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First build gaming pc, need some advice

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June 7, 2009 4:44:40 PM

Hey guys,
I'm looking at a budget of up to $2,000 and for that I'm trying to get the most bang for my buck. I'll be using this exclusively for gaming and Internet browsing. This is my first build so I could use some help.

Here's what I've got so far:

EVGA tri-SLI motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Core i7 920 processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Nvidia GeForce GTX 295
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Corsair (2 x 2 GB) RAM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I don't need more than four gigs because I'll be using Windows XP. I'll get more later if Windows 7 turns out better than Vista.

I'm not sure what to do to cool the system, and I could use some help on a good hard drive setup for a gaming machine as well. Advice or opinions on what I've already listed here is very welcome too. Thanks!

More about : build gaming advice

June 7, 2009 4:47:36 PM

you can get a really decent i7 system for just $1,200

dont bother with watercooling. SLI if you really must. I think a SSD is more fun.
June 7, 2009 4:49:30 PM

1) swap the GTX 295 for two 4890's, they perform better and cost less.

2) swap the ram for 3x2GB as the i7 run ram in triple channel, and make sure they are 1.65v or below.

3) You do know XP, vista and 7 are on the same performance bastion at the moment right? except the latter excel in gaming by a fair advantage.

4) you'll want a 750w corsair or silverstone PSU, or a 1000HX by corsair if you plan on adding another card.

Related resources
June 7, 2009 5:09:07 PM

Thanks for the advice. I'll start looking at your suggestions right now.

I thought XP couldn't detect more than 4 gigs of RAM? Oh well. Maybe I was wrong. 6 gigs can't hurt, especially when I'm saving on the GPU.
June 7, 2009 5:27:13 PM

wow. sounds like a waste for a system with just XP restricted to DX9.
June 7, 2009 5:33:49 PM

I started thinking about that right after I posted this. I completely forgot about DX10. I really don't like Vista in some ways but XP is a serious bottleneck. Looks like I'll be buying Vista.
June 7, 2009 5:37:51 PM

what's not to like about vista?
June 7, 2009 5:41:11 PM

no wait

get Windows 7 RC

upgrade to W7 when it releases
June 7, 2009 6:46:50 PM

^ for the permission thing, if you enable something in the control panel, it will disable it.

OK, to do it, go to Control Panel, then User Accounts and User accounts again, then Turn user account Control on or off. And unclick the box and you're ready to go after a reboot.
June 7, 2009 10:58:16 PM

Helloworld_98 said:
^ for the permission thing, if you enable something in the control panel, it will disable it.

OK, to do it, go to Control Panel, then User Accounts and User accounts again, then Turn user account Control on or off. And unclick the box and you're ready to go after a reboot.


Thanks. I didn't know that, and I'm glad I do now because it really gets on my nerves.

Anybody have any suggestions for hard drives?
June 7, 2009 11:20:13 PM

I am building a very similar system at the moment.

I'm going with Win 7 RC for my OS. I've been reading around and it seems like the way to go. I'm not sure what I'll do in a year when it expires, but I'll probably be ready for a fresh install by then anyway and end up buying it.

For hard drives, I considered three options: SSD, RAID 0, Regular old single drive.

I decided against the SSD after doing a bunch of reading on the subject. Currently they require a lot of tweaking of windows to get them to perform well. It's more trouble than I am looking to deal with. Not to say that they don't perform excellent once they are running right, or that said tweaks are especially difficult, I just don't want to deal with it right now. I'll wait until prices come down and the firmware and drivers evolve a little more.

A single drive is the most simple solution, obviously. You could go with a 10k rpm drive. But they're a little spendy and still don't perform that much faster.

I'm gonna go with two WD Caviar Black's in RAID 0. It seems like the best choice for me, your results may vary. It's relatively inexpensive and gives a nice performance bump over a single drive.
June 8, 2009 12:11:56 AM

What do you guys think about a RAID 0 with two VelociRaptors? That looks like it should be blazing fast. Any suggestions on a heatsink?
June 8, 2009 12:32:17 AM

Leave the ssd's alone. some of them can lose up to 40% of their performance over time:( 
It would be silly not to upgrade to a 64-bit OS and take advantage of the performance boost.
XP is on it's last legs, Vista is gone with the wind, go 7.you'll be happy ya did:) 
June 8, 2009 12:54:54 AM

Windows 7 isn't have lots of driver compatibility issues or game compatibility issues is it? I only ask because it's so new.
June 8, 2009 1:06:45 AM

It's working out pretty well for most people.

Many hardware vendors already have Win7 drivers out. If not, Vista drivers work just fine.
Any game that runs on Vista will run on Win7.
To some extent, Win7 is just an update to Vista. Win7 is much more similar to Vista than Vista was to XP.

I ran this little utility just for fun and was surprised that my current machine to fully compatible with the Win7 RC. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?display...
June 8, 2009 1:12:13 AM

Cool. I guess I'll try it then.
June 8, 2009 1:42:28 AM

If it doesn't work out you can always just install something else. Of course you will have all your data backed up, so, no big deal.
June 8, 2009 3:30:18 AM

Yea, it can't hurt to try 7.
June 8, 2009 5:48:01 AM

I'm having trouble finding the right power supply. I know you have to have enough total watts, as well as enough amps on each rail, but most of these components don't have a required wattage listed or amps on what rail. Any help?
June 8, 2009 3:44:08 PM

Hi senor snarf

Three question for you ...
1-Tri-sli : Did you really go with three video cards. If you take the video card now, nvidia or ati, they all have and x2 version, so did you really go with 6 gpu ???

2- W7 or XP : W7 is almost ok right now, in some old application is not working at 100% but it's ok. So if you go with W7 as base OS it will be right. I have windows7 in 3 pc at home and all of them works fine. But, if you have a version 64 or 32 bit of xp pro do a dual boot, this way no matter what happen you will be able to play any game, Go for xp 32 bit it's mor safe.

3- Video card: there is a lot of variation on that point, in one month is sli with two gtx275, the month after is two ati 4890 and after that is one with two gpu (x2). I have a gtx295 and I'm really happy with it I play all my games at full setting in 1920X1200. But, If I have to bought today ... I will choose the same card I"m really happy with it, BFG gtx295.

For the ram get 6gb no discussion about it, the thing about i7 it's how he can manage triple channel, so if you get two stick go with a lga775.

For the motherboard chose one with sli or crossfire but not both the board will b cheaper that way.

For the brand of the motherboard: I really like asus p6t v2. but some people prefer other, check the price first choose the color after. I,ll do sli and crossfire but ther are other version with just one of those.

For the psu: HX1000 corsair, most of people will say it's an overkill, so what you never know what will happen in the future. Now if you have one video card wiht one gpu it's overkill at the moment, but if you go 2 or 3 or 4 gpu it will nice to have more then enough power.

For the case: I will lok fo 4 quality
-- one with great air flow, I7 really need that.
-- easy cable management.
-- Motherboard tray , easy to work
-- Last thing, an hole on the motherboard tray to easily access the back of the motherboard, supposed your heatsink stop working it will be find too have that to replace the old heatsink with a new one.

for the build.. good luck It will be fun to do it .

Aand at last, sorry english it's not first langage ;-)

June 8, 2009 7:06:04 PM

Thanks for all the info jive. I actually have been thinking about the pt6 delux v2. I haven't been able to decide between that board and the EVGA board I posted. It's up in the air as to what I'll do about that right now.

You're right, I don't really need tri-sli. I would never use it most likely, but the motherboard looked good so it was just an extra. I would get the GTX 295, but it looks to me like two 4890's will do just as good for any games coming out right now. I agree with you on the power supply, overshooting the power requirements is a good idea. It can't hurt right now, and it allows for future upgrades.

My only problem with the case is figuring out what size I need. Would I just want a case that's wider/taller than my widest/tallest components?
June 8, 2009 7:39:36 PM

Just don't get a m-ATX case and you'll be fine. If you want to spend a bit more look at the Antec 1200.

For the mobo, I'd go with the ASUS pt6, or deluxe if you really need it.

For your HDDs, go with 2x 640GB WD Black HDDs in Raid 0. It will almost equal the performance of the Raptors. Similar performance...1.28 TB for 150$ or 300 GB for 360$
June 8, 2009 9:39:31 PM

Alright. I think I've got everything picked out, thanks to help from you guys. I'd like to hear any opinions or advice anyone has on this. Hopefully I didn't do anything really stupid like get incompatible components or something. Anyway, here it is:

ASUS P6T motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Core i7 920 processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Dual Radeon HD 4890's in Crossfire
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

(3x2GB) OCZ RAM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS Xonar Sound card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

WD Caviar Black hard drive x 2 in RAID 0 configuration
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

XIGMATEK HDT-S183 heat sink
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Corsair 850w power supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Cooler Master Centurion 534+ case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If anyone could look over that for me and make sure I didn't do something really dumb I'd really appreciate. Thanks for all the help guys.

June 8, 2009 9:50:07 PM

You don't need a sound card unless you actually have 7.1 speakers and have ears tuned to tell the difference. Might get a little nicer case too, especially with xfire 4890s. CM 690's are large and provide ample airflow.

Other than that, it looks good. That thing's a beast.
June 8, 2009 11:03:03 PM

Would it be worth getting a sound card to use with a pair of 5.1 headphones I have? Or would onboard audio still be good enough for that? I'm planning to take the dvd drive/cd burner, cd drive, and floppy drive I have out of the computer I'm using right now rather than buy new ones.

I knew about the bracket for the heat sink, I just didn't list it because it doesn't do anything other than hold the heat sink in place. I picked that heatsink/bracket because of your recommendation by the way dub, thanks.
June 9, 2009 4:59:25 AM

Senor Snarf said:
Thanks for all the info jive. I actually have been thinking about the pt6 delux v2. I haven't been able to decide between that board and the EVGA board I posted. It's up in the air as to what I'll do about that right now.

You're right, I don't really need tri-sli. I would never use it most likely, but the motherboard looked good so it was just an extra. I would get the GTX 295, but it looks to me like two 4890's will do just as good for any games coming out right now. I agree with you on the power supply, overshooting the power requirements is a good idea. It can't hurt right now, and it allows for future upgrades.

My only problem with the case is figuring out what size I need. Would I just want a case that's wider/taller than my widest/tallest components?


hi senor,

I personnally have a silverstone tj-09, great look , aluminium side to side. But thats it. If I have too choose a new one now I will go with the tj-07 without side windows. It's a full tower lot of room too, expensive little bit and not the great one in air flow. Just do some reading and go for a full tower, lianli will be my choice now.
my first choice PC-A7010 and in second PC-A71 . both of them need an hole for accessing the back of the motherboard.some dremmel worj will do a perfect job.


June 9, 2009 5:18:44 AM

Drop the sound card, spend it on a better case. You chose a heatsink that isn't compatible with the board, also missing thermal compound. Why are you spending the same amount of money for something with higher timings, get OCZ Platinum instead of gold. Any reason for two 4890s? They run quite hot and you may be better off with two GTX 275s.

XIGMATEK Dark Knight
OCZ Platinum
EVGA GTX 275
June 9, 2009 5:54:19 AM

why many ppl using i7 which mobo asus P6T ??
June 18, 2009 8:45:35 PM

do you really neelped to spend $2000 on your first build? why not spend less and get a lower spec allow for upgrades in the future when you need them? what games can this $2000 machine play that a $600 machine cant? just a suggestion. if you need any help building it my site may be able to help, if your new to building of course, www.customgamingrig.com
June 18, 2009 11:24:04 PM

not moose said:
...You chose a heatsink that isn't compatible with the board...


Go back and read the thread again.

Senor Snarf said:
The platinum has lower timings, but it looks like people are having stability issues with it and you have to manually set it to 1.65v. Should I just go with the gold instead?

And what about this Corsair RAM? It looks fantastic.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


I haven't had any problems with the OCZ Platinum. That Corsair was the first RAM I chose for my build. But it's more money for almost the same spec. The platinum a way better deal.

damen1786 said:
do you really neelped to spend $2000 on your first build? why not spend less and get a lower spec allow for upgrades in the future when you need them? what games can this $2000 machine play that a $600 machine cant? just a suggestion. if you need any help building it my site may be able to help, if your new to building of course, www.customgamingrig.com


it depends on his circumstances. a $600 machine isn't gonna play crysis at 1920x1200. if he has the money and wants a killer system why not?
June 19, 2009 12:37:56 AM

Yea, I'm a real penny pincher and I hardly ever spend money. I'm just 16, and I decided if I have money that I would otherwise never use, why not build a monster gaming pc that I've been dreaming about for years? I really enjoy trying new things with computers and gaming, so having a machine to do it right will make me happy for a long time. Every once in a while I can still upgrade it. I'd say it was great investment.

Anyway, the build turned out fantastic. I just finished playing Far Cry 2 and Oblivion on max settings for several hours. Never once did I experience one hiccup or stutter, which is especially say something for Oblivion. Thanks for the help guys.

Did you get yours assembled yet dub?
June 19, 2009 4:08:09 AM

What were the final specs you ended up going with?

Senor Snarf said:
...Did you get yours assembled yet dub?


Yeah, I built it up on the 15th and everything turned out great. I'm playing COD4 right now and it looks amazing.
June 19, 2009 4:16:45 AM
June 19, 2009 9:56:19 PM
June 20, 2009 4:28:15 AM

dub said:
We basically the same system. It kicks ass.


Haha, that's awesome. I'm going to buy Crysis this weekend and really see what this thing can do.
!