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1600$ Gaming PC first build need advice & suggestions

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June 11, 2010 2:05:02 AM

This is my first thread on Toms Hardware, I've been reading it quite a lot in the past few weeks only recently discovering it. However, I am not new to the forum / blogging communities around the internet so I'll just stick to the sticky guide for my first time around!

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: early September of this year (2010) BUDGET RANGE: 1500 - 1600$ USD before rebates.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, Photo Editing, Internet

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: speakers, mouse, keyboard, and monitor

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

PARTS PREFERENCES: I would prefer to use an Intel CPU (specifically the i7-930 2.80GHz 8 MB LGA1366) I have chosen a Gigabyte Mobo that is compatible with LGA 1366 Intel X58. I'll be running this PC with a 22' wide screen 1080p monitor.

OVERCLOCKING: No SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes. I want to run 2x Radeon HD 4890 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready /w CrossFireX support. This video card says it offers CrossFireX support, but from what I have read or been told by others SLI is better than CrossFireX so I am wondering if its possible to run these cards in SLI format, or if CrossFireX isn't as bad as people say and really is not an issue.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920 x 1080

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I've already spent a lot of time reading some things, watching reviews on YouTube, etc. Basically I've made a choice on all the parts I would like to get, I just would like some reassurance from people who understand everything far more than I do. With that said, here is the current list of parts I plan on buying.

Tower: COOLER MASTER COSMOS 1000 RC-1000-KSN1-GP Black/ Silver Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119138)

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=N82E16817139006)

everyday use hard drive: Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136319)

OS boot drive: A-DATA 500 Series AS592S-32GM-C 2.5" 32GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820211419)

Motherboard: 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=N82E16813128423)

CPU: Intel Core i7 Processor i7-930 2.80GHz 8 MB LGA1366 CPU, Retail BX80601930 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0038JE9MU/ref=pd_luc_mri?ie=UTF8&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER)

Heatsink: Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme Rev. C for Socket 1366/775/AM2/AM2+/AM3 (http://www.amazon.com/Thermalright-Ultra-120-eXtreme-Rev-Socket/dp/B002N3H24Y/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1273536282&sr=8-2-fkmr0)

Memory: CORSAIR XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMX6GX3M3C1600C7 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145286)

Graphics Cards x2: XFX HD-489X-ZSFC Radeon HD 4890 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150438)

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116754) (Would buying an OS as OEM be fine, or do I need to buy the retail version?)

I'll also probably buy Intel PWLA8391GT 10/ 100/ 1000Mbps PCI PRO/1000 GT Desktop Adapter 1 x RJ45 - OEM for my Network card, I figure I can just pick this up at Best Buy for example, isn't a huge issue. I also want to buy a new Modem since I'm just using the normal one that Comcast gives you when they set you up and it sucks. Going to go with Linksys WRT54GL IEEE 802.3/3u, IEEE 802.11b/g Wireless-G Broadband Router.
June 11, 2010 11:48:05 AM

Whoa HD 4890CF? I wouldn't buy a single HD 4890 unless they come dirt cheap let alone 2 : consider just the one HD 5870? Also for SSD as boot/OS drive 32GB is way too small for me hehe
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June 11, 2010 11:58:41 AM

Grrr, see. I was originally going to get a Radeon 5830 and someone suggested running 2 4890s in SLI or CrossFireX. I don't mind spending as much as 400 graphics, but I'm not spending 500.

With that said, I did some more reading http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/graphics-card-geforce-radeon,2646-5.html]Best PCIe Card: $280 - $400]http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/graphics-card-geforce-radeon,2646-5.html and I think I'm definitely going to go with 2x http://www.amazon.com/dp/B002SP113K/ref=asc_df_B002SP113K1142562?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&tag=pg-469-34-20&linkCode=asn&creative=380341&creativeASIN=B002SP113K]XFX Radeon HD 5770 1GB DDR5 PCIE Graphics Card HD577AZNFC]http://www.amazon.com/dp/B002SP113K/ref=asc_df_B002SP113K1142562?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&tag=pg-469-34-20&linkCode=asn&creative=380341&creativeASIN=B002SP113K

Thoughts, opinions? The Mobo I want to buy supports both SLI and CrossFireX so I think it would be a good buy, no?
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June 11, 2010 12:20:30 PM

Between the 2 : the HD 5850 ^^
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June 11, 2010 12:24:49 PM

between the 2? as in like not 5870 or 5830, but the 5850?

What's your opinion on running 2 5870s in CrossFireX?
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June 11, 2010 12:52:55 PM

Hmmm, I suppose I will just go with a single 5870. Been reading reviews on it since you suggested it, watched some YouTube stuff, read around on here and some other sites. Definitely seems like a card with 390$
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June 11, 2010 12:59:03 PM

Yep happy shopping/building ^^
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June 11, 2010 1:09:03 PM

My grand total is now up to about $1,695. That's before buying a Network card, ha ha. Any suggestions for cheap 20 - 30$ DvD-Rom & CD-Rom drives? I won't be able to use the ones off my old PC, in fact, I'm not using anything off of my old PC.

*edit* To cut back on $$$ a little, I've decided to simply go with a single 1TB hard drive and avoid buying the 640gb WD and the SSD drive for now. While it idea seems very nice, it's 100$ for 32g on something that would only be used for booting up my PC, and while it might boot up in 20 seconds, 20 seconds is not worth 100$ to me right now.

Maybe down the road if the prices on SSD drops I'll more than likely buy one. However, for now I'm going to go with a http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152185]SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152185 for far cheaper than both of the drives I was going to buy.
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June 11, 2010 3:06:40 PM

Would love to get some more feed back / opinions. Post um up if you're able please!
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June 11, 2010 3:22:01 PM

You're running a similar build to what I have- how much are you planning on overclocking the CPU? There are pretty decent $30 HSFs if you are planning on only doing a moderate overclock.

I'd suggest taking a look at the G.Skill PI- they're amazing ram with this setup; decently priced to boot.

You can save upwards of $80 by getting a different case. I'm biased, but the HAF 922 is amazing- fits all of my gear with plenty of room for expansion. Should run you about $80. There are also similar cases for $60, just do some hunting on Newegg. (Also, there are pretty good combo deals with the HAF 922 and 7000.12's)

I would go with one 5870, expand in the future. A 5870 should be able to handle most games at high to max graphics (except for GTA IV- don't even bother trying to play it on anything over Medium. The game is coded so poorly that my system can't get fluid framerates).

For your price range, I agree with not getting an SSD. I bought one in my setup to test it out; it has a convenience factor, but doesn't really help with gaming. If you're planning on using this for productivity, then I can see how it helps, as load times are much quicker. Just be sure to back up the data frequently, as SSDs have lower lifetimes than HDDs.

(sorry I can't provide links, I'm at work! :)  )
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June 11, 2010 3:40:09 PM

Yeah, I'll take a look @ the HaF 922, I've seen some good reviews on the HaF towers. I basically chose to go with the Cosmos 1000 based on a few video reviews Ive seen and it just looks like a very solid case for the price. I love the sound insulation, etc.

&& for the graphics card I'm definitely going to go with the 5870 HD, for the price the card just seems to be amazing.

My biggest uses for this PC will be gaming, beyond just the normal 'I wanna run WoW @ max settings' *** you see on every PC forum every day.

So aside from that I'm planning on getting back into photography again and having a 1TB HD will be really nice for the storage. Running photoshop pro, and all the other programs with my Nikon D50.

Other than that I think I'm rather happy with everything I've chosen. I have the money and I want to invest it on something that will see a lot of use. I've had some people tell me I should avoid some products based on simply saving $50 - $60 here and there, but I don't want to skimp on something I'm spending over $1500 on.

Any other opinions would be more than welcomed!

*edit* After checking out the HaF 922 I think I'm going to stick with the Cosmos 1000, I really like that the Cosmos has dust filters on the intake fans and the sound insulation. So for the extra $$$ I think it's the better buy.
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June 11, 2010 3:57:29 PM

It all comes down to personal preference :) 

That's how I was with my computer: Go Big or Go Home!

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June 11, 2010 4:00:18 PM

Yeah, for sure dude, they're both huge towers both weighing like 27+ lbs. Either way, I think I'm about set for purchasing everything come September. Maybe prices will drop a little in the next few months. Well see.

Regardless, I am really excited for my first build. I've already been poking around at upgrading the mobo on my old PC and getting that set up to be used with my 37' TV.
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June 11, 2010 4:12:00 PM

If you're already waiting until September- you might want to think about simply waiting until Christmas.... massive deals (hopefully SSDs will be down in price as well). Then again, I couldn't wait a month, so I purchased my stuff right away :) 
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June 11, 2010 4:14:30 PM

Ha ha, yeah, I'm antsy just waiting till early September. Ha ha.
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June 11, 2010 4:35:45 PM

lumograph090 said:
My grand total is now up to about $1,695. That's before buying a Network card, ha ha. Any suggestions for cheap 20 - 30$ DvD-Rom & CD-Rom drives? I won't be able to use the ones off my old PC, in fact, I'm not using anything off of my old PC.


Network card?

There's really no reason to buy one. The motherboard you have selected has a gigabit NIC.

If you want to improve gaming lag, etc. you would be better off paying for a faster/better net connection and making sure that you have a gigabit-capable router.
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June 11, 2010 4:57:08 PM

coldsleep said:
Network card?

There's really no reason to buy one. The motherboard you have selected has a gigabyte NIC.

If you want to improve gaming lag, etc. you would be better off paying for a faster/better net connection and making sure that you have a gigabyte-capable router.


Oh, hmmm, didn't think of that. Do you know off-hand of Gigabyte compatible routers?
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June 11, 2010 5:07:59 PM

Most new routers should be compatible with the onboard NIC. I have some cheap linksys router and switch that works just fine.
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June 11, 2010 6:02:09 PM

Yeah, I'll probably just buy a Linksys @ Best Buy when I get around too it.

What are your guys opinion on those 'gamer routers' you see. I don't see how one router can be better than another if they're all basically the same mbs, etc. Just seems like a gimmick to me.
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June 11, 2010 7:13:49 PM

Note that the NIC speed is "gigabit" while the motherboard's brand is "Gigabyte".

Any router that says either "1000 Mbps" or "gigabit" is what you're looking for.

All that the gaming routers are doing is implementing QoS and prioritizing games, which is something that you should be able to do with any new router.

This router, for example, after a quick google search on the model name turns up that it does QoS. Not that I'm recommending that specific model, just saying that you should be able to look at any router and either see QoS on the packaging or be able to google it very quickly.
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June 11, 2010 7:22:23 PM

coldsleep said:
Note that the NIC speed is "gigabit" while the motherboard's brand is "Gigabyte".

Any router that says either "1000 Mbps" or "gigabit" is what you're looking for.

All that the gaming routers are doing is implementing QoS and prioritizing games, which is something that you should be able to do with any new router.

This router, for example, after a quick google search on the model name turns up that it does QoS. Not that I'm recommending that specific model, just saying that you should be able to look at any router and either see QoS on the packaging or be able to google it very quickly.


Oh, I see. Alright, well that takes care of that problem. Thanks for all the help guys!

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June 11, 2010 9:13:01 PM

Here's an overview of QoS linked on wikipedia that conveys the general concepts. http://vonage.nmhoy.net/qos.html

How you actually go about setting it up will depend on the model/brand of router you buy (though it won't vary too much overall).
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