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First time builder with $600-$800 media/gaming PC

Last response: in Systems
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August 2, 2011 4:18:59 PM

This is my first attempt at putting together a build for my new PC, so I am in desperate need of advice! Thanks for any help.

Approximate Purchase Date: ASAP, hopefully this week

Budget Range: $600 - $800 before rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming/watching movies, surfing the internet

Parts Not Required: Monitor - using my Samsung LCD 550 tv
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg, Amazon, Microcenter (have one nearby)

Country of Origin: United States

Parts Preferences: no real preference

Overclocking: maybe

SLI or Crossfire: no

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: Would like to build something that's fairly flexible in terms of upgrading. My gaming is fairly light (Civ5), so I'm not sure how much I need in terms of power. Also, I'm a complete noob so I apologize for any extremely obvious things that I'm missing.

Tentative build:

MoBo: GIGABYTE GA-990XA-UD3 AM3+ AMD 990X SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD $139.99
Processor: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 $119.99
Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) $49.99
GPU: EVGA 01G-P3-1366-TR GeForce GTX 460 SE (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP $159.99
Hdd: Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s $89.99
PSU: COOLER MASTER GX Series RS750-ACAAE3-US 750W ATX12V v2.31 SLI Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC $99.99
Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 912 RC-912-KKN1 Black SECC/ ABS Plastic ATX Mid Tower $59.99
CD/DVD/Blu-ray: ASUS Black 12X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Drive Model BC-12B1ST/BLK/B/AS - OEM $68.99

Total = $788.92
August 2, 2011 7:52:40 PM

Good but here are some better parts:

Memory: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $49.99

PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $119
That Cooler Master PSU is pretty horrible. I considered purchasing that one but after reading much reviews and problems about it, I decided on this Corsair PSU

GPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $169.99
This card has lower power consumption than the GTX 460 and is much cooler

There are rebates on these items as well which I didn't list.

And you can buy OEM version of Windows 7 on newegg. Thing about OEM versions of windows is that they are motherboard bound meaning that if you want to swap another motherboard you will have to call MS to see if they can transfer that license to the new motherboard. Retail versions are not bound by this. I guess that is why MS charges less for OEM versions since you "agree" not to upgrade or so I read.
August 2, 2011 9:34:48 PM

Thanks for the input. I really had no idea what go with in terms of power supply, but the Corsair looks quite solid. I also switched cases to the Rosewill Challenger.

So does this seem like a decent $800 build? I feel like there are ways to trim the fat and improve the price/performance, but I don't know exactly where. Obviously don't want to skimp on the PSU. I went with the AM3+ to make it Bulldozer ready, so it seems like that is more of an investment for the future. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. I want to get this thing built ASAP but I'm a bit overwhelmed by it right now.

Updated build:

MoBo: GIGABYTE GA-990XA-UD3 AM3+ AMD 990X SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD $139.99
Processor: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 $119.99
Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL$49.99
GPU: XFX HD-685X-ZNDC Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity $169.99
Hdd: Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s $89.99
PSU: CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX750 V2 750W ATX12V v2.31/ EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC High Performance Power Supply $119.99
Case: Rosewill CHALLENGER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case $49.99
CD/DVD/Blu-ray: ASUS Black 12X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Drive Model BC-12B1ST/BLK/B/AS - OEM $68.99

Total = $808.92 before rebates
Related resources
August 3, 2011 12:11:32 AM

^ Don't get the WD Blacks they're expensive, and not worth the price at all. Expecially since there is the Samsung F3 1TB.

You don't really need that motherboard since you're not SLI/CF and you MIGHT be overclocking so you can save there too. Also you don't need 750w and you should probably get the 550 Ti since Civ5 is Nvidia favoring.

Check out my $550 build here.
http://www.squidoo.com/electronicandmore
Just swap the i3 2100 for the i5 2400.
http://www.amazon.com/Intel-i5-2400-Processor-3-10GHz-L...
You'll end up at a total of about $620 but get way better CPU performance and better optimization.
955 vs i5 2400
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/88?vs=363
Civ5 NVDA favoring.
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Zotac/GeForce_GTX_55...
August 3, 2011 12:46:40 AM

I can't wait for Bulldozer to come out myself. Your build is good besides I would personally swap out that Rosewill case for this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I have this one myself and it has plenty of space and room for the price, just $10 more than the Rosewill. The Corsair PSU is so nice as well (have that as well!)
August 3, 2011 5:24:16 AM

Here's a build worth looking at seeing how nobody knows if Bulldozer is going to be a hit, or a complete dud like all the other AMD cpu's in the past five years.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $59.99 - $49.99 after mail-in rebate FREE SHIPPING
Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0047YNHI2/ref=ox_sc_a... $58.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Antec Computer Power Supply HCG-520

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $99.99 FREE SHIPPING
GIGABYTE GA-Z68A-D3-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml... $179.99
Core i5 2500K LGA 1155 Boxed Processor

http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Hyper-Sleeve-RR-B10... $29.49 Free Standard Shipping (3-5 days)
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler, RR-B10-212P-G1

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $49.99 FREE SHIPPING
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL

http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Spinpoint-3-5-Inch-Intern... $59.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Samsung Desktop Class Spinpoint F3 1 TB SATA 3.0 Gb-s 32 MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare-OEM Drives, HD103SJ

http://www.amazon.com/Sony-SATA-Internal-Drive-AD-7260S... $19.99 Free Standard Shipping (3-5 days)
Sony 24X SATA Internal DVD+/-RW Drive AD-7260S-0B - Bulk (Black)

http://www.amazon.com/EVGA-GeForce-GDDR5-PCI-Express-Gr... $239.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti FPB 1024 MB GDDR5 PCI-Express 2.0 Graphics Card - Limited Lifetime Warranty 01G-P3-1561-AR

Total: $798.41 *not including mail in rebates

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $94.99 FREE SHIPPING
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM
August 3, 2011 3:53:22 PM

Why_Me said:
Here's a build worth looking at seeing how nobody knows if Bulldozer is going to be a hit, or a complete dud like all the other AMD cpu's in the past five years.


Wow, that looks like a really nice build. I had always been intrigued by the i5 2500 and this certainly seems to make good use of it in an affordable build. I think I'm actually going to go with this build.

Had a quick question about the MoBo: would this be a suitable board to OC on? Some of the reviews mentioned that they weren't sure about it, and I don't know nearly enough right now to figure it out on my own. Are there any other hardware concerns with overclocking the i5?
August 3, 2011 6:33:59 PM

_entropy said:
Wow, that looks like a really nice build. I had always been intrigued by the i5 2500 and this certainly seems to make good use of it in an affordable build. I think I'm actually going to go with this build.

Had a quick question about the MoBo: would this be a suitable board to OC on? Some of the reviews mentioned that they weren't sure about it, and I don't know nearly enough right now to figure it out on my own. Are there any other hardware concerns with overclocking the i5?

Yep, that board over clocks. :) 
!