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What improvements on my first gaming build?

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August 30, 2010 6:16:16 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: ASAP

BUDGET RANGE: ~$1300 or so

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, Multimedia, File Server, Multitasking, etc

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, optical drive(s)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: AMD/ATI.

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe in the future but probably not at the moment.

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Possibly in the future to increase the life of the build.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1900x1200

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I've built several intel business oriented machines for work but this is my first personal build

Case $164.99
Antec 1200 Full tower
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard
ASUS M4A78T-E AM3 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU $399 (combo with psu)
AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition Thuban 3.2GHz 6 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Six-Core Desktop Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory
1 x G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-8GBRL
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Graphics Card
ATI HIS 5870 1GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Harddrive (Different drive for sure)
Western Digital Caviar Green WD6400AADS 640GB 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power Supply $$$(combo with processor)
XFX Black Edition XPS-850W-BES 850W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OS $99.99
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6832116754


**Updated with memory and mobo**

If you all can make any suggestions to improvements or point out anything I may be missing let me know! Thanks everyone in advance.

Some of the items have mail in rebates which I am NOT including in the pricing guide.
August 30, 2010 6:23:53 PM

Your combos are going to go poof in two days, so i suggest going and searching for combos next monday when all of the ones for september are out, never buy at the end of a month or the very beginning of one.

The Caviar Green drives are slower which will slow down your boots and increase load times, $20 more grabs you a larger faster hard drive.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It looks pretty good so far, and i suspect there will be some combos that you can use to drop the price a bit, XFX PSUs and GPUs tend to have good combos, if not you can get an Antec 1200 with an Antec TruePower Blue 750W installed for only a bit more than the regular 1200.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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August 30, 2010 6:31:28 PM

You should be setting your speed, timings, and voltages manually anyway so that is really a non issue.
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August 30, 2010 6:32:43 PM

Hmm... but I want to go green! Just kidding. I will definitely swap out the HDD for something a little larger and faster then since the cost difference isn't that large.

Thanks for the tip about combo deals. I had no idea!

Edit: I was also thinking about getting a surplus of ram. ~8GBs worth. Is that complete overkill and stupid? I multitask quite a bit (many many windows open simultaneously) so I was thinking it may help having more than enough ram.
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August 30, 2010 6:37:32 PM

For games and most applications you get no benefit from more than 4GB of ram, unless you are doing video/photo editing, CAD, or 3D work 8GB of ram isnt going to make a difference4 and will just cost you more.
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August 30, 2010 6:41:11 PM

Just sayin, the antec 1200 is a little old, and there are way better choices out there ATM, like a nice coolermaster, silverstone... im just sayin
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August 30, 2010 6:57:45 PM

hunter315 said:
You should be setting your speed, timings, and voltages manually anyway so that is really a non issue.


Agreed...just being thorough... :sol: 
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August 30, 2010 7:19:02 PM

hunter315 said:
For games and most applications you get no benefit from more than 4GB of ram, unless you are doing video/photo editing, CAD, or 3D work 8GB of ram isnt going to make a difference4 and will just cost you more.


I'm reading all over the place where people are saying 4 GB are all you need for gaming, however, isnt it true that Windows 7 OS utilizes roughly 1 GB RAM so technically gamers who have 4 GB are really operating on 3GB? Just knitpicking at this point. Im sure most if not all of all 'minimum specs' for PC games are not taking into account how much RAM the OS uses hence, you'd probably say 3 GB is still more than enough?
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August 30, 2010 7:24:48 PM

The minimum specs are for what you need for the whole system, everything including the tests here at Toms are done with an OS so the memory usage of the OS is factored in. The reason you dont need more than 4GB for games is because a 32 bit application cannot use more than 2GB of ram, so in reality you would be fine with 3GB but a 4GB(2x2GB) kit runs in dual channel mode to give you better bandwidth.

Why would minimum specs not include the memory that the OS uses? Its been a little while but i remember when vista came out there were games that said
RAM: 2GB (3GB for windows Vista)
so obviously they were taking the OS into account there.
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August 30, 2010 7:44:12 PM

Hunter315,

Ok, a 32 bit OS caps at 2gb ram, got it. Say a gamer goes with Windows 7 64 bit edition, can he use as much RAM as his mobo allows? Or is it still pointless to go beyond a certain "amount"?
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August 30, 2010 8:01:24 PM

With Windows 7 64 bit, you can use as much ram as your board can support, but unless you are running the 64 bit versions of games and applications each one can only use up to 2GB of memory. If you are doing lots of design work and tend to have 3 or 4 Adobe programs open at the same time then having more ram is very useful, especially if you are using CS5 64 bit, since each program can then use much more than 2GB(8GB according to the microsoft website). Someone who does design work or video editing with 64 bit programs can actually use 12 or 16GB of memory but for your average gamer/power user 4GB is plenty and over that only provides minor gains. The amount where it becomes pointless varies depending on what you use your system for.
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August 30, 2010 8:04:33 PM

Understood. Thanks for your help
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