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$1000 to $1500 Gaming Computer Need Help

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January 2, 2011 12:44:54 PM

Hi everyone, I've been reading through the forums and as this is my first build. Some of what I have read makes sense to me and others not so much. I would like to get some help on which way to go with this first build.

This plan is to start with about 1k to 1500. I will upgrade a few months later. I want to build a powerhouse that will last me a long time with a possible upgrade here and there just to keep up. So if possible I would like a build that is a good start and ready to go, with adding more GPU's, memory and HDD's a few months down the road.

I don't know if my idea is possible or if it even makes sense. What I was thinking was setting up the gaming system on one HDD and the multimedia on another. The thought is if I boot to HDD #1 (Windows) It will be setup for only gaming. Then if I want to watch movies, logout and boot to HDD #2 (Windows also) This would also be for surfing the web and so forth. The reason for this is to max the settings for gaming on one drive and then maxing the settings for multimedia. I don't know if this is a great idea or if it can be achieved using one HDD. Or if the best bet is run everything off one drive with the games setup on a SSD. Please help!

I want to be able to play/burn bluray and network to one of my flat screen Tv's, also this will be a work computer where the company I work for I have to have 5 to 6 programs and quite a few tabs open to do my work which is mostly web graphic's and MS Office. I would like to be able to set this up for dual monitors as to speed up my work.

On the side the wife wants to be able to use the computer to connect her piano (Electric Keyboad) to record songs she composes.

I don't know much if anything about hardware so any help explaining to me or even a link will be much appreciated.


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within the next month

BUDGET RANGE: $1000 to $1500 With an extra $1000 to $1500 a few months later. Most likely picking up a part here and a part there as I can afford it.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming FPS and RTS. I would like to set a Multimedia center also for movies and such.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Mouse, Keyboard, Speakers.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Tigerdirect or newegg. I am open to others though.

PARTS PREFERENCES: Would like to go with AMD unless you can tell me Intel is better and won't change where I won't be able to upgrade in the future without having to replace many parts.

HDD's: I want to be able to run at least two SSD drives for gaming and two regular 500gb drives. Would like more as I consume an enormous amount of space due to my work, also I have many external drive which I have to access all the time. Is this the best way to go? Should I use SSD for movies and the such or 10k rpm HDD?

OVERCLOCKING: Do I need overclocking? If yes, why? Where do I go from here?

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes

MONITOR RESOLUTION: I don't know what is the best please help me with this.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I’ve been doing some basic research and I just can't figure out where to start. I hear Asus is a great start for the MOBO but again I just don't know.

In other words please treat me like a complete idiot that is willing to learn but may need to be smacked around a little bit!

Thanks in advance to everyone willing to take the time to give me a hand.


January 2, 2011 1:33:05 PM

couple questions first:

- there's a big difference between $1000 and $1500 budget... pick a price point for the original build... and i (we) can have a certain number to shoot for to help you out

overclocking is not a "need"... but a "perk"... a free performance advantage, if you will...

the only place you would "need" overclocking for example would be - if you build a powerful expensive gaming system around around a mid-priced CPU that at stock frequencies would bottle-neck your powerful graphics... then you would 'need' to overclock your CPU to avoid a bottle-neck.... or alternatively, splurge the extra cash for an expensive (Intel) CPU at stock speeds...
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January 2, 2011 4:44:59 PM

I would say a good start for the original would be $1200 I would rather not overclock the system but can't put out 1k on a CPU. What do you think?
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Related resources
January 2, 2011 5:46:51 PM

for a ~$1200 gaming system /wo overclocking, but with SLI/Crossfire in the future... i'd go with:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- Asus dvdrw drive: $19

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- Antec 300 Illusion: $70

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB HDD: $70

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- G.SKILL Phoenix 120GB SSD: $200

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- Corsair TX750W PSU: $110

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3 AM3 AMD 890GX SATA6 USB3: $140

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- AMD Phenom II X4 970 3.5Ghz: $186

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- Mushkin Enhanced Silverline 4GB (2x2): $45

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit: $100

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- Gigabyte Randeon HD 6950 2GB: $300

Total: $1240


i'd go with 1 larger SSD than 2 smaller ones... that way you don't lose TRIM support under Windows 7

fastest AMD quad-core you can get (since you're not overclocking)

that motherboard (and PSU) have "future-proofing" with SATA6, USB3 and Crossfire + SLI support

you can add RAM, more HD's and a 2nd video card later for your upgrade plan...
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January 3, 2011 9:40:03 AM

So no need for a six core? Also would it be better to go with intel? It's just I see plenty of systems from say people like dell that would charge 2500.00 for what they call a gaming computer. What's the difference between that and building one?

Guess I"m just worried that I will end up missing something or just not do something right.

Thanks again, I do like that build and it does give me some wiggle room, what about the idea on booting to diff hardrives depending on what I wanted to do ie. game/movie?

I know I'm a pain, but I just want to make sure I'm doing everything right and not rushing through the build.
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January 4, 2011 5:42:51 PM

Also you said that this was the fastest one I can get since I'm not overclocking, should I get higher (or is it an good idea) even though I don't plan to overclock.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 4, 2011 7:07:41 PM

It's really not hard to do a simple overclock.

Super easy one anyone can do is go into BIOS, up the CPU multiplier by 1, and now you've turned a Phenom II x4 955 into a Phenom II x4 965 and saved $20 by spending 10 seconds.

Sandy bridge appears to be an even easier OC. Just go into BIOS on a -K processors, up multiplier to 44x and enjoy your free 15% OC.

OC's don't get complicated unless you really wanna tweak your CPU for max performance at min voltage.

Using a High speed HD or SSD for movie or any mass media storage is silly outside enterprise environment. Streaming media requires a negligible portion of HD bandwidth.

AMD's X6 CPU's are actually very bad at gaming. Can't cram in more cores and keep bandwidth the same without loss in per core performance. Since games don't benefit from more than 4 cores, kinda pointless.

You don't need multiple OS's for gaming vs media. you can do both on same OS. Just stick apps and games on SSD, throw the media onto a storage drive and you're fine.

AM3 is a dead end right now. Future CPU's from AMD will require AM3+. Intel isn't much better. They have a habit of replacing sockets every other year.

Also read the stickies, lots of good info in them.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/288241-31-read-postin...
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January 4, 2011 7:19:45 PM

Ok I understand on the cores and from what I have been reading on intel changing what seems to be every year was why I wanted to go with AMD. So the question is do I need a board for AM3+ and if so what?

As far as the multiple OS, I get what your saying on that note also. I just wanted to make sure everything was running at the top for what ever I was doing.

So I guess it comes down to, do I want to OC?

Thanks for the stickies, I read though most but some how missed that one. Nothing worse than someone who won't do the research :-x
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 5, 2011 1:57:09 PM

AM3+ hasn't been released yet. It's coming out with bulldozer later this year. So basically, if you buy AMD now, you won't be able to upgrade to their upcoming CPU's.
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January 5, 2011 3:37:52 PM

So it looks like if I want to do anything now I'll have to go with Sandy Bridge coming out this month....
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