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$900 gaming pc

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April 12, 2012 5:29:41 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: before 04/16/12

Budget Range: 600-1000

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming, media/streaming internet

Parts Not Required: monitor, mouse, disk drives

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: AMD build, upgradable case

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1200

Here is my tentative newegg cart...

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


GIGABYTE GA-970A-D3 AM3+ AMD 970 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
Item #: N82E16813128521
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
-$10.00 Instant
$99.99
$89.99


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
Item #: N82E16814130625
Return Policy: VGA Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
-$5.00 Instant
$20.00 Mail-in Rebate Card
$144.99
$139.99


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
$10.00 Mail-in Rebate Card
$74.99
1

XFX Gift - Dirt3 Game Coupon
Item #: N82E16800989011
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
-$49.99 Saving
$49.99
$0.00


ADESSO AKB-530UB Black USB Wired SlimMedia Desktop Keyboard with built-in Card Reader and USB Hub
Item #: N82E16823166101
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
-$5.00 Instant
$29.99
$24.99


G.SKILL Sniper Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Desktop Memory Model F3-14900CL9D-8GBSR
Item #: N82E16820231460
Return Policy: Memory Standard Return Policy
$59.99


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
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
$119.99


Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM
Item #: N82E16832116986
Return Policy: Software Standard Return Policy
$99.99
1

G.SKILL 4GB Micro SDHC Flash Card w/ SD Adapter Model FF-TSDG4GA-C4
Item #: N82E16820231509
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
-$4.99 Saving
$4.99
$0.00


XIGMATEK Gaia SD1283 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler bracket included LGA 2011 i7 i5 775 1155 AMD and dual fan push pull ...
Item #: N82E16835233082
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
-$5.00 Instant
$34.99
$29.99


Nippon Labs Premium High Performance HDMI Cable 15 ft. HDMI TO HDMI Cable A/V Gold Plated for 1080P cable HDTV Cable PS3 ...
Item #: N82E16812816004
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
$9.99
Subtotal: $719.90

thanks for any input, up or down in price :) 

More about : 900 gaming

April 12, 2012 5:37:50 AM

This is probably the best AMD gaming CPU there is so you're ok there as long as you're anti-Intel. You've got plenty left in your budget and gaming is your primary use so go nuts with that GPU. Grab a 7970 or 680.
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Best solution

April 12, 2012 6:19:09 AM

processor
Right now, AMD cpu's are only worth the money if you're willing to overclock. If you take the 965 to it's highest stable OC, it'll perform about on par with an i3-2100 at stock speed.

However, a 2100 is only $5 more than the 965, and a 2120 is only $8 more on newegg (the 2120 has 200mhz on the 2100).

motherboard
I'd recommend a board with either 1 pci-e slot or 3+. With 2 video cards, you'll eventually run into microstuttering issues. The issue goes away with 3 or more cards. However, with 3 slots of pci-e 2.0, two of the slots are limited to 4 lanes. this can stifle high end cards (6870 /560 and upward).

Another option is to wait for ivy bridge boards and pci-e 3.0, which allows many more lanes for multiple card configurations.

video card
It could use a huge bump. The 550 isn't going to give you very good performance @ 1920x1200.

I'm a little biased. I don't think single card solutions above $350 are worth the money at all, so my recommendations will reflect that.

The strongest single card solution I'd recommend would be a 7850 (~$260) or a 570 (~$270).

What I use is more of a hot rod solution. 3 6770's ($330 total) in xfire will give you performance on par with a 7950 ($450). I turn off crossfire when I'm not playing games to avoid the power draw when i don't need the muscle. The 6770's aren't really hampered by having only 4 pci-e lanes to work with, either. If you do go this route, you'll need a slightly beefier power supply (at least 50a on the +12v rail).

RAM

Though it' only $10 difference, you won't really see much benefit in the 1866 over the 1600.
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April 12, 2012 6:31:17 AM

Blah blah, Intel vs AMD. I'll go either way depending on budget. I'd bump your 965 to a 1100T 6 core or better.

With AMD it's best to go with an ATI graphics card. You will get more performance out of the chipsets when they don't fight. I have run almost every version of SLI and Crossfire, overall, not worth it unless your looking for amazing rendering.

Also did not see any storage in the specs. Using existing? 2 SSD's in RAID 0 will give you awesome performance.
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April 12, 2012 6:39:27 AM

I'd be on board for a 975 or 980 BE CPU, but as your main purpose is gaming, you have no use for a 6 or 8 core processor. They are completely wasted on games.

Also, as a game machine you wouldn't even have much use for a 975 with the graphics cards you'll likely be looking at. For gaming purposes, you want to balance your cpu and your graphics card so they both top out at about the same time. What you *don't* want is to have one bottleneck the other. With a overclocked 965 and a 7850, the card will top out before the processor does, but it's close to balanced.
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April 12, 2012 6:47:01 AM

I agree with the ATI comment, so I will swap it over to a Radeon.

Storage - I have a 30 gig ssd and a 1.5 tb disc. I have no experience with SSD, any thoughts on brands or sizing (is 30 enough?).

In terms of cores, 4 is where I would want to be. Gaming just can't use that many cores, yet.
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April 12, 2012 6:48:40 AM

killermoats said:

Also did not see any storage in the specs. Using existing? 2 SSD's in RAID 0 will give you awesome performance.


There no point in buying 2 ssd's at one time....

2 120gb ssd's in raid 0 perform the same as 1 240gb ssd.

the 240 gb will cost less than a pair of 120's....
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April 12, 2012 6:51:40 AM

ginnai said:

Storage - I have a 30 gig ssd and a 1.5 tb disc. I have no experience with SSD, any thoughts on brands or sizing (is 30 enough?).
.


You'll need at least a 60gb for just win 7, 120gb if you want to put games on it as well.

*or* if you go with a Z68 motherboard (which would require swapping to an intel chip), you could use the 30gb ssd as a cache for the 1.5 tb.
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April 12, 2012 6:58:07 AM

In a $900 build, I'd leave out the ssd, but put it at the top of my next-thing-to-buy list.

btw, is that a sammy in your pic? :) 
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April 12, 2012 7:02:50 AM

Are you trying to stick to a $700 budget?
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April 12, 2012 7:18:21 AM

let me condense your build a bit (leaving out video card on purpose)

$70 Antec 300 illusion
$90 GIGABYTE GA-970A-D3 AM3+
$75 XFX Core Edition PRO550W
$25 ADESSO AKB-530UB Keyboard
$60 G.skill sniper 8gb 1866
$120 AMD Phenom II X4 965 BE
$100 Win 7
$10 HDMI cable
____
$580


$? 1.5 tb HDD
$? 30gb SSD?
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April 12, 2012 9:18:19 AM

$99 1.5 TB
$65 30 gig

I agree that the SSD can just be added later. The end price would ideally be just under $900, so with a $150-180 end price video card and a $100 HDD... that puts me in that range. I also just realized that my cooler didn't get copied into my original post, it was ~$30 (Xigmateks Gaia).

The pic is of my dog, he is an American Eskimo. I like the tachikoma btw :) 
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April 12, 2012 10:24:22 AM

The 6870 is a nice card, it'll give you good framerates @ 1920x1200 at around medium settings in most games.

If you don't mind swapping around a few parts, I think I could clear up room in the budget for a card that'll use the 965 to the fullest.

$50 Rosewill CHALLENGER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
($20 back)

$47 G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
($13)

$70 Thermaltake Smart SP-530P 530W ATX 12V 2.3 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
($5 + $10 mail in)

$27 COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
($3)

With the 1.5 TB and cpu cooler, that comes to $659 before card if my mathification was right.

$240 HIS H785F2G2M Radeon HD 7850
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


shipping will probably push it $10-15 over as ordered from newegg, but that's about the cheapest I can make it while still using quality parts.

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April 12, 2012 12:10:19 PM

quilciri said:
processor
Right now, AMD cpu's are only worth the money if you're willing to overclock. If you take the 965 to it's highest stable OC, it'll perform about on par with an i3-2100 at stock speed.

However, a 2100 is only $5 more than the 965, and a 2120 is only $8 more on newegg (the 2120 has 200mhz on the 2100).

Dont forget that you'll need to slap on a decent cooler to push the 965 anywhere near 3.8GHz or above to match the 2100. That's an additional ~$25 you need to factor in there. Actually makes the 2100 around $20 cheaper.
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April 12, 2012 1:53:31 PM

The i3 2100 is a dual core processor. I would have to brush up on reviews, but a quad core should have the advantage in everyday usage (multi-tasking). In the same way that a 6 core would be too focused on multi-tasking, an i3 would ignore other functions that would benefit from 4 cores. An aftermarket cooler would go on anything that I build, a cool computer is a happy computer :) .
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April 12, 2012 4:06:33 PM

ginnai said:
The i3 2100 is a dual core processor. I would have to brush up on reviews, but a quad core should have the advantage in everyday usage (multi-tasking). In the same way that a 6 core would be too focused on multi-tasking, an i3 would ignore other functions that would benefit from 4 cores. An aftermarket cooler would go on anything that I build, a cool computer is a happy computer :) .


I run 2 PC's, a 955 @3.8 and a 2100. I cant split them both for gaming, but in general browsing, encoding audio and stuff, the i3 is way ahead.

Forget the number of cores, and just pick them for what they offer. I couldnt care less if a CPU had 32 cores, if there's a single core processor that's faster at what I do, I'd go for that. Similarly, if you look at gaming and general multitasking, 2100 > 965. You do need to brush up on those reviews.
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April 12, 2012 4:25:19 PM

Thanks for the input! I also followed the links in your signature, it offered some very helpful build guides. Its not hard to fall behind the times, so I will have to do some catchup :) .
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April 12, 2012 4:26:59 PM

Unless you're running processor intensive apps that are heavily multithreaded, you aren't likely to notice the difference in multitasking performance between the i3 and an x4. Gaming seems to be the most processor intensive task you plan on using the computer for, so it's a wash between a 2 core sandy bridge and amd's lineup.

...well I suppose the x4 would alt-tab out of metro 2033 a little quicker :D 
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April 12, 2012 4:45:51 PM

If you really like the 550 Ti, I think newegg had a Zotac one on sale for $80 which means you could just about get two of them for the price of the one you posted. This would give GTX 570-580 performance at GTX 560 price levels.

EDIT: Nevermind, price has increased to $100/ea. Still a great deal of performance for the money though.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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April 25, 2012 8:30:51 AM

Best answer selected by ginnai.
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