New Build - $2000 Gaming Build


Oct 14, 2012
Hello all, long time lurker, first time poster looking to get some advice on a new build. It’s been over 6 years since I last built a system and I’ve been using laptops for the last 4/5 years.

I haven’t kept abreast of component developments in that time, I’ve done some research in the last few days but there are still plenty of things that I’m not sure of. This is where your valued advice will come in. Apologies in advance for the barrage of questions that will follow but I’ll try to keep it concise.

Approximate Purchase Date: Next month (November 2012)
Budget Range: $2000 (Flexible)
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming (BF3, CIV5, MOH:Warfighter EVE Online etc), movies, internet browsing, word/excel for work
Are you buying a monitor: Yes (All peripherals required)
Do you need to buy OS: Yes
Preferred Website(s) for Parts:,,, These are just the main sites I am aware of, no problems using others if people are aware of them.
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Overclocking: Maybe (I’ve never water cooled before so I’d like to try a closed loop system and try to push the CPU up to around 4ghz)
SLI or Crossfire: Maybe (I’m intrigued by the idea of 3D gaming in the future so would like to leave the possibility of increasing graphics processing power open)
Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 minimum, 2560x1600 if I decide to get a larger monitor
Additional Comments: I’d like to go with an nvidia card for the SLI 3D Vision option and PhysX but if the performance of a Radeon far outweighs a similar nvidia card then I’ll consider it but I am aware that there is no crossfire support for HD3D yet.
Why Are You Upgrading: My laptop is starting to give out, cooling fan has gone and the unit gets above 90 degrees when trying to play any game. I’ll get it fixed (really want to play some XCOM!!!) but it has spawned the idea of building a new system both for the fun of the build and the improved gaming experience.

None of the following components have been purchased yet and I am quite open to suggestions. The build so far:
CPU: i5 3750k $233
It’s my understanding that the step up to i7 isn’t all that necessary for a gaming rig; from what I gather hyper threading doesn’t really have a use in gaming. However, would it make more sense in terms of future proofing to go for a 3770k?

CPU Cooler: Antec KUHLER H2O 620 CPU Cooler $79
I’ve chosen this over a H70 as it seems that a simple fan upgrade will provide a sizeable cooling boost. Would it be better to just pay the extra and get a H80? I’m assuming the dual fan setup would end up quieter than a 620 with upgraded fan but would it be overkill for my needs?

Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H $169
This is one of the major components that I’m struggling with, not being fully aware of the pros and cons of each brand as well as the differing specs these days; I can’t decide between this an ASRock Extreme4, ASRock Fatal1ty Z77 Pro, Gigabyte G1.Sniper M3 or an Asus board. I’m having a little trouble digesting the specs and probably making this choice more difficult than it needs to be so I welcome any clarity you guys can bring to this area.

Corsair 16GB Low Profile Kit (4x4GB), PC-12800 (1600MHz) DDR3 $135
Would 8gb be sufficient? Is there much of a performance difference between these or sticks with a higher CAS Latency?

BitFenix Shinobi (Window) $76
I like the look of this case and it’s substantially cheaper than a Fractal Design R4 but is the quality of the R4 really that good to warrant paying $80 extra? It seems that there may be some air flow issues affecting cooling performance but the extra ventilation with the windowed model should hopefully alleviate this. There is also a cheap replacement kit available to replace the USB 2.0 slots at the top of the case with a couple of USB 3.0 slots.

ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II Video Card - GDDR5 2GB 256-bit - GPU Clocks: 915MHz (Boost: 980MHz) Memory Clock: 6008MHz $465
This is another area that I’m having some trouble with. The GTX 670 seems reasonably priced with performance not all that far off a 680 and it would be cheaper to put two into an SLI config if the need arises. Is there a better alternative that I’m not considering, e.g. dual 560ti in SLI or a 7970, I’ve read that, with latest Catalyst drivers and a little overclocking, they are performing on a par with a 680. Is that true?

If you think a 670 is a good option what is a good model to choose (I chose the ASUS somewhat at random). Finally, would a 4gb version offer decent enough performance boosts over a 2gb to justify paying the extra?

OCZ Vertex 4 128gb SSD $105
Western Digital 2TB Caviar Green 3.5” $101
Pretty straightforward here. My only questions concern the SSD; how does OCZ stack up against other brands? Would it be worth paying $100 more for a 256gb version even though the SSD will just be for the OS, games and apps?

Corsair TX-750 V2 Power Supply $141
I appreciate that this might be a bit much for the system as it is now but I’d like to have a little extra spare in case I go for that aforementioned SLI. Is this a good option or would something from the OCZ range (Fatal1ty, ModXStream Pro or High Performance) suffice? Alternatively, is it better to spend extra and assure a good PSU? Something like a Corsair HX-750 maybe?

ASUS VS239H-P (IPS) 23" Full HD Widescreen LED Backlight Monitor - 1920 x 1080 Resolution - 50M : 1 Contrast Ratio - 5ms GTG $169.90
The monitor choice is a bit up in the air at the moment, I’ve chosen this for the time being as it looks like a pretty good deal and I’ve never used an IPS panel but friends have raved about them in the past so thought I might give it a shot.
There are a number of considerations for me to make with regards to monitor. I’m putting it towards the bottom of the list of decisions for the time being but regardless, I’ll outline my thinking as it stands.

I’ll certainly end up with a multiple monitor setup when all is said and done, I like the look of a portrait-landscape-portrait setup with a 27” central screen and smaller monitors flanking it. I don’t quite understand the implications of vertical resolutions and potential conflicts but I’ll look into it. I also understand that there are major issues with using a P-L-P setup in 3D Vision. Maybe a P-P-P setup with smaller screens would work best.

I may be tempted to take a risk on one of those 27” Korean monitors if the P-L-P is viable. However, I’ve only just heard of them and will have to check out some vendor reviews and such and I know they will lack 3D support.

Considering the cost of a 3D IPS screen I’m going to have to make a decision as to where my preference lies with regards to 3D or superior image quality. Any input with this one is welcome.

Sound Card:
I’m happy to use the motherboards on-board audio to begin with, the last time I built a PC the Asus Xonar range didn’t even exist but I’ve been told they are pretty good. I don’t know the differences between the models right now, if you think it’s better to slot a card in then feel free to recommend. May be worth taking the possible lack of slots into consideration if I do go for SLI, depending on which motherboard is chosen of course.

Windows 7 Home Premium OEM $99
I’m assuming I don’t need to step up to Professional for the increased memory support, after all I shouldn’t really require more than 16gb?

I’m leaning towards a Razer BlackWidow at present as it provides a cheaper mechanical keyboard option than something like a Rosewill, Ducky or Cherry. Bearing in mind I have never used a mechanical keyboard; would it be better to spend extra for one of those models or is the Razer sufficient?

In terms of mechanical switches, it’s my understanding that blues, browns and blacks are all pretty decent for gaming but browns might be the better option. Is that right?

I like the look of the SteelSeries Sensei Raw, the rubber one specifically if I can find it in stock somewhere, but I’m happy to hear what you might have to say about some others.

All that remains is an optical drive and some speakers/headphones. I can just pick up a generic ODD for $20 or a $50 Blu-Ray reader might be nice if I opt for an IPS panel.

I’ll go listen to some speakers or headphones in a store somewhere to see what sounds good unless you have any specific recommendations.

All in, total cost should be somewhere around $1900.

Thanks for taking the time to have a read through this torrent of questions, feel free to give your opinion/critique on any aspect all feedback is welcome.


Apr 23, 2012
Everything is fine so far. You actually need only 8GB of RAM for only gaming. However, be sure to get only 8GB sticks (1x8GB or 2x8GB) only, this leaves an option to upgrade easily.
A 7970 is a better deal than the 670 in some games. If they have a MSI 7970 Lightning for under $550, then get it. If not, stick with Sapphire or XFX.


Jun 12, 2010
8GB will be fine, but you can opt for 16 if you like.

Motherboard is good.

If you had to decide between those two coolers, than it would have to be the H80. I would recommend a Phanteks PH-TC14CS, it looks good, cools great and is relatively quiet.

The R4 is a great case, but I wouldn't pay an extra $80 if the case you picked is good.

I would go with a 7950/70

Get a 7200K RPM HD

SSD is good

The monitor is you choice, do you watch more movies or do you play more 3D games?