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"Under C$2000 Media/Gaming PC Need suggested parts"

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Last response: in Systems
December 31, 2011 2:26:24 AM

I am attempting to "build" a computer for the first time rather than purchase a preconfigured model out of the box. Mainly because I am looking for a powerful machine that will last me a few years (or at least be in the position to be upgraded in the future) without paying a lot of money for the "brand". Also I am finding it difficult to keep the cost low as I am likely picking hardware that I don't need.

I am in Canada so I will likely be purchasing my products (and having them built) from/by NCIX.


Approximate Purchase Date: Next couple weeks (order by the end of January 2012 at the latest)

Budget Range: C$1800-2000 before rebates/taxes

System Usage from Most to Least Important: streaming video to home network, use computer as media centre, gaming (not hard core gaming, but my latest attempt to play Civiliation V in the multiplayer format was unsuccesful due to my computers ping, would like to be able to use the Direct 11 option), surfing the internet

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, mouse, speakers, monitor (I have a 40' Samsung LED that I will be using (not sure how this affects the video card I choose)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: or any other company that ships to Canada without additional tariffs

Country: Canada

Parts Preferences: I would like the Intel i7 2600k processor (unless it it not recommeded). In terms of the case I would like a mid-tower that is plain but will keep all the parts cool. Current preferance is the Corsair Obsidian Series 650D Mid-Tower Case

Overclocking: I don't know much about this, but given I don't game much I don't think this is necessary.

SLI or Crossfire: Yes - if it will help with the ping and large monitor issue

Monitor Resolution: 1680x1050 @60Ghz (though it sometimes changes in certain games)

Additional Comments: I would like the pc to be as quiet as possible.

Any recommendations on "the best" configurations for this criteria would be helpful - as I am clueless as to what works best (best on my reading buyers guides I keep developing systems that are $2400 because I don't know what to cut without losing performance.

Added features I want included: wireless card, tv tuner

More about : 2000 media gaming suggested parts

Best solution

December 31, 2011 3:15:00 PM

Video card, I recommend the Radeon 6870 because it can handle 1080p gaming well so it should be perfect with your lower monitor resolution(s).

The i7-2600K will not be any faster than the i5-2500K in gaming today but maybe it will in a few years. Even if it will the 6870 isn't fast enough to be bottle necked by the i5-2500K. The i7 would be a more future proof solution in the long run but nothing more than the i5-2500K in the short term of one or two years.

Multimedia streaming doesn't even use up as much processor performance as the 6870 does in gaming so the i5-2500K would be overkill if not for the gaming aspect, let alone the i72600K.

Multimedia streaming on a network is not a demanding task but gaming is so the parts would be geared towards gaming. This will not hinder the streaming usage of the computer but it will increase the cost to get parts that can handle gaming.

A PCIe wireless adapter would be your best option for a media streaming machine because PCIe can offer better performance than any PCI and/or USB adapter if you get one of the right adapters. I don't know about tv tuners because I've never had one.

For keeping your system quiet you would need a video card with a quiet cooler and you would need an aftermarket CPU cooler. A good yet not expensive cooler would be the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo priced around $30. you also need a quite PSU because some of them are loud enough to hear vividly from a few dozen feet away.

I don't claim to be an expert on networking but I would think that a bad ping is more related to your internet connection than your computer unless you have a very poor quality network adapter.

For gaming I now recommend having 8GB of RAM in a 2x4GB kit running at 1600MHz 9-9-9-24 or better. 1333MHz memory is about the same price so the negligible performance increase by going to 1600MHz is more than justifiable and anything less than 8GB could limit some games. besides, even that kind of kit would only cost $35-45 or so so skimping on memory is pointless.

As for the case, I just use the absolute cheapest case that fits my needs but I often skimp on cases because spending more on a case won't increase performance unless you are using components that put out a lot of heat. My last case was an ATX mid-tower with 7 expansion slots, 4 5.25" bays, 4 3.5" bays, and a 2.5" bay and it only cost me $40 including shipping. It even came with a cheap 480w PSU. it was a used case but I got a very cheap case and the only problem was a poorly placed bolt that made using the second expansion slot slightly more difficult.

Point is with your setup you can consider a cheaper case than your choice.
December 31, 2011 6:07:02 PM

Thanks for your suggestions, that is helpful. Based on that I'll look into putting together a "package" and hopefully I can get your advice again.
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December 31, 2011 6:17:47 PM

If you're not going to be editing videos/pictures you could be fine with an i3 system, but since you have a fair budget, I'd recommend the i5 2500 and probably also suggest the 6870 for its price and will work fine for you especially at that resolution. 8gb of RAM is cheap so pick up 2x4gb at 1600mhz and low CAS latency (I recommend G.Skill brand). Make sure you get a quality PSU (Corsair or Antec are my preference but you can find good deals on XFX and people recommend them on here). Since you want a quiet PC Id grab a cheap 120mm CPU cooler and try and find a case with 120mm+ fans as they push
A lot of air at low RPMs (thus less noise). For the motherboard, you should figure out what you want in it (USB 3.0, more than 1 PCI-E slot if you plan on dual graphics cards, etc) but I think you should snag something in the $100-150 range as anything more than that is geared toward over locker enthusiasts and it doesn't sound like something you'd need.
December 31, 2011 6:46:19 PM

That's a lotta money for what you want..... I think anything over $1200 would be wasted at your resolution.....however, given ya stated budget and assuming someday you moving to HD resolution, I will assume the bigger res at some point and assume ya will get into video editing at some point and build accordingly.

Case $ 130 Corsair 500R White
Great, attractive case, well suited for media room

PSU $ 130 XFX Core Edition 850 PSU
Can handle addition of 2nd card, 9.5 jonnyguru performance rating

MoBo $ 210 ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3
Defacto critics choice if ya gotta have a GEN3 board .... save $60 if ya decise ya don't need Z68 and get the P67 version

CPU $ 330 Intel Core i7-2600K
Again assumption is you will someday venture into video editing where the 2600k's hyperthreding will be of great benefit .... hadda spend ya money somehow :) 

Cooler $ 50 Hyper 612 PWM
Non OC'd SB ? Oughta be illegal :) 

TIM $ 11 Shin Etsu
Best thermal properties of any TIM

RAM $ 47 (2 x 4GB) Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1600 (White)
Low profile, great price.

GFX $ 250 Asus GTX 560 900Mhz
Great gaming card, overclocks like beast, (up to 30% over reference), 7 phase VRM, oversized cooler makes it run silent for media room activities..... easily handles 99% of games > 30 fps at 1920 x 1200

GFX Later Asus GTX 560 900Mhz
PSU sized to add a 2nd one if ya grow in need

HD $ 250 Barracuda XT 2TB
Great media HD, tons of room, tons of speed, 5 year warranty.

SSD $ 215 Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120 GB
Luxury item, unnecessary for media room PC but again, ya have a big budget.

DVD Writer $ 70 Asus Model BC-12B1ST/BLK/B/AS
Blue Ray ability central to media room PC

Card Reader $ 62 AeroCool FP-01 55
Luxury item but cool for viewing pictures, home movies etc

Total is $1,755 .... $1,600 down south of da border :) 
December 31, 2011 8:17:04 PM

My TV (that I am using as a monitor) should be HD resolution. Is it possible that I have a lower resolution based on my current computer best capabilities?

For example when I switch to my BD player on the TV I get a resolution of 1920x1080 @60mhz
December 31, 2011 8:57:07 PM

Lower resolutions then the recommended monitor resolution is not ideal tbh.
December 31, 2011 11:10:31 PM

yes you should have 1920x1080 if you can play that resolution on the same monitor with a different source. your current pc is not using the highest resolution available (or is too dated to display it). Either way a 6870 or 6950 (or 560Ti) should be good for your needs.
January 1, 2012 5:33:00 AM

Thanks for everyone's help.

Based on your suggestions I have put together the following setup (with options in a few areas). Please let me know what you think (based on the combination of comments). Also if for a particular section you think there is a cheaper brand I should be considering without losing performance (and quietness) it would be appreciated. (as I don't mind spending less than $1800 :) 

Least Expensive Prices (apprx): $1800
Most Expensive Prices: (Apprx) $2100

Case: (I think this is a great given my lack of knowledge on building, setup seems to have thought of everything)
•Corsair Carbide Series 500R White Steel structure with molded ABS plastic accent pieces ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

•Intel Core i5 2500K Quad Core Unlocked Processor LGA1155 3.3GHZ Sandy Bridge 6MB
•Intel Core i7 2600K Quad Core Unlocked Hyperthreading Processor LGA1155 3.4GHZ Sandy Bridge 8MB

CPU Cooler
Do I need the liquid cool options? I am not sure I feel comfortable that I won’t destroy the system

Motherboard (MoBo)
•ASUS P8Z68-V Pro Z68 LGA1155 ATX 3PCI-E16 2PCI-E1 2 PCI B3 Motherboard
Power Source (PSU):
•CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX850 V2 850W ATX12V v2.31/ EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC High Performance Power Supply
Video Card (GPU): (I chose these two because they have coolers installed and are apparently quieter)
• HIS Radeon HD 6870 Iceq X 900MHZ 1GB 4.2GHZ GDDR5 2xDVI DisplayPort HDMI PCI-E Video Card -
• Sapphire ATI Radeon HD6870 Vapor-X 900MHZ 1GB 1.05GHZ GDDR5 HDMI 2DVI 2DISPLAYPORT PCI-E Video Card
• ASUS ENGTX560 TI DCII TOP/2DI/1GD5 GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

Wireless Card: (other members of my family often are accessing my computer files so this needs to be as strong as possible)
• D-LINK WL 802.11N Dual Band N300 PCI-E x1 Desktop Adapter
• D-LINK DWA-556 Xtreme N Desktop Adapter 802.11B/G/N 3X3 PCI-E1 Adapter
$49.99 (sale of $45 by January 4)
• Netis by Azio WF-2113 Wireless-N IEEE802.11B/G/N 300Mbps 2dBi External Antenna PCI-E Adapter
$49.99 (currently a 24.99 with 25 rebate – but sale ends Dec 31)
Memory/RAM: (If I often run multiple programs at once for example (IE, Excel/Word, video player) does upgrading to 16GB worth it or will it just be wasted? i.e. why would anyone get 16GB or higher?
• CORSAIR XMS3 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMX8GX3M2B1600C9
• G.SKILL F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL Ripjaws 8GB 2X4GB DDR3-1600 CL9-9-9-24 240PIN DIMM Memory
• Corsair CMZ16GX3M4A1600C9 Vengeance 16GB 4X4GB DDR3-1600 CL9-9-9-24 Dual Channel
SSD Drive:
• OCZ Vertex 3 120GB 2.5IN SATA3 6Gbps Sandforce SF-2281 Solid State Disk Flash Drive SSD
• Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120GB 2.5IN SATA3 Sandforce SF-2281 SSD Solid State Disk Flash Drive
HDD Drive:
• Seagate Barracuda XT 7200.12 2TB SATA 6.0GB/S 3.5IN 8.5MS 64MB Hard Drive OEM

Optical Drive:
• ASUS BC-12B1ST Internal 12X Blu-Ray Reader & 16X DVD Writer Combo Drive OEM W/ PowerDVD

Operating System (OS):
• Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Edition 64BIT SP1 DVD OEM

Extra Ports
• AeroCool FP-01 55-in-1 Card Reader w/Flip-up LCD Screen
$61.99 – maybe ( i do like that it has a micro SD slot, but I don’t need/like the Led display)
• For the setup if I want to use the USB 3.0, Firewire etc do I need to buy slots or does that come with the MotherBoard?
January 1, 2012 1:48:50 PM

Most of those prices seem high. Especially the CPUs. Also, don't get the 6870 if you have a $250 GPU budget. Get the 6950 2gb or 560Ti. The HD7000 series should be out in less than a week if you want to wait and see of there's a small price drop (though I doubt it) on the 6950/6970s too.
January 1, 2012 1:50:07 PM

And don't get a liquid cooler. Snag a quality air cooler instead. Mostly any cooler master cooler or noctua are pretty good.
January 1, 2012 4:21:41 PM

The reason those prices seem high is because they're probably in Canadian dollars.
January 1, 2012 7:22:19 PM

Best answer selected by dume5330.
January 22, 2012 9:54:22 AM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey