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For Review: < $1500 mATX desktop gaming build

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April 18, 2010 5:42:24 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Next few weeks

BUDGET RANGE: ~$1500

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: MMO gaming, video/photo manipulation and uploading, web surfing

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: I would like to follow Tom's best gaming CPU/GPU for the price recommendations (i5 750, 2xATI 5770)
I need this machine to sit on a desktop and be reasonably attractive (can see it from the front door)
I prefer understated steel/aluminum cases

OVERCLOCKING: Yes

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1600x1200

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: The quieter the better


Here's my first stab:

SILVERSTONE SG04B-F Black Aluminum / 0.8mm SECC MicroATX Mini Tower Computer Case $149.99

Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz LGA 1156 $199.99

CORSAIR Cooling Hydro Series CWCH50-1 120mm High Performance CPU Cooler - Retail $79.99

MSI P55M-GD45 LGA 1156 Intel P55 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard $119.99

2 x MSI R5770 Hawk Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 $349.98

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) F3-12800CL9D-4GBNQ $109.99

SeaSonic X650 Gold 650W ATX12V V2.3/EPS 12V V2.91 SLI Ready 80 PLUS GOLD $159.99

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5 $89.99

LITE-ON 24X DVD Writer Black SATA Model iHAS424-98 LightScribe Support $31.99

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders $99.99

Grand Total: $1,391.89


I've opted for a rather expensive cooler because there is not much room in the mATX FF and I plan on OCing to get the most of the 'bargain' CPU.
I realize the SeaSonic is spendy, but when I heard about the smart fan I was intrigued...

I'm also tempted by this case - I prefer the 'aspect ratio' if you will:

LIAN LI PC-V351B $99.88

But not sure all the components will fit (a forum post convinced me they would fit in the SG04)


Thoughts? Thanks in advance
April 18, 2010 9:19:23 PM

Any recommendations for quieter case fans? It's got room for 2x120mm in the front...
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a b 4 Gaming
April 18, 2010 10:31:52 PM

Have you considered the 5850 at basically the same price as 2x 5770s?

The ROG motherboard supports CrossFire much better than the original motherboard you had linked. The original one would be running at 4x in CrossFire, which is kind of terrible.

I don't know how quiet the H50 is, you might check out www.silentpcreview.com for more info on quiet cooling (and cases). I suspect, though, that you'll get easier, quiet cooling with a big air cooler rather than low-end water cooling.

In general I think your build is ok. There aren't a lot of mATX boards that support CrossFire/SLI...the ones that do are over $135, but it has been found to be worth it to not drop down to 4x, so I'd say paying for that is worth it if you do plan to go with CrossFire.
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April 19, 2010 12:16:23 AM

The H50 is highly overrated. Thumbs down from me - be prepared to invest time and money into a real water cooling setup. I saw my friend build a new comp once and I swore to myself I'd never do it.
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a b 4 Gaming
April 19, 2010 1:12:13 AM

Yep the sheer hassle and maintenance for ongoing ops makes WC not practical for me and a possible config to consider? $1096 AR

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April 19, 2010 1:39:11 AM

@coldsleep: I was shoot for the two 5770's based on what Don said in Best Graphics cards for the Money :

"A pair of Radeon HD 5770's in CrossFire is probably the most effective high-end configuration for the dollar, besting even the Radeon HD 5850 on the performance front."

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/Components,1/Graphi...


I was thinking of trying WC since there is not much room for an air-cooler in the case. But if it's going to be a pain I'll reconsider.

Thanks for pointing that put about the x4 thing - missed that!


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April 19, 2010 1:41:04 AM

@batuchka: I hadn't been thinking of an AMD build. No particular reason though. Nice use of combos too...
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April 19, 2010 6:36:05 AM

Hmmm, the April best gpu for the money list is out and it states:

"The extra expense required by CrossFire manifested in high-end motherboards and power supplies prevents a clean recommendation"

Maybe the 5850 is the way to go...
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a b 4 Gaming
April 19, 2010 3:11:47 PM

wiatrog said:
Hmmm, the April best gpu for the money list is out and it states:

"The extra expense required by CrossFire manifested in high-end motherboards and power supplies prevents a clean recommendation"

Maybe the 5850 is the way to go...


Of course, the next page of the March review recommends the 5850. :)  If you can get 2x 5770 for significantly less than the cost of the 5850, then it might be worth it. However, most of the time when I check prices, the cost is approximately equal.

I wouldn't use CrossFire at the start of a build, except maybe on 2x 5870 or 5970, if you were just gonig to burn the money if you don't buy something. By getting the single biggest graphics card you can afford, you leave yourself room to upgrade later if you find your graphics slipping. Or you can just upgrade to the latest and greatest at that point (whether it's in 1 year, 2 years, or more).
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a b 4 Gaming
April 19, 2010 3:15:44 PM

Yep i too would prefer single GPU solutions tbh - just thought TS is bent on it hehe If April 26th isn't too long a wait and u decide not to CF, the mATX 880G with native SATA 6GB/s support could well prove a great buy as they would usurp 785G price wise whilst offering more cutting edge tech ^^
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April 19, 2010 4:42:45 PM

Actually it looks like 2x5770 costs MORE in most cases (at least for 1GB models).

I might play around with a single 5850 build. I'm curious about what people think about an i3-530 build after reading this recent article:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i3-gaming,2588...

It would probably help with heat in my mATX enclosure and allow me more OC possibilities.
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Best solution

a b 4 Gaming
April 19, 2010 6:05:17 PM

From the conclusion of that article:

The good news for low-budget Intel buyers is that jumping in with the cheapest i3 model yields virtually no performance deficit at the highest gaming details, at least when the system is limited to a single high-end, single-GPU card like the Radeon HD 5850. said:
The good news for low-budget Intel buyers is that jumping in with the cheapest i3 model yields virtually no performance deficit at the highest gaming details, at least when the system is limited to a single high-end, single-GPU card like the Radeon HD 5850.


I'd still consider getting an i5 (or an AMD Phenom II), as it has 4 physical cores, while the i3 has 2 + hyperthreading. The additional cores will make a difference in only a few games today, but they'll allow you to multitask while gaming (if that's desired), and they should provide a boost for your photo/video work.

In my eyes, the i3 is great for HTPC stuff where you want the integrated graphics, but if you have the money for an i5 and you're planning on gaming, I think you'd be better off with the pricier processor.
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April 25, 2010 4:23:32 AM

Best answer selected by wiatrog.
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