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[New System Build]~$1000 HTPC/Gaming

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March 19, 2010 12:57:49 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: this month-the sooner the better.
BUDGET RANGE: $1,000…possibly $1,200 (After Rebates)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: HTPC/watching videos on TV, gaming (light, eventually like to play starcraft 2/Diablo 3 type games-but likely not heavy online playing), general usage/web browsing

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS, possibly case if my old sonata II works still (power supply is shot though), hard drive for storage (I have several standard HDDs, but am open to purchasing solid state for performance

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: anywhere so long as it is cheap and reliable. Amazon and Newegg I guess.. COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: whatever gives good performance/will be decent still in 2-3 yrs.

OVERCLOCKING: Yes SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050, & a 50” Pioneer kuro non-elite plasma, unknown resolution

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I would prefer a quieter PC. I would L O V E for this to be able to take the place of my receiver in my living room. I could stretch the budget even further if it could do so. I do also digitize DVDs and Blu-Rays from time to time so I would like that to be on the quicker side. I know I’m asking for too much huh lol :o 
March 19, 2010 10:29:19 PM

anyone else have suggestions?
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March 20, 2010 5:36:19 AM


Definately ... ONE ONLY ... RADDEON 5770 / 5850 / 5870 (highest you can afford).

I like Saphire, because they have been around 4ever and are known for low RFI.

There are more recent mobos ... This is the one I'm getting.

Update13-128-435 GIGABYTE GA-890GPA-UD3H AM3 AMD 890GX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
Model #:GA-890GPA-UD3H
Item #:N82E16813128435
Return Policy:Standard Return Policy
In Stock
Note (Add13-128-435)


Save Cancel $139.99 $139.99


You will want a CORSAIR ~650W~750W ... Crossfire Ready (80 PLUS) PSU

You will want a PHENOM-II X4/955 or X4/965 "Black Quad" get "MBOX" 125W rev.

You will want a G.Skill RipJaws 2x2GB CAS-7 1600 DDR3 DUAL CHaNNEL KIT

You will want a SAMSUNG SPINPOINT 500GB or F3 1TB HDD

You will want a SAMSUnG SATA 22X DVDR

= Alvin =
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March 20, 2010 5:12:29 PM

thanks brother. I forgot to mention I can probably salvage my old DVD-R drive as well. And would it be wiser to use on board video for now and pick up video cards on special later?
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March 20, 2010 5:15:16 PM


Yeah ... won't hurt to see if the onboard gpu will make you happy (enough).

If you can suck air for a year, those GPU add-ins will be chaper .. xmas ??

= Al =
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March 23, 2010 12:31:55 AM

OK so I have an update on where I'm at and would love to hear what you have to say. These are the parts I was looking at getting after shopping around. Linked as best I could.

CPU: i7 920
MOBO: ASUS P6X58D Premium LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
RAM: Crucial Ballistix Tracer 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory (with LEDs) Model BL3KIT25664TR1337 - Retail
GPU: will hold off and get 2x5850 when I can/when they come down dramatically in price.
HD: Intel 160GB SSD
Optical: salvage my old DVD-RW (will upgrade to BRay burner when its affordable)
Case: debating over using my antec sonata II I already own (although I don't know if it has clearance for the graphics cards) vs a Cooler Master RC690...also considering this
PSU: not gonna lie, don't know at all what to get here.
Cooler: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-G1 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" Long life sleeve CPU Cooler - Retail


anyway, i either need to cough up $ for the 5850 or a mobo with on board video. also do all these parts work together? will i get great performance out of that SSD? any ideas for ways to make this better? Thanks!
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March 23, 2010 1:18:13 AM

Looks absolutely horrible and unbalanced, to me ...

... It WILL work ...

... I just don't know what you can be thinking. !

= Al =

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March 23, 2010 1:20:31 AM

Well, I put in an effort and gave you my best advice ...

... Someone else may wish to grapple with you ... I'm done.

= Best of Luck ! =
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March 23, 2010 5:37:41 PM

Alvin Smith said:
Well, I put in an effort and gave you my best advice ...

... Someone else may wish to grapple with you ... I'm done.

= Best of Luck ! =


I'm sorry Alvin-thanks for the input..I do appreciate it. I'm obviously not an expert on this subject and I want to get things right. I'm sorry if I offended you. I just don't think I'm gonna go the AMD route because I have a sweet deal on the Intel SSD & i7 920 that I can't pass up. I missed that you recommended the PSU and I am definitely considering the video cards you recommended.

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March 23, 2010 5:38:14 PM

Best answer selected by motamedn.
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March 23, 2010 6:05:42 PM

Well i think the build allen had was pretty good. The thing is in all reality you don't need an sdd or i7. In that list of things you want to do with you computer, the most demanding would probably be the light gaming. Web browsing, htpc work, and the like can all be accomplish of the lowest end computers,

a core i7 is really only need if your doing heavy cpu intensive stuff all the time like encoding or archiving, and the like. I personally have an i7 and don't get me wrong it's great, but cpu usage never even gets close to 100% except in benchmarks that purposely does this. the phenoms II he recommended has very similar performance in gaming which is what going to matter.

SDD are great don't get me wrong but games, or web browing, or watching videos there will be no performance increase, except in loading times. about the only thing program your going to see huge gains in are virus scaning, possibly defragment your hard drive. you'd be better of get the 40gb intel SDD then an samsung spinpoint for storage

Again i would highly recommend Allen suggestion much cheaper a near equal performance to what you have up
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March 23, 2010 6:59:32 PM

I see. thanks for the advice johnnyboyC.

I do use my CPU for dvd decrypting sometimes and I often have excel several word docs and multiple browsers open at once and I guess the thing is that I also do not build new comps often (last one was ... 5 yrs ago probably) and I want to "future-proof" a bit. would that still be overkill? Thanks again-I am just trying to learn what's best. I appreciate it!
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March 23, 2010 7:31:40 PM

... I'm Baaaaack ... did you miss meeee ?

... Very sorry for losing my patience and getting "snippy" ... what you prolly didn't know is that the system I spec'd for you was 30% more power than you are ever likely to use (much less need) ... Any more "headroom" than that and other techs would beach-me-out for "up-selling" your build. We are dedicated to give you max value and all needed performance AND ... NOT to help you waste money! ... That would not be responsible to "The Priesthood", or to you. This forum really is a sort of "clergy", with regard to it's "code of ethics". You are "real" and so is your money.

Instead, ... you came back at me with a build that was grossly wasteful and even more than 30% more performance than my own (and in areas or system architecture that you will never use or need) ... gasp!

So, YES !!! DO get a Kingston 64GB SSD as a Boot/Apps drive (as the very best way to waste a few bucks!) ... You WILL "feel" that, and you will LOVE it. Get a SpinPoint F3 500GB 7200RPM drive for your main play-space.

= Sincere =
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March 24, 2010 12:08:50 AM

haha-thanks man. i appreciate the help. to let you know how long i go between builds, my last computer had AGP...anyway what are your thoughts on cases? I saw you included a power supply, but do you have case recommendations?

and what are your thoughts on crossfire. I'm going to do as you recommend and get 1 of the most i can afford, but just so i can learn a little bit, do you think crossfire is worth it? thanks!
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March 24, 2010 3:01:04 AM


Again ... there are cheaper GOOD cases (like the Antec 300 and the CoolerMaster Centurion) but I can be SURE that you would be best served by a CoolerMaster HAF-922 ... Take a real good hard (zoomed) look at ALL the pictures and specs ...
... Pay attention to the airflow and tool-less design, etc. Lots of fan/mount options .. roomy .. drive real-estate ... purrrdy, too !

= Al =
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March 24, 2010 6:52:33 PM

Wow, your design does go way beyond a HTPC+light gaming machine -- not that there's anything wrong with that -- but such does explain some of the confusion coming from Alvin, et.al.

However, since you own a Kuro plasma I think its safe to assume that shelling out a few extra duckets for premium hardware is something to which you are not terribly objectionable (your stated budget notwithstanding).

An i7-920/6gb rig with 2x5850 xfired is a workhorse that will more than meet any HTPC/Light-Gaming needs you are likely to have for years to come. Throw in the SSD and overclock the system and you've gone into the realm of enthusiast pc gaming rigs. Its sort of like buying a Ferrari to travel back and forth to the local movie theater, a lot of wasted horsepower but plenty of style points.

If you do go this route -- instead of scaling down your parts to the lowest cost/performance necessary -- then you may want to consider a highly efficient (80+ gold or silver) PSU that will cost a premium up front, but will save a few bucks down the road. What with an oc'd 920 and xfired 58xx gpus + room for future extras, a 750w or better PSU would be all but required. I used a Corsair 850hx in my last build and am very happy with it thus far (80+silver rated). See also: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=2010090058%201409743843&name=80%20PLUS%20GOLD%20Certified for more premium energy-efficient PSU's.

Another premium part worthy of consideration is WD's 2TB Caviar Black HD. For a conventional hard drive its very fast, and unlike a SSD, it has lots of room for storage. However at ~$150(us) per TB, its pretty costly for a conventional drive. I'm using a Samsung Spinpoint F3 500gb for the system drive in my machine, which I chose because its a relatively good performer at a very affordable price. I had intended to replace it with a SSD when I found one at a cost/performance ratio I could live with. However, after using this drive for a few months, I see no need to upgrade to SSD anytime in the immediate future, its works very well.

As for cases, I agree with Alvin: the HAF922 would be an excellent mid-tower selection for an oc'd 920 rig with xfired gpu's. You may even consider upgrading to a full-tower case to increase air-flow/cooling potential and room for multiple storage drives. This will tend to make things a bit noisier with a bunch of fans spinning, but such is life when you pile up high performance parts that need to be kept reasonably cool. Check the HAF932/Antec1200/CMcosmos for popular examples, or if you want to go premium check out some of the Lian Li full tower cases.

As for replacing your living room receiver, you'll have to find some specialized parts to manage that trick. Im not aware of any mobo's that come equipped to pump out enough power to supply to free standing conventional speaker systems. I suppose some may be available with pre-outs to seperate speaker amps, but I really don't know. However, connecting your new HTPC/Gaming-Powerhouse computer into your receiver should work quite nicely - since you already have that piece of hardware.
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March 25, 2010 7:25:14 AM

rnalvine said:
As for replacing your living room receiver, you'll have to find some specialized parts to manage that trick. Im not aware of any mobo's that come equipped to pump out enough power to supply to free standing conventional speaker systems. I suppose some may be available with pre-outs to seperate speaker amps, but I really don't know. However, connecting your new HTPC/Gaming-Powerhouse computer into your receiver should work quite nicely - since you already have that piece of hardware.



here is what I do, in "Ye Ol' Project Studio" . . .




Self Powered Studio Monitors . . .

http://www.zzounds.com/cat--Studio-Monitors--2862


And, while a $6 adapter will run from your sound-card into those speakers, with no other parts required, ... I DO THIS ...


http://www.zzounds.com/item--MACCFX12MKII

I actually have one for my temporary/project inputs and it chains through a 2nd one which takes my permanent stuff like my HDTVs and BLURAY, etc.

... All that outputs to TWO KRK RoKit RP-8s over Two RoKit S-10 subs ... The ouput mixer chains thru left and right subs and up to the RP-8s.

I also keep a few decent sets of cans, on hand ...

http://www.zzounds.com/item--SNYMDR7506


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March 25, 2010 8:38:40 PM

holy crap-ok forget that part :) 

Those headphones look like they are pretty good though.

rnalvine i think you hit the nail on the head. I guess when I reread what I wrote I wasn't as descriptive in how much I use the computer (A LOT). I appreciate the input and will look into getting a good efficient PSU. you weren't kidding about paying for it up front! :) 
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