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Building computer, help appreciated.

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October 21, 2010 6:33:09 AM

I'd like a decent computer while I'm off at college. I basically want one that'll play Starcraft II, Cataclysm, and just other new games that will come out to be playable at mid to max settings. The only problem is my budget isn't very high.

I'm open to changes in what I'm listing but I can't spend much more at all at the moment. So unless something is extremely weak or just a bad product I'd prefer not to switch. Also, if there's a better product for less/same/slightly more I'm open to the suggestion so please spill your knowledge onto me!

Thanks for helping.

Case:Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I honestly don't care much for a case. As long as it'll get the job done.

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-880GA-UD3H AM3 AMD 880G HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Processor: AMD Phenom II X4 970 Black Edition Deneb 3.5GHz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: CORSAIR XMS3 8GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

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


Graphics card: GTX 260 EVGA http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

My brother is giving me his one that he's hardly used so I won't have to actually buy one. Is this card good enough? At least for a few months and I can purchase a card at a later date when I feel like/have the money to upgrade.

PSU: Antec TruePower 650 watts. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

My brother is also giving me that PSU so that's another thing I don't have to purchase. He bought the card/psu months ago and has hardly used them.

Can anyone confirm that these are both good enough?

The total price for all of this is $723.57

My hope for this computer would be to immediately play current games at max or close to max settings as well as being easy to upgrade in the future.

If anyone could please help me out I'd really appreciate it. I don't know much at all about Computers so you'd be doing a lot for me.

My AIM is Lilbizlaykray if someone would like to IM me to discuss what I'm building or if I'm doing something terribly wrong with my current choices.

I plan on purchasing this no later than Monday so some quick help would be great.

Thanks so much for the help everyone.

a b B Homebuilt system
October 21, 2010 6:43:38 AM

First, you shouldn't need 8GB of RAM, this set should do you very well
  • Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 4GB -$90-

    Then there's this HDD
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1TB -$70-

    I would also drop down to a 965/955 instead of the 970 to save some money and not sacrifice much performance.

    If you're not overclocking the stock CPU cooler will be fine, otherwise maybe this one
    Hyper 212+

    And yes, that PSU and GPU will do.
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    October 21, 2010 7:09:07 AM

    Wow, thanks dude. I don't plan on overclocking so I suppose I won't pay the $50 for the coolor and as of now I'll get the HDD you suggested. That alone is going to save me nearly $80. I'm still debating whether to use 4 or 8GB RAM but I'm leaning toward 8GB just so it's still good in a year or even longer.

    Also, for the processor the price difference isn't big enough for me to downgrade so I'll stick with the 970.

    Thanks so much for saving me almost $100!
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    a c 82 B Homebuilt system
    October 21, 2010 7:32:40 AM

    Even better HD in my opinion. Faster than either the Seagate or the WD and the same price as the Seagate ( they have issues with early death in my experience).

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


    Everthing else I agree with jbakerlent on.
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    a c 82 B Homebuilt system
    October 21, 2010 7:36:55 AM

    Also spend the extra $10 on the Antec 300 Illusion. It comes with fans that the 300 does not and at $12 to $15 each for good fans is well worth the extra money. It also includes a very effective dust filter and all fans are 3 speed and nearly silent on low.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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    October 21, 2010 7:50:20 AM

    Thanks for the reply anort3. I suppose I could get the case you linked which comes with one extra fan as I'm not getting Cooler Master.

    Would you recommend that I still get Cooler Master even with the case you linked?

    I don't really plan on overclocking... at least not anytime soon. :) 
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    a c 82 B Homebuilt system
    October 21, 2010 7:54:18 AM

    Yeah but get this one..........especially if you are not going to overclock. It is very good don't get me wrong but it will save you $20 more.

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

    The 300 Illusion is one of the best cases I have used. Comes with 3 x 120mm and 1 x 140mm fans. Thats 2 more fans than the plain 300.
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    a b B Homebuilt system
    October 21, 2010 7:57:54 AM

    My Vote :
    +1 to drop the proc to 955 or 965.

    +1 to stick with 4GB RAM for games. You will just waste 4GB if you use the 8GB RAM.
    More than 4GB RAM is not necessary for games, you will need more than 4GB if you have something like massive 3D/photo/HD-movie editing/converting/rendering or massive software code generation or server usages, etc.
    Games, surfing, watching movies, office, music, etc. don't need more than 4GB RAM.
    BTW : You can always add another 4GB RAM anytime you like, if you find it necessary.

    +1 for Samsung F3 7200rpm

    +1 Antec 300 Illusion

    Save your money for better GPU.

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    a c 82 B Homebuilt system
    October 21, 2010 8:03:08 AM

    ^ ++

    A GTX260 is nice but a GTX460 is nicer! lol
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    October 21, 2010 8:11:29 AM

    Thanks again for the quick replies. I'll go with your case/cooler choice anort. Guanyu, I like your ideas but I figure I'll get the 970+8gb RAM and then I'll update my GPU in the future.

    Would you mind recommending some good GPUs with the current set up I'll be making. Depending on how anxious I get I might upgrade my GPU as early as my next pay check, or I might wait till after the holidays.

    Anyhow, some recommendations would be lovely. Price wouldn't be a huge deal for me as long as you keep it under $400.
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    a b B Homebuilt system
    October 21, 2010 8:13:01 AM

    I'd wait for the 6000 series as you're using a AMD chipset. What resolution is your monitor?
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    a b B Homebuilt system
    October 21, 2010 8:15:44 AM

    1. You don't have to bother getting 970. 965 or 955 is enough and witha light OC you can get your 955 or 965 as a 970.

    2. Yup! you can get extra RAM anytime you like.

    3. Hmm...about the GPU... You have already a GTX260 at the moment right? can you wait untill the HD6000 is on the market? It won't be long anymore.
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    October 21, 2010 8:18:22 AM

    1680x1050. I think it might be time for a new monitor soon as well. I'm currently using an Acer AL2216WBD.

    What would you recommend with a 6000 series gpu?
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    October 21, 2010 8:21:12 AM

    Yeah I can wait. That's actually perfect for me as I can save money and when it hits the market I don't have to worry about spending however much it would cost.
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    October 21, 2010 8:21:41 AM

    Can worry about my bills for now :) 
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    a b B Homebuilt system
    October 21, 2010 8:33:06 AM

    About the HD6000, we will consider also the price drop of the HD5000 and the starting price of the HD6000 with the gained performance boost etc.
    You will just have to wait :D 

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    October 21, 2010 8:45:52 AM

    Thanks guys. I'm sure I'll be back to bug you more on future needs. Will definitely recommend you to friends as well, have a good night. :) 
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    October 21, 2010 5:47:13 PM

    The RAM I was going to purchase is now sold out. Anyone think the G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 is a bad choice?

    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333

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    Best solution

    a c 82 B Homebuilt system
    October 21, 2010 6:03:30 PM

    Get this. It is just 4 sticks of the best "bang for your buck" memory that has been around for a while now. Works great in Intel and AMD builds. You will have to set timings and voltage manually in an AMD build.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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    a b B Homebuilt system
    October 21, 2010 6:11:03 PM

    Which set is that exactly? Make sure the latencies are low.. Really though, you honestly shouldn't pay for 8GB, you don't need that much.

    Edit: Didn't refresh.
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    October 21, 2010 6:22:15 PM

    Thanks anort. I have no idea how to set timings/voltage manually so when I get it I'll likely ask you how. :) 

    And Jbakerlent, I think I'm going to get 8GB just so I've got enough/more than needed for now and in the future rather than having to upgrade at a later time. Ram seems pretty cheap to me as well so I don't mind getting the extra 4GBs.

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    October 21, 2010 6:22:57 PM

    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7Q-8GBRM

    That's the set.
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    a c 82 B Homebuilt system
    October 21, 2010 7:29:16 PM

    The Intel builds tend to be a bit more money although we are talking like $10 to $20 now ( prices have dropped) for an i5 750/760 vs an x4 955/965 build. Intel is also hands down faster.

    AMD is clock for clock a little slower than Core2 Intel architecture from 2006. Intel has since released core i5 and i7 and AMD has had no answer. I recommend AMD all the time but just for budget systems. Intel is they way to go for speed.
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    October 21, 2010 7:41:08 PM

    I've decided I'm going to go with the i5-760 just because my current processor is an AMD and I have yet to give Intel a shot. Might as well try it well I can. Would you recommend a good Mobo to go with it? The Mobo I was going to get with the AMD processor was around $110.

    I'm willing to spend more on the Intel mobo though.
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    a c 82 B Homebuilt system
    October 21, 2010 7:46:48 PM

    You want Crossfire then go with the Asus P7P55. There are quite a few models with different feature sets. I also have used Gigabyte P55 UDx series quite a bit with no problems. The Gigabyte boards do not do USB3 and SATA3 when running Sli/crossfire though. If you do not plan on Sli/Crossfire go for the Gigabyte.
    Add an i5 760 and the same RAM I linked to above.
    When you install the RAM just set it to XMP or Xtreme Memory Profile in BIOS and it will automatically set it to its fastest speed.

    The same Hyper 212+ cooler will work for the i5.
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    October 21, 2010 8:29:26 PM

    I'm pretty sure I'll go with the Asus P7P55. I'll post again if anything else changes.

    Here's my current set up (quite a bit has changed since my first post thanks to you helpful people)

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

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

    Mobo: ASUS P7P55D
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    cpu: Intel Core i5-760
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    Graphics card: GTX 260 EVGA
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    PSU: Antec Truepower 650
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    dvd drive : some random one

    Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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    a b B Homebuilt system
    October 21, 2010 9:29:41 PM

    ^ Looks pretty nice.
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    October 21, 2010 10:39:30 PM

    Thanks so much for the help everyone. Purchasing it right now. If I need help when building it I'll come back for more help.

    I also would love to pick all of you for the best answer because you've all helped me a lot more than you probably know. I guess I'll just pick one so sorry if it isn't you. Thanks again! :) 

    edit: I picked anort because I actually switched 5-6 items based on his recommendations and they all seem like great switches to me. Some cheaper, some more expensive but always seemed to be good prices.

    Thanks to everyone else as well.
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    October 21, 2010 10:40:20 PM

    Best answer selected by lilbizlaykray.
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    a c 82 B Homebuilt system
    October 22, 2010 4:12:23 AM

    That's going to be a fast gaming computer for years to come. Pretty much what I would pick if I was building an i5 760 system. Save some money up so you can get that GPU upgraded soon too...

    Here is a chart you asked for earlier comparing the CPUs directly.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu-upg...
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    October 22, 2010 5:45:39 AM

    I'm pretty happy that I ended up going with the i5 760, and the chart makes me happier so thanks again for that.

    Is there any up to date news on the Radeon 6000 series? One of them might just be my next GPU.
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    a b B Homebuilt system
    October 22, 2010 9:09:21 AM

    The HD6850 and HD6870 will come out very soon, in a couple of days here where I live.
    Those 2 will be the new mid-classed GPUs, yes the naming schemes were changed.
    HD6850 will be about HD5770s class and HD6850 will be somewhere about HD5830s class.
    The prices of several GPUs are also starting to go down about 10-25% in stores near me.
    We will still monitor how the situation will be, especially after the high-classed HD6000 are on the market.
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    October 26, 2010 1:13:11 AM

    Just built it. Here is everything I used.

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

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 63938&SID=

    Mobo: ASUS P7P55D
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813131634

    cpu: Intel Core i5-760
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6819115067

    RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820231329

    Graphics card: GTX 260 EVGA
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6814130370

    PSU: Antec Truepower 650
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6817371021

    HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6822152185

    dvd drive : some random one

    Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6835103065


    Now I'm wondering what I do with the computer turned on. Any programs I should download to verify everything is working properly?

    Thanks for the help!
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    a c 82 B Homebuilt system
    October 26, 2010 2:04:39 AM

    Yep. I would download CPU-Z to make sure everything is at the right speed.

    http://www.cpuid.com/softwares/cpu-z.html

    You have an EVGA card so you can download their Precision tool to overclock your GPU with or MSI's Afterburner tool will work.

    Download Speedfan and Realtemp to make sure your temps are good. Speedfan will also monitor your hard drives SMART status.

    http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php
    http://www.techpowerup.com/realtemp/

    You might also want to stress the computer to make sure temps stay good and make sure there are no memory errors.
    Prime95 and memtest will check this. Especially if you overclock you will want to run These for 8 to 12 hours to make sure it is 100% stable.

    http://files.extremeoverclocking.com/file.php?f=103
    http://www.memtest.org/


    Find a free antivirus like Avira, Avast or Microsoft Security Essentials then download Malwarebytes just in case and you are ready to go.

    Nice computer btw.
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    October 26, 2010 2:57:39 AM

    Speed fan is reporting my AUX temp as 87C :/  I have no idea what that is. Anyone know?
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    a c 82 B Homebuilt system
    October 26, 2010 3:10:22 AM

    Really all you need to worry about are CPU ( each core will have one ) GPU and Hard drive if it shows.

    Just go to Exotics for all youm need.
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    October 26, 2010 3:28:31 AM

    Thanks again Anort. I'll mess with the system over the next few days and let you know if anything comes up.
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    a c 82 B Homebuilt system
    October 26, 2010 4:16:04 AM

    Glad to help.
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    !