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Sub $1000 dx11 gaming box

Last response: in Systems
January 26, 2010 1:29:09 AM

That article about the phenom x2 555 got me motivated to pull the trigger on a dx 11 windows 7 gaming box as soon as I can get my hands on one of them.

AMD Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition
hec Zephyr 1000 1000W Power Supply
Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory
MSI R5850-PM2D1G OC Radeon HD 5850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - Retail
ASUS 24X DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS
+$60 or so for the case, was kinda thinking Antec 300?

Grand Total: $900 as of 1/25/09 on newegg assuming the 555 is $99 like they said it will be. I will probably buy each individual piece from wherever has it at the lowest price. I have no loyalty to any companies, I just want the lowest price.

My three questions.
1. Do people think my motherboard selection is a good one for that new processor?
2. Assuming people like that MB for my setup is there better faster memory I should buy instead?
3. Since I have never heard anything about ati/amd and 3d.. would yall suggest a wait to fermi for 3d and dx11?

ANY thoughts opinions or otherwise are very much appreciated!

Edited the hard drive choice after reading MacAdmiral's suggestion

Edited back to original as per my posted response below.

Edited graphics card choice to the 5850 after reading benchmarks.

More about : 1000 dx11 gaming box

January 26, 2010 2:09:43 AM

First, 1000W PSU is way overkill. Also, hec isn't really known as high quality. I recommend the 750 or 850W Corsair.

Second, WD isn't that great right now. The Samsung Spinpoint F3 500 GB (or 1 TB) is a lot faster and cheaper/GB.

Third, you shouldn't waste your money on the 5750. Either step up to 5770s or get one 5850 or 5870. Crossfiring at the start of the build isn't a good idea. It ruins an entire upgrade path.

Fourth, look for combos. That motherboard is in combos with almost every AM3 CPU.

Fifth, you'll probably need to get a better case for Crossfire. I recommend the HAF 922 or Antec 900. At the very least, you should get the Antec 300 Illusion.

On to your questions:

1.) That's a good motherboard.
2.) The memory is good, assuming it's CAS Latency 7 sticks ($115).
3.) No, indications are that Fermi is going to run really hot. In addition, they will likely be more expensive.
January 26, 2010 2:25:34 AM

1. Yes, it should be an excellent board for your x2 555. The bios has ACC, which allows you to possibly unlock the 3rd and 4th core. (Alternatively, I believe there's a Gigabyte board ~$30 more expensive with SATA 6gb/s and USB 3.0 if you want those features).

3. At the moment, ATi's cards are at the top in price, performance, and price to performance (obviously with exceptions). Many people will tell you to stick to an ATI card and rightfully so. If you really want the graphics power of a new fermi, then that's up to you. Note that the price probably start at an absurdly high price range, as do most new flagship cards are. In addition, you may not even see the benefits (aside from longevity); especially if you're gaming on a monitor w/ less than a 1900x1200 resolution.

With that said, I personally think you're on the right track. I would suggest getting a 5770 over a 5750. It performs significantly better at a marginal price increase. Also, I don't think crossfiring right now would be the best choice. Depending on your resolution, you could easily get by with a single 5770 (and add another one later when you need it). Alternatively, 2x 5750 is about $40-50 shy of a 5850. The extra money towards a 5850 would be a very good investment if you're gaming on 1920x1080/1200.

Other points/misc. stuff covered well by Mad.
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January 26, 2010 5:31:26 AM

Thank you guys for the advice, so far.

First off I guess I should ask, are people worried that ati will be behind when it comes to 3d in games forever? I know a lot of the older nvidia cards support 3d if you have the rest of the setup. I worry once 3d goes more mainstream I may regret buying ati directx11 before waiting to see what fermi has to offer.

At first I liked the spinpoint when I was looking price per gig so much that I thought I had changed my mind. Then I started to think about quality, and long lasting data, and I compared the warranties and the company websites, and I just had more faith in the caviar black, so I reedited my edited post back to what it was originally. I am open to feedback on that decision though, as the spinpoint was cheaper per gig.

According to Newegg, only Antec, hec Compucase, Dynapower USA, Enermax, Silverstone, and Thermaltake have Crossfire certification. The corsair is Crossfire ready but that does not make me feel that great when I know I would be going into a crossfire setup at some point. I am sure the corsair would be fine, but I worry that it only being Crossfire ready will leave me with a salty taste in my mouth, ESPECIALLY if I have any problems later. Of those brands, do people trust any more or any less then others?

Is one 5850 faster then two 5750's? Two 5750's = ~$280, one 5850 ~$300. If one is really faster then 2 then I would jump up. My fear with NOT crossfiring from the start was I thought in order to crossfire, or sli for that matter, you need to match the EXACT same cards to do so? I could never even find the same graphics card I bought a year later when I decided I had the money for sli in my core2duo. You bring up a good point about an upgrade path, and it kinda makes me want to buy the 1gb 5770 now so I can buy another one later, but is one 5850 truly superior to 2 5750's? If you say one 5850 is faster then 2 5750s, then is 2 5770s at some point in the future when I can afford them gonna be vastly superior then the 5850? Those are questions I do not know the answers to.

As far as screen resolution, currently, I am still rocking my ViewSonic 19" flatscreen, not flatpanel, at 1600 x 1200. I figure I will decide on a monitor after my pc is up and running and I get all the bugs and kinks worked out of it.

As far as the gigabyte vs the asus motherboards, do people stand by one brand more or less then the other? My core2duo pc had really wierd hardware problems, and it had a gigabyte video card and motherboard, I am not saying they are a bad brand per say, but I am very open to what other people have to say about asus vs gigabyte in general. USB 3.0 could come in handy, but I don't see myself being able to fit a sata 6 gig drive into my budget any time soon.

As far as the case, I have not made any decisions on that quite yet, I may have more or less money to spend on a case once all my other choices are made, I don't mind spending right up to my $1000 limit, I just want to make sure I spend it as wisely as possible.

Thanks again for responding, I look forward to any other advice people have on my build.
January 26, 2010 10:16:16 AM

1.) 3D won't be mainstream for a really long time. By that time, you'll need a new video card anyway.

2.) That's completely wrong. Crossfire READY is what you want, not Crossfire certified. Ready means that you con plug it in and go. Certified means that it's feasible. Either one is fine, but of the ones you listed, only Antec is quality.

3.) To my knowledge, it doesn't have to be the exact same card (i.e. 2 of XFX 5770s) it just has to be the same series (2 of 5850s). The 5850 will handle everything at 1900x (might struggle with Crysis at high), as will 2x 5750. The difference is that the Crossfire will begin to age, and you'll have no upgrade path besides shelling out a massive amount for a new card.

Here is the comparision between the 5850, 5750 Crossfired, 5770 Crossfired and 5850 Crossfired (the 5970 is two 5870s on the same card, downclocked to 5850 speeds): =on&prod[3250]=on&prod[3254]=on&prod[3249]=on] . As you can see, the 5850 is about the same as the 5750 CF, and blows away both 5750 and 5770 in Crossfire. Keep in mind that 30 FPS is considered playable and 60 FPS is the maximum that you can noticed as monitors are 60 Hz.

Given you're resolution, both the Crossfire and 5850 are overkill.

People aren't really driven by brand so much on boards as they are on other parts (CPUs, GPUs, HDD). Right now, there are great offerings by both companies, and it tends to settle on the best performance in the price range. As far as the new ports are concerned, they probably won't be in real use for several years. After that, it might just be a little annoyance. They'll also release add on cards to enable it, but how they operate is to be seen.

You really can't go wrong with the HAF 922 and any Antec case. Just make sure it's big enough for the cards.
January 26, 2010 1:39:34 PM

1. There is really no point in getting a dual core CPU with 3core and quad core CPU just a tiny bit more. Gaming performance is best with 3 cores.

and a nice Phenom II x3 is $104.99

Tom's has a bad habit of not linking important results from the own older articles.
There is a substantial FPS increase going from 2 to 3 cores.

2. Drop the 1000W PSU...that think is way overkill. A 700W or 750W is more than adequate for your needs.

3. Don't bother with WD ATM. Till they start using their 500gb platters on non 2TB HD's, they're far behind in performance. If you don't like samsungs refund then get Seagate 7200.12 500gb drives. They have same warranty as WD.

4. There's no such thing as crossfire ready etc. It's all marketing gimmicks. A PSU with the right wattage and Amperage will run any system regardless of components.

The xfire ready is the equivalent of Staples advertising their scissor as being ready to cut their paper. Great...doesn't mean another scissors won't work as well or better.

5. It is generally not worth it to SLI or Xfire off the bad. 2 cards =\= 2x the performance. It range from 1.5 to 1.7x the performance of 1 card.

Basically, you never get your moneys worth from it. On occasion a same priced xfire/sli solution will offer better FPS than a more expensive card, but you effectively kill any growth potential of the system right off the bat.

6. SATA 6.0 refers to a new industry standard, it's not a specific drive... Think of an industry standard change as going form dial up to broadband or the industry going from SD to HD TV.

7. Length of warranty means nothing. How well companies honor their warranty is what does. A bad company with a 200 year warranty can have a product break the day you install it, and then refuse to honor their warranty because it wasn't installed by a certified mechanic. If they do honor their warranty, they may also make you pay to ship everything and then take 6 months to get a replacement to you.

A good company may only have a 1 year warranty, but they'll mail a replacement right away and pay for shipping for the broken component back to them. They may even still help you out after the warranty officially expires.

Classic example:
Cyberpower PC sends you a broken PC, they make you pay to ship it back to them for repair AND to ship the fixed comp back to you right off the bat. 2 months later you're still calling them wondering what's going on with the PC. Then they say they shipped it to you and oops it probably was lost in transit. Would you like a 5% discount on a new PC?

Peugot Systems PC arrives broken, they send a tech to your house to fix it the next day, or pay for 2 day shipping both ways and have the PC back to you in week.
January 26, 2010 2:06:39 PM

At $1000 price point, I'd be looking I5. From everything I've read, the I5-750 outperforms anything AMD can offer.

May I recommend:

Case/PSU combo:
$160 - $30 MIR
Lian Li LanCool PC-K62
OCZ Modstream 80%+ 700W PSU

Mobo/CPU combo:
Gigabyte P55A-UD3 (2xUSB3.0 and 2xSATA6GBps
Intel i5-750

ATI Radeon 5850

G.Skill 4GB (2x2) DDR3 1600 9-9-9-24

Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB

DVD burner:
Lite-On SATA DVD-burner

Total (without shipping/MIR):$956

This leaves you with a bit to get an after-market cooler (if OC-ing), which I recommend the Titan Fenrir (although that will burst your $1000 budget by a few bucks, but imo worth it).
January 26, 2010 2:06:51 PM

banthracis said:
3. Don't bother with WD ATM. Till they start using their 500gb platters on non 2TB HD's, they're far behind in performance. If you don't like samsungs refund then get Seagate 7200.12 500gb drives. They have same warranty as WD.

That's not true. The WD Black drives have a 5 year warranty. Both the Samsung F3 and Seagate 7200.12 drives have a 3 year warranty. Yes, the 500GB platter drives perform a bit better, but if you want the 5 year warranty there's nothing wrong with the 640GB WD Black drives regardless of what you here in these forums.
January 26, 2010 2:19:01 PM

If you are wondering about 5850 vs 5770x2 performance comparisons, check out these reviews:

Crysis DX10:

Batman: Arkham Asylum:

Other games are beneath the menus on those reviews.

Guru found 5770x2 and 5850 to have equal performance in Crysis, and Batman has the 5770x2 besting the 5850.

I'd still take the single card now, and then Xfire another 5850 down the line if you need more FPS.
January 26, 2010 2:23:51 PM

@falkun: The reason to go with an AMD build around this budget is that by saving the extra on the CPU and mobo, you can get a better GPU. For gaming, the GPU is more important than the CPU, so the little gain you'd get from the i5 isn't actually noticeable when compared to the gain from going with a 5870 over a 5850.
January 26, 2010 2:48:56 PM

MadAdmiral said:
@falkun: The reason to go with an AMD build around this budget is that by saving the extra on the CPU and mobo, you can get a better GPU. For gaming, the GPU is more important than the CPU, so the little gain you'd get from the i5 isn't actually noticeable when compared to the gain from going with a 5870 over a 5850.

I agree the GPU is more important than the CPU for gaming, but I put together a better system (including GPU) with a better upgrade path for ~$50 more. I'd call that a win.
(Wow, all this talk about 5770s in Xfire made me glaze over the fact his build is for dual 5750s, which is a downgrade from a single 5850 imo, eating up crossfire, providing mixed results in performance, less scalability, and costing the same amount of money.)

We're also not talking the increase in performance (and price) of going from a 5850 to a 5870. We are talking about going from an equally priced (or close enough) 2x5750 to a single 5850. Performance gains are minute now, price difference is negligable. Its mostly a matter of:
1. Does the OP want a single or dual-card setup?
2. What games is the OP playing on the setup?
2a. Does the game handle dual-GPUs well (think Dawn of War)?
3. Are the dual-GPU drivers as mature as the single-GPU drivers yet (IDK if this is still an issue, I know it used to be)?

Best solution

January 26, 2010 2:56:42 PM

Yeah, that's been covered.

To compare, here's what I would build with $1000 and AMD:

CPU/Mobo: Phenom II X4 955 and Asus M4A79XTD EVO Combo $256 after rebate
RAM: Corsair XMS3 2x2 GB DDR3 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $110
Case: HAF 922 $90
PSU/Optical: OCZ StealthXStream 700W and DVD Burner Combo $72 after rebate
HDD: Spinpoint F3 500 GB $55
GPU: HD 5870 $380 w/ promo code

Total: $963.
January 26, 2010 3:05:00 PM

MadAdmiral said:

Ok, now that is a good alternative to my build, geared for gaming. I still like my case, but that's more of a preference, the RAM is a good find, PSU/HDD are the same, optical is optical. Definately an improvement upon the OP's original build.
January 26, 2010 3:08:46 PM

Forgot to add one thing.

CPU Cooling: Coolermaster Hyper 212 $30

Also, my PSU isn't the modular one. It's also in a combo with the Lian Li case.
January 26, 2010 3:56:01 PM

Wow, thanks for all the work you guys put into this, I will have to read a lot more and respond when I am more knowledgeable. You guys rock!
January 26, 2010 5:23:33 PM

Ya I am definitely convinced that I want the 5850 now after doing my homework. Now I just need to decide if I want a mobo that supports crossfire, I dunno if I could ever afford another 5850 for this box, and if so I wonder if I would need a pretty beefy psu to do so?

Thanks for the clarification on crossfire ready and certified, now I am actually kinda thinking I may do this deal over at new egg:

XFX HD-585A-ZNBC Radeon HD 5850 (Cypress Pro) 1GB Black Edition 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported ... - Retail
314719XFX P1-650X-CAG9 650W ATX12V 2.2 / ESP12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power ... - Retail
Original Price: $479.98
Discount: -$60.00
Combo Price: $419.98

Would this psu be a good one to support two 5850s?
January 26, 2010 5:26:53 PM

750W PSU should cover it. I would get a Crossfire board, as you will need to upgrade later, and it keeps your options open. Keep in mind that you don't need to Crossfire right away. The prices will come down a lot later on. After all, all of the $50 GPUs used to be $300 ones at one point...
January 26, 2010 5:48:48 PM

I guess I have all my questions answered, I think after doing all this research I am going to need to increase my budget just a tad to get everything I want, not a big deal, as I tend to always spend too much on electronics anyway.

After doing all this research I am realising more and more that it really does seem as though if Fermi fails, Nvidia is pretty much out of the game.
January 26, 2010 5:50:36 PM

Best answer selected by Rojen.
January 26, 2010 5:51:31 PM

Only for a year or two. That's the best thing about being in the tech industry. Second chances come around fast.