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Updated: Need Help With a Gaming Home Theater Build

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September 26, 2010 6:06:18 AM

Updated With Recommendations From the board!!!

Approximate Purchase Date: Hopefully Within A Week


Budget Range: Around ~$1000, if some part really needs to be changed, can go higher.


System Usage from Most to Least Important: Will be in my living room so needs to idle quiet and stay quiet for web surfing and light tasks but have enough power for high end gaming


Parts Not Required: Don't need OS, KB/M, Monitor


Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg


Country of Origin: US


Parts Preferences: I trust you guys here. If you recommend it, it must be good.


Overclocking: Maybe as long as it doesn't effect noise levels


SLI or Crossfire: Maybe


Monitor Resolution: 1080p


Additional Comments: Needs to run quiet and yet be powerful. Doesn't have to be in a HTPC case, as long as the it isn't a full size tower. I was originally looking at a mATX case but will take suggestions on any and every part. If I can get it in a SFF that'd be awesome. It's just hard to combine small size, power, and quietness.

Here's the list of parts that I chose. Keep in mind, I'm willing to change anything out depending on the forums recommendations.

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Tower: $99.99 SILVERSTONE Black Aluminum GD05B micro-ATX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
(Note: Changed from my original case. This thing looks like a great HTPC choice!)

PSU: $69.99 ($30 MIR) XFX P1-650X-CAH9 650W SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
(Note: Again changed this out on the forums suggestion. In case I want to SLI.)

Mobo: $54.99 ($20 MIR) EVGA LGA 1156 Intel P55 Micro ATX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
(Note: I struggled between this and another board due to this lacking x16 PCIe, but it's so darn cheap!)

CPU: $189.99 Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU Fan: $37.99 Scythe Big Shuriken SCBSK-1000 120mm CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
(Note: Found this low profile, quiet CPU fan which will fit well in a HTPC.)

Ram: $94.99 G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
(Note: At the suggestion of the forum, dropped my ram down to 4GB.)

GPU: $169.99 GIGABYTE GV-N460OC-768I GeForce GTX 460
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
(Note: Switched over to a GTX460, and am seriously debating SLI now.)

HDD: $74.99 SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD Drive: $18.99 ASUS Black 24X DVD+R SATA
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

(Updated) Total: $861.98

Due to the suggestions of the forums I actually shaved off almost $140 from my build. If anything seems wrong, let me know. Now I've got some spending cap room to play with if need be!
September 26, 2010 3:38:45 PM

Id really suggest a HTPC case like the GD05, more elegant and fits in more in a living room.

Heres an alternative build:

Silverstone GD05: $100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

EVGA P55V: $75 (Nice price on SLI support, Decide if you want USB3 or SLI)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

i5 750: $190
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...\

Gigabyte GTX460: $170
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

XFX 650W: $100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Corsair 4GB DDR3 1600: $85
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Samsung F3 1TB: $75
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Asus Burner: $19
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: $814 ($776 Shipped AR)

Add in another 460 if you want extra performance.

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September 26, 2010 11:25:52 PM

Combos to cheapen it up:

mATX Build

Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor
$190
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GA-H55M-USB3 LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
$100 after a $10 rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Silverstone GD05 (Timop is right, this case is an excellent choice, Amazon has a much better price)
$90
http://www.amazon.com/SilverStone-Aluminum-Steel-Comput...

MSI R5850 Twin Frozr II Radeon HD 5850 (Cypress Pro) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card w/ Eyefinity
$212 after a $50 rebate (deal may not last)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mushkin Enhanced Silverline 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1600 CL7
$85
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W 80 PLUS Certified Modular Power Supply
Lite-On 24X DVD Burner (Retail)
$52 after a $20 rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Comb [...] mbo.511529

Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB
$75
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total (including shipping):
$804 after $80 in rebates w/o CPU cooler
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September 26, 2010 11:40:59 PM

wielander said:
Combos to cheapen it up:

Intel Core i5-760 Lynnfield 2.8GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor
GIGABYTE GA-P55-USB3 LGA 1156 Intel P55 USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
$283 with promo code MBTEN923
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Silverstone GD05 (Timop is right, this case is an excellent choice, Amazon has a much better price)
$90
http://www.amazon.com/SilverStone-Aluminum-Steel-Comput...

MSI R5850 Twin Frozr II Radeon HD 5850 (Cypress Pro) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card w/ Eyefinity
$212 after a $50 rebate (deal may not last)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mushkin Enhanced Silverline 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1600 CL7
$85
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W 80 PLUS Certified Modular Power Supply
Lite-On 24X DVD Burner (Retail)
$52 after a $20 rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Comb [...] mbo.511529

Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB
$75
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total (including shipping):
$797 after $70 in rebates w/o CPU cooler

Nice price on the GD05, but other than thst trheres some problems.

First, that ATX board would not fit, you can not stack combos and Promo codes either.
Then, the OCZ 600W is substantially weaker and less quality than the XFX
Finally, That Mushkin set doesn't have great timing either, despite the low CAS.

So you're really getting worse parts for $50 more.
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September 27, 2010 12:26:03 AM

Timop said:
Nice price on the GD05, but other than thst trheres some problems.

First, that ATX board would not fit, you can not stack combos and Promo codes either.
Then, the OCZ 600W is substantially weaker and less quality than the XFX
Finally, That Mushkin set doesn't have great timing either, despite the low CAS.

So you're really getting worse parts for $50 more.

You're right about the mobo. My bad. I'm going to fix that. You can stack some promo codes with combos (more often than not in my experience), that combo does stack with the promo code.

He's not going to be adding a second graphics card so he won't notice the difference in power supplies. It's still a decent quality power supply, overkill in power output, 80 plus certified, and modular.

The low CAS is far more important than the other timings, and who knows what settings it will be stable at at DDR3 1333 (like the memory you linked).

So better motherboard, graphics card, and memory for $28 more.
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September 27, 2010 12:56:34 AM

Thanks for the responses! I really like that silverstone GD05 case! I do have a couple followup questions though.

I should have made this more clear in my original post, but I want my system to be able to last for at least 3 - 4 years and not have to upgrade anything. With that in mind:

1) Is 4 GB's of RAM going to be sufficient for gaming?

2) Would it be better from a performance vs. noise level to go with 1 single more powerful GPU and allow more airflow room in a smaller case, or two slightly weaker GPU's? Either way: Can someone recommend a good GPU(s) for my build?

Thanks for your assistance. I've already made quite a few changes due to everyone's input.
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September 27, 2010 1:07:17 AM

4GB is perfectly enough for gaming,more than that will benifit design programs and heavy multitasking. However RAM is super easy to add.

For the GPUs, if you dont want to upgrade, dual GTX460s is probably gonna be your best choice, it beats the 5970, yet it outputs a reasonable amount of heat and is pretty quiet especially with custom coolers. Its probably the best perfoming setup that fits.

The 5850s are a good choice also, but you spend a little more for a little less performance in CFX. Eitherway. its going to max out most 1080p games for the next 3 years with ease.
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September 27, 2010 2:30:51 AM

Updated my main post to show what changes I've made to my build due to suggestions from the forums. If anything needs to be changed please let me know.

I do have a MOBO / GPU question though. If I hold off on SLI with the mobo I selected will it make a huge difference that I'm not running it on a PCIe X16 port and will be using a x8 port instead?

There's not many SLI mATX boards out there and it was a toss up between the one I picked which had an unbelievably low price (54.99) but it only has dual x8 PCIe ports and this one:

ASUS Maximus III GENE LGA 1156 Intel P55 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Which is over double the price at $119.99 but does support PCIe x16 if I choose to hold off on SLI.

Or would it be better to just go ahead and buy the cheaper board and SLI it right away, putting the money I would spend on the board toward the other GPU?

Also, if I do SLI will my bottleneck end up being the 4GB of ram? (I'm sorry I ask this again, I just want to make sure)

Thank you all for your assistance. You've been a great help and thoroughly improved my build already!
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September 27, 2010 2:37:36 AM

Mythrol said:
I do have a MOBO / GPU question though. If I hold off on SLI with the mobo I selected will it make a huge difference that I'm not running it on a PCIe X16 port and will be using a x8 port instead?

It won't make much of a difference with a GTX 460. Even two GTX 480s in SLI only decrease in performance by a couple percent if they are run at x8/x8.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/pcie-geforce-gtx-48...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/p55-pci-express-sca...

Mythrol said:
There's not many SLI mATX boards out there and it was a toss up between the one I picked which had an unbelievably low price (54.99) but it only has dual x8 PCIe ports and this one:

ASUS Maximus III GENE LGA 1156 Intel P55 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Which is over double the price at $119.99 but does support PCIe x16 if I choose to hold off on SLI.

That motherboard definitely isn't worth it.

Mythrol said:
Also, if I do SLI will my bottleneck end up being the 4GB or ram? (I'm sorry I ask this again, I just want to make sure)

4GB of Ram is plenty for gaming and general computing. Having more memory than you need won't improve performance.
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September 27, 2010 2:45:25 AM

Thanks for your input. I'm amazed that x16 adds so little of a difference even in SLI.

This means I can pocket the extra money I saved on the mobo and even hold off on SLI right now which will make this sale a lot easier to my wife.
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September 27, 2010 6:14:53 AM

I wouldn't go dual video cards in such a small case (noise + heat), better spend some $$$ and get a more powerful card now.

You can go AMD to keep the cost in check:

ASUS M4A88TD-V EVO/USB3 + AMD Phenom II X4 955
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3
OCZ Fatal1ty OCZ550 + SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3
ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS
HIS H585FN1GD Radeon HD 5850
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Scythe Big Shuriken SCBSK-1000
SILVERSTONE LC20-B
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$896.91

The case is bigger and fits ATX motherboards and big video cards.

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September 27, 2010 5:09:12 PM

mosox said:
I wouldn't go dual video cards in such a small case (noise + heat), better spend some $$$ and get a more powerful card now.

You can go AMD to keep the cost in check:

ASUS M4A88TD-V EVO/USB3 + AMD Phenom II X4 955
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3
OCZ Fatal1ty OCZ550 + SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3
ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS
HIS H585FN1GD Radeon HD 5850
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Scythe Big Shuriken SCBSK-1000
SILVERSTONE LC20-B
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$896.91

The case is bigger and fits ATX motherboards and big video cards.


I'm not opposed at all to an AMD build if that's a better bang for the buck. Especially since I'm not getting a top of the line i7.

The problem with the board and case you suggested, while a good deal, it's simply too big for my entertainment cabnet. The other case is over 5" shallower.

I originally looked at a Radeon HD5850, but was lead to believe the GTX460 was a better overall deal. Am I mistaken?
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September 27, 2010 6:16:37 PM

For 1080p you better get a GTX460 1G or a HD5850. I wouldn't put two video cards in that small case so get one of the above and when it can't play games anymore, sell it and buy something else (but you should be fine for quite some time with either of them).

IMO both are good deals, the 460 is a little cheaper but a little slower. The 5850 is cooler though. It seems both fit in your case:

http://www.silverstonetek.com/products/p_contents.php?p...

Then you go either Core i5 or Phenom II (with a mATX mobo, that case can't take ATX ones). Here's a combo for the Phenom:

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

LE. That mobo doesn't have USB3

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

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

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

LE2 The last mobo is in a combo with the DVD writer:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
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September 27, 2010 7:16:37 PM

Mythrol said:
I originally looked at a Radeon HD5850, but was lead to believe the GTX460 was a better overall deal. Am I mistaken?

At this point they are both priced competitively. The HD 5850 is slightly better (5-10%). It wins most benchmarks and is slightly more efficient.

You can get this one with a very powerful and quiet cooler for $12 more while this sale lasts; HD 5850s are regularly ~$40 more now.

MSI R5850 Twin Frozr II Radeon HD 5850 (Cypress Pro) 1GB Video Card w/ Eyefinity
$212 after a $50 rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You don't want to go up to a GTX 470 because they run hotter and usually louder.
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September 27, 2010 10:04:45 PM

Man there's SOOOOO many possible choices to make. lol

If I go with the Phenom combo that mosox suggested that would save me $40 over the i5/p55 board I chose.

But then I'd switch my graphics card over to the MSI Twin Frozr II HD5850 that wielander suggested and it'd put it right back at $861.

I do like the idea that the Radeon HD5850 will be cooler and more efficient than a GTX460, which is great for an always on HTPC. But! That Phenom cpu is also 125w compared to the i5's 95w cpu.

How can anyone choose a system with all these choices, especially when any and all of them could be the right one anyway?
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September 27, 2010 10:57:12 PM

Honestly I wont worry about temps, As long as you don't shove a GTX470/5970 in there or a OCed i7, the 460SLI will be fine.

Another option is the GTX460 with the Phenom, for single crads its fine, you just lose SLIbut you dont seem to care anyways.
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