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First Budget Gaming PC Build (~$800)

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May 31, 2010 4:38:51 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within 2 weeks

BUDGET RANGE: About $800, with room to adjust if there is more bang for the buck

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, surfing web/simple tasks (office)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, wireless card, speakers/headphones, optical drive

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg (US)

PARTS PREFERENCES: I only looked at AMD/ATI but if people have suggestions for different parts I don't care what brand

OVERCLOCKING: No

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No (unless someone thinks it was worth it i.e. I will get a lot out of it relative to price and speed of single card equivalent)

MONITOR RESOLUTION: I haven't picked out a monitor yet but I'm hoping to go 1080p or 1920x1200

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I like cases that AREN'T fancy.

This is my first build and I'm very new to computer hardware. I have just begun to understand it (have been reading articles and guides) over the last week or so. This computer will be used purely for gaming. Ideally, if financially possible, I want it to be able to play the newest games at high settings. My budget is around $800 but there is room to change that depending on what people think is worth the money (bang for the buck). I have come up with a build that I think will work but I'm pretty unconfident about it since I haven't done this before. I wanted to see what people think:

Will it work (is everything compatible)? Will it do what I'm looking for (new games at high settings)? Are there any parts that would make sense to upgrade or downgrade (based on bang for the buck)? Do the parts work together well?

Here is the build:

2 x (raid0): Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3250318AS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 ...
COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UW Black Aluminum Bezel , SECC Chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
MSI 790X-G45 AM3 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard
SAPPHIRE TOXIC 100282TXSR Radeon HD 5850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition Heka 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Processor Model HDZ720WFK3DGI - OEM
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBRM

A few specific questions about the build:

Will I need any kind of raid card?
Is the power supply good enough/overkill?
Will the MoBo work with my cpu? (it works with the whole Phenom II series, right?)
I noticed that AMD Athlon II X4 635 is basically the same price as the cpu that I selected. Which one would be better for gaming?

Any other help is greatly appreciated :) 
May 31, 2010 5:04:07 AM

^ Well any specific reason for RAID 0 ?? I dont think it offers any significant advantage in gaming or other day-to-day stuffs...
And if you dont like the hassle of crossfire, then a single powerful card would be a good option...
Also take a look at the Athlon II X3 440 - Stock speeds at 3.0GHz and actually would perform similar to the 720 or in some cases slightly better due to 200MHz speed difference...
Change the HDD to Samsung F3 500GB or a single 1TB for the price of those 2 HDDs...these are pretty fast and good...

For your question -
1. RAID - Do you need it ??
2. Yes it will work and is an overkill if you will be sticking with only 1 card...
3. Yes it will...and again there are newer mobos with newer chipsets that you might want to check out...Specifically 870 chipset if you dont need Crossfire...
4. The 635 is also a good option...would do similar in gaming and better in other multi-threaded tasks...

I do have a suggestion for you, but its upto you to decide...
Get the Athlon II X3 440...It is the Best Bang for Buck CPU for gaming if you will be sticking with a single card...
And with some changes, am sure you will be able to include a SSD for OS and apps in your budget...The boot times will be greatly reduced and the apps load instantly...
But its your call though...
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June 1, 2010 12:18:59 AM

Hmm. I guess I heard that raid0 improves the read/write speed but if you don't think it's significant enough then I could forget about it. Plus a 1TB hdd is very affordable and would give me plenty of space. So if you don't think raid is worth it then I'll get the 1TB samsung F3.

As far as the processor, would you recommend the Athlon II X3 440 or the Athlon II X4 635? Which would be better for gaming? What advantages (tasks and applications) would the fourth core give me? The price difference on newegg right now is $25 ($75 for X3 and $100 for X4).

And how does this look for a MoBo (it's the 870 and is the same price as the 790X that I previously had selected):

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You also mentioned having a single powerful video card. The one that I have already picked out is a good choice, correct?

Thanks for the help!

And if anyone else in the forums sees this thread and has any comments/agreements/suggestions please post. Good to hear some consensus from more then one person :) 
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June 1, 2010 4:09:06 AM

^ Get the Samsung F3 1TB...

CPU - For gaming and other day-to-day tasks, I doubt you would notice any difference between those 2 CPUs...So save money and get the X3 440...

Mobo - That is a good mobo, but I was thinking, why not go with a mobo with x8x8 Crossfire ?? For about $15 more, you can get a good Crossfire board...This would open up the option of going Crossfire in the future...
MSI 890GXM-G65 AM3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Yes, generally I prefer going with a single powerful card...But 2 cards might offer a better deal sometimes...
http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-5770-review-tes...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

But again if you want to maximize the potential of 2 cards. then you would have to get a more powerful CPU...
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June 1, 2010 4:41:54 AM

I'm pretty sure that I don't want to go crossfire right now. It would save me $30 on the video cards and I would get slightly improved performance (correct me if I am wrong), but I would have to upgrade my CPU (would my PSU and everything else still be ok?). How much of an upgrade would this need to be to get the potential out of the two 5770's?

However, I would consider getting the 890GX MoBo with the idea of possibly getting crossfire in the future. That is only $15 bucks now and another 5850 down the road would make a huge improvement. However, would I be able to upgrade my processor to something that would support (let me utilize the potential) of 2x5850's later?
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June 1, 2010 4:57:41 AM

^ Well that is also a good idea IMO to stick with 1 HD 5850 and later on getting another for Crossfire...
And get this HD 5850...Cheaper and good...Saves $60...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And as for the CPU, there are so many AM3 CPUs like the Phenom II X4s, that would compliment well the HD 5850 crossfire...So no issues on that front as you can upgrade to them later on...and also the PSU has enough power for 2x HD 5850s, but you would have to use power adapters though...
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June 1, 2010 11:42:03 AM

Ok, that sounds good then. I went ahead and switched my build to that cheaper video card (thanks for finding that btw).

A few last questions:

-Is it ok that the MoBo is a microATX?
-Will it still perform my goal of playing the newest games at highest settings on 1080p or 1920x1200 resolutions?
-Just a note that I also plan on buying a PCI wireless adapter later which would take up the only PCI slot on that MoBo--shouldn't be a problem as I won't need any other slots but just thought I would mention that.


Oh, and I looked at SSD and I know that they are supah fast (actually I don't I have never used one or seen one in action) but I don't think I want to add on the money for one. (If I really wanted to I could add one later and do a complete reinstall?).

Thanks!
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June 1, 2010 12:08:54 PM

^ Well as for the current mobos, size doesn't have anything to do with performance...
So its fine...
As for playing @ the highest settings, there are many games that are very demanding so I cant guarantee that those will run at highest settings say even with 2x HD 5850s...
But with the HD 5850, you should be able to play say at High-Very High in most of the games @1080p...
This is where Crossfire comes into play...Once you feel the need for more powerful graphics, add another card in crossfire...
And also you should look into Overclocking...learn more about them...Overclocking would squeeze out the extra bit of performance without spending any or less money(for an aftermarket cooler)...

If you are sure of getting a PCI wireless card and also will get another HD 5850 later on, then you will have issues with the mobo as the PCI slot will be covered by the 2nd HD 5850 once its installed...So better to get a Full ATX board...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And case with better airflow -
Antec 300
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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June 1, 2010 10:34:37 PM
June 3, 2010 5:44:09 AM

Great find with the case + RAM combo. Even though I don't like fancy cases, it is actually the same price as the one without the extra fans plus the $20 savings with the combo--I think I can manage a few LED lights.

And after instant savings on newegg, that HDD isn't actually cheaper unless I'm missing something.

Thanks for the sticky, I have that and a few other recommended guides bookmarked that I plan to read to guide me through the process.

Only other thing (I know this has gone on forever--issues keep coming up that I want to make sure are ok since I'm new to this) that I didn't mention (because I thought I would use my old drive at first) is that I think I actually do want to buy a simple drive that can read/write DVD/CD's. This one looked good on newegg so I'm just letting you know in case there would be any problems with it: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Ok so build as of now (and possibly final build):

CD/DVD Burner:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MoBo:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video Card:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case and RAM (combo):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Notes:

-Will purchase 1080p monitor soon
-Will purchase PCI wireless adapter soon
-Will probably purchase gaming mouse
-Using mediocre 2.1 speakers
-Own mediocre headset, may purchase higher quality headset in the future

Any final thoughts?
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June 3, 2010 6:52:31 AM

Omg, perfect (those are both exactly what I had before). Ok so with that change (that didn't really change any components) does the build look good? If it does I will probably order it within the next few days.
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June 3, 2010 7:10:04 AM

^ Yup it looks good to go...
And just a heads up on the combos - they might not be available all the time...So when you actually order the components, go through the combos once more...
And here is a cheaper drive...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And if your fine with ASRock boards, then this board certainly looks like a good option...
ASRock 870 EXTREME3 - Note that this board alone offers x8x8 crossfire on a 870 chipset...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
As for the quality, though may not be as good as Gigabyte or ASUS but certainly is good enough for a regular user...
But its your call though...
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June 3, 2010 7:27:14 AM

Wow and as you posted that the last combo expired :/ 

Ok I'll switch drives but I think I'll stay with the 890GX mobo.

Ok I'm going to link everything one more time just to make sure I didn't mess anything up after switching things in and out with combos:


CD/DVD Burner:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MoBo:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video Card:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case and RAM (combo):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
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June 3, 2010 7:35:17 AM

^ newegg combos change often...like I said go through the combos again before you make the purchase...
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June 3, 2010 7:50:51 AM

Ok, I will. And actually on second thought I can save a lot of money by using the mobo that you just recommended. It doesn't have any reviews yet though but if you are sure it will be good then I would rather save money. So I'm going to switch to it:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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June 3, 2010 9:46:01 PM

Ok, I have checked for other deals and haven't found anything that would be worth it (unless previous deal expires, because there were some deals that had RAM). So just because I'm a little scared to order this lol I'm going to wait for one final go ahead from you. Here is what I have now:

Motherboard:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video Card:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power Supply:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Harddrive:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD drive/writer:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM and case combo:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

look good?
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Best solution

June 4, 2010 3:46:14 AM

^ Yup...Maybe this combo ?
HIS HD 5850 + Antec EA 750W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
Though I wouldnt say the PSU is as good as the Corsair, but certainly a good one though...

And get the HDD with the free SATA cable...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
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June 4, 2010 4:59:37 AM

Ok, I ordered it. (I decided to stick with my PSU but thanks for pointing out the free cable).

I hope the building process goes well. Anyways, thanks for all of your help. I know this took quite a while and a lot of replies back and forth (I had a lot of questions) so thanks a lot for guiding me through this!
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June 4, 2010 5:02:07 AM

Best answer selected by Scrotote.
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June 5, 2010 11:55:00 PM

Thanks!

And I just thought of one more quick question. Should I run the 32 or 64 bit version of windows 7 home premium?
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June 7, 2010 4:56:57 AM

^ 64-bit...If you want the OS to recognize the full 4GB of RAM and 1GB vRAM, then you need to run the 64-bit OS...
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!