Gaming PC (I tried)

VaultBoy13

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Mar 14, 2009
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Ok, I'll admit I'm quite overwhelmed at this point. What I want is a gaming system that I will be able to build on later and CAD is $750-$1000. So, I figured I'd just start based on an AnandTech article I saw (http://anandtech.com/guides/showdoc.aspx?i=3521&p=2) and I made slight modifications to some components.

DDR3 - https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.aspx?ID=9443785
DDR2 - https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.aspx?ID=9444125

From what I read the Phenom II X3 720 is great for overclocking. I've never overclocked a PC, so I will admit I'm a bit leery about doing this but not opposed to it. But, reading the dual core vs triple core vs quad core, I honestly don't know that I need more than a dual core. I don't do a lot of multitasking beyond playing music and surfing the net at the same time. If I'm gaming, I don't have anything else running (aside from AV and Firewall). At the same time, I figure new games will probably start taking advantage of the additional cores.


Are there motherboards that will take a dual core and then in a year or two I can slap in a quad core and get a decent boost?

The RAM options are also staggering. DDR2 vs DDR4, 800 vs 1066, voltage and timing (I'm assuming lower numbers are better here?). :??:

As far as cases, all I know is I want something that does a great job of keeping the PC cool. Oh, and I do like the sliding bays, where you attach the slides to your drive and then slide it into a slot.


Alright, and then the graphics card options have me totally confused. What I'm wondering is why bother with crossfire? It looks like two 512MB cards are more than the same series of card at 1GB. Is there a performance boost or loss having 2 cards vs 1? Is it better to have one 1GB card, two 512 MB cards (in crossfire), or one 2x512MB card?

Radeon HD 4850 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card @ $169.99
Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire @ 249.98 (119.99 x 2)
Radeon HD 4850 X2 1GB 512-bit (2 x 256-bit) GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire @ 259.99

For my price range am I better off picking up the 1GB card and later, if I want to upgrade my graphics I get a second 1GB card? Also, do I have to have 2 of the exact same card? Or could I have like a 4850 and later grab a 4870 and everything would work OK?


Another thing I'm wondering is whether the 10000 RPM drives are worth the extra cash. I figure it'd have a pretty big impact on how fast the OS, games, applications, etc. load up. But, going from the dinosaur PC I currently have to something new is going to seem much faster anyways. I figure if I needed the extra storage I could a slower drive w/1TB for pretty cheap. My current HDD only has 120GB and I still have like 30GB free.

And the last thing I'm thinking about is a dual boot. I like the backwards compatibility and stability of XP. I still play some older games, and I'd hate to lose the ability by "upgrading" to Vista. Given Windows 7 isn't that far away, I was thinking of skipping Vista altogether. There's not a whole lot of games (any games?) right now that take advantage of a 64 bit OS and while DX10 does look prettier it doesn't sell the OS for me. Am I better off partitioning the drive and leaving space for Windows 7 (or Vista if I decide to go that route) or having 2 smaller HDD, each with their own OS?

I realize this is a wall of text and I really appreciate anyone who helps me out. I've been reading up on this stuff for a few days now and I think I've about lost it. :pt1cable:
 
Hi and thanks for taking the time to register with newegg.com although you are Canadian. Makes it easier for us to see your list.

You have some good parts picked out, but ya it seems like you are going in several directions at once. Sounds to me like you should just get a good Intel build going with a dual core, then upgrade to a quad down the road as needed. It should leave more room in your budget for a graphics card as well.

I just did this build, but I think it would work for you with a few modifications... let's see:
https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.aspx?ID=10156232
That should come in about right in loonies.
 

MykC

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Nov 24, 2008
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What types of games do you play? Simulation, Sports, FPS, MMOs, RTS or everything and anything.
What type of resolution do you play? How big is your monitor?
What do you need? Does your budget include an OS, keyboard/mouse, speakers and monitor? Or are you just look for the box?

A lot of people don't know yet, but there is a http://www.newegg.ca. Horray!
 

MykC

Distinguished
Nov 24, 2008
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Pioneer 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA $27
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827129032
Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM $87
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136218
Antec Three Hundred $75
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129042
SeaSonic SS-500ES 500W 80 PLUS Certified $82
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151040
ASUS M3A78-CM AM2+/AM2 AMD 780V Micro ATX $96
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131330
OCZ SLI-Ready Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 $55 - $20USD MIR
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227269
AMD Phenom II 720BE $175 plus a XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 CPU Cooler $45 - $20 (instant)
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.170961
Overclocking has never been easier read this http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/phenom-overclock-athlon,2161.html

9800GT $115
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814187030
4870 $212 - $15USD MIR
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131140

$735.41 with 9800GT + tax $830 + shipping ?? - $20 USD MIR
$833.41 with 4870 + tax $940 + shipping - $35 USD MIR
 
The AMD solution is much cheaper and a great deal. This CPU won't max out using the card you mentioned. I'd go this way on top of your NVIDIA card and PSU. Prices in Canadian.

1) AMD AM3 Phenom II 720 (2.8GHz) -> $198
2) 4GB (2x2GB) PC2-8500 ->$60
3) ASUS M4N72-E ATX AM2+ AM3 DDR2 nForce 750A (SLI capable) -> $180
4) Antec 300 Mini tower -> $88
5) Vista 64-bit OEM (or hold out for the Vista->Win 7 Vista option)

other:
It's best to put together your CORE system. Get a better audio card, CPU heatsink etc at your leisure.

*You can add a second NVidia card just for Physics and NOT for SLI. SLI requires identical cards. http://www.slizone.com/object/sli_cuda_learn.html
 

VaultBoy13

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Mar 14, 2009
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I'm not sure why it's showing me in Canada, I'm in the US.

I play FPS (a little), RTS, turn-based Strategy, and RPGs.
Resolution is 1680x1050 on a 22" monitor. I likely won't be upgrading this for awhile.
I should only need the box as I have a keyboard/mouse, speakers, and monitor. With the OS, I have the WinXP install disc from my old PC so I'm figuring I should be able to use it on the new PC. If I can't use the XP disc, then I have the extra cash to add it in without affecting the boxes price.

Is there an advantage to going with 2 video cards in crossfire (or SLI) over a single video card?

Also, thanks for the help.
 

xthekidx

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Dec 24, 2008
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CAD usually means Canadian Dollars, I think that is why everyone thought you were canadian. Are you saying you want this computer to run CAD?
 

xthekidx

Splendid
Dec 24, 2008
3,871
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22,790

All mobo's out there will support either dual or quad cores for their respective socket, be it AMD or Intel, except the x58 chipset which only supports i7 quads. AMD mobo's will support dual, triple, or quads, but intel does not have triple core CPU's so they just have dual or quads. AM3/AM2+ mobo's are the ones to look at for AMD, LGA 775 or LGA 1366 for Intel.


DDR4 does not exist. DDR3 and DDR2 are your options right now, and at your price point DDR2 is the way to go. DDR3 is new and expensive, and doesn't really offer that much more performance than DDR2. The higher ram speeds ie DDr2-800 vs DDR2-1066 is how fast the memory runs, higher is better. When looking at timings, (4-4-4-12, 5-5-5-15...ect) lower is better because that is how long your system must wait for the memory. More voltage=more heat, but increases the speed and timings of the ram. Look for ram that has a good balance between timings, speed and voltage, I never get ram that has voltage higher than 2.0v for DDR2, unless it sports 3-4-3-10 timings at 800mhz or something like that. The forum favorite is this set: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231209 (low timings, low voltage, decent ram speed, Great Price).


Double the Graphics memory does not equal double the Graphics power. Its like if you have a computer with 2gb of memory vs 4gb of memory, the 4gb of memory PC isn't twice as fast. The performance of the GPU is more dependant on the graphics processor on the card. Your PC has two different processors in it, the CPU is the main processor of your computer and handles most calculations ect, the GPU is the graphics processing unit and is in charge of creating images for your monitor. In a crossfire setup, you have two physical graphics processors as opposed to just one, which makes it much better. You can have a 4850 1gb card and 2x4850 512mb Crossfire cards and have the same amount of graphics memory, but the crossfire setup will be far superior in performance. The best performance for the dollar is a crossfire 4830 512mb setup, you can get this for about $170, which is cheaper than most 4870 512mb cards, and will outperform them by a good margin, especially at a larger resolution.


Usually you need two of the same card, but the 4800 series is nice in that they all pretty much play nicely together, you can xfire a 4870 with a 4850, and a 4850 with a 4830 if you wanted. 4870 and 4830 does not work I don't think because two of the processing cores are disabled on the 4830, so it doesn't sync with the 4870's full processor. 1gb cards will perform better than 512mb cards, but sometimes you can find 4870 512mb cards for the same price or cheaper than 4850 1gb cards, and those are great deals, so shop around to see what is out there.


The Velociraptors are very overpriced, I would just get a WD6401AALS Caviar Black 640GB HDD, it will be just a tad bit slower and less than half as expensive for more than twice the capacity.


I hope this was helpful clearing up some of your questions :)
 

xthekidx

Splendid
Dec 24, 2008
3,871
1
22,790
The GPU you need will depend on the resolution of monitor you are using, a larger screen needs more GPU power to render those images when you are gaming. So what size of monitor do you have? I would highly recommend getting Windows vista 64bit, so you can use more memory. XP is mostly 32bit, unless you have a 64bit version of XP Pro. Windows vista gets DX10 which looks much better than DX9. Since Vista got SP1, its a very solid OS. I use it and I have no complaints whatsoever.
 

xthekidx

Splendid
Dec 24, 2008
3,871
1
22,790
So based on what you have said, here is my proposed build for you:
Mobo/GPU: P5Q Pro and Asus Matrix 4850
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.172866
Add another GPU for super gaming goodness: Same as above in combo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121295
CPU: E8500
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115036
ram: G Skill PI Black 4gb DDR2-800
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231209
PSU: Corsair 650tx
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139005&Tpk=650tx
Case: CM 690
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119137
HDD: WD6401AALS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136319
Optical: LG DVD Sata w/ Lightscribe
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136153
Cooler:Xigmatek HDT-S1283
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835233003

All that comes to: $1036 with shipping included. MIR gives you $105 back, grand total comes to $931.

I really recommend you get Vista Home Premium 64bit: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116488
 

MykC

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Nov 24, 2008
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Is there an advantage to going with 2 video cards in crossfire (or SLI) over a single video card?
IMO SLI/Crossfire is only advantageous to do so for the highest end systems (budget ~$2000) and not as an upgrade path.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6827129032 LG DVD Drive $22
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6822136218 WD 640GD HD $75
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6811129042 Antec 300 Case $60
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6817703016 PC Power 500W $75 - $25MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813131330 Asus 780v Motherboard $75
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103471 AMD 940BE $200
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6835233003 Xigma CPU Cooler $36 - $10MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820145590 4GB DDR2 800 $45 - $20 MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102801 4870 1GB $190

$780 + tax/shipping - $55MIR. The system has only 1 PCI slot after you put in the videocard and you don't have the option to crossfire. If you want to an ATX board than moving to an Asus 780GX platform is a $65 upgrade.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131331

I really recommend you get Vista Home Premium 64bit: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6832116488
I also recommend this, but I guess with Windows 7 coming out soon, you could hold out till its release, but when it does come out you should upgrade from XP 32.