Newb Computer Build
Newb Computer Build

Gaming PC Builds of the Month: May 2012

May 2012 Gaming PC Builds:

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Gaming PC Build's of the Month - Newb Computer Build

Gaming PC Builds of the Month Introduction:

Spring is here and so comes new growth and beginnings. This month  is the perfect time to build a new Gaming PC, with Intel’s recent launch of its new codenamed the Ivy Bridge processor line building a new higher end gaming PC makes more sense. If you are not planning on spending top dollar for a new gaming pc, then fear not! The prices of some of the hardware has started to align and is much mor affordable than it was even last month. Let’s get started with the lower end $500 build –


Gaming PC Build of the month Less Than $500

Monthly Gaming PC Build ( $503 ): May 2012

(Game at Medium – High settings at 1920X1080 resolutions)

Gaming PC Build Recipe:

Processor: Intel Core i3-2120 Processor 3.3 GHz 3MB Cache Socket LGA1155
Motherboard: ASUS P8H61-M LE/CSM <REV 3.0> Intel H61 Chipset DDR3 1333 Micro ATX Motherboard
Graphics Card: PowerColor ATI Radeon HD6790 1 GB DDR5 DVI/HDMI/Mini DisplayPort PCI-Express Video Card AX6790 1GBD5-DH
RAM: Corsair 8 GB 1333mhz PC3-10666 240-pin Dual Channel DDR3 Memory Kit 8 Dual Channel Kit – CMV8GX3M2A1333C9
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500 GB SATA III 7200 RPM 16 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Desktop Hard Drive – WD5000AAKX
Power Supply: Cooler Master eXtreme Power Plus Series 500W ATX12V V2.3 Power Supply (RS500-PCARD3-US)
Computer Case: Lunaris ATX Mid Tower PC Computer Case, Black/Silver [INT-96-04S]
Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B 24x SATA Internal DVD+/-RW Drive (Black)
Estimated Price: $ 503 (Currently $3 over budget) *Remember – Prices Fluctuate.

Overview: Gaming PC Build ( < $500 )

Going over the hardware from March’s builds the $500 build from last month went down in price significantly. This gave room for some significant increases this month and my guess is that this is because of Intel’s recently released CPUs codenamed Ivy Bridge and other related hardware. I will be including some Ivy Bridge CPUs in the higher builds in below in this article, however none of them fit into the $500 budget range for building a Gaming PC. With the price drops we have essentially been able to ‘pump up’ the lower end $500 gaming pc build with increased hard drive size, switch to a higher motherboard, double the RAM to 8GB and use a slightly different generic computer case.

Overall, a not too bad of a list of upgrades for the same price as last month. This gaming PC will still be able to play most game at medium to high settings (depending on the type of game) at resolutions of 1920X1080.

Upgrade suggestions for the < $500 Gaming PC Build:

The above upgrades would be for somebody that is able to extend their budget a little. Depending on what your needs are (needing more space, play higher end games etc). will depend on what upgrades you would trade up to. Personally, If I have a little extra cash I would bump up either to the Intel i5-2400 CPU or Radeon HD 6850 graphics card as these two will have those most effect on gaming performance.

If you have any questions as to any of the associated hardware or have other specific needs that may not be assessed by the included hardware please let me know.

Overview: The Gaming PC Hardware

Intel Core i3-2120 Processor 3.3 GHz 3MB Cache Socket LGA1155

intel i3 2120 processor

Intel i3 2120 Processor

This entry level processor still stands strong. Even though this processor is included in the low end build, it is quite powerful for this price range. Just compare it to other CPUs around its range in CPUbenchmark.net’s CPU benchmarks of the Intel i3-2120.

The Intel Core i3 2120 processor stands strong again and in this build paired with the Radeon HD 6790 graphics card below should be able to play most games at decent settings (high graphics depending on the intensity of the game), and get decent frame rates at resolutions of 1920X1080. Want a greater boost in performance, try any of the suggested upgrades above. Keep in mind that more demanding games like Battlefield 3 may call for lower settings, but this setup should be able to play games like Skyrim at frame rates of 40-45.

Intel Core i3-2120 2 cores 3.3GHz clock speed 4 threads

Technical Details:

  • Process Type: Intel Core i3 Processor i3-2120 Frequency: 3.3 GHz DMI: 5 GT/s
  • Intel Smart Cache: 3 MB Process: 32 nm Socket: LGA1155
  • Power Consumption: 65 W Max Memory Bandwidth: 21 GB/s Graphics Base Frequency: 850 MHz
  • Graphics Max Dynamic Frequency: 1.1 GHz This processor is a Dual Core Processor
  • This processor supports Hyper-Threading Technology This processor supports Intel Virtualization Technology (VT-x)
  • This processor supports Enhanced Intel Speedstep Technology This processor supports Thermal Monitoring Technologies
  • This processor supports Intel 64 This processor supports Idle States
  • This processor supports Intel Fast Memory Access This processor supports Intel Flex Memory Access

ASUS P8H61-M LE/CSM <REV 3.0> Intel H61 Chipset DDR3 1333 Micro ATX Motherboard

ASUS P8H61-M LE/CSMIntel H61 Chipset Micro ATX Motherboard

Priced similarly to last months motherboard, this micro-ATX ASUS P8H61-M motherboard does the low end build justice. Having everything you need – One PCI express 2.0 x16 expansion slot for your graphics card and 2 memory slots for up to 16GB of RAM, and

Technical Details:

  • EPU – System Level Energy Saving & Real-time Power Management for Superb Platform Power Efficiency
  • Anti-Surge Protection – Safeguard your device by providing voltage protection to all major onboard components
  • GPU Boost – Two simple ways to get quick free graphics upgrade
  • ASUS TurboV – New O.C. Records with Real-Time Super-Precise Tunings
  • EFI BIOS- BIOS control via a Graphical Interface with mouse controlled support featuring unparalleled control options
  • 2.2TB or higher native HD support, and Quick Boot features

PowerColor ATI Radeon HD6790 1 GB DDR5 DVI/HDMI/Mini DisplayPort PCI-Express Video Card AX6790 1GBD5-DH

Power Color Radeon HD 6790

Still a great pick for this month, the Radeon HD 6790 graphics card fits wonderfully into the $500 budget build coming in at only $114 at the time of writing this article. If your budget allows you could also go for a Radeon HD 6850 (as seen above in the other upgrade suggestions) for about $20 more which may help in the more graphics demanding games. I had originally had the HIS Radeon 6790 branded graphics card in this build, however it jumped in price by about $10 at quite literally as I was writing this article; that pushed the build a tad out of budget.

Technical Details:

    • Chipset: Radeon HD6790
    • Engine Clock: 840 MHz
    • Video Memory: 1GB DDR5
    • Memory Clock: 1050 MHz (4.2 Gbps)
    • Max. Resolution: 2560 x 1600
    • Connectors: DVI; HDMI; Mini DisplayPort
    • Support Microsoft DirectX 11, Shader Model 5.0 and OpenGL 4.1

Corsair 8 GB 1333mhz PC3-10666 240-pin Dual Channel DDR3 Memory Kit 8 Dual Channel Kit – CMV8GX3M2A1333C9

Corsair 8GB RAM (2X 4GB)

I continuously look at this package of RAM and go “there must be something better to put here”. Well there isn’t, as you get pure quality and the exact amount of what you need with this package of Crucial 4GB DDR3 memory. Until this budget range allows a nicer package of 8GB RAM, i am sure that this package of Crucial RAM is the perfect fit for the $500 budget gaming pc build.

Technical Details

  • Density: 8GB Kit (2x4GB)
  • Speed: 1333MHz
  • Timing: 9-9-9-24
  • Format: DIMM
  • Pin Out: 240 Pin
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Voltage: 1.5V

Western Digital Caviar Blue 500 GB SATA III 7200 RPM 16 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Desktop Hard Drive – WD5000AAKX

Western Digital 250 GB Caviar Blue

Western Digital 500 GB Caviar Blue

Many of the months previous I have had to put a 250GB hard drive included in the lower $500 build. This may have been for many reasons, the most prominent being the past hard drive shortage. Seeing as prices seemed to have stabilized some the 500GB Western Digital Caviar Blue seems to be the most price smart hard drive.

Performance Details From Western Digitals’ Website:

Performance Specifications
Rotational Speed 7,200 RPM (nominal)
Buffer Size 16 MB
Load/unload Cycles 300,000 minimum
Transfer Rates
Transfer Rate (Buffer To Disk) 126 MB/s (Max)
Physical Specifications
Formatted Capacity 500,107 MB
Capacity 500 GB
Interface SATA 6 Gb/s
User Sectors Per Drive 976,773,168
Metric
Height 26.1 mm
Depth 147 mm
Width 101.6 mm
Weight 0.69 kg
Temperature (English)
Operating 32° F to 140° F
Non-operating -40° F to 158° F
Temperature (Metric)
Operating -0° C to 60° C
Non-operating -40° C to 70° C
Electrical Specifications
Current Requirements
Power Dissipation
Read/Write 6.80 Watts
Idle 6.10 Watts
Standby 0.70 Watts
Sleep 0.70 Watts

Product Details

  • WD Caviar Blue hard drives have a multitude of features to deliver rock solid performance and ultra-cool and quiet operation.
  • 3rd generation SATA interface for 6 GB/s maximum data transfer rates.
  • WhisperDrive technology minimizes noise to levels near the threshold of human hearing.
  • 500 GB capacity holds up to 100,000 digital photos, 125,000 MP3 files, and 60 hours of HD video.
  • Ships in Certified Frustration-Free Packaging
  • 3rd generation SATA interface for 6 GB/s maximum data transfer rates
  • 500 GB capacity holds up to 100,000 digital photos, 125,000 MP3 files, and 60 hours of HD video
  • WD Caviar Blue hard drives have a multitude of features to deliver rock solid performance and ultra-cool and quiet operation
  • WhisperDrive technology minimizes noise to levels near the threshold of human hearing

Cooler Master eXtreme Power Plus Series 500W ATX12V V2.3 Power Supply (RS500-PCARD3-US)

Cooler Master eXtreme Power Supply

Cooler Master eXtreme Power Supply

A very affordable Cooler Master eXtreme 500W Power Supply Unit! Its a very basic PSU and does the job for this build. The only thing with this PSU is that if you plan to re-use it for say a next build, I would advise to get the other  PSU in the other hardware suggestions as outlined above.

Technical Details:

  • Maximum Power: 500 W
  • Type: ATX from factor 12V V2.01
  • PFC (Power Factor Correction): Active PFC
  • Fan: 120mm Sleeve bearing fan
  • Connectors: 1x 20+4 pin Motherboard Connector; 1x 4+4pin 12V CPU Connector; 2x 6+2pin PCI-Express Connectors; 6x SATA Connectors; 3x 4pin Peripheral Connectors; 1x 4pin Floppy Connectors
  • Compliance with the newest Intel std ATX 12V V2.3
  • Green power design to meet with energy star
  • More than 70% efficiency
  • Multiple protection design
  • Protection: OVP/ OPP/ Short Circuit Protection
  • Super silent operation with intelligent fan speed control

Lunaris ATX Mid Tower PC Computer Case, Black/Silver [INT-96-04S]

Lunaris ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Simple, yet all you essentially need in a case that simple encompasses your computer hardware. I have swapped last months budget generic case with this Lunaris case simply due the minor price difference and more strurdy build. This case comes with your basic microphone and audio jack as well as two USB 2.0 ports on the front of the case.

Technical Details:

  • Side air guide moves hot hot air directly outside to keep components cool
  • Seven card slots for increased expandability
  • High strength lightweight steel construction
  • Front I/O for easy access
  • Four 5.25″ & three 3.5″ drive bays

Sony AD-7280S-0B 24x SATA Internal DVD+/-RW Drive (Black)

Sony AD-7280S-0B 24x SATA Internal DVD+:-RW Drive (Black)

Sony AD-7280S-0B 24x SATA Internal DVD+:-RW Drive (Black)

It’s still the same price?? Looks to be so! At only $17, you have your basic non-essential optical drive. As I have before mentioned optical drives are a dying piece of hardware as they are becoming less and less necessary and they all seem to be one of the same. So when choosing the right optical drive, I mostly look at the price tag and whether or not they include a basic SATA connection.

Product Features

  • Drive Type: Internal DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Drive
  • Interface: SATA
  • Buffer Memory: 1 MB
  • Random Access Time: DVD – 160ms; CD – 140ms
  • O/S Compatibility: Windows 7 compatible
  • Write: DVD+R/-R: 24X; DVD+RW/-RW: 8X/6X; DVD+R/-R DL: 12X; DVD-RAM: 12X

Gaming PC Build of the Month $500 - $1000

Monthly Gaming PC Build ( $1001 ): May 2012

Gaming PC Build Recipe:

Capability: Game with Extreme settings at 1920X1080 resolutions and even High Settings in some games at 2560×1600

Processor: Intel Core i5 3570K Processor 3.4 4 BX80637I53570K
Motherboard: Gigabyte Intel Z77 LGA 1155 AMD CrossFireX/NVIDIA SLI W/ HDMI,DVI,DispayPort Dual UEFI BIOS ATX Motherboard GA-Z77X-UD3H
Graphics Card: ASUS HD7850-DC2-2GD5 Radeon 2GB DDR5 VGA/DVI/HDMI/DisplayPort GPU Tweak Utilities PCI-Express 3.0 Graphics Card HD7850-DC2-2GD5
RAM: Kingston Technology HyperX Blu 8GB 1333MHz DDR3 Non-ECC CL9 DIMM (Kit of 2) KHX1333C9D3B1K2/8G
Hard Drive: Western Digital 1 TB Caviar Blue SATA III 7200 RPM 32 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Desktop Hard Drive – WD10EALX
Power Supply: Corsair Enthusiast Series 750-Watt 80 Plus Bronze Certified Power Supply Compatible with Intel Core i3, i5, i7 and AMD platforms – CMPSU-750TXV2
Computer Case: Corsair Carbide Series 300R Mid-Tower Gaming Case – CC-9011014-WW
Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B 24x SATA Internal DVD+/-RW Drive (Black)
Estimated Price: $1001 *Nail on budget, so no room for add ons 

Overview: Gaming PC Build ( $500 – $1000 )

This month is rather exciting because I was able to switch up the higher builds quite a bit. The primary reason for this is Intel’s newly released Ivy Bridge processor line. If I were buying a Gaming PC today, this would be the exact build I would choose.

This months $1000  build comes in at almost exactly $1000, so this leave little to no room for any add ons if this is your maximum budget, however there really is no reason to have to add anything! This build as is should play all games at the highest settings if you are playing at resolutions of 1920X1080.

The processor used is the Intel 3570K, which according to cpubenchmark.net’s CPU benchmarks outperforms the Intel 2550K, which is fantastic news! As well, I have changed several other pieces of hardware in this build such as – an upgrade in graphics card to the Radeon HD 7850 and having a full fledge 1TB hard drive. Sounds funny, but usually when I am trying to fit other primary hardware components into a build I will cut loose ends like extra hard drive real estate space.

Looking for a gaming PC in the $1000 price range, then you really can not go wrong with this one! Want to know more about the individual hardware components, then read further:

Overview: The Gaming PC Hardware

Intel Core i5 3570K Processor 3.4 4 BX80637I53570K

Intel Core i5 3570K Processor

Finally a nice refresh in the CPU department. Introducing the newly released Intel i5 3570K processor, part of the new Ivy Bridge CPU line from Intel. If there is any time to buy a new Gaming PC in the mid to top range, now is it since you can be assured of having the most future proof build possible.

Check out some of the early reviews and benchmarks on the Intel 3570K Processor: cpubenchmark.net |  bit-tech.net | hexus.net

Intel Core i5-3570K 4 cores 3.4 GHz clock speed (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 Socket

Product Details: *From Intel

Essentials
Status
Launched
Launch Date
Q2’12
Processor Number
i5-3570K
# of Cores
4
# of Threads
4
Clock Speed
3.4 GHz
Max Turbo Frequency
3.8 GHz
Intel® Smart Cache
6 MB
Bus/Core Ratio
34
DMI
5 GT/s
Instruction Set
64-bit
Instruction Set Extensions
SSE4.1/4.2, AVX
Embedded Options Available
No
Lithography
22 nm
Max TDP
77 W

Gigabyte Intel Z77 LGA 1155 AMD CrossFireX/NVIDIA SLI W/ HDMI,DVI,DispayPort Dual UEFI BIOS ATX Motherboard GA-Z77X-UD3H

Gigabyte Intel Z77 LGA 1155 ATX Motherboard GA-Z77X-UD3H

The switch to the new Ivy Bridge Intel i5 3570K processor means that we needed a nice Z77 express chipset motherboard with an 1155 socket; perfect for overclocking! With this Gigabyte motherboard you have the option to add another graphics card later on to boost performance shall you need it some time from now. Complete with several USB 3.0 ports and the capability of up to 32GB of RAM, you do not really need much more.

Product Details:

  • CPU: Support for Intel Core i7/i5/i3/Pentium/Celeron processors in the LGA1155 package. Chipset: Intel Z77 Express Chipset
  • Memory: 4 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 32 GB of system memory. Dual channel memory architecture. Support for DDR3 1600/1333/1066 MHz memory modules. Support for non-ECC memory modules. Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules
  • Audio: VIA VT2021 codec. LAN: Atheros GbE LAN chip (10/100/1000 Mbit).
  • Support for 2-Way AMD CrossFireX/NVIDIA SLI technology. Expansion Slots: 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x8. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x4. 3 x PCI Express x1 slots. 1 x PCI slot.
  • Storage Interface: 2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors. 4 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors. 1 x mSATA connector. Support for RAID 0/1/5/10. Marvell 88SE9172 chips: 2 x eSATA 6Gb/s connectors. Support for RAID 0 and 1
  • Back Panel Connectors: 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port/1 x D-Sub port/1 x DVI-D port/1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector/1 x HDMI port/1 x DisplayPort/2 x eSATA 6Gb/s connectors/6 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports/1 x RJ-45 port/6 x audio jacks
  • USB: Up to 4 USB 3.0/2.0 ports. Up to 6 USB 2.0/1.1 ports. VIA VL800 chip: Up to 4 USB 3.0/2.0 ports.

ASUS HD7850-DC2-2GD5 Radeon 2GB DDR5 VGA/DVI/HDMI/DisplayPort GPU Tweak Utilities PCI-Express 3.0 Graphics Card HD7850-DC2-2GD5

ASUS HD 7850 Radeon 2GB DDR5

For the same performance to even the GTX 570, this Radeon HD 7850 holds its spot strong at a much lower price. Want to see why it is so great? Then I would advise you to check out Tom’s Hardware’s review here. This card will guarantee you great gaming at resolutions of 1920×1080 at extreme settings and will hold strong even beyond that.

Technical Details:

  • ASUS Exclusive DirectCU Thermal Solution: The flattened copper heat-pipe contact GPU directly for up to 20% COOLER.
  • GPU Tweak utility allows you to tune graphics card performance and check card status via an intuitive interface.
  • AMD Eyefinity technology extends the View across multiple monitors to immerse yourself in gameplay and entertainment. To enable 6 Monitors, DP 1.2 compatible monitors are required
  • New PCI Express 3.0 delivers improved encoding and twice the performance of PCI Express 2.0.
  • Gigantic 2GB GDDR5 Memory: On-board memory for the best gaming experience & the best resolution.
  • 28nm GPU: Less power consumption & more efficient transistor
  • CrossFire X Support: Multi-GPU technology for extreme performance
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Support: Enable PC users to enjoy an advanced computing experience and to do more with their PC
As Said by ASUS themselves:
Graphics Engine AMD Radeon HD 7850
Bus Standard PCI Express 3.0
Video Memory GDDR5 2GB
Engine Clock 870 MHz
Memory Clock 4840 MHz ( 1210 MHz GDDR5 )
RAMDAC 400 MHz
Memory Interface 256-bit
Resolution D-Sub Max Resolution : 2048×1536
DVI Max Resolution : 2560×1600
Interface D-Sub Output : Yes x 1 (via DVI to D-Sub adaptor x 1)
DVI Output :
HDMI Output : Yes x 1
Display Port : Yes x 1 (Regular DP)
HDCP Support : Yes
Software ASUS Utilities & Driver
ASUS Features DirectCU Series
Dimensions 10.2 ” x 4.5 ” x 1.7 ” Inch

Kingston Technology HyperX Blu 8GB 1333MHz DDR3 Non-ECC CL9 DIMM (Kit of 2) KHX1333C9D3B1K2/8G

Kingston Technology HyperX Blu 8GB 1333MHz DDR3

A quality priced 8GB kit of RAM. I do put more RAM in the high end build, but it does come in to be unnecessary to a point. This is unless you do allot of video editing for example, or are looking to make your build as future proof as can be. This is why for gaming, 8GB seems to be the perfect amount of RAM these days.

Product Details:

  • 8GB Kit (2x4GB modules) of DDR3 Desktop Memory
  • Utilizes HyperX module with faster latency timing for higher performance and speed
  • Specifically designed and tested for compatibility in various makes and models of desktop computers
  • From the industry leader in PC memory
  • Non-ECC Unbuffered 1333MHz CL9 240-pin DIMM type

Western Digital 1 TB Caviar Blue SATA III 7200 RPM 32 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Desktop Hard Drive – WD10EALX

Western Digital 1 TB Caviar Blue SATA III 7200 RPM 32 MB Cache Desktop Hard Drive – WD10EALX

If you have read any of my previous builds, then you may notice that I sometimes skimp on harddrive sizes in order to make room in the budget for other performance enhancing hardware. Well, I have increased the hard drive sizing for the $1000 build this month to 1TB from the previous 500GB. I chose to stand close to the Western Digital drives still as I do prefer them myself and they are backed by many reviews saying so as well.

Performance Details From Western Digitals’ Website:

Rotational Speed 7,200 RPM (nominal)
Buffer Size 32 MB
Load/unload Cycles 300,000 minimum
Transfer Rates
Transfer Rate (Buffer To Disk) 126 MB/s (Max)
Physical Specifications
Formatted Capacity 1,000,204 MB
Capacity 1 TB
Interface SATA 6 Gb/s
User Sectors Per Drive 1,953,525,169
Physical Dimensions
English
Height 1.028 Inches
Depth 5.787 Inches
Width 4.00 Inches
Weight 1.52 Pounds
Metric
Height 26.1 mm
Depth 147 mm
Width 101.6 mm
Weight 0.69 kg
Environmental Specifications
Shock
Operating Shock (Read) 30G, 2 ms
Non-operating Shock 300G, 2 ms
Acoustics
Idle Mode 28 dBA (average)
Seek Mode 0 33 dBA (average)
Temperature (English)
Operating 32° F to 140° F
Non-operating -40° F to 158° F
Temperature (Metric)
Operating -0° C to 60° C
Non-operating -40° C to 70° C
Electrical Specifications
Current Requirements
Power Dissipation
Read/Write 6.80 Watts
Idle 6.10 Watts
Standby 0.70 Watts
Sleep 0.70 Watts

Product Details

  • WD Caviar Blue hard drives have a multitude of features to deliver rock solid performance and ultra-cool and quiet operation.
  • 3rd generation SATA interface for 6 GB/s maximum data transfer rates.
  • WhisperDrive technology minimizes noise to levels near the threshold of human hearing.
  • 1 TB capacity holds up to 200,000 digital photos, 250,000 MP3 files, and 120 hours of HD video.
  • Ships in Certified Frustration-Free Packaging

Corsair Enthusiast Series 750-Watt 80 Plus Bronze Certified Power Supply Compatible with Intel Core i3, i5, i7 and AMD platforms – CMPSU-750TXV2

Corsair Enthusiast Series 750-Watt 80 Plus Bronze Certified Power Supply Compatible with Intel Core i3, i5, i7 and AMD platforms - CMPSU-750TXV2

Corsair Enthusiast Series 750-Watt 80 Plus Bronze Certified Power Supply Compatible with Intel Core i3, i5, i7 and AMD platforms – CMPSU-750TXV2

Plenty of wattage to spare and a quality SU all in one for a great price. Yes, I am re-using the Corsair Enthusiast series PSU, because it just plain and simple a good PSU choice.

Product Details:

  • Conforms to the latest ATX12V v2.31 and EPS 2.92 standards, and is backward compatible with the ATX12V 2.2 and ATX12V 2.01 standards
  • A dedicated single +12V rail offers simple configuration and maximum compatibility with the latest graphics cards and other components
  • An ultra-quiet, 140mm double ball-bearing fan delivers excellent airflow with exceptionally low noise levels by varying fan speed in response to temperature
  • Complies with the European Union ErP Directive (2009/125/EC) so the power consumption of the whole system, in either standby or off mode, can be less than 1W when used with a properly configured, ErP-compliant motherboard
  • 80 PLUS® Bronze certified, delivering up to 85% energy efficiency under real-world load conditions
  • Active Power Factor Correction (PFC) with PF value of 0.99
  • Universal AC input from 90~264V
  • Over-voltage, under-voltage, over-current, and short circuit protection provide maximum safety for your critical system components
  • High-quality Japanese capacitors provide uncompromised performance and reliability
  • A five year warranty and lifetime access to Corsair’s legendary technical support and customer service
  • Safety Approvals: cTUVus, CE, CB, FCC Class B, TÜV, CCC, C-tick

Corsair Carbide Series 300R Mid-Tower Gaming Case – CC-9011014-WW

Corsair Carbide Series 300R Mid-Tower Gaming Case – CC-9011014-WW

The Corsair Carbide series of cases have been all the rage lately, so I thought I would align these cases with such a solid gaming PC build this month. The cooling on this case is great, there is tons of room for any expansion, you can instal up to five side fans plus two side 120mm fans. By using this case you can be guaranteed that you can keep everything as cool as ca be not only now, but with plenty of room for multi graphics card (in case you decide crossfire later on), then you can be assured they will fit and keep cool.

Product Details:

  • Room for graphics cards up to 450mm long
  • USB 3.0 front panel connectors
  • Built-in compatibility for SSDs in the four hard drive bays
  • Keep your system cool with up to 7 fan mount locations
  • Easily accessible dust filters keep the cool air flowing over your valuable components
  • Compatible with ATX and mATX motherboards
  • Install or upgrade your CPU heatsink quickly with the easy-access backplate cutout
  • Optimize airflow and keep your system neat and tidy using the intelligent cable management system.

Sony AD-7280S-0B 24x SATA Internal DVD+/-RW Drive (Black)

Sony AD-7280S-0B 24x SATA Internal DVD+:-RW Drive (Black)

Sony AD-7280S-0B 24x SATA Internal DVD+:-RW Drive (Black)

Since I am using the same optical drive for all of the builds, I am going to re-iterate what I have said in the above build – “It’s still the same price?? Looks to be so! At only $17, you have your basic non-essential optical drive. As I have before mentioned optical drives are a dying piece of hardware as they are becoming less and less necessary and they all seem to be one of the same. So when choosing the right optical drive, I mostly look at the price tag and whether or not they include a basic SATA connection.

Product Features

  • Drive Type: Internal DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Drive
  • Interface: SATA
  • Buffer Memory: 1 MB
  • Random Access Time: DVD – 160ms; CD – 140ms
  • O/S Compatibility: Windows 7 compatible
  • Write: DVD+R/-R: 24X; DVD+RW/-RW: 8X/6X; DVD+R/-R DL: 12X; DVD-RAM: 12X

$500 – $1000 Gaming PC Build Additions / Swap Suggestions

Note: Prices are in additional $ amounts… These additions are to act as supplemental hardware the the Gaming PC Build Recipe Above

Add a SSD Boot Drive: Kingston HyperX 3K 120 GB SATA III 2.5-Inch 6.0 Gb/s Solid State Drive SH103S3/120G = + $140
- Can be used for installing OS to boot quick! Or installing most used games on
LG Electronics WH12LS30 12X Blu-ray SATA Writer Drive - WH12LS30K
Add a Blu-Ray Optical Drive: LG Electronics WH12LS30 12X Blu-ray SATA Writer Drive = + $85 - Perhaps you are a movie buff? Backup Media etc.
Better CPU Cooler (To Overclock 
Intel 2500K): Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO CPU Cooler (RR-212E-20PK-R2) = + $35 Are you planning on overclocking very soon? Then you may want to indulge in this well rated CPU cooler.

 

Do CROSSFIRE with another ASUS HD7850-DC2-2GD5 Radeon 2GB DDR5 = + $272

Additions / Part Swaps Overview

The above additions are for anyone who has a little extra cash beyond the base outlined $1000 build. I have included a nice Solid State Drive for either installing an Operating System for faster boot times / and or installing your most used game for faster load times. A CPU cooler for anyone planning to overclock as soon as they can, a blu-ray drive for those who wants to watch other media on their gaming PC and another Radeon HD 7950 graphics card for those wanting to indulge in some Crossfire action.


Gaming PC Build of the Month $1000 - $1500

Monthly Gaming PC Build ( $1473 ): May 2012

Gaming PC Build Recipe:

Game with Extreme settings at resolutions of 2560×1600

Processor: Intel Core i5 3570K Processor 3.4 4 BX80637I53570K
 
CPU Cooler (For OverClocking): Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO CPU Cooler (RR-212E-20PK-R1)
Motherboard: Gigabyte Intel Z77 LGA 1155 AMD CrossFireX/NVIDIA SLI Dual LAN Dual UEFI BIOS ATX Motherboard GA-Z77X-UD5H
Graphics Card: Diamond AMD Radeon HD 7970 PCIE 3G GDDR5 Video Graphics Card 7970PE53G
RAM: Corsair Vengeance Blue 16 GB DDR3 SDRAM Dual Channel Memory Kit CMZ16GX3M4A1600C9B
Hard Drive: Western Digital 1 TB Caviar Blue SATA III 7200 RPM 32 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Desktop Hard Drive – WD10EALX
SSD Hard Drive: Crucial 64 GB m4 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive SATA 6Gb/s CT064M4SSD2
Power Supply: Corsair HX Professional Series 750-Watt 80 Plus Certified Power Supply Compatible with Core i7 and Core i5 – CMPSU-750HX
Computer Case:  Corsair Carbide Series 400R Mid Tower Gaming Computer Case – CC-9011011-WW
Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B 24x SATA Internal DVD+/-RW Drive (Black)
Estimated Price: $1473

Overview: Gaming PC Build ( $1000 – $1500 )

The $1500 build this month is a super charged version of the $1000 build above in the article.

To start, they both include the new Intel Ivy Bridge i5 3570K processor (fantastic performance and overclackability). Next, both the builds include a similar versioned Gigabyte Z77 motherboard except that this build has the model above the $1000 build one. This build has 16Gb of RAM, which may even be to excess but holds strong for future proofing. And finally, this build includes a hardy Radeon HD 7970 graphics card more than capable of working without a hiccup to even the most graphics demanding games.

Overview: The Gaming PC Hardware

Intel Core i5 3570K Processor 3.4 4 BX80637I53570K

Intel Core i5 3570K Processor

I have included this new Ivy Bridge Intel processor in both of the higher end builds in this article and this is because it is a fine replacement for the previous Intel 2500K that held these spots; just take a look at the benchmarks and reviews linked below this paragraph. The cpubenchmark site will give you a great visual of how the new Intel i5 3570K processor compares to other processors in this bracket.

Check out some of the early reviews and benchmarks on the Intel 3570K Processor: cpubenchmark.net |  bit-tech.net | hexus.net

Intel Core i5-3570K 4 cores 3.4 GHz clock speed (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 Socket

Product Details: *From Intel

Essentials
Status Launched
Launch Date Q2’12
Processor Number i5-3570K
# of Cores 4
# of Threads 4
Clock Speed 3.4 GHz
Max Turbo Frequency 3.8 GHz
Intel® Smart Cache 6 MB
Bus/Core Ratio 34
DMI 5 GT/s
Instruction Set 64-bit
Instruction Set Extensions SSE4.1/4.2, AVX
Embedded Options Available
No
Lithography 22 nm
Max TDP 77 W

Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO CPU Cooler (RR-212E-20PK-R1)

Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO CPU Cooler (RR-212E-20PK-R2

Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO CPU Cooler

This CPU cooler is one of the higher rated and affordably so CPU coolers you can purchase. Sure, the Intel 3570K processor comes with a stock cooler, but that cooler may not be able to match the cooling needs of overclocking if you decide to do so. If you are not planning to overclock, then you do not really need this cooler, but at only $30 it might be a worthwhile addition.

Product Details:

  • Well-balanced cooling performance provides fin optimizations with perfect balance between high and low speed operations.
  • Wide-range PWM fan with unique wave-shaped blade design for excellent airflow.
  • 4 Direct Contact heat pipes with the patented (Continuous Direct Contact) technology – creating a perfect, sleek surface for heat conduction.
  • Versatile all-in-one mounting solution supporting the latest Intel LGA 1366 /1155 and AMD FM1 / AM3+. Includes the LGA 2011 mounting bracket.

Gigabyte Intel Z77 LGA 1155 AMD CrossFireX/NVIDIA SLI Dual LAN Dual UEFI BIOS ATX Motherboard GA-Z77X-UD5H

Gigabyte Intel Z77 LGA 1155 AMD CrossFireX/NVIDIA SLI Dual LAN Dual UEFI BIOS ATX Motherboard GA-Z77X-UD5H

Similar to the Gigabyte board included in the $1000 build above, but this is the model higher than that one. A great choice for the newer Z77 motherboard’s that fully support Intel’s new Ivy Bridge line of processors. I could write on and on about this motherboard, but if you are interested in the plethora of functionalities and specifics of this motherboard, then Gigabyte.com has it wonderfully laid out here. Otherwise, you can take a quick look at some of the product details below:

Product Details:

  • CPU: Support for Intel Core i7/i5/i3/Pentium/Celeron processors in the LGA1155 package. Chipset: Intel Z77 Express Chipset
  • Memory: 4 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 32 GB of system memory. Dual channel memory architecture. Support for DDR3 1600/1333/1066 MHz memory modules. Support for non-ECC memory modules. Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules
  • Audio: Realtek ALC898 codec. Support for X-Fi Xtreme Fidelity and EAX Advanced HD 5.0 technologies. LAN: 1 x Atheros GbE LAN chip (10/100/1000 Mbit) (LAN1). 1 x Intel GbE LAN chip (10/100/1000 Mbit) (LAN2).
  • Support for AMD CrossFireX/ NVIDIA SLI technology. Expension Slots: 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x8. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x4. 3 x PCI Express x1 slots. 1 x PCI slot.
  • Storage Interface: 2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors. 4 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors. 1 x mSATA connector. Support for RAID 0/1/5/10. 2 x Marvell 88SE9172 chips: 3 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors. 1 x eSATA 6Gb/s connector.
  • Back Panel Connectors: 1 x D-Sub port/1 x DVI-D port/1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector/1 x HDMI port/1 x DisplayPort/1 x eSATA 6Gb/s connector/4 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports/2 x USB 2.0/1.0 ports/1 x IEEE 1394a port/2 x RJ-45 ports/6 x audio jacks
  • USB: Up to 2 USB 3.0/2.0 ports. Up to 6 USB 2.0/1.1 ports. Chipset + 2 VIA VL810 Hubs: Up to 8 USB 3.0/2.0 ports. Up to 2 IEEE 1394a ports.

Processor, Memory, and Motherboard

  • Memory Slots: 4

Ports and Connectivity

  • USB Ports: 14
  • FireWire Ports: 2
  • Free PCI Slots: 1

Cases and Expandability

  • Size (LWH): 14 inches, 12 inches, 4 inches
  • Weight: 4.7 pounds

Diamond AMD Radeon HD 7970 PCIE 3G GDDR5 Video Graphics Card 7970PE53G

Diamond AMD Radeon HD 7970 PCIE 3G GDDR5 Video Graphics Card

A very fine graphics card the Radeon HD 7970 is. This graphics card will provide game play at extreme settings in any game at resolutions easily up to 2560×1600 resolutions. Read the full review of the AMD Radeon HD 7950 graphics card brought to you by Tom’s Hardware. What we have here specifically is the Diamond branded version of the AMD Radeon HD 7950 graphics card. This card should last a long while in the gaming market and this build most certainly leaves you with the ability to add crossfire to later on by adding another one of these into the mix.

Product Details:

Performance
GPU : 7950
ASIC Core : Tahiti PRO
Core Clock : 800 MHz
BUS : PCI Express 3.0 x16
Ports : 1 Dual Link DVI, 1 Single Link DVI, HDMI and 2 Mini Display Port
Cooling : Active – FanCooler
MFG Process : 28nm process technology
Stream Processors : 2048
Video Quality
CrossFire : CrossFire X
Direct-X : DirectX® 11.1 capable graphics
Open GL : OpenGL 4.2
Max Resolution Analog : VGA Max resolution 2048×1536
Max Resolution Digital : HDMI 1.4a Max resolution: 4096×3112
HDR F.Point Rendering : 128
HDR Integer :
Standard Slot Solution : DOUBLE
Anti Aliasing Modes : Up to 24x multi-sample and super-sample anti-aliasing modes
Antisotropic Modes : 16x angle independent anisotropic texture filtering
Texture Support : HDR texture compression
Memory
Memory Clock : 1250 MHz
Memory Configuration : 64Mx32
Memory Type : GDDR5
Memory Bandwidth : 5.0 Gbps
Memory Size : 3072MB
Memory Interface : 384-bit interface
RAMDAC : 400
Display Support
HDMI : HDMI 1.4a with support for stereoscopic 3D
HDMI MODE : 1.4a
Native Display Support : DisplayPort 1.2 Max resolution: 4096×2160 per display
Dual Display support : YES

Corsair Vengeance Blue 16 GB DDR3 SDRAM Dual Channel Memory Kit CMZ16GX3M4A1600C9B

Corsair Vengeance Blue 16 GB DDR3 SDRAM Dual Channel Memory Kit CMZ16GX3M4A1600C9B

Corsair Vengeance Blue 16 GB DDR3 SDRAM Dual Channel Memory Kit CMZ16GX3M4A1600C9B

Four sticks of 4GB RAM in a package to total 16GB of RAM. An excessive amount of RAM? Yes it is, but you can assure the future proofness of this to go with the other fantastic hardware included in this $1500 build. If you can find a package of RAM with two 8GB stick to total the 16Gb at a reasonable price, that would be even better, but you just cannot beat this price for 16GB.

Product Features:

  • Designed for Sandy Bridge Platform and AMD Platforms
  • 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3 for AMD, Intel Dual Channel processors and Sandy Bridge 2nd Generation Intel Core platforms
  • Intel XMP (Extreme Memory Profile) Support
  • Speed: 1600mhz
  • Timing: 9-9-9-24
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Pin Out: 240-pin
  • Voltage: 1.5v

Western Digital 1 TB Caviar Blue SATA III 7200 RPM 32 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Desktop Hard Drive – WD10EALX

Western Digital 1 TB Caviar Blue SATA III 7200 RPM 32 MB Cache Bulk:OEM Desktop Hard Drive - WD10EALX

Western Digital 1 TB Caviar Blue SATA III 7200 RPM 32 MB Cache Bulk:OEM Desktop Hard Drive – WD10EALX

When comparing all of the available 1 TB drives, this one seems to stick out the most for me in terms of its overall quality and price. For a gaming PC, this Western Digital Caviar Blue 7200 RPM 1Tb drive is very suitable and only around $108.

Performance Details From Western Digital’s Website:

Rotational Speed 7,200 RPM (nominal)
Buffer Size 32 MB
Load/unload Cycles 300,000 minimum
Transfer Rates
Transfer Rate (Buffer To Disk) 126 MB/s (Max)
Physical Specifications
Formatted Capacity 1,000,204 MB
Capacity 1 TB
Interface SATA 6 Gb/s
User Sectors Per Drive 1,953,525,169
Physical Dimensions
English
Height 1.028 Inches
Depth 5.787 Inches
Width 4.00 Inches
Weight 1.52 Pounds
Electrical Specifications
Current Requirements
Power Dissipation
Read/Write 6.80 Watts
Idle 6.10 Watts
Standby 0.70 Watts
Sleep 0.70 Watts

Crucial 64 GB m4 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive SATA 6Gb/s CT064M4SSD2

Crucial 64 GB m4 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive SATA 6Gb:s CT064M4SSD2

Crucial 64 GB m4 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive SATA 6Gb:s CT064M4SSD2

The same solid state drive as included last month, this Crucial 64MB SSD is meant to be used as a start up disk for your operating system to increase boot times. Also you could probably install a few of your most played games to increase those boot times as well.

Samsung 830 64 GB
Sequential Read 520 MB/s
Sequential Write 160 MB/s
Power Consumption (Active) .11 W
Power Consumption (Idle) .08 W

Product Details:

  • Performance – Improve boot up and application load times
  • Compatibility – SATA 6Gb/s, backward compatible to SATA 3Gb/s
  • Reliability – Withstand extreme shock and vibration
  • Quality – Crucial, a Micron company, is a trusted name in DRAM and SSD products
  • Quieter. Cooler. More Durable.
  • Three Year Limited Warranty

Corsair HX Professional Series 750-Watt 80 Plus Certified Power Supply Compatible with Core i7 and Core i5 – CMPSU-750HX

Corsair HX Professional Series 750-Watt 80 Plus Certified Power Supply Compatible with Core i7 and Core i5 - CMPSU-750HX

Corsair HX Professional Series 750-Watt 80 Plus Certified Power Supply Compatible with Core i7 and Core i5 – CMPSU-750HX

You could use the same Corsair Enthusiast PSU as used in the $1000 build above and be just fine, however you cannot beat the finesse of a modular PSU. Clearing cables both looks nice and clears space for more efficient air flow to keep your gaming PC cooler. The only downside is that a modular PSU does come at a price premium, so if you feel just as good purchasing the same 750 Watt PSU as seen in the $1000 build you could save a few bucks and do just fine.

Product Details:

  • Modular Cable design allows you to use only those cables needed & saves you space inside your case
  • Over Current / Voltage / Power Protection, Under Voltage and Short Circuit Protection provides Maximum Safety for your critical system components
  • 80 Plus Certified for 80%+ Energy Efficiency at 20%, 50% and 100% Load Condition for less Heat Generation and Lower Energy Bill
  • Dedicated Single +12V Rail Offers Maximum Compatibility with Latest Components
  • High quality Japanese Capacitors provide Uncompromised Performance and Reliability

Corsair Carbide Series 400R Mid Tower Gaming Computer Case – CC-9011011-WW

Corsair Carbide Series 400R Mid Tower Gaming Computer Case

This is the one up Corsair Carbide case; the Corsair Carbide 400R. This is the version one upped from the Corsair Carbide 300R included in the $1000 build. If you would like to watch a full review of the case, Hardware Canucks has a great one here.

Product Details:

  • Side panel with mesh fan mount locations
  • Four 5.25” drive bays
  • Six 3.5” hard drive bays with 2.5” compatibility
  • Eight expansion slots
  • Supports most 240mm dual radiators (15mm spacing)
  • Two-year warranty
  • Front I/O panel contains:
    • Two USB 3.0 connectors
    • One Firewire connector
    • 3.5” headphone and microphone connector
    • Power and reset switches
    • Fan LED on/off switch

Carbide Series 400R:

  • Dimensions: 20.5” x 8.1” x 19.8”
  • Supports graphics cards up to 316mm in length
  • Six 120mm/140mm fan mounts
  • Four 120mm fan mounts
  • Includes two front-mounted 120mm fans and one rear 120mm fan

Sony AD-7280S-0B 24x SATA Internal DVD+/-RW Drive (Black)

Sony AD-7280S-0B 24x SATA Internal DVD+:-RW Drive (Black)

Sony AD-7280S-0B 24x SATA Internal DVD+:-RW Drive (Black)

The same descriptor as the previous two builds since I am using the same optical drive for all three – “It’s still the same price?? Looks to be so! At only $17, you have your basic non-essential optical drive. As I have before mentioned optical drives are a dying piece of hardware as they are becoming less and less necessary and they all seem to be one of the same. So when choosing the right optical drive, I mostly look at the price tag and whether or not they include a basic SATA connection.

Product Features

  • Drive Type: Internal DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Drive
  • Interface: SATA
  • Buffer Memory: 1 MB
  • Random Access Time: DVD – 160ms; CD – 140ms
  • O/S Compatibility: Windows 7 compatible
  • Write: DVD+R/-R: 24X; DVD+RW/-RW: 8X/6X; DVD+R/-R DL: 12X; DVD-RAM: 12X

$1000 – $1500 Gaming PC Build Additions / Swap Suggestions

Note: Prices are in additional $ amounts These additions are to act as supplemental hardware the the $1000-$1500 Gaming PC Build recipe above

 

Western Digital 1 TB Caviar Blue SATA III 7200 RPM 32 MB Cache Bulk:OEM Desktop Hard Drive - WD10EALXMore Hard Drive Space (RAID ifyou like) Western Digital 1 TB Caviar Blue SATA III 7200 RPM 32 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Desktop Hard Drive – WD10EALX = + $99

 

Double the Graphics Power w/ Crossfire add one more: Diamond AMD Radeon HD 7970 PCIE 3G GDDR5 Video Graphics Card 7970PE53G = + $479
Corsair Hydro Series H80 High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler (CWCH80)Better CPU Cooler (To Overclock Intel 3570K): Corsair Hydro Series H80 High Performance Liquid CPU Cooler (CWCH80) = + $95
Larger SSD: Mushkin Enhanced Callisto Deluxe 240 GB Solid State Drive MKNSSDCL240 GB-DX (Black)= + $299 (Excludes previously included SSD)

Overview: Additions / Part Swaps

Looking to add a little more to an already great gaming PC build? Then I have included the above additions and part swaps to give you an idea of what else you could add to your build. You may need a ton of more hard drive space wether it be archiving stuff into another 1TB hard drive or wanting to put more onto a larger solid state drive.  Perhaps you want to overkill on the graphics cards and get two!? Or you may want a liquid CPU cooler solution?


Concluding May 2012’s Gaming PC Builds:

I have thoroughly enjoyed writing the Gaming PC Builds of the month article for May 2012 simply because I absolutely love when I can include a worthwhile hardware release such as Intel Ivy Bridge release recently.

Whatever your budget, I hope that you are able to find any of these three builds useful and relative to your gaming PC building needs. If you have any other specific needs, please do not hesitate to get in contact with me via the comment form or the comments below.

As well, if you want to take a crack at trying to piece together your own gaming PC then try out the Newb Computer Build Gaming PC Builder page as I am still looking for some input on how I can make it better. I am planning to add more to it soon, such as including solid state drives and other CPU coolers etc.

May 2012’s Gaming PC Hardware Overview Video:

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3 Responses to “Gaming PC Builds of the Month: May 2012”

    • Corey

      There is a noticeable difference, but in my opinion not a big enough noticeable difference say, go and switch from an i5 2500k to an i5-3570k.

      For example if you look at the CPU benchmarks at cpubenchmarks.net the Intel 3570K has a CPU Mark score of 7606 and the Intel 2500K has a CPU Mark score of 6741. So technically it is benchmarking better.

      Reply
      • Eric

        Thanks for the reply. Btw, do you think it’s possible for you to include options for a decent monitor to go along with your list of excellent pc builds? I’m a bit confused by the countless amounts of different types of monitors (size, colors, costs, led, manufacturers, etc.) everywhere i go and would like some advice.

        Reply

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