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$2000-3000 complete gaming system

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July 1, 2010 8:24:25 PM

INTRODUCTION:
Good day all, this is my first post on TH. Actually my first post on any forum period. Forums are an aspect of online activity that I have struggled with due to there being a great deal of childish topics/answers plastered all over many forums. However, upon reading some forums on TH I have come to see that here I am entering into a community where its members are largely respected and incredibly helpful in providing persons like myself with information that would take me a very long time to research on my own given my limited PC knowledge-base.
My past experience with system building has involved my going to Memory Express and letting the salesmen there aid me while providing them a pretty penny in commission. I have learned from them and they have sold me quality products and service but I feel I can do better. So I have come here.
My last build was in September 2006. At this time I purchased the following for my gaming build: Intel E6600, Asus P5N32-SLI SE Deluxe, 2 e-GeForce 7900GS 256MB, Seagate 320GB 7200RPM, Enermax Liberty 500W, 2 Kingston 1GB 667MHz PC2-5300, as well as DVD drive, Logitech G15 keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers. I have recently given this system to a younger sibling who happily games away.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: As soon as possible.
I would like to purchase the new system as soon as possible unless replies indicate that waiting for next-gen hardware would be wise. That said, I believe I'll be hearing from many of you that if I start waiting for new hardware to come out I will be waiting forever as new hardware is always coming out but what I mean to say is that if there is a significant leap in hardware that I would benefit waiting for then I appreciate your advice.
BUDGET RANGE: up to around $3000 post-rebate

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT:
gaming (DAO, ME2), watching TV episodes/movies (HTPC possibilities?), business management, and internet browsing.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: I have heard sound cards are not worth investing in anymore.

PREFERRED WEBSITES FOR PARTS: unfamiliar territory for me.
MY COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: CANADA

PARTS PREFERENCES: none.

OVERCLOCKING: yes as it seems to be recommended as well as safe. I will attempt to overclock using guides from this site as I have never done it before.
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: unsure, open to advice.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: see below.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I would like to have a high-quality system that is future-proofed as much as is reasonable. I anticipate purchasing a new system every 3-4 years, longer is better. My goal is also to eventually set up HTPC using this PC but it requires more looking into yet. I would like a quiet PC that is fast-booting and produces crisp, high quality visual and audio. Most importantly I would like to stress quality which I hope many of you appreciate as well.

Sorry for the long post everyone. I hope to hear from you soon.

Best solution

July 1, 2010 8:38:02 PM
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Case
HAF 922 $110
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

HD
Spinpoint F3 $80
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

SSD Boot Drive
Intel x25-M 80 gb $260
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

PSU
850TX $160
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

OS
Win 7 OEM 64 bit $105
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...

Monitor
Asus 24" 1920x1080 $230
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

RAM
G SKill Pi 1600 Cas 7 $175.50
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

GPu
5970 $721
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

MOBO
Ga x58-UD3R $230
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

HSF
Scythe Mugen $38
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...

Optical $23
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

CPU
i7-930 $300
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Total: $2,391 before shipping taxes and MIR.

You can save some more getting the 850tx and 5970 off NCIX. ~$30.


If you plan on gaming at 1920x1080 on 1 monitor this setup is as far as you'll need to go to last you until next gen consoles, 2014 earliest.

You could spend a bunch more money and go all out, and use 3D or multiple monitors, but both are really niche.

Especially for your needs, ME2, DAO and movies? Yea, even this setup is way overkill.

edit: Yeah forgot to paste in CPU. Ok this is what happens when stupid newegg.ca breaks up your cart into 3 sections :( 
July 1, 2010 8:44:39 PM

Banthracis, thank-you for your input. I understand that for the games I'm currently playing that any new PC proposal will be over-the-top but I want to be running at high-end performance for a number of years.
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July 1, 2010 8:49:03 PM

I don't see a CPU in there. I assume that banthracis meant to recommend the i7-930 - $300.

If you have a lot of extra money burning a hole in your pocket, you could look at doing a 3-monitor Eyefinity setup...but that's about the only thing to add to banthracis' build. Could get a bigger/more expensive case, but there's no pressing reason to do so.
July 1, 2010 8:50:06 PM

Like I said, this setup will last till next gen consoles, 2014.

Honestly, ATM crappy 4 yr old console hardware is holding back game development.

No major company is making games that can't run on consoles. The big exception, blizzard, makes games that can practically run on a netbook.

The only real places for expansion in the next few years is increasing resolutions through eyefinity and 3d.

If you ever feel the need for more, you can just drop in a new 5970 or add a 5870 for trifire.
July 1, 2010 8:55:57 PM

coldsleep said:
Could get a bigger/more expensive case, but there's no pressing reason to do so.


It's hard to get bigger than the HAF's :D  The 922 fits my room and the 932 is bigger than my entire Manhattan apartment!
July 1, 2010 8:58:35 PM

banthracis said:
It's hard to get bigger than the HAF's :D  The 922 fits my room and the 932 is bigger than my entire Manhattan apartment!


Well, you could get a 932, which would be bigger. Or something with more features = more expensive. Or, you know, get a Level 10. ;) 
July 1, 2010 9:24:33 PM

Banthracis, again thanks for the suggestion. Could anyone fill in recommended mouse, keyboard, speakers to complete this build? I'm hoping to build based on experienced recommendations rather than my own mix-and-match build. Also dual-monitor would be very handy for me.
Coldsleep and Banthracis started a bit of an exchange about case size - I have ample room, does case size impact the sound of fans/how loud my system runs? I'd like quiet, but I don't need dead-silent. I'm just happy to not hear my computer screaming at me when I'm pushing it a bit.
July 1, 2010 9:31:25 PM

Case size doesn't affect noise level at all. What does affect noise level is the fans you have and what speed they run at...as well as your graphics card's cooling solution. In the most general terms, how hot everything is, and how well it gets dissipated. More heat means that the fans run faster/louder.

The HAF 922 that banthracis suggested is designed to move a lot of air. Generally speaking, the more larger sized fans you have, the better. I'd suggest getting everything as is, see if it's too loud for you (it probably won't be), and if it is, you could look at either getting lower-noise fans or controlling the speed of the fans more closely (as that will drive down noise as well).

The other solution is to get a case that has fewer openings, and comes with (or add) sound-dampening material. That generally won't be necessary. (But people sometimes go that route for HTPCs or audio workstations.)

I haven't used it, but the HAF 922 comes very highly recommended around here. Lots of airflow, spacious inside and out. I hate the looks, but that's just me. ;) 

I find that mouse/keyboard/speakers are largely up to personal preference. I have a Logitech G15 keyboard and an ancient Logitech trackball (larger than the one they sell these days) that I can't bear to part with. If you can, go to a local computer store and test some options to see what fits your hands best and what you feel comfortable with.

As for speakers, any $20-40 set of speakers will do for most people, but audiophiles might want more. Do you want a 2.1 system or 5.1? Do you want something that stands out or blends in? While technical reviews on newegg are questionable, I'd actually consider the speaker reviews, as budget speakers are all going to be pretty similar. If one has a higher rate of sucking, that's one to avoid. :) 
July 1, 2010 10:01:56 PM

Will overclocking have an impact on noise output?
I also will agree with Coldsleep that the HAF 922 is ugly. However, it's the performance quality that I would like to pursue. I'll hide it somewhere I don't need to see it.

edit: just thought I'd tack this on to this post: Any need for 12G RAM vs 6G RAM for what I'm planning?
July 1, 2010 10:25:26 PM

Overclocking will generally result in more heat and the HSF fans spinning faster. Though your HSF may be efficient enough, or your tolerance for temperatures may be high enough that it won't necessarily be annoyingly loud. A lot depends on what HSF you get...the Scythe Mugen banthracis recommended is pretty high quality. You could check frostytech for more info and see if there are any HSFs that are rated quieter or better or whatever.

6 GB is more than enough for your purposes. 12 GB is really only necessary if you're doing audio/video editing or 3D rendering or something.
July 1, 2010 10:58:21 PM

Thanks Coldsleep, I'll take a look at Frostytech.
If anyone else has anything to add/change about the proposed build it would greatly appreciated. Putting a few thousand dollars into a system build is a fairly significant purchase. One where I would very much appreciate differing opinions or confirmations of what has been proposed.
Thus far I'd like to say a big thanks to Coldsleep and Banthracis for their input and recommendations that have helped provide a specific system for me to go out and purchase. I'll keep the thread open for a few days to see what other information is offered.
Once again, any contributions would be appreciated.
July 1, 2010 11:30:13 PM

My brother has a 4870x2 GPU and has been complaining to me about the noise it produces when gaming. We came across an aftermarket fan to put on it that should solve that problem but that brings me to this proposed system. The 5970 also is not quiet, any alterations/alternatives to look into there?
Do gamers from now on just have to deal with GPU fan noise and high temperatures?
July 1, 2010 11:53:01 PM

Um, the 5970's have a very good stock fan. Hate to break it to you, but the alternative, xfire 5870's or sli 480's is louder not quieter.

Any high end GPU causes tons of heat. Heat means high speed fans to cool it down.

The alternative is to water cool your system, but a complete setup including GPU's is around $500 and you'll have to do case modding to get enough radiators attached to cool all that quietly.

Mouse keyboard speakers is all personal taste. The standard gaming recommendations I give is mx518 mouse, saitek eclipse keyboard. Speakers you can get anything from a cheap $20 2.1 set, to a $20,000 7.1 setup. It's entirely a matter of how much you want to spend, and what kind of sound you want.
July 2, 2010 2:00:02 AM

I haven't seen/heard any of the 4nnn series cards, but my understanding is that with the 5nnn series, ATI moved to a smaller die, which in turn reduces power consumption and heat. This means that the 5nnn series should be quieter than its 4nnn series equivalent.

You can also adjust at what temperatures the fans kick in with software, so if you find the noise distracting during specific uses, you could accept slightly higher temperatures for less noise, but then turn it back up when the GPU really needs it.
July 4, 2010 11:15:35 PM

Best answer selected by Kelviathyn.
July 5, 2010 12:44:26 PM

In regards to Mic / KB / Mouse, then just look over Logitech, They are miles ahead of most of the competition and cheeper as well.

Assuming, you dont want kiddy / bling items, then something like a G5 Mouse and Illuminated Keyboard and USB Mic.

$150 i xpect
July 5, 2010 2:56:33 PM

Quick question:
newegg is out of the recommended motherboard. What alternative is suggested?

edit: no matter, I believe this is equal to the recommended:
GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
!