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First-time build...need suggestions

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April 21, 2009 2:54:45 AM

I've been wanting to build my own computer for quite some time and now I finally think I will. I want a budget-ish gaming pc and I've been looking at Newegg and found most of the components I want. First off I know I'm not including a monitor, keyboard, mouse, or OS but I think I can handle those.

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor
Heatsink?-not really sure what its "called"...it's the fan on the CPU: ZALMAN CNPS9700 LED 110mm 2 Ball CPU Cooler - Retail

Mobo: ASUS Striker II Extreme LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 790i Ultra SLI ATX Intel

GPU: EVGA 896-P3-1255-AR GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported

PSU: Seventeam ST-650PAF 650W ATX 12V V2.2 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply

Case: COOLER MASTER COSMOS 1000 RC-1000-KSN1-GP Black/ Silver Steel ATX Full Tower

Hard Drive(s-getting 3 and going RAID 5): Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5"

Optical Drive: LG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner Black IDE Model GH22NP20


I was planning on only ordering one GPU but maybe later getting another one and hooking up SLI. Right now this runs about $1037. Any suggestions/comments would be greatly appreciated! Thanks for your time.

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April 21, 2009 3:02:07 AM

oh and throw in 4 gb ddr2/3 RAM....is DDR3 worth the extra $?
thanks again
April 21, 2009 3:27:18 AM

With your budget, I think a core i7 or phenom II build would make more sense. They would be much more upgradeable in the future.

If you do decide to go with the Core 2 Duo, get a less expensive motherboard, one that supports DDR2 ram. Core 2 procs won't benefit much from DDR3 over DDR2.
This gigabyte mobo would do just fine for half the cost
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Also, a Corsair 650W PSU would save you some $$, and corsair makes excellent PSUs
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I would suggest the WD Black 640gb drive instead of the 500gb seagates, the WD Black has better performance.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thats a very nice, but expensive case. You could save a decent amount by going with a different case (Such as a Cooler Master RC-690), but thats really up to you.
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April 21, 2009 8:05:00 PM

The reason I chose that PSU and Processor was because I got a $30 discount on them together. I was wondering if i should go ahead and go quad core, i7, or phenom II but I didn't know if the cost/performance ratio was enough to merit upgrading.

If I upgraded my CPU would you still suggest a different motherboard? The reason i went with that mobo was because i knew it was fast and SLI compatible. However, i've heard that the 700 series has been plauged with problems :( 

I'll probably go with your Hard drive suggestion-i just picked that one because it was cheap and high memory.

That case was mainly because i wanted a cool, quiet, good looking case that supports extensive expansion and that one was nice and big (even big enough to fit the MASSIVE GPU's we have these days)

Do you think my GPU is sufficient for the build i have (will have?)

THanks again for all your help
April 21, 2009 10:36:52 PM

Do not get an nvidia chipset, you heard correctly.

What exactly is your budget? And what resolution of monitor will you be using? Do you have any other main uses this PC must be able to handle, or is it just for gaming?
April 21, 2009 10:51:53 PM

To add my two penneth worth, I wouldn't go AMD at the moment... Intel is your best bet... I've recently put together what I think is a reasonable gaming rig. These are the specs...

Intel Core2Duo E7400 (2.80GHz x2) No OC.
Akasa AK-955 Copper core cooler.
Gigabyte GA-EP45T-UD3P
4GB Crucial DDR3
Radeon HT4850 512MB

I already have the ThermalTake ToughPower 700W and 4 HDDs (2x 250GB mirrored RAID and 2x 500GB mirrored RAID) from the previous rig so these were setup as a dual boot system with XP Pro on the 250GB volume and Vista Ultimate 64 on the 500GB volume. System is ultra quiet with temps reaching 38C with one core going full bore crunching numbers for distributed computing projects (While I'm not gaming that is :D  .
April 21, 2009 11:19:19 PM

reborne_33 said:
To add my two penneth worth, I wouldn't go AMD at the moment... Intel is your best bet... I've recently put together what I think is a reasonable gaming rig. These are the specs...

Intel Core2Duo E7400 (2.80GHz x2) No OC.
Akasa AK-955 Copper core cooler.
Gigabyte GA-EP45T-UD3P
4GB Crucial DDR3
Radeon HT4850 512MB

I already have the ThermalTake ToughPower 700W and 4 HDDs (2x 250GB mirrored RAID and 2x 500GB mirrored RAID) from the previous rig so these were setup as a dual boot system with XP Pro on the 250GB volume and Vista Ultimate 64 on the 500GB volume. System is ultra quiet with temps reaching 38C with one core going full bore crunching numbers for distributed computing projects (While I'm not gaming that is :D  .

You wasted your money on that ram and MB. An AMD PII x3 720BE would have fit that budget and would have been a much stronger system. Why would you not go AMD at the moment? Now is a great time to go with AMD. AMD is the underdog right now and since their sales have been suffering recently, they have undercut all of Intel's prices on comparable processors with their own. You get much more for your money going with an AMD chip in the midrange CPU market.
April 22, 2009 12:01:10 AM

My budget is around $1,000 to $1,500....preferably on the lower end. Really gaming would be the most intensive thing it needs to handle-games like Supreme Commander, Dawn of War 2, Crysis, L4D, COD WOW etc.

What I was looking CPU-wise is the Intel Core i7 920 @ 2.66 vs the AMD Phenom II X4 940 @ 3.0. If I went with AMD what chipset would you suggest? And the Phenom isn't compatible with DDR3 is it? I know the AMD would be Much cheaper (189.99 vs 279.99) but is this because it can't compete with the i7 or because AMD needs money ;) 

Thanks again for everyone's input. Oh and for the monitor i was looking at a typical 20-24 inch (under $150 preferably)
April 22, 2009 12:17:09 AM

In gaming performance, the i7 and PII 940 are almost equal, the i7 comes out on top more often than the 940, but the 940 can come out on top too, depending on the game. If you use the money saved for a better GPU, it always comes out on top. If you want to go with the 940, then get a GA-MA790x-UD4P MB AM2+ chipset. The 940 does not use DDR3, but it really doesn't see much of a performance gain from it. If you want to be able to use an AM3 chipset, then the PII 955 is scheduled to be released very soon, at 3.2ghz and uses DDR3/AM3 chipset. The GA-MA790XT-UD4P is the same MB as the other one, but for AM3 not AM2+. The 940BE is available at www.zipzoomfly.com for $168 last I saw.

April 22, 2009 10:12:00 AM

xthekidx said:
You wasted your money on that ram and MB. An AMD PII x3 720BE would have fit that budget and would have been a much stronger system. Why would you not go AMD at the moment? Now is a great time to go with AMD. AMD is the underdog right now and since their sales have been suffering recently, they have undercut all of Intel's prices on comparable processors with their own. You get much more for your money going with an AMD chip in the midrange CPU market.


The reason I went for the mobo and RAM is that at some stage I want to be able to go quad without replacing them. This seemed to be the easiest route. Just plop in a new CPU when I'm ready. Plus I liked the touted reliability of the Gigabyte mobo.
April 22, 2009 10:54:41 AM

Indeed stay away from DDR3 you'll be wasting your money on things that show no apparant performance gain, while a faster GPU or SSD will increase performance by a much larger degree. Also, a cheaper motherboard is an option. Should you save money on where it doesn't count, and invest in where it counts, you'll get more performance per dollar/euro you spent.
April 22, 2009 11:18:57 AM

For that budget I would go with Core i7. Unless you know you're gonna game on a 24" or larger monitor, there's no need for SLI. You would be better of with the higher processing power/ memory bandwidth of the Core i7 and a GTX 275 than with an e8400 and two (2) GTX 260's.

I have an SLI rig on an Asus P5N-D with an e8400 (OC'd to 3.6 GHz) and 2 9800 GTs and I get locks up and freeze frames due to cards hitting 78-80 C. Read about SLI and heat issues. I had to leave the side panel open and blow a desk fan just to remain stable.
April 22, 2009 5:36:53 PM

So i was thinking of upgrading to a core i7 920 @ 2.66 ghz and going with a x58 chipset (GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard). I only was planning on having one 260 GPU but was planning on getting another one in the forseeable future-you are suggesting just going with a 275 and dropping SLI? And would an i7 benefit from DDR3 or should i just drop that to DDR2?
April 22, 2009 6:33:23 PM

X58 obligates DDR3, so if you go that route its your only option. The i7 is not really any better than the other options out there when it comes to gaming, and its a lot more expensive. The i7 is only worth it if you do very CPU intensive tasks, like video editing, CS4, 3d modelling and the like. If all you will do is play games stick with the E8400 or go PII 720.
April 22, 2009 6:41:23 PM

If you consider the amount of money you save with not choosing i7 cpu, i7 motherboard and ddr3 memory, you'd save enough to buy yourself a nice SSD. Even though your CPU will be less powerful, you will have a better general experience of speed and responsiveness when using an SSD as system disk. Things appear to be happening instantly, which was, for me, a true revelation.
April 22, 2009 7:07:59 PM

i7 for workstation and FSX(if you can't afford a nehalem workstation mobo + dual quad cpu's), phenom II 720 or 955 for everything else.
April 22, 2009 9:27:04 PM

If I went with the AMD CPU-the PII 940-instead of the i7 what mobo would work best? and should I use the money saved and get 2 Radeon 4890 GPU's in crossfire? Because i was looking at a 24 in monitor...speaking of monitors what is a fairly decent resolution?

And as for SSD's-is it possible to load your OS on a SSD and use raid somehow with more conventional, higher capacity Hard Drives for storage? And would i see a significant increase in performance with a SSD (because they are really expensive)?

Thanks again for everyones help :D 
April 23, 2009 12:21:24 AM

MB: GA-MA790X-UD4P
24" monitors run at 1920x1200 res or 1080P. If you want to use the savings to get 2 4890's, you will have an awesome gaming PC at that resolution (get the 19x12, not 1080P)

SSD's are not worth it unless you are spending a few thousand dollars on the PC, don't go there.
April 23, 2009 10:01:10 PM

"budget-ish gaming pc"?

Lol, you guys are talking SSDs and 24' monitors, 790i Ultra SLI..... not at all what a budget PC is for most PC builders....

Back to the point, if you're main focus is on gaming, drop the SLI mainboard, go with a high-end Asus P45 chipset, an e8600, GTX 275, 24" monitor...

April 23, 2009 11:05:35 PM

that's thee spirit! screw sli and crossfire, they just make the guts of your comp look good and suck power like a factory of hairdryers. Unless your sliing or crossfiring the best of the best cards, there's no point in multi gpu since you have a fairly low res display, so just buy a good card. Also gives you more flexibility for upgrading in the future, no need to buy old chips.
April 24, 2009 12:13:30 AM

So here's the final (tentative) build:

CPU: AMD Phenom II 940 3.0 ghz
GPU: 2x Radeon HD 4890
MB: GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P
PSU: Corsair 650W
RAM: G. Skill 4gb (2x2) DDR2 1066
HDD: WD 500gb 7200 RPM
Monitor: SCEPTRE X24WG-1080P Black 24" 2ms Widescreen LCD Monitor
Case: XCLIO Windtunnel 1.0 mm SECC Chassis ATX Full Tower

Also a DVD burner, heatsink, and thermal paste

Any more suggestions?
!