Need advice for first ever PC build

Hi all,

Long time Mac user looking for advice on his first PC build. Been used to all-in-one since 1995 (first computer was a Performa 5200CD!). Now need to replace my 4.5 years old iMac, mainly for some moderate gaming. Must say I'm very nervous about breaking anything (or everything for that matter) in the process, but at the same time it should be more satisfying than buying pre-assembled.

Approximate Purchase Date: This week

Budget Range: $1200 CAD more or less - need to buy monitor, OS, and keyboad

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Some moderate gaming, mainly Eve Online MMORPG (link to system requirements) that I've been playing on my iMac. Since the Mac isn't a serious gaming platform, I'll probably want try a lot of new games on Windows, mainly strategy games and some RTS (I'm not into First-person shooters), some movie watching. I'll keep the iMac for Office stuff, music and such.

Parts Not Required: Speaker set

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: (e.g.:, -- to show us selection & pricing)

Country of Origin: (e.g.: Grand Fenwick)

Parts Preferences: Not any really, except for quality ones (I'm a noob). 23-24 inches screen is a big plus.

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: Probably not needed

I've come up with this build that seems reasonable, but I'm not sure (might be overkill for current use). I also need to know if there's compatibily issues. I'm looking for some upgradeability potential, hence the AM3+ motherboard. Really need input from the experts. :D

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz - $115

Motherboard: ASUS M5A97 EVO AM3+ - $120

RAM: CORSAIR Vengeance 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 - $45

HDD: Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM - $65 (MOBO only support 6.0Gb/s)

PSU: CORSAIR Enthusiast Series CMPSU-550VX 550W ATX12V -$80

GPU: EVGA 01G-P3-1467-AR GeForce GTX 465 (Fermi) Superclocked 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express - $170

Optical drive: ASUS 24X DVD Burner - $20

Case: Rosewill DESTROYER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - $50

Monitor: ASUS VH236H Black 23" 2ms Full HD Widescreen LCD Monitor w/ Speakers - $170 (deal ending tomorrow)

OS (Windows 7 retail French) and Keyboard/mice: will buy at local retail store. Around $300

Total: $1135

I'm not absolutely sure the PSU will yield enough power for this build.

Oh, and one last note: Hope my English ain't too bad. It's not my primary language.

Thanks in advance!
9 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. First, your choice at this price point should be Intel Sandybridge, it kills AMD's offerings. If you are going to game with it you should, at minimum, go with the i3 2100.

    I think that you are overspending on mouse, KB & OS. You can get Win 7 for $150 and a mouse KB pair can come in under $75.

    The RAM is OK. the PSU is a little overpriced -- you should be able to get the Corsair 650 TX for $80.

    I like the monitor, in fact I have the very same model.

    Let me make some suggestions:

    $115 (or $105 with rebate)



    $90 or $75 after rebate.

    $169 or $139 with rebate

    $60 or $45 after rebate.

    Keep the rest of the components in your build.

    Just my suggestion.
  2. I agree that you should consider a Sandy Bridge build, but if you are an AMD fan, you are on the right track with the 3+ MB and a solid AMD quad core CPU.

    Your PSU is just fine for your build - Solid PSU . You could save yourself $10 and get this one. it is also modular which would help in keeping your case free of excess cables.

    Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM - $65 (MOBO only support 6.0Gb/s)

    a SATA 6G controller will support SATA 3G. so you can get a SATA 3G rated drive if you want. you only need 3G for mechanical HDD's anyway. the new generation of SSD's will utilize the additional Speed of the SATA 6G controllers, but not mechanical HDD's.

    Not a fan of the GTX 465. there's just not enough difference in a GTX 460 and the 465 for the price premium. I would rather put the $ to a OC'd 460 or HD 6850. with the HD 6870's prices falling yo might want to bump up to one for another $20, you get a significant performance boost.

    Other than that it looks good
  3. Thanks to both of you. Haven't ordered anything yet, but will do this weekend.
  4. Most of the stuff Chester suggested are good, I would upgrade to the i5 if you are planning on doing a decent amount of gaming. With a $1200 price point you should be prioritizing the most important stuff first, like the processor.

    I would drop to a regular 460, that should be enough to play the type of games you are looking for, and the motherboard Chester suggested supports SLI so you can pick up another 460 down the road.
  5. Best answer
    FREE SHIPPING for this entire order. Live in Canada, buy in Canada.

    This build allows you to add another one of those factory over clocked gtx 560's later on for SLI. This build also includes Windows 7, and a full HD HDMI LED gaming monitor. $69.69
    Coolermaster CM 690 II Basic ATX Mid Tower Case Black 4X5.25 6X3.5INT Front USB eSATA Audio *No PSU* $95.99
    XFX 750W PRO750W Core Edition Single Rail ATX 12V 62A 24PIN ATX Power Supply 80PLUS Bronze $114.69
    Gigabyte Z68MA-D2H-B3 mATX LGA1155 Z68 DDR3 1PCI-E16 1PCI-E1 HDMI DVI SLI SATA3 USB3.0 Motherboard $209.69
    Intel Core i5 2500K Quad Core Unlocked Processor LGA1155 3.3GHZ Sandy Bridge 6MB $39.69
    G.SKILL Ripjaws X F3-12800CL9D-4GBXL 4GB 2X2GB DDR3-1600 CL9-9-9-24 Memory $51.69
    Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 7200.12 1TB SATA 32MB Cache 3.5IN Internal Hard Drive OEM $19.69
    ASUS DRW-24B1ST 24X SATA DVD Writer OEM Black $241.33 MIR. Savings: $20.00 - $221.33
    MSI GeForce GTX 560 Ti Twin Frozr II OC 880MHZ 1GB GDDR5 Dual DVI Mini-HDMI DX11 PCI-E Video Card $93.79
    Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Edition 64BIT DVD OEM $152.28
    BenQ V2210 21.5IN LED LCD Monitor 1920X1080 5000000:1 Black HDMI

    Total: $1,089.43 *not including mail in rebates
  6. ^Props to Why_Me's build above, very solid with great power, and easily upgradable by simply adding ram or another 560, very scalable.

    All good brands, altho I've never dealt much with BenQ monitors, but other than that I'd go for it.

    In the future if you want to turn this machine into blazing fast and top of the line you can do it in 3 steps. 1. Add 4 more gb of ram, same brand. 2. Add another gtx 560 in SLI config. 3. Buy an SSD for OS drive and use 1tb as storage. That's it.
  7. Wow, didn't even know about DirectCanada. It tells you how much of a noob I am in PC building. Thanks a million.
  8. Best answer selected by Bonzo_22.
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