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First time build - 1000-1200$ game system

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December 23, 2009 4:44:23 AM

Hi all.

Embarking on my first build I hope you can help me steer in the right direction.

Here goes :D 

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: this week (after boxing day if anything gives) or next week

BUDGET RANGE: 1000-1200$ (max 1300)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: gaming, multitasking, photoshop, itunes, surfing the internet with a lot of tabs.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor - a Samsung 19" SyncMaster BF

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.ca or ncix.com or tigerdirect -- I have chosen from newegg.ca because they seemt o have consistent low prices etc, but my main concern is that I can order all parts the from the same site, and not to pay more than I have to.

PARTS PREFERENCES: AMD CPU; ATI GPU - I read its the best for your buck atm; mid tower with multiple fans - but a big mid tower case :bounce: 

OVERCLOCKING: Would like to try, but also want a machine that can deliver if OC doesn't work.

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: don't think so

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1280x1024 -- but I want to be able to use the computer on higher res a couple of years in the future

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: case with multiple fans /good air ventilation system

WHAT I'VE PICKED SO FAR

CASE
Antec Nine Hundred Two Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

POWERSUPPLY
CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

RAM
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBHK - Retail http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

CPU
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor - Retail http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

MOBO
ASUS M4A78T-E AM3 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

HD
2 x Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...
-- in a raid 0

my questions :hello: 

Am I doing overkill on the CPU? On the one hand I'd like to "futureproof" the build a little, on the other hand I've been considering PII x3 720 and attempt to unlock 4th core and OC to 3.2Ghz, but don't want to be left unsatisfied if I am not able to pull it off (I am pretty new to all this).

Secondly, the question of GPU.

Are torn between 4890, 5850 an 5870. Again it's like a balance between not paying to much for what I don't need and being satisfied with being able to enjoy games of today and the near future, like crysis, oblivion, dragonage origins, Bioshock2, mass effect2. Where would I get the best for my buck?

Also completely confused about directx10.01 (which isn't that hot?) or directx11 which only 1 game not my style supports.

As you can see by the choice of my mobo I've chosen DDR3 as price difference to DDR2 doesn't seem all that great atm, but if I have nothing or next to nothing to gain, is it then smarter to go with a AM2+ mobo and get DDR2?

Another thing is, the antec 900 says it got 6 expansion slots for 3.5" internal drive bays. Does that mean that the case has wires for those drives? I'm interested because the HD's I'm looking at come as bare drives.

Anyway, sorry to post yet another "first time build" but I'm really hoping for your input anyway. So plz tell me what you think.

Thanks :) 





December 23, 2009 5:07:53 AM

^ Your build is good, but I dont see the need for RAID 0 ...Those are only useful in certain tasks(not regular ones)
Some options...
And you must have noticed this combo -
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Item...

RAM - Check these...these are as good and are little cheaper...
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

CASE - For about $40 less, you can get this case, which is as good as that 902
CM HAF 922
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Graphics card - For your current resolution, any of the graphics card that you have listed is an overkill...
A HD 5770 would fit your needs...
So when you upgrade your monitor, add one more HD 5770 in crossfire, that would offer very good performance comparable to the HD 5870...So you would still have DirectX 11 when you need it...
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
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December 23, 2009 12:52:42 PM

I'm throwing in my 2 cents here too.

Ditch WD for some Samsung Spinpont F3s (500 GB for $55 or 1 TB for $85). These are the best non-SSD drives available. A close second is the Seagate 7200.12 (same sizes/prices). Both of these are 500 GB platter drives, unlike all the WDs (except the 2 TB version).

On the RAM: Only the blue ones are better because they're cheaper. Here's a set (G.Skill Eco 1333 mhz CAS Latency 7) that's a little more expensive at $106, but are faster and use less power than all of them listed above.

Agree with everything else.

Another note. Watch out for the prices. They've changed a lot since yesterday...
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December 23, 2009 3:02:44 PM

Thanks for yer quick reply :love: 

Yes sir gkay09, I have indeed noticed that combo :) 

definitely going with the case you recommended, never was that hot on the blue bling bling anyway + save40$ --- very sweet.

Am going to go with the ram you suggested MadAdmiral, seeing that the cas latency is 7 and not 8 or 9 as the two previous suggestions.

Also ditching the 2x WD HD since it's apparrent now that I don't need raid 0 - thank you for helping me become clear on this point.
Was not able to locate the Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB on newwegg.ca, but found a Seagate 1TB for $94.99 Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682.... I did find a Samsung F3 2TB on special for 150@ but I don't need that much space to pay an extra 50bucks.

About the GPU... It makes sense what you're saying gkay09, but my main concern with crossfire is that I've been led to believe that you do NOT get your 2nd card full value; that sometimes you get 70% percent, sometimes less, sometimes NOTHING, if the game isn't set up to use crossfire.
So that's my worry, that I get the 5770 now and when I get crossfire I'll be dissapointed.
Of course the way you talk about it, it seems like I'm going to get a 5870, and that's cool, very cool.
Clarification, please, help!
Another thing about crossfire, is my PSU strong enough?


EDIT.

added dvd burner to my build:
SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache IDE 22X DVD±R DVD Burner LightScribe Support - OEM http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

As the drive is OEM (without cables etc; like the HD) I am still interested if anyone knows whether a computer case comes WITH wires and cablesl. Would be muchly appreciated

thanks again :hello: 

And will watch the prices, thx
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December 24, 2009 2:26:55 AM

^ Nice changes...

And as for the PSU, Yes the 650TX has more than enough power for the setup even with a HD 5870...
Actually I would suggest this PSU - This PSU is a very good one and still would suffice for the HD 5870...
OCZ Z-SERIES 550W 80+ Silver Certified
$87.52 CAD
After Mail In Rebate: $62.52 CAD
Save $25.00 with manufacturer's mail-in rebate!

And if you want to stick with single card solution, then its easy for you too as you dont have to deal with xfire issues...

DVD - NO to IDE drives...Go for SATA DVD -
Lite-ON - Retail so you get the cables along with it...
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...
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December 24, 2009 5:16:54 AM

Thanks gkay09 for the tip on DVD drives, the Lite-ON looks good.

Hey people! Give me your 2cents on the GPU quesiton, plz!

The PSU I find with your information on newegg.ca is
OCZ Z-Series OCZZ550 550W ATX12V 2.2/ EPS12V 2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Active PFC Power Supply Compatible with Intel Core i7 - Retail http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
- which costs $109,99 CAD. The same as the PSU I've chosen, but that after $90 instant rebate, plus being 650w instead of 550w. Should I still switch?

And would the PSU have enough power for xfire if I do try?

Still unsure about what GPU setup to go with... if I went with a single card, you are saying the 5870 is worth the roughly 100$ that it cost more than the 5850 ?

read some reviews for the 5770 that were good - for that prize range...?

What do you think?

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December 24, 2009 5:35:15 AM

Missed the link of that PSU...
It is from ncix.com and not from newegg.ca
http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=45235&vpn=OCZZ550&man...

And if you want xfire option open, then get this...
HD 5770 crossfire - Corsair 650TX would suffice
HD 5850/ HD 5870 xfire -
Antec TP 750/ Corsair 750TX
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

As for the graphics card - Like I said, if you are OK with Crossfire, then certainly the HD 5770 is the best option for your current situation.
But if you dont like the xfire concept - then HD 5850...the HD 5870 is kind of overpriced and with your current resolution, it would be a total waste of graphics power...(even the HD 5850 is an overkill)
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December 24, 2009 11:08:36 AM

When you Crossfire/SLI, you won't strictly double what a single card will do. The idea of Crossfiring later is that you can get an expensive card now that will handle many games for the next few years. Then, once that single expensive card stops being able to handle the newer games, you can buy an inexpensive card to boost performance instead of buying another expensive card.

Basically, it's a future proofing upgrade designed to add a couple of years to the life of a gaming computer. Instead of having to build a new computer every 3-4 years to stay on top (or spending $300+ on a new GPU), you can build every 5-6 years and still be able to play the new games with a sub-$100 upgrade.

As far as the games dictating what the card's return is, that's not right. The boost is determined by the card and the motherboard. Programs will see the cards as one. If that were true, the cards such as the 5970 would only be using half of what it could do.

I would recommend you at least keep your options open. The Crossfire enabled boards aren't much more expensive, and most quaility boards support it anyway. That way, when it comes time to make the decision, you at least have options.
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December 24, 2009 11:51:21 PM

Thanks for the clarification on Crossfire/SLI !!

So I had a change of heart, thought since it's my first build I want to get the satisfaction of playing all current games plus Bioshock2 & Mass Effect2 where they shine.

Would the hd 5770 play all current and shortly upcoming games with in-game graphics max high plus?

If not then it seems that there is a gab between 5770 and 5850 pricewise and perfomance, and as I don't want to start with crossfire, but rather as MadAdmiral outlined it, get a good card now, then crossfire when it no longer can pull the current games to buy 2 years or so.

So with the hd 5770 setup i'll chose the powersupply you recommended gkay09. I still have to find a mobo.

For the hd 5850 setup I think I'm getting this mobo ASUS Crosshair III Formula AM3 AMD 790FX ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681... in a 20$ combo with the PII x4 955. It is more than I thought to pay but I like that crossfired cards will run x16. It will force me to take advantage of it ;) 
Again I take the PSU you recommend.

Maybe soon I upgrade from 1280 x 1024 to 1920 x 1080. What you guys think of this http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682... ?
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December 28, 2009 2:47:52 AM

^ The HD 5770 might have some trouble playing all the upcoming games at 1080p but at your current resolution(1280x1024) it can surely in most of the games...
But if like I said if anytime you would buy a new monitor, then HD 5850 is a better option...
And I would suggest you spending that much money on the mobo...
The differnece between x16x16 and x8x8 is not that significant as you think...
Check this comparison of a X58(x16x16) vs P55(x8x8)
http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3649&p=2
For a powerful CPU like the 860, you dont notice that much performance hit at x8x8, so you surely wont notice it with the slower X4 955...So rather invest on the graphics card...
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

And that monitor certainly looks good...and a good price too...
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December 28, 2009 8:09:48 PM

^ Brilliant review, total eyeopener, thanks a lot for providing the link :) 

I almost thought I had lost you over x-mas. Thanks for getting back in touch :hello: 

I was reading up on the ASUS M4A79XTD you recommend, sounds really good, especially when taken into account the conclusion of the article you sent me, that xfire x8 isn't all that bad compared to x16 - in fact no difference in gaming!
However, I came across this paragraph that left me slightly puzzle. I was hoping you (or anyone) could help me understand the following.

"it's always worth remembering that with any AMD platform, the socket often only exposes features present in its CPUs. So while the socket supports DDR3 memory, the initial 1,333MHz frequency limit is a characteristic of supporting AM3 CPUs' on-chip memory controllers, rather than the socket itself or the motherboard." http://www.techradar.com/reviews/pc-mac/pc-components/m...

The article is about M4A79T Deluxe but seeing it states "... with any AMD platform..." I figured it was still relevant.

Another thing: with the case that you recommended (Cooler Master HAF 922) do you think I need an aftermarket CPU heatsink/Fan? And I am going to attempt to OC.

PSU: I found this one: Antec EarthWatts EA750 750W Continuous Power ATX12V version 2.3 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC "compatible with Core i7/Core i5" Power Supply - Retail http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681.... After instant savings it costs the same as the one you recommended. It is a better buy, seeing it's normal price is higher?

Finally about GPU (again :p ). I am going to get the hd 5850, but I am not sure which one to take. Have read that there isn't the big difference in quality for the different brands, as they are reference boards, so I so far chosen HIS H585F1GDG Radeon HD 5850 (Cypress Pro) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card w/ATI Eyefinity - Retail http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681... for $334,99 CAD. Is it a good buy?

Another thing that has me puzzled is whether to go with Phenom II x 4 955 BE C2 stepping or C3? I read that most bios doesn't take advantage of C3 yet, and maybe that the winnings isn't that great. So is it worth buying this: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor - Retail http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681... - which is the C3 at 187,99 $ CAD, rather than buying the C2 stepping @ 179,99?
Would it be correct to assume that with the C3 stepping I wouldn't need an aftermarket cooler?

Sorry for all the noob questions :pt1cable: 

Thanks again!!

EDIT: the advantage of C3 stepping should be less power consumption and more overclocking headroom. http://lab501.ro/forum/showthread.php?p=10439#post10439 it is Romanian in language, but you'll get the images... don't know how to judge its authenticity or quality though...
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December 29, 2009 3:15:51 AM

^ For the RAM concern -> You actually wouldn't notice much difference using a DDR2 RAM and DDR3 RAM with the AMD CPUs...the reason - The info what you have linked...But that wont have any major effect...
And FYI the stock memory controller speed on the Intel CPUs(i7 920) is 1066MHz...
So dont get to much carried away by things which currently dont matter much...
The reason why DDR3 was adopted is because it is becoming mainstream and will eventually out phase DDR2...And also it consumes less power...And future CPUs will take advantage of the DDR3 speeds...

HSF - If you want to overclock, then certainly an aftermarket CPU cooler will be a good addition...
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...

CPU - Yes the C3 has a slight improvement with the overclocking headroom and temps...But with the 955, I dont think those would matter much...Only the 965 has a very good improvement -
965 C2 - 140W TDP
965 C3 125W TDP
So that is the main reason for the improvement in temps
But the 955 -
955 C2 - 125W
955 C3 - 125W Unchanged
So I doubt you would see any major improvement in temps...but might overclock little higher(I mean the C3's maximum overclock will be higher than C2's maximum overclock)...But one thing is that even the C2 with a good air cooler can reach 3.8GHz(Which is the sweet spot...any thing above wont have any major effect in performance)
So its upto you...
And just a heads up on the ASUS M4A79XTD...Just check whether it supports the C3 revision, if you are planning for a C3 CPU and that mobo... as there are complaints that the BIOS that comes with those boards currently dont support them but a BIOS that supports the C3 is out but again you would need an lower-end or C3 AMD CPU to flash the new BIOS to support the C3s...
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December 29, 2009 6:47:15 PM

Hey gkay09.

Finally ordered the rig - now on to the build! imagining it's going to be like :o  :??:  :fou:  :cry:  :pt1cable:  :sarcastic:  :sol: 

I decided to go with the C2 stepping CPU - like you said, the winnings for 955 seemed not worth the hassle, expecially since I don't have another AM3 C2 CPU that I could flash the mobo with.

Also thanks for the aftermarket cooler link, would never have chosen that, but it looks great (the cooler master).

I got...:

mobo: ASUS M4A79XTD EVO AM3 AMD 790X
CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz
CPU cooler: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus
GPU: HIS H585F1GDG Radeon HD 5850 (Cypress Pro) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5
PSU: Antec TruePower New TP-750 750W Continuous Power
MEMORY: G.SKILL ECO Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666)
HD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb
DVD burner: LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 24X DVD-R SATA
CASE: COOLER MASTER HAF 922
Monitor: Hanns·G HH-241HPB Black 23.6" 5ms HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor


Could probably have gotten better (that's always the case), but I am satisfied and hopeful with my order. And I and owe you - and MadAdmiral - many thanks. Without your guidance and answers, I would surely have ended up with a much worse build. Now at least I am able to both overclock and run true xfire, and I think that everything is compatible with everything else.

Take care :hello: 

P.S. One last question. I forgot to order some thermal paste. Do you think I need it for OC'ing? I'll just get it from a local shop and save the shipping fees.
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December 29, 2009 6:48:16 PM

Hey gkay09.

Finally ordered the rig - now on to the build! imagining it's going to be like :o  :??:  :fou:  :cry:  :pt1cable:  :sarcastic:  :sol: 

I decided to go with the C2 stepping CPU - like you said, the winnings for 955 seemed not worth the hassle, expecially since I don't have another AM3 C2 CPU that I could flash the mobo with.

Also thanks for the aftermarket cooler link, would never have chosen that, but it looks great (the cooler master).

I got...:

mobo: ASUS M4A79XTD EVO AM3 AMD 790X
CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz
CPU cooler: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus
GPU: HIS H585F1GDG Radeon HD 5850 (Cypress Pro) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5
PSU: Antec TruePower New TP-750 750W Continuous Power
MEMORY: G.SKILL ECO Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666)
HD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb
DVD burner: LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 24X DVD-R SATA
CASE: COOLER MASTER HAF 922
Monitor: Hanns·G HH-241HPB Black 23.6" 5ms HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor


Could probably have gotten better (that's always the case), but I am satisfied and hopeful with my order. And I and owe you - and MadAdmiral - many thanks. Without your guidance and answers, I would surely have ended up with a much worse build. Now at least I am able to both overclock and run true xfire, and I think that everything is compatible with everything else.

Take care :hello: 

P.S. One last question. I forgot to order some thermal paste. Do you think I need it for OC'ing? I'll just get it from a local shop and save the shipping fees.
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December 30, 2009 3:07:19 AM

^ Yes it is better to get a good thermal paste - Arctic Cooling MX-2/ Tuniq TX-2/ Noctua NH1...
And good luck with your build :) 
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February 28, 2010 2:39:58 AM

Best answer selected by man2bear.
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