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~800$ US Budget Gaming Build

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May 11, 2009 11:35:04 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: 1 Month/Give or Take
BUDGET RANGE: US$ ~800

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: gaming, surfing the internet, watching movies, encoding, macromedia, tv card, dual monitor possibly TOTAL WAR SERIES: ROME AND MEDIEVAL 2 are my kryptonite!!!

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg

PARTS PREFERENCES: Have used Intel in the past but am not a fanboy. Also, used seagate in the past buy WD Cavier black seems to review well.

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe

MONITOR RESOLUTION: In Iraq, dunno at the moment

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Cool, quiet pc, possibly an aftermarket cooler if it fits in case on mob without obstructing gpu or mem slots. Got HD4850 gpu, but thinking of 4770s in crossfire for 220$. Not sure how well 4850s in crossfire are value/performance wise compare to 4770s. Might get new speakers and monitor. Also, my other options include the e7400.


Antec 300 55$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

E5300 2.6ghz Intel 80$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Gig UD3P mobo 135$ 115$after MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GSKILL PI Black 4GB 2X2 DDR2800
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Lite on opitical drive 30$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Seasonic S12 550watt energy plus series 90$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

WD Cavier Black 640GB sata 3.0g/s 32mb buffer 70$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Gigabyte GV-R4850C 1GB 256BIT GDDR3 160$ 140$after MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Vista 64 Bit 100$

Total approx 780$ or ~750$ after MIR
May 11, 2009 1:36:18 PM

It seems that all roads lead to phenom + radeon 4770. Given that you want a crossfire board, you could get an AM3 or AM2+ 790x/fx board, with a Phenom X3 720BE. The 4770 has much better value than the 4850, its more efficient too.

Here is what i would change:

GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P - $110
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

AMD Phenom II X3 720 - $140
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAPPHIRE 100277L Radeon HD 4770 - $100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

About the same price in total to what you currently have there. You'll have the option to double up the video card, which i would recommend if you have a high res monitor.

The phenom X3 is a pretty big jump from that pentium dual core, mainly because of the additional core, some can argue that the performance gain will be no big jump when gaming, but at the very least, you would be closer to futureproof, and bottlenecks would be out of the question.

These 3 parts i have here should perform slightly better than the 4850/e5300 combo, since the 4770 is barely slower, but the phenom should offer some gain. Given the unbeatable value and efficiency of the 4770, anyone around a $1000 budget should get one, if not, two.
May 11, 2009 2:29:41 PM

tsk tsk, should look at the amd 720be rig there for that kind of stuff.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
LG Black 22X (CAV) DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SAPPHIRE 100258-1GL Radeon HD 4850 1GB


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
G.SKILL PI Black 4GB (2 x 2GB)


http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
1. Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit
2. Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB


http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
1. AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz
2. GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 790X


650tx for crossfire later on, if your not looking to do that, drop it down to a 550vx or a pc power&cooling psu.

Use the Stock cooler for no oc or a little oc, if your wanting to do a big oc, aftermarket cooler would put you over $800.

All n All, comes out to be $772.89 with out m-i-r's.


with m-i-r's : $742.89

Related resources
May 11, 2009 2:42:08 PM

Getting a 4770 now which would lower it down to around $700 then the psu to a 500w pc power cooling would lower it from $100-$105 to $74, so another $30 dollars.


you could get ddr3 ram which is the same price as the ddr2 pi blacks basically and the am3 combo with the 720be which isn't much more. Case, recommend the rc-690. but, since he has one already, get another which would be better than 2 4770's
May 11, 2009 2:44:24 PM

+1 for Fullmetall's list.

Since you've already got a HD 4850, it makes more sense to just buy a second one than to throw it out and buy two HD 4770 cards.

HD 4850 Crossfire and HD 4770 Crossfire are very close in performance. The HD 4850 should win (it has 1600 stream processors, while hD 4770 CF has only 1280). It depends on the clocks, I guess. Anyway, looking at these reviews, you see HD 4850 CF getting 171 fps in Call of Duty 4 at 1600x1200 with 4xAA, while HD 4770 CF gets 138 fps at 1680x1050.
http://en.expreview.com/2009/04/28/first-look-at-radeon-hd-4770-crossfire-benchmark.html/4
http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-reviews/9159-ati-hd4870-hd4850-crossfire-performance-review-11.html
It's hard to compare directly because the two reviews used different CPUs and other parts, but still I'd say the HD 4850 wins in that game at those resolutions.


May 11, 2009 2:45:27 PM

fullmetall said:
Getting a 4770 now which would lower it down to around $700 then the psu to a 500w pc power cooling would lower it from $100-$105 to $74, so another $30 dollars.


you could get ddr3 ram which is the same price as the ddr2 pi blacks basically and the am3 combo with the 720be which isn't much more. Case, recommend the rc-690.


He's already got a HD 4850. Given that, your first post with the second HD 4850 and 650TX was just perfect.

May 11, 2009 2:49:02 PM

Yea i had to re-edit that post, didnt looka t the he already had 1 4850.
May 11, 2009 2:52:40 PM

I agree with aevm...although cost is a factor. There is no question the HD 4770's are less in cost...and provide almost similar results with the HD 4850. I guess it would be up to him on this one...but they are both valid points from aevm and fullmetall.

+1
May 11, 2009 4:20:20 PM

I've always used intel in the past, but I'm not adverse to going amd if the performance to price ratio is better. I've read that intel has amd on this point currently. Would I be better off with the amd rig over the e7400 upgrade? Also, the seasonic wasn't enough power for crossfire (80% certified)?

Lastly, aren't the thriple cores just quads with either a defective or manually shut down core? If defective, isn't that a bad thing:) ?
May 11, 2009 4:36:24 PM

"Intel has AMD"??? It depends.

If you want to spend $1000 or $1700 on a CPU, you can get an Intel CPU that beats anything ever made by AMD. Yeah, from that point of view, Intel is way ahead.
If you need tons of power and money is no object, Intel is the way to go.

However, if you compare a $140 AMD CPU (x3 720) with a $167 Intel CPU (E8400) and see the X3 720 winning in benchmarks, I'd say AMD owns that market segment.

The triple cores are quads with a 4th core intentionally disabled. This is done for marketing purposes, to sell to people who need quads but can't afford them. They're not defect. They're just filling a hole in the product lineup, between the people who can spend $70 on a CPU and those who can spend $200. It's cheaper for AMD to do this than design and implement a whole new product with 3 cores from scratch.

The Seasonic 550W is enough for HD 4850 Crossfire. Kind of close, i.e. the minimum recommended, but it will do. However, it makes no sense to pay $90 for it when the 650TX is better and costs $20 less.
May 11, 2009 4:43:02 PM

doesn't seasonic (maybe CT) make psus to corsairs specs?
May 11, 2009 4:49:02 PM

Some times, yes.

They make some very popular PSUs for others, including the Corsair 650TX and the PC Power & Cooling 750W.
May 11, 2009 5:26:52 PM

With the price of the 650tx comparing to the 550vx(only $6 off from each other) it's a buy you can't miss, specially for this build.
May 12, 2009 11:12:15 AM

will 650 be enough for crossfire, a tv card, and possibly raid 0?
May 12, 2009 12:01:09 PM

650tx should be able to run it. 750tx runs a cf 4870's so, 4850's will be fine on a 650tx
May 13, 2009 9:00:50 AM

if I were to go with a better cpu for multitasking purpose (ie video editing/encoding, macromedia, dual monitor, etc.), would it best to look at the Q6600 or stay on the AMD side and go with the phenom x4?
May 13, 2009 1:40:47 PM

Here's a chart showing various CPUs transcoding a video:
http://www.guru3d.com/article/amd-phenom-ii-x4-920-and-940-review-test/13

The Phenom II 940 is 36% faster than the Q6600 in that benchmark. The Phenom II 920 is 29% faster. The Phenom II 955 does not appear in that chart, but based on the clocks I'm estimating it's 45% faster than the Q6600 (because it's almost 7% faster than the Phenom II 940)

That's with all 4 CPUs at stock. With overclocking, it's probably similar because all 4 are good overclockers.
May 13, 2009 2:44:14 PM

But, just remember, the x4 940 doesnt have the upgrade path the x3 720 would have, it's not a am3 cpu, its a am2+ socket cpu. Well, actually saying that, im also not sure if a am2+ cpu can work with a am3 motherboard but, I don't think it works that way.
May 13, 2009 2:46:26 PM

^ it doesn't because they have different IMC's.
May 13, 2009 3:40:56 PM

@OP: can you afford this combo for $325?

GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 790X
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.190735

I like it because it works with DDR2 and has Crossfire and it's AMD's latest socket (AM3). Plus, this is currently AMD's best CPU.

The same MB + a Phenom II 940 instead of 955 is $270:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.190732
May 14, 2009 11:01:47 AM

Aevm, thanks for the link. For my price range, it seems AMD is the way to go if I'm not willing to splurge for a higher end intel quad or i7.
May 14, 2009 12:13:05 PM

i7 will be $1200 without monitor for a descent build and over $1400 with a monitor and a descent build, best to go for something in your budget at a lower price. An x3 720 should do the job for what you have posted in the first thread. But, if ther was any possible way to make the 955 make $800 then we would but, i dont see that on a descent build.
May 15, 2009 8:12:27 AM

that 790X-ud4p gig board good for overclocking? I would like to learn some more about it. I was browsing other forums and I ran into some references about the ud4p/gig boards being poor overclockers (not true for intel version board), and they should check out Biostars.
May 15, 2009 12:47:14 PM

Here's an update of what I'm looking at now:

Gig-UD4P a Phenom II 940- 270$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Antec 300- 55$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6811129042

GSKILL PI Black 4GB 2X2 DDR2800- 55$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820231209

LG Black 22X (CAV) DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X- 25$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6827136152

Gigabyte GV-R4850C 1GB 256BIT GDDR3- 160$ 140$after MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6814125236

Corsair 650TX- 100$ 79$ after MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Comb [...] mbo.186064- 155$
1. Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit
2. Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB

Total~ 820$ US 780$ US after MIR

Other considerations: Considering dropping off another 40-60$ by going with 4770. Also considering upgrading the 55$ for the phenom x4 955 black. Any thoughts on the Gigabyte 4850? I remember someone recommended a sapphire, any particular reason? Not sure if memory will fit into case considering massive heat spreaders. Should I get an aftermarket cooler to protect my investment as I take the OC learning curve? I've read that these memory will be blocked from using the first channel (first two slots of mobo) with a lot of aftermarket coolers.

Thanks again for the help guys, coming along nicely. I'm excited about going the AMD route after looking at benchmarks and price/value comparison. Seems to be a sweet cpu.
May 15, 2009 12:49:55 PM

Btw, the 800 budget is flexible. I use it b/c I really don't want to spend more than 1000$, and 800 seems like a sweet spot for price/value. I haven't spent any money in months being in Iraq, so I could build an NSA supercomputer, but it just be a waste giving that kind of power to a noob :) 
May 15, 2009 2:58:48 PM

I looked through the Newegg reviews for that UD4P board and it looks like a good overclocker. Here's a quote: "Over clocks my Phenom II X4 940 to 3.6Ghz @ stock voltage"

I'd spend $4 more on the RAM and get DDR2-1066 instead of DDR2-800. Especially since you're into OCing.
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 $59
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231166

Yes get an aftermarket cooler if you overclock. I'd recommend the Scythe Mugen 2.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835185093

The upgrade from Phenom II 940 to Phenom II 955 will do very little, IMO. You are better off using the money to upgrade the video card to HD 4870 or even HD 4890. You did mention gaming as the most important usage, didn't you. Downgrading to HD 4770 doesn't make sense for a gaming box - it cuts where it hurts the most.

I like Sapphire myself, even though I haven't recommended it yet on this thread. So far the graphics cards I had from them worked fine.

Mind you, I'd trust Gigabyte too even though I never had a Gigabyte graphics card. I had several Gigabyte motherboards in the past and they were all good stuff.

May 15, 2009 3:43:25 PM

I'd recommend the x3 720 or a x4 955 over the 940 due to future upgrading.

x3 720/x4 955 = AM3

x4 940 = AM2+ only
May 21, 2009 9:32:31 AM

Why are the x4 945 almost 100$ more expensive for the extra core and less cache?
What does everyone think about these processors, I'm leaning towards the quads so that I can get more life without considering an upgrade just in case mutli-threading gets more popular soon.
am3
x4 945
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

x4 810
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

x3710
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


am2 or am2+
x3 720
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

x4 920
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Still the x3 720 as well: am3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I would like to stay away from the 1st generation of x4. I've heard they needed tweaking to meet the performance from latest x4. Also, I think I want to go am3 so my mobo has room for future upgrades. am2 and am2+ are options if mob will support am3.710
May 21, 2009 12:24:38 PM

Reason why the 955 is that much is probably due to am3 only. It's like a overclocked am2+ x4 940 basically picked for future upgrade path but, im not sure that path is even open.. newer sockets will be available most likely by the time you want to upgrade.
May 21, 2009 4:49:55 PM

did you mean the 945 fullmetall?

I'm starting to set my mind on the 720. It's am3 and I prolly won't see a huge boost in performance/value going with the x4 940, 945, or 955. The x4 800s are still an interesting choice though.

I've also been looking over benchmarks on cpus. I currently have a 4850, but I've been considering the 4870 due to it's impressive benchmarks and small price jump over the 4850. The more I look, crossfire seems to still be ironing out some kinks, so a single gpu now seems like the best choice. Adding another 4850 or 4870 down the line would be an option, prolly fairly cheap at the time. Anyone know where I can find some good benchmarks, I'd like to see some more comparing crossfire, single gpu, etc. Also, is there anywhere I can find benches for total war or europa universalis games (just interested if I can run max settings for these).
May 22, 2009 11:31:43 AM

I just found a 720 + ud4p combo for 218! Nice deal. Thinking of getting that and taking extra money to get a new monitor. Any one run double monitor? I was thinking, and stop me if it sounds crazy...but could I play a game and watch my tv card and still have a somewhat smooth game with dual monitor/mult-core?
June 7, 2009 6:47:16 AM

i7 as cheap

find an old case and use windows 7 beta till the release and then buy it better than vista even in beta

OCZ Memory 3x2 GB DDR3 1600 7-7-7-24 $100 - 20 rebate = 80 free shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS 1366 P6T se $210 - 15 rebate = 195 free shipping http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2nd 4850 for $110 - 20 rebate = 90 free shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

pc p&c 750 watt $110 - 20 rebate + 10 shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HP DVD/CD burner, ide but with lightscribe and free shipping $25
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

i7 920 quad core $229 plus shipping = ~240
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

oh yeah, a hard drive. the 640 GB WD black is $65 free shipping this week.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$860 - 75 rebates

June 8, 2009 1:53:19 AM

Thanks for the reply inmytaxi, I'm gonna need a case, os, and cooler, so that's about 200$ more.
June 8, 2009 4:22:28 AM

The benefit of an i7 is that you don't need to oc and can use the stock cooler, but if you really want to buy an os then get the 720 and a biostar tforce 790gx. the 790gx overclocks better than the 780g boards, and the biostar 9at least used to) give you a chance to unlock the 4 th core (which is a nice extra if it happens).

the 720 oc's better than any amd chip. get a xigamatek

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

one of the best and cheapest

and this to tie it down nicely

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

i'd save the os money until windows 7 came out and use the beta in the meantime.

ocz has 1066 2x2 gb reaper memory that's good, or corsair xms2 or dominator.
June 8, 2009 1:39:53 PM

I've read the articles saying unlocking cores is safe, unless you get a defective x4. I've read that a good amount of x3 and x2 are simply x4s that didn't pass tests/make the cut, and unlocking the cores could fry parts or the processor. I'll prolly steer clear of that. As for biostar, I don't know much about the company, I'm familiar with asus and gigabyte.
September 30, 2009 12:14:43 AM

Didn't read the whole thread so sorry if this has been mentioned, but I just want to add that if you already have an ATI 4850, it's a complete and utter waste to buy a 4770 or even a pair of 4770s for SLI. Both cards perform the same solo unless you game at 2560x1600 in which case a 4850 w/ 1GB RAM will dominate. If you went SLI it'd be cheaper to just buy a 2nd 4850 and Crossfire. I've been looking at this myself and this MSI 4850 w/ 512MB is only $80 after a $20 MIR (but it doesn't include the crossfire bridge) or you can buy this Asus 1GB model for $100. The Asus includes the Xfire bridge.
!