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Building mid-range gaming system

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August 12, 2009 1:08:19 AM

Being without a desktop for 2 years (laptop), I've decided to build my own. I have an old PC but I need to build a new one from start and after seeking some advice on EggXpert I just figured I'd post my build at this point, see if I can get even more feedback.

http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx...

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

ASRock M3A780GXH/128M AM3 AMD 780G HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard

XFX HD-485X-ZDFC Radeon HD 4850 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported

OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ600MXSP 600W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular

Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Western Digital Caviar Black WD7501AALS 750GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive - OEM

AMD Phenom II X3 710 2.6GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Processor

Total: $608 ($633 shipped)

My budget is $600-$650, I will be gaming, I do want crossfire and if I overclock it will be pretty little.

I'm still contemplating going for the Phenom II 720 instead of the 710, so if anyone has any thoughts on that please post. Otherwise I think I'm set to buy this setup but if there are any mediocre parts, incompatibilities, etc. let me know.

I'm hoping to purchase by the end of the week, I figured I'd post now so I could get plenty of feedback here and elsewhere. Thank you!
August 12, 2009 3:04:54 AM

I'm skeptical of the board until I see actual crossfire numbers. 780G is not supposed to be a crossfire chipset. Unless you have seen solid benchmarks on the board in crossfire?

I would say a 790X board would be the safer choice:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Since it's based on the 790GX chipset, minus the IGP.

Then buy DDR2 RAM:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Maybe you have been told that DDR3 is the future and you want to reuse the RAM in your next build. That's a sound strategy, but not at the sacrifice of performance today.

This way you save money without sacrificing performance, and can get into that 720.
August 12, 2009 3:32:18 AM

Proximon said:
I'm skeptical of the board until I see actual crossfire numbers. 780G is not supposed to be a crossfire chipset. Unless you have seen solid benchmarks on the board in crossfire?

I would say a 790X board would be the safer choice:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Since it's based on the 790GX chipset, minus the IGP.

Then buy DDR2 RAM:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Maybe you have been told that DDR3 is the future and you want to reuse the RAM in your next build. That's a sound strategy, but not at the sacrifice of performance today.

This way you save money without sacrificing performance, and can get into that 720.


Is there a significant difference I'd see between ddr2 and ddr3 ram? I guess what I mean is, your saying that it'd be better to have a crossfire-compatible board, ddr2 ram and the 720 processor?

My worry is that since it's DDR2, I'd need to upgrade not just RAM but also my motherboard whereas I wouldn't really want to upgrade anything to significant (outside of say a graphics card or extra RAM) for a while, is this true or would I not need to worry about that?

Thanks.

EDIT: Based on your suggestion I've upped my system, at a cost of $654 total with shipping but - I combo'd a 1 GB 4870 and the 720 processor, 640 GB 7200 RPM 32 MB cache WD HD and the memory combo'd. So for an extra 20 bucks I got a better processor, better motherboard and a definitely better graphics card. Though I may need to get a better power supply.
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August 12, 2009 5:00:20 AM

Yes, I am saying there is NO difference in performance between DDR3 and DDR2. The only reason to use DDR3 is, as you mention, because it will be cheaper to upgrade in the future.
However, I think 4GB will hold you fine for a few years.

Certainly two 4870s would require more power. Perhaps you should grab the OCZ 500W Stealth for now, and upgrade that later when you feel the need.

You should also get the Caviar Black 640GB instead of the 750GB. It's not much less, but it is the faster drive. This is because of the density of the platters used... 640GB uses two 320GB platters. The 750GB drive uses three 250GB platters.
August 12, 2009 5:10:47 AM

Proximon said:
Yes, I am saying there is NO difference in performance between DDR3 and DDR2. The only reason to use DDR3 is, as you mention, because it will be cheaper to upgrade in the future.
However, I think 4GB will hold you fine for a few years.

Certainly two 4870s would require more power. Perhaps you should grab the OCZ 500W Stealth for now, and upgrade that later when you feel the need.

You should also get the Caviar Black 640GB instead of the 750GB. It's not much less, but it is the faster drive. This is because of the density of the platters used... 640GB uses two 320GB platters. The 750GB drive uses three 250GB platters.


The PSU, are you referring to the one I have on my list ATM or this one? (either way it would be okay with the 4870?):

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

As for the HD, that's actually the one I got in the combo with the memory you suggested. :) 
August 12, 2009 5:24:44 AM

Yep, that's the PSU. It should be adequate for the one 4870.

I'm gonna slap my fancy new multi-meter on one when it arrives in a few days, before passing it along, but I doubt you need to wait for my tests. All reports indicate that the voltage droop and ripple are within specs, although not stellar.
August 12, 2009 6:01:20 AM

Proximon said:
Yep, that's the PSU. It should be adequate for the one 4870.

I'm gonna slap my fancy new multi-meter on one when it arrives in a few days, before passing it along, but I doubt you need to wait for my tests. All reports indicate that the voltage droop and ripple are within specs, although not stellar.


Oh that's good then. I was trying to find a way to save a bit more without having to drop the graphics card down or the processor - but 14 bucks saved on the power supply is nice. :) 

To update, here's my PC now:

Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard

OCZ StealthXStream OCZ500SXS 500W ATX12V / EPS12V Active PFC Power Supply

HIS H487FN1GP Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card

AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor

Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM

OCZ Platinum 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory

Total: $614 (635 shipped)

Anything further, or am I pretty well set there?
August 12, 2009 1:31:41 PM

Hmm OCZ 500 while being a decent PSU ain't gonna cut it for HD4870CF so if u willing to stick to best single GPU solutions in future an AM3/DDR3 suggestion ^^

$584.26 with ship less MIR
August 12, 2009 11:05:21 PM

Hmm I'm not sure which is better. Although it is quite a bit more, I do like with the build recommended to me by Proximon, I get (seemingly) a better case and a better motherboard.

Although I should say that I don't intended to crossfire with 2 4870's for quite some time so I'm only looking to power that one. (and it would be cheaper to simply replace the power supply, rather than the psu and motherboard)

Hmm... (I thought I knew what I was going to get)
August 13, 2009 3:46:16 AM

You have pretty well summed it up. I prefer to stay away from MSI, but they are not awful. The Antec case is better, but the Rosewill is not bad.
August 13, 2009 5:00:16 AM

Proximon said:
You have pretty well summed it up. I prefer to stay away from MSI, but they are not awful. The Antec case is better, but the Rosewill is not bad.


Yeah I'm still going back and forth with the case, but I'm leaning towards the Rosewill cause of the money saved I can spend extra like on the power supply. Here's my list:

http://www.fileden.com/files/21/neweggbuild.png

$641 shipped and I'd be set for quite a while, not bad. :) 
August 13, 2009 2:34:48 PM

My problem with MSI boards has nothing to do with performance or features. Reliability and longevity are the problems I have always seen.
August 13, 2009 3:37:10 PM

Proximon said:
My problem with MSI boards has nothing to do with performance or features. Reliability and longevity are the problems I have always seen.

+1

I also haven't had great luck with MSI's reliability. I've written them off until they focus on quality more than marketing BS.
August 14, 2009 12:49:14 AM

Alright I've changed my mind once again, but this time with a bigger budget in mind ($700 max) I've upped my build:

http://img2.pict.com/d1/69/4a/1461137/0/neweggbuild2.pn...

I've gone back to the antec case, gotten the UD4P motherboard (wish I had enough for the UDP5), ddr3 1600 memory, combo'd a 750w psu and caviar black hd and lastly combo'd the xfx 4870 and the 720 processor.

Any thoughts are appreciated. I think with this setup I'm pretty well set - I don't get x16 on both pci slots, but if it's really that big of a deal (1-2 years from now when I actually may crossfire), I can get a new motherboard.
August 14, 2009 4:54:23 AM

If anyone is wondering, the Seventeam 750W PSU is decent, although if the budget can fit the Corsair 750TX it's probably a bit better.

I would say it's a good build for 700. I tried to fit in a better board with a RAM combo but didn't come up with one.
August 14, 2009 5:29:55 AM

Proximon said:
If anyone is wondering, the Seventeam 750W PSU is decent, although if the budget can fit the Corsair 750TX it's probably a bit better.

I would say it's a good build for 700. I tried to fit in a better board with a RAM combo but didn't come up with one.


Yeah I was looking at Corsair but just couldn't find a good combo. Same with the board/RAM thing, I spent like 2 hours comboing and such and finally settled on this one.

I wish I could get a UDP5 motherboard and a better brand PSU, but at least the Seventeam is good quality and I won't be doing crossfire for sometime. (and when I do, at least I have 8x) I'll be ordering this on Saturday, hopefully newegg doesn't change prices by then.

EDIT: Forget the PSu thing - I'm going to hold off on the drive and use my IDE DVD one cause after hearing mixed things on SevenTeam PSU's I went ahead and got the 640 gb wd and a corsair. $705 with shipping.
August 16, 2009 4:43:36 AM

Just wanted to thank everybody for the help, been a huge help. I ordered it Saturday morning along with a Samsung drive, hopefully can be up and running on the new PC middish next week. :) 
August 16, 2009 6:31:15 AM

Enjoy your new rig :p 
August 21, 2009 4:47:23 AM

Just wanted to post and say I got my rig on Wednesday. After trying not to think about it all day at work I spent a few hours on it, went grocery shopping and after another hour pressed the button for the first time and it turned on. :D  Seems I somehow put it all together correctly and am running smoothly on Windows. I still need to enter in my RAMS voltages (no manual included, need to look it up) and test out my gfx card, but so far I'm very happy with it. :) 

Thanks again to everyone that helped!
August 21, 2009 6:21:35 AM

Great news.
!