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Mainly game build, but frugal

Last response: in Systems
February 24, 2010 5:15:51 AM

Hello Everyone!

I am interested in completing a system build that will be used primarily as gaming machine. I have some components as follows:
5 year old Logitech Wireless keyboard, several mice (mouse)
my old 1st generation Dell 30 inch LCD monitor (2560 X 1600 max resolution)

new: (I have these already for the build)
HAF 922 tower case ($95)

Rosewill Bronze Series PSU ($100), probably overkill for my system, but I bought it several months ago under other pretenses.

(QTY) 2 WD Caviar Black 640GB HD ($100 total)

CPU Motherboard Combo, i7-860 and Biostar T5 XE CFX-SLI ($259)
Fry's item #6083358

Win7 Ultimate, ($50)

So that's what I have so far and still need recommendations for the following:

graphics card(s)
cooler, unless the stock cooler is enough for moderate OC (what's typical safe OC for stock?)
memory, MB takes DDR3, and can support 16GB, but I have no clue what to get.
SSD, 64GB+, but looking for a great deal

For the GPU, I will throw out a budget of $300 for 1 card, or $400 for 2 cards. Sounds arbitrary, and, well it is. Have to start some where. Right now I think it makes more sense for 1 ATI card, and then upgrade to 2nd ATI card later, but I appreciate options and recommendations.

For the cooler, I am just looking for recommendation as to definitely get a cooler if I am OC beyond XXX. If so, then a product would be nice as well. I need to research more, but I thought folks were getting nice OC with stock cooler.

For memory, my local Frys had this ... any good and will it work well with my MB? Corsair 6GB PC 1600 C8 ($169)

For SSD, I have read that this is one of the best upgrades to get for older computers. I plan on running the 2 WD HD listed above in RAID 0, and like the thought of an SSD for the OS. I have the budget, but am frugal and cheap! What do you guys think, is it worth it? What would be recommended for under $200?

Anybody have advice on 3D hardware? Not so interested in letting loose on my 30" LCD, and I am unaware of ATI supporting 3D cards with glasses like Nvidea ... or is out there from a 3rd party vendor?

I am so old to this stuff, that I am all brand new, if that makes sense. Thanks in advance for the recommendations and advice.

More about : game build frugal

February 24, 2010 5:45:01 AM

First a note about your PSU. The label is either wrong or there is something wrong with the supply. If it can supply 900W on the 12V rail, then is should say 75A, not 52. If it can only supply 52A, this is VERY small for a 1kW PSU is its being over rated. Its likely to die a horrible death on you, taking God knows what with it. I did a very fast search for a review online and didn't see one. You might want to sell this and get something better.

I can really only help with the GPU question. If you have $300, the 5850 is your best single card bet. Its what I would get. The 5750/5770 might perform better I'm not sure. I'd get the single card just so you don't get any CF issues.

I'm not familier with the new line of Intel, so I have no idea what cooler or RAM is best. Get whatever SSD you can that supports the trim command. I'd also avoid the RAID0 idea.
February 24, 2010 5:51:11 AM

1. Look at an HD 5850 or 5870.
2. The CM Hyper 212+ or, if you're willing to invest a bit more, the V8 or Prolimatech Megahalems. Either of the last two should let you OC beyond 4.0GHz.
3. That's triple-channel RAM. You need dual-channel RAM (i.e., 2x2GB).
One of these would be fine.
4. Not really a good time to get an SSD, prices are a bit high. Decent 60GB+ SSDs start at ~$200.
5. Not really a good time to get 3D hardware either; best to wait till the tech gets a bit more... solid.
Related resources
February 24, 2010 4:17:03 PM

I would normally say an i5-750 is the ideal budget gamer... but good lord that's a good deal on the i7-860 + mobo combo. Kinda hard to argue with that.

Like others have said... your mobo (and all P55 based boards) have dual channel memory setups... the triple channel boards will all be X58 based boards and that doesn't apply to your build. So if the memory kit comes with 2 or 4 memory chips you should be fine... if it comes with 3 or 6... well, that's not the right memory for you.

While Rosewill is DEFINITELY not the brand I would buy, I think you'll be OK on that PSU assuming the NewEgg specs are correct and you don't crazy with your build down the road. There's a reason why that PSU has a 3 year warranty and my Corsair has a 7 year warranty. However, if you can return the unit for a full refund I'd think you'd be best served by going with a different PSU.
February 24, 2010 4:33:30 PM

I'll chime in as well. Everything above is good.

If you can return the Rosewill, you don't need a 1000W PSU. You can get by with an 850W unit. The one I like to recommend is the Silverstone 850W 80+ Silver for $150. It's pricey, but high quality and high efficiency. Other good units would be the Antec Earthwatts or TruePower (NOT the CP-850), Seasonic, and Corsair.
February 24, 2010 11:06:21 PM

Thanks Everyone for the feedback.

On the PSU, I think the PSU provides sufficient performance for my build. Can anyone provide more information as to why I might look to another PSU? The unit has (4) 12V rails, 2@20A, and 2@30A, totaling 100A which I think should be enough. It's been awhile, but when I looked at the data provided by the group who conducts the certification for all the PSU's, the Rosewill had very good numbers, and was just shy of being rated Silver. My concern here is if people know that I am going down the wrong path with this, then I want to nip it in the bud now, but, if it's just not the best, then I am ok with that. I think it's the latter, but just want to confirm.

On the i5-750 ... yeah that is the budget gamer, I totally agree, but the price and the HT made the difference for me.

On the memory ... wow, bad mix up for me, I was just scanning for DDR3 memory. Thanks for the clarifications. I am thinking 8GB, but are there any recommendations? Blackjellognor provided a list ... do I select on price only? I used to look for CAS latency numbers and how well something would OC. Can someone provide a little bit more advice for me?

On the GPU ... Looks like the HIS 5870 is under $400 (at $380 now). It's very tempting. Thanks.
February 24, 2010 11:49:31 PM

On the PSU, it's not so much about not having enough power. It's about how long it will last and what it may take with it when it fails. Chances are that the Rosewill will fail sooner than a quality unit that can be carried over to several builds.

On the RAM, the first thing you look for is CAS Latency 7. After that, speed. 1333 mhz is the standard speed, and the sweet spot for performance. Once you start overclocking, you'd want to get 1600 mhz sticks. After that, it's mostly price. I typically avoid OCZ because they have some compatibility issues.
February 25, 2010 10:53:44 AM

Seeing as this hasn't been corrected...

The unit has (4) 12V rails, 2@20A, and 2@30A, totaling 100A which I think should be enough.

It doesn't work that way. Each individual rail might be able to handle that much power, but the source feeding them can't. This is why I wrote what I did. If it can do 900W on the 12V rail, the label is just wrong. If it can't do 900W and can only do 52A, then its being WAY overrated and its really a 750W unit being sold as a 1kW. My general policy is if they can't even print out the label correctly, I don't use the unit. If they can't do something as simple as tell me how much power it has, why should I use it?

I would also argue that a low end budget build would use the i3, not the i5. I5 750 is more like a midrange build.
February 25, 2010 11:17:13 AM

He's already got the i7-860.

I disagree about the i3 being a low end build. It's for an HTPC build. A low end build would use the X4 925 or 620 or even the X3 425. Of course, that depends on what the PC is used for...
February 25, 2010 11:13:35 PM

If it can do 900W on the 12V rail, the label is just wrong.

My general policy is if they can't even print out the label correctly, I don't use the unit.

Thanks for that 4745454b. I finally figured out what you were looking at, the image that Newegg provides on the side of the PSU. The table lists the combined power of the 12V rails at 900W, but only at 52A.

Out of curiosity I went to Rosewill's webpage, and discovered this:

This image shows 75A, which makes much more sense. However, not being satisfied, I called their technical support (since the both images have the model number RBR1000-M). I happened to call just before they closed, but they are having someone from technical support call me back in the morning. I plan on asking for clarification. Not sure what will really happen though.

Just FYI, I opened the packaging (from months ago!) of my PSU to discover that my sticker matches the images from my original Newegg link! Disconcerting ...
February 26, 2010 3:14:30 AM

Odds are that it is 900W/75A. The thing that bugs me is that label policy I have. How are is it to properly print a label that makes sense and slap it on the side of the unit? I'm sure any reply you get from Rosewill will "confirm" it to be a 900W unit as well. Chances are good you'll be fine, it would bug the $#^&%$ out of me however. Not sure if this has been mentioned, but you don't really need a 1kW unit.
February 28, 2010 1:47:06 AM

Regarding the RAM, I was thinking about getting this, since it had the CAS 7 and is only $85 after rebate ... anybody have reservations about this exact RAM or have a better suggestion? Is there better RAM at a similar price?

MadAdmiral did mention that OCZ memory has compatibility issues ... is there a simple way for me to determine if that will apply for my build?

The Biostar webpage lists supported memory, of which 3 types come from OCZ, but they do not match part numbers exactly:

I should add that I do want to do an OC, and I heard some folks get 4Ghz. I am guessing that I will need faster DDR3 2000+ and the RAM in the link above is only DDR1333. On my older systems I was able to tweak the memory speed to the bus speed using ratio's ... is that still true?
February 28, 2010 3:06:51 AM

You don't need 2000 mhz RAM for overclocking. You won't generally get over 1600 mhz anyway. I would get some 1600 mhz CL 7 sticks.

There is no perfect way to determine compatibility. My main problem with OCZ's sticks is that require a LOT of power to run. Most motherboards only support sticks that use up to 1.65V, but many of OCZ's sticks require 1.7+V, despite what they claim.

Also, you can't trust the QVL to list every type of RAM that will be compatible. They only list the exact models they have extensively tested.