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Gaming PC 5k budget. . . prebuilt or build myself

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April 9, 2012 1:35:15 AM

Hello all,

I have a bit of a dilemma at the moment. I will be in the market for a new "high end" gaming PC in the next month or so. I built my current machine which at the time was a beast (a little over a year ago). However when playing games like BF3 I get intermittent graphics / crash issues which after many many hours of research and attempts at fixing I have yet to be able to do so. This has made me think buying a prebuilt system from somewhere like Digital Storm http://www.digitalstormonline.com/comploadaventum.asp?i...) that has been tested for parts compatibility may be the best route.

However, I have not completely thrown out the idea of building a system myself.

That said, with a 5k budget how should I spend my money?

I do not need keyboard, mouse or speakers. And I am still undecided on multiple monitors or a single 30" monitor. I had originally thought about doing 3x 24" (or 27") monitors however I think the bezel overlap would drive me nuts. And unless I am missing something a large LCD TV still isn't a great solution for gaming.

So what say you Tom's crew?! Help me build / buy a kickass new gaming machine!

:bounce: 
a b 4 Gaming
April 9, 2012 1:41:15 AM

Don't buy prebuilt. It's certainly easier, but in the end, it's less flexible, less upgradeable, and more expensive. Building it yourself gives you a sense of achievement, cheaper, and more fun ;) . We can certainly help you with a new rig.

EDIT: Multiple monitors are a bit of a hassle. I suggest getting a 27-30" monitor at 2560x1600.
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April 9, 2012 2:09:57 AM

oh my with 5k this is far from the best. is this going to be a dedicated gaming pc? and also are you willing to put together your own water loop?
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a b 4 Gaming
April 9, 2012 2:16:04 AM

How is far from the best?
Top of the line Intel proc
32GB RAM
Tri-SLI(Though he has the option of quad)
Liquid cooling
etc.
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April 9, 2012 2:25:04 AM

always gaming rigs
home build > prebuilt
$5 is a humongous budget.you can build a very powerful rig that will max out any game at any settings.in many prebuilt "high end rigs".they charge $4k but still use valueram :lol: 
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April 9, 2012 2:28:39 AM



most of the things are useless :pfff: 
level 10 gt looks good and is a great case but very limited space.liquid cooling(including gpus)is almost impossible.
extreme cpus are just a waste.3930k is fine.no need to spend $1k on cpu.
H100 is definitely not the best choice with $5k budget.a watercooling system in cosmos ii is a good idea :sol: 
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a b 4 Gaming
April 9, 2012 2:30:58 AM

^^^
Agree. That is one BEAST of a rig I linked.


However, it will only run Crysis at 800x600 at lowest setting at 10FPS :( 
/s
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a b 4 Gaming
April 9, 2012 2:36:26 AM

Updated the list. However, not sure what to replace the watercooling with. Don't know a lot about watercooling.
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April 9, 2012 2:38:21 AM

let's just leave wishlists and wait for asker's reply.
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a b 4 Gaming
April 9, 2012 2:51:11 AM

Sure!
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April 9, 2012 2:54:05 AM

Thanks for the replies thus far.

The only reason I would consider the prebuilt route at this point is my assumption that there would be no hardware compatibility issues or overheating issues due to improper case ventilation.

I have no problem putting together a machine myself. I will admit however that I am inexperienced when it comes to things like liquid cooling (which to be honest still makes me a bit nervous).

What I am after at this point is a beast of a machine that screams. I am less concerned with form and much more concerned with function. Thus I would rather not spend much of my budget on anything that only adds to the aesthetics.

That said, I don't really have any preferred hardware at this point. Except that maybe I'm leaning towards Nvidia over AMD as the current graphics card I have (and have problems with) is an AMD which I realize may not be the card's fault.

My main goal is to be able to run BF3 (and the like) at max resolution on a 30" screen with Ultra settings and no frame rate lag (but with no stability issues either).

Thanks again for any and all help.
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a b 4 Gaming
April 9, 2012 3:09:23 AM

If you're looking to water cool, wait until you finalize your build, and then post your final build + WC budget in a thread in the watercooling section.

We'll help you get started and on your way, and while you become familiar with all of the terminology and components, you can actually use your PC for a while ;) 
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April 9, 2012 3:16:30 AM

audiopanik said:
Thanks for the replies thus far.

The only reason I would consider the prebuilt route at this point is my assumption that there would be no hardware compatibility issues or overheating issues due to improper case ventilation.

I have no problem putting together a machine myself. I will admit however that I am inexperienced when it comes to things like liquid cooling (which to be honest still makes me a bit nervous).

What I am after at this point is a beast of a machine that screams. I am less concerned with form and much more concerned with function. Thus I would rather not spend much of my budget on anything that only adds to the aesthetics.

That said, I don't really have any preferred hardware at this point. Except that maybe I'm leaning towards Nvidia over AMD as the current graphics card I have (and have problems with) is an AMD which I realize may not be the card's fault.

My main goal is to be able to run BF3 (and the like) at max resolution on a 30" screen with Ultra settings and no frame rate lag (but with no stability issues either).

Thanks again for any and all help.


then don't do liquid cooling if you don't want.aircooling is pretty good now days.with proper ventilation(which is easy to setup)you can get a fairly quiet and cool system.it doesn't if your display is 30" or 46",if it's a tv then it's no more than 1080p.a single 680 will max out any game but get 680 for bragging rights and upcoming games.
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April 9, 2012 3:25:15 AM

If your computer was a beast a 1yr and 1/2 ago i don't see why your having problems.

Is something wrong and you cannot fix it? Do you have any clue what is the problem? Or, are you just throwing money at it instead of finding the problem? I am so confused here.

And 5k will buy you top of the line everything pretty much. But you haven't said a lot for us to help you in any way besides speculate about whether to home build or pre built..

My advice..since you don't like to figure out what goes wrong with your computer and seem to have no clue if something does go wrong. go ahead and get yours pre built with a warranty.. Go to alienware / another site and buy the best you can buy.

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a c 271 4 Gaming
April 9, 2012 3:53:24 AM

audiopanik said:
Thanks for the replies thus far.

The only reason I would consider the prebuilt route at this point is my assumption that there would be no hardware compatibility issues or overheating issues due to improper case ventilation.

I have no problem putting together a machine myself. I will admit however that I am inexperienced when it comes to things like liquid cooling (which to be honest still makes me a bit nervous).

What I am after at this point is a beast of a machine that screams. I am less concerned with form and much more concerned with function. Thus I would rather not spend much of my budget on anything that only adds to the aesthetics.

That said, I don't really have any preferred hardware at this point. Except that maybe I'm leaning towards Nvidia over AMD as the current graphics card I have (and have problems with) is an AMD which I realize may not be the card's fault.

My main goal is to be able to run BF3 (and the like) at max resolution on a 30" screen with Ultra settings and no frame rate lag (but with no stability issues either).

Thanks again for any and all help.


Well I have 15+ years of experience building and tweaking PCs as a hobby and I still get nervous about things like overclocking and liquid cooling. :lol: 

If I have $5K to spend on a PC here's how I'm spending it (without monitor - I'd get a nice 55" LED and 2 x 27" 1900 x 1200 secondary monitors.

Here's what the initial build would look like:

Case: Cooler Master Cosmos II - $349.99
PSU: Silverstone Strider ST1500 - $399.99
Motherboard: Asus P9X79 - $379.99
CPU: 3.2GHz Intel Core i7-3930K - $599.99
Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 - $89.99
RAM: Mushkin Enhanced Redline 16GB (4 x 4GB) 1600Mhz 1.5V - $129.99
SSD: 128GB Crucial M4 - $159.99
HD: 3TB Seagate Barracuda ST - $189.99
Optical: LG Blu Ray Burner - $79.99
Video Card: 2 x EVGA Geforce GTX 680 - $499.99 each
Keyboard: Logitech G110 - $79.99
Mouse: Razer Imperator - $69.99
Monitor 1: Samsung 55" LED - $1,399.99
Monitor 2: 2 x Asus VE27HQ 27" - $279.99 each
OS: Windows 7 Pro - $139.99

Total: $5.659.93

Before people start tearing apart my build - if you've got that much to spend on the system - there's no other case I would choose than the Cosmos II (I *HATE* the Level 10). It's a full XL-ATX form factor which allows for the P9X79 Deluxe, where the Level 10 does not. It also has room for a 3 fan liquid radiator. The Silverstone PSU I picked out - yeah you can argue tooth and nail that it's overkill but the ultimate goal of this build would allow for quad 680s in SLI and the 1500 gives you plenty of room for that and then some - and you'd still get room for the liquid cooler and any number of hard drives and USB devices you can throw at it. The 55" display is that beautiful Samsung edge-to-edge LED that can fit anywhere, and the 2 27" monitors on the side amplify the surround display experience. There's also no real reason to get the 3960X when it's $1K for a slightly faster clocked 3930K - get the 3930K and with the D14 you can clock it way beyond 4.5 - probably up to 4.9 maybe even 5.0. And sound equipment would be a whole other deal - no way am I trusting a $5K - $6K build with tin can speakers. :lol: 
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April 9, 2012 3:57:55 AM

hotthree said:
. Go to alienware / another site and buy the best you can buy.


Blasphemy! At Tomshardware Alienware is as foul language as it gets, lol.
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a c 271 4 Gaming
April 9, 2012 4:05:09 AM

Quote:
Blasphemy! At Tomshardware Alienware is as foul language as it gets, lol.


Alienware used to be good before they got bought by Dell - now it's just Dell BS. If you've got $5K to blow and you're going for pre built go for a real boutique PC vendor like Falcon Northwest, Digital Storm, or Origin - to me Alienware would be a last resort.
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April 9, 2012 4:07:44 AM

3 Samsung 55 inch 8000series LED TV with 2ms response time and the tiniest bezel ever. For 5760x1080 resolution. Playseat with Logitech G27 Steering wheel set-up. That's what I would put in the man cave.

Also if you are going with super high resolution I would wait for 4gb versions of the GTX680, 3or4 way SLI.
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a b 4 Gaming
April 9, 2012 4:12:47 AM

For 5760x1080, one GTX 680 is able to play at 50FPS average.
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a c 271 4 Gaming
April 9, 2012 4:16:03 AM

Swolern said:
3 Samsung 55 inch 8000series LED TV with 2ms response time and the tiniest bezel ever. For 5760x1080 resolution. Playseat with Logitech G27 Steering wheel set-up. That's what I would put in the man cave.

Also if you are going with super high resolution I would wait for 4gb versions of the GTX680, 3or4 way SLI.


That would be nice on an unlimited budget - but where would you get the mounts for a 3 x 55" setup? :lol: 
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April 9, 2012 5:07:06 AM

hotthree said:
If your computer was a beast a 1yr and 1/2 ago i don't see why your having problems.

Is something wrong and you cannot fix it? Do you have any clue what is the problem? Or, are you just throwing money at it instead of finding the problem? I am so confused here.


This. If OP could post the specs of his current build (the one that was a beast 1 1/2 years ago), it would be helpful.

It's your money; but instead of spending 5k on new everything, we could probably just fix what's wrong with your current rig and add a few video cards to achieve your goals. Even replacing the motherboard and changing your video card, we could probably help you max out BF3 while staying at well under 1.5K, and leaving you with a beast that will last you another 2+ years. Don't waste what you already have.

Or, if you are dead set on buying a completely new build, send your old one to me :D  .


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April 9, 2012 5:38:57 AM

azeem40 said:
For 5760x1080, one GTX 680 is able to play at 50FPS average.


^ not Crysis 2, DX11, high res textures, & max settings. And many of the other new DX11 games. If I'm gonna spend 5k on a rig it better not ever fall below 60fps. At least with current games because you can only future proof for so long.
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a b 4 Gaming
April 9, 2012 5:40:55 AM

He mentioned BF3, so that is what I based the fps average by.
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April 9, 2012 5:44:22 AM

oh ok. Got it
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a b 4 Gaming
April 9, 2012 3:51:24 PM

Bf3 at Ultra on 3 monitors needs like 2-3 680's(Not sure though).

BF3 on Ultra at 1080p with 2 680's gets 100FPS.
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April 9, 2012 4:18:17 PM

in fact there's no point if 3 680s for a single monitor.for eyefinity,it's good.
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a b 4 Gaming
April 9, 2012 4:22:46 PM

For one monitor a single OC'ed 680 will be sufficieent. You only need SLI when you have multiple monitors. However, the OP hasn't chimed in. about whether he wants 3 or 1.
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April 9, 2012 4:32:22 PM

I have never used an HD TV connected to my computer for games. Is it really a viable option? Does 1080p look comparable to or better than a nice monitor? Currently I am using a Dell UltraSharp 24" monitor which looks pretty amazing.

If an HD TV is similar, the huge screen size would definitely sway my decision that direction.
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April 9, 2012 4:57:54 PM

u cant get the same resolution on a big LED HDTV as u can on a monitor

i think u should just spend the 5k on a dirt bike or quad instead
and just keep your old PC
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a b 4 Gaming
April 9, 2012 5:02:46 PM

Ummm...Most monitors/TV's are 1080p. Not the same PPI, but at a farther distance(2-3 feet) a HDTV will have the same PPI as a monitor. However, to the OP, if you want a rig that can play BF3 on Ultra at 60FPS, then you can build a rig that does just that for 1K-1.5K! :)  After 1.5K, you get diminishing returns. The performance boost isn't worth the money.
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April 9, 2012 5:05:08 PM

Quote:
However when playing games like BF3 I get intermittent graphics / crash issues


I'm guessing you have ATI graphics?

Quote:
I have never used an HD TV connected to my computer for games. Is it really a viable option? Does 1080p look comparable to or better than a nice monitor? Currently I am using a Dell UltraSharp 24" monitor which looks pretty amazing.


No, I bought a $2500 samsung 40" tv to use as a monitor and it looks like crap, and I'm no novice I tried adjusting everything. They just aren't made for it. The pixels are too big for starters, along with the auto-correction they try to force on the video feed they get. 24" has been determined to be the ideal size. I use an alienware 120hz 23.6", as do all pro gamers on MLG - theres a very good reason for it.
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April 9, 2012 5:17:49 PM

audiopanik, Please post current rig specs...if it's only a year old I can't see that much need for improvement on CPU front...but GPU is another story...WHAT ARE YOU WORKING WITH NOW!!!! :o 


togan
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a b 4 Gaming
April 9, 2012 6:14:55 PM

If your rig is a year old, then just upgrade the components.
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April 9, 2012 9:39:28 PM

audiopanik said:
I have never used an HD TV connected to my computer for games. Is it really a viable option? Does 1080p look comparable to or better than a nice monitor? Currently I am using a Dell UltraSharp 24" monitor which looks pretty amazing.

If an HD TV is similar, the huge screen size would definitely sway my decision that direction.


Im using a high end Panasonic VT30 55in 3dtv with my 680SLI gaming setup right now. It has a gaming mode on it that reduced the response time to 2ms so theres no input lag. It is larger than any monitor so of course the pixels will be larger and less pixels per inch, but you also dont sit as close as you do to a monitor. I sit in a gaming chair with built in tray table for mouse/kb or relaxing on couch with a Xbox controller, depending on game. I sit about 4-8 ft away from TV so the resolution looks the same as smaller monitors sitting 1-2 ft away, but its great because it fills my field of view up for more immersion. It is plasma (600Hz)so the motion on it is the best ive seen, so smooth even at very fast turning during gaming, no ghosting(60FPS of course). Viewing angles are no problem with the Panny as in a high end IPS monitor. It is the newer Neo plasmas so i dont have any problems with burn in retention and very bright, but its only for gaming and i have a seperate PC for work/surfing. And my Panny TV has one of the best colour reproduction ive seen with amazing black levels that really give the gaming picture depth and pop.

On a 3d side note the Panny does have built in 3d processor so i can game in 3d @ 1920x1080 60FPS while the HDTV is processing the 3d so there is no hit to my GPU processing power which is amazing(3d usually cuts your framerate in half due to the GPU having to produce each frame twice). The Panny's 3d process is not as good as Nvidias software, but it still looks great. The con is using Nvidia's software 3d gaming maxes out at 720p @60 or 1080p @24 due to HDMI restraints (no DVI input on TV). The TV's built in 3d processor is a post GPU/HDMI process so the 1080p framerate is not limited.

Dell UltraSharps are amazing, and HDTV wouldnt work in a desk setup like a monitor does. You would have to have a different setup to sit farther away from the HDTV. But definitely the huge real estate of a good HDTV is a plus. Be aware some HDTVs has slow response times and u will get input lag, and others have poor motion reproduction, so you must choose wisely if for gaming.
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April 10, 2012 12:23:33 AM

dkcomputer said:
Quote:
However when playing games like BF3 I get intermittent graphics / crash issues


I'm guessing you have ATI graphics?


Yes, it's an AMD HD 5870
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April 10, 2012 12:37:13 AM

Ok so here are the specs of the machine I am planning to replace. And based on some responses maybe I don't need to replace everything.

Case: NZXT Vulcan (at the time I preferred a smaller form factor case, and maybe that's one of my main issues)

Motherboard: Asus Rampage III Gene LGA 1366

Processor: Intel Core i7-950 Bloomfield 3.06GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core

Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600

Graphics: XFX HD-587X-ZNFC Radeon HD 5870 1GB 256-bit

PSU: Thermaltake Black Widow W0319RU 850W ATX

Cooler: Noctua NH-U12P SE2 120mm SSO CPU Cooler

SSD: OCZ Vertex 2

Monitor: Dell U2410 24" UltraSharp Monitor


I built this machine about a year and a half ago and it has been pretty solid. However, as stated I get random crashes while playing BF3 and I'd like to up either the number of monitors I am using or get one large display as several have suggested in this thread.

I am not opposed to keeping pieces that I already have, however I do have other plans for the machine as is in the event that I build a new system from the ground up.

Thanks again for all the replies.

My next self build journey will likely be much better due to all of the questions I plan to ask here.

-c
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a b 4 Gaming
April 10, 2012 12:54:01 AM

In reality all you need is a newer GPU to keep up in newer games...
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April 10, 2012 3:00:45 AM

If you can find more u2410's get 2 more for nvidia surround/amd eyefinity if not get 3 u2412m monitors. They will set you back about 1k$ but they are worth it. They also might be cheaper than getting 2 more u2410's

You also may want to get a bigger case and a full size atx motherboard.

To play at that high of a resolution I would get 2 GTX 680's. That should let you run every game at playable FPS.

Lastly, to run that GPU setup I would get a new power supply. The one you have now is OK but Thermaltake does not make very good power supplies.
Here are two good options- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... and
http://www.amazon.com/SilverStone-ATX12V-EPS12V-Supply-...
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a b 4 Gaming
April 10, 2012 3:34:32 AM

One 680 can play BF3 and Skyrim at 50fps on max settings.
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April 10, 2012 10:45:48 AM

dkcomputer said:

No, I bought a $2500 samsung 40" tv to use as a monitor and it looks like crap, and I'm no novice I tried adjusting everything. They just aren't made for it. The pixels are too big for starters, along with the auto-correction they try to force on the video feed they get. 24" has been determined to be the ideal size. I use an alienware 120hz 23.6", as do all pro gamers on MLG - theres a very good reason for it.


What kind of problems were you getting with the auto-correction? Vsync issues, stuttering? I was thinking about getting a Sammy with their tiny hairline bezels? Also which model, LED? Thanks.
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April 10, 2012 10:56:49 AM

for gaming
monitor>TV.
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a b 4 Gaming
April 10, 2012 4:42:45 PM

A 5870 seems good enough for BF3 on Ultra. Are you sure it's not driver issues? Maybe an update to your drivers will fix the stuttering. If it's not drivers, then I suggest getting a single 680 and an ATX motherboard because a 680 will not fit on a MicroATX motherboard/case Also, a better PSU. Preferably from
Corsair
Seasonic
Antec
XFX

They make good PSU's. The res. of that monitor is 1920x1200, and a 680 will be able to play over 60FPS at that res.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=...
^^^
He plays on 1600x900 and gets 130-200FPS, without overclocking. So, you'll definitely get over 60FPS on BF3 with a 680.


Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Mobo: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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April 10, 2012 5:33:55 PM

corsair,xfx and antec don't manufacture their own psus.they are mostly made by seasonic :p 
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