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Building a new rig

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March 14, 2010 3:25:13 PM

Hi, I am currently looking at building a new ATX size gaming rig at a low cost but with some future-proofing.

Firstly, here are my current specs:
[CPU]: Intel C2D E7400
[MOBO]: Gigabyte GA-G41M-ES2L LGA 775
[RAM]: G.Skill 4GB DDR2 (2x2 DC)
[GFX]: eVGA 8800GT 512MB
[PS]: OCZ StealthxStream 700W
[Form]: mATX
[Monitor]: 1680x1050 & 1280x1024

I am not recycling any parts from my old machine as I am turning it into an HTPC and this new rig will be my main machine.

I will generally buy a top end MOBO and build low end from there while upgrading throughout the PC's lifespan.

You don't have to suggest a full build, I am just looking for a couple quick answers and a few recommendations. I have most of the rig decided on, just looking for some input.

I haven't kept up with the newest lines out there and just have a couple questions.

1) I can't afford a full 1366 setup, so which is more future-proofed the 1156 socket architecture or the AM3? I would go either Phenom II (Athlon II if performance will rival my current C2D for price restraints) or Core i5 (maybe i3 depending on cost restraints). Also, which one would provide a more noticeable increase from my current C2D (Would the quad core ability alone give me an increase even with lower clocks?)

2) Although I am running at 1680x1050 resolution, I tend to buy graphics cards with more power than I use so don't account for that bottleneck. With that said, will a 5750 crossfire setup give me a substantial increase in performance from my 8800GT (looking for a gfx setup that will allow me to go full details/settings with potentially an increase in frame rates; my 8800GT is fairly old so I assume that's possible with current tech however I haven't followed video cards since I got my 8800GT 512MB). I do want DX11 capabilities and enough power to last for a while, since I don't know when I will be able to upgrade my video card again. However, I can't blow $450+ on the video card alone. I am looking at the 5750 in crossfire because from what I have read 1 will not give me too much more of an increase but 2 should and is fairly cost effective.

Any suggestions or tips on current hardware standards and the upcoming standards would also be appreciated.

Thanks.

More about : building rig

March 14, 2010 3:58:59 PM

For 1, AM3 would be the way to go for better future proofing. Intel tends to change sockets every year/two. The best Price/Performance processor is currently the 955 BE.

2, I would recommend spending the 300ish for a 5850 now, then down the road when you need to upgrade crossfire another 5850. A 5850 should play any game at that res.

For the build,

For a fairly futureproof MOBO

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
comes with sata6 and USB 3.

CPU 955
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
15 bucks more for a double lifetime warranty, easily worth it.

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

Great PSU, will run two 5850's.

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

Ripjaws is a good brand, and this is CAS 7 which is excellent.

I realize this is kind of spendy out of the box, but it is easily worth it for the future proofing. This build should last you two years without an upgrade, and another 1-2 with another 5850. All you need to add is a nice case.
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March 14, 2010 4:31:32 PM

Thanks for the quick reply and suggestions.

Asus and I aren't on speaking terms right now, so I was looking at this Gigabyte one.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A couple other things I thought of:

What is the lowest grade graphics card on the market now that will provide the necessary power and frame increase from my 8800GT? It's hard to find benchmarks now that still have the 8800GT listed so I don't know what the minimum I can go with is. This is just for a personal curiosity since I missed all the benchmarks that included my card. xD Also, if I have to buy a single low end card due to cost, I would like to know which one would be the best (if I go this way dx11 isn't a necessity just performance)

Also, I currently use a PCI Soundblaster XFi Extreme Music dedicated card and I don't think that will fit in most mobos I have seen if I do ever crossfire/sli. Are the onboard audio codecs now equal to my aging Soundblaster or should I look into a dedicated PCIe x1 card that could fit in a top slot above my GFX card(s)? I am not an audiophile per say, but sound quality means something to me.

How viable is the Athlon II quad core line? They are much more cost effective and if they provide performance that rivals my C2D then that is a great base point for the system.

Again, there doesn't have to be a huge performance increase off the start for this build, I can upgrade later, I just want to have everything set in place. I am more than happy with my current builds performance so equal to that is good for now.

Thanks again.
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March 14, 2010 5:10:46 PM

the 9800gt is almost the same you can use that as reference
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March 14, 2010 6:31:22 PM

Honestly, most on board audio is up to the task for gaming. Really the only time a sound card is needed is when your using surround sound or trying to make a home theater.

For a Mobo i would personally go with

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

I really dont see you using most of the features and extra ports on that more expensive mobo. But that is entirely up to you, and i dont know exactly what all you use. Mostly with that board you picked you are paying for more ports.
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March 14, 2010 9:29:19 PM

I am using a 5.1 surround sound system, a 5.1 surround sound headset and a 5.1 wireless headset. And as I said, I am a borderline audiophile.

The reason I chose the expensive motherboard is because I build from the mobo up in the sense that I put as much money into a future-proof motherboard and upgrade the parts as time goes on. That way I can just pop in a new CPU or pop in a new GFX card and not have to buy a new motherboard. However looking at the board you suggested it seems to have the key points I am looking for.
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