $50 more, and hardocp is the only psu reviewer (Ive seen 5-6 reviews, by kitguru, jonnyguru had 2 units, among others) that didn't rate it 'excellent.' Hardocp must've got 2 bad units, because jonnyguru and 5 other reviewers are both raving over the product. Plus, noone on newegg whose bought the product has rated it badly - It probably hasn't blown up etc...
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June 11, 2011 12:19:14 PM

Okay so I think I have a near complete build please tell me what you think!

CD/DVD Drive: LG DVD±RW SuperMulti Drive Black SATA Model GH22NS50 Bulk $19.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case: HAF 912 $59.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU: EVGA GTX 570 HD $325.99 (Good reviews plus $40 rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: Antec High Current Gamer Series HCG-900 900W ATX12V v2.3 $129.99 + $20 MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin $99.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-P67X-UD3-B3 LGA 1155 $144.99 (New Sale)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU Cooler: Cooler Master 212+ $29.51
http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Hyper-Sleeve-RR-B10...

HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 7200RPM $60.93
http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Spinpoint-Cache-Desktop-H...

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500k $179.99
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Total: ~$1,040
AFTER MIR: ~$980

Is there any way I could save a little more to get same performance? I am still going SLi in the future and OCing.
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June 11, 2011 3:38:04 PM

Alright switched the RAM to:

G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB: $84.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And with the Promo Code.

Actual Build:
CD/DVD Drive: LG DVD±RW SuperMulti Drive Black SATA Model GH22NS50 Bulk $19.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case: HAF 912 $59.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU: EVGA GTX 570 HD $325.99 (Good reviews plus $40 rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: Antec High Current Gamer Series HCG-900 900W ATX12V v2.3 $129.99 + $20 MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-P67X-UD3-B3 LGA 1155 $144.99 (New Sale)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU Cooler: Cooler Master 212+ $29.51
http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Hyper-Sleeve-RR-B10...

HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 7200RPM $60.93
http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Spinpoint-Cache-Desktop-H...

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500k $179.99
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...


Grand Total Comes Out to: $1,031.69 After MIR it comes down to: $971.69

Thanks EVERYONE for the help!

Please anyone have ANY last minute recommendations? I plan to buy this tomorrow or later today!
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June 11, 2011 3:41:03 PM

Looks good man, good luck with the build!
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June 11, 2011 3:50:54 PM

With a few exceptions its really close to the rig I'm targeting. My case and cooler are different due to personal preferences, and I went with a Z68 mobo.

The waiting is the hardest part. ;) 
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June 11, 2011 3:51:47 PM

Can I always add a SSD and copy over the OS later on down the road?
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June 11, 2011 3:58:40 PM

HHD question you have to go elsewhere.

1600 is supposed to the ideal number for the latest cpu and mobos. The real question is do you think you will push it to its potential? I think you were already talking about overclocking both your RAM and CPU so why drop your RAM an lower? At the end of the day they are still great sticks.
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June 11, 2011 3:59:00 PM

Bronos said:
Omg, just found this:

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

How much would it effect me if I decide to with this one instead?


The difference between 1333 and 1600 MHz is pretty negligible. IMO I'd go for it.

As for the SSD, you'll most likely need to do a fresh reinstallation, since you'll need to reconfigure the SATA settings for the SSD to allow for TRIM, etc. It is definitely worth the "spring cleaning" of your hard drive though.
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!