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Building a $1000-$1200 gaming/media work PC

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May 14, 2010 12:01:48 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Will purchase parts over the next couple weeks. Graphics card will be last as I've already got a temp card to use till then.

BUDGET RANGE: $800-$1000

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Will be using it mostly to write articles for a website I contribute to, but would really like it to be able to hold its own in gaming. Might be used for video editing work in the future.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, DVD Drive, OS, case, power supply.

I have a Cooler Master HAF 922 for my case:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

and a Corsair CMPSU-650HX for the PSU. I can return the PSU if need be, but would like to keep it if I can.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: http://www.tigerdirect.ca/, http://www.canadacomputers.com/

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Canada

PARTS PREFERENCES: Would prefer an ASUS mother board, but open to other suggestions. ATI really seems like the company to go for GPUs so I guess I have a preference there as well.

OVERCLOCKING: Probably

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe (a decision I'll base off the advice I get here)

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Not sure. Looking to get a 21+ inch Samsung Monitor eventually. (Most likely something with a high contrast ratio)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Being quiet isn't a huge deal because I'll probably shut it down when I'm not using it, but it's a preference I'd like to mention here. If I can keep this system quiet I'd appreciate it. It's the main reason I chose the case I did. I'd like to keep the build open to upgrade, but am also very interested in balanced solutions that will last.

Any advice anyone can provide on what I should get would be greatly appreciated.
May 14, 2010 7:05:25 PM

What motherboard would I need for for the i5 750. I'd also like to know what anyone's thoughts are on the 6 core AMD processors. I've done some research into both, but I haven't been able to come up with any concrete opinions on their worth.

On a side note, I noticed you suggested the Radeon HD 5850. In a recent trip to my local PC store I was recommended a Radeon HD 5770. Is the performance boost worth the cost? Would the above mentioned build be good for crossfire, or is it something I should avoid altogether?
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May 14, 2010 7:29:36 PM

This board would work for an i5 build if you want crossfire potential
  • Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD4P -$200-

    Regarding the X6 1090T, essentially if you are going to be using more than 4 cores, it's unbeatable, but if you need four or less most of the time (gaming) the i5s and i7s beat it more often than not. Versus the X4 955 it doesn't provide enough boost in gaming to justify it costing nearly twice as much.

    For a GPU it depends entirely on your monitor's resolution. For 1080p I would recommend the 5850, for less the 5770. Yes, both the i5 and X4 boards I posted support crossfire, as does the PSU. There is nothing wrong with crossfire, but imo one good card is always better than two mediocre ones.

    edit: fixed price
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    May 14, 2010 7:29:47 PM

    You'll need an Intel based 1156 motherboard for an i5-750. The AMD build above is very suitable for gaming. The 5850 is better for 1920x1080, where the 5770 is more of a 1680x1050, unless you crossfire them.

    What resolution do you plan to game at?
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    May 14, 2010 7:41:22 PM

    To be honest, I'm not sure. Probably whatever offers the crispest textures without killing the playability of the game. I used to switch between 1024x768 and 1280x960.

    Just did a quick read-me on resolutions and truth be told if 1920x1080 is true HD that's probably what I'll aim for. In your opinions is the difference noticeable? I gamed for a long time on my macbook pro so I'm really taking a crash course as far as PC gaming and GPUs is concerned. Been trying to read as much as I can but finding it hard to lock into a build because of so many conflicting reviews. Especially when it comes to Intel vs AMD.

    Back to 6 cores for a moment. Is it something that will likely help with video editing in the future or running photoshop?
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    May 14, 2010 8:28:34 PM

    These were very interesting reviews. I'm starting to feel like i5 750 might be a wise choice, and there does seem to be a really strong case for the 5850. Is there an Asus board you'd recommend for the Lynnfield?
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    May 15, 2010 6:15:54 AM

    Thank you all for the help. I'm still on the fence about whether I want a 5770 or a 5850, but you fellas have helped me decide to go with the i5-750 and one of the recommended boards.

    Can anyone comment on the difference in resolution between 1680x1050 and 1920x1080? Is it noticeable?
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    May 15, 2010 9:00:20 PM

    As my quest for the perfect build continues, I'm just wondering how much overall performance I'll lose with a motherboard that only supports crossfire at 8x for each card instead of 16x for both cards.

    I'm also wondering whether or not I should be getting a 2gb 5850 if I go that route.
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    May 16, 2010 9:50:32 PM

    I have to admit that does seem like quite the value build. I've actually spent the last couple of days researching all I can to see if I wanted a Radeon 5770 or 5850 and I'm pretty sure I want a 5850. Only con I've come across in my search for the perfect build is that if I want to build a hackintosh my Radeon card won't be supported.

    As far as overclocking goes the Radeon 5850 seems to be one of the best so I'm 90% sure of that purchase.

    Now I'm trying to find the perfect motherboard/CPU combination to go with my card. The CPU will be an i5-750 or the AMD equivalent (or whatever's closest). Seems like a lot of people are recommending the i5-750 but I still want to get some more opinions before locking myself in.

    Edit: A lot of discussion going on about whether or not the 1055T is a better solution than the i5-750. My heads starting to spin with all that needs to be absorbed.
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    May 17, 2010 12:03:00 AM

    i5 is a great CPU but the AM3 socket seems to be more future proof especially for future upgrading to higher-end CPU's. There's not such a big difference between the 955 and i5 in gaming, only in video editing and such. I like jbakerlent's build above even if I'm partial to Gigabyte mobos but you don't need that PSU, even for HD5850 crossfire your PSU is powerful enough. All the recommendations are very good though.

    I wouldn't get a full HD monitor smaller than 23".

    For crossfire x8x8 is fine unless you have two HD5970 or something.
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    May 17, 2010 11:09:49 PM

    mosox said:
    i5 is a great CPU but the AM3 socket seems to be more future proof especially for future upgrading to higher-end CPU's. There's not such a big difference between the 955 and i5 in gaming, only in video editing and such. I like jbakerlent's build above even if I'm partial to Gigabyte mobos but you don't need that PSU, even for HD5850 crossfire your PSU is powerful enough. All the recommendations are very good though.

    I wouldn't get a full HD monitor smaller than 23".

    For crossfire x8x8 is fine unless you have two HD5970 or something.


    Do you happen to have any kind of reference article I can look at? In general I'm getting very mixed opinions over here at THG so I'm starting to wonder about it.
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    May 18, 2010 8:11:18 PM

    Best answer selected by Slayer697.
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