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First ever PC Gaming Build $800 - Need ADVICE and RECOMMENDATIONS

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June 14, 2012 6:49:50 AM

Hey guys, this is going to be my first ever build and I'm not that knowledgeable about parts so I'm going to need as much advice and recommendations, thanks!

Approximate Purchase Date - End of the month
Budget - At or below $800
System Usage - Gaming (CSS, GW2, LoL, Dota 2), Media (Movies/Music but not doing anything with Photoshop), Internet, Streaming HD
Parts Not Required - Speakers, Mouse, Keyboard, Monitor and OS (Windows 7)
Preferred Vendor - From Newegg and I also live by a Microcenter
Country - U.S
Parts Preference - Intel. Just future-proof and reliable manufacturers.
Overclocking - Not very knowledgeable about it but interested
SLI or Crossfire - My friends recommend SLI


Parts in Mind
CPU: i5 3570k - $189.99
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
or
i5 2500k - $169.99
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...


Memory: Corsair Vengeance (2x4GB) 1600MHz - $46.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or
G. SKILL Ripjaws (2x4GB) 1600MHz - $46.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Alright that is what I have so far. I'm also wanting to do a SSD/HDD combo as well for faster startup with OS and important programs as well as large storage for music/movie files.

So I need recommendations on:
Mobo
GPU
Power Supply
Case
SSD/HDD Combo

Please help me build my first PC with some clear advice and thorough recommendations, thank you!
June 14, 2012 7:47:18 AM

Definately recommend for Mobo AsRock Z77 Extreme4
For your GPU, if you want a massive bang for your buck, go for a Sapphire HD 7850 OC
PSU is really your choice
I went for an Antec 902 Gaming Case, really nice.
SSD/HDD is personal preference, as I do not know how much you download.
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June 14, 2012 8:02:58 AM

Yea I was looking at reviews on Newegg for that AsRock Z77 Extreme4, it was really a hit or miss for most customers. I looked at the ASUS P8Z77-V DELUXE which was really expensive but that mobo wouldn't really be needed for me value-wise right?

For the PSU do you suggest just getting a 750W one then?

Also for SSD I just need enough for OS and the game programs basically and about 1-2 TB on the HDD.

Thanks for the suggestions!
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June 14, 2012 8:40:36 AM

Here's a build suggestion that includes a 128 GB SSD. Though it goes slightly overbudget, but have a look:

CPU: $190- i5-3570K (Microcenter)

Motherboard: $90- Asrock Z77 Extreme4 (Microcenter)

Optical Drive: $16- Samsung (Microcenter)

PSU & RAM: $73- Corsair CX500 & Corsair XMS 4GB ( 500 watt PSU should be more than enough unless you plan to add another GPU, also note RAM is single 4GB kit)

SSD: $96- Mushkin Enhanced Chronos 120 GB

GPU: $250 -Sapphire Radeon 7850

HDD: $75- WD Cavier Blue 500GB (note it has $10 off with promo code EMCNDNC28)

Case: $40- Fractal Design Core 100 (or whatever case you like)

Total (Excluding Rebates, promo): 830 USD

Rebates, Promo: $20

If this goes more than you can afford , skip the SSD altogether to upgrade the HDD to 1TB, or even downgrade the SSD to 64 GB like:
OCZ Agility 64GB worth $65 (has $10 off with promo 24HRSALE613A), or
Mushkin Enhanced Chronos worth $68





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June 14, 2012 8:44:25 AM

I certainly agree with this above. If you simply cannot go much over budget can I recommend backtracking your cpu to the i5-2500k? Could cut off 30 dollars or so. Would only do it if the budget's a problem.
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June 14, 2012 8:49:21 AM

Video card
I'm assuming JJ is referring to the factory overclocked version of the sapphire card. Sorry if I'm mistaken there.

If so, then it's a good choice if you don't want to overclock the 7850 yourself. If you'd like to try your hand at oc'ing the video card, you can either save $10 by getting the cheaper sapphire (same exact card, just not factory oc'd), or you can get the ASUS DC2 for the same price (best stock cooler).

SLI
SLI/crossfire is effectively a wash. Nvidia has slightly more support simply because it has more market share so game developers tend to optimize for nvidia, if they choose a side.

That having been said, I'd recommend using more than one card only if you're going to SLI/xfire 3 or more cards together. Avoid 2 card solutions because they suffer from a phenomenon known as microstutter, which makes the framerate feel much lower than it is (google microstutter for more info). No one's figured out exactly what causes microstutter, but using 3 or more cards practically eliminates it. A single GPU card has no microstutter whatsoever.

That's just a long winded way of saying use 1 card for this build. Even buying a motherboard with 3 pci-e 3.0 slots would take a large chunk out of the budget.

CPU

The 3570k is slightly faster out of the box, and will save you a tiny bit on your electric bill. However, If you plan on overclocking, the 2500k can be pushed farther than it's Ivy bridge counterpart.

PSU

If you use one card, 750w is overkill.

With a single 7850, 500 watts is more than you'll ever need. At absolute max load (playing BF3 while simultaneously torrenting and burning a DVD) your system with a 7850 and 2500k will barely draw 300w.

Seasonic is probably the best manufacturer right now. Corsair used to be good, because they were simply re-branded Seasonic's, but now Corsair uses cheaper unknowns and the quality has suffered.

make sure it's at least 80 plus.

SSD

For a game system's ssd, you want to look for toggle or synchronous NAND. Toggle is best, but there are still some fast ssd's based on synchronous. Synchronous NAND ssd's prices are dropping pretty rapidly, and you can find some under $1/gb now.

if you want to fit games on it as well as the OS, you'll want a 120gb minimum.

However on an $800 budget, I'd recommend leaving out the SSD entirely and putting that money towards the video card or processor.

One other option, since you're probably going to use a z68 or z77 chipset, is to buy a small ssd (32gb or smaller), and use it as a cache for the HDD. You can then install all your stuff on the HDD and enjoy some speed increase with everything.

RAM

Between those two, I'd recommend the Gskill. the Corsair's tall fins can block some CPU coolers from being installed.

case

On this budget, I'd suggest cases in the $40-60 range. Under $40 starts to skimp on cooling, among other things. Here's a short list of the best ones in that range, prices via newegg.

Rosewill: Challenger ($50) (good cooling, cable routing, free shipping)
Zalman: Z9 Plus ($60) (not the regular Z9) (good cooling, cable routing, 4 front usb 2.0)
Antec: three hundred ($54) (old standby. weakest stock cooling, but room to expand.)
In Win: fanqua ($60) (massive cooling for a $60 case)

*none of the cases have front usb 3.0, they were chosen purely for cooling and build quality. If for some reason you can't use the usb 3.0 on your motherboard, feel free to disregard these suggestions. They all have at least front usb 2.0 and audio/mic. The Rosewill and In-Win have front eSATA.

mobo

good choice! :) 

have fun, hope this helps!
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June 14, 2012 10:29:31 AM

I don't like to take issue with a post directly, and there is a lot of good in the above. But I have some disagreements:

Quote:
SLI/crossfire is effectively a wash. Nvidia has slightly more support simply because it has more market share so game developers tend to optimize for nvidia, if they choose a side.


Incorrect. Crossfire usually scales better than SLI. You will see this reflected in any number of reviews. That's not so important these days as there really aren't a lot of similar performing cards between the two types.

http://www.techpowerup.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1629...

http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-7950-crossfire-...

Also I don't think NVidia has any dominance here. I see about the same number of games that favor one card as the other. Most do not really favor either.

Quote:
The 3570k is slightly faster out of the box, and will save you a tiny bit on your electric bill. However, If you plan on overclocking, the 2500k can be pushed farther than it's Ivy bridge counterpart.


OK this one can be debated. I think though that for a novice overclocker that will not even try to boost voltages, the Ivy Bridge CPU will do better. At stock voltages you'll get more performance... stock or mild OC.

Quote:
Seasonic is probably the best manufacturer right now. Corsair used to be good, because they were simply re-branded Seasonics, but now Corsair uses cheaper unknowns and the quality has suffered.


Unknown by you perhaps. All corsair PSUs are made by either Seasonic or CWT. The only exception to this rule is the new 1200W PSU made by Flextronics. Corsair has used CWT just as long as they have used Seasonic, or even longer. The original 750TX, an extremely popular PSU, was CWT.

Antec, Corsair, XFX, PC Power and Cooling (old ones and newest ones), and NZXT all use Seasonic as the OEM, at least sometimes.

Seasonic may be one of the most dependable OEMs, in that any PSU made by them is at least OK (also Delta has that rep). But Super Flower makes PSUs that are just as good, and seem to be making only good PSUs these days. They can be found as Kingwin and Rosewill in the US.

Quote:
Between those two, I'd recommend the Gskill. the Corsair's tall fins can block some CPU coolers from being installed.


Both of these brands make low profile RAM. As well as other companies. They also make tall heatsink RAM. G.skill Ares is the model that is low profile... and I have heard reports that it requires too much voltage to the memory controller in the CPU, causing CPUs to fail. This may be more important with the higher clocked versions, but for now I'm recommending Corsair for LP RAM or Mushkin otherwise.

You don't have to lay out a lot for a good case and PSU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Rosewill Ranger case
http://www.tweaknews.net/reviews/rosewill_ranger_case_r...

Capstone PSU (750W model but same OEM and platform)
http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...
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June 14, 2012 6:43:16 PM

Thanks for all the advice and recommendations and I'll definitely go with the AsRock Z77 Extreme4 for the mobo, you guys have persuaded me!

For the budget guys it can be a bit higher but not higher than $1000 since I left that $200 leeway for a new monitor.

For the GPU and SLI/Crossfire I think I'll be just using one GPU because I won't be doing any hardcore gaming and that one should be sufficient for the games I listed in the OP, correct me if I'm wrong though.

Alright so this is what I'm taking from all you guys and feel free to make any further adjustments.

CPU - i5 3570k - $189.99
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Mobo - ASRock Z77 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Intel - $134.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM - G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) - $46.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU - SAPPHIRE Radeon 7850 - $249.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SSD - Mushkin Enhanced Cronos 128GB - $95.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD - Western Digital 1TB 7200 RPM - $119.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Then I'll have a look at cases and PSU (500W as advised correct?).

With a little tweaking on some items, total for all that should be around $900 then I have around $100 to spend on a monitor.

My main concern was choosing the sufficient CPU, Mobo and GPU which you guys have covered BUT if you guys do have any other suggestions for those three then PLEASE go ahead and recommend me others since I just want to make sure I'm getting the most value for my money on my first ever build.

Thanks guys, I appreciate!

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June 15, 2012 10:24:53 PM

Best answer selected by imronwthru.
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