Small-Form College (Gaming) Desktop for $1000

I have wavered between a "high-end" laptop and a desktop for almost a year. (If only AMD sold high-end mobile CPUs.) My total budget is $1900, and the laptop I'm considering sells for $1600 with a decent warranty, GTX 680m and i7-3630qm. I'm not sure if I will buy it, but I move between my home and residence hall often. I don't know where I would keep a rig.

Anyway, what can I get for $1000 in a desktop? The $1000 excludes the Operating System, keyboard, mouse, and monitor.

I have heard that the HD 7950 is a good-value GPU.

Thank you.
6 answers Last reply
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  1. You're right, the HD7950 offers great value compared to it's competition GTX660ti, GTX670/680 or even the HD7970 especially when overclocking is taken into account. Comparing it to the 7870 though will show that the 7870 has better value.

    My recommendations for $1000 build:

    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 Plus 76.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($25.72 @ Amazon)
    Motherboard: MSI Z77A-GD55 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($132.86 @ Newegg)
    Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($53.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($74.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($93.99 @ Adorama)
    Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($295.66 @ Newegg)
    Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 ATX Mid Tower Case ($39.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: Corsair Enthusiast 650W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($71.98 @ Newegg)
    Total: $979.16
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-10 13:32 EST-0500)

    If you need small form factor, there are other case you could take a look at such as the Silverstone SG09 which has great cooling.
  2. Thanks for the build.

    I presume the 20" matte IPS monitor would run around $200. Does anyone have suggestions for mice, keyboards, and monitors?
  3. Important question OP is do you live close enough to a Micro center to buy the 3570k for cheap?

    Minor modifications to get a smaller case (its not as tall and its slimmer)
    mATX board
    Changed the cooler as it cannot fit the 212 EVO/+
    The 7870XT performs 2% slower than the 7950 but costs quite a bit cheaper
    MLC SSD (AFAIK) over a TLC SSD

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($214.99 @ Amazon)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master GeminII S524 77.7 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($32.92 @ Amazon)
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77MX-D3H Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($129.99 @ Amazon)
    Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($53.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Sandisk 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($93.98 @ Mac Mall)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($74.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 XT 2GB Video Card ($244.99 @ Newegg)
    Case: Lian-Li PC-A04B MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($89.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: Corsair Enthusiast 650W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($71.98 @ Newegg)
    Total: $1007.81
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-10 19:14 EST-0500)

    Mirco Center Version

    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 GeminII S524 77.7 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($32.92 @ Amazon)
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77MX-D3H Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($129.99 @ Amazon)
    Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($53.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Sandisk 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($93.98 @ Mac Mall)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($74.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 XT 2GB Video Card ($244.99 @ Newegg)
    Case: Lian-Li PC-A04B MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($89.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: Corsair Enthusiast 650W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($71.98 @ Newegg)
    Total: $982.81
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-10 19:32 EST-0500)

    My opinion is to get a cheaper $500 laptop with a A10 4600M and then grab a higher end desktop

    Here is also a good budget IPS+LED 1080p monitor
    http://pcpartpicker.com/part/lg-monitor-ips224vpn

    Similar spec screen buy 23" instead of 21.5"
    http://pcpartpicker.com/part/asus-monitor-vs239hp

    Unless you are a competitive gamer, just using any budget keyboard/mouse would do fine
  4. I don't live close to a Microcenter.

    I had forgotten to fill out the form:
    ----------------------------------------

    Approximate Purchase Date: Within two weeks

    Budget Range: $1400 including peripherals

    System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming and schoolwork

    Are you buying a monitor: Yes


    Do you need to buy OS: Yes

    Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Amazon or Newegg

    Location: New York, NY, United States

    Parts Preferences: None

    Overclocking: Maybe

    SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

    Your Monitor Resolution: I would like a 1080p screen.

    Additional Comments: Quiet PC
  5. PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($214.99 @ Amazon)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 76.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($25.72 @ Amazon)
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77MX-D3H Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($129.99 @ Amazon)
    Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($53.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($75.00 @ Amazon)
    Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($100.77 @ Amazon)
    Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($309.98 @ Newegg)
    Case: Silverstone TJ08B-E MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($99.99 @ Amazon)
    Power Supply: Corsair Enthusiast 650W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($71.98 @ Newegg)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($91.17 @ Amazon)
    Monitor: LG IPS224V-PN 21.5" Monitor ($139.99 @ Newegg)
    Total: $1313.57
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-10 20:39 EST-0500)

    Don't know much about your keyboard and mouse preference, sorry.
  6. Some modifications but kept Lian Li for lighter weight and the Gemini to fit the case
    3570k chnaged to Amazon
    I left about $123 for mouse + keyboard + speakers + anything I left out
    Added OS + Monitor
    The cooler should be about same noise level as the 212+ according to Frsotytech
    (EzioAs has a case that can fit the 212+/EVO for better cooling if you are worried about OC temps on the CPU but is a bit bulkier/heavier case)
    I upgraded the PSU a bit so Crossfire power draw of 2x OC 7870XT + OC 3570k should be not be a problem
    It is also a semi-modular one to facilitate the smaller case cable management (Original $70 PSU will be fine if you don't want extra power, $80 for 650W Modular and $90 for 750 non-modular)
    The 7870XT is a better price/perf part right now

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($214.99 @ Amazon)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master GeminII S524 77.7 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($32.92 @ Amazon)
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77MX-D3H Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($129.99 @ Amazon)
    Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($53.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Sandisk 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($93.98 @ Mac Mall)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($74.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 XT 2GB Video Card ($244.99 @ Newegg)
    Case: Lian-Li PC-A04B MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($89.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: Corsair Enthusiast 750W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($106.24 @ Amazon)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Monitor: LG IPS224V-PN 21.5" Monitor ($139.99 @ Newegg)
    Total: $1272.04
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-10 20:40 EST-0500)

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