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Looking for recommendations for $1500-$1600 gaming rig.

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May 14, 2012 6:50:36 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: 2 Weeks

Budget Range: ~$1500

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, web browsing, video editing/rendering, Photoshop/tablet drawing

Parts Not Required: Monitor

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com is my favorite, I would consider other websites if they come highly recommended.

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: Intel CPU, Nvidia GPU, roomy tower that is easy to work with and fits everything well.

Overclocking: Yes

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080, 60Hz (Due to 60Hz being my limiting factor I'd like to maintain above 60FPS at all times.)

Additional Comments: Please recommend a good gaming mouse and keyboard for Diablo 3, these will not contribute to my budget. Are those little one-handed keyboards like the G13 or Nostromo any good?
a c 247 4 Gaming
May 14, 2012 6:57:04 PM

Try this:

Case: Antec 1100 - $99.99
PSU: Corsair TX650 V2 - $89.99
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H - $159.99
CPU: 3.4GHz Intel Core i5-3570K - $249.99
Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo - $34.99
RAM: 8GB Kingston Hyper X Grey 1600MHz 1.5V - $69.99
SSD: 64GB Crucial M4 - $79.99
HD: 1TB Seagate Barracuda ST - $99.99
Optical: Lite On DVD Burner - $17.99
Video Card: EVGA Geforce GTX 670 - $399.99
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium - $99.99

Total: $1,397.89

I'm not a fan of spending hundreds on peripherals and a lot of that is personal preference anyways but this build gives you the 3570K, an SSD, and an awesome GPU.
May 14, 2012 8:18:39 PM

g-unit1111 said:
Try this:

Case: Antec 1100 - $99.99
PSU: Corsair TX650 V2 - $89.99
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H - $159.99
CPU: 3.4GHz Intel Core i5-3570K - $249.99
Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo - $34.99
RAM: 8GB Kingston Hyper X Grey 1600MHz 1.5V - $69.99
SSD: 64GB Crucial M4 - $79.99
HD: 1TB Seagate Barracuda ST - $99.99
Optical: Lite On DVD Burner - $17.99
Video Card: EVGA Geforce GTX 670 - $399.99
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium - $99.99

Total: $1,397.89

I'm not a fan of spending hundreds on peripherals and a lot of that is personal preference anyways but this build gives you the 3570K, an SSD, and an awesome GPU.


This is great, and well within my budget. I'd like to make a few tweaks/ask a few questions.

1) I need a bigger SSD in order to keep multiple games on it and have it maintain a minimum of ~30% free space. I would even consider waiting to purchase a data drive to put that money towards getting a larger and better quality SSD, if necessary.

These are what I'm looking at for an SSD:
240GB Corsair Force GT $270
240GB Mushkin Enhanced Chronos $210
180GB Corsair Force GT $230
256GB Crucial M4

I will consider others if recommended, these just looked to be the best (and fastest!) from reading reviews etc. I really don't want an SSD to die on me, like those OCZs are notorious for.

2) Is there any reason to purchase the "Superclocked" version of that EVGA GPU? Or is that something I can do with the version you recommended by overclocking it myself?

3) For any of my intended uses for this PC, is there any reason to get more than 8GB of RAM? I was considering starting with 16GB but I don't know if I'd see any noticeable benefit and I believe there are better places to invest that money for the initial purchase.

4) For overclocking purposes I've been hearing people mention setting up some sort of double fan push-pull system in their Hyper 212. What would I need in order to set that up, and is it complicated? Should I just ignore that and stick with the regular 212 Evo? I'm planning to OC between 3.8GHz and 4.3GHz.

5) Why do you recommend that case? I like it, and it looks nice. I prefer it to the one I was considering, the CoolerMaster HAF 912 but it's slightly more expensive. I want to make sure my case is as cool/efficient as possible, the Antec 1100 comes with 2 fans but claims to have room for up to 7 more. Should I purchase more? If so, which would you recommend? (It looks like one of the fans it comes with has a blue LED, so if additional case fans are recommended I'd like to go along with that theme.) I also want to make sure the motherboard can support the fans and am not sure how to check this.
Related resources
a b 4 Gaming
May 14, 2012 8:21:48 PM

Those gtx 670's can be found if you don't limit yourself to newegg. You just have to do some searching at outlets that are outside the normal loop aka newegg and amazon.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $89.99 - $69.99 after mail-in rebate card FREE SHIPPING 15% off w/ promo code PCPMK15OFF, ends 5/21
PC Power and Cooling Silencer MK III 600W Modular 80PLUS Bronze Power Supply compatible with Intel Sandy Bridge Core i3 i5 i7 and AMD Phenom

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... $349.98 save: $15.00
ASRock Z77 Pro4 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
Intel Core i5-3570K Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000 BX80637I53570K

http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?Model=Z77%20Pro4 <----- another look at that board along with the latest bios update

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $34.99 FREE SHIPPING
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R2 Continuous Direct Contact 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler Compatible with latest Intel 2011/1366/1155 and AMD FM1/AM3+

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $46.99 FREE SHIPPING
G.SKILL Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-1600C9D-8GAO

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $102.99 FREE SHIPPING
Mushkin Enhanced Chronos MKNSSDCR120GB 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... $104.98 save: $13.00
Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Sony Optiarc 24X DVD Burner, Bulk Package Black SATA Model AD-7280S-0B - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E... $400
gtx 670

http://www.anandtech.com/show/5818/nvidia-geforce-gtx-6... <----- gtx 670 review w/benchmarks

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $99.99 FREE SHIPPING
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM

Total: $1,229.89 *not including shipping, rebates, and promo codes


http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Carbide-Tower-Gaming-Comp... $99.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Corsair Carbide Series 400R Mid Tower Gaming Computer Case - CC-9011011-WW

http://www.corsair.com/pc-cases/carbide-series-pc-case/... <----- another look at that case along with links to professional reviews

http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Carbide-300R-Mid-Tower-Ga... $75.84 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Corsair Carbide Series 300R Mid-Tower Gaming Case - CC-9011014-WW

http://www.corsair.com/carbide-series-300r-compact-pc-g... <----- another look at that case along with links to professional reviews

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $209.99 FREE SHIPPING
Mushkin Enhanced Chronos MKNSSDCR240GB 2.5" 240GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

*** For more hard core video editing look at these changes

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... $229.98 save: $10.00
ASRock Z77 Pro4 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge 3.5GHz (3.9GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000 BX80637I73770K

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $92.99 FREE SHIPPING
G.SKILL Ares Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-1600C9Q-16GAO
a c 247 4 Gaming
May 14, 2012 9:03:49 PM

AntaresX said:
This is great, and well within my budget. I'd like to make a few tweaks/ask a few questions.

1) I need a bigger SSD in order to keep multiple games on it and have it maintain a minimum of ~30% free space. I would even consider waiting to purchase a data drive to put that money towards getting a larger and better quality SSD, if necessary.

These are what I'm looking at for an SSD:
240GB Corsair Force GT $270
240GB Mushkin Enhanced Chronos $210
180GB Corsair Force GT $230
256GB Crucial M4

I will consider others if recommended, these just looked to be the best (and fastest!) from reading reviews etc. I really don't want an SSD to die on me, like those OCZs are notorious for.

2) Is there any reason to purchase the "Superclocked" version of that EVGA GPU? Or is that something I can do with the version you recommended by overclocking it myself?

3) For any of my intended uses for this PC, is there any reason to get more than 8GB of RAM? I was considering starting with 16GB but I don't know if I'd see any noticeable benefit and I believe there are better places to invest that money for the initial purchase.

4) For overclocking purposes I've been hearing people mention setting up some sort of double fan push-pull system in their Hyper 212. What would I need in order to set that up, and is it complicated? Should I just ignore that and stick with the regular 212 Evo? I'm planning to OC between 3.8GHz and 4.3GHz.

5) Why do you recommend that case? I like it, and it looks nice. I prefer it to the one I was considering, the CoolerMaster HAF 912 but it's slightly more expensive. I want to make sure my case is as cool/efficient as possible, the Antec 1100 comes with 2 fans but claims to have room for up to 7 more. Should I purchase more? If so, which would you recommend? (It looks like one of the fans it comes with has a blue LED, so if additional case fans are recommended I'd like to go along with that theme.) I also want to make sure the motherboard can support the fans and am not sure how to check this.


1. You don't need a bigger SSD than 128GB - that's what the 1TB hard drive is there for. Anything over 128GB is massive overkill due to the unusually high cost per GB of the larger SSDs. You want to use your SSD for boot only and to run a few main programs like MS Office and everything else. Store your games and larger files on the secondary 1TB storage solution - that's what I do and it works great, you don't notice any slow downs with a fast SSD - anyone who says otherwise doesn't know what they're talking about. Put the money in the GPU, that is the most important part of any gaming system bar none. Everything else comes second, and storage comes last. Do not scale back your GPU to get a larger SSD, that will be pointless. The OCZs are OK - where the issues lie is with the Sandforce controller used to run them. The new Vertex 4 is supposed to be really good - it's based off a new controller called "Indilinx" that's a variant of the Marvell controller used on the Crucial M4 and Plextor PX-M3.

2. Not really - it's factory overclocked where if you get the regular version, with the right tweaking can achieve the same speeds. EVGA includes an excellent overclocking utility called "precision" that is really user friendly.

3. No - if you're using your PC for other tasks besides gaming (like I do) then the 16GB of RAM would come in handy - but otherwise you won't need anything beyond 8GB for the most part.

4. I'd suggest reading this on how to set up your air flow properly: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cooling-airflow-hea...

5. The HAF 912 is good but on your budget I'd recommend a much higher quality case. The Antec 1100 is one of my preferred choices as it's big, roomy, has plenty of room for big heat sinks, and can accommodate larger video cards. Also has excellent cable management. I also really like these cases as well:

- Corsair Carbide 500R: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- NZXT Phantom: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- Fractal Design Arc MIDI: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

As far as the fans go - see my answer to question number 4. To me I'm not that into aesthetics on a PC - which is why I almost never build around a theme or a color scheme - because you won't be looking at your PC while it's in use for the most part, I try not to waste money on fans with fancy lighting and things of that nature.

Most motherboards will support - the CPU fan and up to 3 system fans, but if you need more than that (you most likely won't), you can get 3-pin to 4-pin MOAR adapters for like $3 at your local Radio Shack or Fry's that will connect to your PSU instead of your motherboard. I've had to do that for my system and they run about the same.
May 14, 2012 9:04:43 PM

Why_Me said:
Those gtx 670's can be found if you don't limit yourself to newegg. You just have to do some searching at outlets that are outside the normal loop aka newegg and amazon.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $89.99 - $69.99 after mail-in rebate card FREE SHIPPING 15% off w/ promo code PCPMK15OFF, ends 5/21
PC Power and Cooling Silencer MK III 600W Modular 80PLUS Bronze Power Supply compatible with Intel Sandy Bridge Core i3 i5 i7 and AMD Phenom

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... $349.98 save: $15.00
ASRock Z77 Pro4 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
Intel Core i5-3570K Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000 BX80637I53570K


You seem to be a big fan of ASRock but I have read a few threads on this site claiming that they have failed people recently. Is there an equally good motherboard for around the same price from a manufacturer with a better reputation?

The Mushkin Enhanced Chronos 240GB is less expensive than the Corsair Force GT 240GB, but has worse reviews. Is there a reason you recommend the Mushkin aside from the better price? I don't want to risk any of my parts failing me, if avoiding that is at all possible.
May 14, 2012 9:08:12 PM

g-unit1111 said:
Try this:

Case: Antec 1100 - $99.99
PSU: Corsair TX650 V2 - $89.99
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H - $159.99
CPU: 3.4GHz Intel Core i5-3570K - $249.99
Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo - $34.99
RAM: 8GB Kingston Hyper X Grey 1600MHz 1.5V - $69.99
SSD: 64GB Crucial M4 - $79.99
HD: 1TB Seagate Barracuda ST - $99.99
Optical: Lite On DVD Burner - $17.99
Video Card: EVGA Geforce GTX 670 - $399.99
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium - $99.99

Total: $1,397.89

I'm not a fan of spending hundreds on peripherals and a lot of that is personal preference anyways but this build gives you the 3570K, an SSD, and an awesome GPU.


Nailed it. That's exactly what I'd do (except double the SSD memory)
a c 247 4 Gaming
May 14, 2012 9:26:46 PM

AntaresX said:
You seem to be a big fan of ASRock but I have read a few threads on this site claiming that they have failed people recently. Is there an equally good motherboard for around the same price from a manufacturer with a better reputation?

The Mushkin Enhanced Chronos 240GB is less expensive than the Corsair Force GT 240GB, but has worse reviews. Is there a reason you recommend the Mushkin aside from the better price? I don't want to risk any of my parts failing me, if avoiding that is at all possible.


I had a bad experience with Asrock when I upgraded mine to Z77 although I think that's just because my CPU fan was installed incorrectly. The Gigabyte board I recommended might be a better choice.

If you do not want to risk your parts failing - do not get any Sandforce drive and this includes the Chronos - go with a Marvell based drive like the M4, Plextor M3, Samsung 830, or OCZ Vertex 4.
a b 4 Gaming
May 14, 2012 9:51:42 PM

g-unit1111 said:
I had a bad experience with Asrock when I upgraded mine to Z77 although I think that's just because my CPU fan was installed incorrectly. The Gigabyte board I recommended might be a better choice.

If you do not want to risk your parts failing - do not get any Sandforce drive and this includes the Chronos - go with a Marvell based drive like the M4, Plextor M3, Samsung 830, or OCZ Vertex 4.

The Muskin has a few more bad reviews because too many knobs out there didn't update their firmware. Those are the same newegg knobs who put "high" on their tech level on newegg yet never thought to check for a bios update on their boards.

That SSD down below is a bargain when you look at what the WD Raptors are going for these days. I can remember not so many months ago that 120GB SSD's were going for $200 or better.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $209.99 FREE SHIPPING
Mushkin Enhanced Chronos MKNSSDCR240GB 2.5" 240GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

Just curious g-unit, but why is that Kingston RAM so expensive? I couldn't even find the timings on it on the newegg site yet it's a good $20+ more than any RAM like it. And why the 650w non modular psu with the motherboard that cost more and is meant for dual vid cards? And what's your take on those Antec 1100's? Are they decent quality cases or more like the old Antec 900's and 1100's which were more a cheap plastic thing?
a c 247 4 Gaming
May 14, 2012 10:30:49 PM

Quote:
The Muskin has a few more bad reviews because too many knobs out there didn't update their firmware. Those are the same newegg knobs who put "high" on their tech level on newegg yet never thought to check for a bios update on their boards.


Yeah that's why I never advise people when they just go browse Newegg and click on the highest rated parts without ever bothering to research them, classic rookie mistake. :lol: 

Quote:
That SSD down below is a bargain when you look at what the WD Raptors are going for these days. I can remember not so many months ago that 120GB SSD's were going for $200 or better.


WD Raptors and Revodrives are pointless storage gimmicks, IMO.

Quote:

Just curious g-unit, but why is that Kingston RAM so expensive? I couldn't even find the timings on it on the newegg site yet it's a good $20+ more than any RAM like it.


I have no idea why the Kingston is $20 more than any other RAM on the market - it's good RAM and has a lower fail rate than anything else you can buy, but no idea the cost justification.

Quote:
And why the 650w non modular psu with the motherboard that cost more and is meant for dual vid cards?


I'm never a fan of modular PSUs - the ones I've owned caused nothing but problems where the wired PSUs I've owned including my current one have all run like champs. If you route your cables correctly you will never know you don't have a modular one.

Quote:
And what's your take on those Antec 1100's? Are they decent quality cases or more like the old Antec 900's and 1100's which were more a cheap plastic thing?


I had a 900 and didn't like it. You're right - way too much cheap plastic and no cable management. The 1100 gets everything right that the 900 gets wrong - it's one of the better cases that Antec has made in years. I'd rank it up there with the Corsair Carbide and Arc MIDI.
May 14, 2012 10:31:36 PM

g-unit1111 said:
I had a bad experience with Asrock when I upgraded mine to Z77 although I think that's just because my CPU fan was installed incorrectly. The Gigabyte board I recommended might be a better choice.

If you do not want to risk your parts failing - do not get any Sandforce drive and this includes the Chronos - go with a Marvell based drive like the M4, Plextor M3, Samsung 830, or OCZ Vertex 4.


I'd be more comfortable getting the motherboard that you recommended. I like the M4, and since everyone here so far seems to feel that 128GB is adequate, I think I could go for that with a data drive. It should be able to hold the OS, basic programs, and a game or two without trouble and if things get tight I doubt I'll be playing more than two games at a time, so I can just uninstall one or transfer it to the data drive.

Why is Sandforce not as trustworthy as Marvell? I haven't heard anything about that before.
a c 247 4 Gaming
May 14, 2012 11:18:09 PM

AntaresX said:
I'd be more comfortable getting the motherboard that you recommended. I like the M4, and since everyone here so far seems to feel that 128GB is adequate, I think I could go for that with a data drive. It should be able to hold the OS, basic programs, and a game or two without trouble and if things get tight I doubt I'll be playing more than two games at a time, so I can just uninstall one or transfer it to the data drive.

Why is Sandforce not as trustworthy as Marvell? I haven't heard anything about that before.


Sandforce drives are faster than Marvell drives but they have a much higher fail rate and that's mainly due to the firmware. Some manufacturers are better than others but the Marvell firmware is a bit slower but it's far more stable. You definitely want stability and capacity when choosing an SSD.
May 15, 2012 9:36:50 PM

Thanks to all of you for your assistance. This is what I've got planned now.

Case: Antec 1100 - $99.99
PSU: Corsair TX650 V2 - $89.99
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H - $159.99
CPU: 3.4GHz Intel Core i5-3570K - $249.99
Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo - $34.99
RAM: 8GB Kingston Hyper X Grey 1600MHz 1.5V - $69.99
SSD: 128GB Crucial M4 - $149.99
HD: 1TB Seagate Barracuda ST - $99.99
Optical: Lite On DVD Burner - $17.99
Video Card: EVGA Geforce GTX 670 - $399.99
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium - $99.99

Total: $1,467.89

I have a little over $100 left that I can invest into it, if anyone has any suggestions for some minor upgrades to these parts.

By the way, why are all these seemingly identical Crucial M4 128GB drives have such varying prices? Did I choose the best one, or is another one there a better option?
May 15, 2012 9:55:51 PM

I'd use the extra $100 to upgrade to the 256GB Crucial M4 - it's been fluctuating price and two days ago was only $199. Or you could pick up a set of fans for the case :) 
a c 247 4 Gaming
May 15, 2012 10:00:49 PM

elayman said:
I'd use the extra $100 to upgrade to the 256GB Crucial M4 - it's been fluctuating price and two days ago was only $199. Or you could pick up a set of fans for the case :) 


Not me - I'd get some good peripherals (keyboard/mouse) or a blu ray burner if you're going to be hooking your PC up to a LED TV.
May 15, 2012 10:05:06 PM

g-unit1111 said:
Not me - I'd get some good peripherals (keyboard/mouse) or a blu ray burner if you're going to be hooking your PC up to a LED TV.


If you read the OP "Please recommend a good gaming mouse and keyboard for Diablo 3, these will not contribute to my budget. "
a b 4 Gaming
May 15, 2012 10:33:08 PM

AntaresX said:
Thanks to all of you for your assistance. This is what I've got planned now.

Case: Antec 1100 - $99.99
PSU: Corsair TX650 V2 - $89.99
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H - $159.99
CPU: 3.4GHz Intel Core i5-3570K - $249.99
Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo - $34.99
RAM: 8GB Kingston Hyper X Grey 1600MHz 1.5V - $69.99
SSD: 128GB Crucial M4 - $149.99
HD: 1TB Seagate Barracuda ST - $99.99
Optical: Lite On DVD Burner - $17.99
Video Card: EVGA Geforce GTX 670 - $399.99
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium - $99.99

Total: $1,467.89

I have a little over $100 left that I can invest into it, if anyone has any suggestions for some minor upgrades to these parts.

By the way, why are all these seemingly identical Crucial M4 128GB drives have such varying prices? Did I choose the best one, or is another one there a better option?

You might want to find out why that RAM is priced $30 more than any RAM in it's class. I mean maybe it uses 24k gold heat spreaders...
!