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$700-850 Gaming/Media Desktop

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June 22, 2010 10:37:20 PM

Hey all, first time poster :hello: 

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: 1-2 Months

BUDGET RANGE: $700-850 After Rebates, obviously the lower the better :p 

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: This will mainly be used as a gaming/home media computer, word processing/internet surfing/schoolwork/etc as well of course.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: OS/Software, Computer Case, Hard Drive, Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg.com should be fine but I live about an hour away from a Micro Center (Philadelphia), so if the drive is worth it I'll make the trip out.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: US

PARTS PREFERENCES: I was planning on a i5/i7 build, with the possibility of CrossFire if I decided to add another graphics card in the future.

OVERCLOCKING: No

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe in the future

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1200

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

Ok so at the moment my 3+ year old "high powered" laptop is starting to give me the big middle finger as far as wanting to work is concerned, and I'm trying to put together a solid desktop build that will handle (most) everything I'll be throwing at it. I was thinking of going the i5/i7 route, as I've had a few roommates give me some enthusiastic recommendations and I will be running using a 1920x1200 monitor. I have a few questions I'll go over towards the end of the post, and at the moment I've got: Monitor (1920x1200), 1TB Hard Drive, Antec 300 Case, Mouse/Keyboard, Speakers. Here's what I'm thinking of so far:

Processor: Right now I'm debating between the i5 or i7. Now, Micro Center has the i5 750 boxed for $189.99 and the i7-930 for $199.99. If I were buying them somewhere else I probably wouldn't even consider the i7, but I'm thinking the hour long drive might be worth it at that price.

Graphics Card: I'm leaning pretty heavily toward the Radeon HD 5770 1GB. I know that the Radeon HD 4870 will give me pretty much the same amount of juice, but I'm liking the "future proof"-ness of this card. In addition I'm thinking about possibly getting a second somewhere down the line for CrossFire.

Motherboard: Here's where I stumble into territory that I'm really not familiar with. I (of course) want something i5/i7 compatible, and something that will give me the option for CrossFire in the future but I'm hoping someone can give me a few good ideas.

Memory: Another area I'm not to comfortable with my own judgment. I'm probably looking at either a 4GB or 6GB kit, but not exactly sure which would be better price-per-performance wise. If I'm running a 64-bit system would the 6GB kit be worth it?

Power Supply: Again, not so sure. I've heard everything from "If you want to be safe get a 900W supply" to "a 400W Corsair supply can run anything!!!111". If I'm looking to be safe (and again, trying to keep the future CrossFire possibility open) should I go with something around 750-800?

CD/DVD Drive: This I'm not really concerned about. I'm sure one of those $25 drives will work fine for me.

CPU Cooling?: Unless I'm getting some sort of bundle that comes with one, what should I look for in this area? I'm not too worried about overheating since a) I'm using the Antec 300 case and b) I'll be doing no overclocking.

I guess my main question(s) would be: Is the i7 going to be worth it? Or should I stick with the i5 and save some money? If I'm going to be running a 64-bit system is getting the 6GB of RAM helpful, or will the 4GB be just as useful? And lastly, what type of power supply will give me room for possible tweaking of my system?

Thanks ahead of time for the feedback, hopefully one of you will find some time to help me out :) 

Best solution

June 22, 2010 11:49:00 PM
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That should do very well for your uses. The PSU is powerful enough for crossfire and the heatsink is very good. I know your not overclocking, but I wouldn't even run an i5 750 at stock speeds on the stock heatsink, mine was terrible.
June 23, 2010 12:12:44 AM

Thanks for the quick reply! What do you think about sticking with the HD 5770 for now and adding a second a little later, in order to drop the price down to around $700? Other than that, it looks pretty good!
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June 23, 2010 12:58:50 AM

You could, but if you get a single 5850 now you can add another at a later date too. Also 2 5770s are only a little bit faster than a single 5850, not really noticeable.
June 23, 2010 4:58:14 AM

Thanks again for the help :)  I had another quick question about the motherboard. For now (as I'll just be running one graphics card) it shouldn't really be an issue, but I've heard that the P55 chipset can run into SLI limitations (second slot clocking down in speed, possibly losing some device functionality). I'm not sure if it would even really change any performance for me, since this build isn't really SLI focused/dependant. If anyone else has insight to share, it'd be appreciated!
June 23, 2010 3:53:20 PM

Who ever said that is referring to PCIe bandwidth. A board that supports x16/x4 will bottleneck the second card a little, though nothing really noticeable or noteworthy. However, the board I posted uses x8/x8 bandwidth which won't make a difference at all.
June 23, 2010 4:48:40 PM

Well I really appreciate all the help/advice. You sir, are a scholar and a gentleman :) 
June 30, 2010 12:53:40 AM

Best answer selected by jrr298.
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