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First Gaming Comp Build $3,000ish

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July 10, 2010 6:22:21 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This week

BUDGET RANGE: $2500-3500 + Monitor

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, media center, gaming, programming, internet

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, speakers, OS

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com, amazon.com, open to suggestions

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: None (aside from leaning towards Intel), just want parts with good warranties that don't need them.

OVERCLOCKING: Yes

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Widescreen, not sure on resolution yet.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I want to include water cooling and over clocking, not so much from necessity, but for fun.



Most of the parts I have already selected are just straight from this site's March performance computer build (since it coincidently matches up really well with what I have in mind). For the most part I am just looking for confirmation on the changes I did/didn't make. Also, my knowledge on monitors is limited. I might be able to be talked into some new peripherals, as mine still work, but are getting old. Any advice at all would be greatly appreciated. :) 

If it matters, I plan on running Windows 7 on this computer.


Internal Blu-ray Burner
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

COOLER MASTER COSMOS S RC-1100-KKN1-GP Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?cm_mmc=Tomsh...

Crucial RealSSD C300 CTFDDAC128MAG-1G1 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD7 LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel Core i7-920 Bloomfield 2.66GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor BX80601920
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SILVERSTONE ST1000-P 1000W ATX 12V v2.3 & EPS 12V 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

XFX ATI Radeon HD 5970 2 GB DDR5 PCIE2.0 X 16 HDMI/2DVI Video Card HD597ACNB9
http://www.amazon.com/XFX-Radeon-PCIE2-0-Video-HD597ACN...

Crucial 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?cm_mmc=Tomsh...

Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Cooling: Not sure on this yet. I had some trouble finding the kit the guide referenced, and I also saw a few people suggesting that more extensive cooling should be done.


There might not be much that you guys can add onto this, since it is mostly straight out of this site's guide, but I still wanted to run it by the community. I know some things can change in just a few months. Hopefully I did not leave anything out.

Best solution

July 11, 2010 4:18:11 AM

ok so overall you have most of a great build, but let me give you a few pointers...

first, get a Core i7 930... it was built to replace the 920. it is faster and cheaper, no real cons for this one...

Next, i would probably down grade the motherboard to

GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

there isn't a tremendous amount of difference. i would take the extra $130 and buy a good creative(better for gaming) or asus(better for music) sound card. this is just personal preferance/priorities so weigh this how you will.

looking at the rest of the stuff you listed, everything looks great (you might look at the 6Gb/s version of your WD HDD. it costs $15 more if i remember right). As for the unlisted things here are my recommendations.

For cooling i would recommend either the corsair H80 which is low end water cooling or the Noctua NH-D14 which is high end air. You could of course go for a Custom water loop in which case i recommend swiftech parts.

For monitors, i would probably recommend the samsung XL2370. it is the high end of TN monitors. TN are not great for color accuracy or viewing angles but they have the fastest response times which is great for gaming. If you wanted better color accuracy, i would recommend either the dell U2311, 2410, 2711 (depended on your budget). These are IPS which are more accurate and have wider viewing angles, but again these are not as fast and cost more so there is a trade off.

Anyways, these are all suggestions take them or leave um, it is up to you. But i do hope they help, good luck, and happy gaming!



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July 11, 2010 4:29:47 AM

I'd be going against a sound card unless you're an audiophile or something close. The onboard sound'll be good enough for most people, even at this budget.
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July 11, 2010 5:59:00 AM

Best answer selected by Ultraseamus.
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July 11, 2010 6:03:35 AM

Thank you both, exactly what I was looking for.

Your suggestions sounds pretty good rammar. I was actually having a hard time figuring out if the higher number i7s were really better. Everyone was raving about the 920, I was worried the next step might have been somehow backwards. :) 

And I agree with you about the sound card Mark; I have never really noticed any deficiencies with on board sound. Though, I suppose it is entirely possible that I do not know what I am missing. ;) 
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July 11, 2010 6:04:31 AM

err... that was a quick best answer.

You could swap out the 5970 for a pair of 470s with the extra money from the mobo. Should add a bit of performance, while making a nice option in the middle of winter :p 

btw, his cpu+mobo are good recommendations are good.
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July 11, 2010 6:08:39 AM

Mark Heath said:
err... that was a quick best answer.

You could swap out the 5970 for a pair of 470s with the extra money from the mobo. Should add a bit of performance, while making a nice option in the middle of windter :p 



Haha, yeah. I have a bad habit of not reading dialog boxes. I am new, did not realize it was a final choice. Just like pressing buttons. :p 

That sounds like a good suggestion. An extra kick in the graphics department might be nice, I will check them out.
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July 11, 2010 6:11:02 AM

haha.. right

The performance difference between the 2 won't be massive, but enough to justify the cost, especially since the 470s have hit a slightly lower price (in the US anyway). Still, should be better and makes a good heater.

btw, welcome to Tom's :D 
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July 11, 2010 6:20:25 AM

Mark Heath said:
haha.. right

The performance difference between the 2 won't be massive, but enough to justify the cost, especially since the 470s have hit a slightly lower price (in the US anyway). Still, should be better and makes a good heater.

btw, welcome to Tom's :D 


I see now that selecting an answer also marked my question as solved... Lesson learned. ;P

I think I will go with the 470s, more power is always better, and who out there does not wish they had an extra space heater. Thanks for the welcome! :) 
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July 11, 2010 6:31:50 AM

Ultraseamus said:
I see now that selecting an answer also marked my question as solved... Lesson learned. ;P

I think I will go with the 470s, more power is always better, and who out there does not wish they had an extra space heater. Thanks for the welcome! :) 

All the best with the build. And you're welcome :D 
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July 11, 2010 11:26:27 AM

don't get a sound card the corsair h50 sucks get the prolimatech megahalms rev.b or the scythe mugen 2 get the samsung f3 1tb don't get the wd that psu is so overkill i would get a corsair 850tx or hx for the ram get some g.skill pi 6gb ddr3 1600 mhz cl6 or 7 that crucial ssd has problems it bricks and the firmware updates didn't solve it and as said earlier get the x58a ud3r
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July 11, 2010 12:46:58 PM

mrhoshos96 said:
don't get a sound card the corsair h50 sucks get the prolimatech megahalms rev.b or the scythe mugen 2 get the samsung f3 1tb don't get the wd that psu is so overkill i would get a corsair 850tx or hx for the ram get some g.skill pi 6gb ddr3 1600 mhz cl6 or 7 that crucial ssd has problems it bricks and the firmware updates didn't solve it and as said earlier get the x58a ud3r

That's not a run on sentence at all...

The F3 is better than the WD hds atm, there are 2 RAM kits that I'd use for this and they are:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
With the tridents, other members here say that they can easily be put on CAS6 at 1600
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July 11, 2010 1:09:44 PM

Well, you put in an apostrophe, so you can't be too bad ;) 

Also, can somebody confirm that 2 470s will fit in the GA-X58A-UD3R fine?
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July 11, 2010 1:30:58 PM

ya i think it will work in overclockersclub review they say that it comes with a wide flexible SLI connector and a solid PCB Tri-SLI bracket


u can see in the pic that the 1st pci express is x16 the 2nd is x8 the 3rd is x16 and the 4th is x8
and here u can see how tall the sli bridges that they include

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July 11, 2010 1:33:24 PM

Yeh, that looks fine to me. Thanks '96.. or Mr hoshos, or mrhoshos96, whichever you prefer.
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July 11, 2010 1:35:37 PM

Mark Heath said:
Yeh, that looks fine to me. Thanks '96.. or Mr hoshos, or mrhoshos96, whichever you prefer.

no prob man [:isamuelson:9]
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July 11, 2010 4:03:33 PM

Thanks for all of the continued advice, anything to help me get this right the first time. :) 

From what I am reading, it sounds like I should at least be changing the RAM and HD I plan on using; with the alternatives listed that should be pretty simple. But mrhoshos96 also said that the ssd I had picked out had issues; is there another model in particular I should consider?
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July 12, 2010 1:28:18 PM

For SSDs, the Crucial C300s are the fastest ones out there right now. i dont know about any glitches/hardware problems, but if you want to change the Corsair Nova series, Intels X-80s, and OCZs agility series are all deceit. if you want to do the research yourself, visit tweaktown.com. they have quite a few SDD reviews.

as for the rest of the changes they look great. Samsung HDDs tend to be faster than WD (not a huge deal with an SDD running the OS but faster none the less). Also switching over to 2 GTX470s while an interesting way to go is definitely faster( although a 5970 can run anything out there at 1080 or 1200P just fine). Mostly it will future proof your rig.

anyways looks like you got some great advice! good luck and happy gaming!
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July 12, 2010 1:45:28 PM

A follow up on the 470s on the mobo. I asked Techmo about it and although it will work, with the heat generated etc it could cause problems.
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July 12, 2010 2:23:07 PM

well if u want 480's/470's in sli then u must have a watercooling system
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July 12, 2010 2:24:36 PM

Is this build watercooled (or at least the graphics)?
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July 12, 2010 7:27:05 PM

Mark Heath said:
Is this build watercooled (or at least the graphics)?



Yes, I am planning to watercool it, but that is new ground for me. I am currently looking at the H20-220 Ultima XT, while also considering the possibility of getting a three-fan radiator instead of two; I am not sure exactly how much that heat could handle as far as future upgrades are concerned. That is pretty much the final aspect of my build that is left to be resolved; any advice would be appreciated. :) 

Obviously I am hoping from something that cools really well, is somewhat quite, and easy to assemble would be a plus. It would also be cool (no pun intended) for future computer upgrades could be handled without big changes. I know I want everything to be internal.


Starting to wonder if I should repost my amended parts list and remaining questions in a new thread. I think having this one marked as solved is giving most people the crazy idea that it has been solved. :p 
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July 12, 2010 7:39:00 PM

If the budget is 3500, there should be enough to water-cool those cards, but this is something the OP needs to be certain about... real water cooling loops are not easy and require upkeep. Ideally you would need a double loop for this setup which would run around 6-700 dollars. (And you must be very careful that the GPUs you buy have stock PCBs, so that the waterblocks fit.)

I do think that you should consider a wider space for SLI. There is just too little reason to go with a tight board.

Asus P6T deluxe V2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASRock X58 Extreme
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I don't usually point to ASRock, but they have a good rep. They came out very high in a survey I did last year to try to measure durability amongst brands.



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July 13, 2010 1:38:59 AM

Proximon said:
If the budget is 3500, there should be enough to water-cool those cards, but this is something the OP needs to be certain about... real water cooling loops are not easy and require upkeep. Ideally you would need a double loop for this setup which would run around 6-700 dollars. (And you must be very careful that the GPUs you buy have stock PCBs, so that the waterblocks fit.)

I do think that you should consider a wider space for SLI. There is just too little reason to go with a tight board.

Asus P6T deluxe V2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASRock X58 Extreme
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I don't usually point to ASRock, but they have a good rep. They came out very high in a survey I did last year to try to measure durability amongst brands.



Well, I am pretty sure that I want to try water cooling, assuming I do not get scared off. :p  I do not mind having to put some initial effort into setting it up, and I can stand the maintenance as long as it is not absurd (what I have read makes it sound like it only requires checking water levels every few months).

I am not yet positive whether I want to start with two graphics cards or not (seems like one really powerful card would make a future upgrade cheaper/easier); then again, when I do have to upgrade it may make just as much sense to buy two new cards. But one way or the other, I do plan to eventually have two; so I want to be prepared for that with this build.

I am hoping that my mobo in particular will be as future proof as possible, so if I do get one of the larger boards you suggested, I would probably lean towards the one with USB 3.0 ports.
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July 13, 2010 2:30:50 AM

You'll find a link in my guide to the Extreme Systems Forum, where all the real water cooling folks hang out ;)  I enjoy my simple CPU loop and will probably expand it at some point to include a GPU.

Water cooling is really not bad if you are mechanically inclined. An older guy like me, who grew up replacing his own water pumps and thermostats on his cars, has no problems.

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July 13, 2010 4:00:24 AM

Proximon said:
You'll find a link in my guide to the Extreme Systems Forum, where all the real water cooling folks hang out ;)  I enjoy my simple CPU loop and will probably expand it at some point to include a GPU.

Water cooling is really not bad if you are mechanically inclined. An older guy like me, who grew up replacing his own water pumps and thermostats on his cars, has no problems.


Heh. My area is software, I am no wiz when it comes to tubes; but, ya gotta learn sometime. :)  I would be very happy if I ended up with a loop that had my CPU and GPU. No intention of going pro anytime soon. I will check out those forums though.

I am thinking this whole thing to death. Soon I should probably just go for go it.
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July 13, 2010 6:37:31 AM

@Proximon
oops.. sorry Proximon, I called you Techmo...

@Ultraseamus
It's good to think :p 
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