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$1000-$1500 Gaming System

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January 25, 2012 1:53:49 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: Second Week In February
Budget Range: Closer to $1000 unless spending more brings large gains in performance. Can go up to $1500 after rebates at max.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Watching movies, Surfing internet, Office productivity

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, Speakers, OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Microcenter.com (have one locally) and newegg.com

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: Intel CPU, Nvidia GPU

Overclocking: Yes

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1200

Additional Comments: Looking to get the best performance possible in this price range. Things that have little impact on performance I am not interested in.

This is how my build looks right now. I have a few questions about specific pieces of hardware that I will ask below.

Motherboard: ASRock Z68 Extreme4 Gen3
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
I decided to go with the Z68 chipset instead of the P67.

CPU: Intel Core i5 2500k
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper212 EVO
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
Any suggestions for a better cooler? I decided on the 212 after a very minimal amount of research so I am open to suggestions here.

Memory: 8GB Cosair Vengeance Series PC3-12800
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
Changed RAM based on advice in this thread.

Hard Drive: 120 GB Vertex 3 SSD
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

1TB Western Digital Caviar Blue
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
I will get more storage space when the price comes back down.

Case: Looking for suggestions here. Looks are not important. I can always get a flashy case down the road. Right now good air flow and low price are important. Bonus points for front USB 3.0 ports.

PSU: I really need help here. I know enough about PSU's to know that the cheap crap is garbage but I don't know what will be good for my setup and not be unnecesarily expensive.

Optical: LG 12x internal Blu Ray burner
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Video Card(s): ?

I am leaning twords getting a single GTX 580 over getting 2 GTX 560s simply because of the future upgradability if i only have one card.

I appreciate any response. I didn't think I had this many questions until I wrote this thread. I just want to make sure I can't milk any extra performance in this price range.
January 27, 2012 7:08:28 AM

Cannot really recommend Asrock boards. An ASUS or Gigabyte z68 board would be a better choice. Low or high end does not matter. Quality is just as good. USB 3.0 ports on the case is going to require same headers on the motherboard which will drive up the cost a bit.

8gb DDR3 1600 ram kit(2x4gb) would be just as good and optimal for Win 7 64 bit. The 3,6,12gb kits were really made for the old 1366 series Intel boards. Also, that tall Corsair ram will likely interfere with the cooler, and is really made just for looks. Best to stay with the lower profile stuff from Kingston, Corsair and Gskill.

PSU depends on card(s), but a 750-850 watt 80 plus bronze certified from Antec, Corsair, Seasonic, Silverstone, or XFX is preferred. Newegg has good prices right now. I would also check them on the other items except for processor.

Cases with USB 3.0 ports are a bit more expensive just like the motherboards that would support them. The Coolermaster HAF series, the Antec 300, CM 690, and similar mid to full towers from other makers are the most popular right now. Generally in the $50 to $70 range.

On the vid card, I would go to the 560 Ti or AMD equivalent as minimum. Here is Tom's chart to use as a guide. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car...
January 27, 2012 7:16:39 AM

It entirely depend on what board you get not on what some have had. Asrock is definitely a reputable brand.
Related resources
January 27, 2012 4:41:45 PM

Cleaned up original post a bit. I did a little research and took into consideration the advice given here and I have changed my selection slightly.
January 27, 2012 7:04:13 PM

For your heatsink: the tuniqu 120 extreme is the best performing heatsink for the money/noise. it is the quietest heatsink in the top 5 intel heatsinks.

also for RAM i like the GeIL Enhance CORSA 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600. it is tested at 1700 speeds for extra stability! and only ~ $42

Case: im partial to the Antec Three Hundred. ~ $60 it has great airflow. however if you want something a little bigger go with a COOLER MASTER Storm Scout ~ $90

GPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 7970 is THE BEST singe GPU VGA card out there better than the 580 in almost all games (if not all). it overclocks amazingly and can play every game at MAX settings 60+ FPS average. also down the road you can get a second one and since AMD's multi gpu scaling is near 100% you will almost instantly double your gaming capability for in 2-3 years when you might need a new card. These cards are a little pricey but perform twice as fast as a 6950 which is over half the price. deffinately worth the extra money since its a single card and WILL give you the performance you want for todays games.

PSU: Thermaltake TR2 RX 750W Bronze ~ $90 cheap efficient and enough headroom for a second 7970 down the road. its also modular so that you will get better airflow in your case.

the 7970 may push you a little over but the gains are perportional so i see it as worth it down the road.

And personally i think there is nothing wrong with ASUSROCK but the xtreme3 gen3 is cheaper and i think a better value.
!