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My First Build $1,000 to $1,200

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January 27, 2010 3:06:03 PM

For several years now I've relied upon a somewhat sluggish, though not totally unreliable emachine; however, my patience has its limits. Too many hours have been spent listening to the device whir and grind as it struggles to open Word or Firefox. Instead of picking one up at the store again, I've decided to try my luck at assembling my own. Since I'm a novice at this, I've decided to ask you more capable strangers for help. I'd appreciate it you'd please have a look at what I've got so far and point out any glaring flaws or potential improvements. Thank you.


Approximate Purchase Date: Late-February to April 2010

System Usage: Gaming, Internet, School Work (a.k.a. Microsoft Office) Encoding Video (converting my DVD/Blu-Ray collection to .mp4/.mkv), Watching Movies/Listening to Music, and Maybe Some Basic Photoshop Use

Parts Not Required: OS (Windows 7 Ultimate x64), keyboard, mouse, monitor, and speakers

Preferred Vendors: Newegg or another trustworthy site provided they offer a better deal

Overclocking: Most likely

CrossFire: Maybe later

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080


These are the components I'm thinking of going with.


Case

Antec P183

I'll be sleeping next to this thing, so low light and sound pollution is important. Also, it should allow for some room to grow and will hopefully last me for a few builds. Bonus points for having the same color scheme as my parents' refrigerator.


CPU

AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb

or

AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb

Would the additional 200Mhz be worth the $30 price increase? The consensus seems to be "no," but would the 965 have a potentially higher operating frequency should I choose to overclock it in the future? Also, I've read that the Intel Core i7-920 Bloomfield is the superior processor, but would the performance boost justify the $100-120 jump in price?


Motherboard

ASUS M4A79XTD EVO AM3

This board has received positive reviews on Newegg, and the "Guide to Choosing Parts" thread on this forum says 790x boards provide a good cost performance ratio. Additionally, it supports DDR3 memory and CrossFireX which should add to the build's life expectancy.


PSU

CORSAIR CMPSU-750HX

I like to keep things nice and tidy, so I'd prefer a modular PSU. Newegg's power supply calculator's recommended wattage for my prospective build (plus an additional video card) is 679. I've read that you should plan on using a PSU for five to six years or two to three builds. Would going with and 850 or 1,000 watt model be a wiser choice in long run?


GPU

SAPPHIRE 100283L Radeon HD 5770

I'm not exactly married to the Sapphire brand, so please feel free suggest some alternatives. However, I am partial to the HD 5770. It's reasonably priced, supports DX11, and I can slap another one in the case if the one can't cut it.


Memory

I should mention at this point that my research over the last couple of weeks has left me with an affinity for Corsair products.

CORSAIR XMS3 4GB

or

CORSAIR DOMINATOR 4GB

I'm curious about what exactly justifies the $40 cost increase on the Dominator. The XMS3s are the same speed and have a lower cas latency (lower is better, right?). So would I be paying extra for the larger heat spreaders, the more stylish look, or the simple thrill one experiences from owning something called the "Dominator"? Whatever the case may be, either will be a vast improvement over the 256MB of DDR I'm sporting now (Yeah, I know...).


HDD

Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB

Although, the Samsung Spinpoint F3 seems to be another popular choice. What makes the Samsung drive so appealing? Does it make up for the fact that its warranty is two years shorter than Western Digital's? This is probably something I should look into.


ODDs

Doesn't really matter but...

DVD: Sony Optiarc SATA DVD Burner

It's black!

BD

I haven't decided on one yet.


CPU Cooler

Corsair CWCH50

The Corsair bias returns a final time. The H50 has received generally positive reviews, many which contain those beautiful words, "quiet" or "fairly silent." I'm a little concerned as some customer reviews on Newegg say it is difficult to install, but the male hormones coursing through my veins tell me I can handle this.

Well, that's it. Forgive me if this was a bit long-winded. I just want to ensure I'm making the right(est) choice, since I'm throwing ~$1,000 into this thing. Thanks again.

More about : build 000 200

January 27, 2010 3:18:13 PM

Is the budget $1,000 or $1,500? Really makes a huge difference...

Here's what I would build:

CPU/Mobo: X4 955 and Asus M4A79XTD EVO Combo on Newegg for $256 after rebate

RAM: The XMS3 are better. $110

HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB $90. It's better because it uses 500 GB platters opposed to the WD's 333 GB. The larger platters mean faster access/write times, fewer moving parts (less noise, heat), and just about better in everything else. It's also cheaper.

PSU: Seasonic 850W $110. It's cheaper, bigger, more efficient. Modular PSUs don't matter very much in bottom mounted cases, as the cables are already out of the way at the bottom of the case.

Optical: Cheapest SATA DVD burner $20

BluRay: Pointless in my opinion. Not worth the extra $75-100 right now.

Case: That one's fine $150

GPU: HD 5850 $290

CPU Cooler: Coolermaster Hyper 212 $30. One of the very best.

Total: $1,056. There might be other combos out there...

If you wanted to spend closer to $1,500, here are the changes in the order I would make them.

GPU: HD 5870 Adds $110 ($1,166 total)

CPU/Mobo: i5-750 and Asus P7P55D-E Pro Adds $134 ($1,300 total)

CPU: i7-860 Adds $80 ($1,380 total). Same gaming performance as the i5, but better for the other stuff (multi-tasking, encoding, etc.)

SSD: 64 GB SSD as a boot/app drive Adds $225 ($1,520 total)
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January 27, 2010 3:35:33 PM

I wouldn't get an i7 for gaming. It's a waste of money. The 860 is better than the 920 at just about everything...
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January 27, 2010 5:10:32 PM

MadAdmiral said:
Is the budget $1,000 or $1,500? Really makes a huge difference...


Yes... yes it does. Sorry about that I meant to put $1,200.


MadAdmiral said:
CPU/Mobo: X4 955 and Asus M4A79XTD EVO Combo on Newegg for $256 after rebate


Nice, Thanks for pointing that out.


Quote:
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB $90. It's better because it uses 500 GB platters opposed to the WD's 333 GB. The larger platters mean faster access/write times, fewer moving parts (less noise, heat), and just about better in everything else. It's also cheaper.


Great, Spinpoint it is then, thanks.


MadAdmiral said:
PSU: Seasonic 850W $110. It's cheaper, bigger, more efficient. Modular PSUs don't matter very much in bottom mounted cases, as the cables are already out of the way at the bottom of the case.


I see. I hadn't considered that having the PSU in the bottom chamber would limit the excess wiring problem. A friend of mine recommended Seasonic as well.


MadAdmiral said:
BluRay: Pointless in my opinion. Not worth the extra $75-100 right now.


I'd like to have one eventually, but I may wait a month or two and put the money towards the GPU or an SSD instead.


MadAdmiral said:
GPU: HD 5850 $290


I'll look into this. I was thinking of going for a more powerful card, but I had only really looked at the HD 5770s and 5870s. This seems like it might be a nice middle ground price wise.


MadAdmiral said:
CPU Cooler: Coolermaster Hyper 212 $30. One of the very best.


This looks promising too.

bejabbers said:
I would go with the i7 920 and 6Gb of ram, but everything else looks good.


MadAdmiral said:
I wouldn't get an i7 for gaming. It's a waste of money. The 860 is better than the 920 at just about everything...


Yeah, I had read that it is better to focus more on the GPU instead of the CPU when it comes to gaming. I think I'll stick with the AMD Phenom II X4 955, and put more money towards a better video card. The 955 should be more than adequate for everyday use and occasional video encoding, right?

Thank you both for your responses.
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January 27, 2010 5:25:04 PM

Yes, the 955 is still a great CPU.

The HD 5850 is considered to be as high as you should go, in terms of price to performance. The 5870 offers something like 15% performance increase for 33% price increase.

It's also a wise decision to wait on adding an SSD. They're really expensive right now, and still need to be perfected.
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January 27, 2010 5:25:54 PM

MadAdmiral said:
I wouldn't get an i7 for gaming. It's a waste of money. The 860 is better than the 920 at just about everything...


...and for gaming the i5 is just as good as the 860 for $80 less. The 920 is better at having an upgrade path which might now seem that important now, but could come in extremely handy down the road. Either way at this budget range phenom II would yield the most balanced system.
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January 27, 2010 5:30:53 PM

That's why I put the X4 955 in the original build. The Intel CPUs were the upgrades based on the real budget.

I mentioned the 860 for the better encoding abilities. I don't consider an upcoming $1,000 CPU a viable upgrade path. It'll be a good 3-4 years before that's a reasonable price, and at that point, the entire build will be beginning to age...
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January 27, 2010 5:37:20 PM

MadAdmiral said:
That's why I put the X4 955 in the original build. The Intel CPUs were the upgrades based on the real budget.

I mentioned the 860 for the better encoding abilities. I don't consider an upcoming $1,000 CPU a viable upgrade path. It'll be a good 3-4 years before that's a reasonable price, and at that point, the entire build will be beginning to age...


i find it very hard to believe they will all be 1000...
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January 27, 2010 5:44:21 PM

They weren't. Did you read the rest of the thread? OP gave a budget range of $1,000 - $1,500. I made a build with a $1,000 starting point (X4 955/5850) and some changes based on an increased budget (5870, i5, i7-860, SSD).
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