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$500-700 Budget+Gaming - Newbie

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May 23, 2012 5:28:30 PM

Hi everyone,

I've gathered the courage to build my first PC after being thoroughly frustrated with my Thinkpad laptop (which frequently freezes when I play any kind of game). I wanted a computer with enough power to play games smoothly at medium quality, but if I can achieve higher quality in my budget then that would be great. A build with the best value for my money would be the ideal machine. I'm not sure what parts are good or not but I've done some reading and I was hoping that the TH community could help me.

Approximate Purchase Date: Sooner the better, but I can wait for a better deal or for better hardware to drop in price to the next month or so.

Budget Range: 500-700 for the hardware before rebates, monitor to not be included in the budget

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming (Skyrim, Starcraft 2, Team Fortress, LoL, possibly D3), surfing online/streaming videos or music, occasional Photoshop.

Parts Not Required: Speakers, mouse, keyboard, and OS (Windows 7, will be bought through student discount separately)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: No preference, I can drive to a Microcenter

Country: I live in the US.

Parts Preferences: I'm gravitating towards Intel but am open. I'd like a unique colored case (maybe white colored instead of black, I did like the NZXT Elite White case) but not a big deal.

Overclocking: Maybe, but I'm not familiar with it.

SLI or Crossfire: Probably not

Monitor Resolution: Open, as long as it's a deal and I may actually go to Costco or a local store to take a look at the prices for a good priced <20" monitor. But if you find something worthwhile, I'll check it out.

Additional Comments: The computer will be in my room so I wouldn't want it to generate too much heat or be too noisy. I plan on keeping this build for a few years without needing to worry about upgrading to play games in the future.

-----
Here's what I whipped up... I honestly have no idea what I'm doing though.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks
CPU: Intel Core i3-2120 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($122.66 @ NCIX US)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.90 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68A-D3H-B3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($84.79 @ NCIX US)
Memory: Corsair XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($37.98 @ NCIX US)
Hard Drive: Samsung Spinpoint F1 RAID 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: HIS Radeon HD 4670 1GB Video Card ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Source 210 Elite (White) ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: CoolMax 650W ATX12V Power Supply ($39.99 @ Mwave)
Optical Drive: Sony DDU1681S-0B DVD/CD Drive ($17.00 @ Amazon)
Total: $532.29 (Prices include shipping and discounts when available.) (Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-05-23 13:23 EDT-0400)
May 23, 2012 6:08:24 PM

First, the memory you chose is a triple channel set and the mobo is dual channel. You'll only be able to use 2 of those sticks if you buy that one. I suggest choosing something different.

If you're willing to spend some more, Microcenter has good deals on the new Ivy Bridge i5 3570k plus $50 off a z77 mobo. It will make you're build more future proof.
http://www.microcenter.com/storefronts/intel/3rdGEN_processors.html

I wouldn't go with that particular power supply. Most people here recommend Corsair, or Antec with an 80+ certification. Example: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139027&cm_sp=Cat_Power_Supplies-_-Spotlight-_-17-139-027

Aside from that you could go with a nicer graphics card like a radeon 6770 or a nvidia 460.

http://www.techbargains.com/catsearch.cfm/0_2_0 is a good place to find good sales
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Best solution

May 23, 2012 6:19:26 PM

Here's a build suggestion the will push your budget to upper limit:

CPU: $170 (Microcenter)- i5-2500K(powerful CPU, overclockable)

Motherboard & RAM: $125- Biostar TZ77B & Corsair Vengeance 8GB(cheap motherboard that supports ivy bridge, and ample ram)

PSU & Case: $76- CM GX450 & CM Elite430(good PSU Case combo)

HDD & Optical Drive: $77- WD Cavier Blue 500GB & Samsung

GPU: $250- XFX 7850(latest GPU from AMD, will allow you to play most games a high details)

Total(Excluding Rebates): 698 USD

Rebates: 20 USD

A Suggestion on Monitor :

$140- HP 23" FullHD LED





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May 23, 2012 8:50:52 PM

z_4 said:
Here's a build suggestion the will push your budget to upper limit:

CPU: $170 (Microcenter)- i5-2500K(powerful CPU, overclockable)

Motherboard & RAM: $125- Biostar TZ77B & Corsair Vengeance 8GB(cheap motherboard that supports ivy bridge, and ample ram)


thank you for all the input! I had a question though, will there be a large difference between the CPU that moornix chose and the i5-2500k? I read a few reviews that favor both but I was curious about the future-proofing that the i5-2500k offers and if it would hold out for a few years.

Quote:
If you're willing to spend some more, Microcenter has good deals on the new Ivy Bridge i5 3570k plus $50 off a z77 mobo. It will make you're build more future proof.
http://www.microcenter.com/storefronts/intel/3rdGEN_pro...
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May 23, 2012 9:27:54 PM

CPU http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 189

MOBO http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 44 after MIR it sounds like you are gaming not fooling about so if you don't need the features f'em

HDD http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... room for games and even enough junk to make you sick -100

RAM http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $44
No OC so the best ram is not needed I would trust my computer to geil

there is some cheaper ram here

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...
$40

Case http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 44 after MIR

Cheaper is available but it is nice and does not look to much like a kiddie case and you don't need the 3.0 usb ports you are gaming here right it has cooling and cable management ?
$44

PSU http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $40

40 bucks after MIR it is a sweet deal and has more than enough power for this setup
the cheapest corsair PSU seems to be (my experience) as good as just about anything

GPU http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $240

Gaming right ? This is how you game without so much regret (jeeze I should have spent more on the graphics card....)

Just shy of 700 ..best GAMING setup offered yet and the CPU is no slouch.
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May 23, 2012 11:40:17 PM

razook said:
thank you for all the input! I had a question though, will there be a large difference between the CPU that moornix chose and the i5-2500k? I read a few reviews that favor both but I was curious about the future-proofing that the i5-2500k offers and if it would hold out for a few years.

Quote:
If you're willing to spend some more, Microcenter has good deals on the new Ivy Bridge i5 3570k plus $50 off a z77 mobo. It will make you're build more future proof.
http://www.microcenter.com/storefronts/intel/3rdGEN_pro...


The i5 3570k is newer with the Intel Integrated graphics 4000, a lower wattage and 22 nm transistors. It will also support PCI 3.0. The 3570k will heat up more if you try to overclock. All of these things don't make much difference though. You'll be using a discrete graphics card, and most graphics cards can't fully utilize PCI 3.0 anyway. Performance wise, 3570k is slightly faster, but not enough to justify spending more than an extra $20 relative to a i5 2500k.

I merely suggested it over the 2500k due to the $50 savings on the mobo deal at microcenter which only applies to the 3570k.
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May 24, 2012 4:18:53 PM

thanks everyone! I have a better idea of what I want to buy and trying to squeeze as much value as I can with my budget. I do like z_4's build so far. spentshells got me thinking about upgrading my harddrive to 1TB size but saw a whole bunch of harddrives from Tech Bargains:

These have the "green" label on these, are they any good or should I even bother with it? They are a little cheaper but I don't want to compromise where I'm saving all my stuff.

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=1421254&SRCCODE=LINKSHARE&cm_mmc_o=-ddCjC1bELltzywCjC-d2CjCdwwp&AffiliateID=Es5Ekr9eEBk-YwX_O3c9at.FGAtMBCx6rQ

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?nm_mc=AFC-TechBargains&cm_mmc=AFC-TechBargains-_-NA-_-NA-_-NA&Item=N82E16822148725

Here's a non-"green" HDD that I was interested in, please let me know what you think!

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?nm_mc=AFC-TechBargains&cm_mmc=AFC-TechBargains-_-NA-_-NA-_-NA&Item=N82E16822152185

Also, it seems like the consensus is to put most of my budget into the GPU, would it be smart to downgrade to a cheaper model or is it not worth it?
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May 24, 2012 4:35:40 PM

razook said:
thanks everyone! I have a better idea of what I want to buy and trying to squeeze as much value as I can with my budget. I do like z_4's build so far. spentshells got me thinking about upgrading my harddrive to 1TB size but saw a whole bunch of harddrives from Tech Bargains:

These have the "green" label on these, are they any good or should I even bother with it? They are a little cheaper but I don't want to compromise where I'm saving all my stuff.

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=1421254&SRCCODE=LINKSHARE&cm_mmc_o=-ddCjC1bELltzywCjC-d2CjCdwwp&AffiliateID=Es5Ekr9eEBk-YwX_O3c9at.FGAtMBCx6rQ

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?nm_mc=AFC-TechBargains&cm_mmc=AFC-TechBargains-_-NA-_-NA-_-NA&Item=N82E16822148725

Here's a non-"green" HDD that I was interested in, please let me know what you think!

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?nm_mc=AFC-TechBargains&cm_mmc=AFC-TechBargains-_-NA-_-NA-_-NA&Item=N82E16822152185

Also, it seems like the consensus is to put most of my budget into the GPU, would it be smart to downgrade to a cheaper model or is it not worth it?


I often hear people complaining that the "green" HDs tend to be slow at times, because they try to conserve power. No idea whether or not this is true. Look at the reviews.

A good GPU is definitely worth the investment for a gaming PC. Downgrading would be entirely up to you.
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May 24, 2012 5:29:07 PM

CPU - $170 - i5 2500k, Microcenter
Mobo -$90 - ASRock Extreme 4 Z77 - Microcenter
PSU: $70 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
RAM: $42 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Fan: $16 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CDD: $18 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GPU: $130 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
HDD: $100 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: $636

Leaves you $60 for a case of your choice. You could also drop a bit on the hdd for a 500gb, or get a less expensive mobo at Microcenter, but the Extreme4 is a great mobo.

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June 3, 2012 12:37:18 AM

Best answer selected by razook.
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