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$700-$800 Gaming Build Advice

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May 7, 2010 12:25:16 AM

Hello folks! I will be buying the parts either this weekend or next week. I'm coming from a really ancient computer and would like to have something slightly above average in terms of gaming performance. I would say I'm fairly knowledgeable about building computers as I've done so for a few family members (mostly bargain builds though). I think I'm set with the parts but I would like to know an expert's assessment on my build and whether it would survive for a couple of years. Any suggestions (especially on the CPU and mobo) would be greatly appreciated.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within 1 week BUDGET RANGE: $700-$800 including shipping and tax

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, watching movies, internet, student work

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS, case (Cooler Master HAF 922), PSU (Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W Continuous Power ATX12V Ver.2.2 / EPS12V version 2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC "compatible with Core i7/Core i5" Power Supply)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: AMD CPU with GIGABYTE mobo

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe, not too comfortable with the process SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I'm hard pressed whether I should go for a Phenom II or stick with the Athlon II X4 I have listed.

Mobo:
GIGABYTE GA-770TA-UD3 AM3 AMD 770 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU:
AMD Athlon II X4 635 Propus 2.9GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM:
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU:
XFX HD-585X-ZAFC Radeon HD 5850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card w/ Eyefinity
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD:
Western Digital Caviar Black WD7501AALS 750GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Optical Drive:
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
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
May 7, 2010 12:47:00 AM

Could swap out the CPU for an AMD Phenom II X4 955

Swap out those CL9 Ripjaws for these with CL7

And then the Samsung Spinpoint F3 performs just as well for cheaper. Here's the 500GB model and the 1TB Model.

And then you could swap that CD/DVD Drive for a cheaper Sony one.

You costs should still be under budget with those changes.

EDIT: Also, if you do decide to overclock, might a good idea to get a good CPU cooler. Here's on that's at a fairly good price: CM Hyper 212+
May 7, 2010 1:07:27 AM

How much of a performance increase will the upgraded CPU and RAM yield? I'm not sure I'm willing to spend more than what I have with only a slight increase in performance.

I did change the HDD to the Samsung (I originally had the Samsung but decided on WD because it was cheaper then. That was only a week ago! Haha)

I already have that cooler on my wishlist in case I overclock but thanks for the suggestions anyway.
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May 7, 2010 8:39:36 AM

Changing the RAM, although a good idea, will not have a significant affect on performance. As for the CPU, here's a comparison of the two.
http://anandtech.com/bench/Product/122?vs=88

You are getting a powerful GPU relative to the Athlon II...
May 7, 2010 6:27:22 PM

Hmm... I think I'll switch to those sticks. They seem like a better investment.

I might have to go a little over budget but I want this build to last me for a while. I don't want to go overboard but in terms of price-performance, which Phenom proc would be best for my particular build? Or is the 955 the way to go?

Thanks for the feedback so far!
May 7, 2010 7:07:43 PM

zameric said:
Hmm... I think I'll switch to those sticks. They seem like a better investment.

I might have to go a little over budget but I want this build to last me for a while. I don't want to go overboard but in terms of price-performance, which Phenom proc would be best for my particular build? Or is the 955 the way to go?

Thanks for the feedback so far!



955 is the best price/performance for gaming and general use. I.e. its good enough to do video encoding, gaming, multi-tasking, ect,. It loses out to a Core i5 but not by much and its a better price when you factor in the motherboard cost and features. For longevity its a good option.

For budget concerns, read this article : http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/athlon-l3-cache,241...

I believe this indicates that the Athlon II x4's come close to the Phenom II's in performance if they are at the same clock. This being so, you could overclock a Athlon II 635 to 3.2 ghz and theoretically have ALMOST similar performance to a Phenom II x4 955.

If you dont plan on upgrading for a few years, go 955, if you plan on upgrading in the next year or so, Id consider the 635.
!