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1st New Build – Budget High End machine for WoW @ Max Settings

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January 27, 2010 5:04:37 PM

I am looking to build a computer for the first time. Unfortunately, I have not built one on my own before but I see there are plenty of resources to follow in order to DIY. I have researched a similar build (MadAdmiral’s sig) before posting but after reading several posts on here and seeing some excellent advice, I thought I would post a question of my own instead of piecing out a build from other requesters.

What I want: I play World of Warcraft for a top guild on my server and since the release of the new ICC content (and signs prior to this content), I am noticing that my machine is not capable of handling 25 man raid environments well. I run at 3-5fps in 25mans with ALL settings turned down and with the very few necessary addons needed. No AA, no VSync, no physicx, and I'm left with no other option. Since this is a hobbie of mine, I don't mind investing a little $ to get that performance back..

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: ASAP

BUDGET RANGE: ~$600ish (I can be negotiable with budget. I'm more concerned with meeting my priorities but I also like good value)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Max settings, smooth gameplay, high FPS on WoW in 25man raids, FireFox+10 tabs, alt-tabbing, to watching movies online.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: monitor, mouse, and keyboard

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg or other trustworthy sites.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA (Florida)

PARTS PREFERENCES: AMD Phenom II X4 955 or 965 (Are these equivalent to the i7s w/out the premium?)

OVERCLOCKING: No.

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe. I'm not familiar with how it works.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Current monitor is 20in ultra wide Dell 1680x1080, I wouldn't mind upgrading it, if it will help performance in some way..

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
[Comments were taken from another poster with similar interests] priorities are: 1) running WoW or any game currently available at very high settings and maximum FPS, 2) reasonably priced and 3) future upgradability. I would like to be able to come back in 1-2 years and bump the performance to make it last another year or two, albeit not as a top-performance machine. I assume that 'bump' would likely come in the form of a second SLI / CrossFireX card and possibly some additional / upgraded memory.
[/end plagiarism]

Additionally:
I'm hoping for a quiet box, that has USB + headphone jacks on the front, not too flashy but sleek + sharp design, and that requires little assembly. As I said, this will be my first time building a rig and I would be uncomfortable fabricating a mounting assembly if the case didn't fit one of the fans.. (this could happen, right?)

OS: Win7 w/ preferably a fast bootup time. Side topic - What do I need to do there?

Here's what I'm leaning towards at the moment:

[more plagiarism]
Motherboard: AMD3 socket to 'futureproof' my system and allow for maximum upgrades in a year or two. Also think I need a minimum of 2x PCIe x16 slots to allow the second GPU later? Not sure of any other specific future expansion details I need?

Processor: AMD primarily for the value, since I'm not looking to pay Intel top dollar for top performance. Leaning towards quad-core because it looks like more and more games will start making use of 4 cores (seems like 2 cores is max efficiency at the moment). So, I think I'm looking for the best performance quad core, AMD3 socket processor that I can get right now ... but not sure what that is?

Graphics card: My plan is to good an excellent GPU atm with either CrossFireX or SLI and then add another one down the road to bump my performance, especially since multi-GPU scaling should really start taking effect over the next 1-2 years. I think going AMD is forcing me to go for CrossFireX, right? I haven't thought too much about the GPU because I know I need to nail down the mobo and CPU first.
[/end plagiarism]

If I’m asking for too much, given the reduced budget, then please let me know. I’m flexible, to a degree. Any assistance with a proper solution for building this rig is greatly appreciated.
a b Ý World of Warcraft
January 27, 2010 5:21:49 PM

First, the X4 955/965 are not as powerful as the i7. They're just the high end of AMD's line. And that's not in your budget.

On to the build:

CPU/Mobo: X3 425 and Asus M4A79XTD EVO Newegg combo for $162 after rebate
RAM: Corsair XMS3 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $110
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 500 GB $55
Optical: Cheapest SATA DVD burner $20
Case: Antec 300 $60
PSU: OCZ StealthXStream 700W $60 after rebate
GPU: HD 5770 $155 after rebate

All of that's already $622, without the $100 for Windows 7 (unless you're a student). That's about as cheap as it (barring additional combos) and still performs extremely well.
a b Ý World of Warcraft
January 27, 2010 6:10:31 PM

Here's a [similar] build:

Antec Two Hundred Black ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
Model #:Two Hundred
Item #:N82E16811129070
$54.95 -$5.00 Instant $49.95
Good cooling, comes with fans.

POWERCOLOR AX5750 512MD5-H Radeon HD 5750 512MB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - Retail
Model #:AX5750 512MD5-H
Item #:N82E16814131331
$129.99 $129.99
The choice over which I'll get the most grief. Your game, WoW, is not extremely demanding, and you are at 1680x1050. Well, I play mostly Guild Wars, which is slightly more demanding, at 1680x1050 with a similar-power HD4850, and stay pegged at 60Hz even in crowded areas. This card should be fine for you, and you can always add another one for Crossfire later. You might save $30 here if you can find a HD4850 or HD4770 instead, but finding another one next year for Crossfire may be difficult. Of course, you might choose a single HD7xxx-series card then.

AMD Athlon II X3 435 Rana 2.9GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Processor Model ADX435WFGIBOX - Retail
Model #:ADX435WFGIBOX
Item #:N82E16819103724
$76.99 $76.99
This was purely a budget choice, but should perform well. The 720BE has become unreasonably priced, considering it's the OEM version and you'd still need to buy a cooler; the 955BE is probably outside your budget, although it would be an even nicer choice.

SeaSonic S12E Bronze 650W 650W ATX12V v2.31/EPS 12V v2.92 SLI Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
Model #:SS-650HT Bronze
Item #:N82E16817151082
$139.99 -$40.00 Instant $99.99
Efficient, should be very good quality, and enough juice for Crossfire later. The only down side is it isn't modular, so you may have some cable management issues. The bottom mounting in the Antec case should help.

ASRock M3A785GXH/128M AM3 AMD 785G HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
Model #:M3A785GXH/128M
Item #:N82E16813157167
$99.99 -$5.00 Instant $94.99
I've had good results from ASRock's AMD boards. This one can do Crossfire at x8,x8, and still have a X4 slot left for USB3.0 or a card to do PhysX if you want it.

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBRM - Retail
Model #:F3-10666CL8D-4GBRM
Item #:N82E16820231275
$108.99 $108.99
Eh. I've seen it recommended a lot around here. Voltage and timings are reasonable.

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Model #:HD502HJ
Item #:N82E16822152181
$54.99 $54.99
Fast, current tech hard drive.

SAMSUNG DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223L LightScribe Support - OEM
Model #:SH-S223L
Item #:N82E16827151188
$25.99 $25.99
This one's got Lightscribe, worth the extra $2-$3 IMHO.

Subtotal: $641.88

A little over, but has room for future growth. Doesn't count any rebates; that's a game and YMMV on those, so I never count them.
Related resources
a b Ý World of Warcraft
January 27, 2010 6:27:50 PM

I think I pulled off this build w/ a 5770 and Phenom II x4 earlier this week. Lemme see if I can dig it up.

But the 5750 is SO bad in terms of price/performance ratio that I'd hate for anyone to use it, especially with a 5770 just a little more.

Ripjaws are great, but the new Corsair XMS3's are a few bucks cheaper with slightly better timings. I haven't seen any reviews or tested them myself yet, but coming from Corsair, as long as you're not trying to do high OC's, they're a better buy than ripjaws.
a b Ý World of Warcraft
January 27, 2010 6:31:36 PM

Agree with banthracis on the 5750. For the extra $15, you get 15% better performance. One of the best uses of that $15 in a build.
a b Ý World of Warcraft
January 27, 2010 6:43:58 PM

Ok here it is

GPU/CPU
Phenom II x4 2.8ghz/5770 $276.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Mobo
Gigabyte GA-MA790XT-UD4P $109.99 w/ $15 MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU/HD
OCZ modxstream 600w and Spinpoint F3 $109.98 w/ $25 MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Optical
Samsung $20
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case
Antec 300 $51.99 includes savings from $8 off w/ promo code EMCYZNT57
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM
Corsairs XMS3 4gb DDR3 1600 7-8-7-20 $109.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total:$678.94 not including $40 MIR and shipping

Came out to $652.26 after MIR and shipping to NYC.
January 28, 2010 2:34:43 PM

Great advice. Thanks everyone for the feedback and the recommendations.

I had one other question - do you have a monitor recommendation? I would like to upgrade my monitor from a 1680x1050 to 1920x1080.
!