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Help me choose parts (~1600$ budget)

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August 3, 2009 6:09:00 PM

Hey there everyone,
I need help choosing parts for a new system I'm putting together. I need everything BUT the GPU, as I have a 4890 and will be purchasing a second soon.

This is first and foremost a gaming rig. After gaming, it's a media rig (watch movies, listen to music, etc). It will also be a "work" rig and will be in my bedroom, so the quieter the better.

I WILL be overclocking, but not "crazy" amounts (IE, I don't want to go LN2 or water cooling). I'd like to get an i7 to 4.0ghz on air.

As previously mentioned, I'd like to go the Intel route. A nice monitor would be a plus, but not required (have a 22 inch that could tide me over until I can get enough for a new monitor)


So, what can 1600-1800 get you these days for a gaming rig? Remember I already have the GPU.
August 3, 2009 6:18:21 PM

I suggest you do a little research and put a draft parts list together from Newegg and then come back and post your list of parts with links. Then people can make recommendations from there. Picking out the parts and doing research is the funnest part anyway.
August 3, 2009 6:22:20 PM

sounds like you are already choosing an i7, which is what you want in that price range. You can save a lot on MBs if you don't need 3xsli @x16. Toms just did a roundup of sub $200 boards. After that it gets pretty easy to put the rest together.
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August 3, 2009 6:24:46 PM

jdbaker82,
thanks for the response. I've actually put a lot of parts together, I just don't know if it's getting the best "bang for my buck" so to speak. Here is what I have currently:

Case: CoolerMaster ATSC 840
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$190.00

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$95.00

Monitor: Hanns-G 281DPB Black 27.5 inch
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$310.00

PSU: Corsair 1000 watt
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$240.00

RAM: Mushkin 6GB DDR3 1600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$144.00

Motherboard (THIS is where I really need help): EVGA X58 SLI A-1
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$300.00

CPU: Core i7 920
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$280.00

Optical drive: used from old system

CPU cooler: thinking Prolimatech Megahalem or Cogage TRUE Spirit


Im thinking of going with the 1000 watt corsair incase I want to do tri-fire or tri-SLI in the future. I feel really silly running ATi cards on an EVGA board. Will there be any performance hit? :/ 
August 3, 2009 6:34:31 PM

Have you considered the Phenom II 955 at all? I originally was going to go with a Intel build until I realized I could get nearly the same performance for cheaper AND have a futureproof AM3 board.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/phenom-versus-i7,23...

Check this board out

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

and one of the many great reviews for this board here.

http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/asus_crosshair_iii_...

My order just went through today I will post it in a little all for $1100.
August 3, 2009 6:39:56 PM

I've considered AMD but I've heard the i7 bests the best AMD offerings in just about every benchmark - I also heard somewhere that Windows 7 (soon-to-be OS of choice) is being optimized for Intel CPU's. I don't know if that's just marketing flair or if it's actually true, but better safe than sorry right?
August 3, 2009 6:40:03 PM

Obviously this is a somewhat budget build but it really doesn't skimp on much and is a pretty top of the line AMD build. Since you will be running Crossfire 4890's you could go with a bigger PSU but 750W would probably be sufficient.

AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core $215.00

. 1 Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM
$17.99

. 1 COOLER MASTER HAF 932 RC-932-KKN1-GP Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer $159.99

. 1 SAPPHIRE TOXIC Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP $174.99

. 1 CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 $119.99

. 1 Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders w/ Tech $109.99

. 1 ASUS Crosshair III Formula AM3 AMD 790FX ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
It $199.99

. 1 G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual $74.99

. 1 Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" $74.99

. 1 XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler - Retail
$36.61

. 1 Arctic Silver ACN-60ML (2-PC-SET) Thermal material Remover & Surface Purifier - $5.99
August 3, 2009 6:51:10 PM

I would go with the Asus P6T deluxe V2 rather than the EVGA. It had some problems, but Asus finally got it together and got it right with the newer bios updates. EVGA is on my ****list right now due to bad boards and even worse customer service. Every bad board I've sent to them they have sent back unrepaired claiming "damage".

Also, the memory is way too expensive for what you are getting. Try the OCZ gold or platinum 1600mhz. Both overclock really well and are in the $100 range.

Do you already have a HDtv in your bedroom? If so it might make more sense to use it as your monitor...depends on your setup and if you have a dedicated desk, but if you plan on using the computer "from bed" it might be better.

The case is also a little pricey unless you need all of its features for some reason. You might try searching newegg for 5 egg rated cases, and you'll find several in the $100 range that are similar and should meet your needs.
August 3, 2009 6:57:39 PM

Good post belial2k!

The P6T deluxe V2 is another mobo I've been looking at. I've also been eying the Rampage II Extreme, but I don't think I'll be doing "extreme" enough overclocking with it to justify the price (plus, it's an OLD board as far as x58 mobos go!)

I've heard people having problems getting that OCZ 1600mhz memory to run at it's advertised speeds. I've never tried OCZ memory (always been a G.SKILL man myself) but would it be better than the Mushkin?

No I do not have an HDTV in my room (We have a 52 inch Samsung downstairs, but unfortunately it's no-go as far as PC hookup :(  ) so I'm trying to find a nice, big monitor for gaming that won't ghost and won't cost 1000$.. Pretty daunting task :p 

As for case - I'm honestly debating between the 840, CoolerMaster HAF 932, Antec 1200 and Thermaltake SUMO. They all seem like great cases. I like the 932 (owned one in previous system) but I HATED the interior color so I had to paint it - went well but it was a hassle. It seems like a better case than the 1200 though
August 3, 2009 7:06:39 PM

For 2 4890, go with a core i7. Lately Asus is giving me many headaches. If I was buying stuff for you I would pass on the P6T.

Go on Asus forums motherboard section and judge after that. Do it for any motherboard you plan to purchase... could save you a lot of trouble... do not make the same mistakes I have done.
August 3, 2009 7:10:55 PM

redgarl, (off topic but is your Avatar from Neon Genesis Evangelion? :p )
I've actually never owned an ASUS board, so if reliability is a common issue with ASUS then I will pass. I've always been a fan of stability and reliability in my parts - Gigabyte motherboards, PCP&C powersupplies, Mushkin RAM... SO reliability is important to me!
August 3, 2009 7:26:16 PM

I've done several builds with the OCZ on the P6T Deluxe v2 and never had any issue...but if you are a g-skill man they have a few options in the $100 price range also. The Mushkin is overpriced on todays market for what it is...When it comes to memory people often don't know how to set it manually, and just plug it in and expect rated speed. Speed is somewhat overrated as several guides have shown (including a recent one here on Toms)...you often get better results from tighter timings and lower speeds. Bottom line here, don't pay over $100 for the memory. You will gain nothing in performance and lose money.
Don't get the rampage extreme...it is strictly for ln2 guys. Absolutely no reason for a home build to need one.
I personally like the Haf932, but there are a ton of choices that will save you a little money and have similar features as your original, so if the HAF is not your thing I'm sure you'll find something by doing a newegg search.
Too bad on the HDtv situation. Something to keep in mind on your build, though. If you plan on doing 3x4890 you will be either really future proof @ 19x12, or you'll need a monitor capable of 25x16 to take advantage of it now. That is way overkill for standard resolutions, and unless you have a huge monitor the higher resolutions will be too small to be useful. You might keep your eyes peeled for specials on 42" inch LCD HDtvs. I've seen them in the $600 range, with what you save on other components you might be able to squeeze one into your budget.
August 3, 2009 7:29:06 PM

I forgot to mention, the P6T series had some growing pains in the past, but to be fair all the x58 boards did. Right now its about as reliable as they get.
August 3, 2009 7:33:20 PM

Yeah I'm trying to resist the urge to buy parts for a "bragging rights" PC (It's hard! :p ) but I DO want a PC that will be able to perform excellently in all games at 1920x1200 into the foreseeable future. Would 3 4890's really be overkill for gaming at 1920x1200 with AA/AF enabled? The price point is only slightly higher than a single GTX 295.

My biggest concerns are gaming performance and longevity - I'd like to just have to upgrade the GPU over the course of the next couple years as opposed to a full system rebuild.
August 3, 2009 7:47:21 PM

Trust me, the i7 is the king of the hill for the forseeable future. 2x4890s will outperform a gtx295, so look at its benchmarks in games @ 19x12 to get an idea of what you'll be beating with just TWO....add a third and in my opinion it will be overkill, but would make for a good future upgrade if you ever feel you need more graphics punch....and by then the prices will be pretty low on the "older" technology. Just ignore the urge to buy every new technology that comes out (you won't need it) and you'll have a system that should last 3 to 5 yrs and play every game you can throw at it...until the i7 and 3x4890 (or whatever the equivelant in performance is at that time, probably a 7870 or something) becomes the mainstream, then it will be time to upgrade or build a new system.
August 3, 2009 7:48:55 PM

I have a Corsair 650 powering 2 MSI GTX260's in a Gigabyte P45 board that supports crossfire. I am not interested in SLI or Crossfire. When I am not gaming I can process SETI with the 2 GPU's. The 650 also powers 2 Asus DVD burners, 2 Samsung 1TB drives (raided) and 2 Seagate 1.5TB drives.
So what I am getting at is I think that the Corsair 1000 is a little overkill..

Everything is mounted in a Antec 900 case, btw the cpu is a Intel Q9550.

Also I can run Left4Dead at 1920x1200 with full settings and everything looks beautiful on my Dell 24inch.
August 3, 2009 7:53:31 PM

Thanks for the help everyone!

kc5sym, I think you are right - I want a little leg room, so would the 850watt Corsair provide ample room for tri-crossfire or future power hungry cards?
August 3, 2009 7:54:32 PM

Also - is it worth getting an independent sound card like the X-Fi gamer cards? I will be buying some nice headphones in the future (200-300$), but are they any better than onboard nowadays?
August 3, 2009 7:59:57 PM

As for sound most Mboards these day have perfectly adequate sound, so unless you are a sound fanatic, then I think the built in sound should be fine.
August 3, 2009 8:08:10 PM

+1...onboard sound is more than adequate...real world performance is just as good as the addin boards unless you plan on running a recording studio with it...but for output to headphones/speakers/receiver you will gain no noticeable sound improvement.
August 3, 2009 8:09:35 PM

oh, but if you do go 3x4890 you'll want that 1000w psu.
August 3, 2009 8:33:24 PM

Would 2 4890's be sufficient for running the most demanding games @ 1920x1200? And would it be a better idea to get a board capable of 3-way crossfire (even if I only have 2 cards for the time being)?
August 3, 2009 9:07:56 PM

How is the Foxconn Bloodrage? HardOCP didn't like it very much, but how is it for performance/reliability? I love the looks, but obviously looks don't matter.
August 3, 2009 10:29:38 PM

For now 2x4890s @ 19x12 will play almost anything with the settings cranked, with maybe the exception of games on the crysis engine. I can't comment on the Bloodrage, never used it in any of my builds. Here is an article on sub $200 x58 boards you might want to check out if you decide not to go with 3 video cards.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cheap-x58-motherboa...
August 3, 2009 11:06:43 PM

I think I'm going to stick with the 1000w corsair, as well as go for a motherboard which supports 3 graphic cards - while I'll only be running 2 4890's for now, I would like the option to add a third later down the road.

Can anyone recommend me a GOOD, STABLE motherboard that will allow moderate to high CPU overclocks and supports 3 GPU's? Price isn't really an issue, but I want to pay for quality and not frivolous components the average PC gamer will never blink at.
August 5, 2009 1:21:23 AM

(bump..)

Can anyone recommend me a GOOD, STABLE motherboard that will allow moderate to high CPU overclocks and supports 3 GPU's? Price isn't really an issue, but I want to pay for quality and not frivolous components the average PC gamer will never blink at.
August 5, 2009 1:34:59 AM

Asus p6t deluxe is my fave, and I think I've tried all the higher end boards. Avoid EVGA and the Asrock Supercomputer...probably the two worst of the hgiher end boards.
August 5, 2009 1:37:29 AM

Whats wrong with EVGA if you don't mind me asking? They have some of the highest average ratings on Newegg (especially the EVGA x58 SLI)
August 5, 2009 1:45:21 AM

overclocking is not as stable or as consistent as with the Asus, and god forbid anything goes wrong after you can return it to newegg. I have never had a successful RMA to EVGA...they always make an excuse not to repair it, or ship to the wrong address, ect... After losing about $2,000 out of my pocket in bad EVGA parts over the last year I swore I would never buy one of their products again.
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