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Last response: in Systems
July 11, 2011 2:30:19 AM

Hello everybody! I need help building my very first gaming computer so I'm wondering if you guys can help me out. I am a beginner on getting the components but please bare with me because I know absolutely nothing!

Approximate Purchase Date: I would like to buy my build this July.

Budget Range: $2,000-$2,500

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, browsing, gaming, and gaming

Parts Not Required: Just the Windows 7 Software

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I would like to buy my parts from Newegg since I was influenced by them also TigerDirect, but if you have other places to buy from please let me know.

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: by brand or type:
CPU: I would like the CPU to be ONLY Intel, please no AMD.
Graphics Card: I would like ATI much more rather than Nvidia because I have heard a lot of good stuff from ATI. (Also most of my friends have said I should get ATI, none taken to Nvidia users.)
Motherboard: I would like EVGA, Asus, or Gigabyte. I have heard such good reviews from them, but if you can convince me to get any other motherboard please do.

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Yes Indeed (3 way SLI or Crossfire)

Monitor Resolution: As for the monitor resolution, I really don't know which to get. I would maybe get a resolution that is in the middle or high. (Basically an awesome monitor.)

Additional Comments: I have seen threads saying you should gt ATI 6990 only if you are going to have multiple monitors? I was actually thinking of getting that graphics card but once this was said, I'm having my doubts. I also wanted to know if I should risk buying the ATI 6990 or some other card that is at least par to that card. (I don't want to buy the three cards right away. I would like to build up slowly to a 3 way SLI or Crossfire set.)

P.S: I just want a build that can last me a LONG time until I have to change my build. Please message me on this thread. Thanks!

More about : gaming computer

Best solution

a c 472 4 Gaming
July 11, 2011 3:20:21 AM

The 6990 an d 590 are dogs, easily matched by twin cards in SLI / CF at much lower card at 2560 x 1600 is the 6970 2GB, best card at 1920 x 1200 is the 580 but 900 MHz 560 Ti isn't that far behind considering it's less than half the price. Nothin ATI has can give ya 862 fps in the $440 price range, so I gonna go against ya preference here......but again, if you go w/ a 30" 2560 x 1600 monitor, I'd get the 6970 2GB.

Guru3D uses the following games in their test suite, COD-MW, Bad Company 2, Dirt 2, Far Cry 2, Metro 2033, Dawn of Discovery, Crysis Warhead. Total fps (summing fps in each game @ 1920 x 1200) for the various options in parenthesis (single card / SL or CF) are tabulated below along with their cost in dollars per frame single card - CF or SLI:

$155.00 460-768 MB (314/592) $0.49 - $0.52
$155.00 6850 (371/634) $0.42 - $0.49
$170.00 6870 (434/701) $0.39 - $0.49
$250.00 6950 (479/751) $0.52 - $0.67
$290.00 6950 Frozr OC (484/759) $0.60 - $0.76
$210.00 560 Ti (455/792) $0.46 - $0.53
$355.00 6970 (526/825) $0.67 - $0.86
$210.00 560 Ti - 900 Mhz (495/862) $0.42 - $0.49
$335.00 570 (524/873) $0.64 - $0.77
$500.00 580 (616/953) $0.81 - $1.05
$725.00 6990 (762/903) $0.95 - $1.61
$700.00 590 (881/982) $0.79 - $1.43

Case - $155 - Antec DF-85
Case Fans - $15 - Antec Red 120 mm
PSU - $130 - Antec CP-850
MoBo - $460 - ASUS P8P67 WS Revolution
CPU - incl - Intel Core i5-2500K included in above
Cooler - $40 - Scythe SCMG 2100
TIM - $5 - Shin Etsu
RAM - $125 - (2 x 4GB) Mushkin CAS 7
GFX - $220 - EVGA GTX 560 (900MHz)
GFX - $220 - Same
HD - $150 - Seagate Barracuda XT 2TB
SSD - $239 - OCZ Vertex 3 2.5" 120GB
DVD Writer - $60 - Asus 24X DRW-24B3L w/ LS
Card Reader $50 55 in 1 Card Reader
Monitor - $350 - ASUS VG236HE Black 23"
Keyboard - $120 - Logitech G510
Mouse - $58 - Logitech G500

Alternatives for Case / PSU would be the HAF-X w/ Corsair AX750 or 850, Seasonic X Series but while these can match the CP-850 electrical performance wise (see jonnyguru reviews), they can't match it's quietness and low temps.

The monitor is 120MHz so ya can do 3D Vision Glasses if that kinda thing tickles ya fancy. SSD and HD aren't cheap but you have the budget so went for the fastest available. The X16 x16 GFX on the MoBo adds a few bucks as does the low CAS RAM but both will improve minmum frame rates (See THG and Anandtech articles on the topic).

If ya want more cooler, the Thermalright Silver Arrow will get ya a few more degrees and its super quiet .... about $85 from
July 11, 2011 3:07:15 PM

Thank you for this detailed description. I was wondering of the SSD. Do I really need it because I usually just focus on the HD. As for the case, I was actually thinking of getting one of those HAF X cases.

Will the wattage for 750 or 850 be enough for a 3 way SLI or Crossfire?

Since graphic cards are a big thing. How long do you think the graphics card of a 6990 or a 590 will last me? I was thinking of buying one then waiting another year until I can buy the same one. I'm sorry if I'm ignoring your price chart (which I greatly thank you very much,) but I have always heard Nvidea cards are terrible with the heat they exhaust and break down really fast. Maybe I'm right maybe I'm wrong, but I just want to know, RIGHT IN THE FACE, how long will this last me until I have to change graphic cards (if this is possible.) Thanks.
Related resources
a b 4 Gaming
July 11, 2011 6:29:05 PM

A SSD boot drive will drastically improve the OS interface. My system boots in 30 seconds and is extremely quick to load anything on the drive. I use a 1TB and a 500GB HDD to store all of my program/game/download/miscellaneous files with no decrease in performance. You have the budget to support it, so I would highly recommend it.

The HAF X is a great case. I am partial to some of Silverstone's cases (specifically the Fortress FT02) as well. Antec has fallen a little behind in design, so I'd shy away from them; you can get more from another company for the same price.

750W is generally recommended for 1x6950, 850W for 2x6950. 900W is the minimum recommended for 2x580s.

Keep in mind you'll need a board like the Asus WS Revolution to support 3 GPUs.

I agree with JackNaylor and would advise against a dual GPU card. 2x6970s are similar in hardware to the 6990, but are faster due to lower speeds on the 6990 chips (heat restrictions). The 6990 is faster than the 590, so keep that in mind as well.

There aren't usually problems associated with AMD's or NVidia's chips (ATI did have some driver issues in the past that drove users away, but they've been fixed for the most part). The real issues boil down to the GPU manufacturer. Cheap(er) manufacturers like Palit tend to have lower quality than others like EVGA, MSI, Sapphire, etc.

NVidia's GTX 400/500 series GPUs run cooler than AMD's 6000 series cards, and as long as you get a card from a good manufacturer you have a better chance at a better quality card.
July 11, 2011 7:20:47 PM

The advice that you have given me is a lot of help.

As for the SSD, I don't think I'll even have enough memory for all my games, so I'm kind of worried. Should I get a bigger SSD or should I just stick with the 120 GB?

I'll stick with the HAF-X case since I've heard a lot of good stuff about them.

As for the graphics card, so its better to dual graphics cards because it is better right?
So is it better to dual Graphic Cards with Nvidia 560 TI or ATI 6970's? (I believe you can overclock ATI 6950's to 6970's.)

Also if I was to have 3 way SLI or Crossfire how much wattage do I need...
a b 4 Gaming
July 11, 2011 8:55:35 PM

The SSD doesn't give a huge speed increase in loading games; my HDD (which isn't one of the fastest drives) still loads maps and games fairly quickly. My theory is that it's because the OS is running off the SSD and the game is loading simultaneously off the HDD, but at best that's a guess :/ 

A 64GB SSD will easily hold your OS and a few major programs (I have Office 2010 on mine, as well as smaller programs and benchmarks). I install my major programs (games, school/work software) on the other drives. A 120GB SSD will give you more space to install other programs you happen to run more frequently than others, and 120GB is starting to become the standard base size.

Reference 6950s can be unlocked using a BIOS hack to 6970s, but it isn't guaranteed. My MSI 6950 becomes unstable using an MSI 6970 BIOS, but I haven't bothered with any others since it still churns out games at 60+ FPS on full settings with max AA.

Just as a reference, 560Ti ~ 6950 and 570 ~ 6970. You can 3-way SLI with 570s and 580s, and 3-way CF with some 5000 and 6000 cards (the higher-end models), though 3-way SLI/CF is really a waste of money unless you plan on powering 1-2 monitors per card in games. A 560Ti/6950 can play almost every game above 40 FPS @ 1920x1080, max detail/AA/filtering/etc, so 3 GPUs on one monitor is a total waste.

The 6970 draws 300W (maximum) from what I found from reviews online, so you should be looking at a 1200+W PSU for 3 of them, plus everything else in the system.
July 11, 2011 9:10:04 PM

This is the best configuration for you

i5 2500k
Corsair H80
ASUS P8P67 WS REVOLUTION LGA 1155 Intel P67 / NVIDIA NF200 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
Mushkin Enhanced Redline 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model 996999
Corsair HX1000
Raven RV02-E Case
Intel 510 SSD 120GB
WD Black 2 TB
Two 6970 reference cards in Crossfire

There you go enjoying high res gaming for 2+ years

P.S with the extra money left over buy yourself a 30 in monitor
July 11, 2011 10:24:31 PM

i5-2500k + ASUS P67 WD REVOLUTION $460
Cooler Master HAF 932 RED/BLACK $160
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) $75
OCZ Agility 3 AGT3-25SAT3-60G 2.5" 60GB SATA III $128
CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX950 single rail $155
ZALMAN Cpu cooler $65
2X ASUS 6970 2GB $774
(went with amd cause u get more for what u pay compared to nvidia)
i also think u should just go with one card. crossfire isnt as beneificial if ur not using multiple monitors. would be a lot better to save your money and just go with a cheaper mobo and a single 6970 youll beable to run anything maxed out for a good 2 years and then u can upgrade ur card then. u wont see gaming difference above 60 fps i can garuntee u that. and these will give u 120s on anything AND ULL SAVE ALMOST 400 DOLLARS on the card alone.
ASUS 23" full hd hdmi $190
Logitech G9X $60
Razer Lycosa wired $75
LG multi everything burner/reader $94

this wil give you the best gaming system u can basically make. but i would suggest you just using one card it will give u all u need and more and youll save a huge amount of money. unless ur gonna get another monitor then crossfire would be more noticable.

total: 2368 before MIRs/shipping/promocodes.
July 12, 2011 12:50:16 AM

Thanks for all the replys guys. You have made me learn more. So if I was to have 3 way SLI/Crossfire for one monitor its pointless? I thought the graphic cards would stack so you wouldn't have to get the higher end cards?

Because I only want one monitor to play on. Can you give me more advice on how this is suppose to work because now I think I only need a single graphics card now...

a b 4 Gaming
July 12, 2011 1:22:04 AM

If you're going with a single GPU @ 1920x1080, I'd get the 580. It's a monster card that should last you a long while @ 1920x1080, and if your performance degrades over the next 2-4 years, you can just drop another in for SLI.

If you want to invest the money in a good 30" monitor at a higher resolution, I'd try for CF 6970s. As JackNaylor said, they're the best cards @ 2560x1600. Personally, I'd choose this option.

With either configuration, you just need a board with 2xPCI-E X16 slots that run at x8/x8 (for most efficient performance for the price and to meet SLI requirements). You can get a solid board for $150 and a higher end board for $180+.
July 12, 2011 1:33:53 AM

i would change your board to this
Asrock FATALITY $220 this is my personal favorite

or for a z68 board this.
Asus z68 $210

they both provide you with all the upgradeability you could imagine if u ever want to for a decent price and good brand.
same 6970 as before but just one this time $387

yes i know the nvidia card is slightly better then t he 6970 not by a huge amount dont worry the reason for me picking the amd videocard is because it is the smarter choice. its nearly 200 dollars cheaper and u might lose at most 10fps in any game. I would suggest gettin the AMD 5970 IF U CAN FIND IT, that is. It performs verywell.

you can change your psu also. your not gonna see a huge price drop tho
Corsair 750W Modular single rail $140

1956 with fatality MOBO

1946 with z68 MOBO

im just gonna put this out there this is my fav case of all time things just beautiful thought u might wanna look
not the best ventalation in the world but definately the best visuals lol

hope this helps!

another great beautiful case

also to thinka bout is that the fatality series mobo goes with the red/black theme
July 12, 2011 3:17:44 AM

Awesome replys guys! This is really helpful. Hmmmmm. As for the monitor size I would not mind a 23' inch but a 30' would make me look like I have a T.V. on my desk : D

Thanks for all the builds guys.

Oh and also, I'm still confused on having a 3 way SLI/Crossfire. So I should only have a 2 way for just one monitor?
July 12, 2011 3:26:26 AM

A GTX 580 will max out any game at 1920x1080 on one monitor. If you plan on going multi monitors or at a 2560 resolution, you should consider going 6950/6970 in CF or getting another 580.
July 12, 2011 4:42:50 AM

So ATI=multi monitors while Nvidea= one monitor? Now for some reason I'm leaning on getting dual 560 Ti 900's or one GTX 580...
Still confused...

As for the cases I really like the case of azza hurricane 2000 (it made me explode in my pants.) It looks REALLY nice and I just want ventilation. (Not much of a looks person.) Also the Lian-Lee case is also another nice one. I have heard a lot of good reviews of the brand Lian-Li. Still not sure which to get, THEY ARE ALL GOOD CASES!!!
a b 4 Gaming
July 12, 2011 3:54:55 PM

AMD's high-end GPUs natively support 3 monitors (Eyefinity), whereas NVidia requires 2 cards to power 3 monitors (NVidia Surround).

You can support a second monitor on a 560Ti/570/580, but I don't think there are any games that will allow gaming on both. Eyefinity and Surround turn 3 (or 6 if you have a good enough Eyefinity setup) into one big monitor, so your field of view in the game is much bigger.

I'd get the 580. Dual 560Tis are about the same price but you can't upgrade them further without getting new cards. You could just drop in a new 580 in the future if you needed to.

As a side-note, the new Crysis 2 patches seem to favor NVidia GPUs over AMD GPUs. The 6970 had some trouble in some spots. The article is on the TH main page.

The Azza Hurricane is going to be very loud with those fans, and your system shouldn't even produce that much heat if the case airflow is set up properly. Lian-Li makes some good cases, but they tend to be much more expensive than comparable options.

Cases are really a personal thing; take a look at some of the ones you like and look for other features like cable management, LEDs, cooling options (future watercooling), etc etc. If you have questions about them, bring them back to this thread; that's why we're here :D 
July 12, 2011 5:07:15 PM

Thanks for the reply.

As for the case, I think I'll stick with the COOLER MASTER HAF X RC-942.

As for the graphics card, I think I'll go with the GTX 580, and later go dual graphics card.

But actually my question hasn't been answered! I want to know if I'm only going to have one monitor should I get a MOBO with 3 slots for GTX 580, or just 2 slots?
a b 4 Gaming
July 12, 2011 5:16:03 PM

If you move to a Z68 chipset based board then you can pick up a nice low cost SSD like the Intel® SSD 320 40GB. Set it up on the Z68 to take advantage of the Intel SRT (Smart Response Technology). This can give you close the performance of a much bigger SSD without having to worry about managing the space on the SSD.

Christian Wood
Intel Enthusiast Team
a b 4 Gaming
July 12, 2011 6:48:34 PM

If you're only using one monitor, just get one that supports 2-way SLI. 3-way SLI on one monitor one provides very marginal benefits, and by the time you're likely to upgrade to that it will be time for a rebuild.

You could use the money saved on a LC system or something (will take a while to plan and build correctly, but will be worth it) :D 
July 12, 2011 9:02:48 PM

Or you could go 6990+6970 for tri-fire!!!! sweet
July 13, 2011 4:36:51 AM

boiler1990 said:
You could use the money saved on a LC system or something (will take a while to plan and build correctly, but will be worth it) :D 

What do you mean "LC System"? And as for my final words how long will this build last me if I am to do 2 SLI GTX 580's
a b 4 Gaming
July 13, 2011 11:14:20 AM

Sorry, LC is liquid (aka water) cooling.

2x580s will probably hold up for the next ~4 +/- 1 years, but you most likely will want to upgrade again before that (not due to performance, but most likely because you just want to). People are still gaming just fine on 9800GTX+'s these days, and those cards are several years old ;) 
July 13, 2011 4:26:42 PM

I've heard a lot about the 9800 GTX's. It's crazy : D. I think I have made up my mind on what to get.

But now I have another question....Is not the LC more expensive than the Fans? Which should I go?

Oh and for the PCI Express slots. Which ones should they be and what is the best for doing SLI. Should they be PCI Express 2.0 x16, and should they both run at X16?

Thanks again!
a b 4 Gaming
July 13, 2011 5:15:57 PM

LC is more expensive, but will do a better job if you buy the proper parts and plan it correctly (will take some time, and doesn't need to be done immediately). I'd consider it an upgrade path if you have the money (~400-500 depending on the components).

All of the GPUs made today are PCI Express x16 2.X. Motherboards will have either 2.0 or 2.1, but they're all intercompatible.

Ideally you'd get a board that can run x16/x16 in SLI, but x8/x8 only sacrifices a very small percent of your performance and is more cost effective. There isn't a good reason to spend a ton of money on a board that will run x16/x16 because you'll never see the difference with 2x580s.
July 14, 2011 1:05:36 AM

So for two x16/x16 would be better for what then? Should I then go with the 8x/8x?
July 14, 2011 5:26:25 PM

Best answer selected by Geeksire.
March 5, 2012 3:16:26 AM

I just have to add this quick, if you buy any Nvidia 500 series card and an Intel i7 your future proofed you wont need a second card and you wont need to upgrade till only gods knows. the hardware we have today beats the rumored "next-gen consoles" and Battlefield 3 maxed out is what Next-Gen games are going to look like. so NO NEED TO UPGRADE AFTER BUYING AN NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 500 SERIES CARD AND A INTEL I7 CPU!!!!
a b 4 Gaming
March 5, 2012 4:59:31 AM

It also comes at the cost of the electric bill and more heat generation.