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Advice on $1000 build with monitor

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August 9, 2011 3:03:40 AM

Hi I'm looking to build a computer for my brother. Just need some advice on whether I can improve on my current build.



Approximate Purchase Date: Tomorrow if possible


Budget Range: $1000


System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, web surfing, watching movies, music, MS Word, also he's planning on being an engineer so if there are any programs similar to CAD that he would have to use.


Parts Not Required: Mouse, Keyboard, OS, Heatsink?


Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg, Tigerdirect, Amazon, Microcenter, anything really


Country of Origin: USA


Parts Preferences: None


Overclocking: Yes


SLI or Crossfire: Unlikely


Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080


Additional Comments:

I know that Sandy Bridge is supposed to be better for gaming but I was just curious in what way. I don't think that I can afford an i5-2500k so I decided to go with the Phenom II 955 because of the quad cores. I think that the AMD CPU would give an advantage in general use like multitasking right?

Probably going to be playing Shogun 2, BF3, Diablo 3.

Also I need speakers. Nothing special as long as sound comes out.

Also noise and heat are not big factors. Rather sacrifice the two over performance.


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CPU AND MOBO COMBO DEAL ($205) : AMD Phenom II X4 955 and MSI 970A-G45 AM3+
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
I don't need anything fancy on the motherboard. If there are any cheaper ones that are good I'm all for it. I got the AM3+ because I heard that it's compatible with BD.

CASE ($59.99): Coolermaster HAF 912
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU (279.99): XFX HD 6960
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
XFX seems to be one of the top manufacturers of AMD cards and this model seems to have good cooling.

PSU ($109.99): CORSAIR Professional Series HX650
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM ($59.99): G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1600

Hard Drive ($50): Samsung 1TB Spinpoint F3

DVD Drive $20

Speakers ($17) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Wireless Adapter ($20) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Monitor ($120) Hannspree 21.5 inch
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Just want a monitor at 1920x1080 resolution. Size doesn't really matter so anything cheaper is fine.

Just want to know if there's any way to squeeze in a i5-2500k and a p67 motherboard or whether it's even worth it.



a b B Homebuilt system
August 9, 2011 6:08:30 AM

I can't see why not, maybe you will pay a bit extra but quite frankly having seen a few 2500k on P67 motherboards, I can't really see why for the price offered anyone can turn them down. I only found out from this site the poor comparative performance in regards to AMDvsIntel, when an I-3 runs pretty much at a par with these Phenoms x4 then well that tells you a story.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-llano-proces...

That link shows that AMD have not comparative product to Intel SandyBridge and the bigger Xtreme i7's.

I may not be an expert, but I don't think you need an expert to tell you that a good P67 motherboard and 2500k is just about as good as it gets.

It would seem a popular motherboard is the Asus P8P67 Pro which I am sure caters to all your needs, if you want more look at the Deluxe, from Gigabyte I am building a rig with a GA-P67A-UD4 and they are as sweet as a nut.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 9, 2011 6:31:52 AM

"Sweet as a nut" lul.
Yeah, I don't think a 2500K build is viable on $800 for the system. You went the right way. You have $80 or so extra, which I recommend putting into a nicer monitor. It'll really improve the whole experience of gaming - after all, that's the point, isn't it? Think about it: what's the point of near-maxing games with a 6950 if you don't have a nice screen to enjoy the results? Gaming performance, as some people seem to forget sometimes (not pointed particularly at you), is not about getting the max framerate. It's about having the nicest overall look.
I'd recommend a 23" for $30 extra (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)
Also, it's probably worth it to grab a Xigmatek SD963 for $25. It works very well for me and my 965 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...).
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 9, 2011 7:12:31 PM

You can definitely build an i5-2500K machine on your budget (and in my opinion you should)

CPU - $219.99: Intel Core i5-2500K
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU Cooler - $24.99: XIGMATEK LOKI 92mm HYPRO Bearing CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard - $99.99: GIGABYTE GA-Z68A-D3-B3 Intel Z68 Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Graphics - $159.99: XFX Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit DDR5
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM - $54.99: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1333
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hard Drive - $49.99: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Optical - $20.99: ASUS 24X DVD Burner OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU - $59.99: Corsair Builder Series 500W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case - $49.99: XION Classic Series Black
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: $740.91 (I did a lot of moving things around, so this might be a few dollars off.)

You're about $250 under budget and you said you don't need a heatsink, so that would put you at $275 under. I didn't include a monitor because they're so varied in cost and quality and it's all personal preference. Obviously that will have to take a piece of that $275.

In terms of upgrades to spend that last chunk of your budget, you could add an ssd for the boot drive. The OCZ Agility 3 is a good choice for $199.99:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
You could also upgrade your motherboard to something like the ASUS P8Z67-V Pro for an extra $100:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Another upgrade (and my personal favorite) is to upgrade the CPU to the i7-2600K for an additional $80 (there's a promo code on newegg until 8/15 selling the i7-2600K for $299.99). Normally the i5-2500K is a better value, but the CAD programs that engineers run will love the hyperthreading offered by the i7 (though the games won't notice the difference between the two cpus).
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
However, you listed your primary concern as gaming, so you could also get a better card (your hd 6960 with that corsair 650W would be nice) or crossfire a second 6850. However with each of those options you'd need a better PSU and if you opted for crossfire you would need to upgrade to a motherboard that supports x8/x8 mode (the Gigabyte one only supports x16/x4 but the more expensive ASUS supports x8/x8).
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 9, 2011 8:40:56 PM

Dan, a monitor has to fit in. That's $200 of the $250 (for a 24" VW246H, which I think is worth it. It'll make more of an impact on the overall experience than a 2500K).
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 9, 2011 8:54:25 PM

Oh it definitely has to fit. I'm not sure a 24" VW246H is worth it in terms of bang-for-the-buck as well as future upgradability, but even if that's what they picked, I did leave enough room in the budget for that as well as a video card upgrade if they're willing to go a little over.

Obviously there's wiggle room in terms of slight upgrades and downgrades in most of the parts depending on what the computer will be used for and it's certainly reasonable to decide that the 2500K isn't worth the price when there are good AMD chips in the low $100s. My only point is that if they do decide that they want to go with the 2500K, you can build a pc in the $800 range based on that cpu.
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