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$1,200 - $1,500 Gaming PC Build

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July 20, 2009 2:25:23 PM

I'm sure this question has been asked a billion times on here and I know it's probably redundant. Any help though would be greatly appreciated. I am some what computer savvy, nothing crazy though. I want to build my first desktop PC for gaming and with so many options out there and opinions I feel totally overwhelmed. I am open to any ideas, I am not loyal to one brand or another, excepts video card (I would prefer Nvidia BFG since they have lifetime warranty) and I was thinking of going with the new Core i7 processor. I would like Blu-Ray capabilities if possible but if it's going to blow my budget could live without it for now.


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within a month or so

BUDGET RANGE: US $1,200-$1,500

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: 99% Gaming, some movies too though. Need and HDMI connection for TV connection

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Speakers, mouse. Need everything else.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: No preference

PARTS PREFERENCES: Nvidia, open to everything else. Like the Core i7 but would be open to any competition

OVERCLOCKING: Yes not sure how though

Maybe SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Gonna need this as well, would like a wide screen

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I'm not looking for anything flashy, just want the best performance for this price range. I am a big ArmA 2 fan and want this game to run on highest possible settings with good FPS.

More about : 200 500 gaming build

July 20, 2009 3:01:19 PM

This question is asked a lot here but its a different answer for most people that ask it. This is because most people have different needs and wants for their computer and people here will give you advice to optmize the computer parts that target your needs and want apropiatly.

Here's a shot at a rig for ya...

Monitor:
ASUS VH242H Black 23.6" 5ms HDMI Full 1080P Widescreen - Theres a great sale going on for these $170

WD Blac 640gb - $75

Windows Vista Home Premium w/ windows 7 upgrade free - $110

I7 920 and EVGA GTX 295 This graphics card has a hdmi port built into it (but comes at a hefty price tag). $765

PSU and Case - corsair 750tx and CM HAF 932 - $238

MB and Ram - Asus p6t and OCZ gold 1600 - 287

This will put you over budget at 1645 - about 45 in rebates.

Now for your optical drive
Sony Blue-ray reader - $95
or pick some cheapo dvd/cd burner ~$25

I know this puts you over budget but it'd be one powerful rig...

Having the HDMI request is a bit difficult to deal with so that's why i went with the vidoe card i selected. If this price range is out of sight, then you'd have to drop the vidoe card and add some sort of TV tuner which of course costs extra money. I would think it'd be better to have one unit that can do it all for you vs have to weaker units. The gtx 295 is the only card that i know of that has support for an hdmi port? (*disclaimer* i might be wrong on this?)
July 20, 2009 4:12:14 PM

Thanks a lot for the help! It does put me over budget by a couple hundred. I guess If I downgrade the video card a bit I can get closer to my price range. This is a nice system though! Thanks again.
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July 20, 2009 4:16:12 PM

+1 to kubes's suggestions... very well done sir.

When you say you need HDMI for TV connection, what exactly do you mean? Do you want to be able to plug your computer into your TV monitor? My TV has a VGA port for that, so I wouldn't know about anything else.

Most people want HDMI to be able to play their Xbox on their computer monitor, but that requires an HDMI port on the monitor, not on the actual computer.
July 20, 2009 4:24:15 PM

I currently have a laptop that I plug into my TV via HDMI. I have an external HDD with a ton of movies on it and I plug my tv into the laptop via HDMI cable which I connect the HDD to as well. Then I watch my movies that way, maybe I don't need it to view movies in HD?? I'm not sure...It goes like this.

External HDD/Laptop via USB/HDMI out Laptop/HDMI in TV

Hope this wasn't too confusing. The only reason I say I need the HDMI is because I want the movie quality to be good when watching it from the pc to the tv, but again maybe it doesn't make a difference. If it would be a cost saver I can do without it, just as long as I can still view my movies in HD.
July 20, 2009 4:39:05 PM

That's confusing... hahaha

I'd save yourself some hassle, and just get yourself a decent DVD (or BlueRay) player and hook it up to the TV, or keep doing what your doing now, it won't look any better or worse, it'll just be more convenient... and cheaper.
July 20, 2009 4:46:34 PM

I know! LOL!

Problem is I'm selling the laptop so I can build this computer. So in order to watch my movies on the HDD it has to be connected to the tv somehow. I'll figure it out one way or another : )
July 20, 2009 4:47:43 PM

The first step will be getting my wife to allow me to spend the extra money! LOL! :lol: 
July 20, 2009 6:06:26 PM

For HDMI, I would recommend an ATI card, they have 7.1 Loseless sound over HDMI. The P6T is a powerful board, the i7 920 is a good chip with the prices today.
The only changes I would make is maybe change the case, it's a hate/love thing, do you like red? maybe you want to check out an Antec 902 or another similar case, you can check the 900, the 1200. It's really up to you :) 
My only concern here is the CPU cooler and Video card; here's some recommendations: Dark Knight for a CPU cooler, 40$ is very cheap and worth it, #1 choice, it'll make your system more happy overall and if you want to OC your chip, go ahead :D 
For video card; I recommend an HD 4890 from HIS, if you can afford two, go ahead, it'll be a lot better. One comes at 190$ with free shipping.
The cpu, alone is 280 and free shipping so it's a good deal. Link
With two cards, it comes down to 660$ and free shipping, about 100$ less than the GTX 295, there's no built in HDMI port, but there's a converter coming in the package and works like a charm :) 
July 20, 2009 6:26:43 PM

So where exactly does the CPU cooler go? Does that replace the heatsink on the motherboard? Sorry, I never built my own before. So if I were to use the ATI card I could save money and I would be able to purchase 2 for SLI? Only problem there is I think the other card has two gpu's built in and in the case of ArmA 2 which doesn't support SLi at the moment, I kind of lose the power of the second card right?

Either way I appreciate the alternative options. :D 
July 20, 2009 7:40:14 PM

Yes you can buy a second card to put them in CrossFire (same as SLI but with ATI cards). You loose the power of one card, but it's still wayyyyyyyyy too much than you need :D 
The CPU cooler would replace the one coming with the CPU, although it's a lot more powerful (cools better which gives you more headroom for OC/longevity).
July 21, 2009 11:55:24 AM

Coda81 said:
Thanks a lot for the help! It does put me over budget by a couple hundred. I guess If I downgrade the video card a bit I can get closer to my price range. This is a nice system though! Thanks again.



As noted above i went with the expenesive gtx 295 (aka the best single card solution on the market currently) because it has a built in hdmi port into the card. I was tryign to kill two birds with one stone for you. If shnur is correct about the adapter then I'd go that route as it would then get you under budget.
July 21, 2009 12:32:43 PM

if you have a microcenter or frys nearby, you should be able to get the 920 for $200 (~$220 with tax) giving you an extra $80 to spend somewhere else
July 22, 2009 11:16:59 AM

kubes said:
As noted above i went with the expenesive gtx 295 (aka the best single card solution on the market currently) because it has a built in hdmi port into the card. I was tryign to kill two birds with one stone for you. If shnur is correct about the adapter then I'd go that route as it would then get you under budget.


I understand, but how does the other card stack up against this one? Problem is that ArmA 2 doesn't supports SLI/Crossfire and I'm not sure if that is going to change at some point. So in this case if I went with the cheaper card I'm really only going to get the power of one of those cards and not both. If this cards is no match for the GTX 295 what would be my next best option for a little less money?
July 22, 2009 2:46:46 PM

The gtx 295 is simlar to two gtx 275's in sli...(just a tad bit slower). a gtx 275 is ussualy matched up agaisnt ati's 4890. Graphics Card Hierarchy Chart -> maybe a list/article to help you decide

My opipion is yes the gtx 295 is a much faster card than a 4890..but very few games/applications really require the power of a gtx295. Its still overkill for just about anything.

July 22, 2009 3:13:55 PM

Ok, a little googling here and I've found that "some" nVidia video cards have onboard audio, and all 4000 generation ati cards have onboard audio, so the "DVI to HDMI" converter that comes with the ati cards should allow you to hook up your computer with only an HDMI cable (plus the converter that comes w/ the GPU).

Here's a post regarding ati 4890 and HDMI:
http://www.rage3d.com/BOARD/showthread.php?t=33946408

With that, I've come up w/ this (no HDMI cable):

Case:
Antec 300
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$60

PSU:
Corsair 650w
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$100 - $10 MIR

CPU/mobo combo:
i7 920 + Gigabyte UD4P
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
$515 - $20 MIR

Memory/GPU combo:
HIS 4890 + OCZ gold 6GB (3x2gb) DDR3 1600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
$283 - $10 MIR

HD:
Samsung Spinpoint 1TB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$85

CD/DVD/Blu-Ray:
Pioneer BD-ROM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$97

CPU Heatsink/fan:
Xigmatek Dark Knight
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$45

Thermal Grease:
Arctic Silver 5
$9

Monitor:
Asus 23.6" 1920x1080
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$200 - $10 MIR

Keyboards:
I suggest either go cheap and easy:
Lite On -- $7
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Or go for a quality keyboard:
Logitech G11 -- $59
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total w/o Keyboard: $1395 - $50 MIR + shipping

If I was to spend any more money though, I'd probably bump the Antec 300 up to an Antec 900 or 902 or Coolermaster HAF 932 or 922 and get the G11 keyboard, although I found a forum where someone said they were 'upgrading' from a 900 to a 300. That's not to say the 300 isn't a great case, it's just likely to get a little cramped with the Dark Knight and the 4890 and it's not a flashy case by any means. 300 review -- http://forum.****/general/12017-antec-three-hundred-ultimate-budget-case.html

Hope this helps you out.

Edit: I really should follow your preferences...If you are dead set on an nVidia and/or BFG card, I suggest one of these 2 for only a slight increase in cost (although performance should be similar to the 4890 and I haven't looked up DVI/HDMI conversion for these two, but you have google at your disposal as well):

Gigabyte GTX275
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$205 - $20 MIR

BFG Tech GTX275
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$240 - $20 MIR

If you do drop down to a GTX260, make sure it has 216 stream processors, the 192s just don't cut it.
!