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$800 gaming PC, asking for review/tips

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Last response: in Systems
December 1, 2011 10:29:33 PM

Hello and a wonderful Christmas to you all,

This is what I’m considering so far:
PSU: I have my old Zalman ZM750-HP
As for the other parts, they are basically straight from Tom's hardware charts. But what I would like to ask are they compatible?
GPU: GeForce GTX 560 Ti DirectCU II $290 (215€)
Or Radeon HD 6950 DirectCU II, 2GB $360(€265)
CPU: Core i5 2500K, LGA1155, 3.3 GHz, 6MB $275 (€205)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD3 $175 (€130)
Memory: As for memory, no idea. I suppose I'd go for 2 x 4Gb Kit, maybe Kingston? The price range would be around the same as the mobo: $100-140 (€75-100)
HDD My old HDD Western Digital 750GB

Total: $850 (€625)

PSU: The old PSU should be enough, right?
GPU: Is it worth paying $70 (€50) more for the 2GB Radeon?
CPU: Any suggestion for silent but efficient cooler if I’ll overclock? Scythe perhaps?
MOBO: I'm really not sure about this. I guess I'd go for Z68 rather than P67 but what Z68 model? No idea really. I don’t need any fancy things though. Ideally it would only cost around $100 - 160 (€80 - 120)
HDD: Will upgrading my HDD and perhaps even SDD yield much performance gain?

Approximate Purchase Date: In a week or two, before Christmas anyway (unless there is a really good reason to wait)
Budget Range: Approximately $750 - 850 = €550 - 650, take into consideration that parts cost more here in Finland.
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming (80%), Internet (15%) and school work/Office (5%)
Parts Not Required: Keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: A site that searches best prices in Finland

Here are few independent sites:
Multitronic - The only one with english as option but all the rest have the basic searchbox which should be enough, I presume.

Country: Finland
Parts Preferences: No preferences, just looking for the best price/performance ratio
Overclocking: Maybe, never done it before but this might be a good time to start.
SLI or Crossfire: No, I'm running SLI now and don't have much positive to say about it.
Monitor Resolution: 1280x1024
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit
Additional Comments: I would like a quiet PC, period. I'm running a 3,5 - 4 year old computer on SLI and my ears are bleeding. I want silence but not too much on the cost of performance. I'm also hoping to keep the next system for another 3 - 4 years as well, so keeping the future in mind would be great.

I'd really appreciate any comments and tips. If I left out any info I'll be happy to answer.
Thanks in advance!

More about : 800 gaming review tips

December 2, 2011 10:15:05 AM

I think I'm settled for the CPU. As for the Z68 motherboard, is Virtu really worth that?
Related resources
December 2, 2011 2:24:44 PM

Thanks for the tips. I've been thinking about the ASRock as well, I suppose I could go with it. Could you say why ASRock rather than the Gigabyte?

As for the memory (the site I gave is lousy when searching memory) you'd suggest 1600MHz? Sorry I really should study memory more.
Would this be fine?

As for the GPU. What if I in a year or two I'll buy a larger display with higher resolution? You'd still suggest going for 1GB? What about the possible firmware update that would turn 6950 into 6970?

Also what I really liked in both of the cards I suggested is that they are silent.

PS. You don't need to use the sites I gave, as long as I get product names I can search them myself =)
December 2, 2011 3:06:41 PM

best cpu cooler imo = coolermaster hyper212+

120mm fan is so quiet, brought my phenom ii x6 1090T BE down by 15C at load and all but eliminated noise

i prefer the 560ti over a 6950, but it depends on what you play and what drivers/chipsets theyre optimized for
December 2, 2011 3:08:45 PM

That G.Skill Ripjaws 2x4GB memory kit will be great.
If you buy a display having resolution more than 1920x1080 & run games with 8xAA or more, then you might be able to get some advantage depending on the game. But for that kind of gaming, you'll need crossfire/SLI.
This setup can play any game at 30+ FPS on Very High/Ultra settings with 2xAA/4xAA upto 1680x1050.
About unlocking 6950, see
December 2, 2011 3:11:36 PM

Thanks for the tip on the CPU cooler. But does it fit a S1155 board, say that ASRock Extreme3 board?

As for games: Witcher 2, Skyrim, Battlefield 3, SWTOR etc. I know that some games are optimized for Nvidia, others for Radeon so yeah it depends.
December 2, 2011 3:21:48 PM

I have an 6950 2gb , i play BF3 with minimum 50 FPS , everithyng on high with 16xAA,on a 22'' 1920x1080 monitor.And is not moded in 6970.
December 2, 2011 4:10:33 PM

Thanks for the tips and help! I think I'm set up with these:

Memory: 8GB Dual Kit Ripjaws X (2x4GB) DDR3 1600, $61/€45 (
CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K, $278/€206 (
MOBO: ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3, $174/€129 (
GPU: GeForce GTX 560 Ti DirectCU II TOP, 1GB + MW3, $304/€225 (

Total: $820/€605

I'll buy a CPU cooler bit later, overclocking can wait a while. Otherwise looks good to me. Thanks once more!