Any advice for my gaming computer build?

$229 -Intel Core i5 3570K Boxed 3.4GHz Unlocked 3rd Generation Processor

$200 -Asus Sabertooth P67 Intel P67 1155 Motherboard

(friend giving free) -DDR 3 16 GB 1866 mhz (Patriot Brand)

$99 - Black Enermax Hoplite SECC ATX Mid Tower Computer Case ECA3220, w/ Side Window and 12cm Blue/Red Combo-LED

$99 - Thermaltake Smart 750W ATX12V and EPS12V Modular Computer Power Supply SP-750M, 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified, SLI and CrossFire Certified, Active PFC, with 140mm Fan

$99 -Seagate 1TB Serial ATA/300 Hard Drive

$120 - Samsung BLU RAY Combo Drive

$569 -EVGA 04G-P4-2686-KR GeForce GTX 680 w/ Backplate 4GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

$100 - Windows 7 (can be bought for about that at

$190 - Corsair 240 GB Force Series 3 Solid State Drive (SSD): CSSD-F240GB3-BK

This is the build I intend to make in December. I am using windows 7 because everything I hear about 8 is that it is no good from top to bottom. I am investing most of my budget into the graphics card. I am getting an I5 because everyone I talk to say an I7 would be unnecessary for gaming needs. I am unsure what to get for a case. I have thought about getting whatever fry's has, which is where I intend to buy my other parts. I may order one online, but I am skeptical about having it shipped to me, as I worry if it will come intact.

Considering the specs I guess my question is is this a good build? IS there anything I should change? The total budget is $1800, but I am willing to flex a bit if it makes major improvements. For instance, if an I7 would really make that much of a difference, I could dish out the extra $100. Problem is everyone I talk to says it is not. The computer is for gaming and school. Regardless if it is a powergaming machine, it should blow my current computer out of the water which is,

-1.6 I7 based HP laptop
-Nvidia 230m 1 GB videocard
-6 Gb of RAM

Also any advice on which case to get based on the budget or near the budget of $200 would be appreciated. I prefer a sturdy functioning case, but looking cosmetically cool is welcome too.
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  1. You are correct in choosing an i5, the i7 is indeed unnecessary. You should probably get the more recent Z77 chipset for your motherboard instead of an older P67. You can still do an ASUS Sabertooth with the Z77 chipset, but you might also be just fine with a less expensive Asrock Z77 Extreme4.

    $120 seems a bit steep for a Bluray drive. Is that even a burner? Or is there some other feature it comes with that justifies the cost?

    Speaking from firsthand experience, the GTX 680 is very likely not worth the extra cost over a 670 for the marginal performance bump. Take a look at the Gigabyte Windforce 670 for $170 less.

    Your other choices look fine to me, though you could consider picking up a higher capacity SSD with money you can save in the aforementioned areas. You probably also want to pick up a decent 3rd party HSF for your CPU like the Coolermaster Hyper212.

    For power supply, I'd suggest a Corsair or Seasonic in the 750W range, which leaves you a ton of headroom for future upgrades.

    There are a ton of great options for cases. I have to run for the moment, but I'll get back to you with some suggestions there.
  2. Okay, for cases I'm actually just going to copy and paste a list I put together recently for a different thread (prices may have changed since then, and will surely change again by December):

    Corsair Carbide 500R for $90. Never used a Corsair, but they are supposed to be very well made and easy to build in. I like the styling too.

    The Antec Eleven Hundred has pretty amazing thermal performance for $100.

    The NZXT Phantom 410 for $100 recently won an award in a case roundup here on Tomshardware I believe.

    Rosewill Thor V2 gives you a lot of case for $130.

    Coolermaster HAF XM for about $95. This is the little brother of the case I currently use, which I'm mostly pretty happy with. I've had some recurring problems with the 200mm fans starting to rattle after a matter of weeks/months though, and I'm not too happy about that. I've replaced 3 so far.

    I recently helped a roommate build a PC using the $110 Coolermaster Storm Sniper, though I think he paid $150 for it at the time. I was really impressed with it, despite being angry at CM over the fans in my HAF X.

    The Bitfenix Colossus for $150 might be worth looking into.

    There's also the CM Storm Trooper, currently $120.

    I wouldn't worry too much about having your case shipped. It's possible for it to be damaged in transit, but I wouldn't say it's likely. Newegg has always been good to me the handful of times I've had to RMA anything.
  3. Thank you for the recommendations. I will definatly keep those in mind. Some of those I had considered. I am undecided on the case I only mentioned the Hoplite as it is the one my friend recently built one with. She says it is good, but that does not mean there are not better. I will do my research between now and then.

    As to the specs is there anything you know of that might increase performance? I had thought about getting 32 GB of RAM, but everyone I talked to said that 32 would be overkill, as 16GB is already more than most games need.

    anyhow any other tips are welcome ;)
  4. Your friends are correct, 16GB of RAM is more than enough for the time being, 32GB is overkill. RAM is cheap right now, so you could buy more for future proofing, but it really, really won't make a difference right now.

    In general, this machine will perform like an unholy beast. At this stage, you are looking at improving creature comforts like a bigger SSD or adding another monitor. If you did want to go multi-display, then you could think about ramping up your graphics some more, but if you stick to just one monitor then the 670 will be plenty good enough.
  5. :bounce: I am glad to hear it. Like I said I had some skepticism about the I5 vs I7, but again like with the RAM they said an I7 was overkill as I was not using hyperthreading. I will have to research those cases I kinda like a few of the ones you mentioned over the Hoplite and the cost is negligible. IF a case has good enough cooling I may overclock too. I never considered overclocking Intel processors in the past because they used to be so ridiculously expensive. That was why everyone used to buy AMD. But the cost of that chip is so cheap if it blew out in a couple years I would not mind getting another or a slightly better replacement.

    I must have missed one of your posts... the Asus Z77 was the one I meant to post for the motherboard. I linked the wrong one.

    this is the correct one "Asus Sabertooth Z77 Intel LGA 1155 Motherboard"

    I will re investigate for the Blu-Ray drive, yeah I assumed it was a burner, but did not look closely. I was mostly putting up specs based on what I want. I am not building it until December, so I will make sure I have the right parts between now and then. I have learned last night frys electronics is not the best place to shop for parts.

    About the video card, well I am willing to change the video card, but wouldn't the less VRAM make a difference in performance? I do agree that sometimes paying the most for something is not necessarily the best or most cost efficient. That is actually one of the main reasons I was asking for help here.

    The powersupply was just one I saw... yeah I was probably going to change that with my friend who is more knowledgeable.

    The fan would be a must.

    I appreciate the advice and case recommendations. :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

    I guess I had more questions since I somehow missed one of your posts.
  6. Extra RAM on a video card is a frequently used gimmick to trick people into spending extra money without necessarily getting better performance. RAM is cheap, so the manufacturers can slap on double or triple or quadruple the necessary amount and jack up the MSRP for extra profits. This used to be more common in the olden days, but it still pops up from time to time.

    The 4GB is more than the 680 really needs to keep itself fed. I could probably find some benchmarks somewhere if you're still skeptical, but the upshot is that a 2GB model is going to be just fine.
  7. Here's another thread on Tom's that talks about the 2GB vs 4GB 680s:

    And here's a review on Anandtech that discusses it briefly and has some benchmarks:

    As you can see, the 670 only trails the 680 by a few frames in most cases, and this particular 680 is superclocked and runs $660. In some cases the extra lead is thanks to the overclock, it's only in the extreme resolutions with multiple monitors and AA that the extra RAM is noticeable.
  8. EVGA has a 670 with 4GB that you can normally find for around $450. It's a beast of card.
  9. Well like ckholt was saying I was wondering why RAM is not a key factor for the cards. He actually explained it well. I have had cards that had more VRAM than others that performed much less with half the VRAM that I had previously, obviously leaving me feeling burned.

    I guess the other question should be then will Gigabyte Windforce 670 be adequate to be a lasting for a few years? I guess what is important is if VRAM is not the most important factor for a Videocard what is? Is it the card processor? Obviously I want to be able to run as near ultra settings as possible in games as long as possible without wasting money unnecessarily.
  10. $230 -Intel Core i5 3570K Boxed 3.4GHz Unlocked 3rd Generation Processor

    $243 - ASUS SABERTOOTH Z77 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

    Free -DDR 3 16 GB 1866 mhz (Patriot Brand) (friend giving free)

    $60 - Black Enermax Hoplite SECC ATX Mid Tower Computer Case ECA3220, w/ Side Window and 12cm Blue/Red Combo-LED .

    $99 - CORSAIR CX Series CX750 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply

    $30 COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible with Intel 1366/1155/775 and AMD FM1/FM2/AM3+

    $99 -Seagate 1TB Serial ATA/300 Hard Drive

    $56 - Black LG UH12LS29 Internal SATA 12x LightScribe Blu-ray Optical Drive, w/ 3D Playback and M-DISC Support, 16x DVD+R/-R, 4MB Cache. OEM

    $400 - GIGABYTE GV-N670OC-2GD GeForce GTX 670 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

    $100 - Windows 7 (can be bought for about that at

    $343 - Corsair Force Series GS 2.5in 360GB SATA III 6Gb/s Internal Solid State Drive (SSD), Model: CSSD-F360GBGS-BK. ds-dh

    Ok changes I made after reading about the card ckholt83 recommended I decided that card is more than I need as people with similar systems to what I am building can run Skyrim on Ultra Settings smoothly. That saves some money for a nicer SS Drive and a better Power supply (which is important). I decided to go with the Hoplite case for now, though that might change. I changed to the power supply you recommended and found a Blu-Ray writer that was more reasonably priced.

    I decided to stay with the motherboard because it has on board wireless and sound (which is fine these days)

    I made the SS drive 360GB Corsair instead of 240GB (which seemed small to me.) 360 is almost enough to be the only drive. Something jsut sounded cool about having a Terabyte drive! :bounce: :sol: :bounce: :sol:

    With your advice I think this should be even more of an unholy beast than it would have otherwise been for LESS.

    Any other recommendations of course would be welcome! :sol:
  11. Best answer
    nirrtix said:
    I guess what is important is if VRAM is not the most important factor for a Videocard what is? Is it the card processor?

    That's correct, the GPU on a given card is the biggest determining factor in performance. Usually the chip maker (Nvidia / AMD) will include enough RAM to keep the GPU properly fed in their reference design, and 3rd party manufacturers will sometimes deviate and add more to make the card seem more appealing to those who aren't familiar with the specs. Sometimes it can be useful, but in most cases a factory overclock is going to provide a more noticeable boost compared to the reference model than extra memory.

    So long as you're planning on sticking to a single display, that 670 should be able to devour anything you throw at it for a good while to come. :)

    And just a heads up, you can actually get a 512GB Plextor SSD for only $30 more than the corsair you picked out.
  12. Yeah... I have no need for a dual. Why would a gamer want a dual display? yeah I may change to that plextor... Personally I would rather a BIG display than dual. I mean my dad has a dual display at work, it works for that, but games I just cannot see it for games.
  13. as to monitors I am interested in this one. It has good ratings...

    ASUS VS248H-P Black 24" 2ms HDMI LED Backlight Widescreen LCD Monitor 250 cd/m2 ASCR 50,000,000:1
  14. I also prefer a big single screen than multiples. I just recently upgraded to an HP 27" and I love it.

    I saw this AOC 27" IPS Panel pop up on a Tomshardware article recently. That is a steal, normally IPS panels cost a lot more, and it will be going up to $349 soon.
  15. That is nice, but I think 24 it the tops for me. I would need a bigger desk :lol:
  16. nirrtix said:
    Yeah... I have no need for a dual. Why would a gamer want a dual display? yeah I may change to that plextor... Personally I would rather a BIG display than dual. I mean my dad has a dual display at work, it works for that, but games I just cannot see it for games.

    It's not about a dual display. It's about triple. Once you play in surround or eyefinity you just cant go back.
  17. I do not see how you could play with 3 monitors...
  18. Best answer selected by Nirrtix.
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