Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Future Resistant $1200 gaming build

Last response: in Systems
Share
January 2, 2013 1:50:00 PM

All,

First, I'd like to thank everyone on this site for awesome content both in articles and in forum posts. I've leveraged as much info as I could before throwing together this build, and have been working hard to bring the price down. I can afford a more expensive build but its hard to justify. My last build was November 2003 (AMD 2800 athalon XP, ATi radeon 9800 pro, 1 gb ram etc). Been using laptops for 5.

Requirements:
1. Ability to upgrade to SLi in the future
2. Ability to drive 3 monitors (only gaming in 1920x1080 so eyefinity is not important to me)
3. Firewire (for use with already purchased audio recording hardware and external drives)
4. at least 16 GB ram. I need to run virtual machines for work related purposes (SQL server is a hog).

I welcome any comments you might have as well as suggestions for alternative parts. Here's my breakdown:

CPU: Intel Core i5 3570k - $220 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116504
Motherboard: ASRock Extreme4 Gen 3 - $140 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157265
Graphics: MSI GTX 670 OC - $350 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127675
RAM: CORSAIR Vengeance 16 GB - $78 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233246
SSD: Corsair Force Series 60GB SATA III - $80 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233193
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint 1 TB 7200 RPM - $85 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152185
Case: Fractal Design R4 Black Pearl with Window - $120 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811352021
PSU: CORSAIR CX Series CX750 750W - $80 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139040&Tpk=Corsair%20CX750N
CPU Cooler: Coolermaster Hyper 212 evo - $30 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103099
DVD drive- Who cares $18

Total cost: $1201

Please let me know what you guys think of this!

EDIT: edited title to say future resistant per Onus's observation (which I completely agree with)
January 2, 2013 2:03:09 PM

First of all, "future-proof" is a myth. The best you can hope for is "future-resistance." I have concluded that the best way to get this is to buy quality parts that will last, and are of perhaps slightly greater size and/or capacity than your initial needs. To that end, there are a few changes I would make:
A 60GB SSD is miniscule. I'd get a 128GB non-Sandforce drive at a minimum (e.g. Crucial M4, Samsung 840, 830, or 840 Pro).
I prefer WD Black hard drives, which have retained a five year warranty when most others have cut back. The F3 only has two years.
The Corsair CX750 I believe was made by CWT, not Seasonic. It may use some inferior Samxon capacitors (my PSU reference site is blocked at work). I would recommend one of the Seasonic "X" series, such as the X750.
The Xigmatek Gaia is only $20, cools within a degree of the Coolermaster but is quieter (per Frostytech).
Related resources
January 2, 2013 2:19:31 PM

Consider a 2011 socket,, which was recently introduced. If Intel does what they have in the past, 1155 is in the mid season of its run and is set to begin the phase out cycle in the next two to three fiscal years, ala 1156, 1366 and the now defunct 775.

I am not pronouncing doom on the 1155, I just bought one myself. But it will be phased out long before the 2011 chipset.
January 2, 2013 2:45:43 PM

A very good list of parts.
I have only a few minor quibbles.

1. A 60gb SSD is simply not enoiugh for your budget and build.
Prices have come down enough, so you should be looking at 120gb or perhaps more.
A 60gb ssd will have about 50gb useable.
After windows install, and the inevitable installs of software that requires installation on the "C" drive, there will be little room left.
As SSD fills up, the performance will slow down. If there is any "future proofing" to be done, you need to start with a 120gb SSD, and I might look at 180gb or even 240gb. As to performance, all modern SSD's perform equally well despite differences in synthetic benchmarks.
My favored brands would include Intel or Samsung for reliability.

2. Low profile ram costs no more, and will avoid any possible interference with cpu coolers.
Here is the Corsair equivalent :
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

3. Your #1 requirement is the ability to upgrade to sli in the future.
Here is my canned rant on that:
-----------------------------Start of rant----------------------------------------------------
Dual graphics cards vs. a good single card.

a) How good do you really need to be?
A single GTX650/ti or 7770 can give you good performance at 1920 x 1200 in most games.

A single GTX660 or 7850 will give you excellent performance at 1920 x 1200 in most games.
Even 2560 x 1600 will be good with lowered detail.
A single gtx690 is about as good as it gets.

Only if you are looking at triple monitor gaming, then sli/cf will be needed.
Even that is now changing with triple monitor support on top end cards.

b) The costs for a single card are lower.
You require a less expensive motherboard; no need for sli/cf or multiple pci-e slots.
Even a ITX motherboard will do.

Your psu costs are less.
A GTX660 needs a 430w psu, even a GTX680 only needs a 550w psu.
When you add another card to the mix, plan on adding 150-200w to your psu requirements.

Even the strongest GTX690 only needs 620w.

Case cooling becomes more of an issue with dual cards.
That means a more expensive case with more and stronger fans.
You will also look at more noise.

c) Dual cards do not always render their half of the display in sync, causing microstuttering. It is an annoying effect.
The benefit of higher benchmark fps can be offset, particularly with lower tier cards.
Read this: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-geforce-stut...

d) dual card support is dependent on the driver. Not all games can benefit from dual cards.

e) cf/sli up front reduces your option to get another card for an upgrade. Not that I suggest you plan for that.
It will often be the case that replacing your current card with a newer gen card will offer a better upgrade path.
The GTX780 and amd 8000 series are not that far off.
-------------------------------End of rant-----------------------------------------------------------
January 2, 2013 2:57:35 PM

geofelt said:
A very good list of parts.
I have only a few minor quibbles.

1. A 60gb SSD is simply not enoiugh for your budget and build.
[snip]

2. Low profile ram costs no more, and will avoid any possible interference with cpu coolers.
[snip]

3. Your #1 requirement is the ability to upgrade to sli in the future.
Here is my canned rant on that:
-----------------------------Start of rant----------------------------------------------------
[snip]
-------------------------------End of rant-----------------------------------------------------------


1. As others have said, this is not enough. I've since revised my build to include a 128 GB SSD

2. I changed to low profile ram in 4x4 GB with better timings. The heat sinks looked stupid on the vengeance anyway.

3. Thanks for this rant. It is informative and to a similar tune as others I have found on these forums. My reasoning behind SLi was that most motherboards can handle it and it might be the cheapest way to upgrade my rig in the future. 18 months from now a GTX 670 will probably be $200, making the total solution cost $550. If I replace with a stronger single card we're looking at another $350 - $500, bringing the total cost over time to $700-850. I haven't calculated energy costs or anything like that but for the span I plan to keep the same motherboard (4 years) I thought the ability to add a second GTX 670 made sense.

Now my concern, since I can afford more than $1200 now, is should I go for a 2011 socketed motherboard.

January 2, 2013 3:05:22 PM

groundrat said:
Consider a 2011 socket,, which was recently introduced. If Intel does what they have in the past, 1155 is in the mid season of its run and is set to begin the phase out cycle in the next two to three fiscal years, ala 1156, 1366 and the now defunct 775.

I am not pronouncing doom on the 1155, I just bought one myself. But it will be phased out long before the 2011 chipset.

That's silly advice. LGA 2011 is the enthusiast platform mirroring LGA 1155. They go hand in hand, with LGA 2011 CPUs being much more expensive. The OP is looking for affordability, so LGA 2011 is a bad idea.

And we also know pretty well when LGA 1155 will be replaced - when Haswell launches (circa June). LGA 2011 won't be replaced as soon, but only because the LGA 2011 CPUs are a generation behind (so LGA 2011 CPUs are old tech to some extent).
January 2, 2013 3:59:12 PM

amasse said:
1. As others have said, this is not enough. I've since revised my build to include a 128 GB SSD

2. I changed to low profile ram in 4x4 GB with better timings. The heat sinks looked stupid on the vengeance anyway.

3. Thanks for this rant. It is informative and to a similar tune as others I have found on these forums. My reasoning behind SLi was that most motherboards can handle it and it might be the cheapest way to upgrade my rig in the future. 18 months from now a GTX 670 will probably be $200, making the total solution cost $550. If I replace with a stronger single card we're looking at another $350 - $500, bringing the total cost over time to $700-850. I haven't calculated energy costs or anything like that but for the span I plan to keep the same motherboard (4 years) I thought the ability to add a second GTX 670 made sense.

Now my concern, since I can afford more than $1200 now, is should I go for a 2011 socketed motherboard.


1. Good. Which one? There are some good sales on Intel 330 and samsung 830 as they clear out inventory to make room for the chaper to produce 20nm 335 and 840 models.

2. Buy a 16gb kit of 2 x 8gb. It should cost no more. 2 sticks are easier for a motherboard to manage, and it leaves open the option to a future upgrade to 32gb.(for which you will need windows 7 pro or ultimate)

3. History shows that previous generation graphics cards do not sell for significantly less after the next generation is launched.
The reason is that those needing a matching card for sli upgrades have nowhere else to go, keeping the retail price higher than the market would warrant. Only on the used market will older cards drop to the appropriate price/performance level of the new cards. For example, the GTX580 was launched two years ago. It still commands a $300 retail price point today, actually a bit higher than the newest GTX660ti which is comparable in performance.

4. A 2011 socket motherboard and comparable cpu will cost much more. It might be appropriate if you were to need a 6 core cpu like the i7-3930K whilch costs $470.
I think the 3570K with a mild OC is a 4 year chip. Haswell in the spring will bring a 15% price performance quad core boost. Not something to get too excited about if you have a 3570K or even 2500K.

I would save the extra cash.
You will be very pleased with your upgrade.
I think I might splurge a bit for a 180gb or 240gb ssd, and put games and most files on it. Use the 1tb drive for bulk storage of video's and such.
Here is a nice deal on a Intel 335 series 240gb SSD for $175 with promo code EMCYTZT2725
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


The one place which might be future resistant would be to invest in a top quality monitor.
A 2560 x 1440 monitor will get used for a long time.
January 2, 2013 6:15:39 PM

geofelt said:
1. Good. Which one? There are some good sales on Intel 330 and samsung 830 as they clear out inventory to make room for the chaper to produce 20nm 335 and 840 models.

2. Buy a 16gb kit of 2 x 8gb. It should cost no more. 2 sticks are easier for a motherboard to manage, and it leaves open the option to a future upgrade to 32gb.(for which you will need windows 7 pro or ultimate)

3. History shows that previous generation graphics cards do not sell for significantly less after the next generation is launched.
The reason is that those needing a matching card for sli upgrades have nowhere else to go, keeping the retail price higher than the market would warrant. Only on the used market will older cards drop to the appropriate price/performance level of the new cards. For example, the GTX580 was launched two years ago. It still commands a $300 retail price point today, actually a bit higher than the newest GTX660ti which is comparable in performance.

4. A 2011 socket motherboard and comparable cpu will cost much more.
I think the 3570K with a mild OC is a 4 year chip.
[snip]
Here is a nice deal on a Intel 335 series 240gb SSD for $175 with promo code EMCYTZT2725
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


The one place which might be future resistant would be to invest in a top quality monitor.
A 2560 x 1440 monitor will get used for a long time.


Thanks so much for your help.

1. As for SSD,I was looking at Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD1 2.5" 128GB which goes for $120 on newegg. I could use some extra breathing room if I decide to install games on it and go with a 240. Double the storage almost for only $55.

2. valid point. I may wish to upgrade to 32 gigs depending on my hyper-V needs. I'm running Windows 8 pro.

3. You've convinced me. I guess this only affects motherboard and PSU choice. I didn't really break the bank in either area just so I could pick up a second card. Would you change the MOBO/PSU based on the decision to opt out of SLi in the future? I could theoretically go micro ATX and the smaller Fractal Design case.

4. Great.

5. So expensive for a 2560 x 1440 monitor but definitely looking into picking one up down the road. My plan is to have a 27 inch 2560x1440 with two 22" 1080P on either side (to keep pixel densities similar).
January 2, 2013 7:27:58 PM

amasse said:
1. As for SSD,I was looking at Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD1 2.5" 128GB which goes for $120 on newegg. I could use some extra breathing room if I decide to install games on it and go with a 240. Double the storage almost for only $55.

NCIX has a 120 GB Samsung 840 for $95.
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=77210&vpn=MZ-7TD120BW&...
January 2, 2013 7:31:20 PM

1. A 120gb ssd will have about 111gb available for use. I had a Intel 520 120gb ssd for a long time, and it was sufficient for the os, and half a dozen games plus 7gb of photos.
I got a good sale on a 240gb samsung 840 pro, and changed it out since 120gb was filling up. I really could not tell the difference in performance from the previous Intel ssd. I repurposed and installed the 120gb in a laptop. It made a huge improvement to the laptop.
As to brands, I have liked Intel and samsung for ssd's. I think they have a better chance to be reliable because they make their own nand chips and can do a better job of validation. You might find this report on component return rates interesting. Read it starting at the home page:
http://www.behardware.com/articles/881-7/components-ret...

2. I tried windows 8, but did not like it much. I saw no advantage over windows 7 except faster boot times. That is a non issue with a ssd, and I use sleep instead of shutting down anyway. For a new build, I might. Are you pleased?

3. I happen to like smaller cases. My desk space has limited depth. I use a Silverstone TJ08-E which is a M-ATX size, and I am very pleased with it.
The only cooling is a 180mm filtered intake fan on low speed, so it is very quiet. In theory, some M-ATX motherboards would support sli; mine does. But with only 4 expansion slots, and dual slot graphics cards, there may well be a heat issue for the top of two cards. So long as a single card upgrade like the GTX690 is available, I am not much worried. The case supports full height cpu coolers.

5. On 2560 x 1440 monitors, you might look into the Korean catleap monitors. They are much less expensive repurposed Apple monitors. I might have reservations about quality and support, but forum members who own them seem to be very pleased. Google "catleap forum" and do some reading if you are at all risk tolerant.
January 2, 2013 9:21:14 PM

geofelt said:

[snip]
As to brands, I have liked Intel and samsung for ssd's. I think they have a better chance to be reliable because they make their own nand chips and can do a better job of validation. You might find this report on component return rates interesting. Read it starting at the home page:
http://www.behardware.com/articles/881-7/components-ret...
[snip]
2. I tried windows 8, but did not like it much. I saw no advantage over windows 7 except faster boot times. That is a non issue with a ssd, and I use sleep instead of shutting down anyway. For a new build, I might. Are you pleased?
[snip]


The return rates article is extremely helpful. I was a little alarmed at all of the newegg reviews saying drives die in less than a year.

I have been using Win8 for a while. It's so much faster since ditching aero and handles multiple monitors in a more intuitive way I think. I've also been using it on my work computer since release preview and now windows 7 feels clunky and dated. I tend to stay out of the modern UI start screen on non-touch computers as I use mostly legacy apps, but love the way it works on the Surface. I think the upgrade is still $40 too. Disclaimer: I work at Microsoft.

I've just sold my Folio13 ultrabook and am ready to start this build! I'll post my finalized build once I order, and upload some pictures once its all together so anyone searching through the forums can take a look - especially since you guys have made some great suggestions.
!