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Gaming computer help, open specs, ~$800 budget

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January 4, 2010 10:39:31 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: anytime between now and 3/3/10

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: gaming first and foremost.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, wireless cards

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: ibuypower.com or cyberpowerpc.com

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: completely open, i am partial to AMD and NVIDIA but am not loyal

OVERCLOCKING: i have not overclocked in the past but would not be opposed to it.

SLI/CROSSFIRE: definitely want the option for the future if the budget only calls for 1 card.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: this system is specifically being built for the release of Battlefield:Bad Company 2 in March. my current computer barely runs Battlefield 2 on min specs so it's time to step-up. i am looking to build something that will run BFBC2 and maybe Modern Warefare 2 well and leave some room for future game support (Battlefield 3 whenever that comes out...if). here are the specs for BFBC2:

Recommended Frostbite PC Specifications for BFBC2 & BF1943
Processor: Quadcore
Main memory: 2GB
Graphics card: GeForce GTX 260/ ATI Radeon 4870
Graphics memory: 512MB
OS: Windows Vista or Windows 7
Free HDD space: 15GB for Digital Version, 10GB for Disc Version (BFBC2)


The comp doesn't have to scream (ie. no i7 or 965 per se) but just needs to be a decent rig for gaming in the future. I don't need a ton of hardrive space but probably looking at RAID 0 so it will load the games faster. I used to have a Raptor drive and was not impressed vs. 2 standard drives in RAID. i'm open to suggestions though.

as for the ibuyerpower and cyberpowerpc, i know they get flamed a lot but i have yet to find a site that can put together a system for cheaper than them. i don't have the know-how nor want to build my own and i also don't want to owe my friends any favors hence i'm looking for a pre-built system. i am open to suggestions in this area as far as any other reptuable places to get the comp pre-built w/ OS (Windows 7).

in any case, i appreciate any help/advice anyone can give. i have the money, just don't know how to pull the trigger...

THANKS!
xhellionx
January 5, 2010 12:05:10 AM

P.S.
my other thought is about the future of pc components. What does the next 2 months look like? ie. is there any new parts coming out soon that will drive down the costs if i wait? is there a good place to check for this? just curious, i don't HAVE to buy right now, i have until March...
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January 5, 2010 5:26:51 AM

everybody wants to help the 13yr old but no one wants to help the iraq vet... :p 

i kid i kid...but seriously...little help here? love you all. :) 
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January 5, 2010 3:34:44 PM

yeah theres new stuff on the horizon. new processors from intel and new graphics cards from nvidia. usually when new stuff comes out it ends up lower the prices of the products below so definitely worth a wait.

if you were going to buy now tho, the best thing i could find prebuilt including windows for under 800 was this for $689:
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

4gb ddr2
* 500GB SATA Hard Drive
* AMD Athlon II X2 250 3.0GHz processor and 4GB of DDR2 Memory
* ATI Radeon HD 4850 with 512MB of memory and VGA, DVI, and HDMI Ports
* The CyberpowerPC GU7265 Desktop PC is an HD-capable desktop PC powered by Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit operating system.



its a touch below specs but should play those games at high settings just fine. closest i could find within your budget. configuring the same system on their website is around $100 more, and configuring something that beats the posted specs and that comes with windows was almost 900
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January 5, 2010 3:47:50 PM

i appreciate the response and will look into those options. HOWEVER, i did some thinking and i am willing to put together a system myself. i'm pretty savvy so i'm sure i can figure it out (especially with the tutorials on this site) and i do have some experience tinkering with computer components and troubleshooting, etc. with this being said, i'm open to suggestions of parts off of newegg or tigerdirect as well please rather than a pre-built system.

THANKS AGAIN!!!
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January 5, 2010 4:03:30 PM

A lot can happen in two months. NVidia's Fermi may be coming out this quarter; you may not want it, but its mere presence will affect prices. Intel has just released their Clarkdale CPUs; they aren't on Newegg, but will also likely affect prices.
The problem with the ibuypower and cyberpower prebuilt PCs that I've seen is they've used some really substandard parts, in particular crappy PSUs.
I just went out to ibuypower and spec'ed a machine. To get decent parts, the price went up to just over $1K. I also added Windows 7, since your OP didn't say you had the OS already. If you have the OS, your price would be down to $900.
A similar system from CyberpowerPC is a little less; $952 including OS.
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January 5, 2010 4:17:48 PM

Was posting at the same time as glaex...at work though, so my response is intermittent, and no time right now to do a parts list. The Tigerdirect machine has a weak CPU for gaming, last generation mobo (not using DDR3) and also an unspecified PSU, which means it is probably their house brand (Ultra), whose reputation is crappy for their cheap stuff.
Glad to see you decided to build your own. You'll do much better for the money.
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January 5, 2010 4:19:36 PM

great info again! thanks! i definitely think ibuypower and cyberpower are a no-go...i'm confident i can build it myself. if i were to buy right now, is there anyone that can give me a good bill-of-materials for a gaming rig on newegg, etc? that would be most helpful.

again, i really appreciate the help i'm getting here. i'd ask one of my army buddies but a lot of them are still overseas. :( 

THANKS!
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January 5, 2010 4:22:27 PM

^agree 100%. you money will go a lot further and you will get higher quality parts to boot. and in two months it will probably stretch even further than it does today
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Best solution

January 5, 2010 5:16:02 PM

Ok, I'm on my lunch break, so here's a build. It goes slightly over your $800 budget, but this is for two reasons. First, I included the OS since you did not mention already having it. Second, I selected parts that are Crossfire-ready as they are; no additional upgrades other than the second video card would be needed. Here it is:

Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
Model #:Three Hundred Illusi
Item #:N82E16811129066
$69.95 $69.95
At the low-end, I usually choose Rosewill cases, and that would save as much as $30 here, but I wanted the fans and airflow needed for Crossfire.

Antec TruePower New TP-750 Blue 750W Continuous Power ATX12V V2.3 / EPS12V V2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE ... - Retail
Model #:TP-750 Blue
Item #:N82E16817371022
$169.95 -$50.00 Instant $119.95
Crossfire ready. Corsair is another good brand, but is only 80+ (this one's bronze) and not modular, which you will appreciate particularly before you run Crossfire.

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Model #:HD502HJ
Item #:N82E16822152181
$54.99 $54.99
Currently the best bang/buck drive. Supposed to be faster than WD Black.

SAMSUNG DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223L LightScribe Support - OEM
Model #:SH-S223L
Item #:N82E16827151188
$31.99 $31.99
Omitting Lightscribe will save maybe $2 now. Windows 7 can play movies, so you don't need the software that comes with Retail versions any more.

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
Model #:GFC-00599
Item #:N82E16832116754
$104.99 $104.99
Here's a nice chunk of change you can save if you already have your OS.

HIS H577FM1GD Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - Retail
Model #:H577FM1GD
Item #:N82E16814161317
$162.99 $162.99
Not the cheapest one, but has a better rep than Powercolor; worth the $5 or so difference. I've had good results from HIS myself.

AMD Athlon II X3 435 Rana 2.9GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Processor Model ADX435WFGIBOX - Retail
Model #:ADX435WFGIBOX
Item #:N82E16819103724
$87.00 $87.00
I'd really like to put a Phenom II X4 here, but the budget just won't allow it. The 720BE would be nice too, but the price has been steadily climbing over the last week or so, now up to $140.

ASRock M3A785GXH/128M AM3 AMD 785G HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
Model #:M3A785GXH/128M
Item #:N82E16813157167
$99.99 $99.99
This board has three PCIEX slots. In Crossfire, two of them will run x8,x8; many competing boards offer x16,x4, which is not as good. If you need it, you can use the third (x4) slot for PhysX once nVidia wises up and lets their current drivers work if there's an ATi card in the system.

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBRM - Retail
Model #:F3-10666CL8D-4GBRM
Item #:N82E16820231275
$94.99 $94.99
Not much to say here; popular choice. You might be able to shave a few $$ off here though.

Subtotal: $826.84
There you have it. If your $800 budget is inflexible, you might reconsider Crossfire, which would let you drop quite a few things down a notch.
This was a hasty first take, during my lunch break. Back to work for me; I'm sure others can help you find some good deals on these or similar parts.
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January 5, 2010 5:36:10 PM

these are awesome suggestions jtt283! i really like it. the $800 budget is definitely flexible. in fact, i may throw an extra HDD in there so I can run RAID0 and also may upgrade the processor to 4X Core. Good hustle though! :) 

Any other suggestions?
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January 5, 2010 5:56:53 PM

I'd rethink the Crossfire. A single HD5850 would be cheaper than two HD5770s, and at your stated resolution, would do very nicely. This would allow you to drop the PSU down to a Truepower 550W, which is $99, and possibly get a cheaper case as well. Thing is, this is the card whose price is likely to be affected by Fermi. If you're inclined to wait, the gamble may pay off. DDR3 RAM prices may also come down a little more, and with the release of the new Clarkdale CPUs, even the Phenom II price may be affected. I think it's worth waiting another couple of weeks to a month.
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January 5, 2010 6:37:06 PM

I made a few tweeks and am over-budget but doable:

Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
Model #:Three Hundred Illusi
Item #:N82E16811129066
$69.95 $69.95

Antec TruePower New TP-750 Blue 750W Continuous Power ATX12V V2.3 / EPS12V V2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE ... - Retail
Model #:TP-750 Blue
Item #:N82E16817371022
$169.95 -$50.00 Instant $119.95

2 x SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Model #:HD502HJ
Item #:N82E16822152181
$54.99 $109.98

SAMSUNG DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223L LightScribe Support - OEM
Model #:SH-S223L
Item #:N82E16827151188
$31.99 $31.99

HIS H577FM1GD Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video
Model #:H577FM1GD
Item #:N82E16814161317
$162.99 $162.99

ASRock M3A785GXH/128M AM3 AMD 785G HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
Model #:M3A785GXH/128M
Item #:N82E16813157167
$99.99 $99.99

1 G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBRM - Retail
Model #:F3-10666CL8D-4GBRM
Item #:N82E16820231275
$94.99 $94.99

AMD Athlon II X4 630 Propus 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Processor Model ADX630WFGIBOX - Retail
Model #:ADX630WFGIBOX
Item #:N82E16819103704
$112.99 $112.99

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
Model #:GFC-00599
Item #:N82E16832116754
$104.99 $104.99

Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM
Model #:AS5-3.5G
Item #:N82E16835100007
$6.99 $6.99

Subtotal: $914.81

What are your thoughts on the CPU upgrade? Good choice or is there a better one out there? Also, am I missing anything else I will need? I have a current XP OS that I can use and save the $105 on the Windows 7. Thoughts? Suggestions? Again, help and guidance is much appreciated!

THANKS!
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January 5, 2010 9:43:13 PM

The Chokemax PSU that comes with the case is not fit to power a high tech device that needs clean, stable, reliable power. Add a PSU to that build, and it is very similar.
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January 5, 2010 11:12:08 PM

If you're near a Fry's, you may want to consider this Phenom II X4 they have bundled with a motherboard for $160... I'm looking at it right now for a build myself (for my parents). (NOTE: the links are to Newegg if you wanna check out the specs, but the deal is at Frys). This MoBo supports SLI though... Just something to consider & will drop your price about $50 from your last proposed build with the Athlon II X4 630.

AMD Phenom II X4 925 Deneb 2.8GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Processor

MSI NF750-G55 AM3 NVIDIA nForce 750a SLI HDMI ATX AMD

Steve
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January 5, 2010 11:22:55 PM

The SLI chipsets do not have the same reputation for stability and overclocking that their Crossfire brethren enjoy.
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January 6, 2010 4:53:30 AM

here's what my final list consists of:

1 SAMSUNG DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223L LightScribe Support - OEM
Item #: N82E16827151188
$31.99
**************************************************************************************************************************************
1 Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
Item #: N82E16811129066
$69.95
**************************************************************************************************************************************
2 SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Item #: N82E16822152181
$109.98
($54.99 each)
**************************************************************************************************************************************
1 Antec TruePower New TP-750 Blue 750W Continuous Power ATX12V V2.3 / EPS12V V2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE ... - Retail
Item #: N82E16817371022
-$50.00 Instant
$169.95
$119.95

**************************************************************************************************************************************
1 Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM
Item #: N82E16835100007
$6.99
**************************************************************************************************************************************
1 G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBRM - Retail
Item #: N82E16820231275
$96.99
**************************************************************************************************************************************
1 AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor Model HDZ955FBGIBOX - Retail
Item #: N82E16819103674
1 ASUS M4A79XTD EVO AM3 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
Item #: N82E16813131402
-$20.00 Combo
$285.98
$265.98
**************************************************************************************************************************************
1 SAPPHIRE 100283L Radeon HD 5770 (Juniper XT) 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - Retail
Item #: N82E16814102858
1 Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
Item #: N82E16832116754
-$15.00 Combo
$284.98
$269.98
**************************************************************************************************************************************
Subtotal: $971.81

No tax because I'm in Nevada so $994.93 shipped. THOUGHTS? :hello: 
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January 6, 2010 8:24:40 AM

Very nice. I see that board can do x8,x8 Crossfire too, so it looks like you're all set.
If you're not going to overclock (or not much), you won't need the AS5 as the stock cooler comes with decent thermal paste already on it. If you are going to overclock a good bit, you may want to add an aftermarket cooler. A good reference for those is www.frostytech.com. They have some top-5 (actually 10) lists, and evaluations.
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January 6, 2010 10:19:13 AM

@xhellionx very good buid...Some options to lower the price...
Check this PSU - As good or maybe even slightly better than that Antec and for less...
SeaSonic S12D 750 Silver 750W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM - It is very much similar to the one you have chosen but for $3 less...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And as for the graphic card, dont get that full covered CPU cooler...get the newer open type one...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Reason -
http://www.anandtech.com/weblog/showpost.aspx?i=664
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