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$1000 Gaming PC/Workhorse (Advice with current setup)

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June 18, 2010 7:08:04 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: ASAP BUDGET RANGE: $800-$1000 After Rebates and Combo deals

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, parallel programming (probably with CUDA)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, mouse, 22" Acer W22 series

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: (e.g.: newegg.com, ncix.com -- to show us selection & pricing) COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: (e.g.: Grand Fenwick)

PARTS PREFERENCES:
- Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor Model
- EVGA 512-P3-N871-AR GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB 256-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
- GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD3 LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
- Patriot G Series ‘Sector 5’ Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory
- Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
- Antec TruePower New TP-650 650W Continuous Power ATX12V V2.3 / EPS12V V2.91 SLI Certified
- ASUS Black 24X DVD+R...
- Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s
- Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound
- ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2 92mm

OVERCLOCKING: Yes SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1200 (I like high resolutions.)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
Hey Tom's Hardware! So as my title states I am trying to build a new computer. I've been reading a lot lately, all over the web, about a variety of things but I am just getting more and more confused. I hope by asking my questions here, I can be guided to what I need to know and what I shouldn't be wasting my time on. Before I start my questions, I just wanted to say that computers interest me and I know a moderate amount. However, I do not have the time or energy to research everything as much as I want to, thus I was hoping to ask you, the experts who do research and know about the minute details (the same way one day I might answer your question on topics that I research such as Case Based Reasoning or Reinforcement Learning ... )

So basically what do I want? I want a powerful gaming machine, that can run newer games such as Battlefield BC2 at high settings with no problems. At the same time, I would like to not spend over $1000, and if possible I would like the machine to last around 3-4 years. This means, that I hope to overclock, and I plan to read about about safe overclocking as I get to it, however for now I would like to make sure I have hardware that I can overclock. Lastly, I would like to use an NVIDIA card as I see myself using CUDA later in the year.

So where am I confused?
1) Overclocking first. I keep reading about some bad FoxConn sockets, but I can't figure out which motherboards have FoxConn sockets and which don't. Furthermore, what other possibilities/choices do I have?
2) Another overclocking issue is, the motherboard/RAM combo comes with ddr3 1600 ram, but the motherboard doesn't support 1600 ram. I think the case and motherboard will stay cool enough and I read that RAM can be overclocked. Should I overclock this 1600 ram to 2200? OR should I just not get it. It costs the same amount as 1333 ram for me (due to combo deal and instant rebates.)
3) Is the power supply good enough? I started reading about power supplies, but I got super confused. I'm not just talking about wattage, which I am pretty sure is enough, I am talking about current ... quality? I got the feeling that was important.
4) Is 512mb on my video card too small? It seems to be a highly rated card on newegg, which is how I've been basing most of my decisions.

I'll keep adding questions as I remember them. I really appreciate any knowledge you guys can impart on me. Thank you!
a c 104 B Homebuilt system
June 18, 2010 9:25:53 PM

For your resolution the minimum card would be HD5770 or equal, actually HD5850 or GTX470 would be recommended your PSU is good enough for all those cards. You will benefit from 1GB ram on the card at that resolution.
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June 18, 2010 9:45:26 PM

DVD Burner $20.00 Free Shipping:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU and Case $200.00:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

CPU and Motherboard $403.00:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Hard Drive $75.00:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory $110.00 Free Shipping:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Graphics Card $280.00 Free Shipping:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Your Grand Total is: $1088.00 before rebates.

Well I hope this build will work for you. :) 

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June 19, 2010 4:30:25 PM

I appreciate all of your responses. Rolli, thank you for your input, do you think a gtx 260 would be a better choice? I would really like to stick with NVIDIA due to CUDA, but the 470's a little too expensive for me.

shanemarines, thank you for the list, however, I am concerned about the motherboard, which is a foxconn socket. I have read multiple reviews saying to avoid Foxconn sockets, especially if you're planning to OC. Also the 470 seems like some no name brand, I am worried about its reliability compared to say an EVGA 470. Thanks
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June 19, 2010 5:32:20 PM

awesome, thanks rolli59. So I'm stuck on making a decision right now. Using some of shanemarine's advice, I am going with the psu/case (that way I have a psu that will be usable for a while since its 750 watts) and ram he suggested. I'm definitely going with the gtx 260 for now, its in my price range, and video cards are easily upgradable in the future. But I am stuck on a good processor/motherboard combo. I really want to do an i7 but at the same time, I understand that it limits my future upgrades as the 1156 socket is already discontinued, and they're moving to the 1366. So I dun know whether to go AMD or Intel and just buy a whole new mobo cpu combo when the time comes...
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June 20, 2010 1:17:55 AM

JustSpiffy said:
I appreciate all of your responses. Rolli, thank you for your input, do you think a gtx 260 would be a better choice? I would really like to stick with NVIDIA due to CUDA, but the 470's a little too expensive for me.

shanemarines, thank you for the list, however, I am concerned about the motherboard, which is a foxconn socket. I have read multiple reviews saying to avoid Foxconn sockets, especially if you're planning to OC. Also the 470 seems like some no name brand, I am worried about its reliability compared to say an EVGA 470. Thanks


Wow I really have had no trouble with FOXCONN and I can't believe you have never heard of PALIT. :o 

To be honest one of my best OC boards was Foxconn and Gigabyte. :) 

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a b B Homebuilt system
June 20, 2010 2:36:39 AM

No, the 1156 is the newest intel socket technically. Both it and the 1366 are the current ones.

They will be coming out with 2 new sockets to replace both of them next year. AMD's AM3 socket should last longer that that.
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June 20, 2010 6:34:39 AM

Strange shane, I trust you, but what does the general public say? Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to insult you or bash you in anyway, it's just $1000 in my current state can go a long way, so I'ld rather make sure I'm spending it on reliable items.

False_dmitry, thanks for the info, so in your opinion, what is best? Keeping in mind, I am interested in CUDA but also want a gaming platform... Should I go intel or amd? Could you possibly link some good cpu/mobo combos as well in your decision (amd or intel). I really appreciate all the help you guys are giving me.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 20, 2010 7:03:22 AM

Depends on lots of factors.

In this circumstance, the obvious choice would be AMD and some sort of fermi card. Would you ever go with SLI? If not, I'd still go for an AMD/ATI motherboard 770 chipset or higher, preferably one from the 8XX new line which would be more likely to support any possible new CPU's.

The reason for this is that the workload is going to be games and programming that doesn't even run on a CPU. IIRC you originally gave generally parallel programming in your original list of stuff you want it to be able to do? If so, there are the other two, like microsofts http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DirectCompute
and OpenCL http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenCL
which are not tied to one company's cards and can run on both.
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June 20, 2010 1:22:49 PM

JustSpiffy said:
Strange shane, I trust you, but what does the general public say? Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to insult you or bash you in anyway, it's just $1000 in my current state can go a long way, so I'ld rather make sure I'm spending it on reliable items.

False_dmitry, thanks for the info, so in your opinion, what is best? Keeping in mind, I am interested in CUDA but also want a gaming platform... Should I go intel or amd? Could you possibly link some good cpu/mobo combos as well in your decision (amd or intel). I really appreciate all the help you guys are giving me.


No thats alright there should be more opinions on this thread and $1000.00 is a lot of money!

To be honest the moving of software tech has been taking more advantages of INTEL and NVIDIA for the LONGEST TIME!

I would go with an i7 and Nvidia more so in your case then others!

If your looking into this I would stick with the GPU I posted:
http://www.nvidia.com/object/what_is_cuda_new.html

This is the card I posted and information for you on it:
http://www.guru3d.com/news/palit-geforce-gtx-465-dual-f...

Well I hope this post will help you get closer to a solution. :) 
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Best solution

June 20, 2010 1:48:25 PM

the am3 socket will probably last quite a long time so the best value motherboard is the asus 785g chipset, which overclocks well, theres no difference between the 700 am3 and 800 chipset, so the best spu to get would be the phenom 955, and use the unlocked multiplier and take it up to 3.8-4ghz, just make sure you get a new cpu cooler, because the standard ones are rubbish. the savings you make on on the motherboard could go towards a gtx 470, and you would save on upgrading in the long run because you would not have to upgrade your motherboard, when you want a new cpu.
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a c 104 B Homebuilt system
June 20, 2010 3:42:02 PM


"To be honest the moving of software tech has been taking more advantages of INTEL and NVIDIA for theLONGEST TIME!"

We would like to see some proof of this statement to give your post some credibility!
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June 20, 2010 4:18:02 PM

Ok so following your advice shane, I will spend the extra $80 and go the Fermi route, I think it may even be more helpful for my application.

I will also take mooman's advice, and go with a 955, instead of a 965 and i7, however, I'm going to use this motherboard instead because it doesn't have onboard video (which is useless to me since I'm getting a card) and because it can deal with 1600 ram.

Final setup:

- CPU (seems the 965 isn't that much faster, that I should go for it)
- Motherboard (gives me 1600 ram, and no onboard video which is a waste of my case space/money
- Ram (made for i7, but I've been reading that if you tweak the timings in the BIOS, it can give you great latency's for the price comparable to other memories on the market)
- GPU (uh yeah.)
- CPU Cooler (seems to have some great numbers, and I remember reading about it on frosty tech)
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 20, 2010 10:11:52 PM

Yes, and he's programming on graphics cards, thereby making any and all numbers irrelevant.

The only numbers relevant here is the way bigger pricetag on intel CPU's and mobos which will be gone next year.
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June 21, 2010 4:25:41 AM

CPU will matter no matter what the cause of the computer is and you can't say the Fermi GPU I posted won't be doing CUDA well. I'm just saying that a great computer starts with a great MotherBoard and CPU. At the end of the day its your choice though.:) 
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June 21, 2010 4:44:25 AM

Well I did read articles about the new Fermi architecture and its impact on Cuda, which is why I went with the card you suggested. However, I do not need what intel is offering me, a socket that will be replaced soon, and a processor that probably won't even be used to full capacity with my needs. The computer was just bought, I plan to keep everyone updated on its status, I live like an hour away from New Jersey, so I usually get items 2 days after I order them from new egg =D
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June 21, 2010 5:57:13 AM

Sweet man I'm glad you figured it all out and your happy!:) 
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June 29, 2010 1:36:44 PM

Best answer selected by JustSpiffy.
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June 29, 2010 1:49:23 PM

Finally got a chance to put the computer under load this weekend, it worked amazingly smoothly. Temps look great, memory cleared memtest86 with no problems. Memory is at 1.6 volts running 8-8-8-24, but I think I may be able to squeeze more out of it. It works sooooo smoothly, I'm very happy with it. Thanks for everyone's support!

Idle: 37 gpu, 33 cpu, 34 core
Load: 71 gpu, 50 cpu, 50 core.
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July 7, 2010 12:43:13 PM

JustSpiffy said:
Finally got a chance to put the computer under load this weekend, it worked amazingly smoothly. Temps look great, memory cleared memtest86 with no problems. Memory is at 1.6 volts running 8-8-8-24, but I think I may be able to squeeze more out of it. It works sooooo smoothly, I'm very happy with it. Thanks for everyone's support!

Idle: 37 gpu, 33 cpu, 34 core
Load: 71 gpu, 50 cpu, 50 core.


Glad your happy with it! :) 
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July 7, 2010 9:33:35 PM

Hmm I dunno whats been going on lately, but the cpu and core have been idling at 40 C, under load they stay around 52ish though.

I removed the fan assembly, and reapplied blobs of thermal compound where it seemed "thin." Originally I had applied thermal compounds and spread it around evenly using a straight razor, so I thought I may have had air bubbles but there's no way there were any when I took off the fan.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 8, 2010 12:00:38 AM

You don't want that much. You really just want enough that will help create physical contact in the (very) small gaps between the two surfaces. If these surfaces were a perfect match on the microscopic level then you wouldn't want any paste.

Too much and it starts being more of an insulator.
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July 8, 2010 4:15:05 PM

False_Dmitry_II said:
You don't want that much. You really just want enough that will help create physical contact in the (very) small gaps between the two surfaces. If these surfaces were a perfect match on the microscopic level then you wouldn't want any paste.

Too much and it starts being more of an insulator.


+1 for you^

Also to throw my 2 cents at it, I wouldn't worry about it unless your computer is BSOD'ing or the BIOS is creating an auto shut down for TEMP regulations as in: overheating and the BIOS is protecting its hardware.

So please just do me a favor you don't have to watch over your TEMPS all the time, unless you know there is some side-affect occurring in the system. :) 
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July 10, 2010 7:47:13 PM

Okay, thanks guys. Should I take off the assembly and clean with some alcohol and reapply less? Shane, the marine is running very stable, so I am assuming you're telling my I'm worrying too much (which is typical for me haha). I supremely appreciate the help, it's tough being the only tech guy in my circle of friends.
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July 11, 2010 10:19:57 PM

JustSpiffy said:
APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: ASAP BUDGET RANGE: $800-$1000 After Rebates and Combo deals

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, parallel programming (probably with CUDA)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, mouse, 22" Acer W22 series

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: (e.g.: newegg.com, ncix.com -- to show us selection & pricing) COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: (e.g.: Grand Fenwick)

PARTS PREFERENCES:
- Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor Model
- EVGA 512-P3-N871-AR GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB 256-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
- GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD3 LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
- Patriot G Series ‘Sector 5’ Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory
- Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
- Antec TruePower New TP-650 650W Continuous Power ATX12V V2.3 / EPS12V V2.91 SLI Certified
- ASUS Black 24X DVD+R...
- Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s
- Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound
- ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2 92mm

OVERCLOCKING: Yes SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1200 (I like high resolutions.)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
Hey Tom's Hardware! So as my title states I am trying to build a new computer. I've been reading a lot lately, all over the web, about a variety of things but I am just getting more and more confused. I hope by asking my questions here, I can be guided to what I need to know and what I shouldn't be wasting my time on. Before I start my questions, I just wanted to say that computers interest me and I know a moderate amount. However, I do not have the time or energy to research everything as much as I want to, thus I was hoping to ask you, the experts who do research and know about the minute details (the same way one day I might answer your question on topics that I research such as Case Based Reasoning or Reinforcement Learning ... )

So basically what do I want? I want a powerful gaming machine, that can run newer games such as Battlefield BC2 at high settings with no problems. At the same time, I would like to not spend over $1000, and if possible I would like the machine to last around 3-4 years. This means, that I hope to overclock, and I plan to read about about safe overclocking as I get to it, however for now I would like to make sure I have hardware that I can overclock. Lastly, I would like to use an NVIDIA card as I see myself using CUDA later in the year.

So where am I confused?
1) Overclocking first. I keep reading about some bad FoxConn sockets, but I can't figure out which motherboards have FoxConn sockets and which don't. Furthermore, what other possibilities/choices do I have?
2) Another overclocking issue is, the motherboard/RAM combo comes with ddr3 1600 ram, but the motherboard doesn't support 1600 ram. I think the case and motherboard will stay cool enough and I read that RAM can be overclocked. Should I overclock this 1600 ram to 2200? OR should I just not get it. It costs the same amount as 1333 ram for me (due to combo deal and instant rebates.)
3) Is the power supply good enough? I started reading about power supplies, but I got super confused. I'm not just talking about wattage, which I am pretty sure is enough, I am talking about current ... quality? I got the feeling that was important.
4) Is 512mb on my video card too small? It seems to be a highly rated card on newegg, which is how I've been basing most of my decisions.

I'll keep adding questions as I remember them. I really appreciate any knowledge you guys can impart on me. Thank you!


just want to suggest reading all of Tom's do it yourself builds. Thats what I did and its all working well. I pretty much followed the $1500.00 March 2010 build minus 1 video card. I figured its a good safe "recipe" to follow.
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