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Building 3rd gaming rig, need up-to-date advice

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August 2, 2012 9:27:00 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: this week
Budget Range: $800 to $1,200 after rebates and shipping
System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming, music/video editing
Are you buying a monitor: no
Do you need to buy OS: Yes
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: NCIX
Location: Victoria B.C., Canada
Parts Preferences: AMD / ATI
Overclocking: No
SLI or Crossfire: Yes
Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080
Why Are You Upgrading: Just time to update.

Additional Comments:

After doing some of my own research, I've come up with what I believe is a decent budget gaming system, but the two pieces of advice I need are:

- Is there a better value graphics card?
- What kind of power supply do I need?

My setup so far:

Gigabyte GA-990XA-UD3 AMD 990X AM3+ ATX DDR3 3PCI-E16 2PCI-E1 2PCI SLI SATA3 USB3.0 Motherboard

AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Quad Core Processor AM3 3.4GHZ 8MB Cache 125W 45NM Retail Box

Zalman Z9 Plus ATX Mid Tower Case Black 3X5.25 1X3.5 5X3.5INT No PS W/ Fan Controller & Temp Display

G.SKILL Ripjaws X F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL 8GB 2X4GB DDR3-1600 CL9-9-9-24 Memory

Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATA3 6GB/S 7200RPM 64MB Cache 3.5IN Dual Proc Hard Drive OEM

Gigabyte Radeon HD 6850 Windforce 820MHZ 1GB 4.2GHZ GDDR5 2xDVI HDMI Display Port PCI-E Video Card x2 in crossfire

I figure using dual Gigabyte video cards with the Gigabyte motherboard would make compatibility worries close to nil. I'm just worried about what kind of power supply would fit the case and fulfill my power requirements so far, as the NCIX pages seem to hide the information I normally find easily..

Any input is welcome, and I'm definitely not opposed to changing any parts around if necessary so long as it fits the budget.

Thank you so much in advance for your help!
August 2, 2012 9:39:11 AM

With your budget, why don't you consider an Intel rig? I'll whip up a parts list right away :) 
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August 2, 2012 9:41:31 AM

Thanks Mocchan! I used to run an Intel rig back when 8800GTX's were the hottest sh*t around, but since then have been building AMD rigs for friends and have just gotten used to the value, I guess. I'm definitely open to seeing what an up-to-date Intel rig would look like however!
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August 2, 2012 9:43:56 AM

^agreed on the Intel build.
Anyways, Ive always believed to having 1 high end GPU is so much better than 2 mid-end cards in Xfire cause you can just add 1 more high end GPU. :D  -6870/560Ti/570- (for your budget ofc. Maybe even a 7850)
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August 2, 2012 9:51:22 AM

Ah that's understandable :)  well this is what I got!

Intel Core i5 3450 - http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=70543

ASRock Z77 Extreme 4 Motherboard - http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=70902

G.Skill Ripjaws X RAM - http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=57953&promoid=1145

XFX Double D Radeon HD7870 - http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=69829&promoid=1145

Samsung 830 Series 128GB SSD - http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=74132&promoid=1145

Seagate Barracuda 1TB HDD - http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=65701&promoid=1145

XFX Core 650w PSU - http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=59616

Zalman Z9 Plus case - http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=57910&promoid=1145

Grand total is $1072.92

I went with a Z77 motherboard over an H77 motherboard because you mentioned Crossfire/SLI in the future. Plus you get some extra features for a little bit extra money ;) 

One powerful GPU is better than two Mid-level GPU's. Those 6850's you picked out (not the brand, just 6850's in general) are notorious to have micro-stutter issues which can get annoying pretty quick.

The SSD I chose will make your entire computing experience extremely snappy compared to a normal HDD. Store your OS and a few games on it, and the rest on your HDD, should keep you quite happy :) 

I chose the Intel Core i5 3450 because it's one of Intel's latest CPU's, better for 'future-proofing' in a sense over Sandy Bridge. It also features outstanding price/performance at the moment, and it will play almost any game out there without a sweat.

The XFX Core series PSU's are high quality and I've never had an issue with them. The 650w version I chose will run a single 7870 without a problem, however, you may run into some issues if you want to add a second card later on (mainly due to the lack of PCI-E 6 pin connectors).

Well that's all I have to say about the parts I picked out (for now) :lol: 
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August 2, 2012 9:51:39 AM

Nw333 said:
^agreed on the Intel build.
Anyways, Ive always believed to having 1 high end GPU is so much better than 2 mid-end cards in Xfire cause you can just add 1 more high end GPU. :D  -6870/560Ti/570- (for your budget ofc. Maybe even a 7850)


Funny you say that while I was typing my post :lol: 

PS : I went all out and put a 7870 in my parts list ;) 
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August 2, 2012 9:52:09 AM

Hi, Intel build here

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3450 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($199.99 @ NCIX)
Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V LK ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($125.81 @ DirectCanada)
Memory: Mushkin Silverline 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($42.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($79.79 @ DirectCanada)
Storage: OCZ Agility 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($101.99 @ Computer Valley)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($219.99 @ NCIX)
Case: Antec Three Hundred ATX Mid Tower Case ($34.88 @ Canada Computers)
Power Supply: XFX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($79.99 @ NCIX)
Optical Drive: Asus DVDE818A7T/BLK/B/GEN CD Reader, DVD Writer ($18.46 @ DirectCanada)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($99.99 @ Computer Valley)
Total: $1003.88
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-08-02 05:52 EDT-0400)

Or $900 w/o SSD.
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August 2, 2012 9:54:20 AM

mocchan said:
Funny you say that while I was typing my post :lol: 

PS : I went all out and put a 7870 in my parts list ;) 

Lol. XD Nice build though. :D 
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August 2, 2012 9:58:20 AM

Mocchan, you da bombdiggity. Many many thanks for your help!

I definitely like the idea of booting on the SSD and storing data on the HDD. My friend and I recently purchased the new Macbook Pros (I went with the non retina display/SSD, couldn't afford 3 grand. boooo.) for multimedia editing and seeing his Mac destroy mine in boot speed, app launching speed, and more crushed my soul a little bit. :lol: 

I see what you and NW333 mean about the 1 high end card vs the 2 mid range, too. Leaves room for expansion in the future and definitely looks like a new exciting card to try out, especially seeing as it fits well within the budget!

All in all, I'll most likely end up going with most if not all of your parts suggestions. Once again, many thanks. :) 
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August 2, 2012 9:59:43 AM

FinneousPJ thanks very much for your input as well! Seems I was quite off the mark trying to make an AMD build off a budget that I thought was too low for an intel build. Sheesh, I should frequent these forums more..
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August 2, 2012 10:06:35 AM

wie7nightmare said:
Mocchan, you da bombdiggity. Many many thanks for your help!

I definitely like the idea of booting on the SSD and storing data on the HDD. My friend and I recently purchased the new Macbook Pros (I went with the non retina display/SSD, couldn't afford 3 grand. boooo.) for multimedia editing and seeing his Mac destroy mine in boot speed, app launching speed, and more crushed my soul a little bit. :lol: 

I see what you and NW333 mean about the 1 high end card vs the 2 mid range, too. Leaves room for expansion in the future and definitely looks like a new exciting card to try out, especially seeing as it fits well within the budget!

All in all, I'll most likely end up going with most if not all of your parts suggestions. Once again, many thanks. :) 


You're very welcome! Glad you liked the parts I picked :) 

:lol:  I feel your pain about the Macbooks. I remember back in the day when SSD's were still quite expensive, my friend would brag to me about how fast his OS would load, along with his applications. Poor ole me was still using a mechanical drive :lol:  I gamed better, but he loaded things quicker, hurt me real bad LOL!
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August 2, 2012 10:09:26 AM

If you want to try unlocking cores you should definetly take a look at this bundle.
http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=68820&vpn=PHII960%20%...
This CPU actually has 6 cores.2 of which locked but they can be unlocked in most CPU's.So essentially you get a six core Phenom.

You should also get a single, powerfull graphics card instead of two uhh...mid range cards.
http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=69551&vpn=900506&manu...
This card will perform better in most games and will also consume less power, produce less noise and cause less issues.You can also add another one later if you need more power.

Now about the case.I dont know if it's just me but having a good case means a lot.
http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=60584&vpn=BFC-SNB-150...
There arent a lot of cases as stylish as this one.

As for the power supply i suggest you get a good one if you are going to add another card in the future.
http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=64382&vpn=OCZ-ZT750W&...
This one is a very high quality unit with a modular cabling system.
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August 2, 2012 10:15:11 AM

Kamen I have to say that case is indeed slick. I think I could easily shell out the extra ten ish dollars to include that ;) 

Also, I'm fairly new to modular cable systems in PSUs. Essentially it's just for eliminating the need for spare cables in the case, correct?

Thank you for the help :) 
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August 2, 2012 10:17:31 AM

wie7nightmare said:
Kamen I have to say that case is indeed slick. I think I could easily shell out the extra ten ish dollars to include that ;) 

Also, I'm fairly new to modular cable systems in PSUs. Essentially it's just for eliminating the need for spare cables in the case, correct?

Thank you for the help :) 

Yes, that's basically what modular PSU's are all about!

I think the XFX PSU I listed is a Semi-Modular PSU where it has all your essential cables pre-attached. (24 Pin motherboard, 4/8 pin CPU, etc).

I personally find modular PSU's to look much better/cleaner in your system as well. :) 
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August 2, 2012 10:21:24 AM

Best answer selected by wie7nightmare.
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August 2, 2012 10:21:57 AM

Rockin', makes a lot of sense haha. Well, I'm more than satisfied with the immense amount of timely input and help I received - I'll be ordering the parts tomorrow (or today, seeing as it's nearly 3:30AM local time here..yikes) and was worried about my setup not fully realizing its potential for the money. Thankfully, those worries are now long gone :) 

Huge thank you's to everyone, I'm signing off for the night. Later!
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August 2, 2012 10:23:01 AM

Good luck and have fun!
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!