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First Gaming Build - $800 - Need Advice Please

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June 11, 2011 6:43:31 PM

Hey everyone, I'm looking to build my first gaming computer and need much advice! Please read the Additional Comments as it will explain my situation and what I'm looking for.


Approximate Purchase Date: Within 1 month.

Budget Range: Most likely $800 after rebates/tax/shipping. Almost sure it won't be higher, but it could very likely have to be lower.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming (LoL & SC2, this is the priority), working with Photoshop (no need to optimize for this).

Parts Not Required: OS, keyboard, mouse, speakers. Not sure about the monitor yet. If I can stay in budget with the monitor included it would be fantastic.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg Canada seems to have the best selection, but any other Canadian sites are fine.

Country of Origin: Canada

Parts Preferences: No preference.

Overclocking: If it is within budget and efficient to do so.

SLI or Crossfire: If it is within budget and efficient to do so.

Monitor Resolution: Not sure at the moment, but I'm hoping for 1920x1080 (or possibly 1680x1050)

Additional Comments: I simply need something to last me the summer break (July-August) that will let me run LoL well and SC2 at least decently at minimum settings. I really want it to be something I can upgrade easily because I'll have the money to upgrade by the time BF3 is out. Seems kind of silly to build a budget computer and upgrade very soon afterward, but I don't have the money for a $1000+ build yet (although I will after summer) and I need a computer for the summer.

I have a list of parts but I don't think I should bother posting it because it wasn't put together with the intention of upgrading soon, instead it was meant for something that could last a bit. If anyone is interested though, I have no problem posting the parts.

Thank you!

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a b 4 Gaming
June 11, 2011 7:40:31 PM
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Check out my build link right here
http://www.squidoo.com/electronicandmore
Check out the 600$ build, you'll have 200$ left, switch out these things.
Change the i3 2100 for the i5 2400 +65
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
Now you have 135 left, upgrade the GPU a bit. +86
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
Though there is a 20$ MIR making it +66.
Total: 751 (BEFORE REBATES)
Sorry didn't incorporate the monitor in your budget. The GPU would really future proof you though for a new monitor. If you're willing to spend a bit more, here's the monitor I recommend.
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...
June 11, 2011 8:28:38 PM

I realize now that I scrapped the built I came up with myself a couple days ago and went with almost exactly what you just recommended me after seeing your $600 build.

I opted for this cheaper card in my list:
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

But that build with my card instead of the more expensive one you recommended comes down to $855 before rebates, $795 after (both include tax+shipping).

That puts me right at my budget limit but I would rather have something cheaper to ensure I can afford it when I'm ready to buy, and purchase the monitor sooner.

Is there any way to build something cheaper than I can just upgrade soon? :S
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June 12, 2011 1:13:50 AM

Before tax/rebates: $75 case, $75 HD, $60 PSU, $190 CPU, $185 GPU (the 6870), $45 RAM, $90 MOBO. Shipping is $40. Tax is $100. Total = $860.

BUT. Good news! I should be able to up the budget to at least $900, possibly $1000! So i should manage to fit in that GPU you suggested :D 

June 12, 2011 1:54:42 AM

Ok with that HDD and that combo, then switching to the GTX 560 Ti, it comes down to $830 before rebates, so that's about $30 less before rebates. After rebates it's $790, so about the same as before.

Oh, and a question about the RAM. This is the one I've chose atm:
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

Is that a good pick or should I choose one of the other similar ones?
a b 4 Gaming
June 12, 2011 1:59:22 AM

It's good, pretty much the same. Either one is good.
June 12, 2011 2:07:07 AM

Okay, thanks.

Would it be possible to downgrade that $235 GTX 560 Ti to something much cheaper, like $100, and still get decent framerate in a game like SC2 at 1920x1080 res with minimum settings? Doing that would put me at around $700, allowing me to afford the monitor. Then I could upgrade within the next 4 months to something even better than the GTX 560 Ti for Battlefield 3.

Does that sound do-able?
a b 4 Gaming
June 12, 2011 3:57:07 AM

Wait I'm not really getting what you're saying. But what you're saying is saving the 100$ and not getting the 560 ti yet.

If that is the case, don't get the 560 ti later then. SC2 will be fine with a 6850. (100$ less). Get another 6850 when you have the money. That'll give you way more performance than an overclock 560 Ti.

So get this 6850.
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
20$ MIR and you get a free game as well as lifetime warranty.
Then get this motherboard/cpu combo instead so you can have crossfire later on.
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Item...

And get this case.
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
June 12, 2011 4:47:42 AM

Yeah that's what I'm saying, thank you. Will I need to upgrade my PSU/will it be a good idea to upgrade my PSU when I buy another GPU to crossfire?

And what kind of performance would I be getting in BF3 with two 6850's? I'll spend as much as it takes when it comes time to upgrade for BF3 in order to get good frames at high settings, so should anything else be upgraded?
a b 4 Gaming
June 12, 2011 6:21:38 AM

Hard to say, BF3 hasn't shown us benches yet so we have yet to know. i5 2400 would be enough for sure. Though GPU wise, EA said the 580 couldn't hold up on BF3 at max. So.... 2X6850 should give you around the medium settings @ a high resolution (whatever was used @ E3)
6850CFvs580
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/302?vs=305
June 12, 2011 6:42:20 AM

Do you mean to upgrade to that PSU later or get it to begin with? I guess it depends on the final budget though.

A question about crossfire: does it have to be done with the same 2 cards? If not, could I just buy a significantly better card to be used with the 6850?

a b 4 Gaming
June 12, 2011 7:10:16 AM

No it has to be the same card. If you get a 6870 w/ a 6850. The 6870 would downclock to the 6850's performance making it a useless 30 more $ spent.
June 12, 2011 7:18:01 AM

Gah, well in that case I would probably just get rid of the 6850 when the time comes and upgrade to something better. Would I still want to crossfire in that case? Or would it be more efficient to just buy a single card?
June 12, 2011 7:18:20 AM

And thanks again for all the help so far!
a b 4 Gaming
June 12, 2011 5:27:16 PM

It'd be more efficient to get a single card. And no problem!
June 12, 2011 6:15:08 PM

Okay great, I'll do that then.

Also, how beneficial would having a better motherboard be? Is it a good idea to go back to the cheaper original motherboard, then upgrade to this later?
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Since I only need the computer to run SC2 and LoL at minimum settings with good frames until BF3, I figure I could go cheaper on the motherboard and even downgrade from the 6805 to ensure I can afford a monitor and stage within budget, because the budget might be anywhere from $700 to $1000, and I won't know until it's just about time to buy the parts.
a b 4 Gaming
June 12, 2011 7:16:36 PM

No you don't need a better motherboard. Performance difference is miniscule. Just stick to the cheaper option.
June 12, 2011 7:52:24 PM

Oh okay. Do you know why the System Builder Marathon PC's use more expensive motherboards? The March original $2000 build has a $250 mobo for example o.O

And could I downgrade the GPU from the 6805 to something cheaper and still get the results I want until I upgrade (check the last post)? Since I'm going to be replacing it anyways, I'd like to save any money I can. Any recommendations?
a b 4 Gaming
June 12, 2011 10:33:20 PM

They did that purely to see if they would have any difference from a cheaper mobo. They didn't see a difference at all from the cheaper one. 2000$ is a lot of money, 800$, not so much. Where there can be money saved, it's best.
a b 4 Gaming
June 12, 2011 10:36:24 PM

If you downgrade, I wouldn't go anywhere below a 460 768mb. Anything after that doesn't really have that performance above the 570.
June 12, 2011 11:14:07 PM

Okay, it looks like the 460 768mb will be enough until I upgrade :) 

How does this one look to you? The negative reviews make me slightly reluctant to buy it, although there are many good reviews, but what do you think?
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

If I go with that one over the 6850, I would save $30 before rebate, $40 after.

That would put me at an approximate grand total of $790 before rebates, $720 after, not including a monitor. So if my budget allows me to reach $850-900, I can afford a monitor.
a b 4 Gaming
June 12, 2011 11:21:31 PM

Best card you could get other than the MSI Twin Frozr II or Cyclone. It's a solid card trust me.

Just SLI 460's later. The motherboard combo'd with the i5 2400 is a great board.
June 12, 2011 11:43:03 PM

I'm not sure of what you are trying to say about the MSI Twin Frozr II or Cyclone.

And two 460's with SLI wouldn't allow for BF3 with very high settings and good frames, would it? When I do the upgrades in a couple months, I want to be able to play it well at very high settings.

That's why I figure I should just spend less on the GPU if I'm going to be getting rid of it when it's time to upgrade.
a b 4 Gaming
June 12, 2011 11:44:39 PM

460 SLI = 570
That's really good...
As for what you don't get, I'm saying the Twin Frozr II and Cyclone are the next best cards aside from the DirectCu.
June 12, 2011 11:55:04 PM

Well if a 580 couldn't handle BF3 at max, then the most I could possibly expect from 460 SLI is medium settings, right?
a b 4 Gaming
June 13, 2011 12:12:47 AM

Yes. Probably.
June 13, 2011 12:20:20 AM

Gah. What do you think I might need to run it at settings above medium?
a b 4 Gaming
June 13, 2011 12:30:18 AM

Hard to say. EA hasn't released anything yet.
June 13, 2011 12:45:39 AM

Hmm... well at the price area of a 580, would it be more efficient to SLI/CF with cards that come to the same price as a more powerful single card? Or would it be better to stick with a single card?
a b 4 Gaming
June 13, 2011 1:45:16 AM

Go with dual card. If you have the card get another one of it. Don't spend even more money and get 1 powerful card.

And yes, it'd be more efficient

June 13, 2011 1:54:36 AM

But I won't get the performance I want if I get a 460 then do SLI with it once I upgrade :S

What should I do if I can't fit a better card than the 460 into the budget to SLI/CF with later?
a b 4 Gaming
June 13, 2011 3:53:18 AM

I don't get what you are trying to state.

That doesn't make sense? You can only SLI and CF with the same card....
June 13, 2011 4:03:18 AM

I mean, 460 SLI won't be enough for the performance I want. So if I can only afford a 460 to stay in the budget, what should I do when I need to upgrade? I'll have to get rid of the 460, so should I buy 2 new cards to SLI/CF with when it's time to upgrade, or should I buy a single card?
a b 4 Gaming
June 13, 2011 4:31:03 AM

460 SLI WILL BE ENOUGH! And only time will tell. Just get one and get another later. You don't have to get rid of any cards. Does that answer your question?
June 13, 2011 11:22:22 AM

I guess I didn't make it clear enough :S I want to run ABOVE medium, and you said that 460 SLI WON'T run above medium.

You said that 460 SLI = 570, and EA said a 580 couldn't handle max, so we're expecting that 460 SLI won't get over medium.
So doesn't it make sense that 460 SLI WON'T be enough to handle above medium?

That's exactly what you told me earlier :p 
June 13, 2011 4:08:31 PM

Ok I have some potential good news! My friend has this card in his computer and is planning to upgrade, and he's offering to give it to me for free:
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

That may not be the exact make, but it's a 4350.

He runs both LoL and SC2 with the performance I am looking for, with a lesser CPU.

Would it be a good idea to take his offer and save the money? Because then I'll be able to spend a lot more for upgrading since I can get rid of the GPU without caring (since this one won't cost me anything)
a b 4 Gaming
June 13, 2011 11:30:12 PM

^ I suppose, i don't think the 4350 would be a very good choice since you might as well use the dedicated graphics on the i5 2400, it's better than a 4350.

As for the 460 SLI, I did say the 580 couldn't handle BF3 at max, but I just looked at the benches, SLI 460 > 580. So you'll play BF3 above medium I'm pretty sure.
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/314?vs=305

June 13, 2011 11:43:40 PM

Really lol? In that case I won't need his 4350, so the i5 2400 will be enough for the summer. I'll have no problem affording something better than 460 SLI.

Do you have any GPU recommendations for a budget of around $600ish? I'll ask in the Graphics Card section too anyways, but if you have any recommendations I'll take them!

Oh and this motherboard says it can do SLI, so I'm assuming I can't do CF right? Depending on what people recommend as for GPU, I guess I'll have to switch to a different board, but that's no problem.

Thank you again for all the help!
a b 4 Gaming
June 13, 2011 11:46:41 PM

You can do both SLI and CF.

Your GPU budget is how much? I think the best is to get either the 6870 or 560 Ti and put then in CF/SLI.
June 14, 2011 12:02:28 AM

Oh okay then. Well after looking at the May Graphics Card Hierarchy Chart, the HD 4350 is rated 2 tiers over the integrated Intel HD Graphics 2000 in the i5-2400, so it appears that it is actually better.

Anyways, my estimate for a GPU budget is $600 on the safer side. $500 to be really safe about it, but there's a good chance I'll manage $800.

I'd estimate it to be $600.

And what do you think about the i5-2500K? Compared to the i5-2400, it's $30 more after tax+shipping, but is it worth it? I think it seems like it would be worth it, but I don't know very much :p 

Thanks.
a b 4 Gaming
June 14, 2011 3:26:47 AM

Oh my bad, I underestimated the 4350, and over estimated the 2000 HD graphics, yeah so I guess take it.
The 4290 do fairly well in SC2 so...
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/graphics/display/intel...

Anyways I'm really confused when you say "GPU budget is 500$" So does that mean 500$ is solely for the GPU? OR the entire rig.

As for the 2500K it is, as you can overclock it in the future. But if you don't think you will it's meh. I dunno if we decided on a P67/Z68 motherboard yet, but if you do get the 2500K get the P67/Z68 for sure.
June 14, 2011 4:06:27 AM

That budget is solely for the GPU when I decide to upgrade. I'm estimating I'll have about $600 to work with by the end of October when BF3 comes out. That doesn't all have to go to the GPU, but I figure it should to get the best performance in BF3.

I'll only overclock if my performance is lacking, so I figure that will be when the CPU begins to become somewhat outdated or if I need to for BF3. So I guess I should just upgrade the 2400 to the 2500k.

Is a CPU cooler such as the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus is worth buying?

Oh, and the current motherboard I have in my cart is a Z68 that comes with the i5-2400 for a combo giving me $25 off.
a b 4 Gaming
June 14, 2011 4:22:53 AM

Yep OK so the i5 2400 is good with the Z68 board. The 2400 would give you solid performance that'll last. The Z68 is just so you can SLI/CF if you need to and upgrade an SSD. So when October comes, you should be able to afford a new a new PSU (if the current one can't handle it, and a new GPU)

The Hyper 212+ is worth it if your temps are hot, but the stock cooler should do just fine.
June 14, 2011 11:36:05 AM

Okay well since I'm saving a lot from skipping on a GPU for now, I'll upgrade to the 2500k.

Also, I noticed the motherboard I have selected only has 3 PCIe slots (x16, x8, x4). I don't exactly remember what I read about 8x/8x over 16x/4x for SLI/CF, so could you tell me if there'll be any problem with this motherboard?

EDIT: I did my own research to answer the question and learn about PCIe. So the 3 PCIe slots are actually x16 slots, but one slot runs at x8 and the other at x4? And when you have a second card in the x8 slot, the x16 slot will also run at x8 for SLI/CF? So that is the x8/x8 that people talk about? I'm asking because I'd like to make sure what I learned is right :p  Thanks!
a b 4 Gaming
June 14, 2011 10:33:41 PM

Yes.

So 16x/8x/4x means when there are 2 cards running in SLI/CF it'll run in 8x/8x. If there are 3 cards it'll run 8x/8x/4x. As for CF concerns, CF runs on any bandwidth (so 16x/4x etc.) however SLI only runs on 8x/8x and above.
June 14, 2011 11:24:52 PM

Okay, I that makes sense. Thanks.

So I don't think I have any more questions or concerns. Here's the current list of parts, I might have changed some things after looking at reviews and doing some searches for more info. Tell me any suggestions, input, opinions, etc:

Monitor: (planning on buying it within the next hour or so so I don't miss out on the deal)
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...
CPU+Motherboard (Combo):
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Item...
HDD:
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...
Memory:
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...
PSU:
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
Case:
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

If there isn't anything that you recommend changing, this will most likely be the final version of the build unless I find a deal on a different part before I order these.
!