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New Gaming/Development home PC - $1200 budget

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January 14, 2013 1:24:44 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: As soon as I pick parts

Budget Range: about 1200 total, I'd rather not spend more than about $400 for the graphics card.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Remoting to work, Running test VMs for Sys Admin research, development

Are you buying a monitor: No

Parts to Upgrade: all parts except Monitor and peripherals

Do you need to buy OS: Yes - I will probably go with Windows 8

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: no preference, but I'll be buying this through a plan at work, so it might all have to be one vendor. Not any particular vendor, just might have to pick one. Unsure there.

Location: Pennsylvania, USA

Parts Preferences: no real preference

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: don't care

Your Monitor Resolution: I'm currently running at 1920x1080

Additional Comments: I play Guild Wars 2, Skyrim, The Old Republic. I would like 16 GB of RAM unless that is a problem, because sometimes it is useful to run 3-4 VMs for testing and while 8 is OK for that, 16 seems like it would give me a lot more breathing room.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: My last build was from this thread in 2008. That was a solid machine that lasted me until now (although I have upgraded the OS to Win7 64 bit, RAM to 8 GB, and the video card to a 6870 on that system in the last couple years). I could probably still keep limping along on it for awhile, but I have some funds available and would like to get something more modern for mostly the same goals.

My current machine will probably be reloaded as a server and stuck in a closet somewhere.

I have no attachments to any particular parts below, but here is my first try at a parts listing. My price is a bit high at the moment. I could probably swing this much money, but if I can shave some of it without losing much power, that'd be great.

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 ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($127.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($86.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($87.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Intel 330 Series 180GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($166.74 @ Mwave)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card ($407.55 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master HAF 922 ATX Mid Tower Case ($99.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 600W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($61.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 Professional Full (64-bit) ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1379.19
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-13 22:22 EST-0500)
January 14, 2013 1:32:49 AM

If you don't plan on overclocking you could go with the non-K version of your CPU, you could save a few dollars by getting a Seagate or Hitachi drive instead of the Caviar Black.
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January 14, 2013 2:08:04 AM

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/xv7K
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/xv7K/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/xv7K/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($289.98 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Pro3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($89.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Kingston 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($69.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($94.99 @ Microcenter)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($279.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Zalman Z11 Plus HF1 ATX Mid Tower Case ($57.05 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Silverstone Strider 600W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($103.96 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($87.99 @ NCIX US)
Total: $1188.91
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-13 23:07 EST-0500)

as the 3770 has 4 physical cores+4ht cores, will be useful with virtual ware and running alot of apps at the same time :) 

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January 14, 2013 2:34:06 AM

Thanks, you have given me stuff to ponder on. Gonna talk to the guys at work about what version of Windows 8 I need. I am not sure whether I need a case with USB 3.0 on the front or not. More reading to do there.

I think you are right, iceclock, that the 7950 card will do everything I need for quite a cost savings.

I'm going to try for a larger SSD than you picked though. My current system has 50 GB on the OS drive and about 100 GB on my programs partition...so I was hoping to get 150+ GB of SSD. That might be foolish, dunno.
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January 14, 2013 3:07:52 AM

yes, and can be overclocked to 7970s level that outpaces a gtx 680!.

hmm, well if u want that than get this:

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

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

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($289.98 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Pro3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($89.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Kingston 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($69.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: G.Skill Phoenix III 240GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($179.99 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($279.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Zalman Z11 Plus HF1 ATX Mid Tower Case ($57.05 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: XFX 650W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($59.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($87.99 @ NCIX US)
Total: $1159.95
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-14 00:10 EST-0500)

thinking u can start with a 256gb ssd and than add a hard-drive :)  or go with my original build either way ur golden.

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January 14, 2013 1:23:49 PM

I appreciate the help iceclock. You've given me a lot to think about. Some of the parts that you've got there I'm definitely going to go with, like the nonPro Windows, that case, video card, etc.

I think I'm going to stick with the i5. Although it'd be good to get a powerful machine for VMs, I don't want to spend that much more for something that I'll be using a fraction of the time. This machine will need to be able to run some VMs but it doesn't need to be built around that capability.

I did some reading about SSDs and I think you're right that trying to fit a 250ish SSD in is a good idea. I think I will make sure to get a good one even if it is a little more expensive. Then I'll put music, VMs, and other data onto the regular HDD.

The reason I'm sticking with the RAM I picked is just that the one you chose has a number of reviews that stated they had to OC the RAM to get to 1600.

I'm going back and forth between the two motherboards. I think your choice is a good one, especially with the budget constraints, but it might be worth $40 to me to be able to expand in the future if needed. I'm not a fan of building machines, as you can see by me still currently running what I bought in 2008. :)  Seems like the biggest difference to me between the two boards is the cheaper one has only two SATA 3 connectors and I can see expanding to a third disk at some point.

Currently I'm looking at something like this...I'm pretty satisfied with it. Hopefully the power supply is sufficient, that's what I'm most fuzzy on at this point.

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 ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Pro3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($89.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($85.25 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($87.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($212.95 @ Mac Connection)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($279.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Zalman Z11 Plus HF1 ATX Mid Tower Case ($57.05 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 600W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($61.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($87.99 @ NCIX US)
Total: $1198.16
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-14 10:22 EST-0500)
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January 14, 2013 1:28:53 PM

heres my revised build for u, with a better ssd, ps. and ram kit.


PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/xyEt
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/xyEt/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/xyEt/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 ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Pro3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($89.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair Dominator Platinum 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($79.98 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($87.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: G.Skill Phoenix III 240GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($179.99 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($279.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Zalman Z11 Plus HF1 ATX Mid Tower Case ($57.05 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: XFX 650W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($59.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($87.99 @ NCIX US)
Total: $1157.94
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-14 10:28 EST-0500)

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January 14, 2013 4:43:04 PM

Think I'm going to go with the following:

Changes were:

* Back to the Extreme 4 mobo. The reviews were just full of people saying they wished they had spent the $30 difference, and it's worth it to me for peace of mind.
* Bought a Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive - OEM from Newegg because there was a $10 promotion today...so $70 for that instead of the WD that I had before.
* Case changed because I saw some posts in this forum saying how good this case is.
* PSU changed to what iceclock recommended above. I will snatch that up today because there is a promotion going on that also.
* I don't have a microcenter near me, so that CPU price is not true.

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 ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($127.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($85.25 @ Amazon)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($212.95 @ Mac Connection)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($279.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 w/Window (Titanium Grey) ATX Mid Tower Case ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: XFX 650W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($59.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($87.99 @ NCIX US)
Total: $1179.12
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-14 13:37 EST-0500)
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January 14, 2013 5:19:25 PM

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/xAlk
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/xAlk/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/xAlk/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 ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($127.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Kingston XMP Blu Red Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($80.88 @ NCIX US)
Storage: G.Skill Phoenix III 240GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($179.99 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($309.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 w/Window (Titanium Grey) ATX Mid Tower Case ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: XFX 650W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($59.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($87.99 @ NCIX US)
Total: $1171.79
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-14 14:18 EST-0500)

here the system u wanted with a cheaper but better ssd, i dont trust ocz for ssd tbh,

better sapphire card, with vapor-x cooling system one of the best on the market imo.

and some hyperx memory just as good and a few bucks cheaper.

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January 14, 2013 6:27:32 PM

Bummer. That PSU is out of stock in NCIX.
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January 14, 2013 6:44:09 PM

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/xB7G
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/xB7G/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/xB7G/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 ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($127.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Kingston XMP Blu Red Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($80.88 @ NCIX US)
Storage: G.Skill Phoenix III 240GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($179.99 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($309.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 w/Window (Titanium Grey) ATX Mid Tower Case ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Silverstone Strider Essential 700W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($72.98 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($87.99 @ NCIX US)
Total: $1184.78
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-14 15:44 EST-0500)

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January 14, 2013 6:52:07 PM

You're relentless man, thanks very much.
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January 14, 2013 6:57:41 PM

no problem, i like helping :D ,

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!