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$1200 Gaming PC

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July 24, 2009 5:29:45 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within a week

BUDGET RANGE: $1100-1300

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com

PARTS PREFERENCES: by brand or type Intel, Nvidia

OVERCLOCKING: No (might try it in the future)

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No (at least not anytime soon)

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: First off, thanks in advance for any help! This is my first build and I'm excited to get started. I'm hoping to learn a lot and end up with a pretty good gaming machine in the process.

In reading these forums and looking for parts online, I did come up with a few questions.

1. What exactly is DO stepping and is it necessary if I'm not planning on OCing?

2. Is a SATA HD still fine at this point? I don't quite understand what the new SSDs offer or if it's worth the increased price.

3. Is everything compatible, specifically the memory and MB? (The MB seems to have a nice set up features for what I need, yet I'm a bit wary based on some of the reviews. Any advice?)

4. There never seems to be a good time to buy computer parts as there is always something new coming soon (directx 11 cards, i5 cores, etc.). Is this build good enough to last a few years and then be upgradable or will these new technologies make it obsolete?

Current Build

Case - $107.49
Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129021

Motherboard - $194.99
GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128375

Processor - $279.99
Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115202

Graphics Card - $239.99
EVGA 896-P3-1170-AR GeForce GTX 275 896MB 448-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130475

Power Supply - $99.99
CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139005

Memory - $99.99
OCZ Gold 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage Desktop Memory Model OCZ3G1600LV6GK
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227365

Hard Drive - $94.99
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drives - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136284

Optical Drive - $25.99
SAMSUNG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner Black IDE Model SH-S222A - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827151175

CPU Fan - $31.98
ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro 92mm CPU Cooler - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835186134

Thermal Paste - $4.99
Tuniq TX-2 Cooling Thermal Compound - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835154003

Total - $1180.39

Once again, thanks for any advice you can give.

More about : 1200 gaming

July 24, 2009 5:56:32 AM

Theres absolutely no doubt that Ci7 is the most powerful cpu , but that wont make a better gaming machine when games are limited by the gfx cards .
Toms recently built two identically priced systems . One had a ci7 and 4870's in crossfire , the other had a phenom 955 and 4890's in crossfire
Same price.

The phenom spanked the intel

You can save atleast $100 building with an AMD quad

EDIT : are you 100% sure the cpu cooler actually fits an i7 ?
July 24, 2009 8:08:54 AM

whoa whoa whoa, don't lie to the man. the phenom didn't even win, let alone 'spank' anyone.

that's a fine build, although I could get a nice 120mm cooler like a Xigmatek S1283, Scythe Mugen 2, Coolermaster V8, TRUE, etc.
Related resources
Anonymous
July 24, 2009 10:59:35 AM

Why the IDE optical drive? The SATA Samsungs keep going out of stock but they come back in stock the next day if you keep checking. Just get any of the SH223's (Q, L, B, whatever), they're all about the same.
July 24, 2009 2:11:50 PM

Another +1 for getting SATA drive instead of IDE - no reason to have the ribbon cable in there.

For games, GPUs are very important, but if I was going to spend $1200, I'd get myself and i7, but the Phenom II suggestion is a nice one as well.
July 24, 2009 3:05:35 PM

Combos are your friend, and will save you a bunch, if you ever intend to SLI you are going to need a 750 watt PSU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
And you can get the same motherboard and ram for less just by looking at the combos
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

And the Phenom II did beat the i7 in bunch of the gaming tests but the i7 provided significantly less of a CPU bottle neck, so i would still suggest going with the i7.
July 24, 2009 3:10:12 PM

that heatsink won't cool the i7, the stock fan will probably do better on the i7 than the freezer series.
July 25, 2009 4:46:12 AM

Quote:
EDIT : are you 100% sure the cpu cooler actually fits an i7 ?

Actually, I don't know for sure. After closer inspection, it doesn't appear that it will fit. Thanks for pointing that out.
Quote:
although I could get a nice 120mm cooler like a Xigmatek S1283, Scythe Mugen 2, Coolermaster V8, TRUE, etc.

Are there any recommendations for a heat sink/fan that will definitely fit the i7 core?
Quote:
Why the IDE optical drive?

Because I totally wasn't paying attention. Thanks for pointing that out, will make the switch immediately.
Quote:
Combos are your friend, and will save you a bunch,

Thanks, I will check those out!

Thanks everyone for the tips, I really appreciate it. So, other than switching out the IDE drive and finding a new CPU cooler, the rest of the components are a go?
July 25, 2009 5:10:26 AM

Here is one item you should get, specially when buying a Bottom mounted PSU Case. Unless you want to have your 8-pin PSU to mobo power cable running across the length of your mobo.


1ST PC CORP. 12" 8-pin EPS extension cable Model CB-8M-8F $7.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
July 25, 2009 5:22:32 AM

This cooler fits the LGA 1366 socket and includes the backplate.

XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $44.98

Here's a couple SATA DVD burners:

SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $26.99

SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 22X DVD-R 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner LightScribe Support - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $28.99
July 25, 2009 6:54:40 PM

Quote:
Here is one item you should get, specially when buying a Bottom mounted PSU Case. Unless you want to have your 8-pin PSU to mobo power cable running across the length of your mobo.

1ST PC CORP. 12" 8-pin EPS extension cable Model CB-8M-8F $7.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6812706004

Thanks!

shortstuff_mt said:
This cooler fits the LGA 1366 socket and includes the backplate.

XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $44.98

Here's a couple SATA DVD burners:

SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $26.99

SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 22X DVD-R 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner LightScribe Support - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $28.99

Thanks, I will check those out!
July 25, 2009 11:52:49 PM

astrodudepsu said:
whoa whoa whoa, don't lie to the man. the phenom didn't even win, let alone 'spank' anyone.

that's a fine build, although I could get a nice 120mm cooler like a Xigmatek S1283, Scythe Mugen 2, Coolermaster V8, TRUE, etc.


The article is here
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/phenom-versus-i7,23...

At high resolutions and graphics settings the Phenom build is usually ahead of the i7 build and often well ahead

whoa whoa whoa, don't lie to the man .
Its obvious when you do, and it just makes it clear you are a sad fanboy
July 26, 2009 12:46:47 AM

Outlander_04 said:
The article is here
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/phenom-versus-i7,23...

At high resolutions and graphics settings the Phenom build is usually ahead of the i7 build and often well ahead

whoa whoa whoa, don't lie to the man .
Its obvious when you do, and it just makes it clear you are a sad fanboy

Outlander_04: The article shows the 955 does better in gaming with BETTER video cards. If you look at the 955 & i7 920 with equal GPU's than the i7 920 is far better!!

If you are on a tight budget, AMD is the way to go to get the best performance in gaming. If you have a budget to support the i7 920 with equal GPU power, then the i7 920 is the way to go!!!
July 26, 2009 1:54:49 AM

tecmo34 said:
The 280 is an old GPU that is OBS now. The 275 has similar performance and runs cooler than the 280.



huh interesting did not know that good call.

If heat wasnt a issue what would be the better performer?
July 26, 2009 2:33:54 AM

tecmo34 said:

If you have a budget to support the i7 920 with equal GPU power, then the i7 920 is the way to go!!!



I agree , but there are caveats .

First is that LCD monitors refresh at 60 HZ . This is 60 times a second , so any graphics rig that exceeds 60 FPS is a waste , because the person sitting in front of the monitor never sees the fps reported .
Older games used to cap their out put at 60 fps so they didnt damage older tech monitors

The second point to make is that the OP has a budget of $1200 . If gaming performance is the only thing thats important then he can build a more powerful gaming system using phenom than he can using i7 .
As a bonus phenom systems show less difference between max fps and minimum fps than i7 systems do . You might not notice the max fps but you can see the minimums

Thirdly there are a number of benchmarks showing that ci7 and a single nVidia card often works out to have poor performance .
These benches are all with a single GTX 260
http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/phenom2_955/8.h...
Something a bit strange is happening in these benches but there are other reviews that get the same sort of result . i7 doesnt like a single gpu nVidia cards , but would show a different result with a single ATI card
Nvidia told customers not to buy i7 cpu's for gaming


For the same $1200 the op could build a system like

Phenom 955 be
790 fx mb
4 gig of DDR3
4870 X2 , or [if he is careful with other components] a GTX 295

And that will walk all over his proposed i7/gtx 275 build in games
July 26, 2009 3:02:28 AM

I agree with you 100% Outlander_04.

If you read my statement, I said if you have the budget for equal GPU horsepower, the Core i7 920 is better. He doesn't have the budget to do that, so your build/suggestion is the way to go for gaming.
!