$800 PC Gaming / Video Build

Hey guys, I used to be a much more tech savvy guy but due to going to college (aka: being broke) I have been completely separated from the tech world. My laptop for the last 5+ years is a Intel Centrino 1.7 with an ATI x700m with a whopping 512k of RAM.

As a result, I have become much more of a console gamer and miss several genres of games. Now that I have a real job and am out of school, I am finally in the market for a new PC.

Approximate Purchase Date: Inside A Month

Budget Range: 700-850

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Web browsing, HD Playback via HDMI output

Parts Not Required: Monitor (will use my Panasonic 42" 1080p S2 hdtv)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg

Country of Origin: U.S.A

Parts Preferences: No preferences.

Overclocking: Probably not but I might tinker around with it once I'm more comfortable with hardware again. (I used to overclock my P2 400mhz lol)

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Notes: I want not only a computer that works great today but one that will stand the test of time (I'm not talking about max settings or anything like that, just parts that I can get by on fairly decently for 3ish years or so)

have done some research already so this is what I have come up with so far:

Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 (I dont want a HUGE case and I prefer simplicity in my aesthetics). $59.99

Mobo: Gigabyte GA-880GA-UD3H AM3. $109.99

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition. $144.99

GPU: Sapphire Radeon HD 6950. $299.99

Power Supply: Seasonic M12II 520 Bronze. $74.99

RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 4gb (2x2) DDR3 1600 $54.99 (I can get an extra 2gb stick for $20 more, is it worth it?)

HD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 500gb 7200rpm $54.99 (I didnt go with 1tb because I plan on (in 6 months or so, getting a SSD for my boot drive and switching this one to storage)

Total: $799.93 (About $30 less after some combo deals and rebates at Newegg).

Thanks for any suggestions / critiques / rants. All info much appreciated!

One question however: during my research I've come across two trains of thought. One (the one I went with) suggested getting a good CPU but great GPU. The other one I see recommends getting a better CPU (like an i5 or even i7) and a more mid-range GPU.
I'm not sure if the logic is correct with either one, but my main concern is long-term viability. Does the route I'm considering allow for feasible long-term (3ish years or so) use of the CPU and GPU, or at least the more expensive GPU?
6 answers Last reply
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  1. Yep with superior CF scaling than ever, it would be a shame not to go for a CFable config :P


    HD 6K: Cayman Crossfire in Eyefinity scaling
  2. NZXT M59 - 001BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
    Item #: N82E16811146058
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
    -$20.00 Instant

    MSI 790FX-GD70 AM3 AMD 790FX ATX AMD Motherboard
    Item #: N82E16813130223
    Return Policy: Limited Replacement Only Return Policy
    Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
    $20.00 Mail-in Rebate

    XFX HD-695A-CNFC Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity
    Item #: N82E16814150518
    Return Policy: VGA Standard Return Policy

    Antec EarthWatts EA750 750W Continuous Power ATX12V version 2.3 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC ...
    Item #: N82E16817371026
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
    Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
    -$50.00 Instant
    $20.00 Mail-in Rebate

    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBRM
    Item #: N82E16820231303
    Return Policy: Memory Standard Return Policy

    AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ955FBGMBOX
    Item #: N82E16819103808
    Return Policy: CPU Replacement Only Return Policy
    Protect Your Investment (expand for options)

    830$ BR
    790$ AR
  3. Quad Xfire Capable Mobo
    750W PSu required for CROSSFIRE in the future
    XFX 6950
  4. I think the quad crossfire is a bit overkill. I would focus on getting a motherboard with USB 3.0 and SATA 6.0 Gb/s so you will have that available to you in the future. Like everyone said, crossfire does scale very well but if you never want to use it then it is a waste of money to buy a board that supports it.

    As far as the two philosophies of computer building you mentioned. I always believe in buying more processing power than you need right now. The thought being that you can always upgrade your graphics card later and that is the easier of the two upgrades. If you max out your processor now with a high end graphics card, you have no where to go down the road. Yes you could always go for the six core Thuban but I don't think that will be worth the cost in 2 years to upgrade a dead platform with a processor that is a generation old.
  5. Hey everyone. I've bought a few parts already and about to buy the rest in about a week.
    Of course, I'm going to go over my original budget but thats ok! I want to keep it around 1000 now instead of the original 800.

    I think I've decided to go with i5 2500k but need help finding a motherboard that supports crossfire and is easy to overclock (I wont do any overclocking or crossfire at first, but as I get more comfortable with the hardware I want to start).

    These are the parts I've bought so far.

    Case: HAF 912 - 49.99
    PSU: Cooler Master Silent Pro Gold 800w - 159.99
    DVD: Asus DVD-RW 24x - 22.00
    HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB - 54.99

    Total: 286.97

    Also, since I plan on overclocking a few months down the road, should I go ahead and get a CPU cooler now or just use the stock cooler?

    Thanks everyone!
  6. Motherboard $190 supports Crossfire and SLI

    With the 2500k, RAM that leaves you with around $250 for your graphics card. I would probably go with a 6870 for that price point.
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