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$600 Budget Gaming Powerhouse

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December 8, 2011 6:27:41 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: Within a week

Budget Range: $450-$700 Before Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Streaming, Playing 1080p & Blu-rays w/ 5.1, Web Surfing

Parts Not Required: Monitor, Keyboard, Mouse, OS, & Speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com, tigerdirect.com

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: AMD Products

Overclocking: Yes

SLI or Crossfire: Yes

Monitor Resolution: 1280x720 (720p)

Additional Comments: I am looking for the most power possible out of my budget range. I want to run every current game at near, or max settings, but at the same time I want plenty of usage, so I want a clear upgrade path. I plan on first doing crossfire (HD 6870x2), and then maybe getting a second drive for RAID. Then later when my CPU is a bottleneck (plan on OCing to 4.0ghz), I will upgrade to a AM3+ processor.

I have the 960t processor in mind because of the potential x6 that can be unlocked. I will need Bluetooth to use my PS3 controllers as game pads.

I want to get a Blu-ray drive eventually, and if I can fit it in my budget and not sacrifice power, why not?

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ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

APEX SK-393-C Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HITACHI HDS721050CLA362 (0F10381) 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASRock 970 EXTREME3 AM3+ AMD 970 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PowerColor AX6870 1GBD5-2DH Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAIDMAX HYBRID 2 RX-630SS 630W ATX12V V2.2/ EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Modular Modular LED Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Rosewill RTK-002 Anti-Static Wrist Strap
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Kingston Value 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 Desktop Memory Model KVR1333D3S8N9K2/4G
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

AZiO BTD211 Micro Bluetooth Adapter USB 2.0
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

AMD Phenom II X4 960T Zosma 3.0GHz Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor HD96ZTWFGRBOX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Subtotal: $583.90

Shipping: $23.98

Grand Total: $607.88
December 8, 2011 7:00:30 AM

At such a low resolution you dont need the power of a 6870 to game well .
Id say a 6850 at most

and spend the money you save on a Asrock 970 gen4 mb and/or a better case

Consider the Fx 4100 processor . The Zosma will scale clock for clock with a phenom
http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1766/

ditch the antistatic strap . Just touch the case before you handle a component in to it , and wear cotton clothing as you work .

The power supply is junk . Not worth using
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... is only $40 and would be enough even for a 6870 , and will cruise with a 6850
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December 8, 2011 7:27:00 AM

Thanks for the suggestions so far! I will make sure to change that PSU, probably to manu's because I want to be able to support my future upgrades. As far as the fx 4100 goes it's very tempting! The possibility of having a x6 aside, would that be my best quad core option?

Also, on a 84" native 720p display would I get any benefit having the computer send a 1080p signal, and then having my projector down-convert? I sit 8 feet away from my screen.
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December 8, 2011 7:39:15 AM

NO you should not output at 1080p and then have he screen scale the image . That will reduce image quality compared to just outputting the screens native resolution .

Screen size is never an issue . Just resolution . And your resolution is les than a 19 inch widescreen monitor . You dont need the horse power of a 6870
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December 8, 2011 7:41:56 AM

I guess with the money I would save with the 6850 I could just get the FX-6100. But I want to get the most bang for my buck with Crossfiring two 6870s.

The longer I can play most games on max settings for the cheaper the price, including future upgrades, the better.
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December 8, 2011 7:47:36 AM

Good to know about resolution and quality. Thanks for that info.
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December 8, 2011 8:35:31 AM

Oh yeah, do you guys have any cheap recommendations for some case fans, and maybe another cheap case with better airflow? Thanks in advance.
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December 8, 2011 8:49:40 AM

haf 912 is a great case, nice airflow too at 60$
i wouldn't get the fx 4100, have you seen its single threaded performance, its below the 960t, i would surely get 960t, 124$ and possibility of unlocking 2 extra core, its a bargain! and yes, get a 6850 and it will run any game on ultra at that resolution
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December 8, 2011 9:10:57 AM

Alright, 960t and the Haf it is! Does anyone have any suggestions on a CPU cooler, and a bang for your buck gaming mice?
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December 9, 2011 3:15:20 AM

IF you want to overclock, cooler master hyper 212+ is the best budget cooler available for 25$ only
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December 9, 2011 3:34:48 AM

Would you recommend a crappy case and a cpu cooler, or a decent case like the Haf or Challenger without a cooler?
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December 9, 2011 4:25:11 AM

no i wouldn't recommend a crappy case, a case with good airflow is required to cool your cpu as well as your graphics card to through out all the heat , your pccomponents are producing. the stock heat sink by amd is pretty sufficient for normal use not overclocking
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December 9, 2011 6:35:00 AM

Ok, here is where I stand:

ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6827135204

Rosewill CHALLENGER-U3 Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case ,comes with Three Fans-1x Front Blue LED 120mm Fan, 1x Top 140mm Fan, 1x Rear 120mm Fan, front mounted dual USB 3.0
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HITACHI HDS721050CLA362 (0F10381) 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6822145299

ASRock 970 EXTREME3 AM3+ AMD 970 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813157280

PowerColor AX6870 1GBD5-2DH Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6814131378

Antec EarthWatts EA-650 GREEN 650W ATX12V v2.3 SLI Ready CrossFire Certified 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Kingston Value 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 Desktop Memory Model KVR1333D3S8N9K2/4G
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820139659

GIGABYTE GM-M6880 Metal Black USB Wired Laser Gaming Mouse
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

AMD Phenom II X4 960T Zosma 3.0GHz Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor HD96ZTWFGRBOX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6819103995

Subtotal: $638.91

Shipping: $13.99

Grand Total: $652.90

50 over target but it should be worth it for the case and PSU. I stuck with the 6870 because it actually turned out cheaper with shipping. Anything I should change with this build? Thanks for your help so far guys!
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December 9, 2011 6:47:28 AM

Oh, one more thing! Can you tell if I will need two molex to sata adapters for those case fans?
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Best solution

December 9, 2011 6:59:51 AM

If you want to save a few bucks could use this psu: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... The Antec you have is a solid psu also tho. This is a nice case as well: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Spend a little more and get this ram: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... you get twice as much(8GB vs 4GB) and faster well worth a few more dollars

I have never dealt with powercolor so can't say anything about their cards or rebates, I have ordered over a dozen XFX cards in the last year and the rebates come fast and as a check(not a plastic card you can't put in the bank) I haven't had a bad XFX card yet. Personally I would get the xfx 6870 for a few more bucks over the powercolor. That's just my personal preference tho, the powercolor is more than likely a decent card and it looks like they pay rebates in checks as well.
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December 9, 2011 7:40:00 AM

Alright, I'm going to go ahead and switch to that case and ram then! Thanks for the heads up.
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December 9, 2011 7:47:57 AM

If you live anywhere near a Microcenter I just got a email - FX-4100 for $105 plus $50 off select AM3+ mobos, they only had three examples listed in the email:

Gigabyte
Gigabyte GA-970A-UD3 Socket AM3+ 970 ATX
963058
GA-970A-UD3 Socket AM3+ 970 ATX
REG. Price $119.99
Instant Motherboard Savings - $10.00
Bundle Savings - $50.00
FINAL
Motherboard
Cost
when purchased with the FX4100 or FX6100 $59.99


Gigabyte
Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3 Socket AM3+ 990FX ATX
533240
GA-990FXA-UD3 Socket AM3+ 990FX ATX
REG. Price $174.99
Instant Motherboard Savings - $25.00
Mfr, Mail-in Rebate - $10.00
Bundle Savings - $50.00
FINAL
Motherboard
Cost
when purchased with the FX4100 or FX6100 $89.99


ASUS
ASUS Sabertooth Socket AM3+ 990FX ATX
525659
Sabertooth Socket AM3+ 990FX ATX
REG. Price $199.99
Instant Motherboard Savings - $20.00
Bundle Savings - $50.00
FINAL
Motherboard
Cost
when purchased with the FX4100 or FX6100 $129.99
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December 9, 2011 8:05:07 AM

Nice, but unfortunately the only electronics stores around are Best Buy and Radio Shack.
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December 11, 2011 10:39:49 PM

Well shoot, my motherboard is now out of stock. Looks like I'll have to wait a bit. Should I just wait for the HD 7xxx series cards to come out to buy my HD 6870? Will there be a price drop?
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December 12, 2011 2:28:09 AM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

With that deal, I can get a better price with the fx-6100 than the 1055t. I will overclock both using the Hyper 212+ as the cooler. Which processor should I choose?

I have also changed to the 870 motherboard, is there any obvious drawbacks having these older N/S chips?
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December 12, 2011 2:55:29 AM

At this point I can either get a 960t, fx-6100, or 1055t, with a Hyper 212+, or I can get just the 960t and a Radeon HD 6950. What do you guys think I should do for the best gaming performance in the years to come? Thanks for your time and help!
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December 12, 2011 7:59:53 AM

I've been doing a lot of research and I'm thinking of switching to the i5-2500k, but I would like to have 6 cores for the latest and greatest games to use. What do you guys think I should do? With both processors I will be using the 212+ to overclock.
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December 12, 2011 11:33:50 AM

cheap_gamer4life said:
I've been doing a lot of research and I'm thinking of switching to the i5-2500k, but I would like to have 6 cores for the latest and greatest games to use. What do you guys think I should do? With both processors I will be using the 212+ to overclock.


I would stick with either Phenom II X4 955... i5 2500K is overkill for your needs! At such resolution stick with either a 6770 (if you don't plan to upgrade your monitor soon) or a 6850 if you plan to upgrade

AMD FX CPUs aren't that great for gaming and the only one I would consider buying is AMD FX 4170....when it comes out ofc
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December 12, 2011 12:15:56 PM

Alright here is what I have after your input, and some research:

ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6827135204

Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HITACHI HDS721050CLA362 (0F10381) 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6822145299

ASRock 870 Extreme3 R2.0 AM3+ AMD 870 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GV-N560UD-1G GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec EarthWatts Green EA-430D Green 430W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS 12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

AMD Phenom II X4 960T Zosma 3.0GHz Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor HD96ZTWFGRBOX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6819103995

Total: $643.92

Yes, the video card is overkill, but that's the point. I want to run games with the settings completely maxed out. :) 

I'll need to get a new PSU when I do SLI, but I'm ok with that. In the future I'll also buy the 212+.

If you have any ways I can bring the cost of this down while keeping the MAX possible settings, tell me now, or forever hold your peace.

Thanks for your help guys!
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December 13, 2011 3:42:43 AM

Ok well If I'm going to have to spend nearly 100 dollars on a PSU, what PSU should I get that'll last me a long time?
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December 13, 2011 5:02:02 AM

cheap_gamer4life said:
OCZ ZS Series 650W 80PLUS Bronze High Performance Power Supply compatible with Intel Sandy Bridge Core i3 i5 i7 and AMD Phenom
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Oooh! I think I've a good one, what do you guys say?



green for this, its a good unit
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February 21, 2012 5:29:58 AM

Best answer selected by cheap_gamer4life.
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