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Advice for 3D gaming computer

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July 9, 2010 1:45:55 PM

Im no computer n00b but I felt it prudent to ask the advice of a forum before sinking so much money (for me anyway) into this project. I am trying to make a fairly budget 3D gaming pc to get mediocre fps' (25-35) in all modern games while running 3Dvision at 1680x1050 but ideally at 1080p. I realize this is a fairly tough order but I think its possible. heres my proposed build order:


AMD Phenom II X4 965 OC to 4ghz with an advanced cooler that I will route to a plastic tube to the side fan in my case to maximise cooling.

4GB DDR3 RAM 1333mhz (need advice on this not sure how much of a difference it will make)

AM3 Motherboard that supports x16/x16 sli (havent selected a good candidate)

Get 1 GTX 470 then when I have the money again get another

Either a Samsung syncmaster 2233rz (1680x1050) or a Acer Aspire GD245HQ (1920x1080) if you think I could handle it.

A fairly decent 800w psu and a soundcard.

So thoughts suggestions?

More about : advice gaming computer

July 9, 2010 1:55:29 PM

You'd do better to follow the guidelines from the link in my signature. We need to have a budget, and a lot of other information to give you good advice.

You do realize that you need a 3D montior to play 3D games, right? The cheapest is this iZ3D 1650x1080 for $300. Or there's this Acer 1080p for $370.

To get a smooth 3D gaming experience, you're going to need a lot more power than the 470 provides. You're likely looking at spending around $500-1,000 on the GPU(s) alone, making the cheapest build you could get with this about $1,300-$2,300, not including extras. All told, you'd need to be spending $1,700 at least to get a functioning build (with the OS and monitor).

I would also be remiss if I didn't point out that 3D is pretty much a waste right now. Games don't use it right now and the technology is very immature. You'd do better to wait for it to be useful and done right before making such a large investment.

EDIT: I should also point out some issues with the parts you've choosen outside of the monitor. First, the X4 965 is just a factory overclocked 955. Save the $20-30 and get the cheaper one.

Second, since you're planning to overclock (and 4 GHz isn't high), you'll want faster sticks of RAM than 1333 mhz. You'd want 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 ones at least (these G.Skill Eco sticks would be perfect).

Third, 16x/16x makes no difference over 8x/8x. It's literally a 4% gain, but only really effects people using dual HD 5970s. I'd recommend the Gigabyte GA-790XTA-UD4.

Fourth, even without my 3D points above, the 470/480 aren't good choices. They're overly expensive, offer minimal performance increases over the HD 5850 and HD 5870, run extremely hot, use massive power, and their added features (PhysX, CUDA, 3D) simply aren't relavent to gaming in the next 3-5 years. You'd do better to go with ATI.

Finally, despite all this, if you still wanted to stick with the new nVidia cards, a 800W PSU isn't enough for SLI. I wouldn't want anything less than an 850W for the 470 or anything under 1000W for the 480.

Also, sound cards are a waste of money. Onboard sound is excellent and supports surround sound already. A discrete card that does better is going to run around $100 and up, so unless you're a huge audiophile, there isn't a point in shelling the money out. Especially before you've tried what's free.
July 9, 2010 3:19:00 PM

Both the monitors I listed are 120hz which is a technology I wish to explore whether or not I go the 3D route.

Are you certain that 2 470's wont be powerful enough? From the various benchmarks I see it looks like all games are playable in 3d at 1080p except metro 2033 which I guess Ill have to play in 2D. Im pretty certain with my 2x470's option and it'll take a strong argument against 3D vision to convince to go with ATI (which I know are price/performance kings atm).

Ill go with the X4 955 then thanks for the suggestion.

Okay thanks for tip on RAM Ill find some 1666mhz sticks

Can anyone confirm the x8/x8 point? seems a little strange to me....

If people have run sli 480's on 850w psus then surely 2 470's will be fine.

I plan to record my band on this computer so a dedicated sound card in the future is a needed.
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July 9, 2010 3:25:47 PM

Two 470s would be powerful enough, but you're not starting with two. A single 470 isn't powerful enough. Two 470s cost $700ish, which is in the range I listed...

Tom's did a review on it. That's where the 4% comes from. I'm trying to find the article now...

They may be running two 480s on an 850W, but I'm willing to bet they aren't doing any overclocking and don't have any extras involved. I wouldn't want to be cutting it that close.

EDIT: Here's the article with the 4%: PCI Express and Crossfire Scaling: Is P55 Good Enough?. Here's the quote: "Test results showed that a PCIe x8 slot provides 4% less performance when using the fastest possible single GPU, and those results did translate into a 4% performance deficit in CrossFire. That 4% loss isn’t horrific, and less powerful cards would likely show less performance difference."

Also, here's the article on the power consumption of the 480: Power Consumption: The GTX 480 Update. At load, dual 480s use 682W, without any overclocking or other special configurations. That would run on an 850W unit, but it's pushing it close to the rated wattage that the efficiency would be shot. I'd spend extra to run the PSU at a lower load and save the unit some wear and tear.
July 9, 2010 9:29:37 PM

Okay I owe you a beer. x8/x8 boards are 1/3 cheaper.
Will you reccomend me a psu that will do the job?
And revisiting your 3d vision point whats the issue? It works fine on some games and mediocrely on most, with more 3d titles emerging. It cuts framerates in half as expected and looks great. Whats going to get better with it?
July 9, 2010 9:51:29 PM

Anything from Corsair, Antec, SeaSonic or Silverstone would ensure you get a quality unit.

The problem is that it doesn't look great. Have you ever seen one of the 3D movies that was shot for 2D and converted later? They look like crap. There was the same problem when full HD was just being introduced. Things shot in standard definition and converted to be "HD" didn't look right. It's taken a good 5 years before the technology has really become widespread and useful. It's the same thing with 3D. Right now, it's just not done right or at least done right enough to make it a worthy while expense.

There are two possible outcomes for 3D right now. The first is that it goes the was HD-DVD did, as in extinct. People could come to realize that paying more for the inferior product (and yes, it's inferior right now because of the quality, the expense, the way it makes you feel sick to your stomach, the need to wear glasses to improve all of that, etc.) is not what they want to do. They'll abandon it and move on.

The other option is that slowly (i.e. 2-3 years) they're going to improve the quality. This will cause people to demand improvements to the technology, which will make it more mainstream. That's when you want to join in. If you join in early, you get the unfinished (and possibly abandoned) product and you get to pay more for the pleasure of having it.
July 10, 2010 12:11:16 AM

MacAdmiral you dont need a 3D gaming monitor you just need a good graphics card and a 120hz screen with nvidia's 3D kit
July 10, 2010 8:23:26 AM

A 120hz monitor is a 3d monitor. But because there are so few every single one is marketed with the 3d vision aspect included.

Basically the price tag broke the dual 470 idea for me. A single 470 is price equivalent to 2 5830 so thats the route im going. Ill just have to wait for ATI's 3D solution.
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