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My first build - advice on components

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December 27, 2009 1:33:57 PM

Hello everyone - I'm in the final stages of choosing the components for my PC build after spending the better part of the long Christmas weekend reading reviews, watching youtube video reviews, and comparing costs.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This week (the closer the better)

BUDGET RANGE: Less than $1500 (I'd rather stay away from rebates - I hate them)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming (mostly WoW), Home Theater PC, Web

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitor and speakers. I have a Soundblaster 7.1 channel card with a remote. OS (I already have Windows 7 Professional ready to install).

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg (isn't that where all the cool kids shop?), Amazon

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES:

$288.99 - Intel Core i7-920 Bloomfield 2.66GHz LGA 1366 Quad-Core Processor

$239.99 - EVGA 141-BL-E757-TR LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX X58 SLI LE Intel Motherboard

$139.99 - GPU Option 1 - XFX Radeon HD 5750 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card

$259.98 (129.99 x 2) - Dual GPU Option 2 - SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 4860 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card

$149.99 - OCZ Gold 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 Memory

$169.99 - Boot drive Option 1 - Western Digital VelociRaptor 150GB 10000 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Hard Drive

$129.99 - Boot drive Option 2 - OCZ Vertex Series 2.5" 30GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive

$139.98 ($69.99 x 2 for RAID 1 Configuration) - Western Digital Caviar Black 500 GB 3.5-Inch, 32 MB Cache, 7200 RPM SATA II Hard Drive

$99.99 - Antec EarthWatts 750W LI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Power Supply

$139.99 - Option 1 - COOLER MASTER HAF 932 RC-932-KKN1-GP Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case

$169.99 - Option 2 - ZALMAN PROFESSIONAL GS-1000-TT Titanium Computer Case

$109.99 - SAMSUNG 8X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Combo Model SH-B083L/RSBP LightScribe Support

TOTAL is $1400 to $1500 depending on options.


OVERCLOCKING: No

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe (I still can't tell if a single newer GPU is better than SLI/Crossfired dual GPUs)

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: This is going to sit in my living room, so it should be reasonably quiet.

What are your opinions? I need help in choosing my GPU preference. I'm not a hardcore gamer, but I'm not planning on upgrading for another 5 years (I've had my current DELL XPS Gen 3 for about 5 years). Also, what do you think about my boot-drive options?

Also, my reference machine is a Alienware Aurora, which I can get for about $1500 with all these options. But I like the satisfaction of building my own! And I think the Alienware case is too childish for being in the living room.

Thanks all for the help.
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December 28, 2009 7:34:33 PM

XMAS weekend, not many people on.

The EVGA 757 motherboard is a white elephant. It cant do x16/x16 sli/crossfire. It is only useful if you will put 3 graphics cards in SLI/xfire or 3 GPUs plus a dedicated Physx card. Drop to the 756 or go up to the 758.


I would go with a 5770, which is 50% faster than the 5750 or with a 5850, which is twice as fast.


Velociraptors are outdated. The new 500GB platter 7200 RPM drives are faster. Samsung F3 is the best of them. WD only has a 2TB drive with 500GB platters right now.

I would stick with the HAF 922 or Antec 902/900. You dont need a full tower if you are not installing over 4 HDDs or the long top end graphics cards like the 5870/5970/295.

30GB is not big enough for a boot SSD. Also at that size its probably an older, slower model. Check out the Articles - Storage for a review of the newer faster SSDs.
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December 28, 2009 8:14:48 PM

Thanks. That motherboard info is new to me, and I wouldn't have known about it until after I bought it. That's why forums like this are so GREAT!

I'm not planning on using two graphics cards, so I'll just downgrade to the EVGA 756.

About the graphics cards - I checked out the benchmarks for the 5770 and noted that it is essentially equal in power to the 4870. Should I go for the older generation 4870 considering all the driver issues may have already been sorted out? The 5770 and the 4870 are about the same price. How important is Direct X11 nowadays anyway - especially since I will not be playing the "latest" games.
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December 28, 2009 8:32:07 PM

The 5770 drivers will get better, improving its performance over the next year regardless of DX11. The 5770 gives you the option of playing with DX11 in the future at at the same price so why get the older card? The 5770 also uses much less power and is much quieter. You can save money by dropping to a 550W PSU if you are running a 5770 (550W should run a pair of 5770s, but only one 4870).
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December 29, 2009 8:00:02 PM

Thanks for the advice.

I've changed my video card to a Sapphire Radeon HD5770. And my power supply to an OCZ ModXStream Pro 700W. 600W may be enough but the difference in price is only $10 and I'd like to be ready for a second 5770 in the future.

Any other advice on a good motherboard?
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December 29, 2009 9:01:31 PM

EVGA makes high quality motherboards so the 756 will be nice. If you want to save money and dont need lots of bios tweaks then the ASRock x58 extreme is the cheapest good x58 motherboard.
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December 31, 2009 1:03:07 PM

Thanks dndhatcher for all the advice. I just bought the following components and am eager to get started.

$169.99 - Motherboard - ASRock X58 Extreme
$179.99 - Graphics Card - XFX Radeon HD 5770
$69.99 (AR) - Power Supply - OCZ ModXStream 700W
$94.99 - Hard Drive - WD Caviar Black 1TB, 7200RPM and 32MB cache - I bought two at this price for RAID 1.

Newegg also had a combo discount of $20 for buying the GPU and PSU together. I may not have bought the top-of-the-line, but I bought the most bang-for-the-buck. And all items come VERY highly reviewed.

I have a friend picking up an i7-920 processor and 6GB of RAM from a Microcenter, which for some reason sells the processors for $90 less than anywhere else. He will check the package to make sure it is D0 step, but frankly I don't care since I'm not planning to do any major overclocks.

I hope all goes well.

Again, thanks for the advice.
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