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$800 Gaming Build

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February 28, 2010 5:29:48 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Approximately one month from now or sooner BUDGET RANGE: Less than $800 after rebates (Slightly negotiable based on CPU pricing. I'm not going to make needless sacrifices to get a better CPU).

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: moderately demanding gaming, highly demanding gaming, general internet use

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers/headset, OS (I don't have all these things, but I'm keeping these costs separate)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: www.newegg.com, www.microcenter.com, (open to others) COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: United States

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel CPU, ATI GPU

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe (probably not since I don't know how and I want this PC to last) SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe (Probably will do so eventually, maybe not immediately)

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Functionality is key. I don't need a shiny case. I don't need more than 750 GB on my HDD (I currently use less than 200). Despite my gaming emphasis, I doubt I'll need a powerhouse card right off the bat. I'll probably add another card later. I need 4 GB of RAM at least (DDR3 preferred, but not required).

Okay, so this is my first time building a PC. I have enough knowledge from swapping a few parts around in other machines that I believe I'm up to the task. Anyway, I've found most of the parts that I'm pretty much set on (see below), I mainly seek approval on them. What I need help with is choosing the right CPU and subsequently the right motherboard (and possibly RAM on that note).

The obvious processor that comes to mind is the i5 750, but I also have access to a Microcenter and therefore the i7 920 at $200 and the i7 860 at $230. So I'll address my concerns with each one in the next few paragraphs.

i5 750
Despite the i7 920 being only $20 more (i5 750 at Microcenter is $180), the i5 750 still has both other processors beat in the price game due to the need of a less expensive motherboard. It's also still an excellent performer and from my understanding it is definitely on par with both the i7 920 and i7 860 for gaming.

i7 860
While being $30 more than the i7 920, this would still be cheaper overall with most motherboards but only by a very insignificant amount. The clear advantage over the i5 750 to me is the hyper-threading. I worry that the i5 750 will become obsolete quicker than most CPUs have due to its lack of HT. My fear is that more games and applications will take advantage of HT technology and having an i5 750 would cause me to suffer because of this. This is really the only reason I can see for getting the i7 860 over the i5 750, otherwise they seem to be very similar.

i7 920
I doubt I'll ever upgrade the CPU on this machine, but the option would be nice which is part of the reason why I'm considering the i7 920 (since it would need an LGA 1366 motherboard). From my understanding performance-wise the improvement of the 920 is marginal (including no improvement in gaming). It does have hyper-threading, though. The problem with buying this processor isn't the cost of the CPU itself, but the motherboards are so much more expensive (though they are better). I also have some concern since I was told that the i7 920 would require 2 GB RAM more than the i5 750 or i7 860 with no increased performance.

Pricing Breakdown
All numbers in here include the final cost to me including approximate sales tax (~8%) and shipping. At Microcenter I would have to pay sales tax, at newegg I would not.
i5 750
$195 (CPU) + $103 (MOBO) = $298
i7 860
$249 (CPU) + $103 (MOBO) = $352
i7 920
$216 (CPU) + $127 (MOBO) = $343

After that, the i7 860 seems kind of like a pointless buy since I wouldn't get the good motherboard the i7 920 combination has (even though it is open box it should be fine). I mainly kept it in here in case I'm missing some reasoning and you want to convince me otherwise. But, as far as I can see it, my choice is that I can get the i5 750 with a decent motherboard for $298 or the i7 920 for $45 more. I'm beginning to lean heavily toward getting the i7 920, but I worry that I'll need 2 GB RAM more to be on par with the i5 750 at 4 GB RAM, which would be lots of money I don't want to spend.

Everything else I've selected, though I'm posting it here for approval since this is my first PC to build and I'm still learning when it comes to knowledge of PC component specifications. Please point out anything that you think is a poor choice or is incompatible with something else. All prices listed are the prices for that specific part, not my budget for it. I'm also leaving a special section open for graphics cards despite the fact that I've already chosen one since I expect to have lots of feedback on that choice.

CASE $100
Antec Sonata III 500 Black 0.8mm cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 500W Power Supply - Retail

HDD $60
Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3750528AS 750GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

MEMORY $105
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL - Retail

DVD BURNER $30
LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 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 - Retail

GRAPHICS CARD $160
SAPPHIRE 100283L Radeon HD 5770 (Juniper XT) 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - Retail
Right now I only plan on buying one card. I don't play lots of demanding games like Crysis, so I never will need the best graphics card. I feel this one suits me perfectly - it is a great value. However, as far as doing Xfire, I'm unsure. I've never run two cards before, but it is tempting. Feel free to suggest either another card along with my current or another pair. I'd like not to spend more than $160 on either card, though. It's not likely I'll buy both now if they combine to be over $200 (but that doesn't mean don't suggest ones that cost more than $200, please do).


Thanks a bunch for reading this. I know it was long-winded, but my processor dilemma has been consuming my thoughts. I really and truly appreciate any feedback on any part of my build.

More about : 800 gaming build

a b 4 Gaming
February 28, 2010 6:05:03 AM

I like the 860, but at your budget range it is not realistic and not needed for gaming.

ASRock is an excellent budget choice also.

The Sonata is a good choice with the EA500 PSU... it was about 20 bucks more 2 days ago, and a steal then. Not very well cooled but quiet.

I would rather you save money with that i5 combo and get a cooler case with a slightly better PSU... leaving yourself more power and space for future builds.

Antec Illusion and EA650 combo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
That gives you superior cooling and more upgrade room on the PSU

CM 690 case and OCZ600MXSP combo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
Tons of space, excellent cooling, and a modular decent 600W


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February 28, 2010 6:14:46 AM

Have you thought of having an AMD computer? Its much cheaper and I know you can fit a ATI 5850 in the build if you do so. If you want a gaming computer, you want the best GPU you can get with your budget. Getting a an i5 might increase the fps by a maybe 5 frames or 6 but right now your pretty much getting the cheapest decent intel gaming computer. With an AMD build you can get a great gaming computer instead of a decent to good gaming computer.
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February 28, 2010 6:24:21 AM

i tend to advise an amd system if your budget is under $900
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February 28, 2010 6:26:52 AM

Sorry I didnt read that you didnt play demanding games. lol I think this build is good. If you wanted to you can wait for the 5830 to come out. Its going to be around $240 or so, in some ways its close to the 5770 and in others its closer to the 5850. Unless you need the build now, go with the one you have. Other than that, it looks good.
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February 28, 2010 6:31:39 AM

yeah me too, to even have a decent intel build you need $800 to $900. He did say hes not a heavy gamer so I guess he can get the better CPU and the intel stuff but intel changes their stuff a lot and its more expensive but its what the OP wants.
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February 28, 2010 2:38:20 PM

Thanks for the replies everyone. I'd like to mention that my budget isn't set in stone, in fact at this point I plan on going over $800. I've ruled out the 860 now, but am still curious on the 920. If it is only $45 more than the 750, I think I'll go for it. I just sort of need to know whether or not I would need an additional 2GB of RAM without seeing a performance increase. Could anyone clear that up for me?

Also, as far as gaming goes I'd mainly be getting this for World of Warcraft. I still plan on playing more demanding games, but they're not my priority.
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February 28, 2010 2:43:18 PM

Its not the Processor that kills you when you switch to the 920 it is the Mobo and Ram.

Stick with either an I5 or or an AMD build (AMD being the optimum choice for Gaming)
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February 28, 2010 3:00:23 PM

squirrel15 said:
Sorry I didnt read that you didnt play demanding games. lol I think this build is good. If you wanted to you can wait for the 5830 to come out. Its going to be around $240 or so, in some ways its close to the 5770 and in others its closer to the 5850. Unless you need the build now, go with the one you have. Other than that, it looks good.


No, No, No. The Radeon 5830 is a total turd. It loses to the 4890 by a lot in 99% benchmarks (All but some Synthetics), and it costs 40$ more. In adddition, it uses the same power as a 5870, wich means more power and heat than the faster 5850. It is also 240$, or 90$ more than the 5770, wich is preforms very, very close to. It's also uses the 5870 board, meaning it's realy long. It's basicaly a defective 5870 chip, wich has had massive amounts of things deacivated to cripple it. You're much better of with a 5770 at 150$, or a 4890 at 200$, or even the 5850 at 300$. In addition, massive lack of demand means that the card will be EOL'd in a few months when 5850 prices hit 260$. Honestly, i don't even thing many people will buy it even if the price was lowered to a more resonable 200$, if someone told me i could either have a free 4890 or a free 5830, i would take the 4890. Even the 5830 with heavy OCs pasts the 4890 clock level still, somehow loses to it. Also, you should wait a day for the i7-930, see if that change pricing around.
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February 28, 2010 4:35:09 PM

Proximon said:
I like the 860, but at your budget range it is not realistic and not needed for gaming.

ASRock is an excellent budget choice also.

The Sonata is a good choice with the EA500 PSU... it was about 20 bucks more 2 days ago, and a steal then. Not very well cooled but quiet.

I would rather you save money with that i5 combo and get a cooler case with a slightly better PSU... leaving yourself more power and space for future builds.

Antec Illusion and EA650 combo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
That gives you superior cooling and more upgrade room on the PSU

CM 690 case and OCZ600MXSP combo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
Tons of space, excellent cooling, and a modular decent 600W

I think I'll go with the Second Combo. After rebates it's only $15 more, thanks.
osu43130 said:
Its not the Processor that kills you when you switch to the 920 it is the Mobo and Ram.

Stick with either an I5 or or an AMD build (AMD being the optimum choice for Gaming)

So does this mean I would need that extra 2 GB RAM? Could someone please clear this up for me? I'm no where near as educated on this as you all. I can accept spending $45 more if it means I get the i7 920 and the better mobo. What I have more trouble with is whether or not this means I'll have to get more RAM for it to stay on par with the i5 750.
builderbobftw said:
No, No, No. The Radeon 5830 is a total turd. It loses to the 4890 by a lot in 99% benchmarks (All but some Synthetics), and it costs 40$ more. In adddition, it uses the same power as a 5870, wich means more power and heat than the faster 5850. It is also 240$, or 90$ more than the 5770, wich is preforms very, very close to. It's also uses the 5870 board, meaning it's realy long. It's basicaly a defective 5870 chip, wich has had massive amounts of things deacivated to cripple it. You're much better of with a 5770 at 150$, or a 4890 at 200$, or even the 5850 at 300$. In addition, massive lack of demand means that the card will be EOL'd in a few months when 5850 prices hit 260$. Honestly, i don't even thing many people will buy it even if the price was lowered to a more resonable 200$, if someone told me i could either have a free 4890 or a free 5830, i would take the 4890. Even the 5830 with heavy OCs pasts the 4890 clock level still, somehow loses to it. Also, you should wait a day for the i7-930, see if that change pricing around.

I'll wait and see about the i7 930. I wasn't planning on order everything today anyway.
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February 28, 2010 4:51:15 PM

the 1366 platform Mobos are more expensive as well as you have to make the jump to triple channel ram instead of Dual channel.

Basically.

1366 = 3x2gb sticks
1156 = 2x2gb chips
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February 28, 2010 7:48:23 PM

Okay, this is what I've put together for the i7 920. Surprisingly, I was able to pull off the 6 GB RAM without adding too much to the price.

The grandtotal ($694) is more of a subtotal in this situation. Adding the i7 920 for $216 after taxes it would be $910. However, after $65 less from rebates, it would end up being a grand total of $845 after all taxes and shipping fees. Thoughts/criticisms? Have really appreciated all the help so far. I realize I've sort of steered away from some recommendations, but I haven't bought this stuff yet. I'll list out everything in case that picture is too small.

SATA CABLESx3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MOTHERBOARD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CASE & DVD COMBO
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

PSU & RAM COMBO
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
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February 28, 2010 9:44:43 PM

Uh, the 700w modxstream used to be 65$ on Newegg, dollar losing purchasing power lol.
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a b 4 Gaming
February 28, 2010 10:03:23 PM

Open box MB? That's asking for trouble. I hope you have a lot of patience.
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March 1, 2010 2:05:38 AM

builderbobftw said:
No, No, No. The Radeon 5830 is a total turd. It loses to the 4890 by a lot in 99% benchmarks (All but some Synthetics), and it costs 40$ more. In adddition, it uses the same power as a 5870, wich means more power and heat than the faster 5850. It is also 240$, or 90$ more than the 5770, wich is preforms very, very close to. It's also uses the 5870 board, meaning it's realy long. It's basicaly a defective 5870 chip, wich has had massive amounts of things deacivated to cripple it. You're much better of with a 5770 at 150$, or a 4890 at 200$, or even the 5850 at 300$. In addition, massive lack of demand means that the card will be EOL'd in a few months when 5850 prices hit 260$. Honestly, i don't even thing many people will buy it even if the price was lowered to a more resonable 200$, if someone told me i could either have a free 4890 or a free 5830, i would take the 4890. Even the 5830 with heavy OCs pasts the 4890 clock level still, somehow loses to it. Also, you should wait a day for the i7-930, see if that change pricing around.


I realize that but I'm just giving him another option, the OP can look at the details himself:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-5830,2564...
The 4890 does beat the 5830 in a lot of areas except for power usage, temperature and DX11 but other than that the 4890 wins almost all of the performance benchmarks. He should go with either the 5770, 4890 or 5850.
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March 1, 2010 7:06:28 PM

The power usage is within a few watts of each other. DX 11 is underwhelming.
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