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Help on building a gaming computer for around $800

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January 17, 2012 3:35:04 AM

Hi,
Me and my brother are planning on building a computer over the summer.
We have little to no experience in the more technical aspects of building a computer (I.E what motherboards to use etc...). So we came here.
The computer would be built primarily for gaming (civ V, WoW, and other mmos/steam games). So far all we know to use are:
Intel i5 2500
500gb SSD
and about 6-8gb of RAM,
What we need to know is pretty much what other parts we need to get and good brands/specifics on each item. And some build tips would be very appreciated. And hopefully for around $800-ish.

Thanks,
Joe Esco
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
a c 247 4 Gaming
a b Ý World of Warcraft
January 17, 2012 4:07:27 AM

First off fill this out first and then we can better assist you: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261222-31-build-advic...

Although I will tell you that a 500GB SSD will be like 90% of your budget. You want a 64GB and maybe a 1TB secondary storage solution. But even that's a lot for an $800 budget. :lol: 
January 18, 2012 12:48:36 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: Early summer/mid spring

Budget Range:around $800
System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming, schoolwork, internet, multimedia.

Parts Not Required: Mouse/keyoard

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Bestbuy.com/Newegg.com

Country: U.S.A.

Parts Preferences: Intel i5 2500 processor, no other preferences really.

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: No idea

Monitor Resolution: No idea

Additional Comments: Just a simple computer build, great for gaming and everyday use.
Related resources
January 18, 2012 2:28:42 AM

You need to decide what you are willing to spend more money on and what you're willing to hold back on. For instance, you could be modest with ssd size and go for a large high resolution monitor for $300 instead. It depends on what really matters to you, video card, hdd/ssd size, monitor size, cpu power etc.

For the best bang for the buck, I would recommend the i5 2500k over the 2500. It's just a little more but if you overclock it you can gain a 30% increase in GHz easily.
Look in your local ads in addition to online sites. I bought an i5 2500k and a compatible motherboard for $270 when if I bought it on newegg would cost $370.
I would get a z68 socket motherboard, one capable of sli/crossfire (multiple video cards) and raid support. Tom's has a lot of great info on which video cards/ssds etc are the best in your price range, just search in the articles tab of the site. I think the 560ti would be a good fit for your budget, or if you wanted to go a little lower the 6850. You just need the ssd to load apps and put your OS on, so I recommend somewhere around 90gb or less. Make sure you get a reliable power supply, I'd say around 750watts, and you're set :p 
January 18, 2012 2:46:23 AM

Ok, thanks. And are there any build tips I should know? this is my first time building a computer. Also, I am probably more willing to spend money on the processor, motherboard, and cpu power. Since it is for gaming I would prefer a pretty high powered video card. I only need about GB of space on it. The monitor does not really matter because I may be able to use my old tv as one. And I meant the i5 2500k, I just forgot the "k" at the end =D.
January 18, 2012 2:59:48 AM

jjesco5 said:
Ok, thanks. And are there any build tips I should know? this is my first time building a computer. Also, I am probably more willing to spend money on the processor, motherboard, and cpu power. Since it is for gaming I would prefer a pretty high powered video card. I only need about GB of space on it. The monitor does not really matter because I may be able to use my old tv as one. And I meant the i5 2500k, I just forgot the "k" at the end =D.



Double check that all of your parts are compatible with each other. As in make sure your power supply is reliable/can meet your video card's requirements, make sure your motherboard socket supports your cpu, if you buy an ssd try and get a motherboard with sata 6gb/s capabilities and perhaps raid as well. As for putting the computer together itself it's not hard at all. Just match the wires with the sockets :p 
The most important part will be putting the cpu into the motherboard/ installing the heatsink. And that reminded me, buy a second heat sink, don't use the stock one that it comes with unless you don't plan on overclocking. For around $800 it would be kind of tight, but you could do something like this.

2500k $200
Z68 motherboard with sata 6gb connections and raid capability $100
Nvidia 560ti $240
Two 60 gb raid 0 sata 6gb/s ssd's $160
750watt PSU $100

Can you use the dvd drive/ hard drives from your old computer to use in your new one? It would help with costs.
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
a c 247 4 Gaming
a b Ý World of Warcraft
January 18, 2012 6:11:34 PM

Quote:

2500k $200
Z68 motherboard with sata 6gb connections and raid capability $100
Nvidia 560ti $240
Two 60 gb raid 0 sata 6gb/s ssd's $160
750watt PSU $100


Why would you go RAID 0 with 60GB SSDs? You will not hold anything with those drives as a Windows install takes 16GB and each game anywhere from 8GB (Skyrim) to 25GB (BF3). I know drive prices are completely ridiculous right now but it'd be far better and have less room for failure if you went with a 64GB as your boot drive and then a 500 - 1TB as your secondary. Maybe go with a 64GB Crucial M4 ($109) and a Caviar Green 1TB ($129) and then put the extra $40 into getting the EVGA Superclocked 560TI.

And you're not going to find a 750W PSU for $100 (the Corsair TX750 runs $120 and the Silencer MKII runs about $140). Maybe drop that to a 600W and then use the difference on getting the Gigabyte Z68XP-UD3H ($159).

January 18, 2012 6:31:27 PM

g-unit1111 said:
Quote:

2500k $200
Z68 motherboard with sata 6gb connections and raid capability $100
Nvidia 560ti $240
Two 60 gb raid 0 sata 6gb/s ssd's $160
750watt PSU $100


Why would you go RAID 0 with 60GB SSDs? You will not hold anything with those drives as a Windows install takes 16GB and each game anywhere from 8GB (Skyrim) to 25GB (BF3). I know drive prices are completely ridiculous right now but it'd be far better and have less room for failure if you went with a 64GB as your boot drive and then a 500 - 1TB as your secondary. Maybe go with a 64GB Crucial M4 ($109) and a Caviar Green 1TB ($129) and then put the extra $40 into getting the EVGA Superclocked 560TI.

And you're not going to find a 750W PSU for $100 (the Corsair TX750 runs $120 and the Silencer MKII runs about $140). Maybe drop that to a 600W and then use the difference on getting the Gigabyte Z68XP-UD3H ($159).



I don't see why you couldn't hold anything in those drives? As you said, 20gb reserved for windows, that still leaves you with like 90gb. You don't need to store movies/music or whatever in those drives, just applications. Now, you still may want not do raid 0 because of possible failure, but I'd just keep an image backup of you OS. The speed improvement in raid 0 in my opinion is worth the risk, however it isn't to some.

As for the prices of the ssd's/hdd's/psu's, I've seen much better than what you're listing. I just bought two Corsair force gt 60gb ssds for 70 dollars each. Now they're not as highly rated as the m4's, but in my opinion worth it for the price. Hard drive prices are at an all time high now, I remember last year seeing 1tb drives for $70, that's why I don't necessarily advise buying one now if you don't need it. Regarding the psu, I know for a fact that microcenter was running an ad just a few months ago with the corsair tx750 for 90 after rebate, and that's what I was going off of. That's why I was saying make sure check around in local stores before you buy online, a lot of times you can find amazing deals locally.
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
a c 247 4 Gaming
a b Ý World of Warcraft
January 18, 2012 7:35:26 PM

Quote:
I don't see why you couldn't hold anything in those drives? As you said, 20gb reserved for windows, that still leaves you with like 90gb. You don't need to store movies/music or whatever in those drives, just applications. Now, you still may want not do raid 0 because of possible failure, but I'd just keep an image backup of you OS. The speed improvement in raid 0 in my opinion is worth the risk, however it isn't to some.


In such a low cost build I honestly don't think it'd be worth the risk. On a higher end build I'd say go for it but RAID does have a tendency to produce a much higher fail rate than if you were to do separate hard drives.

I don't really tend to recommend it either for a gaming build especially if you're like me and have a sizable Steam collection you'll definitely want to play more than a few of those at a time. :lol: 

Quote:
As for the prices of the ssd's/hdd's/psu's, I've seen much better than what you're listing. I just bought two Corsair force gt 60gb ssds for 70 dollars each . Now they're not as highly rated as the m4's, but in my opinion worth it for the price. Hard drive prices are at an all time high now, I remember last year seeing 1tb drives for $70, that's why I don't necessarily advise buying one now if you don't need it. Regarding the psu, I know for a fact that microcenter was running an ad just a few months ago with the corsair tx750 for 90 after rebate, and that's what I was going off of. That's why I was saying make sure check around in local stores before you buy online, a lot of times you can find amazing deals locally.


Yeah hard drive prices are insane right now. I was lucky that I scored my Spinpoint for $60 in a Newegg shocker deal last year (I got the drive after I first started reading Tom's and they came so highly recommended... :lol:  ), I had no idea they'd shoot up that high that quickly because of the floods. You can get a 1TB slower hard drive like a Caviar Green for around $120 but I'm not sure if that deal is still good or not. I also scored my M4 in a similar Newegg shocker deal for like $90.

The TX750 is a good PSU, I run two of them in separate systems and I've had no problems with them except for maybe a dead connector or two. I also run a CX430 in my parents' HTPC and that has been running rather smoothly as well.
January 18, 2012 10:53:13 PM

Ok, right now, this is currently what I am planning on using:
(Im not sure about the whole hard drive/ssd thing, I got kind of confused about all that.)
8GB RAM
I5 2500k Intel processor
Corsair HX Professional Series 750-Watt 80 Plus Certified Power Supply Compatible with Core i7 and Core i5 - CMPSU-750HX

Asus P8Z68-V LGA 1155 Intel Z68 4Xddr3ATX Motherboard w/Bluetooth
GeForce GTX 560 Ti

I don't think I am missing anything but the cooling systems, case, and hard drive(s). I am 90% sure that they are all compatible but i'm not completely sure.
January 19, 2012 7:59:32 PM

Yeah they're all compatible with each other. Might I ask, how much are you getting the motherboard for? I was looking in the deals for microcenter and saw that they have a great combo with the 2500k and a motherboard. If you have one near you, I highly suggest looking into it. The price for the 2500k is $180, and in the combo deal you get the z68x gigabyte ud3h-b3 motherboard for $100. The board usually sells for much more, it's $160 on new egg right now, and is rated very well.

Look around for ram deals online/in stores, you should be able to get 1600 8gb ram for less than $40 dollars, sometimes way less than that.
The PSU you chose is good, you could look at the COOLER MASTER Silent Pro Gold Series RS800-80GAD3-US 800W modular power supply as well, it may be a little better as it's 80 PLUS GOLD while the corsair one is silver. You may want to look at some more sites, if you can find another silver/gold rated one for less I would get it instead.

And you will also need a cd drive (perhaps?) unless you have one. Make sure it is compatible with the mothherboard you buy though. Some of the new ones only support sata connection.
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
a c 247 4 Gaming
a b Ý World of Warcraft
January 19, 2012 10:15:44 PM

Quote:
The PSU you chose is good, you could look at the COOLER MASTER Silent Pro Gold Series RS800-80GAD3-US 800W modular power supply as well, it may be a little better as it's 80 PLUS GOLD while the corsair one is silver. You may want to look at some more sites, if you can find another silver/gold rated one for less I would get it instead.


I have not been hearing good things about the Silent Pro Gold series - apparently the "gold certification" on them and the OEM are very questionable reliability.

Quote:
And you will also need a cd drive (perhaps?) unless you have one. Make sure it is compatible with the mothherboard you buy though. Some of the new ones only support sata connection.


I don't think anyone has an IDE drive anymore and if you don't a SATA drive is only $18.

Quote:
Yeah they're all compatible with each other. Might I ask, how much are you getting the motherboard for? I was looking in the deals for microcenter and saw that they have a great combo with the 2500k and a motherboard. If you have one near you, I highly suggest looking into it. The price for the 2500k is $180, and in the combo deal you get the z68x gigabyte ud3h-b3 motherboard for $100. The board usually sells for much more, it's $160 on new egg right now, and is rated very well.


You got to remember that Micro Center is not available to everyone. If there's one by where you live that's fine but I really hesitate to recommend their in-store deals because they're not available to everyone.
January 20, 2012 12:28:26 AM

I'm not sure on the prices of everything yet, I am still looking into my local stores and websites before I define where I am buying the gear.
January 20, 2012 1:52:49 AM

I have a dvd/cd drive that is my brother old one that he used with his old laptop. Its a Dell something. I think It will work as my cd/dvd drive. And I don't have a micro center (I don't think in Albuquerque NM). Do you guys recommend any cases to use? And cooling systems too? And Can you give me some more information about the SSD? like Do I need one 90gb one for the install then a 500gb one for everything else?
January 24, 2012 1:55:29 AM

*UPDATE*
After asking around doing a bit of research, this is what we have decided on using:

Hard drive:
HITACHI HDS721050CLA362 (0F10381) 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

Processor: (comes with mobo below)
Motherboard:
MSI P67A-C43 B3 Intel P67 Motherboard and Intel Core i5-2500K 3.30GHz Quad-Core Unlocked CPU Bundle

(processor/mobo, tigerdirect.com)

PSU:
Corsair HX Professional Series 750-Watt 80 Plus Certified Power Supply Compatible with Core i7 and Core i5 - CMPSU-750HX


Video Card:
EVGA GeForce GTX 560 1024 MB GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 2DVI/Mini-HDMI SLI Ready Graphics Card, 01G-P3-1460-KR (video card, amazon.com)

RAM:
Patriot Gamer 2 Series Division 2 Edition DDR3 8 GB PC3-12800 1600MHz 9-9-9-24 for Intel P67 Using Core i5 Core i7 Memory Modules PGD38G1600ELK (RAM, Amazon)

Case:
XION Classic Series LED ATX Steel Mid Tower PC Case XON-EC001-BK - Retail (Black/Red) (case, Amazon.com)

Fans/other:
NZXT 140mm Performance Case Fan FN 140RB (Black/White) (fan, Amazon.com)
Silverstone FF141B 140mm Fan Filter with Magnet (Black) (filter, Newegg.com)
Trendnet TEW-643PI Wireless N PCI Adapter (wireless adapter, Tigerdirect.com
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
a c 247 4 Gaming
a b Ý World of Warcraft
January 24, 2012 2:09:04 AM

It's slightly better. These would be my recommendations:

Quote:
XION Classic Series LED ATX Steel Mid Tower PC Case XON-EC001-BK - Retail (Black/Red) (case, Amazon.com)


Awful case - we use these where I work and upgrading and replacing parts on these is extremely difficult.

Quote:

Fans/other:
NZXT 140mm Performance Case Fan FN 140RB (Black/White) (fan, Amazon.com)
Silverstone FF141B 140mm Fan Filter with Magnet (Black) (filter, Newegg.com)


Ditch these and invest the money you would be spending on extra fans on getting a case with better air flow - maybe something like this:
- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Quote:

Hard drive:
HITACHI HDS721050CLA362 (0F10381) 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive


Hitachi hard drives are very questionable reliability at best. This would be a better suggestion: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Quote:

Processor: (comes with mobo below)
Motherboard:
MSI P67A-C43 B3 Intel P67 Motherboard and Intel Core i5-2500K 3.30GHz Quad-Core Unlocked CPU Bundle


And MSI boards are also very questionable reliability. The combo deals don't really save you a ton of money and limit your options. This would be a far better choice: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

January 24, 2012 2:41:12 AM

Ok, and with the Corsair case, I wont need an extra fan right?
January 27, 2012 2:57:21 AM

You could probably deal with a lower wattage PSU also, I don't believe you would need 750 watts.
January 27, 2012 3:44:33 AM

Ok, so what would be a good wattage?
January 27, 2012 5:43:38 AM

750w is definitely too much, i'd say around 600-650w ( even that may be too much, my friend runs gtx 560 ti + Phenom II x4 960t with seasonic ss-520gm, he hasn't had any problems at all ). I use Corsair TX650 in my PC that is almost the same as the one you plan to buy. It works like a charm. And get the 560 Ti, not the 560 non-ti. The difference is big. If you can't afford the ti, i suggest you buy Sapphire Radeon HD 6870, only 145$ at newegg and matches/beats gtx 560 in games.
January 28, 2012 1:33:13 AM

Ok. I think I now have my final list of parts:

Hard drive:
Seagate Barracuda ST500DM002 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
(Hard drive, Newegg)
Processor:
Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 3000 BX80623I52500K
(processor, Newegg.com)
Motherboard:
GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
(mobo, newegg.com)
PSU:
DiabloTek PHD650 ATX Power Supply - 650W, 140mm Fan, 20+4 Pin
(amazon, PSU)
Video Card:
SAPPHIRE 100314-3L Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
(video card, newegg.com)
RAM:
Patriot Gamer 2 Series Division 2 Edition DDR3 8 GB PC3-12800 1600MHz 9-9-9-24 for Intel P67 Using Core i5 Core i7 Memory Modules PGD38G1600ELK (RAM, Amazon)
Case:
Corsair Carbide Series 400R Graphite grey and black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Gaming Case
(Case, Newegg)
Fans/other:
Trendnet TEW-643PI Wireless N PCI Adapter (wireless adapter, Tigerdirect.com
The best part is! it comes out to $849.92!!!
!