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Need help building a gaming rig for under $1000

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May 16, 2011 2:36:48 AM

Hey guys,
I used to be a bit of a techie a few years back, but I've since lost track of what's the latest and greatest in PCs (in fact, I barely remember any of the old lingo). I'm looking to build a new gaming rig. I'd like something I could possibly upgrade down the road, so it doesn't have to be an i7, liquid-nitrogen-cooled, 6 monitor, self-aware gaming machine right off the bat. I have an older machine I'll probably cannibalize the PSU off of (it's a 750w) and I'm all set for the HDD and case (large mid tower).

I'm thinking about going with two SLI'd EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti graphics cards, an AMD Phenom II X6 1100T Blk Ed processor, and probably 8 GB of Ram (not sure which make or model yet). I figure the cards and the processor will run me around $700-750, so that just leaves the memory and a motherboard that can hold the AMD chip. I'd really appreciate any input you guys might have. I'd hate to put together a Frankenstein and have it melt/die/not work.

I'd like to be able to play Crysis 2 and say "Oooh that's pretty!" as stuff blows up. So I guess that's medium-high settings. I remember when Crysis came out a few years back (I was working at CompUSA at the time) and no one had a rig that could run it. In fact, meeting someone who DID have a rig that could run it was kind of like meeting a celebrity. Afterwords you'd go to your friends and be like "Dude! that guy can run Crysis!". I realize that tech has come a long way since then and the cost of gaming rigs has come down considerably, so I'm hoping my price range is sufficient. I'll probably be buying the parts over the next 3-4 months so if you know of a better part coming out please let me know, time is not an issue for me.

Thanks in advance!

-Ben
a c 136 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
May 16, 2011 2:45:04 AM

The AMD 6 core is not a good gaming processor , and AMD is about to replace them with a new range of processors in a few weeks .

Right now the smart money buys you an Intel 2500k , a p67 motherboard [ not all models support sli so choose carefully ] , and 4 or 8 gig of RAM
Add a midrange cooler since the cpu is cool running anyway
A 750 watt psu for your sli set up

and a 500 gig or 1 terabyte Samsung F3 hard drive and/or a SSD hard drive to boot from
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May 16, 2011 2:49:24 AM

What kind of cooler? I know I can get a self-contained cooler from Staples for about $40.
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a c 136 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
May 16, 2011 3:42:47 AM

A lot of people like the Hyper 212 .

http://www.coolermaster.com/product.php?product_id=6603
or
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Its a decent cooler , and reasonably quiet .
The new 32 nm cpu's run very cool compared to the last generation cpu's so there's no reason to use the very large coolers like the scythe Mugen . Those 2500k's overclock massively even with the stock intel cooler .

AMD's new line of processors are coming in a few weeks and should have all the same advantages . Since you have time then wait and see which is better . It might be the AMD
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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
May 16, 2011 3:46:09 AM

Siggy there is a $600 build and a flat $1000 build. The $600 is a solid start off. Just change the CPU to an i5 2400 and change the motherboard to a Gigabyte P67 D3 (I do mention both in the $600 build) and you'd have a good upgrade ability. That'll total you around $680.
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May 16, 2011 1:39:34 PM

Building a new machine is like buying a new car. You have to do your homework on parts – read read read…

I can suggest:

2600k
16gb RAM 1600mhz
1tb drive
850 watt psu
P67 mobo
6850 2gb ddr5 video card

The biggest dollars will be spent on Video card and CPU… But that’s the heart of gaming… So do your homework.. And watch for sales online.
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May 16, 2011 2:13:37 PM

there is no need to go pass the 2500k when it comes to gaming, the best gaming combo for the money is 2500k and a 6950 in the thousand dollars range.

this is my recommended build:

8GB G.Skill RipJaws + Intel 2500k
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Asrock p67 Extreme (B3)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

XFX 6950
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

XIGMATEK Gaia
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR Enthusiast Series CMPSU-650TX 650W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Seagate Barracuda
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec Three Hundred Illusion
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

LG Black DVD Burner
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: $979.15
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a c 136 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
May 16, 2011 8:31:41 PM

seanbsean said:
Building a new machine is like buying a new car. You have to do your homework on parts – read read read…

I can suggest:

2600k
16gb RAM 1600mhz
1tb drive
850 watt psu
P67 mobo
6850 2gb ddr5 video card

The biggest dollars will be spent on Video card and CPU… But that’s the heart of gaming… So do your homework.. And watch for sales online.


You have done the research so Im sure you can show us some benchmarks where the 2600k is worth the extra spend over the 2500k

and also where 16 gig of RAM improved gaming performance

I will check back later . Looking forward to your links
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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
May 16, 2011 11:29:34 PM

^+1

I lawl at your suggestion seanbsean
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May 24, 2011 2:53:27 AM

Okay, so I took what Snakej said and ran with it. I have a mid tower that the new one should fit into, a hard drive to use, and I don't need the DVD burner, so I thought I'd give you guys my build. Let me know what you think...

2x EVGA 01G-P3-1380-KR GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) SSC+ 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
= $379.98

1x CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-850HX 850W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
= $164.99

1x ASRock P67 EXTREME4 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
= $159.99

1x XIGMATEK Gaia SD1283 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler bracket included I7 i5 775 1155 AMD and dual fan push pull compatible
= $29.99

1x Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52500K
+
1x G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM
= $296.98

Total: $1,031.93

I run three monitors, so I need either one card that can support it or two that I can SLI. If anyone has any recommendations on how I can strip the price down a bit without sacrificing performance, I'd greatly appreciate it. Thanks again in advance!

-Ben
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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
May 24, 2011 4:32:28 AM

O.O I disagree with the GPUs just because you could get this in CF and it'd perform better for the same cost and have more headroom to work with.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
6870 CF vs 460 1GB SLI
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/314?vs=301

You don't need that much power, a 750w would easily be sufficient.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Get this cooler instead, it's better.
http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Hyper-Sleeve-RR-B10...
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May 24, 2011 4:45:49 AM

What would you recommend in an Nvidia card? I've never really been an ATI guy.
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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
May 24, 2011 4:53:43 AM

What makes Nvidia any better than AMD. I'm not the biased person. I like both, but what is your reasoning behind Nvidia>AMD. It's like the 460 vs 6850, the 6850 is better but yet you pay more for it (it being the 460)... In that area, I wouldn't recommend any card that is Nvidia as they have none.
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May 24, 2011 5:01:51 AM

I've had driver issues with ATI cards before and I'd like to avoid them in the future. I don’t mind paying a little bit more for the stability. Plus I'm thinking about doing 3D down the road and the Nvidia setup is pretty nice. I got to try out their 3D glasses and whatnot at PAX East and I liked it. So if I can, I'd like to stick with Nvidia.
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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
May 24, 2011 6:08:47 AM

Nvidia and AMD both have 3D systems. I personally think that AMD's 3D's format will go further because all it needs is HDMI 1.4a which all 6xxx cards have, you'll just need to find a monitor supporting it. Nvidia requires a specific monitor that can be high cost, so that's why I see AMD's 3D going further (HD3D) as opposed to Nvidia's. Doesn't require a specified screen and it's cheaper.

AMD doesn't have driver issues anymore to my knowledge, fact they've pretty much narrowed down the drivers. They've increased 5850 scaling by a huge amount since a few months ago and the 6xxx series are using drivers that have been nailed down. Unless I can see some clear evidence of failure of AMD drivers, then I will continue to say both have equal drivers. You're not paying more for stability by the way.

I will continue to stay with recommending both Nvidia and AMD but how much you're paying, the 6870 is a better option. Though if you believe the 460 is the right choice, that is your right as the OP.
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May 24, 2011 1:50:26 PM

The Nvidia setup only requires a monitor that can refresh at 120Hz, that's all. I know for a fact that a lot of people with ATI cards had an issue playing Brink. Below is one website's fix for the general problem ATI users were having with Brink.

http://segmentnext.com/2011/05/10/brink-errors-crashes-...

If I did go with the ATI card, should I go to an AMD processor as well? I know AMD has some equivalent to Intel's SandyBridge (I think it's called their APU or something), but I'm not sure which processors have it.

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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
May 24, 2011 11:02:52 PM

APU is an integrated graphics unit on the chip. And they will, not yet though, mid march is when it is expected to be released. The chip is identified as Bulldozer. Llano is the one you are referring.

A common misconception, there is nothing that would justify, AMD+AMD or Intel+Nvidia. AMD+Intel works or Nvidia+AMD. The only thing is AMD chipsets don't allow for SLI which makes Nvidia+AMD a bit hard on the future proofing. It's just fanboy superstition that AMD+AMD is better.

*ATI is no longer the name, though you can refer to as such. I just thought I'd let you know AMD killed the name ATI a while back.
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May 24, 2011 11:27:36 PM

I like nvidia because of the physx engine that amd doesn't have. Tell me why that shouldn't be a big deal and i'll consider giving amd a shot. I'd rather pay the extra few bucks for physx realism in my games wouldn't you?
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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
May 24, 2011 11:40:50 PM

Actually, AMD has a physics engine. I believe it is Havok, they just haven't put much effort into it because "Physx" realism isn't that amazing when a single card cannot handle Physx + game that well @ 1080P. Plus Physx isn't even that amazing.

http://www.overclockers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=637...

Some don't even notice the Physx at all and some report the hot temps which is what I'm talking about. You'd need to spend a little more for a dedicated card (at least a 260 GTX) and the main card (whatever you want). When you're running Physx + Game it stresses the card a lot more making high frames a little hard. (A lot)
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May 25, 2011 1:06:52 AM

@aznshinobi

So what would you recommend for parts for a build around $1000? I appreciate any and all input.
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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
May 25, 2011 1:16:09 AM

All the things in your build was fine. I was just giving some tweaks.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
6870 CF vs 460 1GB SLI
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/314?vs=301

You don't need that much power, a 750w would easily be sufficient.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Get this cooler instead, it's better.
http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Hyper-Sleeve-RR-B10...
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May 25, 2011 3:01:59 AM

Antec EarthWatts EA750 750W Continuous Power ATX12V version 2.3 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC "compatible with Core i7/Core i5" Power Supply
= $89.99

ASRock P67 EXTREME4 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
= $159.99

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel ...
= $27.30

Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52500K
+
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM
= $276.98

XFX HD-687A-ZNFC Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity
= $187.99

TOTAL: $742.25

I figure for now I'll use the 6870 to run two of my monitors and an older Diamond card to run my third. I'll just play my games full screen on my 23" main monitor. Then, down the road when I can afford it, I'll grab another card and CrossFire them. Is the motherboard I chose CrossFire compatible? I'd like to make sure so I can run both of the cards down the road. Also, does anyone with a similar system know what average framerate they can run Crysis 2 at? (I'm not a Crysis fanboy, I just try and use it as a reference point lol)
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May 25, 2011 3:04:18 AM

as you can see i was able to include a 6950 in my recommendation for less than 1000, mind you that 6950 beats the 460, 6870, 560 and 560 ti
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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
May 25, 2011 3:26:53 AM

Yes the mobo is CF compatible. I honestly just suggest getting 2x6870's now. I mean you were willing you pay 380 for 2x460, 2x6870 would only be 380 as well.

If you don't get 2 6870's now for better performance you should be getting a single 6950 2GB.
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