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PC just died, looking for new build. 800-900$ budget

Last response: in Systems
January 5, 2012 3:50:04 PM

This is my first time building a PC from scratch so please bear with me. It is likely I'll have a bunch of newbie questions.

Approximate Purchase Date: Possibly today. I was planning on holding off a few months until the price on the NVIDIA 500 series cards and I5 processors went down but my computer just died. I've got someone coming to look at it now but if I can't save it I'll have to purchase very soon.

Budget Range: 800-900$ before rebates.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, fraps, creating/editing videos, drawing, music, watching movies, etc..

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, mouse, speakers, operating system, monitor.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg, but if there's a better place I'm open to suggestion.

Country: United States

Parts Preferences: by brand or type: I would like a NVIDIA card and an Intel processor.

Overclocking: Maybe in the future

SLI or Crossfire: Yes, but this will be a future upgrade that I don't need right now.

Monitor Resolution: 1440x900, but this will also be upgraded in the future.

Additional Comments: My first gaming PC was my Dell XPS 420 which just died on me. It lasted 5 years, and while it was a decent machine it had almost no upgrade paths available. I want the machine I'm building now to have room for future upgrades. I want to be able to run SLI and be able to overclock in the future. I also want a decent CPU that won't become obsolete anytime soon. I also want to be able to add an SSD in the future as well.

Here is a build I came up with on my own. I have a 40$ off total purchase coupon for newegg so it just barely falls into my budget range after applying the coupon. I had a 1 TB hard drive on there but it was too expensive so I had to downgrade to a 500GB drive. Feel free to work off of this build, and if it's no good feel free to scrap it and come up with something completely new. Thank you everyone for your time.
January 5, 2012 4:57:49 PM

If you want to overclock go with the 2500K for $10 more. The "K" processors have unlocked multipliers.

I'd seriously consider this power supply: Antec EarthWatts Series EA-750 Green at the same price.

The hec unit you chose is 750w PEAK output.

January 5, 2012 5:08:12 PM

Like the one on the top said, Go for Antec or Corsair Psus, they are rock solid.

By the way you might want to get a stronger psu right now, u need 850watts for gtx 560 ti, and overclking the i5, with time the chips will start getting old and will use more power, you should go for a 850 or 900 watts psu right now. you could save money in the future.
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January 5, 2012 5:10:20 PM

Above +1

If you are not interested in overclocking, the i5-2400 will save you some money. Otherwise, the 2500k cpu is for you, but you will need a third party cooler such as is what I use, great cooling but was tricky to install.

Everything else is pretty decent. If you change your mind about SLI, you could skimp down on the psu and get a 600w psu or so.
January 5, 2012 5:45:44 PM

Thank you all for the replies, I've updated my original wishlist accordingly with the Antec PSU and the 2500K CPU.

Question: How is the case I have chosen? I don't know much about cases and I chose it solely based on the reviews? Would this case have room for SLI, and would it have room for me to add an SSD in the future?

Also, on the previous PSU I had, what does 750W peak capacity mean? I just assumed it delivered 750W of power.

I also should mention that I'm posting from my Dell again. The problem was resolved, apparantly there was a static build up that needed to be discharged, but it turns on and off again now. Should I wait a few months for the new PSUs and GPUs to come out so the prices go down?
January 5, 2012 5:59:48 PM

As for the Antec, I don't like the case. I owned it, but the cable management is terrible, and the system was pretty loud. I'd personally go with something like this:
(comes with 10 dollar off code)
Great cooling, quiet, tons of space for SLI/SSD (which is the same for Antec... but it'll get cramped), and excellent behind-the-board cable routing to keep airflow high.

Also, look into getting combo deals with your parts, you can save a lot of money like that... for example:
(saves you ~10 bucks over your current setup and gives you a higher-rated PSU)
January 5, 2012 6:18:06 PM

@ digitalzom-b,

"I'm not sure I understood what you meant by Great cooling, quiet, tons of space for SLI/SSD (which is the same for Antec... but it'll get cramped)"

Did you mean that the case you linked will get cramped just like the Antec will, or that the Antec gets cramped but the one you link doesn't?

Also a friend said I should get a high tower case for running SLI, but that will increase costs even more. What is your opinion on this? The case you linked does look nice though.
January 5, 2012 7:30:18 PM

inner universe said:
@ digitalzom-b,

"I'm not sure I understood what you meant by Great cooling, quiet, tons of space for SLI/SSD (which is the same for Antec... but it'll get cramped)"

Did you mean that the case you linked will get cramped just like the Antec will, or that the Antec gets cramped but the one you link doesn't?

Also a friend said I should get a high tower case for running SLI, but that will increase costs even more. What is your opinion on this? The case you linked does look nice though.

A Full Tower case is generally not ideal for most people and is very expensive. The corsair 600T is about $150, but one of the best midtowers around. It is a bit over budget, but a good case is a good investment.
January 5, 2012 7:37:12 PM

I have the potential to wait a little bit before buying a new computer (unless it dies again). Would it be worth it to wait until February or March before purchasing? I think both NVIDIA GPU and Intel CPU prices will drop by then. Also, should I buy items from my wishlist that are on sale now even though I won't be able to use them all until I've bought all of them?

Another question. How is the motherboard I picked out? I picked it based on reviews and compatibility, but I'd like more opinions on it. Thanks to you guys so far I've changed my power supply and my processor, and I may change the case.
January 6, 2012 11:59:41 AM

inner universe said:
@ digitalzom-b,

"I'm not sure I understood what you meant by Great cooling, quiet, tons of space for SLI/SSD (which is the same for Antec... but it'll get cramped)"

Did you mean that the case you linked will get cramped just like the Antec will, or that the Antec gets cramped but the one you link doesn't?

Also a friend said I should get a high tower case for running SLI, but that will increase costs even more. What is your opinion on this? The case you linked does look nice though.

I meant that the one I linked would probably be a better choice as it's got more interior room and is much easier to manage cables because of this. My Antec was hard to clean as the drive bays were annoying to take out (lots of screws).

If you're running just two cards in SLI, I don't see full tower being a necessity to be honest. However, I don't run SLI so I may not be the person to go to on that.

Lastly, I'd say the motherboard you picked is fine. 70+ percent 5 star rating tends to point to a quality mobo on Newegg, however the specs on the board are nice as well. Read through some of the reviews if you wish, get an idea of some problems you could run into, but take the with a grain of salt (some people fry their own boards and call it DOA because they don't know what they're doing and rate the board one star--which is unfair to the manufacturer).
January 6, 2012 12:10:52 PM

The Asrock Extreme 4 Gen 3 isn't a bad motherboard. You should be fine with that.

I prefer Asus myself, but once upon a time they were the same company.

You might want to consider my case as well.

It is a mid tower (technically) but it kinda pushes the size limitations to the point that I don't really see how it isn't a full tower.

In any event, there is nothing but room in there.

The case is a PC-K59.
January 6, 2012 1:36:36 PM

nick3232 said:
comes to $963 after rebates
for $63 more off your budget you get an ssd best one in market right now trust me buy these or $803 after rebates without ssd buy these or buy none! trust me

Trust you?

You realize your combo lists a shoddy micro-atx board with no PCI slots or PCI Express 3.0, and a PSU that a) doesn't have enough 6pin connectors for SLI, and B) enough power to even think of SLIing 560s...

OP is looking to do SLI down the road and wants a high quality motherboard.
January 6, 2012 2:03:39 PM

I already posted in another thread the same person suggested the full system to about the same thing.

Anyone who gets that will probably want to switch out the PSU right away.

It may not be the best setup for SLIing too.
January 8, 2012 3:24:42 AM

I feel my build is pretty solid now after taking in all the advice and making some changes. I only have a few more questions left.

1. How is the RAM I have chosen? Is it a good value for the price? The cas latency is 9 and I notice other rams have lower values, the lowest I could find was 7. Should I be worrying that the RAM I chose has a cas latency of 9?

2. Can a DVD burner function as a DVD-ROM drive? If so is there any point in getting a DVD-ROM drive? Yes, this is a real question, I honestly do not know the answer to this.

3. It was mentioned that the motherboard I chose was not bad, but how will it hold up in the future? For example, when I bought my Dell 5 years ago or so, when DDR3 ram came out I could not upgrade because my motherboard could only accept DDR2 RAM. Is there any issues like that I could avoid with a different board?
January 8, 2012 3:40:13 AM

if you're going to be doing video editing/rendering, you definitely want more RAM than normal. go with 12 or 16 gb. amazon always has great RAM prices; this is what i use and i haven't had any problems:

and since you're going to be doing a lot of video editing, i would reccomend the i7-2600k instead of the 2500k, as the 2600k has hyperthreading which helps with multi-threaded applications (like video editing) it's like 100 dollars more but worth it. i know microcenter has them if you live near a store for about $280 right now.
January 8, 2012 11:05:36 AM

DVD burners can read DVDs too, don't worry.

I am not a fan of the RAM brand, but everyone seems to be picking it these days. The motherboard is also OK. It is a DDR3 board and that is the best thing out at the moment.

You will be limited going into the future on what sort of CPU upgrades you can have, but if you intend to stick with the one you are getting then it is fine.

The 2600k will massively bust your budget if you take it, but it does have some performance advantages in a few areas, video editing included.

As for the RAM, the CAS latency is a measure of how fast it is and 7 is faster than 9 by a good percentage, but the 9 will work just fine. If you had a lot more room in the budget it might be worth it to move to 7, but with no more room you don't need to try to sacrifice all over in order to get down to 7 on this.

January 8, 2012 2:31:31 PM


Interesting, so what is the point of a DVD ROM if I can just get a DVD Burner instead? Should I switch out my DVD ROM for a DVD Burner?
January 8, 2012 9:50:26 PM

I wouldn't get a drive that only reads DVDs myself and I wouldn't suggest anyone else do so either.

The advancements kinda went like this
CD Reading
CD Reading + Writing
CD Reading + Writing + DVD Reading
CD Reading + Writing + DVD Reading + DVD Writing
CD Reading + Writing + DVD Reading + DVD Writing + Blu Ray Reading
CD Reading + Writing + DVD Reading + DVD Writing + Blu Ray Reading + Blu Ray Writing

Just reading is basically one technological step backward from reading + writing DVDs. It could come with a reduced cost perhaps to make it worthwhile to use the older technology.

The price difference between dvd readers and writers is so low it doesn't make sense to just read, though.
January 8, 2012 11:49:27 PM

Thanks, that helps a lot. Any recommendations on a drive I should get?

Also, should I switch out the P67 mobo for a Z68? If so, which one?

EDIT: According to this link

A P67 board does not allow overclocking of the GPU. Did I understand that link correctly?

If this is true I'd rather have a Z68 board since I'll likely want to overclock my GPU in the future. Trying to pick a mobo is getting very confusing. I want one that will allow me to run SLI and have an SSD. I also see that some have PCIe 3.0 and some do not. Is this an important feature to have?

How does this look, it's 20$ cheaper then the current one in my list.
January 9, 2012 4:41:18 AM

PCIE 3.0 will be more important in the future than it is now.

Overclocking the graphics card... usually done in software at the driver level with AMD Overdrive or the Nvidia version of it.

The motherboard doesn't usually have anything to do with it. Any motherboard is basically the same as far as OCing the GPU is concerned.
January 9, 2012 5:00:05 AM

I see. Looking at the board currently in my list:

It says for PCIe 2.0 there is 1 @ x4. What exactly does this mean? The product description says it is SLI capable but if I am reading that right there is only one PCIe 2.0 slot and it is x4 not x16.

How does it look compared to these two?
January 9, 2012 11:04:03 AM

The graphics cards will fit in the PCIE 3.0 slots just fine, so you can get x16/x8 performance out of those two.

They are mostly the same, I would go with the GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD3. It is the most expensive, but its also a newer setup than the first one and has more useful features than the 3rd one.
January 9, 2012 2:36:37 PM

Ahh I did not know that I could put a 2.0 GPU in a PCIe 3.0 slot. So what features does the GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD3 have over the ASRock P67 EXTREME4 GEN3 that make the GIGABYTE a better choice?
January 9, 2012 3:23:19 PM

Yes you can put GPU with PCIE 2.0 in PCIE 3.0 , because 3.0 is backward compatible. Your build is verry good. Go for it.
January 9, 2012 4:49:08 PM

Gigabyte is just plain a higher tier manufacturer of motherboards than Asrock is. Most people would probably put Asus and Gigabyte at the top and the next tier down from there is Asrock, MSI, and Biostar so right there you are looking at a less trusted name.

The Z68 is just plain a newer board type which is never a bad thing.

The Z68 can use more different kinds of RAM natively than the Asrock P67.

I would say all that is worth $10.
January 9, 2012 6:30:30 PM

What about the lack of PCIe 3.0? I know it's not a big deal right now, but could I be gimped in the future because of it?

Best solution

January 9, 2012 6:39:42 PM

It is certainly possible that something will come out soon that makes you really want PCIE 3.0, like the ATI 7000 series graphics cards, for instance.

If you are worried about that eventuality, it might not be the worst idea to find a Gigabyte board with PCIE 3.0.

That being said, PCIE 3.0 is nowhere near the standard right now so anyone that makes anything will generally try to make it backwards compatible with 2.0.

Even if you did want an AMD 7000 series card, you would still have good enough experiences with 2.0 most likely.

Anyway, if you want to find a new gigabyte board with 3.0 then I will compare it alongside the others you have chosen here.
January 9, 2012 8:56:58 PM

Well I don't see myself ever needing more than 2x GTX 560 TI's running in SLI, so I guess I can pass on the PCIe 3.0 to save some money. The hard drive I chose in my wishlist has about 20 different combo deals featuring the hard drive + a motherboard. I could really use a hand sorting through which one is the best deal.

I just need a mobo that can run SLI and run an SSD and is compatible with everything in my list. Z68 would be preferred since it is newer, but I'm not going to be too picky on that since I don't think I'll have any use for the integrated GPU if I am using a GTX 560 TI.

Right now I have my eye on this board since it's cheaper and still seems to have everything I need, unless there is a better deal in the above list of combo deals.
January 9, 2012 9:15:04 PM

That board should be fine.

I am not a fan of how close the PCIE slots are to each other, but it is more normal than anything else these days.
January 10, 2012 12:21:51 AM

Cooler Master doesn't make quality PSUs, nor can their PSUs be trusted to output their stated wattage under normal conditions.

Try to find a deal on an Antec, Corsair, Seasonic, or XFX PSU instead.
January 10, 2012 1:13:04 AM

Antec is a reputable company that makes quality power supplies. I would definitely suggest that PSU for your build.
January 10, 2012 1:37:30 PM

I don't think I can get myself to recommend OCZ to anyone for any kind of part, but at least in the PSU area if you insist on cheap modular they aren't the worst company in the world to get it from.

I would get an XFX 750w instead of both of those, but out of those two I would go with the Antec and suck up the lack of modular. If you have a good case you can usually find somewhere to hide the cables that isn't in the way.

I tie my cables off and just leave them sitting on the bottom where they don't block airflow myself.

January 10, 2012 2:28:47 PM

Raiddinn and everyone else, thank you all very much. You guys were very patient with answering my barrage of questions and were extremely helpful. This website once again proves to be a valuable resource for a newbie like me. All my parts will be arriving in a few days and hopefully I'll figure out how to assemble everything without destroying something. :D 

In case you were wondering, I went with the OCZ Modular based on these two reviews. If two independent people can break it down and run it through a barrage of tests and come out satisfied, in addition to a 69% of the reviews on newegg giving it 5 eggs, I figure it will be able to handle my system. It also has a 5 year warranty so I should be safe with this.
January 10, 2012 2:35:37 PM

Best answer selected by inner universe.