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New PC, need advice

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September 17, 2009 4:34:27 PM

Hey guys!
I plan to build a new PC, initially used for 'old school' gaming (quake 3, unreal tournament 2k4, counter strike etc) and school work.

As i am on a budget i look for bang for buck and request guidance, its worth noting during xmas i plan on getting a ati 5850 with an earthwatts 650(?) and mw2

atm i have a Sapphire PURE 790GX AM3 Mobo, 1.3tb HDD (2HDDs), and dvd r/w and 4gb crucial 1333mhz ddr3 ram I am going to use the onboard gpu till xmas as it should suffice, after i get 5850 i'd want to try all the crysis games, bioshock 2, mw2, battlefield, dirt 2 etc maxed at '1680/1440 x' and dx11 for win7/gaming

Also the phenom x3 720 is the tip of my cpu budget and seems good bang for buck, i can't go any higher.. for someone who uses sony vegas, games alot, movie streams quite a bit, plays music 24/7, and uses windows live messaging etc is the cpu sufficient? I dont plan to upgrade for 3 years and will oc mildly with w.e cpu i get (+0.2 - 0.5ghz?) is this sufficient for the time frame? Any recommendation for a soundcard also?
I'm going to use a headset so I don't need a 7.1, 5.1 etc, are there any GOOD ones with just a mic and sound input jack?

I'm a 16 year old student so I cant max out budget wise.. Hope u understand.

P.S - My previous set up was a 8800gt / C2D E7200 @ 1280/1440 and was fine for me, but my psu blew it up (generic 400watt) and am resistant to getting another dual core cpu.
Also will a coolermaster elite 330 w/ a 350w psu @ebuyer (im on mobile, cant link) hold till xmas, just to power the cpu, ram, hdd, dvd rw, soundcard + case fan? Am i going the right way?

More about : advice

a c 90 B Homebuilt system
September 17, 2009 4:41:31 PM

What is your budget and what parts do you actually need?
a b B Homebuilt system
September 17, 2009 4:44:24 PM

Your plan sounds fine, only change I can think of is to get a Corsair 650 over the Antec earthwatts. Price should be about the same, but the Corsair is a better quality unit in my opinion. Don't go with a bundled PSU, 9 times out of 10, they're bundled because the PSU is crap, and they wouldn't be able to move them off the shelves any other way. Antec occasionally has bundled case / PSUs that aren't accidents waiting to happen, but they aren't always available.
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September 17, 2009 4:45:10 PM

I need a cpu (am3), psu and case, budget being £150 :$
But i will upgrade the psu and a gpu at xmas, just need to run till then
September 17, 2009 4:48:23 PM

Also, a soundcard at max £40 sorry for not adding
a b B Homebuilt system
September 17, 2009 5:22:32 PM

The mobo on board sound will be more than enough for what you do and give very high quality sound. Only ones needing aftermarket soundcards these days are audio professionals doing production work.

What did you do with your old system? I would have just replaced the PSU with a quality unit and kept using it. You won't see HUGE performance jumps going to the x3 for the apps you run. At the resolutions you have, a GPU upgrade may have helped a little, but you still should be fine playing Crysis on the 8800GT at 1440x900 at med high details.

But being you need a case, I'm assuming you've already sold off the old system? Since you shouldn't be buying a soundcard, use that money to get the right PSU the first time. OCZ with a 3 year warranty is the lowest I'd go on quality and would buy one as they are very budget friendly. There's lots of great names, and as long as the warranty is 3+ years and its active PFC, should be a decent part.
September 18, 2009 12:14:24 AM

Thanks, im going to up my budget and await the corsair hx650 and asus ta-m21.
Is it worth overclocking the crucial ballistix ram mildly? AM3 only reads 1333mhz right? pointless? I'd o nly want 1600mhz
a b B Homebuilt system
September 18, 2009 2:01:46 AM

numbah1 said:
Thanks, im going to up my budget and await the corsair hx650 and asus ta-m21.
Is it worth overclocking the crucial ballistix ram mildly? AM3 only reads 1333mhz right? pointless? I'd o nly want 1600mhz


Take a few to read this and educate yourself on ram speeds/timings and the effect on overall performance.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/phenom-ii-ddr3,2319...

That asus case is sharp. To bad they don't sell that stateside.
September 18, 2009 3:21:29 AM

By sharp i'm guessing you mean nice :p  thanks i think that too :D 

I forgot to mention I did sell my system, I wanted an upgrade anyhow, although I may have been better off for now with just that, the case was generic to and had 0 fans, hardly helped..

It seems the ram I want is fine at stock? As it fails to start at lower timings from what i read at another review.

Are you 100% sure I dont need a soundcard, i'm planning to go semi-pro and maybe they produce louder footsteps etc?
a b B Homebuilt system
September 18, 2009 3:29:13 AM

Semi pro, ambitious!

I also choose synchronous ram speeds and then tighten the timings as much as I can. I'd rather buy overspeed ram just a bit and downclock it then the timings should tighten better than OC'd ram.

You're asking a detail question thats beyond my experience. I'd poll a few semi-pro gamers to get their take. I honestly don't think it will matter. If the onboard sound was good enough on your old system, the newer 790gx board should have a newer chip and get the job done. But I'd do some searching to see what pro gamers have to say about it.
September 18, 2009 3:39:09 AM

Well my old build was solely for bioshock with pc speakers among other stuff as i played xbox 360 competively - but as my mate says 'i have a dignitas t shirt waiting for me'

I'd have to poll em i guess, i've learnt that most stuff is for sole marketing which gets a bit annoying!


Thanks for your help dearly
September 19, 2009 6:31:53 AM

Okay I did CAL and all that, Yeah, you really don't need a sound card, get a pair of decent headphones, like the Audio Technica AD700's for gaming.
a b B Homebuilt system
September 19, 2009 4:04:32 PM

^+1. It's all in the device. I spent far too many years of my life with 1.6, and a high end set of headphones are the best investment you'll make besides a mouse if you're looking to go pro :) .
September 19, 2009 5:09:22 PM

This is slightly offtopic, but I have found that I could play pretty much the same with or without sound, it's really way more in the reflexes than it is in being able to hear some footsteps
September 23, 2009 5:36:43 PM

Netherwind that is completely dependent on skill level, experience and game being played, if someone misses a snipe from behind you in say cod4, you wont know any better and they get an extra shot or two in.

As for headsets i have purchased a hd555 for music, speedlink medusa 5.1 for gaming and music and plantronic gamecoms 777 as a temporary should the medusas die, i did assume a soundcard would further help but i havent tried any of those headphones yet as my pc isnt complete.

Would running 2 different ram sets in dual mode (ballistix slot 1,3 and tracers slot 2,4) cause issues?
a b B Homebuilt system
September 23, 2009 8:44:06 PM

Mixed ram isn't ideal, but generally not if the voltages are the same. All the ram will run at the slowest speed if they aren't already equal.
!