Help me build my first gaming PC

So I’ve been stressing on which parts to get for the past week or so, I’ve hit up numerous forums and I’m always getting a ton of different answers.

So lets start off with what I already have

power supply - XFX XXX Edition P1-650X-CAG9 650W ATX12V 2.2 / ESP12V 2.91

that is all haha.

And here is what i plan on getting

CPU - Intel i5 2500k

RAM - G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600

HDD - Western Digital Black 1TB

Now this is where I really need help. I know absolutely nothing about motherboards but my price range for one would be about $140ish.

As for a GPU, I don’t know if I should get a GTX 460 768mb, GTX 460 1gb, or a GTX 560 Ti. Obviously the 560 Ti is best but is it really worth it for the extra money? Oh and btw I’m one of those guys that’s always trying to get the “best bang for my buck.” I like to save money but if its worth it, I’ll cough up a little extra cheese as stated before.

And well yeah so I need some help. Also if you guys feel like I should make some changes in my “plan” let me know.

Oh and since I haven’t bought my CPU yet, I know some places offer like motherboard/cpu combos that would save me some money so yeah if you know of any link itz.

Good call on the Sandy Bridge processor. I’ve heard nothing but good things about them (although the first batch of motherboards had to be recalled due to SATA issues, so there are a few people who disliked waiting).

I think that just about everyone has an opinion or bias for/against just about any hardware out there, so take what I have to say with a grain of salt.

For a motherboard, I’m more partial to ASUS boards mainly for their reliability, but with all things, a blanket statement like that doesn’t really have much bearing. In any case, ASUS boards that support Sandy Bridge processors range anywhere from $90 to $200+, so it really depends on what frills you’re looking for.

For your GPU, I myself bought a factory OC’ed GTX 460 768mb. If you’ve got the extra $100, go for the 560 Ti. But if you’re looking for best bang for your buck, go for the GTX 460 1gb. I have the factory MSI OC’ed GTX 460 Cyclone 768mb and it runs everything I need it to run (L4D2, Team Fortress 2) on the highest settings with no problems. Idles at 32 deg C, and at load 45 deg C. After reading all the benchmarks on it, I was dead set on getting the 1 gb version, but when I ordered everything, there was a sale on that saved me $40 and came with free shipping for my whole PC and a few other parts I was picking up…so it was the equivalent of getting the card for free. However, after trying it out, I didn’t have a need to pick up the 1gb version, so I didn’t bother!

here’s a better question. what is your budget? and what games do you plan on playing? how big is your screen?

Whoops I forgot to add that haha. Well I wanna run Starcraft 2 at a fairly high setting and I might get crysis. And I do plan on getting diablo 3 when it comes out.

As for budget I stated earlier I would like to spend around $140ish on the motherboard (again less is best but looking the the best bang for my buck) and as for the GPU, well see that’s the thing. I would rather spend $140 (GTX 460) than $230 (GTX 560 Ti) but I don’t really know if it’s worth it. Sorry but my knowledge on computer stuff is pretty low.

And I plan getting a 21-23 inch monitor.

You should be fine with that build. I would go with either a 560 Ti and overclock the hell out of it or a 2GB 6950 and flash the bios to a 6970. Especially if you want it to last a while without upgrading. Great call on the i5 2500k, they’re like the Wolfdale of the i5/i7 range, at least overclock wise.

Where do you live? Those prices kind of seem off, you’re not in the U.S. correct?

yeah I live in california.

Oh sorry my bad, for some reason I thought you were saying you were going to get a GTX 460 for $140, my bad for quickly skimming.

Are you planning on buying all the parts at Fry’s or online?

If you plan on buying off Newegg I’d try checking out what kind of combos you can find to save money.

This is also a pretty good guide.


When you say ‘‘motherboard’’, I assume you mean processors. The past issues are reoccuring over prolonged use i don’t advise using ‘‘sandybridge’’ till everythings worked out, Id go with a AMD build for games. Not only less expensive just as effective and powerful to go with a AMD build.

After doing a LOT of reading up on the 560 I ended up going with the 570. From what I read and looking at all the benchmarks the 560 is a great card for the price though. Something I have learned over the years is when it comes to gpus, get a decent one so it will last a while or you will end up upgrading in small increments and never be really happy with them. The 560 IMO is the bare minimum you might want to go with…I do believe there is also a similar slightly better performing card by ATI (5960 I think) but I tend to stay away from ATI just from the driver issues I had years ago. From what I understand they are decent these days.

GTX Series has had it’s fair share of issues with drivers lets not forget the 590 issue.

Any particular run of cards can have driver issues (like the first run of 100’s) no debate there. But over the years, nvidia have for the most part been very consistent with driver updates and fixing issues.

Like I mentioned, I had problems years ago with a couple of their ( ati) cards/driver sets and from what i understand now they are decent.

While we’re still talking about drivers I just want to jump in and say something.

If you plan to play old games (by old, I mean DX 7/8 & old 2d directdraw games) on newer OS like Windows 7, stay AWAY from Nvidia. Their newer drivers are known to blow up when it comes to some pre 2000 titles like Planescape Torment and Falcon 4. Sometimes even post 2000 titles like Rome Total War have issues.

From what I understood from a friend involved with the recall, it was an error which caused SATA2 ports to die on motherboards so both the CPU’s and motherboards needed to be recalled. I went and bought a Phenom II X4 chip since there was a huge sale on them during the release of the new i5/i7 processors, so I don’t have any actual info on the recall.

However, after reading this: Sandy Bridge recall rippling through the industry | Processors - InfoWorld , it seems it was a chipset error that needed the motherboards to be recalled.

To the OP: If possible, try to find people with the hardware you’re looking to buy so you can try it out. Most guys with gaming rigs are more than ecstatic to show off their hardware. If that’s out of the question, then I’d suggest you do a ton of reading. Tom’s Hardware is a great site which does tons of comparison tests, and every few months, they come out with a “best bang for your buck” pc build. (Or at least they used to). Other sites worth looking for a very basic generalized set of benchmarks are and

I’m pretty sure it was just a CPU related issue and not the motherboard.

My tip is go AMD. Save yourself some money to put into a really nice video card.
It’s a great idea if all you are going to be doing is gaming, msn stuff like that.

Someone told me The i5 2500k destroys almost every AMD in like every single benchmark test. Even those AMD with the 6 cores.

Do not go with AMD you are throwing your money away, their latest run of product is already ages behind intel’s last generation.

You have two options:
1.Buy last gen i5/i7, though the socket is already outdated these processors are still very powerful
2. Wait a month until the new batch of sandy bridge based mobos are out on the market, the current sandy bridge chipset is so vastly more powerful than anything AMD can possibly offer.

To put it into perspective, the entry level sandy bridge i3 dual core is more powerful for gaming then AMD’s more expensive high end quads and even performs similar the the X6.

The i5 760 destroys the 1090T.

Unless you want to wait for Bulldozer the i5 2500k is the best bang for your buck right now.

Bulldozer? when does this come out?

given your budget.
if your only planing to play games like those i would recommend an 890 based mobo and either an x2 or x3 and core unlock.
this will bring your cost around 175 for cpu and mobo combined. a phenom x2 555 black edition can go for 80 bucks on sale.
and an 890 mobo can be seen as low as 55 bucks @ ncix. core unlock and you got a 3.2 ghz quad that still has room to oc.

you can read up on that here. mind you only 790 and 890 based mobo’s have this option so keep that in mind. also an unlocked x2 555 be is pretty much an x4 945/955 with 2 cores disabled.
Unlocking the Phenom II X2 555: 3.2GHz Quad-Core for $99 - AnandTech :: Your Source for Hardware Analysis and News

as for graphics card. the 560 is nice so is the 460 but the 6790 beats the 460 easily and is priced in between the 460 and 560.
lower power and lower heat as well as eyefinity monitor setups are a bonus as well. also the games you mentioned are more gpu then cpu demanding. and depending on the card make you chose will also determine your psu choice.
if you had more money without a doubt i would say i7 2600 but you don’t have that luxury.
if you have a bit more to play with the 6850 is also a great contender. either way the amd’s now are overclocking better then the nvidia’s at less power and heat with more value. anyone that says otherwise is a fanboy. i myself have a core i7 but when i compare my cpu to my bros unlocked x2 i get real jelous and feel the sting in my pockets.

other good routes to go if you don’t care about dx11 and don’t care about latest gen cards is a pair of 460’s in sli or a pair of 4850’s in cf. these will give really good performance without breaking the bank as well.

in terms of what everyone else is saying above me… the i7 760 handles almost every game great. but lets face it… that socket 1156 is is now replaced with 1155 and the demands of users today requires more multitasking. more cores is holds more value these days.
and 760 also compared to other intel cpus has no hyperthreading. if you had a bigger budget i would say hey why not go for the splurge and get the 2600 but in your price category budget there is no clear winner best bang for buck in that range. once can only ask what you want to do and base judgement off of that.

for a more better idea of whats out there refer to this article. but remember this article does not take into account overclocking options and core unlocking options as well for most of the amd line up.
Best Gaming CPUs For The Money: March 2011 : March Updates
and hierarchy chart here
Gaming CPU Hierarchy Chart : Best Gaming CPUs For The Money: March 2011

as for the 560 i dunno i can’t really justify the price of that card based on it’s performance and power demands.
don’t get me wrong it performs like a beast but like a beast it too consumes a lot more then if competition.

and last i am assuming your gaming at 1920x1080. and regardless of what is the best cpu out there based on what you have said i don’t think you need all that power in fact i would say your a entry gamer and a medium user.
a 2500 or 2600 could not justify your needs for starcraft 2 which is more gpu optimized.
i would say get an amd get a good all around beefy card with upgrade options to cf or sli later that’s cheap now.
and then invest in good memory and a GOOD power supply. and i mean good power supply. none of that cheap ultra and sparkle stuff at newegg and tigerdirect.
i wouldn’t buy the xfx… maybe and antec or corsair. and if you can afford… a seasonic who also makes psu’s for antec, high end ocz and pc power and cooling psu’s. so keep that in mind as well.

do you have a rough number what your total system budget is? i can help you build system selections.

true but read what the op has stated previously it’s not in his budget.