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#1 JoeS28

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Posted 22 March 2010 - 10:17 AM

I'm starting to think about building a new gaming computer. Never built one before but I have done a fair bit of tinkering around inside the case and am not intimidated by the task. The main uses of the PC will be gaming, banking, internet, email, and some minor home picture and movie editing. My budget is ~$1,500 but I could bump it to $2,000 if I really needed to.

I already have a decent monitor.

The only thing I'm fairly certain I want is a solid state drive for loading the OS and maybe keep my current game of the month loaded on there. Not sure exactly which drive or size I want though.

I'd like this machine to be able to handle most modern games, MMO's, shooters, strategy, at their highest setting for the next year or two for sure and run at reasonable settings for the next 5 years (maybe?).

Any input into the process would be greatly appreciated!

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#2 Ken-in-West-Seattle

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Posted 22 March 2010 - 12:22 PM

http://www.videoguys.com/Guide/C/DIY+Syste...92355dfda0.aspx

I have found that graphics and video editing workstations often work great as gaming machines. You can add the video functions and crossfire cards to meet your needs if you have some specific dual monitor games in mind. And subtract a couple of terabytes of storage if you like. If you stick to 32 bit you won't need 12 g of ram either :thumbsup:

#3 DeathStalker

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Posted 22 March 2010 - 07:21 PM

Wow, if you stick to 32 bit you won't be ABLE to use 12 GB's of RAM.

A great video editing machine is not a good gaming machine. For instance, the FX 1800 GPU specified in that build is the mid-level "professional" video editing card by nVidia and really junk for gaming, especially considering the price. Also, nVidia last I checked still lacked the technical expertise to produce cards that use DX11, so if the OP wants something that will still play well in 2 years, that cancels out an nVidia card.........

Read this thread , well just the first two posts, if you want to make an informed decision, read just the second post if you only want some options, or read the following excerpt if you just want some specs:

"Excerpt of the Recommended Computer Parts Guide By Carbon at Computer-Juice.com (the parts prices are a couple of month's old):

Overkill

I would recommend this to people that just want the best. It is the highest-end you can go without hitting the Lot of Money for Near Zero Performance Increase barrier. It is what I'd build if I had an unlimited budget. The i7 860 is there because I myself do some threaded work. The motherboard is there because it's a great motherboard for relatively cheap. The GPU is still a 5850 because the 5870 is $100 more for 10% performance. The case is there because the case is amazing. The PSU is there because it is 80PLUS Silver rated and modular. I am buying 2TB of storage here, but if it were up to me, I'd throw all mechanical storage in a file server and roll with a 160GB SSD. I don't bother with Blu-Ray so I didn't put one of them in here.

Motherboard: EVGA P55 SLI 132-LF-E655-KR
CPU: Intel Core i7-860 Lynnfield 2.8GHz
HSF: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus
RAM: 2x G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
GPU: SAPPHIRE 100282SR Radeon HD 5850 1GB
PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-750HX
SSD: Intel X25-M Mainstream SSDSA2MH080G2C1 80GB
HDD: 2x Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB
Optical: Sony Optiarc Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW
Case: Corsair Obsidian Series 800D CC800DW

TOTAL: $1,847 before $50 in rebates = $1797

Edited by DeathStalker, 22 March 2010 - 07:23 PM.


#4 JoeS28

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Posted 22 March 2010 - 08:10 PM

What sort of sacrifices do you make going from an i7 to an i5? Not sure if I'm sold on the cost.

That's nearly an identical system to one I just specced out on NewEgg. I like it but it's creeping up in price. Once you throw Windows 7 on there too.

I like a little cheaper case. The Antec P183 has caught my eye so far. I'll probably go 6GB of the same RAM.

I like the 5850 card. Good bang for the buck.

I'll probably go smaller for the HDD's and probably on 1 for now.

Any other thoughts on a Motherboard? This is the area I definitely know the least about. I will never need to run a SLI config if that helps narrow it down.

#5 DeathStalker

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Posted 22 March 2010 - 09:03 PM

LOL i see you took my last option. Neither the i7 nor the i5 is a necessary option for a gaming computer especially when you want the best performance to price ratio. The motherboard is dependent on the CPU you choose. For instance, I have an intel q9450 in this machine, but the one I built for my daughter for Christmas has an AMD in it. The amount of RAM is also dependent upon the CPU socket as well as the OS. If you have a 32 bit OS, it won't "see" anything more than 3.5 GB's. Some MoBo/CPU combo's use triple channel RAM and others dual channel.

You really ought to give that link i posted first a read. It explains everything pretty well.

BTW, I have the 5850 and I love it. I consistently get 120-200 FPS in COD WAW playing online.

#6 JoeS28

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Posted 22 March 2010 - 11:17 PM

OK, I'm settling in on some options after a lot more research. Thanks for the link DeathStalker, awesome read (not sure how I missed it the first time). Thoughts on the build:

CPU i5
Cooler Hyper 212
Motherboard Gigabyte P55
RAM 4GB DDR3 Combo Priced w/ MoBo
Boot Drive Intel SSD
Storage Drive WD 640GB 7200
PSU CP-850
GPU 5850
Case Antech (compatible with PSU)
CD/DVD Cheap Sony
OS Windows 7 64 bit

I'm open to suggestions but I've put a fair amount of thought into this build. It fits my budget at just about $1,500.

Any suggestions on where to source parts any cheaper than Newegg?

Thanks Guys!

#7 DeathStalker

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 12:22 AM

I ducked out of "keeping up" for a few months and am ashamed to say that I don't know ANYTHING about the i5, so I can't comment on it, on the other hand, I have seen nothing bad about it. LOL I love that "cheap Sony" thing. I bought an EXPENSIVE LG bluray burner when I first built this rig, and it crapped out on me. I now have a "cheap lite on."

Other than my lack of knowledge on the i5, I would say you have a really excellent build with the ability to upgrade some if needed without a changing Mobo's. The only thing I would do different is to up the RAM to 8GB's. Yes, you can always add it later, but it's only $109 more. RAM is like beer at a college frat party, you can never have too much. I don't know what kind of computer you have now, but I have a suspicion that this one you will be building is much better. You will find out what I found out 2 years ago when I built this one: Once you HAVE that good machine and see how well it performs, you will try stuff you never did before, like editing video's ....... That extra 4 GB's of RAM will be invaluable at that point, and it won't hurt you now. At this point in time, to get to the full 16GB's that MoBo will handle just isn't worth the cost, (another 800 bucks), but to go from 4 to 8 for 109 is a move I would make.

I'm jealous of your SSD. It's not the price of the SSD that holds me back lol, it's the hassle it would be to put the OS on and transfer my data.......... I wish I had done that from the start, but when I built, I didn't know.

EDIT: What is your monitor? I saw a nice 21.5 inch flat screen 1920X1080 for 139. i'm thinking of getting it myself lol. Problem is that i'm cheap AND happy with my 20 inch 1600X 1200

Edited by DeathStalker, 23 March 2010 - 12:24 AM.


#8 tg1911

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 12:45 AM

I'd suggest a full tower case, if you have the room.
A full tower will give you more room to work with inside the case, and provide better cooling.
It might be a little over your budget, but I can definitely recommend the CoolerMaster Cosmos.
Switching from a mid tower, to a full, has lowered my GPU (9800GT) temp from 76C to 64C, and my case temp approx 7C.
A significant decrease, and that's with 2 additional harddrives.

This will give you an idea of the room you'll have to work with.
5 120mm fans, 4 harddrive, 2 optical drives, full ATX board, a massive heatsink/fan, and still room to spare. :thumbsup:
MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P, CPU: Phenom II X4 955 Deneb BE, HS/F: CoolerMaster V8, RAM: 2 x 1G Kingston HyperX DDR2 800, VGA: ECS GeForce Black GTX 560, PSU: Antec TruePower Modular 750W, Soundcard: Asus Xonar D1, Case: CoolerMaster COSMOS 1000, Storage: Internal - 2 x Seagate 250GB SATA, 2 x WD 1TB SATA; External - Seagate 500GB USB, WD 640GB eSATA, 3 x WD 1TB eSATA

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#9 DeathStalker

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 01:50 AM

Unless noise is a concern with you JoeS28 that case tq1911 (that name has me curious, the 1911 brings to mind the army pistol but I don't see where tq comes in lol) looks good. i have an Antec 900 (the original one, not the one they sell now) and I would never get another. There just isn't enough room to work in. I forgot that in my suggestions. The P183's biggest selling point is how quiet it is, I'm partially deaf so I forget to factor that in lol.

EDIT: TQ I really don't want to hijack this thread, but how in the hell do you link to a particular post in a thread? I stand in awe lol.

Edited by DeathStalker, 23 March 2010 - 01:53 AM.


#10 DJBPace07

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 02:48 AM

First of all, there is absolutely no reason to run a 32-bit OS on a brand new PC. It makes no sense, unless you are using very, very obscure hardware from pre-2004. There are several options here, you could get a top-the-line AMD build for less, or keep building using a mid-level i5 or spend a lot more cash on an i7 950. The i5 does not have some features of the i7. AMD's Phenom II series runs on the AM3 platform, which will be getting six-core CPU's later this year. The the performance i7's run on the LGA 1366 socket and you should consider a motherboard with that socket if you think you may want to upgrade to a six core CPU later down the line. Below is an idea.

Motherboard+CPU+RAM - Note that there will be two configurations, one AMD and the other Intel. You can choose one or the other, but the remaining hardware, hard drive, optical drive, etc. will be compatible regardless of platform.

Intel
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 - This is one of the higher-end X58-based motherboards and it should last a while since it has SATA 6 and USB 3.0. Like all X58 motherboards, this allows for Crossfire/SLI and DDR3. $209

CPU: Intel Core i7-920 2.66GHz - Personally, I would go for an i7 950 as it is significantly more powerful than a Phenom II 965, but budget considerations don't allow for this. Unlike AMD's Black Edition CPU's or Intel's Extreme Edition CPU's, the standard CPU's are all locked making overclocking a little more difficult. The i5 CPU's don't allow for hyperthreading and have less cache than the i7 models. Quad core CPU's are most effective when the applications running on them can take advantage all cores, otherwise, you are limited in terms of clock speed. Not all games can use all four cores. $279

RAM: OCZ Gold 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 - Most of the i7 X58 motherboards are DDR3 triple channel, which makes a three stick RAM kit very useful. $160 (Before $30 mail-in rebate)

AMD
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-790FXTA-UD5 AM3 AMD 790FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 - This motherboard is very similar to the one above, complete with SATA 6 and USB 3.0, with a few exceptions. First, like all AMD-based motherboards, this one allows for dual, not triple, channel memory. Also, you can only use Crossfire not SLI. The 790FX chipset is one of the higher-end chipsets AMD makes. AMD will be releasing their six-core Phenom II X6 CPU's (specifically, the 1095T, 1075T,1055T, and 1035T) later this year and this motherboard will accept them. $179

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz - This is one of AMD's best CPU's. It is almost identical to the Phenom II X4 965. The differences between those two CPU's are price and the 955 is 200MHz. slower. However, all of AMD's Black Edition CPU's are unlocked so it would take only a few seconds to bump the speed up well past the 965's levels. Depending on the application, setup, and settings, this CPU can come close to i7 920 levels. $165

RAM: A-DATA 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 - Since AMD only uses dual channel RAM, a two-stick RAM kit would be best. I suggest purchasing two of these. $197 ($98 times two kits)

Remaining Hardware - This will all be the same regardless of your CPU choice.

Case: COOLER MASTER COSMOS 1000 RC-1000-KSN1-GP - This is one of the best full-ATX cases around with plenty of room. Shipping on this beast is expensive though. $179

Graphics Card: POWERCOLOR AX5870 1GBD5-PPDHG Radeon HD 5870 1GB - The best single GPU graphics card on the market, beating out every other card. This comes with DirectX 11 and EyeFinity. If you can wait until after March 26, you may get a better deal since NDA's on Nvidia's new, and presumably expensive, GPU's will be lifted then. Thus, leading to reduced prices. $419

Power Supply: CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W - Corsair makes excellent power supplies. This one should be more than enough to power everything you have, even in a Crossfire/SLI setup since Crossfiring two 5870's require 600W. $109 (Before $20 mail-in rebate)

SSD: Intel X25-V SSDSA2MP040G2R5 2.5" 40GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) - Intel is still king in the performance SSD market. Given the cost-per-gigabyte for solid state disks, it is suggested that you get one only large enough to hold the operating system and maybe one or two very frequently used apps. You may need a converter, like the ICY DOCK MB882SP-1S-1B ($19) to allow a 2.5-inch drive to be used in a 3.5-inch drive slot. $124

Hard Drive (Platter-based): Western Digital Caviar Green WD6400AADS 640GB 32MB Cache - This drive will contain everything not on the SSD. You can get all sorts of sizes here. I suggest going with a drive that has 32MB or more of cache. $64

Optical Drive: Sony Optiarc 24X DVD/CD Rewritable Drive Black SATA Model AD-7240S-0B - A simple drive is all you need. However, if you want Blu-Ray, I suggest the LG WH10LS30K 10X Blu-ray Burner ($159). Blu-Ray's hold far more data than DVD's which make them excellent at backing up systems. $22

Operating System: Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium - Remember, you need a 64-bit OS to use 4GB or more of RAM. $104

Grand Total (Does not include shipping and rebates):
Intel: $1,678
AMD: $1,571

You should have more than enough left over for shipping and be under the $2000 mark.

Edited by DJBPace07, 23 March 2010 - 02:54 AM.

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#11 Bill1821

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 07:11 AM

What a fun project and regardless of your selection you will have a screaming machine!
Wow wish I had a new computer budget- I think you will be quite pleased with any of the above systems.

Looking at DJBPace07 suggestions, they have more versitility and faster 'out' of the box. I would pick that for the mobo,cpu,ram(ram after research including mobo manufacturers mem list and google this "overclock (your motherboard)"- see what they used for their tests and use it for a suggestion).

I also like the 5850 over the 5870 due to the extra cash involved- you (with his mobo choice) can get another 5850 later if you need 'better' scores on 3D-mark :thumbsup: The x58 chipset memory usage and crossfire ability seem to be superior to me and most serious gaming rigs have been sli/crossfire for years- I personally am still stuck in the 8800gts/core2 generation of computer so I can't give real experience with all this stuff but can suggest researching tom's hardware and overclocking websites to learn the mobo/cu/ram combinations that really work well together.

Amd systems are certainly screaming machines too- with their cheaper gaming mobo/cpu you could probably go dual video card right now- yes even sli- the dx11 thing doesn't actually exist yet does it? Everyone knows ati are 'ready' but has the actual standard actually been produced? ---OR--- will your DX9 video card refuse to play a DX10 capable game? I am just bringing this thought to life NOT trying to start a thread destroying ati/nvidia 'conversation'.

Really like your ssd over his and my raptors are jelous.

If you want to knock a couple of bucks off the price of things and don't mind factory refurbs you might check out thermaltakes b-stock store. the last couple of power supplies and cpu coolers I purchased came from there- good stuff- The prices seem to be generally great but some items are basically retail (due to price reductions in the retail market/sales)- so check newegg or google it before purchase.
http://www.thermaltakestore.com/

good luck! have fun! and don't fret- there is NO 'perfect' system- just get stuff that works well together and this 'hardware' will be fast for quite awhile- remember the hardware is always good- It's the software that drives the need for speed.

Suggest you don't even think about any windows OS other than 64-bit seven home premium--

Edited by Bill1821, 23 March 2010 - 07:20 AM.


#12 JoeS28

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 07:22 AM

Thanks for all the great info so far everyone. I've found a source for i7 930's for $200. I'm pretty sure that the i5 is out and the i7 is in at that price.

#13 DJBPace07

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 12:55 AM

Keep in mind that the i7 930's are brand new and not all motherboards support them out-of-the-box, which means you will need to do a BIOS upgrade if you want to use them. This is why I did not include it with my Intel build above. No one should perform a BIOS upgrade on a new motherboard since things can, and sometimes do, go wrong. Wait until the factory updates the shipping motherboards to the newer BIOS before getting a newer CPU. The i5's are mainstream CPU's that use the LGA 1156 socket, not the LGA 1366 the i7 uses. This can be problematic as the performance processors all reside on LGA 1366, limiting future upgrades. The Radeon 5850 is about 80% as fast as the 5870, so if you want to cut back, you won't suffer much of a hit. BTW, 3D-Mark is a benchmarking tool which has its uses, but isn't indicative of real-world performance. DirectX 11 is an established standard from Microsoft, as it says here. It is very new, so only brand new, or recently patched, games support it. DirectX 9 cards will not run DirectX 10, but no one is getting a DX9-only card. The Phenom II can keep up with the i7 930 by about five FPS depending on the application plus it was designed for easy overclocking. The i7 950, however, blasts past the Phenom II and the i7 930, but is almost twice as expensive. You could scale down to the Radeon 5850 and use the extra cash for the i7 950.

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#14 tg1911

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 11:30 PM

:thumbsup:

..... (that name has me curious, the 1911 brings to mind the army pistol but I don't see where tq comes in lol)

Correct about the pistol; Colt Model 1911
tg, not tq; first and last name initials

...., but how in the hell do you link to a particular post in a thread?

In each post, on the top right, you'll see the Post number.
The number, is a link to that post.
For example, in your post #9, #9 is the link.

Another tip:
In the first quote of yours that I used, you'll see a little red arrow pointing to the left.
That arrow is a link to the post, that the quote comes from (post #9).
MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P, CPU: Phenom II X4 955 Deneb BE, HS/F: CoolerMaster V8, RAM: 2 x 1G Kingston HyperX DDR2 800, VGA: ECS GeForce Black GTX 560, PSU: Antec TruePower Modular 750W, Soundcard: Asus Xonar D1, Case: CoolerMaster COSMOS 1000, Storage: Internal - 2 x Seagate 250GB SATA, 2 x WD 1TB SATA; External - Seagate 500GB USB, WD 640GB eSATA, 3 x WD 1TB eSATA

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#15 JoeS28

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 03:02 PM

Keep in mind that the i7 930's are brand new and not all motherboards support them out-of-the-box, which means you will need to do a BIOS upgrade if you want to use them.

I just wanted to share for anyone reading this that the GA-X58A-UD3R motherboard I purchased from Newegg was flashed from the factory to version F4. This is the version that added support for the i7-930. I finished the build this weekend and I am very happy with it so far.




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