Critique & Advice on a $1100 complete gaming PC

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.
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  1. 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.
  2. That PSU is close to the edge for powering a 4890, consider the 650TX from corsair, its currently the same price as their 550TX

    You only need 4GB of ram for gaming, you wont get a performance increase from 8GB. Why so many hard drives? You have 3 listed, unless you are going to be doing raid get a 1TB caviar black instead of the two blues.
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. 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?
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Budget range is $1200.. Why not a AMD x4 955 build?
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Either go 955 route or, wait till the new i5/i7's comes out and prices should drop on the i7 920.
  12. 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!
  13. 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.
  14. 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 $$.
  15. Mid $1000 without the monitor, mid $1300's with the monitor.
  16. Yea that price sounds about right for a solid i7 build. I pmed you fullmetal so check your inbox.
  17. fullmetall said:
    Mid $1000 without the monitor, mid $1300's with the monitor.

    OMG, what did I just say? :o
  18. lol, looks like you beat me to it.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
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