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$1600 gaming rig - suggestions, input?

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August 22, 2008 4:59:52 AM

Okay, so I want this sytem to be crazy good. In other words, I wanna be able to play virtually all games on medium high-high graphics settings. Any input would be greatly appreciated! And thanks to everyone else who helped me narrow down parts on my last thread.

Original Budget: $1400 (give or take $150)

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-X38-DS4 LGA 775 Intel X38 ATX Intel Motherboard ($200)
REQS: 2 PCI Express 2.0, 2 PCI x1 slots, 6 SATA 3gb/s, 6 USB, 8GB memory max

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 Wolfdale 3.16GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor ($190)
REQS: 2 cores, 3.0ghz minimum - maybe Quad if games actually utilized it

RAM: Kingston 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory ($72)

Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST31000340AS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive ($160)
REQS: 1TB, SATA, 7200rpm, anything but Toshiba

Operating System: Vista 64-bit Business ($0 - for free from school)

Video Card: PNY VCG98GX2XPB-OC GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB 512-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card ($285) OR (if this setup supports ATI...I'm not sure):

MSI RX3870X2-T2D1G OC Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB 512-bit (256-bit x 2) GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card ($200, including rebate)

REQS: HDCP compliant (NOT "compatible"), 1GB ram total, 650mhz core clock minimum

Sound Card: Creative Labs - Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer Sound Card ($108)

Monitor: Acer X193W+BD Black 19" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 2000:1 (ACM) ($170)
REQS: HDCP compliant (NOT "compatible")

Speakers: Already got 'em

CD/DVD:
LITE-ON Black 20X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 20X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner with LightScribe ($26)

LITE-ON Black 12X DVD-ROM 32X CD-ROM SATA Blu-ray DVD-ROM Drive Model DH-4O1S-11 ($120)

Power: Antec EA650 650W ATX12V Ver.2.2 / EPS12V version 2.91 Power Supply 100 - 240 V UL, CUL, FCC, TÜV, CE, CB, C-tick, CCC ($80)
NOTE: I couldn't find requirements under my vid card or motherboard, so I'm just assuming 650ish.

Case: XCLIO A380PLUS-BK Fully Black High Gloss Finish 1.0mm SECC/ ABS ATX Full Tower Computer Case ($180)
REQS: Tower, Transparent side panel, some sort of internal glow, 4 expansion slots

NOTE: I have no idea how to tell of all this crap will fit in the case. So um...as long as it fits and it looks cool, I'll go for it.

Now, the tricky part...getting money for all of this... :sarcastic: 

Total Price: $1591 (yes, I know this is over my "budget")

More about : 1600 gaming rig suggestions input

August 22, 2008 5:15:50 AM

I would suggest the Antec 1200 case, or a thermal take armor+
That's an expensive mobo for X38. Maybe one of these two X48?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
You could save more money here with a P45 motherboard, neither of those cards require a second gpu slot.

Ditch the Sound card for now, get it later if you feel you need it.
Get a 22" monitor minimum. Acer has one for $199

Corsair has a well rated 750w tx power supply with 60amps on a single 12v rail.

Recommend either the Nvidia 9800 Gx2 from Compusa.com BFG model for $279 or the $255 ATI radeon HD 4870 graphics card.

Get a cheaper HDD, like the WD 640gb one. Also get 800 ram.
Might want to hold out on the Blueray drive untill you're ready to spend more money. (btw that is only a drive, not a burner.
August 22, 2008 5:53:30 AM

mark $ said:
I would suggest the Antec 1200 case, or a thermal take armor+
That's an expensive mobo for X38. Maybe one of these two X48?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
You could save more money here with a P45 motherboard, neither of those cards require a second gpu slot.

Ditch the Sound card for now, get it later if you feel you need it.
Get a 22" monitor minimum. Acer has one for $199

Corsair has a well rated 750w tx power supply with 60amps on a single 12v rail.

Recommend either the Nvidia 9800 Gx2 from Compusa.com BFG model for $279 or the $255 ATI radeon HD 4870 graphics card.

Get a cheaper HDD, like the WD 640gb one. Also get 800 ram.
Might want to hold out on the Blueray drive untill you're ready to spend more money. (btw that is only a drive, not a burner.


Wow, thank you so much! I got this down to $1300-ish with the following adjustments:

* Changed motherboard to GIGABYTE GA-X48-DS4 LGA 775 Intel X48 ATX Intel Motherboard (-$20)

*Changed HD to 640gb barracuda (-$75)

* Ditched the sound card and blu-ray reader (for now) (-$228)

* Switched to a better power supply (CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply 100 - 240 V UL, CE, CB, TUV, FCC, CCC) (+$40)

* Selected the 22" monitor (Acer AL2216Wbd Black 22" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor with HDCP support 300 cd/m2 700:1) (+$30)

* Switched video card (BFG GeForce 9800 GX2 Video Card - 1GB GDDR3, PCI Express 2.0, (Dual Link) Dual DVI, HDMI) (-$50)


August 22, 2008 6:03:57 AM

No problem, I'm looking at a similar build and have been searching through these forums for the past 2 weeks or so. Ordering in early sept, hoping Nehalem pushes prices down a bit more.


Same motherboard, open box savings (no return policy after 15 days).
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Curious, do you plan to get a second graphics card or will you not be using SLI/Crossfire?
August 22, 2008 6:14:43 AM

You chose a crossfire enabled board and an Nvidia GPU. You cannot SLI with this board. Plus the 4850 gets better reviews and performs better. There are actual test numbers on TH somewhere. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-graphics-card,... http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-4850,1957...
GPU - (-$60-$20 MIR) SAPPHIRE 100242L Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The case you chose is inarguably prettier then the Antec 900 but the 900 will give you all the room you need and the cooling is exceptional. Hell the 2390 5 star reviews can't all be wrong. ;) 
Case - (-$70) Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory - (+$15 but there is a $20 MIR for a net of -$5) Make sure you get a 4gb (2 x 2) 800mhz set of DDR2 RAM. The set below has good timings and the stock voltage is 1.8v. This will leave you room for overclocking if you so desire.
mushkin 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Defiantely ditch the sound card. +1 for Mark.
August 22, 2008 6:18:27 AM

mark $ said:
No problem, I'm looking at a similar build and have been searching through these forums for the past 2 weeks or so. Ordering in early sept, hoping Nehalem pushes prices down a bit more.


Same motherboard, open box savings (no return policy after 15 days).
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Curious, do you plan to get a second graphics card or will you not be using SLI/Crossfire?


Honestly, I don't know. I looked online and the consensus was you'd get better performance out of a more expensive card, rather than 2 small ones workin together. Looks like this mobo doesn't have an SLI bridge, but I don't know which bridge I'd need for which card.

What do you think? I wanna be able to run Crysis on high-res completely smooth. I'm not sure if the 1GB vs the 512mb is really that much of a gain. I've only been looking at the RAM, bus size and core clock speed. This is my first time buying a card... :\
August 22, 2008 6:21:32 AM

Didn't see the ram was 667, nor the motherboard incompatibility thanks Mex. :D 

Cases I would get the best you can, as they generally last a long time as long as it's not crap. If you have a large budget, get a nice case :)  1200 has better cooling and more airflow and is larger so :p 

As for the GPU, I'm not so sure a 4850 can be a BFG 9800 GX2 (that's 2 cards, 1 pci slot) I'm not so sure a 4870 can beat it even. Which is why I'm not sure which to go with, the 9800 gx2 or the 4870. I'm almost certain the 9800s are better but I heard the motherboard aren't as good...

sharky2k10 said:
Honestly, I don't know. I looked online and the consensus was you'd get better performance out of a more expensive card, rather than 2 small ones workin together. Looks like this mobo doesn't have an SLI bridge, but I don't know which bridge I'd need for which card.

What do you think? I wanna be able to run Crysis on high-res completely smooth. I'm not sure if the 1GB vs the 512mb is really that much of a gain. I've only been looking at the RAM, bus size and core clock speed. This is my first time buying a card... :\


Either the 9800 GX2 or a 4870 will have absolutely no problems handling cryis, although without checking benchmarks I would say the 4870 as I heard it supports SLI/CF pretty poorly. It's very difficult to compare graphics cards by specs, best trying to find bench marks with similar system on the same games. Core processors, Gddx ram size, clock speed, bus, shader speed... too many specs that come into play.
August 22, 2008 6:32:40 AM

Quote:
Either the 9800 GX2 or a 4870 will have absolutely no problems handling cryis, although without checking benchmarks I would say the 4870 as I heard it supports SLI/CF pretty poorly. It's very difficult to compare graphics cards by specs, best trying to find bench marks with similar system on the same games. Core processors, Gddx ram size, clock speed, bus, shader speed... too many specs that come into play.


Hmm...can you suggest a mobo with fairly the same specs (lots of SATA connectors, 6USB, 8gb ram ) that supports SLI with my card? (Just in the rare scenario that 1GB of video ram isn't enough) :p 
August 22, 2008 6:36:20 AM

Just so you know the 1gb of Gddr3 is less than the 4870s 512mb of Gddr5. It's the first card to use Gddr5, which is why it's doing so well. I'll edit this post with a motherboard recommendation.

I doubt this is the best motherboard price/performance but I'm pretty much in unmapped waters for current nvidia boards.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
August 22, 2008 6:40:25 AM

So assuming the game doesnt consume more than 512mb of ram, It'd be more efficient than 1GB with DDR3? I never really looked up any benchmarks on the difference.

It seems like ATI is the only one to use DDR5. Maybe I just didn't look hard enough? In that case I need a mobo that does Xover instead of SLI

*Edit* A search for NVIDIA and DDR5 using advanced search on newegg brings up nuttin. Maybe I should get an ATI with DDR5 with a mobo that supports crossover
August 22, 2008 6:49:48 AM

lol after all this reading I so badly wanna impulse buy....but look where that got me (Compaq presario). I'll do some googling on the cards and see if SLI/Xover is even worth it. But thanks for your up to the minute sea of knowledge - you don't know how helpful you've been.

I'll update this thread if I find anything interesting. Cheers
August 22, 2008 6:51:43 AM

No problem, I'm glad I found that open box Rampage formula. I will probably be buying that tomorrow if it's in stock...

If only I could justify the price increase from a P5Q pro and Seagate 500gb combo deal ($180 for a good board and hdd) to a $200 board (normally 300) without a HDD. Sure it's 10-15 more fps in crossfire, and maybe .1more ghz OC but if you don't know if you're going to crossfire I'd get the P5Q pro and seagate 500gb hdd on newegg.com
August 22, 2008 9:08:03 PM

I placed two links in my original post to the Toms Hardware reviews and comparisons of the two cards.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the monitor you selected, while very good, is only capable of 1680x1050. SLI/crossfire would be overkill for that resolution.

If you want a board that will allow SLI then you need to choose one with an nvidia chipset. ie: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Last thing I think we all missed was the lack of heatsink. Your cpu will come with one but you would be doing yourself a disservice if you did not upgrade it. This is the one I would recommend.
XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

then you need the mounting bracket...

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