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$600 - $650 Gaming PC Advice Needed

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November 20, 2011 11:26:47 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: Most parts Before XMAS (GPU/PSU/HDD can come later)

Budget Range: $600 to $650 after rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important:
  • Gaming (WOW/SWTOR/Skyrim)
  • Work from Home (Java Programming with Eclipse, Toad for Oracle, lots of browser windows open, Dreamweaver)
  • Web Design/Development (Adobe CS5.5)
  • Internet Browsing

    Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS, HDD (waiting on prices to come back down to earth)

    Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com, microcenter.com, tigerdirect, amazon.com, I'm open to others (whatever is cheapest and reliable)

    Country: USA (Southeast)

    Parts Preferences: Intel and NVIDIA (but bank for the buck trumps this!)

    Overclocking: Maybe (in the future)

    SLI or Crossfire: Maybe (in the future)

    Monitor Resolution: Dual 1920x1080

    Additional Comments: Bling is not required, nor something to be avoided.


    Here is my current parts list:
  • CPU - Intel Core i5 2500k - $172 (with tax)
  • MoBo - GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 - $96 (combo deal with tax)
  • PSU - COOLER MASTER eXtreme Power Plus 700W - $39 (with tax)

  • Case - Antec Three Hundred - $35 shipped
  • RAM - G.SKILL Ripjaws 8GB DDR 1600 - $30

  • GPU - MSI Twin Frozr II GTX 560 Ti - $225 (after MIR)
  • Heatsink - Corsair A70 - $19 after MIR

    Total: approximately $616 (after rebates) ($34 under budget :D  )



    My current plan is to buy the CPU, Case, RAM and Motherboard and use my current GPU and PSU until January/February. I'll then purchase the GPU and PSU listed above unless I find some great deals during Black Friday/Cyber Monday this weekend.

    My current GPU is a GeForce 7900GS that i'm going to try and OC in the interim.
    My PSU is a CORSAIR 450W
    I used a calculator and my current 450W PSU should support the proposed system until I Overclock the CPU, or add a second GFX card. Does this seem correct?

    Also, does anyone have any heatsink recomendations? I may go ahead and purchase one in Jan/Feb with the PSU/GPU if I decide to overclock at that time.

    Thanks for your time!
    November 20, 2011 11:33:43 PM

    get a CPU mobo combo at microcenter u can pick up nice P67 mobo for dirt cheap
    Nvidia recommends at leas 550W PSu for 560Ti so no .. will not work
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    November 20, 2011 11:40:08 PM

    If you going to a microcenter.

    Get a CPU+ motherboard combo. Get a z68 motherboard not a P67.

    Yeah, the 560ti will work with a 450w. Make sure it is 80% efficient. don't overclock.
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    November 20, 2011 11:43:10 PM

    Thanks guys. I've not built a PC in over 5 years so i'm completely lost if you cannot tell. What is the difference in a z68 and p67 motherboard?

    Also I updated my first post with a motherboard that has enough expansion slots for me.
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    November 20, 2011 11:46:16 PM

    It's newer tech.

    One main feature to get it over the P67. Imagine if your GPU suddenly conked out, with a p67 you can do nothing until you replace the whole thing. If you had a z68 motherboard, the motherboard can make use of the IGP that the CPU has and you would still have a working computer.

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    November 20, 2011 11:50:43 PM

    Thanks for the info cutebeans.

    I just looked on microcenter.com but didn't see any i5 bundles. I guess I'll go in store on my lunch break one day this week to see if there are deals not advertised online.

    Thanks for the links/models. I'll check in store this week to see what I can find. Maybe they will have some black Friday deals too. :) 

    Thanks again :) 
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    November 21, 2011 12:06:52 AM

    Your corsair 450w is a quality unit, and will have no problem with your current card. If anything, the 2500K will be even more efficient than your current cpu.

    I do have a problem with the ocz 700w unit. You might want to read this:
    http://www.eggxpert.com/forums/7/323050/ShowThread.aspx It can deliver 46a on the +12v rails.

    By comparison the Antec EarthWatts EA-650 GREEN 650W can deliver 54a, well worth the $10 difference.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    The GTX560Ti needs 500w with 30a on the 12v rails plus two 6-pin PCI-E power leads.

    A TX580 needs 600w with 42a on the 12v rails plus one 6-pin and one 8-pin PCI-E power lead.

    A lesser psu would do your job, but a quality unit of any wattage will still cost $70 or so.

    Do some shopping, any unit from Antec, Corsair, PC P&C, XFX, or seasonic will be of good quality.

    Last I saw, microcenter had the 2500K for $180 for walk in customers.
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    November 21, 2011 12:07:59 AM

    Yeah don't worry. I think most deals are not advertised online.
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    November 21, 2011 12:25:48 AM

    Good to know. I never actually knew about Micro Center (didn't have one close to my house during my last build) until I started researching this build. I've yet to get into the store. Thanks for all your tips! I'll post up what I find and hopefully I can get back into my price range with a combo deal :) 

    In regards to the PSU my current one is efficient up to 85% and offers 33A on the 12V rail. So it seems it should be good with no overclocking.

    The PSU calculator also showed that 700W would be good enough to overclock to 4.8ghz with 2 GTX 560 Ti. However, should i go with a 750-800W PSU since I may also overclock the GPU(s) later?
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    November 21, 2011 12:46:53 AM

    It is not wrong to overprovision the psu a bit. A psu will run quieter and more efficiently in the middle third of it's range. It will only consume the wattage that it needs.
    You are looking at $100-$150 for a quality 750w unit.
    My short list of quality units would include Seasonic, Corsair, Antec, XFX, and PC P&C.
    Keep your eyes open for sales this time of the year.

    I would not count on much from overclocking a graphics card. The manufacturers are wise to this and bin their chips. The best ones go into superclocked cards which can be sold for a slight premium. One exception may be the EVGA "classified" cards which are designed to be overclocked highly. They come at a price premium.
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    November 21, 2011 11:20:29 PM

    geofelt said:
    It is not wrong to overprovision the psu a bit. A psu will run quieter and more efficiently in the middle third of it's range. It will only consume the wattage that it needs.
    You are looking at $100-$150 for a quality 750w unit.
    My short list of quality units would include Seasonic, Corsair, Antec, XFX, and PC P&C.
    Keep your eyes open for sales this time of the year.

    I would not count on much from overclocking a graphics card. The manufacturers are wise to this and bin their chips. The best ones go into superclocked cards which can be sold for a slight premium. One exception may be the EVGA "classified" cards which are designed to be overclocked highly. They come at a price premium.



    I believe this
  • $69.99 - PC Power & Cooling Silencer 760W]PC P&C Silencer 760W meets the specs you listed earlier. It's also $69.99 in store.
    It has 62A on the +12V rail, so it should run 2 GTX 560 Ti right?


    cutebeans said:
    You might want to grab this at your local microcenter if it has a deal on em.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    Or an Asrock Extreme3 Gen3 z68 board.


    They had neither of these boards in store. However, they had quite a selection of other boards.

    I narrowed down the in store choices to these three motherboards, anything I should look at when choosing one over the other? Note: (prices are before the $60 discount)
  • $149.99 - GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD3H
  • $139.99 - GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD3
  • $129.99 - MSI Z68A-G45 G3


    I also saw 2 cases that seemed decent in the store and would cost about the same as what I have selected now.
    Cases:
  • Current selection: $42 NZXT GAMMA Classic Series GAMA-001BK

    I found these cases in store, any thoughts?
  • $39.99 - Cooler Master Elite 430
  • $34.99 - Antec Three Hundred



    Also, is there any reason to spend the extra $10 on the MSI Twin Frozr II 560 Ti over the GIGABYTE 560 Ti?
  • [/url]
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    November 22, 2011 12:24:19 AM

    better cooling for MSI
    also don't listen to people who say 400W is enough for ur system
    500W minimum
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    November 22, 2011 12:48:32 AM

    madchemist83 said:
    better cooling for MSI
    also don't listen to people who say 400W is enough for ur system
    500W minimum



    I guess I'll stick with the MSI since it's only $10 more.

    Also, I guess I'll probably just upgrade to 760W PSU when I get the GPU just to be safe since I found one locally for $75!

    Thanks!


    Now to bed, and tomorrow I'll research my case and motherboard options more in hopes of narrowing those down before the sales this weekend.
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    November 23, 2011 12:32:12 AM

    Ok guys, thanks to all your help. I think I have my list nailed down pretty good but with one last question.

    Is there any reason to get the $149 motherboard (below) over the $139 one (below)? As far as I can tell the main difference is the ports that are available and the color? Is this correct?

    • $149.99 - GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD3H
    • $139.99 - GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD3


    Thanks!
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    November 23, 2011 3:20:25 AM

    Without looking the links, I would guess the $150 is a better overclcoker.
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    November 23, 2011 4:53:34 PM

    thanks guys. I'm going with the more expensive board since its only $10 and the black will go much better with my red RAM. It does seem to have a few additional features as a bonus too.

    I did change the heatsink and case to more than offset the cost difference however :)  I now feel that this is a pretty powerful $630 build! However, I'm hoping to find some Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals to get my price below the $600 mark :) 
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    November 30, 2011 6:54:27 PM

    Got all my parts in today. Unfortunately, the A70 will not fit because of the cooling fins on my RAM.

    What kind of performance hit will I take if I run the memory in channels 1 and 2 instead of 1 and 3 like the motherboards states?
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    November 30, 2011 6:56:59 PM

    it might not run .. u have to put it in those slots ... shouldve got low profile one
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    November 30, 2011 7:06:57 PM

    licwid said:
    Got all my parts in today. Unfortunately, the A70 will not fit because of the cooling fins on my RAM.

    What kind of performance hit will I take if I run the memory in channels 1 and 2 instead of 1 and 3 like the motherboards states?

    Reread your motherboard manual. Usually you can run using either pair of slots, depending on how they are numbered. 1&3 or 2&4.
    If you put all sticks on the same channel, you will run in single channel mode, assuming the mobo is ok with that. That is not really a bit performance hit. perhaps 2%fps?

    Also, you should be able to slide the impacting fan up higher on the cooler so it misses the ram heat sinks.
    Missing a little area won't hurt at all.
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    November 30, 2011 7:46:50 PM

    Thanks Geo. The A70 has a shroud that surrounds the fins on all 4 sides. However i starting playing with it at your suggestion and found a little extra space on one side. I then rotated the fan and put the extra space at the top and it now fits without modification, and with the RAM in the right slots!

    Thanks again. Now to get it booted up!



    madchemist83 said:
    it might not run .. u have to put it in those slots ... shouldve got low profile one


    Yeah, I unfortunately didn't do enough research on the heatsink. I was wondering why it had a shipping weight of over 4 lbs until I received it. This thing is larger than my power supply with the fans installed. Luckily I got everything to work.
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