Building $1000 gaming system over several months

Hello all, building a gaming/internet machine with some flexibility for growth. Hoping to save a few bucks by gathering parts on sale over time. I have a bunch of questions at the bottom. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Approximate Purchase Date: purchase parts via sales/combo over next one to four months for completion by March 2012 Budget Range: $800-1000 after rebates

Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming, spreadsheets, internet browsing

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, HDD (see below)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: NewEgg, Amazon, other reliable suppliers suggested by TH users/forums

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: Intel CPU. Hope to use SSD for OS/apps with HDD for file storage. Unclear on how to configure,though.

Overclocking: Possible, once I learn how to do safely

SLI or Crossfire: Probably not – would consider if it brings cost down

Monitor Resolution: using 23” 1920 x 1080 widescreen display

Additional Comments: looking for quiet system; no fancy lights on case; system flexible for upgrading; lower power consumption when just browsing

Borrowing liberally from TECMO gamer build, I came up with this (~$1050):

CPU: Intel I5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3 GHz LGA 1155 ($219 at Amazon)
MOBO: ASRock Z68 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard ($175 NewEgg)
RAM: CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM ($40 NewEgg)
OS: Win 7 Pro SP1($120 at Amazon)
HSF: COOLER MASTER Intel Core i7 compatible Hyper N 520 RR-920-N520-GP 92mm Sleeve CPU Cooler ($36 NewEgg)
HDD: WD Caviar SE16 320GB SATA 7200 RPM (what I have on shelf)
SSD: OCZ3 Agility 120 GB ($150 after rebate)
PSU: XFX PRO750W XXX Edition Semi-Modular 80Plus Silver 750 Watt Power Supply ($100 after rebate, NewEgg)
GPU: SAPPHIRE 100338L Radeon HD 6770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support ($90 after rebate)
DVD: SAMSUNG CD/DVD Burner Black 1.5Gbps Model SH-222AL/BSBS LightScribe Support - OEM ($25)
Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case ($80)
Thermal Compound: Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound

Specific questions:
1. Are there any major/minor issues with the build? Don't want to gimp system or waste $ unnecessarily.
2. Am I likely to save money by watching for deals over the next few months?
3. What is the real difference between Z68 vs. P67? I read several posts, but I’m still not clear on this.
4. What is the easiest/best way to maintain safe temperatures while reducing noise and power consumption?
5. I read a post that mentioned games not playable with 64bit OS. Is this something to worry about with Win7 Pro 64bit?
6. Does anyone have a link geared toward first-time builders installing/configuring SSD and HDD combination? My forum searches mostly lead to technical discussions about specific SSD performance and optimization.
5 answers Last reply
More about building 1000 gaming system months
  1. I would say dont buy parts over a time period . Buy them all when you can afford them and some will be cheaper .

    Z68 combines the best of the P67 and H67 chip sets . You can run a graphics card and have access to quick sync for encoding , and you can use a small SSD for caching the hard drive .

    Games and all other 32 bit programs are completely compatible with 64 bit OS's . Some older peripherals [ grannys black and white printer from 1997 ]may not have had drivers written for them and might not be .

    To set up your SSD .mount both of them put SATA cables to both , but only plug the power in for the SSD . Install Windows .
    Then connect the other drive and format it

    In its current format your computer is a a bit unbalanced . Good graphics quality and frame rates depend on the graphics card , and not so much the processor . If you want to play new releases on high setting you need to pay a lot more for a graphics card
  2. better cooler for the same money:

    1) you have one major issue, that is the 6770, its not a gaming graphics card, if your doing a $1000 build there should be at least a 6870 in there. Your psu is kind of expensive too. Look for a good one around 70-80 from corsair or antec or another reputable brand. Windows 7 home edition can be bought for less, and unless you plan on doing xp virtualization its useless to get pro version, just cost more money.

    2) Possible on small mail-in-rebates or random sales, but its not worth to wait to save $50 or so, enjoy it now.

    3) p67 requires graphics card. z68 uses onboard graphics or a dedicated card. The real bonus to z68 is if your doing video editing, it can use intel's quicksync tech which makes video encoding extremely fast compared to a cpu that doesnt have it.

    4) get a good cooler like the one i posted up there. You shouldnt be encountering anything close to dangerous temps unless your gonna do some heavy overclocking, but even then just use a program like speedfan to monitor temperature of the cpu under stress to make sure its saying in a safe zone.

    5) Nope, unless you like playing 15 year old games compiled in 16 bit. windows 64 will play 64 and 32 bit games so you're fine playing any big game made in the last 10 or so years.

    6) Usually windows will do all the important stuff for you like turn on trim support etc, everything else is usually fine tuning and its not a big deal for most people as it only makes a difference in benchmarking. Usually just install your os on your ssd and games and other big stuff on your hdd and you'll be good to go.
  3. New GPU: XFX HD-687A-ZHFC Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready ($150 after rebate).

    Thanks for the good information and suggestions.
  4. Looks good and have fun
  5. +1 to OutLander
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