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Trim the fat - Help me tweak $1000-$1200 gaming rig please

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Wow, what a great forum with lots of smart posters in here. This is my first post but don't hold that against me.

Situation: I'm building a (some would say) "budget" gaming desktop for me and my kids to enjoy multimedia, but let's be honest. This is for games. We like to play anything from Plants vs. Zombies, to Steam games like Orcs Must Die, to Rome Total War II when it comes out. But also looking to delve into Skyrim, Assassin's Creed, Fallout series and Left4Dead.

So I need a system with some Juice, but I don't need ultra, ultra everything, just good FPS in most games with no hassles for the next few years - and I have no desire to overclock at this point so everything is just to run at stock speeds.

I have a shopping list with a budget around $1000-$1200, but I wonder if you might critique a few key areas:
1. Making sure everything is compatible and runs fine
2. Making sure the components are quality in your mind
3. Making sure I'm not overspending in any area if there might be a comparable bargain or if I'm overdoing it.

I can't figure out how to post links here but I'll list the part , rationale , and price.

Case: Fractal Design Define R4 white...I like the idea of noise dampening case and I want a door to keep small fingers out of my case. After a supremely loud Alienware rig that my spouse wanted to shoot, I need something like this. I just need confirmation that the GPU will fit in here... ($89 at Newegg)

CPU/Mobo: Intel I5 3570K ivy bridge & Asus P8Z77-V LK LGA 1155 Combo...I want to build an Intel rig and the price for the pair seems to be a good deal... ($304 at Newegg)

RAM: CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600...I read elsewhere that low profile was recommended as to not interfere with aftermarket cooling, but I thought to save $20 and go with the regular heatsinks... ($57 at Newegg)

HDD: Western Digital WD Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5"... I've seen some threads in here that the WD Blue was a good choice and cheaper, I'm not entirely clear on the difference between the two... ($89 at Newegg)

SSD: Samsung 840 Series 2.5 inch 120GB SATA III internal Solid State Drive (SSD) MZ-7TD120BW...I had to get some sort of SSD and this baby is... ($90 at Amazon)

Optical: Asus Model DRW 24B1ST... seen this one recommended elsewhere...($24 at Newegg)

PSU: SeaSonic G Series 550-Watt ATX12V/EPS12V 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular... Ok here is one of my question marks. I want modular for cable management, so is 550W going to be enough to run this thing? Also I can spend 8 more bucks and get a SeaSonic M12II 750 SS-750AM 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Semi-modular Power Supply. Is there such thing as too much power? And what is semi-modular? And Gold vs. Bronze? What's up with that? geez so many questions I'm too lazy to research myself smile.gif...($80 at Newegg w/rebate)

GPU: EVGA EVGA GeForce GTX760 SuperClocked w/EVGA ACX Cooler 2GB GDDR5 256bit, Dual-Link DVI-I, DVI-D, HDMI,...Ok, another area of guidance needed. I was originally going with a EVGA 02G-P4-3658-KR GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST SuperClocked 2GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 SLI Support Video Card $154 w/rebate, but I wonder if spending the extra $100 for a GTX760 card is a good investment. Also, all the cards are about $250. Any preferences? ($250 at Newegg)

Monitor: ASUS VS Series VS238H-P Black 23" 2ms HDMI LED Backlight Widescreen LCD Monitor 250 cd/m2 50,000,000:1... no comment other than its...($150 at Newegg)

Speakers: Logitech LS21 Speakers... don't need super fancy, but don't want crap too. These looked like a marriage of the two... ($27 at Amazon)

Keyboard: Need a keyboard. Maybe around $25. Any suggestions?

I have Windows 7 Pro and mouse. This puts me at approx. $1160. My planned budget was $1000 so I'm over a bit, but not catastrophically.

Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks
post #2 of 8
Keyboard, for around that price possible, Microsoft sidewinder x4
Everything else, looks good. thumb.gif
Ex Machin
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
intel i7 3770k Intel Desktop Board DZ77GA-70K MSI R9 380 4GB G.Skills ripjaws 8gb 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
2x Velociraptor 500mb raid 0 Lg blu ray 12x Zalman CNPS9500 at 2 ball cpu Windows 8 64 bits 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Lg 23EA63V-P IPS cInema Microsoft SideWinder X4 EVGA SuperNova 650 80 gold modular CM Storm Enforcer 
MouseAudio
Razer DeathAdder 2013 Creative SB Recon3D 
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Ex Machin
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
intel i7 3770k Intel Desktop Board DZ77GA-70K MSI R9 380 4GB G.Skills ripjaws 8gb 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
2x Velociraptor 500mb raid 0 Lg blu ray 12x Zalman CNPS9500 at 2 ball cpu Windows 8 64 bits 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Lg 23EA63V-P IPS cInema Microsoft SideWinder X4 EVGA SuperNova 650 80 gold modular CM Storm Enforcer 
MouseAudio
Razer DeathAdder 2013 Creative SB Recon3D 
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post #3 of 8
Everything looks well-balanced. I can't recommend any keyboards under $50 because I like mechanical too much.
That PSU is enough for your system with overclocking. 750w would give you the ability to use SLI in the future but is otherwise unnecessary.
Semi-modular means that the essentials (24-pin, cpu power, the occasional 6-pin PCIe) are not modular, but everything else is. Gold vs Broze doesn't matter as much as overall PSU quality, which Seasonic is very high-quality.
Your GPU choice is good and although I can't comment on the ACX cooler people seem to be going nuts over it.
Also I've used the Samsung 840 non-pro and it is noticeably slower than my Crucial M4.
RPI Compy
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Sister's rig
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Family HTPC
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5820k MSI X99S MPOWER GTX 980 Ti 8x4gb 3000 MHz Crucial DDR4 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Samsung 950 Pro Custom WC loop 480mm & 560mm Windows 10 ROG SWIFT 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
CM Quickfire TK Greens Corsair RM1000w Custom 3d-printed case Steelseries Rival 
Mouse PadAudio
CSGO Steelseries Creative Aurvana Live! 2 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Amd FX 8320 Asus sabertooth 990FX Nvidia GTX 760 4GB g.skill ares 12GB 
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Samsung 850 EVO 250GB HP thingy Phanteks TC12DX Windows 7 
PowerCaseMouse
Raidmax 530w White FD R4 Logitech G400 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD A10 5800k Asrock pro-4 m His 6770 1GB G.skill 2133 8GB 
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Samsung 840 ssd 128 GB Lg blu-ray combo drive Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO Windows 7 
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Raidmax 530w Silverstone Temjin 
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RPI Compy
(14 items)
 
Sister's rig
(11 items)
 
Family HTPC
(10 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
5820k MSI X99S MPOWER GTX 980 Ti 8x4gb 3000 MHz Crucial DDR4 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Samsung 950 Pro Custom WC loop 480mm & 560mm Windows 10 ROG SWIFT 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
CM Quickfire TK Greens Corsair RM1000w Custom 3d-printed case Steelseries Rival 
Mouse PadAudio
CSGO Steelseries Creative Aurvana Live! 2 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Amd FX 8320 Asus sabertooth 990FX Nvidia GTX 760 4GB g.skill ares 12GB 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Samsung 850 EVO 250GB HP thingy Phanteks TC12DX Windows 7 
PowerCaseMouse
Raidmax 530w White FD R4 Logitech G400 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD A10 5800k Asrock pro-4 m His 6770 1GB G.skill 2133 8GB 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Samsung 840 ssd 128 GB Lg blu-ray combo drive Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO Windows 7 
PowerCase
Raidmax 530w Silverstone Temjin 
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post #4 of 8
Few tweaks in these areas:

Ram: Even though $57 dollars is a good price, for a little more you can get 2133MHz memory. Much better value in the end. G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 2133 is on sale for $59.50 @ Newegg.com right now. The benefits of faster memory are there, and even for gaming too. Considering the price differences between memory frequencies now are very similar, always go with the higher frequency kits because of the difference in price being so minimal.

HDD: The WD Blue Drives are actually faster now than the Blacks, and are quite a bit cheaper too. You can get a WD Blue 1 TB @ Amazon.com for $62.99

SSD: Samsung makes great SSD's, this is a well known fact. However, although they are good there are other drives that perform equally as good or better for the same money. In this case, I will suggest the 120GB Sandisk Extreme SSD. That sells for $99.99 @ Amazon.com with free shipping. The Sandisk Extreme is as fast as the Samsung 840 Pro, but sells for the price of the standard 840.

A few suggestions:

If you are overclocking you are going to need an aftermarket CPU cooler. For that I suggest the Cooler Master Hyper TX3 @ Newegg for $16.99. It's good enough to do a quick 4.2-4.4GHz overclock that should take really no effort at all. Especially if you read some of the guides on here.

Another thing that combo for $300 may seem like a good deal, but I could get you a better combo for less (and all it takes is living near a Microcenter, or a Frys which will match Microcenter's prices):

Intel Core i5 3570K - $189.99 @ Microcenter

ASRock Z77 Extreme4 - $94.99 @ Microcenter

Total: $284.98

I think ASRock's UEFI is very user friendly, especially for overclocking. This board will be more than good enough for a 4.2-4.5GHz overclock, plus it packs a ton of features for the money.

(Add items to cart, then look at cart. that's the total price when doing CPU + Motherboard Combo @ Microcenter's website [but in store pick up only])

To answer some of your questions:

Your PSU is more than large enough, I would leave it alone. If you plan to go SLI or Crossfire, at most bump up to a 650W G Series.

The EVGA SC 760 is a pretty decent card for the money, but I would prefer a SAPPHIRE Vapor-X Radeon HD 7950 for the same price, $259.99 @ Newegg.com right now. The reason I say this is because after overclocked, which really doesn't take much effort, it will out perform the 760 by a pretty decent amount. Plus, if you decide to get into Skyrim, you will also get into modding Skyrim. Having the 3GB of VRAM will be beneficial later on. Lastly, it comes with three games that you get to choose. thumb.gif

Good Luck!
Edited by BiG StroOnZ - 8/17/13 at 1:03pm
post #5 of 8
Well first of all, you should go with Socket 1150, not 1155. No reason to go with old socket leaving the marketplace when it's replacement is here already.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157384
+
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116899
= $340

2nd, for ram you may want to go 2x8GB = 16GB because this way you have the largest modules and an upgrade to max 32GB would only require to add ram, not replace. However, if you think you'll never run virtual machines or more than 1 program at a time, you may be able to get by with 2x4GB for a couple years. I would go the upgrade from 8GB to 16GB before I would go 1600MHz to 2100MHz, but that's just me and I like to run at least 1 VM most of the time.

SSD - Samsung 840 EVO... Read speed of the Pro model, write speed of the non-Pro model. SanDisk Extreme not a bad choice either but I don't think it quite matches up to the Sammy's speed.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147247
Here's the Sandisk Extrem II http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820171751 It has much better write speed than the EVO, but it's random read is a little bit less, and random read score weighs the heaviest of anything by far.... and it's $20 more than EVO so go EVO IMO

HDD - Blue and black are the same thing but Black has 5 year warranty and Blue has 2. Blue used to be 3 year but so many ppl bought blues and no one was buying blacks that they reduced the blues warranty from 3 year to 2 year, but they are still as good and better value than blacks unless you're a worry wart who drive yourself sick with worry over not having an extended warranty.

PSU - I'd reccomend the Corsair HX650 or 750.... 750 right now because it's actually $5 less after rebate than the 650
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139010
a 550w PSU is going to be right at the limit with 1 GPU, and you should leave yourself a little wiggle room for future upgrades, so I'd go 650w min, although you may be just fine with 550w. There is no such thing as too much power, however PSU's are most efficient aroudn ~80% of their rated load capacity. Gold versus bronze is a rating of efficiency, if you live in cali or hawaii where power costs are outrageous the gold may be worth it to you, if you live in omaha nebraska, probably not

GPU - AMD is supposed to release a new series of cards in about a month, and that should change the market drastically, affecting nvidias prices as well, so may want to wait until then to buy a GPU. That doesn't mean you can't start buying other parts and assembling the machine using integrated graphics

Monitor - I gotta reccomend the Qnix QX2710 in matte on Ebay for $270. It just doesn't make much sense to go 1080p when 1440p is available at such a close price. Better to lose the SSD completely and upgrade your montitor to this if that makes the difference in price. http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-QNIX-QX2710-LED-Evolution-27-2560x1440-WQHD-PLS-Computer-Monitor-Matte-/121117252582?pt=Computer_Monitors&hash=item1c33269be6

Keyboard - $11 walmart special for the kids to spill things / get sick on

Speakers - good choice, not too expensive, not too many for wires to get tangles everywhere, and has a sub box for some bass. plus speakers alays tear and go ratty sounding after a couple years anyway so don't want to spend a ton
Edited by WOD35 - 8/17/13 at 2:47pm
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Wow! Thanks for all the feedback guys. I have to say that this forum rocks!

LatinLover- Thanks for the pick. I think I'll hold off and look at a mechanical board down the road. I have an old Saitek PC Gamers keyboard that will work in the interrim.

Legonut- appreciate the PSU tutorial.

BiG StroOnZ - I'll consider the G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 2133. Do you think those heatsinks on the ram will interfere in any way with that CPU cooler you recommended?

Also, I think I'll switch to the WD Blue if its all the same. 2 years warranty is good enough for $62 HDD.

I don't have Microcenter in my state, which is why I liked that bundle of CPU/MOBO.

Do you think that SAPPHIRE Vapor-X Radeon HD 7950 you recommended on Newegg.com is comparable with this card from Tigerdirect: XFX Radeon HD 7950 Double D Video Card - 3072MB, GDDR5, PCI Express 3.0 (x16), 2x DVI, 1x HDMI, 2x Mini DisplayPort, DirectX 11, Dual-Slot, Eyefinity, CrossFireX Ready, Includes 4 Games (FX-795A-TDFC) ? The XFX is $214 and comes with 4 games...


WOD35- Thanks, I think I'll go for that Corsair 750 HX PSU. Looks like a great deal. I will have to think on the 1150/Haswell idea. You make perfect sense, and I've not considered it.

I'll think about the SSDs (anything is faster than what I came from- so I'm sure any of the SSDs recommended will seem explosive to me)

Not sure about the monitor idea. I've never heard of that brand and I hear a lot of negativity about purchasing components on Ebay - even though I've certainly purchased my fair share of stuff from there. I'll need to recheck the budget and see where I fall.

Thank you all, you've given me a lot to consider.
post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by brettitonius View Post

Not sure about the monitor idea. I've never heard of that brand and I hear a lot of negativity about purchasing components on Ebay .

Most everyone here seems to be extremely pleased with theirs. You must not have been lurking here much not to have heard of them.
http://www.overclock.net/t/1384767/official-the-korean-pls-monitor-club-qnix-x-star

That's my next upgrade after I figure out where I can get 48GB of RAM for under $300.
post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by brettitonius View Post

Wow! Thanks for all the feedback guys. I have to say that this forum rocks!

BiG StroOnZ - I'll consider the G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 2133. Do you think those heatsinks on the ram will interfere in any way with that CPU cooler you recommended?

Also, I think I'll switch to the WD Blue if its all the same. 2 years warranty is good enough for $62 HDD.

I don't have Microcenter in my state, which is why I liked that bundle of CPU/MOBO.

Do you think that SAPPHIRE Vapor-X Radeon HD 7950 you recommended on Newegg.com is comparable with this card from Tigerdirect: XFX Radeon HD 7950 Double D Video Card - 3072MB, GDDR5, PCI Express 3.0 (x16), 2x DVI, 1x HDMI, 2x Mini DisplayPort, DirectX 11, Dual-Slot, Eyefinity, CrossFireX Ready, Includes 4 Games (FX-795A-TDFC) ? The XFX is $214 and comes with 4 games...

Not with the Hyper TX3, shouldn't be any clearance issues. Going with the Blue is a great choice. However, as far as combos go, Newegg also has this combo too: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.1414256 Will help you step up Haswell, and comes with a solid motherboard. If it's out of your reach, then your original combo will be fine.

The Sapphire Radeon 7950 will come with three games of your liking, and I would stay far away from any XFX GPU. thumb.gif
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