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Budget Media PC - $500-700

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June 1, 2011 6:52:45 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: Sometime before July

Budget Range: $500-700

System Usage from Most to Least Important: (Really, these are all equally important) Hardcore gaming, professional quality photo and video editing, and watching high-def movies.

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, OS.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg, Micro Center, Tiger Direct, Amazon

Country of Origin: United States

Parts Preferences: I prefer AMD processors and ASUS mobos because I can get the amazing deals at my local Micro Center.

Overclocking: Yes

SLI or Crossfire: Yes (I plan on using a Dell U2410 and a second monitor)

Monitor Resolution: Dell U2410 will be at 1920x1200 and the other most likely at 1920x1080.

Additional Comments: Obviously, with OC and SLI, I'll need a tower that has room for everything including extra fans that I will buy in the future (I don't plan on OC right away).

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I'll let you guys help me out here, but I read somewhere that nVidia cards offer way more performance scaling than ATI cards with SLI. I figured I could get 2x MSI GTX 460 for $119.99 ea. (after rebate). Or maybe 2x ASUS GTS 450 for $109.99 ea. (after rebate).

Also, I would like to squeeze in 8GB of RAM for better photo/video editing, but with my budget, it's not necessary because I'd rather focus on the GPU and CPU. Look forward to reading what you guys think!

More about : budget media 500 700

June 1, 2011 10:29:26 PM

Whoops! I meant to edit the first post. Sorry!
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Best solution

June 1, 2011 11:02:19 PM

Hiya,

You don't want to SLI or CF on that budget. You'll only have to pay more for a PSU and cooling.

I see no great deals here
http://www.microcenter.com/specials/promotions/AMDbundl...

You are better off with a board that supports both SATA 6GB/s and USB 3.0

Sheesh you can't beat this deal:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboBundleDetails.aspx?I...

Throw in a GPU and you are good to go.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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June 2, 2011 4:04:04 AM

I could get a 965 BE and an ASUS M4A88TD-V Evo cheaper than I could get a plain 2500k. I know how easy it would be to overclock that 965 to much higher speeds. I'm pretty set on an AMD processor because for my budget, I see no reason to spend so much on an Intel processor when I could get an AMD for much cheaper that could perform almost as well. I poked around, and this is what I came up with, so I'd like critique on this (especially your guys' thoughts on the dual GPUs).

965 BE + M4A88TD-V Evo

Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB (Not ideal, but as soon as my college budget permits it down the line, I plan on adding an SSD for the OS and crucial programs)

(2x) ASUS GTX 460

Antec EarthWatts 650W (will this be enough wattage?)

G.SKILL 4GB 1333MHz

Cooler Master HAF 912

With that build, I'd stand at $639.92 after rebates. Sounds pretty nice for two GPUs and good OC possibilities once I purchase the fans. But, I guess I'm here asking questions for a reason... I don't know everything! :pfff:  Is that PSU powerful enough for SLI on this build? Furthermore, is it worth it to SLI with these GPUs? I have one screen already (22" 1920x1080), but like I said earlier, I'm looking into the Dell U2410 for my second screen.
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June 2, 2011 6:20:04 AM

The board you linked doesn't do SLI. It's an AMD chipset that doesn't actually support CF either. The second PCI-E slot only works at X4 speeds.

The M4A89GTD PRO/USB3 does.... support crossfire that is. Not SLI. You could do a couple 6850s with that.

The i5-2500K is far more powerful than the Phenom II. If you want a CPU to compare to the AMD, the i3-2100 is closer at stock speeds. I think you are better off putting the stronger platform in place and upgrading as you go. That might mean AMD, if they really can fix the Bulldozer issues in the fall, but be sure you get a board that will run Bulldozer in that case, AM3+. The new 900 series chipsets WILL support SLI.

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June 2, 2011 6:39:03 AM

Yeah, I've been reading quite a bit around the internet today and I think that you're definitely right. I'll probably build that "strong platform" now then continue to upgrade in te future when my budget permits. What are the issues with Bulldozer? I haven't really been following them too much.
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June 2, 2011 6:56:44 AM

Word from multiple sources, including OEMs, is that Bulldozer is not competitive in it's present state. It's just too slow. They are hoping that the next revision will push up the speeds to the point where it can compete with Intel... and rumor has it that will be in the fall.
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June 2, 2011 8:07:24 AM

Well, that just won't do... So, say I went with that combo. Could I throw a MSI HD 6850 in there, and in the future (with more fans and probably a better psu) put in a second 6850? Would that combo support Crossfire? I don't know much about Crossfire vs. SLI, but I'm not really leaning either way. Whichever gives me the best performance and stays within my budget! :D 
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June 2, 2011 9:13:23 PM

Well, that PSU is better than you might think. Quite comparable to a budget line Corsair or Antec. Not that all Rosewill PSUs are good, but this is one of the better ones. Crossfire 6850s draw a MAX of about 250W, and the rest of your system will not exceed about 200W... so the PSU could handle it.

The board supports crossfire OR SLI actually. So the GTX 460 is not out of the picture either. They would pull about 50W max more, but that's still just in range of the PSU.

here's a few comparisons
http://www.kitguru.net/components/graphic-cards/zardon/...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-6870-rade...
This one is interesting I think, as it shows the crossfire setup beating SLI at high resolutions in MW2
http://www.hexus.net/content/item.php?item=27167&page=8

In general I think GTX 460 1GB SLI is just a bit stronger though.
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June 5, 2011 5:45:25 AM

When it's there, the difference between GTX 460 SLI and HD 6580 Crossfire (where the SLI has better performance) is so minimal I just don't see why I'd spend the extra money on it. That extra money could always go towards an SSD for the OS and key programs, but I'll have to see when I get there. I don't know much about SLI/Crossfire compatability though. Do more games accept one over the other?
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June 5, 2011 6:13:01 AM

Nope. Most games that need it support both, although it's more of a driver issue than game design.
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June 6, 2011 6:55:26 PM

Well, it looks like a lot of the games that I like to play or will be playing on this new computer are on nVidia's "The Way It's Meant To Be Played" list. Does that mean I'd get better fps in those games if using an nVidia card? I read that the HD 6850 gets a lot better FPS in World of Warcraft (a game I play often :D  ) than the GTX 460.

EDIT: Forgot how much more wattage the GTX 460s take compared to the HD 6850... It seems like I'd have to get a new PSU if I were to get GTX 460 SLI and overclock my CPU (which I plan on doing), considering I'd have to throw some more fans in there.
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June 6, 2011 9:35:35 PM

Eklaassic said:
.......on nVidia's "The Way It's Meant To Be Played" list. Does that mean I'd get better fps in those games if using an nVidia card? ....



That's what they would like you to believe.
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June 6, 2011 11:41:37 PM

Ok, so probably my final question is this:
Would I be able to have GTX 460 SLI, overclock my CPU, and add a CPU heatsink and some fans to this PSU? Would this PSU even have enough for a Crossfire HD 6850, overclocked CPU, and CPU heatsink/fans?
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June 6, 2011 11:41:51 PM

Best answer selected by eklaassic.
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June 7, 2011 7:16:12 AM

EA650 Green? It's a newer design built by Delta, can easily handle 50 amps 12V (a lot for a 650W).

A pair of overclocked 6850s will not exceed 250W, or 21 amps 12V. The rest of the system overclocked will not pull that much either... so your system will do fine with that PSU. You'll never get near that 650W mark.

Or were we talking about the 630W Rosewill? That one isn't going to quite do 50 amps on the 12V rail.... but I think it should be OK as well.
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June 7, 2011 7:34:34 AM

Oh, sorry. I meant the Rosewill PSU.
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