~$800 gaming PC

I've been without a gaming computer for a few months now and I've found that it is nearly impossible to get by with a laptop with integrated graphics. Thus I'm building a new rig and I would love any and all advice that you all could afford me.


Approximate Purchase Date: May 15th, I may grab a part or two before then if there is a really good deal.

Budget Range: I would prefer the cost to stay around $800 without peripherals, but it isn't set in stone.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming. Browsing. Youtube videos.

Parts Not Required: Operating System (Re-using a copy of vista)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I have been mainly browsing newegg, but I am certainly open to suggestions for other reputable websites that may have what I need cheaper.

Country: USA

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Yes (though not at this time)

Monitor Resolution: No clue. I will possibly be using my television as a monitor or using an older one temporarily, though whatever I buy later can be adjusted for this build.

Additional Comments: I am mainly concerned with the life-expectancy of this rig. I may do some light overclocking now and will most likely do much more when it ages, but I would love it to last 3 years or so before I have to start adding parts. I intend to purchase a second GPU when the time comes to improve performance, and some extra cooling when I have to overclock the system more. As such I would like my PSU and other components to be able to accomodate these changes.


As for now I have picked out a general build. It is still very up in the air, and the motherboard and case are more placeholders than anything. I have limited experience with this and despite reading tutorials on here I am having some trouble deciding which parts would benefit me the most. Here's what I've decided on already:


Video Card:
EVGA 012-P3-2078-KR GeForce GTX 560 Ti - 448
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130758

It seems from benchmarks on this site that the Ti - 448 significantly outpreforms the regular GTX 560, and thus I feel the extra cost is warrented. I'm not quite sure about the differences between the different Ti - 448 manufacturers, so advice here would be appreciated.


Hard Drive:
Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5"
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148697

I am not looking at SSDs or RAID configurations at the moment, however if they become necessary it might be nice a few years down the road. As for right now I'd appreciate advice on cheaper, comperable products.


Power Supply:
Rosewill BRONZE Series RBR1000-M 1000W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817182188

Considering the fact that there will be another 560 GTX in the rig in a year or two, I figured I would need a decent power supply. This should have enough wattage, and beyond that it received good ratings other than the fact that it had short cables. Advice here would be appreciated and more than likely followed as this is one of the components I know the least about.


CPU:
Intel Core i5-2550K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115230

From everything I've read this is the best processor for me. The only question was whether or not to get a 2500 or a 2550, and I have heard good things about the 2550. I am fine with paying a bit more for the CPU as long as there is some advantage, so if anyone could verify the claims that the 2550 does better with overclocking then I would be happy with it.


RAM:
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231277

Not quite sure I have to put it up there, but I intend to get a total of 8 gb in 2 gb sticks. From everything I hear very few games can actually make use of more than that, but if someone knows something I don't I would love to hear what I could change


Case:
Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129042

Got high ratings. Seems like it has enough space and everything I need, though honestly I'm not entirely sure. I'd like to be sure of everything else before I focus on a case, and as such this is kind of a place holder. All I am sure of is that I would not like to spend any significant part of my money on a case. I don't mind if it doesn't glow, as long as it keeps everything cool and holds it together.


Motherboard:
ASUS P8Z68-V LX LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131781

I am not completely sure what is desirable or even needed in a motherboard. I know that this meets most of the requirements of my rig, but I am not entirely sure if I covered everything.


Once again I am rather new at all of this, but I certainly appreciate your help. Please don't hesitate to ask if you need any more information. Thank you all in advance, as any information at all will be a great help.
19 answers Last reply
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  1. I'm gonna change some stuff. Just look them up on newegg:

    1)GPU: Change to an MSI Twin Frozr II OC 7850 (or any 7850... MSI Twin Frozr is the best, though). It'll be NOTICEABLY better.

    2) Your PSU is WAY WAY WAY too much! You don't even need close to that amount! Get the PC Power and Cooling 750W Silver Rated PSU for $110!

    3) CPU: i5-2500k is just as good for overclocking as the 2550k. Basically, both are good, but if you need to save money somewhere, take off of the 2550k and drop to a 2500k

    4) CPU cooler: You don't have one. Get a Hyper 212 Evo... you won't be able to overclock without one

    5) RAM: 8GB in one kit is actually cheaper: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231428
    Good choice, by the way

    6) Case: It looks okay. If you want a really nice case, get a Corsair 400R. Otherwise, I'd suggest a HAF 912. There are some on newegg that have the green "subtitle" for best cooling... although those usually have a lot of LEDs (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811147107)

    7) Motherboard: I'd suggest the ASRock Extreme3 Gen3.. it's tried and true, and great overall.

    That should be it. Feel free to ask more questions!
  2. Thanks for the quick reply! I'll look into that, total up the prices, then look for what might be worth changing to get closer to my budget whether I have to detract or add to the performance of the PC. In the meantime I'll be looking for more advice! I have always done well with nvidia in the past and I was hoping to keep a GeForce, but if there is really that large of a performance difference I'll have to change over.
  3. ...there is that large of a performance difference. I was going to get a GTX 560 Ti before the 78xx series released... now the 7850 and the 7870 are the BEST mid-range graphics cards. I'm not a fanboy... just look at the benchmarks. NVidia is supposed to release some competitors soon, but that seems to be more than a month or two away.

    The stuff I posted is basically popular opinion on here. Check some other threads around your budget ($850ish) for suggestions there---they won't differ by much.
  4. not going to include a cd/dvd drive if you ever need it?
  5. AMD Price Drop:
    AMD just announced priced drops but these haven't been reflected yet.

    I recommend waiting, then getting the HD7870 which is about 33% faster than the HD7850.

    I don't know what price they'll drop to but the HD7950 is going to drop to $400.
  6. Hoooold on there, photonboy. AMD is only dropping the the 7900 and 7700 series... because they're competing with NVidia. The 78xx series is winning, and the nearest NVidia cards at that level are like $30+ more, and don't perform as well.

    The 78xx series aren't going to be dropping until NVidia drops ITS prices to compete... and it doesn't look like that's happening any time soon.

    Article: http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Radeon-HD_7970-HD_7970-HD_7770-GTX_680,15340.html
  7. Ah I knew I had forgotten something. A cd/dvd would be ideal, however right now I'm right around $950. Price rundown as follows:

    Tower $59
    PSU $110
    CPU $220
    Mobo $120
    RAM $46
    GPU $259
    HD $100
    Cooling $35

    Where could cost be shaved with a minimal impact on performance?
  8. Drop the CPU to an i5-2500k

    Er.... heh, heh... I don't really know... what else to do...

    Well. Is the $800 budget an absolute? Any more, and I think we'd have to drop down either the GPU or motherboard... and I hate to do that... :(
  9. you can probably shave cpu down to 2500k, at this point, you either have to shave off the psu, or shave off the case in assumption you are happy with your mobo.

    or shave off the HDD, but doing so is minor like the case is.
  10. Well that shaves about 20 bucks off. I might be able to get it to 900, but that's still lacking quite a bit. I'd hate to do it, but dropping the GPU down to something a little less extravagant would work. I'm a broke college student bumming this money for his birthday, so $800 isn't set in stone, but it's entirely possible I won't even get that much.

    Hmm, could the PSU be dropped a little bit along with the motherbord? Just 10 or 20 each would put me closer to my target if there's something suitable. I wouldn't mind a cheap case as long as it's big enough and has enough ventilation to not cook itself when overclocked. And with the CPU down to a 2500 I'm still above 900 right now.
  11. Ah... this should do it. I forgot about the motherboard... drop down to a Pro3 Gen3... still most of the stuff you need, but cheaper.
  12. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157279

    Is that the one you're referring to?

    Well with that and
    A WD 500gb 7200 sata 6
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136769

    I'm down to just about 900. I'm not budging on the CPU, but I could be under 900 with the original case I posted. Not exactly as close to 800 as I was hoping, but I'm loathe to cut anything else.
  13. You're right... that's the right motherboard, by the way. Hmmm... lemme see some cases. I'll get back to you on that. I'd try not to cut the HDD, since it doesn't save all that much money. How much space do you use, anyway?
  14. So after looking at the best-rated cases on newegg (yeah, I'm original :) ) I came up with this comparison of budget cases. I'll review it a little... see for yourself: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007583%20600006302&IsNodeId=1&bop=And&CompareItemList=7%7C11-129-042%5E11-129-042-TS%2C11-147-153%5E11-147-153-TS%2C11-129-066%5E11-129-066-TS%2C11-119-233%5E11-119-233-TS%2C11-146-061%5E11-146-061-TS

    Anyway, I've included your case. All of these cases are wildly popular and have great reviews (not just newegg... professional reviews).

    So, going down, HAF immediately takes a hit because of its plastic... but they all actually have plastic, so we'll ignore that. Now... external 5.25 drive bays are irrelevant... there's 3+ on each, which is all anyone would ever use. Internal drives are also basically the same. Expansion slots... same. Front ports... aha! None have USB 3.0 (you'll have to go around back behind the case to plug in USB 3.0... not a massive issue). However, the Rosewill doesn't even have USB 2.0! So, the Rosewill is really behind right now. But we won't kill it yet. Now... the fans. The Antec 300 black (yours) and the Gamma both take a huge hit because they only have one fan... you'd have to add another one. The Antec 300 Illusion, however, even has a fan controller! The HAF has quiet fans. Moving on, we see the Antec 300 Illusion have washable air filters (huge plus). Antec 300 black has CPU cutout (which is also probably in the Illusion), etc. The "features" sections usually aren't complete with all the features... look at some reviews if you're deciding between two or three. Antec 300 Illusion surges ahead one more time by having a 140mm fan... with a controller!

    I think we've found our winner... the Antec 300 Illusion! Seems to be a nice case overall, and with rebate, it's the same price as yours. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129066
  15. actually, you can cut down on the PSU as well, especially if you go with a 7850.

    a single 7850 needs only a 400W PSU! two will get along great with a 600-650W PSU.

    this Antec EarthWatts 650W would be perfect, and its on sale w/ Promo code for a steal at $59.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371044
  16. Antec Earthwatts is nice, but it doesn't ship with a power cable. Problem? Meaning, you can't plug it in. That's why it's "green". However, ScrewySqrl is right about the PSU being a bit much... it's just that PC power and cooling Silencer doesn't go lower (while keeping the silver rating). Try a Seasonic... those are nice.
  17. Do I need 4 6 pin connectors for my PSU in order to be able to SLI two cards? If so that really narrows my choices. I found a few on newegg, but I'm not sure if I'm understanding what I need, other than wattage, for the PSU. Here's the comparison of the 3 I found with the necessary connectors and wattage.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007657%20600014022&IsNodeId=1&bop=And&CompareItemList=58%7C17%2D153%2D116%5E17%2D153%2D116%2DTS%2C17%2D189%2D024%5E17%2D189%2D024%2DTS%2C17%2D207%2D014%5E17%2D207%2D014%2DTS

    Sorry for the long link, posting in quick reply as I run around a bit.

    Edit: Ah, I forgot http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817182067
  18. not 7850s, they use a single 6-pin power, so Crossfiring them just needs 2 6-pin connector. Most cards also come with a converter, so you can use two of the 4-pin Molex power cords into a single 6-pin connector. useful since almost nothing still uses Molex pins.

    as for the earthwatts not coming with a power cord, I'm pretty sure you have one lying around somewhere (and if not, you can add one to your newegg order for all of $2 or $3)
  19. ^Good point. I just thought it was funny that that was how they marketed themselves as "green" (I know there're other things, but a truly "green" psu is rated gold or platinum)
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