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$800 Gaming Build

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December 6, 2011 4:50:14 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: December 11 to January 15

Budget Range: <$800

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Work, Internet

Parts Not Required: Monitor, Keyboard, Mouse

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Microcenter , Newegg

Country: USA

Overclocking: Maybe in the future

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe in the future

Monitor Resolution: 1280 x 1084 (may upgrade if I've got enough money leftover)

CPU: ($180) Intel i5 2500k - I've got a store less than 2 hours away, probably worth the time/gas unless a better deal comes around

Motherboard: ($95) BIOSTAR TZ68A+

Memory: ($39) Kingston 8GB DDR3 1333

Video Card: ($130) GIGABYTE Ultra Durable VGA Series GV-R685OC-1GD Radeon HD 6850

Case: ($50) HAF 912

HDD: ???

Power: ($40) OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W or ($50) CORSAIR Builder Series CX500

Total: $635 before shipping/tax

Concerns: This is my first build.

Did I choose the right motherboard? Or should I go with something cheaper?

Which power supply should I go with?

As for HDD, I've heard that conventional are very high priced right now. Should I go with a 500GB for $85 or should I go with a SSD and expand later? If the later, how much space do I need on a SSD if I want it to be my primary drive?

How is my case choice?

More about : 800 gaming build

Best solution

December 6, 2011 5:24:28 PM

Quote:
Did I choose the right motherboard? Or should I go with something cheaper?


Do NOT - repeat DO NOT - go with something cheaper. Biostar is not a good brand of motherboard. Spend a little bit more and get something from Gigabyte or Asrock. I'd recommend one of these:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Quote:
Which power supply should I go with?


Go with the Builder Series - for the price they are really excellent, solidly constructed PSUs. But you may want to up it to the 600W version just to be future proof. I have the 430W version and it has been very reliable so far.

Quote:
As for HDD, I've heard that conventional are very high priced right now. Should I go with a 500GB for $85 or should I go with a SSD and expand later? If the later, how much space do I need on a SSD if I want it to be my primary drive?


I'd say get the 500GB to start with. If you go with a small 64 - 100GB SSD, they will fill up quickly and then you'll regret not having the extra space. Get the 500GB to start with, then add the SSD later on.

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How is my case choice?


The HAF 912 is excellent - I'm using it on my workstation build and I'd highly recommend it, but the only thing I will say about it is that it's not made for big video cards. My Radeon 5800 just barely clips the edge of the drive cages.

Quote:
Video Card: ($130) GIGABYTE Ultra Durable VGA Series GV-R685OC-1GD Radeon HD 6850


The 6850 is an excellent choice but this is a far better card for the money: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Try this:

Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 - $59.99
PSU: Corsair Builder Series CX600 - $69.99
Motherboard: Asrock Z68 Extreme 3 Gen 3 - $124.99
CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K - $219.99
Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 - $34.99
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaw 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1600MHz 1.5V - $29.99
HD: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB - $99.99
Optical: Lite On 24X DVD burner - $21.99
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 6850 - $144.99

Total: $819.33
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December 6, 2011 6:59:09 PM

g-unit1111 said:

Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 - $59.99
PSU: Corsair Builder Series CX600 - $69.99
Motherboard: Asrock Z68 Extreme 3 Gen 3 - $124.99
CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K - $219.99
Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 - $34.99
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaw 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1600MHz 1.5V - $29.99
HD: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB - $99.99
Optical: Lite On 24X DVD burner - $21.99
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 6850 - $144.99

Total: $819.33


Thanks for the quick (and detailed) response.

You're the second person I've had say something bad against Biostar so I think I will take your advice on switching. Between the Gigabyte GA-Z68AP-D3 LGA 1155 Z68 ATX Intel Motherboard and the GA-Z68XP-UD3 LGA 1155 Z68 ATX Intel Motherboard, do I really need the extra features of the XP?

As for the video card, what makes the Sapphire so much better than the Gigabyte? From the specs, it looks like the Gigabyte is slightly faster out-of-the-box and the reviews I've found so far seem fairly equal.

Last thing, do I need a non-stock CPU cooler if I'm not planning on overclocking out of the box?

Edit: I've looked into the size of the HD 6850 and it should fit in the HAF 912 just fine.
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December 6, 2011 8:31:15 PM

Quote:
You're the second person I've had say something bad against Biostar so I think I will take your advice on switching. Between the Gigabyte GA-Z68AP-D3 LGA 1155 Z68 ATX Intel Motherboard and the GA-Z68XP-UD3 LGA 1155 Z68 ATX Intel Motherboard, do I really need the extra features of the XP?


Go with the UD3 - it's better to get the board with extra features now so you don't have to upgrade later. Replacing motherboards is always a huge pain - I replaced mine yesterday, I should know. :lol: 

Quote:
As for the video card, what makes the Sapphire so much better than the Gigabyte? From the specs, it looks like the Gigabyte is slightly faster out-of-the-box and the reviews I've found so far seem fairly equal.


Sapphire is a company that specializes in Radeon video cards - where as Gigabyte is a company that makes motherboards in addition to hundreds of other products, but the motherboards come first, everything else comes second. Their products are excellent, on par with EVGA, in my opinion. Their Flex series of video cards allows you to setup multiple displays in native HDMI as opposed to a single HDMI - DVI - DVI layout of every other Radeon card out there.

Quote:
Last thing, do I need a non-stock CPU cooler if I'm not planning on overclocking out of the box?


Well I look at it this way. I'm not a big fan (ha) of the stock fans that Intel and AMD include with their CPUs. The Intel fan is basically just a piece of aluminum with a plastic fan over it. I'm running an i3-2120 which I don't (and can't) overclock - and I'm running a Cooler Master Hyper 212 on top of it. If you use the wrong fan or the wrong paste, things of that nature - it could potentially mean bad things for your CPU down the road. The coolest CPU is always the best CPU, in my opinion.

Quote:
Edit: I've looked into the size of the HD 6850 and it should fit in the HAF 912 just fine.


Yeah - I'm using an older 5800 about twice the size of the 6850. So it's a bit of a tight fit but I've been able to manage so far - I just have to take my card out of the case if I need to do anything with the SATA ports on my motherboard. The HAF also includes a couple of mounting brackets for 2.5" drives in case you want to add an SSD later on.
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December 6, 2011 9:33:35 PM

Here's the new build:

Approximate Purchase Date: December 11 to January 15

Budget Range: <$800

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Work, Internet

Parts Not Required: Monitor, Keyboard, Mouse

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Microcenter , Newegg

Country: USA

Overclocking: Maybe in the future

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe in the future

Monitor Resolution: 1280 x 1084 (may upgrade if I've got enough money leftover)

CPU: ($180) Intel i5 2500k

Motherboard: ($90) Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD3 LGA 1155 Z68 ATX

Memory: ($30) G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB

Video Card: ($130) SAPPHIRE 100315L Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity

Case: ($50) HAF 912

HD ($93) Seagate Barracuda ST500DM002 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s

Power: ($50) Corsair Builder Series 600 Watt ATX 12V Power Supply

Optical Drive: ($22) LITE-ON DVD Burner

Operating System: ($100) Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

CPU Fan: ($34) COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO

Total: $779 before shipping/tax

Is there a cheaper CPU fan that I could substitute for the Hyper 212?
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December 6, 2011 10:24:12 PM

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Is there a cheaper CPU fan that I could substitute for the Hyper 212?


The version I linked to is the Hyper 212 Evo - which is the newest version of the fan. The standard Hyper 212 will run you $25. But otherwise this is the best bang for your buck fan on the market right now - the performance it delivers is far superior to a lot of similar fans on the market.
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December 6, 2011 10:58:09 PM

Best answer selected by Paladin5.
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December 6, 2011 10:59:38 PM

g-unit1111 said:
Quote:
Is there a cheaper CPU fan that I could substitute for the Hyper 212?


The version I linked to is the Hyper 212 Evo - which is the newest version of the fan. The standard Hyper 212 will run you $25. But otherwise this is the best bang for your buck fan on the market right now - the performance it delivers is far superior to a lot of similar fans on the market.

That makes sense. Honestly, $34 dollars isn't that much if it improves the lifespan of a $220 CPU.

Thanks for all of your help. You made things a lot clearer for me.
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December 6, 2011 11:29:17 PM

You can pick up a 5870 on 1saleaday.com for $140. It might not arrive for 5 weeks or so though. It's the best bang for your buck you're going to find.
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December 8, 2011 1:46:33 PM

A couple of people on another forum are recommending that I go with a ASUS P8Z68-V LX LGA 1155 Z68 ATX Intel Motherboard instead of the UD3. They say its pretty much equivalent but a little cheaper so I could use the money to upgrade to a Radeon HD 6870. Any thoughts?

Edit: Thinking about it some more, I would err on the side of a better motherboard. I want this build to last a while which means the GPU will get replaced once or twice.
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