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[New System Build] Help me review my $1500 Computer

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July 16, 2009 8:23:25 PM


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: July BUDGET RANGE: 1500~

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming Only

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard/Mouse

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg

PARTS PREFERENCES: See parts below

OVERCLOCKING: In future only SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080, 1920x1200

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I am new to building PC's and this will be my first. Below I have done some research into all the parts and the best bang/buck items I can find. I have been gaming on a laptop the past three years so I want a PC that can run current games of today and for awhile longer on maximum settings with frame rates of at least 40. I would appreciate any opinions on whether I should exchange parts of keep them where they are. I also would appreciate it if I am missing anything needed to build this system if you could tell me. Thanks for looking!

CASE: GIGABYTE Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower

HD: Western Digital 640GB 7200 RPM

Motherboard: GIGABYTE AM3 DDR3 AMD 790X ATX

Videocard: X2 SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 4890 1GB ATX

Power Supply: CORSAIR 750W ATX12V CFX Ready ATX

Memory: CORSAIR 3x1GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM

Processor: Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2Ghz

Monitor: ASUS Black 24" 2ms Widescreen LCD Monitor

Speakers: Logitech X-540 70 Watts 5.1 speakers

Fan Cooling Kit: Dark Knight 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler


So these are all the parts I have listed. They come out to being 1540$ with shipping from newegg. A few of the questions I have specifically are do I need the cooling kit with the case I have? Also, does the motherboard I am getting support the 5.1 surround sound speakers? Please give me any advice you can and thanks for your time!
July 16, 2009 8:31:27 PM

1) just get one 4890, what's the point on getting a second one when the next gen cards come out in September along with a load of DX11 games before the end of the year?

2) get 6GB of ram.
July 16, 2009 8:40:10 PM

Everything looks pretty solid. You won't need an aftermarket cooler unless you plan to overclock. Stock coolers can get the job done great until you start putting extra stress on them, but you have selected a good, and very popular one.

I doubt that you will get the most out of those 2 video cards unless you OC. Plus like heloworld_98 said, newer cards are always coming out. I'd think about just sticking with one for now.

If you do decide to only buy one card or skip on the cooler for now, I'd suggest putting that money into another HDD or two. I put my OS on one drive and put it's paging file and install games on the other for better performance. You could also set up a couple of drives in RAID 0 to give you a virtual drive that's twice as big and twice as fast as the single physical drive.

There's really nothing to actually complain about though... It's a very nice looking build, I'm sure you put in quite a bit of effort into researching parts. Good luck.
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July 16, 2009 8:41:54 PM

The 3GB and 6GB RAM kits are designed for the triple channel memory controllers on Intel i7 CPU's. Your CPU has a dual channel RAM controller, so you'll want an even number of RAM sticks. I would pick up a quality low CAS 4GB kit like this:

OCZ Platinum 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3P1600EB4GK - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $79.99

July 16, 2009 8:46:41 PM

Okay I will replace the memory with 4GB (2X2GB) DDR3 Sticks and I will omit the cooling fan. As for the videocards you are suggesting on simply for the fact that their are Direct X 11 video cards coming out? If so should I just wait on this system until then?
July 16, 2009 8:51:11 PM

I guess that's up to you, but the computer hardware market is constantly changing. If you keep waiting for the next big thing to come out you'll never buy anything.
July 16, 2009 8:55:45 PM

Will one 4890 be sufficient to run high intensive games on very high settings?
July 16, 2009 8:59:21 PM

You'll have to check the benchmarks for the specific games you plan on playing. There are plenty of 4890 reviews out there.

I'll tell you one thing, though. Whatever you buy will probably be light years ahead of the laptop you've been gaming on for the past 3 years. :) 
July 16, 2009 9:05:17 PM

Those benchmarks tend to eliminate the CPU bottleneck variable though. I can't see that processor at stock speeds draining both those cards. It might increase performance a little to have two cards, but not enough to justify the extra $200, especially when you are looking for the best bang-for-your-buck system.

BTW: Good eyes on noticing that thing with the RAM... can't believe I missed that lol
July 16, 2009 9:12:46 PM

Also are you saying that the processor I have selected is not powerful enough to fully utilize two videocards?
July 16, 2009 10:06:27 PM

I'm saying that at stock speeds, I don't think your processor will be able to fully utilize the potential of those two cards. I'm not sure ANY modern processor at stock speeds would be able to fully utilize both those cards. The processor will bottleneck before that video cards, and performance will be butting up against a wall until you get a faster processor or overclock the one you have. Theoretically if you overclocked your processor to 10GHz (you get the idea), then your two videocards would bottleneck before the processor and performance would be butting up against a wall until you get a better video card. I don't like the way I explained that, but I hope you understand.

The other card you selected looks to be an "extended memory" version of the previous cards. It's the same video card, but with more on-board memory so it doesn't rely on your RAM as much. Your call on whether that's worth the extra $50.
July 16, 2009 10:30:37 PM

Also will I be able to run Windows XP for Windows 7, and how do I get windows 7 on a new PC when it isn't even out yet? Im not a big fan of vista :( 
July 16, 2009 11:20:25 PM

Quote:
Also will I be able to run Windows XP for Windows 7, and how do I get windows 7 on a new PC when it isn't even out yet? Im not a big fan of vista


From what I understand, buying the latest version of Windows comes with a free upgrade to Windows 7 when it is released.

From Newegg:
Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 32-bit for System Builders w/ Tech Guarantee - OEM
Includes free Windows 7 upgrade coupon

Such as:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For now, you can try out the release candidate, here is a link:

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/download.asp...

I've been using Windows 7 RC and love it.

July 17, 2009 12:50:34 AM

I don't really want to spark a whole intel vs amd debate however I have been reading a lot about how one or the other wont be able to upgrade in the future. With this setup will I be able to upgrade later on a year or two down the road? Or is intel a better choice for that
July 17, 2009 2:53:28 PM

The debate that either Intel or AMD won't be able to upgrade is probably referring to LGA 775 for Intel and Socket AM2 for AMD. These are both discontinued sockets that have been replaced by LGA 1366 and Socket AM2+/AM3 respectively. The setup you've got will upgrade fine for several years, so don't worry.
July 17, 2009 3:03:04 PM

I would avoid the OS that Rick_B posted above. This build should have a 64-bit OS, not 32-bit. This is the 64-bit version of Vista Home Premium that comes with a free upgrade coupon to Windows 7:

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders w/ Tech Guarantee - OEM (Includes free Windows 7 upgrade coupon)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $109.99
July 17, 2009 3:05:46 PM

I would say the debate is over the 1366 socket not being upgradeable since everyone is hearing the Core i7 920 is being discontinued.. Etc. The 1366 socket will be the extreme board using the 32nn chips & 6 to 8 cores processors in the next year or so. The 1155 socket will be the mainstream board with the highend chip falling at the same performance/price as the current i7 920/ i7 950... Hence they don't want two chip sets at the same level.
July 17, 2009 3:39:46 PM

tecmo34 said:
I would say the debate is over the 1366 socket not being upgradeable since everyone is hearing the Core i7 920 is being discontinued.. Etc. The 1366 socket will be the extreme board using the 32nn chips & 6 to 8 cores processors in the next year or so. The 1155 socket will be the mainstream board with the highend chip falling at the same performance/price as the current i7 920/ i7 950... Hence they don't want two chip sets at the same level.


Discontinued?? That fast????....

They are fairley new, I can't wait till the i5's come out and see their real-world performance. Kinda worried that Intel is creating some kind of scheme when it comes to the new 32nm chips comming out so fast.....IMO if they would have lowered the prices on the whole i7 lineup in the first place, AMD would have been a thing of the past and their profits would have doubled or tripled in no time....Don't know who is doing the marketing strategy at MS but the whole point of Intel is to be the only company to mass-produce CPU's. I guess they prefer to overprice and sell less as opposed to cut prices and sell more, for some reason it does not make any sense.
July 17, 2009 4:08:24 PM

I agree with you... I don't understand why Intel would come out with two board sockets at two different price /performance points. Intel would've continued to gain the market by cutting cost of the i7 to combat the price to performance ratio AMD has over Intel. Now the Intel group will have to choose Extreme or Mainstream and AMD has one board for both.
July 17, 2009 5:54:35 PM

Mainstream desktop is 1156.

Workstation is 1366.

I guess their plan for 6 and 8 cores on X58 while only 2 and 4 on LGA1156 is a good idea.

the guys with 1366 will just get one of the 6 or 8 cores instead of a new build as they will offer better performance and still have the money spare from what they would have spent on a new build to buy a graphics card.

so I'd guess Intel aimed i7 at the people with $1500 budget's, so when upgrading to the 6 or 8 core, ~$1000 for the CPU, and $500 for a Gfx card and maybe some other stuff. Maybe they're introducing Larrabee around the same time as the release of one of these CPU's.
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