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2012 Gaming Rig - 2000$ budget / Please advice!

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July 18, 2012 10:35:42 AM

Hello everyone,

I'm looking to build myself a new gaming rig this year and considering the new stuff that is out or is planned to come out in the near future I'm honestly a bit uncertain about my decisions. I would like to receive the communities thoughts and feedback and hopefully that will help me decide.

Important aspects I'm looking for:
- estimated budget is ± 2.000$ (I'm in the EU so the costs will only be approximate)
- upgrade possibility in 2 years
- will be used 90% for gaming, other activities will be limited to some Photoshop and programming.
- flawless gaming performance for the immediate future
- good bang/buck ratio :) 

Here is what I am inclined to getting:
Intel Core i7 3820 3.6 GHz box, 2011
Gigabyte GA-X79-UD3
8GB DDR3 2133MHz CL11 Dual Channel Kit - not sure about the brand yet, Giel seems to be more available in my region.
2x Sapphire Radeon HD 7850 OC 2GB DDR5 256-bit
Noctua NH-D14 SE2011
Corsair Enthusiast Series Modular TX850M
CM Storm Trooper

I will be using the HDD's, SDD's, optical, etc. from my old rig.


Things i'm worried about:

1) I'm all for bigger is better but the thought that i would be throwing money out the window does not sit well with me. I've seem quite a few articles and forum posts where it seems clear that for gaming porposes an i5 2550K is more than enough, anything above is overkill and all extra costs a better directed towards GPU performance. On the other hand, I'm always willing to pay a little extra if it's worth it.

2) I would like to be able to do an upgrade in the future. So having a 2011 socket motherboard with 3rd gen PCI slots, high speed RAM seems important in my oppinion. Also I'm thinking that if I go with a 1155 motherboard at this time, perhaps in 2 years it would have to be replaced in order to do a serious upgrade.

3) Dual mid-level GPU seems the way to go. Low price and good performace... right?

I hope I didn't miss anything. I look forward to your comments and recommendations.
Thanks in advance for your help!
a b 4 Gaming
July 18, 2012 11:12:06 AM

2011 is a nonononononono, NO. You gain nothing. Next Gen of Cpus will Change Socket but any Ivy Bridge will last you atleast 3 years maxing everything.

Always get the Best Gpu you Can Afford, also getting a cheap 60gb ssd as your main os drive is a must at that budget. It Does Wonders.
July 18, 2012 11:34:32 AM

chulex67 said:
2011 is a nonononononono, NO. You gain nothing. Next Gen of Cpus will Change Socket but any Ivy Bridge will last you atleast 3 years maxing everything.

Always get the Best Gpu you Can Afford, also getting a cheap 60gb ssd as your main os drive is a must at that budget. It Does Wonders.


Hey! Thanks for the quick reply.

Now that you mention it, not starting with dual GPU makes sooo much sense. I don't know what i was thinking.
Indeed, SSD's are a must! I've been using them since they first came out. I had some problems with A-Data and some Corsair models but the instability of the older models was worth the speeds and access times! I could never go back to HDD for my OS partition.

About the socket... So if i stick to Ivy for now, what happens in 3-4 years? Wouldn't I have to replace the motherboard and along with it, maybe everything else? I don't see a big price difference between going 1155/i7-3770k or 2011/i7-3820. So in the long run wouldn't it be in my advantage to get 2011 now?

Could you please elaborate?

Thanks again for your advice. It is much appreciated!
Related resources
a b 4 Gaming
July 18, 2012 11:48:35 AM

just get ivy bridge. next to no gaming performance increase with 2011. get a i5 3570k as i7 has no increase in gaming performance.

for the motherboard, id get gigabyte z77x-ud5h

2133mhz is a no-no. get regular 1600mhz memory. 2133mhz memory often runs at 1.65v which is out of intel recommendations and that 2133mhz with cl11 has no performance increase.

for the GPU, just get a gtx670 from asus or evga

for power supply, pick up a xfx xxx 750w (one with grey fan) power supply. better than tx series and the xfx is made by seasonic
July 18, 2012 12:05:59 PM

TheBigTroll said:
just get ivy bridge. next to no gaming performance increase with 2011. get a i5 3570k as i7 has no increase in gaming performance.

for the motherboard, id get gigabyte z77x-ud5h

2133mhz is a no-no. get regular 1600mhz memory. 2133mhz memory often runs at 1.65v which is out of intel recommendations and that 2133mhz with cl11 has no performance increase.

for the GPU, just get a gtx670 from asus or evga

for power supply, pick up a xfx xxx 750w (one with grey fan) power supply. better than tx series and the xfx is made by seasonic


Hello and thanks for the reply.

Interesting stuff about the RAM. I will seriously take that into consideration.
Unfortunately XFX is not available in my region and Seasonic is a tad expensive compared to Corsair. Would Seasonic be the way to go?

As i asked chulex67, if i do decide to stick with 1155 socked motherboard, what happens in 2-3 years? Won't I need to replace all the components in order to keep the gaming performance? That is one of the firs things i would like to avoid.

Thanks again for your advice.
a b 4 Gaming
July 18, 2012 12:50:04 PM

no. cpus nowadays dont do much with game performance. the graphics card is the big thing. that is why you buy a k chip so you can overclock to get more cpu performance. all the CPU needs to do right now is to balance a graphics card

eventually 1155 will be replaced by 1150 the next year and so on. the same thing would happen to 2011 but its just a bit slower
July 18, 2012 1:16:24 PM

TheBigTroll said:
no. cpus nowadays dont do much with game performance. the graphics card is the big thing. that is why you buy a k chip so you can overclock to get more cpu performance. all the CPU needs to do right now is to balance a graphics card

eventually 1155 will be replaced by 1150 the next year and so on. the same thing would happen to 2011 but its just a bit slower

Ok, so after some consideration here are the components i think i will stick with:
- Corsair Dominator rev. A 8GB DDR3 1600MHz CL9 Dual Channel Kit
- Gigabyte Radeon HD7970 OC WindForce 3GB DDR5 384-bit or Asus GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II Top 2GB DDR5 256-bit
- CM Storm Trooper
- Corsair Enthusiast Series Modular TX850M
Please correct me if you think these components are not OK.

The total cost for the above is aprox. 1.528$

Moving along to the CPU and Motherboard.

Scenario #1. I go with the above recommendations.
Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB
i5 3570K 3.4GHz
=== Total cost is 622$

Scenario #2. I go against the above recommendations.
Gigabyte GA-X79-UD3
Core i7 3820 3.6 GHz box
=== Total cost is 732$

This is my dilemma, isn't the 110$ difference worth it? Isn't the i7 3820 clearly better overall and aren't the capabilities of the X79 motherboard worth the investment for the future?

Or what you are trying to tell me is that an over clocked i5 3570k si better than an i7 3820 for gaming?
But if so, wouldn't I just be able to buy something like an i7 xxxxK when the prices are a bit lower in 1-2 years?

Sorry for so many questions. I'm having a tough time understanding all this.
Thank you for you patience.
a b 4 Gaming
July 18, 2012 2:25:06 PM

dominator doesnt fit under heatsinks either. get gskill ripjaws or mushkin blackline ram/ much cheaper solutuion

get the asus 670

id rather get a haf xm case

hell no with the 850w. get a xfx xxx 750w psu. 750w is more than enough for 2 670s and a ivy bridge or sandy bridge e chip. the xfx is also semi-modular making cabling easy


id get the ud5h without the wifi. the wifi isnt worth 30 dollars given that its just a expansiuon card

the i5 3570k can beat the i7 3820 in games at stock clocks.. i7s have no performance increase in games. it might even decrease it. not to mention that the i7 3820 cant overclock.
July 18, 2012 3:07:00 PM

he has already said that xfx isnt available in his region. Corsair psu is made by seasonic too, but unless you are gonna do crossfirex or sli in the future I would stick with like a 650w and a 750w to 850w for sli and crossfirex. Also AMD 7000 cards are getting new lower prices and with the new drivers they are suppose to do well, so maybe something to look at. Now a 7970 is only like $30 more than a 670, and comes with free games, so all said and done it is cheaper and just as good as the 670. Also, the 3820 is 4 core so not much of a gain, IMO not worth the extra $110.
a b 4 Gaming
July 18, 2012 3:54:58 PM

calguyhunk said:
CPU: $220 Core i5-2500K

Board: $180 ASUS P8Z77-V

RAM: $94 G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB

HDD: $70 Western Digital 500GB

ODD: $18 LG SATA DVD Burner

GPU: $1040 2X EVGA SuperClocked GeForce GTX 680

HSF - $31 COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO

PSU: $135 CORSAIR TX850 V2

Case: $90 Corsair Carbide 300R

Total - $1879 :D 

Will prolly be closer to 2000 dollars in the EU :( 



1; swap the 2500k for a 35700k. PCI-E 3 and more speed
2:a gigabyte z77x-ud5h has a ton more features than the z77-v but for around the same price point
3: 2 670s are about as fast but you can save 200 dollars. the ones i recommend is the asus directu2 670s (dual slot) or the evga ftw 670s
4: id get a xfx xxx 750w instead. 850w is overkill as i said before
5: im pretty dam sure that they dont have any 300r s in the EU
July 18, 2012 4:11:11 PM

1. I hate heat. If you want high clocks, you're better off with the Sandy unless you want H2O and that then increases the cost and complexity. The 'speed' is not perceptible in the real world anyways. The heat to me kills the deal tbh ;) 

2. Yeah, but you can also do with a $125 Asrock Extreme 4 if you want features at a low price.

3. Both are wayyy overkill for a single monitor system. @spasme - Get a 680 now, OC it and wait for games to become more demanding :p 

4. Absolutely, but again, even 650 is technically enough for a 680 SLi, but it's a question of temps. And I hate heat in my system which reduces it's life expectancy. If the price differential between 750 and 850 ain't much, it makes sense to go with 850 IMO. :) 

5. What 'bout 400R? :p 
a b 4 Gaming
July 18, 2012 4:17:09 PM

the heat problem is kinda bull. it doesnt exist until you get 4.5ghz or when you raise the voltage by a small chunk. at 4.2ghz (no voltage increase), it performs like a sandy bridge at 4.5ghz. i dont think that a 4.2ghz ivy is hotter than a 4.5ghz sandy

dude, the difference between a 670 and a 680 is around 5-8% tops. it isnt worth 100+ dollars

they have 400r. that works
July 18, 2012 4:23:24 PM

TheBigTroll said:
1; swap the 2500k for a 35700k. PCI-E 3 and more speed
2:a gigabyte z77x-ud5h has a ton more features than the z77-v but for around the same price point
3: 2 670s are about as fast but you can save 200 dollars. the ones i recommend is the asus directu2 670s (dual slot) or the evga ftw 670s
4: id get a xfx xxx 750w instead. 850w is overkill as i said before
5: im pretty dam sure that they dont have any 300r s in the EU


Why do you keep telling him to get XFX, it's not available in his region. On that note Silverstone, Seasonic, Antec, and Corsair are all good quality brands, even some OCZ PSU are good (recommended by Jonny Guru).
July 18, 2012 4:35:38 PM

nowadays newer cpu won't affect too much when it comes to raising performance in games as much as gpu did... even my i5-750 is still very good at games while its stock speed only 2.66 ghz.. so depending on what parts you might take... the difference could be bigger...

case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
COOLER MASTER HAF XM - $130

cpu: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Intel Core i5-3570K - $230

mobo: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
ASRock Z77 Extreme4 - $125

ram: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
G.SKILL Sniper Low Voltage Series 8GB - $50

hsf: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus - $20

xtra fan: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
COOLER MASTER R4-BMBS-20PK-R0 - $12

psu: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
OCZ ZT Series 650W Fully-Modular - $80

gpu: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
EVGA 02G-P4-2676-KR GeForce GTX 670 FTW LE - $390

total: $1037 after rebate excluding shipping

i'm not so sure about getting higher speed ram... as most testing shows that it yield very little performance increase in gaming performance... and since u said that 90% of your usage will be on gaming... then i think even 1600mhz ram already enough... this is when you really need to deeply consider how you want your pc to be in the next 2-3 years... do you wanna have room for upgrade? or you want to use the system until its outdated in performance and replacing everything altogether? u want to sli overclock? i would always keen on getting single powerful gpu rather than two cards as former would be less affected by driver performance and stability compared to the latter.. assuming that you won't sli/cfx you don't need a huge psu at all... even 650 watts unit can get you enough power with mildly overclocking... and if you know that you won't need these and that.. you don't even need such a large case... why buy those features that you won't even use? you can pack your gaming pc into a smaller package.. you can save some space as well...i mean by getting a micro-atx board and case instead of typical ones... so on those parts you really need to deeply consider... you pc can even last up to four or five years with just gpu upgrade with the system... so depending on resolution you're playing at... single monitor 1080p not require sli/cfx to play smoothly...
a b 4 Gaming
July 18, 2012 6:09:12 PM

sorry. didnt see the post
July 18, 2012 6:57:03 PM

Delirious788 said:
he has already said that xfx isnt available in his region. Corsair psu is made by seasonic too, but unless you are gonna do crossfirex or sli in the future I would stick with like a 650w and a 750w to 850w for sli and crossfirex. Also AMD 7000 cards are getting new lower prices and with the new drivers they are suppose to do well, so maybe something to look at. Now a 7970 is only like $30 more than a 670, and comes with free games, so all said and done it is cheaper and just as good as the 670. Also, the 3820 is 4 core so not much of a gain, IMO not worth the extra $110.

Hello and thanks for your input!

I will be doing dual GPU on this rig in the future, as I mentioned I'm interested in a configuration that will be upgradeable in 2-3 years. That is the main reason I'm pushing more for a 2011 socket.

The HD7970 and GTX670 are very close in specs and price. I can get the 7970 for $21 less, plus I cant seem to find a GTX670 from Gigabyte so I guess I will be sticking to the HD7970 :) 

Indeed the i7-3820 not a big step up from the i5-3570k but it is on a 2011 socket and that might be an advantage when the upgrade time comes.
July 18, 2012 7:03:32 PM

calguyhunk said:
CPU: $220 Core i5-2500K

Board: $180 ASUS P8Z77-V

RAM: $94 G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB

HDD: $70 Western Digital 500GB

ODD: $18 LG SATA DVD Burner

GPU: $1040 2X EVGA SuperClocked GeForce GTX 680

HSF - $31 COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO

PSU: $135 CORSAIR TX850 V2

Case: $90 Corsair Carbide 300R

Total - $1879 :D 

Will prolly be closer to 2000 dollars in the EU :( 

Hello and thanks for your reply.

As i mentioned previously i will not be needing any HDD or SSD, I will be taking my 2x WD400GB Black, 2x WD1TB Black and 80GB Corsair SSD from my old rig.

I've been searching and researching for a proper case for some time now and apparently the CM Storm Trooper has almost everything I need.

The question i have concerning the setup you mentioned above is, what will happen with it in 3 years? There is not much you can upgrade there, right?

Thank again for your input!
July 18, 2012 7:13:21 PM

calguyhunk said:
1. I hate heat. If you want high clocks, you're better off with the Sandy unless you want H2O and that then increases the cost and complexity. The 'speed' is not perceptible in the real world anyways. The heat to me kills the deal tbh ;) 

2. Yeah, but you can also do with a $125 Asrock Extreme 4 if you want features at a low price.

3. Both are wayyy overkill for a single monitor system. @spasme - Get a 680 now, OC it and wait for games to become more demanding :p 

4. Absolutely, but again, even 650 is technically enough for a 680 SLi, but it's a question of temps. And I hate heat in my system which reduces it's life expectancy. If the price differential between 750 and 850 ain't much, it makes sense to go with 850 IMO. :) 

5. What 'bout 400R? :p 


1) I know its not the way to go but I am choosing by CPU based on the specs and upgrade-ability of the Motherboard.
2) I'm quite partial to Gigabyte so i think i will either be the Z77 or X79, bit definitely a Gigabyte board.
3) Isn't a GTX670 or a HD7970 enough for the near future?
4) I will be doing dual GPU and the price difference is not that big so I think 850W is the safe choice.
5) I don't think anything could change my mind on the case choice. The shipping from CASELABS is too much, the CM Cosmos II is crazy expensive so the CM Storm Trooper is what i'm "stuck" with. I'm looking for a case with plenty of room inside, good build and dust filters everywhere - the CM S.T. comes closest.
a b 4 Gaming
July 18, 2012 7:17:54 PM

670 is more power efficent and performs the same as the 7970

id still recommend getting 750w as 850w is too much. a 670 at full load wont use more than 150w. get the 750w if you want to save some space since there are extra cables that you will have to hide with the 850w compared to the 750w

do you happen to have the hx750w in your area because it is the next best or just as good as the xfx i mentioned earlier. the hx750w also has modular cabling making cabling much much easier
July 18, 2012 7:23:32 PM

phenom90 said:

i'm not so sure about getting higher speed ram... as most testing shows that it yield very little performance increase in gaming performance... and since u said that 90% of your usage will be on gaming... then i think even 1600mhz ram already enough... this is when you really need to deeply consider how you want your pc to be in the next 2-3 years... do you wanna have room for upgrade? or you want to use the system until its outdated in performance and replacing everything altogether? u want to sli overclock? i would always keen on getting single powerful gpu rather than two cards as former would be less affected by driver performance and stability compared to the latter.. assuming that you won't sli/cfx you don't need a huge psu at all... even 650 watts unit can get you enough power with mildly overclocking... and if you know that you won't need these and that.. you don't even need such a large case... why buy those features that you won't even use? you can pack your gaming pc into a smaller package.. you can save some space as well...i mean by getting a micro-atx board and case instead of typical ones... so on those parts you really need to deeply consider... you pc can even last up to four or five years with just gpu upgrade with the system... so depending on resolution you're playing at... single monitor 1080p not require sli/cfx to play smoothly...

Yes, i most definitely want room for an upgrade, that is the main or only reason i'm pushing for a 2011 socket Motherboard.

I would like to start with a single HD7970 but a 850W PSU so that when the time comes I could get a second HD7970. Do you think the HD7970 is good enough for now?

I have chosen the Storm Trooper mostly for the dust filters and build quality. Shipping from CASELABS is too much, the CM Cosmos II is crazy expensive so the CM Storm Trooper is what i'm "stuck" with. I'm looking for a case with plenty of room inside, good build and dust filters everywhere - the CM S.T. comes closest.

Your input is much appreciated. Thanks!
July 18, 2012 7:31:41 PM

TheBigTroll said:
670 is more power efficent and performs the same as the 7970

id still recommend getting 750w as 850w is too much. a 670 at full load wont use more than 150w. get the 750w if you want to save some space since there are extra cables that you will have to hide with the 850w compared to the 750w

do you happen to have the hx750w in your area because it is the next best or just as good as the xfx i mentioned earlier. the hx750w also has modular cabling making cabling much much easier

The HX750 is at the same price as the TX850M. Still think i should get the 750w? :) 
a b 4 Gaming
July 18, 2012 7:46:39 PM

spasme said:
The HX750 is at the same price as the TX850M. Still think i should get the 750w? :) 
either one is fine the HX750 is fully modular and silver plus rated edit- just noticed the TX850M i think that one is modular as well


a b 4 Gaming
July 18, 2012 8:17:00 PM

its not quite fully modular. it still has the cpu 8 pin and the 24 pin attached which is fine
a b 4 Gaming
July 18, 2012 8:19:42 PM

TheBigTroll said:
its not quite fully modular. it still has the cpu 8 pin and the 24 pin attached which is fine
thanks for the correction i checked and your right my neighbor has that PSU i could of sworn it was fully modular guess not :lol: 
July 18, 2012 8:26:05 PM

upgrade wise in the CPU and MB area, here might be something to think about...

you can go with a 3570K and Z77 mb for $600 and in 2-3 years you can get a 5570K(whatever is after haswell) and Z97(two gen after Z77) mb for $600 as an upgrade
or
you can get a 3820K and x79 mb for $700 and in 2-3 yrs get a 4930K(Ivy bridge extreme, 6 core, 1 gen old) for $600, or 5820K(haswell extreme, 4 core) and x89 mb(next after x79) for $700.

Now of course this is all speculation, but I know you can probably buy the latest mainstream high end(5570K and Z97) for the same or cheaper than the one and only next upgrade option for the x79 and it would probably be better than the x79 upgrade. Also it would be cheaper and just as good as the low end of high end/extreme series. Of course it is all a guess and impossible to tell what lies ahead in 2-3 yrs for pcs, but something to think about. Also in 2-3 yrs there might be new ram and a new set of GPUs out, hard to say.
July 18, 2012 11:14:57 PM

spasme said:
Yes, i most definitely want room for an upgrade, that is the main or only reason i'm pushing for a 2011 socket Motherboard.

I would like to start with a single HD7970 but a 850W PSU so that when the time comes I could get a second HD7970. Do you think the HD7970 is good enough for now?

I have chosen the Storm Trooper mostly for the dust filters and build quality. Shipping from CASELABS is too much, the CM Cosmos II is crazy expensive so the CM Storm Trooper is what i'm "stuck" with. I'm looking for a case with plenty of room inside, good build and dust filters everywhere - the CM S.T. comes closest.

Your input is much appreciated. Thanks!


if you're looking for case that has full dust covers.. i would instead choose between these two cases instead of the trooper.. but that just my personal preference..

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
COOLER MASTER HAF XM - $130

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Corsair Obsidian Series 550D - $140

it may not have the size of the trooper... yet it is still very roomy inside... enough for sli/cfx configuration... go check out the review... personally i won't buy cosmos ii
if a hd 7970 still not enough... i really don't know what else will... okay... about pushing for 2011 socket motherboard.. lets say you are going to upgrade for the new 6 cores cpu... the price of the cpu only would costs more than the next haswell cpu plus mobo combined if assuming it retain the same price bracket as ivy bridge now... go look for the 3930k price... cpu only already costs $569....
July 19, 2012 3:10:00 AM

spasme said:
Hello and thanks for your reply.
The question i have concerning the setup you mentioned above is, what will happen with it in 3 years? There is not much you can upgrade there, right?

spasme said:

I know its not the way to go but I am choosing by CPU based on the specs and upgrade-ability of the Motherboard.


Both are equally upgradeable. The 3570K upgrades to the 3770K and the 2500K upgrades to the 2600K or the 2700K ;) 

The performances are the ~same. But the 3000 series Ivy bridge runs much hotter for the same clock speeds. Google Ivy Bridge heating issues, Ivy running hot etc. and you'll know what I'm talking 'bout. Not just the forum posts but reviews from leading websites as well.

But both will serve you well and if you're not wanting to wait for Haswell, go ahead and get the Ivy. As I said, if you're not into getting really high clocks, it shouldn't matter. But with a $200 board, it's a shame not trying to do a 5.0+ :p 

If you're only looking at 4.5 as mentioned by the 14 year old kid, get whatever, but remember, even at that speed, it'll run hotter than the 2500K @ 4.5.

\My 2 cents.
!