Sub-$1,000 gaming build *ADVICE NEEDED!!*

Approximate Purchase Date: December 15th-16th 2011

Budget Range: $850.00 and under (preferably with as few "mail in rebates" as humanly possible)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, gaming (did I mention gaming?) and movie watching from time to time lol

Parts Not Required: Keyboard (could use a replacement mouse), tower, monitors, hard drive, disc drives, sound card.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: for the most part...might consider as well but I'd like to keep it one or the other to be honest...

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: No real preference preference is using what works the best for the least amount of money! :P

Overclocking: Maybe SLIGHT changes here and there, but overall, no not at all.

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: Using a Vizio HD tv as my primary and a Viewsonic as my secondary off to the right, the resolution I tend to play at/view the most is 1360x768

Additional Comments: Let me just say this ahead of time: Thanks in advance for ANY advice/help you guys/ladies can throw my way. I plan on getting this bought and built roughly by this time next week! As I mentioned up above, the main purpose of this build is gaming....Star Wars: The Old Republic to be more specific. I'm one of the pre-order players...lets just say the sooner I get this thing built the better! Now, on to the fun stuff....

I currently use a Thermaltake Tsunami case, so I've got that covered. My mouse is worn and in dire need of a replacement. Keyboard's fine, PSU is practically melting as the fan has recently stopped working within it.

I plan on salvaging the sound card, case, hard drive and disc drives as I stated above. Below are a list of the parts I'm strongly thinking about getting. The budget needs to try to stay below $800.00 after tax/next day shipping (lol).

The MAIN bit I'm struggling with currently is CPU/motherboard (read: socket type). I'd like to get something that can play SWTOR, battlefield 3 and games of the like, on max settings (ok maybe just high settings on BF3).

I'm also trying really hard to focus on longevity. I know most of us have no crystal ball, but I'd like to have room to upgrade down the road...thus me worrying about socket types and such.

Ok, here's the list...please, if you think of anything that might be a better bang for my buck, cheaper or if you flat out find a big 'ol compatibility issue between parts, please let me know!

GPU: XFX Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5


*Mouse: GIGABYTE Noble Black 5+1 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB Wired Optical 1600 dpi Dual Lens Gaming Mouse

Memory: G.SKILL Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)

Motherboard: ASRock Z68 PRO3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

**CPU: Intel Core i5-2400 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz (3.4GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM

(*Not sure if this is a good mouse or not but all I really want/need is two buttons on either side of the mouse, scroll wheel and obviously the two buttons to click with...I just don't want it to break the second I get it due to poor quality though so I'm open to suggestions)

(**As I said, the CPU is whats getting me all frustrated. Below is a few links of the alternatives I'm thinking about. Obviously the AMD line of alternatives will require a different motherboard...but the CPU/motherboard is where I'm having my most difficulty in terms of deciding.

I listed the i5-2400 under CPU but the one I'm leaning more towards at the moment is the "Intel Core i3-2120 Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz")

Basically, from all of the research I've conducted as of late, it seems AMD is in a bit of a bind. Generally, the gamer communities seem to think poorly of the new (I think its new?) fx line. Obviously the big selling point for me is's a MASSIVE upgrade to my AMD 4400+ x2...and its cheaper, but I don't want to get gimped in the performance arena while trying to keep it cheap.

So there you have it....sorry for writing a novel guys and gals but PLEASE help me out! I'm running out of ideas and really do not have the funds to make any mistakes here! This decision needs to stick with me for a good 2-4 years give or take.

And remember, I'm about as far from a fanboy as you can I don't care if it's AMD, NVidia, etc....I just want works the best for the cheapest price.

Thank you so much everyone! I hope you can help me!

15 answers Last reply
More about gaming build advice needed
  1. i5-2500K

    The real value of Sandy Bridge comes in the form of their ease and desire to be overclocked. Even if you stick with just the basic preset overclocking options that your motherboard will offer you need a 'K' processor to access it. The extra $30 dollars spent here is well worth it.

    The one part of a PC you really have to be cautious when purchasing is your PSU. There are a handful of brands that have gotten it right, while the rest.. well they're death traps for your entire machine. Give this one a shot. The price is the same: Antec 520 80+
  2. What's the difference in PSU's? Same brand, lower wattage, am I missing something? :kaola:

    Also, the i3-2120 is much more of an option for me currently than the i5 I there any other CPU's (AMD or intel) that offer better performance for gaming at the same price as the i3 2120?

    Oh and how's the GPU I listed?
  3. Correction....its not the same brand PSU....

    IS the one I listed really that bad?
  4. ShadowCell said:
    Correction....its not the same brand PSU....

    IS the one I listed really that bad?

    if you are not overclocking, i5 2400 is all you need, if you do intend to oc, i52500k would be optimal

    and yes the psu you listed is crap
  5. Would the 520w PSU be strong enough to even power the rig though?
  6. bump
  7. ShadowCell said:
    Would the 520w PSU be strong enough to even power the rig though?

    A solid 520w will be more than enough to power it.
  8. Yes the psu listed above and right here is a much better psu.
  9. +1 on the Antec 520W PSU. But is doesn't come with a power cord. You can reuse the one from your current (broken) PSU, or if you need a new one, the ones Monoprice has a quality and inexpensive, must cheaper and better than those on Newegg.
  10. And the CPU market is really that one sided currently? There's no cheaper alternative to the i5?

    Oh and is there really that huge of a performance difference between the i3 and i5?
  11. If you not gonna OC, stick with the i5-2400 and a H67 motherboard. You won't have much benefits sticking with Z68. Go for the cheaper route.
  12. i3 2100 is a nice CPU to games.. But in pretty intensive CPU demand, core i5 will show it's power.

    (GTA 4 is a nice example of dual vs quad core in games)
  13. Ok well I'll try to just stick to the should do relatively well yea?

    And I can't seem to tell a difference between good and bad's this one again?
  14. bumpity

    Need help with the motherboard...also, is the CPU our final decision? Nothing better performance/future proof-wise for the price? Trying to get the best bang for my buck. =/
  15. This inexpensive motherboard seems to have pretty good reviews.

    As for the CPU, the i3 will work fine, but the i5 is better, and will hold up down the road longer. Whether you want to spend the money is dependent on how much you feel two cores and a stronger future use are worth the $60.
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