$950 i5 Gaming System

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$950 i5 Gaming System

Postposted on Sat Mar 20, 2010 9:56 pm

Ok, this build is based off "The Utility Player" from, well, Tech Report. :wink:
I tweaked the build some, as some components were not available, and also looked into possible alternatives. My budget for this is a maximum of $950 USD, including monitor, although a sub $900 system would be nice. The OS will be Windows 7 Professional, although, luckily, I already own a copy of that. That said, what do you think of the components I've chosen? What would be the best build? Are there better parts that I overlooked? Any comments or suggestions are welcome. Thanks in advance.

CPU:
i5-750 (2.66GHz 8MB L3 Cache) - $199.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115215

RAM:
4GB DDR3 (2 x 2GB) - $104.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820134792

GPU:
GeForce 9800 GTX+ - $114.99 ($84.99 after rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814133246

Hard Drive:
750GB (7,200 RPM 16MB Cache) - $79.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136283

Motherboard:
Gigabyte GA-P55-UD3R - $134.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128412

Case/PSU:
Antec Sonata III (with 500W PSU) - $109 ($89.99 after rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129024

Wireless Card:
PCI Card - $16.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16839121008

Optical Drive:
DVDRW Drive - $26.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827151188

Monitor:
ASUS 19" 1440x900
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824236069
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Re: $950 i5 Gaming System

Postposted on Sat Mar 20, 2010 10:15 pm

I'm not sure how flexible the budget is, but you're going to want a bigger monitor. I got by on a 17" for about two years, but I can't imagine going back to that now. That graphics card is too powerful for that monitor too.

If money is tight, then use your current monitor for a while or pick one up secondhand that can last you for a little while (I used a $10 CRT for a while after I built my first computer). 24" is the sweet spot for monitors in my opinion. I would look for something with a resolution of 1920x1200 or 1920x1080. A monitor with 1680x1050 would also be a good choice.

Here's some cheaper memory:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820227346

Here's a slightly cheaper motherboard. From what I can tell the main thing you lose is SATA3 (not that important):

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813128425
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Re: $950 i5 Gaming System

Postposted on Sat Mar 20, 2010 10:19 pm

Welcome to TR. Thanks for dedicating so much time to the formatting of your post -it was so nice and easy to read.

A 19" monitor would drive me crazy. Consider downgrading your CPU and upgrading your monitor. For $40, you jump from 19" to 22".
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6824009212.
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Re: $950 i5 Gaming System

Postposted on Sat Mar 20, 2010 10:28 pm

If he downgrades the monitor, then he should just take the whole system to 775 or AM3.
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Re: $950 i5 Gaming System

Postposted on Sat Mar 20, 2010 10:29 pm

If I were looking for a wireless adapter, I might want 802.11n speed and I might want to use a PCIe slot:
http://www.amazon.com/ASUS-PCE-N13-Netw ... B0039GVOAM
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Re: $950 i5 Gaming System

Postposted on Sat Mar 20, 2010 10:52 pm

TurtlePerson2 wrote:If money is tight, then use your current monitor for a while or pick one up secondhand that can last you for a little while (I used a $10 CRT for a while after I built my first computer).


That's my current plan and, yes, I'll deficiently be getting a 1920x1080 or 1680x1050 rez one when I do that.

wibeasley wrote:Welcome to TR. Thanks for dedicating so much time to the formatting of your post -it was so nice and easy to read.


Thank you and you're very welcome.

A 19" monitor would drive me crazy.


MY main PC at the moment is a 15" laptop with a max rez of 1280x800 so the monitor, although it is smaller, will still be a step up.

Consider downgrading your CPU and upgrading your monitor.


I thought about going with an i3-530 but the i5-750 is close enough in price that it's really too good a deal to pass up. As for AMD... Well I just don't think that their CPUs are as good as the current Intel chips.

Here's some cheaper memory:


The rating makes me wary of that and I'd prefer to get through this without any REMs. :wink:

Here's a slightly cheaper motherboard.


Hummm... I'll have to look into that and make sure there's no hidden problems (I'm guessing that the other one was tested by TechReport). But if there isn't then I might switch.

If I were looking for a wireless adapter, I might want 802.11n speed and I might want to use a PCIe slot...


That wireless card does look better than the one I had chosen and I'll have to look into it, thanks for the link.
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Re: $950 i5 Gaming System

Postposted on Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:04 pm

The Green Fairy wrote:I thought about going with an i3-530 but the i5-750 is close enough in price that it's really too good a deal to pass up. As for AMD... Well I just don't think that their CPUs are as good as the current Intel chips.
Take a second look at this opinion, especially for a $1,000 build. I have mostly Intel CPUs (some by choice and some by accident), but I would discard them quickly if it meant getting a 24" monitor instead of a 19".

I guess at this point it would be best if you mentioned what you'll be doing with this computer. If it's normal stuff, I bet you'd rarely notice a difference between a Core i5 and an Athlon/Phenom (or even a dual core Core i3). However you'd notice and appreciate the larger monitor ever single day.
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Re: $950 i5 Gaming System

Postposted on Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:19 pm

wibeasley wrote:...but I would discard them quickly if it meant getting a 24" monitor instead of a 19".


The monitor is really a fill-in until I get a better one, likely in three-six months -although it might be a bit longer if the temporary one works for me-, so that's why I'm not stressing out over getting a 19", ~$120 monitor instead of a slightly more expensive one that, again, would likely still be replaced by a higher-quality version down the road.

I guess at this point it would be best if you mentioned what you'll be doing with this computer.


Well, as the title says, gaming is a major focus -I've got my laptop and netbook for coursework-as is some video/music editing/encoding. I also do a bit of modding so I'll be doing texture and module work on this PC as well, and maybe even some compiling (although I'm not a great coder/scripter and try to get other, more competent people to help with that if possible). Oh, and I'll likely be running at least one Virtual Machine for my legacy games, but I think that's about it.
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Re: $950 i5 Gaming System

Postposted on Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:48 pm

The Green Fairy wrote:
TurtlePerson2 wrote:If money is tight, then use your current monitor for a while or pick one up secondhand that can last you for a little while (I used a $10 CRT for a while after I built my first computer).


That's my current plan and, yes, I'll deficiently be getting a 1920x1080 or 1680x1050 rez one when I do that.



I would highly suggest the Dell 2209WA:

http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/prod ... &c=us&l=en

A 22-inch e-IPS 1680x1050 monitor that is capable of a 75Hz refresh rate. Its great for gaming and even photo editing if you suddenly find a need to do that. Hardforum has a huge thread on it if you want user feedback:

http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1387587
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Re: $950 i5 Gaming System

Postposted on Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:50 pm

$128 Gigabyte GA-P55-USB3 LGA1156 motherboard
$200 -10 combo Intel Core i5-750 quad-core 2.66 GHz LGA1156 processor
or $120 Intel Core i3-530 dual-core hyper-threading 2.93 GHz LGA1156 processor w/ on-package IGP
$105 2x2 GiB PC3-12800 G.Skill F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL (DDR3-1600, CAS 9)
$160 XFX Radeon HD5770 1GB
$56 500 GB Western Digital WD5000AAKS Caviar Blue/SE16
$24 Asus DRW-24B1ST DVD-RW
$30 Asus PCE-N13 wireless adapter
$80 Antec NSK4482B w/ EA380D PSU
or $110 -20 MIR Antec Sonata III w/ EA500 PSU
$0 existing Microsoft Windows 7 Professional
$169 Acer X223WDbd 22" 1680x1050 TN LCD monitor w/ DVI
or $249 +tax Dell UltraSharp 2209WA 22" 1680x1050 IPS LCD monitor w/ DVI
======
$942, delivered

If you need keyboard, mouse and speakers, we'll go with a lesser CPU to stay under $950.
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Re: $950 i5 Gaming System

Postposted on Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:54 pm

Wow, thanks for going through all of that. :)
As for the keyboard, mouse, and speakers - I've got an old G15, MX518, and some nicer headphones I can use (and a 2.1 speaker system if I need that) so the peripherals are covered.

JustAnEngineer wrote:$128 Gigabyte GA-P55-USB3 LGA1156 motherboard
$200 -10 combo Intel Core i5-750 quad-core 2.66 GHz LGA1156 processor
or $120 Intel Core i3-530 dual-core hyper-threading 2.93 GHz LGA1156 processor w/ on-package IGP
$105 2x2 GiB PC3-12800 G.Skill F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL (DDR3-1600, CAS 9)
$160 XFX Radeon HD5770 1GB
$56 500 GB Western Digital WD5000AAKS Caviar Blue/SE16
$24 Asus DRW-24B1ST DVD-RW
$30 Asus PCE-N13 wireless adapter
$80 Antec NSK4482B w/ EA380D PSU
or $110 -20 MIR Antec Sonata III w/ EA500 PSU
$0 existing Microsoft Windows 7 Professional
$169 Acer X223WDbd 22" 1680x1050 TN LCD monitor w/ DVI
or $249 +tax Dell UltraSharp 2209WA 22" 1680x1050 IPS LCD monitor w/ DVI
======
$942, delivered

If you need keyboard, mouse and speakers, we'll go with a lesser CPU to stay under $950.
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Re: $950 i5 Gaming System

Postposted on Sun Mar 21, 2010 12:37 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:$128 Gigabyte GA-P55-USB3 LGA1156 motherboard
$200 -10 combo Intel Core i5-750 quad-core 2.66 GHz LGA1156 processor
or $120 Intel Core i3-530 dual-core hyper-threading 2.93 GHz LGA1156 processor w/ on-package IGP
$105 2x2 GiB PC3-12800 G.Skill F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL (DDR3-1600, CAS 9)
$160 XFX Radeon HD5770 1GB
$56 500 GB Western Digital WD5000AAKS Caviar Blue/SE16
$24 Asus DRW-24B1ST DVD-RW
$30 Asus PCE-N13 wireless adapter
$80 Antec NSK4482B w/ EA380D PSU
or $110 -20 MIR Antec Sonata III w/ EA500 PSU
$0 existing Microsoft Windows 7 Professional
$169 Acer X223WDbd 22" 1680x1050 TN LCD monitor w/ DVI
or $249 +tax Dell UltraSharp 2209WA 22" 1680x1050 IPS LCD monitor w/ DVI
======
$942, delivered

If you need keyboard, mouse and speakers, we'll go with a lesser CPU to stay under $950.


Very nice! My vote
1) Go with the i3 and save the cash
2) Go with this card MSI R5770 Hawk Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 It's designed with high quality parts and is supposed to be an impressive overclocker.
3) Go with $110 -20 MIR Antec Sonata III w/ EA500 PSU. You may need the extra power this PSU offers, and the case is nicer inside. I own both cases JAE suggests. They are common recommendations from both of us. I save the Antec NSK4482B w/ EA380D PSU for builds with low power graphic/CPU combos. You would probably be OK with the 380watt PSU, but why not have the extra oomph for upgrades later down the road.
4) Go with $249 +tax Dell UltraSharp 2209WA 22" 1680x1050 IPS LCD monitor w/ DVI
5) About the mobo. You will not be able to use the integrated graphics with that motherboard. I'd consider an H55/H57 mobo. Then you'd at least have video available should you need to take out your videocard.
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Re: $950 i5 Gaming System

Postposted on Sun Mar 21, 2010 1:03 am

If you follow the steps here, you can probably get the UltraSharp 2209WA for $212 +tax with free shipping.
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Re: $950 i5 Gaming System

Postposted on Sun Mar 21, 2010 1:04 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:$169 Acer X223WDbd 22" 1680x1050 TN LCD monitor w/ DVI
or $249 +tax Dell UltraSharp 2209WA 22" 1680x1050 IPS LCD monitor w/ DVI



I'll reinforce on what Jedidiah posted; while the increase from $170 to $250 (or $212) might seem like a lot for one item, the difference will be miles apart. You will not find a more highly recommended 22" monitor than the 2209WA. To go from TN to IPS is worth stretching for.
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Re: $950 i5 Gaming System

Postposted on Sun Mar 21, 2010 1:33 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:If you follow the steps here, you can probably get the UltraSharp 2209WA for $212 +tax with free shipping.


Thanks! I'll have to try this and see if I can get the "deal". :wink:

scare wrote:To go from TN to IPS is worth stretching for.


I'll keep that in mind. I think that if I go with the cheaper GPU, the 9800GTX+ I had chosen, that should free up more than enough for me to get the Dell monitor (I can go a bit over budget if I know I'm going to get it back in rebates and that configuration does just that). Another option would be to get the i3-530 and the better graphics card, but, well, I'd rather get the more powerful CPU and upgrade the graphics card in a bit than end up bottle-necking a GPU down the road - or is the performance so similar that it's not worth the extra $80?

P.S.
You will not be able to use the integrated graphics with that motherboard. I'd consider an H55/H57 mobo. Then you'd at least have video available should you need to take out your videocard.


I've got a couple of older, weaker GPUs floating around from upgrades I did for friends -things like 8400s and 9500s that came in OME Boxes- that I could stick in if I really needed graphics in a pinch. Still, if the H55/H57 are similarly priced, and I end up going with the i3-530 -something that is not certain at this point but is a possibility-, then I would likely do what you recommend.
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Re: $950 i5 Gaming System

Postposted on Sun Mar 21, 2010 1:45 am

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Re: $950 i5 Gaming System

Postposted on Sun Mar 21, 2010 3:15 am

I'd suggest starting out with the Core i3 if you need to save money. If you want to upgrade to a Core i7 Lynnfield later, that's an easy drop-in replacement on your LGA1156 motherboard. With PC3-12800 memory, you should be able to overclock the Core i3 significantly to boost its performance. An even cheaper alternative would be to switch from LGA1156 to socket-AM3, as was suggested in another current thread.
http://techreport.com/articles.x/18448/17

GeForce 9800GTX is just a renamed GeForce 8800GT. It was later re-renamed GeForce 9800GTX+ and then re-re-renamed GeForce GTS250. That series of DirectX 10.0 GPUs has been around for 3½ years. DirectX 10.1 GPUs appeared on the market 3 years ago. The Radeon HD5770 is a DirectX 11 GPU that was released six months ago. It is fabricated using TSMC's 40nm process, making it fast, affordable and power-efficient.
http://techreport.com/articles.x/17747
Your graphics card has the most influence on gaming performance. Note that the GeForce GTS 250 1GB in TR's charts is a factory "super-overclocked" card (even though the charts don't show it) compared to a stock-clocked Radeon HD5770 (even though you can buy mildly-overclocked Radeon HD5770s). A super-clocked GeForce card like TR tested runs slightly faster, has twice as much memory and costs more than 60% more than the GeForce 9800GTX+ 512MB card that you linked.
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Re: $950 i5 Gaming System

Postposted on Sun Mar 21, 2010 8:35 am

While I know JAE and others have put some work in trying to get you what you want in your budget, I see you commenting in more than one place that you're willing to buy parts now that will be 'upgraded soon'. This may work, depending on your income, but isn't realistic- I think the best advice is to wait until you can afford what you actually want and will keep for more than 6 months, instead of wasting money (it's wasted even if you resell it) on parts that will only get you by.

As JAE said above, the class of the GPU is the most important part for games- next comes having enough CPU cores, and last is having enough memory. After those three are filled out you can start worrying about AMD vs. Intel, clockspeeds and overclocking. In your case, as I would recommend to anyone building a computer to play games, the absolute minimum is the HD5770. Scrimp on CPU first. And since Intel's dual-core (but hyperthreaded) i5's and i3's tend to perform like AMD's quad cores, it's hard to recommend AMD here- there's more upgrade in the Intel solution, where you could drop in your original i5-750 or a high flying i7-860 (look up Microcenter :)), although I'd urge you to just wait until you can afford the i5-750 outright.
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Re: $950 i5 Gaming System

Postposted on Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:54 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:Note that the GeForce GTS 250 1GB in TR's charts is a factory "super-overclocked" card (even though the charts don't show it) compared to a stock-clocked Radeon HD5770 (even though you can buy mildly-overclocked Radeon HD5770s). A super-clocked GeForce card like TR tested runs slightly faster, has twice as much memory and costs more than 60% more than the GeForce 9800GTX+ 512MB card that you linked.
Crap, I always forget Scott's 9800 isn't stock. I actually thought about the 5770 and quickly checked that article -I decided the price/perfomance difference wasn't big enough to meddle in that GPU decision. I'm sure this isn't the first time I learned (and forgot) that.
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Re: $950 i5 Gaming System

Postposted on Sun Mar 21, 2010 11:07 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:I'd suggest starting out with the Core i3 if you need to save money.


Now if I did that would I have to flash the BIOS on the motherboard before I would be able use install the CPU? I'm not particularly interested in doing that, although I would if I had to, and would choose another motherboard that shipped with i3 support.

If you want to upgrade to a Core i7 Lynnfield later, that's an easy drop-in replacement on your LGA1156 motherboard.


True.

With PC3-12800 memory, you should be able to overclock the Core i3 significantly to boost its performance.


Again, like flashing the BIOS, I could overclock if I needed to but would rather not.

An even cheaper alternative would be to switch from LGA1156 to socket-AM3...


I'm really not the interested in an AMD chipset as I've had bad experiences with them in the past, plus if I were to go with a lesser CPU the i3-530 would allow for an upgrade to an i5 or i7 series chip.

GeForce 9800GTX is just a renamed GeForce 8800GT. It was later re-renamed GeForce 9800GTX+ and then re-re-renamed GeForce GTS250.


And the GTS 250 will be re-named again to become member of the lower-grade 3XX series of cards since the new line of nVidia GPUs is now called 4XX.

A super-clocked GeForce card like TR tested runs slightly faster, has twice as much memory and costs more than 60% more than the GeForce 9800GTX+ 512MB card that you linked.


Yeah, I know it's a weaker card but for $85 I thought that the price/performance equation might have shifted in its favor (especially as I am not a "twitch gamer" and rarely play the latest FPS titles). Another option I looked at was this GTS 250 for $134 ($114 after rebate) but it seems that if I went with this line of cards the 9800GTX+ I posted would be a better deal (as it, while having only 512MB vRAM, seems to be based on the GTS 250's structure and uses the smaller die and single 6-pin connector). There is also, of course, the 5770 and, although I prefer nVidia, I will admit that this OCed XFX version for $175 looks nice.

Airmantharp wrote:While I know JAE and others have put some work in trying to get you what you want in your budget, I see you commenting in more than one place that you're willing to buy parts now that will be 'upgraded soon'. This may work, depending on your income, but isn't realistic- I think the best advice is to wait until you can afford what you actually want and will keep for more than 6 months, instead of wasting money (it's wasted even if you resell it) on parts that will only get you by.


I thought about waiting but I've been putting this build off for some time and I'm kind of ready to go ahead and get it done.
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Re: $950 i5 Gaming System

Postposted on Sun Mar 21, 2010 11:28 am

The Green Fairy wrote:
JustAnEngineer wrote:I'd suggest starting out with the Core i3 if you need to save money.
Now if I did that would I have to flash the BIOS on the motherboard before I would be able use install the CPU?
http://www.gigabyte.us/Support/Motherbo ... uctID=3323
You are good to go, right out of the box, for any currently-shipping LGA 1156 Clarkdale or Lynnfield processor.

I would definitely choose the combination of the Core i3-530 and Radeon HD5770 1GB over the Core i5-750 and GeForce 9800GTX+ 512MB.
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Re: $950 i5 Gaming System

Postposted on Sun Mar 21, 2010 11:33 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:
The Green Fairy wrote:
JustAnEngineer wrote:I'd suggest starting out with the Core i3 if you need to save money.
Now if I did that would I have to flash the BIOS on the motherboard before I would be able use install the CPU?
http://www.gigabyte.us/Support/Motherbo ... uctID=3323
You are good to go, right out of the box, for any currently-shipping LGA 1156 Clarkdale or Lynnfield processor.


Cool, thanks for that information. I'll double-check the benchmarks for the i3-530 just to make sure it'll work but I think I'll likely get that CPU and upgrade to an i5 or i7 if/when I need to.
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Re: $950 i5 Gaming System

Postposted on Sun Mar 21, 2010 11:46 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:I would definitely choose the combination of the Core i3-530 and Radeon HD5770 1GB over the Core i5-750 and GeForce 9800GTX+ 512MB.


Yeah, I think the slightly weaker CPU and the more powerful GPU is what I'll end up getting. Thanks again for all the help! :)
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Re: $950 i5 Gaming System

Postposted on Sun Mar 21, 2010 11:47 am

The Green Fairy wrote:
JustAnEngineer wrote:With PC3-12800 memory, you should be able to overclock the Core i3 significantly to boost its performance.
I could overclock if I needed to but would rather not.
I understand this attitude. I rarely overclock my own systems anymore. Damage was able to run his Core i3-530 at 4.4 GHz = 150% of design. A modest 20% overclock to 3.5 GHz could be easy, if you decide to try it. If you do decide to overclock, wait until you've got your PC up and running successfully at stock speed for a few days before cranking up the overclock.
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Re: $950 i5 Gaming System

Postposted on Sun Mar 21, 2010 12:43 pm

Now with the new build, the i3-530 and the 5770, I was able to upgrade to this monitor. It seems to be a good price for what I'm getting and I think the PC should be able to handle the 1920x1080 rez - if that's not true then I guess I'll drop down to a 1680x1050 screen (most likely not the Dell though as that's fairly expensive). Thoughts?
The Green Fairy
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Re: $950 i5 Gaming System

Postposted on Sun Mar 21, 2010 7:08 pm

Ok, a quick update: I've decided to go with the updated parts list -the i3-530 and the 5770- and should be placing the order within the week. Thanks again for all your help and I'll try to return the favor sometime if I can. Of course if anyone else has ideas about the build they're more than welcome to comment but I think the set-up looks good. :)
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Re: $950 i5 Gaming System

Postposted on Sun Mar 21, 2010 8:37 pm

One more thing to conisder. If you get the IPS monitor, it's likely you'll keep it for 5+ years --several years beyond the CPU and GPU.

But I think you have a great build as it is, and you'll be happy with either of those two monitors.
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Re: $950 i5 Gaming System

Postposted on Mon Mar 22, 2010 3:06 am

And I'm glad I waited to see what this week's deals would be as this monitor just went on sale and seems to have both better specifications -mainly the 2ms rating- and a better price. I'll likely order later today or tomorrow. :)
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Re: $950 i5 Gaming System

Postposted on Mon Mar 22, 2010 5:44 am

The second monitor is smaller (it has a finer dot pitch) and it has a glossy screen. Both of those monitors have TN LCD panels.
The 22" Dell UltraSharp 2209WA that Kurotetsu recommended is superior because of its e-IPS LCD panel.

You might find the first three posts in the LCD thread to be useful.
i7-4770K, H70, Gryphon Z87, 16 GiB, R9-290, SSD, 2 HD, Blu-ray, SB ZX, TJ08-E, SS-660XP², 3007WFP+2001FP, RK-9000BR, MX518
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Re: $950 i5 Gaming System

Postposted on Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:55 am

Well I ordered the parts tonight, thanks again for all the help. The only thing I wasn't sure about was the CPU but after looking into it the i3-530 seems like it'll be fine for now and, as others have said, i can always drop another one in there if I need to. I'll post pics when I get it put together. :)
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