$2000-2500 build opinions?

HI! I'd like to preface this build by informing that I am a Marine and for those of you whose knowledge of Marines comes from Call of Duty, those of us young single guys live in a barracks. It's basically a motel room that you share with 2 other dudes, not necessarily of your choosing. We have somewhat stringent rules as to what you can and can't have. What I'm getting at is this system is being housed in a locked, government "quality" cabinet (I guess it's a cabinet? Furniture aint my thing). I've measured it out and almost all cases these days require me to mount them transversely (left to right, not front to back, hence my case choice way down below). It's been roughly 3 years since I built my last computer (specs below) and it's starting to show its age. It never really played Crysis quite right (then again nothing did in 08...) and I've grown quite fond of FRAPSing my gaming exploits (but the "crease" in my screen coupled with the mouse feeling like it's in a puddle of Jello isn't doing it for me right now).

Anyways, I like my toys (it's a guy thing?). I like my computers like I like my cars...

Pictured: Mine

Pic of current setup to get an idea for how little space I have available. I can't have my own furniture or just put the case on the ground (something they don't tell you about the Marines.. you lose your GAMC [Grown Ass Man Card])


Old build:

OS: Windows XP Professional SP3 32bit (in 08, there was no Windows 7... leaving options that I couldn't tolerate)

Case: Who knows? I'd had it for years as a hand-me-down from my parents when I built the old rig. It has an Alienware logo but only has 2 80mm fans. I'm real fond of AC so my old builds never really needed much forced airflow.

PSU: Antec? 650W ????

Motherboard: EVGA 780i ???? (never could get the internal LAN to work.. ended up getting a PCI card instead of RMAing)

CPU: Q9550 @ 2.83GHZ. No overclock.

Cooler: Can't recall. It was highly recommended at the time and takes up about 1/3 of the motherboard lol.

RAM: 2x2GB (actually 2.75gb final thx to 32bit XP) Corsair (something)? DDR2 400MHZ 5:5:5:18:22 (this is a big bottleneck for FRAPSing, but not the whole story)

GPU: EVGA GTX260 216 Shaders (surprisingly, to me and anyone who's been doing this for many years, a midline GPU held on strong for 3 years before it started to show its age)

HDD: 500gb Seagate 7200rpm

ODD: HP DVD R/RW (generic)

Monitor: 22? 23? inch Westinghouse 1680x1050 (I've had it so long the name is worn off and I forgot if it's 22 or 23 inches. Additionally, I am too lazy to check)

Keyboard: HAHAHHAAHAHHAHAHA .... sorry.... it's a Dynex ???? that seems uncleanable these days

Mouse: Cyborg RAT7 (went through a lot of mouses before I found one I liked for FPSes online)

Sound: Logitech ???? 5.1 "surround"

I'd appreciate any kind of advice as to saving a little bit of money here and there or a better performing piece of hardware. I've seen all the "usual" arguments, and have heavily defended certain choices. If anything, someone must know of something better within a similar price point.

Approximate Purchase Date: Next week (Aug 9-11th... I'm shooting on the range all week next week or I'd have bought this stuff already honestly. Don't trust the supply r-tards to not destroy my hard-earned expenditures)

Budget Range: $2500 After shipping (right now shipping comes out to about $130.. I'm in Hawaii) BEFORE rebates.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming (Crysis 2, Black Ops, Starcraft II, Combat Arms, Metro 2033... pretty much everything worthwhile), Starcraft II Map Editing (if you've used it, you KNOW how long it takes to do anything. Really inefficient. Check out the beast whore map project I am working on for multiplayer!Video/Image editing (Amateur. I've ... ermm... "acquired" some high-end video editing software and right now it takes forever +1 day to render anything), movies, surfing the interwebs.

Parts Not Required: Mouse, speakers, monitor (separate budget for a ~27" to play in better resolutions), possibly OS (though I no longer see the need to pirate)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg.com (looked around... nerdiest guy I know recommended tigerdirect but they list all their parts priced AFTER rebates and it's not apparent til it's in the cart. Saving ~$30 at the end of the day wasn't worth it to me moving to a new site. Newegg's always been reliable for me and we're talking ~$2500 total cost so $30 aint ***. I can spend that on 2 drinks at a midgrade club here)

Country of Origin: USA (Hawaii, so .... well let's just say a lot of the people here would prefer to secede from the Union)

Parts Preferences: Intel. My laptop is AMD and I bought it for the same reason everyone buys AMD/ATI stuff. It's cheap performance. The laptop is just for when I'm on the go (say... in Afghanistan.......) anyway. I will never do an AMD/ATI GPU again though. Aside from having trouble finding drivers, I had to tweak the Catalyst settings just to stop certain games (looking at you, Borderlands!) from artifacting and BSOD. Basically, on my desktop, a little money saved aint worth a dime to me vs not having to hack the matrix just to play an OLD game with a current system.

Overclocking: Definitely. Sandybridge seems friendly enough to nice clock speeds.

SLI or Crossfire: Yep. Reasoning in GPU section.

Monitor Resolution: 1680x1050 (current), 1920x1080/1920x1200 on a ~27" (separate budget; need to see how much space I've got to work with when I get my new case). Monster resolutions are a no go for me. 30" are still hovering around $1k and multiple displays just looks retarded to me. If they made a really thin border display, then HELL YES, but the lip on the edge would confuse the crap out of me in an FPS.

Additional Comments: Reserved

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit - OEM

Case: Antec Lanboy air Red Black / Red ATX Mid Tower Computer Modular Case (Customizable, I like the looks, I can mount it transversely with the drive bays shooting out the left of center, it's modular, it looks ballin, and reviews show that "open air cooling" does in fact compete with sealed 9 fan cases)

PSU: Antec High Current Gamer Series HCG-900 900W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V v2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Certified 80 PLUS BRONZE ...

Motherboard: ASRock P67 EXTREME4 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard (good reviews, cheap, features include a USB 3.0 bay... my case lacks this)

CPU: Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I72600K (Please, no "go with the 2500k". I've read a lot of comparisons and yes, the 2500k is only marginally slower for gaming... right now, but I'm trying to extend this rig out to 4-5 years and beyond)

Cooler: Antec Kuhler H2O 620 Liquid Cooling System (Good reviews. Similar performance to gigantic air coolers. Similar price)

Additional case fan for cooler: Antec 761345-75026-4 120mm Red LED Case Fan (not terribly $ smart... but I'm going to do a push/pull on the radiator, and this is as close to matching the "stock" fans as I can get)

RAM: CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9R (I've seen comparisons on RAM and... well... it's all pretty close. On the plus side, this one is RED. Kinda got a theme goin here)

GPU: 2x in SLI: EVGA SuperClocked 012-P3-1572-AR GeForce GTX 570 (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card (Overkill? Certainly! But if one midline card got me ~3 years, 2 should get me 4-5. Just theorycrafting here)

SSD: Intel 510 Series (Elm Crest) SSDSC2MH120A2K5 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) (I have somewhat of a short temper, comes with the military, and waiting for the hard drive to access triggers it. I just figured it was standard until I found out about these. Based on average reviews, Intel's seems to be the most reliable unit)

HDD: 2x Seagate Barracuda Green ST2000DL003 2TB 5900 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive (These are for storage. Why 2 you ask? Raise your hand if you've had 3 drives fail in less than 3 years. Just me? Lessons learned: Western Digital? Never again. Granted they were all externals, but I just can't stand another 1TB+ loss of music/games/movies. Hence the "backup of the backup" philosophy. Things used to fail a LOT less often. Hardware RAID1 would be good, but even a cheapo card seems like a waste to me. I've seen software RAID accomplish the same thing. All else fails, I can just manually mirror the drives. Bottom line, a single backup doesn't cut it nowadays)

ODD: ASUS 24X DVD Burner - Bulk 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS - OEM (Wow 5 eggs average with 2000+ reviews! I guess DVD drives are the only thing with any reasonable quality control these days?)

Keyboard: AI-ROCKS KR-6820E-BK Black 104 Key USB Wired Backlit Gaming Keyboard (Orange LED) (Lighting to match the rest of the package while also being cheap. Also, the glowing keys are entirely necessary as it's sometimes necessary to game while others are sleeping. I REALLY want a reasonably cheap, RED/orange backlight one with VOLUME CONTROLS! I love this about my dying sticky keyboard. My "actual" volume control is blocked physically by my monitor)

Subtotal: $2,196.85 (??? something must have dropped in price today... I swear it was more yesterday)

Shipping (Hawaii): $133.55

Total: $2,330.40
9 answers Last reply
More about 2000 2500 build opinions
  1. your current rig would be able to handle an upgrade instead if you wanted, that Q9550 is great!, this is what i would reccommend:

    OCZ solid 3 120GB SSD:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227729

    two of these:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130613

    as for the HDD i would definetely reccommend a 7200RPM drive over that 5900RPM,

    i would reccommend upgrading to this ram:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820104073

    the PSU you chose form earlier:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371050

    and windows 7 64bit pro:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Windows-7-Professional-32-64-bit-/230656832181?pt=AU_software&hash=item35b437f2b5

    and a minor OC on that Q9550 if you want and there you have it a brand new system!
  2. Nice Build.

    Just some advice.

    I would not go SLI right away. grab a GTX 580 3GB and play for as long as you can, then grab a second or when you see the price drop (next year when nvidia debuts there newest cards). I just took out my EVGA 570's in SLI (same model as you selected) and replaced with a GTX 590 for heat reasons. My Micro ATX box and MB was starving the the inside 570 of air. the 570's rocked, don't get me wrong, but only because I do surround gaming at 1920x1200 x 3 (6020x1200 with bezel correction). my friends single GTX 580 performed within a few FPS of my SLi'd 570's in most games at 1920x1200 or 1920x1080. I would always start out with the single fasted card you can afford then SLI/CF later.

    I have two of those seagate "green" drives. while they have been reliable so far, there is a major pause when access them if the computer if the computer has been on a while. this probably the power saving "green" of them, but it is very irritating. I could be just spoiled with my SSD.

    For you SSD I would look at the Crucial M4 128GB. it just got Tom's best buy award for reliability and performance.

    you might try to price compare on Amazon, the shipping will be less. Newegg kills on shipping to Hawaii and APO's (me)

    I like the MB choice.

    The i7-2600K is overkill for gaming, the i5-2500K is the CPU of choice, but if you can afford it, go for it.
  3. ps3hacker12 said:
    your current rig would be able to handle an upgrade instead if you wanted, that Q9550 is great!, this is what i would reccommend:

    OCZ solid 3 120GB SSD:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227729

    two of these:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130613

    as for the HDD i would definetely reccommend a 7200RPM drive over that 5900RPM,

    i would reccommend upgrading to this ram:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820104073

    the PSU you chose form earlier:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371050

    and windows 7 64bit pro:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Windows-7-Professional-32-64-bit-/230656832181?pt=AU_software&hash=item35b437f2b5

    and a minor OC on that Q9550 if you want and there you have it a brand new system!

    I appreciate your input, but I'm not a once a year or whenever upgrader. I go several years between builds and splurge on them. I time my builds around me having a nice pool of money set aside. My last build was poorly timed because DDR3 RAM was still new and it was still a little "off", so I had to downgrade to a DDR2 chipsets. I originally envisioned a sub-1k upgrade path that would lead to good performance, but I found that eventually the dinosaur DDR2 RAM equipped mobo was going to have to go. I'm hunting for about 4-5 years if not more when it comes to this build. My last build lasted ~3 years and cost just shy of $1.5k (granted, I had some things I could reuse and SSDs didn't exist at the time...) I do a bit of everything on my computers (actually, I do a bit of everything in real life too... I guess I'm just awesome or something)

    @jerreddredd

    The problem with heat management is it's based more on stuff you can't just click buttons on Newegg for (as in, it's always ~65-70F ambient in my room. Hawaii + mild A/C goes a long way. Maybe yours goes up to 90F in the summer. I instantly have a HUGE cooling advantage) How did you have your 570s set up? Were they SLI in adjacent slots (eh... I mean like 1/4-1/2 inch between) or 2-3 inch between?) I'll look into the 580. I tend to over-research everything (and register on forums I would otherwise never have noticed), but it seems to have saved me trouble/money over the years. From what I remember, the breakdown was (unscientific mind you) 1x 580 > 1x 570 by a lot (these are relative numbers.. a few fps in a high end game = great scalability for the future. Just look back to 07-08 benchmarks featuring Crysis on various cards), 2x 570 > 1x 580 by a lot, 2x 580 > 2x 570 by medium and on into the unrealistic realm of 3-4 GPUs... which would just take me back into ATI territory with the jacked up drivers. GPU is the most ???? thing in my whole build... in the sense that I'm conflicted over 1 or 2x 570/580 and when to get them (2x 580 NOW is over budget, unless I drop the SSD and downgrade the CPU and blah blah compromises blah).

    @P07H34D
    1TB anything will not work. I went over 1TB on 2/3 of my drives that /wrists on me over the last 3 years. I get a lot of game installers and put them on storage. Yeah, I can download again from direct2drive or torrents, but it takes a LONG time to rebuild 1TB of stuff in America. Internet is slow as balls here. I absolutely need 4TB of HDDs. It won't fill instantly, but I will be at 1-1.5TB within a few months, and the second drive will be a backup. Blame Uncle Sam but I get friggin angry when things fail before their rated life. Seems to be getting a lot more common. Perhaps there is a better 5400-5900 rpm drive out there (el cheapos). Mostly, I just don't see the NEED to drop 2x the cash for 7200rpm drives. Years back I had a low-end laptop with a 4200rpm hard drive and it loaded/played movies just fine. Yes, transfers from SSD > HDD and back will be faster with the 7200 rpm drives, but the current aim is to install what I want on the SSD, move the installers to the HDD (say during my shower... because my life is so scheduled these days) and put new movies/games on the HDDs by downloading to them. I may be nuts, but I've seen the so-called "benchmarks" and I can just envision moving today's downloads to my HDD while I'm not even around. No biggie.
  4. Quote:
    @jerreddredd

    The problem with heat management is it's based more on stuff you can't just click buttons on Newegg for (as in, it's always ~65-70F ambient in my room. Hawaii + mild A/C goes a long way. Maybe yours goes up to 90F in the summer. I instantly have a HUGE cooling advantage) How did you have your 570s set up? Were they SLI in adjacent slots (eh... I mean like 1/4-1/2 inch between) or 2-3 inch between?) I'll look into the 580. I tend to over-research everything (and register on forums I would otherwise never have noticed), but it seems to have saved me trouble/money over the years. From what I remember, the breakdown was (unscientific mind you) 1x 580 > 1x 570 by a lot (these are relative numbers.. a few fps in a high end game = great scalability for the future. Just look back to 07-08 benchmarks featuring Crysis on various cards), 2x 570 > 1x 580 by a lot, 2x 580 > 2x 570 by medium and on into the unrealistic realm of 3-4 GPUs... which would just take me back into ATI territory with the jacked up drivers. GPU is the most ???? thing in my whole build... in the sense that I'm conflicted over 1 or 2x 570/580 and when to get them (2x 580 NOW is over budget, unless I drop the SSD and downgrade the CPU and blah blah compromises blah).


    I really wasn't trying to point out a heat issue with SLi, I was more or less explaining why I switched mine out. unfortunately they were side by side in on uATX MB in a uATX case. I will re-use them in my sons gaming system on a ATX mb that will have blank slot inbetween them. I was trying to say not to just jump right into SLi, but buy a good card and 'IF' you need the extra FPS later add the second card. Not all games show an improvement in SLi, and SLi is still a little buggy with some games. It is a lot better now than it used to be. My GTX570's were blazing fast in all the bench marks, but I don't even notice any extra in just about all games. I notice a lot of Tearing in Crysis2 with every thing maxed in SLI and some stuttering that's not there with a single card. I just want to keep it real with your expectations of SLi. My friend has HD 6950's in CF and experiences about the same issues as I do, so it not just an nVidia SLi thing, more of a multi GPU thing maybe. I haven''t had any issue with my GTX 590 yet, but I have only had it 2 weeks and haven't played through my game library yet.
  5. Tangent?: I realize with my current 60hz monitor (and my soon to be 60hz 32" 1080p TV or 85hz 27" monitor) I will currently be beyond the viewable framerate with 2x 570 superclocked. However, I'm aiming for 4-5 years of serviceability. I got almost 3 years out of a single OC 260 (ignoring Crysis and the 7 months "break" I took in Afghanistan). Maybe they will start pushing the envelope with games again, but I doubt it. The tech bulge is slowing down and gaming today is mostly franchise (I figure in 2016 when it's time for an upgrade, we'll see Call of Duty 13). Today's overkill will be "playable" in 4-5 years by my logic. I figure ~2300$ now for 4-5 years is better than ~1000$ every 1-3 years. Quality control seems to be on a downward spiral anyway. My last build saw 2 hardware failures. Everything I did before that was good to go on the first shot.
  6. Dureil said:
    Tangent?: I realize with my current 60hz monitor (and my soon to be 60hz 32" 1080p TV or 85hz 27" monitor) I will currently be beyond the viewable framerate with 2x 570 superclocked. However, I'm aiming for 4-5 years of serviceability. I got almost 3 years out of a single OC 260 (ignoring Crysis and the 7 months "break" I took in Afghanistan). Maybe they will start pushing the envelope with games again, but I doubt it. The tech bulge is slowing down and gaming today is mostly franchise (I figure in 2016 when it's time for an upgrade, we'll see Call of Duty 13). Today's overkill will be "playable" in 4-5 years by my logic. I figure ~2300$ now for 4-5 years is better than ~1000$ every 1-3 years. Quality control seems to be on a downward spiral anyway. My last build saw 2 hardware failures. Everything I did before that was good to go on the first shot.



    a little tangent... Hey, I was just offering advice, speaking from experience with SLI. my 2 x 570's are blazing fast no complaints. other than until I did Surround gaming on 3 monitors. Hind sight tells me a single 580 would have been better if I wasn't doing the surround gaming thing.

    anyway, your build is solid which ever way you go GPU wise.
  7. Ended up going with the 2.5gb VRAM versions of the 570s. There's a 30 inch or maybe 3 22-24 inches in my future (6-12 months seems logical). Newegg's shipping is so goofy... most of the stuff is supposed to arrive tomorrow (I'm on a military base so... that's more like Friday), but the cards had to go a little further so.... ESD is.... the 15th? "2 day air" turned into 6 day jetski apparently.

    I'll let you guys know how it works out. Hopefully nothing is DOA. Then the fun task of formatting, windows updates, driver updates, attempting to OC the 2600k to 4.5ghz (probably a good limit based on where the case is going to sit for the next 5 months), stress testing, playing games etc.
  8. Wow all that work and it started up on the first try. The CPU cooler was a nightmare to install. I had to "modify" the backplate to not touch mobo pins. The 570 2.5gb cards are a blast but at max speed it sounds like a tornado at full speed. They don't hit that in games yet, just the manual fan control. OC'd the 2600k to 4.4. Voltage is highish at 1.325 but I can dial that down bit by bit later today. At these settings under prime95, idle is around 34 for all cores and in load the highest core hits 70. I think when I tweak it to 4.5ghz and less voltage it should drop nicely. only issue is it has to boot twice to see my SSd but that's a known issue for this combo. Running my storage drives in raid1.
  9. Ended up having to let the thing breathe in the open. I'll just have to stash it whenever I leave my prison ce.. I mean room. Heat was becoming an issue. Benchmarks weren't really showing it. CPU was idling around 36 which aint a problem I guess. CPU was maxing out around 72, which again isn't so rough. The real problem came with my GPUs. They would idle about 40 but under maximum load, the top card hit 94 during, yep bet you can't guess what game almost powered me down (at 97 I believe the cards turn off). It was ... Starcraft II? Maybe because it's not framerate limited? IDK but it stressed my cards more than the Crysis games.

    Now that the stupid thing can breathe, the CPU idles at 29-33 (figured a spread made more sense than an average). Max load (rendering in Adobe, been busy processing many many gigs of FRAPS footage) seeing 59-61. Top/bottom cards now idle at 35/33 and max load (again... somehow.... in Starcraft II) is 72/65. They are next to each other due to space concerns. I feel satisfied now.
Ask a new question

Read More

Build Systems Product