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My 1st Budget Gaming PC, build advice needed

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April 15, 2011 4:47:33 AM

Plan to play mostly Source engine games on the highest settings, however would like to be at least able to play recent games like play Bad Company 2, Starcraft II, Dragon Age II
Want versatility and longevity in the build consisting of proven high value components
May slightly over clock CPU, crossfire or replace GPU, add memory, and add hard drive in the future
Current new build cost off Newegg = ~$812 without shipping or mail in rebates, would like to reduce this to around $750

ASUS M4A79XTD EVO AM3 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard
M4A79XTD EVO
$119
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor
HDZ955FBGMBOX
$140
XFX Radeon HD 5770 (Juniper XT) 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
HD-577A-ZNFC
$125
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model
F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL
$50
Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0 GB/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
WD6401AALS
$60
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
GFC-00599
$100
Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
$60
Antec EarthWatts 650W Continuous Power ATX12V Ver.2.2 / EPS12V version 2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC "compatible with Core i7/Core i5" Power Supply
EA650
$75
ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner
DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS
$22
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7
RR-B10-212P-G1
$35
Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM
AS5-3.5G
$10
APEVIA 120mm Blue LED Case Fan x2
CF12SL-UBL
$8 x 2 = $16

More about : 1st budget gaming build advice needed

a c 84 B Homebuilt system
April 15, 2011 1:57:52 PM

Not that great. First, you've got an older board in the build (it's a good one though). Second, you've got an older, slower, more expensive (per GB) HDD. Thrid, you've got an overpriced case, PSU, HSF and optical. Finally, you don't need the extras, so save the $26.

Here's what I recommend changing:

PSU: XFX 650W $69 after rebate. Cheaper after the rebate, it's also modular and more efficient. All that while maintaining quality.

HDD: You can't beat the Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB. It's faster than pretty much everything out there (excluding the WD Caviar Black SATA III 1 TB, and it's very close at a fraction of the cost). The $65 is pretty high right now. I've seen it as low as $50-55 before. Check Amazon's price on it before you buy. You could also get the 500 GB model, which is roughly the same as the 1 TB in terms of performance, and save a little more.

Case: Rosewill Challenger. You'll save $16 (the 300 Illusion is $70+$6 shipping) and get a very similar case.

Mobo: ASRock 870 Extreme3. Cheaper at $90, it's also more current. It features not only 8x/8x Crossfire, but also USB 3.0/SATA III support.

HSF: The Coolermaster Hyper is a great little HSF, but at $35, it's overpriced. Instead, pick up the Scythe Mugen 2 Rev. B (SCMG-2100) for a few more bucks. It offers a lot better cooling. Usually, the Hyper's a good substitute for it when it's $30. At $35, it's not that great.

Optical: Here's a cheaper model (counting shipping): SATA DVD burner. Spend as little as you can here, as there is no difference between brands and models. Typically, you can find them for $16-18 after shipping.

RAM: Found some cheaper sticks: Kingston Hyper X 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latnecy 9 $35 after rebate.

So, with all of that, you've saved around $75-100, and gained some quality and performance. That's enough to upgrade the GPU to the HD 6870.
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a b B Homebuilt system
April 15, 2011 2:45:13 PM

the mobo and the hdd are great recommendations. you could also go for this hdd+psu combo:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
personally i think you should stick with the antec 300. its only $5 more than the challenger and its higher quality (thicker steel). i would just buy the hyper 212 plus off amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Hyper-Sleeve-RR-B10...
as far as i know, the scythe mugen does not come with thermal compound.

if you were to upgrade to a 6870, im not sure if you would want to crossfire on 650watts. you probably could, but it would be a little close. you could definitely crossfire 6850's though...

if it were me, id go an entirely different route, and forgo crossfire and overclocking in favor of a better cpu and single gpu, but i understand that this is over budget (but keep in mind that the 6950 is faster than Crossfired 5770's):

LITE-ON CD/DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - OEM
Item #: N82E16827106289
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
$19.99


Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Item #: N82E16811129042
Return Policy: Limited Replacement Only Return Policy
-$10.00 Instant
$69.95
$59.95


XFX HD-695X-ZNFC Radeon HD 6950 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity
Item #: N82E16814150523
Return Policy: VGA Standard Return Policy
-$10.00 Instant
$30.00 Mail-in Rebate
$249.99
$239.99


G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-4GBXL
Item #: N82E16820231425
Return Policy: Memory Standard Return Policy
$44.99


Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
Item #: N82E16832116754
Return Policy: Software Standard Return Policy
$99.99


Antec EarthWatts EA-650 GREEN 650W ATX12V v2.3 SLI Ready CrossFire Certified 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply
Item #: N82E16817371044
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Item #: N82E16822152185
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
-$15.00 Instant
-$15.00 Combo
$159.98
$129.98


Intel Core i5-2400 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz (3.4GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52400
Item #: N82E16819115074
Return Policy: CPU Replacement Only Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
ASUS P8H61-M LE/CSM (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel H61 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
Item #: N82E16813131724
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
-$20.00 Combo
$269.98
$249.98
Subtotal: $844.87 (free shipping)

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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
April 15, 2011 3:36:38 PM

^The Mugen comes with thermal paste. I've got one sitting on my desk at home waiting to be put into a build right now.

I like that Earthwatts/F3 combo, but if you can find the F3 for under $65 (which I can practically guarantee), you don't save anything. In that case, I'd prefer the XFX PSU for being modular and having enough PCI connectors to Crossfire anything above the 5770.

I totally thought the OP was looking at the 300 Illusion. However, I still would recommend the Challenger. The 300 is not as good as the Challenger. The Challenger beat it head-to-head in Tom's under $60 case review. The Challenger has more cooling than the 300 and costs less. The 300 Illusion is roughly equivalent to it, but it costs more.

As for the i5-2400 idea, I really hate that. Sandy Bridge is good, but to afford it you're really handicapping the CPU. The 2400 is a weaker version of the 2500K, which is absolutely amazing because of it's insane overclocking ability. Since the 2400 is not unlocked, and you're pairing it with an "H" series chipset, it loses that major bonus. Not only that, but that mATX board you picked only has two RAM slots and a single PCIe 2.0 slot. Good luck upgrading that in the future for cheap. You'll need to do a complete replacement of the RAM and an expensive, meaty GPU to get something more powerful.
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a b B Homebuilt system
April 15, 2011 7:19:28 PM

i agree with you about the i5-2400 idea. its not for everyone. still i would love to see an overclocked 955 beat an i5-2400. as far as the antec vs rosewill case, i disagree with your interpretation of tomshardware's results, but either case is fine and i got my antec 300 illusion for $55, so im happy.
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
April 15, 2011 8:50:24 PM

Both cases are good, but the Rosewill was slightly better. You could easily pick either of them and be perfectly satisfied.

The 955 won't beat the i5-2400, but it also doesn't cost as much. If you consider that the cheapest LAG115 expandable board (i.e. 4 RAM slots, dual PCIe 8x/8x slots) is around $160, and the i5-2400 is $190, the 955 (with board) will save you over $100.
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a b B Homebuilt system
April 15, 2011 9:21:54 PM

ah youre killing me. i didnt want to argue with you about this but i cant help myself. please link me the page that shows the rosewill case being better.
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
April 15, 2011 10:30:15 PM

Tom's article Four Gaming Cases Under $50 Part I and Part II. The performance/price chart gives the Rosewill a score of 132% and the Antec 300 a 98%. The Rosewill won the "Recommended Buy", which is fairly difficult to get in their reviews.
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a b B Homebuilt system
April 16, 2011 12:35:56 AM

Ok so now read the articles (i know, crazy right?). You will see that the Antec 300 is both cooler and quieter than the Rosewill. To me, thats what better means. What is the price of the Rosewill in the article? $40. Its now $55. Now im no mathematician, but it seems to me performance/price would go down if the price went up. The editors mention at the end of Part 2 that although the Rosewill has the best value (GIVEN THE PRICE OF $40) they would still pay the extra $20 for the thicker steel of the Antec 300. Obviously they would pay what is only $5 extra now for that feature...

A lesson: The Tomshardware Recommended Buy causes prices to go up. When you see this stamp, you should READ THE ARTICLE. Value changes based on price - amazing!
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
April 16, 2011 4:31:19 AM

The Antec 300 also went up in price too. I'd rather invest the money into the actual working part of the machine instead of the case. Again, I say I'd rather pay for the Rosewill, but the Antec is also very good as well. You can't go wrong with either of them. It's really down to preference.
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April 16, 2011 1:56:27 PM

I think I will go with genghiskron's recommendation with the Antec 300 case, I found one cheaper locally for $55, and I do prefer Antec look myself.
I will also take up on MadAdmiral's recommendation on HD and PSU.
the GPU and CPU cooler will remain the same, ill pick up the hyper 212+ elsewhere. Thanks for the help guys!
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April 16, 2011 1:57:22 PM

Best answer selected by sdjp489.
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