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Gaming Build for Triple Monitor System (Budget: ~$1100)

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December 29, 2009 3:57:30 AM

Hello everyone,

Long time lurker, first time poster. So I salvaged my PC to fix other computers at my house and to help a friend with his aging PC. Now I am out of the main components and am looking to check out the newer hardware out there without destroying my wallet. I am coming from an AMD 64 X2 5000, DDR2 PC6400. I thought I can decide by just reading threads in this forum and choosing what other people recommended but I still need a little help. So after week of reading, I decided to just post.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: 1-2 Weeks
BUDGET RANGE: $1000-$1200 but I can bump it if REALLY necessary

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming (Steam FPS, CoD, WoW), Learning experience, Video encoding/DVD burning, school work

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitor x3, Keyboard, Mouse, Case, PSU (Corsair 650W), DVD Drive, Storage HDD

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg. Frys is preferred for faster local pickup/returns but I can try a full system build from newegg.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: US, CA

PARTS PREFERENCES: AMD, Gigabyte, and Asus have been my choices but anything reliable.

OVERCLOCKING: Yes SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe. If multi-gpu can ever do 3 monitors without triplehead2go.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1600x900 x3

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Windows 7x64 Ultimate. This is for a triple monitor system without triplehead2go.

Current choices:

AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor Model HDZ955FBGIBOX - Retail
ASUS M4A79XTD EVO AM3 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
$343.98

XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$39.66

Cash Left: $600-$800

Decisions needed:

I wanted to try out an SSD as a boot drive but nobody has posted any system builds with an SSD as a choice. So I thought maybe it wasn't such a good idea. This is what I was looking at though:

OCZ Vertex Series OCZSSD2-1VTX30GXXX 2.5" 30GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$124.99

The video card has been my problem. I need something to run 3 monitors. Current choices are:

(Update: Crap, just noticed it is sold out now. I can wait if you guys recommend this video card.)

SAPPHIRE 100270SR Radeon HD 4850 X2 2GB 512-bit (256-bit x 2) GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$219.99

Or I can go with a decent video card for 2 (Maybe a 5850), and a mediocre video card (Maybe 4650, or a tv tuner card) for the 1. All suggestions welcome. I hadn't planned on gaming super-wide mode with all three monitors. Just maybe 1 or 2 and a couple web browsers on the 3rd.

Other notes: I've never done a system build only from newegg. Is their return process a hassle? And if one of my items is free shipping, are all my items free shipping?

Thanks for taking the time to read all the way down here. Hopefully I can get some help and have it setup ASAP. If you need anymore information please ask.

EDIT: As I was buying a burrito, I thought about having my 3rd monitor maybe from a tv tuner card. So I added it. Hopefully it won't conflict with the gaming card.

Best solution

December 29, 2009 5:35:40 AM

^ You are in Luck...For a 3 monitor setup, all you need is a single HD 5xxx series card(xfire if you need more graphics power)...
Read about "Eyefinity" from ATI, supported by their latest 5 series cards...But only catch here is that 1 monitor has to connected via a display port(which can also be solved by using adaptors)

And for parts now -
The choice of CPU + Mobo + RAM is good...

HSF - I would suggest you take a look at this - CM Hyper 212+
It currently is the best budget cooler...And cost under $30
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD - SSD is not a bad idea...you generally dont see an SSD included in the other build is because the extra money is put into other important components like the CPU and graphics card...

A regular boot HDD - Samsung F3 500GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU - HD 5850 for sure...Maybe even 2...they can be easily included in your budget...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total - ~$1048

As for the CPU, you should also check out the i5s...
They would better suit the dual HD 5850s and overclock well...but that setup might cost about $50+ more...Have seen some offers on the Internet from Fry's with that CPU...So check it out...
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December 29, 2009 6:00:38 AM

Hey there. Based on a newegg review, for Eyefinity to work with a DP to DVI adapter, it has to be an active adapter which is about 100$.

I chose that hsf because it was rated pretty high on a site. I'm blanking out on what it was but ahead of it was Megahalem. How well does that budget cooler do? I can spend the extra 10$ if it doesn't do too well.

I've seen that F3 recommended so much, but I don't know the difference. It looks like a 7200 RPM hdd with regular sata II but it's faster? If I decide against the SSD I will get that one as my boot drive.

If no one disagrees with that 5850 then it will be the one I am choosing.

About the i5. I am afraid of change lol. I've been using AMDs for so long and they have treated me well. Also, that requires more research and comparison. I hardly know anything about intel cpus. So I think I'll be sticking to the 955.
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December 29, 2009 6:39:33 AM

^ Well check these reviews about that cooler -
http://www.maximumpc.com/article/reviews/cooler_master_...
http://www.thinkcomputers.org/cooler-master-hyper-212-p...
http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/2904/cooler_master_hyp...
http://www.frostytech.com/articleview.cfm?articleID=241...
http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/coolermaster_hy...

And about the adaptor, I dont think you would need an Active adaptor for your resolution...just checked the forums and found this thread...should be useful to clear out any confusion you have...
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/276654-33-heck-eyefin...

And here is a cheaper active adaptor with inbuilt chip for active conversion of the signals...And also check the 1st comment - "Works with my Raedeon 5750 for the 3rd monitor. All the reviews said it would not work with out an active adapter from Dell....but it does. All screens are running at 1440x900."
http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=104&...

About the CPU, change is good ;)  but its your call though...
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December 29, 2009 5:52:00 PM

Armmm... First off, Eyefinity is available for the Radeon 5XXX series. With 2X5770 you will able to play Counter-Strike and other games... but not demanding games on 3 monitors.

You better with 2X5850... but when you think about the price, you end up paying for a 5970.

If I were you, I would save on the motherboard and buy a single slot PCIe and buy that 5970. Let's not forget you re going to game in 4800X900, way more than 2560X1600.

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December 29, 2009 6:03:52 PM

gkay09 said:
^ Well check these reviews about that cooler -
http://www.maximumpc.com/article/reviews/cooler_master_...
http://www.thinkcomputers.org/cooler-master-hyper-212-p...
http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/2904/cooler_master_hyp...
http://www.frostytech.com/articleview.cfm?articleID=241...
http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/coolermaster_hy...

And about the adaptor, I dont think you would need an Active adaptor for your resolution...just checked the forums and found this thread...should be useful to clear out any confusion you have...
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/276654-33-heck-eyefin...

And here is a cheaper active adaptor with inbuilt chip for active conversion of the signals...And also check the 1st comment - "Works with my Raedeon 5750 for the 3rd monitor. All the reviews said it would not work with out an active adapter from Dell....but it does. All screens are running at 1440x900."
http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=104&...

About the CPU, change is good ;)  but its your call though...


Just one question, why not using an HDMI cable and the female HDMI to DVI adaptor included with your graphic card? The solution cost 3$ on ebay with shipping.

Of course, I presume his 3 monitors are DVI compatible and not VGA only... right? If so, 2 DVI cable, one HDMI cable and one female HDMI to DVI adaptor will be enough.

He should own everything already except the HDMI cable. As for the adapter, it's included with the graphic card.

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December 30, 2009 12:22:34 AM

Very nice reviews on the cooler. Looks like all of them really liked it.

And thanks for that thread about passive adapters. I will be using the DP to DVI adapter.

Mmm don't know if you are mistaken, but isn't that a passive adapter? Also, it is VGA, isn't video quality better with DVI? I did see there was a DP to DVI version. I'll be grabbing that one.

Yeah I considered the i5 route. That turbo feature sounds pretty cool. But I'm not going to be doing any hardcore CPU intensive tasks so I think I'll be ok with a 955.

Sorry if I confused anyone but I will not be gaming on 4800x900. Only one monitor will be the main full screen game and the ones on the sides will be web browsing, youtube, vent, etc.

For three monitors to work with Eyefinity, the Display Port has to be one of them (if I read correctly from the above thread). HDMI would work but then it has to be 1xHDMI 1xDVI and 1xDisplay Port. I will be using 2xDVI 1xDisplay Port.

So I am pretty much set but I have one more question. If I have a 5850 running 2 monitors and a tv tuner card running my 3rd monitor, will I get a big performance hit if I game and watch tv at the same time? Also, what made you choose the Asus over the other ones with good reviews like the Diamond?

EDIT: Oops, after some reading the product information, the DVI to VGA is an active adapter. My apologies. I will be grabbing that one then.

EDIT2: Seeing as how the Sapphire 5850 has had so many remarkable reviews, should I just get that exact same kind on Amazon?
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December 30, 2009 2:39:41 AM

@redgarl the idea of HD 5970 is good...but a single HD 5850 would suffice for him now...And that is why I left the decision with the OP whether to go for 2 or stick with 1...
And as for using HDMI, Eyefinity doesnt work that way...you would have to use the Display port for atleast 1 display if you want to connect 3 monitors...In the above post, check this statement "For three monitors to work with Eyefinity, the Display Port has to be one of them (if I read correctly from the above thread). HDMI would work but then it has to be 1xHDMI 1xDVI and 1xDisplay Port. I will be using 2xDVI 1xDisplay Port. "

@light blue marker if you dont game in all the 3 monitors together, then I dont think you would need 2 HD 5850s...A single HD 5850 would suffice...
And about running the TV and the game at the same time, will depend on the CPU power...So that is one of a CPU intensive task...So then, the i5 would be a good option...
And as for the graphics card, any of those would do as they are just the reference designs...
How about this one with a Free Game ?
Powercolor HD 5850
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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December 30, 2009 4:45:01 AM

Dang gkay09. How does it feel to sway the mind of an AMD fanboy? Well you did. I did a couple hours more of research on the i5 750 and I am really liking it. Last call and if there are no more interruptions, I'll start buying. Hope you're still awake.

ASUS P7P55D EVO LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$155.99 (after promo code and rebate)

Core i5 750 Processor Boxed
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
$149.99

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-G1 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" Long life sleeve CPU Cooler - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$28.83

G.SKILL ECO Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBECO - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$96.99 (I saw some 7-8-7-24-2n eco ones for ~$20 more, what do you think?)

Saphhire 100282SR Radeon HD5850 1GB PCI Express 2.0 Video Card. Retail Box
http://www.directron.com/100282sr.html?gsear=1
$284.99 (Instant rebate, promo code SUPER200, and sale. They spelled Sapphire wrong. Should I be worried? Also there is no sales tax to CA residents.)

DP (DisplayPort) Male to VGA Female Converting Adapter with built-in chip
http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=104&...
$20.55

Total: $742.34

Alot lower than my expected budget but that's ok. More cheese for me. Maybe I'll get that ssd.

EDIT: How is that mobo and hsf in terms of overclocking? I was hoping to get the CPU to at least 4GHz. Also, I totally forgot I wanted to do a tv tuner card but I already bought the DP to VGA adapter lol oh well. Anyone got any suggestions? Here is the one I was looking at:

DIAMOND AIWHD3650 Radeon HD 3650 512MB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready All-in-Wonder Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$99.99 (If tv tuner cards are crap please say so and I will just find myself a mini tv or something hah. will these work even if now TVs have to be digital?)
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December 31, 2009 6:24:29 PM

Anyone have any thoughts on that motherboard and ram? Should I spend the extra ~$10(originally thought ~$20 then noticed I'm trippin bawls) for the 7-8-7-24 timings compared to the 9-9-9-24? I want to buy it before that promo/sale ends.

EDIT: So I decided to get the listed items above (except changed the ram to 7-8-7-24) after reading some more. Thanks for the help!
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