$1500 Gaming/Development Build "Best Bang For The Buck"

I am a student at UK for Computer Engineering, and I'm building a new desktop that I will run a dual-boot Ubuntu/Windows 7 on. It will have some IDE's on it, virtual machines, Verilog, all kinds of development suites. I would also like to play the best of games.

I would like to have a good balance of future-proofing this build and finding the best bang for the buck. I will probably overclock the 2500k to around 4.2ghz on aftermarket air-cooling. I also want to plan ahead to be able to drop a second gtx570 in for a SLI config later down the road too.

Does everyone agree that hyper-threading is not worth the price increase to the 2600k?

The choices I am not certain about more than any is the motherboard and power supply. Specific criticism here would be awesome

Would really appreciate thoughts and constructive criticism. Thanks a lot, Austin


Approximate Purchase Date: Within the Next Month


Budget Range: $1000-$1750


System Usage from Most to Least Important: Software Development, Gaming, Hardware Design, Multitasking


Parts Not Required: No peripherals required.


Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg.com but open-minded (looking for the best deal)


Country of Origin: KY, USA


Parts Preferences: Intel, Nvidia (but once again, very open-minded)


Overclocking: Yes


SLI or Crossfire: Yes in the future


Monitor Resolution: dual 1080p


Additional Comments: Future-proof / Best Bang for the Buck


Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz
$219.99

Rosewill THOR V2 Gaming ATX Full Tower Computer Case Item #: N82E16811147053
129.99

EVGA 025-P3-1579-AR GeForce GTX 570 (Fermi) HD 2560MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 SLI Support Video Card
349.99

CORSAIR Gaming Series GS800 800W ATX12V v2.3 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC High Performance
124.99

G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-16GBXL
104.99

GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
144.99

OCZ Vertex 3 VTX3-25SAT3-90G 2.5" 90GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
149.99

LG Black 12X Super Multi Blue with 3D Playback & M-DISC Support SATA WH12LS39 LightScribe Support - OEM
79.99

ZALMAN CNPS9500A-LED 92mm 2 Ball CPU Cooler
44.99

Total: 1349.91

Am 100% willing to go up to 1500 for significant improvements. If not significant, would rather take price down.

Already have a WD Caviar Black 640gb drive for a data drive. SSD is for boot and main games

Thank you all in advance, Austin
7 answers Last reply
More about 1500 gaming development build best bang buck
  1. I would change a couple parts. For 350.. get either the 7870 or the 580. Much better buys.

    Also, I would grab a Crucial M4 128gb SSD. That's what I have. For the PSU, I would actually get the HX750. Also, I think maybe a Coolermaster 212 Evo would be good too. For the motherboard, I have a ASUS P8Z68 PRO/GEN3, very good mobo.
  2. Ivy Bridge is due out April 29th.

    http://www.asrock.com/microsite/PCIe3/overview.html <----- Quick and brief rundown of Ivy Bridge, PCI-E 3.0 cards and the new gen boards.


    http://www.asrock.com/mb/index.asp?s=1155 <---- Those are Asrocks Z77 and Z75 board line up so far...although they are going to add more boards here soon. Asus, Gigabyte, and MSI also have their boards ready to go. They all get released with Ivy Bridge.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/5626/ivy-bridge-preview-core-i7-3770k/9 <---- full review with benchmarks



    http://www.guru3d.com/article/geforce-gtx-680-overclock-guide/ <----- Overclocking the gtx 680 w/benchmarks



    With that being said, if you decide to stick with Sandy Bridge look to make these changes down below.

    http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Carbide-Series-Gaming-CC-9011012-WW/dp/B005E983JW/ref=sr_1_3?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1332866663&sr=1-3 $118.98 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
    Corsair Carbide Series 500R Mid Tower Gaming Case CC-9011012-WW

    http://www.amazon.com/XFX-ATX-850-Power-Supply/dp/B0050751YS/ref=sr_1_1?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1332866828&sr=1-1 $122.75 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
    XFX ATX 850 Power Supply - P1850SNLB9

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157271 $121.99
    ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103099 $34.99
    COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R2 Continuous Direct Contact 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler Compatible with latest Intel 2011/1366/1155 and AMD FM1/AM3+

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226236 $128.99 FREE SHIPPING
    Mushkin Enhanced Chronos MKNSSDCR120GB 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121626 $499.99
    ASUS GTX680-2GD5 GeForce GTX 680 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
  3. i would suggest this build

    http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=18977652


    what is better in this build than yours.

    a better psu. this one is a 950w 80 + silver and is for $129 after mail in rebates

    a bigger ssd in much cheaper cost .

    the motherboard is much better than gigabyte one.

    ram is 1600 instead of 1333 mhz

    a better cooler which is a bit cheaper.

    the fastest single gpu available(but out of stock for now)

    cons of this build.

    a mid tower case is all you need so i stepdown for full tower to mid tower but he case is bang for buck one and is very cool.
  4. Two builds .....

    Total Cost 1,616

    Case - $ 130 - Corsair 500R White http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811139010
    PSU - $ 245 - Corsair TX850 Combo http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.856296
    MoBo - $ 685 - ASUS P8z68 Pro Combo http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131790
    CPU - $ 220 - Intel Core i7-2500K http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115072
    Cooler - $ 43 - Hyper 612 PWM http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103103
    TIM - $ 5 - Shin Etsu http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835150080
    RAM - $ 50 - (2 x 4GB) Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1600 (White) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233199
    GFX - Included - Asus GTX 680 Included with MoBo Combo
    GFX - Later - Asus GTX 680 Same
    HD - included - WD Black 1 TB Included w/ PSU
    SSD - $ 180 - Samsung 830 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147134
    DVD Writer - $ 58 - Asus Model BC-12B1ST/BLK/B/AS http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827135247


    Total Cost $1,571

    Case - $ 160 - Antec DF-85 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129087
    PSU - $ 120 - Antec CP-850 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371024
    MoBo - $ 195 - ASUS P8z68 Pro http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131790
    CPU - $ 220 - Intel Core i7-2500K http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115072
    Cooler - $ 43 - Hyper 612 PWM http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103103
    TIM - $ 5 - Shin Etsu http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835150080
    RAM - $ 50 - (2 x 4GB) Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1600 (White) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233199
    GFX - $ 220 - Asus GTX 560 900Mhz http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121425
    GFX - $ 220 - Asus GTX 560 900Mhz Same
    HD - $ 100 - Seagate 1 TB 64 MB cache http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148840
    SSD - $ 180 - Samsung 830 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147134
    DVD Writer - $ 58 - Asus Model BC-12B1ST/BLK/B/AS http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827135247

    Basic differences and high points are ....

    Case / PSU .... the PSU in the second build is by far the better one w/ it's 10.0 jonnyguru performance rating and superior acoustic (low noise) and thermal performance. Cases....well both great , Antec has built in SSD mount so ya don't have to buy an adapter plus also has a hot swap 2.5" HD bay which come in handy of doing development and video work and need to swap large files between locations.

    GFX - The 680 is the slam dunk winner at $500 w/ 10% more performance at 10% less cash than the competition. Similarly nothing competes with the 900 Mhz 560 Ti's in SLI in cost per frame above the $200 cost per card level..... the twin 560's get 862 fps ($0.46 per frame) in Guru3D game test suite compared with the single 680's 770 fps ($0.65 per frame). Consider the Gigabyte model which is $20 cheaper at the moment. By way of comparison, 7950 and 7970 are $0.80 and $0.83 per frame. If considering the 569's tho, may wanna wait till the 6xx version is released and see how they stand up versus the 78xx series.

    I can't make a case for the 570's on a cost per frame basis, though if ya get one, I'd make sure it has at least an 8 phase VRM if you plan on overclocking. Read why

    http://www.overclock.net/t/929152/have-you-killed-a-570-no-recent-deaths-buy-some-570s/550

    Cooler - At this budget level I usually install amid level cooler. The Hyper 612 PWM is about $10 more than the 212 and is good for an extra 5-7C.....A good alternate would be the similarly priced Scyther Mugen 3

    MoBo - I refuse to base any build on a MoBo that doesn't offer an industry standard 3 year warranty. That eliminated most ASrock boards from my build lists. If the short warranty doesn't bother, you they are generally good performers.

    SSD - In the 120/128 GB size, there are four units that make THG's Tier 3 (fastest for this size range). I buy the one that is cheapest on the day I buy.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-review-benchmark,3139-6.html

    Tier 3 - Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120 GB, OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 120 GB, Patriot WildFire 120 GB, Samsung 830 SSD 128 GB

    Be careful with the naming .... Vertx 3 Max IOPS is the fastr one, drop the Max IOPS, drop the speed, same with Mushkin Chronos Deluxe, drop the Deluxe and speed tanks.

    HD - STay away from the "green" stuff, grab a 7200 rpm and 64 MB cache model at a good price.
  5. Is there a good reason to wait on Ivy Bridge since its rumored to be about the same price as comparative sandy's? I will update my list with suggestions and post back after while, got a lot of homework
  6. Wildcat313 said:
    Is there a good reason to wait on Ivy Bridge since its rumored to be about the same price as comparative sandy's? I will update my list with suggestions and post back after while, got a lot of homework

    That was pretty much answered with the links I posted.
  7. Waiting is worth
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