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Repair/upgrading gaming computer

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May 28, 2010 6:54:37 PM

EDIT: CLEANED UP POST SOME, ADDED BUILD I'M LOOKING AT RIGHT NOW.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: ASAP....I've been without a gaming computer since December.....I need my gaming :) 

BUDGET RANGE: I have $1000 in the bank for from job, and I still have a few weeks left to work, although I would prefer to save the money from my last paychecks until I manage to get a more steady job. So around 1000 is my high point.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: This is a gaming machine, pure and simple. I want to be able to run games on as high specs as I can as long as it fits in the budget.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers, Case, Moniter, Details will be listed below.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: I've always used Newegg, but I won't say no to other sites if they offer a better deal.

PARTS PREFERENCES: I've used AMD and ATI in the past, but that's just because it's what I know. I don't really know enough about the pros and cons to have an opinion, so I'm just worried about the price vs the preformance.

OVERCLOCKING: Never really done any Overclocking in the past, mostly because I have the factory fans in my case and on my CPU, so I'm hesitant to overclock, but like with other things, I don't know much about it, so I would do it with a system that could handle it.

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Likely, as I will likely want room to upgrade once I get another job.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1440 x 900 (at least that is what it lists as recommended on Newegg) Would like a video card that can handle better for when I get a new moniter, but my current moniter still works, so it's lower on the replacement list.

Case: Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

Power Supply: OCZ GameXStream OCZ700GXSSLI 700W ATX12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply - Retail (may be a bit overboard...as I've said, I was new and didn't know a whole lot about computer building when I made this.

Hard Drives: 2x Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAJS 500GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive -Bare Drive

Keyboard: Ideazon MERC KW1NAE1-X1ZXP01 2-Tone 97 Normal Keys 34 gaming keys and 11function keys Function Keys USB Gaming Gaming Keyboard - Retail This Keyboard worked well for a while, but over the past year I've been having trouble with the Z-Engine loosing all profiles when I restart my computer, and not being able to regain them without uninstalling and then reinstalling the program. But the regular keyboard part still works fine, it's just the function keys for gaming on the left that don't work, and I can live without that.

Moniter: Hanns·G HW-191DPB Black 19" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 700:1 Built-in Speakers - Retail

DVD Drive: ASUS Black 20X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 20X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 14X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe LightScribe Support - Retail

Video Card: SAPPHIRE 100218L Radeon HD 2600XT 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - Retail I would like to upgrade this.

Mouse, and headset are cheap $10 things from Walmart to replace the broken ones from when I first made the computer, but they work. The Speakers are more expensive 90 Watt 2.0 speakers with built in Bass that i bought for Use at LAN parties to help stop the constant music battle (at the time they were the loudest at the party)

WHAT I PLAN ON BUYING:

MOTHERBOARD: MSI 790FX-GD70 AM3 AMD 790FX ATX AMD Motherboard

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 140W Quad-Core Processor

VIDEO CARD: 2x ASUS EAH4870/2DI/1GD5 Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9S-4GBRL

CPU HEATSINK/FAN: ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 64 Pro 92mm Ceramic CPU Cooler (Getting this because I will be overclocking, and I figure I want to keep it as cool as I can, and the factory fan won't do that)

CASE FAN: APEVIA CF12SL-UBL 120mm Blue LED Case Fan (getting this for the same reason as the heatsink, I have space for a 120mm on the side of my case, just never got one, so I figure now is a good time to do so)

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM

That's all of it, Subtotal of $947.90, so that's about as high as I'll go. Is there any stuff here that I'm spending way too much for too little of an upgrade over a step down? If so let me know...also currently totaling up the Voltage to make sure I can handle it, pretty sure I can.
May 28, 2010 6:59:58 PM

so let me get this straight. you have 1000 dollars and you really only NEED a mobo processor and video card?
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May 28, 2010 9:24:21 PM

bdbeall said:
so let me get this straight. you have 1000 dollars and you really only NEED a mobo processor and video card?



Yeah, guess I could have explained things a bit better. I will need new RAM as well I believe, because the RAM I have is DDR2, and all the new motherboards are using DDR3.
I will also be getting Windows 7 Home Premium, and I was thinking with my new amount of cash that I would be doing 8GB of RAM, to ensure that I have no issues memory wise for some time, and I would likely try to do that in two 4GB sticks so I could later upgrade to 16GB of RAM on a board with 4 slots, although that may be a bit overboard, and probably cost more then it's worth, so advice on how much I should plan on having and why is welcomed.

Also I want to make sure this system stays cool, and I'm not sure how well stock fans can do that. I've though about Liquid cooling, but I've heard that the pumps on those are annoyingly loud, plus this is a gaming machine, so it will be moving around some to go to LANs and such, so I'm worried about lines becoming lose or getting a leak somewhere.
As for installing the operating system, I know I need to do a clean install, but I would prefer not to lose everything that's on my hard drives at the moment, although my plan right now is to install it on the 250 GB I have from an older computer.


Sorry for not being clear, I was rushing things a bit so I could go out and do some work, I'll be posting this in my first post as well to help clear up confusion.
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May 29, 2010 6:50:00 PM

Bumping up because I edited my first post.
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Best solution

a b B Homebuilt system
May 29, 2010 7:22:31 PM

Alright, cooler change to cooler master hyper 212 +. There is no reason to spend more on that. I have one (just because I actually wanted it to be quiet, haven't flipped the switch to turn it up yet), but it keeps my phenom ii 720 x3 at like less than 20 C in my room which is pretty much always hotter than that.

You want to install windows on the fastest hard drive you have, trust me. Just move all the stuff off of it.

Switch to 4 gigs of RAM, nobody needs 8 for gaming and if you end up eventually needing more, you have more slots.

Switch to a phenom II 955, the 965 is simply one multiplier higher, and for $40 or more you can do that yourself.

That's an ok mobo, but personally I'd go with a gigabyte mobo that has SATA III and USB 3.0 those will be much more helpful. Especially if you're not likely to crossfire.

The 4870 is a pretty good card, but why are you picking that now?

And I'd get a Scythe case fan if possible. Though IDK if that's really needed.
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May 29, 2010 8:53:18 PM

False_Dmitry_II said:
Alright, cooler change to cooler master hyper 212 +. There is no reason to spend more on that. I have one (just because I actually wanted it to be quiet, haven't flipped the switch to turn it up yet), but it keeps my phenom ii 720 x3 at like less than 20 C in my room which is pretty much always hotter than that.

You want to install windows on the fastest hard drive you have, trust me. Just move all the stuff off of it.

Switch to 4 gigs of RAM, nobody needs 8 for gaming and if you end up eventually needing more, you have more slots.

Switch to a phenom II 955, the 965 is simply one multiplier higher, and for $40 or more you can do that yourself.

That's an ok mobo, but personally I'd go with a gigabyte mobo that has SATA III and USB 3.0 those will be much more helpful. Especially if you're not likely to crossfire.

The 4870 is a pretty good card, but why are you picking that now?

And I'd get a Scythe case fan if possible. Though IDK if that's really needed.


For the Heatsink, the one you suggested costs more then the one I'm looking at, are you saying I should spend more on the heatsink, or were you confused about which one I was looking at.

All I really have for Hard Drives are the two 500 GB hard drives in my computer right now, and an older 250 GB hard drive from one of my older computers. Do you think it would be worth it to invest in a Solid State Drive? and if so how much should I spend?

Also are you saying get 2 sticks of 2GB ram instead of the one 4GB stick I was thinking of doing? I was gonna go with 1 4GB stick for if I ever wanted to go all the way to 16 GB, but that's probably quite a bit overkill. For the 4 gigs in two sticks I'm looking at G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600)

Okay, thanks for the advice on the CPU, and as for the video card, I'm getting that because my old 512 card is falling behind, and it was having some problems with the fan before my motherboard and CPU bit the dust anyway. So I was planning on Doing two 4870s Crossfired, but that is also probably overboard. Not really sure what games use now, or are looking to be using the the somewhat near future.
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 29, 2010 9:23:50 PM

TBH I didn't even look at the link. But that one doesn't look very impressive. The one that comes stock on the 955 looks about the same. If you have a microcenter nearby the one I suggested is $20 atm. But I'd say it's worth it to go for that one.

It WILL be worth getting an SSD in 5~ish months. Not this second. But you said you were gonna install on the oldest hard drive you have, and that's a terrible plan. Move the stuff off of the newest 500 gig onto the other two and use that, or get a samsung spinpoint F3 500 gig drive. It's a single platter and quite fast.

You only need crazy RAM for professional video editing and/or graphic design work. 4 GB should be just fine by itself. Two sticks will let you use dual channel, or the thing where phenom II's have 2 memory controllers so it'll give 2 cores one stick and the other 2 cores control of the other stick. Either way, it should be faster than just one stick. That RAM looks good to me. (I like standard voltage)

I asked about the graphics card because the 5770 is similar in performance and has directx11. You may want to check if there's a 4890 available. Or on ebay. They're faster than a 5770 but not as fast as a 5850, so they're still pretty good. So are the 4870 x2 cards.
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May 29, 2010 9:53:36 PM

Thanks, I completely forgot to check for USB 3 and DirectX 11. With what I'm looking at right now, the question is raised...is there a huge difference between 128 and 256 bit with video cards, and will I need more then 1 GB of video memory to run games on full graphics right now?
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 30, 2010 1:08:29 AM

The bit is just how wide certain communications pathways are. They have an effect on the speed, but it's effect isn't hidden. It ends up just being taken into account on benchmarks.

1 GB is more than enough. 512 is plenty for your current monitor, and can handle some bigger resolutions.
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May 30, 2010 2:17:04 AM

yeah, I just read up on it some, and I'm thinking I may invest in a 258, and I'll stick with 1GB. I know it's more then I need for resolution, but I also want it to be able to handle the high settings for all the games I play. Just took a look at a few and this popped out at me: HIS iCooler V Turbo H583FNT1GDG Radeon HD 5830 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card w/ Eyefinity It's not a whole lot more, especially since it comes with a game I was going to buy once I got my computer running again anyway.
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 30, 2010 2:48:07 AM

IIRC the 4890 is faster than that. But that is definitely a good card too, and it has DX11 and other such things.
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May 30, 2010 2:53:29 AM

Yeah, that's why I'm going for it is the DX11. And thanks for all the advice so far.
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May 31, 2010 4:50:54 AM

Best answer selected by Crazy-San.
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