I have been thinking for a while now about how much you have to spend to get a Gaming-PC that is JUST RIGHT for today's standards. I tried to find what criteria I would use to choose each of my parts and decided that they would be the following...
- A lot of room for upgrades
- Super fast quad-core CPU
- Z68 chipset motherboard
- At least 4GB of DDR3/1600 RAM
- A GPU that can max out games @ 1080p
- SATA III SSD
- At least 1TB of HDD
- Blu-Ray burner
- High quality PSU
- Beautiful case
- Premium air cooler
So in the end I decided on this...
CPU | Intel Core i5-2500K ~$225
This is THE CPU to get for all the gamers out there. I mean it makes a fool out of its i7 competitor, excluding extreme CPU intensive tasks which really takes advantage of HT. Otherwise this beast will be able to handle any game you throw at it, not to mention any GPU setup. To boot, the 2500K's usually get a nice OC of around 4.8GHz 24/7, and that is on air! Before SB, we were used to seeing those kind of OC's using high end water cooling or unconventional methods of cooling. Even then, it wouldn't be all that stable... So when looking for the CPU for this build, there was no other choice in my eyes.
Motherboard | Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3-B3 ~$145
At around $145, this board is quite a steal. It gives users all of the features provided by Z68, besides the iGPU (but what gamer really needs that anyway) along with 2x GPU slots which both run @ x8 when in SLI/CFX. This makes for a fairly conventional board with all of the features that we really need and leaves plenty of room for future upgrades!
RAM | Corsair Vengeance 4GB DDR3/1600 ~$45
RAM is probably one of the easier components to decide on for any gaming PC. 4GB, DDR3/1600, cheap, fast. I remember when I got my set, it cost me a good $100, but nowadays RAM is as cheap as anything. I only chose 4GB because that is really all that is needed for games these days. By the way, the other popular choice today is the G.Skill Ripjaws X variant, however I chose this Corsair set because it came in at $5 less. Also by getting the 1x 4GB module, it means that you can have a total of 16GB.
GPU | MSI Twin Frozr II OC Radeon HD 6950 2GB ~$290
Really, the 6950 and the GTX 570 are all the GPU power you need to max out games these days @ 1080p. However, I much prefer the 6950 2GB because it has better output options, better OC potential, can potentially unlock to 6970, less power, less heat, better bang for the buck. Also, the fact that it is cooled my the MSI Twin Frozr means that we should be getting cooler temps and should also hopefully produce a higher OC. To put the icing on the cake, our motherboard support CFX, which means that if you are lacking the GPU power or if you need to power a couple monitors, you can always add in a second!
SSD | Intel 510 120GB ~$280
For me, there is no reason not to put an SSD in this system. People say that adding an SSD to their system is the best decision that they have ever made and I would have to say that I agree! After getting my G.Skill Phoenix Pro 60GB, I was pleasantly surprised with the overall responsiveness of my system. With the extra bandwidth that SATA III provides, there is no reason not to take advantage of it with our SSD, which increases its speed even more! The Intel SSD have been know to have some of the best random access times making them the ideal solution for an OS drive. Also, I decided on the 120GB version so then you all will have enough space to hold large applications and games as well as your OS.
HDD | Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB ~$65
Gamers and all users alike really like to have at least 1TB of hard drive space. I don't really know why because I hardly take up any . Although this drive really stuck out for me because at $65 it is a steal and also many have told me that this drive even beats out the WD Caviar Black in raw speed. With such positives it was an easy choice. Also if you want some more speed or security you have quite a bit of options. Some that I would recommend would include... 1) Add another for RAID 0. 2) Add another for RAID 1. 3) Add 2 more for RAID 5.
Optical Drive | LG WH12LS30 ~$95
Yet another one of today's expectations for a high end gaming PC is either a blu-ray burner or player. I thought that if you are going to go blu-ray, why not go all the way and get the burner? After looking around for a while, I thought that this LG model, while not the fastest of them all, definitely has some real good bang for the buck!
PSU | Antec High Current Gamer 750W ~$115
As many of this things reviews say, it is a beast of a unit. I think even our local PSU guru could agree with me on that one . Also 750W should be more than enough to handle our current setup, not to mention if we were to OC our CPU, add another 12GB of RAM, OC and add another 6950 2GB and even add in 2 more HDD's. Again, this thing is a beast and for a high end gaming-PC, what is the need for anything any more expensive?
Case | Cooler Master 690 II Advanced ~$90
I have the non-advanced variant of this case and am loving it. However, the advanced variant gives us gamers all the things we love! An SSD drive bay, tool-less design system, water cooling support and can make any build look sexy! This really is the standard of all other gaming cases out today and gives users all those great features at $90, a price that we can afford!
CPU Cooler |
This beastly CPU cooler is probably the best cooler available on the market. Its only real competitor is the NH-D14, however the Silver Arrow is slightly cooler and slightly more silent depending on what benchmarks you look at. Also, I personally feel as though it is the better looking of the 2.
Total | ~$1430
Let me know if any of you are influenced by this build