Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Looking for opinions on a <$1500 gaming machine

Last response: in Systems
Share
February 12, 2012 9:10:40 PM

Hi all,

I've been off-and-on researching components for a new gaming PC over the last month, and I think I'm about set to pull the trigger. I'd like to get some feedback from the more experienced building community...

I'm looking to put together something beefy enough to demolish the current crop of games and last for a good while. I'm not particularly looking to overclock, but I definitely am keeping an eye on upgrade-abilty. I'd also like not to kill my electric bill. Here's what I'm thinking:
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K 3.3 GHz
  • Graphics: EVGA GeForce GTX 570 1280MB
  • Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-Z68A-D3
  • RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws 4GB 1600 (8 GB total in 2 DIMMs)
  • Hard drive: 2x SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 1TB in RAID
  • Optical drive: Samsung SH-222AB CD/DVD Burner
  • Power supply: SeaSonic X Series X650 Gold 650 W
  • Case: Rosewill CHALLENGER
    I figure I will also pick up an ASUS VH232H 23" monitor, which looks like pretty great value for the money.

    Here are a couple specific questions for you all--

    1. I am really, really strongly considering springing for a Radeon 7950 instead of the GTX 570. When I started researching, I was a bit annoyed at where the graphics market is right now, since we're on last year's models and waiting for the companies to roll out the new lines. I decided the new 7970 was out of my price range, but now that the 7950 is out, it looks like enough of a screamer for the money that I think it's worth it. I like the idea of being able to pick up another one for CrossFire in a couple years if I decide I need more oomph. I'm also really impressed with ZeroCore, which I think would play well with the integrated graphics of the i5-2500K. Any comments?

    2. I've seen various comments all over the place about RAM. My general impression is that unless I care about overclocking, 95% of the performance of a system is determined by the CPU, GPU, and amount/speed of RAM, so I see little benefit in going for some super-pricey sticks with giant technicolor heat sinks. So I just picked a highly rated 8GB 1600 pack. One point that I have seen and am wondering about, though: I was thinking of filling 2/4 DIMMs with the maximum possible RAM, and leaving the others open for later expansion. But is it going to be much better if I spread the RAM out evenly among all the DIMMs, and upgrade them all at once if I decide to do that? Or is RAM sufficiently cheap that I might as well fill 'em all with the biggest stuff I can get?

    Thanks, guys!
    February 12, 2012 9:25:13 PM

    The build looks good. As to your questions:

    7950 - The reports here at Toms suggest its better than the 570. Keppler (*nVidias answer) could be out this month in case you want to wait and see how it stacks up.

    i5 - Being able to OC if you want to gives a bit more upside potential

    Ram - Decent quality; 2x4gb is plenty for most uses; looks like 1600 is supported at 1.5v. Anything beyond 8gb only helps with certain software and few games.

    Hdd: I'm not a fan of raid (assuming 0). A single quality drive will do the job. Since you are proposing to use an SSD for the boot drive I would suggest considering a single WD Black series.
    m
    0
    l
    February 12, 2012 10:37:21 PM

    i5 2400 is only 10% slower than the i5 2500k, if you are not OCing, that can also be a choice. A 7950 is definitely awesome. Definitely get a SSD though, as you will load into games faster and such. I recommend getting a SSD like the Intel 520, Samsung 830, or Crucial M4. It will be much faster than if you got 2 HDDs. Get a 1TB, then a 64GB or 128GB SSD.

    Now, if you are thinking until April, then you could spend around $70 less on a 3.0 motherboard because motherboards from Asrock and Gigabyte support 3.0x16 slots when used with the Ivy Bridges. You can get a Asrock Pro3 Gen3, but it supports only one 3.0x16 slot. If your looking to CF in the future, then you would have to get the ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 or wait until April and get the Ivy Bridge w/ Asrock Extreme3 Gen3 for $122.

    My final recommendation is to wait for the Ivy Bridges and Kepler series as it seems the Kepler series will beast on the 7xxx.

    Case is cheap, get a Cooler Master Haf 912 instead.

    No need to spend that much on a PSU, although it is good, the Antec ECO 620w or the Corsair TX650 will perform just as well.

    Or if you really want the 7950, but no CF in the future, here's an idea:
    i5 2500k $230 or i5 2400 $190
    MSI 7950 $470
    ASRock Z68 PRO3 GEN3 $105
    Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB $160
    SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 $160
    RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws 4GB 1600 $47
    COOLER MASTER HAF 912 $60
    Antec ECO 620w $70
    DVD drive same as above $20
    m
    0
    l
    Related resources
    February 12, 2012 11:03:59 PM

    Cant rely on leaked specs, its unofficial and it may or may not meet their expectations or specs.
    m
    0
    l
    February 12, 2012 11:55:48 PM

    somekidxd said:
    Case is cheap, get a Cooler Master Haf 912 instead.

    Do you mean the case price or construction? I'm not going to be hung up on what the tower looks like.

    m
    0
    l
    February 13, 2012 9:46:42 PM

    Another question, related to your comment on the power supply--

    I'd like a supply that's efficient. How much stock do all these 80+ ratings hold? Is it as worth it as the PSU manufacturers would have us believe to push for silver or gold ratings, or is any 80+ rating quite sufficient?
    m
    0
    l
    February 13, 2012 10:24:16 PM

    80+ is also a definition of quality because of standards that must be met. Its a good thing.
    m
    0
    l
    February 13, 2012 11:03:42 PM

    Understood; but is it like Energy Star - which really doesn't differentiate any products from one another - or are the bronze, silver, and gold ratings actually meaningful distinctions?
    m
    0
    l
    February 14, 2012 8:47:24 PM

    I just finished reading an article on Toms or Anandtech (can't remember which) that said as you go from Bronze to Silver...the efficiency improves some but that the variability (and thus dependability) is what improves more. But the cost goes up significantly so they couldn't make a strong case for moving up the metal rating system.
    m
    0
    l
    February 14, 2012 9:00:39 PM

    I have a good build that I came up with after a few nights of research on everything from cases to motherboards and future proofing. If you wanna take a look I'll leave a link.

    http://pcpartpicker.com/p/4JmK

    The only thing I have yet to settle on is a power supply.

    The case has some of the best air flow/gpu space I've seen in a mid tower design stock.

    I did not put much thought into the optical drive and keyboard.
    m
    0
    l
    February 14, 2012 9:14:25 PM

    Blakexeal said:
    I have a good build that I came up with after a few nights of research on everything from cases to motherboards and future proofing. If you wanna take a look I'll leave a link.

    http://pcpartpicker.com/p/4JmK

    The only thing I have yet to settle on is a power supply.

    The case has some of the best air flow/gpu space I've seen in a mid tower design stock.

    I did not put much thought into the optical drive and keyboard.


    In this build a 550w quality psu will do the job

    No need to spend that much on the mobo

    No Hdd in this build...an SSD but no storage and 128mb won't do the job for a full system
    m
    0
    l
    February 14, 2012 9:47:35 PM

    I don't think 128mb would do the job for any system build. That's why I chose 128gb. The reason being is I don't horde hundreds of gigs of worthless files on my computer. Some people like to be pack rats when it comes to their hard drives. Also, when the time comes you can always purchase another one.
    m
    0
    l
    !