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Need advice on building first 100% custom system

Last response: in Systems
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May 5, 2009 5:47:17 AM

Hello everyone,
I'm looking into building a nice gaming system that will be able to run Starcraft 2 at max settings and other new game releases and that can handle a lot of multi-tasking and 3D rendering (3d studio max, photoshop, etc). In the past I've always just bought a low-end computer and upgraded the things I needed, the computer I'm running at the moment is about 5 years old and everything inside it has been replaced over time aside from the motherboard and CPU. I've been reading a lot on this site and selecting pieces of hardware on newegg.com and I think I have a pretty good rig ready but I wanted to ask you guys your opinion (and to make sure I haven't paired up hardware that won't work with eachother lol). My biggest concern is the power consumption, I want the system to have enough juice to run everything without serious overkill or heat. At the moment I don't want to spend more than like $800-900 in total since it seems like I can make a pretty decent computer for that amount that will last a few years. I've always liked AMD and ATI over Intel and nVidia. This is the setup I have so far:

Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$59.95

GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$109.99

Two of these for CrossFire:
SAPPHIRE 100277L Radeon HD 4770 512MB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$99.99 ($199.98 for CrossFire)

BFG Tech LS SERIES LS-550 550W Continuous @ 40°C ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.8 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified ... - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$79.99

LG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model GH22LS30 - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$25.99

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$99.99

Logitech 967973-0403 Black PS/2 Standard Deluxe 250 Desktop - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$12.99

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8500CL5D-4GBPK - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$58.99

ASUS VW198T Black 19" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$109.99

Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$8.99

Western Digital Caviar SE WD1600AAJS 160GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$41.99

AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor Model HDZ720WFGIBOX - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$139.00

Subtotal: $847.85
May 5, 2009 5:56:44 AM

drop the cpu for a 720 BE if you can afford it, the extra cores will help in rendering.
May 5, 2009 6:02:55 AM

go for phenom II x3 720 BE and pair it with at least a 4870 1 gb..
^-^
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May 5, 2009 6:05:21 AM

^little point in that if it's only a 19" monitor, but he should go with a 4770 instead, bit more powerful.
May 5, 2009 7:01:26 AM

Well +1 for the X3 720...
Actually you can even get the X3 710...
Reason : From the OP "that can handle a lot of multi-tasking and 3D rendering (3d studio max, photoshop, etc)"
And the X3 would easily handle those tasks...

CPU + Mobo combo...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Change the case to this...saves $20 + Free shipping and is also a very good high rated case - Antec 300
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And 4770 is a good suggestion...just $10 more and would perform better...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

But if you are not into too much gaming, then even the 4830 is suffice and you can save $20 by going with this combo
OS+ GPU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
May 5, 2009 5:17:10 PM

Thanks for all the input, that combo deal rocks I didn't even notice it lol. These days I do a lot more gaming than anything so the video card is where all my extra money is gonna go. I was actually looking at that case earlier but was wondering how hot it would get. Is it worth investing in good fans/heat sinks or some kinda liquid cooling system? Or do the ones that come with the video card / cpu / case work good enough? I know once I start overclocking I'll definitely want to upgrade my cooling system, but until then should I bother?
Eventually I'm going to pick up another hard drive and a new dvd burner, thinking western digital for the hd, and not too sure about the burner yet. Are SATA drives better than IDE?
May 6, 2009 5:19:02 AM

Well both the cases (Antec 300 and CM 690) have very good airflow and many fan slots...So when you feel the case is getting hot, you can add more fans...
And could you update with what config you are wiling to go...so that we could give more suggestion about cooling or other options...
May 6, 2009 6:29:44 AM

Corsair VX450 is a better quality PSU, and cheaper.
May 6, 2009 6:07:38 PM

I've updated my original post with the new setup. I don't plan on doing any overclocking any time soon. I went ahead and picked a little more expensive video card to avoid upgrading down the road (I like the 256-bit memory, not sure how big of a difference it makes though). With the video card it says I should have a 500 PSU or better for a single card so the one I have selected should do the job right? Should I go with a slightly bigger monitor to get the most out of this card, or will the 19'' one be ok?

Oh just on a side note, it's going to be about 3 months before I purchase this rig, that's why I don't have any of the combos selected. I just wanna get the hardware paired up correctly so I'm ready when the time comes.
May 6, 2009 6:15:49 PM

If i were you i would look at 512MB Memory or better for the graphics if you want to play at higher resolutions...etc.
May 6, 2009 7:07:16 PM

I'd still recommend a better quality PSU. BFG LS-550 would be a good choice.
May 6, 2009 8:58:15 PM

Yea that is a nice PSU and only $5 more. Updated setup with that PSU for now.
I was looking at this one...

CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power ... - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$119.99

It's a bit more pricey but isn't a single +12v rail better than multiple rails?
It also mentioned being able to detect how much power you actually need rather than just pumping out the max power capable which would save money on my electric bill. I just don't know if I need a 750W PSU or not though.
May 6, 2009 10:54:09 PM

tashi said:
It's a bit more pricey but isn't a single +12v rail better than multiple rails?

The number of rails doesn't matter.

Quote:
It also mentioned being able to detect how much power you actually need rather than just pumping out the max power capable which would save money on my electric bill. I just don't know if I need a 750W PSU or not though.

PSUs always only draw as much power as needed.

You don't need a 750W PSU. The only reason to get one would be for 2 HD4870, which you don't need given the resolution of your monitor.
May 7, 2009 12:54:53 AM

I've been reading about the 4770 ati card and it looks like a crossfire setup is way better than most my other card options (under $250). I'm wondering if I would need a better PSU to handle the crossfire setup though, or will a 550 work ok with this setup?
May 9, 2009 2:36:01 AM

Hmm can the GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P mobo even support Crossfire with the 4770 cards? Their specs say they're PCI Express 2.0 x16 but this mobo only has one x16 slot...
May 9, 2009 5:33:13 PM

tashi said:
Hmm can the GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P mobo even support Crossfire with the 4770 cards? Their specs say they're PCI Express 2.0 x16 but this mobo only has one x16 slot...


It has two slots, but one is x8 and the two will run at x8/x8 in Crossfire (which won't make a difference for 4770s).
May 10, 2009 12:10:49 AM

Ah awesome, I think I've got my rig then. Thank you everyone for your help :) 
!