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Last response: in Systems
November 30, 2009 8:20:07 PM


BUDGET RANGE: $800 - $1000 before rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming (mainly shooters, RPGs, and Strategy games), Visual Studio 2008 development (mostly C#, VB.Net), movie watching, general usage (usually have lots of apps open at once)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse (both usb), monitor, speakers, dvd burner (have a Lite-on sata burner), case (have a Coolermaster Centurion 5 CAC-T05), hard drive (have a western digital 1TB, sata), power supply (have a Corsair CMPSU-650TX 650w)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg, Amazon, or Zipzoomfly


PARTS PREFERENCES: Not too picky, though I like Asus mobo's, willing to consider others though


MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050 (20" Samsung LCD), 1920x1080 (50" Samsung Plasma) - Only running one at a time though

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Quiet is nice, as this system is in my living room, would like to do some minor cpu/memory overclocking (boost to somewhere in 3.0-3.4 ghz range)

Sample Build A:

Combo deal - CPU + Mobo: $444.98
Intel Core i7-860 Lynnfield 2.8GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80605I7860 - Retail
ASUS P7P55D Deluxe LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
Newegg Combo Deal

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit OEM: $104.99

ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2 92mm Fluid Dynamic CPU Cooler: $33.98

G.SKILL Trident 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2000 (PC3 16000) Desktop Memory Model F3-16000CL9D-4GBTD: $134.99

SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X 100269VXL Radeon HD 4890 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16: $199.99

Build Total: $918.93 (and shipping appears to be free)

Sample Build B:

I was going to put an x58 based build here, but I don't know if I can rig one together without sacrificing too much on the video card front. Open to suggestions of course though.

Now some other questions, I may want to add a second video card in the future, would my corsair 650w power supply be able to handle a second card 4890? If not, do you think it could handle two 5850's? Also, how big of a difference would the x8/x8 PCIe speeds in a p55 rig be compared to an x58 x16/x16? I am mainly debating between a 4890, or bumping up to a 5850 (if I could find one by a decent manufacturer available).

I generally only build a new system every 3-4 years, so I'm not too concerned about cpu socket upgradability, though the socket 1156 or 1366 decision is killing me. Will the triple channel memory over dual channel make much of a difference with a low end i7 in there?

Also, I haven't done too much research on decent cpu heatsink/fans, if you guys know of any better i7 ones <$50 that aren't too loud, feel free to recommend. I may add SSD sometime in the future, but would rather hold off on SSD for now (want to wait for better hardware reliability and price reductions). I appreciate any comments or recommendations, thanks all, this site has been very helpful in my research thus far. Let me know if you require any additional info.

More about : gaming system build

November 30, 2009 9:04:09 PM

That ram is straight up junk, get this faster and cheaper
AC 7 Freezer is not great, Get the hyper 212

PSU- You Corsair CAN x-fire both the 5850s but it does not have the required adapters (can be bought)and is cutting it close on watts. If you want to crossfire either of those than get a Corsair 750w, Antec 650w has all the 6 pins too. The 4890 isn't a great option right now. Its actually a rather bad option, the 5770 can be had for less, has dx 11, runs cooler and uses less watts and can be overclocked as high as the 4890. 5850 or 5770 is my suggestion. The Corsair 650w will be fine for crossfiring the 5770s, as it has enough 6 pins.
The x8 lanes don't make a big difference at all, very unsubstantial.
If you rebuild every 3-4 years definitely go for 1156. Triple channel ram is also very unsubstantial.
November 30, 2009 9:29:46 PM

sonic-boom said:
The 4890 isn't a great option right now. Its actually a rather bad option, the 5770 can be ... overclocked as high as the 4890.

I havent seen that.
The 5770 out of the box is a few percent slower than a 4870 and can only get a 5-10% boost OCed (which is nowhere near the 20% it would need to match a 4890). You got a review that found differently?

The 4890 is in between the 5770 and 5850 in price and performance. There is no DX11 GPU in its class. The 5830 or 5790 would theoretically compete with the 4890 if ATI releases one.
Related resources
November 30, 2009 9:47:26 PM

Ok ok so I might be exaggerating a bit. THG only OC'ed it to 895/1430, Overclockersclub and other forum posts shows it being able to get up to about 960/1450. I have mine at 940/1440. Now this is a bit more than THG but probably not at the 4890 yet. So no it doesn't exactly meet the 4890, but is still a better option. When the optimized drives come out it will get bit of a boost too.
December 1, 2009 1:29:13 PM

Yeah you're right Sonic about the Corair 650w power supply, I just notice it only has two 6 pin PCIe connections, and a 5850 needs both. The adapters I'd need, are they ones that convert from 4 pin peripheral to 6 pin PCIe? Something like this:

Looking at total power consumption though, yeah I think two 4890s would be too much for 650w, though I think I would have enough for two 5850s or 5770s, if the given max load of a 5850 is 170w if this link is accurate:

The coolermaster hyper 212+ heatsink/fan looks pretty good, nice reviews and fairly cheap too.

Looking into the benchmarks more, I think I really want a 5850 over a 5770, I suppose I need to be vigilant to find one available. What are the preferred brands for 5850s? Sapphire, XFX, Asus, HIS, those all decent? Any other manufacturers to add for email notifications?
December 1, 2009 3:35:01 PM

All 5850s are reference cards right now (unless sapphire has a Vapor-X cooling model out) so buy based on warranty. Everyone pretty much has 3 years from date of manufacture or 2 years from date of purchase, except XFX which gives a double lifetime warranty if you register within 30 days of purchase (in the US).
December 1, 2009 8:58:20 PM

Woot, just snagged a Sapphire radeon 5850 from newegg and got with -$20 combo deal with Win 7 home pro x64 OEM. I see that $80 G-SKill Ripjaw memory has sold out, any other memory that you guys would suggest? How's this look:

CORSAIR DOMINATOR 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMD4GX3M2A1600C8 - Retail

Or would it be worth the $30 more for lower latency memory like this:

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBRH - Retail
December 1, 2009 9:03:01 PM

Both are fine, that lower lat isn't worth $30. Go with the Corsair.