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Rig to rival and replace an Xbox

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August 28, 2011 5:00:56 AM

Mobo- BIOSTAR A770E3 AM3 AMD 770 Motherboard

CPU- Amd Phenom ii x2 555 black

PSU- Antec Bp550 modular 550w

GPU- GeForce gtx 460 1gb

RAM- 4gb

Case- Lian Li PC-A05NA Silver Aluminum ATX Mini Tower Computer Case


Well I'm selling my Xbox to a friend, so to replace and hopefully be a step-up (or a leap) here is my first ever build. I've learned A LOT in the past few days thanks to the internet box and forums like tom's, but I won't pretend to have any idea as to how this will turn out, so I'm seeking some advice from you experienced lot. Any recommendations at all are very appreciated but here are some specific questions I have:

To start off with a tired question- If I were to get into some overclocking and unlocking and possibly a few PCI/SATA expansions, would my watts still be good? I think I'm going to skip out on an aftermarket cooler for now, but probably invest in a good cooler for the graphics card instead, based on the fact that the graphics card is pretty much going to be on it's own in terms of cooling with the case I chose. If you guys haven't seen it, it's a really sharp, unique case, but it's got me a little concerned about heat dissipation. And size for that matter.

Fraps and video editing? How would that run on this? Ideally I'm guessing I'd want a true quad core, but if I can luck out with this unlocking thing then that'll save some bucks. And the main purpose is still gaming.

As you saw above for RAM I just listed how much I'd be using. That's because I can't find any supported memory based on biostar's website How important is it to only use the memory listed, or can I go by Crucial's recommended ones? And it says memory for the mobo is dual-channel, so that means I should only buy it in pairs ideally? Also, can more RAM really slow your system down? Like, would 8gb be overkill for this?

I've got a mouse, keyboard, speakers, DVD drive, and 40gb hard drive (no, not an SSD, a regular 40gb hdd...) from my old computer that I'm going to reuse. This might be the only aspect that I upgrade. Definitely the hard drive. I'd really like to get an SSD. But pretty much this build's going to remain how it is so I don't have to buy a bigger power supply. I realize it isn't the most future proof and lacks features such as 8 channel audio and USB 3.0., but I'm going to play it as it is until it's completely outdated and if all goes well, then I'll build a more high end machine. In general, games aren't really using half of all the technology pc's have readily available now (exceptions Metro and Crysis) and as long as thing runs Skrim then that's about all I ask. Anyways, thanks for your time.

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August 28, 2011 5:27:08 AM

Looks like you have a pretty good setup there. Here are some things to consider:

* CPU - I'd consider the Athlon II x3 450/455 for ~$75-80. Much better than the Dual core Phenom II, IMHO.

* Try a bit better optioned mobo for similar $ after MIR's (also 6 core ready and latest tech too): BIOSTAR A870U3 AM3 AMD 870 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard

* The GPU is a good one. An AMD 6850 is also another good buy in the 460 GTX price range too, so consider that too. The 6850 also only requires 1 x PCI-e power connector, so keep that in mind also.
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August 28, 2011 5:40:26 AM


lunyone said:

* Try a bit better optioned mobo for similar $ after MIR's (also 6 core ready and latest tech too): BIOSTAR A870U3 AM3 AMD 870 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard


The thing is, the a770e3 has the overdrive ACC and appears to very tweakable which is something im wanting to get into. And i don't need crossfire, or even sli for that matter.

lunyone said:

* The GPU is a good one. An AMD 6850 is also another good buy in the 460 GTX price range too, so consider that too. The 6850 also only requires 1 x PCI-e power connector, so keep that in mind also.


I don't understand. Does the 460 require multiple PCIe slots?





Thanks lunyone.
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August 28, 2011 5:55:49 AM

* The dual core Phenom II isn't the best option with multi-core coded based games. 3 cores is usually better than 2 when everything is taken into consideration. If the Phenom II dual core was unlocked to 3 or 4 cores than that would be a different situation, but don't bank on that working.

* The mobo I suggested has some of the latest updates for not much more $, so I just suggested it. The mobo is the backbone of any system and is probably the most important part of any computer system, so if you like the other mobo than get it. I like to have the latest options for little $ so I can have my system last longer (if needed).

* The 460 GTX GPU requires 2 x PCI-e power connectors from your PSU (which you have), but if you want to add another 460 GTX later for SLI, than you won't be able to do it with the standard power connectors that your PSU has. The 6850 only requires 1 x PCI-e power connector, so you would have an extra PCI-e power connector left over on your PSU. This could allow you to add another 6850 GPU later, if you wanted to X-fire them. I only point this out, so you can be more informed on what you want to do. Both of the GPU's only require 1 PCI-e slot on the mobo. The PCI-e power connectors are what the GPU requires additionally on top of the PCI-e slot on the mobo.
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August 28, 2011 5:58:01 AM


Here's an example of a GPU that requires 2 x PCI-e power connectors (currently only 1 PCI-e power connector has been hooked up to the GPU).
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August 28, 2011 6:09:40 AM

lunyone said:
* The dual core Phenom II isn't the best option with multi-core coded based games. 3 cores is usually better than 2 when everything is taken into consideration. If the Phenom II dual core was unlocked to 3 or 4 cores than that would be a different situation, but don't bank on that working.

* The mobo I suggested has some of the latest updates for not much more $, so I just suggested it. The mobo is the backbone of any system and is probably the most important part of any computer system, so if you like the other mobo than get it. I like to have the latest options for little $ so I can have my system last longer (if needed).

* The 460 GTX GPU requires 2 x PCI-e power connectors from your PSU (which you have), but if you want to add another 460 GTX later for SLI, than you won't be able to do it with the standard power connectors that your PSU has. The 6850 only requires 1 x PCI-e power connector, so you would have an extra PCI-e power connector left over on your PSU. This could allow you to add another 6850 GPU later, if you wanted to X-fire them. I only point this out, so you can be more informed on what you want to do. Both of the GPU's only require 1 PCI-e slot on the mobo. The PCI-e power connectors are what the GPU requires additionally on top of the PCI-e slot on the mobo.


Thanks, lunyone. I would actually love to have usb 3.0 for video transfers so i lke that mobo you suggested more, it's just i don't know if it supports ACC and i'd rather have acc then cross fire support.

I'm no nvidia fanboy, but they do have have me kind of won over with PhysX. Is there an equivalent with Ati? Also, i noticed that the 6850 requires 500w of power. Would my power supplier be effective?

I'm not trying to disspute what your saying, sorry if it came off that way. I'm really, really glad you suggested the Athlon chip because a quick check on newegg revealed that i can get the 445 version for $64.99 with a coupon code.
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August 28, 2011 6:18:43 AM

I'm currently running a 6850 on a 380w PSU just fine, so don't believe the 500w requirement and your PSU is PLENTY of power for your proposed setup (trust me).
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August 28, 2011 7:04:50 AM

Budget?
Sandy Bridge is a great gamer.

Processor : Intel Core i3 2100 - $124.99
MoBo : ASRock H61M-GE - $69.99
RAM : 2x2GB Gskill Ripjaws DDR3 1333 - $24.99
Hard Disk : Seagate Barracuda SATA II 500GB 7200rpm - $35
Power Supply : Corsair CX430 V2 - $39.99 after rebates
Case : Your Choice - $30
Graphics Card : XFX Radeon HD 6850 1GB GDDR5 - $129.99 after rebates
Optical Drive : LG DVD R/W - $18.99

Total : $475 after rebates

A Phenom II X2 is a severe bottleneck for a GTX 460. My build will perform a lot better.
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August 28, 2011 9:19:29 AM

Don't really have a budget, just using the cheapest but formidable parts I can. Intel doesn't fit that bill imo. Here's my updated build after lunyone's suggestions:

Processor : Athlon ii x3 445 - $64.99
MoBo : BIOSTAR A870U3 AM3 AMD 870 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0- 59.99 (rebate)
RAM : 2x2GB Gskill Ripjaws DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) - $31.99
Power Supply : Antec Bp550 modular 550w- $54.99
Case : Lian Li PC-A05NA Silver Aluminum ATX Mini Tower-$80.00
Graphics Card- Radeon HD 6850 1GB- $129.99 (rebate)

$431.95 shipped

I have a monitor and drives, etc. that i'm going to reuse, but if i end up upgrading the build will cost me another 100-200. I'm going to ebay the 6850 or a 460 and see if i can't knock that price down closer to 400. I'm pretty dang satisfied with this build though, but still open to suggestions. Thanks all.
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August 28, 2011 9:19:48 AM

Best answer selected by day2daze.
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August 28, 2011 2:51:12 PM

You're going to fall in troubles with that Biostar motherboard.
The Athlon II X3 is bad for todays new games. You'll realise after finally switching on the newly built PC. ;) 

For $40 more, you could get a decent sandy bridge build.
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August 28, 2011 4:31:20 PM

GTX 460 is a great GPU IMHO. Yes it takes 2, 6 pin connectors and the GPU will cover an adjacent slot on the MoBo. Usually not a problem as the adjacent slot is commonly a PCIE 1 slot
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