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Help Building a Performance Computer; $2000 budget

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December 17, 2011 9:59:44 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: Any time

Budget Range: $2000 +/- $100

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Internet Browsing, Using programs, Gaming, Watching Movies

Parts Not Required: Mouse, Keyboard, Speakers, OS, Monitor

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: tigerdirect.ca or newegg.com

Country: Canada

Parts Preferences: by brand or type: Intel i7 processor, 12 or over GB of RAM

Overclocking: Maybe, If you can tell me how to do so

SLI or Crossfire: No clue?



Hey guys,

I am extremely new to building computers. I really want an Alienware, but there's no fun in buying one. It seems like a great idea to do my research and build my own computer, possibly even better then an Alienware. My budget is roughly $2000 and is semi-flexible.

What I'm Looking for:
-Lots of memory (12+ GB RAM)
-Really Fast
-Intel i7 processor
-Great graphics (can run Crysis 2 on top settings)

My only problem is that I have no clue what parts fit what I want, and my time is too constricted to do the research myself. Plus, I dont want to lose my money, and I'm unsure whether the parts I choose will be compatible with each other. Can someone give me a good build for around $2000?
a b B Homebuilt system
December 17, 2011 11:20:53 PM

Your monitor's resolution makes a big difference, but I'm going to assume you're not spending $2000 on a computer to game on a crappy monitor. The following machine totals $2021 not including shipping, rebates, or coupon codes.

($320) i7-2600K
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
($270) ASRock Z68 Extreme7 Gen3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
($34) CM Hyper 212 EVO
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
($80) G.Skill Ripjaw 4x4GB 1600mhz, 1.5V, CL9
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
($197) Crucial M4 128GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
($130) Seagate 1TB 7200RPM HDD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
(2*$350) 2x EVGA SuperClocked 012-P3-1573-AR GeForce GTX 570
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
($190) Corsair AX850 Modular PSU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
($100) Whatever case you want with good airflow

Here are some case choices:
($102) Cooler Master HAF 922
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
($100) Antec 900
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
($100) Rosewill Blackhawk
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 17, 2011 11:28:29 PM

I should mention that there's a lot of personal preference in a build this size. $1000 gaming builds are all pretty close, but at $2000 there are a lot more preferences.

You can use the i5-2500K for the same gaming performance at $100 less. You can replace the two 570's with a single 580 (for a little over $500) which will perform worse but leaves room to add a second one in a year. Some people like to spend a lot more on a case with more features which is fine. You're probably not going to be able to fit all your games on a 128GB boot drive so there are several alternate hard drive configuration options. Also there are a lot of good motherboard choices - I picked my favorite but there are plenty of good ones depending on what you want to do.
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Related resources
December 17, 2011 11:57:10 PM

danraies said:
I should mention that there's a lot of personal preference in a build this size. $1000 gaming builds are all pretty close, but at $2000 there are a lot more preferences.

You can use the i5-2500K for the same gaming performance at $100 less. You can replace the two 570's with a single 580 (for a little over $500) which will perform worse but leaves room to add a second one in a year. Some people like to spend a lot more on a case with more features which is fine. You're probably not going to be able to fit all your games on a 128GB boot drive so there are several alternate hard drive configuration options. Also there are a lot of good motherboard choices - I picked my favorite but there are plenty of good ones depending on what you want to do.


Thanks a tonne. So everything there is compatable with each other? Also, how difficult would you say this is to put together? How does this pc compare with $2000 pc's on the market?
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 18, 2011 12:48:07 AM

Yeah, everything will be compatible.

It's hard to compare pre-built computers to home-built computers. I found an alienware computer (Dell's gaming computers) for $2600 that has an i7-2600, a larger SSD but no HDD, and two HD6870's. The two 570's in my build are going to give much better graphics than two 6870's, so you're going to get much better performance out of a home-built PC.

Putting a computer together is really not all that hard. It can be intimidating if you've never done it before, but there's nothing too difficult. Routing all the cables can take some planning and if you've never done it before it might take you a couple tries. The only part that is marginally difficult is installing the CPU cooler but only because the thermal paste can be a little tricky.

Here's a good step-by-step guide:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/274745-31-step-step-g...
You have two video cards (make sure you install the SLI bridge) and an SSD, but otherwise it's basically the same process.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 18, 2011 1:42:48 AM

Alienware is mow owned by Dell.

Case - $ 115 - Corsair Carbide 500R http://www.newegg.coa/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Well reviewed, low price
http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/4408/corsair_carbide_s...

PSU - $ 100 - XFX Core Edition-850 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
9.5 jonnyguru rating, great price
http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...

MoBo - $ 270 - ASUS P8Z68-V Deluxe/GEN3 http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
The Pro version is cheaper if ya can find it but newegg.ca doesn't carry....excellent reviews and full 3 year warranty (unlike asrock. which only offers 2 years)
http://www.guru3d.com/article/asus-p8z68-v-pro-review/2...

CPU - $ 330 - Intel Core i7-2600K http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
Again, I know ya want it, but ya will only see 3% improvement in gaming over the 2500k at stock speeds ... and yes OC is cake
http://www.hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1578110

Cooler - $ 50 - CM Hyper 612 PWM http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...
5 - 7C betetr cooling than 212
http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...

TIM - $ 5 - Shin Etsu http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...
Same thermal properties as AS5 but none of AS5's curing problems
http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...

RAM - $ 47 - (2 x 4GB) Corsair Vengeance http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...
Low profile, excellent performance

RAM - $47 - I know ya want it but ya won;t see any improvement in gaming, 12 GB is not an option

GFX - $ 240 - Asus GTX 560 900Mhz http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
Possible 30+% OC's, robust VRM, excellent cooling .... 40% more fps than single 580, 14% more fps than twin factory OC'd 6950's, 4% more fps than twin 6970's (Guru3D game test suite), only 1% less fps than twin 570's which cost $240 more for the pair .....80 fps in Crysis warhead (Crysis 2 is less demanding)....can be OC'd as high as 1070 MHz
http://www.pureoverclock.com/review.php?id=1201&page=17

GFX - $ 230 - Same

HD - $250 - Barracuda XT 2TB http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...
Yes, expensive but large size and status as top performing 7200 rpm drive makes it a sound choice at your budget level....save $100 if ya can settle for 1TB model
http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...

SSD - $ 220 - 120 GB Mushkin Chronos Deluxe http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...
Tier 3 performance (fastest for 120/128 GB size), Other tier 3 alternatives include OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 120 GB, Patriot WildFire 120 GB, Samsung 830 SSD 128 GB
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-price-ssd,3070...

DVD Writer - $ 70 - Asus Model BC-12B1ST/BLK/B/AS http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...
Does Blue Ray

Card Reader $ 50 AeroCool FP-01 55 http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

OS - $ 140 - Win 7-64 Home Professional http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...

Total $2,009
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December 18, 2011 2:50:53 AM

Routing all the cables can take some planning and if you've never done it before it might take you a couple tries.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 18, 2011 4:31:46 AM

@JackNaylorPE I've always gone through the dell website to get to alienware so I just assumed, but apparently you're right. I didn't know.

The XFX PSU is a good recommendation.

If you're comparing a 560ti SLI to a 570 SLI, shouldn't you compare them either with both overclocked or neither overclocked?

The Extreme7 definitely offers a 3 year warranty. The Extreme4 and Extreme3 are only two, but the Extreme7 is 3 years.

Where are you getting $115 for the Carbide 500R? It's $140 with a $15 MIR on newegg. At $140 the 500R is a great choice.

Why windows home professional?

There are lots of coolers that cool better than the 212 evo but when the overclocking strategy is listed as "Maybe, If you can tell me how to do so" I'm always going to recommend the 212 for the price.

Why the barracuda xt for a non-boot drive? For mass storage the small SSD cache isn't going to make a difference.
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December 18, 2011 4:54:57 AM

Why not look at this case? http://www.thermaltakeusa.com/Product.aspx?S=1393&ID=20... The case is everything! :lol: 

I am also looking at doing my own personal build, and with about 2 days of on and off research I have realized alot of what has been offered here in the build lists. IMO the 2600k is not worth the price increase for the small benefits it will bring. I am probably going with an i5 2500k for my build, as the extra $100 dollars will not be gained back.

Would two of these be a good choice or should I look at different options? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2 is better than one? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Is the addition of a nzxt fan control touchscreen just being a total "enthusiast"? :D 
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 18, 2011 5:04:41 AM

rfalls86 said:
Why not look at this case? http://www.thermaltakeusa.com/Product.aspx?S=1393&ID=20... The case is everything! :lol: 

I am also looking at doing my own personal build, and with about 2 days of on and off research I have realized alot of what has been offered here in the build lists. IMO the 2600k is not worth the price increase for the small benefits it will bring. I am probably going with an i5 2500k for my build, as the extra $100 dollars will not be gained back.

Would two of these be a good choice or should I look at different options? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2 is better than one? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Is the addition of a nzxt fan control touchscreen just being a total "enthusiast"? :D 


The 2500K and the 2600K have nearly identical gaming performance. 8GB memory sticks are way too expensive right now and there's really no reason for them because you won't need more than 4x4GB for a very long time. Also, I generally advise people against triple wide cards.

Just to avoid thread confusion, maybe make a new topic so we're not advising two people at once.
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December 18, 2011 5:08:57 AM

Okay. I just hate getting YELLED AT for starting new unneeded threads. :cry:  Sorry for hi jacking your thread :) 
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