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First Timer $1000 Gaming PC

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January 31, 2012 2:40:05 PM

Hi, I'm working on my first build of a comp trying to get a reasonably priced computer for gaming. DIY kits were highly recommended to me but I'm not sure if I could get that much of a better price with them or not for what I want. Also, I'm not entirely confident that I picked everything correctly so a double check and some advice on where I can save money to maybe get a better monitor or graphics card would be greatly appreciated. Part lifespan is the most important factor to me.

Approximate Purchase Date: This/Next week

Budget Range: 750-1050 Before Rebates (Namely pending if the graphics card is worth upgrading)

System Usage: Prolonged gaming (Guild Wars 2 being my most anticipated "heavy" title; currently Old Republic and Skyrim, I'd like to play them on Very High-Ultra if possible with this setup)

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, speakers, possibly graphics card (see below; assume I don't know/forgot anything not listed here)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg is what I've been using; pcpartpicker.com also recommends SuperBiiz

Country: USA - Texas

Parts Preferences: N/A

Overclocking: Not now, maybe in the future

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 (included as part of build, can change)

Selected Parts: (* marks desired traits)

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 960T Zosma 3.0GHz Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor HD96ZTWFGRBOX
*Quad Core, 2.8GHz+

Mobo: ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3 AM3 AMD 890GX HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
*Not opposed to paying a little extra for a few more upgrade slots down the road

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-8GBRL
*4GB+

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
*1 TB+, don't care about SSD, Steam games are not easily swappable and "Meh" about boot times

VGU: SAPPHIRE 100283-3L Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
*Had trouble finding this, I think this is my card, not sure if it's worth upgrading at this point, I just know it's a Sapphire 1GB GDDR5 Radeon HD 5770

Case: APEVIA X-TROOPER Series X-TRP-RD Black / Red Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
*First nice case I saw that mentioned dust screens; lots of pets in house; prefer red lights/black case if it has lights; high mounted USB/audio ports

PSU: Antec EarthWatts EA-500D Green 500W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply
*Current card recommends 450W or 600W for CrossFire, not interested in CrossFire unless I really need to be

Optical: LITE-ON DVD Burner - Bulk 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - OEM

Monitor: Acer S211HLbd 21.5'' 5ms LED-Backlight LCD Monitor Slim Design 250 cd/m2 12,000,000:1 (ACM)
*It was on sale at the time, liable to change due to sale expiration

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM

Priced at: ~$800 without a new video card; would like to keep it around that but I am willing to tack on another $150+ savings from above for a video card


Again, I had great great uncertainty in picking a monitor and PSU in particular. I'm not particularly interested in overclocking at this time unless it's nigh "mandatory" to get the settings I want. I'm also not sure if upgrading my current video card is worth the cost compared to upgrading my processor, RAM and OS. (I'm currently on Pentium 4 dual core, 2 GB RAM, and XP.)

Thank you for your time and effort in reading through this.

More about : timer 1000 gaming

January 31, 2012 3:18:33 PM

Hi there! Welcome to the forums.

A new builder? Exellent! My favorite.

First things first. With a budget of $800, you should think about upgrading to a Sandy Bridge based solution. A few games on your list will be greatly affected by this, causing a big performance boost (Specifically Skyrim) Problem is, your costs will go up. it's gonna be around $300 for a Sandy Bridge quadcore and a decent mobo. I'll talk more on this once I get a bit more information.

Texas, eh? Don't happen to live on the outskirts of Houston or Dallas do you? If so, you can make a trip into Microcenter and get some HUGE savings. http://www.microcenter.com/at_the_stores/index.html
This would let us get a Sandybridge setup for sure.

-Yup, that 5770 needs and upgrade. You're looking at 6870 minimum, hopefully a 6950. We'll figure this out later, just know it needs to go.

-Try one of these cases instead:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... Haf 912 $66
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... Antec 300 $60
Both are higher quality. I'd pick one of them if I was you.

-Hard drives are hella expensive right now. i'd get a cheap, 320GB or 500GB until the prices come back down. One like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... Put that money into other parts.

-Grab some 1600MHz ram. It's so cheap, there's really not reason not too. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $2 more.

Well, hopefully that will help you out ;)  I know it's alot to read through, i just gave my view on things. Lemme know about Microcenter as well as if you have more questions.
January 31, 2012 3:38:33 PM

Hey there. Striker had some great suggestions for you. I'll try to add some tidbits where I can.

1) Tom's Hardware just did a really good article about the best cpu for under $200. The bottom line is if you can stretch your budget to get an i5-2500k ($225 or so), it's by far the best option. OC'ing would be a must, but it's extremely easy to do and doesn't require any expertise. Here's the link to the article's conclusion- recommend you take a quick look:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-fx-pentium-a...

2) 5770 is a little underpowered for many recent games at 1920x1080. I'd recommend you look at the GTX 560 ti (can be had for about $185 after rebates on newegg.com) or an HD 6950 1GB (about $220 after MIR and a bit faster than the first card).

3) Cases should be selected based on quality (including how easy they are to build in and how cool they keep components) and aesthetic preference. I'm a big fan of the HAF series, so I give a thumbs up to striker's suggestion for a HAF 912. If you want to take a step up you can get a HAF 922 (little bigger little better quality) for about $90.

4) Good call on passing on an SSD. I got one when I did my build and wish I would have just put the $ towards more graphics horsepower. It's a nice to have, but doesn't really impact gaming. The HD prices are sky high because of some flooding some time ago driving supply down and prices up. A really good 1TB hd was running $60-70 and now is $150-170. Kinda nuts. Just know that you are paying a premium right now due to those issues. Buying small now if you need another later is ok, but if you don't have a use for that smaller drive once you get the large one, it's money thrown away. Just my take on it.

I prefer to order stuff on newegg because overall I find the prices to be the best. If you can make it to a microcenter (or a fry's electonics if there's one nearby) it's always fun to put hands on some components like cases and see them before you buy. Good luck!

Related resources
January 31, 2012 3:44:47 PM

beltzy said:
Hey there. Striker had some great suggestions for you. I'll try to add some tidbits where I can.

All excellent points! I agree completely.

beltzy said:

I prefer to order stuff on newegg because overall I find the prices to be the best. If you can make it to a microcenter (or a fry's electonics if there's one nearby) it's always fun to put hands on some components like cases and see them before you buy. Good luck!

Yup, good point. The only reason I suggested Microcenter was because of the combo prices they run (Z68 mobo with an i5 or i7) makes them much cheaper. I mean, i5-2400 for $150? A steal. http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
January 31, 2012 3:59:36 PM

I like the Antec cases, I have one myself, although not the specific model mentioned. The three hundred comes with washable air filters. Aesthetically the lighting is blue, not red, and there isn't a "side window," just a spot for airflow.

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

Also, both posters above have excellent points.
January 31, 2012 4:21:51 PM

Might want to think of this for a CPU, it is only 25 bucks more and has 6 cores as opposed to 4 and runs at 3.3 ghz. Just make sure the board you get is compatible. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Also on the video card you could do alot better for not a whole lot more money. Now since your focusing on AMD systems, I would recommend this as an alternate solution if you really got to pinch mennies: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Or if you can stretch it a little I would recommend this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Other than that it looks like a hell of a build.
January 31, 2012 5:15:13 PM

In terms of my budget, the $1000 was a fairly arbitrary "This is about what I can afford in one sitting without having to buy piecemeal." I'd kinda wanna get/plug everything in all at once and see if anything came DoA for return policies.

I live about 2 hours from Houston (much closer to Beaumont), it would take quite a good deal of savings/S+H in order to make it worth the gas mileage. I do know someone who passes through Houston to work and back, but I'm not sure about letting someone else get parts when I'm still not exactly sure what I want/need.

I have been told that the i5-2500K will handle pretty much all of my needs but that AMD generally has the cheaper option processor wise. Is it worth it to spring for i5 now while I have a mediocre video card or try and hit the middle ground on both?

My last two computers were freebie hand-me downs from other people. My current one is in what looks to be the Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case. It's been a reliable case (I kind of want to keep this current computer in a skeletal working condition). The only problems I've run across with it so far aren't really its fault; animal fur in one of the two DVD drives and had trouble with the PSU cords reaching around my graphics card to the mother board. I like the way the HAF looks better though except the lettering on the side. Either way it'll save about $15-20 on the case. (I've been neglecting shipping assuming rebates will cancel it out largely, but that is a $10-15 difference in shipping there.)

The $150 I'm ready to spend+$20 on the case is enough to spring for the 6870 video card athlondude linked. Pending the processor question there's room to go up here or hold off with my 5770 until I can get a better graphics card. (Skyrim and Old Republic are playable on decent/high settings, the main issues being load times (HDD) and when I'm mounted travelling through the wilderness in either game.)

The reason for the RAM was that DDR3 2000(O.C.)/1333/1066 was the memory standard on the mobo I selected (given I didn't want to overclock at the time). A different processor would require a new mobo.

Dropping to the 500 GB seems reasonable if the prices are driven up right now. My current 250GB HDD has about 200 GB of Steam games on it (still more to download) and I was advised to keep about 10% of the HDD free. I have a WD external that I use to store a lot of my other files at the moment, so that will hold me over. Saves about $50 which would leave me at probably around $900.
January 31, 2012 5:33:54 PM

$50 NZXT M59 (case is awesome)
$65 OCZ 500W (needed for video)
$130 Intel Core i3-2120 (dont get AMD)
$110 Biostar TZ68A+
$50 Kingston 8GB PC3 12800
$160! Samsung 1TB (check prices)
$140 HIS Radeon 6850
$80 Lite-ON Blu-Ray BURNER
$160 Acer 23" LED HDMI monitor
$37 Logisys illuminated keyboard
$62 Logitech TrackMan
$64 Altec Lansing Ocatane
$100 Windows 7 Home
$33 Koutech USB 3 card reader

Ive seen on sale:
ASUS Z68 for $98 w/ rebate
Patriot 8GB $30
Cooler Master 500W for $30 w/ rebate
WD 500GB Blue $80
Gigabyte HD 6850 $120 w/ rebate
ASUS 23.6" LED $160
Bose 2 series $60
Windows 7 $90

January 31, 2012 6:02:04 PM

Cpu = i5 2400/2500k - $170-$230
Mobo = make sure its compatitable $120-175
Ram = with Sandybridge intel just get some cheap 1333mhz ram...anything higher is useless...go with 8gb's = $40 (newegg)
PSU = Corsair or antec...around 500-650watt ~$100
Case = good case - $60-80 (look at antec fractual coolermaster nxzt) btw you want more intake fans than exhaust...look up positive air flow....this will keep dust out better...
HDD = Hitachi I believe there is a 500-750gb out there for $80
GPU = jump up to at least a 6850 - watch for deals can find them for ~$130
monitor - spend $150
Windows - $100ish

your looking at ~$1060 using all my high end numbers...if you are near a microcenter this can easily save you $50-100 in cpu/mobo and shipping costs on some of the supplies. I also think you can save about $50 on a cheaper psu if you find a deal (the antec one you have listed is good)

new total = ~$860 not counting any rebates you might get.

even more savings...a i3 2100 cpu will be plenty for most games these days to which will throw another $50 out the door
January 31, 2012 6:07:14 PM

I bought all my parts last week and built it my PC over the weekend. Just as an FYI.. if you are buying everything from newegg, you can sign up for the ShopRunner discount which gives you FREE 2 day shipping on almost everything they sell. Granted, it's one of those schemes where if you don't unsignup in 30 days you get charged for an annual fee, but if you are concious about unsigning up after you order what you want and get it set up you get a steal! I got every part I ordered with free 2 day shipping except for my case which I had to pay $10 to get shipped (it didn't qualify, lol)
January 31, 2012 6:10:31 PM

hmm, alright. Microcenter is outta the question, then.

Well, I think getting a 960t with a 6870 would be a pretty balanced build. I just feel that you'd be stuck with a processor bottleneck, which you might not be able to upgrade with.

What about the $189 i5-2400? It's got the same processing power as the 2500k for $30 cheaper it just can't overclock. Pair that with a decent motherboard and you should be good to go.

I've been mulling it over. If I were in your situation, I might spring for the new CPU and mobo, keeping the 5770 until I have enough money to get a really good upgrade. (like a 6950 or so)

a 6870 is certainly no slouch, keep that in mind. It's just the 6950 offers the best bang for buck out there right now.

1600MHz ram should work in anything. I think it meant it takes RAM from 1333MHz to 2000MHz, not specifically those two. 1600MHz ram sets itself at that speed when using an XMP profile.

Well, that should give you a bit more help. Let me know!
January 31, 2012 6:12:43 PM

hotthree said:

monitor - spend $150


Here's a decent monitor for that price..

ASUS VH226H Black 21.5" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen 16:9 Full HD 1080P LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 ASCR 12000:1 (1000:1) Built in Speakers
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Note: it has built in speakers.. something I prefer not to have, however, some people don't mind it.
January 31, 2012 6:28:51 PM

If he is planning to oc in the future, the 2500k should definitely be in there.
February 1, 2012 2:33:07 AM

Sorry, it took a long while to research and compose this. Trying again with the advice taken from above. I took bits and pieces from a lot of the posts so far while still trying to maintain compatibility.

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 3000 BX80623I52500K
*I'd rather skimp on the graphics card at the moment and get a nicer processor

Mobo: ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
*Not entirely certain here, are 2 6 GB/s SATAs enough? (only plan on 1 maybe 2 HDDs)

RAM: G.SKILL Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR
*Upped to 1600; I admit I picked G Skill because it seems like a brand name a lot of people like

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKX 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
*Good call on the flood driving supply down, saved a lot here, don't think 350 will be enough considering I already have 250+ of stuff; should the cache size of 16 MB concern me vs about $40 more for 32 MB

VGU: SAPPHIRE 100283-3L Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
*Hanging onto this for now to see where it puts me

Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 912 RC-912-KKN1 Black SECC/ ABS Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
*After much thought, I decided against side panels and lights altogether, it will be a floor sitting tower near my bed (frequently leave comp on overnight)

PSU: Antec EarthWatts EA-500D Green 500W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply
*If I look at the GIGABYTE GV-R695OC-1GD Radeon HD 6950 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card as a benchmark, is this PSU enough? Can I go cheaper?

Optical: LITE-ON DVD Burner - Bulk 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - OEM

Monitor: Acer S231HLbid Black 23" 5ms HDMI LED-Backlight LCD monitor Slim Design 250 cd/m2 ACM 12,000,000:1 (1000:1)
*Sale expired, this one is similarly costed but trades built in speakers for larger screen estate, no mail in rebate though, is HDMI particularly important for my wants? Strongly considering hunting locally from monitors due to a lot of the hassle/semi-random nature of monitors and their return. This is one of the more pressing needs. My old monitor died and I'm on a CRT with a flickering blue screen.

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM

Priced at: ~$875 not bad, upgraded virtually everything at a cost of the HDD and a delay on upgrading the video card

As far as overclocking, my main concerns are messing something up or voiding warranties. I'll probably have to find guides or somesuch later to see how in depth it is.

Thanks for the help so far, more input on my new questions would be appreciated!
February 1, 2012 3:39:06 AM

Wow, excellent job! That looks like a great build. I made one very similar for a friend, actually. Here's what I have to say, though.
-Sata 6Gb/s is for SSD's. The other six 3Gb/s are for hard drives. 6Gb/s is about 525MB/s I believe, which no HDD can reach. They top out at around 200MB/s on the very high end ones. Therefore Sata II (3Gb/s) is perfectly fine for HDD's.
-16MB cache is totally fine.
-I would keep the PSU. Any lower and you're in dangerous territory. 500W can take a 6950 no problem.
-Completely asthetic but you may want this DVD burner instead: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... Doesn't have the ugly white writing. Smooth and svelte.

Lastly, don't forget a CPU cooler if you want to overclock! It's not necessary now, just keep an eye out for it when you DO wish to overclock.
February 1, 2012 4:46:33 AM

I was mainly asking about the Sata 6Gb/s in that the Caviar Blue states that its performance interface is a SATA 6.0 Gb/s

Thanks for the heads up. I'll probably go with that DVD burner. I mainly selected one based on the fact I sparingly use one and they are cheap.

Yeah, the Cooler can wait until I pick up other miscellany I want to get further down the road (mouse, keyboard, speakers, headset, etc.).

Lastly, I'm still flip flopping on the cases (HAF and Antec). This is something I really wish I could see in person. I'll probably shop around at Best Buy and other local retailers and see if savings are worth the risk with monitor buying.

EDIT: If I do look at oveclocking, should I be looking at a full size tower? It seems like a lot more cost for questionable benefit. Quieter fans isn't a huge concern of mine, increased air flow would be good, physical space isn't an issue, ease of assembly isn't an issue and I'm not really sure how much space I need to be planning on or looking at for different types of cooling systems. Aesthetically, I'd prefer a smaller case for looks and ease of moving around. (I move my rig about once or twice a month to a friend's house.)
February 1, 2012 2:35:19 PM

vashXIII said:
I was mainly asking about the Sata 6Gb/s in that the Caviar Blue states that its performance interface is a SATA 6.0 Gb/s

It's just a marketing gimmick. Technically it IS Sata III compatible but so is any hard drive since Sata III is backwards compatible to Sata II.

vashXIII said:

Lastly, I'm still flip flopping on the cases (HAF and Antec). This is something I really wish I could see in person.
Yeah, I hear you. Looking up a few video reviews might help!

vashXIII said:

EDIT: If I do look at oveclocking, should I be looking at a full size tower? It seems like a lot more cost for questionable benefit. Quieter fans isn't a huge concern of mine, increased air flow would be good, physical space isn't an issue, ease of assembly isn't an issue and I'm not really sure how much space I need to be planning on or looking at for different types of cooling systems. Aesthetically, I'd prefer a smaller case for looks and ease of moving around. (I move my rig about once or twice a month to a friend's house.)
Keep a mid-tower. You're probably using a MicroATX machine now if it's an OEM machine. Mid tower will be a decent size increase from that. Don't worry about airflow, these monsters are meant to take a beating. You won't be cooking anything in either of these cases, haha.
February 1, 2012 4:11:37 PM

Crush3d said:
One of the most popular and best value aftermarket fans is the CoolerMaster 212 EVO. It is quite large, something to keep in mind when buying a case if you are planning on overclocking.

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


I'll keep that in my wishlist, seems the main problem with it is how far it sticks off the mobo so I'll go with the Coolermaster HAF case which is a little bit wider just to be on the safe side. Also, it probably works better getting same brand for that combo. I imagine I won't need to overclock until I upgrade the graphics card as it should be the main bottleneck there.

I don't know if my current machine is micro ATX or not but it was custom built for someone else and then gifted to me. It uses the Antec mid tower case so I am familiar with its size. I did notice that among the positive reviews there are a few minor complaints about the front audio ports not working well which was one of my (minor) complaints about the case.

From what I've looked up, air based cooling systems don't seem so bad to install and use, liquid based are where I start getting leery, although I understand the benefits from when I took heat transfer in college.

I think I might recommend my build, when it gets finalized, to a friend or link him this DIY kit. He's trying to upgrade out of a Mac, tired of compatibility issues. I don't think he wants to overclock at any point though. Should he go with an i5-2400 or just a regular i5-2500 instead to save a few bucks?
February 1, 2012 4:20:42 PM

vashXIII said:

I don't know if my current machine is micro ATX or not but it was custom built for someone else and then gifted to me. It uses the Antec mid tower case so I am familiar with its size. I did notice that among the positive reviews there are a few minor complaints about the front audio ports not working well which was one of my (minor) complaints about the case.

Whoops, forgot about that. You already have an Antec 300! Yeah, the HAF should be around the same size.

vashXIII said:

From what I've looked up, air based cooling systems don't seem so bad to install and use, liquid based are where I start getting leery, although I understand the benefits from when I took heat transfer in college.
Air cooling is really the way to go. Liquid is really a hobby thing. If you wanna do it right, you end up spending hundreds of dollars for the waterblocks, pump, tubing, etc. Air cooling gives you the best clocks for the money, although I have no doubt it'd be super fun to play around with water. Usually however it's the people with the monster systems ($1,500+) who overclock.
vashXIII said:

I think I might recommend my build, when it gets finalized, to a friend or link him this DIY kit. He's trying to upgrade out of a Mac, tired of compatibility issues. I don't think he wants to overclock at any point though. Should he go with an i5-2400 or just a regular i5-2500 instead to save a few bucks?

i5-2400 is $10 cheaper than the i5-2500. If he's gonna get the 2500, get the 2500k.
February 1, 2012 4:39:11 PM

vashXIII said:
I'll keep that in my wishlist, seems the main problem with it is how far it sticks off the mobo so I'll go with the Coolermaster HAF case which is a little bit wider just to be on the safe side. Also, it probably works better getting same brand for that combo. I imagine I won't need to overclock until I upgrade the graphics card as it should be the main bottleneck there.

From what I've looked up, air based cooling systems don't seem so bad to install and use, liquid based are where I start getting leery, although I understand the benefits from when I took heat transfer in college.


I don't anticipate the fan being an issue at all with the HAF 912. It is slightly wider than my case which fits the fan, albeit, with very little space left over.

Air cooling is definitely the way to go IMO. It is much easier, cheaper, and if done correctly can perform very well under most conditions.
February 2, 2012 12:49:29 PM

Well, I went into BestBuy and picked up a monitor today. They were out of the S232 Acer 23" but had AOC 23" which one of my friends had and suggested. I'm happy with it so far, I can't tell if it's just a tad bright or if I've been staring at that 10 year old LCD and blue tinted CRT for too long. Wide screen will take some getting used to.

Newegg is out of stock on the i5-2500k right now so I'm holding off on ordering.

Final Build

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 3000 BX80623I52500K

Cooler: (eventually) COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R2 Continuous Direct Contact 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler Compatible with latest Intel 2011/1366/1155 and AMD FM1/AM3+

Mobo: ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

RAM: G.SKILL Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKX 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

VGU: SAPPHIRE 100283-3L Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
*Will be upgraded to a 6870 some day maybe a 6950 if money allows

Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 912 RC-912-KKN1 Black SECC/ ABS Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

PSU: Antec EarthWatts EA-500D Green 500W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply

Optical: Sony Optiarc 24X DVD Burner, Bulk Package 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model AD-7280S-0B - OEM

Monitor: AOC E2343FK Black 23" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor 250 cd/m2 50,000,000:1(DCR)

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM

Thanks again for everyone's help.
February 2, 2012 2:32:21 PM

Sounds good! I'd definitely spring for the 6950 since you'll be gaming at 1080p. A 6950 is going to destroy, while a 6870 will be merely adequete. In fact, Tom's found that a 6950 was the MINIMUM for playing SWTOR while maxed out. Keep that in mind.
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