$1500 - $2000 Desktop Gaming Computer - Looking for suggestions/advice

I've already done a little research into the kind of setup I'm looking for, but this being my first build I'm having some trouble choosing exactly what I want out of some of the components. I've narrowed down my choices of CPU, HDD, and optical drive, but I would definitely be open to any suggestions/recommendations in these areas. My main concerns are the Motherboard, CPU fan, Graphics card, Sound card, SSD, PSU, and peripherals. Right now my build is in the $1500 - $2000 range - I'll mainly be using it for gaming (Skyrim, Assassin's Creed, Portal, etc.). I'm trying to build a high quality system with reliable parts that can be easily upgraded/replaced. Right now I'm just saving my money and researching parts. I probably won't be building for a while, but I'm shooting for the end of this year/beginning of 2013 at the latest. Lastly, I’m looking for some advice on building - any advice in this area would be helpful.

Approximate Purchase Date: End of this year/Beginning of next year
Budget Range: $1500 - $2000 Before Rebates
System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming, surfing the internet, watching movies
Parts Not Required: OS – I’ll be getting Windows 7 or Windows 8
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com
Country: United States
Parts Preferences: Intel CPU, Western Digital Hard drive
Overclocking: Maybe
SLI or Crossfire: Probably Not
Monitor Resolution: High resolution - I don't need 3D

Here are the parts I've picked out: (I'm only really set on the CPU and hard drive - give lots of recommendations because I have plenty of time to tweak everything)
* Indicates that this is my current choice (mostly for calculating the current cost of the build)
Case: Looking for discrete, easy to work with, and aesthetically pleasing

*$140 - Corsair Vengeance Series CC-9011018-WW Military Green Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
This was the first one I picked out.
Patflute - a little expensive, but if you want it go for it

$140 - Corsair Obsidian Series 550D Black Aluminum / Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
This one looks nice too.

$140 - Corsair Carbide Series 500R Black Steel structure with molded ABS plastic accent pieces ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
This was a recommendation. I like it, but would I be able to turn the fan leds off or would I have to purchase different fans to get rid of them?
JackNaylorPE - recommended this item

$80 - Corsair Carbide Series 300R Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
I just found this one, but I'm a bit worried about the cooling unit fitting properly
Case fans: I'm pretty sure I want a couple

*$30 (3 fans) - ENERMAX UC-12EB 120mm Case Fan
Are these any good?
CPU: Pretty certain this is the one I want

*$220 - Intel Core i5-3570K Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000 BX80637I53570K
Haven't heard anything against this CPU yet.
JackNaylorPE - recommended I bundle this with the Sabertooth Z77 motherboard to save some money
CPU heat sink: I want to keep my CPU as cool as possible without water cooling - or a giant, ugly heatsink

$50 - COOLER MASTER RR-H612-20PK-R3 120mm Sleeve with 6 Heat Pipes Hyper 612 PWM CPU Cooler (LGA 2011 Version)
Good recommendation - much better than the one I had picked out. However, I am worried about whether or not there is enough room in the cases I have picked out.
JackNaylorPE - recommended this item over my previous heatsink

*$35 - Scythe SCSK-1100 100mm Shuriken Rev. B 3 Heat Pipes CPU Cooler
Will this provide anything over the stock fan and maybe allow a bit of overclocking?

$0 - Stock fan
I might not decide to overclock. How does the above fan compare to stock when the cpu is at the factory clock speed?
Motherboard: I need plenty of connectivity for the listed componets with a bit of room for some upgrades

$230 - ASUS SABERTOOTH Z77 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
My original choice - I really like the look of it, but it might be more than I really need
Patflute - good, but really expensive
JackNaylorPE - recommended I bundle this with the CPU to save some money

*$135 - ASRock Z77 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
This one is probably better for what I'm planning to do with my build.
geekapproved - "an excellent choice"
Memory: Gotta have some

Patflute - get dual channel, and watch out for tall heat spreaders (I had 4x2GB quad channel memory with tall heat spreaders at the time)
geekapproved - get rid of 4x2GB and get 2x4GB
JackNaylorPE - RAM won't fit with cooler, get 2x4GB not 4x2GB (I decided to change to 2x4GB around this point)

$55 - CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Profile Desktop Memory Model CML8GX3M2A1600C9
It's low profile - so it should fit under the heatsink.

*$60 - G.SKILL Sniper Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Desktop Memory Model F3-14900CL9D-8GBSR
I like the look of this one as well, is there any performance difference between these?
Graphics card: I need a card that is quick, cool, and quiet. I'm looking for a single video card to handle a single monitor at a high resolution

*$430 - ASUS GTX670-DC2T-2GD5 GeForce GTX 670 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
Good recommendation - looks great too
Patflute - suggested Geforce gtx 670 over Geforce gtx 480 (I swapped out EVGA brand for ASUS though)
geekapproved - "There's no better card than 670 in that price range."
JackNaylorPE - recommended ASUS model over the EVGA I had selected and provided benchmarks +1

Sound card: If you have any recommendations - feel free to make them

Patflute - use the onboard sound
geekapproved - "The only reason for a soundcard would be if you do some high end recording or you have some high end speakers."
JackNaylorPE - "a $42 sound card doesn't offer anything of significance over the On Board stuff"

*$0 - N/A
I'll be using this system mainly for gaming - so if it's going to be useless over the onboard audio I won't bother
SSD: Yes please

$215 - Crucial M4 CT256M4SSD2 2.5" 256GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
Great recommendation.
Patflute - recommended this SSD

*$200 - Mushkin Enhanced Chronos Deluxe MKNSSDCR240GB-DX 2.5" 240GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
Great recommendation, the benchmarks provided seem to indicate this is the better SSD?
JackNaylorPE - recommended this SSD and provided benchmarks
HDD: I've got one picked out - probably won't change it

Patflute - recommended Caviar Blue

*$120 - Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
My original choice of hard drive - still sticking with it.
CD/DVD burner: Just a CD/DVD burner - nothing fancy

JackNaylorPE - recommended an optical drive that reads Blue Ray (but I really don't need it)

*$17 - ASUS 24X DVD Burner - Bulk 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS - OEM
My original CD/DVD Burner choice - I checked out Blue-Ray, but I really don't need it so I'll stick with this one.
PSU: Needs to be 80 plus certified with sufficient wattage + some overhead for upgrades

*$175 - CORSAIR Professional Series HX850 (CMPSU-850HX) 850W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
One of the recommendations pointed me to this - If I want a power supply that will last through a number of upgrades should I go with this or the one I picked out (below)?
JackNaylorPE - recommended the HX series over the AX series below

$200 - CORSAIR Professional Series Gold AX850 (CMPSU-850AX) 850W ATX12V v2.31 / EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Full Modular Active PFC Power Supply
My original choice of power supply. Modular, 80 plus gold certified, 850W
Patflute - "good power supply"
Monitor: Taking suggestions, I don't need 3D

*$205 - ASUS VS248H-P Black 24" 2ms HDMI LED Backlight Widescreen LCD Monitor 250 cd/m2 ASCR 50,000,000:1
No speakers, slightly larger than monitor below.
JackNaylorPE - recommended a monitor without speakers (his recommendation was a 3d monitor though and I don't need that)

$180 - Asus VH238H Black 23" Full HD HDMI LED Backlight LCD Monitor w/Speakers 250 cd/m2 ASCR 50,000,000:1
Speakers, slightly larger than monitor above. I don't really need a monitor that can do 3D.
Speakers: Taking suggestions

geekapproved - "Monitor speakers sound like crap"

$25 - Logitech S-220 17 Watts 2.1 Multimedia Speaker System - OEM
These are the first ones I found - any good?

*$54 - Logitech Z323 30 Watts (RMS) 2.1 Speaker System
I think these are a bit better.
Keyboard: Taking suggestions

JackNaylorPE - recommended a keyboard with an LCD to use for utilities (I don't really need that)

*$72 - Logitech 920-000914 Black 106 Normal Keys USB Wired Ultra-thin Illuminated Keyboard
I believe this doesn't have the mechanical keys - what's the difference between this and the one below?

$72 - RAZER Black Wired BlackWidow Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
Good recommnedation.
Patflute - recommended this item
Mouse: Taking suggestions

Patflute - "get an acutal gaming mouse"

*$58 - Logitech G500 10 Buttons Dual-mode Scroll Wheel USB Wired Laser 5700 dpi Gaming Mouse
Similarly priced to below - I'm liking this one a bit more though.
JackNaylorPE - recommended this item

$60 - RAZER DeathAdder Precision Optical Gaming Mouse - 3.5G Infrared Sensor
Recommendation - this one has an infrared sensor - is the laser better?
Patflute - recommended this item

Current total combined cost of parts: $1916

Patflute, advice +11
geekapproved, advice +5
JackNaylorPE, advice +10

**Edited my post to reflect changes in the proposed build - put my original post was hidden in spoiler, but that looked really ugly so I took it out.
5 answers Last reply
More about 1500 2000 desktop gaming computer suggestions advice
  1. -670 is much better than the 480, while producing less heat and being more energy efficient.
    -Case is a little expensive, but if you really want the looks of it go for it.
    -Sabertooth is very good, but really expensive. If you don't need all the features go with a cheaper Z77 ATX motherboard.
    -I would get 2x4gb memory for dual channel instead of quad channel. Since you have a heat sink I'm kind of worried about the tall heat spreaders.
    -I would use the onboard sound and see if it's good enough for you.
    -OCZ SSDs have a lot of problems I've heard. I would go with the Crucial M4
    -You might want to go with a Caviar Blue instead of Black because of sound, price etc.
    -Good power supply.
    -Might want to get an actual gaming mouse for like $30 more.
    -Suggest this keyboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16823114011
    -Suggest this mouse: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16826153055

    You should use the monitor's speakers and like the sound card, see if you like it or not.
  2. I know that the 670 is better than the 480, but I'm not sure how those two compare with other graphics cards in the same price range - I was just trying to provide a price range for suggestions - if there is a better card around the 670's price range I'd like a recommendation.

    I found a case I like a little more, but it's the same price - so no big change there.

    How's this motherboard?

    I changed the memory to have shorter heat spreaders and took a second look at the heat sink and I'm considering just going with the stock fan.

    The problem with just using the on board sound is that I've only ever used a prebuilt laptop, so the sound is certain to be of a higher quality - what I want to know is if the sound card makes a noticeable difference in the sound quality, and whether or not I should go with the card I listed.

    Good idea on the SSD - I'll go with this one instead.

    I'll stick with the Caviar Black hard drive.

    Thanks for the suggestions on mouse and keyboard.

    I'd like to know if the monitor is okay for gaming, and with the speakers I just want to know if dedicated speakers would provide a noticeable boost in the sound quality.
  3. There's no better card than 670 in that price range.

    The Extreme 4 is an excellent choice.

    You don't want 2GB ram sticks, you want 4GB sticks, so get a 2x4GB kit.

    The only reason for a soundcard would be if you do some high end recording or you have some high end speakers.

    Monitor speakers sound like crap and you certainly don't need a soundcard for those.
  4. Links and newegg part numbers are nice, but actual component names are much referred .... saves us from RSI :)

    I'd rather have the 500R

    Save $15 with the MoBo / CPU combo, both great choices

    Hyper 612 is a better cooler

    That RAM won't fit with either cooler. And ya want 2 x 4GB not 4 x 2 GB

    For the GFX the EVGA 670 would be the choice, but gets its bacon fried by the Asus model

    EVGA SC Boost Clock is 1046 outta the box....stable at 1200 Mhz
    EVGA SC gets 3DMark Score of 8691 outta the box and 9443 OC'd
    Idle temp is 29C / load temp is 78C
    Noise is 37 dBA Idle / 43 dBA under load

    Asus TOP Boost Clock is 1137 outta the box .... stable at 1280 Mhz
    Asus gets 3DMark Score of 9340 outta the box and 9839 OC'd
    Idle temp is 30C / load temp is 72C
    Noise is 37 dBA Idle / 38 dBA under load

    That makes the Asus 7% faster outta the box than the EVGA SC, 6C cooler and almost 1/4 as loud under load (every 3 dBA is a doubling of sound level). The FTW is slightly faster than the SC, leaving the Asus model w/ just a 5% performance advantage

    No a $42 sound card doesn't offer anything of significance over the On Board stuff

    The Agility SSD is not exactly a performance leader. The Chronos Deluxe @ same price (but no rebate currently) is equipped with premium toshiba toggle mode flash for extreme long life and performance no other consumer flash can touch.


    Starting on the low end, you have IMFT 25nm asynchronous flash, a budget flash used in the Agility 3, Force 3, Chronos (non-Deluxe model) ..... The final flash type used is 3Xnm Toggle Mode flash from Toshiba, a form of ONFi 2.x without the JEDEC classification. 25nm IMFT is rated for around 5K P/E cycles and 3Xnm Toshiba Toggle Mode flash is rated for around twice as many. Even though we are talking about writing a lot of data for a very long time, the 3Xnm flash will still last even longer. ....

    To sum it all up with a bow on top, [with the Chronos Deluxe]you get amazing performance, extremely long service life and a hassle free low price point on a drive that literally has very little competition in the marketplace.

    For the performance numbers, look here:

    Consider an optical that reads Blue Ray

    Newer isn't necessarily better. The AX series PSU is slightly more efficient than the HX series, however, the HX has better voltage regulation and lower ripple....and it's cheaper.

    I'd pick a monitor w/o the speakers....and I'd go for 120Hz if ya can squeeze the extra into budget

    Not a fan of the Sidwinder and like an LCD so as to use for utilities (i.e display core temps) thereby avoiding them taking up screen space

    Keyboard - $ 100 - Logitech G510 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16823126100
    Mouse - $ 50 - Logitech G500 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16826104318
  5. I just edited my first post to reflect changes I've made to the original system - still looking for suggestions and feedback. I'm really enjoying all the feedback I've gotten already - thanks for helping me out.
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