First Build $1000 Gaming and Animation


Sep 13, 2011
Hey everyone. I know the New Build Forum has a lot of people asking for advice. Seems I am adding another +1. This is my first built and I would appreciate any advice.

Approximate Purchase Date: within two weeks

Budget Range: Around $1000 before rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming (mainly WOW), 3D animation (Maya and Cinema 4D), and potential video editing

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, and speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:, or any other reliable vendor.

Country of Origin: US

Parts Preferences: I like the Intel Core i7-2600K.

Overclocking: in the future with assistance

SLI or Crossfire: in the future

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: Several questions are listed below. Again I appreciate everyone’s help. I have been reading the forums and articles for about a week and I am overwhelmed. Please be gentle as this is my first posting. I am new to the lingo.

- What motherboard would you recommend?
- What audio card would you recommend?
- Windows 7 Premiun OEM or Full Version?
- 6950 or 6970?
- PSU?

CPU: Intel Core i7-2600K (combo with case $379.98)

CASE: Cooler Master SGC-1000-KWN1 Storm Enforcer ATX Mid Tower Case (combo with CPU $379.98)

MOBO: Z68 with USB 3.0 and for future CrossFire. I am not sure…ASUS, GIBABYTE, or ASRock. Seems the ASRock Z68 Extreme 4 Gen3 is popular with a lot of people.

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 $49.99

GPU: 6950 or 6970. The HIS IceQ X Turbo H695QNT2G2M Radeon HD 6950 2GB has caught my attention $269.99.

HSF: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus $29.99
COOLER MASTER Hyper N 520 $43.99

HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s $59.99

PSU: I like Corsair SLI and CrossFire Ready. Do you suggest a 750W or 850W for future dual video card expansion?

DVD: SAMSUNG 22X DVD Burner 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X $20.00

OS: Window 7 Home Premium. Do you recommend the OEM or the full version? Since this is my first build and if I encounter problems with the motherboard would it be easier to purchase the full version for potential re-installation.

Soundcard: Suggestions? I enjoy utilizing my Logitech multimedia speaker system while playing various games



Aug 16, 2011
Hey, it's a bit late for me, so tired......but I noticed your post had no replies =P Will try to answer in short. The asus, gigabyte, and asrock mobos are all fairly good. You probably won't go wrong with any of those. I went with a gigabyte myself, but there are plenty of happy people with the other brands.

Ram looks good.

If you plan on a 2nd card in the future anyways, the 6950 is a great choice for the money. I got a 6950 when I built my system, and added another one recently, and it rocks. It's tough to beat the performance / price ratio of 2 6950's in x-fire.

The hyper 212+ is a great cooler for the price. I use it with noctua NT-H1 thermal paste, and my i5-2500k runs at 4.1 ghz idling at 28c.....barely hits 50c at full load with the two 6950's in x-fire.

I went with the corsair 850 watt. I was happy I did. The extra wattage is nice having 2 OC'd 6950's, plus all my other gear in the case.

You would probably have less issues with the full version of win 7, but the oem would work. Even if you had to replace a faulty mobo, you could call microsoft, explain the situation, and they would reactivate it for you. If you don't want to deal with the phone wait, full version may be for you =P

The asus sound cards are popular. As are the ht omegas. I'm actually waiting on the new creative ones coming out. Some people hate them, some love them. I figure the new releases are close enough, might as well wait and see what the reviews I use my onboard for now.

Feel free to ask anything else or follow up if I didn't give a satisfactory answer for something. If I'm still awake, will answer asap. If not, will check email when I wake up for additional posts on your thread, and answer then, if you still need.


Sep 9, 2011
CPU: personally, I decided to save $ by going the AMD route and haven't looked into Intel's CPUs very closely. But I have noticed good reports about i7 K series. More importantly, for your animation work, you definitely don't want to run into any slow-downs due to Intel's compiler checking vendor IDs and choosing less optimized paths for non-Intel CPUs. (I've read the courts have slapped Intel for anti-competitive practices against AMD, but we have to see if that really translates into the "non-Intel penalty" being removed.) I've read there are steps software developers can take to make their code run fast on both AMD & Intel, but you need all the horsepower you can afford for 3D animation.

Case: Storm Enforcer is a nice case (I got the Storm Sniper via ShellShocker deal recently) Here's a couple of in-depth reviews of it: C.M.'s Editor's Choice & H.S.'s Golden Award

Mobo: I agree with thrakazog, Asus Asrock & Gigabyte make solid mobos. Considerations to help narrow the field and then choose:
■Look at number & placement of slots
■Does it have all the types & number of ports that you want?
■What about "must have" features?
■Read the comments on Newegg for boards you like.
■How easy is it to OC?
■Finally, google hardware reviews of the remaining contenders to make your final decision.

RAM: solid & highly popular; check out this review. Note: I'd pick the RAM after choosing the mobo and checking it's Memory Qualified Vendor List (QVL) to see if the manufacturer says the board supports the particular module in all available slots & configurations.

GPU: I see lots of gamers going the AMD route (nice bang for the buck) and can't think of any reason to go Nvidia unless you have required apps that can offload work to your GPU. (Some apps are now supporting ATI Stream, but most only support nvidia CUDA; I've read there's a cross-platform standard in development - OpenCL - but who knows how that will turn out.)

Cooler: Like thrakazog, I'd suggest the CM 212+. Compare the reviews Hyper N520 & Hyper 212+ However, if you plan to do some serious overclocking, it's defintely worth your time check out this review of the Noctua NH-D14 :eek: (Newegg link)

PSU: not something you want to cut corners on: it effects the reliability, stability and longevity of everything in your machine. And it's better when a PSU's not being pushed up to its limits: quieter for one thing. Corsair has some very solid 850W units (TX, HX & AX series). Check out this Corsair review database (shows review awards with their links)

I'd suggest Windows 7 Retail. You can move it to another machine. Also, when Windows 8 comes out, you should be able to transfer your 7 license to a virtual machine if you want. (Haven't checked the EULA yet, so I'm not certain.)

DVD: I'd consider the Asus DRW-24B1ST Why? 5 eggs with 2,235 reviews. Also, possibility of using other firmware on it if that sort of uber-geekiness appeals to you.

Soundcard: If your budget is limited, you might save some $ - spend the savings on other components - by just using the built in HD audio on the mobo since you're looking at high quality boards. Later, you can get a dream soundcard. Just a thought.
It's not going to be easy trying to fit that video card in with a build that includes a Z68 board that runs dual vid cards and a 2600K. $79.99 FREE SHIPPING
COOLER MASTER Storm Enforcer SGC-1000-KWN1 Black SECC / ABS Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case ATX PS2 / EPS 12V (optional ) Power Supply $124.99 $10 off w/ promo code EMCKAKA32, ends 9/15
ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard $147.98 FREE SHIPPING 10% off w/ promo code EMCKAKA24, ends 9/15
CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX750 V2 750W ATX12V v2.31/ EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC High Performance Power Supply
CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CML8GX3M2A1600C9B $399.98 FREE SHIPPING
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM
Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I72600K $29.99 FREE SHIPPING
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 $71.48
LITE-ON DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - OEM
Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

Total: 854.41 *not including shipping, rebates, and promo codes