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Need Advice on Gaming PC $700-800 budget

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December 31, 2009 4:30:23 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: this week or the next

BUDGET RANGE: 700-800 before rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: gaming, internet

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: none

OVERCLOCKING: No for now

CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
My current starting point. I have never built a pc before. If I can save some more money on the RAM and/or PSU, that would be great. I was also considering the X3 720BE or x3 435. I am building this for my brother, so I would like this to be as reliable as possible. I was wondering then whether I need a CPU cooler if I am not overclocking. Also, will I need thermal paste? Would like to catch free shipping, too, if possible.


AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec Two Hundred Black ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

POWERCOLOR AX5770 1GBD5-DH Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 CrossFireX Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec NEO ECO 520C 520W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL ECO Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-4GBECO - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA CD/DVD Burner - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
December 31, 2009 4:46:40 PM

Everything you listed (including the x3 processors) is good. You might get a little bit better performance from lower Cas RAM (you linked Cas9 ram, look for some Cas7 or Cas8 at the same price).
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January 1, 2010 1:25:45 AM

Thank you for your answer. How about this RAM?

A-DATA Gaming Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333G (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model AX3U1333GB2G8-AG - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBRM - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Do I have to worry about the voltages for RAM? Also if at a later date I want to overclock, should I get a CPU cooler? Do I have to worry about BIOS settings or just use what the motherboard comes with?
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January 1, 2010 3:46:52 AM

mrsmithers said:
Thank you for your answer. How about this RAM?

A-DATA Gaming Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333G (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model AX3U1333GB2G8-AG - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBRM - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Do I have to worry about the voltages for RAM? Also if at a later date I want to overclock, should I get a CPU cooler? Do I have to worry about BIOS settings or just use what the motherboard comes with?

imo, the second.
btw, in this budget range I saw i5 builds, if you not hunged on amd (which is great ;) ) you might want to explore the i5 route
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January 3, 2010 1:30:41 AM

Thanks Daggs. I wouldn't mind an i5; it's just that they are 200 and the motherboard I think is more expensive, too. If anything I would prefer to go lower in price if possible. Also, do you think the psu I picked will be ok if I get a new GPU down the road. I also am considering building a pc for myself after this one. Should I get the full retail version of Windows 7? I read here that with the OEM version you can only use with one PC. Is that right?
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January 3, 2010 2:11:06 AM

I'm going to weigh in on just two of your questions:
o I would switch from the x4 to the x3 cpu to save a few bucks.
o The OEM version is meant for system builders, so technically it's not meant for you. The license will be deactivated when you move it to a new machine. If you call the MS support center in India you may be able to talk them into authorizing the license if you sound PC-knowledgeable or insane enough to fly to India and track them down and shoot them in the back of the head with a small-caliber pistol. If you are able to pull-off both impersonations at the same time without using profanity your chances of re-authorization go way up. If you or your brother don't think you can pull that off, go full retail or consider buying a pre-built computer where Windows costs a tiny fraction of retail.
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January 3, 2010 5:17:19 AM

mrsmithers said:
Thanks Daggs. I wouldn't mind an i5; it's just that they are 200 and the motherboard I think is more expensive, too. If anything I would prefer to go lower in price if possible. Also, do you think the psu I picked will be ok if I get a new GPU down the road. I also am considering building a pc for myself after this one. Should I get the full retail version of Windows 7? I read here that with the OEM version you can only use with one PC. Is that right?

thought I don't use windows, I'd recommend a full retail for the license reasons.
an antec psu is always a wise decision.
if price has the most weight, then my best recommendation is to go X3 720 or the X955.
if you are a bit of a gambler when you can get a X3 720 or a X2 550 and try to unlock the disabled cores, you might end up with a fully functional quad at the price of X3 or even X2. but you will need to verify that the mb can do it and again it is a gamble.
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January 6, 2010 9:57:05 PM

Well, I don't really feel like trying to unlock that fourth core, so I think I would rather have the 955. Are there any good companies that build gaming pcs? I 've heard of IBUYPOWER. I was going to build it myself to save money and still probably will, but adding the retail version of windows bumps up the price somewhat.
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January 6, 2010 10:17:18 PM

mrsmithers said:
Well, I don't really feel like trying to unlock that fourth core, so I think I would rather have the 955. Are there any good companies that build gaming pcs? I 've heard of IBUYPOWER. I was going to build it myself to save money and still probably will, but adding the retail version of windows bumps up the price somewhat.


THe OEM version that you listed is fine - THe OEM version just means that it is designed to be sold with a new system that is being built and not just sold on its own in a retail store the licensing will be fine (I've reused my OEM version of VISTA on 3 system upgrades and have had no problem reactivating the license on the subsequent installs using the online activation process each time so do not let that worry you !
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January 6, 2010 10:55:48 PM

Take JDFan's information with a grain of salt. My OEM copy was deactivated when I transfered my license -- I had to call India and have a nice chat.

You wont be able to buy a pre-built gaming computer for less than what you can do yourself unless you get a pre-built with inferior parts.

$56 Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
$99 AMD Athlon II X4 620 Propus 2.6GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Processor - Retail
$80 [after rebate] OCZ OCZ3P1333LV4GK 4GB PC3-10666 (DDR3-1333) Dual Channel Memory Retail (zipzoomfly)
$103 MSI 785GM-E65 AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
$30 COOLER MASTER Elite 460 RS-460-PSAR-J3 460W ATX12V V2.31 Power Supply - Retail
$145 gpu - 5770
$65 case
$110 Win7 - retail
$27 burner
$2 SATA cable
$717 Total
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January 6, 2010 11:02:45 PM

Caviar blue is a "cool & quiet" data drive, not a performance drive like you want for a boot disk. Get a Samsung F3 500GB or Seagate 7200.12 500GB (both $55) which are fast, new single 500GB platter drives.

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January 7, 2010 12:20:48 AM

> Caviar blue is a "cool & quiet" data drive

Exactly what I was going for.
Thanks for noticing.
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January 13, 2010 2:55:26 AM

I think I am almost ready to buy this thing. Here is my build .

AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6819103674

Antec Two Hundred Black ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6811129070

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6822152181

GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813128392

POWERCOLOR AX5770 512MD5-H Radeon HD 5770 512MB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 CrossFireX Support Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec NEO ECO 520C 520W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6817371030

A-DATA Gaming Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333G (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model AX3U1333GB2G8-AG - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6832116754

LG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 22X DVD-R 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SUPER TALENT INTAIN1MCR All-in-one Card Reader - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


What do you guys think? After reading the most recent best graphics card for the money article, I am considering whether I even need a 5770. Perhaps I can go with a 4850 or similar as I am using a 1680x1050 monitor. Also is the RAM ok and will it be compatible with the MB?
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January 13, 2010 3:05:02 AM

Consider this:
CPU/Mainboard - $270.98 - $10 MIR = 260.98:
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor Model HDZ955FBGMBOX - Retail
ASUS M4A79XTD EVO AM3 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail

PSU/Case Combo - $149.97 - $50 MIR = $99.97:
OCZ StealthXStream OCZ700SXS 700W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

RAM - $109.99 - $20 MIR:
OCZ Platinum 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model OCZ3P1333LV4GK - Retail

Heatsink+Fan - $29.99:
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-G1 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" Long ... - Retail

Drive - $54.99:
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

DVD Burner - $25.99
SAMSUNG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner Black IDE Model SH-S222A - OEM


Total Cost: $641.91 + $17 Shipping - $80 MIR = $578.91 (plus tax)

Does not include a GPU or Windows. The DVD in this build also burns CDs. This RAM is CAS7. The MoBo is Crossfire (8x/8x or 16x single) and this build contains a 750W powersupply if you want to do it later.

I believe the $80MIR is still available for all the above components. Also, the tax bumps it up to around $630 after MIR . $780 if you do include GPU. It is over your budget if you have to buy Win7 at full price. However you could drop the aftermarket cooler and put that towards your OS.

Just some ideas.

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January 13, 2010 3:18:51 AM

My 9800 GTX+ (approx 4850 speed) will play modern MMOs at high settings at 1680x1050, my 5770 will nearly max them at ultra high. Only you can decide if the extra money is worth the settings change.
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January 16, 2010 1:13:42 AM

I think I am pretty set on the case, MB, CPU (maybe a x3720 or x2 even) and GPU. I see that Gigabyte has a RAM compatibility chart on their website. However, I can't seem to find any that match on newegg. Also, is 520 watts enough if I decide to upgrade the GPU down the road (maybe three years)?
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January 18, 2010 5:59:43 PM

520W will run a 5870, which is around twice as fast as a 5770. We dont know what nvidias next generation graphics cards will require yet.
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February 4, 2010 1:11:44 AM

Sorry haven't posted in awhile. I am stuck in regards to what RAM to get. The motherboard voltage is 1.5v. The compatibility chart from gigabyte does not reference many easy to find sticks. Help! I don't know what voltage or what RAM will work. I want to have a really stable PC.
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February 4, 2010 7:35:41 PM

Dont worry much about the compatibility chart. Its going to be a limited selection of older RAM they tested the motherboard with. Just get 1.65V or lower (1.5 or lower preferable) DDR3-1333 or DDR3-1600 RAM (CAS 7 or 8 preferable to CAS9).
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February 16, 2010 4:23:20 PM

Thank you. Here is what I will probably buy; just waiting for the spinpoint to come back in stock.

Antec Two Hundred Black ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W Continuous Power ATX12V Ver.2.2 / EPS12V version 2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC "compatible with Core i7/Core i5" Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Kingston 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model KVR1066D3K2/4GR - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

XFX HD-577A-ZNFC Radeon HD 5770 (Juniper XT) 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

LG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 22X DVD-R 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SUPER TALENT INTAIN1MCR All-in-one Card Reader - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I contacted Antec and they recommended I go for the above PSU. They also suggested the EarthWatts 750 or the True Power New 650/750. Also, is there any difference on newegg's site between the two X4 955BE processors they sell. One is 159.99 and the other is 165.99.
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February 16, 2010 4:34:38 PM

Look at the wattage on the two x4s. One is a newer model that uses less power, but may have bios issues with older motherboards. Check the motherboard compatibility list.

Earthwatts 650 will be plenty for a 5770 and overclocking. Really it should handle two 5770s and overclocking.
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February 16, 2010 5:27:13 PM

I don't see the wattage difference, I must be missing it? I am assuming the one for 165.99 is the older version.
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February 16, 2010 6:18:32 PM

The $165.99 is older, but they are both the newer 125W version of the 955 (older one was 140W). The model number is only one letter off so it may just be different packaging.
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February 17, 2010 2:39:12 AM

Well, my brother just told me not to get him this right now as he doesn't really have any games he wants to play at this time. So I might just build this for myself! Since it will be for me, I am willing to take a little more risks. Can you recommend an inexpensive CPU cooler as I think I would like to try overclocking this chip a little? Or would the stock cooler be sufficient?
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February 17, 2010 4:05:00 PM

I would consider the Coolermaster Hyper 212 plus ($30) or the Xigmatek Balder, Dark Knight, S1283 Rifle cooler.
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!