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Seeking Thoughts/Advice on mobo, GPU, memory for 1st time i5 build

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October 6, 2009 9:23:01 PM

This is my 1st time build and I've really gotten into it. I've heard a lot of positive things about this community and I've been a lurker for a few weeks. I appreciate your input in advance!

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: within next week or 2

BUDGET RANGE: no limitations but trying to keep it reasonable + justified (<$1000)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Seeking a replacement for my 5-yr old desktop, looking for performance to do more than one task simultaneously. Primarily used for stock trading software (streaming charts), watching (downloaded) movies, surfing the net, itunes, MS office, etc. Little gaming requiring ultra high-end graphics performance (<$150 on graphics) – may pick it up in the future if I fall in love w/ my system.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Already have Windows 7 OS, keyboard, mouse, speakers,
2-22” monitors
Antec 300 case ($40)
Corsair 550W PSU ($70)
1 TB Samsung Spinpoint F3 ($80)
Core i5 from Microcenter ($170).

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com or equivalent. Free shipping is key. There is a Microcenter in Chicago, BUT tax is 10% so any benefit is quickly extinguished.

PARTS PREFERENCES: Reputable, highly regarded companies.

OVERCLOCKING: Yes, nothing crazy

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050 times 2

I still need to purchase a mobo, memory, video card, CD/DVD, wireless card, perhaps heatsink. I’m very interested in people’s feedback about P55 mobos and graphic cards. Products I’m considering/questions remaining are as follows:

Graphics
XFX HD-487A-ZWFC Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card – Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $125

Edit: I was looking at 4850s but the prices don’t seem that much better than the 4870 I have here. Does anyone have any info on the 57xx series coming out soon? I may wait for those darlings.

Mobo/Memory
GIGABYTE GA-P55M-UD2 LGA 1156 Intel P55 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail and
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBRH - Retail (DDR3 1600 PC3 12800 CAS 7 1.65V) http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... $185

Price is not necessarily the ultimate factor here, I could spend more for an ATX mobo but am I going to derive any value from it, especially if none of them have true dual PCI Express x16? There is the potential I may upgrade to 2 GPUs in the future, however, given the fun I’ve had so far I may start from scratch for my ultimate trading machine (4-6 monitors…a dream). With this mATX, is there enough room for a graphics card like the 4870 AND a wireless Ethernet card?

Wireless
LINKSYS WMP54G IEEE 802.11b/g, PCI 2.2 and 2.3 32bit PCI2.2 Wireless-G Adapter Up to 54Mbps Wireless Data Rates WEP, WPA, CCX 2.0 - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $40

I know most of you don’t use wireless but is it worth it to even spend this much or should I just get some bargain basement card for like $15, i.e. Trendnet

CD/DVD
Sony Optiarc Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner with LightScribe LightScribe Support – OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $30

Heatsink? Thermal Paste?
October 6, 2009 9:38:30 PM

I have the MSI P55-GD65 and love it. Everything runs cool on it.
My CPU idles at 36 degrees Celsius with the sock cooler.

The thing about the the P55 mATX boards are that if you do CF or SLI, you won't
be able to install anything else in the expansion slots. That Gigabyte board you want only has one PCI-E slot so you won't be doing CF or SLI.

I also heard that XFX makes the crappiest cards. (Somebody back me up on that)
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October 6, 2009 9:44:15 PM

xfx offer double lifetime warranties on their cards,you wont get any back up
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October 6, 2009 9:49:20 PM

masterasia said:
I also heard that XFX makes the crappiest cards. (Somebody back me up on that)

XFX is a high quality manufacturer that stands behind their parts with a double lifetime warranty. They come highly recommended on these forums. Whoever told you that XFX makes the "crappiest" cards shouldn't be giving advice.
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October 6, 2009 10:27:50 PM

My guess is with wanting to run two monitors at 1680x1050 you will want the more powerful GPU. I would be concerned the 4670 might get choppy doing stock charts on one screen and playing a movie on the other.

Sometime soon ATI is supposed to start shipping the 5700 series GPUs which would be down at your price range and be DX11 compatible for future use. Unfortunately is seems they may not be available in time.

An I will echo the XFX warranty making them the best choice for GPUs if possible.
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October 6, 2009 11:03:36 PM

dndhatcher said:
My guess is with wanting to run two monitors at 1680x1050 you will want the more powerful GPU. I would be concerned the 4670 might get choppy doing stock charts on one screen and playing a movie on the other.

Sometime soon ATI is supposed to start shipping the 5700 series GPUs which would be down at your price range and be DX11 compatible for future use. Unfortunately is seems they may not be available in time.

An I will echo the XFX warranty making them the best choice for GPUs if possible.


I appreciate your thoughts. I can definitely wait, but I guess I overlooked this completely as I thought ATI already released their new line which was way out of my price range. Do you have a link to a definitive source or is this all speculation...wonder why they didn't release the entire 5xxx line at once. Will definitely have to look into this.

Any thoughts on mobo selections? There just don't seem to be enough good quality reviews from purchasers on the P55s yet.
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October 6, 2009 11:38:20 PM

The cards 6 monitor cards ATI demoed last month to wow everyone on the 5800 series isnt even out yet. There are lots of good reasons to release the higher end cards first. Get early purchasers to buy up. Bite into Nvidias domination and make a strong reputation for price/performance. More profit on higher end products. Getting continuous free advertising from the press as you release new models every few weeks. Probably there are manufacturing considerations also.

Motherboards are all about a quality manufacturer. P55 is the simplest motherboard (northbridge was moved off the motherboard into the CPU). EVGA, ASUS, DFI, Gigabyte, MSI and even Foxconn should be good products. After that its a matter of one or two GPUs, overclocking tweaks in the bios and power modulation/cooling features on the board.
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