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New Gaming Rig for around $550

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May 14, 2009 2:49:07 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within a month BUDGET RANGE: $500 -$600

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming & Movies

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Case, Hard drive, keyboard, mouse

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg

PARTS PREFERENCES: AMD Phenom II, ATI Video card

OVERCLOCKING: Most Likely, tho not hardcore. SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Crossfire

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: This is going to be a new gaming rig, while I harvest some parts from my current machine. It will also run Windows 7 64-bit. Down the road, I will want to do Crossfire and Blu-ray. So right now, it's a pretty modest build, but I want to be able to add an additional video card to enable crossfire and be able to play Blu-ray media.


Here is what I have already priced from Newegg:

ASUS M4A78T-E AM3 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

SAPPHIRE 100277L Radeon HD 4770 512MB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAIDMAX HYBRID 2 RX-630SS 630W ATX12V V2.2/ EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Modular Modular LED Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL9D-4GBPK
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

LG Black 22X DVD Burner
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


The total cost from Newegg on those is around $565 with shipping. Not too bad considering the expandability.

More about : gaming rig 550

May 14, 2009 5:48:15 PM

Change the PSU again, this time to Corsair 650TX. It's the same $80 as that Purepower 600W but twice as powerful (52A vs 29A). Thermaltake should be ashamed of themselves, calling that junk a 600W PSU. It should be labeled 400W. It's not at all appropriate for HD 4770 Crossfire.



If you can afford $44 more, replace the MB/CPU/RAM with these:

AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W $325 combo
GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 790X ATX AMD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.190735

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 $59
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231166
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May 14, 2009 5:58:10 PM

That looks like a good deal on the PS, thanks for the heads up. As for the mobo/cpu/ram, I think I am going to stay with what I have now. I like the idea that I can overclock the X3 pretty well and like having the newer DDR3 memory. I am trying to keep it as cheap as possible and I like the ~$550 price tag that I am at now. I might even hold off on the ATI 4770 for a little bit as my PNY 7900GT is holding its own (for now).
May 14, 2009 6:18:06 PM

The X3 720 + GA-MA790X-UD4P works for me. I really wasnt sure about DDR3, but I was liking the idea of having it anyway ;)  I switched the ram to Kingston HyperX DDR2 1066 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

That has brought the total system price down to ~$515 shipped.
May 14, 2009 6:29:21 PM

I wouldn't get that Kingston RAM. It required ridiculous voltage (2.3v). The G.Skill RAM aevm linked above is well worth the extra $4.50 since it only requires 2.0V - 2.1V. Here's another link to that RAM:

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $58.99
May 14, 2009 6:31:55 PM

TBH I don't like that Kingston RAM. Have you noticed it says 2.3V in the specs? That's a bit much IMO. The G.Skill I linked earlier has the same 5-5-5-15 timings at 2.0 or 2.1V instead, so it's better.

Also, if you check the memory support list at
http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/FileList/MemorySupport/mb_memory_ga-ma790x-ud4p.pdf
The G.Skill model F2-8500CL5D-4GBPK is there. The Kingston model KHX8500D2K2/4G isn't. It may work all right, but Gigabyte has not tested it and makes no guarantees.

Edit: shortstuff, you type too fast :) 
May 14, 2009 6:42:57 PM

Neat, HD 4850 for 88 bucks. Nice find!
May 14, 2009 6:43:44 PM

shortstuff & aevm - Thanks for that. I have switched it. I think it is starting to become a pretty respectable setup. One thing tho, and this is just me being nitpicky, but the GA-MA790X-UD4P doesnt mention crossfire or SLI anywhere. I noticed the thing about having two PCIe cards in at once and I see the two slots, I would just be a little happier if it actually said CrossfireX/SLI ready somewhere. I will check Gigabyte website to see what it says.

EDIT: I found my magic words on their website ;) 
May 14, 2009 6:47:43 PM

It supports Crossfire, no worries. You can see some newegg reviewers using it with HD 4870 CF or HD 4850 CF or HD 4770 CF.

It doesn't do SLI. Only x58 boards do both CF and SLI, and not even all of those.
May 14, 2009 6:48:14 PM

It's crossfire only; but someone might be able to tell you if you can unlock SLI with a bios flash...
May 14, 2009 6:48:58 PM

aevm said:
It supports Crossfire, no worries. You can see some newegg reviewers using it with HD 4870 CF or HD 4850 CF or HD 4770 CF.

It doesn't do SLI. Only x58 boards do both CF and SLI, and not even all of those.

I'm not worried about SLI, cause im an ATI guy myself. I will probably just start with one 4770, then down the road get another one to do Crossfire.
May 15, 2009 5:31:17 PM

Hey guys, I got impatient and placed my order with newegg ;)  I got the following:

Gigabyte GA-MA790X-UD4P Mobo
AMD Phenom II X3 720 BE
HIS Hightech Radeon 4770
Corsair CMPSU-650TX 650watt power supply
G.Skill DDR2 1066 4Gb
LG DVD Burner

$513 shipped to my door
May 15, 2009 5:40:04 PM

I think you'll be pleased with that. It's going to feel pretty much the same as my own $3000 build from mid-2007 (with Q6600 and 8800GTX).

Be careful about electrostatic discharges, of course. Good luck with the build!
May 15, 2009 5:47:12 PM

Thanks aevm. My friend is buying the old parts off of me, so when he does, I will purchase another 4770 for Crossfire. That will be fun ;) 
May 16, 2009 6:07:43 PM

Hey, quick question for you guys since I cant seem to figure out. I know some newer mobo's have an internal crossfire bridge, but I can't seem to find out if the Gigabyte GA-MA790X-UD4P does or not. My video card doesn't come with one I dont think. If I have to buy a bridge, does it have to be made by HIS or Gigabyte?
May 16, 2009 8:48:24 PM

You can buy a Crossfire bridge from Newegg for $11. However, I'd recommend you call HIS support before buying it, and ask about these:

1. Apparently you need two of them for higher resolutions. Is this true? At what resolution does a second one become necessary?
2. I'm not convinced the bridge I saw is OK for HD 4770. It does work with HD 4830 and HD 4850 according to user reviews.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductReview.aspx?Item=N82E16814999002


May 16, 2009 11:09:05 PM

I looked at the manual for the HIS 4770. I looked at the section about enabling crossfire and it doesnt mention a thing about installing a bridge. I am wondering if not all cards require the bridge to work?

I also looked at the motherboard manual, and it said:
"Depending on your graphics cards, install the connecting bridges on the two cards. (Note: Procedure for enabling CrossFireX may slightly differ by graphics cards. Refer to the manual that came with your graphics cards for more information about enabling CrossFireX.)"

All that leads me to believe that I dont need a bridge/bridges. I guess we will just have to wait and see when I get the other card.

EDIT: This was on the HIS 4770 page:

ATI CrossFireXTM multi-GPU technology takes your gaming experience to the next level with superb scalability, performance and compatibility. The technology combines the awe-inspiring capabilities of multiple ATI RadeonTM graphics cards and an ATI CrossFireX ready motherboard to meet the hard-core demands of your alternate reality. New ATI RadeonTM HD graphics cards are designed with an internal ATI CrossFireTM Bridge Interconnect system to simplify installation.
May 16, 2009 11:24:02 PM

Ah, I think I have confused myself. I was thinking way too internal. The internal bridge connect IS internal, meaning it is in the case. So, I am back to square one. Need to find some bridges lol.
May 17, 2009 5:09:28 AM

Gotta love marketing people... So many words, so little useful info in that paragraph.

I think they mean there's no need for those Crossfire dongles that plagued ATI cards in the past - until a few years ago, that is.
May 17, 2009 8:49:59 PM

Hey, I just got an email back from HIS saying that the HIS bridge interconnect on newegg works for all of their crossfire cards. They also referenced this page http://www.hisdigital.com/us/product2-345.shtml and said that they just haven't updated their page yet because the 4770 is so new. Cause, you know, its really hard to add "HIS HD4700 Series" to the list ;) 
May 17, 2009 9:59:59 PM

Cool. Good to know. Thanks!
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