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$1,200 gaming rig. My first complete build Oh Joy!

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March 4, 2010 3:53:04 AM

Hey everyone, how goes it? I'm looking to put together a PC ASAP.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Tomorrow evening (3/4/10)

BUDGET RANGE: $1,000-$1,200 before rebates
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Internet/MS word, gaming, watching movies

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, speakers, headphones

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg, amazon

PARTS PREFERENCES: I really want to go core i7 920. I had a KILLER gaming rig about a year ago with that CPU and liked it a lot. I want some future-proof (5 years or so) power and features.

OVERCLOCKING: maybe in the future, but only moderately as I don't want to toast anything.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: probably 1920x1080 but I'm buying a new monitor too, so recommendations in the 21"-24" range would be appreciated.

This PC needs to last at least 5 years without major upgrades. Installing more ram in a couple years and an annual to bi-annual GPU upgrade are all I want to deal with. I'd like it to be on the quiet and cool side since it will be on 12 hours a day every day.

I'm mostly a console gamer but I REALLY want to get into PC gaming. I've never put together a PC from absolute scratch but I've swapped MOBO's HDD's and RAM in some older PC's before.

Here's what I've got. With the OS I'm over budget. I'm not really sure of anything other than the HDD and RAM. I have no clue in regards to the MOBO.

Thermaltake V3 Black Edition VL80001W2Z Black SECC / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

Thermaltake W0296RU 800W ATX 12V 2.2 / EPS 12V 2.91 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
link

ASUS P6T SE LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard
link

Intel Core i7-920 Bloomfield 2.66GHz
zelda

XFX HD-577X-ZNFC Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - Retail
link

G.SKILL PI Series 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory
Model F3-12800CL7T-6GBPI - Retail
link

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
link

LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X 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 CD/DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
link

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
link
I don't want to pirate windows b/c of reliability issues.

Monitor? I don't know what to get. I'm thinking in the $200 23" range though.

Thanks in advance for any help.
March 4, 2010 4:30:21 AM

Just one thing to note, when try to hot link things using (url=)(/url) (in square brackets of course) you need to put some text between the closing and opening brackets that are touching.

A few ways you could lower your cost is going with a smaller PSU, (750W quality PSU will be able to XFire 5770's no problem), and a 500GB HDD instead of 1TB. Also, if you are a university student, or you know a university student, you can likely get Windows 7 for around $30, or even for free from some schools.

Another excellent way to save money is to change your CPU to an i5-750. If this is going to be a gaming computer than the i5 actually offers the best performance in gaming. The only reason to go i7-920 is because of the higher number of PCI-E lanes available.

CPU: i5-750 $200
MOBO: ASUS P7P55D-E Pro $190
GPU: HD 5850 $320
RAM: G.SKILL ECO 4GB CL 7 $120
Case+PSU combo $155 (before $30 MIR)
HDD: Samsung F3 Spinpoint 500GB $45

Total: $1030 (before Shipping and $30 MIR)

Monitor: ASUS VW246H $230
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Best solution

March 4, 2010 4:58:28 AM

mavanhel said:
Just one thing to note, when try to hot link things using (url=)(/url) (in square brackets of course) you need to put some text between the closing and opening brackets that are touching.

A few ways you could lower your cost is going with a smaller PSU, (750W quality PSU will be able to XFire 5770's no problem), and a 500GB HDD instead of 1TB. Also, if you are a university student, or you know a university student, you can likely get Windows 7 for around $30, or even for free from some schools.

Another excellent way to save money is to change your CPU to an i5-750. If this is going to be a gaming computer than the i5 actually offers the best performance in gaming. The only reason to go i7-920 is because of the higher number of PCI-E lanes available.

CPU: i5-750 $200
MOBO: ASUS P7P55D-E Pro $190
GPU: HD 5850 $320
RAM: G.SKILL ECO 4GB CL 7 $120
Case+PSU combo $155 (before $30 MIR)
HDD: Samsung F3 Spinpoint 500GB $45

Total: $1030 (before Shipping and $30 MIR)

Monitor: ASUS VW246H $230


Thanks for the help friendo. I totally forgot about the student discount for windows!

I fixed the links.

So I should go core i5 huh? I have read that it is better for gaming. What about the loss of the tri channel memory? Is it not very important?

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March 4, 2010 7:45:48 AM

In that budget and for gaming go either i5 or AMD...

Dual channel comes to the rescue ;) 
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March 4, 2010 2:26:53 PM

DJE said:
Thanks for the help friendo. I totally forgot about the student discount for windows!

I fixed the links.

So I should go core i5 huh? I have read that it is better for gaming. What about the loss of the tri channel memory? Is it not very important?


loss of tri chanel is pretty insignificant for gaming. so is lack of hyper threading. the biggest drawback is the support for 1x pcie2x16 or 2x pcie2x8. if you plan to crossfire/sli with the highest end cards you may notice a slight difference. with 2 5850s you shouldnt. a phenom 2 build would be good as well and you could upgrade to a 6 core with the AM3 socket (if you want to). the new 890gx chipset is out as well providing some more incentive. I would go the the phenom simply because it would open up more future upgrades (my opinion) and save some more cash to spend on other things such as a better cpu cooler and better ram.
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March 4, 2010 2:29:32 PM

Hi,
For your monitor I have a samsung T260, not the hd version i didn't need an other tv. To play game,watch movie for everything it's one of the best monitor I ever have. The only downside of this monitor it's his brightness, too bright I have to reduce that by half and the bracket to wall mount it have to come from samsung 15-20$ usd.
It's an expensive buy but a real good one.
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March 4, 2010 3:49:05 PM

ewood said:
loss of tri chanel is pretty insignificant for gaming. so is lack of hyper threading. the biggest drawback is the support for 1x pcie2x16 or 2x pcie2x8. if you plan to crossfire/sli with the highest end cards you may notice a slight difference. with 2 5850s you shouldnt. a phenom 2 build would be good as well and you could upgrade to a 6 core with the AM3 socket (if you want to). the new 890gx chipset is out as well providing some more incentive. I would go the the phenom simply because it would open up more future upgrades (my opinion) and save some more cash to spend on other things such as a better cpu cooler and better ram.


Oh god, why did you say this? Now I'm thinking about going with AMD! I thought I was finally ready to order and now this!
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March 4, 2010 5:24:28 PM

Oh yes, the joys of having new options realized. The AMD build would be a very solid one and compete well with the i5 (with i5 coming out slightly on top) but as noted, it would save you money. I suggested i5 because 1) it's within your budget and 2) I don't know AMD chipsets anywhere near as well as I do Intel :p . As for the 6 core upgarde path, it's generally not something you'd think about for a few reasons. First, gaming these days is hardly multi-threaded enough to use 2-4 cores, let alone 6, although I don't have a time machine to tell you how soon "super-threaded" (my term :p ) programs will reach the market. The second reason is because generally when someone upgrades the CPU, the motherboard is also upgraded, just because of new features and better implementation of older features. Then again, you might not be like most people and feel that you could use that CPU upgrade.

If you did go AMD I would suggest keeping all the parts the same (except CPU/MOBO) and getting:

CPU: Phenom II x4 955 BE $160

MOBO: ASUS M4A89GTD PRO $140

Although there may be better mobos out there, I just picked this one based on specs that I know (and I also really like ASUS :) ). Hopefully someone else can help you with this one, but I hope this is a good start.

Also, sorry for delaying your build :p .
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March 4, 2010 11:50:04 PM

mavanhel said:
Oh yes, the joys of having new options realized. The AMD build would be a very solid one and compete well with the i5 (with i5 coming out slightly on top) but as noted, it would save you money. I suggested i5 because 1) it's within your budget and 2) I don't know AMD chipsets anywhere near as well as I do Intel :p . As for the 6 core upgarde path, it's generally not something you'd think about for a few reasons. First, gaming these days is hardly multi-threaded enough to use 2-4 cores, let alone 6, although I don't have a time machine to tell you how soon "super-threaded" (my term :p ) programs will reach the market. The second reason is because generally when someone upgrades the CPU, the motherboard is also upgraded, just because of new features and better implementation of older features. Then again, you might not be like most people and feel that you could use that CPU upgrade.

If you did go AMD I would suggest keeping all the parts the same (except CPU/MOBO) and getting:

CPU: Phenom II x4 955 BE $160

MOBO: ASUS M4A89GTD PRO $140

Although there may be better mobos out there, I just picked this one based on specs that I know (and I also really like ASUS :) ). Hopefully someone else can help you with this one, but I hope this is a good start.

Also, sorry for delaying your build :p .


Ok, I think i've decided what I'm going with now. I'm following your i5 suggestion but going with the

1TB spinpoint HDD

This XFX brand HD 5850 card instead of the HIS one you linked to because it seems to have a better warranty with little cost difference. I think XFX is a solid brand but not totally sure.

I also need a DVD burner and this lite-on seems good.

I'm going with the Asus 24" monitor you linked to.

with everything including monitor, I'm at $1502 plus a $30 rebate. The disc drive, larger HDD, and slightly more expensive GPU put me over the $1200 goal - plus the tax and shipping is $150- but that's ok I suppose.

A huge thanks to everyone for all the help!

I've built the PC now and it's running like a beast. It tears through borderlands and I'm going to buy crysis and bioshock 2 soon to really put it to the gaming test. Prime95 runs fine with no problems. I have yet to run memtest or 3D Mark 06 yet though.

The monitor that mavanhel recommended is pretty sweet, surprisingly good quality picture and size for the price level.

My only regret is not getting a modular power supply, the extra cables are pretty untidy.

Thanks for the help everybody, and thanks mavanhel for the good core parts recommendations.
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March 12, 2010 1:47:09 AM

Best answer selected by r_manic.
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