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New Year Gaming Rig, < $2,000

Last response: in Systems
December 17, 2011 8:33:01 PM

Howdy Folks!

I've built the last two PCs I've used, but I'm far from an expert - basically I just follow the discussions and user ratings at NewEgg, then put the pieces together like a Lego set. So far I've been lucky.

Sometime in January I will finally be able to upgrade from my poor old rig that's lasted me for 6 years. It came out a bit more expensive than I was thinking ($1,784 - I was thinking around $1,500, though I can go as high as $2,000), plus I want to make sure I'm not buying anything incompatible with other components, so I'd like to post it here and get some feedback from those who live and breathe this stuff.

Approximate Purchase Date: February 1st, 2012
Budget Range: $1,500-$2,000
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Streaming Movies/TV
Parts Not Required: None - I want to finally replace everything.
Preferred Website(s) for Parts:
Country: USA
Parts Preferences: I've had good luck with Asus mobos and Intel chips, but I'm open to anything as long as it's solid.
Overclocking: Doubtful (I've never bothered before, so probably won't in the future).
SLI or Crossfire: Not really sure.
Monitor Resolution: Anything over 1440x900, which is what I'm at now.
Additional Comments: Just looking for solid components that will assemble well and play together nicely, and a case large enough I don't have to have children's hands to get things installed.

This is what I've come up with so far:

Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 932 Advanced ATX Full Tower


CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz Quad-Core

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM

GPU: EVGA SuperClocked GeForce GTX 560 1GB

HDD: Seagate Barracuda ST2000DM001 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s - Bare Drive

PSU: CORSAIR Pro Series HX850 850W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 80 PLUS SILVER

Monitor: ASUS VW246H Glossy Black 24" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor

Optical Drive: ASUS 24X DVD Burner - Bulk 24X Black SATA Model - OEM

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit - OEM

Accessories: Keyboard, Mouse, Arctic Silver Thermal Compound, etc. Guess I might need a SATA cable or two.

Those are my initial thoughts, based primarily on NewEgg user reviews. Total final cost is $1,780 - which concerns me a little, mostly because it is higher than almost every single recommended build in the Recommended Builds by Usage thread, so I imagine I'm doing something wrong (though those systems don't have a monitor, OS, or peripherals).

It also seems like I should maybe get a SSD drive for boot, and reserve the 2TB HDD just for storage?

Very much appreciate any and all pointers - thanks for reading!

More about : year gaming rig 000

December 17, 2011 11:38:49 PM

Case: I personally really like the cable management of the corsair cases. I would go with either a 400r or 500r. The 500r will provide better cooling. (100) (140)

Mobo: That's one hell of a mobo. You can definitely cut some cash here. The z68's are the way to go if you are looking to upgrade in the future, and are more user friendly when it comes to overclocking. I don't think there is a need to spend over $180 on a motherboard though. I like what ASRock is putting out right now (175)

CPU: the i5 2500k is the best bang for the buck ever as far as a cpu goes, good choice (220)

Ram: There is no reason for 16gb of ram right now. I would go with 8gb (2x4gb) at 1600. It is really easy to pick up extra ram if you ever need it. I prefer G Skill. (45)

GPU: For a $1500 build a 560ti is kind of weak. You could upgrade to a 570 or even 580 if the funds allow. With a 570 you could always add a second one to run in sli. Personally I don't like sli due to micro-stuttering, but I know some who don't mind it at all. I would read up on it. I like the msi twin frozr II cards.
For gtx 570 ti (370)
for gtx 580 (500)

HDD: not sure 2tb is entirely necessary unless you do a lot of video editing/ have a hundred pc games lol. HDD are super expensive right now due to the flooding in Thailand. I would go with 500gb for about half the price (100)

PSU: Could save about $20-$25 and go with this one instead it will handle everything just as well and maintain reliability. (150)

Monitor: could cut back to a 20" monitor and save $100. I personally use a 19" Hanns-G that has been plenty for me. If you prefer the larger screen size than go with the one you have selected, it's a good monitor at a good price. (100)

Optical Drive: Currently have that one and it performs its job with no problems.

OS: OEM is the way to go! (100)

overall: $1550 (with gtx 580)

Related resources
December 18, 2011 12:04:16 AM

manahnen said:
overclocking is fairly simple on an i2500k and can enhance performance a lot! it will easily OC to 4.5 ghz...with the right cooler.
If you do intend to overclock get this

OMG that cooler is enormous lol - I suppose it would still fit?

Thanks for the initial suggestions folks - tomorrow I'll take another pass through NewEgg, maybe make some changes. Appreciate the notes.
December 18, 2011 12:14:01 AM

I have seen one installed in the 500r so I know it will fit in that. Not sure about the 400r but it should
December 18, 2011 12:31:41 AM

Why cheap out on the graphics for a gaming rig with a max budget of $1500-$2000 you should easily be able to relegate around $500 to the GPU budget where it will tangibly count the most in a gaming rig.
December 18, 2011 12:38:32 AM

For SSD go with an M4 Crucial one of the most reliable SSDs currently
December 18, 2011 1:07:48 AM

16gb isn't needed on a gaming system - you can save ~$90 by going with 2x4gb set (Gskill is a good choice though). If you really want 16gb, do 4x4gb and you'll still save $35-40.

Buy a smaller HDD for now (or wait for those drives to go down) - before the flooding in Thailand, that was a $70 drive. I imagine once all the production facilities are back online, it will be again.

I highly recommend using those savings to up the GPU and/or get an SSD (something in the 100-120gb range if you want to put at least a few games on it - 50-60gb for just the OS). I'm a big fan of SSDs for boot times and overall snappiness.
December 18, 2011 7:22:24 PM

Thanks all for the great pointers! I have moved items around and come up with a system that is roughly the same cost, but seems like a better machine (always a good thing).

Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 912 ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Saved a bundle here - decided with the few components I'm getting, I don't really need a full tower after all.

Mobo: ASUS P8Z68-V ATX Intel Motherboard
Saved about $100 here too - still seems like a solid board, doesn't seem to be missing any crucial features.

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz Quad-Core
No change, though I will add a CoolerMaster Hyper 212+ (and hope I can install it easily).

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 1600 SDRAM
16GB of RAM seemed universally declared wasteful, so saved more here by cutting it to 8GB.

GPU: MSI N570GTX Twin Frozr III PE/OC GeForce GTX 570 (Fermi) 1280MB
Followed everyone's advice to not scrimp on the video card - most of the cash saved elsewhere is going here.

HDD: WD Caviar Green 750GB IntelliPower SATA 6.0Gb/s - Bare Drive
Dropped down from a 2TB HDD to 750GB. Though my current machine has nearly 680GB of used space, I think the single 750GB will be plenty until a little further down the road when I buy a second one.

SSD: Crucial M4 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
This is the only completely new component. Looking forward to using it for Win7 boot, WoW, and BF3.

Everything else remains the same.
PSU: CORSAIR Pro Series HX850 850W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 80 PLUS SILVER

Monitor: ASUS VW246H Glossy Black 24" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor

Optical Drive: ASUS 24X DVD Burner - Bulk 24X Black SATA Model - OEM

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit - OEM

Accessories: Keyboard, Mouse, Arctic Silver Thermal Compound, etc.

Thanks a ton for the suggestions, I think this configuration is a huge improvement. I'm really glad I took the time to ask the experts!
December 18, 2011 10:11:42 PM

hello... for your build... i do have some suggestions... take a look...

ram: 16gb is too much for your need... 8gb is the sweet spot while not spending too much money on it...

psu: corsair isn't the only brand reliable in power supply.... xfx is also one of them... at least its power supply is manufactured by seasonic...

mobo: this is another alternative for your asus motherboard...

gpu: by the date when you purchase these parts... amd radeon hd 7900 series should be available in the market.... perhaps after reading the reviews... maybe you'll buy that instead of gtx 570...

cpu cooler: i think you should get a custom cooler for your cpu... a cheap air cooler should set you back around $30 only... such as this one...

December 20, 2011 2:58:29 PM

Howdy Folks!

So, in an unbelievable stroke of good fortune, my roommates snagged my original list (OP, above) and actually ordered everything on it for my birthday/Christmas (same day!). I was floored, to say the least.

A couple of things though. First, I'll still need to wait until I order myself a SSD boot drive, as that wasn't on the original list (and I don't want to be arsed with building the thing now and then replacing the boot drive later). Second, the video card is the originally listed EVGA SuperClocked GeForce GTX 560 1GB, not the newly chosen MSI GeForce GTX 570 1280MB. Again, I think I'll just stick with it for now, and possibly upgrade the GPU in the New Year.

My main question though is the PSU - instead of the Corsair 850W from my OP, they inadvertently got a Corsair 750W ( I'm not sure whether it's enough to power all the components from my OP comfortably? Or should I get a 850W when I order my SSD boot?

Thanks! And Happy Holidays ... mine sure are. :D 
December 21, 2011 10:50:33 AM

definitely enough if you just using one graphics card...
December 21, 2011 1:23:18 PM

Build looks great but I may look into adding a 120GB SSD for the OS drive. An SSD such as the OCZ Vertex 3 MAX IOPS is perfect for the job.
December 21, 2011 9:51:13 PM

Thanks for the replies all!

I decided, after all, to return/exchange the PSU (not because of W, but because the 850W is modular cable and the 750W isn't) and the GPU. I also went ahead and ordered a 128 M4 SSD for boot on my own (and a Hyper 212+ cpu cooler).

All I have to do is avoid bricking the thing during assembly and I should be one happy fella. :bounce: