I am building a new computer for a guy. He is on somewhat of a budget. With everything I have picked out for him is perfect, but he is wanting crossfire for some reason. He wants to game hardcore and everything else follows after that with normal usage, no encoding or anything. This is what I have for him right now.
A-DATA 8gb DDR3 1333
2 Samsung F3 1TB in RAID 0
Antec 902 Case
Antec 1000W True Power Modular PSU
Phenom II 555 3.2GHZ
Sony Optiarc DVD Burner
Cooler Master 212 CPU Cooler
Gigabyte 790XTA-UD4 AM3 Mobo
The mobo is $125, I am willing to change it if need be. What I have picked out right now for the graphics cards is 2 4850x2's. They are $224.99 a piece. I have been reading some mixed reviews, I have never dealt with these cards before. Is there a better alternative to this budget. About $500 is the budget for the graphics cards. Or should I do a 3 way SLI GTX250's or tri crossfire 5770? Or just tell him to suck it up with one 5870 for 400 and buy another one later? He is on this kick about the crossfire though, but I bet he is will to change his mind about it if I show him some feedback from experts.
Thank you so much in advance!
THG would recommend the ATI 5870 for about $400. The 5870 has DX11 support, which none of the other options (aside from 3x 5770).
Some games do not support CrossFire, and it doesn't scale 100%. There are benchmarks out there (don't have link handy at the moment, but I'll look) that show the benefits of going to 3 cards is a pretty minimal increase from 2 cards.
I would suggest that if you go with the biggest single card you can afford at build time, then you don't lock yourself into upgrading all of your cards at once. It's less expensive in the long run, and it's more future-proof.
It also looks like you'd have to upgrade the motherboard quite a bit in order to go 3x, that's going to push the budget even more.
1) Why 8 gigs of ram if it is just for gaming stick with 4 that should be plenty.
2) Really 2 1tb HDD's in Raid 0 for a gaming machine? Raid 0 = twice the chance to loose everything. 1, 1tb Spinpoint would be plenty IMO.
Is the total budget $1,400? It would help if you followed the guidelines...
The 5870 would be a much better choice to start the build out with. You don't need more than 4 GB of RAM. You defintiely don't need a 1kW PSU. The Antec 902 is a tad expensive. The Phenom II 555 is a bit underpowered for the build. RAID 0 isn't that good of an idea, as it doubles the odds of losing everything.
Does he really need 2 TB of storage? I mainly only use my PC for downloadiing, and I started with 1 TB of data last December, and still haven't touched my other 1 TB drive...
Assuming the budget is about $1,400-1,500, this is the best gaming build you can get:
Here's a review specifically using the 5870 in 1x, 2x, 3x. Admittedly it's on P55, but it should get the idea across. Note that in the 1920x1nnn benchmarks, the 5870 is still at or above 60 fps, which is about the maximum the human eye can detect.
What is his intended monitor resolution, by the way?
EDIT: Or if you were to switch to MadAdmiral's build, you could suggest that the 5970 is a pre-crossfired single card.
Another review suggests "A trend that I think you will see repeated throughout our CrossFireX testing today is that adding in that third card really won't be making a big difference until you hit that 2560x1600 resolution."
I should mention that if he absolutely needs to buy it today, you can drop the 5970 and grab the 5870 for $300 less. In which case, you should pick up this PSU: Silverstone 750W 80+ Bronze $110 after rebate. And switch the board to this: Asus P7P55D-E Pro $190.
EDIT: I changed the above to have a single 1 TB drive. If he doesn't need that much right away, get the Seagate 7200.12 500 GB to save some money.