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Please help me make this gaming build a bit less expensive.

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October 23, 2009 11:44:03 PM

Goal: Building a machine to play games for a couple years.

PURCHASE DATE: November 7th, 2009

BUDGET: Target: $1100; Hard ceiling: $1500 after rebates.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, movies.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: CD/DVD-RW, Keyboard, Mouse, speakers, OS

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg (I'd pay about $10 more per part to use newegg's customer service).

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel, Nvidia (I might dual boot to play around with media servers, so the Linux drivers are nice, but these are not hard and fast rules, I'm happy to consider AMD/ATI.)

OVERCLOCKING: Yes.
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: In 3-6 months I'll add another GPU, but not in the initial build.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: I'll start with 1920 x 1080 (just over 20"), but I'll be able to put funds towards a bigger monitor/TV in 6 months to a year.

------------------------------
List of parts:
CPU:
Intel i7-860 Lynnfield 2.8GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 95W Quad $290
UPDATE: Intel i5-750
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$200

Board: ASUS p6t deluxe v2 lga 1366 intel x58 atx $290 (Did not match.)
UPDATE: ASUS P7P55D PRO LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$170

Board + i5 Combo:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
$350

CPU cooling:
Thermaltake Silent 1156 CLP0552 92mm CPU Cooler $30

UPDATE: Cooler Master Hyper 212
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$30

Memory:
CORSAIR DOMINATOR 6GB $215 (205 with discount)
UPDATE: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM 1600 (PC3 12800)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$86

HDD:
WD6401AALS Black @ 75 w/ 2 microprocessors and intelliseek $75
UPDATE: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$80

GPU:
MSI N260GTX-Lightning Black Edition GeForce GTX 260 $295 (245)
UPDATE: XFX HD-587A-ZNF9 Radeon HD 5870 (Cypress XT) 1GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$389.99

Monitor:
Acer H213H HDMI LCD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$200 (150)

Case:
Antec 902 $140 (110)
UPDATE: Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$60

PSU:
CORSAIR 850W PLUS SILVER Modular $200
Antec 750W 80 PLUS Bronze
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$115

Case+PSU Combo:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
$165-20MIB = $145

Current Total After Rebates:
$1625
$1230

Was looking to shave off 200-300, so this about where I was hoping for it to be.
1. Do I need to buy thermal grease, or will CoolerMaster provide good stuff?
2. If I'm confident I'll drop another GPU in the system in 6 months or so, should I reconsider nVidia?
(http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i5-gaming,2403... makes it sound like nVidia scales better, and this board actually has official SLI support.)
October 24, 2009 12:00:03 AM

I'd get a cheaper Motherboard, PSU, memory, and case, With that money saved get a better video card.

But honestly Why build one Windows 7 is all about DirectX 11 and all you want is Nvidia So I'd wait.
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October 24, 2009 12:10:29 AM

Board and cpu doesn't match
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October 24, 2009 12:29:38 AM

brownbat said:
Goal: Building a machine to play games for a couple years.

I don't need the highest settings on games, but I'd like to keep decent framerates without using all the minimums, and I'd like it to tide me over for a couple years.

PURCHASE DATE: November 7th, 2009
BUDGET: Target: $1100; Hard ceiling: $1500 after rebates. Current build: $1650 (I'm a long way off target, I guess.)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, movies. I'm not too picky though, I'm certainly not building a home theater, nor do I need the games to blow my mind. I also might repurpose this into some sort of mediocre media server in a couple years, fwiw.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: CD/DVD-RW, Keyboard, Mouse

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg (I'd pay about $10 more per part to use newegg's customer service).

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel, Nvidia (I might dual boot to play around with media servers, so the Linux drivers are nice)

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe, I hear that's standard now? It's not my main goal, but I'm willing.
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe. I'd have to weigh Nvidia's linux support against ATIs crossfire advantages. If this is basically expected for modern gaming these days, I could see myself ditching Nvidia for a couple ATI cards.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920 x 1080 (something around 20")

------------------------------
List of parts:
CPU:
Intel i7-860 Lynnfield 2.8GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 95W Quad
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$290
(This will probably need to come down. I'm cool with that. Three channel memory excites me though.).

Memory:
3x2G DDR3:
CORSAIR DOMINATOR 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$215 (205 with discount)

Board: ASUS p6t deluxe v2 lga 1366 intel x58 atx
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$290

CPU cooling:
Thermaltake Silent 1156 CLP0552 92mm CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$30
(Thermaltake seems like a reputable group of folks. I really like their HDD enclosures.)

HDD:
WD6401AALS Black @ 75 w/ 2 microprocessors and intelliseek
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$75

GPU:
MSI N260GTX-Lightning Black Edition GeForce GTX 260
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$295 (245)

Monitor:
Acer H213H HDMI LCD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$200 (150)
(Maybe this is overkill, but HDMI sounds fun, and it's a good discount right now.)

Case:
Antec 902
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$140 (110)
(I hear the 902 is like the 900 in size, but with all the improvements in design from the later 1200.)

PSU:
CORSAIR CMPSU-850HX 850W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$200
(Modular sounds nice here, the 80 PLUS silver is probably overkill.)

Current Total After Rebates:
$1625

If I could shave off $200-300, I'd be really happy. Should I shave off a lot more and add another GPU (or three)?


First, the i7-860 is a 1156 socket cpu which is incompatible with a 1366 motherboard. For a 1366 motherboard, you want the i7-920.

If you want the i7-860 cpu, then look at a 1156 socket(p55) motherboard. They are cheaper.

I think 6gb is a sweet spot in ram size. If you go the 1156 route, then most compatible motherboards want either 4gb or 8gb. No need for expensive ram, faster speed and lower latency do not do hardly anything for real applications such as gaming. I used patriot 6gb kit with no problems on my P6T deluxe:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For games, pay more for the vga card, and less on the cpu. Consider the 5870 or 5850 along with a i5-750 which will drive such a card nicely. At your resolution, you can play most anything very well with either, no need for a second card.

a 1920 x 1200 resolution will usually come on a 24" monitor, not a 20" unit. Some can be up to 26". I think bigger is better, but the 30" 2540 x 1600 monitors are expensive.

A quality psu from corsair, seasonic, antec, or PC P&C will only need to be 550-600w to drive such a card. Perhaps as much as a 750w unit with 4 pci-e connectors if you are preparing for crossfire in the future. No more is needed. Modular is primarily a cosmetic issue, not worth much to me .

The Antec 902 case is nice, but you can get a nice Antec 300 illusion model for much less. It will hold all your parts easily.:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Cooling will be just as good.

You do want a decent oem cooler. Heat is the primary factor in getting a decent overclock. I don't like the cooler you picked, primarily because of the 92mm fan. They need to spin faster to cool well, and are therefore are noisier. I think the Xigmatek dark knight might be a good value.

---good luck---
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Best solution

October 24, 2009 12:41:40 AM

Intel Core i7-860 Lynnfield 2.8GHz
+
GIGABYTE GA-P55-UD4P LGA 1156
Combo Price: $429.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Antec Nine Hundred Two Black
+
Antec TruePower New TP-750 750W
Combo Price: $204.90
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1333mhz CL7 - $89.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB - $79.99 <-- Faster and more storage for $4 extra
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

XFX HD-587A-ZNF9 Radeon HD 5870 (Cypress XT) 1GB - $389.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Same monitor

Total = $1344.84 (before $20 MIR)


I included a 750W PSU so you'll have the option of adding a second 5870 somewhere down the line. If you want to save even more money, then get the I5 750 as it performs similarly gaming wise to the I7 860 while costing a whole lot less.


By, the way do you have speakers and an OS?
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October 24, 2009 1:35:59 AM

* Wow, lots to process, and some great finds. Thanks for all the feedback.

* I'll grab a copy of Win 7 with a student discount ($30), and I have a headset showing some wear, and some ancient speakers somewhere too. The sound setup won't be that good, but it can tide me over a few months while I break in the system.

* Sounds like ATI is the way to go. I'll shoot for a 5870, hoping to add one down the line.

* Is Nvidia DX11 support coming in December or so? I don't have a primary machine right now, so I'll ditch brand loyalty and miss the card switchover to get in some L4D2 near launch.

Really, ATI drivers for Linux are getting better all the time, and I barely need graphics in Linux anyway.

* Here's an interesting combo:
- Intel Core i5-750
- ASUS P7P55D LE LGA 1156
- Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Bare Drive
- OCZ Platinum 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM OCZ3P1333LV4GK
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
$546
Combo Price plus $10 rebate: $490

With build's case combo (430) and card (390) and the monitor (150), that's down around $1240 if the deals hold out.

This is feeling pretty good.

UPDATE:
The 300 Illusion case has a 750W combo too:
- Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower
- Antec TruePower New TP-750 750W 80 PLUS Bronze
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
$185, -20 for combo, -20 for MIR = $145.

That drops us down to... no, that can't be right.
$955?!

UPDATE 2:
Oh, that's not right... I need cooling for the i5.
How about this Thermaltake, which everyone says is huge:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Will it fit in the case? If so, that's +60ish and we're at $1015. Amazing.
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October 24, 2009 1:51:46 AM

The only problem I see with that combo is the motherboard, it's 2nd PCI-E slot only has a bandwidth of x4. You should be looking at least x8/x8 for good Crossfire/SLI performance.


That Case + PSU looks good.

Great CPU cooler http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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October 24, 2009 1:53:02 AM

There is also a combo for $134.94 after rebate in the Antec 300 illusion and an Antec truepower 650w psu. The psu is sli certified and will run two 5850/5870 cards. OOps, I see you updated your post. Good job.

Spend the extra savings on the best monitor you can buy . It is one of the few "future proof" PC purchases. You will be looking at it for several generations of PC. Pay attention to the viewing angle of the monitor. 178 degrees is good, 160 is just OK. Would you consider a larger 1080P TV monitor?
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October 24, 2009 7:10:51 PM

Updated the parts list. The "PRO" version of that ASUS board has 8x/8x and even official SLI support.

We're just about there, but two more questions:

1. Do I need to buy thermal grease, or will CoolerMaster provide good stuff with their cooler?

2. If I'm confident I'll drop another GPU in the system in 6 months or so, should I reconsider nVidia?
This i5 column (Tom's Hardware) makes it sound like nVidia scales better, and the board I'm now looking at actually has official SLI support.

3. Small SSD for the OS?
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October 29, 2009 6:38:47 AM

Wow, that GPU is now out of stock everywhere. The CPU cooler and HDD are out of stock too. Guess them's the breaks.

I'm thinking of dropping down to 500 GB for the HDD, assuming that when I fill that in a few months there will be cheaper and faster SSDs to add to the system.

The GPU will be back on 10/31 according to newegg.

The cooler is on amazon and some other sites, but I don't know how reputable those are.
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December 4, 2009 3:31:34 AM

brownbat said:
1. Do I need to buy thermal grease, or will CoolerMaster provide good stuff with their cooler?


Followed your link from your freezing issue thread in here and noticed this question which never got answered. What did you decide to do, CM paste or somebody else's? How are your temperatures measuring under idle and load?
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