Suggestions for 1st PC Gaming Build?


Sep 4, 2011
Looking to build my 1st computer with the following points in mind:

Budget: around $1000 - max $1200 (JUST THE COMPUTER, the lower the better, open to making exceptions if some parts are absolutely worth getting)

Goals: High-end PC gaming, flexible overclockability potential + options, 3-monitor setup, future-proof/upgradability

I am specifically targeting to maxout on id's upcoming Rage. I think it shouldn't be a problem with some of the parts I have in mind, but just want to throw it out there in case anyone has additional input. Future-proof for Doom 4 would also be nice.

Also, I am interested in learning about unleashing the potential of a computer build and would like to do so via overclocking anything and everything I can without having to spend additional $$$ in the future. Hence, I want to select parts now that aren't necessarily more overclockable, but ones that can teach me the most about overclocking...does that make sense? Of course, it would be perfect if the most overclockable parts were also the most educational.

I am also interested in setting up 3-monitors in the future.

Finally, I want the build to be as future-proof as possible so I can save $$$, but more importantly learn more about tweaking computers by updating individual components.

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K

Mobo: P67 or Z68? LGA 1155 or better future-proof board with PCIe 3.0 support like LGA 1136 or X58?

-I read P67 had some initial Sandy Bridge design flaws. I know they were fixed, but could someone point out how I can tell which models have the flaws and how to tell which ones don't?

-Z68's built-in GPU overclock and SSD-caching extra features don't really seem worth it to me. However, I found that some of their prices are less than premium/high-end P67 boards. Is getting a medium-end Z68 > high-end P67 better or should I get a high-end P67?

-Is Z68 better future-proof than P67 for gaming/overclockability-learning purposes?

LCD: big size, HDMI support, excellent picture quality/good response time, built-in speakers (to hear sound from PS3)

Just looking to buy one at the moment. I want sizes between 20" - 30". Yeah, hella general since my research here is lacking at the moment, but any suggestions would be appreciated.

-My desk may not be large enough & I've seen monitors that hang from a pole or something. Any types of space-saving setups you can recommend?

-Is a single GPU card sufficient for 3-monitor setup? Also, I want all the monitors to be the same size + model in the future (for aesthetics purposes), but I'm worried about any compatibility or if-this-idea-is-just-dumb issues. Any LCDs that fit this bill?

-I want to play PS3 on my LCD, but sound requires built-in speakers on the LCD. Are there cheaper alternatives to solving this sound issue? If so, I'd rather take that route than busting extra $$$ on build-in speakers LCD.

GPU: ~$200 - max $250, Geforce GTX 560 or Geforce GTX 560 Ti? Or equivalent AMD card?

-SLI or Crossfire with less powerful cards worth getting over a single GPU card?
-Which brands are better?

Memory: 2x 2GB memory, need more?
-How to tell if memory will be compatible with my setup? Don't want to deal with a lot of memory issues I hear that comes from selecting incompatible memory or using 4 GB modules.

-Tri-channel vs. dual-channel, which one should I get?

SSD: ~120 GB (open to suggestions)

HDD: WD 1 TB Black Edition (open to suggestions)

Optical drive: regular DVD/CD reader/writer drive

PSU: enough wattage to support my current + future overclock power needs

Case: Cool, see-through case with mod-ability like lights and maybe space for liquid cooling or dual GPUs in the future...essentially enough space to budget-hack my comp in the future

CPU cooler: Necessary?

Fans: Necessary?

I realize my budget may be low, so feel free to throw whatever you think out there and I'll give it some food for thought. Muchos gracias in advance!


Apr 11, 2011
For motherboard go for sure with a solid Z68 chipset. This way you can save a lot of money from buying a big SSD, thanks to SSD caching, and spend them for a better GPU.

For multiple setup monitors, ATI/AMD is the winner. So you should go with a 6950/6970 2GB and nothing less.

For memory, this platform support Dual Channel, so you have to go with it. An 8GB low voltage kit seems ideal!

As for the monitor for me again, the winner is Dell U2311H. It may not have build in speakers, but it has IPS-Panel which means the best picture quality.

Of course you will need an aftermarket CPU cooler if you plan to overclock. Fans usually aren't necessary, as the most cases comes with enough of them pre-installed.

LIAN LI Lancool PC-K58W Black 0.8 mm SECC, Plastic + Mesh ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX650 V2 650W ATX12V v2.31/ EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC High Performance Power Supply

Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52500K

Scythe SCMG-3000 120mm Heat Pipe CPU Cooler

GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

Mushkin Enhanced Silverline 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model 996770

XFX HD-697A-CNFC Radeon HD 6970 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity

Intel 320 Series SSDSA2CT040G3K5 2.5" 40GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

1139$ without MIR


Sep 4, 2011
Much appreciated for the thorough reply michxymi! I am researching based on the replies I get and your post has given me more than enough to do for the coming days!

Have some additional questions that came up:

-I forget to state that a quiet PC is a must. Namely because I think it will bother others and I want to build an elegant comp, not a rough powerhorse. You already mentioned a CPU cooler. But I also heard about water cooling as a possibility, especially for what people say are really loud HD6970s. Any suggestions for making my PC as quiet as possible? (willing to shell out for any additional parts as necessary)

-I read Nvidia's GPUs have this PhysX support. Its use in Arkham Asylum does seem pretty cool and apparently future games may be better exploiting this such as BF3. Does ATI have 'em and am I missing out if I get an ATI GPU?

-I also want to get into SLI/Crossfire in the far future just for kicks/learning purposes. Will the Gigabyte mobo you suggested be able to handle this? Also, will that power supply be enough to support it?

-The next level mobo above the Gigabyte mobo you suggested is UD4. What's the difference and any reason not to get it besides the price?

-Also, want to set up RAID in the near future. I heard 0 and 10 are best for gaming but I've never done it before. Will my mobo support this?

-How come Wiki says LGA1155 chipsets don't support USB3.0, yet all these mobos have USB3.0 support listed? They say the LGA2011 will have native USB3.0 support? What's the difference?

-What kind of interface do SSDs plug into? Apparently SATA3.0 is the upcoming thing and I believe this mobo supports it. Do SSDs use SATA2.0 and 3.0? Kinda confused what interfaces they use and need to know because I may shell out for a small SSD now and wait until the prices drop and get a large SSD but I don't want the small SSD to go to waste if I don't have enough ports on the mobo to include it simultaneously. Also, can I RAID SSDs with HDDs?

Thanks very much!