Need advice on ~$600 budget build

I plan on building a new computer for the wife's birthday gift, but its been quite a while since I've build one and would like to ask the community for help finishing and any suggestions they might have.

Approximate Purchase Date: Probably next week

Budget Range: ~$600 After rebates -- (Possibly willing to go more if price/performance is right)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Medium/Light gaming (WoW, Diablo3, FFXIV, SC2, etc...), Videos, Photoshop, Surfing web

Parts Not Required:
OS, Keyboard, Mouse, Monitors, Speakers, Optical drive

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg, Amazon, Microcenter (~2hrs away, not sure if prices justify gas)
Country: US, CA

Parts Preferences: Intel CPU,

Overclocking: Probably not

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1680x1050 x 2 monitors

Additional Comments: She doesn't care about Max settings in games, but she does like a quiet & fast PC. She gets paranoid about overheating so maybe an extra case and cpu fan or two you can recommend would be helpful. Would prefer to build something that'll last her 3-4 years


CPU: (My question is whether the i5 upgrade is really worth it in overall performance)
Core i3 - 2120 3.3GHz ($113)
-- OR --
Core i5 - 2400 3.1GHz ($180) or ($150 at Microcenter)

ASRock H61M/U3S3 LGA 1155 Intel H61 ($70)

GPU: (Not sure if these are good cards or not, but they seemed like a good price for specs)
SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit PCIe 2.1x16 ($135 after rebate)
-- OR --
XFX Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit PCIe 2.1x16 ($145 after rebate)

Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 ($50 after rebate)

Hard Drive:
-- Open for suggestions --

-- Open for suggestions --

-- Open for suggestions --

Thanks for any help,
7 answers Last reply
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  1. Check the link in my signature for some ideas.

    If you can make it to the Micro Center, you can probably get most of the $800 setup for a bit over $600.

    - Edit - Even if you did get a 6870, the XFX 450w PSU would be able to handle it just fine, the extra juice just makes it last longer and leaves option the open of a second video card later if people are into that.
  2. Microcenter has a deal right now which is an i5-2500k ($179) with a Asus p8Z68-V ($69) this is a great deal and is much better than you would be able to find on the internet. As for ram I would go with the cheapest 8 gigs of ram you can get. (ddr3, 1.5v 1333 mhz,) Microcenter has some pretty cheap ram that will fit this description.
  3. Thanks for the help everyone, I think I'll head up to Microcenter this weekend and check out what they have.

    One more question if you wouldn't mind answering, I've been looking a lot at the difference between a 2500k and a 2400, but there really seems to be no point in a 2500k if you don't plan on overclocking. Is this a true assumption? I do realize that the 2500k will give a little better stock performance, but at stock values I don't think the 2400 would be that far behind.
  4. This is absolutely true. The I5-2500k only has the advantage of overclocking and 100 MHz. The 100 MHz means absolutely nothing for gaming so if you do not oc get the 2400.
  5. or even the 2300
  6. It isn't the worst idea in the world to pay the $20 extra and potentially double the amount of time your processor can keep up.

    You never know, $20 now may save you $220 later.
  7. The 100 Mhz means almost nothing but I would probably go with the 2400.
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