Gaming PC

I wanted to build a nice gaming PC that would also not be too heavy for my wallet to handle.

Some of the specs that a friend passed on to me are :
Motherboard: Gigabyte EP45 UD3R
Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550
Cooling: OCZ Vendetta 2
RAM: G.Skill 2x2GB PK 1066MHz
GPU: Palit GTX 260 Core 216 Sonic
HDD: Western Digital 640GB SATAII
Cabinet: CoolerMaster
SMPS: Corsair VX 550W

another one -- a bit cheaper :)
Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EP43-DS3L
RAM: Corsair 2*2GB DDR2 800MHz
GPU: MSI R4890-T2D1G OC HD 4890 1GB DDR5
HDD: Western Digital 1TB SATAII
Cabinet: CoolerMaster 690
SMPS: Corsair VX 650W

Please suggest if they are a good buy
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  1. ^ those two would probably come out at the same price actually because the 'cheaper' one has a better graphics card, bigger HDD, probably a better case and a better PSU.

    also what currency do you use?
  2. (Assuming U.S. Dollar)

    I'm also a "bang-for-your-buck" gamer, so I looked for inexpensive, quality parts to put in my PC. Having said that, let's examine the suggestions you and your friend came up with:

    Motherboard: Since your build only includes one graphics card, these are both good choices as they have only one PCI-e x16 slot. The only difference is the chipset (P45 vs P43). I have used the EP43-UD3L with success before, overclocking a e5200 to 3.6 gHz on air cooling using less than the Intel recommended max voltage of 1.3625 V, so, bottom line, if you overclock your CPU and want to save money on the motherboard, I would choose the EP43-UD3L, which is basically the updated version of the DS3L you chose.

    Processor: The easiest way to overclock (I'm new to it by the way) is to buy a cpu with a high multiplier. CPU frequency is determined by multiplying the front side bus (FSB) by the multiplier. So, the q8200 at 2.33 gHz at stock settings is a 7x multi with a 333 FSB (7 x 333 = 2.33 gHz). That low multiplier makes it more difficult to push the CPU to higher speeds, as you would have to increase the FSB (and, at some point, increase the voltage for a given FSB to get the chip stable). More volts = more heat, so you need to get good aftermarket cooler to dissipate the heat. Let's turn to the q9550... well, at Newegg, the q9550 is basically 10 dollars less than the i920, so, at that point, I would be looking at a LGA 1366-based build as opposed to the LGA 775-based build (which is what you have). But, since you don't want to kill your wallet, stick with a cheaper 775 CPU. With all that said, I wouldn't recommend either one of those chips, but would instead go with a dual core cpu and overclock it. The E5200 is a great overclocker (though it must be said that overclocking is a matter of lucking out and getting a good chip). It has a high multiplier (12.5x) and a low FSB (200 mHz), so overclocking is no sweat, and most of them are great overclockers, with some of them being exceptional ones. So, again, I recommend the E5200 over both your CPUs, if you're looking to save money.

    RAM: This will be quick, i swear!
    Not really sure why everyone swears by ram that is 1066 or higher when you would need to overclock the FSB to 533 mHz just to have the ram speed and FSB running at 1:1 ratio (the ideal ratio), but whatever, not my money. I chose this set of ram because a) it uses standard voltages at stock settings (1.8 V, less heat generated) b) it is overclockable (mine is running at 890 paired with a E8400 CPU with a .2V increase).

    GPU: You didn't mention what resolution you are running at, but since your looking for something that won't kill your wallet, I'm going to assume you're stick with a middle of the road resolution. Middle of the road for me is 1680x1050, so let's use that! I'm a fan of nvidia, but ATI is really whooping a$$ when it comes to the price-to-performance ratio. With that said, if going with nvidia, a GTX 260 is a great choice at that resolution. It's cheap, and it works! BFG, EVGA and XFX all offer lifetime warranties, so I would go with one of those (careful with EVGA though, you have to read the model number and decipher whether it is a lifetime warranty or a 2 year warranty). The 4890 is better than the 260, but there is significant price difference, especially if you get the XFX-branded 4890 (again, lifetime warranty). Have you considered the 4870? It is a few percentage points lower than the 4890, and costs less. The 260 and 4870 are about equal in performance, looking at the big picture.

    HDD: I'm a fan of the 640 GB western digital because it has the highest density/platter. I just found that to be impressive, but its not a HUGE deal really. Just make sure if you get a western digital that you get either the blue or black version. The green version is saves power by running the platters at a lower RPM, which affects the read and write speed. It's just fine for media, but it'll increase your load times for games.

    Heatsink: I like the Xigmatek S1283. It's cheap and it works! From what I have read, heatsinks with that type of design (copper heatpipes touching the integrated heat spreader of the CPU) generally are about equal, with only a couple of degrees separating the very best from the worst. I wouldn't pay the premium to have my CPU running at 59 C at full load versus 62 C at full load, since it is still below the 74.1 C (or is is 71.4 C...) junction for these 45 nm CPUs, so I'd just stick with the "cheap and works" philosophy. Just get the retention bracket and some thermal paste (I prefer nonmetallic based paste, because it is not electrically conductive... Arctic Cooling MX-2 is good).

    PSU: I don't upgrade often. In fact, I don't upgrade my existing computers, I just build it with new parts and it serves me for a few years until I build a whole new machine from scratch. With that said, I have the corsair 650 as well, thinking that I might use it later, but I realized that I won't, so it was overkill for my system. To power your computer, all you need is that VX 550 from Corsair that your friend mentioned. I prefer a single 12V rail because I don't have to worry about load balancing. I like modular PSUs, but since you're trying to save, just stick with a non-modular.

    Case: AIRFLOW! Get case with good airflow, and load it up with cheapo Yate Loons. I have the Coolermaster 690, and all but one of the fan holes has a fan. The one without one is located above the CPU area because the Xigmatek cooler is too tall, so I had to remove the fan. I used low speed fans on for the intake (lower front of the case and side panel) and medium speed fans on the exhaust (top rear of the case). Everything is nice and cool.

    Good luck!
  3. Helloworld_98 said:
    ^ those two would probably come out at the same price actually because the 'cheaper' one has a better graphics card, bigger HDD, probably a better case and a better PSU.

    also what currency do you use?

    Currency is in Indian Rupees. also i wont be shopping around at newegg or any online stores. will just buy out parts from the market.
    as for the HDD - i will just stick with the 640GB.
  4. @dalenchm0b

    :o W-O-W ...thanks a lot for the details

    Iv never done overclocking as such. and i dont plan to do it much now either.
    I dont want to try my luck out in OC now - so i would prefer a good processor that will run smooth without OC
  5. dalenchm0b said:
    (Assuming U.S. Dollar)

    RAM: This will be quick, i swear!

    i will check to see if this is available in the market.
    but again im not going to OC. so will it still serve the purpose ?

    Currency is in Indian Rupees.
  6. These are based on US prices, but the relative cost should still be the same. Either of these should very powerful and cost-effective.

    Core i7 Build:
    Core i7 920 - $280-$300
    6GB OCZ Platinum - $80-$100
    Gigabyte X58 $200-$250, or ASUS X58 $220-$275
    Case: Antec 900 - $80-$100
    Solid 700W-800W PSU: $120, look at PCPaC, Antec, or Corsair
    GPU: HD4870 1GB:$180-$200 or GTX260 core 216 $200-$220
    $950-$1100, depends on how good your store is. ;)

    Phenom II System

    Phenom II 955 - $250
    AM3 ASUS/Gigabyte 790FX - $180-$200
    4GB OCZ DDR3 - $60-$80
    Antec 900 - $80-$100
    Solid 700W-800W PSU: $120, look at PCPaC, Antec, or Corsair
    GPU: HD4890 1GB:$200-$220, HD4850X2: $250-$300, or 2X HD4770 $210-$230

    $900-$1050, for a DDR2 system knock maybe $100 off for cheaper motherboard, RAM, and drop down to a Phenom II 940, unless you badly need the extra OC headroom.
  7. kchrgmr said:
    i will check to see if this is available in the market.
    but again im not going to OC. so will it still serve the purpose ?

    Currency is in Indian Rupees.

    Yea, that RAM will still serve the purpose, but since you're not overclocking, you could find cheaper RAM without a heatsink or anything extra and save even more. Just verify that the RAM is compatible with the motherboard and you should be fine.

    As for my E5200 recommendation:
    At least from that one review (and you should be looking at others of course), you can see that the E5200 at stock speeds, when paired with a 4870, isn't that bad at 1680x1050, especially for the price. For a few bucks more you can get the E5300 or 5400 or even jump into the E7x00 series, but at that point, your spending +$50 for a few frames more in performance... not sure if it's worth it to you.

    I should ask the critical question... how much are you looking to spend?

    I know you don't want to overclock, but if you heard that it was hard and that you might burn out your processor, they were being paranoid! The CPUs almost BEG you to be pushed beyond their rated specification! Intel rates their processors too low so that they can guarantee with near 100% confidence that as long as it is run at that speed, it will last. But there is so much overclocking headroom, you can run it within the safe limits (not running above the 1.3625 V max) and be just fine! Plus, lets say the overclock is too aggressive.... the gigabyte motherboard will actually reset itself and revert back to stock settings! From there you just lower the settings and retry! It is SO simple, I was able to convince my co-worker (who is really a novice with computers, let alone never built one from scratch) to build herself a desktop because all she had was a laptop (and we all know how fragile they are). She used the parts I listed and after a few days of simply adjusting a couple of settings in the bios, she got it up to 3.5 gHz stable, or 1 gHz of FREE computing power!
    Take a look here
    and you can see with just a little knowledge and erring on the side of caution with your settings, you can get the same free performance (I know it refers to the P35, but the bios of the P45 gigabyte boards are nearly identical).
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