Gaming / Media Center Build

I finished my basement a couple of years ago, and it's pretty much the typical "man-cave".
I want to add a PC that I can play games on to my setup, and would like som advice/tips.

First things first, I have a Sony STR-DA5400ES receiver and Epson PowerLite 6100 Home Cinema. Do many people play FPS PC games on a projector? I have a PS3 on it now, and played BFBC2 & BF3 extensively. Never had much of an issue.

My primary purpose for getting the PC is to play PlanetSide2 once it's released (on or before 12/31/12). I'll probably get the PC within the next month though. I would like to get some "media center" functionality if it's feasable to get both in one setup, and it's not a ridiculous adder onto the gaming portion.

I'd like to stay in the $1000-$1200 range.

I'm no techie, so me doing the build is out of the question. I have a buddy who's an IT professional who said he'd build it for $150. Is that a reasonable price?

Just from doing a little reading today, here's what I'm thinking for starters:

Intel® Core™ i5-3570 Processor (4x 3.40GHz/6MB L3 Cache)

8 GB [2 GB X4] DDR3-1600 Memory Module

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 - 2GB More Options

1 TB HARD DRIVE -- 32M Cache, 7200 RPM, 6.0Gb/s

Can anyone comment? Help me flesh out the list?

13 answers Last reply
More about gaming media center build
  1. This build allows you to add another one of those cards later on in SLI. There aren't any reviews on that board down below for the fact it was just recently released less than a week ago. $112.98 save: $10.00 FREE SHIPPING
    Corsair Carbide Series 300R Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
    CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CML8GX3M2A1600C9B $86.00 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
    Corsair CX 750 Watts 80PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V/EPS12V Power Supply CP-9020015-NA $336.98 save: $13.00
    Intel Core i5-3570K Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000 BX80637I53570K
    ASRock Z77 Extreme3 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard $33.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
    Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO CPU Cooler with 120mm PWM Fan (RR-212E-20PK-R2) $16.99 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25
    Samsung SH-222BB/BEBE 22X SATA DVDRW Internal Drive (Black), Bulk without Software $74.98 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
    Seagate Barracuda 7200 1 TB 7200RPM SATA 6 Gb/s NCQ 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive ST1000DM003 $89.95 + $0.00 shipping
    SanDisk 128 GB 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive (SDSSDP-128G- G25) $229.99 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
    Gigabyte GeForce GTX 660 OC 2GB GDDR5 PCI-Express 3.0 DVI-I/DVI-D/HDMI/Displayport SLI Ready Graphics Card GV-N660OC-2GD $90.70 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping
    Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit (Full) System Builder DVD 1 Pack

    Total $1,070.56 *not including shipping & rebates <----- another look at that board <----- another look at that case
  2. When you say media center, do you want to be able to watch cable/sattelite tv on it as well? And form factor, do you want it to be a tower, or more like a pice of entertainment hardware (like your audio reciever)?
  3. kendrose said:
    When you say media center, do you want to be able to watch cable/sattelite tv on it as well? And form factor, do you want it to be a tower, or more like a pice of entertainment hardware (like your audio reciever)?

    I have a built-in shelving unit where it will sit. Space is about 24"H x 18"D x 36"W. There's a subwoofer there now, so maybe only about half the width is available. It's open to the front (no glass doors or anything).

    As far as media, mostly music files from the computer. Maybe some streaming video on occasion. I watch fottball games on ESPN360 sometimes...

    I guess I was just wanting to ensure that everything on the PC would tie into my existing audio/video setup...
  4. @Why_Me

    On the Amazon link for the power supply. Down below, there's a link for "frequently bought together". Bundled with Corsair Vengance 16 Gb (2x8Gb) memory. It's $86, as opposed to the $43 for 8 Gb.

    Question: would the added peformance justify spending an extra $43 here?
  5. Then the trick is finding a case that you like that fits your space.
    I use:
    It uses full height video cards, full sized power supplies, and full sized motherboards. While it is cramped to work in, any smaller form case will be. The big issue is that airflow will be impacted in these smaller cases which may limit how hot a video card you want to run, though it should fit any of the larger cards too. And if you keep the cables tied and tucked well, you should be ok.
    The other thing, im not sure about clearance for a large CPU cooler, I have a 65w i5 in mine with the stock cooler, and it stays cool, so something to consider.

    Something else that can be useful:
    They go in and out of stock which sucks, but could be nice for being able to control music etc.

    Everything that Why_Me listed should fit in that case, I prefer the current AMD 7xxx line of cards, but you cant go wrong either way. The Ivy Bridge at 77w is going to be pretty cool, but they do have 65w ones that are a littler cooler, and dont sacrifice that much performance.

    Edit: Some people on the reviews say they have aftermarket coolers, If this case interests you I can measure what the distance is from CPU to the case tonight when I get home.
  6. MRMcGinnis said:

    I guess I was just wanting to ensure that everything on the PC would tie into my existing audio/video setup...

    As long as the reciever supports full video passthrough I dont see why not. I would assume you are using HDMI to go to the projector through your reciever, which is totally fine.
    I have mine passing through a Yamaha reciever to my LCD tv.
  7. I've bought all my components, and am now in the process of the build. I've run into an issue.

    It appears that the aftermarket CPU Cooler that I bought extends too far over the RAM slots on the MoBo, and I don't think I'm going to be able to get the RAM into the slots.

    Here are the parts in question:
    MoBo: ASRock Z77 Extreme 3

    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo

    RAM: Corsair Vengance 16 Gb (2 x 8Gb)

    1) Can I turn the CPU cooler 90 degrees so that it's in a vertical orientation?

    2) Do I have to pur the RAM in slots 1A & 1B, or can I just move them over to 2A & 2B?
  8. You can put them in 2a/b. As long as they are in a paired slots it doesn't matter. The issue with the ram is a commonly overlooked detail. If you still can't fit the cooler over the ram you have two options, a different cooler that doesn't project as far, or low profile ram such as g.skill aeries (on mobile right now can't link) which don't have the aggressive heat spreaders on top. Which really don't seem to be all that necessary. Turning the CPU cooler is not a good idea, as you either end up blowing hot exhaust over the back if your video card, or its blowing straight into the sidewall of your case with no good evac route.
  9. OK. I've got everything in, and cables connected. I powered it on, and all fans started turning. I never got the post screen. Actually nothing ever came on the monitor at all. At fist it was cycling the fans on/off about ever ten seconds. It did that for a couple of minutes before I lost confidence in my setup and killed the power. I double checked all the wiring connections and powered it on again. All fans came on again. This time no cycling though. Fans just sat there running for a few minutes, nothing on monitor. Once again I lost confidence in my setup and killed the power. What am I missing here?
  10. So the first question I have to ask, is if your display cable (I'm assuming HDMI in this case) is plugged into the video card? If it is, and you have all power connections made to the video card and the CPU, try pulling the video card and booting off the onboad video. That motherboard doesn't have a little led readout that displays error codes does it? It sounds like something isn't getting power.
  11. While I agree with Kendrose's ideas, my first step would be to connect the system to a regular monitor. This takes out the projector/receiver out of the equation. If that does not work, then (as Kendrose proposes) it's time to strip the system down to the bare minimum components (meaning no graphics card, no storage hard drives, 1 stick of RAM - preferably in slot A1) and seeing if you can get it to boot up.

    -Wolf sends
  12. I have the system at my office right now, so it's on a regular monitor, not the HDMI projector at home.

    Update... I had the video card still plugged into the PCIe on the MOBo, but was moving the monitor cable up to the onboard.

    Wasn't thinking that just having the vid card plugged in was diabling the onboard video.

    I backed everything down to just the Mobo & 1 stick of RAM. It went to the Mobo setup. Powered off, added 2nd stick of RAM, reboot, bingo. Added SSHD, reboot, bingo. Added DVD, reboot, bingo.

    Anyway, I think I'm to the point where I'll just load Windows, then add the video card after that.


    Thanks for the help. I can't wait to take this baby out for a spin!
  13. I'm glad it worked out. The new mobos auto detect for discreet graphics now, don't have to manually switch. :-)
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