Description

Decided to treat myself before heading back to school and $150k in debt (as this is a tech forum, please refrain from commenting on my life choices :P ) that and my XPS 8300 had a GPU meltdown (Radeon HD 5670's thermal compound sucks!!!) Hope you guys like it and feel free to make comments!

My goals: reliable gaming machine using parts a) salvaged from the XPS, b) using proceeds from XPS, or c) on sale at a "good" price (thank you PCPartsPicker and Slickdeals) AND spend less than $1200 (the further from this, the better). All prices are with tax and after discounts/rebates. My main concerns were to keep costs down while still using parts that were considered "best for the $" and enough wiggle room to get by for the next 2-3 years. I decided against Haswell and the LGA 1150 socket just on price alone and stuck with what I current have listen below.

This was my first build in almost 10 years and man...technology has come far! The HAF 922 was a pleasure to work with and is keeping my case super cold - but I had to get a fan controller to keep sound down and now it's quieter than the Dell ever was. If I wasn't going to school I would've done a custom water cooling loop, but have instead opted for the EVO 212 (most forums and sites showed data that the Corsair H60 performed about the same and I didn't want to pony up for anything beefier that would perform better). The cooler does do a good job keeping my CPU cool at 4.2GHz (12hours of Blend Tests on Prime 95 only had a max temp of 63!) - I would go more, but I need to keep my power consumption down...ish... that and I can get away with 1.12V :)

Salvaged list: Dell 23" monitor at 1900x1080, generic Dell keyboard, 1TB hard drive, cheap-o ram, DVD drive (stealthed), and Windows 7. Replaced list: Sold Dell mobo and used $55 towards the G45, sold i7-2600 to get the i5-3570k (used remainder of the $$ to purchase the GPU), and am hoping for a little more back for the case and PSU.

Possible Upgrades (highly unlikely):16 - 32 GBs of RAM at 1600 MHz & another Geforce 660 in 2-way SLI

Comments

  • 76 months ago
  • 2 points

As much as I don't the 660, for a total price of $624.80 I can't complain.

  • 76 months ago
  • 1 point

I agree...the 660 was a compromise. :(

Just curious, what would you have recommended?

  • 76 months ago
  • 1 point

Considering how much you spent on the motherboard, I would speak against two 660's in SLI. The first PCIe slot probably runs at 16x at the most (maybe 8x) and going into SLI will either give you 8x and 8x, or 4x and 4x. That being said, I would recommend you go for at least the next step up to the 660Ti (a reference model or one with a sweet cooler/heatsink on it for max overclocking) or I would take it to the next level... The new 770 outperforms the 680 in most cases by 10% and is nearly $100 cheaper. It's a steal for $400. I can understand that you're on budget, but this set up will keep you nice and safe for many years to come.

  • 76 months ago
  • 1 point

The mobo is currently selling for $115 AR on newegg (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130645) - I just happened to see it on Amazon for ~$90AR (my price comes with the XPS "subsidy fund") and it has 2 PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots.

But thanks for your input! I'm also partial to getting just a single beefier card over 2 lower cards in SLI, but the MSI 660 was too good a price to pass up for 1033MHz base clock ($175 AR). Maybe I'll pick up a 700 series later on down the road, but you tempt me....

  • 76 months ago
  • 1 point

Well after reading your your reply to kyle I would recommend saving up and getting a 780....it might take a while but it's only like 5 fps slower that the titan and almost $400 dollars cheaper. Also to answer your question I really can't complain about the 660, at that price the price/performance is great and as a last upgrade I would also recommend getting another 4gb stick of either ram and take out the mismatched one.

  • 76 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the rec and I'll make sure to keep it in mind if I get more scholarship $ AND land me a "good" paying summer internship. :) The 780 will be my motivation!

As for the RAM, would you recommend that I stick with 8GBs (just same brand/speed)?

  • 76 months ago
  • 1 point

Yep 8gbs is more than enough if all your doing is gaming. I would ditch that 4gb kit of the kingston and get the same 4gb kit of the G. Skill. If possible though either overclock them to 1600 mhz speed or just get a new 8gb 1600 mhz kit preferably 2x4gb sitcks.

  • 76 months ago
  • 1 point

Salvaging parts tends to make a build weird. It's better to have the same RAM.

The prices are insanely low. Way beyond a good deal.

Enjoy your system, but stay focused on the real goal for the next 2/3 years.

  • 76 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks PickItApart :D - maybe if I can snag another scholarship I'll consider getting myself an X-mas present...but no new fancy toys for the next few years. Sorry, but what did you mean by "same RAM"?

  • 76 months ago
  • 1 point

What he means by "the same RAM" is having 4 of the same DIMMs. In your build you had bought 2 sticks of G. Skill Ripjaws and 2 sticks of Kingstons. It'll work, but not to its optimal level.

  • 76 months ago
  • 0 points

If you have two sticks of RAM they should be the same brand and speed.

  • 76 months ago
  • 1 point

I would have kept the i7 2600, myself. However at a price like this, your choices were excellent.

  • 76 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the encouragment! I actually had the 2600 in there for a few days until an IT friend was able to get me the i5-3570k for about $140(probably got it through some employee program; I didn't ask)!

  • 30 months ago
  • 1 point

Can you put in the prices for all the parts please? Thanks if you do.

  • 28 months ago
  • 1 point

I built this thing years ago and most pieces were recycled from a previous comp. Was there something you were looking for specifically - like the total "retail" price?

  • 28 months ago
  • 1 point

What is the price of the monitor(s) and what is the refresh rate? Thanks.

  • 28 months ago
  • 2 points

Dell one came with my XPS as part of the package with refresh rate of 60Hz.

Asus was around $110 at the time with vertical refresh 75Hz and horizontal refresh 80Hz

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  • 76 months ago
  • 3 points

Well, I'm not technically in debt (yet)...and I DO need a computer for school since I only have a (really old) laptop from undergrad.

Considering that I spent ~$650 for this, I'm not sure where I could have done differently. I'm always welcome to suggestions (just for hypotheticals & future references) and by the way, are you NOT building that sweet 780 build?

  • 76 months ago
  • 1 point

Well. You really spent more than that. Just because you used money you got from selling older parts to go towards new ones, doesn't mean you didn't spend more then $650 on your build. Your net would have been less if you kept that old i7 and motherboard. It shouldn't matter whether that money came from the proceeds of used parts vs your wages. You still made a large purchase in the face of overwhelming debt. I only say this because I've made the same decision you did and dropped 1700 on a computer when I'm about 200K in student loans. You can't really explain it away because the money you spent could have just gone towards paying down debt.

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