First EVER Gaming Build - Advice?

Hello all, I've done lots of research and I *think* I have a pretty decent $1000 build picked out, but since I've never done any work on PCs before there is a distinct chance that when I put it all together it will burst into flames. Please take a look at my selections and favor me with your sage wisdom.

Case: NZXT Apollo (it comes with rear and side 120mm fans and I'll be purchasing a 3rd to go in front)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811146025
CPU: Intel i5-2400
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115074
Motherboard: ASRock Z68 Pro3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157251R
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 1600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145347
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=7288051
Thermaltake Silent 1156 Heatsink/fan
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835106139

The only parts I'm not sure about are the GPU and PSU. For the video card it's between the
EVGA GTX 550 Ti http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130625
and the ASUS GTX 550 Ti. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121434
They are the same price, and as far as I can tell pretty much identical. Does one have any benefit over the other, or is this more of a brand preference thing?
And as for the PSU, should I go for the less expensive, minimum wattage like the Corsair CX430 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139026&Tpk=corsair%20cx430
or should I invest in something better in case I want to upgrade to multiple graphics cards in the future, like the Corsair GS600?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139023&Tpk=corsair%20gs600

I mostly plan on using this for gaming, things like WoW, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Sims, etc., watching movies, light internet browsing, and relieving my overburdened laptop. I don't think I'll ever do any overclocking. I may add in things like Photoshop later, but only for my own amusement. I'll be getting a Blu-Ray combo drive like the ASUS BC-12B1ST, Windows 7 Home Premium, and I'd like to use dual monitors, maybe these http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824236079
I'll have to buy everything over the course of a few weeks, but I should be able to squeak by at just over my $1000 budget.

Let me know if I've made any beginner mistakes, such as choosing parts that won't work together :p . Thoughts, opinions, and insights are all welcome. Thanks in advance!
9 answers Last reply
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  1. 16GB are great but they won't be useful in gaming. 8GB are more than enough. And for 40$ after MIR I think this is the cheapest kit from Newegg.

    Kingston HyperX Blu 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model KHX1600C9D3B1K2/8GX
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820104262

    You will also need a better GPU. I would say a 6870 is ideal for such games.

    XFX HD-687A-ZNFC Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150506

    For PSU, there's only one option

    XFX Core Edition PRO550W (P1-550S-XXB9) 550W ATX12V 2.2 & ESP12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817207013&Tpk=xfx%20550w

    I would spend some $$ for a better non opened motherboard

    GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128512

    And finally instead of Caviar Blue you can get a Spinpoint F3, as it's faster

    SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152185&Tpk=spinpoint%20f3
  2. Hi there, welcome to the forums.
    Not a bad job! However, some things can be changed.

    First things first, get rid of the 16GB of ram! You don't need it. A decent 4GB 1600MHz kit will do just as well.

    Next, check out a mobo like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128502 It's a bit more, but worth it since it gives you the ability to add another video card in the future if you wish.

    Drop the HSF. the i5-2400 comes with one.

    Nice case, but I would prefer an Antec 300 or HAF 912.

    For a single GPU, I would go with this PSU over the CX 430: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371035

    Now, the biggest change we need to make is in the GPU department. A 550 Ti aint gonna cut it.

    This 6870 is pretty good: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102948 Plus, comes with Deus Ex!

    That's all I got. Hope it helps you out!
  3. michxymi said:
    16GB are great but they won't be useful in gaming. 8GB are more than enough. And for 40$ after MIR I think this is the cheapest kit from Newegg.

    Kingston HyperX Blu 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model KHX1600C9D3B1K2/8GX
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820104262

    And finally instead of Caviar Blue you can get a Spinpoint F3, as it's faster

    SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152185&Tpk=spinpoint%20f3

    Thanks for cluing me in to these awesome deals! These will work great!
  4. striker410 said:
    Hi there, welcome to the forums.
    Not a bad job! However, some things can be changed.

    First things first, get rid of the 16GB of ram! You don't need it. A decent 4GB 1600MHz kit will do just as well.

    Next, check out a mobo like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128502 It's a bit more, but worth it since it gives you the ability to add another video card in the future if you wish.

    Drop the HSF. the i5-2400 comes with one.

    Now, the biggest change we need to make is in the GPU department. A 550 Ti aint gonna cut it.

    This 6870 is pretty good: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102948 Plus, comes with Deus Ex!

    That's all I got. Hope it helps you out!

    Ha, I didn't even notice that a heatsink was included, thanks :p
    You and michxymi recommended similar Gigabyte mobos; the two seem pretty similar besides the $20 price difference, can you break down the differences for me?
    That Radeon GPU looks amazing...this is a tough choice haha :)
  5. notredjenny said:
    Ha, I didn't even notice that a heatsink was included, thanks :p
    You and michxymi recommended similar Gigabyte mobos; the two seem pretty similar besides the $20 price difference, can you break down the differences for me?
    That Radeon GPU looks amazing...this is a tough choice haha :)


    They are actually very similar. The main difference between the two boards Are:
    -The more expensive board has more USB ports (10 vs 6 on the cheaper one) excluding front panel USB ports.
    -The more expensive board has 7.1 Audio built in, while the cheaper one has 5.1 Audio.

    If you need the 7.1, here's another option: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130582

    I can't tell you which to get, it varies on what you need it for. I can tell you I selected the mobo I did because it's one of the cheapest out there that will allow you to do SLI/Crossfire, which is using dual video cards. An upgrade option I personally would like to keep open.

    Lastly, the 6870 vs a GTX 550 Ti: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/315?vs=290 ( I know it's not a 550 Ti, but the 460 768MB performs only a little better than the 550, so it's close enough) as you can see, the 6870 stomps the 550. However, it also costs more.

    Hope that helps ;)


    EDIT: Just caught wind of an amazing deal. Antec 300 Illusion for $45! I HIGHLY recommend you purchase this case before the sale ends, it is a fantastic case, especially for that price! http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129066&Tpk=antec%20300%20illusion

    With over 3,500 reviews on the case (including the one without lights http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129042 ) I think it's safe to say it's an excellent case ;)
  6. This board down below has the new PCI-E 3.0 slots for the new generation vid cards due out whenever. It just hit the shelves a few days ago. btw if you notice on newegg...the one bad review the moron purchased a cpu that doesn't o/c (non "K" cpu)

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371049 $94.99 - $69.99 after mail-in rebate FREE SHIPPING
    Antec High Current Gamer Series HCG-750 750W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V v2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Certified 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157271 $129.99 + $7.87 Shipping
    ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.694806 $264.98 FREE SHIPPING
    Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52500K
    CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Profile Desktop Memory Model CML8GX3M2A1600C9

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103065 $27.99 FREE SHIPPING
    COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.696136 $72.48
    Sony Optiarc CD/DVD Burner Black SATA Model AD-7260S-0B - OEM
    Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127594 $239.99 - $219.99 after mail-in rebate card FREE SHIPPING
    MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

    Total: $860.12 *not including shipping and rebates

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116986 $99.99 FREE SHIPPING
    Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM

    http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?Model=Z68%20Extreme3%20Gen3 <----- A better look at that Asrock board
  7. Check my $1000 build. Comes with i5 2500k + GTX570 (unless the $1000 includes monitors). In that case take a look at the $800 build.
  8. Thanks so much for all the great advice everybody. This has really been helpful, I'm excited about my first build! :bounce:
  9. All the best dude. Welcome to the enlightened side.
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