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$800 Phenom ii gaming computer. Advise me

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May 25, 2011 6:52:34 AM

Tell me what you think of these builds; specifically, are there any components which you would change, and are there any compatibility issues? Looking forward to your opinions :)  BTW: I will post 2 more similar threads with an i3-2100 and an i5-2500k build.

This will be a gaming computer (primarily) built in 3-5 weeks. My budget is flexible, spending more just means waiting longer. I would prefer ~$800, although ~$1150 for the i5 build is manageable because the computer is substantially more powerful, and would become an antique slower than the other two.


The only parts I already have are the mouse/pad. The price must include a monitor:( 

I am in the US and will shop on newegg, but check other sites once a component is chosen in order to make sure I get the lowest price.


Overclocking: YES! only reason I wouldn't be is if I chose a non-OC component, such as an i3-2100.


SLI or Crossfire: The Phenom and i3 builds are not going to incorporate Crossfire compatibility in order to save money, but the i5 build is designed to be able to Crossfire in the future.

I will be playing at whatever resolution my monitor supports I guess... 23" widescreen = 1920x1080?


Additional Comments: LEDs are kool? lol I don't know what to put here... never built a comp before, but I can/will learn.



The First Build

This one is designed to save money by not allowing for alot of future upgrading options, such as not being able to Crossfire. Think budget gaming computer.

CPU - AMD Phenom ii x4 955 Black Edition - $120
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This CPU was chosen because it is an OC capable, quad-core for $120, all the reviews of it that I read said it was designed to compete with Intel's Q9550/Q9650, and that it was approximately equal to them. But, those are $300+ CPUs... I think I'm missing something here. Anyway, I ruled out the 965BE and 975BE because they cost significantly more but offer only incremental benefits. And at this price, Intel's only offering is the i3-2100, see build two.

Motherboard - ASRock 770 AM3 AMD 770 SATA III 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Motherboard - $80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Basically, this was chosen because it was the cheapest MOBO that had everything I wanted, and was from a reputable name, it should be able to handle a 3.8Ghz-4.2Ghz OC, and thats all I will be asking of it.

CPU Cooler - Spire Thermax II Eclipse - $55
Neither Newegg nor Tigerdirect carry this, so I'd be grateful if someone could tell me where to get it.
I chose this because Frostytech did a very in-depth review on it, showing it to be an extremely capable AM3 CPU cooler, and it is only $55. And if I want 3.8Ghz+ out of the Phenom, I will need a powerful cooler.

RAM - PNY XLR8 4GB(2x2GB) 240 pin DDR3 Dual Channel 1.65v 1600Mhz(PC3 12800) CAS 8-8-8-24 - $30
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I chose this primarily because of the $20 rebate. I can use 1.65v RAM with this MOBO/CPU can't I?

GPU - Sapphire Radeon HD 6870 1GB - $180
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
When I chose this particular 6870, it was $170, after it went up in price $10 for no apparent reason, I still think it's the best option before a $250+ 6950 2GB. If you can suggest a better Nvidia card, I'm all ears.

HDD - WD Cavier Black 500GB 7200RPM 32Mb Cache SATA 6Gb/s - $60
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Flawless name/reputation, enough capacity, SATA III, 32Mb cache... can' think of a better option unless I went with a Velociraptor, and this is a budget computer. I don't think buying a cheap HDD would be worth it, if it fails, I'm f*cked.

Case - Antec Three Hundred Illusion - $70
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Again, when I chose this, it was $55 due to a no longer existent MIR, and when I went back to chose something else, I didn't see anything better than this case for $70, I could get by with a $50 case, but I really like the fan configuration and looks of this case. The HAF 922 was nice too, but also $100.

Optical Drive - Asus 24x CD/DVD+RW - $29
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Boring. Could maybe save a max of $10 buying something without a name like Asus on it, if you can suggest a better option I'm open to suggestions.

PSU - Corsair Builder Series cx430 430w ATX 12v 80+ certified active PFC PSU - $27
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
430w should be good for this build shouldn't it? I will never be adding another card. Let me know if I will need more power.

Display - Acer 23” 1920x1080 Widescreen LCD Moniter - $159
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I just chose something here, tell me if you know of something better, or if this is a bad choice.

Total is $810, pretty good for the computer you get with monitor imo:) 

If I wanted to spend a little more money:
another $26 would get a the 600w version of the PSU, which would undoubtedly be plenty of power, but if I don't need it...
another $87 would buy me an upgrade to an MSI Radeon HD 6950, which could then be turned in to a 6970 easily. pretty inviting...
and $205 would buy me this 120GB SSD, which would really rock, but $205 is alot...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
May 25, 2011 6:55:07 AM

I'd wait a couple weeks for bulldozer then plan some builds
May 25, 2011 7:05:25 AM

Yes, I won't be building this until Bulldozer is out. Not because I intend to buy one (they will be expensive being just released), but because Bulldozer's release should mean price drops on pretty much all related CPUs.
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May 25, 2011 7:08:11 AM

Hopefully intel will respond by dropping their prices a bit and we will get to look at some bulldozer benchmarks and go from there =)
May 25, 2011 7:15:04 AM

Thanks for that bit :)  might give the i5-2500k a run for it's money... well maybe that's just me getting hopeful lol
May 25, 2011 7:19:25 AM

everyone is hopeful ;)  its good for everyone when there is real competition!
May 25, 2011 1:14:53 PM

For a budget build there is no reason to go with a 770 chipset with USB3-SATA 6Gb/s 'bolted-on' when you can buy a 760-chipset 'black socket' motherboard for $10 less; or a 'black socket' 880 chipset for $10 more with USB3-SATA 6Gb/s off the sb850.

They all have 22 PCIe lanes off the north bridge. The 'bolt-on' chips share the same bandwidth on the 770 NB that a future 'add-on' controller card (when you actually need USB3-SATA 6Gb/s) would share off the NB -- you've simply added Bulldozer compatibility.
May 25, 2011 2:44:28 PM

Thanks for that advise about the chipset, I'll see what I can find...
!