Balanced Gaming Computer

Hello there,

I'm looking to construct a well-balanced mid to high end gaming PC. I've been out of the loop for a while on new introductions into the market and was hoping I could get some help.

BUDGET RANGE: $600-$1200
SYSTEM USAGE: processor heavy gaming; crysis, scII, bad company
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, speakers, monitor, etc.
PREFERRED WEBSITES FOR PARTS: Amazon/Newegg/Other reputable dealers
PARTS PREFERENCES: I have a partial bias for Nvidia and Intel, although good value (bang for their buck) components are more important to me
OVERCLOCKING: Note experienced enough to do this, but am willing to learn if it's worthwhile
MONITOR RESOLUTION: Either of these, depending on the game (1680x1050, 1920x1080, 1920x1200)
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: For a jumping off point I was drooling over the Phenom II x6 CPU paired with the Radeon 5850... would you consider these balanced?
24 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about balanced gaming computer
  1. Lemmie throw something together. I'll be operating off of the high end of your budget.

  2. Thats a very balanced build with pretty high end parts. That motherboard is beastly as well as the Gfx card.
  3. Thanks for the quick reply. Im curious as to why you upgraded the HD5850 to HD5870, but also downgraded the CPU? Do I need such a powerful motherboard if i don't intend to overclock or use more than one graphic card?
  4. The CPU wasn't downgraded. The 955 and 965 are the same chip. The difference is, the 955 is set to 3.2 Ghz, the 956 3.4 GHz. It has been commonly accepted that the 955 is the better deal, because anyone with any amount of computer savvy can simply change the 955's multiplier to a 965s and save the 20 dollar difference.

    The motherboard will allow you to add a 2nd 5870 in the future without degrading performance by sharing PCI-E 2.0 16x bandwidth. Meaning you can add a 2nd card without suffering a 4% performance loss by sharing bandwidth.

    The Powersupply also provides enough wattage to run 2 5870s at the same time. The only issue is the case, since there is some play left in your budget, perhaps look at upgrading to a HAF 922 or an Antec 902.

    The Illusion is a good case and is combo'd with the PSU, but the 902 or 922 would be better suited. I was more concerned with making the guts good initially.
  5. The 955 and 965? Are we talking about the same chip? I was looking at the x6 1090T originally, but now I see I didn't clarify which Phenom II I was even talking about. Anyways, is the 1090T still compatible with the rest of the setup, or does that change everything entirely?
  6. Oh the 1090T has worse performance than the 4 core Phenoms. Sorry forgot to mention that. For gaming, you're better off with a 955.

    If you really want a 6 core CPU just to say you have one then by all means. But just realize you will see zero performance increase in gaming, in fact you will probably see worse.
  7. And yes the 1090T is compatible with the set up I have posted.
  8. So let me get this straight...
    A Phenom x4 955 is superior to the 1090T for gaming.
    Why go for the Radeon 5870 over the 5850, the former being $100 more?

    Heres a screenshot of what I have so far. All I'm missing is a case and mobo that's compatible with these components. I still haven't decided which case/powersupply combo to get... the one in the screenshot, or this one?
  9. Quote:
    So let me get this straight...
    A Phenom x4 955 is superior to the 1090T for gaming.
    How does it hold up against the i7 930 @ 2.8, which are $100 more? Is the 3.2 Ghz still superior?
    Why go for the Radeon 5870 over the 5850, the former being $100 more?

    Generally speaking, games at all reasonable resolutions are GPU-limited, not CPU-limited.

    That being said, you may see a slight performance difference between CPUs that are in the same ballpark (AMD Phenom II X4 vs. i5-750, etc.), but it's likely to be on the order of 3-5 fps total.

    The i7-930 is slightly better than the 955 (which is about the same as the 1090T at gaming, but $150 cheaper), but it's not $200-300 better, which is the difference in platform cost. Figure $100 for the CPU itself, about $50-60 for the extra 2 GB of RAM, and anywhere from $50 on up for the motherboard. And the 955 generally does better than the 1090T because they're the same technology. The 1090T has more cores, but it's generally running at a slower clock.

    Anandtech bench of 955 vs. i7-920 (930 not a listed option). The only major difference is Far Cry 2, and the 955 is still playable.

    But, back to my first statement. At most modern resolutions, you're going to be held back much more by the graphics card than by the processor. Athlon II X3 vs. i7-920 - the i7 is clearly ahead, but all of the games are very playable, and Batman shows little difference between the two. In short, you're better off buying the biggest graphics card you can find, and worry about the CPU later. Thus, the 5870 over the 5850.
  10. Quick chart:

    vs. Phenom II X4 955 | pros                     | cons
    i7-930                 slightly better gaming       $200+ platform premium
    i5-750                 slightly better gaming       max 8x/8x Crossfire
    1090T                  same gaming                 $150 more
    1055T                  worse gaming                $40-50 more

    Again, with the caveat that gaming isn't impacted by the CPU that much.
  11. Because its overclocked from 850 to 950 and 1200 MHz to 1250 MHz.

    So it does have a performance increase, but 120 bucks is kinda stiff imo.
  12. cmcghee358 said:
    Because its overclocked from 850 to 950 and 1200 MHz to 1250 MHz.

    So it does have a performance increase, but 120 bucks is kinda stiff imo.

    Being overclocked, does that effect its lifespan? Does it just come overclocked, as in-- something I could do myself and save $120?
  13. Well generally a factory overclocked GPU is going to come with a better cooling solution. So yes you could do it yourself. Yours might run hotter or require you to go to certain lengths to cool it.
  14. Hmm...

    So Ive been doing some more research, please tell me what you think.

    CPU: Phenom x4 955
    Graphics: Either GTX 470 or Radeon 5850 (Which one will better suit my needs/pairs with my processor?)
    RAM: 2x2GB G.Skill 240 PIN DDR3 SD 1600
    HDD: Spinpoint F3 500GB 7200RPM SATA 3GB/S

    I need help filling out the rest of my build with compatible, quality parts that give overall balance to the machine.

    Mobo: ?
    PSU: ?
    Case: ?

    Once that's all sad and done, do I need to look into any sort of cooling unit, or will a decent case provide all that is needed?

    Thanks much in advance!
  15. You can reference the build I had posted in the image. Everything that you still need can be filled in with that stuff.

    Once again though depending on the game and your listed resolutions, I'd probably bump up to the 5870.

    It's also important to get the C3 stepping of the 955 CPU. The part number ends with "MBOX" it runs cooler than the C2 stepping that ends with "IBOX"

    It's also important that your memory is CAS 7 Latency if possible as that will run faster than CAS 9 latency. Even if both are 1600 MHz, the latency is the "wait time" between processes.

    But I think you're coming along. I just can't stress enough that for gaming the Graphics Card is the biggest possible bottleneck.
  16. Also the motherboard I picked out is a next generation motherboard that has USB 3.0 and SATA 6GB/s natively supported while having available bandwidth to allow a 2nd Graphics Card later on. It's very important to look forward to prepare for future upgrades and make sure you can support it without doing a complete system overhaul.
  17. I really appreciate all the support youve given.

    Would it make sense, if I'm already getting a crossfire mobo, to get x2 lesser vid cards, say, a 4000 series?
  18. Best answer
    no definately not. Very very rarely do you ever want to purchase 2 lesser cards because it ties your hands for future upgrades. Also the 4000 series doesn't support DirectX11 or Eyefinity.

    If you don't care about either of those things now, doesnt mean you wont in the future.
  19. Once again my man, thanks very very much.

    Heres a screenshot of my final purchase...

    I changed the CPU and RAM to match the specs you suggested (CAS 7, MBOX).
    Does everything still look compatible? The only thing I'm worried about is the case, or if I missed on any obvious combo deals (but I'm not sure I did).

    I added the monitor even though the price nearly killed me. Stupidly, I forgot that my current 23" only supports 1600 at its highest.
  20. Best answer selected by clever321.
  21. The case is excellent. For future reference a Samsung Spinpoint F3 500 GB is a better drive to get, but the WD is fine too!
  22. Yea, I figured as much, but I saved a good chunk getting the PSU + HDD together... like 45 instant and 30 combo.
  23. Word no worries, nice build enjoy.
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