Gaming PC for $1500 or Less

I'm fairly new to the entire PC building scene, let alone this site, so please bear with me on this one. I'm currently in the market for a new PC as my current laptop just isn't cutting it anymore; on-board graphics are terrible for any sorts of gaming, and the particular aging Core i3 in it isn't making anything better. That said, I'm looking into building a PC and liking what I see. I do have a parts list prepared, and would like to know if everything is compatible, if any other suggestions for specific parts could be made, and if anyone has any previous experience with any of these parts. Thank you! ^_^

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Approximate Purchase Date: Close to May 25th, 2012

Budget Range: $1000-$1500

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, HD video editing, general web-surfing and word processing.

Parts Not Required: Speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Microcenter.com or Newegg.com

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: No particular preference

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: I haven't quite picked out a monitor yet

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PARTS LIST:

Processor: Intel Core i5 2400
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115074
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0354590

Mobo: Asus P8Z68-V LX LGA
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131781
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0371775

Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145345
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0359910

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136533
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0331606

Optical Drive: Asus DVD Burner
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827135240&Tpk=DRW24B3ST%2fBLK%2fG
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0355159

Case: Corsair Carbide 400R
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811139008
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0366600

Video Card: EVGA 01G-P3-1556-KR - GForce GTX 550Ti
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130625
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0360190

PSU: Cooler Master GX Series 650W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817171052&Tpk=GX%20Series%20650W
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0328088

OR

Corsair Enthusiast Series TX650
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=17-139-020&SortField=0&SummaryType=0&Pagesize=10&PurchaseMark=&SelectedRating=-1&VideoOnlyMark=False&VendorMark=&IsFeedbackTab=true&Page=1#scrollFullInfo
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0356525

OS: Windows 7
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116986

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Am I missing anything significant here? [Besides the obligatory tube of thermal paste, a decent screwdriver, an anti-static wristband, etc.] Also, if you have any tips or recommendations when it comes to the actual installation of these parts, they would be much appreciated; I'm going in here quite blind, with only Newegg's How to Build a Computer video series to go on. xD Once again, thank you all for your time. :D
23 answers Last reply
More about gaming 1500 less
  1. Upgrade the GPU to a GTX 670 and change PSU to a 550W XFX or PC Power and Cooling. For one GPU, that is all you will ever need for any card.
  2. I wanted to keep the wattage of the PSU higher in case I do want to upgrade things in the future; it'll be one less part to buy. Thank you for your input though. :D
  3. Then just get 750W. It is enough for any SLI or CF upgrades.
  4. Okay, no problem. Once again, I appreciate all the help I can get; thanks for sharing your opinions. ^_^
  5. I was also somewhat curious as to whether or not I should consider swapping the i5 2500k out with an i7 2600; it is only $70 at MicroCenter and I don't need overclocking capability.
  6. probably not worth it to upgrade to the 2600
  7. gregck said:
    probably not worth it to upgrade to the 2600



    Is there any reasoning behind your recommendation?; is the difference in raw processing power negligible between the two?
  8. If Hyper threading is used for your editing program - 2600 is a good idea. Also gpu performance/watt has been getting better with each generation - large psu is not needed. Just go Antec, Corsair, Seasonic, Silverstone, XFX...EDIT: PC Power & Cooling as well(for Azeem) there are some pretty sweet deals on quality psus from time to time.
    -Bruce
  9. Get the i5-2400 if you're not gonna OC.
  10. dish_moose said:
    If Hyper threading is used for your editing program - 2600 is a good idea. Also gpu performance/watt has been getting better with each generation - large psu is not needed. Just go Antec, Corsair, Seasonic, Silverstone, XFX...EDIT: PC Power & Cooling as well(for Azeem) there are some pretty sweet deals on quality psus from time to time.
    -Bruce



    Ahh, in that case I doubt I'll need to upgrade; it appears as if Sony Vegas 9 Pro isn't all that friendly with hyperthreading. Perhaps newer iterations will have fixed this, but I'll always keep upgrades in mind. And thanks for the tips on the PSU; I think I'll stay at the 750w mark for any potential addons that may be put in down the road though.

    The last remaining distinct question that I do have, however, is if everything is compatible with each other, straight out of the box. I'd rather not mess with flashing a new BIOS version to the motherboard, for example.

    Anonymous said:
    Get the i5-2400 if you're not gonna OC.



    Huh; I completely disregarded the 2400; the only difference between the two is price and the ability to overclock, correct?
  11. Come to think of it, I may just switch out my PSU right now to save some cash; I doubt I'll be upgrading anytime soon. Can anyone recommend a particularly good one near about the 650w price-range?

    And I still pose that question; the only difference between the i5 2400 and 2500k is that the 2500k is more expensive and has the ability to overclock, yes?
  12. FCV96 said:
    And I still pose that question; the only difference between the i5 2400 and 2500k is that the 2500k is more expensive and has the ability to overclock, yes?

    More or less, but remember that overclocking is a free 30-50% boost.
  13. cuecuemore said:
    More or less, but remember that overclocking is a free 30-50% boost.


    True, but I'd rather shy away from overclocking at the moment; get some experience under my belt before attempting anything of the sort. I'd rather have parts run at their original intended speed as well. Thanks for the help. :D

    __

    And using the Asus PSU Wattage Calculator, my specs come in at requiring around 500 watts; I'm not sure what I was thinking when I went for 750. How are Cooler Master's PSUs [specifically the linked one]?
  14. I have to agree with getting the 2500k, remember you'll need a CPU cooler $25-$35. It will be worth it just don't jump in and start to OC before you understand voltage and thermal issues. There's lots of info on the web and at TH that will put your mind at ease. In the end you'll be very pleased with the added performance. Yeah dump the 550ti because that will put a choke hold on your system.
  15. Hydroc10 said:
    I have to agree with getting the 2500k, remember you'll need a CPU cooler $25-$35. It will be worth it just don't jump in and start to OC before you understand voltage and thermal issues. There's lots of info on the web and at TH that will put your mind at ease. In the end you'll be very pleased with the added performance


    Thanks for the information; I guess I'll see where I go from here. I'd like to keep things on the cheaper side since this is my first build and I don't want to lose a considerable amount of cash because of an installation misstep, but I may consider a small amount of OC'ing in the future. For now though, I think the 2400 suits my needs. And with the recommendations from others, I've actually come in at lower than my budget, at about $868 excluding a monitor, keyboard/mouse, and a few other nick-knacks.
  16. Just out of curiosity, does anyone have any particular tips when it comes to installation? General hints as well as common mistakes, etc.
  17. FCV96 said:
    Just out of curiosity, does anyone have any particular tips when it comes to installation? General hints as well as common mistakes, etc.


    If something doesn't fit at first, don't force it. A lot of people do that and then find out that they broke something because they were inserting it wrong or it didn't even go where they were inserting it (such as trying to put an eight pin PCIe power connector into an eight oin CPU power slot on a motherboard).
  18. FCV96 said:
    Come to think of it, I may just switch out my PSU right now to save some cash; I doubt I'll be upgrading anytime soon. Can anyone recommend a particularly good one near about the 650w price-range?


    I'm probably gonna get this one for my new PC:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139020&Tpk=tx650v2
    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0356525
  19. I suggest you drop the CPU to a i5-2400 and the PSU to a 500-550W. Then, with the extra money, you can get a better GPU:
    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0371828

    A high end build isn't high-end without a SSD. Get this:
    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0385836
  20. blazorthon said:
    If something doesn't fit at first, don't force it. A lot of people do that and then find out that they broke something because they were inserting it wrong or it didn't even go where they were inserting it (such as trying to put an eight pin PCIe power connector into an eight oin CPU power slot on a motherboard).


    I can imagine the damages that can be caused by forcing something; thanks for the tip. I'm sure that it'll come in handy while I attempt to assemble the thing. :D

    pckitty4427 said:


    Thanks for the suggestion. The one thing I'm a bit wary about, however, is Corsair's recent high failure rate. On just about every page on Newegg's reviews, there are at least three or four reviewers speaking of shorts, smoking, DOA, or general failure into the lifespan of the product.

    Anonymous said:
    I suggest you drop the CPU to a i5-2400 and the PSU to a 500-550W. Then, with the extra money, you can get a better GPU:
    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0371828

    A high end build isn't high-end without a SSD. Get this:
    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0385836


    I hadn't quite thought of that, though I suppose that I could throw a bit more cash in the GPU's direction. For now, I think I'll be sticking to a standard HDD though.
  21. Also, here's a question on the software side of things. What are decent programs to stress-test hardware and make sure it is working correctly? That's a field in which I have next to no information on. :D Is it possible to test specific components, and if so, can you do it through the BIOS?
  22. FCV96 said:
    Also, here's a question on the software side of things. What are decent programs to stress-test hardware and make sure it is working correctly? That's a field in which I have next to no information on. :D Is it possible to test specific components, and if so, can you do it through the BIOS?


    Intel Burn Test and Prime95 are good programs for stress-testing the CPU.

    http://downloads.guru3d.com/IntelBurnTest-v2.3-download-2047.html
    http://files.extremeoverclocking.com/file.php?f=103

    Unigine Heaven is a good program for stress-testing and benchmarking the GPU.

    http://unigine.com/products/heaven/

    Furmark is good for stress-testing and benchmarking the GPU too. It won't give you all the eye-candy that Unigine Heaven gives you though.

    http://www.ozone3d.net/benchmarks/fur/
  23. pckitty4427 said:
    Intel Burn Test and Prime95 are good programs for stress-testing the CPU.

    http://downloads.guru3d.com/IntelBurnTest-v2.3-download-2047.html
    http://files.extremeoverclocking.com/file.php?f=103

    Unigine Heaven is a good program for stress-testing and benchmarking the GPU.

    http://unigine.com/products/heaven/

    Furmark is good for stress-testing and benchmarking the GPU too. It won't give you all the eye-candy that Unigine Heaven gives you though.

    http://www.ozone3d.net/benchmarks/fur/


    I simply cannot thank you, and the others who have replied to this thread, enough; your help has been invaluable to boosting my confidence in actually taking the plunge and building this thing. Here's one last question to pose though; do you have any specific tips on problems that may be encountered during the build? I've read the troubleshooting suggestion thread, but was curious as to whether or not you [or others] had any specific personal experiences.
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