Priorities for and Optimizing my $1200 Gaming Rig

Approximate Purchase Date: Unknown (Read processor note for details)

Budget Range: ~$1200 Before Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Primary:Gaming; Secondary:Everything Else

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

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg.com

Country: United States

Parts Preferences: i5-2500K + 2x Radeon 6950

Overclocking: Yes

SLI or Crossfire: Yes

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: So beside the usual compatibility/efficency check, a bit of a philosophical question goes with this build. First off, the primary purpose of this build was to be gaming, as that is solely what my brother will be using this build for. From the research I've done, it would seem that at this price range the 2500K and XFire 6950 seems to be the best that can reasonably be done.

However, were I to drop down to do 2x 6870 instead; I could afford a better SSD, better hard-drive, and possibly better memory. So on the parts list below, the first one listed is for the primary build that I have in mind. When applicable though, I also have alternate parts listed.

Feel free to read as much or as little as possible, as I understand it is quite a lot to take in. I'd like to know your opinion on whether the extra money should be better spent towards the stronger graphic cards or towards making the overall system better. As well, I'd like to know if there are any cheaper, yet equally effective parts, that I might of missed

At the bottom is a a quick reference of all the parts, and if you prefer you can skip onto it without referring back to any of the notes. I'll be updating this section as I get comments.

Edit 1.0: Switched out the Power Supply and removed SSD from the Final List. Recalculated final build.

Edit 1.1: Forgot to Strike out and Replace in the second section the Power Supply

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Motherboard: http://url=www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157271 $122

Note: This is of course the most important part, at least in terms of making sure everything is compatible. So this is the part I worry about the most. I tried to get the cheapest *reasonable* mobo I could find. And while I'm not as much worried about everything being compatible, I am worried about missing out on some features.

Graphics: 2x GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6950 1GB $480

Note: Again, the reason I chose this graphic card was due to the recent scalability test that was done on this site, as well as a couple other sites that confirmed how much more of it you got with this card as opposed to, say, the 6870. And since this rig is meant for gaming, I thought I should probably get the best graphic card I can for this budget range. However, it's a pretty big drop off in price comparing the two. The ultimate question I would like answered is whether the graphic performance decrease in going down from the 6950 to the 6870 can be justified with that money being spent somewhere else.

Alternative: 2x SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 6870 $330

Processor: Intel i5-2500K Processor $230

Note: You may have noticed that there is no time frame for purchase above. That is because at the time of this posting, Newegg is out of stock of this processor. Until it comes back into stock, I will be putting off buying the parts.

Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1600 $30

Note: It seems that both of the Muskin RAM sticks have been discontinued, and I had a hard time finding the same timing of those. (7-8-7-24 1T timings for reference). If someone could recommend one, I'd be willing to pay $10 or $15 more for them, but not much more than that.

System Drive: OCZ Vertex Series 30GB SATA II $60Note: This is the first instance of the dual 6950 costing me in other areas when it comes to performance. I would of liked the SAMSUNG 830. However, with a $120 price tag, it just seemed like too big a bullet to bite. Ideally, I would like a hard drive to hold my OS, Drivers, and Security Software. I'm afraid though that altogether that would be bigger than the 30 GB the Vertex holds. I'm not an expert so I'd love to get your advice on whether the extra bang is worth the extra buck (as well as bumping down from the 6950 to the 6870).

Alternative: SAMSUNG 830 Series 64GB SATA III SSD $120

Storage Drive: Seagate Barracuda 500GB Internal Hard Drive $85

Note: Unless there is a performance diference between the two, I think I'll be happy with this hard drive over the Western Digital 750GB that seems so popular with the system build contests. I've said it before though, I dont have experience with most of these parts and thus I leave it to you fine folks.

Alternative: Western Digital 750GB $160

Disk Drive: LITE-ON DVD Burner $17

Case: Rosewill CHALLENGER-U3 Computer Case $50

Power: CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX850 V2 $135


CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX650 V2 650W $90

CPU Cooler: XIGMATEK Gaia 120mm $30

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Current Build's Approximate Total: $1179

Motherboard: http://url=www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157271 $122

Graphics: 2x GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6950 1GB $480

Processor: Intel i5-2500K Processor $230

Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1600 $30

Storage Drive: Seagate Barracuda 500GB Internal Hard Drive $85

Disk Drive: LITE-ON DVD Burner $17

Case: Rosewill CHALLENGER-U3 Computer Case $50

Power: CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX850 V2 $135

CPU Cooler: XIGMATEK Gaia 120mm $30
6 answers Last reply
More about priorities optimizing 1200 gaming
  1. For that 6950 Crossfire you need a powerfull power supply http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-6950-crossfirex-review/14
    Drop the SSD for now and buy this PSU http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139022 this will sustain your crossfire and to overclock all what you have in your pc and buy 8GB ram http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233196 .
    Later you can upgrade with an SSD.
  2. sosofm said:
    For that 6950 Crossfire you need a powerfull power supply http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-6950-crossfirex-review/14
    Drop the SSD for now and buy this PSU http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139022 this will sustain your crossfire and to overclock all what you have in your pc and buy 8GB ram http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233196 .
    Later you can upgrade with an SSD.


    That's a good link, I had looked at guru's Xfire review but I believe I must of skipped over that page for some odd reason. I'm sort of bummed about not going SSD, I've heard so much about it though, especially when used as a system drive. Of course, Not nearly as disapointed if my brother called me up talking about his computer smoking.

    That change will be made, but I'm curious why you (or anyone else who responds to this question in the interim) recommend extra RAM for this build?

    Oh and thank you for your response.
  3. Because you don't need what future reserve. Everybody recomend more memory because its ridiculous cheaper. One year ago when i maked my PC 4GB DDR3 1600Mhz was at the price of 8GB from now.
    The SSD upgrade you can do later , believe me in games is not so big biference. The most important think is to buy from the beginning a good gaming computer , that you can do without SSD for now.
    I have 8GB in my PC and some times some softwares or programs use 50% of my memory and the pc run fast, no bottleneck. If i had 4GB RAM then all my RAM memory will be ocupied , and if i want to do something else on my PC it will be a nightmare , because ill need RAM to run all the processes.
  4. sosofm said:
    Because you don't need what future reserve. Everybody recomend more memory because its ridiculous cheaper. One year ago when i maked my PC 4GB DDR3 1600Mhz was at the price of 8GB from now.
    The SSD upgrade you can do later , believe me in games is not so big biference. The most important think is to buy from the beginning a good gaming computer , that you can do without SSD for now.
    I have 8GB in my PC and some times some softwares or programs use 50% of my memory and the pc run fast, no bottleneck. If i had 4GB RAM then all my RAM memory will be ocupied , and if i want to do something else on my PC it will be a nightmare , because ill need RAM to run all the processes.


    Ah now I understand, how come with other system builders though that they don't use 8 GB? Are you running a lot of things in the background that they are not? Also, I'm using a similar build to that of the system builder, and I pulled the PSU from it. It seemed from the benchmarks that I shouldn't require more, but you think the i5 will be more power hungry then the fx-6100?
  5. Aeradom said:
    Ah now I understand, how come with other system builders though that they don't use 8 GB? Are you running a lot of things in the background that they are not? Also, I'm using a similar build to that of the system builder, and I pulled the PSU from it. It seemed from the benchmarks that I shouldn't require more, but you think the i5 will be more power hungry then the fx-6100?


    I think its basically standard for a good gaming PC to have at least 8GB of RAM now a days, the price is so low it doesn't make sense not to get it and getting more is overkill for gaming.

    As for power the i5 should draw less than the FX, here is a link (they are using the 8150 but you should get the idea)
  6. I don't think i5 is more power hungry then fx-6100. When you overclock something the power consumtion is bigger, and if you read the articol its said : " A second card requires you to add another ~160 Watts. You need a 650+ Watt power supply unit and if you use it in a high-end system a 800+ to a KiloWatt is recommended especially if you plan on any overclocking." And i think you will want to overclock that 2500k. And the 6950 can be overclocked verry good too. Thats why is recommended a more powerfull PSU.
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