Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Looking to build a Gaming rig with a $1200 budget.

Last response: in Systems
Share
April 3, 2012 10:18:09 AM

Greetings to all who may read this. As the title states, I'm pretty much looking to replace my old gaming laptop with a more up to date gaming rig. Here is all the nitty gritty info:


Approximate Purchase Date: Most likely the week of the release of the new Ivy Bridge CPUs. [April 29th I believe?]

Budget Range: $1100-1200 Before Rebates.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming>Audio Production>Video Editing.

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, Speakers, OS.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg.com, NCIX.com [If there are any other reliable sites I may not know of, please use those options as well.]

Country: USA.

Parts Preferences: As far as CPUs go, I would like to stay with Intel. As for other components, the brand name doesn't really make or break any deals. As long as the name is reputable!

Overclocking: [Yes, but very basic OC for now, as I'm a beginner. Not looking to dive into deep waters yet.]

SLI or Crossfire: Yes [No preference, still unsure about a GPU. Would like to make use of x2 cards though]

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: I'm looking to make this as future proof as possible, so I would prefer to have a case large enough to fit parts without it being TOO tight to the point where components just barely clear the gap. Might also like to throw some flashy lights in there too to have something to be awed at. :p 

EDIT: I forgot I had made a pcpartpicker Build list (Of most things I was looking at, minus the GPUs since I was kind of unsure about what I would get):
Part list permalink / Part price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor ($179.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Corsair CAFA70 61.0 CFM CPU Cooler ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus P8Z68-V/GEN3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($173.99 @ NCIX US)
Memory: Kingston 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($129.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Case: Cooler Master HAF X ATX Full Tower Case ($159.99 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 620W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($89.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($24.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $853.90
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated 2012-04-03 06:20 EDT-0400)
a b 4 Gaming
April 3, 2012 10:49:25 AM

That looks OK but I think a lot of cash is being spent in the wrong places. That hard drive, case, RAM and cooler are all quite expensive. Going from 1600 to 1866Mhz with the RAM will make next to no difference and the Coolermaster Hyper 212 Evo is probably better value than that cooler. You should only need the 520W model of that PSU too, especially since it's a good quality one. I think that case is probably going to be unnecessarily big as well, I doubt you will need a full tower.

I would recommend that you stay away from SLI/Crossfire too. It can get quite hot and noisy and it isn't even the best value sometimes.

If you think you can cope with a bit less storage, this would be a great choice:

Intel Core i5-2500k
8GB Mushkin Enhanced Silverline
ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3
ASUS HD 7870 2GB
Crucial M4 128GB
Seagate Barracuda 7200RPM 500GB
SeaSonic M12II 520 Bronze 520W (Modular)
Coolermaster Storm Scout
Coolermaster Hyper 212 Evo
LG DVD Burner

Total - $1196.55 on Newegg

That should be a hell of a lot quieter than your original build which should be good for the audio stuff but will still be awesome in games because of the HD 7870 (which should perform similarly to the GTX 580 IIRC). It also includes a SSD which will make your OS boot a lot faster and programs should load up instantly.

Another note: If you plan to go with that case, stay with the ASUS or Powercolor versions of that card, the other ones are going to be a very tight fit.)



April 3, 2012 11:15:49 AM

Well - my two cents:
I agree you don't need the 1866 ram. 1600 is plenty.
I like to have overhead available so I''d stay with your original choice in PSU.
If I were going to a smaller case I'd choose a haf 912, but it's big brother that you picked is fine.
I also agree with the Hyper 212 (either version).
If you can afford it, an SSD is great. You wouldn't believe the boot times.
I'm partial to ASRock's "daddy" (Asus) so I'd keep your original Mobo.
Saving the best for last, look at this and decide on which is best for you at your price point:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car...
Related resources
April 3, 2012 11:21:15 AM

I switched the 500GB HDD out for the 1TB, cause I know I can burn through that stuff pretty quick, so 1TB should hold pretty well.

Also, how does the 7870 stand up to some of the newer Nvidia cards? (A while back someone recommended to me the GTX 560 Ti 448 Core model, and I have one friend recommending me to do a Crossfire Radeon 6870).

Also, from a future proof standpoint, looking at Mid-ATX Cases, I was thinking of getting the HAF 922 (I like the HAF series due to it's high airflow design), but I had a mild concern. If in the future, if I were to purchase a new video card, would a Mid-ATX be able to house the more big and bulky cards? I don't mind things being a snug fit, but I want to avoid having parts be so tightly packed that parts end up scraping against the case.

And also, is it possible to get a link for the LG Optical drive so I can add it to my list?

And one final thing. I understand you recommend I stay away from SLI/Crossfire, but it peaks my curiosity.. What kind of applications would an SLI/Crossfire configuration be more suitable for? It'll probably be something I consider if I end up getting into more extreme territory.

a b 4 Gaming
April 3, 2012 11:25:25 AM

Some good points, some of the GPU choices in that article still seem really strange to me though. SLI/Crossfire is only really worth it if there is a huge performance boost or if you need a ridiculous amount of power to run a 3 monitor setup or something but they recommend it quite a lot. In most cases it just isn't worth it, look at the $300 suggestion for example. (2 x HD 6850 in Crossfire) That will give similar performance to a GTX 570 or HD 6970 for around $300-320. The HD 7850 on the other hand will give that performance for $250-260 and doesn't have the usual drawbacks of dual cards. (High power consumption, lots of heat and noise and occasional compatibility issues.)
a b 4 Gaming
April 3, 2012 11:29:59 AM

Rhy said:
I switched the 500GB HDD out for the 1TB, cause I know I can burn through that stuff pretty quick, so 1TB should hold pretty well.

Also, how does the 7870 stand up to some of the newer Nvidia cards? (A while back someone recommended to me the GTX 560 Ti 448 Core model, and I have one friend recommending me to do a Crossfire Radeon 6870).

Also, from a future proof standpoint, looking at Mid-ATX Cases, I was thinking of getting the HAF 922 (I like the HAF series due to it's high airflow design), but I had a mild concern. If in the future, if I were to purchase a new video card, would a Mid-ATX be able to house the more big and bulky cards? I don't mind things being a snug fit, but I want to avoid having parts be so tightly packed that parts end up scraping against the case.

And also, is it possible to get a link for the LG Optical drive so I can add it to my list?

And one final thing. I understand you recommend I stay away from SLI/Crossfire, but it peaks my curiosity.. What kind of applications would an SLI/Crossfire configuration be more suitable for? It'll probably be something I consider if I end up getting into more extreme territory.



The HD 7870 should perform similarly to the GTX 580, quite a lot better than the GTX 560Ti 448.

An ATX mid tower should be fine even for an SLI setup, the motherboard is still going to be the same size, the case is just taller.

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

SLI/Crossfire is good for ultra high resolutions like 2560x1600 or 5760x1080 etc. because you will need more muscle than most single cards can provide. Using it for a single monitor seems rather pointless though, you can run into unnecessary issues with heat, noise and compatibility.
April 3, 2012 11:36:09 AM

Ah, okay. I don't think I would ever go as far as x3 Monitors. For one computer, Dual Monitor is pretty much the maximum I would go.

And in terms of cases, I'm guessing the Full Tower HAF X case would be more geared towards the extreme enthusiast who's going crazy with 3-4 GPUs and liquid cooling and such (It would probably be a very long time before I ever get into performance that extreme).

As for the SSD, I'm pretty sure I can fit it in. It's probably going to go a bit over $1200 with the small changes I made, but it's not going to be WAY over budget, which is good.

Also, Jm, how would you compare the Storm Scout to the HAF 922? Both are Mid-ATX, but it seems that the HAF supports more airflow from the photos I've seen of it.
a b 4 Gaming
April 3, 2012 12:06:36 PM

The Storm Scout is a bit smaller and lighter. You would also be trading a bit of airflow for low noise. It still has more than enough airflow as is though, especially for a single card setup with a CPU cooler. If you couldn't care less about low noise, go for the HAF.
a b 4 Gaming
April 3, 2012 1:53:57 PM

what do you see the difference.

ram , psu , motherboard , cpu cooler , case and hdd
April 3, 2012 1:57:23 PM

serialkiller said:
what do you see the difference.

ram , psu , motherboard , cpu cooler , case and hdd

No. I meant in actual ability to OC and CFX. None right?
a b 4 Gaming
April 3, 2012 2:04:34 PM

The only real difference is the PSU, it leaves room for another card. SLI/Crossfire isn't a good upgrade option anyway unless you do it within a few months. If you leave it a year or two, you will be buying an outdated card and that is never a good idea. Notice how noone recommends HD 4870 Crossfire or GTX 280 SLI etc.
a b 4 Gaming
April 3, 2012 2:04:59 PM

the mobo is cheap has good quality parts can oc very high and can cfx .
April 3, 2012 2:12:49 PM

jmsellars1 said:
The only real difference is the PSU, it leaves room for another card. SLI/Crossfire isn't a good upgrade option anyway unless you do it within a few months. If you leave it a year or two, you will be buying an outdated card and that is never a good idea. Notice how noone recommends HD 4870 Crossfire or GTX 280 SLI etc.

I agree with you about the cfx/sli thing. Having said that I still believe the OP's pick would also support 2 cards. It is listed as sli ready after all.
April 3, 2012 2:20:41 PM

serialkiller said:
the mobo is cheap has good quality parts can oc very high and can cfx .

Now you know I can just as easily write that the Asus isn't cheaper because it uses even better quality parts and can overclock and cfx just as good as the ASRock. But I won't. :D 
a b 4 Gaming
April 3, 2012 2:45:36 PM

the extreme series of asrock uses quality components like the asus rog series.

but costs a lot less
April 3, 2012 6:38:00 PM

Thanks for all the replies guys. However, I have one final question really. Mainly about video cards (Everything else is pretty much set in stone and ready to go).

Back when I was building this on my own, I had intended to have this computer be part of a dual monitor setup (My other monitor is also 1920x1080).

Now, would I have to do SLI/CFX for this? Because I noticed on the 7870, there's only one HDMI port (And I don't make use of MiniDisplay tech).

Now prior to the recommendation for the 7870, I was looking at a CFX setup using x2 Radeon 6870s. Would this be a more suitable route to go because of the fact that I'm using two monitors that use HDMI (Since one card doesn't have two HDMI ports).

And to be honest, noise isn't a huge factor for me, but I know you mentioned lots of increased heat. With a Crossfire setup, would Air cooling be sufficient for two cards (I don't plan on overclocking the cards at all, just the CPU)?

Also, I tried to do an FPS comparison and such on the 3DMark site, but I could not find any results whatsoever on the 7870 to compare.
a b 4 Gaming
April 3, 2012 6:40:43 PM

You could buy a DVI to HDMI adapter cable and connect through that, so 1 DVI and 1 HDMI.
April 3, 2012 6:54:47 PM

"And to be honest, noise isn't a huge factor for me, but I know you mentioned lots of increased heat. With a Crossfire setup, would Air cooling be sufficient for two cards (I don't plan on overclocking the cards at all, just the CPU)?"
A lot would depend on the Mfg of your specific GPU card. They have different cooling schemes and some are pretty wide - but they all look like they'd do the job. Good luck on your build.
a b 4 Gaming
April 3, 2012 7:23:32 PM

If you plan to go Crossfire I would go with the HAF 922 or similar. That should be fine in terms of cooling.
April 3, 2012 8:12:16 PM

As for the Radeon Cards, I was looking at these:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... [Sapphire]
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... [MSI Twin Frozr Edition]

I was also looking at some Nvidia cards, such as the 550/560, but I still have to do 3DMark comparisons between the two in CFX/SLI (I compared the 6870s in Crossfire to one 560Ti 448 core, and found higher FPS in the Crossfire setup).

I'm also getting the hint that there is no "Perfect" video card. Some will work for years, and some will be fail lemons, according to all the reviews I'm seeing for almost every card. Lots of positives, still has negative reviews though. It makes my paranoia of getting DOA card skyrocket, haha.
April 3, 2012 8:19:15 PM

Just get the 680 and be done with it. If you go "down in flames" so to speak, it will at least be with the best thing out there. :D 
April 3, 2012 9:08:29 PM

Geez. These must be a popular batch. Sold out all across the board on Newegg. :o 

But 499.99 is pretty steep for a single card.

Might go with x2 6870 Twin Frozrs and hope I don't get a set that ends up hitting 90c under load (According to a few of the reviews I read)
a b 4 Gaming
April 3, 2012 9:09:53 PM

One 680 >>>>>>> 2x 6870. Why? Microstuttering and being worse in performance.
April 3, 2012 9:15:58 PM

Rhy said:
Geez. These must be a popular batch. Sold out all across the board on Newegg. :o 

But 499.99 is pretty steep for a single card.

Might go with x2 6870 Twin Frozrs and hope I don't get a set that ends up hitting 90c under load (According to a few of the reviews I read)

This why they are out of stock everywhere:
http://www.hwcompare.com/12392/geforce-gtx-680-vs-radeo...
a b 4 Gaming
April 3, 2012 9:45:35 PM

Heat kills. I'll join the fray and say unless you're running three monitors, SLI/CF is just not a good plan.

Connectors are really not an issue since you can just buy a $10 (or so) cable to connect any output to any input.

If your gaming includes any type of shooter, driving, or flying you'll likely be using only one monitor at a time--not two. The seam between the monitors would split the crosshairs and just be generally hard on the eyes. If, on the other hand, you do go with the three monitor route then by all means SLI/CF.
!