$1500 or less, All-Purpose-PC

Hi, I'm a female engineering student and I've had experience building a few rigs (generally on the cheaper side 600) and have decided that I want to go a little bit bigger and really build a system that's going to last.

Not looking to really upgrade in the future.

Building cheap rigs truly taught me alot about computers. I want this to be a learning experience as well. Really want to overclock and do everything I can to push performance.

Approximate Purchase Date: within the next month

Budget Range: 1500 OR LESS, LESS PREFERRED. 1500 is a hardcap but really looking to spend closer to 1100-1200

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, movies, general use, really like big monitors and lots of screen space

Parts Not Required: have 2x monitor and want to make sure it will work seamlessly, keyboard, mouse, os, speakers etc

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg, but open to other reputable sites such as tigerdirect/amazon

Country of Origin: US

Parts Preferences: JUST PERFORMANCE

Overclocking: ABSOLUTELY (and if you could suggest a solid overclocking guide please)

SLI or Crossfire: Yes if it's the best solution/bang for buck

Monitor Resolution: 2x (1920x1080)

Additional Comments: PLEASE INCLUDE AN SSD. Quiet/cool pc would be nice, but obviously a 2nd thought more than anything.

If you could please be as detailed as possible with your choices that would be appreciated. I want to really reduce bottleneck with a very thoroughly thought build. And want to really listen/read/learn about your choice of parts.
17 answers Last reply
More about 1500 less purpose
  1. intel i5 2500k 220$- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115072&cm_re=i5_2500k-_-19-115-072-_-Product

    Kingston HyperX 8gb 57$- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820104246&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-RSSDailyDeals-_-na-_-na&AID=10521304&PID=4176827&SID=1wh9gpk7lb1uu

    GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD3P-B3 178$ Shipped- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128493&cm_re=gigabyte_z68-_-13-128-493-_-Product

    IN WIN BUC 85$- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811108395&cm_re=mid_tower_case-_-11-108-395-_-Product this case was rated very highly by jonny guru

    Scythe Mugen 3 53$- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835185168&cm_re=scythe_mugen-_-35-185-168-_-Product new version of the scythe mugen 2

    Lite-On Dvd Burner 19$- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827106289&cm_re=liteon_dvd_burner-_-27-106-289-_-Product

    Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB HDD 60$- http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Spinpoint-3-5-Inch-Internal-HD103SJ/dp/B002MQC0P8/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1308765462&sr=1-2

    OCZ Vertex 3 120gb 195$- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233181&cm_re=corsair_force_3-_-20-233-181-_-Product dont mind the bad reviews they have fixed the problem

    Pc Power and Cooling 750w PSU 90$- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817703027&cm_re=750w_power_supply-_-17-703-027-_-Product

    MSI R6950 Twin Frozr II x2= 560$- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127588&cm_re=6950_2gb-_-14-127-588-_-Product
    Total=1515$ shipped w/m.i.r.
    you can scale back on the case and get an antec 300 illusion. or you can scale back on the cpu cooler and get a hyper 212 plus
  2. i5 2500K $220 (probably best price/performance atm thats still powerful enough)

    Gigabyte Z68X-UD3P $170 (quality Mobo, Z68, cheap, OCs well)

    2*HIS HD6950 2GB $260*2 (dual card performance matches dual GTX570s even when locked and low power draw)

    (alternate) 2*MSI HD6950 Twin Frozr 2GB $280*2 (May still be unlockable, dual card performance matches dual GTX570s even when locked and low power draw)

    8GB Gskill DDR1333 $65 (Just decent RAM, save where you can)

    Hitachi 1TB $60 (decent 1TB drive for only $60)

    PC P&C 950W $135 (oodles of power for a nice price)

    Agility 3 120GB* $225 (Cheap and nice performer, might want to switch to the Intel 510/Vertex 3 due to the "freezing" reviews)

    Zalman Z9 $55 (4 fan version available for $70, but hitting budget limit :<)

    Total $1450 shipped before MIR.
  3. Ty for your responses I liked reading your comments in (), I have a few questions though.

    1. What makes a motherboard superior to another motherboard? What do you look for besides usb 3.0/number of pci slots etc? What lets you know how overclock-friendly it is?

    2. How do you calculate how much power you need?

    3. Any cons of sli/crossfire over going 1 gpu?

    4. How come the choice of the 2x 6950 over the 2x hd6850?

    5. How solid is a single 6950?

    6. How important are additional fans, esp since were oc'ing?

    Ty in advance. Wish I could properly convey how much I appreciate your inputs.
  4. 1. feature-set, voltage regulation, and reviews. The suggested Mobo is a mid-higher range Gigabyte with decent VRMs.
    2. You can find the max pretty much by adding the CPU and GPUs TDP, then ~50W for everything else. 6950s uses ~210W, so max power draw is about 600W max stock.
    3. On older/unoptimized games you only are able to use one GPU, and scaling may vary.
    4, Huh? Its all 6950s.
    5. Its a bit better than the HD5870 and GTX 560Ti on stock, about enough for 1080p.
    6. As long as you have good airflow, the amount of fans isn't really a problem. A decent OC needs a proper CPU cooler though.
  5. 4. I was wondering about the choice of 6950 over 6850. Wouldn't I be saving some money here? How much more do u recommend the 6950?

    Also what price range do u recommend for most bang for buck? Obviously having an SSD is going to seriously skew this.

    Also is ram worth over clocking? If so what features should I be looking for

    And lastly what r ur favorite cases? What do u think of the phantom nzxt?

    can't thank u enough timop
  6. 6850s are a bit too weak, a pair would perform like a GTX580, which is pretty close to a single unlocked 6950.

    If you want to save some money, a 1GB 6950 (~$220) or a GTX560 Ti ($200AR) would do the job. An older/smaller SSD would still be much better than HDDs also.

    The builds now are essentially what you'd want for dual 1080p, and performance/price is pretty high. If you really want to save so money, dropping to 4GB won't hurt performance too much.

    Cases wise, The Silverstone RV02, FT02, Corsair 600T, are my "favorites", I do like the Phantom(pretty much all Nzxt cases :>) and the Bitphenix Shinobi alot also, of course the Z9 I've linked too.
  7. Just to clarify

    1. initially you were recommending 2x2gb 6950 and now you are recommending 2x1gb 6950? or are you recommending a single 6950 1 gb card?

    2. is ram worth overcocking? i've read about playing with certain timings :o

    3. is there any specific guide/how to for oc'ing before i dwelve into the forums?

    Can't thank you enough Timop, wish you good karma. And it makes me feel confident that you and mjmj have recommended similar builds.
  8. 1. I am recommending 2*1GB 6950 if you want to save money. 2*2 is still top choice, but the fall back to get away from $1500 would be 2*1GB.

    2. Not really, you can lower timings beyond the factory settings, but the impact of RAM on performance is relatively minor.

    3. With the new Intel CPUs, OC is ridiculously easy. In simple terms, its just upping the multi until you're happy/its unstable, then add the vcore to go higher.
    Heres 2 guides: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/266189-29-alternate-sandy-bridge-series-ocing-guide
  9. Last issue, should I get an aftermarket cooler if I decide to OC?
    Is artic freeze worth the money?
  10. Yes, Intel coolers are anorexic. You can add an cooler at any later point though.
    Arctic Silver you mean? Its one of the best TIMs, but can be a pain to apply. IC diamond is said to be decent and workable, though I'm not too familiar with either.
  11. This build allows you to add another one of those 6950 2GB later on down the road. This cpu cooler down below comes with decent thermal paste. Add whatever SSD you like to this build.

    http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Enforcer-Interior-SGC-1000-KWN1/dp/B004WK3KKQ/ref=sr_1_10?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1309083820&sr=1-10 $79.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
    Cooler Master Storm Enforcer USB 3.0 Mid Tower ATX Case with Window and Black Interior (SGC-1000-KWN1)

    http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Computer-Cooling-R4-LUS-07AR-GP/dp/B002LE8BJA/ref=pd_bxgy_e_img_b $14.76 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25
    Cooler Master Computer Case Cooling R4-LUS-07AR-GP

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371049 $99.99 - $84.99 after mail-in rebate FREE SHIPPING
    Antec High Current Gamer Series HCG-750 750W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V v2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Certified 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.674958 $188.98
    GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD3-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
    G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.656677 $266.98
    Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52500K
    Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002G1YPH0/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER $29.51 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
    Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler, RR-B10-212P-G1

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127588 $279.99 FREE SHIPPING
    MSI R6950 Twin Frozr II Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827106289 $18.99 FREE SHIPPING
    LITE-ON DVD Burner - Bulk 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - OEM

    Total: $979.19 *not including shipping, mail in rebates, etc...
  12. Alright so some more question xD
    ty for all the combo deals :o

    1. Is the cooler master cooler adequate? I don't mind putting an extra 20 bucks for a really solid cooler :o

    2. Which models of the 6950 are unlock able?
  13. Firstly; why did you feel the need to state you gender in your first post?

    1) The 212+ is an amazing cooler for the price, you could go with the Scythe Mugen 3, but all that will get you is ~5 degrees cooler when you are fully pushing the limit.


    2) I may be wrong but i thought that all the unlock-able ones have sold out and are discontinued.
  14. i guess out of habit, i just included what i thought was standardish back ground information. you're the only one who pointed it out :o, also female engineers are pretty rare (i'll admit myself) and it always annoys me when people are shocked to meet me, so once again i guess out of habit :o

    1. considering they are the same price, it's a no brainer to go for the scythe mugen 3 right?

    2. how do you know XDXDXD where does it say that it is unlockable? and wat do you call the company that puts the aftermarkets coolers on the gpus, like msi/diamond in the above case, etc
  15. 1) the hyper 21 plus and the scythe mugen 3? they arent the same price
    hyper- http://www.amazon.com/Gigabyte-1155-Intel-Motherboard-GA-P67A-UD4-B3/dp/B004PGAMG2/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1309113241&sr=1-1 29.51$
    scythe- well its at newegg
    the question is do you want to spend the money for the better cooler

    2) it is a reference design so it should be unlockable
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