Building a Gaming Computer

I've been planning on getting a new computer for a while, and today I decided to build my own. I don't really have any experience with this so I'm hoping I can get some advice from you guys.
I'm hoping for something around $1000 that will last for a while. I would use it for gaming and am hoping to be able to get mid-high range graphics out of it for games like Skyrim, Diablo, Crysis, etc.

ASUS Crosshair V Formula 990FX

AMD FX 8-core 8150

EVGA GeForce GTX 550 Ti

Corsair Vengeance 8GB DDR3 1600 MHz RAM

SSD SAMSUNG 830 Series 64GB
HDD Western Digital 500GB 7200 RPM
(SSD for OS, HDD for files; not actually quite sure how that works)

Power Supply Unit
Rosewill HIVE Series HIVE-750 750W

Cooler Master RC-430

I'm open to any and all suggestions! Also I think I might need some more components for the build so if you see that I'm missing something tell me that too.
18 answers Last reply
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  1. for gaming, Ivy Bridge is much better, especially with a $1000 pricetag
  2. I think you're spending too much on the CPU and not enough on the video card for a gaming system.

    The 550 TI isn't horrible, (take it from me, I own one), but you could do a lot better.

    Actually the 8150 could keep up with a 550 TI just fine, but realistically I'd be looking at an 8120 model if you want an AMD FX, they're the same CPU but the 8120 is clocked higher. Since both are fully overclockable, theres no real reason to pay more for the 8150. The FX 8 series are just fine for gaming, and are cheaper than Intel's i5 offerings, they are better yes, but not substantially so actually, contrary to popular belief.

    Another suggestion I would make is not to get an SSD that is 64GB. Its very easy to fill those up, Windows 7 is going to take up almost 20GB in NTFS format, and a single game nowadays can easily take up 10GB. I would either get a minimum 128GB SSD, or skip it entirely.

    The motherboard is also overpriced.. Heres what I would do.

    Mobo- Asus M5A99X Evo- $135

    CPU- FX-8120- $170

    Video card- GTX 480 $220

    Case- Elite 430 $57-TigerDirect will charge you shipping for this, get it from newegg

    RAM- Corsair 8GB $50

    Power- $100 after MIR (Better than the Rosewill)

    HDD- 500GB $75

    SSD- Crucial M4 128GB- $125 (forget it entirely if budget doesn't allow, its purely a luxury item)

    CPU cooler- 212 Evo- $35

    The CPU cooler is a good idea for overclocking, these CPUs can really wake up quite nicely when you overclock.
  3. I dont see a dvd/cd rom drive listed. You could probably save some money on the power supply. A good 400 watt unit will run that graphics card, but I would get a 500 watt anyways. Something like this if you want modular:
    or this if you dont;
  4. I would go for the FX-8120 also. And don't worry the FX CPU's will have no problem at all with any game you can throw at it. I run have mine OC'd to 4ghz with just a 20x multiplier overclock completely stable. I would recommend a good after market heatsink/fan as the one that comes with the FX can get quite loud.
  5. GI_JONES said:
    I dont see a dvd/cd rom drive listed. You could probably save some money on the power supply. A good 400 watt unit will run that graphics card, but I would get a 500 watt anyways. Something like this if you want modular:
    or this if you dont;

    400/500 watts isn't enough for an FX-8 if you overclock.. And if he goes with the GTX 480 i suggested instead, defintely go with a 750 watt.. The changes i made, it will suck gas like an old Ford Pickup with a 460 big block V8, but damn will it haul ass. :bounce:
  6. BTW, GTX 480s, don't be fooled by their price tag, they're a couple years old, and 2 generations behind Nvidias current lineup, but they're still powerhouses. They're more powerful than a 550 TI could ever hope to be. The were originally over $500, they're only so cheap today because they're a couple generations old. They use a ton of electricity, but they'll knock the 550 TI around all day long.
  7. With all due respect; any gaming system that's over $700 in budget that doesn't have a Intel CPU = your doing it wrong [to be blunt].
    Sure, AMD has it's merits but when it comes to gaming performance; their CPUs are left in the dust by Intel.... I hope this changes since more competition = lower prices for us consumers!

    OK! Here are my recommendations:

    CPU: Intel i5 2500k or i5 3570k [2500k - $219.99 + Free Shipping]
    Reason: Great bang for the buck. Absolutely SOLID cpu; will easily last you 2 years. The i5 2500k may be "last gen" at this point, but it's much easier to overclock than the 3570k [if needed/wanted/desired], will easily reach 4.5GHZ on air using a $30-$40 Cooler Master Hyper 212+ EVO aftermarket CPU cooler.

    Motherboard: *Note: I've noticed you picked a $200 Motherboard for your build and you must ASK YOURSELF; do you NEED all of the extra features it offers? Can you live with a slightly more "economic" choice? something around $150? maybe even $120?
    *Note: As a general rule of thumb, I never spend less " than $100 on a Motherboard for gaming PCs.
    *Note: Reason for choosing a cheaper but SOLID motherboard is to open up your budget to more "important" hardware; i.e CPU/Graphics Card/SSD [as boot drive]. <= Now don't get me wrong, motherboard quality is essential to any build, they just have more headroom to work with.

    Choice #1 MSI Z77A-G43 [$105 + Free Shipping]

    Choice #2 ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 [$119.99 + $7.87 Shipping]

    Choice #3 ASRock P67 EXTREME4 GEN3 [$149.99 + Free Shipping]

    *Note: There are very few differences between #2 and #3; #3 has a newer chipset, a e-sata port and a few extra features that you may or may not find useful. Personally, I would recommend the MSI motherboard.

    CPU Cooler: The one and the only; Cooler Master Hyper 212+ EVO [$34.99 + $4.99 Shipping]
    Reason: True and tested design; this is the newer version; hence the EVO.

    Ram: CORSAIR Vengeance 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 [$92.99 + Free Shipping]
    *Note: 16GB of ram will make your system slightly more "future-proof"

    SSD [Boot Drive]: Crucial M4 64GB [$76.99 + Free Shipping]
    *Note: You can also stick with the 128GB version; which is slightly faster and has enough room for your OS, all of your drivers, Apps and a few key/favorite games

    HDD [Storage Drive]: Samsung Spinpoint 1TB [$79.99 + Free Shipping]
    *Note: Great Hard Drive for the price.

    Case: Antec P280 [$119.99 + Free Shipping]
    *Note: Great case for the price; it's classified as a "Super-Mid-Tower" but it's really a Full Size Tower. Offers plenty of cable management, also has noise dampening material on a covers and the front of the case; significantly reduces noise while maintaining good air flow.

    Power Supply: Corsair 650W Enthusiast Series [$89.99 + Free Shipping / Before $20 Rebate]
    *Note: Legendary Corsair Build Quality; True and Tested Design. Need I say more?

    Last but certainly NOT least:
    Graphics Card: AMD 6870 1GB [$179.99 + Free Shipping / Before $20 Rebate]
    *Reason: While the 6870 is last generation; it offers much more performance for the same amount of money than whats available in the current lineup. Also, being older means more mature drivers; the only downside is the large die which means slightly higher power consumption.

    *Note: The reason I chose this version of the 6870 while it costed $10 is the extra fan; I felt this is much effective at cooling the GPU during load hich will also extend the life-time of your hardware.

    Btw, here is a benchmark comparison between the 550Ti and AMD 6870; it's clear which is superior.
    Blue: 550Ti
    Black: 6870

    *Finishing Notes: All this system may need is another hard drive should you need extra storage. Other than that you may need to get a new graphics card 18 months down the road for more performance should you need/want it. This sums up the build. Thanks for reading.

    Hope this helps!
    Happy Gaming!

  8. Quote:
    With all due respect; any gaming system that's over $700 in budget that doesn't have a Intel CPU = your doing it wrong [to be blunt].

    Which is an opinion, not a fact.

    FACT is that most games are limited by the video card NOT the CPU.

    FACT is, that 16GB is stupidly insane overkill for a gamer. 8GB is more than enough.

    FACT is, that using a 6870 with a 2500K is going to be a step down from my build. The 6870 is not as powerful as a GTX 480 (See above statement about video cards being the most limiting factor in the overwhelming majority of the 1000s of games on the market)

    Don't harsh my mellow, I'm drinking and I'm feelin good.
  9. BTW, I own a system with an i5-2400 as well as the build in my signature, sorry to break it to you, but the i5 doesn't do any fancy magic tricks that my Phenom II can't.
  10. Nice double post; you seem to be extremely.... emotionally frustrated??? o_O you almost sound hostile... but that aside.

    Here is a benchmark comparison between the GTX 470 and AMD 6870 [Annandtech doesn't have a GTX480 bench for some odd reason].
    Bench [GTX 470 vs AMD 6870]:
    Spec Sheet [GTX470 vs GTX 480]:
    As you can clearly see; the GTX 470 is on a relatively even playing field against the 6870. And according to these spec sheet comparison between the GTX470 and GTX480; you can safely say that the GTX480 won't be more than 25% faster than the 6870 in best case scenarios. However, please refer to the 470 vs 6870 benchmark comparison; just look at the horrid load temperatures on top of the louder fan noise AND extra power consumption AND this isn't even with the 480; I can only imagine how bad it WILL get. Like PCs that act as a dual Furnace + Jet Engine in ones much??

    Also; he did state in his original post that the SSD is a luxury item and for the most part it is; I recommended him a 64GB version of the Crucial M4 which costs $76.99. By taking this item out, he is able to afford a AMD 7850 2GB. Here is a 7850 2GB Vs 6870 benchmark comparison:

    The 7850 2GB is maybe 5% slower on average [10% in best case scenario] than the GTX480; uses less power, produces less heat, produces less noise. What more can a gamer ask for?? This is the perfect tradeoff. The extra Vram also handles higher texture detail at higher resolutions better.
    I rest my case.... and please don't drink and post next time... for your sake =/

  11. Quote:
    Nice double post; you seem to be extremely.... emotionally frustrated??? o_O you almost sound hostile... but that aside.

    No.. Just drunk.. If your goal is to troll me, you're out of your league lol. If you think I'm a noobie, I apologize since we really haven't met on these forums before. I actually do know what I'm talking about, the simple fact is the 8120 is a viable option, is the 2500k a better CPU? Absolutely, but generally when recommending builds I try to keep in within what the OP wants as much as possible. Had the OP said he wanted a 3570K for example, I would have come back with "get a 2500K".

    As far as thinking I'm hostile, lol.. Actually I'm a very friendly guy, I defer to my previous statement that we haven't met before. Your post put me on the defensive, which I generally do,, even sober btw, when someone feels the need to preface a statement with "with all due respect", that tends to make me feel like what they're saying really isn't that respectful, especially when they're "putting it bluntly".

    Here is a benchmark comparison between the GTX 470 and AMD 6870 [Annandtech doesn't have a GTX480 bench for some odd reason].
    Bench [GTX 470 vs AMD 6870]:
    Spec Sheet [GTX470 vs GTX 480]: [...] &card2=640

    Ah but it does, if one knows where, to look, I'm not that drunk bud.

    Its clearly a better card. I still think you're trying to have the cart before the horse. The overwhelming majority of games are GPU dependent. Either will get the job done, if I'm gaming though, I don't particularly care how loud the video card fan is.. I'm playing a game lol. Thats just me, absent further input from the OP this is where we are. I can say that a buddy of mine on these forums has SLi GTX 480s, he loves them, and no, hes never complained about sound from the fans.
  12. Sorry, I didn't see your last post. I was editing mine. I made some changes; scrapped the 64GB Crucial SSD idea since the original poster said SSD was a luxury item and for the most part it is. I decided to recommend the OP the 7850 2GB instead of the 6870. It's only about 5% slower than the GTX480 on average but uses less power, produces less heat, produces less noise. Less Heat also translates to longer hardware lifetime. There are also cheaper cases I could recommend and also replace the 16GB Ram kit to a 8GB kit [Since it's OVERKILL; according to you] to free up another $100 for a AMD 7870 2GB which is definitely faster than the GTX480. But I felt that it's necessary to have a "solid" gaming case that will last for 5 years minimum since that will also save money in the long run. The extra ram will also come in handy since the PC will not only be used for gaming; would really help when doing heavy multitasking.

  13. Fair enough.. It really makes no difference to me what components the OP goes with, nobody is paying me commission for my input. But I will say I think it erronious to make it sound like the FX CPUs wont get the job done, the simple fact is most of the criticism of them is exaggerated. Too many pinheads (not saying you are one- like I said I don't really know you) seem to forget the fact that most computer monitors are limited to 60FPS, and that benchmarks beyond that are really largely for reference only. Hell, when you watch a movie at the theater, you're only watching it in 24FPS, does it "lag"? Nope. Only the most anal-retentive videophiles will ever notice a difference if the game is running stable at over 40FPS.

    I don't think the GTX 480s heat really affects its hardware lifetime that substantially, even if it did, by the time the heat was actually able to kill it, the computer would be a dinosaur anyway.

    As far as the case, I actually agree with you, I have an NZXT Phantom myself, I paid 130 for it, I well expect it to last me 20 years of computer builds.

    As far as the SSD it was actually me that said it was a luxury item lol.

    As far as the RAM 16GB really is overkill. I'm a multitasking nut, and try as I might, I've never managed to use over 6GB of my 16GB of RAM on my machine per windows task manager.
  14. I have the Antec P280; love it to death, it will be with me for a solid 10 years minimum.

    Actually, I was looking for this thread for some-time now. Benchmarks don't lie my friend.....,3120-9.html

    Quick Edit: Yes.. the 8150 isn't there BUT the 8120 is.... realistically speaking.... i5 still wins by leaps and bounds...
    Quick Edit 2: It's embarassing for AMD how leathal the i3 2100[with HT] when it comes to gaming performance.... it almost tied w/ the 8120...

  15. I've seen that post many times, to me its very flawed for several reasons.

    1. They only tested 6 games at stock speeds and 3 overclocked. Why? Theres thousands of games on the market, of course theres no logical way for a review site to bench them all. Also, 4.0GHZ? The FX-8120s can go to 5.0ghz with little trouble.

    2. Now this is tin-foil hat brigade-ish, so feel free to skip it. But Don Woligroski's conclusions do not impress me, in fact, I wonder whos payroll he is on. (Mr. Woligroski being the person who wrote that article, and probably someone who would ban me from the forums if he ever happened to read any of my posts) Fact is, Intel indeed has a legal track record of bribery and otherwise unethical and illegal business practices, backed up by both FTC and European Union fines. As well as a New York Times investigation in the 1990s which showed that Intel was attempting to influence this website, yes Tom's Hardware to publish favorable reviews for their products (at the time AMD was actually better than Intel if you're too young to remember at 22- I'm not much older btw, I'm 27 myself) Draw your own conclusions, but I have other reasons to take that bench with a grain of salt.

    3. Why didnt Mr Woligroski test the other 3 games for the overclocking benchmarks? He started with 6 in his review. Did he get tired? Lazy? Bored? Why?

    4. Why did he bench them in a single resolution? Its not very comprehensive. Would he have you infer that the results would be consistent as one lowered or raised the resolution?

    5. I understand what Mr. Woligroski was trying to do by using a 7970 (the most powerful video card on the market at the time) in order to not introduce a bottleneck. The problem is, thats not a real world scenario. Most of the CPUs on his list, it would be foolish to pair them with a powerful video card like a7970. If someone is concerned with buying a sub 200 CPU, they're probably not (at least reasonably) going to pair it with a $500 video card.
  16. WOW.. you are taking this way out of proportion..... just wow.... OK I'm walking away from this..... @_@ jez.... think what you want but... I'm done here. And btw, the OP plans to play Skyrim.... once he sees those benchmarks oh man.....

    Quick Edit: It is what it is... it's proven and tested... ppl would notice if the benchmarks were "exaggerated" can't believe your having such a hard time accepting it.... -sighs-

    Quick Edit: The i5 2500k can easily hit 4.7-4.8 on air.... same thing..... and the i5 2400 was on stock speeds =_= how do you explain that

  17. lol.. well I'm sorry you're so bent out of shape. I thought we were having a friendly discussion. This is not a competition to me, like I said, nobody is paying me for my input. If you view this as a competition between whos build the OP picks, well, all I can say is... Whatever, I don't really care lol. As far as Skyrim is concerned, no OC with a GTX 580 in the test setup,3119-4.html

    Perfectly acceptable for fluid gameplay. As I said before, is the Intel i5 better? Absolutely, its more expensive, I damn well expect it to be.
  18. Quote:
    Quick Edit: The i5 2500k can easily hit 4.7-4.8 on air.... same thing..... and the i5 2400 was on stock speeds =_= how do you explain that

    I personally prefer to defer to people who actually own the products when you want to get into the nitty gritty details rather than look at benchmarks. The boyfriend's compute is an i5-2400 with a GTX 460 card, (which is better than my 550 TI), as I said before.. it doesnt do any fancy magic tricks the system in my sig can't.

    . ppl would notice if the benchmarks were "exaggerated" can't believe your having such a hard time accepting it.... -sighs-

    I never said that intel didn't make a better product, in fact I think I stated to the contrary. As far as people noticing, plenty of people have contested those results, now either they're all just fanboy liars, or... something else is going on. Like I said, it makes no difference to me which build the OP uses. Posting on this forum to me is more of a "something to do" activity. Skyrim is a heavily CPU influenced game, and as I said before out of the 1000s of games on the market, the overwhelming majority of them ARE NOt. The OP also mentioned Diablo 3, any modern CPU on the market today can kick the crap out of that game, Crysis will not have a problem either. And just to throw it out there Battlefield 3 multiplayer actually likes the FX-8 series better than Intel, because its the one game on the market that can actually use all 8 cores.
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