Help with first time PC build

Yo, brosephs, I've joined here to inquire of you fine fellows some advice...if that makes any sense. Anyhoo, I'm doing my first build, so that I can play games like The Witcher (1&2), and as one would expect, this is all rather new to me. I'd like to do a build that I can keep under $700. So:

$220 - CPU - intel i5 2500k (This is expensive for a budget build, but it's just so awesome!)

$120 - MoBo - Gigabyte Intel Z68 ATX DDR3 2133 LGA 1155 Motherboard GA-Z68A-D3H-B3

$46 - RAM - Corsair Vengeance Blu 8 GB (2X4 GB) PC3-12800 1600mHz DDR3 240-Pin SDRAM Dual Channel Memory Kit CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9B

$124 - HDD - Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

$20 - Optical Drive - ASUS 24X DVD Burner - Bulk 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS - OEM

$50 - Case - Rosewill CHALLENGER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case, comes with Three Fans-1x Front Blue LED 120mm Fan, 1x Top 140mm Fan, 1x Rear 120mm Fan, option Fans-2x Side 120mm Fan (

$40 - CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 (CMPSU-430CXV2) 430W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply (

Aaaaaaaaaaand for the GPU I'm thinking maybe the gtx 550ti or something like that...I'm not really sure. However, I think I'd like something SLI/Crossfire ready, so that if performance is lacking, I can just add another down the road.

What do you think? Is my PSU good enough? I don't really know how to chuse one...

My total (with a $140 gtx 550 ti) is $760. Kind of a lot. Is there anything I can cut? Are there cheaper MoBo's that will work? Will there be compatibility issues with this setup? Is the case good enough? Thanks for helping this pilgrim in a foreign land!
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  1. Drop the tall toothy heat sinks and get the low profile version.....only cooling effect they have is "looking cool" but they cause problems w/ heat sinks fitting.

    In this day, I find a case w/ no front USB 3 port unacceptable but if budget really tight, here's a free case w/ HD purchase

    I'd up the PSU to a 650 watter so ya can SLI ya 550 Ti GFX cards
  2. I think you are on the right track.

    Yes, the 2500K is a bit pricey for the budget, but there is nothing else better out there now. Even with ivy bridge due out in april, the 2500K will still be able to drive any graphics configuration well into the future. If you are near a microcenter, they will sell you one for $180.

    Here is what EVGA recommends for their graphics cards:

    GTX550ti needs 400w with 24a on the 12v rails plus one 6-pin PCI-E power lead.

    GTX560 needs 450w with 24a on the 12v rails plus two 6-pin PCI-E power leads.

    GTX560Ti needs 500w with 30a on the 12v rails plus two 6-pin PCI-E power leads.

    GTX570 needs 550w with 38a on the 12v rails plus two 6-pin PCI-E power leads.

    GTX580 needs 600w with 42a on the 12v rails plus one 6-pin and one 8-pin PCI-E power lead.

    GTX590 needs 700w with 50a on the 12v rails plus two 8-pin PCI-E power leads or 4 6-pin power leads.

    The corsair 430w is a good unit, but may be marginal. Certainly not enough for sli. My suggestion is to plan on a single graphics card replacement if you want to upgrade in the future. A 600w psu will not be that much more expensive. My short list of quality psu's would include Antec, Corsair, XFX, Seasonic, and PC P&C. Here is a Antec 620w unit for $50 after rebate:

    Hard drive prices are currently very high. Consider getting a 60-80gb DDS for the OS and a few games now, and getting a hard drive for expansion in the future, when prices get back to normal. I would favor intel or samsung for reliability. Read this:

    Up front, I would add an aftermarket cpu cooler. It will keep your cpu cooler and quieter. When you oc that "K", it will go higher and easier. $30 will get you a Xigmatek gaia, or cm hyper212.

    Do take the time now to download and read, cover to cover, the manuals for your case and motherboard. Many questions will be ansewred.
  3. ^i think you meant SSD instead of DDS but +1 to everything
  4. Thanks guys. This is helpful. I'll go through and re-read it all as is my wont. However, I'd like to note that I do not plan on OCing, so factor that into your advice. Also, is the micro ATX mobo I posted good enough? Is it compatible with the other things I've posted?

    Also, what's the difference between the RAM you posted and the RAM I posted?
  5. If you're not going to OC maybe then get a i5-2500 non k. But if you're trying to shave some money off that final number as well look into the i5-2300 and 2400, for gaming you wont notice much difference even compared to the 2500k.

    I'd try to get a more powerful GPU for Witcher 2 though.
  6. The "K" is a cpu chip that you can overclock easily. To do that, you will need either a Z68 or P67 based motherboard.
    Consider that raising the multiplier from 33 to 40 is trivial and safe, I would strongly recommend that you stick with Z68 or P67. You need not do anything with it at first, but the option is so cheap that it is silly not to invest a few bucks in that option. The M-atx motherboard you linked will work, but it is a waste for a "K"

    I do like the m-atx format for motherboards. It has only 4 expansion slots vs. 7, but how many do you need today? For most, it is only for the graphics card. Even a ITX format with only the graphics slot will do. SLI upgrades will be a problem on M-atx motherboards because two dual slot cards will be next to each other, causing heat issues for the top card. Not a big issue for me so long as a single good card will do the job. Here is a M-atx Z68 board for $90:
    I have used another asrock board before, and was pleased.

    Sandy bridge is largely insensitive to ram speeds. Read this:
    To save a bit, here is a G.skil 1333 kit for $35:

    The antec 300 is a well reviewed case for $45 with free shipping. Cases are heavy, and can cost $20 to ship; watch out for that.
  7. Ok, so the K series i5 is unclocked, which does nothing for a guy like me who won't OC. With that in mind, I've downgraded to the regular 2500. And if I'm using a Micro-ATX, I probably shouldn't do SLI, which means I can keep my original 430W Corsair, right? In terms of GPU, I'll just stick with the GTX 550 ti for now, because the next step up is too much. It seems like a lot of people can run the latest games with it, so it should be ok for me. I've also cut to a 500GB HDD instead of 1TB. My price right now is $699. Excellent. (However, this is for a future build; so by the time I'm actually ready to order, things might have changed a bit in terms of the market, right?). Aaanyway...:

    $20 - Optical Drive - ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
    $56 - Case - Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
    $95 - HDD - Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500413AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
    $150 - GPU - ZOTAC AMP! ZT-50402-10L GeForce GTX 550 Ti (Fermi) 1GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
    $45 - PSU - CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 (CMPSU-430CXV2) 430W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply
    $35 - RAM - G.SKILL Value Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-8GBNT
    $90 - MATX Mobo -
    ASRock Z68M/USB3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
    $210 - CPU - Intel Core i5-2500 Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2000 ...

    What do you guys think? Will it work? Are there any compatibility issues or anything like that?

    Thanks so much for the advice!

    (ps: I might take Geo's advice and swap out the HDD for a similarly priced SSD for the OS and my initial storage needs, and then add an HDD later; I've heard this is a good idea because if the OS crashes, you'd still have all your data).

    (pps: How much space does an OS install take up? [It'd be basic Windows 7]).

    Again: thank you guys!
  8. If you are considering a 2500, get the 2500K anyway. It is only $10 more and you preserve your option to oc in the future. With the current newegg promo code, it actually costs less. If you are certain that you don't want to oc, then some things might be reconsidered.

    You can get a H61 motherboard for $29 after rebate:

    The less expensive 2100 (dual core with hyperthreading is a very good budget gaming chip for $125. 2120 or 2130 are $10 and $20 more.
    Few games use more than two or 3 cores, so a quad may not be that useful.
    Read this article:,2859.html

    If the os crashes, you will not lose your data, regardless of a SSD or a hard drive. No worries there.

    Windows 7 64 bit will take 20gb with no effort made to reduce the size.
  9. Ok, the new Mobo you suggested does not seem to support hyperthreading CPU's. (The other one specifically said it did in the spec's). But yeah, I'm pretty sure I won't be OCing anything. Does this mean stick with the 2500?
  10. Again..... If you are considering a 2500, get the 2500K anyway. It is only $10 more and you preserve your option to oc in the future. With the current newegg promo code, it actually costs less. To my mind, at that price point, it is a no brainer.
    If your budget is around $200 for a cpu, the 2500K is about the best you can do today, regardless of price.
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