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New Gaming PC

Last response: in Systems
May 11, 2010 2:37:47 PM


I am in the process of building a new Gaming PC. Looking to spend around $1600 or less.

This is my build so far:

Sony AD-7240S-0B Optiarc DVDRW Drive - Tigerdirect - $22.99

Intel Core i7 930 Processor - Tigerdirect - $299.99

ASUS P6X58D Premium Motherboard - Tigerdirect - $299.99

Cooler Master GX Series 750W Power Supply - Tigerdirect - $114.99

Cooler Master 840 Black Active Thermal Convection Full-Tower Case - Tigerdirect - $199.99

Seagate 7200.11 Barracuda 1.5TB, 7200RPM, 32MB Cache, SATA-3G (OEM) - Tigerdirect - $99.99

Corsair Dominator 8GB Dual Channel DDR3 RAM - PC10666 - Tigerdirect - $254.99

XFX HD587AZNF9 Radeon HD 5870 Video Card - Tigerdirect - $409.99

The total is $1702.92 with Bing cashback the toal is around $1500.00.

Is this a good build for the price? Are there any recommendations or changes you guys think I should make? Thank you in advance for your help.

More about : gaming

a b 4 Gaming
May 11, 2010 2:43:37 PM

I'd switch the board to a Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R. It's just as good (Tom's recommended buy) and a lot cheaper.

Get rid of that PSU. It's a POS. Stick to Corsair, Antec, Silverstone and SeaSonice. 750W is enough power though.

I would personally get a cheaper case, such as the Coolermaster Cosmos or HAF 922.

Do NOT get a 7200.11. They have a problem where they turn into bricks. The one you want is the 7200.12 or the Samsung Spinpoint F3. Get the 1 TB model to get the fastest HDD you can buy.

8 GB of RAM is overkill. Also, Corsair is expecially expensive. Also, that's dual channel RAM and you want triple channel RAM to maximize performance. Check out some G.Skill Pi Seires 3x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 kits.

I should point out that the same build can likely be had for less at Newegg. Here's the links (with my suggestions):

CPU/Mobo: i7-930 and Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R $474
RAM: G.Skill Pi 3x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $190
GPU: HD 5870 $400
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB $90
PSU: Corsair 750W $90 after rebate
Case: HAF 922 $100
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $20

Total: $1,364
May 11, 2010 3:03:28 PM

I would buy the Hyper212+ CPU cooler rather than use the stock cooler. The Hyper will allow for some good overclocking if you decide to do it in the future.
I agree with Admiral that the HAF 922 is a better case buy.

What kind of monitor resolution are you using? More than 1920 x 1200?

If the computer is just for gaming I would argue going down to an i5 750, P55 mobo.
The i7s are not a big performance increase over the i5 750 and certainly not for the increased price (the CPU, the X58 mobo, the triple channel RAM). But if you can afford the i7 and really want it go for it. Otherwise, the money saved could go towards either a 5970 (not really worth it if monitor resolution is only 1920 x 1200) or even a Solid State Drive.
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a b 4 Gaming
May 11, 2010 3:04:55 PM

The Hyper 212 is a good HSF, but if you're not overclocking, you don't need it.

I wouldn't get a SSD right now. They're really expensive (around $300-400 for a useful size) and the prices are going to fall quickly. Also, they don't do anything for in game performance. Wait until the prices fall before buying one.

Here's an i5/5970 build:

CPU/Mobo: i5-750 and Asus P7P55D-E Pro $375
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $120
GPU: HD 5970 $700
HDD: Seagate 7200.12 500 GB $55
PSU: Corsair 750W $90 after rebate
Case: HAF 922 $100
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $20
HSF: Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus $30

Total: $1,495
a b 4 Gaming
May 11, 2010 3:07:11 PM

Only improvement I can think of is to grab this 5870 instead.
Same price and 3 year warranty, but includes a free avatar dvd =P

Another thing to consider is grabbing an Antec 902 instead. ATM it's cheaper than a HAF 922 due to free shipping, and has a $20 MIR on top.

Both cases are excellent, read up on both and see which suits you better.
May 11, 2010 3:07:39 PM

Wow thanks for the quick replies guys! I am planning to run it on a 1920 x 1200 resolution.
a b 4 Gaming
May 11, 2010 3:09:33 PM

Don't grab a 902 if you go with MAD's 5970 build though. It fits, but it's a tight squeeze and had to work with.
May 11, 2010 3:18:02 PM

Yea I am hoping to build a machine that will last me a few years. So if possible, for a big improvement, I don't mind spending a little more...Again thank you guys for the advice and quick response :) 
May 11, 2010 3:25:40 PM

What do you guys think about the Asus P6T Deluxe motherboard? That was my other choice. How would that compare to the Gigabyte? What about the Pheniom 1090T? Thanks
a b 4 Gaming
May 11, 2010 3:31:23 PM

I personally think the P6T series is overpriced and over rated. It doesn't have USB 3/SATA III and costs more than the Gigabyte.

Another board to look for is the Asus P6X58D-E.
May 12, 2010 3:03:42 AM

Thanks for the replies! Another thing, how would the I7 930 compare with the AMD Phenom 1090T for gaming?

Also, what about the GTX 480 vs. 5870? I was really considering the 5870, but I heard the GTX 480 outperforms it, though it does run a little hotter. I am willing to go over my budget a little as long as I know I can get a video card that will last me a few years. Thanks again for everyone's advice and suggestions. :) 
May 12, 2010 8:56:22 AM

I little hotter is a serious understatement. It is a small cooker sizzling away in your machine :p 

For gaming, I personally find it hard to recommend the 400 series to anyone. The performance gain you get from the 480 is really not that great (in some cases I believe 5870 actually beat it). and given the power it sucks and the heat it produces (the card may be fine but the rest of your computer wont appreciate that radiating heat) it just seems an odd buy. If they were of similar price I may consider it as a possible buy, but at the premium cost it just doesn't seem worthwhile. Also, on a 1920 x 1200 resolution, the 5870 is more power than you will need for a good while, the 480 will not be giving you much other than a warm room

a b 4 Gaming
May 12, 2010 12:17:24 PM

^+1 to that. Stick with the 5870.

In gaming, the i7-930 would be better. However, the i7 still isn't a great choice for gaming because it's expensive. It'd be better to get a smaller CPU if you can get a bigger GPU. The CPU doesn't really affect gaming performance much in the real world.
May 12, 2010 12:53:53 PM

Thanks alot guys! Now based on the two builds you suggested for me Admiral, which one of those would be best for gaming now and the future? I see the main difference is a I7 930 paired with a 5870, while the other one is an I5 paired with a 5970.

Which build is more future proof? The games that I will most likely playing would be Mass Effect 2 and Stacraft 2. With Mass Effect 2, I would like to get great frames with 8x anti aliasing on if possible. Thanks again guys for your advice! :) 
a b 4 Gaming
May 12, 2010 1:07:57 PM

Is that all you want to play? If so, we can get something much, much cheaper to do that. The 5870 build would be able to play every game out there with max details at 1920x1080 (including Crysis), while the 5970 would stand up to the most demand FPS games for years to come.

If those are the only types of games you play, try looking up this build:

CPU/GPU: X4 955 and HD 5850 $470
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-790XTA-UD4 $120 after rebate
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $120
HDD: Seagate 7200.12 500 GB $55
Case/PSU: Antec 902 and Earthwatts 750W $155 after rebate
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $20
HSF: Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus $27

Total: $967
May 12, 2010 2:19:20 PM

Thanks alot for the suggestion Admiral. Those are the only ones I play now, but I also want to future proof my machine in case later on down the road, there might be something that I want to play that requires a stronger system.

Again, thanks again for your time and suggestions Admiral, its clearing up alot of things and making my buying decision easier.
a b 4 Gaming
May 12, 2010 2:22:25 PM

I should also point out that the 5850 would still be great for any current game. It's big enough to play most games at max details at 1920x resolutions, with the main exception being Crysis. If you turn down a few details, it will be able to play everything.
May 12, 2010 2:24:34 PM

Regardless for what card you get, I would drop the i7 out of the equation entirely. For a gaming rig it just does not make much sense -its price compared to the i5 750 is massively inflated (including X58 mobo, 6gb Triple channel RAM) meanwhile, in terms of gaming performance it offers you next to nothing.

With gaming being your focus, your chioce is really between the i5 750 and the X4 955 Admiral mentions.

Then your choice is the 5970, 5870 or 5850. All of which you can afford with the above CPUs, however, what you can afford and what is worth having is something you have to decide upon.

At your resolution and the games you play, the 5970 is overkill - it's like using a car to squash a spider when you could have just stepped on it.

The 5850 is plenty for your games at that resolution, so may be the best buy, but on the other hand, who knows what you may start trying to play in the future?

The 5870 has plenty of power, it plays everything and is far more powerful than your gaming needs. Perhaps later you will play more power hungry games and so the 5870 gives you more assurance that you will play everything on high settings for a long time.

Of course, the question is - do you see yourself playing resource hungry games in the near future? It's all very well having the 5870 just in case, but is it worth the extra cash now when by the time you actually need its power it is considerably cheaper or by then better cards are around at similar prices.

At your resolution and your games I would definately rule out the 5970. So the debate I think is between the 5850 (which when OC'd is very close to the 5870) or the 5870.

I myself would probably be inclined to go with the 5850 and OC if the time comes you need to, but I can totally see the temptation to grab the 5870. If you go with Admirals build that means you have $600 underspent which you can consider future investment (perhaps indulge in a bigger monitor, or eventually a better GPU when the next generation shows, or even have that money ready for years to come when you want a new system!)
May 12, 2010 3:32:35 PM

Thanks guys, I think I am going to to with the 5870.

I should have been more clearer in my description. I wanted a pc that can do alittle bit of everything, with the main focus being gaming. From what I have read, the Phenom would be great for a one GPU setup. In the future, I am mosty likely going to throw in another 5870 for crossfire.

As for the I5 750, I see it listed on newegg for $199.99. While the I7 930 is on tigerdirect for $299.99 - Bing cashback = $263.99. I do not really mind paying a little more if I know that what I am getting is one of the best at whatever is needed to be done (gaming, graphics, etc) at that price range ($300).

Again, thank you everyone for your input and suggestions.
a b 4 Gaming
May 12, 2010 3:47:58 PM

The problem isn't just the cost of the CPU. The X58 boards are also more expensive and the i7 needs triple channel RAM as well. Generally, all told it costs about $200 more for the i7 over the i5 or $300 more from the X4.

Also, all of the CPUs are great for Crossfire setups. The X4 and i5 typically offer 8x/8x Crossfire, while the i7 has 16x/16x. The difference is insignificant (it's only 4%), and is only noticeable when using 5970s.

I might be mistaken, but I believe Newegg also has cashback, though it might not be a huge amount. I've often found that even with the cashback on TigerDirect, Newegg is still cheaper.
a b 4 Gaming
May 12, 2010 3:49:30 PM

MadAdmiral said:
Also, all of the CPUs are great for Crossfire setups. The X4 and i5 typically offer 8x/8x Crossfire, while the i7 has 16x/16x. The difference is insignificant (it's only 4%), and is only noticeable when using 5970s.

Agreed. And if you can afford a little more for a motherboard with the 790FX or 890FX chipset, you can get dual 16x/16x for the AMD setup.

In general, the limiting factor for most games these days (and for the forseeable future) is the graphics card at 1920x1nnn resolutions, and not the CPU.
May 12, 2010 5:35:58 PM

If I were to go the I5 route, how long would that last me? I am kinda leaning towards the I7 because I don't really wanna upgrade for a few years and I would think the I7 is more future proof.
a b 4 Gaming
May 12, 2010 5:38:49 PM

The i5 will last a long time. Besides, neither is really future proof, as both sockets are going to be replaced with the next set of CPUs.

However, that doesn't matter. The CPUs are powerful enough to power games for a number of years. It's the GPU that holds back gaming performance.
a b 4 Gaming
May 12, 2010 5:55:07 PM

The LGA1156 socket is essentially a dead end, despite not being that old. Intel has already announced they're moving on to two new sockets (LGA1155 and LGA1365) with their next CPUs. However, this is par for the course with Intel, and you really shouldnn't need a more powerful CPU for a long time.
May 12, 2010 5:55:35 PM

People mention future proofing a lot, but I'm not sure its always relevant. The thing to ask yourself though is 'How often do I upgrade my system?'

If you are constantly tinkering and adding new components every year then it may be worth it to spend the extra up front, to future proof, and get something that you can do slight upgrades on.

If you are the sort that buys a computer and then runs it for two or three years before thinking about getting something new, I wouldn't worry about future proofing at all as by the time comes to 'upgrade' anything you could slap in would be old tech and you'd probably just end up buying a modern board and a modern processor.
May 12, 2010 5:55:48 PM

Thanks again Admiral. Sorry if my questions sound silly. How upgradeable are the 1156 motherboards? Will future processor still use those motherboards? Thanks :) 
May 12, 2010 6:37:46 PM

So the 1366 would probably be replaced at the same time the 1156? Also, based on the configuration you gave me Admiral, I notice it was only 4gb of ram compared to the 1366's 6gb. Would the 1156 be capable of more ram?

I was pretty set on the I7 930, but I think you guys are slowly talking me out of it. Thanks again!

a b 4 Gaming
May 12, 2010 6:40:39 PM

You could put up to 16 GB of RAM on that board. That doesn't mean you need it. The i7 build has 6 GB because the i7 uses triple channel RAM (sticks in sets of three), and having less than 4 GB wouldn't be advisable. So you're left with 6 GB total. It doesn't make a huge difference.
a b 4 Gaming
May 12, 2010 6:44:58 PM

thq82 said:
So the 1366 would probably be replaced at the same time the 1156? Also, based on the configuration you gave me Admiral, I notice it was only 4gb of ram compared to the 1366's 6gb. Would the 1156 be capable of more ram?

Both socket 1156 and 1366 are scheduled to be replaced next year.

4 GB is all that's necessary for gaming today, which is why most suggestions here are 6 GB for 1366 boards (to take advantage of triple-channel memory) and 4 GB for all others.
May 12, 2010 6:53:06 PM

One more thing Admiral, would the G.Skill Pi 3x2 GB 1600 mhz work on the 1156 motherboard you recommended me? LOL, with all this money I'm saving I might just throw in the 5970. I know its to find a place that sells the XFX version...
a b 4 Gaming
May 12, 2010 6:56:59 PM

It works, but it's triple channel RAM, so it's not preferred. The Ripjaws I linked to above have the same specs, but are optimized for dual channel boards.
May 12, 2010 7:15:33 PM

One more question guys. Will the 5970 fit in the HAF 922?

Here is my final build, sorry if it looks sloppy.

SAMSUNG CD/DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223C - OEM

COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

XFX 5970

CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory

Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80605I5750

ASUS P7P55D-E Pro LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

If you guys have any more input, I would greatly appreciate it. Once again, thank you everyone for your advice and suggestions, especially MadAdmiral. Thank you!
a b 4 Gaming
May 12, 2010 7:38:54 PM

The 5970 will certainly fit in the HAF. Everything looks good.
May 12, 2010 8:08:14 PM

Alrighty, I will place the order. Once again, thank you for everything! :) 
a b 4 Gaming
May 12, 2010 9:23:03 PM

The XXX edition has a slight overclock and a double-lifetime warranty. Unsure why they're the same price, but you might as well go for that one at that price.
May 12, 2010 10:18:03 PM

MadAdmiral said:
^+1 to that. Stick with the 5870.

In gaming, the i7-930 would be better. However, the i7 still isn't a great choice for gaming because it's expensive. It'd be better to get a smaller CPU if you can get a bigger GPU. The CPU doesn't really affect gaming performance much in the real world.

That depends on the game - a lot of MMO's will peg out the CPU running at 4GHz because they were programmed to be CPU centric - using the CPU to render a lot of what SHOULD be taken by the GPU. Everquest2 is a BIG example of that which surprised me greatly.

The best thing to do is to use a widget to show you just whats being taxed the most during game-play. If you have a certain game you play, find out how it was designed, and then go with either a faster CPU, or a faster GPU.
May 12, 2010 11:16:25 PM

Thanks you everyone who has replied in this thread for your insight! I greatly appreciate it. I purchased everything from newegg, minus the 5870 (got it from tigerdirect) . Total price @1248.26...well below how much I was intending to spend. :) 

PS: By chance, anyone with a similar build able to run Mass Effect 2 at 8x AA and 16x AF (at 1920 x 1080)? Do you think I can achieve that with my build? I've had the game for a while now but have been putting it off until I can find a machine that can run it at those settings. Thanks
May 13, 2010 1:22:45 AM

I hope you snagged the coupon deal for the HAF 922. It is $50 off the purchase price which knocks it down to $49.99 before shipping. You need to input MINIHAF into codes when you are in checkout.

If you didn't get it, you should contact Newegg and try to work something out. $50 isn't insignificant and you can always use that money for another part of your build.
May 13, 2010 3:11:53 AM

I didn't. Thanks Indecisive, I will contact Newegg.

Update: They said they will not credit until after it ships, I will then have to contact them to remind them in order to get the credit. I will just go ahead and cancel and reorder. Thank you so much Indecisive.
May 13, 2010 8:11:41 AM

Hey guys I'm back again. I've been doing a lot of reading, maybe a little too much. There are some people that say the I5 750 actually bottlenecks the 5870. Is that true? If so, it will surely bottleneck my system if I ever do decide to go CF. Thanks again for you guys input.
May 13, 2010 12:09:31 PM

No. The only issue an i5 build has is that the XFire runs x8/x8 instead of x16/x16, and even that has been shown to be a very very small difference in FPS.
With single card the i5 750 will not be bottlenecking you, especially if you also consider its OC ability.

If the i5 750 were truly bottlenecking the 5870 then it would not be the most popular gaming processor
a b 4 Gaming
May 13, 2010 12:18:28 PM

That's not correct. The GPU is pretty much always the bottleneck for gaming. The only exception is when you through in a lightening fast card into a system that's extremely old. Check out the "Building a Balanced PC" article they put up on the front page yesterday. The graphs flatten out when the GPU becomes the limiting force.

For reference and ease of finding benchmarks, you can treat the 5970 as Crossfired 5870s.
May 13, 2010 4:38:02 PM

Oh thats great. I just needed some reassurance. I have been reading a lot about this the last few days. Maybe reading a little too much.

Again, thank you to each everyone of you guys that took the time to reply and help me. I greatly appreciate it!
May 22, 2010 2:39:43 AM

I got my computer built this past week with the configurations you guys gave me. I must say, that thing is a beast. Runs everything I throw at it so far with no problems.

I once again want to thank everyone who took the time to reply in this thread, especially MadAdmiral, asteldian, coldsleep and indecisive man (you saved me $50 bucks!) You guys helped me build a great computer!

PS: My screen has green dots on dark backgrounds. I did a little research and many have stated that the GPU is the cause of the problem. Should I wait for driver updates or RMA it? Or better yet return to Tigerdirect for a different one?