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First Timer - $1500 Building gaming PC - Lots of questions

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February 28, 2012 7:24:53 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: I would like to get it done before the end of March 2012.


Budget Range: I would like to stay under $1500. However, if I can make it more future-proof by spending a bit more i probably would.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: First reason I am building this is for gaming( Diablo 3, MW3, Starcraft, CnC, etc.), second reason is for running mild engineering programs, lastly i want to use it to surf the web and to shoot media to my TV.

Parts Not Required: I do not need the easy stuff like... mouse, keyboard.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts
: Microcenter ( i have a local store about 5 minutes away and they usually are the cheapest)Amazon, Newegg, Tigerdirect, Staples or where I can find a good deal at the time.

Country: This is US build.

Parts Preferences: I would like to build an Intel system.

So far i have chosen a few parts, let me know if they sound good. I know i may have to wait for a few of them to drop in price to reach my pricing goal.

CPU - Core i5 2500K LGA 1155 Boxed Processor
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Motherboard - ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 LGA 1155 Z68 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Storage - Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2BAA 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Also going to add an old 500GB HD drive for extra storage.

Video Card - I am not totally sure what I should choose, and could use some advice on this, but I am leaning toward....
- EVGA 012-P3-2066-KR GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 448 Cores FTW 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?SID=u0t0f0fp...

Memory - Not sure on what to buy yet. I have heard different things about lower voltages being more future-proof and could use some good information here on what good choices may be.

Case: Have not decided. However, i would like a case that i can see through on at least one side.

Power Supply: Again undecided. I have been told to get at least 750w, let me know if that is high enough for 2 GPU's and some fans.

Heat Sink: I have decided air cooling is the best idea for me. I am completely uneducated here though. Please help.

Media drive: May or may not be necessary. Anything cheap that reads Blu-Ray.

Overclocking: Yes, however this is my first build and it may take me some time to get around to working on it.

SLI or Crossfire: Yes, I plan on upgrading to 2 GPU's in the future, but for now i will only have one.

Monitor Resolution: I love the 1920x1200 resolution, it is what I ran on back in 2004. I would be fine with a 1920x1080 for a smaller price point.

Additional Comments:
I would like to build something that is as future-proof as i can get without going over $1500. I clearly have not finished deciding on parts. This is a first time build for me so any advice will be helpful and is much appreciated.

One of my main concerns is if i were to wait till after march 31st and let some of the new hardware come out how much saving could i really see? I may be willing to wait a few weeks to buy certain pieces if it will save a lot. If I should wait, what should i buy now? I have heard memory will go up in price unlike the rest of the hardware, is that true?

Thanks you in advance to anyone able to impart some knowledge.

ElectricSD
February 28, 2012 7:49:16 PM

case: cooler master haf x
large stylish case that looks cool and has a plexiglass window
mobo: asus p8z68-v pro
very popular and well known mobo from asus which is the big dog when it comes to mobos
cpu: intel i5 2500k
probably THEE MOST POPULAR and BEST VALUE cpu on the market go ahead look around even on this very site on the systems, new build section, virtually EVERYONE picks this cpu
cpu cooler: cooler master hyper 212 evo
this is probably the most well known cooler on the market, its fairly quiet, and can handle high oc's for only 35$ from your pocket
ssd: crucial m4 128gb
its a great, not that expensive ssd
hhd: it looks like you dont want one but personnaly id get one
psu: corsair ax850
VERY WELL KNOWN AND FROM CORSAIR (the best psu manufacturer)
optical drive: lg black 12x bd-rom
its an optical drive
ram: g.skill ripjaws x series 8gb
well its ram its 8gb and its red ooooohhhh aaaahhhhh
video card: nvidia gtx 560 ti
it has the best fps per dollar ratio. period.

this build should be under your price range or close to it

also i dont think youd save much at all if you wait, unless you wait like a year or so.
and i dont think the price of ram will go up, unless you buy like some ram that JUST came out

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February 28, 2012 8:05:55 PM

I have heard that Elpida has declared bankruptcy and that may cause ram prices to rise over the next month or more. Here is a link so you can see what I am talking about.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/28/business/global/elpid...

Any input on this? ^^^^

However, from what you have said waiting till the end of April is not a great idea for saving alone. So that may not matter if I should buy now anyway.

I have heard that ram at 1.65v will not run properly on some of the CPU's coming out in the next 4 years and therefore would not be very future-proof. Any input on this?

Quote:
video card: nvidia gtx 560 ti
it has the best fps per dollar ratio. period.


Any preference of builder or maybe a link to a good price point?

Thank my friend.

ElectricSD
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Related resources
February 28, 2012 8:38:45 PM

Quote:
I have heard that Elpida has declared bankruptcy and that may cause ram prices to rise over the next month or more. Here is a link so you can see what I am talking about.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/28/ [...] uptcy.html


Really? That's news to me.

Quote:
Any preference of builder or maybe a link to a good price point?


I would not recommend a 560TI on this build - you can get a way better GPU on a $1500 build. I wouldn't get a $200 case and then sacrifice important hardware like the GPU for it. There also is no secondary storage solution on that build - I *ALWAYS* recommend that if you go with an SSD as your primary to have some form of secondary storage solution.

Quote:
I have heard that ram at 1.65v will not run properly on some of the CPU's coming out in the next 4 years and therefore would not be very future-proof. Any input on this?


Yes with the design of the Sandy Bridge CPUs the memory controller is on the chip - and that's why it has a hard time recognizing RAM capacities above 4GB or speeds above 1600MHz. The voltage is very important as well - for SB - you want 1.5V - no more, no less.

Try this - this is my preferred $1500 build:

Case: Corsair Carbide 400R - $99.99 ($10.00 MIR)
PSU: PC Power & Cooling Silencer MKII - $149.99 ($20.00 MIR)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD3P - $182.99
CPU: 3.30GHz Intel Core i5-2500K - $229.99
Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo - $34.99
RAM: 8GB Crucial Ballistix 1600MHz 1.5V - $44.99
SSD: 64GB Crucial M4 - $104.99
HD: Seagate Barracuda ST 2TB - $129.99
Optical: Lite On DVD Burner - $15.99
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7950 - $469.99

Total: $1,460.90 - $30.00 MIR = $1.430.90
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February 28, 2012 9:22:04 PM

G-unit1111, all the suggestions you made sound good. Although I have a few questions.

First is the video card. The HD 7950 3GB is one the best out there for sure. However the price is high as well, and I am worried I may not be motivated to pair it with another card in the future as a result. Would it be better to get a cheaper card like the 560 Ti and then SLI in the future. Or would i get as much or more performance out of the single 7950 anyway?

Second...

Quote:
Yes with the design of the Sandy Bridge CPUs the memory controller is on the chip - and that's why it has a hard time recognizing RAM capacities above 4GB or speeds above 1600MHz. The voltage is very important as well - for SB - you want 1.5V - no more, no less.


Would a lower voltage chip make it easier to upgrade my Mobo and chip in 3 years when Haswell and Broadwell hit the market. Or is 1.5v good for all 4 of the CPUs we will see in the next 4 years? That being i would buy a SB now, then if i want to upgrade to either IB or HW or BW. How would that work?

Thanks again, getting closer to some decisions.

ElectricSD
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February 28, 2012 9:32:02 PM

Also the big difference i see between these two boards is that the ASUS has PCI-E 3.0 and the Gigabyte does not. Am i missing anything?

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD3P - $182.99 vs. the Asus p8z68-v pro/gen3

And what exactly is the PCI-E 3.0 going to give me that could warrant the $22 difference?
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February 28, 2012 9:33:09 PM

7950 will be great, and you can easily pair up another one in the next 1-2 years, and then it would be much cheaper, or if not the next 6 months, you can never go wrong with it, but if you are getting a 560ti i would then suggest MSi N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC 2GB as opposed to its 1GB counter part, but hey more vram is good, at least in the 560ti of msi section, give room for upgrade to more monitors too, and many other reasons,
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February 28, 2012 9:53:13 PM

Quote:
First is the video card. The HD 7950 3GB is one the best out there for sure. However the price is high as well, and I am worried I may not be motivated to pair it with another card in the future as a result. Would it be better to get a cheaper card like the 560 Ti and then SLI in the future. Or would i get as much or more performance out of the single 7950 anyway?


You won't need to add a second for a long time - the 7950 is powerful enough that it comes close to overtaking an SLI 580. Me personally I've tried SLI and for the money I'd rather have the strongest single card you can get for the price instead of getting a weaker card with SLI or Crossfire in mind.

Quote:

Would a lower voltage chip make it easier to upgrade my Mobo and chip in 3 years when Haswell and Broadwell hit the market. Or is 1.5v good for all 4 of the CPUs we will see in the next 4 years? That being i would buy a SB now, then if i want to upgrade to either IB or HW or BW. How would that work?


No it won't - RAM voltages are not going to change at all for the most part. It's hard to predict what future CPUs are going to require and you certainly can't be prepared for a system that's going to be out 4 years down the road.

Quote:
Also the big difference i see between these two boards is that the ASUS has PCI-E 3.0 and the Gigabyte does not. Am i missing anything?

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD3P - $182.99 vs. the Asus p8z68-v pro/gen3


Most Z68 boards have been updated accordingly to support PCI-3.0 - this one included. Get the Asus if you want to be on the safe side.

I have the UD3P and it's been a great board so far - I've had 0 issues with it.

Quote:
And what exactly is the PCI-E 3.0 going to give me that could warrant the $22 difference?


The main thing it will provide a speed boost to your Radeon 7950 should you get it, but really not that much. PCI-E is just like RAM - by default your board will run minimum what it needs when it needs it and adjust the speeds accordingly.

Quote:
7950 will be great, and you can easily pair up another one in the next 1-2 years, and then it would be much cheaper, or if not the next 6 months, you can never go wrong with it, but if you are getting a 560ti i would then suggest MSi N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC 2GB as opposed to its 1GB counter part, but hey more vram is good,


Not necessarily - your system utilizes the VRAM it needs when it needs it - you most likely will never use all VRAM on any given card.
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February 28, 2012 10:15:34 PM

cpu: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Intel Core i5-2500K - $225

mobo: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 - $130

ram: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
G.SKILL Ares Series 8GB F3-1600C9D-8GAB - $45

hsf: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CORSAIR CAFA70 - $30 after rebate

hdd: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1TB - $125

ssd: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Plextor M3 Series PX-128M3 2.5" 128GB - $180

odd: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
LG DVD Burner 24X GH24NS70 - $19

psu: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PC Power and Cooling Silencer Mk II 950W - $130 after rebate

case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SILVERSTONE RAVEN Series RV03B-WA - $160

gpu: leave it blank until kepler hit the shelves...

and yes ElectricSD you really made the point... hd 7950 is a really good card but unfortunately it is pricing quite high compared to gtx 500 series... anyone who own gtx 580 has no reason to upgrade to this card... ecspecially when you can get a gtx 580 for as low as $435(i ain't talk about the 3gb version anyway) as for one single monitor running at 1920 x 1080... buying the 3gb version won't get better performance than the 1.5gb.... yes the hd 7950 is still superior to the gtx 580 but the price is.... also look at this....

http://www.custompcreview.com/2012/02/21/nvidias-kepler...

the arrive of kepler gpu will most likely drive the prices down so you may want to hold on just a little bit longer before you stretch your hands on one of these gpus....

as far as for the memory you shouldn't look too far... currently 1.5v ram is the best bet but if you still keen on lower voltage ram.... here....

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
G.SKILL Sniper Low Voltage Series 8GB F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR2 - $50
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February 28, 2012 10:33:16 PM

Heres My input i see you said something about engineering programs and such so this would be a great build for you :

http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=64385&vpn=RR-212E-20PK... - Cpu Cooler 29.33

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004EBUXSA/?tag=pcpapi-20 - 2600k 299.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - asrock z68

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...(Desktop%20Memory)-_-Corsair-_-20233143&AID=10440897&PID=3938566&SID= 16gb ram

http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=66010&vpn=ST2000DM001&... - 2tb

http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=58457&vpn=ENGTX560%20T... - x2

http://www.compusa.com/applications/searchtools/item-de... - xfx 1050 fully modular

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B002M78KZG/?tag=pcpapi-20 - silverstone raven. my personal fav. 160

total 1530.26

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February 29, 2012 5:35:24 PM

I have been doing some more research and ran across some more interesting information reguarding the RAM on a Sandy Bridge system. It seems many people are complaining about the fact that the SB chip will only support up to 1333Mhz. People have been putting 1600MHz into their motherboards because they can ramp up the SB chip to meet that speed with the motherboard BIOS.

I did some more reading and found out that running the SB chip at the 1600MHz DRAM speed will void the warranty on the SB chip. In addition to that, people have reported it causing a power cycle. Rebooting at 2 second intervals until power is unplugged. Apparently this problem can be fixed by setting the BIOS back to 1333MHz.

So then I looked into the upcoming processors and noticed they will all support up to 2800Mhz. And that would bring me to my question.

Is it smart to not buy 1600Mhz DRAM and buy the 1333MHz to avoid ruining my CPU warranty and the power cycle. Or do I buy the 1600Mhz DRAM and run it at 1333MHz until I have to upgrade my motherboard and CPU.

Thanks for the input!
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