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[CPU / MOBO / GPU] Budget Gaming System

Last response: in CPUs
November 6, 2009 6:01:56 PM

Hello everyone,
I'm doing research to build a new budget gaming system for myself. Over the past 8 years i have built myself very expensive gaming systems ($3k-$4k) and i am begining to relize that, for me, this is wasteful.
I've not been in touch with the hardware scene for sometime and currently lack the proper knowledge to make an informed decision.

I've done some research on my own and was settling in with an idea of what i wanted. But after reading the CPU Guide Sticky, i find myself unsure if i am going down the rigth path.

I've been partial to Intel and nVidia in the past and i admit this has played a role in my current decision making process. If i have made the wrong choice somewhere please advise me what the better options are.

Budget: $1000 - $1200 Canadian Dollars
Case - Antec Nine Hundred


Mobo - MSI P55-GD65 LGA 1156
$149.99 after $20.00 Mail-In Rebate

CPU - Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1156

GPU - EVGA 896-P3-1257-AR GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 Superclocked Edition
$202.49 after $10.00 Mail-In Rebate

Memory - OCZ Platinum 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600

DVD - Sony Optiarc Black

HDD - Western Digital Caviar Blue WD2500AAKS 250GB 7200 RPM x2 (RAID - 0)

Total: $1,074.92

My questions/Doubts:
  • After reading the CPU Buyer's guide, i am confused, is the processor not recommended or the Processor/Socket combination not recommended.
  • The guide also indicated that the LGA-1156 does not support 16X-16X SLi. To me, a 5-10% increase is not worth spending money on. Is the difference significant to justify spending more?
  • The notes on the power supply say its "Crossfire Ready" I do plan on going SLI in a couple months following getting the new system. Will this be a problem?
  • Operating system: 32bit vs 64bit. As i said this is primarily a gaming system. I know that once i get to around 6-8GB of RAM, then a 64bit system with a fast processor really starts to shine. I do plan to upgrade RAM as well eventually but again, is it worth the money and will it add to the longevity of the system.

    I appreciate feedback and better options if they are available. Please keep in mind that I reside in Canada and all values listed are in Canadian Dollars

    a b à CPUs
    November 6, 2009 6:16:16 PM

    Here are my recommended changes. All $ in Canadian.

    Corsair CMPSU-650TX 650W - $99.99 after rebate.

    Sapphire HD 4890 - $206.99

    Gigabyte GA-P55-UD3R LGA 1156 - $149

    G. Skill (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR3 1333 - $58.49
    November 6, 2009 6:19:58 PM

    For the same price as the GTX260, you can get a 4890 on the ATI side of things. It is faster on average, but not by a significant margin (10-20%).

    The x16-x16 PCIe mode isn't a big difference, in fact it will almost never become a problem. Other parts of the motherboard will be obsolete long before the PCIe bandwidth is a problem.

    The PSU is more than capable of running SLI or CF.

    Personally I would go with 4GB of ram and a 32bit OS, but many people would say that 64bit is widely supported enough that it doesn't matter.

    Directx 11 is out now, and ATI has their series of DX11 cards out. nVidia has yet to release theirs, and rumors are saying it wont be out in quantity this year. You might want to consider spending another $100 or so to get a Radeon 5850 (they aren't even listed on neweggs canadian site apparently).

    You have your hard drive listed as $99, but it's actually $49. For $80 you can get a much faster and higher capacity drive:
    Related resources
    November 6, 2009 6:58:18 PM

    Thank you both for the feed back! I did some more reading up on the ATI 4890 and i am starting to see why you guys say its a better option.

    Is there a reason other than the price difference for the Mobo recommendation?
    Also, why the RAM change, on first glance, the Timings and the clock speed of the ram you listed is slower and its a few dollars more expensive. Can you please explain?

    Thanks for the info on PCI bandwith. I wont worry about it too much.
    The Hard drive was supposed to be x2 (i will configure them in Raid 0, thats why i said $99.98, $49.99x2)

    General question about Video Card
    What about this one

    Is the 4890 still better than it?
    a b à CPUs
    November 6, 2009 11:38:52 PM

    Routaran said:
    Is there a reason other than the price difference for the Mobo recommendation?
    Also, why the RAM change, on first glance, the Timings and the clock speed of the ram you listed is slower and its a few dollars more expensive. Can you please explain?

    General question about Video Card
    What about this one

    Is the 4890 still better than it?

    Gigabyte is a better motherboard provider. More stable, more efficient, more reliable. There is the issue with the Gigabyte board having just 1 PCI-e x16 slot. However, I rarely recommend Crossfire or SLI. It's better to sell off the old card and use that towards the purchase of a more modern card. You get newer features, use less power, generate less internal heat and not all games do well with Crossfire or SLI.

    RAM clock speed and timing are generally imperceptible to the average user. Especially as minor a difference as these are. The big change is voltage. The OCZ RAM is already running at 1.9 volts. That's high for DDR3. The G. Skill runs at just 1.5 volts. That makes a motherboard happy.

    As for the video card choice, things get more slippery here as personal choice plays a bigger role.

    The HD 4890 will still outperform it but requires more power. And the HD 5770 has DX11 if you're using Vista or Win7. But it's out of stock. Both will outperform the GTX260 on average.
    November 7, 2009 5:09:41 PM

    Thank you for the info Viper! The RAM voltage is not something i was aware of. I realize high voltage will probably result in high temps which will degrade performance in the long run so I will take your advice on that and get the G.Skill instead.

    Can you give me more info about the Gigabyte board? what is the problem with it?

    Another question about the processor/mobo in general. I picked the Intel side because it seemed to offer better performance. But AMD has traditionally been cheaper and slightly more geared towards gaming. Are there AMD options that will perform as good as the i5 for the same price or should i just stick with that i got?

    Lastly, I understand what you are saying about the SLI/Crossfire. Selling the old card and getting a better one does have its own merit and is most certainly the more economical option. Certainly a very important factor as price is a major concern for me, but if i do end up going dual with the 4890, is the 850W PSU good enough or do i need something bigger?
    a b à CPUs
    November 7, 2009 5:16:09 PM

    The only issue with the board is it has just 1 PCi-e x16 slot so for those who intend to go CrossFire will be out of luck. And an 850 watts PSU will supply enough power as long as it also has ~50 amps on the 12v rails (if you don't know, tell me the brand and model of the PSU).

    AMD does have a price to performance advantage is many cases but Intel still leads in performance overall. But at this point they are practically the exact same price (the AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition is $195.99).

    November 7, 2009 7:20:44 PM

    this is the mobo i am looking at
    The specs say it has 2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots
    so that should be fine for crossfire right?

    also the specs for the mobo u linked said it was CrossFireX capable. whats the difference between CrossfireX and Crossfire?

    and this is the PSU

    Output +3.3V@30A, +5V30A, +12V@70A, -12V@0.8A, +5VSB@3A
    So the PSU should be good