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Gaming PC Builds of the Month: January 2012

January 2012 Gaming PC Builds: Quickly jump to…

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

Gaming PC Builds of the Month Introduction:

Welcome to the very first 2012 Gaming PC Build of the month here at Newb Computer Build. I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays and have a happy 2012 new year!

Here you will find all of the Newb Computer Build Gaming PC Builds for the month for January 2012. in these three prices ranges(< $500, $500 – $1000, & $1000 – $1500) of gaming builds are combined into this one article.

If you have any questions about the builds listed here or about building a gaming pc  you may comment or send me a message via my contact form or also check out the other resources available under how to choose your gaming pc hardware.

All of these builds include hardware chosen based on the most recent advances in PC hardware up to this point terms of prices, releases, and reviews. These builds are not meant to be completely static, so by all means feel free to mix it up and add other hardware you may feel is more fit for these / your  particular builds.

If you do not mind sharing what you decide to go with, then by all means post and share in the comments at the bottom of the post!

*Note: Hard drive prices are..still being sold at largely inflated prices due to the floods in Thailand a few months ago. So what I suggest is to try and reuse hard drives where you can, or try you can purchase the lower priced drives for now (lower sizes). I am going to still include the hard drives as is price wise in all of the builds, but keep in mind that due to these price inflations the gaming build may be a tad higher than expected. If you would like to read more about the hard drive shortages you can check this article out.

Now for the first Gaming PC Build…are you as excited as I am?!



Gaming PC Build of the month Less Than $500

Monthly Gaming PC Build (< $500 ): January 2012

Gaming PC Build Recipe:

 Processor: Intel Core i3-2100 Processor 3.1GHz 3 MB Cache Socket LGA1155
 Motherboard: ASRock Socket 1155/ Intel H61/ SATA3&USB 3.0/ A&V&GbE/ ATX Motherboard, H61ICAFE
 Graphics Card: PowerColor ATI Radeon HD6770 1 GB DDR5 VGA/DVI/HDMI PCI-Express Video Card AX6770 1GBD5-H
 RAM: Crucial CT2CP25664BA1339 4GB 2GBx2 240-pin PC3-10600 DIMM DDR3 Memory KIT
 Hard Drive: Western Digital 250 GB Caviar Blue SATA 6 Gb/s 7200 RPM 16 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Desktop Hard Drive – WD2500AAKX
 Power Supply: Corsair Builder Series CX V2 500-Watt 80 Plus Certified Power Supply Compatible with Intel and AMD Platforms – CMPSU-500CXV2
Computer Case: AeroCool 10-Bay ATX Mid Tower Computer Case – No PSU (Black/Red)
 Optical Drive: Liteon iHAS324 24X DVD-RW SATA Optical Disk Drive
Estimated Price: $ 508 (Over the $500 mark by just a tad, as this is to not skimp on quality product)

Overview: Gaming PC Build ( < $500 )

We have now landed into a new year and a new month of gaming PC builds. Last year around this time Intel had launched their new line of Sandy Bridge CPUs as seen in allot of higher end gaming pc builds such as the Intel Core i3-2100 used again in the less than $500 hardware configuration. For a budget gaming pc build the Intel i3-2100 is at the top of its ranks CPU wise around in this price range. The only other CPU that may have a chance against it is the Phenom X4 955 and as I would usually go with an AMD processor for a tight low budget gaming pc, I chose to go with the Intel i3-2100 since the price has been so competitive.

The ASRock Socket 1155/ Intel H61/ SATA3&USB 3.0/ A&V&GbE/ ATX Motherboard is a really good motherboard for being less than $100 and having a 1155 socket. Although this motherboard is an Intel H61 chipset (normally used for people wanting to take advantage of the integrated graphics of the Sandy Bridge processor), this is a perfectly suited motherboard for the Intel Core i3-2100 since you would not be overclocking this CPU as it is not unlocked. You could spend  a tad more for a P67 or Z68 chipset motherboard if you ever planned on upgrading to a higher Sandy Bridge processor later on, but if this is the case I would just suggest holding off for a bit until you can just afford to do so now since this build is geared towards those wanting to save as much as they can while being able to play most games you want.

This month the Radeon HD 6770 has been kept as the best graphics card for this price range, however I did change up the brand from the older Saphire one to a  PowerColor ATI Radeon HD6770 graphics card. The value of this card seems to be much better this month in terms of price.

Another noticeable mention in the less than $500 build this month is the change from a 350GB hard drive to a lower 250GB. This is so keep costs lower while not trying to overspend in terms of overpriced hard drives (as I have mentioned numerous times in the lat couple of months). If you do feel you need more than 250GB at this point in time then by all means, but if you don’t then you mise well hold off for a bit.

Also, I chose a true budget PC case this month – The AeroCool 10-Bay ATX Mid Tower Computer Case – No PSU (Black/Red). This case comes with the minimal essentials you need to put all of you hardware into the case to get everything up and running. The only suggestion I may have is to perhaps purchase a $4-5 case fan to supplement the case and use it as an exhaust since the case it self does not come with one. This is just a suggestion, but might be worth it.

If you decide to go with the less than $500 gaming PC build, then you should expect to be able to play most of the games you like, but most likely not at the highest possible settings. Before you purchase any hardware to build your gaming PC I do suggest that you familiarize yourself with the minimum and recommend requirements for any games that you are interested in playing. I try to do this for myself when writing these gaming pc build articles, however it is almost impossible for me to have the requirements for all games in the depths of my mind when keeping in my each specific build. If you have any questions feel free to ask, as well you can check out the PC games section here where there are several articles here at Newb Computer Build of some of the most played PC games.

Overview: The Gaming PC Hardware

Intel Core i3-2100 Processor 3.1GHz 3 MB Cache Socket LGA1155

The second month in a row using the intel Core i3-2100 processor. Here is a nice little (but powerful) Intel Core i3 processor that is a great budget CPU for this price range aimed right at great gaming performance.

Intel Core i3-2100 2 cores 3.1GHz clock speed 4 threads

ASRock Socket 1155/ Intel H61/ SATA3&USB 3.0/ A&V&GbE/ ATX Motherboard, H61ICAFE

The AsRock H61ICAFE motherboard is a great mobo packed into a small price tag. Although it is an H61 chipset this if well suited for the Intel Core i3-2100 processor as you will not be overclocking this processor as it is not unlocked. This mobo also has plenty enough of PCI slots and 2 SATA3 ports along with 4 SATA2 ports.

PowerColor ATI Radeon HD6770 1 GB DDR5 VGA/DVI/HDMI PCI-Express Video Card AX6770 1GBD5-H

Instead of the HIS Radeon HD 6770 graphics card like the last couple of months, I chose to use this PowerColor ATI Radeon HD 6770 graphics card as it came at a better budget price. The Radeon HD 6700 is still the best gaming video card for a budget gaming build.  This particular graphics card has these particular product features:

  • Chipset: Radeon HD6770 Engine Clock: 850 MHz Video Memory: 1GB DDR5
  • Memory Clock: 4800 MHz (4.8 Gbps) Memory Interface: 128-bit Bus: PCI-Express 2.1 x16
  • RAMDAC: 400 MHz Max. Resolution: 2560 x 1600 Connectors: VGA; DVI; HDMI
  • Thermal: Fan sink Support Microsoft Windows 7 Support ATI CrossFireX Technology
  • Support ATI Stream Technology Support ATI Eyefinity Technology
  • Support ATI PowerPlay Technology Support AMD HD3D technology
  • Support HDCP – High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection Support Microsoft DirectX 11, Shader Model 5.0 and OpenGL 4.1

Crucial CT2CP25664BA1339 4GB 2GBx2 240-pin PC3-10600 DIMM DDR3 Memory KIT

This is the take all for budget gaming RAM. Priced this month at only $24 for 4GB (2x 2GB) of RAM you are getting a great deal for 1333 speed RAM. Usually I would recommend getting RAM with a metal heat-sink for a gaming build, but this will not be a problem with this less than $500 gaming pc build. I guarantee you will not find many manufactures offering RAM at this price per value and if you do let me know!

Western Digital 250 GB Caviar Blue SATA 6 Gb/s 7200 RPM 16 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Desktop Hard Drive – WD2500AAKX

You might be asking what!? Only 250GB of hard drive space, what era are you living in? However, 250GB this month does seem like a very practical buy at $73. My suggestion for now would be if you can to use an older hard drive you may already have, buy used, or purchase a hard drive of lower storage (such as this 250GB Western Digital) since the price of HD’s have yet to subside. 250GB is plenty of space for quite a few games and your OS, however you may be a tad skimp on your larger media (music/movies)

Corsair Builder Series CX V2 500-Watt 80 Plus Certified Power Supply Compatible with Intel and AMD Platforms – CMPSU-500CXV2

500 Watts is a perfect amount of power for a build of this caliber. I am a fan of the Corsair Builder series as I have never heard a single bad thing about them and if you are going though the trouble to pur your own PC together, and spending well earned cash then you want to make sure that the main power source for your PC is stable and trust worthy. (Corsair also comes with a three year warranty on their hardware)

AeroCool 10-Bay ATX Mid Tower Computer Case – No PSU (Black/Red)

This AeroCool case is as basic as it gets – A regular ATX Mid Tower computer case with Four (4) 5.25-inch external drive bays One (1) 3.5-inch external drive bay and Five (5) 3.5-inch internal drive bays. Even though the case is basic it has everything you need to get going and the case itself actually looks pretty good. The only recommendation I would have would be to also purchase a $4-5  case fan to use as a case exhaust, but you should be fine either way.

Liteon iHAS324 24X DVD-RW SATA Optical Disk Drive

Usually I choose the optical drives based on their price since they seem to be a dime a dozen now. Eventually optical drives will be a thing of the past. but for now it is probably reasonable to still purchase one.


Gaming PC Build of the Month $500 - $1000

Monthly Gaming PC Build ( $500 – $1000 ): January 2011

Gaming PC Build Recipe:

*Note: Read the Overview below for the $500-$1000 build to completely understand how to maximize this gaming build for your particular needs / wants

 Processor: Intel Core i5-2500K Processor
 Motherboard: ASRock LGA1155/ Intel Z68/ DDR3/ Quad CrossFireX & Quad SLI/ SATA3&USB3.0/ A&V&GbE/ ATX Motherboard, Z68 EXTREME4
 Graphics Card: XFX AMD Radeon HD 6870 900M 1 GB DDR5 DUAL MINIDP HDMI DUAL DVI PCI-E Video Card (HD687AZHFC)
 RAM: Corsair Vengeance 8 GB ( 2 x 4 GB ) DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) 240-Pin DDR3 Memory Kit for Intel Core i3, i5, i7 and AMD Platforms SDRAM CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9
 Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500 GB SATA III 7200 RPM 16 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Desktop Hard Drive – WD5000AAKX
 Power Supply: Corsair Enthusiast Series 850-Watt 80 Plus Bronze Certified Power Supply Compatible with Intel Core i3, i5, i7 and AMD platforms – CMPSU-850TXV2
Computer Case: Z9 Plus Atx Mid Tower
 Optical Drive: Liteon iHAS324 24X DVD-RW SATA Optical Disk Drive
Estimated Price: $933 (Room for expansion if you like!)

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

So here it is once again, the $500 – $1000 gaming pc build of the month.I have found that generally this is the most popular gaming PC build.

I believe this is because most users looking to build a gaming PC are doing so because they are looking for a solid gaming PC on a budget and secondly, they want to build a gaming PC on a budget that will play almost any game they throw at it in the highest settings possible. If this sounds like you then this will probably be the build for you.

This month we are keeping steady using the Intel i5-2500K processor once again, since it is still the champion gaming PC processor capable of mad overclocking with its unlocked CPU multiplier. This gives the Intel i5 2500K processor significant promise for gamers wanting everything they need for a while in the processor requirements department. You can always play at stock CPU speeds and start to overclock when you feel necessary, it’s up to you!

The motherboard chosen this month is the ASRock A&V&GbE ATX Motherboard, Z68 EXTREME4 mobo. I chose this board since it is capable to do so much; it is a Z68 motherboard (combining the powers of both the P67 and H67 motherboards), capable of SLI and Crossfire (combine two graphics cards for more power) and includes SATA 6Gb/s and a couple of USB 3.0′s.

The reason I chose a motherboard capable of Crossfire above is because I wanted anyone who   is going to use this gaming hardware configuration to be able to purchase another AMD Radeon HD 6870 graphics card at any point in time when they can afford it (whether it be now or later) since having one card now may be plenty to play most of your PC games at the highest settings. If this is not the case for any particular game you play, or plan on playing in the future then this option is here. If you would like to read more about what Crossfire is then please check out the Crossfire Wikipedia article.

The rest of the build is pretty standard with 8GB of Corsair DDR3 RAM, a 500 GB Western Digital Hard Drive (You can upgrade the size if you like and can afford, however keep in mind hard drive prices are still inflated), a Corsair Enthusiast series 850 Watt PSU (plenty of room for accessory expansion). If you do not plan on adding anything else to your build but what is mentioned in the gaming PC recipe above, then you can purchase any PSU between 650-800Watts that will work perfectly; this may save you some money.

One notable addition of the $500 – $1000 build this month is that I included the Z9 Plus ATX Mid Tower computer case. Some of you may recognize this case from the Zalman Z9 Plus PC Case Review written by me here at Newb Computer Build. I had purchased this case back in December for my Gaming PC and could not be happier. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a modernistic gaming pc look, sleek black design, and someone who wants a very easy to install case.

$500 – $1000 Gaming PC Build Additions

Note: Total Prices = Total for Whole Gaming PC Build with the addition / replacement.

These additions are to act as supplemental hardware the the Gaming PC Build Recipe Above

Add a SSD Boot Drive: OCZ Technology 60 GB Agility 3 SATA III Solid State Drive AGT3-25SAT3-60G = ~$1023 Total Price
 Add a Blu-Ray Optical Drive: LG Electronics WH12LS30 12X Blu-ray SATA Writer Drive  = ~$1028 Total Price (Including the previous DVD Optical Drive)
cooler-master-hyper-212-plusCPU Cooler (To Overclock Intel 2500K): Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler, RR-B10-212P-G1   =~$956 Total Price
Do Crossfire with another XFX AMD Radeon HD 6870 900M 1 GB DDR5 DUAL MINIDP HDMI DUAL DVI PCI-E Video Card (HD687AZHFC) = ~$1013 Total Price

Additions / Part Swaps Overview

I have included these Additions / Parts Swap as these could be parts that may either be better suited for specific individuals, or those who can extend their budget a little further. Particularly with January 2012′s $500-$1000 gaming pc build only coming in at around $933 there may be some options when it comes to expanding the possibilities with your particular gaming build (If you like!)

This months addition / hardware swaps for the $500 – $1000 gaming pc build are to be aimed near or $1000 with some another additions that may go over and above the $1000 allotted for this build (as they usually do). These are only suggestions and are here just in case you want to see some versatility to the already laid out gaming pc build.

You could add a OCZ Agility 3 SSD boot drive which you can instal Windows 7 (or any OS) on and a few of your most played games. The additional drive here is only 60GB, but is a reputable brand and SSD. Keep in mind that prices tend to climb at an accelerated rate as you increase the sizes of your SSD (For example 120Gb, 160GB, 240Gb etc.)

Blu-Ray Writer optical drive such as the LG one listed below if you plan on watching Blu-Ray movies, making Blu-Ray copies along with gaming on your PC build. To me this is more of a luxury since I do not ever purchase Blu-Rays, but some of you are avid Blu-Ray enthusiasts and perhaps like to backup games for you PS3, or store data to Blu-Rays.

If you are planning to overclock your Intel i5-2500K processor then you may want to add in the extra after-stock CPU cooler listed below. The Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus CPU Cooler is one of the highest rated CPU coolers and is not too expensive.

Finally, if you are planning to do Crossfire with this gaming pc build, then you may want to add another AMD Radeon HD 6870 Graphics Card the supplement the other one. Doing this increases the potential of your gaming PC that much further!

Overview: The Gaming PC Hardware

Intel Core i5-2500K Processor

The Intel 2500K has been used for a number of months here at Newb Computer Build for this particular budgeted gaming pc build. The Intel 2500K is still a beast and the end all processor for any gaming pc build. This Intel Core i5 2500K processor is a great pick for a gaming pc build, because of it’s unclocked CPU multiplier. What this means is you can overclock this great Sandy Bridge gaming CPU to get it’s full potential. It has been said time and time again that this is the #1 choice of processor amongst gamers at this point in time. You could spend more and get the Intle i7-2600K, but for gaming purposes you will see a very little increase in performance. If you intend to over-clock this processor, it is recommended that you purchase an aftermarket CPU cooler with your hardware so that you can keep your CPU at stable temperatures.

To read a review of the Intel Sandy Bridge Processors head on over to Toms Hardware’s Intel’s Second-Gen Core CPUs: The Sandy Bridge Review

Intel Core i5-2500K 4 cores 3.3GHz clock speed LGA 1155 Socket

ASRock LGA1155/ Intel Z68/ DDR3/ Quad CrossFireX & Quad SLI/ SATA3&USB3.0/ A&V&GbE/ ATX Motherboard, Z68 EXTREME4

This AsRock Pro3 EXTREME 4 motherboard is a great pick for this mid range budget build. It has everything you need to maximize the benefit of the Intel 2500K processor and also has a fantastic BIOS. The follow are the product features of this mobo:

  • Processor: Socket 1155 Support 2nd Generation Intel Core i7/ i5/ i3 Processor;
  • Chipset: Intel Z68
  • Memory: 4x 240pin DDR3-2133(OC)/1866(OC)/1600/1333/1066 DIMMs, Dual Channel, Non-ECC/Un-buffered, Max Capacity upto 32GB
  • Slots: 3x PCI-Express 2.0 x16 Slots(Supports ATI Quad/ 3-Way/ CrossFireX; Support nVidia Quad SLI/ SLI ); 2x PCI Express 2.0 x1 Slots; 2x PCI Slots
  • SATA: 4x SATA2 Ports, Support RAID 0/ 1/ 5/ 10; 4x SATA3 Ports(one shared with eSATA3 Port, two Support RAID 0/ 1/ 5/ 10)
  • Audio: Realtek ALC892 7.1-Channel HD Audio CODEC, Supports Premium Blu-ray audio; Supports THX TruStudio Pro
  • LAN: Broadcom BCM57781 PCI-Express x1 Gigabit Ethernet Controller, Supports Wake-On-LAN
  • Supports Intel Turbo Boost 2.0 Technology; Supports Intel K-Series unlocked CPU; Supports Hyper-Threading Technology
  • Video: Integrated Intel HD 2000/3000 Graphic Controller, Max. shared Memory 1759MB; Support Pixel Shader 4.1 and DirectX 10.1

XFX AMD Radeon HD 6870 900M 1 GB DDR5 DUAL MINIDP HDMI DUAL DVI PCI-E Video Card (HD687AZHFC)

Getting rid of the GeForce GTX 570 from last month, I have decided to instead go with the AMD Radeon HD 6870 graphics card for January 2012. Toms Hardware rates this card capable of playing games at great performances at (what seems like is becoming standard) resolutions of 1920×1200 (at higher resolutions you may have to crank settings down a tad in some games).

This is a fantastic card and better yet, if you ever need more graphics juice, then you have the capability of upgrading your gaming PC by simply adding another one of these Radeon HD 6870′s and using Crossfire. Perfect!

Corsair Vengeance 8 GB ( 2 x 4 GB ) DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) 240-Pin DDR3 Memory Kit for Intel Core i3, i5, i7 and AMD Platforms SDRAM CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9

8GB of memory is becoming more and more affordable, so there is no reason not to go with it. The key to choosing the right type of RAM package is to know of a reputable brand, check the speeds and the timings. This Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600MHz RAM Kit is a perfect supplement to your gaming PC build. You should not need more for the time being, and if you ever do just buy another pack to make it 16GB.

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

Sure 500GB may not be enough for everyone, but for a gaming PC it can be plenty (depending on your game archives and whether you do anything else with your PC – such as high end media). Hard Drive sale prices should subside soon which is another reason I only chose 500GB. If you do not want to wait then you can go for a higher 1TB or so Hard Drive, but this may drive this budgeted gaming pc price up.

I tend to recommend Western Digital Hard drives allot because they are a fantastic brand with a long reputation. Your data is important so you mise well make sure it is kept stable!

The Caviar Blue series is not necessarily the fastest drive, but it also is not the slowest – If you want fantastic boot times then try investing in a SSD for your OS and most played games.

Corsair Enthusiast Series 850-Watt 80 Plus Bronze Certified Power Supply Compatible with Intel Core i3, i5, i7 and AMD platforms – CMPSU-850TXV2

The Corsair Enthusiast Series has become almost a staple for mid range builds with an array of high customer ratings. Just check out Amazon’s rating; at the time of writing this this PSU had a rating of 4.5/5 Stars from 274 customers (not bad!).

If you would like to watch a quick overview of the Enthusiast Series PSU’s then check this You Tube video done by NewEgg - Newegg TV: Corsair TX v2 Enthusiast Series Power Supplies – First Look

Z9 Plus ATX Mid Tower

The Z9 PLus ATX Mid Tower is being included in this build because in December I purchased this exact case for my gaming pc build and I then wrote an article here at Newb Computer Build - Zalman Z9 Plus PC Case Review where I wrote that I would for sure include this case in one of the next gaming pc build articles, so here it is! I love this case as it is perfectly sized, sleek, simple, case temperature display, easy install and even a fan controller (not to mention the ari flow in this thing is amazing (comes with four large fans)

Liteon iHAS324 24X DVD-RW SATA Optical Disk Drive

Usually I choose the optical drives based on their price since they seem to be a dime a dozen now. Eventually optical drives will be a thing of the past. but for now it is probably reasonable to still purchase one. Usually you can purchase any decent optical drive for around $20, as there is no need to spend more than this.


Gaming PC Build of the Month $1000 - $1500

Monthly Gaming PC Build ( $1000 – $1500 ): January 2011

Gaming PC Build Recipe:

 Processor: Intel Core i5-2500K Processor
 
CPU Cooler (For OverClocking): Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler, RR-B10-212P-G1
 Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD4-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
 Graphics Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 580 SuperClocked with Free “Batman: Arkham City” Game Download coupon included, 1536 MB GDDR5, Dual-DualLink DVI, mini HDMI and PCI-E 2.0 SLI Graphics Card – 015-P3-1582-A1
 RAM: Corsair Vengeance 8 GB ( 2 x 4 GB ) DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) 240-Pin DDR3 Memory Kit for Intel Core i3, i5, i7 and AMD Platforms SDRAM CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9
 Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500 GB SATA III 7200 RPM 16 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Desktop Hard Drive – WD5000AAKX
SSD Hard Drive: OCZ Technology 60 GB Agility 3 SATA III Solid State Drive AGT3-25SAT3-60G
 Power Supply: Cooler Master Silent Pro M1000 Series Modular 1000W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified Active PFC Power Supply RSA00-AMBAJ3-US
Computer Case: Thermaltake Chaser MK-1 USB 3.0 Full Tower Case VN300M1W2N
 Optical Drive: Liteon iHAS324 24X DVD-RW SATA Optical Disk Drive
Estimated Price: $1511 (Tiny over budget, however very solid gaming rig)

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

January 2012′s $1000 – $1500 gaming pc build is almost as good as it gets in my opinion. This build is for the hardcore gaming enthusiast who enjoys playing games at extreme settings at high resolutions.

Just like the build before this, we are using the Intel i5-2500K processor for its fine finesse as a gaming processor. Toms Hardware even states that “CPUs priced over $225 offer rapidly diminishing returns when it comes to game performance. As such, we have a hard time recommending anything more expensive than the Core i5-2500K, especially since this multiplier-unlocked processor can be overclocked to great effect if more performance is desired. Even at stock clocks, it meets or beats the $1000 Core i7-990X Extreme Edition when it comes to gaming.

The motherboard included in this build is the GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD4-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 ATX Intel Motherboard. This board actually came out last May 2011, but it packs so much in it for a decent price which includes support for SLI / Crossfire, tons of USB expansion, tons of SATA (including 2 6GB/s SATA connections).

In the main gaming pc recipe this month, I have included an after market CPU cooler; the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus CPU Cooler to be exact. This is because I see the $1000 – $1500 build as a higher end more powerful gaming pc, so in order to get the maximum benefit from this this hardware configuration I would expect one would be overclocking their Intel i5-2500K processor and to do this you should have an aftermarket CPU cooler. This is not a mandatory purchase, but highly recommended for a build of this caliber.

The graphics card of choice this month is the GeForce GTX 580; more specifically the GTX 580 SuperClocked with Free “Batman: Arkham City” Game Download coupon included, 1536 MB GDDR5, Dual-DualLink DVI, mini HDMI and PCI-E 2.0 SLI Graphics Card – 015-P3-1582-A1.Take a look at the picture of this GPU below, it looks super cool.

I chose this specific GPU for the sheer awesomeness it brings to a high end gaming build as sometimes building a higher end gaming PC is as much about the style & process as it is for the actually usage of the machine. The GeForce GTX 580 is currently the fastest singular graphics card  that you can purchase and may just be the best choice since there is no hassle using a single GPU.

In the main builds recipe I simply used the same 8GB (2 x 4GB) Corsair RAM package as in the above $500 – $1000 build since this is plenty of RAM (and you can always expand later on anyways), a 500GB Western Digital Caviar Blue Hard Drive, a OCZ Technology 60 GB Agility 3 SSD to be used as a boot disk and for a few games for faster loading times.

As well, I pumped the power supply unit this January 2012 to match the robustness of this build. Since I am keeping the possibilities of this build as wide as I can, I wanted to leave tons of room for expansion, so I chose the Cooler Master Silent Pro M1000 Series Modular 1000W PSU. This gives a ginormous 1000W of power and the convenience of a modular PSU so you can keep you case clear of unwanted cables (which can also aid in keeping your case cooler, and more dust free).

The case I chose is the Thermaltake Chaser MK-1 USB 3.0 Full Tower Case, which I chose since it was a Full Tower case (you can store tons in this sucker), great air flow capabilities with tons of optional fan installations, good cable management and most importantly when I look at this case the sheer look just screams “I am a hardcore gamer” .

$1000 – $1500 Gaming PC Build Additions

Note: Total Prices are Total for Whole Gaming PC Build with the addition / replacement

These additions are to act as supplemental hardware the the Gaming PC Build Recipe Above

Western-Digital-1TB-Caviar-BlueMore Hard Drive Space:  Western Digital Caviar Blue 500 GB SATA III 7200 RPM 16 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Desktop Hard Drive – WD5000AAKX- = ~$1546 Total Price (Excludes the 500GB Western Digital Caviar Blue HD from build above)
 Double the Graphics Power w/ SLI add one more: EVGA GeForce GTX 580 SuperClocked with Free “Batman: Arkham City” Game Download coupon included, 1536 MB GDDR5, Dual-DualLink DVI, mini HDMI and PCI-E 2.0 SLI Graphics Card – 015-P3-1582-A1 = ~$2011 Total Price (Completely overkill though!)
 Double up the RAM:  Corsair Vengeance Blue 16 GB DDR3 SDRAM Dual Channel Memory Kit CMZ16GX3M4A1600C9B = ~$1550 Total Price (Excludes previous Corsair 8GB Kit from build above)
 Larger SSD: Crucial 128 GB m4 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive SATA 6Gb/s  = ~$1611 Total Price (Excludes previous SSD)

Overview: Additions / Part Swaps

The additional hardware options I chose for the $1000 – $1500 January 2012 build are here to serve as further enhancements over the original gaming pc build recipe posted above.

Just in case you were wanting more massive hard drive space, I suggested a larger 1TB Western Digital Caviar Blue Hard Drive. This is because I only included a 500GB in the original build, and this size to some is small. This was only done because of the hard drive sale price inflation’s (which will go down soon), but if you desperately need more space then by all means go for it!

Also, for the individual who wants to solidify the future proof(ness) of his/her gaming pc, you may double your RAM for a not so significant price increase.

Just in case the original OCZ SSD 60GB Hard Drive is not enough for your OS and all of your most played games (or whatever else you want the fastest access to), then you may upgrade to a larger SSD, so I have included the Crucial 128GB m4 SSD (Keep in mind that SSD’s seem to have prices that increase significantly as sizes increase not to significantly).

Finally, I have included a second GeForce GTX 580 GPU just in case there is that one truly hardcore gaming hardware enthusiast who wants to do SLI with two of those GPU beasts. Is this overkill? Yes! However, this gaming rig will most likely drop jaws and be able to play the latest games at extremely high settings for a long long time.

Overview: The Gaming PC Hardware

Intel Core i5-2500K Processor

The Intel 2500K has been used for both the $500 – $1000 and the $1000 – $1500 build this month and a couple of the previous months. This is because the Intel i5-2500K processor is the top of the line gaming process out to date. This is because this processor is unlocked, which all allows user to overclock; the Intel i5-2500K processor is also extremely easy to do so. Users generally can OC to 4.0GHz stable easily!

To read a review of the Intel Sandy Bridge Processors head on over to Toms Hardware’s Intel’s Second-Gen Core CPUs: The Sandy Bridge Review

Intel Core i5-2500K 4 cores 3.3GHz clock speed LGA 1155 Socket

Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler, RR-B10-212P-G1

cooler-master-hyper-212-plusThe perfect CPU cooler to pair with your Intel i5-2500K processor. The Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus cooler is one of the highest rated cooler out there at the moment and does not cost tons. If you plan to overclock your Intel i5-2500K then this is a highly recommended must

If you would like to read a full review of this CPU cool then check out HardwareCanuks full review. As quoted by the review article..“[The Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus is a] DAM GOOD VALUE”

GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD4-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

The Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD4-B3 LGA 1155 ATX motherboard has it all. Take a gander at the Product Features:

  • CPU: Support for Intel Core i7/i5/i3/Pentium/Celeron processors in the LGA1155 package. Chipset: Intel Z68 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 2133/1866/1600/1333/1066 MHz memory modules
  • Audio: Realtek ALC889 codec. High Definition Audio. 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel. Support for Dolby Home Theater. Support for S/PDIF Out. LAN: 1 x Realtek RTL8111E chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)
  • Expansion Slots: 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x16. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x8. 2 x PCI Express x1 slots. 2 x PCI slots. Support for ATI CrossFireX/NVIDIA SLI technology
  • Storage Interface: Chipset: 2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors. 4 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors. Support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 102 x Marvell 88SE9172 chips: 2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors. 2 x eSATA 6Gb/s connectors. Support for SATA RAID 0 and RAID 1.
  • Back Panel Connectors:1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port/1 x coaxial S/PDIF Out connector/1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector/7 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports/2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports/1 x IEEE 1394 port/1 x eSATA/USB Combo connector/1 x eSATA 6Gb/s connector/1 x RJ-45 port/6 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out/Rear Speaker Out/Side Speaker Out/Line In/Line Out/Microphone)
  • Internal I/O Connectors: 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector/1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector/4 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors/4 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors/1 x CPU fan header/2 x system fan headers/1 x power fan header/1 x front panel header/1 x front panel audio header/1 x S/PDIF Out header/3 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers/1 x USB 3.0/2.0 header/1 x serial port header/1 x IEEE 1394a header/1 x Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header/1 x clearing CMOS jumper
  • Storage Interface: Chipset: 2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors. 4 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors. Support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 102 x Marvell 88SE9172 chips: 2 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors. 2 x eSATA 6Gb/s connectors. Support for SATA RAID 0 and RAID 1. Wi-fi adapter is included in the box
  • USB: Chipset: Up to 14 USB 2.0/1.1 ports. 2 x Etron EJ168 chips: Up to 4 USB 3.0/2.0 ports. Up to 2 IEEE 1394a ports
  • Wi-fi adapter is included in the box
You can also read a fantastic overview (pictures and all) of the Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD4-B3 LGA 1155 ATX motherboard in this forum thread at the extremesystems.org forums.

EVGA GeForce GTX 580 SuperClocked with Free “Batman: Arkham City” Game Download coupon included, 1536 MB GDDR5, Dual-DualLink DVI, mini HDMI and PCI-E 2.0 SLI Graphics Card – 015-P3-1582-A1

The GTX 580 (as I have stated in the Gaming PC Build Overview above)  is the number one singular GPU you can purchase right now. This card will allow you to game at the highest settings at resolutions of 2560-1600 resolutions! Click here to read Toms Hardware’s full review of the GTX 580.

Furthermore, I chose this specific GTX 580 card for the look and price. It comes at the exact same price as the other EVGA branded cards, but this one has the free “Batman: Arkham City” download coupon and what I like most is that the card looks uber cool. Did I just say ‘uber’?

Corsair Vengeance 8 GB ( 2 x 4 GB ) DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) 240-Pin DDR3 Memory Kit for Intel Core i3, i5, i7 and AMD Platforms SDRAM CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9

The same basic Corsair Vengeance (2 x 4GB) memory pack that I used in the above $500 – $1000 gaming pc build. 8Gb of RAM is plenty for most gaming needs right now,and the Corsair Vengeance branded RAM is well rated package. You can always double this up (as seen in the additions sections above) for not too much more, or wait until later when you may need 16GB more and prices may be cheaper.

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

I have used this exact hard drive for the $500 – $1000 build and the 250GB version for the < $500 gaming pc build. As I have said above -

Sure 500GB may not be enough for everyone, but for a gaming PC it can be plenty (depending on your game archives and whether you do anything else with your PC – such as high end media). Hard Drive sale prices should subside soon which is another reason I only chose 500GB. If you do not want to wait then you can go for a higher 1TB or so Hard Drive, but this may drive this budgeted gaming pc price up.

I tend to recommend Western Digital Hard drives allot because they are a fantastic brand with a long reputation. Your data is important so you mise well make sure it is kept stable!

The Caviar Blue series is not necessarily the fastest drive, but it also is not the slowest – If you want fantastic boot times then try investing in a SSD for your OS and most played games.

OCZ Technology 60 GB Agility 3 SATA III Solid State Drive AGT3-25SAT3-60G

The OCZ 60GB Agility 3 is a great boot up disk drive that can store your OS and perhaps a couple of game for quick booting. This SSD is one of Toms Hardware’s top rated SSD drives around this price range and is priced perfectly at around $100.

 

 

Cooler Master Silent Pro M1000 Series Modular 1000W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified Active PFC Power Supply RSA00-AMBAJ3-US

Cooler Master Cooler-Master-Silent-Pro-PFC Power SupplyThis Cooler Master Silent Pro 1000W Modular PSU is a great PSU for this build, because it leaves tons of room for any new additions you want to add (for example: if you want to do SLI in the future). Not to mention that this PSU is modular as to keep your case clean from excess cables, and this PSU has been known to run really quiet.

 

Thermaltake Chaser MK-1 USB 3.0 Full Tower Case VN300M1W2N

For January 2012, I have decided to go with the Thermaltake Chase MK01 Full Tower computer case. This case offers a ton of room for all of the hardware in this build (and for further expansion) as it is a Full Tower case, looks like a killer gaming pc case and has been said to have great cooling / airflow capability.

Here are the Product Features:

  • CableClear Cable Management Improves thermal efficiency of the computer system by ensuring power cables don’t get in the way of airflow.
  • SuperSpeed USB 3.0 – Chaser MK-1 features latest internal USB 3.0 header so you get convenient USB 3.0 access right on the front of the case.
  • HDD Docking Station – another way Thermaltake is leading the revolution on how data are transferred.
  • Enthusiasts Water Cooling Ready – spacious interior is only the bare minimum when it comes to water cooling.
  • Heightened Foot Stands gives maximum air intake or exhaust
  • Chaser MK-1 elevated the entire case so air intake or exhaust will not be interrupted when the system in placed on floor with rug.
  • Chaser MK-1 features an innovative top removable panel that can be easily transformed to accommodate high-efficiency 24cm radiator!
  • HDD docking station enables blazing-fast and effortless data transfer to any bare 2.5″ or 3.5″ SATA hard drive without the need for an enclosure.
  • Massive Cooling Capability:Addition to 2 oversized 200mm fans with ColorShift & one 140mm rear exhaust fan, 2 additional 200mm fans can be installed

Liteon iHAS324 24X DVD-RW SATA Optical Disk Drive

As used in all of the builds this month,I have chosen this Liteon optical drive as this is your typical optical drive for reading your CD and DVD media, and/or burning your media onto a CD/DVD. Really any ~= $20 optical drive would do, unless you plan on getting blu-ray of course!

 

Concluding January 2012′s Gaming PC Builds:

Thank you for reading through the three Gaming PC Builds for January 2012 here at Newb Computer Build. Whatever your needs / wants in a gaming pc are, I hope that these builds can act as a guide to point you in the right direction so that you can put the correct hardware together within your budget.

I can honestly say that I believe this month to be the tightest builds I have put together yet. If you want to add something that I may have missed, or have any further suggestions I would love to hear them. As well, I am looking for any input on how I can improve my article quality and readability so if anyone ever had any input I am open ears.

If you need help choosing your hardware, or have any questions please leave a comment below and I will try my hardest to get back to you asap.

I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and all the best in 2012!

Made a quick video overviewing this months Gaming PC Builds Hardware. Just experimenting some, but check it out:

12 Responses to “Gaming PC Builds of the Month: January 2012”

  1. Ultimate Demon

    I do not know whether it’s just me or if everyone else experiencing problems with your blog. It looks like some of the text on your posts are running off the screen. Can somebody else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them as well? This may be a problem with my internet browser because I’ve had this happen before. Many thanks

    Reply
    • Corey

      Hey Ultimate Demon,

      Depending on the article this has been happening I know and I am trying to diagnose the problem. I have recently just upgraded the backend so there may be a complication with regards to that. Does this particularly happen on this article for you? If not let me know what else does and what browser you are using if you can.

      Thanks for the notification!

      Reply
  2. Eric

    Does this build make any sense for 500 to 1000 range.

    Motherboard
    GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 Intel Z68
    CPU
    Intel Core i7-2600K
    Corsair CWCH60 cooler
    RAM
    Corsair Vengeance DDR3 8GB (2x4GB)
    Video Card
    EVGA GTX 560 Ti 1GB
    Sound Card
    Creative Labs Sound Blaster Audigy 7.1
    Hard Drive
    Seagate Barracuda 1TB
    Optical Drive
    Sony Optiarc 24x DVDRW Drive
    Case
    Not sure
    Power Supply
    Corsair Builder Series CX600 (600W)

    Reply
    • Corey

      Hey Steven,

      Yep you bet, that case will work perfectly as it fits any ATX motherboard and is a full sized case (more than enough to fit everything and beyond). I actually quite like the NZXT Phantom cases, they look great and have this futuristic look about them. Best of luck and if you have any other questions shoot away.

      Reply
  3. Andrew Herder

    Hey, Used your site to basically go off what I originally had for my PC build.
    I put up some of the specs on the SWTOR forum for ideas, (one of the main 2 uses for the comp)

    and after feedback came out with this list:
    CPU: i7 2600K processor -Already have this.
    Case: ZALMAN Z9 Plus – Ordered.
    MotherBoard: ASRock LGA1155
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
    RAM: G.SKILL Sniper 8GB
    GPU: SAPPHIRE FleX 100314FLEX Radeon HD 6870
    HD: Western Digital 1 TB
    Power: OCZ ModXStream Pro 700W
    CD/DVD: Liteon iHAS324
    SSD: SAMSUNG 830 Series MZ-7PC064D/AM 2.5″ 64GB

    You think this will all work well?

    Reply
    • Corey

      Hey Andrew,

      That build looks perfect, especially for SWTOR. Which AsRock LGA 1155 motherboard did you specifically have in mind? I almost questioned the OCZ PSU however it does seem that these things have actually been getting quite a good rap lately, and the prices are fantastic for a modular 700W PSU.

      How much is the quoted cost for your build?
      And best of luck on your build!

      Reply
      • Andrew Herder

        The Extreme4.
        (which is on sale on newegg atm f0r 10$ less.)
        The reveiws on the PSU were mainly all good, just that some people said the cords were a bit short.
        The guy that recommended it said he had a mid sized, bottom mounted PSU case, and said it was a great deal.

        For the parts minus the case and processor, its going to run me about 771$

        Reply
  4. Adam

    Just one question… the reviews on the SSD you are recommending are awful on Amazon.com. How do you think of the Crucial M4 SSD instead?

    Reply
    • Corey

      Hey Adam,

      I actually just changed the links of the SSD’s in the last build because I had accidentally linked the OCz Vertex Plus (accident!) instead of the OCz Agility 3 (which I meant to do!)

      However, I would actually recommend you go with the Crucial m4 as you stated; especially as it seems the prices seemed to have dropped on this one.

      Thanks Adam!

      Reply

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