First time builder MID-ranged gaming rig

Hello there,

I am a long time lurker in the world of gaming and computer hardware. I think it is time for me to to get my own gaming set-up and set step into the virtual world.

I live in Canada and will most likely buy components of the following sites:

I have also been looking for local classifieds on sites; basically trying to build the most reliable, price-to-performance machine my budget allows. I will use this computer for primarily gaming, web browsing, and document writing.

I have set myself a rough budget of $1500 including:
- CPU cooler
- Motherboard
- Hard drive
- Chassis
- Monitor
- Gaming mouse/keyboard/monitor
*essentially an entire gaming set-up*

From reading countless reviews and forum posts, I have narrowed down my choices to some degree.

CPU: Intel i5 2500k ($199.99)
CPU cooler: Corsair H80 ($89.99)
Motherboard: Asus ROG Maximus IV Gene-Z ($169.99)
GPU: XFX 6970 2GB ($359.99)
PSU: XFX 750W 80PLUS Silver ($124.99)
Chassis: Corsair 650D/500R ($179.99)($129.99)
*I would appreciate having a case with a windowed side panel at a reasonable price; TBH the 650D is out of my price range, any recommendations?*
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (4x4) ($89.49)
HDD : Undecided (due to floods in Taiwan, I may hold off buying one until prices decrease)
SDD : Undecided (watching out for deals around 1GB/$1)

Monitor: BenQ 24" ($169.99)
Mouse: Saitek Cyborg R.A.T 9 ($159.99)
Keyboard: Logitech G510 ($99.99)
Headset: Undecided

*Total of $1514.10*
*AFTER MIR 1484.10*
*AFTER TAX ~$1710.93*

*Prices on the right, are after price matched on; before MIR and tax (13%)*
As you see, I am already above my budget and I am missing a new components. Is there any way to cut down on my expenses and still acquire the best price-to-performance ratio?

*note that I am more than willing to settle for a much cheaper gaming mouse/keyboard*

Thank you for reading through all that mess!
2 answers Last reply
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  1. Alright so... You've got a nice build there and have chosen some really good price/performance ratio items. I'm going to comment on some of your stuff and recommend others if I feel it would make a noticeable difference...

    The CPU is great. One of the best you can get and it has amazing performance when OCed correctly. Although (sadly) I don't have one right now, I'll be getting one soon :D .

    The CPU Cooler... The great thing about the 2500k is that its temps are great! Even with some extreme OCing, you won't really be needing a water-cooler. I recommend you save yourself some money and go with the Cooler Master Hyper 212+ heat sync, as well as some Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Paste.
    Hyper 212+:

    Arctic Silver 5:
    I have both of these with an AMD Phenom II x4 970 (which produces a LOT of heat even without OCing) OCed to 4.0 GHz and I'm getting low 40's C while on full load. CPUs usually reach a temp of instability at around 70 C... It's great.

    The motherboard. Well, it's a micro ATX board which are harder to work around with than standard ATX boards. Asus is a top-of-the-line manufacturer and make great MoBo's so I'll recommend another similar ATX board made by them. This one's up to you.

    Asus P8Z68-V:

    The Video Card... the moment you said in the beginning that you wanted to build the best price-to-performance machine that your budget would allow you, the first thing that popped into my mind is the GTX 560 ti.

    Gtx 560 ti:

    This is a $220ish video card that literally has a better price-to-performance ratio than ANY other mid/high-end video card on the market. I can't express this enough. Now, what I would do is grab one of these now, then wait to get enough to get another so that you could 2-way SLI them. When they are in SLI they will outperform the best single-gpu card out there (the gtx 580 which btw is $550) by about 20%. If you want the best price/performance ratio for your PC definitely go with this set-up.

    The Power Supply. Seems to me like the power supply you chose is great, and so is the price.

    The case. Now, don't get me wrong, I agree that the 650D costs a lot of money but... If I were you I would go ahead and get it. The reviews on it are raving and I'm getting one soon, too actually. The thing about cases is that they usually last the longest time in a build (more than any other part) before getting switched out- about 5 years on average. Now look at some other case and think about having it for 5 years... The 650D is, in my opinion, worth every penny. But, if you really don't want to spend that much money you could always get yourself a nice Antec 900 or even a Rosewill Challenger would do quite nicely.

    Antec 900-

    Rosewill Challenger-
    Either one is nice, but on the long run the 650D bests them by far.

    The RAM. No one needs 16 gigs of RAM for gaming. More RAM isn't always better and definitely isn't quicker than less RAM. Go for 8 gigs of Corsair Vengeance.
    They're the same thing but different colors.

    Go with just some 250gb Hard Drive for now until prices go down (which they will within a few months).

    Seagate hard drive-

    Don't get an SSD for now. If you feel like you really need one later, get one. But they're too expensive at the moment.

    The monitor... I really, truly recommend an Asus 23" monitor. Just because a monitor has a bigger screen doesn't mean the resolution is better. I have this monitor and I'm blown away. It's amazing quality. Completely worth paying a little more.

    The mouse. Don't waste your money on a super-expensive mouse. More expensive doesn't necessarily mean better. If I were you, I would go with the Razer Naga. A great gaming mouse with speed and precision from a company I trust.
    I'm actually using it right now. Fits the hand perfectly and I can game for hours at a time.

    The keyboard. Just check this keyboard. I guarantee you that you will love it. Uses cherry switches which I've had experience with before and I was instantly addicted. Grabbing myself one of these soon.

    Well, then the headset. If I were you I would go with the Sennheiser hd 555's. They are an AMAZING headset and the reviews are raving about it. I don't have one (yet) but I definitely recommend it. The thing is, they're expensive and don't come with a mic. With all that saved money I would grab these headphones and a Snoball mic. The Snoball mic is literally rated the #1 USB mic on the planet. I do have it and am in love with it (so are the people I'm talking to on the other side ;) ). It's not overly expensive, either.

    HD 555's (Newegg doesn't have em so buy from somewhere else)-

    Snoball Mic-

    That's just about it. Hope I've helped! Any more questions? I'd love to answer them! Good luck the build!!!
  2. -I'd lose the H80 .... simply put, it doesn't compete w/ the better air coolers and is noisy. Suggest either:

    Scythe Mugen 3 -
    Hyper 212 PWM -

    -Ya have $360 into the GFX card, and I just saved ya $40 above..... Two of these will give ya 862 fps in Guru3D's game tets suite as compared to the 6970's 526 fps ..... spend another $360 and ya get up to 825 fps..... The card below is $240 or $480 for If ya get the two, I got ya $80 in the hole compared to your original build but, you getting 64% more fps.....and still will be getting 4.5% more FPS than if ya got a 2nd 6970 sometime in the future.

    -The 750 watt PSU is $95 after $25 MIR
    The 850 watt PSU is $100 after $30 MIR

    For $5 get the 850 !

    -The Corsair 500R is a wonderful case .... the $50 savings puts me just $30 of ya original build price.

    -Drop to 8GB, no real gain at 16GB .... $38 savings puts me $8 under ya original build

    Seagate's factories are reportedly out of the flood area and prices are dropping.
    1 TB and 64 MB cache for $130

    The G500 or G9 is a better match for the 510 and $100 cheaper
    Mouse - $ 63 - Logitech G500
    Mouse - $ 75 -
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