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Looking to build a new budget'ish gaming desktop (upgrading from a gaming laptop), looking for tips/opinions

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June 14, 2014 11:10:55 AM

Hey folks! I'm taking the plunge back into the desktop market (been using gaming laptops for 5+ years now), and looking for opinions. My budget is about $1000. Note that I already have a good display/keyboard/mouse/headset, so can ignore those.

A little bit of background: I've been building PC's for 10+ years, but for the last 5 I've been working as a software engineer, so haven't really followed along with hardware gains, benchmarks, etc. I barely even know where to look anymore.

I've decided I want to get away from the "mobile" gaming solution. The reason I'm doing this is heat and noise concerns and overall processing power concerns (with the mobile vs desktop chips). Also, I prefer the ability to easily upgrade, and rather enjoy building desktops (also, my son is getting to an age where I'd like to start teaching him things about it (plus he's shown an interest at such a young age)).

I've done some basic research, and asked my buddy, who spends maybe 2% time more than I do reading about hardware. Here's what I've come up with: Note: the only thing I'm not willing to budge on below is the case.

GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD3 AM3+ AMD 990FX + SB950 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
AMD FX-8350 Black Edition Vishera 8-Core 4.0GHz (4.2GHz Turbo) Socket AM3+ 125W Desktop Processor
2x G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
XFX Double D R9-270X-CDFC Radeon R9 270X 2GB 256-Bit GDDR5
x2 SAMSUNG 840 EVO 120GB
Western Digital WD Blue 500GB
XFX TS Series P1550SXXB9 550W ATX12V 2.2
NZXT H440 STEEL Mid Tower Case
Windows 8.1 System Builder OEM DVD 64-Bit

Currently, if I order from Amazon with my prime account, this will cost me about $1200.

Questions:

1) Is the PSU sufficient?
2) I don't play many FPS or other "ultra modern high-end" games (e.g. Crysis 3, FarCry 3). I more stick to games like Fallout NV, X Series (X3, X Rebirth), Mass Effect, Sims 4, and just about any RTS/4x/space game out there. Can you offer some thoughts on how you think this system will handle those games? Note: Again, more concerned with performance than overall graphics quality, although if I can do so without negatively impacting performance, I'll turn the gfx up to max.
3) Thoughts on that mobo? I've read very good things, considering its price point.
4) Stupid question: my current laptop boots in like 10 seconds flat (Intel 330 SSD w/ i7 3630QM). Will I see similar boot times with the AMD?
5) I generally don't overclock, but do like to tinker here and there with it. Thoughts on this system's OC capabilities?

Note: I am leaning towards the AMD since I also do random development projects on the side, and from what I've seen/read it performs "similarly" (usually slightly behind, but not enough for me to care) to a comparable i5.

Feel free to offer any other thoughts you have.
a b D Laptop
a b 4 Gaming
June 14, 2014 12:10:32 PM

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/txFmFT
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/txFmFT/by_merchant/

CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($239.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler ($64.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z97X-Gaming 3 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($128.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: A-Data XPG V2 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Kingston SSDNow V300 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($59.99 @ Micro Center)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($54.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon R9 280X 3GB Dual-X Video Card ($279.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: NZXT H440 (Orange/Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($50.99 @ Amazon)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
Total: $1149.90

Here's a much better build for cheaper.
!