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New Build $1500 Gaming PC - Advice + Suggestions

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August 22, 2011 4:16:42 PM

Hey guys, I'm in the process of building a new PC mainly for gaming. I have a budget of $1500 and would like to get the best bang for my buck. I don't really have a list of hardware YET but here is what I am looking for:

-All the money i will be dropping down will go towards the case + hardware. I do not need a monitor, sound card, keyboard, mouse, OS and/or a blue ray drive.

-I dont think i need two video cards, so i would rather spend $500 on ONE video card and spend the rest on hardware (unless you guys think otherwise) . The video card will be connected to a 32" TV/Monitor so it will need to display at full resolution. I also would like the audio to come out of the TV speakers rather then having to purchase a set of speakers...the video card i was looking to get was the GTX 580. I want to be able to play games down the road without a hassle and have the option to upgrade in the future.

-For the CPU, my main concern is performance...i have been reading up on the difference between i5 vs i7 processors and benchmarks easily show i7 being the dominant processor. But like i've said, i would like this build to be as future proof as possible given the budget above.

-Hard drive is another concern of mine. I've read nothing but good things about SSD drives but my budget may not be able to afford such a high priced hard drive. I would like to hear your opinions on this as-well.

I am sure there is a lot of things i could add/replace that is why i came here to see what you guys have to say about it....So with that information, this is a rough list as to what i am looking for:

Processor: Intel Core i5-2500k OR i7

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD3-iSSD Z68 20GB SLC SSD

RAM: preferably more than 8GB depending on how it works with my budget (any thoughts on that?)

Graphics Card: GTX 580 or a better card / better setup

Hard drive: SSD??

Case: Rosewill FUTURE Gaming ATX Mid Tower Front USB 3.0 OR Antec 1200 case (i had a antec 900 case and the cooling on it was great!)

Power Supply: CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX950

CPU Cooler: any aftermarket heatsink/fan
August 22, 2011 8:09:55 PM

I think the i7 is unnecessary for you. Your MB choice is great. It gets you a caching ssd for not much money, and the board overclocks well. For gaming, you really don't need more than 8gb of ram. A GTX 580 is plenty of video card for you. One will do for your needs. Good PSU choice.
August 22, 2011 11:15:01 PM

Quote:
-For the CPU, my main concern is performance...i have been reading up on the difference between i5 vs i7 processors and benchmarks easily show i7 being the dominant processor. But like i've said, i would like this build to be as future proof as possible given the budget above.

The i7-2600K is dominant in everything but gaming, where performs almost identically to the i5-2500K. The hyperthreading feature (only main difference) is only useful for heavy video/photo work and other assorted applications.

Quote:
-Hard drive is another concern of mine. I've read nothing but good things about SSD drives but my budget may not be able to afford such a high priced hard drive. I would like to hear your opinions on this as-well.

Few people buy a SSD as their only hard drive. Usually people get a small SSD (64GB or higher) and install the OS and 1 or 2 programs on it, and then have a 1TB drive for storage.

Quote:
Processor: Intel Core i5-2500k OR i7

As noted, go for the i5-2500K.

$220 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Quote:
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD3-iSSD Z68 20GB SLC SSD

I'd go for the ASRock Extreme3 Gen3. It's much cheaper, and has PCI Express 3.0 which can be enabled with an Ivy Bridge CPU and are fully compatible with today's GPUs (PCI Express is a backwards-compatible industry standard, like USB and SATA).

$130 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Quote:
RAM: preferably more than 8GB depending on how it works with my budget (any thoughts on that?)

Most games don't use more than 4GB of RAM. Getting anything more than 8 would be wasteful. Get a good kit from G.Skill (Ripjaws X), Corsair, Patriot or Kingston. Get something @ 1600MHz. Cas Latency (CL) doesn't have a noticeable bearing on performance, but some manufacturers differentiate CL by color, like the 2 below.

CL8 - $70 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CL9 - $58 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Quote:
Graphics Card: GTX 580 or a better card / better setup

At 1920x1080 (standard HDTV resolution), no card is better than the GTX 580. I'm a fan of EVGA cards (owned 5 in the last 2 years prior to my 6950), and would recommend the following:

$480 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Quote:
Hard drive: SSD??

I'd recommend a Crucial M4 for a boot drive, and then a Samsung F3 1TB for a storage drive. The M4 is the most reliable SSD out at the moment, and the F3 is the best consumer platter drive you can buy right now.

M4 64GB - $115 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
F3 1TB - $60 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Quote:
Case: Rosewill FUTURE Gaming ATX Mid Tower Front USB 3.0 OR Antec 1200 case (i had a antec 900 case and the cooling on it was great!)

Antec has somewhat fallen behind in terms of design. I loved my 300 but it lacked any Cooler Master's HAF cases have many more features and better cable management than Antec. You also have other options like the NZXT Phantom and Silverstone Raven and Fortress cases.

~$130

Quote:
Power Supply: CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX950

I'd recommend at least 900W (depending on brand) for 2x580s, but not the TX950. I've had some weird issues with mine, and met another guy who's had several replaced only to have the new ones die. Go for the Corsair HX or AX series (the 850s should work), because they put more quality into those.

HX850 - $170 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Quote:
CPU Cooler: any aftermarket heatsink/fan
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If you don't need extreme cooling but want a cooler better than stock, get the Cooler Master Hyper 212+. It's a very capable cooler (even for OCing) and it's only $30!

$28 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


With all of these options, you're looking at a total cost of $1391 before any shipping costs or rebates, and you get a great CPU, a future-proof motherboard, a fantastic video card, the speed of a SSD and good hard drive, a good looking case and good cooling.
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August 23, 2011 12:48:12 AM

I appreciate all of your suggestions. I'm most indecisive about purchasing the motherboard. I wont be doing any crazy overclocking and do not need a built in SSD...I feel more comfortable with Asus/Gigabyte brands when it comes to motherboards. For example, i saw a Z68XP-UD4 at a local microcenter which was on sale...what do you think?

And I was thinking of getting a 120gb SSD for the OS + games which may be able to fit into my budget...for example, the OCZ agility 120gb SSD (for about $160). Would you recommend a different brand/model? I think 64gb is not sufficient enough.

Thanks again for all your help.
August 23, 2011 1:22:36 AM

Best bang for buck....Look in to making an AMD chipset setup :) 
As for future proof, my old AMD based PC - 2x 4200 2.2ghz....is still going thats like 5 years old or something, and thats playing DX11 games pretty well. So dispited what most people say I would look into AMD!!!
August 23, 2011 4:29:16 AM

Quote:
I appreciate all of your suggestions. I'm most indecisive about purchasing the motherboard. I wont be doing any crazy overclocking and do not need a built in SSD...I feel more comfortable with Asus/Gigabyte brands when it comes to motherboards. For example, i saw a Z68XP-UD4 at a local microcenter which was on sale...what do you think?

I think if you get the motherboard and CPU at Microcenter you can get a discount. You should be able to get the 2500K for only $180 :) 

Asus is a bit overpriced for what you get sometimes. They make good stuff, but they ride on their reputation a bit to charge more for their product. I have no qualms with my P67A-UD4, so I'd say you're good with a Gigabyte board.

Quote:
And I was thinking of getting a 120gb SSD for the OS + games which may be able to fit into my budget...for example, the OCZ agility 120gb SSD (for about $160). Would you recommend a different brand/model? I think 64gb is not sufficient enough.


W7 64 bit takes up about 30GB after updates, which leaves you about 20GB to have a healthy system drive - that may or may not be enough for you. What I've noticed with my WD SSD + Hitachi drives is that even though my physical drive is one of the slower ones, it loads faster a little faster, I think because it doesn't have the OS on it and can load the games in parallel to the OS functions (conjecture, not necessarily fact). With the F3, I don't think you'd have issues with load times.

If you did get a 120GB, I'd still stay with the M4. The Sandforce 2000-based SSDs (OCZ Vertex/Agility 3 and Intel 510) have been having a significant number of issues lately, whereas the M4 is still fast but more reliable.


Quote:
Best bang for buck....Look in to making an AMD chipset setup :) 
As for future proof, my old AMD based PC - 2x 4200 2.2ghz....is still going thats like 5 years old or something, and thats playing DX11 games pretty well. So dispited what most people say I would look into AMD!!!

That's a pretty poor way to spend the OP's money. AMD was hanging with Intel until Sandy Bridge came out. If they don't come out with a new architecture with Bulldozer (which I doubt because they're still using essentially the same socket), AMD is going to be left in the dust behind Ivy Bridge, and then the LGA 2011 chips.
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