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Advice for a first time gaming PC build

Last response: in Systems
December 13, 2011 1:04:52 PM

Hello people!

I'm looking for some help with my first PC build.

Approximate Purchase Date: Aiming for boxing day, but I may decide to order it earlier because I'm impatient :D 

Budget Range: Around $1200-$1500 CAD

System Usage from Most to Least Important: This is definitely going to be mainly used for gaming. Specifically, games like Skyrim, BF:BC2, BF3, StarCraft 2 and Diablo 3. Other than gaming, the other main uses will mainly revolve around browsing the web, image editing and programming.

Parts Not Required: Monitor and OS. I'm bought a monitor off of my brother and the OS will be pretty cheap since I'm a student. Speakers aren't a high priority and neither are the keyboard and mouse but I'd like to get some suggestions from the TH crowd!

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: and were the main websites I used. Ncix price matching did me wonders ( and I'm hesitant to stray from these two sites just because I've never had experience dealing with any others, though if you know of any reliable companies then those are fine too.

Country: Canada

Parts Preferences: Preferably an Nvidia GPU and a Gigabyte, Asus motherboard. Definitely Intel chipset.

Overclocking: Yes

SLI or Crossfire: In the future, I haven't come to a clear decision on this just yet.

Monitor Resolution: I'll have to check this again but I believe it was 1920x1200

Build in progress:

CPU: Intel i5-2500K
$239.98 (Price Match to $218.99)

Motherboard: ASUS P8Z68-V Pro Z68 LGA1155 ATX 3PCI-E16 2PCI-E1 2 PCI B3 Motherboard
$219.45 (Price Match to 194.79)

GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 570 Fermi 732MHZ 1280MB GDDR5 2XDVI Mini-HDMI PCI-E Video Card

HSF: Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus Direct Touch 4 Heatpipe Heatsink AM2 AM3 LGA1366 LGA1155 LGA1156 120MM

PSU + HDD Combo Deal: Thermaltake TR2 RX 750W Bronze W0382RU ATX 12V v2.3 / EPS 12V v2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply + SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
*Don't know how long this combo deal will be around but the PSU and HDD here are the ones I wanted to get anyway*


RAM: CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9R

Case: Antec P280 Black ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Total: $1101.47

Additional Comments:
In regards to a mobo, I prefer the ASUS I have (willing to change) but I'm just curious about the ASRock Extreme 3 Gen 3. A lot of people seem to be recommending it to builders. What makes it better or more desirable than the alternatives? I took a look at reviews and the specs but couldn't really figure it out.

How does the GTX 570 compare to other GPUs in terms of getting the most bang for my buck? Would it be more efficient just to SLI a pair of 560 Ti or go for a different GPU?

In regards to the Antec P280, Ncix only had an XL-ATX version of the case, I'm not sure of what this means for the case so I opted for the Atx version on newegg. I didn't even realize there was an xl-atx form factor for mobos.

I would also like this build to be moderately flexible. I want to have room for upgrades in the future.

Thanks for taking the time to read all this! I appreciate any help I can get with this.
Please ask me anything that wasn't clear or point out anything I've missed.
December 13, 2011 1:37:17 PM

I don't know if newegg canada had the same offer but for black friday the asrock extreme3 gen3 was selling for $115ish which is about $50 less than comparable motherboards. I assume the offer is no more making it not that much better than an asus or gigabyte mobo.

bang for your buck gpus are AMD. For the same price of a gtx 570 you could buy 2x 6870s which will be better performance but leaves you without the option of buying a second card later. The 6950 2GB is also a good choice if your monitor has a high resolution and can utilize the 2GB of vram.

I'd get for a case. The one you picked looks like a heat box with little fans/ventilation
December 13, 2011 2:04:11 PM

Hey, thanks for your reply!

Unfortunately, Newegg is a little less kind to us Canadians than we'd like so we don't get a lot of the same deals. I also spotted that deal on the US site but it was nowhere to be found in Canada :( 

Is there a significant difference between AMD and Nvidia GPUs? I've been browsing through a lot of forums and reviews but most people have chalked it up to a personal preference.

I also looked at the Antec 300 and it did seem like a very good case. I mainly chose the P280 based on the ease of installation and for cable management but it also seemed to provide decent cooling (, Thanks for your suggestion! Thinking about it, I may just take the 300 to save some money. Do you know how sturdy it is? I want a case that'll last me a reasonably long time.
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December 13, 2011 2:08:58 PM

The only difference in gpus are drivers. Nvidia is able to release drivers quicker for new games to make them perform better and have SLI enabled quicker. AMD generally is better for price/performance. If you run with a one card set up I'd probably go with AMD but for a SLI vs CF I'd prefer nvidia.
December 13, 2011 2:29:11 PM

crewton said:
The only difference in gpus are drivers. Nvidia is able to release drivers quicker for new games to make them perform better and have SLI enabled quicker. AMD generally is better for price/performance. If you run with a one card set up I'd probably go with AMD but for a SLI vs CF I'd prefer nvidia.

Okay sweet, that was what I had managed to pull out of all those discussions.
At this point in time, I don't want to run CrossFire or SLI just yet but it is definitely something I want to look into as an upgrade. So going off your suggestion I may just go with the Nvidia card. It seems like less of a headache and may be more kind to my configuration. :p 

I'll also shop around for some other cases while I look into this some more.

Thanks again for your help.