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Suggestions/Review for my ~$1200 i5 Build =)

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February 20, 2010 2:51:19 PM


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Next 1-2 Weeks BUDGET RANGE: ~$1,200 USD

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, Amateur photo/video editing, movies, web-surfing

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com, amazon.com, tigerdirect.com
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: US

PARTS PREFERENCES: None

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe, Never tried, but thinking about pushing the system a little bit (
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1200

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Looking to build a home computer where I can play games, work and use as a media center. Specifically, I am just starting to play pc games and I'm building this for Starcraft 2 and for other games in the future. Also, I am in the process of purchasing a dslr so I want a computer that won't have problem with photo/video editing.


CPU:
Intel Core i5 Processor 2.66 GHz 8 MB LGA1156 CPU I5-750BOX
$194.99

Motherboard:
GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD4P LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
184.99 + 8(Shipping)= $192.99

Case+ Power Supply Combo
COOLER MASTER Storm Scout +OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ600MXSP 600W ATX12V V2.2
149.99- 35 (rebate)= $114.98
Is this a good power supply? I don't want to skimp out on the power supply.

Ram:
G.SKILL ECO Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
119.99+6(Shipping)= $126

HDD
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5
$89.99 ( currently unavailable on newegg, but amazon has for 102.99)

HSF+DVD Combo
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus LITE-ON Black DVD Writer
$49.98

Graphics Card
XFX HD-585A-ZNFC Radeon HD 5850 (Cypress Pro)
299.99+8 (Shipping)= $308

Thermal Compound
Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM
$13

OS
Windows 7 Pro OEm
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
139.99 (Gettin pro for work related stuff)

Total Cost= Approx $1,229.96

I purchased an Asus vw266h monitor which I am waiting for delivery.

Anyways, if you guys can help me out with any suggestions/recommendations or anything else that I should be worried about, I would be grateful and realllllly happy =).
This is my first build so I'm excited to get this done. Thanks








February 21, 2010 1:35:55 PM

An i5 build is going to be just a little expensive for a gaming build at this budget, especially given the 1900x resolution. In addition, it's not as good as the top AMD CPUs at other tasks besides gaming.

CPU: X4 955 $161
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-770TA-UD3 $85 after rebate
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $115
HDD: F3 1 TB $90
HSF/Optical: Same as above $50. Keep in mind that you don't need an HSF until you start overclocking.
GPU: HD 5870 $390
OS: $140
Case/PSU: Antec 902 and Antec Earthwatts 650W $165


Total: $1,196.

This build not only gets you an HD 5870, which will allow you to play any game out right now with max details at 1900x resolutions, but also gets a much higher quality PSU. OCZ's units aren't bad, but they aren't as powerful as they claim. Antec is a much more trusted manufacturer. One thing to note is that this build will not allow you to Crossfire later, as the board only has one PCIe 2.0 slot.
February 21, 2010 2:01:09 PM

I see some of the reviews for the memory say you need to do a lot of bios setup. Are these memory sticks setup for a AMD setup or will there need to be some tweaking in the Bios? I ask because I'm thinking of getting them but no nothing about bios or OC.
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February 21, 2010 2:12:50 PM

What other tasks is the top AMD processor better than the i5?

I was under the impression that the i5 was better overall.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/quad-core-cpu,2499-...

AMD's top offering seems to come in last in almost every situation in that quad-core article. Granted, it was downclocked to 2.8 GHz, but so was the i5 seeing as it's turbo mode will put it over 3.2 GHz.

If all you want is gaming, then I would definitely say go with Admiral's build. That 5870 will go above and beyond any performance you might have lost by going with the AMD processor.

If you want a pc that's a bit more balanced, I would do the 5850 and an i5. But if you aren't going to be doing things like photo editing, video transcoding, etc, then you would be better off with a better video card.

BTW your first build list is almost exactly what mine looks like for the summer.
February 21, 2010 3:21:33 PM

Madadmiral:

Thanks for the info. I really like that psw/case combo. Also, I'm not planning to crossfire in the future. I didn't think about going the AMD route, but it looks very interesting. I had a couple of questions.

1. So other than gaming, is the AMD955 comparable/better/worse to the i5?
2. I'm not a stickler for ultra high graphics, so would it be a noticeable difference between a 5850 and a 5870. I want excellent graphics but it would be nice if I can save $100.
3. If I do go w/ the 5870, would it fit in the antec case?
4. How does your recommended rams sticks compare to the ones posted in my build?
5. Lastly, I'm thinking about buying a 2tb hard drive. Would it be better to buy 2 1tb hdds or 1 2tb hdd.

Sorry for so many questions. Thanks =)

February 21, 2010 3:29:30 PM

touchdown tex:
You read my mind. Lol.
I am about to purchase a dslr so I am going to do video/photo editing.
How is your build working out for you so far?
February 21, 2010 4:32:37 PM

I don't plan on buying until the summer. That way, Nvidia's stuff should be out as well as the HD 5830. I'm hoping prices will be a bit lower by then seeing as right now ATI has a monopoly over all of the DX11 stuff and they can charge whatever they want.

I think it's a good build though. I have been updating my wish list about every two weeks trying to find the best I can get for what I need. Really you cannot go wrong with either the AMD or Intel build, but you should match it to what you will use your computer for the most.

I don't really think the 5870 is WORTH the extra hundred bucks, but that also varies from gamer to gamer. The performance return always seems to diminish as you get into the high end products. If you think you need top of the line, well, there will always be a premium to pay.
February 21, 2010 8:16:23 PM

The 955 is better than the i5 in a few things involving transcoding. All other tasks have them fairly equal. The amount saved is mostly from the boards.

The reason for buying the 5870 over the 5850 is that the 5870 is able to play Crysis on max details at 1900x, while the 5850 will not. In addition, there is a huge frame rate hit for using DirectX 11, so the 5850 will begin to struggle when playing DX 11 games. The performance gain always decreases in the high end products. The performance gain for the 5870 is about 15-25% over the 5850.

The 5870 isn't that long. It will fit in an Antec 300.

The RAM sticks are the same, just about $11 cheaper.

I would go with two 1 TB drives. The 2 TB drives are really expensive and generally a little slower. For comparison, the best 2 TB drive is the WD Caviar Black. It's $300. If you bought three Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TBs, which would be a little faster, it would be $270.
February 21, 2010 10:30:36 PM

Strange, the data I see points to the fact that in both Audio/Video encoding/transcoding the i5 is a good deal faster than the 955.

I'm curious, where are you getting your data from? I ask because if what you say is true, I might be better off going with the 955. The data here on Tom's doesn't seem to support that conclusion though.


Regarding the video card, I think the buyer needs to ask himself if he was even planning on trying to play Crysis on full settings, or even at all. Not every gamer out there feels the need to play that game...

With newer DX11 games, yes the 5850 will start to struggle. However, how many DX11 games do we plan on seeing here in the next year? If pc games remain ports of console games, we might not be seeing very much DX11 at all. My prediction is that by the time we see a steady flow of DX11 titles, he might be ready to upgrade his video card again. Keep in mind that current consoles are supposed to last another 3-4 years, so it really could be a while before we see good development of games taking full advantage of newer hardware.

Also, saying that the 5870 is 15-25% faster seems to be a little too generous to me. The data here on Tom's shows the following:

5870 is 15% faster on Crysis

14% faster on Far Cry 2

10% faster on HAWX

10% faster on GTA IV

16% faster on L4D

and 13% faster on World in Conflict

These percentages were all calculated with maximum details on @ 1920x1200 res.
February 21, 2010 10:50:18 PM

MadAdmiral said:
I would go with two 1 TB drives. The 2 TB drives are really expensive and generally a little slower. For comparison, the best 2 TB drive is the WD Caviar Black. It's $300. If you bought three Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TBs, which would be a little faster, it would be $270.


What about the 2 TB Samsung Spinpoint F3EG at $179.99 (and free shipping)?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I haven't seen reviews for it yet... but if it's as good as the other Samsung drives in the F3 series, it should be a good buy.
February 22, 2010 12:14:30 AM

@touchdown: Certain types of transcoding are faster with the 955. The majority of things are faster with the i5, but it's not by a lot. As for the differences with the 5870, I didn't have the figures in front of me, so I was guessing on the exact percentages. As for DX 11 games, there will be several coming out in the next year, and many more the year after that. Besides, the 5850 won't allow you to play Crysis on high details at 1900x smoothly. That should be enough reason to buy the 5870 in of itself. The reason Crysis is used is because it is currently the bast indicator of how much power future games will need to work. Why would you want to buy a card that can't currently handle every game out there if you can afford one that can?

I haven't seen anything about the 2 TB Samsung. I would still go with the two 1 TB drives for the same price, but that's also because I like having separate drives for backups.
February 22, 2010 12:55:36 AM

@admiral, I understand what you are saying about crysis, but that is one game that hasn't been able to be played on full settings since the day it came out, and that was a looooong time ago. Sure, you have a beast of a system if you can accomplish this feat, but it's relevance towards your ability to play most (if not all) games is very minimal.

Crysis shouldn't be used as the best indicator of overall gaming performance, because most systems out there would fall very short if you did that. Crysis is (and has been for a while) an indicator of the most elite systems out there.

The fact of the matter is that the 5850 CAN handle every game out there, with the exception of Crysis, and it's not like it can't handle Crysis. It just struggles with full details.

It should also be noted that Crysis has long been diagnosed with poorly optimized code.

My suggestion towards the buyer is that if he wants to be able to play Crysis(or graphically equivalent games yet to come out) in all it's graphical glory, then he better get the 5870. If he could care less, get the 5850.
February 22, 2010 1:04:19 AM

touchdowntexas13 said:
@admiral, I understand what you are saying about crysis, but that is one game that hasn't been able to be played on full settings since the day it came out, and that was a looooong time ago. Sure, you have a beast of a system if you can accomplish this feat, but it's relevance towards your ability to play most (if not all) games is very minimal.

Crysis shouldn't be used as the best indicator of overall gaming performance, because most systems out there would fall very short if you did that. Crysis is (and has been for a while) an indicator of the most elite systems out there.

The fact of the matter is that the 5850 CAN handle every game out there, with the exception of Crysis, and it's not like it can't handle Crysis. It just struggles with full details.

It should also be noted that Crysis has long been diagnosed with poorly optimized code.

My suggestion towards the buyer is that if he wants to be able to play Crysis(or graphically equivalent games yet to come out) in all it's graphical glory, then he better get the 5870. If he could care less, get the 5850.


I'm not a heavy gamer and that's why right now I'm leaning towards the 5850. RIght now, the only games I'm playing are fallout 3 and warcraft 3. I don't have that much time to play that many video games, but I wanted to build a system so that I can play starcraft 2 and diablo 3 specifically on max details on my 1900x monitor. Thanks for the the suggestions though.
The only undecided thing now is the cpu. At first, I wanted the i5 but if what you are saying is true Madadmiral, I might just go with the amd to save myself a little bit of money. I've read other threads and I don't want to start a war about intel vs amd. However, if price isn't a issue (meaning less than 400 for mobo+cpu) which would you go because I am willing to spend more if it would make a noticeable difference.

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February 22, 2010 3:35:49 AM
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If you're not going to get the 5850, then you'd have no problem with the i5-750. That is the more powerful CPU. The X4 955 option is mostly for affording a bigger GPU, which you've decided against. That's the typically true gaming selection, as the GPU is the most important part of the build. Since you've stated you're not really building a gaming build, you should definitely spend the extra for the i5.
February 22, 2010 12:38:07 PM

I ended up diggin in deep and managed to conjure up a couple more dollars to get that ati 5870. If my monitor resolution was 1080 then I would have stuck with the 5850, but since I have a higher resolution, I'll go w/ the 5870. SO at the end my system build is

CPU: I5 $195
MoBo: Gigabyte UD4P $193
GPU: XFX ATI 5870 $400
Case/PSU: Antec 902 and Antec Earthwatts 650W $165
OS: W7 Pro $140
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $115
HDD: F3 1 TB $90
HSF+DVD Combo: CM Hyper 212 Plus LITE-ON $50
Thermal Compound: $13
Total: $1361
Thanks a lot for the help, I'm going to purchase these items at the end of this week (after i get paid). =)
February 22, 2010 12:38:49 PM

Best answer selected by eugenenam85.
February 22, 2010 12:49:05 PM

Quick note that I would have mentioned if I didn't mention the AMD route:

That Gigabyte board will disable USB 3/SATA III speeds if you Crossfire. For $5 more, the Asus P7P55D-E Pro is basically the same board, but doesn't have this problem.
February 22, 2010 1:05:13 PM

Yea, you posted that on my other post today. Because of that, the only change I am going to do is switch the gigabyte with the asus board that you recommended.
!