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Dec 2010 enthusist pc with i5

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December 17, 2010 6:03:53 PM

Hey I was wondering if I got an i5 with the dec 2010 enthusist pc ($1000) would that be a good buy for a gaming pc?

More about : dec 2010 enthusist

a b 4 Gaming
December 17, 2010 6:10:26 PM

I'll caution you that the SMB builds actually aren't that great. They often have overly expensive parts and aren't customized for gaming, but rather a variety of tasks. They're also not built with extended use in mind. I can already tell you that I'd switch the board to the Asus P7P55D-E Pro, switch the RAM to G.Skill's 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 Ripjaws, and switch the GPUs to something more like the HD 6970 or possibly the HD 5970, depending on other choices.

Are you looking to spend $1,000 on a gaming PC? You might want to follow the guidelines so we can give you the best advice.

Here's an example of a great $1,000 gaming build (prices aren't exact):

CPU: X4 955 $145
Mobo: ASRock 870 Extreme3 $95
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $70
GPU: HD 5970 $470 (the cheap one's out of stock)
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB $55-70 (currently sold out)
PSU: Corsair 850W $120
Case: HAF 922 $90
Optical: Cheapest SATA DVD burner $17

Total: $1,077. I'm a little over, but I'm sure there are some deals and combos to make it cheaper. You could also drop the ability to Crossfire and swap the PSU for the 650W model (saves $60) and the board for the ASRock 770 Extreme 3 (saves $20).
December 17, 2010 6:19:55 PM

yeah i am looking to spend $1000 - $1100 out the door on a new pc. I was hoping this months smb was gonna be a good buy thats why i waited till they came out with it. I see you listed the x4, from what ive read intels are better gaming-wise do you agree?
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December 17, 2010 6:23:53 PM

It's preference.

I like Nvidia & Intel, right now at least.

Do you live near a microcenter?

I can hook you up with the rig I'm building for a friend, it's in your price range.
a b 4 Gaming
December 17, 2010 6:31:26 PM

Intel's CPUs are more powerful, however they're really expensive (excluding Microcenter's prices). Typically, you'd spend around $400 for the i5 and a good P55 board. An X4 955 and a good AM3 board will run under $250. Given that the CPU doesn't have as much of an impact on gaming performance, that's a lot more to pay. I'd rather use that $150 on a bigger GPU, which has a huge effect.

I'm still not sold on nVidia's GPUs. I find that they're over priced in every price range, which means ATI's cards are generally a better buy. You certainly can't get better performance and a better upgrade path than with the HD 5970, so I don't see any point in spending more than that on the GPU.

I should also warn you that Intel's new sockets and CPUs are due out soon. It would be a huge mistake to buy any Intel CPU until they're released. The release will make any current Intel CPU obsolete, with no upgrade path. AMD, on the other hand, will be releasing their Bulldozer CPUs on the current socket, allowing the AM3 socket to retain an upgrade path.
December 17, 2010 6:33:44 PM

No i don't live near a microcenter they got better deals then newegg and mwave?
December 17, 2010 6:37:42 PM

thanks a lot for your input MadAdmiral! with the AM3 am I safe for awhile if I wanted to upgrade the card as well?
December 17, 2010 6:41:17 PM

firenutz said:
No i don't live near a microcenter they got better deals then newegg and mwave?


The i7-950 is currently only $200 which enabled me to buy a GTX 570, because of this my buddy's set up will look like this.

MOBO: Asus Sabertooth x58
CPU: Intel Core i7-950
GPU: NVIDIA Geforce GTX 570
Cooler: CM Hyper 212
Ram: Corsair XMS3 6GB DDR3-1600
HD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB
Optical: 24xDVD+RW
Case: Cooler Master Storm Scout
Power: 750 Watt Fatal1ty Series Modular ATX

If you mix and match Newegg and Microcenter you can get it for a little over 1k.

If you'd like help setting up a Newegg only PC I'd be more than happy to help, you can simply use an i5 and the G.Skill equivalent of my ram to come in around 1100. Downgrade the GPU and you will be well within your budget.

Yes Intel does have new Processors coming out, something new is always coming out. My buddy didn't want to wait and this rig will last for years, the only thing he would want to do is add another GPU. Even stock, this setup should provide more performance for gaming than anyone would need for quite a while.
December 17, 2010 6:51:49 PM

thats what i want to do I want to get it as good as I can now with room to upgrade later.
a b 4 Gaming
December 17, 2010 6:57:31 PM

Microcenter runs extremely good deals on Intel CPUs, but everything else is more expensive. However, you can't buy online, so if you're not near one, it doesn't mean anything.

@Jcomps: Doesn't matter. OP isn't near a Microcenter. Also, I wouldn't touch the 570 when you could get the 5970 into the build. Or the Storm Scout (overpriced) or OCZ PSU (lower quality) for that matter.

@OP: You'll be fine with a GPU upgrade with an AM3 board as long as you don't go with a nVidia GPU. AMD (who owns ATI) doesn't natively support SLI (nVidia's dual card technology), so if you were to get a nVidia card, they only upgrade path you'd have is replacement.

The only potential issue with the AM3 socket (and LGA1156 as well) is that the boards are basically limited to 8x/8x speeds with Crossfire/SLI setups. Full speed is 16x/16x. However, it's not a big problem, as that typically translates to a loss of under 3% performance (over an unrestriced setup) even when using the 5970. If you use a lesser card, that goes down as well.

The bigger issue is that the best CPUs on either socket right now can't keep up with Crossfired 5970s. However, it's also not an issue because no CPU can, and it's so massively powerful already that a little bottlenecking isn't noticeable.

An AMD build would give you the most potential for upgrading later. I'd say it's even better than an Intel build. With an AM3 build, you can get the ability to add a second GPU (non-nVidia of course), add SATA III/USB 3 devices, and drop in a brand new CPU (either the X6 hex-cores or Bulldozer). With an Intel build (LGA1156 specifically), you only get the added card and the SATA/USB. You completely lose out on any CPU upgrade, which could cost you a couple of years of use later on in the build's life.

I see the upgrade path for an AMD build like this:

First 3 years: No changes needed, or possibly a SATA III SSD
4th year: Add second GPU for cheap
5th or 6th year: Upgrade CPU to the highest possible
Late 7th year: Replace build

Intel's upgrade path looks like this:

First 3 years: No changes needed, or possibly a SATA III SSD
4th year: Add second GPU for cheap
Late 5th year: Replace build

An AM3 build will also last you for years without needing to be upgraded, but that's true with pretty much any $1,000.
a b 4 Gaming
December 17, 2010 6:59:52 PM

The Microcenter deals are only available in-store, however. If there isn't one near you, you're out of luck.

In general, I agree with MadAdmiral, though I don't think the 5970 is a good buy at this point. It's a good value for a lot of graphics card, but unless you already have an existing 5nnn card, I'd lean more towards an AMD 69xx series or a GTX 570.

If you don't have to buy right now, wait for Sandy Bridge. Yes, there's always something new coming out, but it's a completely new processor line, which will make most of Intel's current line obsolete. This means that either a) you will want to buy Sandy Bridge for its improved performance, or b) Intel's current line should see at least some price drops. Either way, you win.

At $1000, you can certainly get an Intel setup if you desire, though you might be able to get a little more graphics power by going with an AMD build. For the most part, current games are graphics card-limited, not CPU-limited.
a b 4 Gaming
December 17, 2010 7:02:12 PM

MadAdmiral said:
The only potential issue with the AM3 socket (and LGA1156 as well) is that the boards are basically limited to 8x/8x speeds with Crossfire/SLI setups.


Only with the 870/880/890GX motherboards. The 890FX motherboards support 16x/16x.

But I suspect you were probably just leaving that out of the picture because an 890FX mobo is out of budget and (as you mention) isn't required for decent CF performance.
December 17, 2010 7:03:15 PM

firenutz said:
thats what i want to do I want to get it as good as I can now with room to upgrade later.


Well, realistically for gaming you won't need more than 6gb of ram.

The processor is plenty fast, if you want you can add a second GPU down the road, and OC the system you can squeeze quite a bit of performance out of this rig. Games don't really utilize 6 cores yet, and from what I've read won't for some time.

There are debates regarding how much faster SB will actually be, so I jumped on the i7 for $200 when I saw it.

You can always argue the waiting game when it comes to hardware. Something is always due out next week, the best thing you can do is weed out the non earth shattering upgrades.

Yes, this release is substantial as the boards will be obsolete, yes new processors are coming out early Jan... BUT, with 6gb of ram, a powerful CPU, and GPU, I have no doubt this will serve your purposes well for some time.

I would only suggest waiting if you were cash strapped and wanted an i7 on a 1366 board which will probably see some degree of a price cut come early Jan.

Having a microcenter even remotely close is nice to mix and match parts. It is unfortunate that you don't, an i7 for $200 is a great deal. An i5 is 204.99 on Newegg, the i7 is 294.99.
a b 4 Gaming
December 17, 2010 7:06:49 PM

coldsleep's pretty much right, but I think it's a matter of opinion on the 5970 vs. 6xxx or GTX 5xx. I can't really see a reason to pass up the 5970 for under $500, especially when the card by itself is likely to be able to power any game at any resolution with any level of detail for several years. That's a lot of power for a low price. Of course, I can't really fault anyone for selecting a 69xx instead. I just prefer the 5970.
December 17, 2010 7:21:49 PM

MadAdmiral said:
Microcenter runs extremely good deals on Intel CPUs, but everything else is more expensive. However, you can't buy online, so if you're not near one, it doesn't mean anything.

@Jcomps: Doesn't matter. OP isn't near a Microcenter. Also, I wouldn't touch the 570 when you could get the 5970 into the build. Or the Storm Scout (overpriced) or OCZ PSU (lower quality) for that matter.

@OP: You'll be fine with a GPU upgrade with an AM3 board as long as you don't go with a nVidia GPU. AMD (who owns ATI) doesn't natively support SLI (nVidia's dual card technology), so if you were to get a nVidia card, they only upgrade path you'd have is replacement.

I see the upgrade path for an AMD build like this:

First 3 years: No changes needed, or possibly a SATA III SSD
4th year: Add second GPU for cheap
5th or 6th year: Upgrade CPU to the highest possible
Late 7th year: Replace build

Intel's upgrade path looks like this:

First 3 years: No changes needed, or possibly a SATA III SSD
4th year: Add second GPU for cheap
Late 5th year: Replace build

An AM3 build will also last you for years without needing to be upgraded, but that's true with pretty much any $1,000.


Yea, if he's ordering through Newegg he can get a better case & PSU for the price. I didn't have much of an option, we bought everything from a Microcenter and he liked the case... The case really is fine, maybe $20 too much, but whatever.

I agree with your upgrade path for the most part, but I wouldn't keep the same rig for 7 years... that's just me.

After 2 I'm itching for change :) 

I'm sure MadAdmiral knows more than me when it comes to this stuff. These choices often do come down to preference & budget. The 570 is plenty, and its $100 cheaper, better buy imo.

Either way you'll be happy.
December 17, 2010 7:40:01 PM

Just to throw this out there: I heard that the Bulldozer CPUs were only being released for the AM3+ socket and wouldn't be compatible with current AM3 boards?

http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2010/08/amd-announces-8-core-...

"The good news is that Bulldozer will be drop-in compatible with most current high-end servers. The bad news is that it won’t be compatible with existing AM3 boards. Instead, AMD says it will introduce a new AM3+ socket."

I'm just wondering if the upgrade path with AMD is imaginary.
a b 4 Gaming
December 17, 2010 7:45:40 PM

That article is about the 8 core Bulldozers. People don't need six core CPUs (at least not gamers), much less 8 cores.

Still, even if you don't have the CPU upgrade sitting there (you'd likely still have some X6s available), you'd have extra money in your pocket with AMD instead of Intel.
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