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$1000 - $1200 gaming computer

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November 26, 2010 7:33:26 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: Within the next 4 weeks

Budget Range: $1000 - $1200 after rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming only

Parts Not Required: Mouse, keyboard, monitor, speakers and OS (I own Win XP & Vista) are taken care of.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: I haven't built a computer for about 10 years now, and so I don't know what is good anymore. I just want the best computer I can get for my budget.

Overclocking: Maybe -- I would be open to the idea as long as it is safe for the computer parts.

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe -- If it is worth it performance-wise and fits int he budget

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1200

Additional Comments: Quiet isn't hugely important, but nice if possible. The game I primarily play right now is World of Warcrtaft, which means lots of player textures getting loaded, so if there is something that is good for that (more RAM?) that would be awesome. I plan on getting into newer games graphically when I have a nicer machine too. Also, like I stated above, I have Vista and XP right now, so if another OS would be better I would like to know, however, don't make that part of the budget.

Thanks for the help!!!!
a b 4 Gaming
November 26, 2010 7:55:24 PM

If you can wait 5 weeks at this point, I would. Intel's new Sandy Bridge architecture is set to be released in the first week of January, and AMD/ATI's new 6900 series launches in December. While you might not end up buying either of those parts, they should have at least a minor effect on the rest of the market's pricing.

If you need something before Cataclysm (hopefully not, you've only got a little more than a week now), then I'd consider the following:

CPU - i5-760 - $200ish
Mobo - Asus P7P55D-E Pro - $180 - USB 3.0, SLI/CrossFire at 8x/8x, SATA 6.0 Gb/s
RAM - Muskin Blackline CAS 7 1600 MHz 4 GB kit - $80 (-$20 MIR) - really any 4 GB kit with CAS 7/8/9 and 1333 MHz to 1600 MHz - this is likely to be the most volatile price right now, anywhere from $50-100
GPU - ATI 6870 - $260
or GTX 470 - $250ish
(based on Tom's Best Cards Nov. calling it a tie.)
HDD - Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB - $70
or Seagate 7200.12 1 TB - $50 today, normally $70
(whichever is less expensive when you buy)
ODD - Cheapest SATA DVD burner - $16
PSU - Corsair 750TX - $95 (on sale)
could go up to 850W if considering dual 470s in the future. XFX, Corsair, Antec, PC Power & Cooling, Silverstone are all good brands
Case - HAF 922 - $90

Total: $991, using the higher prices, no shipping/taxes/combos applied

You could add an SSD (any SandForce-1200 drive - OCZ Agility2/Vertex2, Patriot Inferno, G.Skill Phoenix/Pro, Corsair Force, etc.) if you wanted to go closer to $1200. Or you could upgrade the graphics card, though either the 5870 or the 470 should be adequate for today's games at 1920x1200. The new 6900 series is worth investigation when it comes out in a couple of weeks, though I think pricing is still a mystery.

I think Win 7 is a pretty good OS, or at least it's less problematic than Vista. I would go 64-bit Home Premium, as it's a shame to get 4 GB RAM and not be able to use all of it.

Case choice is fairly personal, I really don't like the looks of the HAF 922, but it's a popular, well-reviewed case, so it tends to be my default recommendation.
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a b 4 Gaming
November 26, 2010 8:24:35 PM

Yep, I linked that PSU under the Antec link, but didn't put it as the #1 suggestion for some unknown reason.

And yes, SLI Zone lists a number of 750W PSUs, but if overclocking is also considered, I'd personally prefer to step up to a 850W, just to have the additional headroom.

Also, I forgot to add a HSF above, decent ones range from $30 (Hyper 212+ - good value) to $90ish (Noctua NH-D14 - among the highest rated).
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November 26, 2010 8:36:56 PM

"Our test system is based on a power hungry Core i7 965 / X58 based. This setup is overclocked to 3.75 GHz. Next to that we have energy saving functions disabled for this motherboard and processor (to ensure consistent benchmark results). On average we are using roughly 50 to 100 Watts more than a standard PC due to higher CPU clock settings, water-cooling, additional cold cathode lights etc"
"Here is Guru3D's power supply recommendation:

GeForce GTX 470

* On your average system the card requires you to have a 550~600 Watt power supply unit.

GeForce GTX 470 in SLI

* A second card requires you to add another ~200 Watts. You need a 700 Watt power supply unit."

http://www.guru3d.com/article/gigabyte-geforce-gtx-470-...
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a b 4 Gaming
November 26, 2010 8:52:39 PM

What? Links and evidence and such? I thought that was my MO. :p 
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November 26, 2010 8:57:29 PM

everyone has opinions I gave MO and evidence haha :p 
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November 26, 2010 10:35:40 PM

Wow, thanks for all the replies, and quickly too. Although I don't need the computer for Cataclysm, it would be nice to have it soonish. This looks great. I do have a few questions though:

If I were to SLI the video cards, I just buy two of the same video cards? Are there other parts that need to be bought? Can I just buy one video card now and one later? Also, if I do that, it seems like the 750 watt PSU would work, would it be worth it to just buy the 850 watt? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Seems like a lot of machines come with like 2-4 GB of ram base, is 4 going to be good enough for a decent gaming machine? Is there anything extra required for cooling, or is the case good enough?
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November 27, 2010 2:01:02 AM

850 can't hurt, some people like more "breathing room than others".

Tom's latest review on RAM (like 3 days ago) is suggesting 8GB minimums now.

and you can buy both gpu's now or later, just get the same model and they should come with SLI bridge.
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a b 4 Gaming
November 27, 2010 2:59:04 AM

I think it's premature to say that 8 GB is the recommended configuration. (I read the article and largely agree with the conclusions.) It doesn't hurt, but 4 GB is more than enough today, and adding another 4 is easy. It's certainly the first thing I'd cut to save money.

Everything else, agree with vindictive.
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November 27, 2010 11:26:43 AM

^I just went ahead and bought 8GB because I wanted 4gig sticks to take up less slots. and it'll run in dual so I needed two sticks :D 
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