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First-time Builder - Upgradable Gamerig ~ $700

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December 6, 2011 8:42:06 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: within the next week or so

Budget Range: $600-$800

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming, movies, websurfing

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS, tower, fans, dvd/rw drive

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: amazon, tigerdirect, newegg, (if there are others i should check out please share!)

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: amd cpu, gigabyte mobo, ati gpu (though admittedly that's because i know even less about intel/nvidia combos than amd/ati!)

Overclocking: maybe? i need to do more research before i can really do ocing with confidence

SLI or Crossfire: crossfire in the future

Monitor Resolution: 1024x768 - 1920x1200

Additional Comments:

i'll preface this by saying this is first attempt at building any kind of computer and i would appreciate the community's input! at the moment, i have a cooler master tower though i'm not certain what model it is. however, looking up cm towers on google, i would venture to guess that it's a mini centurion or something to that effect (it's got 3 fans and pretty red LEDs - i apologize, but that's as best as i can describe it lol) and i'm really hoping to reuse that. i think that the parts i've looked at so far will fit neatly inside. also, i have a 500w psu but i'm thinking that i should replace that for something with a bit more wattage rather than run the risk of frying everything? especially if i'm going to crossfire and overclock in the future.

i've had my current pc (amd athlon x2 6000+, radeon 3650, 2gb RAM running windows xp) since early fall of 2007 and it's treated me pretty well over the years, but i think i need to uprade! what i hope to achieve is building something with great performance now and longevity for the future! thanks for your time!

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so far, this is what i've been looking at...

PSU ($106):
OCZ Fatal1ty 750W Modular Gaming Power Supply compatible with Intel Sandy Bridge Core i3 i5 i7 and AMD Phenom

CPU/MOBO ($220 v. $340):
AMD FX 4100 4-Core Processor, 3.6 4 Socket AM3 - FD4100WMGUSBX
on this
GIGABYTE GA-970A-UD3 AM3+ AMD 970 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard

as a cheaper alternative to this

AMD Phenom II X6 1055T Processor (HDT55TFBGRBOX)
on this
GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD5 AM3+ AMD 990FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard

HDD ($95): Western Digital 320 GB Caviar Blue SATA 6 Gb/s 7200 RPM 16 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Desktop Hard Drive - WD3200AAKX

RAM ($47 v. $49):
Corsair Vengeance 8 GB ( 2 x 4 GB ) DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) 240-Pin DDR3 Memory Kit for Intel Core i3, i5, i7 and AMD Platforms SDRAM CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9
or
Corsair XMS3 8 GB (2 x 4GB) 1333 MHz PC3-10666 240-Pin DDR3 Memory Kit CMX8GX3M2A1333C9

GPU ($145):
i was thinking about this card, or looking into the 5xxx series for a cheaper and relatively similar alternative?
Sapphire HD 6850 PCIE Video Card (100315L)

More about : time builder upgradable gamerig 700

December 7, 2011 1:36:12 PM

PSU: 750W psu is a good size, especially if you want to crossfire/SLI.

Memory: Gskill has several nice ripjawsX sets with 1.5V Cas9 1600Mhz specs for the $40-50 range, so just take your pick.
Corsair Vengeances are good too.

Well here is one build to consider: "get the HDD later"
CPU: Phenom II x4 970 $140
CPU cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212+ $25
MOBO: Asrock 970 Extreme 4 $110
Mem: 2x4GB corsair vengeance $47
GPU Gigabyte 6850 $149.99 ( before $20 MIR )
PSU: Corsair TX750V2 or the one you listed ~$110 anyway ( TX has a $15 MIR )
Case: exisiting
DVD: Asus 24x dvd burner $19
HDD/SSD: OCZ Vertex 3 120GB $189.99 ( before $20 MIR )

So instead of paying a massive premium to get a slow 320GB HDD, get a fast SSD :) 
Just a thought.

Generally though intel builds are faster, but this one would still run circles around your old one :) 
And if you would like to find good use for the 'extra' money upgrading the GPU to 560Ti or 6950 1GB would sure give you a nice boost.

~$786 before MIR (~$730 after )
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December 7, 2011 10:51:19 PM

thanks for your input rvilkman!

can you elaborate on why you would choose the phenom II x4 970 over the x6 1055 or the fx4100? in your opinion, which do you think has greater potential over the long term?

and what's your experience with asrock? looking around through reviews, people seem to have problems with bios and general design. i'm curious what your thoughts are.

i've already got a slow hdd that i'll probably be reusing and thanks for making the sdd suggestion! do you think it would be worth it to buy a smaller ssd even if only for a few games and the os?

also, i've started checking out some nvidia cards and i'm toying with the idea of going green instead of red, though it seems like really the lower end gti 4/500s are more within my budget. i'll have to find a little more info on the comparison of the two. especially when considering crossfire/sli. i suppose i could get away with keeping my 500w psu for awhile, though whether i'd put that extra $100 towards gpu or cpu is another thing entirely.

i'll have to spend a little more time checking out sources. there's a lot more research and work involved in building my first pc than i though, that's for sure!
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Related resources
December 8, 2011 1:01:08 AM

Part list permalink / Part price breakdown by merchant

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 970 Black 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($139.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.44 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($169.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: OCZ Vertex 2 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($114.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card ($129.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($94.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $709.38
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated 2011-12-07 22:01 EST-0500)

think i'm locked in on the mobo. i'd like to be able to upgrade my cpu in the future.

anyone else have any thoughts?
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December 8, 2011 6:34:12 AM

In most cases you don't need 6 cores, 4 will do fine. The 970 is a BE CPU so it can be overclocked and it's performance is better than that of the fx4100 since fx4100 with current win7 kernel at least is more like a triple core than a quad core in performance. I would have recommended 955BE but they are out of stock. If you can find one for cheaper somewhere, that will be fine. But the $140 for the 970 is not a bad price.

The mobo is fine and you could have upgraded your CPU also with the 970 I pointer out, it has the AM3+ socket.

Shy of maybe getting the cheaper 955 BE from somewhere, I would get the OCZ Vertex 3 ( or the Agility 3 if you need to save a few bucks ) it is considerably faster than the vertex 2 since it uses SataIII connection instead of SataII and it almost saturates the SataIII in transfers. Obviously it is a lot more money, but performance wise it will be noticable. ( 550MB/s vs 260MB / sec )

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December 8, 2011 3:32:29 PM

After more surfing and bugging my eyes out late into the night I've gotten to this.
Part list permalink / Part price breakdown by merchant

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 970 Black 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($139.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.44 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($169.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: OCZ Colossus LT 120GB 3.5" Solid State Disk ($119.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card ($129.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Thermaltake 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $689.38
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated 2011-12-08 12:15 EST-0500)
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