Advice on gaming rig build at or under $1800

I am looking to build my first computer ever and of course I would like for it to be a gaming powerhouse that will last me a few years before I need to look at upgrading parts. I am hoping to get some helpful advice and ideas that I may not have thought of from here.

Approximate Purchase Date: Around Feb. 2012.

Budget Range: $1,800.00 before rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming

Parts Not Required: Need everything

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: No real preference

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: I would prefer it be an Intel system, but if a AMD system can match the performance of an Intel system then I would be willing to sway.

Overclocking: Yes

SLI or Crossfire: Yes, but not required right away.

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1200

Additional Comments: I would like the PC to be as quiet as possible, but again, not a big issue.
19 answers Last reply
More about advice gaming build 1800
  1. Quote:
    Parts Preferences: I would prefer it be an Intel system, but if a AMD system can match the performance of an Intel system then I would be willing to sway.


    You're far better off sticking with Intel for now. Even the mid range and low end Sandy Bridge CPUs pretty much blow away anything AMD has released in the last few years. I suspect AMD got really wise to the initial pounding that Bulldozer/Zambezi/FX took and is taking its' time making sure the next version (Piledriver) is going to be good.

    Quote:
    Additional Comments: I would like the PC to be as quiet as possible, but again, not a big issue.


    That's not really an issue to begin with - case makers have become really wise to noise factors over the last several years. Where all the issues come into play is with the fans and cooling units. If you're using a monster fan like the Noctua D14 then yeah your PC will be really noisy. Whereas if you use a quieter closed block loop like the H100 or a smaller cooler like the Hyper 212 it won't be much of a factor.

    Try this build:

    Case: Corsair Carbide 400R - $99.99
    PSU: PC Power & Cooling Silencer MKII 950W - $149.99
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD4 - $199.99
    CPU: 3.30GHz Intel Core i5-2500K - $219.99
    Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo - $33.99
    RAM: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1600MHz 1.5V - $42.99
    SSD: 64GB Crucial M4 - $109.99
    HD: Seagate Barracuda ST3 1TB - $149.99
    Optical: Lite On DVD Burner - $21.99
    Video Card: EVGA Geforce GTX 580TI - $499.99
    OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit - $99.99
    Keyboard / Mouse: Logitech MK320 - $34.99
    Monitor: Asus VH238H Black 23" Full HD HDMI LED Backlight LCD Monitor w/Speakers - $179.99

    Total: $1832.87
  2. chesteracorgi said:


    No it isn't. I wouldn't recommend like 1/2 the stuff you've chosen here. Liquid cooled video cards are still a new technology - they'll need a few generations before they're perfected. I'd definitely go with EVGA, or if you insist the PNY ones but I think they're being discontinued. I don't know much about Zotac but from the looks of things their video cards don't get half the positive reviews that a lot of other ones in the same category do.

    You certainly can't install two side-mounted radiators on top of each other like that - no case on the market right now allows for it, and even the ones that do allow top and side mounted radiators usually only have room for one 120mm radiator or the dual Corsair H100, but not both. That video card definitely isn't a wise choice and for the money there's far better ones on the market. I'd really tend to go with a fan like the Hyper 212 Evo over the Antec Kuhler - it wasn't very well rated in that liquid cooling round up posted on the main page about a week ago.

    But you're saying HD prices are ridiculous and then include a $400 SSD that only holds 256GB - even with HD prices the way they are right now you could still go with the setup I recommended for 1/2 the cost. Anything under 300GB is going to be useless right now with a full Windows install taking up 16GB and then each game install taking anywhere from 8GB - 25GB per game. It will fill up quickly.
  3. Sorry guys keep going although you both have listed some awesome stuff I wouldn't say either is appropriate for an 1800 pc...im to tired.
  4. Faster than the those above, changes highlighted.

    Case: Corsair Carbide 400R - $99.99

    PSU: PC Power & Cooling Silencer MKII 950W - $149.99 (I'd consider this instead http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139011&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-Power%20Supplies-_-Corsair-_-17139011&AID=10440897&PID=3938566&SID= for same price after MIR, better quality)

    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD3 - $149.99 ($50 cheaper, no less quality)

    CPU: 3.30GHz Intel Core i5-2500K - $219.99

    Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo - $33.99

    RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 - $29.99 ($13 cheaper, no less quality)

    SSD: None - you won't boot as fast, but in exchange you get a lot more GPU horsepower, which is what matters for gaming

    HD: Seagate Barracuda ST3 1TB - $149.99

    Optical: Lite On DVD Burner - $21.99

    Video Card: 2 x EVGA Geforce GTX 570 - $679.98 (36% more $ for ~60% more speed - see guru3d VGA charts)

    OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit - $99.99

    Keyboard / Mouse: Logitech MK320 - $34.99

    Monitor: Asus VH238H Black 23" Full HD HDMI LED Backlight LCD Monitor w/Speakers - $179.99

    Total: $1850.87

    One other thing:
    - You mention that your open to SLI but don't need it. G-unit's build is great if you want to upgrade by purchasing another 580 at a later date, but that will be at least another $500 depending on how long you wait
  5. This is a build that I got from a custom pc builder called Ibuypower.com

    This is a mid-sized pc that has the new core i7 3930k and closed loop liquid cooling. I didn't configure this for gaming but you can easily add a different GPU or even add a second for less than 200 on the site.

    I recieved it about 2 1/2 weeks after ordering (so shipping is a little slow). but I haven't had any problems yet and it is wicked fast....

    What I really like about this build is that for every component there is some room for improvement later on. This is like a high-end budget build:


    Case: Coolermaster HAF 922

    CPU: Core i7 3930k (3.2 ghz stock; will OC to 4)

    Motherboard: x79 Asrock Extreme 4 (x5 sata 6.0 Gb, x2 usb 3.0 ports, PCI-e 3.0 support, and quad-channel memory)

    RAM: 8 gigs (2x4 gig\'s) of 1600 DDR3

    GPU: x1 Radeon 6870

    PSU: 700 Watts

    HDD: 500 gig\'s 7200 RPM

    Cooling: closed loop liquid cooling, Tuniq TX-2 High Performance Thermal Compound, and the standard fans on the case

    Optical drive: LG 12x Blu-Ray reader and DVD combo drive

    Monitor: 22\" LED 1920x1080 -- ASUS VS228H-P (21.5 viewable)

    Total price (with shipping included): $1546.20
  6. melead said:
    This is a build that I got from a custom pc builder called Ibuypower.com

    This is a mid-sized pc that has the new core i7 3930k and closed loop liquid cooling. I didn't configure this for gaming but you can easily add a different GPU or even add a second for less than 200 on the site.

    Motherboard: x79 Asrock Extreme 4 (x5 sata 6.0 Gb, x2 usb 3.0 ports, PCI-e 3.0 support, and quad-channel memory)

    RAM: 8 gigs (2x4 gig\'s) of 1600 DDR3


    I personally am not a fan of IBUYPOWER and I'm certainly not a fan of Cyberpower. Everything I've read about them on the support side of things tends to put them in the negative category. It's one thing to have a good, powerful system - it's another to have the company you purchase it from able to back and support their systems.

    Although I'd definitely question their RAM choice. An X79 system requires a quad channel setup - which will take 4 x 2GB instead of 2 x 4GB in order to function properly. Plus the X79 requires a different voltage of RAM - either 1.6V or 1.7V, having the wrong voltage of RAM will potentially be problematic down the road.

    Quote:
    PSU: PC Power & Cooling Silencer MKII 950W - $149.99 (I'd consider this instead http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 38566&SID= for same price after MIR, better quality)


    Corsair is certainly not a bad choice. I use the TX750 in both my systems and so far it's been without problems aside from a couple of bad SATA power connectors. The one thing I will say is that I've come to appreciate and prefer PSUs with higher energy efficiency. The one I chose is Silver rated, I'm planning to purchase the Seasonic X750 Gold for my system in the near future.

    Quote:
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD3 - $149.99 ($50 cheaper, no less quality)


    No less quality for sure - I own that same board and it has been great so far, but the UD4, UD5+ will have better options for RAM expansion and SLI than the UD3 will should the OP need it.

    Quote:
    RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 - $29.99 ($13 cheaper, no less quality)


    Nothing wrong with G.Skill - I generally tend to use low profile RAM when working with large coolers.

    Quote:
    SSD: None - you won't boot as fast, but in exchange you get a lot more GPU horsepower, which is what matters for gaming


    Not necessarily. Your primary HD is always going to be your biggest lag factor in any build. You could have quad liquid cooled EVGA 580s in SLI but if you use a slow 5900RPM HD as your primary, you will definitely see a difference. The setup I recommended will last a long time - I use a similar one except with a Samsung Spinpoint and it has been incredibly sweet so far.
  7. I agree with you G-unit1111 on the RAM. That was just a typo on my part. It is in fact a quad channel set up at 4 modules of two Gig's each.

    As far as the purchasing from Ibuypower.com goes, I really haven't had a problem. I too read the reviews on many other forums, and was cautious at first on whether to actually purchase the setup. After I have received my system, I am very happy with it and I was very happy to see the constant email updates on what was going on with my PC.

    I haven't had any problems so I can't really comment on their tech support but I would consider that I good thing.
  8. Quote:
    I agree with you G-unit1111 on the RAM. That was just a typo on my part. It is in fact a quad channel set up at 4 modules of two Gig's each.


    Oh heh, I should have seen that. :lol:

    Quote:
    As far as the purchasing from Ibuypower.com goes, I really haven't had a problem. I too read the reviews on many other forums, and was cautious at first on whether to actually purchase the setup. After I have received my system, I am very happy with it and I was very happy to see the constant email updates on what was going on with my PC.


    What places like IBUYPOWER are good for is for people who want the experience of having their own custom built and configured PC without the whole do it yourself aspect of building your own computer. They use most of the exact same parts that we recommend here like Cooler Master cases and fans, Gigabyte MBs, Asus MBs, AMD and NVIDIA graphics cards, and so on.

    Quote:
    I haven't had any problems so I can't really comment on their tech support but I would consider that I good thing.


    I'd definitely say that's a good thing. :lol:
  9. Ok, took a look at what you guys have suggested. I had already had a wish list build in newegg that I was going to change around based on your guy's input. Was wondering if you guys think this build would work for a gaming rig:

    Case: Antec Eleven Hundred Black Super Mid Tower Computer Case $119.99 after rebate

    Mobo: ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS $209.99 after rebate

    GPU: HIS IceQ X Turbo H685QNT1GD Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card x2 $329.98 after rebate

    PSU: CORSAIR Enthusiast Series CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core $109.99 after rebate

    CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 3000 $219.99

    SSD: Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) $108.99 after rebate

    HDD: HITACHI Deskstar 7K1000.D HDS721075DLE630 (0F13179) 750GB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive $99.99

    Memory: CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Profile Desktop Memory Model CML8GX3M2A1600C9 $46.99

    Monitor: ASUS VH232H Glossy Black 23" 5ms Widescreen Full HD 1080p LCD Monitor w/Speakers & HDMI $169.99 after rebate

    Optical: ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM $19.99

    OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM $99.99

    CPU Cooler: Scythe SCMG-3000 120mm Heat Pipe CPU Cooler $49.99

    Keyboard/mouse: Logitech MK320 Black USB RF Wireless Standard Desktop $34.99

    In this set-up, I will also be getting 3 120mm fans for $30 and 1 200mm fan for $20.00. Along with the fans I will be getting 3 silicone absorbers and 40 silicone mounts (to quiet the fans a bit) for $35 all together.

    Forgot to mention that a wireless adapter will be added for $20 after rebate.

    All this will come to a total of $1,730.23. So, what do you guys think of this build as a gaming rig? Would I be able to play most new games at high-very high quality with this set-up? If not, what would you suggest I change to be able to do that but still stay under my $1,800 budget?
  10. Quote:


    No. I'd recommend going with a faster Sapphire 6970 over dual 6850s - it will last you a lot longer. Alternately you could look at getting a single EVGA GTX 570. I don't really like HIS video cards - stick with Sapphire - they're one of the best Radeon makers on the market.

    Quote:
    In this set-up, I will also be getting 3 120mm fans for $30 and 1 200mm fan for $20.00. Along with the fans I will be getting 3 silicone absorbers and 40 silicone mounts (to quiet the fans a bit) for $35 all together.


    Don't need them. Most cases include plenty of fans to start with, and you're not going to see better airflow in your system if you go with the high performance fans vs. the standard fans included with your case.

    Quote:
    HDD: HITACHI Deskstar 7K1000.D HDS721075DLE630 (0F13179) 750GB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive $99.99


    No no no no no. Hitachi hard drives are bad news. They have the highest fail rates of any drive maker on the market. Stick with Seagate or WD. They may run a bit more and your capacity won't be as high but they're far far less likely to fail.

    Quote:
    Forgot to mention that a wireless adapter will be added for $20 after rebate.


    Fine, but wait and get that after you get your system - don't factor a wifi adapter in your budget since they're that cheap.

    Quote:
    All this will come to a total of $1,730.23. So, what do you guys think of this build as a gaming rig? Would I be able to play most new games at high-very high quality with this set-up? If not, what would you suggest I change to be able to do that but still stay under my $1,800 budget?


    Looks like a sweet build - go with the suggestions I mentioned and you'll be set.
  11. Intel 311 20GB SLC SSD $113.99 for SRT. Take advantage of Z68 if you're paying for it.
  12. a4mula said:
    Intel 311 20GB SLC SSD $113.99 for SRT. Take advantage of Z68 if you're paying for it.


    Not all motherboards support MSATA yet. Go with the standard SSD/HD setup and you'll be fine.
  13. g-unit1111 said:
    Not all motherboards support MSATA yet. Go with the standard SSD/HD setup and you'll be fine.


    Nice catch, didn't realize I was suggesting the mSata version. Here's the SATA version:

    Intel 311 20GB SLC 119.99
  14. a4mula said:
    Nice catch, didn't realize I was suggesting the mSata version. Here's the SATA version:

    Intel 311 20GB SLC 119.99


    The bad thing about that drive is a Windows install will take up the whole thing, you need at least a 40GB or 60GB to take advantage, I think the OP is using the Crucial M4 which I suggested.
  15. With Z68 you have SSD caching (SRT) in which the SSD regardless of size acts as a buffer between the memory subsystem and the HDD. It allows your operating system and most used applications to load via the SSD seamlessly. This type of solution not only creates an overall more responsive system, but unlike the atypical SSD/HDD configuration it's install and forget. Take it from someone that's constantly worried about his SSD drives, from write thrashing concerns, to moving user profiles (not nearly as easy as it sounds), to letting my rig idle on the user select login screen just so the firmware can clean them up.

    The Intel 311 is ideal for this exact purpose because unlike MLC drives, SLC drives benefits not only from the read speeds of a typical SSD, but also writes. You also don't have to worry about write thrashing on SLC drives.
  16. g-unit1111 said:

    Don't need them. Most cases include plenty of fans to start with, and you're not going to see better airflow in your system if you go with the high performance fans vs. the standard fans included with your case.
    .


    The problem with the eleven hundred case is it doesn't have any fans on the front. You must buy your own to place there. I will be, more-or-less, replacing all the fans for looks more-so then anything else.
  17. Neocentric said:
    The problem with the eleven hundred case is it doesn't have any fans on the front. You must buy your own to place there. I will be, more-or-less, replacing all the fans for looks more-so then anything else.


    I'd say get a different case then - there's plenty that include the front and top fans and still have good cable management. Spending a ton of money on fans like that is actually kind of a waste of money. I'd suggest reading this article before you go do that:

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cooling-airflow-heatsink,3053.html
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cooling-air-pressure-heatsink,3058.html
  18. Ok, so after some more researching and swapping parts, here is what I came up with. I do plan to get the case, so that wont be switching. Everything else I am pretty much open to changing if there will be a decent price drop ($20 or more). I am currently sitting at just over $1600 which is a bit above my budget (budget has dropped to $1500 now due to estimated tax return not being as much as I thought it would be), but I can squeeze that little bit in.

    http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=17241825

    I was also wondering if anyone can tell me a bit more about the Gigabyte HD 6970. I have been looking for reviews and performance charts on the card but haven't had any luck. It is just $20 more then the Sapphire hd 6970 that I was planning to get but includes an extra fan. Any input would be great.
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