Help me build a gaming PC!

#1 Posted by gawro1jd (2 posts) -

Hello!

As expected - I am looking to finally build a gaming pc. It is the summer, I have 2 jobs, and I finally have the means to make this a reality.

However, I am not looking to make a top of the line PC right away. Rather, I want something upgradeable. I'd like to be able to play most games on high settings at a reasonable resolutions. I don't need ultra high graphics at 2560x1600. The main game I play is Starcraft 2 and I'd like that to be playable at very high settings.

So what do you all recommend? I don't need something top of the line right now, but definitely something that is upgradeable. I'd like to be as conservative with my money as possible - I don't need an SSD at this point or even blu-ray, but the core components should be solid.

I already have a monitor (1440x900 19 inch LCD) that does not need to be upgraded right away, so this post is purely about the computer and components, not about accessories.

Also, I have never built a computer before, but I've been wanting to for years!

Thanks so much!

Justin

#2 Posted by caska (113 posts) -

I can only speak in terms of Australian Dollars (which will probably make parts sound more expensive than they are) but if I were to buy a new pc at this very moment I'd go with

CPU - i5 2500 ~ $200

GPU - nVidia 570 ~ $300 (This might be a bit much for what you're after in which case you could step down to the 560ti which is around $250 here)

PSU - You'll need a pretty decent one if you're planning on upgrading your rig and don't want shit blowing up everywhere. You don't want this to hold you back so I'd look at something at or more than $150 like a good 650-750W Corsair (off the top of my head they're the only one's I can think of with a lifetime warranty)

Motherboard - I'd probably get something decent at around the $100-150 mark like a Gigabyte or Asus or something

Case - Make sure you don't skimp out on this, cases always seem like the things you can not really take much notice of but a good case wont need fifty fans to keep cool. Personally I'm not a fan of Thermaltake cases since so far every case I've had of theirs requires seemingly Thermaltake specific fan sizes (maybe I'm just unlucky!) so something like an Antec 900 for around $100

RAM - whatever you want man, this stuff is cheap now

I think that would be a pretty decent rig and capable of playing games on very high even. The video card's where I would do the most research right now though. I haven't really read much about nVidia's new 600 series but they don't have a 570 equivalent price point yet in that series so it might be worth waiting a bit to either save on the 570 once the newer version comes out or to get that newer one. This would also be the same for the 560ti which is what I think you should really be looking at as upgrading to SLI of these would be the next thing you could do if you needed the extra juice in a year or two. It's also worth looking at the AMD side of things, but having had bad experiences with Rage and a HD5770 I can't recommend them without cringing, so you'd have to look at reviews and things to decide on that front. I'd be looking at articles on tomshardware.com right about now and visiting their forums as well.

Also I'd consider upgrading that monitor. I was at the point where I wanted a bigger screen a few moths ago and so I saved up and took the plunge into a 27" and man was it worth it. That said I live at home while going to uni and working so I have pretty low expenses and it's understandable if you don't want to upgrade this :P I would consider going the SSD route now though rather than reorganising later if you plan on upgrading to it.

#3 Edited by stenchlord (230 posts) -
  • i5 3570K
  • ASRock Z77 Extreme4
  • 8GB (2x4GB) Kit 1600MHz DDR3
  • 1GB GTX-560
  • Sandisk Extreme 120GB SSD
  • Hitachi Deskstar 1TB / Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB HDD
  • Silverstone Strider Plus 750W PSU

For core components the above will suit you nicely. Motherboard is a decent performer and should you get interested in any overclocking this board should be adequate enough for a decent OC. RAM, any 8GB kit should do the trick unless you're looking to do any serious overclocking, any of the kits from G.Skill, Corsair, Kingston, Crucial, Patriot, etc will be fine. The GTX-560 (non-Ti model) is more than adequate for SC2 and would see you gaming at a solid 60FPS at anything 1920x1200 and under. I know you said not to include an SSD but for the price you really should, the SanDisk Extreme SSDs are excellent performers and are available for under $1 per GB (at least locally for me they are) which is awesome value. Either of the HDDs will be fine for your games (I'd recommend installing Steam on the HDD), the SSD should be more than enough space for Windows, applications and SC2. PSU will have more than enough grunt to run a multi-GPU setup and is an outstanding performer in terms of efficiency.

The case I've left since it would be better to choose one that suits your aesthetic taste. Just take into account that the case have a CPU rentention hole in the motherboard tray, has enough room for long graphics cards (for whatever upgrades you may choose) and dust filters so that keeping the PC clean will not be a chore.

#4 Posted by Bell_End (1208 posts) -

1. work out your budget

2. buy the best bits you can for the budget you have

3. put bits together

4. enjoy

#5 Posted by Jrinswand (1696 posts) -

I really can't help you without a budget.

#6 Edited by spazmaster666 (1965 posts) -

If you want your new PC to have the longest possible upgrade path, I would suggest going with LGA 2011 vs LGA 1155 since IvyBridge is probably the end of the line when it comes to LGA 1155. Also, I can't recommend enough that you invest in a good SSD since it is probably the best way to make your Windows experience as smooth and as snappy as possible (better than overclocking your CPU or RAM). But yeah you need to post what you are willing to spend as your components (especially the GPU) will vary greatly based on your budget.

#7 Posted by gawro1jd (2 posts) -

$700 would be good. I figure I'll end up paying 400-500 of it with birthday money around the end of June covering the rest. Thank you all for the comments! You've been tremendously helpful. I will reiterate too - I dont believe an SSD is a necessity at this point although I will upgrade to one eventually. I have a MBA and I love the SSD, but I don't really see this being a huge deal for an almost exclusively gaming machine. Also, I probably won't build this until the end of June - will this change any recommendations! Thanks again!

#8 Edited by LiquidPrince (15856 posts) -

I\d reccomend you buy a prebuilt PC for $700 and upgrade the PSU and GPU later. PC gamers will scoff at me, but I bought a prebuilt PC with:

  • i7 2600 processor @3.4GHz
  • ATI 6670 with 2GB of RAM (Not amazing but can upgrade later)
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 2TB HDD @7200RPM

WIth that system all I would later need to upgrade is the PSU and GPU and bam, pretty awesome PC. I thought about building, but the individual components would cost more then a prebuilt one for the same specs and hardware.

#9 Posted by Jrinswand (1696 posts) -

I don't know about you, OP, but this is along the lines of what I'm looking at buying some time this summer. Do you guys think any of those components (or comparable) will be cheaper around August?

#10 Posted by mosdl (3228 posts) -

@LiquidPrince said:

I\d reccomend you buy a prebuilt PC for $700 and upgrade the PSU and GPU later. PC gamers will scoff at me, but I bought a prebuilt PC with:

  • i7 2600 processor @3.4GHz
  • ATI 6670 with 2GB of RAM (Not amazing but can upgrade later)
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 2TB HDD @7200RPM

WIth that system all I would later need to upgrade is the PSU and GPU and bam, pretty awesome PC. I thought about building, but the individual components would cost more then a prebuilt one for the same specs and hardware.

As long as you make sure it has the space for a bigger card, no reason not to. A lot of prebuilts out there use small cases, and a lot of higher end cards get quite long and these days tall as well.

#11 Posted by Bourbon_Warrior (4523 posts) -

Radeon 5850

AMD Phenon IIx4 955

4GB of ram

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