Gaming Computer Only - Budget - $1500-$1700

Hello Tomshardware Community,

I've been looking around your community for a year or so now when it comes to issues with computers and usually someone has made a post about it, so you guys are very resourceful.

Which leads to my next issue. My Current computer is still relatively new and powerful, but something is going wrong with it.

It's an:
Intel Core i7 920 @ 2.67ghz
Mobo is a Intel x58, the model is a TBGM01
9 gbs of DDR3 @ 1033 mhz
750 watt power supply (pretty sure its a no name company)
nVidia GTX 260
750gb HDD, believe its a western digital

I got this for around $1000 back in September of 2009, and for the most part was very happy with it. 5 months ago I started getting issues, Deferred Procedure call and interrupt service routines along with NT Kernal System were taking up around 25 percent of my CPU, even maxing out one core to 100%.

I took it back to Microcenter and after 5 trips and much arguing, they replaced the CPU, MOBO, and HDD, and the issues were gone. Fast forward those 5 months and I am now getting the same issues again, only this time the computer will just shut down on me after the Deferred Procedure call and interrupt service routines run for about 5 minutes. Effectively preventing me from using the computer while gaming.

I do not know if this is a heating or cooling issue, and I am really unsure of what I am suppose to do, I am going to bring it back to Microcenter and have them take a look at it again, but the people over there do not usually give you the best answer.

In the meantime, I have saved some money from the work I do, and was thinking about investing in a actual performance gaming computer, and use the current one I have for video editing, and work. Thus, I want to know what I can get with that budget 1500 - 1700. What do you guys recommend.

If at all possible I would like to have a computer that has 6 cores for the future, futureproof is nice. Potentially AMD moving forward. I would also like to have a nice cooling system. Also would like to SLI or Crossfire two video cards. If I am going to go with ATI, then I would rather crossfire two 6870's instead of SLI two GTX 470's

The rest, such as a specific motherboard, I am kind of confused on. Also was wondering what you guys think of for buying a custom built computer, or

I know these are a lot of questions, and hell I don't even know if I am in the right board, but thank you for any answers!

28 answers Last reply
More about gaming computer budget 1500 1700
  1. Your no name power supply may be the problem. The following brands are pretty good: seasonic, antec, corsair, enermax, ocz. If your ps is any other brand, I would change it out. And don't buy from ipower, alienware, or cyberpower. Learn to build your own. Read some faqs, or post a request on craigslist for a local tech to build one for you or train you. They work cheap. Some only charge $25.
  2. PSU definitely..A rule of the thumb better get good brand psu then a high wattage one..
  3. I appreciate the quick responses to the issue

    My only problem is, how would I know for sure that it is my PSU, before going out to buy one? Are there any checks one can do to see if it is up to par?

    Dont want to play devils advocate because you guys are being very helpful, but how come it initially took 9 months for the problem to arise, and then after changing the CPU, MOBO, and HDD, the problem went away, but 5 months later it is back again? Is this something PSUs are known to do?


    As for building my own computer, I know the basics of what would have to be done, but I am always concerned that if something screws up, it always falls back on me. As for Alienware, I would never purchase one of there computers, they are overpriced to the maxed. As for ibuypower or cyberpc, they seemed like reasonable prices, surely there is some mark up but not as much when it comes to alienware.

    Thanks again!
  4. The ibuypower and cyberpc units are overpriced when you take into account the quality of their components. I also recommend a complete virus scan and you run memtest to check your ram. You can do these procedures yourself. Use only one virus protection software at a time. This means you may have to remove one if you have more. I use microsoft security essentials, a free download. It works fine for me. As far as power supplies go, I've had no name units start to give me problems in just days. Don't know if microcenter replaced or checked your ps recently. Check the ps label for the 12v rail rating in amps. I wouldn't use less than 22 amps on each rail; some have more than one rail listed. The other listings are less important. The better branded power supplies test their units properly and don't overate their ps capabilities. Corsair is especially good. I use antec and ocz as they are a good value. Keep your current system until you decide what to do next. I still recommend a local pc shop or computer tech to build your next pc. But troubleshoot first. Your present components are pretty good except maybe for the ps. Check that label and list it here before doing anything else.
  5. Yea, I really do not want to change the system, I just want it to work properly.

    I use Microsoft Security Essentials, as well as SuperFreeAntiSpyware. When I get home from class this evening I will open up the PC and take a look at the powersupply. The Label should be in direct view right?

    Ill run the memory test as well.

    This should help when it comes to identifying the computer

  6. Wow. All I can say is....just wow. DPCs are generally generated at the driver level. I suspect that you have maybe one or two badly written drivers that are making a slew of DPCs that end up dropped out. Often, the only solution would be to restart the machine. This is not a hardware issue; this is software. Check your devices/drivers, to include mainboard, add-in cards (sound cards, graphic cards, disk controllers, USB or Firewire cards), and USB devices (yes, these use drivers as well).

    If you get no joy from driver updates, start by going down the list. Remove USB peripherals, then add-in cards, and finally, if you can disable mainboard devices, do so. In your process, eliminate them one by one. I suspect you have an old device (USB, graphic card, sound card, etc.) that is using an ancient driver, or a very generic third party that is using a very flaky driver.
  7. Thanks for the reply Houndsteeth.

    I initially thought it was a driver issue as well back during the summer, and I went though all of it that, disabling devices, uninstalling and reinstalling newer updated drivers, leaving items unplugged

    All of this did nothing, and as a result left me without a working computer for a while. I took it back to where i bought it (Microcenter) on 7 different occasions to change different parts because they refused to believe there was a problem and could not replicate the issue I was getting. Meanwhile I could replicate it in 10 minutes by playing Crisis. (Which leads me to believe it is a power or cooling issue) One time I had the issue by just leaving the computer idle, but the majority of times it comes from playing games.

    Eventually the changing of the CPU fixed it. Once they put in the new CPU, I could play games with out any problems, and without and DPC and System Interrupt issues. Now 5 months since having that CPU changed and no problems, the problem has risen again. The only thing I changed was updating the nVidia Drivers to the newest version, so I quickly switched back to the ones I had before this, but I still get the problem.

  8. Is process monitor for XP only?

    Should of mentioned I have Windows 7 64 bit
  9. Dadiggle said:
    oh you did clean out the older drivers properly

    I believe so, but maybe I did it wrong, I thought now a days that the installation of the new ones from nVidia will get rid of the old ones

    Also, when I removed the new Video Drivers because I thought they were the cause of the issue, I simply uninstalled it from the control panel, add/remove programs, and I let Windows put back in the old ones.

    Is there a different way to uninstall the drivers?
  10. Well here is where it gets interesting...I reinstalled the OS (Win7) back during the summer as I thought it was that, still had the same issues with DPCs and system interrupts. When I brought it back to Microcenter the first time, they changed the actual HDD on me.

    It was preloaded with Vista on it, tested that out and still had the issue. I put Windows 7 on it the next day...and still had the issue.

    So even after reformatting it, and then actually getting a different HDD, I still had the problem. Only after changing the CPU did things work properly, and now all of a sudden (5 months later) I am getting the same issue

    Which leads me to believe something with the hardware is wrong
  11. The one that came with the far I have not been able to find out online...and always have been afraid of opening the computer incase I voided the warranty. I plan on checking when I get home though

    Too my knowledge it is a 750 Watt PSU, that is of a no name brand...
  12. That is the first thing I will do when I get home today. Do you also feel the PSU can be issue with DPCs? Is that...logical?
  13. To be honest, I kind of hope that is the issue, but I am pretty sure it was checked when I brought it in to Microcenter back in the summer. I am sure they would have said something if it was faulty...maybe not.

    I just cant believe I am having this issue again
  14. This is strange...DPCs are almost always related to poorly written drivers. Here's a question to check you have Hyperthreading turned on/off? Have you tried running it in the other state to see what happens? You can access this feature in the BIOS. Not sure if it will do anything, but it is one more thing to check off your list.

    Do you have any third-party streaming audio/video codecs installed? This could also create a disproportionate number of DSPs as well, especially if the codec was written badly.
  15. I don't believe I have anything installed, I mean the only thing that has changed since yesterday and two days ago, were the nVidia Drivers, and I reverted those back to the original just in case, yet I still get the same issue

    There is a process called audiodg.exe that usually takes up around 1 percent of my CPU, that I never noticed in the past, but has been there ever since I got my computer back over the summer, but I do not think that is the problem, cause I have seen it for the last 5 months, not all of a sudden.

    When I get home i will check the hyperthreading.

    As for additional 3rd party audio/video codecs, could you give an example of what would be something? Like I said I dont believe I do, but just not 100 percent of what I should be looking for
  16. Quote:
    They are used to play multiple video format like .avi,.mp4,.mkv,.divx ect.

    I don't think i have changed or got anything new recently, I mean I use .m2ts when it comes to video editing, and .mp4 sometimes, but I have been using these since I got my computer back.
  17. Dadiggle said:
    aswell go to device manager the disk controllers then properties of your drive. What mode does it say there.

    Ill have to check the device manager when I get home, it never dawned on me to check there as well
    (Currently at my University waiting for my next class to begin)

    When I get home, around 5 pm EST, (3 hours) I will take a couple pics of the PSU, and check to see whats listed in the Device manager.

    Do I need any voodoo contraptions when taking off the side panel, I hear stories of people frying stuff, or getting electrocuted when they open there computer
  18. Delta of the biggest manufacturers. This particular model (GPS-750AB) is only sold through OEM channels, not retail, and then, only to integrators, such as Dell, Gateway, Lenovo, etc. Not exactly a no-name brand, just not one you would usually find in an enthusiast computer. Delta is also an OEM manufacturer for several enthusiast brands

    It should be good. Check your voltages carefully, and monitor them in CPUZ on a regular basis. If you do notice your voltages are out of alignment (usually you want to give about 5% variance) you might want to consider replacing your PSU.
  19. How exactly out of alignment are we talking, like what should I be looking for, Complete novice when it comes to a PSU
  20. For the 12v readings, look for a range in the bios hardware monitor section of 11.7-12.2 volts. This is the typical range of readings I've had in twenty years of building. There are some free hardware monitor programs that work in windows, but many aren't accurate for particular motherboards. I only trust the bios readings.
  21. Kind of on the low end of the spectrum...could this potentially be causing the problem?
    IMAG0059 by thetallesttales, on Flickr
  22. This topic has been moved from the section CPU & Components to section Systems by Mousemonkey
  23. Download OCCT and run the CPU and GPU tests. They each run 60 minutes and when completed will show you some graphs. Pay particular attention to the 3, 5 and 12 volt graphs and look for any anomalies. Anything more than 5 % is considered a bad thing. OC Enthusiasts as you might expect are a bit pickier.

    Warning: OCCT's PSU test can kill a borderline PSU.
  24. I may have to do that, and you say for 60 minutes?

    Can that potentially destroy any other components? Like the CPU or GPU? I really do not want to replace everything....
  25. One thing sticks out to me like a sore thumb. This sounds like if it's not the PSU, it's a cooling issue. What it sounds like to me is that possibly the thermal paste either wasn't applied correctly, or the current cooler is not working sufficiently. A simple test would be to run HWMonitor, and fire up Crisis. Play it for a few minutes (hopefully without getting the error), and see what your temperatures peak to (HWMonitor keeps a Min, Max, and Current stat).

    That's just my $.02, but the other suggestions are definitely worthwhile.

  26. Wish I would have read this earlier while I was home, now I have to wait til 2 pm EST to try it.

    While using GPU-Z and playing SC 2 on Ultra, the GPU was going to around 79 C, while the CPU averaged around 69 C. The GPU hit 80 C once and that was it, now during this time the fans did not kick on excessively, like they sometimes do, I will have to try and trigger that by either being in a intense game or what not

    I will try Crisis when I get home, do you suggest a specific temperature that means it is no good? Like if it hits 90 C do I have a problem? lol

    Also, how hard would it be to replace the cooler, and or thermal paste?
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