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First Build: Need Advice for a $2000 Budget Gaming Build

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November 27, 2012 9:38:02 PM

Hello All,

I've been having a lot of trouble recently trying to figure out how to go about buying a new gaming PC. For a while, I looked into pre-built systems from Alienware, CyberPower, iBuyPower, etc... but wasn't satisfied with the builds offered. So I have been doing a little research to see if I can build my own. This will be the first time building a gaming computer, so I am a little nervous. Thanks for your help in advance!

Approximate Purchase Date: 1-4 Weeks, ASAP
Budget: ~$2000
System Usage: Mostly Gaming, then some CAD Modeling, Watching Movies, Browsing Internet (No Video/Photo Editing)
Are You Buying a Monitor: Yes, probably buying 2 (as the monitors I have currently are VGA) Any Suggestions?
Do You Need to Buy OS: No
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Prefer amazon.com, but newegg.com or something else would be fine as well.
Location: United States
Parts Preferences: None (mainly due to lack of experience/knowledge)
Overclocking: Not Sure (again, lack of experience/knowledge)
SLI or Crossfire: Not Sure (again, lack of experience/knowledge)
Your Monitor Resolution: Not Sure (1920x1080 or 1920x1200 maybe?)
Additional Comments: Currently, I mostly play World of Warcraft, Starcraft 2, Diablo III, Civilization 5, and Team Fortress 2. But I am looking to get into some other games soon.
And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: I play these games on a crappy HP laptop right now, and really want to be able to fully enjoy my gaming experience a little more ....

Here is a build that I put together after a little research. Please feel free to comment on what I am doing wrong, how I can improve this build, where I am overspending, what components are incompatible, etc... Thanks a lot!

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K Quad-Core Processor 3.4 GHz 4 Core LGA 1155 ($219.99 on Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Corsair Hydro Series H100 Extreme Performance Liquid CPU Cooler ($100.91 on Amazon)
Motherboard: ASUS P8Z77-V LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard ($189.98 on Amazon)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance Blue 16 GB (4 x 4 GB) DDR3 SDRAM Dual Channel Memory Kit ($75.99 on Amazon)
Storage: Crucial 256 GB m4 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive SATA 6Gb/s ($199.99 on Amazon)
Storage: Seagate ST2000DM001 Barracuda 7200RPM 2 TB SATA 6 GB/s NCQ 64 MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive ($88.31 on Amazon)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 680 SC Signature2/Dual Fan/2048MB GDDR5 Dual Dual-Link DVI/mHDMI/DP/SLI Graphics Card ($515.88 on Amazon)
Case: Cooler Master HAF X - Full Tower Computer Case with USB 3.0 Ports and Windowed Side Panel ($169.98 on Amazon)
Power Supply: Corsair Professional Series AX 750 Watt ATX/EPS Modular 80 PLUS Gold ($169.99 on Amazon)
Optical Drive: Asus Black 12X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-Ray Drive ($56.23 on Amazon)

TOTAL: $1787.25

More about : build advice 2000 budget gaming build

November 27, 2012 10:09:50 PM

Looks pretty good! Unless the monitors are excluded from the total of $2k, then you are going over budget a little. Turn that 680 down to a 670, though. Literally the 680 is a slightly overclocked 670. You can get a 670 for $100 less and overclock a little to match the performance. For CAD work, maybe the upgrade to the i7-3770k will benefit you. This is where the $100 saved on the 680 can be used, it is exactly $100 more than the 3570k :)  Btw, Corsair just released their new generation of closed circuit liquid CPU coolers. For about $20 more the H100i is far superior. Has better everything except the radiator, that is basically the same. Otherwise all else looks good!
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a b 4 Gaming
November 27, 2012 10:37:25 PM

For some gaming and some modeling go with this:

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/pRGv
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/pRGv/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/pRGv/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($297.28 @ TigerDirect)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($25.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($144.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Kingston Black 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($51.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($96.18 @ NCIX US)
Storage: OCZ Vertex Plus R2 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card (CrossFire) ($279.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card (CrossFire) ($279.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card (CrossFire) ($279.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Sentey GS-6510 BURTON PLUS (Black) ATX Full Tower Case ($90.00 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Professional 1050W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($168.50 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Total: $1797.88
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-27 19:35 EST-0500)

For well under two grand, you get tri-fire 7950's. That will get you 60+ frames per second for years to come. Plus you have your I7-3770K. You don't need fancy water cooling, but you have money in the budget to add it for fun.
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Related resources
November 28, 2012 12:04:34 AM

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU Cooler:Thermaltake Frio Dual Fan Heatsink OC Ready
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard:ASUS SABERTOOTH Z77 Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory:Corsair Vengeance 16gb (4x4gb) Black Low-Profile 1600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Storage:Seagate Barracuda 1tb 7200rpm
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Storage:o CZ Vertex 3 120gb
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video Card:EVGA Geforce GTX 670 FTX 2gb-x2 SLI
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case:HAF 932 Advanced Blue Edition (or Red if u want)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power Supply: Corsair CX750 750w PSU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Optical Drive:LITE-ON 3D Blu-Ray player/burner
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec Case Fans
Blue:http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Red:http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (trust me their red IRL)

Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Paste
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Total: $1,987.04
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November 28, 2012 2:45:02 AM

Fantastic, thanks a lot for the suggestions! I'm actually going to be using this PC mostly for gaming, the CAD modeling is really something on the side, maybe in the future.

I have a few questions.

- Is it worth it to get liquid cooling?
- What are the advantages of having SLI or Crossfire? Is it better to get two or more decent graphics cards vs a single high end graphics card?

P.S - Also, if possible, could you please list your reasoning behind these builds? I'm just trying to get a better feel as to how/why certain components are a better choice.
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a b 4 Gaming
November 28, 2012 4:05:05 AM

Is it worth liquid cooling?

Not likely. It will give you another, maybe 10% more processing power, but what for? In gaming, the GPU is the holdup, not the CPU. About the only game that really needs CPU power is the 64 player BF3.

Since you have a good budget, you can use a total of three SLI cards of near top end in speed for spectacular results. Right now the most demanding game is Metro 2033 and those three cards will give you about 70 frames per second average with a 30 inch 2560X1600 monitor with all items maxed out. For a 1920X1200, just two cards will enable you to max all at 80 FPS.

http://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/radeon_hd_7950_cro...

You need to make sure your motherboard can handle what you throw at it. It needs a Z77 chipset so you can overclock, and 3 or 4 PCI Express lanes for 3 or 4 way SLI/CF.

I chose the 7950 board for it gives you the best bang for the buck at the high level. Two of them are far faster than the top of the line boards (7970 GHz or GTX 680) And at under $300, they are somewhat cheap.

Normally you want one great card rather than two mediocre cards. Since you have a good budget, get two almost great cards and SLI/CrossFire them.
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November 28, 2012 4:13:21 AM

Liquid Cooling is mostly for looks and overclocking if your interested.
Tell us if you want to overclock (OC) because that changes alot.

Its better to get 1 super high end card now, a good psu with a high wattage, and a motherboard that supports SLI/CrossfireX so in the loooong future when you need to upgrade, all you have to do is get another card to crossfire with!
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a b 4 Gaming
November 28, 2012 4:13:54 AM

Looks good get a 670 instead From best to worst from techpowerup

Asus 670 TOP - 10.0 rating (only card ever to get a 10.0)
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/GeForce_GTX_670...

MSI Twin Frozr IV 670 - 9.7 rating
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/MSI/GTX_670_Power_Ed...

Palit Jetsteram 670 - 9.7 rating
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Palit/GeForce_GTX_67...

Zotac AMP 670 - 9.6 rating
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Zotac/GeForce_GTX_67...

They didn't do the EVGA so.....

http://www.guru3d.com/article/evga-geforce-gtx-670-sc-r...
EVGA SC Boost Clock is 1046 outta the box....stable at 1200 Mhz
EVGA SC gets 3DMark Score of 8691 outta the box and 9443 OC'd
Idle temp is 29C / load temp is 78C
Noise is 37 dBA Idle / 43 dBA under load

http://www.guru3d.com/article/asus-geforce-gtx-670-dire...
Asus TOP Boost Clock is 1137 outta the box .... stable at 1280 Mhz
Asus gets 3DMark Score of 9340 outta the box and 9839 OC'd
Idle temp is 30C / load temp is 72C
Noise is 37 dBA Idle / 38 dBA under load

That makes the Asus 7% faster outta the box than the EVGA SC, 6C cooler and almost 1/4 as loud under load (every 3 dBA is a doubling of sound level). The FTW is slightly faster than the SC, leaving the Asus model w/ just a 5% performance advantage.Best i can say is watch these and take your time good luck!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1y8T8QAsDZs&feature=chan...
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.yout...
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fpcwizkid...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPIXAtNGGCw&feature=watc...
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.yout...
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.yout...

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a c 288 4 Gaming
November 28, 2012 5:47:14 PM

Poltregeist said:
Looks pretty good! Unless the monitors are excluded from the total of $2k, then you are going over budget a little. Turn that 680 down to a 670, though. Literally the 680 is a slightly overclocked 670. You can get a 670 for $100 less and overclock a little to match the performance. For CAD work, maybe the upgrade to the i7-3770k will benefit you. This is where the $100 saved on the 680 can be used, it is exactly $100 more than the 3570k :)  Btw, Corsair just released their new generation of closed circuit liquid CPU coolers. For about $20 more the H100i is far superior. Has better everything except the radiator, that is basically the same. Otherwise all else looks good!


The problem with the H100i is that I think you need Corsair's new digital power supplies to really take advantage of it.

Quote:
Antec Case Fans
Blue:http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Red:http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (trust me their red IRL)


Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Paste
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6835100007


None of these things are needed on a build. If you get a good cooler (not Thermaltake) - it will include better paste than Silver 5.

Quote:

Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card (CrossFire) ($279.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card (CrossFire) ($279.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card (CrossFire) ($279.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Sentey GS-6510 BURTON PLUS (Black) ATX Full Tower Case ($90.00 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Professional 1050W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($168.50 @ NCIX US)


I would completely avoid this setup - Sentey cases are horrendous (if you look at the reviews they're a tier 4 or tier 5 vendor at best), and 3 x 7950 for one monitor is major overkill. If you were working with a six monitor setup then I might agree with it, but no. But really the case is horrible.

Quote:


Motherboard:ASUS SABERTOOTH Z77 Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813131821

Storage:o CZ Vertex 3 120gb
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820227706


I really can't stress enough how much the Sabertooth is overrated - and what the thermal armor really does. And the Vertex 4 is better than the Vertex 3.

For that budget I would suggest:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($219.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler ($90.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP4 TH ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($192.86 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung Spinpoint F4 2TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($129.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($239.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB Video Card ($454.98 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Switch 810 (White) ATX Full Tower Case ($179.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Professional 750W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($119.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($22.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $1731.74
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-28 14:47 EST-0500)
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November 29, 2012 12:55:32 AM

Ok, thanks again for all the responses! I have some more questions.

- About the memory, would it be better to get 32 GB right away (4 x 8 GB)? Or get 2 x 8 GB for now, and then add on later if needed?
- Are AMD video cards a better deal right now compared to Nvidia?
- For hard drives, is higher RPM better?
- For optical drives, I saw a few people suggested to get Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer. Does this play Blu-ray?
- Also, do you guys have any good suggestions for monitors? I'm thinking of buying two as of right now.

Thanks!
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a b 4 Gaming
November 29, 2012 1:07:00 AM

The 670 and 7970 perform basically the same at stock up to 1080p resolution, trading blows depending on the game. The 7970 will OC better and do better at high resolution (and has way more compute power), the 670 gives you CUDA , PhysX, TXAA, FXAA, ADap. Vsync etc and lower power draw. Both are solid buys around the $400
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a c 288 4 Gaming
November 29, 2012 3:03:18 AM

rabid89 said:
Ok, thanks again for all the responses! I have some more questions.

- About the memory, would it be better to get 32 GB right away (4 x 8 GB)? Or get 2 x 8 GB for now, and then add on later if needed?
- Are AMD video cards a better deal right now compared to Nvidia?
- For hard drives, is higher RPM better?
- For optical drives, I saw a few people suggested to get Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer. Does this play Blu-ray?
- Also, do you guys have any good suggestions for monitors? I'm thinking of buying two as of right now.

Thanks!


1. No - You most likely will never need 32GB RAM.

2. What bigcyco1 said.

3. Not necessarily - once you go past 7200 RPM - you pay ridiculous premiums for not a lot of payoff. If you have an SSD as your primary the speed of your secondary doesn't matter.

4. No. That's just the basic DVD player. It's good though - I have two of them. They do make a BD-R writer / player but you need additional software - which is why they're not always recommended.

5. Also what bigcyco1 said.
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