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Gaming (1000$), i5-750, HD4890, MSI P55-GD65

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January 4, 2010 4:21:06 PM

Building a new gaming rig, will be bought very soon, Ive done my research and is now looking for some last minute advise and for any mistakes to be pointed out.

Motherboard: MSI P55-GD65
I was initially opting for the CD53 model, but the CD65 has a second x16 pci-e slot for putting in a graphic card later. But this brings the bandwidth down to 8x/8x as Ive understood it. I made another thread about using SLI/Crossfire as an upgrade path, so thats the reason for the more expensive model.

GPU: XFX Radeon HD 4890 1GB GDDR5
I planned to use the Nvidia GeForce GTX 260 but it was sold out at the store I planned to buy this from. So I started to look into the HD 4890, read some reviews on the site and it seems marginally better across the board, but also marginally more expensive. Good enough trade for me.

So the idea is that when there are some games out that the rig struggles to handle, I put in a second unit of this GPU.

CPU: Intel Core i5-750
The Core2Duo aged extremely well and I expect the i5 series to do the same. I looked into the i7-860 but the only difference (other than the raw clock speed) is that i7 has the HyperThreading technology which, according to my research, doesnt do much difference when it comes to games.

The obvious upgrade here would be the i7-950, but that would mean a more pricey motherboard as well. All in all, it seemed to give a to small boost considering the cost.

For a while I considered the AMD Phenom II 945 AM3. Its cheaper but i5 seems to give more bang for the buck. Also, I havent been able to decide on a decent motherboard for this approach.

Memory: 2x Kingston DDR3 HyperX 1333MHz 2GB
You cant game with less than 4GB these days. I have good experiences with the Kingston brand but I usually go with the cheaper "Value" models. The DDR3 and 1333MHz specs are the maximum that the motherboard supports, assuming Ive got the numbers right.

Below are components that I think are irrelevant, that is unable to get "wrong", but I type them out anyway.

Case: Antec P193
Have used Antec in all my latest build, their casings are great. And this seems robust and quiet, just what Im looking for.

PSU: Corsair VX 550W ATX
Nothing to say here really. Will probably have to replace it down the road with something with more power assuming I go with the Crossfire upgrade route. It also allows me to check if I should pay extra for a more silent model, I dont know how much difference the Antec case will do on a loud PSU.

HDD: Western Digital Caviar GreenPower 1TB, Sata 3 Gb/s, 32MB Cache
Ive heard its silent, fast and cheap. So whats not to like? Although that word "green" scares me. I believe its just marketing stuff and if they would truly try, it would just hurt performance. Any objections here?




Conclusion:

Im a hardware enthusiast, but far from hardcore. I like to learn about the hardware and assemble it, but in the end its the gaming experience that matters. Here, Im looking for bottlenecks, "bang for the buck" is my mantra. Ive tried to carefully tune the components to be as close together as possible in regards to performance.

All opinions and suggestions are welcome. Thanks for giving me some of your time. :) 
January 4, 2010 4:32:57 PM

If you're interested in bang-for-buck, the Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB drive is a much better choice for a hard drive. It uses 500 GB platters and will be much faster than that WD Green you've selected. It's also $85, so no price increase.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
a b 4 Gaming
January 4, 2010 4:36:01 PM

It'd help if we had a budget Didn't see the thread title. Refer to the thread in my signature for all the info we'd like to have...

Decent build, but you're absolutely wrong about the irrelevant parts not mattering.

The PSU is extremely important. If you're planning on Crossfiring, you got a unit that's too small. Get at least 650W, 700W to be sure. OCZ's StealthXStream 700W is only $55 (after rebate) and is very good.

That HDD is slow, slow, slow. Not to mention expensive. Go with a Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB for $85. It's the best one available, and is only out classed by SSDs.

For the case, you made a decent choice, but I always like to recommend the HAF 922 or 932. Both are huge, cool, and cheaper than the P193.

On to the other stuff.

GPU: I highly recommend getting an HD 5850. The newer 5xxx series have DirectX 11 support, run cooler, quieter and Crossfire extremely well. This series is totally destroying nVidia's offerings, and will continue to do so until March at the earliest (that's when the new nVidia cards are due out). It will only cost you $100 more, and it will be one of the best cards available.

Mobo: Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD4P for $25 more. This board has USB 3.0 and SATA 6 GBps ports, so it's very future proof. It's also reasonably priced. As far as the 16x/16x vs. 8x/8x goes, it doesn't make much of a difference. Besides, you must have a LGA1366 build to get 16x/16x, which would be close to $200 more than an i5 build.

RAM: What's the CAS Latency on those sticks? You should get ones with CL 7 at the most. Usually, they aren't much more expensive (around $5). G.Skill makes several excellent sets that fit this. You'll probably also save some money buying a dual channel kit over the two sticks separately.
Related resources
January 4, 2010 5:32:40 PM

PSU: Yes, I assumed that unit was to small if I went with Crossfire down the read, but Im not sure that I will. I also want to investigate if I want to spend some extra cash to get a PSU built for silence. That decision currently depends mostly on my Crossfire thoughts and how well the case covers the noise.

HDD: Two independent suggestions for the same replacement drive? Thats a given decision. Good arguments to.

Checking my store it has two models:
Samsung SpinPoint F3 500GB 16MB Sata 3.0 Gbps 50$
Samsung SpinPoint F3 1TB 32MB SATA2 80$

I assume its the former I want, for the extra sata speed. Is the lower cache a problem? Its also cheaper (but do note that I do the currency conversion quite freely here).

Case: Nice, I was hoping to be challenged on the case! Ill try to look up some reviews on it, you dont happen to know any good? Preferably one that compares it to P193.

RAM: Using the product serial number at the store I found the manufacturers entry for it: http://www.ec.kingston.com/ecom/configurator_new/PartsInfo.asp?ktcpartno=KHX1333C7D3K2/4G
Its CL7 indeed, (7-7-7-20). Is an upgrade in order? The DDR3 1333MHz seemed to fit quite well with the mobo.

GPU and Mobo: Hmm. The HD5850 is better indeed, but also more expensive. And using that card, having the LGA1366 chipset feels mandatory. Since if I do put in a second card later in Crossfire mode the x8/x8 on LGA1156 will be a bottleneck (I assume?). These two choices alone are very pricey, you still think its worth it?

And when I got the LGA1366 there is no reason to stick with the i5-750, the i7-950 is the obvious replacement. But that to is very costly. No thoughts on the Phenom II 945? Intel is the way to go here?

a b 4 Gaming
January 4, 2010 5:45:42 PM

HDD: They're the drives we're talking about. Over here, the 500 GB is $55, the 1 TB $85. The main thing is the 500 GB platters, not the cache.

RAM: The 1333 mhz CL 7 sticks are good. There's just some that appear to be the same, but are CL 8 or 9, which isn't as good.

GPU: Actually, the 1156 chipset is better for gaming. The card doesn't dictate which you have to use. The 8x/8x actually doesn't have a noticeable effect on Crossfiring. The actual 1366 replacement is the i7-920.

For your budget, an i5 is the way to go. AMD is the way to go for an under $800 gaming build. i7 is the correct choice for build above $1200.
January 4, 2010 6:14:27 PM

Okay. So the HDD is switched to a Samsung SpinPoint F3 500GB 16MB Sata 3.0 Gbps.

The Mobo is switched to a Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD4P.

The costs are down a bit, so my margin to the budget is greater (this might actually be the first build that doesnt exceed my initial budget :sarcastic:  ). This leaves me with the two following main concerns:

Im still not convinced a GPU upgrade is in order, from looking at the reviews it seems like im drawn more to games that are CPU bottlenecked before GPU bottlenecked, like Left 4 Dead (was quoted on a review here to be a frequent CPU bottleneck, couldnt imagine it myself though).

And the case. Didnt really like the looks of the Cooler Master cases (light and other fancy stuff are generally a no-no). But if I would drop to the HAF 922, the drop in price lets me upgrade the GPU to a HD 5850 and still remain under the budget. Which is neat.

Ill shop around for other cases (the reviews here seems a bit lacking on the case side), hoping to find one that lets me afford the GPU upgrade. But a single component taking a quarter of the budget? Well... after all, it is a gaming build.
a b 4 Gaming
January 4, 2010 6:21:40 PM

Another option on the case is the Antec 900. It's the same price as the HAF 922. It's probably the second most recommended case because it's a little smaller.

And I wouldn't worry about the GPU taking a 1/4 of the budget. I find that typically the CPU, mobo and GPU for gaming builds end up being about 1/2 of the budget. They are the most important part. As the budget increases, this percentage does as well because you can only spend so much on the HDD, RAM, case, PSU and optical...
a b 4 Gaming
January 4, 2010 6:35:03 PM

mizipzor said:
Okay. So the HDD is switched to a Samsung SpinPoint F3 500GB 16MB Sata 3.0 Gbps.

The Mobo is switched to a Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD4P.

The costs are down a bit, so my margin to the budget is greater (this might actually be the first build that doesnt exceed my initial budget :sarcastic:  ). This leaves me with the two following main concerns:

Im still not convinced a GPU upgrade is in order, from looking at the reviews it seems like im drawn more to games that are CPU bottlenecked before GPU bottlenecked, like Left 4 Dead (was quoted on a review here to be a frequent CPU bottleneck, couldnt imagine it myself though).

And the case. Didnt really like the looks of the Cooler Master cases (light and other fancy stuff are generally a no-no). But if I would drop to the HAF 922, the drop in price lets me upgrade the GPU to a HD 5850 and still remain under the budget. Which is neat.

Ill shop around for other cases (the reviews here seems a bit lacking on the case side), hoping to find one that lets me afford the GPU upgrade. But a single component taking a quarter of the budget? Well... after all, it is a gaming build.



No point getting a 4890, not when it lacks DX 11 support, runs hotter, and uses more power.

Gaming these days is very much GPU limited not, CPU.
See http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-5770,2446...

Anytime you see a game being CPU bound it's either:
1. At 100+ FPS
2. At low resolution and medium or low setting w/o AA or AF. This is done to artificially create a CPU bottleneck for comparison purposes.

Left 4 dead suffers form both. In the article I linked you'll see that its CPU limited at ~120 FPS. However, once you enable AA or AF, it becomes GPU limited again (it's silly to buy a good video card and NOT use AA/AF).

The lower number of PCIE lanes in P55 platform is not an issue. The only time you see a difference is when you're gaming at 2560 x 1600 resolution.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i5-lynnfield,2...
a b 4 Gaming
January 4, 2010 6:52:59 PM

Here's a sub $1,000 i5 build w/ a 5850.

Case- Antec 300 $59.95
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HD Spinpoint F3 $54.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU- 5850 $309.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU- Corsair 650TX $99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM- G Skill Ripjaw $99 DDR 1333 7-7-7-21
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

lots of other options for about the same price, including the newer eco series, which runs at a lower voltage, thought I dunno if it OC's as well as the Ripjaws.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mobo- Gigabyte UD4 $139.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The UD4P is better, but won't fit in the budget. Also, if you DO xfire in the future, then you must disable USB 3.0 and SATA 6.0 on the UD4P. Basically it USB 3 SATA 6 and 1 x8 PCIE slot, or 2 x8 PCIE slots. UD4 and old UD4P had 1 x16 slot or 2 x8 PCIE slots.


CPU/HSF i5 and CM Hyper 212 Plus combo $215.82
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Basically getting a Hyper 212 plus for $16. Can't get a better deal than that considering it's the best performing i5 HSF out there (beats all those overpirced $70 HSF's cough V8 cough).

http://www.frostytech.com/articleview.cfm?articleid=241...


Total $980.72 w/o shipping and not including a $10 MIR

$998.19 w/ shipping to NYC not including a $10 MIR
January 4, 2010 7:47:47 PM

When putting together a new list I noticed that there was no hit on "ga-p55a-ud4p", so I went with the one called Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD4 as suggested by banthracis.

I also went with the PSU he suggested, a Corsair TX 650W PSU. Its weak, I know, the plan is to upgrade it if/when I start running cards in Crossfire mode. It replaces the weaker 550W model of the same brand. The reason, at least according to what Ive read, is that since the card is built for silence, it fan isnt pushed as hard making the PSU hot. Effectively trading noise for heat. I hope that an underutilized, but stronger, card will not generate as much heat.

After some more reading I finally decided on the Cooler Master HAF 922 for the case. Mainly for its cooling capabilities and the price. I just hope its not to noisy, and I need to fix the dust filters for the fans myself.

The build has changed quite a lot during the course of the thread so youll find the updated list below. Is there still room for improvement?

Cooler Master HAF 922 Midi Tower Black
Corsair TX 650W PSU ATX 12V V2.2, 80 Plus, Standard. 2x 6+2-pin PCIe, 8x SATA, 120mm Fan
Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD4, P55, Socket-1156 SLI&CrossFireX, DDR3, ATX, GbLAN, USB3.0, SATA 6Gb/s, Firewire, 2xPCI-Ex(2.0)x16
Intel Core i5 Quad Processor i5-750 2,66GHz, Socket LGA1156, 8MB,
Kingston DDR3 HyperX 1333MHz 4GB Kit w/2X HyperX 2GB DDR3, CL7-7-7-20, 240pin
PowerColor Radeon HD 5850 1GB GDDR5 PCI-Express 2.0, 2xDVI-I, HDMI, DisplayPort
Samsung SpinPoint F3 500GB 7200RPM, SATA 3.0 Gbps, 3,5", 16MB
a b 4 Gaming
January 4, 2010 9:57:27 PM

Looks good.

I assume the Kingston hyperX ram you mentioned is this $116.99 kit

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It's fine but the Ripjaws are the same performance for a bit cheaper. Not a huge deal though.

The 650 TX is actually fine for Xfire 5850's.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-5850,2433...

they draw only 469 watts total system power at load when combined with an OC i7. Assuming 90% efficiency of the PSU, actual power use is 422.1 watts.

The i5 you're using uses quite a bit less power than that OC i7 would so your actual power use at load would be even less. Those numbers are also artificially created using software to max GPU + CPU load. If you take power draw while gaming at World of warcraft for example, it's only 372 watts.

http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3650&p=13


The new tech this year in the 30 nm range uses a ton less power than last generations parts.

Just bear in mind that if you do get the 650TX and xfire a second 5850, you'll need to pick up a molex to 6 pin converter cable as the 650TX does not have enough 6 pin cables.

Love how they claim a PSU is SLI/Xfire ready and yet not have enough 6pin cables for 2 gpu's...

Edit: Link to converter cables $2.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
January 5, 2010 3:24:29 AM

ripjaws is great, even beats dominator at ocing(on some website review, i was going to buy it but opt for trident instead). lots of headroom for oc, yet mantain lower price.

as for the hdd, wd caviar black is great(better than samsung, 5 years warranty)but costs more so stick with samsung.http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/2tb-hdd-7200,2430-1...

tx650 is good too, its known to be able to draw 900w at 40C. but personally for me, id get higher wattage psu cos it 5850 were talking about here. i believe $150 is cheap if i buy $290 gpu.

for the case, cm storm scout is cheaper than haf 922 and performs better.

(sorry, i cant provide links for each of my opinion. dont have much time, but you should be able to find it googling)
January 5, 2010 10:50:21 AM

RAM: Looks like Ripjaw could have been quite a sweet deal. But since my store doesnt have them (just checked) and Kingston are, in my eyes, "tried and true" I think Ill stick to them, since Ripjaws advantage isnt mindblowing.

Case: The Cooler Master Storm Scout goes for around the same price (give or take a few bucks) as the HAF 922 at my store. But from the screenshots it looks awfully small (depth-wise), are you sure a 5850 will even fit in there? Those cards are quite long as far as I know.

PSU: I cant afford it right now but I would have liked a modular and fancy PSU that could power my gaming rig for a while. I will buy one in one or two months. Until then, just as long as it works Im happy. From the numbers banthracis posted, it seems that the 550W equivalent could do just fine until I can afford a more decent unit. Im not sure though, so if someone can confirm this, Ill stick to the 650W one.

HDD: I still have a margin on my budget so I can afford upgrading to the WD Black Caviar drive. And according to this review (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/2tb-hdd-7200,2430-12.html) posted by aux, the Samsung Spinpoint is cooler and more power efficient while the Black Caviar is faster. Since Im all about the speed, Ill switch to that one.
a b 4 Gaming
January 5, 2010 11:14:52 AM

The Caviar Black is not an upgrade. The Spinpoint is both faster AND cooler. That reviews was between the F3 500 GB and the 2 TB WD. The article compared a $200 HDD to a $55 one.

Here's a chart that shows a much more fair comparision. Unfortunately, the data isn't out there for the 1 TB F3 or Caviar Black 500 GB yet, so for comparision, I included the Seagate 7200.12 500 GB and 1 TB. Notice the F3 is winning against the WD in just about every category.

I agree with the 550W being good enough for 1 5850 in a build. While 650W should be enough for Crossfired 5850s, I would want at least 700-750W to ensure you have enough head room for overclocking and adding other components.
January 5, 2010 11:27:00 AM

Regarding the HDD, thank you for pointing that out. I thought that the Caviar Black would be essentially the same in the 500 GB model. Clearly, I was wrong, back to Spinpoint in this build.

Regarding the PSU, would 550W - assuming only a single 5850 - be good? To be clear, I will be doing no overclocking nor adding a second GPU for crossfire before Ive taken the time to judge how the system performs and what I need (and then, eventually, buy a new PSU).
a b 4 Gaming
January 5, 2010 12:05:57 PM

Yes, the 550W will be enough.
a b 4 Gaming
January 5, 2010 1:32:39 PM

mizipzor said:
Regarding the HDD, thank you for pointing that out. I thought that the Caviar Black would be essentially the same in the 500 GB model. Clearly, I was wrong, back to Spinpoint in this build.

Regarding the PSU, would 550W - assuming only a single 5850 - be good? To be clear, I will be doing no overclocking nor adding a second GPU for crossfire before Ive taken the time to judge how the system performs and what I need (and then, eventually, buy a new PSU).



550 can easily run 1 5850 even with tons of overclocking.

The storm scout will fit a 5850, you can actually squeeze in the 5870 there, but you're at paint scratching levels =D

The 5870 doesn't actually take up much more length than the 5850 because the power plugs are on top adding to height, while on the 5850 there at the end adding to length. The issue funny enough is that the tiny cosmetic indentation at the end of the vents in a 5870 puts it slightly (1-2 millimeter) longer than spec for most cases and puts it from just fits to paint scratching fits levels.


Case picking is really hard because so much depends on personal preference. The scout has a couple more feature, handle bars, filters, etc, but has smaller fans and therefor less airflow.

Choice comes down to personal preference.
January 5, 2010 6:04:45 PM

my bad, thehe...
youre right the f3 is faster
January 15, 2010 9:28:54 AM

Just wanted to return and tell that the components have arrived and was assembled during the week. The new rig is running like a dream! I want to thank everyone involved for the feedback. :) 

The end config is the same as the one I last posted (http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/277716-13-gaming-10...) except for the PSU which is the same brand/model but with 550W.
!