Looking to buy new gaming rig

By fdart17 ยท 8 replies
Feb 26, 2012
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  1. I am looking to build a new PC. This would be my first time. I have a million questions, I don't know much about this. I've looked into buying pre-assembled pcs but it doesn't seem worth it. The other thing is the sites I was considering apparently are a terrible headache to deal with if they ship you a pc with malfunctioning hardware. Thus I would like to build my own.

    What are you going to use the PC for?
    Gaming. Software Development. Specifically Dota 2 and the upcoming Diablo 3.

    How much is your budget?
    $800-$1300. This is a big range. I don't need top of the line products. I want something that has a good performance/price ratio and that will be able to run games well for the next 3-5 years.

    Where are you located? (a.k.a. fill out your profile)

    Are you willing to buy online?

    Are you going to re-use any parts from an earlier build?
    Yes. Here is what I currently have that I would consider reusing:
    GPU : NVidia GeForce 7600 256 MB Mem(if I must but I would much rather upgrade, meets Dota 2 recommended GPU spec. Would like an HD card)
    HDD: samsung sp2504c 250GB 300MB/s transfer speed 7200RPM. Apparently HDDs are expensive right now because of messed up production. I really don't mind re-using this. I know that Main Memory accesses are very slow and if I was to purchase a HDD it would have 1TB store space and ~600MB/s transfer speed. Will this difference affect the performance much? Is main memory accessed that often while gaming or is everything stored in ram?
    300 Watt PSU

    I don't know if any of this stuff is reusable so I will paste a few of my current system specs:
    Motherboard Name Asus A8N-E (3 PCI, 2 PCI-E x1, 1 PCI-E x4, 1 PCI-E x16, 4 DDR DIMM, Audio, Gigabit LAN)
    Motherboard Chipset nVIDIA nForce4 Ultra, AMD Hammer
    System Memory 2048 MB (DDR SDRAM)
    BIOS Type Award (11/25/05)
    Communication Port Communications Port (COM1)
    Communication Port ECP Printer Port (LPT1)

    Do you need other peripherals like a monitor, keyboard and mouse, among others?
    I'm hoping to purchase a big monitor. I currently have a 19-inch monitor that I bought 4 years ago that works very well. Wondering what gamers out there's thoughts are on bigger monitors. Another monitor would also be nice for programming.
    I would also like a decent headset with mic. Not picky with this one, but I would prefer it not smother my ears (does not have to be noise cancelling).
    The cheapest speakers possible that are still acceptable for movies.

    Have you already bought any parts?

    Do you have an Operating System (OS)?
    Yes. Windows 7, 64 and 32 bit, and Windows XP. Would like to run the better option of windows 7.
    Will you need any aftermarket cooling, such as a CPU\GPU cooler or a watercooling setup?
    Not sure. Depends on the above! I would like to stay away from overclocking if possible since I don't really know how it's done and if it's a good idea if I use my PC for prolonged periods of time at once.

    Other things I would like to mention:
    Here is the processor I was hoping to get : Processor: Intel Core i7-2600 Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2000 BX80623I72600
    Is this processor still too new this having a bad performance increase/cost increase ratio from say one of the i5s?
    Since I would like the PC to be upgradable, is this a good way to go?

    I was looking at the TechSpot Enthusiasts PC recommendation. They recommend a $150 case. Is this really necessary? I don't care at all if it looks nice, I just want the cheapest possible case that has proper cooling and can fit all my hardware.
    The other thing is the sound card. From my experience, the onboard motherboard soundcard is usually sufficient. Thoughts?

    When buying a pre-assembled PC, it usually comes with a 1+ year warranty. How are warranties when you buy all the hardware separately?

    How do you tell if the components you want are compatible with one-another?

    Thanks so much, I really appreciate any responses and that you took the time to read this.
  2. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    The i7 2600 will probably take too much of your budget and won't give any benefit over the cheaper i5 2500 for gaming. If you get the 2500K unlocked version and a $30 aftermarket CPU cooler you can easily get a 30%+ overclock.

    A $50 case will do just fine, e.g. COOLER MASTER Elite 430, but if you ever think of going SLI or Crossfire in the future you might want to get a full tower case.

    Sound card is up to you, personally I couldn't live without mine but depends how much you like your music.

    The problem with warranties on pre-assembled PCs is that you have to send the entire PC back, whereas if you bought the PC yourself you can just send the faulty component back. Personally I find warranties vastly overrated and overpriced, either the component is faulty to begin with or it breaks down after 3-4 years by which time it's obsolete and depreciated to 25% of its original value.

    In terms of compatibility the only things you need to worry about are the motherboard, RAM and CPU. The i5/i7 2500/2600 use socket 1155 motherboards and DDR3 RAM.
  3. fdart17

    fdart17 TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 39

    Is this a good idea for someone like me who has never overclocked before? The last thing I would want is to fry my CPU and have to spend another $240 to replace it. I suppose since you mention this, as long as I follow the written guides carefully, this would pose no extra risk to the processor malfunctioning? What is an aftermarket CPU?

    I see. What inexpensive full tower case would you recommend?

    Does it matter much how much you spend on the motherboard? I'm guessing most in the target price level would all be about the same? Anything I should stay away from?

    Other questions:
    Is Corsair RAM ok? What would you guys recommend.
  4. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    As long as you download a program to monitor your CPU temps (Realtemp, HWMonitor, etc), you won't fry your CPU. For reference, CPU temp above 70C is uncomfortably high and above 100C is frying it. Overclocking the 2500K is really as easy as changing one number (the multiplier) in the BIOS, don't change the voltages unless you're confident in what you're doing.

    An aftermarket CPU cooler does a much better job of cooling the CPU than the stock cooler provided by Intel, even a cheap one will do a decent job: COOLER MASTER Hyper TX3

    Full tower cases are generally a lot more expensive as they are aimed towards enthusiasts, looking at newegg.ca they seem to be around the $150-$200 mark. It's up to you if you think that premium is worth paying for extra upgrade space in the future.

    Same goes for the motherboard, a cheapish one will do fine but if you want to leave room for an SLI/CF upgrade then get one with two PCI-E x16 slots. Asus and Gigabyte are reputable brands.

    Corsair RAM is awesome.
  5. Buckshot420

    Buckshot420 TS Enthusiast Posts: 301

    Just some pointers.
    1) Not all boards are SLI/Crossfire compliant. Some are one or the other and some are both.
    2)Since your primary goal is gaming, don't buy a 2600k when you can use the money you saved to buy a i3 2100 or i5 2500 and up your GPU with the $100-150+ you will save from the 2600k to something that will handle Diablo 3 on High settings, maybe a GTX 480/580?
    3)I use Corsair XMS3 @ 1600/1.65v with a 2500k @4.5GHz (for gaming) and @3.7GHz for everything else (I setup 2 profiles so its easy to boot one or the other). Love it!!
  6. fdart17

    fdart17 TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 39

    Ok. So here is what I am thinking, but I still have some questions.

    Intel Core i5-2500K
    I also plan on purchasing this guy and Overclocking : COOLER MASTER Hyper TX3

    Radeon HD 6870 (From the guide.)
    Ok this one I am really not sure about. I could spend a little more here. A GTX 580 was recommended but thats ~$500 which seems too high. I don't know much about video cards.

    ASRock P67 Extreme4 (From the guide. Seems solid.)

    I will try the onboard soundcard to save money. If it's bad I'll order something.

    My current HDD: SAMSUNG SP2504C (250 GB, 7200 RPM, SATA-II)
    Second big question I have is here. Are disk accesses going to happen that often while gaming? I see the guide recommends to get an SSD. Is this going to give that much better performance or is it just a luxury? I'm wondering if it's even worth buying something new here.
    Also I don't mind buying a new HDD but I will wait for prices to drop. Is this going to increase the performance by that much?

    2x4GB G.Skill Ripjaws DDR3 1600MHz (From the guide. Again, seems fine.)

    My current: TSSTcorp CD/DVDW SH-S182D
    This is not worth spending money on to me.

    Cooler Master Storm Trooper
    Think this is pretty pricey. I thought about it a lot and I don't want to give up the multiple GPU expandability option. If there is a cheaper alternative that can still give me that option I would love to see it.

    Going to snag up a 27'' monitor when I see one go on sale.

    Sony MDR-V6 Again the one from the guide. Looks like a sturdy headset. I break them too easily!
  7. ihaveaname

    ihaveaname TS Enthusiast Posts: 107

    Just a reminder, a good GPU would require a good power supply, so factor that into your budget.
  8. fdart17

    fdart17 TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 39

    Thanks. Made this decision with that in mind.

    I have decided on the GTX 560. I'm looking on newegg and there are a bunch of different companies and variaties of this video card. What is the difference? This one seems to have by far the most reviews : http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127565
    Any advice on how to pick between these?

    Apparently newegg does not ship to Canada? What site would you recommend for a Canadian?

    Finally, what do you think about buying hardware from Amazon? They seem to have some better prices than Newegg.

    Thanks again guys!
  9. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    The GTX 560 Ti is more powerful than the GTX 560 (obviously also more expensive). The MSI one you linked to has a great cooler, although this one is exactly the same but non-overclocked and $25 cheaper. You can very easily overclock the GPU yourself using MSI Afterburner.

    The rest of your build looks great!

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