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$850 Gaming/Video/Work PC w/o Wife Aggro

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April 14, 2010 4:19:52 PM

The wife got a new laptop for school and therefore, I get about $850 for a new desktop once the 2nd car payment is done (May). I am looking for a system with a good foundation. Small items of $50 or less will be purchased later (if possible) so they won’t come out of the budget. I can always sneak a $50 items once a month. I am willing to sacrifice performance now for a better foundation, knowing that I am able to upgrade later.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: After 30 days, but no longer than 45 days

BUDGET RANGE: $850 after rebates (too large of rebates may cause wife aggro)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, Video Rendering, TV/Movie, MS Office, Surfing

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Mouse, CD Burner are from 2000…will they work now? Speakers, Video Card, Sound Card, are all to be upgraded either through $50 a month, Birthday (about $100) or Christmas (about $150).

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg, TigerDirect, Microcenter (In store)

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: US

PARTS PREFERENCES: AMD CPU, Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit.

OVERCLOCKING: Yes…in the future

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes…in the future

MONITOR RESOLUTION: $250 separate budget. None of the $250 can be used for the computer

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I am looking at the following. Please let me know if I can do better in quality or price

Case: Cool Master HAF-922 – Newegg $80
PSU: Antec Truepower 750W Blue – Newegg $100
CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 BE – Newegg $181
Mobo: ????
RAM: G. Skill Ripsaw 4GB DDR3 (PC3 12800) – Newegg $110
Hard Drive: I have WD Black 500GB can upgrade later
Optical Drive: I have an OEM CD Burner from 2000. Can I upgrade later?
Video Card: To be upgrade at birthday or Christmas. Will be about $200 budget at that time
Sound Card: To be upgraded later
OS: Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit – Newegg $140
April 14, 2010 4:26:04 PM

CPU/Mobo: i5-750 and Asus P7P55D-E Pro $375
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $120
PSU: Antec Earthwatts 750W $85 after rebate
Case/Optical: Coolermaster 690 and cheap SATA DVD burner $83 after rebate
HSF: Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus $35 (with free card reader)

Total: $698 w/o OS. Should leave about

I'd be surprised if you actually needed the extra features of Win7 Pro. I'd personally just stick to Home and save the $40.

Also, you should be looking to get at least the HD 5850 at $300.

Something else to point out. $250 is a lot to pay for a monitor. Here's an excellent one for $180: Asus 23" 1080p. That extra $70 could really improve the build overall...
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April 14, 2010 4:51:20 PM

^ $250 is not that much to pay for an LCD considering OP plans to do some renderings. I'm not sure what panel the ASUS uses, but chances are it's a TN.

At any rate, +1 for MadAdmiral's build. Imo, you may be able to get a good and cheaper AM3 set up with an X2/X3 now and upgrade to a X6 later in Q2 2010.

+1 for going with Home Premium. You DO NOT need XP Mode.
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April 14, 2010 5:06:18 PM

Shadow703793 said:
^ $250 is not that much to pay for an LCD considering OP plans to do some renderings. I'm not sure what panel the ASUS uses, but chances are it's a TN.

At any rate, +1 for MadAdmiral's build. Imo, you may be able to get a good and cheaper AM3 set up with an X2/X3 now and upgrade to a X6 later in Q2 2010.

+1 for going with Home Premium. You DO NOT need XP Mode.


Yup, that's a TN judging by its specs. I don't know to what extent you need high image quality, but a lower-end IPS might be a better bet if you insist on good image quality (NEC EA231WMi jumps to mind for example).
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April 14, 2010 5:11:52 PM

Fair enough on the monitors. I'm not an expert in picking them. However, I thought that IPS monitors weren't good for gaming. If I recall correctly, don't IPS panels have a longer refresh time?

Besides, judging by the monitor Silmarunya mentioned, $250 is either too much or too little for the monitor. The NEC is $310, and searching "IPS" at Newegg only returns the NEC and a $1,000 monitor.
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April 14, 2010 7:39:08 PM

"Also, you should be looking to get at least the HD 5850 at $300."...per MadAdmiral

Knowing that I am going to have the money to add a video card before the year is out, wouldn't it be better to put the video card on the back burner and use the $300 to build a better foundation so I don't have to upgrade as soon?

Otherwise if I want to put the $300 into the computer, what do I add? A second video card?

How about an AMD setup. I am personally opposed to INTEL and don't want any of their CPUs.

I am in a toss up on the Windows. Home Premium will probably be enough. My thought was to get more than I need because I don't buy OSs that often. In fact, I am changing from 98SE. I'm thinking the OS will last and $40 over 10 years or even 5 is nothing.

Unfortunately, I cannot use any money saved on the monitor and put it towards the computer. I will look at the Asus 23".

Thank You for the suggestions

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Best solution

April 14, 2010 7:55:46 PM

I wasn't saying you should buy the 5850 now. I'm saying that's what you should be buying whenever you get around to it. The 5850 is the minimum for a 1080p monitor right now.

A great AMD setup:

CPU/HSF: X4 955 and Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus $194. This CPU is the technical chip as the 965, just without a factory overclock and $20-30 cheaper.
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-790XTA-UD4 $125 after rebate
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $120
PSU: Antec Earthwatts 750W $85 after rebate
Case/Optical: Coolermaster 690 and cheap SATA DVD burner $83 after rebate

Total: $607 before OS and monitor. Again, when you add the video card, you should be looking at the 5850 or 5870.

A quick note. I know you say you're opposed to using Intel, but right now Intel owns the high-end performance market. AMD is the budget/mainstream choice right now. If you absolutely will not use Intel, you're going to be getting a lower performing build.
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April 14, 2010 8:34:40 PM

MadAdmiral said:
Fair enough on the monitors. I'm not an expert in picking them. However, I thought that IPS monitors weren't good for gaming. If I recall correctly, don't IPS panels have a longer refresh time?

Besides, judging by the monitor Silmarunya mentioned, $250 is either too much or too little for the monitor. The NEC is $310, and searching "IPS" at Newegg only returns the NEC and a $1,000 monitor.

There is a higher level of latency/response time on the IPS, however, this lag is negligible when gaming unless you are playing pro.

And yes, IPS is the best in terms of color,etc. However, for a $250-300 budget, OP may be able to find a 22-24" PVA based LCD. which is a in between TN and IPS.

Quote:
A quick note. I know you say you're opposed to using Intel, but right now Intel owns the high-end performance market. AMD is the budget/mainstream choice right now. If you absolutely will not use Intel, you're going to be getting a lower performing build.

True that.
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April 14, 2010 8:57:33 PM

"I wasn't saying you should buy the 5850 now."...per MadAdmiral"

Wow..."brain fart" there. I should have been more careful adding the numbers.

Thank you both for your advice
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April 14, 2010 9:03:22 PM

What you could do right now to maximize your 'future' upgrades with solid base parts is get a 5770 video card with this build, and then later this year when you upgrade, get a second one (~$155/per = total = $310). The motherboard supports Crossfire, although if you look at this one, you'd have maximum potential from the PCI Express lanes (16x/16x vs 8x/8x --- you shouldn't suffer any visible hit between these two configs, so its really moot).

This Gigabyte board supports 16x/16x @ $179
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Once you have the 2nd card in, you will have performance levels of roughly the 5870, which is more than enough. In the meantime you'll have very respectable levels of performance from the 5770, even at 1900x1080. If you use lower resolution, then it'll be even better.
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April 14, 2010 9:11:20 PM

16x/16x isn't worth it. It's only a 4% performance gain over 8x/8x, which is only noticeable with 5970s.

However, I don't like harwaretechy's solution. If you do it that way, you're wasting the Crossfire. You're spending the same amount of money, but losing all kinds of future proofing potential. Also, you'll be needing to buy the second 5770 as soon as you get a 1900x (or higher) monitor. It would be better to buy the 5850 as soon as possible and then still have the option to Crossfire when the card slows down.

If you were to use the 5770s, this is what the costs would look like:
Now $150 (first 5770)
New monitor $150 (second 5770)
3-4 years $300-400 (new giant GPU)
5-6 years New build, likely a new GPU for newer tech ($300-400)
Total $900

If you got the 5850:
Now $0
New monitor/whenever $300 (first 5850)
3-4 years $150-200 (second 5850, guessing on the price decreases)
5-6 years New build, with a new GPU $300-400
Total: $750
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April 14, 2010 9:20:07 PM

^ I agree. Imo, if you have the CrossFire route, you should get the fastest single card now and in a year or two, you can add a 2nd card for a LOT lower cost.

For example, my friend bought his 8800GTX a few months after release and he recently added a 2nd 8800GTX for ~$50 for quite a decent performance boost for the price.
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April 21, 2010 12:08:22 AM

Currently Microcenter has an in store pick up on an Intel i7-930 for $200 during April. Should I force by purchase early to get the chip? I was going to pay $180 for the i5-750.

Also I still have about $50 to spend. Any suggestions?

The current plan is...

CPU : i7-930
Mobo: Asus P7P55D-E Pro
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7
PSU: Antec Earthwatts 750W
Case: Coolermaster 690
HSF: Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus (with free card reader)
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit)

I suppose I could use the $50 to pick up a cheap optical because Microcenter has an in store pickup on the case for $50 as well.

How do I tell if a monitor is TN or IPS technology? I can't use the $250 towards the computer, but the extra $50 could be put towards the monitor for a total of $300.

Thank you for all the help
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April 26, 2010 2:50:13 PM

Best answer selected by olgranddad.
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