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New Gaming Computer for $2k Budget

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January 27, 2012 1:28:35 AM

It's about that time I get a new computer, and to get the most bang for my buck I've decided to build one. Since it's my first time, I would like some help.

Approximate Purchase Date: Next week at the latest.

Budget Range: $2000 After Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming mostly, but also Internet surfing (college student)

Parts Not Required: OS, Monitor, Keyboard, Mouse

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I'm comfortable with Newegg and Amazon, but anywhere will do. Prefer to get everything from one place.

Country: US

Parts Preferences: Not anything specifically as I'm new to the scene and don't know a whole lot about brands, I'll just trust you guys and take your word for it. Although I was highly interested in the performance of the GTX 580 graphics card.

Overclocking: Maybe (if you guys recommend it, I will look more into it)

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe (I have no problem with this, however, the GTX 580 may be a bit too pricey to buy two and still make the $2k budget)

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: I would like it to run quiet, but as long as it doesn't sound like I'm sitting under a helicopter I should be fine.

Any help would be greatly appreciated :) 

More about : gaming computer budget

a b 4 Gaming
January 27, 2012 1:44:11 AM

The 7970 beats the 580 in many games, so I'd just get the single GPU.

i5-2500k should definitely be included. The single best CPU for gaming it is. :p 
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January 27, 2012 2:08:09 AM

Yeah I have seen both of those mentioned a lot since I've been researching. Seems like pretty solid choices, however, I have no clue what else to pick to get the best compatibility. I would prefer not having to go through any adapters to connect everything together.
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a b 4 Gaming
January 27, 2012 2:11:24 AM

It will be fine. :) 
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January 27, 2012 4:53:23 AM

Alright so I've been sitting here for hours figuring out the best system using the i5-2500k and 7970 for my price range. This is what I have come up with.

Case ($199.99)
COOLER MASTER HAF X RC-942-KKN1 Black Steel/ Plastic ATX Full Tower Computer Case
I had room in the budget to get a nicer case, so I went with this one as it's pretty highly revered.

Graphics Card ($559.99)
ASUS HD7970-3GD5-3DI2S Radeon HD 7970 3GB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card

Hard Drive ($199.99)
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

Power Supply ($154.99)
XFX PRO850W XXX Edition Semi-Modular 80 Plus Silver Certified 850 Watt Active PFC Power Supply

Motherboard ($179.99)
ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z/GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

RAM ($89.99)
CORSAIR Vengeance 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory

CPU ($229.99)
Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 3000

Cooling ($89.99)
Noctua NH-D14 120mm & 140mm SSO CPU Cooler

TOTAL: $1704.92

If there is anything I missed or any suggestions feel free to run them by me. Trying to get as much feedback as I can before I buy everything. After all it is my first time.
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January 27, 2012 5:14:40 AM

While there are a few changes I'd make personally, those mostly fall under personal preference.

The only two items that seem glaringly out of place is the HDD which could easily be replaced by the Seagate Barracuda 7200 1TB $124.99.

The other issue is a lack of SSD. At this budget and in today's computing environment it's really something that's considered a must-have. There are a few different options to consider on this front, and it's probably best if you researched them for yourself as you'll have a better understanding of what it is you're investing in.

I'd research Intel SRT, OCZ Synapse, and if the caching option isn't the way you want to go then I'd look at something like the OCZ Vertex 3 (or other SF2281 sync nand option) or the Crucial M4.

Other than those two things it looks like a really solid build and I'm sure you'll love every moment of not only using it, but also building it. Best of luck!

edit: On the keyboard front, I'd at least take a look at the option of mechanical switches. While these keyboards do demand a premium and they're typically not what you'd consider gaming keyboards due to their lack of macro support, they're an absolute delight to use. They're tactile, accurate, well made and while they might not be gaming, they excel at it regardless. Rosewill makes a solid keyboard like the RK-9000BR $109.99. It's a great first mechanical keyboard as the cherry brown switches aren't quite as stiff or loud as some of the others.

Optical drives are quickly becoming near obsolete. That's not to say they are, but it's also not something I'd invest a lot of money into either. Perhaps if you have no other form of Blu-ray playback it might be worth the investment, other than that I'd stick with the 18.99 Asus.

Mice and Speakers, well mice are very subjective to the end user and I've done little to no research into speakers or headsets but perhaps someone else could help.
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January 27, 2012 5:56:11 AM

a4mula said:
While there are a few changes I'd make personally, those mostly fall under personal preference.

The only two items that seem glaringly out of place is the HDD which could easily be replaced by the Seagate Barracuda 7200 1TB $124.99.

The other issue is a lack of SSD. At this budget and in today's computing environment it's really something that's considered a must-have. There are a few different options to consider on this front, and it's probably best if you researched them for yourself as you'll have a better understanding of what it is you're investing in.

I'd research Intel SRT, OCZ Synapse, and if the caching option isn't the way you want to go then I'd look at something like the OCZ Vertex 3 (or other SF2281 sync nand option) or the Crucial M4.


The Hard Drive was actually the only thing I spent little time with, I basically just threw in the HDD from the original computer I had built. I know next to nothing about SSD so I wouldn't know where to start looking, but until I get some sort of reply on that I will look into those you listed.

And sorry for the confusion, but I already have a basic idea of what keyboard, mouse, speakers, and such I want. I was just trying to explain why I had only went to $1700 on a $2k budget ($225 in input devices).

Thanks for the great input :)  I'm actually really excited about building this machine.


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January 27, 2012 6:25:37 AM

For what I wanna do I would need at least a 250GB drive and the Crucial M4 looks solid and has great reviews. I'll probably be adding it onto the list, however, is the faster speed really worth the price difference?
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January 27, 2012 6:32:45 AM

definitely go for something like the 128gb samsung 830 or crucial m4. this is a great price for the superior samsung 830: ($179)

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

a ssd should definitely be worked into any budget like this, as they are simply wayy better than their mechanical counterparts.

you could consider saving some money with this power supply: gold rated and seasonic is one of the best companies:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?SID=u0t0f0fp...

are you near a microcenter? you can pick the i5 2500k up there for $179, could save some cash.

What monitor(s) are you gaming with? 7970 might be overkill for just a single monitor at 1080p. something like the 6950 would save you $300.

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

$200 is a lot of money to budget for a case, but it's a very personal choice and that is a good one.

The noctuna is a great cooler, but if looking to save money you could grab the cooler master hyper 212 evo for much cheaper ($35), and probably won't see a huge difference.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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January 27, 2012 6:48:33 AM

canyoudigit489 said:
definitely go for something like the 128gb samsung 830 or crucial m4. this is a great price for the superior samsung 830: ($179)

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

a ssd should definitely be worked into any budget like this, as they are simply wayy better than their mechanical counterparts.

you could consider saving some money with this power supply: gold rated and seasonic is one of the best companies:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?SID=u0t0f0fp...

are you near a microcenter? you can pick the i5 2500k up there for $179, could save some cash.

What monitor(s) are you gaming with? 7970 might be overkill for just a single monitor at 1080p. something like the 6950 would save you $300.

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

$200 is a lot of money to budget for a case, but it's a very personal choice and that is a good one.

The noctuna is a great cooler, but if looking to save money you could grab the cooler master hyper 212 evo for much cheaper ($35), and probably won't see a huge difference.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



Thanks for the advice! As for a monitor I will just be using my 23in HD TV Monitor as it is wall mounted right over my desk. If I do switch to the cheaper 6950 should I get two and crossfire?

EDIT - I would also like to mention that I may at some point use multiple monitors. I'm trying to keep everything flexible so I won't have to re-buy anything later down the road if I need to. With that in mind would 750W PSU be enough for two video cards, either the 6950 or 7970 (if I ended up buying another one later) or should I just stick with the 850W I have listed?
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January 27, 2012 7:06:26 AM

no problem! yeah I mean crossfiring is very helpful if you're looking to use dual monitor setups or gaming at very high resolutions. I'd check out benchmarks if I were you to see what kinds of FPS's the cards you want to get have on the games you want to play. Looking at battlefield 3 on high quality settings on your resolution, a 560 ti ($190) gets 54 FPS, a 6950 ($240) gets 61 FPS, and a 6870 ($150) gets 52 FPS.

You could consider crossfiring a 6870 or a 560 ti, but i don't think it will help you that much.
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January 27, 2012 7:14:14 AM

Think I will just stick with the single 7970 to allow better options down the road. Everything else mentioned seems like cheaper improvements though so I'll probably go with that.
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January 27, 2012 7:14:37 AM

well you can check out this page to see general estimates for your powersupply:
http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp

the i5 2500k is rated at 95W, a 6870 at 151W, a 6950 at 200W, and a 560 ti at 170W.

So your system will probably only draw around 350-400w at load, and then adding another 150-200w will bring that to around 600w.

That's a great deal for that seasonic, super efficient and it has 4 pcie connectors (a 6950 requires 2, so crossfiring it would be chill).
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January 27, 2012 7:19:28 AM

yeah, i mean you won't be disappointed with a 7970 and it definitely allows for a lot of future flexibility. good luck with the build!
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January 27, 2012 7:24:29 AM

Again you have been a big help. Now I'm just excited to put it all together!
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January 27, 2012 7:32:13 AM

you're welcome! be sure to select my reply as best answer :) 
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January 27, 2012 7:59:02 AM

Best answer selected by stoversc.
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a b 4 Gaming
January 27, 2012 8:06:13 AM

This topic has been closed by Nikorr
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