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  #1 (permalink)  
Old March 14, 2012, 05:25 PM
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 4
Default New gaming rig... and utterly LOST!!!

Hello Canucks!!! I stumbled upon this wonderful little website while doing research on an upgrade. When I say upgrade it's probably going to be much more of a "New Build" completely. My current rig plays most games... Decently close to high on 1680X1050 but lately I've been noticing it's 100% long overdo to upgrade. I'd LOVE to just buy a new GPU but this things OLD and I think starting from scratch would be required.

PS it's long so hopefully it won't make anyone TL;DR

My current rig:

CASE: Antec 900
Power: 520W power supply
MOBO: Don't remember honestly but OLD
GPU: Nvidia 8800 GTS
CPU: Intel Core 2 6600 2.4g
RAM: Cosair 2x2gig no special version here 4gig total
HDD: Basic unknown brand 250g
Optical: LOL here a dvd burner from an old Emachine... since my Lightscribe one died.
OS: Windows 7 32bit (have an upgrade to this sitting on my desk but waiting for the new parts to do a fresh install.

This was purchased a LONG time ago and was pretty tops when it got put together. Over time parts died out like my Optical drive ans such. Like you can now see. Just upgrading a Moboard/gpu/processor just isn't probably an option here. Tax return time has come and I have some funds and am going to piece together parts over time to help with funding. First let me start by saying a little about what I'm looking for by following the wonderful guide posted.

1.My Pc is primarily going to be used to gaming. MMO's, shooters, and action games. Mainly PC exclusives and steam stuff as I have consoles for that stuff.
2. My budget is probably about 1000. I'm not looking for a REDICULOUSLY SUPER POWERED PC just something good and current.
3. I'm from the US and going to stop at a local PC parts store to price how they are but if not Probably from NEWEGG.com unless you guys say otherwise.
4. I'm 100% an Nvidia/intel guy. Always have and I can't sway... had some BAD experiences with ATI
5. I don't think any of my current parts are salvagable unless you guys say otherwise.
7. I don't plan to overclock I'm kinda a safe and sound kind of builder... I always worry about overclocking and am not a very experienced builder.
8. I plan on building this withing the next couple months buying parts piece by piece.
9. I would like to use 1920X1080 (right now my monitor/GPU doesn't suppoert higher than 1680) but might buy a new monitor as well so higher is a possibility.

This being said... I'm kinda lost. Here's what I've found so far from my own research... But like I said... Not very experienced.

i7 2600k seems like the best bang for the buck processor I suppose
Need about 700W-800W power supply I'd imagine
I guess the Geforce 580 or 590. I'd like to stick with a single core. I'm not comfortable with SLI as I don't know how it works effectively and I heard there are issues with compatibility sometimes. I'm just trying to keep this as headache free as possible. I really don't know what's the best bang/buck ratio with the GPU's and it seems to change daily.
16g of ram is a goal.
One thing I'd LIKE to try would be liquid cooling... but as a community if you think this is a bad idea or not necessary I'll take your advice 100%.

Besides these Key points I really don't know anything about what to look for... what MB to get... what ram... what Powersupply and cooling. I've looked around but a lot of stuff is based around specific people's computers.

I really REALL REEEEAAALLLY appreciate all the help you guys/gals can give me in this matter I realize I'm not starting with much I know I want but I'm pretty ignorant here. I'll be around and keep checking to answer and respond to all inquiries and advice.

I really appreciate this in advance.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old March 14, 2012, 05:57 PM
Bond007's Avatar
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Down under
Posts: 4,451

My System Specs


First off since your rig seems to be satisfying you for the immediate time being I recommend waiting for new GPU and CPU that are just around the corner (Nvidia and Intel). If you were buying today with your desires I would recommend dropping down to an i5 2500k (since the hyperthreading of the i7 does pretty much nothing for game performance and costs approx $100 extra). If you wait out for the new processors the updated version, if I recall correctly, will be called the i5 3570k (2500k replacement). It will be slightly faster than the 2500k and use less power and should be at the same price point. Nvidia is suppose to be rolling out its next gen video cards starting very soon, but there is almost no info available on them yet (if you were to buy now I would say gtx 580 as I don't think there is a need for a 590 with your uses and budget). I would back up your call on a 700-800w power supply and say any seasonic, corsair, xfx, or antec psu in that range will serve you well. For ram 8gb is enough for 99% of people at this time and your choice of 1600mhz ram seems to be the sweet spot for performance/$.

The other point to consider seriously is overclocking. IF YOU WILL NOT OC then you can save some money by dropping down to an i5 2400 or 2500 non k (or whatever the next gen intel processors calls an equivalent model), since the only advantage of the k models is an unlocked multiplier for overclocking. You could also get an H67 based motherboard which are cheaper, but again don't allow for overclocking. If you want to have the ability to OC just in case then go with a K processor and Z68 based motherboard (I personally prefer ASUS and go for the cheapest that has all the features that I need). Intel will have new motherboard models (but the same 1155 socket) when the new processors are released as well that I would suggest you get if you wait out.

As for the watercooling there are lots of people on here that love it, but IMO its not worth it unless you are going to be pushing high overclocking. There are quality and relatively inexpensive air coolers that can cool as well as basic water coolers and create much less noise (coolermaster hyper 212+ or 212 evo are the go to air coolers for many). That said if its something you want to try then by all means go for it.

I am a very bang for buck oriented person and I think my suggestions would give you a great rig for your money.

EDIT: Just remembered you said you have windows 7 32 bit now...the 32 bit version has a max of <4gb ram. You will need 64bit to run 8gb+ ram.
Desktop: Arc Midi R2, Z77-D3H, 3570K 1.09v/4.1ghz with Zalman Optima Cooler, Corsair Vengeance 2x4gb@1866mhz, XFX R9 280X DD, Bitfenix Fury 750w, WD Black 1TB, Intel 530 120GB
Away from home light Gamer: Acer Aspire 15.6", A8-3500m undervolt and OC to 2Ghz, 2x4gb Corsair Vengeance, Crucial M500 240gb
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old March 14, 2012, 06:20 PM
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 4

Thank you very much for the quick response. Yea I mean... My pc works... It's fuctional and I can play ME3 and Skyrim and such on high in 1680. I'm just getting frustrated with not being in a higher res. Plus there are definitively Limitations in the setting I can achieve.

I really didn't know that about the i7... See little ignorant me just thought 7... more than 5... better? (I know that's stupid). Model numbers of the parts always was a confusion to me. I'm ok when putting the stuff together... but picking apart the tech itself to know what's a waste or not good isn't in me... Thank you for pointing this out.

I really just don't want to Overclock because I'm worried about messing things up. I know nothing about it or the tech behind it... Operating temperatures and stuff are just beyond me... I'm really entry level in this (embarrassing I know). Same thing with the SLI stuff. I'm just nervous about the whole thing. I mean I'm the kind of guys who will use this pc until literally Im just starting to not be able to run stuff on "Highest" (Like BF3 now).

As to the new Nvidia and intel stuff. Do you think the newer stuff will be a HUGE preformance upgrade? I mean... I'm kinda having that "I hate my pc" feeling due to not being able to run 1 or 2 things on high to highest. I mean when I set this PC up I was always able to just buy a new Graphics card when they came out and it was ok. NOW it's to the point where My processor and MOBO need upgrading. I'm assuming with the i5 and the new board I can take this position again. Starting with the 580 and then just upgrading in a year or so if something latest and greatest comes out. Am I wrong here?

I also really appreciate the Ram suggestion. I don't know much about the "types" is 1600 a lot better? I mean for instance is 2 gig of 1600 better than 4 gig of 1333? Sorry if this seems like a dumb question.

Also whats the deal with the Boards? is it just all good if I stick to the right Style ie: z68 or h67? or are there certain things to look for?

Once again I really am thankful here you're a lifesaver.

EDIT: I have a 64bit edition of Windows 7 I just haven't installed it yet on this... I was kinda hoping to wait till the new pc is together so that I can put off the big wipey.

Last edited by WhiteLantern12; March 14, 2012 at 06:32 PM.
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  #4 (permalink)  
Old March 15, 2012, 08:58 AM
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Edmonton
Posts: 642

My System Specs


2 gig of 1600 ram is faster than 4 gig of 1300, all things equal.

However, most machines will require 4-8 gig of memory to run without creating a paging file (aka virtual memory).

Virtual memory is much much much much much slower than physical memory, thus it is advantageous to have enough physical memory (ram) that you never have to create a paging file.

For gamers that number is now 8 gig. Some say 4 gig, and i'll be honest i can't even run HoN without using 3+gig, and a 8 gig kit goes for 20-50 dollars here

There is little gaming difference between say 1600 mHz and 2000 mHz kits. Go with something cheap and with a "cas" value of 9 or lower. "cas" means something really techononerdy. Check out wikipedia under CAS TIMINGS if you're interested.

I would second the reccommendation that you wait a short while to buy a new rig. The new intel chips and new nvidia video cards are just around the corner.


Watercooling is an art. Go to Dazmode - Canadian Watercooling Store, Reviews and Community and poke around if you're new to it. Daz has great guides.

Watercooling builds can be quieter than air builds if you have 1-2 thousand dollars XD
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old March 15, 2012, 09:44 AM
Top Prospect
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Edmonton
Posts: 104

My System Specs


If you were building today and have $1000 to spend I would buy

i5-2500K - around $200
Asus P8Z68-V Gen 3 around $200
WD 1TB Black hard drive - $130ish and dropping
8 gigs of Whatever Brand DDR3-1600-9 in dual channel...G-Skill, Corsair. just make sure it fits under whatever cooler you choose. ~$50
Corsair H80 for prebuilt water cooling ~$90 or Noctua NH-U12 ~$65 for air.
That leaves enough to get a GTX580 now that they are under $400, but I would suggest only going GTX 570 at around $250 with the recently dropped prices.

This would be easier if you were and AMD fan, their new gen stuff just came out, on NVidia we are speculating, it could end up hot running junk like the first 4XXs were or it could crush AMD/ATI.

If you wait a few months, and I'm going to be guessing a bit, and this stuff will be overpriced due to new release

Asus P8Z77-V $230ish
Intel I5-3570K - $240ish
WD 1TB Black hard drive - $130ish and dropping
8 gigs of Whatever Brand DDR3-1600-9 in dual channel...G-Skill, Corsair. just make sure it fits under whatever cooler you choose. ~$50
Corsair H80 for prebuilt water cooling ~$90 or Noctua NH-U12 ~$65 for air.
Whatever the replacement for the GTX 560 Ti is...probably the 660 Ti. around $280 at launch is a guess...or the 670, but that will probably start close to $400 and put you above your $1000.

All of these prices are guesses but there is usually a launch premium on new gear.
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old March 15, 2012, 11:04 AM
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 4

Thank you all for the responses I'm really starting to get a handle on what to get. I appreciate it.
I see a couple recomendations for the WD black HDD. What are your oppinions on a SSD. I mean is it THAT awesome to run? Or is it something not worth the price? I mean I'm not trying to MIN-MAX here because A I don't have the money and B never really thought it neccesary.

My one BIG hang up with AMD/ATI is just lack of familiarity. I had ONE bad experience like 14 years ago and kinda just stayed away... I don't know what cards go in what order or what the processors are. I mean with NVIDIA I know 560-580 are good and that i5-i7 are good just based on easy to read model numbers lol. AMD/ati always confused me. If this is a better route though since the newer gear just came out and is decent should I travel there? If so what Board/processor is best on that side of the moon?
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old March 15, 2012, 12:35 PM
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Edmonton
Posts: 642

My System Specs


SSD can be orders of magnitude faster than conventional hard drives, depending on the task.

They are "that good" , but I cannot afford one as they are ~ 1$/GB
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  #8 (permalink)  
Old March 15, 2012, 12:44 PM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Brockville, ON
Posts: 552

My System Specs


Intel 2500/2500k or Intel Ivy Bridge CPU coming out in a couple months
ASUS Z68-V or -V PRO motherboard
8gb 2x4 gb Gskill 1600 speed 9,9,9,24 1600 1.5v ram, but you will need windows 7 64 to make use of it. From a performance standpoint, it only make sence to go with win 7 64 it will make use of the ram among other things, and in the case of the ram 1600 speed and 8gb is the "sweet spot" in regards to cost, capacity, speed, performance, and overclocking headroom. I like Gskill only cause the vast majority of their kits have no trouble fitting under most any cooler, alot of other ram makers tend to use god awfull tall heatspeaders for nothing.
WD caviar black 1tb 1.5tb or Western Digital Scorpio Black 750GB. SSD are VERY fast and worth the cost, but they do tend to be costly, for current SSD around $120+ for anything in the 120gb range, the 60GB are fine for OS usage, but the 120 are prefered as they are not much $ for thier capacity and are faster then thier 60gb brothers.
I honestlly would steer clear of the AIW units, yes they are good, but they are also quite pricey for what they are giving you in return. I would go along the lines of hyper 212+ with another added stock fan, Hyper 212 EVO, Zalman 10x performa add a fan, Corsair A70 etc, all WAY awesome cooling EVEN if you wanted to overclock some, and more then ample at stock clocks.

Graphics cards wise, I left Nvidia with the 8000 series and will never look back at them, but for CURRENT cards, Radeon 6870-Nvidia GTX 560Ti- Radeon 6950 2gb-Radeon 7850- Nvidia GTX 560ti 448 core- Radeon 7870- Nvidia GTX 570-Nvidia GTX 580-Radeon 7950-Radeon 7970
Generally speaking, for thier price ranges, 6870 is the best bang/$ at its price range, the next card is the 560Ti then the 560Ti 448 Core then (currently) the 7870. Nvidia releasing new cards soon, so who knows how they will affect pricing. But for price $180 or less 6870 $230 or less 560Ti $260 or less 560Ti 448 core $280 Radeon 7850 $350 or less Radeon 7870. Things constantly change every couple of months, they always do :P

I would go with some of these recomendaitons, or wait at least till end of march for Nvidia 600 series to release, Intel Ivy Bridge will be slightly better performing, but also more $ then what it currently offered, though it will be a step up in many things and reduce power consumption MOST desktop users will not see a very large leap in performance, it will be a bump, for you using a core 2 Q6600 an Intel 2500/2500k would be a massive jump and something like a 6870 or 7870 would be again a massive performance jump.

Intel and Nvidia I am not fond of, I have switched to AMD fully with my current build and am super happy. I got alot of previous Nvidia and even some Intel users to the AMD side, and they all love them as well.

Power-Corsair or XFX(mostly)
Graphics-ASUS or XFX or MSI or EVGA
CPU-well AMD or Intel are your only 2 choices :P
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  #9 (permalink)  
Old March 15, 2012, 01:50 PM
Top Prospect
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 58

My System Specs


i5 2400 (stock cooler to start)
650w Power Supply (if not going SLi)
P67 chipset motherboard (Z68 Gen 3 ONLY if you MUST have PCIe 3.0 and plan to upgrade to Ivy Bridge CPU)
4-8GB 1333 or 1600MHz RAM
SSD 64GB OS and Programs (optional)
1TB WD Green Storage and Games
~$20 DVD-RW drive
Keep using your current video card until midrange Keplers are out.
~$70 all in one water cooling
~$200 24" HD monitor
~$80 case or reuse your Antec 900
reuse mouse and keyboard

Buy your parts at your local store if you can. If you have to RMA, there are no shipping charges to you. If you need/want to return something, you don't have to wait days/weeks for them to send it to you after you send the defective product to them with you paying the shipping fees.

If you have a Canada Computers store near you, go there, because 8/10 times they match or beat w/e any online retailer has, including newegg. And they only charge 5% on returns!

Last edited by jurassic1024; March 15, 2012 at 02:02 PM.
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  #10 (permalink)  
Old March 15, 2012, 03:11 PM
Top Prospect
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Edmonton
Posts: 104

My System Specs


SSDs give you faster Boot times and faster program load/level load times in games, but IMHO are not worth it in a $1000 build. These guys are right in saying you can go i5-2400 or 2500 instead of K and P67 instead of Z68 but for the $30 you might save I wouldn't. Stick to Z68 Gen 3s and the 2500K. If you like NVidia stick with it, they are reducing their prices to maintain a performance to money ratio and stay competitive with AMD...the 580 is only ~10% faster than the 570 though for ~30% more money or more, which is why I don't recommend 580s unless you absolutely have to have their best.

There are rumors that the new 600 Nvidias are as much as twice as fast as the last Gen, but there were also rumors that the Bulldozer would crush i7-3000s...rumors are rumors and until those cards show up we won't know the truth, but since the reviews on highend GTX 600 gear should be here by end of the month (maybe even next week) you might want to wait for that.
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