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<$2000 Gaming Rig

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September 9, 2009 6:14:49 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Mid-October BUDGET RANGE: <$2000

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, Music Listening, Video Watching (DVDs & Standard Def video files), Surfing, Generic Low-Impact Tasks

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard (Logitech G15), Mouse (Logitech G5), Speakers (Klipsch 5.1)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg, FrozenCPU, or anywhere else that has a good reputation.

PARTS PREFERENCES: Anything with a high Price-to-Performance ratio

OVERCLOCKING: Yes, best I can do with air-cooling and minimal voltage tweaks.
CROSSFIRE: Eventually, when I can't get 60fps+ with a 5870.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Current: 1600x1200 Desired: 1920x1200+

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

Okay, my current rig is reaching the stage where it's starting to have various age-related issues (like hot-flashes and being unable to perform like it used to :D  ) thanks to aging fans and the Socket 754/DDR-1/AGP motherboard. I figure that means it's Upgrade Time!™, so here I am trying to get my feet seriously wet in the hardware world for the first time since the Athlon 64 was the hot new chip.

First, let me list what components I've got a pretty firm decision on. Nothing is carved in stone, but I'm pretty confident in these choices, and it'll take a pretty good argument to get me to change them. After that I'll get into the areas I'm uncertain about.

EDIT 9/9/9: Updated list based on further research and suggestions from the awesome people on this board.

Firm Choices:
Case: HAF 922 - $110
PSU: Corsair 750TX - $120

MoBo: ASRock x58 Extreme - $170
CPU: Intel i7-920 - $280

Cooler: CoolerMaster Ultra 212 - $30
TIM: Tunic TX-2 - $5

SSD: (System/Apps)OCZ Vertex 60GB - $230
HDD: (Bulk Storage) Caviar Black 640GB - $75

GPU: (Estimated based on latest rumors) ATI Radeon HD 5870 $399

Disc Reader: LITE-ON 4x BD Reader + DVD Burner - $60

Monitor: ASUS VW266H - $300



Wobbly Choices:
RAM: Corsair XMS3 3x2GB - ($140-$15 = $125)
-----It's Corsair, it's CAS 7, and it's comboed with the i7 920 for $15 off. Would it be worth the $$$ to upgrade to DDR3-1600, or even higher, though?

Fans: ???
-----Is it worth getting the side/bottom fans for the HAF 922?
-----Is it worth getting a second fan and doing push-pull on the Hyper 212?

More about : 2000 gaming rig

September 9, 2009 7:29:24 AM

Here's a build you might want to take a look at. This case is larger than the one you chose and it gives you more room to work with...not to mention the quality aspects.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $109.99
COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $119.99 ($109.99 after $10.00 Mail-In Rebate Card) Free Shipping*
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/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... Combo Discount: -$15.00 Combo Price: $364.98 Free Shipping*
GIGABYTE GA-P55-UD4P LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
Intel Core i5 750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80605I5750 - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $29.99
COOLER MASTER Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-GP 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" Long life sleeve CPU Cooler - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $4.99
Tuniq TX-2 Cooling Thermal Compound - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $74.99 Free Shipping*
Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $172.00 Free Shipping*
SUPER TALENT MasterDrive SX SAM64GM25S 2.5" 64GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid state disk (SSD) - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $59.99 Free Shipping*
LITE-ON Black 4X BD-ROM 8X DVD-ROM 32X CD-ROM SATA Internal 4X Blu-ray Reader Model iHOS104-06 - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $30.99 Free Shipping*
SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $299.99 ($269.99 after $30.00 Mail-In Rebate Card) Free Shipping*
ASUS VW266H Black 25.5" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 1000:1 (ASCR 20000:1) Built in Speakers w/ component connector - Retail
SPDIF out connector

Total: $1,095.90 not including rebates, shipping, and taxes

http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/landing/haf922/ <--- Cooler Master HAF 922

September 9, 2009 7:31:11 AM

Memory: This Mushkin kit costs $155, CAS7, dunno if you care or would notice the improvement.:

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

Cooler: Can't help on clearance - no personal experience. Have you tried googling "scythe MUGEN-2 review" or "GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD3R review". Scanning those might show you your cooler on your board, or a cooler on your board that you can compare.

Fans: I don't see any point in replacing or adding fans until they pose a problem for me, or for my installation. Worst case, your system will run, maybe a little loud, while you place the order for the fan you NOW know you need.

You know, of course, the i5/i7 announcement yesterday? Perhaps with the i920 you are better placed if you need 2x5870 at some point, but i5 might suit you.
Related resources
September 9, 2009 8:38:08 AM

Why_Me said:
Here's a build you might want to take a look at. This case is larger than the one you chose and it gives you more room to work with...not to mention the quality aspects.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $109.99
COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

<SNIP>

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... Combo Discount: -$15.00 Combo Price: $364.98 Free Shipping*
GIGABYTE GA-P55-UD4P LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
Intel Core i5 750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80605I5750 - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $29.99
COOLER MASTER Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-GP 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" Long life sleeve CPU Cooler - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $4.99
Tuniq TX-2 Cooling Thermal Compound - Retail

<SNIP>

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $59.99 Free Shipping*
LITE-ON Black 4X BD-ROM 8X DVD-ROM 32X CD-ROM SATA Internal 4X Blu-ray Reader Model iHOS104-06 - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $30.99 Free Shipping*
SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner - OEM

<SNIP>

Total: $1,095.90 not including rebates, shipping, and taxes



1) I looked at the HAF, but a lot of reviews say the positioning of the airflow in the PC-K62 makes up for the lack of sheer volume, as well as saying it has the typical LianLi quality, just sacrificing the aluminum design for steel/plastic to make it cheaper.

2) I've seen the i5 setup, but I do plan on eventually going Crossfire, and the 5000-series cards take up more than 8 lanes of bandwidth each.

3) Does that Coolermaster headsink do well enough compared to the Mugen-2 to justify switching with a $7 price difference.

4) Good one with the TIM. Did a quick look around and the TX-2 does seem marginally better.

5) Why two separate drives when the one I had is a BD reader and DVD-burner in one?

6) That total doesn't factor in RAM (~$160, since I'd rather have 8gb and turn off my swap file), and the 5870 (another ~$400 according to the last price estimate I saw). Newegg also totaled that all up for me at closer to $1300 than $1100. Given the near-identical price of the builds, what's the advantage?
September 9, 2009 12:42:36 PM

Lian-Li does make nice cases, though if you aren't going aluminum, they aren't offering much more than what the competition does at 3/4 the price. This isn't out yet, but it's one of the best looking cases I think. http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/lian_li_revises_p...
$190 suggested price is pretty steep though, which is why I didn't wait for them. As for SSDs, the Super Talent is alright, though I'd say it's the #3 SSD right now. Intel's G2 (that may as well not exist for their availability) is the best, with OCZ Vertex right behind it. There really isn't too much difference between the manufacturers themselves, just take a close look at the components. You want an indilinx controller, and Samsung flash modules. SSDs are still a rapidly changing market, so if you wait 6 months, the pricing landscape should be more favorable.
September 9, 2009 6:49:24 PM

I can understand your preference for Lian-Li cases. I use their cases much more than any other. Especially vs the look of the HAF 932. If you were going with an i5 I'd say nothing else, but the i920 throws a fair amount of heat. 'nuff said.

You should be able to configure an i5 for -$70 cpu, -$70 max on a comparable mobo = up to $140 savings. Add less heat, less operating cost, that's your gain. As always, its your call.

Personally, I'd only choose Intel or OCZ Vertex for the reasons here:
http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=3631&p=...
September 9, 2009 7:44:35 PM

wathman said:
Lian-Li does make nice cases, though if you aren't going aluminum, they aren't offering much more than what the competition does at 3/4 the price. This isn't out yet, but it's one of the best looking cases I think. http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/lian_li_revises_p...
$190 suggested price is pretty steep though, which is why I didn't wait for them. As for SSDs, the Super Talent is alright, though I'd say it's the #3 SSD right now. Intel's G2 (that may as well not exist for their availability) is the best, with OCZ Vertex right behind it. There really isn't too much difference between the manufacturers themselves, just take a close look at the components. You want an indilinx controller, and Samsung flash modules. SSDs are still a rapidly changing market, so if you wait 6 months, the pricing landscape should be more favorable.

Twoboxer said:
I can understand your preference for Lian-Li cases. I use their cases much more than any other. Especially vs the look of the HAF 932. If you were going with an i5 I'd say nothing else, but the i920 throws a fair amount of heat. 'nuff said.

You should be able to configure an i5 for -$70 cpu, -$70 max on a comparable mobo = up to $140 savings. Add less heat, less operating cost, that's your gain. As always, its your call.

Personally, I'd only choose Intel or OCZ Vertex for the reasons here:
http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=3631&p=...



They've really jacked up the price on the X25-M G2 lately, though. The review you referenced though, Twoboxer, calls them out at $280 but Newegg lists them for $350, which is nearly the same as the 120GB Vertex! Also, wathman, I can't really wait 6 more months for an upgrade, but would would it be worth it to just run a pair of Caviar Black 640s in RAID-0 and wait until February or so?

The thermal argument is rather convincing, too, so I'll revert to the HAF-922 for my case choice if I stay with the i7-920... though I may end up going with an i5-750 (or i7-860?) after all.

My only real hesitation there is the lack of PCIe lanes to handle dual Radeon 5000-series graphics cards. Someone on here, I forget who, mentioned that the 5870s will likely use more than 8 lanes of PCIe-2.0 bandwidth each, which would cause a severe bottleneck running Crossfire.

If it weren't for that concern I'd jump on the i5 in a heartbeat... though since I won't be funded to start ordering parts until early/mid-October, I guess we'll get to see whether that concern is valid or not.
September 9, 2009 7:56:47 PM

you say x8 crossfire could bottle neck the 5 series right but not many x58 boards support true x16 crossfire
September 9, 2009 8:07:07 PM

Yeah, the G2s are so popular that they are out of stock everywhere, and retailers pricing went up to reflect this. If you run a clean computer, a 60GB Vertex would be a very good option if you can find a good price. As for your RAID question, a pair of Caviar Blacks will get you very good write speeds, probably on par with the really expensive SLC SSDs. Read speeds won't be as good as the current batch of MLC SSDs , but still an improvement over single drive. I can't really say how much since I haven't done any tests with Caviar Blacks.

I think your reason for passing on the i5 is a valid one, the P55 chipset doesn't offer enough PCIe lanes. Get a good X38 board now, and when the i9's come out down the road you can think about upgrade if intel doesn't get crazy with their pricing.
September 9, 2009 8:15:12 PM

obsidian86 said:
you say x8 crossfire could bottle neck the 5 series right but not many x58 boards support true x16 crossfire

That's not true. Nearly all X58 boards have two 16x PCI-E 2.0 slots.
September 9, 2009 8:19:44 PM

do they? well still if x8 can run 2 gtx 295's and rumers put the 5870 just under the 295 it could still work?
September 9, 2009 8:49:11 PM

Quote:
That's not true. Nearly all X58 boards have two 16x PCI-E 2.0 slots.

some even have 3 or 4 x16 2.0 slots

Quote:
do they? well still if x8 can run 2 gtx 295's and rumers put the 5870 just under the 295 it could still work?

i dont see why not. but if you did have the money to buy eather two 5870's or 295's then why stick them on a cheap motherboard with only x8 slots?
September 9, 2009 9:09:33 PM

I trust Anand that when he says the Vertex is an acceptable alternative, its his best judgement - better than mine lol. Newegg's prices will increase with positive reviews and/or purchases. Check elsewhere on hot items . . . even Amazon often has lower prices on selected items - they watch Newegg too lol.

The PCIe restriction *is* the only cause for pause. I *firmly* believe in using the best single card (well, usually the second best lol) available for a new build . . . along with a suitable mobo and psu . . . so that SLI/Xfire is available as a desperation upgrade. Beacuse it hasn't worked in MMOs, and it doesn't always scale in FPS. Abd a single card, if available, is still best.
September 10, 2009 3:35:34 AM

Okay, guys, thanks for all the help with this.

Really, it seems it all comes down to how badly the hard-limit of x8/x8 craps up the 5870 if/when I'm forced to throw them in Crossfire... though hopefully by the time that happens I'll be in a position to go for the new latest-gen with a 8000-series card, or whatever the new hotness is at the time. Given that I'm not building for another month *mutters about paperwork delays*, There should be plenty of time to see what the situation is once the 5870s are on the review-benches.

If I do stick with an LGA-1336 build, though, here are some updates for my choices, which I will edit into the first post as well:
Case: Arguments have convinced me to go with (or rather, return to) the HAF 922 - $110.
MoBo: ASRock x58 Extreme - $170
Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus - $30
SSD: OCZ Vertex 60GB - $230


So, with this, I've firmed up most of my choices and am left with the following questions:

1) Will I notice much of a performance boost by going with DDR3-1600 (or higher) over the DDR3-1333 I have selected?

2) Should I get the extra fans for the side/bottom of the HAF?

3) Should I bother going push-pull on my heat-sink (assuming it has multi-fan ability) if I'm going to be conservative with my voltage tweaking?
September 10, 2009 5:49:08 AM

1) Tom's has a very specific article analyzing just that memory and performance question.

2) Not until you have done the install and find you need to reduce noise or increase air flow.

3) A great cooler that can cool well running slower will be quiet more often. If your view of the best cooler allows push-pull, you can start without it unless it comes stock, and see. OTOH, unlike case fans this is one place where dynamic fan control exists, so you could just use it from the start.
September 10, 2009 7:19:41 AM

Twoboxer said:
1) Tom's has a very specific article analyzing just that memory and performance question.

2) Not until you have done the install and find you need to reduce noise or increase air flow.

3) A great cooler that can cool well running slower will be quiet more often. If your view of the best cooler allows push-pull, you can start without it unless it comes stock, and see. OTOH, unlike case fans this is one place where dynamic fan control exists, so you could just use it from the start.


Thanks, Twoboxer. I think that's gotten just about everything answered for me. Just have to wait it out until October, then.
September 10, 2009 1:05:51 PM

If you don't mind rebates, you can save quite a bit of money by buying some parts at microcenter, even without the rebate prices should be better:

60GB OCZ Vertex $179 AR http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Looks like they sold out on the HAF 922, that was going for $79 AR.

September 11, 2009 5:15:05 AM

wathman said:
If you don't mind rebates, you can save quite a bit of money by buying some parts at microcenter, even without the rebate prices should be better:

60GB OCZ Vertex $179 AR http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Looks like they sold out on the HAF 922, that was going for $79 AR.


Huh. Well, that's good... assuming I don't end up with everything I want being 'pickup only' like that $200 i7 they have.
!