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This newbler wants to build a $1500 Gaming Desktop

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October 25, 2009 4:11:04 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: asap, within 1 week

BUDGET RANGE: $1500 US Dollars, give or take $200 or so

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Desktop PC Gaming is my priority. I want to max out my graphics settings as best I can with the money I have alotted.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers, Monitor.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: everyone raves about newegg.com, so they sound fine to me

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: Indifferent, I seek merely bang for the buck

OVERCLOCKING: No, I'm too newb to try that stuff.

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: I don't even know what this means. If its good for gaming, or for the potential of later-on-upgrades, sure

MONITOR RESOLUTION: I'm prolly going to buy a cheap CRT monitor for now, and buy a good flatscreen later. Unless good flatscreens are really cheap now. i dunno.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I'm a total newb at this computer stuff, I'll prolly hire someone to help me out with construction once I get all the parts together. Oh, is Windows 7 compatible with games? Give me direct links to the stuff i need to order, please ^^ tyvm, your advice is appreciated. Arguing over who's recommendation is better is great, too, since I find pro/cons intriguing.

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October 25, 2009 4:20:02 AM

Welcome to the forums!
So the budget needs to include a OS and a monitor?

Here's a setup for you to check out

Intel Core i7 860 Lynnfield 2.8GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS P7P55D PRO LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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...

ASUS EAH5850/G/2DIS/1GD5 Radeon HD 5850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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...

Antec TruePower New TP-750 750W Continuous Power ATX12V V2.3 / EPS12V V2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW SATA
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DELL S2409W 24" Widescreen Flat Panel Monitor
http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/products/Monitors/pr...

Comes to just under $1400, see what you think and feel free to ask any questions you have.
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October 25, 2009 4:23:27 AM

To answer some of your questions, Crossfire is having two ATI graphics cards on one board operating together, and SLI is the same thing but with Nvidia cards. LCD monitors are actually not that expensive, I would definitely recommend you get one over an old CRT. Yes 7 is compatible with games. Finally, assembling the computer is surprisingly easy - just get a simple book or find an online guide that has step by step instructions, plus you have free support here ;) 
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October 25, 2009 4:45:15 AM

for psu this is a tiny bit cheaper and reliable :http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

and if u wanna max out on graphics go with a ATI 5870 then ,eventually go crossfire mode with two of em like jbak said , and again with this ram just a tad bit cheaper and good and reliable http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ,and heres a really good cheap cpu cooler http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

but honestly other than that jbak's parts are really good
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October 25, 2009 5:01:59 AM

totally awesome!

It was my original intent to leave the monitor OUT of the price, unless the margin of performance between a $1000 PC and a $1500 PC is fairly negligible. If that extra $500 can get me noticeably-improved performance, then I'll gladly shell out.

Is the SLI/Crossfire adviseable or is it better to just stick with 1 card?

I DO need an OS (windows 7 i guess) though.

My newbish self is concerned about the 4gb of RAM. Will that be enough? I'd hate to get the pc clogged up because of a shortage on that end.
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October 25, 2009 5:08:21 AM

I'd stick to a single GPU for a while. 4gb is plenty for gaming, you won't encounter any problems. Some upgrades available to you are the 5870 and SSDs

ASUS EAH5870/G/2DIS/1GD5/A Radeon HD 5870 (Cypress XT) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel X25-M Mainstream SSDSA2MH080G2C1 2.5" 80GB SATA II MLC Internal
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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October 25, 2009 5:45:29 AM

good but id go with a samsung spinpoint f3 much cheaper and really good

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

and yea just make sure you get either an 5850 or a 5870 ,so your future proof against further upcoming dx11 games, which i may add, no other card currently has dx11 except the 5850's and the 5870 by ati
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October 25, 2009 5:59:09 AM

I agree with the general setup of the first poster. Without knowing what NVidia is offering I highly recommend building around:

1) 1156 Motherboard with Crossfire
2) Intel i7-860
3) 4GB DDR3 1600MHz
4) ATI HD5850 1GB
5) Windows 7 64-bit OEM (OEM is cheaper, but it can not be transferred to another computer)
6) Quality PSU (750W for this setup)

Other:
1) WD 640GB (or similar) and a second WD 1TB Green drive
2) better CPU heatsink/120mm fan
3) low noise 120mm case fan
4) look for good onboard audio for now and upgrade later if need be. (EAX is phasing out in new games)
5) Quality speakers (M-Audio AV40 2.0 or Logitech Z-2300 2.1)


About the HD5850 1GB:
- 85% the speed of the HD5870 but cheaper and SHORTER card (the HD5870 might cause problems fitting)
- DX11 (it will be a while for really good support)

Monitors:
You get what you pay for (mostly). More expensive IPS panels have much better viewing angles (I hate the LCD fade). However, you can pry my 19" CRT out of my cold, dead hands. No LCD has anywhere near the Contrast Ratio (so movies or game dark scenes look better on my CRT). CRT has superior color range too.

If you can get a good 19" 1600x1200 CRT do so. They are awesome. Most people don't know about DPI scaling. Here's an example for my monitor (or a 1920x1080 or 1920x1200):

1) set Monitor to FULL resolution (i.e. 1600x1200)
2) set DPI scaling to 150%
3) right-click ->Properties "disable DPI.." for applications or games that don't look correct
4) IE8 looks great (if not, change the scaling to 150% in the lower right)
5) Use Cleartype on LCD's and CRT's (may require some fiddling to avoid purple tinges)
6) Firefox has issues with high DPI (it can be worked around with a fix to set things back to default scaling and use the plugin "NoSquint")
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October 25, 2009 6:18:22 AM

dont get anything else but the spinpoint f3 for a HD
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October 25, 2009 4:11:21 PM

There's probably a dozen build threads on the boards for a $1200 or $1500 PC for gaming. I'd suggest looking at them all.

Some basic considerations:

1. Are you going to do SLI / XFire (twin video cards) either now or in the future ?

a) If Yes, then I'd opt for a Socket 1356, i7 920 system in a full tower case with an upper tier PSU:

Cases: Antec 1200 / HAF 932
PSU: Corsair HX-850 / Antec SG-850 or CP-850*
MoBo: Asus P6T variant

Will need bigger if doing twin double GPU cards like upcoming 5870x2, or twin GTX 295's


b) If No, then I'd opt for a Socket 1156, i7 860 system or an i5 in a mid tower case with an middle tier PSU.

Cases: Antec 902 / HAF 922
PSU: Corsair TX-650 / Antec TP-650
MoBo: Asus P7 variant

Don't forget to check your case specs for the number and size of "optional case fans" .... more cooling is always better than less cooling.

2. For GFX cards, see where you fit. Do you upgrade GFX cards every 2 years or less ?

a) If you keep 2 years or more and don't care about PhysX, then the ATI DX11 cards are the best option right now. The 5850 seems to be the sweet spot atm, can buy one , now and add XFire later.

b) If you keep GFX cards less than 2 years, DX11 won't be an issue (it might not in 4 years but who knows ?) then little downside to a DX10 card from either ATI or nVidia. See the THG Perfomance charts and "Best GFX cards for the money" articles which you can link to from the THG home page. Of course this anticipates you finding a deal on an older DX10 card....if there's not significant cost savings for the same performance, it's hard to argue against the DX11 cards.

c) If you think you will enjoy PhysX more than DX11, then you are either locked in the nVidia world or you can do a user created "patch" to let you use both a ATI and nVidia cards (win7 only) on the same machine

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/nvidia-ATI-physx-patch...

To help you decide whether PhysX or DX11 is more important to you, see the following:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_games_with_DirectX...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PhysX
http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/batman_arkham_asylu...

3. As approrpriate for your platform, DDR 1600 allows OC'ing room and just look for the best timings you can afford .... 6-7-6-18 for example is better than 9-9-9-24 (lower numbers = better)

1366 platforms - 3 x 2Gb kits
1156 platforms - 2 x 2Gb kits

4. For HD's, I'd suggest looking at the Performance charts, again which can be linked from the THG home page. Make sure to look at sound and temperature charts if you are interested in cool and quiet systems. Also, smaller drives are usually older and slower drives. Consensus choices seem to be the Seagate 7200.12, the Spinpoint F3 and the WD Black (2 TB size only)

5. Heat Sink - Stock Intel is fine if not OC'ing but if looking for more, look at the frostytech site for the top 5 listings that actually list 10 heat sinks .... dunno if I trust their math now :) 

One of the easiest to put on / best performing HS is the Prolimatech Megahalems which I put on using IC Diamond 7 Carat Thermal Compound. It's gonna need one (or two) 120mm fans and there are many of these around (I used the very quiet Enermax Magma)

6. Optical drives are primarily a budget consideration. Then there's the rest of the required doodads and doohickeys ......for example .... will you need a Card Reader, Fan Controller ... best to make the list before you buy ya case so you know you have plenty of room though should not be any issue with any of the above
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October 25, 2009 4:38:14 PM

jbakerlent said:
I'd stick to a single GPU for a while. 4gb is plenty for gaming, you won't encounter any problems. Some upgrades available to you are the 5870 and SSDs

ASUS EAH5870/G/2DIS/1GD5/A Radeon HD 5870 (Cypress XT) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel X25-M Mainstream SSDSA2MH080G2C1 2.5" 80GB SATA II MLC Internal
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Will the 5870 fit in your suggested case?

What does the SSD do, does it merely complement the spinpoint f3 or replace it? apparently it only has 80gb capacity while the spinpoint has 500gb, so im scratching my head there, not that i claim to really know what im talking about.
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October 25, 2009 4:42:19 PM

It will fit, but since I don't have the 5870 or the 300 I don't know whether you'll have any problems positioning the HDD, but I doubt it.

SSDs are very fast and expensive, it would complement the F3. You could put the OS, some games, and some important programs on it.
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October 25, 2009 4:47:51 PM

JackNaylorPE said:
There's probably a dozen build threads on the boards for a $1200 or $1500 PC for gaming. I'd suggest looking at them all.

jbakerlent gave me some sli options, so i will stick with that. i don't intend to replace gfx cards every 2 years.

the physx looks neat, off the wiki and batman articles, but I guess I'd rather just stick with the definite dx11.

I do not intend to do any OC'ing, that gets too techie for me.
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October 25, 2009 4:50:48 PM

jbakerlent said:
It will fit, but since I don't have the 5870 or the 300 I don't know whether you'll have any problems positioning the HDD, but I doubt it.

SSDs are very fast and expensive, it would complement the F3. You could put the OS, some games, and some important programs on it.

so in effect, I'd reserve the 80 GB of the SSD for the stuff I want top-level performance on-- games and the OS.

The 500GB spinpoint would be used to hoard music/movies and lesser programs.

that's the gist of it?
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October 25, 2009 4:57:02 PM

@piranha45, yes, that's the gist of it. The less you have on the ssd the faster the boot up and applications (that are stored on the ssd) will load. I'd recommend however going with four 250gb 7200 rpm drives in raid 0 as your storage/app launcher in one. The performance you will get will be roughly similar and the price will be lower which means you can get a better gpu like the 5870!
The drives i'd use: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

^those are fabulous drives... Until SSD's come down in price raid0 is cheaper and if done correctly NEARLY as fast...
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October 25, 2009 9:40:43 PM

why would i want FOUR of them? I'd think I could get by with just one? i dont have THAT much music and video :p 

If their performance comes reasonably close to the SSD, then I could be enticed to buy one of those instead of the SSD or spinpoint, IF its alot faster than the spinpoint. What magic is involved in "if done correctly..." ? Are there software tweaks u must perform or what?
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October 26, 2009 3:16:42 AM

I don't recommend RAID for most people. I'd save that money and get a good SSD in another year or so when prices are down. I'll be looking for one that maxes out my SATA2 connection (300MB/second), stores 256GB and costs $300 or less.

I do recommend getting a program like Acronis True Image and create backup Images of your Windows (C-Drive) installation. I did this:
Image #1: Fresh Windows 7 install AND Activation
Image #2: same as #1 but all drivers and a few programs
Image #3: Everything running great!

I made a folder on my second drive (WD 1TB Green) with a subfolder for each one. I used the second highest compression ratio and used 4.3GB sized chunks. I can return to any image with a few clicks and a small wait.
Note:
- Make sure to backup your ACTIVATED copy (especially for OEM which can only be reinstalled about 3 times or so. Since the IMAGE is an exact copy it doesn't have to be reactivated if it was already.)
- make sure to create another folder to backup e-mail and other documents if you RESTORE a previous Image.
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October 26, 2009 4:25:12 AM

photonboy: I'm too newb to understand what you're discussing, regarding the backup images. it's probably too techie for me to attempt...

I guess I'll just stick with the spinpoint f3 for an HD, cuz the extra $300 for the SSD has me grimacing and you suggested to avoid RAID



I WILL, however, get the 5870 gfx card.

But, I need a case that can hold it. the suggested case, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

^has frivolous lights on it. I want a case without lights. Suggestions folks?
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October 26, 2009 4:28:56 AM

The majority of cases have fans with LED lights. You could always switch out the fans for ones without lights. Just an idea. See the link in my sig for a few more nice cases (most of them come with led fans, but maybe you'll see one you like).
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October 26, 2009 4:43:24 AM

piranha45,

What Acronis TI and similar programs do is to take your ENTIRE partition with Windows and whatever programs you have and make a backup that you can restore.

If your Windows drive failed or the software became corrupted you can RESTORE the Image made back to the hard drive. It's EXACTLY the same.

The backup program can compress the data. I think I had a fresh copy of Windows 7 small enough to fit a single-layer DVD.

Making an Image is very handy in case you run into problems. You can RESTORE in as little as 15 minutes.
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October 26, 2009 4:45:54 AM

If I'm not mistaken the Backup and Restore utility in Windows 7 creates a restore image as well.
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October 26, 2009 4:51:12 AM

piranha45 said:
photonboy: I'm too newb to understand what you're discussing, regarding the backup images. it's probably too techie for me to attempt...

I guess I'll just stick with the spinpoint f3 for an HD, cuz the extra $300 for the SSD has me grimacing and you suggested to avoid RAID



I WILL, however, get the 5870 gfx card.

But, I need a case that can hold it. the suggested case, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

^has frivolous lights on it. I want a case without lights. Suggestions folks?


Silverstone FT01 will accomodate the 5870, but not sure about your budget...
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October 26, 2009 2:07:24 PM

I didn't realize there was such a huge price margin among cases, lol.

photon thx for the explanation, ill look into when i get this thing put together, if jbaker's statement turns out to not be true

I got on newegg just now to order all the parts (i went with jbaker's suggestions on everything, except getting 5870 instead of 50), and ive found both the 5870 AND 5850 are SOLD OUT!!! ETA for the 70 is 10/31

So much for buying it this week :( 

I've a question:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

What is the difference between those cards? Is it nothing more than a company stamp? They're all equally compatible with the stuff they're supposed to be, right?
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October 26, 2009 6:00:35 PM

It really doesn't matter, they're all pretty much the same but I'd go for the XFX on account of the double lifetime warranty.
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October 26, 2009 6:04:48 PM

and xfx looks cooler, play hard :p 
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October 26, 2009 7:02:58 PM

ryanhmusic said:
@piranha45, yes, that's the gist of it. The less you have on the ssd the faster the boot up and applications (that are stored on the ssd) will load. I'd recommend however going with four 250gb 7200 rpm drives in raid 0 as your storage/app launcher in one.


Those are last generation drives, very good "in their day" but since surpassed. .... and not among the quietest of drives:

With 4 drives, noise and temperature would be a concern for me. Speed is all about areal density and firmware optimizations so, today, I'd be looking for no less than 500GB per platter drives like the 7200.12, Spinpoint F3, WD Caviar Black and WD RE4 families. The RE3 is last generation tech and is outclassed by the RE4's. Price per GB is no bargain either.
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