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Complete newbie wanting to build a budget gaming rig


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#1 zaphthegreat

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 05:54 AM

Hello all.

First and foremost, I am a complete newbie. I'm not just new at building computers - I'm essentially illiterate when it comes to computers. I mean, I know how to surf the Internet and play games, but I don't really know much about a computer's physical components and what they do. Of course, I'm slowly learning as I'm researching building this PC, but most of you will probably find my questions and concerns profoundly stupid and/or uninformed.

A bit of background: I currently own an HP a6235x. Right off the bat, this is no gaming rig. As a matter of fact, it seems to be just about the opposite of one. To make matters worse, it looks like the CPU's overheating and that its fan is no longer operating at full capacity, because I now have to resort to keeping the case open with a big fan blowing right into it if I want to avoid crashing all the time when I overtax its capacity by, say, surfing some website. I decided that I'd had enough; not just with this computer, but with HP and other major computer companies of that sort in general. Since I enjoy playing computer games and I'd never been satisfied with any of the HPs I'd owned over the years in that department, I started to look at gaming rigs.

Like any newbie, my Google searches were pretty random and not overly helpful at first. I quickly stumbled onto Alienware's web site and became pretty sad about the whole thing. Judging by their web site, gaming computers cost about the same as a second hand Honda Civic. While I could afford to buy one, I'd probably be going through a divorce the next day. While some might assume that this would be like killing two birds with one stone, I decided to try to have a gaming rig and preserve my marriage. So, I looked around and asked here and there and came to the conclusion that my best option might be to build my own computer. So, I undertook the rather overwhelming task of learning (a tiny little bit) about the components required for a computer and of trying to put one together from various websites.

Since I'm in Montreal, Canada, my choices seem a bit limited. Although the US and Canadian dollars are nearly on par with each other now, Canadian retailers still insist on charging about 200$ more on a system (whether "pre-built" or in separate parts) than their American counterparts. Also, as far as I can tell, there's no such thing as a good computer store in Montreal, so the Internet seems like my only option.

Anyway, here's what I've put together so far. Please remember that I'm completely new at this, so be gentle with me:

CPU:
Newegg.ca - AMD Athlon II X4 630 Propus 2.8GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Processor

GPU:
Newegg.ca - HIS H577FM1GD Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card

HDD:
Newegg.ca - Western Digital Caviar Blue WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

Motherboard:
Newegg.ca - ASUS M4A89GTD PRO AM3 AMD 890GX HDMI SATA 6Gb/s ATX AMD Motherboard

Memory:
Newegg.ca - A-DATA Gaming Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model AX3U1600GB2G9-2G

DVD/CD:
Newegg.ca - ASUS 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 24x DVD Writer LightScribe Support - CD / DVD Burners

PSU:
Newegg.ca - Antec NEO ECO 620C 620W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply

Case (I don't like the look, but it's big and looks like it moves air around pretty well):
Newegg.ca - XCLIO A380COLOR Fully Black 1.0 mm SECC / ABS Plastic ATX Full Tower Computer Case

While I'm at it, OS:
Newegg.ca - Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - Operating Systems

Stock cooling, since I don't think I'm going to mess around with overclocking.

So, a few questions/comments/concerns of mine:

- Is this a viable gaming rig? If so, what would its limitations be?
- Is there any way to improve this while remaining within the same budget (or even cheaper)?
- Is this reasonably upgradeable?
- Would this motherboard allow me to "crossfire" in the future? It talks about "CrossfireX", but as far as I can tell, that's something different involving combining a discrete GPU with an integrated one. Am I on the right track with this assumption?
- Is a full sized case a good thing? Could I get away with a mid-sized one without any issues?

I probably have more questions, but I have to get back to work now. I probably won't be very active in this thread for a few more hours, but I'll be able to pick things up in a few hours.

Thank you all for any help you can provide me.

#2 zaphthegreat

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 06:44 AM

My apologies, I was looking at the "Gaming" section before I posted this, but I realize it was better suited for another section.

#3 zaphthegreat

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 11:41 AM

At the risk of spamming my own thread, would it be better for me to edit this one out of existence and repost it, or will a moderator move/delete it? I know I can't post the same thread twice, but I figure if I scrap this one first...

#4 wevsspot

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 11:56 AM

Zap - welcome to OCC. You've come to the right place for advice. Lets take your questions in order of least importance :)

Don't worry about moving your thread. If the mods/admins want to move it they will so don't worry.

The parts you've started researching would make you a fine budget build gaming rig.

CrossfireX refers to the installation and pairing of two discrete video cards that can be "teamed" in order to provide some amount of performance scaling. I can tell you that a single HD 5770 will get you by at resolutions up to 1600x1200 with many titles at medium quality settings. In the future if you decide to "crossfire" two HD 5770s you can pretty much run up to 1920x1200 with about anything you want turned up to high or max quality settings.

AMD is the way to go because of price to performance ratio. In most situations you can't go wrong with an Asus board so you're good to go there too. Here is another board you might want to consider though. I've had some great success with Gigabyte boards the last few years, so they come highly recommended by me;

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813128435

I wouldn't buy a case "just to get by". You'll regret looking at it every day so I recommend buying a case that you can stand to look at. If you're in the $99 to $110 range you should seriously consider this case here;

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16811112239

It is without a doubt the finest case you can buy at that price point.

Now onto memory :)
Here is another kit you should consider;
http://www.newegg.ca...N82E16820231277

Zap - please don't think this of this as being critical of your original list. It was just fine. All I did was took and tweaked it a little bit with some stuff that I would personally choose over what you've chosen. That doesn't make my choices better - that's all they are is "my" choices :) Good luck!
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#5 joel.monteiro

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 12:37 PM

+1
i think the asus has acc while gigabyte doesnt u should go for the asus :stupid:
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#6 paulktreg

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 01:53 PM

Have a look at the Corsair TX650W because it's only $89.99, even less with the rebate at $69.99, and free shipping. Don't get me wrong I'm sure the Antec would serve you well but with shipping it's $93.18. A few dollars saved?

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#7 zaphthegreat

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 03:01 PM

Zap - welcome to OCC. You've come to the right place for advice. Lets take your questions in order of least importance :)

Don't worry about moving your thread. If the mods/admins want to move it they will so don't worry.

The parts you've started researching would make you a fine budget build gaming rig.

CrossfireX refers to the installation and pairing of two discrete video cards that can be "teamed" in order to provide some amount of performance scaling. I can tell you that a single HD 5770 will get you by at resolutions up to 1600x1200 with many titles at medium quality settings. In the future if you decide to "crossfire" two HD 5770s you can pretty much run up to 1920x1200 with about anything you want turned up to high or max quality settings.

AMD is the way to go because of price to performance ratio. In most situations you can't go wrong with an Asus board so you're good to go there too. Here is another board you might want to consider though. I've had some great success with Gigabyte boards the last few years, so they come highly recommended by me;

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813128435

I wouldn't buy a case "just to get by". You'll regret looking at it every day so I recommend buying a case that you can stand to look at. If you're in the $99 to $110 range you should seriously consider this case here;

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16811112239

It is without a doubt the finest case you can buy at that price point.

Now onto memory :)
Here is another kit you should consider;
http://www.newegg.ca...N82E16820231277

Zap - please don't think this of this as being critical of your original list. It was just fine. All I did was took and tweaked it a little bit with some stuff that I would personally choose over what you've chosen. That doesn't make my choices better - that's all they are is "my" choices :) Good luck!


Thank you for the welcome and for your reply.

First, please don't worry - I did not think you were being critical of my original list at all, but even if you had been, I wouldn't have taken it to heart as I know I'm very inexperienced and likely not to be making the best choices. It is likely that your choices are better. :)

About the case: it's actually 10 dollars more on the Canadian site than the one I'd picked, but that's close enough. However, the one you suggested is a mid-sized case, whereas the one in my list was full sized. I was told that a full sized case was a very important thing to have in a good gaming rig. Was I misinformed? I rather hope so, since I do prefer your case, especially since it has fans all over the place, which gives it a lot of bonus points.

About the motherboard: never mind about the 10 bucks difference on the case, since the board you're suggesting is actually 10 dollars cheaper than the one on my list. I can break even.

About the memory: Now you're saving me a dollar, and I'm pretty sure it's a better product as well! Nice! Thank you!

About CrossfireX: Really? I was under the impression that what you described was Crossfire, whereas CrossfireX involved one discrete and one on-board. Thank you for clarifying this! It does raise another question, however, and I must apologize again for stepping into "very stupid question" territory: I see that some motherboards refer to x8 x8 Crossfire, whereas some talk about x16 x16. To what do these numbers refer? Should I favour one over the other?

+1
i think the asus has acc while gigabyte doesnt u should go for the asus :stupid:


Thanks, but since I'm already waist-deep in the public display of my own ignorance: what is "acc"? All right, let me rephrase this, since a quick visit to Google loosely answered my question: what would it do for me? Is it for overclocking? I don't think I have the knowledge level required to go around playing with overclocking anything. I wouldn't rule it out in the future, but right now the idea's a bit scary to me.

Have a look at the Corsair TX650W because it's only $89.99, even less with the rebate at $69.99, and free shipping. Don't get me wrong I'm sure the Antec would serve you well but with shipping it's $93.18. A few dollars saved?


Thanks, but on the Canadian site, I get the Antec for $79.99, whereas the Corsair is $109.99 (with a 20$ mailing rebate, but even then it's 10 dollars more). The shipping isn't free for the Corsair on the Canadian site either. I'm not sure why there is so much discrepancy between the two sites on those particular products.

Thank you all very much for your help. All of it is appreciated, and thanks in advance for any other tips any of you may have!

#8 zaphthegreat

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 05:17 AM

All right, I'm sorry to be a bother, but how does this motherboard stack up against the one I listed and the one wevsspot listed?

http://www.newegg.ca...6-067-_-Product

Thanks in advance.

Edited to add: I've made it easier for you folks to compare them by linking all three motherboards here:

Newegg.ca - ASUS M4A89GTD PRO AM3 AMD 890GX HDMI SATA 6Gb/s ATX AMD Motherboard

Newegg.ca - GIGABYTE GA-890GPA-UD3H AM3 AMD 890GX HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard

Newegg.ca - DFI LANParty DK 790FXB-M3H5 AM3 AMD 790FX ATX AMD Motherboard

#9 wevsspot

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 08:05 PM

Have a look at the Corsair TX650W because it's only $89.99, even less with the rebate at $69.99, and free shipping. Don't get me wrong I'm sure the Antec would serve you well but with shipping it's $93.18. A few dollars saved?


I whole heartedly +1 on the Corsair TX series of power supplies. They are awesome!
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#10 wevsspot

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 08:20 PM

DFI boards were definitely the shiznit in the day and they still make a pretty good board. But definitely not a brand I recommend for relative new comers. They can be very finicky to get set up and running well. For a first build I would go with something that is basically build, set BIOS defaults and forget it.

Of the boards you are looking at I would pick either the Asus or Gigabyte board.

If I were spending my own money I would favor the Gigabyte board over the Asus for simple set up and rock solid stability (and before I sound like a fan boy - I have an Asus board in my main rig and I really like it). Not a bad board but way over priced when I purchased it - when I could have had a Gigabyte equivalent and been just as happy.

x16 and x8 refer to the bus width of the PCIe slot. x16 is the most recent, but don't worry, with the gpu you are considering you wont saturate the available bandwidth of even a x8 lane (and in fact wouldn't saturate that bandwidth even with two cards running in Crossfire)

Relative to Crossfire/CrossfireX - essentially they are interchangeable terminologies. I guess if you were to be technically correct you would say you have Crossfire capable cards, and you are running them in CrossfireX. But again, don't get hung up with the wording. Here is a brief blurb directly from AMD/ATi website;

What Is ATI CrossFireXâ„¢

ATI CrossFireX™ is the ultimate multi-GPU performance gaming platform. Enabling game-dominating power, ATI CrossFireX technology enables two or more discrete graphics processors to work together to improve system performance. For The Ultimate Visual Experience™, be sure to select ATI CrossFireX ready motherboards for AMD and Intel® processors and multiple ATI Radeon™ HD graphics cards.

Good luck and let us know what you finally decide.

Oh - by the way. The LianLi Lancool K62 is a very large and roomy mid-tower cae :)

Unless you need to stuff dual 120x2 radiators, two or three water pumps, 10 hard drives, three or four video cards etc. into your case - the K62 is adequate for any enthusiast build. It is priced right, cooling is good but not outstanding. It is a pretty quiet case. Interior is already finished in black and the tool-less design actually works. It's a great case to work in and for me a pleasure to look at. You can also buy accessories or mod to your heart's content. You won't be disappointed in the case I promise.
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#11 CowKing

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 08:29 PM

I'd move that Athlon to a Phenom if you can afford it
CPU: (Intel)[email protected]3.36GHz|1.4v
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GFX Card: (PNY)GTX 460|800-1600-4000 biggest GTX 460 dud OCer
Motherboard: (Gigabyte)P35-DS3R |P35|
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#12 Rokkaholik

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 09:40 PM

For cases, I'd recommend this one

COOLER MASTER CM690 II Advanced


Well built, fantastic cable mamagement and designed for ease of use and easy to get to parts. On top of that, it has a SATA drive dock on the top! Easily the best case in the $100 range in my opinion

CPU: Intel Core I7 6700 Memory: 16gb Corsair Vengeance LPX 2666MHz

CPU Cooler: Prolimatech Megahalem with 2 Scythe S-Flex Push/Pull Fans
Motherboard: Gigabyte Z170X Gaming 7
Case: CoolerMaster CM 690 II Advanced PSU: Corsair RM750x
Main HDD: 256gb Samsung 950 Pro M2 OS: Windows 10 Professional 64 bit
Backup HDD's: 2 x 1TB Western Digital Caviar Black + 2TB WD20EARS
Video: XFX Radeon 390 8gb Black Edition Monitor: 32" ASUS PB328Q
Keyboard: Logitech Internet 350 Mouse: Logitech MX1000 Laser

Speakers: Klipsch ProMedia Ultra 5.1