Need advice for first build [$1000ish]

Here's what I came up with on PCPartPicker (by merchant, benchmarks).

I would love to save money if anyone sees anything that is overkill for this caliber of machine, but all in all, I'm happy to spend the money for a quality build.

Also, this is my first built, so any missing pieces or advice on selecting components that are more likely to achieve easy success would be appreciated.

Here's the template:

Approximate Purchase Date: e.g.: Nowish

Budget Range: (e.g.: 300-400) $800-$1200

System Usage from Most to Least Important: generalist, some gaming

Are you buying a monitor: No

Parts to Upgrade: I need everything except HDD

Do you need to buy OS: Yes (Win7)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Anything reliable

Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Parts Preferences: Intel CPU, nVidia

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Your Monitor Resolution: 2560x1440 for monitor 1 and 1080x1920 for monitor 2

Additional Comments: Only game at the moment is Diablo 3, but there will surely be others. I want something that's going to last a while, but doesn't need to be top of the line.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: Just time to upgrade (current computer is >5 years old)
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  1. Best answer
    That is a pretty good build; compatible, nothing missing (as far as I can see). However I think it could be improved in the following ways:

    So far you have not stated any uses for your system that would require 16GB of RAM, so unless you do have a good reason for getting 16GB I would suggest getting 8GB instead.

    This looks to me like a better deal for a motherboard:
    ASRock Z77 Extreme6 & Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit SP1 OEM ($145 + $100 - $10 = $235 @ Newegg)
    Also a very high quality and feature rich motherboard, but actually designed to work with Ivy Bridge CPUs..

    I would suggest this as a better PSU:
    Rosewill Capstone-450 ($60 @ Amazon / Newegg)
    It is better because it is more efficient, uses higher quality internal components and is independantly regulated. The only downside is that it is not modular, but I think the other points outweigh this.
    It is actually more powerful than the BP550 Plus as it has 444W on its +12V rail vs 384W combined on the BP550 Plus.

    Don't know much about the Hyper 101 that you've chosen, considering that the i5-3450 is only a 77W part it should be fine. However the Hyper TX3 Evo is available for a few $ more and it has a larger fan, one more heatpipe, which should lead to better performance and a more established reputation (it is known to perform well for it's price point):
    Cooler Master Hyper TX3 Evo ($18 @ Amazon)
  2. Thanks for the feedback. I updated the build with your suggestions (here).

    The only thing I didn't change is the RAM. I've consistently found over the years that RAM is the first component that I need to upgrade, so I figured that it was worth $25 more to not have to worry about it ever. I'd like this computer to last several years, so don't mind spending the money if it will help keep me happy for the long run. Is there perhaps *better* RAM I should be looking at, rather than just more of it?

    Regarding the motherboard, it looks good to me, but there seem to be a higher-than-average number of 1 egg reviews. Most are the normal run-of-the-mill whiners, but can you confirm that I shouldn't be worried?

    Finally, any thoughts with regard to CPU? I upgraded to the 3570, since it was <$20 more. As I said, I'm more concerned with a quality build than the exact price, but I also don't want to waste money (e.g., the i7 didn't seem a good price vs. performance trade-off for my needs). Do you recommend the 3450, 3570 or something else?

    Thanks again for the help!
  3. Some tests have shown that fast RAM (2133MHz) does benefit performance compared to 1600MHzx, whether the difference is noticeable or worth the extra cost is less clear.

    G.Skill Sniper is good RAM, so it's not exactly going to be easy to get better RAM.

    Personally I'm partial to Crucial RAM, as they are actually owned by the company which manufacturers it, and they have a good reputation and supposedly test their products more than other companies.

    I don't see why you should be worried about the motherboard, it is possible that you will have bad luck and receive a defective board, but that is true of any product. I would have thought ASRock had improved since the P67 Extreme4 Gen3.

    Other boards you can consider:
    ASUS P8Z77-M PRO ($140 @ Newegg)

    GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-D3H ($135 @ Newegg / $15 rebate)

    The only difference between the i5-3450 and the i5-3570 that I'm aware of is the clock speed (3.1/3.5GHz vs 3.4/3.8GHz). I think if you're willing to pay the extra ~$20 for the i5-3570 then the extra ~$5 to get the i5-3570K makes sense as it gives you the option to overclock and it has the faster iGPU (HD 4000 vs HD 2500).
    I agree that the i7 is not worth it unless you have specific tasks to perform with your system that will clearly benefit from hyperthreading.

    I noticed the i5-3470 at a cheaper price than the i5-3450, so if you decide not to go for the i5-3570(K) then...
    ($180 @ Amazon / NCIX US)
  4. 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: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($134.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Memory: Corsair XMS3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($44.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.99 @ NCIX US)
    Storage: Crucial M4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.99 @ B&H)
    Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 660 Ti 3GB Video Card ($319.99 @ Newegg)
    Case: Antec Nine Hundred ATX Mid Tower Case ($97.66 @ NCIX US)
    Power Supply: Antec Basiq Plus 550W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($64.99 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B DVD/CD Writer ($18.99 @ Newegg)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($99.99 @ Newegg)
    Total: $1143.54
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-30 08:40 EST-0500)

    I know i got you wins8 when you want 7 but there is a tweak to get 8 to look like wins7 so save a couple dollars :D
  5. Thanks again Silvune. I've decided to upgrade to the i5-3570k and keep the motherboard you suggested previously (good point about it either working or not). I also kept the G.skill 1600 memory after reading the great article you sent.

    Emelth, thanks for the suggestion, but you replaced most of the parts without explaining why, and taken the build in a direction that's less useful to me. But I do appreciate you taking the time to respond.

    Here's what I think I'm settled on.
    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($219.99 @ Amazon)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper TX3 54.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($17.99 @ Amazon)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme6 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($144.99 @ Amazon)
    Memory: G.Skill Sniper Gaming Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($69.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Storage: Intel 330 Series 240GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($159.99 @ NCIX US)
    Video Card: Asus GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1GB Video Card ($155.48 @ SuperBiiz)
    Case: Antec Three Hundred Two ATX Mid Tower Case ($59.71 @ NCIX US)
    Power Supply: Rosewill Capstone 450W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($59.99 @ Amazon)
    Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($24.98 @ Newegg)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Total: $1003.08
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-30 17:57 EST-0500)

    Wish me luck!
  6. Best answer selected by thestorm042.
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