A Gentleman's Gaming Apparatus (~$1200)

monstergohome

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APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: A few days
BUDGET RANGE: 1100-1300. I could definitely do with spending less though.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming. I would like to play new releases, and be somewhat future proof as well, on high or maximum settings with a 22" 1920x1080 monitor. But I really am not concerned about making a fps onslaught on crysis with maximum settings.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Mouse, key board.

OVERCLOCKING: No plans, but if there are relatively safe and simple ways to gain a tangible performance increase I will consult my Labrador and the fireside and the bottom of a bottle of Rye, and perhaps agree to giving it a try.
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Not opposed, and am planning to give myself the option.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: i7 is indeed the way to go with this, correct? Besides browsing the web and watching movies, gaming will be the only real challenge posed to the cpu and thus perhaps a cheaper AMD build would be equally as potent but i7 seems to be the consensus at this price point.

So far, my build taste like vanilla:

Case:
Antec 300 $59.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129042
Would there be enough room in here to crossfire or sli? Have I heard the CM 590 is better? This seems to be a nice case that is not vulgar and built with a 12 year old's aesthetic considerations in mind. Can I do better (airflow, noise insulation, minimalist design) at this price point? I do rather fancy the Antec P180 and P182 but they are a bit pricey.

PSU:
Corsair 750-TX $120.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139006
This seems to be hard to argue with, especially with PC Power slacking lately. 750w safe, or could I drop down to a 650-TX and still be fine to sli/crossfire?

RAM:
G.Skill 6(3x2)GB DDR3 1600 (pc12800). $95.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231247
Another safe bet. And I'd rather not give my money to OCZ, so the similar 6gb platinum kit they have is my fallback (if all G.Skill ram disappears suddenly WHICH IS POSSIBLE, though unlikely).

HD:
WD CB 640GB SATA. $75.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136319
Probably nothing to see or talk about here. Move along.

DVD:
LG SATA DVD $24.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136152
Ditto HD.

CPU & MOBO:
i7 920 and Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD4P $484.00 (with 10.00 coupon)
http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=MB-EX58U4P
Seems to be a popular pick for i7 mobos with crossfire and sli options: I don't need a ton of features or room for tri-sli or anything extravagant but don't want to sacrifice quality just for money. The asus pt6's are also tempting.

CPU Heatsink:
Xigmatex Dark Knight $42.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835233029
Bat man will live in my computer and fight the forces of exothermic evil, and he is a gentleman for he has a butler. I can cram this puppy in a Antec 300 right? Yes thermal paste, I will get some. TX-2 noob friendly?

Monitor:
Asus 22" 2ms Widescreen 1920x1080 $170.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824236051
This being the penultimate piece of hardware, it is also the the second most conflicted. Acer and LG seem offer quality products at similar prices and I'm not really sure if any of the three stands out. Can someone recommend a better choice around this price point, of similar size and same resolution? Or is this Asus top notch?

lkajfljadlkajflkdj GPU:
???
While I think everything else is, if not a consensus pick, quite easy to justify but here I just fall off a cliff. At one time or another in the last few days as I've been throwing this build together, I have been set on anything and everything from a single 4770 to sli gtx 275's. I do not come down on one side of the fence for ATI or Nvidia, but if the money and performance are equal, will probably go Nvidia since their drivers have been a bit easier to work with in the past (rather have safe than exciting).
Like I've said, I want something reasonably future proof (or with expansion room) and able to play smoothly at high settings current titles that aren't Crysis. Do I go crossfired 4770's and have all the power I need now but possibly not enough in the future since there's no room to add another card. Will a single gtx 260 get me by for now and I can add one down the road when prices are even lower, or do I go sli 260's right now. I am tempted to go to 275 territory, but that doesn't seem worth the coin for the modest gains on the 260 and all those amazing deals on ati 4890's from a few weeks ago (anywhere from $180-210 before mir) have all but vanished. So what is reasonable?

That leaves me at $1069.00 and I'd like to come in close to $1300 which anything below sli gtx 260's should do, but I can be persuaded. Thanks for your time and advice.
 
Yes the CM 690 is roomier.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119137

It's only 5 dollars off but this OCZ RAM is a bit faster.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.193835

For that resolution the ASUS will be hard to beat. If you wanted to compromise with a 1680x105 monitor, this LG has serious response times and color:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824005109&Tpk=L227WTG-PF

Pair up 4850s in this build and you'll do well.
XFX 4850 - a bit more but lifetime warranty and better cooling.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150348


Use SLI GTX 260s and you'll pretty much have the Crysis machine you mentioned.
PNY GTX 260 core 216 - 3 yr. warranty and good cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814133270

PC P&C 750W
If the red doesn't clash with the Labrador it's a better deal. Equal to or better than the Corsair.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=50009830%2040000058%20113142558&name=701%20-%20800W&SpeTabStoreType=0

Another option on the case and PSU:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.193713
OR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.195015

 

dragonfang18

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No offense, but when I read a gentleman's gamimg apparatus, I took that as also porn heavy. (Eg. Gentleman's club)

As for the build Its nice build Nvidia also has PhysX support, but Caviar Blue?
Why not a caviar black? More for the buck IMO.
 

smithereen

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If gaming is the most CPU intensive task for your computer, only buy an i7 if the money is burning a hole in your pocket. It literally won't help you. Other than that, Proximon's got it.
 


LMAO! :)




To the OP...that is a very nice build you have going by the looks of it. :)

+1 to Proximan for the CM 690. Much more room for a dual vid card set up.
 


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130468 $129.99 ($119.99 after $10.00 Mail-In Rebate) Free Shipping*
EVGA 512-P3-1150-TR GeForce GTS 250 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
Free Cryostasis game w/ registration at manufacturer website

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/gf-gts250-sli.html <--- gts 250's in SLI
 

drunknmunkys

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If you're really only doing gaming, I don't think you need an i7.

That cpu+mobo+mem = $579.
This cpu+mobo+mem = $303. And I bet you wouldn't notice the difference. You be better off putting that extra $$ towards a 4870x2 or 2x 4890s.

AMD Phenom II 720 x3 BE
GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066

That mobo supports Xfire. Also, they don't have the cpu/mobo combo right now but if you wait for it thats another 30$ off. 579$ vs. 273$.

I'd also consider the Antec 900 (on sale!) for your case.

I got my 4890 for 205$ /w MIR a few weeks ago. If you're not concerned with max settings, and with a 22'' monitor I'd say you'd be ok for now with one 4890, and then in 6 months pick up another one. You'd really only need that if you got a bigger monitor though. The 4770's in xfire will beat the 4890, but you don't leave yourself room to upgrade, as you said earlier.
 

monstergohome

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After much consideration, I think this is a more apropos way to go; I can pocket the extra coin from not going i7 to buy more Heatherwood pipe tobacco and black and white photographs of women frowning. But I have 2 questions.

1) With this build, SLI is out. Which isn't a huge problem since I could go with a 4890 and one later or 2x4850 now. What worries me is that the 790x AM3 phenom II boards that I've seen only allow for 16x/8x Xfire. Would I see a noticeable performance hit by having the second card at 8x? My other option is to just opt for a single gpu and save some more coin on the psu, with my choice being a gtx 260 (216). But I'm uncertain if that is enough for high settings @ 1920x1080 now and also looking ahead a bit in games that don't have unusual performance stress (Crysis, GTAIV). The Gtx 275 now becomes tempting too, but its performance is so close to the 260 that I doubt its fate would differ much, with no sli upgrade path, to that of the 260 and I don't think the price is worth it.

2)The other question I have is do I go DD3 or DDR2, and how much? 2x2 of 1066 DDR2 seems pretty common, but I also see the sense of going DDR3 now, since the price difference is negligible. If I go DDR3, stick to 2x2, or go 3x2?

Thanks
 
It's not a huge difference in performance. I can't give you exact numbers with AMD, but it's not great. You could get a 790FX board of course.

The 790X board that was linked is a DDR2 board, but I would advise going with DDR3. It won't cost much more to do so and DDR3 is going to be around for some time, making the RAM you buy now more valuable. DDR2 is on it's way out.

There is no performance benefits to DDR3, but there is a small power savings.

This combo will get you a VERY nice DDR3 board:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.190879


And this would be great RAM to go with it
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231200
You'll want to be careful about any CPU cooler you buy though. Some don't play well with the tall RAM heatsinks.
 

monstergohome

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So if I understand this correctly, my choice comes down to whether or not ~50$ more for a 790fx and pci x16/x16 is worth it over a 790gx and x8/x8 or x16/x8? I am trying to decide this so I can decide my gpu choice.

Good Asus 790fx+P2 720 combo $309.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.190878

Good Asus 790gx +p2 720 combo $259.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.190879

I suppose conversely, I could try to decide my gpu choice:
Gtx 260 (216)= $180 [Might find a better deal closer to $160 somewhere]
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814143189

4890 = $210
http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=AT-489VP1G

2x 4850 1gb = $240
http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=HIS-4850_1

2x4870 = $340
http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=AT-4870GB

I can't really tell what the sweet spot is in there, since everything seems to offer incredible value (except maybe 2x4870). I can afford to spend the money if the extra performance of 2x4870's seems reasonable [or 1 4890 now and one later is an option] but am leaning towards 2x4850's since I it's a full $100 cheaper than 2x4870's and I'm unsure if there is that great of a performance increase.

Or am I just falling prey to synthetics and not only will a single gtx 260 (216) be adequate and the cheapest solution, but also allow me to drop down to a cheaper 790gx mobo set up.

 

drunknmunkys

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If you have the extra cash, then Proximon's right: there's no good reason not to get DDR3. It was still a bit more expensive when I was looking at it and it wasn't worth it to me then.

Read this roundup of gpus. I will say that even though the 4890 scores lower on some of the benchmarks, I recently upgraded to one and am playing Crysis at max settings.

Good luck, sounds like you're narrowing in on a final build!
 
It's pretty hard to advise you any further, for just the reasons you state. I can tell you what my personal choice would be.

I would get the 790FX board and a single GTX 260, then upgrade to a second after a few months. These GPUs are easy on the power, and fit a bit more comfortably with the 750W. I would be a bit nervous with two 4890s on the PSU, though it's probably all right.

I like having a strong platform to tinker with, but then I'm a fairly hardcore enthusiast. If this was going to be a build it and forget about it kind of thing, I would do it differently.


 

monstergohome

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Let me shake all your hands once gain for helping me through this. I greatly appreciate it gentlemen and gentlerwomen.
This is my [almost-ed.] final build, and would like one final gaze to make sure everything seems fine.

Case:
COOLER MASTER Centurion 590 $59.00 (damn you egg, I say damn you for no free shipping).
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119152
I much prefer the looks of the Antec 300, even if they are very similar looking, but this seems a superior product and while I realize people are fond of the CM 690, I'm not sure if it is even a better case despite being more expensive and uglier than a horse riding a horse /shudders.

PSU:
CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V $109.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139006
Seems to be enough for CF 4890. Though people seem to be really high on this hideous ginger of a PC P&C at the same price-
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341011
I know they are both high quality and I probably can't go wrong with either, but is the PC P&C better?

Monitor:
Asus 2ms 1920x1080 $170.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824236051

HD:
WD Caviar Black 640gb $75.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136319

RAM:
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) $65.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231200
Special thanks to proximon for this Ram. I'm committed to going DDR3 and I know it's little to no performance increase on DDR2 but I'll bet on the future while I'm paying off the past. I don't know if there is some faster OCZ Ram for the price, but I've always thought G.Skill, you know, put skill into their ram G.

CPU Cooler:
Xigma Dark Knight. $39.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835233029
Batman, like I said, was a gentleman whose only mistake was not owning a Labrador and a tweed jacket.
My only worry is this won't fit in my case with that ram and 2x4890's.

GPU;
Sapphire ATI Radeon HD4890 Vapor-X 1GB $205.00
http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=AT-489VP1G
As fire as I know, this is just a Sapphire 4890 with a new cooler. Was going to go for a 4870, but for ~$35 more might as well go 4890. I know far less about which brands are good for ATI cards than Nvidia, but Sapphire seems to have been around forever. Also a HIS card around this price. Good chance I'll opt for a second 4890 down the line, and it seems I shouldn't have to worry about a pci x8/x8 bottleneck.

CPU+Mobo:
Sticking with P2 x3 720 BE. Seems to be a lot better value than a X4 940.
This is the cpu+mobo combo that has been posted earlier and I plan on using.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.190879
with $20 discount, comes to $258.00

Only thing I'm up in the air about at this point is maybe getting this Gigabyte mobo instead since it's x16/x8 and has gotten better reviews but it would be $20 more with no combo deal.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128378
Edit: Found it on ewiz for $112, guess I'll go that route.
http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=MB-790XT4P&show=p

Other than that, I'll probably order tomorrow after I pick out an extra fan or two and get some thermal paste.
Thanks again.
 

monstergohome

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Brilliant close reading! I eagerly await a set of hermeneutics wherein you can identify a processual, dare I say dialectical, shade of reification, mayhaps a latent mode oh hegemonic control in not the author of that page and not the board's chipset, but the relationship between the two.
But to return to the matter at hand, will I get by with that medium sized colossus of a cpu cooler?
 

danielzklein

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First and most off-topically, buckets of kudos to everyone involved in this thread. The style that oozes from your posts made this not just a most educative but also a most entertaining internet-thing to read. For a moment I entertained a daydream fantasy wherein all forums on the internet sounded like *this*.

Second, and only slightly less off-topic, can someone explain to me why you're going with the X3 720 instead of an E8400 for a gaming rig? I've been reading so many reviews and benchmarks that I've arrived at knowing absolutely nothing with any certainty anymore, but it seems to me that the core 2 duo dual core (E8400), when properly overclocked, handily outperforms the Phenom II triple core (PII X3 720), especially since the AMD doesn't seem to be all that overclock-happy.

(I really, sincerely hope that there is a very good reason for going with the PII X3 that you can simply point out to me and that I'm not giving *you* doubts when you practically had your system all worked out. I hate when people do that to me.)

As for humongous CPU cooler and whether or not they'll fit your case given the two HD4890s you plan to one day own, I haven't the slightest clue. I thought I should just acknowledge your actual question to not seem entirely useless.
 

monstergohome

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My dear sir! You are perverse. I was *just* set to really order everything but now I am so incandescent I can barely speak, sir, I am so angry I can only quote the great author Samuel Beckett (a strange but gentle man):

(customer):"God damn you to hell, Sir, no, it's indecent, there are limits! In six days, do you hear me, six days, God made the world. Yes Sir, no less Sir, the WORLD! And you are not bloody well capable of making me a pair of trousers in three months!"

(tailor, scandalously): "But my dear Sir, my dear Sir, look- at the world - and look - at my TROUSERS!"


Ah yes, that's the ticket; my blood has cooled and my viscera dried. As to your inquiry, the best answer I believe is that core 2 duo does not come in a Black Edition, and black is a gentleman's color. Here, I have some literature that may interest you.

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/amd-phenom-ii-x3-720_5.html#sect0
 

drunknmunkys

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For most games the 720 isn't far enough behind the e8400 to make a noticable difference right now. When you take into account more applications in the future being able to take advantage of 3 cores, and the upgradability of sockets (what are you going to upgrade your e8400 to in a year?), I think its a no brainer. Plus, if you ever do anything besides gaming, you'll likely get better performance with the 720. There are pros and cons, but to me (and most people here, it seems) the 720 seems like a more well-rounded choice and the better price/performance.

If you're unsure just search for one of the 421,254 threads named 'e8400 vs. PII 720' on the internet.
 

smithereen

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Also, benchmarking is always done with a fresh install of windows and nothing at all running in the background, which is hardly indicative of real-world gaming. Until you run out of memory, anything running in the background will be handled by the third core and result in very little performance decrease. Unless the game is tri- or quad-threaded already, in which case the Phenom II will perform much, much better anyways. Also, who told you it wasn't a good overclocker?
 

B-Unit

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Also, Id like to know where you heard the 720 wasnt OC friendly? ASAIK, they do up to 3.8Ghz with ease. Add in the extra core for multi-theading, and the chance at 6 or even 8 core chips for the same platform later, and the E8400 looks less and less attractive for a new build all the time.

EDIT: To OP: Saphire is one of the leading vendors of ATI cards, you are in good hands with that choice.