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First Gaming build. ~$900-$1000

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January 24, 2012 6:33:11 AM

Hey everyone,

I'm looking at building a gaming PC over the next few weeks that can handle current games on high settings and wanted some advice on my current build. I already have a 23" screen which runs at 1080p, keyboard and mouse, and have been able to get a couple of free SSD's from a friend (awesome, I know). I would prefer to cut down the overall price of the build if possible as well, I dropped the CPU HSF as I wont be overclocking straight away, although I plan on it in the future. Here is what I currently have (These are Australian prices from MSY fyi)

CPU: Intel Core i5 2500K $229
Mobo: Asrock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 $132
RAM: 8G Kit 1600 G.Skill Ripjaws-X $52
HDD1: BYO
SSD: BYO
GPU: 2G HD6950 Powercolor $269
Case: Coolermaster CM690 II Advanced $119
PSU: Corsair HX650 for $134
ODD: BYO
OS: OEM Win7 Home Premium $94

Total = $1029

The questions I have now is if there is a better mobo I could be using, I've been looking around and can't decide. The only real problem I have with this mobo is that the case I am looking at has front facing USB3.0 ports and from what I can gather this mobo cant make use of them.

I'm also tossing up between the Powercolor HD6950 2GB for $269 and the MSI GeForce GTX 560 Ti Twin Frozr II OC 1GB for $255, no idea which one would be better for me or if there is something better I should be looking at

Is this is the best case to be getting? Is there any reason that I should get this one over any cheaper ones, especially if they will work better with this mobo?

Last question is that is the PSU I'm using overkill? I want a modular one and wouldn't mind it being able to handle a Crossfire/Sli sometime in the future, although it definitely isnt necessary if I am going to save a reasonable amount on the PSU now.

Thanks everyone

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January 24, 2012 8:23:47 AM

The PSU is underkill if you wanted to go Sli. Bump up to 750 watts.

Powercolor is not very good, Choose Sapphire or MSI. The MSI 560 Ti is a good one. Also, most folks swear the 1gb AMD cards are better than the 2gb. If you look around, you should find some benchmarks to back this up.

Motherboard. Not really a fan of Asrock so my recommendation will be ASUS. It has connectors for front USB 3.0. Better quality than Asrock also. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Less costly ram choices - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...|20-231-428^20-231-428-TS%2C20-231-314^20-231-314-TS%2C20-231-416^20-231-416-TS

For a case, it is mostly a personal preference thing. The main thing you want in a gaming rig is a mid to full tower with good air flow. If you are going to do dual vid cards and overclocking, at least three 120mm fans is preferred.

Some lower cost cases that are pretty popular right now are: 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... , http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... , http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

There are even more, but I think you get the idea. Just be sure to check the internal specs to see that your chosen video card will fit, even dual cards.
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January 24, 2012 8:55:16 AM

If your case has good cable management and a place to hide the unused ones, you dont really need modular PSU.
Also with the mobo you dont need to get any "extreme" mobos or anything. Just get a solid chipset (p67/z68) and make sure it has everything else you need.
You dont need 1600mhz RAM, its sexy I know, because I wasted my own money on it, but it really dosn't do anything. Other than be sexy.
Yes, Toms did benchmarks where the 1GB 6950 was faster than the 2GB 6950, but if you get your hands on a 2GB Rev.1 6950 (with the bios switch) then it can be easily unlocked and OCed to a fully working 6970. But of course a Twin Forzer will have nice low temps, so it could be OCed also. I bought a nice 6950 2GB thinking to unlock it, but at 1080p theres really nothing it cant do.
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January 25, 2012 2:14:22 AM

Thanks, I upped the PSU to Antec TruePower 750 to make sure I have the power if I am going to Xfire/SLI.

Still cant decide on the GPU though. I'm tossing up between the
-MSI GeForce GTX 560 Ti Hawk 1GB for $275AUD
-MSI GeForce GTX 560 Ti Twin Frozr II OC 1GB for $255 AUD
-Powercolor 2GB HD6950 for $269.

The two MSI cards have a 3 year warranty while the Powercolor has a 2 year. I've read that the 560Ti run pretty loud but overclocks really well, even the Hawk can be OC'ed further, although I have never OC'ed anything before so I don't know if I would OC the hawk further.

The powercolor has the 2GB VRAM which gives me more headroom for mods etc and future proofing and it has the chance of the shaders unlocking to 6970 levels.

I really cant decide.......
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January 25, 2012 2:52:55 AM

I agree with earlier post about the asrock boards. Many people having problems with either memory slots not working or pci.e slots not working. I hear that when they work they are really good, but many people having to rma their boards.

I would stick with asus,or maybe an msi. The asus board linked earlier is a good one. If you want a real good one , go with one of these

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

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

If you like msi go with one of these

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

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

The asus boards are easier to set up but they are all good quality

Not all 560 ti are all that loud,Stear clear of zotac if the noise bothers you tho

EVGA and msi are good value and I like the asus cards as well.

If I went with MSI I would get either the Hawk or there is now a frozer III I saw somewhere. Nothing wrong with the frozer II just I think worth a little extra for the hawk.
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January 25, 2012 3:58:57 AM

On the video cards, the MSI Twin Frozr models are highly regarded for silence and overclock ability. I have sort of a baby Frozr 6670. Same style fans, but with different shroud, and no Frozr label. I have it overclocked to near 6770 levels using the MSI Afterburner software.
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January 25, 2012 4:00:13 AM

Thanks for the advice on the Mobo everyone, I'll have a think about which one I want to get.

Again with the GPU, im now having a look at the MSI Radeon HD6950 2GB Twin Frozr III PE/OC for $319. It has the extra year of warranty and the better cooling that the Hawk has, as well as being 2Gb, but it is $45 more expensive.
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January 26, 2012 10:58:40 AM

Ok, so after a bit more research I think I haev settled on this build. Decided to stay with the Asrock as I know alot of others who have had really good experiences with them and there isnt anything anywhere near the price with the same features. The 1600MHZ ram is only $4 more so I may as well get it.

CPU: Intel Core i5 2500K $229
Mobo: ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 $132
RAM: 8G Kit 1600 G.Skill Ripjaws-X $52
HDD: BYO
SSD: BYO
GPU: MSI GeForce GTX 560 Ti Hawk 1GB $275
Case: Coolermaster CM690 II Advanced $119
PSU: Antec TP-750 $137
ODD: BYO
OS: OEM Win7 Home Premium $94

Total = 1038

Anyone have any last pieces of advice or things I should change before going ahead with this?
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January 26, 2012 12:38:48 PM

Looks like it will work to me.
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January 26, 2012 3:19:02 PM

You will probably be ok with that build and even that mobo. I just have a hard time suggesting asrock to new builders is all. Keep in mind, there is a reason why the board costs so much less.
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