Feb 22, 2009

I've been putting together the following system over the last few days and am looking for some input on a few on the components - primarily the cooler, RAM, and HDD. I plan to OC the CPU and may attempt to OC the GPU / RAM at a later date - I do not have experience with RAM/GPU though, so may not bother.

My budget is roughly $800 US, though I will go slightly above if it seems to make a real difference. Parts I already have include the monitor (22" @ 1680x1050), keyboard, mouse, speakers, OS (Win 7 beta until it is released).

CPU: AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor - $145
Cheap and I hear its quite good at OCing. I've been considering waiting for the AM3 quad core but I am not interested in spending the extra money at this time. Not particularly interested in the possible 4th core of this CPU.

MB: ASUS M4A78T-E AM3 DDR3 AMD 790GX ATX AMD Motherboard - $95 (Open Box)
AM3 motherboard which covers my needs, open box is $45 cheaper and still has the standard Newegg return policy, so not particularly worried about that.

GPU: EVGA 896-P3-1255-AR GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 - $200
I've been considering the GTX 275 but it seems to be slightly out of my price range. Would definitely consider any suggestions here though.

RAM: OCZ Reaper HPC 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) - $65
Definitely looking for suggestions here as I am not very experienced with memory selection. This choice seems to match the MB but not sure on the CAS latency, timings, etc.

PSU: OCZ StealthXStream OCZ600SXS 600W ATX12V / EPS12V - $80
OCZ seems to have good reviews for PSU's - good price too.

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM - $80
Seems slightly more expensive than other models with similar capacities but reviews I've seen state it is worth the performance boost. Any recommendations here would be appreciated.

Optical Drive: LITE-ON 22X DVD Burner Black SATA
I have an IDE version of this drive already in my current machine and works very well, so plan to pick up with SATA version for the new machine.

Case: COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower - $80
Bit more expensive than other models but seems to be worth the extra cost - any recommendations?

Cooler: ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 64 Pro 92mm - $30
This is not listed to be able to fit for AM3 sockets - but then again I haven't found any coolers that are. Will this cooler fit and be sufficient for OCing?

Thermal Paste: ARCTIC COOLING MX-2 Thermal Compound
Haven't bought any thermal paste in the past - would be interested in recommendations here as well.

Primary use for this machine will be gaming (Company of Heroes, EvE Online (multiple clients), Empire: Total War) as well as some CS4 work. Might get into video editing again as well. From what I've read this machine should cover the above pretty well, and be reasonably future proof with AM3 and DDR3.

Thanks for any suggestions or recommendations anyone can give!


Feb 9, 2009
There isn't any point in going AM3 board and ddr3 ram with the current p2 proc's.

Why? well the next line of 8 core processors will have HT 5.0 which will probably be around 8GT/s vs the current HT 3.0 of 5.2GT/s. The next line will also probably have ddr3-1600 memory clocks instead which current boards only accept via OC.

OK, but who needs 8 cores for a gaming machine? Even 4 are only used in two games so far.


Well, 8 cores would definitely help a lot with the video editing, if he has two hard drives and smart software. Will those CPUs work on AM3 boards?


Feb 22, 2009
aevm - I will definitely look into that cooler and MB/CPU combo. Thanks!

I think I will stick with the AM3 build rather than AM2+ - even if it isn't super future proof it will have considerably more upgradability in a year than an AM2+ build.

Also gonna have a look at PSU / ATI graphics cards for possible future crossfire.
If you're interested in that, take a good look at the 650TX and 750TX PSUs. Those can take even HD 4890 Crossfire, and they are among the best. The 750TX has 4 PCI-E connectors, which are required by HD 4870 CF and HD 4890 CF. The 650TX has only two connectors, but you can buy two adapters (molex to PCI-E) for $3 each. Some HD 4870 manufacturers even include adapters in the box.