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New Budget Gaming System--Ready To Buy Final Check

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August 11, 2010 4:30:54 AM

I've had my current computer for about four years now. It was a cheap, $500 prebuilt Dell Dimension 5100, it's performance was subpar back then, and it's antiquated now. This is the first time I have ever built a computer by myself before and an expert opinion from an enthusiast would be more than appreciated :)  ! I'm looking for an affordable gaming system that can play most new games like GTA IV, Fallout 3, and Bioshock on at least medium to high settings (Although I'm not expecting anymore than high). The Intel i7's hyper-threading is intriguing, but it seems more powerful than I really need and I am looking for a setup within my budget which is why I'm going with the AMD Phenom II x4 965.





APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: One or two Days

Current Expense: $1,236.87 ($1,196 after Rebate) --THIS INCLUDES THE MONITOR, OS, Thermal Paste, AND THE OFFICE SUITE SOFTWARE

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, working (word documents, excel documents etc)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers, graphics card
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg.com

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: United States of America

PARTS PREFERENCES: AM3 system w/ AMD Phenom II x4 965

OVERCLOCKING: Possibly in the near future

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: My Current graphics card is a Geforce gtx 260, I won't likely try SLI and will likely switch to an ATI Radeon card for Crossfire in the future

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1080P 23.6"

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Most importantly, I want to make sure that my GTX 260 graphics card can physically fit in my Antec 300 case and my motherboard since it is a rather large card. Second, I heard that Windows 7 requires an internet connection for installation. My desktop will be in my own room and it will connect to a wireless router via a wireless linksys card which requires a driver installation. Does registration have to happen before installation or do I need to temporarily hook my comp up to an ethernet cable for installation?



Here is my current newegg shopping cart:


CPU: AMD Phenom II x4 965 - $179.99

Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-890FXA-UD5 - $179.99

PSU: CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-650HX 650W - $109.99

RAM: CORSAIR XMS3 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 - $94.99

Case: Antec 300 Illusion Black Steel - $69.99

HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM - $74.99

CPU cooler: ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2 92mm Fluid Dynamic CPU Cooler - $29.98

Optical Drive: SAMSUNG 24x DVD Burner - Bulk SATA Model SH-S243N/BEBS LightScribe Support - OEM - $24.99

Thermal Paste: Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM - $9.99

Monitor: ASUS VH242H Black 23.6" - $189.99

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Full - $150

Other: Microsoft Office 2010 Home & Student 3-User - $121.99



Again, I'm ready to buy this setup. This is a tad on the expensive side though. Most of the cheap < $1000 builds I see here don't include the operating system or necessary software. So I'm assuming that the actual price of those setups is higher in actuality. Any and all advice/ revisions etc. is more than appreciated, thanks in advance! I'd like to see if it's possible to keep this just a little cheaper. :) 



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August 11, 2010 4:56:30 AM
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^ Any specific reason for that mobo ?? Frankly I dont see the need for it...
Having a Nvidia card, will not overclock much, then IMO going with the FX board is wasting money for features you will not use...

Some alternatives for the parts you have selected...

CPU - X4 955 - It is just 200MHz slower, but is about $20 cheaper and also as you will be buying an aftermarket cooler, it is easy to set the CPU to run at 965's speed...

DVD -
10% off with promo code EMCYWZY88, ends 8/16
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CASE + PSU -
Cheaper and better case...and the PSU is as good...
Lian-Li K62 + XFX 650W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

CPU Cooler - Better performing and comes with a good thermal grease -
Sunbeam CCTF + TX-2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And any reason to go for a Full Version of the OS ?IMO the OEM would suffice...
Or if you still want the full version, then get this combo with the Office
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
August 11, 2010 12:02:05 PM

Pity u were 24hrs late cos the Hemlock HD 5970 capable NZXT Hades was $49.99 in an awesome shell shocker deal yesterday :( 
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August 11, 2010 4:12:35 PM

gkay09 said:
^ Any specific reason for that mobo ?? Frankly I dont see the need for it...
Having a Nvidia card, will not overclock much, then IMO going with the FX board is wasting money for features you will not use...

Some alternatives for the parts you have selected...

CPU - X4 955 - It is just 200MHz slower, but is about $20 cheaper and also as you will be buying an aftermarket cooler, it is easy to set the CPU to run at 965's speed...

DVD -
10% off with promo code EMCYWZY88, ends 8/16
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CASE + PSU -
Cheaper and better case...and the PSU is as good...
Lian-Li K62 + XFX 650W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

CPU Cooler - Better performing and comes with a good thermal grease -
Sunbeam CCTF + TX-2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And any reason to go for a Full Version of the OS ?IMO the OEM would suffice...
Or if you still want the full version, then get this combo with the Office
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...



Hey thanks for the advice on that combo deal and the cooler! As to the motherboard, any suggestions? My main concern is that my gfx card requires a "dual width PCI express 2.0 x16 slot". Would two adjacent x8 slots suffice? How about an 790x card like this 790FX http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... Would I notice any real performance differences from the 890 FX? What about the OEM version of windows, if I decided to change my motherboard or reinstall it, wouldn't I need to call Microsoft for a new registration key, wouldn't they reject it for an owner of an OEM version?
August 12, 2010 3:56:45 AM

^ So assuming you wont be needing more than 1 graphics card slot, IMO even this would suffice(i.e., no Crossfire)...
X4 955 + ASUS M4A87TD/USB3 AM3 AMD 870 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

But if you want the option of Crossfire -
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

And as for the OS, Yes you might have to call in case you are changing the mobo, but I doubt they would reject...
http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en/w7install...
http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en/w7install...
But if you dont want the hassle, then get the full version, but IMO OEM would suffice but its your call though...
August 12, 2010 5:14:07 AM

gkay09 said:
^ So assuming you wont be needing more than 1 graphics card slot, IMO even this would suffice(i.e., no Crossfire)...
X4 955 + ASUS M4A87TD/USB3 AM3 AMD 870 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

But if you want the option of Crossfire -
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

And as for the OS, Yes you might have to call in case you are changing the mobo, but I doubt they would reject...
http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en/w7install...
http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en/w7install...
But if you dont want the hassle, then get the full version, but IMO OEM would suffice but its your call though...


Ok, so I'm about to close the deal on this following the advice you gave. Thanks a ton! However, I have to ask one final question. The GTX 260 box states that the gtx requires a "Dual width x16 slot'. Will one single PCI Express x8 in the GIGABYTE GA-890GPA-UD3H suffice even though it's under the minimum requirements?
August 12, 2010 5:27:31 AM

^ Dual width means it has to have some space near the PCIe slot, which should not be blocked...
Check the pic -
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ImageGallery.aspx?CurImag...
The card will block 1 PCI slot and that is it...nothing more to worry about...

So it is not necessary to go with a Crossfire board...
August 12, 2010 12:52:38 PM

gkay09 said:
^ Dual width means it has to have some space near the PCIe slot, which should not be blocked...
Check the pic -
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ImageGallery.aspx?CurImag...
The card will block 1 PCI slot and that is it...nothing more to worry about...

So it is not necessary to go with a Crossfire board...



Right, but in the future I might very well purchase ATI cards instead and go with crossfire. My real concern is that the crossfire board has two 8x slots. Will it be ok to put my graphics card in a x8 slot even though the box listed a x16 slot as the minimum requirement?
August 12, 2010 1:08:11 PM

^ Hmm then that 890GX board is good...
As for the slot, No there wont be any issues populating a x16 card in a x8 slot...however if you populate it in a x4 slot, then the card will run crippled...but x8 speed doesnt cripple the card...
August 13, 2010 8:23:23 PM

One final question (probably). The 890Gx board you recommended only lists it's supported speeds as 1066 and 1333mhz. Does that mean that my 1600 mhz ram will be incompatible, or that it will be run at a slower speed by the motherboard?


Also, if this is the case, wouldn't it be better to purchase the still cheaper Asus here http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ?

^^ This motherboard appears to be cheaper and has two 16x pci express ports. I'm not sure if it's really 16x or it's just 4 4x slots. It isn't really clear.

Again I thank you and apologize for all of this incessant questioning :p ! This is my first time building a computer, and I'm only 16. I tried researching as much as possible but I am finding it near impossible to understand everything. Especially when it comes to mobos.
August 16, 2010 2:32:12 AM

Best answer selected by werdnaAndrew.
August 16, 2010 3:56:19 AM

^^ Sorry couldnt reply earlier...

As for the RAM question, No you wont be having any issue running 1600MHz RAM on that mobo...Generally above 1333MHz, you have to set the speed of the RAM manually in the BIOS...Even if you dont, they would run @ default speeds...

That mobo though has 2 PCIe slots, but it runs at x16x4 when both are populated, which is not good for Crossfire as the 2nd runs crippled @x4...

And it is always better to get your doubts cleared beforehand...And this forum is here for that reason... Good Luck with your build :) 
August 16, 2010 10:57:35 PM

gkay09 said:
^^ Sorry couldnt reply earlier...

As for the RAM question, No you wont be having any issue running 1600MHz RAM on that mobo...Generally above 1333MHz, you have to set the speed of the RAM manually in the BIOS...Even if you dont, they would run @ default speeds...

That mobo though has 2 PCIe slots, but it runs at x16x4 when both are populated, which is not good for Crossfire as the 2nd runs crippled @x4...

And it is always better to get your doubts cleared beforehand...And this forum is here for that reason... Good Luck with your build :) 



Hey thanks for all your help! I decided to go with the original $100 asus mobo you recommended before. crossfire seems impractical for gaming, it seems better to buy one single higher end card and upgrade it as time goes on. But are you sure that this board will be good for overclocking? It generally got pretty good reviews, but there were only 14 reviews. It is a cheap board after all, and I want to make sure I can get at least a 2-4000 mhz overclock. Otherwise that cpu cooler is a waste of money. Anyway, I am going to order it tonight. But feel free to answer later if you aren't able to respond to this until after tonight. I pretty much made my mind up to buy it, I just want some reassurance.


Also one of the reviewers knocked one egg off because the motherboard didn't support all of the "black edition features". What does that mean? Will it affect the overall performance of the cpu?
August 17, 2010 3:53:50 AM

^ First off before overclocking, go through these articles...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/processor-power-man...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/undervolt-cpu-pheno...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cool-n-quiet-power-...
Not always running the CPU at max speed that you can overclock to will provide you the best peformance/ power...

Also as for that mobo, It will easily overclock upto 3.8GHz or maybe even 4GHz too...but like I said go through those articles before you overclock...

As for the mobo not supporting all black edition features, I think he is referring to the Black Edition Memory support and the ability to overclock the memory also from the software...but I doubt that would matter much if you will use the BIOS for overclocking...
Only the 890GX and FX have those features...But if you wont be Crossfiring, then it wont be of any use IMO...
August 17, 2010 9:27:11 PM

This last question actually pertains to my monitor. I know I have to buy an HDMI cable separately, but do I need any additional cables to run it at 1920 x 1080? one of the reviewers talked about an "dvi to HD converter". the box apparently comes with both. Can DVI support 1920 x 1080 resolution on its own? My graphics card came with an "HDMI audio connector".
August 18, 2010 3:43:37 AM

^ Do you want to give even the audio i/p to the monitor ? If Yes, then HDMI is the best option...but if you will be giving only the video i/p, then DVI would suffice...The DVI ports on the card are DVI-D, which can o/p resolutions upto 2500X1600, so no issues with that...
August 28, 2010 5:40:56 PM

Hey Gkay, I've finally come to assembling the thing but my gfx card does not fit the case. I am pleased with the quality of the case and do not wish to return it, however, i expressed my concern with fitting the card in the case before and I was wondering if there was any way to fit the card without compromising the case. I bought the higher quality case that you recommended.

There is sufficient room within the case but when I try to enter the card it overlaps the PCI express port. Perhaps it is not the size of the case but the position of the pci express slot on the board? Will returning this motherboard for a more expensive one fix the issue?


Basically my problem is this, there isnt enough space toward the left at the rear of the case for the graphics card so I can not place it into the pci slot which is too close to the rear.
!