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I5 Gaming System - questions on mobo/HDD/overclock/XFire

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October 20, 2009 12:29:27 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: next week or two

BUDGET RANGE: £700ish, less is always better!

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, Surfing the Net, Coding, Encoding Media, Watching Movies/Listening to Music, General Office type stuff.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor (1920X1200), Speakers, OS, HDDs (4 year old 230GB 7200RPM Western Digital)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Anywhere vaguely reputable. e.g. dabs.com

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: UK

PARTS PREFERENCES: Not particularly attached to any brands.

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe (see questions below)

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe in the future (see questions below)

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1200

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: As quiet as possible

SUGGESTED COMPONENTS:

CPU: Intel Core i5 750 (~£150)

CPU Cooler: I'm not desperate to overclock as, from what I have read on the i5-750, when playing games it is very unlikely that the GPU would ever find itself CPU bound (regardless of the current crop of graphics cards chosen). However, if I'm mistaken, I'd certainly consider doing some moderate/newbie overclocking. For both whether I chose to o/c or not, do I need to replace the stock intel heatsink/fan? By default I would stick with Intel's provided cooling.

GFX: ATI Radeon HD-5850 (~£200). I want to be able to run the latest crop of games on full at 1920X1200. I don't think I need to go to 5870 for this.

MOBO: ASRock P55 Pro or Gigabyte GA-P55M-UD2 (both ~£80). The area where I'm most uncertain. I might o/c, but would probably prefer an 'auto-o/c' feature. I might X-fire in the future, so it would be good if it was capable of supporting dual 5850s without them being bottlenecked by the PCIe bus).

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (~£75)

CASE: Antec P183 (~£110) - Cool enough for 5850? Cool enough if I choose to o/c the CPU?

PSU: Antec CP-850 (~£85)

HDD: I plan on reusing a 4 year old 230GB 7200RPM Western Digital drive. I can't see any huge problems with this, but don't want to cripple a shiny new system for the sake of a few extra pounds on a more recent drive.

TOTAL: £700

I'd much appreciate any thoughts on my questions, musings, and build in general. Thanks!
October 20, 2009 1:11:29 PM

Without searching a site I'm unfamiliar with, here's a few answers and suggestions.

The stock cooler will let you do an overclock into the low 3ghz range. If that's enough for you, then no need to worry about an aftermarket cooler. That's also one of those parts that can be added later.

The PSU you have picked is a bit overkill and the price seems low for an 850w PSU. If you can get it at that price, go for it. But you only need 600w-650w for CF 5850s. But you need 4x pcie and you generally don't see those until the 750w PSUs.

For the mobo, careful when a site tells you its a CF board. The lower model P55s are x16/x4 which isn't good for CF. You'll have to step up to the Gigabyte UD4 for a x8/x8 CF board which will get the job done.

The case is a good case, but most any case from the reputable manufacturers will have good cooling and you can find other options a lot cheaper. But get one you love the look of, since you have to look at it all the time.
http://www.dabs.com/products/coolermaster-black-cm-690-...
http://www.dabs.com/products/antec-nine-hundred-ultimat...
http://www.dabs.com/products/antec-three-hundred-case-b...
http://www.dabs.com/products/coolermaster-elite-330-bla...

HDD performance will actually be an issue with a 4year old drive. Try to find a 500gb Samsung Spinpoint F3, should be under £40 if you can work it in.
October 20, 2009 3:40:43 PM

Great - thanks very much for the feedback skora - much appreciated.
October 20, 2009 5:06:23 PM

Couple things I'd suggest.

1. Even if you don't plan on major OC, I'd still recommend you picking up a new HSF. They cool a lot better than the intel one, many are quieter, and really arent that expensive.

http://www.frostytech.com/top5heatsinks.cfm

has a great list. I personally just bought the CM Hyper 212 for US $19.99 and it cools better than the $70 V8 i had on my old rig >.<


2. I would definitely recommend a new HD. Performance has increased drastically to the point where budget HD's outperform G1 raptors. In fact the Samsung Spinpoint F3, it pretty darn close to Velociraptor speeds for a fraction of the price.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - US $55

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2009-3.5-desktop-har...

WD Caviar Blacks are also a great buy.

3. Skora already mentioned the mobo advice, but I'd like to add that you should NEVER use auto OC features. I haven't heard of a single good one yet. (the main issue is that they all increase voltages much more than necessary)

4. P 183 is fine for your build. It's quiet and has great cooling.

5. Beware that 5850's are a bit hard to find currently. Seems any place with them sells out in hrs.

!