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Build Check - $550 Gaming PC

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May 23, 2012 5:16:37 AM

Hey all, I have been lurking here for a while putting together the system that I plan to build, and I was hoping to get some advice on what I have so far. Take a look and let me know, all advice appreciated! Thanks!

Approximate Purchase Date: Within Two Weeks
Budget Range: Under $600
System Usage: Gaming (Diablo 3, Starcraft 2, Battlefield 3, etc.)
Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, Speakers, OS
Preferred Websites for Parts: None
Country: USA
Parts Preferences: None
Overclocking: Maybe
SLI or Crossfire: No
Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080
Additional Comments: I don't need a machine that can destroy the world, just something that can run whatever comes out in the next couple years on medium-high settings in 1920x1080. I am lucky enough to live close to a Microcenter, so that's a big part of my build. I have never OC'd a machine before, but would consider upgrading to an i5-2500k and learning to OC if it was really going to make a big difference (that I couldn't get by just upgrading the GPU in two years).

Here's the build:

Case: Cooler Master Elite 430, $38 at Microcenter
Motherboard: ASRock Z68 PRO3, $105 at Newegg
Power Supply: Cooler Master Power Plus 500W, $36 at Amazon
Processor: Intel i3-2100 3.1GHz, $90 at Microcenter
Graphics: ASUS Radeon HD 6850 1GB, $172 Combo deal at Newegg
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 1600MHz 8GB (2 x 4), $172Combo deal at Newegg
Hard Drive: Seagate Momentus 320GB 7200RPM, $65 at Microcenter
Optical: Samsung DVD-RW Burner, $16 at Microcenter
Additional Cooling: Cooler Master R4 120MM, $8 at Newegg

Total Cost: $530

Here are a few questions I have:

1: Is a 500W power supply good enough?
2: Is it worth going up to an i5-2500k if I don't really plan to OC, unless absolutely necessary in a couple years?
3: Is there any reason to get a Z77 motherboard over a Z68 for upgrade purposes?
4: I want my case to be quiet and I've read that the Elite 430 runs hot without an extra exhaust fan in the back. Am I okay with noise & cooling? Should I get a third party CPU heatsink? Replace the stock intake fan that comes with the case? Both?
5: What, if anything, am I missing here?

More about : build check 550 gaming

May 23, 2012 8:30:43 AM

1. 500W is sufficient. But I'd recommended a 80+ certified PSU.
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

2. Overclocking will never be "absolutely necessary". If you plan to OC in the future, to increase your CPU performance, then i5 2500k is a great choice.
3. For an i3, Z77 or Z68 its really a personal choice, IMO. Price, features, looks, etc. whichever you like/ is best for the money.
4. Assuming that you'll be adding a 120mm fan as rear exhaust, you should be fine in terms of cooling. And no need for an Aftermarket heatsink. Stock fans are good enough.
5.Your choices are pretty good for a budget gaming rig.
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May 23, 2012 8:41:36 AM

The aftermarket cooling is unnecessary, intel have got their act together and their stock cooling is pretty impressive, obviously improvement is made with high end coolers but not for $8

The only recommendation I would make is to put in an ssd instead of the hdd, unless your storing data on there a 60gb ssd for a similar price, or if you fill out the rest of your budget a 120gb ssd would be a very impressive performance gain
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