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$2000 budget - Gaming

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June 24, 2008 7:24:27 PM

Here we go again haha, I have been lurking for quite a while biding my time and putting together what I think is a good PC. Below is just what I have come up with and any recommendations are greatly appreciated as this will be my first custom build. First off I will be recycling my old: 226BW monitor, mouse/keyboard, and speakers/headphones. OS is also taken care of, will be Vist 64-bit. This is what I have come up with so far:

COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS RAMPAGE FORMULA LGA 775 Intel X48 ATX Intel Motherboard - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel Core 2 Quad Q9450 Yorkfield 2.66GHz - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DIAMOND ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB GDDR5

Patriot Extreme Performance 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive x2 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG Black 20X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

XIGMATEK ACK-I7751 Retention Bracket - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ARCTIC COOLING MX-2 Thermal Compound - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Scythe S-FLEX SFF21F 120mm Case Fan x5 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Grand Total w/ tax and shipping = $1,746.72

Not wanting to exceed $2k give or take I was not sure where I could upgrade. This is not a "money is no option" build and I only want to upgrade if I can get a noticeable performance increase from the component. Also if anyone knows a better case that can save me money that would help, I was kind of lost when it came to that. Thanks in advance and don't hesitate to criticize it, as this is my first build and I want it to go over smoothly.

**EDIT** : Updated to show Q9450 and updated final price.
: Updated to show new HD and memory.
: Updated to show new case.
: Updated for new RAM.

More about : 2000 budget gaming

June 24, 2008 7:38:50 PM

+1 for the xigmatek cooler. Dropped my temps at least 10C with arctic silver.
the motherboard looks a bit overpriced, anyone want to give a suggestion here?

Other than that, everything looks awesome. I might add that you could consider a wolfdale core. They are a lot cooler and oc like mad.
June 24, 2008 7:40:52 PM

Build looks great!! Cant really change much.. But if i am nitpicking, why not go for the q9450 or even q9550?(if u can find them).. These new 45nm's run cooler and overclock better, and u will be able to use ur fast ram usefully too!!
Just a few thoughts... Good job on ur build.. all topnotch!
Related resources
June 24, 2008 7:44:29 PM

@raidbunny... Agree with you on wolfies.. get the q9550 if u can stretch it, up the FSB to 400 and u got a 3.4Ghz quad monster!!
FYI, the q6600 can ALSO overclock to 3.4 or even 3.6, but the new batches have high VIDs.. U can bet that urs will be over 1.300.. These have trouble going past 3.4Ghz... Just a warning though, nothing is a guarantee while overclocking.
June 24, 2008 7:44:58 PM

Thanks for the suggestions, I was looking at the q9450 also. Just wanted some more experienced users input. Also good to know my research paid off and I don't look like a totally incompetent builder :) 
June 24, 2008 7:49:41 PM

I'd recommend an MSI Neo2-FR motherboard with a Q9450 and just get 2 HD4850's in Crossfire.
June 24, 2008 7:51:09 PM

With the 2 HD4850's would I see that substantial of a performance increase at 1680x1050 resolution?
June 24, 2008 7:54:05 PM

edit: double post.

brich37, as long as the game supports crossfire, they should scale well...roam around on google and search for crossfire 4850 benchmarks and see what you find.
June 24, 2008 8:49:37 PM

Also, would there be any benefit to adding a sound card in? Or will onboard sound do fine for voice communication and gaming?
June 24, 2008 9:00:46 PM

Stick with onboard tbh having a sound card is more a pain than a pleasure. I have the xfi-platinum (the one with the front panel thing) and while it works now I still dont get surround sound in movies (z5500 speakers). I was on my onboard for about 4 months while creative jerked off and didnt update the drivers for vista 64-bit, the sound quality is better for the xfi, but you dont get all its features as you would in windows xp, thus making it a near meaningless investment. I only had it because I carried it over to my current rig from my old rig. Nice thing about onboard is everything worked and some have a nifty program that uses your mic to make each speaker in your setup have the right volume for your position, pretty cool and worked for me without any issues (Xfi doesnt have this).

Think about going with the 640gb hdd, they perform nearly on par with raptors and cost only 99.99. http://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/PID-MX20687(ME).aspx
Theres some ram from Crucial that does 4-4-4-12 in 2x2gb modules, you should check these out. http://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/PID-MX21086(ME).aspx

Make those changes and I think you'll be sitting pretty.
June 24, 2008 9:19:56 PM

Okay updated to show the new changes. Does anyone have any recommendations on a better case as $200+ seems a bit overkill. While still having enough room for all the components and another video card if I decided to go that route. Also will I need to purchase any other fans or manipulate the airflow of them in any way? Totally new to all of this and I am trying to get the optimal setup.

**EDIT**: Also are all of these components fairly simple to overclock when put together?
June 24, 2008 9:27:32 PM

brich37 said:
With the 2 HD4850's would I see that substantial of a performance increase at 1680x1050 resolution?
You will see an increase in really demanding games (Crysis, Oblivion, ...) but that would be all. If you need a notch over the 4850, just wait for the 4870 and if you don't particularly care for Crossfire, a good P45 board would corst you nearly a 3rd of the Rampage Formula (100$-120$).
June 24, 2008 9:32:48 PM

I feel I will really have no need for crossfire as I have SLI now and don't utilize it to its full potential... Can you provide any links to a good P45 board? And do they overclock well with the components I have selected? And finally when is the HD4870 scheduled to release? I don't really care to wait until '09 to purchase this new computer. Thanks for all of the help so far, everyone.
June 24, 2008 9:36:42 PM

Hey Brich, great build!

For the case, the only one I generally ever recommend is the Coolermaster 690 for around $85 @ newegg, though it's $68 @ NCIX ;)  Has great airflow, esp with extra 120mm fans (I like Yate Loons). Good for hiding cables.

About fans: There's ball bearing and sleeve bearing. If you're looking for absolutely maximum goodness, then I'd recommend sleeve bearing fans for the ones you place vertically and ball bearing fans for the ones you place horizontally inside the case. For the CM 690, you don't need to worry about filling the bottle 80mm case fan. Will probably just get in the way. I would fill out the other fan places though that don't come with one!


If you think you can hold out, I'd wait until either tomorrow (June 25) or July 8 so the 4870 hits shelves. Might want to get one of those, then you can wait to add a second one down the road when they're on sale (Boxing week). Expected MSRP is going to be ~$299 for them.

You'll be fine for overclocking, you have everything you need. I would suggest that you could save a few bucks and go down to an X38 motherboard though. While the X48 does OC a bit better, it's not like you're going nuts with water cooling. The DDR2-800 will let you OC the 9450 up to 3.2Ghz without overclocking the memory. Should be fine on an X38, and still keep the two PCI-E 2.0 x16 graphic card slots.

Good luck!
June 24, 2008 9:40:46 PM

Thanks for the detailed help Jevon! I have no problem waiting a couple weeks, as I still need time to read up more and make sure I am making a wise investment :) . Saving money with the same performance is always key for me, I am going to switch to the case you recommended as I only had the Armor+ in there as a price filler so I could get a ball park estimate. I am also going to check out the X38 motherboards any recommendations as to specifically which X38 performs best? Thanks for the help again.
June 24, 2008 9:57:51 PM

No problem, I've gotten more than my share of help so I like to try and pay it forward!

For X38's, I'd start at whatever happens to cheapest at the time between ASUS P5E or Gigabyte's DS4. Give the specs a once-over to make sure all the features you want are there, which I'm sure they will be - you can go higher up the model/$ ladder for options like RAID etc., but you won't be needed them I dont think.

However, if you're 100% sure you won't add another 4870 down the road, the X38 may not be for you! The main difference from it and P45 is the X38 has two 2.0 x16 PCI-E lanes, P45 has two 2.0 x8 PCI-E lanes and until I see benchmarks/tests showing that a 2.0 x8 PCI-E lane won't hold back a 4870.. I'd rather get the X38 for Crossfire.

But for just one card, as long as you get a P45 board that has the primary/first PCI-E lane at 2.0 x16 electrical that should be fine. The way Crossfire performs now though, I'd likely get one 4870 now on an X38 and a second during Black Friday or Boxing Week sales.


Edit: Just for clarity, on P45 boards they will often have one PCI-E 2.0 x16 lane and a second 2.0 x8 lane. When using Crossfire, both cards will operate at the 2.0 x8 electrical speed. That's why I said the P45 has two x8 PCI-E, I meant in Crossfire. Hope that helps and doesn't actually make it more confusing :) 

Cheers
June 24, 2008 10:00:53 PM

Makes sense I will most likely go with the X38 then because I don't want to restrict myself for upgrades in the future. With the money saved with the case and other little tweaks I would be more inclined to get 2x the 4870's anyways. Also how many of each fan do you recommend I get I see on the specs it can take up to 7, but from the pictures I am having a hard time determining where each of them is placed. Thanks!
June 24, 2008 10:25:15 PM

Sorry I just realised I wrote the Horizontal and Vertical fan placement wrong!

Vertical = Sleeve Bearing
Horizontal = Ball Bearing

The case has included 120mm:

1 front
1 back
1 side

Optional 120mm places:

2 top (horizontal, ball bearing)
1 side (vertical, sleeve bearing)
1 bottom (beside PSU) (horizontal, ball bearing)

1 80mm BEHIND the cpu though I wouldn't bother unless getting into extreme overclocking.

I've always used Yate Loon fans as I find they're a good balance between noise and air movement (CFM). But now the Scythe Slip Stream Kaze fans seem to be better. Not sure which models are sleeve bearing and which are ball bearing though, you'd probably have to google that one.
June 24, 2008 10:25:28 PM

if u're in to gaming... wait for 4870 x2 .. it will be worth it
June 24, 2008 10:36:00 PM

@foxhound009 I have been reading on it, doesn't seem worth the wait for my needs IMO if anything I would just get two 4870 after the price dropped a bit.
June 24, 2008 10:39:39 PM

how about dropping one of those 650 GB hard drives and replacing it with a velociraptor. It is suppose to be the fastest thing around...

So you got 300 GB velociraptor for OS and game installs and 650 GB hard drive for other data....(music, pics, movies)
June 24, 2008 10:45:30 PM

IMO the price on the velociraptor is way to much for what your getting. And after reading many reviews it seems that most also agree. Like I previously stated I am going for the best bang for my buck don't really have money to waste. Thank you for the suggestion though!
June 24, 2008 11:06:17 PM

Thanks preclude I had actually gone with the dominator in my original setup but swapped it out for the cheaper, but with the money I saved I am going to go ahead and go with the dominator.
June 25, 2008 12:07:33 AM

Stick to your Asus mobo , it OC's easily without any hassle
For god sake why going to older chipset mobo
The only 2 things you'll not upgrade are mobo and PSU
Get the best you can afford
June 25, 2008 12:26:08 AM

Yeah I decided to stay with the Rampage anywho and I did notice the different fans thanks for the heads up though. The build is looking pretty final, just need to decide what length cables to get for HD's as it doesnt appear they come with them, and then just waiting on the 4870 haha. Thanks again!
June 25, 2008 1:06:41 AM

Your motherboard will come with SATA cables, no need to purchase seperately.
June 25, 2008 2:12:34 AM

Oh okay wasn't sure of the size and if in that case they would reach the drive bays. Thanks for saving me some money though :) 
June 25, 2008 5:32:47 AM

Nice build!
June 25, 2008 6:50:44 AM

Great build. Good case you picked there.
June 25, 2008 3:52:52 PM

Ahh the fluid bearing fans, I've never used them personally because my other ones have always been tried tested and true, that sort of thing. But now that they're only $5 more maybe I will test them out in some new builds! Thanks Kad!

Though I can't agree with going with an X48 :)  I can't see him using/needing the extra features since he's not going to be doing a hardcore overclock. Same goes for the Dominator 1066 memory... unless you want to try and overclock the Q9450 up to 4.2ghz on air... might as well get DDR2-800 at 4-4-4-12 timings and OC to 3.2Ghz.

I usually use Patriot Extreme Perf. 4gb kits (4-4-4-12). I can usually overclock the memory itself to 450ish (~DDR2-900) without having to increase the timings barely if at all. max would be to 5-5-5-15. At 450fsb, that gets a Q9450 (x8 multiplier) to 3.6Ghz. Which even that you'd be brave to do on air for the first time:) 

Just trying to give you options, it's your money and if you think you're going to need or want the headroom, definitely still go for the X48, Dominator, etc., cuz there's nothing worse than post-purchase depression haha. BUT keep in mind those are places you can save some coin as well and still have a kick-ass, stable, overclockable system :) 

Cheers
June 26, 2008 5:19:40 AM

Thanks for the input Jevon I have cut the ram back to the patriot as you recommended but I think I will stick with X48 mobo just in case. Barring any other recommendations on any areas I am seriously mistaken or whatever this will be my final build once the HD 4870 hits the streets. Thanks to everyone that guided me through my first build and I hope assembly and overclocking goes as smooth as the purchasing process did! :) 

EDIT: Appears the HD4870 came out today and is already completely sold out! Ugggg lol and appears it will stay that way for another week. going to scour the net and see if I cant locate one someplace else and have it shipped separately.
June 26, 2008 5:54:20 PM

It has officially been ordered and hopefully will arrive by saturday! Total cost with HD 4870 is $1,746.72. Probably wont be able to sleep until it arrives :)  List of components at the top is what the order consists of!
!