New $1000-$1100 Gaming PC

Hi guys, putting together a new build - first time builder, need to make sure all the parts I've chosen are compatible. I'm on a bit of a budget here so I'd prefer to keep things as cheap as possible without sacrificing tons of performance or potential future-proofability.

Approximate Purchase Date: Probably today

Budget Range: Around $1000-1100 including monitor

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Some 3D modeling/animation and potential game design stuff, Surfing the web, playing movies

Parts Not Required: Mouse, mousepad, keyboard

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg, Amazon

Country: US

Parts Preferences: No real preference, just good price/performance.

Overclocking: Maybe, eventually if I need to.

SLI or Crossfire: Eventually, most likely.

Monitor Resolution: 1920 x 1080

Public Newegg List:

Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 - $59.99

Mobo: ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel - $121.99

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500 - $195ish

GPU: GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6950 1GB - $249.99

PSU: CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX650 V2 650W 80 Plus Bronze - $79.99

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM 1600 (PC3 12800)- $46.99

HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s - $94.99

Optical: LITE-ON DVD Burner - Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - $17.99

OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit - $89.99ish

Monitor: Acer G245HQABD 23.6" LCD Monitor Black Slim 5ms- $139.99

Total before shipping, after discounts (including 10% off OS promo code): ~$1,096

Any part suggestions? Am I missing anything?

I was a bit confused about what to do with the PSU. 650W is certainly more than enough for a single 6950 setup so buying one is more of a future-proof thing I would think. With that said however, I've noticed in Tom's relatively recent $1200 PC build, which includes 2 of the same cards that im using, the gigabyte 6950, it also utilizes the same 650W PSU - in the power benchmarks though it seems like it's really cutting it close sometimes under load. Do you think this could be an issue, or is this 650W basically enough?

The i5-2500 (not the 2500k) is on sale right now, $15 off, so thats a pretty good deal being about $35 cheaper than the 2500k, is it worth having the i5-2500k though? I know the 2500k is hella-overclockable but... do I really need that? Will I experience bottlenecking down the road if I crossfire my 6950?

Also should I get an aftermarket cooler for my 2500 - I've read some reviews that it runs a bit hot with the stock cooler, but I'm not sure.

One last thing, I've read some reviews saying that the HAF 912 requires more than just the stock fans to get good cooling out of it, so is it worth buying them right now?

Thanks a lot, any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated!
7 answers Last reply
More about 1000 1100 gaming
  1. Haf 922 might be a better choice but is almost 2x the cost. If you aren't going for the i5-2500k then consider an i3 to save money. A 6870 will do almost as well as ythe 6950 and will save money.
  2. The i5-2500k is cheap at microcenter. I checked the locations, but none are in my area. There's one other trick up my sleeve as I might try to see if Comp USA will price match microcenter. It says they price match on the website, so who knows for sure.

    Core i5 2500K LGA 1155 Boxed Processor
    Original Price: $249.99 You Save: $70.00
    Our Price: $179.99
    SKU 200121
    Mfr Part #: 179648
    UPC: 735858217354
  3. In 3D modeling/animation and game design better buy 560Ti GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 560 Ti 224$ and 205$ after rebates.
    And if im not wrong 16GB RAM.
  4. I'd spend the extra 25 bucks and get the i5 2500k to overclock.

    $225 on amazon

    But ideally if you have a microcenter near for the next 2 days you can get it cheaper plus 50 dollars off a motherboard.
  5. Hey guys thanks for the replies!

    So the HAF 922 was recommended, it's currently sitting at $95 - only about $35 more than my 912... I'll probably consider it and compare the two to see if it's worth the upgrade.

    I'm not so sure about the 560 Ti - I've been going through plenty of 6950 vs 560 Ti threads and the like, looking at benchmarks etc... It just seems that the 6950, at least the one I've chosen, is a more stable option. Why exactly would you recommend the 560 Ti over the 6950 for 3D modeling/animation? Going to research the 6870 a bit more as well, would save me about $70-80 but again I don't want to kill too much performance.

    I'll also throw the 2500k back into consideration. The i3 just doesn't seem like much power, and doesn't seem to make sense in a build like mine. I could be totally wrong though, so feel free to correct me. It just seems that dual-core is really something that should only be found in a REALLY budgeted build, something much less expensive than what I've got going here.

    Really I'd like to keep things as cheap as possible without sacricing too much performance, that's why I've kind of skimped a bit on the case to leave price-room for the GPU and such. With that said it seems the HAF 912 is one of the biggest cases you can get for around $50-60. I am a bit concerned about it's cooling capabilities - I also know it'll probably require the removal of a hard drive cage in order to fit a 3-fan 6950 in there.

    I might make the trip out to a microcenter to see if I can snag a good deal on the 2500k, we'll see.

    Does anyone own the two above mentioned cases that can give their opinion?

    Thanks again guys.
  6. I've thoroughly looked into cases lately. So far my decision is to eventually pick up a COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case.

    There are a few reasons, and I'm sure other cases fit this description, but I have yet to stumble across them.

    1. It supports larger 200mm fans on the front, side, and top. Hell it even comes with 2 200mm fans already preinstalled. Larger fans are better airflow and thus less humming of weaker fans. Some cases don't accommodate a fan you might want.

    2. It will fit any size video card without removing hard drive bays. at around 5min 10sec you'll get a chance to see how there's room to spare. Even for sli/crossfire you wouldn't break a sweat on space.

    3. It looks aesthetically pleasing, not exactly an alienware case though.

    4. It has a rebate currently and is around 79.99 after MIR.

    5. CPU backplate for easy stock/after market heat sink installation.

    6. Plentiful ventillation and side panel in which to add another 200mm fan or view your components through honeycomb mesh whatever it's called.

    7. Convex side plate for cable management and rubber grommets on back plate (for watercooling upgrades later).

    8. Tooless design: Thumb screws for easy access as well as 5.25 bays easy lock/unlock system.

    Con: I don't think it comes with a bay adapter. That's not huge as you can simply pick one up later or duct tape your SSD lol. Cable management could've done with some rubber grommet areas, but I don't think that's a deal breaker either. USB 2.0 ports if you're worried about that.

    Overall I haven't seen many cases do that much at 79.99.
  7. Interesting - that'd probably be the better route if I went with the 6950. I would think the 6870 would fit okay in a 912.

    I've been looking into the 6870 more and assuming the benchmarks I'm seeing are reliable, the 6870 performs relatively on-par with the 6950, and for $70-80 less it seems....

    At the moment the most intensive game I'll probably play is BF3. With the current bugs/driver issues with the game, even a 6950 apparently has to be lowered from full ultra settings, due to some bugs with a couple settings or what not, and manages to pull like 35-40fps average or so.. definitely playable FPS. From benchmarks the 6870 seems to pull a bit less on ultra, so I'd probably turn things down to high just to make the experience smoother.

    Still it's kind of a tough decision - 6950 would offer more future-proofing, and the 6870 would give me another 70-80 bucks or so to play around with, or put in my pocket.
    XFX 6870, currently $20 promo thing, $170, thats $80 savings from my 6950

    Could even take 70 of that, upgrade to a 2500k and a HAF 922, but that would seem kind of silly to do in a gaming PC, right? Sacrificing the GPU to get a better case and processor that I probably won't even need, lol.

    UPDATE - Seems the 6870 actually does a bit better in BF3 than I thought (with the crappy settings turned to high of course, AA and what not, I think there's one other one that has to be turned down)

    If I went with the aforementioned 6870 that'd bring me to $115 in savings off the $1131 price, putting me around $1015 before shipping and rebates.

    So I guess it would come down to a question of future-proofing, considering the 6950, 2500k, and the HAF 922 that is.
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