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New Gaming System Build - Thoughts & Advice Please!

Last response: in Systems
September 1, 2009 9:19:24 AM

Just to date my old system, it has a GTX 7800 graphics card...needless to say its time for an upgrade (I wanna play newer and upcoming RPG's, MMO's, and FPS on this machine.) I have done some recent reading and wanted to build a good system without going overboard. I will list the system here and my questions, appreciate any advice and thought you may have.

MB: ASUS P6TD Deluxe LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel
Graphics: BFG Tech BFGEGTS2501024OCE GeForce GTS 250 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI
CPU: Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920
RAM: (2x - so 12 GB total) Kingston 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model KVR1333D3K3/6GR
Power: SILVERSTONE ST70F 700W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
HD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
Case: ABS Diablo ADV Black Finish + Titanium bezel Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case
Item #: N82E16811215013
Drive: LG DVD Burner Black SATA Model GH22NS50
Cooling: Thermaltake CLP0533 70mm 1 Ball Bearing CPU Cooler + Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound
Monitor: ASUS VK246H Black 24" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor

1. Can I get away with cheaper RAM? Do I need this much for gaming? (this will be a gaming only rig)
2. I have a 2 year old 600W Nice Silverstone Power Supply, could I use this instead?
3. There is a more expensive (by 20-30 bones I think) HD with the same specs, but I don't know what extra it adds - is this HD sufficient?
4. Is this thermaltake fan sufficient to overclock my rig with?
5. There is a monitor with HDCP support that seems to be the same one as this but this version has a webcam - does this monitor support HDCP (dont even know what it is or if I need it)
6. One area I have always had complications with in the past are high end audio cards, so my last machine I just used the onboard audio, and was planning to do this again, is that wrong? :) 

Well guys that's it, I am looking to finalize this purchase very soon so your feedback is greatly appreciated. Total price for everything comes to $1,600 - hopefully a decent machine for the money.
September 1, 2009 10:00:02 AM

If it is going to be a gaming system, I feel you should invest more on the graphics rather than the RAM(6GB of RAM is more than suffice for gaming)

here are few suggestions...

Mobo - Change the mobo to something cheaper
EVGA 141-BL-E757-TR LGA 1366 Intel X58
This mobo has all the necessary features that you would require... and has very good options for overclocking as well...

RAM - Some better RAM options...
Corsair XMS3
mushkin 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3
Corsair XMS3

CPU cooler - Get something better
Xig Dark Knight
Scythe Mugen 2

CASE - You can get better cases for that price range...
Antec 900
Special $15 savings w/ promo code EMCLWNW24, ends 9/3
Free Shipping*


CM HAF 922

HDD - That Seagate is a very good drive...But the WD Blacks are supposedly faster...

Now the main - Graphics card - A GTX 275 would better compliment that screen...
EVGA 896-P3-1170-AR GeForce GTX 275

And as for your questions...
1. I have given you the suggestions about the RAM...
2. That 600W PSU is more than suffice for the above setup ...unless you are planning for having multiple graphics cards in SLI, you wont need more power than that...
3. That HDD is very good...Another option - WD Black 1TB
4. Change it to the options that I had given above...
5. Yes it supports that...
6. Onboard audio on these boards are HD - they have 7.1 o/p, which is more than suffice for regular usage...

Hope these help...
September 1, 2009 4:10:35 PM

The only suggestion I will make is for audio. I put a auzen 7.1 prelude coupled with a very nice pair of sennheiser's ( I had these first) and the sound improvement over onboard (# Realtek ALC885 8-channel HD Audio Codec
# High-performance DACs with 106dB dynamic range (A-Weight), ADCs with 101dB dynamic range (A-Weight) ) was astounding.

I have literally set up ambushes for people as I could now hear them long before I could see them. I re watched movies as the sound was now so much better.

As my system is a little old, do some research on the new sound cards and headphones. In this category, you get what you pay for.

Gaming is a very visual medium no question, but add realistic sound for a total package. Nothing gets your heart beating faster than hearing something before you see it.

Make sure to disable on board audio in the bios. I have had zero problems with my card.
Related resources
September 1, 2009 6:21:06 PM

Thanks for the detailed response, it helps a lot - you recommended a couple items from EVGA - not to make a stupid question (though it may be) - is this a high quality company? I would rather spend a few dollars extra to get components from a great manufacturer - but if EVGA is tested and approved by gamers then I have no problem using them, especially if its less cost.

Still welcoming more thoughts, on my post and the gentleman's following - thanks a lot guys! :bounce: 
September 1, 2009 6:25:19 PM

evga is one of the best companies good service,support an excellent quality you dont get much better then evga
September 1, 2009 6:55:07 PM

I'm going to stick with Nvidia and prolly get that 275. Good to know about EVGA.

One more question: Good Gaming Speakers and Headset, one that doesn't make me sweat about the ears when I put in a good gaming session! :) 

September 1, 2009 7:16:24 PM

I defer to lljones on the sound stuff. Im perfectly happy with onboard sound and a $10 wal-mart headset (no speakers).
September 1, 2009 7:27:43 PM

Just some random musings. You said you didn't want to go overboard, and with the suggestions gkay gave you, you really aren't. But IMO, the i7 is overboard for a gaming rig. Is it the best? Yep it is. Can you save a lot of money and get similar performance? Yep you can. Now if $1600 is easy for you to part with, knock yourself out and enjoy. :) 
September 1, 2009 7:47:41 PM

So What Would the Other Option Be For CPU? Would I change the MB as well and how much is the cost difference? Thanks.
September 1, 2009 7:56:44 PM

a similar amd setup would be a whole chunk cheaper
September 1, 2009 8:00:33 PM

well if you dont need the absolute best here is a second opition

•CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor Model HDZ965FBGIBOX - Retail

•MOBO: ASUS M4A79T Deluxe AM3 DDR3 AMD 790FX ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail

•RAM patriot Viper 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333

•HSF: XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler - Retail

•HDD:samsung f3 1tb

•PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power ... - Retail [...] 6817139006

•GPU: EVGA 896-P3-1170-AR GeForce GTX 275 896MB 448-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail

•DVD: SAMSUNG DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223L LightScribe Support - OEM

•Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 932 RC-932-KKN1-GP Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail

•Thermal Compound: Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM

extension cable

ASUS VW246H Black 24" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 1000:1 (ASCR 20000:1) Built


mouse: RAZER DeathAdder RZ01

key board :Microsoft Natural Ergonomic

one thing tho you can only use 2 ati cards on this rig as an upgrade in future not 2 nvidia cards so i'd suggest switching too a 4890 but you dont have to
September 1, 2009 8:21:28 PM

Alternate motherboard and RAM:

like obsidians ASUS MB - can only crossfire, not SLI. AMD bought ATI so it makes sense to match an ATI GPU (like the 4890) with an AMD CPU.

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBHK - Retail
I really couldnt tell you if gskill or patriot is better memory. Lately I have only used corsair.
September 1, 2009 8:38:07 PM

Personally I'm liking the i7-920 as you don't need to overclock to get the performance anymore.

what I think people building on budgets should cut out are aftermarket CPU coolers unless there's a good reason to move off stock, which handles stock speeds just fine.

That said, I just picked up a Hyper 212 plus for $22 which is much quieter than stock while providing better cooling according to many reviews (that was my reason, I want a quiet, powerful computer since I use it for work more than play).
September 1, 2009 8:43:04 PM

overclocking has become useful these days in work and play its not just for fun anymore if that overclock cuts render time,calculation time ect that aftermarket hsf comes in handy
September 1, 2009 8:49:53 PM

obsidian86's alternate AMD build is good, except that it makes absolutely no sense to pair an Nvidia GPU with a 750W PSU and high-end 790FX motherboard that doesn't support SLI. If you decide to go the AMD route, I would swap the motherboard for the 790GX board suggested by DNDHATCHER and get an ATI HD4890 so you have the option of adding another GPU in crossfire later on.

SAPPHIRE Vapor-X 100269VXLE Radeon HD 4890 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail $199.99
September 1, 2009 9:02:13 PM

bliq said:
Personally I'm liking the i7-920 as you don't need to overclock to get the performance anymore..

My thinking is the exact opposite. The I7-920 is trivial to overclock. Why would anyone buy an I7 without getting an aftermarket cooler for overclocking.

And I agree with short, if you get an NVidia graphics card with a Mobo that wont SLI then a good 550-650W PSU is all you should need.
September 1, 2009 9:30:10 PM

dndhatcher said:
This one is a bit cheaper and will SLI Nvidia or Xfire ATI cards (the evga doesnt say it supports xfire, so I assume it doesnt).

Just one clarification off-topic. All X58 boards are Crossfire enabled. Only for SLI you need a key in the BIOS (companies have to pay $30.000 to Nvidia plus a tantum every board to enable it). So no need for specification of CF, it's always there .
September 1, 2009 9:32:33 PM

Selea is right, all X58 chipset boards support crossfire. Just like the X38 and X48 boards before them. Crossfire support just goes without saying on all the enthusiast level Intel chipsets that start with an "X".
September 1, 2009 10:26:00 PM

selea said:
Just one clarification off-topic. All X58 boards are Crossfire enabled.

shortstuff_mt said:
Selea is right, all X58 chipset boards support crossfire. Just like the X38 and X48 boards before them. Crossfire support just goes without saying on all the enthusiast level Intel chipsets that start with an "X".

Thanks, I didnt know that.

Between that and ATI seeming to have their act together now they are with AMD I am thinking they may become the GPU of choice for the next few years.
September 1, 2009 10:27:38 PM

Thanks again guys, some good options here. I may just bit the apple and get the i7-920 anyway - it always makes me smile to feel the power...if only for a little while :)