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Recommendations for gaming system

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October 30, 2009 8:29:38 PM

Hello all,
Before i start i just want to point out ive seen the builds on your webpage incase anyone directs me too them :) 

I'm looking to build a computer for xmas, as a gaming pc, for online massive multiplayer online games, Currently Lord of the rings online - and the upcoming Star Wars the old republic. I would also be wanting to run Windows 7 on the machine.

I have little knowledge of computer hardware so i am looking for advice, also someone mentioned a thing called Overclocking in my last post and i just want to clear up that im not interested in whatever it is as i don't understand how to use it.

Okay so i have a budget of around about £750.

I have been researching the Intel i7 920 processor and i really like the sound of it, however i could get a dual-core or quad-core cheaper(I think)...which one is better, for Gaming?

what other Hardware should i be looking for?, i would appreciate direction to specific Components or ranges. Any particular parts that you think would suit my needs or that you know are decent? - Especsially the Graphics Card as its one of the most important parts and i have not got a clue what one of the ranges is the best :D 

Thank you very much in advance,
My system will be based on your answers probably :) 

P.S, My current screen resolution is 1440 by 900 pixels incase its of importance. will check the thread every half hour for comments or questions :) 
October 30, 2009 8:55:02 PM

Sorry, just seen this on a thread at ill fill it out for further help to anyone willing to help :) 

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: (Christmas) BUDGET RANGE: (£500-750) After Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: (gaming, movies, surfing the net)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: (keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: (prefer a u.k site, http://www.overclockers.co.uk ) COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: (United Kingdom)

PARTS PREFERENCES: by brand or type (not got a preferance for any brand in particular. Just whatever you think would work best)

OVERCLOCKING: No SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes / No / Maybe (Sorry i dont know what the terms mean)

MONITOR RESOLUTION: (1440x900)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: (would prefer it to be quiet, and just generally able to run the most up-to-date games on very high>ultra high)
a b B Homebuilt system
October 30, 2009 9:26:54 PM

The DX11 graphics card for ultra high at that resolution would be the HD5770.

Related resources
October 31, 2009 2:25:07 AM

PII 955, 5850 and a MSI board... forget Asus with AMD... and I will never buy another Gigabyte product of my entire life.
October 31, 2009 9:11:56 PM

From your post, is not clear if you want to overclock, or running SLI/crossfire.
I avoid "this week only offers", although there are good deals:

Withouth SLI/crossfire

Processor: I5 720
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CP...

Motherboard:Gigabyte GA-P55M-UD2
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=MB...
AVOID ANY INTEL!! Intel motherboards have many issues and annoyances, and poor drivers.

Memory: G.Skill Ripjaw 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 PC3-16000C9 2000MHz (F3-16000CL9D-4GBRH)
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=MY...
A steal :) 
Alternative:Patriot Extreme Performance 4GB (2x2GB) PC3-12800 1600MHz (PDC34G1600ELK)
This is £15 cheaper, meaning that you will see a little reduced performance on rare programs, as Winrar/Winzip, but no difference in gaming.

With SLI/crossfire
Here you need the X58 platform, because is a lot faster for multiple video cards.

Processor: I7 920
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CP...
In some applications is faster than the i5, in others slower. Not much of a difference, but is definitely faster in SLI/Crossfire, by a good amount.

Motherboard:Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD3R
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=MB...
Out the box only supports crossfire, but with bios update also supports SLI. Is also OK for overclocking.
Out the box only supports crossfire, but with bios update also supports SLI.

Alternative: Asus P6T. A bit more expensive, but includes a third PCI-E slot which may become useful if you plan to conserve an old Geforce as PhysX processor, or buy PCI-E SSD storage. Also, is a better overclocker, but no much.
Warning: the Asus P6T SE is another model, without SLI support. No problem if you want crossfire.

AVOID ANY INTEL!! Intel motherboards have many issues and annoyances, and poor drivers.


Memory:Kingston HyperX 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3 PC3-12800C8 (1600MHz) (KHX12800D3LLK3/6GX) 1.65v CAS8
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=MY...

You gonna be fine with the cheaper 4Gb dual channel kits, saving 30 bucks, but Intel states that as soon as the software start using the 8 threads, triple channel will make a noticeable difference. We still don't know. Is a good bet that at the times that games uses all the 8 threads, much better memory will be crazily cheap, so if you have other thing to buy with those £30, go for it.

Cooler:
To use the memories at maximum speed you need to overvolt the memory bus to 1.65v (which intel states is safe), but this raises a lot the temperature of the processor with intel stock cooler, so is a good investment to buy a better cooler, whose main benefit is to allow overclocking to an extra 1 Ghz, which is safe, and gives at least 30% boost.

Zalman CNPS9900-NT CPU Cooler (Socket 754/939/940/AM2/775/1156/1366)
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=HS...

There are far cheaper coolers, like these:
Zalman CNPS9500A-LED CPU Cooler (Socket 478/754/939/940/LGA775)
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=HS...

but needs LGA 775 (Core 2 motherboards) holes on the mother. I know that the Asus P6T have LGA 775 and 1156/1366 holes, but don't know about the gigabyte ones. Do your investigations.

Good coolers have pipes in addition of radiators, and are silent.

Video cards.

Today the best ones are the ATI 5850/5870. They are the best performers, and the onliest supporting DX11.
The problem is that they does not support PhysX. Only Geforces does that, and around the corner there are the new DX11 Geforces G300. Is not safe to buy video cards until we know for sure real world comparisons between ATI and Nvidia in DX11.
I would not buy a new video card today, but if you need to buy one, the best investments are, in order of performance:
Radeon 5850
Radeon 5870
2x Radeon 5850 (crossfire)
2x Radeon 5870 (crossfire)
www.overclockers.co.uk appears to not have stock, so i do not include links.
the Radeon 5850 in the i5 is anything you need. I recommend to buy it, and save the money. If tomorrow you need the geforces features, then sold this card, and go for a geforce, or buy a second Radeon 5850 to do crossfire

Power
OCZ StealthXStream 600w Silent SLI Ready Power Supply
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CA...

It should be enough to run SLI/crossfire and some overclocking without adding too much noise to your system

Storage:
buy the cheaper 1 Tb HD, and a 64/120 Gb SSD to install windows 7 64 bit:
Samsung SpinPoint F3 1TB SATA-II 32MB Cache - OEM (HD103SJ)
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=HD...
For SSD disks, stay with Indilinx or Intel controllers. Avoid Jmicron. Samsung does some ok, and some very bad controllers.

Intel is expensive, and have bad Trim support and write speed. Indilinx is the more trustworthy, in OCZ Vertex incarnation.
Unfortunately, they are still so expensive, that is good advice to wait to the next generation, until prices halves over the 100Gb capacities, and Trim support gets out of beta state.

SSD disks (the good ones. others are slower that magnetic disks) gives the most important end user experience boost. Not only games load faster, Windows boot faster, but antivirus does not slow down the system, and games do not continually freezes in random and annoying stuttering when windows start indexing the drives, fragmenting, swapping memory, or doing all those annoying background tasks.

This is my recommended investment:
OCZ Vertex Series 60GB 2.5" SATA-II Solid State Hard Drive (OCZSSD2-1VTX60G)
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=HD...

If you manage to collect more money:
OCZ Vertex Series 120GB 2.5" SATA-II Solid State Hard Drive (OCZSSD2-1VTX120G)
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=HD...

But it may break your budget

Avoid RAID 0 setups, because drivers still do not support TRIM under RAID. I would procastinate the buy of SSD until Drivers get fixed with RAID, TRIM, and wear leveling.
October 31, 2009 9:46:56 PM

An important clarification:
If the motherboard does not support SLI out the box, then it does not includes the SLI bridge, which then you need to buy separately. That is not as easy as it may appear, since the SLI bridge may need to match exactly the separation of the PCI-E slots.

Also, the ATI Radeon 5770 may make you happy until we know how Gefroce G300 compares to Radeons
October 31, 2009 10:15:37 PM

Very nice post :)  taking time to read through it and check ur parts.

To clarify, Since its my first time having a go at building a computer i would NOT be intrested in Overclocking or whatever SLI/CrossFire is(Which i assume is using 2 graphics cards)

Processor wise i plan on using the Intel i7 920, im just looking at the boards that you suggested atm
October 31, 2009 10:41:28 PM

stephenmcalinden said:
Very nice post :)  taking time to read through it and check ur parts.

To clarify, Since its my first time having a go at building a computer i would NOT be intrested in Overclocking or whatever SLI/CrossFire is(Which i assume is using 2 graphics cards)

Processor wise i plan on using the Intel i7 920, im just looking at the boards that you suggested atm


Well, if you are not interested on overclocking, then buy the cheapest memory, and do not buy a cooler.

If you do not want SLI/crossfire (yes, is using many video cards as one more powerful), then forget completely about the i7 920.

The i5 is cheaper, and I5 motherboards cost half the price. Also, the i5 720 performance in games matches the i7 920, and is faster in single and double threaded applications, thanks to turbo mode.
October 31, 2009 11:04:35 PM

I might have a look into the advantages and how hard it is to rig up 2 cards to the one board then, not much point buying a system for it and not using the tech i guess.

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=MB...

Really like the looks of that one you showed me so i will probably buy it along with the intel i7 920

The only thing i still lack in the build is a Graphics Card, the ones you showed me all cost over £200 (5800 series), are the other series compatible with the i7 920 and the board posted above? because with my budjet, and if i ended up using the SLI/CrossFire tech there is no way i could pay over £500 just for 2 Cards.

Cheers yet again mate :) 
October 31, 2009 11:51:52 PM

Well, if you like the 920, go for it. I myself own an i7 920 on an Asus P6T motherboard, but I buyed it before the existence of the i5 and i7 860, which are newer, more efficient technology.

If you do NOT want SLI/Crossfire, but want i7, then the i7 860 is faster than the i7 920, cost the same, but uses the same cheap motherboard that i5, so you would save £60 buying the i7 860, and the Gigabyte GA-P55M-UD2. It also will be 10-20% faster that the i7 920.

Then you can invest those 60 bucks in the video card, and buy the 5850 which is cheaper that a 5770 + £60.

Take in account that, as is the tradition, surely AMD will release the Radeon 5850 X2, which will NOT need crossfire, (using a single PCI-E connector), and will match or outperform two 5850 in crossfire, and will cost the same (400-500), so still be cheaper and faster to own an i5/i7 860 instead of a i7 920. To really justify the purchase of the i7 920, you will need to invest in TWO 5850 X2 in crossfire, which will cost £800-£1000, more an expensive power supply.

So, if you can buy a 920, you can buy a cheaper, faster processor, and a video card over £200, or save the money for a SSD disk.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 2, 2009 4:24:36 PM

Don't use dual graphics cards unless you can get more graphics power for the same price. Dual cards do not work with every game. Its probably a good idea to get the best graphics card you can afford, then as an upgrade in the future get a second one.
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