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"Gaming" build, balancing Price & Quality - tons of questions!

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October 22, 2009 5:00:07 AM

Update November 4th 2009: I've tweaked with the build quite a bit after considering the advice given and revised some questions. Different computer build!


Hey gang.

This is my first build ever. I claim not to be knowledgeable regarding computer hardware; on the contrary, my primary home computer took a nosedive hardware-wise a week ago and for the past week I've gone from not knowing/caring to learn about computer hardware and willing to go to BestBuy and just grab a tower off of the shelves to caring about the differences between AMD and Intel and caring about the L3 Cache in the CPUs. I have a ton of questions, but I'll toss them at you after I show you the spec.

I really appreciate all and any thought into this; you guys seem to be a very helpful, fast and intelligent community, something sorely lacking on the internets.

===============


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within 2 weeks!
BUDGET RANGE: ~$700 max!

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: "Gaming" (WoW,TF2,L4D,CS), surfing the web, multimedia (netflix, music a la Winamp/iTunes), MS Word/Excel

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitor, Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg.com
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: I'd like to stay in the Intel family after several friendly recommendations. The AMD Phenom is such a great value to ignore! AMD for me!

OVERCLOCKING: Nah.
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Excuse me?

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I don't mind it if it's a bit loud. The noise I could care less about; I'm a heavy sleeper and as long as it isn't like a machine gun going off when I fire up the computer I'll manage.

THE BUILD:

AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor Model HDZ955FBGIBOX ($175)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80605I5750 ($200) - I swapped for the Phenom. For my needs the AMD CPU will do me just fine and cheaper than than the i5, too!

GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard ($75)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel BOXDP55WB LGA 1156 Intel P55 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard ($100) - New CPU = New Mobo. $25 cheaper too!

XFX HD-487A-ZWFC Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card ($155)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

EVGA 896-P3-1255-AR GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - There are too many good things to say about the Radeon HD 4870 when comparing what I am looking for and the price.

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL9D-4GBNT ($69)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive ($55)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec Sonata III 500 Black 0.8mm cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 500W Power Supply ($110)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAIDMAX SMILODON Extreme Black ATX-612WEBP 1.0mm SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Foldout MB Computer Case With 500W Power Supply - I don't know too much about cases still, but the new case is highly rated and reviewed. Looks like it's a good PSU too!

==================

Questions, questions, questions! These are listed from most important to least.

1: Overall, how does the system fare? Are there any glaring, really obvious "HOLY-CRAP-ARE-YOU-SERIOUSLY-THAT-STUPID" mistakes in the build? ie wrong socket type, wrong RAM type, "it's still an AGP slot motherboard, doofus"

2: Could I do better in spending less but keeping the same level of quality? Omitted because it's a silly question to ask.

3: Does all this stuff fit in the case?

4: What is crucial ram?
Answered: A manufacturer who makes RAM.

5: Do I have enough power? I'm using the stock power supply with the case, but will it be enough for the entire system?

6: Will there be adequate cooling in this system?

7: How would you rate this computer? Mid-line? Mid-high? Mid-low? And seeing my primary system uses, is the system complete overkill for what it will be handling? Did I go too high-line?

==================

Thanks for your time, guys.
October 22, 2009 5:29:42 AM

For your questions -
1. No. All the components will work together. There are no glaring mistakes...

2. Yes you can spend less and still get as good quality. - AMD. And currently I dont see any issues going with an AMD CPU especially the X4 955. It would perform very similar to that i5 750.
And you could easily save about $20 on CPU alone
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
and ~$30 on the Mobo...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And as for longevity value,
I have an AMD Atlon 2800+, running for about 6 years now and is still running good as a download PC.
So longevity value ???

Will you be constantly upgrading your PC every time a new component comes out or just dump the old PC and go with a new one ?
If the latter, then either AMD or intel would make no difference...just get the one which had a better value...

3. Yes all the stuff will fit in the case...But I wouldnt suggest that you use the power supply that comes with that case...they are generally of low quality and if you want to have a really stable PC, then the Power supply is one of the most important factor...
I would suggest this case and PSU...It runs at 80+ efficiency and is of high quality...
Antec Sonata III with EA 500W PSU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

4. Crucial is a company name just like GSkillz...

5. 500W is enough to power most of the single chip graphic cards out there...provided they are of high quality and that EA 500 is one of them...

6. Depends on the case...If it has more fans, then airl flow will be good hence cooler system.

7. I would say Mid-High.
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October 22, 2009 5:30:14 AM

I would change a number of components:

Gigabyte boards are better:
GIGABYTE GA-P55M-UD2 LGA 1156 Intel P55 Micro ATX Intel
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This RAM is faster
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This GPU is better and cheaper
XFX HD-487A-ZWFC Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or better yet get something from the 5000 series if you can afford it

This HDD is much better
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

and this PSU will not explode when you fire it up ;) 
CORSAIR CMPSU-550VX 550W ATX12V V2.2 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

1-2. See above
3. I'd pick a different case
4. Crucial is a memory manufacturer
5. Not likely, but with the Corsair you will
6. Again, I'd switch cases
7. Moderately high end, but very reasonable

Edit: 30 seconds gkay :D 
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October 22, 2009 5:39:08 AM

^ :p  And nice changes...

And as for the graphic card recommendation, you can consider even this one...
SAPPHIRE 100283L Radeon HD 5770
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And as he will not be overclocking, there are no major issues going with that intel board and that memory...
But still the changes would be better...
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October 22, 2009 5:43:35 AM

gkay09 said:
2. Yes you can spend less and still get as good quality. - AMD. And currently I dont see any issues going with an AMD CPU especially the X4 955. It would perform very similar to that i5 750.
And you could easily save about $20 on CPU alone
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
and ~$30 on the Mobo...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


I was looking at the AMD Phenom II X4 955 also and stuck on that CPU with the Intel i5, actually. My biggest gripe was that I was unable to find a mobo that's compat. with DDR3 RAM, but lo and behold, you find me a quality mobo at a very cheap price. I may earnestly consider this. Thanks for finding it for me!

gkay09 said:
Will you be constantly upgrading your PC every time a new component comes out or just dump the old PC and go with a new one ?
If the latter, then either AMD or intel would make no difference...just get the one which had a better value...


The only thing I'd be upgrading if anything would be the DDR3 RAM or maybe the GPU. Otherwise I don't mind suffering less than optimal FPS on the newer games to avoid spending lots of cash.

gkay09 said:
3. Yes all the stuff will fit in the case...But I wouldnt suggest that you use the power supply that comes with that case...they are generally of low quality and if you want to have a really stable PC, then the Power supply is one of the most important factor...
I would suggest this case and PSU...It runs at 80+ efficiency and is of high quality...
Antec Sonata III with EA 500W PSU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


I know very little of cases and PSU's, and ironically it should be a very important factor when building the PC. Thanks for the recommendation.

And thanks for your help!
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October 22, 2009 5:48:23 AM

Thanks for your input.

The GPU I'll have to look into, but EVGA products I can get an additional discount, and I don't know much about Radeon graphics compared to NVidia (I haven't gotten that far yet!).

I was looking at that Samung HD also, but I stuck with the WD because apparently that Samsung gets super hot? I dunno, I have big issues with keeping things as cool as possible.

Again I'm being harped on a better PSU, so I'll look into that as well. Thanks for teh recommendation on the PSU. It's highly-rated, but kinda pricey for aftermarket.
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October 22, 2009 5:51:47 AM

gkay09 said:
^ :p  And nice changes...

And as for the graphic card recommendation, you can consider even this one...
SAPPHIRE 100283L Radeon HD 5770
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And as he will not be overclocking, there are no major issues going with that intel board and that memory...
But still the changes would be better...


To be honest I saw SAPPHIRE and I cringed, until I clicked the link that is.

Have you read that September 09 budget gaming PC, where they stick double graphics cards on the mobo for uber power?

Well I did some product review, and like 20% of the reviews were basically "Thing caught fire/stopped working after 2 - 4 months." Apparently it had real bad cooling issues.

This card recommends 600W PSU though, so I'd definitely have to get a new PSU.
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October 22, 2009 6:03:37 AM

^ No company can give a 100% success rate will all its products...
My friend is using a Saphire HD 4850 for the past 1 year without any issues...

And as for the power requirements, that 600W is only required when you will be running 2 of them in crossfire...
For a single card, the power supply that comes with the Antec Sonanta case is more than enough...And like the Corsair, even this PSU is highly rated...This is the PSU that comes with that case...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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October 22, 2009 6:07:19 AM

gkay09 said:
^ No company can give a 100% success rate will all its products...
My friend is using a Saphire HD 4850 for the past 1 year without any issues...

And as for the power requirements, that 600W is only required when you will be running 2 of them in crossfire...
For a single card, the power supply that comes with the Antec Sonanta case is more than enough...And like the Corsair, even this PSU is highly rated...This is the PSU that comes with that case...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Very true, gkay09. The graphics card I was looking at before in the Sept. Budget build was very cheap and there were a lot of good positive reviews on it. I think it just has issues with cooling. And it's helpful to know that I can get a very good case & PSU.

I'm going to sleep on it, but I'm certainly reevaluating the i5 for the AMD Phenom II X4.
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November 5, 2009 3:13:15 AM

Updated, with a new computer build! Finally have the financial capabilities of getting a new tower, so let's make this happen!
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!