Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Seeking Advice for Upper-End Gaming Machine

Last response: in Systems
Share
November 8, 2009 12:12:26 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: Within a month or two
Price Range: $1000-$1500
System Usage (Most Important to Least): Gaming, HTPC capabilities, Office Software
Parts Not Required: Monitor
Parts Preference: Hardware which will prove to be the most future-proof (has plenty of room for upgrades). Case must be able to accept water cooling in the future. Mobo should be Gigabyte, Asus, EVGA, MSI, or ASRock. No real preference between 1156 or 1366.

Overclocking?: At a later date, Yes
SLI or Crossfire?: Maybe, if it proves more economical than one big card
Monitor Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (primary gaming monitor will be: 46" HDTV, 1080p, 120Hz). Additional monitor may be used for office applications (resolution will not exceed 1920 x 1200).

Additional Comments: This will be my gaming rig for the next 4 years. I would like to get the most bang for my buck, but I want a system which is still upgradable in two years (just drop in a new GPU and more RAM, and GO!). I plan to have this machine next to my HDTV, so eventually I will want to add water cooling. I don't need to build the water cooling system now (I do not plan to OC immediately), but I need a case which can accept a radiator in the future.


Here is my build as it stands currently:
Board & CPU: i5-750 & Asus Maximus III Combo $394.98
Memory: Mushkin Enhanced 4GB DDR3 1600 $117.99
GPU: Radeon HD 5850 $299.99
HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 1TB $79.99
Drives & Cables (Floppy + DVD + Cables): $100 (just for budgeting), will add Blu-Ray at a later date
Keyboard & Mouse: $100 (will decide at a later date)

Case: Cooler Master ATCS 840 $199.99
PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-850HX 850W $199.99
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit $139.99

Grand Total: $1632.92 plus shipping

I'm considering using two HD 4850's as this will save about $80, but they will run hotter and do not include DirectX11. I've heard (though it may be a rumor) that the HD 5000 series is currently hampered by its drivers (and thus performance will increase quite a bit when the drivers catch up).


Any advice or suggestions where I can swap out this-that-or-the-other would be appreciated.



Edit: Changed components to my most current configuration (11/9/09, 8 AM)
November 8, 2009 12:25:15 PM

That is a great, reasonable budget gaming machine. I'm not sure about the quality of that case, but it looks decent on paper. Other than that, I can only agree with your choice of parts (that motherboard is perhaps more than needed, but since it's a combo deal it's quite nice).
I'd consider an SSD, but you're already over budget, so forget about that.

Don't get dual 48XX's. Even dual 4870's will hardly outperform a 5850, and as said they're hot, power guzzling and don't support DirectX11. The drivers aren't quite perfect yet, but certainly are fine afaik. They'll improve, thusly slightly improving performance somewhat, but don't expect miracles.

As for upgrading though, be aware of one thing: no new CPU's are planned for the P55 platform that outperform the 860. As such, you'll need to replace both motherboard and CPU to upgrade that. However, as far as I can tell the 860 will run any game smoothly for years to come, so 4 years won't be a problem. Oh and I believe hyperthreading offers no benefit for gaming, but it sure does for productivity.

For graphics, you're fine. Adding another 5850 at later date is no problem at all, and by then they'll be very cheap probably.
November 8, 2009 1:49:07 PM

For the money you're spending I would go for an 1366 platform. You can get a 1366 that will rival your current 1156 setup and you can always upgrade later with a new processor and have fully dedicated PCI 2.0 system.

Your current setup is great but for the money you are spending you really should go 1366.
Related resources
November 8, 2009 2:00:08 PM

An i7-860 outperforms the 1366 offerings for gaming, at a lower price tag. Yes, you can upgrade, but that won't be needed for a pc built to last 4 years, and the new CPU's planned for the x58 all look horribly overpriced.
November 8, 2009 2:11:32 PM

Silmarunya said:
An i7-860 outperforms the 1366 offerings for gaming, at a lower price tag. Yes, you can upgrade, but that won't be needed for a pc built to last 4 years, and the new CPU's planned for the x58 all look horribly overpriced.


True, the 1156 CPUs are the best out there at the moment. For the amount of money he is spending I would rather get the 1366 for the X58 platform. He honestly isn't saving a whole lot with the hardware he has selected, maybe $50-75. That is if he chooses to buy an premium X58 motherboard. He can actually save money with a 1366 if he buys an average X58 motherboard instead of buying the absolute best.

You can build a really good 1366 platform that will no doubt be around much longer then the 1156 for $1400. Giving him more options in the long run and a better platform.
November 8, 2009 2:36:48 PM

BohleyK said:
True, the 1156 CPUs are the best out there at the moment. For the amount of money he is spending I would rather get the 1366 for the X58 platform. He honestly isn't saving a whole lot with the hardware he has selected, maybe $50-75. That is if he chooses to buy an premium X58 motherboard. He can actually save money with a 1366 if he buys an average X58 motherboard instead of buying the absolute best.

You can build a really good 1366 platform that will no doubt be around much longer then the 1156 for $1400. Giving him more options in the long run and a better platform.


You save some money on the motherboard, but also a small amount on the lower power consumption (not much a factor in the USA I believe, but in Europe for example it's quite a difference).

True, a 1366 will be better in the long run, but only when overclocking, or when frequently upgrading.
November 9, 2009 3:17:13 AM

A lot of good discussion, thanks for sharing your opinions!

Thanks to your comments, I've come to a few conclusions about what I need. Let me say that one more time: what I need. Believe me, I would love nothing more than to have an i7-920 in a Corsair Obsidian with space for my six SSD's in RAID 5 and DDR3-2000 RAM feeding three GTX-295's supported by a 1200W PSU on it's own dedicated circuit flanked by lance-totting tigers and crowned with a toilet made of gold (the heat from the PSU would warm the seat in the winter).

But really, if I'm honest with myself, all I need is a machine that will run any game with at least 30 FPS at 1920x1080 and high settings. It needs to be quiet, and needs to have just enough sticking power to last 4 years with a few upgrades and still run smoothly. To that end, the conventional wisdom of the day says:

1) I'm already over-budget at this point. So adding more $$$ to this build is not what I want to do. I do plan to spend more later (I would love an SSD when the price comes down, and of course a good water cooling system), but for now I would love to stay under $1500.

2) Hyperthreading doesn't do squat for gaming. In fact, at this level, CPU power doesn't really do squat for gaming either. Ok ok, I know there's some marginal gains... but if you look at performance/cost, it's not really worth it. I'm going to ditch the 860 and just take the 750. The 750 still shows to OC well, and once again GPU >>> CPU in terms of gaming performance. Who really cares if office tasks take a little longer...

3) 1366 does have a better upgrade path, but probably not by much. When Sandy Bridge comes out in 2011, there's a good chance Intel will go with a completely new socket. Not to mention even with the HD 5000 series GPUs, PCI 8x vs PCI 16x doesn't show any huge gains. Just not worth the money for a 1366 setup. And again, we're not talking about the ultra-high resolutions here.

4) I chose the case after reading this review: http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cases/2008/10/31/cooler-master-atcs-840-classic-review/1. I chose it because it appears to have everything I want, and the price is very reasonable compared to the Silverstones and the Corsair Obsidian. I'm still open to suggestions, though, as this case is not perfect. Reviews have complained about thin side-walls causing vibration noise (definitely not a good thing). Also complaints about no side air-intake (not an issue for me).

5) Yes, that TV is sick. That was my last big electronics purchase, and now I've saved up enough for a new machine :-D. I suspect COD will own my life until Starcraft II comes out, which will own my life until Diablo III comes out :-D. Also looking forward to finally being able to enjoy Fallout, Crysis, and Dragon Age: Origins.




So in the end, dropping the 860 for the 750 brings me down to about $1500, and that's assuming I throw $200 into drives and a keyboard & mouse (which I probably won't).
November 9, 2009 11:39:35 AM

Yeah the i5 is a beast! I was seriously...seriously considering an i5 rig but went with AMD. In the end it came down to longevity and what I needed.

Enjoy that rig. Its a nice one!!!!
!