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First Build - ~$700-800 budget, basic use/some gaming hopefully

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January 2, 2013 11:49:56 PM

(ETA the format we're supposed to use... Sorry guys!)

Approximate Purchase Date: e.g.: Within the next 2 weeks, ideally. (as soon as I sell my Macbook Pro)

Budget Range: $7-800 ideally, might go up to $900 if it's reaaally worth it.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Web browsing, movies, games

Are you buying a monitor: No - I have an Acer S230HL

Parts to Upgrade: I have nothing!

Do you need to buy OS: Yes

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Pretty open to any reliable site. Also anything I can get at Best Buy reasonably priced is a perk.

Location: Amherst, MA, USA

Parts Preferences: Not strongly leaning towards anything.

Overclocking: Doubtful.

SLI or Crossfire: Doubtful.

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: see below

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: not so much an upgrade as this will be my first tower in nearly a decade. I am getting rid of my macbook pro and I'd like something beefier than my Lenovo Yoga for my main PC.

I'll preface this by saying I was originally going to buy a tower and just add a GPU and possibly the RAM but now that I'm looking into this I kinda want to build (providing I can find someone to buy my old MBP from me for a decent price...).

As for use, I don't do anything super intensive, most of my time is just spent online or watching videos, but when I do something, I don't really half-ass it, so I'm looking for a decent build, one that will hopefully be able to play some games relatively well. Right now I'm kinda using Skyrim as a benchmark, as that's a game I'm definitely interested in playing if possible.

I've spent about 8 hours doing research on this over the past 24 hours (yikes) and this is what I've come up with:


PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i3-3220 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($109.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-B75M-D3H Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($74.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Mushkin Radioactive 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($41.98 @ Outlet PC)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: HIS Radeon HD 7770 1GB Video Card ($131.97 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master CM 690 II (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($77.34 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Corsair Enthusiast 650W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS90 DVD/CD Writer ($27.00 @ Compuvest)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $693.22
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-02 20:38 EST-0500)

I know a fair amount about PCs from both personal experience and work (I currently work at Best Buy) so you don't need to dumb it down too much for me, but ANY input you have would be much appreciated.

Just as an FYI I'm going to buy Windows 7, but I have a key to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro, so keep in mind that THAT is actually what I'll be running. :) 

ALSO would love some advice on best way to go wireless. Hard wire is not really a convenient option for me right now.
January 3, 2013 12:56:02 AM

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

CPU: Intel Core i5-3350P 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($159.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($34.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7850 1GB Video Card ($169.98 @ Newegg)
Case: Antec Three Hundred Illusion ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS90 DVD/CD Writer ($27.00 @ Compuvest)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $731.89
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-02 21:55 EST-0500)
January 3, 2013 1:14:04 AM

nix327 said:
PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/vAeo
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/vAeo/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/vAeo/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i5-3350P 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($159.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($34.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7850 1GB Video Card ($169.98 @ Newegg)
Case: Antec Three Hundred Illusion ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS90 DVD/CD Writer ($27.00 @ Compuvest)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $731.89
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-02 21:55 EST-0500)



Thanks for your input, nix. Just to clarify, from what I can tell you upgraded the CPU and GPU and made up for those price increases by picking the other components at a lower cost?
Related resources
January 3, 2013 1:18:47 AM

i would change a couple things to get you a better gpu. you really should get a 2GB graphics card if you can afford it. regardless of if its a 7850 or 660. you cant play skyrim with the high resolution texture packs on a 1GB card. does best buy give an employee discount?

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3350P 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($159.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($34.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($67.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 660 2GB Video Card ($194.99 @ Newegg)
Case: BitFenix Merc Alpha (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($39.99 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $733.90
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-02 22:16 EST-0500)
January 3, 2013 1:30:17 AM

jonjonjon - we do get a discount, it's 5% above cost, not like a flat percentage off anything, so I don't know that it would benefit me too much in terms of savings. It's more of a convenience, but I'll obviously price out whatever I decide to buy.
January 3, 2013 1:33:11 AM

nix327 said:
PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/vAeo
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/vAeo/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/vAeo/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i5-3350P 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($159.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($34.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7850 1GB Video Card ($169.98 @ Newegg)
Case: Antec Three Hundred Illusion ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS90 DVD/CD Writer ($27.00 @ Compuvest)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $731.89
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-02 21:55 EST-0500)


Why would you get a low voltage P CPU over a 3225? You don't come out ahead on that one.
January 3, 2013 1:33:31 AM

Also to both of you--and anyone else who reads this--What do you think of the individual components that I originally picked out? As in, did you only change the components to get a lower price, or do you not like a particular brand or model I chose? Just out of curiosity.
January 3, 2013 1:37:05 AM

pretty much just tried to get you a better gpu and cpu. the 2 most important things performance wise.
January 3, 2013 1:44:55 AM

g-unit1111 said:
Why would you get a low voltage P CPU over a 3225? You don't come out ahead on that one.


The only thing it lacks is the integrated graphics and as the OP is getting a discrete gpu it does'nt matter
http://ark.intel.com/compare/69114,65693
January 3, 2013 1:46:03 AM

bethinabox said:
Also to both of you--and anyone else who reads this--What do you think of the individual components that I originally picked out? As in, did you only change the components to get a lower price, or do you not like a particular brand or model I chose? Just out of curiosity.


Just because they are cheaper does'nt mean they are of poor quality..

edit: i'm sure there will be plenty of other suggestions..it's your money and it is entirely up to you what to get..
January 3, 2013 1:47:25 AM

nix327 said:
The only thing it lacks is the integrated graphics and as the OP is getting a discrete gpu it does'nt matter
http://ark.intel.com/compare/69114,65693


The integrated graphics are a good diagnostic tool - in the event your GPU fails you can use the integrated graphics as a backup.

Quote:
Also to both of you--and anyone else who reads this--What do you think of the individual components that I originally picked out? As in, did you only change the components to get a lower price, or do you not like a particular brand or model I chose? Just out of curiosity.


People will change builds all the time around here. I personally would not purchase a B75 motherboard since it's made for business PCs that use a lot of older hardware. It has parallel and serial ports that you'll never use.
January 3, 2013 1:49:44 AM

nix327 said:
Just because they are cheaper does'nt mean they are of poor quality..


I realize that. I basically just meant to ask if you actually disliked anything I chose, or if it was just a matter of finding a comparable, less expensive option. Some people have bad experiences with some brands or whatever, so I was just curious if something like that played any role in your choices. Just trying to educate myself here. :p 
January 3, 2013 1:53:38 AM

g-unit1111 said:
The integrated graphics are a good diagnostic tool - in the event your GPU fails you can use the integrated graphics as a backup.

Quote:
Also to both of you--and anyone else who reads this--What do you think of the individual components that I originally picked out? As in, did you only change the components to get a lower price, or do you not like a particular brand or model I chose? Just out of curiosity.


People will change builds all the time around here. I personally would not purchase a B75 motherboard since it's made for business PCs that use a lot of older hardware. It has parallel and serial ports that you'll never use.



A valid point - I don't know that I'd feel comfortable going without integrated graphics as a backup. If I had spare GPUs laying around, then maybe, but as I'm starting completely from scratch I think g-unit is right here, for me personally.
January 3, 2013 2:01:40 AM

g-unit1111 said:
Why would you get a low voltage P CPU over a 3225? You don't come out ahead on that one.


The first thing you said is that the quadcore i5 is worse than the dual core i3.. i would be glad to know why you said this.. i'm no expert and i don't want to recommend it again if its a lack of knowledge on my part..so would you care to elaborate..

I do agree with you on the integrated graphics being a diagnostic tool for a faulty gpu..
January 3, 2013 2:09:15 AM

nix327 said:
The first thing you said is that the quadcore i5 is worse than the dual core i3.. i would be glad to know why you said this.. i'm no expert and i don't want to recommend it again if its a lack of knowledge on my part..so would you care to elaborate..

I do agree with you on the integrated graphics being a diagnostic tool for a faulty gpu..


In addition to cutting out the integrated graphics the low voltage CPUs also cut down on the memory cache to save power, thus resulting in a slower overall CPU, I found this article that explains how it works: http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Processors/Intel-Core-i5-3...
January 3, 2013 2:23:21 AM

g-unit1111 said:
In addition to cutting out the integrated graphics the low voltage CPUs also cut down on the memory cache to save power, thus resulting in a slower overall CPU, I found this article that explains how it works: http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Processors/Intel-Core-i5-3...


Thanks for the link..it still does'nt mean that it is worse than an i3 3220..the i5 3550p comes with 4 cores and 6mb of cache compared to the 2 cores and 3mb cache of the i3.. if anything it will only lack in performance compared to an i5 3470 or i5 3570..
January 3, 2013 2:35:48 AM

g-unit is right about the integrated graphics being useful in case of a gpu failure though..i guess its up to the OP what to get..
!