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Ground-up ~$1600 Gaming build (AMD)

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December 26, 2009 12:00:57 AM

Hello everyone! I haven't built a system in years, and never anything this high-end. I've done a lot of research (including reading many reviews on this website) and have picked out the components I plan on buying/assembling in the next 2 weeks. Below are the components I've picked out with an explanation of each choice. I plan on spending around $1600 plus the costs of a gaming mouse/keyboard (which I would be buying anyways, which is why their costs isn't in the total budget).

This is a ground up build, I have no peripherals for it. So if there is a component or peripheral missing, please let me know.

This build will primarily be for gaming (and some video editting), with an eye towards upgradability in the future. I plan on overclocking everything I can.


Case

Antec Twelve Hundred

I decided on a full tower as an investment; I won't be getting another case for a number of years, and I want the one I get to be able to handle anything that comes along. I also looked at towers like the HAF 932, but like the aesthetics of the antec better.
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CPU

Phenom II 955 3.2 Ghz

I'm not willing to pay hundreds more for an intel cpu/mobo, and the 965 isn't worth the extra money for .2ghz. I'm planning to overclock to ~4Ghz, which should be plenty for gaming in the foreseeable future.
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GPU

Vapor-X HD 5770

I think this is an excellent price/performance ratio card, and when I need to upgrade graphics in a year or two I can put in another HD 5770 in crossfire. I also plan to OC this component.
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Mobo

MSI 790FX-GD70

Has two 16x pci ports for future crossfire, DDR3 1600 ready, all the ports I need and lower price than the comparable Asus board.
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RAM

4gb (2x2) G.Skill Ripjaws series DDR3 1600

I plan on overclocking the Ram, and this is the highest quality DDR3 I could find aside from Corsair. Corsair prices were higher, so I plan on using this brand. I can also add 2 more sticks when I upgrade.
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HDD

Spinpoint F3 500gb x2 (editted based on suggestion)

I plan on putting two of these in RAID 0. SSD isn't cheap enough for me yet, and these should do fine. I plan on using 32kb strips, but recommendations for a differing size for gaming are welcome.
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PSU

Corsair 750w modular power supply

Corsair is a great brand, energy efficient, great looking; really no downside I can see. Anyone know if I will need any power extensions for this particular case?
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CPU cooler

Tuniq 120 Extreme (editted based on suggestion)

This is one of the highest rated coolers I've found and should allow me to overclock without worry.
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DVD +RW

LiteOn DVD drive

well reviewed, pretty basic. Don't plan on putting it through a lot of abuse, just need it to have basic capabilities.
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LCD monitor

Benq 24" monitor

Well reviewed for gaming, a little bit more than I had planned on paying, but it looks like I overestimated how much I could get for $200.
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Speakers

Altec Lansing 2.1 speakers

If I'm going to be watching/editting videos or listening to music, I want a decent sound system. I'm not particularly knowledgeable about speakers, but I know this is a good company and the product has some good reviews. I'm going to be using a headset for gaming most of the time, so the sound quality for games is less of an issue.

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Mouse I was going to buy anyways:

Logitech MX518

Seems like what I want; if there's a similar but better product feel free to let me know.
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Keyboard I was going to buy anyways:

Logitech ultra-thin illuminated keyboard

I like keyboard style keys. I'm a little concerned about the phantom key blocking; but I've heard it works well for gaming. That's good enough for me.
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I've done my research, but I know there are a lot of people here who know more than me and have actually worked with parts like these. Any advice or recommendations would be greatly appreciated. If you have any questions just ask.

Best solution

December 26, 2009 12:42:55 AM
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Looks good, some excellent choices.
I didn't tally up all the prices but I guess that's far below $1600?

  • +Case
  • +CPU
  • -GPU
    5850 should easily fit into your budget.
  • -MOBO
    For USB 3.0 get the Gigabyte 790FXTA UD5.
  • +RAM
  • -HDD
    Go for SpinPoint F3, it's betterrer. ;) 
  • ±PSU
    Great but 550W for 5770CF or 650W for 5850CF is sufficient.
  • -Cooler
    Good but there are better ones. Hyper 212 for example and it's super cheap. Frosty
    Quote:
    The Top 10 heatsinks on the AMD socket 939/AM2/AM3 platform are the 3Rsystem iceage 120 Boss II, Zalman CNPS10X Extreme, Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme, Thermalright Ultra-120, Spire Thermax II, Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer, Cooler Master V8, Deepcool Ice Blade Pro, Xigmatek DK-S1283, Titan TTC-NK85TZ, Thermolab BARAM, SilenX iXtrema IXC-120HA2, Xigmatek HDT-S1283, Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus....

  • +DVD
  • ?LCD
    No HDMI port. For HDMI -> G2411HD or SyncMaster P2450

    Rest seems solid.


    As mentioned above, you got a big budget and since you are also editing videos I'd actually suggest the 1366 platform.
    December 26, 2009 3:34:25 AM

    Thanks for the response!

    Good call on the Spinpoint F3; I'll definitely be putting 2 500gb units into RAID 0.

    Regarding the GPU, my budget is pretty tight with these components. Needing to get monitor/speakers etc makes my actual component budget closer to 1100 to 1200 (not to mention the 100 for the OS). This makes the 5850, at ~130 more than the 5770, out of my range unless I seriously cut back on another component (which would just create a bottleneck).

    For the motherboard, I was under the impression USB 3.0 has barely been implemented and there aren't any products developed for it yet. If this is the case, there likely won't be for 2-3 years. Am I wrong about USB 3.0? I mean, future-proofing is nice, but if it won't be necessary to run things I want for 4-5 years that's a bit much. I'm also having a hard time finding reviews/testimonials, which makes me a bit hesitant with brand new motherboard technology.

    I see your point about the PSU, but the 750 model is only a few more dollars given the discounts/rebates in place atm. Also, having more headroom for overclocking future components is never bad with a warranty as long as corsair gives (7 years!).

    I changed the cooler to Tuniq 120 Extreme; thanks for the link! That site ispretty spectacular regarding cross comparisons of cooling technology.

    For the LCD, I can't seem to find any of those models for sale; do you know where I could see reviews or prices on those models?
    Related resources
    December 26, 2009 4:00:49 AM

    If you get an hd 5850, you can save a bunch on your power supply because i have a 550w power supply and im running one of those and a 955. Regarding the motherboard, Go with the asus m4a79xtd evo, it is honestly amazing.
    December 26, 2009 4:02:34 AM

    Also, why 2 640gb, go with a 1tb
    December 26, 2009 4:25:58 AM

    Slayer32163 said:
    If you get an hd 5850, you can save a bunch on your power supply because i have a 550w power supply and im running one of those and a 955. Regarding the motherboard, Go with the asus m4a79xtd evo, it is honestly amazing.


    Yeah, the power supply is probably a little overkill, though I'd get 650 at least since I plan to add another graphics card in crossfire in the future (and overclock quite a bit).

    For the Mobo, since i'm going to go crossfire in the future, that mobo won't support two 16x PCI slots at the same time, it would turn them both into 8x. it would work great for now, but limits crossfire in the future.

    In terms of HDD, I'm going to get 2x500gb spinpoint drives. The reason for 2 smaller drives instead of 1 Tb drive is that the two smaller drives in RAID 0 are faster.
    December 26, 2009 4:43:43 AM

    Glad to see someone getting a high end AMD build! You, sir, are a welcomed breath of fresh air, lol! Build looks solid, although I would lean towards a 650W PSU, even if you plan to crossfire in the future, 650W is more than enough for X2 5750's. I wouldn't worry about USB 3, or SATA3 for that matter. It will be years before that tech really gets going, and by then I'm sure you will want to upgrade. Besides, is brand new tech worth an iffy motherboard? I would say no, and I know from personal experience. Before I got tech savvy, I had my friend build my comps for me. He got me a Gigabyte motherboard with both ddr2 and ddr3 capabilities, for at the time ddr3 was still very new. This motherboard, however, was a piece of ***. I had problem after problem with it until finally, after a year and a half, it died on me out of nowhere. If I were you, I would go with the tried and true. Good luck!
    December 26, 2009 5:28:10 AM

    ErikB said:

    For the motherboard, I was under the impression USB 3.0 has barely been implemented and there aren't any products developed for it yet. If this is the case, there likely won't be for 2-3 years. Am I wrong about USB 3.0? I mean, future-proofing is nice, but if it won't be necessary to run things I want for 4-5 years that's a bit much. I'm also having a hard time finding reviews/testimonials, which makes me a bit hesitant with brand new motherboard technology.

    Tech advances faster than one might think, it certainly won't take long until USB3 hits the mass market, which actually already happened resp. is happening right now with the motherboards. Also, I'm pretty sure this motherboard is as good as the other Gigabytes but it's all up to you.

    ErikB said:

    I see your point about the PSU, but the 750 model is only a few more dollars given the discounts/rebates in place atm. Also, having more headroom for overclocking future components is never bad with a warranty as long as corsair gives (7 years!).

    Ah right, it's the modular one. If I were you I'd invest that money in a better graphics card and get the 650W non-modular. ;) 


    ErikB said:

    For the LCD, I can't seem to find any of those models for sale; do you know where I could see reviews or prices on those models?

    Hmpf.. weird. I've read once that some monitors aren't being sold in the states, seems as if those two are among them. Tough luck!
    Have a look at the ASUS VH242H then.


    edit:
    as for x8 x8, you won't lose many fps because of that, maybe 1-2%.
    !