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Sub $750 Gaming System (First Build)

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February 26, 2009 3:44:07 AM

This is my first time to build a system and I was hoping I could get a bit of help. I cannot spend a penny over $750 on the system. I will be using it for playing the latest games FEAR 2, GTA4, Crysis and so on. And I also do a lot of video encoding. This will probably be my only system for the next several years so I am going for major upgradability.

This is what I am planning to get so far.
Case: NZXT Apollo
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400
GPU: Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 1GB
Ram: G.SKILL PI Black 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
Fan: Scythe S-FLEX
(I already have a hard drive and DVD burner for it)

This being my first time to build a system I am hoping someone can answer a few questions.

First is I am having a hard time finding a decent PSU that will fit in my budget. The most I am wiling to spend on one is $100. If possible I would like one that can handle two Radeon HD 4850s in Crossfire, but it is not mandatory. I am not doing crossfire now, but it would be nice to have the option in the future.

I was considering this PSU "RAIDMAX HYBRID 2 RX-630SS" but after reading some customer reviews it seems to have a pretty high failure rate. So any suggestions would be much appreciated.

My second question is, other than the PSU is that everything I need to build a working system, or am I forgetting some major component?

And last but not least, are all of those parts compatible with one another? (especially the RAM)

Much appreciation in advance to any one who can provide some answers. (And sorry for the long-windedness of this post :sleep:  )


February 26, 2009 4:27:59 AM

CORSAIR 650W ATX12V / EPS12V Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply
With Promo Code EMCLNNR23 $69.99
After $25.00 Mail-In Rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Go to NewEgg. Upper left of page. Browse, drop down to Home. Find E-Mail Promotions. The Q9400 has a promo code EMCLNNR24, takes the prise down to $214.99
There is also a HIS 4870 on the Daily Deals for $144.99
Related resources
February 26, 2009 8:07:24 AM

I'd save even more on the CPU by going with the Q6600 and overclocking it to the max with the Xigmatek HDT-S1283 heatsink and backplate.

Knotknut's Corsair 650TX is a great deal. In case you don't get that one, the PCP&C Silencer 610 is just as good. Either of these PSUs will be able to drive 4850s in Crossfire.

You also need Arctic Cooling MX-2 thermal paste to mount my suggested cooler and Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit ($100).

If you do wind up going with that HIS 4870 card, then you will need the red PCP&C Silencer 750 to have room to Crossfire it in the future.

Pi Black RAM goes just fine with that Gigabyte mobo.
February 26, 2009 10:59:02 AM

If you're using it for gaming then go with a 4870 512mb if you're really stuck for money or switch to AMD and get a 4870 1GB.

Get an Phenom II 940 or 925(when they come out.) it'll save you $100 or so to get a better graphics card and you'll get the option to crossfire.
February 27, 2009 2:52:45 AM

I think you have convinced me to switch up to the His Radeon HD 4870 512mb.

Thanks to the help of all of you, I think I have narrowed my PSU search down to the following.
OCZ Fatal1ty 550W
CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX
PC Power & Cooling S75CF 750W

My problem is, now I am a tad over budget and I either need to go with the cheapest, or wait a few weeks and hope I can get the extra cash. So will the OCZ 550w suffice for the HD 4870 if I just don’t worry about Crossfire?

I would also like to know I need to buy a Heatsink for the CPU, or will the one it comes with do the job? At least right now I do not intend on doing any overclocking. Also think I will stick with the Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400.

Here is the full list of stuff I am planning on getting, "Newegg List". But it's up to $773 and my budget is $750 :cry:  . I can’t count rebates because I only have $750 now. So I may need to just wait a bit to see if I can gather some extra cash.
February 27, 2009 3:56:34 AM

You did say: "This will probably be my only system for the next several years so I am going for major upgradability." So now that you've moved up to the 4870 video card, note that it draws a bit more power than the 4850, so you do need the Silencer 750 if you want to leave room for Crossfire. Also note that the 4870 card requires 2 PCIe 6-pin connectors. So if you ever want to Crossfire, then you need a PSU with 4 of these connectors, which the red Silencer has. The other 2 don't have this feature, so you've cut off Crossfire completely. If you forgo Crossfire entirely, then go with the Corsair 650TX (or PCP&C Silencer 610, which is $70 after MIR). I would prefer not to go with the cheaper OCZ PSU, as I don't feel that it leaves enough margin for your non-Crossfired setup. It's also nice to have a larger PSU so that even if you don't decide to Crossfire later, you can always upgrade to a larger single video card.

An aftermarket heatsink is always nice to have, but if you're not going to overclock, then just use the stock heatsink for now to save money. You can OC a little bit with the stock cooler as well. In the meantime, learn to OC and then if you feel that you want to push it, then buy a better heatsink then. However, I'd have to warn you that a good heatsink requires a backplate, which does require you to pull the mobo out of the case for installation.

The Q9400 is a fine CPU, and also has high R0 stepping, in case you ever want to overclock!

If you need to save an extra bit, why don't you drop the extra fan for now and buy it later when you have the cash? If you're not overclocking right away, you can get away with a little less airflow. Or maybe move the side fan to the front and then add the third fan to the side later (which is easier).
February 27, 2009 5:01:22 AM

Thanks big time Akebono 98! That pretty much answered every question I have about picking my components. I think I will wait and try to get the money for Silencer750w.

I do have two last questions. I have been reading a few guides on installing the CPU and most of them recommend that I clean off the thermal compound that comes on the included heatsink and apply my own. Is that entirely necessary or would it be ok just to put the heatsink on and not worry about it.

As this is my first time to build a system, are there any major difficulties or likely problems I will run into that I should research before I start? I have read this guide a few times front to back :whistle: , are there any other good guides I should read before buying & building everything? I have also read that installing the processor can be a delicate process :sweat:  .

Thanks again for all of the help!
February 27, 2009 5:45:12 AM

No,not these days.Leave the thermal paste on the heatsink.Nowadays the thermal paste used is quite adequit and is usualy the right amount,thereby taking the guess work out of it.Goodluck.

Dahak

ASUS P5N-D
C2D E8500 STOCK
ZALMAN 9500 CPU COOLER
2X2GIG DDR2 1066 IN DC MODE
TOUGHPOWER 850WATT PSU
EVGA GTX 260
SMILIDON RAIDMAX GAMING CASE
LG 24IN WS LCD 1920X1080
250GIG HD/500GIG HD
LOGITECH G15 GAMING KEYBOARD
G5 GAMING MOUSE
LOGITECH Z-5500 5.1 SURROUND SYSTEM
500WATS CONTINUOUS,1000 PEAK
WIN XP PRO
February 27, 2009 5:50:10 AM

Anytime! :D 

For your purposes, just use the stock thermal paste that comes with the stock heatsink for now. You're not going to OC much, right? When you do become a hardcore OC'er, then get some nice MX-2 (or maybe even IC Diamond 7 Carat) and use that when you install your aftermarket heatsink. Using stock thermal paste also saves you a few bucks right now.

You're right about installing the processor--just be careful with the pin socket, etc. And don't get any thermal compound on the pins or you're toast... ;) 

Might be easier for you to start the build on top of your mobo box and the anti-static bag and install the CPU, heatsink and RAM there. From that, connect the video card, PSU, keyboard and monitor and see if it will POST and that you can get into BIOS. Do it one part at a time so you can isolate any component defects, etc. And remember to be careful about static electricity, especially during the winter time.

And don't worry, it's a piece of cake!
February 27, 2009 7:31:12 AM

for your graphics card.. cut it down to a 512mb version, save a bit of cash there, you wont be needing a power supply over 600w so dont worry about that.

try lookin at the corsair 550w or 650.
!