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Please advise on Gaming Rig ~$2000

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July 25, 2010 5:54:06 PM

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APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: < 1 month

BUDGET RANGE: $2000 not incl Monitor

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, Surfing, MS Office, VPN (Work) , Dreamweaver

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, mouse, speakers, webcam, monitor (possibly)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Amazon (or Tiger Direct). I live in California so Newegg charges sales tax, not an option.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel, ATI, Asus

OVERCLOCKING: Yes

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes within 6 months to a year but not initially.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Currently 1680x1050 (Viewsonic 20”) but will probably give that to the wife and get a new ~24” or run a dual monitor setup.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Windows Professional 7 64bit, I need pro as I do connect for work and I think pro would make that easier. Also this computer will be the hub of the home network that contains 2 laptops and another desktop so backups etc would be done here.

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The $2000 is not set in stone and I have a lot of flexibility but I am trying to find those sweet spot prices where you get best value and performance while maintaining the ability to upgrade at a later point, i.e. the I7 950 is almost 2x the I7 930 and not a lot of performance difference.

This is what I have so far, all from Amazon (free shipping and no tax).

Cooler Master SGC-6000-KXN1-GP Storm Sniper ATX Mid Tower Gaming Case (Black) $129.99
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001OIRUQO/ref=ord_car...
Also considered the Antec P183 and Cooler Master Haf X but just liked this case better.

ASUS LGA 1366 - Intel X58 - True USB 3.0 & SATA 6Gb/s - ATX Motherboard P6X58D-E $239.99
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003FV5XGC/ref=ord_car...
Considered ASUS Rampage Extreme III but realized this is overkill as although I plan on overclocking I won’t be turning it into a hardcore hobby.

Intel Core i7 Processor i7-930 2.80GHz 8 MB LGA1366 CPU, Retail BX80601930 $289.99
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0038JE9MU/ref=ord_car...
I prefer Intel to AMD even though my current desktop is an Athlon 3500

Noctua 6 Dual Heatpipe with 140mm/120mm Dual SSO Bearing Fans CPU Cooler NH-D14 $86.92
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002VKVZ1A/ref=ord_car...
Have not done any overclocking in the past but planning on it here.
Also considered were the Corsair H50, with dual fans.

Seagate Barracuda 1 TB 7200RPM SATA 3Gb/s 32 MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Desktop Hard Drive ST310005N1A1AS-RK-Retail Kit $79.99
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0012YXWWQ/ref=ord_car...
Retail kit because if I am going to need to buy SATA cables etc might as well pay $10 more and get them here in the retail package. Also considered the WD Caviar Black 1TB.

Intel 80 GB X25M Mainstream SATA II Solid-State Drive (SSD) Retail Package SSDSA2MH080G2R5 $219.99
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002IJA1EG/ref=ord_car...
This will house the OS along with whatever other apps will benefit most from an SSD.

Corsair CMPSU-850HX 850-Watt HX Professional Series 80 Plus Certified Power Supply compatible with Core i7 and Core i5 $169.99 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0029F21LA/ref=ord_car...
Also considered were the Corsair 850TX but like the fact this one is modular. I know this is overkill at the moment but I will be overclocking along with crossfire at some point in the future.

Mushkin Enhanced Redline Frostbyte 6 GB Desktop Memory 998805 $199.99
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00368CI4Y/ref=ord_car...
Considered Corsair as well but everyone seems to rave about the Mushkin

RADEON HD 5870 1GB DDR5 HDMI Graphics Card HD587XZNFC $379.99
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0037YMWXO/ref=ord_car...
Will be buying a second one down the road, could buy one now but don’t really need it so figured might as well wait as the 2nd one will be cheaper in 6-12 months when I do need it. I see many brands and the prices seem to vary a lot even btwn different XFX versions of the 5870, anyone have any reasons why I shouldn’t get this one as it is about the cheapest 5870. I prefer ATI to Nvidia

LG Electronics GH22NS50 22X SATA Super Multi DVD+/-RW Internal Drive - Bulk with Software (Black) $23.99
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002C9K3UO/ref=ord_car...

Windows 7 PRO 64 Bit System Builder 1pk $139.99
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002NGQLIE/ref=ord_car...

Total price on Amazon $1960.82

I will probably end up getting a monitor as well and either hooking up my existing 20” Viewsonic (1680x1050) in a dual monitor setup or more likely giving that one to my wife.

The monitor I am looking at is the ASUS VW246H 24-Inch Widescreen LCD Monitor - Black
http://www.amazon.com/ASUS-VW246H-24-Inch-Widescreen-Mo...

More about : advise gaming rig 2000

a c 84 B Homebuilt system
July 26, 2010 4:11:14 PM

It's not that great of a build. I also wouldn't write Newegg off entirely jsut because of taxes. A similarly performing build would only cost $1,600ish before taxes on Newegg. That's a big difference. I'll post what would be preferred below. Feel free to compare to other sites though:

CPU/PSU: i7-930 and Cosair 950W $395 afer rebate. The 850HX is a great PSU too, but this is an excellent combo.
Mobo/OS: Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R and Windows Pro $340. A cheaper board that's just as good. Also, Home would likely be just as good for $40 less.
RAM: G.Skill Trident 3x2 GB 2000 mhz CAS Latency 9 $185. Some faster sticks that are also cheaper.
GPU: HD 5970 $680. With your budget, why not get the best out there?
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB $70. It's faster than the Seagate, and slightly higher quality.
Case: HAF 922 $90. A much better, much cheaper case. I does look rather ugly though. I'd also check out the Antec 902 (a tight fit for the 5970) and Coolermaster Cosmos.
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $18
HSF: Sycthe SCMG-2100 $35. An excellent cooler at a lower price. It's not necessarily better, but it's certainly a better buy.

Total: $1,813. That might be enough savings over the taxes to be cheaper overall, but if it's not, check the prices on the same components elsewhere. I'd be surprised if the other places were cheaper, even without taxes.

I left out the SSD because they're too expensive right now. The prices will fall a lot, so buy one then. Also, they don't actually improve performance. They only improve the perception of performance. I'd rather spend it on something that actually makes a difference, like the GPU.
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July 26, 2010 4:50:53 PM

Thanks for your help/suggestions since I posted I actually found out that the Microcenter near me has the I7 930 for $199 so I will be getting that there.

The tax thing is important as your build will cost me $150 in taxes and the total prices ends up about $30 more than my Amazon build.

The main difference seems to be swapping out the SSD and spending that money on the 5970 instead.

I looked at the 5970 but it just didn't seem worth the 75% price increase to me. While gaming is important I also do a lot of of work (software development) from home, so I would rather have the SSD (for the OS/Applications) than the top of the line gaming card. I realize the SSD is going to get cheaper which is why at this point I am only considering the 80gb or even 40gb. Of course the 5970 will also be a lot cheaper in the future as well.

I looked at the HAF922 case at Frys and just didn't like it as much as the Storm Sniper.



I will check into the Gigabyte, Samsung Spinpoint, Gskill Ram and Scythe Cooler to see how they compare against what I've chosen.
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
July 26, 2010 5:02:24 PM

Since you seem set on the SSD, here's some changes to the build above (including the i7 from Microcenter):

GPU/PSU: HD 5870 and XFX 750W $440 after rebate
SSD: Same one is $215 on Newegg (to keep the comparision)
Case: Storm Sniper (for price comparision purposes) $130 on Newegg

Total: $1,633 on Newegg. I'm guessing the tax rate is 8.25%, putting the total with taxes around $1,770. Even including the taxes, that's a good $100-200 saved.

That's also assuming you buy everything from the same source. I'd personally buy only the things I could save money on (including tax) from where ever has it cheapest. For example, buy the GPU/PSU (a $40 combo outweighs $36 tax), RAM (maybe, as higher speed plus $15 might outweighs the $16 tax), and HDD ($10, higher quality and slightly faster speeds outweighs the $6 tax) from Newegg , the CPU from Microcenter and the rest from Amazon. That would represent the greatest savings across the board.
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July 26, 2010 5:33:03 PM

MadAdmiral said:
Since you seem set on the SSD, here's some changes to the build above (including the i7 from Microcenter):

GPU/PSU: HD 5870 and XFX 750W $440 after rebate
SSD: Same one is $215 on Newegg (to keep the comparision)
Case: Storm Sniper (for price comparision purposes) $130 on Newegg

Total: $1,633 on Newegg. I'm guessing the tax rate is 8.25%, putting the total with taxes around $1,770. Even including the taxes, that's a good $100-200 saved.

That's also assuming you buy everything from the same source. I'd personally buy only the things I could save money on (including tax) from where ever has it cheapest. For example, buy the GPU/PSU (a $40 combo outweighs $36 tax), RAM (maybe, as higher speed plus $15 might outweighs the $16 tax), and HDD ($10, higher quality and slightly faster speeds outweighs the $6 tax) from Newegg , the CPU from Microcenter and the rest from Amazon. That would represent the greatest savings across the board.


That is a good deal on the GPU/PSU. I have no problem buying from different sources. I was looking at the GPU and SSD from Tiger Direct since Amazon was out of stock on them, but the GPU/PSU is an excellent deal at Newegg.

So are you saying the GSkill Ram is Faster than the Mushkin Redline? My understanding was the opposite that the Mushkin is faster (tho $15 more expensive)
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
July 26, 2010 5:41:18 PM

It's slightly faster. The G.Skill sticks run at CAS Latency 9 (which is slower than the Mushkin's CL 6), but they do that at 2000 mhz (while the Mushkin's run at 1600 mhz). Since timings (latencies) and speeds change inversely, the G.Skill will run at tighter timings at 1600 mhz. I believe that they'll run at 6-6-6 at 1600 mhz vs. the Mushkin's 6-8-6 at 1600. It's not much, but why spend more and get slower sticks?

Also, the higher speeds and lower voltage on the G.Skill means they will overclock better. I believe Tom's did a study on the various triple channel dual channel kits a while ago and came away recommending the G.Skills.

EDIT: The testing they did was actually on some dual channel kits but included that set of G.Skills. I'm giong to use the results because the results should be similar. The Tridents actually were able to reach 7-8-7-19 at 2000 mhz and ran at 6-7-5-16 at 1600 mhz. The Mushkin's weren't included, but none of the 1600 mhz sticks reached the higher speeds or tighter timings of the 2000 mhz sets.
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July 27, 2010 2:10:48 PM

Best answer selected by smkuchta.
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July 27, 2010 2:13:35 PM

Thanks for your help MadAdmiral. I went with the GPU/PSU combo at Newegg as wells as the SSD from there and am getting everything else from Amazon (minus the i7 930 which is from Microcenter). Total cost incl. taxes/shipping is $1800.

This is my first build, will let you know how it goes!
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
July 27, 2010 2:21:49 PM

Make sure to check out some building guides so you're not surprised in the process. The one by tecmo34 here at Tom's is an excellent one. You can find it here: Step-by-Step Guide to Building a PC.
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