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< $1500 gaming build

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March 9, 2010 7:38:41 PM

I am looking for constructive criticism on the parts i have specced out for my new gaming PC.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Once I get my tax return... :)  (1 week)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming then movies then everything else

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, mouse, monitor(s), OS.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg.

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel, well cooled components.

OVERCLOCKING: Yes, Crossfire - Yes.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: I currently have two 19 widescreen inch monitors so 1440 x 900.. possible upgrade in a couple of years.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I like hitting that sweet spot for price / performance, price must come under $1500 total. This will be my first rig for setting up RAID, crossfire and 'serious' overclocking. Also looking to be somewhat 'future proof' while staying within budget.

Without further ado, my current parts listing, prices are after MIR and shipping.:

Case: Antec Nine Hundred - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $109.98

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD4P - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $192.86

Video Card: (2x) Radeon HD 5770 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $319.98

Power Supply: CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $99.99

Processor: Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $199.99

Memory: (2x2GB) G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB DDR3 1333 7-7-7-21 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $114.99

Hard Drive: (2x) SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - Unavailable on Newegg - $189.98 on ZipZoomFly

CD/DVD Drive: LG Internal Combo LG Blu-ray Reader & 16X LightScribe DVD±R DVD Burner - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $101.98

CPU Cooler: ZALMAN CNPS9900ALED - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $69.55

Thermal Paste: Arctic Silver 5 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $10.98

Total Price: $1410.28


Thanks for taking time out of your day to look at this.

More about : 1500 gaming build

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a b 4 Gaming
March 9, 2010 7:41:59 PM

Here's a better gaming build for just at $1,500

CPU: i5-750 $200
Mobo: Gigabtye GA-P55A-UD3 $135
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $115
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB $90
GPU: HD 5970 $700
PSU: Corsair 750W 80+ $100
Case: HAF 922 $90
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $25
HSF (only if overclocking): Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus $35

Total: $1,490
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a b 4 Gaming
March 9, 2010 7:47:19 PM

I'm not sure why you want to go with CrossFire right off the bat. At that price point, you could get a 5850 instead ($325 with free shipping). In general, CrossFire is probably best used at specific price points where there's nothing else there, or (more often) as an upgrade path once you've had the build for a year or two. By starting off with CrossFire, you limit your upgrade options down the road.

The Spinpoint F3 1 TB drive should not be nearly $200. Get either a Seagate 7200.12 for about $90, or spend about $20 more to get the new WD 1 TB SATA 3 drive.

Nothing else stands out as glaringly wrong with the build, though you could probably save a little by getting a different HSF.
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March 9, 2010 7:51:05 PM

coldsleep said:
I'm not sure why you want to go with CrossFire right off the bat. At that price point, you could get a 5850 instead ($325 with free shipping). In general, CrossFire is probably best used at specific price points where there's nothing else there, or (more often) as an upgrade path once you've had the build for a year or two. By starting off with CrossFire, you limit your upgrade options down the road.

The Spinpoint F3 1 TB drive should not be nearly $200. Get either a Seagate 7200.12 for about $90, or spend about $20 more to get the new WD 1 TB SATA 3 drive.

Nothing else stands out as glaringly wrong with the build, though you could probably save a little by getting a different HSF.



Sorry about that I edited it, it's for 2 drives in a raid 0 configuration. I'll take a look at the 5850.
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a b 4 Gaming
March 9, 2010 7:53:00 PM

RAID 0 doesn't really do anything for you. It's inadvisible unless you like having to reinstall everything because of a minor error.
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a b 4 Gaming
March 9, 2010 7:55:44 PM

I do have one change to that. That PSU is actually $100 after the rebate.
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March 9, 2010 7:56:14 PM

MadAdmiral said:
RAID 0 doesn't really do anything for you. It's inadvisible unless you like having to reinstall everything because of a minor error.



Basically, you don't think the increased speeds are worth the extra risk? Enlighten me please. :) 
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a b 4 Gaming
March 9, 2010 7:59:09 PM

That's it. You double your chance of failure. In addition, you gain almost nothing in game. Yes, the machine will boot faster. Yes, it will SEEM faster. But you don't get any tangible benefit from it in when you're using it normally. It's just not worth the risk to gain nothing.

I wouldn't do RAID, especially with how the prices of SSDs are falling. Pretty soon you'll be able to grab a big enough one for $100 and get a speed increase on the order of a magnitude.
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a b 4 Gaming
March 9, 2010 7:59:56 PM

m1ke1115 said:
Basically, you don't think the increased speeds are worth the extra risk? Enlighten me please. :) 


RAID 0 doesn't really help while gaming or watching movies. It might shorten level load times, and applications will launch a little faster.

RAID 0 tends to help databases and audio/video editing a lot more than it does gaming or general usage.

Your risk of data loss is doubled by going RAID 0. Please feel free to go ahead and play around with it, but I highly recommend making sure that you have good backups, and you might want to consider some sort of imaging software so that you can quickly reinstall if something does go wrong.

EDIT: Curses, beaten by MadAdmiral yet again.
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March 9, 2010 8:06:39 PM

Thanks for the replies regarding RAID 0. I guess the main reason for me going that route would be just to get some exposure to RAID configurations. I'll have to think about it yet.
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a b 4 Gaming
March 9, 2010 8:09:54 PM

For most users, it's not worth it.

If you want to play around with it, by all means, go for it. Just be aware that there's always a chance of hardware or software failure. Backups are your best friend.
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March 9, 2010 8:17:35 PM

I agree with all of the above. And for 1500 you will not have to worry about cross-firing with Mad's build. $1500 seems to be the best budget for a computer right now imo.
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March 9, 2010 8:47:50 PM

coldsleep said:
For most users, it's not worth it.

If you want to play around with it, by all means, go for it. Just be aware that there's always a chance of hardware or software failure. Backups are your best friend.



I was thinking about using imaging software as a backup solution once I get my PC setup the way I want it. A buddy of mine uses Macrium Reflect and I guess it works pretty well, plus it provides support for RAID in the free version. Not a bad idea regardless if I go with a RAID configuration or not.
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March 10, 2010 2:00:40 PM

Best answer selected by m1ke1115.
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March 10, 2010 4:02:55 PM

Quick couple of questions if you are still around and forgive my ignorance if the answers are obvious.

The motherboard you listed, the GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD3, it only has one PCI express 2.0 slot, would that cause issues down the road should a second 5970 be added. (I know its hard to imagine now.)

Also what about the power supply for the same reason, wouldn't you need a higher wattage PSU for 2x 5970's?

I've decided to dump the Blu-Ray drive for now since I don't have a true HD monitor and prices for blu-ray burners will be cheap once I upgrade my monitors.

I've also decided to go with the cheaper cooler after seeing how little OC'ing the CPU affects framerate in moderately high resolutions with AA. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-5770,2446...

I'll most likely stick with the RAID 0 setup for the experience of running a system with it. I'll have image backups + Synctoy backing up my game save folders to lower my risk.

That puts my modified build cost at $1295.86. Pretty decent, though I am still thinking about the 5970 instead of the two 5770's.. :) 
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a b 4 Gaming
March 10, 2010 4:38:59 PM

You couldn't add a second 5970 down the line. However, the 5970 is such massive overkill that you will not need to do that in the life of the build. By the time it comes to upgrade, Crossfiring it would be a bad decision because of new technology.

Same for the PSU. If you can't (and shouldn't) Crossfire, you don't need a huge one.

The 5970 is much, much more powerful than dual 5770s.
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March 10, 2010 6:06:42 PM

Good points there.

One of the reasons I would be hesitant to pick one of the 5970's is warranty. It would be devastating having a 5970 go bad compared to a 5770. Plus I am not exactly sure what two years 'limited' warranty means. I would imagine that if the card goes bad in the two year window under 'normal'
usage that the manufacturer would replace it, but every company is different.

Any insights on warranty for these cards? Also have you run across any 5970's with custom coolers? One reason I really like the card I had listed was the custom cooler with heatpipe technology. My current GPU also from MSI uses that and it stays extremely cool.

You've been very helpful.
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a b 4 Gaming
March 10, 2010 6:10:19 PM

2 years is a long time in the life of a GPU. If the 5970 were to bust after the warranty expired, they woudl be fairly cheap. As for the "limited" part, you'd have to check with the manufacturer for that. You might also be able to buy an extension through Newegg that kicks in after the manufacturer's expires (not sure that's available on everything).

The 5970 is new, so there aren't going to be a lot of modifications out yet. Heck, there aren't even that many of the actual cards out there yet...
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March 10, 2010 8:02:03 PM

Given that fact (lack of custom coolers) it appears that warranty length is going to be the deciding factor on which brand I choose..

Here's some interesting warranty info:

Asus - 3 years - http://support.asus.com/repair/repair.aspx?SLanguage=en...
Gigabyte - 3 years - http://rma.gigabyte.us/DirectRMA/EndUser_Main.asp
MSI - 3 years - http://us.msi.com/support/sup_genwar.asp
Sapphire - 2 years
HIS - 1 year or lifetime
XFX - 1 year

http://www.costcentral.com/proddetail/ASUS_EAH5970_G_2D...

$62.02 savings from the Newegg Sapphire + extra year warranty but 2 - 3 weeks delivery time. :o 

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a b 4 Gaming
March 10, 2010 8:28:22 PM

Are you sure about that XFX warranty? Newegg lists it as "limited lifetime" and XFX is known for doing so-called double-lifetime warranties for many of its cards.
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March 11, 2010 2:00:36 PM

Yea you're correct. I should have kept reading... :) 

"GRAPHICS CARDS: The limited hardware warranty for Graphics Cards lasts for a time period of one year. If you register the product online at http://www.xfxforce.com/ within 30 days of purchase, your limited warranty will be extended for the duration of your life. Registration within 30 days of the date of purchase is a condition precedent to receiving the lifetime warranty. "

Source: http://www.xfxforce.com/en-us/Help/Support/WarrantyInfo...
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