I was trying to avoid this...

but I keep getting more confused and unsure of what I want the longer I research it. So now I'm going to add to the huge pile of "help me!" posts. Sorry.

Approximate Purchase Date: hopefully by the end of this month

Budget Range: definitely under $1000, preferably closer to the $800-900 range after rebates and sales

System Usage from Most to Least Important: primarily creative work, because that's how I'm justifying it to my wife-- I write and letter comic books, so that involves Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign (and Final Draft which doesn't take much to run). I'm also playing around with making movies in a program called MovieStorm, and that also involves Sony Vegas, Cinescore, and FXhome VisionLab. I'd also like to be able to play all the newest games at high settings (Skyrim, Arkham City, and I'm also addicted to DC Universe Online)

Parts Not Required: monitor (I'll be hooking it to a 42" 1080p HDTV via HDMI until I get a new office space set up) keyboard and mouse

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I like newegg, tigerdirect, amazon (have some credit there). Closest Microcenter is a few states away, but my parents live near one so if there's an amazing deal I can buy online and have them pick-up in store and ship it to me

Country: (e.g.: India) Washington State, USA

Parts Preferences: I've always had better experiences with Intel/Nvidia, but I'm willing to try anything

Overclocking: Yes

SLI or Crossfire: not now, but I want to be able to in the future

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: I want to overclock and I want good upgrade potential, including the ability for multiple cards later on, so I guess one of the important spots that I'm most unsure of is the motherboard and power supply. I want to be sure those can both handle want I want to do.


Here's what I'm looking at so far:

Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115072
can't see any reason not to go with this, but I'm open to suggestions

MSI N560GTX-Ti Hawk GeForce GTX 560 Ti
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127578
I've read good reviews of this and I like the idea of something OC'd high out of the box so it's warrantied, as compared to me blowing it up trying to OC it myself. But. there's so many choices on cards I have no idea what's the best for the value

Motherboard: here's where I really need advice. I've read so much that I'm more lost now than when I started. Want something good for overclocking. I found this one as part of a combo with the i5 2500k ($20 discount), but I think there might be cheaper options that will do what I want.
ASRock Z68 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157250

CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX750 V2 750W ATX12V v2.31/ EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC High Performance Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139021
Will this be enough power for overclocking and if I add a 2nd card later?

G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231428

Rosewill CHALLENGER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811147153

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152185
Is 7200 RPM a must? Or should I settle for a slower speed (or smaller size) with the prices as high as they are?

LITE-ON Black 18X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA DVD-ROM Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827106276
I don't know if I even need a drive. I have a burner on my laptop and my wife's iMac. I can't remember the last time I actually needed to use a DVD or CD on my current computer.

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103065

Right now all this from newegg would be right at $1000 after rebates. I'd like to see if I can trim it down a little while also increasing performance. This will be my first time building a PC, so what other extra little bits and pieces might I need? Once I'm locked into parts I'll see what's included with everything, but I want to cover anything I might not think of.
13 answers Last reply
More about avoid this
  1. Build looks good to me. I just recently purchased that ASrock mobo and I love it. Very feature-rich, and the bios are pretty easy to navigate. If you are looking to shave some $$$, drop the spinpoint HDD. Prices are stupidly high so if you have another hdd you could use for a while, I'd recommend it. Another suggestion (might not be very doable with your budget) is to go for an ssd. It is the single best upgrade you can put in any computer nowadays, so making a new one without an ssd is like being bron with one leg. They are pricey but worth every penny (you can get a 60gb one for around $90)
  2. BradHP said:


    Country: (e.g.: India) Washington State, USA



    Hiya neighbor!


    I think the list is pretty good. One thing I have been suggesting is a visit to Frye's/Staples/OfficeMax/wherever to check HDD prices. Some of the chain stores had a big stockpile of drives and may still have some better deals.

    Don't worry about getting a very fast drive. Get a drive, and then upgrade it when prices come back down. Most of the plants in Thailand are being worked on now, and prices should start to come down in the spring.

    You can also get a small SSD to use as a drive cache, in a future upgrade.

    I've been at this a long time and I can tell you that most people who buy a board and PSU planning to upgrade to a second GPU never do.
    They buy one GPU, decide they are satisfied with it for now, and by the time they are ready for more graphics power they have far better single GPU options.

    So I would say ditch the crossfire board and 750W PSU.

    Rosewill RG630
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817182200

    Antec NEO ECO 620W (excellent value)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371031

    Asus Z68 board
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131773

    On the GPU, that's really a poor deal. It's just not going to perform as well as a 6950 2GB, and yet it costs more.
    MSI 6950 2GB
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127588

    Here's a comparison of both TYPES of cards in Skyrim
    http://www.hardocp.com/article/2011/11/21/elder_scrolls_v_skyrim_performance_iq_review/4
  3. Thanks for the help so far. I am definitely going to do a 2nd GPU, I get my bonus at work around April and a portion of that money is already set for the 2nd card, so I'd like to get some more suggestions on boards to plan for that.

    And how about this GPU compared to the one you linked?
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127562

    I think this one is slightly OC and comes out $10 less after rebates. And is this still the best choice if I do plan to go with a second in a few months?
  4. This ASRock board then, is a good SLI/CF choice
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157265

    That's a popular GPU and will do very well. CF also scales better than SLI in most titles, last I checked.

    You'll need a bit more PSU though.

    This Sirfa-built OCZ 750W is adequate
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341049

    Rosewill Hive Same as OCZ but modular
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817182133

    Corsair TX750 V2 - Seasonic built and better than the first two
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139021

    Rosewill Capstone - Superflower built Gold PSU, better yet
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817182073

    Then there's various high-end units that cost more.
  5. Looks like a good board. Am I going to be missing anything by going with P67 over Z68?
  6. The ability to use a small SSD as a HDD cache, and of course the onboard graphics.

    There is a Z68 Extreme3 board that's fairly similar for about the same price, either one is fine really. I think you might have slightly better OC functionality on the Ext4 P67.
  7. I need to stop this. Now that I've almost narrowed down the motherboard, I'm finding more options on cases.

    Here are 4 I'm looking at. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007583%2050002177&IsNodeId=1&bop=And&CompareItemList=7%7C11-129-066%5E11-129-066-TS%2C11-119-197%5E11-119-197-TS%2C11-119-233%5E11-119-233-TS%2C11-147-153%5E11-147-153-TS

    The Antec caught my attention because it has washable air filters (I saw someone on another post stressing to have filters). Is something like that really useful? And does anything on the 922 justify it being double the price of the 912?
  8. It's a lot bigger with more fans.

    Here's a compromise from Lian li
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811112320
    5 fans, front USB 3.0 port, filters

    or this CM case, not as many fans but it does have front USB 3
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119240
  9. First, Proximon, thank you very much for all the help so far.

    Very last question I have is on the PSU. I'm thinking a lot of "what if's" on this one, because I'm certain I'll be adding the 2nd GPU, but I'm also wondering about an SSD in the future. Is 750w going be enough for crossfire, overclocking, and an SSD? I've found combo deals on both the Corsair TX750 V2 and TX850 V2 so it's only about a $15 difference after rebates. If there's a chance I'll need more power I'm willing to spend another $15, but if the 750 is more than enough then I'd be happy to save the money too.
  10. The additional load you are discussing is already factored in to my rec.

    However, the 850HX hits max efficiency early... 90% at 337W is not too bad. So, if you want extra margin I can't see any reason why not.
    http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=Story3&reid=153
  11. Built my system last weekend, but I've been so busy playing with it that I haven't come back to post my final results. Here's what I ended up with:

    Cooler Master HAF 912
    i5 2500k, OC to 4.5
    MSI Twin Frozr II/OC HD 6950 2GB, unlocked shaders and running at 900/1375
    Corsair TX850 V2
    8GB Corsair Vengeance (found a good combo with the PSU, plus a Corsair coupon code that made this cost way less than the 750TX V2 and the Gskill ram combo I was looking at)
    ASRock Extreme3 Gen3
    Xigmatek Loki cooler
    Samsung Spinpoint 1TB (was $40 off when I bought it)
    some cheap LG DVD burner

    After rebates, Ebates, and cashback on my credit card I'm looking at around $800 spent on it.

    Building was pretty easy. Had a few freak out moments where I wasn't sure if I was about to bust something, like locking the CPU down to the mobo. I thought it was taking too much pressure, but a little more and it went smoothly. Probably the longest and most confusing was the wiring, some of the little bits like the case power and reset, since the mobo diagrams weren't that clear.

    Everything runs very cool with the stock case fans and CPU cooler but I'm still planning to add two more fans, side intake and top exhaust. Mostly to help keep the dust out since the top opening is...pretty open.

    Only games I've tried so far are Deus Ex:Human Revolution which looks amazing and plays smooth on the highest settings, and Skrim, which is beautiful when it runs but I'm having issues with it crashing.
  12. I'm planning on adding the 2nd 6950 either in March (my birthday) or May (my work bonus). I was real close to adding the SSD, the Vertex went on sale 2 days after I ordered everything else, even had it in my cart, then decided it wasn't really in the budget right now.

    I'm moving stuff around today, picked up a new monitor this morning so it's all going into the office instead of being hooked up to the TV, and then I'll get some pics up.
  13. That's a great PC at a great price! Can't wait to see some pics!
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