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$500 gaming rig (rate / advise please!)

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December 31, 2010 5:35:11 AM

Hello and thanks for reading. I was very interested in the December 500$ build. Although it looked great, I already have a seagate HD, so I had a wider budget for other components. I kept the primary components, however, switched GPU manufacturer, RAM, case, PSU, and dropped the HD. Build will be used for programming / softcore + old school gaming / general purpose. All advice welcome, particularly experts of compatibility, bottlenecks, future upgrades, etc. etc.
Specs...

CPU AMD Athlon II X3 445 Rana 3.1GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor ADX445WFGMBOX

MOBO ASRock M3A770DE AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard

GPU EVGA FPB (Free Performance Boost) 768-P3-1360-TR GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 768MB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready ...

-went for a balance of brand / performance / price on the GPU.

PSU CORSAIR Builder Series CMPSU-600CX 600W ATX12V v2.3 Active PFC Power Supply

-I guess this is Corsair's "entry level" PSU line... I was just not comfortable with the Antec 380W on the 500$ build...only need to ruin a mobo once to get the full experience. It is noticeably less expensive than others, but I have no reason to believe it's not reliable at the moment.

MEMORY G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL

-Went with G.skill. Mushkin looks nice but the price difference was tiny and i've had good experience with g.skill ram...not sure how it is on this MOBO though.

CASE Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

OPTICAL DRIVE
ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM

CPU COOLER Rosewill RCX-ZAIO-92 92mm Sleeve CPU Cooler

-Grand total is about $520, before a few rebates. Looking forward to suggestions. THanks again.
December 31, 2010 6:15:36 AM

Very good selection, not much to change here. I don't think memory brand make a difference as long as it's brand name. Either G.Skill or Mushkin is good choice.
Would recommend considering motherboard with on-board graphic card. You are saying that PC is for programming and old school gaming. I'm assuming you have a separate gaming PC. With on-board graphics you can take out your GTX 460 and setup SLI in your gaming PC, unless you already have it. It's a cheaper solution than buying another video card or upgrading existing one. Programming will run just fine with on-board card.
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December 31, 2010 8:29:55 AM

I think you've got a great list there in terms of value and it being able to do more than you require it to. One thing that you might check out is possible "combo deals". Usually you can't find EXACTLY what you had in mind, but sometimes you can come across a pretty good bargain.

This combo may be a slightly better value than the mobo/cpu you've picked out:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Depending on how "soft" your future plans are with gaming, or if you intend to entertain yourself with older games, you may consider scaling back slightly on the GPU choice for something that might fit your needs more. If that is a possibility you could easily shave a few bucks there to add to other components. I would also recommend getting a video card with 1 gb ram. Especially if you're already planning on a price point of $177.56 with shipping. You can easily clock to match the FPB as advertised.

Also, not sure if you're sold on Nvidia, but I know there are some pretty good deals on 5770's and 5830's which are basically comparable to the GTX 460.
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December 31, 2010 8:48:52 AM

Mascara,
Combo that you recommend does not have CrossFire support. My impression was that this is what he is looking for. I don't know if there is way to run nVidia SLI on AMD board.

Milkshake, For dual card on AMD board you have use AMD cards. If you plan on doing that go with AMD card. I think 6850 is better option than 5770 or 5830 due to multiple monitor support. Three and more monitors are amazing for development work and there is absolutely no need to have same ones.
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December 31, 2010 11:30:10 AM

CTPaHHIK: It's true I didn't consider the prospect of SLI/Xfire. I initially thought it to be a mobo purchase for the chipset & price tag. That particular ASRock board does have dual pcie, but its x16 and x4. Even though it's a decent price it wouldn't be the ideal board to Xfire anyway. Because he posted a GTX 460 this makes the whole idea that he planned on utilizing the mobo's Xfire ability near zero. My intentions were more or less throw out the bundle idea. Especially when purchasing technology thats been around for a little while. I think it shows that the mobo might need a bit more thought. It's a good idea to get the Athlon II X3 445, but perhaps get a better AM3 mobo for upgrade paths of the future.

You are definitely right about the 6850. Plus it's dollars over the 768 MB GTX 460.

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December 31, 2010 7:26:23 PM

Responses were a good revelation. Actually it led me to a "cart overhaul".

mascara - thanks for the MOBO advice, there were better options for this configuration. You were right on to assume it's a single graphics card build; I'm not always of the mind "more is better" and you confirmed a more viable GPU anyway.

CTPaHHIK - suggesting the 6850 was an eye opener. This card seems to be a real bang-for-buck and the triple display functionality would be extremely useful. It also seems to be at the point where ATI cards don't have to be measured against the 4870...it looks like the thing screams.

revised, all comments greatly appreciated

GPU

MOBO

CPU

MEMORY (had to scale back to DDR2, but I don't think it's a major concern)

PSU

CASE

OPTICAL DRIVE

slightly more expensive than the first build, but significantly more versatile and powerful

thanks, and happy new year





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December 31, 2010 8:16:27 PM

This mobo just went out of stock but I would suggest going with it.
ASRock 770 Extreme 3. There are MSI and ASUS boards comparable to it as well if you can't wait for a restock.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or go with this Gigabyte 770
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Then you can get faster, cheaper RAM.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You are looking at $125 with something like that, compared to $155 for the MOBO/RAM you have above.

Here is another PSU option as well. Antec Earthwatts 650, use the code listed for $5 off or DECAN10 for 10% ($7) off.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Keep in mind that there should be new combos with the new month starting tomorrow.
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December 31, 2010 11:27:46 PM

There are three things that come to mind when I looked at the GIGABYTE GA-MA785GM-US2H..

1. It's an old board. It can run AM3 socket sure, but you are going to narrow your path for future upgrades.

2. RAM. If you're going to spend hard earned dollars on a new rig.. get the DDR3 that comes with a nice AM3 socket mobo. If you went to any big box retailer down the road ALL their products have a newer board and DDR3.

3. The new one you picked out is actually more expensive?

Starting very very soon and spanning over the next 12 months or so there are going to be a lot of changes from Intel and AMD regarding their new products. If you intend on keeping this build for only a year then it wouldn't really make too much of a difference which board you go with. If this is something you intend to keep for possibly 1-3 years due to what you stated its use for, I wouldn't hamstring your build in some ways and keep it current in others.
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January 1, 2011 9:55:19 PM

CPU -AMD Athlon X4 640, 3.0ghz
MOBO -ASRock 770 Extreme3
MEMORY -2x2gb G.skill rip, DDR3 1333
GPU -gigabyte Radeon 6850
PSU -Seasonic 520W...
CASE Antec 300 ATX
OPTICAL DRIVE Asus dvd-rw 24x

^revised,

maawdawg I really liked your MOBO+memory recommendation. Looks very viable for the long term...the specs look like they would support future upgrades very nicely, especially the CPU/GPU. In stock not 24 hours after your post.

I thought I read that DDR3 1333 is the highest a lot of AMD CPU's support at the moment, which is perfect, then.

mascara thanks for steering me away from the earlier generation mobo/ram. It would have probably been the worst kind of bottleneck to have down the road.

Quote:
very soon and spanning over the next 12 months or so there are going to be a lot of changes from Intel and AMD regarding their new products
You motivated me to read some articles, but this always seems to be the story...can't worry about that. Anyway the last 2 rigs I owned personally were a Pentium 4 with Hyper-threading / Radeon9800pro from 2000 and an Ubuntu Inspiron9300 / Geforce Go 6800 pro from 2004. Both were retired in the last several months.

Critical responses welcomed...especially regarding chipsets manufact. / GPU / compatibility.
Thank you for weighing in, getting down to the wire. Probably going to hit 600$$ but oh well :D  I thought monitors were way more expensive anyway.
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Best solution

January 4, 2011 11:25:33 AM

For Motherboard there is ASUS available at same price and similar specs. Has 3 years warranty.
ASUS M4A87TD - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Power supply you selected has $10 shipping charge. Consider this one with free shipping
Power Supply COOLER MASTER GX Series RS650 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Everything else looks very good.
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January 17, 2011 5:27:23 PM

Best answer selected by milkshake.
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