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$1000 Gaming Computer, first build.

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January 26, 2012 4:19:08 AM

I'm looking to upgrade from this HP Pavillion dv2000 that I'm using right now, and I want a computer that will last me quite a few years (6-10 maybe?). I would like to be able to run games like Battlefield 3 and Team Fortress 2 at a decent FPS, and the graphics quality does not have to be at ultra, I just want it to be reliable and effective for a long time. Also, running multiple programs at once would be awesome. This would be my first build, so any tips and recommendations (what to do, what not to do) would be much appreciated.



Approximate Purchase Date: Within a few months

Budget Range: About $1000-$1200 if necessary (only for computer parts+case, not additional things like monitor, keyboard, and OS), before rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, searching internet and YouTube, editing programs (like Sony Vegas and Adobe Photoshop), and school work (just Microsoft Office).

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, and operating system. I will list the ones I've chosen below and if you think changes should happen I'll do my best to include those.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I've been looking at my parts on newegg, but I suppose any trusted site will work.

Parts Preferences: No huge preference, but I would like the ability to upgrade with relatively similar components in the next few years.

Overclocking: Probably not, no.

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe, not sure what that even is...

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 definately.

Additional Comments: Another thing to mention is I want to be running Windows 7 64bit. I'll list the parts I have looked at so far below, along with my concerns and preferences.



The parts I'm looking at are below...

Motherboard:
GIGABYTE GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68
I have serious doubts about choosing this motherboard, as I read that it doesn't have some sort of USB 3.0 thing. I would like one that is about the same as this, while also making sure it has the correct interface to connect with ALL of the other parts.

Case:
Rosewill BLACKHAWK Gaming ATX Mid Tower
This case seems decent, and looks very upgrade-able. Your thoughts? Also, I'm wondering if I should buy separate fans rather than keeping the stock ones.

Processor:
Intel Core i3-2105 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz 65W Dual-Core
I'm not so sure about it being i3 as opposed to i5 or i7, what's the difference between them? If you can find a equal or better one for around the same price that'd be great.

PSU:
COOLER MASTER Silent Pro M600 RS-600-AMBA-D3 600W ATX12V V2.3
This seems decent to me, would I need more than 600W for the next few years?

Video Card:
MSI N560GTX Twin Frozr II/OC GeForce GTX 560 2GB
Once again, I have mixed feelings about this. I want to keep the overall price down, so is it worth is to spend this much on a video card?

RAM:
G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 16GB (4 x 4GB)
I'm not sure if I actually need this much RAM, but if I'm going to need 16GB in the next few years then I'll stick with it.

CD Drive:
ASUS 24X DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model
Doesn't really matter, just thought I'd include it.

Hard Drive:
Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5"
This seems kind of pricey to me, but I assume it will be worth it. Would getting more than one (of a smaller version) be more efficient and cost less?

Wireless Adapter:
Rosewill RNX-N300 Wireless N Adapter
I'm not sure about these, would a USB work just as well? I think I'm going to get a faster modem sometime soon, but it probably won't cap at 300MB/s even then.



In addition to all those, I want to make sure my other accessories and such would last a while.

Mouse:
Razer DeathAdder
Seems cheap and still a good mouse. Keep in mind this will be my first time with a very good computer of my own.

Mouse Pad:
Razer Goliathus Speed - Medium
Speed or control? With 3500dpi mouse I've heard speed would be better.

Keyboard:
Razer Arctosa - Silver on Black
I would really like a good keyboard, and this looks good and is a good price.

Monitor:
Acer S212HLbd Black 21.5" 5ms Full HD LED BackLight LCD Monitor Slim Design
Fairly low price and is all I would want for a monitor. I don't want something huge, around 21.5in is just fine for me.



This is probably a lot to look over, but I have some time. If I'm missing information or you have a suggestion, post a reply please. Thanks.
January 26, 2012 4:29:54 AM

16gb of RAM is overkill. 8gb of good quality 1600 RAM is plenty. And if you can, stretch your budget to an i5. Your graphics card is a good choice.
January 26, 2012 4:34:29 AM

Crossfire/SLI is a multi-GPU configuration.
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January 26, 2012 1:42:36 PM

Hey,

I'll try to address your concerns one at a time.

-The motherboard you've chosen is good from a features standpoint. However, the fact that it's a microATX board instead of a regular ATX board means it's smaller, and may end up feeling unnecessarily cramped for you when you go to actually build the damn thing. You'll be getting an ATX mid tower case, so I'd recommend an ATX board like the ASRock Extreme3 Gen3.

-The case you picked out is nice. Another case I'm partial to in the same price range is the HAF 922 -- in particular, I like that it comes with a 200mm top fan. Either choice is good.

-In the $1100 build range, I'd definitely recommend an i5 processor. The i3-21xx procs are quite good for their cost, but only have two physical cores, where the i5's have four. You'll notice a much snappier system when you're running multiple applications at the same time. The i5-2500, while $80 more expensive, is certainly worth the money. If you're feeling brave, you can bump up $40 more to the i5-2500k, and purchase an aftermarket heatsink like the Hyper 212 EVO -- doing so will allow you to to overclock, which is quite straightforward with the most recent batch of Intel processors. You can get a ~30% speed increase with little trouble, which will help futureproof your build.

-600W will be fine for your needs.

-If you're building a gaming system, the graphics card is the single most important purchase (worth spending $230 on, yes). I'd actually recommend a bump up from a regular GTX 560 to a GTX 560 Ti like this one.

-8GB of RAM is plenty. If you somehow end up needing more, you can always buy it a couple years down the line.

-Hard drive prices are quite high right now -- a 500GB model might be a good idea. Alternatively, you might also be able to salvage the HDD from your old HP (how big is that drive?)

-Internal vs. USB doesn't really matter on the wireless adapter front -- just get one that supports 802.11n and you'll be fine.

-Here's a similar monitor for $20 less.

That build should come out around $1000-$1075 (including the monitor but excluding the mouse, mousepad, keyboard, and OS). You can also consider adding a 128GB solid state drive like the Crucial M4 -- it will dramatically improve your system's boot time and the loading times for games.
January 26, 2012 7:08:19 PM

Thanks ultimabeam, I've done some more looking around and come up with the following for the hard drive, RAM, processor, and motherboard.

Hard Drive:
Seagate Barracuda ST500DM002 500GB
My laptop's HDD is about 264gb I think, and that wouldn't be enough for my needs so 500gb will do. This one is also 7200rpm and the cache is 16mb, I'm not sure what the cache on a hard drive does. Do I need higher cache for that?

RAM:
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB)
This is the same as the previous one I chose (I think), it is just 2 of them, instead of 4.

CPU:
Intel Core i5-2300 Sandy Bridge 2.8GHz
Although this is 2.8GHz, I think it will be plenty with 4 cores.

Motherboard:
GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68
I think this one will work with the case I chose, the case appearantly requires an on-board USB 3.0 on the hard drive, and this has it.

I also took your advice on the monitor, they almost have the exact same specs. I think I messed up with the GPU when I originally posted, because that was actually the GTX 560 Ti like you suggested, with 2gb to make sure it'll be fine for a long time.

Any other help is appreciated, like if the parts are compatible or not.
Thanks again.
January 26, 2012 7:52:41 PM

Everything in that post looks good.

The last question is, do you have a Microcenter near you? They have Intel procs on the cheap -- you could get an i5-2500k for the price of that i5-2300 on Newegg.
January 26, 2012 8:03:42 PM

No sadly, I live in Washington State and as far as I can tell there are no Microcenters near me. I decided to go for the i5-2400 also, just because it's $10 more than the i5-2300 and it bumps up to 3.1 GHz.
!