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Best bang/buck over the long term GAMING PC

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April 5, 2010 6:51:58 AM

After some extensive browsing and some helpful advice I have come up with the following. If the community could please provide helpful insights I would be very grateful. I will be using either a 22" 720p or 32" 1080i HDTV for a monitor..

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: (April - May)

BUDGET RANGE: (1-2k) After Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: GAMING, surfing the internet, watching movies

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitor, OS (will be using windows 7 64 bit)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: US

PARTS PREFERENCES: quality/money

OVERCLOCKING: Yes ... eventually (new to building)

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1200

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I am looking for the best bang/buck over the long term gaming PC. The thing I am struggling with the most is my cpu/mobo... I am not sure if the 930 is the most price/performance efficient solution in the long run. AMD bench's show lower Frame rates but is also a much cheaper route, and with the launch of the Thuban imminent, I am wondering if Intel is the way to go? Thinking of this purchase + my next major need for upgrades is the "long-term" efficiency I referred to in the title. Thoughts!!??? Again, I am only really interested in gaming. I don't do any video editing etc.


CPU: Intel Core i7-930 Bloomfield 2.8GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Desktop Processor http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-vs 860 vs Phenom II X4 995 black vs Thuban? Is the extra money for the cpu/mobo worth the 930 upgrade?

Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 922
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mobo: ASUS P6X58D Premium LGA 1366
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU: SAPPHIRE Vapor-X 100281VX-2SR Radeon HD 5870 1GB 256
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-5870 over 5970 for now to save $270. Figure by the time i need the 5970 performance I'll be able to just xfire another 5870 for the 270 dollar diff.

PSU: SILVERSTONE ST85F-P 850W ATX 12V v2.3 / EPS 12V 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Could go w/ 750 for $20 less, but figure its worth it in case I need a bit more power when i need to xfire.

RAM: G.SKILL PI Series 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7T-6GBPI http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-Worth getting a ssd for the OS as well as this?

Gaming Keyboard: steelseries Merc Stealth Black USB Wired Ergonomic Gaming Keyboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Gaming Mouse: Logitech G500 10 Buttons Dual-mode Scroll Wheel USB Wired Laser 5700 dpi Gaming Mouse - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD/CD Burn: ASUS Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X 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 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Wireless chip: EDIMAX EW-7128G IEEE 802.11b/g PCI Wireless Card Up to 54Mbps Wireless Data Rates 64/128-Bit WEP, 802.1x, WPA, AES - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU cooler: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-vs the http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ???

Total: 1780

April 5, 2010 7:09:44 AM

Definitely go with the 930, its better than the 8XX i7s (QPI ftw), and definitely better than any AMD processor. Plus with its socket, if you want to upgrade in a couple years there is a decent chance you will be able to salvage the mobo (especially if you make sure to get SATA 6Gb/s and USB 3.0)
Related resources
April 5, 2010 3:43:34 PM

A gaming PC is a black hole you constantly poor money into....best bang for the buck would be to never get involved with this in the first place :) 
April 5, 2010 4:58:32 PM

$1k-2k is a pretty big range. If you could narrow down what you really want to spend, you're likely to get more meaningful suggestions.
April 5, 2010 5:13:05 PM

I don't mind spending up to 2k, but if I could get 90% of the 2000 dollar systems performance and future-proofing in a 1000 dollar system, well I would probably roll that route. The system I have configured is 1780.
April 5, 2010 6:42:53 PM

Definately ... Think about a fast Athlon-II X3 Core with a great cooler and fast RAM.

THEN you will be able to afford a great GPU and better Display(S) ...

Remember! All games really care about is GPU and how fast the CPU is .... ! ! !

The better you can SEE the better you can PLAY !! Eh ? ....

Here is "The Gift of RAM" : G.Skill RipJaws (2x2GB) DDR3 1600 CAS7 Dual Channel Kit.

And ... the Gift of Cooler : Coolermaster Hyper-212

Pssst ... INTEL mobos DO NOT HAVE NATIVE SATA-3 (on the south-bridge) and they cannot accomodate fully saturated USB3 ... TRUTH ... AND .. Intel PCIe lanes are not even PCIe 2.0 ... except for the X16 GPU bus slot ... that's right.

= Al =
April 5, 2010 7:12:33 PM

If you want to save some money you can go with the phenom II 955. An i7 930 won't show much of a performance increase in games over the 955. IMO it's a better choice going with AMD since the 100-$250 you'll save could be used for future GPU upgrades or a SSD.

You'll be very disappointed if you go for an Athlon II x3 since it'll bottleneck your GPU once you crossfire. Not to mention that you could be struggling to get high framerates (60+) in BFBC2.

April 5, 2010 11:09:56 PM

fatfatr said:
If you want to save some money you can go with the phenom II 955. An i7 930 won't show much of a performance increase in games over the 955. IMO it's a better choice going with AMD since the 100-$250 you'll save could be used for future GPU upgrades or a SSD.

You'll be very disappointed if you go for an Athlon II x3 since it'll bottleneck your GPU once you crossfire. Not to mention that you could be struggling to get high framerates (60+) in BFBC2.


K ... +3/4ths ... I'll compromise, then ... you want affordable future-proof, with the best gaming performance/experience.

CPU: AMD Phenom-II x3Core @ 3.2 GHz Stock w/ OC++ RAM and AIR
Why?: No bottlenecks, here ... (most/all) games won't be lookin' for more than 2-Cores until summer 2011, at least ... 3.2GHz "stock" gives you an absolute guaranteed minimum clock-rate ... Any latent cores *MIGHT* be unlocked with latest 890 "Core-Unlocker" mobo chipset. Most reports on core unlocking are "good" ... thus far. But, hey ... If you want that 4th core (for sure) ... go ahead and pop for the 955 (but not the 965).

COOLER: CoolerMaster Hyper-212 ... Very efficient and only costs $34 and fits any socket (AM3/1156/1366) and will not interfere with tall RAM heat spreaders. ... not particularly loud, either. Won cust choice awards.

Mobo: ASUS 890 USB Pro (Core Unlocker) ... Best mobo, available in the world, today. Cost/Performance/Longevity ... ROCKS!.
(Native "full bandwidth" dedicated SATA3 on South-Bridge with PCIe 2.0 on ALL LANES (unlike INTEL)

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/forum2.php?config=tom...

RAM: G.Skill RipJaws (2x2GB) DDR3 1600 CAS7 Dual Channel Kit

HDD: Samsung F3 500GB (You really don't need 1TB right now ... Plenty!)

GPU: 5870 w/1GB GDDR

That is your "Best Experience per Dollar" Gaming Core .. Future Longevity

(just ONE GPU ... for now)

PSU: Corsair Bronze 750Watt (CrossFire Ready)

CASE? : Antec 300 Illusion (with more fans than 300).



= Al =

April 6, 2010 2:24:44 AM

Alvin Smith said:
K ... +3/4ths ... I'll compromise, then ... you want affordable future-proof, with the best gaming performance/experience.

CPU: AMD Phenom-II x3Core @ 3.2 GHz Stock w/ OC++ RAM and AIR
Why?: No bottlenecks, here ... (most/all) games won't be lookin' for more than 2-Cores until summer 2011, at least ... 3.2GHz "stock" gives you an absolute guaranteed minimum clock-rate ... Any latent cores *MIGHT* be unlocked with latest 890 "Core-Unlocker" mobo chipset. Most reports on core unlocking are "good" ... thus far. But, hey ... If you want that 4th core (for sure) ... go ahead and pop for the 955 (but not the 965).

COOLER: CoolerMaster Hyper-212 ... Very efficient and only costs $34 and fits any socket (AM3/1156/1366) and will not interfere with tall RAM heat spreaders. ... not particularly loud, either. Won cust choice awards.

Mobo: ASUS 890 USB Pro (Core Unlocker) ... Best mobo, available in the world, today. Cost/Performance/Longevity ... ROCKS!.
(Native "full bandwidth" dedicated SATA3 on South-Bridge with PCIe 2.0 on ALL LANES (unlike INTEL)

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/forum2.php?config=tom...

RAM: G.Skill RipJaws (2x2GB) DDR3 1600 CAS7 Dual Channel Kit

HDD: Samsung F3 500GB (You really don't need 1TB right now ... Plenty!)

GPU: 5870 w/1GB GDDR

That is your "Best Experience per Dollar" Gaming Core .. Future Longevity

(just ONE GPU ... for now)

PSU: Corsair Bronze 750Watt (CrossFire Ready)

CASE? : Antec 300 Illusion (with more fans than 300).



= Al =




substituting the i7-930 + mobo for the 965/55 amd black + mobo is only about $250 dollar difference. For the performance I would loose it seems to me that the 930 route is damn close in performance/$ over the long haul... am i incorrect in this deduction? Not to mention I cannot find a ASUS 890 USB Pro
April 6, 2010 2:50:02 AM

PSU - The Strider series didn't do so well in the last jonnyguru review.....dunno if the P changes things.

http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...

For comparison purposes , the list below contains performance ratings (10 scale) at jonnyguru.com / prices as per newegg on 02/21/2010 and ones w/ double asterisks (**) made it onto silentpcreview.com's Editor's Choice List meaning they excelled at both electronic and acoustic performance:

Antec SG-850 - 10.0 ($220) **
Antec CP-850 - 10.0 ($110) **
XFX 850W Black Edition 10.0 ($185)
Corsair HX850 850W - 10.0 ($180)

Antec TruePower Quattro (TPQ-850) - 9.5 ($150)
Corsair TX850 - 9.5 ($140)
Seasonic M12D 850W - 9.5 (NLA) **
NorthQ Giant Connector 850W - 9.5 (NFS)
Etasis ET850 - 9.5 (NLA)
Silverstone Zeus ST85ZF - 9.5 (NLA)

Enermax Revolution 85+ 850W - 9.0 ($250)

Thrmaltake Toughpower XT 850W - 8.5 ($216)
OCZ Z Series 850W - 8.5 ($200)

NorthQ Black Magic Flex 850W - 8.0 (NFS)
Coolmax CTG-850 - 8.0 (NFS)

SilverStone Decathlon DA850 - 7.5 ($230)
Enermax Galaxy DXX 850W EGX850EWL - 7.5 (NFS)

SilverStone Strider ST85F - 7.0

Silverstone Element ST85EF 850W - 6.0

NFS - Not For Sale / NLA = No Longer Available


Case - HAF is a fine choice .... I'd put in a the Corsair HX850 or the XFX 850 Black Edition ....but this would save you $30 or so and be a bit quieter.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

CPU / MoBo - Fine choices.

Hard Drives - Looks like you done good.....Check out the performance charts and pick whatever 500 GB per platter drive performs best under your usage patterns. The 2 TB WD Black and XT from Seagate are good choice but at smaller capacities, you are limited to the Seagate 7200.12 or the Spinpoint F3. The 7200.12 excels in gaming, multimedia and pictures whereas the F3 wins at music and movie maker. See the comparisons here (copy past link in manually, link won't work in forum):

(http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2009-3.5-desktop-har...[2371]=on&prod[2770]=on)

Look at the tests that reflect your usage and choose accordingly.

RAM - Not a fan of the Gskill modules w/ their very high heat spreaders that often interferes with HS's. ....would suggest Mushkin modules w/ Heat Spreaders (lower profile) or the Corsair / OCZ ($160) w/o the tall heat spreaders.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HS - For higher OC's, at $65 I like the Prolimatech Megahalems. If that's a budget breaker, look at the Xigmnatec S1283 or one of the top 3 or 4 here:
http://www.silentpcreview.com/Recommended_Heatsinks
http://www.frostytech.com/top5heatsinks.cfm#INTELHEATSI...
http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...

pick a TIM from the top 3 or 4 here:
http://www.hwreviewlabs.com/index.php?option=com_conten...
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/coolers/display/therma...
http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...
April 6, 2010 3:16:23 AM

If you go with X58 you should consider (at least) these factors . . .

(1) First .. X58 needs 6GB RAM so add another $50 and you're up to $300 diff.

(2) GAMING is your only demanding use ... 930 "ain't all that" .. just for GAMES.
... How much performance do you think you would lose? Even *IF* you include a 5870 in either/both builds? ... If 5870 was not in the X58 build, it sure can be in the 890 !

(3) You're prolly gonna want a "better" cooler, with an i7-930 ... better add another $20 ... You're at $320

(4) USB3 tops out at 250MB on X58 ... 890 has PCIe 2.0 on ALL LANES USB3 = 500MB !

(5) You will want a 750Watt PSU, for X58 .. 650W would be plenty with 890 2XSLI

(6) A Full Tower Case would be most prudent, with X58 ... Add ~$40 ... now@ $360

(7) Don't you think a larger display would provide a richer, more engrossing game experience ?? True?

(8) Since you mentioned Movies/Video Viewing ... Is not a larger/better monitor even doubly important to YOU ? . . . Specifically ?

. . . I would not "Pile In" to a highest end gaming rig that only sports PCIe2.0 on half it's lanes and sucks power and really does not make me WIN or ENJOY my games any more better.

. . . I would rather go with four fast cores (hyper-threading? No consequence!) on a "Full Bandwidth" card-bus/South-bridge and put my money into a better GPU and Display.

. . . But that's just me ... I mean . . . It *IS* YOUR MONEY !

= Alvin = Think about what the human needs and what the sw needs, for great gaming ... please identify your price-point for "diminishing returns" on the higher end.

... Find that sweet spot ... I just lit it up in neon with circles and arrows, and captions.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=P...

= Luck with "that" =

August 24, 2012 6:53:20 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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