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Stock/Minimal OC Gaming Build, approx. $1000, Need review and advice.

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September 29, 2011 12:36:16 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: Late Oct., Early Nov. [Asking for advice/confirmation now because the local supplier requests two-three weeks advanced notice for search and transport of not-readily-available parts]
Budget Range: ~$900-$950 (Local currency-converted)
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming > All else
Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers/Headset, Monitor, OS [Will purchase these separately]
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: N/A [Using local supplier/shop]
Region of Origin: Southeast Asia
Parts Preferences: N/A
Overclocking: Yes, minimal [i5-2500K @3.8GHz+ on-air, after 1-year supplier warranty expires]
SLI or Crossfire: Never
Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080
Additional Comments:

This is a spec sheet that I will be providing to my local supplier. I would like to have it reviewed for possible bottlenecks, compatibility issues or sub-standard performance before I have the system custom-built by my supplier.

For the record, Low Power Consumption and Build Quality/Reliability are just as important to me as Price and Performance. For example, my current rig is a nearly three-year-old E5200 (OC'd to 3.0GHz)/4GB RAM/Radeon HD4670/1440x900 set-up that worked fine for games of that generation, didn't spike my electricity bill, and is still running relatively well today, only having met its match when I pitted it against The Witcher 2 (playable, but ave. fps is clearly below 30).

The main (and practically only) purpose of this replacement build is gaming at 1920x1080. Particular titles include: Star Wars: The Old Republic, Diablo 3, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, StarCraft 2, Shogun: Total War, The Witcher 2 and any future RPG and RTS titles. I may end up playing Crysis 2 and Battlefield 3 at some point, but FPS is not really my preferred genre. I am hoping my build would max out RPGs and RTS at 30+ fps in addition to smooth playback of 1080p movies/clips (3D unnecessary); I can live with High or Medium settings for FPS for the lifetime of the rig (3-4 years). If it's relevant, I am accustomed to below-max Anti-Aliasing and Anistropic Filtering due to my 'budget gamer' history; this is the first time I will be purchasing a mid-range rig.

----

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K (~$237)
MB: ASUS P8Z68-V LE (~$177)
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1600 (~$73)
VC: PowerColor AX6790 (Radeon HD6790) (~$148)
PSU: Seasonic X-560 560W 80+ Gold (~$127)
Case: Thermaltake Commander MS-I (~$59)
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 7200RPM (~$71)
DVD: Lite-On iHAS-224 DVD Writer (~$22)
Additional Front Fan: Thermaltake A2492 120mm (~$9)

Total: ~$923 [EDIT: tax inclusive; approx. $824 before all taxes]

Notes/Reminders:

1) The links go to Newegg, but since I will not be purchasing from that site, the prices listed are my local supplier's prices as approximately converted to USD.
2) I do not intend to buy an SSD for now (if you compare Newegg prices to my local prices, you'll quickly understand why).
3) This rig will be single-card forever, and I am unlikely to upgrade the video card during its lifetime.
4) I intend to run this system stock for a year to keep myself covered by my supplier's warranty (this is in addition to per-part manufacturer warranties). After that, the only OC I intend to do would be to push the 2500K to at least 3.8GHz, and going up to whatever I can reach with just the stock cooler, maintaining safe temps and minimal additional power draw (which was a big reason I went with the E5200 back then).
5) I am open to the idea of adding an aftermarket cooler, but I am aware of space issues with regards to those and the relatively tall Corsair Vengeance memory modules. I am not aware if the Low Profile versions of those modules are locally available, and am building with the assumption that they aren't.

Questions:

1) The eXtreme Power Supply Calculator (@10% Capacitor Aging) lists my potential power draw at ~325W stock (this includes future USB gaming keyboard/mouse/headset), and 335W OC'd (@3.8Ghz, no Vcore change [I am assuming, from the reviews, that the 2500K OC's +500Mhz just as readily as the E5200]). It recommends a PSU capable of 375W stock and 385W OC'd. Will the 560W Seasonic be more than enough for this set-up, or should I go up one step and buy the 660W version?

2) The PowerColor AX6850 costs ~$194 locally, which is a $46 premium over the 6790. Is this one-step-up worth it for that premium? What if it's the PCS+ version (i.e. factory overclocked)?

Thank you in advance for your replies.
September 29, 2011 1:17:55 PM

1) Any online power calculator will overshoot the actual power requirements by about 50%. This is to compensate in case someone goes out & buys a really crap psu. The 560W Seasonic will cope up just fine (it's actually a bit overkill).

2) The 6850 is about 10-15% faster than the 6790. It's your call whether this is worth the $46 premium. I say you might as well go for it (6850) for the extra graphical goody it enables. The factory overclocked version is fine as well.
September 29, 2011 2:13:49 PM

That bloody supplier is demanding more than reasonable amount of money from you.

I'll build a build for you. :)  I'm just listing the reasonable prices for these components.

Processor : Intel Core i5 2500K - $220
HeatSink Fan : CoolerMaster Hyper 212 - $35
Motherboard : ASRock Z68 Extreme 3 Gen3 - $125
Graphics : GIGABYTE Ultra Durable VGA Series GV-R685OC-1GD Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 - $160
RAM : G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 - $50
Hard Drive : Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB - $60
Optical Drive : LG DVD R/W 24X SATA - $20
Case : CoolerMaster Elite RC 310 - $40
PSU : Corsair CX430 V2 - $40

Total : $750 before rebates, taxes.
September 29, 2011 5:16:59 PM

@ksampanna

Thanks for the advice. I'll ask if it's the PCS+ version; that's probably what'll convince me to splurge. The money I'm saving going 560W over 660W should cover it (they're about the same premium over each other as the GPUs).

@008Rohit

They demand with good reason: I live in an area where half the things in your list aren't imported as much (despite the relative proximity of the factories they come out of, no less). The downside of us having a fairly Demand-Supply Law-following market is that Supply takes a dive when Demand just isn't there.

To be more specific, of what you listed, my supplier's availability list only has the processor, the cooler and the DVD writer (whereas everything I listed in my OP is on that availability list). Still, I'll give him your list (sans PSU - 430W at only 80+ is cutting it a bit too close for me, on top of the CV430 V2 apparently being non-modular), but even if they could find it all locally, I expect them to bring the price up closer to my original estimate due to relative rarity (and the fact that I'm having them do the legwork in looking for these on my behalf).

I'll keep my fingers crossed though; savings is savings.

Oh, and I suppose it needs to be said: those listed prices already include taxes - we don't separate them from list-price where I am. So the price of $923 in my OP is actually about $824 before all taxes. I'll edit my OP to include that tidbit. Thanks again!
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