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[New Build] Gaming Computer - $800 - $1000 Budget

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January 3, 2013 11:03:33 PM

Hi folks, I'm looking to build a mid grade gaming computer that can adequately play games with a 2560x1440 resolution. I currently have a late 2009 27 inch iMac I'll be leveraging for my display, and while I still enjoy using the computer for all of my other computing needs it's beginning to lag a bit too much for my taste with gaming performance (mostly due to the huge resolution, I think).

This is the first time I've ever built a computer from the ground up, and while I used to be pretty savvy with computers I haven't really touched one for 5 years, so I'm a bit rusty. I've done a fair bit of research prior to making this built, but as I'm surely going to miss some things I'm looking for some guidance as to how to get the most bang for my buck with this purchase. My main concern is making sure the computer performs well in my display's native resolution.

Below are details:

Approximate Purchase Date: within a week
Budget: $800 - $1000 after shipping (would prefer to not deal with rebates)
System Usage: Gaming Primary, Coding/Modding Secondary
Monitor Purchase: No
Parts to Upgrade: Full Build
OS Purchase: Yes (Looking to get Windows 8)
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg, Amazon
Location: NY, USA
Parts Preferences: Intel Processor, not incredibly partial to anything else
Overclocking: No
SLI or Crossfire: No
Monitor Resolution: 2560x1440

Additional Comments:
- I typically play StarCraft 2, Guild Wars 2, Civ V, and Skyrim - I want to make sure these games can run at the highest or almost highest settings
- Concerned the display resolution will require a more powerful computer than I'm looking to budget for
- At a friend's recommendation, I'm including a small SSD drive for OS and most resource intensive games and a regular HD for other games/storage
- While I don't mind spending up to $1000 on a rig, I wouldn't mind keeping the price around $800 if the additional cost doesn't really give me the best bang for my buck.

Reason for Upgrading: Want a gaming focused computer capable of playing my games at high/ultra quality with my display.

PART LIST
PCPartPicker Loadout

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor
CPU Cooler: SilenX EFZ-100HA2 58.0 CFM Fluid Dynamic Bearing CPU Cooler
Motherboard: Intel BOXDH77EB Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard
Memory: Crucial Ballistix sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory
Storage 01: Crucial M4 64GB 2.5" Solid State Disk
Storage 02: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB Video Card
Case: Corsair 400R ATX Mid Tower Case
Power Supply: Antec High Current Gamer 400W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer
a b 4 Gaming
January 3, 2013 11:20:53 PM
January 3, 2013 11:22:08 PM

I know you said you didn't want to overclock but the 3570K is only $5-10 more than the 3570 and does provide more performance when overclocked. If you do decide to go for the 3570k, you will need a Z77 board, the Asrock Z77 Extreme4 is excellent for the price.

If you still don't want to overclock, get rid of the cooler, the stock one will be fine for stock clocks.

As for the rest it all looks fine, however you could save a bit on the case. So long as it has good airflow and the features you need, go for the cheapest one you like and spend the money elsewhere

Oh, almost forgot. You will need a higher wattage power supply. I know it only says the computer will need under 400w, I would recommend at least a 500w. This is if you do want to upgrade your GPU, add more HDDs etc, you will have enough power.
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a b 4 Gaming
January 3, 2013 11:25:49 PM

Why get a CPU cooler when you cant OC your CPU? (So either get the 3570k or drop the cooler)

(If you get the 3570K your current Motherboard wont be able to do it you would need a Z77 chipset)

I would get a 500W just for some extra headroom besides that looks good

your putting a lot of money towards the case when you could get a $40-$60 and put the rest of the money towards CPU/GPU/HDD/SSD

January 3, 2013 11:49:37 PM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($169.99 @ 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: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($39.98 @ Outlet PC)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Crucial M4 64GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($72.45 @ B&H)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB Video Card ($224.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 400R ATX Mid Tower Case ($90.98 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 600W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($87.99 @ NCIX US)
Total: $993.31
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-03 20:49 EST-0500)

Now, this is an improved build. I'll run you through the changes and why I made them. The 3570k is an excellent CPU and can be overclocked quite easily to 4.2Ghz with the Coolermaster Hyper 212EVO and the Asrock Extreme4. I changed the ram to Gskill ripjaws because they are so common and have be proven to be great value for money, though feel free to swap it back to the ram you selected. The power supply had to be changed, 400w was not nearly enough. The case I put in is the one you selected, I would personally get a cheaper one and save some money. I threw windows 8 in there also, though be aware that not all games will run as well on 8 as they did on 7.

Hope I've helped, if you have any questions let me know.
January 4, 2013 12:05:04 AM

if your not going to overclock save some money and get the 3470 or 3350p instead of the 3570. no need for the cpu cooler and put that money into a ssd and gpu. you could also get a 660ti instead of the 7950.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($179.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-B75M-D3V Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Mushkin Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($35.57 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Kingston HyperX 3K 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($89.99 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($279.99 @ 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 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($87.99 @ NCIX US)
Total: $914.48
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-03 21:04 EST-0500)
January 4, 2013 12:06:31 AM

Thanks for the feedback guys, much appreciated - I was a bit apprehensive about the 400W PSU but a friend said it would be enough with the build I put out.

I'm wary of overclocking simply since I've never done it and don't really know how much involvement it needs in order to be done properly. Is this something I should just do the research on?

The case was recommended to me, but I'd be happy to take a different one to bring down the price if there are good, cheap alternatives.
January 4, 2013 12:09:16 AM

for a low overclock all you do is change the multiplier to 42 and its running at 4.2GHz. if you want a higher overclock then that its a little more involved but nothing you wouldn't be able to figure out.
!