Advice: ~$1000 build for games and WFH.

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.
9 answers Last reply
More about advice 1000 build games
  1. challenge accepted : meme :
  2. 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)
  3. AMD Radeon went with intel build :D
  4. 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)
  5. 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-edition-review-benchmark,3232-10.html - 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)
  6. 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!
  7. 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.
  8. What's the difference between, for example, the Sapphire vs PowerColor vs ... on the Radeon HD 7970? Where can I read more about that?
  9. 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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