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$2,000 Gaming Rig - First build in 10 years

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September 25, 2011 5:03:59 PM

Hey guys,

This is my first build in 10 years, as I want to go back to PC gaming after a long time gaming in consoles.

I've done a fair amount of reading both here and other websites, but I'm still rusty when it comes to current technologies and what not, so I'd appreciate your help with constructive feedback on:

1. Replacing parts to get better performance for the money
2. Identifying incompatibilities that I might have overseen

I'll follow the "How to ask for a new build advice" guide:

Approximate Purchase Date: Late October

Budget Range: $2,00 Before Rebates (I'll import everything to Brazil, so rebates won't help me)

System Usage: Gaming

Parts Not Required: I'll need everything, building from scratch

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com

Country of Origin: Brazil

Parts Preferences: Whatever is the best

Overclocking: Probably light OC'ing

SLI or Crossfire: Nothing against it, but prefer a single GPU setup to reduce heat / noise / complexity

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

This is the build I'm considering:

CPU: Intel Core i7-2600K ($315)
Mobo: ASRock P67 Extreme4 Gen3 ($155)
RAM: G.Skill Sniper Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1866 F3-14900CL9D-8GBSR ($75)
SSD: Crucial RealSSD C300 CTFDDAC128MAG-1G1 2.5" 128GB SATA III ($250)
HDD: Samsung EcoGreen F4 HD204UI 2TB 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" ($80)
GPU: EVGA SuperClocked GeForce GTX 580 ($500)
PSU: Corsair Enthusiast Series CMPSU-850TX 850W 80 PLUS Certified ($140)
Case: Corsair Carbide Series 500R ($130)
Optical: Asus 24X DVD Burner ($20)
Cooler: Zalman CNPS9500A-LED 92mm 2 Ball CPU Cooler ($50)
Thermal Paste: Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound ($13)
Monitor: Asus VW246H Glossy Black 24" 2ms 1920 x 1080 ($200)
Keyboard: Logitech K120 Black USB Keyboard ($15)
Mouse: Razer Abyssus mouse ($40)
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium ($90)
Total Cost: $2,073

So what would you change, keeping in mind that I'm trying to stick to a $2,000 price tag pre-rebates in the US? I'll still have to spend $1,000 to import all of these stuff, so increasing the budget is not an option!

Thanks a lot for reading and your feedback!
September 25, 2011 5:17:36 PM

First, since it's only for gaming, drop down to an i5-2500k. There's practically no difference between the 2500k and 2600k for gaming.

1600mhz is the sweet spot for ram, so you can save there (costs about $50 compare to your pick of $75)

Your psu is overkill since you don't want to sli. A good 650w is enough.

That hdd is slow. Get the samsung f3 spinpoint 1tb.

That cooler is good, but so is the coolermaster hyper 212+ and it's cheaper. It also comes with a decent thermal paste, so no need to buy one.

Get the same mother board, but z68 version.

Any reason why you chose that ssd instead of the crucial m4 128gb?
September 25, 2011 5:25:30 PM

It's a good build but you can save a bit easily by buying a few cheaper parts, with minimal performance loss

For example the CPU, you can get the i5-2500k for a very minimal performance loss in games, and it's alot cheaper. Check any benchmarks to confirm this, and anybody here will tell you the same.

I don't think that is a very good CPU cooler, if you are only overclocking lightly the CM Hyper 212+ is pretty good and will keep your cpu cool. I have the Scythe Mugen-3 and it is a very good cooler, but it's a bit big and may not fit your board. It fits on my asus p8p67 pro.

Can save a bit on the power supply as the corsair 750TX will be more than enough to power your system. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Also I don't believe that the gtx 580 is worth nearly $150 more than the gtx 570, I'm not certain on this one though. If you go with the gtx 570 then you can even use a 650 watt power supply.


EDIT* : and I agree with everything the previous poster is saying, change that HDD to the samsung 1tb. And check out the difference between a Z68 and a P67, see if you need the additional features on the Z68, but since it costs only a little more I would get Z68.


Related resources
September 25, 2011 5:30:43 PM

Sky03 said:
First, since it's only for gaming, drop down to an i5-2500k. There's practically no difference between the 2500k and 2600k for gaming.

1600mhz is the sweet spot for ram, so you can save there (costs about $50 compare to your pick of $75)

Your psu is overkill since you don't want to sli. A good 650w is enough.

That hdd is slow. Get the samsung f3 spinpoint 1tb.

That cooler is good, but so is the coolermaster hyper 212+ and it's cheaper. It also comes with a decent thermal paste, so no need to buy one.

Get the same mother board, but z68 version.

Any reason why you chose that ssd instead of the crucial m4 128gb?


Thanks for your feedback, Sky03!

As far as CPU, my pick was the i5 2500k up till 2 hours ago, to be honest I've been back and forth on that one, but I guess you're right - benchmarks show little to no performance difference, so I'll go ahead and save the $100.

In terms of RAM, since it's only $25, isnt it better to just go ahead and use the faster RAM?

I chose a 850w PSU because I might want to upgrade to 2x 580 GTX next year - it'd be an easy way to upgrade my rig for late 2012, early 2013 games.

HDD point taken!

I chose the Zalman because aside from good cooling performance, I think it looks good. The hyper 212 is pretty good for its price but looks ugly as hell!

Talking about the mobo, is the Z68 really that much better than the P67?

No reason for not going with the crucial m4, is it faster / cheaper than the one I chose?

Thanks a lot!
September 25, 2011 5:58:13 PM

Ok, here's two new options for builds based on feedback received so far.

Which one would you prefer?


Build 1 - Single GPU 580 GTX

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz ($215)
Mobo: ASRock Z68 EXTREME4 GEN3 ($200)
RAM: G.SKILL Sniper Series 8GB (2 x 4GB)DDR3 1866 F3-14900CL9D-8GBSR ($75)
SSD: Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III ($250)
HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F4EG HD155UI 1.5TB 5400 RPM 32MB Cache ($60)
GPU: EVGA SuperClocked GeForce GTX 580 ($500)
PSU: CORSAIR Enthusiast Series CMPSU-850TX 850W 80 PLUS Certified ($140)
Case: Corsair Carbide Series 500R ($130)
Optical: ASUS 24X DVD Burner ($20)
Heatsink: Cooler Master Hyper 212+ ($30)
Monitor: ASUS VW246H Glossy Black 24" 2ms 1920 x 1080 ($200)
Keyboard: Logitech K120 Black USB Wired Standard Keyboard ($15)
Mouse: RAZER Abyssus ($40)
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium ($90)
Total: $1965

Build 2 - Crossfire Dual GPUs Radeon HD 6970

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz ($215)
Mobo: ASRock P67 EXTREME4 GEN3 ($155)
RAM: CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 ($59)
SSD: Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III ($200)
HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F4EG HD155UI 1.5TB 5400 RPM 32MB Cache ($60)
GPU: (2 x) XFX Radeon HD 6970 2GB ($700)
PSU: CORSAIR Enthusiast Series CMPSU-850TX 850W 80 PLUS Certified ($140)
Case: Corsair Carbide Series 500R ($130)
Optical: ASUS 24X DVD Burner ($20)
Heatsink: Cooler Master Hyper 212+ ($30)
Monitor: ASUS VW246H Glossy Black 24" 2ms 1920 x 1080 ($200)
Keyboard: Logitech K120 Black USB Wired Standard Keyboard ($15)
Mouse: RAZER Abyssus ($40)
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium ($90)
Total: $2054
September 25, 2011 6:08:11 PM

For RAM, READ THIS . You can skip to the page showing 1866mhz and 1600mhz results. Check out the scores, barely 1 fps difference between the two.

If you are planning on doing SLI in the future with those particular GPUs, you might be safer with a 950w unit (considering that you will also OC your CPU.)

About the z68 v p67, honestly, I don't think you need whatever advantages the z68 has (ssd caching, intergrated gpu,etc). My reason for suggesting a z68 is because it's a newer chipset. Personally, since it's only a little bit more, I feel safer with it (read: I think p67 will be discontinued first before the z68).

The Crucial m4 is very popular due to it's price, performance and reliability. Yes it is not the fastest SSD, not even in the same tier speed as fast SSDs. But then, speed is relative. It's like driving a toyota corolla all your life, and then moving on to a porsche. It doesn't really matter which sportscar you chose, even the slowest one. They're all a big increase over your old corolla.
September 25, 2011 6:14:23 PM

Sky03 said:
For RAM, READ THIS . You can skip to the page showing 1866mhz and 1600mhz results. Check out the scores, barely 1 fps difference between the two.

If you are planning on doing SLI in the future with those particular GPUs, you might be safer with a 950w unit (considering that you will also OC your CPU.)

About the z68 v p67, honestly, I don't think you need whatever advantages the z68 has (ssd caching, intergrated gpu,etc). My reason for suggesting a z68 is because it's a newer chipset. Personally, since it's only a little bit more, I feel safer with it (read: I think p67 will be discontinued first before the z68).

The Crucial m4 is very popular due to it's price, performance and reliability. Yes it is not the fastest SSD, not even in the same tier speed as fast SSDs. But then, speed is relative. It's like driving a toyota corolla all your life, and then moving on to a porsche. It doesn't really matter which sportscar you chose, even the slowest one. They're all a big increase over your old corolla.


After you mentioned I read that same benchmark and decided that the RAM "downgrade" makes sense. Thanks! Check out the 2 builds I put in my previous post and please let me know which one you think is best.
Thanks!
September 25, 2011 6:46:04 PM

The second one is better from a gaming point of view now, but the first one obviously with another 580 in the future would be better.

Get the samsung drive sky03 mentioned not the one you have in your build.

Also make sure you are getting win7 64bit.

EDIT: After looking at some benchmarks I would definitely get the 6970 x2 build over the 580 build. They scale excellently in crossfire and are only a bit behind two 580s but $300 cheaper.
here is what I was looking at: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-geforce-stut...

Just make sure it all fits in your case
September 25, 2011 7:18:17 PM
September 25, 2011 7:30:46 PM

That build is a beast. With 6970 x 2 you can easily go with a tri-monitor set up.
September 25, 2011 7:58:32 PM

lol enjoy! And here I am with a single 6850 happily playing at 1080p
!