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Idiot check for $1000 gaming PC build

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April 7, 2012 3:14:34 AM

I'm on a budget, and it looks like I can save a few hundred dollars by building myself. I've only done this once before, and I still consider myself a novice.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Approximate Purchase Date: The near future
Budget Range: Roughly $1000 before rebates/tax/shipping
System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming, surfing the internet, watching movies, office tasks
Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS, HDD for data storage, DVD R/W
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: amazon.com, newegg.com, tigerdirect.com
Country: USA
Parts Preferences: based on recommendation
Overclocking: Maybe (option should be available)
SLI or Crossfire: Maybe (option should be available, at least x2 cards)
Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 (single monitor)
Additional Comments: The idea here is to start with a cost-effective, quality system, add low-cost cards in SLI, upgrade RAM, overclock and upgrade CPU and GPU eventually to get a long life out of the system with inexpensive upgrades.


Build Spec:

Case
$49.99
Cooler Master HAF 912 Mid Tower ATX Case (great air flow)
http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Tower-Case-RC-912-K...

CPU
$218.98
Intel Core i5-2500K Processor
http://www.amazon.com/Intel-BX80623I52500K-Core-i5-2500...

CPU Fan
$26.27
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 (goes with i5/i7)
http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Hyper-Sleeve-RR-B10...

MoBo
$121.99
ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 (new egg +shipping)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory
$54.99
Corsair Vengeance 8GB (4x2)
http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Vengeance-240-Pin-Platfor...

Vid Card
$229.99
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 560 Ti 1 GB -Really hoping for some advice hear on the factory overclocked versions
http://www.amazon.com/Gigabyte-GeForce-Mini-HDMI-Graphi...

Hard Drive
$149.99
Crucial 128 GB m4 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive SATA 6Gb/s CT128M4SSD2
http://www.amazon.com/Crucial-2-5-Inch-Solid-State-CT12...

CD/DVD
$- n/a -reusing DVD

Power
$69.99
Cooler Master GX Series 750W ATX Power Supply RS750-ACAAE3-US
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

OS
$99.99
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit (Full)
http://www.amazon.com/Windows-Premium-64bit-System-Buil...


Total cost: $1,022.18
April 7, 2012 4:05:32 AM

Hey not a bad build overall. The Cooler Master GX series didn't exactly get glowing reviews from JohnnyGuru. I'd go with this Antec one for $85 instead.
http://www.amazon.com/Antec-EarthWatts-EA-750-Green-Cro...
The maybe for SLI kinda throws things off since you will need a PSU with 4x6 pin for the 560s. If you stick with a single card and just sell the 560 when it no longer works for you and buy a new card you can save some money and get a quality 550w PSU. If your talking about upgrading the GPU in the next 5 months or so SLI would be a good option. GPUs have a tendency to rapidly improve making SLI 2 years down the road hard to justify.
The 650 watt version of antec's PSU is actually a pretty good deal on Newegg right now for $60. It has 2x6 pin.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
The I5-2500k won't have much of an upgrade path. Ivy-bridge will only be a 15% performance boost or so but the I5-2500k will last you a while especially overclocked. Haswell which will be coming after Ivy-Bridge will require a new socket.
I don't like factory overclocked GPU's. They charge you extra money for something you can do on your own for free with MSI Afterburner. Not to mention most of the overclocks are extremely weak and you'll be able to push the card more on your own. The custom cooling solutions are nice though but you don't have to get an O/C card for those. Most run cooler and quieter than the stock design. They do push more heat into your case though.
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April 7, 2012 4:30:56 AM

Get a better PSU..stay with corsair / xfx / antec / seasonic 650watt will be fine..MAke sure your DVD is sata (not sure how long ago your other build was)

Your budget is too low for SLI / xfire atm.

I know you have a HDD already, but I do not understand why people want an SSD so bad. Yes there amazing but 128gig will get you windows and a few games. if you put windows +wow or another big game its taken up and your done.

I would suggest you drop the SSD and get a better graphics card to max every game. 560ti will max but it won't be playable. I have the same build on the same resolution.
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April 7, 2012 4:32:03 AM

Looks good.

The only thing I would hold off on is the graphics card. The GTX 670Ti should be releasing soon. It should drive down the prices of the 560 and 570. A 570 might end up in your price range.

Of course, you might as well wait for the Nvidia 700 series to come out if you want to keep waiting :) 
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April 7, 2012 4:35:37 AM

th3parasit3 said:
Looks good.

The only thing I would hold off on is the graphics card. The GTX 670Ti should be releasing soon. It should drive down the prices of the 560 and 570. A 570 might end up in your price range.

Of course, you might as well wait for the Nvidia 700 series to come out if you want to keep waiting :) 


Just wait and wait you'll never buy : ) ....Expect paying ~350 for the 670ti. I see it pushing the 570ti to 275-300...If thats the case why not just pay the extra $ for a far more efficient/ less power drawing card.
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April 7, 2012 4:36:54 AM

Check out my $850 build here:
http://www.squidoo.com/electronicandmore
Will give you a bit more performance and a better more reliable PSU.
As for the SSD, you could get the SSD as well. Maybe go for a 64GB though so you can save a little. A 64GB would be adequate for OS and a few programs or games.
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April 7, 2012 5:00:34 AM

I love my SSD. I would never give it up. 120 GBs gets me my OS, 2 games and other assorted crap with 30 gigs remaining. My steam folder is on my HDD because I can't afford a 512GB SSD.
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Best solution

April 7, 2012 6:11:56 PM

Well OK, you can keep your SSD but perhaps save some? SF controllers have become more reliable recently with newer firmware updates and Mushkin isn't a bad company specially for the price.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

As for the rest of the build, some changes you should check out my $850 build here:
http://www.squidoo.com/electronicandmore
More graphics card power and it'll run much cooler as well as overclock better and have better efficiency. Plus you'll get a better PSU.
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April 7, 2012 8:42:04 PM

Thanks for the great advice everyone!

@hotthree
- I'll go to a 650 watt power supply. 750 watt is overkill. Good call.
- You my be correct that my budget is low for SLI / xfire. I may go with a single vid card for other reasons as well (see below).
- My existing DVD is SATA. I didn't think to check. Good catch.
- SSD is awesome for the fast load times (Windows 7 in 30 seconds, no wait time loading game levels, etc.). I'm used to a wait, so I think I can live without SSD for this build. Plus I can't afford a big SSD so I'll be swapping-out Steam games all the time. I think I may loose more time overall on install / uninstall.

@th3parasit3
- Thanks for the advice to wait for the next best card. If I'm right on top of a known release date, I think it's worth waiting a week, but otherwise I need to go for the best dollar-per-frame value at the moment.

@hotthree
- I agree; I can't wait for the next-big-video-card to drive prices down (unless it releases this week).

@aznshinobi
- Dude, your $850 build on squidoo.com (listed under the $1000 build) is the awesome! -I mean the whole page is excellent.
- In fact you've inspired me to rethink my entire build strategy. I'm going to move away from multiple cards, and focus on a budget build where I can OC the GPU and CPU, and upgrade my video card in a couple years (after that, I'd look to do an entirely new build).

@masseybe84
- I've eard nothing but awesomeness about SSD. But like you, I'll probably have to put my Steam games on an HDD because I can't afford a 512GB SSD. So the only benefit I'm getting is a fast load on Windows and office apps. It's still nice to have, but I can wait for the next build to do SSD.

Thanks again guys for the excellent advice. I think enough has changed that I need to post a new build. I'll link to the thread once I post.


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April 7, 2012 8:42:34 PM

Best answer selected by MrTheFalcon.
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April 7, 2012 8:57:51 PM

Haha no problem! Glad you liked the guide. But yes, I'd overclock the GPU and CPU and then just upgrade later. The 7870 and 7850 are more than capable cards and overclock very well. You'll last awhile with the builds. :)  Good luck!
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April 7, 2012 9:21:27 PM

azeem40 said:
If you optimize the SSD correctly, you can load the os in about 10 seconds, like me. :) 


Sweet! I hardly ever turn my PC off, so my boot time is the time it takes my monitor to wake up. I know, I know...

I'll let the early adopters bullet-proof SSD, and pick one up on my next build (when quantum drive will most likely be the next thing -"dude, why wait 10 seconds when you can boot instantly?"). :p 
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April 7, 2012 9:27:11 PM

aznshinobi said:
Haha no problem! Glad you liked the guide. But yes, I'd overclock the GPU and CPU and then just upgrade later. The 7870 and 7850 are more than capable cards and overclock very well. You'll last awhile with the builds. :)  Good luck!


I'm working on the follow-up, I'll post the link here. I'm hoping you can provide further advice. You seem to consider factors other analysts miss, especially on video cards. -Like OC potential vs. temperatures.

The factory OCed GTX 560 Ti for example, may come with some extra hardware configuration that you can't get by OCing yourself, but it looks like the comparable Radeon cards are less expensive, and run so much cooler that by the time you OC at home and the dust clears, they win. You just don't see that on the typical benchmark tests.
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