Overkill? gaming pc specs


Jan 21, 2010
Im am buying a new gaming computer and would like to get your opinion on the specs of the system. Another key point of my buying decision is future-proofing and not having to update often(Every year). I would really appreciate your input. Also I read many reviews to help me select the hardware I chose, but lack the experience to determine if all hardware is appropriate or just overkill (aka. waste of money)

-Alienware Aurora

-Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64bit

**Thought a 3GHz processor should last me awhile (I dont OC)
-Intel Quad Core i7 960 3.2 GHz

**Looking for a change from Nvidia and their reused GPU's
**(Maybe Crossfire sometime in the future?)
-ATI Radeon 2GB GDDR5 ATI Radeon™ HD 5970 w/ DX11 support

-9GB Triple Channel 1067Mhz DDR3

-640GB - SATA-II, 3Gb/s, 7,200RPM, 16MB Cache HDD



Jan 7, 2010
Without knowing what resolution you plan to play at its hard to know if this is overkill or not - if its 1680x1050 than I would say you'll be wasting a lot of money on that graphics card, especially if you plan to update every year. The pace at which PC gaming requirements increase has slowed dramatically, and unless you plan to game at 2560x1600 you could be waiting longer than 12 months for a game to be released that actually uses all your components to the full. A single 5870 would be much cheaper, less power-hungry, and still have enough to play virtually every game maxed out at 1920x1200. Should developers ever start programming PC games properly again (and not just do console ports) you could always add another 5870 in crossfire at a later date when they become cheaper. Two 5870's are (on paper) faster than a 5970 anyway, so you wouldn't be missing out.

Everything else looks good and should last you years, and if you got a cheaper graphics card you could even look to get a solid state drive to complement your HDD (although this wouldn't be essential).
I would simply drop it down to a i7-920 as it will be plenty. Unless you are willing to spend $100 for evey extra 1% - 2% gain in performance. See benchies:


Also, I read an article (and I can't remember where) that stated hyper threading can have a negative impact on some games. I think Left 4 Dead took a 15% performance hit with hyper threading turned on. If I can find it, then I will post a link.


Jan 20, 2010

I can only echo what jaguarskx is saying, drop down to an i7-920 and save yourself a lot of money, and either just pocket them or use them to buy a good aftermarket HSF and overclock to get even more performance than the 960.

As to games suffering from being run on an i7 with HT enabled, I can only say yes, as I have experienced this first hand.
Playing The Last Remnant I on occasion would experience slowdowns in battle scenes, and after some testing finally found out that turning off HT would make the issue go away.
The Last Remnant is the only game in which I have experienced this to be a problem, maybe it is present in other games I play, but if so, not to the point where it's noticeable.


Jan 21, 2010
Thanks to everyone for the quick responses.

Games I play:

Half Life 2, ep1, ep2
Fear/Fear 2
Any big time FPS and the ones to come.

I plan to run the games until I need to update. Hopefully, if thought out well enough, 3-4 years.
ex. Lasted 3 years with a 8600GTS and was very content with the quality of the card.

My monitor's native resolution is 1920 x 1280, and is typically the resolution i use.

When it comes to processor power I was hesitant to lower the GHz because I want the processor to compensate for a lack of power later on. I have never replaced a CPU and generally consider the computer outdated when the processor is no longer able to keep up with the times. ex. I have a Core 2 Duo 1.8 GHz and its about done with.

1.) Is this a logical conclusion for future-proofing a CPU?

When it comes to the GPU I would like to stay with the 5970 because it leaves me room for crossfireX in the future.

2.) Is this a logical conclusion for future-proofing a GPU?
Yep I agree i7 920. Are you comfortable with overclocking in the next couple of years?
The 5970 would be awesome and if you have the money go for it. But consider the possibility that by the time you want to crossfire, it might not be available anymore.
If you want to cut costs a 5870 would be more than fine for todays games even something like Cryostasis. And two in crossfire will perform slightly better than a 5970.
I agree with 6GB. 9GB is overkill for todays games. DDR3 is just coming out aswell so down the road when you need to upgrade to 9GB or 12GB, it will be a lot cheaper.
ok so do you mean monitor resolution of 1920*1080 or 1920*1200?

Other than that it looks like a good build. If you are into the expensive stuff, a SSD might be worth it to have for your operating system and games. about $300 for a good 128GB.


The 960 is good CPU and it is worth the money however not for you. Your monitor resolution of 1920x1280 is just above 1080p and it isn't going to be making use of any of your hardware. A 920+5850+6GBram should be plenty for you and your needs. Gaming isn't really intensive of a task, Crysis is the only game that can actually seriously stress out high end equipment even at a low resolution. However your PC should tackle crysis like a linebacker sacing a quarterback in football...aka doing very well. Your clockrate isn't going to be a bottleneck until you get a very high end graphics config like 2x ATI 5970 and game on high resolutions like 2560x1600.
I'd say that you are going WAY overkill. If you don't ever plan on overclocking, here's what I'd get:

CPU: i7 960 or 920 (the 920 is good, but the 960 is a nice clockspeed bump if you aren't overclocking)
GPU: 5870 - you really don't need more than this at this point


Jan 21, 2010
Thanks to everyone who gave feedback on the system.

I have concluded, with everyones help, the specs for my computer.

Alienware Aurora
Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64bit, English
Intel® Core™ i7 920 **Cheaper and very similar to the 960
ATI Radeon HD 5870 **Cheaper than the 5970, leaves room for Crossfire
6GB Triple Channel 1333MHz DDR3 **Less RAM but at a faster speed

For anyone looking for a similar computer, with these specs, the approximate price is $1,650 USD.
Dell.com January 2010

I am very satisfied with these specs and everyone has helped me out a great deal. I have never felt as confident about a computer as I do now.