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$1300 strict gaming pc.

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October 24, 2010 2:12:01 AM

Hi everyone, I've never built a computer before, but have heard that it can save a lot of money, and that you can assure the quality of the components! I do have a few friends who are more computer inclined that would be able to look over my final build and help assemble it. Forgive me if I ask a lot of questions along the way, but I'd like to learn and understand the process as I go along, for my own edification and for future uses as well :D 

Approximate purchase date
My goal is to purchase all the components within a week or two. There is no hard deadline.

Budget range
$1300, after all costs are considered (taxes, shipping to NY, rebates, etc.)

System usage
ONLY gaming, nothing else. I have a laptop for work, and don't need to do any sort of heavy programming, video editing, etc.

Parts not required
- Mouse (Logitech M305 wireless mouse)
- Monitor (ASUS MS238H Glossy Black 23" 2ms Ring stand & Ergo-fit LED backlight LCD Monitor Slim Design 250 cd/m2 10,000,000 :1 (ASCR))
- Speakers (Dell™ AY410 Multimedia Speaker System)

Preferred websites for parts
Either Newegg or Amazon. I have Amazon Prime so I have free 2-day shipping for most items, but the Newegg parts seem to be priced cheaper.

Location
New York, US

Brand Preference for parts
None, really, since I don't know that much about computer building. This is where your guys' expertise will come in handy ;) 

Overclocking, Crossfire, Future upgrades
None whatsoever. I will be using everything at stock speeds and don't plan on any sort of future upgrades at all. I'm pretty busy and won't have time to fool around with this stuff. I'm already wasting more time than I should by writing this post and building my own computer, but hey, if I can save a little $$ and make a better and longer lasting computer, it's worth it!

Monitor Resolution
The Asus monitor I will be using has a native 1920x1080 resolution.

CPU - $294.99
Intel Core i7-950 Bloomfield 3.06GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor BX80601950
I feel that at a marginal price about the i7 930, the i7 950 is a natural choice. However, does anyone have insight into whether this CPU can provide a noticeable gaming performance increase over, say the AMD 1075T or 965BE? When I was thinking about buying a prebuilt earlier, I was only considering the AMD CPUs since they were much cheaper, but now that I'm building my own, maybe I can invest more money in a better CPU.

GPU - $359.99
SAPPHIRE 100281SR Radeon HD 5870 (Cypress XT) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card w/ATI Eyefinity
I know that the ATI 68xx series came out a few days ago and that the new 69xx series will be released in November, but I am pretty satisfied with the performance of the 5870.

Motherboard
Anything functional that will support the CPU and GPU above. It doesn't have to be too fancy since I don't plan on CrossFiring or upgrading in the future.

RAM
I would like 6-8gb (does 8gb really provide a noticeable difference?), but don't really have a preference for brand. DDR3 and 1333MHz is fine with me since I heard there's no noticeable difference between that and 1600MHz, unless someone really believes otherwise?

Power
Corsair, preferably? Since my friends tell me that is a reliable brand. As for the wattage, anything to support my config is fine with me. I don't need it too high since I don't plan on OC/upgrading.

Harddrive
I don't really need anything over 500gb, since I have an external HD I use to store most of my media. SATA III and higher cache, preferably? If there's leftover money in the build, maybe invest in a small SDD for gaming?

Case
I don't care about aesthetics at all. As long as it has ample ventilation, can fit everything inside, and can keep things cool, I'm happy.

Cooling
I have no clue about cooling. Do the GPU/CPU/case each have their own stock fans? Do I need to include extra fans? I would rather not use liquid cooling.

Optical drive
DVD functionality is fine, since I won't be watching any movies. As long as a game can install off a CD or DVD, I'll be happy.

Operating system - $176.99
Windows 7, 64 bit home premium, I've never installed an OS before. It says both 32 and 64 bit versions are included, do I choose which version to install upon starting the installation? Does anyone know of any student discounts still going on? I have a .edu address since I'm in med school.

Thermal paste
Heard the Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound is good.

Keyboard
Anything to get the job done, nothing too fancy.

PHEW, there, I hope I didn't miss anything. Feel free to recommend, critique, or educate where you see fit. I hope I made the post easier to look at by organizing it as per the guidelines. Also, let me know if my budgeting is way off.

Thanks, and I hope to hear back from y'all!

More about : 1300 strict gaming

October 24, 2010 3:16:33 AM

the i7 950 is a complete waste for gaming, an x4 955 is great..
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard - nice 890fx chipset
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM - anything over 4gb for gaming is a waste
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HX 750 PSU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

for the GPU i would go for 6870 crossfire X or a cayman GPU (nov)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... x2

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

You do not need any cooling

You do not need any thermal paste

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

Windows 7

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October 24, 2010 4:03:30 AM

The only thing the core i7 has over the i5 is the hyperthreading, which won't help in games. Get the core i5 760 ($210) with a reasonable motherboard, such as the ASUS P7P55D PRO LGA ($149).

Next, the gpu, the 68xx series is much better performance per dollar. The 6870 CF is neck in neck with the 5870 CF and will save you around $200 for the pair (in addition to the heat/power). If you need more speed than that, a geforce 470 SLI or 480 SLI is your best bump up.

The SSD for gaming probably isn't a good route. Mostly because games use so much space so you'd need an expensive one or leave the games on a 2nd hard drive and you wouldn't get the benefit. The SEAGATE Momentus XT is a very quick drive but still has plenty of space. $140 for 500gb with 4gb of ssd cache.
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October 25, 2010 3:32:33 AM

If you are not going to be overclocking, a CPU cooler is unnecessary, but it is still a good thing to have. You can get the Coolermaster Hyper 212+ ($30 here) or you can get something a bit better.
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October 27, 2010 2:23:14 AM

Thanks to all the responses so far! Sorry for taking so long to respond, but things have been pretty busy for me. I've read all your tips and they've definitely been helpful.

About the issue of the GPU, I don't plan on CF, so I just want to get a solid single card for now, without waiting for the 69xx series. Can anyone tell me the difference between these two cards? They seem identical to me, except one is labeled as SAPPHIRE 100281SR ($359.99) and the other as SAPPHIRE 100281-3SR ($329.99). All their specs look the same too, except that the cheaper one is DDR5 as opposed to GDDR5, but that seems like a typo to me, since the fact that it is a video card should automatically qualify it as GDDR5? Can anyone enlighten me? Thanks...
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October 27, 2010 2:33:24 AM

I agree that the i7 950 might be just out of your reach at $1300, but it's definitely not "a complete waste" if you can afford it. It gives you more PCIe lanes and more threads for about $150 more than an 1156 platform. That's enough justification for some people.

This will perform about twice as fast as a system with a 5870 in it and comes in just $50 over budget:

CPU: Intel Core i5 760 ($208)
MOBO: ASUS P7P55D-E ($200) with USB 3 and SATA 6
RAM: G.SKILL ECO 1600 MHz, 4 GB (2 x 2GB), CAS 7, 1.35 volts ($95)
GPU: 2 x gtx 470 ($520)
CASE: HAF 912 ($60)
PSU: Corsair 950TX ($120)
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 500 GB ($55)
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium OEM 64 bit ($100)

TOTAL: $1358

Is there a specific reason you need the Ultimate version of Windows 7?

EDIT: To lower the cost, you could SLI gtx 460 1 GB cards and get performance equal to the 5970 for about $150 less. Two GTX 460 1 GB cards can be had for $400.
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October 27, 2010 4:33:32 AM

I have a decent build, I hope. What do you guys think?



Final price comes to $1309 with shipping and tax.
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Best solution

October 27, 2010 4:38:19 AM

Looks pretty good. Should perform pretty well. I like the Samsung Spinpoint F3 500 GB and 1 TB drives for HDD, though. They're faster than the Caviar Black 750 GB that you have there. That would disrupt your combo, but I think it would be worth it. It's not a huge deal, though.
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October 27, 2010 4:55:16 AM

My friend had told me that too, so...

The 500GB drive is $15 cheaper but doesn't have a combo with the PSU I chose. So this would make it $5 more expensive than my original build.

The 1TB drive has the same base price, and has a combo with the same PSU of $10 combo instead of $20, so the build would be $10 more expensive.

I don't really need too much storage space, since I have an external HD I use for all my media.

Another thing I could do is to knock the RAM down to 1333MHz, would there be a big difference?
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October 27, 2010 5:03:32 AM

Quote:
Hi everyone, I've never built a computer before, but have heard that it can save a lot of money, and that you can assure the quality of the components! I do have a few friends who are more computer inclined that would be able to look over my final build and help assemble it. Forgive me if I ask a lot of questions along the way, but I'd like to learn and understand the process as I go along, for my own edification and for future uses as well :D 


This is very true, i build my computer for around $1300 aswell where it would of been sold to me by Bestbuy or dell for an extra $200.


Quote:
Preferred websites for parts
Either Newegg or Amazon. I have Amazon Prime so I have free 2-day shipping for most items, but the Newegg parts seem to be priced cheaper.


I would go with Newegg or TigerDirect. Tigerdirect has $2 shipping aslong its worth $200 or more with a weight of 20 lbs or less.




Quote:
CPU - $294.99
Intel Core i7-950 Bloomfield 3.06GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor BX80601950
I feel that at a marginal price about the i7 930, the i7 950 is a natural choice. However, does anyone have insight into whether this CPU can provide a noticeable gaming performance increase over, say the AMD 1075T or 965BE? When I was thinking about buying a prebuilt earlier, I was only considering the AMD CPUs since they were much cheaper, but now that I'm building my own, maybe I can invest more money in a better CPU.


Great choice of CPU, lga1366 is where its at. Nothing will be replacing it in the near future and it runs everything you throw at it, not only will this PC be a great gamer, it will render videos and images with ease.

Quote:
GPU - $359.99
SAPPHIRE 100281SR Radeon HD 5870 (Cypress XT) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card w/ATI Eyefinity
I know that the ATI 68xx series came out a few days ago and that the new 69xx series will be released in November, but I am pretty satisfied with the performance of the 5870.


I have the same graphics card and to be be quite honest, i am satisfied for what i paid for it.

Quote:
Motherboard
Anything functional that will support the CPU and GPU above. It doesn't have to be too fancy since I don't plan on CrossFiring or upgrading in the future.


Since you will not be overclocking a decent ASUS or Gigabyte board will suffice. Anything within $200 would be fine.
This is a great Mobo: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Quote:
RAM
I would like 6-8gb (does 8gb really provide a noticeable difference?), but don't really have a preference for brand. DDR3 and 1333MHz is fine with me since I heard there's no noticeable difference between that and 1600MHz, unless someone really believes otherwise?

8gb would not really give you any signifigant speed increase at all. All it would do is give you headroom that you will never use and will in return be a waste of money.
Great set of Triple channel: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Quote:
Power
Corsair, preferably? Since my friends tell me that is a reliable brand. As for the wattage, anything to support my config is fine with me. I don't need it too high since I don't plan on OC/upgrading.

Corsair is a great PSU manu, i have the TX 850 watt PSU. I would recomend getting modular as it just provides for easier cable management and a cleaner look.

PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Trust me, it makes life so much easier.

Quote:
Harddrive
I don't really need anything over 500gb, since I have an external HD I use to store most of my media. SATA III and higher cache, preferably? If there's leftover money in the build, maybe invest in a small SDD for gaming?

A black caviar drive by wester digital is great. As for the SSD, get a 128gb if you do.

Quote:
Case
I don't care about aesthetics at all. As long as it has ample ventilation, can fit everything inside, and can keep things cool, I'm happy.

Antec 900 provides great cooling, all stock too.


Quote:
Cooling
I have no clue about cooling. Do the GPU/CPU/case each have their own stock fans? Do I need to include extra fans? I would rather not use liquid cooling.

I wouldnt worry if you got an antec 900. Make sure you get an aftermarket CPU cooler though. Extends the life of the CPU.




Quote:
Operating system - $176.99
Windows 7, 64 bit home premium, I've never installed an OS before. It says both 32 and 64 bit versions are included, do I choose which version to install upon starting the installation? Does anyone know of any student discounts still going on? I have a .edu address since I'm in med school.

You will use 64bit in order to use all of your RAM.
Artic SIlver5 is also great. i use it.
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October 27, 2010 8:47:34 PM

Alright guys, here's my final build. Thanks, mortonww for the HDD tip! Will buy this tonight.



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October 28, 2010 2:25:19 AM

Best answer selected by cloudblade70.
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October 29, 2010 4:46:45 AM

Only bad thing is the RAM and the thermal paste...
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