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$900 Gaming Multitasker

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June 14, 2009 6:13:28 AM

Would appreciate help choosing parts, I'm feeling overwhelmed with the choices today:

LOCATION: FLORIDA

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Now-August (as soon as I sell my motor scooter) BUDGET RANGE: 900 aim, but 800-1100 range.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: gaming, streaming video to PS3 (currently using playon, have used tversity -- mostly hulu because getting ready to cancel netflix), blogging w/videos
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, hard drives optional

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com, but open-minded

PARTS PREFERENCES: Current system is AMD 64 with Nvidia 7800gs agp, overall, openminded.

OVERCLOCKING: Only if Instructions are super clear and all via bios, nothing physical
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe

MONITOR RESOLUTION: had dual 1440x900's, but removed. May replace the missing one with larger widescreen, so aim for dual screen support

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Bulk of Info is here:

Full size case, no micro/mini; quiet is better (this sits in my shared bedroom), cool and efficient (In Florida and A/C does not work well)


So, I'm an experienced builder who hasn't had the money to build his own since 2004. I did help a friend build one back in 2005 or 6, but this tech changes so fast that I'm feeling overwhelmed in trying to get back into it. Plus, I made a major mistake when I built my last budget PC...I bought AGP in the years that PCI-E was quickly becoming the standard. Very frustrating when I discovered I needed a better graphics card for Oblivion and couldn't do anything about it.

So...I want a gaming rig that can handle doing the house chores (entertaining the wife and 2 yr old) and will be upgradeable in 3 years. I doubt I'll be able to buy a new machine in 3 years, so upgrading is very important.

I would have prefered Nvidia graphics cards for HDR and Linux, but both brands do HDR now I think, and I never ran Linux because I primarily game in the little spare time I have. So I simply don't have the time to tinker with Linux as I did before. From all my reading, sounds like ATI cards are better value per performance/cost.

Since I do heavily multitask, I think I'd like to do Intel Quad. In fact, what I really want to be able to do is to stream Hulu to my PS3 for the wife to watch shows while I play L4D. Possible on a budget build today?

Games I Own: Day of Defeat: Source, Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress 2, Oblivion (with lots of community mods so I need 512MB of Video ram minimum, and more would surely be helpful--I'd like to finish it but it got so choppy I couldn't continue)
Games I will Buy if My computer can handle them: Fallout 3, GTA IV, future Half-Life games
Not interested in Crysis or Call of Duty at the moment. I'm unhappy with the fps' I'm getting with DoD:S and TF2 (and I run L4D on low settings right now).

While gaming, I run Teamspeak to talk to my guildmates and typically Steam is on as well.

I do video editing/encoding with Virtual Dub.

I run a mirror raid for mp3, picture, video storage and a single faster hard drive for all of program files such as gaming programs or anything else. I actually install Windows on a separate partition so I can blast it at any moment without major loss. I'm only using 66GB out of 230GB of my mirror and 60GB of 90GB on my program drive. I wouldn't mind buying new drives so that I don't completely cannabalize my old machine, but I could scrounge up other drives to keep the old machine alive if necessary.

OS: Depends. If I can't stream to PS3 while playing L4D/TF2, I may keep the old machine alive and will have to get an extra MS operating system (unless there's a linux streaming program out there that works with PS3 and hulu). Will not do beta. Don't want to do Vista unless you all think it will run everything better.

Thanks for any help you give. I feel a bit weird asking for a complete build here basically, but even after reading everything, I agonize over the decisions to make.

More about : 900 gaming multitasker

June 14, 2009 6:56:39 AM

August is a long way away , and things will change

but in general
you cant afford an intel i7 , and the older c2d's and c2q's are at the end of their lives .
Maybe intel i5 will be available when you build and that could change things a lot .

Right now the sweet spot for gaming with a measure of future proofing is probably

Phenom 720 be
AM3 mb preferably with 90 series nb and 750 sb chipsets
DDR3 ram 2 x 2 gb
and the meanest gfx card you can afford . ATI if you have thoughts of crossfire , nVidia if you play games that are nVidia optimized .

Newegg has good prices.

For windows you can download the RC of windows 7 from microsoft for free and use it till next march . Its a far better os than vista and far less resource hungry
Dont get it from a torrent unless you want to support your friendly botnet
June 14, 2009 7:02:59 AM

quad core *bare minimum*
as the above poster said - i7 if you can afford it, otherwise an AMD solution etc

Intel Core 2 series isnt dead but there sucessor is on the scene etc so
Related resources
June 14, 2009 12:17:37 PM

Mobo + GPU combo
GIGABYTE GV-N250ZL-1GI GeForce GTS 250 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail .
GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

CPU + RAM combo
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor Model HDZ955FBGIBOX - Retail
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8500CL5D-4GBPK - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Case + PSU combo
Antec TruePower New TP-750 750W Continuous Power ATX12V V2.3 / EPS12V V2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE ... - Retail
Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU cooler
XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: $809 with combo/instant discounts, $794 with MiR

This is strictly a budget build I've been working on; it'll run most games well at 1650*1080 range. Once you hit the $1000 range, you can build a much more powerful AMD machine (esp. graphic card wise) that'll handle higher settings and larger resolutions, and at the $1100 point you can consider an i7 build or an AMD build with RAIDs, more RAM, maybe an SSD....

EDIT: best modifications for this build:
1) Changing the GPU to an ATI card to support crossfire (in exchange for losing the combo deal)
2) Buying another harddrive (RAID 0) + 1TB storage harddrive
OR
2a) Adding an SSD.
June 14, 2009 1:15:05 PM



Thats a great build Mccloud. For cpu intensive use I dont think its possible to do better for that price .

but AM3 and DDR3 is the way of the future .
Just so you can have a little more ongoing parts support and maybe more upgrade options .

For gaming the OP wouldnt lose anything by using the 720 be instead , and even after buying am3 mb and ddr3 ram there'd be an extra $60-70 to spend on a more powerful gfx card




June 14, 2009 1:15:30 PM



Thats a great build Mccloud. For cpu intensive use I dont think its possible to do better for that price .

but AM3 and DDR3 is the way of the future .
Just so you can have a little more ongoing parts support and maybe more upgrade options .

For gaming the OP wouldnt lose anything by using the 720 be instead , and even after buying am3 mb and ddr3 ram there'd be an extra $60-70 to spend on a more powerful gfx card




June 14, 2009 1:15:55 PM



Thats a great build Mccloud. For cpu intensive use I dont think its possible to do better for that price .

but AM3 and DDR3 is the way of the future .
Just so you can have a little more ongoing parts support and maybe more upgrade options .

For gaming the OP wouldnt lose anything by using the 720 be instead , and even after buying am3 mb and ddr3 ram there'd be an extra $60-70 to spend on a more powerful gfx card




June 14, 2009 9:28:41 PM

How would the Mccloud system fare on noise? My current system is pretty annoying and my wife would greatly appreciate a quieter machine (and would probably give me less grief for buying a new machine). Also, I don't need the light on that case...I did my custom case mod system and don't need to go that route anymore, none of my current friends are impressed with that sort of thing.

So I probably should make myself wait a while longer and purchase in September or October instead so that the i7 will either go down in price or the i5 will be a good choice?

!