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Building Gaming Rig for $600-675

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March 18, 2012 7:25:33 PM

Hi all. I'd like to have your guys' valuable input for my new build. I'd like to have a computer built by mid-late May. My budget is $600-675, $700 at the absolute max, inclusive of tax and shipping (ideally neither, I hate paying for tax or shipping...it's a mental thing). I know I'm asking for a build that's a little further away, but I'm pretty stoic on pricing, so picking up the components early will allow me to hunt them down at a relatively lower cost.

Approximate Purchase Date: May

Budget Range: (e.g.: 600-700) Before / After Rebates: Ideally between $600-655, after taxes and rebates (comfortable with rebates)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming (I will be getting into FPS (MW3, CS:GO), but mostly MOBA (eg. Dota 2, HoN)), online research (having lots of Lexis/WestLaw tabs open on Chrome at the same time), streaming online video (Netflix, etc).

Parts Not Required: Monitor, Keyboard, Mouse, Windows 7, Office 2010

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: amazon.com (to avoid tax + 2 day shipping + I have some giftcards). Secondary preferences include newegg.com, frys.com (local store also available), microcenter.com (somewhat local store available). I don't mind spending *a little* bit more (eg. 5%) on Amazon, since I save on tax.

Country: NorCal, USA

Parts Preferences: Intel processor. No preference on video card. Nothing by ECS or Biostar. No OCZ SSDs. Ideally, the components have generous factory warranties (eg. Crucial m4 SSD warranty) that do not require me to pay shipping to send it to the factory (if that is unavoidable, so be it).

Overclocking: Probably not immediately, but I will in the future to get extra life out of the system (I intend on keeping it for 3-4 years, with the only upgrade potentially being video card/PSU).

SLI or Crossfire: I don't think my budget could handle it right now, but I would like to build the system with that in mind (eg. having a spot on the mobo to add another card, for instance). Otherwise, if it's wise to recycle GPU every 2 years, I can do that. What is the EVGA "step up" program? You pay for X video card now, and when you want to upgrade to Y video card in a couple years, you only pay the difference between what you paid for the X and the MSRP for Y + tax?

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: Ideally, it would be a quiet system. I intend on buying the sound dampening foam to keep the computer quiet, but that's not at the top of my concern list. I would prefer not to have LED lights, or if they have to be present (eg. the come with the case fan or something, is it possible to clip a wire so that the LED does not get any power?). I can deal with lights, but I'd rather not have to.

Ideal Parts and Price Points (price in parenthesis is what I'd be willing to pay from Amazon):

--MOST UPDATED SPECS ON POST DOWN BELOW--

Processor: Intel i5-2500k (no point paying extra for IB with only a 10-15% performance gain, right?). OR I can wait for an in-store Microcenter deal and get an i5-2550k for $199 (like they currently have). $199.99 ($210)
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX $100 ($109.99) Note: Microcenter has deals at times where if you buy a Processor, you get $50 off on certain mobos. This one has been included previously (with it then costing $90), so I would want to get a combo mobo.
Hard Drive: Crucial m4, Intel 520, or Samsung 830, 128GB SSD. Must include all brackets, cables, as I have none. $135 ($145)
Optical Drive: DVD-RW (Sony Optiarc?) $14 ($16)
PSU: Not too sure about this one. Want definitely a name brand. Antec? Seasonic is too expensive. Not even sure about the wattage, as it depends on the video card.
Aftermarket cooler: 212 $20 ($25)
Video Card: I'm not sure exactly. I'd like something between $120-160 with GDDR5 RAM. Again, my purchase will probably be in May and I know that some new lines are releasing (released?) so aiming for one of those should be good. If it turns out that buying one of these now, and then another identical card in 2 years in order to SLI/CF is NOT more effective (and cost effective) than buying a new video card in that similar price range every 2 years in terms of price-performance, then I will not SLI/CF and would not need additional parts (or premium parts, eg: higher level PSU and mobo). I will be playing FPS and MOBA (eg. HoN, Dota 2). I'd like to be running the games on High settings (or more).
Case: Something with good ventilation, but primarily looking for something on the cheap side. For comparisons sake, when I helped my friend buy his case a couple years ago, we got the Thermaltake v3 Black Edition for $15 after rebate. $25 ($30)
Wireless: none
RAM: 8GB Kingston Hyperx Blu 1333 (I arbitrarily picked this one because I can potentially get it for $15 with a coupon). $20 ($25)

If any of the components come with free games, great, but in all likelihood, I'd attempt to sell them for $15-25 to recoup some of the costs of the component itself. I'm not going to have time to play a lot of games (in school + commuting about 2.5-3 hours a day) so I'd like to hone in on just a several few.
March 19, 2012 3:46:54 PM

No comments? I'm assuming it's because I'm looking too far into the future?
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March 26, 2012 4:41:13 PM

Updates on what I have purchased so far:

Processor: Intel i5-2500k $164.99
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-D3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX $15.99
Hard Drive: Samsung 830, 128GB SSD. $140
Optical Drive:
PSU:
Aftermarket cooler: 212 $23 [not included in calculations, had a gift card to spend]
Video Card:
Case:
Wireless: will not purchase
RAM:

So that's about $336 after taxes and rebates that I've spent so far. This leaves me with about $315 for the rest of the items. I'm thinking that the video card can come in around $175, PSU around $60-70, and RAM around $25. That leaves me $45 for a case and DVDRW, which I think is doable as long as I'm hunting a good cheap-after-rebate case, and basic optical drive.

I don't plan on OC'ing right out of the box, but I've been told that the installation of the 212 is much more simple if it's installed as you're building the computer instead of taking it apart down the road. Hence my purchasing it now. Will I need to buy thermal paste as well?

I think the last component I would buy is the video card to give it maximum time for the AMD 7000 line to drop in price after the new nVidia cards come out.
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April 12, 2012 1:36:12 AM

More updated specs:

Processor: Intel i5-2500k $164.99
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-D3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX $15.99
Hard Drive: Samsung 830, 128GB SSD. $140
Optical Drive: Don't think I need one
PSU:
Aftermarket cooler: 212 $23
Video Card: No idea yet. Will wait till mid May to buy to get lowest price (maybe 6870 or 7850 depending on price? Maybe something in that range for nVidia??)
Case: HAF 912 ($35 AR)
Wireless: will not purchase
RAM: MEM 4Gx2|CORSAIR CMX8GX3M2A1333C9 ($25 AR)
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April 12, 2012 2:06:08 AM

Well I would suggest 750-800 watt 80 plus PSU if you want to run SLI/Crossfire down the road like you said you wanted to. If you want to run one card then a 600-650 watt can be in your budget. if you want a 750-800 watt for multi card setup then you will have to spend about 100-120 for a good PSU.

Good 600 watt PSU: http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Certified-Compatible-Plat...

Optical Drive you would need if you plan on installing windows with a CD. If you are using USB method you should be fine without one unless you wanted to do cd/dvd/Blu-Ray playing/burning

A good Video card as of now:
http://www.amazon.com/SAPPHIRE-Radeon-6870-GDDR5-Graphi...

would sli with another on a 750 watt PSU.

750 watt PSU : http://www.amazon.com/CORSAIR-Enthusiast-Series-Certifi...

If I made a mistake someone please correct me.

Hope this helped



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April 12, 2012 3:37:27 AM

kcsmacker said:
Well I would suggest 750-800 watt 80 plus PSU if you want to run SLI/Crossfire down the road like you said you wanted to. If you want to run one card then a 600-650 watt can be in your budget. if you want a 750-800 watt for multi card setup then you will have to spend about 100-120 for a good PSU.

Good 600 watt PSU: http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Certified-Compatible-Plat...

Optical Drive you would need if you plan on installing windows with a CD. If you are using USB method you should be fine without one unless you wanted to do cd/dvd/Blu-Ray playing/burning

A good Video card as of now:
http://www.amazon.com/SAPPHIRE-Radeon-6870-GDDR5-Graphi...

would sli with another on a 750 watt PSU.

750 watt PSU : http://www.amazon.com/CORSAIR-Enthusiast-Series-Certifi...

If I made a mistake someone please correct me.

Hope this helped


What do you think this means (http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=...):

ion Slots
1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16 (PCIEX16)
* For optimum performance, if only one PCI Express graphics card is to be installed, be sure to install it in the PCIEX16 slot.
1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x4 (PCIEX4)
* The PCIEX4 slot shares bandwidth with the PCIEX1_1, PCIEX1_2 and PCI1/2/3 slots. All PCIe x1 and PCI slots will become unavailable when a PCIe x4 expansion card is installed.
2 x PCI Express x1 slots
(All PCI Express slots conform to PCI Express 2.0 standard.)
3 x PCI slots
Multi-Graphics Technology
Support for AMD CrossFireX ™ technology
* The PCIEX16 slot operates at up to x4 mode when AMD CrossFireX™ is enabled


Does that mean if I CF then I might not be getting the full value of the graphics cards that I use? Not sure how the x16 and x4 relate to each other in terms of performance.
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