Let's Help This Man Build a Gaming PC

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Today's Speak Up on Kotaku comes from commenter JuiceandSpoons, who'd like to build his own PC but needs a little help figuring out the guts to make it go. It's the Kotaku community to the rescue!

I'm new to PC building, and I'd really like some advice on what parts I should be getting.

For a GPU, I'll be going with a GeForce GTX 660 TI. I've looked at all sorts of CPUs and I can't decide. I just want one at a decent price that's at least 3.0 MHz or higher. I also don't plan on doing much overclocking. Maybe a BIOS overclock here and there, but not much else. For a motherboard, I think I'll be going with an ASRock Z77 Extreme4. However, I don't know what else to get at what price and whatnot. That's where I need you guys' help. I need assistance on stuff like memory, power supply, HDD, SDD, and all that jazz.

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I want this rig to run most games from max-medium high settings. Games like BF3, Skyrim (with mods), Borderlands 2, Guild Wars 2, Arma II (for DayZ), Witcher 2, Total War: Shogun 2, Torchlight 2, and many others.

As for a budget, I'm really hoping to get this all in under $1000. Preferably around $800 or $900.

Thanks for any help you can provide!

About Speak Up on Kotaku: Our readers have a lot to say, and sometimes what they have to say has nothing to do with the stories we run. That's why we have a forum on Kotaku called TAY. That's the place to post anecdotes, photos, game tips and hints, and anything you want to share with Kotaku at large. Every weekday we'll pull one of the best TAY posts we can find and highlight it here.

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DISCUSSION

I know you already have an idea as to graphics and motherboard, but I would like to share my build as potential inspiration for filling in the gaps.

I built my first PC last month. Not my first gaming PC, but my first PC. I've been a Mac guy since playing The Learning Company games on my dad's early 90's Macintosh desktops. Unfortunately, my first computer, an '07 iMac, is really showing its age and Apple is taking their sweet time in updating the iMac line. Unable to play more than a few of the games I had procured in many a Steam sale, and with a massively throbbing gaming itch, I found a list of parts floating on Kotaku (http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=18077646) and set to work.

I work at a university in WV, and my predecessor left behind 3 old computers, so the case was free. With a little help from some forum friends (http://www.ambrosiasw.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=131640) I made a few changes to the design I felt were worthwhile. Ditched the SSD for a normal, cheaper platter drive, increased the processor speed, upped the RAM, got a slightly better graphics processor, and got a power supply that I could get someone to swear would work (http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=14994709). In the end, I payed a little less than $450 in parts only because I got impatient and selected expedited shipping. I also ended up paying more for software than necessary. Purchased a Windows 7 system builder pack for $120 when it turns out that as an employee of the state I supposedly can get Windows 7 from a local shop for $35.

I love it. Since my iMac still has a few drops of life left in it I use it at home and keep my custom gaming rig in my office for a little play during my downtime. I'm only teaching 3 classes this semester and they are all in the morning, so I have to keep myself entertained until at least the end of my designated office hours. Going from Borderlands at 800x600 on an X1600 Mobility to 1920X1200 on a HD 6670, and being able to look up at the Detroit or Heng-Sha skyline in Human Revolution without framerates dropping into single digits has made those games even more fun in my opinion. I was also able to finish games that just got too laggy in the middle, like Darkest of Days, and play games that I couldn't even start on the iMac, like Rage and Metro 2033. Still can't play Brink unfortunately. Starts up fine but freezes in character creation for some reason. Just finished up Spec Ops: The Line and went back to my Blacklight: Retribution kick despite The Line having made me feel guilty about enjoying shooters in the past. Sometimes I stay late at work just to play a little more. It may not be a $5,000+ liquid cooled 120FPS at high-rez, high graphical fidelity, 5.0 surround-sound spewing beast, but it plays games at a reasonable level and that is all I ask of it.