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$1200 Gaming Re-build Questions

Last response: in Systems
October 19, 2009 2:09:30 PM


I'm new here, but I've been building PCs for a while, but have been out of the loop for a good number of years.

My Current System:

nForce 690i
Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz
Nvidia GTS 8800 512mb
320gb WD SATA 10,000 RPM (hot as hell) HD
680w Power Supply

I'm planning to keep most of the parts I have, and simply upgrade the Motherboard, RAM, Processor and Video Card. Keeping the price for what I want under $1200.00 is proving to be a challenge.

Now to the form question:


SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming (really, I'm just upgrading so I can run Dragon Age: Origins on max settings)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Power Supply, Mouse, Keyboard, Monitor (24'' Dell 1900x1200)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg, (is there another that might be better-priced?)

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel i7 920 (newegg has them for $279.00)

OVERCLOCKING: I'm hoping to buy an EVGA Hydrocopper GTX 295, unless someone has a better idea.


ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I'm planning on a Cooler Master HAF tower, included in the parts I'd like to go with as my current box will act as a portable heater for any room.

I was planning on an EVGA or Asus Intel X58 board, LGA 1366 with DDR3 1600 or 2000. (not sure if I need SLI or Crossfire if I purchase an EVGA Hydrocopper GTX 295). Intel i7 920, Corsair Dominator 6gb (I'm still running 32b XP Pro), and a good case, really.

Thanks in advance!

Marcus :p 
October 19, 2009 2:31:34 PM

I'd advise against a 295 hydro copper, way to expensive. The 5870 (a single card) trades blows with a 295 (dual gpu), my advice is to either pick up a 5870 or wait for the nvidia gt300 series.

Also core i7 just for gaming may be more system then you need, but will go a long way in future proofing. Just my 2 cents.
October 19, 2009 2:36:26 PM

Thanks very much! I figured that with an LGA 1366, I'd be ready to upgrade to the hex core processors that come out later.

Also, do the new boards (x58) have the capability of SATA II? (as I understand it, SATA II is for SSDs, which are not in my budget now, but I'd like a MB that can handle one once I get it)

Thanks again,
Related resources
October 19, 2009 2:56:05 PM

Wow, thanks very much. I'll only ask one more question, (since you've saved me about $500 so far ;)  )

Which specific EVGA X58 board do you recommend? I could care less about 3-way SLI and Xfire. If I get the 5870, I might, at some point run 2-way Xfire.

I just want a MB that is DDR3 1600 or 2000, can run 2-way SLI and Xfire and LGA 1366... is there anything else I'm missing that might be pivotal to a gaming rig?
October 19, 2009 4:03:58 PM

Sorry to bump my own post, but I really only have one more question.

Which MB should I use for this new system? As stated, I really will only ever use 2-way SLI or Xfire and I'd rather not pay for a board with a bunch of bells-and-whistles I won't use. I'd just like the basic LGA 1366, DDR3 1600 or 2000, and SATA II ports which I'm told most X58 boards can handle.

Newegg seems to lump them all together and lists many more 3-way SLI/Xfire boards than the simple PCIe 2x16.

Is there a particular model anyone recommends? I'm torn on Asus and EVGA.

Thanks in advance,
October 19, 2009 4:18:45 PM

Which 680W PSU do you have? I don't really see any quality 680W units listed on Newegg.

Are you aware that you'll have about half of your 6GB of RAM available until you step up to a 64-bit OS?

Here's some of my suggestions: $494.98 (Intel Core i7-920 + ASUS P6T combo)

G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL8TU-6GBPI - Retail $144.99

SAPPHIRE 100281SR Radeon HD 5870 (Cypress XT) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card w/ATI Eyefinity - Retail $379.99

You also might as well step up to 64-bit Windows since you'll have to do a reinstall of your OS with the new hardware anyway. You can pre-order Windows 7 for $100 or get it for $30 if you're a student.

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM $99.99


If you're thinking of sticking with a 32-bit OS, you should probably re-think the whole build and go with something like the i7 860 with 4GB of RAM.
October 19, 2009 4:20:54 PM

Sorry Marcus, had to get back into class. Was on the netbook. Anyhoo, the AsRock board tecmo linked is a great board for that price.

The Evga:

and Asus P6t Deluxe V. 2:

Both boards offer ample features with a very hefty price tag, however, most of these will probably go unused for your needs.

I'd recommend the AsRock as it is a very capable board. I don't think you'd be disappointed. It's also a Tom's Hardware Recommended Buy.
October 19, 2009 4:24:10 PM

Thank you for the vivid answers! I was thinking I would build it piece-by-piece for the time being. I'd first buy the MB, Processor and RAM (running my OS from before), then 2 weeks later (payday) I would buy the video card and the case.

Is there some reason I couldn't use this? I understand 32bit OSes only use up to 3.5 GB of RAM, but I figured I could just wait for Windows 7 for a little while. I don't multitask very often and I usually just game and web browse.
October 19, 2009 4:26:16 PM

Why wait for Windows 7? The pre-order deal ends tomorrow. It's a very fast, stable OS. Putting a 32-bit OS on an i7 build with 6GB of RAM doesn't make any sense when you can get a modern OS that will use all the RAM for $100.
October 19, 2009 4:47:12 PM

Right on. Thanks very much. I'll try to get the pre-order deal asap.