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$1600 PC for gaming & music production

Last response: in Systems
February 6, 2012 11:35:52 AM

I haven't built a pc in about 3 years now and I'm a little unsure of what I should purchase but spent the past week trying to get a grasp on all the new stuff out and found that I needed some outside assistance. Thanks in advance!

Approximate purchase date: Within the week

Budget Range: $1600

Parts not required: I have keyboard, mouse, speakers, monitor, dvd burner

Preferred website: Only because I'd prefer to buy all parts from one store and didn't really know where else to shop.

Parts preference: None

Overclocking: have never done it, but if it would extend the usefullness of my PC I may have to start.

SLI or Crossfire: not anytime soon

Monitor Resolution: 1680 x 1050

Additional Comments: I came up with a base listing of what I "thought" would be good, but my lack of knowledge may have me making bad decisions. Also I have Vista Home Premium 64bit, wasn't sure if it was worth it to upgrade to Win 7 or not. If there's places that I can save money in order to possibly get a 24" monitor that would be nice. Here's what I've come up with so far.

CPU: i7 2600

Case: Cooler Master HAF 922

RAM: Corsair Vengence 8GB (2x4GB)

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68XP

Video: EVGA GTX 570

PSU: Corsair Enthusiast Series TX850M

HDD: WD VelociRaptor 450GB

February 6, 2012 9:27:41 PM

Audio recording/editing really isn't that CPU intensive for most people, any modern quad core really would blitz it, I'm not sure the i7 is necessary. I would go with an i5 personally.

I would imagine you would want a quiet PC for audio too so I would rule out SLI and Crossfire. It is pretty unnecessary anyway, a GTX 570 is fine on a single monitor even at 1080P and by the time it isn't enough you would just buy a better card rather than SLI an old card.

If you were to not SLI you could save some cash on the PSU and motherboard too.

I wouldn't bother with the raptor either personally, it just can't compare to an SSD as a boot drive and they're pretty noisy.

As you said, overclocking can give you a huge boost when you need it so I would recommend gearing up for that.

If you do a lot of audio editing/recording it may be nice to go with dual monitors.

I hope this helps :) 

EDIT: Which kinds of cases do you like in terms of looks? Do you prefer aggressive looks and lights like the HAF series or something understated like a Define R3? Or a nice aluminium case like a Lian Li or Silverstone? Or a Shuttle cube case or something?
February 6, 2012 9:43:01 PM

I currently dual monitor off of a GTX 9800+ I've had for 3 years. lol.

I will most likely not SLI after giving it more thought.

I've been looking into SSD's all day as a possibility since they run in the same price range as a raptor.

As far as cases go, I'm not particular to how they look at all since I can't see mine, just want it to stay cool. I do know I don't like Thermaltake. I am currently using the V9 Black Edition and every fan in it died the first year.
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February 6, 2012 9:51:34 PM

If you don't care about looks and flashy lights, cut some costs and get the BitFenix Shinobi.
It's a great case, good size for your build, and even though it's cheap, it still looks slick IMO

Best solution

February 6, 2012 9:56:48 PM

I think something like this would be really nice.

8GB Mushkin Silverline
ASRock Z68 PRO3 GEN3
Powercolor HD 7950 3GB
Samsung 830 256GB
Coolermaster HAF 922
XFX Core 550W
Coolermaster Hyper 212 Evo
DVD Burner
ASUS 24'' Monitor

Total - $1620 before $40 rebates.

That gives you much better gaming performance while still being fine for audio. Also that SSD will be a hell of a lot faster than that raptor. Should be a bit quieter too since you won't have the nasty vibrations from the hard drive.
February 6, 2012 10:06:07 PM

What is the difference between Radeon and Nvidia video cards? I buy EVGA Nvidia because that's what I've been buying for a decade.
February 6, 2012 10:13:25 PM

They are a different brand, that's pretty much all there is to it. You still just plug in the card and install the drivers as normal and you're away. I just chose that card because it's a bit better than a GTX 580 for the same price. It also consumes less power than the GTX 570. This is because it's a brand new card, Nvidia's new cards aren't due out until April as far as I'm aware.
February 6, 2012 10:30:14 PM

Besides drivers and architecture, the reason you would want one or the other (Nvidia or AMD) depends on which one has the newest (fastest) cards, right now is kind of tricky because while the 79xx series is showing great performance, it is still quite pricey. After Nvidia releases the new Keplar cards, it will drive down the price of the AMD cards, and that is usually the best time to buy.
February 6, 2012 10:38:22 PM

For the Powercolor HD 7950 3GB, how would I dual monitor since it only has 1 DVI out?
February 6, 2012 10:50:11 PM

jungldj said:
For the Powercolor HD 7950 3GB, how would I dual monitor since it only has 1 DVI out?

Use a dvi to hdmi adapter. Some come with 3 hdmi ports.
February 7, 2012 12:00:06 AM

A few things I would do different starting with the vid card. This card down below runs neck and neck with the gtx 570 yet when both are over clocked it mops the floor with the 570 while using less power and less voltage. It's also on a newer die. If you do decide to stick with the 570 (no idea why you would), you want an 850w psu in order to have some juice left over if you decide to add another card later on. A 750w psu can easily push dual's 560 ti 448 though. $289.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
MSI N560GTX-Ti 448 Twin Frozer III PE/OC - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti (448 Cores) PCI-E 16X Graphics Card

A nice Gen 3 Z68 board that allows for SLI. $121.99
ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard <----- A better look at that board <----- Gen 3 for PCI-E 3.0 and Ivy Bridge for future upgrades.

A solid and quick storage drive... $124.99
Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

A modular psu worth taking a look at. $122.26 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Corsair Enthusiast TX V2 Series 750-Watt 80 Plus Bronze Certified High Performance Modular Power Supply CP-9020003-NA $22.88 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25
Asus 24xDVD±RW Serial ATA Internal OEM Drive DRW-24B1ST (Black)

Save a few more dollars on your RAM... $41.99 FREE SHIPPING
Patriot Signature 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory with heatshield Model PSD38G1600KH

Great deal on a fast SATA 3 SSD... $154.99 FREE SHIPPING
ADATA S510 Series AS510S3-120GM-O 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) - OEM

Here's a nice cpu h/s (can be found for cheaper @ amazon). This h/s allows you to add another fan for a "push - pull effect" although I doubt you will feel the need to add another fan. Also keep in mind that anything past 4.4GHz on these Sandy Bridge cpu's is a total waste with zero gain. $34.99 FREE SHIPPING
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+
February 7, 2012 10:57:30 AM

SLI won't be necessary since he's gaming on one monitor and can afford a high end card.
February 17, 2012 12:20:00 PM

Best answer selected by jungldj.
June 2, 2012 12:37:23 AM

You Might want to consider SSDs if you are doing audio