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$800-900 Gaming Build - Advise & Revision

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August 25, 2009 2:47:41 AM

Hey guys.. Over the past week or so, I've been looking into building a mid-range gaming PC. My searches have brought me through several threads here, as well as other gaming/hardware forums.. From which I've gathered serveral peices that I think should give me a decent computer.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: With in the next few weeks/ASA I can get the build set in stone.

BUDGET RANGE: $800-$900

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, Surfing the internet, Basic school needs, Watching movies.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Brand new build, I have nothing to reuse, as the older computer will need to remain intact.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com

PARTS PREFERENCES: Open to suggestions.. I'll consider each opinion.

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe(I hope to be able to OC the CPU, I'm hoping the other components will be adequete as is.)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: My highest hopes for this is being able to run some of the more demanding games.(Crysis,Warhead,FarCry,Fallout3 - You get the basic idea) As far as I can tell with the information I have, this should be able to handle these games, and games of the like. This will be my first time building a computer, and therefore I am not as knowledgeable about what is needed to OC the PhenomII 720 stably(cooling, heatsinks, something of the like?.. Perhaps the case's cooling will pull it off?). As stated above, this being my first build.. I have no idea what I'm going to need with the OEM products, as far as parts, cords, etc.. (What you see is what you get, if it's not on my list.. I don't know that I need it.)

I want to thank everyone very much in advance, help in these siutations is always much appreciated.

This is what I have:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor - Retail - $119.00

GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail - 109.99

CORSAIR 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TWIN2X4096-6400C5 - Retail -51.99

Western Digital Caviar Green WD5000AADS 500GB 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive - OEM - $54.99

EVGA 01G-P3-1155-TR GeForce GTS 250 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail - 154.99

SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 22X DVD-R 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner LightScribe Support - OEM - $30.00

Antec EarthWatts EA750 750W Continuous Power ATX12V version 2.3 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC "compatible with Core i7" Power Supply - Retail - $94.99

Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail - $104.99

Logitech Cordless Desktop EX 100 Black 102 Normal Keys USB RF Wireless Standard Keyboard and Mouse - Retail - $26.99

ASUS VW195T Black 19" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 2000 :1 (ASCR) Built in Speakers - Retail - $119.99

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 32-bit for System Builders w/ Tech Guarantee - OEM - $109.99

Total: $898.93

Item issues: I'm not sure what I would want as far as 32bit v. 64bit, if someone could explain what would be best for this system.. That would be great. Also a bit confused on with the speakers and the monitor, suppoedly it has built-in speakers.. Are they good, or no?

Thanks a bunch. :D 






August 25, 2009 5:51:44 AM

Some help with this would really be great.. :( 
a b 4 Gaming
August 25, 2009 6:03:08 AM

Dont get an nVidia card with a crossfire capable board, it kind of defeats the purpose.

A 4850 will play everything on high and save you 30
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A seagate 12 series 500GB drive will be alot faster for 5 more
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I was underwhelmed by the jonnyguru review of the EA750 so get the 750TX for 5 more after MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Get 64 bit windows as it allows you to use all 4GB of ram and allows your applications access to more memory if they have 64 bit versions.
Related resources
August 25, 2009 6:13:33 AM

There are a definitely a few things you can do with this build to give it some more gaming power. First thing on the list that you should consider adjustments on is the video card. Paying $150 for a GTS 250 is not a great idea. You also aren't going to want a Caviar Green hard drive in a gaming computer, they are more designed for storage and low power settings. You can also save a few bucks and go with a cheaper powersupply, that won't compromise quality. A better case can also be had with a cheaper price tag as well.

This video card costs less and is undoubtedly a much better choice.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The CM 690 is a real bargain with a lot of great features, check it out
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

While not knocking too much off the current price tag on the PSU you have listed, I suggest you get something of extremely nice quality, that will provide your system with all the power it needs.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This HDD is arguably the best price/performance/storage drive you can get.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

What do you think of the changes I've suggested?


a b 4 Gaming
August 25, 2009 6:21:11 AM

defiledgrounds said:
Some help with this would really be great.. :( 


patience is a virtue , and we all like helping virtuous people more .

I think you are on the right track with your build
I would move to a full am3 build though

720 be $119

GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P $85
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 $75
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB $55
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
fastest 500 gig hard drive available

Ditch the antec 900 for a 300 = save $40
Ditch the 750 watt psu , since you wont need more than 500 wt

Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black + Antec earthwatts EA500 500W $125
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Now you have the latest AM3 platform

Acer X223Wbd Black 22" $160
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

windows $110
dvd $30
keyboard/mouse $27

POWERCOLOR AX4870 512MD5 $116 [ after MIR]
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$902 with a bigger monitor , a 4870 and all the latest AM3 hardware
August 25, 2009 7:18:26 AM

I want to thank each of you, because you have mentioned things that I would have overlooked, and given me some great new options.. Looking over what I had compared to this, well.. It makes me happy I posted.

@hunter: Ah ha.. Crossfire boards are aimed toward ATI products, correct?

@effel: I appreciate the good info about the GTS250/CaviarGreen.. I most likely would have been unsatisfied had I gotten them.

@Outlander: Thank you so much, having a build set up like this is really nice.. I feel alot more comfortable about the whole thing now, this stuff looks very good!

In theory, this setup should run the games I mentioned without OCing, yes?

(I do apologize if it seemed I was being impatient, I was just trying to make sure that it didn't fall to the bottom of the list where it may not be noticed:) )

a b 4 Gaming
August 25, 2009 7:48:31 AM

crossfire is for ATI gfx cards , SLI for nVidia gfx cards .

The motherboard chipset is what detemines which. either/none of these systems are supported . The AMD chipsets 790/785/780/ can [ but wont always ] have Crossfire support . The 770 can only support a single gf card . These chipsets give the best performance in Phenom powered pc's

The compromise I made when I put my suggested build together is that you cannot add a second gfx card to the 770 mb , but this isnt a huge hurdle IMO .
The rig I suggested will play crysis on high on that monitor , warhead will be a bit faster , Farcry2 faster again . I dont know Fallout .
By the time more demanding games are available there will also be another generation of faster gfx cards available , so its always marginal to update your computer by adding a second older card IMO .
If you see adding a second 4870 as a potential upgrade path spend a little more and get a 790g MB
August 25, 2009 8:12:40 AM

COOLER MASTER RS-600-AMBA-D3 600W ATX12V V2.3 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS & COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black - Combo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

XFX HD-487A-ZHFC Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 & AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black - Combo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders w/ Tech Guarantee - OEM & SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive - Combo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Mushkin HP 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 Timing 7-7-7-20
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS VH226H Black 21.5" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen 16:9 Full HD 1080P
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

LG Black 22X DVD Burner with LightScribe
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Microsoft Black PS/2 Wired Standard Business Hardware Pack - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total - 931.90, 911.90 after 20$ MIR

Better to go AM3 Motherboard with DDR3 Ram, bigger monitor and 4870 as Outlander said.

I just picked a XFX HD4870 for the double life time warranty. If you are going to play games on that comp i recommend not to go wireless on keyboard and mouse, trust me on this, you don't want to run out of batteries in the middle of your gaming. Also that Samsung DVD writer you chose doesn't write CDs, so i chose a DVD/CD writer just in case.
August 25, 2009 8:14:38 AM

@Outlander: So what you're saying is.. If I get a GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail rather than the 770, I will be able to add on a second card in the future... If I stay with the 770 I will be limited to upgrading only one card?

@DarkMantle: This build also looks very promising, I'll look it over.

Edit: Dark, nice job with all that, I'm adding several of your suggested items to my current build, Good stuff.

Edit2: This is what I've worked out from the information you guys have given me.

COOLER MASTER RS-600-AMBA-D3 600W ATX12V V2.3 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS & COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black - Combo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

XFX HD-487A-ZHFC Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 & AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black - Combo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders w/ Tech Guarantee - OEM & SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive - Combo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Mushkin HP 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 Timing 7-7-7-20
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS VH226H Black 21.5" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen 16:9 Full HD 1080P
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... This has built in speakers, they should be enough

LG Black 22X DVD Burner with LightScribe
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Microsoft Black PS/2 Wired Standard Business Hardware Pack - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



August 25, 2009 9:58:23 AM

Normally I don't suggest going for a CM PSU, but I checked out the review,
http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...
and it looks like a good unit to go with.

The other things you got in your build seem pretty good, but something that should be noted about that motherboard. If you overclock the CPU, and it ends up producing a good bit of heat, you're going to want to pay attention to the MOSFET area on the motherboard as it won't cope well without proper cooling. You also don't have integrated graphics, which, isn't a big deal to most people, but its nice to have onboard if anything goes wrong with your gpu, and you have the downtime for the RMA. Just my two cents. I'm going to bed now, so, I'll check back on the thread later to see how things go OP.
a b 4 Gaming
August 25, 2009 3:01:41 PM

Yes, I'm surprised that PSU did so well in the review, considering it's a Coolermaster. For a single graphics card, it should do. If you decide you may want two, consider instead an Antec Truepower New, either 650W ($95) or 750W ($100). They are semi-modular, 80+ bronze, and also review very well.
August 25, 2009 8:01:15 PM

@effel: As far as the OCing.. Could you make a suggestion on some cooling that could solve the heated MOSFET? It seemed like the case had quite a bit of fans/vents on it, will that just not cut it? I don't mind about the integrated graphics.. Purely because I will still have access to another computer, should the new one need repairs.

@jtt283: I don't plan to have two cards right now. However this raises another question.. In the event I want to update to two cards in the future, I could simply upgrade the
PSU, right?

August 25, 2009 8:14:38 PM

Yes you could update the PSU in the future, but they are a fairly expensive component that has a long lifespan, and so buying over again isn't as advisable. Therefore, if you were thinking you might go with two gpus in the future, it would probably be better to get an adequate PSU now.

Edit: as a quick note, the PSU you have currently is rated xFire by the manufacturer, and from what I have read, 600W is the low end of okay for running two gpus, but I suppose that would depend on the gpu that you are doubling.

Edit: Checked out the reviews for the PSU on newegg, and noticed that people were commenting that it was an effective 750W PSU, so I checked the Cooler Master website for specs:

Output Capacity 600W
Max. Output Capacity 720W
August 25, 2009 8:27:39 PM

I see.. Well, maybe I'll just stick to one card, and when the time comes I'll just upgrade to a better one?

Edit: So that means that.. Even though it says it's a 600W it is a 720W?
August 25, 2009 8:30:25 PM

That would probably be the best course given your budget, as others have said that the PSU you are looking at got some good reviews. Also, if you haven't seen yet, the 5xxx series from ATI should be released by the end of September, which may (may) cause a price fluctuation. Just so you are aware of it (in case you weren't).
a b 4 Gaming
August 25, 2009 8:31:33 PM

really good combos by darkmantle .

The double gpu option is always marginal IMO , unless you have lots of money now . In each new generation of gfx cards the mid range card has been about as powerful as the top end of the prvious generation .

You are better off buying a single new top end card IF you ever have to upgrade , rather than an expensive older model identical to the one you already have because 2 x gfx cards doesnt add up to twice the performance . Some times it only gives you a handfull of extra fps

If you do decide on a 790g mb then you are better off long term with a full AM3 board that uses DDR3 , and not an AM2+ board that will run AM3 processors
August 25, 2009 9:27:34 PM

@Jared51182: Alright, I'll be sticking with that PSU then.. Thanks for the tip on the 5xxx cards as well, I was unaware - I'll keep it in mind.

@Outlander: I see.. So for the time being I'll stick to that 4870, and in the future when the performance dips too much, I'll upgrade to another card.

If I'll be better off in the future by buying the 790g mb.. Then I'll get that.
August 26, 2009 12:12:14 AM

@Marco: The DDR2 memory would be a downgrade to the DDR3 currently in my build.. Wouldn't it? The effort is appreciated regardless..
August 26, 2009 12:23:25 AM

As far as I can tell an AM2+/DDR2 build would be fine for now. While a full AM3 system does show a few performance gains, they are relatively small, and depending on the overall cost, that's something to consider. If you build it cheaper now, the money you save wouldn't really make you lose much performance at all, but could be saved for a video card upgrade, etc.
August 26, 2009 12:27:56 AM

@Effel: I see.. So the downgrade to the DDR2 will not effect the performance at a overly noticeable rate? If this is the case.. The lower cost will be nice.
a b 4 Gaming
August 26, 2009 12:30:55 AM

no but it will significantly affect upgradability, future motherboards will only be DDR3 and future processors may drop the DDR2 controller limiting your future processor upgrades.
August 26, 2009 1:44:41 AM

hunter315 said:
no but it will significantly affect upgradability, future motherboards will only be DDR3 and future processors may drop the DDR2 controller limiting your future processor upgrades.

This is the typical counter argument to them am2+ vs am3 new system build. The reason to go one way or the other is really dependent on the plans of the person building the computer. Some people suggest that by the time DDR3 ram and the advantages of an AM3 system really show large gains, that the available upgrades of the time will necessitate a lot of new upgrades. Keep in mind that current AM3 motherboards don't have SATA 3, USB 3, or PCI-e 3, and will lack the features of new chipsets. So even though people claim that AM3 and DDR3 are the future, right now, they show little gains over the AM2+ options available and they use the same chipsets and utilize nearly the same motherboard mechanics.
August 26, 2009 7:22:55 AM

Looking everything over again, I think I will be staying with the AM3 set up and the 770 board, It -should- do what I want, with some upgradiblity.

Still open to suggestions.. But getting into this AM2+/AM2 vs AM3 stuff is confusing..
August 26, 2009 9:12:41 PM

All I was basically trying to address was that the differences between the two platforms. They are very similar in terms of what the motherboard offers, and you use more expensive ram that doesn't make much of a difference (that you'll throw out anyways). So if you decide to go AM3 now, all you'll gain from that in the future is flexibility with your ram and maybe processor when they phase out the ddr2 controller in the newest AM3 cpus (which is speculation) And while that is nice, what most critics of AM2+ fail to realize is that AM3 motherboards right now don't have all the new technologies on the horizon. Sounds like common sense, but when the new 3rd generation sata, pci-e, and usb hit markets, people are going to want that on their motherboards. With all that new technology, most will opt for an entirely new load out of parts. This is a lot of speculation I know. DDR3 ram in it's current form won't be reused in new motherboards, because it's CAS is too high, and people will be buying better stuff.

Anyway you go now will be a great step above what you're using, but I just don't want you to be fooled into believing this or that. If you do the 770 and DDR3 ram, you'll have the option of drop in am3 processor upgrades and switching to lower CAS ddr3 ram without having to change out on the motherboard. If you went AM2+, you'd still get to use AM3 processors with the ddr2 controller on the die, and get good performance/$ with ddr2 ram. Then when new technologies hit the market, you'll probably want to do a large upgrade anyways. You see what I'm trying to explain?
August 27, 2009 4:39:25 AM

Yeah, that makes a bit more sense now.. I don't suppose we have any idea when these products will be hitting the stores?
August 27, 2009 4:51:24 AM

It's hard to say, but I've heard pci-e 3 is coming out next year, not entirely sure. I know sata 3 and usb 3 are almost out actually.
August 27, 2009 9:19:04 PM

You can wait if you want like many people do, but keep in mind that the new USB 3.0 or SATA 6 Gbit/s or even PCI-E 3.0 that its due to 2011 it seems http://www.tomshardware.com/news/PCI-Express-3.0-Specs-... will be Premium parts when they come out, you will have to wait months for them to be on low cost parts and when that happens you will be months away for some new generation of parts all over again. Right now even if SATA 6 Gbit/s come out tomorrow, there are no SATA mechanical hard drives on the market that actually saturates SATA 2 bandwidth, you will have to go for the next generation of SSD hard drives to be able to use that bandwidth and they will probably cost an arm and a leg when they come out.
What most people here is telling you is that if you go with AM3 and DDR3 even if you don’t get significant increase in performance over DDR2 you will be able to upgrade your rig with future AM3 processors that have a DDR3 memory controller, the cost is not all that higher either you are building a very descent machine for not so much higher and it is the latest AMD socket that will have more support in the future than AM2+ socket.
But of course it is all up to you, you can wait months if you want for the newer stuff only to see that it is twice the price of the older stuff. You can buy AM2+ mother board with and AM3 processor and use DDR2 ram and save 50 bucks, or you can buy the latest AMD technology that will cost you a bit more but will give you better upgradeability.
August 28, 2009 8:17:32 AM

Here's a combo for the X3 720 and Vista 64:

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

2. AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor Model HDZ720WFGIBOX - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

I'm also considering the GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P and intend to overclock the X3 720. I've read in a review, and someone mentioned in this thread, that there may be a heat issue.

Here's an excerpt from the benchmarkreviews.com review:

"The small heatsink also seems to go against Gigabyte's claims of durability and construction quality. On one hand, the Ultra Durable 3 manufacturing process truly does reach beyond the marketing hype and help improve durability. But on the other, Gigabyte suggests that users find their own VRM cooling solution if they want to use ACC. It just seems counter-intuitive. Every other aspect of the MA770T-UD3P is built to last, but if you want to overclock with it, I suggest taking Gigabyte's advice and add some extra cooling."

I'm looking for a 10-20% overclock.
August 29, 2009 2:01:18 AM

Looking over those suggestions and comparing them to the current ones.
!