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Critique & Advice on a $1100 complete gaming PC

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Last response: in Systems
August 11, 2009 2:42:59 PM

BUDGET RANGE: Up to $1200





OVERCLOCKING: Maybe in the future


ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: A PC that won't automatically give me away as a huge dork (no window, colored LEDs, etc...)

Here is my current part list:

The CPU is not listed because I will be purchasing it from another website. It is a Core2Duo E8500
The reason that there is more than one type of hard drive listed is that I have not yet decided which I will be purchasing.

Critique and advice is welcomed on all parts, but I would especially like help with:
1. Monitor. It needs to be 1920x1200 and under $350. I am not sure which kind of monitor is optimal for gaming.
2. Power supply: As you can see I am going with a Radeon 4890 (although I may go for a 275 instead if there is a deal when I make the final purchase.) I am absolutely not going to be using more than one video card, and overclocking is a slight possibility in the future. Is my PSU enough? Is it overkill? I would like some other PSU recommendations so I can shop for deals when I make the final purchase.

More about : critique advice 1100 complete gaming

August 11, 2009 5:54:52 PM

Do you want something thats upgrade material or something that has let go of it's last limbs and wont grow anymore.

LGA 775 has stopped making chips a while back, no upgrade path but, still E8500 is a awesome gaming chip.

Theres other options such as the x3 720 / x4 955 in the pII area's.
Related resources
August 18, 2009 6:38:22 AM

Thanks for the replies so far. I've trimmed down the list a bit. The reason I'm going for a C2D build instead of an AMD platform is that I'm getting a really great saving on the CPU through another source. As for that other PSU, it's a bit more expensive than the one I have currently picked out, as long as I can run my 4890 on what I've got right now I'll probably stick with it.
And although 8 GB might be overkill, I might still go with it, just because it seems like RAM is one of those things you can never have enough of.
August 18, 2009 7:02:25 AM

Trust us, you'll have no need for more than 4gb RAM, get this instead - it's a good deal faster than the sticks you picked out:
G.SKILL PI Black 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop

Maybe this PSU:
OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ600MXSP 600W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC

Also, this case has better cooling:
Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower
August 18, 2009 4:23:18 PM

That PSU and case look like good options, especially since the case has free shipping. Comes out to more or less the same cost. I'm wondering about that RAM though, I don't know too much about RAM timing. Why is 4-4-4-12 better than 5-5-5-15? What does that actually mean? And will my motherboard support it?
August 18, 2009 4:46:40 PM

CL = Cas Latency, the lower the number the tighter/faster the ram will be.

the higher the number the looser, not as fast but still good. More stable than a tighter set of ram. But, that doesnt mean the tighter set wont last as long. Anything could happen.
August 18, 2009 4:53:00 PM

Does that $1100 include the price of the CPU? That just seems like an awful lot of money for a c2d build. I know it includes a $300 monitor and some other stuff, but just doesn't sound right.
August 18, 2009 5:10:35 PM

Budget range is $1200.. Why not a AMD x4 955 build?
August 18, 2009 5:31:28 PM

Yes, I agree with the AMD build. Even though you are saving quite a bit on the CPU from your source there is no upgrade path whatsoever. For example, a year from now when you want to get a new CPU you would need a new motherboard and ram also. If you start with an AMD AM3 build now you would have a much better looking upgrade path.
August 18, 2009 5:36:28 PM

Ok, drop the E8500 regardless of the deal you're getting. I'm only going to link the changes. I used the X3 720 because the 945 and 955 are out of stock. The 720 will still be a better option than the E8500. Add $80 for the 955 and you're still within your $1200 budget.

GIGABYTE GA-MA785G-UD3H AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-4GBPQ - Retail

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-4GBPQ - Retail

AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor Model HDZ720WFGIBOX - Retail
SAPPHIRE Vapor-X 100269VXLE Radeon HD 4890 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail

CORSAIR CMPSU-550VX 550W ATX12V V2.2 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power ... - Retail
SAMSUNG DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223L LightScribe Support - OEM

The total is $1082.33 shipped minus a $20 MIR. Jump to the 955 and you're still under budget. Way better off with this than buying a dead end C2D, and spending the same amount of money.
August 18, 2009 6:06:49 PM

Either go 955 route or, wait till the new i5/i7's comes out and prices should drop on the i7 920.
August 18, 2009 6:19:49 PM

Yea agreed with fullmetal, you could actually pull off an i7 build for $1200 without skimping on parts. You can even get the i7 for $200 from microcenter if you have a local one near you and thats the same price as the 955be which is a steal!
August 18, 2009 6:40:37 PM

Hey Waynec, you major'd in computer engineering, what kind of yearly salary does a computer engineer get because I am going to get a bachelors in computer science. This is my 1st year.

I could probably bust out a $1200 rig monitor included. Ill look to see what I can pull up.
August 18, 2009 6:57:45 PM

You can not pull off a $1200 i7 build with everything in his list. Especially with a $300 monitor included. $1360ish shipped, that includes buying the i7 at Microcenter for $200. Not to mention this is a gaming PC. He'd never notice the difference, and will have spent a couple hundred extra $$.
August 18, 2009 7:03:11 PM

Mid $1000 without the monitor, mid $1300's with the monitor.
August 18, 2009 7:13:35 PM

Yea that price sounds about right for a solid i7 build. I pmed you fullmetal so check your inbox.
August 18, 2009 7:19:06 PM

fullmetall said:
Mid $1000 without the monitor, mid $1300's with the monitor.

OMG, what did I just say? :o 
August 18, 2009 7:29:38 PM

lol, looks like you beat me to it.
August 19, 2009 11:14:09 AM

The E8500 was already bought. It cost me $93. I doubt that AMD could offer a better deal. I would have gone for an i7 920 ($140) but the motherboard and DDR3 RAM are just too expensive. i7 platform is not cost effective at this time for gaming. I'm still considering my options for RAM/PSU/case.
August 19, 2009 12:19:14 PM

Well since you already have the E8500, LGA 775 rig wont be that much.

Gigabyte UD3P -------- Mobo

WD Black 1tb / WD Black 640gb / Seagate 7200.12 500gb ------------HDD

DDR2 800 / 1066 OCZ / G.skills / Mushkin -------- Memory

CM Sniper mid atx / CM Scout Mid atx / rc-690 mid atx / antec 1200 full atx ------Case

LG 22x / Samsung 22x / Sony 22x -----Optical Drive

Scythe Mugen 2 / S1283v / Sunbeam CCR-TF --------Heatsink + arctic silver 5 com.

Sapphire 4890 -----GPU

750tx ( for crossfire in future ) / 650tx ( for 1 gpu ) ------------ PSU

Monitor, theres plenty to choose from, Ben-Q 24" / Asus 24" are the main one's i would look at in the 1920x1200 res.
August 27, 2009 1:40:47 PM

Okay guys, thanks for all the advice. Here is what I ended up buying:

1 x COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UB Black /Blue Aluminum Bezel , SECC Chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
1 x GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3L LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
1 x XFX HD-489A-ZDFC Radeon HD 4890 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
1 x PC Power & Cooling Silencer PPCS500D 500W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply compatible with core i7 - Retail
2 x G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-4GBPQ - Retail
1 x Microsoft Comfort Curve 2000 B2L-00047 Black USB Ergonomic Keyboard and Mouse - OEM
1 x SAMSUNG DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223L LightScribe Support - OEM
1 x Rosewill RNX-G300EX IEEE 802.11b/g PCI Wireless Card Up to 54Mbps Data Rates 64/128-Bit WEP, 802.1x, WPA, WPA2, AES, TKIP with 100cm cable external 2 dBi Antenna - Retail1 x Microsoft Xbox 360 Wired Controller
1 x Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
1 x Hanns·G HG-281DPB Black 28" 3ms Widescreen HDMI LCD Monitor - Retail

Right after I purchased this Nvidia came out with their deal of bundling Batman: Arkham Asylum with new cards. Had I waited a day (literally) I probably would have gone for the 275 GTX instead, but oh well.