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$800-$1000 Gaming System - First Time Builder

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August 31, 2009 7:38:38 PM

I am considering taking the first plunge into building a mild gaming computer. Scary stuff but read a lot of the forums and have a few Qs.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Next week or two
BUDGET RANGE: $800-$1000

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Primarily for gaming but do not want to spend the bank. Company of Heros, other RTS down the road, occasional shooter

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: All except monitor
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com

PARTS PREFERENCES: Thinking AMD x3 720 BE

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1080P 22”

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: New to building computer. Would like some performance for gaming but not cutting edge. I may play with overclocking down the road but likely need to stick to moderate over clocking and a motherboard that helps noobs overclock.
Big Qs on Mother board.
How many PCIe slots do i really need? Does this Graphics card take one or two slots?
I have spec'd the Asus Crossfire III ROG, but is it too much? What about other boards at bottom of list (MSI 790FX, ASUS 790X). I would like a motherboard that is noob friendly to mild overclocking.


Build
AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor Model HDZ720WFGIBOX - Retail
ASUS Crosshair III Formula AM3 AMD 790FX ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
Combo:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

SAPPHIRE Vapor-X Radeon HD 4870 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
Rosewill Xtreme Series RX850-S-B 850W Continuous @40°C ,80 PLUS Certified, ATX12V v2.2 & EPS12V v2.91, SLI Ready CrossFire ... - Retail
Combo:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...


Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders w/ Tech Guarantee - OEM
Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
Combo:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBNQ - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Scythe SCKTN-3000 92mm Sleeve "KATANA3" 3Heat Pipes CPU Cooler - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223B - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Alternative Mother Boards....
MSI 790FX-GD70 AM3 AMD 790FX ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail $165
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS M4A79XTD EVO AM3 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail $119
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Thanks for all the help.
August 31, 2009 7:50:37 PM

IIRC, the rosewill psu won't be that great, and the 4870 2GB was -barely- an improvement on the 1GB version. You'd be better off with a 4890 for the same price or a 4870 Toxic 1GB, and getting a different brand of PSU such as corsair.
Related resources
a b 4 Gaming
August 31, 2009 7:51:20 PM

Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders w/ Tech Guarantee - OEM (Includes free Windows 7 updrade coupon)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... $159.94 (Case + OS combo)

AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $119.00

GIGABYTE GA-MA790GPT-UD3H AM3 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $114.99

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBRH - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $94.99

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $54.99

CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $119.99 - $10.00 MIR

SAPPHIRE Vapor-X Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $149.99

SAMSUNG DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223L LightScribe Support - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $31.99

Total - $845.88 - $10.00 MIR - an extra $10 with promo code ANTECAUG

The Crosshair III Formula is overpriced. You could even step up to a fast quad core and be well under budget.
August 31, 2009 7:55:32 PM

If you go Crossfire, I suggest you a Cooler Master HAF 932. You will need a little more space. If you don't plan to OC for now, buy the heat sink later.

If I were you, I would get 2 4850 in crossfire. The price is about the same and it is about 11% slower than 2 4870 in crossfire.

You cannot go wrong with these ones.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150351
a b 4 Gaming
August 31, 2009 7:59:13 PM

As Shortstuff points out, the speed gains you will get with the Crosshair board aren't justified by the cost. You get more performance gain from a CPU or GPU investment.
August 31, 2009 8:02:17 PM

I will go against everyone here... but you need to forget Asus for your motherboard. They got problems with core unlocking which is a nice feat you should look at.

It will transform your X2 or X3 into an X4.

As for Gigabyte, my 965P-DS3 died on me 3 times in less than 12 months at stock settings, so I strongly suggest you to never buy anything from them.

My AMD64 build was with MSI, and I should have stay with them. I bought an Asus M4A78T-E and I really regret my buy. When I unlock my 4th cores I can random errors and a reboot for no reason. My system is stable for a day, but can crash during the first 15 minutes after a fresh boot due to Hytransport Sync Flood Errors... a BIOS issue.
a b 4 Gaming
August 31, 2009 8:07:57 PM

redgarl said:
I will go against everyone here... but you need to forget Asus for your motherboard. They got problems with core unlocking which is a nice feat you should look at.

It will transform your X2 or X3 into an X4.

As for Gigabyte, my 965P-DS3 died on me 3 times in less than 12 months at stock settings, so I strongly suggest you to never buy anything from them.

My AMD64 build was with MSI, and I should have stay with them. I bought an Asus M4A78T-E and I really regret my buy. When I unlock my 4th cores I can random errors and a reboot for no reason. My system is stable for a day, but can crash during the first 15 minutes after a fresh boot due to Hytransport Sync Flood Errors... a BIOS issue.

I've build numerous systems with both Gigabyte and Asus boards. I've had excellent long-term reliability with both manufacturer's. I've only used MSI twice and regretted it both times.

My GA-965P-DS3 has been running a highly overclocked CPU for over two years with rock solid reliability. In fact, I built a number of systems with that motherboard. They were all highly overclocked and I haven't had any issues with any of them.

Unlocking CPU cores is hit or miss with any motherboard. You can't blame system instability with an unlocked core on the motherboard. The core was likely disabled because it wasn't stable.
August 31, 2009 8:16:50 PM

shortstuff_mt said:
I've build numerous systems with both Gigabyte and Asus boards. I've had excellent long-term reliability with both manufacturer's. I've only used MSI twice and regretted it both times.

My GA-965P-DS3 has been running a highly overclocked CPU for over two years with rock solid reliability. In fact, I built a number of systems with that motherboard. They were all highly overclocked and I haven't had any issues with any of them.


Well I RMA my board 3 times... I was on my fourth one that I sold to someone willing to take the risk. Gigabyte customer support is damn horrible.

It doesn't mean because you never got an issue with them that it will always be the case.

I don't recommend Asus lately, my 2 EAH4850 TOP are badly designed. The HS were damn horrible and everyone having them in CF were having heat problems. If Asus and Gigabyte can release trash like that on the market, just imagine what they think about their customers.

Asus AM3 motherboard got problems with their core unlocking features. Their motherboards got problems with 4 cores mode. Peoples with X4 955 were having similar problems than me with my 4th core unlocked.

The only problem I got with my MSI K8N Neo 2 platinum was a false temperature read patched with a BIOS update.
a b 4 Gaming
August 31, 2009 8:31:16 PM

Sorry you've had troubles redgarl. You'll find the general consensus still leans towards Asus and Gigabyte however. We all develop bias though.

I know one pro builder of office machines that swears by Intel boards, while most think they are crap.
August 31, 2009 9:41:53 PM

So, looks like the feedback is that the Crosshair III mobo is too much and should switch it for the Gigabyte?
GIGABYTE GA-MA790GPT-UD3H AM3 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813128398 $114.99

and... guess everyone is not going for the Rosewill Xtreme Series RX850-S-B 850W

I think i have all that. I am thoroughly confused about the 2GB 4870 vs eitehr the 1 GB 4870 or 4890 choice. Why is that 2GB not a good deal? Is it not like two 1 GB 4870 in one slot (and cheaper)? I guess there must be some type of performance loss in that 2GB 4870?


and switch the memory for
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBRH - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820231279 $94.99

couple Qs
a b 4 Gaming
August 31, 2009 9:46:22 PM

The 4870 2GB is just a regular 4870 GPU with 2GB of onboard RAM instead of 512MB or 1GB. The benchmarks show that the extra RAM doesn't help the performance.

Yes, I would highly recommend ditching the overpriced Asus motherboard and getting the Gigabyte one.
August 31, 2009 9:55:30 PM

At 1080 resolution, you'd probably be fine with one 4850 512MB, although since budget allows, the 4870 is a better choice. That being said, nothing wrong with wanting a bit more oomph just in case. Two 4850s in Crossfire pretty much is the equivilant to a single 4890. The 4890 can currently be had for less than $200 making it harder to opt for dual 4850s in the same price range. However, either setup is probably overkill for 1920X1080.

That's my long way of saying snag a 4870 1GB and add another one later if you need it.

Edited because I can't type for crap. Backspace is my friend.
August 31, 2009 10:01:31 PM

Sounds like the 4870 1 GB is it with another one down the road when it gets cheaper. Thanks for the explanation on the 4870 2GB, i was having a real hard time with that one.
August 31, 2009 10:01:42 PM

kwarde as you said we are in the same boat..as far as the 4870 2gb being 2cards in the same slot shortstuff is correct in that the 2gb is just the video ram. however i do believe that you are thinking of the 4870 x2 this card is said to outperform a 4890 in benchmarks. this card will, however, run you around $300 through newegg and as im doing i believe the best choice is to go with a 4870 1gb or even 512 and then get a new 5xxx series as they apparently are going to be far better performing
a b 4 Gaming
August 31, 2009 11:18:43 PM

Yes, the Ripjaws series will work just fine on an AMD build. It's just being advertised as compatible with the i5 and i7 chips since it only requires 1.65v. That happens to be the maximum recommended RAM voltage for the Intel chips with integrated RAM controllers.
September 1, 2009 12:52:26 AM

is the antec 300 case big enough for another 4890 later?
September 1, 2009 1:39:53 AM

i went with the asus evo due to the higher memory standard. if anyone could mention to me (as well as kwarde as im sure this would interest him too - and so im not hijacking his thread:)  ) is there any noticeable difference between ddr3 1333 1600 and 1800?
September 1, 2009 4:27:01 AM

kwarde said:
is the antec 300 case big enough for another 4890 later?

yea it should be. double check with youtube to make sure but i think so.
you will just have to manuver your hdds accordingly

*you can't have a 4870 and a 4890 in Xfire. you need two of the same.
a b 4 Gaming
September 1, 2009 4:40:11 AM

i dont want to turn you away from ati but this GTX 275 @ frys for 149 is hard to pass up IMHO http://www.frys.com/product/5892363

Thats if you live by one, so you can pick it up
September 1, 2009 5:53:15 AM

Nice, i am going to call a nearby one in the AM and check it out. Thanks
September 1, 2009 6:17:43 AM

Niklas_13 said:
i dont want to turn you away from ati but this GTX 275 @ frys for 149 is hard to pass up IMHO http://www.frys.com/product/5892363

Thats if you live by one, so you can pick it up


What are people thinking? 4870 1GB is $149 with free shipping and no tax unless you live in Ca. Or pay tax for a 275 at Frys, AND give up the possibility of Crossfire because you can't SLI. Sure, makes tons of sense.
a b 4 Gaming
September 1, 2009 11:50:05 AM

AMDThunder said:
What are people thinking? 4870 1GB is $149 with free shipping and no tax unless you live in Ca. Or pay tax for a 275 at Frys, AND give up the possibility of Crossfire because you can't SLI. Sure, makes tons of sense.


the GTX275 will be on par with a 4890 the 4870 is the same price i guesss we are thinking a better gpu for the coin


Yeah if you really want to Xfire dont get the GTX 275
September 1, 2009 1:36:03 PM

Arrrggghhh!!!! Good points that i was thinking this AM. Had the late night mind loss.
September 1, 2009 4:24:41 PM

any thought on...

Antec TruePower New TP-750 750W Continuous Power ATX12V V2.3 / EPS12V V2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC "compatible with Core i7" Power Supply - Retail

instead of corsair 750tx
a b 4 Gaming
September 1, 2009 4:26:06 PM

It's a very nice PSU. If you can get it for cheaper, do it.
a b 4 Gaming
September 2, 2009 2:57:06 AM

get the one you posted it seems to have more pciE plugs
September 2, 2009 4:46:38 AM

thinking about a change the GPU from a 4890 to a 4870 for two reasons:
1) based on some on line PSU calculators, it appears that a build with two 4890s will require 800W+ vs. a build with two 4870s which i will be able to make it under the 750W for that antec TP 750.
2) 4870s cheaper by $40 +... are they really worth it for that extra $40? Especially given that my current 750W spec can't handle 2 4890s but can handle 2 4870s.
No matter what, still starting with one GPU, just want to look down the road.
Thanks
a b 4 Gaming
September 2, 2009 6:50:32 PM

A single 4870 drives a 1680x1050 monitor pretty well. Some lowered settings in very high graphics type games.

Given your CPU choice (are you still going with the X3 720?) I think CF 4870s will be moderately hampered by the CPU anyway, so not a lot of gain by using CF 4890s.
September 2, 2009 6:56:18 PM

Thanks for the CPU GPU balance perspective. I am going with x3 720 unless the x4 955 BE drops down a bit... may happen with i5 launch next week?
a b 4 Gaming
September 2, 2009 7:10:19 PM

Could be, hard to say ;) 
September 2, 2009 8:14:22 PM

Some motherboards will let you unlock the 4th core on the x3 720. You could get lucky.
September 2, 2009 9:52:10 PM

What happens if you can't unlock it? can you go back to 3 cores or are you stuck?
September 2, 2009 10:10:22 PM

you stuck with 3 cores
September 2, 2009 10:28:36 PM

so no biggie if that was what i was expecting
September 9, 2009 3:32:23 AM

So...i have ordered everything except the mobo and processor... should i change or delay because of i5 that just came out????
confusing!
February 5, 2010 1:31:07 PM

Hi :) 
1) intelCore i7-860 Lynnfield 2.8GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor Model $289
2)Kingston 4GB DDR3 (2 X 2GB) 1600MHz CL8 240-PIN DIMM, DUAL HYPERX $110 3)Zalman CNPS10X Quiet CPU Cooler $60
4)COOLMAX 700W ATX CU-700B 120 SILENT FAN, SEMI MODULAR CABLES $65 5)OEM RADEON 4650 ATI RADEON 4650 DDR2 1GB VA4652NHG1 $80, My total cost=$840
I re-used my old case, 2 hdd with existing Vista ult & Win 7 rc, dvd-rw. In my first boot, every thing works except that I have to update both OS. Updating was automatic for each OS. With Vista OS, I activated it by phone and explained to Microsoft rep, that I just updated my old cpu&mobo to Intel core i7 860 &mb-MSI P55 gd65. My system was activated ok. Runs very cool. I run it on distributed computing with World Community Grid in Vista OS. All 8 threads are running with 8 work units. The Rosetta@home download and run the 8 threads after I increased ram memory use to 90%. In the Win 7 RC OS, Rosetta@ home also runs only 8 threads or 8 wu.
I just want to post this so you may know the result of my build 5 days ago. Right now I am very happy with it. However after this build, I am reading bad report on the lga 1156 mobo supplied various motherboard. currently my 4 cores temp at 100% load readings : 45*C, 44*C, 47*C and 46*C respectively using Core Temp 0.99.5. I never OC or play Games.
joseps :) 
July 27, 2010 3:14:08 PM

Hey,
Just wanted to say thanks a lot to all for launching me into the world of building your own.
I did build my first one and ended up with:
i5-750
4gb OCZ gold ram
4890 Vapor X 1 gb
500 gb ? Hard drive
MSI mother board with OC button for my dumb ass
and just put on Freezer Pro rev.2 cooler

The computer runs great and i will never buy a brand name computer again, learning what i have.

BTW, just built my second one for the living room HTPC.

Feedback was great in getting me over the top on the intimidating first build.
Thanks a ton
!