Under $1500 build, looking for advice!


May 4, 2009
Hey guys, I posted a few weeks ago when I was debating between getting a laptop vs desktop + netbook/small laptop for college this coming year. I've been putting together desktop builds on newegg and if I can manage get a desktop that'll last me at least through college (probably with intermittent upgrades) for under $1500, I'll have enough money left over to buy a quality netbook or lightweight laptop that I can run CAD, MATLAB, etc on.

Approximate Purchase Date: Within the next few weeks

Budget Range: $2000 total budget (After rebates), anything left after desktop purchase goes toward a laptop/netbook

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Games, engineering programs, internet surfing, assignments, F@H

Parts Not Required: speakers, monitor, mouse, keyboard

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg (tigerdirect if its cheaper)
Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: Sandy bridge processor, nvidia graphics card, ASUS/ASRock mobo

Overclocking: Yes

SLI or Crossfire: Potentially SLI

Monitor Resolution: I have a monitor that runs at 1920x1080 that I'd just bring along to school

Additional Comments: Preferably less bling (LED's) and quiet would be nice since I'll have it in my room all day!

Preliminary build -

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 - $219.99
(combo deal)
Rosewill CHALLENGER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case, comes with Three Fans-1x Front Blue LED 120mm Fan, 1x Top 140mm Fan, 1x Rear 120mm Fan, option Fans-2x Side 120mm Fan - $49.99
$254.98 together

EVGA SuperClocked 012-P3-1572-AR GeForce GTX 570 (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card - $339.99 before a $25 dollar rebate
(Likely a bit over-the-top for now, but I'm hoping I'll be able to buy this and not even have to look at a new card for a while, maybe SLI will be an option down the line when prices fall).

CORSAIR Professional Series HX750 (CMPSU-750HX) 750W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply - $139.99 before a $20 rebate
(Is 750W enough?)

OCZ Solid 3 SLD3-25SAT3-120G 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC - $199.99 before a 30 dollar rebate
(Also have been looking at the agility 3, vertex 3, and force 3, but I couldn't turn down the current discount on the solid 3).

Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive - $89.99

I've been debating between a number of motherboards-
ASUS SABERTOOTH P67 (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - $204.99
ASUS P8P67 DELUXE (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - $224.99
ASRock P67 EXTREME4 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - $159.99
ASRock P67 EXTREME6 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - $189.99
ASUS P8Z68-V PRO LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - $209.99
ASUS P8Z68-V LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - $179.99
ASRock Z68 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - $189.99

Help in this category would be fantastic haha.

What sort of mobo should determine which clock speed of RAM I'll need, but I'll be getting 2x4GB for sure...I'll likely try to get G. Skill Ripjaw RAM or Corsair Vengeance RAM.

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 - $49.99

I'll probably just go with a cheapish CD/DVD drive (no BD) and a copy of Windows 7 home premium (unless I can find another copy of windows 7 for less somehow, potentially through my school's technology fair/sale). Without either factored into the price, I'm looking at about $1265 after rebates I believe, leaving a good amount for a second gen. i5 laptop. As soon as I get the desktop price set I'll be able to look a little more closely at laptop options (Lenovo looks like a pretty good choice as of right now though).

Thanks in advance for everyone's input!


May 4, 2009
Would you still recommend it at the cheaper price over a zalman or xigmatek cooler? I have a dark knight in my old build that has worked out pretty nicely, but just heard good things about the hyper212 so I decided to check it out.


May 4, 2009
In addition to the challenger, I was looking at a couple other cases (mostly antec or lian li). The Antec 300 stood out as a pretty solid option and is similarly priced, but I wasn't sure if anyone has had personal experience with either case (quiet?, good cable management, problems fitting in larger cpu coolers or graphics cards, etc).


May 4, 2009
After some more research I chose a different psu (a corsair 650w) to get a nice combo deal with 8 gigs of corsair vengeance ram. I'm not at home right now so I can't link but Ill try to tomorrow. I also have been looking at other video card options...I found an evga gtx 570 with display port (without it was more expensive?) for 300 flat but I could probably find a 560ti for a hundred dollars cheaper. Whatever money I save just goes toward a laptop, and I think I've found some good ones from lenovo in the 700 dollar range, so what kind of difference in performance would I see in a switch from the 570 to a 560ti?


Sep 6, 2010
Man, what is up with you people, God I see the most retarded things here at times, people cheaping out on cases, getting crap video cards, ugly ass cases

Why dont you get the Hyper 212+ from Amazon, can NO ONE else think of ordering from Amazon, they have a lot of stuff there for great prices

$50 for Hyper 212+ are you kidding me


Apr 21, 2011
Here's a build just under $1500.

CPU & Optical Drive: $226- i5 2500K & Samsung DVD Writer

Motherboard : $170- Gigabyte Z68X UD3H (great motherboad , review)

SSD: $200- OCZ Agility 3 120GB (Same)

Power Supply & RAM : $175- Thermaltake Black Widow 850 & GSkill RipjawX (2x 4GB) (modular PSU & cheap RAM)

OS: $95- Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64bit)

GPU: $325- EVGA GTX 570

HDD: $55- Samsung Spinpoint 1TB

Case : $160- Corsair Graphite 600T

Total (Excluding Rebates) : 1416 USD

Rebates: 100 USD

For Cooler, just for starters you can get :
$30- Xigmatek Gaia

$50- Scythe Mugen

And so on ..

That should help,I suppose.


May 3, 2011

What is a "Good looking" case in your eyes, also the 570 superclocked is a fine card.

Everyone sees things differently, it just seems in your eyes, you can not acknowledge beauty.


Nov 12, 2008
Your best option to see what the difference between video cards will be is to look for reputable benchmarks for games similar to what you'll be playing, and at the resolution you'll be playing them. I'm at work so it's a bit difficult for me to link any, but Tom's should have some, as well as other sites. Also, check Tom's most recent article on best GPUs for the price range, if you haven't already.

I just put together an office PC for my dad using the Antec300; it's a great case, but if I was you I'd probably invest a little more for your build. I personally found that while cable management in the 300 wasn't an issue, it could have been better - and my build used integrated video (hence I can't offer advise on fitting in a large card, either). If you're planning on OC'ing, you may need a case with a little more airflow. I know the CM HAF cases have a fairly high reputation, although I find them a little sore on the eyes. If you like the Antec300, did you also take a look at the 900/1200? If you want to go with the 300 though, I'd suggest adding a front intake fan, as I believe it only comes with one top, and one rear fan.

An additional minor note, since my dad's office PC was my first computer build ever, I had the Newegg step-by-step Youtube videos running in the background on my laptop. I noticed that when it came to updating the mobo's drivers, the ASUS and Gigabyte websites visited in the videos seemed far more user-friendly than the ASRock website I visited to update mine. That's not to say it was impossible (one issue with an optional driver, and the LAN driver needed to be reinstalled) although it was enough that I'm likely steering to ASUS or Gigabyte over ASRock for my next build, unless there are major differences in performance. This is more personal preference, as I put high value in a well-constructed, easy-to-use website.

I don't have much knowledge on the real technical aspects of a computer build, like PSU ratings/watts/specifications, etc... Hopefully I provided a helpful perspective from someone who recently built a computer themselves, and shared the minor issues I noticed along the way.

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