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Need help building new gaming system

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December 11, 2008 1:32:24 AM

Hello,
I've always been up on pc's until the last 5 years or so (I know, that is a long time). I've lost track of all the new technology and am trying to bring myself back up to speed. I presently have an old dinasour P4 1.7ghz system running an old gforce4 with 128mb of ram. My 21 inch crt recently went out and I replaced it with a nice Samsung 26 inch LCD T260 running 1920x1200. After connecting it I found it strated blacking out and produced a horizontal line that would appear on and off. I realized that my hardware was not supporting the resolution. I am now limping along with 1600x1200 I believe it is and is working fine. But all of this made me realize I need to upgrade... Here are some of the things I have been considering...
I want a system that will give me the power I need to run current games for the next 3 years (hopefully).
This seems to be when I have always had to rebuild.. about every 3 years to keep up with technology.
I think I will stay with XP for awhile cause I heard it might be the better way to go for gaming. In that case I probably wouldn't need more than a couple gigs of ram. Would really appreciate some of your expert opinions as to what I should go with. I want to keep my budget to a limit of 1500.00 max if I can.

* mid or full tower antec, thermaltake or gibabyte case
* Motherboard (Not sure, was considering and SLI board, for future video power expandability).
* Intel quadcore processor
* Thermaltake 650 or 850 watt powersupply
* 4gb to 6gb ram (corsair)
* sata2 seagate hard drive
* sata2 dvd burner

More about : building gaming system

December 11, 2008 1:53:17 AM

1500 is a large budget these days, most of the build depends on which graphics card u want, on that budget i suggest a radeon hd 4870 or 4870 x2
December 11, 2008 2:52:28 AM

Check out this thread:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/257398-31-proposed-gaming#t1864328

The guy who started it did a fantastic job, and got some pretty useful feedback. Since you already have a monitor, you can use that money to upgrade some things. Get a Q9550 instead of his E8500.

You should get Vista Home Premium 64-bit. With XP 32-bit and HD 4870 X2 you would see only 2 GB of RAM or close, even if you buy 4 or 6 or 8. You'd also get only DirectX 9, which means some current games will look less good, and some future games might refuse to work.

Related resources
December 11, 2008 2:55:27 AM

Thanks for your recommendation.

Yes, actually that was one that was recommended to me and one group of cards I am certainly considering. I'm questioning however whether nvidia might be a better choice for compatibility and of course SLI compatible. Or should I go with a non SLI board and go with crossfire. Another choice I am considering is just go with a single video card solution... Any thoughts on what might be best? I am the type that would rather get something that has some upgrade potential. My thought is better to have the ability to upgrade and not need it then get a setup that is not and need it and wish you had.... :D 

jlannon said:
1500 is a large budget these days, most of the build depends on which graphics card u want, on that budget i suggest a radeon hd 4870 or 4870 x2

December 11, 2008 3:04:08 AM

Thanks AEVM,

Your advise makes much sense.. would all my other applications be compatible with Vista Premium 64 , such as Office 2003?

As for the Q9550 and E8500, can you tell me what you are referring to?
I'm not really up on all these numbers yet? lol You have to describe in lamens terms.. thanks
December 11, 2008 3:08:33 AM

The problem with SLI is that SLI motherboards are full of bugs and expensive. The problem with Crossfire is that P45 drops to half speed in Crossfire, while X48 is expensive.
I think the best approach is to get a P45 with a HD 4870 X2.

Between ATI and nVidia - both are OK these days. There's really no serious reason to prefer one over the other IMO. I have an 8800GTX myself and it still works fine. Still, this year ATI is in the lead and if I needed a new high-end gaming card I'd get the Visiontek HD 4870 X2.

If you want some serious upgrading room, get GA-X48-DS5, Corsair 1000HX, HD 4870 X2. It would cost you about $200 more for the improved MB and PSU, but you get the ability to do CrossfireX later if needed.

Alternatively, consider something based on i7 920, an X58, DDR3, 1000HX, and a GTX 280 (for now). That would cost more and give less fps now, but it can grow to 3 video cards in time.
December 11, 2008 3:09:14 AM

For $1500, a nice i7 machine can be built. However, that is only if you want to hit that $1500 limit. I personally have an x48 and I am running a gtx260-216 and the combination is working substantially better than the 4870 1gig I had before. I had a bunch of different driver issues but it could just be me and/or the particular 4870 I got. With the new X58 will support SLi and Crossfire so you have a bit more flexability there. From what I have read, i7 with an SLi configuration seems to be the sweet spot. GTX260s can be had for 199 on newegg now. That would be the route I would go>
December 11, 2008 3:19:43 AM

ironwarrior said:
Thanks AEVM,

Your advise makes much sense.. would all my other applications be compatible with Vista Premium 64 , such as Office 2003?

As for the Q9550 and E8500, can you tell me what you are referring to?
I'm not really up on all these numbers yet? lol You have to describe in lamens terms.. thanks



Q9550 is a quad-core CPU from Intel.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115041
LOL, it says "free water bottle" if you buy it from Newegg now.

E8500 is a dual-core, also from Intel.

You said you wanted a quad-core, and frankly the Q9550 is the only quad-core I'd buy these days from Intel. The Q6600 is also great bang for the buck (that's what I have myself these days) but it's slower. The i7 920 is pretty good value but requires much more expensive DDR3 RAM and X58 motherboards instead of DDR2 and P45 mobo, so it's less tempting. The "QX" CPUs (QX9650, QX9770, etc) are way overpriced, at $1000+ so I wouldn't touch them. The Q9650 at $550 is better than the Q9550 at $320 but only a little better and not worth an extra $230 IMO.


Office 2003 on Vista 64... Yes, it works, I think. I haven't tried it myself (I dual boot and left Office on XP only), but I found several pages with Google where the same question has been asked and answered.
December 12, 2008 7:31:50 AM

Thanks aevm and xblackjackx...

I appreciate your recommendations.
I have been looking at the Extreme I7 processor. I hear it is about 100 bucks more, but provides much better performance. So I am considering that.
I will definitely check out the Q9550 and Q6600 as well. Since ATI and Nvideo video is so closely matched, I guess I will just have to flip a coin :) .
I'm going to have to make a list of all these recommendations and way out all the pros and cons so that I can make the right choice. Whatever it is, I sure can't wait to get the stuff together and drop the boat anchor that I have now. If you guys have any more tips.....feel free to keep em coming. Your advise is definitely appreciated.
December 13, 2008 6:51:11 AM

Ok after additional research and comments you guys have given me, here is my build components so far... I am aiming high and if the cost exceeds my budget than I will have to create a new list at the next lower level...

- Case: Antec 1200 Full Tower
- Motherboard - Asus P6T Deluxe LGA 1366 Intel X58
- CPU- I7 quad core
- Memory: corsair 6gb 3x2gb 240pin ddr3 1333 pc310666 1.5 volt
- Power Supply: thermaltake 750 watt
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- Video card - Now still deciding on this one. Should I go with one 250.00 card or a (2) sli cheaper ones.
- Hard drives (2) Seagate sata2 drives
- DVD burner (sata2)

Please let me know your comments/recommendations and whether I should change anything
December 13, 2008 7:07:51 AM

Thermaltake PSU's are only so-so. I would swap the PSU for one of these:

PC Power & Cooling S75QB 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI NVIDIA SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $124.99 - $25.00 MIR

or

CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $119.99 - $20.00 MIR

I'd go with the best single card you can right now and add a second card later if you need to. If you start off with two cards, you cut your upgrade path. You mentioned earlier that you like to keep your upgrade options open.

I don't know what hard drives you were thinking of getting, but the WD 640GB drives are very fast and pretty inexpensive.

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product... $68.99

or

Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $84.99
December 13, 2008 7:18:49 AM

Thanks, I will look into those PSU's (cheaper too).
As for the hard drives, I've always kind of been partial to the Seagates since I have had pretty good luck with them. Way back when I had lots of problems with Western Digital, but I'm sure their quality has improved. I will surely take a look at them though.

I was reading over the features from the Asus P6T motherboard and found they had SAS support. I never heard of it and read where it is a new interface for hard drives. The drives I seen using this technology were spinning at 15000 rpm... But the improved throughput looks like it comes with a hefty price.. I'm running my budget thin enough so I think i will stay with the standard sata 2 drives :) 

Thanks for your advice.
December 13, 2008 7:33:24 AM

I've had great luck with Western Digital lately. My current computer is running three WD drives in a high-usage HTPC setting (sometimes I'll record 3 HD streams and one SD stream at the same time). I haven't seen any signs of trouble. The 640GB drives are just as fast as the Raptor drives from a couple years ago. The black edition drives have 5-year warranties also.
December 13, 2008 9:32:58 AM

Nice. Thanks, it sounds like I will most definitely add them to my hard drive contender list. :)  I sure can't wait to get my system together. Watching the money grow is a bit scary, but I'm sure when everything is done I will be glad I did it. Shouldn't have to worry about adding much else for awhile after that and will be able to start gaming with the current stuff.
December 21, 2008 7:03:33 PM

Ok.... I have finally finished my new gaming system ordering list...
Here it is. I hope to order parts in a few days or weeks. (I am so looking forward to this) Will have to mow lawns for the next 10 years though to pay this thing off :lol: 

* Antec 1200 case
* Asus P6T motherboard
* Intel I7 Processor
* Corsair 6gb (3 x 2gb) memory
* Corsair 1000w 1000hx power supply
* Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 X2 video card
* Western Digital VelociRaptor 300Gb Hard drive
* Seagate Barracudea 320AS 500GB hard drive
* Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound (need that too)
!