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Approx. 2000$ Gaming PC- Need Advice

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May 29, 2010 4:44:31 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: 1-2 weeks BUDGET RANGE: $1500-$2000

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: gaming, watching/burning blu-ray movies, internet...
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, Speakers, Sound Card (X-FI Titanium Fatal1ty)

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

PARTS PREFERENCES: would prefer Intel/ATI though open to AMD/NVIDIA depending on price to performance ratio

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe (Not now, but may want to upgrade in future)

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050 (Though I do have a dual monitor setup, so Id like to make more use of my 3360x1050)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: No need for glowing LED lights or anything flashy. Also, I already have 2 external HDD and 1 internal from my current PC with a combined capacity of 1.5 TB, which is why I dont have a larger HDD listed here. Im mainly looking for a quiet yet powerful PC that will run games at max settings with high framerates for several years before needing to upgrade. If I could lower the price a few hundred $ (currently at $1994) that would be nice, but I dont want to sacrifice performance.

I believe the only thing missing from list below is the CPU cooler as I cant decide if I should use liquid cooling or not. From what I've read, its more capable of keeping temps down but I guess I have fears of installation (how hard is a liquid cooling setup to install vs. a traditional cooling unit) along with the overall fear of it leaking and destroying the internal components. Any advice on that matter (which specific kit to use etc...) is greatly appreciated.

Case-
COOLER MASTER RC-692-KKN2 CM690 II Advanced Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OS/Gaming HDD-
Western Digital VelociRaptor WD3000HLFS 300GB 10000 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video Card-
DIAMOND 5970PE52G Radeon HD 5970 (Hemlock) 2GB 512 (256 x 2)-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Dual GPU Onboard CrossFire Video Card w/ Eyefinity
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU-
CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM-
Crucial Ballistix 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory Model BL3KIT25664BN1337
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MOBO-
GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD5 LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
SATA 3.0, USB 3.0, 3x USB power
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU-
Intel Core i7-920 Bloomfield 2.66GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Optical Drive-
LG WH10LS30K 10X Blu-ray Burner - LightScribe Support - Bulk - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total current cost: $1961.92 (includes shipping)

Thanks, in advance for any input and/or suggestions. I've been reading the forums here for several days now and have already learned so much. Thanks again.



May 29, 2010 5:36:10 AM

You could save money by dropping that UD5 board for the Ga-X58-UD3R. Pretty much the same board for less.

Should also change that HDD to something cheaper and more than likely better. Either the Seagate 7200.12 or the Samsung Spinpoint F3. There are also 1TB versions of these HDDs.

For just 9 dollars more you could get an i7 930. You could swap out those RAM sticks and get a combo with the i7 930 with these G. Skill Pi sticks.

Also, if you do plan on OC'ing and crossfiring, you should bump that PSU up to an 850w.



IMO though, if you're really looking to save money and all you're really gonna use this rig for is gaming, I'd consider dropping down to either an i5 750 or a PII 955. They perform just about on par with the i7 and cost a lot less. Looking at either build, you could save about 200 dollars more on top of the HDD change.
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May 29, 2010 6:27:29 AM

using an i5 750 on P55 with dual channel memory will save you a bit, without sacrificing very much performance.

If you do want to stick to the X58, then go with the 930 instead of the 920, basically just a revision of it that runs a bit faster. The UD5 is probably more than you need (unless there's specifically something on it you want), UD3R is cheaper with almost as many features.
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May 29, 2010 3:55:09 PM

Thanks very much for the quick and insightful responses. I took your advice on the 930 with G. Skill RAM combo along with the different MOBO and its cheaper than my initial setup. I do still have a few questions: I saw that you recommend I change my HDD to a 7200 rpm drive. Is the 10K rpm drive not that much better for gaming/overall load times for the price? Also, what would you recommend I use for CPU cooling? I'm looking for something that is quiet, efficient, not too expensive and relatively easy to install. I would consider liquid cooling if it's worth it. Thanks again!
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May 29, 2010 4:14:31 PM

liquid cooling is very good but costs around 300 for a basic system(I'm talking a system that's better than air cooling). And as for the GPU the 5970 is a bad buy. 5850 crossfire is better and cheaper.
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May 29, 2010 4:39:56 PM

The Velociraptor you linked is one of the old ones which are either the same speed or slightly slower than the much less expensive 500GB per platter 1TB 7200 harddrives. So basically you would be better off spending the money on something else (like an SSD) or keeping it in your pocket. This is the SSD to go for if you decide to: Intel X-25M 80GB $225

A 5970 will not fit in the CM 690 II Advanced. So you either need to change case or graphics card.

The air cooler I like best is the Scythe Mugen 2 $35 ($7.56 shipping). The Promilatech Megahalems is one of the best air coolers out there and I'd say might be easier to install than the Scythe, altho I haven't had experience with either myself.
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May 30, 2010 11:58:02 PM

First off, thanks to everyone who contributed their advice. I sincerely do appreciate the insightful tips you guys have been giving me. I took most of the changes that were recommended and was able to slightly lower the price, while still maintaining a powerful system. The one thing I'm still unsure about is the CPU cooler. I selected the Megahelm for this list, but was also curious as to what people's opinions were for the H50 liquid cooler. I know it may not provide the most cooling when OC'ing but the reviews I read make it out to be relatively silent, easy to install, and pretty capable considering it's price. If I stayed with the Megahelm, would it fit comfortably considering the other parts (Case, MOBO, Video Cards etc...) I'd love to hear what your opinions are of it, in addition to the new list of parts I am considering....

Case-
COOLER MASTER RC-692-KKN2 CM690 II Advanced Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD-
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Graphics card- (x2 for crossfire)
HIS iCooler V H585FNT1GDG Radeon HD 5850 Turbo 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...

PSU-
CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX 850W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply
Voted Best Power Supply Manufacturer by Custom PC 2009
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MOBO-
GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU Cooler-
Prolimatech Megahalems Rev.B CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Optical Drive-
LG WH10LS30K 10X Blu-ray Burner - LightScribe Support - Bulk - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU- (combo deal with RAM)
Intel Core i7-930 Bloomfield 2.8GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Desktop Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM- (combo deal with CPU)
OCZ Gold 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage Desktop Memory Model OCZ3G1600LV6GK
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Thanks again!
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May 31, 2010 12:04:18 AM

The H50 is a good HSF, but there are better performers near that price level, so it's really a matter of what you want. You can do cool and quiet for a lot less, like the Scythe Mugen Rev B. If you're looking for best cooling for a 24/7 then I would buy the NH-D14 or the Megahalems.
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May 31, 2010 2:18:41 AM

Quick question: I was considering (based on a post Chuckles_ made in another thread) dropping the (2x) ATI 5850 in crossfire mode for 1 HIS 5870 OC with plans to get another one in the future once prices drop(it would save 200$ initially). What are the differences in overall gaming performance between the 2 setups? Also, would the 5870 ( and eventually 2 of them) fit with the current case I have selected? Thanks again.
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May 31, 2010 2:41:38 AM

The 5870s fit fine in the CM 690 II. It's the 5970 that take some creativity to fit in that case. There's a pretty big difference between 2x5850 and a 5870, but if one 5870 meets your needs now, then the 2x5870 will be better in the end.
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May 31, 2010 3:29:51 AM

I apologize for asking so many questions...I just want to be sure I'm making the right decisions before I decide to spend a relatively large amount of money. I think I'm gonna stick with the 2 5850s in X-fire mode but I was thinking about switching my CPU/MOBO to a Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition from the i7-930 to try and save a little bit of $. Specifically I was looking at the following:

MOBO-
MSI 790FX-GD70 AM3 AMD 790FX ATX AMD Motherboard (open box..what are opinions on purchasing open box deal from NewEgg?)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU-
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

First off, I'm assuming that I'd have to switch the RAM as the Phenom MOBO uses dual channel rather than triple. Would it be a huge it to go from 6gb to 4gb? Also, what about the CPU differences? I've researched benchmarks and I know the Phenom X2 965 is consistently performing lower than the i7-930 but I wanted to see other people's opinions on how much of a performance hit you think it would be for gaming.

Finally, I'm still debating which cooler to go with. I think I've narrowed it down to the Scythe Mugen 2, Megahelm, or the H50. I've also read up on using a push-pull configuration and wanted to see what I would have to do/purchase to get either of those 3 coolers to use this method (if its worth it...)

I'm sure I'll have a few more ?s before I make my move and I really do appreciate everyone's generous help so far. This is a big purchase for me so i want to make sure I have things as optimal and well understood as possible. Thanks again!
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Best solution

May 31, 2010 5:24:34 AM

for gaming a 965 will do more than fine. And the 955 is the same chip btw. The 965 is just factory overclocked. If you want to save some money you can get the 955 and OC.

The megahelems is expensive and so is the h50 and I don't mean to offend but this isn't that high end of a system that you'd need heavy duty coolers like that. The scythe mugen 2 will do fine.

The 930 will run circles around the 965 but in gaming it doesn't really change anything. And the 930 requires expensive mobos.
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May 31, 2010 4:40:19 PM

For gaming 4GB of RAM is probably the optimum for performance and price. $10 more dollars would probably get you some CAS7 RAM.

I think with open box box items there would be a chance of some things missing, such as IO backplate, SATA cables, DVD, the extras that would definitely come with a new purchase. Things that aren't really crucial if you know that you can replace them if you need them. It's probably less desirable for noobs to buy open box items if they don't have any kind of support from friends/forums.

I'm pretty sure the Megahalems would come with a second clip to attach a second fan, whereas I think you would have to buy one to add a second fan for the Scythe. After buying two fans for the Megas, it would probably be the most expensive option. With the Scythe you would have to buy a second fan and a clip.
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May 31, 2010 5:58:46 PM

OK, so I think this is my final "draft" of the build I am considering. Feel free to chime in if you think something should be replaced, upgraded/downgraded, isn't compatible etc...I'm currently running XP but want to make the jump to Win 7 64 bit. Should I go with the Home Premium or upgrade it to the Professional version. I think the only thing that seems enticing of the Prof. is the XP mode, though I'm not even sure how often (if ever) I would actually need it. Also, I'm assuming I can get the OEM version for System Builders. It's cheaper than the full retail version, so I just want to confirm it's the right decision. Here is the list:

Case: COOLER MASTER RC-692-KKN2 CM690 II Advanced Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case . (The HAF 922 is 10$ less. Is that any better or should I stay with this?)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU- HIS iCooler V H585FNT1GDG Radeon HD 5850 Turbo 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... (x2 for Crossfire)

PSU- CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX 850W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU- Intel Core i7-930 Bloomfield 2.8GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Desktop Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OS- Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU Cooler- Scythe SCMG-2100 Sleeve CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Optical- LG WH10LS30K 10X Blu-ray Burner - LightScribe Support - Bulk - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MOBO- GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard (Combo deal w/ RAM)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM- G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9T-6GBNQ
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

As always, Thanks SO much to everyone who has contributed to this thread. You all have made this process much more enjoyable and (relatively) easy. Thanks again!
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May 31, 2010 6:17:47 PM

CL7 ram would be faster but for the rest it looks pretty solid. I think the haf 922 is better though.
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May 31, 2010 6:44:28 PM

If you were to get the HAF 922 it would be able to fit a 5970. So in that way it is better. It is also very good at aircooling.

If you stick with the two 5850s, then you could power them on a 650W PSU. Altho a lot of the good ones end up being the same price as the 850TX after rebate. These are the options for you to have a look at:
Corsair HX650 $120 ($10 rebate)
Corsair TX650 $90 ($20 rebate)
XFX 650W $100 ($5.99 shipping)
Antec Truepower New TP650 $100 ($5.99 shipping)
Antec Earthwatts 750 $110

I'd recommend the Home Premium and OEM version of Win 7. Unless you're seriously into running 16bit programs/games.
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May 31, 2010 8:20:32 PM

I'm assuming you saw the combo deal with the ram and mobo you selected?
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May 31, 2010 10:51:22 PM

I would like to eventually purchase a SSD in the future and install my OS and games on it. Would I be able to do this with the OEM ver. of Windows 7 if I initially install the OS on the Samsung HDD that I'm getting now?

Also, how much of a difference would CL 7 RAM make? The reason I have the selected the RAM on my list is the fact that it's coming pretty cheap as part of a combo deal with MOBO. Would upgrading to C7 RAM be worth the jump in price?

Thanks very much.
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May 31, 2010 11:55:48 PM

One final question (hopefully) and then I'll make my move: The reason i chose the HIS model 5850 is due to the "icooler" cooling method it has. There are other 5850s by XFX (great warranty) ASUS and Sapphire that are $40 to $50 cheaper. I know the core/memory speeds are OC'd on the HIS, but I can do that on my own for free. Is the HIS worth the extra money for the additional cooling or am I better off saving a few more dollars and going with another brand? As always, thanks very much for your help.
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June 1, 2010 12:44:55 AM

5850 generally run cool anyway, even OCed, so no, I don't think it's worth it.
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July 24, 2010 3:08:51 AM

Best answer selected by goodwidp.
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