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~$850 Rig Opinions/Suggestions before purchasing today!

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May 30, 2010 7:23:58 PM

I just wanted to double check the compatibility of the parts, and get some opinions on this build.

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APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within the next couple weeks

BUDGET RANGE: $800-$900

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Multi-tasking, Web Programming/Graphics (Adobe CS5), Gaming, .mkv 1080p Movies, General Computing

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, Speakers, OS

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com, Fry's Electronics

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: United States

PARTS PREFERENCES: None, just want bang for the buck.

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 2x Acer P235Hbmid Black 23" 5ms HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor 1920x1080p (Haven't purchased yet, but am leaning towards it)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
Most importantly, I want bang for the buck, and to be able to run a dual monitor setup (Yes, I definitely need 2 monitors)

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PARTS I'M LOOKING AT:

HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$80

MOTHERBOARD and CPU COMBO: GIGABYTE GA-870A-UD3 and AMD Phenom II X4 955
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
$235
(UPDATED FROM GIGABYTE GA-770TA-UD3)

MEMORY: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$115

GRAPHICS CARD: HIS H585FN1GD Radeon HD 5850 (Cypress Pro) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$290

CASE AND PSU COMBO: Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case and Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
$115

TOTAL-$835 before shipping and taxes

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ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS:
To my understanding, since the GIGABYTE GA-770TA-UD3 only support dual channel RAM, any 6GB (3x2GB) Kits are out of the question. Because of my excessive multi-tasking (My current Memory Usage at this minute is at 3.7GB/4GB), in the future I'd like to have to have the option of purchasing more RAM to get up to either 6GB or 8GB RAM. I was reading around, and it seems there are some problems with a (4x2GB) Dual Channel Kits where not all of the RAM gets recognized (issue not related to the whole 64-bit OS thing, which fyi I already have)? Will I have this problem with the above G.Skill?

I'm still searching for 2x 1920x1080p Monitors preferably in the 20"-24" range, not included in this $800-$900 budget. Any suggestions?

EDIT:
I'm thinking about 2x Acer P235Hbmid Black 23" 5ms HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$400

Thank you for your time, and your help. ALL OPINIONS WELCOME.
May 30, 2010 7:45:17 PM

First of all, everything will be compatible. However, there are a few things I'd like to point out.

Hard Drive: Great choice. The SpinPoint F3's and the Seagate 7200.12s are among the best value hard drives you can get at the moment.

Motherboard: Not crazy about this board. One of the most useful things you can do when purchasing a motherboard is look at the reviews on sites like Newegg. Granted every board will have one DoA review, but that particular board has 114 reviews, about a quarter of which were 3 out 5 or below. I understand it's in a combo, but you may want to look for a new combo, or perhaps a processor and mobo out of combo.

Memory: G.Skill is always a good choice, and you will find that most people on these forums will recommend it due to it's low CAS latency as compared to other brands. The RAM you selected has a timing of 7-7-7-21, which is good.

Graphics Card: I'm not sure what kind of gaming you're planning on doing, but considering gaming is you're third priority, this graphics card is probably a bit overkill. Graphics related things in Adobe CS5 rely heavily on having a fast processor, not a fast graphics card, so if that's why you selected the 5850, that's a bad idea. Even running two monitors at 1920x1080, you could probably get away comfortably with something less than a 5850.

PSU: The wattage is enough for your build, and it's good that it has the 80 plus certification and Active PFC.

To answer your RAM questions:
3x2GB kits are not a good idea on a dual channel motherboard. I haven't heard of any particular issue with using a 4x2GB configuration. However that motherboard, should you choose to get it can support a maximum of 16GB of RAM, meaning that it can support up to 4GB in each of it's 4 slots. This means that you could always get 2x4GB DIMMS running in dual channel. Or if you can't afford that at the moment, you could use the 2x2GB modules now, and add 2x2GB or 2x4GB modules later.

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May 30, 2010 8:37:20 PM

djg9205,

First off, thanks for the response. I appreciate the help. I do have a few more questions for you.

MOTHERBOARD: I looked around at all combo deals for the AMD Phenom II X4 955 within relatively the same price range. Here are the options:

GIGABYTE GA-770TA-UD3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
$234

GIGABYTE GA-870A-UD3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
$235

GIGABYTE GA-880GA-UD3H
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
$245

I understand what you said about the newegg reviews, for the other two boards, there are less than 5 reviews, each. Out of these, which would you recommend, or is there some other board you would recommend? I'm personally leaning towards the GIGABYTE GA-870A-UD3, but would like to get your opinion. I'm a newcomer when it comes to custom rigs.

Graphics Card: I figured the AMD Phenom II X4 955 would be more than powerful enough for CS5, and the photography work I do. That's why I decided to go for the 5850, and get a little more pleasure out of this work machine. For reference, I currently play (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Starcraft 2, Just Cause 2, etc.). I don't require the HIGHEST settings, but it would be a nice addition to have. If you don't think the 955 is powerful enough though, what would I need? (If I switch out the 5850 for a 5770, what should I get instead?)

As for the RAM, I think I'll start out with the G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) for now, and see if that's enough for now. If you're sure there won't be any issues with 4 x 2GB, I can always purchase another set later if needed.

Again, thanks for your help. Much appreciated.
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May 31, 2010 4:21:56 AM

Motherboard selection is always the most difficult thing for me to do when picking out parts for a new computer. You're almost never going to find something that has all the features you want, with good reviews, for the price you want. It's a hard call to be honest with you. The GA-770TA-UD3 has more reviews but not all of them are that great. On the other hand there are not enough reviews of the other two to make any review reliable. There are some other motherboards I could recommend which have all the features you want and good reviews, but they place the processor/mobo combos closer to 300-320, which is too high for your budget. If it were me, I'd probably go with the GA-870A-UD3 and take your chances. You don't really have any other choice in that price range.

On to other things.

Graphics Card: You are correct in that the AMD Phenom II X4 955 will likely be more than powerful enough for what you want to do in CS5 and such. The reason I pointed out that the graphics card was overkill was because an alarming number of people somehow are still under the impression that they need a really nice graphics card for Photoshop, which is simply not the case. It seems, however, that you know better, and for that sir, I give you props. There's nothing wrong with getting that card as long as you recognize that it's for gaming, not for photoshop, which you do. Now that being said, the only one of those games that's graphically intensive at all is Just Cause 2. So if you want to trim the price at all that graphics card is probably the first thing I'd downgrade. If that's not an issue for you then go right ahead with the 5850.

RAM: I can't be *sure* that you wont have any issues with 4x2GB in the same way that I can't be *sure* that the world won't end tomorrow. I wouldn't worry about it to be honest. And starting with just he 2x2GB configuration for now is probably a good idea. You can always add more later.
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May 31, 2010 3:23:15 PM

djg9205- Thanks for your help.

Everyone else, any other opinions/suggestions before I buy? If all's good to go, I'll go ahead and get the parts today!
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May 31, 2010 3:46:47 PM

fastx21- Do I really need the DDR3 1600 over the 1333? On the MoBo specs, it states the memory standards are for DDR3 1866(OC)/1333/1066. It's only another $5, but is there a difference?

Yeah I know about the 5850, but I had an 850 budget for the rig, which I'm even slightly under right now. Would you suggest going with the 5770 and using the budget elsewhere? (Where would you allocate it?)

Thanks for your thoughts.
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May 31, 2010 4:38:47 PM

I'm fairly certain that the motherboard will downclock the RAM the 1600 MHz RAM to 1333 anyway, but someone who is more of an expert on RAM would be better suited to answer this than I. If 1333 MHz was listed as the highest supported speed of RAM for the board, then I would say you definitely won't be able to run anything at 1600 MHz, but since the board apparently can OC up o 1866, I'm not sure if that implies it can also anything below that, like 1600.

And if you're under budget anyway, go ahead and get the 5850. If anything, it'll ensure that you can play the majority of games for the next few years.
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May 31, 2010 4:52:37 PM

In the real world no. But for five bucks you get the technically faster memory. And that means you can do 1866, 1600, 1333 or even the slower 1066 if you wanted to. You just change the dram clock multiplier to 8.00x for 1600. Is 1866 setting any faster? I couldn't tell you that one, I'm still playing with the cooling in my case before I overclock too much.

While everyone will tell you that the 5850 can handle most games in high, realistically it will still struggle with some games. In certain parts of crysis I will still get a freeze every once in a while. With that being said the 5770 is slower so imagine what it can handle at max. That's why I said if you can afford it go for it, otherwise 5770 is a good replacement to save $150.

Edit: as said above, 5770 will handle most games now at a good setting but what about say Crysis 2 when it comes out?.. Chances are the 5770 might struggle on that one (as such Crysis is as graphics demanding as it gets right now).
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May 31, 2010 6:05:43 PM

djg9205- That's what I originally thought about the RAM. When doing my research, I looked at both of them, and came to the same conclusion.

fastx21- I'll look into it, I'm a little new when it comes to OCing. and just so you know, I don't play Crysis :p 

Thanks for your inputs guys. Anyone else?
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June 1, 2010 4:57:16 AM

Best answer selected by capnawesome.
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nWell, the deed is done. I hope I don't regret it. djg9205, thanks for all your help. Same to you fastx21.
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nI ended up going with the GA-870A-UD3 (update of the GA-770TA-UD3), and the DDR3 1600 (1333 was out of stock).
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