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Building a gaming rig

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March 29, 2012 3:53:41 PM

Dear community of Tom's hardware :hello:  ,

It's my first time building a gaming rig and I really need your help, advices and opinions. I'm intending to buy a new PC (gaming PC), but after reading a lot, I figured out that it'd be better if I build one myself. My budget is £750-850 and below are the components I've chosen so far:


CPU - http://www.ebuyer.com/251596-intel-core-i5-2500k-3-3ghz... - Intel Core i5 2500k 3.3GHz 6MB Cache (£170.00)

Motherboard - http://www.ebuyer.com/281367-asus-p8z68-v-lx-socket-115... - Asus P8Z68-V LX (£77.00)

Graphics Card - http://www.ebuyer.com/253958-gigabyte-gtx-560ti-oc-1gb-... - Gigabyte GTX 560Ti OC 1GB GDDR5 (£175.00)

RAM - http://www.ebuyer.com/264750-g-skill-8gb-2x4gb-ddr3-160... - G-Skill 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600Mhz RipjawsX Memory Kit CL9 (9-9-9-24) 1.5V (£44.00)

Case + PSU (It's a bundle, but I could buy them separately if the PSU isn't a reliable one) - http://www.ebuyer.com/177749-cm-storm-scout-coolermaste... - CM Storm Scout + Coolermaster Silent Pro 700W Modular PSU (£132.00)

HDD - http://www.ebuyer.com/182435-western-digital-wd10ears-1... - Western Digital 1TB SATAII 5400rpm 64MB Cache (£80.00)

In total that's roughly £680. Would you please let me know what else I need to purchase, what is missing and if any of the components above aren't worth the price and quality, then I'd surely replace them.

Alternatively, I could go for http://www.novatech.co.uk/pc/range/destroyer.html (Novatech Destroyer) but I'm not sure if it's worth the money and the quality of its components (looks too cheap to me for its specifications compared to similar gaming rigs).

I'd really appreciate your help. Thanks for your time.

More about : building gaming rig

a b 4 Gaming
March 29, 2012 4:20:56 PM

Choices are good, psu is good.

HD is 5400rpm, you want 7200rpm.
a b 4 Gaming
March 29, 2012 4:32:52 PM

Hi! Welcome to the forums.

First I'd like to say you did a pretty damn good job on your build. Not overkill, not underpowered. That said, It needs a bit of tweaking.

I assume we're shooting for a budget around £700. The tweaks I have listed are with that budget in mind. If you can go higher or lower, please let me know. Also, please fill out this form: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261222-31-build-advic... gives us more information to work with.

Mobo: MSI Z68 G43 $78 (I'm an American, I'll substitute £ for $ because I don't have that key)
http://www.ebuyer.com/320142-msi-z68a-g43-g3-socket-115...

RAM: Crucial Ballistix 2x4GB 1600MHz $38
http://www.ebuyer.com/342352-crucial-8gb-2x4gb-ddr3-160...

PSU: OCZ ZT750w Modular $81
http://www.ebuyer.com/290082-ocz-zt-series-750-watt-80p...
Or if modular isn't a big deal to you
OCZ ZS750W $62
http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Power+Supplie...

GTX 560 Ti 448 $169 (A STEAL)
http://www.aria.co.uk/SuperSpecials/Other+products/GIGA...
HDD: WD Caviar Blue 500GB $55
http://www.ebuyer.com/241715-wd-500gb-3-5-sata-6gb-s-ca...

Throw in your case and you'll have a phenomenal build.

I changed the Mobo because this one is cheaper, has more features and is higher quality.
The ram I selected is just as good, yet cheaper.
I changed the GPU because that GTX 560 448 is HOT HOT HOT for that price. Great performance, low cost.
PSU was because as you suspected, Coolermaster doesn't make good PSU's.
This HDD is cheaper.

Sorry to tear apart your build, don't take it at criticism. You did a great job, I just want you to get the best for your money.

Cheers!
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March 29, 2012 5:12:21 PM

Thanks to both of you for your replies.

I'm glad you liked my build.

I don't blame you for tearing apart my build at all! As I said, it's my first time building a gaming rig and I have no idea whether I've chosen the right components for my budget or not. I was amazed when I saw the GPU you suggested, that just blew me away. I don't mind replacing all the components I've chosen as long as I replace them for better ones.

About the PSU - I don't really know, does being modular make it a better PSU? The difference in price isn't much anyway, so I'd consider either one.

Apart from what you've listed, do I have to buy anything else? I'm also going to buy a genuine windows 7 64bit (it will most likely be home premium).

Once again, thank you very much for your reply, striker410, I found it very helpful ;)  .
a b 4 Gaming
March 29, 2012 5:17:43 PM

Modular just makes it easier to manage. Modular PSU's have cables that can come completely detached from the PSU, they just unplug if you don't need them. This means you won't have a big bundle of wires that aren't being used in your case.

You'll need a DVD drive. Forgot about that, haha. They are really cheap though. If you plan on overclocking a CPU cooler would be a good idea.

If you get windows, be sure to grab the OEM copy. Much cheaper.

Be sure to ask if you have any more questions!
March 29, 2012 6:13:21 PM

Since I'm not going SLI, I believe that a modular PSU would be 100% the better case, it's not any nice to have dozens of cables laying around your case.

I don't know if I'll be overclocking the CPU, do I really have to? Plus, I've never overclocked a CPU and I'm not familiar with that, I'd do it if it will benefit me. I didn't mention but I'm going to be playing games like Skyrim, BF 3, Diablo 3 and would like to be able to play them on high/ultra settings.

I'd be grateful if you could recommend me a relatively cheap optical drive. Thank you again for your time and I really appreciate your help.
a b 4 Gaming
March 29, 2012 6:51:34 PM

The ram and psu you chose are both better than what striker is suggesting, I would stay with what you have.

The Coolermaster silent pro is a VERY highly rated psu, AND has a 5yr warranty vs OCZ's 3yr warranty. I have no idea what he's talking about. You get what you pay for, sometimes less than you pay for.

The con is the CM silent pro is pricey, at least here in the US, you could get a comparable bronze unit with 5yr warranty from antec, corsair or xfx for a lot less money.

a b 4 Gaming
March 29, 2012 7:12:55 PM

geekapproved said:
The ram and psu you chose are both better than what striker is suggesting, I would stay with what you have.
While it is true G.Skill is above Crucial in my mind, they are not "better" Crucial is a fine brand and the RAM I suggested is significantly cheaper. If you find some G.Skill RAM at 1600MHz for the same cost, I will suggest that.
geekapproved said:

The Coolermaster silent pro is a VERY highly rated psu, AND has a 5yr warranty vs OCZ's 3yr warranty. I have no idea what he's talking about. You get what you pay for, sometimes less than you pay for.
I don't like Coolermaster PSUs on principle. They sell a 460w PSU which is exactly the same as their 400w and can only output 420w.

On top, I couldn't find a JohnnyGuru review for the 700M. I did find one for the 1000M though, it got an 8.5.
http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...
The OCZ ZT750 got a 9.0
http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...
Not saying your point isn't valid, just saying they OCZ ZT 750 is fine.

If you have any suggestions, instead of bashing mine, I'm sure the OP would love to hear them.
a b 4 Gaming
March 29, 2012 7:16:01 PM

Storm95 said:
Since I'm not going for SLI, I believe that a modular PSU would be 100% the better case, it's not any nice to have dozens of cables laying around your case.

I don't know if I'll be overclocking the CPU, do I really have to? Plus, I've never overclocked a CPU and I'm not familiar with that, I'd do it if it will benefit me. I didn't mention but I'm going to be playing games like Skyrim V, BF 3, Diablo 3 and would like to be able to play them on high/ultra settings.

I'd be grateful if you could recommend me a relatively cheap optical drive. Thank you again for your time and I really appreciate your help.

Since you won't be going SLI, you can drop to a cheaper motherboard and PSU. A 500w PSU would be sufficient for a GTX 560 448.

No, you certainly don't have to overclock. It's simply an option. If you don't want to overclock, drop to the i5-2400 and an H67/H61 mobo since you have no interest in SLI. However, this WILL limit your upgrade options. I'll give you some parts suggestions when I get home.

DVD drive: http://www.ebuyer.com/278111-dvd-r-rw-dl-ad-5280s-0b-bl... Nice and cheap, plain black front.
i5-2400 http://www.ebuyer.com/251595-intel-core-i5-2400-3-1ghz-... Note, you will NOT be able to overclock like you can with the 2500k. You can make some small adjustments but it won't be anything like the 2500k. If you don't want to overclock, this isn't a big deal.

RAM: Here's some RAM that's the same price as the stuff I posted above: http://www.ebuyer.com/274035-corsair-8gb-2x4gb-ddr3-160... Maybe Geek will approve of this stuff :p 
Mobo: ASUS P8H61 M PRO http://www.ebuyer.com/261404-asus-p8h61-m-pro-intel-h61... NO overclocking and NO SLI. Still an excellent board.
PSU: OCZ 550w ZS http://www.ebuyer.com/264509-ocz-zs-series-550w-80-bron... If you have no interest in SLI, this is a good, cheap option. It's not modular but it won't have as many connectors as a 750w.

Hopefully that will give you some more options. Again, this is all with NO SLI and NO overclocking in mind. With the money saved however, you could get a better GPU or an SSD!
a b 4 Gaming
March 29, 2012 8:12:38 PM

Dude, where did I bash you? Really?

If I have any suggestions the OP would like to hear them?? I gave my suggestion in my first post, guess you missed it.

I would stick with the CM just for the warranty (if it was the same price as the OCZ) I don't care what some Johnny foo foo says about it being .5 pt better.

I also suggested corsair, xfx, or antec bronze units with comparable warranty were cheaper than the CM unit, guess you missed that part too.

Personally I had crucial ballistix and had to rma it 3 times, the 3rd time I refused it back and told them I wanted something else and they sent me some complete garbage without heatsinks, but at least it's been working for 6 months now in my friends machine. What a nightmare that was.

I will say this, Crucial's warranty dept is top notch and they allowed me to send one stick at a time (2 stick kit), so I could keep my friends computer up and running.
March 30, 2012 11:26:42 PM

Thanks a lot for your advices. I've figured out I'll be overclocking the i5 2500k 3.3GHz to 4.5GHz, therefore my final build will be as follows:

CPU -Intel Core i5 2500K 3.3GHz Socket 1155 6MB Cache Retail Boxed Processor - £170.00
http://www.ebuyer.com/251596-intel-core-i5-2500k-3-3ghz...

Mobo - MSI Z68A-G43 (G3) Intel Z68 Socket 1155 8 Channel Audio ATX Motherboard - £79.00
http://www.ebuyer.com/320142-msi-z68a-g43-g3-socket-115...

RAM - G-Skill 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600Mhz RipjawsX Memory Kit CL9 (9-9-9-24) 1.5V - £44.00
http://www.ebuyer.com/264750-g-skill-8gb-2x4gb-ddr3-160...

Case + PSU (bundle) - CM Storm Scout + Coolermaster Silent Pro 700W Modular PSU - £132.00
http://www.ebuyer.com/177749-cm-storm-scout-coolermaste...

GPU - GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Core 1280MB GDDR5 PCI-Express Graphics Card - £204.00
http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Graphics+Card...

HDD - Western Digital WD5000AAKS 500GB SATAII 7200RPM 16MB Cache - OEM Caviar Blue - £65.00
http://www.ebuyer.com/124228-western-digital-wd5000aaks...

Optical Drive - Pioneer DVRS19LBK 24x DVD±RW DL & RAM with Labelflash SATA Optical Drive - Retail Box Black with Software - £17.00
http://www.ebuyer.com/250228-pioneer-dvrs19lbk-24x-dvd-...

I have yet not chosen a CPU cooler though, not sure which one to buy. Well hopefully, this build is a decent one :) 

a b 4 Gaming
March 31, 2012 4:32:01 PM

Coolermaster hyper 212+ or EVO.

Why are you choosing a P67 and not a Z68? I would highly recommend you get a Z68. I recommend this one if your on a budget:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

See if you can find that one at a comparable price. It has Gen3 pci-e slots, ability to use on-cpu graphics if your gpu fails, and all kinds of other features P67 does not have. It's also guaranteed to be compatible with Ivy Bridge.
March 31, 2012 5:38:32 PM

Thanks, I'll have a look. It looks like the mobo you are suggesting is more expensive, but what I'm mostly concerned about is the warranty. Approximately how long do you think the components I've chosen will last for? The warranty is the thing I'm mostly concerned about when it comes to building a pc yourself. I'd appreciate if you could motivate me, somehow, to build a pc myself rather than choosing the components and getting it built from manufacturers such as:
http://pcspecialist.co.uk/
http://www.scan.co.uk/
or
http://overclockers.co.uk/

Thanks for your time.
March 31, 2012 5:57:11 PM

I can recommend a msi g43 it is a good board for that price with lots of features ;) 
a b 4 Gaming
March 31, 2012 9:05:32 PM

The board I suggested should be the same price or cheaper.
a b 4 Gaming
April 1, 2012 1:02:28 AM

I agree with Geek's suggestion, an ASRock Gen3 would be the way to go, IF you can fit it in your budget. Unfortunately only the Extreme4 is offered, which is substantially more expensive. I suppose I'd stick with what you have.

Aww, building yourself is easy! It's all literally plug and play. Nothing requires any special tools or knowledge, just know-how and a little elbow grease. If you want an EXCELLENT video about how to assemble a PC, watch this one right here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_56kyib-Ls Amazing detail, goes over every aspect of the machine.
April 6, 2012 1:39:14 PM

geekapproved said:
Coolermaster hyper 212+ or EVO.

Why are you choosing a P67 and not a Z68? I would highly recommend you get a Z68. I recommend this one if your on a budget:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

See if you can find that one at a comparable price. It has Gen3 pci-e slots, ability to use on-cpu graphics if your gpu fails, and all kinds of other features P67 does not have. It's also guaranteed to be compatible with Ivy Bridge.


Coolermaster's hyper 212 EVO looks a great and affordable cpu cooler which is highly rated so I'll probably go for it.

The mobo you suggested is also quite an impressive one, also highly rated and I approve of it but... the cheapest one I could find was £100. I've made a research and found another Z68 mobo which is round about £20 cheaper due to a discount (the original price is £120) and looks a good one to me. Now, I'm gonna show you my current build and I'd love to hear from someone if that build will be okay in the next 1-2 months (that's when I'm gonna buy all the components).


RAM - £44.00
http://www.ebuyer.com/264750-g-skill-8gb-2x4gb-ddr3-160...

CPU - £144.00
http://www.aria.co.uk/SuperSpecials/Other+products/Inte...

Mobo - £84.00
http://www.aria.co.uk/SuperSpecials/Other+products/GIGA...

GPU - £192.00
http://www.aria.co.uk/SuperSpecials/Other+products/GIGA...

Case + PSU (bundle) - £132.00
http://www.ebuyer.com/177749-cm-storm-scout-coolermaste...

HDD - £77.00
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1tb-western-digital-wd10...

CPU cooler - £24.00
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/coolermaster-hyper-212-e...

Please rate this build and let me know if all the components are compatible and will fit in the case I've chosen.

Cheers.
a b 4 Gaming
April 6, 2012 5:13:56 PM

Lookin good! Still skeptical of the CM PSU but I've already voiced my concerns. Everything should work just fine.
!