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Gaming PC ~1200 (very flexible) Upgrade question

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February 2, 2012 9:08:25 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: Within a week. My trusty seven year old WoW tower is on its very last life.

Budget Range: ~1200. To be honest the budget is self imposed and very flexible.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, watching moves, surfing the web

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, mouse, speakers, OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com // amazon.com

Country: US

Parts Preferences: Intel and Nvidia

Overclocking: Down the road

SLI or Crossfire: Not now and probably not ever.

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: Need a sturdy case that can travel well (overseas)

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I've always been a console/handheld gamer but I just can't pass up all these insane Steam deals going around so this is my first foray into building my own computer. I have a tower that's been helping me deal with my WoW addiction for 7 years (Yes it's chugging along in Cata but just barely) I would like to be able to play Skyrim and other games on PC as opposed to consoles. So...

My goal is to build a solid gaming computer that can easily upgrade into a new Kepler card when they come out. Above I said I don't need a keyboard, mouse and speakers but I wouldn't mind being pointed towards something new. My main goal is to have a PC that I don't have to fuss with at all for several years (3-5 would be ideal) once I upgrade to the new Kepler card. With that being said please don't hesitate to suggest pricier parts that will withstand the test of time a little better.


CPU: i5-2500k - $229.99

GPU: GTX 560 Ti - $249.99
This is just a place holder until the Kepler cards come out. I'm not sure when the actual release date is but would it be worth while to downgrade to a 550ti or something similar as to not completely waste money on a GTX 560ti?

RAM: G.Skill Ripjaw 8 GB - $46.99
I don't know much about RAM. Will 1600 make a difference over 1333? Is G.SKill a good brand?

SSD: Samsung 830 128GB - $219.99
I really want an SSD and I heard these were good.

Heatsink: Cooler Master Hyper 212 - $29.99
Do I need this? If yes, is this a good one?

HD: I know prices are jacked at the moment but I'd like a decent sized one that is fast.

MOBO: I don't have anything picked out. I'm totally lost here. I think I want a Z68 board? I understand this is a lot about personal preference but ultimately I want something that will last.

Case: I've looked at a few, namely the Fractal Arc. Again I know this has to do with personal preference but I'm really lost here as well. What has good cable management? Good cooling? Solid build? Blah blah blah?

PSU: Something that will be strong enough to support a high end Kepler card. If the projected power of the cards holds true then I don't want to be bothered with SLI.


*On a side note I'm going to be buying two monitors (not part of this budget) so I can have one monitor for an MMO and the other monitor for a web browser or a movie or something.

Best solution

February 2, 2012 9:22:42 PM

Your build is definitely on the right tracks...here are my thoughts:

CPU: Fine, pretty much the best gaming CPU right now.

GPU: Personally, I'd recommend sticking with the 560Ti. It's in the 'sweet spot' for price v performance. If you drop to a lower spec card, you'll still be paying the vast majority of the price for the 560Ti and getting less performance. The 560Ti will probably eBay well, and it runs modern games without breaking a sweat right now so you'd not feel like you compromised whilst waiting for Kepler...gives you some time to enjoy your new build while waiting for Kepler's prices to drop, too.

RAM: You'll probably not notice the difference between 1333 and 1600, but most folk tend to go with 1600. GSkill is an excellent brand, as is Corsair.

SSD: Not sure how good that one is, but there are OCZ Vertex IIIs and the Corsair Novas you can look at too. Point to note here, if you get a Z68 motherboard (see below) then you can take advantage of SSD caching. You won't see your SSD in Windows, but it'l put your most commonly used programmes on it so you get the speed advantage. It only works up with SSDs up to 60GB in size, so if you got a 128GB drive, you'd be wasting 68GB. The alternative is using them as two separate drives and choosing where to install your files...swings and roundabouts. However, if you decide to use SSD caching (called Intel Smart Response Technology, if you want to Google it) then you'll save some money by getting a smaller SSD.

Heatsink: That's a good budget heatsink, highly recommended even for reasonable overclocks.

HDD: Get a 1TB Samsung Spinpoint F3 or a Seagate Barracuda...job done.

Mobo: P8Z68-Pro...gives you SSD caching and good overclocking options, plus the option of SLI down the road (in case the 'probably' changes into a 'let's give it a go'). Anyways, this mobo is worth it for the overclocking features alone.

Case: Corsair 600D is a lovely case. The Fractal Design Define R3 is also nice.

PSU: Something from XFX, Corsair, Be Quiet!, Silverstone or Enermax that is 80+ certified. I'd go for about 750W to be on the safe side.

Hope this helps. :) 
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February 2, 2012 10:15:56 PM

I'll stick with the GTX 560Ti.

If I was to get a 64GB SSD and use the Intel Smart Response Technology would windows be considered one my more commonly used programs? I really want that awesome 20 second start up time ;) .

Is this the mobo you are referring to: ASUS


Thanks for the help
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a b 4 Gaming
February 2, 2012 10:56:58 PM

Don't use Intel's SSD caching. It doesn't work very well, and you'll do better managing your data yourself. I strongly recommend getting a 120/128gb model. ADATA S510 120gb, $150: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'd get the 212 EVO. It's worth $5 more.
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February 2, 2012 11:10:31 PM

Looks good, but i mean you can consider the Asrock Extreme3 Gen3 which includes a Pci 3.0x16 slot. Definetely get a Z68 board as your 2500k can OC to pretty high. Samsung 830 is awesome, reliable and stable. Cooler Master 212 is awesome.
You could get a 500GB unless you really need the 1TB space. Cavier Blue, Samsung, Seagate, Hitachi are all good. Corsair cases are sturdy and spacious. Theres not really a difference between 1333 and 1600, but then get a 1.5V for your ram as it runs best.

Suggestion:
i5 2500k $230
Asrock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 $122
8GB ram 1333 $40
Gtx 570 or 560ti 448 $345/$300
Samsung 830 $220
Hitachi 500gb 7200rpm $85
LG 22x $18
Corsair Carbide Series 400R $100
Antec ECO 620w $70
Total: ~$1200
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a b 4 Gaming
February 2, 2012 11:58:28 PM

The Extreme3 may be a good choice, but it's not because of its PCI 3.0. No graphics hardware currently exists that can max out a PCI 2.0 x8 slot.

That PSU is too much for one Ti and not enough for two. I'd recommend getting a decent 750W PSU, actually, for future SLI: it's an easy upgrade that'll save you money, as you won't have to do a full platform upgrade. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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February 3, 2012 3:38:49 PM

Thank you for your replies. I will be using all of the info you guys have handed out. Have a nice weekend.
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a b 4 Gaming
February 3, 2012 5:00:44 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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