Advice on a new gaming PC


BUDGET RANGE: $1,000-$1,200

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming (Starcraft 2, Diablo 3 when it comes out, Guild Wars, random stuff like the new Alien Swarm), then web browsing with some Netflix action

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, mouse, monitor (though want a new one), and could re-use the memory below:
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-4GBPQ

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS:, mainly to have it all arrive on the same day


$100 Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
$135 EVGA 512-P3-N871-AR GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB 256-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16
$80 Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W Continuous Power ATX12V Ver.2.2
$180 AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ965FBGMBOX
$125 G.SKILL Trident 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2000 (PC3 16000) Desktop Memory Model F3-16000CL9D-4GBTD
$190 Western Digital VelociRaptor WD3000HLFS 300GB 10000 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
$30 ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 64 Pro 92mm Ceramic CPU Cooler
$100 Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
$210 ASUS Crosshair IV Formula AM3 AMD 890FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
$1,140 after $40 instant off case, $20 instant off mobo, $20 instant off PSU, $10 combo off Win 7 + GPU.

OVERCLOCKING: I would like to learn more about this, so possibly yes. But I don't really know how to do it.


MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1280x1024 on a 17" currently, but looking for a new monitor (19" or 21"), or possibly hooking this up to a LCD TV.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I may be hooking this computer up to a LCD TV and using it as a psuedo-media center PC.

These are the questions I have:
1. I'm not looking for top end stuff, but I want this machine to be "up there" and be able to run the games I listed maxed out. I'd like to be able to play games like Crysis set pretty high, but don't need them to be maxed out (though obviously nice if they could be). Are my components up to snuff? Are there any areas I can spend just a little more to get better stuff, or a little less and not sacrifice stuff?
2. Will my components be compatible with eachother?
3. The memory list on the mobo's manufacturer site doesn't list DDR3 2000 RAM, it only goes up to 1866, but G.SKILL F3-150000CL9D-4GB RH&TD memory is listed as compatible, so I'm hoping the memory I have here is OK.
4. I have an Antec P180 silver case on my current machine, and I like it, but the cables are hard to wire up through the bottom wind tunnel thing. The case I chose here, while I'm not a huge fan of it aesthetically, is super highly rated on NewEgg, so I figure it's OK. I'm open to case suggestions.
5. Not sure I need the heatsink/fan cooling unit, but I figure it's better to be safe than sorry.
6. I don't know how to calculate how much power a computer will need, and I don't know too much about PSUs other than I believe Antec to be good. Is that PSU a smart choice?
7. I'm also in need of a decent gaming headphone with a mic, any suggestions?
8. Could use monitor suggestions too while we're at it, though I'm not 100% sure I will get one.
9. How do I go about (safely) overclocking? Is it done easily through a BIOS utility or do I have to figure out the math myself and make the correct adjustments?

Thanks so much for the help! This is a big purchase for me and I want to make sure I get it right.
8 answers Last reply
More about advice gaming
  1. I would look into a setup like this one below IMO is a better deal for the money

    Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
    Item #: N82E16822148395
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
    Protect Your Investment (expand for options)

    -$5.00 Instant $59.99

    XFX HD-585X-ZNFC Radeon HD 5850 1GB 256-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card w/ Eyefinity
    Item #: N82E16814150494
    Return Policy: VGA Standard Return Policy

    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBRM
    Item #: N82E16820231303
    Return Policy: Memory Standard Return Policy
    -$10.00 Instant $114.99

    COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-G1 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" Long ...
    Item #: N82E16835103065
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

    CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power ...
    Item #: N82E16817139006
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
    SAMSUNG DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223L LightScribe Support - OEM
    Item #: N82E16827151188
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
    Protect Your Investment (expand for options)

    -$30.00 Instant
    -$12.00 Combo
    $10.00 Mail-in Rebate Card

    AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ955FBGMBOX
    Item #: N82E16819103808
    Return Policy: CPU Replacement Only Return Policy
    Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
    GIGABYTE GA-890GPA-UD3H AM3 AMD 890GX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard
    Item #: N82E16813128435
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
    Protect Your Investment (expand for options)

    -$25.00 Combo $299.98

    COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
    Item #: N82E16811119197
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
    Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
    Item #: N82E16832116754
    Return Policy: Software Standard Return Policy
    -$20.00 Instant
    -$10.00 Combo $209.97
    Subtotal: $1,077.89


  2. Case-anyone of these is nice the CM's are a little roomier and have some updated features.The 900 is a good price though.
    GPU - You can get a 5770
    PSU-True powers are on sale
    CPU-Same chip $20 cheaper x mutiplier by 1 = same speed as 965
    RAM-anyone of these kits would be fine and you don't need much faster
    HDD-i would just buy one of these and add a ssd at some point in the future
    HSF-i wouldn't buy one of those i would get a CM Hyper 212+ somewhere else for $30 much better performance/value
  3. dont reuse the ram, ddr2 isnt very good these days. ram+psu, both good: $162

    velociraptors are expensive, go with a samsung spinpoint 1tb for more memory but less $: $75

    your gpu is terible for what you need it for, buy a gtx 460 or radeon 5770. if you can spend a little more, get a 5870.
    here is a combo that saves a lot of moolah: cpu+mobo+gpu=$380


    your os ($100), cooler($30), and case($100) are all good picks, but the hyper 212 is a better cooler ($30 on amazon)

    total is $871. even though you dont want to, crossfire two 5770's for an extra $150 and a big boost in performance. crossfiring is easier than oc'ing, too. you could also just get a 5870
  4. Thanks for the replies guys. Will look at them closer tomorrow when I have time, but the Radeon 5770 is better than what I have listed? And does Crossfire require much configuration or is it "sort of" plug and play? That combo seems good danman12, they probably skimp on a cheaper mobo, but it's not too bad?
  5. 5770 is notably better. I would change the HDD to Samsung Spinpoint F3 to save money, drop the CPU to 955 as it is the same chip you just have to adjust the multiplier.

    Your current resolution does not need a good card, however you want a new monitor in the future. Personally if getting a new monitor I would go all the way for 1920 x 1080 resolution as it is ideal for gaming - if you get less you will just want to upgrade again in the future.

    A 5770 will cope well with what you have and XFiring it when you have a new monitor will be perfect. Of course, if you can afford a 5850 then go for it instead, no need to XFire on 1920 x 1080 with that.

    Basically, Niklas build will maximise your gaming performance

    ASUS HD 4870 Video Card $89.99 after rebate was $119.99
    Free Shipping Store: Newegg
  7. 5770 is better than the 4870 by far. uses less power, is quieter, and has lower temps
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