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My First $1200 Gaming PC

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March 15, 2010 6:47:56 PM

This is my idea for my first home build, and I would like to know if there are any errors in judgement in this build, or anything that wouldn't work effectively.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Friday of this week BUDGET RANGE: ~$1200 Before / After Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: 1) Gaming
2) Internet usage
3) School work
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com only

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: This is the build I have chosen so far;

CPU: Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor <http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...;
MOBO: ASUS P7P55D-E Pro LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard <http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...;
GPU: XFX HD-489X-ZSFC Radeon HD 4890 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express <http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...;
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 <http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...;
CASE: Antec Twelve Hundred Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case <http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...;
PSU: Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W Continuous Power ATX12V Ver.2.2 / EPS12V version 2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready <http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...;
HEATSINK: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-G1 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" <http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...;
HD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb <http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...;
OPTICAL: 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 <http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...;

TOTAL ESTIMATED PRICE: $1,142.66 includes shipping

OVERCLOCKING: No

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No / Maybe

MONITOR RESOLUTION: I prefer 1920x1200 (I like having optimal graphic settings) but I can drop down to 1600x1200

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I was wondering if such a powerful pc is needed since I'm not in to overclocking, and I only want to get the most out of current and future games. Also, what OS should I use? I already have a Vista Home Basic 32 bit from a couple years ago that I haven't used, but I am not sure if putting it on this new system would be a waste or not. Would windows 7 be more efficient?

More about : 1200 gaming

March 15, 2010 6:57:24 PM

A better gaming build (if you want to Crossfire):

CPU: i5-750 $200
Mobo: Asus P7P55D-E Pro $190
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $115
GPU: HD 5870 $380
HDD: Seagate 7200.12 1 TB $90
PSU: Corsair 750W 80+ $100 after rebate
Case: HAF 922 $90
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $23

Total: $1,188.

Main changes are switching the case to the bigger/better and cheaper HAF 922 and picking up the HD 5870. Also put in a bigger PSU. A HSF is completely unnecessary unless you're overclocking.

If you don't want to Crossfire, make the following changes:

Mobo: Gigabtye GA-P55A-UD3 $135
PSU: Earthwatts 650W $70 w/ promo code

Total: $1,103.

I would pick up Windows 7. Vista is garbage.
March 15, 2010 7:02:20 PM

Thanks for the input, I like that case change idea and picking up the 5870! I'm curious whether or not adding Crossfire would make a huge difference for the cost of another 5870. Perhaps Crossfire with two 4890's would perform better than a single 5870?
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March 15, 2010 7:07:30 PM

As I'm sure other people have mentioned here ... the nice thing with the 5870 is that it's capable of doing whatever you want it to these days as a singular card.

Where the Crossfire comes in handy is 3 years from now when it's aged a bit ... you can relatively cheaply extend the life of your computer at that point by buying another 5870 for Crossfire and leaving it at that.

So I wouldn't necessarily consider it for this build right now, but instead you can view it as insurance against becoming obsolete as quickly down the line.
March 15, 2010 7:13:38 PM

Agree with all that. Besides, it's silly to pick up 2x 5870s at the start of a build. You could just grab one 5970 for $60-100 less and have the exact same thing.

I wouldn't get any of the 4xxx series cards. If you had one already, I would consider reusing it for a while. The reason I wouldn't spend any money on the older cards is that in a year or so, you'll just need to buy a newer card anyway. You might as well keep your money and put it towards something bigger down the line...
March 15, 2010 7:16:36 PM

Great additional input Aerudo! Thanks! I think I'm going to keep my original P7P55D Mobo and just add a single 5870 for the time being. Also, good comments as well Mad, what the both of you are suggesting makes much more sense. Once again thank you!

I thought a bit more about the case change, and I think I really want to go full size instead of mid, even though I'm not filling it up yet. I'm pretty anal about keeping my pc cool, just to keep it in better health. Plus I really like the number of and size of the fans in my original Antec Twelve case. I really worry about the pc getting too hot and crapping out sooner because of it possibly overheating while gaming.
March 15, 2010 7:23:48 PM

The HAF 922 is bigger than the Antec 1200. It's very hard to beat it.

You also don't need that many fans for great cooling. There was some testing done on the best way to cool a computer (and I wish I had kept the link) that found that the best was actually using only a few fans. The only thing that really mattered was creating effective airflow with cool air in front, hot air out back.

However, if you're really that worried about it, you could get the massive HAF 932. It's a full 2" taller than the HAF, and features larger fans.
March 15, 2010 7:30:14 PM

Ah, funny thing that a case marked for less compartments which usually means less space, is larger than a case marked for more. Oh well, thanks for noticing that and letting me know. Sometimes I can be a bit oblivious.
!