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Looking for advice for my first build.

post #1 of 16
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So, I just got payed a on Friday and this paycheck isn't going to the bank, it is going to my first ever PC build. I have been planning this for a while and since it is summer and I am a Senior in college next year, I finally made up my mind to build it. My budget is roughly $520.

BioStar AM3 Motherboard CrossfireX 2xUSB3.0 6xSATA3 6Gb/s $70

AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition 3.2GHz $120





600w XIGMATEK 80 PLUS Bronze Certified SLI Ready $62

GAMMA Chassis ATX Tower Case $35


ASUS PCI Wireless Network Card 300Mb/s $28


Sony SATA DVD Burner/Drive $18


Total: $545

The first thing I am asking is, if any of you see any incompatibilities, please let me know. Also, if any of these components are over-priced, of poor quality, or even just cheaper somewhere else, I would be in your debt.

Now to my direct questions. Picking out a GPU was hard. My original choice was the Radeon HD 6770 for about $120 but then I got interested in the GTX 550. I just want to know how you guys would order the HD 5770, the HD 6770, the HD 6790 (about 20 bucks more than I want to spend), the GTS 450 Factory overclocked to 950MHz, the GTX 550ti, and the the GTX 460 (60 dollars more than I want to spend). With the rebates, the GTX 550ti is exactly what I want to spend. Basically my question is, out of the ones I just mentioned, would you endorse my choice? Also, if you know of any ones I should consider that I left out, let me know.

Another question I have is about the PSU. It isn't modular because the price for a modular PSU is too high for the power I need (and want). If you have a cheaper PSU in mind that would suit me, please mention it. However, I do want it to support two PCIe cards for future SLI.

Lastly, any thoughts on the motherboard? Having never built a PC, I don't know exactly how motherboard brands rank. What I do know is that this one has everything want (including stuff like USB3.0 which I don't even need), all for a joy of a price. A quick question about SLI though. The motherboard says it supports Hybrid SLI or something. It has a PCIe 2.0 16x and a PCIe 4x. From the stuff I have read, this means when you hook up 2 cards, they both run in 8x mode. The guy from Nvidia I talked to said that this doesn't adversely affect performance very much. Is this all true.

Anyways, thanks in advance for all your help and any advice you give will be appreciated. I am not looking to spend any extra money as the current total is really stretching my budget. Any recommendations to bring it down without compromising on performance will be appreciated as well.
    
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post #2 of 16

Here's a GTX 460 that's only $17 more than the 550 Ti after MIR

Also, I'm not sure if you want to be able to upgrade to a bulldozer CPU in the future, but if so, this board seems to be the popular choice as of right now if you can manage to fit it into your budget
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...k=asrock%20970
Here's a quick build I threw together (I left the video card out to let you decide what fits your budget, but if you could fit the GTX 460 from above in somehow, that'd be the best card out of the ones you mentioned)
http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/Pu...umber=20852707
Edit: Ok, if you do the build above plus the video card that poptarts linked below, the total would come out to $537 and you'd be getting a much nicer motherboard
Edited by coppertop4646 - 7/17/11 at 11:41pm
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post #3 of 16
the difference in 16x/8x is unnoticeable.
and if you don't mind buying b-stock, the same video card at evga.com is on sale for 99 used, and a ten percent discount after coupon code FACEBOOK50k is used which expires 7/18
And if you plan to oc, you are at the max tdp of the motherboard so be aware of that

http://www.evga.com/products/prodlist.asp?switch=20
post #4 of 16
My personal opinion is to switch the motherboard out for a ASRock or an ASUS motherboard, but i'm not too familiar as to which one will provide better performance or stability. The graphics all depends on the resolution you're going to use (be it gaming, movies, etc), but with your budget, I wouldn't imagine anything ridiculously large, so it should be more than adequate. Also, I don't think you can SLI on an AM3 motherboard without using the force-SLI hack somewhere here, so more incentive to go for a 990FX or other AM3+ mobo that will be SLI compatible. Also maybe consider getting an aftermarket cooler.
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post #5 of 16
I would take a used ASUS M4A79T-Deluxe over that new BioStar mainly because the ASUS is a 8+2 power phase board with a heatsink on the VRM's.All this means is that it will handle overclocking better. You can find these boards in the OCN marketplace around 80.00.I have a taste for durable gear rather than the cheapest.For motherboards stick with ASUS,GigaByte,EVGA and some specific lower end models.Look for a board that says "8+2 power phase" in the least.You will not be disappointed in the used ASUS model I mentioned.The cpu is a very good choice.This board will make you a "crossfire" person rather than a SLI guy unless you hack.I mention a used board as it stays closer to what the new BioStar is in price.
Edited by PCCstudent - 7/17/11 at 11:41pm
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post #6 of 16
NZXT M59 case + 1TB Seagate<$15 combo savings
This combo basically gives you a "cooler" looking case over the gamma, which comes with 2 fans instead of 1, for the same price as the $35 gamma when you factor in the combo savings with the hard drive you are looking at.


G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2GB 1600-9-9-9@1.5V
<Use promo code
Same $35, WAY better memory

Antec EarthWatts 650W PSU<$30 markdown
More well trusted PSU manufacturer. Normally a more expensive unit.

Phenom II X3 + great heatsink
As an alternative to the X4 for about $110, this combo gives you a heatsink that will let you play with overclocking right away. Just depends what you want to do...

--------------------------------------------

Considering GPUs....

Those EVGA B-stock deals are amazing. The GTX460-1GB for ~$110 is amazing, the GTX460SE for ~$90, and the GTX550 for ~$100. All amazing deals. Each is limited to a 90 day warranty though so weigh your risk tolerance accordingly. To give some perspective, a GTX460-1GB has ~10-50% more performance than a 5770/6770/OCdGTS450 depending on the conditions.

I wouldn't bother with the 6790, it's nothing more than a 5770/6770 with double the memory bandwidth (same memory bandwidth as a 6870, just doesn't have enough processing power to put much of it to good use).... Sounds good and looks good on paper, but in the real world, the 5770/6770s just weren't often bound by their memory performance to begin with when used at monitor resolutions appropriate for their power class. The 6790 would excel in limited applications over other cards in the same price category. I would suggest a similarly priced card with more render output units instead.

The difference between a GTS450 and GTX550TI is primarily in the number of render output units and clock speed. The 550 has 50% more (24 vs 16) render output units and runs a stock clock speed that is ~15% higher. Those extra render output units can have a huge impact when gaming at higher resolutions. At resolutions below HD, the effect is less drastic. When the 2 cards are clocked the same, they will perform very similarly on lower resolution gaming.

An over-clocked (~900MHZ) GTS450 will trade blows with 5770 and 6770 cards at ~stock speeds.

All of the cards we are discussing here are very competent capable cards. There is nothing in this class that can't perform well enough for modern gaming at decent enough settings.

If you wanted to make a "step up" to a higher price point than the $100-130 range, the most logical step up is either a GTX560 (non-TI) for about $150-175 (depending on rebate situations) or a 6870 for about $165-185 (depending on rebates and such). Both options are killer cards and a great value in the high range segment.

Have I rambled enough...?

Eric
     
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post #7 of 16
Not a fan at all of your original build. Very mismatched.

My recommendation:

Mobo: ASUS M5A97 AM3+ $108 shipped
CPU/Case: Phenom x3 720 BE/ HEC Blitz case combo $102 shipped
Cooler for OEM chip: SilenX EFZ-120HA3 $28 shipped. This is a newer cooler, but I like the way it is tilted so the airflow hits the VRM cooler.
HDD/Optical drive: Seagate 500GB/optical drive combo $56.50 shipped
PSU: Rosewell RG630 $60 shipped
Memory: Kingston HyperX Blu 4GB (2 x 2GB) $36 shipped
GPU: EVGA GTX460 - Bstock $110 shipped. 90 day warranty, so test thoroughly once assembled. EVGA is good about replacements.

$500.50 shipped + tax (if applicable). This would be a great gaming rig, and the AM3+ mobo allows SLI without a hack. Also, when bulldozer finally comes out, you can upgrade directly without having to change your mobo.
It's so little!
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It's so little!
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post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for you responses.
Mdocod, thanks for your advice. Will be using it for sure.

Badwrench, I like that build but I did want to stay at 1TB and the 955. I used your build as a basis for this one.

ASRock AM3 870 Extreme3 $90
NZXT M59 case + 1TB Seagate $95
G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2GB 1600-9-9-9@1.5V $35 with rebate
Antec EarthWatts 650W PSU $60
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition 3.2GHz $112
EVGA GTX460 - Bstock $110
ASUS PCI Wireless Network Card 300Mb/s $28

What do you guys think? This will all be roughly the same price as my original. My question is, how hard/risky is an SLI hack? Keep in mind, I probably won't be putting in another video card for at least a year. Also, another question: I can mix GPU manufacturers when setting up SLI as long as they are the same card right?

EDIT: I currently have an heatsink (coolermaster) so I don't need one. I probably won't be overclocking much if any anyways.
    
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post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Bump
    
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post #10 of 16
I guess waiting for Bulldozer would be a wise decision.
    
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