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~$1100 Gaming/HTPC, need advice & opinions please

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November 7, 2011 9:54:18 AM

I would like to start by thanking you for any help or opinions you can provide. I'm sorry for the short story that follows, I just wanted to try and be as thorough as posible to give you my thoughts and desires for this build.

Approximate Purchase Date: Sooner than later, maybe black friday if people think the deals are going to be that significant.

Budget Range: $1100 USD or less posible if the price/performance is not noticable for the extra $ , After Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Multi tasking(e.g. music/video, multiple internet brower windows with multiple tabs open, while down/uploading, rar/unraring, or the like.) somewhat htpc but very game capable, and lots of data storage(I'm a packrat). But nothing too strenuous like graphic design or maya.

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor(I use my 60" sony 1080 LCD TV, but would consider a new monitor down the road if the difference is really noticable. I'm not the picky gamer I used to be), speakers(also thru my TV), OS(win7 ultimate x64), also do not need an optical drive or mech HDDs.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com mostly due to vast selection, I have a microcenter close 1 hour drive away, but they have i5 2500k's for $40 cheaper than newegg so might grab that and any other items that are cheaper at MC than newegg.

Country of Origin: San Francisco, California, USA

Parts Preferences:by brand or type: whatever is the best bang for my $, was leaning towards i5 2500k & gtx 560ti or better with a full case. but I would gladly change any part for something with a better price for performance.

Overclocking: most likely, as it seems easier than back in the late 90's.

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

Monitor Resolution: Sony 60" 1080 LCD HDTV(I assume 1920x1080)

Additional Comments: I dont care about bling or aethstetics much, but good looks never hurt. Good airflow. Lots of bays for holding HDD's, more the better. As silent as posible is a plus, but not a deal breaker as it is a machine with many parts and fans. I would like to upgrade onto this build in the future without a full overhaul. Air cooled for now, water cooling seems to big of a hassle unless you're doing major OC'ing.

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CPU - Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52500K - $219
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or $180 http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml... It seems this is the best overall cpu for general purposes.

Motherboard - I'm thinking ASUS P8P67 DELUXE (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS - $215 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - $125 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... Or anything you guys recommend for my needs. I have read tons about different mobos but am still unclear as to which way to go as far as company and which features are overkill or sound good on paper but aren't as useful as the seem(e.g. lucidlogix switchable graphics, etc.). I would like as many SATA and USB ports as posible as I have many HDDs and peripherals like keyboard, XBOX remote receiver, etc.

RAM - I was thinking 8gb ddr3 1866 low profile just to avoid any posible clearance problems with coolers later, but don't have a brand or model in mind just in case it is dependant on the mobo. All advice or recomendations welcome. roughly $55 +/- $10

Power Supply - PC Power and Cooling Silencer Mk II 750W High Performance 80PLUS Silver SLI CrossFire ready Power Supply - $110 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... I figured I would try to get 80PLUS Silver or better, while not paying too much unless I need a better PSU for SLI or Xfire if it's the better idea.

CPU Cooler - I've heard good things about the 212EVO and scythe mugen 2, and H50 I think it was, but havent put much thought into it as I figured I would see the overall build cost first.

Hard Drive - Posible small SSD if they really make that big of a difference, otherwise I have plenty of mech HDDs.

Video Card - I am leaning towards nvidia 560ti or better but haven't found enough solid info to bring me to either side. I would like to play Call of Duty Black Ops & MW3 and other similar FPS, Skyrim, etc. If you think the 2 SLI'd or Xfire'd cards are cheaper and perform better than 1 high end card on 1080 on a HDTV let me know. I'm under the impression that 1 highend card is better due to microstuttering(which I hear isnt THAT noticable) and the fact most games dont need multiGPU unless it's on ultra with a crazy resolution or multimonitor displays. I also figure go for a better single card now and get a second later on if need be. Please correct me if I am wrong or misinformed.

Tower case - Thermaltake Level 10 GT (VN10001W2N) Black Steel SECC / Plastic ATX Full Tower Computer Case with Four Fans-1x 200mm Colorshift side fan, 1x 200mm Colorshift top fan, 1x 200mm Colorshift front fan and 1x 140mm rear fan - $200
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I first thought this case was ugly and total overkill, but as I started looking around it seems this case has most of the features I want and the look of the case eventually grew on me. It has 4 good sized fans plus room for more, says it fits even the biggest GPUs without problem, has a good amount of drive bays while also having 5 hotswap bays. water colling capable.

Total with parts listed - $799 USD +/- from newegg, -$40 if I get CPU @ microcenter, but this is also without a GPU, SSD if it is worth the $ right now, and anything else I might have forgotten. I figure If I get my build together I can probably save a bit on black friday.

Also I was wondering if there were any strong opinions on thermal grease, I was thinking Antec FORMULA 7 Nano Diamond Thermal Compound $22 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

As I said earlier I am willing to change any or all of my build if anyone can can make something better for my wants and needs. THANK YOU ALL AGAIN! for putting any time into reading and/or feedback. If there is anything I forgot, left out, or overlooked please tell me.

More about : 1100 gaming htpc advice opinions

November 7, 2011 10:19:51 AM

The Level 10 GT is ment for $3000 builds.If your budget is $1100 then here is what I suggest:

Coolermaster HAF 922 $90
Asrock Z68 Extreme 3 Gen 3 $125
Intel Core i5 2500k $219
Corsair Vengence Low Profile 8gb DDR3 @ 1600 mhz $50
Corsair Force 3 90gb SSD $100
Corsair HX 750watt PSU $155
Msi Gtx 560ti Twin Frozr II $245
Coolermaster Hyper 212 Evo $35

Total: $1019

This build should serve your needs well. Also within your budget.

Happy building. :) 

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November 7, 2011 10:22:05 AM

Oh, and dont buy a Hard Drive at the moment if you can wait- prices have skyrocketed due to floods in Thailand. :( 
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November 7, 2011 11:11:54 AM

Nigelfrost said:
The Level 10 GT is ment for $3000 builds.If your budget is $1100 then here is what I suggest:

Coolermaster HAF 922 $90
Asrock Z68 Extreme 3 Gen 3 $125
Intel Core i5 2500k $219
Corsair Vengence Low Profile 8gb DDR3 @ 1600 mhz $50
Corsair Force 3 90gb SSD $100
Corsair HX 750watt PSU $155
Msi Gtx 560ti Twin Frozr II $245
Coolermaster Hyper 212 Evo $35

Total: $1019

This build should serve your needs well. Also within your budget.

Happy building. :) 

Oh, and dont buy a Hard Drive at the moment if you can wait- prices have skyrocketed due to floods in Thailand.


Thanks for your help, that looks good. I'm wondering whats wrong with the PSU I chose with same wattage but is $45 less? does the price increase for HDDs include SSDs also? If so and I dont get the $100 SSD I'm at $919, -$40 from CPU at microcenter so $880, if there is no real difference in PSUs, that would bring me down to $835...Is there somewhere I could put that $265 to get a bigger performance or lifespan increase? or anything that might be a major convenience?

Sorry if I'm asking too many noob questions. I've been researching this like a kid in a candy store for the last month trying to read everything I can in this subject and while some things have become very clear, others seems to have gotten a little fuzzier on the way.
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November 7, 2011 11:48:13 AM

There is nothing wrong with the PSU you chose, it is just that the one I suggested has better temperatures and reliability. No the Hard Drive price increse dosnt affect SSDs. You dont have to get an SSD if you feel you do not need one. That extra money can be put to great use if you so choose as if you include rebates (from newegg where those prices came from) you actually have enough money to include a Gtx 570 or even a 580 and still be within budget. :) 
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November 7, 2011 12:17:40 PM

I've read bench compairisons for the cards but bar graphs dont mean much to me. will the difference be really noticable gains with each higher card? and do you think the SSD would off set the difference between say the 570 to 580 with the significant price difference. so maybe the SSD and a 570 instead?
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November 7, 2011 5:31:28 PM

does anyone have any other thoughts on this build?
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November 7, 2011 10:31:59 PM

Quote:
Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor(I use my 60" sony 1080 LCD TV, but would consider a new monitor down the road if the difference is really noticable. I'm not the picky gamer I used to be), speakers(also thru my TV), OS(win7 ultimate x64), also do not need an optical drive or mech HDDs.


Quote:
Oh, and dont buy a Hard Drive at the moment if you can wait- prices have skyrocketed due to floods in Thailand. :( 


He's got the HDD's so your in luck! :D 

CPU: Keep the i5-2500k as it's the best price/performance gaming CPU out there right now. Especially if you can snag it for $180.

MOBO: ASUS, Gigabyte, and MSI usually have good quality boards. Look for one that is PCIE 3.0 capable for the future. (One's that say GEN3) Personally I would go with the ASRock you linked. You would want either the P67 or Z68 chipset. The H67 would be useless for your build as you can't overclock with it and you will have dedicated graphics so you don't need the integrated.

RAM: 8 gig's of 1333/1600 ram would be great, but only get 1866 ram if there really isn't a price increase and is the same quality. Having 8 gig's will cover you no matter what speed it is.

PSU: Use nigelfrost's PSU recommendation. Corsair PSU's are of great quality.

SSD: The Crucial M4 is a GREAT SSD. The 64gb runs at about 110 dollars and the 128gb runs at about 215 dollars. I don't have one as I don't have the money but everybody who has one say's they won't go back. If you can put it into your budget I would say go for it.

Case: HAF 922, Lian Li K-62, Antec 900, CM-690ii, CM Storm Scout, any of those cases are great. Depends mainly on what looks you like. Since you said you like drive bays, I believe the Antec DF-85 has alot.

CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo.

GPU: GTX 560 ti or ATI Radeon 6950.

Quote:
If you think the 2 SLI'd or Xfire'd cards are cheaper and perform better than 1 high end card on 1080 on a HDTV let me know. I'm under the impression that 1 highend card is better due to microstuttering(which I hear isnt THAT noticable) and the fact most games dont need multiGPU unless it's on ultra with a crazy resolution or multimonitor displays. I also figure go for a better single card now and get a second later on if need be.


Depending on the cards SLI'ed or xFired cards will run better than one high. BUT you won't have a nice upgrade path in 6 months or a year. I would agree and go with the one high end.

Hope this helps!

~Raptor
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November 9, 2011 6:37:05 AM

Thank you guys very much, that does help quite a bit. I really appreciate your time helping me.

So it doesnt seem that I'm missing any key parts or overlooked something, and no noticable bottlenecking between anything, right?

I just found this PSU for $139 -NZXT HALE90-750-M 750W ATX 12V v2.2, EPS 12V v2.91 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... Does this seem like a good PSU? it's 80PLUS gold and cheaper by a little, but I have no idea about NZXT. I keep finding very mixed reviews from consumers, but no info to back either side up other than preference
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November 9, 2011 9:08:03 PM

That power supply looks good! If it's jonnyguru.com recommended, it's good!. Plus that has really good reviews, although Power Supply reviews buy an average consumer aren't what you want to value as much (don't disvalue them) as professional reviews. jonnyguru.com is a great PSU review sight.

Nigel frosts build is good. A GTX 570 will have better preformance if you want to spend more money on your GPU, although new graphics cards will be coming in between 1~4 months. They should be much more powerful than today's cards so you might want to do a GTX 560ti until new cards come out. If you don't want to do that I would say pay the extra money for a 570. I wouldn't recommend a 580 with new cards coming out so soon. A 850 or bigger PSU would be the best, but 750 would do fine. Hope this helps. Oh and yes right now no bottlenecks. If anything no SSD (possibly) and GPU would be the bottlenecks. That is always to be expected though, with any build.
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