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New Gaming Build $600-$700

Last response: in Systems
October 30, 2011 2:36:38 AM

Hi! I am looking to build a new rig with the potential to run new and upcoming games on High-Max settings (BF3, Skyrim, SWToR, Diablo 3, GW2, etc.) as well as do some 3D modeling (Solidworks, Pro-E, AutoCAD, etc.) and Graphic Design (Adobe Suite)

Approximate Purchase Date: 1 week~

Budget Range: $600-$700 before rebates (some flexibility)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, 3D modeling, Graphic Design

Parts Not Required: Peripherals, OS, video card (have an XFX Radeon HD 5770)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: or other reputable site

Country of Origin: United States

Parts Preferences: Whatever provides the best price to performance ratio

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: Quiet is a major plus. Will likely upgrade my video card later, possibly add an SSD and Blu-ray drive. May upgrade to 16GB RAM.

Cooler Master HAF 912

Intel Core i5-2500K

ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3

G.SKILL Sniper Low Voltage Series 8GB (DDR3 1600)

XFX Core Edition PRO850W

WD Caviar Green 1.5TB SATA 6.0Gb/s 64mb Cache

Samsung CD/DVD Burner

XFX Radeon HD 5770
Already own

Total: $670 (before Tax + Shipping)


With this parts list I should have a decent amount of room to overclock. I know that the video card will likely be the weakest part of the build, however I intend to replace it when the next-gen video cards are released (Q1 2012?) or when I find myself with some spare cash. I have a feeling that I can get away with a less beefy (and expensive) PSU, however I'm not sure if I should.

Thank you for your input in advance.

More about : gaming build 600 700

October 30, 2011 4:57:18 AM

Thanks for the tip on the PSU.

Will I really see that much of a performance increase by picking up a second 6770/6750 to crossfire as opposed to waiting a couple months and getting a new card? I've heard that there are still a lot of issues with Crossfire in general.

The RAM you recommended is DDR3 1333, isn't it a better investment to get DDR3 1600 for $11 extra (1.5V) or low voltage DDR3 1600 for $21 and have extra room to overclock?

Also, does anyone have a different HDD they could recommend? It seem that Newegg just went out of stock on the one in the original build.
Related resources
October 30, 2011 5:13:43 AM

The 5770 is too low. Your budget is tight and we might have to forget about the fancy motherboard, the nice looking ram and the unlocked processor.
If you are going to upgrade something along the way it better be the processor than the gfx card. A i3 2100 won't cripple your system in any way, the 5770 certainly will.
Here is what i think you should do...
October 30, 2011 5:19:17 AM

NZXT GAMMA Classic Series GAMA-001BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3750528AS 750GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

XFX HD-695X-ZNFC Radeon HD 6950 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity

OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W Modular High Performance Power Supply compatible with Intel Sandybridge Core i3 i5 i7 and AMD Phenom

GeIL Enhance CORSA 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model GEC38GB1600C9DC

GIGABYTE GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

Intel Core i3-2100 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I32100

Subtotal: $675.93

Notice that the Ram is high profile. But still is the cheapest 1600 and you won't be needing an aftermarket cooler. Later on when you upgrade your CPU you can add an aftermarket cooler that doesn't mind big headers on ram. Or well, pay a lil more for a low profile kit.
Also, the psu and motherboard are chosen in mind of single card setup with some overclocking. Either one wouldn't let you add a second gfx card.
It is all about choices. The more you future proof your system the more it costs.
October 30, 2011 5:59:20 AM

that ^ build will do better than my first suggestion. going amd could get you a gtx 570 however if you want to upgrade you will have to wait for the 2nd gen bulldozers (komodo) to come out . the current bulldozers dont seem to be doing well
October 30, 2011 6:15:41 AM

570 throws high temperatures
October 30, 2011 6:33:00 AM

but it still beats the 6950 in most benchmarks.
October 30, 2011 6:42:03 AM

Yes but it also costs more. Performance/Price 6950 is the king. If the OP would have more money i would suggest a 6970. Also the 6950 fares very well with overclocking and won't make a furnace out of his rig. If he does go with the i3 the card is the only thing he can OC, and OC an already hot running 570... i don't know. I wouldn't suggest a higher tier than the 6950 or 560ti for a i3, and i still find the 6950 newer tech and more able. It is a matter of perspective though and the OP won't go wrong with any of these cards. Weighing pros and cons is a subtle procedure.
October 30, 2011 6:54:10 AM

If my Radeon HD 5770 is really going to gimp me that much then I might be better off stretching my budget and getting a new GFX card now instead of waiting for the next gen cards to be released. I don't intend to downgrade to an i3, If I had to I would rather switch to a Phenom II X4. After some extensive research, I feel that an i5 2500K is the best way to go, however.

Current build thoughts:


Intel Core i5-2500K

ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3

G.SKILL Sniper Low Voltage Series 8GB (DDR3 1600)

Antec EarthWatts EA-650 GREEN

WD Caviar Black 500GB SATA 6.0Gb/s 32mb Cache

Samsung CD/DVD Burner

XFX Radeon HD 6950 2GB

Total: $921 (before Tax + Shipping)

I'm not entirely happy with the HDD, but that seems to be the best price/performance drive available right now.
Which GPU would work out the best? A 6950 2GB (potentially overclocked), 6970, or GTX 570?
Does anyone know for sure if a 6970~ will fit in a NZXT Gamma? (10.75 inch card)

(If it would be best to create a new thread to reflect the budget change, let me know.)
October 30, 2011 7:15:18 AM

attaboy, impressive choices. You will also need an aftermarket cooler now though.
Corsair A70 is more than enough, if you are feeling you have gone too far with the budget then a lowly CM 212 will suffice (ew)
Save yourself the money getting the 1gb card
There is no difference, even benchmarks can't tell it. Overclock it and it becomes better than it could have been as a 2gb unlocked to 6970.
Undeniably the pure 6970 would be better.
Now arises a different matter. If you won't be adding another card along the way your 650psu is fine. If you do intend to go dual though you are going to need a 850watt to say the least, because dual 6970 might demand a 1000watt psu.
As for fitting in the Gamma case, i am sorry but i don't know.
Here is what you should get as HDD
October 30, 2011 7:31:35 AM

If I'm spending $250-350 on a single video card, I don't think that I will crossfire or SLI.

That HDD you linked is only SATA II (3.0 GB/S) as opposed to SATA III (6.0 GB/S).

Which is superior at the moment, an NVIDIA GTX 570 or an AMD HD 6970, and will they provide enough of a performance increase to warrant the extra cost?
October 30, 2011 7:52:58 AM

Also know that the review from hardwareheaven pits the gigabyte vs sapphire. gigabyte has always been the performance king on cards while sapphire is the budget king (at least in europe)
The differences are so subtle that i would say just follow your heart on what you got available from the two worlds.
October 30, 2011 8:28:18 AM

Thanks for the input.