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Gaming Computer Summer Build

Last response: in Systems
May 28, 2010 12:10:52 AM

Hey Guys,

I've been doing considerable research in the past weeks, and I have decided to build a gaming PC - both for the experience in getting to build one (this would be my first) and also to have another machine for LAN gaming with my brothers. I'm really excited to finally be doing this.

So check out my lineup, and tell me what you think. Anything you would change? I've already purchased the case, and I'm planning on getting the monitor, GFX card and Power supply this weekend since they're all on sale.

Case: Coolermaster HAF 922

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-890FXA-UD5 890FX - newest chipset

Processor: AMD Phenom II X4 965 - the 125 watt version

Graphics Card: XFX HD 5770 (stock cooler, on sale this weekend) - eventually in crossfire

Memory: AData 4GB (2x2) DDR3 1600 RAM

Monitor: Asus 22" 1680x1050 2ms monitor

OS: Windows 7 Home Premium

Hard Drive: I'll be using an old IDE drive from another computer - would like to get a nice SATA drive, but trying to keep costs down.

CD/DVD drive: undecided at the moment, looking for something cheap.

Buying it all from Newegg. Already got Logitech Mouse and Steelseries mousepad.

Any thoughts/concerns/additions?
May 28, 2010 1:31:35 AM

Everything looks good. What power supply are you getting? Also, I would recommend the Vapor-X 5770, but I think any of them are fine. Make sure the Windows 7 is 64 bit. You should get G.SKILL ripjaw series RAM. Also for a hard drive, get a Spinpoint F3, they're good.
a b 4 Gaming
May 28, 2010 2:52:02 AM

Giga/MSI/Asus 870/Asrock 880G Extreme3 + HD 5770 +Samsung F3 500 and stick to single GPU solutions/upgrades down the road?
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May 28, 2010 3:05:18 AM

Cool, thanks for the replies.

I forgot about the PSU - it's a 650W Corsair, so really good quality, 80 plus certified. Not modular, but I'm fine with that.
64-bit Windows for sure.

I didn't realize the G.Skill Ripjaws RAM was only a dollar more than the AData. My current system has G.Skill, and it seems to be a good company. So maybe you're right, maybe I should go with the G.skill instead. The two have the same specs, but the G.Skill actually has more 5 star reviews, and looks better :) . Guess I should have done a bit more research there first.
If I can afford to add a better HD to my build, I will. I've had good experience with the WD Caviar Black - what do you think about those?

I'm hoping to eventually do crossfire in the future.
May 28, 2010 3:18:01 AM

I'm a fan of the WD Caviar Black myself, pretty good performance overall
Since this will be mostly a gaming computer, I'd recommend stepping down to the 955 BE (they're the same thing, just oc the 955 to 18x multiplier and you'll perform better than the 965)
and trying to squeeze any more money you can to jump up on your gpu, the 5770 runs hot and doesn't perform that well. I would either, try to save enough money for a 5850 or 5830 OR I'd buy an old 4890 or 4870 which will perform just as well/better than the 5770 and run cooler. the only thing they'll lack is dx11 and eyefiniti which frankly on a card that cheap isn't really useful at all
May 28, 2010 3:23:22 AM

But it's still a pretty powerful card, right? If I've got really good airflow, would it hold me out until I can crossfire them?
May 28, 2010 3:24:50 AM

yes it's fairly powerful, a good value for the money, but if i were to own one i'd want to slap an aftermarket cooler on it for fear of burning it out... especially on those hot summer days (or with two of them in xfire next to each other limiting airflow)
my recommendation for a gpu cooler - it's $41, i don't know if you can stretch that but i promise it's worth it if you're going to be doing any long gaming or oc'ing with the 5770 (or xfiring)
May 28, 2010 5:09:44 AM

The HAF 922 has apparently superb airflow, and I don't do many extremely long gaming sessions. Probably won't be overclocking the graphics card.
So I feel that the 5770 would be a good choice because it can save me some money and supports dx11 and will also be upgradeable in crossfire. As long as I monitor temperatures, I should be good. But I will definitely consider an aftermarket cooler when I do crossfire or if I overclock.
A 4890 would be a great card (I have one now and it's insane), but since it doesn't support dx11, it's not as future-proof, which is very important for me.

And Crysis 2 will support DX11!! :) 
May 28, 2010 5:10:01 AM

I actually just found some benches that show that having 5770's in CF is actually slightly faster than two 4890's. I think I'll go with the 5770, which will give me dx11 and more future-proof expandability.
May 28, 2010 5:45:09 AM

So now I'm debating between the XFX HD 5770 with the stock cooler, which looks way more awesome and has the double lifetime warranty, or the Sapphire Vapor-X model (same price after rebate) which would stay a lot cooler.

Decisions, decisions!!!
a b 4 Gaming
May 28, 2010 4:06:45 PM

I have the XFX HD5770 and it has given me no grief. It is not silent under load, but doesn't make an obnoxious whine. It sips juice, especially compared to the HD48x0 and HD5830. I have no regrets on buying it.
May 28, 2010 5:14:43 PM

So if the XFX one overheated sometime a year or two from now, would the warranty cover that? Would they give me a replacement?
May 28, 2010 5:20:11 PM

And which version do you have? The one with the stock cooler, or one of the egg shaped ones?
a b 4 Gaming
May 28, 2010 5:29:48 PM

With the rebate this a good deal, the HIS coolers are very effective, I have an HIS IceQ4+ HD4870 and it stays quite cool. One of the big benefits is the HIS coolers expel hot air out the back, a lot of the cards just blow the hot air into the case, which is a lot less ideal.
a b 4 Gaming
May 28, 2010 5:48:33 PM

I've had other cards with the HIS IceQ coolers, and yes they are quiet and effective.

And yes, even if you sold your XFX to someone else next year, and it overheated, that person could get it replaced under warranty. The one I have has the "egg" cooler. It is very substantial. I'm not thrilled that it doesn't exhaust much of the heat out of my case, but 1) I have a RC-690 which has excellent airflow with 4 fans installed in it, and 2) the card sips power, and little is wasted as heat; so I went for this one over the notably more expensive (at the time) HIS.
May 28, 2010 6:16:39 PM

I have the HIS iCooler x4 version of the 4890 in my other system, and it is a beast. HIS looks good and they seem to know how to keep their cards cool.
So I need to choose between the XFX stock cooler (which does shoot air outside of the case) with a warranty, or the HIS with the IceQ cooler. I have a feeling the HIS would be somewhat better quality and would hold up for a long time.
a b 4 Gaming
May 28, 2010 6:18:44 PM

I went for the better quality cooler (HIS) over the warranty of the XFX when I got my HD4870, because I figured as long as it was not DOA, it would work long enough to when if it did break, I would be ready for an upgrade. Really though heat is the biggest enemy, in a well ventilated case with a good cooler, theres no reason is shouldn't last you a long while.
May 28, 2010 6:47:01 PM

Okay, sounds good.

If I jump down to a 955 instead of 965, that will save me $20.
I'll buy the HIS card, which will only be a few dollars more than the XFX after rebate.
I'll also get the G.Skill ripjaws RAM instead of the AData stuff because it's only a dollar more and has more positive reviews.

Regarding the RAM, though, how important is CAS latency? Would it be worth paying an extra $10 to get to CAS 7 instead of 9?
a b 4 Gaming
May 28, 2010 9:26:39 PM

I'd pay that $10 difference. The CAS9 stuff may or may not tighten up when overclocked, and $10 seems a small price to pay for some RAM that will.
May 28, 2010 11:45:23 PM

Even though it's kind of weird timings (7-8-7-24-2N)?
May 28, 2010 11:53:25 PM

I've been reading some reviews, and lots of people have trouble actually getting them to run 1600Mhz at the CAS 7 latency on any AMD motherboard. So maybe it would be safer to stick with the CAS 9 ones?
a b 4 Gaming
May 29, 2010 12:52:55 AM

Gigabyte has addressed that, and they say the RAM will run at 1600Mhz, however you need to set the timings to 8-8-8-24 and it will run fine. The RAM is designed to run at the CL7 with Intel boards.
May 29, 2010 2:14:15 AM

Okay - cool. Thanks for the info.

So, I think I'm going to order the rest of the parts now.

Updated list: (* denotes updated item)

Case: HAF 922

Mobo: Gigabyte GA-890FXA-UD5

*Processor: Phenom II X4 955

*Graphics Card: HIS IceQ 5770

*Memory: G.Skill 4GB 1600 CL7

Monitor: Asus 22"

OS: Windows 7 64-bit OEM

*CD/DVD drive: Asus 24X DVD burner

Hard Drive: Old IDE one still for now, until I decide on upgrading.

Thanks everybody for your input and help.
May 29, 2010 2:15:38 AM

By the way, how important is it to have good thermal paste? I have an old cheap tube, and spending $10 for a new one from Newegg seems like overkill, especially if I'm only going to be using it once.
a b 4 Gaming
May 29, 2010 2:24:13 AM

The stock cooler will come with fresh thermal compound. Unless you plan on getting another cooler (which may ALSO come with paste), you probably won't need any more.
May 29, 2010 2:39:53 AM

Whew. So I just made a $700 order at Newegg. I'm giddy with excitement. :) 
a b 4 Gaming
May 29, 2010 2:56:57 AM

Cool beans. Have fun with your build.
a b 4 Gaming
May 29, 2010 3:38:14 AM

Happy shopping/building ^^