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$1400 Gamming PC Build - Need Advise before I buy

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February 11, 2011 9:29:48 PM

My 3rd gamming PC build for AMD and need advise on Memory, GPU, PC Cooler, and may PSU. Building this machine because my AMD Athlon X2 64 3.2 Dual Core is below the recommended status for upcoming games like Crysis 2 and Duke Nukem Forever. I will not overclock this machine and will add another GPU for Xfire, another 4Gigs of RAM, Gamming NIC, and other multimedia storage devices. With that in mind; it is very critical that I have the right RAM, GPU, PSU, and CPU Cooler.

Concerns on Parts I have selected for my 3rd build:

Memory - Will my CPU/Mobo can support the timming and settings.
GPU - Will this be worth the price or should I go with another well-known brand/model
CPU Cooler - What type/brand do I need that will fit on Mobo and Case to keep CPU cool around 35-40C idle and 45-50C gamming
PSU - Will this be enough to power my pending system even when I decide to Xfire and adding more RAM?

Pending Build: (Subject to Change depending on Feeback, lol)

NZXT Phantom PHAN-001BK Black Steel / Plastic ATX Full Tower Computer Case - $139.99 + FS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

NZXT HALE90-850-M 850W ATX 12V v2.2, EPS 12V v2.91 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply - $179.99 + $5.99S
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

NZXT FN-200RB 200mm Case Fan x2 - $12.99 + $3.99S
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

NZXT FN-140RB 140mm Case Fan - $8.99 + $1.99S
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAPPHIRE 100311-2SR Radeon HD 6970 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP - $374.99 + $8.50S
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition Thuban 3.2GHz - $199.99 + FS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS M4A89TD PRO/USB3 AM3 AMD 890FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard - $174.99 + FS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL PI 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) - $79.99 + FS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb - $89.99 + FS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R x2 - $45.98 + FS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Newegg Total: $1,324.88
Newegg S&H: $16.88

This is the total I have with a CPU Coolor, which I am having a very, very hard time with. Please review my pending build and advise me if the RAM, GPU, and PSU is ok for my system and what CPU Cooler i should purchase. Thanks in Advance
February 11, 2011 10:42:44 PM

Hello bhalton26;

Are you having a hard time with the CPU cooler? or with the price?
CORSAIR H50-1 Hydro High Performance self contained water CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
In air cooling:
Prolimatech Megahalems
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


With four fans already in the Phantom case you definitely do not need any more.

XFX Black Edition XPS-850W-BES 850W 80 PLUS SILVER is about $75 less expensive and still awesome PSU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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February 12, 2011 12:35:49 AM

Thanks WR2,

I will consider the PSU you selected, but the NZXT PSU is $179.99 and the XFX is $149.99. So I guess my new question is $30.00 worth saving for the 80 PLUS GOLD NXZT vs the 80 PLUS SILVER XFX?

And I am having issues with picking what type of CPU Cooler that best suited for my ASUS Mobo and comes with bracket support for AM3 slots. Would like to get one that is black with blue LEDs, but once again having hard time with that all together. Although the CORSAIR H50-1 Hyrdo you selected is a good start for me.

Thank you again..will continue to wait for further feedback on my build on parts before I make my final decision.
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February 12, 2011 12:39:03 AM

OMG!! Just realize that the XFX comes with a $40 rebate :o 
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February 12, 2011 12:42:51 AM

It might take you 10 years to save enough extra power to make back the $30.
When factor in the rebate and free shipping? It's more like $75.
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February 12, 2011 2:35:27 AM

I was just looking at that on Newegg and Youtube, however everyone stated that RAM with tall heatsinks will not be enough room for this beast.

Hence the two RAM sets I'm think about going with below. Also I am use to Corsair than the G.Skills, however I am saving $20 for a set of CAS 6 vs the CAS 7 Dominators. Do not know if that is really good or bad.

G.Skills PI Series - $79.99 + FS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Corsairs Dominators $99.99 + FS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Im sure the XFX is a excellent PSU, however the color scheme if off from the rest of my hardware. After looking at the prices of other PSU and start to wornder if the NZXT is worth $180.00 because its not 100% Modular like the CORSAIR Professional Series AX850 850W. Also I am wondering if I really need 850W, even when I Xfire since i am not OCing.

If 750W will support my pending build then I can go with this:

NZXT HALE90-750-M 750W ATX 12V v2.2, EPS 12V v2.91 80 PLUS GOLD - $139.99 + $5.99 Which is not bad for a GOLD PSU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If 750W will not be enough and 850W is the way to go; then what about this one?

CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-850HX 850W ATX12V 2.3 - $169.99 + $5.99S - $15.00 Rebate and matches the Dominators :) 
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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February 12, 2011 3:34:16 AM

After a little more research, it would seem that the Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme would be an excellent choice for PC cooler. I just emailed Tuniq personally to see will this beast fit in a Phantom case with 200mm fan on Side panel along with cleareance confirmation for the Dominators. Waiting on their reply. Meanwhile I still have the Corsair H50 Cooler in mind. The only downside is that I would have to remove the 120mm blue LED fan that come with the case. Corsair should have considered this and have this cooler come with LED, however I should be able to hook up the radiator to the NZXT fan. Another downside is that the back NZXT 120mm is design for outtake of hot air and the Corsair 120mm is design for intake of cool air. Can not win for loose. *sighs*
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February 12, 2011 11:53:06 PM

Just recieved emailed from Tuniq, that the Extreme would fit on my motherboard. However, the stressed that the Dominatiors may be to too tall for clearance so I think the Corsair HD50 might be the best way for me to go. Also I was on Nzxt and came across this picture and wondering if anyone can tell me what brand of cooler is this.

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February 13, 2011 12:26:59 AM

There really is no down side switching the tall heat sink Dominators to RAM kit with shorter heatsinks. Especially in a case that has excellent ventilation.

The coolers performance is close enough to being equal as to not be a factor in all but the top, extreme overclock attempts.

And if you're keeping your overclocking to modest to medium levels that strong 750W PSU will carry the load.
I couldnt find one of the in-depth PSU reviews we like to see but THG gave it a silver hammer in a review a while back.
THG testing NZXT HALE90-750M
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February 13, 2011 12:40:22 AM

I don't recognize that water block.
And the dual 120mm radiators all look pretty much the same.
It's probably a custom water cooling kit.
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February 13, 2011 1:08:02 AM

Excellent! so even when I save up enough pennies to add another GPU to Xfire and add another 4 Gigs to equal to 8Gigs will still be fine with the 750W? My current setup ( http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/configuration.php?con... ) is powered by a Thermotake 750W. Now this new pending system is like what..3 times for powerful..I would say. But hey if the 750W NZXT will support it then I am happy to save $40.00 :-)
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February 13, 2011 1:36:18 AM

As far as the RAM goes, since the Dominators are too high, should I downgrade the RAM to theses and save $20?

CORSAIR XMS3 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM - $79.99 + FS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You mention that since the Phantom has excellent air flow (and planning on adding the 3 fans) that should keep the RAM cool enough. Also the Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme should draw heat from the RAM as well. I guess my final worries would be the installation of the beast!!

Final Choice comes down to these three:

Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme Universal CPU Cooler 120mm - 103 reviews with 5 star eggs
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ZALMAN CNPS9900MAX-B 135mm Long life bearing - 44 reviews with 5 eggs
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR CWCH50-1 High Performance CPU Cooler - 1,009 review with 5 eggs
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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February 13, 2011 11:26:53 AM

Corsair XMS3 Cas Latency 7 is a fast set of DDR3 RAM.
Equally good choices would Kingston HyperX or Mushkin Blackline

Since you're not going to overclock (at least not right away) your CPU cooler choice is just about as much for good looks as CPU cooling performance.
The Corsair Hydro H50 is the 'hot' item of the moment. Zalman CNPS9900 Max turned in an excellent cooling performance. And Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme has a lot going for it.
Can't go wrong with any of those.
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February 13, 2011 2:58:44 PM

Thanks WR2!!!!

And the winner is the Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme!!!!. Why? Because: "Your computer case MUST have mounting holes for a rear 120mm exhaust fan or the H50 cannot be properly installed. Curiously, Corsair recommend installing the fan and heat exchanger with the fan drawing cool air into the case, not exhausting out." And that wraps it up for RAM and CPU Coolor, because the NZXT Phanom back fan is design for outake of hot air, so the Corsair cooler will not work for me. With The Tunig Tower pulling heat from my CPU, the top 200mm fans and the 120mm will push that hot air out the case!
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February 13, 2011 3:15:42 PM

Last part of my build: GPU - Will this be worth the price or should I go with another well-known brand/model?

SAPPHIRE 100311-2SR Radeon HD 6970 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Also will need confirmation on if the CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-750HX 750W or the 850W will be enough to Power my system, specially when I crossfire this baby and add another 4Gigs of XMS3 RAM
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February 13, 2011 3:30:01 PM

SAPPHIRE is actually one of the long time brands in the ATI/AMD GPU business.
They don't quite get the 'love' that some of the other brands get these days but they're a good safe choice.
Some of the other brands might actually be MFGR'd by Sapphire and then slap their own labels on the cards.

Over at Tweaktown they ran 2x HD 6970 in CFX with a Core i7-980x OC'd @ 4.2Ghz and used about 550W from the AC socket. If a PSU is 85% efficient that means the hardware is pulling 467.5 watts of DC power from the PSU. And PSU's are rated in DC power.

I'm pretty sure the PHANTOM does have that rear mounted 120mm fan and mounting holes:
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February 13, 2011 3:32:16 PM

I'm not a big fan of running a dual channel motherboard in single channel mode (1 stick of RAM).
But it will work.
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February 13, 2011 9:34:53 PM

Thanks again WR2!

And yes the Phantom does has the rear holes for the 120mm, but the fan that comes with the Phantom is design for outtake. For the Corsair H50 to work, I will have to remove the 120mm of the Phantom to install their 120mm fan on the radiator since its design for intake. Honest I would prefer the H50 over the air cooler but NZXT design the fan for outtake for a reason. With the H50 installed I will have 5 fans blowing in cool air and the top 200mm fans working all the hot air out. Another reason why I was trying to find out if anyone knew about the water cooler in the picture I posted earlier.

The only thing that concerns me about the Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme is in the install.
The only thing that concerns me about the H50 is the intake/outake fan.

I can not afford to make a mistake on this build...gonna seach on youtube for installing the Tower 120.

So far the RAM, GPU, and PSU is covered...just need to choose a Cooler and I will be 3-4 days away from building this beast.
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February 13, 2011 9:39:02 PM

You can always flip a fan 180 degrees and change it's flow, depending on your cooling goals.
I know there were studies doing the H50 with inflow and outflow fans and there wasn't a huge difference in case/component temps.
Thats probably due to the superior cooling in the gaming cases to begin with.
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February 13, 2011 9:43:42 PM

bhalton26 said:
My 3rd gamming PC build for AMD and need advise on Memory, GPU, PC Cooler, and may PSU. Building this machine because my AMD Athlon X2 64 3.2 Dual Core is below the recommended status for upcoming games like Crysis 2 and Duke Nukem Forever. I will not overclock this machine and will add another GPU for Xfire, another 4Gigs of RAM, Gamming NIC, and other multimedia storage devices. With that in mind; it is very critical that I have the right RAM, GPU, PSU, and CPU Cooler.

Concerns on Parts I have selected for my 3rd build:

Memory - Will my CPU/Mobo can support the timming and settings.
GPU - Will this be worth the price or should I go with another well-known brand/model
CPU Cooler - What type/brand do I need that will fit on Mobo and Case to keep CPU cool around 35-40C idle and 45-50C gamming
PSU - Will this be enough to power my pending system even when I decide to Xfire and adding more RAM?

Pending Build: (Subject to Change depending on Feeback, lol)

NZXT Phantom PHAN-001BK Black Steel / Plastic ATX Full Tower Computer Case - $139.99 + FS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

NZXT HALE90-850-M 850W ATX 12V v2.2, EPS 12V v2.91 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply - $179.99 + $5.99S
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

NZXT FN-200RB 200mm Case Fan x2 - $12.99 + $3.99S
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

NZXT FN-140RB 140mm Case Fan - $8.99 + $1.99S
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAPPHIRE 100311-2SR Radeon HD 6970 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP - $374.99 + $8.50S
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition Thuban 3.2GHz - $199.99 + FS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS M4A89TD PRO/USB3 AM3 AMD 890FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard - $174.99 + FS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL PI 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) - $79.99 + FS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb - $89.99 + FS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R x2 - $45.98 + FS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Newegg Total: $1,324.88
Newegg S&H: $16.88

This is the total I have with a CPU Coolor, which I am having a very, very hard time with. Please review my pending build and advise me if the RAM, GPU, and PSU is ok for my system and what CPU Cooler i should purchase. Thanks in Advance



Might I recommend going with a 6950 and just flashing the GPU to run as a 6970, very easy to do. LINK HERE
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February 13, 2011 9:52:35 PM

I thought about that, but I figured that AMD will come out with a driver update that will cancel out the Flash in the future. Then again to save $100, this may be a good option to take.
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February 13, 2011 9:58:58 PM

Sounds like you've been to that rodeo a time or two?
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February 13, 2011 10:29:45 PM

You're worried about saving $20 on memory but are buying a 6970 over a 6950?? Have you looked at benchmarks? You could save $100 right there for not a huge leap in performance.
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February 14, 2011 12:09:27 AM

Either one would be good......but the Asus I'd say.
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February 14, 2011 2:01:27 AM

Yeah, the Asus comes minor OCed and it has Open GL4.1 vs 3.1 that the Sapphire has.

Thanks alot WR2 for your assistance as well as to Imulder and Amogh. Going with the Corsair 750W PSU, ASUS 6950 2GB GPU, Dual Channel CAS 7 Dominators 2 x 2GBs 1600 ($20 not that much difference), and the Corsair H50 Cooler.
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February 14, 2011 2:09:21 AM

Subtotal: $1,293.87
Shipping: $10.45
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February 14, 2011 4:30:19 AM

I don't understand why you want the 69xx series AMD cards over Nvida's 460 or 560TI... or 570... SLI drivers are better than Xfire... Nvidia's base cards are better (at this point in time)... and you can pick up 2 GTX 560 TI's for $450.... or just one and then SLI it down the road.
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February 14, 2011 4:40:50 AM

So.. keeping your budget in mind I built the following

i5 2500K -- $230
Asus P67 MB -- $180-$280
Coolermaster 690 Case - $90
2x GTX 560 TI -- $500
4gigs 1600 Gskill Ripjaws -- $50
Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB --$64.99
If you already have a 750W PSU... you don't need to upgrade
You can get any DVD-RW drive for under $30

Total cost so far is 1145 - 1245... leaving you $200 - $300 for a great monitor of your choice. THis build will seriously outperform the one you have listed both processor and GPU wise...
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February 14, 2011 4:42:19 AM

Oh and I forgot to add a CPU cooler... get a Coolermaster 212 Pro for $30... best aircooler for the money hands down and it will fit in nearly any case. (Definately the 690 as I have personally had one installed inside before.
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February 18, 2011 7:18:48 PM

System build Completed!! I am now running:

AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition Thuban 3.2GHz
ASUS M4A89TD PRO/USB3 AM3 AMD 890FX
ASUS Radeon HD 6950 2GB
CORSAIR CWCH50-1 High Performance CPU Cooler
CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-850HX 750W
CORSAIR DOMINATOR 4GB DDR3 1600
LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R x2
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB
NZXT Phantom Black Steel
Windows 7 64 Ultimate

Windows 7 Rated my system 7.9 across the board. H50 keeps my CPU running below 29 idle and 48 running games. Had to manually set RAM to CAS 7, but that was expected. ATI drivers were a pain to setup, but finally got the 11.2 + hotfixes installed and working properly. 6.0GB SATA is blazing fast which takes the load off of RAM and CPU when booting up games. ASUS Readon runs 42 idle and 55 max settings on Crysis 1 and Fallout 3 New Vegas. This card needs a bigger challenge and specially when im ready to Crossfire. Should have paid the extra $20 and got the 850W PSU; oh well. Could not have asked for a better case, loving the Phantom. It even gives me a cold chill from time to time also.

Thank You all for your advise that was provided.
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!