[Re-build] Advice on mid-range gaming rig (first time builder)

Hopefully someone will find this amusing if not enjoyable. Here we go:

Approximate Purchase Date: 12/1-12/10* (See comments)

Budget Range: $900-$1400

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, video playback, internet, officework,

Parts Not Required: Case, fans, keyboard, mouse, speakers, monitor, gpu's, hard drives.

Preferred Websites for Parts: amazon.com, newegg.com

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: I've grown up on Intel and Nvidia, but aside from that I'm flying blind.

Overclocking: Please no. Scared of smoke.

SLI or Crossfire: No. (Perhaps in the future, but not now.)

Monitor Resolution: 1280x1024

Additional Comments: My current rig is an Alienware Area-51 7500 R5 (I know, I know. It was college. I was young, impulsive, and unaware they had been bought out by Dell) and it's reached its zenith- I can't upgrade it further that I can tell. I'm hoping to salvage the the parts listed above, as there's nothing inherently wrong with them, but I know that it essentially needs to be gutted. (Especially the generic 700W PSU of anonymity.) I'm looking to build a foundation that could theoretically last at least the next 4-6 years with intermittent upgrades. *I'm hoping to spread the purchase of parts over a period of time, which may or may not be a good idea.

Questions (So many questions): Can the case be reused? Windows 7 Home, or Pro (since Home can't handle more than 16 GB)? Should I just start with a completely fresh build? Is this just a terrible idea?

Perhaps my biggest question, though, is this - should I wait? A lot of things are coming out next year, or so I'm told (Win 8, Ivy bridge, etc.). I understand the nature of of the tech world is to be rendered obsolete by next week, but I always seem to make these purchases on the wrong side of a game-changer, and it's honestly beginning to annoy me.

In conclusion: I am basically lost. I apologize for my ignorance and naivety.

Thank you for any advice you may provide.
9 answers Last reply
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  1. You have a pretty good budget. What parts do you currently have? I don't see a reason why you wouldn't be able to reuse your case, but I think you should plan on a monitor upgrade as well.
  2. Don't wait .. if you need new pc now .. there are also new things coming out in 5 years :)
    power supply is Hipro .. which is .. ehh i'm not sure
    voltage regulations might be not very good for ur system .. or perfectly fine
    Win i'm sure it's between 32 and 64-bit for RAM amount ..32bit will not handle more then 4Gb of RAM
    I would keeps the case (maybe) depending on the dimensions and just build from scratch
  3. hapkido said:
    You have a pretty good budget. What parts do you currently have? I don't see a reason why you wouldn't be able to reuse your case, but I think you should plan on a monitor upgrade as well.

    Well, if you're asking for the complete system, you have to promise not to laugh. (You are allowed to cry)

    Current rig is as follows. I've tried to find a few links for extra info.

    MB: EVGA nForce 680 SLI /w P32 BIOS

    CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 (~3.16 GHz) /w stock fan.

    RAM: 4x Corsair XMS2 2GB DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)

    HDDs: Seagate Barracuda 7200RPM 1TB SATA & Seagate 500GB SATA 7200RPM

    GPUs: EVGA GeForce 250 GTS & EVGA GeForce 8800 GTX (running as PhysX processor)


    Monitor: Viewsonic VX922 (19" LCD)

    OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

    Case: Area-51 7500 R5, contains 4 fans of various size (I'm afraid I don't know the exact sizes, they're Alienware branded as well.)

    PSU(apparently): HIPRO HP-W700WC3 LF 700W ATX12V / EPS12V (Thanks madchemist!)

    Again, I was hoping to re-use the case, fans, drives, monitors, and the GPUs (I know they're ancient. But they can wait for now.) I'm just wondering what's possible and what's a pipe dream.

    Anonymous said:
    Win i'm sure it's between 32 and 64-bit for RAM amount ..32bit will not handle more then 4Gb of RAM

    You're half-right madchemist. I'm perfectly content with 64-bit (and had a mild fit when this computer shipped with more RAM installed than Window's 32-bit version could handle. Ah, memories.)
    I've noticed that most of the 1155-socket boards support anywhere from 16GB to 32GB of RAM. Currently, Win7 Home version caps itself at 16GB for whatever reason. Win7 Pro and Ultimate can support more if I've read the docs correctly. Obviously, I won't be reaching that cap quite yet, but being the hyper-planner that I am, I was wondering which version would be better in the long haul (a question made mostly irrelevant if Win8 actually pops next year as expected, but one I felt compelled to ask.).
  4. You'll be able to re-use your hdds and OS for sure, and probably your case. I'm not sure about that PSU, but it got good reviews and has 50 amps on the 12v rails, so it should have plenty of power. If your goal is to build a nice gaming rig, you'll probably want to replace everything else, including your monitor and dvd burner (new boards may not have an IDE port).

    You set a pretty wide budget range. Can you narrow it down to what you're willing to spend? And let me know what games you are or are going to play. I'll look some parts up.
  5. Well, I suppose it would be "less than $1500." But I'd be most comfortable in the $1,000-$1200 range. I can go higher if needed, but I'd really prefer not to. At least not right away.

    Games: Starcraft II, Witcher 2, LOTRO, Portal 2, Deus Ex: HR and the like. (Skyrim's on console right now because the current build can't support it.) I think the biggest upcoming release is SW: ToR.
    Thanks for your help. This is a very elaborate and confusing process.
  6. Don't worry my friend a $1000 dollar build would easily be achievable.

    i5-2500 $210

    Asrock Extreme3 Gen3 $125

    Gigabyte GTX560ti w/ FREE Batman Arkham City($50) $240

    G.skill Sniper 8gb $43


    I would get a better monitor though.


    EDIT: You already had a PSU. This will play every game you have at max with your resolution. If you go 1920 x 1080, which you should. It will play alot of games at max and some at high.
  7. Thank you for the advice. I appreciate it.
  8. I've run into a software snag and was hoping someone might know the best option.
    As I swapping out the motherboard, from what I'm reading I'll need to get a fresh Windows 7 license or it won't work.

    While I understand the inherent difference between the retail version and the system-builder variety, aside from being able to transfer the O/S between computers is there really a benefit or reason to get the (much more expensive) retail version over the system-builder?

    I mean, if I run into a problem or want to start fresh again, I can still use the system-builder version to do, like, a re-install so long as the board's still the same, right? It's not a "one time and that's it" sorta deal?
  9. Yeah. As long as the parts are the same no problem.
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