Critique my gaming PC build

I am planning to replace the guts of my PC (CPU, mobo, memory, video card). I think I will keep using my 19" lcd (1280x1024 native res).
Do you think the following makes sense in terms of where to put the money:

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 $167
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115037

Crucial Ballistix 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model $65
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148227

ASRock P45TS LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157135

GIGABYTE GV-R487D5-1GD Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail $150 with MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125256


Total: $463


Should I get 8gb memory right away?
Will the mobo be able to handle (i.e. OC) the memory? Is the mobo a good choice?
Should I spend more/less on the video card and more/less on CPU?


Thanks.
28 answers Last reply
More about critique gaming build
  1. 4GB of memory is sufficient for almost all applications, and since you are gaming you wouldnt see a difference with 8GB. With your monitor's resolution you wont get any real benefit from a better graphics card and the E8400 is supposed to be a good gaming processor so it looks pretty good.
  2. AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz
    ASUS M4A78T-E AM3 AMD 790GX
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.203011

    HIS Hightech H489F1GP Radeon HD 4890
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161276

    same memory

    Total: 490 /w 15$ MIR
  3. drunknmunkys said:
    AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz
    ASUS M4A78T-E AM3 AMD 790GX
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.203011

    HIS Hightech H489F1GP Radeon HD 4890
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161276

    same memory

    Total: 490 /w 15$ MIR


    Hmm, interesting.

    I really should look at the combo deals.

    One additional constraint is that I want to use my existing PSU. It's a 430W Antec Neo HE. The Intels need less juice, so I'm leaning that way for that reason... I'm also not sure my PSU could drive a 4890.
  4. ^ actually the intels use more energy, if you look into it further, the intel chipset uses 60w while the AMD one which has an IGPU which puts up the energy usage uses only 25w.

    also you'll need a new PSU for both of those cards mentioned.

    and dual core's are old tech.
  5. That motherboard can only handle 2 sticks of DDR3 RAM or 4 sticks of DDR2 RAM. It has to be one or the other to a total of 8GB. It is not a crossfire capable motherboard. It's not the motherboard i'd pick, i'd go with their DDR2 version for $10 more. At $150 for a HD4870 1GB, it's an excellent choice for a GPU. I'd also look at the PhenomII x3 720 BE CPU and AMD motherboards as an option if you want to use DDR3.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.203011
  6. Quote:
    ^ actually the intels use more energy, if you look into it further, the intel chipset uses 60w while the AMD one which has an IGPU which puts up the energy usage uses only 25w.


    Can you explain this better? The AMD's are rated at 95W and the Intels at 65W...

    Quote:

    also you'll need a new PSU for both of those cards mentioned.


    The guys in this thread disagree:
    http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/page-262726_10_0.html

    Quote:

    and dual core's are old tech.


    Yeah, maybe. I wonder if games will start using more cores more effectively. It looks like the extra cores aren't that expensive...
  7. dirtmountain said:
    That motherboard can only handle 2 sticks of DDR3 RAM or 4 sticks of DDR2 RAM. It has to be one or the other to a total of 8GB. It is not a crossfire capable motherboard. It's not the motherboard i'd pick, i'd go with their DDR2 version for $10 more. At $150 for a HD4870 1GB, it's an excellent choice for a GPU. I'd also look at the PhenomII x3 720 BE CPU and AMD motherboards as an option if you want to use DDR3.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.203011


    I see. Is this the case for all P45 motherboards, that you only get 2 DDR3 slots?

    Is there any real advantage to DDR3 over DDR2?
  8. IF you do use the 4890 I would look into getting a better monitor maybe the LG W2261V 22
  9. He can always get a 4870 I just threw the 4890 in there because of the savings from the AMD combo
  10. There are about 4 motherboards that can use DDR2 and DDR3. I think all of them have 2 DDR3 sockets and 4 DDR2 sockets. There are P45s that are DDR3 only with 4 sockets and others that are DDR2. There's not a big "real world" difference in the higher speed DDR2 or DDR3. Now that DDR3 prices have dropped to close to DDR2 prices the small gain in speed may be worth it. Just remember that the LGA 775 socket is at essentially EOL, no new CPUs will be made for it other then slight changes like a E8700 or a Q9550S
  11. dirtmountain said:
    There are about 4 motherboards that can use DDR2 and DDR3. I think all of them have 2 DDR3 sockets and 4 DDR2 sockets. There are P45s that are DDR3 only with 4 sockets and others that are DDR2. There's not a big "real world" difference in the higher speed DDR2 or DDR3. Now that DDR3 prices have dropped to close to DDR2 prices the small gain in speed may be worth it. Just remember that the LGA 775 socket is at essentially EOL, no new CPUs will be made for it other then slight changes like a E8700 or a Q9550S


    Aah, good point! Whereas the AM3 socket is more like at the beginning of its life span and will offer a much better upgrade path, right?
  12. Well yes, but not in the LGA775 socket, but more helpful in the AM3 socket, LGA1366 or LGA1156 sockets
  13. dirtmountain said:
    Well yes, but not in the LGA775 socket, but more helpful in the AM3 socket, LGA1366 or LGA1156 sockets


    I did not get this. Who was this a response to?
  14. @elenius, AMD and intel rate their TDP's differently, so in effect, if you include the chipset (P45 + ICH10R, 790GX + SB750, etc) then the AMD system where the CPU is rated at 95w will use less energy than an intel system where the CPU is rated at 65w.
  15. Helloworld_98 said:
    @elenius, AMD and intel rate their TDP's differently, so in effect, if you include the chipset (P45 + ICH10R, 790GX + SB750, etc) then the AMD system where the CPU is rated at 95w will use less energy than an intel system where the CPU is rated at 65w.


    Looks like you're right, at least as far as the 80W Phenom II X2 goes:

    http://www.extremeoverclocking.com/reviews/processors/AMD_Phenom_II_X2_550_13.html
    http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/pii550/12.html
  16. I appreciate all the feedback here. After reading it, and other sources, I revised my plan to this:

    Phenom II X2 BE $102
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103680

    GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard $80
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128392

    Same memory and video, brings me to $397


    The Phenom II has almost exactly the performance of the E8400, and the full system will draw less power. Plus, the system will be more upgradable due to the AM3 socket, and have 4 DDR3 slots. What's not to like? :)

    In addition, lots of people have apparently managed to enable core 3 and 4 in the Phenom II X2! That will mostly likely take more juice, so I figure my upgrade path is: Once I want more crunching power, buy a new PSU, maybe a CPU fan, and try OCing the CPU, maybe more memory and a new video card at some point. Should be good for years to come :)
  17. elenius said:
    I appreciate all the feedback here. After reading it, and other sources, I revised my plan to this:

    Phenom II X2 BE $102
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103680

    GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard $80
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128392

    Same memory and video, brings me to $397


    The Phenom II has almost exactly the performance of the E8400, and the full system will draw less power. Plus, the system will be more upgradable due to the AM3 socket, and have 4 DDR3 slots. What's not to like? :)

    In addition, lots of people have apparently managed to enable core 3 and 4 in the Phenom II X2! That will mostly likely take more juice, so I figure my upgrade path is: Once I want more crunching power, buy a new PSU, maybe a CPU fan, and try OCing the CPU, maybe more memory and a new video card at some point. Should be good for years to come :)


    If you want 3 cores, buy 3 cores. If you want 4 cores, buy 4 cores. Don't buy 2 cores and expect to unlock the others. There is a very small chance that you'll be able to, but there's a reason they're locked ;)
  18. drunknmunkys said:
    If you want 3 cores, buy 3 cores. If you want 4 cores, buy 4 cores. Don't buy 2 cores and expect to unlock the others. There is a very small chance that you'll be able to, but there's a reason they're locked ;)


    Yeah, well... I still think it's a great value, at $102. At the very least, I should be able to OC it pretty well.
    3 cores just seems odd to me. I have a feeling most games will be optimized for 4 cores, and the 3rd one won't give you as much benefit as it should.

    I'm actually amazed how cheap all the components are these days. It used to be that you'd have to spend about the same amount of money for each upgrade, to get a decent gaming system that stays up to date with current games. Now, things are not just getting a lot faster but also a lot cheaper at the same time.
  19. elenius said:
    Yeah, well... I still think it's a great value, at $102. At the very least, I should be able to OC it pretty well.
    3 cores just seems odd to me. I have a feeling most games will be optimized for 4 cores, and the 3rd one won't give you as much benefit as it should.

    I'm actually amazed how cheap all the components are these days. It used to be that you'd have to spend about the same amount of money for each upgrade, to get a decent gaming system that stays up to date with current games. Now, things are not just getting a lot faster but also a lot cheaper at the same time.


    I completely agree. I just built myself a new computer after 5 years and was amazed at how cheap things were. That CPU is a great value at 100$, you can't go wrong there. From my understanding the benefit of 3 cores is that you can run background processes using one core, and dedicate 2 cores to games which are optimized for 2 cores. Only having two cores doesn't allow you to do that.

    Here's a thread debating the merits of the two.
    http://forums.techpowerup.com/showthread.php?t=96084
  20. I discovered that the motherboard I chose won't let me unlock cores anyway. From what I read, you need SB750. But that means putting more money on the mobo... For the same price difference I could just buy the extra core... I think I will stick with the cheap mobo and 2 cores for now :)
  21. Some SB710 will allow it also, but it's always chancy at best.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817703009
  22. dirtmountain said:
    Some SB710 will allow it also, but it's always chancy at best.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817703009


    The link is to a power supply...
  23. For the record, I ended up getting:

    Phenom II x2 550 BE
    2x2gb G.SKILL DDR3 1600 (the other memory I listed was not on the compatibility chart for the gigabyte motherboard)
    Gigabyte UD3P mobo as above

    ...and, here's the real shocker:

    MSI 4890 OC, $180 with MIR!
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127427

    Fantastic deal!

    Now I'm almost certain I'll need a new PSU too, but I'll try it with my old one first. Thinking of this one otherwise:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817256045

    and maybe a CPU fan:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835233023
  24. I suggest this one if you are going to get a new one

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139005

    Its rated 150 watts lower but is rated for 24 more watts of power off its 12 volt rail than the silverstone, or if you really want a modular power supply

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139002

    its a bit more expensive but it is significantly underrated unlike the silverstone which will probably die if you try to pull anywhere near its max.
  25. hunter315 said:
    I suggest this one if you are going to get a new one

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139005

    Its rated 150 watts lower but is rated for 24 more watts of power off its 12 volt rail than the silverstone, or if you really want a modular power supply


    You mean 24 amps more? Looks like this one has a single 12V rail with 52A, whereas the Silverstone has 4 rails with 18A each (but it also says "Quad +12V With Continuous 50A Combined Output.").

    The Silverstone has a lot more connectors. And a larger fan.

    I'm not sure where all this leaves me.

    The Silverstone did get the tomshardware award...

    Quote:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139002

    its a bit more expensive but it is significantly underrated unlike the silverstone which will probably die if you try to pull anywhere near its max.


    Is this based on personal experience?

    It would be interesting to see a review that covers both or all three...
  26. Damn, sorry for the bum link, here's the link to the 780G Asrock with ACC.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157154
  27. elenius said:
    I discovered that the motherboard I chose won't let me unlock cores anyway. From what I read, you need SB750. But that means putting more money on the mobo... For the same price difference I could just buy the extra core... I think I will stick with the cheap mobo and 2 cores for now :)


    Actually you can unlock all 4 cores on that mobo. You chose the Gigabyte UD3P mobo right?
    With a bios update you can get the option of unlocking cores. Anyway I read reviews of people having success unlocking cores on that mobo...and that cpu (Phenom II x2). I'm pretty sure you can unlock cores on all of the motherboards, UD3P, UD4P, and the UD5P.

    I'm buying that same mobo (UD3P) and cpu, and I'm going to try unlocking the cores :p

    I'll post my succeses and faliures later on...
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