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Advice on Gaming PC

by bearcatext / August 31, 2008 5:32 PM PDT

Alright I am posting the specs I have currently decided that I will be using with my system, let me know if it all looks good or what I could do different to make a better machine I did all this with a budget around $1,500 dollars. Again, any advice I could get would be great.

Motherboard - (MSI DKA790GX Platinum)

Processor - (AMD Phenom 2.6 GHZ Quad Core)

Ram -
(Viper 2GB DDR2)x4

Hard Drive - (Seagate 7200rpm 320Gb) and (Hitachi 120Gb 7200RPM)
Case -
(Full Tower)

(Kingwin 900W)

Video Card - (Asus 512MB Radeon HD4850 using them for crossfire)

Sound - (Creative Soundblaster X-Fi)

Let me know what you guys think if its all good to send or what I should think about changing. Thanks!

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Re: gaming PC
by Kees Bakker / August 31, 2008 5:47 PM PDT
In reply to: Advice on Gaming PC

Vista 32 bits only works with 4 Gb RAM. So 2x2Gb is the max you need.
Vista 64 bits can use more, but you should be sure that the games you want to play (and the drivers for the hardware) are Vista 64 compatible.

Moreover,,2845,2328804,00.asp shows that the current generation of games is quite happy with 2Gb. So 4Gb should be more than sufficient seen from that point of view also.

As yet, I think it's unlikely mass consumer games will need Vista 64 bit in the near future.


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PSU options
by VAPCMD / September 1, 2008 2:10 AM PDT
In reply to: Advice on Gaming PC

That Kingwin is way over what you need and so are the two listed below...only thing is they're 1/2 the price, have excellent tech and buyer review and 5 years warrantys.

Your $$, your call.

The other thing is the RAM...not sure I'd be anxious to buy RAM
where there are no buyer reviews indicating compatability, failure/DOA info, etc. Is that RAM indicated on the MB mfg's QVL ?


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by ramarc / September 1, 2008 2:38 AM PDT
In reply to: Advice on Gaming PC

the power supply is way over-the-top. here's a quality antec 850w alternative for $140 (saving $153):

why 2 relatively small hard drives? a single 500gb 7200.11 will be bigger, faster, and cheaper ($75 vs $118). western digital's 640gb ($85) and hitachi's 750gb ($120) are also better choices.

lastly, why amd? a core2quad q6600 is $10 more and can be automatically overclocked to 3ghz by selecting a 1333mhz fsb. it will be 20% faster than the phenom 9950 which has little oc headroom. msi p45 platinum is $15 so an extra $25 gives you a faster PC. if you're shy of overclocking, you can shift the savings from the power supply to move up to core2quad q9550 ($329) or a q9400 ($275) which are both faster than at stock speeds than the phenom.

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gaming pc
by bearcatext / September 1, 2008 4:07 AM PDT
In reply to: suggestions

The reason i went AMD was due to the fact I could almost get the same system for half the cost, the mobo and the cpu were both dirt cheap, im a die hard intel fan, I just couldnt find a good quality cpu and motherboard at the same price as the amd. Also, going to MSI's website I was not able to find the mobo in the memory compatibility section and also the ones I did find were 1666, when AMD can only go to 1066. If there is a way I can get a nice Intel processor that can last me awhile with a DDR3 rdy mobo I'd be all ears and thanks for the input so far.

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Another question
by bearcatext / September 1, 2008 5:27 AM PDT
In reply to: gaming pc

Also, I am not really sure how to overclock since im new to the whole building business. What would you suggest and I have heard a lot of people saying that its smart to heatsink the northbridge since it runs almost as hot as the CPU, would this be something to look into and for the CPU or should the fans in my case be ample? Again thanks for the output I am making the correct changes, and will prolly go to the E6666

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half the cost?
by ramarc / September 1, 2008 7:11 AM PDT
In reply to: Another question

using the prices from your own post, you can see that a q6600 is only $25 more. the phenom is slightly faster but as i said, OC'ing a q6600 to 3ghz (with the mobo i suggested) is as simple as changing a couple of jumpers to select 1333mhz fsb. no cpu voltage or memory tweaking is necessary. you can even use the stock cooler (but something along the lines of a artic freezer pro 7 or coolermaster hyper tx2 would be a good $30 upgrade).

i too prefer upgrading cooling on gaming PC chipsets. the msi p45 platinum has heatpipe cooling for the northbridge and cpu mosfets.
note that i suggested msi since a) i own their board, and b) you spec'd msi in your original post. for budget conscious customers, i suggest biostar's tforce line.

if you're worried about overclocking, going with a more reasonable power supply lets you get a q9400 or q9550 and stay within your budget. but OCing a q6600 would give almost enough budget room for dual hd4870 cards.

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ddr3 is still double the price
by ramarc / September 1, 2008 7:23 AM PDT
In reply to: gaming pc

don't get a board that has both ddr2 and ddr3 since they rarely perform as well as a pure ddr3 board and they have half the memory capacity with ddr3 (usually 4gb vs. 8gb). so if you plan to upgrade from ddr2 to ddr3 a year down the road, you'd wind up throwing away your ddr2 ram and not being able to expand the capacity.

i had no problems with gigabyte's p45 ddr3 board for $175:

paired with 2x2gb of mushkin's 4gb ddr3-1600 for $260:

but you'll only notice the performance difference in benchmarks or if you have long running cpu/memory intensive tasks (like video encoding). and the ram is twice as expensive as ddr2-1066 so you could afford 6/8gb of ddr2-1066.

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With the MSI P45 Platinum mobo
by bearcatext / September 1, 2008 8:21 AM PDT

I cant ever seem to find this mobo memory compatibility on their website, so what would you use for DDR2 that would be good for 4GB?

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(NT) Exactly which MSI MB are you referring to ?
by VAPCMD / September 1, 2008 9:07 AM PDT
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Re RAM recommended for that MOBO
by VAPCMD / September 1, 2008 10:56 AM PDT
In reply to: What mobo
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almost any 4gb ddr2-1066 kit would be fine
by ramarc / September 1, 2008 9:47 AM PDT

so long as you're willing to set the timings yourself and use two 2gb dimms. msi boards are tweaker friendly and can be configured to handle up to ddr2-1200.

i prefer the ocz reaper: but the patriot viper is fine also. just remember to do the initial boot with 1 stick (it'll run at ddr2-800). then manually set the specified timings and reboot. if everything's fine, add the other stick and reboot.

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by bearcatext / September 1, 2008 7:36 AM PDT
In reply to: suggestions

So would you recommend the DDR3 mobo right now, or is it not a big factor right now and spend the money with 6-8gb of DDR2? Also, the Video card I selected would they be alright to crossfire and still preform very nicely or is there a video card out there for the price of both of them that out preforms them?

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i'd stick with ddr2 and keep your budget down
by ramarc / September 1, 2008 9:53 AM PDT
In reply to: Gaming

ddr3 won't become mainstream until intel's new core i7 (nehalem) processors hit full stride in mid-2009.

dual 4850s perform well for the price as does a single 4870 and 4870x2. any of them is a good high-end alternative.

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What I have now
by bearcatext / September 1, 2008 10:04 AM PDT

I think I'll stick to the 4850's for the time being for the budget I am at. After tweaking the things you mentioned I have the following different:

Processor - Q6600 (I dont know how to O.C. if its something easy to do im all for it)

Mobo - P45 Platinum by MSI

Memory - OCZ Reaper

PSU - Antec 850W

HDD - Western Digital 640Gb

That hits me right at 1500 with the mail in rebates, sound good to you, and I will probably have questions on the tweaking and O.C. for the system since this the first time I am doing anything of this sort. So any more help would be greatly apprectiated and thanks for all the advice you have already given me.

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download the mobo manual
by ramarc / September 2, 2008 12:18 AM PDT
In reply to: What I have now

and look at page 2-20. set jb1,jb2 to 266-333Mhz and the q6600 will run at 3ghz.

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Gaming PC
by Dango517 / September 5, 2008 5:03 PM PDT
In reply to: Advice on Gaming PC

RAM is slow. Shot for a latency/CAS of 2.

Motherboard only uses DDR2 800/1066 memory, 1066 is required for one of processors. See specifications.

Graphics card requires DirectX 10 this means the OS must be Vista.

Unless your running two graphics cards that power supply is over kill. Somewhere around 550-600 watts should do for one card.

If you go with two graphics cards heat will be a problem. How about your CPU cooler?

Nice first attempt. More home work required. It's all in the specifications. Do some searches on those items directly from there manufactures web pages. Newegg does a pretty good job with specifications but they sometimes miss some important information.

I think you could get more for your money. I'd suggest you keep shopping.

This thread untracked.

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Agree and disagree
by GENE8 / September 6, 2008 11:17 AM PDT
In reply to: Gaming PC

I agree with you that the RAM is too slow.But his motherboard may not be able to handle latency as low as 2. A latency of 3 or 4 might be better for him. I don't think that 1066 memory is necessarily required for the processor he's using. I think he can get by with 800 memory. Just because he is using a Directx10 card does'nt mean he has to use Vista. A Directx10 card will work with any OS, the programs will just not operate on the x10 level. And I disagree that the power supply he's using is overkill. With any system today, the bigger the power supply, the better. If he decides to install better video cards in the future, he will always have a power supply that can handle the upgrade. And keeping the CPU cool really has nothing to do with the video cards, unless the CPU has been overclocked.

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Get a bigger hard drive
by GENE8 / September 6, 2008 10:44 AM PDT
In reply to: Advice on Gaming PC

Everything about your system looks great except for the bigger hard drive you're using. You should get a bigger hard drive than the 320GB one you have. You can try replacing that with at least a 500GB or more hard drive(preferable with 10,000 rpm). You did not mention what OS you have. If it is a 32-bit OS, then you won't be taking full advantage of all of those 4 gigs of RAM that you have. If you really want to improve on your system, you can get two 500GB hard drives to replace the 320GB drive, and then set up the two drives to work together in a RAID 0 array for faster access time.

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Thanks for the responses here's what I got
by bearcatext / September 7, 2008 4:00 PM PDT

I went to a friend of mine who has done this for awhile and this is what we mastered up as a final copy for the 1500. Let me know what you think, and the OS I believe will be XP, Vista is still to shaky for me but who knows I might change my mind later. Give me some input but here is what I have.

Motherboard - ASUS P5K Deluxe (

CPU - Intel Quad Core 2.4 GHZ

Ram - OCZ Reaper HPC 4GB

PSU - Kingwin 800W

Graphics Card - GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB 512bit

Case - Lian Li PC-S80A

CPU Fan - ZALMAN 110mm

You then have your monitor mouse and keyboard along with your CD/DVD player but those really arent what matters, thats what I have now. Let me know what you guys think, thanks again.

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Kingwin would never be my first choice in PSU
by VAPCMD / September 7, 2008 11:12 PM PDT
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Someone told me Kingwin were good PSU
by bearcatext / September 8, 2008 5:17 AM PDT
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The Zalman looks like a better choice from here...
by VAPCMD / September 8, 2008 4:02 PM PDT

Let us know how it works !

Don't forget to test the MB, CPU and RAM OUTSIDE the case.


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by bearcatext / September 8, 2008 5:39 AM PDT

Meant 750W

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what HDD will you have?
by GENE8 / September 8, 2008 7:20 AM PDT

Everything looks good there, however,you did not indicate any hard drive on the list. I assume that you are staying with the same HDD that you selected earlier. Your system looks good, but if you have more money in the near future and want to improve your system, you can: add another video card to get SLI and add a 64-bit OS to put all the 4 gigs of RAM to work.If you plan to overclock the CPU, don't do it until you have first updated your motherboard to the latest BIOS and have tested the system for stability.You did not mention what monitor you will be getting. For a system like this, I would suggest a 24-inch LCD, with 5 ms or less response time, DVI W/HDCP and HDMI inputs. Don't use anything less than a DVI cable for hook up to the PC if you want the best picture quality.

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Additional Information
by bearcatext / September 8, 2008 12:50 PM PDT
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by KiloHuge / December 21, 2008 5:25 PM PST
In reply to: Additional Information

The MSI P43 is an Intel P43 Express-based, PC motherboard.Compared to other PC boards on the market, it is inexpensive at around $95.This motherboard supports Celeron, Pentium D, Pentium Dual Core, and Core 2 processors that use the LGA775 interface.

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