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$1000 Proposed Gaming Build - Your Thoughts?

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March 29, 2012 8:03:18 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: Around May 1, 2012

Budget Range: 800-$1000, max $1000-ish after rebates/deals

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming (Diablo III, Guild Wars 2, etc.), ripping music/movies, surfing

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, mouse, monitor (currently have Acer AL2216W), speakers, storage drive (1 x Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EADS 1TB SATA 3.0Gb/s, 1 x Western Digital Caviar Black WD5001AALS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg, Tigerdirect, Amazon. Any reputable place really.

Country: USA

Parts Preferences:
Component: Proposed Part - Current Newegg Cost (% of total build)
CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core - $219.99 (22.45%)
CPU Cooler: XIGMATEK Gaia SD1283 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler bracket included - $34.99 (3.57%)
Motherboard: ASRock Z68 PRO3 GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - $104.99 (10.71%)
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) F3-10666CL9D-8GBXL - $41.99 (4.29%)
Graphics: GIGABYTE GV-R695OC-1GD Radeon HD 6950 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 - $249.99 (25.51%)
Alternate Graphics: SAPPHIRE 100314-3L Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 - $159.99 (17.98% of reduced total price)
System Drive: Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) - $159.99 (16.33%)
Case: COOLER MASTER Elite 430 RC-430-KWN1 Black Steel / Plastic Computer Case - $49.99 (5.10%)
Power: OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W Modular High Performance Power Supply - $74.99 (7.65%)
Optical: LITE-ON DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - $17.99 (1.84%)
Additional Fans: COOLER MASTER R4-S2S-124K-GP 120mm Case Fan 4 in 1 pack - $13.99 (1.33%)
COOLER MASTER R4-L4S-10AB-GP 140mm Blue LED Case Fan - $10.99 (1.05%)

Total Cost: $979.89 (HD 6950) or $889.89 (HD 6870)

Overclocking: Likely

SLI or Crossfire: Not initially

Monitor Resolution: Current max is 1680 x 1050. If I bought new, I would probably get Acer S231HLbid Black 23" which runs at 1920 x 1080.

Additional Comments: My three question marks for this build are the CPU, GPU, and SSD. I'd like to go Intel i5, and the 2500k is well recommended: Best Gaming CPUs For The Money: March 2012. I will be doing some productivity on this computer so I think the i3 won't be enough.

For GPU, I've noticed some recent posts similar to this build with comments suggesting the HD 7850, but I'm not convinced they are a good choice given the recent TH article: AMD Radeon HD 7870 And 7850 Review: Pitcairn Gets Benchmarked. Perhaps it's worth the risk given the 7850 is only $10 more than the 6950 I propose above.

For SSD: I've gone back and forth with this several times and comparing prices and $/GB, the 128 M4 proposed above gives me a decent system drive size at a fairly good price point, but is there a better solution?

More about : 1000 proposed gaming build thoughts

March 29, 2012 8:06:41 PM

It looks good but i'd go for 6870 graphics card.
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March 29, 2012 8:09:28 PM

My upcoming build is oging to have 2 6850's running in crossfire. I considered the 6870 but looking at the reviews the 6850 is better in crossfire.
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March 29, 2012 8:24:04 PM

That case is small and it's going to be a tight fit for the video card and cpu cooler. Like really tight. Also that particular OCZ psu isn't one to be recommended on here.

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-c... <---- full review with benchmarks



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/XFX-ATX-550-Power-Supply/dp/B004R... $61.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
XFX ATX 550 Power Supply - P1550SXXB9

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $44.99 FREE SHIPPING
G.SKILL Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-1600C9D-8GAB

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $128.99 FREE SHIPPING
Mushkin Enhanced Chronos MKNSSDCR120GB 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
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March 29, 2012 9:44:45 PM

electricfirebolt said:
It looks good but i'd go for 6870 graphics card.


Thanks, I'll keep that in mind.
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March 29, 2012 9:51:29 PM

andyman49931 said:
Thanks, I'll keep that in mind.

The 6870 isn't even a good middle of the road graphics card these days. It's dated. The new generation cards are comparable to the 6950 in price. But a 6870? That's like if your really on a tight budget and just looking to make do with min. FPS in regards to gaming.
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March 29, 2012 10:14:03 PM

I wouldn't get the Saphire 6870 and I doubt you'll find a 6950. I would go with a 6970 2gb if you can find one. The 7850 seems iffy. If you could shave a few bucks here and there I'd shoot for a 7870 2gb to pair with the 2500k.
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March 29, 2012 10:14:20 PM

Remove the ssd and put the money saved on a bether gpu. gamer pc have little use of a ssd especialy not at the cost of a cheaper gpu.
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March 29, 2012 10:14:57 PM

Why_Me said:
That case is small and it's going to be a tight fit for the video card and cpu cooler.


Really? The case dimensions are 19.30" x 7.50" x 16.70" which is bigger than both the $650 and $1300 SBM builds. Granted, the $650 build almost didn't fit. The coolermaster you recommend, while bigger (19.50" x 9.10" x 18.90"), is not my style aesthetically. I like clean lines. I will look for something a bit larger in the $50 price range.

Why_Me said:
Also that particular OCZ psu isn't one to be recommended on here.


That's good to know and thanks for your recommendation of the XFX. I've seen some good recommendations in other posts and will look into it.

Why_Me said:
Ivy Bridge is due out April 29th.


I've heard that, but will they be priced such that I can include them in my $1000 budget for the equivalent horsepower of the i5 2500k at $220?

Why_Me said:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $44.99 FREE SHIPPING
G.SKILL Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-1600C9D-8GAB


Good recommendation, but not listed as compatible with the ASROCK mobo: http://www.asrock.com/mb/memory.asp?Model=Z68%20Pro3%20Gen3

Why_Me said:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $128.99 FREE SHIPPING
Mushkin Enhanced Chronos MKNSSDCR120GB 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)


Another good recommendation, but I've read that the non-'deluxe' models are significantly slower and are not even listed on the SSD Hierarchy Chart.
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March 29, 2012 10:18:00 PM

You also said you are not initially going to SLI/CF. If you are considering it down the road then I would recommend going to a Radeon HD 7850. They seem to be rapidly phasing out older series graphics cards, so there is no guarantee that you will be able to grab a second 6950 down the road.

My personal preference is to stay away from overclocking as it voids the warranty, costs more, and shortens the lifespan of your components. Thus my advice would be to switch to the Core i5 2400 ($150 if you live near a MicroCenter) and put that money elsewhere. It would save you $100, so you could upgrade to a bigger, faster SSD like the Mushkin Enhanced Chronos Deluxe 240GB or add on a 1TB HDD for storage.
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Best solution

March 29, 2012 10:19:33 PM

So much bad advice....

Drop the SSD. You shouldn't have one if your building for $1000 only. Use that $160 to boost your graphics. Although you did pick one of the best SSD's imo. I would scrap it for later tho.

Now you have $400 for graphics...get something like the 7870 or 7850 if you can get a deal. These overclock very nicely. But if we can shave another $100 off your build I'd buy a 680 by nvidia. And get a 1920x1080p monitor that is a must if you get a higher end card. 680/7850/7870 will laugh at your monitor.

I do not like ocz psu's..poor quality even though they seem to put some good ones out on ocassion. Stay with xfx, corsair, antec, seasonic. most of these put out a 500-650watt unit. 500-600watt will be plenty to power everything.

Imo don't wait for IVY Bridge unless you got time and money. Remember your already on a budget of 1000 which Ivy Bridge will take more of. The benefits to getting IB are not amazing. It only offers about 10% gains. which is not great for a new gen cpu. i5 2500k is excellent choice.

Overclocking may lower lifespan but typically it will not unless your going to the extremes or do not know what your doing. Even then most all cpu's gpus will power down if anything catatrosphic is about to happen.
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March 29, 2012 10:30:08 PM

andyman49931 said:
Another good recommendation, but I've read that the non-'deluxe' models are significantly slower and are not even listed on the SSD Hierarchy Chart.

In the world of benchmarks yes, the Mushkin Enhanced Chronos Deluxe models are faster than the Mushkin Enhanced Chronos models. I'm one of those who has been saying as much. The non-Deluxe models use Asynchronous ONFi NAND flash memory (the "slowest" flash memory in common SSDs) while the Deluxe models use Toggle NAND flash memory (the fastest flash memory commonly found in SSDs).

In real world applications, however, you probably won't notice a difference between a 15 second boot time and a 16 second boot time. What I would be more interested in finding out (and wish I knew) was which memory type can withstand the most write cycles before wearing out. That will make a greater real-word difference as it will speak directly to how long your SSD will last before going bad. Larger sized SSDs will also last longer as more available space means more room to move data around, which leads to fewer write cycles per block and a longer SSD lifespan. This white paper from Western Digital is a great read on SSD lifespan.
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March 29, 2012 10:36:10 PM

hotthree said:
So much bad advice....

Drop the SSD. You shouldn't have one if your building for $1000 only. Use that $160 to boost your graphics. Although you did pick one of the best SSD's imo. I would scrap it for later tho.

Now you have $400 for graphics...get something like the 7870 or 7850 if you can get a deal. These overclock very nicely. But if we can shave another $100 off your build I'd buy a 680 by nvidia. And get a 1920x1080p monitor that is a must if you get a higher end card. 680/7850/7870 will laugh at your monitor.

I do not like ocz psu's..poor quality even though they seem to put some good ones out on ocassion. Stay with xfx, corsair, antec, seasonic. most of these put out a 500-650watt unit. 500-600watt will be plenty to power everything.

Imo don't wait for IVY Bridge unless you got time and money. Remember your already on a budget of 1000 which Ivy Bridge will take more of. The benefits to getting IB are not amazing. It only offers about 10% gains. which is not great for a new gen cpu. i5 2500k is excellent choice.

That is not necessarily the case. The advice you give here is only true if his only goal is to produce the absolute best frame rates in gaming. Some people prefer a little more balance in their PCs. The OP stated he wants to have good productivity performance as well, and I would be willing to bet that he wants fast boot and game/application load times. If this is the case then including a Solid State Drive is a must in a $1000 build.

The real world game performance between a $500 GPU and a $250 GPU is greatly disproportionate to the price difference. It is also a much smaller improvement in one small sector on PC usage than the addition of an SSD is to overall PC performance.
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March 29, 2012 10:39:31 PM

andyman49931 said:
Really? The case dimensions are 19.30" x 7.50" x 16.70" which is bigger than both the $650 and $1300 SBM builds. Granted, the $650 build almost didn't fit. The coolermaster you recommend, while bigger (19.50" x 9.10" x 18.90"), is not my style aesthetically. I like clean lines. I will look for something a bit larger in the $50 price range.
It's going to be tough finding a case as large as that CM 912 in that price range. Granted it's got a "rugged look" about it, but it's size that counts these days with these vid cards and cpu coolers. That and cable management. And yes that 430 is going to be hot and cramped.

Quote:
That's good to know and thanks for your recommendation of the XFX. I've seen some good recommendations in other posts and will look into it.

XFX psu's are manufactured by Seasonic for XFX. It's top of the line in that regards. Also look at the amperage it puts out on a single rail. It's money in the bank.

Quote:
I've heard that, but will they be priced such that I can include them in my $1000 budget for the equivalent horsepower of the i5 2500k at $220?

Same price as far as everyone has been saying. It's cheaper for Intel to manufacture the Ivy Bridge cpu's seeing how their on a smaller 22nm die.

Quote:
Good recommendation, but not listed as compatible with the ASROCK mobo: http://www.asrock.com/mb/memory.asp?Model=Z68%20Pro3%20Gen3

That RAM just came out and hasn't been added to Asrocks list yet. Trust me when I say that RAM will work just fine for that board.

Quote:
Another good recommendation, but I've read that the non-'deluxe' models are significantly slower and are not even listed on the SSD Hierarchy Chart.
[/quote]
That SSD I posted is plenty fast and a bargain at that price, but like others have posted with your budget I would hold off on purchasing an SSD atm and put that money towards a better gpu.
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March 29, 2012 10:44:21 PM

Why_Me said:

That SSD I posted is plenty fast and a bargain at that price, but like others have posted with your budget I would hold off on purchasing an SSD atm and put that money towards a better gpu.
[/quote]

Absolutely - the GPU is one of the most important parts of any build and I can't stress that enough. I'd also get a better cooler - I had the Xigmatek Gaia and it completely fried a motherboard I was using. Cheap paste - tons of loose parts - and it kept giving CPU temp read errors left and right. Bad cooler.
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March 29, 2012 10:49:17 PM

hotthree said:
So much bad advice....

Drop the SSD. You shouldn't have one if your building for $1000 only. Use that $160 to boost your graphics. Although you did pick one of the best SSD's imo. I would scrap it for later tho.

Now you have $400 for graphics...get something like the 7870 or 7850 if you can get a deal. These overclock very nicely. But if we can shave another $100 off your build I'd buy a 680 by nvidia. And get a 1920x1080p monitor that is a must if you get a higher end card. 680/7850/7870 will laugh at your monitor.

I do not like ocz psu's..poor quality even though they seem to put some good ones out on ocassion. Stay with xfx, corsair, antec, seasonic. most of these put out a 500-650watt unit. 500-600watt will be plenty to power everything.

Imo don't wait for IVY Bridge unless you got time and money. Remember your already on a budget of 1000 which Ivy Bridge will take more of. The benefits to getting IB are not amazing. It only offers about 10% gains. which is not great for a new gen cpu. i5 2500k is excellent choice.


Thank you Hotthree, Isaiah4110, venur, Hydroc10, and Why_Me for the great feedback!!

SSD: Good suggestion in dropping the SSD. As mentioned in the OP, I already have two 3.0Gb/s drives in my current machine that I could use (would likely go WD Caviar Black 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s). If I go with a new 6 Gb/s drop, it's probably the 1 TB WD Black drives at 6Gb/s with 64MB cache which is around $140 so why not SSD for $160? And yes, I want a good balance of productivity and boot times.

GPU: Good point on the 68xx and 69xx. I'm still hesitant on the 78xx however based on the problems with stability in their review. Perhaps this points me towards something like a 560 or 580, but the 680 would mean about 50% of my budget is GPU which I simply can't justify with how quickly the market changes. Why not get something in the $250 range now, upgrade next year for something in the $250 range possibly with an ivy bridge upgrade as well?

CPU: While I have shared Isaiah4110's opinion on overclocking in the past, there have been so many good guides and recommendations out there for overclocking I figured I'd get my feet wet. I do live near a microcenter and thanks for the tip because the i5 2500k is listed at $180 which would save me $40 over newegg.

Any other recommendations/suggestions?
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March 29, 2012 10:56:14 PM

Isaiah4110 said:
That is not necessarily the case. The advice you give here is only true if his only goal is to produce the absolute best frame rates in gaming. Some people prefer a little more balance in their PCs. The OP stated he wants to have good productivity performance as well, and I would be willing to bet that he wants fast boot and game/application load times. If this is the case then including a Solid State Drive is a must in a $1000 build.

The real world game performance between a $500 GPU and a $250 GPU is greatly disproportionate to the price difference. It is also a much smaller improvement in one small sector on PC usage than the addition of an SSD is to overall PC performance.



In either case he is gimping his computer more by going with an SSD then spending it on a gpu. Remember he's not gonna fit but maybe 1 or 2 games on the SSD after windows. He might as well just wait and get a bigger drive down the road.

Loading on a fast HDD is not bad.. and its much better then not being able to play games. (I saw someone suggest him going to a 6850)...6950 is probably the lowest he should go unless he doesn't care about game performance.

The games will be much more enjoyable with a good gpu then an SSD imo. If he had 200-300$ more I'd def tell him to get a SSD.

And if we really want to get into what he should buy, its a monitor imo.
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March 29, 2012 11:03:45 PM

andyman49931 said:
Thank you Hotthree, Isaiah4110, venur, Hydroc10, and Why_Me for the great feedback!!

SSD: Good suggestion in dropping the SSD. As mentioned in the OP, I already have two 3.0Gb/s drives in my current machine that I could use (would likely go WD Caviar Black 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s). If I go with a new 6 Gb/s drop, it's probably the 1 TB WD Black drives at 6Gb/s with 64MB cache which is around $140 so why not SSD for $160? And yes, I want a good balance of productivity and boot times.

GPU: Good point on the 68xx and 69xx. I'm still hesitant on the 78xx however based on the problems with stability in their review. Perhaps this points me towards something like a 560 or 580, but the 680 would mean about 50% of my budget is GPU which I simply can't justify with how quickly the market changes. Why not get something in the $250 range now, upgrade next year for something in the $250 range possibly with an ivy bridge upgrade as well?

CPU: While I have shared Isaiah4110's opinion on overclocking in the past, there have been so many good guides and recommendations out there for overclocking I figured I'd get my feet wet. I do live near a microcenter and thanks for the tip because the i5 2500k is listed at $180 which would save me $40 over newegg.

Any other recommendations/suggestions?



7850 series has had problems. As for the 7870 series it seems to be a good card.

Sorry I did not see you already had HDD's..in that case...I would still use the money on a gpu upgrade, or new monitor.

I'd do one of 3 things...6950 and new monitor (drop ssd)....get ssd 6870/560ti (lowest i'd go) only reason is because your monitor resolution is not very demanding atm....or get a 7870 and new monitor (whenver you can) and drop the ssd...

To me the most enjoyable would be the 7870 and a new monitor.
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March 30, 2012 12:19:29 AM

hotthree said:
7850 series has had problems. As for the 7870 series it seems to be a good card.

Sorry I did not see you already had HDD's..in that case...I would still use the money on a gpu upgrade, or new monitor.

I'd do one of 3 things...6950 and new monitor (drop ssd)....get ssd 6870/560ti (lowest i'd go) only reason is because your monitor resolution is not very demanding atm....or get a 7870 and new monitor (whenver you can) and drop the ssd...

To me the most enjoyable would be the 7870 and a new monitor.


More good comments, thanks.

Here's my dilemma:

Component: Proposed Part - Current Newegg Cost (% of total build)
CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core - $219.99 (20.56%)
CPU Cooler: COOLER MASTER Hyper TX3 RR-910-HTX3-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" 92mm CPU Cooler - $19.99 (1.87%)
Motherboard: ASRock Z68 PRO3 GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - $104.99 (9.81%)
RAM: G.SKILL Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) F3-1600C9D-8GAB - $44.99 (4.20%)
Graphics: GIGABYTE GV-R797D5-3GD-B Radeon HD 7970 3GB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 - $549.99 (51.40%)
System Drive: (Existing WD Caviar Black WD5001AALS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s) - $0
Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 912 RC-912-KKN1 Black SECC/ ABS Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - $59.99 (5.56%)
Power: XFX-ATX-550-Power-Supply - $61.99 (5.74%)
Optical: LITE-ON DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - $17.99 (1.67%)

Total Cost: $1079.92

This is before a monitor and without any additional fans for the case (haven't checked to see if I need them). I understand that the GPU is the most important component for gaming, but 51% of the budget is considerably more than any of the SBM builds or even any other recommended builds here in the forums. The build in this post is pretty similar to the $1300 SBM but I'd like to drop in below $1000 if at all possible. Can I get nearly similar GPU performance for a bit cheaper, say a GTX 580 at around the $400 mark? Would I be giving up all that much?
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March 30, 2012 12:44:09 AM

The gtx 580 is going to require a bigger psu seeing how they are power hungry, and they run near $500 atm.

What you can do is get the gtx 560 ti 448 and o/c it. When o/c it comes close to running on par with the 580. MSI has the top dog in that regard. If you google the benchmarks on the MSI card it's the over clocking king atm.

http://www.amazon.com/MSI-N560GTX-Ti-448-III-PE/dp/B006... $299.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
MSI N560GTX-Ti 448 Twin Frozer III PE/OC - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti (448 Cores) PCI-E 16X Graphics Card

or....

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $349.99
SAPPHIRE 11199-00-20G Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
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March 30, 2012 5:20:54 AM

andyman49931 said:
More good comments, thanks.

Here's my dilemma:

Component: Proposed Part - Current Newegg Cost (% of total build)
CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core - $219.99 (20.56%)
CPU Cooler: COOLER MASTER Hyper TX3 RR-910-HTX3-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" 92mm CPU Cooler - $19.99 (1.87%)
Motherboard: ASRock Z68 PRO3 GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - $104.99 (9.81%)
RAM: G.SKILL Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) F3-1600C9D-8GAB - $44.99 (4.20%)
Graphics: GIGABYTE GV-R797D5-3GD-B Radeon HD 7970 3GB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 - $549.99 (51.40%)
System Drive: (Existing WD Caviar Black WD5001AALS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s) - $0
Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 912 RC-912-KKN1 Black SECC/ ABS Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - $59.99 (5.56%)
Power: XFX-ATX-550-Power-Supply - $61.99 (5.74%)
Optical: LITE-ON DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - $17.99 (1.67%)

Total Cost: $1079.92

This is before a monitor and without any additional fans for the case (haven't checked to see if I need them). I understand that the GPU is the most important component for gaming, but 51% of the budget is considerably more than any of the SBM builds or even any other recommended builds here in the forums. The build in this post is pretty similar to the $1300 SBM but I'd like to drop in below $1000 if at all possible. Can I get nearly similar GPU performance for a bit cheaper, say a GTX 580 at around the $400 mark? Would I be giving up all that much?

Why not drop the graphics card down a bit to the XFX FX-795A-TNFC Radeon HD 7950 or the XFX Double D FX-795A-TDFC Radeon HD 7950 for $450 or $460, respectively? You honestly shouldn't have a major performance drop-off, and that would get you under the $1000 mark. I personally would prefer the better cooling of the Double D Edition, but if you want something a little quieter (or $10 cheaper) then the Core Edition will still give you the same gaming performance.

You could even go with the XFX Double D Black Edition FX-795A-TDBC Radeon HD 7950 to get slightly better performance for $480 and still come in at right about $1000.
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March 30, 2012 5:36:31 AM

Thanks again for all the good feedback, this has been very helpful. Here's what I'm looking at:

Component: Proposed Part - Current Newegg Cost (% of total build)
CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core - $219.99 (25.61%)
CPU Cooler: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R2 - $34.99 (4.07%)
Motherboard: ASRock Z68 PRO3 GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - $104.99 (12.22%)
RAM: G.SKILL Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) F3-1600C9D-8GAB - $44.99 (5.24%)
Graphics: MSI N560GTX-Ti 448 Twin Frozr III PE/OC GeForce GTX 560 Ti - 448 Cores (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 - $299.99 (34.93%)
System Drive: (Existing WD Caviar Black WD5001AALS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s) - $0
Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 912 RC-912-KKN1 Black SECC/ ABS Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - $59.99 (6.98%)
Power: XFX-ATX-550-Power-Supply - $61.99 (7.22%)
Optical: LITE-ON DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - $17.99 (2.09%)
Additional Case Fans: COOLER MASTER R4-S2S-124K-GP 120mm Case Fan 4 in 1 pack - 13.99 (1.63%)

Total Build Price: $858.91

I could bump the mobo up: ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - $121.99

Total Build Price: $875.91

Optional Monitor: Acer S231HLbid Black 23" 5ms HDMI LED-Backlight LCD monitor Slim Design - 159.99

Total Build w/ Monitor: $1035.90

From all I've read here and elsewhere, I know the cpu is good. Everything else is pretty much changed. I've seen on some other threads that people recommend a second fan for the Evo 212. Is that really necessary?

Is there anything else I'm missing or anything you would change?
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March 30, 2012 7:14:34 AM

This looks good. I would swap the case for a Antec 300 Illusion and the video card for a HD 7870 but thats more of a personal taste. Your build looks solid though.
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April 9, 2012 1:48:23 AM

Thanks one and all for your help. Here's what I'm thinking right now, but I'll be watching for Ivy Bridge before I make my final decision:

Component: Proposed Part - Current Newegg Cost
CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core - $219.99
CPU Cooler: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R2 - $34.99
Motherboard: ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 - $121.99
RAM: G.SKILL Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) - $44.99
Graphics: SAPPHIRE 11199-03-20G Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 - $359.99
System Drive: (Existing WD Caviar Black WD5001AALS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s) - $0
Case: Fractal Design Arc Midi Black High Performance PC Computer Case - $109.99
Power: Antec EarthWatts EA-650 GREEN 650W ATX12V v2.3 SLI Ready CrossFire Certified 80 PLUS BRONZE - $89.99
Optical: LITE-ON DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - $17.99
Additional Fans: COOLER MASTER R4-S2S-124K-GP 120mm Case Fan 4 in 1 pack - $13.99

Total Build Cost: $1013.91
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April 9, 2012 5:08:01 AM

If you could, stretch your budget and overclock your gpu as much as you can
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April 9, 2012 6:32:37 AM

2k is high-end, 1k is decent, 500 is half-decent.
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April 9, 2012 3:16:46 PM

I spent around $3k on my previous build (circa 6+ years ago) and it has aged very well. With the technology these days and all the things I'm reading with the SBM, I'd like to build something in the $1000 range and use it for around 2 years, then build another. At that pace I would spend about the same ($3k over 6 years) but I would have a brand new computer with the latest technology, if not the high-end components, every two years. At least, that's the goal. Perhaps $1500 every 3 years is a better goal, but I'm going to try it.
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April 9, 2012 3:57:21 PM

andyman49931 said:
Thanks one and all for your help. Here's what I'm thinking right now, but I'll be watching for Ivy Bridge before I make my final decision:

Component: Proposed Part - Current Newegg Cost
CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core - $219.99
CPU Cooler: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R2 - $34.99
Motherboard: ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 - $121.99
RAM: G.SKILL Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) - $44.99
Graphics: SAPPHIRE 11199-03-20G Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 - $359.99
System Drive: (Existing WD Caviar Black WD5001AALS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s) - $0
Case: Fractal Design Arc Midi Black High Performance PC Computer Case - $109.99
Power: Antec EarthWatts EA-650 GREEN 650W ATX12V v2.3 SLI Ready CrossFire Certified 80 PLUS BRONZE - $89.99
Optical: LITE-ON DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - $17.99
Additional Fans: COOLER MASTER R4-S2S-124K-GP 120mm Case Fan 4 in 1 pack - $13.99

Total Build Cost: $1013.91


This build looks good.
m
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April 9, 2012 4:09:04 PM

Best answer selected by andyman49931.
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!