$800 Gaming PC - New Builder

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: As soon as possible

BUDGET RANGE: $700-800

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, web browsing

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, mouse, monitor, maybe speakers if they can't be squeezed into budget

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com

PARTS PREFERENCES: After searching for a while for a decent CPU, I've kind of set my mind on the following:

AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103649

But this is by no means an absolute necessity, and I'm willing to alter the CPU to get a better performing system for my price-range.

OVERCLOCKING: Never overclocked before but absolutely willing to give it a go.

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1440x900

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Well, my current PC has been giving me a lot of trouble lately, so I've decided to splurge (with my $800 budget, that is) on a new setup. I've never built a PC before now, so my knowledge on which parts are good and why is rather limited.

I originally intended on using more hardware from my current system in this new build, but I really don't know what's worth saving and what would be better discarded. The PC that I bought some time ago was this one, and over the years I've added things such as more RAM and a GeForce 7800 GT GPU. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to continue using the same case, the DVD/CD drives, RAM, or other such things in the new system. It's probably better just to go for something entirely new, but any insight that you guys could offer me on that subject would be appreciated.

After finding the CPU that I intended on using in this new system, I went searching for motherboards, and I initially limited myself to AM3 mobos, but after looking at a few of your posts on this forum for the same CPU, I've noticed that most of you suggested using an AM2+ motherboard instead. I am terribly ignorant when it comes to motherboards, and I truly have little idea what to look for in one, so would any of you tell me why it would be better to opt for AM2+ over AM3?

I might also be in need of an OS. I have Windows XP on a series of recovery CD's that (I think) I could install, but would purchasing Vista be a better choice?

Finally, is the following a decent HDD? It's got a load of space, and it seems pretty cheap, but that makes me somewhat suspicious about it!

HITACHI 0A38016 1TB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822145233

A million thanks for your advice in advance!
18 answers Last reply
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  1. the hdd is fine, they are getting less costly very quickly.am2+ mobos are cheaper and are just about as good, what u can keep from your previous pc all depends on what motherboard you get.also what parts you should get depends on what u plan to use or pc for. i have just in the past week built a pretty good pc for only$300
  2. Quite honestly, the 720BE is impossible to beat if that is your price range. It's got part of everything you need. It's what AMD tried to do with the triple-core Phenoms but failed to do.

    Due to current price increases in DDR2 and drops in DDR3, I'm currently advising AMD builds to just start out with DDR3 now. Proce changes will continue and it will be harder to upgrade DDR2 RAM in the future. There was never anything wrong with DDR3, there was simply no reason to buy it while it was expensive.

    CPU cooler
    Sunbeam CR-CCTF 120 mm Core-Contact Freezer CPU Cooler W/TX-2

    Here is a nice MB:
    GIGABYTE GA-MA790XT-UD4P AM3 DDR3 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard
    OCZ Reaper HPC 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333
    BFG 550W PSU
    Sapphire 4870 1GB


    The Hitachi is probably all right.
    I would recommend the 1TB Caviar Black however, unless the budget requires less.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136284

    Cooler Master 690
  3. Sample build with the Phenom2 720

    CPU/mobo - 720+790GX $209 - I've always had good luck with Biostar mobos, some people may disagree, but it is a great deal right now.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.190738

    HD / OS deal - Western Digital 640GB Caviar Black and vista 64 combo $155
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.186064

    RAM - DDR2 800 1.8v $54 more stable then the DDR2 1066 choices, can be overclocked to 1066 if needed.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820146731

    Case - Antec 300 $55
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129042

    Power supply - PC Power and Cooling 750w deal for $90, more then you need right now, but just right if you crossfire in the future.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341011

    Burner $25
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136152

    Graphic card - HD4870 $140 after rebate
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121288

    Under $800 including the shipping with an OS, but not including the $70 in rebates. Either sell your old system or pass it along to a family member, it's fine for surfing and e-mails.

    *dangit Prox!* It's always tough to disagree with the Proximon.


    Alternate AM3 build - CPU/mobo $259 720 + Asus 790GX
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.190879

    DDR3 1333 - G.Skill - $60
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231200

    About $840 after shipping, then $50 in rebates.
  4. I wasn't looking for deals, just throwing up a quick build. I like the crossfire option of your build, but I'm pretty much sticking to DDR3 now. I just switched over this last week.
  5. Thanks for the replies, guys.

    As I mentioned in my initial post, I'm rather unknowledgeable where motherboards are concerned. Given that the price between them counting rebates and combo deals is within a few dollars, which motherboard would you recommend?

    GIGABYTE GA-MA790XT-UD4P AM3 DDR3 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard

    or

    ASUS M4A78T-E AM3 DDR3 AMD 790GX ATX AMD Motherboard

    I've gone over the specifications for each, but a little advice is always welcomed!
  6. Both are good, of the 2 i'd pick the Asus. Always a good idea to google reviews for more info. Good info in several, also some decent overclocking info at this site.
    http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-reviews/16698-asus-m4a78t-e-790gx-am3-motherboard-review.html

    The cooler Proximon mentioned is a very good one. Good reviews of cooler at http://www.frostytech.com/top5heatsinks.cfm both for cooling and quiet.
  7. That's the way I would lean too, although both are good. The Asus also has onboard graphics, nice for troubleshooting or when the board is retired and goes to grandma as an internet device.
  8. You listed gaming as most important. At your 1440 X 900 monitor resolution, forget about Crossfire or SLI and use the budget for a more powerful CPU and GPU. However, again with your resolution, it would be easy to go for an overkill and buy parts that will exceed what your monitor's capabilities, meaning you'll be getting 100 plus framerates per second. I would consider unloading the old monitor and getting at least a 22" or 23" monitor. You'll see the targets better and have greater "peripheral vision" during gaming!
  9. I will probably upgrade my monitor at some point in the future, but right now I'd rather not worry about squeezing it into my budget!

    Is there anyway for me to predict the amount of power that my system will consume? I'm not sure what wattage to look for in a power supply.
  10. Do you think that the following PSU will be sufficient for my needs now and a bit into the future? Or perhaps maybe it's too much?

    CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139005

    The $30 rebate expires today, so I've gotta decide fast on this one!
  11. I wouldn't use the 650TX for crossfire 4870s... that's cutting it close. If you are not going to crossfire, it's a very nice choice... or say if you were going to crossfire 4770s.

    This would cover crossfire 4870:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817703009
  12. Sorry for the double post, but I'd like some opinions on the setup that I've got so far:

    AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor Model HDZ720WFGIBOX - Retail
    ASUS M4A78T-E AM3 DDR3 AMD 790GX ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.190879
    $258.99

    ASUS EAH4870 DK TOP/HTDI/512MD5 Radeon HD 4870 512MB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121288
    $169.99 ($139.99 after MIR)

    CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139005
    $99.99 ($69.99 after MIR)

    OCZ Platinum 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227287
    $59.99

    Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136284
    $99.99

    Including shipping, I'm currently at $702.97 sans MIR, but I still need to pick a case (any further recommendations on that?). Anywhere I could improve?
  13. Cooler Master 690
    Antec 300

    Those would be my two picks.
  14. The Cooler Master 690 comes with the combo option of the following two PSUs for roughly the same price that I'd pay for the Corsair model:

    COOLER MASTER UCP RS700-AAAAA3 700W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Power Supply - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817171032

    COOLER MASTER RS-700-AMBA-D3 700W ATX12V V2.3 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Power Supply - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817171037

    Would either of those be better?
  15. Generally Cooler Master PSUs are junk, but they do have a couple decent models...

    It's a moot point however because I can say for certain there are BETTER PSUs for less than what those will cost, even in combos.

    The 650TX for instance ;)

    For $110 after rebate, the PC P&C I linked would put either of those to shame.

    Then there's the Corsair 750TX, again a far better PSU at about the same price as those.

    I had to check... turns out they (CM) never saw fit to get them reviewed, so no go. I have a prejudice against CM and Thermaltake PSUs though. Both companies should stick to cases and leave the PSUs to others.
  16. Thanks a lot for all of your assistance. It's been very appreciated! Here is my tentative plan for the final system:

    AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor Model HDZ720WFGIBOX - Retail
    ASUS M4A78T-E AM3 DDR3 AMD 790GX ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.190879
    $258.99

    ASUS EAH4870 DK TOP/HTDI/512MD5 Radeon HD 4870 512MB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121288
    $169.99

    CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139005
    $109.99 (they upped the price on me in addition to lowering the rebate!)

    OCZ Platinum 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227287
    $59.99

    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=N82E16822136319
    $69.99

    LG Black 22X (CAV) DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X (CAV) 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±R DVD Burner - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136152
    $24.99

    COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119137
    $74.99

    Including shipping, the total comes to $802.94 sans rebates. Does anybody notice any faults or inconspicuous omissions that I might rectify? I plan on making the purchase sometime today or tomorrow, but advice is still very much welcomed!
  17. Looks good to me. This would be money well spent though:

    Sunbeam CPU cooler
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835207004&Tpk=CCTF

    You'll need that to overclock and it's an excellent cooler. Number 3 on the AMD chart and very affordable:
    http://www.frostytech.com/top5heatsinks.cfm
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