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$1,000 - $1,500 Gaming / Multimedia Desktop

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October 15, 2012 2:10:33 AM

I built a desktop 5-6 years ago and ended up giving it to a friend it was so outdated. I have been out of the computer scene for a long time, just starting to research again, and looks like prices have come down. I want to build a quiet, gaming machine that will handle everything with ease. I have never overclocked but am not against it. I don't necessarily have a budget but don't want to spend more than is necessary.

Approximate Purchase Date: As soon as I decide on parts.

Budget Range: ~ $1,000 - $1,500.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Everyday browsing, Gaming, Videos, Photoshop

Are you buying a monitor: Yes

Do you need to buy OS: Yes

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Like newegg. Open to reliable / inexpensive alternatives.

Location: Santa Rosa, California, United States

Parts Preferences: Looks like the i5 cpu is solid. Not sure about 2500k vs. 3570k.

Overclocking: Maybe, if I need to.

SLI or Crossfire: No / Maybe

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080, 1920x1200 Whatever is considered better. I think 24" but am not 100% decided between that and 27"

Additional Comments: Would like it quiet. Am ok with spending more on case and fans to keep the temps low and the noise down. Don't need any bling or lights.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: The level of games that have been released in the past couple of years is amazing. I want to experience the most modern technology at its finest.


a b 4 Gaming
October 15, 2012 3:30:29 AM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($134.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($38.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($77.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Storage: Plextor M5S Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($89.99 @ CompUSA)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB Video Card ($432.86 @ Newegg)
Case: Rosewill BlackHawk ATX Mid Tower Case ($89.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: XFX 850W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($84.98 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Monitor: Asus VE248H 24.0" Monitor ($169.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($92.11 @ Amazon)
Total: $1417.87
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

This build is ready for overclocking. We can save a little if you're not gonna OC, but I think it's worth it since it's a good option to have when your PC starts slowing down after a couple of years.

The 7970 GHz will be able to max out any game you throw at it. I would suggest either the Gigabyte or the Sapphire Vapor-X ones, but they are always out of stock.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=75186&vpn=GV-R797TO-3G...

The PSU is ready for Crossfire. You can add another 7970 GHz for 2-way CF without having to upgrade wattage.

The SSD is where you'll install your favorite games for faster loading and boot times, while the HDD will act a storage drive for your large files and downloads.

Blackhawk is one the best casings I've seen. It has everything you'll need, and you won't have to add anything to it anymore.
5 pre-installed fans, very spacy interior, convenient front panel, and great cable management.

P.S - If you can walk in to a Microcenter, they have this great CPU+Mobo bundle promo where you can save $50.
October 15, 2012 4:48:02 AM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UD3H - $150

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

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB CML8GX3M2A1600C9 - $40

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

http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=65701&vpn=ST1000DM003&...
Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200RPM - $70

http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=75142&vpn=SDSSDP-128G-...
SanDisk SDSSDP-128G-G25 - $85

http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=62223&vpn=P1850BNLG9&m...
XFX 850W PRO850W XXX Edition - $120

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 7970 OC 3GB - $380

http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=65171&vpn=ELEVEN%20HUN...
Antec Eleven Hundred - $99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
LG DVD Burner GH24NS90 - $18

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - $100

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
LG IPS231B-BN Black 23" - $200


total: $1442 after rebate exclude shipping


i5 2500k is still a very compelling choice... compared to i5 3570k... at least little or no difference to our naked eyes.. if you not going to sli/cfx you can get a cheaper mobo and smaller wattage psu..
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October 16, 2012 5:38:31 AM

Thanks for the responses so far, I really appreciate your help. I like to do research on all the parts themselves, but here's what im leaning to as of now and a couple questions.

CPU: i5 3570k
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155
Memory: Undecided but 8 gigs
Storage: 1TB 7200 drive and a 128 gig SSD. More research needed.
GPU: 7970 - Very confused on all the choices here.
Case: Fractal R4 - Love the simple design and am reading good reviews.
PSU: Would 750w be sufficient if I decided to add a gpu in the future?
OS: Microsoft 7

When I built my last system, sound cards were recommended but I don't see any talk of them now. Are the built in sound cards much higher quality these days?

What are the main differences between the 7970's out there?

Thanks for bearing with my ignorance.

a b 4 Gaming
October 16, 2012 7:10:25 AM

Yes, the integrated sound cards are good quality that you'll only ever need a discrete one if your audio system is too amazing. :p 

There's the regular 7970 and there's the GHz Edition. Both will serve you very well, but the GHz has more juice in it, and is worth the extra cash.

As for the brands, it's mostly only on how they altered the stock clocks, and their respective custom coolers.
My personal favorite would probably be Sapphire's Vapor-X, as I stated in my first post.

As for the HDD and SSD, I've also put in a short summary there for you.
Here's something to read about it- http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/m5s-256gb-ssd-bench...
Other good alternatives would be Vertex 4, Samsung 830, and Crucial M4. Just get the one you catch at the lowest price.

I leave the casing to the end user. It's mostly preference. :) 

750w would be sufficient for a regular 7970 on 2-way Crossfire, 850w would be recommended for 7970 GHz.
October 16, 2012 7:18:09 AM

Awesome information excella thank you.

With my focus of the build to be a gaming machine on the quiet side, is the Vapor X considered a quiet 7970? I'm a bit worried on getting a part with high coil whine aswell. Any input on that?
a b 4 Gaming
October 16, 2012 7:30:49 AM

Yes, it's fairly quiet and a great cooler too.
Though you might have to do a bit of hunting, it's *ALWAYS* out of stock due to popularity.

Coil whine is mostly a factory defect imo, and is subject to RMA for replacement.
October 16, 2012 6:40:41 PM

Reading about silent gaming pc's I stumbled across a lot of people using z77 ASUS boards for fanexpert 2 to be able to control fan speeds to keep acoustics down. If I didn't go with an Asus board is their a high quality fan control speed program that would work similar?

Any news on when Vapor X 7970's will be in stock again?

Whats the difference between Green, Blue, Black western digital drives? Is green worth it for a quieter build?

The Plextor M5S looks like a great SSD.
a b 4 Gaming
October 16, 2012 6:54:03 PM

SpeedFan.

No clue, it's fairly popular.

Green is the slowest, but also the most energy friendly.
Blue is average.
Black is the fastest, and has a 5-year warranty.
!