First timer - Black Ops and Battlefield 3 build

First off, this will be my first ever build. I would like this build to be easy to assemble and work with as far as fans and cable management. I will not have any assistance in actually putting it together, but i will use message boards, youtube, and various other "guides" i can find online to help me in the assembly process. Please make sure that we include any other materials i will need in the assembly process (examples - nonstatic gloves, static eliminating bracelt, thermal paste, various cables, additonal fans...or anything else you can think of that i will need).

Approximate Purchase Date: (ordering by 10-31 at the absolute latest without exception )

Budget Range: (900 - 1200) After rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: (Gaming, internet, movies, downloading (newsgroups))

Parts Not Required: (keyboard, mouse, speakers, operating system)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: (newegg)

Country of Origin: (U.S.)

Parts Preferences: undecided (i want the amd 955 black edition to be used for this build as far as cpu goes)

Overclocking: yes (if it is a fairly simple process)

SLI or Crossfire: yes (only purchasing one card initially)

Monitor Resolution: not sure (monitor needs to be a part of this build...i need 22" to 23" flat screen. 120hz refresh, high definition, and low response as this will be used for alot of first person shooters. i dont want to go "cheap" on the monitor...200 - 250 ish sounds about like what i would like to spend.

Additional Comments: This may be long winded (i apologize), but i want to give as much info as possible to help with the selection of this build. Im going to describe what im looking for individually for a few of the different parts of the system.

cpu - amd 955 black edition is what i want to use in this build. will the new amd processors down the road have the same socket as this processor?
cpu cooler - im not i need one?
memory - i think i want 4 gb to go along with amd 955 BE...right? not sure what brand....
optical drive - as long as it burns cd/dvd and is reliable
hard drive - 1 tb
motherboard - usb 3.0, sata 6, need to be sli or crossfire cabable...depending on which gpu we select. if the new amd's down the road fit the same socket as 955 BE...keep the option of upgrading the cpu in mind as far as motherboard selection.
case - something that looks good, has sufficient cooling, and most importantly - is easy to work with as far as assembley...i dont want to have to modify anything to get things to fit. something in the 80 to 120 dollar range is fine.
psu - dont care as long as it is good quality and will have enough wattage for when i add second gpu.

The primary focus of this build, is to have a well performing machine for 2 specific games i know i will be playing heavily in the future.
1. call of duty black ops (comes out 11-09-10)
2. battlefield 3 (comes out late 2011 or early 2012)

This build will have only one gpu right away to run black ops (black ops is not going to be nearly as gpu intensive as Battlefied 3 will be, because black ops will be using the same graphics engine that was used in the 2 previous cod's...from what i hear. correct me if im wrong). I will purchase the second gpu in 12-18 months (depending on when battlefield 3 is released). i want to go with whichever gpu performs the best when another of the same card is added. ie.. if a 5870 is better than a gtx470, but, the gtx470's are better in sli than the 5870's are in crossfire...i would like to start with the gtx470. (this is just an example). This should cover what we need to know as far as GPU's.

im not biased towards ati or nvidia. i have had both in the past, with no problems from either. i would like to go with whichever one has the least amount of issues regarding sli/xfire setup and drivers.

thank you for help...this is a great site.
if i left out any important details, let me know.
7 answers Last reply
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  1. I'll try to address everything in the order it was mentioned, and forgive me if I repeat myself in different areas.

    First off, welcome to the forums! Don't feel bad writing a really long post; very few people give enough information in the first few posts, but having more than enough is always a better thing.

    CPU - Good choice. It's a great CPU in terms of price and performance. It's also OC-able to the higher end 900-series B.E. CPUs (I don't know how personally; just breaking into that field on my Intel build).

    Motherboard - I'm not too knowledgeable when it comes to AMD motherboards. I think you'd be looking for something with the 890 chipset, if I'm not mistaken.

    RAM - You're right, you will want 4GB of memory. I would recommend G.Skill, Kingston and Patriot in terms of memory. If you use an AM3 motherboard, you'll want DDR3 memory; if you use an AM2/2+, you'll want DDR2. You'll want memory with a low Cas Latency, lower timings, and higher frequency.

    Optical Drive - Just look at the DVD/CD burner on Newegg and read the reviews. Anything will work in reality.

    Hard Drive - Go with the WD Caviar Blue or (preferrably) Black. The Blue is on par with standard hard drives, and the Black is aimed more at performance and has a larger cache.

    PSU - It will depend on the route you take in terms of GPUs, but with SLI/Crossfire, we're talking 600-800W.

    GPU - I prefer Nvidia cards, since I've had great experiences and success with them. I've also heard about issues with Crossfire and buggy ATI drivers. SLI is also an amazing performance booster. I have 2 GTX 460s (which are amazing in terms of price and performance) and they work very well in SLI while overclocked. I would recommend them very highly, but if you choose AMD, they may not be an option.

    Case - For your use, you could stick to a mid-tower and be ok. I have everything shoved into an Antec 300 (getting my full tower tomorrow!), but it cools everything very well after adding 3 fans and a CPU cooler; my CPU and GPUs idle around 32-35C.
  2. thank you for the reply boiler 1990.

    i guess im hoping someone will chime in on the best (exact) motherboard and gpu i should go with under the criteria i left in my first post. i trust the advice i will get on this board, as i have been reading here the last few weeks.

    i know which cpu i will use for sure...just need some help narrowing it down to which motherboard and gpu i will use. once i figure out which motherboard and gpu, i will start to narrow down the other components until i have decided on each exact component...

    at that point, i can start searching new egg for combo deals and such. this is the best way to go about putting a rig together, isnt it?
  3. These forums are extremely helpful; I got my help for building my first rig here, and in turn help others with theirs.

    The most important part of building the computer is picking the parts (which is what is all about); buying them is just a matter of price comparing. Newegg's combo deals usually save you at least $10, which is better than nothing at all.

    At the least you're doing the smart thing and asking for recommendations first, unlike some others that come to the forums after they've bought the parts and asking us if it was a good idea. Don't be afraid to ask questions, no matter how dumb they seem ;)
  4. nobody has any input on motherboard / gpu combo i should take with info i provided?
  5. you'll want an aftermarket cpu cooler if you overclock, with a black edition amd it's as simple as raising the voltage and the multiplier, still you should read guides to understand what your doing. A good cpu cooler would be prolithmatech's megahalems, although you would need to buy a fan with it, as well its like 60+ dollars and huge. cooler master's 212+ might be a good alternative at $30 but I don't know how well it'll compete against the megahalems.

    msi's 870a fuzion is a good am3 board with 2 sata 3 ports and 1 usb 3.0 (there's an internal one, which I heard for was for harddrives from linustechtips). its meant for cross vendor cards, however it should be able to sli or crossfire. But you should ask MSI to double comfirm. As well both pcie 2.0 slots are full 16x bandwidth so no performance lose and its only like $150. It also features one button OC, but manual overclocking could probably get you further. The thing negative thing about it is that its features a last gen 770 chipset rather than 870, I don't think it'll impact performance that much.

    HAF 912 is probably the case you should get, I'm sure others will agree too.

    if you don't care about aetheistics then XFX 850w psu would be a good choice, its semi modular, +80 power efficient and is cheaper than corsair's equavilent and should allow most dual card combos for the next while.

    newegg has a sale on good ram from PNY

    however if your looking for more "brand realiability" there's g.skill ram rated at same frequency and cas timings, same price+freeshipping, however no rebate. I would still call PNY a good company, although pretty unknown.

    I recommend SLi 460s, they're the best deal right now. One thing to remember is that both cards should have the exact same specs otherwise there could be a conflict. However AMD (ati branding is getting phased out to be replaced by AMD branding) 6K series gpu is suppose to be launched this month so you should wait a while for it.

    I agree with boiler on the hard drive
  6. If you do get SLI'd 460s, I have had great success with the ones I have:

    They have a $20 rebate on them at the moment (better than when I bought mine!), and they have a lifetime warranty. They are stock speeds, but I am overclocking mine past the Superclocked versions of any brand, and it's very simple (I use MSI Afterburner).

    I've heard bad things about PNY stuff (even their flash drives, which is hard to mess up), so I would personally advise against getting their RAM. There are also brands in the same price range that are more reliable and have lower latency.
  7. If i were u i would at least await the GPU benches for COD Black Ops - by that time the HD6000 series would also be out @@

    The primary focus of this build, is to have a well performing machine for 2 specific games i know i will be playing heavily in the future.

    Another option is just hit a nice 955BE with an 880G IGP chipset and await developments on the GPU front if u really need a workable rig now but dun plan to game till COD Black Ops is out hehe I would also stick to single GPU solutions at the rate tech moves....
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