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$800-$1000 gaming/audio/video pc

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January 12, 2010 3:40:47 PM

I just started starting research and planning about a week ago, so i'm kind of in the initial stages and looking for some advice.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: sometime soon. Next 1-3 months

BUDGET RANGE: $800-$1000

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Audio engineering (think ableton), video editing (adobe premier/aftereffects, etc) and somewhat intense gaming (i still wanna play crysis and in the best settings i can afford. I like shiny first person shooters and warcraft 3/heroes). Really, these 3 are about equal in desirability.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: i will not need a screen or a mouse.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: open to suggestions, i like newegg

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: the part ive been mentally building around is the i5 750, but ya, im open to suggestions. As far as brands, I hear good things about intels cpus today, so I’m leaning towards them.

OVERCLOCKING: Never done it, but I see no reason why not to with how easy it seems today

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: another place where a more seasoned opinion would be appreciated. last time i really looked at parts was like 4 years ago when sli was pointless. also, by today's standards, how do 8x8x vs 16x16x setups compare? if i go with an i5, ill be stuck with 8x8x, right? would that be bad for games?

MONITOR RESOLUTION: i'm pretty sure this bad boy is 1920x1200+. if not, a future monitor will be that or better.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: i would be open to opinions on extras (keyboard, mouse speakers, etc) but im really looking for advice re: core parts- mainly the cpu, mobo, gpu, and ram.

RE CPU: Is an i5 a solid purchase at $200 right now? i7 920 is only 80 bucks more so would i be better off waiting a month or 2 for it to drop? Also, how necessary is a quad core for the applications i'm describing/planning for the future? Also, I hear the i9 is coming out soon, which will certainly cause the prices of the other chips to fall. But I would like this system sooner rather than later, so what to do?

i5
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

vs waiting for

i7
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



RE MOBO: in perusing newegg the last few days, I found some interesting new boards from ASUS and Gigabyte offering usb 3.0 and sata 3.0. Now, I like gadgets and new stuff, but I also don’t want to have to deal with all the problems brand new motherboards are prone to having, especially ones with completely new technology. In your opinion, is usb 3.0 and sata 3.0 even gonna be necessary within the next few years? I’m trying to stick to a budget, and I imagine the parts necessary to take advantage of these new technologies will be pricey. also, cant i always buy a usb 3.0 card in the future?

Worth it or not?

GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD3 LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard – Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


RE: GPU. I addressed this a little above but ya, I’m feeling confused about the whole SLI/X-FIRE vs single card debate. I was considering purchasing a MOBO with sli/xfire capacity, but only getting 1 card for now, and in a few months, purchase a 2nd card to go sli. Is that a good idea? Or would I be better off spending a little more now and getting 1 really nice card? Also, it seems that MOBO’s that are sli ready are also more expensive, so I’m trying to take that into account, as well. And how big a difference is it between two 512MB, 256bit cards in sli, vs one 1GB, 256bit(or 512 bit) card, etc? For my budget, whats a good compromise between memory size, memory interface, and quality?

RE RAM. I’m definitely thinking DDR3. I was also thinking about getting a MOBO with 4 slots, so I could get 2 sticks of 4 gigs now (for a total of 8 gigs) and eventually buy 2 more sticks of 4 gigs for a total of 16 gigs if that ever becomes necessary. Is 8 over kill for what I’m going for? Also, for my needs, what is necessary regarding ram speed?

As for the other important pieces, the power supply and case, I would gladly accept any opinions on the matter.
January 12, 2010 4:10:09 PM

On the Crossfire: 8x/8x doesn't handicap much of anything, until you stick the $650 HD 5970 in both slots. And it's more of a future proofing concept, not something you do right out of the gates. Once you get below 8x/8x, it's really a drawback. I prefer to suggest boards that keep the option open.

CPU: I would go with the i5-750. The i7's aren't going to drop in price much faster than the i5, and the boards also cost more, as will an extra stick of RAM.

Mobo: Asus P7P55D-E Pro $190. The best board for being future proof. It's better for Crossfire potential.

RAM: Of course you're thinking DDR3. DDR2 is dead and useless in new systems. 2x4 GB sticks is ridicously expensive. 8 GB will be more than enough until the time when 4 GB are like the 1 GB sticks now. Go with two of G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1333 mhz CAS Latency 7 for $200 total. RAM speed really doesn't matter too much.

Case: HAF 922 $80 after rebate

PSU: OCZ StealthXStream 700W $50 after rebate

HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 500 GB $55 (1 TB for $85)

Optical: Cheapest SATA DVD burner $25

GPU: HD 5770 $155 after rebate. A little underpowered for newer games at 1900x, but the best you can afford. This is where Crossfire comes in. In 2 years, you stick a second one in for around $75, and it's as good as new.

Total: $955

These are all Newegg prices. I didn't look for any combos...
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January 12, 2010 8:10:38 PM

dude, MadAdmiral, thank you so much for the quick response. ive got each part open on a different tab here, just trying to piece it all together. i just had a few additional questions about your suggested build.

i like your idea about the ram, splitting into 2, 2x2GB sticks. Thats a serious money saver. the more i think about it, though, the more i wonder how necessary 8gigs is over 4 gigs right now for me. Would it be advisable to go with just 4 gigs for now, and upgrading to 8 later, with the intention of spending the extra hundred dollars on perhaps a more decent gpu, seeing as you mentioned it would be a little underpowered? or am i better off leaving the ram as is and going with the suggested card, with the intention of crossfiring later on? and thats another question i had, as well. Are you suggesting waiting to get the second gpu till later because its main purpose would be to keep my system effective longer? Or is it something i could get say 3 months from now that would vastly improve my gaming experience?
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January 12, 2010 8:21:05 PM

Assuming you don't have a ton of disks sitting around, if you're planning on doing both video and audio editing, you may want more than just 500 GB of disk space. Stick with the Samsung F3 Spinpoints or the Seagate 7200.12 500 GB or 1 TB disks, and you'll be doing fine.

Typically the suggestion of using CrossFire to add a 2nd GPU is more of a long-range goal. Get 1 good GPU now, get the 2nd in a year or so when you have the money, and if you think games are stressing your GPU. You could alternatively wait a little longer and just buy another big graphics card down the road instead.

4 GB of RAM will be enough for gaming, 8 may or may not improve your experience with other applications. RAM is easy to add though, so you could always buy 4 GB, see how it goes, and then add 4 more if you don't think it's going well.
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January 12, 2010 10:30:27 PM

Pretty much said it right there.

The GPU you'd be looking at the HD 5850, which runs about $300.
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January 13, 2010 3:09:28 AM

ok well, based on your guys advice, here's what i got in my shopping cart right now:

CPU: Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80605I5750 - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-$199.99

MOBO: ASUS P7P55D-E Pro LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- 189.99

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL7D-4GBRH - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-$ 109.99

Hard Drive: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-$89.99

PSU: OCZ StealthXStream OCZ700SXS 700W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-$79.99 ($49.99 after $30 mail in rebate, but they dont consider that in the newegg total)

Optical Drive: LITE-ON Black 24X DVD Writer Black SATA Model iHAS424-98 LightScribe Support - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-$31.99

Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-$99.98 (79.98 after $20 mail in rebate, also not shown in newegg total)


coming to a total of (with shipping of $22.44 and without a GPU) $824.36
but minus $50 in mail in rebates,
so that brings me to:

$774.36.

now, i just have a few final questions about GPU selection.

Since ive been able to bring the price down a bit by conserving RAM, I'm considering bumping my budget up 70 bucks and going for the 5850, with the intention of a year or so from now getting a second and running them crossfire. a few questions
1. if i go with the 5850, and eventually crossfire them, will they be hindered much by the 8x/8x limitation of the mobo?
2. will i have any crowding issues with my mobo/case by going with this beefier card, and will i have the real estate to crossfire later?
3. from what ive heard around these forums, people seem to gravitate towards xfx manufactured GPUs. that being the case, i think ive narrowed my search to these three cards:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...

is the memory clock/core clock difference really worth the price difference? or am i ok going with the cheaper of the 3?
4. this might be a noob question, but i couldnt find the answer in the mobo specs. the 5850s run direct x11. does my mobo support direct x 11 or is direct x simply a matter for the gpu?


also, in terms of overclocking, how far could i expect to push the main components ive picked out, and also how far could i push a 5770 vs a 5850? and if i were to oc, what sort of after market products would i need to consider? a new heatsink? or special fans or cooling?
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January 13, 2010 10:27:20 AM

1.) No. You need a 5970 to start being hampered.
2.) No. The HAF is huge. It's basically a full tower.
3.) You're fine with the cheapest one. The reason people like XFX is their double lifetime warranty, which allows you to sell the card with a lifetime warranty intact.
4.) DX 11 only matters for the card and games. Most games are DX 10, which is supported by any DX 11 card. Newer games (and future ones) will use DX 11.
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