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    The PC (Personal Computer) is a highly configurable and upgradable gaming platform that, among home systems, sports the widest variety of control methods, largest library of games, and cutting edge graphics and sound capabilities.

    Help me build a computer!

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    Nilazz

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    So am I about to throw myself into pc gaming, and what better way than to build your own computer? NONE I SAY!

    But...I don't know a single thing about what I should buy, so I need your help and tips, what graphics card should I get? CPU? Everything!
    Budget isn't really a concern but I've been thinking about keeping it around $1500, a little more won't harm.
    And what kind of games I am thinking about playing? Well I am glad that you asked, every kind of game I can find on steam, kind of. Everything from The Witcher 3 to small indie games that could run on a five year old computer.

    Help a fellow duder to take a first step into the world of pc gaming.

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    Dox516

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    Well this is a grand under taking indeed! However, I cannot simply tell you what you need. It all depends. If you need a monitor then that will change things. Do you want and ssd or just HDD? So here is what I would suggest. I will give you some links and you can read up and decide where you want drop the big money.

    First - CPU http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-overclock,3106.html

    Second - Motherboard http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-intel-amd-motherboard,3902.html

    Third - GPU http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-card-review,3107.html

    Fourth - http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-recommendation-benchmark,3269.html

    I would recommend getting a smaller SSD for Operating System performance and then a traditional Hard Drive for storage for the price comparison.

    Once you decide which pieces you want I would recommend: http://pcpartpicker.com/

    That website will grab the lowest price it can find and you can build everything from there. Go forth, conquer and build your gaming machine.

    Tim

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    Burt

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    I built my first pc a couple of weeks ago after a few months of research and these are some points I found out that may be of some help to you:

    (I am by no means an expert and I fully expect to be corrected by the more tech savvy members.)

    My budget was around £900 which included mouse and keyboard and monitor.

    Intel CPU's seem to be the best value in terms of price to power ratio (at least at my price point). I used a i5 4690k ( if you want to overclock you need a k series - I have no idea how to overclock but I wanted the option.)

    There are many sizes of motherboards but the two most popular are ATX and Micro ATX (or MATX).

    ATX is the larger and I think the only reason you'd need one is if you need more expansion slots on the board. ( I'm not sure what you'd need more expansion slots for)

    I used a gigabyte z97 MX (a MATX board)

    Its important that when you choose your motherboard that it supports the correct socket as your CPU ( the i5 is 1150 as is this motherboard)

    And the Z prefix means it can support overclocking.

    With PSU's I got a fully modular which means all the cables came separately so you only use the ones you need, this helps with clutter in the case but is not that necessary. They're rated bronze to platinum which I think is how efficient they are so get the best you can afford.

    I'm not too sure about wattage, I got a XFX black 750w which I know is overkill.

    Definitely agree with Dox516 about using an SSD, although that's all I've got at the moment, will probably get another SSD when I need it for storage.

    Also check that your case can accept SSD's cause they're smaller than traditional hard drives and may need an adaptor. I used a crucial MX100 256 which seems to be the best value SSD.

    With GPU's I went with Nvidia purely because after googling AMD vs Nvidia most arguments went with Nvidia.

    The best price for power in my range was the 750Ti, but I think the general consensus is buy the best you can afford. Many manufacters produce video cards so once I found out which model I wanted I got the one with the best reviews on PCpartpicker.

    I used a EVGA GTX750Ti FTW.

    If you think you may overclock in the future then its best to get an after market cooler for your cpu, I used a cooler master 212 which is cheap and has a lot of good reviews.

    With RAM 8 Gb seems to be the sweet spot, I used G Skills 2x4 Gb 1866 Mhz DDR3. The speed (1866) doesn't seem too important but I got the faster to future proof a little.

    Cases seem to be mainly an aesthetic choice, as long as they can accept your motherboard and video card. I looked at reviews and found a MATX case which had decent reviews regarding build quality and ease of building in it.

    I used a SIlverstone TJ08E which is a MATX tower and it was a little tight to build in, so would probably get a larger ATX tower in hindsight as space isn't an issue.

    I also bought a wireless adaptor ( a TP link TL WDN4800 ) and a DVD drive ( a Samsung SH-224DB SATA DVD)

    When building youtube is your friend, as luck would have it I found a video using my case ( which I can no longer find, sorry). And I used a video to help me install the 212. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n47WBQI31eE)

    Actually building the pc was relativley simple, the parts just click in for the most part and the only tools I used were a philips screwdriver and an anti static band.

    The only trouble I had was with the SSD which in my case screwed directly onto the bottom of my case, upside down. Which meant the SATA cables ( which connect it to the motherboard and the PSU ) wouldn't fit as they connected at 90 degrees. To fix this I bought an adaptor which meant I could install the SSD in the HD bays, which allowed the cables room to fit.

    Installing the OS was easy as well, turn on the pc , make sure the BIOS is set to boot from the DVD drive, insert windows disc and restart.

    Hope some of this information helps. Like I said I'm no expert but mine is running fine so far ( touch wood!)

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    deactivated-601df795ee52f

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    Avoid AMD. (I wouldn't say they're bad... just inferior to Nvidia and Intel in just about every way.)

    • For your processor, I think the Intel Core i5 4690k is still the hot choice for PC gaming. With your budget though you could probably put something a little more fancy in there like an i7, but I don't think it's absolutely necessary for gaming. (It'll probably benefit you a lot more if you do any sort of semi professional to professional video editing)
    • Motherboard- MSI, ASUS, Gigabyte... all good brands. Just make sure it supports your processor and stuff and has enough USB ports for you. (You might also want to see if it supports Overclocking, in case you ever wanted to do that)
    • Graphics card- definitely the 970 is the best value on the market right now. For around $400 you'll be maxing out everything on the market right now at 1080p 60fps+. You can probably also do some 1440p gaming as well, if you have a monitor that supports it.
    • RAM- As of right now you only need about 8 GB for gaming, (Hell, you can still get by with just 4) but at your budget, fuck it, throw 16 GB in there.
    • PSU- A 750 watt 80+ Gold certified one should be fine. You probably won't need much more unless you plan on throwing two graphics cards in there.
    • HDD- Again, your budget is high enough for some of the fancier stuff. Throw an SSD in there for your OS, then buy a 4-5 TB hard drive for all your games and stuff.
    • Case- Just make sure it's big enough to house all your components and has good airflow and cooling. Cooler Master and Corsair make some pretty sweet cases.
    • Others: Blu Ray drive (why not), OS if you don't have one, CPU cooler (again, why not) and maybe a nice mouse and keyboard.

    Hope my part advice is at least of some use to you. PC's are really a lot easier to understand than you might think. Definitely check out sites like Tom's Hardware as they have some pretty comprehensive guides that will definitely teach you a lot.

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    SchrodngrsFalco

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    #5  Edited By SchrodngrsFalco

    Get yourself a gtx970 gpu, its the best bang for buck deal around, period.

    Cpu, id say 2-4 cores, hyperthreading uneccesary, around 3.5Ghz

    Mobo, nothing fancy.

    CPU fan, preferance here. Im liquid cooling so read reviews about different cpu fans.

    Decide small SSD+hdd or just a 7200 rpm hdd. Depends on budget. This doesnt affect video games too much, but can make your PC run faster for different things. Remember, you can always upgrade in the future. If going budget, think about just 7200rpm 1-2TB hdd.

    RAM almost insignificant for gaming. Find something budget but good quality. Look for low timings and 8 gigs is the sweet spot right now.

    Monitor would just be a good 1080p monitor with good Gray to gray times and input latency. Also good quality color. Panels to decide between are TN or Psomething, cant remember. TN is what you want for gaming i. My opinion

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    dagas

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    16GB of RAM is a must. I've got 8GB but I bought that in 2011. I would not get anything less than 16GB today.Most games recommend 8GB today and it is only a matter of time before 16 will become the norm.

    VRAM is becoming more important, don't get anything with less than 4GB of VRAM.

    Don't cheap out on the case. Many people think that it doesn't matter but it does. Not only does a good case make it easier to install the things and mantain the computer but good airflow means a cooler system which means more room for overclocking. And don't be fooled thinking that the biggest fans are the best. There are cases with fans that take up the entire side of the case but that is not always the best for airflow. I got a Antec P182 years ago and it was the first time I spend a lot of money on a case and it is still good. I can recommend whatever is the modern version of that case.

    The motherboard is also more important than you might think and is often a neglected part. Don't buy anything for under $100. There are motherboards out there for $50 but they are not good. There are motherboards for $300 but I think $100-200 is enough to get a really good one.

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    Giefcookie

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    #8  Edited By Giefcookie

    I tend to post this site as a guideline for most PC builders, its not perfect but you can at least get an idea. http://www.logicalincrements.com/

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    Corevi

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    #9  Edited By Corevi
    @apothaeos said:

    A big factor in your purchasing decision is whether you already have a monitor or not. If you do, then you can probably buy two GTX 970's instead of one. However, multi-gpu builds are typically a hassle; many games lack support or poorly utilize multiple GPUs and you'll be generating a lot more heat. Thus for $1500 I would go for a GTX 980 instead of two 970s and get an extra boost that, while maybe not be the best dollar per performance, is a better fit for the price range and a lot less of a headache.

    The difference in performance between a 970 and a 980 isn't big enough to be worth it. Both can do brand new games at ultra at 1440p.

    @nilazz: Here's my computer which is $200 under your budget but it runs everything I've thrown at it perfectly.

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    TreeTrunk

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    SSD is a must, I'm not an expert but I heard the Head Director of Star Citizen say that an SSD can boot up your OS in about 3 seconds, and I heard the Head Guy of Planetside 2 say that with an HDD, there is a lot of hitching in the game as the world is readily generated as you move around, but with an SSD, all that hitching is gone. I also heard that, in the future, it may be possible that RAM can become obsolete if more and more powerful SSD's are developed.

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    Nilazz

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    #12  Edited By Nilazz

    @turtlebird95: @hurricaneivan29: @dagas: @apothaeos: @giefcookie: @treetrunk: @apothaeos: @dox516:

    wow! Thanks guys, never thought I would get so many long good answers, you sure did things a lot easier for me.
    So I guess 16GB of RAM is a lock, it is so cheap anyway so why not. Buying an SSD also seems like something I need, at least for the OS to work as great as possible.
    The only thing that really is up to debate is if I get a 970 or 980, I do love me some extra horsepower but it is a big jump in price.

    How big is the difference between i5 and i7 when it comes to gaming?

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    MethodMan008

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    @nilazz said:

    @turtlebird95: @hurricaneivan29: @dagas: @apothaeos: @giefcookie: @treetrunk: @apothaeos: @dox516:

    wow! Thanks guys, never thought I would get so many long good answers, you sure did things a lot easier for me.

    So I guess 16GB of RAM is a lock, it is so cheap anyway so why not. Buying an SSD also seems like something I need, at least for the OS to work as great as possible.

    The only thing that really is up to debate is if I get a 970 or 980, I do love me some extra horsepower but it is a big jump in price.

    How big is the difference between i5 and i7 when it comes to gaming?

    I just upgraded from a i5 2400 to a i7 4790k and it has made a pretty dramatic difference. Stuff already looked great on my old i5, but now almost anything I throw at my PC will do 60fps. I'm not sure if the hyperthreading actually makes any difference or if it just the jump in clock speed that makes my stuff run better now.. But still you can get a i7 4970k for like 300 bucks on sale, so that is a pretty damn good deal.

    I have a 970, and it is AWESOME. However, if you have the extra dough to spend, definitely get the 980. It might not matter that much now, but it will eventually.

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    mellotronrules

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    this is invaluable as a guideline:

    http://www.logicalincrements.com/

    regarding brand loyalty (amd vs. intel vs. nvdia)- it's less about the brand and more about the performance of a given component. pc enthusiast press (toms hardware, pc mag, etc). waffle all the time on what they recommend at a given pricepoint, so your best bet is to read reviews on something like newegg or amazon.

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    peacebrother

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    #15  Edited By peacebrother

    @methodman008 said:

    @nilazz said:

    @turtlebird95: @hurricaneivan29: @dagas: @apothaeos: @giefcookie: @treetrunk: @apothaeos: @dox516:

    wow! Thanks guys, never thought I would get so many long good answers, you sure did things a lot easier for me.

    So I guess 16GB of RAM is a lock, it is so cheap anyway so why not. Buying an SSD also seems like something I need, at least for the OS to work as great as possible.

    The only thing that really is up to debate is if I get a 970 or 980, I do love me some extra horsepower but it is a big jump in price.

    How big is the difference between i5 and i7 when it comes to gaming?

    I just upgraded from a i5 2400 to a i7 4790k and it has made a pretty dramatic difference. Stuff already looked great on my old i5, but now almost anything I throw at my PC will do 60fps. I'm not sure if the hyperthreading actually makes any difference or if it just the jump in clock speed that makes my stuff run better now.. But still you can get a i7 4970k for like 300 bucks on sale, so that is a pretty damn good deal.

    I have a 970, and it is AWESOME. However, if you have the extra dough to spend, definitely get the 980. It might not matter that much now, but it will eventually.

    I don't think the 980 is worth the jump in cost, not when the 970 is the price it is. And an i7 is totally unecessary for games. i7s are fantastic if you're also doing editing, rendering, streaming etc, but not if you're just gaming. In pure gaming benchmarks, the difference between an i5 4690k and an i7 4790k is negligable. Definitely the clock speed that helped you out there.

    I have a 970 and it is fantastic! Go for it! Though I suppose if you have enough money to actually be burning a hole in your pocket, the 980 is the best single card GPU out there.

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    ToTheNines

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    #16  Edited By ToTheNines

    If the choice is between 970 and 980 when it comes to the GPU, then I would just go for dual 970s. The price is pretty much the same as the single 980 but the performance is 30% better if I am not mistaken. You can always start out with a single 970, its more than enough when it comes to modern gaming.

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    pcorb

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    @nilazz: The difference in price between the 970 and 980 is far greater than the actual difference in performance. If money's no limit go ahead, but the 970 is a great deal and the 980 is just not.

    An i7 will make basically zero appreciable improvements over an i5 for gaming purposes. Games just aren't applications that make use of the features that make i7s superior to an i5, namely they are not heavily threaded to take advantage of multiple cores/hyper threading. That could change in the future, but people have been saying that for the better part of a decade and dual core i3s are still capable of outperforming octacore AMD chips in real world gaming applications.

    I would also advise you to avoid gigabyte motherboards. They were recently caught putting out revisions post-review which significantly downgraded their motherboards' quality while still selling them as the same model. That's really scummy behaviour, and indicates an untrustworthy company.

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    Nilazz

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    #18  Edited By Nilazz

    @mellotronrules: Thanks for the link!

    @melvargh: @tothenines: @pcorb: It sounds like I'm going to with a 970, if the performance increase is negligible I might as well save the $$$ for something else ( games! ) but since I am actually going to be rendering video and similar things I might as well go with a i7 I guess, better safe than sorry!

    And avoid gigabyte motherboards? Got it!

    This is coming together very fast, thanks guys. The GB community is as awesome as always.

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    peacebrother

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    #19  Edited By peacebrother

    @nilazz said:

    @mellotronrules: Thanks for the link!

    @melvargh: @tothenines: @pcorb: It sounds like I'm going to with a 970, if the performance increase is negligible I might as well save the $$$ for something else ( games! ) but since I am actually going to be rendering video and similar things I might as well go with a i7 I guess, better safe than sorry!

    And avoid gigabyte motherboards? Got it!

    This is coming very fast, thanks guys. The GB community is as awesome as always.

    Yep, rendering video? Go with the i7, the performance difference there means a very justifiable difference in price. Same with RAM. You can totally get away with 8GB for games for a while, but with media creation the 16 will help.

    HIGHLY recommend /r/buildapc as well. They are an incredible resource for PC building.

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    SchrodngrsFalco

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    Whoa whoa whoa, the performance difference between a 970 and a 980 is not "negligable." Come on now. It's just that the 970 is a much better price/performance comparison. Just remember, if you have the money, the GPU is the highest priority, so spend there. Also, don't bother with SLI/Crossfire (multiple GPUs linked), as all I hear is problems here and there with it. At least, they'll be a headache, from what I can gather. But still, 970 is your best bet, especially considering it'll last you until the new Pascal architecture comes out sometimes 2016.. at least I hope so? I don't know...

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    Jorbit

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    #21  Edited By Jorbit

    PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/P7JY8d

    Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/P7JY8d/by_merchant/

    CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($219.99 @ SuperBiiz)

    Motherboard: Asus Z97-PRO ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($168.98 @ Newegg)

    Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($62.99 @ Newegg)

    Storage: Crucial MX100 256GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($104.99 @ SuperBiiz)

    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($52.85 @ OutletPC)

    Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 980 4GB Twin Frozr Video Card ($549.99 @ SuperBiiz)

    Case: Phanteks Enthoo Pro ATX Full Tower Case ($99.99 @ Newegg)

    Power Supply: Rosewill Capstone 650W 80+ Gold Certified ATX Power Supply ($76.98 @ Newegg)

    Total: $1336.76

    I put that together just to sort of show you that you can make a pretty good rig for around or less than $1500. Obviously the case is purely preference, so you can change that around as long as it's compatible with an ATX motherboard (it'll usually say "ATX" in the description). That leaves you a lot of room to find a monitor, keyboard, and mouse that you really like which would bring you up around $1500.

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    peacebrother

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    #22  Edited By peacebrother

    That's a beautiful build, but the 980 is really not worth it for the performance, though that depends what @nilazz is doing. Are you targeting 1080p/60FPS at Ultra? Because a 970 will excel at that for some time. 1440p/60FPS? You would likely need more power, but most people would still recommend two 970s over the 980, which will still keep you under 1500. Not to mention, you also said you're doing editing/media work, so the i7 4790k is going to increase the cost.

    In the end, if your target is 1080p/60FPS, the 970 will do the job and then some. However, like I said before, the 980 is the best single card on the market, so if you have the cash you can totally do that if you're willing to push to the top of your budget. You won't be disappointed either way.

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    MethodMan008

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    #23  Edited By MethodMan008

    I'd check here for power supplies.

    Like I said before, I'm totally happy with my 970, but thanks to dynamic super resolutions the extra power that the 980 gives you is pretty useful even now no matter what resolution screen you have.

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    BasketSnake

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    I've never seen any comment anywhere online where someone doesn't like DSR. I've tried it in several games and I prefer native 1080. I know some games can be coded and have the HUD scaled and stuff but I just didn't like what I saw. I don't even like AA in most games. I think they look sharper without. Needless to say my 970 spits out a lot of frames at a time. I think most people will disagree with me. Anyone else here who doesn't like AA? And don't get me wrong, when the time comes I'll play at higher resolutions but on a -native- monitor.

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    rm082e

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    The difference is really not that big between the 970 and 980.

    Keep in mind they're both very overclockable. With just a little tinkering, I got a solid 10-15% boost in frame rates on my reference 970, which now basically matches a 980. With MSI Afterburner, you can setup an OC profile and it will apply at bootup. It's a "set it and forget it" deal. Obviously the 980 can overclock as well, but the overall frame rate difference between them is typically 10-20%. Meanwhile the price difference is closer to 40%. The 980 will make a lot more sense in a few months once AMD's new card comes out and it drops to $450.

    Also, SLI is not the same as Crossfire. SLI seems to be a lot more reliable at this point in time. There is the occasional AAA game that doesn't support it (Wolfenstein comes to mind), but games don't have any more technical issues with SLI than they do anything else. Nearly ever major game comes out unfinished or broken these days, and they need multiple patches before they are running at what most people consider acceptable. By the time they get to that state, Nvidia has typically put out an optimized driver for SLI. Install GeForce experience and it will take care of the driver updates for you.

    A pair of 970s at $660 is MUCH more powerful than a 980 at $550. You're getting as much as an 80% increase for only 20% more cost. Obviously you have to consider your motherboard, power supply, cooling etc., but 970 SLI is a seriously fantastic value proposition - especially if you are interested in running games above 60fps, which is becoming more popular.

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    Nilazz

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    @melvargh: For me, 1080/60fps is more than fine, going from a console that has to struggle to pull of something like that I don't mind using a computer that can do it with almost every game available, so I guess 970 is the card I'm going to go with and save the extra $$$ for a rainy day and maybe buy another 970 when I feel the need to.

    Thanks all you guys, you sure were more than helpful and I hope to see you all on steam in a not too far future!

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    GaspoweR

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    #27  Edited By GaspoweR

    @nilazz: By the way along with other people's suggestions, you can also look here for some comparisons to your projected budget: http://www.logicalincrements.com/

    Also remember the builds we suggested might not take into account the OS (Windows 7, 8.1, etc.) which is an additional $100 and if you're planning to have no optical drive, you'll need an external optical drive to install the OS or maybe boot it from the USB.

    More often than not its better to have one really good card instead of opting to do an SLI/Crossfire of two cards or more since more often than not you'll might encounter graphical problems with certain games since either they're not compatible or not optimized for SLI or because of other factors. It's really up to you but in the long run if you are due for an upgrade, its more reliable to get a beefier single card instead of getting another of the same card. Having an SLI of two cards might be better performance-wise but I'd rather go with something more reliable.

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    TheHBK

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    Do you live anywhere near a Microcenter?

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    Nilazz

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    So this is how my build looks right now, I don't know if there is any kind of compatibly issues with any of the parts, if you see any tell me what is wrong and I'll get on it ASAP.

    CPU: Intel Core i7-4790K
    GPU: Gigabyte GeForce G1 Gaming GTX 970 4GB
    PSU: Corsair RM750 ( GOLD )
    SSD: Samsung 850 PRO 256GB
    RAM: Corsair DDR3 16GB (2x8) 1600 MHz Low Profile
    Motherboard : MSI Z97 GAMING 5, Socket-1150
    HDD: Seagate® Desktop SSHD 1TB

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    Zlimness

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    Looks fine to me. I'd buy a cooler for the CPU as well. The stock one is kind of bad and it's not a big investment. Might as well save you the trouble now instead of later.

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    marc

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    I myself have just ordered parts to build my first pc the other day. Getting a free SSD and GTX 480 from a relative to start me off, so I figured I may as well take the plunge finally. I'm on a tight budget until summer, so come summer I can get a newer card. I was basically on a budget of about $800 and also needed a monitor. Once I bought the monitor, I had $650 left to work with for a tower, PSU, CPU, Motherboard, and RAM. Here is what I spent my $650 on (canadian prices):

    CPU: Intel Core i5-4460

    Motherboard: GA-H97 Gaming 3

    RAM: G.Skill Ripjaw Series DDR3 8GB (2X4)

    PSU: Corsair CX600

    Tower: Corsair Carbide Series 200R

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    pcorb

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    #32  Edited By pcorb

    @nilazz: You're paying a premium for an unlocked chip and overclocking motherboard, so you should probably get an aftermarket cooler. Stock coolers are fine for stock clocks, but if you want to push it even slightly you'll want something better. A phanteks PH-TC14PE should allow you to get the best out of your chip without breaking the bank.

    That motherboard has Killer NIC, which is known to cause BSOD headaches and isn't as good as Intel NIC anyway. If you're going to get a premium motherboard Asus is the way to go in my experience. Their boards are great (and use Intel NIC) and the after sales support is terrific.

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    InsidiousBliss

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    Not to jack this thread, but I am in the middle of building this: http://techbuyersguru.com/2000build.php I say some negative comments about the motherboard, is there something else I should be looking at? Sorry, this si my second build.

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    OldGuy

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    Everyone gets all caught up in the actual parts you're going to need... I'll point you to the how to that you need to see...

    Loading Video...

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    pcorb

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    @insidiousbliss: If you're set on paying in $200 for a motherboard, you may as well get the Maximus VII hero. It's got excellent performance and has every feature you will possibly need and many more you probably won't.

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    elko84

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    @oldguy: I followed that video to a T, been gaming ever since!

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    Nilazz

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    @pcorb: Thanks for the heads up on the motherboard, I guess I'll go with a ASUS motherboard.

    @Oldguy : Goddamn I fell for it!

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