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700$ AMD Gaming build Advice

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December 25, 2009 3:24:59 AM

Hey community, over the past week i have been researching and trying to put together the best gaming build posible for 700$ Canadian. All parts are being purchase from www.directcanada.com . Please comment and give advice on the quality and compatability of these components. My main concern is wether or not all of the wiring will work out for all of these parts.

THANKS





Startech Silver Thermal CPU Paste Compound 1.5G Tube


Coolermaster R4-L2R-20CG 120MM Green LED Case Fan 2000RPM 90CFM 19DBA 3/4 Pin



Antec 200 Two Hundred Mid-Tower ATX Gaming Case Black 3X5.25 6X3.5INT 1 SATA Hot-Swap Bay No PS


LG GH22LS50 22X/22X DVD+-RW SATA DVD Writer Lightscribe Black OEM




Diamond Radeon HD 5770 850MHZ 1GB 4.8GHZ GDDR5 2XDVI HDMI Display Port DIRECTX11 PCI-E Video Card




G.SKILL F3-10666CL9D-4GBNQ PC3-10666 4GB 2X2GB DDR3-1333 CL9-9-9-24 240PIN Dual Channel Memory Kit


OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W ATX 20/24PIN SLI Ready Modular Cables 135mm Fan Active PFC Power Supply



ASUS M4A77TD ATX AM3 DDR3 AMD770 SB710 PCI-E16 2PCI-E1 3PCI IDE 6SATA Sound GBLAN Motherboard



Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500GB SATA2 3.5IN 8.5MS 7200RPM 16MB Hard Drive Oem *3YR Mfr Warranty*



AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Quad Core Processor AM3 3.2GHZ 8MB Cache 125W 45NM Retail Box


December 25, 2009 5:28:47 AM

Generally looks like a nice build - and a nice price - I am in US - has the Canadian dollar gotten stronger relative to US lately? I do have a few comments though.

MOBO

Did you know that mobo might only support one channel (OC) of memory when you go beyond DDR-1066? So if you install the memory you selected, you will not be able to install more later in the other two open slots. It does not state that on the spec sheet at Direct Canada but does on the one on the ASUS site.

http://www.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=GRrtD7enpMkaVWV1

While I respect the quality of ASUS boards, I prefer Gigabyte because of their UD- ultra durable - construction. See this article about itL

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gigabyte-ultra-dura...

And I therefore recommend this mobo although it cost $10 more:

Gigabyte GA-MA770T-UD3P ATX AM3 DDR3 AMD770 PCI-E16 4PCI-E1 2PCI SATA GBLAN Motherboard - $87
http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=11830BD2703&v...

Note that at newegg the board received a customer choice award

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MEMORY

Also the Gigabyte mobo allows using DDR3-1333 memory in all slots. Instead of what you have above, though, for $4 more I would go with G.Skill RipJaw series memory. With timings of 7-7-7-21, it should be much faster than the one you selected with timings of 9-9-9-24 and well worth a few dollars more.

G.SKILL F3-10666CL7D-4GBRH Ripjaws PC3-10666 4GB 2X2GB DDR3-1333 CL7-7-7-21 Core I5 1.65V Memory Kit - $100
http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=15380BD1255&v...

Lest you be concerned about the it being for the Core i5 memory kit, note that the GA-MA770T-UD3P is on G.Skills list of qualified mobos:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/277063-31-gaming-buil...

PSU

With a single graphics card, you can easily get by with only a 500w PSU if you want to save a little money there. However, I certainly have no objection to paying a little more to oversize this important component.

GPU

The HD 5770 is an excellent choice. I would pay the $20 more to go with the XFX. As you probably know, most cards of the same model made by different manufacturers are pretty much the same, except for factory OC, sometimes differences in fans, accessories included in the box. customer support, and warranties. In the US the XFX carries a lifetime warranty while the Radeon only has only 3 years. I did not see the warranties listed on Direct Canada so I don't know if they are the same. So I would pay the extra for the XFX card, but I of course don't know if that fits in your budget.

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?
sku=15180BD6108&vpn=HD577AZNFC&manufacture=XFX






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December 25, 2009 3:06:17 PM

Thanks for your tips Johny, I compared the two motherboards like you said, and I will be switching to the one you suggested, along with the RAM. I was wondering if The two 120mm fans have cords long enough to be plugged in. Some reviews said the length of the cords might be a problem for some people.

What do you think of this power supply instead?People say it's rather large in size, so will it be a good fit inside teh Antec 200? I measured but I just want to be sure.

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=13220AC3355&v...

THANKS
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December 25, 2009 4:02:23 PM

I don't know enough about the Fatality to really say one way or the other.

I found only one review on it and provide it only for general information as the reviewer did not even tear it apart to evaluate components as most good reviewers do. It does say it should fit in most cases and if you look at the spec sheets at Direct Canada it size is almost exactly the same as the ModXStream 500w.

However the Direct Canada specs are wrong in saying it only has 25a on the 12v circuit which would be inadequate since this circuit powers the mobo and the graphics card. The Mod 500 has 36a. But the power on the other circuits of the Fatality are not more, which does not make sense. I checked the manufacturers site which reports a comfortable 37a for 12v.

http://www.ocztechnology.com/products/power_management/...

I would stick with the ModXStream, and I would call Direct Canada just to make sure on the power if still contemplating it - the Fatalitu, although I can't imagine OCZ putting out some different model in that series with much lower 12v power and not disclosing it. But even if the 12v power is ok, it is a risk just because of less is known about it.

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December 25, 2009 4:47:53 PM

Thanks again Johny, I was also wondering about this dual core processor.

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=10360BD5855&v...

I might have to cut back on my budget just in case I can't get a free copy of windows 7 from my friend. Will that processor provide adequate gaming performance? Yes, I know it only has 2 cores..........But it has excellent reviews, and I don't multitask while gaming.
Will all different versions of Windows 7 be the right choice for first time builders like myself? Or do i need to get the OEM builders edition? I play modern shooting games FYI.

THANKS
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December 25, 2009 4:57:37 PM

moopato said:
Thanks again Johny, I was also wondering about this dual core processor.

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=10360BD5855&v...

I might have to cut back on my budget just in case I can't get a free copy of windows 7 from my friend. Will that processor provide adequate gaming performance? Yes, I know it only has 2 cores..........But it has excellent reviews, and I don't multitask while gaming.
Will all different versions of Windows 7 be the right choice for first time builders like myself? Or do i need to get the OEM builders edition? I play modern shooting games FYI.

THANKS


It will depend. Older games and even most of the ones appearing today are not optimised for multiple cores. In these, a dual core is usually equal to a quad core and when overclocked sometimes beats it.

However, a move towards threaded games is taking place. In the near future, the 550 will start to fall behind. With that in mind, I recommend a triple core (the 720 stands up to even the newest CPU's for gaming, can be overclocked easily and often has a fourth core that's dormant and can be unlocked) or a cheap quad core (like the 620). You'll sacrifice slight amounts of performance in older games, but these are so light both will be plenty. In tommorow's games, you'll see a boost.
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December 25, 2009 5:09:43 PM

Awesome advice. I was 100% going to buy the triple core 720, except it's unavailable on the site i have to order from....... I wouldn't get too caught up in it though, as im 90% sure my buddy will have a free copy of windows 7 for me. Anybody else have any opinions on the compatibility of my parts?


THANKS
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December 25, 2009 5:16:31 PM

Ah yes... Well, if you can get free windows the 955/965 is obvious and if you don't... Well, one thing at a time!

Other than that, excellent choice. 2000RPM fans are very noisy, but if you don't mind that... And green leds are fugly imo :p 

The rest fits perfectly.
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December 25, 2009 9:21:37 PM

What he said. I concur.
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December 28, 2009 7:43:47 PM

Hey I am going to be buying the parts for my first build within the next few days, so i was hoping you guys could ensure me on the compatibility of the parts? I switched a couple of things as recommended after the first post.

G.SKILL F3-10666CL7D-4GBRH Ripjaws PC3-10666 4GB 2X2GB DDR3-1333 CL7-7-7-21 Core I5 1.65V Memory Kit


Gigabyte GA-MA770T-UD3P ATX AM3 DDR3 AMD770 PCI-E16 4PCI-E1 2PCI SATA GBLAN Motherboard


Startech Silver Thermal CPU Paste Compound 1.5G Tube


Antec 200 Two Hundred Mid-Tower ATX Gaming Case Black 3X5.25 6X3.5INT 1 SATA Hot-Swap Bay No PS


Lg GH22NS50 Black 22X Sata Dvd Writer Oem


Diamond or xfx Radeon HD 5770 850MHZ 1GB 4.8GHZ GDDR5 2XDVI HDMI Display Port DIRECTX11 PCI-E Video


OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W ATX 20/24PIN SLI Ready Modular Cables 135mm Fan Active PFC Power Supply
(IF ANYONE CAN FIND ANOTHER CHEAPER ONE ON www.directcanada.com IT WOULD BE APPRECIATED)


Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500GB SATA2 3.5IN 8.5MS 7200RPM 16MB Hard Drive Oem *3YR Mfr Warranty*


AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Quad Core Processor AM3 3.2GHZ 8MB Cache 125W 45NM Retail Box


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December 28, 2009 8:11:02 PM

Yes, you are good to go.
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December 29, 2009 1:08:36 AM

John, thanks for your continued advice. I was also wondering if you know anyone who has one of the 5770 Radeon GPUs. My monitor is 1280x1024 or something like that. At least that's what it says. I dont really want to overclock my system for a while because it is my first gaming build, and a technician i know recomended/said it wouldn't be nescessary. I am really hoping to be able to run new games like Modern warfare 2 and crysis on high settings with good framerates. Do you think i will be able to play modern warfare online with high settings? People with bad cards like the 4670 say they can run these games on medium settings with awesome speed.

Thanks
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December 29, 2009 1:35:03 AM

Yes, I think you will have excellent game play. However, I have never used that card so I can only related what I have seen in reviews.

This THG review shows what the 5770, and other cards, will do at standard and OC. Since 40 fps is considered good play, your card before OC does well in all games in the review. Note that the monitors used have higher resolution than yours, so your FPS should be even higher. It should give you some idea how much more you can achieve when you do OC – or for that matter if you need to OC.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-5770-overclo...

This review shows similar results. It has Crysis which the other did not. Note that at 1680x1050 (the smallest resolution shown here too) the card achieves decent but not great game play at 34 FPS with high details, 4x AA and No AF. With lower resolution you will do better, but may not have great game play with all candy. Of course this one game is known to be toughest and to depend more on the CPU.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-5770,2446...

You can also get a further idea off the balanced gaming system review. Note that your CPU is the top end system used in the review. Unfortunately, the 5770 is not specifically used and no card is a real good surrogate for the 5770. It will fall in the middle between the HD 4850 and 4890 and probably close to the GTX 260. Since your CPU is listed, it gives a better idea of what game play you will get out of your system with the cards used in the review,

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/balanced-gaming-pc,...

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December 29, 2009 1:44:49 AM

Since you mentioned the 4670 - which by the way is actually a great card - just at a lower performance level and price - I prepared a quick chart comparing it with the 5770 so you could see how much faster it is - and for reference also included the GTX 260 I mentioned using as a reference above, the older and slightly faster 4870, and then the 5770 Crossfire.

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/gaming-graphics-card...
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December 29, 2009 2:07:21 AM

Awesome references, good reads. I was also wondering if you could give me a list of what drivers i will need to update upon installing my operating system? I know about the GPU but I am not familiar with installing any other type of driver. Also, I was wondering if I will need to change anything in the BIOS, or if my RAM, cpu, and graphics card will automatically be optimized.

THANKS
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December 29, 2009 2:14:33 AM

The Radeon 4870 512mb, and the gts 250 1 gb have me reconsidering the 5770. I understand how the charts prove the advantages of the 5770, but for almost 50$ less it seems tempting. I will probably still get the 5770 though. Just thought i'd state my thinking =P . Are there any two cards I can SLI for under 200$ that beat the 5770? just of curiosity.
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December 29, 2009 2:59:37 AM

BTW is there any chance that the RAM and MOBO you suggested won't work well together? The RAM sounds like it is optimized for intel...... I trust your expertise but i just want to make sure.
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December 29, 2009 2:26:00 PM

bump
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December 29, 2009 3:36:39 PM

moopato said:
I was also wondering if you could give me a list of what drivers i will need to update upon installing my operating system? I know about the GPU but I am not familiar with installing any other type of driver. Also, I was wondering if I will need to change anything in the BIOS, or if my RAM, cpu, and graphics card will automatically be optimized.

THANKS

Your motherboard will have a CD with drivers to load for it. That and the graphics card should be all that is needed. I don't know the default settings on the BIOS but the mobo manual will address them.
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December 29, 2009 3:39:34 PM

moopato said:
BTW is there any chance that the RAM and MOBO you suggested won't work well together? The RAM sounds like it is optimized for intel...... I trust your expertise but i just want to make sure.

In the first post where I presented the memory I provided a link to the manufacturer's website and its list showing the mobo on the RAM's compatibility list.
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December 30, 2009 9:07:15 PM

Hey rockyjohn, I am finally going to be buying all of the parts today. I swaped the diamond 5770 for the xfx xtreme 5770. Everything is good to go except that the damn website sold out of the ddr3 RAM u recommended. I was hoping u could set me up with another good ddr3 for around 100$? Also some people said that mobo can be an awkward fit sometimes, but im no really worried about that fitting in my antec 200 unless I should be. Hopefully you can give me a hand finding RAM that works well with the mobo.


thanks so much for your help, and ile be sure to post pics of the finished product.
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December 31, 2009 6:01:10 PM

moopato said:
I think i've got the RAM but the different PSU i was looking at im not 100% sure.

I don't understand your question nor do I know why you are looking at a more expensive PSU.
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December 31, 2009 10:16:24 PM

rockyjohn said:
For RAM, the best replacement option I saw was:

G.SKILL F3-10666CL8D-4GBRM Ripjaws PC3-10666 4GB 2X2GB DDR3-1333 CL8-8-8-24 Core i5 Memory Kit - $96
http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=15380BD9015&v...


That RAM looks great(good timings), exept my motherboard isnt on the list of supported mobos. Will it still work?

thanks
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December 31, 2009 11:12:41 PM

bump
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January 1, 2010 5:24:02 AM

moopato said:
That RAM looks great(good timings), exept my motherboard isnt on the list of supported mobos. Will it still work?

thanks

Yes it is on the list - you just have to look at the one on the G.Skill site - just like I pointed out before with the earlier memory. You need to do a little more research on these things on your own if you still have questions.

http://www.gskill.com/products.php?index=224
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January 1, 2010 5:25:43 AM

moopato said:
Sorry for not being clear, the other power supply i was gonna get initially ran out of stock yesterday so I wanted to wait and be sure that this one is ok aswell.

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=13220AC4926


I am not familiar with that one - did you try to Google for reviews? If so what did you find?

You also could step down to the 500w ModXStream - it would be more than adequate to support the video card you selected and slightly larger ones.
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January 13, 2010 2:31:26 AM

Okay so I got everything assembled this evening, and i booted up. All the fans were working well, lights were fine, GPU was hooked up correctly and all. The only problem was that I wasn't getting any video on my monitor. I had my monitor hooked up directly to my GPU instead of my motherboard, so i'm guessing thats what the problem was? I suppose I should be connecting it to the motherboard to start? I'm dead tired and very flustered, so i'm gonna start fresh tomorrow morning once I get some replies on this thread. If there are any cords you think I may have misplaced feel free to comment on that. Thank-you so much for your help guys, and I can't wait to get this system up and running 100%!
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January 13, 2010 4:08:08 AM

I thought you had the Gigabyte GA-MA770T-UD3P mobo? If so, there are no connectors for the monitor directly on the mobo, you have to connect it to the video card.

Have you checked all the basics?
Power to monitor?
Monitor turned on?
Monitor cable is correct one for connections and tight at both ends?
Power cable connected to video card?
Both power cables connected to mobo?

If all those are OK, next I would try re-seating the video card.
If still not working, do you have another known-good video card to use to test system?
Also, can you test the new video card in your old system?
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January 13, 2010 11:07:56 PM

I re-seated the video card and it booted up fine. I've got all my drivers installed, and im running on windows 7 64-bit. I've got realtemp going, catalyst control, etc. Temperatures and excellent and very stable. Tested out a few of my games all on enthusiast/completely maxed out settings and they run flawlessly! I'd like to thank everyone who helped me throughout the process of learning to build my own PC. Special thanks to rockyjohn for his huge contribution.

Thanks again, and I'le definately be posting back to this thread!
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January 14, 2010 3:22:56 AM

Moopato - you aren't done yet. Almost though. First just need to do a little stability testing.

First test memory with memtest. (Actually this is best done after memory and video card are installed and monitored connected (required for test) and before other hardware is installed to better isolate the cause of any problems and make troubleshooting faster). You can download the free software and instructions here:

http://www.memtest.org/

You want an 8 hour error-less run to prove it is good. If ANY errors are reported, you trouble shoot. Note that as an alternative to immediate full memory testing.you can run 10 passes of memtest to get an intermediate level of assurance of reliability, then proceed on to loading the operating system, running the prime95 test described below, and then running memtest overnight.

Nrxt run prime95 for an hour or two (some suggest up to eight is better) to burn in system and test it under load. Run selecting CPU test.

http://majorgeeks.com/Prime95_d4363.html

While running that test, monitor temperature using Speedfan rates to ensure no issues

http://download.cnet.com/SpeedFan/ [...] 67444.html

If everything is operating well, I suggest going to pcpitstop.com to test and benchmark system. They have a set of free tests they run that will report common system issues, list outdated drivers you might want to update, and report basic benchmarks for common components. You can run it anonymously or log in and save results to compare with later benchmarks. Or you can purchase software that will you provide more extensive benchmarking.

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January 14, 2010 11:25:40 AM

I did the prime95 but not the other two. Is it safe to do the other ones while you're away from the machine?

thanks
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January 14, 2010 11:32:51 AM

Yes.

Memtest will just keep running on cycles recording good or failed passes, but since it is just testing memory one section at a time it is not a heat issue.

PCPitstop just takes a few minutes to run and just determines benchmarks, never running for an extended test.
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January 14, 2010 2:55:24 PM

Okay, but I really dont wan't to spend like 8 hours running tests when it already seems like the computer is running fine. Are there any other memory, cpu, and gpu tests for windows 7 64-bit? If you strongly recommend the other tests then i'le do them.

thanks

Btw is 60-100 fps on my rig good for AOE warchiefs maxed out with vsync?
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January 14, 2010 5:22:25 PM

Memtest is the only one suggested to run for a long time - just run it overnight. Should not interfere at all with your sleep.
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January 20, 2010 11:10:46 PM

Hey john, I just ran memtest for about 20 hours so far, and it already says there has been like 90 errors. In Beside where it says CAS, it says the timings are 9-9-9-24, when I thought it was supposed to be 8? I guess i'le let it run for the 24 hour cycle, even though it seems like my memory is already screwed. I'm really not sure whats wrong with it because my games and internet browsing seems to be starting to glitch are stuff. Please help me out again here man, you're advice has been awesome so far. Maybe I need to set up all the memory settings in the motherboard?


Thanks again
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January 20, 2010 11:42:51 PM

Then again, how long does the test usually take total?
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January 20, 2010 11:46:11 PM

Actually - with memory timings you are into a very complex area of which I have little experience and no expertise. There are a lot of settings in addition to the ones people commongly refer to with the numbers like 8-8-8-24.

Instead I am going to recommend the same people that helped me when I had timing issues on my Gigabyte board - the Gidgabyte official forum where you should be able to find someone with expertise on your board:

http://forums.tweaktown.com/f69/

I suggest searching first on the name of your board (I still don't know for sure which you selected) and memory - you might find the best settings already posted - if not just post there. Lsdmeasap was the person that helped me - if you run into him say hello for me.
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January 20, 2010 11:48:32 PM

You have run the test plenty long and can stop. Once you get some errors you can let if run a couple more cycles then stop and try to fix the problem. The good news is that a few tweaks on the timings might fix the problem quickly.
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January 21, 2010 2:08:07 AM

Okay so I'le try to get the RAM settings squared away. So the memtest program can fix errors?
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January 21, 2010 2:09:48 AM

Oh and by the way I bought every single part that we went over including the UD3P motherboard. I hope ur not starting to think I don't appreciate the time you've spent helping me out. It is great to have your help, and I appreciate it very much =P .

Thanks
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January 22, 2010 10:38:30 PM

Okay so both sticks are defective =( , i've submitted an RMA.
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January 22, 2010 11:44:41 PM

How do you know they are defective and it is not just an issue with timings?
Defective sticks are unusual - the odds against two at once is astronomical.
Did you inquire at Tweaktown?
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January 23, 2010 12:00:41 AM

Man i've tried resetting the timings, tested all the different slot combinations posible, and still the sticks were getting tons of errors on memtest. Even my games are starting to go fugly. I've tried with the timings at 8-8-8-24. I talked to some people at tweaktown and they pretty much said try adjusting the timings and voltage.
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January 23, 2010 12:07:49 AM

and man under the setting for voltage it wont let me set it to 1.5volts, the lowest is normal which is 1.6 volts wtf.
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January 23, 2010 12:52:25 PM

Memory has many timing settings in addition to the 8-8-8-24 settings. There are too many options for trial and error, I am sure you can find an expert at tweaktown to help you with them if you really try.

And which memory did you end up getting?
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January 23, 2010 4:05:25 PM

I've got that g.skill memory u said. One I tested them individually properly the first time, so I did it again and it turns out only one of the sticks is screwed, and the other one if good.
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January 23, 2010 4:07:42 PM

And everytmie after I run memtest, after i exit and startup, windows always says it didn;t shut down/startup properly. Is this bad?
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!