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First build $800-1k gaming pc

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September 5, 2012 4:17:16 AM

I've been debating about whether or not to build my own pc for years now, and finally I've committed. Thank you in advance for any advice/suggestions/flames.

Approximate Purchase Date: Between now and 10/31 this year.

Budget Range: Between $800-1,000 USD after rebates/shipping.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming, streaming video, surfing the net.

Are you buying a monitor: Yes, but it will not be included in the budget. Suggestions are certainly appreciated, though!

Parts to Upgrade: I need a case, cpu (maybe w/cooler), motherboard, video card, RAM, HDD, PSU, and a good ol' optical drive. I have a keyboard/mouse/speakers/headset.

Do you need to buy OS: Yes. Windows 7 64 bit.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Pretty much whatever is least expensive. Please note that I'm within driving distance of a Microcenter, so in-store works for me.

Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota, US.

Parts Preferences: No real preferences.

Overclocking: Yes. It would be my first OC, so I'm not going to be pushing 5 GHZ, but as far as I understand overclocking is where you get most of the value of building your own rig.

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe in the future, probably not right now unless somebody has a compelling argument for it.

Your Monitor Resolution: As high as I can get. I would hope to be able to game at a decent frame rate on a 1920x1200, but understand that maybe that's not how life works.

Additional Comments: Currently I'm playing GW2 and CS:GO (I am well aware that I could probably run CS:GO adequately on a toaster), but I'd like a system that has a bit more power and scalability than that for when things come out in THE FUTURE®. I am also not a videophile, so I don't need the games to run on ultra settings for years to come. Just want a decent (40ish FPS at med-high) looking game experience at a good price/performance ratio.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: Because my current PC is basically a line-by-line copy of the minimum GW2 specs, and 10 FPS at minimum resolution with everything disabled is :cry: .


This is the STARTING list I have compiled: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/gAp1

I will provide you my rationale, if any, for each choice. Feel free to set me straight!

CPU: i5-3570.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116504
I know the Ivy Bridge isn't supposed to OC as high as the old Sandy Bridge did, but I'm new to overclocking so I'd probably stop around 4.0-4.2 GHZ anyway.

CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103099

Mobo: ASRock Z77 Extreme 4
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157293
This looks like a good motherboard that'll have room for expansion and will help me with my noob overclocking.

Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 560 1GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125383
I'm not sure this is enough, honestly. I know most gamers would prefer a stronger card. Is this good enough for my goals?

Memory: Corsair Vengeance 2x4G kit
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233180
Only concern is will this fit with a large graphics card?

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black 1 TB 64MB Cache
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136533
I am not planning to include a solid-state drive in this build even for an OS drive. Is it THAT big a jump for MMOs + the occasional shooter?

Case: Cooler Master HAF 912
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119233

Optical Drive: Cheap DVD RW drive.

PSU: Undecided.
I think the above parts would be alright with 500W, but wouldn't it be better to go with 650W for more efficiency/future upgrades? Any reccomendations?

OS: Windows 7 Premium 64-bit for one day going to 16 gigs of RAM. If I need more than that, then I expect I'll probably need to start from scratch anyway.

My local Microcenter can do all that for $815 (w/o tax), though obviously I'd need to add a PSU. Sorry for the long, detailed post. I appreciate any feedback, input, or flames you care to send my way. Thank you in advance, and may all your builds POST.

More about : build 800 gaming

September 5, 2012 4:32:15 AM

I changed some of the things that you have, added a PSU and a better graphics card. Want to take a look?

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/gB5A
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/gB5A/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/gB5A/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($209.99 @ NCIX US)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($32.30 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($114.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($44.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($98.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB Video Card ($299.98 @ NCIX US)
Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.49 @ SuperBiiz)
Power Supply: Corsair 650W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $1020.70
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-09-05 00:30 EDT-0400)

Yeah $20 more than your budget... Do you mind for that $20 extra? lol
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September 5, 2012 4:39:46 AM

If you're within driving distance of a microcenter, then clearly you need to buy your motherboard and CPU there. i5-3570k and i7-3770k is always cheaper in store than anywhere I've ever seen, and then you get $50 off a motherboard on top of that (and your chosen mobo is one of the ones they feature- i think it's $49.99 after the discount).

Also, consider SSD. It makes such a huge difference in the experience. I won't go back to mechanical for the OS/apps drive again.
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September 5, 2012 4:45:26 AM

^ Swap out the GTX660 Ti in ipwner's rig for a Radeon HD7950. They're only $10 more after rebates and will yield more performance.
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September 5, 2012 4:47:54 AM

mocchan said:
^ Swap out the GTX660 Ti in ipwner's rig for a Radeon HD7950. They're only $10 more after rebates and will yield more performance.


Why HD7950? The GTX 660 Ti wins HD 7950 in most cases.
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September 5, 2012 4:53:28 AM

bliq said:
If you're within driving distance of a microcenter, then clearly you need to buy your motherboard and CPU there. i5-3570k and i7-3770k is always cheaper in store than anywhere I've ever seen, and then you get $50 off a motherboard on top of that (and your chosen mobo is one of the ones they feature- i think it's $49.99 after the discount).

Also, consider SSD. It makes such a huge difference in the experience. I won't go back to mechanical for the OS/apps drive again.


The Microcenter CPU+Mobo combo is one of the reasons I selected those two parts, bliq. Why, it's almost enough to counter the gas costs of driving there and back!

As for the graphics card suggestions, allow me to ponder them a little further. I'm not sure I need that much muscle for what I do. Is it really worth paying twice the cost for a gtx 660 ti/7970 versus a gtx 560?
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September 5, 2012 4:55:23 AM

ipwn3r456 said:
Why HD7950? The GTX 660 Ti wins HD 7950 in most cases.

If you're testing between Nvidia sponsored titles, then yes. This may be the case for other titles, but don't forget that the HD7950 has a massive OC potential.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-660-ti-...
925Mhz on the HD7950 listed in this bench isn't anywhere near the max OC potential of the card. I'm trying to find the OC results at the moment between the 660 Ti - 670 - 7950.

**EDIT**
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2012/08/23/galaxy_gtx_66...
Found it.
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September 5, 2012 5:07:38 AM

Kamen_BG said:
The HD 7950 is far FAR better than a GTX 660 Ti.
Here's a realistic comparison between a overclocked GTX 660 Ti vs a stock HD 7950.
http://www.xbitlabs.com/picture/?src=/images/graphics/g...
And here's another one.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-660-ti-...

As you can see the GTX 660 Ti isn't nearly as good as it should be in order to compete with the HD 7950.

I can see the GTX660Ti suffering in the future as well due to its crippled memory interface :(  Still a decent card, however.
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September 5, 2012 5:13:02 AM

Sorry guys, I guess the HD 7950 is better. But the GTX 660 Ti isn't bad either. Let's see which graphics card he wants.
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September 5, 2012 5:16:34 AM

ipwn3r456 said:
Sorry guys, I guess the HD 7950 is better. But the GTX 660 Ti isn't bad either. Let's see which graphics card he wants.


Nothing to apologise about :)  But yes, in the end, it's OP's choice :lol: 
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September 5, 2012 5:29:02 AM

mocchan said:
Nothing to apologise about :)  But yes, in the end, it's OP's choice :lol: 


No, if you want to drop a few hundred dollars on a graphics card for my system, by all means, go ahead! :bounce: 

That said, I have to readdress my question. Is the 660 ti/7950/whatever worth doubling my video card budget? I can get a 560 for about $140 after rebate vs. a 7950 for $310. I just wonder, how much do I need the extra video power for what I want to do?
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Best solution

September 5, 2012 7:03:21 AM

http://www.microcenter.com/product/383857/Three_Hundred... $57.99
Antec Three Hundred Two ATX Mid Tower Gaming Computer Case

http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-80PLUS-Certified-Modular-... $86.00 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Corsair CX 750 Watts 80PLUS Bronze Certified Modular ATX12V/EPS12V Power Supply CP-9020015-NA

http://www.microcenter.com/product/387554/Z77_Extreme4_... $134.99 | $84.99 when purchased w/3570K
ASRock Z77 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Z77 ATX Intel Motherboard

http://www.microcenter.com/product/388577/Core_i5_3570K... $189.99
Intel Core i5 3570K 3.4GHz LGA 1155 Processor

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005O65JXI/ref=ox_sc_a... $33.49 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO CPU Cooler with 120mm PWM Fan (RR-212E-20PK-R2)

http://www.microcenter.com/product/382101/Ballistix_Spo...(PC3-12800)_CL9_Dual_Channel_Desktop_Memory_Kit_(Two_4GB_Memory_Modules) $39.99
Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB DDR3-1600 PC3-12800) CL9 Dual Channel Desktop Memory Kit Two 4GB Memory Modules)

http://www.microcenter.com/product/380574/AD-7280S-0B_2... $16.99
Sony AD-7280S-0B 24x SATA Internal DVD Burner - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $209.99 - $199.99 after $10.00 rebate
SAPPHIRE 100355L Radeon HD 7850 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card
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September 5, 2012 7:14:24 AM

Vadered said:
No, if you want to drop a few hundred dollars on a graphics card for my system, by all means, go ahead! :bounce: 

That said, I have to readdress my question. Is the 660 ti/7950/whatever worth doubling my video card budget? I can get a 560 for about $140 after rebate vs. a 7950 for $310. I just wonder, how much do I need the extra video power for what I want to do?


Typically, getting the latest and greatest in graphics will be costly.
I mostly go for one lower than the latest. Granted it won't be a gaming beast, but it'll do for most of your needs. Something like 7850 if I want to save cash. An year later you can get 7950 for the same price.
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September 5, 2012 7:45:41 AM

Best answer selected by Vadered.
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September 5, 2012 7:48:15 AM

Why_Me said:
http://www.microcenter.com/product/383857/Three_Hundred... $57.99
Antec Three Hundred Two ATX Mid Tower Gaming Computer Case

http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-80PLUS-Certified-Modular-... $86.00 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Corsair CX 750 Watts 80PLUS Bronze Certified Modular ATX12V/EPS12V Power Supply CP-9020015-NA

http://www.microcenter.com/product/387554/Z77_Extreme4_... $134.99 | $84.99 when purchased w/3570K
ASRock Z77 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Z77 ATX Intel Motherboard

http://www.microcenter.com/product/388577/Core_i5_3570K... $189.99
Intel Core i5 3570K 3.4GHz LGA 1155 Processor

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005O65JXI/ref=ox_sc_a... $33.49 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO CPU Cooler with 120mm PWM Fan (RR-212E-20PK-R2)

http://www.microcenter.com/product/382101/Ballistix_Spo...(PC3-12800)_CL9_Dual_Channel_Desktop_Memory_Kit_(Two_4GB_Memory_Modules) $39.99
Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB DDR3-1600 PC3-12800) CL9 Dual Channel Desktop Memory Kit Two 4GB Memory Modules)

http://www.microcenter.com/product/380574/AD-7280S-0B_2... $16.99
Sony AD-7280S-0B 24x SATA Internal DVD Burner - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $209.99 - $199.99 after $10.00 rebate
SAPPHIRE 100355L Radeon HD 7850 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card


Not sure where all the files go in this setup. :kaola: 

STILL, despite your terrible oversight...
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September 5, 2012 7:53:51 AM

Vadered said:
No, if you want to drop a few hundred dollars on a graphics card for my system, by all means, go ahead! :bounce: 

That said, I have to readdress my question. Is the 660 ti/7950/whatever worth doubling my video card budget? I can get a 560 for about $140 after rebate vs. a 7950 for $310. I just wonder, how much do I need the extra video power for what I want to do?


A GTX560 is pretty dated now, I wouldn't really recommend it, however, considering you don't play too many demanding titles such as BF3, Skyrim, Metro2033, you may be able to get by with something like a Radeon HD7850/7870. They are significantly less expensive than the HD7950 and are a little bit more expensive than the GTX560; somewhere in the middle price and performance wise. I think this is a very fair trade off IMO :) 


However, taking that into consideration, here's something you may want to consider -
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($209.99 @ NCIX US)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($32.30 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($114.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($44.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($88.98 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($96.49 @ B&H)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($207.55 @ Newegg)
Case: Antec Three Hundred Illusion ATX Mid Tower Case ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair 500W ATX12V Power Supply ($43.65 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-222BB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $1013.90
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-09-05 03:52 EDT-0400)

This rig is very similar to Why_Me's, if not almost identical.
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September 5, 2012 8:01:17 AM

mocchan said:
A GTX560 is pretty dated now, I wouldn't really recommend it, however, considering you don't play too many demanding titles such as BF3, Skyrim, Metro2033, you may be able to get by with something like a Radeon HD7850/7870. They are significantly less expensive than the HD7950 and are a little bit more expensive than the GTX560; somewhere in the middle price and performance wise. I think this is a very fair trade off IMO :) 


However, taking that into consideration, here's something you may want to consider -
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($209.99 @ NCIX US)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($32.30 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($114.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($44.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($88.98 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($96.49 @ B&H)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($207.55 @ Newegg)
Case: Antec Three Hundred Illusion ATX Mid Tower Case ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair 500W ATX12V Power Supply ($43.65 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-222BB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $1013.90
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-09-05 03:52 EDT-0400)

This rig is very similar to Why_Me's, if not almost identical.



Thank you for the additional input. You really want me to get that SSD, don't you? :lol: 

No, seriously though, I appreciate both your and everyone's efforts.

Now if only I can put the thing together without burning down my house...
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September 5, 2012 8:09:15 AM

Vadered said:
Thank you for the additional input. You really want me to get that SSD, don't you? :lol: 

No, seriously though, I appreciate both your and everyone's efforts.

Now if only I can put the thing together without burning down my house...

Yes, I think an SSD is a must have if your budget allows :) 

:lol:  you shouldn't worry about burning your house down! There's plenty of tutorials online to help you out, and if you still get confused/stuck, you know where to come to ;) 
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