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$1000 College PC, gaming and multimedia

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June 14, 2010 7:22:13 PM

It's my first time posting here so sorry if I'm not asking the right questions...or asking for the impossible.

I'm a wannabe tech geek who loves new technology but has never really had the money for it, until now. Now I have around $1000 to spend on a new computer.

Have you ever felt like you've absorbed half the internet in research? Upon discovering this website and trying to process and sort through all benchmarks that are up, my brain has turned to mush. That being said, I was hoping people in the forum could help get me sorted out. :) 

So again, my typical uses include web surfing, music, videos, email, and gaming (at least, I hope to get back into gaming, which was quite painful with Vista, 2gb ram, and a geforce 7000m. On a laptop.) I also run music writing software and Flash stuff.

What I want is a computer that runs smoothly and can deal with me playing games with pretty good graphics on top of my email loading, 10 open folders, several open Excel and Word documents, a video encoding in the background, and 50+ tabs open in Chrome, without me having to wait 2 minutes switching between applications and whatnot.

So.

CPU: I would loveee an i7 but I'm not sure if I'd use it anywhere near it's full potential, so do you think I would go well with an i5, considering my usage especially gaming? And dual or quad core? Alternatively, my brother found me a $150 AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition (3.2GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor). How does that all stack up? And I'm not all that hard-core so I'm not planning on overclocking it in the near future, since I'll need the warranty to last.

GPU: I was looking at a BFG 1024mb GeForce 9800 GT that I found for $80, which I thought was a very good deal unless someone here knows better. My brother found me a 1gig Radeon HD 5770 for $160, which I've found performs better (again, unless someone knows otherwise) but is double the price. Any opinions or other suggestions?

RAM: DDR3, 2x4gb or 4x2gb or does it make a difference? Any comments as far as RAM? I wasn't planning on going over 8gb

OS: Since I mentioned RAM I figured I'd clarify on the OS. Despite my mostly commonplace uses, I still prefer Windows over Snow Leopard because I know how to maintain Windows (from days of chopping branches off Vista and hours hunting for codecs). But Windows 7 or XP? I've heard good and bad things about both, but I will sacrifice a bit of efficiency for style. With the setup I'm aiming for, it shouldn't even be an issue. But related to the RAM, which OS will support 8gb?

Motherboard: Oh jeez this is what's got me the most mixed up. My brother found me a pretty sweet one, I think: an MSI 790FX-GD70 (4 PCIe x16 slots supporting up to quad Crossfire, 2600MHz Hyper Transport 5200 MT/s (is that suitable?)). Only thing is that means I'll have to go with AMD for everything and I can't have my dream i7/i5...however expensive that might be... Any other suggestions?

Case: I don't think I'll have that much trouble finding a case but I'm open to recommendations.


If I could get something substantially below $1000 with similar quality then that'd probably be preferred.

Thanks!
June 14, 2010 7:28:17 PM

1. We can better advise u for GPU selection if u state @ what resolution u game on or roughly the kind of games u play

2. RAM: again depends on what is main usage but i would say 4/6 GB is fine

3. If i were in the market for the highest end 16/16 AM3 mobo i'd hit a 890FX rather than 790FX (unless the latter is dirt cheap hehe)

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June 14, 2010 7:45:18 PM

I agree with everything batuchka says, it sounds like you do a lot of multitasking, considering that I would definitely go with a quad core. Out of the two video cards you listed I would get the 5770, that will at least get you Direct X 11 support, where the 9800GT will not, and the 5770 is much faster. Also if you want to use 4GB or more RAM you will want Windows 7 64-bit, You need a 64-bit OS to address any more than 4GB or RAM ( That is including video card RAM ). Windows XP is going away if slowly, I would not go that route with a new build, and Windows 7 is a huge improvement over Vista.
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June 14, 2010 7:52:02 PM

1. Mainly stuff like Starcraft, Sims 3; games that aren't too intense. But I've been playing games like that precisely because I've been on a laptop with a sucky GPU, and I'm looking to move up to games like Mass Effect 2, Civilization IV, and Spore when I have the capacity. It'd be nice if Second Life worked properly too. But I have no experience with resolution because the computer I had before my laptop had an even worse GPU and all I knew was that even when the resolution sucked, the games moved at about .1 fps. :( 

2. I'm pretty sure I mainly need it mainly for multi-tasking. I usually have 10+ applications up at a time, with 50+ browser windows open, including multiple youtube windows.

3. The difference is about $60 (I'm shopping at Newegg, btw) which isn't unreasonable for me at all, but that depends on how cheap I can build the rest of the computer.
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June 14, 2010 7:56:22 PM

HVDynamo said:
I agree with everything batuchka says, it sounds like you do a lot of multitasking, considering that I would definitely go with a quad core. Out of the two video cards you listed I would get the 5770, that will at least get you Direct X 11 support, where the 9800GT will not, and the 5770 is much faster. Also if you want to use 4GB or more RAM you will want Windows 7 64-bit, You need a 64-bit OS to address any more than 4GB or RAM ( That is including video card RAM ). Windows XP is going away if slowly, I would not go that route with a new build, and Windows 7 is a huge improvement over Vista.


That means I'd have to go with the Phenom II X4 955 right?

Yeah I'm excited for an OS that actually works, after having to use Vista for so long. I feel like that'd speed up my multitasking a lot too, no?
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