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Advice: ~$1000 build for games and WFH.

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February 14, 2013 3:08:38 PM

Hi all,

I'm looking to put together a computer for home use. I'm certainly not an expert in hardware, and could use build advice. As background, there are two main uses I care about:

1) My wife recently suggested I take some more personal time (without kids or work), so she got me Skyrim. It's a great game, but I don't have a pc at home right now, just at work. I want to build a home PC that can play Skyrim on "Ultra" graphics settings. I'll probably play a few hours a week for a while, and would like to play subsequent games on "Ultra"-type settings as well.

2) I'm a developer doing data-intensive work. The computer needs to run Windows so my wife can use it easily too, but I run linux in VMs. That means I'd like as much RAM as possible (32GB would be terrific, 16 is great too, 8 is a little light for my purposes). I work from home (WFH) fairly often, and need to be able to work well.

I'm planning to do the build myself with my wife and kids.

Approximate Purchase Date
1-2 weeks

Budget Range
~$1000. Lower is better, of course, and I can probably stretch up 15% if necessary.

System Usage (most-to-least importance)
1. Skyrim (and similar) on "Ultra"
2. (see 1.)
3. Working from home (with linux VMs; prefer more RAM and HDD).
4. Light use--e-mail, hulu, etc.

Monitor (incl. resolutions)
I have two Westinghouse L2410NM that I'll use in the short term. At work I have a Dell 3008WPS that I've really enjoyed and have been playing Skyrim on until I had to take it to the office. I'd like to replace the Westinghouse monitors (1920x1200, HDMI) with dual 2560x1600 (or better) in a year.

Existing Parts
* The monitors (see above)
* I have a 1.5TB hdd I can use.
I'm starting from scratch on everything else.

Operating System
I'll need to buy a license for Windows. I don't think I care if it's Windows 7 or 8, as long as I can run Steam and Virtualbox. I'm ok with an OEM license.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts
I don't really care. I'm happy to buy a bundle that's a good deal (all from one site), or to shop around to find the best deal on each part.

Location
Durham, NC, USA

Parts Preferences
* Having an internal SSD would be great but not required.
Otherwise, no preferences.

Overclocking
I've always wanted to learn how. It's not critical at this time, but would be a plus. I'd be perfectly happy with a Core I5 overclocked (if overclocking it will get me better Skyrim performance).

SLI or Crossfire
Yes; if there's any advantage to it for my purposes.

Additional Comments
* I don't care at all what it looks like.
* The last time I did a build was 2 years ago (my work computer), then another 7 years before that, and several others before that. I'm not super experienced, but I am comfortable doing it. A guide would be great, so I don't forget any small details.
* I don't care about tower size. The less I can spend on aesthetics, the more I can spend on performance.
* I'm not an audiophile. If it sounds pretty good, that's good enough.
* I'll probably connect wirelessly at first.
* I use a daskeyboard Ultimate at work, which I love (super smooth; great action... =) I'll probably get a cheap keyboard/mouse for this computer, at least at first for budgetary reasons.
* The monitors (24") are HDMI, but later I'll probably get monitors that use DVI. I'm happy to use an adapter now or later if that's a good choice.

Some hardware I've considered so far
I am not AT ALL attached to any of these choices...as I don't really know what I'm doing with hardware. I'm just trying to do my due dillegence and learn. I don't know whether these are all compatible.

* CPU: Core I5-2500K
* Motherboard: ASUS P8P67 Pro Rev 3.1
* GPU: GTX 560 TI OC 900MHZ 1GB
* RAM: 8GB Corsair Vengance CL9 DDR3-1600 RAM (x4)
* SSD: Samsung 64GB SSD 830
* Power Supply: Corsair CMPSU-650TX
* Case: Fractal Design Core 3000
* Optical: Samsung SH-B123 12X BD-ROM

Thanks a LOT for your input; I really appreciate your time.
a b B Homebuilt system
February 14, 2013 3:32:52 PM

challenge accepted : meme :
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a b B Homebuilt system
February 14, 2013 3:45:19 PM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($223.79 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($129.99 @ Microcenter)
Memory: Corsair XMS3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($48.92 @ Amazon)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($114.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: PowerColor Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($274.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master Storm Enforcer ATX Mid Tower Case ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 620W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($84.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($18.98 @ Outlet PC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $1086.60
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-14 12:45 EST-0500)
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Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
February 14, 2013 3:52:42 PM

AMD Radeon went with intel build :D 
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February 14, 2013 4:03:04 PM

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/DvM2
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/DvM2/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/DvM2/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 ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z75 Pro3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($76.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Mushkin Blackline 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($169.98 @ Outlet PC)
Storage: Samsung 840 Series 250GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($172.99 @ Adorama)
Video Card: PowerColor Radeon HD 7870 XT 2GB Video Card ($239.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 ATX Mid Tower Case ($56.21 @ TigerDirect)
Power Supply: Rosewill Capstone 650W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($91.77 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $1135.88
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-14 13:01 EST-0500)
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a b B Homebuilt system
February 14, 2013 5:42:10 PM

This will play any game you become attatched to :)  Its AMD's flagship graphics card and their best out so far. If you want to see how well it performs in skyrim at ultra settings, look no further then TH - http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-7970-ghz-... - Just so you know, 30-40 fps = no lag at all so running at 1080p at 100+ fps is outstanding performance.

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/DwF6
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/DwF6/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/DwF6/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($149.99 @ Microcenter)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair XMS3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($48.92 @ Amazon)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($58.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB Video Card ($445.91 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 200R ATX Mid Tower Case ($52.99 @ Microcenter)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 600W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($66.24 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($18.98 @ Outlet PC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $1001.98
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-14 14:39 EST-0500)
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February 14, 2013 5:42:15 PM

Wow, that was fast...! I'm going to take a little time to understand these. I'll let you know what I end up doing with it (hopefully purchasing parts this weekend).

Out of curiosity, I notice you both selected the Core i5-3570K over the Core i5-2500K (for ~ $10 price difference). I've read that the overclocking potential of the 2500 makes advantageous in gaming. What makes the 3570K a better choice?

Thanks!
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a b B Homebuilt system
February 15, 2013 2:19:22 AM

sirrobertgb said:
Wow, that was fast...! I'm going to take a little time to understand these. I'll let you know what I end up doing with it (hopefully purchasing parts this weekend).

Out of curiosity, I notice you both selected the Core i5-3570K over the Core i5-2500K (for ~ $10 price difference). I've read that the overclocking potential of the 2500 makes advantageous in gaming. What makes the 3570K a better choice?

Thanks!


The 3570k is the 2500k 's successor. 2500k is 2nd gen and 3570k is 3rd gen.
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February 15, 2013 3:32:02 PM

What's the difference between, for example, the Sapphire vs PowerColor vs ... on the Radeon HD 7970? Where can I read more about that?
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a b B Homebuilt system
February 15, 2013 6:25:50 PM

sirrobertgb said:
What's the difference between, for example, the Sapphire vs PowerColor vs ... on the Radeon HD 7970? Where can I read more about that?


Sapphire have amazing coolers, Dual-X and Vapor-X . I suggest sapphire over PowerColor in my own opinion.
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!