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$1500 - $2000 Gaming Computer

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January 8, 2010 5:22:34 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within the next week

BUDGET RANGE: $1500 - $2000 Before Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, Office Applications, some computational work (Mathematica), TV, web-surfing

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor(s), OS

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg.com

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: Full Tower, Intel CPU (i5-750), ATI GPU

OVERCLOCKING: Yes SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe Later...

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 3x 1920x1200 (eyefinity)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Already purchased i5-750 at local Microcenter, so please consider that ~$160 into the total cost.



My thoughts so far:

CPU - Intel i5-750. Plan on overclocking for gaming use.
(http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)

CPU Cooler - Corsair Hydro.
(http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)

Motherboard - MSI P55M-GD45. I'm not really sure what I'm looking for here. I just went with a semi-cheap one that was highly rated on newegg.com. I'm not all that interested in USB3.0 or the new SATA.
(http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)

RAM - G Skill Ripjaw, 2x2gb DDR31600, 7-8-7-24. Not really sure here as well. I picked a pretty cheap set with good reviews and low CAS latencies.
(http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)

Case - Coolermaster HAF 932 Full Tower. It was down to this and the Antec 1200, and I opted for the cheaper of the two.
(http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)

Power Supply - OCZ StealthXStream OCZ700SXS 700W. I picked this simply because it comboed with the case on newegg. Before the combo, I had picked a Corsair 750W. Any thoughts?
(http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)

SSD - Intel X25-M 80gb. Figured I would use this as a boot drive with often-used applications (Office, etc.)
(http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)

HDD - SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 500gb. For music, games, videos, etc. I'm not all that concerned with capacity, as I can always pick up some more in the future if I need the space.
(http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)

DVD Drive - Sony SATA DVD-ROM.
(http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)

TV Tuner - Hauppauge WinTV-HVR 1850. I've read some good things, but I'm a little unsure of what to look for in a TV Tuner card.
(http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)

GPU - ATI Radeon 5970, if I can ever find it in stock. I decided, with the P55 board, to go with a single video card instead of crossfiring 5870s. This is still a little shady for me, however, so any suggestions would be appreciated.

As it stands, everything (except the graphics card and CPU) in my newegg.com cart totals around $1000 with shipping. Adding in the cost of the GPU and CPU puts me around 1800, which is solidly in my budget. Any suggestions or comments will be greatly appreciated!


January 8, 2010 5:54:50 PM

With your budget, you shouldn't be focusing on how cheap something is, and you should be focusing on how future proof it is.

Cooler: Ditch the Hydro. A Coolermaster Hyper 212 will work just as well at $30.

Mobo: Asus P7P55D-E Pro $190. You may not care about USB 3/SATA 3 now, but you will later. You should care about Crossfire. Your board only has 16x/4x, which is really bad. This one has 8x/8x, which is better, but for the 5970 you'd want 16x/16x (only available with an LGA1366 build). You could easily get that if you didn't get the SSD...

Case/PSU: There's a great combo with the HAF 922 (same as the 932, just slightly smaller) and that PSU for a total of $100 after rebates. 700W will be enough power. http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Rest is good.

EDIT: I think these changes save you $50 total.
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January 8, 2010 5:59:15 PM

If you plan on using your pc for office applications and computations you might consider an i7. They add hyperthreading which will increase overall performance in those realms of work. You can stick with p55, or move up to the x-58. If you're moving up anyways I'd suggest x-58, but that's just me.

Something to keep in mind for Eyefinity. You can either set your monitors up in Landscape mode (normal orientation) or Portrait mode (Monitors standing on sides). I have a personal preference for portrait mode, and if you share that taste then you'll want to be looking for monitors that are not TN based. Either IPS or PVA. TN monitors tend to look like pig-on-a-stick when in portrait mode due to view angles.

5970 is going to perform a little worse than 2x 5870's in cf @ stock speeds, this is because they downclocked it to 5850 speeds. Of course, it'll have a much smaller power footprint, cost 200$ less, and can be overclocked to reach 5870 speeds.

If you are interested in a 5 or 6 monitor setup however keep in mind that the version of the card that will support that will be a 5870 (Eyefinity Six Edition, yet to be released). With that in mind my build is going with a 5870 with crossfire in mind down the road. Even with a p55 setup 5870's crossfired show very little loss in 8x by 8x. If you do go that route make sure your mobo supports 8x 8x mode. Many of the lower price p55 boards have 2x 16x mechanical (slot size) slots, but only 1 is 16x electrical, the other is 4x electrical so crossfire would be pretty bad.





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January 8, 2010 6:03:29 PM

I agree the 922 is plenty big.

The Corsair Hydro will outperform the Coolermaster Hyper 212, but unless you are going for over 4GHz overclocking, then it wont matter enough to justify the expense, IMO. If you are going to that high of an overclock, you need to re-think your motherboard. Heavy overclocks on cheap motherboards is riskier.
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January 8, 2010 6:11:02 PM

The 5870 won't experience much loss in an 8x/8x mode. However, the OP's got 5970 in it. Those cards are when the difference between 8x/8x and 16x/16x matter.

Fair point on the downclocking though.
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January 8, 2010 6:28:00 PM

Thank you guys so much for the quick and helpful responses. Based on what MadAdmiral and dndhatcher had to say, I have changed to the HAF 922 case, Coolermaster heatsink, and upgraded MB. In the end, this reduced the price by around $30 and I believe has improved the build. Thanks guys!

a4mula - I had considered the i7 for quite a while, but decided in the end to go with the i5. Most of my computational work is usually done on campus computers anyways, and I don't really think the hyperthreading would be worth the overall price increase in the end. Also, at this point, I have already purchased the i5 from Microcenter, so I don't think I'm going to change my mind. As for the monitors, I was considering portrait as well. I am going to end up with 3 of the Hanns-g 28" monitors (already have 2 from Black Friday), which I believe will work fine in portrait. I have no intention of getting any more than 3 monitors.

As for the GPU, I'm pretty set on the 5970. I was either going to get a 5970 or a 5870 (with the intention of buying another one for CF in the future). As the 5970 fits well into my current budget, I believe that it is the best idea to purchase it now instead of one 5870 now and one later, regardless of whether the 8x lanes will hinder the 5870s' performance or not.

Thanks a ton for the help guys, and any further comments or suggestions are welcome!


CPU - Intel i5-750. Plan on overclocking for gaming use.
(http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)

CPU Cooler - COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus
(http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)

Motherboard - ASUS P7P55D-E Pro.
(http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)

RAM - G Skill Ripjaw, 2x2gb DDR31600, 7-8-7-24. Not really sure here. I picked a pretty cheap set with good reviews and low CAS latencies.
(http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)

Case - Coolermaster HAF 922.
(http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)

Power Supply - OCZ StealthXStream OCZ700SXS 700W.
(http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)

SSD - Intel X25-M 80gb. Figured I would use this as a boot drive with often-used applications (Office, etc.)
(http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)

HDD - SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 500gb. For music, games, videos, etc. I'm not all that concerned with capacity, as I can always pick up some more in the future if I need the space.
(http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)

DVD Drive - Sony SATA DVD-ROM.
(http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)

TV Tuner - Hauppauge WinTV-HVR 1850. I've read some good things, but I'm a little unsure of what to look for in a TV Tuner card.
(http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)

GPU - ATI Radeon 5970, if I can ever find it in stock. I decided, with the P55 board, to go with a single video card instead of crossfiring 5870s. This is still a little shady for me, however, so any suggestions would be appreciated.
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January 8, 2010 7:21:32 PM

Well gotta ask you this....if you putting one 5970 in today, perchance we'll see a 2nd one in the future ? When I logged into THG today i thot we'd see some hard data on the x16x16 vs x8x8 but all the article covered was x16x8 vs x8x8.

Note the recent THG article:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/p55-pci-express-sca...

Perhaps the biggest question answered here is whether we should have forgone the P55 solution in our most recent $2,500 PC build and the answer, of course, is yes

I'm with THG on this one. The articles does say the 1156 platform was hitting on performance at the top end with twin 58xx in Xfire ....you're using 59xx..... if you add a 2nd 5970 which I would expect to be a given come late summer 2011 when DX11 games start really using the technology, that kinda horsepower gonna get eaten up. At that point your system would go from moderately to significantly bottle necked.

This will run at x16x16x1 and gives
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Same here but no USB 3 / SATA 6 GB/s
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU / Case Combo - Again, I always assume a puter w/ one GFX card will some day have 2 or even a 3rd say in case you wanna do PhysX. So the combo's I'd recommend are:

Antec 1200 / Antec CP-850 ($300)
Antec 1200 / Antec SG-850 ($390)
HAF 932 /Corsair HX-850 ($320)

IMO, the OCZ isn't up to twin GPU's and serious OC'ing. Those huge power draws from the GPUs are gonna be tough on a PSU to maintain stable voltages necessary for high over clocks. Couldn't find stealthextreme just gamextreme

http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...

HD's - either 500 GB per platter drive depending on specific tasks ...Spinpoint F3 or Seagate 7200.12. Choose depending on performance in your specific area.

link won't paste
(http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2009-3.5-desktop-har...[2770]=on&prod[2371]=on)

Note for example's Seagate's 14.60 versus F3's 13.90 in gaming and Seagate's 143.80 over the 107.50 for the F3 in Windows Media Center and 57.40 over 37.80 in adding pictures to windows photo gallery

Then look at F3's movie maker score of 57.60 to the seagate's 50.30 in windows movie maker and 12.20 to 11.20 in adding music to windows media player.

As evidenced by the above, what drive is faster depends upon what you are doing.

I notice that you build is somewhat unbalanced as it combines a bunch of higher end components with some bargain components.....A 1 TB is a minor price increase for example, for double capacity.

The biggest standout here is a $625 video card and a $18 DVD player w/ no Blue Ray ability.

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

The cooler is a good one ... for $35 .... but given the budget, I'd move up to a Megahalems or Noctua
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January 8, 2010 7:37:32 PM

If you're not planning on watching movies on the computer, or investing in Blu-ray discs, then it's probably not worth buying a Blu-ray drive. :) 

And I don't know that going Crossfire with another 5970 is a given, it might be more feasbile at that time to buy whatever the new high-end graphics card is. That being said, I'm looking at an X58 board for my next build, it's always nice to have the option to do dual 16x.
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January 8, 2010 7:46:45 PM

Jack - thank you for the great information. I'll cover it one aspect at a time.

GPU: I do, indeed, plan on keeping the one graphics card for quite a while. I was never planning on getting two of the 5970s, and that was one of the driving factors of me going with the 1156 socket i5-750. I understand the limitations of the PciE lanes with these motherboards, and have taken that into account with my decisions.

Case: As I am not planning on adding any additional graphics cards, I believe that the 922 should be sufficient. Do you disagree?

PSU: Again, with the single GPU, do you think that the current PSU will be ok?

HDD: Upon reading you suggestions, I decided to switch to the Seagate. Thanks!

As for the "unbalanced"-ness, that's kind of what I was going for. To me, the major appeal of building you own system is that you get to pick exactly what you want depending on what you are going to be using the system for. For me, that means that I will most likely choose a high-end GPU (as gaming is to be a major function of this rig) and a smaller hard drive (as I do not have tons of music, videos, or anything else really that will take up terrabytes of HDD space). This extends to the DVD drive as well, as I do not plan on watching/burning blue ray disks with this computer, nor do I plan on burning cds or dvds. Given this, I think it is perfectly acceptable to get the cheapest available DVD-Rom drive, as it will be used only for installing software and perhaps ripping music.

Thanks again for your detailed response!
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January 8, 2010 8:03:50 PM

The question for cases and a single 5970 is if it can hold a 12 inch graphics card.

It would be awful tight in an antec 900, but it looks like the HAF 922 is an inch deeper so it should be fine.
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January 10, 2010 4:09:52 PM

avanpelt said:
Case: As I am not planning on adding any additional graphics cards, I believe that the 922 should be sufficient. Do you disagree?

PSU: Again, with the single GPU, do you think that the current PSU will be ok?


With the 5970's twin GPU's, I'd put an 850 watter i there. The CP-850 is an extreme high end PSU at a ridiculously low price of $115. Unfortunately, it only fits in 3 cases, the Antec 1200, P183 and P193.

I'm not a fan of OCZ PSU's.

That's a big card and twin GPU's generate heat ....I'd want more cooling and better power .... and suggest the HAF-932 / Corsair HX ($320) or Antec 1200 / CP-850 ($275)
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