Building first gaming pc, thoughts?

By patriots190
Jun 4, 2013
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  1. Hi all,

    I've been thinking about building a gaming pc for the first time, and was hoping to get some thoughts on this build. I'll be on a budget of up to roughly $1300, on a 1080p TV for a display, and was considering the following:
    (PCPartPicker list)

    CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($199.99 @ Microcenter)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.99 @ Newegg)
    Motherboard: MSI Z87-GD65 Gaming ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($189.99 @ Newegg)
    Memory: Crucial Ballistix 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($75.99 @ NCIX US)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($65.99 @ NCIX US)
    Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 770 2GB Video Card ($405.91 @ Newegg)
    Case: Rosewill THOR V2 ATX Full Tower Case ($108.34 @ Amazon)
    Power Supply: SeaSonic M12II 650W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($95.98 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($14.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.94 @ Outlet PC)
    Total: $1277.10

    I probably won't be purchasing much of it for a month or two, so I realize things may change, but I thought I'd try to get as much figured out now as I can. The biggest questions I have are about the CPU, motherboard, RAM, and HDD:

    Is it worth the extra cost to get an i5-4670K over the i5-3570K? The reviews I've seen haven't shown much (if any) gaming improvement. I may be overclocking later on if that affects the choice. There is a newegg combo on the CPU and motherboard now that nullifies most of the extra cost, part of why I was considering it.

    Not sure what is important to look for in motherboards in general, though this MSI board reviews well, from what I've seen.

    Aside from 1333/1600/whatever else for speed, I'm not sure what to look for in RAM, either. Same problem with HDDs, I'm just not sure what's important aside from space. (1TB is about all I'll need for that, at least for a while). Same problem (again) for PSUs.

    The biggest sources I've been using are the PC buying guide here, and http://www.logicalincrements.com/, along with random reviews of specific parts.

    As for the games I'll be playing, most new stuff, Total War, Civ V, Elder Scrolls, The Witcher 2, DX:HR, etc. Hoping to play them at 1080p, 60fps, ultra settings (though I know that may not be possible with this build).

    Does this seem like a good build? Thanks in advance.
  2. JC713

    JC713 TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 6,661   +867

    I think you should go for the latest Haswell chip (4670K). It has much more power saving features than Ivy Bridge does, and will future-proof longer. Here is the build I suggest:
    CPU: Intel Core i5 4670K ($200 @ Microcenter)
    Motherboard: Gigabyte Z87X-UD3H ($180 @ Newegg)
    RAM: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2x4GB) ($70 @ Newegg)
    GPU: Gigabyte GTX 770 ($400 @ Newegg)
    SSD: Samsung 840 Pro ($240 @ Newegg)
    PSU: Corsair HX750 ($130 @ Newegg)
    Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 ($60 @ Newegg)

    This is a build that will fit the $1300 budget. I can easily trim it down to about $1000-$1200 by downgrading components. This is the cream of the crop, the best of the best build you can achieve right here for <$1500. I recommend the build as is. You may need to add in a HDD for external storage for about $100. Also, at 1080P, you dont really need a GTX 770. You can downgrade to a 660Ti (or the 760Ti when it is released int he coming days). With some price hunting and some more research, you can find deals on components. I can easily get this build down to a lower budget if you ask, so please, tell me feedback :).
  3. patriots190

    patriots190 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Thanks for the feedback! A couple of questions: is the SSD worth the extra cost over an HDD? I'll need to buy Windows, so I was hoping to save some cost there if the SSD isn't needed (though I was planning on getting one later on).

    As for the 770, I was leaning toward that since it would (hopefully) perform well for longer than a 660ti (or likely 760ti), and I was hoping not to upgrade for a few years. Budget wise, so long as it stays around/a little below $1300 it works, so the build you listed looks great.

    Another question: will any extra cooling be necessary? The only recent experience I have with PCs is with a laptop, so I'm not sure how well stock fans/case fans work at keeping things cool. I would hope they do well enough as long as I'm not doing too much overclocking.

    Thanks for the help.
  4. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 3,381   +607

    Cooling: Eh, it's always easy to pick up extra case fans. You should be OK for now even on a stock cooler - get the one in your 1st post if you really want.

    SSD: It's definitely recommended. Your system won't be as snappy as it can with an HDD. Your choice, but a 120GB SSD for $100 now will save you having to copy over system images later on.
  5. patriots190

    patriots190 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    If I should be alright without any extra fans for now, I'll probably hold off on them. On the SSD, if it really is that much faster, I'll keep an eye out on deals for them. It makes sense that it's easier to start with one than to transfer everything over later. Thanks for the help.
  6. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 3,381   +607

    Yup. With your system, the only think holding back Win7 is the HDD.
  7. JC713

    JC713 TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 6,661   +867

    The 770 wont really future-proof more than a 760Ti since it doesnt have a higher memory bandwidth or more RAM. It just has a few more cores.
  8. patriots190

    patriots190 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    In that case, I'll look at the 760ti when it releases, and decide between that, the 770 2gb, and the 770 4gb. I assume the 4gb would hold its performance longer?
  9. JC713

    JC713 TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 6,661   +867

    The 4GB version is for people who game at resolutions higher then 1080P, it wont futurerpoof it much more. I think your best bet is a 660Ti. The 760Ti will continue the 780 and 770 trend of being an overpriced upgrade over the 600 series. If you are not satisfied with performance (the games you play arent that demanding), then upgrade when the 800 series is released. That is where the very large performance gains will occur.
  10. patriots190

    patriots190 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    If the 4gb is only needed for over 1080p, then I'll stick to 2gb, and since I'm not going to be building this for a month or two, I'll decide on a graphics card then, and see what prices do. This will be my primary gaming platform, and I'll be playing a greater variety than I listed above; I'd rather not be restricted by the graphics card if a faster one fits within my budget. If the 660ti still offers the best value at that point, I'll definitely look into it.
  11. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,925   +170

    I agree with JC's build, the core components will last you several years.

    The 2GB GTX 770 is actually a good value card in Nvidia's lineup, it's basically a quicker GTX 680. If that's too much then get a 7950 with a decent cooler and overclock it.
    JC713 likes this.
     
  12. JC713

    JC713 TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 6,661   +867

    It is basically a 680 with a new memory controller that can reach 7GHz vs the 680's 6GHz.

    I think you should save some money(660Ti) and get a nice monitor. TVs have very high response times, and thus, are very bad for gaming. If you dont play FPS games, then that should be an issue really.
  13. patriots190

    patriots190 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Would a TV be any worse with a PC than a console? I only ask because my past gaming experience has been with a laptop and consoles, and I never had too much of a noticeable problem with response time. I'll also be getting a TV regardless, so I'd like to avoid getting both that and a monitor - if I find I'm having issues with using the TV, I'd planned on getting a dedicated monitor later on. As for the games I'm playing, I play the occasional FPS, but nothing too competitively. For non-FPS games, aside from maybe an online RTS match, I wouldn't think it would be much of a problem.
  14. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,271   +257


    If this is true then you should be fine. First thing that came to my mind when I read your initial post was the latency you'd see/feel using a TV. It also looks like a good machine you plan to build and I agree that you may want to short a couple of places to get a medium sized SSD in there.
  15. JC713

    JC713 TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 6,661   +867

    His budget can easily get a SSD in there. As for the TV, he is fine.
  16. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 3,381   +607

    Consoles run at 30fps and once you factor in the slow movement of joystick and controller lag, that's your console experience right there.

    FPS games on the PC use higher senstivity twitch mouse movements, where you'll notice your TV lagging a lot more.

    However, if it's really a price issue, TV is fine for casual gaming.
  17. patriots190

    patriots190 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I'll stick with a TV initially, and if I have issues with lag I'll get a monitor later on. Will definitely be getting an SSD though.

    Another question: I assume Win7 is preferred to 8? I've read things about 8 that I know would annoy me, but I could probably get used to it if I needed to.
  18. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 3,381   +607

    If you can get over Metro, then Win8 is good.

    Metro interface looks okay on a big TV.
  19. patriots190

    patriots190 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    OK. I've heard it has decent speed improvements, and I know I can boot to desktop through other programs (though I can't remember if that's being added directly in 8.1 or not). The laptop I'm using now runs Vista, so Metro aside, either 7 or 8 would be a significant improvement. I still can't figure out why Microsoft would make their desktop OS run with essentially a touch screen UI, but oh well.
  20. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 3,381   +607

    I said Metro, not start screen. Metro is not start screen - it's strewn all over the OS.
  21. patriots190

    patriots190 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Ah, never mind then. I had assumed the Metro was the touch-screen-style start screen. From what I've seen of the rest of it, it looks a little different, but nothing too problematic. I'll look into it more though, since I clearly didn't know as much about it as I thought.


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