Need Advice on a $700 Gaming Build I configured

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: December 20 - December 23 2009 probably
BUDGET RANGE: $600 After Rebates W/O monitor (About $100 is on the Monitor - It's on sale!)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Daily Computing (Surfing web, Office documents, watching videos, downloading), then Gaming, and occasional converting of videos (things that take more processor speed).


PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg, Tiger Direct, any more you guys have?
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: New Jersey, United States

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel Motherboard / Nvidia GPU. Anything else I'm fine with.


MONITOR RESOLUTION: Widescreen but whatever monitor I get is fine.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I'm a Sophomore in High School, and I need a decent gaming computer until I go to college. Then, this will be my parent's computer for just daily computing. List of games I will probably play:
-Counter Strike: Source (Have it and love it)
- Left 4 Dead & Left 4 Dead 2 (Definite buy)
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (I want to try, not sure I will buy).
- Fallout 3, Assassin's Creed (Want to try, not sure if I will buy.)

Basically, I want to play all these games and do my daily computing COMFORTABLY for the next 5 years or so. Gaming only necessary for next two before I get my "college laptop."

Please help me out and let me know if everything in my build is compatible. Also, if any of the products I chose can be improved while lowering the price, definitely let me know. I would also be willing to pay like $5-$10 more for each product if it is absolutely necessary. (I think the monitor I picked out isn't so great, any suggestions around the same price that are LCD, and widescreen?

In the end, though, I won't be playing crazy graphic-intensive games like Crysis, so if you have any suggestions to "tone-down" any of the products I chose, (WHILE STILL MAKING IT COMFORTABLE FOR THE GAMES ABOVE), then let me know by all means. Like stated above, my budget is about $610 max without the monitor.

Now, on to the build:

1. AllComponents 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit

2. GIGABYTE GA-G41M-ES2L LGA 775 Intel G41 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

3. hec X-Power Pro 600 600W Continuous @ 40°C ATX12V V2.2 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Power Supply


5. EVERCOOL EC-PT12-9525EA 95mm Ever Lubricate CPU Cooler

6. Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

7. EVGA 512-P3-N871-AR GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

8. SCEPTRE X226W-1920 Black 21.5" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 DCR(10000:1) 1000:1

9. RAIDMAX Skyline ATX-948WS Black SECC ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

10. Intel Core 2 Quad Q8400 Yorkfield 2.66GHz 4MB L2 Cache LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor

*Please not that Items #9 and #10 are a Combo Deal, and are not retail prices. Any other sites you know, plus all the advice I requested up top, would be GREATLY appreciated.. Thank you!
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  1. overall the specs on your build are fine, but a few of your brand choices are weird.

    first, the RAM i have not even heard of that company. i would go with a Corsair, OCZ, patriot, even G skull. try this out..

    next thing that stands out would be the PSU. again i don't know anything about that company. i would stick to thermatek, corsair, silverstone, antec, etc. PSUs are tough because while you don't see any speed gains from them, if the PSU dies it has a nasty habit of taking other parts with it. trust me i have seen several fried motherboards because bad PSUs.

    try this out:

    your monitor looks ok. the biggest thing i see with it is the lack of an HDMI port

    you could check out:

    it gives you a little better picture and an HDMI port for $20 more

    for some more web sites to compare prices look at, amazon carries parts, and compusa might have a deal or two you never know.

    anyways hope this helps, good luck, can't wait to see you on L4D2!
  2. hey mate, you bought it today i know but a ddr3 motherboard would of been much better! as it would of been future proofed
  3. I wouldn't go with a 775 build. You can build a better gaming rig going with the AM3 platform.

    CPU & Mobo - x3 720 + MA790GPT-UD3H - $194 (before $15 MIR)

    GPU - 4850 - $110
    Outperforms 9800gtx and is cheaper

    PSU - OCZ 500w - $65 (before $25 MIR)

    HDD - f3 is the better drive but its usually out of stock (get it if you can find one), 7200.12 is a good alternative - $50

    RAM - Get 2 of them. Crucial 2 gb - $78
    Can't take credit for those. I found them recommended by a fellow homebrew poster. Needless to say, they have tight timings and are extremely budget friendly

    Optical drive: Don't get IDE. Look for "SATA" - $30 for example

    Case: antec 300 illusion - $55

    $582 (that's before the $40 in mail in rebates)

    EDIT: Forgot cpu cooler. Awesome for $29

    $611 now (before $40 MIR, tax, shipping). Might be a bit over budget, but I assure you that it'll be worth it. I'd guess you could go even cheaper if there any good x2 550 + mobo deals or what have you. But I'm too lazy to check, so good luck! :D
  4. That Thermaltake PSU is crap. See the little voltage switch? Choose a PSU that has full range active PFC (no little voltage switch) and is 80+ certified. Antec, Corsair, PC Power & Cooling, Seasonic, and Enermax are among the better brands.
    @OP, socket 775 is not your best choice if you want an upgrade path. I see you prefer Intel, but at your budget, AMD is the better choice; socket AM3 will probably take 6-core CPUs when they are released.
    If you want your "college laptop" to play games, it will be expensive, and have a short battery life.
    You can build a competent AMD gamer today for $500-$600. It will be upgradable with a faster CPU or graphics card. I'd make a few changes, but vznoobie's build is an example. For college, get yourself a netbook to go with it for taking notes in class, and build your parents a web surfer / "daily computer" for ~$450. It will end up costing less than getting a gamer laptop.
  5. 775 is dead - as the last few people suggested get AM2+/3 or 1156 if you can afford it, and get a decent PSU and ram, no generic crap.
  6. Thank you for all the responses, I will probably try to remake a build and repost on this. I also might look for deals since it is Christmas time.
  7. Okay, I have configured a new AMD build. Thanks for all the suggestions, I have actually changed my build because of them. Please read my entire post, I need some help with some things.

    All of the preferences I have are the same in terms of my needs and stuff, except I don't really need a monitor as part of the original build. Also, I am starting to agree with jtt283 that I should probably make this gaming desktop something I can take to college, and get a netbook. So, I need to "future-proof" it, so please change anything to make sure it is useable in two-three years. Also, please tell me what I need to buy in 2 years and what I do not need to buy? Obviously, my parents do not want to buy a whole other computer for me, so let me know what I would have to upgrade when I go to college. I will probably OC a little and possibly SLI. Probably don't need or can afford SLI right now.

    Here it goes: Currently, it is at $412.15. With taxes and shipping, it is $462.87.

    1. RAM - 2x Crucial 2GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1066

    2. Computer Case - Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

    3. CD/DVD Drive - LG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 22X DVD-R 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner

    4. GPU - POWERCOLOR AX4850 1GBD3-PH Radeon HD 4850 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card

    5. Keyboard (I need one) - Logitech 967740-0403 Black 104 Normal Keys 8 Function Keys USB Standard Internet 350 USB Keyboard

    6. CPU (Thanks, great suggestion!) - AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 95W
    Triple-Core Black Processor

    Okay, now I need a compatible:
    - Motherboard
    - PSU
    - Cooler

    If you can, I would love to keep this at around $550 BEFORE taxes and shipping, but like I said, I want to "future-proof" it, so you can provide more expensive products if it ensures that I do not have to repurchase them. Just let me know what I would have to rebuy. Please let me know if my build is okay, and I have to change anything. Thanks a lot!\

    Lastly, I might buy a monitor (obviously it will go over the $550, but I am okay with that). I'm looking for HDMI output, >20 inches, widescreen, and LCD at least. Let me know if there are any GOOD choices for $150 or less. Thank you!

    (Lastly, okay seriously this time, let me know if there are any holiday deals I can get. It is okay if they deviate from my build, as long as they are okay). Thanks.

    Came across the "Tomshardware $700 build, and am wondering whether this build or mine would be better? Keep in mind I want to upgrade only certain components in two years.,2509.html

    Future proofing and upping the processor if necessary could be a consideration, but I think my build is okay so far. Let me know.
  8. Best answer
    The SBM articles are great for figuring out what works and what doesn't. IMHO, in this case, the $700 build really didn't work. It might have been ok for gaming, but the CPU was a cripple, using a dead socket and requiring a high overclock (you said "somewhat" to overclocking) that is not a sure thing, and still left the machine way behind in applications.
    The changes / additions I would make to yours are:
    1. You have DDR3-1066 RAM; get DDR3-1333 or possibly DDR3-1600. It will add $20-$30 to the cost, but should be worthwhile.
    2. A HD4850 plays all MY games well at 1680x1050 (and $109 for one is a good deal), but I don't have anything really demanding (e.g. no current FPS titles). It may suit you well too, but anticipate it being the first thing you'll want to upgrade. If there's enough room in your budget, consider replacing it for a HD5770 for more of the longevity you want. Prices appear to be coming down.
    3. Since you'll be gaming, you may want the cache on the 720BE, but check some benchmarks in case an Athlon II X4 630 is more suitable, and/or see if there's a deal on a Phenom II 955BE or 945. Your choice is fine, but do look for deals.
    4. For a single HD57xx (or HD48xx) video card, an Antec Earthwatts 500 would be a quick and easy, inexpensive choice. Still, you might look for a deal on a Corsair VX550 or Antec Truepower 550 for a little more headroom. If you think you might want to run two video cards, move up to 650W-750W in one of the brands I mentioned earlier.
    5. The last few AMD mobos I've bought have been ASRock, and I've been happy with them. My wife's rig has a Gigabyte AM2+ 790GX in it that has been trouble-free for over a year now, and Gigabyte has a good overall reputation. Asus should be solid also.
    6. The cooler I have on my 720BE is a Scythe Ninja-mini. It only has an 80mm fan on it, and runs full speed, but it is very quiet, and is short enough to leave room for a side fan. I used the reviews at to select it. I'm about to replace the 92mm Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro on my Q9450 because it is loud and whiny at speed. I will probably use a Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus:
    7. I don't care for the spiderweb front grill, but otherwise the Antec 200 looks like an excellent case. The SATA-II drive caddy looks like a potentially useful feature for me (I have too many spare drives lying around). If you want a cheap case, check out the low-end Rosewill models. They all come with a rear 120mm fan, and can take another one up front. Although thin and unrefined, their quality I have found to be much better than cheaper Coolermaster cases, on which I've given up over quality issues.
    Good luck. I'm sure you'll get other good suggestions too.
  9. Okay, thank you very much for the suggestions, I'll probably fix up my build later tonight.

    If anyone else has anything to add, that would be great.

    I have a question though, if I were to go with your enhanced build, would it be future proofed? In two years, what would I have to upgrade? Which components? (I understand that I could technically change nothing, but I want to have a good computer in college.) Also, in two years when I upgrade, do you recommend that I SLI with two 5770's or dump it on my parents computer and get a new one? (once again, I need to know which components need upgrading.)

    Thank you very much! And have a Merry Christmas!
  10. "Future proofing" is a myth. The best one can do is build what meets immediate needs, and allow for an upgrade path. With socket AM3, you'll have that. What you would "have" to upgrade would depend on the games and other apps you're running, but what you "could" upgrade include both the CPU (possibly to a 6-core) and the GPU. Finally, GPU power requirements are leveling off (it's about time!). If you got a 650W PSU, you would be able to add a second HD5770 (assuming you choose a mobo that has two PCI_E x16 slots). In two years, however, there may very well be a HD6xxx or even HD7xxx; in which case buying one would be an upgrade. Chances are, your mobo would also support at least 8GB of RAM, and have enough SATA ports for all the drive space you're likely to need. Check out this ASRock model: especially for its expansion. This board has three PCI_E slots, and you can Crossfire at x8,x8 on it, and still have a x4 slot left. Less expensive boards typically have just one PCI_E slot, or a second one runs at x4, making it pretty useless for Crossfire. I'm trying to talk myself out of getting one myself.
    In any case, when you're within a day or so of buying, post your "final" build, and you'll probably get help on then-available deals.
  11. Fixed the build. I'm not great with the components, so if you make educated choices for me, I would respect them.

    1. RAM - There are 3 pages of choices, but I am not really good at making choices lol. Any suggestions that are budget and future friendly?

    2. Computer Case - Should I get an Antec 200 or 300 or 300 Illusion?
    - This is also on sale today, what do you think compared to the Antecs?

    3. CD/DVD Drive - Which should I get? I can wait for either Samsung to get back into stock if they are significantly better.

    4. GPU - POWERCOLOR AX4850 1GBD3-PH Radeon HD 4850 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
    - I would consider a 5770, but if I am NOT going to SLI and am just going to dump the 5770 on my parents later on, I might as well just stick with the 4850 and dump that one. However, if you think I can SLI or maybe even keep the one 5770, then I will definitely consider it. Please let me know.
    - By the way, is my choice for the 4850 okay? Good brand?

    5. Keyboard (I need one) - Logitech 967740-0403 Black 104 Normal Keys 8 Function Keys USB Standard Internet 350 USB Keyboard

    6. CPU - Please help me choose one that is future-proofed and probably won't need replacing in 2 years and is still reliable. Bang for the buck. The 955 BE is a little steep, but if it is really worth it, I will probably take it.

    7. HDD - Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
    - Should I get the WD or wait on the Samsung F3 500GB 7200 RPM ones to restock? Same price, which is better?

    8. PSU - I think I did a good job of narrowing it down. Which do you think? I'm sure the 550W or 650 is okay, but I want to sort of future proof it.. The last one seems like a great deal to me, should I wait for it? How long will it take? Will the $25 off deal still exist when it comes back into stock?
    - To be honest, I don't know if I made good choices. Enough to possibly SLI in the future and be okay now is fine. Cheaper prices.

    9. MOBO - Once again, I am unsure of which to choose. Narrowed it down to 3 pages.

    10. Cooler -
    - Is this fine? I think you recommended this one.

    Please note I want to find the components first, and the right prices later. If I have to sacrifice a little performance for a great deal, I'd be willing to do that. Some sites I have:
    - newegg
    - zipzoomfly
    - pricegrabber
    - mwave
    - tigerdirect

    Sorry for spamming all the links, just want to make sure I'm getting my money's worth in the long run and stuff. Thank you guys very much
  12. Your links are all broken.
  13. Edited post with working links.. Thanks for quick response.
  14. For memory, I'd probably go for the G.Skill Ripjaw: because it is CAS8 even at low-voltage, which likely means it would OC well if you wanted to.
    I don't like the HEC case. The rear fan is only 80mm, and it is a microATX case. This may limit your build too much; pretty much ruling out Crossfire, particularly at a reasonable price.
    I've not noticed a remarkable difference between various optical drives. Some are a little noisier than others, but how often will you use it?
    I'm not really familiar with Powercolor, but at that price it is hard to go wrong, and you won't feel too bad about upgrading it later, when a good jump should likely be available.
    Your KB should be fine. The specs say it is spill resistant, which is a Good Thing.
    Of your CPUs, I'd go for either the first (720BE) or last (955BE). The former could readily be upgraded later if necessary, but is a solid choice anyway. The 955BE is essentially as good as it gets today on AM3 (it should easily OC to 965 levels). The other two seem like "almosts;" they'd be decent, then you'd think in a month or so that you could have spent just a little more on the 955BE.
    Of the two drives, the Samsung will be noticeably faster. If you go with a WD drive, get a Black. They are almost as fast.
    I wouldn't get the OCZ PSU; I've been reading comments lately suggesting that OCZ has cut corners on some component quality. Any of the others should be fine, but note that the Earthwatts 750 is modular, which may be nice, especially before you add a second GPU (if you ever do). It's still bigger than you need, but that is not a bad thing since you'll still be drawing enough from it to run in an efficient part of its range.
    On the mobo, the brands I would trust include ASRock, Gigabyte, Asus, maybe Biostar, and maybe Foxconn. I linked an ASRock earlier that would be my first choice.
    Your cooler link goes to a Scythe mounting bracket for Socket 1366, probably not what you intended. The one I'd suggest is this:
  15. 1. OK, so for the case, should I get the Antec 200 or 300 or 300 Illusion? What do you recommend?

    2. For the optical drive, I'm basically looking for speed in reading and occasional burning. I will not use it that often, just to install the OS and for burning DVD's. You can choose a Samsung that is out of stock as long as I can get it eventually.

    3. For the CPU, $40 is not so much so I will probably get the 955BE. Do you think that the difference in speed and stuff is worth the money? Also, in two years time, will it need replacing you think? Maybe it will take 4 years?

    4. Keyboard - I will get the Logitech.

    5. RAM - I will go with your choice on the G.Skill Ripjaws

    6. Cooler - I will probably go with your choice and the Cooler Master.

    7. GPU - I would consider a 5770, but if I am NOT going to SLI and am just going to dump the 5770 on my parents later on, I might as well just stick with the 4850 and dump that one. However, if you think I can SLI or maybe even keep the one 5770, then I will definitely consider it.. Do you think I should SLI another 5770 in two years and get a different video card?
    - By the way, is my choice for the 4850 okay? Is PowerColor okay?
    - However, if I get the 5770, is this one okay?

    8. PSU - I think I will go with the Antec Earthwatts 750, but are you sure the EA650 isn't as good? Is the 10 bucks and the 100W worth it? Is the 750W efficient, will it waste a lot of energy? Cause I think the 650 would be sufficient but I don't know.

    9. HDD - I will wait on the Samsung since it is $15 - $20 cheaper than the Black Western Digital and better.

    10. Mobo - I think I'll go with the AsRock one.

    Also, on a unrelated note, my friend has a ASUS 1000HE netbook that costed $380. How much do you think a comparable netbook will cost in 2 years time?

    That's about it.. I think I am near completion.. Thanks a lot

    By the way, is buying parts separately instead of a full system from a retailer cheaper or not? If you demand the level of performance my build has? Thanks I want to know because my brother is skeptical about buying the parts separately instead of from a retailer.
  16. Any of those Antec cases should be good. The 300 Illusion and 200 I believe already come with all of their fans. Get the one you like.
    When I get an optical drive, I get whatever is cheapest at the time. All have worked.
    The 955BE is least likely to need replacing. I think it ought to last at least another four years, maybe longer.
    FWIW, SLI is for nVidia cards, Crossfire for ATi cards. In two years, new video cards will be out, and you'll be unlikely to want a second 5770. If your intended resolution is 1680x1050 or lower, get the 4850. If you're willing to possibly use slightly lower settings (e.g. probably mostly high, but no AA or AF), the 4850 might still be enough even for higher resolutions. The $110 price on it is excellent. Like I said, I am not familiar with Powercolor, but I don't think their reputation is quite as good as HIS or Sapphire. IMHO, anything would be better than Diamond. The video card will be one of the easiest things to upgrade if you need to. Unless they are gamers themselves, your parents won't need a discrete GPU at all, and would be happy with an AMD IGP like the HD4200 on a 785G mobo. In your place, actually I think I might get a HD5750. It performs about on the same level as the HD4850, but sips less juice, and has Eyefinity and DX11 support. They're down to $140 now. Thirty dollars for the extra features seems a small price to pay. By the time new games are too demanding for it, the HD5850 should have dropped further in price, or the next family of GPUs will be out.
    The Antec Earthwatts PSUs are all 80+ certified for efficiency. You probably will not need the extra 100W, but I think $10 for semi-modular cabling is worth it.
    I think you'll be happy with your HDD and mobo choices.
    Trying to guess the price of a netbook in two years is hopeless, but here goes. I think that by then either the whole "netbook" idea will have died (possibly in favor of smart phones or even web-enabled "eyeglasses"), or what is considered a "netbook" is much more capable than anything in that class today, making a direct comparison impossible. They may cost the same, but do a lot more.
    For basic tasks, you can always buy a complete system from a company like Dell for less than you can build one, but you will get a machine that is difficult to upgrade. Such a machine would be fine for your parents; it will have support (other than you!) and a warranty, come with an operating system, and will have no trouble with the basic tasks they want. You WOULD be able to upgrade the GPU to something like a HD4350 without worrying about power, or possibly even specify such an upgrade when you order it, but that's about it. Trying to turn it into a competent gamer may be difficult and/or end up being more expensive. So, for the level of performance AND QUALITY you want, no. A machine that may appear to be in that class will likely cut some corners on quality, often on the PSU. That's not the place to do it; you're better off building your own. You can be assured of quality parts throughout, can fix it yourself if something goes wrong, and know what your upgrade path is. Furthermore, for those interested, overclocking is generally not possible with a store-bought PC, which will likely have a locked BIOS.
  17. 1. You think I can get the 955BE now and leave it when I go off to college? Possibly replace it halfway into college?

    2. I want to get a 5750, but I am having problems narrowing it down.. Any good suggestions, please check the reviews
    - What do you think about getting the 5750, and giving it to my parents or possibly even my brother in two years? Then, replacing it with a better card?

    3. This build is 64-bit, correct?

    4. The PSU.. I know $10 isn't a lot, but doesnt the extra 100W use more electricity or something for the electricity bill? Does it affect the heat of the computer as well at all? Does the modular make it that much easier in assembly?

    5. Will everything in this computer be compatible with each other? Will there be any problems?

    6. I know you said the motherboard is good, but I probably don't need the 4 RAM slots and stuff. However, if it is really good, I'll get it. I am just wondering if there is a cheaper option that would work well with my build. In the future, probably still AM3, still 4-8 GB RAM, and only 1 or 2 video cards.

    Thanks a lot!
  18. #3: Yes. You'd just need a 64-bit OS to complement it.

    #4: in most cases, buying a higher-wattage power supply will not increase your electricity bill, because a computer only uses what it needs in terms of power. More watts = more wiggle room if you upgrade to more powerful parts.

    The only potential downside to buying a power supply with too many watts on it is that it may not be as efficient running smaller load than it could be, but if it's 80 PLUS certified, then you probably won't have any problems with efficiency.

    Modular is nice, but only if it doesn't cost too much more than a non-modular, similarly specced PSU. If you aren't going to be opening your case often/showing off your computer parts (the antec 300 illusion doesn't have a side window anyways), it's probably not worth it. The only times modular can be really nice is if you're building a small system and you need airflow to keep things cool. But I'm gonna guess that with the host of fans that the 300 has, you won't have too much of a problem with airflow.

    #6: Most ATX motherboards have 4 slots, that's just a given. Think about it this way, you can buy some RAM now, and then simply buy more later when it falls in price without having to get rid of the old RAM.

    I'm not 100% sure on this, but I would say stick to one video card, as that usually will create less heat and use less power than two weaker cards running in CF/SLI.

    Good luck :)
  19. #1: Yes. You may not "need" to replace that CPU for many years.
    #2: The last few video cards I've bought have been HIS (4850, 4670, & 2600PRO). They've worked fine, with no issues at all. The ICEQ4 cooler they all have is very quiet, and works well. Before that, I bought some ASUS 3850 cards. One of them died within a month, but its replacement and the other one are still working fine (or would; one is on a shelf ATM). I'd buy ASUS again, but HIS is my first choice. Any gamer card you would get would be serious overkill for your parents, useful only if you'd want to play games on it yourself while you're home.
    #3. Yes, like he said. Just put a 64bit OS on it.
    #4. Again, like he said on the efficiency. I prefer modular PSUs myself, and for $10 I'd think it was worthwhile, especially when you consider the extra 100 Watts. You may never need the extra juice, but there it is if you do.
    #5. Everything listed so far is compatible. There's certainly no guarantee you won't get a DOA part, but the last one I got was a hard drive a few years ago. You would just RMA it for a replacement.
    #6. There are some decent microATX boards out there, but only a few have two PCE_E x16 slots, and 3/4 of those are Jetway, a brand to avoid. Like he said, full sized boards (and many micro) will have four RAM slots. If you're willing to give up a PCI_E x16 slot, you can go a little cheaper.
  20. Alright, chose this GPU.

    Chose the 750W Antec Earthwatts.

    Case not 100% sure but I can choose between Antec 200 and 300 Illusion for myself.

    Motherboard.. I will not compromise performance so I will get the Asrock. However, I did a search and this ASUS motherboard (same price) has a ton of more reviews and almost all the specs are the same.. Which do you guys recommend?


    Thanks, after this post, I will probably give jtt283 the best answer, and then repost in a new thread my full build and take some last opinions/look for deals.
  21. The ASRock board has better specs. The Asus board has two PCI_E slots, which will run at x16 and x4, making them near worthless for Crossfire. Two of the ASRock's three slots will run at x8,x8 (leaving the third at x4) if you put two boards in Crossfire on it (a single board will run at x16).

    Edit: Oh, and I think you'll like the HIS GPU.
  22. Quick question, on the MB specs, when a RAM speed has (OC) or (O.C.) next to it, does that mean OverClock, as in you have to overclock the RAM to get to that speed, with the motherboard supporting it, or One Channel (instead of Dual Channel)? I've heard both.
  23. Currently looking for deals, and am having trouble with the right case.

    Theres a lot of $25-$50 cases on Tigerdirect right now with free shipping today.. For example, this one:

    It's $40 on Tiger but like $75 shipped on Newegg.. What's the best choice for a computer case, or does it not matter? Let me know from what you see on Tiger. Thanks

    Will post with more questions if they arise
  24. The cheap Coolermaster cases look a little better (of course that's a matter of opinion), but EVERY Coolermaster case I ever bought (5-6), even up to my RC-690, had minor quality issues. Most common was untapped screw holes, easy enough to fix; sometimes though, a panel was misaligned. It could be snapped and/or bent back into position, but I finally got tired of these little problems and started buying Rosewill cheap cases. They're a little plainer, but none of them (also 5) had any of those problems. Rosewill is a Newegg house brand, so you won't find them at Tiger Direct.
    I've also worked with a couple of Antec cases. They were both very solid; my next "better" case will likely be Antec.
    If the case you like has front and rear 120mm fans (or at least a place to mount one), it should be sufficient. Some cases have a top-mounted fan as well. I wouldn't worry about a side fan, as a big heat sink on the CPU may not leave room for it, but a side vent could be good especially if you will ever do Crossfire.
  25. (OC) next to the RAM speed means you can manually set the speed to that, essentially a RAM overclock.
  26. Yes, computer cases do matter. The antec 200/300 both have top and rear exhaust fans. Hot air rises and you do not want your system overheating. In addition, I wouldn't personally ever go with a top mounted PSU in this day and age. The front intake fans from the 300 illusion provide this case with very nice airflow for its price. A case may not seem as important as the components that it houses, but I would not overlook it's cooling efficiency. Much like a CPU cooler, any crappy heatsink can help keep heat off your cpu, but a good cpu cooler will cool it well. Same concept.

    If you're gonna go for a 57xx, please go with a 5770 specifically. For the ~$20 price difference between the two, the 5700 will provide you with about a 50% performance increase. The crucial ram and 4850 gpu I listed were for budget purposes, but if your budget increased, then jtt283 offers some solid advice :).

    EDIT for future proof philosophy. IMO, 720 now and whatever is new and/or cheap in the future. For the system you have forming, the likely component to bottleneck your gaming experience is your video card. 720 is a budget friendly CPU and it performs with the big boys (955, i5) without a largely significant performance decrease. Really, the most future proof things you can do is 1. going with the AM3 platform and 2. have a dual x8 MOBO. And you have both.
  27. vznoobie12 said:
    Yes, computer cases do matter. The antec 200/300 both have top and rear exhaust fans. Hot air rises and you do not want your system overheating. In addition, I wouldn't personally ever go with a top mounted PSU in this day and age. The front intake fans from the 300 illusion provide this case with very nice airflow for its price. A case may not seem as important as the components that it houses, but I would not overlook it's cooling efficiency. Much like a CPU cooler, any crappy heatsink can help keep heat off your cpu, but a good cpu cooler will cool it well. Same concept.

    Computer cases with the power supply on the bottom is new to me! I have not built a computer for many years and have not paid attention to cases. I would think that, because heat rises, you would want the power supply being a heat source close to the top of your case. That way the heat it produces does not go across your processor or graphics card. Also it looks like it would like to vacuum up lots of dust bunnies being on the bottom. Is there a problem with the power supply cables reaching everything?

    I have been looking at cases on NewEgg and was not considering cases that the power supply went on the bottom because of the questions above.

  28. It depends. A bottom-mounted PSU adds stability to a case. That seems like a minor point, until you consider the weight of some of the heat sinks people use on their CPUs. I could readily imagine a toppling case cracking a mobo, or ripping the CPU out of its socket. One of the things I originally liked about my CM-RC690 is there is a grill hole directly under the bottom-mounted PSU. This means a PSU with a 140mm fan will draw its own cool air from beneath the case, and exhaust warm air out the back. My original PSU had such a fan.
    As PSUs become more efficient, the heat they produce becomes less significant. A quality PSU will simply not add much heat to a case.
    A top mounted PSU can be, however, an integral part of a case's cooling, depending on what other fans may be installed. At the top, it is helping to exhaust the heat that rises. In nicer cases (cases that mount the PSU at the bottom tend to be in this category), there is plenty of provision for cooling, often including a [large] top fan. I don't recall seeing a cheap case with a top fan, so a top-mounted PSU can really help them stay cool.
  29. Vznoobie, so you are recommending that I get the 720 now and upgrade later in two years? And instead get the 5770? Will that need replacing in two years too, or maybe I should SLI in two years? Unless you think I will have to upgrade both the CPU and the GPU, in which case, I will probably go with the 720/5770. Please let me know.

    I think I will just go with the Antec cases, by the way. Thanks for all the help. Still need some more but almost done.
  30. If the budget is tight, a 720BE + HD5770 will perform better in games than a 955BE + HD5750. For gaming at resolutions over 1440x900, the HD5750 will need to be upgraded sooner than the HD5770. At that resolution or lower, you may hit a CPU bottleneck first. Prices on video cards are probably going to drop faster than on CPUs though, as current supply problems go away, and because nVidia is about to release its 300-series cards. The next step up (in the ATi lineup) is a HD5850, currently a $290-$300 card. In a month or two, I'd be willing to bet that card will be in the $175-$225 range.
    If you want to save some money, the CPU to consider is the Athlon II X4 620, currently only $99 at Newegg. The lack of L3 cache will affect performance a little, but if it lets you afford a HD5770 then it's a worthwhile sacrifice.
  31. I was willing to get the 720 AND the 5770, so I am assuming you at suggesting the 5770 because you think I will need to upgrade both?

    I'm pretty much thinking 720 and 5770 at this point, and upgrading both of them in two years. Then giving the 720 and 5770 to my bro, who games but not as much. Does that sound good? Do you think anything else will need replacing in two years time? Like mobo or RAM? I don't know much, but I am assuming all I will need is a new gpu, CPU, and maybe EXTRA (not new) RAM in two years.

    Let me know, thanks!!
  32. You may not need to replace either one; it will depend on what you're running in two years. Check my .sig for what I'm running; they both handle my mostly 3+ year old games at their respective monitors' refresh rates (or better). A possible GPU upgrade in a month or two will be the result of a jump in resolution to full 1080p more than any demand from a game or other app. We got new Dells at work, and a 720BE is at least as good; those Dells will likely be expected to last six years or more, and we load them down pretty well.
    Today, as my previous post indicated, a 720BE+HD5770 will perform better than a 955BE+HD5750, especially at higher resolutions and in current games which mostly don't use more than two threads. If you buy for today, the former combination will likely be better. Unless you're always buying the latest games (your titles suggest otherwise) however, you're likely to see CPU load go up more than GPU load. For example, when you connect to your college LAN, they will probably require at least a layer or two of security software (e.g. my niece had to load Cisco Clean Access Agent on her old laptop, bringing it to a crawl). There's another core put to use right there. If you're still enjoying the same games, you won't take a GPU hit at all, but then you'll want the faster CPU (or maybe a SSD, which should be cheap by then).
    Here's a thought your parents may appreciate if they're the ones paying. Go low for both. If your resolution is up to 1680x1050, get the 720BE+HD5750. Anticipate replacing just one of them in two-four years, depending on what you're running then. Having to turn a setting or two down in whatever that new title is, is the worst you'll suffer until you upgrade the bottleneck.
  33. Oh, and you won't need to replace your RAM; maybe just add another 4GB. A mobo with four RAM slots can do that for $90 or so at today's prices.
  34. Alright I'll see I'll make a decision too but it's hard..

    Actually if I get my new rig I will actually probably play every new game that comes out since my friend plays them. Like Assassins creed 1 and 2, bioshock. cOD MW 2, and Batman Arkham Asylum. The games listed above will be the ones I play all the time. Games like COD I will just beat the campaign and move on.

    What do you think..? This is hard lol. I'm contemplating the threw core 720 and a 5770. Will I notice a lag in any games because of this? I might get the 5750, will that cause a lag?

    My mind is pretty much made up, when I go to college I will probably get a netbook, a new GPU, and CPU. Everything else the same. What do you think I should get now? Basically I want these two years to be comfortble, so if the 720 and 5750 can do that, then sure. Basically I can get either the 955 or the 5770.
  35. go with the 5770, you'll get more bang for your buck than getting a 955
  36. the nice thing about the 720 is that it's easily over clockable (black edition processors like the 720 and the 955 have unlocked multipliers, meaning you can get extra clock speed by changing a single setting in your BIOS), so you could match the speed of a 955 for free. Because most games don't appreciate multiple cores as much as they appreciate a fast clock speed, bumping the 720 from 2.8GHz to 3.2GHz (equaling the 955) will get you most of the performance of a 955 without the extra cost.
  37. p.s. because you'd have a triple core, you're mostly "future-proofed" for when games start taking advantage of more than 1-2 cores. GTA IV is one example of a game that already likes a lot of cores.
  38. Thanks for responses, I think I'm ordering tonight, so I need as much response as I can get.
  39. do you wanna post your "99% complete" build?
  40. Yes, if the choice is limited to "720BE+5770" or "955BE+5750" then the former is the better choice.
    It is also NOT something to count on, but particularly on ASRock boards, people are often able to unlock a 4th working core on the 720BE. It can take a stiff dose of luck followed by a fair bit of tweaking, but it does happen. Mine unlocked but wasn't stable, and I'd rather play ON my PC than WITH it, so I haven't tried to get it stable yet.
    And, there's every possibility that you won't need to replace either one in two years.
  41. lol I wanted to post my 99% build yesterday but couldn't find my glasses.. and it was like 3AM.
    I think I want the 720 + 5770 build, but the thing is, I had trouble finding a "stable" 5770, on Newegg, at least. All of them were riddled with driver problems and Windows 7 64 bit incompatibilities. Only the most expensive ones worked or something. However, if you guys can find a good one, let me know.

    Anyway, here goes.

    1. PSU - Antec EarthWatts EA750 750W Continuous Power

    2. Mobo - ASRock M3A785GXH/128M AM3 AMD 785G HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard

    3. CPU - AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz

    4. HDD - SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB


    -- I believe this CD/DVD is the same as this?

    6. Cooler - COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible

    7. Case - Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

    8. RAM - G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333

    9. GPU - Radeon 5770

    Which 5770 do you recommend?

    10. Keyboard - Logitech Internet 350 Vista Qualified USB Keyboard

    Or possibly this -

    [Not that important]

    ** Also, can anyone points me towards a $150 monitor with HDMI, LCD, Widescreen, 1080p, and good picture quality and stuff? Doesn't have to be Newegg. I'm hoping one exists.. if cheaper that would be even better.

    Please let me know!! Thanks!
  42. Just made a basic price sheet, while assuming that:

    5750 (Guaranteed by jtt to be good) -
    5770 (Unguaranteed yet) -

    Prices including keyboard and DVD drive off Amazon.
    These prices do not include HDD, which I am 90% sure I will buy. Also does not include Monitor, which is about 50% (depends on if it's a good deal). Also, prices include shipping and taxes.

    720 + 5750 - $749.62
    720 + 5770 - $781.77
    955 + 5750 - $792.43
    955 + 5770 - $820.25

    I was considering because of temptation, the 955 + 5770, but I think it's too much. If the 720 + 5770 will outperform the 955 + 5750, I will probably go with that one. But like I said, it's 90% evident that I will upgrade both the CPU and GPU in two years.. So maybe the extra 30 isn't worth it? You tell me.

    Basically going with either 720 + 5750 or 720 + 5770, keep in mind that I will be playing up-to-date games, just beating campaigns. Truthfully, I am thinking 720 + 5770 at this point. Let me know, though. I also have a HDD I still need to buy.

    Also, if I choose the cheapest Newegg shipping option, does anyone know if it all comes together? Also, how fast is it? thanks
  43. Well, I can't "guarantee" anything; my comment was that I'd had only good results from HIS so far.
    I think the "99% build" looks solid.
    For others tempted to nitpick it to death, please read the entire thread to see how we've gotten here before muddying the water. Yes, the PSU is bigger than needed; it is in anticipation of possible future Crossfire. Please only mention something different if it saves more than the cost of a couple of fast-food lunches or provides visibly better performance, not just a few points on a benchmark.
  44. What about the 5770? Which is a good one you think?

    Also.. Newegg. Have any idea if it comes all together? And how fast is it?

    Lastly, any great $100 - $150 monitors with the specs I want?

    Thanks, you'll get best answer and I'll probably repost in a new thread to see what happens. If you say it looks good I'll give you best answer again since you deserve it. Thanks a lot for everything.

    Any additional comments from anyone else is greatly appreciated!!
  45. Sapphire also has a decent reputation, but if I were the one buying I would get HIS just because of my past good experiences with their cards. That's just one person's biased opinion.
    Newegg ships very quickly, and any time I've bought from them, multiple boxes arrive either on the same day or one day apart (they have warehouses in CA, TN, and NJ; maybe others, so shipping times vary. I live in TN, so stuff shipping out of there often arrives next day or the day after, but stuff coming from CA takes the full three days).
    On the monitor, Acer and Viewsonic are usually decent. For a 1080p monitor you'll need to stretch your budget a little. This Acer is $159: . If you're willing to accept 1680x1050 resolution, you can get an Asus monitor for $120: . It's only 19", but the resolution is what counts, so it might be a good choice if your space is limited. Going to 1680x1050 would also be a good idea if you get the HD5750.
  46. Oh, alright, I was just going by this:

    I will see what other people say.. Thanks so much. I have a "new" thread now. Check it out and leave a comment.. You'll probably get best answer. Also let me know if you agree with the guy on the new harddrive he picked out.. Doesn't look bad to me but your thoughts?

    By the way, I believe I am going to use this monitor for now:

    It's my friend's and I'm borrowing it.. I would buy a new one but this computer is running a lot. I will search for a great deal and buy it then.

    Do you think this monitor is okay? Or are you "disgusted" by it? What I mean by that is I had a huge CRT 23" monitor and it sucked for games and annoyed me. Do you think this will be alright for a makeshift one?
  47. I wouldn't buy that monitor, particularly for $189, but I'd probably be happy to be able to borrow one if I had nothing. I prefer widescreen monitors, they really seem to show more.
    As you're looking for deals, don't forget the big office supply placed like Staples and Office Max. Sometimes they have great deals on monitors, and you can go look at it to decide.
  48. One last question.. I have two 250GB Western Digital Harddrives.

    Model Number - WD2500BS - 55RPB1

    They are both the same model, both SATA, but if you look at the link, only 2MB cache..

    Just wondering if it is necessary to upgrade to:

    Will the MB cache make a significant impact? Does a faster harddrive mean faster games and stuff? I thought harddrives were just for storage, but obviously speed makes some difference.

    Let me know if you think it is necessary. These are both brand new.
  49. Is it necessary? No, of course not. You would notice a significant speed improvement though. Load times for all programs, not just games, and the levels within games, would be shorter. If you have them already, use them. You've made it pretty clear you're trying to keep your costs down. If they are unused and you can return them, consider doing it, but don't lose any sleep over it.
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