Newbie builder, looking for help with sub-$1000 gaming build

What's up, Tom's forum? General Techniq here. I've only just recently become aware of the existence of tomshardware.com, and have spent the last few weeks or so having my mind blown, mostly by how much money I've wasted on PC-related expenses in the past.
see spoiler for rest of introduction.....
A few weeks ago, on the official forums for a FPS game that was released in Spring 2011, I "sarcastically" commented that I'd be purchasing an Alienware gaming PC "with all the trimmings" in preparation for the upcoming release of Battlefield 3. As you might have guessed, my sarcasm was a little bit too subtle and the post triggered some "passionate" responses from some of the resident Gaming PC enthusiasts of that forum.
One response, in particular, consisted of some very condescending ALL-CAPS chastising with a complementary link or two to this site at the end of the post.
I've been meaning to go back and thank that particular troll kind fellow for introducing me to Tom's Hardware. :)

First off, I really have no clue what I'm doing as far as PC building goes. continued in spoiler....
The most I've ever done to a PC was simultaneously upgrade the gpu and power supply, and I swore to never again upgrade a psu after that (tight case, wire nightmare, cpu/mb/hdd bottleneck made psu/gpu upgrade waste of time).
However, after discovering Tom's and seeing the SBMs, various benchmark articles, and many members' system builds; I decided that it might be more optimal for me to do something as crazy as building my own system, as opposed to going with the CyberPower config I'd been eyeing or camping logicbuy.com for deals on prebuilt systems.

I'm looking to spend as little as possible, but still have an excellent gaming system (even for Battlefield 3 :) ).
I could really use some help, not only with part selection, but also with guidance on PC construction and setup. Like what tools and materials I might need besides the base components. :??:



TERMS:
-Budget: As far below $1,000 as possible, before rebates/coupons (I'm poor, but will starve myself a little for a decent system)
-Usage: Gaming and little else, maybe a little video capturing and editing for gameplay uploads
-Foundation: Intel-based is a must
-Preferences: Not a fan of ATI gpu or SLI/Xfire, but may consider it if it was a cherry deal
-Overclocking: If need be, not anytime soon. Never, if I can (for example) play BF3 fine on mid to mid-high settings. So, if sticking with the stock cooler is fine and easier to assemble, let me know.
-Purchase Sources: Amazon, Newegg and Microcenter. Would prefer free shipping or in store pick-up (will have local Frys price-match whatever they have in stock)


So, without further ado, here's what I've managed to come up with so far:

--Processor: Intel Core i5 2500K LGA 1155 Boxed Processor $179.99
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0354589
--Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 Mid Tower ATX Case (RC-912-KKN1) $54.99
http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Tower-Case-RC-912-KKN1/dp/tags-on-product/B003ZM7YTA
--Power: Antec High Current Gamer Series HCG-750 750W $94.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371049 changed
--Hard Drive: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB SATA 3.0 Gb-s 32MB Cache Bare-OEM, HD103SJ $59.99
http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Spinpoint-3-5-Inch-Internal-HD103SJ/dp/B002MQC0P8/ref=sr_1_1?m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1311298228&sr=1-1
--Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit (Full) System Builder DVD 1 Pack $99.99
http://www.amazon.com/Windows-Premium-64bit-System-Builder/dp/B004Q0PT3I/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1311366106&sr=8-2
--Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler $24.49
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002G1YPH0/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?ie=UTF8&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER
--Optical Drive: ASUS 24X DVD Burner - Model DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS - OEM $19.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827135204
--Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 LGA 1155 Z68 mATX $114.99
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0364087 changed
--RAM: CORSAIR Vengeance 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMZ4GX3M1A1600C9B $37.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145346&Tpk=Z4GX3M1A1600C9B changed
--GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 1024MB GDDR5 PCI-Express 2.0 01G-P3-1561-AR $229.99
http://www.amazon.com/EVGA-GeForce-Superclocked-PCI-Express-Graphics/dp/B004KZHRAM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1311372330&sr=8-1 changed

**Total Price = $917.40 (would love to see it lower, but still be a great gaming build)


Any suggestions, critiques or outright verbal-backhands are welcomed.....
Are there any useless or faulty parts that I've chosen? Am I getting the best deal (pre-rebate/coupon) on the chosen parts? Are there better priced parts for same performance, or are there better performing parts similarly priced out there? Will this build work for gaming?
Care to recommend an entirely different build? Etc.. etc..
I'm looking for all the input I can get.

Finally, I'd really like to restress (is that a word?) how little I know about building PCs. Any construction guidance would be very appreciated.

Thanks for reading, guys! :)
14 answers Last reply
More about newbie builder 1000 gaming build
  1. You can probably save a little bit by getting the mobo from microcenter as well, i think they are running a $40 off of mobo's with i5 2500k combo deal.

    And you might want to get $1600 Mhz memory with the same specs otherwise.

    Other than that it looks to be great.
  2. rvilkman said:
    You can probably save a little bit by getting the mobo from microcenter as well, i think they are running a $40 off of mobo's with i5 2500k combo deal.

    Thanks, but I'm having no luck finding this combo at Microcenter.... is it a store-only deal?

    EDIT: Also, I changed the RAM and I'm wondering if it's good.
  3. General Techniq said:
    Thanks, but I'm having no luck finding this combo at Microcenter.... is it a store-only deal?


    Are you within driving distance of Microcenter...because that 2500K deal is a walk in only special. Also I would stay away from that Thermaltake psu. Nothing to be recommended imo. Also that MSI board doesn't come with an SLI bridge.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371049 $94.99 - $69.99 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

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.689907 $324.98 save: $25.00 FREE SHIPPING
    Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52500K
    GIGABYTE GA-Z68A-D3H-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

    or...

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128495 $124.99 FREE SHIPPING
    GIGABYTE GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231427 $36.99 FREE SHIPPING
    G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBXL
  4. Do not get that Thermaltake PSU, as it was poorly reviewed at hardwaresecrets.

    If you are not going to be installing a second GPU in the future then you don't need 750W, or even close to that. And even if you were you could do it on a ~650W PSU.

    XFX 650W XXX Edition 80Plus Bronze Modular $90
    http://www.amazon.com/Xfx-650-Watt-Xxx-Grey/dp/B003DAJTN8/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1311384249&sr=1-1

    Corsair 650TXV2 80Plus Bronze $90 ($10 rebate)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139020

    Antec High Current Gamer HCG-520 80Plus Bronze $55
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371047
  5. +1 for the PSU, You can get a way better name than Tt for 100 bucks.
  6. Why_Me said:
    Are you within driving distance of Microcenter...because that 2500K deal is a walk in only special. Also I would stay away from that Thermaltake psu. Nothing to be recommended imo. Also that MSI board doesn't come with an SLI bridge.

    Microcenter isn't necessarily around corner. More like on the opposite end, diagonally, of the next county over. However, I'll give them a call in the morning to ask about the cpu/mb bundle, then head on over to pick it up. Also, if I can't do the same price or less with an sli board, I think I'll just stick with this one. Thanks for the help. :)


    Silvune said:
    Do not get that Thermaltake PSU, as it was poorly reviewed at hardwaresecrets.

    If you are not going to be installing a second GPU in the future then you don't need 750W, or even close to that. And even if you were you could do it on a ~650W PSU.

    Cool. As I was saying above, I think I'm going to back off of the sli aspirations.
    As for other PSUs, do you think this one will work?

    COOLER MASTER GX Series RS650-ACAAE3-US 650W $74.99

    I've been trying to keep to parts that are available at my local Frys (price-match) in order to save gas and avoid shipping waits/dangers/annoyances.
    Thanks for the help.
  7. processor- good choice
    case- the zalman z9 plus it 55$ right now it has better airflow than the haf 912 so you cant go wrong with it- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811235027&Tpk=zalman%20z9%20plus
    psu- the gx series is crap and you only need 550w for a single card- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371016
    hdd- good choice
    cooler- good choice
    Motherboard- that motherboard has some heat issues try this one- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157230 since you wont sli/xfire
    Ram- you will be able to afford that mobo with this ram change- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231428
    gpu- this version is only clocked 50mhz lower than the sc version. you can oc it yourself (not hard) i have that exact version and got it up to 960mhz the fan needs to be pretty high at that speed and it is loud so i just keep it at 922mhz- http://www.amazon.com/EVGA-GeForce-GDDR5-PCI-Express-Graphics/dp/B004K1EUWO/ref=sr_1_10?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1311396104&sr=1-10

    definitely oc you can get the processor up to 4.4ghz (4.2 is fine for any game) without even touching the voltage just the cpu multiplier (44x for 4.4ghz) the hyper 212 plus can handle that heat.
  8. if you are going to sli:
    mobo- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128502
    psu- you need at least 700w. 650w isnt going to cut it- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817182191 dont forget the promo code=56$
  9. mjmjpfaff said:

    gpu- this version is only clocked 50mhz lower than the sc version. you can oc it yourself (not hard) i have that exact version and got it up to 960mhz the fan needs to be pretty high at that speed and it is loud so i just keep it at 922mhz- http://www.amazon.com/EVGA-GeForce-GDDR5-PCI-Express-Graphics/dp/B004K1EUWO/ref=sr_1_10?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1311396104&sr=1-10

    Would there be a difference in Overclockability between the EVGA GTX560ti 01G-P3-1561-KR model and the 01G-P3-1561-AR model? I only ask because the KR is more readily available in my area.
  10. mjmjpfaff said:

    psu- you need at least 700w. 650w isnt going to cut it- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817182191

    650W won't cut it? That isn't very credible when the 700W PSU you linked only has two more amps on it's 12V rail than the XFX I linked and one more amp on the 12V rail than the Corsair 650TXV2. Rosewill are the type of brand where I would want to see a positive review of it before calling it high quality.

    http://www.guru3d.com/article/geforce-gtx-560-ti-sli-review/14
    Finally, this review shows a system using an i7-965, which is more power hungry than any Sandy Bridge CPU, using 449W at the wall. Take 10-20% off that number to get actual system power draw for their system and I would think that number would be a good basis for an absolute worst case scenario for maximum power draw for someone else's modern day system.
    In which case 400W would only stress a 650W PSU to ~61%, which would not be stressful to a good 650W PSU.
  11. The TX650V2 is by far the best of the three PSU's you mentioned.

    Because this is your first build, look at the following threads while you are waiting for your parts.
    Build it yourself:
    http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/274745-13-step-step-guide-building

    And although this primarily a troubleshooting thread, the first part contains a checklist that will catch most noob mistakes:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261145-31-read-posting-boot-problems
  12. dual 560's draw more power than dual 6950's and if I wanted some headroom without having to worry about cutting it close....I would go with a 750w psu myself.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371049 $94.99 - $69.99 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
  13. Silvune said:
    650W won't cut it? That isn't very credible when the 700W PSU you linked only has two more amps on it's 12V rail than the XFX I linked and one more amp on the 12V rail than the Corsair 650TXV2. Rosewill are the type of brand where I would want to see a positive review of it before calling it high quality.

    http://www.guru3d.com/article/geforce-gtx-560-ti-sli-review/14
    Finally, this review shows a system using an i7-965, which is more power hungry than any Sandy Bridge CPU, using 449W at the wall. Take 10-20% off that number to get actual system power draw for their system and I would think that number would be a good basis for an absolute worst case scenario for maximum power draw for someone else's modern day system.
    In which case 400W would only stress a 650W PSU to ~61%, which would not be stressful to a good 650W PSU.

    that is what happens when you chose a cheap psu

    "A second card requires you to add another ~175 Watts. You need a 700+ Watt power supply unit if you use it in a high-end system (800+ to a KiloWatt is recommended if you plan on any overclocking)"- quoted from your link. so since the i5 2500k is more efficient lets say 600w+ w/out any overclocking. but since he will oc (the 560 ti is a power hog when oc'd) id say 700w+. the psu i picked was the cheapest 700w that had good reviews (proffesional). i was about to show the psu why me posted but i figured it was too expensive
  14. Thanks for all the help with the PSU, everyone.

    It looks like I'll be settling with the Antec HCG-750 750W in the spirit of building a more responsible foundation. I hadn't planned on doing much upgrading to this PC past this winter, because I plan to build I more high-end one during February of 2012, but with this build, I can get some decent bang for the buck if I can get Frys and Microcenter on board with the price matching (newegg/amazon).

    I can always add more RAM and another card later next month. Hopefully, this will work just fine for my Eve Online, Battlefield 3, Team Fortress 2, and Planetside 2 (if the launch date magically appears pre Feb.2012) gaming needs.

    Well, I'm off to confirm info over the phone with Microcenter. Then, it's a quick shower/shave and barber visit, right before I head off on my purchasing road trip.

    Thanks again everyone! I'll check this thread one more time on my way out the door (possibly with my cell while at Frys/Microcenter, also). :)
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