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Less than $1500 solid gaming build

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January 18, 2010 12:54:28 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Next week or two BUDGET RANGE: Less than $1500 After Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Looking at everything honestly, have Vista, will upgrade later to 7, and 19" acer LCD monitor, mouse, and keyboard

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg preferably, but I'll go with best prices COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: Leaning slightly to AMD I like the Crosshair III MB but am open to anything, going for a Full Tower build

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe later SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Not any time soon

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1440x900

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
Build considered so far:
Antec Twelve Hundred $160
Crosshair III $200
Phenom II x4 965 $195
Mushkin 6 gig (3 sticks) DDR3 1600 $180
Sapphire 5850 w/ Thermaltake 600w Combo $290
WD 750gb Caviar Black $80
Sony DVD Burner $25

Plantronic GameCom 777 Headset $99 Looking for a good headset as well

Looking for any suggestions/criticisms to be had.
January 18, 2010 2:49:54 AM

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

10 dollars more on Newegg and better drive

There is also a combo that might be more enticing on New Egg as far as Tower and PSU.

COOLER MASTER HAF 932 RC-932-KKN1-GP Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail

OCZ StealthXStream OCZ700SXS 700W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
New Year special savings, limited offer

209 before rebates
January 18, 2010 3:03:35 AM
Related resources
January 18, 2010 4:17:06 AM

SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 22X DVD-R 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner LightScribe Support - OEM :$32
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS EAH5870/2DIS/1GD5/A Radeon HD 5870 (Cypress XT) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported ... - Retail :$400
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor Model HDZ955FBGMBOX - Retail :$175
Combo Deal: total $575 -$35 = $540 total
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Antec Twelve Hundred Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail : $160
Antec CP-850 850W Continuous Power CPX SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC "compatible with ... - Retail : $110
Combo Deal: Total $270 - $30 = $240, w/mail rebate $240 - $20 = $220
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor - Retail :$175 (c3 stepping I believe if you care an extra $10 over the other)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL - Retail : $95
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GA-MA790XT-UD4P AM3 DDR3 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail :$110, $15 mail in rebate, $95 (crossX board)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive : $90
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: $1,282.23, after mail in rebates -$35 = $1247.23

Gave you a bit of extra spending money in case you wanted to buy 2 sets of ram (for 8gb), and still leave a bit left for the headphones and shipping and handling.

For the headphones I recommend either of these, it is what I narrowed it down to when I was looking for headphones in the past their suppose to have good sound quality.

SENNHEISER HD 280PRO 3.5mm Connector Circumaural PROFESSIONAL Headphone : $100 (closed ear design blocking outside sound)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SENNHEISER HD555 3.5mm/ 6.3mm Connector Circumaural Stereo Headphone : $130 (open ear design outside noise is very hearable)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

As for a mic if you wanted one, quite possible as it comes in handy while gaming I recommend this. I own it and it has taken a beating on my desk and has top notch sound, with a handy mute button on it. A nice area mic to say the very least.

Logitech 980186-0403 Silver USB Connector USB Desktop Microphone : $20
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Just a quick read if you feel like you have to get a mobo that supports dual 16x across both lanes. (figure I throw this in as I was surprised at the results myself)
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/AMD/HD_5870_PCI-Expr...

January 18, 2010 5:36:05 AM

I've had firmware problems with MANY samsung ODDs. I don't trust them anymore.

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Didn't see the combo with the CP-850. Go with that.

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Ripjaws have Hynix chips, PI series has Pro-something. PIs overclock much better.

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Difference in our boards is that mine has Sata3/USB3. Better for future upgrades...

--------

ANY SSD > ANY HDD. Even the Velociraptors. A SSD is definitely a worthwhile investment.

...And while Samsung makes fast drives, I don't necessarily find them reliable. I've had some problems with Samsung before...

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I still don't think you should get a 5870 unless you'll be running Crysis at 2560*1600.

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I'd get this headset because it's all in one.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/NewProduct.aspx?Item=N82E...

The Turtle Beach headset is a true 5.1 headset.

You'll want this for gaming, but listening to music, well, 2 channels are better.

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You'll also need a HSF. If you want the best, get the NH-D14. (http://www.newegg.com/Product/NewProduct.aspx?Item=N82E...)

For budget: http://www.newegg.com/Product/NewProduct.aspx?Item=N82E...

A good HS/F will be necessary for overclocking.
January 18, 2010 6:38:55 AM

Zinosys said:

Ripjaws have Hynix chips, PI series has Pro-something. PIs overclock much better.

--------

Difference in our boards is that mine has Sata3/USB3. Better for future upgrades...

--------

ANY SSD > ANY HDD. Even the Velociraptors. A SSD is definitely a worthwhile investment.

...And while Samsung makes fast drives, I don't necessarily find them reliable. I've had some problems with Samsung before...

--------

I still don't think you should get a 5870 unless you'll be running Crysis at 2560*1600.

--------

I'd get this headset because it's all in one.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/NewProduct.aspx?Item=N82E...

The Turtle Beach headset is a true 5.1 headset.

You'll want this for gaming, but listening to music, well, 2 channels are better.


You have a point in the whole upgradebility part on the motherboard. But there is something I think you may have overlooked you have a 3x2gb kit of ram, the motherboards we both have are dual channel and support a max of 4 sticks of ram, so you couldn't even run it in dual channel to take advantage of that. Something that will give better performance over overclocking the ram, which provides neglectable performance increase while gaming, if any.

SSD's are not perfect for GB per dollar it is quiet expensive and in my opinion is not worth it when you can get normal HDD that is already quite fast and will stay that way as long as you defrag it once in a blue moon. I won't bother giving any more of my opinion on SDD's besides that as I don't feel like turning this into an argument. So to each their own.

I recomended the 5870 for future gaming in mind over the 5850.

As for the headset you recommended I remember reading up quite a bit on the so called surround sound headsets and most people who reviewed them found them gimmicky. So you may want to look into it more.
January 18, 2010 2:14:16 PM

Hehe, thanks for catching the 3x2gb kit. :)  I'm too used to i7 systems...

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

I heard somewhere that blue ripjaws have the Pro-something... chips. Either way 1600MHz @ CL7 instead of CL9...

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SSDs. I swear by them, but don't necessarily want to turn it into an argument either. I'm just stating facts here.

http://www.guru3d.com/article/ocz-vertex-turbo-ssd-revi...

Compare the SSD read speeds to the Velociraptor. The Samsung F1 gets an average 92MB/s read speed. The OCZ Vertex Turbo gets an average read speed of 200MB/s. Plus lower latency, plus high reliability. I would suggest investing in a SSD as the HDD is usually (and especially in this case) the main bottleneck in this system.

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5870 for the future... Well, I guess so, but then again you can just crossfire 2 5850s? ...Well, it would be more money though, but that's for the OP to decide.

...I just saw that you have a combo deal for the 5870. $35 is pretty substantial for any CPU/GPU. Prices of GPUs are also going down slowly...

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I don't usually like surround headsets (SB Arena, any Triton stuff), but Turtle Beach has proved a good company, and yes, I have tried these. I have to say I like them. But headphones are subjective. You should just try them on and see what you think. ;) 
January 18, 2010 3:16:28 PM

Okay, wow. That's a lot of good information in there. I've been comparing everything you all had to suggest, and I think I've come up with a good compromise. So, I'm looking at the following parts.

Sony ODD $26
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Samsung 1gb HDD $90
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Gigabyte GA-790XTA MB w/ 3.0 USB etc $140
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Sapphire 5850 $290
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Phenom II x4 955 mBox $175
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec 1200 w/ CP-850 $240
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

GSkill Ripjaw 2x2gb Ram $115
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

XIGMATEK Dark Knight $45
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...

Total $1121

As far as the 5870, I really don't plan on having to have *every* game for the next 3 years or whatever at the highest settings, and that's some money I can put into other things. And, as was stated, I don't have a 30" monitor, so I probably won't notice a huge difference any time soon, which is just fine. I may get a SSD later and incorporate it. They're a bit on the pricey side right now, or I would go that route. I just can't justfiy the amount of space I'm not getting for the price. And as for the Antec 1200 CP-850 combo, I missed that when I was looking, because that's one thing I was actually wanting, and the combo definitely makes it affordable. And good catch as well on the dual channel RAM with three sticks. I wasn't thinking so much there. At what point should I consider getting more? I've not really used Win7 so I'm not sure how memory intensive it is, and so I don't know how far my 4 gigs will get me. Should I consider getting another set of ram in the near future? And thanks again for all the feedback. It's really helped make this a lot easier.
January 18, 2010 4:26:29 PM

Uhm, Win7 uses a little less physical memory than vista.

4 Gigs will go very far for you, don't worry.

If I were you, I'd get another 4 gigs of memory in maybe a year, or whenever you feel necessary.

As for the 5850, it should last you 3 years, if not, more.

Sony ODDs are not really Sony. They're NEC, and they're in the middle of the road. They're not the fastest drives in the world, but they're pretty reliable.

Also a note on the 955be vs 965be, the 965 is binned higher so it can be overclocked much further. If you plan to OC fairly heavily, go for the 965. Otherwise 955. :) 

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Well, SSDs are meant so you get a small one for your boot drive. The rest of your data can go on a HDD.

Friend of mine had a pretty similar computer. With his Velociraptors, the computer booted in 18 seconds. With a SSD, about 6 seconds. :) 

But I can see where you're at with the price. And I have to agree with you. Soon (Mid February) Crucial will release their C300 6gb/s SSD, and then the rest of the market will follow. If you plan to migrate to a SSD, don't forget to make a separate partition for your Win7 installation! It will make it much easier to clone the disk to the SSD.
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Good Luck with your config! :) 
January 18, 2010 4:29:37 PM

Mmm, some extra information on a headset:

The Steelseries 5H V2 is great for gaming, but not for music.

The Sibera V2 is pretty good for music, and the same for gaming.

The Creative Fatal1ty MKII is fantastic if you're on a budget, but stay away from teh Arena.

Triton stuff is uncomfortable.

If you want a comfortable, quality headset, go for Sennheiser or Turtle Beach. Steelseries is also a viable option if you don't drop your headsets often. :p 
January 18, 2010 5:02:05 PM

Gotta idmit I like what you have now, you took what you wanted from the the builds you wanted and created something quite nice.

And just to further emphesize Sinosys, 4gb will go a long way. I mentioned going up to 8gb because your original build had 6gb and I wasn't sure of how much you wanted. And if you do plan to push your CPU to it's OCing limits get the 965be as he stated it may be of a high bin quality so you might be able to squeeze an extra 100mhz or more out it (if you wanted every last drop of power) otherwise stick to what you have as its the same thing but not clocked quite as high.

Oh and when you do plan to buy win7 and if you are a college student heres a link to get a discount. Though the $30 win7 professional offer is over they are now selling it for $65, still alot cheaper than it retails which I think is $300.
http://www.win741.com/
January 18, 2010 8:14:46 PM

I'm honestly having a hard time picking out a headset. The last pair I had was the Plantronic DSP 500's. Granted I got those, what, five or six years ago. I honestly think if I my son hadn't broke them, I'd still use them now. What kind of quality, or lack thereof, can I expect from the onboard sound card of the Gigabyte? That was part of the reason I like the Crosshair III is the onboard Creative card.

And as for the ram, I'll go with the 4gig now and upgrade it sometime later, thanks for clearing up the usage of Win7. I don't plan on trying to push my oc'ing to the extreme, so the 955 has more than enough potential for me.
January 19, 2010 12:16:38 AM

Your amd 955 and same mobo is now in a combo deal. So enjoy the extra $25 saved, found it randomly.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

I would also grab this, its your video card with a free PSU (free shipping on said PSU as well) and you save $0.01, I'd personally take it and either keep that as a backup when you build some other machine or hock it ebay for a little extra cash.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Also saw that the original HD you were looking to buy is out of stock, here is the seagate 1tb with a free dock for $99.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Yeah I'm feeling a tad bit lazy to make all the links look pretty right now, since most of them you already know what they are but now they include something free or is cheaper.
January 19, 2010 12:21:50 AM

Thanks, not only is it a combo, but the 955 went down to 170 from 175. Good call on the ps as well, it can be nice to have parts lying around.
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