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*Mostly* Brand New to Comp. Building - Gaming PC

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January 9, 2012 8:05:09 PM

I'm just going to go ahead and use the template provided in the sticky, and I suppose I can just work my questions around that.

Approximate Purchase Date: Over time (I have a general budget set, but I will only be able to meet parts of the budget from paycheck to paycheck, so parts will generally be bought separately, unless I can find a good bundle deal or some sort of sale.

Budget Range: Approximately $1,500 USD

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming is top importance, behind that being things like video editing and internet usage.

Parts Not Required: I'm not sure how relevant things like keyboards and mice are to the computer itself, but I am also in the market for those items as well, though I think I can pick those out myself when the time comes.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com for the most part, because I've bought general parts there before and am satisfied with the work they do, unless of course there is an alternative website for specific parts/bundles that is offering a better deal.

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: The only knowledge I have so far is from This guide. I know it's not much, I've done some jumping around on a few websites, but the guide found on that website has been the most complete and comprehensive, and has explained a good deal of the questions I have had before, so there isn't a huge preference for parts - though I will admit I appreciate the tower suggested for the Elite rig he has setup (though if I'm willingly spending money on a tower that's unnecessary, it would be good to know!)

Overclocking: Yes, if possible with my budget

SLI or Crossfire: I'm embarassed to say that I don't really understand what either of these are, so an explanation would be very greatly appreciated.

Monitor Resolution: Again, I'm looking to get the best out of my budget, and because I'm unsure of resolution aspects, I'd rather kind of sit back and look at advice given.


I'm sure it's very apparent that I have no real idea of what I'm doing other than what I've seen by lurking, so any and all advice and help will be very, very appreciated.

Thank you so much for any response.
a b 4 Gaming
January 9, 2012 8:51:49 PM

Try looking over a guide I am making. It deals with trying to build a computer that is maximally likely to work right away without any configuration headaches and maximially limiting the odds of having to troubleshoot DOA products.

www.lifetimeprogress.net/files/pcplanningguide.doc

It isn't aimed at people with such a high budget, but it will help give you an idea of what is going on.

You can also get some ideas for things in your budget range from here

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/fx-overclock-crossf...

But you will definitely want to go with an i5-2500k instead of the FX-8150 and an Intel 1155 board instead of the AMD board selected for the article. If you read through the article it clearly says that they just wanted to try out the FX processor and it had a poor showing during their testing.

The more I read those System Builder Marathons the less I like them. I really think they shouldn't cheap out on RAM as much as they do and some other things, but for the most part they are pretty good. That is when they don't try out FX processors, anyway.

- Edit - Crossfire and SLI mean using 2 video cards at the same time instead of just 1.

Also, if you want to go along with the article, I would get 2x 4GB Crucial instead of that RAM and a 500 GB hard drive for like $100 instead of a 750gb for $180. Also a Crucial SSD instead of the OCZ SSD, because OCZ SSDs have the highest failure rates. I would try to get a Gigabyte board instead of the Biostar too, but that is just me.
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January 9, 2012 8:56:45 PM

Well, I know very little myself but I can atleast help you get started. I will start with SLI/CF. In short, they are the usage of multiple GPU's in order to get better performance. A bigger PSU is needed to accompany an extra or multiple extra graphics cards. Obviously, dual cards is going to be more money but could be fit into your budget.

I recommend you take a look at these graphics cards charts so that you can see the performance of putting in duel cards.
http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2011-gaming-graphics...
Click the 3DMark11 link to compare them and any other game in there to see how they compare.

Overclocking is also very possible in your budget, with an i5-2500k (229.99 or so) and an aftermarket CPU cooler (30 or so) you will be able to get a pretty good overclock. Overclocking will also require a bigger PSU but not as drastic as SLI or Crossfire would.

If you are still interested in overclocking or dual GPU's then say so or not. I will put together a build based upon that. I strongly recommend overclocking (which will require a K series from Intel or Black Edition from AMD). And I at least recommend getting a big enough PSU to keep the option of dual cards open for the future.

Edit: Raiddinn has got you from here on out, better to take advice from someone who knows a lot more than I.
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January 9, 2012 8:58:43 PM

I'll keep in mind all of your suggestions, but I *think* I have a correction to make about the last thing you had said about the hard drive. I'm going along with the option to use the 120gb SSD with something like a 1TB storage HDD.

Unless of course I'm completely wrong, in which case, thanks for all the input!
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a b 4 Gaming
January 9, 2012 8:59:38 PM

There is one thing you should know. Although 2 GPUs is better performance, if you're not playing a game that makes use of that, CF won't be as big of a performance boost on those.
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January 9, 2012 9:15:52 PM

zerokontrol said:
Well, I know very little myself but I can atleast help you get started. I will start with SLI/CF. In short, they are the usage of multiple GPU's in order to get better performance. A bigger PSU is needed to accompany an extra or multiple extra graphics cards. Obviously, dual cards is going to be more money but could be fit into your budget.

I recommend you take a look at these graphics cards charts so that you can see the performance of putting in duel cards.
http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2011-gaming-graphics...
Click the 3DMark11 link to compare them and any other game in there to see how they compare.

Overclocking is also very possible in your budget, with an i5-2500k (229.99 or so) and an aftermarket CPU cooler (30 or so) you will be able to get a pretty good overclock. Overclocking will also require a bigger PSU but not as drastic as SLI or Crossfire would.

If you are still interested in overclocking or dual GPU's then say so or not. I will put together a build based upon that. I strongly recommend overclocking (which will require a K series from Intel or Black Edition from AMD). And I at least recommend getting a big enough PSU to keep the option of dual cards open for the future.

Edit: Raiddinn has got you from here on out, better to take advice from someone who knows a lot more than I.


I'd honestly love to take as much advice as possible, don't spend the time if you don't want to - that much I can completely understand, but an overclocked build with a large PSU (as you have suggested,) would be insanely helpful at this point, especially knowing that it's a personalized build that I can pick and choose from instead of porrly interpreting other people's builds as I lurk around the forums.

Honestly, like I keep saying, I will be forever thankful for any and all help that you're all willing to provide, it's all appreciated!
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January 9, 2012 9:36:54 PM

Now what about the option of dual cards? It may not fit well into the current budget since you seem to need mouse, monitor and keyboard but it may make a tight fit or a second card could be purchased in the future. Nonetheless, this is a general build I would recommend.

ASUS 24X DVD Burner
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$19.99

EVGA 012-P3-2068-KR GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 448 Cores Classified 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$299.99

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$39.99

ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$121.99

Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$219.99

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$29.99

Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$179.99

Your choice of HDD (prices are so high I am afraid to even make a recommendation) and case. An ATX mid tower would do, ranging from $50 to $150. Some cases to look at would be:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Price would be $1041.92 without case and HDD and all the way up to $1350 with.


Some changes to this would be the motherboard, many people like the extreme3 while others are against it. You could also go with an Asus or Gigabyte (both highly reputable). A different graphics card is an option, such as the 560 ti
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Another one would be the SSD, but stick to Intel (someone correct if this is wrong), Samsung or Crucial. I fully believe that you stick with the 2500k but the cooler is debatable as many prefer that one but some people like other ones.

And finally the memory could be changed to 1600 mHz, TBH I have no idea what is best for the i5.


So, a necessary question would be if you needed to buy the monitor, mouse and keyboard in the $1500 budget?
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January 9, 2012 11:00:20 PM

Well, I have some substitutes for the keyboard/mouse/monitor that will work fine for the time being, as for now my main focus is the computer itself. The COOLER MASTER case is one I've been looking at, but I'd like to know, if possible, what the benefits are compared to the other two, seeing as it's $50 more. As for the HDD, I think I'd rather spend the extra money to get a TB of memory in addition to the SSD (which would mainly function for it's suggested purpose (OS & essentials,) and the HDD acting for storage for everything else.

Now, if possible, I would like to fit a monitor, not a keyboard/mouse into the budget immediately, that would be ideal, though I know that you're saying with the added case and HDD the price would be booted to ~$1350.

As for the computer setup you gave me, it looks solid, but I have the $1,000,000 stupid question of the day - how will it function with high-end games, (say, Skyrim on max settings?) I know it seems like I'm asking blindly here, but most of this I'm new to - not to say I'm going to be making final decisions anytime soon, but I feel like knowledge this early into the game will help me a lot.
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January 9, 2012 11:27:37 PM

What you want in a case is good airflow, space and looks. You want the looks that appeal to you, so if you find a case ugly, do not go with it. Airflow is important to keep your components well cooled and space to fit your components. The three that I listed should all fit the components, so it comes down to looks and airflow. They all have good reviews on newegg so it seems as if the airflow is good on all of them so it comes looks I guess.

If you want a window, you should obviously consider a different case. IIRC the antec 300 LED's don't turn off or something of that sort, don't quote me on that though. With a window you would also want a case that has good opportunity for cable management (looks better). The cases all are suited for an ATX motherboard.

Ya, I do believe you should get an HDD alongside the SSD (SSD's aren't necessary but are good if you can fit them in your budget). SSD will allow you to boot faster and run all of your games and necessary programs much faster and the HDD to store your files.

For a monitor you should get a 1920x1080 or 1920x1200 and the size is dependent on the size which you have available to you. Usually around 24" works for people.

There you will find a review of the graphics card that I linked you.
http://www.tomshardware.com/search.php?s=560+ti+448+cor...

Take a look at the benchmarks, sadly, Skyrim cannot be found there but you can find other games (which are harder to run) and see the FPS that it gets there. The higher the FPS the better. It handles Battlefield 3 quite well at 1920x1080 and even beats the Radeon HD 6970(costs about $350). It handles those quite well so I believe that the setup will quite easily max Skyrim.

What is even better about this review is that their build includes the Intel i5-2500k.
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January 9, 2012 11:35:52 PM

Thank you so freaking much for your help, honestly you've done more for me in the short time you've spent helping me than days would online, I will make sure to take a good look at all of your links to get a fuller idea of what I'm getting myself into here, and go from there, so I can find a finalized part list.

As for the case? Looks are a definite factor, and while I would appreciate a windowed case, it seems hard to find one that doesn't also have LED's, which are kind of annoying, especially since I've noticed most cases don't have an option to turn them off, which won't work out well since the computer will be located next to my bed.

Finally, with the SSD, once I really figured out their benefits to a standard HDD, I made the decision to fit it into my budget because I knew it would work out better overall, plus - the one I was looking at originally was only 120gb, and cost a chunk more than the 128gb one you linked me to.
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January 10, 2012 12:14:19 AM

Haha, no problem, easy way to pass the time while playing Skyrim and Terraria.

The Cooler Master Storm Scout http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Could be something you want, I have heard good things and The stealth control panel easily controls LED on/off according to newegg. So you would be able to shut them off, but even when they are on they are quite dim so it wouldn't be that big of a deal.

Ya, that is the idea with the SSD. SSD for your OS, games and other main programs and HDD for your files and such. The Crucial M4 is quite good and especially at 128GB.

What games are you looking at playing? When are you looking at buying this (I recommend buying everything at once, near the date you are going to build, prices change y'know?)

You should also note, that the prices of those items are not including mail in rebates which you should definitely look into and will bring down the cost even more.
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January 10, 2012 12:53:55 AM

A quick list of games that I'm currently playing on my setup:

Skyrim
Oblivion
Team Fortress 2
Counter Strike Source
Payday: The Heist
Terraria

and various other games of that sort, with a whole host of steam games that are rarely played because I can't get them to run so well.

Also, I see your point about waiting until I've got the entirety of my budget at one time to buy all my parts, that way I can also focus on possible bundle deals and price deductions.
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January 10, 2012 1:00:50 AM

Yes the deals and deductions will get save you some pocket but another thing to consider is upcoming releases. We saw the release of the worlds newest best graphic card today (Radeon HD 7970) although that is out of your price range. The rest of the 7000 series will be along soon enough which should hopefully result in a price drop in current gen cards. The same goes for CPU's, Intels next line of processors, the Ivy Bridges are supposed to come out fairly soon too. The replacement for the 2500k is probably going to cost around $225 and could be an option but better yet, the 2500k could not stay at that price. Which means more savings.
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January 10, 2012 1:19:13 AM

Winguh said:

Also, I see your point about waiting until I've got the entirety of my budget at one time to buy all my parts, that way I can also focus on possible bundle deals and price deductions.

It is also good to buy all the parts at once because if you buy certain parts way earlier than others, the exchange period will expire sooner. Also you want to find out about broken parts as soon as possible.
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