Hope you aren't getting tired of new build questions :)

I asked a question earlier and finally was able to come up with a good gaming build via PC part maker and here is the end result:
PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/JMvR
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/JMvR/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/JMvR/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($204.71 @ Microcenter)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Pro4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($97.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($56.49 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7870 2GB Video Card ($239.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Wireless Network Adapter: Intel 62205ANHMWDTX1 802.11a/b/g/n PCI-Express x1 Wi-Fi Adapter ($33.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Antec One ATX Mid Tower Case ($53.71 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($73.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B DVD/CD Writer ($27.90 @ Amazon)
Monitor: Asus VH236H 23.0" Monitor ($157.58 @ Newegg)
Keyboard: Logitech K100 Wired Slim Keyboard ($10.15 @ NCIX US)
Total: $1026.47
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-03-15 09:17 EDT-0400)

It sticks really close to my $1000 budget plus I get a monitor and keyboard, which I don't have. Any suggestions to make it better by upgrading one piece and downgrading another or anything in general it would be much appreciated.
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  1. I'm a newbie at building (just successfully built my first computer last night!) so I don't have any expert advice for you, but I do have some comments/tips on a couple of the parts you've chosen because some are either exactly the same as what I chose or very similar.

    CPU Cooler: My understanding is that you're probably okay without an aftermarket CPU cooler unless you plan on overclocking. I purchased one for my build, but only because I was told the stock AMD fans were noisy and not as efficient as a mid-level aftermarket one. I figure the cooler the part, the longer it'll last (a carry-over from my days working on cars). If you are willing to squeeze your budget just a tad more, the research I did suggested that a decent CPU cooler is never a bad idea. One of the experts can drop in here and give you better guidance on that, though. The one I got was $33 and very well-rated (Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005O65JXI/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Corsair Vengeance RAM: This is only really an issue IF you decide to get a CPU cooler - this ram is so tall! It took a while to finagle my CPU cooler and my RAM to all fit. The good side of that is that it's sturdy and easy to install, but then again that's true of all RAM. If you do decide on a cooler, I'd also consider RAM that doesn't have the big fins on it like this RAM does. I've read that most RAM are created equal - just check the reviews to make sure people aren't having problems with it.

    Radeon HD 7870 Video Card: Just checking here - there is an "XT" version of the HD 7870 for the same price you've got listed. Just wanted to make sure that's what you're getting. Truly I don't know the difference, but I was told the XT is the better performer and for the same price you've got listed here, you can't go wrong: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AWKYB1M/ref=oh_details_o04_s01_i03?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    That video card, btw, works extremely well for the games I've been playing. I'm glad somebody talked me into it. SimCity is like an entirely different game compared to my old AMD Phenom ~2.5ghz with integrated HD3200 graphics. The "Windows Experience" app rates it a 7.9 out of 7.9. Not that it's the best card out there, but it's pretty good for what I've done with it so far.
  2. ASRock Z77 Pro4 isnt really popular, you need asrock z77 extreme4
    Asus VH236H is LCD, not LED :) the popular Asus VS238H-P is more appropriate
  3. Oh, one last thing: Good call on the Antec case. I got the Antec Nine Hundred for myself, which seems pretty much the same as yours but a little more flashy (Blue LEDs on the fans, glass side, etc). The only trouble I ran into with it was that the instructions don't specify which screws to use to mount the motherboard. It comes with a ton of screws, but no specification on which ones go on the MOBO. I finally figured it out after some trial and error. Other than that, installing everything in this case was a breeze.
  4. Ok a couple of questions:

    1. Whenever I see people post builds I rarely ever see a CPU cooler in the list. Is this piece optional or needed for gaming? I'm not really going to be overclocking because I have no idea how to do so and it isn't on the top of the list of things to do right now.
    Also I don't ever see anyone post the wireless adaptor in their builds. Does it come with the MOBO or something or do people just neglect to mention it?

    ASRock Z77 Pro4 isnt really popular, you need asrock z77 extreme4
    I'm not sure why popularity should have anything to do with it, and I'm a little leery of the higher price. Any particular reason why the extreme4 is better than the pro4?

    3. LCD vs. LED? I chose the original Asus because it was relatively cheap, had built in speakers, a 1920 x 1080 resolution, and a 2ms response. Note that I don't have any computer speakers either.

    Thanks for all the helpful comments so far. It's really appreciated!
  5. Based on my pre-build research, an aftermarket CPU cooler is technically optional. Your CPU should come with a small heatsink and fan that should be designed to keep your CPU operating at a reasonable temperature under typical use (exe: not overclocking). So from what you're describing, I would say it's optional. You can always go back later and change it - it'll just take some work to separate the stock heatsink from the CPU.

    The reason you don't usually see wireless adapters listed with gaming builds is because both for a gaming computer or any desktop, people usually just connect the computer directly to the router with a CAT5 cable. It's more reliable for gaming and since the computer never (rarely) moves, there's no good reason not to do it that way. I would assume your build will not be located in the same room as your router, which is why you're using a wireless card. If you have a way to connect directly to the router, you're talking about $10 worth of cable maybe instead of having to buy a card for $35.
  6. The Pro4 is fine, especially if you are not overclocking. The parts used on the Pro are of slightly lesser quality though (you get what you pay for).

    There is really no difference between and LED monitor and and LCD monitor. The only thing it usually means is that the monitor is backlit by LEDs instead of the more traditional CFL light, which mostly just determines how well the screen displays dark/black areas. Depending on how it is made, an LED monitor could be able to more accurately display colors, however in my experience most people can't discern a difference.

    One thing I noticed with your build. You really should have 2x4GB RAM instead of 1x8GB. You always want to pair up RAM sticks to take advantage of dual-channel memory.
  7. A couple things I'm going to take away from what has been said:

    CPU cooler is optional for the initial build I'm making.

    I need the wireless adapter because it's going in my room.

    The motherboard is good but not ideal. Any suggestions on what could get instead? Will the extra $40-50 make a noticeable difference?

    LED vs. LCD isn't that big a deal but does anyone have any suggestions for a good monitor? I feel like the one I picked is pretty good with the built in speakers good resolution and such, but I didn't research as heavily on that piece.

    I changed the RAM to 2x4. I didn't know about that dual-channel memory thing, plus it's the same price.
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