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Gaming PC for < $1k

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October 5, 2011 3:18:07 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: Before Christmas


Budget Range: $500 - $1000


System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Programming


Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Mouse(I'll get them later), Monitor. I plan on reusing parts from my current computer for the time being to spread out costs, I'll post specs later.


Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg I suppose, though I don't really have any preference as long as I can get it shipped to me


Country of Origin: USA


Parts Preferences: Don't much care


Overclocking: Doubt it


SLI or Crossfire: Maybe


Monitor Resolution: 1920 x 1080, might get a better monitor next year


Additional Comments: I'm probably going to be buying the parts and slowly building the computer over the next couple of months, using parts from my current computer as placeholders if possible. If there's a place that'll let me assemble a (good) computer and allow me to pay $ / month, I'd prefer that, though not if it'd be less cost effective than building it over time. I'd like it to be a decent improvement over my current computer, hopefully last a few years, and be able to run things like: BF3, MW3, Crysis, Dragon Age, Assassin's Creed, Skyrim, and Mass Effect 3.

Current computer: http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/Docume... Got it from Wal - Mart last November, all I've changed is the graphics card.

Processor - AMD Phenom II x4 830(according to dxdiag. Box the computer came in says 820), 2 . 8 ghz
Memory - 6 gigs DDR3
Graphics Card - GeForce GT 220
Power Supply - 250w
Monitor - http://www.google.com/products/catalog?client=opera&rls...

I've never gotten anything other than prebuilt computers from Wal - Mart, so I really have no idea what I'm looking for. I've done some searching for the past few days though, and these are the parts I was looking at:

Case - http://3btech.net/gaargamidtow.html?conf0=9 Galaxis ARES Gamer Mid Tower with 180mm Blue LED Side Fan, Window, 120mm LED Side Fan, 3x 120mm Blue LED Fans, 4x USB 2.0 and eSATA $79 . 99

Power Supply - Not sure what I need, but I was thinking of adding the 1200w supply that can be added to the above case $118

CPU / Motherboard - http://www.portatech.com/catalog/viewitem.asp?ID=57375&... Was thinking about the i7 2600k, but I really have no idea how any of these compare to each other. $368 . 75

GPU - http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite... Pretty much anything's going to be better than my current one I think. Was thinking getting two of these cards, 1 now and 1 later when I get the money. Not sure if that'd be best though. $229 . 99

Hard Drive - Plan on using my current one for now, but I'll be getting more later so I'd like suggestions. I don't have anything specific in mind though, other than being 1tb +.

RAM - Planning on upgrading to 8 - 12 gigs, not sure what type to get though.

More about : gaming

October 5, 2011 3:37:30 AM

I just posted this for another guy asking for help. I'll repost here, but modified of course.

Personally I'd suggest:
i5 2500k - $220(do you have a microcenter near you? they have it for $180 in store)
asrock extreme3 gen3 ($125)
CM hyper 212 evo ($35) Should allow you to OC to ~4.5 ghz.
samsung f3 1TB $60
DVD $20 any
8gb Ram $50-55
total so far about $510

You have ~490 left for case, PSU and GPU

XFX, Corsair, Antec, Seasonic, PC power & Cooling, OCZ (depends on model) for PSU. See notes below for watts

CASE: Antec 300/Rosewill Challenger/ NZXT Gamma all 3 sub $70. Corsair Carbide 400R ($100) or 500R ($130) or In win Buc ($75) or any of the HAF series. CM690II is good also. All cheaper than your pic.

GPU: I'd suggest minimum of a GTX560Ti or an AMD6950

For PSU, a good unit is a must. Remember to read reviews about the specific model you're looking for. Sometimes companies use different manufacturers for different models.

GTX 560TI with OCed CPU look for 600-650w. GTX560TI SLI = 750w. 6950Crossfire = 750w. 1 x 6950 = 550w

Just noticed you might not OC. If you won't, get the i5-2400 CPU, drop the Hyper 212 cpu cooler, and subtract about 50-100w from my psu recommendations. (except for the 6950=550w)
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October 5, 2011 3:39:38 AM

I got an $850 build in my sig, or here.
http://www.squidoo.com/electronicandmore

I do suggest waiting 1 week and a day for Bulldozer (AMD's new chips) it'll be cheaper and perform a lot better. So just a suggestion.
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October 5, 2011 4:49:50 AM

Thanks to both of you for your responses.

Updating my price - At most, I will have $909 in December to spend on this computer, with a bit more in January + February. So, I'd like to initially spend around $800 - $909 so I can get a working computer asap, maxing out at $1500 total. With this, I'd also like suggestions on a monitor, keyboard, and mouse to upgrade to next year(preferably with MMO gaming in mind, if it matters). So, please revise your suggestions if this changes anything.

@sky03 - No, there doesn't seem to be a Microcenter near me(or even in the entire state for that matter, Florida).

Case - Aside from the price, is there anything wrong with the case I picked out? I really like the way my pick looks, but I wouldn't want to get it if it's inferior to the other cases.

GPU - The 6950 looks good. I'd probably get one now, then a second probably around January. Since I'm planning on 2 6950s, would you still suggest them, or would it be better to get a better single card?

As for OCing, I haven't really looked into it, and imagined it to be more difficult than it probably is. Let's assume that I will OC for any further suggestions.

@aznshinobi - I saw that build, but I honestly didn't know enough to go with it without getting some further suggestions. Good thing I posted this thread though, else I never would've known about the Bulldozer. I'll probably go with that CPU then, as I'm not really in a hurry to get this computer set up before Dec. 20th.

You both suggest the same motherboard, so I'll probably go with that one.
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October 5, 2011 5:18:00 AM

Yeah I suggest just waiting for Bulldozer, it's out in a 8 days.
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October 5, 2011 5:19:51 AM

Check the $1000 build in my sig. i5 2500k + HD6970 :) 
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October 5, 2011 5:58:41 AM

If you'll finalize your build in jan/feb, that's awfully close to ivy bridge's release. Even if you don't buy ivy, sandy prices should go down.

2 x 6950 is a good choice. If you won't game at resolutions over 1080p, and aren't interested in multi monitor set ups, save the money and get the 1gb version. A good 750w psu should be enough for this set up, and has enough headroom for OCing your cpu.

Buying in stages, it's hard to suggest what to get first. If i had to choose, i'd say get everything else except the cpu+mobo. Why, because these are the two most expensive items in your build (yes i know technically it's the gpu, but you need that asap to start playing games) and also the ones that are bound to go down the most when new stuffs come out. In the mean time you can use your current cpu+mobo.
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October 5, 2011 6:07:46 AM

^ Doubt it, Intel has shown that they're pretty stern about their prices. Ivy releases but that is high-end, not low end. So it wouldn't even effect it that much. Plus they'll be $300+ Which would only effect the 2600K but even then they're replacing that with the 2700K (I believe).

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October 5, 2011 6:11:50 AM

^ good point. Still, even if ivy does not directly lower sandy's prices, between now and jan/feb is a long time. Almost certain than sandy's price will go down due to sheer amount of time.
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October 5, 2011 6:17:01 AM

If anything Sandy will drop $10 at most and even then, Bulldozer is cheaper. Should BD perform, we'll see during this month which will be the better value. Plus 7xxx is launching early 2012 or late 2012 so.... Just a reminder than the next gen GPUs are coming.
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October 5, 2011 6:21:25 AM

I really can't see much problem except the PSU and GPU.

The i5-2500k is the best but when you have a phenom quadcore already, it would be a waste of money right now just to switch over to the i5-2500k. Save some money and get a 6870 or 6950. Get a 450-500w PSU. You're done.
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October 5, 2011 6:25:16 AM

@Sky03 - Do you think an Ivy / Sandy Bridge'd be better than the Bulldozer aznshinobi suggested? Assuming I do wait a couple of months to get a new cpu + mobo, would my current setup support the graphics cards(at least one of them, since I'd be able to wait until I get the Ivy to get the 2nd card, assuming I go that route)? As far as multi monitors, most I was planning on doing would be 2 - my current monitor off to the side for things like web browsing, and a new monitor to be my main for things like gaming, so I don't have to alt tab when I want to check things. ervinelim brings up a good point - would any of these CPUs be a big enough boost to justify the extra cost? Could take the money from that and possibly get a GPU better than the 6950. Doubt I'd have enough for the 7xxx when they come out though.

@zero_ - Why do you suggest the 6970? I've read that the 6950 can be made to be as good as the 6970 through some sort of update, and it's cheaper. Am I misinterpreting what that means, and that the 6970 would be better to get? Either way, assume I'm planning on getting 2 cards(unless 1 6970'd be better than 2 6950s). Would you still suggest the 6970 over the 6950?
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October 5, 2011 6:32:34 AM

Can't compare sandy/ivy to BD at this time because bD isn't out yet. Hopefully BD performs well, to give intel good competition.
That king of dual monitor is fine with the 1 gb. The muli monitor i was refering to was using multiple monitors "as one" aka eyefinity. Ie. Playing a game that stretches across 3 screens.

Regarding the 6950 being unlocked to a 6970, from what i underatand, it's not guaranteed that the gpu you buy can be unlocked. You gotta be lucky for that.
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October 5, 2011 11:51:10 PM

BD vs SB is to be awaited, since BD hasn't been released and no benches have been leaked.

6950 2GB's can't be unlocked anymore or it's very rare. The most likely unlocks were when they were using the reference PCB design which is rare now. You can easily overclock them past the 6970's performance anyways.
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