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$2000 Budget Gaming PC - Intel or AMD

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August 23, 2012 5:03:04 AM

I'd like a rig as powerful as a budget in the $2000 range allows. I plan to use it primarily for gaming and movies. Intel or AMD: I don't have a preference. I would like to see various configurations for both. I live in the northeast of the US and I don't have a retail preference. I already have a monitor, keyboard and mouse.

CPU - Whatever will provide the best performance. Would you recommend overclocking?
Motherboard - One that's reliable and will complement the selected CPU. Bonus if you can find one with 8 RAM slots.
Video Card - Whatever will allow me to run the latest games maxed out for the foreseeable future. CrossFire or SLI? Maybe.
Sound Card - Optional, but I'd be interested to see which one you'd recommend.
RAM - I'm not sure what kind to get but I would like to have them in increments of 8 GB to have the option of maxing out at 32 GB.
Hard Drive - An internal drive with as much space and speed as possible.
Optical Drive - Blu-Ray Burner.
CPU Cooler - I'd like something that does the job well but doesn't cost too much.
Case - I'm not interested in flashy colors, lights or doodads, but I would like quiet yet effective fans, space for future upgrades and a healthy amount of USB 3.0 ports.
Power Supply - Enough to cover additional power consumption of future upgrades.
Operating System - Windows 7. I'm not sure whether to get Home, Professional or Ultimate.
Other - WiFi/Bluetooth.

Any additional advice would be appreciated. Thanks for your time.
August 23, 2012 5:19:16 AM

First of all, go here: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/forum1.php?config=tom...

If you want the best parts your money can buy then buy this:
CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($324.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: NZXT HAVIK 140 90.3 CFM CPU Cooler ($58.98 @ Outlet PC)
Motherboard: Gigabyte G1.Sniper 3 EATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($267.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($44.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($204.98 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($79.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($399.36 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($399.36 @ NCIX US)
Case: NZXT Phantom (White/Red) ATX Full Tower Case ($128.98 @ Outlet PC)
Power Supply: NZXT 1000W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $2049.61

*This PC is extremely overkill for 1080p gaming...it will last you a LONG time even if an extremely heavy games comes out.

*The 1000w PSU is because you might want to add a third GTX670 so you can play games @5760x1080 (Triple monitors) although 2 GTX670s are decent for 5670x1080

*This rig has a lot of overclocking potential

*The on-board sound of that motherboard is out of this world, it will literally let you hear enemies behind you (with the proper headset or sound system) or the most unnoticeable foot steps.

*You can do heavy video editing thanks to the i7 and it will let you "future-proof" your PC a little bit more because when next gen consoles come out the new games will be optimized for 6/8 cores letting them take advantage of the i7's Hyper threading.

*The SSD is lighting fast so you can load all your games faster than anyone.

*The Case is REALLY good looking.

if you have any questions let me know ;) 

August 23, 2012 5:40:13 AM

What is your monitor's res, and do you plan on upgrading it anytime soon?
Related resources
August 23, 2012 5:46:23 AM

azeem40 said:
What is your monitor's res, and do you plan on upgrading it anytime soon?

I was planning to use my 1080p LCD TV as my monitor for the time being. I would like a high res monitor but I didn't want it to eat up my budget. What monitors would you recommend?
August 23, 2012 5:51:45 AM

bwserenity said:
I was planning to use my 1080p LCD TV as my monitor for the time being. I would like a high res monitor but I didn't want it to eat up my budget. What monitors would you recommend?


For this kind of build i highly recommend you something like the Asus VG278H witch is a 3D Vision 2 monitor...simply the best 3D monitor in the world for gaming.
August 23, 2012 5:52:10 AM

In that case, stick with one GPU.
August 23, 2012 5:54:17 AM

azeem40 said:
In that case, stick with one GPU.


Wohoa... wait, do you know by how much 3D reduces the performance???? by a lot dude.
August 23, 2012 5:57:10 AM

azeem40 said:
In that case, stick with one GPU.

Although I do plan on getting a high res monitor at some point, if I were to stick with just one GPU, which one would you recommend?
August 23, 2012 6:02:07 AM

idroid said:
Wohoa... wait, do you know by how much 3D reduces the performance???? by a lot dude.

3D does not alter the fps you get in a game. I doubt something the monitor allows you to see will affect fps. 120Hz at any fps is smooth.
August 23, 2012 6:05:59 AM

azeem40 said:
3D does not alter the fps you get in a game. I doubt something the monitor allows you to see will affect fps. 120Hz at any fps is smooth.


WHAAAAT???????? stereoscopic 3D (in worst case scenario) can cut your fps in half and most of the times it reduces it by almost 30%
August 23, 2012 6:08:55 AM

3D is twice as taxing on the pc, it essentially halves the frame rate
August 23, 2012 6:11:50 AM

crisan_tiberiu said:
gtx 670
radeon hd 7970

What's the difference between a GeForce and a Radeon? The Radeon you recommended appears to be the best of its kind while the GeForce isn't. Which of the two would you recommend?

azeem40 said:
Touche. However, you brought up 3D. How do you know he wants to game in 3D?

While I would hesitate to rule it out, I can't say 3D is high on my list of priorities.
August 23, 2012 6:12:10 AM

Touche. However, you brought up 3D. How do you know he wants to game in 3D?
August 23, 2012 6:15:22 AM

At $2k budget, you can get a 2560x1440 monitor.
August 23, 2012 6:37:48 AM

Yeah, and I'd much rather buy a 2560x1440 monitor for the viewing area.
August 23, 2012 6:38:24 AM

azeem40 said:
Touche. However, you brought up 3D. How do you know he wants to game in 3D?

Me personally, I freely admit that I'm a nerd, but even I'm not nerdy enough to wear those ridiculous 3D glasses.
August 23, 2012 6:39:49 AM

Agreed. As far as the OP's quandary about 7970 or GTX 670, my vote is going to be a Sapphire 7970 GHZ Edition of course. And my advice about whether to Sli/Crossfire either of them would be to start with one card at first, and see if that meets their needs before dropping $400-450 on a 2nd one.
August 23, 2012 6:43:06 AM

nekulturny said:
Me personally, I freely admit that I'm a nerd, but even I'm not nerdy enough to wear those ridiculous 3D glasses.


Whyy??? i am not a nerd and i am seriously thinking in a getting a 3D monitor, even if i don't game that much
August 23, 2012 6:45:00 AM

So you don't even have it and are recommending he get it? 3D is something someone has to see to believe.
August 23, 2012 6:46:59 AM

idroid said:
First of all, go here: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/forum1.php?config=tom...

If you want the best parts your money can buy then buy this:
CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($324.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: NZXT HAVIK 140 90.3 CFM CPU Cooler ($58.98 @ Outlet PC)
Motherboard: Gigabyte G1.Sniper 3 EATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($267.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($44.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($204.98 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($79.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($399.36 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($399.36 @ NCIX US)
Case: NZXT Phantom (White/Red) ATX Full Tower Case ($128.98 @ Outlet PC)
Power Supply: NZXT 1000W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $2049.61

*This PC is extremely overkill for 1080p gaming...it will last you a LONG time even if an extremely heavy games comes out.

*The 1000w PSU is because you might want to add a third GTX670 so you can play games @5760x1080 (Triple monitors) although 2 GTX670s are decent for 5670x1080

*This rig has a lot of overclocking potential

*The on-board sound of that motherboard is out of this world, it will literally let you hear enemies behind you (with the proper headset or sound system) or the most unnoticeable foot steps.

*You can do heavy video editing thanks to the i7 and it will let you "future-proof" your PC a little bit more because when next gen consoles come out the new games will be optimized for 6/8 cores letting them take advantage of the i7's Hyper threading.

*The SSD is lighting fast so you can load all your games faster than anyone.

*The Case is REALLY good looking.

if you have any questions let me know ;) 


I support most of what idroid suggested except the ram and have a caveat on the graphics cards.

The Corsair Vengeance does not overclock very well and the standard clock speed is not particularly good. I would suggest getting the G.Skill Ares or G.Skill Ripjaws ram kits. They fit the 8gb per stick you were looking for and come in at 1866mhz and 2133mhz respectively.

I will say this now, at this moment in time, unless you do much virtualization, you do not need 16gb of ram. However, with the new consoles rumored to get 4gb of ram and with the current ram requirement spread between consoles and PC (min. 4gb on PC to the console max of 512mb) its entirely possible you WILL need that much ram when the new consoles come out. Not guaranteed by any stretch of the imagination, but it is possible.

The graphics card situation is a bit more complex. If you are only doing one monitor, even if it's 2560x1400, you aren't likely to need more than one graphics card. For top performance at such a resolution, you only need a flagship (GTX 680 or 7990) at most. However when you start doing multimonitor gaming or 3D gaming then you start needing the second card.

With 3D gaming, you need a setup capable of producing twice the framerate necessary for smooth gameplay. With multimonitor setups, you need a minimum of 3 monitors (since two monitor gaming is effectively useless for all but Left 4 Dead).

In that case it's better to go with two high end cards rather than flagships to save some money.

So unless you plan on buying two or three new monitors or a new 3D enabled one, you're better off with just a GTX 680 or 7990.

August 23, 2012 6:47:09 AM

idroid said:
Whyy??? i am not a nerd and i am seriously thinking in a getting a 3D monitor, even if i don't game that much

Well, part of it was a joke, but for me, I wouldn't do it, I have an issue with migraines, I lack medical insurance to see if I have a brain tumor (I doubt I do though, but it would explain a lot wouldn't it? lol), but 3D gaming is known to cause eye strains and headaches in the first place in some people. So someone with a migraine issue shouldn't be doing it. Aside from that, I just don't really see that its *that* cool to play in 3D.
August 23, 2012 6:53:49 AM

i am not a nerd and i am seriously thinking in a getting a 3D monitor, even if i don't game that much
August 23, 2012 6:54:29 AM

azeem40 said:
So you don't even have it and are recommending he get it? 3D is something someone has to see to believe.


Who said i haven't used 3D?
August 23, 2012 6:57:39 AM

azeem40 said:
i am not a nerd and i am seriously thinking in a getting a 3D monitor, even if i don't game that much


I'm a nerd and I hate cheese.

Seriously, this is a silly discussion point...
August 23, 2012 6:59:30 AM

guardianangel42 said:
I'm a nerd and I hate cheese.

Seriously, this is a silly discussion point...

Agreed.
August 23, 2012 7:02:40 AM

Does anyone have any alternative builds in mind? Are there any fans of AMD?
August 23, 2012 7:04:42 AM

bwserenity said:
Does anyone have any alternative builds in mind? Any fans of AMD?

I like AMD, but I'll give it to you straight. At your price range, if you want an AMD product in your computer, the video card is going to be it. Theres no CPU in AMD's lineup that really would be a better choice at your level. FX-8150s are as good as it gets on the AMD side of CPUs atm, while most games are perfectly fine, there are some that they really stumble on. One should only consider AMD FX if they know what they're getting into and accept the Dr. Jeckel and Mr. Hyde nature of them.
August 23, 2012 7:08:33 AM

Hey when you said that an i7 would be better for hyperthreading to utilize more cores in the future, wouldnt it be better to buy an i5 for now, because it will be cheaper and better to buy one in the future, than to try and future proof now, thats what Ive heard about future-proofing.
Ive heard games rarely utilize 4 cores now, but please correct me if Im wrong.

What do you guys think of the MSI Power edition GTX 670. Its the one im getting, heard it runs very cool, ive heard people get 1400mhz+
August 23, 2012 7:10:41 AM

If you want my opinion on a build, this is what I would do in your place:
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/fpsi

And this video card (its not on PC partpicker for some reason), and I would just get one for now, see if you're happy with it before ordering a 2nd:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Yes, I went with an i5, I don't really think the i7 is necessary. No game will see a real advantage with it for the extra cost, and even productivity work, an i5 is good enough for the average joe.
August 23, 2012 7:12:19 AM

It is a great GPU. Get it.
August 23, 2012 7:15:02 AM

Quote:
wouldnt it be better to buy an i5 for now, because it will be cheaper and better to buy one in the future, than to try and future proof now, thats what Ive heard about future-proofing.
Ive heard games rarely utilize 4 cores now, but please correct me if Im wrong.


In my opinion, you nailed it correctly. HyperThreading has been around for several years, hardware in many cases is very much ahead of the software technology that runs on it. We've had 64 bit operating systems and CPUs for several years too, and yet still a lot of programs are 32 bit. Google Chrome and Firefox web browsers for example.
August 23, 2012 7:25:15 AM

re: overclocking

It seems Ivy Bridge Intel CPUs are problematic to overclock because they trap the extra heat due to the way they were made. Are they worth the trouble or should I go with a comparable Sandy Bridge one instead? What are the major differences between Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge?
August 23, 2012 7:30:59 AM

There is a performance increase, although from what I've seen, an SB at 5.2ghz is better than a 4.8ghz IB, which in that test they couldnt really overclock much higher. But very minimal, In the test, a SB oc .2 higher is about the same preformance.

I dont think they overheat, just run hotter and are tougher to oc to exact SB levels.
But stock, IB is definetly better. I think the differences are only apperent in the very high 4ghz.
August 23, 2012 7:33:08 AM

bwserenity said:
re: overclocking

I just read that the Ivy Bridge Intel CPUs make overclocking problematic because they overheat. Should I get one of them and not overclock it or should I go with a comparable Sandy Bridge one instead?

Eh, it is true that Ivys run hotter. Although, its not really problematic no, contrary to knee-jerk reactions that I myself initially subscribed to. They've been out long enough that enough people have em, theres just no evidence to suggest that theres any more risk overclocking them than there is associated with taking any other CPU beyond its factory specifications.

As far as Sandy Bridge. The equivalent is the 2500K. My honest opinion is that based on performance, no there isn't a real reason to pay more for an Ivy. I recommended one in my build just because I didn't feel like having an argument with anyone who might decide to say "oh buy the Ivy cus its newer and shtuff" lol. But since you asked specifically,

Benches have proven that Ivy Bridge has no real advantage over Sandy. Productivity accross the board is about 6% average in favor of Ivy (which is extremely insignificant). The Ivy touts lower power consumption at stock speeds, however under overclocking conditions they have proven to be just as power hungry as Sandy. So lower power consumption is not really a selling point for the K model CPUs. Ivy does have native PCI 3.0 support, however, again, the gains over PCI 2.0 is marginal, by the time it will matter, it will be time to think about doing a new build anyway. So its up to you, you really can't go wrong either way.
August 23, 2012 7:34:04 AM

bwserenity said:
re: overclocking

I just read that the Ivy Bridge Intel CPUs make overclocking problematic because they overheat. Should I get one of them and avoid overclocking or should I go with a comparable Sandy Bridge one instead? What are the major differences between Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge?


There are no major difference between IB and SB in the i7 lineup IB offers a little bit more performance in HT aplications...but that's it. clock per clock IB is SLIGHTLY faster than SB.
August 23, 2012 7:36:25 AM

bwserenity said:
Does anyone have any alternative builds in mind? Are there any fans of AMD?


I hope you're not a fanboy... if you're then your just stupid (no offense) fanboyism besides being the most nerdish thing you can be (witch is negative for the ladies) simply "blinds" you because you lose all your judging objectivity.
August 23, 2012 7:50:43 AM

If you can find a HD 7970 Ghz edition with a custom cooler cheaper than a GTX 680, get it.
August 23, 2012 7:53:27 AM

idroid said:
I hope you're not a fanboy... if you're then your just stupid (no offense) fanboyism besides being the most nerdish thing you can be (witch is negative for the ladies) simply "blinds" you because you lose all your judging objectivity.

There's a difference between being a fan (Mr. Example: "I prefer AMD to Intel.") and being a fanboy (Mr. Example: Intel blows and AMD rocks!). I don't know enough about them to have strong feelings either way. I was just looking for someone that could offer up an alternative AMD build that was comparable to your Intel one.
August 23, 2012 7:58:14 AM

bwserenity said:
There's a difference between being a fan (Mr. Example: "I prefer AMD to Intel.") and being a fanboy (Mr. Example: Intel blows and AMD rocks!). I don't know enough about them to have strong feelings either way. I was just looking for a fan that could offer up an alternative AMD build that was comparable to your Intel one.

Yea, well this AMD fanboy is telling you Intel is the better option for your needs and budget. :lol:  If you want a build I can put one together, but I'd basically be changing only 2 things on the build I already linked you with.


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

Mobo- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
August 23, 2012 7:58:56 AM

is the 7970 worth over the 670?
I mean I know the 670 was designed to go against the 7950, but its performance is nearly neck to neck to the 7970, and does better in many games. You can get physx with a cheap dedicated card, but it is a nice extra.
August 23, 2012 8:02:41 AM

xtwiinky said:
is the 7970 worth over the 670?
I mean I know the 670 was designed to go against the 7950, but its performance is nearly neck to neck to the 7970, and does better in many games. You can get physx with a cheap dedicated card, but it is a nice extra.

That actually has changed recently, thanks to AMD's recent driver updates.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6025/radeon-hd-7970-ghz-e...

AS far as Physx, meh, like 5 games that anyone actually plays uses it. But, no I don't think you'd go wrong either way picking a GTX 670 or 7970. They're both bad ass cards, no dispute about it. GTX 680s aren't really worth the cost over the 670 though, they barely outperform em for a ton more in cost.
August 23, 2012 8:04:45 AM

nekulturny said:
Yea, well this AMD fanboy is telling you Intel is the better option for your needs and budget. :lol:  If you want a build I can put one together, but I'd basically be changing only 2 things on the build I already linked you with.


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

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

The AMD CPU you linked to has eight cores while the Intel ones only have four. Are there any advantages to having more cores?
August 23, 2012 8:08:16 AM

bwserenity said:
The AMD CPU you linked to has eight cores while Intel ones only has four. Are there any advantages to having more cores?

The "problem" with the FX 8 core is that it has more cores that individually perform worse. Most games use only 2 cores, slowly but surely more games are coming out that use 4 cores, but even then, like I said, the 8 cores individually perform worse than Intel's quads. Most games are completely limited by the video card, but there are some that are CPU intensive and the FX-8150 will take a beating on.

Like I said, one has to be aware of their 2-faced nature and know what they're getting into before I'd be comfortable recommending one. If you had a lower budget like $800 or so, I'd recommend a Phenom II in a heartbeat over an i5 in favor of going heavier on the video card, since like I said, most games are GPU bound. But the Phenom IIs despite being a generation older than AMD's FX have much more consistent performance.
August 23, 2012 8:18:16 AM

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

Would the 6 GB version of the 7970 GHz Edition be worth the extra money?

Not really no. The only difference in that one is that is has twice the VRAM (video memory). This would in theory allow you more pixel power to drive larger or multiple monitors, however the regular 7970 with 3GB of VRAM already packs enough of a punch to effortlessly drive several monitors. Theres no real advantage from the 6GB VRAM, because the GPU (Graphics processing unit) is still the same as the regular version. If you really needed the 6GB VRAM, it would be more cost effective just to spend a little more and get a 2nd regular 7970GHZ edition and double up on your GPU power while doubling your VRAM. Sapphire is a great video card company, but I really don't know what they were thinking building that Toxic thing.
August 23, 2012 9:14:05 AM

his ice-q 7870 $239
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6814161404
h77 mobo $74.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6813135306
I5 3570 $214
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6819115233
2x 4gb gskill ares $43.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6820231544
rosewill capstons 450W gold $69.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6817182066
90gb ocz ssd $69.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6820227757
seagate 750gb 7200rpm hdd $59.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6822148702
slverstone tj-08 $109
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6811163182
lg dvd burner $18.59
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6827136247
120mm fan
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6811999346
sub$1k build price in Can, u could adapt to oc if necessary
August 23, 2012 10:14:01 AM

lordofdeath242 said:
his ice-q 7870 $239
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6814161404
h77 mobo $74.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6813135306
I5 3570 $214
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6819115233
2x 4gb gskill ares $43.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6820231544
rosewill capstons 450W gold $69.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6817182066
90gb ocz ssd $69.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6820227757
seagate 750gb 7200rpm hdd $59.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6822148702
slverstone tj-08 $109
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6811163182
lg dvd burner $18.59
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6827136247
120mm fan
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6811999346
sub$1k build price in Can, u could adapt to oc if necessary


Eww... that sucks.
August 23, 2012 10:22:23 AM

lordofdeath242 said:
his ice-q 7870 $239
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6814161404
h77 mobo $74.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6813135306
I5 3570 $214
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6819115233
2x 4gb gskill ares $43.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6820231544
rosewill capstons 450W gold $69.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6817182066
90gb ocz ssd $69.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6820227757
seagate 750gb 7200rpm hdd $59.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6822148702
slverstone tj-08 $109
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6811163182
lg dvd burner $18.59
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6827136247
120mm fan
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6811999346
sub$1k build price in Can, u could adapt to oc if necessary


This guy is spamming this, posted the same thing on my build with a gtx670..

!