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$1200 +/- i5 Gaming PC looking for advice

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September 18, 2009 4:01:52 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: As soon as I find out what parts =)
BUDGET RANGE: ~$1200 before rebates, though if it is less or a few hundred more I can handle it

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Games, all other things will take less resources (Internet, minor photo editing, watching vids, etc.)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, Desk ;)  Also don't factor in an OS, though I will probably purchase Vista with the W7 coupon

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg, though open to others if it is a major price difference

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: I'm thinking of going with an i5, though if there is a major reason you think otherwise, let me know

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe, though doubtful

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1280 x 1024

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I know there are a lot of 'help me build' topics, and I have been dabbling in those (as well as the parts lists and such), but I thought I would give a bit of a description on what exactly I am looking for to see if it changes what is suggested. Sorry for the length here, but I figure more info the better - if not, just assume the above and advise from there. =)

Processor: I was not really sure on this one, but from what I gathered at another website, the i5 seems to fit me. It sounds like a nice quad core processor that will handle games just fine. If you have anything to throw in the mix about this, however, please do.


Graphics Card: I would like a good one, but if it costs hundreds of dollars more for improvements that aren't all that needed or much different, I can do without. I never had a good card when they were out, so I would like a 'good' one that can at least run things on higher graphics, even if not one all maxed with highest res.

From what I can gather the Radeon HD 4870 1gb sounds like it would fit the bill. I haven't really had anything other than GeForce series cards, but this one sounds nice for the price and thought I might give it a go.

Power Supply: I don't need one so powerful as to drain the city's power, but I would like it to be strong enough, within reason, to allow improvement to the graphics card later on.

I was thinking maybe a 650 or 700?

Case and Cooling: I don't mind getting a humongous case - in fact it may be preferable. I want to be sure it has room inside to avoid modding out the case to fit cards =P Also, I would like some nice cooling. Again, it doesn't need to be the fancy water cooling or anything, but I know my last PC would often get very hot. It will be in a nice open room, but I want to be sure the graphics card stays cool.

I was told the HAF was a nice full tower case. Also, should I purchase additional fans for the CPU and/or Graphics Card?

Others: As I said, for the OS don't worry about it. Also I can just grab any cheap DVD player/burner from the site, as I don't think it is a big deal. If you want to offer help on things such as RAM and Hard Drives, that would be appreciated as well. Not sure what is needed on RAM these days - 4 or 6 maybe? And for a Hard Drive I want at least a 500 Gig.
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:pt1cable:  Whew. I think that is all. Sorry again for the length, but I am hoping that will give you more of an idea of what I need. I posted this on another website as well to see what they though, and someone was nice enough to toss this link my way.

http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx...

If you want to make completely new recommendations (either through Newegg links or just product names), a link to another post that fits the same bill, or to tweak the above one, I would appreciate it all very much. This is my first new build myself, so I am really trying to get it right, but allow way to upgrade it in the future without having to go the pre-built route.

Thanks in advance!

More about : 1200 gaming advice

September 18, 2009 4:26:30 PM

I think you're on the right track with the core i5. Get a low-end to midrange priced motherboard from either Asus or Gigabyte, those are probably the best choices right now. The 4870 is a nice card, but it really sounds like ATI will release the new 5XXX series cards on the 22nd or 23rd this month. the 5870 will probably be out of your price range, but the 5850 might make your budget.

The HAF 932 is a good case, I have a 922 which is pretty much the same, just smaller. The huge cooling fans it comes with should be plenty unless you go overboard with parts to stick inside it.

The best all-around performing/value drive right now is probably the Samsung Spinpoint F3. With RAM, the p55 chipset does not support triple channel, so there's no point in getting 6GB. Find a 4GB kit with low latencies and low voltage.
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September 18, 2009 5:39:57 PM

Unless you specifically want a full tower case, the HAF 922 or Antec 900 are both good mid tower cases with good airflow that wont give you space troubles unless you plan on installing several hard drives. There are a number of good airflow mid towers that are $100 or less (anything with front, back and top fans will do what you need). After that you gotta go with what you think looks good.

Sept 22 the new ATI 5800 series ships. Its possible the older cards will drop in price once that happens.
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September 18, 2009 6:10:12 PM

Thanks for all the help thus far, guys!

Seems like the cooler-master stuff is pretty good, eh? Well I guess it isn't a *requirement* on getting a full tower, but I certainly like the appeal (plenty of space [relatively] to get things in there and move around, and I plan on keeping it relatively grounded =) No moving it about).

If there is some disadvantage to having one, I might get a smaller one. I hope I don't come off as not listening to you guys, that isn't the case (heh) at all, but I do prefer the monstrosities that give a bit more wiggle room to the sleek and sexy looking mid-sized cases. But let me know, I could change my mind. =)

I have been hearing about the new cards coming out, so I may wait, although I am not sure how much (or how soon) the prices will drop. I also am getting the video card (and only that) courtesy of a present, though I guess I should think about their money as well, eh? =)

I had been dabbling with newegg, and I made a quick list to see what you guys though - if some things should be added/omitted/changed. Again, I am definitely no pro, so I definitely seek your feedback!
http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=9476494

I *think* that is all I need (again, unless I need more cooling or I just blatantly forgot something... I tried to follow the guide on this page). Not sure about brands, really, as my experience has mainly been with pre-built machines and for video cards I had only bought XFX geforce cards in the past...

I look forward to your input!
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September 18, 2009 6:54:58 PM

Unless your going some sort of multi gpu route route in the future, you could probably shave some money off by grabbing a 500-600 watt psu. This is dependent on you of course.

I've recently become a fan of the lancool pc-k62,

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168..., it has a lot of really nice higher end features from the lian li cases, but at a much nicer pricepoint.
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September 18, 2009 7:51:20 PM

Thanks for the suggestions guys! I think I am going to go with DNDHatcher's case or my original... I will have to do a bit more research, as the reviews have me wondering which is better.

Thanks for the suggestion jonsy. I guess I really wouldn't need so much power. The only thought I had was that it should last me a good while should I upgrade later on or decide to go an SLI/crossfire route (though at this time I doubt I will). I guess it depends on what I finally decide... the case DNDHatcher offered comes with a 750 for a nice price, while the case I first thought is a bit more expensive for both... something to think about. =)
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September 18, 2009 8:30:25 PM

Yeah you cant really go wrong with the 1200, personally I tend to not like full size cases as much, because of the size hah, but thats just my own preference.

The CM storm scout is another case that I am pretty fond of, I especially like the handles, makes carrying it a ton easier.

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

if you like a full sized variant, there is also the cm storm sniper.

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

Though I am a big fan of the painted interior that the antec/storm scout/pc-k62 cases offer. It just gives the interior a much nicer look.

If you think you will eventually go sli, grabbing a higher powered psu isnt a bad idea, as long as you plan on upgrading. If your just the type of person that buys a brand new system every 4-5 years and don't plan on upgrading in the middle, then I see no point in such a massive psu. Just keep these things in mind.
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September 18, 2009 8:57:14 PM

Antec makes both the 900
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

and the 902
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.antec.com/Believe_it/product.php?id=NzIy
"Built-in washable air filters"

The top is different, the 902 looks basically the same as the 1200 and the 902 does come with filters

Combo of 902 and EA750 PSU $195
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
or with a TP750 PSU $230
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
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September 18, 2009 9:07:06 PM

I think the 902 is a bit wider than the 900 also. There are some other features that the 902 takes from the 1200 case that weren't in the 900. Either way, I like both cases, just don't know if the 902 is worth it's current price.
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September 18, 2009 9:10:43 PM

Ah, thanks a lot guys. These definitely look cool.

Jonsy, I usually am the kind of guy who just gets a new rig after a number of years (usually after mine is getting quite old =) ), but now that I have some income and can decide on these things for myself more, I will likely upgrade over time more so than in the past.

Oh, one more question. I never really used any kind of tuners and the like, but does anyone here have any experience with them? I was thinking of possibly grabbing one up so I could record TV to the computer, but I never looked into it. If anyone has any experience (good or bad) about these and how they work or what kind to get, I would appreciate it. No biggie, as I will do some research on my own, but just wondered.

Thanks again!
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September 18, 2009 9:16:36 PM

I can't say I've had any bad experiences with tv tuners, I mean they basically do what they're advertised to do. Hauppauge makes some nice tv tuners, but if your not looking into anything too fancy, and plain old tv tuner will do.

Do you plan on receiving hd signal? How about recording shows? As a college student i find that a computer tv tuner to be quite useful, since space is a premium, computer and tv goes quite well together.

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September 18, 2009 10:07:31 PM

I will probably use it for recording shows and watching later, possibly burning them to DVD or at least watching through the XBOX 360 on the tv (as well as simply watching them on the computer).
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September 19, 2009 12:08:02 AM

That board in your wish list isn't really true Crossfire / SLI for the fact the second PCI-E slot is only x4. Try these combo's out down below. And look into the Cooler Master HAF 922 also. It's wider than the 932 and it actually gives you more room for larger vid cards and h/s. It big in all the right places. Also that case has an option to add a side window to it.

So check these deals out.....

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... Combo Discount: -$30.00 Combo Price: $339.98 Free Shipping*
ASUS P7P55D PRO 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/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... Combo Discount: -$15.00 Combo Price: $234.98 Free Shipping*
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBRH - Retail
SAPPHIRE 100279-1GL Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... Combo Discount: -$10.00 Combo Price: $149.98 Free Shipping*
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - Retail
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders w/ Tech Guarantee - OEM | Includes free Windows 7 upgrade coupon

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... Combo Discount: -$10.00 Combo Price: $129.98
COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
COOLER MASTER Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-GP 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" Long life sleeve CPU - Retail

http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/landing/haf922/ <--- Cooler Master HAF 922
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September 19, 2009 1:38:03 AM

Very nice, Why_Me. I had missed the hard drive / windows combo. Thanks also for the combo on the tower and cooler. And you say it is even larger than the other? That is nice, and cheaper too. Looks good to me.

I will have to check out the motherboards in the morning (I am sleep after taking some PM medicine Zzzz... =) ). Still not sure if I will go for an SLI/Crossfire or not just yet... might lower the PSU and stick with the current motherboard, or if not I will go ahead and go with another motherboard.

Thanks for all the help!
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