New Gaming System $600-$1000

Approximate Purchase Date: Whenever it's done (so busy that I am in no rush, I just want to start it, so it will be done eventually)

Budget Range: $600-$1000 After rebates and shipping

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Games such as SC2, D3, Civ5, related RTS and such. If it can do these, all other normal functions will already be met.

Are you buying a monitor: No

Parts to Upgrade: I have a case, not sure how to find out type of case. Appears to be large, maybe 6in wide by 18in high. It's nearly 10 years old, but it would be nice to reuse (it was a nice case at the time). Everything else will need to be new.

Do you need to buy OS: Yes - Windows 8. If OEM is cheaper then OEM, not sure how that works at this point.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: and are the two I am aware of and use.

Location: City, State/Region, Country - Virginia.

Parts Preferences: I like ASUS as my current mobo is that and it works well, but I don't know about brand quality honestly. AMD I've always liked, though again I'll take what's best for the price. nVidia I prefer, but again no real reason other than personal like for them.

Overclocking: Maybe (don't understand this, as in what is the pros and cons, faster speed is obvious but what is the drawback?)

SLI or Crossfire: Probably not. I've had an SLI capable computer for years and never had a reason to get a 2nd GPU. I suppose it's nice to have as an option, but it seems just getting a decent GPU negates the reason for it, at least from my experience.

Your Monitor Resolution: No clue. Currently using 1280x1024, but never really messed with it other than to make sure it wasn't a lot resolution with huge icons on the desktop.

Additional Comments: Quiet would be nice for a change, all my current systems are not quiet. Not a big deal, but if it can be fit in, I'd like it.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: See comments below:

$1000 is the most I am willing to spend currently, but I would be much happier spending less. My wife's computer is dieing (my old gaming rig). I currently have one that runs most games on med-high settings (SC2, Diablo3, Civ5, all high settings, though a few settings are now being set to medium in the auto configurations). The system is 4 years old, but as lasted well. I would either like to replace my wife's system (which she plays games with me) or replace mine (and give her my current one). Depends on what I can get for the price. I demand higher quality than my wife, she puts up with slower and lower quality graphics. So what I can get for the price will determine the system's use.

I've never built myself before, though I have selected the general components for a builder to use (CPU, GPU, etc). I've never gone as deep as motherboards and such though. And it's the motherboard that has me stuck right now. I'm not even sure where to begin (been reading the articles here).

What I want is a system that can run all modern games and slightly future games on either high settings, or high enough that you can't really tell the difference. I don't do FPSs, but rather RTS, Diablo type, Civ, etc. I don't mind having to upgrade components during it's lifetime, which is why I want a decent motherboard. I don't need the highest end though, as I don't have large funds for this. As it is my current system started at 2 GB ram as it was enough at the time, then upgraded when needed. I've been using a nVidia 9800gtx (or whatever the overclock is I suppose) it's entire life, and that card has been amazing. I don't even have a need for a new GPU yet since graphic settings are still mostly at the highest setting for my games. Problem is I've used it for so long I don't know the current generation GPUs at all.


So, first issue is motherboard. I don't want a huge amount of RAM now, but I would like it in the future. Current system that may go to my wife has 4GB, can expand to 8GB. I may only put in 4GB in the new machine, but would like to be able to expand beyond 8GB.

Next, is there a good chance the motherboard would fit in my case? I don't know if these are normal or large towers I have, but both my current and my dieing system are 6in wide by 18in tall (and roughly 18in deep).

Will need 1 SSD (64GB or 128GB), which current case doesn't have a holder for as they didn't exist then. Do they make an adapter? Will probably reuse current HDD too (from dieing computer, it's only like 200-300GBs, but I've never used that much space). Plan is OS and programs go on SSD, all files and pictures go on HDD.

GPU, I love the nVidia 9800gtx, though obsolete. Since this card is still amazing for the games I play, what would be a comparable card? I want a good card, but these get expensive quickly. I'd even settle for another 9800gtx used if it worked in the new system, as it would give me another year or two before my games became just medium settings all around.

PSU, whatever is needed to allow a decent GPU, with somewhere between 8GBs-16GBs RAM someday?

Not sure what else would be needed. At this point I'm still researching, but was hoping for some help as the motherboard is stopping me right now. Would certainly appreciate information on the other parts as well, but even just mobo will at least let me get to step 2, as everything seems to build from the mobo.

Oh, processor. I no longer understand them. The difference between Dual and Duo eludes me. Current system runs Intel Core2 Quad Q6700 2.66GHz. Current system is great for me, though showing aging as mentioned above with some medium graphic settings. Other than this thing has 4 processors, I don't understand Core2, i3, i5, i7, etc. AMD and Intel, either is fine.

Thanks for any and all help.
13 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about gaming system 1000
  1. PCPartPicker part list:
    Price breakdown by merchant:

    CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($169.99 @ Microcenter)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($127.86 @ Newegg)
    Memory: Mushkin Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($41.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.99 @ Newegg)
    Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB Video Card ($413.78 @ NCIX US)
    Case: Rosewill CHALLENGER ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: Antec Basiq Plus 550W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($55.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ Newegg)
    Total: $975.58
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

    cpu price is wrong it will be 215$ at a total of 1020.58$ if you do happen to have a microcenter id buy ur cpu and mobo there i heard they give really nice deals if you go instore
    this computer will run anything you want to throw at it on max settings
    also since you didint need a hdd i put in a 128 GB ssd iv also heard this comes with a 3.5'' adapter but not sure if u need to find out you can watch an unboxing on it
    also since i realy dont know what kinda case u have so the gpu might NOT fight inside it well
    i did put in a case in this build so if you do end up needing 1 there is that u can take out to make it under the 1000$ mark
  2. Best answer
    How big is your monitor?
    I highly suggest going 1920x1080 to get the most out of the recommended builds here.

    Also, is your HDD a SATA or IDE? You'll need to find that out too.

    Do you really want Windows 8? It's not looking very well.

    Here's a suggestion. I included a storage drive anyway since it's a bit cheap and your HDD might not be compatible; feel free to drop it though.
    This one won't OC and will not SLI/Crossfire either.

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($149.99 @ Microcenter)
    Motherboard: ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($87.55 @ Newegg)
    Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($33.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($88.98 @ Newegg)
    Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.99 @ Newegg)
    Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($284.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: Rosewill Green 630W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($59.99 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ Newegg)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($99.99 @ Mac Mall)
    Total: $921.46
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

    What the above poster said about Microcenter is true.
    If you have one near you, I suggest you walk in there and buy the CPU+motherboard. You get a $50 discount.
  3. An i5 is going to be your best bet for your CPU, RTS games are more CPU heavy than most. The HD 7770 or GTX 650 should be fine for the GPU but you have the budget for something better, I'd put the HD 7850 2GB in there.

    2x4GB Corsair Vengeance LP 1600Mhz 1.5v
    ASRock B75 PRO3-M
    Sapphire HD 7850 2GB
    Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 7200RPM
    Corsair CX-430 430W

    Total - $604.94

    That should be more than fine for any game around at the moment. If you need a case, I'd grab something like the Fractal Design Core 1000. I'd recommend a SSD as well, the Samsung 840 Series 120GB should be good.
  4. Thanks for the quick replies all...

    For the Monitor, I've always just used whatever I had. I don't watch movies, I only use these for games and general use. I am currently using an HP vp17. I tend to only replace monitors when they fail, and I've never compared these low priced ones to higher end ones. Do games actually have a noticeable difference? My current monitor doesn't go above 1280x1024, so as I said I don't know what happens. Are details sharper? Never understood resolutions other than the lower ones create giant desktop icons. I could certainly upgrade the Monitor in the future if it makes a big difference (due to costs it would be in a year most likely).

    Windows 8. I currently run Windows Vista and hate it. My dieing system has Windows XP which I love. At my office I have Windows 7 which I also love. I know 8 just came out, but is it not considered as good for Desktops? I would have no problem using Windows 7 if that one is superior, as I do enjoy it already.

    My current HDD is SATA, I just checked it's connection. So that is covered.

    Case, is there a way to find out the make/model? I don't see it on the outside, do they have a sticker usually somewhere? I could always buy the parts and if they don't fit, then buy a case. It's only $50, but on a budget that could be spent elsewhere (and time waiting for a new one is not an issue for me).

    Lastly, for a build like this, is it really worth SLI/CrossFire? As I mentioned previous, I've never used SLI even though my current good computer is capable of it. The few articles I've read here about it seem to suggest they aren't as good the marketing says (perhaps still good though), but is it better than just getting a new card a few years later? I'll never be buying 2 top end cards, so its get 1 decent card now, then either a) get a 2nd copy of the current card if I can find it in a few years, or b) replace current card with a then decent card in a few years.

    Thanks again so far, you've all been very helpful.
  5. For 1280x1024, I believe even the 7850 is overkill.

    Windows 8 has gotten a lot of negative feedback, it's expected to be the next Vista. Just stick with Win 7 for now.

    Don't bother with SLI/Crossfire as well. It's always better to have one powerful GPU.
    And yea, your monitor resolution won't need that much fps power. :P
  6. Question on the motherboard. Two of the versions were ASROCK H77 and Z77, with a difference of $40, 1 eSATA 6Gb/s, and additional memory types of 1866/2133/2400/2800.

    So, what is eSATA? Haven't heard of that, and what is it used for (or will be used for?).

    For the memory types, is there any sort of noticable difference between the lower memory types and the higher? Would I even be able to tell?

    Lastly, the other mobo listed doesn't offer RAID support. Again, something I would ever need? While I know a decent amount about computers, I've never messed with RAID before and don't see myself doing so unless it's worth learning about.
  7. No, there is no notable difference between 1600MHz and the higher ones. Not on Intel setups at least.

    eSATA is a form of fast data transfer for external HDD most of the times.
    I believe USB 3.0 is more abundant.

    Both of them have the same RAID support, so idk where you go that.
  8. It was the 3rd mobo that didn't have RAID support, the ASRock B75 PRO3-M. I should have been more clear which I was referring to. I don't plan on using external HDD, so that means the eSATA isn't a factor. So far, the ASRock H77 board seems the best for the cost.

    I have an unused SDD 64GB SATA 3GB/s in front of me right now. I know most are SATA 6GB/s, will that speed be noticeable? Having never used SDD, I'm not even sure how fast the one in front of me will work. My plans are Windows 7, Adobe InDesign/Photoshop/Illustrator, SC2, D3, Civ5 at this time on the SDD. That should all fit on 64GBs I believe, with all other saved file types on my old HDD which is SATA.
  9. Case: COUGAR Challenger Black Steel Case . ($85.99)

    Motherboard: ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP LGA 1155. ($79.99) [...] 6813157302

    CPU : Intel Core i5-3450 Ivy Bridge 3.1GHz (3.5GHz Turbo). ($194.99) [...] 6&Tpk=3450

    GPU: XFX Double D Radeon HD 7870 GHz 2GB 256-bit GDDR5.($209.99)

    RAM: CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 . ($41.99) [...] 6820233144

    HDD: Western Digital RE3 WD7502ABYS 750GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache. ($59.99) [...] ard-Drives

    PSU: CORSAIR Builder Series 500w 80 PLUS BRONZE. ($49.99)

    Optical Drive: SAMSUNG 22X DVD Burner 22X. ($16.99) [...] 6827151244

    SSD : OCZ Vertex Plus 60GB. ($49.99)

    TOTAL = 798

    if you dont know much about the case watch
  10. mikecxt said:
    It was the 3rd mobo that didn't have RAID support, the ASRock B75 PRO3-M. I should have been more clear which I was referring to. I don't plan on using external HDD, so that means the eSATA isn't a factor. So far, the ASRock H77 board seems the best for the cost.

    I have an unused SDD 64GB SATA 3GB/s in front of me right now. I know most are SATA 6GB/s, will that speed be noticeable? Having never used SDD, I'm not even sure how fast the one in front of me will work. My plans are Windows 7, Adobe InDesign/Photoshop/Illustrator, SC2, D3, Civ5 at this time on the SDD. That should all fit on 64GBs I believe, with all other saved file types on my old HDD which is SATA.

    I wouldn't personally try to fit all those on a 64gb. The general consensus of a sweet spot for SSDs here is 128gb since the OS more or less takes half the capacity of a 64gb unit.

    What I would do is use the 64gb SSD you have right now as a boot drive for the OS, then get the 128gb for all the favorite game/programs.
  11. When you say 64gb for the boot drive for the OS, do you mean the OS would be the only thing on that drive, with all my other programs then on the 128gb? I don't really understand if a boot drive is something different than just the drive the OS is on (and therefore boots from). I just remember having to use boot disks for DOS when I was kid, so whenever I hear of boot drives I'm not sure if they're something specialized, or just the drive where your OS is sitting.
  12. Yeah, I meant the OS would be the only thing on the drive. Sorry for the confusion.
  13. Best answer selected by mikecxt.
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