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Under $1000 Gaming PC

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Last response: in Systems
September 18, 2010 11:47:13 PM

Hey everyone!
I have used Tom's Hardware for years to get benchmarks and reviews on computer components, but this is the first time I have asked for advice on a build. I'm sure all of you know just how much info there is to wade through about pc parts on the net, so I was hoping to get some reviews of my build before I buy to get other people's opinions on parts (I'm not very experienced). Anyway, thanks in advance!

I have two different builds, one if I choose to go with INTEL, one if I choose to go with AMD. Both builds have the same basic parts, so I will separate the AMD and INTEL specific ones.

Approximate Purchase Date: Within the next 7 days

Budget Range: $700-$900 CAN After Rebates (Well, I suppose up to 1000 is okay, as long as it's a good rig ;) )

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, HTPC, Video Editing, Modding, Surfing the Net

Parts Not Required: Keyboard/Mouse (If anyone knows any great keyboard/mouse deals, I'm all ears, but I can make do with what I got.)

Preferred Websites for Parts: (Store right by my house),, any reputable Canadian website

Location: Canada

Parts Preferences: I prefer INTEL and NVIDIA, but I'll go for AMD/ATI if it's a good enough deal.

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Likely, in the future

Monitor Resolution: 1440x900+

Additional Comments: Should have SATA III (6gb/s) and USB 3.0 support, I want it to be "future-proof".

Base Parts:

NZXT LEXS-001BK Lexa S Crafted Series Mid Tower PC Case

Lite-On IHAS22406 Internal DVD Writer

Seagate ST31000528AS Barracuda 7200.12 Hard Drive - 1TB, 7200 rpm, 32MB, SATA-3G, OEM

Philips 221E1HSB 22" Class HD Widescreen LCD Monitor - 1080p, 1920 x 1080, 8000:1 Dynamic, 5ms, HDMI

AZZA Dynamo 850 850W ATX & EPS 12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Power Supply

AMD Specific Parts:

AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition AM3 CPU OR: AMD Phenom II 1055T Six Core Processor

OCZ Gold Dual Channel 2048MB PC10666 DDR3 1333MHz Memory (2 x 1024MB)


INTEL Specific Parts:

Intel Core i7 930 Processor BX80601930 - 2.80GHz, 8MB L3 Cache, 4.8GT/s QPI, HyperThreading, Quad Core, Bloomfield, LGA 1366, Retail, Fan

ASUS Sabertooth X58 LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX

Kingston ValueRAM 3GB (3 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Triple Channel Kit

A few notes: I am mostly just looking for a review of whether these are good parts or not, and for recommendations. And yes, I realize that the i7 is going to be much faster than either AMD. The reason I am including the AMD is because $180 for a 965 seems like it is better price/performance than the i7. BTW, the graphics cards I am looking at are the Radeon HD 5770 ( and the GTX 460 (

The Bottom Line is that I need a computer that will last me at least 2 years with upgrades. I do not expect it to be anywhere close to high-end at that point, but I will be off to university summer of 2013, and I would like to be able to stretch the lifespan of this PC to match that. Also, gaming will be less important to me in 2 years, but I would like to be able to still play new games and such, even if it's at low graphics settings ( :cry:  ).

Thanks again! :D 

More about : 1000 gaming

September 19, 2010 1:23:54 AM

either looks decent.

I didn't see your video card choice in there, but 850W is overkill for anything less than crossfire 5870 or gtx 470 in SLi

if you're going single card, a 550 to 650 will be plenty.

Also: The X6 1075 is due out Tuesday, might be a better fit for you than the 1055.
September 19, 2010 2:00:52 AM
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September 19, 2010 3:47:24 AM

Thanks for the quick replies!

Good power supply advice! I have my video card options separate from the other parts (it's in the second last paragraph). I was planning on Crossfire 5770s or a single GTX 460 and upgrading to SLI later. But if I decide I don't need SLI for another year or so, maybe you're right and I should go with less power. Oh, and thanx, hadn't heard of 1075, will check it out.

Looks good! I'd probably go with the 965 (cheaper than 955 at TD!), and a larger power supply/hard drive, but that is a surprisingly cheap build considering it has the HD 5850! Will definitely consider it.

Also, this is a bit of a side question, and I know the answer is often changing, but what is the current status of the x16/x16, x8/x8, x16/x4 scaling debate? Especially on cards like the GTX 460, 5770, and 5850.
September 19, 2010 5:18:48 AM

Well, you can wait for a few weeks for the ATI 6 series to show up, that will drive the current GPU prices down.

If you get something like a 5850 you don't need crossfire, the current cards will be obsolete anyway by the time that card won't be able to run the games. Few people buy now or will buy another HD4xxx or GTX2xx in order to make his CF/SLI, especially if the have the more powerful cards in those series, the cards are already outdated so they just change their card with something new.

For a single HD 5850 a good 450W PSU is enough.

You can also start with two GTS 450.

For any card but the most powerful ones (5970, 480), x8x8 is enough.

September 19, 2010 11:51:39 AM

a 16x/4x is really a single card solution, the x4 could be used for a non graphics card however (like a USB3 card, or Raid card)

8x/8x loses only about 2% of performance vs 16x/16x
September 19, 2010 11:35:06 PM

Thanks again for the advice you two. So do you think it would be better to get two 5770s or a 5850, or a 6700 series? I suppose I could survive another month with the PC I've got... What do you think we could expect in terms of price drops?

Anyway, thanks for the crossfire/sli and PSU advice Mosox. I'll probably still get a 600w PSU or something, for peace of mind ;) . Also, thanks for the scaling tip, Screwy