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Building a gaming PC for a friend

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November 18, 2009 10:38:38 AM

I'm helping a buddy brainstorm for his first homebuilt PC. He wants to use it for gaming and photography and have it be fairly future-proof so he can upgrade it without having to replace everything later. His budget isn't really fixed. He can pretty much save up for whatever he wants, but we don't want to throw money down the toilet on $1000 components that will be worth $200 in a few months. (Think good bang for the buck.)

I think we've pretty much settled on the Core i5-750 as a CPU, and now are ready to pick out a motherboard and some RAM. I've always been a bit confused by the Nehalem CPUs' memory system, so I might be way off here, but I was thinking these might be good choices:

  • MSI P55M-GD45 (If he doesn't need a lot of expansion slots and wants a MicroATX case)
  • ASRock P55 Extreme (If he needs an ATX board)

    And for RAM I was thinking:

  • 2 x 2GB G.SKILL DDR3-1600

    Do these look like decent choices? Also, I remember reading that the Nehalems had some sort of caveat regarding SLI and/or Crossfire? I'm not sure if he's interested in going that route, but I thought I'd pick your brains regarding that as well. Thanks in advance for your suggestions and insights.
  • More about : building gaming friend

    a b 4 Gaming
    November 18, 2009 11:02:09 AM

    ^ Those are pretty good boards...

    And as for the problems with SLI/ Crossfire, these would scale well on the X58 chipset than the P55...but even the P55 chipsets are not bad either...
    there might be some loss in performance when you run 2 high powered cards in SLI/ Crossfire on the P55 boards because of the limited PCIe x16 bandwidth(x8x8)
    And I doubt you can SLI/ Crossfire(Maybe possible but only x16x4, which is not good) on that MSI board...

    And as for the RAM, those are fine, but these would be better...
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    November 18, 2009 3:06:09 PM

    The i5-750 will have plenty of power for the next 3-4 years, just be aware that there is no upgrade path for the 1156 socket. The AM3 socket will likely have another round (or two) of upgrades, so just keep that in mind. Right now, the i5 is clearly the better choice. If your friend does not want to upgrade for another 5-6 years, then perhaps AMD is better suited for your needs.
    Related resources
    November 18, 2009 9:01:15 PM

    So is Socket 1156 not likely to receive anything much better than what's currently available for it within the next several years (or will its offerings be hopelessly behind performance CPUs)?

    We were somewhat tempted to go with a Socket 1366 solution, but quality control on the motherboards still seems to be a little hit-or-miss, given the present reviews.

    How are AMD's CPU offerings looking within the next several years? (I know it's hard to be sure given the unreliability of AMD's schedule, but I welcome educated guesses!) :p 
    November 18, 2009 9:11:47 PM

    There's no certainty, but the current talk around the campfire is that the AMD will still be making chips for the AM3 socket into 2011, until they come out with their Fusion platform.

    LGA 1366 will have a similar lifespan (through 2010 with the i9 Gulftown cores), but will be left by the wayside when Intel goes for their Sandy Bridge platform.

    LGA 1156 will most likely not be receiving any upgrades. What's out now is probably the best we'll see. Still, given that 1156 and the i5-750 offers considerably better gaming performance than the Phenom II x4 platform, for roughly the same cost (maybe $30-$50 difference), the i5-750 platform is a very tempting setup.

    Again, the i5-750 will still deliver acceptable levels of performance for several years. It just depends how long your friend sees himself keeping this rig. If he plans to build a whole new system in 4 years, then i5-750. If he plans to stretch out the system longer, then the AM3 platform will give him more bang for the buck.
    November 19, 2009 4:10:31 AM

    nofun said:
    LGA 1156 will most likely not be receiving any upgrades. What's out now is probably the best we'll see.


    Why do you say that? Do you have a source?

    It seems to me that with 1156 Intel is clearly trying to differentiate a product line to market against AMD in the mainstream segment - to try to win back ground lost. If so, it would be reasonable for them to have longer product lives and continue that socket separate from its high end CPUs. Off course that is only conjecture and I have no source either - just present it as conterpoint to other conjecture.
    a b 4 Gaming
    November 19, 2009 5:24:35 AM

    ^ The LGA 1156 socket will have atleast 3 yrs lifespan(It is the norms with the intel sockets)...
    And unlike nofun said, the 1156 socket will receive good upgrades(the 32nm CPUs, just like how the LGA 775 got the 45nm wolfdales...)
    November 19, 2009 11:18:07 AM

    gkay09 said:
    ^ The LGA 1156 socket will have atleast 3 yrs lifespan(It is the norms with the intel sockets)...
    And unlike nofun said, the 1156 socket will receive good upgrades(the 32nm CPUs, just like how the LGA 775 got the 45nm wolfdales...)


    Lol sources please! I would LOVE for this to be true, but I can't find any hard evidence anywhere!

    Like I said, all I have to go on is the talk around the watercooler, and so far all the yappity yap yap has said that LGA 1156 won't receive any further upgrades...
    November 19, 2009 3:40:45 PM

    nofun said:
    Like I said, all I have to go on is the talk around the watercooler, and so far all the yappity yap yap has said that LGA 1156 won't receive any further upgrades...


    Perhaps you should have better sources than talk around the watercooler before making unequivocal statements about future products proferred for others to rely upon in making product selections - lest you lead them astray with information that is not just worthless but wrong.

    And that was an unequivocal statement about the 1156 socket - no qualifiers that it was only "talk around the watercooler" - that qualifier was only placed in the first paragraph and only clearly applied to the statements about the AMD socket AM3.
    !