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New Build-$1200 Gaming PC - Need Advice

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November 30, 2011 1:19:17 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: December

Budget Range: $1100-$1200

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming, surfing, movies, photoshop

Parts not required: keyboard, mouse, speakers, OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com, microcenter.com, any other reasonable source

Country: US

Parts Preferences: Intel CPU, AMD GPU

Overclocking: Yes, when budget allows better cooling

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1200

Additional Comments: I tried to be as future proof as possible within the budget, I picked the video card with eyefinity in mind ( in the future ).
I wonder whether to get 6870 (Great 1920x1200 performance) or 6950 (Excellent 1920x1200 performance).
Not sure which route to take? Start with HDD and than add SSD or vice versa. If I start with SSD I can’t flash its firmware. If I start with HDD I will have to install OS twice.
Here is the list of parts I picked so far. Please share thoughts/advice about compatibility, any price shaving possibility etc. Thanks in advance!

CPU: Core i5 2500K
MOBO: ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB
PSU: CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX650 V2 CORSAIR is recommended most of the time, however it is not modular and costs more than: OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W
I am having hard time deciding here.
GPU: GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6950 1GB or GPU: GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6870 1GB The reason – cost saving.
HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 1TB
SSD: OCZ Agility 3 120GB
CASE: NZXT Source 210
MONITOR: DELL U2412M
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit
CD: ASUS 24X DVD Burner

Any thoughts/advice welcome - thanks in advance!


November 30, 2011 1:33:23 AM

YOu said you didnt need an OS but you got it in your purchase list

That monitor is way too expensive on newegg Asus has a 23" for around $170.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you want a 24" again Asus can beat that Dell you want for only $200.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Take that money put it towards an even better GPU (560Ti, 6950, 6970, 570, etc...)

Besides that get a CPU cooler for $25 the Hyper 212 Plus or the newest model Hyper 212 EVO for around $35 i believe.

Not everyone needs an SSD if you arent playing games that require a lot of loading (RPG) I would go with a 60 GB SSD just to put the OS and one game that I play the most and addons. I would go with a Crucial M4 by the way I know the problem has been fixed with OCZ but still I like companies that dont have errors to begin with

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November 30, 2011 3:37:56 AM

Hi,
i put the OS just for relevance.The DELL has IPS display, that's why i picked it, and I've read some nice reviews about it. Seems like the best from both worlds, gaming display and at the same moment good colors for some photoshop etc.
About gaming,'m going to play some WoW, SC2, and Diablo 3 mainly.
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November 30, 2011 4:23:33 AM

i would personaly go with acer one, nice monitor with 2ms respons
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November 30, 2011 5:35:32 AM

go for IPS panel ... don't listen to Acer fanboys .. nothing compared to IPS
why not picking up cpu and mobo combo from microcenter .. u can get asus p8z68-v pro for the same price as that crappy Asrock and have a better quality build and better ocer
for PSU check this one out http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
combines best of both worlds .. modular and has superior ripple and noise control
for a case go for antec 300 and i'm prettu sure u can afford HSF
those hypers are budget coolers .. I'd suggest to go for either Corsair A70 or some of Thermalright models (remember that tall heatsinks on the RAM WILL interfere with aftermarket coolers)
if u don't sli/cf forget about eyefinity also u'll have to upgrade ur PSU
I recommend staying with one stronger card .. go for 560 Ti - great ocer
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November 30, 2011 6:31:07 AM

K didnt know what this IPS was, still I looked on newegg and found a ASUS ML239H Black 23" 5ms IPS Panel Full HD HDMI for $190 ($170 w/MIR)

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November 30, 2011 4:07:17 PM

I've read some good reviews for the Asrock motherboard. Thats why i picked it. Haven't used Asrock yet.
I was using gigabyte, but in one of tom's articles they had OC problem or something with GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD3.
Can't find such a bundle on microcenter, and the Asus board is $210 ( Asrock - 115 after rebate ).
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November 30, 2011 6:59:56 PM

yeah but if u get 2500k + any z68 or P67 mobo u get extra $60 off .. so that comes to $150 for a mobo .. also and $ 180 for a cpu .. I think that's pretty good deal .. also it's only for november .. so everything might change tomorrow
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November 30, 2011 7:14:24 PM

madchemist83 said:
go for IPS panel ... don't listen to Acer fanboys .. nothing compared to IPS
why not picking up cpu and mobo combo from microcenter .. u can get asus p8z68-v pro for the same price as that crappy Asrock and have a better quality build and better ocer
for PSU check this one out http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
combines best of both worlds .. modular and has superior ripple and noise control
for a case go for antec 300 and i'm prettu sure u can afford HSF
those hypers are budget coolers .. I'd suggest to go for either Corsair A70 or some of Thermalright models (remember that tall heatsinks on the RAM WILL interfere with aftermarket coolers)
if u don't sli/cf forget about eyefinity also u'll have to upgrade ur PSU
I recommend staying with one stronger card .. go for 560 Ti - great ocer


The ASRock is far from a crappy board. If you had even done one search on it it would've showed nothing but good reviews. Also the ASRock is PCI-e 3.0 so if the OP wants to upgrade to the next gen graphics cards which are out next year, he can save his money until then.

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November 30, 2011 10:48:04 PM

I thought the prices on CPUs and GPUs would drop a little bit, when the new generation drop, but who knows when this is going to happen :) 
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November 30, 2011 11:55:16 PM

Asrock reviews from newegg? here is a review of Asrock Extreme 4 Gen 3 board .. that's technically better then Extreme 3 gen 3 u r talking about
http://hardocp.com/article/2011/11/09/asrock_z68_extrem...
let me quote some final thoughts
"Dan's Thoughts:

One aspect of motherboards we rarely cover is build quality. Partly because it’s subjective to some degree and partly because most of the brands we tend to look at all execute on build quality about the same with some aspects being nicer from one brand to the next. There are on occasion features that stand out on some boards. Ugly solder joints, warped and or thin PCB’s, capacitors that aren’t all straight, etc. This is something we tend to see from lower tier vendors on the rare occasions we examine those. And that’s exactly what I found with the Z68 Extreme4 Gen3. The PCB was thinner than that of other similarly priced boards, it was warped, the primary PCI-Express x16 slot didn’t work no matter what Kyle or I did as we both experienced this problem. The UEFI interface was OK to look at but entering values and just general control was sloppy. In some ways it was worse than MSI’s Click BIOS II and in some ways it was a little better.

Long story short, this board pisses me off. The layout could be better and the overclocking was the worst I think I’ve ever seen with any LGA1155 motherboard. Sure I’ve had slightly worse results, but those results were far easier to obtain. If this one example is to be taken at face value, one could easily reach the conclusion that ASRock isn’t remotely on par with ASUS, MSI, or Gigabyte in terms of quality or design. In this market, there are TONS of solid P67 and Z68 motherboards out there. While all of these are "pretty good," some are "more good" than others. The bar has been set high by some of the other industry leading companies and as a result I leave the Z68 Extreme4 Gen3 feeling generally unimpressed.

Buying this board wouldn’t be as bad as buying a 1985 Yugo with 500,000 miles on it (assuming one can be found which actually still runs) or anything like that but I’d say the decision to do so would make about as much sense. There are simply better boards out there for about the same money. The ASUS P8Z68-V Pro is one example of such a board and it costs only $15 more on Newegg. As a result, I can’t recommend the Z68 Extreme4 Gen3 to anyone.

Kyle's Thoughts:

Starting out with an open mind, I purchased this ASRock motherboard from Newegg, for around $195. I saw that people have been talking about this board a lot, but emails to ASRock got us no samples, so we purchased a couple of different models.

My out-of-the-box experience was poor to say the least. My first boot, got me a No POST. "A3" error on the LCD display noted "IDE Enabled." Hmmm. No IDE drives even around to attach. Luckily, the ASRock Z68 EXTREME4 GEN3 is equipped with DVI out, so I plugged into that and found that my problem was actually a video one. Go in the BIOS and check that PEG is set to video default, and it is. Got online and grabbed a new BIOS, had issues finding the flash program, but did finally find it buried in the Advanced Features BIOS set. Did not solve my video problem. I moved my video card over to the second PCIe slot and rebooted and the ASRock Z68 EXTREME4 GEN3 POSTed without issue. Looks like the first PCIe X16 slot is bad.

Now given that PCIe issue, I decided to ping ASRock support via its website. To my surprise, I got an answer in less than one hour. Very nice! After a couple of hours going around with ASRock and jumping through the normal support hoops you would expect, ASRock declares my PCIe X16 slot dead and I was instructed to return the board to Newegg for exchange.

Hotplugging worked correctly with SSD drives although twice the machine crashed when attaching an SSD to a running OS.

The Extreme Tuning Utility has a nice touch of pulling BIOS saves onto the desktop for access to those, but as Dan has noted, the utility did not work worth a damn. Overclocking on this board was frustrating for me as well. Recovering from a simple "bad" multiplier adjustment would take 5 or 6 hard power downs and restarts to get back to POST. No messages about failed OC and what the settings are and the board did not even note processor changes. This BIOS seems to be ancient. I am not going to harp on it too much since Dan already has, but it "just OK" at best. At least I do not have to double click every friggin' option in the menu to select it.

Actually simply OCing using the multiplier netted dismal results on this board compared to those we normally see with ASUS, MSI, Gigabyte. 4.2GHz was the best I got with the ASRock Z68 EXTREME4 GEN3.

One shining point with the ASRock Z68 EXTREME4 GEN3 was its stock stability. The ASRock Z68 EXTREME4 GEN3 passed an overnight 8 hour Torture Test as well as an addition 13 hour incubated Torture Test.

The Bottom Line
As is mentioned above, there is nothing that we can find that gives us any reason to purchase the ASRock Z68 EXTREME4 GEN3 considering how many other stellar motherboards we can easily find on the market at comparable prices. I appreciate ASRock's push into the industry, but it is going to have to get its engineering and design teams to truly step up its quality of work to compete with the likes of ASUS, MSI, and Gigabyte."

PCI 3.0 ?? Even Pci 2.0 channel is not getting fully saturated by modern GPUs .. it's marketing gimmick
also the warranty on it is 1year .. so what if it craps out after a year ?? that's imo is very poor warranty on mobo
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December 1, 2011 1:51:33 AM

I was looking at: ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z.
Great reviews, but its micro ATX, not that it matters anyway.The price - i guess you get what you pay for. And 3 years warranty.
Other option: GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD3
However, I remember an article on Toms and that mobo had OC problem, maybe power regulators connected. Again 3 years warranty.
The ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 is with 2 years warranty.

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