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Critique This Gaming Build - $1600

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March 2, 2010 1:54:37 AM

I’m looking for feedback on the system I’ll be buying soon.

Here’s the system I’m considering for purchase. The purchase will be within one week to a month. The budget is flexible, but I’m generally looking for the sweet spot for most components. I’m looking for a system that can be expanded in the future, which means I plan on adding another graphics card in Crossfire and expanding the memory and hard drive as prices continue to drop. The primary purpose will be gaming with the secondary use of viewing movies. I assume any system capable of gaming will be capable of playing Blue Rays. Links are to Fry’s because I have one a half mile from my house and I can exchange parts. Some parts (CPU, memory), I’m confident enough that what I get will be right and I won’t need to exchange to fix a mistake on my part. I don’t plan on overclocking unless responses say I should. I have a mouse, keyboard, and speakers.

Processor: Intel Core i5 750. (http://www.frys.com/product/5981624).

Graphics Card: HD-585A-ZNFC ATI Radeon™ HD 5850. (http://www.frys.com/product/6047648). I’m loking for something that supports DX11 so it’s a little more future proof. I will probably add another Radeon HD 5850 in Crossfire within a year.

Motherboard: Asus P7P55D-E Deluxe Intel i5 i7 P55 1156. (http://www.frys.com/product/6108979). Again, I’m looking for a little future proofing by picking something with USB3.0.

Memory: 4GB PC1333MHz DUAL. (http://www.frys.com/product/6088628). Any 4GB 1333MHz chips from a reputable manufacturer will do, but these seem to be the least expansive at the moment. I’ll check prices again when I order.

Memory’s pretty easy to expand after the initial build, so I’m not terribly worried about starting with a moderate amount.

Hard drive: SEAGATE 640GB SERIAL ATA/300 32MB. (http://www.frys.com/product/6169379). Yeah, I’m willing to take a chance on a refurb. I may reconsider if there’s a 500GB drive at the same price. Hard drives are ridiculously easy to upgrade, so I’m not worried about picking a mid-sized drive.

Optical drive: ASUS 4X BLU-RAY ROM. (http://www.frys.com/product/6150039). I want to be able to play Blue Ray, but writing to BR isn’t important.

Case: Apevia X-DREAMER-3 Mid Tower Red. (http://www.frys.com/product/6136109). Everything will fit, right?

Power Supply: Raidmax RX-630Z Smart Modular ATX Power Supply 630w. (http://www.frys.com/product/6030458). It’s more power than I need, but I want the extra PCIe output for an additional graphics card in the future.

Monitor: Samsung 2494SW 24" LCD Monitor. (http://www.frys.com/product/6075208). I’m aiming for something that games and movies look good on.

Operating System: Windows 7 Ultimate 64.

My primary concerns are that adding another graphics card in Crossfire at a later time will be a problem or that these components will not work together.
March 2, 2010 3:10:13 AM

if your going to go w/ crossfire/sli, i'd go w/ a x58 chipset motherboard, not a P55. The x58 allows for 2 x16 lanes for the graphics card, while the P55 can only do one x16 and one x8. (of course this means that you'd need to get a LGA 1366 Socket CPU)
I'm honestly not sure USB 3.0 is worth it right now. you can always buy an addon card later that connects to the SATA or PCI ports if you really want.
If your going w/ DDR3 memory, you really should get 3 sticks. At 2 GB each, for a total of 6 GB is more than you'll need for a while in gaming.
With all the hardware that your looking at... I'd really go w/ a 7200 RPM hard drive. Not the 5200 that you picked out.
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March 2, 2010 12:25:55 PM

Thanks for the initial responses.

dogman_1234, are you saying that $1,600 is too much for a gaming system? I see gaming builds for $3,000 on this forum and could spend a lot more than that if I went to somebody like Alienware. Can you expand on your comment?

arges86, the motherboard I've selected says it has 2 x16 slots for graphics for Crossfire or SLI. Is there additional information I should look for to make sure it will be able to do Crossfire?
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March 2, 2010 2:30:36 PM

Nice catch, arges86. That's the reason I wanted to ask the forum before I did anything.

Keeping in mind that the $1,600 includes a large monitor, Blueray drive, and the OS, where can I either save some money or improve performance? It seems to beat the heck out of any of the manufacturer builds, but they're probably a bit more optimized and don't make mistakes like I did with the mobo and x16 mode.

If I drop the USB 3.0, will an expansion card fit and provide the same data transfer rate? If I don't drop it, how long until I can expect cards with real dual x16 mode?

I'll probably be dropping the Windows to either Home Premium or Professional as the deal I thought was available isn't anymore.

Also, I've spent the morning reading up on dual channel vs triple channel memory. It looks like both the mobo and the chip are dual channel.
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March 2, 2010 2:45:48 PM

i'm not sure what you mean by 'cards with real dual x16 mode'. Any motherboard with an x58 chipset will support 2 x16 lanes.
Win7 Home Premium is the OS i recommend unless you really need the extra features of Pro or Ultimate
You can get dual channel DDR3, but as a 'future proof' (that phrase is thrown around allot) i'd go w/ the triple channel provided you have the necessary funds
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Best solution

March 2, 2010 3:18:41 PM

Stayaway from that power supply.

Get an Antec/Seasonic/Corsair/Silverstone.

No reason to buy all of this expensive stuff to have a crappy PSU burn them all up.


Edit****
I would also suggest either the Antec 900/902 or HAF 922 as a case alternative to that raidmax you suggested.
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March 2, 2010 3:28:58 PM

By 'dual x16 mode' I mean 2 x16 lanes for the graphics cards. I'm sorry if my terminology isn't correct. I've tried to do my research, but I haven't done a system build in 10 years and haven't been into speccing hardware since 64 bit operating systems were new.

I know no computer will ever be future proof, but I know that USB 3.0 is on the horizon and will be much more useful for data throughput than 2.0. If I can get a card that won't create a bottleneck in a year or two when external USB drives are coming out, that's probably a better solution for me. I would be nice to get three to five years of gaming out of the system before I have to upgrade a fundamental component like CPU or motherboard. Adding memory or a graphics card is relatively easy without having to rebuild the system from the ground up.

Will the i5-750 be able to take advantage of triple channel RAM? That really seems to be the sweet spot for a CPU. The superior i7 chips are quite a jump up in price. I can step up there if it's significantly better, but what I've read on this site doesn't seem to indicate they're worth it unless I'm looking for a top of the line system.
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March 2, 2010 4:03:06 PM

No it will not be able to take advantage of triple channel ram.

Also the U3S6 boards really are not that much more then the non u3s6 so IMO it would be a wise investment to get a board that supports it.
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March 2, 2010 4:18:35 PM

theres an article on x55 motherboard pci-e x16 limitations in crossfire/sli configurations . Read it .
Its not a huge issue , and barely makes a difference

A hard drive thats refurbished? Thats crazy since all they could do would b a firmware flash and a repack . Buy a samsung F3 500 gig or seagate 7200.12 500 gig . Both are cheap enough , and faster than the 640 gig drive .

The samsung monitor is good but its an older model and there are better prices on newer models .

Windows 7 ultimate? Do you know the difference between ultimate and home premium ? Ultimate has some encryption and VPN tools added . Its probably a little slower in gaming thanks to slightly higher overheads . If you are buying it because its "ultimate" you are going to be wasting money . Get Home premium 64 bit OEM .

A raidmax psu isnt heavy enough to use to anchor a boat , but Id rather do that than use one in a pc
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March 3, 2010 1:41:09 AM

Best answer selected by KnightNavro.
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