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Build Review <$1,000 mid level Gaming System

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August 16, 2012 4:37:09 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: Next week or two
Budget Range: < $1,000 (The Lower the better since I want to build up to three of these. At 1,000 each I can do 2 at 700 each I can get all three)
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Very responsive email and browsing system (Wife's Usage) and A good gaming/programming/school system (Kid's)
Are you buying a monitor: No, Also no need for Speakers, Keyboards, Mice, memory readers, etc...
Parts to Upgrade: None, building a completely new system as the currect system will be repurposed.
Do you need to buy OS: No
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: MicroCenter, there is a local one so I will most likely get everything there all at once.
Location: Dallas, Texas
Parts Preferences: I prefer Intel CPUs, just my preference due to bad luck with prior AMD systems
Overclocking: Yes (4.2-4.5)
SLI or Crossfire: SLI, maybe in the future
Your Monitor Resolution: 1920 x 1080 on 2 systems and 1600 x 1200 on one
Additional Comments: Quiet is good. Does not need to be showy. I want the ability to upgrade to high end GPU (Dual GT 670 SLi) and i7 in the future as needed.
And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: The current systems are extremely old and have been upgraded to the limit, My Son and Daughter are starting to play more demanding games. My Wife wants email and browsing to be INSTANT :) 

A long time ago I built all my systems, hen came a period in my life where it did not save me much money compared to pre built systems. I became a loyal Dell customer, and for the most part the systems met and exceeded my needs and Dell was reasonable to work with. However I had an extremely bad experience with Dell recently that made me reconsider being a customer of them, much less a loyal one. So now I am back looking at the option of building a PC and taking the opportunity to teach the kids and have them build it with me as well.

I have done a few days of research and put together my starting point build.

Since I have not built a systme from the ground up in years I would like for the folk's here at Tom's to review my build and give me feedback especially in the following areas (in no particular priority):

1 - Similar components for lower price
2 - Are the components I have capable of supporting upgrades to high end GPU, faster RAM, higher end CPU
3 - Are the components selected suitable for overclocking
4 - Will the compnents work together electronically and physically

Here is my starting point build (All prices are MicroCenter)

Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO Universal CPU Cooler $29.99
ASRock Z77 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Z77 ATX Intel Motherboard $84.99
Intel Core i5 3570K 3.4GHz LGA 1155 Processor $189.99
Corsair Carbide Series 300R Mid-Tower ATX Gaming Case $73.96
Corsair Vengeance Series 2x8GB DDR3-1600 PC3-12800) $119.98
Crucial m4 CT128M4SSD2 128GB SATA 6.0Gb/s 2.5" Internal Drive $94.99
HGST Deskstar 7K1000.D 500GB 7,200RPM 32MB Cache $64.99
Gigabyte GV-N550WF2-1GI NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti $137.36
OCZ Technology 750 Watt Fatal1ty Series Modular AT $104.99
LG 12x Internal Blu-ray Disc Player and DVD Writer $59.99

Total without Tax $961.13

Thanks

Kevin


August 16, 2012 4:58:56 PM

Your build looks good excpet you have a low end GPU; if you are going gaming and investing that much money, get a GPU like one of these:

ZOTAC ZT-50203-10M GeForce GTX 570 (Fermi $299
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GV-R787OC-2GD Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB $299
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB $299
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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August 16, 2012 5:12:05 PM

avenseth12 said:
Your build looks good excpet you have a low end GPU; if you are going gaming and investing that much money, get a GPU like one of these:

ZOTAC ZT-50203-10M GeForce GTX 570 (Fermi $299
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GV-R787OC-2GD Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB $299
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB $299
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


I want the ability to upgrade to a better GPU (maybe a christmas or birthday present) but since I want to build 3 systems I chose to keep on the low end. The games targeted for these systems includes WoW, Guild Wars II and Minecraft (Running both server and client and coding new mods). My kids are not picky about running at lower detail etc.. to get reasonable response.

Is the 550 I chose not capable of WoW, Minecraft and the upcoming Guild Wars II?

Kevin
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August 16, 2012 5:21:26 PM

Yes without question, the 550 will run wow withouth any problems on medium settings, you should get about 60 fps on average. I cannot speak about minecraft but I dont think it will be a problem. As I was saying for spending about $1,000, I would still look into a more performanced based GPU. Think about something like this then:

ASUS ENGTX560 TI DCII/2DI/1GD5 GeForce GTX 560 Ti $239
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAPPHIRE 100355L Radeon HD 7850 2GB $239
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For the additional amount of money you will not be sorry. I put that sapphire card in my wife's build. She has the same CPU has you do and her performance in WOW is awesome. She was running this card before:
SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 6850 1GB $149
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August 16, 2012 5:23:12 PM

16gb of RAM is overkill. Get 8gb for all systems unless you plan on doing heavy video rendering.

Get this PSU. It's truly a steal for the price/performance...

Corsair Professional HX750W
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=38649&vpn=CMPSU-750HX&...

Keep in mind, the gtx 660ti has been released. It's a strong performer at the $300 price point.

GIGABYTE GV-N66TWF2-2GD GeForce GTX 660 Ti
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Benchmarks for the 660 Ti ===> http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-660-ti-...

Also, email and internet browsing is more dependent on internet bandwidth rather than hardware specs. A strong 4 core ivy bridge CPU with intel's hd 4000 integrated graphics would be perfect your wife's computer. No need for a dedicated graphics card if she doesn't plan on doing heavy gaming. Also, no need for an overclockable CPU for any computer that won't be doing any heavy gaming.
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August 16, 2012 6:37:19 PM

A i3 would even be fine for what she's doing, no reason to really go overboard.
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August 16, 2012 7:04:16 PM

So far I am planning on dropping the memory down to 8GB, changing the PSU to the Corsair Professional HX750W (Although that one does not seem to be available at Micro Center)

I am contemplating the GeForce GTX 560 Ti or the Radeon HD 7850 2GB.

On the memory is it worth going from 1600 to 2133 especially considering overclocking.

I am going to stay with the i5 Considering that my kids will use my wife's system to game on and when we have friends over for LAN gaming it will be used as well. Also it is only 189.99 at MicroCenter.

So far it looks like I will have to order from different places to get a reduced price.

Anyone with experince on the Corsair 300R case. wil the components I have fit well in it. can the higher end GPUs fit in it as well (680 etc...)

Thanks for all the info so far.

Kevin
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August 16, 2012 7:37:46 PM

Kevin,

Just built my first ever in June - a very similar situation. Here's my suggestions:

1. Case: HAF 912 - ($20 less). It will hold all your parts then some
2. RAM: 8GB is fine. For the ASRock z77 & 3570k 1.5 volt seems to be the best compatible . FYI. ASRock site has all 'approved' RAM listed.
3. GPU: I have a reused HD 6850 that I suggest you look at. Does everything it needs to. I was going to buy at HD 7850 December-ish. I'm going to wait for now- I can do EVERYTHING i want with my MSI HD 6850 PE/OC. AND i have not overclocked either the CPU or GPU - again, no need ... yet.
4. PSU: I built my system for possible SLI/CF in the future (with the 7850 in mind). I have a PC Power and Cooling Mk III, 600 watt. It's silent and runs all my stuff. Currently I am planning on upgrading a single PSU next year - NO dual GPU. I've decided dual GPU price for performance is just too much for me. But I'm cheap.

That said: Thrifty suggestions:

1. Microcenter CPU & Mobo combo's can't be beat - PERIOD. I got what you're looking at for just under $300 - POST TAX. You have to go to the store to pick them up.
2. I took a couple weeks and gathered my items (Microcenter, Amazon & newegg are tax free and shipping free with the right deals). Amazon prime ??
3. pcpartpicker.com nice place to look at prices too
4. http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/high_end_gpus.html

#4 is a nice website for GPU benchmark and cost data. It's tough for me to suggest a GPU for 4 months of use ... MY 6850 is turning out to be a much longer solution that i thought it would.

5. SSD Rocks ! My wife has no idea what it is, but she loves the INSTANT on (under 30 sec off to on w/ password entry) and crazy fast surfing, apps ... Crucial M4, Samsung 830, and Intel 330 all great buys. I would not go below 120 GB and personally have a 180 GB which i LOVE !!

Good Luck.

ps. The CPU cooler was trickier than i thought it would be to install. And connecting the case to the MOBO was a complete pain in the ass !!
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August 16, 2012 7:53:07 PM

The Corsair case you listed (300R) will support the video cards you want
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