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Gaming Computer w/ Budget of $900

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June 16, 2010 12:26:53 AM

Hi there, my friend asked me to build him a computer for about $900. I think he initially said this without taking into account the price of the monitor, so I'm trying to leave him a little bit of wiggle room for monitor money or small addons if he requests them later. (Headset, Webcam, newer OS, etc.) So I've been aiming for about $800, but it's pretty loose.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within a Week BUDGET RANGE: 700-900 (Cap at 900)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, Movies, Surfing the Web

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Speakers, Keyboard, Mouse, OS (Monitor not included in budget, but needed)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg.com COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: United States

PARTS PREFERENCES: Bluray Player w/ DVD Burning, 1TB HD, AMD CPU

OVERCLOCKING: Later On SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Unknown, see Question 2

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I want to make sure that remains a good computer, and when it ages I want the ability to overclock and buy another card for crossfire; hopefully it'll still be an efficient setup without a strong bottleneck. My one regret about my current build was not buying a crossfire mobo.


CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-790XTA-UD4 AM3 AMD 790X SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU: XFX HD-585X-ZNFC Radeon HD 5850 1GB 256-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: OCZ AMD Black Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: OCZ StealthXStream OCZ700SXS 700W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

CASE: RAIDMAX SMILODON Extreme Black ATX-612WEB 1.0mm SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD: ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

With Combos, AR, and Shipping: $812
http://img690.imageshack.us/img690/8554/comp1g.jpg

Questions:

1. I really don't know what makes a great PSU and a good PSU. Is the one I selected capable of overclocking the 955 and crossfiring 2x 5850 or 2x 5770? I basically put it down because of a combo deal.

2. Since my friend hasn't bought a monitor yet, if it can't use a super high res, is stepping down to a 5770 and doing crossfire later a more viable solution? The cost would be cheaper, but would it be a blow to the initial system performance?

4. Anybody have any recommendations for a good monitor that can make use of a 5850 and is relatively cheap?

3. He expressed interest in a blueray drive, should I pay the extra $35 and get a cheap combo drive?

5. I see a lot of people recommending ripjaw RAM, is there a strong advantage over the RAM I've selected?

6. If you had to make this build cheaper, where would you cut the fat? My first thought is GPU, but let me know any suggestions/replacements.


I haven't set my heart on anything in particular, so this setup is COMPLETELY open to suggestions. I'm a new member here and have been lurking the forums for quite a bit, have been using this site for years when buying individual components, but this is my first serious build. So, thank you, thank you, thank you for reading this and any advice you can give would be extremely helpful to a novice like me.

Edited: Changed title budget, because it'll prolly be closer to 900 than 800 and part preferences.
June 16, 2010 12:57:09 AM

Overall a good build. Good choice of CPU, MOBO, and GPU.

I would definitely get a better PSU. Corsair or Antec are very reputable, and worth the extra few bucks. A 750W goes a long way.

That memory is decent, but the G. Skill RIPJAWS 1600 CL7 is better. See if you can squeeze that in the budget.

For case, you cant beat the HAF 922. It's a little more than yours, but very well suited for crossfiring, overclocking, etc.

Do not skimp on the GPU. If anything, drop down to an X3 440 CPU and upgrade the GPU as much as you can. 5850 is great for 1680 x 1050, 5870 for 1920 x 1080, etc.
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Best solution

June 16, 2010 8:34:59 AM

If too pricey 788AR, 955BE + HD 5850, CF capable
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June 16, 2010 8:38:53 AM

$898AR 955BE + 5870 single GPU config
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June 16, 2010 4:40:45 PM

Batuchka's second build is consistent with the budgetary constraint. That one trims the fat out of the case very nicely.
Given the budget, however, your friend will likely choose a 1680x1050 or even a 1440x900 monitor; in that case a HD5770 is all the GPU he needs for solid gaming.
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June 16, 2010 4:47:04 PM

As another alternative, here's a GTX 470 based build.

Optical $20
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case
Antec 300 $49.50 w/ promo code
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HD
Spinpoint F3 500GB $55
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM
G Skill Ripjaw 1600 Cas 7 $100 w/ promo code, ends today
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU/PSU
GTX 470 and Thermaltake Toughpower XT 775 $395 w/ $20 MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

CPU/MOBO
Phenom II x4 955 and GA-770-UD3 $225 w/ $10 MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Total $814.38 After Rebates


edit: Just beware can't sli on that board though.
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June 16, 2010 9:22:05 PM

Wow, thanks for the replies. Especially Batuchka and Banthracis, those combos look great. I really appreciate it, hope you guys don't mind if I ask a few more questions.

Batuchka's second post is pretty close to my goal, but he just told me yesterday he'd pay a bit extra for a cheap bluray combo + the 1TB. Although, I haven't checked out the benchmarks of Banthracis's system to compare it yet.

I've got a build for $885 AR atm w/ BR Drive and 1TB HD.



1. Would you strongly recommend the 870 chipset in batuchka's configs over the 790X chipset here: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... Again, I'm not a pro in motherboards, so any advice would help.

2. I went with the combo HD + 650W PSU because it's a great deal, but will 650W be sufficient for an OC'd 955 + Crossfire? It doesn't have to be, but I'd really like the option to.

3. I went with the cheapest 5850 on Newegg (+ because of XFX's warranty). Is there any reason why I should fork over $30 more for one? Or can I run crossfire with the XFX one at a reasonable temp.

4. Is this a good monitor to suggest for $170? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


If I needed to, I could probably cut a little bit of the budget on the case and RAM, but those both look like great options for the combo. And the freebies don't really matter to me; the included STALKER in my combo is worth about $10 to me, mainly because it's a great game to test the system with.

Thanks so much.
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June 16, 2010 9:57:59 PM

Bad ram choice. Stick with the cas 7 kits.

At 1920 x1080 the 470 is about 8% faster than the 5850. For the normal $50-$70 price diff it isn't worth it. However, for a $11.50 difference, it is. Also, the better PSU alone is worth the $11.50 difference.

Chipset doesn't really matter much. No real difference btwn 790 and 870.

Xfire 5850's + 955 is ok. If you OC CPU and GPU's, you're pushing it.

Combo that 5850 with the powerstrip. It ends up $3 cheaper than the GPu alone and nets you a free power strip.

Monitor is fine.

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June 16, 2010 10:34:07 PM

HardwareSecrets gave that particular Thermaltake PSU a good rating. That's an excellent combo price too.
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June 17, 2010 12:28:00 AM

banthracis said:
Bad ram choice. Stick with the cas 7 kits.

At 1920 x1080 the 470 is about 8% faster than the 5850. For the normal $50-$70 price diff it isn't worth it. However, for a $11.50 difference, it is. Also, the better PSU alone is worth the $11.50 difference.

Chipset doesn't really matter much. No real difference btwn 790 and 870.

Xfire 5850's + 955 is ok. If you OC CPU and GPU's, you're pushing it.

Combo that 5850 with the powerstrip. It ends up $3 cheaper than the GPu alone and nets you a free power strip.

Monitor is fine.

Yeah, mistake on my RAM selection, thanks for picking up on that. Even though that HD + PSU combo is pretty good; the combo price with the 470 is even harder to pass up + the PSU it should give enough power to SLI and OC.

Can anyone recommend a good mobo that supports a 955 + SLI + DDR3 1600?
Maybe this one? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Or should I stick with my original config instead of trying for SLI compatibility?

Edit:
When trying for SLI, this is my current setup. I'm heading out the door, so I didn't have time to look for better RAM combos (that's 8 latency) or a good HD + case combo.



Is it worth the extra $13 like it is? Or am I sacrificing too much with motherboard/ram for a slightly better gfx card + PSU? I think it's worth it, but checking in.
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June 17, 2010 1:05:09 AM

I've read a lot of comments from people more knowledgeable than I on the subject that say the SLI chipsets for AMD are plagued with stability issues. That may not be everyone, or all the time, but it's a chance I wouldn't care to take myself, so I wouldn't recommend it for others.
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June 17, 2010 4:03:31 AM

Onus said:
HardwareSecrets gave that particular Thermaltake PSU a good rating. That's an excellent combo price too.



Thermaltake Toughpowers are actually made by Channel Wells, same guy's who make the Corsair 750TX, 850TX and a buncha other Corsairs PSU's I can't remember.

SLI on AMD hardware is not supported by AMD. So if trouble occurs, there's no one around to officially solve it. For that reason alone, I'd avoid SLI.
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June 17, 2010 10:54:49 AM

I would say stick to an 800 series mobo and HD 5850: the other details like power consumption, noise and temps at load is what made reviewers across the board conclude it is a better buy than GTX 470
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June 19, 2010 5:05:20 AM

Best answer selected by Laxo.
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