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Planning a new gaming-oriented purchase. Need experienced advice!

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October 24, 2011 8:27:43 AM

First off thanks to anyone taking some time to help me out.

I'm currently browsing my options for a new computer system, as my (not so old but fairly very un-efficient) Compaq Presario CQ60 (ugh, i was on a student's salary back then ;) , i'm amazed it ran SC2 at all) just isnt cutting it for me anymore.

I'm looking for a gaming and photo-editing computer. I'm an illustrator so i use Photoshop fairly extensively, and have been considering getting into 3d modelling as well (but knowing full well my current laptop would likely melt if i tried getting mudbox and the like running on it.)

My budget is about 1.2k, willing to go more or less 300 bucks (preferably shipping to Canada included.) over if the pricier builds will make it that much more efficient, or that much more useful for years to come. I would really like it if the computer could offer the smoothest experience possible for gaming as well, since its going to be the two main uses for this computer. (For other lower requirement programs and netbrowsing, my trusty Compaq will handle the work for as long as it survives.). Games i usually focus on are MMOs (hoping to pimp my pc for the upcoming swtor, really.And maybe D3 and HOTS in the upcoming years), Borderlands,Fallout series and Starcraft 2, and id reaaaally like to optimize gaming experience graphically and performance-wise. (I'm tired of being the slow horse in games and foregoing raids because my comp just cant handle the stress and the framerate goes abysmally down. ;)  )

I've been reviewing options, but so far i've been considering this mid-range build:
http://www.build-gaming-computers.com/gaming-desktop-computer.html
And was also considering upgrading some parts of it, altough i wouldnt know which ones to prioritize. Should i invest in an i7 for the sake of giving the computer a longer life expectancy? I'd like it to last me a solid 4-5 years without having to rebuy a new one at the least, at high efficiency, perhaps longer at average efficiency. Ive also considered changing the 8GB ram for a Corsair 12 (4x3) for 25$ more but a friend seemed distrustful of the Corsair brand.

Also, i've come across this ASUS laptop, for 1,399$ ( http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=807380&Sku=A50-11025%20CA ) . Since i'd have to purchase the OS and peripherals on the desktop (headset, speakers, monitor...basically all i have is a gaming wireless mouse =P) , im really considering buying it. Not to mention it comes with 12GB RAM ( i know, not all that useful for games, but photo editing and all...) and i7 (i really dont know jack about turboboost , overclocking and the like (or even to enable it if i had it), sadly, so the amount of Ghz is gibberish to me) , while the desktop has i5 and 8gb. The laptop however only has 5400rpm harddisk, and i question how much speed it'd cost me during gameplay. Portability is also a factor i enjoy, altough the though of building my own first tower system IS also an incentive, and not a challenge i'd back down from (which really sounds simple once you dig around for tutorials really...)

I've learned a LOT about hardware over the past 2-3 weeks, but i feel i've hit a snag where now its all numbers i cant quantifiably compare due to my inexperience first-hand usage of better quality computer system. I'm really torn, and i could seriously use enlightened advice.

Thanks again!

More about : planning gaming oriented purchase experienced advice

a b 4 Gaming
October 24, 2011 8:41:51 AM

Desktop and laptop components aren't really comparable in power due to heavy thermal restrictions in laptops. A laptop with i7 and a GTX 560M doesn't compare to a desktop with i7 and a GTX 560 -- the desktop will be better by a factor not under two (in gaming especially). If you don't need the mobility, buy a desktop!
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a b 4 Gaming
October 24, 2011 9:00:37 AM

Here you go, would you like a bluray player as well? or just a regular one?

COOLER MASTER HAF 912 - $59.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel Core i7-2600K - $314.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

BIOSTAR TZ68A+RCH LGA 1155 - $129.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) - $49.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) - $109.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM - $64.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus - $25.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

EVGA 012-P3-1577-KR GeForce GTX 570 - $339.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thermaltake TR2 RX 750W Bronze - $89.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - $99.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: 1175.91
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Related resources
October 24, 2011 9:26:06 AM

regular dvd player is quite, quite fine. Blueray could be a future expenditure but in no way prioritary.

Thanks Finneous, didnt know that, but makes perfect sense :p 

Emelth, thanks a bunch!
-I'm wondering, how much do i lose as far as efficiency goes from going with the 130$ Biostar motherboard when compared to my earlier build-of-choice's ASUS Sabertooth P67 B3 at 200? I admit motherboards are likely the area i understand the least about, that and SSD.

-Speaking of SSDs, could anyone enlighten me on their purpose in layman's terms? Or more importantly, their usage? Is it passive, or is it a separate drive altogether that would bring me the loading speed i want/yearn/crave? I've read reviews and wikipedia article about their purpose, thats no trouble, but if i dont understand their usage, its fairly pointless =P

Finally, what of soundcards? I don't really care of superhigh quality pristine digital sounds, but id also like something that won't make my ears bleed.

Thanks again, seems almost all of those feature are better than my earlier picks, for very similar prices!
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a b 4 Gaming
October 24, 2011 9:34:03 AM

SSD are great for the OS or games that require a lot of loading (Skyrim, RPGs, etc.) the P67 is good but if your going to use a SSD you want a Z68 for its turbo boost in reading/writing data. I would upgrade the mobo more if I was you it would make it last even longer.

Intel Smart Response Technology
"Intel Smart Response Technology is an Intel Rapid Storage Technology (RST) caching feature that improves computer system performance. It allows a user to configure computer systems with an SSD used as cache memory between the hard disk drive and system memory. This provides the advantage of having a hard disk drive (or a RAID volume) for maximum storage capacity while delivering an SSD-like overall system performance experience. (It is required to update both “BIOS” and “Intel RST Driver” to the latest version)"
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a b 4 Gaming
October 24, 2011 9:48:59 AM

I wouldn't buy a BioStar mobo. The ASRock Extreme series is a popular price/performance choice. IMO the Radeon 6950 is better value than the GTX 570.
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Best solution

a b 4 Gaming
October 24, 2011 9:54:36 AM

COOLER MASTER HAF 912 - $59.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel Core i7-2600K - $314.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

BIOSTAR TZ68A+RCH LGA 1155 - $129.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) - $49.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) - $109.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM - $64.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus - $25.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

EVGA 012-P3-1577-KR GeForce GTX 570 - $339.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

LITE-ON DVD Burner - Bulk 24X -$18.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thermaltake TR2 RX 750W Bronze - $89.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - $99.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: 1194.90

if you can afford it upgrade the mobo to:
ASRock Z68 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - $184.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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a b 4 Gaming
October 24, 2011 9:57:52 AM

FinneousPJ said:
I wouldn't buy a BioStar mobo. The ASRock Extreme series is a popular price/performance choice. IMO the Radeon 6950 is better value than the GTX 570.


Even though you might not use it the reviews say other wise, plus I know I would go with the ASRocking as well but I was trying to keep price low, you beat me to it but i was already working on advising him on a new mobo which I said earlier I would upgrade if it were up to me
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October 24, 2011 10:02:57 AM

so if i wanted better performance/life expectancy of the computer, i should prioritize the motherboard? I could definitly shell out more money on a better motherboard.

As far as the graphic card however, how much more would the ASRock Extreme cost me? The only Radeon 6950 i find on newegg are about 100$ less than the GTX, which makes me wonder if it isnt indeed a lot cheaper for not a whole lot less bang for my buck. Both seem to have overheating issues however.
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a b 4 Gaming
October 24, 2011 10:04:20 AM

I'm not saying BioStar sucks, I'm just saying I wouldn't buy it :p 
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October 24, 2011 10:16:37 AM

well it's mostly because with every other type or hardware or the like, i can differentiate their general specs fairly easily in their descriptions.

I have trouble doing that with motherboards, their long winded descriptions are at best gibberish in my mind, so i have absolutely no idea whats the difference between a 130 bucks biostar and a 200 bucks asus sabertooth or that AsRock one from descriptions alone, and even findinf online comparison is nebulous at best :p 
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a b 4 Gaming
October 24, 2011 10:24:58 AM

There's also the ASRock Extreme3 for the same price as the BioStar: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

As for the parts themselves... I admit, ASRock is simply a brand I prefer to BioStar, for all I know that BioStar mobo is a great part. Objectively, the ASRock does seem to have higher bandwidth memory support plus fancier capacitors :lol:  They also have a great BIOS.
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a b 4 Gaming
October 24, 2011 10:26:16 AM

I know how you feel Kraaken I'm still working on furthering my knowledge with mobos as well but from the research of what I've done says that if your using a SSD go with the Z68, I've heard from others on the forums that the P67 you have to do everything manually which could become annoying.

I've posted the ASRock mobo that I would choose a couple posts ago
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October 24, 2011 12:47:44 PM

Nice, this is looking very promising. Plus i've seen the ASRock motherboard suggested on many a build (even pricier ones, and above the ASUS Sabertooth), so i'll quite probably pick it up, if only so i wont have to worry about upgrading that and the i7 for at least a couple years.

I'm curious however why there hasnt been any mention of soundcards? Oversight or do any of those other component have it integrated?

Lastly, the biggest issue im seeing with the reviews on the GPU is heat. the GIGABYTE model of the GTX 570 is 5 bucks more and integrate a 3rd fan. (which im thinking is a long term good idea so i dont end up overheating the thing too quickly)
Sure its big, and the issue might be tower space, but otherwise, is there another issue i'm not seeing/unaware of?

GIGABYTE GV-N570OC-13I Rev2.0 GeForce GTX 570 (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125384
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a b 4 Gaming
October 24, 2011 12:50:49 PM

Dedicated sound cards are mostly unnecessary these days. Onboard sound is good enough.
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October 24, 2011 1:24:39 PM

Thermaltake TR2 RX 750W Bronze - $89.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6817153136

DO NOT buy that power supply nor do you really need the 64gb SSD as it will fill up super fast in my opinion not worth the money unless your going to use it as a cache drive. Buy a hybrid drive if you dont wanna mess with that sort of thing. Mainly do not buy that power supply :) 

Also if your going to help someone on the forums please do your research before recommending bad products to some looking for advice.
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October 24, 2011 2:19:30 PM

any similarly priced other suggestion for the power supply? What seems unefficient about it? And well, all the other advice i got seemed sound, if the worst suggestion on the list on the power supply i still consider Emelth's help invaluable hehe.

And yeah, i'm planning on using the SSD as a cache drive for my current games usages only, storing those less-often used or lesser-demanding , single player turned based games on the 1TB hard drive (I dont mind some extra load time in single player games tbh.)Which is why i'm not even considering buying the 128gb version in the slightest. Should i fill it, i'll just swap lesser used game to other drives, I don't mind the hassle of swapping the files much. 64gb should cover 9-13 demanding games just fine, so i should be set for all my favorite heavy hitters.

Altough i'm really unfamiliar with the hybrids, so if they're an easier solution, i'm interested.

Any thoughts on the 3 fanned GPU card?

Also, quick poll to all. Should i want to top the current build with an extra 100$, what would you upgrade? (Assuming the ASRock mobo is also already included.)
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October 24, 2011 4:05:13 PM

2422524,17,1013157 said:
any similarly priced other suggestion for the power supply? What seems unefficient about it? And well, all the other advice i got seemed sound, if the worst suggestion on the list on the power supply i still consider Emelth's help invaluable hehe.

Honestly I did not take the time to go through all of the components in the list but I did comment on that power supply because I too almost purchased that but went with the Cosair TX 750 v2 after reading multiple reviews on many different models around that price. Friendly advice, If I were you I would search every component and read reviews on them before I made a decision to purchase anything. This will get you started.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4253/the-crucial-m4-micro...

http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/902/

Also I know the hyper 212 plus is a great cooler for the price because I own one and it's cooling my phenom 2 955 @ 3.9ghz with 1.42v, hope this helps.
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a b 4 Gaming
October 25, 2011 4:00:58 AM

SluggRipper said:
Thermaltake TR2 RX 750W Bronze - $89.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6817153136

DO NOT buy that power supply nor do you really need the 64gb SSD as it will fill up super fast in my opinion not worth the money unless your going to use it as a cache drive. Buy a hybrid drive if you dont wanna mess with that sort of thing. Mainly do not buy that power supply :) 

Also if your going to help someone on the forums please do your research before recommending bad products to some looking for advice.



Would love to know why you would disagree with this, I've used this two other builds with no problems. Its not always the manufactors fault if it is DOA. I work at UPS when I was younger and I saw the "care" most packages recieved its probably the same for all other mailing companies as well. So yes there are a couple of bad reviews on it but there are much more possiblities of user error instead of manufactor error.

Besides that to the OP, if you wanted to throw another $100 into the RIG while laready having the ASRock MoBo, I would have no good idea where to put its a pretty well balanced build.

As for that this is the last advice I will be able to give, going to be gone for a while dont know when I'll be back (this means days)
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November 22, 2011 4:49:28 PM

Best answer selected by KraakenDazs.
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