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First-time build looking for compatibility and other advice

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October 14, 2010 4:26:02 AM

Looking to build my first PC as a budget Gaming rig. I have been doing a lot of research but am still totally new so would love any advice people can offer. I'm especially interested

Budget Range: $475 to $575

Planned Build Date: ASAP

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming (Mostly WoW/SC2), Photoshop/InDesign/Illustrator, CAD and Rhino 3d Modelling, basic web and word processing

Parts Not Required: Mouse, keyboard, speakers, OS, Monitor (I have this ViewSonic 22" 16:9 http://www.amazon.com/ViewSonic-VA2223wm-22-Inch-16-Mon...)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Prefer Amazon if price is equal b/c as a student I get free Prime shipping, but otherwise NewEgg

Country of Origin: United States (CT)

Parts Preferences: Thinking AMD for CPU (seems to be more cost-effective); Otherwise any trusted, reliable maker.

Overclocking:
Maybe in future, but not at start

SLI or Crossfire: I'm thinking about Crossfire with 2 ATI HD 5770's as a possible upgrade path. Would love to know what people think of this.

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments:
As I said I mostly play Blizzard games but I would like the PC to be upgradeable enough that I can keep up with upcoming titles like Diablo 3 and maybe pick up another RTS once in a while and be satisfied with how it runs.

So, here is what I have been thinking based on my research:

Case: Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
PSU: Antec EarthWatts EA750 750W Continuous Power ATX12V version 2.3 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified (This PSU seems a little overkill for this build but it is on combo with the Case for $110 with an extra $25 in rebates, so that seemed like a good deal)
Mobo: ASRock 870 EXTREME3 AM3 AMD 870 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD
CPU: AMD Athlon II X3 445 Rana 3.1GHz Socket AM3 95W
Graphics: SAPPHIRE 100283L Radeon HD 5770 (Juniper XT) 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
RAM: WINTEC AMPX 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333
HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F4 HD322GJ/U 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
DVD/CD: LITE-ON CD/DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - OEM

I'd appreciate any input on a) whether all this is compatible and b) are there any other things I should be looking into. All this comes up to about $565 on NewEgg which is toward the top of my budget for the moment. As far as potential upgrades down the road, I would eventually like to go up to a Phenom II X3 or X4 and maybe add a second HD 5770 in Crossfire. Help a noob out and let me know what you think!
a b B Homebuilt system
October 14, 2010 9:17:10 AM

Ok your build looks pretty nice. Though a few small things:

I would get get quality RAM like Mushkin, G.Skill, Corsair. Heres some good stuff for $57 because of the $15 rebate:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I would prefer a motherboard from Asus or Gigabyte. If you are not OCing it does not matter too much but I'd still prefer extra quality.

Theres a few things, hope it helps.
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 14, 2010 3:31:25 PM

I would look at the F3 1TB drive at $60:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Much better deal. I like the idea of the upgrade path with dual HD5770's.

For photo/video editing, I would consider the X6 1050 CPU for an upgrade when you can afford it.
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October 14, 2010 8:46:04 PM

OK, thanks for that advice. Wolygon based on your suggestion I have been looking at some ASUS and Gigabyte boards and I came across this one that supports NVIDIA SLI with AMD Chips: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Since I can get a GTX 460 768 MB (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) for only a little more than the HD 5770 I was looking at, I am thinking of taking this route instead. Apparently the PCIe on that board only runs at x8 even with only one card connected, but it looks like the GTX 460 isn't in danger of being bandwidth capped anyway, and then if I ever wanted I could upgrade to dual 460's with SLI, and I would have an ASUS board instead of ASRock.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
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Best solution

a b B Homebuilt system
October 14, 2010 10:45:04 PM

I would prefer not to SLI on AMD. The HD 5770s are very nice for there $120 price and really can't be beaten, if you want more performance you could just get two straight up.

Though when Crossfiring you should get a board which has x8/x8 instead of x16/x4. The x4 bottlenecks the 5770 substanstially. The 890 chipset supports x8/x8 I believe.

2 5770s will destroy a GTX 460 1GB yet are similar in price.
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October 15, 2010 2:36:07 AM

The Asrock Extreme3 870 is basically an 890x motherboard. It has x8/x8 crossfire, perfect for xfire 5770.

I would stick to the AMD crossfire route, the nvidia chipsets don't have the best reputation, plus you miss out on usb3 and sata6, things that will matter in a year or less.
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October 15, 2010 2:50:06 AM

Ok, thanks for talking me out of that. I think I will go back to what I had plus the 1 TB Samsung Drive and the Mushkin ram, then add another 5770 once I save up a little more. Really appreciate all the advice. It's hard to get a feel for what brands and combinations have good reputations so this is really helpful.
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 15, 2010 11:31:35 PM

Sounds great, you'll have fun. Good luck.
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October 23, 2010 3:57:22 AM

Best answer selected by mullettoss.
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October 23, 2010 4:03:54 AM

UPDATE

The System is now up and running! Wound up getting a Corsair 650W PSU for about $60 after rebate. It isn't modular so the wiring was a bit of a mess but I feel good about the brand. The 5770 is awesome and is showing me Starcraft as I have never seen it before.

Otherwise everything went pretty well considering it was my first time putting a system together. Only forgot 1 cord (GPU power) before the first bench test but figured it out pretty quick.

Thanks again for the advice. If there are any other newbies reading, let this be evidence that it's totally possible for an amateur to learn to build a PC!
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 23, 2010 4:15:01 AM

Great work! That 650W for $60 is a great buy.

If your only running starcraft you don't really even need more then a HD5770. You could try to unlock that extra core on your X3 if you want. Have a read about it and give it a go when your bored.

Once again nice work, have fun. ;) 
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