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$800 Gaming PC - need advice/approval =)

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May 9, 2009 7:48:14 AM

Long time reader, first time poster! After using my current computer for over 8 years now, I've finally decided to build a half decent gaming pc with a budget of approximately $800. This is the first time I'll build a computer; I've spent the last week researching, and I think I can do this! =)


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: tomorrow

BUDGET RANGE: ~$800

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS, dvd

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com

OVERCLOCKING: Yes

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1024x768 (not yet ready to part with my 15" LCD)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: For me, its performance before quality; gameplay before graphics. I primarily play WoW, but I do goof around with other games a bit. The parts i've chosen so far are not set in stone; I'm willing to change them based upon what the community advises.

CPU
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor

Mobo
GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3R LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard

GPU
EVGA 896-P3-1257-AR GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 Superclocked Edition 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card

RAM
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory

HARD DRIVE
Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive

PSU/CASE
I'm uncertain as to the PSU and CASE! =)


Any and all suggestions and comments would be greatly appreciated (keep in mind the $800 budget).

Thank you so much for your time, patience, and expertise, guys!

-Kore
Anonymous
May 9, 2009 8:19:26 AM

i think q9400 will be better buy than e8400, just for futureproofing. New games will use more than two cores.
May 9, 2009 8:41:28 AM

Cooler Master RC-690 - $74.99
Corsair 550VX - $93.99
AMD Phenom II X3 / BIOSTAR TFORCE TA790GX Combo - $208.99
Sapphire Radeon 4870 1gb - $189.99
G.SKILL DDR2 1066 - $58.99
Western Digital Caviar Black 640gb - $74.99
SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R - $24.99

Current total: $726.93
After rebates: $696.93

I didn't add a CPU Cooler because I wasn't sure how much you want to overclock, there is some wiggle room in the budget for one if you need it. Alot of items there are free shipping so that saves you quite a bit also.
Related resources
May 9, 2009 9:32:30 AM

^+1 the P2 will last you longer than the e8 because of the extra core(s).

you might want to get a 750TX instead though incase you want to CF or get dual 4770's instead of the 4870 since it will be better.
May 9, 2009 10:04:03 AM

If you move up your fsb (10.5 x 333) and run that cpu... 3.5GHz @ 1333 fsb your getting a decent clock and saving some money.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $54.95 Free Shipping*
Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $74.99 ($49.99 after $25.00 Mail-In Rebate)
OCZ Fatal1ty OCZ550FTY 550W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... Combo Discount: -$10.00 Combo Price: $189.98
GIGABYTE GA-EP43-UD3L LGA 775 Intel P43 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 Wolfdale 2.8GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80571E7400 - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $29.99 ($19.99 after $10.00 Mail-In Rebate)
Sunbeam CR-CCTF92-4 92mm Core-Contact Freezer CPU Cooler W/TX-2 - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $174.99 ($154.99 after $20.00 Mail-In Rebate) Free Shipping*
MSI N260GTX-T2D896-OCv4 GeForce GTX 260 896MB 448-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $49.99
G.SKILL HK 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $74.99 Free Shipping*
Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $24.99 Free Shipping*
SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 22X DVD Burner - OEM

Total: 674.87 | $619.87 w/mail in rebates

http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/product.php?category_id... 149.99 ($129.99 after $20.00 Mail-In Rebate) Free Shipping*
ASUS VW224U Black 22" 2ms(GTG) Widescreen LCD Monitor w/ HDCP Support 300 cd/m2 1000:1 (ASCR 5000:1) Built in Speakers - Retail

Total w/monitor: $824.86 | $749.86 w/mail in rebates
May 9, 2009 10:54:52 AM

Why such beastly video cards for WoW at 1024x768, or any other game for that matter. How long do you really intend to hold on to that monitor? If you're really keeping it for a while, just get a single 4770 or something, man even that is overkill.
May 9, 2009 11:05:53 AM

He doesn't want to run crossfire. If he bought a single 4770 now he would have to buy a whole new card when he does decide to buy a new monitor. At the current prices I don't think that will be long. The 4890 would be overkill, but the 4870 will sit him at a nice fps in World of Warcraft with his current monitor and only get a few fps lower with his new one (assuming 16xx/12xx).
May 9, 2009 11:09:24 AM

Honestly, i may just splurge and get a monitor... after spending 3 weeks at my GF's during exams, my 15" just doesn't compare tp her 22". I'll probably wait a few months first though.

Also, why does most everyone suggest a quad or tri core cpu? Are we truly expecting to see GAMES taking heavy advantage of >2 cores within the next couple of years? The only game that i know of that can utilize 4 cores is Supreme Commander, and the difference between 2 and 4 cores, with Supreme Commander, is minimal. With that in mind, is it really worth it to go with anything other than a duo core, honestly?

Is the HD 4870 really all that much better than the OC'd gtx 260? The article from toms that i read stated that it was 6% better than the regular gtx 260; i figure that gap is probably a lot smaller with the oc'd and the oc'd gtx 260 is `~$20 cheaper. What do you think?
May 9, 2009 11:15:24 AM

Games are already taking advantage of multiple cores. Depending on how long you want this pc to last is what you should choose, If you want something a little longer go with my build. If you want something that won't last long then go with a duo.

All I'm doing is offering options for a rig that would last longer, with better performance (stock, possibly overclocked too).

As for the 4870/260 issue its completely upto you. I only recommended the 4870 because AMD/ATI working well together in general. If you know for sure you won't be crossfireing go with the 260, if there's even the slightest chance you want to crossfire go 4870. Personally I don't think it will be a major difference between each card in WoW anyways.

PS: SLI currently sucks.
PPS: If you have even the slightest plan of crossfire'ing or SLI'ing in the future.. Grab the Corsair 750w. No matter what build you go.
May 9, 2009 11:40:32 AM

^ CF doesn't suck, especially with 4770's, SLI sucks though but I'm not sure if that is because of scaling or driver issues.

also WoW uses the 3rd core too which will help the fps get up.
May 9, 2009 12:05:29 PM

In your position, i would still go with a single 4770, but with a crossfire board. That way, if i do ever upgrade my monitor, i would just double up the 4770, as it is such a great card for crossfire, considering its power efficiency and price/performance ratio, both of which are second to none. WoW is far from a graphics intensive game, getting a 4870 or better just for that is just a waste, of money and power.
May 9, 2009 6:22:02 PM

Quote:
also WoW uses the 3rd core too which will help the fps get up


Are you sure that it does?! Everything I've read so far stated that it only used two cores. Humm, for me, that is definitely a very strong argument for a tri or quad core.

I keep reading that crossfire sucks; do you really think its worth it? If so, then I guess its a good way to buy a couple more years for the computer...

Thank you so much for the info/arguments, guys, keep em up! =)
May 9, 2009 6:29:49 PM

Err read up on HD4770 benches ^^ +1 on single HD4770 idea though as it is overkill for WOW on a 15" as it is
May 9, 2009 6:55:25 PM

I've been specifically researching WoW using multi-cores and I'm now convinced that 3 or 4 cores is the way to go (found a few interesting threads).

So far, the strongest argument I've received is to go with an ATI and AMD; then crossfire in a couple years to give more life to my machine.

Lets assume, for now on that i have a 22" monitor (as im sure that i'll upgrade to one in a few months). Which GPU should i go with now?
May 9, 2009 6:56:42 PM

Kore said:
Quote:
also WoW uses the 3rd core too which will help the fps get up


Are you sure that it does?! Everything I've read so far stated that it only used two cores. Humm, for me, that is definitely a very strong argument for a tri or quad core.

I keep reading that crossfire sucks; do you really think its worth it? If so, then I guess its a good way to buy a couple more years for the computer...

Thank you so much for the info/arguments, guys, keep em up! =)


I've read that a new patch allows it to use 3 threads so yeah it will be slightly faster.

and CF is worth it for anything above or including 4770's for 1920x1200+ but anything below, one gpu will do.

edit: for a 22" 1920x1200 monitor, get dual 4770's or a 4890, for a 22" 1680x1050 monitor a single 4870 will do but for just a bit more you could get the dual 4770's.
May 9, 2009 7:08:29 PM

This build includes two 4770's.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... Combo Discount: -$15.00 Combo Price: $174.94 $20.00 Mail-In Rebate
Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $219.99 Free Shipping*
Intel Core2 Quad Q9400 2.66GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $74.99 ($49.99 after $25.00 Mail-In Rebate)
OCZ Fatal1ty OCZ550FTY 550W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $99.99
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
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... $49.99
G.SKILL HK 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $74.99 Free Shipping*
Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $24.99 Free Shipping*
SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 22X DVD Burner - OEM

Total: $794.88 | $749.88 w/mail in rebates
May 9, 2009 7:16:48 PM

^ wouldn't it be better if it had a amd 940 and 790GX board instead of the Q9400 and P45 board?

it might also be cheaper too but I don't know what the 940 prices are on your side of the pond.
May 9, 2009 7:22:12 PM

Yea, 940s are reasonable at the moment (they're only $20 more than a E8400); pretty much sold me on the 940.
May 9, 2009 9:15:43 PM

Alright, so it sounds like you guys are really pro-crossfire for when i decide to get a larger monitor. As is i have a 15" and you all pretty much say 1 gpu is good enough and probably overkill =P

Lets say that 6 months from now i decide to upgrade my monitor to a 22":

1. Would it be a good idea to go with one 4870 now, and then when i get my monitor, get a second 4870 and crossfire?

2. Would it just be way overkill to have 2 4870s in crossfire with a 22"?

3. If its overkill to have 2 4870s with a 22" monitor, is 4770 ultimately the best choice (1 4770 now, and a second 4770 (crossfired) 6 months from now when i get a 22" monitor)?

4. Either cards(2x4770 or 2x4870), a 750 Watt PSU is a good choice if i crossfire, right?


I've been drumming over the AMD motherboards, and I don't know what to get! I figure if I'm going to crossfire I should get 2 PCI Express 2.0X16. Also Helloworld_98 suggests a 790GX board. Any suggestions?

May 9, 2009 9:17:29 PM

you could get away with a 650w for both of those CF choices as long as it was a corsair 650tx or the top-end silverstone.
May 9, 2009 9:22:16 PM

Dx11 is coming out pretty soon, so spending over $200 would be a waste imo. I would stick with the 4870, but thats me.
May 9, 2009 9:24:04 PM

^ But apparently dx11 might run on dx10.1 cards iirc because there's so little difference.
!