Advise Me on New Gaming PC Build $700-$900

Hello! I am getting ready to build a new PC for gaming and basic home use. I would love it if a few people could review my build and offer opinions and advice on where I am going overboard (either by hardware or by price) and where this build could use some upgrading to get the best bang for my buck. Technology just moves so fast, I want to be sure Im not wasting any money here.

System Usage: Mid to High graphics for gaming, some light FRAPSing (maybe), watching movies, surfing the net, nothing special
SLI or Crossfire: Not at this time. (I barely know what it is)
Overclocking: Not at this time. (Again, I've never tried it)
Budget: $700 - $900

First off:
- I have only built two PCs before. The first was a gaming rig in '05 that is still with me as my main PC (the day after I graduated high school), which doesnt even support Shader 2.0, and the second was a general home PC for my mom in 2010. I have never attempted to overclock anything, and doubt I will be doing so this time around.

- I always seem to get excited about games a year or two after they come out. Im looking to build a PC that can run Diablo 3 smoothly, and maybe Skyrim, too. It would also be great if this setup would last me for the next 5 years or so, with minimal upgrades. I am currently playing Starcraft 2 and League of Legends on my girlfriend's laptop, both are on lowest settings.

- I plan on building within the next month, as soon as I am finished moving from TX to AK.

So, after customizing a few PCs on,,, etc. I decided that I could squeeze out some extra power by building my own again. I have $1000 set aside for this PC, but that is my MAX budget. I am more interested in capping this at $800, and saving the rest for games, hidden expenses down the line, and emergencies. Thats pretty much all the money I have to my name, and like a good gamer, Im blowing it all on my passion. =)

I plan on ordering everything from; they have been very good to me in the past.

--The Build!!--

ASUS M5A97 AM3+ AMD 970 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS - $100

AMD FX-8120 Zambezi 3.1GHz Socket AM3+ 125W Eight-Core Desktop Processor FD8120FRGUBOX - $160

EVGA SuperClocked 02G-P3-1469-KR GeForce GTX 560 (Fermi) 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card - $160 (after rebates)

Rosewill RP600V2-S-SL 600W ATX12V v2.01 SLI Ready Power Supply - $60

G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL10D-16GBXL - $80

Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive - $90


Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - $70

Total Cost = $735 (with a little cash left over for Windows 7, SATA wires, new mouse and keyboard, and games. Im not worried about that stuff at this point.)

Edit: I already have a nice 24'' monitor to use, and a 46'' tv that may or may not be used, as well. (Though not at the same time!)

I am really interested in having the 8 core processor, but I dont know if this is really necessary for what I have in mind. I was also reading earlier that 16gig of ram is overkill, so I will probably bump that down to 8gig.

I would like to be loyal to ATI again, but I picked this graphics card because 2 gig > 1 gig. Is there a comparable card in the Radeon HD line for cheaper? I dont know everything about computer hardware, and this was the most confusing part of the build for me. Please advise! I don't know anything about SLI or Crossfire or whatever all that new stuff is called, but I don't think I have incorporated any of it into this build anyways...

So again, please let me know where I am spending too much, either for overkill on power or just price, and where I could spend more money and have it really be worth it. There are just way, waaay too many choices to look at, and still trust myself on making the right decisions. Technology upgrades too fast!

Thank you for all of your feedback! It is really appreciated.
-Tom Thompson (no relation to TomsHardware)
15 answers Last reply
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  1. 1: fx sucks in games. get intel
    2: newegg isnt very cheap
    3:ill include windows in the cost, totaling 800-900

    since you still have another 100 to spare, id get a samsung 830 128gb SSD for 96 dollars at B&H. makes the system go much much faster

    with ssd
  2. Awesome! Thanks for such a quick reply. I will definitely look into this. Can someone briefly explain why Intel beats out AMD for my gaming choice?
  3. you have enough sata cables and pretty much everything you need. you might need a 8pin extension and that is about it

    keyboard that i recommend. the one that i truely would suggest (quickfire pro with red switches) is sold out at newegg (it was 59.99 after MIR which is killer). mech keyboards are wayy better than the standard rubber dome keyboards.
  4. heres a benchmark comparing the 2

    add 6% to the i5 2400 since the i5 3450 is about that much faster
    reduce 2% from the 8150 since the 8120 is slightly slower but then you can overclock it a bit
  5. I recommend you get something like this -

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($209.99 @ NCIX US)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($114.99 @ Newegg)
    Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($38.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.99 @ Newegg)
    Video Card: Asus Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($367.86 @ Newegg)
    Case: Corsair 500R White ATX Mid Tower Case ($101.93 @ Mac Connection)
    Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($19.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Total: $943.73
    (Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
  6. A lot & yes <- Simple as that.
  7. I seem to be seeing a lot of fluctuation on graphics cards. This is the most important part of the PC along with the processor, yes? How much of a difference in performance am I going to see with this 7950 versus the one TheBigTroll recommended in his build?

    Is it really worth it to spend every penny to get the top of the line card?
  8. the 7870 is pretty much the best bang for the buck. to find that ratio, take how many fps you are getting for a particular game and divide it by the cost

    you will find that the 7870 has a much higher ratio compared to the 7950

    and no it is not worth it unless you have a ton of money to blow or you just want the best of the best.
  9. Thanks for the responses, guys. Looks like I have been steered towards the Core i5, and will figure out exactly how much I can spend on something in the Radeon HD 7xxx series. Cheers!

    PS - What would you recommend as a minimum wattage for the power supply? I dont plan on doing any SLI in the near future. Seems like 600w sounds about right.
  10. dude, look at my build. 550w is more than enough for you since you are not doing SLI
  11. K, thanks again.
  12. Here's my recommendation...

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor ($199.99 @ NCIX US)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($32.30 @ NCIX US)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z75 Pro3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($84.99 @ Newegg)
    Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($41.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ Newegg)
    Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($317.86 @ Newegg)
    Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.49 @ SuperBiiz)
    Power Supply: Antec 520W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($53.98 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($14.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Total: $865.57
    (Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-09-03 15:17 EDT-0400)

    With the hd 7950, you can overclock it to speeds similar to that of the GTX 670. I understand you stated you're not comfortable with overclocking, but believe me...the curiosity will eventually consume you.

    I recommend that you don't deny the inevitable...besides, you'll get a huge boost in performance if you overclock the CPU and GPU. There's plenty of youtube tutorials (as well as written ones) to help you along the way.
  13. Way to nudge me along... It does seem like this will be the build for me to delve into overclocking. I guess Im worried I'll do something wrong and break something. Money is always tight with me, so I wont be able to replace expensive parts if I make a mistake. I still have a week or two before the move and build, so I guess I will start reading up on overclocking.

    And thank you all, again, for the great build suggestions.
  14. its pretty hard to break something. there are many failsafes. just dont turn your voltages up too fast or too high and always monitor your temps. you should then be good at overclocking.

    the advance features you probably dont need to touch
  15. Thats good. With you guys reassuring me, I already started to do some light reading on it. Thanks for the support!
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