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New AMD Computer for Gaming $700~

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September 24, 2010 7:32:53 PM

With a the release of Starcraft 2, I decided to buy a computer that would be able to play it on max, while having decent overclocking abilities. I also wanted the computer to be as quiet as possible. I don't need a HDD, or an Optical drive.


Main Ingredients

ASUS M4A87TD EVO Motherboard - $109.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- I chose this board because of its core unlocking abilities, as well as having USB3.0 support for the future. ASUS is a reliable company, and none of their motherboards have failed me before. I can save a few bucks by switching to a M4A87TD/USB3, which is the same thing, except no xfire support. I plan on using only one video card now, but the extra slot will be an insurance for a future upgrade. Comments on the extra PCI-e slot is necessary?

AMD Phenom II 555BE - $88.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-I honestly think getting more than 3 cores is a waste of money and Starcraft II only utilizes 2 cores at the moment. The Black Edition unlocks the multiplier, and overclocking with this should be a cinch. If I find that I need more processing power for core-relying programs, such as the Adobe suite, I will unlock the other two cores on the CPU and (if i'm lucky) I will essentially have a 955.

G.Skill 2X2GB RAM DDR3 1600 - $84.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-I consider G.Skill as a cheaper alternative to major brands such as Corsair while retaining decent quality. Once again, overclocking has led me to pick 1600 speeds instead of 1333. The memory also runs at a low 1.5V voltage, allowing it to be OC'd to higher levels.

MSI Radeon HD 5770 1GB - $179.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-What can I say. I've always preferred AMD/ATI over Intel/Nvidia. This card should be able to run SCII on Max settings at decent frame rates. I chose the hawk edition ($50 extra) because of the cooling fans. The Hawk has higher overclocking abilities, moreso than the Sapphire Vapor-x (in my opinion, as I may be wrong). It also runs much cooler and quieter, allowing more overclock headroom.

Antec Earthwatts 750W - $84.99 - $30.00 (Combo) = $54.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-My computer would probably only need about 680W, and 750W is certainly overkill, but with the combo deal, this PSU is definitely worth it. This seemed like a great buy as PSU's around the $50-$60 range are only 500W-650W.

Antec 300 Case - $54.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-I've always loved the Antec 300 case. It has this classy, retro look that the more flashy and modern cases sport. I have no need for LED's, clear casing, and other stuff. The cheap price, large space, and durability made me pick this item.

Total Cost (Main Ingredients): $573.94

Accessories
-The only reason I am buying the items in this section is to keep my system as cool as possible, without sacrificing quietness. The only reason I have need for such items is overclocking.

Corsair Hydro Series H50 - $79.99 - 10.00 (Combo) = $69.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-This liquid cooling kit is somewhat on the expensive side for this type of budget, with the same performance as higher end air coolers, while taking up much less space which increases airflow. Another positive is that this cooler is QUIET.

2X Noctua 120mm Fans - $25.99 X2 = $51.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Yes, these fans are very, very, very expensive. Especially since I am buying two. I am buying these to replace the stock fans on the H50 cooler. These Noctua Fans are much more quiet and provide better cooling. People who have switched the stock H50 fans to these have noticed an overall 8c-13c temperature decrease. If the extra 50 dollars is extremely overkill, then I probably wont buy them.

Total Cost (Accessories): $121.97

Conclusion
-Like I said, my budget is $700, but I want to make this build as cheap as possible. Yes I want to run SC2 on max, yes I want to overclock my computer, and yes I want to keep my system cool and quiet. But we do not always get the things we want, and I am willing to sacrifice features of my computer to achieve a cheaper price. Feedback would be greatly appreciated, and if you wish to nerf certain aspects of my computer, please make them reasonable: i.e Don't take out accessories section without stating that my PC will risk higher temps OCing.

Total Cost (System): $695.88
September 24, 2010 9:13:48 PM

300 Illusion has the front 120mm fans installed. Price is about the same.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Has a combo with the EA 750 PSU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Coolermaster Hyper 212 plus $30 - will be plenty good cooling in combo with the 300s good airflow.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Take the money you save on the cooler and get a Phenom IIx4 955/965. That dual core CPU will not max SC2 out.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/starcraft-ii-radeon...
September 24, 2010 10:12:15 PM

the 555 is basically a 955 with two cores locked, and i should be able to unlock those two cores if im lucky, and im planning on overclocking anyways. Also, I'm planning to play on max settings, but I'm probably gonna play on lowest resolution.
Related resources
September 24, 2010 10:25:07 PM

If you are not lucky, you will have a gimped experience. Read the article I linked. Having a good quad core in large battles is far more important than graphics power. Reducing the graphics settings wont help with that kind of performance.
September 24, 2010 10:37:05 PM

well, for the most part, resolution is based on cpu power. normally when the gpu outperforms the cpu, you increase gfx settings, while decreasing resolution. and as of now, sc2 doesnt really utilize all 4 cores. sure there's an improved performance, but certainly nothing to brag about.
September 24, 2010 10:39:08 PM

Don't get the antec 300, get the HAF 912, it has better build quality, cheaper and oh so many options.
September 25, 2010 2:45:03 AM

unless your really worried about space, i wouldnt go with the h50. if your putting that much money you can get way better temps with something like the silver arrow or noctua which you can usually find for about $70-80. They are extemely quiet at full load, and if you set your case up right, they will help channel air throught out the case.

http://www.thermalright.com/new_a_page/product_page/cpu...

http://www.noctua.at/main.php?show=productview&products...

If you dont plan on doing any hardcore overclocking save some money and go with the hyper 212 like dndhatcher suggested.
September 25, 2010 5:13:50 AM

The problem with the 555 is people have usually been unlucky with unlocks. Less than 50% unlock at all. And of those that unlock, 67-75% of them get only one additional core.

Go for an Athlon X3 445/450 or X4 640/645 or the Phenom X4 955/965/970
September 25, 2010 6:38:21 AM

$685AR

Edit - Remove HDD/ODD since u dun need
September 27, 2010 4:45:00 PM

Mr Pizza said:
Don't get the antec 300, get the HAF 912, it has better build quality, cheaper and oh so many options.

My only reservation about the 912 is that it only comes with one fan. You need to add a couple extra case fans to make it match the 300 illusion for airflow, and then its more expensive. Really depends on which is on sale and cosmetics.
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