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The Gauntlet!

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October 3, 2009 1:34:59 PM

Hi, before I begin just wanted to say before finding Tom's Hardware I never knew I could feel real love for a website.

Anyway.....about a week back I posted in the forums about help buying Dell Desktop. The responses I received were extremely knowledgeable, friendly and overall really helpful but each one stated that I'd be better of building my own system.

So ladies and gentlemen I'll throw down the gauntlet:
Can I build a working* gaming system for between 500 - 800** euro?

The games I want to play are Team Fortress 2, Call of Duty 6, Red Alert 3, Guild Wars 2, Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2.

Since I live in Ireland I have been using http://www.komplett.ie and their prices seem very reasonable and I don't need to pay shipping since I can pick up the parts from their outlet in Dublin. I've done quite a bit of research, but i won't take offence at criticism, please do say if you think it's shite.

It's really vital for me to know if everything is compatible or if I can get something of similar value cheaper or something better for not much more money.

Here’s the setup i was thinking of:

-Case: Antec Three Hundred Mid-Tower Black € 53.00 (Edited, Entec 900/Antec 1200 to a Antec 300)
http://www.komplett.ie/k/ki.aspx?sku=354717

-CPU:AMD Phenom II X2 550 3.1 ghz € 88.00 (bang for buck, as you say)
http://www.komplett.ie/k/ki.aspx?sku=485798

-GPU: Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 1GB GDDR5 € 149.51 (I'll crossfire it later)
http://www.komplett.ie/k/ki.aspx?sku=442787

-PSU: Corsair Powersupply 550W Black, ATX/EPS, € 75.00 (Edited lower psu, Is this enough)
http://www.komplett.ie/k/ki.aspx?sku=339898

-Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-MA790XT-UD4P, Socket-AM3 € 107.50 (Optional unlocking the 4th core, if poss')
http://www.komplett.ie/k/ki.aspx?sku=431468

-Ram: Corsair Dominator DDR3 1600M Hz 4GB CL9 € 86.00 (not sure if these are compatible)
http://www.komplett.ie/k/ki.aspx?sku=481132

-Hardrive: Samsung SpinPoint F1 1TB SATA2 € 68.00 (not sure what to look for here)
http://www.komplett.ie/k/ki.aspx?sku=343055

-Wireless: TP-LINK TL-WN551G Wireless PCI adapter €16.00 (needed because of living arrangements)
http://www.komplett.ie/k/ki.aspx?sku=346638

-Disk Drive: Sony NEC Optiarc DVD±RW burner AD-7200A € 20.90 (cheap, but i dont use it for much)
http://www.komplett.ie/k/ki.aspx?sku=343919

*Even tough I know quite a bit about taking apart laptops, I would be a first time builder.
** The dell i was initially gonna get would cost a similar amount. I would like to go higher but I need to buy a screen and operating software. I wish linux worked for games :( 
***Even though its AM3 can I use a AM2 fan??

Thanks in advance.
I have lots of questions but i'll leave it at this for now.



Edit- I found a Dell XPS 630i for 600 euro on dell.outlet... would it be better for me to buy that? Heard it has a sucky BSOD motherboard. But it comes with dual 9600gt gpu. Building my own so far has been so much fun…..I’m still deciding on a name for my new pc.

More about : gauntlet

October 3, 2009 5:09:39 PM

Quote:
-Case: Antec Nine Hundred Midi Tower Black € 95.00 (what is beauty? this is)
-CPU: AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition 2.8ghz € 104.00*** (bang for buck, as you say)
-GPU: Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 1GB GDDR5 € 149.51 (I'll crossfire it later)
-PSU: Corsair Powersupply 750W Black, ATX/EPS, € 109.00 (future proof wattage, i hope)
-Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-MA790XT-UD4P, Socket-AM3 € 107.50 (Optional unlocking the 4th core, if poss')
-Ram: Corsair Dominator DDR3 1600M Hz 4GB CL9 € 86.00 (not sure if these are compatible)
-Wireless: TP-LINK TL-WN551G Wireless PCI adapter €16.00 (needed because of living arrangements)
-Disk Drive: Sony NEC Optiarc DVD±RW burner AD-7200A € 20.90 (cheap, but i dont use it for much)
-Hardrive: Samsung SpinPoint F1 1TB SATA2 € 68.00 (not sure what to look for here)

Cpecs looks good! Well done. Don't bother with the Dell imo.

As for HSF: Core Contact Freezer or S1283.
October 4, 2009 9:55:52 AM

Thanks, for the building self-esteem boost and i'll take a look at those coolers...

Any other comments from the community?
I kinda wish I titled this thread better with more info.....
Related resources
October 4, 2009 12:51:25 PM

Looks good, a bit much psu, but I'm assuming your covering yourself in case you want to ru crossfire down the line. Should be a lot of fun.
October 6, 2009 12:59:13 PM

I reduced the PSU, I heard somewhere that too much PSU could lower the pcs efficiency..... Is this True?

Thanks

Please please please someone rip this apart, it seems to good to be true. :) 
October 6, 2009 1:11:27 PM

^ Are you planning for Crossfire later on ?

And about the too much PSU lowering the PCs efficiency is not totally true...
A 750W PSU for eg with 80+ efficiency would be more efficient at 50% load...But obviously you wouldn't want to spend more on the component that you would not make full use...
And the 80+ PSUs also have high efficiency at 90% load...S0 that 550W would be a very good option...
October 6, 2009 1:33:11 PM

Well probably, depends what happens with the GPU market, I just want to have the option to do so, in that case should I go with the 750 watt Corsair.... I dont mind paying a bit extra for a bit of future proofing. Would I hit the 50% load with my setup.

Also do I have the correct Motherboard? So I can have the option of trying to unlock the Phenom II x2's 2 extra cores.

How do I know if my ram is compatible?

I'm also looking for a decent Moniter fo gaming (decent refesh rate, colours) between 100-200, theres so many to choose from.... and I don't know which brands are good.

Thanks
October 7, 2009 4:37:42 AM

^ Yes, your setup would hit 50% load but you can actually get the 650TX instead of the 750TX...Even the 650TX has enough power for running 2x HD 4870s in crossfire along with a overclocked Quad. -
Proof : TOMs had an article before some days when reviewed an AMD Cyberpower rig with overclocked X4 955 + 2x HD 4890 in crossfire, that ran on Corsair 650TX without any issues...So your setup should do fine with that 650TX...

Most of the mobos can unlock the cores but it depends more on the chip rather than the mobo. So if you get the right chip, it can be unlocked. So its just Hit or Miss...

As for RAM compatibility, AMD can support any DDR3 RAM out there unlike Intel i5/ i7 chips, which can support only DDR3 RAM with 1.65V

As for Monitors, Go with a monitor with these features
- Low Response time
- Medium/ High resolution(At least 1440X900 or above)
- High contrast ratio
- Wide viewing angle
- Good connectivity options(Preferably with DVI-D, HDMI)

Brands like ACER, ASUS, LG, Samsung are good...
October 10, 2009 10:20:38 AM

Thanks.

Sorry for the inconvenience, but just a couple more questions.

-1- If I upgrade in a year or so, would it be safer for me to buy a 750w psu so I wouldn't have to buy a new one for a new graphics card. I am noob at working these things out, how would the 750w fair would it be unefficient on my rig And the least money I would have to spend upgrading the better.

-2- On the Komlette website it says the Gigabyte GA-MA790XT-UD4P, Socket-AM3 is only compatible with Phenom II x3 and x4 processors... how i looked it up and people are using the Phenom II x2 with it.... is it a mistake on the Komplette website or are there different versions of the Motherboard... with the same name.
link:http://www.komplett.ie/k/ki.aspx?sku=431468

-3- Which the better hardrive, ignoring size and the 4 euro price difference (i wouldn't use up much space anyway... i rather have speed and reliability).

The Western Digital Caviar® Black™ 640GB € 72.00
http://www.komplett.ie/k/ki.aspx?sku=391646
OR
The Samsung SpinPoint F1 1TB SATA2 € 68.00
http://www.komplett.ie/k/ki.aspx?sku=343055

thanks in advance.
October 11, 2009 1:01:28 PM

Sorry, Bump!
Please I really need some input/help, as I need to purchase this really soon, as my old laptop is dying (Harddrive corrupt/low fps). Otherwise I won't be able to play in my clan anymore/use my Ipod or do any photshop art. I can't afford to make any mistakes with this build.

Thanks.
October 12, 2009 4:24:18 AM

For your questions...

1. I wouldn't advice on spending more money on the PSU(More than currently what you are spending) - Reason - I dont think you would need to go with multiple graphic cards because the next gen cards have been released and you can get incredible performance with a single card...And you can do away with crossfire issues too...
So by the time you want to upgrade, the DirectX 11 cards would be well within budget and just upgrade to that rather than spending on another old card...

But if you want to have a possibility for Crossfire, then for 8 Euros more, you can get the 650TX...And like I said before it would suffice...
http://www.komplett.ie/k/ki.aspx?sku=340676

2. You just have to check the socket compatibility when buying a mobo...And that mobo supports all AM3 socket CPUs and the X2 is an AM3 CPU...So it will be compatible...

3. Overall performance of the WD Black is better(but that F1 is faster in some tasks)...
If you want speed and reliability over value, then the WD black is the better choice...
October 12, 2009 5:24:48 AM

Absolutely, without question, the Caviar Black. Or the Samsung F3 500GB, but NOT the F1.
October 24, 2009 9:18:12 AM

Sorry I'm back was away for a while!

I'm gonna go for the caviar black.

I have a question regarding the case... I want to get the ANTEC 300 case http://www.komplett.ie/k/ki.aspx?sku=354717

But I'm worried it won't be big enough for newer graphics cards, anyone have some information on this issue?
October 27, 2009 2:44:36 PM

Thank you gkay09, i'll check out those threads. I'll actualy be ordering the parts / building the computer in early january, so its still a bit up in the air if i'll go for a 48xx first or go straight for a 58xx.
!