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Sub $900 Gaming PC for First Time Builder

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Last response: in Systems
November 19, 2012 10:50:11 PM


I am a first time PC Builder. I been doing research for days on this. I am trying to cash in some discounts and get a gaming PC this thanksgiving. This is what I have found so far. If there is any weak link/incompatibility for this system or if there is a better deal/cheaper alternatives out there I would really appreciate it if you can let me know.

Intel Core i5-3570K
[169.99] Microcenter

CPU Cooler:
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
[26.29] NCIX or $30 (Microcenter)

ASRock Z77 Extreme4
[74.99] Microcenter (buy with CPU)

Patriot Viper 3 2 x 4GB DDR3-1600
[24.99] Newegg

Crucial M4 256GB SSD
[169.99] Microcenter

Video Card:
MSI GeForce GTX 670 OC PE
[359.99] NCIX

Cooler Master Storm Enforcer
[69.99] Amazon (I think this case is kind of childish but I cant find anything else with the combination of USB 3.0/Price/Execllent review)

Power Supply:
SeaSonic G Series 550W 80+G
[59.99] Newegg

Total: 955.23

More about : 900 gaming time builder

November 19, 2012 11:13:22 PM

128 GB is probably too low to use as the main disk for everything. Your 7950 is fine OP and I would suggest adding on a mechanical hard disk for additional storage as well.
Related resources
November 19, 2012 11:32:25 PM

Yea. I got the 128gb M4 In my laptop (the only computer I use). It is just barely enough for all my school need plus 1 game. So I figured 256 is enough for everything. I got a 1 TB external drive for backup. If I can find my old laptop drive, I will put that in the PC as secondary :) 
November 19, 2012 11:41:23 PM

The 670 gtx is far better than the 7950, it beats even the 7970 and tops the 680 gtx when oc.
But if it doesn't fit your budget then go with the 7950.
After your last comment it seems that you dont need to change nothing else.
November 20, 2012 12:13:14 AM

Do you guys think the power supply is good enough for the 7950? It states that it needs a MINIMUM of 500 and my psu is only 550?
November 20, 2012 12:30:56 AM

Yes will be fine with that psu for the 7950 or 670 gtx.
Like i said the price of the 670 gtx is closing in price to the 7950 and it offers more performance and less power demanding.
November 20, 2012 12:57:01 AM

Don't even go for the GTX 670 with the 7970 costing this cheap. The 7970 when overclocked to only 1GHZ beats even the GTX 680:

Here's the 7970:

Check out my $650 build if you want another opinion:
Switch the FX-6300 for the FX-8320 (+$30):
Switch the HDD to the 256GB of your choice (+$110)
Swap the 7870 for the 7970 (+$130)
Total: $890

Not saying you have to go for this build but it is a great build even though many people would disagree with the FX as an option. Again I'm just giving the option to here's my evidence:
At 1080P the FX-8350/8320 simply performs the same if not better than the i5 3570K in gaming. The gaming aspect the GPU is always more important.
Course, F1 is an opposite
but again most demanding games like Metro 2033 will have the FX-8350 vperforming better/similar. Plus you can always overclock just as well.
November 20, 2012 1:38:23 AM

I am not really comfortable spending 350+ for the 570 or the 7970 right now. What do you guys think about buying 7870 instead of 7950, saving about $60-70, that I can use on a better monitor? How much performance drop is that going to be? I was originally considering 7870 anyways but I thought I could try to sell the 4-1 game thing for maybe $40 making the price difference only about $20.
November 20, 2012 3:31:46 AM

If you're not comfortable dropping $350+ for a GPU, I don't see how it's bad when you can fit it into your budget... You know? I'm not dissing you by any means OP, I just think if the GPU can be fit within your budget, why not go for it?

On the otherhand, if you plan on spending less as I'd assume that's WHY you don't want to spend $350 on a GPU, check out my $650 again here:
Just swap the 7870 for the 7950 (+70)
Swap the fx-6300 for the FX-8320 (+30):
Total: $720

Saves you about $200 for similar performance, you don't get your SSD, but personally I wouldn't recommend spending that much for an SSD to be your main storage. Why? Space is expensive, another reason is why spend that much when there are SSDs out there with software to cache and act like a Hybrid SSD/HDD combo. You get all the space of an HDD with the boot times and general performance of an SSD.

Faster than SSDs at boot times and cheaper route for more space.
November 20, 2012 5:07:49 AM

Hey, what is your guys thought on PhysX? Borderland 2 does look better on it and I may also play Plantside 2. Are there going to be more or less big titles coming out using PhysX? I wont get 670 just for 2 games but if there are alot more big title comes out using it I would defiantly consider spending more for the 670.

On the side note I have an almost new GTX460 (used for external graphics card for my laptop...) that I heard can be used as a dedicated PhysX engine. Can the powersupply support 2 graphics cards? Or is this just too much work..?
November 20, 2012 5:23:54 AM

Games don't look better with Physx.

They just have a better/cooler tiny details:

Not the best example, but you get the idea. It's not really needed, I don't feel like I lose any gaming experience from a game by not having it. I use the 7870.

IF, you were going to do Physx, then yes, I would opt to get dedicated card, like using your GTX 460 as the Physx card and using the 7870 or 7950 for your main.
At this point, I'd recommend at least a 650w. The 460 wasn't a TDP EATER, but it's still a little more power consuming that current gen cards.
November 20, 2012 6:05:53 AM

I am not sure but there is already quite a bit of games PhysX works with so i assume there will be more.Blizzard games such as WoW and Starcraft 2 favor Nvidia
Batman AA and AC favor Nvidia if you use PhysX.A lot find it useless. Plantside 2,Borderlands 2,Max Payne 3, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, and Assassin’s Creed III,Mafia II,the godfather 2,ghost recon advanced warfighter 1 and 2 and GTA4 favor NVIDIA.And games such as Deus Ex, Sleeping Dogs, Hitman, Far Cry 3,The Witcher 2,Crysis2,Aliens vs. Predators,Metro 2033 Sniper Elite ver. 2, Dragon Age II favor AMD Graphics Card.Nvidia has CUDA,PhysX, TXAA, FXAA, ADap. Vsync. AMD has - Eyefinity Fullscreen SSAA which uses DirectCompute fullscreen AA DirectCompute Accelerated DOF MLAA GPGPU.
November 20, 2012 2:58:30 PM

Here is my price breakdown after factoring in the bonus gift.

4-1 Game Pack: Ebay for ~40
Final Price ~250

Borderland 2: $60 (I am actually going to play this one)
Assassin Creed: Ebay for ~15
Final Price: ~245-275

4-1 Game Pack: Ebay for ~40
Final Price ~290-320

So in the end it seems like 670 is not that expensive in price (and don’t have to risk as much on ebay), and I am getting PhysX without having to mess with installing my 460/getting new PSU. I don’t plan on overclocking too much.

Now there is a very important question:
What do you guys think about the brands?
From what I heard/Past experience:
MSI, Galaxy, asus, evga, asus, gigabytes are bigger brands
PYN HIS XFX POWERCOLOR seems to be cheaper brands.

Which brands are quality and which brand sells a lot of junk?

Now here is a deal. I am professional student who is in school for 80+ hours a week and also most of the weekends. I really need something that is very reliable. I cant spending little free time I get trying to tinker with OC or fixing the computer.
November 20, 2012 7:38:30 PM

#1 I would be all over that Asus TOP for its high factory overclock, cool temps, and really, really quiet fans.heavily modified PCB, with an efficient VRM design to produce low temperatures, improved voltage regulation circuitry, much better ChiL controller , specially binned chip and voltage control and monitoring support that you won't find on most other non-reference cards. It looks aggressive to me and indeed is monster let's keep it on the real. TechPoweUp gives the 670 TOP an 10.0 rating, the only 10.0 rating ever
Asus 670 TOP - 10.0 rating

Quote :

Yes, you've seen correctly, the ASUS GeForce GTX 670 Direct CU II TOP is the first graphics card ever that I gave a perfect ten score. The stock GeForce GTX 670 provides already great performance, but ASUS has topped that by boosting it with a large overclock out of the box which catapults it beyond GTX 680 performance levels. Averaged over all our testing we see the card 1% faster than GTX 680 and 8% faster than GTX 670. The card does so without massive power consumption increase thanks to an efficient VRM design and low temperatures. ASUS has done away with NVIDIA's cheap voltage regulation circuitry and put a much better CHiL controller on the card, which also supports voltage control and monitoring.
The ASUS DC II cooler is a revelation on the GTX 670, it provides incredibly low noise levels. In both idle and load the card emits almost no noise, it is actually quieter under full load than most other cards on the market are at idle. Not only noise is low but temperatures are great, too. With only 74°C under load the card is cooler than most other GTX 670 cards tested today.
Manual overclocking works well too, especially memory, which is not overclocked out of the box, performs exceedingly well. We see well over 100 MHz extra memory overclocking potential compared to the NVIDIA reference design, thanks to the revamped PCB design. In the end the card reaches 1890 MHz memory, which is just 5 MHz shy of the highest memory clock ever recorded in a TPU review.
Overall the ASUS GTX 670 Direct CU II is the best card I ever tested. I simply can't find anything wrong with it. ASUS has sucessfully addressed all the shortcomings of NVIDIA's reference design, yet asks only a moderate $20 price premium for their card. This means that you can get faster than GTX 680 performance at $420. And the card manages all that with a dual slot cooler, that just screams "put me in SLI".
#2 MSI's GTX 670 Power Edition uses the famous Twin Frozr IV cooler from the MSI Lightning and comes with a large clock speed boost out of the box, making its default clock speed even higher than GTX 680 stock clocks. MSI is asking a $389.99 it's actually $369.99 AMIR price for their card, which doesn't look unreasonable, given the improved cooling and higher clocks.
ASUS GTX 670 TOP = Silent.
MSI GTX 670 PE = Better Overclocking. (670 PE OC) (ASUS 670 TOP OC) (ASUS 670 TOP Overclocking) (MSI 670 PE Overclocking) (ASUS 670 TOP Temperature) (MSI 670 PE Temperature)

Pick which you care more about. Nothing is Perfect between those 2 card. If you care more about silent, I would choose ASUS, but if you care more about Overclocking. Both are Excellent card.
November 20, 2012 8:35:22 PM

I am not going to overclock at all. So my priorities are reliability, price, noise in that order. The Asus does look nice, but I think at $430 it is over price.

I will defiantly consider the MSI Power Edition. Are there any other card cheaper than MSI PE that you would recommend? The reason I am asking is because I am hoping that I can catch a deal over blackfriday :) 
November 20, 2012 11:51:28 PM


1. Found out that I can buy the Motherbord for 75$ at microcenter when buying CPU!! so that saved about 30$
2. Added in the GTX 570 to reflect current cost.

Now here is another tough decision..

At microcenter they are selling
Antic Three Hundred Two ATX Mid-Tower Case
Basiq 550 Plus 550W ATX modular PSU
For $80

Cooler Master Storm Enforcer ATX Mid Tower Case
SeaSonic G Series SSR-550RM 550W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
For $130

For $50 I loose 2 USB 2.0 in front (and I dont think the antic case as nearly as good review/quality as the CM), and instead of 80Plus GOLD it is just 80Plus. I dont know if it is worth it because I would really miss the USB. I usually connect my phone, external HDD and mouse (to be shared with my laptop).
November 21, 2012 12:29:47 AM

What do you think about getting 2*128 for Raid0 instead of the 256? They are the same price at micro center after rebate.
November 21, 2012 12:33:03 AM

Case and power supply are something that is actually worth investing in as they last the longer and can be reused in future i never skimp on those areas and have no regrets yet but to each his/her own either way it's up to you.
November 21, 2012 1:19:59 AM

bigcyco1 said:
Case and power supply are something that is actually worth investing in as they last the longer and can be reused in future i never skimp on those areas and have no regrets yet but to each his/her own either way it's up to you.

Yea you are right, I said screw it to the case because I know I would be pissed about constantly having to go to the back of the case to unplug stuff.

What do you think about:

Or any other deal from microcenter?

I think it may be better to buy from there since it is at pretty good price and if I want to return it I can just drive it to the store?
November 21, 2012 1:36:49 AM

The EVGA FTW!Is a good card and since your not overclocking it shouldn't run hot i would get it they have great customer service as well.
November 21, 2012 1:39:26 AM

bigcyco1 said:
The EVGA FTW!Is a good card and since your not overclocking it shouldn't run hot i would get it they have great customer service as well.

Ha thank you! Finally nailed the GPU down. Took so so many hours of research. Had I been working instead (right now I tutor in school for 15$) I could had enough money for 680 lol...
November 21, 2012 1:51:11 AM

Lol!No problem.Yes i know all to well.I get stressed out my mind when i buy a video card that cost three or four hundred.
November 21, 2012 3:13:01 AM

Just ordered the PSU, Case and Ram from newegg. So there is no turning back now!!! I will order the rest from Microcenter on Friday.

What do you think about:

For monitor and final piece of the puzzle?

Actually I also forgot to buy a DVD drive..should I just by a cheap USB one this way I can use it with my laptop too?
November 21, 2012 3:41:03 AM

As for your other question.If you prefer to sure go ahead.
November 21, 2012 3:57:40 AM

bigcyco1 said:
I never buy off eBay if your not scare to like me lol that is not bad monitor but i recommend you buy one of these whichever fit your budget Monitors

My cousin is buying one first lol. So i am going to see how it goes.
November 21, 2012 4:19:54 AM

Lol.... o.k.