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Is this a good gaming PC or is it just overkill?

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July 26, 2010 7:50:12 PM

So I'm new to the whole build-it-yourself world of computing. I've had the same terrible computer for the past 5 years, and I can't even run the simplest of games on the lowest settings. Below is a copy of my shopping cart at a computer store up here in canada, and I was wondering if the items I had picked out were reasonable. I would love to be able to run my games with a high frame rate without my computer freezing on me for once. I don't need to run my games on the highest settings, but I'd like to run them decently high. A few games I had in mind were Black and White 2, which is a fairly old yet still somewhat demanding game, and ArmA 2: Operation Arrowhead. I don't intend on running games like Crysis on this computer though.

Anyways heres the shopping cart. As a side note, keep in mind that all of the prices are in canadian dollars, not US. Any advice on whether what I have is overkill and if I can cut back on some things, or if I'm buying parts that are a complete waste of money would be greatly appreciated :) 

Wesley

*You'll notice how I have 2 150GB 10000RPM hard drives, I decided to sacrifice the extra space for faster hard drive, I also bought 2 because I want to have them in a RAID 0 format, not because I want double the space. Do you think that 150GB will be enough? Or should I pay the extra $100 (2x$50) for 300GB?

CSAT000956 Antec Nine Hundred Two Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Ultimate Gamer Case $129.99

FNCM000558 Cooler Master Hyper 101i (RR-H101-22FK-RI) for Intel Socket LGA1156/775 $14.99

CPUI001768 Intel Core i5 750 Quad-Core Socket LGA1156, 2.66Ghz, 8MB L3 Cache, 45nm (Retail Boxed) (BX80605I5750) $214.99

2X HDWD000890 Western Digital VelociRaptor (WD1500HLFS) 150GB SATA 10000RPM 16MB Cache (OEM) $159.99

MTAS000203 Asus MS238H, 23" Ultra Slim Widescreen LED LCD Monitor, 1920x1080, 2ms, 10000000:1(ASCR), VGA, DVI-D, HDMI (Retail Box) $229.99

RAMS000607 G.SKILL Ripjaws Series DDR3 1600MHz (PC3-12800) 8GB (2x4GB) Dual Channel Kit (F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL) $299.99

MBAS002865 Asus P7P55 WS Supercomputer Socket 1156 Intel P55 Chipset SLI/CrossfireX Dual-Channel DDR3 2133(O.C.)/1600/1333/1066Mhz Dual GigaLAN 8-Ch HD Audio 2 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 Slots 6x SATA 3Gb/s IEEE1394 14x USB 2.0 ATX $224.99

PSAT000456 Antec TP-650 Truepower New 650W Continuous Power Supply $114.99 $99.99 In Stock 99.99 SWMS001580 Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (OEM) $109.99

DVAS000186 ASUS DRW-24B1ST Black SATA 24X DVD-Writer 24xDVD+R/-R 24xDVD+/-R DL 8xDVD+RW/6xDVD-RW 48xCD-R OEM $28.99

SPDU000019 Dunherm (DH-R10) 2.1 Multimedia Stylish Design PC Speaker System w/4" Subwoofer (Retail Box) $24.99

VCEV001241 EVGA GeForce GTX 460 Superclocked 768MB (768-P3-1362-AR) nVidia GeForce GTX 460 Chipset (763Mhz) 768MB (3800Mhz) GDDR5 Dual Dual-Link DVI/Mini HDMI PCI-Express 2.0 Graphics Card $239.99

Sub-Total: $1,908.89

More about : good gaming overkill

July 26, 2010 8:02:04 PM

If you're going with the 460, I recommend sticking with the 1gb version. I believe the bus is twice the size of the 768MB. 126 bit vs 256 bit.
Why not stick with a SSD drive for your OS and programs and then go with a larger HDD for storage?
Not to sound like an AMD fanboy, but you could switch to a Phenom 2 955 and combo it with a mobo and be able to overclock it even higher, running faster than the i5. It would also be cheaper.
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July 26, 2010 8:51:34 PM

Sadly it appears that Canada Computers does not cary the 1GB version of the 460 :( 
Although I looked up the reviews on the 460 and it appears that the 758MB version of the 460 is only slightly (and average of 2 or 3 frames per second) slower than the 465 (but $70 cheaper), and 5-10 frames slower than the 1GB version, which is why I went for it. Also it is SLI compatible, so I figure if I ever need more juice I could just get a second one.

As for the SSD drive, is it worth the money? I mean we've had this 120GB hard drive for the past 5 years and we still have room. Granted its only a few GBs left... But this computer would be mine and mine alone, not my families. I would also try to keep the hard drive clean of junk, so the 150GB should suffice. And I am on a budget, right now $2000 is really pushing it so I'm trying to keep it to the necessities :p  It looks like an SSD plus an HDD would come up to a bit more than my 2 current HDDs, is the performance boost that great?

Lastly, as for the Phenom 2 955, I'll look into that right now.

Like I said, I'm new to the whole build-it-yourself thing, so there are still a lot of things that I don't really know how to do, such as overclocking.

But thank you for the advice so far, it is taken into account and I will be looking into it :) 
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Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
July 26, 2010 9:00:55 PM

No time to get into the rest of it right now, but yes, an SSD is well worth it over a Velociraptor. SSDs should be considered optional in bgaming builds around $1500, highly suggested at $2k+, and a no-brainer at $2500+.

Here's some light reading on SSDs. :) 
Anandtech's SSD Relapse - a good overview of the technology, but a few months old, so the product recommendations are a bit dated.
bit-tech SSD Buyer's Guide - pretty recent, good overview of the various controllers
techreport article on SSD value - recent, includes comparisons vs. traditional HDDs.
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July 26, 2010 9:21:18 PM

So I was looking in to the Phenom II 955 and a motherboard, but it appears that there are no motherboards that are both compatible with the 955 AND are SLI ready :S Maybe its just me and my ineptitude to find what I'm looking for, or maybe canada computers simply doesn't carry it. Either way, I decided I would give you guys the link for canada computers, that way (if you're really feeling generous and want to help a newbie like me) you could check it out for yourself and tell me if they don't make them, or if I'm completely oblivious.

Also, how would I split certain things with my SSD and certain things with my HDD? Remember, I am on a budget and $2000 is REALLY pushing it. From what I can tell SSD drives are fairly expensive, and I don't know if they're worth the extra money...

Link to canada computers: www.canadacomputers.com

UPDATE: So like I said I've been looking into AMD and it appears they work best with ATI. I know that ATI have really good mid-range graphics cards. Any ideas for what cards to look at? Remember, I don't need the BEST, I just want something that'll do good on most demanding games, but I'd like to keep it as cheap as possible.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 26, 2010 10:01:13 PM

5850 I would recommend for ATI. The GTX460 is a nice card, but it is inferior to the 5850 in terms of performance, particularly at the resolution you play at. The 5850 handles most games at HD resolution and if the need arises in future you can then OC it. The 460 being a bit weaker will be fine for many games but will need to be OC'd far sooner.

Of course, you mentioned that you don't need to play on high settings, so saving money to get a GTX460 may be a fine option for you. Though me personally, the choice between a fast HDD or an SSD or using that money for a decent graphics card to make my games prettier...it would be the card everytime
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 26, 2010 10:20:43 PM
July 26, 2010 10:28:22 PM

768mb gtx 460 has 192 bit bus, and its not worth the price premium, as well as the velociraptors, you might as well get a decent sized ssd, with trim, and a normal hard drive for storage
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July 26, 2010 10:34:28 PM

Yeah but I know absolutely nothing about SSDs... Or trim for that matter... If you could be kind enough to head over to canadacomputers.com and give me a few suggestions on SSDs and HDDs it would be GREATLY appreciated :)  Remember, I really want to keep this below $2000, I don't know if a SSD is within my budget.

As for the video card, originally I was looking at the 5830, but after revision it looks like the 5850 might be worth the extra 100$ for the added 10 frames per second on the highest settings...
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July 26, 2010 11:55:32 PM

Definitely grab an SSD, you wont be sorry, I use the Intel ones.
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July 27, 2010 12:07:16 AM

Ok. But I still know nothing about them, what size would I need? And what is trim? Also falseg0d mentioned using the SSD for the OS and programs, and the HDD for storage, how would I set that up?
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July 27, 2010 1:36:10 AM

Ok everyone, after much revision and research, I've come up with a cheaper (and what I believe to be better) system. So here it is, the shopping cart v2.0. Please comment as any advice is greatly appreciated :) 

CPUA001592 AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition (125W) Quad Core Socket AM3, 3.2GHz, 8Mb Cache, 1800MHz HT, 45nm (HDZ955FBGMBOX) $179.99

MBAS002953 Asus M4A79XTD EVO Socket AM3 AMD 790X Chipset + ATI SB750 Dual-Channel DDR3 1800(O.C.)/1600/1333/1066Mhz 2x PCI-Express x16 2.0 6x SATA 3Gb/s 8-Ch HD Audio GigaLAN IEEE1394 12x USB2.0 ATX $122.99

FNCM000566 Cooler Master Hyper 101A (RR-H101-22FK-RA) for AMD Socket AM3/AM2/940/939 $14.99

DVAS000186 ASUS DRW-24B1ST Black SATA 24X DVD-Writer 24xDVD+R/-R 24xDVD+/-R DL 8xDVD+RW/6xDVD-RW 48xCD-R OEM $28.99

HDWD000359 Western Digital Caviar Blue (WD5000AAKS) 500GB SATAII 7200RPM 16MB Buffer (OEM) $46.99

MTAS000203 Asus MS238H, 23" Ultra Slim Widescreen LED LCD Monitor, 1920x1080, 2ms, 10000000:1(ASCR), VGA, DVI-D, HDMI (Retail Box) $209.99

VCXF000693 XFX ATI Radeon HD 5850 (HD-585X-ZAFC) ATI Radeon HD 5850 Chipset (725Mhz) 1GB (4000Mhz) DDR5 Dual Dual-Link DVI/HDMI/Display Port PCI-Express 2.1 Graphics Card $324.99

SPDU000019 Dunherm (DH-R10) 2.1 Multimedia Stylish Design PC Speaker System w/4" Subwoofer (Retail Box) $24.99

SWMS001580 Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (OEM) $109.99

PSAT000456 Antec TP-650 Truepower New 650W Continuous Power Supply $99.99

RAMS000607 G.SKILL Ripjaws Series DDR3 1600MHz (PC3-12800) 8GB (2x4GB) Dual Channel Kit (F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL) $299.99

SMOC000838 OCZ (OCZSSD2-2VTXE60G) Vertex 2 Extended SATA II 2.5" 60GB Solid State Drive, Read: 285MB/s, Write: 275MB/s $189.99

CSNX000297 NZXT M59 Classic Series Mid Tower Black Interior Case $69.99

FNCM000582 2x Cooler Master 120mm Blue LED SickleFlow 2000 RPM Long Life Case Fan (R4-L2R-20AC-GP) $19.98 (2x$9.99)

Sub-Total: $1,743.85
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July 27, 2010 1:48:54 AM

The evga GTX 460 1gb superclocked EE is among the fastest 460s Ive seen tested and its just $249. Keeps up with and in some cases bests the 5850 and easily dominates 5830
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July 27, 2010 2:12:37 AM

Ok guys I REALLY need to cut down on the price, what do you guys think I could sacrifice?
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July 27, 2010 2:58:47 AM

I'm new to building my own computer as well, but I've been doing quite a bit of research and figure'd I'd share my perspective.

- SSDs will only reduce the time it takes to read from the drive. That is: faster loading of windows, apps, and whatever needs to be loaded in a game, which is not much. It's 100% optional as you'll need another hard drive to store your data on anyway.

- 8 gigs of ram seems like overkill for gaming. 4 sounds like the sweet spot.

- It sounds like the 5850 is a monster of a card. If possible, wait for the gtx460 1GB to become available. (Beyond 1680x1050, the 768MB card doesn't cut it, so you'll really want that 1GB version). But if you can't wait, then the 5850 won't disappoint.
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July 27, 2010 3:03:19 AM

http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=2...
You could get two of these, they have better timings than the ram you chose and if you get two sets It's cheaper for the same amount.

When I build a computer, that is the EXACT case I would choose, It's a great find. Fill it with fans and nothing will overheat.
I really like your build. You start off with 1900, cut it down to 1700 and then say you still need to cut back? I would recommend cutting back on the video card a bit if you need to. The SSD + HDD that you found both look pretty good.
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July 27, 2010 3:05:01 AM

Also your mobo just went down to $102, so you should double check on those prices.

Edit: Yes, you could also just cut back to 4 gb, I don't know how much of a difference you would see with 8 seeing as I haven't experienced it myself. If you need to, cut down to 4, if not you could go with 8.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 27, 2010 3:45:06 AM

There's no need to go with 8 GB for gaming, games are highly unlikely to need that much memory until after everyone (and I mean everyone) has switched to 64-bit. Possibly not even for a while after that. Most commercial applications are still coded 32-bit. This G.Skill kit is 1600 MHz CL7, for $111.

If you're stretching your budget as is, don't get an SSD. They're great, but they're not worth blowing your budget for right now.

Cutting RAM to 4 GB and losing the SSD saves you about $370. You could get this Sapphire 5870 instead of the 5850 and still come out at about $275 saved off your build above and end up with a better graphics card.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 27, 2010 8:12:07 AM

Agreed. Hadn't noticed the RAM when I first posted. 8gb is massive overkill. 4gb is all you need for gaming, anymore is wasted.

If you still need to save drop the budget then get rid of the SSD. It really is an indulgent item, aside from speedier loading it offers you no performance gains for all that money.

The 5850 is worth getting over a GTX460. While it is true a superclocked GTX460 does out perform the 5850, people are ignoring the fact that the 5850 can also be Overclocked (and it overclocks very well)
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July 27, 2010 8:31:07 AM

I would go with an 5850, better bang for your buck and they run much cooler and use less power then the 460's My buddy just got a 460 and it runs way hot, they all do. I saw it get up to 88C so make sure if you do get a new fermi card that you have decent cooling. I would not get a SSD drive yet. Yes 8gb is overkill. You will have a beast of a machine. Also consider mabey a better cpu cooler, I am not saying that coolermaster isn't great but I would overclock that cpu you have, mabey get the coolermaster hype 212 so you can oc really well which will help a lot with games in the future and will help you out a lot if you decide to get a second video card.

Everything looks great. Good luck!
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July 27, 2010 5:23:27 PM

First of all I'd like to thank everyone for their help so far. As you can see I didn't really know what I was doing : P

As for the 4GB memory cards, they say that they are compatible with intel P55 chipset, does that mean that they won't run on my current motherboard?

And the reason I am once again cutting back, is because I just realized how much tax was : P
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July 27, 2010 5:37:37 PM

wes3449 said:
First of all I'd like to thank everyone for their help so far. As you can see I didn't really know what I was doing : P

As for the 4GB memory cards, they say that they are compatible with intel P55 chipset, does that mean that they won't run on my current motherboard?

And the reason I am once again cutting back, is because I just realized how much tax was : P


No, they're completely fine with an AMD board, they're just advertising it as compatible with the P55 chipset so they'll sell more kits. They'll still work in your motherboard.

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July 27, 2010 5:53:06 PM

Ok sounds good :) 

Oh so what should I do for my HDDs? I'm thinking about 2 500GB 7200RPM drives in RAID 0, but do you think that'll suffice? Or should I go back to the 10000RPM drives?
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July 27, 2010 7:21:58 PM

I don't want to beat a dead horse, and I can see that you are apprehensive about getting an SSD, but it really is worth it in performance I think, if you want extra speed I think definitely go with a boot drive SSD like the intel X25-M and another 7200 rpm drive for storage over the raptors
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 27, 2010 7:49:24 PM

Samsung Spinpoint F3 500gb HDDs are good. The 10000RPMs just are not worth it. If you really want that faster loading time then Jedi is right, bite the bullet and get an SSD. While I myself consider the SSD a low priority, I would much rather get one than an expensive HDD
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July 27, 2010 7:56:44 PM

Yeah looks like I'm going to be sticking with 7200RPM HDDs for now... A decent sized SSD is way outside my price-range, and the 10000RPM HDDs just appear not to be worth it. I figure I can always just upgrade for a SSD later on. So I should be posting the (hopefully) FINAL shopping cart soon.
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July 27, 2010 8:26:22 PM

Ok everyone here it is, the shopping cart v2.2. Hopefully this will be the final variation of my shopping carts. Once again I'd like to thank everyone for their help, it is GREATLY appreciated :) 

CPUA001592 AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition (125W) Quad Core Socket AM3, 3.2GHz, 8Mb Cache, 1800MHz HT, 45nm (HDZ955FBGMBOX) $179.999

FNCM000566 Cooler Master Hyper 101A (RR-H101-22FK-RA) for AMD Socket AM3/AM2/940/939 $14.99

DVAS000186 ASUS DRW-24B1ST Black SATA 24X DVD-Writer 24xDVD+R/-R 24xDVD+/-R DL 8xDVD+RW/6xDVD-RW 48xCD-R OEM $28.99

HDWD000359 2x Western Digital Caviar Blue (WD5000AAKS) 500GB SATAII 7200RPM 16MB Buffer (OEM) $93.98 (2x46.99

MTAS000203 Asus MS238H, 23" Ultra Slim Widescreen LED LCD Monitor, 1920x1080, 2ms, 10000000:1(ASCR), VGA, DVI-D, HDMI (Retail Box) $209.99

VCXF000693 XFX ATI Radeon HD 5850 (HD-585X-ZAFC) ATI Radeon HD 5850 Chipset (725Mhz) 1GB (4000Mhz) DDR5 Dual Dual-Link DVI/HDMI/Display Port PCI-Express 2.1 Graphics Card $324.99

CSNX000297 NZXT M59 Classic Series Mid Tower Black Interior Case $69.99

FNCM000582 2x Cooler Master 120mm Blue LED SickleFlow 2000 RPM Long Life Case Fan (R4-L2R-20AC-GP) $19.98

SPDU000019 Dunherm (DH-R10) 2.1 Multimedia Stylish Design PC Speaker System w/4" Subwoofer (Retail Box) $24.99

SWMS001580 Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (OEM) $109.99

PSAT000456 Antec TP-650 Truepower New 650W Continuous Power Supply $99.99

RAMP000411 Patriot Viper Series DDR3 PC3-12800 1600MHz 4GB (2x2GB) CL 7-7-7-20 Low Latency DIMM Kit (PVS34G1600LLK) $122.99

MBAS002953 Asus M4A79XTD EVO Socket AM3 AMD 790X Chipset + ATI SB750 Dual-Channel DDR3 1800(O.C.)/1600/1333/1066Mhz 2x PCI-Express x16 2.0 6x SATA 3Gb/s 8-Ch HD Audio GigaLAN IEEE1394 12x USB2.0 ATX $122.99

Sub-Total: $1,423.85
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July 28, 2010 3:35:11 PM

Looks good man, although 650W is pushing the envelope a little bit if you want to upgrade to another graphics card or something in the future. Other than that it looks pretty solid.
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July 29, 2010 12:44:01 AM

650 watts is fine to add another card
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July 29, 2010 12:53:18 AM

Looking at the Legit Reviews article on it, you're right. You really only need about a 550w or 600w to play it safe. Sorry about that. :) 
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