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Building a gaming PC for $1200

Last response: in Systems
May 5, 2010 4:31:23 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: a little bit each month over the next 6-8 months.


SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Games, Internet, 3D modeling <(not as important)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, mouse, hard drive, DVD Drive, and speakers.



PARTS PREFERENCES: Prefer AMD CPU, Radeon 5000 series

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe down the road


MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1400x900 (looking to upgrade to 24")

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I want a fast gaming PC with at least 4 Gb RAM, and good cooling.

Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 922 It has lots of good reviews, good cooling, it can fit the bigger Video cards with ease, and I can shut my LED's off at night. ($89.98 + $19.98 Shipping)

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz It is a fast CPU, I heard the BE are good for OC, and it would bump my 3D rendering up decently. I currently have a Pentium D E2180. ($159.99)

Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-890XA-UD3 AM3 AMD 790X It has 8 USB 2.0 slots, and has 2 PCIe 2.0 in case I decide to get a 2nd video card down the road. ($139.99 + $7.87 Shipping)

PSU: Antec TruePower New TP-750 Blue 750W Continuous Power ATX12V It is discounted to good price, and is modular. I heard Antec is a good brand for PSU. ($119.95 + $5.99 Shipping)

GPU: HIS H585F1GDG Radeon HD 5850 (Cypress Pro) 1GB It got top reviews and isn't too expensive. If I can some how work it to afford a 5870 Id love that, but most are a tad to pricey. ($319.99 + $7.87 Shipping)

RAM: A-DATA Gaming Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333G (PC3 10666) These are cheap and I hear from the reviews they are a good name jsut not a huge name. They have lower timing and CAS Latency than many others. ($101.99 + $2.99 Shipping)

Monitor: SAMSUNG 2494SW Good cheap 24 inch monitor. I always trust Samsung when it comes to monitors, that or ASUS. ($219.99)

CPU Fan and heat sink: COOLER MASTER RR-CCH-P912-GP Its cheap, I am not going to be overclocking anytime soon, still learning how. So I figure a cheap fan to keep it cooler is good, and if I do OC Ill buy a much better one. ($17.49 + $5.99 Shipping)

Thermal Paste: Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound I don't know if this is too good for me since Im not OC, but I hear its amazing. If you know of any that might be better for me let me know, Thanks :) ($9.99 +$2.99 Shipping)

Total w/ S&H = $1,179.36

Id love to hear some feedback. I have been self teaching myself about building PC's and how the hardware works and what things like CAS Latency and L3 Cache are so any tips would be greatly appreciated. I also only know of the really big name brands, so if you know of any good that aren't as popular let me know.

More about : building gaming 1200

May 5, 2010 4:49:52 PM

Here's some deals and some improvements:

CPU/HSF: X4 955 and Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus $185. A much better HSF. Thermal paste is completely unnecessary.
Mobo/GPU: Gigabyte GA-770TA-UD3 and HD 5870 $460 after rebate. The 890 chipset isn't any better. Save your money and get this great 770 board. Also, the 5870 is a bit more powerful than the 5850.
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $120. Faster RAM that will be better for overclocking. G.Skill is quite possibly the best RAM manufacturer right now.
PSU: OCZ Z Series 650W 80+ Silver $75 after rebate. A higher efficiency unit. 750W is overkill unless you're going to Crossfire.
Case: HAF 922 $90
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $20
Monitor: Asus 23" 1080p $180 after rebate

Total: $1,130
May 5, 2010 4:58:12 PM

Thanks MadAdmiral, I forgot to mention I have a good DVD Burner. But those look like great deals :) 
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May 5, 2010 5:20:09 PM

MadAdmiral said:
If you don't need the optical, I highly recommend stepping up to an i5-750 system. The i5 will be a lot more powerful than the X4.

Here's the relevant changes:

CPU/HSF: i5-750 and Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus $225
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD3 $130 after rebate
GPU: HD 5870 $395

Brings the total to $1,215.

Judging by his Avatar logo I would assume he is part of the AMD brotherhood (which is good in my book).
May 5, 2010 5:33:50 PM

I know. Just thought I'd throw it out there though...
May 5, 2010 5:50:06 PM

MadAdmiral said:
I know. Just thought I'd throw it out there though...

Yeah, its important to do that to be fair. I dont consider myself an AMD fan boy but I wont buy Intel out of principal at least until some things change. Maybe its stupid but I don't really like some of the stuff they pulled recently.
May 5, 2010 6:51:13 PM

I do tend to prefer AMD for the cheaper prices and extra OC ability. Intel is always so pricey and from what I read for gaming a 955 BE is super good for gaming. They said you don't need a hexa-core CPU for gaming, more for Photoshop or 3D Rendering. So I am trying for fast GPU and decent CPU. Though I have wondered what is different between the Phenom II x4 BE and just the regular Phenom II x4?
May 5, 2010 7:15:49 PM

The BE has an unlocked multiplier. Basically, it's an easy way to overclock.

To my knowledge, there aren't many of the higher end AMD CPUs that aren't BE, not counting the X6 1055.