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[New Build] Seeking Sub-$1000 Gaming Computer

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November 10, 2012 9:38:33 PM

Hello. My computer's hard drive is about to go kaput (it might even happen as I type this), and what with November sales already beginning I decided to throw together a midrange gaming computer. I budgeted around $1000 but ended up cutting costs to ~$800:

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/ndLQ

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core $169.99
Motherboard: ASRock B75 PRO3-M Micro ATX LGA1155 $77.55
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 $33.99
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM $96.00
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7850 1GB $158.98
Case: Antec One ATX Mid Tower $42.37
Power Supply: Antec 400W ATX12V / EPS12V $47.98
Optical Drive: Asus BW-12B1ST/BLK/G/AS Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer $59.99
Monitor: Dell ST2321L 23.0" $129.99
Keyboard: Logitech K120 $9.93
And a Rosewill RNWD-N1501UB IEEE 802.11b/g/n, USB2.0 Wireless-N Mini Adapter $8.99

As this will be my first build, I've got quite a few worries:

Will the i5 need a dedicated cooler, or will the cheap case's fans+the included fan be enough?
Is the Z77 motherboard worth the extra $50+? I probably won't bother trying to crossfire later.
Is the 1GB 7850 good at that price? Or should I not bother and pony up for the 2GB versions?
Will this be compatible with Windows 8 (I actually want Windows 7, but 8 is slightly cheaper atm, so...)?

Thanks in advance!
November 10, 2012 9:47:30 PM

If you want to overclock (which you cant on B75 I believe) to any real degree, you will need a decent heatsink. The Coolermaster Hyper 212 EVO is the go-to budget cooler.
Depends if you need the features it provides.
I would shell out the extra $20 for the standard 2GB model. Some games can manage to use more than 1GB at 1080p.
All Windows 8 compatible, far as I know there isn't anything that's Win 8 incompatible.

This Seagate Barracuda is cheaper than the WD Black and slightly faster.
Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200RPM. $90
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I suggest a stronger PSU, as 400W is cutting it a bit fine.
XFX Core 550W, 80+ Bronze. $70 ($10 rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Do you need a BLU-Ray drive?
November 10, 2012 9:47:31 PM

If you don't overclock the standard intel cooler will be fine. see if you can fit a 7870 in your budget, and mayyybeeeeee see if you can squeeze a Z77 board. if you're not gonna overclock get the i5 3450, and the mobo you have. also, get the HAF 912 case instead, it's like 10 bucks more but its worth every penny. GET W7. DON'T LET THE TOUCHSCREENS TAKE OVER. AAAHHHHHH. the only reason it's cheaper is because MS knows like everyone hates it for desktops so they're trying to get people to buy it over w7.
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November 10, 2012 9:51:37 PM

You should change mobo, that isn't much use with unlocked processor, use Z77, something like ASRock Z77 Extreme 3 (or 4).
You will need a cooler for CPU, suggest CoolerMaster Hyper 212Evo. To avoid a clash with that, use low profile RAM. Suggest GSKill Ares, Crucial Ballistix Sport, or Corsair CML.
You need more than 400w. 500w would be "adequate" but 550w better. Suggest XFX 550w.
The 2GB version of the HD7850 is good bit better than the 1GB.
I would stick with Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit. Let someone else sort the bugs with 8, you could upgrade later, IF it turns out to be any good.
November 10, 2012 9:55:00 PM

What if he doesn't want to overclock? the board he has + the i5 3450 would be just fine. then OP could squeeze in a 2gb 7850/7870.
November 10, 2012 10:03:54 PM

The i5 doesn't need a 3rd party cooler unless you are planning to overclock, and if you aren't going to OC then you don't need to spend extra money on the unlocked K sku chip. You can get pretty much the same stock performance out of the box from a 3450 or 3470. If you live near a microcenter, you can get one of these for a fantastic $140.

If you aren't overclocking or planning on SLI / CF (which I don't generally recommend unless you have a beastly multi-display setup), you will be just fine with a B75 or H77 motherboard, no worries there.

A 2GB 7850 is only $10 more than the cheapest 1GB, so might as well pony up for that. If you're watching for good sales you might be able to do even better than that, I've seen a 7870 going for $180 recently.

You probably want to bump up that PSU just a leetle bit to give yourself some headroom. 400W would probably be sufficient if it's a good high quality unit, but wouldn't leave you much room to potentially upgrade your video card in the future.

I'd also suggest adding an SSD into the build with the leftover room in the budget, it'll knock your socks off and perform much better than the Caviar Black for your OS and games and whatnot. You can then get a cooler, more efficient 'green' drive for your secondary storage to hold all your files.

Everything in that list should work just fine with Windows 8 as far as I can tell, it's built on the same framework as 7.

Here's a slightly revised list including the SSD and OS:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3450 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($179.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock B75M-DGS Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($61.97 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($33.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda Green 1.5TB 3.5" 5900RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($89.88 @ Amazon)
Video Card: PowerColor Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($169.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Antec One ATX Mid Tower Case ($42.37 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($53.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Asus BW-12B1ST/BLK/G/AS Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Monitor: Dell ST2321L 23.0" Monitor ($129.99 @ Amazon)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($89.99 @ CompUSA)
Keyboard: Logitech K120 Wired Standard Keyboard ($9.93 @ Amazon)
Total: $987.07
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-10 19:03 EST-0500)

November 10, 2012 10:12:37 PM

Yeah for the sake of being redundant let me just be short and sweet:

i5-3570K + B75 = waste. Get Z77 or get a locked chip and save even more money.

For $1000 you need at least a 7870 or 7950. And yes there was a sick deal last week on Newegg for a HD7870 for $185 after rebate (I bought one and am currently using it).

Do you really need a blu-ray burner? You could also always pony up for a SSD or Blu-Ray burner later and just get the essentials right now. That way you can cut costs and get the unlocked chip and Z77 chipset with a better GPU. Just my 2 cents.
November 10, 2012 10:21:48 PM

Thanks for the fast help guys!
I'm far too inexperienced to risk messing around with overclocking, so I don't need that capability, no. I suppose I won't need a CPU cooler then?

I do live quite near a Microcenter, so swinging buy to pick up a cpu (especially at that price) is no problem.

I know SSDs can be quite good, but I've always been worried that it'd be a headache to manage multiple internal hard drives. Is it at all frustrating?

I'll upgrade the PSu and grab that 2GB 7870. Is powercolor reliable?

That HAF 912 case looks great, but it doesn't seem to have USB 3.0 ports on the front. Will they still be available on the back? I've got a 1.0TB external already, I'd love to be able to transfer at 3.0 rates.

Regarding the blu-ray drive, it's hardly necessary, but I don't intend on getting a PS3 and the drive would be cheaper than a bluray player.
November 10, 2012 10:36:09 PM

Overclocking is fairly easy nowdays, much easier then back when you had to balance the CPU, RAM, Voltages and FSB to make it all work.

You don't need an aftermarket cooler if you arent going to overclock. Though getting one will reduce noise and lower temps.

If you set it up right its fine. Just make sure that the user files are moved to the HDD and your browser/torrent client is set to download to the HDD. Other than that its just being vigilant in making sure programs install where you want.

Powercolor isnt the greatest manufacturer, but they aren't horrible. If there is a similarly priced Sapphire or Gigabyte, go for that instead.

Whether the back I/O will have USB3 or not comes down to the motherboard, not case.
November 10, 2012 10:55:53 PM

Something like this, if you don't want CPU OC, gives room (more or less) to get good HD7870 in.
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($191.97 @ CompUSA)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H77M-D3H Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($91.99 @ Mac Mall)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7870 2GB Video Card ($244.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 300R ATX Mid Tower Case ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($53.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Asus BC-12B1ST/BLK/B/AS Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer ($54.73 @ NCIX US)
Monitor: Asus VS247H-P 23.6" Monitor ($168.04 @ Amazon)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($89.99 @ CompUSA)
Keyboard: Logitech K120 Wired Standard Keyboard ($9.93 @ Amazon)
Total: $1080.60
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-10 19:53 EST-0500)

I'm not sure if the Microcentre deal on i5 has finished, as Partpicker has been selecting it automatically.
November 10, 2012 11:17:57 PM

I think I'll still keep overclocking for a later build, going to play conservative for now.

My bad on the USB3.0, the motherboard does have two rear ports for it.

Here's a build, based on your guys' advice: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/nem8

Decided to leave the SSD out in favor of a jump from 7850 to 7870. I hear from reviews that the 7870 might be a bit long for a mid tower, any idea if this will be a problem?
November 10, 2012 11:25:22 PM

Will depend on the case if the graphics card length will be an issue, but any case worth getting will support even the largest of cards.
Also if you think you can land the rebate, Would advise getting this case instead.
Zalman Z9+. $60 ($10 rebate).
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Has a lot more features than the 912.
November 10, 2012 11:25:45 PM

You will fit a 7870 no problem in that case. Pretty good build IMO. Keep in mind that at Microcenter you can get that CPU for cheaper plus $50 off on a compatible motherboard. I'm pretty sure they're still running that offer.

From experience that wireless adapter you picked is garbage. Get something like this, best one I ever used for under $20.

TP-LINK TL-WN722N
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
November 10, 2012 11:33:42 PM

stickg1 said:
You will fit a 7870 no problem in that case. Pretty good build IMO. Keep in mind that at Microcenter you can get that CPU for cheaper plus $50 off on a compatible motherboard. I'm pretty sure they're still running that offer.

From experience that wireless adapter you picked is garbage. Get something like this, best one I ever used for under $20.

TP-LINK TL-WN722N
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Do we know if Microcentre still have that deal. I note Partpicker has stopped selecting MC as cheapest deal.
November 10, 2012 11:43:58 PM

malbluff said:
Do we know if Microcentre still have that deal. I note Partpicker has stopped selecting MC as cheapest deal.


Well right now they have the i5-3570k for $170 with $40 off a Z77 motherboard. So in my shopping cart I have an i5-3570k and ASUS P8Z77-V LK for $275 which is a steal.

They have the i5-3450 for $140 and a decent H77 motherboard is about $75-$90. So thats $215-$230 which is also a great deal. Of course as usually it is in store pick up only.
!