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First-time builder: $1000 gaming computer

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April 14, 2012 2:05:24 AM

So my old computer has finally died, and I've decided it's about time for an upgrade anyway. I have about $1000 to spend; I can go a little higher if needed. I'm interested in building it myself, but I have a lot to learn. While I'm figuring things out, I'd love to hear recommendations from more experienced and knowledgeable people.

Also, some of the parts from my old system are still in working condition. I realize they're probably obsolete and won't help me much, but I'm always down for re-using when I can.

->Already owned components<-

GPU: EVGA GeForce GTS 250 (don't laugh at me, it was a decent card for its time, plus I got it for free)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory: Corsair XMS-2; each is a stick of 2GB memory, DDR2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: SeaSonic SS-650HT Active PFC F3; 650W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Since most of these have been discontinued according to Newegg, I'm thinking this stuff is pretty out of date. There's no way that video card is still mid-high range, I'm not sure about the memory, and I'm not very knowledgeable about PSU's, so any insight would be appreciated.
--------
Onto the new build!

Approximate Purchase Date: This week

Budget Range: $1000. Rebates nice but not essential

System Usage: Gaming, surfing the web, tv/movies (lowest priority)

Parts Not Required: mouse, speakers, possibly PSU? (see above)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I've worked with newegg and they've been great, but I'm open-minded

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: I'm thinking an Intel processor if I'm gaming. Other than that, I've owned both nVidia and AMD video cards and been pleased with both, so no real preference.

Overclocking: I don't think so; I'm a first-time builder

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: I've been using a crummy 17” 1024x768 monitor that came with a Dell my parents bought in 2004. I've been wanting a better one for years, but never came up with a decent excuse to actually buy one. I'm thinking one in the 21-23” range, maybe 1920x1080 would be just fine, but I'm still learning.

Additional Comments:
-I like to game, but I'm only a semi-serious gamer. If it can play modern games on high or medium settings, I'll be happy.
-I play a good number of older games (1995-2005), and I've heard Windows 7 Professional has “enhanced XP compatibility”. Not sure what that means or how it works, but it sounds nice?
-Physical size isn't a problem. As far as noise is concerned, less is more, but my priorities are cost, efficacy, and future-proofing.

Thanks in advance!

EDIT: I've made some headway and getting ready to buy. You guys have been fantastic so far; just wanted to make sure I'm not making any immediate blunders.

Case: The HAF 912
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It comes highly recommended here and on newegg, more than a few first-time builders have endorsed it, and I like the price point.

Mobo: This and the processor are still a work in progress... I realize Ivy Bridge is coming out soon, but I'm not sure what that actually means (it's faster/more efficient/shinier?). If I want future-proofing, it sounds like Z77 is the way to go.

Processor: See above. I can afford to wait if need be. When purchasing software, I tend to wait several months after launch for patches/issues to be resolved. Any reason I'd need to do that with Ivy Bridge, should I go that route? Will Ivy Bridge even be affordable?

PSU: Sounds like I can still use the old one, which is great. Potential issue: it's nearly four years old and seen a fair amount of use. Probably should have mentioned that earlier. Advice?

Monitor: I like the looks of one recommended earlier:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Decent price point and good performance, as far as I can tell. If I have money left over, I can always look into something fancier.

That's it for now. I haven't had as much time as I thought, so my time frame is a little longer than I initially posted. I welcome any additional thoughts or insights.



April 14, 2012 2:34:57 AM

You can use the power supply , but the rest is obsolete . Maybe the case too

Intel 2500k
Motherboard with a Z68 or Z77 chipset . Performance is the same but the 77 has a couple of new tricks
2 x4 gig of 1600 MHz RAM that runs at 1.5 volts
Radeon 7850 graphics card [ or better ]
500 gig hard drive
40 - 60 gig Solid state drive to use as a cache drive
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April 14, 2012 3:05:17 AM

Actually, the 250 is still a viable card. It's about equivalent to a 7750

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car...

The card has great SLI scaling, and there's some on amazon for $60 a pop. the galaxy card even has 2 SLI connectors for 3&4 way.

If you pick up a motherboard with 3 or 4 pci-e slots, you could have 570-580 level performance for $120-$180 (your 250 + 2-3 new ones).

Just make sure to turn SLI off when you're not gaming so your system doesn't suck down power :) 

*actually, your current 250 won't work with the galaxy cards because your original only has 512 mb memory and the galaxy's have 1gb. but 3/4 way SLI'd 250's are still phenomenal performance for the $$, I'm doing the same thing with 6770's.
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April 14, 2012 3:43:58 AM

Here's a couple of tasty monitor's

The one I'm currently using

PLANAR PX2710MW Black 27" 1080p
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

- this monitor goes on sale for $210-220 every couple months, keep your eyes on the "deals" link under news on tom'shardware front page. Planar just started making consumer PC monitors, but they've been making medical monitors for a long time.

and the one I'm eyeballing (when it's available)
Yamakasi Catleap Q270
http://www.overclock.net/t/1232084/yamakasi-catleap-q27...
This looks like it might be one of the best gaming monitors in existence, and will probably be under $400
I strongly suggest reading the "jpinard's facts and explanation about this monitor" in the original post there, no matter what monitor you end up buying.
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April 14, 2012 3:53:05 AM

This is a solid monitor. If it's going to be on your desk personally I wouldnt want anything bigger than 23".
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Otherwise, as someone else said.

Intel i5 2500 processor
The ASRock Z68 motherboard family is good and relatively inexpensive.
Graphics card-wise I'd take a look at the Radeon HD 6870, or if you want to spend more the Gigabyte 560 GTX Ti is a good option. 8 gigs of RAM is still pretty cheap, you can get some good stuff for around 50$.
Find a case that you like, you don't need a sound card or additional cooling really.

I would not spend the additional money on Windows 7 Pro, in fact I'd buy Windows 7 Home Premium OEM and save some cash.
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April 14, 2012 4:03:28 AM

Quote:
If it's going to be on your desk


this is exactly why I have a 27" monitor. There's actually a bit on overlocker's.net under the catleap monitor on this - ideal monitor size (or ideal size for any screen, really) is something that fills your visual range, without having to look side to side.

If your monitor is so close to your face that a 23" fits that criteria, more power to you, but I think a 27" does that better at the 2 feet the monitor is from my face at most desk's I've sat in.
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April 14, 2012 4:18:55 AM

All right let me share what I've learned since I'm in this process as well.

I will assume gaming is your biggest priority fyi.

I highly recommend waiting until April 29th before purchasing your CPU because that's when the newest set of CPUs from Intel are coming out ("ivybridge"). You can probably stand to benefit from prices on the existing Sandy bridge CPUs (e.g. i5-2400 and i5-2500k)

Additionally the Ivy bridge mobos are already out (Z77). However there's not too much of a major difference except USB 3.0 and PCi e. 3.0 (some sandy-bridge mobos already have this feature). However the prices are roughly the same so you might just want to buy an ivy-bridge mobo anyways.

I'm going to assume your budget is around 700-800 for your desktop (since I assume the $1000 includes the monitor?).

CPU: i5-2400
Since you are not planning to overclock I do not think you need an i5-2500k. The k suffix means that it's unlocked and
therefore easier to overclock (one of the major features/whole points of getting this cpu).

RAM:
G.Skill Value Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory 8 GB is more than enough

HD:
Any 7200 rpm HD should be fine (<100) if you want a 500 GB HD. Maybe get an SSD it reduces load time in programs and boot time, but costs significantly more. You'll save a few seconds every time you load a program? Not worth it imo.

Mobo:
AsRock z77 Extreme 4
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU (most important bottleneck if you care about gaming):
Radeon HD 7850

PSU(do not cheap out on this a bad PSU can fry your whole ***):

Good luck dude
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April 14, 2012 4:40:27 AM

quilciri said:
Actually, the 250 is still a viable card. It's about equivalent to a 7750

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car...

The card has great SLI scaling, and there's some on amazon for $60 a pop. the galaxy card even has 2 SLI connectors for 3&4 way.

If you pick up a motherboard with 3 or 4 pci-e slots, you could have 570-580 level performance for $120-$180 (your 250 + 2-3 new ones).

Just make sure to turn SLI off when you're not gaming so your system doesn't suck down power :) 

*actually, your current 250 won't work with the galaxy cards because your original only has 512 mb memory and the galaxy's have 1gb. but 3/4 way SLI'd 250's are still phenomenal performance for the $$, I'm doing the same thing with 6770's.


By all means you can't be serious about GTS250 and then advising 1080p monitor. You can play games but on low but you don't want that.
Here is 250 barely playable ...http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gts-250,217...

Anyway, even though you are not going to overclock (yet..you will learn how easy it is) still get i5 2500K.....$210
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard is a key to the stability of your whole system so Asus Maximus V with new Z77 chip ....$200
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memories a classic 2x4GB DDR3 1600Mhz...Ripjaws..$47
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A nice gaming case HAF912...$50
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You will use your PSU it is fine so you save some money there.

Now when it comes to GPU you few options...now you can buy used 6950 for around $200 on ebay or new for $230 or get at GTX570 for 270 after rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SSD and HDD ...that is the question I would get 120 GB SSD drive which should be enough for OS and handfull of game...and get HDD later when prices drop...M4 $150
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You can probably use your old DVD drive if not it is like $20

Upss a monitor well so far The total is $887...hmmmm not much left over

Well 22" will still look like a monster in comparison to your 17" ...$140
I would recommended 27" but that is $300+
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

So the Total =$1027 ...that is with new 6950 for 230 if you get used from ebay for 200 that will be exactly $997 :D 

You can always shave few things off like getting i5 2400 or getting z68 board but I would not do that...i5 is a great CPU and you want great motherboard with better sound chip and controlers...so good luck to ya


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April 14, 2012 5:06:18 AM

maxinexus said:
By all means you can't be serious about GTS250 and then advising 1080p monitor. You can play games but on low but you don't want that.


You quoted the entire post, but don't seem to have read more than the first line. Try for full comprehension before posting comments like that.

the 250 is a viable card in that the OP won't get made fun of for trying to re-use it. In that context what I did suggest in the same post you're quoting was 3 or 4 way SLI 250's as an alternative, which is extremely* cheap high end performance.

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April 14, 2012 10:39:59 AM

quilciri said:


the 250 is a viable card in that the OP won't get made fun of for trying to re-use it..


I'd laugh at him for reusing it at that resolution
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April 16, 2012 1:13:32 PM

Outlander_04 said:
I'd laugh at him for reusing it at that resolution

and you'd look foolish when his 4x250 setup posted numbers better than a 570.

...y'know, for $100 cheaper than the 570.
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April 16, 2012 6:27:26 PM

Let me know how that turns out when you get 4 inefficient GPUs that create a lot of heat.
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April 16, 2012 8:36:56 PM

Made some progress. Edited original post.
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!