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New Gaming PC, $1200-$1400 budget

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February 14, 2013 5:10:09 PM

Hello,

I am looking at purchasing a new gaming desktop. I am currently working on an ASUS laptop, but I miss desktop gaming and would like to move back to that style of play. I have *NO* experience with building my own, so I will need a retail solution, either CyberPower or something similar, or something from Best Buy. Currently, I am considering this:
Asus - Essentio Desktop - 8GB Memory - 1TB Hard Drive with a GTX 650 Ti 2GB GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 added in by the Geek Squad. I KNOW there are better options, but I'm not familiar enough with the market to make an informed decision, and I've been happy with Asus and Nvidia in the past.

Anyways, template below:

Approximate Purchase Date: Within 3-5 days

Budget Range: $1200 - $1400 (hard cap) Before Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, school work, occasional work from home, browsing Internet

Parts Not Required: Monitors (running dual screen), speakers, (keyboard/mouse optional - may look into a gaming setup for these)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I've been browsing CyberPower for about a month, otherwise, unsure

Country: United States

Parts Preferences: I want an Intel CPU, preferably I7, and MUST have Nvidia GPU. I have an AMD now, and I HATE it.

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe - I've heard that this requires an advanced user, which I am not.

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: Pre-built system will need Windows 8, will be used primarily for Battlefield 3, LotRO, and the upcoming Neverwinter Nights MMO, some Skyrim and other games as they release if I am interested.


Thanks for the help!
February 14, 2013 5:18:50 PM

I don't suggest getting the Geek Squad to add anything. They charge a lot for simple things. As you said, you want BF3, Skyrim and multiplayer games, so the i7 is almost completely useless. Don't let the number attract you.

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 ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($129.99 @ Microcenter)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($49.98 @ Outlet PC)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.99 @ Microcenter)
Storage: Crucial M4 64GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($72.51 @ SuperBiiz)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($354.99 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Phantom (White) ATX Full Tower Case ($119.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 520W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($77.98 @ 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: $1224.37
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-14 14:19 EST-0500)
February 14, 2013 5:21:05 PM

Somethings are optional here: The hard drives, the Power Supply and the Optical Drive.
Related resources
February 14, 2013 5:23:03 PM

Like I said, I'm not an advanced user by any means, I don't want to be assembling this myself. It looks like a decent system, but I need something pre-assembled. Even if it's bare-bones, I can install an OS (would almost prefer this! no extra trash software). Thoughts?
February 14, 2013 5:27:40 PM

You don't have to be advanced. Just take it slowly. No need to rush. Assemble it very carefully. Maybe watch a few videos on YouTube. The manuals may also help. No point in spending like $100 to assemble something that can be done by all means.
a c 279 4 Gaming
February 14, 2013 5:55:00 PM

Quote:
Somethings are optional here: The hard drives, the Power Supply and the Optical Drive.


What do you mean these things are optional? The HDs and PSU are definitely required. :heink: 

SHORYUKEN said:
I don't suggest getting the Geek Squad to add anything. They charge a lot for simple things. As you said, you want BF3, Skyrim and multiplayer games, so the i7 is almost completely useless. Don't let the number attract you.


Yeah exactly, you get ripped off big time with Geek Squad. You also get ripped off buying store warranties - the manufacturers have their own warranties and it's illegal if they don't honor them.

I'd go with the above build but you've got room for a 128GB SSD, no need for a 64GB:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($229.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U9B SE2 37.9 CFM CPU Cooler ($60.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($134.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($52.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($121.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($84.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($369.99 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Phantom 410 (White) ATX Mid Tower Case ($109.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic S12II 620W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($84.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($21.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $1272.87
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-14 14:54 EST-0500)
February 14, 2013 6:09:33 PM

I meant optional as in he can change them to his needs. They are flexible options.
a c 279 4 Gaming
February 14, 2013 6:11:05 PM

SHORYUKEN said:
I meant optional as in he can change them to his needs. They are flexible options.


Oh OK that makes sense.
February 14, 2013 6:44:38 PM

Also, SLI is not something for an "advanced user" you just slap another card in there (requires same GPU, but it's not necessary to have the same brand), connect the SLI bridge to the tops (it's included w/ the motherboard), and change the setting in the drivers to "maximize 3D" by enabling SLI.

easy peasy

It's not typically something you plan a build around though. You should leave it for expandability later...
a b 4 Gaming
February 14, 2013 6:55:20 PM

If you need to get it assembled for you, chances are one of your friends love to work with computers and would love to get payed $100-$200 to assemble your system....unless you are friendless then i would feel sad for you.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-8320 3.5GHz 8-Core Processor ($173.98 @ SuperBiiz)
CPU Cooler: Xigmatek AEGIR SD128264 89.5 CFM CPU Cooler ($64.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Asus M5A99FX PRO R2.0 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($139.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($44.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung Spinpoint F3 EG 1TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.88 @ Outlet PC)
Storage: Plextor M5S Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($94.99 @ Microcenter)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($354.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 500R White ATX Mid Tower Case ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Rosewill Capstone 750W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($87.99 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1139.77
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-14 15:54 EST-0500)

i chose the m5s over the vertex 4 because it is much a cheaper option while not lose a lot of performance.
February 14, 2013 7:27:22 PM

g-unit1111 said:


I'd go with the above build but you've got room for a 128GB SSD, no need for a 64GB:



Quick question on this -- I am assuming the SSD is for the OS, for performance, and the other 1TB drive is for storage. My current PC is using less than 300GB including all of my games and music, so why would I want to spend the extra on a 128GB drive? Is it reccomended that I drop any games onto this drive as well, and use the 1TB for music/pictures/movies? I've never had an SSD before, not sure what to put on it.

Also, several of these builds are leaving around $200 in my budget. If I was to dump that money into something, what component would be best to upgrade?

Thanks for all of the feedback!
a c 279 4 Gaming
February 14, 2013 7:28:11 PM

boulbox said:


i chose the m5s over the vertex 4 because it is much a cheaper option while not lose a lot of performance.


But why would you choose an FX-8320 over an i5-3570K?

Quote:
Quick question on this -- I am assuming the SSD is for the OS, for performance, and the other 1TB drive is for storage. My current PC is using less than 300GB including all of my games and music, so why would I want to spend the extra on a 128GB drive? Is it reccomended that I drop any games onto this drive as well, and use the 1TB for music/pictures/movies? I've never had an SSD before, not sure what to put on it.


Yes, but keep in mind that after formatting that you will have about 97.1GB free, and a full Windows install takes 16GB. Store all your data on the mechanical drive as they can take a lot more punishment than SSDs can in terms of read - write cycles.
February 14, 2013 7:42:29 PM

Also, SSD's really start to lose performance after filling up more than half way.

Also, go with the second build that 'g-unit1111' put together. That's the best.
February 14, 2013 7:56:41 PM

So, I go with the 128GB SSD and stick my OS and any games that I am running on that, and keep the pictures/music/videos/non-demanding games on the 1TB. Is that correct?
February 14, 2013 7:58:13 PM

Baalus said:
So, I go with the 128GB SSD and stick my OS and any games that I am running on that, and keep the pictures/music/videos/non-demanding games on the 1TB. Is that correct?


Exactly. Keep the media on the HDD and the OS and your favorite apps/games on the SSD.
a b 4 Gaming
February 14, 2013 8:07:41 PM

the 8320 is because it is fairly cheap and can overclock to the 8350's speed fairly easy and the 8350 is not that bad against an i5 3570k in terms of gaming unless you want to use a high end AMD GPU(7970) where the FX 8350 tends to fall behind because the CPU single thread power is not as strong as intels.

But if he is going Nvidia, then i would go with the AMD CPU, if he goes AMD GPU(which is what i would prefer) then i would make it an intel build

for my build i just wanted to save a bit of money for him for not that much of a lose of performance
a c 279 4 Gaming
February 14, 2013 8:15:04 PM

boulbox said:
the 8320 is because it is fairly cheap and can overclock to the 8350's speed fairly easy and the 8350 is not that bad against an i5 3570k in terms of gaming unless you want to use a high end AMD GPU(7970) where the FX 8350 tends to fall behind because the CPU single thread power is not as strong as intels.

But if he is going Nvidia, then i would go with the AMD CPU, if he goes AMD GPU(which is what i would prefer) then i would make it an intel build

for my build i just wanted to save a bit of money for him for not that much of a lose of performance


That does not matter - you can use any GPU with any CPU, there's no benchmark on the internet that says that one GPU performs better with one CPU. You can use NVIDIA GPUS with AMD CPUs, you can use AMD GPUs with Intel CPUs, it does not matter.
February 14, 2013 8:25:37 PM

TLDR, but +1 to building it yourself (it's EASY), SHORYUKEN's build, and g-unit1111's build. Basically you need a 3570k and GTX 670 at that price point.
a b 4 Gaming
February 14, 2013 8:31:38 PM

g-unit1111 said:
That does not matter - you can use any GPU with any CPU, there's no benchmark on the internet that says that one GPU performs better with one CPU. You can use NVIDIA GPUS with AMD CPUs, you can use AMD GPUs with Intel CPUs, it does not matter.


no i am saying that the 7970 does better on intel(i5 3570k) because it has a stronger single thread to push it harder

like here
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/fx-8350-core-i7-377...

and another example that the 670 was giving more performance on the 8350 than the i5 3570k
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4et7kDGSRfc
February 14, 2013 8:38:24 PM

Okay, so just for comparison, I built g-unit111's build on Cyberpower, and there's a definite $120 savings there, before shipping, and I can get it in a week instead of a month. Reading this, I'm starting to like the idea of building it myself.

That being said - is there any advice out there (on this site, or elsewhere) that you would recommend for building, and for setting up BIOS, making sure jumpers are correct, etc?

I built my first computer, waaay back in the 90's (when my friend PROMISED me I would NEVER use 8MB of RAM), so I know the basics (what goes where, don't get static electricity on parts, etc.). But, I don't know the new stuff, new BIOS, new pins and connectors, etc.

I appreciate the help, and if there are more build suggestions, keep them coming, I'm looking up and researching each one.
February 14, 2013 8:40:23 PM

I would recommend getting quality thermal paste and cable ties.
a b 4 Gaming
February 14, 2013 8:46:26 PM

Nothing really new to building the computer

i like to start by installing ram(match the colors)
then do the backplate(for the cooler) and the CPU(match the arrows)
add thermal paste and install the heatsink

the PSU will have a 24 pin for the motherboard to power on(should be on the right side of the Motherboard) and an 8pin(usually on top left)
install those both

if needing help, just watch a video or two or read the directions on how to install things
a b 4 Gaming
February 14, 2013 8:47:42 PM

SHORYUKEN said:
I would recommend getting quality thermal paste and cable ties.


the thermal paste that noctua has inside will be fine it won't make much of a difference getting another thermal paste.

agree on some more cable ties though, some PSUs give a few but it is usually not enough for me
February 14, 2013 8:59:45 PM

boulbox said:
the thermal paste that noctua has inside will be fine it won't make much of a difference getting another thermal paste.

agree on some more cable ties though, some PSUs give a few but it is usually not enough for me


Yeah most coolers have decent thermal paste but you never know. Always good to have a bit of the "aftermarket" paste.
a c 279 4 Gaming
February 14, 2013 9:08:23 PM

SHORYUKEN said:
I would recommend getting quality thermal paste and cable ties.


Don't need to waste money on these things. Your power supply will include cable ties and your cooler will include good thermal paste.

Quote:
Yeah most coolers have decent thermal paste but you never know. Always good to have a bit of the "aftermarket" paste.


Unless you're getting some kind of special ceramic paste it really isn't needed. Noctua and Cooler Master both include really good compound with their fans.
February 15, 2013 1:55:13 PM

Thank you, everyone! Ordering the parts this morning, wish me luck on assembly!

Only change I made was to grab a Blue-Ray drive, instead of the CD/DVD, so my kids can watch movies on the big monitor.
February 15, 2013 2:01:39 PM

Blu-Ray isn't the most important. Your kids won't really care about quality. xD
February 15, 2013 2:12:08 PM

It's not a quality issue... most of our movies are on Blue-Ray, and I occasionally like to use my X-Box, so this gives us another player in the house to free up the TV when I want it. :D 

I did come up with a question, looking through the processors. What is the difference between a Core i5-3570 and a Core i5-3570k? The 3570 is slightly cheaper, and has a higher performance rating. I trust your judgement, and I am ordering the 3570k, but I am curious as to the difference.
February 15, 2013 2:21:42 PM

Any processor with a K at the end is an unlocked multiplier, meaning you can overclock it past it's out-of-the-box capabilities.
a c 279 4 Gaming
February 15, 2013 4:54:24 PM

SHORYUKEN said:
Blu-Ray isn't the most important. Your kids won't really care about quality. xD


Plus the software costs $100 a license and doesn't always work depending on your monitor.

Quote:
I did come up with a question, looking through the processors. What is the difference between a Core i5-3570 and a Core i5-3570k? The 3570 is slightly cheaper, and has a higher performance rating. I trust your judgement, and I am ordering the 3570k, but I am curious as to the difference.


The difference is the K version has an unlocked multiplier which means it can be overclocked. The other version cannot be overclocked.
February 19, 2013 5:04:19 PM

Thanks again, everyone for the help on this. System is starting to arrive, and I have a question. The build I used (below) is great, but the CPU came with a cooler. So, why did I spent an extra $60 on the Noctua? Is the stock cooler not good enough?

Build:

CPU:Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($229.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler:Noctua NH-U9B SE2 37.9 CFM CPU Cooler ($60.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard:ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($134.99 @ Newegg)
Memory:G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($52.99 @ Newegg)
Storage:o CZ Vertex 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($121.99 @ Newegg)
Storage:Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($84.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card:Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($369.99 @ Newegg)
Case:NZXT Phantom 410 (White) ATX Mid Tower Case ($109.98 @ Newegg) - I went with a Cooler Master HAF instead.
Power Supply:SeaSonic S12II 620W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($84.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive:Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($21.98 @ Newegg) - Subbed for Blue-Ray
Total: $1272.87
a c 279 4 Gaming
February 19, 2013 5:17:36 PM

Baalus said:
Thanks again, everyone for the help on this. System is starting to arrive, and I have a question. The build I used (below) is great, but the CPU came with a cooler. So, why did I spent an extra $60 on the Noctua? Is the stock cooler not good enough?


The stock cooler is basically a piece of aluminum with a plastic fan on it. :lol: 

The Noctua is far better and it will allow some really good overclocking.
February 19, 2013 5:19:25 PM

Oh joy, another un-explored part of computers... I'm stepping out on a limb by building, do you have any good resources for overclocking? If I have the equipment to do it safely, I might be willing to give it a shot.
a b 4 Gaming
February 20, 2013 4:02:43 PM

just google i5 3570k overclock guide, and it has some nice info.

If you just want to do the fast lazy way, just go to bios and set the CPU multiplier to 42 which is a minor OC for something as strong as the D-14
!