First gaming PC build (~$2000): Opinions and parts help


Jul 28, 2012

This is my first time building a PC, and my first time posting on the forum. I want to make sure that all my parts are compatible, and I'm taking any suggestions on ways to better the build price/value ratio. Also, if I'm forgetting any components, please let me know. I appreciate any help you can offer. Thanks for reading.

Approximate Purchase Date: As soon as the build is finalized.

Budget Range: Trying to keep it around $1600 (without monitor), but I can go higher if there is a justifiable reason. (Max $2000)
I'm not including the monitor in the price because I haven't upgraded my computer in a long time, so I'm looking to get a great system.
I'll probably end up spending anywhere from ~$1900 to ~$2300 with a monitor.

System Usage from Most to Least Important:
Non-competitive Gaming: mmorpg (Guild Wars 2), rpg (Skyrim - no mods) and some FPS (Battlefield 3).
Graphic design

Are you buying a monitor: Yes

Do you need to buy OS: Yes, will probably buy retail copy of Windows 7. (Also not including this in price)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:

Location: Long Island, New York, US

Parts Preferences: intel, nvidia (Trying really hard to stay away from ASUS products. They seem to be great when they work, but they also seem to have a high failure rate and their customer service is abysmal. This is just the impression I get from forums and product ratings on newegg).

Overclocking: Maybe (I didn't intend to overclock, but I want components that I can overclock. I may try to overclock once I'm more comfortable with the idea).

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe (There is a good chance I will SLI in the future)

Monitor Resolution: Looking for a 23" or 23.6". Most of those seem to be 1920x1080.

Additional Comments: I also do some programming. Occasionally graphic design for web sites, but only as a hobby.

And Most Importantly, Why Am I Upgrading: My current computer is a Dell XPS720 that I bought in September of 2007, so it's coming up on it's 5 year anniversary. I've been playing most games on mid to low graphics settings for years, and I'm tired of it. I put some more RAM in about 2 years ago, and I currently have an nvidia gts 250. I know it's bad, but I didn't have the financial resources to get anything better in recent years.

Any Comments sections below are my personal thoughts, and describe some of the difficulties I'm having in choosing parts. I'm especially having trouble choosing a monitor, if you can't tell by the long comment.


Intel Core i7-3820 Sandy Bridge-E 3.6GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 2011 130W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80619i73820

Comments: None

Intel BOXDX79SI LGA 2011 Intel X79 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard


ASUS P9X79 PRO LGA 2011 Intel X79 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with USB BIOS

Comments: I can't decide between these two boards. From my research, the Intel is more stable but lacks certain features for overclocking. If I decide to overclock in the future, I don't want to be hindered by the motherboard. The ASUS won Anandtech Editors’ Choice Award, and has UEFI BIOS, and full overclocking features, but I'm worried because I see a lot of nightmare stories about ASUS parts breaking and customer service giving people the runaround. I'm leaning toward taking the risk on the ASUS.

G.SKILL ECO 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9Q-8GBECO


G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9Q-8GBZL

Comments: The x79 chipset base voltage for RAM is 1.35v, and recommend a maximum of 1.5. Some people actually run at 1.65v without problems. The main difference between these two is that the ECO is 1600mHz at 1.35v and the Ripjaws is 1600mHz at 1.5v. I'm not sure if the ECO is worth the additional cost. They should run cooler, and also have more headroom for overclocking though. The Ripjaws also feature slightly higher profile heat spreaders (though they don't look as tall as some like Corsair Vengeage), so I'd also be worried about CPU coolers not fitting.

CPU Cooler
COOLER MASTER V8 RR-UV8-XBU1-GP 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler Intel Core i7 compatible

Comments: I guess the cooler I get has a lot to do with what memory I get. It seems like this cooler would fit with either low or high profile memory.

Video Card
EVGA 02G-P4-2678-KR GeForce GTX 670 FTW 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

Comments: None

Power Supply
CORSAIR Professional Series Gold AX850 (CMPSU-850AX) 850W ATX12V v2.31 / EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Full Modular Active PFC Power Supply

Comments: I was reading that PSUs do not put out what is on the sticker and that they typically supply less wattage at steady 12V, e.g., a 750W PSU may only supply max of 600W at 12V. I was originally going to get a 750W power supply, but I figured since there is a good chance I will SLI I should get something bigger. The video card alone recommends at least 500W.

Solid State Drive
Intel 520 Series Cherryville SSDSC2CW240A3K5 2.5" 240GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)


SAMSUNG 830 Series MZ-7PC256B/WW 2.5" 256GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

Comments: Unless someone gives me a reason otherwise, the Samsung is a clear winner here. They both seem to have good ratings, so it comes down to this fact: 256GB SSD for $230 vs 240GB SSD for $270.

Other Hard Drive
I have a relatively new 1.5TB Western Digital that I will take out of my old Dell.

CD/DVD Drive/Burner
ASUS 24X DVD Burner - Bulk 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS - OEM

Comments: None.

I have not yet chosen a case. I'm taking suggestions. I plan to get an ATX Full Tower.

My brother recommends the COOLER MASTER HAF X RC-942-KKN1 Black Steel/ Plastic ATX Full Tower Computer Case

Comments: So many of these look the same, and the features all kind of blur together. I guess I need something that will fit the CPU cooler.

Additional Case Fans
I have not yet chosen any additional case fans. I know most cases come with fans, but I'm not sure if I need more. I'm taking suggestions.

Comments: None.

BenQ XL2420T Black-Red 24" 5ms (2ms GTG) HDMI Widescreen Height & Pivot Adjustable LED-Backlit 120Hz 3D-Ready LCD Monitor 350 cd/m2 DC 12M:1 (1000:1)


Asus VG236H 23" 2ms 1920x1080 Full HD HDMI multimedia Height & Swivel Adjustable WideScreen LCD 120Hz 3D Monitor w/nVidia 3D Vision Kit hard bundle 400 cd/m2 100,000:1 (ASCR)


Dell UltraSharp U2312HM IPS-Panel Black 23" 8ms Swivel & Height Adjustable Widescreen LCD Monitor with LED 300 cd/m2 2 Million:1 DCR (1000:1)

Comments: I've had a very difficult time choosing a monitor. I've narrowed it down to these monitors. I've heard 120Hz monitors are excellent for gaming, but seem to be focused mainly toward competitive FPS gamers (which I am not) who really don't care about image quality but instead care about speed and accuracy. The Dell has an IPS panel and is 60Hz, as opposed to the 120Hz TN panels in the others. While the panel in the Dell is probably an e-IPS (lower end, compared to much more expensive h,p or s-IPS), it will probably have better color than the 120Hz monitors. The dell happens to have low response times and input lag compared to other IPS monitors of equal value. I guess my question here is. If I play mostly mmorpg, and rpg like Guild Wars 2 and Skyrim respectively, I can benefit from better colors and overall picture quality with the IPS display. When I do switch over to play a game like Battlefield 3, will the IPS monitor put me at a significant disadvantage, because at that point I would think even a 60Hz TN panel display would be better than any IPS display. If I'm not playing competitively is a 120Hz monitor something I should even be looking at? I'm not really concerned with viewing angles. I don't know anyone who plays games sitting at a 160 degree angle. I've heard the low end IPS displays like the Dell display really don't have that much better color quality compared to the TN displays, and that you really only see a significant difference if you spend $1000 on an IPS. If someone told me a 120Hz monitor wouldn't look significantly different from an IPS display in terms of color (in the Ultrasharp's price range), then I guess I would just go with the 120Hz. But if the TN panels are going to look horribly washed out from things like the LightBoost technology, then I would probably go with the IPS display.


Mar 23, 2010
Well, I'd like to start off by saying that there are no 'bad' choices throughout your build.
However I see a good amount of overkill, which is a double edge sword, I guess.
On one hand you can (with luck) have a pc that will last you another 5 years without needing to upgrade/replace but we both know those chances are slim.
On the other hand (and this is of course my personal opinion) I believe you're overspending for minimal performance increase. I would save money now and inevitably use that money to upgrade later as technology advances.
An example:

Motherboard and CPU: a LGA 1155 and I5 Ivy Bridge combo would save you hundreds with a very slight performance hit


Monitor: As human beings we won't notice most of the jazz that pricier monitors offer, a $150 23" monitor is good enough

Another piece of advice as far as longevity is to look at computer parts with less demand for juice (heat).

In the end it is your money and you do what you want with it. Again, no bad choices but you may want to save some of that cash. :)
Good luck!


Jul 28, 2012

Do you know if my build is able to run games at greater than 60fps, will I experience screen tearing with a 60hz monitor?


Jul 28, 2012

Everyone says 120Hz is very noticeable. IPS is worth the extra money if you get H-IPS, P-IPS or S-IPS, but they cost $800+. The Dell E-IPS I'm looking at is actually less expensive than the Asus and Benq TN displays.

Quote taken from,3016-11.html
Unlike most IPS-based displays, we're unable to achieve an average delta E below 3 with the U2412M. That's really a symptom of its cheaper e-IPS panel, which forgoes many of the color filtering technologies present in H-IPS and p-IPS in order to drive down cost.

According to this article, the rendered percent of adobeRGB 1998 on the Dell Ultrasharp U2412M E-IPS is a mere 5% higher than the closest rated TN panel monitor (the HP 2311x).

If there is a 5% difference in color rendering between the Dell E-IPS and, for example the Benq TN 120Hz, I would rather get the benefit of 120Hz. Does this sound logical, or am I understanding this incorrectly?


Nov 29, 2012
Hey buddy I'm new to the forums and no one has helped me on my post so I figured I would help someone else in the mean time, I researched a ton online and theres alot of these "catleap" korean monitors, their 27' monitors with 2560x1440 resolution, they sell them on ebay and theres another site for Overlord monitors but if something went wrong with them your kind of stuck because I don't know how RMA would be back to some shady korean. But I have found one at Microcenter if you have ever heard of them, pretty much heaven for computer parts, they offer one exactly the same as korean monitors but Microcenter's warranty, their warranty is no questions asked and if you do decide, buy the 2 year warranty and if nothing has happend in the first two years, you can call them and extend it over the phone, you end up paying a extra 10$ to do that but who knows maybe in 2 years you don't want the monitor anymore, the monitor also has Display Port, which it doesn't say on the box and make sure after you buy the monitor, walk over to the Knowledge Bar and get them to test it for "dead" or "stuck" pixels as they can be common with these monitors, they did it in about 10 minutes and I am so happy with this monitor ((2 weeks later)) is unreal, anyways buddy good luck and I'm sorry I cant help with the parts but with the processer, its better to go with the I5-3750K as its much cheaper then a I7 with almost 0 to none performance increase, you can save yourself a hundred dollars by doing that, also I heard the AROCK Extreme6-7 is one of the best mobo's out so I would invest in a I5 3750k with a AROCK Extreme 6 or 7. anyways thanks alot by the way which Guild Wars server do you play on? I would be interested in playing with someone new and creating a new character, Thanks! - Link the the monitor

By the way a simple search of "catleap" will keep you reading for hours about these magic korean displays at such a cheap price haha, after gaming in 2560x1440 I never want to go back to anything else haha. Hope to hear from you soon bud.