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AMD Build around $800

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December 12, 2009 11:19:40 AM

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APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: next 7 days

BUDGET RANGE: $800-$1000

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, occasional work from home

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: US

PARTS PREFERENCES: none

OVERCLOCKING: No

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: dual setup, primary currently 1680x1050 on Dell E228WFP, secondary 1280x1024 on Dell 1905FP. May upgrade later.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Attemping to get huge bang for buck. Some future-proofing would be nice, but not required. My goal is to play some of the more recent games (ie. COD4-MW2) at reasonable frame rates.

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Here's what I've spec'd out so far:
http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx...

After rebates and such, it comes in a bit over $800.

I'm coming from a Dell Dimension 4600 with a P4 2.6Ghz, 1GB memory, and a Radeon 9800 Pro. I haven't upgraded in several years, and I've decided it's time to make the move.

I've used several builds from this forum to influence my decision, and made a few choices on my own, which hopefully doesn't get things blown up. Here's my decision-making explained:

Processor/MB:
I chose AMD for the price break. The motherboard was also selected from another forum post. I don't intend to SLI/Crossfire, so having a second PCIe x16 slot wasn't important to me. I figure, I'm moving up from a 9800 pro - will I really care about the performance increase from adding a second card, and will it be worth the cost?

Graphics Card:
Using the chart at http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/high_end_gpus.html, I selected the 4890 for two reasons: price and performance. Ranked #4 on the chart, and coming in at $175 after rebate, I hope I picked well. Some of the alternatives I researched (and rejected) are:
GTX285 - Ranked #3 on the chart, but also $400, so I decided not worth the extra money.
GTX275 - Ranked #7 on the chart, but $250-$300, so the same decision was made
GTX260 - Finally, a comparable price, but only ranked #10 on the chart.
Radeon 5770 - Comparably priced, but ranked #15 on the chart. DX11 would be nice, but the 128-bit interface scares me a bit.

Case:
I could really care less about the case, as long as it keeps things cool enough and it fits in my desk. I have one of those "digital dock" things (depicted here: http://ep.yimg.com/ca/I/furniture-sale_2081_1012849037) that keeps the PC at desk-level. So it would be helpful, but not required to have the front-panel USB and audio connectors near the top instead of the bottom. Having them on top of the case would make them inaccessible due to the monitor platform. I've heard that the Antec 900 and Coolermaster's HAF932 are the best for cooling, but I would prefer not to spend $100 on a case unless necessary, especially if a $55 Antec 300 (or even a $40 Antec 200) will do the job.

Power:
No preference. Only 1 video card, so power requirements are low. Someone told me to get lots of amps on the 12V for better power to the video card. Corsair does that well. I also looked at OCZ, but the amperage was much lower on all of their offerings. Don't know if what I heard was true though.

HDD:
No preference. I heard Seagate (.12), WD Caviar Black, and Samsung Spinpoint F3 were the way to go, though.

Memory:
No preference, but the Ripjaws were being recommended left and right, so I jumped on board.

OS:
Yeah, I have to get an OS, so might as well get the latest...


Please let me know if this build works. I am open to changes, especially if I can improve the "bank for the buck" factor. If there's something better for a minimal price increase, or something slightly less for a significant savings, I'd love to hear about it. My goal is to have the parts in-hand for Christmas break, when I have time to assemble and play. That means ordering no later than Friday, December 18th if using Newegg's UPS 3-day guaranteed Service. I'd really prefer to order by Wednesday the 16th though!

Thanks for looking!

More about : amd build 800

December 12, 2009 12:04:13 PM

If you are not intending on overclocking your CPU you have done a very nice job of keeping a tight budget with great performance.
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December 14, 2009 12:09:59 PM

Thanks for the responses so far! I still welcome any commentary or critique...

batuchka:
Thanks for the memory suggestion. I like the reputation that Crucial brand memory has, but I also like seeing reviews and ratings on stuff I buy, so I know that people have used it and it works well. Unfortunately, that memory doesn't have any yet (or didn't last time I checked). It is something I am considering, though.

Also, thanks for reminding me to check combo deals.

Is there any reason to get the video card from TD instead of Newegg? They appear to be the same price, and I've heard too many horror stories about rebates with TD.

December 14, 2009 12:14:55 PM

batchuka's suggestion will be make it a perfect budget setup.
The Samsung F3 is faster than the seagate, so change that.
The RAM memory will be great. It's from a good brand and difference between the A-brand's offerings is virtually non-existent.
Why buy at TD? It might be a little cheaper (being a European, I don't follow TD and newegg prices :p ) but the convenience of buying everything in a single store beats out such differences imo.
December 14, 2009 2:16:06 PM

Agree with everything said above.

Make sure to check for combos to save money.

Another way would be to check out Windows 7 student pricing. If you have a valid college email address (or know someone who does), you can get Windows for $30.
December 14, 2009 2:55:44 PM

The memory originally recommended by batuchka has been deactivated. I've read some other threads, and this is what I'm seeing recommmended:

G.SKILL ECO Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL7D-4GBECO - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL7D-4GBRH - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Will both of these work ok, or is one "better" than the other? Either one will save me $5, the difference being speed (1333 vs 1600) and latency (7-7-7 vs 7-8-7). However, I just discovered that the memory I originally selected has a $20 combo savings with the 4890 video card I also chose, so I might just stick with it.

Also, based on Silmarunya's and other's reviews, I'd like to swap the Seagate hard drive for a Samsung. Unforunately, both the 500GB and 1TB Spinpoint F3s are out of stock. We'll have to see if they become available before I place my order.

I don't qualify for student pricing for Windows 7, unfortunately. That's a hit I'll just have to take.

December 14, 2009 3:03:02 PM

On the F3: It's worth it to check other sites. I've seen it on Amazon for the same price.

On the RAM: I didn't see the RAM you selected... But between the other two, I personally prefer to recommend the Eco ones (as I'm sure you've seen as you looked around). These require less power, which saves a little bit over time. They're also cheaper for the same specs. The speed of the sticks doesn't really affect performance, but the timings definitely due. That said, if the sticks you found are cheaper, and have decent timings (8-8-8), you should get those.
December 14, 2009 4:06:30 PM

Amazon has the 500GB samsung, but it takes 4-7 weeks to ship. The 1TB is available sooner, but for $40 more, and I'm not sure I need that much space right now. I can't seem to find it in stock anywhere I normally look. I'm looking to order by Wednesday, so I'll just hope the Samsung drive comes in stock by then.

Here's the RAM I selected in my original build:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
December 14, 2009 4:17:02 PM

The RAM you choose would be better on paper. Whether or not its noticeable is another question. I don't think you'll see enough difference for the extra cash, but if it's cheaper in the combo go for it.

If the Samsung doesn't come back in stock, a good alternative is the Seagate 7200.12. It's the same price, and almost just as fast. Basically, you're going to get a good deal as long as you avoid WD (for now).
!