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PC Building Rookie (around $1200-1300), advice please!

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August 6, 2011 1:10:09 AM

Trying to build a significantly more PC than what I've got right now, I need to get all the parts sorted...

CPU
Intel Core i5 2500K - $215
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

CPU Cooler
CoolerMaster Hyper 212+ CPU Cooler - $33
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Motherboard (Changed)
ASUS P8P67 LE Motherboard B3 - $130
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Case
CoolerMaster HAF 912 Advanced - $115
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Sound Card (Changed)
ASUS Default (i.e. the one that comes with the motherboard)

OS
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit with SP1 OEM - $105
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Memory (Changed)
G.Skill Ripjaws F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 - $69
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Hard Drive (Changed)
Samsung SpinPoint F3 1TB HD103SJ - $59
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

GPU (Changed)
ASUS GTX 560ti DirectCU II 1GB - $260
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Power Supply (Changed)
Antec EarthWatts 650W Green - $100
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

DVD Drive
ASUS DRW-24B3ST 24X DVDRW Drive - $25
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Misc.
Corsair Flash Voyager USB 3.0 16GB (USB Stick) - $40

Lamptron Noise Dampening Kit (attempt to reduce noise) - $20

Logitech LS21 2.1 Speakers - $30


Total Cost
A$1195

Notes
- I'm a student, so please consider budget :p 
- Do some gaming (mostly racing titles/sims), but also media related work (e.g. Photshop/video editing)
- For now I don't need a new monitor, keyboard of mouse

Questions
- Graphics card - I've listed the 560ti for now, but...
a) Is the ASUS one durable?
b) Was thinking about a VTX3D 6950 for $30 less, should I switch back to that?
- Motherboard - Have I picked the right one (I've got the right socket, but I only know that)?

Of course, you can suggest better parts, along as its from the pccasegear website. And any other advice would be helpful ;) 
August 6, 2011 2:35:50 AM

G.SKILL 8GB 1600Mhz $69 Sandy Bridge favors 1600MHz
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Samsung Spinpoint F3 $59 better performance same price
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Antec Earthwatt 500W [if you're not doing crossfire/sli this is fine]
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Radeon HD 6850 $170 [You're only playing racing games/sims right]
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

I don't know your resolution but the HD 6850 can handle a lot and play with decent fps at 1920x1080. It should be enough to handle your racing games and flight simulators or whatever simulations you're playing.

If you plan to crossfire, I would get this motherboard instead because it supports x8/x8:
Gigabyte GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 $135
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Then I'll get a Antec 650W for extra headroom [would choose this over CX600 v2 sorry] It's only $99
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=advanced_...

Finally, I would get one 6850 and then another one when you feel like upgrading :p 
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August 6, 2011 9:14:21 AM

Memory's swapped (less voltage sounds good), but your power supply is borderline (doesn't the 6850 need AT LEAST 500w?)

And not all of my games (planning to expand my game library) are race sims (but most are), and I don't need a Crossfire/SLI.

And I don't plan to upgrade for around 3 years (judging by what I've got now). Also my monitor's standard resolution is 1680x1050.
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August 6, 2011 4:47:25 PM

This is a good deal on a 750W psu:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371049&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-RSSDailyDeals-_-na-_-na&AID=10521304&PID=4176827&SID=1artawraolxio

Brand name is important in a psu and Antec is a good brand.

The motherboard that wintermint recommended is a good choice if you plan on sli/crossfire, but if not, I would recommend the following ASUS board:


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131706


Brand is personal preference, but ASUS is a good, reliable name and it has good customer service which is important considering the DOA rates of motherboards. (The ASUS motherboard does have two PCIe 2.0 x16 slots but does not support x8/x8 mode)

You probably don't need a sound card on a budget build, especially with the speakers you mentioned. Most motherboards in your range (including the three mentioned so far) support onboard 7.1 sound and on budget speakers you won't notice the difference. Wintermint's Radeon 6850 is the video card that I would have recommended as well. You can also save some money on a case if you'd like. A mid-tower case in the $50-$75 range should perform just fine. I bought the following case recently for an i5-2500K gaming build and it is excellent:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811235027&Tpk=zalman%20z9

My biggest concern with your original build would be the 'green' drive. Gaming can be hard-drive intensive and a lower RPM drives can be a hinderance. Wintermint's spinpoint is all the rage these days for budget 7200RPM drives, but if you really want a performance drive you should put some of the savings we've discussed toward an SSD. They're expensive (and you still need a standard HDD for mass storage) and you should probably get at least 120GB to fit a lot of games so it's a judgement call, but with the right optimization you will definitely notice the difference. I recommend this one:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233181

I know I didn't use the pccasegear website, but everything I mentioned is pretty popular and should be available in most places except for the deal on the antec power supply.
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August 6, 2011 5:00:42 PM

Hi, building a PC is fun, I'd do it at least once. But if you are after price performance and are not into overclocking CPU, then suggest getting manufacturer's refub PC with most of the parts you want and then incrementing. My last purchase was a refurb HP with i7-2600, HD 6770, 460 watt psu, crappy HD, Blueray playback, H67 chipset for $550 including shipping. (Product Description: HP Pavilion Elite HPE-550f Intel Core i7-2600 3.4GHz 8GB 1.5TB, Winning Quantity: 1 of 1, Winning Price: $513.00 each)

This MB won't support crossfire or overclocking, but the 460 watt PSU allows some pretty hefty single gpu upgrades. Also comes with clean win7 64 license, keyboard, marginal but ok mouse.

Please no flames, I think building PCs is fun and have done it. But it sure costs a lot more. Most people who could build their own PC can troubleshoot and fix a refurb unit if something fails. Google can find refub PC buying opportunities, i didn't post where i got mine so no one would think i was a thread spammer hawking a site. The PC it replaced was an i7-920, x58, win7, gtx260 (not core216, but 1.6 gb), 8gb ram, good 750GB hd bought the same way also under $600 two years ago.
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August 6, 2011 5:03:21 PM

TheRooster94 said:
Memory's swapped (less voltage sounds good), but your power supply is borderline (doesn't the 6850 need AT LEAST 500w?)

And not all of my games (planning to expand my game library) are race sims (but most are), and I don't need a Crossfire/SLI.

And I don't plan to upgrade for around 3 years (judging by what I've got now). Also my monitor's standard resolution is 1680x1050.


It doesn't NEED it. I'm running my 6870 on a 500W, with no problems as of yet.
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August 6, 2011 5:13:32 PM

Also, agree with earlier append. I have two of these drives as primary drives in systems (both Q6600 based) and regret the purchase:

Hard Drive
Western Digital Green 1TB WD10EARX - $59
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.ph [...] s_id=17711

I would instead go for any of the performance vs. green drives. Like a WD black, the spinpoint referenced, etc. Boot time is just too slow. So is loading levels, etc.
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August 6, 2011 5:19:00 PM

tsnor said:
Also, agree with earlier append. I have two of these drives as primary drives in systems (both Q6600 based) and regret the purchase:

Hard Drive
Western Digital Green 1TB WD10EARX - $59
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.ph [...] s_id=17711

I would instead go for any of the performance vs. green drives. Like a WD black, the spinpoint referenced, etc. Boot time is just too slow. So is loading levels, etc.


Yeah. The samsung Spinpoint f3 is decent. I would definitely consider getting that for myself.
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August 6, 2011 11:31:48 PM

Changed parts, weirdly I swapped from the Samsung to the green WD, don't know why I did that. :??: 

Card I've picked is an ASUS GTX 560, (down from a 560ti), although I could swap to a 6850/6870/6950 (6950 is $230, for the VTX3D one). I already have a nVIDIA card (although it's a paultry 7600GS), hence why this is my personal preference.

And for the sound card, I want something that's a little higher quality than the standard audio (even though a) there's no sophisicated speaker setup and b) the sound card brand is the same as the motherboard), and the requirements for the LS21 speakers is a sound card (even if it's the default motherboard one).
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August 7, 2011 1:50:15 AM

Looking like a good system. Personally, I'd keep the Ti. They preform significantly better than the standard gtx 560. You could always try the onboard sound on that mobo 1st... if it's not upto the standard you're wanting grab the extra sound card then? Also, given that you're a student on a budget... I have been getting parts from msy:

http://msy.com.au

It's not a great website, but just download the pdf pricelist, give your local store a call to check stock and often you'll save 5-10% on various parts :)  Even if you just pick up your case from them, that will chop a fair chunk off your shipping $ from PCCaseGear and probably save a couple of bucks while your at it.
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August 7, 2011 4:58:23 AM

Why I picked PCCaseGear - they're located near relatives, so I don't have to spend anything on shipping (I only live around a hour from their HQ, so shipping's only going to cost me $30).

And yeah, sound card is a bit of a luxury, they're both (add-on and the mobo default) ASUS, plus it's probably only going to be noticeable with either a surround sound unit or high quality gaming headphones. The rig I've got has competent sound quality anyway.

Edit - not including the misc. parts, PCCaseGear cost $1088, while MSY cost $1068, however...
- MSY did not have a GTX 560ti (although 560 and 6950 prices were identical to PCG)
- MSY had some parts out of stock, while PCG have ALL parts in stock
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August 7, 2011 7:49:38 AM

Sounds like your sorted. You can see how the right build in the right situation could save quite a bit at MSY especially if it helps you avoid a shipping charge. Reliable stock info is a problem with them... they can never tell you when they are getting new stuff in or restocking existing items :(  Have fun with your new build
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