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$800 Gaming PC - Compatibility/etc

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December 8, 2011 6:22:36 PM

To the Tom's Hardware community, you are the greatest. I am a noobie first time computer builder and all the knowledge I've gotten thus far has been from this site and my cousin's brain in the past 48 hours. I thank you for any input you may have. Thanks a ton.
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Approximate Purchase Date: 12/16/11 - 1/16/11

Budget Range: $700-$775 After TAX & Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Gaming, Gaming, Internet, Watching Movies

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, OS, speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com

Country: US (West Coast)

Parts Preferences: Best Value is my preference

Overclocking: Maybe (scared!)

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1200 (my brother's old TV - 24" hp w2048h)
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List of Parts/Prices as of 12/8/11

MOTHERBOARD - Gigabyte GA 970 UD3 ($115+$8 Shipping)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

POWER SUPPLY - Cooler Master Silent Pro M600 ($70+$6 Shipping w/ Rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PROCESSOR - Amd Phenom II x4 970 ($140) (currently out of stock at newegg)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MEMORY - Corsair vengeance 8gb (2x 4gb) 1600 (pc12800) ($47)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GRAPHICS - PowerColor AX6870 1GBD5-2DH Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit ($140 w/ Rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CASE - Cooler Master Storm Scout ($60 w/ Rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HARD DRIVE - Undecided - Why are they so expensive? (~$100)

DVD/CD - Lite-on 24x DVD Writer ($19)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Subtotal (Shipping Included) = ~$765
+ TAX = $835
- 1x Shipping = $827
- Rebates = ~$775
TOTAL = $775
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Will all of these parts fit be compatible with each other?
Will I need any additional cords/cables/connectors to make it work?
Will the graphics card and my monitor conflict?
Are there any areas I can save money?
Can you recommend a cheap/quality hard drive (500gb'ish)?
Do I need additional cooling in my system?
Will the power supply need/be able to be mounted upside down?

Thank you much for your time and energy. I appreciate the help!
a b 4 Gaming
December 8, 2011 7:18:43 PM

Just to answer the HDD price question: The floods in Thailand have caused about 40% reduction in the amount of HDD's produced in the world, thus there is a shortage of them on the market and the prices have gone up to about 2.5x what they were last summer.

Performance, price is still 'good' on the Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB, but it is at $150 at the moment. ( vs the about $60 it was in the summer ).

Other parts seem to be compatible, and if there are issues getting the Phenom X4's, the FX6100 or FX4100 are not awful, just not as good in all use cases currently.
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December 8, 2011 7:33:27 PM

Wow, that is unfortunate. If I could get one for 60 bucks that would put me right around $700 which is ideal. Thanks for the info, maybe I'll have to wait to build this computer, seeing as I am building it for diablo III (my current comp is disgusting).
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December 8, 2011 7:45:08 PM

at the current prices for a hd i would rather get a 128 gb ssd for the same price!
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a b 4 Gaming
December 8, 2011 8:24:49 PM

I tend to agree with the go with SSD only for now unless you need the extra storage.
The best sales on 120GB Sata3 SSD's for sandforce based ones have been in the $130's bringing them well within range.
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a b 4 Gaming
December 8, 2011 10:07:03 PM

If you purchase the AMD Phenom II X4 960T Zosma you can move up to the GA-990XA-UD3 AM3+

HDDs are tough -- though the Egg did sell the Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB for $80 last week with free shipping.

As noted, 120GB SSD would be a good move, and hold out for the recovery...

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December 9, 2011 2:27:31 AM

What are the advantages of moving from the ga 970 to the 990xa card? I see having a better CPU as being more advantageous, although I am sure I just don't fully understand the benefits of upgrading motherboards.

As for the HDD, I would really love to find one under 80 bucks. The search for a hard drive, and the answer to other questions continues!
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a b 4 Gaming
December 9, 2011 2:45:04 AM

The Asrock 970 gen4 AM3+ motherboard is capable of SLI and crossfire so its the pick of the 970 chipset motherboards .

The phenom is a good cpu , but you can just buy the 955 and over clock it. Its the eaxact same part .
Or you can buy the FX 4100 which is cheaper and will probably game better . Its usually about $110
http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1766/
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December 9, 2011 4:46:05 AM

Changing motherboards would save me 5 bucks,although the gigabyte one says it supports 1600 RAM without (O.C.); The asrock one lists it as 1600(OC). I'm not sure I am going to overclock yet. Still a big scaredy cat/noob.

As for the processor, I've not heard great things about the FX processors, but according to the PassMark benchmark website, it rates it slightly lower on performance, but the fx 4100 is rated way higher on value (performance/price) which tempts me.

Although I am reading that the 955 and even the 960t are recommended over the fx4100. Choices choices. At the very least I will go from the 970 to the 960t which will save me 15 bucks for little decrease in performance.
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a b 4 Gaming
December 9, 2011 5:07:28 AM

The RAM at 1600 MHz on a Phenom is ALWAYS an overclock . The memory controller is built in to the cpu and it defaults to 1333 MHz
The FX has a 1866 MHz RAM controller but 1600 MHz wont make any performance difference
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December 9, 2011 5:20:59 AM

I see. So buying 1600 ddr3 RAM does nothing for me when compared to buying 1333 RAM (when using a phenom II cpu)? If not overclocked.

Is overclocking RAM a difficult/risky task? Will it provide noticeable performance gains in gaming fps?

So buying 1600 RAM will be useful ONLY if I overclock it to 1600mhz? Do the 970 chipset boards support that?

thanks for helping me out, really appreciate it.
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December 9, 2011 5:23:35 AM

Here is the system I'm tossing around in my head atm:
FX-4100 $120
ASRock 970 EXTREME4 AM3+ $118
XFX 6870 $170
OCZ ZT Series 750W Fully-Modular $100
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB 1600 $30
OCZ Vertex 3 VTX3-25SAT3-90G $135
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus $25
Samsung dvd/cd $17

Total $715 with promo codes EMCJHKB28 & EMCJHKD227 and have $60 in rebates

I have some cases and a handful of HDD's pre flood on hand, I can't bring myself to buy a HDD at the current prices. Toss in a 40-50 dollar case and your right around $750. I would suggest this case, I just moved my rig into it and have always enjoyed building in it, used it 4-5 times now: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The PSU will push crossfired 6870's if you want to, if not can shave some $ and get a less beefy one
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December 9, 2011 5:46:05 AM

"The PSU will push crossfired 6870's if you want to, if not can shave some $ and get a less beefy one"

Im not sure what push means. Does that mean its too large a psu for my build? I mainly picked it for the massive rebate it had. $70 + shipping after rebate.

I am also contemplating on swapping to the Asrock 970 EXTREME3 AM3+ for $90 to save some money. Any thoughts on the differences between the EXTREME4 and the EXTREME3??

I might also have to find some cheaper RAM looking at your ripsaw RAM.
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a b 4 Gaming
December 9, 2011 5:51:14 AM

abortiz said:
I see. So buying 1600 ddr3 RAM does nothing for me when compared to buying 1333 RAM (when using a phenom II cpu)? If not overclocked.

Is overclocking RAM a difficult/risky task? Will it provide noticeable performance gains in gaming fps?

So buying 1600 RAM will be useful ONLY if I overclock it to 1600mhz? Do the 970 chipset boards support that?

thanks for helping me out, really appreciate it.



Buy 1600 MHz RAM . You can manually set the speed .

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Best solution

December 9, 2011 5:57:02 AM

I was referring to the PSU I posted: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... I don't use/recommend anything but Antec, Corsair, OCZ, or Seasonic for power supplies. By push I mean power 2 6870's and the rest of your tower. That CM 600W is more than likely gonna to be too small if you try to run a pair of 6870's. The OCZ has 4 pcie power connectors plus a lot more amps on the 12v rail, a much better psu than the CM. The ripjaws for $30 is a pretty sweet deal, not gonna find anything cheaper.
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a b 4 Gaming
December 9, 2011 6:01:42 AM

^^^+1 on the case at least. Antec 300 Illusion at $39.99 after rebate is an absolute steal. Sure it doesn't have front panel USB3, but it has 4 adjustable fans, good design and nice airflow.
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December 9, 2011 6:51:47 AM

Best answer selected by abortiz.
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December 9, 2011 7:11:01 AM

The storm scout is so sexy though, I hate to drop it, but it is hogging a little too much cash. This case does look very solid too though. Wow, youall have saved me a ton of money. That's so so great!

MOTHERBOARD - Gigabyte GA 970 UD3 ($115+$8 Shipping)
POWER SUPPLY - OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W Modular High Performance ($50 w/$25 Rebate) + -$10 special offer?
PROCESSOR - Amd Phenom II x4 960t ($125)
MEMORY - G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8gb (2x 4gb) 1600 ($30)
GRAPHICS - PowerColor AX6870 1GBD5-2DH Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit ($140 w/ $20Rebate)
CASE - Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX ($40 w/ $10Rebate)
HARD DRIVE - Undecided (~$100)
DVD/CD - Lite-on 24x DVD Writer ($19)

Subtotal (Shipping Included) = ~$682
+ TAX = $745
- 1x Shipping = $737
- Rebates = ~$692
TOTAL = $692

Wow, you guys are amazing help. Does the $10 special offer on that ocz power supply add on to the rebate as well? That would make it $682! I don't plan on crossfire'ing anytime soon and if I did I would gladly upgrade the psu, but thats years down the road. I still need a hard drive though. The search continues!
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December 9, 2011 7:25:59 AM

I know everyone and their grandmas are knocking the fx cpu's but the FX-4100 comes with a $20 promo card and is a few bucks cheaper. I haven't kept up as much lately(been hitting the books hard this past semester will be A+ certified by the end of the year I hope) but I don't see how it can be a worse option than previous gen cpu's. I would look for a cheaper used HDD on craigslist or ebay to get by for now and then you could use that $20 promo on a nice SSD or HDD when the prices drop

Oh and when you pop in that code for the OCZ psu its 10 bucks cheaper making it 40 after rebate.

Edit: If you live anywhere near a Microcenter I just got a email - FX-4100 for $105 plus $50 off select AM3+ mobos(the one u have is one eligible I think, offered for $60 after savings) I will be making a road trip this weekend, cant pass on a deal like that!
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December 9, 2011 8:03:39 AM

Another golden idea. Ill be calling the microcenter (~15miles) this saturday to see what deals they have on AM3+ Motherboards!!!!!!

And yeah I see your logic on the fx 4100, I just can't understand why, if its newer gen, and better, why its priced lower than x4's. It boggles my mind, but Im thinking if I absolutely need to upgrade processors later, that there will be better options later on down the road when they fine tune the fx's.
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a b 4 Gaming
December 9, 2011 12:13:47 PM

In your OP you stated ...
Quote:
SLI or Crossfire: Maybe


The '970' motherboard you selected is not really a CrossFire motherboard as the second slot is 'X4'

You should snag your motherboard from the Egg as they are generally less expensive, and consider the Phenom II X4 840 'Propus' 'in-store' for $60 from MC. The best CPU bargain at the Egg is now the AMD Phenom II X4 830 Deneb 2.8GHz for $80 with code.

Either way grab a CM Hyper TX3 ($20) or a CM Hyper 212 Plus ($26 - if it will fit in your case).

Here's the deal with your RAMs - AMD has 'sweet spots' due to the memory 'dividers' available to you in the BIOS. This is really the basis for over-clocking.

The sweet spot with DDR3 1600 is a FSB/system clock of 240MHz - with DDR3 1333 the sweet spot is a FSB/system clock of 250MHz. You simply drop the memory divider one 'notch' (or speed setting) and raise the FSB/system clock to your 'sweet spot' -- your RAMs are then running spec stock speed.

At stock, DDR3 1600 is running 8.00x200MHz - when your rig is over-clocked, 6.67x240MHz

At stock, DDR3 1333 is running 6.67x200MHz - when your rig is over-clocked, 5.33x250MHz

The speed of your CPU is determined by the FSB/system clock times the CPU Multiplier.

At stock, the PhII x4 840 runs 16x200MHz. At stock, the PhII 830 runs 14x200MHz


The folks in the AMD Over-Clocking forum will be quite happy to help you tweak your new rig.


Don't be skeered [:crutchizm] !!!

It's quite simple when you understand the basics.







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