Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question
Solved

Gaming Build ~$1800 budget, please advise.

Last response: in Systems
Share
August 31, 2011 10:33:19 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: mid-Semptember

Budget Range: ~1800 soft limit... if you convince me it's worth it to go up to 2000 I'll consider it.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, HD content (3D not necessary), 3D CAD (Solidworks, etc)

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers, Display, OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: www.newegg.com should work for everything

Country of Origin: US

Parts Preferences: Similar to the high end intel PC build in the stickies, just have a few questions about particular setups and benchmarks.

Overclocking: Yes

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe, leaning toward yes

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Hey everyone, it's time for a new high-end gaming build, partially because I graduated college back in May and landed a cushy engineering job so I finally have the budget for another one as a treat to myself :bounce:  :bounce:  :bounce:  , and also because the $2500 monster I built back in 2007 (AMD FX 6000+, SLI'ed 8800 Ultras, etc etc) is more than showing its age. Even though it can still kinda run recent games like Deus Ex fairly well at low resolutions with eye candy turned off.

I'm relatively flexible on parts and I assume my build won't differ much from the high end Intel based PC's in this thread (http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/317198-31-bestconfigs...) although I do have some special requirements and questions.

I prefer a large case with good air cooling and plenty of room for large aftermarket CPU coolers as I plan on overclocking and a possible SLI/Crossfire configuration.

I have a 7.1 surround sound system attached to my home theater / tv and I'm not very experienced with computer audio so I presume I'd need a sound card or motherboard that supports optical out so I can plug into one of my receivers inputs?

The display I'm using is a 60'' 1080p LCD that I sit roughly 6 feet away from on the couch, I have no desire for Eyefinity or Nvidia Surround.

I understand that high end SLI configs like two 580s or 6970s or 570s are intended for 5000-whateverx1080 resolutions and generally considered vastly overkill for a single 1080 display. The thing is I want a system that can crush titles like Metro 2033 at absolutely maxed DX11 settings or Crysis 2 with the HD textures and DX11 patch with 60+ fps in 1080p, and will still be able to max games out for at least a year or two in that resolution (hopefully three but that would be pushing it) before I need to start turning anything down. This is the issue I'm going back and forth on the most so hopefully you guys can give me input on whether it's a good idea to "overkill" it now because I won't feel the need to upgrade for another 4 years.

Also I'm still hesitant to hop on this SSD bandwagon, is the general consensus that these are really worth the extra money over a higher end video card or whatever else that fits within budget? I don't really care for a fast booting system as most of the time I leave my computer on. Although I've never used a system with an SSD so I don't have much to go off of.

One last thing, while I put my purchase date as mid-September I am curious as to everyone's opinion on whether it's better to wait another few months for the next-generation GPU's and CPU's?, (7000 series, Kepler, etc) If only for the drop in price we'll see on current gen?

Sorry for the novel, I appreciate any and all feedback!
August 31, 2011 11:12:16 PM

Hard to say if buy now or wait later. Maybe holding off until spring would be the way to go seeing how Ivy Bridge will be out by then along with the new generation vid cards. Anyways here's what a build today would generally look like. That board down below provides a black front bezel w/2 x 3.0 USB ports and a 2.5" SSD bracket that nicely matches that case. Also that board is set up for Ivy Bridge and has the PCI-E 3.0 slots that Ivy Bridge will support not to mention it has the NF200 Bride allowing dual cards to run @ x16 & x16. This build is set up to add another one of those vid cards later on for SLI. That psu is manufactured by Enermax for LEPA and is top of the line.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $99.99 - $89.99 after mail-in rebate FREE SHIPPING
COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $19.99 FREE SHIPPING
COOLER MASTER Megaflow 200 R4-LUS-07AR-GP 200mm Red LED Case Fan

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $179.99 - $129.99 after mail-in rebate card
LEPA G900-MA 900W SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $289.99
ASRock Z68 Extreme7 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... $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=N82E168... $49.99 FREE SHIPPING
Scythe SCMG-3000 120mm Heat Pipe CPU Cooler

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $8.98 FREE SHIPPING
ARCTIC COOLING MX-2 Thermal Compound

http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.php?name=CT128M4SSD $187.99 Free Shipping
Crucial M4 2.5 inch 128GB SATA3 Solid State Drive(MLC) - CT128M4SSD2

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... $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=N82E168... $499.99 - $469.99 after mail-in rebate card FREE SHIPPING
ASUS ENGTX580 DCII/2DIS/1536MD5 GeForce GTX 580 (Fermi) 1536MB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

Total: $1,674.36 *not including shipping and rebates

*** 2600K option to that build (hyper threading)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... $357.98 FREE SHIPPING
Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I72600K
CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Profile Desktop Memory Model CML8GX3M2A1600C9

http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?Model=Z68%20Extre... <---- A better look at that board. Scroll down towards the bottom of the page to see the black 2 x 3.0 USB bezel w/2.5" SSD bracket

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ImageGallery.aspx?CurImag... <----- You can see it on there also.

http://www.asrock.com/microsite/PCIe3/index.html <---- PCI-E 3.0 for Intel Ivy Bridge due out next spring.

http://www.asrock.com/microsite/IntelZ68/index.asp <----- Z68 features

http://www.coolermaster.com/product.php?product_id=6606 <------ A better look at that case

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-geforce-stut... <---- Toms showed with this review here last week that those boards (NF200 bridge x16 & x16) help to reduce micro stutter

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/crucial-m4-ssd-firmwar... <----- Crucial M4 Firmware update
August 31, 2011 11:32:06 PM

Some points:
1) New graphics cards from AMD and NVidia using the new 28nm process (much lower power consumption) are coming soon:
- AMD 7000 series Q4 2011
- NVidia 600 series Q2 2012

I highly recommend you get one of these, however you can still build the rest of your system and use your old graphics cards until then. Personally, I'd wait and get everything at once.

2) Micro-stuttering in SLI and Crossfire. Read this: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-geforce-stut...

Summary:
Modern gaming systems tend to be bottlenecked by the graphics card. The solution to this has to use multiple cards but this introduces the micro-stutter and other issues.

However the lower thermal requirement of the new 28nm process means that a single-GPU graphics card will be capable of beating any current single-GPU card on the market.

I strongly suggest anyone building a new gaming system or buying a new high-end graphics card to wait for one of the new AMD or NVidia cards. I'm waiting for the NVidia card and hoping that a $400 graphics card will perform at roughly 3x the speed of my current HD5870 with only slightly more power consumption.

Also, the newer cards will likely have improvements in AA, tessellation, multiple-monitor support (especially NVidia) and other minor improvements.
Related resources

Best solution

August 31, 2011 11:33:57 PM
Share

CPU:
If you want to build you system now or any time soon then the i5-2500k sounds like the obvious choice, the hyperthreading on an i7 would help a bit in your CAD and stuff but it doesn't seem like you do enough for it to be worth it. Alternatively you could wait a month for AMD's new CPU's and see whats what with those before you decide.

RAM:
8GB would probably be best, bit more than games tend to use but nice to be prepared. I wouldn't bother getting anything faster than 1600Mhz because it is expensive and you are unlikely to see the benefit.

MOBO:
Sounds like you definitely want something that will handle overclocking and SLI/Crossfire. A good Z68 board would probably be your best bet.

GPU:
If i was you i would be tempted to go SLI straight away with GTX 560's or 570's. Either way i probably wouldn't get a 580, they are expensive compared to the other cards. 2 GTX 560Ti's will eat a single 580 for breakfast and they would be a lot cheaper. I suppose it depends how often you upgrade, if you see yourself adding another card for SLI sometime soon get a single 570 or maybe 580. If you tend to just build it and leave it till its outdated i would get 2 560Ti's or 570's. (For AMD equivalents change GTX 560Ti for HD 6950 and GTX 570 for HD 6970.)

PSU:
You will definitely want a good quality single rail unit, some of the more trusted brands are; Seasonic, Corsair, XFX, Antec. For the 560's i'd go 650-750W, for the 570's i'd go 750-850. For the 580 i would get 900-1000W if you plan to SLI it. Modular cables can be nice too, maybe not needed though since you will have a big case.

HDD:
The Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB is hard to beat for cheap, fast bulk storage. If you need more storage though get either 2 of those or one or two 2TB WD greens.

SSD:
Personally i think SSD's are worth it, especially at this budget. Programs will open and install faster, games will load faster, you will boot faster. It depends on how many programs you have too though, if you can fit your most used programs into ~120GB i would definitely recommend one. You can then use HDD's for storage of photos, videos, music etc. They do help in some workstation tasks too, i know they do in audio but i dont know about CAD.

CASE:
For a 'gamer' case with powerful cooling and the LED lights and such the HAF series and the Antec 902/1200 are very popular. If you want something a bit more tame and quiet then i would look at the Fractal Design Define R3 and XL or the Coolermaster Silencio and Cosmos

COOLER:
The Noctua NH-D14 is always a good choice, cooling is excellent and it is quiet. It's pretty huge and ugly though, need low profile RAM too. Maybe you could consider a Corsair H50 or H100 or something if you want tall RAM or just prefer the idea of water cooling. If you want something cheaper then the Coolermaster Hyper 212+ is great.

August 31, 2011 11:57:56 PM

Lot of good info here so far, I definitely appreciate everyone's insight and opinion.

I suppose it really comes down to whether I want to force myself to hold off until the Nvidia 600s and AMD 7000.

It logically seems like the smartest decision although I'm still going back and forth because I was really looking forward to playing BF3 and Skyrim etc at max settings when they come out in October/November haha. And seeing as how I'm barely getting 30-35fps at 1200x720 on Deus Ex with nearly all eye candy turned off on my 4-year old machine my money is kind of burning a hole in my pocket.

I definitely am the type to build a powerful system by hand and then not touch it again until something breaks or the whole thing becomes outdated.

Although I suppose with the (pretty expensive but very nice) Z68 that'll support Ivybridge and the PCI-e 3.0 video cards it's pretty 'future-proof' and I might have to consider selling the old cards and upgrading if the next gen cards and processors are truly going to be a DRAMATIC upgrade.

I know nobody here is a psychic when it comes to the path of the PC gaming industry but one of my concerns is do you feel that the type of system I could build today on that kind of budget would be able to remain able to reasonably max out most titles in 1080p resolution for the next two years or so?
September 1, 2011 12:33:33 AM

Here's an idea...can't think of any others atm. But say you got everything up top that I posted but the vid card and changed out the 2600K cpu for a 2500K ...it also combo's with that RAM.

http://news.softpedia.com/news/Nvidia-GTX-600-to-Be-Rel... <----- Then when these come out in a few months you snag one or even two.

Then in April when Ivy Bridge comes out, you ebay/craigslist the 2500K and pick up an Ivy Bridge for the high o/c and PCI-E 3.0 support and whatever else that chip offers.
September 1, 2011 1:05:24 AM

If you did want to build the system right now however, could get some something pretty badass:

Intel Core i5-2500k - $219.99
8GB Corsair Vengeance LP - $57.99
ASRock Z68 Extreme3 - $129.99 (With PCI-e 3.0 and x8/x8 SLI)
2 x Gigabyte GTX 570 (Fermi) - $689.98 ($344.99 each)
Crucial M4 128GB - $169.99 (Extremely cheap limited time deal)
2 x Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB in RAID 0 - $119.98 ($59.99 each)
Coolermaster HAF X - $189.99
Seasonic SS-850HT 850W 80Plus Silver - $119.99
Noctua NH-D14 - $75.87
DVD Burner - $17.99

Total $1791.76 before shipping and rebates ($70)

May seem like overkill but would last a very long time. Even one GTX 570 is should stay above a *minimum* of 25-30FPS in pretty much anything. Heres a benchmark of Metro 2033 at maxed out settings @ 1920x1200 to prove the point.

http://www.techspot.com/review/346-gigabyte-geforce-gtx...
September 1, 2011 11:43:31 AM

jmsellars1 said:
If you did want to build the system right now however, could get some something pretty badass:

Intel Core i5-2500k - $219.99
8GB Corsair Vengeance LP - $57.99
ASRock Z68 Extreme3 - $129.99 (With PCI-e 3.0 and x8/x8 SLI)
2 x Gigabyte GTX 570 (Fermi) - $689.98 ($344.99 each)
Crucial M4 128GB - $169.99 (Extremely cheap limited time deal)
2 x Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB in RAID 0 - $119.98 ($59.99 each)
Coolermaster HAF X - $189.99
Seasonic SS-850HT 850W 80Plus Silver - $119.99
Noctua NH-D14 - $75.87
DVD Burner - $17.99

Total $1791.76 before shipping and rebates ($70)

May seem like overkill but would last a very long time. Even one GTX 570 is should stay above a *minimum* of 25-30FPS in pretty much anything. Heres a benchmark of Metro 2033 at maxed out settings @ 1920x1200 to prove the point.

http://www.techspot.com/review/346-gigabyte-geforce-gtx...


That was pretty much item for item what I was sort of thinking before I made this thread, that motherboard is a lot cheaper however does the 8x / 8x make much of a difference compared to the 16x / 16x? Or is that negligible versus cost similar to how 1600 ram vs 2133 ram etc?
September 1, 2011 12:46:35 PM

x8/x8 is considered good, cheaper boards have x16/x4 which will cripple one of the cards. I think with GTX 570's x8 is fine tbh.
September 7, 2011 3:52:04 AM

jmsellars1 said:
If you did want to build the system right now however, could get some something pretty badass:

Intel Core i5-2500k - $219.99
8GB Corsair Vengeance LP - $57.99
ASRock Z68 Extreme3 - $129.99 (With PCI-e 3.0 and x8/x8 SLI)
2 x Gigabyte GTX 570 (Fermi) - $689.98 ($344.99 each)
Crucial M4 128GB - $169.99 (Extremely cheap limited time deal)
2 x Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB in RAID 0 - $119.98 ($59.99 each)
Coolermaster HAF X - $189.99
Seasonic SS-850HT 850W 80Plus Silver - $119.99
Noctua NH-D14 - $75.87
DVD Burner - $17.99

Total $1791.76 before shipping and rebates ($70)

May seem like overkill but would last a very long time. Even one GTX 570 is should stay above a *minimum* of 25-30FPS in pretty much anything. Heres a benchmark of Metro 2033 at maxed out settings @ 1920x1200 to prove the point.

http://www.techspot.com/review/346-gigabyte-geforce-gtx...


Great recommendations, but he can save $80 by going with the

CASE: Cooler Master HAF 922 $90 (Amazon) (3x 200mm fans!) Intake - Front, Side, Bottom / Exhaust - Rear, Top
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0026FCI2U


Extra Fan: Cooler Master 200mm fan $18 (Amazon)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002LE8BJA

=$108

That case will have 3x 200mm fans and one is DIRECTLY above the GPU's. Plus, another 120mm fan. Never get why so many recommend a full size when the majority of gamers never fully utilize it.
September 15, 2011 3:08:01 PM

Best answer selected by Apocalyptica602.
!