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$800-$1000CAD gaming rig

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October 16, 2009 1:31:31 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: this week
BUDGET RANGE: $800-$1000 CAD (closer to $800 would be better)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming mostly

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Everything not in the case, OS

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.ca, directcanada.com
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Canada

PARTS PREFERENCES: none really

OVERCLOCKING: Yes (moderate) SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes, later

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1600x1200

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
Would like everything but the video cards to last a good long while. I intend to add in a second video card in a year or two and switch to a new model in 3 years or so. CPUs don't seem to be much of a bottleneck when it comes to gaming so I'm hoping that everything else will last me a good 3-4+ years.

I've figured since I'm planning only on really upgrading the graphics cards and pushing them to their limit, an X48 mobo which supports dual x16 PCIe (as opposed to the x8/x8 the P45 supports). Two of the games I'm playing right now run on cryEngine 2, so even right off the bat I'll be demanding a lot out of my video card(s).

I'm still kind of divided on the CPU choice. It's mostly a tossup between the Q9550 and the Q9400. The Q9400 is about $45 less but has half the cache and a slightly lower clock speed. Not really sure how much of an impact that would have on gaming though. I'm also considering the Phenom II 945 or 955 but from what I've read those seem to be inferior to the Q9400 and Q9550 and with the combo deals on newegg right now they aren't all that much less expensive.

I would also prefer if the system ran fairly quiet, though it isn't a *huge* priority.

So, here's what I've got so far:

(from directcanada.com)
Case - Antec Three Hundred - $64.90
PS - ModXStream Pro 600W - $83.67
CPU Heatsink - Zalman CNPS9500 - $40.02
HDD - Seagate Barracuda 7200RPM 1TB - $84.88

(from newegg.ca)
Mobo - Gigabyte GA-X48-D6Q
CPU - Q9550
Mobo & CPU combo - $384.98

Video - XFX HD4870 - $155.49
RAM - G.Skill PC6400 CL4 2x2GB - $65.49
Fans - 2xXigmatek XLF-F1253 - $9.99 ea

Stuff from directcanada is shipped free. Shipping on the stuff from newegg comes to $16.74. HST is $108.06, bringing the total to $1035.25 plus a $15 MIR putting it about $20 over budget (which is fine, but I would prefer lower if I can get away with it).

Any suggestions/comments?

More about : 800 1000cad gaming rig

a b 4 Gaming
October 16, 2009 6:44:06 PM

This is a tough one. Q9550 or i5 750? Since you're OK with a bit of overclocking I'd say go with the i5 750.
Q9550 & Gigabyte GA-X48-D6Q for $384 or i5 750 & ASUS P7P55D PRO P55 for $385
$20 extra for DDR3 RAM on the P55 MB.

To balance the budget I'd drop the 2x Xigmatek fans. I don't believe they're needed. And you could always get those later.

Save another $20 with the Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro REV.2 CPU cooler 775 and 1156 sockets. It's in the same class of cooling and quietness as the CNPS9500.

October 16, 2009 7:45:20 PM

WR2 said:
This is a tough one. Q9550 or i5 750? Since you're OK with a bit of overclocking I'd say go with the i5 750.
Q9550 & Gigabyte GA-X48-D6Q for $384 or i5 750 & ASUS P7P55D PRO P55 for $385
$20 extra for DDR3 RAM on the P55 MB.

But the problem with this is that it's a P55 mobo, not a X58. And there don't even seem to be *any* LGA 1156 mobos available with an X58 northbridge so in the future my video cards are going to be bottlenecked which is what I don't want.

WR2 said:
Save another $20 with the Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro REV.2 CPU cooler 775 and 1156 sockets. It's in the same class of cooling and quietness as the CNPS9500.

That looks like a good one. It's a bit smaller, almost as quiet, has almost as good reviews, and is half the price. So I'll switch to this.

I've also been looking more at comparisons between the Q9550 and the Phenom II 955. It seems that while the Q9550 is better overall, the 955 is better with gaming, which is what is most important for me. Plus it seems to be slightly more future-proof as the AM3 socket has a good amount of life left and some of the AM3 mobos even support DDR3 RAM.

So I'm think of getting this combo of a Phenom 955 and a Gigabyte 790FX MB for about the same price as what I have above.

I'd also have to switch the RAM out, so I'd get this combo which includes the video card I already have listed above and 2x2GB of G.Skill Ripjaw DDR3 1600 CL9 RAM.

Overall that would end up costing about $15 more. Basically a negligible difference in price, so I'm wondering which of these two possible setups would be better for gaming, assuming I'll be doing some OCing.
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a b 4 Gaming
October 16, 2009 9:16:20 PM

Uniqueuponhim said:
But the problem with this is that it's a P55 mobo, not a X58. And there don't even seem to be *any* LGA 1156 mobos available with an X58 northbridge so in the future my video cards are going to be bottlenecked which is what I don't want.
If you game at 2560x1600, true. Anything else - not so much. The graphics bottleneck would not be the P55 MB but the 4870 GPU. The x8/x8 PCI-e penalty is only a few FPS. One or two 4870s would fall far behind any single 2010 gaming GPU. 1920x1080 res example.

(more comparisons here: x58-vs-p55-chipset-crossfire-sli-performance)
Paying for a premium motherboard and then using two budget video cards?

X4 955 vs Q9550 vs i5 750; Close enough in performance to be called a 'close race'. Q9550 has an edge when OC'd and the X4 and i5 have better path for possible future CPU upgrade.
October 16, 2009 11:26:47 PM

According to this, there is a fairly big difference between the X48 and P45, even with only a 4850 playing Crysis and even at lower resolutions. As I mentioned, two of the games I'm playing now run CryEngine 2. I imagine in 3+ years I'll be running even more stressful games and potentially even have upgraded to better video cards so the bottleneck will become even more apparent.
October 17, 2009 12:53:09 PM

Anyone else have any suggestions at all? I'd especially like to find out whether or not the 955 would be better for gaming than the Q9550.
October 18, 2009 11:02:06 PM

get an i5 it is better in gaming and most other things then both those processors, and is around the same price/cheaper then them. Also it is true that an i5 goes down to 8x/8x when you do crossfire/sli WR2 already stated this doesnt make a big difference for todays graphic cards, but it can still run single cards at the full bandwith.
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