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~$1200 Gaming PC

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September 4, 2011 1:31:53 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: Within the next 2 weeks.

Budget Range: $1200 after rebates.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, graphic design, movies, Internet browsing.

Parts Not Required: Any external components and the OS.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg.

Country of Origin: United States

Parts Preferences:
-I would say the i5 2500k, but chances are it will be suggested anyway :p .
-Minimum 1TB HDD.
-Minimum 120GB SSD (for a dual-boot OS and all my programs and games)
-I will be needing a wireless adapter. Something like this one appears to be able to get the job done
-Minimum 8GB RAM.
-A Blu-Ray Drive

Overclocking: I would like to, but I don't think I trust myself to not screw it up. So we'll just call it a maybe.

SLI or Crossfire: No intentions as of right now.

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080.

Additional Comments: As with most other builds, I want the graphics to be as top-notch as they can be. I would LOVE to be able to play many current games on max (or pretty close). I definitely don't want to be stuck running them on medium. Speed is also a huge priority, but I think the SSD and 8GB RAM should suffice in keeping things running nicely. Feel free to include as many cooling accessories as you feel are necessary (I never know if stock heatsinks or fans are good enough, if I should add more, etc.) I hope all these minimum requirements and expectations aren't wishful thinking for my budget.

More about : 1200 gaming

September 4, 2011 2:35:39 AM

i5 2500k- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 220$

Asrock z68 extreme3 gen3- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 133$ shipped

Corsair Performance3 128gb- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 188$

samsung f3 1tb- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 50$ after promo code

MSI GTX 580 twin frozr II- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 470$

asus blu ray drive- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 69$

Corsair vengeance 8gb 1600- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 53$

PC Power and cooling 650w psu 80 plus silver- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 61$ after promo code and mail in rebate

Corsair carbide 500r- http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Carbide-Tower-Gaming-CC-9... 126$ not in stock now but will be soon

1270$ a little over budget. maybe switch to a gtx 570 and a 550w psu or stick with it for the 580's performance


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September 4, 2011 8:03:30 PM

Thanks for the input mjmjpfaff! Just a few things though:

-As you mentioned, it does go slightly over budget (which I can deal with in about a $50 range), but it's still missing the $25 wireless adapter, which then puts me at $100 over budget (just a little high).

-Is the stock i5 heatsink and fan sufficient enough then since you didn't include an aftermarket one?

-Is a 650w PSU sufficient as well?

-Would I be making a huge sacrifice exchanging the gtx580 for a gtx570? I really have the most trouble picking out mobo's and graphics cards. And while the 580 would certainly be more than capable of doing what I want, the price tag can be a little off-putting (I don't mean to be all "have my cake and eat it too" I just don't NEED the absolute best if something lesser would be discernibly as good)
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a b 4 Gaming
September 4, 2011 9:12:08 PM

The stock heatsink will keep you CPU in healthy temp ranges even while gaming at full load, but won't support much of an OC if any. The Cooler Master Hyper 212+ is a great cooler and is only $30 (owned 2).

I generally recommend abut 750W for 1 570 and 850W for 2. The Antec HCG-900 can usually be had for a pretty low price and is a good PSU, and the PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk II 750 and 950W PSUs are some of the best out there, but they aren't modular. ~900W is recommended for 2x580s, as they draw a lot of power.

As for a wireless adapter, you'll be better off with a PCI/PCI-E x1 card like this Asus one (I own an Asus card and it's fast - possibly this one): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The 570 should be great. The 6950/560Ti can handle pretty much any game on the market at max detail, AA and filtering, so the 570 is more than enough. Plus, SLI is a bit cheaper than the 580 SLI. I'm trying to trade my 6950 2GB for a 570 for the performance boost (and I'm an EVGA fanboy... ;) ) TBH you'll get more use out of the SSD load times and other aspects of the PC that the GPU won't be an issue.

Just in case you didn't know, to play Blu-ray movies you'll need some playback software. I use CyberLink's PowerDVD 10 (v11 is out now) and it works well and the interface is pretty good.

As far as cases go, the Corsair cases are quite pricey. For $130-140 you could get a full tower rather than a mid. The HAF 912/922 are good mid towers that are quite spacious, though the plain Antec 300 does have some appeal but seems smaller (I loved the look of mine though). If the Corsair case is what you're looking for, then by all means go for it; just wanted to let you know what's out there.
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September 4, 2011 11:39:22 PM

Alrighty guys, I've taken a lot of your suggestions to heart. But while doing some shopping, I realized I'm at a bit of a stand-still as I'm at about $1140 but still don't have a case or the wireless adapter! As I mentioned, as much as would LOVE to stay under $1200 after rebate, I would push $1250 if completely necessary. So here's what I have so far...


SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Item #: N82E16822152185
$59.99

EVGA 012-P3-1571-KR GeForce GTX 570 HD w/Display-Port (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support ...
Item #: N82E16814130613
$319.99

Antec High Current Gamer Series HCG-750 750W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V v2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Certified 80 PLUS BRONZE ...
Item #: N82E16817371049
$99.99

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-8GBRL
Item #: N82E16820231311
$44.99

ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
Item #: N82E16813157271
$124.99

Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52500K
Item #: N82E16819115072
$219.99

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel ...
Item #: N82E16835103065
$27.99

ASUS Black Blu-ray Drive SATA Model BC-12B1ST/BLK/B/AS - OEM
Item #: N82E16827135247
$68.99

OCZ Vertex Series OCZSSD2-1VTX120G 2.5" 120GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
Item #: N82E16820227395
$174.99

TOTAL: $1,141.91
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a b 4 Gaming
September 5, 2011 3:33:50 AM

I would pass on the Vertex 2 - OCZ's been having some drive trouble lately, and the Crucial M4's Marvell controller is currently one of the most reliable out there. The M4 is the drive most of us recommend.

I personally would pony up the extra $20 to get the EVGA 570 with the lifetime warranty (product code will in 'AR' instead of 'KR' or 'TR'). It never hurts, and you can probably get a little more money if you sell it used and offer help in the event an RMA is needed.
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September 5, 2011 4:54:24 AM

Fair enough on the OCZ SSD, but with my budget I can't really upgrade to the M4 SSD or the EVGA 570 video card (by the way, there are 6 different results for a 570 AR model--I'm not sure which one you meant) without having to make some cut-backs elsewhere (which I have no idea where I can--or even if I can).
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a b 4 Gaming
September 5, 2011 5:03:50 AM

Well, what are you trying to put on the SSD? Windows 7 64 bit takes up about 30GB after full updates, etc. You can easily fit a few large programs (I put the Office 2010 on my 64SSD) without using up too much space (SSDs need a fair amount of free space - ~10GB on a 64GB drive). If you turn off hibernating features and eliminate the RAM cache you should have a good amount of space on the drive.

If you're worried about games, let me just note that my games load very quickly from my 1TB Hitachi drive (one of the slowest 7200RPM drives). I'm not exactly sure why, but my intuition says that the files are loading into the OS in parallel from the storage drive (i.e. OS and game files aren't moving about on the same drive so they read/write faster).

Again, it depends what you want to put on the drive, but if you can, you could save ~$100 by switching to a 64GB drive.


As for fitting the case in the budget, you may need to go with a mid tower. The HAF 912/922 would be my first considerations, as the 922 falls at $100, and the 912 at $60. The cable management will take some skill, but it's doable, and the case footprint will be smaller than that of a full tower.
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September 5, 2011 5:08:09 AM

Processor: Intel Core i5 2500K $220
HSF: CoolerMaster Hyper 212+ $30
Mobo: Asrock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 ATX $130
RAM: Gskill RipjawsX 2x4GB 1.5V CAS9 1600Mhz $55
GPU: HIS IceQ Turbo H697QT2G2M Radeon HD 6970 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 - $370
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 7200rpm $60
SSD : Corsair Force Series 3 60GB 2.5" Solid State Drive $80
DVD: LG DVD R/W $20
PSU : CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX750 V2 - $110
Case : COOLER MASTER HAF 922 BLUE RC-922M ATX Mid Tower : $100

Total : $1175

* You can overclock the processor upto 4.5Ghz with the Hyper 212+ if you need. Basically turbo boost does its job pretty fine, still, if you are an enthusiast or freak then....

* The motherboard offers PCIe 3.0 slots. SLI/CF at x8/x8 dual mode.

* The RAM being 1.5v is ideal for Sandy Bridge.

* The GPU comes with special HSF from HIS. Highly overclockable, it can maxx out BF3 at 1080p alone.
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September 5, 2011 7:02:09 PM

@boiler1990

On the SSD I intend to have Windows 7 64-bit, Ubuntu, all of my programs and games. I would like to avoid having "just enough" space to fit the OS' and a few programs/games. The saving of money definitely sounds nice, but I think to be comfortable I'd need at least 80GB (but even that feels "low" to me :p ).

@008Rohit

Everything looks good except for the DVD drive, which needs to be a Blu-Ray (I primarily watch Blu-Rays and will be selling off my primary player--my PS3--to help fund this build). But since that can easily be added on budget-wise, I think it's looking great. Any other opinions on the build would be much appreciated.
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a b 4 Gaming
September 5, 2011 7:56:34 PM

I'm just saying that you don't necessarily have to put everything on the SSD in order for it to feel fast. I would probably put W7, a small Ubuntu partition, the Blu-ray playback software and graphic design software (assuming it's about 10GB) on the 64GB SSD, and all of the games on the HDD. That's how my games are set up.
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September 6, 2011 2:59:48 AM

@ signals

hmm... a blu-ray drive is gonna make the build slightly over budget. I hope that'd not be a problem to you. Anyways, if you CAN get it, then get it. :)  Best performance for that budget.
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September 10, 2011 1:51:11 AM

Okay guys, here's my current build (I'm giving myself a $1250 budget absolute MAX--the original $1200 was more of a ballpark figure)...As always, any input is welcome...I'm trying to figure out the best mobo for my budget.


LIAN LI Lancool PC-K62 Black 0.8 mm SECC, Plastic + Mesh ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Item #: N82E16811112239
$99.99

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Item #: N82E16822152185
$59.99

TP-LINK TL-WN722N USB 2.0 High Gain Wireless Adapter
Item #: N82E16833704045
$19.99

EVGA 012-P3-1570-AR GeForce GTX 570 (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
Item #: N82E16814130593
$329.99

OCZ ZS Series OCZ-ZS750W 750W ATX12V v2.2 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Performance Power ...
Item #: N82E16817341049
$99.99

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-8GBRL
Item #: N82E16820231311
$49.99

ASUS P8Z68-V LX LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
Item #: N82E16813131781
$129.99

Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52500K
Item #: N82E16819115072
$219.99

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel ...
Item #: N82E16835103065
$29.99

ASUS Black Blu-ray Drive SATA Model BC-12B1ST/BLK/B/AS - OEM
Item #: N82E16827135247
$59.99

Kingston SSDNow V+100 KR-S1296-3H 2.5" 96GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
Item #: N82E16820139638
$134.99

TOTAL: $1,234.89
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September 11, 2011 2:29:59 PM

Best answer selected by signals.
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