Advice for $1200 - $1500 Build

I haven't been paying any attention to parts for the past 4 or 5 years and I built my first computer (with the Athlon 64 cpu), so I've been getting myself caught up again. I have an unexplainable bias for AMD cpus over Intel cpus, but Intel chips seem to be the better choice by far.

Here's the basic summary info:

Approximate Purchase Date: Within the next month

Budget Range: $1200 - $1500

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming, netflix/hulu streaming, some photoshop and video editing, some CFD/FEA code

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, speakers, monitor

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: anything that the community considers reputable is fine by me

Country: US

Parts Preferences: I like Zalman a lot.

Overclocking: Yes, maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe down the road

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080, 1920x1200

Additional Comments: I would like a quiet pc, LEDs or windows aren't important to me, would like for this to be "future-proof" as possible... probably upgrading the graphics card a couple of years down the road...

This is what I've come up with so far (I think all the links are correct)...


CPU: i5-3570k (239.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115078

CPU Cooler: Zalman cpns9900max (69.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835118074

MB: ASRock P69 Extreme4 Gen3 (149.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157265

RAM: Mushkin Enhanced 2x4GB DDR3 2133 (64.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226245

Graphics: Sapphire Radeon HD7870 Ghz Edition (349.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102981

SSD: Crucial M4 128GB (124.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148442

Case: Zalman Z9 (54.99) **Chose this one instead of the Z9 plus because I felt the windows, thermometer, and fan controller to be unnecessary***
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811235026

PSU: Thermaltake 750W (89.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817153136

Optical: Sony 24x DVD-RW (17.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827118067

Case Fans: 2 Zalman 120mm (18.46)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835118008

OS: Windows 7 Pro 64-bit OEM (139.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116992

Total so far: 1321.36

I haven't done any "deal hunting" (comparing prices with Amazon, etc) yet, pretty much looked things up on newegg... Any thoughts from the community? Better ways to allocate money?
15 answers Last reply
More about advice 1200 1500 build
  1. It is P67, and that is outdated. Get the Extreme4 Gen3 Z77 board.
  2. azeem40 said:
    It is P67, and that is outdated. Get the Extreme4 Gen3 Z77 board.


    Woops. Typo.

    So this one is newer/better? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157293
  3. Yes, and it will actually allow you to make use of Ivy Bridge.
  4. The 7870 is an *EXCELLENT* GPU - it's the same one I have and it's pretty killer.

    The only thing is I'm not the biggest fan of Zalman - go with this as your case choice: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811352007

    And then this for your CPU fan: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835608016
  5. G-Unit:

    Is there any reason why you don't like Zalman? I've used their cpu coolers before (4-5 years ago) and they worked great. I've never used a Zalman case before, though...
  6. nikuman said:
    G-Unit:

    Is there any reason why you don't like Zalman? I've used their cpu coolers before (4-5 years ago) and they worked great. I've never used a Zalman case before, though...


    The one I had was a pain to clean, a pain to install, and never gave me the numbers or temperatures I wanted and I'd occasionally get temperature read errors, I really like the cooler I'm using now which is the EVGA one.
  7. http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.913268
    500R white and HX650

    the case is a steal $94.99 with rebates and the PSU is pretty good also
    (i can run 2x670 pretty fine with them as they do not take much power)

    if you want to be safer with a 700-800W it is fine but only get them if you are doing SLI/xfire or you will just waste your money

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.947924
    GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UD3H and i5 3570k

    a great mobo make sure to update the bios to get the most out of it, it has 2 PCI 3.0 slots for future SLI/CF

    1600 speed ram is the sweet spot for price and performance
    try these
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233186
    low profile ram and look nice, also for PS and video editing you would be better off with 16GB of ram if you are really into that kind of stuff

    an SSD will not fit everything you will need if you are doing PS/ video editing/rendering

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.936991
    or
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.937168
    (recommend second one)

    SSD
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226236
    Mushkin Enhanced
    or
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148448
    Crucial m4

    m4 is very reliable
    Mushkin is very cheap your pick

    Heatsink
    if you want to go that much on your heatsink i would rather suggest this
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835608018

    i would go with something cheaper and can still overclock IB at a 4.2 GHz safely
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103065
    hyper 212+
    not better than hyper 212 evo but better price to performance

    GPU
    your choice of 7850, really like cards from XFX and Sapphire
  8. IMO, at $350, it is not really worth it. Get the Radeon 7850 and OC it.
  9. Thanks for your input boulbox.

    I didn't really like how the 500R case looks...

    I went with a 750W psu because I figured a easy upgrade to do in a couple of years was to add another graphics card in crossfire. If a lower wattage psu would run both of them (possibly OCed?) and the i5 that's also OCed, then that's good, but I wasn't sure so I went with a larger wattage. Any input?

    I'll look into the CoolerMaster cpu cooler... As I said, I'm rather partial to Zalman, but the price difference IS significant, so it's definitely worth considering.

    If I were to go with a 7850 and OC it (as azeem suggests), should I get an aftermarket cooler for it as well? Or would the stock cooler (as long as it has 2 fans) be OK?

    I think I'll stick to the m4. I also forgot to include a storage HDD, as was my intention. Thanks for catching that.

    So these are the changes so far:

    CPU & MB: i5-3570k and Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H combo (369.98)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.947924&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-RSSDailyDeals-_-na-_-na&AID=10521304&PID=4176827&SID=2nrghr9813ie

    CPU Cooler: Zalman CPNS9900max OR CoolerMaster Hyper 212 (69.99 or 29.99)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835118074&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-RSSDailyDeals-_-na-_-na&AID=10521304&PID=4176827&SID=sg5n1hb5dfhf or http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103065&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-RSSDailyDeals-_-na-_-na&AID=10521304&PID=4176827&SID=axrokvrp8739

    RAM: Corsair VENGEANCE 4x4GB DDR3 1600 (97.99)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233197

    GPU: Gigabyte HD 7850 (259.99) **Saphire was sold out, and XFX one had only one fan on the cooler it...**
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125419

    HDD & Optical: Seagate 1TB & ASUS DVDrw (104.99)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.937168&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-RSSDailyDeals-_-na-_-na&AID=10521304&PID=4176827&SID=ws1yvmhcx7mt

    Total 1244.36 (with Zalman) or 1204.36 (with Coolermaster)
  10. oops, make that 1226.37 and 1186.37... forgot to take out the Sony DVD drive.
  11. I'll recommend Nvidia Geforce GTX670 for 399.99$
    http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=71245
    much much better GPU, then everything else looks nice. Oh also I'll recommend an SSD, CRUCIAL M4 or SAMSUNG 830.
  12. nikuman said:
    Thanks for your input boulbox.

    I didn't really like how the 500R case looks...

    I went with a 750W psu because I figured a easy upgrade to do in a couple of years was to add another graphics card in crossfire. If a lower wattage psu would run both of them (possibly OCed?) and the i5 that's also OCed, then that's good, but I wasn't sure so I went with a larger wattage. Any input?

    I'll look into the CoolerMaster cpu cooler... As I said, I'm rather partial to Zalman, but the price difference IS significant, so it's definitely worth considering.

    If I were to go with a 7850 and OC it (as azeem suggests), should I get an aftermarket cooler for it as well? Or would the stock cooler (as long as it has 2 fans) be OK?

    I think I'll stick to the m4. I also forgot to include a storage HDD, as was my intention. Thanks for catching that.

    So these are the changes so far:

    CPU & MB: i5-3570k and Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H combo (369.98)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.947924&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-RSSDailyDeals-_-na-_-na&AID=10521304&PID=4176827&SID=2nrghr9813ie

    CPU Cooler: Zalman CPNS9900max OR CoolerMaster Hyper 212 (69.99 or 29.99)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835118074&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-RSSDailyDeals-_-na-_-na&AID=10521304&PID=4176827&SID=sg5n1hb5dfhf or http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103065&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-RSSDailyDeals-_-na-_-na&AID=10521304&PID=4176827&SID=axrokvrp8739

    RAM: Corsair VENGEANCE 4x4GB DDR3 1600 (97.99)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233197

    GPU: Gigabyte HD 7850 (259.99) **Saphire was sold out, and XFX one had only one fan on the cooler it...**
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125419

    HDD & Optical: Seagate 1TB & ASUS DVDrw (104.99)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.937168&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-RSSDailyDeals-_-na-_-na&AID=10521304&PID=4176827&SID=ws1yvmhcx7mt

    Total 1244.36 (with Zalman) or 1204.36 (with Coolermaster)


    You really seem partial with Zalman :)

    As another one noted, the Noctua NH-D14 is a wonderful cooler, with terrific reviews. I have one, cooling my i7-3770K. Since I'm not OC'ing right now, it's working with only one fan and the noise reduction accessory connected. It doesn't make any sound, really.

    For the case, check the Coolermaster HAF series, they're really good at keeping your system cool, and they have very silent fans (their 200mm LED fan is very very quiet).

    Samsung makes very good SSD units, I have two 830 256GB :)

    If you appreciate a quiet system, go for a GPU with two or three fans. My GTX570 has only one, and I find it too loud when stressed out.
  13. another option you can do is this

    CPU+RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.930516

    Geil is a fine brand and it is pretty cheap for a 2x8GB

    SSD+Mobo: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.920806

    chose this to save more money
  14. Excellent, thanks boulbox!
  15. http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Carbide-Tower-Gaming-Computer/dp/B0055Q7BR4/ref=sr_1_4?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1338321579&sr=1-4 $99.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
    Corsair Carbide Series 400R Mid Tower Gaming Computer Case - CC-9011011-WW

    http://www.corsair.com/pc-cases/carbide-series-pc-case/carbide-series-400r-mid-tower-case.html <----- another look at that case

    http://www.amazon.com/PC-Power-Cooling-Performance-compatible/dp/B003U29C3Q/ref=sr_1_2?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1338228437&sr=1-2 $106.85 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
    PC Power and Cooling Silencer Mk II 750W High Performance 80PLUS Silver SLI CrossFire ready Power Supply compatible with Intel Sandy Bridge Core i3 i5 i7 and AMD Phenom

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.921049 $239.98 save: $20.00 FREE SHIPPING
    ASRock Z77 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
    SanDisk Extreme SDSSDX-120G-G25 2.5" 120GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

    http://www.vortez.net/articles_pages/asrock_z77_extreme4_review,1.html <----- review of that board w/benchmarks

    http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?Model=Z77%20Extreme4 <----- another look at that board along with a link to the latest bios (make sure you update to the latest bios)

    http://kb.sandisk.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/10476/kw/SanDisk%20Extreme%20SDSSDX-120G-G25 <----- recent firmware update for that Sandisk SSD

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.925154 $324.98 save: $15.00
    Intel Core i5-3570K Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000 BX80637I53570K
    Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

    http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Hyper-212-RR-212E-20PK-R2/dp/B005O65JXI/ref=sr_1_10?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1338228490&sr=1-10 $34.75 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
    Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO CPU Cooler (RR-212E-20PK-R2)

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231544 $46.99 FREE SHIPPING
    G.SKILL Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-1600C9D-8GAO

    http://www.amazon.com/Asus-24xDVD-RW-Serial-Internal-DRW-24B1ST/dp/B0033Z2BAQ/ref=pd_sim_pc_3 $17.99 Free Standard Shipping (3-5 days)
    Asus 24xDVD-RW Serial ATA Internal OEM Drive DRW-24B1ST (Black)

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007709%20600315498%20600311820&IsNodeId=1&name=GeForce%20GTX%20670 $400 - $420
    GTX 670 2GB Video Card

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/5818/nvidia-geforce-gtx-670-review-feat-evga <----- gtx 670 review with benchmarks

    http://www.amazon.com/Windows-Premium-64bit-System-Builder/dp/B004Q0PT3I/ref=pd_bxgy_e_text_b $99.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
    Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit (Full) System Builder DVD 1 Pack

    Total: $1,371.52 *not including shipping and rebates
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