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$800 i5 based gaming desktop system

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April 20, 2010 7:20:18 PM


Okay, this is officially my second system build having sold my first desktop build to a friend (whatkin I say, it's a living) and I'm trying to work on a new gaming desktop build at about $700 with graphics card (pulled it off once, will do it again). I guess I'm just trying to push the boundaries of my last build a lil bit so I've pretty much gotten my parts. I just need a critique of the build. I would respectfully request that people kept their replies focussed on the i5 options because I'm well aware that the amd builds are cheaper and I could spend a lil more on a better card... yadda yadda but as I said before, I know it is possible to secure a i5 based gaming desktop build for that price having done it before and well apart from having a preference for intel processors, I wouldn't be here if I had a problem with selecting amd builds cause their low prices pretty speak for themselves. So with that disclaimer out of the way, here's my build below:

Samsung 500Gb Hard drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6822152181 $54.99

Rosewill PSU and Case Combo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6817182186 $99.99

GSKill RAM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820231277 $109.99

Gigabyte MOBO (USB3)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813128425 $114.99

And the infamous i5-750
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6819115215 $199.99

Build Total $579.95

Which I think is pretty good myself. This desktop will be used for intro-level video rendering and processing, will possibly undergo some considerable overclocking (prolly a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10) and will be used for heavy gaming; however, I will be purchasing only one GPU at any point in time given that I have a preference for dual-power GPUs than combining two in SLi or Crossfire Mode. My sights are currently set on either the 5850 or the Geforce GTX 480. My concerns would be with the power requirements and the ability of the setup to handle overclocking. Any other similar priced but stable intel-based alternatives would be welcome and I would also like any suggestions on cooling options for both GPU setups. Other than that is there anything I might be missing with using this MOBO or this setup? I don't see many expert reviews on it so I feel a little concerned. (I read some forum saying something about the MOBO having to run GPUs in 8x rather than 16x mode if usb 3.0 was enabled; dunno if anyone can confirm this).

April 20, 2010 7:34:18 PM

Your links are broken. And it's not a good idea.

Rosewill cases aren't high quality. That you can live with. Their PSU are crap. You can't live with that.

I would really go for an AMD build for this budget. It's hard enough to get the 5850 in on that budget, much less with an Intel CPU. Already, you're looking at the 5770, not the 5850. A 5850 is $300, putting the total at $880.

Here's what I recommend at $800 (assuming you don't need anything not listed). You are NOT getting a 5850 for less without sacrificing quality.

CPU: X3 425 $70
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-770TA-UD3 $80 after rebate
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $115
GPU: HD 5850 $300
HDD/PSU: Seagate 7200.12 500 GB and OCZ StealthXStream 700W $95 after rebate
Case: Coolermaster 690 $80
HSF: Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus $35 (with free card reader). To unlock the fourth core and overclock.

Total: $775
April 20, 2010 7:50:33 PM

Oh wow. That sucks... here it is again..

Samsung 500Gb Hard drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $54.99

GSKill RAM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $109.99

Gigabyte MOBO (USB3)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $114.99

And the infamous i5-750
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $199.99

Okay, I've removed the PSU and case links but what would you suggest for an i5-750 build? As far as your suggestion, yes I do sort of have AMD as my fall back plan and I am actually likely to be getting a used 5850 off a friend for $250. I love your AMD build but I just want to be sure I can do a more complete comparison first. The prices I posted up here are more expensive than what I will be getting them for because I will be getting most of these parts from my local Microcenter. But I pretty much am using these as a reference. What about the rest of the build? Thanx.
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April 20, 2010 9:41:04 PM

Even a $250 5850 won't let you get an i5 build under $800. A GTX 480, don't even bother thinking about it, CPU + GPU in that build is $700 already.

You can cut $65 off Mad's build going with a centurion 5 instead of Antec 300, but even that won't make up the $100 more the 5850 is.

In addition, if you want to OC, you'll need a HSF, cheapest 1 that'll work well is the $35 Hyper 212 Plus.

It's doable if you use low quality case, PSU and RAM, but you'll end up with a junk computer, and if it's a junk PSU, its got a good chance of frying and taking your expensive i5 and 5850 with it.
April 20, 2010 9:54:07 PM

Hmm... I see, I guess I have no choice but to go with his amd build then. But what about the x4-495 rather than x3-425? And how far would I have to stretch my budget to make a i5 build more feasible? I guess I'm presently curious as to the cheapest yet stable build one can manage around an i5-750. I pretty much have doubts as to the continuity of the phenom series.
Thanx for the prompt replies!!
April 20, 2010 9:56:14 PM

id go with Mad's build and upgrade the video card later. Thats a better route than AMD $800 build.
April 20, 2010 10:30:25 PM

Actually I agree with loudr that Mad's i5 build makes a lot of sense. I think I'll discard the Earthwatts 430W and simply get that Antec 300 Case bringing it down to $598. Add on the 5850 GPU @ $250, it comes down to 848 which in my opinion is not too much of a stretch for the other benefits in performance the i5 offers. If I were to even get the 5850 at $300 we get to $898, which is painful but worth it in the long run. Although it's ceases to be a <800 build I think It'd be better to get a build that will be upgradeable in the future than one that might have me wanting to change motherboards soon.
April 21, 2010 12:31:29 AM

The i5 doesn't offer you any benefits. You get a CPU that only slightly improves performance (like a couple FPS), costs a lot more, and has no upgrade path. The LGA1156 socket is not going to see hexa-core CPUs. The AM3 socket is going to have the hexa-core CPUs and whatever comes out in the next few years.

Saying an i5 is noticeable better in gaming than any thing AMD offers is absolutely wrong.
April 21, 2010 1:31:29 AM

Oh? I apologize if I sound a little misinformed. I have been scouring the forums and have come across a lot of builds which have recommended the i5-750 as the better alternative. So I automatically modelled my ideal budget build after it. So what would be the reason for the seeming affinity for the i5-750, if it is to be phased out soon?
April 21, 2010 1:51:17 AM

The i5 is a little more powerful. However, it's benefits are mostly in non-gaming applications. I'm not saying it's a lot more powerful, it's just slightly more powerful for gaming. The affinity for the i5-750 is that it's an exceptional CPU with it's turbo boost and fairly good value. It's perfectly positioned at it's current price.

The i5 isn't going to necessarily be phased out so soon. However, Intel usually doesn't keep the same sockets for long. It's not an issue with the i5, it's an issue with Intel.

Don't get me wrong, the i5 is an excellent CPU, assuming you've got the budget for it. The i5 is perfect for budgets of about $1,100 to around $1,500. Typically, you should want to get at least the 5850/5870 before looking to get a more powerful CPU. Anything below that and AMD is the best fit for gaming. Anything above that and there isn't anything better to spend the money on besides the i5.
April 21, 2010 2:13:41 AM

To clarify what Mad is getting at, current plans for Sandy Bridge CPU's are socket 1155 and 1356. Those aren't typos, those are the actual new sockets coming out.

Sandy bridge will have dual, quad and hexacore processors, however it not yet known if either 1156 or 1366 current MOBO will be compatible. My gut says no, since Intel likes to force people to upgrade.

What is definitely true, is that 22nm Sandy Bridge CPU's next year will NOT be compatible with current Intel formats.

So basically, we're advising people under the assumption that both current sockets types are dead ends that will offer no upgrade path. 1366 at least has the $1,000 hexacore processors to upgrade to, though with no cheaper CPU's in the lineup planned, it's not exactly a real option.

(Sandy bridge is an architecture not a cpu family. Ex, current i5, i7 and i3 cpus are all Nehalem architecture).
April 21, 2010 2:20:02 AM

I see. I don't mean to prolong the issue but since we're on the subject I hope you'll indulge me for a moment. Let's call it a bit of education, however for future reference I just want to be sure I am knowledgeable of exactly why each CPU is preferrable.
Would you mind giving some more clarity on why the i5 build you specified before would be at a major disadvantage to a similar i5 build of 1100 or more? (I mean outside of the obvious that you could get more features for more which you may not use anyway)I think, for all ends and purposes, the $898 build taking my calculations of the 5850 into consideration, deployed with your i5 config seems to be quite adequate for the purposes I highlighted. Now outside the amd price range (which I absolutely agree with) I am curious as to why it would still be necessary to recommend a higher cost i5 configuration as the most suitable alternative for a good i5 build. I guess my question is what does any one get to lose from employing an i5 build similar to yours which seems adequate enough?
April 21, 2010 2:28:08 AM

@ banthracis: Thanks for the information. Yes I can see now why that would make the amd such a compelling choice. You're right. Intel has been notorious for forcing users to change their architecture on the fly. I guess now I'm just looking for specifics that make one more expensive build more suitable than another using the same architecture, thus my question above.
April 21, 2010 2:55:30 AM

The difference is that Mad's current build lacks a gaming GPU, IE 5850 or 5870.

Also lacks a mobo with the ability to xfire in a second 5850/5870.

Case currently used is very confined and doesn't have the best airflow for a high powered xfire system.

Further to take advantage of the i5-750 abilities, you need to OC. A 955 will go up to 3.6 easily, a 400 mhz OC. An i5 will do the same 3.6 ghz OC easy, but in that case it's a 800 mhz OC, resulting in a much larger performance gain.

To incorporate this, you'll need a nice HSF, adding another $35.

GPU change is $150-$250
Mobo change is $50
Case change is $20
HSF $35

This brings build up form $800 to a $1100-$1200 build.
April 21, 2010 3:01:52 AM

The $1,100 i5 build has the advantage of being in the right hole of a budget. At around $1,000, you've got a X4 955 and an HD 5870, and just can't quite afford the i5. Above that, you don't have enough to bump up to the HD 5970, so you spend it in the next performance area (the CPU). Once you get above $1,200 or so, the 5970 is possible, and it just happens that the i5 fits in the budget.

The problem with recommending the i5 at low budgets is when it becomes a choice between the CPU and GPU. For gaming systems, the GPU is more important. So you beef that up as high as possible, and get a cheaper CPU to afford it.

@banthracis: I had no idea that the LGA1366 wasn't going to get anything more. I figured that it would see at least one more hexa-core that would make either that one or the 980X at least relatively affordable. I pretty much knew that the next CPUs would be getting a new socket, but I'm kind of surprised it's already announced with the 980 just released.
April 21, 2010 3:16:59 AM

Yea, Intel is really being jerks about their forced socket upgrades.

People are hoping for backward compatibility since it's just a few pins off, but the thing is, Intel's changing the entire chipset as well, most likely to accommodate USB 3 and their new light peak.

The better question is whether these new socket 1155 and 1356 will be compatible with 22nm Sandy bridge CPU's coming out next year.
April 22, 2010 4:45:28 AM

Well y'all have pretty much got me sold on the amd build right now. I found this combo deal for a 5850 and antec PSU.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Seems like a really good deal. I dunno why but the OCZ Stealth seems to have a very high fail rate based on the newegg reviews. I mean I don't necessarily want to go off the reviews on newegg but a 57% 5 star rating is kinda iffy. What do you think of coupling the antec with the 5850 along with the am3 build above?
April 22, 2010 12:24:58 PM

That's a great combo. Definitely go with that.

The OCZ PSUs are generally a little lower quality than the major brands, but they're very cheap. You generally won't find a unit that has as much quality for the same price or lower.
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