First Time Build - Gaming - 1200

This is a first time build. I don't have any experience with setting up a system like this. I am currently using a 4+ year old macbook pro left over from school. So anything new will be an enormous upgrade.

Approximate Purchase Date: e.g.: This week (as soon as I can)

Budget Range: ~1200 all told. This is flexible though.

System Usage from Most to Least Important:
Gaming (SC2, Dota2, maybe some FPS)
internet browsing and video
gaming with concurrent video processing (using something like xsplit)
video format shifting
Light Photoshop usage
audio editing (Acid or something similar)
video editing
office work and possibly some CAD (Revit MEP). Most of this is done by remote server so it's not a priority

Are you buying a monitor: Yes

Do you need to buy OS: Yes

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg,

Location: Iowa City, IA

Parts Preferences: None

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

Overclocking, SLI, and Crossfire: I probably won't be doing any of this immediately, but would like the capability if it's not a large cost increase.

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920 x 1080

What I have so far:

I started with this build:,3159.html

And upgraded some stuff, so I wound up with:

Intel Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor

Gigabyte GA-H61MA-D3V Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard

G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1333 Memory

Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive

Video Card
XFX Radeon HD 6950 1GB Video Card
(a friend recommended the GTX 680(?) and says he's very happy with it, but it's expensive)

Sound Card
(I'm assuming the motherboard has acceptable sound built into it)

Xigmatek ASGARD PRO (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case

Power Supply
Rosewill 630W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply

Optical Drive
LG GH24NS90 DVD/CD Writer

Asus VH236H 23.0" Monitor

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit)

I have some specific questions/concerns in addition to overall feedback
-Will the cooling unit included with the CPU be enough or should I consider something more robust?
-Is skipping a separate sound card a good idea?
-Will the CPU and motherboard play nice? Do i need to upgrade the power supply?

PC part picker link:

I came in under budget, so I'm interested in looking at upgrades that will be a good value. Otherwise, leftover money is always good.

Thank you all in advance for the help.
4 answers Last reply
More about first time build gaming 1200
  1. To use the unlocked CPU's potential, get a board that can OC like the ASRock Extreme3 Gen3.
  2. Get the 3570k CPU, its the Ivy Bridge equivalent of the 2500k (with the typical benefits of Ivy, bit faster, less energy consumption, PCI-3, etc).
    Intel i5-3570k. $230

    H61 is a very old chipset and should only be found in budget or HTPC builds. A Z77 board is what you want for this build and CPU. The AsRock Z77 Extreme4 is what is usually recommended.
    AsRock Z77 Extreme4. $135

    The RAM is double what it needs to be for gaming, but if you video edit a lot it may be worth it.

    Your better of with the HD7850. Again, newer technology, more performance and lower power draw. A GTX680 will perform much better than the 7850, but is very expensive (and kind of redundant with the 670 offering the same performance for $100 less). Best off with the HD7850 unless you can afford the 670.
    MSI Radeon HD7850. $260

    Sound cards are fairly redundant because modern motherboards have fairly good integrated sound nowadays. Only reason to get one is if you have a large and expensive surround system to go with it.

    Haven't heard of that case, just make sure to research it first, make sure its decent and all. Coolermaster HAF series and all Corsair cases are good picks.

    Rosewill is essentially Newegg brand components, so not all that great quality. Go for something from Corsair, Seasonic or XFX. 600-650W for a single card, 750W for dual cards.
    Corsair Enthusiast 650W. $90

    The stock heatsink is nowhere near sufficient for overclocking, definetly get an aftermarket heatsink. This is the go to budget cooler, will easily support moderate overclocks.
    CM 212 EVO. $35

    See above in the build.

    Z77 is optimized for Ivy Bridge, so should be good. No, just brand swap as Rosewill isn't the greatest quality.

    If you have some cash, the easiest way to upgrade a PC's performance is to add an SSD boot drive. It is similar to a HDD, but blazingly fast. Unfortunately the cost/capacity ratio is nowhere near as good as HDD's, so usually the OS and programs go on a small SSD, and mass storage on the HDD. This SSD is the one I personally recommend, its about the fastest on the market.
    OCZ Vertex 4 128GB. $115
  3. That Rosewill PSU is good, but not good value. You say you might CF/SLI, but that PSU cannot handle it. Get a TX750 V2 for $110.
  4. Thank you for the quick reply manofchalk. That's incredibly helpful!
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