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[First Time Build] Grad Student Build with ~$1.2k Budget

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November 11, 2012 7:04:43 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: Late November or Early December

Budget Range: ~$1200 Max (Don't need to go overkill on hardware if it isn't warranted, given my intended use)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: (1) Statistical Software (e.g., SPSS), (2) MS Office Applications, (3) Internet, (4) Viewing movies and photos

Are you buying a monitor: Yes, I would like a dual monitor set up. I would appreciate any insight on monitor sizes and resolution

Do you need to buy OS: No

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Any

Location: Laramie, Wyoming AND Fort Collins, Colorado

Parts Preferences: by brand or type: Intel i5 3570k

Overclocking: Yes

SLI or Crossfire: No

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 (not really sure on this)

Additional Comments: Needs to have at least 1TB HDD, 128SDD for programs and OS, ability to do light gaming (Starcraft), and DVD R/W optical drive. I often access my desktop remotely from my laptop and use it to stream content to media in my apartment. Because of my apartment layout, I will need a WIFI card.


And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: I want a power machine that will not break a sweat while I am in grad school for the next five years. My laptop does a decent job for work while I am on the go, but I want a dedicated work station that will be able to adaptable to future modifications, but fully capable for the next five years.

Include a list of any parts you have already selected with descriptively labeled links for parts. Please do not post only links.

--Intel Core i5-3570k
--Samsung 830 128GB SSD

Thank you!

More about : time build grad student build budget

November 11, 2012 11:01:17 AM

This would be a decent basic build, with a reasonable mid-range graphics card, ideally suited to Starcraft.
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($169.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($132.06 @ NCIX US)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($33.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($74.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.00 @ B&H)
Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 660 2GB Video Card ($229.99 @ Amazon)
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: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $901.98
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-11 07:50 EST-0500)

If you have a local Microcentre, they currently have effectively $50 off the processor, in store only. Elsewhere the cost is nearer to $220
There are AMD options, for graphics cards, which may be better overall value, for a variety of games. That one, though, is particularly good, with Starcraft.
I have left off monitors (although reasonable spare, in budget), as it rather depends what you need. For a second monitor, a small, fairly basic one, would allow for a better main one. If main one is required to have good colour reproduction, for photo editing, or watching movies, it is worth getting a decent IPS one, and a cheap second. If you're not that particular about high picture quality, the two could be more "balanced"
!