Budget gaming system advice wanted

Friendly US citizens, don't hold back from giving me your advice just because I'm in Europe and we don't have the wonder that is New Egg. I'd be interested in your technical recommendations even if you don't have any suggestions on price. Of course, all you UK and Euro people, please chip in too. I need as much help as I can get.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: as soon as I have the list of components I will order but I am also happy to wait a month or two, especially if the ATI 5830 makes sense and gets released soon

BUDGET RANGE: £650, €750, or $850. Basically, its tight - but I will add a bit if I have to as I really want to invest in this machine so I don't have to buy another one for a long time. I will be happy to upgrade in the next 12 months though and am wondering about running on integrated graphics until current decent card prices come down.

I didn't use the correct exchange rate to account for the fact that components seem much, much cheaper in US than in UK or Europe. I am in Europe so can buy from either UK or Eurozone.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: office applications, gaming, surfing the internet, watching movies

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: None - I only have a netbook and an ageing laptop. I need everything, including Windows 7 64 bit and a monitor



PARTS PREFERENCES: I'm leaning towards a Phenom AM3 socket build with either a 785 or 790 AM3 motherboard.

I think I want an Asus or Gigabyte mobo (but don't know why) - would be happy for alternative recommendations and advice on the chipset/features of the board.

I want an X4 955 BE but I'm tempted to go for an X2 555 BE and hope to be able to unlock at least one of the 2 additional cores.

For the graphics I was thinking of an ATI 5770 but now I'm getting put off by some negative comments comparing it unfavourably to the 4890. I think the 5830 should be less than £200 when it comes out. The 5770 on the other hand would cost about £100 at the moment.

I haven't got a list of parts from suppliers as I don't know what I want and there are so many items I'm unsure about. However, here is what I am thinking, based on reading all of your helpful discussions on these forums:

I've put a rough £ price next to them just so you can get an idea of how my total exceeds my budget - this is where I need your help too, to make the cuts in the right places:

Phenom X2, X3, or X4 processor £100 average price
785 or 790 chipset mobo £70
4 GB DDR3 ram - what make and specs should I be looking for ? £100
ATI 5770 or 5830 graphics card £100 or £200
Antec Three Hundred case £40
Antec Earthwatts 500w (or 550w) PSU £50
Titan Fenrir cooler - is it necessary and do I need to spend so much on this £30
Samsung F3 1 Tb HD £70
DVD drive (are they really all the same) £20
22" HD monitor - (I already have the other one for my 2 monitor needs) £125
Windows 7 64 bit OEM £80

TOTAL: £785 or £885 if I get the 5830. Ouch ! I can't afford to increase the budget that much so something has to give. Thankfully I think my prices are very slightly higher than the best prices I should be able to find.

Damn - I forgot I even need a mouse and keyboard. More cash.

OVERCLOCKING: Probably only attempting to unlock the additional cores and some mild overclocking


MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050 - 1920x1080

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: For particular web applications I need to sometimes run two monitors for additional workspace. Is there an output from the motherboard I can use for one monitor (if the mobo has integrated graphics) and I'd use the graphics card for the main gaming monitor ?? Or is it better to ensure I get a graphics card that allows me to output to 2 monitors ?

If anyone can help me out I'd really appreciate it. Thanks in advance.
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  1. I'll fill in some blanks (in $):

    CPU: X3 425 $72
    Mobo: Gigabyte GA-790XTA-UD4 $140 (if you want Crossfire, Gigabyte GA-770TA-UD3 for $85 if you don't)
    RAM: Cheapest 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 sticks you can find $115
    Optical: They are all basically the same
    PSU: Get a 650W if you want to Crossfire, 550W if you don't
    GPU: I would try as hard as possible to fit in the HD 5850 ($290). Keep in mind that the 5830 hasn't actually been confirmed as a product. As for "bad things" comparing the 5770 ($150) to the 4890 ($200), the 4890 is a good 33% more expensive, so it better be good. It will have worse multi monitor support, be less future proof, use more power and run hotter. And if you choose to Crossfire, the 5770 would have greatly surpassed it. I would pick the 5770 any day.
    HSF: Coolermaster Hyper 212 $30
    OS: Windows 7 $105

    That should be near the budget.
  2. Thanks very much MadAdmiral for kicking things off. Will start to research your suggestions in the morning.

    Cheers again
  3. I'm getting closer to my build. Was holding out for the 5830 but now the specs have been released and some testing shows pretty mediocre results, I'm not that keen anymore.

    Therefore, would it be crazy to consider to think about putting in two 5750 1 GBs instead of buying a 5850. Its about the same price but I would appreciate some advice about the pros and cons.

    Is it possible that I'd have problems with the 5750s in crossfire (perhaps older software) ?

    Also, would it be possible to disable one of the 5750s when not needed, to reduce power consumption, reduce heat, etc.

    Thanks in advance
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