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First Gaming PC ~$1200

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  • Systems
Last response: in Systems
June 17, 2012 7:58:01 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: Within the month

Budget Range: $1200, give or take a couple hundred

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Internet

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Mouse, OS, HDD, Optical Drive

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Amazon, Newegg

Country: Canada

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1200

Additional Comments:

Item list so far:




CPU Cooler: in need of suggestions !




Case: Antec 302 Mid Tower

Total ~$1140 + shipping

I'll take any input, as this is my very first build. Thanks !

More about : gaming 1200

June 17, 2012 8:15:33 AM

CPU fan: get the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO.

GPU: If you want to spend that kind of money for a GPU, get the EVGA GTX 670 FTW. It performs better at the same price point.

PSU: I will avoid Cooler Master PSU's. They put labels in them that does not best represent its capabilities. Also, you only need a 550W PSU if you are not SLI'ing or xFire'ing. I suggest xfx core edition 550W.

The rest of your choices are good.

Try looking at these websites too and see if the parts you listed are cheaper: and Both those websites will give you free shipping for orders over $50.
June 17, 2012 4:03:44 PM

Thanks ! I took your suggestions into consideration.

If I were to overclock it - say 4.2GHz - would I need to alter my build in any way ?

And theres 4 RAM slots on the mobo, does it matter where i place the RAM on there ? Will the CPU cooler interfere ?
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June 17, 2012 6:54:07 PM

Wouldn't go for the 7950 right now. The GTX 670 kills it in performance with it being the same price.

As for the overclock, no you wouldn't need to change anything.

For the PSU go with this one, only $60 after the promo code.

Yes it will for dual channel but it shouldn't interfere with the Hyper 212 Evo. Just look at your manual.
June 17, 2012 6:57:43 PM

No need to change in any way (including my previous suggestions of course).

I noticed you didn't list what RAM you were going to buy. I would suggest 8 Gb (2 x 4 Gb) of DDR3 1600 1.5V RAM. Something like the G-Skill Ripjaws or Mushkin Blacklyne Frostbyte. If you have either one of those two, it should not interfere with the CPU cooler installation.

For RAM placements, check your MoBo manual. It is usually slots 1 and 3 (again, check the manual).

No, you don't need two. If you plan to go past that, you may need a better CPU cooler. Something like the Noctua NH-D14.
June 17, 2012 7:02:41 PM

^ IDK, the Hyper 212 Evo is pretty capable. I have the Zalman Performa X10 and I've pushed my i5 2500K to 4.8GHZ with still solid temps.

I've heard many using the i5 2500K getting it up to 4.6ghz on the Hyper 212 Evo/+. So with the heat issues of Ivy, I'm guessing 4.5 or 4.4ghz it'd still be alright.
June 17, 2012 8:07:46 PM

aznshinobi said:
^ IDK, the Hyper 212 Evo is pretty capable. I have the Zalman Performa X10 and I've pushed my i5 2500K to 4.8GHZ with still solid temps.

I've heard many using the i5 2500K getting it up to 4.6ghz on the Hyper 212 Evo/+. So with the heat issues of Ivy, I'm guessing 4.5 or 4.4ghz it'd still be alright.

IDK man. I guess it depends on the chip. Ivy Bridge gets very hot once you add voltage.,%20Vary...

Test Bed: i7 3770k + Intel all in one liquid cooler

In their test bed, they were able to reach a stable overclock of 4.4 GHz at 1.05V which is close to the base. Temps are not going crazy then.
However, when they added voltage, once you get to 1.2V, temps are getting dangerously close to the 90 degree mark.

Also considering that different chips will OC differently, I think I will be uncomfortable with just the EVO. It might be just me though.
June 17, 2012 8:42:41 PM

On Ivy Bridge, if looking for more than moderate OC's, I wouldn't be using a budget cooler....the Hyper 612 PWM is the lowest I'd go

The 7950 gets toasted by the 670

Guru3D uses the following games in their test suite: Hard Reset, COD-MW2, Far Cry 2, ANNO 1404, Metro 2033, ANNO 2070, BFBC2, BF3, Crysis 2, AvP, Lost Planet 2. Total fps (summing fps in each game @ 1920 x 1200) for the various options in parenthesis (single card / SL or CF) are tabulated below along with their cost in dollars per frame single card - CF or SLI:

Card - Cost ( Single / 2-way SLI /CF ) $ / Frame - $ / Frame SLI/CF
GTX 680 - $ 500 ( 989 / 1578 ) $ 0.51 - $ 0.63
680 DCII Cu TOP - $ 520 ( 1077 / NA ) $ 0.48 - ERR
GTX 670 - $ 400 ( 917 / 1539 ) $ 0.44 - $ 0.52
670 DCII Cu TOP - $ 430 ( 999 / 1679 ) $ 0.43 - $ 0.51
7970 - $ 480 ( 872 / NA ) $ 0.55 - ERR
7970 DCII Cu - $ 580 ( 924 / NA ) $ 0.63 - ERR
7950 - $ 400 ( 746 / NA ) $ 0.54 - ERR

In the table above for example, the Asus 670 Cu DCII TOP costs $430 each and gets 999 fps in single card configuration at a cost of $0.43 per frame and 1679 in SLI at a cost of $0.51 per frame. The AMD cards w/ NA did not complete all games in the test suite. This should be resolved in an upcoming driver fix. The nVidia card w/ NA was not tested in SLI.

The 7950 has some decent overclocking headroom, but no where near enough to catch the 670 TOP. Here's a comparison of the Asus 670 TOP and the 7970 TOP (Big brother to the 7950)
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
Asus 7970 TOP Core Clock: is 1000 MHz outta the box, stable at 1250 MHz
Asus 7970 gets 3DMark Score of 8280 outta the box and 9680 OC'd
Idle temp is 32C / load temp is 69C (before OC)
Noise is 37 dBA Idle / 39 dBA under load

Avoid the low budget Mushkin Enhanced Chronos and get the Mushkin Chronos Deluxe with long lasting, extreme performance premium toshiba toggle mode flash...and I'd strongly advise moving up to the 120 GB model

consumer' SSDs come in three flash flavors. 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) and a few other drives that in our testing perform at around the same level as last year's SF-1200 controlled drives when filled to 50 percent capacity. A majority of drives use IMFT 25nm synchronous flash; Vertex 3, Force GT, S511 and so on.

Synchronous flash, also called ONFi 2.x is really the first step for enthusiasts, especially now that prices have really dropped. 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.

Move up and grab the $370 MoBo / CPU combo for just $5 more

$90 is a lot to pay for a 650 watt PSU .... unthinkable when it has Coolermaster label on it....and 650 too small if ya add a 2nd card.

$95 XFX Core Edition 750 after $25 MIR

$94 Corsair TX750 after $10 and Promo (10% off w/ promo code CorsairPSUJun12, ends 6/20)

Case is a bit light for twin cards if SLI is a consideration

Can get a Antec 900 V3 for same price ($120 - $40 off w/ promo code CEMCNDJG22, ends 6/19)

And theres 4 RAM slots on the mobo, does it matter where i place the RAM on there ? Will the CPU cooler interfere ?

yes, it matters and no, it won't interfere with the low profile memory.
June 17, 2012 9:27:49 PM <------ Free Shipping on orders over $50* <------ review of that Gigabyte GTX 670 OC w/benchmarks <----- review of that Gigabyte GTX 670 OC w/benchmarks <----- another look at that Asrock board down below along with a link to the latest bios $64.11
Antec Three Hundred Two Mid Tower Gaming Case 302 ATX 3X5.25 6X3.5INT Front USB3.0 & Audio $85.44
Antec HCG-620M 620W ATX12V Modular SINGLE-RAIL 48A 80PLUS Bronze 135mm Fan Active PFC Power Supply $127.44
ASRock Z77 Pro 3 ATX LGA1155 DDR3 CrossFireX 2PCI-E16 1PCI-E1 2PCI SATA3 HDMI USB3.0 Motherboard $244.40
Intel Core i5 3570K Unlocked Quad Core Processor LGA1155 3.4GHZ Ivy Bridge 6MB Retail $29.79
Coolermaster Hyper 212 Evo Direct Touch 4 Heatpipe Heatsink AM2 AM3 LGA1366/1155/1156/2011 120MM $54.43
G.SKILL F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR Sniper SE 8GB 2X4GB DDR3-1600 CL9-9-9-24 1.5V Memory Kit $111.76
Kingston SVP200S3/120G 120GB SSDNow V+200 SATA 3 2.5 Solid State Drive $402.10
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 OC 980MHZ 2GB 6.0GHZ GDDR5 2xDVI HDMI DisplayPort PCI-E Video Card

Total: $1,123.47