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Is This a Balanced Computer?

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October 26, 2010 5:19:55 AM

Hi folks. I'm starting to look at building a new computer for myself, and I'm primarily wondering if this current set of specs I'm looking at is balanced. I don't want to, for example, have spent extra on my GPU when the rest of my system can't really keep up and that money is wasted (like, the GPU well outclasses the Processor so the extra performance I paid for is wasted, or, conversely, some individual component is underpowered compared to all the others and needs to be improved to avoid holding the whole rest of the system back). I'm looking to use this as my personal computer for quite a few years (my current laptop is in it's 5th year of use and I expect to get more out of it), so I want it to last awhile. I want to play all current games at high settings, and be able to play any game that may come out for at least a couple of years (ideally), but I'm not able to blow thousands on gaming because at that point i might as well just buy a PS3 or something. I don't do any video editing whatsoever, or file conversion, or that sort of thing, so those GPU features aren't so important at all.

This current system spec I'm looking at sits around $950 from a custom prebuilding website (Extreme Gear). I am not adverse to building a system myself, but the cost of the individual components according to Tom's Hardware is about the same or more as buying it as a package. Here is the system:

CASE: Apevia X-Cruiser 2 Mid-Tower Case w/ Side-Panel Window & MultiMeter Display (Black Color)
CPU: Intel® Core™ i5-760 2.80 GHz 8M Intel Smart Cache LGA1156
FAN: Intel LGA1156 Certified CPU Fan & Heatsink
MOTHERBOARD: * Asus P7P55D-E LX Intel P55 Chipset DDR3 LGA 1156 ATX Mainboard w/ 7.1 HD Audio, GbLAN, eSATA, USB3.0, 2x SATA-III, RAID, 1 Gen2 PCIe, 4 PCIe X1 & 2 PCI [+44]
MEMORY: 4GB (2GBx2) DDR3/1333MHz Dual Channel Memory [+39] (Corsair or Major Brand)
VIDEO: ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB DDR5 16X PCIe Video Card [DirectX 11 Support] [+122]
POWERSUPPLY: * 750 Watts - Corsair CMPSU-750TX 80 Plus Power Supply - Quad SLI Ready [+109]
HDD: 1TB SATA-III 6.0Gb/s 64MB Cache 7200RPM HDD [+50] (Single Hard Drive)
CD: 24X Double Layer Dual Format DVD+-R/+-RW + CD-R/RW Drive (BLACK COLOR)
SOUND: HIGH DEFINITION ON-BOARD 7.1 AUDIO
NETWORK: Onboard Gigabit LAN Network
WNC: PCI Wireless 802.11g 54Mbps Network Interface Card [+19]
SERVICE: Standard Warranty: 1-Year Limited Warranty Plus Life-Time Technical Support

The price of $950 is before buying any software, or even an operating system (which I can get at a discount through my school), though does include little things like a Mouse. I'd also need to buy a Monitor. Because of this, I'm already sitting at or very near the very top of what I'm willing to spend. if anything, I'd like to know where I went over the top. My thoughts are:

I believe the processor may be in excess of what is supported by the rest of the system, especially as I plan to overclock it. Obviously a good chuck could be saved is this is the case. I do plan to overclock whatever processor I end up with. I'm also not sure whether or not the Mobo might be somewhat excessive, this could save me another $50-80.

I believe the power supply is in excess of what I need, even if I'm substantially overclocking. I could probably save at leat $50 by dropping down 100 Watts or so, perhaps I could get away with dropping more?

I could save maybe $40 bucks on the Hard Drive. How much of a difference will I notice dropping down to a hard drive with a more standard cache/speed?

I do think I'd need to also buy a better fan that the one listed here, but the ones I'm looking at are only like $30, so that's no big issue to order separately.

Thanks for any possible advice, please let me know where I may be wasting money! If I could get this down to $800-$870 without any major sacrifices, that would be great!

More about : balanced computer

a c 113 B Homebuilt system
October 26, 2010 5:23:48 AM

You could get far more for $950. I'll make a list.

i5 760 AND Gigabyte P55 board with USB 3, SATA 3 $318
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Mushkin DDR3 1600 CL7
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OCZ OCZ750FTY 750W and Rosewill Destroyer case $140
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
About what you were getting. It's not as fast as you might be thinking but the price is good and the warranty and support are great.

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

Sapphire 6870
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I think that's a bit less than you were going to pay. You cab easily add a second GPU later should you wish.
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 26, 2010 5:31:16 AM

When are you looking at buying? SB will replace socket 1156 in about two months.
Not too much should change in HDD, video cards (other than price), PSU's and cases, but memory should drop in price and new CPU/MoBo will be released early Jan.
I'm not normally one to tell people to wait, but if you are still a month or two out, focus on figuring out the components that won't be changing first, so you don't have to repeat the process once we get full info on SB.
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Related resources
October 26, 2010 5:32:46 AM

Thanks. Here is the List I used to compare the quoted price from the prebuilt site to buying the components seperately.

Component List

I'm pretty sure I could definitely get away with at LEAST a $50 reduction in the power supply cost (the same supply but 650 watts is 50 less) and could maybe get away with an even larger reduction. This list does NOT include a DVDR/W drive, a wireless card, or a better fan so I can overclock, but all 3 of these would only be about $70 combined, so I didn't bother.

Just wanted to give you all my data if you're going to trouble of making a list for me!
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October 26, 2010 5:36:15 AM

etk said:
When are you looking at buying? SB will replace socket 1156 in about two months.
Not too much should change in HDD, video cards (other than price), PSU's and cases, but memory should drop in price and new CPU/MoBo will be released early Jan.
I'm not normally one to tell people to wait, but if you are still a month or two out, focus on figuring out the components that won't be changing first, so you don't have to repeat the process once we get full info on SB.

I am probably not look buying for at least a little while, waiting until Janruary would be fine/is probably my plan anyway. More than worrying about specific parts atm I'm trying to get an idea of how to balance all the concerns, particularly things like power supply and such, as I'm new to building my own system (I'm still running my trusty 1st gen MacBook Pro, but I'm getting a little tired of Starcraft 2 being unplayable with more than 2 players in a game).

I suppose then it also makes sense to consider if certain parts will allow for greater updatability in the future, such as a more modern motherboard, so maybe I don't ever have to buy a whole entire new system at once for a long long time.
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
October 26, 2010 5:42:56 AM

There's a list for ya.
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October 26, 2010 5:53:08 AM

Proximon said:
There's a list for ya.


Thanks!

Ok, I see the BIG savings in that list is the case/power supply combo, which you found for the same price as I was getting for just the power supply. You also saved me a little by finding the mobo/CPU combo. It seems like much of those savings were then reinveted back in a much nicer GPU. How much nicer was the GPU you picked out that the one I did? What if I just held onto that extra $80 and stayed with the Radeon HD 5770 I had picked out?
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 26, 2010 6:02:47 AM

The 6870 is a good deal better that the 5770, going with a 6850 would lower your costs as well, but really, a 5450 will have no problem with SC2 on low/medium settings, so coming from your current machine, anything from a 5770 through the 6870 should impress you.
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October 26, 2010 4:04:17 PM

Etk, could you tell me a little bit about the mobo changes that are upcoming in January? What price point will the new models come out at?
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 26, 2010 4:34:19 PM

New socket, new chipset. still on 32 nm process. DDR 3 still. PCIe still. SATA still. New insrtuction set (which won't be a huge advantage unless you keep your computer for a long time, like 5+ years) Nothing groundbreaking from the user perspective, unless you want to use integrated graphics, which will be on par with lower end discrete cards (nowhere near the cards you are considering) *expected* performance increase of around 20% colck for clock. Models will range from 2.5Ghz to 3.4GHz. CPU's will all be mainstream, so no $1000 dollar CPU's, I've got no idea price wise, but the typical "Mainstream" range begins over $100 and ends before $500.
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October 26, 2010 5:37:08 PM

Edit - I keep doing my research. No need to read all this thouroughly. I just need to know how much better the intel chip is than the AMD one (from the bundles at the bottom), and if the mobo that comes with the intel bundle is a good mobo. I believe it has good features (2 PCIe 2s and 2 PCIe 1s, enough US, etc) but I'd just like somebody to confirm that. I'm think that first large bundle is a pretty nice deal, yes?

Thanks etk. My understanding of what the heck different mobo features actually do is limited, I need to do some research on that in particular. I'm also not entirely sure about how to convert AMD to Intel chips powers. Is a mobo with crossfire vital? I don't expect to neccesarily run two cards, what's the advantage of that. If I bought, say a 5850 or a 6870 in this rig, then in two years bought another one for very cheap and ran them together, would that be twice as good, or just doubly outdated? Can you just totally different cards together, or do you need to be symmetrical?

With that said, how good do you think these two deals are? The first has a lot of the features I'm looking it (the i760 2.8, the little faster HD, a quality power supply) and all comes bundled cheaply enough that I'd be able to buy a very nice video card to finish it off, or get a little cheaper one and save the cash. The second bundle is a little cheaper, has msotly the same stuff but an AMD chip. I assume it's a little worse, but I'm not sure how much. I DOES have 6 cores, but I know AMD<--> Intel isn't a smooth comparison.

edit* - I had asked a question here abotu vid cards (5850 vs 6870), but I found a comparison, and I believe I am right in thinking that the cheaper 6870 out performs the 5850 slightly, yeah? I know the 5870 is better than the 6870, but it's a lot more. I'm reading the 6870 is very very slightly high performing than the 5850, but is much smaller and more power efficient, and hey, it's a bunch cheaper too.


Here are the bundles:

#

Intel Core i5-760 Lynnfield 2.8GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80605I5760
ASUS P7H57D-V EVO LGA 1156 Intel H57 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
Thermaltake V9 Black Edition ATX Computer Gaming Chassis with Dual Oversized 230mm Ultra-Silent Cooling Fans VJ400G1N2Z Mid ...
OCZ StealthXstream II OCZ700SXS2 700W ATX12V v2.2/ EPS12V 80 PLUS Certified Power Supply
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL

for $630-$20 rebate = $610

The cheaper one:

* AMD Phenom II X6 1055T (Thuban) 2.8GHz 6 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Six-Core Desktop Processor (Model: HDT55TFBGRBOX)
* ASUS Socket AM3 AMD 785G HDMI ATX Motherboard (Model: M4A785TD-V EVO)
* G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Desktop Memory Kit (Model: F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL)
* Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1TB 7200RPM 32MB cache SATA II 3.5" Internal Hard Drive (Model: ST3100528AS) – OEM
* OCZ ModXStream Pro 700W ATX12V v2.2/ EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80Plus Certified Modular Active PFX PSU (Model: OCZ700MZSP)
* Thermaltake Element G Black ATX Mid Tower Computer Case (Model: VL10001W2Z)

$590-$45 rebate = $545 (plus you get a $15 newegg giftcard
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