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My First (Gaming) Build! Suggestions please

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December 19, 2009 7:08:55 AM

Hey guys. This is my first time building and any help/advice is welcome. So here we go...

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Will try to get around Christmas time area BUDGET RANGE: I would like to keep it kinda budget around $700-$900

SYSTEM USAGE: Gaming and gaming only (excluding occasional net surfing, which I mainly do on my laptop, and storing and listening to music)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: I have keyboard, mouse, and monitor that I can use for now, but will be upgrading in the near future (going back to college and getting a job there). I have the OS (Windows 7 ULTIMATE x64)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Hopefully my dad can get the components wholesale, if not: newegg.com, amazon.com for things sold out on newegg

OVERCLOCKING: Most Likely SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Not now but maybe in the future

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Not sure right now...

Current Configuration: I think it is looking so far, but I still need help on some things like which PSU to choose, etc.

CPU: I don't know whether to save here and go with the duel core to save money (and try to unlock it to 4 cores) or the quad core for more toward the future (I am leaning more to the duel right now though [and AMD due to good price for performance])
AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition Callisto 3.1GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 80W Dual-Core Processor
or
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor

Moutherboard: I like this board for its price and good features for the price (I think :)  ) Please let me know if this is a good board or if I should go for something more. I like it :) 
GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard

Graphics Card: I really like this card and have heard great things, but it is a tad pricey. Is there another card with about the same performance for slightly less. I have heard it is one of the best for the money.
EVGA 896-P3-1171-AR GeForce GTX 275 Superclocked Edition 896MB 448-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card

RAM: This is fine RAM right?
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBNQ

Hard Drive: I think this looks like a good drive at a good price. I will probably start RAID'ing drives together once I get more money and way more computer experience.
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive

CD/DVD Drive:
Sony Optiarc Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD/CD Rewritable Drive

Heatsink: Should do fine, right? If you see any better ones for a AM3 Mobo please tell me :) 
ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2 92mm Fluid Dynamic CPU Cooler

Speakers: Nice cheapoes (if I wanna go HQ, I will put in my Sennheisers).
Logitech S120 2.3 Watts (RMS) 2.0 Speaker System

And finally the stuff I am having the most trouble picking:

Case: I want something that will stay cool and have room to expand (around 5-External 5.25" Drive Bays and 5-Internal 3.5" Drive Bays I'd think), but also be able to move around (I have a dorm room up on the 3rd floor of a building with no elevator and will probably be doing LAN parties on the hall). So I guess a bigger Mid-Tower or a Full Tower and some strength training. Bling not necessary.

I am thinking of this one now due to built in fans, though it is probably too heavy.
XCLIO Windtunnel Fully Black Finish 1.0 mm SECC Chassis ATX Full Tower Computer Case

or this, which fits all my needs but I was told by a friend that a Cooler Master melted his bro's system (may have been the dude's fault imo)
COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Power Supply: I really have no idea. Could someone please point me in the right direction based on the power I need for the system and the case. I do want something good though. I know it is probably the most important part, but it most often overlooked (like tires on a car I guess). I don't want a crap PSU killing my expensive system.

Thanks in advance guys. I know I am very newbish at this, so thanks for putting up with this and any mistakes I may have made. Any suggestion/criticism/comment welcome. Have a Merry Christmas, Happy (already over) Hanukkah, Happy Other Holiday(s) or just days off if you don't celebrate anything :) 

December 19, 2009 8:16:02 AM

Looking at your budget, x2 or x3 are perfect and if you get lucky, you will be able to unlock the 4th respectively the 3rd core.

The motherboard has only one PCI Express 2.0 x16 lane, so you won't be able to crossfire. It's a great board though.

The current GTX series are last gen cards, look for ATI's 5800 series. Not sure if the 5850 blows your budget, if so, 2 5770s (1 later on) will be the way to go.

RAM is alright.

HDD BBB. It's not in stock though, if you can't wait get a Caviar Black.

CD/DVD Drive misses lightscribe, not that you would need it though.

As for the heatsink, go for the hyper 212.

I'm not really into cases but the RC 690 should be fine. Take also a look at Antec 300, HAF 922 and Xigmatek Midgard (painted black inside).

PSU depends on your graphics card and your plans on crossfiring.
December 19, 2009 8:32:14 AM

Quad core really isn't necessary for gaming-only computers. Certainly, if you want to future-proof your comp it is a possibility, but for now I'd go for the dual core and then buy a new CPU in a few years if it's beginning to look outdated.

So, the AMD Phenom II X2 550 BE is a pretty good choice.

The MOBO... well, it is a 770 chipset. In case of graphics card problems I like to have the integrated GPU as backup, has saved me a lot of frustration when a GPU breaks down. But if you have decided you don't need it, then that MOBO should suffice. Not sure if you could get it from someplace else a bit cheaper.

GPU, well I admit I don't know a lot of the latest GeForce series, but 275 ought to be good. Then again, you can get more bang for your buck with other choices, read this article for more info:

"Best Graphics Cards For The Money: December '09"
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/geforce-310-5970,review-3...

The RAM looks fine, no comments there.

The HDD is a good choice, I hear the F3s are possibly the best ones out there at the moment.

Heatsink, well let's just say that if the CPU overheats with that one, then you're frying it on a stove. Might even be overkill that one, depending on how much overclocking you're planning. Others might know better on this topic, I don't know a lot of aftermarket cooling units as a whole, so there might be better and/or cheaper choices out there.

As for PSU, go for a known manufacturer. Make sure it's 80+ certified, that means no matter what the load the PSU efficiency ratio is always above 80 percent. This means less wasted power that is dissipated as heat, and less draw on your wall socket.

I'd recommend the Corsair 550W VX. Sure, it's a bit pricey, but comes with a 5 year warranty, single +12V power rail (so need to calculate what rail supplies power to what) and inbuild Over Current/Voltage/Power Protection, Under Voltage Protection, and Short Circuit Protection. But if you are planning to go SLI/Crossfire later, along with a quad core and that aftermarket cooling, you might be wanting for a larger capacity PSU. For any single GPU that should suffice but a second one might be too much.

http://www.corsair.com/products/vx/default.aspx
for more info on the Corsair VX series. Check out the specs yourself and see if it looks nice enough.
Related resources
December 19, 2009 8:35:05 AM

My apologies, I doubt the MOBO will support a second GPU. At least on a quick look I see no second PCIe slot for one.
December 19, 2009 3:13:53 PM

I would go...

Phenom II X4 955
Asus M4A78T-E
OCZ platinum DDR3 1600
Radeon 4890 (try to find one on sale at 170$)
OCZ Z 650 80+silver certified
Western Digital Caviar black 1TB
Cooler Master Hyper 212+ heatsink
Cooler Master HAF 922
Sony DVD burner
December 19, 2009 3:50:02 PM

The 4890 is much cheaper than a 275 and is very strong:





A 720 will be just as capable as an i5 and 955 in gaming, no need to waste money:





AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$119 -Free Shipping


SAPPHIRE 100269HDMI Radeon HD 4890 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$184 -Free Shipping

Its pretty much the same hdd as the f3, but $5 cheaper:

Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$50 -Free Shipping

The ram you choose had high latencies, this ram is cheaper and has a much smaller latency:

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBRM - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$92 -Free Shipping
December 19, 2009 6:36:29 PM

Thanks so much guys! I think I will go ahead with the Phenom II X 2 and upgrade in the future. I will keep that Mobo for now, go with a 4890 GPU. I will look at getting the Hyper 212 heatsink and the RC 690 case. Finally I will get a CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V PSU (it is $70 off on newegg right now). Thanks so much guys. You were so quick and helpful. I know where to come with any tech problems now :) 
!