First Build, Office/Gaming, up to $2000


Mar 12, 2011
I am replacing a three-year-old Dell XPS 420 (Intel Q6600). All the great resources here have convinced me to build my own.

Approximate Purchase Date: within the next few days.

Budget Range: Not important. More interested in good value. Was prepared to spend $1850 on a Dell XPS 9100 before deciding to build my own.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: (1) I work from home, which means MSOffice/Internet all day long, (2) Gaming. Even though gaming is second on my priority list, I'd still like excellent quality when gaming. (3)Movies, including Blu-Ray.

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, mouse, monitor (24" Dell U2410), speakers

Preferred Websites for Parts: Newegg, Amazon

Country of Origin: US

Parts Preferences: Intel

Overclocking: Maybe. I'm willing to pay the small price difference to leave open the possibility.

SLI or Crossfire: Not now.

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1200

What I'm thinking:

CASE: Cooler Master HAF 922

CPU: i5-2500k


RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333

GPU: GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6950 2GB


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

Optical: SAMSUNG Black Blu-ray Drive SATA Model SH-B123L

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders

Media Reader: Rosewill RCR-IC001 40-in-1 USB 2.0 3.5" Internal Card Reader

Cost of the above: about $1150, with the case from Amazon(free shipping) and the rest from Newegg, including combos.

1. Does that all work together?
2. There is still plenty of room in my budget, but I don't want to throw money away either. Are there any obvious upgrades that will make a significant difference in relation to cost? For example, I could add $100 for an i7-2600k, but will I get much out of that? Will I see a big difference if I put Windows and Office on a SSD?
3. My understanding is that with the above set-up, upgrading RAM from 1333 to 1600 won't make a difference, and upgrading HDD from Sata II to Sata III won't make a difference. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Thank you for your advice and opinions. This is a tremendously helpful community.



Sep 7, 2010
1. Yea it should all work fine.
2. 6950 may be a bit of overkill for mainly work stuff. But if you game at 1920x1200 and you have the money, no big deal.

You will notice a large difference in general system speed if you make the boot drive a SSD. I believe it's the single best upgrade available right now. Just a new model, 60gb. Apps load much faster, windows reacts faster on menus, files move around quicker. Again, if you want to spend the money, it's worth it. I've got several Samsung HD103SJs and they are great, fast drives though.

3. Wouldnt worry about 1600 or Sata 3 just yet.


Mar 12, 2011
Thank you. I was originally looking at a 5870 or 6870, but then a 6950 1GB was just a bit more, and then a 6950 2GB was just a bit more than that. I may scale back there.

Thank you also for pointing me toward the SSD. I'm a bit worried about adding this complication to the build, but the more research I do, the more it seems to be worth it.

animesh singh

Sep 2, 2011
SSD will be an extremely good addition to your build, try to buy a SATA III one for more speeds.Also, there is a slight difference in 1333 mhz and 1600 mhz. As there is about 10$ difference in both, i would recommend upgrading. For the rest, you are good to go. Also, consider the MSI Twin Frozr III or Asus or Sapphire Dirt 3 editions of the 6950 which are better than Gigabyte