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Final advice on a schoolwork/gaming rig

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Last response: in Systems
June 10, 2009 7:04:23 PM

I need advice on choosing a new build. A few days ago I asked this community about their recommendations for a new build. I compared the suggestions and decided on a build. However, I asked the person who will be helping me build it to look it over and he says that he can get me a better computer for that price. Now I don't know what to choose: I want to order either tonight or tomorrow at the latest.

Please vote for either build 1 or 2 and give a reason for your vote.

System usage: schoolwork, gaming (mostly strategy, some FPS)
1280x1024 screen resolution
No crossfire/SLI (for now), no overclocking
$700 budget

Build 1:
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail - $168

CORSAIR CMPSU-620HX 620W ATX12V v2.2 and EPS12V 2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail - $130 after Mail in rebate

Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail $100

GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $115 after Mail in rebate

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM -$53

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 -$24

OCZ Reaper HPC Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail - $60

EVGA 512-P3-N954-TR GeForce 9500 GT 512MB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail - $70

Build 2:
CPU/motherboard combo deal - $280 - Phenom2 x4 940 and Biostar 790GX/SB750

Case/PSU combo deal - $107 - Antec300/Antec earthwatts 650w

Blue case fan- $15 - for front of the case

RAM - $55 - 2x2 GB DDR2 1066 Gskill

Hard drive - $80 - 750GB WD black

Burner - $32 - HP

GPU - $105 - HD4850

I am leaning toward one of them right now but would like it if the community confirmed my idea.

EDIT: Fixed up links.

More about : final advice schoolwork gaming rig

June 10, 2009 7:16:46 PM

The second build is much better. The Phenom II 940 is a better CPU, the GPU is way better for gaming. You are spending too much on the case/psu in the first build and not enough on the guts of your system, that is the parts that actually matter in terms of performance. Not to mention you picked a very good crossfire motherboard in build 1 and then chose a cheap nvidia card. That seagate drive is old and slow and small, the HDD in build 2 is vastly superior. The Antec 900 is nice, but if you are on a tight budget, the Case is the first place that you should cut costs for a gaming rig. the 620HX is a great PSU, but too expensive for your budget. Just get a non modular one like that EA650. I am going to guess that the THG community came up with build two and your friend came up with build 1. You should listen to the community.
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June 10, 2009 7:40:19 PM

btw, im getting a similar pc to the 2nd biuld but with a phenom II 940 and a hd 4870 512 XD
June 10, 2009 7:44:56 PM

Thats 2 for build 2

Also, I dont think anyone noticed but for a while I had the wrong thing pasted to build 2. Its fixed now.
June 10, 2009 7:48:42 PM

asti21 said:
That's 1 vote for build 2. Keep 'em coming!

EDIT: In reply to xthekidx, doesn't this data show that the other build has a better CPU?

Sure, it's a better CPU for some crappy synthetics program that doesn't realistically represent real-world usage.

The 940 has FOUR cores versus the Core 2 E8400's TWO. And sure, the Phenom II architecture will lose a bit clock-to-clock versus the core 2 series (and hence you might see some drawbacks in games that don't support more than 2 cores) but the performance is close enough at 3.2ghz vs 3.0ghz that it really shouldn't matter.

And besides, who wants a 9500gt nowadays anyway? 9600GT/HD4670 or get out.

+1 for Build 2, it will eat the first build in gaming and multitasking. Although the PSU is slightly more bleh than the corsair one and the case is smaller.
June 10, 2009 8:03:13 PM

So far its a unanimous decision for build 2 but I want a lot more opinions before I make my final decision.
June 10, 2009 8:14:53 PM

one thing i forgot to say about the cpu is that nowadays, u wont notice a big difference between the 4 and the 2 cores..

maybe today the E8400 its better than the pII 940 since almost every game was developed for a dual core architecture, but games are starting to come with the need of quad cores.. so its up to u if u want a future proof cpu or a faster one for now
June 10, 2009 8:17:43 PM

Going on record to say I know next to nothing about either AMD processors or ATI GPU's, so I can comment only in regard to build #1. Please address your anti-intel/nvidia hatemail to lol.

To start, I'm not crazy about the RAM you selected. Unless the handles fold down, I don't even think I could install them in my system because my graphics card would be in the way. It is pretty cheap after the rebate, but if you look through the newegg reviews and sort by helpfulness, the first 4 reviewers are complaining they didn't get their rebate. The cheapest stuff I could find isn't that much cheaper, and isn't cheaper at all assuming you actually get your rebate on the RAM from build 1: RAM

You can actually save $40 after $20 MIR by getting the Corsair 750TX PSU. It's got an extra 130W, but it's not modular, but with a little cable management, that's not an issue. They also make a 650TX, but after rebate they are the same price, so why not go for the extra 100W? PSU

You can use that money you save to upgrade the hard drive. I don't know how much space you need, but that 250GB may fill up faster than you think. I personally like Western Digital's 500GB drives. Seagate also makes great 500GB drives too. I have 2 of these in my PC: HDD

Hope I've helped in some way. :) 
June 10, 2009 8:48:59 PM

Thanks to everyone who responded.
Im hoping for more votes before I order in a few hours.
In reply to nachota, I am hoping that this build lasts for at least 2-3 years, so future proofing is important.
June 10, 2009 9:51:44 PM

Bumping cause I want to order in a few hours and need more votes.
June 10, 2009 10:36:35 PM

Please... more votes
Vote for one even if you dont want to explain your vote.
$700 is a big investment and I want to be sure Im making the right choice.
June 10, 2009 10:53:06 PM

asti21 said:
Thanks to everyone who responded.
Im hoping for more votes before I order in a few hours.
In reply to nachota, I am hoping that this build lasts for at least 2-3 years, so future proofing is important.

If "futureproofing" is important then go build 2. 4cores>2cores. Intel and Nvidia have been on top of performance for a while and so their products are going to be be a bit more expensive. You get more for your money buying AMD/ATI right now, especially if you don't overclock. Its possible to get more for your money out of Intel at the lower price points if you are willing to overclock due to Intel's easily OC'd FSB. And please take note of the fact that I OWN Intel/Nvidia in my setup, so I am not by any means an AMD/ATI fanboy. Intel/Nvidia is only worth it IMO if you have $1200 or so IMO.

If you are willing to overclock and don't mind changing out the CPU later on, then I would say buy a cheap Intel Dual core like an E5200 and overclock it. Overclocking the E5200 can result in a processor that outperforms the E8600 by a large margin. All you have to do is invest a little time in finding a stable OC and you save yourself $100 or so. Then swap it out in a year for a Q9650 when its affordable.
June 10, 2009 11:00:41 PM

If you are working with a $700 budget, you might look at this build that I did recently:

There may be some ideas there for you that are of interest. You can make your own modifications if you wish, but that build cost me a little over $500 and it is way better than that first build you have up there.
June 10, 2009 11:15:56 PM

Thanks again xthekidx.
Im going to order build 2 in about an hour. Any final comments?

EDIT: Also, do I really need one of those anti-static shock bracelets when building it?
June 10, 2009 11:35:16 PM

asti21 said:
Thanks again xthekidx.
Im going to order build 2 in about an hour. Any final comments?

EDIT: Also, do I really need one of those anti-static shock bracelets when building it?

No just make sure you discharge the static by touching metal inside the case or the PSU. I never wear one.
June 11, 2009 12:43:08 AM

So, as the community has decided and as I wanted anyway, I will order build 2 in a few minutes. Any (definitely) final comments?