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$1000ish Gaming/general use first time build

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December 26, 2011 6:20:42 PM

Hello Everybody,

This is my first build, and my goal for this computer is for it to be capable of playing most new games (bf3, skyrim) at max settings at a resolution of 1900X1200 while being good for general use. I'll elaborate more on this below.

I've been researching parts for awhile, and read a fair amount of user reviews from newegg, etc and educational guides off this site, so I feel I have chosen a reasonable setup for my needs and I'm not completely clueless. However, I wouldn't mind some advice or suggestions. Thanks in advance for all of your input.

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Approximate Purchase Date: Dec 26th- Jan 6th

Budget Range: $920-970 After rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, general office programs and workstation programs, surfing internet and watching movies

Parts Not Required: mouse, speakers, OS, monitor, RAM

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com, amazon.com, tigerdirect.com, micro center

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: Intel CPU, no preference for GPU, probably gigabyte or asus for mobos

Overclocking: Maybe but unlikely, if so, probably 10-15% OC

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1920 X 1200

Additional Comments: As mentioned above, if there was an ultimate goal for this build, it would be gaming, however, I would like it to perform workstation and general functions well. I am a kinesiology student and for biomechanics classes, I may need to run engineering-like software. Also, I dabble in graphic design, but it's not a priority. From what I've read of other users' builds, this shouldn't be a problem. However, I understand you can't have it all.

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Here are the parts I've already selected:

CASE: Cooler Master HAF 912
http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Tower-Case-RC-912-K...

POWER: Corsair Enthusiast TX 750
http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Enthusiast-Certified-Comp...

Optical Drive: NONE Please provide suggestions. I know that in general, they are all about the same. I don't need blu-ray.

GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 560 ti 2gb:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HIS IceQ Turbo 2gb:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I don't plan on OCing my GPU. I don't mind buying a pre-OCed GPU though. I chose 2gb because it seems that with all the new texture packs for games, 1GB VRAM may not be enough.

HARD DRIVE: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

I know that this is an in-store only deal, and that it is listed as out of stock. I am going to call the store (Tustin Location) and confirm whether they have some in stock or not.

Also, I may just use an old HDD until prices drop some (I know this will be awhile) so I don't end up paying 3x the price of what they used to be before the flooding of Taiwan happened. However, let's assume I'm buying a new HDD :D 

RAM: Corsair Memory Vengeance 16gb Dual Channel DDR3
http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Vengeance-Profile-1600mhz...

I chose 16gb because for an extra $30-40, I figured why not, especially since the prices may increase in the future. I read an article that DDR3 prices may rise due to RAM companies trying to ride the wave of the increase in HDD prices. Unfortunately, I don't have the link to provide.

MOTHERBOARD: ASUS P8Z68-V LX
http://www.amazon.com/ASUS-P8Z68-V-LX-Intel-Motherboard...

This is where I could really use help on a decision. I want the features of a Z68 board so that part is decided. However, which z68 board is the problem. I have read user reviews of MANY Gigabyte and Asus Z68 motherboards. I know there are MSI and other brands, however, between the board itself or customer support, these other brands didn't seem like a good choice. However, I am always open to opinions so please give them, especially since maybe the reviews I read were biased. Initially I was leaning towards Gigabyte boards, however, all the boards in the $120-160 range all have one big problem with them that is mentioned in all the reviews (usually boot problems). The Asus P8Z68-v LE had many reviews warning about the faulty sound card. I was thinking about the Asus P8Z68-V, but I'm not sure given the user reviews about how the board wont POST, and that it has issues with the RAM ( I also don't want to pay 170 +tax).

I chose this board because of good user reviews from many sites, and because it fits my needs for a great price. For my needs, I'm guessing I don't need a board over $130.

PROCESSOR: Intel Core i5-2500K Processor
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Wireless PCI Card:Rosewill RNX-N300
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I know people will argue Linksys or Netgear, but after reading user reviews, they all have their own issues and the cards in general seem a bit finicky (could be due to user error too I suppose) so I figured I'd choose the cheapest card. Currently, I can plug in via the ethernet port, however, I need wireless capability.


I know I have a lot of explanations in here, but I am just trying to illustrate my needs and save some time by preemptively addressing some common responses mentioned in other peoples' builds.


Thanks again for all the help!!

Tyler

Best solution

December 26, 2011 7:03:17 PM

Quote:
This is where I could really use help on a decision. I want the features of a Z68 board so that part is decided. However, which z68 board is the problem. I have read user reviews of MANY Gigabyte and Asus Z68 motherboards. I know there are MSI and other brands, however, between the board itself or customer support, these other brands didn't seem like a good choice. However, I am always open to opinions so please give them, especially since maybe the reviews I read were biased.


That's.... kind of true. The thing with brands and especially around here is that a lot of people are going to have some personal opinions favoring one brand over the other. I've built a lot of different systems and used a lot of different boards - Gigabyte, Intel, Biostar, Asus, MSI, you name it. I haven't tried Asrock yet but the thing is the reviews I've read concerning them are really mixed - it seems there's no in between - either really good or really bad. Especially in the last year I've come to appreciate Gigabyte and Asus more than just about any other brand since that's who I have had the most success with. But like I said it's mainly personal preference.

Quote:
Initially I was leaning towards Gigabyte boards, however, all the boards in the $120-160 range all have one big problem with them that is mentioned in all the reviews (usually boot problems). The Asus P8Z68-v LE had many reviews warning about the faulty sound card. I was thinking about the Asus P8Z68-V, but I'm not sure given the user reviews about how the board wont POST, and that it has issues with the RAM ( I also don't want to pay 170 +tax).


Where most of the problems come into play with boards like that is installation errors. Both of my systems use Gigabyte boards - my workstation uses the Z68XP-UD3P and it's still running strong after nearly 6 months. My home system uses the 990FXA-UD3 and it's been a really solid board as well. If you really take your time and properly install it and check all your connections, that sort of thing you won't run into these issues.

Your build looks pretty good but with a couple of suggestions:

Quote:

RAM: Corsair Memory Vengeance 16gb Dual Channel DDR3
http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Veng [...] 274&sr=8-2


You don't necessarily need 16GB - 8GB will be plenty.

Quote:
HIS IceQ Turbo 2gb:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] -_-NA-_-NA

I don't plan on OCing my GPU. I don't mind buying a pre-OCed GPU though. I chose 2gb because it seems that with all the new texture packs for games, 1GB VRAM may not be enough.


I personally prefer Sapphire for Radeon makers - they're one of the best on the market. HIS is OK, but I like Sapphire better since you can setup more monitors using HDMI than any other cards on the market.

As for OC'ing your GPU - personally I think that's really the most useless part of OC'ing. Graphics card makers for the most part encourage OC'ing and they generally tweak their products accordingly for maximum performance, but no matter which card you get it should be pretty blazing fast anyways.

Quote:
I chose this board because of good user reviews from many sites, and because it fits my needs for a great price. For my needs, I'm guessing I don't need a board over $130.


Which board you get mainly depends on which features you plan to use. The boards going for $130 are generally the most basic ones around, the top of the line models go for $300+, and the middle of the road ones go between $160 - $240.

Quote:
Optical Drive: NONE Please provide suggestions. I know that in general, they are all about the same. I don't need blu-ray.


Generally I tend to go for Plextor since I've been using their drives for a long time, but they're normally twice the price of the next competing brand. I didn't have good luck with the Asus drive I bought and immediately returned it to Newegg. Try LITE-ON, for the price they can't be beat with their feature set and included software.
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December 26, 2011 7:21:50 PM

^+1-ish

I think Asrock has pretty decent boards, I personally think they do have an in between they're usually good or in the middle. For the price point, they're pretty good. Asrock is a subsidiary of Asus but they've parted ways awhile ago.

You could check out my $900 build here:
http://www.squidoo.com/electronicandmore
Do you buy any chance have a local MicroCenter?

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December 26, 2011 8:03:55 PM

aznshinobi said:
^+1-ish

I think Asrock has pretty decent boards, I personally think they do have an in between they're usually good or in the middle. For the price point, they're pretty good. Asrock is a subsidiary of Asus but they've parted ways awhile ago.

You could check out my $900 build here:
http://www.squidoo.com/electronicandmore
Do you buy any chance have a local MicroCenter?




Hey aznshinobi,

Yes, there is one MicroCenter that is reasonably close. I will be buying the processor there. Any other suggestions?
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December 26, 2011 8:34:17 PM





Quote:
I personally prefer Sapphire for Radeon makers - they're one of the best on the market. HIS is OK, but I like Sapphire better since you can setup more monitors using HDMI than any other cards on the market.

As for OC'ing your GPU - personally I think that's really the most useless part of OC'ing. Graphics card makers for the most part encourage OC'ing and they generally tweak their products accordingly for maximum performance, but no matter which card you get it should be pretty blazing fast anyways.


Thanks for this info here. I will look into the Sapphire cards. I was also thinking I may wait until the new AMD cards are released to see how that affects the prices of the current generation.


Quote:
Which board you get mainly depends on which features you plan to use. The boards going for $130 are generally the most basic ones around, the top of the line models go for $300+, and the middle of the road ones go between $160 - $240.


The basic boards are probably all that I need, but I wouldn't mind paying a little more to get mid-level board that will provide me with future options. I was looking at the Z68XP-UD3P previously, but the boards without the "H" in the model name don't support the built in graphics processor in the CPU, correct? If you were to recommend other mid range boards, what would you get (Asus or Gigabyte)? I was looking at the Z68X-UD3H-B3 and the Z68A-D3H-B3.


Quote:
Generally I tend to go for Plextor since I've been using their drives for a long time, but they're normally twice the price of the next competing brand. I didn't have good luck with the Asus drive I bought and immediately returned it to Newegg. Try LITE-ON, for the price they can't be beat with their feature set and included software.


Thanks for the info
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December 27, 2011 4:13:49 AM

Quote:
Thanks for this info here. I will look into the Sapphire cards. I was also thinking I may wait until the new AMD cards are released to see how that affects the prices of the current generation.


Sapphire is an excellent brand, as is EVGA. You could wait for the new AMD cards to be out, but you're going to be paying a lot more for them if the price of the 7970 is any indication they'll be quite a bit more than the current generation.

Quote:
The basic boards are probably all that I need, but I wouldn't mind paying a little more to get mid-level board that will provide me with future options. I was looking at the Z68XP-UD3P previously, but the boards without the "H" in the model name don't support the built in graphics processor in the CPU, correct? If you were to recommend other mid range boards, what would you get (Asus or Gigabyte)? I was looking at the Z68X-UD3H-B3 and the Z68A-D3H-B3.


Yes that is true. But disabling the onboard video in the BIOS isn't that big of a deal, but if you make any changes to the BIOS you need to do that every single time you load default settings.

I like Gigabyte boards since I've had two and I have had the most luck with them over anything else. The UD3H is an off shoot of the UD3P but I can't think of what settings or features it has over the other off the top of my head.
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January 3, 2012 2:50:40 AM

Best answer selected by tlrandal.
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