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$1800 AMD gaming pc - Need advice on compatability and wasted spending

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March 4, 2010 2:41:50 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Thursday/Friday (3/5/2010)
BUDGET RANGE: Current - $1815 - would enjoy reducing.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming (RTS and TBS)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, UPS

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES:

I prefer AMD for CPU and have had good luck with A-DATA for RAM. Also - I like the layout/cable management of the Lancool K10 case - however closest I could find is the K7B.

I actually do have experience/preference for NVidia cards - but since they are so far behind at current for all price ranges, I can't push myself to purchase one.

Also - for alternative RAM choices, I would really prefer to use a model that is listed as supported by the motherboard to avoid any problems.

OVERCLOCKING: No
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Prefer not to crossfire or SLI (heat/power/noise)

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1200

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: If you know if anything is noisy, let me know - I don't mind some sound, but prefer not to have a loud machine. Also - I know I'm spending on a LOT on SSD - but that is the real upgrade that I'm getting. Oh yeah - I'm not sure if I need something extra to mount the SSD drive since it is 2.5".

GIGABYTE GA-890GPA-UD3H : $139.99

AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz : $185.99

GIGABYTE GV-R585D5-1GD-B Radeon HD 5850 : $309.99

2 X A-DATA Gaming Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) (8GB total) : $205.98

CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W : $99.99

OCZ Vertex Turbo OCZSSD2-1VTXT120G 2.5" 120GB SATA II : $398.00

Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 1TB 7200 RPM : $89.99

LIAN LI Lancool PC-K7B : $99.99

LITE-ON CD/DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA : $25.99

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional Full - Retail : $268

current subtotal : $1815.90 (reduced, see below)

Changes made:
Switching to OEM for Windows 7 (figure if it doesn't last as long as the motherboard, I can buy another OEM and be out $10, otherwise keep the savings).
Switching to 4 GB of RAM instead of 8 (I can add more later if I find my system paging too much or if games+OS actually grow to use more than 4 GB).
Switching to NZXT M59 case - it fits my size requirements (see thread) and saves me a few $.
Switched to Corsair SSD - I don't know when the instant rebate started, but with the $50 rebate, I now save $70 and gain 8 GB. If it fails before my next tech refresh (most likely in 3 years), I can hopefully find something cheaper then.

New price : $1,479.91

Considered RAM brand change - but couldn't find anything from the qualified vendor list for the motherboard that seemed any better than what I picked (that I could find in newegg).

As for suggested GPU change - I figure the one I'm picking up should last me 2 years, and I can replace that later. I'd rather NOT have to replace the SSD drive later since that may require a re-install, and I hate installing software (even if it is faster, having to configure everything still takes time).

These are my thoughts - think I'm going to wait until tomorrow before I send the purchase order in.

Thanks again for your feedback !
March 4, 2010 2:55:58 AM

Plenty will critique spending that amount of money on AMD. I would too, but each to their own. Plus, the more experienced fella's here will likely you find better prices on those parts, or better performance for the price.

What I will recommend is swapping out that Win 7 Pro 'Retail' copy with an OEM one. It'll save you some money!

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

Plus, for the price of that case, you can get a Cooler Master HAF 922, or a Lancool PC-K62, which will be far better.
a c 204 4 Gaming
March 4, 2010 3:14:09 AM

For $1200, I'd say i5....$1800 i7

Echo the OEM OS

Not an A-data fan and ya can't get any slower than CAS 9. For $2 more, ya can have CAS7
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Can save $25 for a comparably rated PSU if ya don't meet tonite's deadline. Corsair TX650 has a $20 MIR but expires in 2 hours, 45 minutes
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Corsair TX750 - (Performance Rating = 8.5) - http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...
Antec EA-650 - (Performance Rating = 9.0) - http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...
Related resources
a b 4 Gaming
March 4, 2010 3:16:23 AM

8 gig of RAM wont increase gaming performance . See the articles on this site about memory

Thats also a great deal to spend on a SSD . It wont increase FPS or game quality . It will shave a few seconds off loading times , and boot times .
Id consider an 80 gig SSD as a boot drive , and using the money you save on that and the memory to upgrade gfx to 5870 , or if you are prepared to drop the SSD all together you can afford a 5890
March 4, 2010 2:24:16 PM

Understood about the 8 GB of RAM - I've been going back and forth between 4/8. One reason I was thinking of 8 GB is to minimize paging. I'd really like 6 GB, but I don't see any supported 3 GB memory chips (for 2x3) and I would like to avoid having 2 separate types of chips (2x1 + 2x2).

Question about the CAS latency – what has a better impact – lower CAS or higher operating speed ?
I can try to research that on my own, but if you have specific experience on that, please chime in.

About the SSD - if I drop to 80, then I can install a lot less games on the SSD itself. Granted, I rarely play a lot of different games in the same time-frame - so I can install/un-install my 'favorite' ones... So Might drop the SSD down to 80.
The reason I want the SSD in the first place is because that is the one true upgrade of the system. Getting a slightly faster CPU or Graphics card doesn't seem to make a huge change in system responsiveness. What I've read about SSD drives is a night/day comparison of PC responsiveness - which is why I'd rather spend extra money on that then a faster CPU (Intel). I do understand that 'in-game' load/disk times are mostly irrelevant.

OS : OEM vs Retail ... If I need to change my motherboard, I'll invalidate the OEM. Granted, I can purchase 2 OEMs for the cost of 1 retail, and I've never had to re-use a retail OS in the past - so I think I'll switch to the OEM version.

Thanks for the PSU recommendations.

As for the two suggested cases – both of them have the power supply at the bottom instead of the top – is that a new trend – does it make a difference in heat control ?
Unfortunately – I re-measured my desk and I cannot fit a tower that is higher than 17.75 inches. It is a really nice desk, no plans on replacing it, but it really is a bummer that it has a such a low height restriction I can't even use the case that I was planning on getting as it's height is 18.1 inches. Note the limit is only on the height at the rear of the tower (about 8 inches in) – if the case has a odd shape / extra high at the front end, that is no problem. Of course, I it is not easy to get the various measurements when the height varies.

I really don't like my current computer case or I'd consider cutting my current system for the new one. I'm not sure what I'm going to do here.
a b 4 Gaming
March 4, 2010 2:30:02 PM

As always, don't use wikipedia for backing up references, but as a general overview, it's a good start. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAS_latency Lower CAS is generally the way to go.

For an SSD, you might consider this new Corsair Nova 128 GB SSD, which lists faster read and write speeds than the OCZ. It's really recently released, but it uses proven technology. I would suggest sticking with 128 GB, as 80 GB is just too small (for me anyway), seems like you can barely fit an OS and a few games on that size drive.
March 4, 2010 3:51:25 PM

coldsleep said:
As always, don't use wikipedia for backing up references, but as a general overview, it's a good start. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAS_latency Lower CAS is generally the way to go.

For an SSD, you might consider this new Corsair Nova 128 GB SSD, which lists faster read and write speeds than the OCZ. It's really recently released, but it uses proven technology. I would suggest sticking with 128 GB, as 80 GB is just too small (for me anyway), seems like you can barely fit an OS and a few games on that size drive.


Where do you see faster read/write speeds for the Corsair ?
from newegg specs - they have the same read, and the corsair is a little slower on the write.
Also - the OZC had lifetime limited warranty instead of 2 year and a longer MTBF.
I'm still thinking about it since it is about a $40 savings (30 price difference, and 10 from the included 3.5" bay mount).

a b 4 Gaming
March 4, 2010 4:00:33 PM

MindALot said:
Where do you see faster read/write speeds for the Corsair ?
from newegg specs - they have the same read, and the corsair is a little slower on the write.
Also - the OZC had lifetime limited warranty instead of 2 year and a longer MTBF.
I'm still thinking about it since it is about a $40 savings (30 price difference, and 10 from the included 3.5" bay mount).


You're right, the read/write speeds are the same, I must have been looking at a different SSD. I'm not sure that 195 MB/s is really much different from 200 MB/s, though. :) 

Didn't look at the warranties or MTBF, good catch, though I suspect a lot of that varies by usage.
March 4, 2010 4:19:16 PM


Lifetime warranty on a SSD is nice, when you know that it eventually WILL wear out.

The idea behind the PSU at the bottom is that it is not going to draw hot air from the rest of the system, instead fans at the top of the case will take care of that.

The case you selected yourself is taller than 17.75 inches.
March 4, 2010 5:01:25 PM

lothdk said:
Lifetime warranty on a SSD is nice, when you know that it eventually WILL wear out.

The idea behind the PSU at the bottom is that it is not going to draw hot air from the rest of the system, instead fans at the top of the case will take care of that.

The case you selected yourself is taller than 17.75 inches.


I realized that about my own case (and am rather annoyed by it). Like I said - not quite sure what I'm going to do about the case at this time. Might have drive to a few local pc stores with a tape measure and see if I can find one I like that fits.

Thanks for the feedback !
a c 204 4 Gaming
March 4, 2010 9:06:08 PM

MindALot said:
Question about the CAS latency – what has a better impact – lower CAS or higher operating speed ? I can try to research that on my own, but if you have specific experience on that, please chime in.


Look at the speed as a means to overclocking. If you are not going to OC, 1067 memory is fine:

133 BCLK x 8 mem multiplier = 1066 MHz is all you need

But if you wanna OC .....

167 BCLK x 8 mem multiplier = 1333 MHz / CPU Speed = 20 x 167 = 3.33 GHz
200 BCLK x 8 mem multiplier = 1600 MHz / CPU Speed = 20 x 167 = 4.00 GHz

Quote:
As for the two suggested cases – both of them have the power supply at the bottom instead of the top – is that a new trend – does it make a difference in heat control ?


Yes it makes a difference.....why suck CPU heated hot air into PSU ?

Quote:
Unfortunately – I re-measured my desk and I cannot fit a tower that is higher than 17.75 inches. It is a really nice desk, no plans on replacing it, but it really is a bummer that it has a such a low height restriction I can't even use the case that I was planning on getting as it's height is 18.1 inches.


The old Lanboy fits (16.5"), wonder if the new one will....should be out in a few dats

http://www.futurelooks.com/ces-2010-antec-unveils-the-l...
March 4, 2010 9:33:11 PM

JackNaylorPE said:
Look at the speed as a means to overclocking. If you are not going to OC, 1067 memory is fine:

133 BCLK x 8 mem multiplier = 1066 MHz is all you need

But if you wanna OC .....

167 BCLK x 8 mem multiplier = 1333 MHz / CPU Speed = 20 x 167 = 3.33 GHz
200 BCLK x 8 mem multiplier = 1600 MHz / CPU Speed = 20 x 167 = 4.00 GHz

Quote:
As for the two suggested cases – both of them have the power supply at the bottom instead of the top – is that a new trend – does it make a difference in heat control ?


Yes it makes a difference.....why suck CPU heated hot air into PSU ?

Quote:
Unfortunately – I re-measured my desk and I cannot fit a tower that is higher than 17.75 inches. It is a really nice desk, no plans on replacing it, but it really is a bummer that it has a such a low height restriction I can't even use the case that I was planning on getting as it's height is 18.1 inches.


The old Lanboy fits (16.5"), wonder if the new one will....should be out in a few dats

http://www.futurelooks.com/ces-2010-antec-unveils-the-l...


Not sure about the new lanboy - as it looks a bit tall - and 2x as much (article says it's starting price will be $200). Also - I really want to purchase today/tomorrow.

Still reading about the RAM - but am very weary about getting RAM not specifically stated as supported by Gigabyte.
March 4, 2010 9:55:44 PM


The size limit makes it hard to come up with a good case, the only one I have seen with good air flow and room for large video cards is the Antec 200, and though it is a good case, it does not equal the Lancool in build quality, but it is half the price so that is to be expected.
March 4, 2010 10:25:14 PM

I like the Antec 300 Illusion personaly. It represents the center of Low prices, Good build quility, Cool looking LEDs, and lots of Space.
March 4, 2010 10:27:01 PM

builderbobftw said:
I like the Antec 300 Illusion personaly. It represents the center of Low prices, Good build quility, Cool looking LEDs, and lots of Space.


Except it is too tall.
March 4, 2010 10:28:50 PM

Well, nothing is perfect. Plus tall is good, in my mind. It's a very cheap, spacious, cool, and astheticaly pleasing case.
March 4, 2010 10:31:07 PM

builderbobftw said:
Well, nothing is perfect. Plus tall is good, in my mind. It's a very cheap, spacious, cool, and astheticaly pleasing case.


Did you even read the thread?

Here is another case that would fit your height limitation: NZXT M59.
March 5, 2010 1:37:29 AM

lothdk said:
Did you even read the thread?

Here is another case that would fit your height limitation: NZXT M59.


I might get that case. It even comes with a 2.5" drive mount kit - which saves me a total of $60 (case + mount) if I stick with the OEM SSD.

Thanks a lot !
March 11, 2010 5:50:35 PM

Just an update - I ended up buying/building the revised system.
Still learning windows 7 - but so far no hardware related problems.
The system is quiet - not sure if I just got lucky with the fans or what.
Windows 7 seems to boot up fast enough for me - but I'm sure with some tweaking I could get it faster.

Some notes..
The case allows you to route cables behind the motherboard - but you have to keep the cables very tight to get the back panel back on. Wish they made cases just a little bit wider to make cable routing easier.

The new motherboard boots through the bios screen very fast - I had troubles getting to the bios setup screen on some boots. Not sure how to slow it down.

I did have one problem where windows 7 went to sleep and I couldn't get the computer to get the display working again. Had to power off/on a few times. But I think this is more software (windows 7) than anything else.

Thanks again, everyone, for your advice.
!