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Building a gamer computer

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February 24, 2010 1:25:53 AM

So i am deciding to build a new system and i want to game for quite some time... im hoping this system can last me quite a few years and i have a budge of about 1500 - 1700 bucks or maybe a little over that not including the motherboard and processor prices, but i need some help... i hope to purchase parts within the next month and i have been debating what kind of system i want for about a month now... mostly what i plan to with this computer is play games like crysis, the new battlefield, cod mw2, mmorpgs, etc... but i also want to watch movies... preferrably 1080p bluray movies... i figure i already know what keyboard and mouse i want because i can just get that stuff local because i work at best buy = some cheap accessories :D ... i plan to purchase most of my stuff from newegg unless you guys have another reputable site that would give me some of the parts (graphics cards, ram, etc..) for a cheaper price...
So i will start out by naming my parts
i7 860
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ] i7-860
Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ] Intel DP55WG
now these two items i have already bought... i got them off of intel retail edge for a great price and thats why i decided i wanted to build this new machine, but after talking to a couple of my buddies they told me with that processor and motherboard i have i would be bottlenecking my ram and graphics which i have planned to buy the 5870... is this true? i cant believe that buying an i7 could potentially bottleneck your ram and graphics... seems unlikely but thats why im asking you guys so i guess my question is should i sell my 860 and intel mobo and buy an 920 and get a nice motherboard, or just keep the 860 and buy a nicer mobo... just let me know what you think
RAM i had intended on buying and i planned on buying 2 sets
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ] corsair dominator ram
although i like this ram... is it really worth my system build to buy the dominators instead of going with a cheaper name brand ram?
graphics card i intended on buying was the 5870, but i recently have been going back and forth between the 5870 and the gtx 285 and 295, but its hard to find the 285 or 295 anywhere... let me know what you think
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... xfx 5870 graphics card
chose xfx because of their warranty and customer support... if something better is found please tell...
power supply - antec 1200 watt... wanted this so i knew i wouldnt have a problem... i plan on keeping this psu either way for future builds
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ] antec 1200watt
case- i like this case but if you can find a different reasonable case let me know but i did some research on this case and it looks exceptional for the price
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...] AZZA case
monitor - picked an asus 27 inch because it was reasonable priced... let me know what you think or if you have other suggestions
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ] asus 27 inch monitor
harddrive - nothing special but i figure it will definatley do for my build
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ] WD 1TB Harddrive
bluray reader/writer - its an LG figured it would work for my build, not much option out there... i dont plan to do alot of burning, but i like the option.. again let me know what you think!
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ] LG reader/writer

Sorry if this post was really long... ive been contemplating this for quite a while and am anxious to build it, but i really appreciate the help... i am open to suggestions and am willing to spend more for quality.... thanks for replying


February 24, 2010 1:50:02 AM

I'll just go through things in the order that you've posted them

Motherboard and Processor: I doubt that the i7 860 will bottleneck your performance, but regardless, if at all possible, you'd want to try to go with a socket 1366 processor over an 1156 processor. The cheapest way to do this is to get an i7 920. Having a socket 1366 board to go along with this will ensure that you will maintain compatibility with anything Intel releases for quite a few years, if for any reason you want to upgrade.

RAM: Corsair is generally a good brand, but the Dominator line is overpriced. Look for some G.skill Ripjaw RAM, Newegg has it. Many people on this forum will recommend you the G.Skill Ripjaws, because they provide good performance, low CAS latencies, and for a lower price than most other brands.

Graphics Card: Given the choice between the two setups you mention, you'd definitely want to go with the Radeon 5870, because of the DirectX11 support. That said, the GTX 295 would be much cheaper. The 5870 will provide you with better performance however. You are correct in buying XFX. XFX is usually selected because of their warranty and customer service, like you said, over other manufacturers.

Power Supply: This is a bit overkill for your setup. You're probably looking for something in the 800-1000W range. Make sure it has at least two PCI-E connectors for your graphics card. An 80+ efficiency badge is also a good thing to look for. Avoid off brands. The PSU is one thing you definately do not want to skimp on. Generally speaking, Antec and Corsair are good brands. There are a few others, but I can't remember at the moment.

Case: I actually built a computer in that exact case for a friend recently. It's kind of cramped for a mid tower, but I suppose it will suit your needs. Budget allowing, there are many VERY good cases that can be had for around 100 dollars, such as the CM690II Advanced or the CM Haf 922. Also, the Lancool line of cases, made by LianLi is generally regarded as high quality. You can check out what newegg has to offer in that department here. If you want to know specifics on certain cases, the video reviews on youtube by 3dgameman are a good place to start.

Hard Drive: If you're looking for a fast hard drive, then you'll want to select either a Samsung SpinPoint F3 or a Seagate 7200.12. Both of these drives (in their 500gb and less forms) perform about as fast as the VelociRaptors, but have a much smaller price tag. Dunno about the 7200.12s, but I know Newegg has the SpinPoint F3s.

Can't really give you any advice on the monitor, and from what I understand, the burner you select is pretty irrelevant. In any case, I'll leave the recommendations on those two components to someone who knows more than I do.

Hope this has helped. Post a reply if you have any questions.
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February 24, 2010 3:42:43 AM

yeah i really appreciate it! but considering i had already bought the 860 and the mobo should i just keep it and go with the build i had decided? or should i try and sell the processor and mobo and get the 920 and a really nice mobo.... :S im kind of split because i know the 920 is usually better for overclocking if i want to do that down the road and for the fact that the 1366 series will be around for quite some time if i wanted to upgrade...

i also wanted that psu because if i wanted to crossfire down the road it would give me that possibility so thats why im kind of going all out instead of buying a 1200 down the road in case i might need to...

and u said that the azza case was one you just worked on.... wondering why you said it was a mid tower... on newegg it shows to be a full tower with quite big demensions.... is it quite small none the less?
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February 24, 2010 4:11:26 AM

I would suggest getting a case with e-atx mobo support if you serious about going x-fire with such long gpu's. the extra room between the drive cages and the mobo. will make wire management much easier. The cooler master cosmos and the HAF 932 are some good choices.
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February 24, 2010 5:36:13 PM

Ah, well it would seem the link you posted to your case has been "deactivated" according to Newegg. I'm not sure if this means they've stopped carrying the product as well, but either way when I clicked on it, it redirected me to a list of other AZZA cases, most of which were mid towers. I assumed you were building the Spartan 101 or 102 because those are the most popular, and are in fact, midtowers. You only have "AZZA case" in your orignial post, not an exact model, so I'm not able to give you specific advice. Nevertheless I would still implore you to check out the case models that I listed in my earlier post and see what you think, as I know that these are quality cases with a good reputation.
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February 24, 2010 6:49:27 PM

oh sorry about that the case is the azza 1000R http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... and i did check the cases you said but i believe they were both mid towers and i was looking for a full tower... but i am deciding between the CM haf 922 because it seems quite big and the azza case above... they both look to be amazing cases and i appreciate the consideration you have given!

still deciding between the 860 and the 920, but i think if i can find someone to buy my 860 with the motherboard i got from intel i think i will go with the 920 but of course i want to sell the 860 first :p 

the ram i chose for the 860 was http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... and i am getting two of those for 8 gigs let me know what you think, but if i get the 920 of course that will all change...

i also took into consideration the seagate 7200.12 because i did not see anything for the f3s below 500gb.... so i decided on the 7200.12 500 gb http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

other than the whole mobo and processor issue i think im set on the other parts unless you have other suggestions on the ram and harddrive... i really appreciate it djg for your great insights
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February 24, 2010 7:56:57 PM

Nothing wrong with the i7 860. Seeing as you already have it, I would say keep it. However the motherboard isn't the best as Intel don't make the best mobos, despite making lots of other good hardware. Also you can't crossfire on it as it doesn't have a second PCI-E 2.0 slot. So if you want to be able to crossfire then at least sell the mobo.
I would think that a good 850W PSU would be more than able to survive rebuilds, and plenty for overclocking and crossfiring two 5870s.
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February 24, 2010 10:55:51 PM

For gaming, what kind of graphics card you have matters much more than your processor, so I suppose if you have the 860, keep it. The reason I was suggesting a socket 1366 build with an i7 920 was to ensure upgrade ability. And yes, many PSUs in the 800-1000W range are perfectly capable of supporting a crossfire build, you'll just want to make sure that whatever PSU you get has the necessary 6 pin PCI-E power connectors if you want to crossfire in the future (each card will take two 6 pin connectors). Also, its a good idea to get a PSU with an 80+ certification as these will run more efficient, run cooler, and last longer.

Also, 8gb of RAM may be a little bit overkill for your purposes. Im not saying you shouldn't get it, but if you end up over budget the first thing I would cut is the second 4gb RAM kit. Once again, gaming is more dependent on your graphics card than anything, and while having a lot of RAM does help facilitate this, it's not necessarily essential to a gaming build.

As for the motherboard brand, if you do a little bit of poking around on the internet you'll find that peoples ideas of "good" and "bad" motherboard brands are based largely on their own experiences with that brand of motherboard, which isn't necessarily a good indicator of the brands overall quality. That being said, I would say Intel generally makes a motherboard that is very stable, but lacks many of the bells and whistles of other brands, or lacks OCing capability. The only brand I've heard almost completely positive reviews on is Asus, so you may want to look for something by them.
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