New Computer + Monitor: $1500

Hey, I've been a long time reader, first time poster at Tom's Hardware. I've been wanting to replace my old Pentium 4 computer and CRT monitor for awhile now and I've been researching and comparing a lot of computer components and was just wondering if there's anything in my new build that could be improved or is unnecessary. I'll be using this computer mostly for gaming and will be playing Battlefield Bad Company 2 a lot when it comes out. According to GameDebate I will need an HD 5850 or GTX 260 to run it well. I would prefer a dx11 card but I don't think I would spend more than $250 on a video card, would a HD5770 ($200) suffice for this game? Would prices for dx11 cards drop after Nvidia releases their dx11 cards? Or is my only option for a cheap video card that can run this game a GTX 260 ($200). Also, thankyou in advance if you decide to read this lengthy post.

This Month (December 2009), (Video card I'm not in a rush to get)

Aprox. $1500 (Canadian Dollars)


Re-used components:
XFX Geforce 8600 GT XXX 256MB

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS:, CanadaComputers,, , Futureshop, Bestbuy


No Brand preference



1600x900 or 1920x1080p (Full HD)

Hoping to use this computer for the next 5+ years before having to upgrade or build a new system.

OS: Windows 7 Professional 64bit upgrade (using XP Home 32bit key to activate)
(Already purchased the OS direct from Microsoft’s website)

Note: Links provided below are actual locations of purchase. The variation in prices listed compared to the actual store is due to the fact that I've already purchased most of these items but have them on hold at the store unopened which can be fully refunded.

CPU: Intel i7 860 2.8Ghz ($310 purchased)

Heatsink: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus ($30 purchased)

Mobo: Asus P7P55D Pro ($200 purchased)

RAM: Corsair PC12800 RAM - 4GB (2x2048) ($150 purchased)

PSU: Ultra X3 850-Watt ($110 purchased)

Hard-Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATAII 7200RPM 32MB OEM ($115)

DVD-Drive: Samsung 22X DVD-Writer OEM ($33)

Case: Cooler Master HAF 932 Full Tower ($110 purchased)

Monitor: Having trouble deciding which monitor to get, especially the 21.5", they seem very similar.
LG 20" (W2053T) (1600x900) ($150)
LG 21.5" (W2253V) (1920x1080p) ($200)
LG 21.5" (W2261VP-PF) (1920x1080p) ($200)

EVGA GTX 260 Core 216 Superclocked ($200)
XFX Radeon HD 5770 ($200)
12 answers Last reply
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  1. This RAM: OCZ Intel Extreme Edition DDR3 4GB (2x2GB) 1600Mhz 7-7-7-24 $143 is the same price, and the fact it has lower latency means that it is better, altho you probably won't notice that much of a difference in actual usage. There is also this set which is identical in specs to the Corsair but is $20 cheaper OCZ Obsidian 4GB $125, so you can either save yourself $20 or get a better set of RAM for the same price.
    Out of those two 21.5" monitors, there's no reason to get the more expensive one.
    I'm not 100% sure about that PSU, but it is a lot more powerful than your system will need, so you can probably get away with it. Personally I would want a good 500W from a brand such as OCZ, Corsair, Cooler Master, Seasonic, Thermaltake, Antec. I would recommend OCZ ModXStream Pro Power Supply - 500-Watt, Modular, 80Plus $68.
    As for the vid card, a good strategy would be to wait until just before Battlefield Bad Company 2 gets released and you could potentially have saved up enough money to buy a much more powerful vid card. A 5850 would allow you play a lot of games extremely well for awhile, you might even be able to get one of the new Nvidia cards if they turn out to be worth it and arent too expensive, and the prices on ATI 5000 cards should be lower as well.
  2. I agree with everything above, with a couple of notes.

    If you want to save some money on the PSU, you could get a PSU that's not modular.

    If you're buying a new GPU right away, go with either an HD 5770 or 5850, whichever the budget allows. If you're going to wait 3+ months, see what nVidia's DirectX 11 cards look like.

    EDIT: Noticed something off. Is that i7-860 permanent? 'Cause the i5-750 is a lot better for gaming AND it's a lot cheaper...
  3. Instead of talking about what's not out, how about talk about what's out that you're playing? Those games will help determine the right card. Also, decide on a lcd 1st, gpu 2nd and psu last.

    Dismiss the 20" already. It's 900 vertical. Should be sub$100. $150 is too high. Also, if you watch HD on PC, 1080 is the only way. That leaves us the last 2 choices. I'm leaning towards the cheaper one. What justifies the higher price tag? I can't find any on the specs.

    For GPU:
  4. Thanks a lot for the input everyone. Please feel free to point out any mistakes in facts I’ve stated or difference in opinions you may have regarding anything. Thanks again for reading.

    The RAM you suggested look quite good on paper, but I checked out newegg’s customer review and a lot of people seem to be dissatisfied with it. So I think I'll stick with the corsair RAM which has alot of positive reviews from newegg users.

    The main reason for the 850W PSU which is overkill for this system is the fact that it was heavily discounted, from $300 to $100 and because I was hoping to grab a cheap high end card (HD 5870) off ebay once the prices start dropping. The mainstream version of this PSU, the LSP series is very popular and is reviewed positively by computertv and since I’m getting the enthusiast version of it I would assume similar performance if not better.

    As for the video card, I think I’ll do exactly that, wait until the game release date before purchasing a new video card unless of course opportunity presents itself to grab a good cheap card.

    Your comment about the i5 750 being better than the 860 in terms of gaming, I assume you refer to price difference and not the actual performance unless there’s something I’m missing when comparing the specifications of the two processors. The reason I chose the 860 over the 750 is because of the higher-clock speed, higher turbo-mode (since I’m not over-clocking) and HT enabled. And from the benchmarks I’ve looked at the 860 is always ontop of the 750 and trailing behind the 870 which is twice as expensive.

    Right now I mostly play ModernWarfare 2 and CS: Source which my current 8600 GT should be able to handle but is being bottlenecked by my old Pentium 4 3.0Ghz(I'm making an assumption, not to sure about this). Right now I can play these games in low/medium settings with frame rates dropping below 30 quite often.

    Thanks for the advice on the lcd monitor, you make an excellent point about the 20” monitor and I will definitely be getting the 21.5” in that case. The reason I asked about the two 21.5” monitors is because they were priced the same, guess the sale ended recently. Also thanks for the link to the GPU discussion, I’ll be sure to read over it.
  5. RAM: Generally the advise is to either ignore customer reviews completely, or at least take them with a pinch of salt. I have seen on this forum via a google search that you have to manually set the RAM's speed and timings, which you won't have to do with Corsair. The decision is yours.
    PSU: Your system in actual usage even with one 5870 would probably not get much above 400W, so I'm just saying that you can get a less powerful, cheaper PSU that is more reliable.
    As for the i7 vs i5, the benchmarks I've quickly looked at show that they are virtually identical. Generally the i7 860 would be preferred over the i5 750 if the user wanted to do such things as video editing; tasks that rely on the processor, but even then the i5 is not a terrible processor. I didn't say anything about it myself because you said that you wanted this system to last for 5 years without upgrade, which is not exactly realistic ever, but I would assume the i7 860 would have a better chance of lasting longer than the i5.
  6. Well, the the tier-2 ULTRA X3 is a steal at that price. I'd grab it at a heartbeat.

    Nope, your P4 isn't bottlenecking the 8600 GT. Neither of which is a mid-range gaming part. CSC is a very outdated game. It can play on your old rig perfectly. However, the CoD6 is another story. It's kinda demanding if you max out everything in the game. I've played it. Looks fantastic. Feels real. The bottleneck of your old pc for CoD6 is the both cpu & gpu. Your new rig will handle this game well at any settings. Maybe not at x16 CSAA/QCSAA.
  7. Regarding the RAM I think I’m going to stick with corsair simply because of the similar specs and as for the reviews I do look into it and weight the comments of users on whether their actually making a reasonable judgment or if their just mad because they had to RMA due to delivery problems on newegg’s end.

    As for the PSU as p55ibexpeak mentioned, it was a steal, and I find it hard to give up something I paid $100 for that was originally $300 just a few weeks ago. With concerns to the reliability of the PSU I have found this review of the 800W version.

    Also regarding the computer not lasting 5 years realistically, I think it's possible, my Pentium 4 was released about 5 years ago and it's been able to keep up with even the most recent games, such as Cod6, though it doesn't run perfectly, it's playable. However, with next generation dx11 games coming out I think it's finally time to replace it.

    As for the CPU, I'm going to have to research more and think about it. But I was wondering if it were possible for games to take advantage of HT technology and if so would it not be reasonable to presume that sooner or later game developers will incorporate HT into their games giving the i7 860 an advantage over the 750 that has HT disabled? (Why couldn't Intel just enable HT on the i5 750? It's the same architecture as the i7 860 is it not?)
  8. Have you considered getting an intel i5-750 and using the money saved to get a 5850 (maybe even a 587)? A CPU has a very limited impact on gaming performance, whereas the GPU changes everything. The i5-750 is powerful enough to prevent even crossfired higher end GPU's from bottlenecking, and that's all a CPU has to do in gaming these days.

    Oh nvm, I saw you already bought. Then get the 5770 and add another one in crossfire somewhere down the road. Silly silly me...
  9. I have considered the i5-750 and I continue to. I have purchased some of the items I've listed, but as I've said in the original post, I can return them for full price without much hassle. The reason I'm considering the i7 860 is because it is more futureproof than the i5-750 especially if game developers decide to add HT support in their games.
  10. I just found another review of the Ultra X3 that says that it's kosher, and a much more recent review as well.
  11. i7 860 is not worth the extra $100 over i5 750 for me. I can overclock the i5 to beat the stock 860. That's the whole point of overclocking - to save money.

    I think the game devs are too busy coding for multi-cores. Both AMD & Intel have had multi-core cpus out for years. Only Intel has HT cpus. The game devs want to maximize profits.
  12. I agree on the i5. The extra money for the i7-860 is not worth it for gaming. Hyperthreading will not help games. What will help gaming is the i5's turbo mode.
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