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Help selecting hardware for gaming pc

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June 25, 2010 7:35:08 PM

After debating whether to purchase a prebuilt system or build one myself, I chose the latter since I've been hearing conflicting reviews of some of the more popular sites (ibuypower, cyberpowerpc, etc.)

However, since I have zero experience in building a computer and have only recently studied hardware components, I need some help deciding if this early list is too much or too little for what I plan on doing.

Here's what I plan to do with the computer and my budget:
- Below $1500, preferably below $1k if at all possible.
- Play recent games like Oblivion, Mass Effect 2, and Fallout New Vegas
-- I plan on heavily modifying these games
- I doubt I'll be playing online games since there is no broadband in my area
- Watch Blu-Ray on my computer

Note that I haven't chosen everything, I just want to know my progress so far.

Case: Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor Model HDZ955FBGIBOX

Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL

Monitor: Acer P235Hbmid Black 23" 5ms HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 50000:1(ACM) Built-in Speakers

Motherboard: MSI 890FXA-GD70 AM3 AMD 890FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard

PSU: Rosewill Green Series RG630-S12 630W Continuous @40°C,80 PLUS Certified, Single 12V Rail, Active PFC "Compatible with Core i7,i5" Power Supply

Video Card: HIS IceQ H567Q1GD Radeon HD 5670 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card w/ Eyefinity

Best solution

a c 84 B Homebuilt system
June 25, 2010 7:47:10 PM

You've done a decent job. The CPU, case and monitor are good choices. The RAM is decent. The PSU and GPU are absolute crap though.

Here's a couple of much better builds.

$1,000:

CPU/Mobo: X4 955 and Gigabyte GA-790XTA-UD4 $235 after rebate (with a free game). This board is cheaper than the MSI one, and all you really lose is the ability to drop in a X6 CPU (which you won't need) and two PCIe 2.0 slots which will be worthless.
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $110. Faster sticks of RAM.
GPU: HD 5850 $285. A much, much better GPU. The 5670 wouldn't even play games at 1080p.
PSU/Case: Antec 900 and TruePower 750W $140 after rebate. The PSU is also very high quality.
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB $70
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $20
Monitor: Asus 23" 1080p $180 after rebate

Total: $1,040

$1,500:

CPU/Mobo: i5-750 and Asus P7P55D-E Pro $345. An even better CPU and an equivalent board.
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $110
GPU: HD 5870 $390. Once again, a better GPU.
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB $70
PSU/Case: Antec 900 and TruePower 750W $140 after rebate
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $20
HSF: Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus $30
Monitor: Asus 23" 1080p $180 after rebate

Total: $1,285
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June 28, 2010 6:39:59 AM

Thanks for the recommendations. I went ahead and bought the GIGABYTE GA-790XTA-UD4 & Phenom II X4 955 combo like you suggested. It was a difficult decision as the user reviews for that board were either excellent or terrible.

So far, I've purchased the following (I missed out on some of the combos you posted, but I'll keep looking):
Antec 900 case
Phenom II X4 955
Gigabyte 790XTA

I'm definitely buying the Samsung HDD you suggested. As for the optical drive, I wanted Blu-Ray and I found one that may be suitable.

Here's a monitor + GPU combo that caught my eye: MSI R5770 Hawk & Acer 24" 1080p monitor

Will this suffice? If not, I'm willing to sacrifice 1080p if it means a cheaper GPU.
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June 28, 2010 10:18:44 AM

In your other thread you mentioned you have a computer savvy friend.
Why don't you buy the components yourself, and ask your friend if they could build it for you. Offer them a meal or $20 for their time. If they are a good friend they would probably do it for free.
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short sale realtor
Isle of Palms homes for sale
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
June 28, 2010 12:09:03 PM

BluRay drives are expensive right now and there isn't really a use for them specific to PCs. I typically say that they're a waste of money unless some criteria are met. 1.) You don't currently have a BR player. 2.) You already own a lot of BR movies. Wait until there is a use for BR and the prices to come down. It's something you can easily add in later.

That's not a bad combo, but there is a problem. The 5770 isn't going to be playing many games at that resolution. I would not recommend getting a monitor with a resolution of less than 1080p, but I also wouldn't recommend getting a 5770 for a 1080p monitor. You really should get at least the 5850 for gaming.
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June 29, 2010 3:20:03 AM

veni12 said:
In your other thread you mentioned you have a computer savvy friend.
Why don't you buy the components yourself, and ask your friend if they could build it for you. Offer them a meal or $20 for their time. If they are a good friend they would probably do it for free.
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short sale realtor
Isle of Palms homes for sale

I never said anything about a friend. This is my first and only thread.

BTW, if that's the case MadAdmiral, I guess I'll go ahead and get the 5850.

Will post more updates later.
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July 1, 2010 10:36:32 PM

I purchased everything I needed. My case, CPU, and motherboard arrived today. The rest should be here within two weeks:

Case: Antec Nine Hundred

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-790XTA-UD4

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955

GPU: SAPPHIRE 100282-3SR Radeon HD 5850 (Cypress Pro) 1GB

PSU: Antec TruePower New TP-750 Blue 750W

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB)

HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB

Monitor: ASUS VH236H Black 23" 1080p

PCI Wireless Card: Rosewill RNX-G300EX IEEE 802.11b/g PCI Wireless Card

Keyboard & Mouse: Logitech EX100 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse
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A couple of questions:
1) I plan on removing the optical drive from an old desktop I've had since 2005 and using it for this build just to install the OS. Since I have no need for an optical drive after installing the OS, would this be the best approach to save $20?

2) Would any more fans or cooling devices be necessary in addition to the ones included on the case, CPU, and GPU?
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
July 2, 2010 12:20:32 PM

1.) Yes, assuming that it's an IDE drive, but I'd still consider having an optical for the build. I see it as an essential and it's not like it's really expensive.

2.) No.
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July 7, 2010 5:56:39 AM

Time to update since I've begun building.

I started off with installing the CPU/Fan on the motherboard. I quickly ran into a scare when the fan's locking mechanism got stuck, forcing me to remove the fan and go to RadioShack to buy some replacement thermal grease. I removed the old grease and applied the new one, although, it wasn't as expertly done as the original. Hopefully I won't run into problems because of this.

Everything else has gone smoothly. I connected the four case fans to the three molex cables supplied by the PSU (chaining two fans together to one of the PSU cables). This should work, right?

Also, am I supposed to connect both the 2x4 and 2x12 PSU power cables to the mobo or just one?



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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
July 7, 2010 3:02:31 PM

The fans should be fine. The thermal compound as well, but make sure to run some stress testing to be sure.

You need to connect bother the motherboard power cable (the 24 pin) and the CPU power cable (the 8 pin). I'd also read through the motherboard's manual before booting up to make sure you've got everything covered.
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July 10, 2010 11:23:40 PM

MadAdmiral said:
You've done a decent job. The CPU, case and monitor are good choices. The RAM is decent. The PSU and GPU are absolute crap though.

Here's a couple of much better builds.

$1,000:

CPU/Mobo: X4 955 and Gigabyte GA-790XTA-UD4 $235 after rebate (with a free game). This board is cheaper than the MSI one, and all you really lose is the ability to drop in a X6 CPU (which you won't need) and two PCIe 2.0 slots which will be worthless.
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $110. Faster sticks of RAM.
GPU: HD 5850 $285. A much, much better GPU. The 5670 wouldn't even play games at 1080p.
PSU/Case: Antec 900 and TruePower 750W $140 after rebate. The PSU is also very high quality.
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB $70
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $20
Monitor: Asus 23" 1080p $180 after rebate

Total: $1,040

$1,500:

CPU/Mobo: i5-750 and Asus P7P55D-E Pro $345. An even better CPU and an equivalent board.
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $110
GPU: HD 5870 $390. Once again, a better GPU.
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB $70
PSU/Case: Antec 900 and TruePower 750W $140 after rebate
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $20
HSF: Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus $30
Monitor: Asus 23" 1080p $180 after rebate

Total: $1,285



Mad Admiral, I have studied this build (1st one) you listed for lockdown and it is excellent. I am getting ready to build myself and have a few questions. How difficult is the coolermaster 212 to install on AM3 motherboards? I've read some reviews that say it is difficult and that it will block ram sticks on te GA-790-XTA is this true? I am interested in buying 8GB of ram for my build. Is this worth it? Also for the PSU I am wanting to buy http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... will this power supply be enough to supply a graphics card more powerful than the 5770 in the future? Thank you for your help.
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
July 11, 2010 2:00:00 AM

Installing the Hyper 212 shouldn't be too hard. It would just be like installing the stock heatsink. As for blocking RAM slots, I've heard that as well. I'm not positive if it's true, as you can raise the fans on the heatsink or if you're using a single fan, install the fan on the opposite of the board in a pull configuration. Also, it may only be a problem if you have overly tall sticks of RAM.

8 GB of RAM isn't that useful unless your doing heavy encoding or rendering work. If you're just gaming, there is absolutely no point to getting more.

A 750W unit (especially one as good at that 750HX) would be able to power at least two 5770s (possibly 3, but that's pointless), two 5850s, two 5870s or a single 5970.
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July 11, 2010 2:15:53 AM

MadAdmiral said:
Installing the Hyper 212 shouldn't be too hard. It would just be like installing the stock heatsink. As for blocking RAM slots, I've heard that as well. I'm not positive if it's true, as you can raise the fans on the heatsink or if you're using a single fan, install the fan on the opposite of the board in a pull configuration. Also, it may only be a problem if you have overly tall sticks of RAM.

8 GB of RAM isn't that useful unless your doing heavy encoding or rendering work. If you're just gaming, there is absolutely no point to getting more.

A 750W unit (especially one as good at that 750HX) would be able to power at least two 5770s (possibly 3, but that's pointless), two 5850s, two 5870s or a single 5970.


MadAdmiral,

Thanks for the quick reply. Sounds like the Corsair PSU should keep me going for a couple of builds. Dumb question: If 750 watts will support the above listed configs, why would anyone need anything bigger? Like 1,000 watts? Also, do you feel like the Gigabyte GA-790XTA-UD4 is still a relevant board for gaming? Or has it been outmoded by the new 890 chipsets? I do not plan on SLI. Single GPU solutions only. From what I have read there is little difference between the 790s and 890s. My concerns about the CM 212 stemmed from reading that some people were having to take the factory backplate and setting off thier motherboards to put the 212 in. Again, I really appreciated your input.
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
July 11, 2010 4:48:42 AM

You almost never need 1000W any more. The newer GPUs use a lot less power than older ones did. It is a relatively new development that the newer video cards use less power though, so it's entirely possible that ones that come out later will need more power. That said, you may need a 1000W unit if you wanted to use dual GTX 480s.

The 8xx chipset isn't really needed for gaming. The only benefit is that the six core CPUs can be used by the 8xx boards without a BIOS update. Seeing as the X6s aren't good for gaming (they're actually worse than the X4 955), and the new BIOS for older boards support them, and either the boards come with these new versions or the update is free, there isn't a point to paying more for an 8xx board.

I don't know about the Hyper's backplate off the top of my head, but it shouldn't be that big of an issue. It would just be another step to installing it, and may not be applicable to every build, as the Hyper is compatible with all current sockets. That may be the case with LGA1366 or LGA1156 boards, but might not with AM3.
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July 18, 2010 6:55:09 PM

Best answer selected by Lockdown_23.
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July 18, 2010 7:10:24 PM

Lockdown_23 said:
Best answer selected by Lockdown_23.

n
nLockdown,
n
nI'm seriously considering building the same rig you did. How do you like it? How is it running?
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