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$1500 Gaming PC

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December 22, 2009 8:21:16 AM

Hi. I am building a PC for the first time and I tried my hand at picking all the parts myself but want to make sure everything works together well, is compatible, isn't bottlenecked, etc. So I figured I'd run it by more experienced people. This will probably be my computer for the next 2-3 years so I don't want to mess it up. I based my build off of the tweak guides 2009 Hardware Confusion Guide.
http://www.tweakguides.com/Hardcon09_2.html

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Around Jan. 11, 2009

BUDGET RANGE: $1000-1500 USD before rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Reliability, Multitasking, Gaming, Mass Storage, Video, Flash Development, Internet, etc.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: OS: Windows 7 Professional 64 bit

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg.

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel i7 CPU, Full tower case,

OVERCLOCKING: Yes / No / Maybe SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes / No / Maybe

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Undecided

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I am a borderline obsessive multitasker and need my computer to keep up. I could care less about how loud it is. I would like my computer to be very stable.

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Case: Antec Twelve Hundred Black
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU: Intel Core i7-860 Lynnfield
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU Cooler: ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2 92mm
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard: ASUS P7P55D EVO LGA 1156
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-750HX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: Western Digital VelociRaptor WD1500HLFS 150GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU: EVGA 512-P3-N871-AR GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Keyboard: OCZ Alchemy Series Elixir OALKBELXUS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mouse: WOLF KING Trooper
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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Am I missing anything asside from the monitor?

More about : 1500 gaming

December 22, 2009 10:18:03 AM

External disk drive, which is about 30-70 bucks. The HDD is awefully small, just my opinion though.
December 22, 2009 10:30:50 AM

Stability:
Though I think a 1366 build is the way to go, if you're stuck on an 1156 then go with:

Xeon X3450 Lynnfield 2.66GHz

It's the workstation i7, little better binned version of the i7's.

Crossfire/SLI:
Need to figure this one out. If you are going to do it then I HIGHLY recommend a 1366 solution.

Mass Storage:
VR are overpriced and overrated. 150gb? That's not mass storage. Look into:
Samsung Spinpoint F3 1tb.

Cooler:
There's really only two to consider:
TRUE or Megahalems

GPU:
9800gtx is pretty outdated. While they ran supreme at one time you can now find cooler and more effecient cards that support newer features:

Sapphire 5750

This is the entry model into ATI's new 5xxx series. Same price as the 9800gtx, similar performance, supports dx11. Better die, better efficiency. You also get the nifty Eyefinity feature that supports up to 3 monitors in a single resolution.

For a few extra bucks you could step up to the 5770 which easily outpaces the gt250 (rebranded 9800 which is rebranded 8800 heh... )
Related resources
December 22, 2009 1:35:52 PM

I agree with most everything said above. A LGA1366 build would be more ideal.

The VR is a waste of money. The Samsung F3s are faster and 1/3 of the price.

I don't think you'd need to Crossfire, and there isn't a huge difference in performance between the 8x/8x on 1156 mobos and the 16x/16x on 1366 boards.

Those coolers are WAY too expensive. The Coolermaster Hyper 212 is a great cooler at half the cost.

Agree with the 5770.

You should switch the Antec 1200 case for a HAF 932. It's $20 cheaper, and one of the best cases available. To save even more, go with a HAF 922 for $100. The 922 is the mid-tower version of the 932, but it's almost as big as a full tower.

To save a couple of bucks now, some more on you power bill, and remove some heat from the system, here are some nice G.Skill Eco Low Voltage sticks with the same specs.

If you're not Crossfiring, you can drop that 750W PSU to a 650W or even 550W. Also consider Antec Earthwatts or OCZ units, as these are just as high quaility and much, much cheaper. The Antec 650W is $75, compared to $100 for Corsair.
December 22, 2009 5:55:44 PM

I actually originally had a 1366 build but then switched over to a 1156 when I read somewhere that 1156 isn't much worse than the 1366 and you could get more power for the same price. I would be willing to switch back though because then I could go back to triple channel RAM and get 3 x 2GB.

I will probably change the GPU because my current GPU is a Sapphire Radeon HD 2600 XT and I am really happy with it. Someone told me that Nvidia was the way to go right now. I guess they were wrong? xD

I forgot to mention that I have 2 x 1TB HDDs that are going into this. I just wanted a quick drive for the OS. So the WD VRs are not worth it? I was originally attempting to go SCSI but couldn't find a motherboard that supports it for the price I was willing to pay.

I liked the 1200 case because of the dusty room I was putting it in. I have to blow my current computer out once a week or it overheats and shuts off while gaming. I figured the 1200 had good airflow a dust filters. Is the HAF as good at keeping things cool? I have no idea what is good for CPU coolers. Any TRUE or Megahalems will work?

I kind of overshot my PSU needs for upgradability purposes. I wanted to have room in case I wanted to SLI/Crossfire and put in more HDs.
December 22, 2009 6:16:37 PM

It isn't much worse with an i5-750. Not the i7-860. The price difference between the i5 and i7-920 is a lot greater. The differences also are comparing an overclocked (albeit automatically with the turbo mode) i5 to a stock i7. Regardless, you're budget definitely allows you to get an i7-920.

Even as a boot drive, the VRs aren't worth it. Either spring for a small SSD or leave it out.

Both cases are going to be about the same in terms of temperature, but the HAF is cheaper. On CPU coolers, not any one will work. You have to make sure the socket is supported. It will list which ones fit. Or you could go with the Coolermaster Hyper 212 ($30) which is a really good cooler and fits everything.

Crossfiring will only require a 650W, 750W to be absolutely certain. HDDs don't use that much power.
December 22, 2009 6:52:45 PM

Actually, I think you should stick with your i860 / P55 system because it is cheaper and for your applications it will outperform the i920 / X58 system. The i860 / P55 system incorporates the PCIe bus into the processor, and eliminates the bandwidth bottleneck assocated with the Northbridge chip required for the i920 processor. The i860 / P55 system is newer technology and is much faster than the older i920 / X58 system. But don't take my word for it, have a look at the following review:
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=364...
Go with the newer technology, get better performance, and pay less.

You might want to consider the Antec 902 case. It is a few inches shorter than the 1200 case in height, but has washable filters and speed controls on all case fans. It is has plenty of room to handle all of your components, and has excellent cable management.

I would also second the recommendation to go with the ATI 5770 graphics card.

If you live near a microcenter, you can pick up a i860 processor for $230.

The ASUS motherboard you chose (ASUS P7P55D EVO) is really good for exteme overclocking. You might consider the ASUS P7P55D PRO instead because it will save you $25, and still provide all of the features you need.
December 27, 2009 5:48:01 AM

This is what I've come up with so far. I will switch the case to save a few bucks and because it looks better. I am still not sure on the processor but am leaning towards using the one I have now to save a little more money since I don't see myself using dual GPUs or overclocking.

I am still very undecided if SSD will be worth it or not. I can get 2 30GB SSDs for cheaper than 1 60GB SSD. So I am thinking about going RAID with two SSDs for about $100 more than the VR I was thinking about buying. Would 60GB be enough for Windows 7? Would a RAID setup be worth doing or just get one bigger one? Also, would I need to buy some sort of 2.5 to 3.5 adapter to put the SSD in?

Any other suggestions or advice on this build would be much appreciated. I think I am learning more from asking questions than I did researching.

---------

Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 932
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU: Intel Core i7-860 Lynnfield
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU Cooler: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard: ASUS P7P55D EVO LGA 1156
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-750HX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: G.SKILL ECO Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM 1333
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: OCZ Vertex Series OCZSSD2-1VTX30GXXX 2.5" 30GB SATA II SSD (x2?)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU: SAPPHIRE Vapor-X 100283VXL Radeon HD 5770 1GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Keyboard: OCZ Alchemy Series Elixir OALKBELXUS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mouse: WOLF KING Trooper
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
December 27, 2009 11:12:48 PM

Haf932 is a great high airflow case, quite possibly the best for air cooling. It doesn't however ship with dust filters. You can pick up dust filters (they're not that expensive, but can be a pain to install), or you can look at an Antec 1200. It has a similiar cooling properties, uses a more standard 120mm fans and comes with a fan controller.

Aesthetics aside I think the CM is the better case, but if dust is a major concern it's something to consider.

As far as SSD's go... There is no upgrade path today that'll make as much of a difference as they will. It's like night and day and once you go SSD you'll wonder how you ever did w/o them. Everything is quicker. Programs load faster, Windows is more responsive. They're worth it. Just make sure you get one of the newer generations that support TRIM. OCZ has a great rep in that market, but you'll have to double check to make sure that particular drive supports it.

If you run a RAID solution with the drives you're only going to have access to half of their combined total. That being said 30gb is more than enough for a windows install (typically 6-8gb), and a few games. You'll want to make sure and follow the steps others have outlined for optimizing your SSD's in Vista/7. Disabling pagefiling, superfetch, prefetch, indexing ect.

As to if it's better to have 2 in a raid vs 1 larger one. Well that's a matter preference. RAID (assuming 0, striping) will deliver greater access speeds (85pct read, 40pct write) using ICH10R. Where as 1 larger drive of course will offer greater storage.

Keep in mind that you don't need to store everything on the SSD. As just a system disk it's going to offer performance boosts across the board. If you've got room for 2 or 3 of your favorite apps, hey that's great too. It is not however something you're going to try to stick all of your videos, pics, music and downloads on unless you've just got money to burn.

Mounting is going to be case specific. Most of them are 2.5" drives which are supported by newer cases, but if you go with something that's a year or two old then yeah, you'll probably need to pick up a 2.5 to 3.5 drive adapter (under 10 bucks if you shop around).

December 29, 2009 12:35:27 AM

Wouldn't RAID 0 add the totals together giving me 60GB? Anyway after researching what TRIM is, it appears that RAID would disable it. So I guess it would be best to just stick with 30GB.
December 29, 2009 2:39:37 PM

You'll need more than 30 GB for the boot/app drive. Windows 7 takes up 16 GB and SSDs function better with less than half of the space taken up. I'd suggest at least a 60 GB one, that way there's some room for apps
December 31, 2009 12:42:33 AM

When I said external disk drive I meant optical drive, sorry for the confusion. You're definitely gonna need one of those or you may never see Windows install onto the SSD.

Not a problem though, they are relatively cheap, a 24x DVD/CD+/-RW Multi-format Drive will run between 25-60 bucks.

Multi-format drives w/ BluRay compatibility will cost you extra $$$.
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