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$900-1100 Gaming PC [First time builder]

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January 19, 2012 8:12:12 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: 1-3 months

Budget Range: preferably cheapest possible, $900-1100 before rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Purely for Gaming (BF3 and Skyrim on Ultra), Streaming, Office use.

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor(1920x1080) 24in, Speakers - Logitech THX cert., OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg,amazon, microcenter (silicon valley/santa clara)

Country: SF, California, USA

Parts Preferences: Intel i5 2500k, Nvidia 560ti or 570, a good wireless adapter card, low-profile 8gb RAM, Nzxt Phantom case or in general a GOOD case, z68 board

Overclocking: Yes

SLI or Crossfire: In the future where it will be required

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: Do I need a sound card? I am completely new to desktops and I currently use an Asus G73JW. As for the GPU why are there so many versions of the 560ti. I apologize for people that see/answer so many of these threads, but I tried to pick and choose from others and ended up confusing myself. I do not require an SSD, I will be content with a regular HDD. As for the i5 2500k I may get a discount bigger than a microcenter since I have relatives working for intel.

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More about : 900 1100 gaming time builder

January 19, 2012 8:47:50 AM

Check the $1000 build in my sig. Swap out the case for a NZXT Phantom. That's a pretty good case.

You wouldn't need a sound card unless you are into professional audio stuff. Modern motherboards have good enough hardware built into them for general use and gaming.

The numerous versions of graphics cards has to do with the different manufacturers and the various different tweaks everyone gives them, from custom coolers to factory overclocking.
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January 19, 2012 8:53:48 AM

Ty for the simplicity. Is the 650w good enough for two 560ti in the future? and can you recommend me an evga 560ti, I have seen so many idk which to choose. As for the ram what's the major difference from your listed ram to a low-profile ram?
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January 19, 2012 9:01:11 AM

You don't need a sound card, the build in sound is reasonable on motherboards.
If for some reason you are not happy with it, then you can invest in a soundcard, but hear it out first.

Well actually in the range you listed there are 3 cards: 560Ti ( and various overclocked versions of it ), 560TI 448 core ( and various overclocked version of it ) and the 570 ( and various overclocked versions of it )

560TI 448 and 570 are very close in performance and thus the one you get cheaper would be the way to go.

CPU: i5 2500k
CPU cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212+ or better $25->
Memory: 2x4GB 1.5V CAS9 1600MHz Corsair, Gskill, Kingston or Mushkin <$50
Mobo: MSI Z68A-GD65 Gen3 or Asus P8Z68-V (or Pro) Gen3 $200
GPU: Gigabyte 560TI 448 core ~$300 would probably go with this one for best cooling
Case: Phantom, Corsair 600T, 650D etc $120-$150
PSU: XFX Core Pro 850W $120 ( $90 after rebates ) ( Corsair HX850 if you want something really good $160 )
DVD: Asus 24x DVD-writer $20
HDD: WD blue 500GB $99 / Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB $159.99 ( might get these cheaper elsewhere, the prices are pretty bad at the moment )

$964 with XFX core pro and 500GB HDD, leaves you however much the CPU is.

Just a thought though that instead of getting the HDD ask your relative how good a price you could get on a 250GB intel 510 SSD.
The 250GB should be plenty for a few games and would be madly faster than the HDD.

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January 19, 2012 9:21:52 AM

Ill probably have something along the lines of this:

CPU: i5 2500k ($180 microcenter)
CPU cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 ($25)
Memory: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ($50)
Mobo: Asus or MSI check below (idk the difference) ($160 msi or $200+ asus)
GPU: If I were to SLI in the future isn't it better if I get a regular evga sc 560ti or 570? (560ti $250)
Case: Im leaning towards this HAF http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Tower-RC-922M-KKN1-...
OR http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0055Q7BR4/ref=as_li_s...
^Will the CM Hyper 212 fit in that? (case $100+)
PSU: XFX Core Pro 850w ($90)
DVD: Asus 24x DVD-writer ($20)
HDD: I will find out how much I can get for a 250gb SSD, if not im going for a 500gb seagate barracuda 7200 rpm ($120+)

Total so far: $995 (cheapest possible + rebates)


I apologize for the lack of PC knowledge, but aren't SSD for gaming usually just used for booting up faster? Would it be viable if I got a 64gb crucial m4 SSD along with a 500gb HDD instead of just a 250gb SSD. I plan to also use the HDD for music storage.

Since I am new to building PCs, I want to make sure everything "fits" prior from purchasing. Any wireless adapter cards? Or is that on the mobo? (I've always been a laptop user sorry lol)

Whats the difference between these two:
1. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005GKY33E/ref=as_li_s...
2. http://www.amazon.com/ASUS-LGA-1155-Motherboards-P8Z68-...
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January 19, 2012 2:20:03 PM

Memory looks good.

Either case works fine, and the 212+ will fit.

As for the differences between the mobo's they are quite equal in what you would be using them for, check out the specifications for exact differences.
On a quick glance the Asus offers slightly better connectivity with more USB ports available. But doesn't have the PS2 connector used by older keyboards and mice.
Although USB ones are easily available now and very common. Either mobo will do to you what you want.

Also check out possible combo sales at microcenter for either mobo, they have had some nice ones.

Well if you have deep enough pockets SSD's can be used for everything. However it does have some added benefit if you can install your games on the SSD as well.
But on a budget 64GB crucial and a 500GB HDD is a good way to go. However, you will be fine with only the HDD.

But with the current pricing on HDD's $100+, it is at times better to just get a slightly bigger SSD than the combo. As the pricing is not much different and the speed is just something else :) 

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January 19, 2012 4:08:50 PM

The 560ti 448 are a limited edition card. So if you are going to SLI it would be better to get 2 at once since they wont be around. you could always Crossfire 2 Radeon HD 6950. like this MSI HD 6950 1gb/oc Power Edition

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

I own this card and love it. Runs Skyrim on ultra and BF3 on high with some AA turned down but u can crossfire 2 of them and max out BF3 and it will be around 480 bucks or u could get crazy and triple crossfire 3 of them for what 2 560ti 448 will cost
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January 19, 2012 4:39:31 PM

exhell said:
Approximate Purchase Date: 1-3 months

Budget Range: preferably cheapest possible, $900-1100 before rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Purely for Gaming (BF3 and Skyrim on Ultra), Streaming, Office use.

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor(1920x1080) 24in, Speakers - Logitech THX cert., OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg,amazon, microcenter (silicon valley/santa clara)

Country: SF, California, USA

Parts Preferences: Intel i5 2500k, Nvidia 560ti or 570, a good wireless adapter card, low-profile 8gb RAM, Nzxt Phantom case or in general a GOOD case, z68 board

Overclocking: Yes

SLI or Crossfire: In the future where it will be required

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: Do I need a sound card? I am completely new to desktops and I currently use an Asus G73JW. As for the GPU why are there so many versions of the 560ti. I apologize for people that see/answer so many of these threads, but I tried to pick and choose from others and ended up confusing myself. I do not require an SSD, I will be content with a regular HDD. As for the i5 2500k I may get a discount bigger than a microcenter since I have relatives working for intel.

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I was in a similar situation as you about 2 months ago when prices were 10% higher. Here is what i built for around $1350-$1400. I think it will prevent you from making common mistakes.

Asus P8p67 Pro
NZXT Phantom full tower
CM 212+ cooler
OCZ Vertex 3 Max iops 120gb
Intel I5 2500k (overclocked to 4.5ghz)
Sapphire Toxic 6950 2gb x2 (both unlocked to 6970 and clocked at 6970 speeds)
PSU- PC power cooling 950W
Ram- Gskill sniper 2x4gb=8gb @ 1600mhz. CL9

Never pay extra for some fancy motherboard. get something in the middle because it all performs the same.

Asrock p67 extreme 4 or Asus p67 Pro or EVo can be had for around $160. NO need for gen 3 its pointless (0% performance increase) . And Z68 is only useful for intel quick sync...the cache thing is pointless.

Processor- i5 2500k is plenty for gaming and once overclocked is not going to bottleneck

if you have a microcenter nearby you can get both for under $300. Even Frys has the motherboards for $145ish sometimes.

Cooler- CM 212+ gets you to 4.5ghz..no issues...raise vcore of CPU to 1.35v -$25-$30

Ram- get the cheapest ram that is 2x4gb and runs at 1600mhz with 8 or 9 cas latency. $25-$30

GPU- Get 2x 6950s 2gb or 2x 570SLI (galaxy cards are for $270 sometimes on newegg)- $500-550ish total. You shouldn't make a $1100+ PC that doesn't have dual graphic cards this powerful. You will need it for ultra gameplay in bf3 and skyrim @1080p and 60fps. Also for GPU, you might be better off waiting for 7870. Its due in 1 month.

PSU- Spend no more than $100 newegg often does shellshockers on OCZ 850W PSU. It can easily handle your entire system overclocked. You can even get a 1000W for $100-$110. Main thing is to make sure the 12v rail has 70+amps for 850W and 80+Amps for 1000W. DO NOT pay for the 80+ stickers..they mean nothing. Manufacturers can cherry pick a good sample and get it rated to earn the sticker.

Case- This is a personal matter but anything above $110-$120 is money spent on looks and not functionality that affects gaming. The new cougar case, or CM 690 or NZXT phantom and many more will do just fine.

Sum it all up at the highest prices and you will be under $1100 because I spent $210 on Vertex 3 max Iops and I didn't use all of Micro's coupons. Oh and 1 very important thing about microcenter. I built 2 systems in Oct and Nov 2011. When you buy a motherboard and CPU combo with their mafia pricing :) .....after 1 week you will get an email on the account you bought the stuff under...the email will have 20% off coupons for PSU, memory, video card, and Case. This coupon can only be viewed once and you better print it at that time..otherwise it goes away...but the 20% off is too damn good...you can buy a Zotac GTX 580 for under $350 ...its valid for 1 purchase only but you can try using it on 2 people's account..lol get a friend or someone to go separately.

Last suggestions..stay away from GTX 560ti...its an overrated card because it overclocks nicely so people get excited...the GTX 570 or 6950 should be your minimum choice if you care about playing on ultra.
Hope this helps.
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January 19, 2012 7:49:40 PM

dharmenparikh said:
I was in a similar situation as you about 2 months ago when prices were 10% higher. Here is what i built for around $1350-$1400. I think it will prevent you from making common mistakes.

Asus P8p67 Pro
NZXT Phantom full tower
CM 212+ cooler
OCZ Vertex 3 Max iops 120gb
Intel I5 2500k (overclocked to 4.5ghz)
Sapphire Toxic 6950 2gb x2 (both unlocked to 6970 and clocked at 6970 speeds)
PSU- PC power cooling 950W
Ram- Gskill sniper 2x4gb=8gb @ 1600mhz. CL9

Never pay extra for some fancy motherboard. get something in the middle because it all performs the same.

Asrock p67 extreme 4 or Asus p67 Pro or EVo can be had for around $160. NO need for gen 3 its pointless (0% performance increase) . And Z68 is only useful for intel quick sync...the cache thing is pointless.

Processor- i5 2500k is plenty for gaming and once overclocked is not going to bottleneck

if you have a microcenter nearby you can get both for under $300. Even Frys has the motherboards for $145ish sometimes.

Cooler- CM 212+ gets you to 4.5ghz..no issues...raise vcore of CPU to 1.35v -$25-$30

Ram- get the cheapest ram that is 2x4gb and runs at 1600mhz with 8 or 9 cas latency. $25-$30

GPU- Get 2x 6950s 2gb or 2x 570SLI (galaxy cards are for $270 sometimes on newegg)- $500-550ish total. You shouldn't make a $1100+ PC that doesn't have dual graphic cards this powerful. You will need it for ultra gameplay in bf3 and skyrim @1080p and 60fps. Also for GPU, you might be better off waiting for 7870. Its due in 1 month.

PSU- Spend no more than $100 newegg often does shellshockers on OCZ 850W PSU. It can easily handle your entire system overclocked. You can even get a 1000W for $100-$110. Main thing is to make sure the 12v rail has 70+amps for 850W and 80+Amps for 1000W. DO NOT pay for the 80+ stickers..they mean nothing. Manufacturers can cherry pick a good sample and get it rated to earn the sticker.

Case- This is a personal matter but anything above $110-$120 is money spent on looks and not functionality that affects gaming. The new cougar case, or CM 690 or NZXT phantom and many more will do just fine.

Sum it all up at the highest prices and you will be under $1100 because I spent $210 on Vertex 3 max Iops and I didn't use all of Micro's coupons. Oh and 1 very important thing about microcenter. I built 2 systems in Oct and Nov 2011. When you buy a motherboard and CPU combo with their mafia pricing :) .....after 1 week you will get an email on the account you bought the stuff under...the email will have 20% off coupons for PSU, memory, video card, and Case. This coupon can only be viewed once and you better print it at that time..otherwise it goes away...but the 20% off is too damn good...you can buy a Zotac GTX 580 for under $350 ...its valid for 1 purchase only but you can try using it on 2 people's account..lol get a friend or someone to go separately.

Last suggestions..stay away from GTX 560ti...its an overrated card because it overclocks nicely so people get excited...the GTX 570 or 6950 should be your minimum choice if you care about playing on ultra.
Hope this helps.


Hey Dharmen (and everyone else!)

What do you think of this mobo?

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

I am building a system very much like the OP and want to make sure I don't over/underspend.

Also, do you think I should wait and go for that microcenter coupon to use on a 580? I was thinking a 570 before, but if I can just get a 580 for about the same, why not?
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January 19, 2012 8:05:52 PM

Yea thats a good motherboard. Its damn cheap too thats really good. I would say ask the microcenter sales guys if they still send out that coupon..those guys are helpful. If they say yes then definitely get a GTX 580...or if you wait 2-3weeks..you might get your hands on a 7870/7950/7970 at a discount too.
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January 20, 2012 4:03:18 AM

Mhmmm, I'll probably get a single 570 and get that MSI mobo at $160. I will list a final build after I do more research and have more time, but so far everyone has contributed really good info, thanks!


EDIT:

Here's my final build, can you guys check? Thanks in advance!

CPU: i5 2500K ($180 Microcenter)
Mobo: MSI Z68 GD65 G3 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005GKY33E/ref=as_li_s... ($160) or Asrock z68 extreme3 gen 3 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ($121)
PSU: Is 700W sufficient for OCing or future sli? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ($60) or XFX 850w http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ($90)
CPU Cooler: CM Hyper+ 212 http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Hyper-Sleeve-RR-B10... ($27)
GPU: EVGA 570 SC http://www.amazon.com/EVGA-Superclocked-Lifetime-Warran... ($350)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance low profile 2x4GB(8gb) http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Vengeance-Profile-PC3-128... ($50)
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 1tb 7200RPM http://www.amazon.com/Barracuda-7200RPM-Cache-3-5-Inch-... ($130)
DVD: Asus 24x Drive http://www.amazon.com/Asus-24xDVD±RW-24x8x16x-48x32x48x-DRW-24B1ST/dp/B0033Z2BAQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1327050653&sr=1-1 ($22)
CASE: Corsair carbide 400r http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Carbide-Tower-Gaming-Comp... ($90)

I believe that's all. I will also need to get a wireless pci card.
Total is around $1050-1100
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January 20, 2012 10:07:07 AM

exhell said:
Mhmmm, I'll probably get a single 570 and get that MSI mobo at $160. I will list a final build after I do more research and have more time, but so far everyone has contributed really good info, thanks!


EDIT:

Here's my final build, can you guys check? Thanks in advance!

CPU: i5 2500K ($180 Microcenter)
Mobo: MSI Z68 GD65 G3 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005GKY33E/ref=as_li_s... ($160) or Asrock z68 extreme3 gen 3 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ($121)
PSU: Is 700W sufficient for OCing or future sli? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ($60) or XFX 850w http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ($90)
CPU Cooler: CM Hyper+ 212 http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Hyper-Sleeve-RR-B10... ($27)
GPU: EVGA 570 SC http://www.amazon.com/EVGA-Superclocked-Lifetime-Warran... ($350)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance low profile 2x4GB(8gb) http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Vengeance-Profile-PC3-128... ($50)
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 1tb 7200RPM http://www.amazon.com/Barracuda-7200RPM-Cache-3-5-Inch-... ($130)
DVD: Asus 24x Drive http://www.amazon.com/Asus-24xDVD±RW-24x8x16x-48x32x48x-DRW-24B1ST/dp/B0033Z2BAQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1327050653&sr=1-1 ($22)
CASE: Corsair carbide 400r http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Carbide-Tower-Gaming-Comp... ($90)

I believe that's all. I will also need to get a wireless pci card.
Total is around $1050-1100


Your build is good but you can still improve and squeeze out more money. Your motherboard...why are you getting it from newegg? Microcenter gives you 50$ off if you buy the CPU too. You can get the MSI Z68A-G45 for under $85 or Asrock p67 extreme 4 for $100+tax or Asus p67 pro for $100+tax.

PSu is good, cooler is good...although get the cooler now because its for $20 at newegg with promocode...For Memory you can get patriot and other brands for $25-$30...8gb 1600mhz Cas9 or 8...it all performs the same and has the same chance of durability...

Now for the harddrive..do you really need 1tb? don't you have a previous harddrive that can be reused? I ask because for $130 you can get a 120gb OCz agility 3 or Corsair Force 3 when its on sale at newegg or frys....and trust me..it is insanely fast compared to any hdd.

For your case...the 400R is good but its overpriced...you can get a CM 690 II or Cougar Evolution for less than $80 sometimes.

Also as I mentioned in the prior post when you buy a CPU and mobo at Microcenter...they send you 20% off coupons...use those to get the case, memory, and for video card they often have a Zotac GTX 580 for 429 -30 rebate....if you do 20% off on that with tax it comes to $350...so get that instead of GTX 570.
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January 20, 2012 9:41:22 PM

I will take your advice and go with the microcenter! However, I want a mobo that can be compatible with the Ivy Bridge when they come out. Which one is compatible that you listed? Thanks in advance! And for previous HDD, I have a laptop; Asus G73jw. I am eventually going to sell it for $800+, but I am leaving the HDDs.
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January 20, 2012 9:50:01 PM

I assume it's the santa clara one, they list ASUS P8Z68-V/GEN3 LGA 1155 Z68 ATX Intel and ASUS P8Z68-V PRO /GEN3 LGA 1155 Z68 ATX Intel
Which works with the $50 discount bringing it down to $134.99 and would be then $25 more for the PRO model.

So $340.97 to me after tax for i5 2500k and ASUS P8Z68-V/GEN3 LGA 1155 Z68 ATX Intel
So that is probably your best bet, unless you want the extra connectivity of the PRO model
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January 20, 2012 9:51:27 PM

The ASRock ones are.
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January 20, 2012 10:03:05 PM

Oh boy, so many choices...Well I am going to keep an eye open for deals. Hopefully within a month or two I will jump on everything and finally move onto Desktop gaming rather than sticking with my Asus g73jw.

Prices so far look like they will hit around 1060-1100. I just need to find a way to sell my laptop now, it performs great for BF3 and Skyrim, but I want to get a desktop.
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