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Looking to build a gaming rig for Skyrim within a $1,200 budget. Any help?

Discussion in 'Games' started by Aerodamus, Dec 30, 2012.

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  1. Aerodamus

    Aerodamus Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    For quite some time I have been wanting to build a new desktop gaming computer so I could play games like The Elder Scrolls series, Fallout series, Just Cause 2, GTA, and other such games the way they were meant to be played. Ever since I got into playing video games back when I was 7 or 8, I have always been on consoles. Until this March, I never even had a computer that was capable of playing much at all.

    This cruddy laptop only cost me $299, but it can play a lot of decent games on medium settings. I got it for my birthday in March from a combination of family members. We've never really had a lot of money to throw around on recreational things, but times have changed somewhat. I graduated high school in May, and since June I have been working at FedEx. The first $2,500 I made I didn't even keep a cent of it. I gave it all to my mom to help out with the family, but FedEx's peak season finally ended last Friday, and I made quite a bit of money.

    I figure it's finally time to treat myself to the dream PC that I have always wanted. My budget is loosely based on about $1,200, but I do not want to spend that much at all if I don't have to, but I will spend a bit more if it means avoiding corner-cutting performance in favor of price.

    WHAT I AM LOOKING FOR IN A DESKTOP PC:
    -Be able to play Skyrim on Ultra (maxed out) settings
    -Be able to use some texture and graphics mods (like 2k textures and ENB stuff) on top of that
    -Have a smooth, non-choppy gaming experience without annoying screen tear, etc.
    -Maintain a minimum FPS of about 60 on a screen resolution of 1080x1920 and 120Hz refresh rate
    -Cost as far under $1,200 as possible without cutting corners in performance and quality

    I have never really been in the computer world, as I have not been able to afford to, but I do read up on computer hardware quite a bit, because I find it really enjoyable. I know I would be a computer enthusiast who builds computers just for the sake of building and benchmarking them, but frankly, I don't have money like that do blow. Anyway, those are my minimum performance demands that I will go with, and I will not be cutting corners.

    My question is this: Can I get performance like that for under $1,200? Because I sure as hell want to try if it is possible. Money doesn't grow on trees, ya know? I don't know much about building computers myself, so I considered websites like www.ecollegepc.com and www.ibuypower.com. What do you guys think of websites like that? Or would I be better off building it on my own?

    The thing is, I could really use some help, and I have no idea where to start. So far this is what I have been able to come up with:

    Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813157293
    CPU: Intel Core i5 3570K http://www.newegg.co...N82E16819116504
    Heatsink/Fan: Freezer 7 PRO Rev. 2 http://www.newegg.co...0PRO%20Rev.%202
    GPU: 2GB GeForce GTX 680 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=14-130-771
    RAM: CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB http://www.newegg.co...N82E16820233240
    HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint 1TB 7200 HDD http://www.newegg.co...N82E16822152185
    Case: COOLER MASTER Storm Sniper http://www.newegg.co...0Sniper%20Black
    PSU: CORSAIR TX Series 650W http://www.newegg.co...N82E16817139005
    Disc Drive: ASUS 24X DVD Burner http://www.newegg.co...N82E16827135204
    OS: Windows 7 Home Premium http://www.newegg.co...N82E16832116986
    Total cost: $1,265

    So far, that seems like the absolute best rig that is physically possible on a $1,200 budget. But I am no tech expert. Is there anything you guys would change about this rig? The main thing to keep in mind is that my main game is Skyrim. I am looking to build this rig specifically for Skyrim. I heard that the GTX cards are better for Skyrim than the Radeon HD cards, which is why I went with this build.
     
  2. Aerodamus

    Aerodamus Thread Starter

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  3. Aerodamus

    Aerodamus Thread Starter

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  4. Super-D-38

    Super-D-38

    Joined:
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    You don't need to bump, if someone knows they will reply.
    And, Yes. You can get that kind of performance for $1,200. Probably less since you want a desktop.
    My laptop can play Skyrim on ultra and it was $1,400, two years ago.

    Only thing in your build I have a thought about is the PSU. 650W may be low for a hard core gamer system. That is one area you don't want to be short on too.

    Have you looked at bare bones gaming systems? Basic parts for a decent price. Depending on the kit, you may only need to add disc drives or upgrade the power supply. http://www.cpusolutions.com/store/pc/Gaming-Barebones-c292.htm

    Found this from iBuypower. $1,099 and claims to run Skyrim on Max. http://www.ibuypower.com/Store/PRE-BUILD_AM581SLC

    A kit is the way to go if this is your first build and you feel the need to do the building.. There is much to consider when you start from scratch. I see you do your research so look at compatibility as much as you can. And be prepared, there is always a chance something that claimed to work, doesn't. :rolleyes:

    Give your post a few days, there are many gamers here that build systems. more opinions will come. :D
     
  5. Aerodamus

    Aerodamus Thread Starter

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    Thanks for the help.
     
  6. Aerodamus

    Aerodamus Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    Updated components list:

    Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-Z77-D3H
    CPU: Intel Core i5 3570K
    Heatsink/Fan: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO
    GPU: 2GB GeForce GTX 680
    RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB
    HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint 1TB 7200 HDD
    Case: COOLER MASTER Storm Sniper
    Case Fans1: COOLER MASTER 140mm Blue LED Fan
    Case Fans2: COOLER MASTER 120mm Blue LED Case Fan 2 Pack
    PSU: RAIDMAX Blackstone series RX-700AC 700W
    Disc Drive: ASUS 24X DVD Burner
    OS: Windows 7 Home Premium ($25 - Deal from a friend)
    Total cost: $1,222.89

    I have made a few changes to my original set-up. After doing quite a bit of research, I didn't like the recurring problems that I kept reading about on the ASRock Z77 Extreme4, so I switched my motherboard to the one on the list. The GIGABYTE GA-Z77-D3H being the bright blue that it is, I decided to switch to some RAM that matches the new motherboard that I chose. So I am now going with G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series RAM. I was a bit unsure whether or not 650W PSU would get the job done, so I found this RAIDMAX Blackstone series PSU that got great reviews, and is also 700W, on top of that, the fan inside of it has blue LEDs, so I couldn't resist picking that PSU. The changes shave off $30 of the previous cost.

    Anyway, those are the (hopefully last) changes that I am making to my set-up. What do you guys think of my new updated list? Any comments, advice, or suggestions?
     
  7. Skivvywaver

    Skivvywaver

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    13,948
    It looks good. At this point I would advise a solid state drive for your OS. The raidmax PSU is another thing I would change. I will not run an elcheapo PSU. They can go pop at any time and leave you with other damaged components. They also don't always provide enough power to run the machine. Your choice.

    I am running the Extreme 6 version of the asrock board. I haven't had any issue with it. Straight to 4.5 ghz. I did have an MSI board fail miserably a few months back. Tis the luck of the draw I guess.
     
  8. Aerodamus

    Aerodamus Thread Starter

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    Thanks. Do you know where I could find another 700W+ PSU that you trust, that is priced around the same as the one I have listed. I really can't afford much more than that price-wise.

    EDIT: I already have a SSD, I just didn't include it here because I already own it. It's a 256gb Crucial M4 that my dad gave to me for graduation. I know it's not the fastest SSD, but it gets the job done for me. Since I won't be using this computer for anything other than gaming, I may cut out the 1TB HDD and use that budget for elsewhere in the computer.
     
  9. gurutech

    gurutech

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    Apr 23, 2004
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    2,960
    If you want to save some money, go with an AMD CPU. They are just as good as the Intel ones, if not better, and cost much less.

    I just upgraded my CPU, RAM, power supply and motherboard for under $400. Adding a hard drive, case, and DVD drive may have run me another $400 (but I already had them, so didn't need to repurchase.) The motherboard I got had a built-in video, but another $100 or so for that would still only be $900 or so.
     
  10. Tanis

    Tanis

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    May 29, 2006
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    First Name:
    Shane
    Are you planning to overclock? If not I would ditch the HSF and just use the stock cooler for the i5 which is perfectly good for the job. That will give you an extra $30 to put into the PSU for the same overall cost.

    For PSU go for Corsair (not builder series), PC Power and Cooling, Seasonic or OCZ for some examples. As gurutech has said you really do not want to cut costs with the PSU especially for a gaming rig that will put more strain on it that a non-gaming setup.

    For example:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139040
     
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