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$1200 gaming/multimedia machine advice

Hi all. My first post here. I have loosely followed suggestions on the site for many years now, but finally find myself in the position to put together a new (budget) dream machine.

Here are my parameters...

Approximate Purchase Date: Over the next few weeks
Budget Range: $1200
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Adobe CS6 Photoshop/Illustrator/InDesign, AutoCAD
Are you buying a monitor: No
Parts to Upgrade: Case, Motherboard, Power Supply, CPU, GPU, RAM, SSD, BD Optical drive, after-market cooling.
Do you need to buy OS: No (plan on running Windows 8 beta for a bit)
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Amazon, Newegg, Tigerdirect
Parts Preferences: Intel, Nvidia, EVGA.
Overclocking: Yes
SLI or Crossfire: No
Your Monitor Resolution: 1680x1050

What am I doing exactly? I am upgrading from my Dell XPS 700 that I purchased over 5 years ago. I have been playing HL2 engine games with little difficulty, but want to be able to run newer titles (such as MechWarrior Online, MW2, Guildwars 2). I do a lot of multimedia work (photo, video, audio) and need to have the headroom to run multiple programs working in large-format design projects. I also plan on starting my M.Arch next fall and will need the graphics processing power to do high-end renders. Bottom line, I want to be able to run games and graphics-intensive programs with minimal bottlenecking.

Here is my build thus far:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($25.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Pro4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($94.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($41.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($89.99 @ Microcenter)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB Video Card ($289.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Rosewill BlackHawk ATX Mid Tower Case ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($51.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: LG WH14NS40 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($62.39 @ Newegg)
Total: $937.30
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

Not quite sure which video card is the best value, but the GTX 660 Ti is in the correct price range. However, I still have another $200 of headroom. Any recommendations there? Look forward to whatever help you can all give me!

Thanks!
10 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about 1200 gaming multimedia machine advice
  1. bump for advice.

    Thinking about this supply instead for another $20: Rosewill HIVE 650W BRONZE Modular @ $69.99- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817182132&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-na-_-na-_-na&AID=10446076&PID=4176827&SID=ykzcej82ljm0
  2. Looks good to me, since your only gaming at 1680x1050 you wouldnt need more than a 660ti anyway even that is overkill. I would put that money towards a better PSU though possible an corsair TX650.
  3. Best answer
    I'd go for a stronger PSU than a Builder series on a $1K budget. 500W would be like the bare minimum with a 660TI as that system would most likely use around 381W and 500W would be cutting it close. Here's what I would get for that money:

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($229.99 @ Newegg)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($30.99 @ Newegg)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($142.86 @ Newegg)
    Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($34.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($109.99 @ Newegg)
    Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($297.55 @ Newegg)
    Case: Corsair 300R ATX Mid Tower Case ($69.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: Corsair Enthusiast 650W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($81.98 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS224-06 DVD/CD Writer ($27.98 @ Newegg)
    Total: $1026.32
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

    The 7950 is a far better value in that range, and the Corsair 300R is a better case than the Rosewill Blackhawk.
  4. Final build looks like this.

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($25.99 @ NCIX US)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($134.99 @ Amazon)
    Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($41.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($89.99 @ Microcenter)
    Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($297.55 @ Newegg)
    Case: Rosewill BlackHawk ATX Mid Tower Case ($89.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: Corsair Enthusiast 650W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($81.98 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: Lite-On ihes112-04 Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer ($54.99 @ Newegg)
    Total: $1007.46
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

    G-unit- why the 300R over the Blackhawk? The Rosewill seems to be a better all around case according to newegg reviews. I always read the negatives :P

    Edit: I think the Radeon will be a better deal. I included it in this build.
  5. eliasmoose said:
    Final build looks like this.

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($25.99 @ NCIX US)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($134.99 @ Amazon)
    Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($41.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($89.99 @ Microcenter)
    Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 660 2GB Video Card ($229.99 @ Amazon)
    Case: Rosewill BlackHawk ATX Mid Tower Case ($89.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: Corsair Enthusiast 650W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($95.98 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: Lite-On ihes112-04 Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer ($54.99 @ Newegg)
    Total: $953.90
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

    If I choose to upgrade to a 1920x1080 monitor, will I have any problems with newer titles at max settings? I suppose I could always go for an SLI build because of the case room/cooling and a 650W supply
    .



    If you're set on spending ~$250 on a video card the Radeon 7870 GHz edition would be a far safer bet than a reference 660 would be.

    Don't settle for SLI - one solid, strong GPU is *ALWAYS* better than two weaker ones. There's always a few exceptions but that deals with the much higher priced models. Dual 670's will match a single 690's performance while dual 7970's will beat it.
  6. I dont mind shelling out a little more for more longevity on my gpu since I'm ruling out SLI. The 7950 looks like the right deal.
  7. Quick thoughts:

    1. I have the cpu & mobo. I love them, but I would consider your original MOBO for $50 less ... I think you would be just as happy with it and the $50 in your pocket.
    2. Microcenter often has CPU & mobo combo deals. got my 3570k & extreme 4 for just under $300 this summer. Only catch: gotta go to store to pick up
    3. Love my SSD !! I'd get the cheapest of Crucial M4, Samsung 830, or Intel 330.
    4. Case: HAF 912 has all the room you'll ever need, thrifty - if you got the space.

    Good luck !!
  8. odiervr said:
    Quick thoughts:

    1. I have the cpu & mobo. I love them, but I would consider your original MOBO for $50 less ... I think you would be just as happy with it and the $50 in your pocket.
    2. Microcenter often has CPU & mobo combo deals. got my 3570k & extreme 4 for just under $300 this summer. Only catch: gotta go to store to pick up
    3. Love my SSD !! I'd get the cheapest of Crucial M4, Samsung 830, or Intel 330.
    4. Case: HAF 912 has all the room you'll ever need, thrifty - if you got the space.

    Good luck !!


    Thank you very much! Ill be on the lookout for combo deals both on Newegg and microcenter.

    The reason I went for the Extreme4 over the Pro3 seemed to be reliability more than anything else. Nothing like having your first build delayed indefinitely by a string of DOA motherboards.

    Im also a bit of a stickler for quick load times, and the OCZ seems to be a faster drive according to TH and others. Only seems to be a marginal price difference for the best drive on the market.

    Cases seem to be a personal thing, and I'm enamored with both the Blackhawk and the 300R at this point. Will be sure to check out the HAF 912.

    Edit: The Corsair 650W supply also comes in a semi-modular design, which is worth another $20, yes?
  9. Sounds like you've did your homework. You'll do great. I was a complete noob - 1st build in June. Newegg computer build parts 2& 3 made it very easy to build and OS install.

    Samsung has a new SSD (follow on to the 830 ...) 840 that's got great reviews as well and is very fast - but more expensive.

    HAF 912 is very basic ... if you're happywith the Blackhawk & 300R - stick with em. the HAF is the thrifty version ... Good Luck !!

    I got a PC Power and Computer Mk III, 600w PSU - and yeah - I like the modular aspect. My only concern is my disorganization. If I ever need another cable (pcie comes to mind) chances of finding that cord are gonna be 50/50 ... but mayb that's just me. Bottom line: yes on modular.
  10. Best answer selected by eliasmoose.
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