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New Gaming Build $1000-$1300

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July 5, 2011 6:23:17 AM

Okay so I purchased a 27 inch iMac, and loved it, but it had terrible screen issues and I have decided to return it and get back into PC for a while. I want a computer that is better than the 27 inch iMac (it had a 3.1 GHz quad core i5, 4 GB of RAM, and an ATI Radeon 6970M with 1 GB of memory, it should be easy to get better than that)

I have not built my own PC since about 2002, and I am completely out of the loop on hardware, prices, etc.

i want to stay within about 1300, so that with a monitor it doesnt come out to more than 1600. And that is if the machine is better than the 27 inch iMad I had.

Approximate Purchase Date: As soon as possible.

Budget Range: $1000-$1300

System Usage from Most to Least Important: World of Warcraft, GAMING, Battlefield 3, everything else. I want games on close to max settings.

Parts Not Required: I do not need a mouse, keyboard, monitor, etc. I just need the tower and hardware.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Preferably in store purchases (like Fry's). I really hate online ordering, but if I had to I guess it would be newegg.com for their prices.

Country of Origin: United States

Parts Preferences: I would prefer an ATI Radeon graphics card (or set if I get two). I truly want the best brands available, other than the graphics cards. Honestly I would be open to a Nvidia graphics card if they are better, I always remember ATI being hailed as best back in the day.

Overclocking: Yes, I want to overclock it although I truly forgot how to do it haha.

SLI or Crossfire: Possibly if fits in budget

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080, 1920x1200

Additional Comments: i would like it to be quiet, and I would like an ice cooling system so it does not get hot really at all. A nice looking case is also preferred, maybe one with lights or something haha

More about : gaming build 1000 1300

July 5, 2011 6:48:59 AM
July 5, 2011 6:58:23 AM
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July 5, 2011 7:10:01 AM

So would you not recommend the i7 for gaming?

I have heard that its not really necessary.

Also, I have read that in many cases the single 6950 can outperform the crossfire 6870s. Is this true?

Edit: Also wondering what kind of settings I can get out of this machine (on WoW, or even Battlefield 3 based on BC 2 settings)
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July 5, 2011 7:17:26 AM

^ Yes, i7 is not really necessary for gaming,... Also the i5 overclock easily to 4GHz+ which will offer even more performance,...

As for the graphics card - NO, the 6950 is not faster than 6870 Crossfire(But if the game doesnt support Crossfire, then 6950 will perform better)
http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-6850-6870-cross...
The 6950's performance should be similar to the GTX 480/ HD 5870
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July 5, 2011 7:23:00 AM

Hmmm I might opt for the crossfire then, although I am not sure if World of Warcraft supports it, I will need to look.

Just one more thing, could you link some other cases you might think I would like that would support this setup?

And you suggested the SSD for booting, would I just install the OS onto the SSD, and maybe other applications that were most important (like WoW), and then pull other things off the normal hard drive? I am not sure exactly how it works.

If this is everything I would need here, then thank you so much for the opinion it looks great.

After monitor and everything it might come out to about 1800 or a little more. Is this a solid price for this rig, considering the 2200 iMac I had purchased. I just want to make sure this is a rig that can last me for a good amount of time, and run games very smoothly.
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July 5, 2011 7:32:00 AM

Here are some cases,...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...|11-119-197^11-119-197-TS%2C11-112-239^11-112-239-TS%2C11-119-216^11-119-216-TS%2C11-146-062^11-146-062-TS%2C11-129-097^11-129-097-TS

As for the SSD-HDD Yes, it is like the way you said,... OS and some frequently used apps onto the SSD and rest on HDD,...
And which monitor have you selected ?? assuming the total cost after crossfire, a ~$500 monitor ??
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July 5, 2011 7:33:49 AM

I have not really looked into a monitor, I want preferably a 27 inch HD monitor that has really nice colors.

I got used to the 27 inch iMac monitor which was beautiful. If you have any suggestions in the way of that, I would appreciate it as well. I was leaning towards a Samsung but am open to opinions.

How long you think this rig would last me for gaming?
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July 5, 2011 7:48:22 AM

Dude thank you so much for your help.

I am going to try and look for these items in the stores around me, see if there is a way to get them without shopping online, would you mind if I posted what I found (like alternatives) and see how it looks ?
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July 5, 2011 8:12:29 AM

^ Ohh yeah sure, if not me someone else surely will,...
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July 5, 2011 6:01:44 PM

I was wondering if two GTX 560s would be compatible with all of this (I dont see why it wouldnt).

I know I prefer ATI, however would a GTX 560 SLI beat a Radeon 6870 Crossfire? I cant find any real hard results on this
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July 5, 2011 6:13:42 PM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... $454.98 $20.00 Mail-In Rebate Card Price After Mail-In Rebate(s): $434.98 FREE SHIPPING
Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52500K
MSI N560GTX-TI Twin Frozr II/OC GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/graphics/2011/01/27/ms... <------ MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC Review / Benchmarks
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July 5, 2011 6:17:58 PM

Are you saying that that single card will perform better than the Crossfire 6870s? It looked like the 6870 was beating it as a single card in some of the tests.
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July 5, 2011 11:13:17 PM

Okay, so I just got back from the local frys and found everything I would need in store for a custom build. I still have micro center to go to, but it seems like Fry's is not a bad option.

So here is what I came out with.

Prcoessor: Intel Core i5 2500k Sandy Bridge 3.3 GHz - $214.99
http://www.frys.com/product/6487382?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN...

Motherboard: MSI P67A-GD65 (This is one item I had a question about. They didnt have the Z68A, is this mobo still a good option?) - $174.99
http://www.frys.com/product/6539933?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN...

Cooler: Antec Kuhler H20 620 Liquid Cooling System - On sale for $57.00
http://www.frys.com/product/6568373?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN...

Memory: 8GB (2 x 4GB) Crucial Ballistix DDR3 1600mhz dual memory - $82.99
http://www.frys.com/product/6576353?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN...

SSD for booting: Corsair 60 GB Force Series F60 (285 red speed, 275 write speed) - $119.99
http://www.frys.com/product/6569543?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN...

HDD for storage: Hitachi Deskstar 1TB 3.5" Internal Retail Boxed Hard Drive - On sale for $49.99
http://www.frys.com/product/5947234?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN...

Power Supply: Antec EarthWatts 750w Continuous Power Power Supply - $99.99 (It says SLI ready, but it doesnt mention Crossfire, does that mean it cant do it?)

Graphics. Now this is where everything gets a little confusing. Dont know what I want to do yet.

From what I have heard, two GTX 560s are the way to go, and in store they are 199.99 each. bring them to 399.98 for both.

If I go with the Radeon HD 6950 with 2 GB of RAM, the price in store is 289.99 after rebate.

If I were to crossfire two Radeon 6870s with 1GB VRAM it would be 179.99 for each, coming to 359.98.

Case: There was a case I liked there for 59.99.

So here are the totals.

Total with two GTX 560s = 1259.91 before taxes and before OS and Monitor.

Total with the 6950 with 2GB of RAM= 1149.92 before taxes and before OS and Monitor.

Total with the Crossfire 6870 1GB RAM each = 1219.91 before taxes and before OS and Monitor.

So, At this point I feel like I can eliminate the 6870s out of the picture because they are not much cheaper than the 560s, and I have heard they perform much worse.

But I am so conflicted, with the price I am at right now, should I just go for a top tier single video card setup? Like I said, I spent 2200 on my iMac, so in all honestly I could go up to around there as a total price, but I do also want to save money.

I just want to know that a setup like this will last for a good long time. Especially with the dual GTX 560s.

Input is appreciated thank you so much!
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July 6, 2011 4:14:05 AM

^ Some suggestions -
1. As you said Microcenter is also nearby, then you can take advantage of the CPU deal there,... Available on in-store at the price+I guess 10% tax, which is still less than $200
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

2. They have this board -
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
ASUS Z68, but it is not necessary you go with a Z68 board, even P67 would be fine,...
If getting from frys, get the ASUS instead of MSI - NOt that MSI is bad, but IMO ASUS is better also both cost same
http://www.frys.com/product/6552883?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN...

3. SSD - If going Microcenter, then this one for sure.
Crucial m4 CT064M4SSD2 64GB SATA 6.0Gb/s
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

4. PSU - There is Antec HCG at Microcenter
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
IMO these are much better than the EA 750,...

Now for the main confusion - Graphics card...
From where did you come to know that the HD 6870 Crossfire is much slower than the GTX 560 SLI? (You should first know that there are 2 GTX 560s - 1. GTX 560 2. GTX 560 Ti where the Ti is the much faster one,... And is also costlier by ~$50)
So when comparing the 6870, you should compare it with the non Ti version,...
Some reviews
http://www.guru3d.com/article/geforce-gtx-560-sli-revie...
http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-6850-6870-cross...
And our very own Tom's Best card for the money article
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-graphics-card,...
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July 6, 2011 4:37:21 AM

So I ended up getting a Matrix GTX580 Platinum version because I had the money.

All I want to know is if the card is beastly, and worth the price.
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July 6, 2011 4:48:16 AM

^ Lolz, I dont think you would need to ask that question, whether it is beastly... ;) 
Though I personally dont like the top-end cards as they dont offer much value for money, but that sure is one hell of a card,...
If you see the TOM's article that I linked, you would understand better what I am saying,...
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July 6, 2011 4:52:45 AM

Well I guess what I am asking is, does it out perform GTX 560 sli, because if it does im going to keep it. It wasnt much more than the Dual GTX 560 ti would have been. A guy in frys also told me that I could get a 570 and overclock it to comparable or more powerful than the 580 is that also true?

I also got a 850W power supply rather than a 750. I hope that is enough?

if I were to stay with a 1 card setup for now, is this a good card to have simply because I can SLI it in the future.
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July 6, 2011 5:02:47 AM

^ No, it is not faster than GTX 560 Ti SLI,...
http://www.guru3d.com/article/geforce-gtx-560-ti-sli-re...

AS for the GTX 570 and 580, the 570 no doubt is a very fast card, but when you overclock it, you might get comparable performance of the 580, but not more,...
Also if you plan for future SLI, I dont think it would make much sense, as by next year start, both AMD and Nvidia will be launching their next-gen graphics, hence you can upgrade to them later on,...
So IMO if you are going to spend ~$500 on graphics, then going with dual-card config makes sense,...
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July 6, 2011 5:05:51 AM

Okay so give me one second. I am going to type out my finalized build (I already purchased everything). I am thinking everything is good to go, except maybe my graphics card.

Which I wanted to ask, if I do end up SLI two 560 Tis which TIs are the best to get?
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July 6, 2011 5:13:16 AM

^ What options do you have ?? frm frys only??
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July 6, 2011 5:15:22 AM

I would prefer Frys, I saw they had the Ti Cooler II or whatever they were called for like 249.99 each I believe.
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July 6, 2011 5:21:11 AM

So here is what I came out with.

Prcoessor: Intel Core i5 2500k Sandy Bridge 3.3 GHz - $179.99
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Motherboard: Z68A-GD65 (B3) LGA 1155 Z68 ATX Intel Motherboard - $159.99
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Cooler: Antec Kuhler H20 620 Liquid Cooling System - On sale for $57.00
http://www.frys.com/product/6568373?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN...

Memory: Corsair Vengeance Series 8GB DDR3-1600 (PC3-12800) CL9 Dual Channel Desktop Memory Kit - $89.99
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

SSD for booting: Crucial m4 CT064M4SSD2 64GB SATA 6.0Gb/s 2.5" Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) - $114.99
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

HDD for storage: Hitachi 1.5TB 5400RPM 64MB Cache - $64.99
(Dont have link online)

Operating System: MS OEM Windows 7 home Edition 64 bit - $109.99

Monitor: Samsung 24" LED LS24A350HS - $249.99
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Case: Cooler Master HAF 922M ATX Computer Case - $89.99
http://www.frys.com/product/5927304?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN...

Power Supply: Thermaltake TR2 RX 850W Power Supply - $129.99
http://www.frys.com/product/6030478?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN...

Graphics Card: ASUS MATRIX GTX580 1.5GB - $ 539.99
http://www.frys.com/product/6678704?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN...

Now remember, I understand I could get a lot of this for cheaper online, however I am paying the premium for not having to do that, and I am okay with that. So im fine with the prices I got here.

Total after tax for this complete set (including monitor and OS, came to $1965.48

Still a 200 dollar savings to the 27 inch iMac I had purchased before.

Overall I think everything here is pretty solid. Does everything look good compatibility wise, and does it look like it will all work together pretty well? I am definitely open to changing the graphics card options, but as a whole I hope everything looks nice.
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July 6, 2011 5:48:16 AM

Crap... should I not even open the one I have then?

I really wanted to build this thing tonight, is it a huge different in power supply?

Also, which Ti cards were the ones that you felt would work best for SLI?
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July 6, 2011 5:58:36 AM

^ That PSU is not bad, but there are no reviews at all for that PSU, which makes me kind of skeptical,... But the specs look fine,... So if returning it is difficult and costs money, then stick with it,...
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Best solution

July 6, 2011 6:06:48 AM
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July 6, 2011 6:12:53 AM

Thank you so much Gkay for all of yourhelp Im gonna mark this thread as resolved and get some other opinions. Thanks again so much
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July 6, 2011 6:13:17 AM

Best answer selected by xSeanZx.
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July 6, 2011 6:24:54 AM

^ Good Luck with your build,... Dont forget to see other sticky threads too,...
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