Comprehensive Gaming PC/Laptop Buying Guide

Games, Gaming and Hardware
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Just ordered my new computer! Been lurking around here for a while and finally I'll have something to play on other than this old Core 2 duo! Huzzah!
G.SKILL Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-1600C8D-8GAB

ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM

Rosewill 10ft. USB2.0 A Male to B Male Cable, Black, Model RCW-101RT

PC Power and Cooling Silencer MK III 600W Modular 80PLUS Bronze Power Supply compatible with Intel Sandy Bridge Core i3 i5 ...

COOLER MASTER HAF 932 Advanced Blue Edition RC-932-KKN3-GP ATX Full Tower Computer Case with USB 3.0, Black Interior and ...

MSI R7870 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 Video Card

AMD Gift - Dirt3 Game Coupon - OEM

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R2 Continuous Direct Contact 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler Compatible with latest Intel ...

Intel Core i5-3570K Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000 BX806237I53570K

ASRock Z77 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

Subtotal $1,117.92
I am guessing you also bought an SSD or two? :o

Looks like a powerful machine, it'll last you for some time.
Yeahh, I got a Kalg recommended 520 Intel.
Okay, now you'll be definitely set for some time. You'll love your PC. ;)
Where are you people ordering the new 3570k I don't see it anywhere, D;
Many pre-build sites offer Ivy Bridge builds already., it's higher than 224..but oh well. I didn't see it on the intel page either, I just happened to look down when I clicked on the CPU tab and I was like "!!!!!!!!", went into my cart immediately and then I made my purchase.
Kal, you should add a laptop section to this when you get time :). I know they're all prebuilt but it seems like half the people posting in this forum are asking about laptops too.
Yeah, I was thinking about it too, it would be super brief too anyway.
MicroCenter deal updated; laptops will be added at the Addendum section maybe.
You said before a 1tb hdd would cost $119. Are the 1tb hdd at $89 a bad deal?
thanks to your guide I'm building my own gaming rig, won't overclock, going with the i5-2300 processor, asrock H61M/U3S3 motherboard, Radeon HD 6870, 128gb M4 crucial SSD, G.Skills ripjaws 2x4GB(8gb total), pc power an cooling MKIII 500w 80+ bronze certified power supply, dvd/cd burner, windows 7 oem, and the HAF 912 case.

ordered it on saturday the 28th will pick it up via will call from the newegg pick up area which is around 20mi from where i live. total of $903.00

I'm replacing my current intel pentium 4 compaq presario thats around 6 years old or so. This will be my first build. i've done minor hardware upgrades to my system from time to time, ie. (memory , gpu, and hardrive updates).

This guide encouraged me to build my own actual gaming rig and for the first time i won't get a prebuilt "Best Buy" computer and add a cheap $20 low profile graphics card. (hp computers last forever lol)

thanks again for taking your time and writing this guide kalaganized.

current system info:

Operating System: Windows XP Home Edition (5.1, Build 2600) Service Pack 3 (2600.xpsp_sp3_gdr.111025-1629)
Language: English (Regional Setting: English)
System Manufacturer: Compaq Presario 061
System Model: PS461AA-ABA SR1318NX NA511
BIOS: BIOS Date: 01/23/06 20:09:06 Ver: 08.00.10
Processor: Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 2.80GHz (2 CPUs)
Memory: 2936MB RAM
Page File: 1009MB used, 3811MB available
Windows Dir: C:\WINDOWS
DirectX Version: DirectX 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)
nvidia geforce 9500 GT
04/30/2012 03:15 AMPosted by Velstraz
You said before a 1tb hdd would cost $119. Are the 1tb hdd at $89 a bad deal?

If that $90 1TB drive has 7200 RPM speed, it's a good deal. Otherwise, don't (unless this drive is used as a data companion drive to an SSD).


Wow, Pentium 4 to i5. You should see huge improvement in cities and raids. :0

Enjoy your new system. ;)
** Absolute Best Single-GPU Graphics Card - If you want to run the most demanding games with absolute top graphics settings with fluent FPS, this is the card for you.

- GeForce GTX 680 @ $500
Accompanying power supply wattage: 550W, 750W for CrossFireX / SLi

Just thought I'd offer this here for ya, Kal.

Available 3 May, RRP at $999 US. (O.O)
Yeah, would be the best graphics card, but still won't be the best single-GPU since it's dual GK104. ;p

I also explicitly mentioned that I would not be mentioning any dual-GPU-on-a-stick solution due to the downsides that come with them.

Usually, these dual-GPU-on-a-stick solutions tend to be a lot cheaper than buying two graphics cards on which that card was based upon. IE) GTX 590 = $700, single GTX 580 = $500. But in the case of GTX 690...

I guess the fancy shroud and fan setup, and all the extra phases bumped up the price, but I am not sure if that's worth it. The GTX 690's clocks are lower than the stock GTX 680.
Hey Kalganized, I'm almost ready to place my order for the new build and I'd love to get a chance to talk with you to get your final thoughts and to ask you a few more questions. Would it be possible to discuss on your server sometime today? I've already got a character on your realm now and can drop you a whisper whenever you have a moment. I'm in the eastern standard timezone, so if you're alright with this idea, let me know your timezone too and what time is best for you so that I can whisper you. I'm sure it won't take too long because I'd love to get my order in today! :D

Thanks again in advance!
I would prefer you just post here on the forums and I can get back to you faster than I can do it on game. :o
Fair enough! I'll do some back and forth seeing as you're here now.

For the video card, I'm looking at the XFX Radeon 7950 DD:
or the XFX Radeon 7950 DD Black Edition:
-Is the 100mhz gain worth the extra $20 or should I just overclock it myself?
-I am trying to future proof as much as possible for a single-GPU card and thought this was a great bang for the buck. Are there any other cheaper cards that you might know of that are as good as or better than this?
-I prefer XFX for the lifetime warranty and I do not want an nVidia card - long story. :P

For the CPU fan, I'd prefer to stay with air cooling and I have the choice of the CM Hyper 212+ or the Notcua NH-D14 since I don't want to hack apart my brand new case. I am pretty sure I don't even need to ask, but is the Noctua actually worth the extra cash? Aiming for 5ghz but would be happy with whatever the IB i5-3570k gives me since I currently have an AMD Athlon 64 x2 4400+ *cringe* :)
100 Mhz is easily gotten on a 7950. Save $20 and OC it yourself.

Well... there are cheaper 7950s that are just as good, although no lifetime warranty for them. If you MUST have a lifetime warranty, go with the XFX. Otherwise, I would have bought the $400 Sapphire 7950.

Noctua is worth the extra cash especially if you intend to overclock at a high level. Only thing that beats Noctua NH-D14 are the full-blown, true water cooling kits. Just be wary of the fact Noctua NH-D14 is -massive- and you will have to plan out how you will install your computer. Also, buying a low-profile RAM may be required.
The RAM I am considering is G.Skill RipjawsX and I am 99% sure that it fits, according to the link I provided a few posts back. I would definitely like to try and squeeze more than the average person might out of my parts. Thanks for your help on those questions!

-Is that Sapphire 7950 @ $400 any better than the XFX @ $430, benchmark-wise?

Here's my build so far besides the video card and CPU fan:

Random DVD Burner:

Power Supply (I don't plan to CrossFireX yet but might later, will upgrade then if needed):

Case (small, I know, but I have limited space and love the look):

WD Caviar Blue 500gb HDD @ 7200RPM:

G.Skill RipjawsX RAM (2133):

Mushkin Enhanced Chronos Deluxe 240gb SSD (I will update firmware for sure):

ASRock Z77 Extreme4:

Last but not least, the i5-3750k! No link needed, I'm sure. :P

I know the RAM isn't 1600 but for the price, why not? I do other things besides gaming from time to time. :P Let me know what you think! Do I have weak points in this build that I should reconsider?

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