First build for $1500-ish

Good evening Ladies and Germs,

I have been battling with this question for a while now:

Desktop or laptop?

It's madness, I change my mind every few days. You see I want a laptop so I can sit on the couch (or anywhere) and play games or surf the net but laptops come at a higher price. On the other hand I have always wanted to build my own PC but I can be very lazy at times. So I have decided to build a theoretical PC with the help of the good folks here, then look at some high end laptops I am interested in, compare with price etc. and finally make a decision.

So, according to the template:

Approximate Purchase Date: Around Xmas

Budget Range: CAD$1500ish after rebate, this figure is not set in stone

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Films, Internet

Parts Not Required: Mouse

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Probably newegg or amazon, but I would go for the best deal

Country of Origin: Canada

Parts Preferences: Intel CPU, full tower case (I was looking at the HAF 932 Advanced), large screen

Overclocking: Yes

SLI or Crossfire: Yes

Monitor Resolution: 1600x1200 or better

Additional Comments: It would be nice to keep the noise down, I read that the lights on the HAF case can be quite bright so another case is acceptable. I'm basically letting you go crazy here, first and foremost this PC will be used for gaming and as I said the price is negotiable.
36 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about first build 1500

    These two retailers (Direct Canada & Best Direct) are affiliated, both use the same shipping addy out of Richmond, BC, and both offer free ground shipping. $124.29
    Cooler Master Haf 932 Advanced Full Tower EATX Case 7X5.25 2X3.5 5X3.5INT USB3.0 eSATA 1394 Black

    or... $115.50
    Corsair Carbide Series 500R Mid-Tower Gaming Case ATX 4X5.25 6X3.5INT USB 1394 No PS Black

    or... $89.69
    Corsair Carbide Series 400R Mid-Tower Case ATX 4X5.25 6X3.5INT USB 1394 No PS

    or... $89.69
    Coolermaster Haf 922 Mid Tower ATX Case Black 5X5.25 5X3.5INT Front Audio USB eSATA No PSU $109.20
    XFX 850W Core Edition Single Rail ATX 12V 70A 24PIN ATX Power Supply 80PLUS Bronze $148.50
    ASRock Z68 EXTREME3 GEN3 ATX LGA1155 DDR3 2PCI-E16 2PCI-E SATA3 USB3.0 SLI CrossFireX Motherboard $208.79
    Intel Core i5 2500K Quad Core Unlocked Processor LGA1155 3.3GHZ Sandy Bridge 6MB $29.43
    Coolermaster Hyper 212 Evo Direct Touch 4 Heatpipe Heatsink AM2 AM3 LGA1366 LGA1155 LGA1156 120MM $6.60
    Coolermaster Blade Master 120 Black 120MM PWM Case Fan 600-2000RPM 21.2-76.8CFM $51.27
    G.SKILL Ripjaws X F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL 8GB 2X4GB DDR3-1600 CL9-9-9-24 Memory $49.79
    Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 7200.12 1TB SATA 32MB Cache 3.5IN Internal Hard Drive OEM $19.80
    ASUS DRW-24B1ST 24X SATA DVD Writer OEM Black $189.67
    ADATA AS510S3-120GM-C 120GB 2.5IN SATA3 SandForce SF-2281 Solid State Disk Drive SSD $348.35 MIR $328.35
    EVGA GeForce GTX 570 HD Doubleshot Fermi 732MHZ 1280MB GDDR5 2XDVI HDMI DisplayPort PCI-E Video Card $93.79
    Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Edition 64BIT SP1 DVD OEM $192.40
    ASUS ML248H 24IN LED Widescreen LCD Monitor 1920X1080 HDMI DVI VGA 10M:1DCR 2MS - Black
  2. Best answer
    My favorite assignment.
    So you do need a new copy of Windows? That could be a pretty significant $90.
    Let's see:
    -Windows Home $90ish

    -Asus VW246H: it's a popular, relatively inexpensive 24" 1920x1080. $200

    -2500K. No other CPU makes sense in this price range. $220

    -HAF 932, if you say so. Its design seems a little loud to me, and it's awfully expensive. I'd go with something like an NZXT Phantom or a Storm scout, at $125 and $90 respectively. Most gaming cases provide adequate airflow, so go by your stylistic preference, keeping in mind that an extra $50 here and there can translate into a nice performance boost elsewhere. I'm going to call it $100.

    -Do you need a keyboard? If you do, then your choice will depend on if you specialize in a certain type of games (RTS vs. FPS) and if subtleties matter much to you :P The Razer BlackWidow is a pretty bitchin' RTS board; I don't know much about FPS ones. If you're not that picky, just have a look around, and try a few at a store if possible.

    -Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB $60

    -Xigmatek SD1283 $30

    So far, we're around $700 plus keyboard. Call it $750, assuming you do need one. This leaves $750 for mobo and GPU, and an SSD if you want one.
    Without an SSD, I think you could go 2x570 SLI.
    EVGA 570 EE:
    $660 for both of them.
    Mobo, Gigabyte: $150.
    With an SSD, probably a single EVGA 580 at $470 after rebate, a similar mobo and a 64gb Crucial M4 at $110.

    Oops, USD. Guess Why's classier :D
  3. Could I use a pirated copy of Windows on a PC I build myself?
  4. If you plan to buy around Christmas then any suggestions here would change since price drops and new hardware is coming out.
  5. Yes, you could, but why would you? If you want a free OS, use Ubuntu, and be legal and a boss at the same time.
    Yes, if you waited for deals you'd probably be able to figure out a nicer build on budget on the fly, but it would be tricky :D
  6. modbus said:
    Could I use a pirated copy of Windows on a PC I build myself?

    It's bad enough your talking about using pirated software on this forum, it's even worse when you have a budget of $1,500 and your talking about using pirated software.
  7. If I could pirate myself a computer I would do that too
  8. I like the look of the NZXT Phantom. Does it make a difference that there are no intake fans on the front of the case?
  9. Nice day today
  10. Yeah, I'd get a front 140mm.
  11. I've also decided on the NZXT Phantom case and I'm going to get an extra 140mm front fan but by the looks of it, would the airflow be blocked slightly since there is only wire mesh over half of the fan and solid plastic over the rest? Also what fan would you recommend?

    Two different CPU heat sinks were recommended, it happens that the review I found for the Xigmatek compaired it to the Coolermaster.

    Xigmatek it is then :)

    Is it worth the money to get the Blader instead of the Gaia?
  12. Also kajabla is this the motherboard you recommended?
  13. Yep. Cheaper on Newegg, though.
    Well, if you're willing to spend $50 on a heatsink you could just get a Mugen 3, which is significantly better.
    If you have room for the sink (you do, I think, if you're not going 16gb) then that's probably a better choice. From Tom's latest $2000 build: " quite frankly, Cooler Master’s Hyper 212 Plus is mediocre at best compared to similar designs from other manufacturers. Its performance should be adequate for our specific overclock needs however, and we didn’t have room in our budget for the more often used Scythe Mugen 2 Revision B."
    That's currently Mugen 3.
  14. Hmm, so if I do get the Mungen 3 then a few years down the line if I wanted to upgrade to 16gb I would have to get a new motherboard to fit the heat sink and 4 slots of memory.

    Not a huge problem I suppose. What are your thoughts? I'll more than likely go for Gaia because of price and if I see I need a better one then I'll buy the Mungen 3.

    I'm going to get an extra 140mm front fan but by the looks of it, would the airflow be blocked slightly since there is only wire mesh over half of the fan and solid plastic over the rest? Also what fan would you recommend?

    Also the Gigabyte mobo may be cheaper on newegg but they charge 12.24 for shipping, so that's 172.23 total, compaired to 154.29 on bestdirect. Unless newegg have free shipping after x dollars I will probably buy mostly from bestdirect and directcanada. Although newegg is cheaper, the shipping makes it end up more expensive. However, there are some things (CPU heatsink for example) that I can only find on newegg but that comes with free shipping!
  15. The 212 EVO is better at that price, actually, after a little more research.
    I don't know about case fans. Get one with good Newegg reviews.
    Can you show me a picture of this Phantom airflow issue?
  16. From what I see the 212 EVO has better fan speeds but less air flow?

    This is the problem I see, could be nothing.

  17. The fan may be inferior, but the cooler's performance is better overall.
    That panel seems annoying, but it'll be all right.
  18. I could alway remove the 2nd hard drive cage and put in another fan in the bottom if I felt it needed it anyway, I read somewhere that someone did that.

    Strange, this video seems to say that it comes with a 120mm front fan.

    It's around 1:50
  19. I have been thinking. In the future I probably will put in water cooling, but this case doesn't seem to be the best. I've read the HAF X is a monster for water cooling.

    I could of course just buy the NZXT and down the line when I want to water cool I could buy the HAF X or some other case and sell the NZXT.

    Decisions, decisions...
  20. You don't need water cooling. Sandy Bridge doesn't have big temperature problems, and you won't need to go crazy OCing to run this build (just mildly unhinged).
  21. I'm not saying that lower temperatures won't let you OC higher, but you don't *need* to OC that high for this build. A 2500K can handle two 570s with a reasonable OC (see above lol) that you'll easily be able to achieve on air cooling. This article (,2865.html) shows unbottlenecked 570 SLI scaling with a 2600K at *4.0*ghz, whereas your maximum-overclocking article is dealing with 4.8 vs 4.9.
    You'll have no problem if you do an easy OC to 4.3 or 4.4 ghz with the Mugen.
  22. Well I'm thinking in the future if I do decide to water cool. Would be more of a hobby than anything. If it comes to that I'll buy a new case anyway. Although I did see some threads and videos about water cooling with the Phantom.

    Decisions so far:

    Case: NZXT Phantom

    CPU: Intel Core i5 2500K Quad Core Unlocked Processor LGA1155 3.3GHZ Sandy Bridge 6MB

    CPU Heatsink: Scythe SCMG-3000 120mm Heat Pipe CPU Cooler

    Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

    RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL 8GB 2X4GB DDR3-1600 CL9-9-9-24 Memory

    Optical drive: ASUS DRW-24B1ST 24X SATA DVD Writer OEM Black

    GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 570 HD Doubleshot Fermi 732MHZ 1280MB GDDR5 2XDVI HDMI DisplayPort PCI-E Video Card

    So that leaves me with:

    The 140mm fan (I'm thinking I might take one of the 120mm side fans and put in the front instead)

    Hard drive (I won't be getting a SSD)


    Speakers (Probably Logitech)

    Keyboard (Probably Logitech)
  23. One 570 or two? If it's one, then why not the SSD?
    Hard drive should be a Samsung Spinpoint F3. Cheap and reliable.
    Are you in a situation in which you can play all your sound out loud? If not, do you have headphones? I love my Sony MDR-V6, around $70.
    Keyboard: do you focus on a certain genre of gaming (fps vs rts)? If you're going RTS, Razer boards are sick. Otherwise, probably Logitech, yes.
  24. Well my plan is to buy the minimum so I can get up an running as fast as I can. You see I need to find a good L-shaped desk and a good chair too. Once I have the table and chair, then I'll buy the minimum and buy more as I go.

    I have a pair of decent earphones so I can play when my girlfriend is home.

    I do prefer RTS over FPS but I play both. I'll read some reviews on keyboards.

    Yea I'll probably get the Samsung hard drive. I'm scared to look at the price though with the floods and what not.
  25. Oh damn. I looked a few days ago and it was $80. No longer. I think you'll be able to find it with some creative searching, though.
  26. well at the rate this is going I probably won't be buying until after Xmas. Ivy Bridge is out in January no? The price of the i5 SB should drop then...?

    What are the prices like in the States compared to here? I have to go there in a month and might buy some components.
  27. You'll never be able to find parts in person at a better price than you can online. I don't know where you're from, but the prices are probably quite similar on any etailer's various websites. I think the companies realize that people will exploit any price differences that they leave.
    Eh, the 2500K is already pretty cheap. I think the 2600- and 2700K prices may drop, but that's above your range. You may well be able to find a good deal on a 2500K/mobo combo, for instance, so keep checking out Newegg, especially as the holiday season gathers steam.
  28. Jesus the Spinpoint is $150 on newegg!

    I'm from Canada, have to go to the US at the end of the month so I might have a look around some computer stores to check out the prices but thinking about it you are probably right.

    Good tip on the combo deal on newegg, I'll be sure to keep an eye out.
  29. Skip Newegg and do some searching. Ebay, craigslist etc. Be creative when the market price goes haywire.
  30. Sure. I was referring to the HDD, though. I think it'd be worth it to stick to reliable retailers for most items, as they generally have good return/RMA policies. If that RAM's DOA, you won't be able to return it. I only suggested Ebay to dodge the ridiculous prices on HDDS. If you think it's worth it to gamble $15 in RAM price on Ebay, go for it. The same goes for the $80 you can save on the HDD if you can find it at the old market price. Otherwise, stick to the Egg.
  31. Yea I know. Was just having a look for other stuff too. I was thinking the exact same thing about the RAM.

    At this stage it looks like I'll be building the PC next year anyway.
  32. When you start thinking about buying parts, start a new thread up and message me about it. Things will have changed by then. There may not be a large impact on your build, but you may end up changing things up completely.
  33. I will indeed good Sir. Thanks for the help!
  34. Best answer selected by modbus.
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