First time building a Gaming PC 2.5K budget

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First time building a Gaming PC 2.5K budget

Postposted on Sun Jul 01, 2012 6:58 pm

Hello, everybody :) I'm new here and I have no experience building PCs before, however I've been interested in doing so for quite some time now, I'm glad that I have encounter such a place like TechReport.com, I've been doing a lot of reading in the past few weeks and I have learned a lot. Not that I was illiterate before in PC hardware, but the articles on this site are sure easy to understand and very detailed even for someone like me, who hasn't been a PC afficionado for much time.

So this is the deal, I’ve been using the same old Labtop for over 5 years (a Dell Latitude D610) during which I did no much more than a simple RAM upgrade on it, needless to say you can't really run much games on it (My PlayStation thens to be the one that handles all my gaming needs). While this machine has served me well for what I use it for (Like writting this right now :P) I feel it is time for me to finally invest in a decenly powerful gaming PC.

Now, I have never actually built a PC from the ground up before, but I have been doing a lot of reading lately, mostly here at TechReport.com, I feel much better now that I kind of understand most terms and what makes a part cost more than another. I do not consider myself anywhere near an expert yet, and with so many products around, I still feel unable to differentiate between some of them, but again I can defend myself.

Soon enough I will be making my first build, I want to be sure of everything before I make any purchage so, I would really appresiate it if you guys could help me with the parts I have preselected (Like I said I've been doing a lot of reading).

My budget is just shy of 2,500 USD, this most pay for everything including not just the CPU/GPU but also the external input devises and monitors (yes monitors) and also software. Below is my pre-build as well as my reasoning for choosing each part.

Main Tower:

CPU --- Intel Core i5 3570K @ 3.4 ---- $215
From what I can gather, the 3570K is an excellent CPU for an even better price that also supports overclocking, It seems that the i7 series closer to it, just offers some multithreading (I have seen no evidence that multithreading is actually any usefull for gaming) and the six-cores are too expensive for me, so this one seemed like the most logical choise.

CPU Cooler --- Corsair Cooling Hydro CWCH60 --- $62
Liquid cooling is quieter and more effective than normal fans, so I see no reason for not going with it.

GPU --- EVGA GeForce GTX670 w/ 2GB GDDR5 --- $420
From what I have read Nvidia has better 3D support than AMD, and I want to game in 3D. Because this build is primarily for games the GPU is the part that I will not cheap out on, The GTX-670 seems to be the 2nd best single gpu card around (after the pricier GTX 680), i'm planing to go with a dual 1080p monitor configuration, so i should get a lot of millage out of this card.

Sound Card ---XONAR DX --- $72
TechReport.com recommends this card for the sweet spot build, they claim it is noticeable better than its cheaper cousin the Xonar_DG

RAM --- Corsair Vengeance 16GB (4x4) --- $97
RAM is cheap, and I would like to disable virtual memory.

Motherboard --- Asus P8Z77-V LK --- $154
I have to admit, I still don't understand much about motherboards, what makes a good one, better than another. This one was also recommended by TechReport.com and is the right socket for my CPU & other components, I think.

HDD --- Western Digital 2TB WD20EARX--- $120
2TB for $120?, 7200rpm? 64MB cache? excellent reviews? is there any reason for why I shouldn't buy this baby?

DVD drive --- Asus 24x DVD-RW Seal ATA --- $23
I haven't used dics in like forever, but I need a way to install programs and stuff.

Wifi Card --- 300Mbps Lan 802.11 n/g/b PCI card --- $20
Cheap card.

Power Supply --- Corsair 650w 80 plus bronze CMPSU-650TXV2--- $90
I have not calculated it well, is this one too much or too little for this build? or is it just in the right spot?

Case --- Cooler Master HAF 912 Mid Tower ATX case--- $60
Big case, relatevely cheap, good reviews

Total for Main Tower: U$D 1,340.00

Software

Windows 7 Home Premiun --- $170
I'm actually considering waiting for Windows 8 to be released, since I don't feel like paying for an upgrade plus this one.

Microsoft Office Home & Student 2010 --- $125
I have try Open Office before, but I honestly can't say it is even on the same leage as Office 2003 (which is the one I have installed).

Total for Software: U$D 295.00

External Hardware:

Main Monitor --- Acer GD235HZbid 23.6" 3D LCD --- $301
Does anyone have any experience with this monitor?

3D glasses kit --- nvidia 942-10701-0003-004 3D Vision Wireless--- $87
It is my understand that with the above monitor plus the 670 and this kid, I should be ready to start enjoying all the glory of 3D, please do correct me if I am wrong.

2nd Monitor --- Viewsonic VX2450WM-LED 24" --- $180
At work we use dual monitors, after experiencing that, there is no way I go back to just using one monitor, in fact I'll probably buy a third monitor down the line.

Headset --- Logitech Wireless Gaming Headset G930 w/ 7/1 S.S. --- $100
Living with other people limits what kind of sound system I can get, but a headset should be perfect.

Keyboard & Mouse --- Microsoft Natual Ergonomic Desktop 7000 --- $95
I hear these are very good, any word on how they funtion for gaming?

Total for External Hardware: U$D 768.00

Total price for Everything: USD 2,400.00

So, what do you guys think? Good build? anything incompatible, did I made any wrong assuntions?
Last edited by QuickSilverD on Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First time building a Gaming PC 2.5K budget

Postposted on Sun Jul 01, 2012 7:19 pm

QuickSilverD wrote:Microsoft Office Home & Student 2010 --- $125
I have try Open Office before, but I honestly can't say it is even on the same leage as Office 2003 (which is the one I have installed).


When did you try OpenOffice? 1999?

Overall I think Microsoft Office is the better product, but the ways in which it is better may or may not matter to you. There are some things in OO that I actually prefer, such as the equation editor. Since you're spending $2500 on your full build you can make your own decision, but you may want to try OO again before you spend $125 on something you may not need.
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Re: First time building a Gaming PC 2.5K budget

Postposted on Sun Jul 01, 2012 7:24 pm

Why not go OEM with Windows instead of full retail? You'll save quite a bit that way.
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Re: First time building a Gaming PC 2.5K budget

Postposted on Sun Jul 01, 2012 7:47 pm

TurtlePerson2 wrote:When did you try OpenOffice? 1999?

Overall I think Microsoft Office is the better product, but the ways in which it is better may or may not matter to you. There are some things in OO that I actually prefer, such as the equation editor. Since you're spending $2500 on your full build you can make your own decision, but you may want to try OO again before you spend $125 on something you may not need.

It wasn't that long ago, I found it to be harder to use than office, but it maybe was just my unfamiliarity with it, and for what I've seem of the new Office the presentention and preview and user friendlyness seems to be on another lever

derFunkenstein wrote:Why not go OEM with Windows instead of full retail? You'll save quite a bit that way.
Aren't OEM tied to just one PC? what if latter I want to build another system?, plus isn't the OEM license supposed to be used only for PCs you are selling to third parties?
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Re: First time building a Gaming PC 2.5K budget

Postposted on Sun Jul 01, 2012 8:03 pm

If I was spending $2500 on a PC I'd definitely want a SSD for the OS/apps/games, in addition to a large HDD for storage. It would be a shame to have all that great hardware and still be using a slow mechanical hard drive.


QuickSilverD wrote: Aren't OEM tied to just one PC? what if latter I want to build another system?, plus isn't the OEM license supposed to be used only for PCs you are selling to third parties?


OEM can be used by any "system builders", so building your own PC counts. I think it's technically illegal to use it on another PC after that though.
Last edited by travbrad on Sun Jul 01, 2012 8:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First time building a Gaming PC 2.5K budget

Postposted on Sun Jul 01, 2012 8:11 pm

travbrad wrote:If I was spending $2500 on a PC I'd definitely want a SSD for the OS/apps/games, in addition to a large HDD for storage. It would be a shame to have all that great hardware and still be using a slow mechanical hard drive.
SSD are very expensive, that is why I didn't include one, would probably have to make a trade off with another component, just for the sake of having things load faster, mind you I don't actually any actual experience with SDD, with I'm using a labtop that has a mechanical drive and its load times are not something that bother me too much, so I'll rather spend the money somewhere else.
OEM can be used by any "system builders", so building your own PC counts.
I have read comflicting reports about this.

-----------
Now, does anyone have anything to say about the built itself, is it good?
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Re: First time building a Gaming PC 2.5K budget

Postposted on Sun Jul 01, 2012 8:41 pm

QuickSilverD wrote:
travbrad wrote:If I was spending $2500 on a PC I'd definitely want a SSD for the OS/apps/games, in addition to a large HDD for storage. It would be a shame to have all that great hardware and still be using a slow mechanical hard drive.
SSD are very expensive, that is why I didn't include one, would probably have to make a trade off with another component, just for the sake of having things load faster, mind you I don't actually any actual experience with SDD, with I'm using a labtop that has a mechanical drive and its load times are not something that bother me too much, so I'll rather spend the money somewhere else.
OEM can be used by any "system builders", so building your own PC counts.
I have read comflicting reports about this.

-----------
Now, does anyone have anything to say about the built itself, is it good?


Bravo for making your first foray into the realm of DIY PC building. It's a very fun hobby, and it sounds like you have plenty of knowledge/research to backup your choices. I'm envious of you right now. If I had 2.5k to splurge on a new system, I'd be like a kid at xmas time.

Here are my comments on your build:

A) Get a SSD. Get a SSD. Get a SSD. Get a SSD. I CANNOT overemphasize this enough. You will thank me later. You know how you use dual-monitors at work and now don't want to go back? You will feel the same with a SSD. In fact, you'll find a SSD to be even more "can't-live-without" than dual-monitors (or, potentially in your future, tri-monitors).

B) Research about Windows OEM a bit more. You might feel the cost is cheaper, but in the long run it can be more expensive when (say, 2 years down the road) you decide to buy a newer, faster, prettier, sexier motherboard, install it, then find your OS's is no longer able to be activated (due to licensing legal reasons). I'd seriously suggest splurging the extra 20-40 bucks for the retail copy, since this is your first build. After you get used to a couple, then start thinking about more advanced stuff like "OEM."

C) Other than that, I don't have too much negative to say about your build itslef. I've tried 3D, but wasn't a fan. I have two Asus monitors that are both 27", and because of my bad vision, I think my preferences is purely subjective. I do, however, have a dual video-card setup in my rig running in Crossfire mode. You might want to think about that (although two videocards at the price you listed is hefty). I splurge for 2 cards slightly over a year ago for 300 bucks a pop. I still think they were worth it though, because I, like you, had the money to spend on my sweet rig.

Best of luck! DEFINITELY rethink your SSD choice. You will NOT regret it. From the very moment you begin installation of Windows until the time you bust the rig apart for spare parts or to sell, you will be glad you went with the SSD.
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Re: First time building a Gaming PC 2.5K budget

Postposted on Sun Jul 01, 2012 8:57 pm

QuickSilverD wrote:
travbrad wrote:If I was spending $2500 on a PC I'd definitely want a SSD for the OS/apps/games, in addition to a large HDD for storage. It would be a shame to have all that great hardware and still be using a slow mechanical hard drive.
SSD are very expensive, that is why I didn't include one, would probably have to make a trade off with another component, just for the sake of having things load faster, mind you I don't actually any actual experience with SDD, with I'm using a labtop that has a mechanical drive and its load times are not something that bother me too much, so I'll rather spend the money somewhere else.
OEM can be used by any "system builders", so building your own PC counts.
I have read comflicting reports about this.

-----------
Now, does anyone have anything to say about the built itself, is it good?


An SSD does help with more than just load times. It makes everything you do feel more responsive. For example alt-tabbing with an SSD is way faster than when using a mechanical HDD. There are even some games where an SSD will make a visual difference in games. ARMA2 and Flight Simulator X for example load lots of textures, and there is noticeably less texture pop-in with an SSD. If it's not worth it to you fine, but most people who have used an SSD can't imagine going back to a HDD. They aren't THAT expensive anymore either. A good 128GB drive can be bought for $100-130 depending on the drive.

I've heard conflicting reports about the OEM copies on self-built PCs too, but if you really want to be 100% in the clear, have a friend slap on the side-panel of the case and sell it to you for $1. ;) It could be an issue if you want to use that copy on another PC though so it might be worth just getting retail.

As for the rest of the build it looks pretty good to me

That's a perfect gaming CPU because like you said the i7 are much more expensive and offer no real benefits in gaming. If you have a Microcenter nearby it's $25 cheaper there, and they often have motherboard/cpu combo deals.

The GTX670 is clearly the best high-end price/performance right now too. Even without factoring in the 3D support, it's a better deal than the 7970. You could get a stock-clocked one for $20 cheaper, but it's probably not worth saving $20 when you're spending $400+ on a video card.

You can't go wrong with ASUS motherboards. My brother and I have owned a lot of them over the years and they have always provided good overclocks and reliability. You also have the option to with with SLI later if you really wanted to.

That power supply should be plenty good. TR measured under 300W total system power consumption with a similar system, and Anandtech measured about 320W even with their CPU clocked at 4.3GHZ. These new cards and CPUs are actually using less power than previous generations, so the power supply requirements are becoming lower if anything.

You should probably get enough case fans to use all the case fan mounts if you can too. I think the case comes with 2 fans but it looks like it can probably fit 5 or so. More airflow is generally better. There are a lot of good guides online for case airflow/pressure too.

For ideal online gaming I'd use a wired ethernet connection if possible too. Even the best wifi is never going to be as reliable or offer quite as fast response times as a wired connection. This depends a lot on your situation though. My 54G router/card used to work almost perfectly, but then all my neighbors got wifi and the interference became a nightmare (and every channel is being used).

I don't have experience with the Xonar DX, but my Xonar DG sounds amazing with both my Sennheiser HD280 headphones and my M-AUDIO Bx5a monitors.

I swear by Western Digital drives so you can't go wrong there. I've never had a single WD drive fail, and one of them was in use almost 24/7 for 8 years straight. I ended up retiring it just because it was too slow/small by modern standards.

I don't have experience with that monitor or any 3D gaming stuff so I can't really comment on that. I avoid Viewsonic monitors like the plague though. I had some really bad experiences with them (poor reliability), and their RMA process is very slow (6-8 weeks). I generally like Acer monitors though. They probably aren't the best, but for the price their quality and reliability seems pretty good.

For headphones I really think you are better off buying headphones dedicated to good sound quality and buy a mic separately (either to clip on or a desktop mic). Those "surround sound" headphones are largely a marketing gimmick, and don't have the greatest sound quality usually. True surround sound is literally impossible in a headphone. They do offer a bit more positional audio than 2.0 headphones, but they always sacrifice sound quality to do it.

Sorry that turned in to wall of text :P
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Re: First time building a Gaming PC 2.5K budget

Postposted on Sun Jul 01, 2012 9:38 pm

QuickSilverD wrote:Hello, everybody :) I'm new here.
Welcome to the Tech Report!

QuickSilverD wrote: CPU Cooler --- Corsair Cooling Hydro CWCH60 --- $62
Liquid cooling is quieter and more effective than normal fans, so I see no reason for not going with it.
It's not really any quieter than a really good air cooler. The Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo costs about half as much, for example.

QuickSilverD wrote: RAM --- Corsair Vengeance 16GB (4x4) --- $97
RAM is cheap, and I would like to disable virtual memory.
Do not disable virtual memory.

Do consider getting 2x8 GiB of PC3-12800 instead of 4x4 GiB.

QuickSilverD wrote:HDD --- Western Digital 2TB WD20EARX--- $120
2TB for $120?, 7200rpm? 64MB cache? excellent reviews? is there any reason for why I shouldn't buy this baby?
Because it's a 5400-rpm "Green" drive, not a 7200-rpm "Black" drive.

Also, where is your SSD? You'll want a 120 to 256 GB SSD for your system drive and most-used programs. The Samsung 830 is a good choice.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductLi ... ageSize=20

QuickSilverD wrote:DVD drive --- Asus 24x DVD-RW Seal ATA --- $23
I haven't used discs in like forever, but I need a way to install programs and stuff.
Have you considered Blu-ray?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6827106451
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6827135252

QuickSilverD wrote:Wifi Card --- 300Mbps Lan 802.11 n/g/b PCI card --- $20
Cheap card.
Why are you still buying a PCI card in this decade? PCIe is the way to go if you want to purchase expansion cards.
http://www.amazon.com/PCE-N15-performan ... 0054L9PWO/

QuickSilverD wrote:Software
Windows 7 Home Premiun --- $170
I'm actually considering waiting for Windows 8 to be released, since I don't feel like paying for an upgrade plus this one.
If you want to use more than 16 GiB of memory, you'll need the professional or ultimate versions of the OS. The OEM version can save you a bit over the retail package.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6832116992
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6832116986

QuickSilverD wrote: 2nd Monitor --- Viewsonic VX2450WM-LED 24" --- $180
At work we use dual monitors, after experiencing that, there is no way I go back to just using one monitor, in fact I'll probably buy a third monitor down the line.
I'd recommend an IPS, e-IPS or PVA LCD monitor for better color reproduction, especially since your viewing angle won't be perfectly perpendicular with this multi-monitor setup. A refurbished Dell UltraSharp U2412M for $279 could do the trick.
http://outlet.us.dell.com/ARBOnlineSale ... =ALL&s=dfh

QuickSilverD wrote: Headset --- Logitech Wireless Gaming Headset G930 w/ 7/1 S.S. --- $100
Living with other people limits what kind of sound system I can get, but a headset should be perfect.
This headset has fake "7.1" surround. All so-called "surround" headsets are worthless gimmick. You want a good stereo headset. Set your game for stereo headset output and it will calculate the time delays for positional audio correctly. If you use the fake surround headphones with a 7.1 setting you'll get a really messed-up sound stage, since the delays are calculated for speakers scattered around the room, not mounted on your head.
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Re: First time building a Gaming PC 2.5K budget

Postposted on Sun Jul 01, 2012 9:57 pm

Don't get OEM Windows, the minimal cost savings aren't worth the license validity if you change your hardware. If you're not going to abide by the OEM license agreement, then you might as well use a pirate copy in the first place.

You may not feel you need an SSD, because your laptop ran fine without one, but realistically an SSD is a requirement these days.Tablets, phones and ultrabooks are SSD-only, Windows 8 design choices have been made for SSDs over mechanical drives, and software is getting heavier and slower than ever; On a 1GB hard drive fifteen years ago, Windows 3.1 was ready to run an application within 30s of being powered on. Today, on a mechanical drive, Windows 7 can still be unresponsive as it continues to start a hundred services and a hundred background processes five minutes after you've logged in. Software IO demands have increased by two orders of magnitude, yet disk speeds have only doubled, maybe tripled in the same timeframe and the result is machines that run like treacle.

Screens: 3D is very much a gimmick in all but well-done cases, and these cases are few and far between. Many games don't support 3D well, so you'll end up disabling it because it just looks wrong.For the games that do support 3D properly it halves your framerate and you will still suffer from ghost images meant for the other eye on even the best monitors. One day, I am sure 3D will be as good at home as it is in the cinemas now. That day is still a few years off, I think.

Now, 3D screens themselves are 120Hz capable though - and THAT is excellent for gaming, they make motion feel eerily fluid as long as your graphics card can churn out a consistent 120 frames a second. Having used a 3D screen for a few months, the benefit of 120Hz produced way more convincing effects in 2D than any game I had in 3D. the Samsung 23" is probably the best of the 120Hz panels but don't take my word for it, read the reviews.

Your second screen is still a TN panel. Hopefully you understand the difference between an IPS and a TN panel, but if you don't - the simple explanation is that TN panels are garbage. I'm prepared to put up with all the downsides of a TN panel in order to get 120Hz for gaming (and possibly 3D movies), but certainly the second screen should be a decent IPS panel that you use for everything else. TN panels only really have about 260,000 colours - so they look fuzzy/noisy/grainy alongside IPS screens as they dither the pixels to approximate the 32-bit colour you are expecting. The gamma shift from narrow viewing angles means that even if you sit right in front of one, the top of the screen is darker than the bottom. This doesn't really matter for everyday stuff like webpages and office work, but in dark images (whether that's photoshop, movies or gaming) even the best TN screens look dull and lacking detail compared to a half-decent IPS screen. Certainly with a $2500 budget, you should get an quality IPS screen; It'll outlast everything in the tower for sure.
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Re: First time building a Gaming PC 2.5K budget

Postposted on Sun Jul 01, 2012 9:57 pm

Thank You all for replying.

I guess I could spare 100 bucks or so for an SSD, how about this one? Crusial 128GB for $120. Do you guys install your games on your SSD or in your mechanical drives?

JustAnEngineer wrote: It's not really any quieter than a really good air cooler. The Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo costs about half as much, for example.
So would you recommend the EVO then? isn't Liquid cooling more effective at keeping temperatures down? I haven't seen any articles about it in the site.

Do consider getting 2x8 GiB of PC3-12800 instead of 4x4 GiB.
Like this kit? Doing a quick look it seems getting 2 cards instead of one is more expensive. Does it really makes a difference?

Because it's a 5400-rpm "Green" drive, not a 7200-rpm "Black" drive.
Technical specifications said 7200rpm, that is wrong? or I haven't looked somewhere I should have

Have you considered Blu-ray?
PS3 reads Blu-ray, and I don't plan to burn disc so no.

Why are you still buying a PCI card in this decade? PCIe is the way to go if you want to purchase expansion cards.
Sorry, as much reading as I have done, I'm still not very verse in the PCIe vs PCI thing

If you want to use more than 16 GiB of memory, you'll need the professional or ultimate versions of the OS. The OEM version can save you a bit over the retail package.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6832116992
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6832116986
Didn't know that, thank you.

I'd recommend IPS or e-IPS or PVA LCD monitor for better color reproduction, especially since your viewing angle won't be perfectly perpendicular with this multi-monitor setup.
IPS? that is a brand or a feature you're talking about?

This headset has fake "7.1" surround. All so-called surround headsets are worthless gimmick. You want a good stereo headset. Set your game for stereo headset output and it will calculate the time delays for positional audio correctly. If you use the fake surround headphones with a 7.1 setting you'll get a really messed-up sound stage, since the delays are calculated for speakers scattered around the room, not mounted on your head.
[/quote] Figures, I guess then I could "downgrade" the sound card to a XONAR_DG then and buy a nice stereo headset then?
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Re: First time building a Gaming PC 2.5K budget

Postposted on Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:05 pm

QuickSilverD wrote:
Some lunatic wrote:Do consider getting 2x8 GiB of PC3-12800 instead of 4x4 GiB.
Like this kit? Doing a quick look it seems getting 2 cards instead of one is more expensive. Does it really makes a difference?

The practical difference is that you'll have two memory slots free to eventually upgrade to 32 GiB.

I was thinking of these sorts of DIMMs: PC3-12800 (DDR3-1600), CAS 9, 1.5 V:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductLi ... ageSize=20

I've been happy with one of these kits:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820148545

Yes, it's slightly more expensive to get the larger DIMMs.
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Re: First time building a Gaming PC 2.5K budget

Postposted on Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:07 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:Don't get OEM Windows, the minimal cost savings aren't worth the license validity if you change your hardware. If you're not going to abide by the OEM license agreement, then you might as well use a pirate copy in the first place.
Yeah that is what I was thinking, Full licence it is then

You may not feel you need an SSD, because your laptop ran fine without one, but realistically an SSD is a requirement these days.Tablets, phones and ultrabooks are SSD-only, Windows 8 design choices have been made for SSDs over mechanical drives, and software is getting heavier and slower than ever; On a 1GB hard drive fifteen years ago, Windows 3.1 was ready to run an application within 30s of being powered on. Today, on a mechanical drive, Windows 7 can still be unresponsive as it continues to start a hundred services and a hundred background processes five minutes after you've logged in. Software IO demands have increased by two orders of magnitude, yet disk speeds have only doubled, maybe tripled in the same timeframe and the result is machines that run like treacle.
You all have recommended me to include an SSD, and that has indeed make me reconsider, I wonder if an 128 GB is good enough to get all the benefits

Screens: 3D is very much a gimmick in all but well-done cases, and these cases are few and far between. Many games don't support 3D well, so you'll end up disabling it because it just looks wrong.For the games that do support 3D properly it halves your framerate and you will still suffer from ghost images meant for the other eye on even the best monitors. One day, I am sure 3D will be as good at home as it is in the cinemas now. That day is still a few years off, I think.

Now, 3D screens themselves are 120Hz capable though - and THAT is excellent for gaming, they make motion feel eerily fluid as long as your graphics card can churn out a consistent 120 frames a second. Having used a 3D screen for a few months, the benefit of 120Hz produced way more convincing effects in 2D than any game I had in 3D. the Samsung 23" is probably the best of the 120Hz panels but don't take my word for it, read the reviews.

Your second screen is still a TN panel. Hopefully you understand the difference between an IPS and a TN panel, but if you don't - the simple explanation is that TN panels are garbage. I'm prepared to put up with all the downsides of a TN panel in order to get 120Hz for gaming (and possibly 3D movies), but certainly the second screen should be a decent IPS panel that you use for everything else. TN panels only really have about 260,000 colours - so they look fuzzy/noisy/grainy alongside IPS screens as they dither the pixels to approximate the 32-bit colour you are expecting. The gamma shift from narrow viewing angles means that even if you sit right in front of one, the top of the screen is darker than the bottom. This doesn't really matter for everyday stuff like webpages and office work, but in dark images (whether that's photoshop, movies or gaming) even the best TN screens look dull and lacking detail compared to a half-decent IPS screen. Certainly with a $2500 budget, you should get an quality IPS screen; It'll outlast everything in the tower for sure.
Admitedly i've only played with 3D in kiots at a PC store, but the experience then was very good, I understand that not all games will support it, that it will haft my framerate (but hey that's why one buys a powerful graphic card).

Why what you guys are telling me though, it seems that I need to review my monitor knoweagle, before I made any serious purchage.

JustAnEngineer wrote:
QuickSilverD wrote:
Some lunatic wrote:Do consider getting 2x8 GiB of PC3-12800 instead of 4x4 GiB.
Like this kit? Doing a quick look it seems getting 2 cards instead of one is more expensive. Does it really makes a difference?

The practical difference is that you'll have two memory slots free to eventually upgrade to 32 GiB.

I was thinking of these sorts of DIMMs: PC3-12800 (DDR3-1600), CAS 9, 1.5 V:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductLi ... ageSize=20

I've been happy with one of these kits:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820148545

Yes, it's slightly more expensive to get the larger DIMMs.
32GiBs sounds like overkill, even 16GiB I thought was maybe a little too much, I really wasn't even planning on upgrading



Don't be afraid to write walls of text or make recommendations in what I should add or change, after all that is why I am here
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Re: First time building a Gaming PC 2.5K budget

Postposted on Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:16 pm

QuickSilverD wrote:
Some lunatic wrote:Because the WD20EARX is a 5400-rpm "Green" drive, not a 7200-rpm "Black" drive.
Technical specifications said 7200rpm, that is wrong? or I haven't looked somewhere I should have
Amazon's tech specs are incorrect. The green drives all spin between 5400 and 5900 rpm. The blue and black desktop drives spin at 7200 rpm.
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Re: First time building a Gaming PC 2.5K budget

Postposted on Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:47 pm

Does anyone here play games in 3D? Is there any monitors you would recommend? are the Glasses I selected a good pick?


Also, quick question, How do I subscribe to Threads?
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Re: First time building a Gaming PC 2.5K budget

Postposted on Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:33 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:
QuickSilverD wrote:HDD --- Western Digital 2TB WD20EARX--- $120
2TB for $120?, 7200rpm? 64MB cache? excellent reviews? is there any reason for why I shouldn't buy this baby?
Because it's a 5400-rpm "Green" drive, not a 7200-rpm "Black" drive.


Oh yeah I didn't even notice that was a Green drive. If the OP doesn't get an SSD they will definitely want to get either a Blue or Black drive (both 7200rpm). The green might be okay if you are using an SSD for apps/games though. I'd still probably go with a 7200rpm drive even for large storage though.

QuickSilverD wrote:I guess I could spare 100 bucks or so for an SSD, how about this one? Crusial 128GB for $120. Do you guys install your games on your SSD or in your mechanical drives?


That's a great drive, and most importantly for a storage device it's probably the most reliable SSD on the market. The Samsung 830 is faster overall (although it has some issues with writes) but it's also more expensive. Any SSD will blow away a traditional HDD in performance though. The differences in SSDs is very minimal compared to the difference between SSDs and a HDDs.

JustAnEngineer wrote: It's not really any quieter than a really good air cooler. The Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo costs about half as much, for example.
So would you recommend the EVO then? isn't Liquid cooling more effective at keeping temperatures down? I haven't seen any articles about it in the site.[/quote]

Liquid cooling CAN be more effective, but in this case the difference will probably less than 1C. It may be very slightly quieter too, but even the good air coolers are pretty quiet nowadays because they use such large fans (which can push a lot more air at a given RPM). In all likelihood the video card is going to be the loudest part of your system, not your CPU cooler. I have the slightly cheaper version of the EVO (Hyper 212+), and was able to easily hit over 4.5ghz on my 2500K.

Do consider getting 2x8 GiB of PC3-12800 instead of 4x4 GiB.
Like this kit? Doing a quick look it seems getting 2 cards instead of one is more expensive. Does it really makes a difference?


It does allow you to upgrade much more easily in the future, but to be honest I can't imagine any normal use (including gaming) requiring more than 16GB in the foreseeable future. The highest memory use I've seen from any game is "only" about 4-5GB. Overclocking your memory could be slightly more successful with 2 sticks, but I don't think memory overclocking is even worth the hassle for gaming. You'd be lucky to gain 1FPS from memory overclocking.

Why are you still buying a PCI card in this decade? PCIe is the way to go if you want to purchase expansion cards.
Sorry, as much reading as I have done, I'm still not very verse in the PCIe vs PCI thing


PCI is a much older standard/expansion slot, whereas PCIe is much more recent. PCIe won't actually give you any advantage when it comes to consumer grade sound cards though so I wouldn't worry about it. If you were recording a band with 20 channels at 192khz then it might be a limitation, but that doesn't sound like an issue in your case. The only real advantage of going PCIe is that PCI is slowly being phased out of motherboards, so your card may have better longevity if it's PCIe. I still think you'll be able to find motherboards with regular PCI slots for awhile to come though.
Last edited by travbrad on Mon Jul 02, 2012 6:42 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: First time building a Gaming PC 2.5K budget

Postposted on Mon Jul 02, 2012 1:21 am

I've seen 3D in a home theater application and it still feels like a gimick, rather a lot like looking at the world through a ViewMaster. Even when done properly. Since game support is still somewhat sparse, I would put off the 3D upgrades for another 6-12 months and use the money to reinforce the existing system build, such as...

SSD: another vote. Mine is just an Intel 80GB for the Windows drive and core applications (MS Office, Adobe PSE9 and LightRoom, etc.) while Steam and all my data files live on a pair of Spinpoint F3 1TB drives. Even so, the system responsiveness is a night and day kind of thing. A Crucial M4 or Samsung 830 at 128GB or larger is pretty close to the price/performance sweet spot while having, so far, a good reliability record.
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Re: First time building a Gaming PC 2.5K budget

Postposted on Mon Jul 02, 2012 3:21 am

As others have said, do not buy a new PC for $2,500 without a SSD.

I've had one for a few years now and I can't imagine ever using another machine without one. It would be particularly bad to buy a machine that fast and not go with one. Cut the budgets for other components and do whatever is necessary in order to get hold of one.

I'd be pretty cautious when it comes to 3D also; it seems overpriced, but then it is likely to make me feel dizzy and ill, so I have very little interest there. I shan't have 3D until it is forced on me.

SSD. SSD. SSD.
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Re: First time building a Gaming PC 2.5K budget

Postposted on Mon Jul 02, 2012 6:07 am

Quicksilver, if you're spending $2500 on a new computer in this age and not getting at least a 256GB SSD, I'm going to buy a plane ticket and come over to personally kick your ass. If you were on a tight budget, I could understand, but in this price range there is no excuse.

Edit: I bought a Samsung S23A700 3D monitor to play at 120hz, and in games like BF3 it's pretty awesome. I've never bothered with the 3D mode. If you want to play with 3D, I'd recommend trying it out first to see if you can handle the 60hz flashing (your eyes are getting blacked out 60 times per second, like in ye olden CRT days). There are monitors out there that do 3D with polarized glasses that don't suffer from this problem; I saw one of them in regular 2D modus and it looked .. worse than a regular monitor. That was a while ago though.
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Re: First time building a Gaming PC 2.5K budget

Postposted on Mon Jul 02, 2012 6:29 am

Again I thanks everyone for replying. is sad to hear everyone trashing 3D, admittedly, I only ever tried some kiots demos and not any prolonged section, but I can't ignored the fact the no many seems to think its good, so for now I will postpone it. Also base on what has been said, I think that I'll change the Liquid cooling for an EVO fan and downgrade the sound card a bit.

Here is the new build, tell me how it looks.


Main Tower:

CPU --- Intel Core i5 3570K @ 3.4 ---- $215
CPU Cooler --- EVE 212 RR-212E-20PK-R2 --- $38
GPU --- EVGA GeForce GTX670 w/ 2GB GDDR5 --- $420
Sound Card ---XONAR DG --- $24
RAM --- Corsair Vengeance 16GB (4x4) --- $97
Motherboard --- Asus P8Z77-V LK --- $154
HDD --- Wester Digital Black 1TB--- $120
SSD --- Crusial 256GB --- $203
DVD drive --- Asus 24x DVD-RW Seal ATA --- $23
Wifi Card --- 300Mbps Lan 802.11 n/g/b PCI card --- $20
Ethernet Card --- TP-Link NT TG-3468 32-bit Gigabit--- $13
Power Supply --- Corsair 650w 80 plus bronze CMPSU-650TXV2--- $90
Case --- Cooler Master HAF 912 Mid Tower ATX case--- $60

Total for Main Tower: U$D 1,480.00

Software

Windows 7 Home Premiun --- $170

Total for Software: U$D 170.00

External Hardware:

Keyboard & Mouse --- Microsoft Natual Ergonomic Desktop 7000 --- $95

Monitors budget: $600
Hopefully I could buy a couple decent monitors with that.

Speakers/Headset budget: $100
I take recommendations

Total for External Hardware: U$D 800.00

Total price for Everything: USD 2,450.00
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Re: First time building a Gaming PC 2.5K budget

Postposted on Mon Jul 02, 2012 6:50 am

QuickSilverD wrote: Figures, I guess then I could "downgrade" the sound card to a XONAR_DG then and buy a nice stereo headset then?


You don't necessarily have to spend more to get a good pair of headphones. You can get headphones that will sound better than the logitech "surround" headphones for less money actually. You'll get a huge variety of opinions if you ask which headphones are the best, but this and this are good starting points. You could spend more timing looking at headphones than the rest of your PC put together though. There are a vast variety of headphones and an equally vast variety of opinions about headphones.

For a closed-ear headphone I really like the Sennheiser HD280PRO. They sound great and are very durable. The Sony MDR7506 sounded good when I tried them too. For an open ear headphone the Grado SR60i and SR80i are regarded as really good headphones, although they aren't the most comfortable or durable headphones around (probably not ideal for long gaming sessions)
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Re: First time building a Gaming PC 2.5K budget

Postposted on Mon Jul 02, 2012 7:08 am

For gaming, a lot of the 3D screens come with their own glasses, otherwise get the nvidia 3D Vision II pack instead - they're pretty decent in practice (although you may need to check screen compatibility before adding it to your cart)

I don't think the Acer is a good 3D screen, it reviews badly on quite a few websites. Check out TFTcentral.co.uk, they have an article on panel technology (the difference between TN and IPS) as well as an article on 3D.
I've stopped caring about 3D technology to be honest with you, but the BenQ XL2420TX seems to be the best-reviewing 24" 3D screen at the moment. Decent montor reviews with actuall tests of colour uniformity, input lag, contrast levels and viewing angles are really hard to come by these days, but at least the BenQ gets rated subjectively well by quite a few sites. Here's a quick review of the BenQ XL2420T.

In answer to your SSD question, yes 128GB will be enough. You can move games you're not playing to the mechinical storage, and 128GB should be big enough for an OS install + a few typical apps and then maybe half a dozen big-budget AAA games at once. I use SteamMover to keep my less frequently-played games on an old spinning disk.
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Re: First time building a Gaming PC 2.5K budget

Postposted on Mon Jul 02, 2012 7:54 am

I'm def not gonna read all the replies, this thread is so long (uuu that's what she said) but my remarks are:

@CPU
It's very good for gaming but not very good for high overclocks. If extreme OCing is not for you, then this CPU is a good choice.

@GPU
Good choice regarding brand. Just remember to read the EVGA terms for RMA (heard u get 5 years of warranty directly from them if you register your product after purchase). But keep in mind that's a single fan cooler and it might get a bit loud for your taste. Maybe a custom dual fan cooled version would be better. But you don't have to decide right the way. You can buy it, try it out and if you don't like it, return it and swap it with another model.

@Keyboard and mouse
Those chosen by you are not that good for gaming. Especially the mouse. First of all you need something wired just to get rid of lag and the annoyance and changing/ recharging batteries.

Don't cheap out here as you will spend most of your time using those 2 devices....For mice brands i'd recommend Steel Series, Logitech and Razer. As always read a few reviews about the model your interested in as even these big guys have made models that have known issues.
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Re: First time building a Gaming PC 2.5K budget

Postposted on Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:18 am

QuickSilverD wrote:RAM --- Corsair Vengeance 16GB (4x4) --- $97


You should really try to maximize future upgrades by buying something like this instead:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233246

:wink:
Intel i5 3570K - Corsair A50 - Asus P8Z77-V - Corsair 2x4Gb - Asus 280X Direct CU2 - 2x Corsair F90 - Samsung Spinpoint F3 1Tb - Antec One Hundred - Corsair CS750M - ASUS MX239H AH-IPS - Logitech LS21 - Logitech K520 Combo - Win 8.1
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Re: First time building a Gaming PC 2.5K budget

Postposted on Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:41 am

Arclight wrote:@GPU
Good choice regarding brand. Just remember to read the EVGA terms for RMA (heard u get 5 years of warranty directly from them if you register your product after purchase). But keep in mind that's a single fan cooler and it might get a bit loud for your taste. Maybe a custom dual fan cooled version would be better. But you don't have to decide right the way. You can buy it, try it out and if you don't like it, return it and swap it with another model.
Wish one of these two would be quiter?
ASUS GTX670-DC2-2GD5 GeForce GTX 670 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
GIGABYTE GV-N670OC-2GD GeForce GTX 670 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

@Keyboard and mouse
Those chosen by you are not that good for gaming. Especially the mouse. First of all you need something wired just to get rid of lag and the annoyance and changing/ recharging batteries.
What are your recommendations?
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Re: First time building a Gaming PC 2.5K budget

Postposted on Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:02 am

QuickSilverD wrote:
Arclight wrote:@GPU
[...]
Wish one of these two would be quiter?
ASUS GTX670-DC2-2GD5 GeForce GTX 670 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card]Asus GTX 670 Direct Cu II
GIGABYTE GV-N670OC-2GD GeForce GTX 670 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card]Gigabyte GTX 670 OC

@Keyboard and mouse
Those chosen by you are not that good for gaming. Especially the mouse. First of all you need something wired just to get rid of lag and the annoyance and changing/ recharging batteries.
What are your recommendations?



Out of those 2, the Gigabyte seems to sport lower temps and be quieter
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Giga ... ce/32.html
http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/ha ... ew-18.html

Regarding mouse, take a look at Steel Series Sensei or Cybord Rat 7.
Keyboard.....mechanical would be nice but idk if that takes you too much over budget......maybe cheap out on cooler and get a CM Hyper 212+ if ur not gonna OC.
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Re: First time building a Gaming PC 2.5K budget

Postposted on Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:16 am

Welcome to TR and system building!

OEM vs. retail: personally, I would not upgrade my mobo or CPU without upgrading the entire system. I have upgraded my GPU and RAM without any OEM hiccups. Again, my preference, but I would save money now and just eat the cost of whatever new version of Windows is out when I rebuild. The only real advantage I see of getting a full retail would be if you REALLY don't like Windows 8 and all, and want to make sure that you don't have to use it. And as said before, get a Pro or Ultimate version regardless so that you can add RAM later without having to upgrade your OS later.

Liquid Cooling: nice, yes, but the benefits vs. costs I've seen are "meh" compared to a lot of good air coolers...and, of course, water cooling introduces water to your system, and springing a leak could kill everything. I don't know how often something like this happens, but the risk alone is too much for any of my friends to use it.

Networking: do you really need an Ethernet card? I know they might be "better" than what's on your motherboard, but I don't think it's entirely necessary. Little place to save some money it all. As for WiFi, that's also something you may or may not need. If you're taking this box places, yes, having it will help a lot, but if not, you might be fine with an extra long Ethernet cable at home. Again, just a place to trim some cost if you like.

Keyboard + Mouse: I like Razer and play WoW, so I use a Razer Naga, and I also have a Blackwidow (not ultimate). What games would you be playing? I use my Naga for everything, but with many choices available, you should pick one that has the features you need (more/less buttons, ergonomic, etc). You will also have a lot of keyboard choices, but I LOVE mechanical keys now (one of those "never looking back" things). Even though my keys are a little loud, the response is excellent, and my typing overall has improved.

EDIT: In general regards to your non-tower components, you can buy/change them any time. Your GPU, CPU, and even your storage is going to devalue pretty quickly (which is why you should never buy a PC piecewise), but that isn't really true with monitors and keyboards, neither of which are going to boost or hinder your framerates. If you need to take a little time to refill your coffers before you get all the monitors and input devices you want and need, you shouldn't suffer too much.
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Re: First time building a Gaming PC 2.5K budget

Postposted on Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:45 am

QuickSilverD wrote:Wifi Card --- 300Mbps Lan 802.11 n/g/b PCI card --- $20
Ethernet Card --- TP-Link NT TG-3468 32-bit Gigabit--- $13


if your gonna spend a nice chunk of change and are buying a add-in NIC, i would get an Intel card. like http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=1275962&CatId=1175
but for sake of curiosity, why are u not going to use the built in one on the board? ive never had a problem with onboard networking

same argument for wifi card...i'd get a brand name on that, not just cheapest, ur asking for problems like that
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Re: First time building a Gaming PC 2.5K budget

Postposted on Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:01 am

XorCist wrote:if your gonna spend a nice chunk of change and are buying a add-in NIC, i would get an Intel card. like http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=1275962&CatId=1175
but for sake of curiosity, why are u not going to use the built in one on the board? ive never had a problem with onboard networking
I'm going to be perfectly honest with you, I didn't notice that the motherboard had built-in network card :oops: I had originally just intended just to buy a wifi card because my router is far from my room and I didn't want to deal with placing cables, plus from here my laptob goes get a good strong signal. Were I live the air is clear from interferance and responce times (ping test) do look good.
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Re: First time building a Gaming PC 2.5K budget

Postposted on Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:08 am

QuickSilverD wrote:I'm going to be perfectly honest with you, I didn't notice that the motherboard had built-in network card :oops: I had originally just intended just to buy a wifi card because my router is far from my room and I didn't want to deal with placing cables, plus from here my laptob goes get a good strong signal. Were I live the air is clear from interferance and responce times (ping test) do look good.

:lol: Yeah, most motherboards for some time have come with at least one onbaord networking port. For wired connections, I don't think you will notice much of a difference.

WiFi might be good for you. I prefer wired connections, but I also have some really long ethernet cables.
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