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New Gaming PC Build Request. Thanks so much for the help!

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December 25, 2011 6:29:53 PM

Maybe check the additional comments at the end for an idea of my skill level and general idea for the machine. Thanks so much for taking the time to help me out!

Approximate Purchase Date: End of January or so; not a hard deadline, but as soon as I can reasonably afford it.

Budget Range: I'm expecting over $1,000, but I'd like to keep it as close to that as possible. If necessary, I can squeeze up to $1,300 or $1,400, but that's gonna hurt.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, gaming and more gaming. It'd be nice if it could run ProTools, as well as double as a media slinger to my PS3, but the emphasis should be on playing any and all current games at ridiculous detail settings at 1080p at super high frame rates. I want to be able to crush Skyrim with tons of mods installed at the wildest settings I can find.

Parts Not Required: Monitor (1080p monitor - I have no real interest in going higher than that for a while. I want to be able to use this thing as a monster console most of the time), keyboard, mouse, speakers, other accessories. I have most stuff, and I can make those decisions as they come up.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Amazon.com (I live in California, so I want to use Amazon's lack of sales tax when I can. I also have some credit to use there, as well as a student Prime account, which makes Amazon very attractive), maybe Newegg if there's no other option (I'll have to pay tax on Newegg stuff). I know I use Newegg in the links below, but that's because their site is easier to use for this kind of thing.

Country: United States, California specifically.


Parts Preferences: Intel processor, Nvidia card, small SSD, relatively small data drive

Here's a more detailed breakdown: I'm thinking of getting an unlocked Sandy Bridge, but I'm not sure what the prevailing wisdom is on that.

I'm leaning towards a EVGA Superclocked 570. I'm more comfortable with someone else doing the overclocking, as I've never done it before. I'll be overclocking my CPU, but the less I have to actually do myself, the more comfortable I'll be. If there's a better option than the Super 570 though, I'm open to the idea.

My data needs are pretty small. I format very regularly and don't generally keep much media for long. I'm thinking of a 60GB Agility as a boot drive (probably for Windows 7 64, though I'm undecided) that will also hold my two or three big games I'm playing at any particular point (Skyrim, SWTOR if I get into that, etc). I want a fairly small data drive also, maybe 500GB, as I've been using about 120GB for years and am used to cleaning regularly. Speed is much more important than space, but also I'm willing to skimp in this area and put the money towards other things. I really like the idea of a small SSD though, so I want that if at all possible.

My case instinct is a Coolermaster HAF 912. Will this be a decent option if I want to liquid cool and overclock? Will be it easy enough to build in?


Overclocking: Yes, I assume so for the CPU. Some advice would be awesome on whether or not to do this, though. I have no experience overclocking, and I'm very apprehensive. I also am really interested in liquid cooling and would like to do that, unless you guys think someone with limited building experience should stay away from such things. I want to because I want the thing to be as quiet as possible, and also because it sounds just super cool. I mean, seriously, LIQUID COOLED COMPUTERS? How sweet is that? That said, I have absolutely no idea where to begin when buying a liquid cooling kit, so any education is much appreciated.

SLI or Crossfire: Yes, eventually. For this initial build, I'm thinking just one pretty monster GPU, but later I'll probably want to slide another in. Will I have enough room in the case? I'll need a 1,000 or so watt power supply, also.

Monitor Resolution: 1920 x 1080. Not planning on going any higher for a while, as I've already got an HD monitor I really like, and I want to be able to pipe this thing to a television, also.

Additional Comments: So I've only built one computer before, about nine years ago. It went okay, but I was pretty young. I didn't do anything particularly difficult, I just slapped a bunch of componenets that someone else gave me into a case. No overclocking, no real cable management, nothing but putting it all in a blender. This time, I want to do it right. I want to try to squeeze some real performance out of my wallet and machine. I'm down to try OCing and liquid cooling, though it scares me, and I want to have the cables not swinging through the case like freaky spaghetti.

I've done a lot of builds on cyberpower and other places, and it's usually coming out to around $1,400 for a machine close to what I want. Will I save a significant amount of money building it myself, or am I better off paying a little bit extra so someone else has to do it? Again, thanks so much for the help, guys, I really appreciate it. I've been looking forward to getting back into PC gaming for a while now. I hope I can get this started soon!

More about : gaming build request

a b 4 Gaming
December 25, 2011 6:56:14 PM

Well you probably won't "save" a bunch of money in comparison to iBuypower and CyberpowerPC, but you will have significantly better build quality.

Which is why we all recommend building your own, because you manage every single component from decision making to installation.

I've built a few systems with the HAF 912, it's a good case.

As far as water cooling? I'd recommend moving into a self contained system to "get your feet wet" <--har har!

Something like the Antec Kuhler 920 or maybe a Corsair H100. (Doesn't have to be right away, maybe farther down the road)

It's Christmas so I don't have time to price a build for you today, but I'll be back later today/tomorrow and if you still need help, I'll get something together.
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December 25, 2011 7:04:10 PM

Thanks! Yeah, it's not so much actually saving money on a part by part basis I'm worried about, it's more just getting exactly the parts I want/need without having to replace theirs or paying them to overclock it for me. Also, I really enjoyed building that PC a decade ago, and I'd like to be able to say I can really do it!
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a b 4 Gaming
December 25, 2011 7:11:28 PM

I lied apparently I had time:

CPU/Mobo: i5-2500k/ASUS Z68 motherboard 369.99
RAM: Patriot 2x4GB DDR3-1600 CAS8 47.99(+$15 MIR)
OS Drive: Corsair 60 GB SSD 89.99 (+10 MIR)
Data Drive: WD Caviar Blue 320GB 7200 RPM HDD 99.99
Graphics Card: EVGA 570 1.3GB DDR5 Superclocked 329.99
Case/PSU: Cooler Master HAF 912/Cooler Master Silent Pro Gold 800W 184.99 (+20 MIR)
OS: Windows 7 64 bit OEM 99.99
DVD Drive: Samsung SATA DVD drive 17.99

Total without tax/shipping: 1240.90
Total without tax/shipping after MIR (1195.90)

Yes I understand you didn't want newegg.com, and that's your choice. It's just much easier to propose a build using newegg to find everything. Feel free to use this as a guide to pick out parts off of Amazon.

I haven't done a build using Amazon, but I imagine without all the combo discounts and the MIR from newegg, it might offset the tax.

A few notes on specific components:

Corsair SSD, I don't trust OCZ. There reviews are either 1 star or 5 star. Plus I've dealt with bad OCZ RAM, and it was a nightmare.

The 800W PSU. I know you've stated you want to SLI in the future, which is why I used the 800W GOLD PSU. If you change your mind, a 500W+ PSU will more than suffice for the 570.

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a b 4 Gaming
December 25, 2011 7:13:19 PM

Also I plugged in 90210(only CA area code I know for sure) and the total with shipping and tax is 1365. So after MIR it's sitting right above 1300
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December 25, 2011 7:26:00 PM

Wow, thanks for the help. A couple questions:

Will 800W be enough? Let's straight assume I will be adding another Superclocked EVGA 570 in there in about a year.

Do I need any sort of CPU cooler if I'm going to overclock? I know you said I can wait on a liquid solution, but if I want to jack that thing up to 4 or 4.5 Ghz, can I use the stock fan or do I need something else?

As for the OS, I think I have a friend's copy of Windows 7 lying around, so I'm not going to budget for that. I might upgrade when 8 comes out, but who knows?
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December 25, 2011 7:34:31 PM

some people can be really helpful :) ... just thought id add that :p 
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December 25, 2011 7:38:55 PM

and the stock coolers are never really good enough to handle the temp's a cpu can get up too (they try for the bare minimum) especially overclocked. Just an artic cooler 7 pro v2 is all you need but im no expert so we'll see if anyone else can input on that. Just bare in mind they are alot larger than the stock coolers so make sure if you do get one you research if it will fit in conjunction with your case or ram as ive had this raised at the moment as im trying to build a similar pc to you.
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a b 4 Gaming
December 25, 2011 7:41:40 PM

As someone that's owned the Arctic Cooler 7 Rev2, I recommend against it. 92mm HSF are quite dated and perform worse than cheaper 120mm HSF solutions.

If Win7 isn't in your budget it saves you $100, so I suggest a Cooler Master Hyper 212+ It's usually around $40 at the most. And will allow you to OC up to 4.5GHz without issue.
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December 25, 2011 7:45:57 PM

It's true, cmcghee is being super helpful.

Another question for you, though: that SSD you list has only about half the read/write speeds of the Agility. Will I notice much of a difference? Should I maybe pony up for a faster Corsair like this?

And as far as coolers, would you recommend that I just get a regular cooler like the Hyper instead of going crazy with the water cooling? Obviously I want to save money where I can, but I also don't want the machine sounding like a VTOL starting up. Will the CM Hyper raise my noise levels a lot, or should I maybe get a cheaper Corsair Hydro (the High Performance 60 model is like $60 on Amazon)? Or is the performance difference not enough?
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December 25, 2011 7:53:34 PM

so you would recommend against it even if not OC? or do you think i will be fine getting it as im really tighter on a budjet :L
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a b 4 Gaming
December 25, 2011 8:24:45 PM

I think the Hyper is going to be all you need. Which requires very little maintenance.

Also the Read/Write speeds of SSDs isn't where they shine, it's in I/O performance.

But ANY SSD is going to be far and away much better than HDDs.

If you aren't going to OC right away(which isn't necessary considering the i5s excellent IPC(instructions per clock) then the stock HSF is actually just fine. In fact most i5s can OC to 4.0 without even an increase in voltage. Meaning they will be the same temp as stock.

I at first wanted to get a Full WC loop. But honestly the maintenance required, and the risk to components far outweighed the benefits imo.

So I compormised. I got an H50 water cooler(on par performance with the Hyper 212) for about 80 bucks and had a maintenance free water cooling system that impresses my less than knowledgeable friends.
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a b 4 Gaming
December 25, 2011 8:25:14 PM

K off to Christmas, I'll check back later
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December 25, 2011 9:32:35 PM

Man, cmcghee, you're the best. You're probably sick of me asking semi-redundant questions, but I've been out of the game so long I want to make sure I don't make a horrible mistake.

I think the Hyper will be my best bet. It's so cheap ($20 on amazon right now) and the reviews are great, so I think I'll eschew the liquid option for the Hyper. I've noticed reviews saying it's pretty big though. Will I have any trouble fitting it, as well as all these other components like dual 570s (down the line, not immediately) into a HAF 912? I know it's pretty roomy for a mid-tower, but I don't want to run into a situation where I need a case upgrade in a year.

As far as PSU, I think I need to bump up to the 1,000W, as dumping another 570 in there will probably be a little close for comfort. I like the sound of the CM Silent Pro stuff, but do you think I'll be okay with a Bronze instead of a Gold? Hopefully no one will jump on me for not being an environmentalist, but at least for now I don't really care about efficiency as far as my power bill is concerned. My utilities are included in the condo fees! I'm more worried about noise, heat, and reliability. Do you think a Silent Pro Bronze 1,000W will be as cool and quiet as its Gold counterpart, or am I better off spending the extra $20-30?

Other than that, I'm going to play around with the stuff you gave me and start working on my budget, but thanks so much! You've really been a huge help pointing me in the right direction! I hope your Christmas is wonderful!
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December 25, 2011 9:32:52 PM

Best answer selected by jackopm.
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December 25, 2011 10:48:56 PM

Hmm, didn't realize that selecting the best answer would flag this as solved. I guess it's mostly solved, but if you do happen to check back, I would appreciate your opinion on heat sink size and PSU ratings. If not, thanks for all the help you've already given, you've been really awesome!
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a b 4 Gaming
December 26, 2011 5:14:47 AM

Ive built PCs using the Hyper 212+ in the HAF 12 specfically.It will fit np.

Honestly a 800W really is plenty for 2 570s. But if you'd like to go higher thats fine.

As far as 80 PLUS GOLD,vs BRONZE? From what I've found, traditionally 80 PLUS GOLD has better quality components. But honestly a good Bronze will be ok too. Antec/Corsair/Seasonic would all be excellent BRONZE PSUs
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December 26, 2011 12:21:17 PM

only $20 ... its £30 in england. Just my luck :p 
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