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First post, first custom! ~$1000, midrange gaming. ADVICE NEEDED

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May 22, 2012 3:03:31 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: Early June 2012
Budget Range: $1000-$1100
System Usage: Games, Internet, movies, data processing/homework
Parts Not Required: Keyboard and Mouse, Monitor
Preferred Site: Newegg/Amazon
Country: USA
Overclocking: I could be convinced!
SLI/Crossfire: No
Monitor Res: 1920x1200
Additional Comments: I'd like to do positive pressure to keep cat hair and dust out of the case. I'd also like to have a quietish system. Keep in mind I'm COMPLETELY new to this :)  My ultimate goal here is to have a machine that's more of an investment than a splurge - I don't want to have to trade the majority of this stuff out for 5 or so years.


Because I'm being practical, I figured I'd come to one of the most knowledgeable hardware communities I know, and see if I can't get some opinions on things. :) 

--- THE BUILD AS IT STANDS, PLEASE CRITIQUE ---

- Wishlist link: http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx...

$200 - CASE: Cooler Master HAF X:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- I figure this case will be large enough to support all sorts of hardware inclusions as time goes on. Furthermore, it's got like a million fan customization options. Also, it is large enough to satisfy my lack of manly confidence.

$150 - MOBO: ASRock P67 EXTREME4 GEN3 lots of words:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- I have no idea. A friend told me it was the best way to go. He's better at this than I am, I'm not going to argue.

$190 - CPU: Intel i5-2400 Sandy Bridge 3.1 GHz processor:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- It's been around long enough so that we know what it's great at and what it sucks at. The Ivy Bridge (I think?) is newer, but less tried, and also damn expensive.

$30 - CPU COOLING SOLUTION: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- I don't know what this does other than cool the CPU. It sounds important, so I'll get it.

$140 - GFX: EVGA GeForce GTX 550 Ti: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- I think this is the weakest aspect of the rig as it stands, and the one I'm researching ATM. I feel like new graphics cards are hideously overpriced for what they do, but even second tier cards are damn expensive. This is like... third tier, but I'm told that it's gonna play everything out today on max settings, and by the time two years go by and I'm upgrading, getting another 3rd tier is STILL less expensive than going 2nd tier today.

$150 - PSU: Corsair HX750 750W Power Supply:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- Apparently I need a 750W power supply! I'm not going to argue, more power seems awesome. Expensive, but awesome.

$50 - RAM: 8GB Corsair Vengeance: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- I have been told that there is like legitimate zero reason to go beyond 8GB. I don't see why I'd want to, either.

$120 - STORAGE: 120 GB OCZ Vertex SATA III MLC SSD:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- I'm buying a 500GB HDD later on. Right now I just want the SSD for my Win7 install, the HDD i am way less concerned about.

TOTAL: $1039.32 According to Newegg who did not round prices like I did.
---

That's the whole thing I have so far. I've got a monitor, speakers, keyboard, mouse, and other cheapo things already, so. Essentially, if any of you actually read this far, I'd love to have your opinions on whether or not this build is an effective 5/10 year investment.

I'm concerned about two things, namely:

1 - Does the HAF X need any additional fans or tools to be an effective positive pressure environment? I'm planning on using DECMIFlex (spelling?) filters for the intakes, so.
2 - The GFX card is the weakest link here. Any educated opinions on it would be hella appreciated.

Anyway, thanks very much to those of you who read the whole post, and thanks even more to anybody willing to respond. I feel like I'm understandably cautious about dropping a grand on things I've barely researched, so.
May 22, 2012 3:10:39 AM

Ouch. I'm really glad you came for help... no offense, but that's... not... quiet there yet. I'll post the build I'd suggest. Just one question... are you overclocking? I'm going to assume yes. However, please tell me if not so that I can make the necessary changes. However, I would recommend it. It's all done through software/BIOS, and it shouldn't kill your CPU if you're not stupid. Just look up some tutorials. Anyway, here's the build. I've got a Corsair 400R as a case that's really nice. How quiet do you need this, though? It won't be REALLY loud, but it'll be slightly noticeable (nothing huge. Like... do you need to hear your own breathing above the sound of the computer?).

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor ($169.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.90 @ 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 ($46.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Mushkin Chronos 60GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($67.99 @ Amazon)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($259.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Corsair 400R ATX Mid Tower Case ($79.99 @ Microcenter)
Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($24.97 @ Newegg)
Total: $1009.66
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-05-21 23:08 EDT-0400)

Now... where to spend that extra $100? I'd try for a GTX 670 or upgrade to a 7870. The Corsair case has plenty of room for upgrades (mostly meaning GPU). However, if you want a full-size, please ask, since this is a mid-tower case. It still has enough room for every single component and more (a lot more, in this case), and most people use mid-tower cases. Some people like full-towers, though. Just make sure you know how big it is... it's HUGE!
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May 22, 2012 3:29:06 AM

I'm glad you answered! This is a really concise and well-thought out response, so I'm pretty pumped to have the added perspective. Regarding overclocking, it sounds like it's a cinch and if it's anything like controlling fanspeed and the like, I can't see why I wouldn't do it.

So far as quiet goes, it's not an ENORMOUS priority - I'm just bitter about my current setup, which sounds like an airplane at all times. I think I'm more concerned about it remaining somewhat quiet for a long period of time than it being absolutely silent -- I think my goal here is to be able to listen to music in some headphones without my computer reminding me how hard it's trying the whole time.

Finally, I think I'm going to spring for a full case here - I don't mind my computer being furniture, and... this is a totally novice opinion, but it seems intuitive that with lots of space, you've got dramatically more airflow options and wire management solutions. That said, the major, deciding factor on the case is going to be exactly how easily it can be rigged to be a dust-resistant, filtered-intake positive pressure system.

So far as the GFX goes, I'd probably be looking at a GTX card out of a slight personal preference.

Thanks again for all of the insight! :D 
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May 22, 2012 3:35:12 AM

ddan49 said:
Ouch. I'm really glad you came for help... no offense, but that's... not... quiet there yet. I'll post the build I'd suggest. Just one question... are you overclocking? I'm going to assume yes. However, please tell me if not so that I can make the necessary changes. However, I would recommend it. It's all done through software/BIOS, and it shouldn't kill your CPU if you're not stupid. Just look up some tutorials. Anyway, here's the build. I've got a Corsair 400R as a case that's really nice. How quiet do you need this, though? It won't be REALLY loud, but it'll be slightly noticeable (nothing huge. Like... do you need to hear your own breathing above the sound of the computer?).

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor ($169.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.90 @ 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 ($46.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Mushkin Chronos 60GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($67.99 @ Amazon)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($259.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Corsair 400R ATX Mid Tower Case ($79.99 @ Microcenter)
Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($24.97 @ Newegg)
Total: $1009.66
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-05-21 23:08 EDT-0400)

Now... where to spend that extra $100? I'd try for a GTX 670 or upgrade to a 7870. The Corsair case has plenty of room for upgrades (mostly meaning GPU). However, if you want a full-size, please ask, since this is a mid-tower case. It still has enough room for every single component and more (a lot more, in this case), and most people use mid-tower cases. Some people like full-towers, though. Just make sure you know how big it is... it's HUGE!



I would like to ask why would you go with a 2500K?? I read already few times that for gaming the cpu is not that important. You could go with an i5 2400 and for that grade up your Gpu ?
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May 22, 2012 6:49:49 AM

No need for a Full Tower with no plans on CF/SLI. Get the 500R.
Drop the PSU to 550W. No way without CF/SLI is the system going to pull more than 200W from the wall.
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May 22, 2012 7:41:42 AM

I do like the look of the 500R.

Not sure about the PSU there, I've got a 500W on my current rig but I'm almost positive that upping to a 750W means I'm not going to need to worry about a PSU for a very, very long time - might as well do it now.
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May 22, 2012 7:43:02 AM

Never in the world will you ever get close to 750W from a single GPU in the future. Power requirements are plummeting, so oversecuring is pointless.
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May 22, 2012 8:45:54 AM

So should I just keep the 500W from my current machine? I'd rather not buy a new PSU if I'm just gaining 50W out of it.
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May 22, 2012 10:46:31 AM

Now hold on. When I ran that through the eXtreme PSU calculator, it displayed a 650W recommended setting. I always go 100W over THAT so that the PSU doesn't have to work at 90% load... 80% is usually the highest you optimally want to go. You could drop to a 650W.

As for the i5-2500k vs i5-2400, it's OCing versus no overclocking. I recommend overclocking. Sure, now it won't make much of a difference, but when you upgrade your GPU (and keep your CPU because you can), you'll want a faster CPU. You can overclock the i5-2500k for that.
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May 22, 2012 9:56:27 PM

Alright, so after doing some hunting around and checking of opinions, preference, and the advice offered in this thread, this is what I'm looking at for a final build:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor ($169.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.90 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock Z68 Extreme4 Gen3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($184.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($46.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: OCZ Vertex 3 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($119.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 570 1.25GB Video Card ($259.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Corsair 500R Black ATX Mid Tower Case ($129.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1031.83
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-05-22 17:55 EDT-0400)

I'm not picking up a HDD just yet because I'll be taking a closer look at the options come next paycheck.

I'm not quite 100% on it just yet, but if I don't hear any other opinion/suggestion it's the way I'm gonna be spending my money :) 
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May 22, 2012 10:36:31 PM

Are you sure you need an Extreme4? Is Extreme3 not good enough? I'm just checking... there are benefits of course, but make sure you need them. Actual performance won't be affected at all.

For the SSD, I'd recommend Crucial M4... it's a bit cheaper and also more reliable. I'm a big fan of Crucial SSDs... I'm running one, and absolutely no problems! OCZ has the occasional hiccup. I'd recommend watching tomshardware's daily deals (component section) for deals on SSDs.

You're missing a mechanical HDD... but that's pretty basic.

I'd get a 7850 instead of the 570, but it's your choice. Tell me if you'll consider. Nvidia is better as a brand, but make sure you need what it offers (if CUDA cores mean nothing to you, then you might be okay with AMD).

Everything looks fine, overall!
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