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AMD Gaming Build, ~$800

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November 10, 2011 7:33:01 PM

Hello, this is my first computer I have ever built, although I do have some experience with computers. Thanks for comments in advance.

Approximate Purchase Date: Within the week.

Budget Range: Approximately $800, perhaps a little more for accessories.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Programming, web, etc.

Parts Not Required: Monitor, keyboard, speakers, mouse(not now, at least).

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg seems to be good, unless someone has a better recomendation.

Country of Origin: USA.

Parts Preferences: AMD cpu, Radeon GPU, ATX mobo, atx mid-tower case.
(Quality and reliability are important for everything)

Overclocking: No.

SLI or Crossfire: No. A single card should be good.

Monitor Resolution: I have old flatscreen 3:4 monitor, not sure of the resolution. I will eventually get a new monitor, but I am not concerned about having high resolution.

Additional Comments: I like high-quality parts, and have posted questions below...

Here are the parts I have tentatively selected:

CPU:
AMD Phenom II X4 980 Black Edition Deneb 3.7GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Desktop Processor
(Perhaps a little pricy, but I don't think hex core processors are worth it.
I also like the high clock speed)

Motherboard:
ASUS M4A87T AM3 AMD 870 SATA 6Gb/s ATX AMD
I definitely do not want to skimp and get a sub par mobo, but more expensive mobos seem to just load on unneeded(for me) features.
I have heard that ASUS is a good brand and am not interested in MSI, but here is another board that is similar:
MSI 870S-G46 AM3 AMD 870 SATA 6Gb/s ATX AMD
I want the motherboard to last for at least 5-7 years.

RAM:
This is difficult, there are so many options, but this G.Skill looks good:
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666)
A different brand:
Crucial 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600)
The Crucial ram has lower latency.

Video card:
SAPPHIRE 100315L Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP
Cheaper:
SAPPHIRE 100316L Radeon HD 6790 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP

Power supply:
SeaSonic S12II 520 Bronze 520W ATX12V V2.3 / EPS 12V V2.91 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified

Case:
Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower

HDD:
Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5"

ODD:
ASUS 24X DVD Burner - OEM

OS:
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium (Retail version)

Possible accessories:
(1) fan controller: [is this a bad brand?]
Sunbeam RHK-BA Rheobus 5.25" Bay 4 Channel 20W Fan Controller
Plus one extra fan for the front to cool the HDD:
Thermaltake A1280 120mm Case Fan

Thermal compound:
Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM

Subtotal: ~$860 This is a little high, but OK.

In order of priority, here are my questions:

(1) Motherboard:
I really don't want to get a low quality motherboard. I think this ASUS will be good, but please tell me if I am wrong. Even though the mobo uses SATA 6.0GB/s I will probably only use SATA 3.0GB/s drives, etc...

Are ASRock mobos good? It seems they are related to ASUS, perhaps of a slightly lower quality.

(2) Video card:
I think SAPPHIRE is a good brand, some of the other cards had Dirt3 certificates, which I do not need at all. I also wonder if these cards have appropriate cooling.

(3) PSU and Case:
I anticipate no problems with an ATX power supply in an ATX case, even with a bottom mounted power supply. Seasonic is also a reliable brand, right?

(4) cooling.
I think the mobo only has three fan connectors, one for the CPU, one chassis fan and one "power fan." Do you think I need the fan controller and an extra fan?

Thank you for your advice and consideration.

More about : amd gaming build 800

November 10, 2011 7:39:20 PM

my suggestion:

get a 970 motherboard instead of 870. the 970 will be compatable with bulldozer and Piledriver, meaning its good for at least the next 2 generations of AMD chips.

I'd pick the 6850, or even a 6870. the 520W PSU will be fine.
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November 10, 2011 8:02:29 PM

Thank you for the replies. I should have mentioned that I am not worried about upgrading to bulldozer or piledriver. If the 870 chipset is otherwise good, I will be happy.

@geekapproved:
About ASRock AM3+ mobo, I am not sure if I want AM3+. It is more expensive, right? If the overall price of the mobo is the same or less that means the manufacturer cut a corner on quality somewhere, unless it is just a better board.
ASUS and Gigabyte look good, but again, I don't want to pay more for AM3+ that I will probably not use.

I will get a new monitor next year, I think. It just is not a consideration for this build.

I will try to respond, but advice is pouring in fast!

Thanks alot.
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November 10, 2011 8:10:54 PM

I did not have much luck with the 870 - I tried MSI and Gigabyte boards and they failed on me within the first couple of days. Then I switched to Asus and it worked fine until I tried to install an aftermarket cooler - then it freaked out and reported all kinds of CPU temperature errors and that sort of thing. And then once I got all that crap ironed out, it worked fine for about a month then completely failed on me. Go with a 970 board or a 990FX board.
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Best solution

November 10, 2011 8:22:35 PM

I know you said you didn't care about upgrading, but this AM3+ motherboard I included is a good one, and at least affords you the opportunity to for not much more, especially since the cost on this system is significantly less than your first build without giving up anything.

A couple notes: I included the Antec 300 illusion because it has more fans, so you can avoid the fan controller problem. I think that the motherboard has four fan plugs, so with the CPU fan you have 5, and one can just be plugged into the PSU rather than the mobo. If you just want to stick with the regular antec 300, I think you would be fine, and save about $10.

Make sure you get the MS Win 7 OEM, rather than the retail. You save 90 bucks and the only thing you lose is telephone support. I have included the OEM version in the build below.

As for your power supply, yes Seasonic is a good brand, but te XFX power supplies have a great reputation for performance and value, and so I included a 550W version since you don't see xfire in your future.

Finally, I used a Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition because it is a lot cheaper (and it has a promo code right now) than the 980 you chose and basically the same. The clock speed is a little less, but you can just change the multiplier by 1.5 and you will have a 980 for a lot less. I know you didn't want to overclock, but this is so simple a change, it doesn't really count.

Also, since you don't want to do serious overclocking you won't need a CPU cooler, which means you don't need any thermal paste. The processor comes with its own cooler with pre-applied thermal paste.

Take a look, and see if this works for you.

Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Item #: N82E16811129066
Return Policy: Limited Replacement Only Return Policy
$69.99

Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Item #: N82E16822136073
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
$139.99

GIGABYTE GA-970A-UD3 AM3+ AMD 970 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
Item #: N82E16813128519
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
$109.99

SAPPHIRE 100315L Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity
Item #: N82E16814102908
Return Policy: VGA Standard Return Policy
$144.99

XFX Core Edition PRO550W (P1-550S-XXB9) 550W ATX12V 2.2 & ESP12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified ...
Item #: N82E16817207013
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
$69.99

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL
Item #: N82E16820231314
Return Policy: Memory Standard Return Policy
$44.99

AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ965FBGMBOX
Item #: N82E16819103727
Return Policy: CPU Replacement Only Return Policy
$129.99

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM
Item #: N82E16832116986
Return Policy: Software Standard Return Policy
$99.99

Subtotal: $809.92
Shipping: $13.11

Apply Promo Code(s): EMCJJKB26 (for CPU)
Promo Code: -$15.00
Grand Total: $808.03
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November 10, 2011 9:40:31 PM

@g-unit1111

The build you have suggested is too expensive, and doesn't have an OS.
I will not be putting a SSD in this build. Also, I think a quad-core will be quite enough, not to mention that that hex-core has a low clock speed. Having a high clock speed is important in games, especially single threaded ones like Sins of a Solar Empire.

Your concerns about the 870 chipset do worry me, although it can't be uniformly that bad or I would think ASUS would not use it.

@aebome
Thank you for pointing out that I don't need thermal paste. I did not know that stock cooler had some already.
I am seriously thinking about going for an AM3+ mobo now, and the GIGABYTE one you recommend looks really good, especially with all the fan connectors.
The case is something I like as well, another great tip.

As for the power supply, comparing reviews:
JonnyGuru's review of the XFX Core Edition PRO550W
JonnyGuru's review of the Seasonic S12II 520 Bronze

Actually, it seems XFX might have rebranded a seasonic unit. They both look so good it is hard to choose!

If I do overclock, I will want to start from a higher stock frequency anyway. I also want the tightly binned processor, although I might be a little unreasonable here.

As for windows, I know the OEM version is about $100 cheaper, but you can install the retail version on perhaps 3 different motherboards (one after another, not at the same time) and microsoft seems to frown on home builders using OEM versions. I will have to think about this.
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November 10, 2011 9:58:38 PM

There are AM3+ motherboards with 970 series chipsets starting at $85 . Even if that costs a bit more now it will save you money over the next generation [ of hardware] .

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November 11, 2011 3:46:33 PM

Outlander_04 said:
There are AM3+ motherboards with 970 series chipsets starting at $85 . Even if that costs a bit more now it will save you money over the next generation [ of hardware] .


Yeah and I listed one for him and two others at $100. Apparently he want's to buy an older board, with no upgradablity, and pay the same price..... :lol: 
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November 11, 2011 4:37:59 PM

EnthusiasticBuilder said:

I am seriously thinking about going for an AM3+ mobo now, and the GIGABYTE one you recommend looks really good, especially with all the fan connectors.


Did you guys (outlander and geek) even read his response? He is at least considering the AM3+ suggestions, which is the point isn't it?

Besides it's his build, so if he in the end decides to go with a non-AM3+ board, what is it to you; it is not like you will be using it, so what's the big deal? We're just trying to help, and if decides not to do it, at least we brought it to his attention.
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November 11, 2011 5:36:27 PM

Quote:
The build you have suggested is too expensive, and doesn't have an OS.
I will not be putting a SSD in this build. Also, I think a quad-core will be quite enough, not to mention that that hex-core has a low clock speed. Having a high clock speed is important in games, especially single threaded ones like Sins of a Solar Empire.

Your concerns about the 870 chipset do worry me, although it can't be uniformly that bad or I would think ASUS would not use it.


Oh OK - your original post didn't state that you had an OS, but you could eliminate the SSD and still go with home premium. It'd probably cost a bit less.

And yes - the 870 isn't the best AMD chipset on the market. I used boards from MSI, Asus, and Gigabyte and I couldn't get any of them to run past the POST screen. The Asus board I was using (M4A87TD Evo) worked fine for a few months until it finally died on me after I installed an aftermarket cooler and it got all kinds of read temperature errors and that sort of thin.

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November 11, 2011 5:39:05 PM

Yeah the last one I read he garbled something about not wanting upgradability and not wanting to pay extra for it...

I really like the Asrock's, but the warranty is crap. 1yr? I mean cmon man.
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November 11, 2011 6:35:18 PM

Nice system u thinkin of here, but maybe u can get asrock with 990fx chipset for a similar price?
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