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Looking for advice, feedback on my gaming build

Last response: in Systems
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August 28, 2011 5:25:51 PM

It's been about 3 years since my last build, and I've been out of the tech world in the meantime. I could use some advice on my selected build: any cost savings, better products, anything really...

Approximate Purchase Date: Within a week

Budget Range: I'd like to stay around $1200-1300 (including monitor)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Microsoft Office (already own)

Parts Not Required: Mouse, keyboard, speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg preferably, but open to suggestions

Country of Origin: U.S.

Parts Preferences: Current build with Gigabyte MB, and have had no problems. Open to suggestions.

Overclocking: Maybe, not really sure how...

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe, again, not really sure how...

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 should be sufficient, just want to be able to run 1080p HD.

Here are my current selections:

Processor:
$219.99
Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor

Cooler:
$27.99
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler

Motherboard:
$128.99
GIGABYTE GA-Z68A-D3H-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

Optical Drive:
$20.99
ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM

Hard Drives:
$59.99
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
$74.99 (mail-in rebate)
Kingston SSDNow V100 Series SV100S2/64GZ 2.5" 64GB SATA II Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

Memory:
$54.99
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL

Graphics Card:
$229.99 (mail-in rebate)
EVGA 01G-P3-1561-AR GeForce GTX 560 Ti FPB (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support

Monitor:
$179.99 (mail-in rebate)
Asus VH238H 23" LED Monitor HDMI 2ms Black Full HD w/Speakers 250 cd/m2 ASCR 50,000,000:1

Case:
$49.99 (mail-in rebate)
COOLER MASTER HAF 912 RC-912-KKN1 Black SECC/ ABS Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Power Supply:
$49.99
OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W Modular High Performance Power Supply compatible with Intel Sandybridge Core i3 i5 i7

Operating System:
$91.98
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM



General Questions/Concerns:
The SSD drive is something recommended to me by a friend, although I'm not sure the purpose of it. Again, this is new since my last build. How do I distinguish which software I should put on which drive? Or should all software go on the SSD and media files go on the other drive?

Do I need additional fans of any kind? Overheating is always a concern for me. Would a different case be more optimal for this build?

I considered a sound card, but since I only use 2 speakers at my PC, it seems unnecessary. Is the internal sound on the motherboard I selected decent, or should I go with a sound card or other motherboard?

If anyone has a similar build to this, with better prices, I'm all for it. I've looked at the budget builds in the sticky threads, but none seem to use the i7.
August 28, 2011 5:45:47 PM

I'm somewhat in the same boat as you, and from what I can tell it all depends on what you're using it for. I'd say for ~$1000 you can get a hell of a gaming rig (without monitor)

For instance, the i7-2600k CPU that you've picked has Hyperthreading, an unlocked multiplier for overclocking, and HD3000 integrated graphics. For most gaming builds, the i5 is a great choice and even Tom's here has said that it is "past the point of reason" because you won't find too much out there in the gaming community that will take advantage of those extra 4 virtual cores.

On the SSD front, not much I can say. Price/GB is roughly $1/GB now, which is good. Many will say that in order to get the full performance you'd expect out of it you'll want to go with a 120GB model and use it for all of your frequently used applications, making your mechanical drive serve as a location for all of your extra data and backups.
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August 28, 2011 5:51:17 PM

Quote:
For instance, the i7-2600k CPU that you've picked has Hyperthreading, an unlocked multiplier for overclocking, and HD3000 integrated graphics. For most gaming builds, the i5 is a great choice and even Tom's here has said that it is "past the point of reason" because you won't find too much out there in the gaming community that will take advantage of those extra 4 virtual cores.


What about upcoming games such as Skyrim? Will I be selling myself short if I go with the i5 now, or will it be capable of running Skyrim at high performance?

Quote:
On the SSD front, not much I can say. Price/GB is roughly $1/GB now, which is good. Many will say that in order to get the full performance you'd expect out of it you'll want to go with a 120GB model and use it for all of your frequently used applications, making your mechanical drive serve as a location for all of your extra data and backups.


Interesting. My current C: is about 61 gigs, and I don't even know what's taking up that space. Maybe something closer to 80 gigs would be better, just so I have room to expand.
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Related resources
August 28, 2011 5:55:06 PM

stay away from green HDD
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August 28, 2011 6:08:34 PM

From "Best Gaming CPUs For The Money: August 2011"
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cpu-gaming-performa...

in this article, Don Woligrowski states "To summarize, while we recommend against purchasing any gaming CPU that retails for more than $220 from a value point of view (sink that money into graphics and the motherboard instead)"

you can read the rest, but if you're looking ahead to Skyrim i can say that the i5-2500k will do just fine. If you're just itching to get rid of an extra $100 dollars, by all means you can send it to me (or buy the i7) :D 

In response to the SSD comment: Im using a 250gb mechanical hdd right now, and have a 320gb in my laptop. Even having 30gb of music on the 250, thats still 220gb left. In essence, I don't know what some other forum posters have in mind either. A fresh install of Win7 is ~20gb (advanced mathematics tell me thats ~44gb left on a 64gb drive), and if you ask me as long as i have that SSD performance upon initial boot, I'm golden.
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August 28, 2011 11:20:33 PM

Alright, I'm convinced. I made some changes. The $100 saved on the CPU, however, was reinvested in better memory (first selection had no heatspread) and a better hard drive (based on comment not to get "green" hard drive).

Also changed out the case. The new case seems customizable. I can remove extra bays and make room for more air to flow through. Also has brackets for the SSD already installed.

Had to add the optical drive, since the i7 came with one.

I feel pretty confident in this build, but I wouldn't mind to find some better deals. It's right at the top of my budget now, but saving is always nice.
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