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$850 Gaming Machine

Greetings all! Long time lurker, finally a member because I am ready to build my own PC!

Below you will find the standard "Ask for Advice", but I have already purchased the parts below. I was wondering if you guys and gals can review the parts and see if there are somethings you may know about em(good/bad/decent). If you have any ways of making it cheaper as well, I am all ears! I am trying to build a system that is in the 600-850 dollar price range.

Approximate Purchase Date: June 2nd 2012

Budget Range: >$800 after Mail In-Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Schoolwork, Entertainment

Parts Not Required:
Keyboard - Logitech
Mouse - Logitech M705
Speakers - Logitech G930 Wireless 7.1 Surround Sound Headset
OS - Windows 7 Professional Edition
Monitor - No monitor at the moment, planning on hooking up to 46 inch Sony Bravia KDL-46VL150
DVD Drive - Debating on where to use an old DVD burner from an old PC or an external dvd drive I have.
External - Pioneer DVR-XD09
Internal - Lite-On SHW-160P6S

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Microcenter, Newegg, Amazon, Tigerdirect

Country: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Parts Preferences:
Processor - Must be Intel i5 or i7 unlocked
Video Card - Must be NVIDIA GeForce

Overclocking: Maybe in the next year or so.

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe, Could someone explain this a bit further? Thanks in advance!

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 (maybe less until I get a reasonable monitor)

Additional Comments: Prefer it to be quiet, yet powerful machine (best of both worlds, never will happen :??: )


CURRENT PART LIST:
Case:ZALMAN Z11 Plus Black Steel - Price: $44.99 after rebate

Processor: Intel Ivy Bridge i5-3570K - Price: $189.99

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UD3H - Price: $109.99

Power Supply:OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W Modular - Price: $49.99 after rebate

Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 550 Ti 2GB GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 - Price: $144.99 after rebate

RAM:Kingston HyperX Blu 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 - Price: $39.99

HDD:OCZ Agility 3 60GB SSD - Price: $49.99 after rebate

HDD2: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200RPM HDD - Price: $94.99

PRICE TOTAL:
$44.99
$189.99
$109.99
$49.99
$144.99
$39.99
$49.99
$94.99
--------------
$724.92 prior Taxes
$797.41 after 10% tax

WITHOUT REBATES:
$808.91 prior Taxes
$885.76 after 10% tax

What do you all think about my choices, the price, and anything else? Anything I can do to make this system cheaper? Thanks everyone and Martin at Microcenter for helping piece this together!

Look forward to hearing your replies!

DarcMasta
56 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. Get something other than OCZ ModXStream. Get the Antec NEO 520W for the same price cuz that is all the wattage you will need. Get the GTX 560 as it is much better.
  2. SLI/xFire is when you install 2 GPU's in your PC. You have more graphic muscle but also has several issues to deal with. I'm not too familiar with said issues so maybe someone else can comment on that. One of them is that performance is not 1+1=2. Its more like 1+1=1.8 or 1.9.

    If you don't plan on SLI'ing, you can get the Gigabyte z77x-D3H. It's designed for single card systems.

    I would suggest you get a 1600 Mhz RAM. Though it will slightly be more expensive, the performance is worth it. Just make sure you get 1.5V and CL9.

    Mushkin Chronos is a more reliable SSD. If you value performance though then just get the one you chose.

    If you don't plan to SLI/xFire, you would be fine with a 400 - 500W PSU.
  3. Good points azeem40! Thanks for the quick reply!

    Since this is my first solo build, I do have some questions about the PSU.

    -Is there anything you have against the OCZ in particular? Went bad after xx months, etc?

    -My video card requires a 400w PSU, will that have any impact if I were to downgrade to a 500 or 550w PSU? In other words, what are the pros/cons of running at a 500w power supply?
    EDIT: Was answered by l0v3rboi "If you don't plan to SLI/xFire, you would be fine with a 400 - 500W PSU."

    For the video card I am in a bit of tight budget, as much as I would love the GTX560 unfortunately I am cash strapped. Would you still recommend a GTX560 1GB over a GTX 550 2GB?

    EDIT:
    Thanks for the reply l0v3rboi! I would have bought that motherboard, but look at the price difference. It was a deal when buying the processor to get the Gigabyte motherboard that I have for only 109.99.

    The RAM is a good point, I am actually planning on returning that now that you mention it. I could have sworn it was 1666! Good catch!

    Thanks for the quick rundown of SLi and helping with the PSU issue!
  4. No, OCZ only has one good series, the ZS.
  5. azeem40 said:
    No, OCZ only has one good series, the ZS.

    huh?
    OCZ ModXStream Pro 600 W Power Supply Review
  6. That is true. If the z77x-ud3h is cheaper, then it is worth it to get that.
  7. l0v3rboi said:
    SLI/xFire is when you install 2 GPU's in your PC. You have more graphic muscle but also has several issues to deal with. I'm not too familiar with said issues so maybe someone else can comment on that. One of them is that performance is not 1+1=2. Its more like 1+1=1.8 or 1.9.


    Except with my 6970 reference cards. It is more like 1+1=2.2

    AMD scaling FTW
  8. Apologies in advance everyone! I seem to have created this thread as a Question, I believe I have edited this thread to a discussion. Thanks so much for everyone's input, I am actually doing price checks across the web right now and taking some of your tips into consideration!

    EDIT: Anyone have any comments on my Optical Drive issue? I have an external I can just plug in, but I also have a internal one from 2006 I believe? I wonder if the drivers are still out there somewhere :??:
  9. Quick question,

    I am debating on the video card. Maybe 2 gigs is a bit extreme. What do you guys think of using a 1gig video card?
  10. darcmasta said:
    Quick question,

    I am debating on the video card. Maybe 2 gigs is a bit extreme. What do you guys think of using a 1gig video card?


    A 6850 is a decent mid range (not high end by an means) 1GB card that performs quite well in most games as long as you don't intend to go over 1080P. I own a 6850 and have it OCed (without voltage adjustments btw) to 925mhz Core, and 1150mhz Memory. With overclock the 6850 makes for a hell of a card when you can usually pick one up for $120 after rebates.
  11. Unless you are going for SUPERHD resolutions, you don't need 2 gigs of VRAM
    140$ Radeon HD 6850. Better than GTX 560
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131374

    Go for a 120gb OCZ agility 3 or dont go for an SSD at all. 60gigs isn't really worth it.

    z77 and k-series IB CPU. You are ready for some overclocking once you get a VERY GOOD cpu cooler (IB gets very hot).
  12. IB gets very hot at a very high OC; not something the average user is going to benefit from.
  13. Yeah I want to get a Nvidia GTX560TI but its out of my range.

    I am debating between a Nvidia GTX460 or GTX560 or (now) Radeon HD 6850. Which one is the better bang for your buck?

    I only got a 60GB SSD because I am only installing the OS on the SSD.

    I will eventually buy a CPU cooler, but for now I am going to run stock.
  14. Price/Performance comparison
    http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/high_end_gpus.html#value

    Look and decide. Best bang for the buck: DEFINITELY Radeon HD 6850

    You can have OS + 1-2 games. You got to be careful about what you install on your SSD and use ccleaner alot to keep it clean (uninstall unneeded stuff and format once every 6-12 months).

    Besides, you could save some money by buying a H61 mobo and a non-oc cpu. It's not like your graphics card is gonna get bottlenecked by the CPU anyways.
  15. All valid points, but after reading over 5 reviews on the web from sources such as Anandtech and even some on Tom's, they all say the GTX560 edges out the Radeon 6850. That being said, they also say the GTX460 is comparable to the GTX560.

    So the way I am seeing this is

    Radeon 6850 < GTX560
    GTX460 ~ or < GTX560

    A common theme I have seen around is that if you can't afford the GTX560 TI, then save the money and buy a GTX460 Super Clocked for similar performance and cheaper than the GTX560.

    I guess my last problem is the video card, I have around $200 dollars to spend up front but I want to end up paying less than or equal to $160 after rebates.

    EDIT:

    I have seen the Radeon 6870 being tossed around quite a bit, and for the price I see its better than a GTX560 (non ti).

    So its something like
    GTX560 < Radeon 6870 < GTX560TI

    Correct me if I am wrong. Also if you know of any deals going on let me know =D
  16. Update on changes to my build, Thanks everyone for the tips! :bounce:

    Case:ZALMAN Z11 Plus Black Steel - Price: $44.99 after rebate SAME

    Processor: Intel Ivy Bridge i5-3570K - Price: $189.99 SAME

    Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UD3H - Price: $109.99 SAME

    Power Supply: OCZ ModXStream Pro 700W Modular - Price: $49.99 after rebate NEW, on sale at:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341018&Tpk=ocz%20700w

    Video Card:

    RAM: Corsair Vengeance 8 GB ( 2 x 4 GB ) DDR3 1600 MHz - Price: $47.99 NEW:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004CRSM4I/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00

    HDD: OCZ Agility 3 60GB SSD - Price: $49.99 after rebate SAME

    HDD2: Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB 5900RPM HDD - Price: $84.99 NEW:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148725&nm_mc=TEMC-RMA-Approvel&cm_mmc=TEMC-RMA-Approvel-_-Content-_-text-_-

    I figured since I am using a SSD to boot up, I can cut a bit on the hard drive. Technically speaking, this one should actually be faster seeing as it can utilize 6GBPS instead of the old HDD 3GBPS.

    Can you guys and gals help me out with the video card situation? I am stuck between:
    ____ GTX460
    EVGA GTX460 Super Clocked
    ____ GTX560
    EVGA GTX560 Super Clocked
    GTX560 TI

    Does 1GB vs 2GB make a huge difference in terms of FPS? From what I heard, 2GB is not as useful as making sure the GPU itself is good.

    Any recommendations and deals? Thanks in advance!
  17. The 560ti is a great card, although if you are looking to save money I still recommend the 6850 OCed.

    2GB comes in handy when playing at higher resolutions (above 1080P) and when using High Resolution Textures.
    I have heard that 2GB makes things like the Skyrim Textures (the High Res mod ones) run much better.

    On cards like these though, and below 1080P I don't see the payoff being very noticeable in a 2GB card over a 1GB.
  18. If you want to play modern games at high visual quality and use mods and experience everything PC gaming has to offer at 1080p, I would definitely recommend passing on the 6850.

    I would recommend a 7850. They are low on power requirements, about as powerful as a 6970/570, and provide a 2GB framebuffer which is really needed for high-res gaming, and would give you just about the best 1080p gaming experience at it's price range.

    If you can't afford at least that (for this day and time), you really can't afford to be a PC gamer. It should be within your price range if you play your cards right.
  19. Not everyone likes max fps and max settings. Some are fine with med and 30+ fps (playable).
  20. Best answer
    He states at top that his goal is 1080p gaming.

    Even for 1080p, the 1GB framebuffer is beginning to show it's age. And the 6850 is only as fast as the 560 (non-ti). That is pretty humdrum for PC gaming. And crossfiring a second would increase the VRAM bottleneck. It would also most likely result in some terrible microstuttering (as low end cards often do in dual-card configurations), especially in this day and age. I find the latter point to be particularly pertinent considering he wrote "Maybe" next to SLi/Crossfire in the above list.

    Sometimes I wonder if people even read the lists people provide, no offense.

    OP: I would strongly recommend passing on the 6850, 550Ti, 560, or an equivalent of that. The 560Ti wouldn't be too bad, but even then, I would recommend something with a tad more VRAM seeing as you wish to play modern games at 1080p well into the future. You should be able to swing getting a 7850 with an $850 budget, especially considering what you already have. And if worst comes to worst, you'd be better off waiting another couple of months and ending up with a good machine, then rushing into this and eventually ending up with an $800 web browser.

    Good luck.
  21. PCgamer81 said:
    If you want to play modern games at high visual quality and use mods and experience everything PC gaming has to offer at 1080p, I would definitely recommend passing on the 6850.

    I would recommend a 7850. They are low on power requirements, about as powerful as a 6970/570, and provide a 2GB framebuffer which is really needed for high-res gaming, and would give you just about the best 1080p gaming experience at it's price range.

    If you can't afford at least that (for this day and time), you really can't afford to be a PC gamer. It should be within your price range if you play your cards right.


    :( So I haven't been experiencing what PC gaming has to offer this whole time?


    Here is the thing, a 6850 OCed can play most modern games on highest detail settings, 1080P, 16x AF, and around 4X+ AA.
    Here are the games I have tried (some with visual mods):

    Portal
    Portal 2
    Mirrors Edge (8XQ AA)
    Fallout 3 (Mods like NMC run fine)
    Sonic Ether Minecraft with High Resolution Textures
    Dolphin emulating Wii and running SMG2 at 3X Internal Res and plenty of AA
    Deus Ex: HR

    To say, "You can't afford to be a PC Gamer" is really a dick comment. Plenty of good PC games can run at 1080P and Max detail on a 6850 on the right system. But I am not sure when graphic quality automatically meant how good a game is.
  22. Here is a 7850 for less than $250. Yes, they can be had that cheap.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131464&nm_mc=OTC-Froogle&cm_mmc=OTC-Froogle-_-Video+Cards-_-PowerColor-_-14131464

    The performance it gives is excellent for 1080p gaming. It is absolutely ideal for your situation and budget.
  23. PCgamer is right. The 7850 is do-able in his budget.
  24. PCgamer81 said:
    Here is a 7850 for less than $250. Yes, they can be had that cheap.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131464&nm_mc=OTC-Froogle&cm_mmc=OTC-Froogle-_-Video+Cards-_-PowerColor-_-14131464

    The performance it gives is excellent for 1080p gaming. It is absolutely ideal for your situation and budget.


    That isn't really cheap. A 6850 after rebate is $125, that is quite a price difference.
    A 7850 is good, but by no means necessary. He said he might be running the games at less than 1080P even.

    Hell he could buy a 6850 now, and in one year sell it and get a 7850 once the price has dropped massively.
  25. I fit a Radeon 7850 in my budget, and so can he...
    No reason to get a GPU not worth it at his price range...

    Mobo Asrock Z77 Extreme4 $90 combo'd with 3570K
    CPU 3570K $190
    RAM 8GB DDR3 $44
    GPU Sapphire 7850 $260 --> overclock it
    HDD Samsung/Seagate 1TB
    DVD Burner $18
    PSU XFX 650W $68
    Case NZXT Tempest 210 $55
    Hyper 212 EVO $35.
  26. SingingThroughTheStorm said:
    :( So I haven't been experiencing what PC gaming has to offer this whole time?


    Here is the thing, a 6850 OCed can play most modern games on highest detail settings, 1080P, 16x AF, and around 4X+ AA.
    Here are the games I have tried (some with visual mods):

    Portal
    Portal 2
    Mirrors Edge (8XQ AA)
    Fallout 3 (Mods like NMC run fine)
    Sonic Ether Minecraft with High Resolution Textures
    Dolphin emulating Wii and running SMG2 at 3X Internal Res and plenty of AA
    Deus Ex: HR

    To say, "You can't afford to be a PC Gamer" is really a dick comment. Plenty of good PC games can run at 1080P and Max detail on a 6850 on the right system. But I am not sure when graphic quality automatically meant how good a game is.

    Oh, I understand now. You own a 6850.

    Well, I don't. I own something else, something that is inferior to a lot of the high end graphics solutions of the day, but I wouldn't let that interfere with the advice I give just because I wish to believe that what I have is "great".

    I am sure you are having fun with your system, and that's good. But considering the modern age, modern architecture, modern games, and the immediate future as it pertains to his particular price range, the 6850 is not a good choice.

    The 7850 can he had for a mere $100 more in some instances and would easily provide close to double the rendering capabilities, not to mention double the VRAM (which is more relevant now than ever).
  27. azeem40 said:
    I fitted a Radeon 7850 in my budget, and so can he...
    No reason to get a GPU not worth it at his price range...

    Mobo Asrock Z77 Extreme4 $90 combo'd with 3570K
    CPU 3570K $190
    RAM 8GB DDR3 $44
    GPU Sapphire 7850 $260 --> overclock it
    HDD Samsung/Seagate 1TB
    DVD Burner $18
    PSU XFX 650W $68
    Case NZXT Tempest 210 $55

    Good call. ;)
  28. PCgamer81 said:
    Oh, I understand now. You own a 6850.

    Well, I don't. I own something else, something that is inferior to a lot of the high end graphics solutions of the day, but I wouldn't let that interfere with the advice I give just because I wish to believe that what I have is "great".

    I am sure you are having fun with your system, and that's good. But considering the modern age, modern architecture, modern games, and the immediate future as it pertains to his particular price range, the 6850 is not a good choice.

    The 7850 can he had for a mere $100 more in some instances and would easily provide close to double the rendering capabilities, not to mention double the VRAM (which is more relevant now than ever).



    Did I state it was a great card? Here is what I said:
    "A 6850 is a decent mid range (not high end by any means)"


    That barely sounds like I was describing it as a "great" or "future proof" card.
    Right now it sounds like he would be playing below 1080P anyways.
  29. Even if he is planning to play below 1080P, he said the keyword; UNTIL. No one likes to buy 2 GPUs.
  30. ^+1

    Also, what I find particularly relevant is the fact that he may plan to add a second card in the future. He would have to add a second 6850 to achieve the level of performance offered by the 7850. Two 6850s would not only be more expensive than a single 7850, not to mention having a much higher power requirement, but would most likely provide the user with nasty microstuttering, which is commonplace for mid-range cards in SLi/Crossfire.

    Also, two 6850s in this day and age would only serve to accentuate the VRAM bottleneck that would be the inevitable result of two 1GB cards paired up.
  31. Even mentioning the numbers 6850 on an $850 build is a sign for a red flag.
  32. azeem40 said:
    Even mentioning the numbers 6850 on an $850 build is a sign for a red flag.


    It is a red flag if gaming is the main importance.

    If playing on the highest settings isn't 100% necessary, then I would opt for an SSD with the saved funds.

    Here is what I was saying:
    If in one year he decides he has the money and needs more power than the 6850, he could sell it for around $50 bucks. A 7850 by then should be around $120 (much like the 6850 has now dropped down to).

    That would put him at a theoretical expense of $170 if he purchases a 7850 in the future. Looking at how the price dropped on the 6850 (launched at the same price AFAIK) , it is almost bound to happen to the 7850.

    That means that he could go for a 6850 now if he needs to save money, and buy and replace it with a 7850 in the future for less than the initial cost of a 7850 is right now.

    Granted he has the money right now, so if he feels it is worth the extra expense, by all means he can jump on the 7850.
  33. No reason to not spend a budget when the OP wants to spend a budget to get better performances.
  34. Ok, a lot of responses coming back from the gym! All of you have valid opinions, but my rule of thumb is this: never spend more than $200 dollars on a video card. Call it stupid or what you will, I typically find that most cards in the $100-200 can play most current gen games and last about a year as a very good card. After a year it becomes a decent card, and around year three its life cycle is pretty much gone. So if I can squeeze 1-2 years out of a video card for lets say $175, in two years I can buy a better video card than the "top of the line" card now for around the same price range if not more because the rest of my build is pretty solid with exception to its RAM for now.

    As you all mention, its the beauty of building your own system. You know your build in and out! With all that said, what video card do you recommend in the price range of $100-180 dollars after rebates.

    EDIT: Lets keep it civil guys. You guys are doing a great job, but its just my personal preference of building. I prefer to get "core" components to be solid and "easily" replaceable to be mid to high range. Your talking to a loser whose played on a Dell laptop for gaming (I know what your thinking, :non: :non: .
  35. azeem40 said:
    No reason to not spend a budget when the OP wants to spend a budget to get better performances.


    Pretty much what I stated in the last paragraph of my previous post. ;)
    Still, that is only if the main importance is gaming. Other people might find a downgraded video card is a worthwhile change if it fits an SSD into the budget.

    But you guys are right to an extent.
  36. Then get a Radeon 6870 since I can't change your logic in any way. :P
  37. Ok, in that case what manufacturer would you recommend for an AMD Radeon card? I know my Nvidia companies but I am seeing some ones I haven't seen before such as XFX for example.
  38. XFX is kind of like EVGA, but I like EVGA better personally. For AMD though, my favorite is Sapphire. I have a Sapphire 7950 and even at a 1150 MHz OC, I can't hear it!
  39. PCgamer81 said:
    If you want to play modern games at high visual quality and use mods and experience everything PC gaming has to offer at 1080p, I would definitely recommend passing on the 6850.

    I would recommend a 7850. They are low on power requirements, about as powerful as a 6970/570, and provide a 2GB framebuffer which is really needed for high-res gaming, and would give you just about the best 1080p gaming experience at it's price range.

    If you can't afford at least that (for this day and time), you really can't afford to be a PC gamer. It should be within your price range if you play your cards right.


    I totally agree.
  40. darcmasta said:
    Ok, in that case what manufacturer would you recommend for an AMD Radeon card? I know my Nvidia companies but I am seeing some ones I haven't seen before such as XFX for example.


    I suggest XFX or Sapphire both good
  41. I would only buy ASUS or MSI brand GPU but that's me i hear the Sapphire is decent
  42. darcmasta said:


    Between those two I would go with the Sapphire, because you can currently get it for $120 after rebate on other websites.
    A lot of people like XFX for their warranty though, and both brands are supposedly very solid.
  43. Before you choose a manufacturer, you should determine whether you prefer a reference card or a non-reference card.

    A reference card adheres strictly to the blueprint provided by AMD, while retaining most, if not all, of the prototypical characteristics and specifications.

    AMD will also license their technology to 3rd party manufacturers who often stray quite a bit from the original design point.

    Generally, there is no right or wrong choice as it applies simply to reference vs non-reference.

    I am certainly no expert on the subject, but in my limited observations I have found that the reference design is generally a tad more conservative in how the hardware is pushed, which could possibly lead to slightly cooler temperatures (not clock for clock), tad lower power requirements (sometimes), and possibly a longer lifespan (but not necessarily) in some situations.

    Non-reference cards, on the other hand, generally get more out of the technology at the expense of slightly hotter temps (but lower temps at reference clock rates), high power requirements (not always), and possibly a shorter lifespan (again, not always).

    If I were you, I would probably go non-reference to get the most out of the technology right now.

    I would probably recommend this one...

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150609
  44. I am pretty sure non reference is cooler. Reference means original design. I think you mixed them up.
  45. No, I got it right.

    Non-reference is cooler at reference speeds, and I stated as much. But non-reference cards still generally run hotter (overall) due to higher clock speeds.
  46. No you didnt. Non reference cards are the ones that have been modified by third party manufacturers.
  47. That is exactly what I said.

    "A reference card adheres strictly to the blueprint provided by AMD, while retaining most, if not all, of the prototypical characteristics and specifications." reference

    "AMD will also license their technology to 3rd party manufacturers who often stray quite a bit from the original design point." non-reference

    Read it again.
  48. Non-reference cards, on the other hand, generally
    get more out of the technology at the expense of
    slightly hotter temps (but lower temps at reference
    clock rates), high power requirements (not
    always), and possibly a shorter lifespan (again, not
    always).

    How is a card that has more cooling going to run hotter? :o
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