$1,400 - $1,600 Gaming Build

Approximate Purchase Date Range: June 30th - July 7th

Budget Range: $1,400 - $1,600 Before Rebates (Flexible)

System Usage: Gaming, Movies, Internet, Folding

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, mouse, speakers, headset, OS

Preferred Websites for Parts:
Newegg, Amazon

Country of Origin: United States

Parts Preferences: LED LCD, Full tower case, 8GB ram.

Overclocking: Maybe

Crossfire: Probably

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments:

Hi, this forum looks to be a great resource for system building and I could use your advice.

My goal is to build a solid gaming computer that will allow me to play Crisis 2, Skyrim, Guild Wars 2, etc, without framerate issues and at great (ideally maxed) graphics. I'm looking to keep the PC somewhat quiet but that will be secondary to performance and price.

I'll be buying some parts on Amazon to save on shipping to Alaska, but here's the full rig on Newegg:

Cooler Master HAF 932 Advanced $146
Corsair HX850 80+ Silver Modular $149 (Including 10% off, Excluding $10 MIR)
ASRock Z68 Extreme4 LGA 1155 $190
i5-2500K $220
XFX 6950 2GB $280 (Excluding 30 MIR)
Corsair Vengeance 8GB DDR3 1600 $87 (Cas Latency: 8, Timing: 8-8-8-24, 1.5V)
Samsung Spinpoint 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Sata 3.0 $55
Asus 24x DVD Burner DRW-24B1ST $21
3x Scythe 120mm 800RPM, 40CFM, 10.7 dBA Slipstream Fans $10 (Each)
1x Cooler Master 120mm 2000RPM, 70CFM, 19 dBA Silent Operation Fan $10
Asus VH238H 23" LED LCD Monitor $200

Extras: Futuremark, DIRT3
Combo HX850 and Samsung Spinpoint: -$25
Combo i5-2500K and Corsair Vengeance: -$15
Newegg Promo Code: -$10

Current Build Price: $1,399 (Including $62 S&H)

Down the road I plan to purchase a SSD, an additional storage drive, and a soundcard. I'll probably upgrade or double up on the GPU along with possibly upgrading the CPU and ram in the future. I'll likely hook up a second monitor for multi-tasking and gaming as well. I don't intend to overclock initially, but haven't ruled it out in the long run yet.

I have a few questions in mind:

1) As an alternative to the ASRock Extreme4 I could get a Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD5-B3 LGA 1155 $200 ($240 - $40 Combo). I would lose the $15 combo on the ram/CPU, so the extra cost is $25. Would this be a worthwhile swap?

If I did this, I could also swith the ram to G.Skill 8GB DDR3 1333 $70 (Cas Latency: 7, Timing: 7-7-7-21, 1.5V), making the swap only an additional $10. On a price/performance basis, which would you recommend?

2) For the price, the Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 1.5TB 7200 RPM 64MB 6.0GB/s $65 seems like a really good deal but there weren't many user reviews and I didn't find any professional ones. Is there reason to steer clear of Hitachi or this drive in particular? Everyone recommends the Samsung Spinpoint, but does that hold true against these specs at this price if I were to buy a second drive?

3) Is everything compatible and do you have any other advice?

Please let me know what you think of the build. Thanks for your help!
14 answers Last reply
More about gaming build
  1. if you are gaming, p67 is enough,

    you are really good to go with gskill, it has cas latency 7 which really help in gaming as well as overall system performance

    Samsung f3 is a very good drive, every one recommends it due to its price/performance/storage ratio .

    you can get 23 inch lcd with lower price and its quality is really good

    as for compatiblility of all parts, the haf 932 do not have any 120 mm fans
    it has 140 and 230 mm fans.
    psu, its really fine.
  2. Hi, thanks for the advice! I haven't done much gaming on LCD monitors, is the 5ms response time a concern?
  3. no,its not a concern in my opinoun.This lcd has very good colors and great support for hdmi at a relatively low cost.
    between, if you can, go to a msi twin frazor. its relatively cooler and has relly low noise and is factory overclocked to 850 mhz?


    betwwen, what games you play, in some games, a gtx 560 is faster in some games and in some, 6950, both are at same price point but it depends on the game you play.

  4. Build looks solid and well planned. Keep the z68 mobo because you will be able to take advantage of SSD caching. The difference between that and the Gigabyte is pretty minimal so i would keep the ASRock.

    The G.Skill ram has lower timings, but also a lower speed at 1333mhz. It would be nearly the same as the 1600mhz cas 8 ram. The performance difference between 1600mz vs. 1333mz and cas 8 vs. cas 7 is so small you wont see any difference in everyday games and applications.

    That hitatchi drive looks great to me that will be just as fast as a spinpoint, and it will hardly matter once you have an SSD as your boot drive.

    Also, look at the case you have. It already has 4 fans, 3 of them 230mm. You will have no reason to get 4 extra fans. The case's airflow is already superb. When i put extra fans in my case it just made it louder and didnt improve temps by much. You should get a CPU heatsink instead as the stock one can be loud. If you still get extra case fans throw a fan controller so you can be sure your case it will stay quiet.

    Also the Twin frozr is an excellent card, but it dumps half of its hot air into the case where reference cards shoot it all out the back. So Twin Frozrs and other cards with aftermarket cooling are best for single card setups. In crossfire, the fans will blow the hot air already in the case from the cards back onto the cards again, leading to obscenely high temps with fans running at full nosily at full speed and overheating. If you are sure you will crossfire, go with reference cards. http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1596910
  5. Thanks for the help attackllama! I'll stick with the ASRock like you suggest.

    I also dropped the fans and I'm adding the Cooler Master 212+ $35 unless there's a better heatsink instead. Any thoughts?

    As for the video card, how do you tell if a card is reference?
  6. cm hyper 212 + is a very good cooler and will help you overclock past 4.5 ghz with acceptable temps
  7. Bobangry said:
    Thanks for the help attackllama! I'll stick with the ASRock like you suggest.

    I also dropped the fans and I'm adding the Cooler Master 212+ $35 unless there's a better heatsink instead. Any thoughts?

    As for the video card, how do you tell if a card is reference?

    Reference cards have the single fan at the very end of the card like this one:


    I agree with attackllama in all of his suggestions and his statement about your build seeming solid and well planned. Also I agree that the hyper 212+ is a highly popular and often recommended cooler for the i5-2500K, especially for overclocking it.

    I am one that's also not fond of video cards that blow all that hot air back into my case and GPU's produce plenty of heat. If you can find a reference 6950 for the normal price, get it. You can unlock them to 6970's and it's easy according to all the guides I've read so far. But they're hard to find now. All the reference 6950's are sold out on newegg.
  8. Thanks for the information and kind words arson94, I appreciate it. I hear you on the heat, but unfortunately looking around I haven't been able to find one in stock on a website with a reasonable price and shipping cost to Alaska. I could go with a 6970 which appears to have that better fan design. Alternatively, I can go with the GTX 560 Ti or 570 (with a similar fan design).

    Right now I'll have a one monitor setup but in the next six months I'll be looking to increase that to two. Which option would be preferable?

    EVGA Superclocked GTX 560 Ti 1GB $225 (Including -$15 Combo, Excluding $25 MIR)
    XFX 6950 2GB $280 (Excluding $30 MIR)
    EVGA GTX 570 1280MB $340 (Excluding $30 MIR)
    XFX 6970 2GB $350 (Excluding $30 MIR)

    I'm not opposed to other brands, though I do like the warranties and they seem to typically receive high praise.
  9. http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/306?vs=292

    here's a bench of 6970 vs 570 gtx, it highly depends on the game you play.
    if you can afford 6970, go with it. but 6950 is also a very decent card for the price.
  10. add another vote towards a cheaper mobo. i disagree that you need ssd caching, and even if you do, there are much cheaper z68's. The $190 asrock has tons of features you will most likely never use, and thats where the money goes:
    the above gigabyte board has a 3 year warranty, x8/x8 pci-e lanes, ssd caching, and a mean ram combo (combos generally disappear at the end of the month, however).

    i usually lean towards 6950's over gtx560ti's, but at current prices the OC'd EVGA 560ti is the clear winner @1080p.

    other combos that might interest you:

    all of the above combos work with promo code PSU624, and 750w will be plenty for 2x gtx 560ti/6950

  11. go with the 6950 2GB, you will be better off at 1920x1080 with it.

    the monitor you picked is much better than the 5ms monitor, better contrast ratio, and 2ms is definitely better than 5ms

    there is no reason to go with z68, ssd cachine is stupid, but i would still stick with it as it is basically the same price.

    the g.skill ram vs the corsair ram: you wont notice any difference

    i also agree to drop the extra fans and buy a cpu heatsink, i dont like the hyper 212+, but only because i have heard very mixed things about it, the best air cooler on the market right now is the noctua nh-d14 but it is $90
    otherwise a very solid build,
  12. Bob, do not listen to Attackllama about the motherboard. Go with a p67, not a z68. If you end up buying an SSD as a boot drive, you will not take advantage of SSD caching, the entire concept is pretty much useless.

    So in summary I mostly agree with r3xx3r:
    1. as for the gtx 560 vs the 6950 - up to you, both good cards.
    2. I would use the monitor you chose originally, higher quality, worth the extra $40
    3. YOU DO NOT NEED SSD caching, go with a p67
    4. ram, won't notice a difference, but i'd go with the 1600mhz one.
    5. agreed that you should drop the fans and go with a good heatsink/cpu fan
  13. some benchmarks of a LOWER clocked gtx 560 ti:
  14. Thanks r3xx3r and jmills204, I'll stick with the original monitor.

    The appeal of the Z68 to me is mostly the Quick Sync for enhanced video encoding/decoding for times I may need it, though the price is steep over the board you recommended genghiskron, so I think I'll save the money.

    Unfortunately, I wasn't able to purchase the computer before the combos/deals expired, but I'll keep my eye on prices the next week or so.

    I appreciate all the advice!
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