Help with my first gaming build? ~$1000

As the title of this thread implies, I am, for the first time, building myself a computer. I simply want to have a fast computer with good gaming capabilities (preferably able to run WoW, SCII, TF2, and other more demanding games at high/ultra settings) while trying to keep my budget (for now) around $750. All the parts I have selected for now are below, and I would love any suggestions that you may have.

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor
(Link with motherboard)

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-890GPA-UD3H AM3 AMD 890GX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard

PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

RAM: A-DATA Gaming Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model AX3U1600GB2G9-2G

Case: Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Family Pack/ Home Premium Upgrade - Retail 3 PCs (I am splitting this with another person)

I'm sure you noticed the lack of a graphics card and disc drive. I will be recycling my PATA DVD-Drive from my current computer, simply because I do not currently use it enough to warrant purchasing a new drive. I also have a GeForce 8800GT 512MB graphics card. However, this has not been functioning properly in my current computer (though I hope that the problem is with my PSU or motherboard, and not the card itself). I will try to use it in my new build, and if it does not work (and truth be told, I will probably do this anyway), I will look into a new card, most likely one of those GTX 460s.

If I left out any information whatsoever, feel free to tell me. Also, if you took the time to read and reply, thank you, any advice is incredibly helpful to me.
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  1. I recently upgraded my old (very expensive at the time) PATA DVD drive with a new SATA drive... It was a nice step up, with games installing much faster. Cost 30 bucks and got rid of the flat cable.

    Latency is more important than frequency. Your processor is only rated to use 1333mhz anyway... so get this Mushkin CL 7 kit:

    Faster, Alternate HDDs:

    Samsung F3 1TB

    Caviar BLACK 640 GB

    Caviar Black 1TB
    Faster than the 640Gb version
  2. For the HDDs, does the doubled cache make that big of a difference? I'm just curious, seeing as that seems to be the only difference between them (barring the actual storage space).

    As for the DVD drive, I think I'm going to pass on the upgrade. Like I said, I hardly ever use my DVD drives as it is, so I might as well stick with the one I have. I'm not too concerned about longer read/write times for that.

    But in regards to your comment on the RAM, is there an article on this site that talks about the Phenom II x4 965s compatibility with RAM running at 1600mhz? I just didn't see anything on the product page/Newegg, is all.

    And can I assume that the other parts I picked out are all good? To my knowledge, they should all be compatible, I just need to find another article about how one should go about assembling the parts.
  3. No it's not the cache so much as internal platter size.... however there are just other more subtle factors and you have to rely on reviews and benchmarks. The 640 will use 320GB platters where the 1TB uses the faster 500GB platters.

    Yes the list is good.

    Here are your assembly instructions
  4. Oh, The memory controller on the CPU is rated for 1333. Anything faster might work, but almost never in all 4 slots... so upgrading can be a hassle.

    From here

    "# Supports PC2-8500 (DDR2-1066); PC2-6400 (DDR2-800), PC2-5300 (DDR2-667), PC2-4200 (DDR2-533) or PC2-3200 (DDR2-400) SDRAM unbuffered DIMMs – AM2+
    # Support for unregistered DIMMs up to PC2 8500(DDR2-1066MHz) and PC3 10600 (DDR3-1333MHz) – AM3 " MY BOLD
  5. I see what your saying with the HDDs. I'll do some more research on them and make a decision, but at the end of the day they'll all run well in my system, and I don't imagine that the performance differences will be too great anyway.

    I have been doing research about the RAM, however, and apparently the motherboard will clock it at 1333mhz. That would mean I would need to OC the RAM to get it to run at 1600mhz. Is this what you were talking about?

    Also, this last question is a bit ambiguous, but how would you expect this build (with a GTX 460) to perform? I can check benchmarks for each individual part, but it would probably be better to ask someone else's opinion directly. I'm expecting it to perform well with most games, and I hope to max out WoW, SCII, and games based on the Source engine.

    And thanks for the link to that guide, it should be really helpful!

    EDIT: Two more posts went through while I was typing this one, so this post is not in response to either.
  6. I'd save $20 bucks and get the Phenom 955 over the 965(you can easily oc to a 965). Same combo

    Also here's a PSU + Hard Drive Combo
  7. your build is almost identical to one i just did

    except i got the same board just by Asus, and i got a HAF922 for my case

    i couldnt be happier. i also used my OLD GPU 9800GTX+ 1gb....tbh u will need to upgrade your GPU to play SC2 on max settings depending on your resolution....WoW you shuold be fine

    i play on 1680x1050 and im ALMOST maxed on everything in sc2 (all high some ultra) i am going to be upgrading my GPU when the ATI 6xxx series come out....get an ATI card for the sheer simplicity as your board supports CrossfireX and not SLI so you can add a future 2nd card later for big upgrades where as with an Nvidia you gotta replace it completely
  8. I'll look into all these recommendations before I actually purchase anything.

    However, I am curious about going with the Intel i5 over the Phenom II x4 965. Can I really expect better performance from Intel than AMD in this case? I would need to do a bit of thinking about this, because I would need to start looking for other motherboards again.
  9. Yes in general an I5 760 will give you stronger performance. In fact some testing was done recently at TH with SCII and various CPUs, which you can find.

    There are some advantages that the AMD architecture gives you, but mostly the win goes to Intel today.

    The AM3 platform does have more longevity than the LGA 1156 though. We know for certain 1156 will be replaced in just a few months.
  10. After looking through some articles and forum posts, I think I'm going to stick with AMD for now. While the i5 does seem a little more powerful in general, it is also $40 more expensive. I think I'll go with another powerful processor and put the money towards a better GPU.

    Speaking of which, since my motherboard doesn't seem to support SLI, would it be worth it to look into ATI instead of NVIDIA? Now that I think of it, I'm not even sure my PSU could power two GPUs.

    Also, I could consider purchasing the 955 and overclocking it, but how much extra cooling/power is that going to need? While my PSU might be able to handle this, I wasn't planning on purchasing a CPU cooler.

    EDIT: I'm a bit nervous about that PSU/HDD combo posted above (I'll link below). I've heard great things about Western Digital HDDs, and that Samsung HDD seems to die on a lot of people.
    Perhaps this combo is better? It's the same HDD as above, but in a combo with my current PSU.
  11. The WD would be my choice. I trust WD more and I have issues with certain Samsung labor practices (not HD dept.). Spinpoint is probably a bit faster.

    Your PSU would handle two 5770s, or two 5850s in a pinch. New AMD GPU announcement is about 1 week away now, so waiting on a choice there is good.

    This is a decent combo:

    Review on the PSU:
  12. I'm kinda liking the thought of going with a single 5850 for now, and possibly throwing a second one in my build in the future (when games demand it, and the price on the card drops).

    If I do end up going with CrossFire, along with minor OCing (most likely only to get the RAM up to 1600mhz), would I definitely need a larger power supply than 650W?

    Oh, and did you mean "New ATI GPU announcement?" I assume that's what you meant, I'm just not positive. Either way, I think I get what you're saying.

    EDIT: Just noticed that card you linked has a PCI-E 2.1 x16 interface. Is that going to be an issue with my motherboard?
  13. No issue with the MB.

    ATI is no longer used as a name. They will now just be AMD GPUs. Some rumors hold that AMD will simply announce new GPUs next week, while other rumors hold that it will be a full-blown release of the 6000 series. I favor the full release rumor due to what facts we have... but what we know for certain is the press conference will be in 8 days.
  14. Two overclocked 5850s could use as much as 340W. That's absolute max draw, not standard gaming draw which would be more like 260W. That means you could get by with a good 650W, but I myself would try to get more.
  15. Do you think it would be worth waiting for the conference to see what is announced? I'm sure that whatever they tell us about is not going to be available for some time after the press release, but could it potentially drive prices down on the 5000 series?
  16. Yes I think waiting is best.
  17. I'll hold off on ordering for a bit, just to see if some prices drop, or to see if Newegg does some great deals.

    For the most part I'm solid on the parts I want. However, I am unsure about the HDD, RAM, PSU, AND GPU. For the HDD/RAM, are the different models really going to have a great difference in performance? If the change is negligible, I may just go with the cheaper item.

    However, the PSU and GPU have me quite uncertain. For the most part, I'm really not planning on going with CrossFire/SLI, I just wanted to future-proof my build. With this in mind, is there another card (AMD or NVIDIA) that anyone could recommend that is cheaper than a 5850, but has great performance? I wanted to keep my budget around $750/$800 before rebates, but right now I'm looking at $1000.
  18. well a GTX 460 1gb would be cheaper but a 5850 is a much better option for your build.....what resolution you gonna be on if its 1680x1050 you can go with a 5770
  19. Well, my current monitor is ~22" running at 1280x1024 (which is the max res.), but I'll be looking into a widescreen LCD in a little while. I would like to have a widescreen monitor that is slightly larger than the one I have now. I was looking into 1920x1080 monitors, but if 1680x1050 is a more common widescreen resolution, I am sure that I would be very happy with that.
  20. I figured that I would update the post now, just to make sure that all my final selections look good and compatible (just in case a good deal comes up). Here's what I'm going to go with (I won't bother linking the parts I haven't changed):

    CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor
    Case: Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower
    OS: Windows 7 Home Premium (Family Upgrade Pack)

    RAM: Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666)
    That's the same memory as posted above (not by me).

    HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

    GPU: XFX HD-585X-ZAFC Radeon HD 5850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card w/ Eyefinity
    (Link with PSU)

    PSU: OCZ OCZ750FTY 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified

    I've looked things over, and it looks like everything will be compatible and fit in the case. The PSU should be enough to power two HD 5850s in CrossFire (at least I think), in case I ever go down that road, in addition to everything else. I went with the RAM that should be most compatible with my processor, and I went with a recommended HDD that I felt wouldn't be overkill.

    Also, I'm sure that this GPU can handle almost anything, but I'm still undecided on a resolution. I'm thinking either 1680x1050 or 1920x1080. Any suggestions?

    Oh, and this isn't a question, but I considered the different specifications regarding the RAM and HDD, and I'm assuming that some of the smaller details that I was told about won't make a huge difference in performance.

    So, and I hope this is the last time I will be asking this question, how does this build look?
  21. Someone will always give you another opinion :) I think it's a good plan .

    With 1080 you get full hi-def movies, 1050 you don't. Smaller res means better game performance though. Up to you. I consider other factors more important. I use this one:
  22. Eh, I was going to post about this later, but seeing as the item you suggested is inactive, I might as well do it here :P

    That seems to be a good monitor. Not too expensive, has great reviews, and supports the resolution I'm looking at. I should (or at least hope to) be able to support 1920x1080 at high/ultra settings (depending on the game) with around and average of 60 FPS (again, depends on the game).
  23. I think it's fine for the price. I like to keep the response time as low as I can myself... I usually look for 2ms monitors first.

    Do shop locally though. Save on shipping and return, try to get a good dead pixel policy.

    That's even better, but I'll still take a look around stores near me.

    Anyway, I hope that this build lives up to my expectations (and that I'm able to successfully set it up :P). Any last bits of advice?

    I'll keep an eye on this thread for any further opinions, but I think I'm going to start ordering this week (shortly after that press release, most likely).

    But thanks to everyone that helped me out with this, especially you, Proximon!
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