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Some Doubts Concerning Budget Gaming Rig

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August 20, 2010 12:56:03 AM

Hello,

I am a Canadian user, and doing all of my shopping at Newegg.ca. Recently I decided that I would like a new computer, and I figured I'd try my hand at ordering the parts separately, and building it (I'd never done this before, and thought it would be a neat experience). My gaming is pretty tame---Civilization 5 and Starcraft 2 are my aims. I don't need a crazy computer for those FPS and console-import games. However, the computer I have now (barely) meets my needs. I don't *need* a new computer, I just figured it'd be a refreshing change.

The problem is the price seems quite high, especially since I went for the parts that seemed a couple steps off from the best. Then again, although I consider myself technically informed, it was only ever for the software side of things, and not the hardware.

Here's what I've got so far (missing CD/DVD):

HDD: Western Digital 1TB 7200RPM 3.0Gb/s IHD
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home OEM
MOBO: Gigabyte 770 AM3 AMD ATX
GPU: XFX Radeon 5770 1GB
CPU: AMD Phenom II x4 955 BE (using included HSF--is this wise?)
RAM: Patriot G 2 x 2GB DDR3 1333
PSU: SeaSonic S12II 520W ATX
CASE: Rosewill Challenger ATX (3 fans)

Total Cost: $845.33 CAN

My major concern is the cost! For the above list, is this price reasonable? I don't mean in terms of cost for value, because there's noting one can do about what prices the manufacturers set. I'm thinking in terms of walking into a future shop and finding a similar pre-made computer for a similar price. Perhaps I'm just underestimating the hardware that I've picked out, but I've been told that AMD was king of the low-mid price range, and I've been some PC's around with better processors (x6), and lesser graphics for a good $100-200 cheaper.

So is the above a worthy investment? I'm also very welcome to build critiques, since it's my first time trying something like this!

PS: The MOBO connects to the PSU at the top, but in the case I've picked out, the PSU lies at the bottom. Will this be a problem? Will I need extensions? Can I get them on Newegg? Thanks!
August 20, 2010 5:21:54 AM

^ Some suggestions -
If you are building this PC mainly for gaming, then even X3 440 would suffice IMO...
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Item...
But if you still want a Quad, then
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Item...

PSU - This OCZ 550W is also a good option and comes with Free shipping and lower priced...
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

HDD -
Samsung F3 1TB - Better value...
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

Graphics card - Get the open cooler type...
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Rest are fine IMO...
August 20, 2010 5:36:03 AM

Hey, thanks for the swift reply! I'll take a closer look at your suggestions (the links don't work for me, but I'll undoubtedly be able to search manually for them without problems) in the morning when it's not so damnably late.

Although for now, I do plan to use it mostly for gaming, I might pick up flash/photoshop/3d rendering in the future, and I already deal with compositional software that uses a lot of channels. I'm not sure if the latter software would put any significant load on the CPU, or if it would be all sound card-based.

The PSU and HDD suggestions look great at first glance, though! Thanks! Also, what's an "open cooler" graphics? I mainly went for the most purchased option.

Finally, IS it saving money to try and assemble this rig myself? I suppose that's still my biggest concern---that I might be able to get a better deal purchasing a pre-made PC with similar specs at a similar (or cheaper) price.

Again, thanks!
Related resources
August 20, 2010 5:44:42 AM

^ Try right-click and open in new tab/ window...

And as for the CPU, if you might start using the PC for flash and Photoshop, then the 955 is fine...
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Item...

As for the graphics card, open cooler type is the 2nd cooler revision of that card...It reduces the temps by 2-3 degrees...but you would have to have good airflow in the case, which I feel wont be a problem with that case...

IMO build-yourself rig gives better value IMO as you not only will be able to choose your parts specifically, but also would get complete warranty on the parts unlike in pre-built PCs...But if you are getting a very good deal on pre-built PCs, then they are worth considering...
August 20, 2010 6:23:14 AM

Around $800 is reasonable for a good, solid system without cutting a lot of corners.

The OCZ is not bad, but the Seasonic is a really high quality PSU.

Optical drives - my first choice is Samsung. LG is a very close second. Pretty much depends on availability.

At $800, you could probably get a computer with the same specs or possibly better. But you will not know what parts are in it.

Check out the System Builder Marathon Budgets (US $550) gaming rig article on the home page here:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cpu-gpu-overclock,2...

The only thing that I disagree with is the PSU. Budget for a better PSU, CPU, and possibly GPU.

The stock cooler will be adequate if you are not overclocking or overclocking without increasing CPU voltage.
August 20, 2010 6:32:05 AM

Go for it Darshie, You'll enjoy it, learn lots and know your pc a whole lot better for the experience, and ofc we'll be here to hind, I mean help you should you have any issues :) 
Moto
August 20, 2010 5:00:55 PM

I think you have a very reasonable and balanced build.

To save $60, you might cut back to a dual core X2-555 cpu. Very few games can take advantage of more than two cores.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I happen to like the dual slot graphics coolers. They exhaust the hot vga air directly out of the case instead of letting it recirculate.
I won't buy any other kind. I think a 5770 is appropriate for a 1920 x 1200 resolution. If you have a lesser monitor, you could get away with a lesser graphics card.

The seasonic psu is one of the high quality ones. As a rule, their power leads are full length. You can usually plug the 8 pin cpu power in from a bottom mounted psu, but it might stretch across the motherboard. For good cable management, is is nice to be able to route it behind the motherboard. If you need an extender for the 8 pin cpu power, you can get them on newegg, probably <$5.

The stock cooler will be fine, particularly if you are not overclocking. And, you have no need to overclock. I do, however like to nstall a oem cooler up front. It is much easier to do so initially. I hate to tear apart a working system to do it later. A oem cooler will run quieter and cooler. If you overclock, it will let you get higher and easier. I like the large tower type coolers with a slow turning 120mm fan. You can get one for <$40 or so, any will do.

Building it yourself will usually cost less for a higher end build. After all, the commercial builder has to make a profit. They can buy parts a bit cheaper than you, but the satisfaction of doing it yourself is priceless!

I suggest that you download and read cover to cover both the motherboard and case manuals. It will answer maany quistions, and perhaps raise a few which can be answered here.

---good luck---
!