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Looking for help with first PC build

Hello everyone,

I am looking to build my first gaming PC. I have no idea where to begin, I have a budget of around $800 witch includes $400 worth of Amazon gift credit. I have some parts which I purchased as upgrades to my current retail PC. I do not know if they are worth reusing or not. I would like to be able to experience decent frame rates on high settings. I mainly play RTS games and some MMOs, but would also like the option to play some newer shooters.

The parts that I have that "can" be reused are:

Western Digital Caviar Black 640GBb HDD
PNY GeForce GTX 550 Ti Graphics card - 1 GB - GDDR5 SDRAM
Dynex DX-520WPS - 520-Watt ATX CPU Computer PC Power Supply
Windows 7 Pro

I do not know if it would be better to grab another GTX 550ti or just upgrade to a better single card. My local Best Buy has them for 129.99 and I have $40 in RZ credits.


All prices are from Amazon, I would like to use as much of my $400 in gift credit as possible.

For a processor I was thinking either the Intel core i5 2500k 219.99 or the i7 2600k 299.99. I do not know if there is a big enough difference between the two for the $80 difference in price. Is there something better out there than either of the two I mentioned?(with budget in mind)

Motherboard I am completely lost on, the ASUS SABERTOOTH Z77 for 239.99 is nice, with a 5 year warranty. I do not know if it is necessary to spend that for a motherboard or not.

I will most likely need a new PSU, what wattage will be appropriate for this build?

As far as cases go I do not know what is to big or to small. I have enough room for a full sized case, I just do not know if it is need. Does more space help with cooling?

For the CPU cooler, do you recommend liquid cooled or a traditional cooler?

I also do not know if it would be a good idea to pick up a smaller SSD or not. A 120gb can be had for around $120-$130

Thanks for looking, I appreciate your help.
12 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about looking build
  1. Get the i5-3570k that released yesterday. Don't reuse either PSU or GPU. Get a more reliable PSU, sell the 550ti, and get a Radeon 6870 at the least.
  2. Quote:
    Get the i5-3570k that released yesterday. Don't reuse either PSU or GPU. Get a more reliable PSU, sell the 550ti, and get a Radeon 6870 at the least.


    I was looking at the i5-3570k, out of stock at Amazon currently. Thanks for your input.
  3. Best answer
    i would go with the following considering your budget:

    -i5-2500K

    -resuse the HD. if theres room in the budget, get a 120 gb SSD.

    -dump the PSU. get a 750W corsair.

    -see if you can get another 550 Ti and SLI them. or see what you can sell the 550 Ti for and upgrade to a 580 if possible. i would do a cost-benefit analysis of each scenario. what 550's are going for and such...

    -for mobo's, the z77 is the latest and greatest and therefore most expensive. you could get away with a z68, it will do fine. i like the ASRock extere3 gen 3. best bang for your buck.

    -you will definitely want an air cooler. don't waste time with liquid, its more expensive and more of a hassle. i like the thermaltake frio, but on a limited budget and on newegg right now the Hyper EVO 212 is 19.99. thats a good buy.

    -cases are your choice. obviously bigger has better airflow but i doubt it will be an issue either way. i like the corsair 500R. great looking case. i have the 400, which is also great and can be had for $90. larger also futureproofs better bc of the added expandability.
  4. Bigger does not mean better airflow actually.
  5. mojorisin23 said:
    i would go with the following considering your budget:

    -i5-2500K

    -resuse the HD. if theres room in the budget, get a 120 gb SSD.

    -dump the PSU. get a 750W corsair.

    -see if you can get another 550 Ti and SLI them. or see what you can sell the 550 Ti for and upgrade to a 580 if possible. i would do a cost-benefit analysis of each scenario. what 550's are going for and such...

    -for mobo's, the z77 is the latest and greatest and therefore most expensive. you could get away with a z68, it will do fine. i like the ASRock extere3 gen 3. best bang for your buck.

    -you will definitely want an air cooler. don't waste time with liquid, its more expensive and more of a hassle. i like the thermaltake frio, but on a limited budget and on newegg right now the Hyper EVO 212 is 19.99. thats a good buy.

    -cases are your choice. obviously bigger has better airflow but i doubt it will be an issue either way. i like the corsair 500R. great looking case. i have the 400, which is also great and can be had for $90. larger also futureproofs better bc of the added expandability.


    I can get another 550 Ti from Best Buy locally for $89.99 with $40 in RewardZone Certs. I would assume for the $89 that is going to be the most cost effective solution.
  6. Sourday said:
    Hello everyone,

    I am looking to build my first gaming PC. I have no idea where to begin, I have a budget of around $800 witch includes $400 worth of Amazon gift credit. ...




    Gigabyte GA-990XA-UD3 AM3+ AMD 990X: $120

    Radeon HD 7850: $260

    Sony 24X SATA DVD: $24

    AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb: $110

    Rosewill CHALLENGER-U3 Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case: $40 With Promo Code EMCNFHD24

    Hyper 212 Plus: $30 before $10 rebate

    Crucial Ballistix 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1866: $65

    OCZ Agility 3 60GB SSD: $78 before $15 rebate

    You need a new PSU -- don't buy new stuff and run it off an old PSU (unless you have a big-a$$ emergency). An XFX Core Edition PRO650W should do nicely.

    This is roughly $820 before $40 in rebates.
  7. In doing some research, I found out that I have a Micro Center about 45 minutes away. Currently they have the i5 2500k for 169.99, the Core i5 3570k for 189.99

    For the $20 difference should I get the i5 3570k?

    I read that the ASRock extere3 gen 3 has support for Ivy Bridge, and also read that there has been some issues with it. If I went with the 3570k would you recommend a different motherboard?

    If I purchase the Core i5 3750k I can get an ASRock Z77 Extreme 4 for $89.99 regularly 139.99. Any thoughts on this motherboard?

    Total would be $321.60 with state tax.
  8. Sourday said:
    In doing some research, I found out that I have a Micro Center about 45 minutes away. Currently they have the i5 2500k for 169.99, the Core i5 3570k for 189.99

    For the $20 difference should I get the i5 3570k?

    I read that the ASRock extere3 gen 3 has support for Ivy Bridge, and also read that there has been some issues with it. If I went with the 3570k would you recommend a different motherboard?

    If I purchase the Core i5 3750k I can get an ASRock Z77 Extreme 4 for $89.99 regularly 139.99. Any thoughts on this motherboard?

    Total would be $321.60 with state tax.



    if you can manage the ivy bridges higher temperature readings when OC'd, then the 20$ difference should be worth it.
  9. dudewitbow said:
    if you can manage the ivy bridges higher temperature readings when OC'd, then the 20$ difference should be worth it.


    what kind of cooling solution would you recommend?
  10. The Hyper 212 EVO is $35 I think.
  11. azeem40 said:
    The Hyper 212 EVO is $35 I think.


    Thanks for your help!
  12. Best answer selected by Sourday.
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