First time gaming build, ~800

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: In the next week or so. Budget around 800 but willing to stretch just a tiny bit if needed.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Surfing the internet, gaming, watching movies, school work.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, mouse, monitor.


PARTS PREFERENCES: by brand or type (e.g.: I would like to use an AMD CPU & Biostar mobo with a 24" LCD and full tower case)

OVERCLOCKING: Possibly in the future, same with sli.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Right now I'm on an old samsung 17''. Will be upgrading monitor to a 22'' or so in the near future, but not with the purchase of the build parts.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I want something super reliable. Performance is important but I don't want a sketchy build. I'm a freshman in college so I can't have my computer breaking down.

Games I play: Nothing particular, but I want to be able to run upcoming games like d3 and sc2 in max settings, as well as various racing games such as shift and stuff. Not really THAT big into fps games, maybe just some good old cs. I do want to leave that option open to run games that demand more from the computer though. So please advice me based on my budget.

So I just started piecing together my first build list last night, and now I am stuck between core 2 duo or amd quad core. I know quad would be faster, but I just wanted to get some opinions.

Build components: All parts are on newegg

Build 1: Core 2 duo build

Video card: XFX HD 4870 ~160 (seems to be sold out, suggestions?)
Case: Cool Master 690 atx ~90
PSU: Corsair 550w ~80
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P ~120
CPU: Intel e8400 ~170
Gskill ddr3 ram 2x2gb ~100
Samsung spinpoint F3 500gb ~55
dvd drive ~30 (recs?)

Total: ~805

Build 2: Amd Phenom quadcore build

Video card: XFX HD 4890
CPU: AMD Phenom x4 940 (or should I up to the 955/965 and use the hd 4870 instead?)


Case: Antec nine hundred
PSU: Antec NEO ECO 620C 620W


Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P (GIGABYTE GA-MA790XT-UD4P if I use the 955/965)


Gskill ddr3 ram 2x2gb ~100
Samsung spinpoint F3 500gb ~55
dvd drive ~30 (recs?)

Total: ~795

I mainly need recommendations/critiques on my cpu/gpu choices, as well as my motherboard choices. Also please advise me on my case/power supply choice. Which is the better case? I just recently started getting into building computers, so my choices are by no means solid. Are they all compatible? Thanks in advance.
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  1. Personally I would modify your second build and go with that. I would replace the 940 with the 955. And the 4890 with the 5770. Because without changing anything else you would be able to get another 5770 if you had the money and it would be just as powerful in gaming as one 4890, less power hungry, produce less heat, have DX11 support and would be easily overclocked to produce even more impressive performance. And there's no reason not to just get the cheapest 5770 to make up for spending more on a very nice CPU.
    You can go with either case, but the Antec would have better airflow and be a better environment for overclocking.
  2. Hmm I see.

    Thanks for the advice, but the only thing I don't like is having to spend about the same amount of money for the video card and only having about half the performance like you said. I kind of want to just build it and be done with it without having to spend more money to get what I want. I suppose I will think about it though.

    Also, if I use the 955 I lose out on the combo deal, and in combination with 4890 it raises my budget by quite a bit. Is the upgrade from 940 to 955 worth it?

    Which motherboard should I go with if I use the 955? Is the one I mentioned pretty good or are there better options for the price?
  3. That is a good mobo, but you could drop down to this one: GIGABYTE GA-MA790GPT-UD3H AM3 AMD 790GX $115 Which could bring the price on my suggestions down to the level of your original build.
    According to this Anandtech review: the 955 is better in 4 modern games by about 5 fps. So it's your call, maybe it is worth saying that you could probably overclock the 940 to the same performance level as the 955 if not beyond. And the 955 does come with some combos of it's own, if you just want CPU/GPU combos look at these Phenom II X4 955 & 4890 $335 Or Phenom II X4 955 & 5770 $330
  4. On second thought, I found that the sapphire 5770 is only 155. Sweet.

    This gets me very interested. My question is, how well will the 5770 fair when it's NOT crossfired and only ran as a single? Is it comparable to the 4890 at all? 4870?

    Edit: Oh wow I love you how'd you find those combos LOL??

    But wow those two combos being the same price really makes me undecided. I know the 4890 is better than the 5770 as a single card, but the direct 11 of the 5770 is definitely welcome.

    The real question now is just if the 4890 is MUCH better thant he 5770?
  5. Scratch the last two combos I listed, this is killer AMD Phenom II X4 955, ASUS M4A79XTD EVO AM3 AMD 790X & G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) $345 And this mobo can do 2 cards if you can bring yourself to buy another one later. The only downside is that that RAM is CAS 9, but I have CAS 9 1333MHz and it doesnt feel slow to me.
    And atm the 5770 is about the same as a 4870, but when drivers start getting optimised for the 5770 it's performance will grow, and you can easily overclock to be competitive with a GTX 260.
  6. At most the 4890 is going to be about 10 fps faster than the stock 5770.
  7. Check out this article that Tom's did comparing the 5770, 4890 and GTX275. It will give you a good idea of how the 5770 performs at stock speed and overclocked.
  8. Is that motherboard much better than the previous one you listed? I read under reviews that it wasn't compatible with the 965, will the 955 be fine? I'm assuming ram is all similar anyways so I don't really care.
  9. The differences between most mobos is negligible, but is worth getting for that combo imo. Yea it's compatible with the 955.
    These are two other good articles to check: &
  10. Okay if it's compatible then I'm definitely getting that combo!

    But whats up with the review about c3 processors that don't work with that motherboard?
  11. I didn't know about that, but I don't think that the 955 125W is a C3 processor, so it should be fine.
    check this to be 100% sure
  12. Yeah you're right, it's a c2. I don't know what that guy reviewing was smoking, maybe he bought a c3 version or something.

    So my build seems pretty set as of right now. But it can't hurt to ask, should I opt for a cheaper/different case? Or any other recommendations on anything else would be cool too.
  13. He might have had a point about the 965, altho I can't be bothered atm to do the research into it myself as it is late here. And a person can always download the bios from their old computer and burn it to a dvd and flash it from there.
    I like that case, so the only reason you would change it is if you could find one that is as good that you like more. Cases are too much of a personal choice kind of area for me to be able to suggest anything but maybe the Antec 300, 900 and 1200 and HAF 922 & 932. Perhaps you could have a look at what combos come with a Cooler Master HAF 922.
    You could probably go for a more reliable/reputable PSU (not that Antec make too many poor quality PSUs) if I am correct in the savings you have made. Depends if you can find a good PSU/case combo to replace it.
  14. Thanks alot man, I really appreciate all the help.

    All I have to do now is decide on either the 5770 or the 4890. I'm actually leaning towards the 5770, since like you said I could just add another one later, plus it's 40 bucks cheaper than the 4890. But what about 2x 4890?

    Also, would I have to upgrade my power supply if I want to run crossfire in the future? And this motherboard would allow me to just add another 5770 in the future right?
  15. bumpity
  16. The Antec power supply could crossfire two 5770s, it can't crossfire 4890s because it doesn't have enough PCI-E power connectors. And all three motherboards we have talked about have 2 good slots for crossfire: GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P, GIGABYTE GA-MA790GPT-UD3H & ASUS M4A79XTD EVO.
    Generally the advice recently is to get the card that has more of a future in it and that would be the 5770, but I got the 4890 and I can't say that if I had another chance at building my current rig that I would choose the 5770, but then the motherboard I have only has 1 good PCI-E slot. If I did get the 5770, then I would definitely be overclocking to get the same level of performance in GTA IV that I get now. I haven't OCed the 4890 because I've been too lazy and happy with it's performance levels. The power consumption levels and the ease with which your setup could take 2 5770s would be appealing to me as well.
    Mate, I'm talking myself round in circles, I think you're going to have to just make the decision by yourself.
  17. Gotcha. Thanks for the help.
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