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Gaming Rig w/ ~$1500 Budget

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May 21, 2008 7:34:39 PM

Hi all. I've been planning on building a new computer for some time and now that I've finally got the funds to do so, I'm ready. Only problem is I'm not too sure if all these parts are compatible with each other and what type of motherboard and heatsink I should get.

I plan on playing games along the lines of Age of Conan, WoW, Call of Duty 4 and other minor games at 1680x1020 if not less and at times, I'll be hooking it up to my HDTV so I'm hoping this rig will be enough to pump out nice frames at 1920x1080 as well. I'm also going to attempt to overclock the video card and the processor a bit, possibly even the RAM when I learn a bit more about that. Here's what I have so far. Feel free to offer alternatives and such.

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz - $195
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...

Case: Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - $119
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...

or

Thermaltake Armor Series VA8000BWS Black Aluminum / Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - $145
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video Card: XFX PVT88GYDD4 GeForce 8800GTS (G92) 512MB - $499
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...

PSU: OCZ GameXStream OCZ700GXSSLI 700W ATX12V Power Supply - $125
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...

RAM: OCZ SLI-Ready Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 - $99
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1682...

HD: Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - $85
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1682...

CD/DVD: ASUS 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model DRW-2014L1T - $36
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1682...

Fan: ZALMAN 9500A 92mm 2 Ball CPU Cooler - $54
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1683...


Total: ~ $1,225

I'm still missing a motherboard. I'm not sure which to go with, any input on that would be great. Other than that, I plan on ordering and building this machine within the next 2 weeks or so. If I'm missing anything or if anyone needs some more details, please feel free to ask. Thanks.

More about : gaming rig 1500 budget

May 21, 2008 7:42:02 PM

Get an EVGA nForce 780/750 SLI motherboard.

And change your PSU to a Corsair 650/750 TX.

Looks great otherwise. Might consider changing the hdd to a Seagate 7200.11, but that is just personal preference.
May 21, 2008 7:57:29 PM

CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W - $90 after rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


so that narrows that down. As for the motherboard, I've heard that the 780 evga board has some issues with overheating and that there's been issues with Vista 64 and gaming and that the included fan was noisy. Never read too much into it but if there's an issue, I'd like to avoid it if possible. As for the 750, I'm thinking it may be a bit too tight if I'm SLIing the 8800 GTS' as they're dual slot cooled. Are there any other boards worth mentioning? Also, if there's something that's less expensive for roughly about the same performance, please let me know. I do have ~$1500 to spend but if I could spend less, that definitely wouldn't be bad at all :D 
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May 21, 2008 8:00:49 PM

Change the HDD to WD6400AAKS, it's much faster.

Change the cooler to Xigmatek HDT-S1283, it's quiet and cools very well and not very expensive.

Change the PSU to Silencer 750W Crossfire Edition. It's a steal at this price.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341011&Tpk=Silencer%2b750

Mobo: XFX 780i, maybe Asus P5N-D.

I assume your $499 price for the 8800GTS means you're getting two of them for a total of 230+250+2*7.59. (or is it 230+230+2*7.59 - don't know if Newegg honors two rebates in the same order, check the fine print if you care about the $20)
May 21, 2008 8:04:41 PM

For your videocard, the link goes to an 8800GTS that costs $249, while you list it as $499. BTW, I'd go with an 8800 GT instead, since it's performance is comparable to the 8800GTS and the GT is about $70 cheaper.

I don't think there's any reason to get a nForce 780/750 MB unless you're pretty sure you want to do SLI - otherwise you're just wasting money on a chipset that's probably less stable than the p38/x48 boards (which are generally cheaper).
May 21, 2008 8:07:39 PM

He does want SLI. That's pretty smart IMO for 1920x1080.
May 21, 2008 8:11:45 PM

Do you think a single 9800 GX2 would outperform 2 X 8800GTS/SLI? And save him money by allowing a cheaper motherboard purchase?
May 21, 2008 8:12:05 PM

I apologize for not being more specific. Yeah, I plan on SLIing those cards and I had meant to put 2 of them in the original post. Gonna check out the cooler and the PSU you posted aevm and I'll get back here in a sec.
May 21, 2008 8:18:26 PM

http://www.fudzilla.com/index.php?option=com_content&ta...

It shows there the GX2 beating out the GTS in most of every benchmark but in most cases I've seen the 8800 GTS in SLI chugging along without many problems. And the price on those ($500 for 2x 8800GTS) vs the GX2 (at ~550 I found to be cheaper.
May 21, 2008 8:21:15 PM

@modode:
Usually, 8800GTS SLI outperforms the 9800GX2 by a little, or it's very close anyway. With overclocking, it's better with the 8800GTS SLI because two separate cards can be cooled better than a single one with twice the transistors. Some numbers here:
http://firingsquad.com/hardware/nvidia_geforce_9800_gx2_performance_preview/page11.asp

Also, the 9800GX2 would not be quite at its best in a PCI-E 1 slot. To get PCI-E 2.0 slots you need an expensive motherboard (P5N-D is $150, GA-EX38-DS4 is over $200, so are the 780i XFX/eVGA), so you don't save that much from the MB after all.

Good point though. A GA-EP35-DS3R at $120 and a 9800GX2 will cost less than the XFX 780i+2*8800GTS, it will not have the 750i/780i stability issues, and it will still be plenty for 1680x1050. Yeah, the OP should think about this option too.

Edit: pbmikez got there first, with the opposite conclusion :)  The thing is, it depends on game and resolution and settings and whether you're in DX9 or DX10. Hard to say. They're extremely close. In the review I linked, the GX2 wins in Crysis and loses in several others, but the differences are not noticeable in real life anyway.
May 21, 2008 8:28:53 PM

aevm said:
Change the HDD to WD6400AAKS, it's much faster.

Change the cooler to Xigmatek HDT-S1283, it's quiet and cools very well and not very expensive.

Change the PSU to Silencer 750W Crossfire Edition. It's a steal at this price.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341011&Tpk=Silencer%2b750

Mobo: XFX 780i, maybe Asus P5N-D.

I assume your $499 price for the 8800GTS means you're getting two of them for a total of 230+250+2*7.59. (or is it 230+230+2*7.59 - don't know if Newegg honors two rebates in the same order, check the fine print if you care about the $20)


As for the XFX 780i, with the chipset fan blowing hot air to the video cards, would that be much of an issue? I'm extremely anxious to get this machine built but I'm just having issues with the MB. All of them seem to have issues when reading up on reviews. Makes me quite sad :(  . and like you said there, it depends on the gaming you're doing. I'm not quite a hardcore gamer but I do play the games that I do hardcore.. if that makes any sense.
May 21, 2008 8:32:46 PM

Didn't realize the price is coming down towards $500 which makes it more enticing. I do plan on overclocking it either way, whether it's a 8800 GTS or a 9800 GX2. Either way, frame rates will be up there and I'll be a happy gamer.
May 21, 2008 9:01:16 PM

Well, no MB is perfect, despite what Asus/Gigabyte/eVGA/XFX and the rest try to convince you. That XFX problem is not so bad, because your Antec 900 has very good cooling.
May 21, 2008 9:04:21 PM

Here's where I'm at now.

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz - $195
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...

Case: Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - $119
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...

or

Thermaltake Armor Series VA8000BWS Black Aluminum / Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - $145
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video Card: 2x XFX PVT88GYDD4 GeForce 8800GTS (G92) 512MB - $499
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...

PSU: PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 Quad (Crossfire Edition) - $120 after rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: OCZ SLI-Ready Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 - $99
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1682...

HD: Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - $115
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CD/DVD: ASUS 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model DRW-2014L1T - $36
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1682...

Cooling: XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler - $37
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard: XFX MB-N780-ISH9 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 780i SLI Intel Motherboard - $230 after rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: $1450


I think this should cover most of it. Any opinions on the 900 vs the Armor series for the case? And with that aside, how's this all look?

Edit: missed your post by a few seconds but anyhow, I guess I'm going with the 900. I'd like to thank all of you for your input, especially aevm. I definitely appreciate all the input and your time. I'll keep you posted as I order everything and put it all together.
May 21, 2008 9:12:40 PM

modode said:
2 X 8800 GT might be even better, since according to Tom's 2 of these in SLI will outperform the GX2 in the majority of cases, and the total cost for two of these would only be about $360:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Tom's reference, bottom of page, last paragraph:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/graphics-card,1923-...


I was originally thinking of getting two 8800 GTs but they run much hotter and have little overhead for overclocking vs two 8800 GTS'.
May 21, 2008 9:14:54 PM

The problem with 8800GT's are that they blow all their hot air back into the case. Plus you'll need the gtx if you want to play something like crysis at 1080p.

As an owner of the thermaltake armor I love it. I've got the one with the 25cm side fan, which really helps with the cooling. Its plenty large for airflow as well. The only downside is that it is pretty heavy. Moving it for LAN parties is annoying.
May 21, 2008 9:20:56 PM

pbmikez said:
I was originally thinking of getting two 8800 GTs but they run much hotter and have little overhead for overclocking vs two 8800 GTS'.

Yep, I forgot you're going to try to overclock the GPU's.

Looks like a great system. Good luck.
May 21, 2008 9:54:21 PM

I personally would go for the best single card solution. The Sli mobo cost alot more then a standard p35 mobo. Any card you buy will be old news next month. Its alot cheaper to buy 1 topend card down the road then it is to buy 2 more mid cards. Plus there are so many threads of problems with sli. To much money and headache for basically little to no gain depending on the game. You can save roughly $300 on the single card solution. (Cheaper Mobo/ Cheaper PSU)
May 21, 2008 10:01:48 PM

roadrunner197069 said:
I personally would go for the best single card solution. The Sli mobo cost alot more then a standard p35 mobo. Any card you buy will be old news next month. Its alot cheaper to buy 1 topend card down the road then it is to buy 2 more mid cards. Plus there are so many threads of problems with sli. To much money and headache for basically little to no gain depending on the game. You can save roughly $300 on the single card solution. (Cheaper Mobo/ Cheaper PSU)



What would you recommend for a single card? The 9800 GTX doesn't look very appealing. The GX2, if I understand correctly, won't get as good of an OC as two single 8800 GTS'. After I'm done building this, I most likely won't upgrade for another 2-3 years or so. At most, another 4GB of ram and possibly another internal hard drive.
May 21, 2008 10:04:05 PM

Yeah, I'm kind of a best single-card guy myself for those reasons, roadrunner.
May 21, 2008 10:11:23 PM

If you're really not going to upgrade for another two years, then I'd recommend you consider patiently waiting until next month when reportedly the new family of GPU's from nvidia and ati are supposed to be released. The last thing you want to do is buy a pricey sli solution with two cards only to watch it become obsolete the very next month.
May 22, 2008 12:07:33 AM

modode said:
If you're really not going to upgrade for another two years, then I'd recommend you consider patiently waiting until next month when reportedly the new family of GPU's from nvidia and ati are supposed to be released. The last thing you want to do is buy a pricey sli solution with two cards only to watch it become obsolete the very next month.


I was contemplating waiting till the end of July when the 9900 series is supposed to be around but I'm highly impatient. Are there going to be any announcements before hand or any other news that someone can point me towards?
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