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First Time Build, ~ $1500 Budget

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May 9, 2012 1:55:11 PM

Hey guys, I am looking to get a new computer and have been pretty dissatisfied with the pre-built options out there, and have put together a potential build that I was hoping to get some advice on.


Approximate Purchase Date: 5/10/2012-6/10/2012

Budget Range: $1500 (ideally I would like to get my current build down around this, but I am fairly satisfied with what I have so far)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, surfing the net

Parts Not Required: Mouse, OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg.com, whatever is cheapest!

Country: U.S.

Parts Preferences: Nvidia for graphics card (unless you guys can persuade me otherwise!) and Intel for CPU, I like Samsung but am open to suggestions

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Yes (eventually I would like to add an additional video card in SLI, would I want a higher power supply?)

Monitor Resolution: 1900x1080 or 1900x1200

Additional Comments: Does not need to have lots of bling, just a decent looking case

This is my current configuration, a little high but still in my price range.

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($354.48 @ eCost)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master GeminII S 69.7 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($48.47 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($129.86 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Samsung 830 Series 64GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($109.00 @ Adorama)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 580 3GB Video Card ($489.98 @ NCIX US)
Case: Antec Three Hundred Illusion ATX Mid Tower Case ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 620W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($85.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Optical Drive: Lite-On DS-8A8SH DVD/CD Writer ($33.98 @ Newegg)
Monitor: Asus VH236H 23.0" Monitor ($156.86 @ NCIX US)
Keyboard: Microsoft SIDEWINDER X4 Wired Gaming Keyboard ($45.93 @ Amazon)
Total: $1694.52
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-05-09 09:47 EDT-0400)

Any advice is greatly appreciated, this is my first time building a computer and want to make sure I do it right!

More about : time build 1500 budget

May 9, 2012 2:06:47 PM

you should get a z77 chipset mobo to future proof it with ivybridge and pcie 3.0 capabilities (when it actually might have an advantage).

You probably don't need the 3770k and will do just fine with the 3570k.

The gtx 670s are about to be out... you may want to wait and see how they perform and what they will be priced at (currently rumored ~$420).

Looks like you've done your research.
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May 9, 2012 2:16:55 PM

Great, heres the options I have updated:

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($147.86 @ Newegg)

Do you think the gtx 670 will give me better performance than the EVGA GTX 580 or will it just be a better value? Because I plan to add another card as soon as it is economically feasible I suppose the better value would be ideal. I am hoping this rig will enable me to do some pretty heavy gaming at as high as possible settings and just want to make sure my graphics will be up to snuff. Also, from what I understand the i7 options does not provide much advantage for gaming, is this true?
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May 9, 2012 2:24:29 PM

It will definitely perform better. It's newer technology and will last longer, but will cost a little more.

I would still wait until reviews before decided on price vs performance (since it's not known yet).
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May 9, 2012 2:27:48 PM

Also I see you linked Microcenter, if you live close to one you could get a combo deal on mobo + cpu, but at Microcenter you will pay tax... So you'd have to compare you options.
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May 9, 2012 2:32:11 PM

Yes, I do live relatively close to a Microcenter. Are the combo deals pretty self explanatory there, like wrapped up together or something? I know the processor won't change but is the packaged mobo going to be fairly high quality or at least good enough for my purposes.
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May 9, 2012 2:40:32 PM

It's like.. "buy this CPU and get to pick from these mobos for $XX. off"

A decent one is Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H $50 off with a 3570k (considering they don't carry ASRock's Extreme boards)
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May 9, 2012 4:33:48 PM

Okay cool, I will definitely look into that. How about my question on the power supply for a potential SLI setup in the future? Also are there any additional components I would require in addition to these (network card etc..) or is this a pretty complete build? And as far as assembly how difficult is it and will it require any special tools, I reallly don't want everything to blow up when I plug it in haha.
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May 9, 2012 4:39:14 PM

You may or may not need a Wireless adapter.

You will also need to pick up some thermal interface material for good measure.

But you got most of the big expenses covered. Rest should be minor things.

As for assembly, you should be able to do them all with a screwdriver. Your PC store will probably have a set of PC builder screwdrivers.
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May 9, 2012 4:42:20 PM

Since you are looking at high end cards, if you wanted to do SLI later with them, you would need to upgrade your PSU. You don't need any network card unless you need to do wireless, which if you are gaming online, you probably wouldn't care for.



EDIT: Again... so you CAN use molex to 3 pin (female) adapters... I apparently got to 3-pin (male)... but you shouldn't need to.
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May 9, 2012 7:17:13 PM

Updated a few specs, changed out the case because I am lazy and would like to do as little additional work/purchasing as possible. I changed the vid card to a GTX 680 because it still fit my price range, but I am considering just waiting for the 670 to come out. I also swapped out the power supply, will this be enough to do an SLI configuration in future? Also, any part swaps anyone can recommend for either price/quality would be appreciated!

Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 680 2GB Video Card ($507.55 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master HAF 922 ATX Mid Tower Case ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Silverstone 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($107.10 @ NCIX US)
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May 9, 2012 8:45:46 PM

I have also recently come across the Cyberpower website, do you guys have any thoughts/reviews on that website? I put together a pretty nice configuration on there (minus the video card, which I would just buy seperately), and am starting to think it would be nice not to have to put it all together myself. I am however concerned with any potential problems and warranty issues etc... Here is the configuration I have made there:

Case: * Raidmax Aeolus Gaming Mid-Tower Case w/ Side-Panel Window [+4]
Internal USB Extension Module: None
Extra Case Fan Upgrade: Default case fans
Noise Reduction Technology: None
CPU: Intel® Core™ i5-3570K 3.40 GHz 6MB Intel Smart Cache LGA1155 (All Venom OC Certified) - While Supply Last
Venom Boost Fast And Efficient Factory Overclocking: No Overclocking
Cooling Fan: Asetek 550LC Liquid Cooling System 120MM Radiator & Fan (Advanced Cooling Performance + Extreme Silent at 20dBA) [+18] (Single Standard 120MM Fan)
Coolant for Cyberpower Xtreme Hydro Water Cooling Kits: Standard Coolant
Motherboard: * [CrossFireX] Gigabyte GA-Z77-D3H Intel Z77 Chipset DDR3 ATX Mainboard w/ IRST, Lucid Virtu MVP, Ultra Durable4 Classic, 7.1 HD Audio, GbLAN, 2x Gen3 PCIe x16, 3x PCIe x1 & 2 PCI (Extreme OC Certified)
Intel Smart Response Technology for Z77: 60 GB Intel 520 Series SATA-III 6.0Gb/s - 550 MB/s Read & 520 MB/s Write [+115] (Single Drive)
Memory: 8GB (2GBx4) DDR3/1600MHz Dual Channel Memory (Corsair Vengeance [+23])
Video Card: None, or On-Board 16X PCIe Shared 128MB Integrated 3D Graphics Video Card [-175]
Power Supply Upgrade: 1,000 Watts - Raidmax RX-1000AE 80 Plus Gold Power Supply [+44]
Hard Drive: 2TB (2TBx1) SATA-III 6.0Gb/s 64MB Cache 7200RPM HDD (Single Drive)
Data Hard Drive: None
Hard Drive Cooling Fan: None
External Hard Drive (USB3.0/2.0/eSATA): None
Optical Drive: LG UH12LS28K 12X Blu-Ray Player & DVDRW Combo Drive (BLACK COLOR)
Optical Drive 2: None
Sound: HIGH DEFINITION ON-BOARD 7.1 AUDIO
LCD Monitor: 24" Widescreen 1920x1080 Asus VS247H-P LCD [+157]
Network: Onboard Gigabit LAN Network
Keyboard: Xtreme Gear (Black Color) Multimedia/Internet USB Keyboard
Mouse: XtremeGear Optical USB 3 Buttons Gaming Mouse
Extra Thermal Display: None
Wireless 802.11B/G Network Card: None
External Wireless Network Card: None
Wireless 802.11 B/G/N Access Point: None
Bluetooth: None
Flash Media Reader/Writer: INTERNAL 12in1 Flash Media Reader/Writer (BLACK COLOR)
Internal USB Port: Built-in USB 2.0 Ports
USB Port: None
Operating System: Microsoft® Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit Edition)

Let me know what you guys think. That configuration puts me at about $1150, leaving me a decent amount of wiggle room on the video card.
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May 11, 2012 4:32:39 PM

Okay, I have officially bailed on the Cyberpower plan and am back to building my own, I just saw too many negative reviews and issues with them.

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/84R4
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/84R4/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/84R4/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Corsair H80 92.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($92.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($195.99 @ NCIX US)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Crucial M4 64GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($79.99 @ Amazon)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($419.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master CM690 II Advanced ATX Mid Tower Case ($75.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($138.98 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Lite-On IHBS112-04 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($74.99 @ CompUSA)
Monitor: Asus VH236H 23.0" Monitor ($156.86 @ NCIX US)
Total: $1610.71
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-05-11 12:28 EDT-0400)

Here is my new set-up, do I have any compatability issues? And is there anything else I should upgrade or replace? *edit* Also, just want to make sure that for gaming there is little to no advantage to going for the i7 instead of the i5, the deals at microcenter on the i5 seem pretty hard to beat.
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May 11, 2012 5:58:54 PM

Also, I do not see any reviews for the Gigabyte motherboards on pcpartpicker, and only one review for the mobo I have chosen (the Asus P8Z77-V). Without necessarily factoring price into it, which would you guys reccomend, the Asus or the above mentioned Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H? And is that power supply I selected good enough for a future SLI configuration with 2 GTX 670's?
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May 11, 2012 7:44:04 PM

I am also completely unsure on what type of CPU cooler to purchase, anyone have a reccomendation for my configuration? Also I had been looking at some higher speed RAM which I seem to remember was the same price or very close to the 1600 speed RAM, I think it was still G.Skill or Patriot at 2133 maybe. The ASUS board I was looking at supported the higher speed ram, is the upgrade worth it or are there any downsides?
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May 11, 2012 9:06:54 PM

Here is the final configuration I have put together, I am planning on ordering sometime this weekend and was hoping to get some final feedback, especially on the CPU Cooler, Case, Power Supply and Mobo, any insight on those would be extremely helpful!

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/85Ax
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/85Ax/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/85Ax/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper N520 43.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($33.69 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V PRO ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($209.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Mushkin Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-2133 Memory ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Crucial M4 64GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($79.99 @ Amazon)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($419.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master CM690 II Advanced ATX Mid Tower Case ($75.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($129.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On IHBS112-04 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($74.99 @ CompUSA)
Monitor: Asus VS248H-P 24.0" Monitor ($186.13 @ B&H)
Keyboard: Microsoft SIDEWINDER X4 Wired Gaming Keyboard ($44.65 @ Amazon)
Total: $1620.37
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-05-11 17:05 EDT-0400)
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