Howdy gang, I’ve come to seek your advice on an upcoming new pc build. My current system is about 5 years old and beyond the ability to be upgraded further. Thus I’m looking to start from scratch (aside from a monitor).

I’m looking for a magical equilibrium of stability/compatibility and gaming power. In other words, something that will not have stupid overheating/random/compatibility issues even if that comes at the cost of some gaming power. On that same note, I don’t plan on futzing around with OCing. And the budget I am playing with is around $1200-ish. Plus I plan on throwing win7 in there.

So all the preamble aside, I was checking out recommended builds and stumbled across this one. It looked decent enough, but considering its been many years since I was in the loop on current hardware, I figured I’d throw it to the ravenous wolves of qt3 to rip apart. Or if you have another recommended build, please post it!

EDIT: Here are the parts, I just realized its obnoxious to click through all 3 pages to scan all the parts.

Mobo: Gigabyte GA-P55-UD4P

Proc: Intel Core i5-750 Retail

RAM: 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3-1333 SDRAM

Vid: Diamond Radeon HD 5870 1GB

HD: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB

DD: DVD±/CD-RW: Samsung SH-S223F

Case: Antec Three Hundred

PSU: Corsair VX550 550W

Spkrs: Altec Lansing VS4121

Is i5 about right for the 5870? I was going to go with that i7-960 whatever in my splurge gaming machine this Christmas.

Save that extra money and get yourself a SSD if you really want to up your performance. CPUs as strong as the i5s wont be the bottleneck in gaming IMHO for 4 or 5 years.

Keep things cheap and upgradable… I’d never spend much more than 200 on a CPU or a graphics card.

Yeah, there’s something to be said for a computer that aces everything it will see right when you buy it, but I’m all about spending $1,000 this year and again in 2 years rather than spending $2,000 this year and waiting longer to buy. And I guarantee my $1,000 next year will kick your $2,000 this year’s ass.

I’ve always thought of the Ars Technica build guides as a great starting point for a new system. Regarding your parts list, if you’re not intending to make use of the motherboard’s CrossFire feature down the road, I’d recommend stepping down to Gigabyte’s P55-UD3R to either save a few bucks or put those savings towards either an i7-860 or SSD as others have suggested. Especially for gaming, I don’t think there’s much advantage to getting a higher end CPU than an 860.

For the price you’re likely to pay, that looks like a pretty sweet, well-balanced rig with room to grow. A number of Qt3ers evangelize the benefits of having an SSD boot drive, but the fast ones are $200+, I think, so it’s a not inconsiderable extra expense.

I understand the concept and have transcended it. Or rather, I just want to try splurging one time for the hell of it. CPU would be the first to go though after checking how it does with Arma.

Intel (the fast one), 40 gig is running about $115 last time I read about it. Heck, when I make my system next summer I might pick up two.

I think anandtech has at some point said that if you want to get ONE component that will really change your computer experience, get a SSD.

That’s a fine build. You could no doubt tweak the details but you can’t really go wrong with something like that.

That is almost identical to the build I just did.

You might look to see if it is worth the premium to jump up to ddr3 2000 memory for some added flexibility IF you plan to overclock a lot. I’m not currently overclocking at all. The system is plenty fast as it is. Make sure you flash the latest mb beta bios (f4t). It will save you some frustration. The stock cooler did not work well for me. I’m using this one now:

It’s a very tight fit on that mb but you can make it fit :-) It also has this odd habit of the fan not starting up for the first 5 sec from a cold boot. Pics and installation tips in my post.

I’ve seen indications that the case from the guide could be a bit loud and a bit tight. Anyone have a suggestions for a good spacious case (that fits the video card and HD without getting too cozy) that won’t howl like a banshee?

Also, on the non-stock cooler recommendation, is it the same level of difficulty as getting a stock one on? No crazy voodoo?

Thanks for the feedback!

You know, one of the things I miss most about ExtremeTech is the budget/moderate rigs they would spec out on a regular basis. I never had enough cash to go much beyond the budget rigs, and it was always good to know what experts were recommending.

Is Ars Technica a decent replacement?

TechReport and ArsTechnica are indeed super-awesome sites.

I based mine on a build from silentpcreview because I really wanted a quiet system. You’ll get all your parts from Newegg more than likely, but it was a good place to get a list of parts for a silent pc.

Off-topic: I found it interesting to recently learn that, TechReport, one of the few sites I regularly visit outside of Qt3, was also founded by a dude with a theology degree from Harvard.

I checked out the i5/750 build posted and was wondering how much modification I would need to go with a dual 5850 setup. I would need a different motherboard, it seems, but that’s about it.

Also, I was reading that some of the P55 boards have been experiencing socket burnout, but that seems to be just at the extreme ranges of overclocking? I don’t plan to o/c.

Lastly, I read that the 1156 socket is going to be replaced soon by the 1156B, which means this setup isn’t necessarily going to have much room to grow. Not a big problem since I didn’t upgrade my previous processor in 5 years but it is still a consideration.

Apart from the usual “Crossfire / SLI isn’t worth the hassle and expense, so DON’T DO IT!!1!” advice, you’ll need a beefier PSU, like 700W+.