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Looking for ways to economize a gaming build

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December 23, 2011 12:24:19 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: 2 Weeks

Budget Range: $800-$1000 After Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, video streaming, multitasking, light spreadsheet use

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor (1920x1080p), speakers, HDD

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com, tigerdirect.com, anywhere with good deals and customer service. I do not live near a Microcenter

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: See below. No strong brand perferences, but I have had good experiences with ASUS (own a laptop by them) and Corsair

Overclocking: Maybe. I'm going to rely on the turboboost feature of the z68 chipset to get my CPU up a few GH. I want to get a 6950 GPU that I can unlock to a 6970

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe in the future

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: I want this to be a system I can upgrade in the future. I don't need cutting edge stuff, but reliable hardware that I build upon in the future. Also, power savings and heat management are important. I would definitely buy a higher priced PSU if the power savings were justified. I leave my PC on constantly at home except for when we go on vacation and I plan on keepign the PSU for as long as possible. I've been formulating a build for about a month now, see below. I've selected what I think are good components, but looking to reduce the budget a bit and settle on a video card. Perhaps the prices will be a little lower after the holidays.

Case: Corsair CC-9011013-WW Carbide Series 500R Mid Tower Gaming Case $100
CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 $220
PSU: CORSAIR Enthusiast Series CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready 80 PLUS Certified $100
MOBO: ASUS P8Z68-V/GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard $190
SSD: SanDisk Ultra SDSSDH-120G-G25 2.5" 120GB SATA II $128
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) $44
CPU Cooler: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" $29
OS: Windows Home 64-bit OEM $99
GPU: SAPPHIRE 100312-3SR Radeon HD 6950 Dirt3 Edition 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 $260
OR
GPU: MSI R6950 Twin Frozr III PE/OC Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 $250, after today it goes up to $270

Right now my total is $1,170. If I can shave a couple hundred off, that would be great. Perhaps I can snag some bargains after the holidays?
December 23, 2011 12:41:24 PM

Case - There are plenty of good options out there for roughly half the cost of that Corsair case.
Rosewill Challenger ($50) => http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU - Go larger if you are debating on CF down the road. The XFX below is a great buy at the moment.
XFX PRO850W ($90 after MIR) => http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MB - Fine and all, but no real upgrades over the Maximus IV.
ASUS Maximus IV ($170) => http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MEM - Look for low profile (no tall heat spreaders) to avoid potential clearance with the Hyper 212 CPU Coolers...
Corsair Vengeance 8GB ($42) => http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU Cooler - The Hyper 212 EVO is the newer version of the 212+. It will cool a little better...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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December 23, 2011 1:21:16 PM

Thanks for the advice on the mobo, RAM and CPU cooler. I've settled on the case due to reviews regarding ease of assembly, features and aesthetics.

I'm a little leery of using a higher wattage PSU, as I have read that getting the right wattage rating is just as important (efficiency-wise) as buying based on 80 Plus certification level. "To the contrary, these graphs should help us appreciate that choosing the right “size” power supply is at least as important as its quality and efficiency. You can only achieve an optimal result when all three factors are taken into consideration."
I calculated my power draw at around 464 W max load (including 10% capacity aging). I don't plan on going Crossfire in the next few years. If I can save $10 in electrical bills over 2 years of use, I'll be ahead of the game.
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December 23, 2011 1:35:37 PM

Get a SATA III SSD
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December 23, 2011 1:46:48 PM

You may be able to find a cheaper power supply look on newegg for a 620 watt seasonic psu. and i dont think you need that good of a mobo go for one around $140.
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December 23, 2011 2:06:34 PM

Quote:
Would be a mistake to get anything less than 750W for a dual gpu ready build.


I'm going to stick with a single GPU for the time being. If I do Crossfire in the future, I realize that I will have to get a larger PSU.
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December 23, 2011 2:17:29 PM

Quote:
Well versus the 650W you had listed, the XFX 850W is only a couple of bucks more and leaves you with the option of ONLY needing to buy a 2nd graphics card and not needing to buy a 2nd graphics card and a new power supply :p 


But, I'll also be drawing more power from the wall over a span of two years, right? Granted, the total cost will be more i I do end up buying an new PSU in the future, but I'm not 100% certain I will be doing crossfiring two cards. In all likelihood, I will probably just buy a newer card as a replacement.
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December 23, 2011 2:22:20 PM

Quote:
Great choice in case, I have one and its got plenty of space/features to make your build teh bomb ^_^

I got a pick of my computer in my "more info" section


I would say hurry up and buy the Twin Frozr III cards, I own two of them and they are great.

One thing I would suggest changing is your power supply. Get a 850W, leaves you enough headroom for your cpu overclock and if you ever wanted to overclock two 6950s and have enough room for tons of fans/hdds/opticals/lights etc.

The psu Sadams04 listed (XFX) is a good power supply that is very affordable right now.

Consider the Cooler Master Hyper 612, its the big brother of the Hyper 212 and does a great job at cooling for a rather cheap price tag ^_^

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

As for the SSD, don't get the sandisk, its a slow older less reliable ssd.

Corsair Force GT
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or

Mushkin Enhanced Chronos
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or

ADATA S510
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Thanks for the advice on the SSD. I was planning on using it as just a boot drive and selected that one because the cost/GB was pretty damn low. If I'm using it as a boot drive, will the speed difference be that noticeable? The reliability is an issue, so if you have heard that these have a higher failure rate, it will be a good reason to switch.
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December 23, 2011 2:55:48 PM

nebelwerfer41 said:
But, I'll also be drawing more power from the wall over a span of two years, right?


No. The PSU will only output what the computer is able to draw. You won't be putting out 850w if you system will only draw 400w. The important part is having an efficient, quality unit. The XFX fits the bill...
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December 23, 2011 10:26:14 PM

Clarity was gained from another thread regarding the plethora of MOBO chipsets from this article. From this, it looks like I'll benefit most from a P67 board. Going to find a good alternative now.
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December 23, 2011 10:41:31 PM

You could get a cheaper case but ya build would suffer for it.....

I agree with what was said above, XFX Core Edition 850 is way ti go for upgrade ability

The SSD saving ya money but it is last generation, half speed of current ones.\

Here's $2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Here's the only place I can really help ya....the 6950 twin frozr gets 484 fps as a single card, 759 fps in CF in Guru3D's game test suite..... the Asus 900 Mhz 560 is $230 and it gets 495 fps as a single card and 862 in SLI. As a single card, you getting 11 fps and saving $20.....but in SLI ya saving $40 and getting 103 fps !

The gigabyte model is even cheaper at $215....that's $35 - $55 savings per card....again for more speed. And the 900 MHz 560's can go much higher.....these guys did 1070.

http://www.pureoverclock.com/review.php?id=1201&page=17



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December 23, 2011 10:45:11 PM

nebelwerfer41 said:
But, I'll also be drawing more power from the wall over a span of two years, right? Granted, the total cost will be more i I do end up buying an new PSU in the future, but I'm not 100% certain I will be doing crossfiring two cards. In all likelihood, I will probably just buy a newer card as a replacement.


No....PSU's are actually most efficient at 50% load so if anything you will be saving money with the larger unit. The XFX therefore saves you $10 from the getgo, saves you money every day you use it and saves you from having to throw out an otherwise perfectly good PSU when ya decide to move to a 2nd card.
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December 23, 2011 11:02:09 PM

JackNaylorPE said:
No....PSU's are actually most efficient at 50% load so if anything you will be saving money with the larger unit. The XFX therefore saves you $10 from the getgo, saves you money every day you use it and saves you from having to throw out an otherwise perfectly good PSU when ya decide to move to a 2nd card.


OK, you guys sold me on the larger PSU's.

I went ahead an pulled the trigger on the MSI Radeon 6950 a few minutes ago to take advantage of the rebate offer. I'll keep an eye open after Christmas for better deals on the other components.
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December 27, 2011 2:58:44 PM

Here is what I ended up with. I had to place three separate orders from two different vendors to get everything lined up. I boosted the PSU to a higher wattage and went with a different chipset (Z68 didn't seem worth the extra expense) and went with another SSD.

Case: Corsair CC-9011013-WW Carbide Series 500R Mid Tower Gaming Case $110 (after rebate and sale price)
CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 $205 (after discount code)
MOBO: ASUS P8P67 PRO (REV 3.1) LGA 1155 Intel P67 $150 (after rebate)
CPU Cooler: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO $35
OS: Windows Home 64-bit OEM $90 (after discount code)
GPU: MSI R6950 Twin Frozr III PE/OC Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 $250 (after discount code and sale price)
PSU: SeaSonic X750 Gold 750W 80 PLUS GOLD $130 (sale price)
RAM: CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM 1600 Low Profile $42
SSD: Patriot Pyro 2.5" Solid State Drive - 120GB, SATA III 6Gb/s $140 (after rebate and sale price)

This clocks in at $1152 after rebates. A little higher than I originally wanted to spend, but I did move the goalposts by upgrading the PSU.

Also, I ended up buying a new optical drive, HDD and SATA cables so I could give my old PC to upgrade for my parents.

The parts should be here by the weekend and I'll let people know how the build goes.
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January 3, 2012 11:53:48 AM

Best answer selected by nebelwerfer41.
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January 3, 2012 7:30:24 PM

FYI, I put this together this weekend and it was realtively painless. My first true "solo" (read: unsupervised) build. I probably stressed the thermal paste way too much (reapplied three times), and was stymied by the CPU cooler until I found out that it does tighten down all the way.

The case was great to build into, but would prefer using a case with white interior next time (as it was difficult to see into sometimes). I had to install the SSD upside-down (just flip the carrier over) to get the various SATA and power connections to hook up in one drive rack. I would imagine that fitting three drives into the same rack would be a headache.

Thanks for all the advice.
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