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Post New Gaming Rig - one piece at a time!

February 25th, 2010, 06:43
  • CASE: ANTEC 900 II $100.00
  • MOBO: GIGABYTE P55A-UD4P $202.00
  • PSU: ANTEC TRUEPOWER 650W $108.00
  • GPU: XFX RADEON HD 5850 'BLACK' $390.00
  • CPU: INTEL I7-860 $329.00
  • RAM: 8GB KINGSTON HYPER-X 1600 $238.00
  • HDD: WD BLACK 1TB $119.00
  • DVD: HP DVD-RW 1270I $55.00
  • OS: WIN7 PRO 64 OEM $164.00
FINAL COST +TAX= $1,705.00

Ive used this old P4 3.4ghz 2gb for like 5 years, I've eked just about every last ounce of power out of it tuning it and upgrading the video cards. Reading the ads for pcs, Ive been thinking more and more "why am I turning down games and suffering choppy framerates"?

PC equipment is dirt cheap these days, so I'm taking advantage of it and building a new gaming pc. I want this one to last as long as my current one, so I'm going to spend my time and go thru each part and get the best thing for my money. Plus my tax returns dont come for a while, so I'm gonna have to spread things out a little. So I'm just gonna post as I go, and see if anyone else has experience w/ these pieces of equipment etx. Good choice? Bad choice?

First up, the motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD4P

I'm planning on getting the intel I7-860 processor so this has the socket I'll need, and it seemed to do well on the review tests that Ive seen online. The salesman suggested it over a lot of the more expensive boards, and it's loaded w/ plenty of ports and other nice features like "Ultra Durable 3 technology with 2oz copper PCB design" - in other words it should last a long time. Sata 3 & USB 3 are present on the board, again looking forward to the future. So I looked at a few performance reviews and it seemed to do well. And it was only 180 bucks.





I told you it had a lot of ports
Last edited by xSamhainx; March 7th, 2010 at 07:11.
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February 25th, 2010, 13:36
You should think again about having USB 3/SATA 3.
With P55 you have just 16 PCIe lanes so if you have USB 3 or SATA 3 enabled your the your GPU will just get 8.
Take a look at my rig since I've got a p55 system too.

When I was looking for a motherboard Gigabyte and MSI were the best quality vfm boards.I was between MSI's GD80 and UD5(4?) but I got the first one because of OC Genie.Both were packed with features so you can't really go wrong.
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February 25th, 2010, 21:24
hmm, i wonder if that's something that I really need to worry about. Further research needed
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February 25th, 2010, 21:56
The only choice for Intel socket with USB3/SATA3 is X58.
The question is do you really need any of those?

What about graphics card?Do you have anything in your mind?
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February 25th, 2010, 22:44
The Gigabyte GA-P55-UD4P is very good mid-range motherboard, in the same league as the Asus P7P55D and MSI P55-GD65. They all have small shortcomings especially if you are nitpicking enough. However, if you're a practical person, and concerned about value for money, you choice would be easier.

http://www.hardforum.com/forumdisplay.php?f=80

MSI P55-GD80 is very good, and flagship motherboard for P55 chipset from MSI, its choke full of features but do you really need them?

http://www.guru3d.com/article/msi-p5…review-test/22
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February 26th, 2010, 00:42
Well, I'm not really looking to overclock, and I'm not a total resolution fiend. Just looking for no slowdown, and I dont have to turn down all the bells and whistles by default and have a max rez of 1280x1024. If this will do that for me, then I'll be more than happy. I have a budget here as well, having just gotten into a house I cant exactly spend 500 bucks left and right on components.

Thanks for the info and the link, it was really informative Remus. Found an article on there detailing the 3.0's PCIe lane usage that Kostaz spoke of -

SSUSB + Turbo & SLI Gaming….what???
I wanted to go into a bit more detail on this test. Going back to the quote from Gigabyte above, …"one way is Turbo mode where it uses PCI-E lanes to communicate directly with the CPU for best performance. The other way is through the P55 chipset where it is limited to PCI-E gen 1 speed (2.5Gb/s) – when turbo mode is disabled"… I have seen around the web some concern over this implementation, so I wanted to give some examples over performance with the system bandwidth stressed. My testing is by no means exhaustive, and more investigation may need to be done. Going back to what we know about the Lynnfield architecture is that the PCIe controller is built into the CPU itself, and there is a total of only 16 lanes. That means if you have a single graphics card, it will perform best if it can use all 16 lanes, and if you have dual cards you'd be best off running with 8 PCIe lanes to each.

So, Gigabyte really didn't want to force users into degrading their graphics performance by only allowing the SSUSB controller to use one of the CPU's PCIe lanes. Instead, they decided to link it to both the CPU and to the P55 chipset which supports a single PCIe 1.1 lane (2.5Gb/s limited). This is where "Turbo" mode comes in. If you have an external SSUSB SSD and want maximum performance from it, use Turbo mode and the SSUSB controller will use one of the 16 PCIe lanes on the CPU, slightly deteriorating the graphics performance, but allowing maximum throughput to the SSUSB connected devices. If you are more concerned with maximizing your graphics performance, and don't need the extra SSUSB throughput, or if you have a slower SSUSB device like the HDDs in my testing, turn off Turbo mode, and use all 16 PCIe lanes on the CPU for your graphics cards.

I've heard a bit of grumbling that Gigabyte made a bad decision here, but I honestly cannot see a better way to implement this technology, and I applaud Gigabyte for leaving the decision in the hands of the user for deciding what performance should take priority in their system. For those users who do not want to compromise performance for any device, they should be looking at a system based on the Nehalem (X58 & LGA1366) architecture anyhow. For a budget friendly system based around P55, this should make everyone happy.

The purpose of my testing here was to show that although no single component of the system is performing with 100% of it's potential bandwidth, performance is still excellent, and SSUSB is still a missive improvement over USB 2.0!


So there's an option to turn off "turbo mode", yet it still should theoretically be quicker.

Video card, well I havent really gotten to that yet. Last card I got that I was really satisfied was my 8800, so I havent really looked much since then.
Last edited by xSamhainx; February 26th, 2010 at 01:44.
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February 26th, 2010, 03:49
I'm still on 8800 GTS 512 and running most games fine except GTA 4. My machine is about 2 years and 3 months old. I may looking for new rig in late 2011. I'm sure will re-use the best components of current and past generation (logitech 5500 speaker, G15 keyboard and Mx 518 mouse, SB extremegamer sound card, WD 500GD hard disk).
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February 26th, 2010, 07:42
Originally Posted by xSamhainx View Post
Just looking for no slowdown, and I dont have to turn down all the bells and whistles by default and have a max rez of 1280x1024. If this will do that for me, then I'll be more than happy.
What type/size is your monitor?


Originally Posted by Remus View Post
I'm sure will re-use the best components of current and past generation (logitech 5500 speaker, G15 keyboard and Mx 518 mouse, SB extremegamer sound card, WD 500GD hard disk).
I have the Logitech G15 keyboard as well, I think it's the best keyboard I've ever used. I have it paired with an MX 620.
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February 26th, 2010, 07:57
samsung 204b, 20"
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February 26th, 2010, 08:40
With that size and resolution the 8800 card will still able to serves you for about year for most games.
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February 26th, 2010, 10:50
Originally Posted by xSamhainx View Post
Sata 3 & USB 3 are present on the board,
Actually, there are no such things on the GA-P55-UD4P board. To be precise, the updated version with those interfaces is called: GA-P55A-UD4P. Gigabyte updated most of their MB lineup with that A, just like Asus added "-E" to many models, like P7P55D PRO to P7P55D-E PRO for the same features added.

In any case, you might wish to check out the feature difference between the UD4 models and the UD3 models - personally I went with a UD3 after noticing that I simply had no need for the extra features of the UD4 (things like e-SATA, Firewire and SLI/Crossfire, I'll just stay single-GPU for a long time yet).

Interdum feror cupidine partium magnarum Europae vincendarum
Sometimes I get this urge to conquer large parts of Europe
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Default Next piece falls into place - "The Case"

February 26th, 2010, 17:06
Correction made, thanks Kaz.

For the case, I went w/ the Antec 900 II



It was on sale @ Frys this week, so I looked it up and looks like a decent case for the money.
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February 27th, 2010, 08:56
As the Antec Nine Hundred 2 coming from a reputable pedigree, it is hard to nitpicky, just make sure your motherboard's layout and cabling system compatible with the casing layout.

Reminder; do you use multi-reader device? e.g for memory card from camera or handphone, etc. If so you might ensure that there's suitable drive bay for the device. In my case the device is the size of floppy drive's bay.
Last edited by Remus; February 27th, 2010 at 09:06.
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February 27th, 2010, 09:07
@Remus Well, I found it a bit comforting when looking at page4 of the review I linked to on the case, and saw what looks almost exactly like my board installed (it's the UD6). Talk about a sign!


I woke up, grabbed a cup of coffee so strong that it literally has grounds floating in it, and decided to knock some more key components of this thing out.

Ive decided to go w/ the Antec TruePower 650watt PSU. 650watt should be enough since I dont plan on tons of drives/peripherals. A big selling point for me is also the "modular" nature of the unit - while the main power is hard wired you just attach all the other ancillary cables youre going to use.

I agonized long and hard over the video card, I was actually up til 3:30 am reading reviews last night. Having been a steadfast Nvidia supporter my entire gaming career, I was kinda aghast at Nvidia flopping around like a fish out of water. ATi is loving it right now. But Nvidia's misfortune actually works to my advantage in this circumstance, as I can pick up a decent card for pretty cheap. So I'm sticking w/ them, and after about a thousand reviews determined I'm getting the BFG NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 OC MAXCORE 55 896MB GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 Graphics Card.. Thank glot for copy/paste. It's powerful enough for what I need it for, and at 200 bucks, cost efficient as well.

To further cut costs, I'm going to skip the fancy HDD and go w/ a run of the mill 7200 RPM Western Digital Caviar or something equivelent.
Last edited by xSamhainx; February 27th, 2010 at 17:40.
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February 27th, 2010, 22:03
Double check that the graphics card is silent. Same for the CPU cooler.
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February 27th, 2010, 23:08
Looks good.

Cooling: Very hard to find a real quiet solution on high performance GPU/CPU parts. The best way is to go with aftermarket cooling; that will obviously incur extra expenses. Coolers on nvidia cards are rather silent, but you can still hear them and depending on how your hearing is it could be annoying. Same thing with stock Intel coolers.

RAM: Memory isn't that cheap anymore. 6-8GB is the sweet spot right now and falls right in your price range. Brand wise anything will do and you don't really need to worry about timings or frequency that much (unless you are going for overclocking). Good brands in my opinion (and cheaper most of the time) are G.Skill, Patriot, Mushkin, and OCZ.

Optical: Just get anything. It's going to run down eventually anyway, so get something that's easy to replace. Unless you use disc media a lot (installing games doesn't count) or are going for Blu-Ray, then I don't see the point of spending more than $40 on a drive. Good brands are Sony, Lite-On, Samsung, LG, and Plextor. Just get the fastest SATA drive you see.

HDD: Looks good, but mechanical drives are cheap as fuck nowadays. You can get a TB drive for not much more than what you're planning to spend.

Everything else looks cool to me.

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February 27th, 2010, 23:20
I would go for GF 285; maybe cut down the budget on casing? Alternatively use your current card first while wait couple months for price drop with the release of GF 400 series.

Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB / 1 TB is good; slightly noisy compared Caviar Green according to reviews i read. No biggy though, faster choice like SSD are still expensive.

Edit:

# OS:
Why PRO version for Win 7? it extra feature(s) didn't benefit gaming from what i read.

#DVD drive:
Unless something happened to your optical drive, re-use the old one.
Last edited by Remus; February 27th, 2010 at 23:33.
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February 27th, 2010, 23:34
IMO getting an Nvidia is just a waste of money,ATI's 5xxx are better in every aspect.
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February 27th, 2010, 23:42
The Fermi probably sucks; but the previous generation is good card.

The ATI's 5xxx certainly newer, supporting latest graphic features and thus better IF you would playing games like Metro 2033.
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February 27th, 2010, 23:57
My point is that there's no reason paying for a product just cause you like the company,you're hurting only your wallet by doing so.
5xxx are newer,quieter,cooler,have lower power consumption,perform better and support DX11.
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