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Need critique of potential budget gaming builds

Last response: in Systems
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December 5, 2010 8:34:30 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: Within 3 months

Budget Range: $1,000-$1,200 after rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, entertainment (watching movies), internet

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com

Country of Origin: U.S.

Parts Preferences: None

Overclocking: Yes

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: I'd like to put together a budget gaming computer that can handle current games on medium-high settings and games released within the next 3 years on medium-low settings. I've put together three different setups I'd like to have critiqued. The CPU/GPU setups are based on Tom's Hardware 'Building a Balanced Gaming PC' review. I don't intend to do any later serious upgrading of the system, so I'd like something that's balanced currently rather than could be balanced in the future. The primary difference in the builds are the CPU and MB.

Build 1:
CPU: Intel Core i5 750: $199.99
GPU: Geforce GTX 295: $303.49
MB: ASUS P7P55 Deluxe: $129.99
Price: $1,149.24 (w/shipping) (includes other components specified below)

Build 2:
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550: $274.99
GPU: Geforce GTX 295: $303.49
MB: ASUS P5P43TD: $97.55
Price: $1,191.80 (w/shipping) (includes other components specified below)

Build 3:
CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE: $144.99
GPU: Geforce GTX 295: $303.49
MB: BIOSTAR TA890FXE AM3 AMD 890FX : $139.99
Price: $1,104.24 (w/shipping) (includes other components specified below)

Other components are the same between the builds and they are:
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1600: $59.99
HDD1: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB: $69.99
HDD2: Western Digital Caviar WD20EARS 2TB: $89.99
Case: Cooler Master HAF 922: $99.98
PSU: Corsair 750TX: $111.98
CPU Cooler: Thermaltake Frio: $58.86
CD/DVD: LG Black 22X DVD GH22LP21: $24.98

My primary questions are:
  • Would any of the other components I've specified be limiting to the CPU/GPU/MB combos (i.e. is that enough memory or do I need a faster HDD1 or a SSD)?
  • I plan to overclock the CPU and (possibly) the GPU according to the reviews specfication (shown below). Would the PSU, CPU cooler, and MBs I've listed be sufficient for that?

    Overclock Specs:
  • Intel i5: Overclocked to 3.98 GHz (21*189), 1.328V idle
  • Intel Core 2 Quad: Overclocked to 3.697 GHz (8.5*435), 1.328V idle, FSB-1740
  • AMD x4: Overclocked to 3.708 GHz (18*206), 1.45 V, 2472 MHz NB, 2060 MHz HT Link
  • GTX 295: OC @ 648 MHz Core, 1,404 MHz Shaders, 1,150 MHz GDDR3

    Any help/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    ScardyBob
    a c 91 B Homebuilt system
    a b 4 Gaming
    December 5, 2010 8:40:00 PM

    For all those build, the GTX 295 would be a downgrade from just getting something like the a 5870. Which is now only 280$ + 30$ MIR.

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

    The next thing, with this kind of budget AFTER mirs, I think it'd serve you best to wait for Sandy Bridge and Cayman. Cayman coming out this month, and SB next year in January. I honestly think that'd be a better idea.

    SB: http://www.anandtech.com/show/3871/the-sandy-bridge-pre...

    If you can't wait, get the first build. Build 2 is outdated and if Build 3 is the same price at Build 1 then Build 1 would be the best, mainly because it has better processing power than #3 and B2 is going to become outdated. Question, How do you know what your overclock specs are going to be if you don't havve build yet?
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    December 5, 2010 9:31:10 PM

    aznshinobi said:
    For all those build, the GTX 295 would be a downgrade from just getting something like the a 5870. Which is now only 280$ + 30$ MIR.

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

    The next thing, with this kind of budget AFTER mirs, I think it'd serve you best to wait for Sandy Bridge and Cayman. Cayman coming out this month, and SB next year in January. I honestly think that'd be a better idea.

    SB: http://www.anandtech.com/show/3871/the-sandy-bridge-pre...

    If you can't wait, get the first build. Build 2 is outdated and if Build 3 is the same price at Build 1 then Build 1 would be the best, mainly because it has better processing power than #3 and B2 is going to become outdated. Question, How do you know what your overclock specs are going to be if you don't havve build yet?


    I was thinking about going the 5870 for a while, but it looked like it performed slightly worse than the GTX 295 combo here: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/balanced-gaming-pc-... . Also, thanks for the Sandy Bridge and Cayman suggestions. I don't mind waiting a few months to get a little better hardware.

    I took the overclock specs directly from this Tom's Hardware review. Part 3 contains the Intel i5 and Core 2 Quad overclocking they did and Part 4 contains the AMD Phenom II x4 overclocking.
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    Related resources
    a c 91 B Homebuilt system
    a b 4 Gaming
    December 5, 2010 9:48:06 PM

    The Phenom 955 can OC easily to 4.0ghz I'll tell you from personal experience, depending on your hsf. The 9550 no clue, but the 750 is also an OCing beast, like the 955 it can oc to 4ghz easy and on higher hsf, around 4.1-4.2.

    The 5870 may perform less, but it'll future proof as DX11 is already going mainstream soon. So the 295 wont help you in the future. IMO. Plus the 5870 is almost at the 295's performance.

    As for the i5 750 vs Q9550, the 750 is worth it. The Q9550 isn't. The 955 is worth it, if you have a budget of like 800-900$. But yeah you have 1000-1200$ budget. So the 750 will give you more umph. Anyway, yeah just wait for SB and Cayman.
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    December 6, 2010 7:38:22 AM

    1. Do NOT get a GTX 295, it barely outperforms the 5870 and is WAY hotter and will use WAY more power. Not worth it AT ALL, trust everyone here. If you asked the guy who wrote the article you keep referencing he would tell you the same thing.

    2. Do not get a core 2 quad. Get either the i5 or Phenom II 955 depending on how much you are willing to spend. Both overclock well as long as you have a good cpu cooler. The i5 will provide a bit more power as said before.

    3. As everyone is saying, at least wait for the 6900 series to come out this month, and if possible, wait to see what sandy bridge has to offer in the beginning of next year. It will drive prices down, and who knows if they introduce a 6950 at around $300 it would be an attractive buy for you.


    -Good selection on the rest of the parts, I'd go with the samsung HD over the WD.

    -Not all CPU's/GPU's overclock the same, it varies from component to component, so you may or may not use the exact specifications from the toms hardware article. Seems like you are unfamiliar with OC'ing so i'd suggest asking for help once you get your build together.
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    December 8, 2010 4:32:20 AM

    Thanks for the suggestions! I'm going to wait till Jan/Feb and see how the prices drop.

    I've never OC'ed before, but I'm interested in starting with this new build. I just want to make sure that I have proper hardware to do so.
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    a c 91 B Homebuilt system
    a b 4 Gaming
    December 8, 2010 4:39:20 AM

    Alright, GL!
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    !