Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

<= $1200 programming/gaming PC (Intel)

Last response: in Systems
Share
March 1, 2012 2:46:09 PM

Hello everyone... I was searching through dozens of posts here, but I just couldn't find one that covered exactly what I was looking for... at least one that was up-to-date... So I thought I'd ask...

Just about 3 years ago I had built two $1200 programming/gaming PC's (for my 2 boys) but had used AMD instead... and although I don't have any problems with them, they put out so very much heat, plus, from what I gather, the Intel Core i7-2600 Sandy Bridge is a rock solid choice... Thus my decision to go with Intel for my very own programming/gaming PC...

Approximate Purchase Date: (This week)

Budget Range: (e.g.: 1200-1300) Before Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: (work @ home, programming, & gaming)

Parts Not Required: (keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: (newegg, tigerdirect, amazon)

Country: (USA)

Parts Preferences: (I would like to use an Intel Core i7 - Sandy Bridge CPU & I'm kind of partial to Gigabyte motherboards)

Overclocking: (Don't mess with OCing anymore)

SLI or Crossfire: (No idea)

Monitor Resolution: (1440x900)

Additional Comments: (At any given time, most times in fact, I'll have upwards of 35 to 50 different browser instances open, Photoshop running, Visual Studio running, Outlook running, then a few other miscellaneous tasks such as MS Excel, Word, etc. I also run dual Acer V223w monitors /.../ Right now I'm doing this all on a $300 Dell Inspirion LOL... Needless to say, it doesn't like it... So I'm wanting to increase my ability to do my work as described and also play Battlefield 3 with my kids...)

So here's a preliminary parts list that I put together, to have at least a starting point...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128498 --> $159.99
GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115071 --> $299.99
Intel Core i7-2600 Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2000

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148347&Tpk=CT2KIT51264BA1339 --> $79.98 (qty 2)
Crucial 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136793 --> $159.99
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1502FAEX 1.5TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827249066 --> $33.99
PLEXTOR 24X Internal DVD Super Multi Drive 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 24X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102908 --> $149.99
Sapphire Technology PCI-Express 2.0 x16 bus interface 256-bit DDR5 memory interface ATI Eyefinity Technology, support up to 3 displays

Haven't selected a case or power supply yet...
a b 4 Gaming
March 1, 2012 3:14:09 PM

CPU: i7 2600 $299.99 - nice choice when not oc:ing
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 $159.99 - i have one of these, a solid board
Memory: Gskill Ares 4x4GB 1.5V CAS9 1600Mhz $89.99
GPU: Asus 560Ti TOP $249.99
HDD: WD black 1.5TB $159.99
DVD: the CPU actually comes with a combo of 22X samsung DVD writer, you can get one later if that doesn't cut it, but it should be fine saves you $30 :) 
Case: Cooler Master HAF 922 Blue $99.99 ( or something similar )
PSU: Seasonic X650 $139.99 - 5 year warranty, seasonic quality, 80+ Gold rated

Total: $1198.33 (before $20 MIR).

Should have you gaming at max settings in BF3 as well.
March 1, 2012 3:29:04 PM

rvilkman said:
CPU: i7 2600 $299.99 - nice choice when not oc:ing
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 $159.99 - i have one of these, a solid board
Memory: Gskill Ares 4x4GB 1.5V CAS9 1600Mhz $89.99
GPU: Asus 560Ti TOP $249.99
HDD: WD black 1.5TB $159.99
DVD: the CPU actually comes with a combo of 22X samsung DVD writer, you can get one later if that doesn't cut it, but it should be fine saves you $30 :) 
Case: Cooler Master HAF 922 Blue $99.99 ( or something similar )
PSU: Seasonic X650 $139.99 - 5 year warranty, seasonic quality, 80+ Gold rated

Total: $1198.33 (before $20 MIR).

Should have you gaming at max settings in BF3 as well.


Thank you for your reply, I can see now that your choice of GPU is much better, I was just wondering about your choice of Gskill RAM over Crucial, any particular reason?
Related resources
a c 276 4 Gaming
a b å Intel
March 1, 2012 3:38:28 PM

Quote:
Thank you for your reply, I can see now that your choice of GPU is much better, I was just wondering about your choice of Gskill RAM over Crucial, any particular reason?


It's mostly personal preference. I like Crucial as well - they're an excellent RAM manufacturer.

Pretty good choices to start with and I'd definitely second the Seasonic PSU.

You probably won't need hyper threading - you could drop that to an i5-2500Kand put that difference into upgrading your GPU to a 570.

Try something like this:

Case: Fractal Design Arc MIDI - $99.99
PSU: Seasonic X750 Gold - $159.99
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD3H - $159.99
CPU: 3.30GHz Intel Core i5-2500K - $229.99
Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo - $34.99
RAM: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB 1600Mhz - $44.99
HD: 1TB Samsung Spinpoint F3 - $159.99
Optical: LG 22X DVD Burner - $17.99
Video Card: EVGA Geforce GTX 570TI - $339.99

Total: $1,243.99

If you drop to a 560TI - this card here: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

That will bring system total to $1,153.91
a b 4 Gaming
March 1, 2012 3:42:24 PM

webwired_72 said:
Thank you for your reply, I can see now that your choice of GPU is much better, I was just wondering about your choice of Gskill RAM over Crucial, any particular reason?


Other than the other specs of the memory not really, 1.5V CAS9 1600Mhz is pretty much the best bang for buck at the moment.
Crucial, Corsair, Gskill, kingston and mushkin you can pretty much pick the one with the lowest price at the time.
There has been a sale on a 4x4GB kit almost every week lately.
March 1, 2012 3:47:57 PM

g-unit1111 said:
Quote:
Thank you for your reply, I can see now that your choice of GPU is much better, I was just wondering about your choice of Gskill RAM over Crucial, any particular reason?


It's mostly personal preference. I like Crucial as well - they're an excellent RAM manufacturer.

Pretty good choices to start with and I'd definitely second the Seasonic PSU.

You probably won't need hyper threading - you could drop that to an i5-2500Kand put that difference into upgrading your GPU to a 570.

Try something like this:

Case: Fractal Design Arc MIDI - $99.99
PSU: Seasonic X750 Gold - $159.99
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD3H - $159.99
CPU: 3.30GHz Intel Core i5-2500K - $229.99
Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo - $34.99
RAM: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB 1600Mhz - $44.99
HD: 1TB Samsung Spinpoint F3 - $159.99
Optical: LG 22X DVD Burner - $17.99
Video Card: EVGA Geforce GTX 570TI - $339.99

Total: $1,243.99

If you drop to a 560TI - this card here: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

That will bring system total to $1,153.91


Is the Cooler really necessary? I had put one on each of my prior builds, but they were AMD and they absolutely required them... but I was hoping with going with the Intel, I would not have to make any cooling modifications if not necessary...
a b 4 Gaming
March 1, 2012 4:08:23 PM

It's not, the CPU comes with a cooler. However, in addition to keeping the CPU cooler it also has a much nicer sound profile.
The 120mm fan is virtually silent where as the 70mm or so fan on the stock cooler can be noisy under load.
March 1, 2012 4:15:29 PM

rvilkman said:
It's not, the CPU comes with a cooler. However, in addition to keeping the CPU cooler it also has a much nicer sound profile.
The 120mm fan is virtually silent where as the 70mm or so fan on the stock cooler can be noisy under load.


I see. I just hate the thought of tinkering around with the construction of the motherboard... I was sweating bullets when I did it to the previous two... I was scared to death when I first fired up those previous builds with those Cooler nuts on the backside of the motherboard so very close to the metal frame of the case... I seriously considered taking a Dremel to the side pan of the case and expanding the hole...
a b 4 Gaming
March 1, 2012 4:22:23 PM

webwired_72 said:
I see. I just hate the thought of tinkering around with the construction of the motherboard... I was sweating bullets when I did it to the previous two... I was scared to death when I first fired up those previous builds with those Cooler nuts on the backside of the motherboard so very close to the metal frame of the case... I seriously considered taking a Dremel to the side pan of the case and expanding the hole...


I've installed a few on those Cooler Master HSF's and the system is pretty solid. That and the modern cases generally have nice cutouts and plenty of space behind the motherboards. So don't let that stop you, they have come a long way since the days of AMD thunderbirds and chipping cores, both the CPUs as well as the HSF mounting systems
March 1, 2012 4:24:07 PM

rvilkman said:
I've installed a few on those Cooler Master HSF's and the system is pretty solid. That and the modern cases generally have nice cutouts and plenty of space behind the motherboards. So don't let that stop you, they have come a long way since the days of AMD thunderbirds and chipping cores, both the CPUs as well as the HSF mounting systems


Cool, thanks, I'm going to go ahead and add that then...
a b 4 Gaming
March 1, 2012 4:31:56 PM

Yeah, but with your 1680x1050 resolution in the monitors you have the 560Ti will be sufficient for you.
560Ti vs 570 @ anandtech.com - bench
Obviously the overclock on the Asus makes it a bit closer, but if you get 70FPS+ with ultra settings in BF3 I think it should be good enough ? :) 
a b 4 Gaming
March 1, 2012 4:33:25 PM

EVGA is one of the best brands of GFX Cards in the business. It usually has a longer warranty.
a c 276 4 Gaming
a b å Intel
March 1, 2012 4:48:32 PM

azeem40 said:
EVGA is one of the best brands of GFX Cards in the business. It usually has a longer warranty.


EVGA's warranty is the best on the market for NVIDIA - you can't top 10 years plus their optional Step-Up future-proofing program.

It doesn't top XFX's double lifetime warranty but it comes close.

Quote:
I've installed a few on those Cooler Master HSF's and the system is pretty solid. That and the modern cases generally have nice cutouts and plenty of space behind the motherboards. So don't let that stop you, they have come a long way since the days of AMD thunderbirds and chipping cores, both the CPUs as well as the HSF mounting systems


After the incident I had with my Antec I *ALWAYS* buy cases with back mounts behind the CPU - it makes installing and removing coolers so much easier.

Quote:
I see. I just hate the thought of tinkering around with the construction of the motherboard... I was sweating bullets when I did it to the previous two... I was scared to death when I first fired up those previous builds with those Cooler nuts on the backside of the motherboard so very close to the metal frame of the case... I seriously considered taking a Dremel to the side pan of the case and expanding the hole...


You don't really - you remove the original base plate that comes with the board and install the new one that's specific to your cooler and the rest hooks into place then you hook the CPU fan to the power connector and you're set. I really sweated it out the first time I tried to install a fan - now it's relatively easy.

Quote:
Is the Cooler really necessary? I had put one on each of my prior builds, but they were AMD and they absolutely required them... but I was hoping with going with the Intel, I would not have to make any cooling modifications if not necessary...


I've never heard of that... I've done plenty of AMD builds (including my current system) and the stock fan usually works but it is a piece of junk even compared to what Intel includes. The aftermarket fans are always better, a lot quieter, and will enable you to OC your CPU if you so desire. Even running the 2500K in turbo mode it will cool things down significantly.
a b 4 Gaming
March 1, 2012 7:36:56 PM

If your running dual monitors it's always nice to have the extra VRAM like with that 6950 2GB card down below.

http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Tower-Case-RC-912-K... $59.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Cooler Master HAF 912 Mid Tower ATX Case (RC-912-KKN1)

http://www.amazon.com/Antec-Computer-Power-Supply-HCG-5... $68.74 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Antec Computer Power Supply HCG-520

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $104.99
ASRock Z68 PRO3 GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Hyper-Sleeve-RR-B10... $24.05 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler, RR-B10-212P-G1

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $44.99 FREE SHIPPING
Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model 996995

http://www.amazon.com/Barracuda-7200RPM-Cache-3-5-Inch-... $99.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Barracuda 7200RPM 1 TB SATA 6 GB/s NCQ 64 MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Dr1000DM003

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $144.99 FREE SHIPPING
Mushkin Enhanced Chronos MKNSSDCR120GB 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

http://www.amazon.com/Asus-24xDVD%C2%B1RW-Serial-Intern... $20.99 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25
Asus 24xDVD±RW Serial ATA Internal OEM Drive DRW-24B1ST (Black)

http://www.excaliberpc.com/611198/sapphire-radeon-hd-69... $268.74
Sapphire Radeon HD 6950 100312-3L 2GB GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 Video Card
!