First time building a gaming PC: $1000-$1200 budget

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First time building a gaming PC: $1000-$1200 budget

Postposted on Mon Jun 11, 2012 5:09 pm

Hello all. I'm looking to build my first gaming computer and I'm trying to spend around $1000, but I can go as far as $1200. I'm looking to play games like Battlefield 3 and Skyrim on high/max settings I guess, but I don't really know anything about building computers. I'm not partial to any one store, but Amazon seems to have most of the parts cheaper than Newegg. I also live near a Microcenter and I might be able to get some deals from my coworker's husband who works there. Anyway, here's what I've come up with so far.

Intel Core i5 2500K LGA 1155 Boxed Processor
$169.99 http://www.microcenter.com/single_produ ... id=0354589

EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti FPB 1024 MB GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 2DVI/Mini-HDMI SLI Ready
$209.99 after rebate http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss? ... TX+560+Ti+

Corsair Vengeance 8 GB ( 2 x 4 GB ) DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) 240-Pin DDR3 Memory Kit for Intel Core i3, i5, i7 and AMD Platforms SDRAM CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9
$49.99 http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Vengeance ... 662&sr=8-1

Crucial 128 GB m4 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive SATA 6Gb/s
$124.99 http://www.amazon.com/Crucial-2-5-Inch- ... 631&sr=8-1

ASUS P8Z68-V LX Intel Motherboard LGA 1155 Z68 SATA 6 Gb/s and USB 3.0 ATX Intel Z68 ATX DDR3 2200
$126.99 http://www.amazon.com/ASUS-P8Z68-V-LX-I ... 592&sr=8-1

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6822152185
$79.99

ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM Model #:DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS
$16.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6827135204

Cooler Master HAF 912 Mid Tower ATX Case (RC-912-KKN1)
$59.99 http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Tow ... W8MIENLWAG

OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W Modular High Performance Power Supply compatible with Intel Sandybridge Core i3 i5 i7 and AMD Phenom
$42 after Rebate http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817341017

Samsung PX2370 23-Inch Widescreen LCD Monitor with LED Backlight
$195.00 http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-PX2370-23 ... W8MIENLWAG

Like I said, I don't really know anything or if these parts will even go together, so I'll appreciate any input and suggestions. With this list, I'm trying to reduce the cost, so if you see anything that looks excessive or to powerful or whatever, please suggest a cheaper alternative that doesn't sacrifice too much performance. I'll also need a mouse, keyboard, and maybe a headset, so I'll welcome suggestions for those as well.

Thanks
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Re: First time building a gaming PC: $1000-$1200 budget

Postposted on Mon Jun 11, 2012 5:47 pm

I'd suggest looking over TR 's Memorial Day System Guide for starters.
Some people may suggest going to an IvyBridge 3570K instead of your linked SandyBridge 2500K.
The Sweet Spot is right in your price range.
http://techreport.com/articles.x/22972
I'd consider going with the PSU in the Sweet Spot over the OCZ you linked. While I dont have any personal experience with them , I've read enough stories to stay away from their products.The Coolermaster case you linked might need to be blasted out with compressed air every 2-3 months. I have 2 of their 922 HAF's and they build up alot of dust bunnies in the front fan intakes.
Welcome to Tech Report ! And soon enough JAE will see your thread and give you a good list of components to choose from, he's been pretty much picking my components for the last 5 years or so and is on point for a person's price point
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Re: First time building a gaming PC: $1000-$1200 budget

Postposted on Mon Jun 11, 2012 6:06 pm

First off, welcome!

As rogue pointed out, the current System Guide is always a good place to start. They not only roll parts together, but they explain why each part is chosen, so you can figure out where you want more or less power. Also, I assume you have a copy of Windows available that is not included in your budget?

If you're looking to cut costs, an easy one is the SSD. Yes, they are nice for performance, but hard drives still work just fine, and if you want an easy way to reduce the cost of your build, there you go. The only performance that should change is for Skyrim (assuming all your data gets on the SSD), and even then, it will only be in load times.

You say you don't really have experience building? I had some when I got my rig, but I still got mine from CyberPower. Prices were at a sweet spot so that I was willing to pay the extra to have it built and cleaned up for me (only about $50 at the time). Your gap will probably be more, but I thought they did very well for me and was happy with the results.

For peripherals, I recommend a mechanical keyboard. I use a BlackWidow, which is a little loud getting used to, but the response is much better than any other keyboard I have used. There are plenty of other choices depending on your tastes. I have also had good experience with the DeathAdder for mice, and I know it might not be use, but I also love my Naga since I play WoW. Worth looking into if nothing else.

Good luck!
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Re: First time building a gaming PC: $1000-$1200 budget

Postposted on Mon Jun 11, 2012 6:25 pm

Hello there. I think I'm new (not sure) but I want to throw in two cents.

In general, your build looks like it is going in the right direction to play BF3 on high/ultra on the screen you picked.

However, my understanding is that the multiplayer aspect of BF3 is hard on the CPU so you will surely want to OC that

unlocked 2500K. While you are getting a free HSF with ur boxed proc it won't be enough to push it very far at all.

Quality aftermarket heatsinks and fans can be quite large and depending on the mobo layout and the height of the

heatspreaders on your ram you may have fit problems. I don't know the best cooler to suggest but might I recommend

looking for ram w/o tall heatspreaders. As far as I know the SB mem. controller only supports DDR3 1333 anyway and you

wont be altering the base clock for your oc but the multiplier. Maybe you could find smaller, slower, cheaper, decent ram

with the same capacity and better timings?

And if it can play BF3 maxed it can do the same for Skyrim. Don't forget the patches, enhanced texture mods and tweaks

to really make it awesome. Hope this helps.
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Re: First time building a gaming PC: $1000-$1200 budget

Postposted on Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:15 pm

Welcome to the Tech Report!

Your list looks pretty good, but I might suggest a few alternatives.
In another thread, I wrote: If you happened to make it to a Micro Center, you might pick up something like this:
$60 +tax ASRock Z77 Pro4-M micro-ATX motherboard
or $115 +tax Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H ATX motherboard
or $90 +tax ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX motherboard
$190 +tax Intel Core i5-3570K processor w/ HSF
optional $37 Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo cooler
optional $150 -30 code "EMCYTZT1740" 128 GB Samsung 830 SSD
$15 DVD-RW
or $65 BD-ROM / DVD-RW

That's an unbeatable deal on the processor and motherboard. Newegg charges $403 for the same processor and motherboard that Micro Center sells for $250+tax. I selected that particular motherboard because there's a $50 discount for buying it with a Core i5-3570K processor at Micro Center.

For your graphics card, I would suggest that you consider a Radeon HD7850 2GB for $250 vs. the GeForce GTX560Ti 1GB for $235 that you selected (it's cheaper at Newegg, anyway). Radeon HD7850 is faster in games and uses less power than GeForce GTX560Ti:
http://techreport.com/articles.x/22573/12
If you really want to get an NVidia card, GeForce GTX570 for about $280 provides comparable or slightly better performance than a stock-clocked Radeon HD7850, but it uses even more power than GeForce GTX560Ti.

I am not a fan of TN LCD monitors. I'd suggest an e-IPS LCD monitor for consistent image brightness and color at different viewing angles. A refurbished Dell UltraSharp U2312HM goes for $189 +tax, for example.

Your list doesn't include an operating system. You'll need to spend $80-$100 on Windows 7 64-bit (unless you plan on running the Windows 8 beta until you can purchase its public release).

For an inexpensive mouse and keyboard, I suggest a Microsoft or Logitech kit with a 5-button mouse.
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Re: First time building a gaming PC: $1000-$1200 budget

Postposted on Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:58 pm

Thanks for the input guys. I'm not terribly attached to any of the parts I listed so thanks for the suggestions. I'm thinking about getting the swapping the SSD I listed for the OCZ Agility 3 60GB in the Sweet Spot, as well as the Seasonic M12II 520W instead of the power supply I listed per your suggestions.

As far as the motherboards that JustAnEngineer listed, what should I look for to help me make my choice? I'm temped to pick the less expensive one to offset the more expensive processor and graphics card you suggested. Will that Radeon be compatible with the rest of the parts I listed?

And yes, I was planning on Windows 7, I just didn't include that in my budget. Is the "64-bit" the version I should get?

Thanks again for all your input guys!
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Re: First time building a gaming PC: $1000-$1200 budget

Postposted on Mon Jun 11, 2012 10:05 pm

Mantorok wrote:Will that Radeon be compatible with the rest of the parts I listed?

Yes. Unless you're planning on running SLi or Crossfire, video cards are pretty motherboard-agnostic. Really, the only thing that you need to focus on compatibility with is between your motherboard and your processor.

And yes, I was planning on Windows 7, I just didn't include that in my budget. Is the "64-bit" the version I should get?

Yes. With 32-bit, your total memory limit (system and video card) is 4GB. 64-bit has a limit, but that's nowhere near what you'll be putting in your system.

Quick note about the motherboards JAE listed. The cheapest one is micro-ATX, which is smaller and will have fewer ports on it than a full sized ATX board. Having a lot of space is nice if you're going to use it, but going with a smaller board can mean a smaller case, which would mean a smaller footprint for your machine. Could be very nice if you're moving it around, as well as taking up less space in general
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Re: First time building a gaming PC: $1000-$1200 budget

Postposted on Mon Jun 11, 2012 10:20 pm

Windows 32-bit supports up to 4 GiB of memory minus whatever memory is included on your graphics card (so 4-2 = 2 GiB of system memory is available if you get the Radeon HD7850 2GB and use 32-bit Windows). See the epic Dude, where's my 4GB? thread for extensive discussion of the limitations of 32-bit Windows.

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit supports up to 16 GiB of system memory and the graphics card memory doesn't count against the total.

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit or Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit supports up to 192 GiB of memory.

With enthusiast LGA1155 motherboards having 4 DIMM slots and 8 GiB DIMMs of DDR3 being reasonably priced, you could install up to 4x8 = 32 GiB of memory on most enthusiast LGA1155 motherboards. 8 GiB of memory is plenty for current games so 2x4 GiB isn't a bad start. 1.35 V or 1.5 V DIMMs will work fine.

Micro-ATX motherboards typically have four slots. If your graphics card rides in the first PCIe slot and its cooler hangs over the second one, that leaves two slots available for other cards like TV tuners or sound cards.
ATX motherboards typically have six slots. These usually aren't useful PCIe slots in mid-range ATX motherboards, but they instead give you two more legacy PCI slots. :roll:

If you're looking for a reasonably-priced and very compact Micro-ATX case, the Antec NSK3480 gets my vote. Note that assembling a PC in a small case takes a bit more patience than building a system in a larger case.
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Re: First time building a gaming PC: $1000-$1200 budget

Postposted on Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:57 am

Hi again.

If you do switch to the smaller cheaper 60GB SSD please don't use it for a boot drive(too little space).

I know on the Z68 mobo you first considered you can use a smaller SSD for caching your most frequently
used programs(BF3, Skyrim) so while you won't boot any faster your games still should. How many people
reboot their system often anyway when awesome power saving features are available that use almost no
power and let you get back to where you were almost instantly? I haven't read any Z77 reviews deeply enough
to know if they support this feature like Z68, but if it does then great. Hope this helps.
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Re: First time building a gaming PC: $1000-$1200 budget

Postposted on Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:46 am

If you intend to OC your CPU, then there's no way around an aftermarked CPU cooler. A cheap, well-performing & very popular one is the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo. If you're willing to spend an extra cash, then perhaps Scythe Mugen 3.

The Cooler Master HAF 912 only has 16 mm of space behind the mainboard tray. That might not be enough for beginners. Check out the NZXT Source 210 (both Elite and non-Elite) which has 20 mm space. Those extra 4 mm can help tremendously on cable routing!

http://www.nzxt.com/new/products/classi ... _210_elite

Otherwise, the system looks very good :)
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Re: First time building a gaming PC: $1000-$1200 budget

Postposted on Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:04 pm

Mantorok wrote:Thanks for the input guys. I'm not terribly attached to any of the parts I listed so thanks for the suggestions. I'm thinking about getting the swapping the SSD I listed for the OCZ Agility 3 60GB in the Sweet Spot, as well as the Seasonic M12II 520W instead of the power supply I listed per your suggestions.

As far as the motherboards that JustAnEngineer listed, what should I look for to help me make my choice? I'm temped to pick the less expensive one to offset the more expensive processor and graphics card you suggested. Will that Radeon be compatible with the rest of the parts I listed?

And yes, I was planning on Windows 7, I just didn't include that in my budget. Is the "64-bit" the version I should get?

Thanks again for all your input guys!


The cheapest mobo is $50 off with the 3570K at Microcenter. I'd second JAE 's suggestion on that combo by walking into Microcenter.64 bit Windows is a no brainer, by all means get that version.The SSD listed in the Sweet Spot , I'd have reservations about, again it's an OCZ product and 60GB seems a bit small for a boot drive. I have a Crucial M4 and Samsung 830, both 128GB versions and they both have around 50Gb on them. I tend to run minimal programs on my systems and I'd be nervous with a 60 GB SSD. I can recommend either the Crucial or Samsung I listed above, they may be more but I think it's worth the money.
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Re: First time building a gaming PC: $1000-$1200 budget

Postposted on Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:34 pm

Ok, I've looked over everything and came up with a revised list. I went ahead and bought a dell monitor, so that won't be on the list. I'll probably pick up a mouse + keyboard when I go to microcenter on Friday or Saturday. A few people mentioned overclocking - I don't have any plans either way, but my room can get pretty hot during the day so I may just buy that Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo.


Core i5 3570K 3.4GHz LGA 1155 Processor
$189.99 http://www.microcenter.com/single_produ ... id=0388577

Z77 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Z77 ATX Intel Motherboard
$139.99 http://www.microcenter.com/single_produ ... id=0387554

Crucial 128 GB m4 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive SATA 6Gb/s
$124.99 http://www.amazon.com/Crucial-2-5-Inch- ... 631&sr=8-1

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
$79.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6822152185

Corsair Vengeance 8 GB ( 2 x 4 GB ) DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) 240-Pin DDR3 Memory Kit for Intel Core i3, i5, i7 and AMD Platforms SDRAM CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9
$49.99 http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Vengeance ... 662&sr=8-1

ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM Model #:DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS
$16.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6827135204

SeaSonic M12II 520 Bronze 520W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS 12V v2.91 SLI Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
$59.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... -_-NA-_-NA

PowerColor AX7850 2GBD5-DH Radeon HD 7850 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
$239.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814131473

Classic Series Source 210 Mid Tower ATX Computer Case
$27.99 after rebate savings http://www.microcenter.com/single_produ ... id=0378074

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit – OEM
$99.99 anywhere

Thanks again guys
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Re: First time building a gaming PC: $1000-$1200 budget

Postposted on Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:07 pm

Mantorok wrote:Ok, I've looked over everything and came up with a revised list. I went ahead and bought a dell monitor, so that won't be on the list. I'll probably pick up a mouse + keyboard when I go to microcenter on Friday or Saturday. A few people mentioned overclocking - I don't have any plans either way, but my room can get pretty hot during the day so I may just buy that Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo.


Core i5 3570K 3.4GHz LGA 1155 Processor
$189.99 http://www.microcenter.com/single_produ ... id=0388577

Z77 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Z77 ATX Intel Motherboard
$139.99 http://www.microcenter.com/single_produ ... id=0387554

Crucial 128 GB m4 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive SATA 6Gb/s
$124.99 http://www.amazon.com/Crucial-2-5-Inch- ... 631&sr=8-1

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
$79.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6822152185

Corsair Vengeance 8 GB ( 2 x 4 GB ) DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) 240-Pin DDR3 Memory Kit for Intel Core i3, i5, i7 and AMD Platforms SDRAM CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9
$49.99 http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Vengeance ... 662&sr=8-1

ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM Model #:DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS
$16.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6827135204

SeaSonic M12II 520 Bronze 520W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS 12V v2.91 SLI Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
$59.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... -_-NA-_-NA

PowerColor AX7850 2GBD5-DH Radeon HD 7850 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
$239.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814131473

Classic Series Source 210 Mid Tower ATX Computer Case
$27.99 after rebate savings http://www.microcenter.com/single_produ ... id=0378074

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit – OEM
$99.99 anywhere

Thanks again guys


You should enjoy it thoroughly.If you have an extra 40 bucks pick up the Coolermaster 212 Evo.
I have 2 of it's predecessor and one Evo and wouldnt consider a stock cooler again with these on the market.
BTW, I wish I lived close to a Microcenter , just for their great deals on cpu/mobos.Every time I'm building a new system I consider catching a flight to Atlanta just to shop at one.
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Re: First time building a gaming PC: $1000-$1200 budget

Postposted on Wed Jun 13, 2012 6:19 am

Here's a good SSD deal:
viewtopic.php?f=34&t=82118
i7-4770K, H70, Gryphon Z87, 16 GiB, R9-290, SSD, 2 HD, Blu-ray, SB ZX, TJ08-E, SS-660XP², 3007WFP+2001FP, RK-9000BR, MX518
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