$1500 Gaming Build - Inspired by "Best Build" thread

Hey guys,
Console gamer here who has finally gotten sick of not gaming on PC. I am looking to construct a unit for around $1500 that will primarily be used to:
- Play games like Oblivion, GTA 4, Skyrim, WoW, etc. (large open maps with lots of draw distance and texture/shadow rendering).
- Watch HD movies seamlessly (1080p mkv and MP4 with bitrates over 10,000)

As you will see I have picked the GTX 570 instead of the usual 2-3 6850s that we see recommended. This is because frankly, the GTX 570 is significantly better than a single 6850 and can be expanded as well with SLI when needed. I do believe two GTX 570s using SLI outperforms three 6850s CrossFire. And I'd imagine 3-way SLI w/ 570 GTX would outperform Quad CrossFire w/ Radeon 6850. Despite that "power for price" you're getting more with ATI, one day 5-6 years down the road I think I'll be happy I chose to maximize the potential here instead (in that I can't exceed 4 cards thus 3 SLI > 4 CF).

This is what I have devised online on newegg.ca (CDN but prices should be nearly identical in US considering USD/CDN is even)

+ $40 heatsink/fan
= $1587.87 before taxes/shipping

- What do you guys think of the choices and prices?
- Am I missing anything here?
- Are any of the parts listed due to drop in price? For instance, if Nvidia didn't announce a 2012 delay for their next line of cards, they would be coming out in November of this year. Thus buying the GTX 570 right now in that scenario would be foolish.
- Know of a site offering one of these parts for cheaper?


GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52500K

ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM

EVGA 012-P3-1571-AR GeForce GTX 570 HD w/Display-Port (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

Mushkin Enhanced Redline 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2133 (PC3 17000) Desktop Memory Model 996997

COOLER MASTER Storm Scout SGC-2000-KKN1-GP Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

OCZ Agility 2 OCZSSD2-2AGTE60G 2.5" 60GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

Western Digital Caviar Black WD2002FAEX 2TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

ASUS VW246H Glossy Black 24" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor

hec Zephyr MX 750 750W Peak Output ATX12V V2.3 / EPS12V V2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply

Rosewill RCM-8164V 1.3 M Effective Pixels USB 2.0 WebCam

- Forgot to add heatsinks and additional fans (case comes with 3 installed I believe); estimates anyone? Never built my own PC
- Already got a gaming keyboard/mouse

Grand Total: $1,527 + tax
$1,327 without the display (considering using my TV until I find a better deal; what do you think?)
24 answers Last reply
More about 1500 gaming build inspired best build thread
  1. ^ The mobo you have chosen is a LGA 1366 whereas the i5 is an 1155 CPU,...
    So search for a LGA 1155 board,...

    PSU - Change to a better brand-
    Antec/ Corsair/ PCP&S/ Silverstone/ Seasonic
  2. You may want to rethink the motherboard you plan to pair with your CPU, notice the difference in the amount of pins 1366 on the motherboard and 1155 for the CPU, that could pose a potential issue :) Something like a P67 chipset would work or a Z68 depending on price, the Z68 likely won't add anything you'd care about, but it was released more recently and people love to have the newer items lol

    I don't think your DDR3 2133 is worth it I would simply stick with DDR3 1600 for almost half that price.

    I'm not a fan of the reliability I'm seeing with the OCZ drives, may want to consider a Crucial M4 64GB or a Samsung 470. The crucial is going to be faster, you will want to make sure it has updated firmware however I believe newegg is shipping them with it updated at this point. Whatever you choose I would definitely make sure you check reviews of the SSD with the exact motherboard you're planning to get for compatibility issues.

    Far as power supplies you'll often see Corsair and Antec recommended, I tend to lean towards these 2 brands myself, something like Antec High Current Gamer Series HCG-750 750W is 65 after MIR on US site.

    Far as heatsinks go you'll likely want something like a CM Hyper 212+ price on that seems to float around 25-30 from newegg or amazon.

    For hard drives this is hard to say as I don't know your personal use, however I'm more likely to suggest something like SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB they are around 50 each. SSD for OS maybe some basic programs with a couple F3s, can use 1 for storage other for backup till you need another etc, but itll save another 50. Just as long as you have a method for backing up, something too many people overlook.

    That should give you something to look at and come up with a revised list.

    gkay09 also beat me on the motherboard issue while I was typing a few suggestions lol
  3. Your video card plan is good, but if you want to SLI eventually you might want to get an 850W PSU. I'm not an expert on gpu power consumption, but I do know that I've seen a lot of respected sli and crossfire builds with 850W PSUs including toms $2000 performance PC

    If you're booting from SSD you don't need a $150 2TB HDD. The Seagate Green 2TB drive will be great for mass storage at $80
    Also you'll want a SATA 6Gb/s SSD (OCZ Agility 3, for example) but either of 3Gb/s or 6Gb/s will be fine for your HDD because an HDD won't ever put out data faster than 3Gb/s.

    I agree with MrYoink that DDR3 2133 is overkill and you should stick with DDR3 1600.

    Finally, just to be clear, a 1155 socket cpu like the i5-2500K WILL NOT fit or function in a 1366 socket. I recommend the ASUS P8Z68-V PRO for $200 if you can afford it (there are similar models for a similar price with each brand but I'm an ASUS guy on motherboards). If you want to go much cheaper than that you'll likely have to sacrifice something. The ASUS P8Z68-V LE is similar for $133 but doesn't have SATA 6Gb/s and the Gigabyte GA-Z68A-D3-B3 is similar for $100 but only supports x16/x4 mode with the two PCIe slots (as opposed to the x8/x8 or x16/x16 that you want) which is a problem if you ever want to SLI.
  4. I was wrong about the ASUS P8Z68-V LE...it does have SATA 6Gb/s but like the Gigabyte I mentioned it only supports x16/x4 PCIe configuration.
  5. One last post...sorry, should have planned it out better. The cheapest socket 1155 motherboard with the z67 chipset I found on newegg that has both SATA 6Gb/s and 2 PCIe 2.0 x16 in x8/x8 configuration is the GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD4-B3 for $160
  6. ASRock P67 EXTREME4 GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard runs around 160 would be my suggestion for motherboards. It's a recently updated version with pcie 3.0 and since you picked a case with a window on it I'll point out that I think it looks kinda cool lol. It has esata port, usb 3.0 header (case doesn't have front usb3.0 however could always get an adapter, also front usb3.0 is only just starting to come out, I personally care more about the esata on the back)

    The z68 version is around 190, but there's little reason to pay the extra 30.

    Figured I would give you a motherboard suggestion just so I make it clear that your current choice simply won't work, I do suggest the i5-2500k though.
  7. Thanks for the replies guys.

    So I've switched to the DDR3 1600 ram, saving me about $70 total. Found them for $57.99, same brand and everything.

    I've been looking for a new mobo as per suggestions and have a couple questions regarding the PCI express slots.
    -If I eventually expand to 3 video cards, I will need 3 PCI 2.0 slots correct?
    -Does anything else besides video cards use these?
    A-lso how do x8 vs x16 differ, and is it worth the extra $50 to have a board that runs x16, x16, x8 for the video cards versus the x8 x8 x8 for the cheaper ones?

    I see the logic with internal HDD so that's gone. Based on this benchmark site I am thinking of either the $120 Corsair Force 3 Series 60gb or the $120 Crucial M4 64gb if that's no good. What do you guys think? Although it does benchmark higher I am unsure of it's reliability (Corsair). You guys are right abouty OCZ, it looks like it's a coin toss as to whether your SSD will work in a week or not.

    One last question: I am reading that DDR3 2166 does technically perform better it's just that almost every application is limited by the CPU, GPU, or amount of memory rather than it's frequency. Does this mean in the future this RAM will be useful? If so whats the expectancy on that?

  8. Quote:
    I wouldn't get an SSD unless you get around 80GB atleast then you will have enough room for win7 home premium 64bit with 2-3 games on it without maxing out the ssd in 1 day.

    I have an intel 320 series 120gb ssd and I have win7 os + 4-5 10GB games on it at all times

    Black ops / L4d / L4d2 / BC2 / anything else I feel like playing (50+ games total Q_Q) currently have NFS world on it as well.
    That's a good point. GTA IV + expansions + mods + SA port is over 20gb total alone. Oblivion + mods is another 6-7 gigs. Here are the revised choices for SSD in order, what do you guys think?
    - Plextor PX 128gb $203 - http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820249010
    - Crucial M4 128gb $210 - http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=20-148-442&SortField=0&SummaryType=0&Pagesize=10&PurchaseMark=&SelectedRating=1&VideoOnlyMark=False&VendorMark=&IsFeedbackTab=true&Keywords=%28keywords%29&Page=1#scrollReviews
    Based on http://www.harddrivebenchmark.net/high_end_drives.html

    I've been hearing bad things about Corsair SSD so I left them off the list.

    I guess I should also ask: How much benefit is there to running games off the SSD versus a high performing HDD?
  9. I was going to mention the corsair issues, but seems you already found out about those. The nice thing about the 128 GB Crucial M4 is it actually does have a fair bit better performance than the 64 GB. This site actually did a great review recently on the different capacities of the M4 which you can find here:

    If you spend the 220ish on a 128mb crucial m4 you will have saved about 50 on the mobo I suggested as well as the 70ish on ram, plus if you go with a Samsung HDD you can save 50-100 there depending if you go with 1 or 2.

    I can't really see the need for more than 2 SLI 570s anyway without you wanting to upgrade. I mean if you look at it realistically by time you think of adding another, something newer will be out and you'll be wanting that anyway, I know I always do that lol. The 570 is the highest single card I would even recommend, usually I just suggest a 560 Ti since those are around 215 and if people want a 2nd a year later they'll be even cheaper.

    Far as the real benefit to running say OS and games off an SSD it really mostly comes down to loading times. The HDDs have been the main bottleneck for years, their peak transfer rates go from about 133MB/s on a normal HDD to over 400 MB/s on the crucial, but the major area they improve on is actually the random read speeds, in the article I linked you'll see a HDD get a 4k random read speed of .6 MB/s vs the 128MB M4 at 92.6MB/s and that is where the real difference comes in when it comes to real world performance.
  10. Took a quick look at that plextor drive since I wasn't real familiar with it. It does have the 420MB peak read with 210MB write vs the Crucial M4's 415MB peak read with 175MB write, but where I notice the huge difference is in that random read/write performance I was just mentioning and this is the area they don't always mention when marketing their drives the plextor is 15k read 9k write vs the M4 which is 40k read 35k write so when it comes to accessing all the small files the crucial will be quite a bit faster, which MORE than makes up for the other difference. I would unquestionably go with the crucial.
  11. Thanks Yoink, switched to the M4. Okay guys here is the new system:

    + $39.99 CM Hyper 212 heatsink/fan
    = $1587.87 before taxes and shipping.

    How does it look? Should I wait to buy this?
    Also, am I missing anything here? (thermal paste and wires will be purchased elsewhere)

  12. The list is definitely better now. However I do see 1 potential issue still with the PSU choice. I wasn't familiar with that exact model so took a look to see why it was so expensive and if you read the first line of its description: The Antec's CP series is exclusively designed for Antec's 1200/P183/P193 cases. That PSU is larger than ATX standards and you will likely have some difficulty in your case, definitely would not recommend non standard for a first build since it would likely require modding case to make it work if it even would at all.

    Here's a couple options I would suggest:

    CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX750 V2 750W ATX12V v2.31 $120/105 after 15 MIR has 62 amps on the 12v rail. 5 year warranty.

    CORSAIR Professional Series HX750 $150/130 after MIR this has 60 amps on the 12v and is of a modular design which I notice your current choice is also. This also carries a 7 year warranty where 3 years is fairly standard. I currently have a HX650 in my system.

    These 2 provide plenty of power on a single 12v rail and offer 4 pcie connectors incase you go SLI.
  13. Yeah, it looks really good, just switch out the PSU with something MrYoink suggested or something similar.

    x8/x8 and x16/x4 refer to the modes/speeds of the first and second card in sli/crossfire. In an x16/x4 configuration most cards will be bottlenecked by the slow speed of the x4 card. Obviously there's more to it than that, but I guess that's the quick and dirty explanation. Only the top-end cards will get any real benefit from x16/x16 vs x8/x8 and unless you're using an absurd monitor it's not going to make much of a difference anyway so I wouldn't worry about that. I also agree that by the time you're thinking about adding a third card it will probably be a better use of your funds to buy a newer and better card. Also a lot of games are set of well for dual cards, but three can be finicky. So I guess to recap, the card you picked will be great in x16 or x8/x8 mode.

    One last thing just to be clear...you're not going to see a giant performance bump in gaming from an SSD. An SSD is a great upgrade for things like boot times and random reads/writes and it will make a great impact on the overall performance of your machine. However, games will only benefit during times when they read from the disk, meaning only things like loading levels or starting up the game - you're not going to see a boost in fps with an SSD. I still think you should buy one if you can afford it, but know what you're getting into.
  14. Whats really annoyed is how you can get all of this for so damn f-ing cheap. It will cost more than £1400 to get all of this whereas it will cost you just $1500. This economy is an absolute bloody pisstake :(
  15. markc9 said:
    I guess I should also ask: How much benefit is there to running games off the SSD versus a high performing HDD?

    Just trying to help
  16. And thanks for it :).

    One last question: I'm noticing a lot of the newer mobo's do not have HDMI or DVI slots on their boards. How would one go about connecting their 1080P TV as a display without these ports?

    Example: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128494

  17. Though the Z68 chip supports onboard video, some of the Z68-based motherboards don't necessarily have onboard video and that gigabyte board is one such example. That board has no video without a video card.

    However, the Z68 boards that don't have onboard video can still use the chipsets video (iGPU) for certain tasks. You can have the board use the GPU in the video card when gaming and then use the iGPU during less demanding things like web surfing or office tasks. One benefit is that you generate less power and less heat by using the iGPU when that's all you need. The link below explains it a little better:
  18. markc9 said:
    And thanks for it :).

    One last question: I'm noticing a lot of the newer mobo's do not have HDMI or DVI slots on their boards. How would one go about connecting their 1080P TV as a display without these ports?

    Example: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128494


    You don't, not with this Gigabyte mobo model. There are some boards that won't use the built-in gfx and therefore require the user to get a discreet gfx card to hookup to tv/monitor.
  19. Same as already posted basically, but not all motherboards necessarily have graphics built onto the board, however you already are going to be using the 570 and that will have the ports you need.
  20. Thanks a ton guys. Everything is ready to go now.

    I know I've said it a thousand times and I might end up saying it again, so.... LAST QUESTION lol:

    In terms of the Intel 2500k, Nvidia 570 GTX, Crucial M4, and Asus VH238 monitor, are any of these expected to drop in price soon? More specifically, are these planning on releasing a new series which tends to drop the prices of the older series'?
  21. markc9 said:
    In terms of the Intel 2500k, Nvidia 570 GTX, Crucial M4, and Asus VH238 monitor, are any of these expected to drop in price soon? More specifically, are these planning on releasing a new series which tends to drop the prices of the older series'?

    How soon?
  22. danraies said:
    How soon?
    In the next 3 months let's say.
  23. Alright guys, today is the order I order this beast :). Thanks for all the help it's really been great.

    I do have one more question regarding monitors;

    Trying to decide between this Samsung monitor and this Asus one.

    The price difference is negligible if I buy it tonight. Will be mostly used for simple browsing and gaming when my TV is tied up with something else.

  24. I would try the Asus myself, been looking at that 1 to upgrade my main monitor lol
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