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First time building a $750-850 multi-purpose PC

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April 1, 2012 8:48:37 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: 1-2 Weeks

Budget Range: $750-850 Before rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Surfing the internet, gaming, graduate school work, movies, music

Parts Not Required: All that I currently have is a keyboard

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg

Country:US (Denver, Colorado)

Parts Preferences: Preferably Intel

Overclocking: Doubtful

SLI or Crossfire: Doubtful

Monitor Resolution: TBD (Hoping for help on a monitor purchase)

Additional Comments: I game semi-often, nothing too fancy, I play LotRO, MLB2k** games. Just looking for a nice general use PC. I know that what I've chosen is a little more expensive (a monitor won't really fit in the budget for this PC, but I can probably scrounge up the extra cash somewhere).

Parts so far:

Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 912 RC-912-KKN1 Black SECC/ ABS Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

CPU: Intel Core i3-2120 Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2000 BX80623I32120

Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-Z68AP-D3(R2.0) LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

PSU: Rosewill Green Series RG530-S12 530W Continuous @40°C, 80 PLUS Certified, Single 12V Rail, Active PFC "Compatible with Core ...

GPU: SAPPHIRE 100314-3L Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card

RAM: G.SKILL Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-1600C9D-8GAB

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKX 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

SSD: Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM

Optical Drive: ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM

Monitor: ASUS VS Series VS247H-P Black 23.6" 2ms LED Backlight Widescreen LCD Monitor

Total cost before rebates: $1040.89

So any suggestions? I don't really want to go above this price, any suggestions on ways to save money are, of course, appreciated. Thanks for all your help!
April 1, 2012 9:18:04 AM

Looks fine for a computer at your budget range. One thing I'd do is swap out the WD IntelliPower drive with a standard WD Caviar Blue 7200 RPM 500 GB drive. Without an SSD boot drive, you'll want all the performance you can get out of your HDD. I'd also swap your motherboard for a full ATX model such as the ASRock H61ICAFE. This will give you more DIMM slots for RAM and more PCI expansion slots if you want to put in an expansion card later. For the same price, it's definitely a good choice.

WD Caviar Blue - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
ASRock H61ICAFE - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

EDIT: If you have the cash, I would highly recommend something like the GIGABYTE GA-Z68AP-D3. This gets you out of the very entry level H61 chipset market and into the mainstream Z68 market. This removes some of the odd chipset limitations of H61 (like only supporting 4 DIMMs of single sided RAM). It also provides 2 PCI express x16 slots if you want to install another 6870 later on for improved performance (though the slot is only wired x4 you may want to stick with 1 card).

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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April 1, 2012 3:17:39 PM

aicom said:
Looks fine for a computer at your budget range. One thing I'd do is swap out the WD IntelliPower drive with a standard WD Caviar Blue 7200 RPM 500 GB drive. Without an SSD boot drive, you'll want all the performance you can get out of your HDD. I'd also swap your motherboard for a full ATX model such as the ASRock H61ICAFE. This will give you more DIMM slots for RAM and more PCI expansion slots if you want to put in an expansion card later. For the same price, it's definitely a good choice.

WD Caviar Blue - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
ASRock H61ICAFE - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

EDIT: If you have the cash, I would highly recommend something like the GIGABYTE GA-Z68AP-D3. This gets you out of the very entry level H61 chipset market and into the mainstream Z68 market. This removes some of the odd chipset limitations of H61 (like only supporting 4 DIMMs of single sided RAM). It also provides 2 PCI express x16 slots if you want to install another 6870 later on for improved performance (though the slot is only wired x4 you may want to stick with 1 card).

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


Thanks for the suggestions! I did swap the Caviar Blue, and the full ATX model motherboard. We'll see where I'm at when I'm planning to buy if I can get the Z68 motherboard.
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April 1, 2012 3:22:55 PM

I am not sure that CD Drive you chose comes with cables. You might want to try to find out if there will be cables with it. If not, you would have to buy them yourself and it wouldn't be a great deal.

The Asus 24x definitely comes with cables (at least it did when I bought one) and its the best drive of its type. You might want to pay the $2 more or whatever to get the best kind and pretty much guaranteed cables.

BTW, are you a student? Do you have a prior computer that you are going to quit using when you get this one? - Edit - If you know a student, that is good enough.
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April 2, 2012 3:52:02 AM

I am a graduate student yes. My laptop recently crapped out so I am currently on my girlfriend's laptop, which we will use as a secondary computer after we get the new one.

Thanks for the idea about the Optical Drive, I will look into the Asus for sure!
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Best solution

April 2, 2012 5:26:38 AM

Have you considered an Intel i3-2120?
It looks like a pretty solid build right now.

Check with your university, they might be able to hook you up with a cheaper version of Win 7.
Also, to save some more money, you can drop the PSU to 500w and still have some wiggle room with your current configuration. Stick to reliable brands (Corsair, XFX, Antec, Rosewill, Seasonic) and check whichever happens to be on special that week.

EDIT: Forgot to mention, I second the recommendation for the Z68 motherboard, if you have the funds...
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April 2, 2012 5:53:19 AM

Yeah, I think I will go for the Z68 motherboard, sounds like that's a common theme. Thanks guys!

I had looked at the i3-2120, but I figured if I had the funds for the i5-2400, that I should go for it. If I finally get a computer that can run newer games well, I might actually get into gaming more, and figured the 2400 would bee a nice start.

Or would it be smarter to upgrade the GPU with the extra money from getting the i3-2120?
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April 2, 2012 6:02:25 AM

Well, it's up to you. The i3-2120 is a great processor, but then again so is the i5-2400.

If you're only doing casual gaming, you can keep the GPU as is, I think it's already overkill for LOTRO and MLB2K**.

If it's general speed you want, I'd suggest going with an i3-2120 and saving money wherever you can (with our suggestions ;) ) and getting a SATA III SSD (Crucial M4, OCZ Vertex 3, Intel 520, etc.). That'll really make a difference!
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April 2, 2012 6:21:44 AM

it's better to go with an i5 2400 i3 is good but with your budget the i5 is better.

with an i3 build you can build one well at 300-470$ but your at least double the wallet so it's better to go i5 2400

stick with corsair cx600w it should be plenty if you ever want to use those new gpus or do whatever else you want with it.

if you can get a seagate barracuda 500gb 7200rpm cheaper then go for that. or a samsung 500gb 7200rpm samsung (if you find one cheaper too go for it)

check out microcenter if you live near it, you will have 100-180$ extra more budget buying there or something.

so far everything else looks awesome it's ready to click buy and pull the trigger
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April 2, 2012 7:00:17 PM

Whether or not you are a student, that OEM license isn't legal for a computer you build yourself for your own use.

However, if you are a student, you are guaranteed to be able to get a cheaper legal OS that is a better version for even less money.

The Microsoft Student website sells Professional copies to students at $65 or so, sometimes less. Those are legal full version retail copies that don't fall under restrictive OEM licensing.

However, some schools buy copies from Microsoft and sell them directly to the students for even less than that.

Definitely contact your school directly and see if they have a special deal, and if not then get on the microsoft student website.
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April 3, 2012 9:13:58 AM

Best answer selected by HylianHero.
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April 23, 2012 5:38:05 AM

I also live in Denver and am looking to build a new pc very soon. Do yourself a favor and look at Micro Center, they've got some great combo deals on CPUs and Motherboards and very competitive prices all around plus they're local. If you buy an i5-2500k for $180, you get $50 off a Z68 or Z77 motherboard. The best deal is probably the AsRock Extreme 3 Gen 3 for $75. CPU + Mobo for $255 is hard to beat.
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April 23, 2012 8:48:10 AM

Just threw this $650 build together a few minutes ago.

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/7cYw

Basically with the extra $200 you can upgrade to a 2500K and buy a Crucial M4 64GB for OS.

Or Upgrade to 2500K and buy a 7850.

Pretty much I would go for the 2500K + 7850 but thats just me. The board I have listed is a great overclocking board and very easy to use BIOS so you can pick up a $30 cooler later and oc pretty well.

Also the prices may drop some if you bundle them on newegg, I just used pcpartpicker because it was faster.

SSD offers faster loads but 7850 is much better/less power than 6850/6870 which is why I would suggest getting the SSD at a later time.
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