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Advice/Critique my First Gaming Computer Build

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February 20, 2010 1:00:52 AM

So I’ve finally decided to take the plunge and try my hand at building my own computer. I’ve been doing my best to read up on all the available guides, but I wanted to consult the experts here first on my tentative build before I actually start purchasing the parts. Any and all advice would be much appreciated.

I’d like to spend around $1200, but I’ve got enough for up to $1500. My main focus is on cost-effective performance and reliability. I don’t need a lot of bells and whistles if it doesn’t improve system performance or is prone to failure. Thanks again for any advice.


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Next 2-3 weeks
BUDGET RANGE: $1200

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, Watching Movies, Internet Use

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitor, Mouse, Speakers

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg.com
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: U.S

PARTS PREFERENCES: I'd like to stick with a Mid-size tower

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe, once I learn how
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe, if it's more cost effective

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080

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Motherboard - MSI 790FX-GD70 AM3 AMD 790FX ATX AMD
($167.99)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU - AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor
($160.99)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU Cooler - COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-G1 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" Long life sleeve CPU Cooler
($29.99)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory - CORSAIR XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMX6GX3M3C1600C7
($179.99)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU - SAPPHIRE 100282SR Radeon HD 5850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card w/ATI Eyefinity
($309.99)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU - CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply
($99.99)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case - Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
($99.99)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hard Drive - Western Digital Caviar Green WD6400AADS 640GB 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
($69.99)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Optical Drive - LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 24X DVD-R SATA Black 24X DVD Writer LightScribe Support
($31.99)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I’ll need to purchase an OS and a keyboard, so I’m planning on getting Win7 (64bit) but I haven’t shopped around for either yet. I think I'll be getting pretty good performance from this system and I hope that it will last me a while and be upgradeable. My biggest question right now is whether I need 6 gigs of RAM or if I should just go with 4 gigs instead. I’m not really sure what would constitute a good hard drive for gaming either, I just selected one that seemed reasonably priced. Also, I’m wondering if I should pay a little more and get a modular PSU. I’ve never built a PC before so I don’t really know if avoiding extra cable clutter is worth the money.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions. Letting me know if I’ve made a catastrophic mistake and have mismatched components that won’t work together would also be much appreciated. Once again, thanks for any and all help.
February 20, 2010 2:18:28 AM

jian said:
Please let me know if you have any suggestions. Letting me know if I’ve made a catastrophic mistake and have mismatched components that won’t work together would also be much appreciated. Once again, thanks for any and all help.


First off, change that RAM to a 2 x 2 GB kit, the 3 x 2 kits are for X58 boards, you want 2 (4) to run them in dual channel.

Second, you should get a faster HD, the Caviar Green is good for a storage drive, but not for boot/application, look for a Samsung F3 or a Seagate .12 drive.

Other cases for you to consider

Cooler Master HAF 922

Lancool PC-K62

If you are not going to overclock, you do not have to buy an aftermarket heatsink.
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February 20, 2010 2:22:28 AM

overall i think you did a great job for a first build but there are a few things i would definatly change:

first what i like: PSU, Case, CPU, GPU, and HDD (thats most of the rig)

now on to the suggestions:

the ram is out of place. those sticks are designed for a core I7 rig will 6 slots running in triple channel. you want want 4GB (2X2GB) of DDR3 running in dual channel.

the other thing is the motherboard. the board you chose is good quality but it lacks too many features for me to recommend it. Look at the GIGABYTE 790XTA UD4 it has USB 3.0 and SATA 6G which the MSI board lacks. also at $140 you will save a bit too.

For your PSU questions i am a good person to ask as i have an antec 900 with a corsair 750 TX :) . they are both great but i would definately recommend it as the Antec 900 is not the easiest case to manage cables. (just get the HX model for 20 bucks more totally worth it). also i would consider stepping up to the 850watt. 750watt will handle 1 5850 no problem but 2 would be a strain on the PSU. just a bit of future proofing.

Again, the RAM is the only thing that is just wrong. (it would probably still work but it is far from ideal.) the rest of what i said are mostly recommendations so take them or leave them your call.

I hope this helps, have fun building, and enjoy your work of art!

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February 21, 2010 8:44:27 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions, I’m glad I asked before starting this project. I’ll swap out the RAM for a 4gb dual channel kit. I’m thinking either a

CORSAIR DOMINATOR 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model TW3X4G1600C9D G - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBNQ - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I can’t tell if there’s a difference between the two. Is it just a brand name thing? I’ll also swap out the motherboard, HD, and PSU as per your recommendations and go with :

Motherboard - GIGABYTE GA-790XTA-UD4 AM3 AMD 790X SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HD - SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU - CORSAIR CMPSU-850HX 850W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I’m going to stick with the Antec 900 as all the reviews say it’s just a terrific case. Thanks again for all the suggestions. If anyone could just double check for me if either one of the RAM I looked at will work that would be much appreciated.
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February 21, 2010 8:50:26 PM

Also, I would like to try to OC it once I become more familiar with the process. Are there any forseeable problems I should expect with this system?
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May 3, 2010 10:41:52 AM

Defiantly go with a better cpu. The phenom 1090t and 1055t are hex-core processors. Also, my favorite is the Phenom II 965. It has the highest Ghz processing. Since the cpu is the brain of you computer you want it to be the best. Pretty much the cpu is the only non-commodity part in a computer, everything else can be mid range or low-range.
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August 9, 2010 11:40:28 PM

rammar16 said:


For your PSU questions i am a good person to ask as i have an antec 900 with a corsair 750 TX :) . they are both great but i would definately recommend it as the Antec 900 is not the easiest case to manage cables. (just get the HX model for 20 bucks more totally worth it). also i would consider stepping up to the 850watt. 750watt will handle 1 5850 no problem but 2 would be a strain on the PSU. just a bit of future proofing.


I hope this helps, have fun building, and enjoy your work of art!



The OP may want to check amd's site on specs needed to run dual 5850s:

according to amd's site, you just need a 600w psu for xfiring 5850s.

I havent tried this yet but Im planning to in the future.
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August 9, 2010 11:42:30 PM

xxsoulhunterxx said:
Defiantly go with a better cpu. The phenom 1090t and 1055t are hex-core processors. Also, my favorite is the Phenom II 965. It has the highest Ghz processing. Since the cpu is the brain of you computer you want it to be the best. Pretty much the cpu is the only non-commodity part in a computer, everything else can be mid range or low-range.

Eh, not true. Most people spend most of the budget on GPUs, good CPUs are less expensive these days and it doesn't need to be the MOST expensive. And the x4 965/955 have no real difference in gaming, do not spend the extra 100/200 bucks.
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