$1,500-$2,000 gaming rig. Need advice please.

Hey everyone, first time poster here, love how you guys help each other out so I thought I would try here for some advice. This is my first build ever so go easy on me. I'm basically looking for a good gaming PC that will be able to max games for the next couple of years.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Sometime in March, possibly April.

BUDGET RANGE: Anything below $2,000. I don't want to go above. Prefer to stay in the $1,800 range.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, movies, internet browsing, school work.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard and mouse.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com (Since this is my first build I've never ordered parts before online and hear newegg as a good reputable dealer, which I prefer).


PARTS PREFERENCES: I don't prefer one brand to another as I haven't ever gotten into building pc's until now.

OVERCLOCKING: Not within the first few months of building. Perhaps some time down the road.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Need a monitor, so whatever is best for my budget.


1)I'm curious if I need a sound card. As I've been researching, I keep hearing you don't need one. What are your guys' opinions on the subject? I use Bose Around Ear headphones if that helps at all.

2)I'm curious if a Radeon 5870 GPU is a lot better than the 5850 and if I should just go for the 5850 to save an extra $80 or so.

3) Also, should I get the OEM version of windows 7? I've been reading that it's against Microsoft terms of use (or what have you) to use OEM versions of their operating systems if you don't plan on selling the system.

Thanks in advance to all that can help!

Parts List:
Case- Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

Motherboard- ASUS Crosshair III Formula AM3 AMD 790FX ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail

CPU- AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor - Retail

GPU- SAPPHIRE 100281SR Radeon HD 5870 (Cypress XT) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card w/ATI Eyefinity - Retail

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

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

Hard Drive- Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

DVD Drive- LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 24X DVD Writer LightScribe Support - Retail

CPU cooler- ZALMAN CNPS9900ALED 120mm 2 Ball Low-noise Blue LED CPU Cooler - Retail

Monitor- ASUS VW246H Glossy Black 24" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 ASCR 20000:1 (1000:1) Built-in Speakers - Retail

OS- Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Full - Retail
3 answers Last reply
More about gaming advice please
  1. If you want a good combo:
    Save you lot of money, last you for the next 6 years due to AMD sticking with socket AM3 and crossfire upgradeability.
    Maybe grab a 32GB SSD for the OS.

    Remember, you don't need to spend $2,000 for top-notch performance.
  2. 1) Generally you don't need a sound card unless you work with music or audio professionally, or if you are an audiophile. After listening to the onboard sound and you find that you aren't happy with it, that is the time to look for a soundcard.
    2) It looks to me like your total as it is now is about $1700. So I would say that you have the money for it and it is probably worth getting over the 5850 if longevity is a factor.
    3) No problem getting OEM windows. Tons of people buy OEM windows for themselves and never have any problems.

    Your processor comes in a combo with a mobo that is mostly likely just as good as the Crosshair, unless the Crosshair has something that you want specifically.
    Phenom II X4 965 And MSI 790FX-GD70 $168 & $180, combo price $328.
    Also the 'improved' version of your case comes in a combo with a nice PSU.
    Antec 902 & Antec TruePower New TP-750 ATX12V V2.3/EPS12V V2.91 80 Plus Bronze Active PFC $110 ($10 shipping) & $90, combo price $175.

    You should have a look at the combos that come with 5870s. I know that the Antec Earthwatts 750 ($110 with $15 rebate) is in a combo with two different 5870s.

    I will say that you should consider either a Samsung Spinpoint F3 or Seagate Barracuda 7200.12, as they are based on 500GB platters, so use less energy, produce less heat and noise, and generally perform better. Altho I have read some forum members state that the performance from the WD Caviar Black 1TB is very consistent and reliable over it's life, don't know if this makes them different to either the Samsung or Seagate, but nothing wrong with the WD, just the other two might be cheaper and those other aspects might appeal to you. Just realized you were talking about the 640. I think it's fair to say that it's the best 640GB harddrive, altho not as good as any of the other drives I was talking about.
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