Comprehensive Gaming PC/Laptop Buying Guide

85 Troll Druid
3280
CPU: i5-2500k
CPU Cooler: CoolerMaster Hyper 212+, or EVO
Motherboard: ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3
RAM: Any 2 x 4GB RAM while keeping my notes (DDR3-1600, 1.5v)
Graphics: GeForce GTX 680
Power Supply: PC Power and Cooling Silencer MK III 600W or above if wanted
SSD: 120GB Intel 520 or above if wanted
Hard Drive: 500GB, 1TB or above if wanted
DVD Drive: Cheap DVD Burner
Case: HAF 912 or above if wanted

This is what im building once the nvidia cards come out.
Edited by Yair on 4/6/2012 3:00 PM PDT
90 Blood Elf Paladin
8895
GeForce 680? It's already out. ;)
90 Draenei Shaman
0
Yeah, Lian Li stuff is quality, no doubt about it. A friend I know raves about them all the time. :)



They do make some really nice cases, especially if you like aluminum.

If you're in this price range for a new case I'd also recomend checking out the Silverstone FT02. Very nice case and the rotated mobo mounting makes for much easier access to the I/O panel on a floor-based tower. It's also a positive pressure case so cooling is excellent.
CPU: i5-2500k
CPU Cooler: CoolerMaster Hyper 212+, or EVO
Motherboard: ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3
RAM: Any 2 x 4GB RAM while keeping my notes (DDR3-1600, 1.5v)
Graphics: GeForce GTX 680
Power Supply: PC Power and Cooling Silencer MK III 600W or above if wanted
SSD: 120GB Intel 520 or above if wanted
Hard Drive: 500GB, 1TB or above if wanted
DVD Drive: Cheap DVD Burner
Case: HAF 912 or above if wanted

This is what im building once the nvidia cards come out.


I am going with something VERY similar to that, but getting Ivy Bridge, Antec 300 or 302 case, and I'm still not sure on what card to get....was looking at 560 Ti 448 cores....but I am new to this and don't know what kind of card would be good for me since there are like 10,000 of them to pick from that all look the same.

When looking for a card, what specs do you want to look for? Does it all depend on the game?
3 Blood Elf Warrior
0
Wall of text.

** Build 4: Yay overkill!

Note: This build assumes you will overclock the CPU. If you will not, replace CPU with i5-2300, don't buy the CPU cooler, and get RAM with DDR3-1333 version. Motherboard can be kept if you NEED SLi/CrossFireX. Otherwise, get ASRock H61M/U3S3 motherboard.

CPU: i5-2500k
CPU Cooler: CoolerMaster Hyper 212+, or EVO
Motherboard: ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3
RAM: Any 2 x 4GB RAM while keeping my notes (DDR3-1600, 1.5v)
Graphics: Radeon 7870 or above if wanted
Power Supply: PC Power and Cooling Silencer MK III 600W or above if wanted
SSD: 120GB Intel 520 or above if wanted
Hard Drive: 500GB, 1TB or above if wanted
DVD Drive: Cheap DVD Burner
Case: HAF 912 or above if wanted

Estimated cost: ~$1250 ~ +++
Estimated FPS: Do we really need to say this?

Hey Kalganized I see you haven't had time to check your mail or it was overly confusing so I thought I would just ask my question's here the easiest way I can. If I wanted to build the above build but only had the money for the Mb, Cpu, ram, case and power supply and could borrow or reuse everything else except for a Gpu do you think the on board graphic's would get me 5 fps in lfr? Also would it be safe to do for about 2 month's? I already wrote this all out once and it got erased somehow. So I'm just going to re-list the rest of the question's quickly. I was wondering what your thought's are on someone using an ssd as there only drive? And what your thought's are on Asus p8z68-v/gen3 board compared to the one above?
I know a couple people have made suggestion's on cases after I asked about the Lian Li pc-7b plus And i wanted to say Thank you for the suggestions. But I'm going to stick to this one without all the fancy led's and window's.

Edited for grammar, spelling and cutting the extra un-important stuff.
Edited by Depps on 4/7/2012 3:50 PM PDT
90 Blood Elf Paladin
8895
I am going with something VERY similar to that, but getting Ivy Bridge, Antec 300 or 302 case, and I'm still not sure on what card to get....was looking at 560 Ti 448 cores....but I am new to this and don't know what kind of card would be good for me since there are like 10,000 of them to pick from that all look the same.

When looking for a card, what specs do you want to look for? Does it all depend on the game?


Hi, please refer to this post for the relative power ranking of the entire current available lineup of graphics cards:

http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/4253974222?page=4#73

As mentioned in the guide, if all you do is WoW and other not-so-demanding games, a Radeon HD 6870 or GeForce 560 will serve you fine. Demanding games are shooter games at the moment: Battlefield 3, Crysis 2, and Metro 2033.

As for the individual card itself, buy whichever is the cheapest in the family. IE) Don't buy $200 for a Radeon 6870. You should only be paying at most, $170ish after rebates.

Depps said stuff...


Hi.

I haven't gotten on WoW at all recently, sorry about that.

As for the answers:

1. What you can recycle depends on the following factors:

- Is the case off-the-shelf part, not made by HP, Dell, and other similar major companies? Is it also a standard mid-tower case? If it supports standard ATX motherboard size, and that size is not cramped inside, you can re-use it. It's possible if it's a cheapest possible case, it may not fit a tower cooler like CoolerMaster Hyper 212+ / EVO coolers. In that case (you bought a cheapest plain case), I would recommend you buy a new case as well.

- Hard Disk and DVD drive should be a standard size using SATA interface. But if you are using a PC with such an old age, it is very likely it is using IDE interface, which is no longer supplied for in today's motherboards. So you will have to buy a new hard disk and a DVD drive.

- If you do not have vendor-neutral copy of Windows 7 or Vista 64-bit, you need a copy. The "copy" given by major pre-built companies like HP and Dell only work on HP / Dell approved motherboard. So in that case, you also need a copy.

- The on-CPU integrated graphics, the Intel HD 3000, will get you about 5~10 FPS at best in LFR with lowest settings. If you are fine with that, you can deal with it. Otherwise... Yeah.

- If you can recycle existing hard disk, you can re-use it as a data drive alongside the SSD (as a main drive). If you can't recycle existing hard disk, you can use SSD as the only drive only if you are fine with the size limitation, and that you do extra work in ensuring that temporary folders / web browser cache is pruned constantly.

- ASUS board is fine if you don't mind spending more. If you are limited on a budget, don't buy it over ASRock board. As I mentioned at the end of the motherboard guide, if you want to buy more expensive motherboards, it's fine. Just don't buy them while sacrificing other parts.
3 Blood Elf Warrior
0
04/07/2012 12:16 PMPosted by Kalganized
I haven't gotten on WoW at all recently, sorry about that.


It's wasn't a big deal I originally said when you had time was just thinking Easter day sale's and thought I would ask on here make it much easier and maybe help someone else. The idea to skip the video card isn't to skim on part's and save money merely as a way to delay it a tiny bit to split everything up. I'm trying to build two for my wife and I. So if i can split it up a tiny bit and not empty my bank all at once would be excellent.
The cases I'm using are the Lian Li pc-7b plus 2 as long as newegg has 2. Other then that I'm going to follow your list almost exact except for using the stock fan untill I get a video card and can even consider overclocking. The asus motherboard as I highly trust it to last me a while, well also being future proof for a little bit of time. And the video card which I have my reason's for. As far as the size of ssd I have 15gb left on a 80gb hhd so I'm not overly worried about the space issue. It was just the everyday use thing. Seem's as I re dig into the new stuff I'm finding more and more concern's about it.
The last thing I wanted to just make double sure about is using the on board video. 5-10 frames in LFR would be an upgrade. I won't be doing much of LFR untill after mist and after I get video card. Was more a point of reference. But It shouldn't hurt it to use the on board to run 5-mans a couple hour's a night on min setting's for about 2 month's right?

Had to edit forgot to say thank you for all the help!!!
Edited by Depps on 4/7/2012 4:07 PM PDT
90 Blood Elf Paladin
8895
The integrated graphics should make it doable with 5 mans with lowest settings.
90 Night Elf Death Knight
6115
For a case I highly recommend the Rosewill Blackhawk. Im running 10 total fans in mine and its as quiet as a mouse.
90 Blood Elf Paladin
8895
Updated to include information on the cheapest, key-feature available Z77 motherboard.
85 Troll Druid
3280
I'm waiting until everything is out hardware wise. I guess about mid may
Very good post lots of good info
Kal - now I don't think I want to OC. But what would be the biggest difference one could see if I bought the Build 4 and didn't OC compared to the build 3? Because yes I would love to save money, and I am just looking at getting a computer where I wouldn't need to upgrade for at least a year or so. I would save and spend some good money on the GPU mind you, I'm just talking about everything else (cpu/mb) etc etc. ?
90 Blood Elf Paladin
8895
The biggest difference between i5-2300 and i5-2500k, assuming the 2500k is set at stock clock, is about 2~3 FPS tops in CPU-bound gaming, zero in GPU-bound gaming such as Call of Duty.

However, difference between i3-2120 and i5-2300 is about ~10 FPS in CPU-bound gaming, but still zero in GPU-bound gaming.

See:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-fx-pentium-apu-benchmark,3120-6.html
85 Human Warlock
5895
Great job Kal. Thanks for all of the help with builds. Request sticky.
85 Tauren Warrior
4035
First of all this should be stickied already (c'mon forum mod!)

For wow players out there who still use an older PC like me, 4 years old dell studio 540 Q8200 DDR2 RAM, if you're still trying to hang on to your PC but would like to enjoy wow at ultra/high settings you need to get the new radeon HD 7750. That video card is amazing. It only cost $110 but delivers performance like you wouldn't believe.

At the moment I'm running wow on ultra (high shadow per kalganized advise), 4x multisampling, 1440 x 900 and I'm getting 30-40 FPS in orgrimmar and 10 man raid, anywhere between 50-70 while leveling my alts and around 20-30 in a 25 man LFR (I can get better FPS if I tune down to high settings). Just remember that when you're raiding, DO NOT enable recount/skada. These addons will severely lower your FPS. Just let someone else with a better cpu run the epeen meter.

Anyways, Kalganized you are the man and thank you for all your advise.
90 Human Paladin
0
Great post Kalganized, just started buying for my new rig, and a lot of my stuff seems to already have been recommended by you.
90 Blood Elf Paladin
8895
CyberPowerPC's selections are limited, but since you are buying i5-2500k, it is expected you are intending to overclock? In this case, you need a third party cooling (not stock) as well as a Z68 motherboard. Z77 only if you care about Ivy Bridge.

Power supply they offer is ridiculously crap by default, you must buy one with 80 Plus certification.
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