Gaming Build ~$3000 Budget, need advice on finalization!

Hello all,

I am building a new gaming system and wanted to post here before I made the purchase since I respect the community's opinion so much. I have tried to do as much research as possible in tweaking the build to get it just right, but I may have overlooked something. My main goal with the PC is to be able to run all games on max settings while recording with a program like FRAPS and streaming my play live over If you see any changes that should be made, or have any suggestions, please do post! Thank you!

CPU: 2600k
GPU: GTX 580 (1.5GB)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X 1600 16GB (4x4GB)
MoBo: Asus WS Revolution P67
Cooling: Corsair H80 Water Cooling
SSD: Mushkin Enhanced Chronos Deluxe 120GB
HDD: WD Caviar Black 1.5 TB FAEX 6GB/s 64MB Cache
Optical Drive: Asus 24x DVD Writer
PSU: Corsair 1050W
Case: Cooler Master HAF X
Fans: Scythe Ultra Kaze x3
Keyboard/Mouse: Razer Blackwidow Ultimate / Naga Epic
Speakers: Z506

The things I am considering at the moment are an additional 580 for SLI (though most reviews say it is not needed), upgrading to the 3930k over the 2600k (again, most reviews say there will be no gaming performance increase, but I would see an increase when working with my recorded videos), and changing to a better SSD (I have read that mine was tier 5 and going to a tier 3 would be a noticeable step up). As mentioned above, any thoughts on all of this, or something I left out entirely is greatly appreciated. Thank you all in advance for your help!
32 answers Last reply
More about gaming build 3000 budget advice finalization
  1. You can't possibly need any more CPU than the 2600K. If you're not going 580 SLI, just go 2500K.
    6970 SLI would be a much better value, but on a budget like this I think performance comes before value. You could easily fit in another 580; this doesn't look anything like $3000 right now.

    Don't feel you need to get an expensive case just because you're doing an expensive build. Most cases over $60, and many under, will perform perfectly well. Just trawl Newegg and see what catches your eye. If you like the look of the HAF X, go for it.

    I recommend the MSI Z68A-GD80. It's cheaper ($200 after rebate, and has a 5-year warranty.
    EDIT: wait, it doesn't anymore. Some more searching is required. I'll get back.
  2. WS Revolution is a great board ...x16 x16 graphics in SLI and it kicks butt on the competition and is very efficient

    You will not be able to a do a rear case mount of a a Corsair H series tho.....been there done that with the Antec 620 and WS Revolution ..... radiator hits top GFX card. I used this afterwards (mounted horizontally rather than vertically or same problem):

    Cooler - $ 83 - Thermalright Silver Arrow
    TIM - $ 5 - Shin Etsu

    I'd move to a Tier 1 SSD w/ you budget,3088-6.html

    Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 240 GB
    OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 240 GB
    Patriot WildFire 240 GB
    Samsung 830 SSD 256 GB

    The Samsung is $350 .... $20 off w/ promo code SAMSSD12, ends 1/9

    Consider a step up tot he Barracuda XT since budget allows

    Graphics - Here's some options:

    For $500 each, a GTX 580 is going to get you 616 fps in Guru3D's game test suite, 953 when SLI'd. That equates to $ 0.81 per frame as a single card and $ 1.05 per frame in SLI.

    For $230 each, a GTX 900Mhz 560 i is going to get you 495 fps in Guru3D's game test suite, 862 when SLI'd. That equates to $ 0.43 per frame as a single card and $ 0.50 per frame in SLI.

    So....$460 worth of 560's gets you 862 fps whereas the $500 580 gets you 616 fps .... that's 40% more fps for $40 less. yes, you can get a 2nd 580, but if ya look at the numbers, the two 580's gets ya only 10% more than the two 560's ...... Need 1000 watts for two 580s.....850 for the 560's

    Guru3D uses the following games in their test suite, COD-MW, Bad Company 2, Dirt 2, Far Cry 2, Metro 2033, Dawn of Discovery, Crysis Warhead. Total fps (summing fps in each game @ 1920 x 1200) for the various options in parenthesis (single card / SL or CF) are tabulated below along with their cost in dollars per frame single card - CF or SLI:

    $ 240.00 6950 Frozr OC (484/759) $ 0.50 - $ 0.63
    $ 320.00 6970 (526/825) $ 0.61 - $ 0.78
    $ 215.00 560 Ti - 900 Mhz (495/862) $ 0.43 - $ 0.50
    $ 340.00 570 (524/873) $ 0.65 - $ 0.78
    $ 500.00 580 (616/953) $ 0.81 - $ 1.05

    I'f ya wanna be able to watch Blue Ray ....
    DVD Writer - $ 58 - Asus Model BC-12B1ST/BLK/B/AS

    The HAF-X is in my top 5 computer cases .... but it's 5th.....the HAF-X / HX850 combo is $330. The Antec CP-850 w. either the 1200V3 or DF-85 is only $250. They are all big cases with 8 - 10 fans which are very important of you want a cool and quiet running PC..... Smaller numbers and sizes of fans means they have to spin faster to move enough air and that means more noise. Kids have a DF-85 and a 1200 and overclocked to 4.8 GHz and SLI'd 560's to over 100Mhz on the SLI GPU's

    The CP (made by Delta) gets a 10.0 jonnyguru performance rating, same as the HX850 (made by Channelwell) but the CP is both quieter and cooler. The CP works with the Antec cases to produce and extremely quiet and cool build.

    If ya wanna make an artistic statement while getting a superb case w/ more features than ya woulda though possible, look at the Level 10GT:|11-133-192^11-133-192-TS%2C11-133-188^11-133-188-TS

    I don't see the 2600k anymore....I'd either get the 2700k to further aid w/ your video editing or the 2500k for gaming.
  3. Just an other option for a 560 Ti is this card the one I'd get.
    But what I would do is buy one 7970. They come out the 9th and you should be able to order them a week or so after. Supposed to be better than the 580 for about the same price.,3104.html
  4. Thank you all for the replies!

    @kajabla - I would really like to stay with at least the 2600k, with the other options being the 2700k and the 3930k, but I think the 2600k would be my best bet.

    @JackNaylorPE -
    Cooler: I was not aware of the space issue regarding the water cooler and the MoBo, so I will have to see if there is anyway around that. I would like to stay with a water cooling option, but I may just have to move to another one if the H80 won't work.

    SSD: If you think the tier 1 SSD will provide a noticeable performance increase, then I will seriously consider them. I will likely either get the highest tier of 120/128GB drive available (tier 3), or if I decide to step up to a 240/256GB drive, I will just go all the way and get a tier 1 drive. But again, I would like your opinion on performance vs the price increase!

    GPU: You have a very strong point with the SLI 560Ti's but I really did try to do my research before coming to the conclusion that the 580 might be the best card for me, so I will try to explain my logic. While the 560Ti's may bench better, I have read several reports from people across tons of games having nothing but trouble with SLI setups, as the games simply do not take full advantage, or are not optimized for a multi card setup. In a perfect world, or in sheer power benchmarks, I can see the 560's surpassing the single 580, but I have a terrible fear that I will encounter SLI issues (perhaps rooted in my problems with my current setup, which I will go into detail about below) and merely get the performance of one 560 in games that can't utilize it, compared to the performance of one 580, which is guaranteed across all games since it is only one card. The reason I am hesitant to jump into a multi GPU card or an SLI set up likely comes from the mess I have had with my 4870x2. It gave horrible numbers for the first year or so, due to either driver problems, or programs not knowing how to handle a dual GPU card. I have only just recently been able to get it tweaked and updated to give bearable results. The other factor that made the 580 stand out was the fact that I will likely be able to upgrade it to the 680 via the step-up program when it comes out, and having the most powerful single GPU just seems like a good idea, and a great way to avoid any unnecessary problems. Plus the ability to upgrade to a second 580/680 when the time comes for maximum performance gives a bit of peace of mind as well. Do you see there being any issues with a single 580 not getting the job done for what I want to do (gaming while recording and streaming)? I am sure I will have to at least overclock my 580, but I don't want to spend $500 on a card and end up having it not be good enough.

    Case/PSU: I do like the Level 10 Snow Edition, but I am not sure that it is worth the extra $110 over the HAF X. For PSU's, is 1200W overkill? I want to be able to have head room for getting a second GPU / anything else I may need, but I would certainly take the $100 drop off in price for a 1000W or lower if I don't need the 1200.

    @andrewcarr - That does seem like it will be a very good card, but with the issues I have had with my 4870x2 mentioned above, I'm afraid I am scarred for life and will never go back to an ATi card if I can help it. When I bought my current system, the 4870x2 was in the same position as the 7970, just about to come out and was rumored and tested to be the end all be all card that would blow everything else away. In case you aren't familiar with that particular card, it ended up being a total flop and a complete disaster when it launched. It had significant under performance issues, even in easy going games, and it took over a year, if memory serves, for them to get around to fixing the drivers. I am not so crazy as to say this is typical for every ATi card, but I have just become overly paranoid and want to stick with nVidia.
  5. Ok then for power supply. A 1200w runs 3 580 in sli. For 2 580 you want 1000w. For a close PSU calculator use this, its much better than the one on most websites (newegg's) Take that number and tack on about 150-200w to allow for capacitor degradation and overclocking. Since you mention only two 580 look at these PSU. (in because its same price as others for more watts after rebate)
    All of these I would be willing to spend my own money on to buy. Comes down to you then, which brands you trust (all good though).
  6. PSU: if your not doing 3x SLI you don't need the 1200w psu and dropping to 1000w would allow you to cut some from the budget. But a psu that has to much power won't hurt you either and give you plunty of head room for anything that may come out later.

    SSD: I've noticed little difference in sata III 6gb drive read/write as long as you pay attention to what your buying. There is a big jump when you go to PCI-E but be careful on the mob/gpu if you want to go SLI and use a PCI-E, most pci-e slots get covered up by the GPU or you have to remove the fans off the GPU and go liquid on the GPU to fit it in. Also the cost of pci-e SSD is just now starting to be worth the change up.

    Crucial M4 CT256M4SSD2 2.5" 256GB Sata III 6gb Price:$379.99
    Sustained Sequential ReadUp to 500 MB/s (SATA 6Gb/s)
    Sustained Sequential WriteUp to 260 MB/s (SATA 6Gb/s)
    4KB Random ReadUp to 45,000 IOPS
    4KB Random WriteUp to 50,000 IOPS

    OCZ RevoDrive 3 X2 series RVD3X2-FHPX4-240G PCI-E 240GB PCI-Express 2.0 x4 Price:$699.99

    Max Sequential ReadUp to 1500 MB/s
    Max Sequential WriteUp to 1225 MB/s
    4KB Random WriteUp to 200,000 IOPS

    three times the speed for only $320 more.
  7. I will probably be going with the Corsair 1050W PSU, since that seems to be all I will need. For the cooling, that package seems a bit pricey, unless I am missing something. The card is $500, and the H80 $95. That package would be roughly $50 higher. Is the cooler with that really better than the H80? Or is it more of a problem that the H80 won't fit in my case?

    For the SSD, I think I want to stick with something in the $200-400 range for the time being, and upgrade later if it is needed. I am just trying to decide whether the "tier 1" 256GB drives are worth double the price or more of a "tier 2/3" drive.

    @ everyone - my responses are not restricted to the people who posted the initial data. I welcome any and all help from anyone who has insight into these matters. More opinions are good!
  8. You also get a liquid cooled card and a few other goodies although they aren't needed. The card overclocks past 900 and the ram and shader cores also overclock past stock settings. Stock specs are here. and the overclock achieved during system builder is here
    Its sold other places.

    Neweggs list price is $580
  9. I suppose the answer to if I need that package lies in my question of if the 580 alone with the water cooler I had for my CPU will handle what I need it to do. I know it is hard to say for sure, but any info would be helpful. I will be playing on a one monitor set up at 1920x1080. If the card by itself can handle running games while recording and streaming, then I will stick with what I have, but if I need to get an extreme overclock on the 580 to handle it, the GPU/CPU cooler package may be needed. Anyone have experience/advise on such a matter?
  10. Yes any 580 is a great card and will handle what you want it to do. Just though for about $80 more (which is price of a water cooler) thought you would consider a 580 that is water cooled and has better performance.
  11. Its only $571 on with free shipping. Then you don't need a CPU cooler and you get a fast 580.
    Saves you money.
    Edit-Just noticed that's out of stock though. Then its a little more.
  12. Changed my OP to reflect the 1050W PSU. I would also like opinions on which SSD would be best. The OCZ 120GB Max IOPS looks nice, but I am a little worried from all of the negative reviews it has gotten on newegg about BSODs or the drive randomly not working. As mentioned above, I would either like a 120GB drive in the tier 3 section from the SSD Hierarchy link, or if you all think it is worth it, one of the 240GB from the tier 1 list. I just have no idea whether the difference in performance is warranted to make the move to a tier 1 drive. Thank you all very much for the help so far. It has been very useful!
  13. I prefer the samsung from the tier 3 list :D
  14. the samsung is cheaper and 8gb larger for the tier 3 list
  15. Yes but I didn't list it because its sold out. Didn't list the larger model because newegg had the specs lower than the others.
  16. @andrewcarr - I am very sorry, but I may not have made my intention clear. I was not wondering how much each of them were, but rather if you, or anyone else, had any experience or opinion on which would be the best / most reliable of the lot. I am sorry to have made you dig through and order them based on price, but thank you for the thought! I am really just trying to see which would give the best performance. As of now, it looks like the Mushkin Chronos has the best reviews, so I think I will lean toward that.

    Reverting back in topics for a minute, do you all believe the H80 is sufficient cooling for an OC'd 2600k, or would I be better off with the H100? Also, the HyperX memory I have listed seems to have gotten great reviews, but I have heard that the timings could be better (they are 9-9-9-27 on the HyperX sticks). Should I look for RAM with better timings or will the HyperX remain the best option?
    Thank you all for your input!
  17. I wouldn't get the Hyper X solely based on 1.65v, I only look at 1.5v.
    This is what I would get for 1600 speed, $85.
    But this is a great deal for only a little more for 1866, $97.

    H80 should be sufficient but depends on how much you want to overclock. H100 should give you a slightly higher speed.
  18. Made further updates to my system in the OP. Changed to the Mushkin Chronos SSD (since it was a close race between that and the Samsung, and the Samsung being sold out made the decision for me!) and moved to the G.Skill Ripjaws X. I will definitely be getting the higher speed sticks if I place the order before the sale ends, but that may not happen : (. In either event, 1600 should be more than good enough for what I will need. Maybe the 1600's will go on sale once the other sale ends! You all have been very helpful and it is appreciated!

    I do have a few more questions though (I get a bit OCD when it comes to these things, and worry about every detail)

    I assume most SSDs come with a mounting bracket to allow them to fit into a standard 3.5 bay?

    Also, I know the main differences between a retail and OEM OS (Support / Being tied to one system) but I have also heard about OEMs not coming with third party software. Most posts on this were vague, but would the third party software be anything of use? Is there any difference at all between the two that would effect performance in the least?

    Would getting a fan controller be of any benefit?

    Again, sorry for all the questions, but I would rather ask you experts before I buy, then just wing it and regret my purchases.
  19. Not OCD, I don't mind it, your spending this much money you want to know you are getting the best possible.

    The SSD you chose does come with a mounting bracket. Your case (if HAF X still) also comes with adapters for SSD's. Yes this allows the SSD to fit in 3.5 in bays.

    What third party software would you want? I personally don't think any of it is needed and wouldn't install it anyways. Only software I would want if the games that come with some GPU and the blue ray software with some blue ray players.

    A fan controller would only be of benefit if you think your case is too loud.
  20. Ty! I may need to take this to a different forum, but it can't hurt to ask. Do you (or anyone) have a suggestion on a monitor(s). I am currently using a 1080p 37" LCD TV/Monitor and have enjoyed it, but it is getting quite old and I will likely be upgrading that with my new system as well. I am looking at either one large monitor like I have now, or two smaller ones. The idea of dual monitors is appealing, but I don't know that a single 580 could handle two 120Hz 1080 monitors. I have been reading up on 60Hz vs 120Hz and most say there isn't a huge difference, but I think I'd like to go with 120Hz anyway. The trouble is, 120Hz small monitors are rather difficult to find at a decent price. I'd like to keep my monitor range at around $500 total, either for one or split between two smaller ones. Is there enough of a difference between 60 and 120Hz for it to be worth getting? If so, does anyone have a good 120Hz Monitor (large or small) that they would suggest?
    Thanks as always!
  21. Don't think its worth it to get a 120 Hz monitor unless you want to use 3D. Are you getting two 580's? If so consider a 3 monitor set up (will only work with SLI). All but the last two have a 2ms response time.
    One, webcam-
    No webcam-
    Two, slightly over $500-
    Under $500 (1'' smaller)-
    Three, over $500-
    Under $500 (5ms response time-
  22. I probably won't be playing in 3D, but I would just think 120Hz would make for smoother gameplay, even in 2D. The option to upgrade to 3D if I ever chose to do so, without having to upgrade monitors again, is nice too! Grr, so many choices, so hard to choose!
  23. Shouldn't be a noticeable difference. In my opinion I'd rather play games on ultra and get 60-80 fps with your GPU vs playing at medium-high and getting 120+ fps. That is the only time it will be worth it to get the 120 Hz monitor. For example before you SLI the 480 you can get 47-57.8 fps on Battlefield 3 with ultra and 4x AA. With AA turned off that becomes 57-71 fps. Here you won't see an improvement with the 120 Hz monitor. So I see no point in getting 120 Hz for the extra money it costs.
  24. I think I have decided on getting a single large monitor for the time being, and retiring it to an actual TV once I get two smaller monitors for my computer down the road. I am currently looking over newegg to see where the best deal is. I am looking for something between 40-50", preferably at 120Hz with a DVI port. I have found a couple in the right price range, but they lack DVI/Display ports. I will post links here if I find any I am considering for your reviews! As always, suggestions are welcome
  25. After a good deal of searching, these two seem to be the best for the money. Again, I am trying to keep it around $500 if possible, which makes the first link stand out a bit more. I am not too sure what the difference is between the two other than the wifi feature on the higher priced set, but that just doesn't seem like it is worth the extra money to me. If these are not advisable, please let me know, or if anyone has any other suggestion on a different TV/Monitor, please post that as well!

    Edit: Upon further inspection, it seems these will not do the trick. It appears you have to have a Dual Link DVI or Display Port to be able to get 120Hz from your computer, which neither TV has. Back to looking! : (
  26. For that price you can pick up two (good gaming, ASUS) 27 inch displays, which are by no means small.
    Then you can look for a good TV when you need one and you can get good monitors now.
    Even 25 inch displays are huge.
  27. The trouble with two monitors, and why I decided to go with one large, is that if I were to do a dual monitor setup I would want to go all out. By that I mean two 2560x1XXX monitors with 120Hz/2ms and a high contrast ratio, which I don't think my single GTX580 setup could handle. Then comes the price of the monitors themselves, plus the price of getting 1-2 additional video cards, which I simply cannot afford at the moment. Because of this, I decided to just go with a single monitor, but shoot for 120Hz on that as well, just to try it. If I get the 120Hz now and decide I don't like it for computer use, I will have that knowledge for when I buy my 2 smaller monitors, and 120Hz is almost guaranteed better for normal TV purposes when it will not be connected to a computer, so it won't be a waste to have the 120Hz even when I move to to being just my TV. As mentioned above, however, it seems next to impossible to find a monitor in the 40"-50" range that has the proper connectivity. Since I couldn't get 120Hz from an HDMI cable at 1080, I have to find a monitor with either Dual Link DVI or Display Port. For the life of me I have not been able to find a single monitor with either port at any price, much less in my price range. I am not sure what happened to monitors, but back when I got the one I am using now, nearly all of them had HDMI AND DVI ports but were only 60Hz at the time. Now that 120Hz is more prominent, I would have assumed they would have simply updated their monitors to have Dual Link DVI compatibility, not remove DVI altogether and only offer HDMI. Would you have any monitors in mind that fit these requirements?
  28. So, I think I may have finally cleared things up a little for myself. With HDMI not supporting 120Hz at 1080, modern TVs seem to use onboard processing to interpolate extra frames from a 60Hz signal. So, to my understanding (and please correct me if I am wrong), by using an HDMI cable to connect to my PC, I would be outputting a 60Hz signal at 1080p which, when it reaches the TV, is "converted" to a 120Hz signal via interpolation which mimics a true 120Hz signal. This makes a lot more sense, as I could not for the life of me understand why all of these 1080p TVs had 120Hz refresh rates, but no Dual-Link DVI or Displayport connectivity. They only have HDMI ports, which are completely useless if you are trying to feed the TV a true 120Hz signal at 1080, making the TV itself more or less useless, or at least not able to do what one would expect. Hopefully the on board processing and interpolating is how the 60Hz signal from a PC is changed to an imitation 120Hz signal, so I can finally feel not so lost on all of this. If I am wrong, guess its time to go back to not having a clue on how to sort this out lol.
  29. While I was digging through pages of reviews, tying to find a good monitor, I cam across some data that is very much making me reconsider 580vs570. I may end up going with 570SLI instead, but either way I think I will need to upgrade to the cards with double VRAM (3gb on the 580 or 2.5 on the 570). Many of the initial reviews I read said there was no performance increase when gaming at 1080, and that the larger VRAM models actually performed worse in some cases. While I can see this being the case, quite a few people are claiming Crysis 2 and BF3 when maxed are actually using around 2GB of VRAM. If this is true, the larger models would blow past the smaller when dealing with high detail settings, which is where it counts imo. As always, suggestions on this, a proper 120Hz TV sized monitor, or anything else we have discussed are welcome.
Ask a new question

Read More

New Build Gaming Systems Product