$650 Initial DVR/Media Center with Upgrade Options to ~$1200 Gaming PC

Approximate Purchase Date: e.g.: In the next two weeks, as deals emerge

Budget Range: $650 Total (Initially, eventually about $1200)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: DVR/Media Center/Gaming/Internet

Are you buying a monitor: No

Do you need to buy OS: No

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Wherever is cheap and convenient (I've used newegg.com in the past)

Location: Vigo County, Indiana with the intention of visiting Indianapolis this weekend.

Parts Preferences: Preference for Intel over AMD

Overclocking: Yes (with the eventual gaming setup)

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe (with eventual gaming upgrade)

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: It is my intention to build a computer that will serve mostly as a DVR and media rig for the next 3-6 months with the idea that I will then use it mostly as a gaming PC with less emphasis on the media aspects. My original idea was something along the lines of the $1000 System Builder Marathon Build from August minus the gaming graphics, SSD, less memory initially, and add a tv tuner card. Then in 3-6 months add a gaming graphics card, upgrade the memory and possibly add a SSD.

Is this a decent plan or should I approach this totally differently? I figure there is such a vast amount of information out there, you fine folks might be able to make things clearer for me.


Kind regards and thank you for your help,

Alltel
12 answers Last reply
More about initial media center upgrade options 1200 gaming
  1. There's no problem designing a decent gaming rig at your eventual budget ( depends if that's got to include peripherals). Your slight issue may come in the gap between the two. You can put off SSD and expansion/graphics cards, but you may struggle to do ALL the rest, at the lower budget, if you want to give flexibility for OC, Sli etc. Even more so, if you have to include peripherals. Needs a bit of careful planning, so you don't end up with more work, in the long run, or waste.
  2. Okay. I thought that might be the case. If I wanted to do the $650 now, what should I do and what will I need to replace for the ugrade? Or, what price would work to limit replacing parts eventually. For clarification, I would not need peripherals.

    Thanks and regards,

    Alltel
  3. Alltel said:
    Okay. I thought that might be the case. If I wanted to do the $650 now, what should I do and what will I need to replace for the ugrade? Or, what price would work to limit replacing parts eventually. For clarification, I would not need peripherals.

    Thanks and regards,

    Alltel

    Ok. You want to think around the following:
    CPU: i5-3450
    Mobo: B75, ATX one, from ASRock, or Gigabyte. That gives you scope for most things, unless you're thinking of a 3 monitor set-up.
    Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB(2x4GB) 1600 MHz C9 DDR3
    OPT DR: Lite-On, or LG have some decent ones, including Blu-ray, if you want that.
    HDD: You want SATAlll, 6Gb/s, 7200rpm. WD Caviar Black are good. Seagate Barracuda, or Samsung Spinpoint aren't bad, and cheaper.
    Case: As long as you avoid "cheap and nasties". Corsair, Fractal, Antec are good makes, but plenty of others ok. Best thing is pick a couple YOU like, then someone can advise if one is better, than other.
    Power Supply: you really want an idea what sort of graphics card, and expansions, you're going to add, to judge power requirements. Most modern GPU's don't draw a huge amount. nVidia tend to be a bit more power efficient, than Radeon, but, depending what you want for graphics, Radeon may be better choice. If you work on a 500W PSU, that should be safe, 550W if you want to have "some in hand". You really want to go for Seasonic, XFX, Corsair. If you can get one of those, in a modular form, at a sensible price, that's the way to go.
    That should give you enough to get a idea of cost options.
  4. PS That does not allow for OC. If there's any spare money, then's probably best to think if you also want that.
  5. Having looked at the above solutions and other resources on Tom's, I came up with the following. It is a little over the original price point but I think it'll work. Will these parts all work together? Is there something I need and don't have or have and don't need? Comments, concerns, all welcome.

    Thank you and kind regards,

    Alltel

    Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" SATA 6.0Gb/s Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148697
    $69.99

    ABS MJ1100-M Continuous 1100W@50°C "Compatible with Core i7, i5" Power Supply
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817814019
    $109.99 (with Promo)

    SAMSUNG 22X DVD Burner SATA Model SH-222BB/BEBE
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827151244
    $16.99

    Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 Media Center Kit Dual TV Tuner w/ IR Remote PCI-E x 1
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815116036
    $119.99

    Intel Core i5-3570 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 Quad-Core Desktop Processor
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115233
    $199.99 (with Promo)

    Rosewill RANGER Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811147061
    $49.99

    G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231428
    $42.99

    ASRock Fatal1ty P67 Performance ATX Intel Motherboard
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item= N82E16813157253
    $99.99


    Grand Total: $720.02 (with shipping and promos)
  6. Alltel said:
    Having looked at the above solutions and other resources on Tom's, I came up with the following. It is a little over the original price point but I think it'll work. Will these parts all work together? Is there something I need and don't have or have and don't need? Comments, concerns, all welcome.

    Thank you and kind regards,

    Alltel

    Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" SATA 6.0Gb/s Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148697
    $69.99

    ABS MJ1100-M Continuous 1100W@50°C "Compatible with Core i7, i5" Power Supply
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817814019
    $109.99 (with Promo)

    SAMSUNG 22X DVD Burner SATA Model SH-222BB/BEBE
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827151244
    $16.99

    Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 Media Center Kit Dual TV Tuner w/ IR Remote PCI-E x 1
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815116036
    $119.99

    Intel Core i5-3570 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 Quad-Core Desktop Processor
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115233
    $199.99 (with Promo)

    Rosewill RANGER Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811147061
    $49.99

    G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231428
    $42.99

    ASRock Fatal1ty P67 Performance ATX Intel Motherboard
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item= N82E16813157253
    $99.99


    Grand Total: $720.02 (with shipping and promos)

    I don't like that power supply, partly because I don't know if that make are any good, which makes me suspect they're not. Secondly, you don't need anything like 1100W. 600W is the MOST you will need with a modern graphics card. 850W, if, and only if, you plan to add 2nd graphics card in crossfire, but definitely no more. If there's a problem getting the ones I suggested, Rosewill (Capstone or Hive) are pretty good. I really wouldn't recommend looking elsewhere, if you can avoid it.
    On the motherboard P67 is not the best to use with Ivybridge CPU. You've listed your processor as i5-3570. That is a locked version (can't be overclocked). Assuming that is intentional, I would suggest using a B75 motherboard, which suits the Ivybridge, and still gives scope to OC graphics, or H77, which gives the fullest feature set, but no overcocking capabilities.
    Personally, I would RECOMMEND getting the unlocked version of that chip, the i5-3570K, and pair it with ASRock's Z75 board. That gives you the best of both worlds, for very little extra cost, and you, at least, have overclocking as a future option, even if you don't want to do it now.
  7. So, the locked CPU was an oversight. You suggested a Z75 motherboard, why not a Z77? FYI, I plan to overclock once I use this rig as a gaming PC. You're also right about the excessive amounts of power but it was cheaper than some other power supplies and was ridiculously on sale. Do you know much about that tv tuner? I've heard highs and a few lows and was looking for another opinion.

    Thanks,

    Alltel
  8. Only suggested Z75 to save you a bit. Z75 and Z77, in all respects that count, are identical. The Z75 is slightly cheaper. Certainly no reason why you SHOULDN'T stick with the board you suggested.
    If you are getting the i5-3570K, so you can overclock, at some time in the future, I suggest you change the RAM to GSkill Ares, or Crucial Ballistic Sport, to ensure there is no clash, when you come to fit a cooler for that. If you are planning to overclock in the near future, you may as well fit aftermarket cooler, from the start. Suggest CoolerMaster Hyper 212EVO.
    I strongly recommend you follow my advice on PSU. You may find either the Rosewill Hive, or an XFX, is the most cost effective solution.
  9. I have no problem switching PSUs; I was just explaining my reasoning. Is there any reason you suggest Rosewill other than the cost effective nature? Also, good point on the memory profile.

    Thanks and regards,

    Alltel
  10. Only that Rosewill Hives, or XFX are sometimes a bit cheaper than other suggestions, but which IS actually cheapest, tends to change with exact size. Basically, whichever is cheapest, go with it. Only other consideration is that "modular" is easier to work with, if you don't have to pay a lot more for that.
  11. Again with the motherboard, is this a decent choice:

    ASRock Z77 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157293

    Also includes 8 GB GSkill Ares in the price.

    -Alltel
  12. Yes, pretty good board, and decent deal, with the ideal RAM, for your needs.
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