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Console gamer looking to switch

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February 19, 2013 7:16:24 PM

Like the subject line says, I am a console gamer that is looking to switch to the PC side. I am looking to spend under $1000. I want a gaming PC that can easily eclipse the PS3 and 360 it is replacing. I also want it to be at least as powerful as the next gen systems. I want to be able to play AAA next gen games with settings at least equivalent to next game consoles. I want it to be upgradeable if I choose to but I don't want to be forced to upgrade every year or two. I almost pulled the trigger already but I found lots of helpful information here during my search so I decided to check in first. This system will only be used for games from my couch. I will be playing on a 46" 1080p TV. I also want 5.1 surround sound to my HDMI compatible Onkyo receiver.

I plan to use it almost exclusively with an XBox 360 wireless controller. I know that is frowned upon by PC gamers but I grew up with controllers and I have a hard time with a mouse and keyboard. Seeing the Steam Big Picture mode video a couple months ago is what finally convinced me that this is doable for me.

I am a little nervous about building my own PC. I have never done it before. My first response was to check out the Alienware x51 and the Maingear Shift options. I like the console style looks of the Alienware and the customization options and upgradeability of the Maingear. The problem is that by the time I was satisfied that this PC will be able to stay ahead of the next gen consoles I was close to $1500. Even though I didn't want to build my own PC I decided to take the spec list of my customer Maingear and try to match it as closely as possible using parts from Amazon. I did this because I had literally no idea where to start. I prefer to stick with Amazon. I have a store card with them and I can get 0% interest for a year on all my parts.

Here is where I am at so far but I would like to make sure I'm not missing any parts I need to make it run or paying more than I need to when there are equivalent parts available.

Cooler Master HAF Mid Tower Case $59.99.
I don't want anything that sticks out to much. This will be a living room console replacement PC. No flashing lights or windows required.

Corsair Builder Series 600w power supply $66.24.


Segate Barracuda 7200RPM 1TB HD $78.78.
I don't plan on installing an optical drive so all my games will come from Steam, Origin, etc... I want to make sure I have enough space for them. I will also use this PC as an airplay music server to an Apple TV.

ASUS M5A97 motherboard $89.99.
I know nothing about these. I just copied it from the Maingear spec sheet.

AMD FX-4300 3.8Ghz processor $123.79.
I don't know much about these either. I wanted the rough equivalent of the i5. I can also get the 6300 version for about $15 more. That version was only 3.5Ghz though and from what I have heard here the amount of cores isn't that important for gaming.

Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO $32.98.
I didn't even know I needed to buy an additional CPU cooler. I found this unit from reading another thread on this site.

Gigabyte AMD Radeon HD 7850 2GB $194.99.
I didn't know what I was doing here. I basically got to this card by picking the closest one on the Maingear spec sheet to $200 from Amazon. I don't know if I should be using Nvida or AMD here. I went with an AMD option partially because I was using an AMD processor. I don't know if that makes a difference. I am definitely open to suggestions here and with every other item on my list.

Corsair Vengeance 8GB 1600 Mhz 240 pin RAM $47.69.


Finally I can get either Windows 7 Home Premium for $91.17 or or Windows 8 for $95.88. I almost blindly bought Windows 8 because it was newer but everything I have read said to steer clear of Windows 8 for gaming.

There is my list. Sorry my first post is so long. I have an external USB DVD drive if I need it to instal windows or any games in disk form. I don't plan to instal an optical disk drive. Besides that I plan to mostly just use Steam and other services to buy and play games. I may also need additional software so I can use my 360 controller if most games don't support that by default.

Please help if you can. I tried to do my homework but I am pretty much clueless here.

More about : console gamer switch

February 19, 2013 7:23:05 PM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($223.79 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($114.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($43.98 @ Outlet PC)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($74.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($137.00 @ Adorama)
Video Card: PowerColor Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($279.99 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Source 210 Elite (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($54.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $997.71
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-19 16:22 EST-0500)

Do this. Its many times better than what you have posted.
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February 19, 2013 7:31:40 PM

For $1000 you are going to want an i5, and at least a 7850/7870 or GTX660. I really would lean toward the GTX660 though.

I exclusively buy from Newegg unless there is a ridiculous deal on a single component elsewhere. Having ordered tons of parts from them over the years the no hassle return they alway gave me earns them my business. They also have Combo deals, instant savings, MIR's, and coupon codes that make it worth looking at.

As I said you will want an i5 and a decent motherboard. I am an ASUS nut so that is where I would point you. However, my second choice would be an ASrock or Gigabyte. You will want a Z77 chipset if you intent to overclock or ever run more than one video card. If you aren't just stick with an H77 as it will perform just the same, it just has less features.

RAM, you hit it on the head with 8GB of DDR3-1600. CAS 8 or CAS 9 latency is what you want to stay with. 1.5v as well

AN SSD it the budget allows, but a 1TB 7200RPM drive would be just fine. Though you will REALLY enjoy an SSD.


If building is not your thing. My buddy picked up an Alienware x51 from bestbuy the other night and while it is a slim PC and no really upgrade path, it was a decent price and has a GTX660 OEM model and i5. It will run pretty much whatever you throw at it.
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Alienware+-+X51+Desktop+-+6...;jsessionid=CC5D1D691D520E780940BE42F5861140.bbolsp-app02-75?id=1218812711766&skuId=6912556&st=alienware%20x51&cp=1&lp=2
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February 19, 2013 7:34:00 PM

tiny voices said:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($223.79 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($114.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($43.98 @ Outlet PC)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($74.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($137.00 @ Adorama)
Video Card: PowerColor Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($279.99 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Source 210 Elite (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($54.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $997.71
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-19 16:22 EST-0500)

Do this. Its many times better than what you have posted.


Thanks for your quick reply. I really would like to stick to Amazon for everything if possible though. Also, I forgot to mention that the total for everything I posted was $785.62. I know I said that my total budget would be under $1000. but I'd like to stay closer to the price I have listed if I can get what I wanted out of that. I also know that the SSDs are supposed to be really nice. I'm not sure 128GB would be enough for me though. That's why I planned to stick to regular HDs.
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February 19, 2013 7:37:47 PM

There is a 1tb HDD there for storage.. The 128gb SSD is for the OS and a few games only.

do this:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($183.79 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($87.55 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($43.98 @ Outlet PC)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($74.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: PowerColor Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($279.99 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Source 210 Elite (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($54.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $793.27
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-19 16:37 EST-0500)
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February 19, 2013 7:42:54 PM

jay2tall said:
For $1000 you are going to want an i5, and at least a 7850/7870 or GTX660. I really would lean toward the GTX660 though.

I exclusively buy from Newegg unless there is a ridiculous deal on a single component elsewhere. Having ordered tons of parts from them over the years the no hassle return they alway gave me earns them my business. They also have Combo deals, instant savings, MIR's, and coupon codes that make it worth looking at.

As I said you will want an i5 and a decent motherboard. I am an ASUS nut so that is where I would point you. However, my second choice would be an ASrock or Gigabyte. You will want a Z77 chipset if you intent to overclock or ever run more than one video card. If you aren't just stick with an H77 as it will perform just the same, it just has less features.

RAM, you hit it on the head with 8GB of DDR3-1600. CAS 8 or CAS 9 latency is what you want to stay with. 1.5v as well

AN SSD it the budget allows, but a 1TB 7200RPM drive would be just fine. Though you will REALLY enjoy an SSD.


If building is not your thing. My buddy picked up an Alienware x51 from bestbuy the other night and while it is a slim PC and no really upgrade path, it was a decent price and has a GTX660 OEM model and i5. It will run pretty much whatever you throw at it.
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Alienware+-+X51+Desktop+-+6...;jsessionid=CC5D1D691D520E780940BE42F5861140.bbolsp-app02-75?id=1218812711766&skuId=6912556&st=alienware%20x51&cp=1&lp=2


Looks like I was leaning the wrong way with AMD. I just figured I was getting the most bang for my buck going that route. Again, I don't know anything about this stuff. I will start over on amazon with suggestions from you guys. Sorry Tiny Voices. When I read your original post I somehow missed the standard drive you listed.
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February 19, 2013 8:10:10 PM

tiny voices said:
There is a 1tb HDD there for storage.. The 128gb SSD is for the OS and a few games only.

do this:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($183.79 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($87.55 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($43.98 @ Outlet PC)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($74.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: PowerColor Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($279.99 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Source 210 Elite (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($54.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $793.27
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-19 16:37 EST-0500)


Ok I basically went with this setup except I used the GTX 660 jay2tall mentioned. This is a little cheaper and it allows me to add in the cost of Windows 7 and stay near the $800 price point.

One last question. There are 2 brands of the GTX 660 on amazon. One is made by Gigabyte and the other is EVGA. They are almost exactly the same price. Any preference on brand before I pull the trigger?
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February 19, 2013 8:13:16 PM

I like the gigabyte because it has an open cooler and will run cooler and not be as loud.

The gtx660 is a decent drop from the GPU I listed. It will not max all modern games at 1080p, many of them, but it won't max newer games that come out this year. If you can, try to get a 7870 instead.
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February 19, 2013 8:18:07 PM

amd is fine for a basic computer but real gamers use intel cpu.

i think a higher end nvidia or amd gpu is ok though. the gpu is going to be the most expensive thing most likely.But since you want to run a huge monitor your going to need somthing highend to run it at any decent fps.
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February 19, 2013 8:50:38 PM

Ok. I guess I lied when I said that was my last question. I decided to go with the gigabyte 7870. Now I just read an article on PC World claiming Windows 8 helped a couple game's frame rate.

For example Shogun 2 ran at 35 FPS on Windows 7 but bumped to 56 FPS on Windows 8. Will all the hardware listed run ok on Windows 8? I don't want any weird driver problems on my very first build. Should I buy 7 or 8 given that they are about the same price?
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February 19, 2013 8:52:15 PM

It will all be fine. I just upgraded to 8 and once you get over the design changes, its a great OS. It is a bit faster than 7.
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