New Build/PSU Advice

Thank you in advance for any advice that you guys have.

I have been doing some research and finally decided on these parts (besides PSU, thinking about 650w for now). Criticism and suggestions are welcome:

(Component followed by link)

Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Mother Board:
ASUS Sabertooth 990FX AM3+ AMD 990FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS

AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ965FBGMBOX

Graphics Card
EVGA 01G-P3-1556-KR GeForce GTX 550 Ti (Fermi) FPB 1GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Desktop Memory Model F3-14900CL9D-8GBXL

Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKX 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

I plan on spending around 800-850 dollars on this gaming desktop. Will most of these parts work together? How much power do you guys recommend?

Thanks for checking it out.
21 answers Last reply
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  1. I wouldn't get a SSD and a 550 TI.

    Instead, I would skip the SSD and put all that money into a better video card.

    Pretty much every game will have better performance if you do that.

    A 650w'ish PSU would be fine. My favorite brand is XFX. XFX and Seasonic are always good. Corsair and Antec are usually good too.
  2. Great advice, the SSD was me trying to get fancy.

    Any recommendations for a graphics card around 200-250 bucks?
  3. Hmmmmm...

    1) 600 - 650 watts should be fine. I put this in my sister's light gaming machine:
    2) Ditch the SSD, you can get a better proc (preferably an i5 2500k.) That SSD is too small to do anything useful anyways.
    3) You'll need an Intel mobo too, which can come in at a lower price than the one you have selected. Here's one my friend has, he likes it. It's cheaper, this is an alternative:
    4) Save money on that too and you can afford a better video card:
    5) DDR3 1600 works fine for a mid/high level machine. Save some $'s on that.

    I haven't done a final tally for this but I think it should come in under $900. I hope we can get something else worked out if you don't like what I've come up with. What I didn't talk about I think is fine and didn't need to talk about. Hope this helped and I hope to see a reply soon!
  4. Also great advice.

    So you would recommend getting an i5 over a pII 965 using the saved 100 bucks for a better graphics card?

    I am starting to lean towards the AMD side of CPU's but can but like I said I am brand new to this. Just going off of a few reads online.
  5. I have purchased AMD cpu's in the past, but right now Intel cpu's (especially the 2500k!) are the prevailing master of the performance vs. cost battle. I can think up a more in depth machine tomorrow if you still need help by then. I would also like to suggest, when building a PC one should buy components when on sale. This takes like 3 months just to order the parts, but I saved like $300 on my last rig by doing this.
  6. Nice call, I will try not to rush into things despite wanting to power something up besides this laptop haha.

    Also stumbled into this graphics card on the forum for best graphics card for the money:
  7. A Radeon 6850 outperforms it and is cheaper.
  8. Wouldn't a 10 dollar difference (on newegg) make it easy just to go with the Radeon 7770? I am probably missing something but it seems like this is the way to go.
  9. IMO, you could do with a cheaper motherboard and, a better processor and video card.

    ASUS M5A97 |
    The motherboard is again an AM3+ socket one, so you can upgrade your processor, if need be.

    AMD FX-4170 |
    This processor has got good reviews for gaming. I know the i5 2500k or even the i5 2400 is better but at a premium. Look out for power that you would really need/afford and not what is available in market.

    Crucial M4 128GB SSD |
    Save $ on the motherboard and get a 128 GB SSD. Don't ditch it, it is a must have. The read/write speed of a 128GB SSD is better than that of 64GB.

    GIGABYTE Radeon HD 7850 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 |
    For the graphics card, you could also look at this one. I am not an AMD fanboy but this one has got good reviews especially in the performance/cost ratio.

    Seasonic M12II 520W Bronze |
    You could check this for the PSU. With this PSU and the latest generation video cards (Geforce/Radeon) which are less power hungry, you could upgrade to a multi GPU configuration too.

    Good luck mate!
  10. Correction, I was looking at 7750

    The Radeon 6850 looks legit
  11. Sunny, excellent info.

    I like that motherboard a lot and it allows for more $$$ elsewhere.

    The only reason I liked the Sabertooth was the flexibility with PCI/Crossfire GPU, but really I am only going to be using one anyways
  12. Travis,

    Even if you are thinking of going for a single GPU setup, ensure that you have a provision for future SLI/Crossfire upgrade. You never know when you will be driven to upgrade. A simple suggestion. When new GPUs are announced, you can get another one of the current GPU (upgraders sell to buy latest ones) thereby you get good returns. Then when the 2 cards you have and the latest cards in market are 1-2 generation apart, get a single card of the latest generation and later another one when new cards are released. Along the way, check if your CPU bottlenecks the GPU(s) or vice versa. If so, then overclock it else upgrade to a better one. Repeat this cycle. ;)

    One more thing. When selecting the components, do so by aiming for better gaming resolution (1080p) and quality (AF/AA/DOF, etc.) and not ridiculously high frame rates 1XX. You will definitely realise the former but not the latter.
  13. Travishunt91 said:
    Wouldn't a 10 dollar difference (on newegg) make it easy just to go with the Radeon 7770? I am probably missing something but it seems like this is the way to go.

    Since you plan to get 650W, power consumption won't matter. I'd get the 6850 as it is cheaper and only uses slighly more power, but performs better.
  14. I wouldn't bother making sure to keep the ability to use 2x video cards open for the future, because 1x has so many advantages over 2x. There are like 10x advantages for one card and sometimes (not even always) 1x advantage of using two cards.

    Also, between 4 cores AMD vs 2 cores Intel CPUs... older games will play better on the 2 cores setup, but many games are coming out now that are using 4 cores now that officially the majority of gamers are now on 4 core processors. BF3 is one game that performs much better with an AMD 4 core instead of an Intel 2 core processor.

    As more gamers spring for the 2500ks and 2400s and so on there will be more games designed for 4 core systems.

    I don't know that I would go for the FX-4100. It is a good processor, but you could potentially have problems where you need to update the BIOS before it will recognize the FX processor, which you won't be able to do without a 2nd AMD processor.

    A Phenom 2 x4 processor wouldn't have that sort of problem, though it might perform worse on a board with a BIOS upgrade.

    If you want to get a different motherboard, that is cool too. Like I said above, there is no good reason to prepare for using 2 video cards since its not a very good option anyway.

    You could go with a low cost Asrock motherboard from Intel and get a 2500k and then use the money from not having an SSD to get a better video card.

    The cost breakout would be like this:
    300 Illusion case - $70
    GIGABYTE GA-Z68AP-D3 - $108
    i5-2500k - $220
    HD 7850 - $250
    Crucial 2x 4GBs 1333 CT2KIT51264BA1339 RAM - $43
    Western Digital 500GBs - $85
    Hyper 212 EVO - $35
    Corsair CX 430 PSU - $27

    Total = $838
  15. Very solid build right there!

    So when you say BIOS upgrade, how often would these need to take place? And the Intel route won't require any?
  16. A BIOS is a pretty stupid thing. All it does is listen to data coming from place A and transmit that data to place B where the data is useful.

    To do what it does, it only really needs to know how to read the data that is coming in.

    Therein lies the problem. Most AMD motherboards that are listed as AM3+ were designed before FX processors were invented. Because of that, the inventor couldn't plan ahead that the motherboard would be able to read the data coming in from an FX chip.

    They were able to change the data internal to the motherboard chips after the fact so that they would be able to understand data coming from an FX processor, but they released this as a "patch" so to speak.

    You can only run a patch if you have a working computer in the first place, as I am sure you are well aware. If you don't make it to the point where you can install a patch, then having a patch available doesn't help you.

    If anyone has a spare AMD processor laying around, they can use that in order to add the patch, then switch it out for an FX processor and use that happily.

    Most people don't have extra AMD processors laying around the house, though.

    To answer your question, most of the time a BIOS upgrade doesn't "need" to be performed at all. Many people can get by on the factory BIOS as long as the computer works.

    If you, for example, run into the FX problem above, then you only "need" to do the update 1 time. After that, you are probably fine.

    The most updates you really "need" are 1 per hardware item you add to the computer that wasn't designed to be there from the beginning.

    Some people like to "keep current" on BIOSs and apply every new patch that becomes available, but there is very little "need" to do that. The only "need" is when you are experiencing some sort of problem that can only be resolved that way.

    In general, its a pretty rare thing to need a BIOS update.

    Stuff like Windows Updates, however, there is a constant need to do them and that is why OS designers build in a way that your computer will check every week (or more often) for new updates.

    BIOSs are different than that because of how stupid they are. As long as you learned basic math, you can do 1 + 1. Even if you are 30 you still know how to do 1 + 1. BIOS stuff is like that. It learns some really basic thing and does it no matter how often or how long. The calculus level stuff is all inside Windows and as long as the BIOS doesn't mess up the basics that is all it really needs.

    If you get an Intel based processor, you don't need to do any BIOS update for any chip to recognize (as long as it is a chip of the right slot). At least that is how it is currently. That may change in the future.

    A H61 motherboard (old type 1155) can work with a new type 1155 processor (a regular 2500k built at the factory this month) just fine. There is no BIOS update that allows a 2500k to work with an H61 motherboard because there doesn't need to be one.

    The FX processors (AM3+) are a new capability, though, compared to an AM3 motherboard (with no plus). The BIOS update gives you that plus. The AM3+ work very differently from AM3. They use the same motherboard slot, so the motherboard can be taught how to use them, but it still must be taught.

    If/when Ivy Bridge or some other new Intel technology comes out, older style Intel motherboards may have to have a BIOS update in order to get them to work sorta like the FX processors now, or maybe they wont. I can't really guarantee that.

    I can only tell you what experience has shown and that is that a lot of people complain about FX processors because there is a basic incompatibility between FX processors and most boards that are listed as AM3+ (because those boards only become + once they are in the consumer's hands and the consumer has applied the patch).
  17. Raiddinn has a decent build there. However, you should never skimp on the power supply. A decent power supply will last you a two or three builds.

    I honestly think you had it right on the 600W+ PSU Bronze/Silver.
  18. A full system with 7850 uses about 250w and the Corsair CX 430w can handle more than its labelled wattage says, at least 20% more.

    The PSU may be conservative, but it certainly isn't skimping.

    If it were a top mounted PSU, I would agree with you since you have to cut their effective wattage in half when calculating how much PSU you need, but the case I said is a bottom mount case so this doesn't need to be done.

    It may be worse at handling a large OC, but its not clear that it would be helpful to the OC to have the capability of a massive OC, or that the end result would be a net gain after having to make sacrifices elsewhere in order to get the higher wattage PSU.

    The PSU I suggested will work unless there is a massive OC planned (which I didn't see mentioned anywhere).

    - Edit - I just wanted to throw it out there that I understand where you are coming from. When I first got here people had a tough time getting me to accept that it was OK to go below 600 - 650w for any computer. I have kinda come to terms with that, though, if the budget doesn't allow for another $20 - $30 to be spent on the PSU. If he was potentially willing to exceed his max budget (not the default I assume) then a higher wattage PSU wouldn't be the worst way to spend the difference.
  19. Very nice BIOS explanation, that all makes sense now.

    So basically I need to get the machine up and running in order to upgrade some motherboards to AM3+.

    The main reason I am wanting to go AMD instead of Intel is for their cost/performance ratio in order to throw some extra money at a graphics card.

    So even if the motherboard, like the one dpp_sunnymentioned (, is am3+ ready, it might still need a BIOS download to get up and running?

    The i5 route seems like the safest way to go, but as far as more bang for my buck it seems like I should look into the AMD route first . This motherboard plus the processor is around 220 dollars, leaving some nice room for a legit graphics card.

    Let me know if this logic is flawed (which it probably is)

    Thanks for the help!
  20. The Phenom 2 x4 processors (quad core), the best of the AMD lineup (arguably), just can't compete with Intel quad core processors.

    The AMD processors are often clocked higher than their Intel counterparts, but due to some basic inefficiency an Intel core can just do a whole lot more work than an AMD core in the same basic unit of time.

    Pretend like 1 intel core could do 2 units of work in the same time that 1 AMD core can only do 1 unit of work. That would mean an Intel 2 core system does about the same work as an AMD 4 core system and an Intel 4 core chip does about the same work as an AMD 8 core chip.

    It isn't exactly like that, but you would be surprised just how much it is like that.

    The i3-2120 (dual core) is the primary competitor to AMD quad cores and the i5-2500k is the primary competitor to the AMD FX-8150 (eight core).

    In games, the Intel 2 core often outperforms the AMD 4 core setups and the 2500k almost always outperforms the FX-8150.

    Even though the AMD 4 core setup is a whole lot less expensive than the Intel 4 core setup, you are still getting about what you pay for. If you pay $120 for an AMD chip vs $200 for an Intel chip, you are still going to be getting about 2/3 of the processing power no matter how you slice it.

    If the game you want to play can make use of 4 cores, there is a good reason to get an AMD 4 core instead of an Intel 2 core setup (games like BF3), but if it can't (most games) then an i3-2120 will beat the performance of pretty much all AMD processors just because it outdoes AMD on core for core performance across a max of 2 cores.

    I personally use an AMD 4 core because I do some stuff that uses 4 cores and I got a really good deal on this low end chip (and being really poor I didn't have a choice). My processor + motherboard was $80 in total. You can't even get 2 Intel cores for that.

    Throwing extra money at the graphics card is always nice, but if the choice is between Phenom 2 x4 chips vs i3-2120 chips (about the same in games, with the i3 usually ahead) there usually isn't much more to throw at the graphics cards from choosing one or the other because they cost about the same.

    If you absolutely need 4 cores for something non gaming, or you want to play 4 core games (again like BF3) then the Phenom 2 x4 is the only choice at that price point and you have to take what you get.

    Otherwise, you really have to decide whether you want 2 better cores or 4 worse ones mostly.
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