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Building First Gaming PC - Suggestions/Help/Advice

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October 4, 2012 2:52:59 AM

Hello All,

I've finally decided to take the plunge and build my first gaming rig. I have a good general knowledge of components and how things work, etc, but any tips/suggestions are greatly appreciated. I'm trying to build a gaming rig that will play almost all games on high-max settings - Primarily I'm playing Guild Wars 2, Star Craft 2, Diablo 3, Borderlands 2, and other RPG's, MMORPG's, and FPS's. I'm hoping I can play these games at the aforementioned setting, and I want to be able to upgrade my system in the future, MAYBE SLI (not sure, but alas still an option - also I'm not entirely sure if I will overclock - Do I need to? pros/cons of overclocking for gaming and general use etc (I will still most likely not OC). Also What about Windows 8? Should I wait for a MOBO that's Windows 8 compatible (I read something about windows 8 compatibility in accordance to motherboards.) Lastly cooling... my apartment can get to be 85-90 degrees F inside for 2 months of the year (no AC) so also take that into consideration when assessing my build please and if I'll need to get liquid cooling, although I'd rather stay away from it.

I'm hoping I can get this build under 1,200 - currently it is over that mark, and if I have to upgrade my cooling then Ill have to chip away at the cost. So how do I make this build cheaper w/o reducing quality and/or capabilities for upgrading in the future.

Current Pre-Build Set-UP

CPU --- (3rd gen Ivy Bridge) INTEL i5 3570k quad core 3.4 GHz --- $230
http://www.amazon.com/Intel-Core-i5-3570K-Quad-Core-Pro...

GPU --- EVGA nVidia GeForce GTX 660 Ti Superclocked GDDR5 2GB --- $300
http://www.amazon.com/EVGA-GeForce-SUPERCLOCKED-Graphic...

MOBO --- ASUS Sabertooth Z77 LGA 1155 --- $240 (***Is this over the top? Is there an alternative motherboard? And if there is red/black combo would be a nice color scheme, but not necessary)
http://www.amazon.com/ASUS-SABERTOOTH-Z77-Intel-Motherb...

RAM --- Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2X4GB) DDR 1600 MHz 240 Pin --- $40
http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Vengeance-240-Pin-Platfor...

PSU --- Corsair Enthusiast Series (TX) 650 Watt --- $90
http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Enthusiast-Certified-Comp...

Cooling --- Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus --- $25 (***Is the hot summer months going to be a problem for this cooling? What is going to be the best cooling alternative? If I HAVE to use liquid cooling, it will only be closed circuit - also will this fit in either of my case choices?)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002G1YPH0/ref=as_li_s...

Case --- Cooler Master HAF 912 --- $50 (***Or should I get the CM HAF 922 for $100 - is it better and worth the money?)
http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Computer-Airflow-RC...

Optical Drive --- Asus 12X BluRay Burner/Writer --- $70
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004ZMG55I/ref=as_li_s...

Hard Drive --- Seagate Barracuda 2TB SATA 6GB/S 64 MB CACHE 7200 RPM --- $100
http://www.amazon.com/Seagate-ST2000DM001-Barracuda-3-5...

SSD --- Samsung 830 Series SATA III 128GB --- $90
http://www.amazon.com/SAMSUNG-2-5-Inch-Internal-MZ-7PC1...

OS --- Already own Windows 7 --- what about windows 8? any thoughts on this please.

Monitor --- I have a Sony LED 240Hertz 42in --- I can hook my PC up to this, is this fine? Or should I get a monitor?

---------

TOTAL --- $1235 --- Im trying to get it below 1200 if possible, what here is over the top? What here is not sufficient for high-end gaming? What should I change in the cooling department or is it sufficient (most likely not overclocking, but MIGHT eventually SLI with dual GTX 660ti cards) And is my case choice good, or should I get the CM HAF 922 - Will the 922 have better cooling and other things or no? Other suggestions? Will everything here work?

Thank you!

Best solution

October 4, 2012 3:55:39 AM

1stly.. if you want to sli later down the road.. you'll need a bigger psu.. a 750w/850w unit would be good enough.. otherwise.. stick with 650w and you're good to go.. i don't knw very much about led tv... is your tv support 1920 x 1080? if yes then you'll probably just use your tv at the moment(i would like to game on such a big screen but sadly no space to accomodate such).. and depend on how you setup your pc.. maybe you'll need wireless keyboard and mouse bcoz 42inch really needs some distance! c'mon your mobo is just way over the top.. you just don't need spend that much on that part.. $120-$160 range would be good enough.. and i think will be better to get a hd 7950 because it has more vram and also faster and cheaper than gtx 660ti... for the moment just stick with your windows 7.. we still don't know yet how win 8 will turn out to be..

http://www.microcenter.com/product/354589/Core_i5_2500K...
Core i5 2500K - $160

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z/GEN3 - $140

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 - $20

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB - $85

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SAMSUNG 830 Series MZ-7PC128B/WW - $90

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CORSAIR Professional Series HX650 - $100

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Antec DF-85 Black - $115

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB - $42

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
XFX Double D FX-795A-TDJC - $270

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
LG Black 14X (WH14NS40) - $70


total - $1092 after rebate excluding shipping
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October 4, 2012 3:59:50 AM

Here are some changes that will help with performance and cost.

cpu & mobo combo - i5 3550 & asus p8z77-v lk $315 after rebate http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
or
cpu & mobo combo - i5 3570 & asrock z77 extreme3 $322 http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

psu - corsair tx750 $95 after rebate http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=62826&vpn=CP%2D9020003...

gpu - msi gtx 670 $350 after promo code & rebate http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

case - antec three hundred two $50 http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=67326&vpn=THREE%20HUND...

Both of the combo deals have two pci-e 3.0 slots for a good sli setup. Add a 750w psu for when you do the sli setup.
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October 4, 2012 4:01:39 AM

maybe you'll wonder why i suggest 2500k/z68 combo.. because generally 3570k/z77 combo is nearly the same interms of performance.. if you're looking to upgrade in the future... let me tell you.. ivybridge or i should say lga 1155 is reaching EOL which will be replaced by another socket next year so any upgrade i the future will require new cpu and mobo altogether so as far as it goes i suggest these because it's quality at cheaper price..
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October 4, 2012 5:02:03 AM

Phenom90, Strife_ff7,

Yes ill get 750W for $95 (Big Thanks to Strife_ff7 for finding that!)
Haha yes my Tv is 1080p, it is awesomely epic! I already have a wireless/mouse combo, thanks for your concern :) 

As for a mobo, after further review, I agree that the Asus Sabertooth z77 is over the top. But one thing I know for sure is that I will be staying with Ivy Bridge process and the LGA 1155 z77 mobo platform. Sorry.

Instead of the Sabertooth I came across great reviews of the Asus P8Z77 V PRO for $205, any thoughts here? It seems to have more stable powering, better cooling/fan managements, and better BIOS. Also future proof? ASrock z77 extreme 4 considerations? Is this mobo worth looking at, or should asus reliability and better quality be worth the money. (if i find a micro center in San Diego I can get the Asus p8z77 v pro for $160 instore sale!)

Also for the Case I switched to the HAF 922 as it has usb 3.0.
AS for the LG bluray suggestion - I like ASUS drivers/support more, sorry.

So my new final price is (now with HAF 922, 750W, and Asus p8z77 v pro is $1255 and instore sale $1210.

What about cooling? Will I be fine, it gets hot here in the summer months and I dont have indoor AC. And hows my GPU?

Thanks!
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October 4, 2012 5:07:01 AM

Phenom90
From what I can find the GTX 660ti has better benchmarks, and supports Physx (which some of my games will want, like Borderlands 2) and its cheaper. So why is the HD 7950 better in your opinion. Pro/Con comparison between the two?

Strife_ff7
The GTX 670 is a minimum $380 where I can find it, over my budget, unless there is a HUGE difference in resolution and frame rates etc.
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October 4, 2012 6:06:48 AM

you mostly find those benchmarks with a stock hd 7950 speed.. it will be a different story once you overclock it..
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October 4, 2012 6:12:13 AM

with a narrower bit-bus on 660ti (192 bit to be exact) i will see that as an disadvantage when you're gaming at higher resolution with lots of AA (like 8x msaa and above)
as for cooling.. which is why i suggest the antec df-85 as it already has good default cooling setup (comes with 7 fans) and you don't have to alter anything... well actually haf 922 is good 2.. but better buy another 200mm fan and put it at side panel.. temps should be okay.. oh yeah just to tell you.. that df-85 also has usb 3.0 support..
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October 4, 2012 6:22:19 AM

just one more thing.. if you really buy a haf 922 i suggest you take a look at this..

http://www.frozencpu.com/products/11728/ffi-56/DEMCifle...

its better to have than none at all.. because your pc will be dirty as hell.. but if you know how to make one yourself then you'll save the money instead..
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October 4, 2012 8:24:35 AM

Phenom,

As for the Mobo I found the Asus P8Z77 V PRO at MicroCenter instore sale for $155 so that resolves that issue.

You've sold me! Ill definitely be getting the HD 7950 (which brand do you suggest for the 7950, and the only hesitance is nvidia has Physx, but im guessing thats not a big problem, is physx a big deal or not?) - also thanks excella1221 for the benchmarks, it turns out the ones I was looking at were for games optimized for nvidia, but on larger games (MMORPG's) the HD 7950 seems to perform better! Guild Wars 2 Hellz Yes!

With the HD 7950 should I get a 850W PSU in case I decide to CrossFire them (thats dual cars for amd cards right?) or is 750W enough?

For the case, I was accidentally referring to Strife_ff7 reply when he mentioned the Antec 300 two, and the Antec df-85 is a little too expensive for me. I just came along the Cooler Master 912 Advance (has usb 3.0) on refurb sale of $80 (with window), any thoughts on this? As for cases ill keep looking around for another day or so, I've also come along the Corsair 300R - any thoughts on this - for $80. Yes Aesthetics do matter, but are not too important, cooling is my main prerogative - anything under 100 is an option - MID TOWER PLEASE
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October 4, 2012 8:44:12 AM

well if you want to get the cheapest one.. then get the xfx that i've posted..

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or spend just a little bit more to get a factory overclocked model..

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

better get at least 850w for the psu if you want crossfire but i don't suggest you doing crossfire as performance scaling varies from game to game(better just stick with 1 strong card)..

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

if you want a psu with modular cable.. this..

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


because just now you did mentioned spend a little bit more to get haf 922 so that's why i suggest df-85.. at $15 more you get a better cooling.. this is how i think actually nothing wrong spend a little bit more on your case because that's the part you will change the least on your whole pc for the next few years.. you'll certainly will change your videocard a few times.. hdd and maybe cpu or mobo.. but certainly not when a good case is last long...

these are few cases which i will recommend as well..

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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October 4, 2012 8:56:16 AM

Could you explain the difference with a modular cable. Also since ill stay with a single HD 7950, do I still need 750W, or should I get 650W now?

Wherever I go to find the df-85 its 150+, the HAF 922 is $100, and the HAF 912 Advanced I found refurbished $80 (but not too sure about the cooling here compared to the HAF 922 200mm fans on side/front/top.)
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October 4, 2012 9:12:03 AM

then if you just using one card.. go for 650w psu.. i think haf 922 has better cooling.. since you can add 200mm fan to its side panel..
a psu with a modular cable means there are cable that you won't be using which can be removed to reduce cable clutter... compared to non-modular psu.. which you have to stuff all cable that you won't be using inside your pc.. and if you can buy from newegg.. the df-85 only costs $115 after rebate.. i've also included other links above that few cases that worth considering.. check it out..
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October 4, 2012 10:58:12 AM

Still on a case search, get back to you on that.

But back to the HD 7950 - which brand should I get? Sapphire, Asus, or MSI (no XFX)
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October 4, 2012 12:09:33 PM

I think im going to splurge a little bit and get the Corsair 500r since I found it for $120 and it comes with a huge side fan and more filters, etc. Plus I like the loo a lot!

Thanks for all of your help Phenom90! Greatly appreciated
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October 4, 2012 12:14:46 PM

good to see you willing to spend some more on case.. because a good case can lasts you through couple of builds.. anyway enjoy your new build!
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October 4, 2012 12:21:36 PM

AH I found the Corsair Vengeance c70 Series case and its pretty awesome too... Now im back on the case search haha. Im loving Corsair!
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a b 4 Gaming
October 4, 2012 12:47:30 PM

chunkyxsurprise said:

You've sold me! Ill definitely be getting the HD 7950 (which brand do you suggest for the 7950, and the only hesitance is nvidia has Physx, but im guessing thats not a big problem, is physx a big deal or not?) - also thanks excella1221 for the benchmarks, it turns out the ones I was looking at were for games optimized for nvidia, but on larger games (MMORPG's) the HD 7950 seems to perform better! Guild Wars 2 Hellz Yes!

With the HD 7950 should I get a 850W PSU in case I decide to CrossFire them (thats dual cars for amd cards right?) or is 750W enough?

For the case, I was accidentally referring to Strife_ff7 reply when he mentioned the Antec 300 two, and the Antec df-85 is a little too expensive for me. I just came along the Cooler Master 912 Advance (has usb 3.0) on refurb sale of $80 (with window), any thoughts on this? As for cases ill keep looking around for another day or so, I've also come along the Corsair 300R - any thoughts on this - for $80. Yes Aesthetics do matter, but are not too important, cooling is my main prerogative - anything under 100 is an option - MID TOWER PLEASE

The XFX 7950 that phenom90 gave is as low as it gets. Double D is a great cooler too.
Just don't forget to redeem the rebates.
Also, you should get a 120Hz refresh rate monitor before adding another 7950 for Crossfire, to get the most out of it.

As for casing,
Rosewill Blackhawk $89.99
- 5 pre-installed fans(3 of which are Blue LED, x1 140mm and x2 120mm) for great cooling
- USB 3.0 x2,USB 2.0 x4, Audio In/Out front panel
- Very spacy that other mid towers, also good for cooling
- Great cable management

If you want to go cheaper,
Rosewill CHALLENGER $49.99
- 3 pre-installed fans(1 Blue LED)
- 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x e-SATA, Audio In/Out
- Fairly spacious
- Tricky cable management

You can't go wrong with either.
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October 4, 2012 12:56:52 PM

Excella,

Ive decided ill get the Sapphire HD 7950 (MIR makes it $290) and i like the quality of Sapphire, I've heard a lot of negative reviews regarding XFX

My TV will be my monitor for now, it either has 240 Hz or 480 Hz refresh rate (3d HDTV LED)

For cases, ive decided to increase my cap to $120 dollars since I've found the Corsair 500r quite good, not too sure what I think about the Corsair c70 yet.

Thanks for your input! :) 
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October 4, 2012 1:05:30 PM

okay while you've already increase your budget to $120 for case.. aside from antec df-85 as my top choice... there's another one you should check it out..

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

although it is $10 more.. just take a look..

and about the corsair c70 case.. military green is the color to get!! black and white seems doesn't fit that style...
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October 11, 2012 2:07:18 AM

Best answer selected by chunkyxsurprise.
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