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~$1600 Gaming Build

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Last response: in Systems
July 5, 2010 4:40:24 AM

Hey guys! Long time lurker, first time poster.

This is going to be the very first system that I'm going to attempt to put together. I've never chosen all of the parts on my own in the past, so this has been a little bit of an adventure, to say the least. I've never had a "gaming" rig before and I'm looking to make one that will not only be sufficient enough to run most current games at maximum-quality, but to be somewhat future-proof as well. Also, I've never done SLI or Crossfire before, so I know virtually nothing about the topic besides a few things that I have read.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: within the month BUDGET RANGE: $1000-$1200 before rebates ~$1600 before rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Hardcore gaming, surfing the web, movies.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, mouse, speakers, monitor, OS


PARTS PREFERENCES: I'm not devoted to either AMD or Intel. Looking for the best bang for the buck.

OVERCLOCKING: Yes SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes Possibly in the future


ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I have based the CPU and GPU decisions on the most recent hierarchy charts on this website located here and here. As it turns out, I have more funs allocated towards this machine than I had previously anticipated, so I made a few changes based on the suggestions from the posters and on my expanded funding.

CPU - $194.99
Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor BX80605I5750

Graphics Card - $699.99
SAPPHIRE 100280SR Radeon HD 5970 (Hemlock) 2GB 512 (256 x 2)-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card

Memory - $104.99
G.SKILL ECO Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBECO

Hard Drive - $59.99
Western Digital Caviar Black WD7501AALS 750GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive -Bare Drive

CD-DVD Writer - $22.99
ASUS Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM

Motherboard - $179.99
ASUS P7P55D-E Pro LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

Power Supply - $139.99
CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-750HX 750W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

Case - $99.95
Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Heatsink - $49.99
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-G1 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" Long life sleeve CPU Cooler

Total = $1552.87


Another question:

4) With the new build, specifically the GPU, will a 750W PSU be enough to power the computer without issue? If I plan to Crossfire it in the future, should I preemptively purchase a more powerful PSU?

1) Is the power supply powerful enough to support all of the components including the dual video cards?
2a) Is the motherboard compatible with everything that I've chosen?
2b) Is the motherboard relatively future-proof? In other words, if I'm wanting to upgrade my computer in 2-3 years, would I have to start from scratch again or could I just replace a few of the parts attached to the mobo?
3) Regarding crossfire, the specs of the motherboard show single at x16 or dual at x8/x8 mode. I have seen some motherboards specs that show dual at x16/x8, however I have also read that the card that is running at x16 will "slow down" to the match up with the other slot's speed, which is x8. If that's the case, isn't x16/x8 actually just x8/x8? Note: if there is virtually no difference between running x16/x16 and x8/x8, feel free to respond with "don't worry about it." :D 

1-3 have been answered perfectly. Thanks!

Criticisms and changes are welcomed and encouraged. The more I learn, the less I'll have to ask the next time I'm making a build. If there are places that I can shed some money and retain performance, please let me know. If there are places where I could add a few dollars for noticeable performance gains, let me know :D 

Thanks in advance for all of the help.

More about : 1600 gaming build

July 5, 2010 1:22:17 PM

I recommend you NOT get 2 4870, you'll be a generation behind
edit: dont worry about 8x 8x.
edit: you dont need a 950watt corsair for that build
July 5, 2010 1:39:48 PM


Get 2x5770.
8x 8x will bottleneck, but not very much, although x16 x16 would be nicer.

Whoa!! 950W PSU? U probably aren't planing to SLI 2 Fermi cards?
Get a 650W PSU (CM, Antec, Corsair)
Related resources
July 5, 2010 5:20:04 PM


If you're wanting to crossfire in future get a 5850 or 5870
a 950W is WAY above what you need.
July 5, 2010 9:52:32 PM

Thank you guys for the quick and helpful responses! After doing a little bit more research on crossfire and I have a couple of follow-up questions.

1) I have read reports that a 5770 crossfire gives roughly the same performance as a single 5870 (give or take, depending on where you read). If that's the case, would it be better to just get a single 5870 and crossfire it in the future when I need a graphics upgrade?

2) With that in mind, will a 650W PSU still be sufficient when/if I decide to crossfire the 5870, combined with all of the other specs of my system?

Thanks again for the quick and helpful responses. I love you guys <3
July 6, 2010 5:43:18 AM

1) It'd be the better option imo.

2) With O'Cing and leaving a bit if you upgrade a bit 750W. 700W should be fine as well, as should 650W as long as you don't oc much, but each of the latter 2 leave less of a buffer in case you upgrade anything and need more power.
July 6, 2010 8:24:24 AM

Yeah if u plan to Xfire 2 5870 in the future, and OC them, get a 700W PSU

Best solution

July 6, 2010 9:15:59 AM

1) Agree with the others, Power Supply is excessive. 750W is perfect and leaves upgrade/OC room

2a) It is, however, the Asus P7P55D E Pro is the best motherboard (uses USB3.0 and Sata 6gb/s) though it is $179.99. But if you want the latest tech then it is good (me personally, I went cheap as I figure by the time that stuff is useful I will be looking for a new build anyway)

2b) No, not at all future proof. No Intel motherboard is - the i5 and i7 sockets will be discontinued in a year, so when you upgrade in 3 years you will have to replace it. However, there is no such thing as future proofing. The reality is, your build will last you 3 or so years, at that point there is new and better technology around and so you will pretty much always be wanting to replace the motherboard and CPU. I always build based on 'what will last me plenty of years' because future proofing is a myth, especially with Intel

3) In short, don't worry about it.
For details: x8/x8 and x16/x16 is a very small difference - lower cards wil not even really be effected, the 5870 I believe loses about 4% performacne when Crossfired - if you are corssfiring two 5870s you can be damned sure that you are not noticing this difference - not unless your computer is WAAY to old by then and at that point you should be replacing it anyway. Also, no P55 board can Crossfire at x16/x16.
Now, as for other comments. A 5870 is a better choice to Crossfiring 5770s. One strong card is always a better solution than 2 weak ones - this is because performance with Crossfire varies from game to game so no guarantee you will get great performance from all. Also it is becasue in the future you can add a second card, whereas with two weak cards you have already lost upgrade ability without replacing both.

Do you need 2 x 1TB HDDs? I am guessing you are plannig a RAID config. If gaming is most of what you do I would have said 500gb is enough, there is a $25 difference so a total savings of $50 ther if needed.

Change the G Skill RAM. For about $5 you can get the G Skill Ripjaw CL7 instead of the CL9 you have - lower latency is good. You could also go with the G Skill ECO, this is also CL7 but runs at a lower voltage, this is probably the best RAM
July 13, 2010 7:24:24 PM

Thanks a ton for all of the help! I have made a few modifications to my original build based on some newly acquired funds and on the suggestions that you guys have given me. The biggest change that I made was trading out the crossfired 5870's for a single 5970. Is my power supply strong enough to support all that? Are there any other changes you guys would make before I make the purchase?
a b 4 Gaming
July 13, 2010 7:34:27 PM

donutz0r said:
Thanks a ton for all of the help! I have made a few modifications to my original build based on some newly acquired funds and on the suggestions that you guys have given me. The biggest change that I made was trading out the crossfired 5870's for a single 5970. Is my power supply strong enough to support all that? Are there any other changes you guys would make before I make the purchase?

If you really want to spend $50 on a HSF, get something off of FrostyTech's Top 5 list. If, however, you want a good value HSF, get the Hyper 212+...but buy it from somewhere else. It can be found for around $30 from other online retailers like Amazon and (I think) TigerDirect. Get everything else from newegg, just don't pay $50 for the Hyper 212+.

Your power supply is enough for a single 5970. According to AMD, and 850W PSU is recommended for 2x 5970. I don't know that you'll ever need to CrossFire 5970s, though. I expect that by the time you'd need to, there will be much more powerful technology available.
July 13, 2010 10:11:39 PM

For HC Gaming, I see no advantages going Intel. AMD has GREAT Performance/Price value and that's what you're looking for when buying gaming parts. You could save up a ton of cash by going Phenom II X4 955 and inject that money where ever you want into your build.

Here are good Combo (CPU/MOBO) from Newegg

AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition/BIOSTAR TA890FXE AM3 AMD 890FX SATA 6Gb/s ATX AMD Motherboard

AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition/ASUS Crosshair IV Formula AM3 AMD 890FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD

RAM-wise, buy these. Best performance you can get for under 150 $ :) 
July 19, 2010 1:20:43 AM

Best answer selected by donutz0r.