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Old January 3, 2012, 06:05 PM
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Default First time builder: Mid-Ranged Gaming Rig

Hello there,

I am a long time lurker in the world of gaming and computer hardware. I think it is time for me to to get my own gaming set-up and set step into the virtual world.

I live in Canada and will most likely buy components of the following sites:

I have also been looking for local classifieds on sites; basically trying to build the most reliable, price-to-performance machine my budget allows. I will use this computer for primarily gaming, web browsing, and document writing.

I have set myself a rough budget of $1500 including:
- CPU cooler
- Motherboard
- Hard drive
- Chassis
- Monitor
- Gaming mouse/keyboard/monitor
*essentially an entire gaming set-up*

From reading countless reviews and forum posts, I have narrowed down my choices to some degree.

CPU: Intel i5 2500k ($199.99)
CPU cooler: Corsair H80 ($89.99)
Motherboard: Asus ROG Maximus IV Gene-Z ($169.99)
GPU: XFX 6970 2GB ($359.99)
PSU: XFX 750W 80PLUS Silver ($124.99)
Chassis: Corsair 650D/500R ($179.99)($129.99)
*I would appreciate having a case with a windowed side panel at a reasonable price; TBH the 650D is out of my price range, any recommendations?*
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (4x4) ($89.49)
HDD : Undecided (due to floods in Taiwan, I may hold off buying one until prices decrease)
SDD : Undecided (watching out for deals around 1GB/$1)

Monitor: BenQ 24" ($169.99)
Mouse: Saitek Cyborg R.A.T 9 ($159.99)
Keyboard: Logitech G510 ($99.99)
Headset: Undecided

*Total of $1514.10*
*AFTER MIR 1484.10*
*AFTER TAX ~$1710.93*

*Prices on the right, are after price matched on NCIX.com; before MIR and tax (13%)*
As you see, I am already above my budget and I am missing a new components. Is there any way to cut down on my expenses and still acquire the best price-to-performance ratio?

*note that I am more than willing to settle for a much cheaper gaming mouse/keyboard*

Thank you for reading through all that mess!
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old January 3, 2012, 06:27 PM
stoanee's Avatar
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Location: Lacombe Alberta
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My System Specs


Just get 8mb ram to start, Here is a case suggestion:Lancool PC-K62 Black ATX Advanced Mid Tower Case 5X5.25 4X3.5INT No PS USB Audio - LIAN-LI - PC-K62-$79.99
I am sure you can get a much cheaper mouse, not sure what is top shelf nowaday but maybe something like: Razer DeathAdder 3500 Gaming Mouse 5 Button 3500DPI Infrared Sensor Optical USB - Razer - RZ01-00151400-R3U1

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Old January 3, 2012, 08:08 PM
Dzzope's Avatar
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Location: Irishman in Kiev, wOOoo, I'm an alien...
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If you like the rat get a 5 or 7... you really won't notice the difference, and the really high resolution is wasted to be honest.. anything over 2k is wasted.
(apart from wireless, but wireless is meh.. unless you use your mouse as a remote control. :P)

Your monitor is 1920x1080.. a 6950 would be plenty (and you can always add a second 6950 or even a 6970 down the line)

Get a standard keyboard (though decent quality and mechanical keys for my personal taste).. I have a cheap cherry that is really nice but find most standard boards work fine and gaming boards are not really worth the expense. cherry cost me < $20

Case, there are soo many good cases and much cheaper. While a good and stylish chassis is nice to have you can get pretty decent ones for much much less, CM storm $90 400R $99, CM HAF 912 $60.. set a budget and then get the one that best suits.

Get a different cooler.. H 80 is expensive and not so much better than cheaper options... look at H60 in push - pull or for real budget friendly good cooling get something like a CM 212 +, think they are sub $30 and pretty good performance.

The ROG board is for serious overclockers (people who bench etc)... even if you want to OC I would suggest a cheaper solution. $200 for a gaming rig is way overkill..
ASUS P8Z68-M Pro is $60 cheaper and more than enough for a solid gaming rig with OC.
Do you even need z68? A p67 may be much cheaper and suit all you need?

PSU, you could either aim lower or higher.. If you'll use x-fire go for a 750 - 850 watt(you've picked a nice one that *should* do a pair of 6970's (might be a lil close depending on card oc's and other components, eg lights or multiple HDD's etc)..
if not 550 - 650 will be plenty even with a solid OC.

As said above, 8GB is enough.. with the uses you have stated there really is no need for any more than 8 GB. Running win 7 with steam, origin, skype, Live messenger, TS and minimum 5 pages open in a browser I use a little over 3 GB... no game will use anything near what you'll have left. (yes ram is cheap but no point and your on a budget)

SSD, hard to beat the Crucial M4 for price and all-round performance, at this stage I would go for a 128GB/256GB depending on budget though the 64GB is still good if you just want something small. (see the roundup for 2011)

HDD, you will need 1.. get something reasonable like a 500GB WD blue to hold you till you need more / the prices come down.
When they do come down, it's hard to recommend anything other than a Seagate Barracuda 3GB (not XT) or WD Black etc

Headset... this is another flavour game... You can be happy with a $10 one or splurge and go for something higher end.
To be honest as long as it's decent quality and reasonably comfy there is no reason to spend allot here.
That is unless your an audiophile and then you would want a nice set of cans and a sound card too.
I suggest going to a store and trying some on.. Remember that some expensive headsets are as bad or sometimes even worse at sound / comfort as some cheaper ones.
On comfort, large headsets weigh allot so can be very tiring to wear (ears get sore etc.) and anything that is uncomfortable with them will be exaggerated by their weight and time.

It's always tempting to pick "the best" bits.. but there is no point in trying to go over your budget (unless there is a huge performance gain / extra feature to be had that will be used) and even then it's questionable vs your budget.
Look hard at what you want your computer to do, then look at what you need to make it do it. if you have extra budget after, then expand on your selection a bit.
I bet that you would barely notice the difference between an i5 2400 and an oc'd 2500k(maybe a lil exaggerated, but in many situations an average user / gamer would see no difference) unless they were side-by-side running identical everything never mind your selection of motherboard.

P.S, get a DvD RW ($20)

Last edited by Dzzope; January 3, 2012 at 08:14 PM.
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Old January 4, 2012, 08:22 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Posts: 40

My System Specs


I just finished building a new rig myself and may I suggest you consider directcanada.com when buying your parts, my go to spot and always seems to have good prices.

For your build as mentioned above your mobo may be overkill since you are on a budget, with RAM as cheap as it is 16G why not but it is a spot you could save if you want. As for the 6970 where you are only running a single 24" monitor a 6950 2G would be enough and could save you almost 100$ there.

Cases are one of those things that I usually try and pick up used or scratch and dent, the one I just used was an Antec 900 V1 I found on Kijiji for 50$ used in practically new condition. Just decide what you are looking for by way of mid or full tower top or bottom mount PSU and look around for used or open box it could save you a ton.

The H80 water cooler is nice but (and this is where I should probably shut up since I am not a knowledgeable as allot of people here) unless you are planning to really push an OC on the system or are really concerned with fan noise I would go air cooled, you can pick up a really good air cooler for under 40$.

Spending a ton on a a wireless mouse may not be your best use of $ I went with a G500 wired optical that you can get for around 50$ right now and I really like I have also seen G9s on sale for around 60-70 recently, wireless is kinda pointless imo unless you plan to use it as a remote. And I would recommend using a basic keyboard and add a game pad like the Nostromo or G13 which would still come in cheaper than the 100$ you were planning.

I have a set of Plantronics full cup headphones with a mic that I got a Future Shop for like 30$ they are really comfortable and sound great for gaming, the only way I would spend more would be to go wireless but then you are looking at well over 100$. But imo I would spend the extra for wireless headphones unlike a mouse.
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Old January 4, 2012, 10:18 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Ottawa, Ontario
Posts: 65

My System Specs


CM212+ is a great cooler, i have it on my 2500K and i run 4.5Ghz. I think 6970 is a waste of $360. You can a used 1 on here for cheaper, or wait till 7xxx series comes out for price drops. Or as said above get a used 6950. Buying "new" old video card technology is a waste when new cards are soo close to coming out.
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Old January 4, 2012, 03:04 PM
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I would recommend getting an AMD processor if you are only getting one 6970. The fps difference is minimal. Maybe you could save 50-100 bucks?
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Old January 4, 2012, 11:45 PM
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While AMD is an option, it's not one I think you should go for when you have so many other options in reducing your spend.
Main ones being keyboard, mouse, ram, cooler, mobo and chassis(roughly in that order, see my first post for more details).

After these you can think about reduction in:
Monitor (Not much difference in size from a 22" - 23" to a 24 but there is money to be saved),
PSU (you could go 2 steps down or 1 step up for security in single card or dual card set-up)
CPU (you want to oc so this means a reduction is to go AMD, 965BE is a good budget alternative and plenty for most people, also means a MUCH cheaper mobo)
GPU (GPU would be the last thing I would touch)
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Old January 5, 2012, 01:23 AM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 17
Default Canadian helper

Where abouts in Canada are you located?

You can find many good deals on new components on www.kijiji.ca in your area. You just gotta be street smart with dealers. I have saved myself hundreds if not thousands off of kijiji.

In regards to RAM, a Mid-Ranged computer will never need 16GB's of memory. Even a High-End rig will next to NEVER EVER address all 16GB's of memory. Unless you are running VMware, Photoshop, Virus Scans, Word Processors, Graphic Intensive Games, Multiple Explorer Windows, Video Streams, and data folding applications all at one point in time, the 16GB memory benchmark is redundant. Even Sheldon Cooper from "The Big Theory" wouldn't have the multi-task skills to orient such a work load.

For a Mid-Ranged computer for work oriented tasks, recreational tasks and moderate/occassional gaming, it would be best to install no more than 6GB-8GB under rare situations(Which is still considered over-kill under most circumstances). It will save you a good sum of cash.

You can be safe with installing extra RAM to a certain limit, but some individuals believe that just because their mobo and OS can allow users to "potentially" address all of the RAM capable, it must be installed. People already run these computers and address mass amounts of RAM, and those people are the workers of NASA and such associations.

Last edited by Jared11; January 5, 2012 at 01:54 AM.
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Old January 5, 2012, 07:05 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 60

My System Specs


When I built my rig, I saved money in two ways that I think you could:

Teknmotion Yapster Gaming Headphones Microphone IN-LINE Volume Black - TekNmotion - TM-YB100A ($25)
Cheap, over ear, and the sound quality is surprisingly good for the price.

if you are not overclocking, use the stock heatsink (free)
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  #10 (permalink)  
Old January 5, 2012, 01:10 PM
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Location: Ottawa, Ontario
Posts: 65

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He will need a cooler as he is buy a 2500k. I guess he could save money and get a 2500 and use stock cooler if he is not going to OC. IMO its worth the extra bit to gain the possible advantages from overclock.
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