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Idiot check for $1000 gaming PC build (round 2)

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April 8, 2012 3:10:51 AM

Thanks to all the guys who helped me with my last (conceptual) build*. And special thanks to aznzhinobi for inspiring me to go a new direction with this build.

*http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/341687-31-idiot-check...

Approximate Purchase Date: The near future
Budget Range: Roughly $1000 before rebates/tax/shipping (I prefer Amazon because I get free super-saver shipping)
System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming, surfing the internet, watching movies, office tasks
Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS, DVD R/W (SATA)
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: amazon.com (I get free super-saver shipping)
Country: USA
Parts Preferences: Quality over price
Overclocking: Maybe (option should be available)
SLI or Crossfire: Maybe (option should be available, at least x2 cards)
Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 (single monitor for gaming plus extra smaller monitor for Web/Media)
Additional Comments:
- I am somewhere between a casusal and hardcore gamer. I play lots of different games. I'm not hung-up on prefect graphics, but choppy FPS (under 30) usually break the deal for me. It's too distracting.
- This is a budget system designed to get me through the next 4-5 years.
- Single video card. SLI/xfire is nice, but I'll probably just upgrade a single card.
- Planning to upgrade video card in 2-3 years.
- Planning to build a new system in 4-5 years, so this one just needs to get me there.
- In five years (with a then, upgraded video card) I want to be able to play most new games at moderate graphics settings with 30-40 FPS.

Build Spec:

CPU
Intel Core i5-2500K Processor
$218.98
http://amzn.com/B004EBUXHQ
(planning to overclock to i7 performance levels immediately)

CPU Fan
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler
$26.50
(comes with mounting solution, should I buy Arctic Silver -will it make a difference?)

Motherboard
ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3
LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s
$121.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory (RAM)
Corsair Vengeance 8 GB
( 2 x 4 GB ) DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) 240-Pin DDR3
$54.99
http://amzn.com/B004CRSM4I

Video Card
XFX ATI Radeon HD6950 2 GB DDR5

$279.99
http://amzn.com/B00568KKOW

Hard Drive
Western Digital Caviar Black 1 TB SATA III 7200 RPM
64 MB Cache
$136.08
http://amzn.com/B0036Q7MV0

Power Supply
OCZ ZS 750w

$96.87
http://amzn.com/B005A2RJOI

Case
Cooler Master HAF 912 Mid Tower ATX Case

$49.99
http://amzn.com/B003ZM7YTA

Total: $985.39
April 8, 2012 3:17:35 AM

Good, but get arctic silver. The difference between AS and stock compund is 10 degrees F/5 degrees C.
April 8, 2012 3:34:09 AM

Arctic Cooling MX-4 is another good options with the added bonus of not being electrically conductive and no burn in period. It performs within a degree or two of AS5.
Related resources
April 8, 2012 3:38:37 AM

obsama1 said:
Good, but get arctic silver. The difference between AS and stock compund is 10 degrees F/5 degrees C.

That CM 212 cpu cooler comes with a small tube of MX-4 which is about as good a thermal compound as you can get.

@ the OP

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.amazon.com/Seagate-Barracuda-3-5-Inch-Intern... $109.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Seagate Barracuda 7200 1 TB 7200RPM SATA 6 Gb/s NCQ 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive ST1000DM003
April 8, 2012 4:28:48 AM

Another suggestion for RAM is the Crucial Ballistix Sport 2x4gb.
April 8, 2012 4:46:08 AM

the compound with the 212 is fine as5 might get a degree or 2, the psu is a bit overkill
April 8, 2012 5:44:58 AM

one thing to remember though is this rig WILL NOT be decent in five years. dont expect that cpu to be able to feed a 5 year in the future gpu. you will need to upgrade before then/
April 8, 2012 6:05:32 AM

cbrunnem said:
one thing to remember though is this rig WILL NOT be decent in five years. dont expect that cpu to be able to feed a 5 year in the future gpu. you will need to upgrade before then/


a 2500k is good by todays standards thats all you can judge it on really. even a 2700k and an nvidia gtx680 wont be considered good in 5years, so whats your point. it might be good still in 5yrs if we are still getting held back with crappy console ports even with the new gens only having like a amd 6750 video card or whatever it is. bang for buck you cant get a better cpu,yeah a sb-e extreme edition will be quicker by a couple of percent now and maybe a 30%(very optimistic) when the are programing for all 6 cores + the other 6 hyper threads but at the cost of another what 600, get the 2500k now pocket the 600 and replace the cpu, mobo, ram, video card in 5 years with that cash and your still better off
April 8, 2012 6:11:41 AM

I doubt 5 years will allow more than 4 cores to be utilized when only 2 are currently utilized.
April 8, 2012 6:25:14 AM

azeem40 said:
I doubt 5 years will allow more than 4 cores to be utilized when only 2 are currently utilized.

what is your point? EVERYTHING will be faster in five years. Cpus and gpus will be faster in five years not to mention the games will be more demading. its not about cores its about speed per clock.
April 8, 2012 4:28:56 PM

Thanks guys!

I guess it's a little much to expect this PC to be relevant in five years. My consolation is that I'm getting a good-bang-for-the buck now on a machine that will be viable for some unknown amount of time. That's about the best I can hope for unless I master precognition or time travel.

Ironic that I work at GameStop, but I'm a PC gamer. I can tell you what's up with the future of console DRM and the next gen consoles, but I have zero intelligence on PC hardware.

@azeem40 & @Why_Me

Thank you for suggestions on RAM.

It made me think, so I searched and found this evaluation:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/corsair-vengeance-c...

...which led me to suspect that Kingston, despite a $10 difference in price is worth it for the potential. If I never see the potential, well, I've lost $10 for less.

Kingston Technology Hyper X 8GB 1600MHz DDR3 Non-ECC
$54.99
http://amzn.com/B004K32QEG


@Why_Me

Thanks for the tip about the included MX-4 with my CPU cooler. I had read the same thing, but forgot.

I took your advice on the hard drive:

Hard Drive
Seagate Barracuda 7200 1 TB 7200RPM SATA 6 Gb/s NCQ 64MB
$108.64
http://amzn.com/B005T3GRNW


I guess if we're on to arguing over viability of this build five years from now, it must be pretty solid for a current sub-$1000 PC. I'm sure I would have heard it if I made a bonehead choice for one of the components.

April 8, 2012 4:41:04 PM

I LOVE the build, BUT 1 MAJOR flaw I see is that PSU!! I've had OCZ before and It gave me problems. It was about 10 years ago, but Since I've only owned PcPnC, or Corsair PSU's BOTH are TOP NOTCH, OCZ is not of the same quality.

And, I would strongly suggest an SSD. Who builds a PC these days without an SSD.
You could go with a Cache Drive from intel, OR an OS Drive. I have a Samsung 830 and it was a lot easier to set up and get working right compaired to my 2 Ocz Vertex 2's from my last build.
April 8, 2012 5:40:21 PM

yeah try getting a corsair psu. wont let you down
April 8, 2012 7:25:24 PM

^ Disagree, the OCZ's won't let you down either. 10 years ago doesn't reflect current OCZ. They've used different OEMs such as Sirtec and have hit gold. Here's a review might I add.
Same model and OEM so you can apply it to the 750w.
JohnnyGuru (Best reviewer for PSUs IMO) Gold: http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...
Hardware Secrets Golden award: http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/OCZ-ZS-Series-65...

Would also suggest going 7850 instead to have a cooler running, better overclocking, and more efficient card. Plus it'll leave room for CF in the future as they'll still be making the 7850.

April 8, 2012 7:25:27 PM

Corsair, Antec, Seasonic, or PC Power and Cooling. All are made with all Japanese capacitors. OCZ's gold PSU's are acceptable products. A lot better than their cheap power supplies. Still would go with the first four with their proven track record minus Corsair's hiccup with the builder series.
April 8, 2012 7:28:51 PM

cbrunnem said:
what is your point? EVERYTHING will be faster in five years. Cpus and gpus will be faster in five years not to mention the games will be more demading. its not about cores its about speed per clock.

The speed of the current cores are plenty for 5 years. You seem to have forgotten the technological slump we are in right now.
April 8, 2012 7:35:33 PM

That build will be good for years to come. By the time games use ALL 4 cores, it'll be 2015. All games are console ports, so unless the the next gen consoles are quad-core/hexa-core, expect them to keep using dual cores for a few more years. Never hurts to have a quad-core though. ;) 
April 8, 2012 7:41:18 PM

The PS4 will be using the A8-3850 if I'm not mistaken and a 7670 dedicated.
April 8, 2012 7:55:08 PM

All rumors. We'll have to wait until 2013 Q3-Q4 to find out.
April 8, 2012 8:01:49 PM

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/PlayStation-Xbox-Radeo...

I dunno. I'm pretty sure it'll be a quad-core as the only real performing dual-core still out is the i3 2100, course there is always ARM's Dual-core models but both have very low performing integrated graphics. But not only that, if they stayed dual-core they wouldn't be making much of an upgrade from the current platform.
April 8, 2012 10:10:20 PM

aznshinobi said:
Would also suggest going 7850 instead to have a cooler running, better overclocking, and more efficient card. Plus it'll leave room for CF in the future as they'll still be making the 7850.


After preliminary research, it looks like the twin frozr is the way to go with a 7850. I'm having trouble finding a good deal on that model.

Is there a good deal out there for any 7850l?

Best solution

April 8, 2012 10:52:26 PM
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April 9, 2012 1:52:14 AM

obsama1 said:
All rumors. We'll have to wait until 2013 Q3-Q4 to find out.


True. They simply don't leak that info until very close to launch. If they did, the competition would leap-frog them, and it's game over. The margins are so slim on consoles that one bad launch will cripple the manufacturer.

It will be an interesting launch season for PS/XBox. There's not much else to do except more and better of the same. Let's hope they don't resort to gimmicks, or god-forbid single-console DRM.

I act like I know something, but the best-educated guys are the GameStop store managers. Our store support team keeps the information flowing constantly, plus if you're working at GameStop its because you're a fan. It's not for the fabulous paycheck.
April 9, 2012 2:29:48 AM

sticking with the OCZ ZS for power supply. Good reviews, good value. Poor history and off-brnd probably making this choice seem sub-par.

Went with the Sapphire video card because it runs cool, has lots of OC headroom, and it's a good candidate for xfire. Thanks again aznshinobi!

I've heard so much cheerleading for SSDs that I descided to add one for my OS. I'll still use a fast HDD for Steam games.

My build at this point:

CPU Fan
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler
$26.50
http://amzn.com/B002G1YPH0

Motherboard
ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3
LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s
$121.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory (RAM)
Kingston Technology Hyper X 8GB
1600MHz DDR3 Non-ECC
$54.99
http://amzn.com/B004K32QEG

Video Card
SAPPHIRE 11200-00-20G Radeon HD 7850
2GB 256-bit GDDR5
$249.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hard Drive 1
Crucial 64 GB m4 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive
SATA 6Gb/s
$83.99
http://amzn.com/B004W2JKWG

Hard Drive 2
Seagate Barracuda 7200 1 TB 7200RPM
SATA 6 Gb/s NCQ 64MB
$108.64
http://amzn.com/B005T3GRNW

Power Supply
OCZ ZS 750w

$96.87
http://amzn.com/B005A2RJOI

Case
Cooler Master HAF 912 Mid Tower ATX Case
-Same case
$49.99
http://amzn.com/B003ZM7YTA

Sub Total: $1011.94

OS
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit
(Full)
$99.99
http://amzn.com/B004Q0PT3I

Total: $1111.93

While we're at it, any recommendations on case lighting and other flash? I'm partial to cobalt electric blue.
April 9, 2012 2:39:14 AM

Had 912 doesn't have a window so your best bet is led fans.
April 9, 2012 2:45:59 AM

masseybe84 said:
Had 912 doesn't have a window so your best bet is led fans.


I'm OK with Schrodinger's cold cathodes as well.
April 9, 2012 2:58:25 AM

That 64 gig ssd will be useless. By the time you os is installed you will have maybe 30 gigs left maybe 35. id strongly recommend a 120 gig ssd minimum
April 9, 2012 3:01:57 AM

cbrunnem said:
That 64 gig ssd will be useless. By the time you os is installed you will have maybe 30 gigs left maybe 35. id strongly recommend a 120 gig ssd minimum


The 64 GB SSD is just for the OS, not for games. I can't afford an SSD big enough for all my games, and I don't want to split my games across drives. I want to point Steam to one place, and play all games from there. That's my rationale anyway.
April 9, 2012 3:05:45 AM

For somewhat practical window dressing, I picked-up four of these:

Case Fans
Cooler Master Computer Case Cooling
R4-L2R-20AC-GP
http://amzn.com/B0026ZPFCK

The case comes with two fans, and has room for six. So these should keep my rig looking TRON, and feeling frosty.
April 9, 2012 4:52:12 AM

64GB is plenty Falcon. 64GB is good enough for OS and 2 games if needed or a few programs. As for the fans those are fine.
April 9, 2012 5:34:38 PM

MrTheFalcon said:
For somewhat practical window dressing, I picked-up four of these:

Case Fans
Cooler Master Computer Case Cooling
R4-L2R-20AC-GP
http://amzn.com/B0026ZPFCK

The case comes with two fans, and has room for six. So these should keep my rig looking TRON, and feeling frosty.


Yeah I've got a couple of those in my wife's rig.
April 22, 2012 12:36:45 AM

I built the system. Here are some pictures from the build:
http://img43.imageshack.us/slideshow/webplayer.php?id=imag0209h.jpg

No one post was most helpful. I'll just pick my post with the final build as a best answer since it has the collective wisdom of the thread assembled.

I re-installed Skyrim, jacked the settings to ultra-high, and added dozens of mods. This build chews through all of it without breaking a sweat. BF3 is next.

The motherboard has a one-click session that allows me to overclock the whole system by 50%. I did that, and all temperatures are still hovering around 50-degrees. My PC is cooler than my office ambient temperature, if you can believe it.

Thanks for all your help guys.
April 22, 2012 12:37:38 AM

Best answer selected by MrTheFalcon.
!