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Advice on a $500-$800 midrange future proof system.

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February 15, 2010 6:42:07 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within the next two months for sure. Before May 1st. That is when I get married and I need this stable and running before then.

BUDGET RANGE: 500-800 Dollars.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Stability/Longevity, Future Proofing, budgeting, gaming.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, mouse, monitor, hard drive, PSU (Antec 500 basiq),

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: U.S.A.

OVERCLOCKING: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1280x1024 (Eventually upgrading to widescreen)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Here is what I have in mind already for the total system build.

Processor: i5 750 2.66 Lynnfield

MOBO: Asus P7P55 LX LGA 1156

GPU: ASUS ENGTS250 DK/DI/1G GeForce GTS 250 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

Memory: Not sure. Probably 4 gigs of ddr3 running at 1333. Suggestions please.

PSU: Antec 500 basiq

Case: COOLER MASTER Centurion 590 RC-590-KKN1-GP Black SECC / ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case


OS: Windows 7 PRO 64-bit

More about : advice 500 800 midrange future proof system

February 15, 2010 6:52:05 PM

That's a horrible build on your budget. Besides, the i5 is horrible for future proofing, as is nVidia. How can you even say future proofing without USB 3/SATA III or DirectX 11? Everything that's out is all the LGA1156 socket will get.

Here's a great build that will be perfect for your stated needs:

CPU: X4 955 $161
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-790XTA-UD4 $140
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $115
Case: HAF 922 $90 after rebates
Optical: Cheapest SATA DVD burner $20
GPU: HD 5770 $150
OS: Windows 7 $105

Total: $781.
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February 15, 2010 7:11:04 PM

Thanks for the response. A few problems from my end. That case is way expensive and I am not a fan of the way it looks at all. Also, stability is a huge factor for me. I have an issue with ati drivers at the moment. I don't need the dvd burner, and the x4 being black edition is not an incentive for me. I am not going to be over clocking ever.

The ram looks good though. I was leaning towards mushkin silver before now. However, I don't need 1600 for anything.

Question about that OS. Where are you finding windows 7 for 105 dollars?
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February 15, 2010 7:13:07 PM

Excuse me. Where are you finding windows 7 pro for 105 dollars?
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February 15, 2010 7:15:59 PM

ATI's the king right now. You go with nVidia and you WILL be getting a sub par system. It's just a fact.

As for the case, yes it's a bit pricey. But it's one of the best. The reason I went with a pricey case is that it's great for future proofing. The case is large enough to fit any GPU out right now, and is extremely good at keeping everything cool, so you can really beef everything up later. I agree that's it's ugly though. Another to look at is the Antec 900. It's a little more expensive, but much nicer to look at. If you don't think you'll eventually get an extremely long card (like the HD 5870 or HD 5970), the Antec 300 Illusion is a good choice.

Those sticks of RAM are usually the same price as the 1333 mhz CL 7 sticks. I would get them for the price and for the future, as the best way to get more out of a system is to overclock.

Windows 7 Home 64-bit OEM for $105 from Newegg.

EDIT: Pro? Nowhere. Didn't notice the Pro, and you probably don't actually need the few additional features. That version is $140 on Newegg...
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February 15, 2010 7:21:29 PM

I am not looking for a big gaming computer, just something that can take a beating that I can play a game on in the grind of the week. I really just want a reliable computer that I won't have to upgrade in the next three or four years simply because the new programs don't support my system specs, or because my computer is now super slow from being old.

I definitely know that ati is higher performance but I cannot sacrifice driver stability for super performance. Stability and longevity and first priority.

(EDIT) as for windows being Pro, I am pretty sure that I want the windows xp virtualization for backwards compatibility. That is really the only reason.

I totally forgot about usb 3.0, but can I not just get a PCI expansion for that when it is mainstream?
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February 15, 2010 7:29:06 PM

The problem is since Nvida doesnt have DX11, it fails your longevity requirement.

As near as I can tell the driver stability isnt that much in favor of nvidia anymore. My 9800 GTX+ has had its share of driver updates and rollbacks due to problems with nvidias drivers over the past few years. Much of ATIs bad driver issues have been resolved since AMD took them over.

You could look at an antec 200 or antec 300 case, though they wont hold the largest graphics cards (5870, gtx 295, etc). Much cheaper and Antec's gaming cases are good quality with good airflow (adding to longevity).
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February 15, 2010 7:33:40 PM

I see. I did not realize that the nVidia was not updatable to 11.

Does the cooler master that I submitted not have a good reputation? I really like the quiet aesthetics and it seems like it would have good airflow.
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February 15, 2010 7:39:28 PM

Coolermaster Centurion 590 looks fine; I have no idea how large of a graphics card it will hold. The Antec 200 and 300 are generally cheaper and instead of coming with front and rear fans they come with rear and top fans.
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February 15, 2010 7:41:19 PM

In a few months nvidia will release their DX11 graphics cards, which will be the 400 series, starting with the 470 and 480. In all likelihood they will be faster but more expensive than ATIs 5000 series, but there are no hard numbers leaked to really do anything but guess based on nvidias past performance.
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February 15, 2010 7:44:01 PM

Top fans make a big difference then. I haven't built a new computer in about 4 or 5 years. I am terribly outdated on some things here. So thanks a lot for he input.

Oh, quick question based on an earlier response. Is there any current advantage to changing to an AMD based computer? I was a big AMD fan most of my life, but I have been out of the loop and know that things can change.
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February 15, 2010 7:44:35 PM

It's alright, just not as good as the lower end Antecs (200, 300, 300 Illusion) or CM Elites and 690s.

As for USB 3/SATA III, you can get an expansion for it later, but the additional cost to the board is only $20-30 right now, which is about what the cards are. Might as well get it now and not have to mess with additional components.
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Best solution

February 15, 2010 7:47:02 PM

For your price requirement and wanting a future-proofed system, the best way to go is AMD. Intel is too pricey, and their platform will be changing in the future. The AM3 platform has quite a bit of longevity left for it.

Additionally, Nvidia sucks right now from a longevity perspective for reasons people have already mentioned. ATI is the best performer and has DX 11 (which allows longevity). I personally use two XFX 5770's crossfired on most of the latest games (Mass Effect 2, Bioshock 2, Modern Warfare 2) with NO driver problems at all.

Here is my recommendation for a build :

CORE SYSTEM :

AMD Phenom II 945 (saves a bit over the BE) : 150.00
Gigabyte GA-790XTA-UD4 AM3 (Has USB 3.0) : 130.00
XFX HD-577A-ZNFC Radeon HD 5770 (supports DX 11) : 160.00
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 1 TB Drive (stuff takes up more space in the future) : 90.00
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (Stable, fast, cheap ram) : 115.00

CASE/PSU OPTION 1: If you don't care about having room, and want to Crossfire 5770's in the future.

CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V : 100.00
Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black : 70.00

CASE/PSU OPTION 2 : If you care about room and want to upgrade to new video card in the future.

Antec 900 Case : 100.00
Antec NEO ECO 620C 620W : 80.00

Save 25 bucks on combo with above at Newegg

TOTAL COST W/ CASE/PSU OPTION 1 : 645 + 170.00

TOTAL COST W/ CASE/PSU OPTION 2 : 645 + 155.00

Basically the above supports all the latest technology (USB3 and DX11), and you can upgrade in the AM3 platform for years to come.
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February 15, 2010 7:47:16 PM

AMD is a better choice right now for lower end budgets. They offer better performance for the price. In addition, the AM3 socket is AMD's main socket for the next several years, while Intel is likely to abandon both of their sockets (LGA1156 and 1366) in the next year to two years.

To get a future proof Intel build, you'd have to buy a $300 CPU, a $300 board, an extra stick of RAM (about $60). Then in a year or so, shell out another $1,000 for a 6 core CPU. It's just not worth it.
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February 15, 2010 7:50:14 PM

Generally in your price point for a gaming machine I would recommend an AMD CPU since they are cheaper, which would free up funds for a more powerful graphics card. AMDs main advantage is price/performance in the $160 and below CPU price range. Also they have a 6core AM3 CPU coming that should work in current AM3 montherboards with a bios update (assuming motherboard mfgs create a bios update for their older motherboards).
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February 15, 2010 7:52:54 PM

Sweet. Thanks so much for the feedback. I just discovered this place this morning and I have been really impressed with the all around good feedback.
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February 15, 2010 7:57:48 PM

Alright, I checked out the cases and see the benefits of the Antecs. I will either go with the 300 Illusion or the 900. Question on the LED lights. I am not a particular fan of lights on my computer, so if I were to just cut the lights out would there be a problem?

I am also switching to an AM3 build.
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February 15, 2010 8:02:24 PM

antisyzygy said:


Here is my recommendation for a build :

CORE SYSTEM :

AMD Phenom II 945 (saves a bit over the BE) : 150.00
Gigabyte GA-790XTA-UD4 AM3 (Has USB 3.0) : 130.00
XFX HD-577A-ZNFC Radeon HD 5770 (supports DX 11) : 160.00
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 1 TB Drive (stuff takes up more space in the future) : 90.00
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (Stable, fast, cheap ram) : 115.00

CASE/PSU OPTION 1: If you don't care about having room, and want to Crossfire 5770's in the future.

CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V : 100.00
Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black : 70.00

CASE/PSU OPTION 2 : If you care about room and want to upgrade to new video card in the future.

Antec 900 Case : 100.00
Antec NEO ECO 620C 620W : 80.00

Save 25 bucks on combo with above at Newegg

TOTAL COST W/ CASE/PSU OPTION 1 : 645 + 170.00

TOTAL COST W/ CASE/PSU OPTION 2 : 645 + 155.00

Basically the above supports all the latest technology (USB3 and DX11), and you can upgrade in the AM3 platform for years to come.


Thanks for all this. You guys put in a ton of work in minutes. I really appreciate all this.

On another note. I just got this 500 watt Antec basiq supply. I got it to rescue my old computer, but the old PSU was unstable for two years in the hands of my sisters while I was in Michigan away from california. Needless to say, but regardless I will, there were a lot of issues that just replacing the PSU did not fix. Any way, long story short, I just paid for a new PSU, do I really need a bigger one? And remember, I am not trying to build a gaming computer, but I would like to play the occasional game.
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February 15, 2010 8:09:29 PM

With a 5770 graphics card (or GT 250), 500W is enough. Basiq is Antec's low end line so its not 80+ certified like their more expensive models. You wont want to go to any more powerful graphics cards (or even older 9800/8800/4870/4850 models) or your power may not be enough.
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February 15, 2010 8:15:00 PM

Alright. I might just stay with it for a little longer then. PSU upgrades are like the easiest thing in the world so I don't mind doing that a few months later.
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February 15, 2010 8:28:32 PM

So newegg has a deal on the asus gts 250 for 125. should I take it now? Or should I pay the full deal on the 5770
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February 15, 2010 8:44:30 PM

But that is the 512mb version, not the 1 gig
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February 15, 2010 8:56:40 PM

If you are interested in future proofing the February is the absolute worse time to buy:

1. Intel drops prices historically at the end of February....that also affects competitions prices.
2. Intel's new chip(s) arriving March 16th .... competition has to make a splash to retain mindshare
3. MoBo manufacturers have new product lines set to launch on heels of new CPU's.
4. Products shown at January's CES hit store shelves in mid March .... new cases, new PSU's including 1st Gold certified ones
5. NVidia's new 400 series GFX cards are slated to arrive in March....even if ya don't want one, the arrival of DX11 competition should drive prices down to at least original MSRP's.
6. New SSD's available and Intel G2 tumbles from No. 1 performance position

As for the Antec PSU's .... in order of quality, these are the performance ratings from jonnyguru.com

Antec SG series (10.0)
Antec CP Series (10.0)
Antec TPQ (9.0 - 9.5)
Antec TP New (2009 and later) Series (9.5)
ANtec Earthwatts Series (8.5 - 9.5)
Antec TP Trio Series (7.5)
Antec TP II (8.0)
Antec Neo series (6.5)
Antec Basiq Series (NR)
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February 15, 2010 9:11:18 PM

dkjravn said:
Thanks for all this. You guys put in a ton of work in minutes. I really appreciate all this.

On another note. I just got this 500 watt Antec basiq supply. I got it to rescue my old computer, but the old PSU was unstable for two years in the hands of my sisters while I was in Michigan away from california. Needless to say, but regardless I will, there were a lot of issues that just replacing the PSU did not fix. Any way, long story short, I just paid for a new PSU, do I really need a bigger one? And remember, I am not trying to build a gaming computer, but I would like to play the occasional game.



That power supply should be fine if you go with a single graphics card at or below the 5870. Im not sure about the 5970's power requirements.

The 5770 is a great budget card.
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February 15, 2010 10:12:22 PM

dkjravn said:
Thanks for all this. You guys put in a ton of work in minutes. I really appreciate all this.

On another note. I just got this 500 watt Antec basiq supply. I got it to rescue my old computer, but the old PSU was unstable for two years in the hands of my sisters while I was in Michigan away from california. Needless to say, but regardless I will, there were a lot of issues that just replacing the PSU did not fix. Any way, long story short, I just paid for a new PSU, do I really need a bigger one? And remember, I am not trying to build a gaming computer, but I would like to play the occasional game.


Check out Microcenter if they are near you, you can get some smoking deals right now on processors.
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February 16, 2010 3:26:02 AM

Best answer selected by dkjravn.
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