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$1300-1500 system from "Recommended Builds"

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March 31, 2011 6:40:03 PM

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Approximate Purchase Date: As soon as possible, under a week


Budget Range: Right under $1300 before rebates, will go up to $1500


System Usage from Most to Least Important: Strictly a gaming system


Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers


Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com


Country of Origin: US


Parts Preferences: AMD


Overclocking: No, probably not


SLI or Crossfire: yes, but in the future


Monitor Resolution: 1440x900 for now, but will be getting 1900x1200 or higher next month


Additional Comments: Wanting to build my first PC that will run a wide range of games, up to current games, well and a system that will also have some room for upgrades in the future.


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Short background: I have been researching to build a gaming computer for the above specs for the past few weeks. I would label myself as "competent" with computer parts. I have not built a computer in 10+ years, but I have installed new graphics cards, RAM, OS's, and fans on my current system. In my search for information, I came across this site and found this thread -
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/269162-31-recommended...
The second "enthusiast" build grabbed my attention and is what I am shooting for now.

Enthusiast: $1,241.89 Update GPU

* CPU: AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition Thuban 3.2GHz 6 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Six-Core Desktop Processor HDT90ZFBGRBOX
* MOBO: ASUS M4A89TD PRO/USB3 AM3 AMD 890FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
* RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBRM
* HSF: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7
* HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
* PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX 850W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply
* GPU: XFX HD-687A-ZNBC Radeon HD 6870 Black Edition 1GB 256-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card with Eyefinity
* DVD: LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 24X DVD Writer LightScribe Support
* Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 932 Advanced RC-932-KKN5-GP Black Steel ATX Full Tower Compucase Case with USB 3.0 and Black Interior
Additional: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
Additional: Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM

This is what I have so far. The reason I am going with 6870 over the 6970 is that if I want in the future I can get a second 6870. I just have a few questions before I put in my credit card information.

1. Overall, is this build going to meet my needs? Will it play games like Crysis and GTA4 and Shogun Total War 2 etc. well? (I suspect it will, but can't hurt to ask.)
2. Are there any tweaks or suggestions or anything I may have completely overlooked?
3. Do I have everything I am going to need? The main reason I ask this is that I don't live near any computer part stores. So if I am missing anything or need an extra cable somewhere, I'll have to order it and wait.
4. With this current setup, would it benefit me to go ahead and get 8GB RAM now? If so, which would be recommended? (RAM I am probably the most unsure of in terms of what I should go for.)
5. Is going with the 6870 now with the intention of getting a second in the future a good idea? Are there any other options I should seriously consider?

There are a million different things I need to know, but I think this is a solid start to making my purchase decisions. Thanks in advance.

More about : 1300 1500 system recommended builds

a b B Homebuilt system
April 1, 2011 4:01:37 PM

would you consider an intel Sandybridge build instead? much better for Gaming
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April 1, 2011 8:08:18 PM

Originally in my research I read that AMD was favored for gaming, so I disregarded Intel. Now I am discovering that Intel might be better. So yes I am willing to go Sandy Bridge, especially if I can get similar performance for less $ or better performance for the same price. Ideally I would like to keep the build under $1300. And since I am not going the enthusiast route and more towards gaming, I don't need best of the best but just high end.
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Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
April 1, 2011 9:45:23 PM

Pestion said:
Originally in my research I read that AMD was favored for gaming, so I disregarded Intel. Now I am discovering that Intel might be better. So yes I am willing to go Sandy Bridge, especially if I can get similar performance for less $ or better performance for the same price. Ideally I would like to keep the build under $1300. And since I am not going the enthusiast route and more towards gaming, I don't need best of the best but just high end.


Value wise AMD was favored, but that was before Intel brought out the Sandy Bridge CPU. Now one of the lowest priced i3 2120 is as powerful as all but the top of the line x6 AMD CPU's especially for gaming.

I only went with 4 Gb of CL8 Ram. its all you need to game. CL6 is $25 more, but you wouldn't see but maybe 1fps improvement if that. 8Gb's does help much for gaming, but the system may not use the swap file as much. I upgraded you to a modular PSU to keep the cable clutter down in the case. I also selected a ASUS DVD r/w that was better rated than the one you had.

This system is a far better gaming system than the AMD x6 based one.


Sandy Bridge build:
ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
Item #: N82E16827135204
$19.99


COOLER MASTER HAF 932 Advanced RC-932-KKN5-GP Black Steel ATX Full Tower Compucase Case with USB 3.0 and Black Interior
Item #: N82E16811119160
$159.98

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3R HE103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Item #: N82E16822152238
$99.99

XFX HD-687A-ZNBC Radeon HD 6870 Black Edition 1GB 256-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card with Eyefinity
Item #: N82E16814150507
$234.99

CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-850HX 850W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
Item #: N82E16817139011
-$25.00 Instant
$10.00 Mail-in Rebate Card
$189.99
$164.99

Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM
Item #: N82E16835100007
$11.98

G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL8D-4GBXM
Item #: N82E16820231443
$54.99

MSI P67A-G45 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
Item #: N82E16813130582
$139.99

Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52500K
Item #: N82E16819115072
$224.99

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
Item #: N82E16832116758
$139.99

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel ...
Item #: N82E16835103065
$34.99
----------------------
$1,286.87

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April 2, 2011 2:19:36 AM

Wow, that is pretty awesome. Thanks so much for the feedback. This build looks really great and I really think I will go this route instead. I do have a couple of questions as far as switching out some of those parts. I did not edit my op, but I have tweaked that build since posting and want to pose a few changes to yours.

1.) I think I'd like to go ahead and go with 8GB RAM now, rather than buy more later. Was thinking about:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM

$54.99 -> $129.99 (+$75)

2.) I did some more research into my power need and it seems like 850w is way more than I would need (especially since I won't be overclocking), even with 2x 6870's. I could be remembering wrong, but I think the recommended minimum was like 600w for two Crossfired 6970's, so I was thinking going down to a 750w PSU. Also, comparing the HX (the one you recommended) to the TX (one I selected) it looked like the HX would have more cables and costing more. So I am not sure what you meant by being a "modular PSU" and creating less clutter. So assuming I can come down to 750w, I can save a bit of money there:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply

$164.99 -> $109.99 (-$55)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-750HX 750W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

$164.99 -> $141.99 (-$23)

3.) I also feel like I might be paying too much for that XFX card.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SAPPHIRE 100314SR Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity

$234.99 -> $209.99 (-$25)

This Sapphire card is ranked significantly higher on the feedback and looks like only small differences in performance. I could be way off in this assessment and could be missing something.

4.) I was not particularly dead set on that case, but thought the build would need an ATX-full tower case for everything to fit. I could not really find any definitive information one way or the other, but if an ATX-mid tower case would work, I'd rather go with that for the size and also save $80-90. Since the 6870's are so large, I also wasn't sure if going a smaller case would limit being able to add a second card or not. The cases I was looking at were:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
COOLER MASTER Storm Scout SGC-2000-KKN1-GP Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

So that's what I have for now. If my changes would be advisable, it would bring the price down $50-80 total. Thanks so much again for your feedback. Just need to hammer out these last few details and I think I will have my new computer ready to buy!
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a b B Homebuilt system
April 2, 2011 1:23:07 PM

You made some good choices. I will offer some additional advice and encouragement.

Memory:
I saw you had CL7 in you original build so I went with a good buy of some thing simalar that works well with the P67 Mb's. 4GB is all you need to game, you wont see any FPS increase with more ram. What you will see is less swapfile usage on you harddrive, which is a good thing in my book. I have those exact Ram modules in my rig (RipJaws x F3 cL8's) I have no complaints. I say go for it!

GPU:
I like the below card because of the cooler, it runs quieter and cools better (my wife likes quiet things she was about the throw my rig out the house about 3 years ago. I had 8800GT's in sli, they sounded like a 747's at take off when I gamed). I didn't put it in the previous build because I thought you were attached to the XFX Overclocked card. I agree the XFX card is not the best choice.

SAPPHIRE Vapor-X 100314VXSR Radeon HD 6870 1GB N82E16814102925 $220 ($20 MIR = $200)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU:
yes, a 750W will do with the 6870's in xfire I wouldn't even think of trying xfire on anything less. Having a bit more power isn't a bad thing. I prefer the HX model for cable management. you just dont plug in the cables you don't need. with the TX version you end up having to "hide" those unused cables out of the way so they don't restrict the airflow and look ugly. Either model will be fine for your build. just buy a bunch of zip ties for cable management :) 

CASES:
I think you will like a mid-tower case better. I like the CM cases you picked as alternative buys. Of those two, I prefer the StormScout, it is one of the ones I am considering for my son's next computer build this summer.
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a b B Homebuilt system
April 4, 2011 4:31:08 PM

Couple of Recommendations (My cents worth... :D  )

1. I agree with the SB route over AMD, as stated above.

2. I agree with going with 8GB of RAM upfront on the build, specially at their current pricing.

3. I would go with the an ATI Radeon HD 6950 over the 6870 for a little more money.

4. I would look at the XFX Core Edition PRO750W power supply for $119.99 ($99.99 after rebate). It will perform equally as well as the Corsair and allow you to keep a modular PSU. Come from my old Corsair CMPSU-850TX to my Corsair CMPSU-850HX, I've notice a big different in cable management abilities (which should be expected :D  ).

5). I would stick with a mid-tower case and since you like the RC-690, I would look at the new version COOLER MASTER RC-692-KKN2 CM690 II Advanced Black
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April 5, 2011 12:53:32 AM

You guys have been super, amazing, awesome. Thanks so much for the guidance and advice. This is going to be my purchase (as soon as the hard drive is back in stock, which is hopefully before the 6th)

http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx...

I've decided to go with the XFX 6950 and the Corsair 750w TX series. A few dollars in zip ties is the worth the savings, as long as it works well. And I think the extra money spent going with the 6950 was a great recommendation. If I can get the $30 savings on the hard drive, I should have enough to get a 1920x1080 monitor all for about $1300-1350. And all thanks to you guys! Thanks again so much, can't wait to start the second half of my build and actually put it together.
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a b B Homebuilt system
April 5, 2011 11:51:34 AM

Pestion said:
You guys have been super, amazing, awesome. Thanks so much for the guidance and advice. This is going to be my purchase (as soon as the hard drive is back in stock, which is hopefully before the 6th)

http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx...

I've decided to go with the XFX 6950 and the Corsair 750w TX series. A few dollars in zip ties is the worth the savings, as long as it works well. And I think the extra money spent going with the 6950 was a great recommendation. If I can get the $30 savings on the hard drive, I should have enough to get a 1920x1080 monitor all for about $1300-1350. And all thanks to you guys! Thanks again so much, can't wait to start the second half of my build and actually put it together.



Looks good to me. good choices based on you needs.
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April 5, 2011 3:33:21 PM

Yeah, I looked at pretty much all the 6950 cards, and I saw the feedback on the XFX card. That has me a little bit worried, but the extra savings and lifetime warranty (which I read up on and seemed like a good warranty) outweighed the negative feedback. So I am taking a bit of a risk with that XFX card, but hopefully it will work out for the best. Thanks again so much for all your input. Now time to study up on the building part while I wait for the parts to come in. :-)
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a b B Homebuilt system
April 5, 2011 5:50:20 PM

Pestion said:
Yeah, I looked at pretty much all the 6950 cards, and I saw the feedback on the XFX card. That has me a little bit worried, but the extra savings and lifetime warranty (which I read up on and seemed like a good warranty) outweighed the negative feedback. So I am taking a bit of a risk with that XFX card, but hopefully it will work out for the best. Thanks again so much for all your input. Now time to study up on the building part while I wait for the parts to come in. :-)


yeah, a lifetime warrant is always a good thing. I do know XFX honor's their warranty, they have replace two 8800GT's for me.
good luck with the build. let us know how it turned out.

don't forget to select best answer and solved to the thread.
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