Looking to build a Gaming Desktop, Feedback and Advice needed

I've never built a PC before, but like many PC gamers I got tired of the lack of customization and options that generally comes with pre built machines. To me, saving money is secondary to knowing exactly what's in my machine, what I can do with it, and having the stats to get the job done well. Only problem is, I'm not totally familiar with what those stats are.

I intend to use the computer mostly for gaming, and top performance is very important to me. The games I play vary, but the one that's been the most CPU and GPU intensive is Planetside 2, which to me points to having to drop more money on a good CPU and GPU than just about anything else with this build. If I'm wrong, please let me know :??:

My current budget is about $1,250 - and here's a list of the hardware I've picked out so far.


I've heard that the i5-3570K is a better choice for gaming than the i7-3770K because not many games today take advantage of the multi-threading that the i7 provides, but I don't know what the future holds. It could be that games down the line will be more optimized for multi-threading, or it could be that I pick up video editing and rendering as a hobby or profession. Either way, the extra $100 for the i7 doesn't seem like a bad investment to me. I see it as an insurance policy and I'm fairly set on getting that CPU.

I'm not sure how much of a difference an expensive Motherboard will make over a less expensive version. The one I was looking at getting is the ASUS P8Z77-V LK LGA 1155 Z77 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131837)

It looks like SSDs are the way of the future. Faster, more efficient, but are they really worth the cost for the memory? I was looking at the SAMSUNG 840 Series 250GB SATA III (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147189) but the price for only 250GB makes me sad, especially when I can get 2TB for half the price with a standard hard drive.

This might be overkill, but I was thinking of something like this for my RAM, G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231615)

I'd really like to get the GeForce GTX 680, but those are nearly $500 by themselves. Does the 680 really perform that much better than the 670 or the 660? My current video card is a GTX 260, so I'm sure that any upgrade I get will be mindblowingly amazing.

Since I'm getting a K series CPU, I'd like to be able to overclock it and see how far I can push it. For this I'm assuming I'll need a liquid cooling system. What would you guys recommend?

Power Supply
It's looking like all of this is going to require a good power supply, but how much is enough, and how much is too much if there even is such a thing? I've only done a little work with power supplies in the past, but I thought I remember someone saying that if you put too strong a power supply in your machine, you'll blow the whole thing up. Is that wrong?

While I don't want something ugly, my top concern is that the case is large enough to hold everything. What size should I be looking at getting? How can I tell what the right size is for my build?


Off the top of my head, I can't think of any other parts that are critical to building the system. I've heard that you don't need sound cards these days because the on-board technology has gotten to the point that sound cards are next to useless, and I'm not concerned with a DVD drive unless there's some reason I wouldn't be able to take an older one out of the computer that I have now and put it in the new one. But what about tools? Can I do all of this with what's found in the standard tool kit? Or are there special tools I will need to buy just for the job?

Thank you so much in advance for reading to the bottom of all of this, and I hope this build isn't too terrible. Price isn't too much of a concern to me, as long as I don't go over my budget too far. The total price of the first 4 parts on my list alone is $775 though, which is a little steep considering I haven't added the price of the GPU yet. I won't say no to saving money, but I don't mind spending the full $1,250 either.

Again, thank you guys so much for any advice you can give. I've been thinking about this for weeks and I just seem to be going in circles, so I really appreciate it :)
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  1. PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
    CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler ($79.99 @ Newegg)
    Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V LK ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($114.99 @ Newegg)
    Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($59.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.34 @ Amazon)
    Storage: Sandisk Ultra Plus 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($97.14 @ Amazon)
    Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($369.99 @ Newegg)
    Case: Corsair 400R ATX Mid Tower Case ($97.98 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: Corsair Builder 750W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($73.98 @ Newegg)
    Total: $1139.39
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-03-28 22:37 EDT-0400)

    1. You can invest a bit more money into storage, if you want.

    2. I'm assuming you can get/have a genuine copy of Windows 7 or 8.

    3. You can get a modular PSU with an 80+ Silver or Gold rating to make building the system much easier. But make sure the PSU is Corsair, SeaSonic, Antec or XFX.

    4. The 680 isn't that big of a difference over the 670.

    5. The Noctua if the top of the line cooler. It beats a lot of water coolers.

    6. You don't need 16 GB for gaming.
  2. Nice choice on cpu and mobo.

    That's actually a cheap 250gb SSD already, they're just that expensive. I would recommend getting a 1tb HDD for storage purposes and a 120/128gb SSD for fast boots/most used programs.
    HDD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822236339
    SSD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147192

    16gb of ram is definitely overkill for gaming, but if you wish to try out some video editing, then it's good. However, you could get cheaper RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233296 Low profile, cheap, works.

    Gtx 680 isn't worth the money. Get a gtx670 or a Radeon Hd 7950/7970.
    Gigabyte 7970: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125413
    Sapphire 7970: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814202008
    EVGA 670 FTW with dual fans: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130843
    EVGA 670 FTW with single fan: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130787
    There's a lot more options, but those are just a sample.

    If you only want to run a single gpu set-up, this is a nice modular psu at a good price: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139048

    Case is more to your preferences. Just look at ATX mid-towers, as most of them should fit your set-up. Post what you like, and we could help determine if it has nice cable management/airflow.
  3. At this point this is what Tom's suggest
    Best PCIe Card: $390 And Up
    We really like AMD's Radeon HD 7970 at $400. There's really no reason to pay an extra $75+ for a similar-performing GeForce GTX 680 unless its 55 W-lower thermal ceiling is necessary in your small form factor enclosure. In that case, spending more for better efficiency is something we can get behind.
    You might be able to find a Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition card selling in the $400 range. If you do, that'd be a good buy too. But at the $430 most GHz Edition cards are currently selling for, we'd skip them. As they stand, the Radeon HD 7970s are already pretty overclockable, meaning you can coax much of the performance difference out of a cheaper card anyway.
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