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Building a new gaming system $1200

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February 6, 2012 1:06:51 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: I want to build this right, no cutting corners so I will be piecing this system together over the span of a 60 days or so (give or take)

Budget Range: $1200 over the next 4 paychecks (300 every 2 weeks for the next 8 weeks)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Internet

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS) I am going to be installing Win 7 64bit.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I will price shop between newegg.com and Microcenter.com (I can also make the drive to Microcenter as lots of their deals are in store only

Country: USA

Parts Preferences:
• CASE: already purchased
Lanboy Air Blue ATX Modular Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
• Processor: I want to go with i5 2500K
• Motherboard: need advice on this, I'm pretty sure I want Z68
• Ram: need advice, am I cutting myself short with 8? Should I go 12? 16?
• HDD: I def want a solid state drive, maybe 120GB for OS and a few games and a larger drive for everything else
• GPU: Need advice
• PSU: again need advice (preferably modular and quiet)
• Cooling solutions? Heat sink? Water cooled? Thoughts and advice are welcomed and appreciated.
• Optical Drive: DVD/RW: (I can always upgrade to BR later)
Overclocking: Yes

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe, is one better than the other? Do I have to use one of these technologies or can I just get one decent card for what I want?

Monitor Resolution: 1680x1050,

Additional Comments: Mainly interested in performance while gaming, to give you an idea I play: World of Warcraft, Star Wars the Old Republic, My current system requires me to turn off every service, dumb down graphics yadda yadda, just to play a game. I want to be able to go to the game store, see a game and if I am interested, not have to wonder if my system can handle it. I also want this system not to sound like a jet plane, I would like it to be relatively quiet.

Thank you for taking the time. It is much appreciated.
a b 4 Gaming
February 6, 2012 1:52:34 PM

Best advice I can give you is to pocket that $300 every week and make your purchase at the end of the 60 days. A lot can happen in two months time...like the prices of h/d
s keep dropping which they have been now on a steady basis, the release of Nvidia Kepler cards, and Ivy Bridge is due out in April. So put it under the matteres, savings account, cookie jar...whatever.

For now you could always get the mobo...just make sure it's a 1155 Gen 3 board....Asus, Asrock, etc... and the RAM. 8 GB of RAM is more than plenty for a gaming build...and the O/S (Windows 7).
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February 6, 2012 2:09:16 PM

This does not work for me, I have 4 kids.. 2 in college, 1 heading to college.. and 1 annoying tweener... It is beyond impossible to save money.
Lets hypothetically, say i have the money today, fill in the blanks that way. At least I will have a road map to follow, I'm not too worried if a price drops by 10-15 dollars over the next few weeks. I want a guideline to follow...

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February 6, 2012 2:32:03 PM

Okay, i'm no pro at making computers myself but I know alittle about what goes in them :) 

But yeah to start off with;

• (Processor: I want to go with i5 2500K)

For the games you play, this will be fine, 3.3ghz is quite a bit and if you walked into a shop and say you wanted to play bf3 on full specs, with this processor you'd have no problem, as long as you get a good GPU to go with it.


• (Motherboard: need advice on this, I'm pretty sure I want Z68)

If you want to get a z68 mobo, then look at the * ASRock Z68 Extreme3 * or if you're able to whack out the extra cash * ASUS P8Z68-V *, better range of ram capabilities and personally for the extra 10 bucks, I like Asus better but there is no real difference in the make, pretty much the same company.


• (Ram: need advice, am I cutting myself short with 8? Should I go 12? 16?)

Corsair are my favorite company for RAM, Reliable and very consistent on their products. I would go for just the basic * 2 x 4gb Corsair DDR3 Ram * looking about $30-$40 for them each.

Personally, i'm a hardcore photoshop nerd, but i also love my games, and from experience 8 is going to be fine, and for photoshop, without any lagg or issues of any kind, 8 is fine again. If you wanted to go crazy and have a really fast working computer than yeah why not, make it 12 but it's not necessary for the games you've chosen.


• HDD: (I def want a solid state drive, maybe 120GB for OS and a few games and a larger drive for everything else )

I haven't got a SSD drive (Due to pricing) so I can't really point you in the right direction for what one to get. BUT! I do recommend getting one, you seem like you know the reason behind getting them, because they are faster than the typical HDD and they run games and OS with less chance of corruption and what not.. the list could go on...

For HDD on the other hand,

Standard *seagate 500gb hardrive* is fine. Around $90? I'm from uk so prices may be different in US. Also, with your budget you may wanna look at getting a 1TB, it's nice to just have the extra memory and it will save you having to install another drive in like a year and a bit, due to your old 500 running out :) 

• (GPU: Need advice)

What do you actaully want to be able to do with your computer, just play wow and Star wars? i'll give you a better judgement over what GPU to get after you feedback :) 


• PSU: again need advice (preferably modular and quiet)

Depending on your graphics card, but a 650w PSU should be fine, unless you want brute power and a huge electricity bill :)  I advise the * Coolermaster 650w Power supply) you'll be looking at about $100, good value, and it's very quiet :) 


• (Cooling solutions? Heat sink? Water cooled? Thoughts and advice are welcomed and appreciated.)

Once again, what will you be using your computer for. How many hours a day roughly would you use your new comp? how long would you have it for before you decided maybe you need to upgrade? Feedback and i'll advise.


• (Optical Drive: DVD/RW: (I can always upgrade to BR later))

Yeah DVD/RW is compulsory really, unless you're a USB hero :)  Don't really see the point in a BR thought, defiantly not at 1680x1050 resolution, with you're price budget, i would look into maybe getting a new monitor.


But yeah, these are only my tips, Tell me what you think, i can provide a price list properly if you want.
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a b 4 Gaming
February 6, 2012 3:29:19 PM

Get the cpu @ microcenter.

All these boards down below are Gen 3 boards...which means they are ready for Ivy Bridge and the new PCI-E 3.0 cards.

This first board has the usual rear 2x2 USB 3.0 ports, but no header for front USB 3.0 ports. Some mind, some don't mind. Good board for the money.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $121.99
ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

This board isn't a Z68 board, but it's solid, it has the front USB 3.0 header and unless your into video editing then a Z68 makes no difference.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $149.99
ASRock P67 EXTREME4 GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

This board has the front 3.0 USB header also.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $179.99
ASUS P8Z68-V/GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS

This psu down below is modular and is a good deal for that price. It will allow you to push dual 560 ti's or dual 6950's and leave you plenty of headroom.

http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Enthusiast-Certified-Perf... $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

This card down below is a bargain and will max games at your resolution.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $209.99
GIGABYTE GV-N560UD-1G GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

If AMD cards are your thing then here's one to look at.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $239.99 FREE SHIPPING
GIGABYTE GV-R695OC-1GD Radeon HD 6950 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card

And if you really want to go high dollar for your resolution, this card down below runs on par with a gtx 570 and over clocks a whole lot better than a 570.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006FCCOII/ref=pd_lpo_... $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 solid and quick storage drive...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $124.99
Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E... <----- You want 1.5v RAM for these 1155 boards. Any of these sets in the link will do, just stay away from that Corsair RAM with the tall heat sinks so you don't screw yourself with your cpu h/s. Corsair, G.Skill, Mushkin, Crucial and Patriot are all solid brands. 8GB (2x4) is more than plenty.

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.

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

Any $20 SATA DVD/CD writer will do just fine. Samsung, Asus, LG, Lite On, etc.... just make sure it's SATA and not EIDE.

And of course your O/S...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $99.99 FREE SHIPPING
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM

And the SSD....

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $239.99 FREE SHIPPING
Mushkin Enhanced Chronos MKNSSDCR180GB 2.5" 180GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

or....

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $249.99 FREE SHIPPING
Corsair Force Series 3 CSSD-F180GB3-BK 2.5" 180GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (SSD
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February 7, 2012 5:05:36 PM

Thanks for the responses,

to answer the one posters questions.

A typical weekday in the life of my current setup is: up at 5AM reading news, checking email, fb and possibly VPN'ing into a server at work for whatever reason. The occasional kid has some type of homework to do/something to print.

A typical weekend day in the life of my current build is a bit different: up at 5AM, wow or sotr as long as I can get away with them for hours on end until I get sacked with a honey do list or I am not playing a taxi cab driver. When I am not sitting at the controls, other members of the family will log in and check fb, youtube, print, do homework, shop online or whatever it is they do. The computer will be on and gaming most of any given weekend during free time moments.

I download music (legally of course) I store 60GB worth of mp3s on a different drive, lots of bouncing around with music in library and ipod.
On occasion I will burn cds/dvds...

I stream netflix quite a bit as well.. Hope this helps you help me

and once again, I appreciate the responses.
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February 7, 2012 5:21:30 PM

I would definitely say Why_me has some outstanding responses to your questions as far as the build goes.

The only thing I would personally suggest is looking at the GTX 560ti (Fermi) 448 core as opposed to just the 560ti (Fermi) card. It's a price different of about $70-80 however the 448 is faster, newer and performs better than just the 560ti. I have compared both the EVGA and MSI Twin Frozr cards and I personally will be going with the EVGA due to; reviews on Newegg, and various articles on the web in reference to perfomance, warranty, and cooling. Although the MSI I believe runs cooler, in the January PC Gamer mag they had the MSI Twin Frozr in there and gave it an 82 rating...due to noise and stuff.

Just my 2 cents.

8 GB of RAM is more than though, and I totally feel ya in regards to going to the store and seeing the latest game and just going home to install it and playing, nor even caring about the requirements.

I'm finishing up my $1800 build myself that I'll be ordering in March.

Checkout my thread titled: Pending Gaming/Streaming Build it's still near the top.

I apologize, I don't feel like linking everything as I just spent like 20 minutes on my thread, =P ~ ~
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February 8, 2012 4:18:16 PM

Best answer selected by nam.
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a b 4 Gaming
February 8, 2012 5:19:21 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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