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Attempt at High End System on a "Budget"

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December 24, 2008 6:24:50 PM

I am using the word budget somewhat loosely. I wanted to get a fast system without the hassles of overclocking which is beyond my patience level. I also wanted a system that could play anything out there and hopefully anything else that might come out in the next couple of years. I didn't want to go spend $8k on a Falcon system, but I wasn't going to go for a budget $1k PC either.

My thought process on deciding which items to spend more money was simply "If it's a couple more hundred, fine - I'll get it just in case it helps. But if $500 or more I'll pass." Thus, I upgraded to a 2.93GHz processor but not 3.2GHz; got one 4870 X2 instead of two; and loaded up on 12GB of DDR3 Ram because it was relatively cheap.

So, I got this system for
Spoiler
$3k
with shipping. Thoughts?


Case ( Raidmax Tornado Gaming Tower Case w/420W Power Supply Blue )
Case Lighting ( Cold Cathode Neon Light Blue ) - YEAH, I KNOW - DUMB, BUT IT LOOKS COOL
Power Supply ( 1000 Watt -- XION SuperNova XON-1000R14HE Power Supply Quad SLI Ready ) - TOO MUCH? TOO LITTLE? What if I buy another 4870X2?
Processor ( Intel Core i7 Processor 940 (4x 2.93GHz/8MB L3 Cache) )
Processor Cooling ( Certified CPU Fan and Heatsink )
Motherboard ( MSI X58 Platinum Intel X58 CrossFire Chipset w/7.1 Sound, Triple-Channel DDR3, Dual Gb LAN, S-ATA Raid, USB 2.0, Dual PCI-E MB ) - HAD NO CLUE WHAT TO GET
Memory ( 12 GB [2 GB X6] DDR3-1333 Triple Memory Module Corsair Value or Major Brand ) - WAS TOLD NOT TO GET FASTER THAN 1333 BECAUSE CPU WOULD BE A BOTTLENECK IF NOT OVERCLOCKING
Video Card ( ATI Radeon HD 4870-X2 DDR5 2GB PCI-Express x16 ) - BEST THING OUT THERE FOR THE NEXT THREE WEEKS OR SO (plus, I am a little po'd at NVidia right now)
Hard Drive ( Gaming HARD DRIVE [Serial ATA-300, 10,000 RPM] WD Velociraptor WD3000GLFS 300GB 16M Cache Hard Drive ) - SHOULD I HAVE GONE WITH A SOLID STATE DRIVE??
CD-RW/DVD-RW Drive LG GGC-H20L BLU-RAY Reader & DVD±R/±RW Burner Internal Combo Drive Black )
Sound Card ( 3D Premium Surround Sound Onboard ) - FIGURED SOUNDBLASTER WASN'T THAT IMPORTANT ANYMORE, AM I WRONG?
Network Card ( Onboard LAN Network (Gb or 10/100) )
USB 2.0 Accessories ( Built-in USB 2.0 Ports )
Meter Display ( NZXT Sentry LX Aluminum Fan Control, Clock, and Temperature LCD Display ) - PROBABLY A WASTE, BUT IT LOOKS SO COOL I HAD TO GET IT
Operation System ( Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 64-Bit )
Internal Wireless Network Adapter
Monitor I-Inc iF-281DPB 28" Widescreen LCD Monitor - 3ms, WUXGA 1920x1200, HDMI, D-sub, Built-In Speakers - THAT'S RIGHT 28"
Free Software/Game [Halo 2]
Free Software/Game [FARCRY 2]
December 24, 2008 6:52:33 PM

Still pissed at nvidia? Did you have a laptop catch on fire from an 8600 gpu? :) 

well, I do think 12gb of memory is overkill. I'm not sure how you would use over half of that. I think 6 gb would be sufficient.

SSD's are too expensive per gigabyte atm. wait 6 months and they may be worthwhile for desktop use.

If your i7 processor is a bottleneck, what the hell else cpu are you gonna use?

Well, its your money-wish I had that much to throw around.

My opinion is onboard sound is good enough for gaming. Others will disagree. I would use an add-in card for audiophile stuff and for mixing, sound recording, etc.

December 24, 2008 7:01:34 PM

buzznut said:
Still pissed at nvidia? Did you have a laptop catch on fire from an 8600 gpu? :) 

well, I do think 12gb of memory is overkill. I'm not sure how you would use over half of that. I think 6 gb would be sufficient.

SSD's are too expensive per gigabyte atm. wait 6 months and they may be worthwhile for desktop use.

If your i7 processor is a bottleneck, what the hell else cpu are you gonna use?

Well, its your money-wish I had that much to throw around.

My opinion is onboard sound is good enough for gaming. Others will disagree. I would use an add-in card for audiophile stuff and for mixing, sound recording, etc.



LOL - close on the NVidia guess. I do have a huge Dell Laptop which is a desktop replacement I bought a few years ago. Lots of driver issues and several games which crash and the solution is supposed to be to update the NVidia Drivers. But when I try to update, the driver keeps telling me it is for a 64 bit operating system and won't load. Uhm - I have a 64 bit operating system. Infuriating.

On the bottleneck issue, my tech guy at work said you could overclock the CPU to go over 1333 in order to take advantage of the faster RAM. No idea what that means, but didn't want to worry about it. I know very little about this stuff. The extra RAM was cheap though if I stayed at 1333, so I said what the hell?

Thank you for your quick comments.
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December 24, 2008 7:30:23 PM

i wish i had that kind of money to play around with.

looks great enjoy!
December 24, 2008 7:40:42 PM

i like it
December 24, 2008 7:54:03 PM


nice system

probably save a few bucks by getting a "regular" 7200 rpm hard drive like a 640gb western digital

onboard sound usually does the job fine, they have improved onboard considerably

if you are going for a 28" screen u may want to get one that can do 2560x1600 instead since 1920x1200 on a 28" means everything will look huge while you are in windows

December 24, 2008 8:05:36 PM

how the **** is this a "budget"???
December 24, 2008 8:14:46 PM

yeah 3k is a hell of a lot of money for a "budget" system.

I think the psu is a bit on the high end, but I don't recognize that name brand so this might be a good thing. Some of these no-namers don't do so well when pushed hard.

12GB OMG, you could multi-task your way to insanity and back. That is a hell of a lot of memory even for the most hungry of aps like photoshop or cad programs.

I agree solid state drives are still to pricey yet. They will likely be all the rage in a few more years as prices come closer to earth.

It sounds like a really good system... I probably would have went with a corsair psu, intel mobo and little less memory other than that it looks pretty good.

I bet it flies tho and you should be in good position for years.
December 24, 2008 8:27:53 PM

Drop to 6GB of RAM and get a PC Power and Cooling or Corsair power supply. If your gonna spend this kinda money get good parts.

+1 on the monitor recommendation. If your going that big, you need more resolution.

EDIT: Also, rumor has it MSI motherboards can be hit or miss. May want to consider going with Asus or Gigabyte instead.
December 24, 2008 8:58:23 PM

B-Unit said:
Drop to 6GB of RAM and get a PC Power and Cooling or Corsair power supply. If your gonna spend this kinda money get good parts.

+1 on the monitor recommendation. If your going that big, you need more resolution.

EDIT: Also, rumor has it MSI motherboards can be hit or miss. May want to consider going with Asus or Gigabyte instead.



I'll check on the monitor. Got it from Tiger Direct for $329 - it sounded too good to be true so the "low" resolution explains it. I just assumed since the 1900X1200 covered the 1080p requirements I would be okay. Thanks to several of you for that suggestion! I can probably change my order from Tiger Direct.

Explain the PC Power or Corsair power supply suggestion please. Those weren't options at Ibuypower - or at least I didn't see them. I'll check again.

Now I am a little worried about my choive for the case. I hope I won't have overheating issues!!

EDIT: Ugh - getting that resolution looks like the monitor jumps to over $1k. I may be out of luck to get that size/resolution combo. Perhaps going with a 24" 1900X1200 would make more sense. I'll try the 28" monitor, and if I don't like it I can return it or perhaps use it as an HDTV or something. :( 
December 24, 2008 8:59:39 PM

0mg_1ts_m3 said:
how the **** is this a "budget"???


LMAO. Well, it's less than $8k - the editor's choice on CNET. I did say I was using the term somewhat loosely. Ha!
December 24, 2008 9:05:14 PM

You know what's funny? I remember about 15 years ago dropping several K for a 486 DX2 66MHz computer with 4 megabytes of RAM and going nuts over that! It played MOO (Master of Orion for you nonbelievers) like butter!

To further date myself, my first "real" computer was a Commodore 64. I remember programming games into it and saving them to a cassette tape. Then the floppy drives came out, and I played Ultima all day and all night - swapping discs out every thirty minutes or so praying that the game wouldn't crash.

How times have changed. I wish cars and houses had the same bang for the buck that technology does.
December 24, 2008 10:41:20 PM

kcbandit said:
I'll check on the monitor. Got it from Tiger Direct for $329 - it sounded too good to be true so the "low" resolution explains it. I just assumed since the 1900X1200 covered the 1080p requirements I would be okay. Thanks to several of you for that suggestion! I can probably change my order from Tiger Direct.

Explain the PC Power or Corsair power supply suggestion please. Those weren't options at Ibuypower - or at least I didn't see them. I'll check again.

Now I am a little worried about my choive for the case. I hope I won't have overheating issues!!

EDIT: Ugh - getting that resolution looks like the monitor jumps to over $1k. I may be out of luck to get that size/resolution combo. Perhaps going with a 24" 1900X1200 would make more sense. I'll try the 28" monitor, and if I don't like it I can return it or perhaps use it as an HDTV or something. :( 



PC power and cooling is one of the better power supply manufacturers

yea 2560x1600 screens are pricey :( 

a 24" with same res would probably work better, easier to use since you dont have to turn yer head side to side much and you can also use a regular single link dvi cable (those cables are cheaper)

the 28" would be a nice HDTV for a small room or the kitchen

!