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Need Advice on 1st Gaming PC

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February 11, 2010 7:13:44 AM

Hey Guys,

Figured it would be appropriate if my first post was about my first gaming PC. So here it goes...

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: 3-4 months

BUDGET: $1500-1700, Monitor Included

SYSTEM USAGE: Gaming only

PARTS NOT INCLUDED: Require everything

PREFERRED WEBSITES FOR PARTS: No preference

PARTS PREFERENCES: None

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe, but only the GPU. I don't really feel all that comfortable with doing it as it is.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080 or 1920x1200

Here are the parts I've decided on so far:

Processor:
Intel i7 920 Bloomfield

Motherboard: I'm a little more unsure about this
ASUS P6T Deluxe V2

ASUS P6T6 Revolution

ASUS Rampage II Extreme

I have a few questions about the mobos I've listed. First of all I'm not planning on using 2 GPU's right away, but I am planning on using a Blackmagic Intensity Pro to capture video and broadcast on Justin.tv, but I will have to use a PCIe slot to do that. I guess my first question for anybody who might know, is there a difference to using the Blackmagic in a x16 vs x1? Second question, is the Rampage II better than the Revolution or is it even worth the extra money? And lastly, if I'm only planning on using 1 GPU for now should I just get the Deluxe V2?

Memory:
Corsair XMS3 240-pin DDR3 1600

Hard Drive:
Hitachi Deskstar HD31000 1TB 7200 RPM SATA II

Video Card:
This is what I need the most advice about. I've been a Mac user my whole life and have really only used nVidia cards. I haven't really done any computer gaming though, just 1 or 2 here and there. I've been looking at both the GTX 295 and the Radeon HD5870. I've also considered a GTX 280 OCed. Are there any other cards I should consider? Am I overspending on something that might only have a negligible difference? If not, which of those cards would be best?

Sound Card:
Haven't decided on a sound card, is it worth my while to get one?

Optical Drive:
Samsung S222L

Power Supply:
Corsair 850W

Is this a big enough power supply for this system and will it be if I eventually go with 2 GPUs?

Computer Case:
Thermaltake Armor+

Haven't fully decided on a case yet, really just started researching on them. Will this one be good or is there better out there for the money?

Monitor:
LG 24" 2ms(gtg) LCD with LED backlight 1920x1080


I'm really only 100% on the processor, anything else you think could be replaced with something better (even cheaper), I'm all ears. Right now I'm at $1,570 total not including the video card or rebates and I haven't shopped around for best price. Everything has been pulled from newegg and I'm not firm on $1700, just don't want to go too far over. Considering I'm probably not going to be purchasing anything for 3 months, some of these prices will hopefully go down by that time anyway. I appreciate yalls help. Sorry for the novel.


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a b 4 Gaming
February 11, 2010 11:26:49 AM

If you're only gaming, switch the the i5-750. Also, come back within a week or two of buying, as there is a LOT of new tech due to come out soon.

Here's what I'd build:

CPU: i5-750 $200
Mobo/OS: Asus P7P55D-E Pro and Windows 7 Home 64-bit $280
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $115
HDD: Seagate 7200.12 1 TB $95. Unfortuantely, the Spinpoints aren't available.
PSU: Silverstone 850W 80+ Silver $150. Much more efficient PSU.
Case: HAF 922 $90 after rebate. This is one of the best case available.
Optical: Cheapest SATA DVD burner $25
GPU: HD 5970 $650

Total: $1,605. The prices should drop and leave enough room for a good monitor and anything else. There also weren't any combos right now, which would likely change.
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February 11, 2010 11:52:10 AM

+1 to MadAdmiral's build.

The i7-9xx series are kind of expensive for the performance they give. It's a kind of diminishing returns scenario. The i5-750 is a highly unlikely bottleneck for games, as games of today can hardly utilize 4 cores if you overclock to around 3 GHz.

The P7P55D-E Pro is a good choice. I see no big difference with the next higher model, which is the P7P55D-E Evo. And it has a big advantage over the normal P7P55D-E. It also comes with USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps.

The HAF 922 is what I'm using right now, and I have to say it's pretty roomy.

The only thing I want to have changed is the graphics card. I wouldn't suggest the 5970 as games have issues using multiple GPUs. The 5970 is technically a couple of 5850s in a single card, although overclocking each to resemble a 5870 isn't hard. I suggest you go with a 5870, like what you were pondering. This drops your total by around 200$, which you can use to buy a SSD in addition to the 1 TB Seagate.

Don't skimp on the monitor. You'll want nothing less than 1920x1200 with the 5870.
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a b 4 Gaming
February 11, 2010 11:56:14 AM

Agree with everything gracefully said, with one minor difference. The 5970 is actually two 5870s on one card, which have been downclocked to equal the speeds of 5850s. So it can easily be set to operate like Crossfired 5870s.

I like to say the main difference between the 5870 and 5970 is that the 5870 may need to be upgraded after 3-4 years to stay at the top. The 5970 could easily carry on to another build in 4-5 years, so it technically shouldn't need to be upgraded or replaced.

Either way you go, you will have a mean gaming machine.
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February 11, 2010 1:42:03 PM

i have to go with Mad Admiral's build ^+1.

Personally i would take your Corsair 850HX PSU over the Silverstone but they are both great so it's just personal preference.

The GPU is tough. at this point it is a little up to you. the 5870 will give you some room to round out your build with say a creative or Asus sound card. and yes they do make sound tremendously better but it isn't worth it if you don't play games or listen to music a lot.

also i am not fully convinced you would want to bank on crossfiring the 5970. not sure about exact numbers but the 4870x2 crossfire took a 1k watt PSU to run soo 850watt might not be enough for 5970s.

Here is the thing both of these will run anything out there right now. and the 5870 can be cross fired cheaply in a year or two. but the 5970 will take less space, power, and wont need to be upgraded for at least 2 to 3 years if not 4 or 5.

if i had to go one way or the other... i would probably say 5970 ^+1. but this is something you need to personally weigh the pros and cons on.

the HAF 922 is a great case. i try to stay out of cases because they are really about what you like.

i totally agree with the I5 750. the i7 920 is overkill at this price.

the Asus motherboard is great. SATA 6Gbps and USB 3.0 really future proof the board.

hope this helps, good luck, and have fun!
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a b 4 Gaming
February 11, 2010 1:45:44 PM

A quick note on the Silverstone. The 850TX isn't 80+ Certified. The 850HX (mentioned by rammar) is 80+ Silver, like the Silverstone I linked to, but the Silverstone is cheaper.

I don't believe a sound card is necessary. The only reason it might be is if you're a huge audiophile. I would leave it off at first to see if you don't like the onboard sound.

850W should be enough for XFired 5970s. That said, you should never need to do that.
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February 11, 2010 3:43:19 PM

I appreciate yalls responses.

I can see the reasoning of going with dual core right now. It would save me a lot of money, it's just as good for gaming as the i7 right now and it allows me to buy the 5970. I guess I'm more worried about that technology becoming outdated within the next couple years. I wouldn't want to have to rebuy a CPU and Mobo a year and a half or 2 years down the line. The other way of looking at that I guess is I'd be saving enough money to buy a really nice video card like the 5970 and I could buy a quad core a couple years from now when there is a lot more to choose from.

If I got the 5970, I probably wouldn't plan on crossfire for a good long while. I'm sure I could play on max settings with one of those puppies all day long. I was never sure that I wanted to XFire anyway. I would rather have 1 of the latest and greatest even if it is a little pricier. I haven't really done any research on the 5970. I never really thought of it as an option, thought it would be a little out of my price range before today. Is it a lot better than the GTX 295 and the 5870? I'm guessing by yalls recommendations that the 295 isn't as good as either one?
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a b 4 Gaming
February 11, 2010 4:46:46 PM

You mean triple core instead of dual, right?

You'll be fine for a good 3 years. You might need to stick in a new CPU (or could) in a couple of years, but AMD keeps their prices pretty reasonable, and you won't have to replace anything else to do that.

The 290 isn't an option right now. The 5970 is a lot better than the 5870, as it's essentially two of them on one card.
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February 11, 2010 6:32:12 PM

You can completely disregard that first paragraph, I don't know why I said dual core.

I'll just have to make sure I can use that Blackmagic Intensity Pro using PCIe x4 without too much trouble. On the ASUS P7P55D Pro there are only 16 PCIe 2.0 lanes, which won't be a problem since I'll be using only 1 GPU. It looks like there is another slot connected to the PCH, but will only run at x4, which is where I'd have to plug the blackmagic in. Perhaps someone can take a look at the Blackmagic Intensity Pro Specs and tell me if this will work out alright.

I've been looking at a lot of benchmarks for the 5970 and it looks quite a bit better than the 5870, but is it worth the extra $200? I'm looking at going with a 1920x1080 or a 1920x1200 resolution monitor.
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a b 4 Gaming
February 11, 2010 6:51:38 PM

Put it this way: The 5870 is likely to need to be upgraded in a few years to keep up with newer games. The 5970 will not be needing an upgrade during the life of this build.
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February 11, 2010 7:04:52 PM

Best answer selected by jdove516.
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February 11, 2010 7:16:55 PM

Appreciate all the help Admiral. I wanted to get a good idea of what I was going to build to save up for it. I'll start a new thread when I'm ordering all my parts to make sure there hasn't been anything new I've missed.
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