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New Intel Gaming Build (~$1500)

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Last response: in Systems
September 10, 2011 4:21:15 AM

Hi there everyone, I've always been a bit of a lurker on these boards and have decided to build a new gaming rig. I haven't had a gaming PC for quite some time now, and I'm slowly getting over the PS3 for FPS games. I have a rough idea of what I want in this thing but there's a few pieces of hardware that I could use some advice on.

Approximate Purchase Date: 1-2 weeks away.

Budget Range: (e.g.: 600-800) Roughly 1500-2000.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Engineering software I will need next year

Parts Not Required: (e.g.: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS) OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: (e.g.:, -- to show us selection & pricing) , MSY, or anywhere else that can ship to Australia.

Country of Origin: (e.g.: Grand Fenwick) Australia

Parts Preferences: by brand or type (e.g.: I would like to use an AMD CPU & Biostar mobo with a 24" LCD and full tower case) None.

Overclocking: Yes / No / Maybe Maybe in the future to help keep the system running 'new' for longer.

SLI or Crossfire: Yes / No / Maybe Possibly, please critique my graphics card selection below and determine whether I will need to or not

Monitor Resolution: (e.g.: 1024x768, 1280x1024, 1440x900, 1600x1200, 1680x1050, 1920x1080, 1920x1200) No monitor as of yet.

Additional Comments: (e.g.: Need to have a window and lots of bling, I would like a quiet PC)

This is the hardware I have selected so far:
- All prices have come from

ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 Motherboard ($145)
Intel Core i5 2500K ($219)
ASUS GeForce GTX 560Ti DirectCU II TOP 1GB ($279)
Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB WD1002FAEX ($88)
OCZ Agility 3 60GB SSD 2.5" ($125)
CoolerMaster HAF 922 with Window ($139)
Antec High Current Gamer 750W Power Supply HCG-750 ($139)
Samsung SH-B123A 12X Blu-ray DVD Combo Drive ($85)
Corsair CML8GX3M2A1600C9 8GB (2x4GB) Vengeance DDR3 ($75)

Now one thing a friend of mine keeps suggesting is to upgrade to an i7, now I'm not sure if it's necessary. In terms of monitors, I would like to have two about 24", but I have no idea what to start looking at. Mouse and keyboard I can probably handle - as it's all personal preference in terms of feel. The budget it just for the tower, but for the monitors I don't want to spend more than $350 each.

Any suggestions are more than welcome, and thanks for your time. :D 

More about : intel gaming build 1500

a b B Homebuilt system
September 10, 2011 4:50:56 AM

As far as the CPU goes, it depends how intense the engineering software is that you're looking at using. I know nothing about that sort of thing other than having a general feel for relative CPU loads based on various benchies I've looked at.

The RAM you picked out was for the X58 platform, the Z68 will do better with this:
AND it's cheaper.

I would definitely plan on going SLI in the future, and as a result would recommend a two-slot card instead of that 3-slot mostrosity(don't get me wrong, it's one of the best, just huge):
We don't have Gainward in the US for the most part, but I read reviews of their cards and they always are awesome. That was the cheapest 570 on the site you referred, and probably one of the best.

And congrats on getting over the PS3 for FPSes, welcome to the big leagues! :p 
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
September 10, 2011 4:58:22 AM

Looks good. I'd maybe drop down to an Antec HCG 750w just to save some cash.
Then swap the GPU for the MSI 560 Ti TFII OC or the Asus 560 Ti DirectCu II Top (Both perform at the 570's level but run cooler and quieter as well as cost less)

Asus 560 Ti DirectCu II "Overclocked" I recommend this since the Top is $20 more for just 700mhz more. You could easily do that yourself and save the money.

Well it's more money than the DCII so I recommend the Asus. Either is good but the Asus is cheaper so I'd go with that and self overclock.

MSI 560 Ti OC review
Asus DirectCuII 560 Ti

Even for Engineering 8GB is enough and even then, 12GB is triple channel P67/Z68/H67/H61 or 1155 is dual channel. Not Triple.
Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600 8GB
Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
September 10, 2011 5:00:43 AM

+1 to the HCG 750w, it's great and cheap

Best solution

a b B Homebuilt system
a c 431 4 Gaming
September 10, 2011 5:08:03 AM

1. It's prolly not popular but no way I'd base a $1500 system on a MoBo that doesn't offer a standard 3 year warranty. And why Z68 ? You fit into any of the categories here for Z68 advantages ? Most won't.

2. The 570 at $390 barely outperforms the 560 Ti (900 MHz) which is $110 cheaper. here's their performance compared

Guru3D uses the following games in their test suite, COD-MW, Bad Company 2, Dirt 2, Far Cry 2, Metro 2033, Dawn of Discovery, Crysis Warhead. Total fps (summing fps in each game @ 1920 x 1200) for the various options in parenthesis (single card / SL or CF) are tabulated below along with their cost in dollars per frame single card - CF or SLI:

$ 280.00 560 Ti - 900 Mhz (495/862) $ 0.57 - $ 0.65
$ 390.00 570 (524/873) $ 0.74 - $ 0.89

And yes, you can get lower clocked models but the TOP comes with the bigger cooler making it a very easy OC to 1000Mhz.

3. Forget the slow blue ..... ya want the WD Black, the Spinpont F3 or the Seagate 7200.12

4. I'd want something with front USB 3 port on the case and the TX series is Corsair's 2nd tier. Read this:

[The CP-850] is completely unmatched by any ATX unit on the market I can think of. You'd have to spend twice as much as this thing costs to find the next best thing, performance wise.

The Antec CP-850 is a superlative power supply by almost any standard. Its electrical performance is up at the level of its more expensive brethren, the Signature 650 and 850, and Seasonic's flagship, the M12D-850: Voltage regulation is extremely tight for all the lines at all loads, and the ripple noise is amazingly low.....

The noise performance is excellent, with the <400W performance matching or bettering virtually every PSU tested thus far. Above 500W load in our heat box, the noise level goes over 40 dBA@1m, or about the norm for PSUs rated this high. It has the virtue keeping itself extremely cool, however, cooler than any other PSU we've tested at such high loads.

A serious consideration is that in each of the three compatible Antec cases, the CP-850 mounts on the bottom, and the intake for the PSU is quite separate from the rest of the system. In the P193 and P183, the PSU is in an entirely separate thermal chamber, and in the model 1200, a direct path can be maintained to the directly opposite, wide-open front vent. This means that our extreme hot box test conditions never apply to the CP-850; in other words, SPCR's test environment is unrealistically hot for the CP-850. Our atypical spot check with a room ambient thermal test showed the CP-850 would reach only 24 dBA@1m at 700W load in a 27°C working environment. This is ridiculously quiet for such high power output.

The above is an obviously unfair advantage for the CP-850... but what of it? Antec has used an integrated systems approach for its CP-850 and its best cases, and if that approach is an advantage over all other case/PSU combinations, then, all the more power to Antec! ......

For the quiet-seeking computer gaming enthusiast, the CP-850 (along with any of the three compatible cases) is something of a godsend. Fantastically stable power, super low noise at any power load, long expected reliability due to excellent cooling, modular cabling, and all at a price that's no higher than many high end 6~700W models. That you're limited to one of three well-executed high cases from Antec — one mostly for silence (P183), one mostly for gaming (1200) and one that's really an ultimate everyman case (P193) — is not exactly a hardship either.

The above article came out before the DF-85's release but be advised that as an upgrade to the 1200, the CPX form factor PSU's fit in the DF-85

DF-85 $180
CP-850 $145

5. I'd find a way to squeeze in a 120 GB SSD

6. You can't put 3 RAM modules in a Z68 board.....and the Vengeance ain't what ya wanna put in. You'll want 2 x 4GB and ya want something w/o the tall heat sinks.

The only cooling effect of these big coolers is that they "look cool". While they served a purpose (when they were effective) w/ DDR2, they are absolutely useless on DDR3.
At more than 2" tall in certain areas the Corsair Vengeance could pose a problem for users like me who use large coolers such as the Scythe Mugen 2. I was able to use the Corsair Vengeance only after I mounted the fan on my cooler on the backside. Size is definitely a concern with heat spreaders of this size and therefore I encourage users to check that they will have enough space under their heatsinks before purchasing the Corsair Vengeance kit.
The problem I have with the Corsair Vengeance is the same I have with many kits of RAM on the market. Companies insist on putting large coolers on their RAM and it limits the choice in CPU heatsinks that can be used within users system. DDR3 does not require these elaborate coolers with its lower voltages which translate to lower temperatures then RAM saw during the DDR, and DDR2 era. Corsair is correcting this with low profile versions of its Vengeance line but ultimately I would like to see the average size of coolers drop instead of having to look for specific low profile versions of a memory line.

These are $75

7. The 2600k only if your engineering software uses Hyperthreading.....3D rendering included in that category.
September 10, 2011 5:32:40 AM

Thanks a lot for the recommendations. I've swapped out the PSU and memory as was recommended. As for the graphics card, I've swapped it for the 560 Ti TOP. I never knew the performance was that close between that one and the 570. I'm still a little torn as to which Case I should get. I really like the feature of the tool free CoolerMaster cases. I'm still not sure whether or not I would actually use the i7. But the price difference isn't that bad..

Also changed the HDD to a 1GB WD Black. For the SSD I'm only going to have W7 and Debian on there. I don't think there's any need to get a bigger one is there?

Updated the first post with the current 'plan-to-buy' gear.
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
September 10, 2011 5:54:10 AM

Looks good, maybe swap for the board I recommended just now. Save some money, it'll perform the same practically.
September 10, 2011 6:00:38 AM

aznshinobi said:
Looks good, maybe swap for the board I recommended just now. Save some money, it'll perform the same practically.

Which board? I didn't see you link one. Do you mean a P67 board as opposed to the Z68?

Edit: Just saw that link for the other z68, thanks mate. Swapped it now :D 
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
September 10, 2011 7:17:15 AM

Yep no problem!
September 20, 2011 12:24:14 AM

Best answer selected by k508.