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$2500 Gaming/Work PC

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Last response: in Systems
February 29, 2012 1:29:22 AM

I'm thinking about replacing my alienware m17x r3 as my main desk PC with more of a powerhouse, and moving the m17x as my couch potato :) 

I don't actually do any gaming, but have found gaming computers fit my needs better generally.

Anyway, the only requirements I have are:

- Ability to hook up 2 Dell U3011 monitors
- Fast :) 
- Dual SSD's in RAID0
- 16GB+ Ram

Budget $2500.

I want the best I can get while factoring diminishing returns. Ie if I can get an amazing system for $1500, but for $2000 can get one 3% better, I'll stick with the $1500 one! I've built PCs before but have no idea what hardware I should get (literally I need to know down to the cables haha)...that's why I'm here. So let's here it, what's your dream PC within these specs?


More about : 2500 gaming work

a b 4 Gaming
a b B Homebuilt system
February 29, 2012 9:39:05 AM

CPU : I7 2600K
RAM : 2 X GeIL Black Dragon 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333
SSD : 2 X Mushkin Enhanced Chronos 2.5" 120GB SATA III
HDD : Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB
GPU : EVGA GeForce GTX 580
PSU : CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX750 V2 750W
DVD-RW : ASUS 24X DVD Burner
TOTAL : $1,956.88 without rebates.
I respected your needs ( 2xSSD , 16GB+ RAM)
If i have that budget and for gaming only ill buy a 2500k CPU, 8GB RAM , one SDD and a 7970 video card.
I choosed 2600k because if you work with your PC is much better than 2500k in multitasking and programs who need power calculation.
February 29, 2012 10:17:38 AM

If he is REALLY not gaming, I think the GTX 580 ($479) is a long way past the point of diminishing returns, and I'd just get a GTX 570 ($339) instead. Depending on the resolution of the monitors, even a 560ti ($250) should be more than he needs, and the 560ti is still a very good gaming card.

If money isn't a real concern, yeah, the 580 is pretty awesome.
Related resources
February 29, 2012 11:08:18 AM


I started configuring before I got a response here. What are your thoughts on this config:

Case - ( NZXT Phantom 410 Gaming Case - Black )
Processor - ( Intel® Core™ i7-2600K Processor)
CPU Cooling - Corsair Hydro Series H80
Memory - ( 16 GB [4 GB X4] DDR3-1600 Memory Module - Kingston HyperX )
Video Cards - ( NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti - 2GB - SLI Mode (Dual Cards) )
Motherboard - ( [SLI] ASUS P8Z68 Deluxe -- 2x Gb LAN, 3x PCI-E x16, 4x USB 3.0, On-Board Bluetooth, Lucid Virtu Technology )
Power Supply - ( 1050 Watt - Corsair CMPSU-1050HX )
Hard Drive - ( 120 GB Kingston HyperX SSD - Dual 120GB Drives (240GB Capacity) - RAID 0 )
Optical Drive - ( [12X Blu-Ray] LG BLU-RAY Reader, DVD±R/±RW Burner Combo Drive - Black )
2nd Optical Drive - ( 24X Dual Format/Double Layer DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW Drive - Black )
OS - Windows 7

Speaking of which, is this everything I would need? Will I need any cables, or will all the cables I need come with the components?
a b 4 Gaming
a b B Homebuilt system
February 29, 2012 11:19:10 AM

All the cables will come with the components.
February 29, 2012 11:41:09 AM

Thanks sosofm. Ok took some of your recommendations and made some changes too. I think looks good! Thoughts?

2 x Crucial 128 GB m4 2.5-Inch RAID0
SILVERSTONE SDP08 3.5 to 2 X 2.5-Inch Bay Converter
Asus 24xDVD±RW Serial ATA Internal OEM Drive DRW-24B1ST (Black)
Corsair Cooling Hydro-Series Liquid CPU Cooler CWCH60
Intel 2600k
Cooler Master HAF ATX Mid Tower Case, RC-922M-KKN1-GP (Black)
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit (Full) System Builder DVD 1 Pack
2 x EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 2048 MB GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 2DVI/Mini-HDMI SLI Ready Graphics Card, 02G-P3-1568-KR -
Corsair Professional Series HX10501050-Watt Power Supply
LG UH12LS28K LightScribe 12x SATA Blu-Ray Combo Internal Drive, Bulk (Black)
Kingston Technology HyperX 16 GB Kit (4x4 GB Modules) 16 Quad Channel Kit 1600 (PC3 12800) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM

Will I need anything else?
a b 4 Gaming
a b B Homebuilt system
February 29, 2012 12:04:38 PM

You don't need HDD ?
The build looks great.
My advice is to buy one single GPU.Buy one powerfull GPU and in the future you can upgrade with another one.
February 29, 2012 12:11:24 PM

Thanks! I have the dual ssds, should I add in a HDD too for storage?

GPUs - I want to drive 2 dell 30" monitors @ 2560x1600 - what card would you recommend I get that would handle that ok? Would a single 580 be able to handle both?
a b 4 Gaming
a b B Homebuilt system
February 29, 2012 12:43:10 PM

Yes 580 can handle 2 monitors. But for 3 monitors setup you need another 580 or to buy an AMD video card , that can handle 3 monitors setup one card.
Better to buy one HDD for storage.Buy a WD Caviar Black series HDD.
Here some benchmarks to see how 580 deal with the games at high resolution but at high resolution 7970 is much better.
February 29, 2012 12:57:01 PM


I've got a 2TB WD Green drive here at home, left over from my movie server. For backups and some file storage, is there much of a difference between using that one over a black series? All my programs and most used files will be stored on the SSDs.

The 7970 - ok if that's better than 2 560 ti's or one 580, I'll get that one - it's about the same price as the 560 tis anyway. Is this the one you recommend? ?

And will the current PSU I have slotted work:
a b 4 Gaming
a b B Homebuilt system
February 29, 2012 1:00:06 PM

That is the video card 7970.
Your PSU can handle 2 of these cards easy, They are not power hungry.
That 2T HDD its just fine for backups and file storage.
February 29, 2012 1:02:42 PM

Ok, I'll get that 7970!

Thank you for the help!!!
a c 472 4 Gaming
a b B Homebuilt system
February 29, 2012 1:41:35 PM

verdegallardo said:

The 7970 - ok if that's better than 2 560 ti's or one 580, I'll get that one - it's about the same price as the 560 tis anyway. Is this the one you recommend?

It's not .... one 7970 gets 675 fps in the Guru3D test suite, twin 900 Mhz 560 Ti's get 862 ..... that's 187 more fps (28%) for $140 (25%) less money. However if ya not gaming, I'm not really getting the "what's better" part w/o knowing what exactly you are going to ebb doing...... for example if doing vieo editing or 3 rendering for example, I' say get a CUDA capable card... SLI'ing the generally won't aid you in those tasks tho.

Guru3D uses the following games in their test suite, COD-MW, Bad Company 2, Dirt 2, Far Cry 2, Metro 2033, Dawn of Discovery, Crysis Warhead. Total fps (summing fps in each game @ 1920 x 1200) for the various options in parenthesis (single card / SL or CF) are tabulated below along with their cost in dollars per frame single card - CF or SLI:

$ 240.00 6950 Frozr OC (484/759) $ 0.50 - $ 0.63
$ 205.00 560 Ti (455/792) $ 0.45 - $ 0.52
$ 320.00 6970 (526/825) $ 0.61 - $ 0.78
$ 205.00 560 Ti - 900 Mhz (495/862) $ 0.41 - $ 0.48
$ 340.00 570 (524/873) $ 0.65 - $ 0.78
$ 500.00 580 (616/953) $ 0.81 - $ 1.05
$ 725.00 6990 (762/903) $ 0.95 - $ 1.61
$ 750.00 590 (881/982) $ 0.85 - $ 1.53
$ 450.00 7950 (603/NG*) $ 0.75 - ERR
$ 550.00 7970 (675/NG*) $ 0.81 - ERR

* Could not complete significant number of games in test. Expected to be resolved in upcoming river releases.

Other comments .....

CPU - if you can justify a 2600k over the 2500k for the $100 an 0.1 GHz performance increase, I don't get why ya can't justify the additional 0.1 Ghz from the 2700k for just a $40 increase in cost. I' get the 2500k or the 2700k w/ HT, the 2600k just doesn't have a niche anymore due to the minimal price increase for the 2700k.

SSD - If you expecting any more than bragging rights for benchmark scores from the SSD's in RAID 0, you will be sorely disappointed.

The H series Coolers are quite noisy and frankly the better air coolers outperform all but the H100. If among your MoBo criteria is wide spacing between GFX PCI-E slots (i.e WS Revolution), you will find that the reservoir oft hits the top GFX card when mounted on the rear of the case.

Memory - Make sure low profile if using an air cooler

Case / PSU - The 922 has no front USB 3.0 ports which kills it for me. The Corsair 1050 an 1000, unlike the other members of the HX series, is frankly a rather pedestrian PSU.....getting just an 8.5 rating from jonnyguru (all the others HX series get 10.0's). Unless you go w/ twin 580's, I'd get an 850 watter

Alternatives (all PSU's are 10.0 jonnyguru rated):

HAF-X w/ HX850
Antec 1200 V3 w/ CP-850
Corsair 500R w/ HX850

February 29, 2012 3:15:01 PM

Hmm thanks for the info. Gotta work on it some more!

One question just as a generality - one reason I want to get the desktop is the ability to drive two 30" monitors. And since I'll be moving my m17x to the couch 2760QM, RAID0 SSD, 16GB RAM, 6990m), and on this one given a 2700k processor, radi0 ssd, 16gb ram, 7970 etc), aside from the monitor ability - what kind of performance increase can I expect going from the m17x to this system?
March 1, 2012 9:30:33 PM

Ok, getting ready to hit submit. I changed cases per your recommendation and processors and PSU. How does this new system look?

ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case with Upgraded USB 3.0
ICY DOCK MB990SP-B Dual Bay 2.5" to 3.5" SATA/IDE SSD & Hard Drive Bracket / Adapter
PowerColor AX7970 3GBD5-M2DHG Radeon HD 7970 3GB
AMD Gift - Dirt3 Game Coupon - OEM
CORSAIR Professional Series HX850
Rosewill RTK-002 Anti-Static Wrist Strap
CORSAIR XMS3 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 Desktop Memory Model
ASUS P8Z68 DELUXE/GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
Intel Core i7-2700K Sandy Bridge 3.5GHz
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel ...
LITE-ON Black Internal 12X Blu-ray Combo SATA Model ihes112-04 - OEM
Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) x2

Is that cpu cooler hard to install? I'm looking for an easy and small one (so I can fit all my ram sticks).

a b 4 Gaming
a b B Homebuilt system
March 1, 2012 9:33:52 PM

The cooler is not hard to install. You don't have problem with memory because Corsair XMS are low profile.
March 1, 2012 9:35:09 PM

Great thank you for the help!!
March 4, 2012 1:14:11 PM

Thanks all for the help. Got everything, built it and it's working great! Had 1 ram stick that was doa, gonna get a replacement.

On another note, can someone give me a easy safe way to overclock the processor? I checked out youtube videos and the bios are completely different and several of the options they mention are not in my bios.

a b 4 Gaming
a b B Homebuilt system
March 4, 2012 6:37:39 PM

Go in Bios and raise the CPU multiplier.