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Sc2 on Ultra, First build

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August 17, 2010 6:14:22 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within the week

BUDGET RANGE: Absolute maximum $800 After Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Starcraft 2, League of Legends, Warcraft 3, Web browsing, random high CPU programs I write.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, mouse, speakers, monitor. I can also scavenge my 512mb 9800gt.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg, I have bought parts from them before and everything went well. But I am open to new sites if they are better.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: I know that sc2 needs a good processor to run on ultra, and I was thinking a decent i5 or i7 would work nicely? I also want to get win7 professional, as I need windows xp mode (currently running xp)

OVERCLOCKING: No

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1280x1024

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

The main purpose for this computer is to run sc2 at ultra settings. I can run it now on my current computer, and I'm loving it, but at all low settings it looks like crap, and at medium settings i get 10 fps in fights, which is unplayable.

I know that sc2 needs a good processor to run on ultra, and I have heard that a decent i5 or i7 works nicely.

I bought my last computer 4 years ago from dell. I have become much more tech savvy since then, but I am pretty clueless when it comes to the hardware side of PCs. I was thinking of building myself, or buying from cyberpower.

http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/saved/1CLX9K

That is the pc I am thinking of getting from cyberpower. I would replace the graphics card with my 9800gt. The main reason I would get from cyberpower is because if I built myself I worry that I wouldn't put in enough cooling/power or the parts would not have compatibility. But after doing some reading, it doesn't seem that cyberpower guarantees any of that either, so building myself is now an option again.



I am a complete noob in this world of gaming pc's, so if anyone has any advice, i would be very grateful.

More about : sc2 ultra build

August 17, 2010 6:44:12 PM

1. Don't buy premade. Building a computer from scratch is super simple, and far cheaper at the price point that you're looking at.

2. Here's a build you should look at:

Intel Core i5-760 Lynnfield 2.8GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor - 210

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


GIGABYTE GA-P55-USB3 LGA 1156 Intel P55 USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - 120

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


G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) - 102

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


GIGABYTE GV-N460OC-1GI GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 - 230

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


XFX P1-650X-CAG9 650W ATX12V 2.2 / ESP12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active

and

LIAN LI Lancool PC-K62 Black 0.8 mm SECC, Plastic + Mesh ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - 150

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Total: 812

This build runs circles around the one you linked to.
August 17, 2010 7:01:42 PM

(^Your build is at least $150 over budget^)

At your resolution, a AMD setup may be all you need.

Antec 300 + 430W + DVD Burner Combo $55AR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Phenom 955 + HD5770 $290AR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Win 7 Pro + OCZ 4GB DDR3 1600 $205
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

MSI 870 Mobo $70
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Samsung F3 1TB $70
http://www.compusa.com/applications/SearchTools/item-de...

-or-

Hitachi Deskstar 1TB $50AR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: $690/$670
Related resources
August 17, 2010 7:40:43 PM

Wow, thanks guys. What should I do about cooling though. That is what really worries me.
August 17, 2010 7:42:37 PM

Unless you're overclocking, air cooling is going to be just fine. The case I included has 2 large outtake fans on top and 1 large intake fan that do a pretty quality job of airflow. They do have blue LED's though.

Any decent case will be fine with just air cooling. The Antec 300 falls into the category no problem.
August 17, 2010 7:57:23 PM

Oh I didn't see the cooling in the builds, I see it now. Combos :D .

Based on what you guys have posted, this is what I am currently thinking.


Intel Core i5-760 Lynnfield 2.8GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor - 210

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



GIGABYTE GA-P55-USB3 LGA 1156 Intel P55 USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - 120

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


Win 7 Pro + OCZ 4GB DDR3 1600 $205
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...


XFX P1-650X-CAG9 650W ATX12V 2.2 / ESP12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active

and

LIAN LI Lancool PC-K62 Black 0.8 mm SECC, Plastic + Mesh ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - 150

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Total: $685. I would use my existing 9800gt for graphics. I know it CAN run sc2, I just don't know how well. If it doesn't work out, that gives me another $115 to try to get a better card in a few months or something.


@NeoElemental: Your build didn't factor in the Win-7 pro, which is why it was too expensive :( .

@Timop: I'm not sure if that cpu can handle sc2 on ultra?

http://www.pcgameshardware.de/screenshots/original/2010...


Anyway I appreciate your help, and would still love some more advice. I am learning a lot from this.
August 17, 2010 8:00:59 PM

Yea, sorry didn't remember to factor that in. 9800 will be fine running sc2. RTSs have a lot of CPU needs to. SCII only uses 2 cores though, so the 760 will definitely help up your fps there. Upgrade to the 460 at your leisure.
August 17, 2010 8:04:01 PM

Yea im going to test the 9800 and if it works im going to buy a Deathadder :D , or a widescreen monitor.
August 17, 2010 8:05:20 PM

Labmonkey said:
Oh I didn't see the cooling in the builds, I see it now. Combos :D .

Based on what you guys have posted, this is what I am currently thinking.


Intel Core i5-760 Lynnfield 2.8GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor - 210

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



GIGABYTE GA-P55-USB3 LGA 1156 Intel P55 USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - 120

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


Win 7 Pro + OCZ 4GB DDR3 1600 $205
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...


XFX P1-650X-CAG9 650W ATX12V 2.2 / ESP12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active

and

LIAN LI Lancool PC-K62 Black 0.8 mm SECC, Plastic + Mesh ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - 150

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Total: $685. I would use my existing 9800gt for graphics. I know it CAN run sc2, I just don't know how well. If it doesn't work out, that gives me another $115 to try to get a better card in a few months or something.


@NeoElemental: Your build didn't factor in the Win-7 pro, which is why it was too expensive :( .

@Timop: I'm not sure if that cpu can handle sc2 on ultra?

http://www.pcgameshardware.de/screenshots/original/2010...


Anyway I appreciate your help, and would still love some more advice. I am learning a lot from this.

The 955 should handle it just fine, the pic you linked shows its only 4 frames behind the 750.
Though if you want to go P55, stick with the 750. Its $15 bucks less for slightly lower clocks, that is still very OC-able.

If you live near a micro center though, definitely go for the i5, its only $150: http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
August 17, 2010 8:13:14 PM

Again I'm still very noob to this, so things like P55 don't mean anything to me. Im a software guy.

Also consider that I really don't want to overclock this thing. Anyway I really appreciate you all helping. I don't live near a microcenter :( 
August 17, 2010 8:18:45 PM

Labmonkey said:

@Timop: I'm not sure if that cpu can handle sc2 on ultra?

http://www.pcgameshardware.de/screenshots/original/2010...


I have a Phenom II X4 965 (basically the same processor) handling SC2 on Ultra at 1920x1200 with an ATI 5870. The 5770 at 1280x1024 should be more than enough.

The processor is important for AI & unit movment, but for graphics/eye candy, matching the GPU & resolution is more important.

The chart you linked shows pretty much exactly my setup getting about 42 fps, or about 4 fps less than an i5-750 setup that costs between $75-125 more.

Here's another article on SC2 performance. http://www.techspot.com/review/305-starcraft2-performan... . Ignore the overclock bars, as a) you're not planning on it, b) it varies from individual chip to chip. This chart, using the fastest single GPU on the market shows the 965 and the i5-750 about 5 fps apart. Generally, RTS games are considered playable at 25-30 fps.

The smallest resolution they tested at was 1680x1050, on which the 5770 managed Ultra at 48 fps. That is with an i7-920 overclocked, but I suspect that the reduction in resolution to 1280x1024 , you will counteract any CPU performance advantage.

In short, almost any modern quad-core + a 5770 should be more than enough at your current resolution. If you go with a larger screen eventually, you may want to worry about your graphics card setup at that point, but you'll be fine for now.

My conclusion is counter that of the article. I submit that if you're not overclocking, there's little point in paying more for the entire Intel platform in order to get between 1-5 more fps.
August 17, 2010 8:19:35 PM

I have a 955 with a hd4830 and I am playing it on ultra with no problems.

Doesn't stress the CPU at all.
August 17, 2010 8:31:49 PM

Ok, so it seems like people are saying to get the 955 over the i5? Then here is what the system is currently looking like.

Phenom 955 - $160
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


MSI 870 Mobo $70
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Win 7 Pro + OCZ 4GB DDR3 1600 - $205
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...


XFX P1-650X-CAG9 650W ATX12V 2.2 / ESP12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active

and

LIAN LI Lancool PC-K62 Black 0.8 mm SECC, Plastic + Mesh ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - $150

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Total: $585. Still using 9800, and would probably use my current hard drive, as I only use like 20gig of space.

Wow price is really going down. Is everything here still compatible?

Also,I was just thinking, should I be worrying about noise?
August 17, 2010 8:39:54 PM

Noise wise, the AMD stock cooler is relatively quiet, especially for stock CPUs, and the case fans aren't very loud either. All thats left is your 9800GT, which Im sure you know about its noise.

BTW, heres a combo with an ASUS Mobo, Gives you USB3 for ~$8:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
August 17, 2010 8:40:57 PM

If you really want the i5-750/760 for some reason, don't let me stop you. :)  The problem is whether or not it's worth it at your budget. An i5 system will typically cost at least $75 more than an equivalent AM3 system.

That Win 7 + memory combo doesn't show up as available for me. At any rate, you can get equivalent/better memory outside of a combo.

This Mushkin Blackline 1600 MHz CL7 memory is $92. Or you can get the popular G.Skill Ripjaws or ECO Series for $103 and similar timings.

If you want to leave the option of going CrossFire open in the future, you'll need a more expensive motherboard. Another question to consider is whether you want USB 3.0/SATA 6.0 Gb/s support native on the motherboard.
August 17, 2010 8:44:17 PM

It looks like the win7 combo just expired. Is there any way I can get windows 7 PRO cheap (legally) with maybe another combo. I'm not exactly sure where to look.
August 17, 2010 9:05:14 PM

Ah, missed that it was Win 7 Pro.

If you actually need Pro and not Home Premium, you can get the OEM version for $140. It will be tied to the motherboard you install it on, though it's sometimes possible to call Microsoft and have them issue you a new key if you have to change motherboards for some reason.

EDIT: Nice digging. Looks like the first link has the best timings, though any of them is probably fine.

To complete my comment about a CrossFire-capable mobo from earlier, the Gigabyte UD3H at $140 does CrossFire, has USB 3.0 & SATA 6.0 Gb/s. That's a significant increase at your budget, but it would allow for a little more future-resistance (as future-proofing really isn't).
August 17, 2010 9:13:17 PM

Well, I seem to qualify for the student upgrade ($30). I am not sure exactly what qualifies as an upgrade. The memory combo only seems to be a $20 discount, which I seem to be able to find on windows 7 quite easily.

So assuming that I can find windows 7 for a discount somewhere else, what memory should I get?
August 17, 2010 9:26:13 PM

If you're absolutely never ever going to overclock, you don't need 1600 MHz RAM, though you could possibly tweak that RAM to run faster timings at 1333 MHz. Any of the 1600 MHz RAM from my earlier post would be good choices in that case.

Geil 1333 MHz CL7 4 GB kit - $90 (+$1 shipping) is about the only option for fast 1333 MHz RAM.

Everything else costs more than the Mushkin linked earlier.

I believe there is a way to do a clean install with an upgrade version, google should provide some answers. I haven't bothered looking it up myself as I don't qualify. :) 
August 17, 2010 9:29:07 PM

Labmonkey said:
Well, I seem to qualify for the student upgrade ($30). I am not sure exactly what qualifies as an upgrade. The memory combo only seems to be a $20 discount, which I seem to be able to find on windows 7 quite easily.

So assuming that I can find windows 7 for a discount somewhere else, what memory should I get?

Was about to ask you that, some how i forgot.
if you qualify for the student upgrade, then go for it. Even if you dont have a copy of vista, you should still be able to do a fresh install using workarounds (Download Vista/Win 7 ISO, install not entering the key then "upgrade" using the student deal).
August 17, 2010 9:54:05 PM

coldsleep said:
If you're absolutely never ever going to overclock, you don't need 1600 MHz RAM, though you could possibly tweak that RAM to run faster timings at 1333 MHz. Any of the 1600 MHz RAM from my earlier post would be good choices in that case.

Geil 1333 MHz CL7 4 GB kit - $90 (+$1 shipping) is about the only option for fast 1333 MHz RAM.

Everything else costs more than the Mushkin linked earlier.

I believe there is a way to do a clean install with an upgrade version, google should provide some answers. I haven't bothered looking it up myself as I don't qualify. :) 


Can I ask why a 1600MHz Ram is useless without overclock?
August 19, 2010 12:38:16 AM

Ok so I feel like I am almost done with this process. Here is my current build.

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ955FBGMBOX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$155

Mobo: MSI 870-G45 AM3 AMD 870 ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$70

Ram: GeIL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10660) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model GV34GB1333C7DC
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$90

Case/Power/Cooling: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
$160

Hard Drive: HITACHI Deskstar HD31000 IDK/7K (0S00163) 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$50

Windows Student Upgrade
$30

Nvidia 9800 gt 512mb: already owned
$0

Total $555



Well now I have what I guess you could classify as a "good" problem. I am $200 under budget, so can anyone recommend any good upgrades I can do to this system for $200?
August 19, 2010 12:50:33 AM

Theoretically, you could get an SSD for less than that amount, though I don't know if it's really worth it for the size you could get.

You could get a motherboard that supports CrossFire, again, probably not worth it based on your usage pattern.

You could get a 1920x1080 monitor for that amount. :) 
August 19, 2010 1:05:05 AM

Uh. Yeah, it's not going to blow up. That's why it comes with a stock cooler. For stock speeds. Generally you want a HSF for 2 reasons:
1) You're going to overclock.
2) You want something quieter than stock.

Personally, I think an upgraded monitor will be the most noticeable upgrade.
August 19, 2010 2:41:19 AM

Ok yea my friend said he looked again and I didn't need the cpu cooler.

I decided to add in a SSD to put windows 7/sc2 on, which I have heard will super speed my loading times.

Current build:

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ955FBGMBOX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$155

Mobo: MSI 870-G45 AM3 AMD 870 ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$70

Ram: GeIL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10660) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model GV34GB1333C7DC
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$90

Case/Power/Cooling: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
$160

Hard Drive: HITACHI Deskstar HD31000 IDK/7K (0S00163) 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$50

SSD: OCZ Onyx OCZSSD2-1ONX32G 2.5" 32GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$85

Windows Student Upgrade
$30

Nvidia 9800 gt 512mb: already owned
$0

Total $640

And that leaves me $150 for a new monitor or a graphics card upgrade or something else after purchase.



If nobody says anything, I am going to be buying this in 2 days. So if you have any last minute suggestions, please give them to me NOW! This forum has been so great so far, and I really appreciate it. :D 
August 19, 2010 2:45:54 AM

I don't know anything about the OCZ Onyx, not sure it's recommended. Will have to do some more research on it.

Ideally, get a OCZ Vertex 2 or Agility 2.
August 19, 2010 3:04:30 AM

Good call. Any Sandforce 1200 controller SSD is good.
August 19, 2010 3:15:20 AM

OCZ Vertex 2, OCZ Agility 2, Corsair Force, Mushkin Callisto - all have the same tech underneath. Whichever one of those is the cheapest should be fine.
August 28, 2010 5:38:46 AM

I'm not sure if I should make a new topic. But I just built the system tonight. Followed the instructions for everything, I don't think I did anything wrong. I turned it on, and all the lights went on, but the monitor was blank. Changed gfx cards to an old one I had lying around, still blank. Did every combination of unplugging/replugging I could think of, still blank. I am worried that I might have a bad mobo or CPU. Is there any way I can check?
January 11, 2011 3:54:44 AM

I play SC2 with a HD5670 and a AMD Athlon II X3 445 3.1GHz on ultra 1336x776 :D 
!