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>$1500 Enthusiast/Gaming PC Build Checklist

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January 13, 2010 2:39:40 PM

Hi everyone!

I was looking to buy a new PC that was going to last me a while. My last PC was a Dell from 2003. Over the years I found out how technology is changing by the nanosecond. (I bought an HP mini for meetings and I think it was outdated in like a month.) Therefor, this PC I want build I hope will be up to date for at least a couple months. And seeing as what's available and what Dell HP and Alienware have to offer, I decided to build a PC that appears to be already ions ahead of the former and latter companies and well under the price of Alienware.

So let's get the basics out of the way.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: First Quarter 2010 (Feb-March) I hope to make my purchase

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Photo Editing/rendering with Mild gaming (Diablo 3, Starcraft 2)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: I have a monitor but I plan on buying a 24inch monitor possibly after the purchase of the main components, I have a mouse and keyboard/speakers.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Any website that sells the cheapest parts.

PARTS PREFERENCES: I'd like to stick with Intel. The rest can be altered.

OVERCLOCKING: Crossfire graphics, however if someone has compelling evidence to do otherwise I'll be all ears.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1200.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I want a quiet slick PC, something of a sleeper, doesn't need to be flashy, I just want it to compute and last long.

Okay so without further adieu, here is my list I've already parted together, please make comments and suggestions and by all means any way I can save a little more coin on this purchase. I'm on a 1000-1300 dollar budget.

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$109.99

Case: Sunbeam Transformer IC-TR-US-BA-WOPSU Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$74.99

Processor: Intel Core i7-920 Bloomfield 2.66GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$288.99

Motherboard: ASUS P6T SE LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$184.99

RAM: Kingston HyperX 2GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$57.99 x 3 ($173.97)

Hard Disk-Drive: Western Digital Caviar Green WD15EADS 1.5TB 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$109.99

Disk Drive: Sony Optiarc
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$29.99

Power Supply: CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$109.99 ($99.99 MIR)

Video Card: XFX HD-587A-ZNF9 Radeon HD 5870 (Cypress XT) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card w/ATI Eyefinity
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$409.99

Diamond Radeon HD 5850 Video Card - 1GB GDDR5, PCI-Express 2.0, CrossFireX Ready, Dual DVI, Display Port, HDMI
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/ite...
$319.99

Visiontek Radeon HD 5750 Video Card - 1GB GDDR5, PCI-Express 2.0, CrossFireX Ready, Dual DVI, Dipslay Port, HDMI
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...
$159.99

Monitor: SAMSUNG Glossy Black 24" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 DC 50000:1 (1000:1)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$199.99


Thanks!
January 13, 2010 2:46:31 PM

You do not want to use that RAM with your build. The max RAM voltage for i5 & i7 builds is 1.65v, anything higher than that will damage the RAM controller on the chip. The RAM you linked to above is rated at 1.7v - 1.9v.

Here's a nice CAS 8 DDR3 1600 RAM kit for a good price:

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL8T-6GBRM - Retail $159.99

You don't want to use a slow green drive as your system drive. I would look at either the Samsung F3 or Seagate 7200.12 drives since they both use 500GB platters and are the fastest 7200 RPM drives available.

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive $89.99

The HD5850 offers the best price/performance at your resolution.

SAPPHIRE 100282SR Radeon HD 5850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card w/ATI Eyefinity - Retail $299.99
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January 13, 2010 2:49:47 PM

Looks good, just a few changes:

Case: I'm not sure how that one stands up to other brands, but I know that the HAF 922 is one of the best cases out there for about $90

RAM: Might be better to find something with a lower cas latency, even if it means a lower frequency.

PSU: OCZ is much cheaper right now, and I believe that there is a combo with the StealthXStream 700W and the HAF 922

HDD: Go with the Samsung F3 Spinpoint 1TB for about $85. It runs much faster than that WD

GPU: Go with the 5870. One of the best cards out there and has DX11 support.

Optical Drive: You might be able to save a few bucks, just look around. Just find a cheap, SATA, DVD burner.
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January 13, 2010 2:56:05 PM

Stick with Newegg. They're going to be cheaper on just about everything and have great combos.

Case/PSU: Newegg combo: HAF 922 and OCZ StealthXStream 700W for $110 after rebate

Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R $210

RAM: Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 3x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $165 after rebate

HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB $90. Faster and much better as both a boot and data drive.

Optical: There's a SATA DVD burner for about $20 on Newegg. Get that one.

GPU/OS: Combo: HD 5850 w/ Windows 7 for $385 or HD 5870 w/ Windows 7 for $495

Total: $1,269 w/ HD 5850 or $1,379 w/ HD 5870. I highly recommend trying to find a cheaper monitor and getting the 5870.
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January 13, 2010 5:58:02 PM

Thank you so much guys. I definitely threw in some changes to the RAM and Hard Drive.

Also I believe I'll pick up that case and power supply combo.

My friend informs me he can get me a pretty decent discount on Windows 7 (probably around student prices) (30$)

Im considering working in a SSD just for the operating system.

Apart from that. Does the Gigabyte Mobo, support 1600 RAM? Couldn't locate that info in the specifications.

In any case, I will look for a less expensive monitor. I'm trying locate a decent looking monitor around 22-25inchs.

Without the monitor I'm currently looking at a 1200 dollar set up.

Quick followup-
Im a little undecided between the 5850 and 5870. One is a $110 more. Also would 8 gig of RAM make a significant difference over 6 gigs? Then again I can always add more RAM later.

Thanks again guys!!

You help put me one step closer to this task
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January 13, 2010 6:22:57 PM

Yes, the Gigabyte board supports DDR3 1600 RAM.

I would say the 5850 offers much more bang for the buck, but if the 5870 fits the budget it's an amazing card.

You don't want 8GB of RAM with an LGA1366 system. Those chips use a triple channel RAM controller, so you want RAM in sets of three. The most common sizes are 6GB and 12GB for people heavy into 3D CAD work. 6GB is plenty for your intended use. I would definitely go with a 3x2GB setup.
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January 13, 2010 6:28:15 PM

Case - Cooling a bit short....look at ANtec 600/900 HAF 922

MoBo - Consider the feature sets on the higher end versions of the P6T

Memory - CAS 7 Mushkin is available cheaper

HD - Check out the performance charts and pick whatever 500 GB per platter drive performs best under your usage patterns. The WD Black 2 TB is a good choice but at smaller capacities, you are limited to the Seagate 7200.12 or the Spinpoint F3. The 7200.12 excels in gaming, multimedia and pictures whereas the F3 wins at music and movie maker. See the comparisons here (copy past link in manually, link won't work in forum):

(http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2009-3.5-desktop-har...[2371]=on&prod[2770]=on)

Monitor - Move up to the Acer model if budget allows

GFX Card - If keeping the build pat for a number of years is the goal (by that I mean no upgrades) DX11 should be seriously considered. The 57xx series however doesn't look good here, at least by what we have seen with the Dirt2 review on THG's home page, the performance impact going from Dx9 to DX11 on Dirt2 to is "colossal". Driver updates won't fix the bandwidth issue. While the 57xx seems it might keep up for a year or 2 at lower resolutions, from what I am seeing, the 58xx must be considered the entry point for DX11 at 1920 c 1200 / 1080.
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January 13, 2010 6:28:54 PM

shortstuff_mt said:
Yes, the Gigabyte board supports DDR3 1600 RAM.

I would say the 5850 offers much more bang for the buck, but if the 5870 fits the budget it's an amazing card.

You don't want 8GB of RAM with an LGA1366 system. Those chips use a triple channel RAM controller, so you want RAM in sets of three. The most common sizes are 6GB and 12GB for people heavy into 3D CAD work. 6GB is plenty for your intended use. I would definitely go with a 3x2GB setup.



That cleared everything up! Thanks Shortstuff.

I'll definitely stick with the 6 gb, the Gigabyte Mobo, and the 5850 definitely seems to perform almost as well as the 5870 from some of the benchmark comparisons on the site. So think I'll stick with the 5850. Thanks again and I'll keep ya guys posted on the build once I star acquiring parts!

-Work
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January 13, 2010 6:37:01 PM

JackNaylorPE said:
Case - Cooling a bit short....look at ANtec 600/900 HAF 922

MoBo - Consider the feature sets on the higher end versions of the P6T

Memory - CAS 7 Mushkin is available cheaper

HD - Check out the performance charts and pick whatever 500 GB per platter drive performs best under your usage patterns. The WD Black 2 TB is a good choice but at smaller capacities, you are limited to the Seagate 7200.12 or the Spinpoint F3. The 7200.12 excels in gaming, multimedia and pictures whereas the F3 wins at music and movie maker. See the comparisons here (copy past link in manually, link won't work in forum):

(http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2009-3.5-desktop-har...[2371]=on&prod[2770]=on)

Monitor - Move up to the Acer model if budget allows

GFX Card - If keeping the build pat for a number of years is the goal (by that I mean no upgrades) DX11 should be seriously considered. The 57xx series however doesn't look good here, at least by what we have seen with the Dirt2 review on THG's home page, the performance impact going from Dx9 to DX11 on Dirt2 to is "colossal". Driver updates won't fix the bandwidth issue. While the 57xx seems it might keep up for a year or 2 at lower resolutions, from what I am seeing, the 58xx must be considered the entry point for DX11 at 1920 c 1200 / 1080.


I'm def considering the HAF922.

I'll try to located the cheaper RAM. Anything significant about the differences between Mushkin and GSkill?

I'll look into the Acer, I notice that seems to be a popular brand. I'm aiming for the 5850, so hopefully that supports DX11.

Thanks for the info!
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January 13, 2010 6:44:09 PM

banthracis said:
5870 is ~10-15% performance increase for a ~28% price increase.
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3650&p=14

If you wanna fit an SSD into that budget you'll need to go P55. Which isn't an issue as it's a ~4% FPS drop in xfire, though that's not noticeable outside benchmarks.

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


Looks like the 5850 is the value alternative to the 5870. That's a very helpful article. As for the SSD I may just hold off and keep the 1 TB drive. Im sure I wont be able to fill that up too fast.

Thanks!
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January 13, 2010 6:54:43 PM

RAM: No differences other price. And I linked to some good Mushkin sticks.

All 5xxx cards support DX 11. It's the main advantage in the lower cards (5750, 5770 and sometimes 5850).
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January 19, 2010 12:42:36 AM

Alright guys I have a final build. I was hoping some of you can check it over and see if everything is compatible and cost efficient.

I noticed the HDD is out of stock I replaced it with a similar samsung with 1.5 TB at 7200 for 109.99

Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
39.99
Power: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
109.31
Optical: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
21.99
HDD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
89.99
CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
288.99
Mobo: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
209.99
Ram: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
154.99
Video: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
124.99
OS: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
109.99
Monitor: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
189.99

If my math is right should cost roughly $1350.

Thanks for all the help again!

I just realized the Power Supply might not fit in the case, so if anyone has suggestions im all ears
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January 19, 2010 1:18:53 AM

Why are you getting a x58 system and then just using 1 4850?...

Waste of money going x58 unless you're xfiring 5850's at least.

The suggestions ppl having been giving you are good. Why ignore them and make an awful build?

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January 19, 2010 1:23:22 AM

Found a Power supply Replacement.

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

Think of the 4850 as a temporary card. Money contraints. the 5850 is 175 more. I can purchase that down the road or when it becomes a little less expensive. So I'm leaving the option open.

Also I have taken everyone's suggestions to consideration.

I think the only change I had to make was the case/PS combo which is currently no longer a combo so I had to improvise. The combo was great 109.99 for HAF 922 Case plus 750 watt Power supply. That hurt. So Im keeping with a coolermaster case and this new Corsair Powersupply for roughly 150.

Please if you would be so kind as to explain with I'm making an awful build. Unless your suggesting the video card and mobo combo makes the entire build awful. Little more constructive assistance would be appreciated.

Edit: To keep back on topic, I updated my build for suggestions:

Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
39.99
(Case combo deal ended – case require suggestions)
Power: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
114.99
(Case combo deal ended, new power supply – seeking suggestions)
Optical: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
21.99
(Previous SATA drive deal ended. SATA replaced with current link)
HDD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
109.99
(Previous Samsung Drive Suggested is Out of Stock)
CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
288.99
(Chosen over i7-860 for longevity as suggested.)
Mobo: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
209.99
(As Suggested)
Ram: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
154.99
(Just using a less expensive Ram, but suggested brand)
Video: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
124.99
(To be crossfired upgraded in the future with 5xxx series or higher)
OS: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
109.99
Monitor: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
189.99
(As suggested, located less expensive monitor with Asus)
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January 19, 2010 3:18:35 AM

As I said, buying a x58 system on your budget is silly, especially since the price difference of $70 btwn the 2 builds would cover half the price of a 5850. Buying a temporary card now to tide you over for wat? a year? half year? Sandy bridge is out this year, 22 nm sockets next year.

There's no point in going x58 unless you want to xfire top of the line GPU's to play at 2560 x 1600.

You're much better off getting an i7-860, which beats the 920 in every benchmark by a wide margin. Do you honestly think Intel won't make P55 based sandy bridge cpu's?

Does it even matter as both P55 and x58 will be obsolete next year anyway?

For $1500 you can easily get a P55 build w/ an ssd and 5850.

If the samsung is out of stock don't go and get another eco series....

Get a 7200.12 500gb. It's almost the same performance as a spinpoint F3.

Monitor wise you can get same specs for $149.99


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Best solution

January 19, 2010 3:43:36 AM

Here's a P55 build w/ a 5850 and SSD , only $1450.
Optical
Lighton $23.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

Monitor
Hanns G 1920x1080 21" $139.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Ram
G skill Eco DDR3 1333 7-7-7-21 $114.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mobo
Asus w/ 2 PCIE x8 or 1 x16. True USB 3.0 SATA 6.0 unlike gigabyte boards. $189.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU i7-860 $279.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU/HD combo OCZ Stealthxstream 700w and Seagate 7200.12 500gb $119.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Boot Drive
Intel 40gb X25-V $129.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU/OS combo 5850 and Win 7 OEM 64 bit Home Premium $384.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Total $1443.85 before $25 MIR and shipping, which should cancel each other out. Leaves you $50ish for a better case or monitor if you want.

Alternatively, drop the Intel SSD and get this combo

i7-860 and OCZ vertex 60gb $478.99 w/ $40 MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Brings total to $1512.86 before $65 MIR and shipping.

$1473.2 after MIR and Shipping to NYC
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January 19, 2010 11:15:58 AM

Hey sorry I got a little heated last night at your previous response. I just been working on that build for days and it seemed nearly flawless, but what do I really know. I didn't expect you to build me a whole new list.

I really appreciate it, and I understand what you mean. I didn't know this attributed directly to the processor.

I think I should clarify to save some funds, my price is being kept around 1300, but these builds are great and I'll definitely take a closer look at them.

Also I think I'll just use a single HDD to house my OS+data instead of a SSD.

Thanks again and for giving me another chance.

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January 19, 2010 11:47:50 AM

In light of Banth's response, I'll be going that route.

With the exception of the SSD Drive. Brought my price down to 1330. So if anyone wants to give the parts a final one over and check all the compatibility, through I trust Banth has set it up correctly, but just like writing a paper, a fresh set of eyes never hurts.

And once done I hope to have this rig purchased by Friday.

I appreciate all the help again and hope this is the final touch.


-one last question: Would I need to purchase some thermal glue for the heatsink/processor or will it come already attached? Might be a newbie question, never built a rig before.

Thanks.

Edit: Also I found this RAM http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
1600, though I don't know much of a difference over the suggested 1333, would it be okay to switch out for these at about 20$ less?
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January 19, 2010 11:48:09 AM

Best answer selected by Workodactyl.
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January 19, 2010 12:16:31 PM

The timings on those ripjaws you linked are 9-9-9-24. It's not ideal as typically timings have a higher impact than speed, especially if the RAM has CAS latency greater than 8.

Final performance wise, it's probably only noticeable in benchmarks, so you could save a few bucks going that route.

The stock HSF comes with thermal paste.

Though you could pick up a hyper 212 plus for $30. Best price/performance ratio, and one of the best HSF's out there.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It also comes with CM thermal paste, but I do lots of builds so I've got a syringe of Arctic Silver 7 I use instead, so no idea how that paste performs.

Add that in and drop the SSD and final price is $1343.20 before MIR and Shipping.
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January 19, 2010 12:21:50 PM

Alright sounds cool. Thanks again for your help and I hope to purchase all of these parts either tonight or hopefully tomorrow.

Thank you again and wish me luck in putting all of this stuff together haha.
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