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Tips on First Computer Build ($1500)

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June 20, 2012 5:51:55 PM

Hey guys I am building my first ever computer with a budget of approximately $1500. I have compiled a list of parts which I think are pretty nice, but I would like to receive some expertise advice from knowledgeable people before I go ahead and order the parts.

List as follows :

XFX HD-697A-CNFC Radeon HD 6970 - Graphics card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel i5 2500K - Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
(this is currently a Sandy Bridge processor but I've heard Ivy Bridge is better so I don't know which one to choose)

GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX - Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB - RAM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR Professional Series HX850 - Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" - Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS Black 12X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA - CD/Blu-ray Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case with Upgraded USB 3.0 - Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS VW246H - Monitor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total Cost w/o shipping = $1351.91 (including mail-in-rebates etc.)


I've based these parts with the idea to build an ultimate entertainment/gaming PC which theoretically could handle anything thrown at it except maybe Crysis 2 maxed out. Any feedback or suggestions on what I can improve or overlooked (i.e incompatible parts) will be appreciated! Thanks.
a b B Homebuilt system
June 20, 2012 6:10:31 PM

I like everything about the build, but if your budget is $1500, you can spend $60 more for a GTX 670:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This will give you performance close to a 7970 or a GTX 680 for that matter and help you meet your goal of an ultimate entertainment/gaming PC. The GTX 670 is a great card. Check out its performance relative to the 6970:

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/NVIDIA/GeForce_GTX_6...
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/NVIDIA/GeForce_GTX_6...

Everything else you've chosen is solid.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 20, 2012 6:14:35 PM

I'm going to start recommending a little practice; there are so many cheap old systems for sale on craigslist for less than $50 it makes sense to get one and take it apart and see if you can put it back together and get it to post. Also might as well get a z77 board since they're virtually the same price, so you won't have to flash the bios if you ever upgrade to ivy bridge. Here's one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 20, 2012 7:52:59 PM

You have picked some quality manufactures however the Video card, CPU, & Motherboard are last generation parts.

- I would suggest replacing the Z68 motherboard with a Z77 (ivy bridge)

- Replace the Intel I5 2500k with an Intel I5 3570K (ivy bridge)

- Replace the XFX HD 6970 (reference) with an XFX HD 7870 (Double Dissipation)


Lets look at it budget / performance wise:

GRAPHICS:
XFX HD 6970 is currently selling for $339 w/ free shipping

Replace with: the XFX HD 7870 which:
- out performs the 6970 CLICK HERE -> http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-7870-revi...
- has double the DX11 Tessellation performance
- Is PCI Express 3.0 compatible (6970 only has PCI Express 2.0)
- has a non-reference Double Dissipation heatsink (thus runs cooler and quieter)
- Costs $319 ($20 less) plus has a $20 rebate and free shipping bringing the cost down to $299

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard:
GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 $139 / $119.99 after rebate + 7.87 shipping = $127.77

Replace with: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard $134 w/ free shipping.
It costs $7 more but it will allow you to use an ivy bridge processor and gives you PCI Express 3.0.
(A very cheap investment for current technology.) Plus the Color Scheme would match the HD 7870 well.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=13-157-...

CPU:
Intel Core I-5 2500k (sandy bridge) $219
Replace with: Intel Core I-5 3570k (ivy bridge) $229 /w free shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The 3570k is more current technology and will offer you a performance boost over the 2500k.

http://www.techradar.com/reviews/pc-mac/pc-components/p...


So this technically would be a faster running machine, with newer technology for $23 dollars less overall.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 20, 2012 8:36:36 PM

I just had an after thought.

If you are sticking with a single video card then that 850 Watt Power supply is going to be way more than you need. At $174 it is going to be one of your main opportunities to reduce costs.

I would suggest going with a 650 Watt or 700 Watt power supply. It will reduce your expenses and will still supply strong current to all of your components.

May want to consider this 650Watt one at $129: (modular)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This 750Watt one from XFX is not bad either at $137 (modular)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Going with a non-modular unit will save some additional $$$ too.

For example: This non-modular Corsair 650Watt power supply is only $89 ($79 after rebate) /w free shipping. Also you can get 10% off w/ promo code CorsairPSU612, ends 6/20 (newegg only)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

However some people really enjoy the benefits of a modular system.

Anyhow either of the modular units I linked above will trim $37 or more off of your budget.
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June 22, 2012 8:16:02 PM

rwayne said:
You have picked some quality manufactures however the Video card, CPU, & Motherboard are last generation parts.

- I would suggest replacing the Z68 motherboard with a Z77 (ivy bridge)

- Replace the Intel I5 2500k with an Intel I5 3570K (ivy bridge)

- Replace the XFX HD 6970 (reference) with an XFX HD 7870 (Double Dissipation)


Lets look at it budget / performance wise:

GRAPHICS:
XFX HD 6970 is currently selling for $339 w/ free shipping

Replace with: the XFX HD 7870 which:
- out performs the 6970 CLICK HERE -> http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-7870-revi...
- has double the DX11 Tessellation performance
- Is PCI Express 3.0 compatible (6970 only has PCI Express 2.0)
- has a non-reference Double Dissipation heatsink (thus runs cooler and quieter)
- Costs $319 ($20 less) plus has a $20 rebate and free shipping bringing the cost down to $299

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard:
GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 $139 / $119.99 after rebate + 7.87 shipping = $127.77

Replace with: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard $134 w/ free shipping.
It costs $7 more but it will allow you to use an ivy bridge processor and gives you PCI Express 3.0.
(A very cheap investment for current technology.) Plus the Color Scheme would match the HD 7870 well.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=13-157-...

CPU:
Intel Core I-5 2500k (sandy bridge) $219
Replace with: Intel Core I-5 3570k (ivy bridge) $229 /w free shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The 3570k is more current technology and will offer you a performance boost over the 2500k.

http://www.techradar.com/reviews/pc-mac/pc-components/p...


So this technically would be a faster running machine, with newer technology for $23 dollars less overall.


I've taken your advice on the motherboard and processor, but I'm not yet sure about the graphics card, I followed your link and although it has a 5 star rating, it only had four reviews. I also looked at the benchmarks and clearly saw that it outdid the HD 6970 hands down but some things might look better on paper. Some of the reviews it had on newegg.com dated back in May so it's not exactly "brand new" so if it's a great card shouldn't it have more reviews? Thanks for all the advice, but I just want to make sure before I invest in the HD 7870.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 22, 2012 10:59:45 PM

r1cefarm3r said:
I've taken your advice on the motherboard and processor, but I'm not yet sure about the graphics card, I followed your link and although it has a 5 star rating, it only had four reviews. I also looked at the benchmarks and clearly saw that it outdid the HD 6970 hands down but some things might look better on paper. Some of the reviews it had on newegg.com dated back in May so it's not exactly "brand new" so if it's a great card shouldn't it have more reviews? Thanks for all the advice, but I just want to make sure before I invest in the HD 7870.
The 7870 is not one of the more popular cards out there because it comes so close to the 7950 which is a bit faster and has a gig more of ram.

Also the HD7950 was released prior to the 7870 so that may have eaten up some of that market segment.

However the 7870's baby brother (so to speak) the 7850 is insanely popular and is considered the second best bang for your buck card on the market right now. (The first being the GTX670).

Check out Tom's Hardware Best Cards for the money the 7870
The 7870 is rated as thee best ~$350 card and the 7850 is rated as the best ~$260 card.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car...

Far as the benchmarks....those benchmarks are dead on and unlike synthectic benchmarks they will translate into real world results.

I would definitely take any of the 7000 Series cards over the 6000 series. The technology improvements are substantial.

I would consider the HD7850 also.

XFX is one of the better graphic card companies out there. There support is very good. Check them out on youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6xWK8G1Abs&feature=relm...

Here is an actual support review from a customer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yypQ8FrPWOs






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July 3, 2012 12:54:49 AM

Best answer selected by r1cefarm3r.
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