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First build, mostly gaming, $1500 budget

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December 24, 2012 1:25:26 PM

Hi all, long time lurker, now thinking of doing my first build. Have been on an HP Pavilion Elite 480t which seemed fine until now but I basically want to build just because I've become convinced of the advantages of homebuilt systems and it seems like something fun to do.

I plan to run 3 1080p monitors and play games like SC2 and D3 across all 3 monitors (yes, I know the challenges and limited benefit but i just play for fun so don't really care). I also will do some Photoshop, etc. Not initially planning on overclocking, probably, but that will be the first thing I consider once I get it up and running. Will also consider adding a second video card as an upgrade maybe next year or whenever it seems like I need/want it.

Price isn't a huge concern but I also want to be able to upgrade whenever I feel like it so don't want to overspend on my initial build. If there is big benefit to spending more, though, I'm willing to do that.

Any feedback appreciated. Thanks, all!

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($219.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($34.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($119.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($41.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Crucial M4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card ($366.97 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower Case ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: XFX 750W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($100.71 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB/RSBS DVD/CD Writer ($25.98 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 Professional (OEM) (64-bit) ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1320.58
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-24 10:17 EST-0500)
a b B Homebuilt system
December 24, 2012 1:40:33 PM

perfect :) 

i saw one today xfx 750 silver was under 100. you may want to check it :) 
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December 24, 2012 1:55:27 PM

if there is a microcenter in you area you can pick up that 3570k and an extreme4 (or extreme6) as a bundle deal. pay less for both and get $40 off. otherwise that looks great, really close to my set up!
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 24, 2012 1:58:31 PM

^ +1

if you can follow his advice, it will be a steal :) 
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December 24, 2012 2:45:10 PM

Thanks, guys! I guess my questions were around 7970 vs 670 or 680 and 3570K vs 3770K. And a little bit 256 SSD vs 128 SSD.

But it seems like you guys think my choices are fine and there's no major reason to change in any of those places. I'll definitely look into the microcenter combo, thanks!
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December 24, 2012 2:48:12 PM

I'd say stick with the GPU you have, I have the exact same one (overclocked mine to 1Ghz no problem). get a 3570K, plenty fast for any game! you won't notice a difference with the i7. as far as a 128 vs 256, get what you can afford. I have a 120gb an it's filling up (I find it difficult to stop EVERYTHING from installing onto the SSD...) just make sure you have a data drive for games and what not.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 24, 2012 3:08:38 PM

stick with the 3570K, you wouldnt get much of a performace gain for the price.''

128GB SSD is more than enough put extra money towards GPUs

in reality the 7970 is better than the 670 and the 680 beats them both, im an Nvidia fan so i would go with the 670/680
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 24, 2012 3:18:41 PM

Hi.
I made some rather significant improvements to your build

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 612 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($144.99 @ NCIX US)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($35.20 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($90.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Storage: Intel 330 Series 180GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($119.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card ($366.97 @ Newegg)
Case: Antec P280 ATX Mid Tower Case ($93.50 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: XFX ProSeries 750W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($84.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B DVD/CD Writer ($18.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($84.99 @ NCIX US)
Total: $1297.38
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-24 12:17 EST-0500)

I included a better CPU cooler, a better motherboard, faster and higher capacity SSD, better case, better power supply, better optical drive and a newer OS.
All in all it's a lot better.
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December 24, 2012 6:19:18 PM

What's better about the case, motherboard and the optical drive? And why did you change the memory? I agree that the PS, SSD and cooler look better, thanks. And you downgraded the OS from Pro to non-Pro version, btw. Think I'll stick with the Pro.
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December 24, 2012 11:47:52 PM

Best answer selected by TWP.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 26, 2012 6:47:54 AM

The Antec P280 is one of the best cases on the market.
Its build quality is great, the combination of silence and high airflow is amazing and it has a lot of room.
This motherboard, unlike the Extreme4 does not have PWM overheating issues and it's just better overall.
The optical drive can burn a veriety of DVD formats faster than the one you chose.
And finally you probably don't need the PRO version of Windows.
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/products/co...
Windows 8 is also cheaper and runs a bit faster.
If the new UI bothers you, there are mods out there that make it work just like the one in Windows 7.
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December 26, 2012 12:58:29 PM

You're right, I dont need pro, thanks. Unfortunately, I dont really like how the P280 looks. So I'm looking at the Corsair 550D, 600T, and 650D, I guess. I just like how they look better. Any thoughts on those (or similar)?

And from further research, the 612 seems basically identical to the EVO (or even to the + since I dont need the 2011 socket) so I dont see much reason to spend double to upgrade the cooler. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but this conclusion is from reading forums and from checking the comparison on the manufacturer website.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 26, 2012 1:23:23 PM

Im a big fan of the Corsair cases they are sturdy, look magnificent, great air flow, easy cable management and again they look bad ass
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December 26, 2012 1:28:18 PM

Are there any major differences between the 3 I'm looking at? I would have picked the 600T, probably, but the weird USB3.0 cabling thing is a big turn off. Will I notice/care about that when I'm up and running?
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December 26, 2012 1:49:06 PM

Assuming the 600T is good, and from all I hear it's awesome, this will be my final build. Will probably pull the trigger over the next day or two. Thanks, all, for the help -- I'm really excited for my first build now.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.98 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($144.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($35.20 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Plextor M5P Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($199.99 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card ($366.97 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 600T (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($129.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: XFX ProSeries 750W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($79.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Asus BC-12B1ST/BLK/B/AS Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer ($49.99 @ NCIX US)
Monitor: Asus PA248Q 24.1" Monitor ($319.99 @ Newegg)
Monitor: Asus PA248Q 24.1" Monitor ($319.99 @ Newegg)
Monitor: Asus PA248Q 24.1" Monitor ($319.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
Total: $2363.83
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-26 10:48 EST-0500)
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