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Clueless need advice-build or buy

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January 20, 2010 7:22:50 PM

Hello,
I am a clueless parent looking to buy or build a killer game config for my gaming addict. She is the computer savvy one, but I'm looking to surprise her. So cant ask her lol.I'm really tired of hearing how slow and outdated my system is. :D  Anyway I would like to buy her a setup that will last at least 2 years and will play most if not all the new games coming out( and past games) this year. Also she will be using it for college. I need to know if the bundles on like HP.com and from BestBuy are good enough or is it cheaper with higher quality items to have one built? I appreciate any and all help I can get. Thank you.


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Feb. 1 2010. has to be in house and setup BUDGET RANGE: $2000-$2500 After Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: 90% gaming, 10% surfing the internet, watching movies, school related work

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: ALL parts required.. prefer wireless keyboard and mouse if possible. speakers too please ;) 

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Have only looked at newegg.com and tigerdirect.com.. if there are others that are better please feel free to use them COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

Thank you again for helping the clueless out :D 

More about : clueless advice build buy

January 20, 2010 7:29:47 PM

Once you pass the $500-600 budget, you can generally build a better system than buying one pre-built.

I'm looking at a similar build in a few months, so I'll see if I can come up with a build for you. While I'm doing that, I'm sure at least MadAdmiral, if not a couple others will get in here with builds first. :) 
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January 20, 2010 7:49:43 PM

would you be able to build your own if you ordered the parts individually? By the way, you're a tremendous parent for doing this, a new updated machine to a gamer is the awesomeness, in some cases it may even be better than a new car...
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January 20, 2010 8:16:44 PM

Ok, here's a build, I'm sure other members will chime in with improvements (I'm somewhat unsure on the motherboard, not having a lot of recent build experience).

CPU - Core i7-920 - $290
or CPU/GPU combo i7-920 & Asus Radeon HD 5870 - $659
Motherboard - Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R - $210
GPU (if no combo) - XFX Radeon HD 5870 - $400
RAM - either
Mushkin Blackline 6 GB DDR3 CAS 7 RAM - $170
or
G.Skill 6 GB DDR3 CAS 7 RAM - $170
PSU - Antec TruePower 650W 80 Plus etc. - $130
HDD - either
2x Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB hard drive - $90x2 = $180
or
1x Intel X25-M 80 GB SSD - $260 (currently out of stock, could go up to 160 GB for $500, which is in-stock)
and 1x Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB hard drive - $90
Case - Everyone else is going to reccomend this, I don't personally like the looks, but it works - Cooler Master HAF 922 - $110
Optical drive - cheapest SATA DVD burner - $24
OS - Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit for System Builders - $105
Monitor - Hanns-G 21.5 inch, 1920x1080 - $150
Keyboard/Mouse - unless there's a need for "gaming" devices, this should do - Ke
nsington wireless slim
- $70

Total with combo & SSD version - $1998

Don't think I left anything out, came in under $2000 not counting shipping. (I didn't check for free shipping items or rebates, that might be a good idea for further research.)

You could also throw a Blu-ray reader in there if you feel like it, though it's probably not necessary.
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January 20, 2010 8:32:39 PM

I believe that the Crucial M225 64GB is from a good line of SSDs, probably not quite as good as Intel, but still pretty good.
Case is a personal choice area, but the Cooler Master HAF is amongst the best cases for air cooling.
Another route you might consider is Lynnfield: an i5 750 @ $200, a suitable mobo @ ~ $160, and then dual channel memory @ ~ $100. Which could save you around $200 for a processor that was seemingly made for gaming. And if gaming is the most intensive task the computer will perform then 6GB of memory is unnecessary.
Got nothing against your build coldsleep, just pointing out another option.
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January 20, 2010 8:44:14 PM

I fully agree that 6 GB is overkill for gaming, but you've gotta go for it with the i7-920, obviously.

With a lower budget, I'd definitely go for an i5, it's just hard not to go with the 920 on a $2k-2.5k budget. And theoretically, the 1366 platform has a longer life.

Another thought would be to go with the i5 as Silvune suggests and spend the extra money on upgrading the 5870 graphics card to the current top-of-the-line 5970, even though that's currently overkill for everything except Crysis. That should end up about the same price.

I'd welcome comments on the motherboard & PSU choices or better deals.
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January 20, 2010 8:57:25 PM

If you want to go socket 1366 because of the extended life, the new hexacore processors, I would go with the P6X58D Motherboard it is the only one currently gaurenteed to support the new hexacore chips and has USB 3.0 and SATA 6gb/s
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January 20, 2010 9:37:40 PM

650W probably won't be a good idea for crossfiring 5870s, and I think most would agree that it would be a good idea to try and preserve that possibility wherever possible, especially on a Bloomfield system, so probably bump it up to a 750W.
Here is a list of PSUs that are 750W, at a similiar price point to the Antec Truepower 650W and ones that I'm reasonably confident are quality units. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...
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January 20, 2010 9:43:36 PM

HAF 932 and an OCZ StealthXStream 700W - $209 - not 80 Plus certified apparently, but I've seen this PSU recommended around the forum. That would cover case & PSU at a cheaper price than listed in the build.
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January 20, 2010 9:53:06 PM

coldsleep's setup is very nice, I would look at CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX power supply as an alternative. The Corsair is currently on sale at Newegg for $114.99, free shipping and $25.00 mail in rebate.

Or if you are planning on adding a second graphics card down the line you could also get the CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX for $139.99, free shipping and $10.00 mail in rebate.

Both of these Corsair units are highly reviewed at Newegg and as you can see you get more wattage for the money.

----

A couple other case options, really it depends on what you like to look at because they all vent well and are large enough for anything on the market today (well except the new 4-way SLI, I'm not sure about that):

COOLER MASTER HAF 932 $149.98 + $24.99 shipping
Antec Twelve Hundred Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case $159.99 +$14.99 shipping


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January 20, 2010 11:48:19 PM

i agree with johnpaul you are one awesome parent.

coldsleep's setup is pretty kinda of overkill though lol. but his build should last you a good while for games at least.

not too sure about the SDD i know you have a high budget but IMO the price isnt worth shaving off a few seconds off startup and it doesnt affect game fps

also Mr_E's recommended PSU is a good one too look at
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January 21, 2010 12:20:32 AM

jonpaul37 said:
would you be able to build your own if you ordered the parts individually? By the way, you're a tremendous parent for doing this, a new updated machine to a gamer is the awesomeness, in some cases it may even be better than a new car...


haha jonpaul37 thank you.. and no i would not be able to build it myself. I have someone who is going to put it together for me. I didnt ask them to help with the configuration cause they arent gamers...:) 
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Best solution

January 21, 2010 12:31:26 AM

Ok so my choices for the main components would probibaly be

Case

Antec 1200
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] -_-Product
159.99
or

Cooler Master HAF 932
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] -_-Product
139.99

Motherboard

Asus P6TD Deluxe
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] -_-Product
289.99

Or

Asus P6X58D
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] Tpk=p6x58d
299.99
For 10$ more you get usb 3.0 and Sata 6Gb/s

CPU

i7 920 D0
http://ncix.com/products/?sku=3888 [...] ture=Intel
346.39
Costs a bit extra but overclocks better

Heat Sink

Thermalright Venomous
http://ncix.com/products/?sku=4826 [...] ermalright
75.99

Video Cards

3xXFX 5850
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] -_-Product
929.97

or

XFX 5970
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] -_-Product
669.99

or

2xXFX 5870
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] -_-Product
809.98


RAM

Corsair XMS3 CL 7-7-7
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] -_-Product
179.99

or

Mushkin Redline CL 7-6-7
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] -_-Product
239.99

PSU

If you go with the Antec 1200 get the CP-850 for sure
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] k=CP%20850
139.99

Otherwise

Corsair HX-850
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] k=hx%20850
179.99

Hard Drive


I still like two of these in Raid 0 they offer great performance
Samsung Spinpoint F3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] -_-Product
2x54.99

Mabye a Solid state like this for a boot drive and one of those Spinpoints if you want to go that route
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] -_-Product






Total cost: Around $2400
If you shop around i'm sure you'll find better prices and NCIX matches anyone

Those are my recomendations

This is a bit of a copy and paste, with a few modifacations, from a post of mine in another thread I hope it helps

A bit of extra info

The i7 920 is older, more tried and true, and better for Crossfire SLI setups still the best choice for high performance rigs

The i7 860 is newer and performs better at stock but i would recomend a i5 750 if you want to go the socket 1156 route

The intel cpu's are definetly the way to go at this budget, although the AMD's are clocked higher they are outperformed by the intels at stock and even more when overclocked
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January 21, 2010 12:32:11 AM

wow thank you so much for all the info. especially you coldsleep :D  I just have one request. Could ya'll speak english? LOL.. crossfiring? PSU? SDD? I know I sound hopeless, but I really have no idea what all that means. Sorry.... :??: 

i will take a look at all of the info. thanks again so much everyone :D 
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January 21, 2010 12:32:42 AM

My applologies the links arent working but you can search the components on newegg yourself =)
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January 21, 2010 4:03:27 AM

papastln06 said:
wow thank you so much for all the info. especially you coldsleep :D  I just have one request. Could ya'll speak english? LOL.. crossfiring? PSU? SDD? I know I sound hopeless, but I really have no idea what all that means. Sorry.... :??: 

i will take a look at all of the info. thanks again so much everyone :D 


To build is to learn acronyms! Sadly those few are the tip of the iceberg but to help get you started:

CF=Crossfiring=having two or more video cards installed in the same computer.

PSU = Power supply unit

SDD=soild disk drive which is the same as SSD=solid state drive -- this one is confusing because people type SDD because for so long hard disk drives were abrev as HDD. Since soild state drives are still new on the market the acronyms aren't set in stone. Some use SDD and some use SSD. (unless I"m completely off my mark here ;p )
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January 21, 2010 10:47:32 AM

Mr_E I appreciate the acronym lesson. ;)  Really I do. My head was beginning to spin :pt1cable:  .

I am still currently trying to decide between the two builds that coldsleep and Aliod so kindly worked up for me.
Hopefully I will have decided today. Cant wait too long. If there is anyone who has any comments or other suggestions on
the two builds listed please feel free to voice them. I will be monitoring this thread all day today.

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January 21, 2010 12:41:28 PM

Ok here is what I have so far:

Case-Antec 1200 Black Steel ATX-didnt like the cooler master HAF
RAM-Mushkin Enhanced Redline 6GB
PSU- Antec CP-850
Heatsink- well since I didnt see one in coldsleeps build will go with the Thermalright Venomous
Video Cards- (2) XFX 5870


I have questions on the CPU, Motherboard, and Hard drive
on the CPU http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=38881&vpn=BX8060...
Arent these two the same thing? or am I missing something?

Hard drive-wouldnt 2 1 TB's be better than 2 500GB's? and what does Raid 0 mean?

Motherboard- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... dont these two have the same specs and capabilities? is it just the price and brand name that is different?

So with what I have chosen above which CPU, Motherboard, and Hard drive would be the better choice? Sorry if I'm being a hassle.. Just want to get this right for her.
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January 21, 2010 1:33:44 PM

just a quick addon.. have decided to go with the Asus P6X58D motherboard.
and i7-920 D0 for the CPU.

Almost done. :D 

Are there any conflicts or problems with what i have so far? Or does it look ok?
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January 21, 2010 2:53:46 PM

Looks good man the only thing i may consider is if you don't feel like spending all that money on a extreme Heast sink you could got with the Coolermaster Hyper 212 its and extremely solid heatsink capable of OC (OverClocking) to 3.6ghz easily.
Yah that gigabyte board is essentially the same , gigabyte is a great manufacterer, the only thing I think may be different is the Asus board has been announced to be compatible with intels next gen hexa core (6 cores) chips, i'm not sure if the gigabyte is but still its a great buy seeing as how many people will not upgrade to the hexa cores for a while
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January 21, 2010 3:03:34 PM

Aloid said:
Looks good man the only thing i may consider is if you don't feel like spending all that money on a extreme Heast sink you could got with the Coolermaster Hyper 212 its and extremely solid heatsink capable of OC (OverClocking) to 3.6ghz easily.
Yah that gigabyte board is essentially the same , gigabyte is a great manufacterer, the only thing I think may be different is the Asus board has been announced to be compatible with intels next gen hexa core (6 cores) chips, i'm not sure if the gigabyte is but still its a great buy seeing as how many people will not upgrade to the hexa cores for a while


sweet. thanks again Aloid for all the help..appreciate it :D 
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January 21, 2010 3:13:36 PM

Yah man I'm sure you'll have tuns of enjoyment building and playing that monster of a rig. Good luck man :D 
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January 21, 2010 3:15:10 PM

On the hard drives: On 2x 1 TB or 2x 500 GB, which one is better depends. 500 GB drives will be a little faster, but obviously smaller. If she needs a lot of storage space, get the 2x 1 TB. If she only needs a bit, get the 2x 500 GB. If she doesn't need much, get 1 500 GB.

On RAID 0: RAID is a way to combine drives (of the same size) together to gain certain benefits. It's another acronym standing for Redundant Array of Independent Disks. There are several different types of RAID, the most common being 0 and 1.

0 puts 2 or more HDDs together as one big drive that can write/read data a lot faster. However, if one of the drives fails, you lose all of the data.

1 puts 2 drives together as a single small drive, and automatically backs everything up. It's slower, but if one drive is lost, all of the data is still there.

Then there are also other ways of combing the two types above, such as RAID 5 (3 drives, with fast speed and partial reduandancy) and 10 (4 drives, complete redundancy, slightly faster speed than RAID 1).

RAID isn't really necessary. It's a good way to get really fast speeds out of regular drives (or crazy speeds out of SSDs).

And some notes on the build:

GPU: You shouldn't get 2 of the 5870s. You should get one HD 5970 if you can. The HD 5970 is essentially two 5870s on one card. They've just been slightly underclocked, which can be fixed. The price of 2x 5870s is $800, while the price of the 5970 is $650ish. So by getting the single card with the same power, you save $150, and can still add a second one later.

CPU: Those two links are the same thing, but one is sold in Canda.

Mobo: I'd go with the Asus one.

HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3. Either the 1 TB or 500 GB would be fine. If these are sold out, get the Seagate 7200.12 in the same size.

SSD: I'd hold off on getting an SSD. Since she's a gamer, she'll want a lot of space on it for games. A 128 GB model is around $400, and can easily sap the budget. If everything else comes in under budget, go ahead and throw it in.

CPU Cooler: Definitely go with the Coolermaster Hyper 212. It's one of the best, and one of the cheapest.
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January 21, 2010 3:22:06 PM

For first time builder RAID 0 may not be the best idea especially because you are going to have twice the chance of complete failure :cry:  but it does offer better performance. Just wikipedia RAID and you will learn all you'll ever need to know
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January 21, 2010 3:51:59 PM

I'd agree on not using RAID, apparently a lot of people are having problems with it on Win 7. It's really unnecessary these days. (Of course, if you went with an SSD, you'd blow away any RAID 0 speeds achieved by more traditional hard drives.)

I didn't include a cooler since I figured overclocking wasn't really necessary, but if she wants to experiment with that, it's certainly an option.

And agreed that the SSD isn't necessary, but there comes a certain point where you run out of money to get much better stuff with. In general, an SSD really improves the perceived speed of the computer, as it will boot a lot more quickly and programs loaded on that drive will start faster. They're certainly quite expensive right now, and won't really improve gaming except for level load times. It's something I'm planning on going with a few months down the road, but right now might be a bit early for a new build, and it's easy to add later if desired.

I'd also agree with MadAdmiral that you're better off not getting 2x 5870s, get a 5970 instead. I meant to mention it in the original build (and clearly forgot), figuring that it would be an option for going above the $2k mark I wanted to try to stay under.
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January 21, 2010 4:40:49 PM

Here is the final (I hope lol) build.

Antec 1200
Asus P6X58D
i7-920 D0
Mushkin Enhanced Redline 6GB
Antec CP-850
CoolerMaster Hyper 212 Plus-not really sure if she overclocks.. but just in case ;) 
XFX HD 5970
2 Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB

To everyone that contributed Thank you so much. I will try to let everyone know how she likes it :D 
After all the researching and questions, she had better LOVE the damn thing :lol: 
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January 21, 2010 4:45:48 PM

That's about the best machine you can get (excluding SSDs).
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January 21, 2010 4:47:07 PM

Yep, the build looks great. I'm sure it'll be more than satisfactory.
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January 21, 2010 6:36:21 PM

papastln06 said:
Here is the final (I hope lol) build.

Antec 1200
Asus P6X58D
i7-920 D0
Mushkin Enhanced Redline 6GB
Antec CP-850
CoolerMaster Hyper 212 Plus-not really sure if she overclocks.. but just in case ;) 
XFX HD 5970
2 Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB

To everyone that contributed Thank you so much. I will try to let everyone know how she likes it :D 
After all the researching and questions, she had better LOVE the damn thing :lol: 


That is a sexy machine. If she doesn't love it, she's not as serious about gaming as she claims ;) 
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January 21, 2010 8:41:47 PM

papastln06 said:
Here is the final (I hope lol) build.

Antec 1200
Asus P6X58D
i7-920 D0
Mushkin Enhanced Redline 6GB
Antec CP-850
CoolerMaster Hyper 212 Plus-not really sure if she overclocks.. but just in case ;) 
XFX HD 5970
2 Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB

To everyone that contributed Thank you so much. I will try to let everyone know how she likes it :D 
After all the researching and questions, she had better LOVE the damn thing :lol: 


Make sure you pick up some Thermal paste (Article Silver 5) and also an operating system (OS), like Windows 7. If you have an older version of Widows, say windows Vista or XP then all you will need is an Windows 7 Upgrade. Which if you know someone in college, they can likely get for under $40. If not, or you don't want to hassle with installing and older version of windows to just turn around and upgrade, then you can go with the systems build edition as listed above.
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January 28, 2010 1:19:14 AM

Best answer selected by papastln06.
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February 4, 2010 2:28:21 PM

:bounce:  I just wanted to let everyone who helped me on this build, know that she loves it. I can barely tear her away from it. Thank you so much. I could not have done any of it without ya'lls input. I will be sure to tell anyone who needs computer advice to come here. You are great!!!!! :love:  :D 
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