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New ~1K Canadian gaming rig w/SSD - sanity check

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September 23, 2012 5:07:55 AM

Hi all,

After 10 years of building gaming rigs in my youth, and then taking 10 years off to build a family, I'm trying to put together a gaming system at around the $1k Canadian price point to replace my 8 year old stock Dell P4 Inspiron system. I've spent a few weeks reading the excellent material here and other places, and think I've made some good selections, but a sanity check would be appreciated before taking the plunge.

To start:
- I'm pretty confident on CPU and GPU based on performance per price. Mobo was chosen from Tom's recommended list (mostly due to low price). Not concerned about memory brand or case aesthetics (it's going to be tucked away out of sight). Not sure if PSU will be sufficient for future needs (I don't ever expect to run two GPUs but I would like the ability to upgrade video and CPU a few years down the road if needed)
- Unless there is a measurable performance increase with no system stability cost or risk, I will not bother with OCing.
- I know a SSD is a luxury at this price point, especially since I need basically everything else, but I really want one and my current HD is only 74GB so it's actually an increase in capacity for me. I'll pick up a second drive for data storage in a few months time.
- I am hoping to come up with a creative way to get around not having an optical drive for OS install (e.g. boot from USB key) - I want to buy a Blu-Ray drive but don't have budget now for it, and don't want to buy an intermediate optical drive.
- I also know I'm slightly over my budget with the current configuration (part list doesn't include tax or shipping) but it's not a deal breaker. I'd prefer any changes not move the cost too much up however.

Approximate Purchase Date: Would prefer by end of October, but I have some flexibility in this if it's significantly worth waiting longer.
Budget Range: target is $1k Canadian all in
System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming, watching movies
Are you buying a monitor: No
Parts to Upgrade: all main components excl. monitor and keyboard/mouse
Do you need to buy OS: Yes
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Any Canadian based sellers
Location: Windsor, ON, Canada
Parts Preferences: None
Overclocking: Probably not
SLI or Crossfire: No
Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($219.99 @ NCIX)
Motherboard: Biostar TZ77XE3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($139.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Memory: Kingston HyperX Grey 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($39.98 @ NCIX)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.99 @ Memory Express)
Video Card: HIS Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($289.99 @ Memory Express)
Case: Rosewill Blackbone ATX Mid Tower Case ($34.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Power Supply: OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($39.99 @ Canada Computers)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($95.99 @ Computer Valley)
Total: $960.91
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-09-23 01:07 EDT-0400)
a c 271 4 Gaming
September 23, 2012 5:25:26 AM

Quote:
- I'm pretty confident on CPU and GPU based on performance per price. Mobo was chosen from Tom's recommended list (mostly due to low price). Not concerned about memory brand or case aesthetics (it's going to be tucked away out of sight). Not sure if PSU will be sufficient for future needs (I don't ever expect to run two GPUs but I would like the ability to upgrade video and CPU a few years down the road if needed)


Actually for CAD systems it's the opposite. CAD systems are more CPU specific and less GPU specific. That would make a great gaming system but an OK CAD system.

Quote:
- Unless there is a measurable performance increase with no system stability cost or risk, I will not bother with OCing.


Then there's no point in purchasing an unlocked CPU.

Quote:
- I know a SSD is a luxury at this price point, especially since I need basically everything else, but I really want one and my current HD is only 74GB so it's actually an increase in capacity for me. I'll pick up a second drive for data storage in a few months time.


It's a trade off - you trade speed for space on lesser SSDs and 64GB won't get you very far and 128GB will be stretching it.

Quote:
- I am hoping to come up with a creative way to get around not having an optical drive for OS install (e.g. boot from USB key) - I want to buy a Blu-Ray drive but don't have budget now for it, and don't want to buy an intermediate optical drive.


Just buy one - they're $15 and won't make or break your build. And it's a lot easier than using the USB method.

For that system try this:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($309.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($87.55 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($77.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($195.98 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 ATX Mid Tower Case ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Enthusiast 650W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1028.47
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-09-23 01:25 EDT-0400)

A little bit over $1K but that will be a much better CAD system and you get a bigger SSD.
September 23, 2012 5:32:29 AM

Hi g-unit,

Thanks for the feedback.
CAD = Canadian Dollars. It is a gaming system, I'll edit the OP to be more clear.
Related resources
a c 271 4 Gaming
September 23, 2012 6:00:42 AM

sjahn said:
Hi g-unit,

Thanks for the feedback.
CAD = Canadian Dollars. It is a gaming system, I'll edit the OP to be more clear.


I completely misread that. It's late, I'm tired. :lol: 

If it's gaming I'd suggest this:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3450 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($194.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Motherboard: ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($119.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($51.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Storage: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($79.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB Video Card ($299.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Case: Corsair 300R ATX Mid Tower Case ($89.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 750W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($84.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($20.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Total: $942.92
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-09-23 02:05 EDT-0400)
a b 4 Gaming
September 23, 2012 6:01:13 AM

Hi there,

I highly recommend buying everything from NCIX all at once. They'll ship it for free if it's over a certain amount and if you make a large order the sales reps are known to give some rather pretty discounts. The NCIX combo deals can also save up to 25% on some items.

A couple of suggestions:

1. You can remove the optical drive, all operating systems can be installed from a USB stick. It will require a bit of work but it is doable, there are lots of guides out there.

2. Biostar is not a recommended manufacturer. Their motherboards are shoddy at best and dangerous at worst. I recommend this one instead

http://ncix.com/products/?sku=71114&vpn=P8Z77-V%20LK&ma...

3. The 3570k on NCIX has a combo deal to get this PSU http://ncix.com/products/productdetail2.php?noheader=1&... for only $61.25. It is far better than the OCZ ModXStream. It's a bit more expensive but it is more efficient and will last a lot longer. For the record, the Corsair TX650 linked by g-unit is also manufactured by SeaSonic. Go with SeaSonic!
a b 4 Gaming
September 23, 2012 6:24:56 AM

http://www.directcanada.com <----- Free Shipping on orders over $50


http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=10370AC7501&v... $61.10
Antec Three Hundred Two Mid Tower Gaming Case 302 ATX 3X5.25 6X3.5INT No PS Front USB3.0 & Audio

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=15180AC2961&v... $59.31
XFX 550W PRO550W Core Edition Single Rail ATX 12V 44A 24PIN ATX Power Supply 80PLUS Bronze

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=16950BD9709&v... $62.79
MSI B75MA-P45 mATX LGA1155 B75 DDR3 1PCI-E16 1PCI-E1 1PCI SATA3 DVI VGA USB3.0 Motherboard

http://www.msi.com/product/mb/B75MA-P45.html <---- a better look at that board

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=12200BD5808&v... $189.95
Intel Core i5 3450 Quad Core Processor LGA1155 3.1GHZ Ivy Bridge 6MB Retail

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=15380BD5211&v... $36.04
G.SKILL Ripjaws X F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL 8GB 2X4GB DDR3-1600 CL9-9-9-24 Memory

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=16950DR6190&v... $96.12
SanDisk SDSSDP-128G-G25 128GB 2.5IN SATA3 6GB/S Solid Stat Disk Flash Drive SSD

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=16950DR5259&v... $16.79
LG GH24NS90 24X SATA Internal DVD Writer Burner DVDRW M-DISC Compatible Optical Drive Black OEM

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=16950BD4746&v... $307.63 MIR $277.63
MSI Radeon HD 7950 Twin Frozr III 880MHZ 3GB 1250MHZ GDDR5 DVI HDMI 2XMINI DP DX11 PCI Video Card

Total: $829.73 *not including rebates
September 23, 2012 1:14:56 PM

g-unit, pinhedd, Why_Me, thanks for the responses! It's clear I can save some money by dropping to the 3450 (and dropping the Z77 mobo).

Why_Me's build looks the closest to what I was going for, but I'm concerned about the mobo - I plan on adding a storage HDD to it in a few months time, but it looks like it only supports one drive at SATA 6GB/S? I may also need to add wireless to it, which I would prefer to do via PCI or onboard as I've had issues with USB adapters in the past. I think if I can swap that out with a H77 mobo I should be there.
a b 4 Gaming
September 23, 2012 5:16:29 PM

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=16950BD1106&v... $100.34
ASUS P8B75-V ATX LGA1155 B75 DDR3 CrossFireX 2PCI-E16 2PCI-E1 3PCI SATA3 DVI USB3.0 Motherboard

http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1155/P8B7... <----- another look at that board


http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=16950BD2246&v... $96.81
Gigabyte GA-H77-DS3H ATX LGA1155 H77 DDR3 2PCI-E16 2PCI-E1 HDMI CrossFireX SATA3 USB3.0 Motherboard

http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=... <----- another look at that board


http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=28220BD3090&v... $90.63
MSI H77MA-G43 ATX LGA1155 H77 DDR3 2PCI-E16 2PCI-E1 3PCI HDMI CrossFireX SATA3 USB3.0 Motherboard

http://www.msi.com/product/mb/H77MA-G43.html <----- another look at that board
September 23, 2012 6:03:28 PM

Thanks Why_Me

Here's the final plan, with SSD/PSU from NCIX and the rest from DirectCanada:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3450 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.95 @ DirectCanada)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H77-DS3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($96.81 @ DirectCanada)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($36.04 @ DirectCanada)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($277.63 @ DirectCanada)
Case: Antec Three Hundred Two ATX Mid Tower Case ($52.29 @ DirectCanada)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.99 @ NCIX)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($44.99 @ NCIX)
Total: $827.25
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-09-23 13:58 EDT-0400)

Will probably pull the trigger tonight so thanks to all who contributed and if anyone sees anything wrong before then please let me know!
a c 271 4 Gaming
September 24, 2012 5:32:16 AM

sjahn said:
Thanks Why_Me

Here's the final plan, with SSD/PSU from NCIX and the rest from DirectCanada:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3450 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.95 @ DirectCanada)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H77-DS3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($96.81 @ DirectCanada)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($36.04 @ DirectCanada)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($277.63 @ DirectCanada)
Case: Antec Three Hundred Two ATX Mid Tower Case ($52.29 @ DirectCanada)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.99 @ NCIX)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($44.99 @ NCIX)
Total: $827.25
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-09-23 13:58 EDT-0400)

Will probably pull the trigger tonight so thanks to all who contributed and if anyone sees anything wrong before then please let me know!


The Antec 100 and Corsair 300R would probably be better case choices than the 300 would be.
!