$2000 Gaming PC Buyers Guide -- December 2009

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Bogdan

hmm this article is a little old.. with thise moneys now you can buy some really nice components. Much better then this ones. I would like to read an article with the components that you would chose now.

Best regards,

 

Cazare sinaia

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timgroth

So how noisy is this system?  I haven't seen any dBA numbers yet.

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tux0505

pc tech 88 you must be high, 920 does any phenom doggy style...

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pc_tech_88

i understand now the difference in amd and intel. but at the time i was mentioning dollar for dollar and spec to spec. but after doing a lil research intel's chip are known for quality while amd's chip are mad to mass produce.

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pc_tech_88

an AMD Phenom II x4 965 black edition us faster processor for alot less.

 

the motherboard is gonna have to be a different to match the processor, you may not find a motherboard that supports amd and have more than 4 DDR3 slots but you can still put two 4GB sticks and still get good performance.

 

i would have gone with an Antex TP-750 750w power supply. its cheaper and its more capatable than and cheaper.

 

basically i dont really have a problem any of the other parts except the cooler and the windows 7 home edition. ive so far looked at these parts to put in my future rig. they did well at picking a good case.

 

sincerely,

           a big computer enthusiast

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da_samman

I'm no student currently, so I will gladly settle for the Windows expert discount.  How do you get in on it?

Sincerely yours, from Fort Lewis, WA

SGT Samuel E. McClard II

Life's a journey, enjoy the ride!!

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tampatip

If one was to instead get to Samsung 1TB drives and run them in Raid 0, I think it is clear that the Raid 0 set will win on the performance front.  However, what about the draw on the PSU?  Based upon the given list of parts from MaxPC, would the 800 watt PSU beable handle the extra drive?

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dozer

Tampatip:

Great question.   It is always a tough decision when it comes to wattage and how much power is actually needed for a full build.  There are so many factors at play that it can get overwhelming and time consuming really quick, because who honestly wants to search each parts individual power consumption!? Thankfully there are a couple websites that do the leg work for you.  I personally use this site:

http://extreme.outervision.com/PSUEngine

This site is updated regularly with the latest CPU’s and GPU’s.   What you always need to consider when getting a power estimate is the TDP, System Load and Capacitor Aging.  The TDP, or Thermal Design Power, is the amount of power your heat sink or water cooling system needs to cool the processor.  As it relates to power calculation, you always want to assume that you will use at least 85% of your CPU’s maximum power draw so if you run your PC at a constant 85%, it is a more accurate scale relating to real world applications and power.  Then you have to factor in the amount of Vcore or Voltage Core your CPU will draw while running.  The default voltage for a Core i7-920 is a range of 0.800V-1.375V.  I have also seen some places state the default Vcore is 1.2 volts. When you over clock, you must raise this voltage to get a stable system.  The more speed = more power.

When you are trying to figure out power consumption from a CPU, you must consider the CPU stepping.  The C0 / C1 stepping are the mainstream Core i7-920 processors.  The newest Core i7-920 chips are using the D0 stepping.  Look at them as the “improved” or “tweaked” C0 / C1 processors.  There was nothing changed on them majorly, but Intel has described the changes as the “standard continuous process improvement.”  What this means is that you can have higher over clocks and higher memory speeds at the same or lower voltages but with less heat.  Woooohoooo!  In the real world that means better performance for the same chip so it is possible to hit higher over clock numbers on Air or on Water Cooling with less heat, just pick your cooling poison!

So with a CO / C1 stepped 920, it requires more voltage to have a stabile over clock.  After patrolling some forums and checking results, most people have got a stable 4GHz, C0 / C1 Stepped Core i7-920 with a v1.35 to 1.5 Vcore.  That is pretty high considering the max TDP is 1.65!  Newer stepped 920s, specifically the D0, have been able to achieve over clocks to 4.4GHz @ 1.36 volts!  Less voltage = less heat = less drastic cooling system!

Now let’s factor in system load.  What power supply companies do not tell you is the difference between the actual wattage numbers on the box as appose to the real world wattage the power supply can output.  When power supply companies test their products, they typically throw them in a room that has a temperature so low that you would need a toboggan and gloves.  Now I know for a fact that my house is not that cold and I am guessing yours is not either.  When they test them at these low temperatures, the cheaper companies will throw a lot of juice at the power supply and whatever the unit “peaked” at is what the rated number will be.  That is not the actual wattage from a continuous load standpoint.  Always look for a power supply that has enough wattage for your needs at a constant full load and not a “peak” load.   You also want to factor in efficiency.  Effiency means that the more efficient a power supply is, the less AC it take to convert to DC.  So a 500watt power supply @ 70% efficiency takes MORE POWER to run at 400watts than a 500watt power supply @ 85% efficiency running at 400watts. 

I am sure you have heard the term, “Bigger is always better.”  In a WWE arena this is true, bigger is better! But with power supplies, typically the heavier it is the better it will be. We are talking SUMO now!  A power supply requires quality capacitors and parts to actually run at the rated power output.  So a simple rule applies here: If it is a really heavy power supply, it is more than likely a good one! Simple as that.  Of course you need to make sure the wattage is enough for your system.  You always need to base your power requirements on a load standpoint. In other words, how much of a power load will all of my components need to run at “Blank” percentage?  Typically, a 90% load is enough to assume that every component in your system will run without you having any issues.

The last thing to consider is Capacitor Aging.  Everything that draws power and holds power loses its juice after a while.  That is why it is important to make sure you buy a quality power supply and quality parts having good capacitors.  It’s like chewing a piece of Double Bubble.  Damn good at first, but after a short time the flavor tends to fade away.  We aren’t look for Double Bubble, we want bubblicious; great flavor for a very long time!  Regardless of your chewing gum…er.....power supply choice, the capacitors will eventually age and not be as efficient as they were when first manufactured.  I always assume a 30% capacitor age at 24/7, 365 for 1+ year(s).  This makes sure that “IF” I ran my system that hard for that long, it could handle it.

Now, let’s make some comparisons here.  I will be using MaximumPC’s build and my own as a reference.  I will set the Vcore for the highest possible number that I have found for a solid 4GHz OC using the C0 / C1 steppings and the D0 stepping.

Maximum PC Build

    * Motherboard Asus P6T
    * CPU Intel Core i7 920
    * Memory Corsair XMS3 6GB
    * Cooler Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
    * Video Card Diamond Radeon 5970
    * Optical Drive Samsung SH-S223A
    * Power Supply Corsair 850TX
    * Hard Drive WD Caviar Black 2TB
    * SS has great cooling with 1 x 120mm and 3 x 180mm intake fans

Maximum PC Build – C0 / C1 stepping @ 4GHz assuming 1.5vcore
Core i7-920 C0 / C1 stepping @ 4GHz assuming 1.5vcore
1 x SATA Hard Drive
Change fans to 2 x 120mm and 4 x 140mm to match SilverStone fans and HS
Assumed 2 x USB ( Mouse and Keyboard )
Assumed 85% TDP, 90% System load with 30% capacitor aging for 24/7 at more than 1+ years

Result: 696watts

Now if we add a second SATA hard drive to the mix with the same settings as above we get:

Result: 709watts

Now if we change the CPU from the C0 / C1 @ 4GHZ assuming 1.5vcore to a CPU with a D0 @ 4GHz assuming 1.36vcore, it should in turn lower the overall wattage because it takes less power to get the processor at the rated speed.

Maximum PC Build – D0 stepping @ 4GHz assuming 1.36vcore
Core i7-920 D0 - stepping @ 4GHz assuming 1.36vcore
1 x SATA Hard Drive
Change fans to 2 x 120mm and 4 x 140mm to match SilverStone fans and HS
Assumed 2 x USB ( Mouse and Keyboard )
Assumed 85% TDP, 90% System load with 30% capacitor aging for 24/7 at more than 1+ years

Result: 640watts

Now if we add a second SATA hard drive to the mix with the same settings as above we get:

Result: 653watts
 

To sum it up, here is the quick and dirty look:

C0 / C1 stepping @ 4GHz assuming 1.5vcore with 1 x SATA Hard drive = 696watts
C0 / C1 stepping @ 4GHz assuming 1.5vcore with 2 x SATA Hard drive = 709watts
D0 stepping @ 4GHz assuming 1.36vcore with 1 x SATA Hard Drive = 640watts
D0 stepping @ 4GHz assuming 1.36vcore with 2 x SATA Hard Drive = 653watts

Now I did the same tests with the system I chose and the one thing that changed was the fans. I changed the fans to 1 x 120mm, 1 x 140mm and 3 x 250mm to match the HAF fans.

C0 / C1 stepping @ 4GHz assuming 1.5vcore with 1 x SATA Hard drive = 696watts
C0 / C1 stepping @ 4GHz assuming 1.5vcore with 2 x SATA Hard drive = 709watts
D0 stepping @ 4GHz assuming 1.36vcore with 1 x SATA Hard Drive = 640watts
D0 stepping @ 4GHz assuming 1.36vcore with 2 x SATA Hard Drive = 653watts

 
It seems that both systems will pull the same amount of wattage under the given circumstances! Even though both builds had different fans, the power from the fans on each system even out when all of their power consumption is added up even though they are different sizes.  Now the one difference between the MaximumPC system and mine is the power supply rated output.  I chose the 950watt @ 85% efficiency as appose to the 850watt @ 80% efficiency.  The 950watt power supply will take less AC to convert to DC current when compared to the 850watt.  Not only will it take less current to power your gear, but it will also lower the amount of heat that is produced from the power supply.  The 15 to 20% of power that is unaccounted for is actually heat generated from the power supply.  Simply put, the 950watt power supply will be able to handle a few more components, be a little cheaper on your wallet and run a tad cooler.  Over time these pennies add up to quite a bit of money.  

Choosing parts are always tough decisions and it is always comes down to one thing; quality parts cost more money than cheaper parts.  Always make sure you get your money’s worth when choosing computer parts.  To finally answer your question, YES. The 850watt power supply could handle multiple hard drives.

 

The results in this comment were assuming that you could potentially get a processor over clocked with the given voltages.  I do not assume responsibility for your attempt to over clock your processor and do not take responsibility for your actions.  Over clocking is dangerous and voids your warranty.  Please over clock at your own risk.

 

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mesiah

I built this almost exact system last week. I opted for the P6T deluxe V2 motherboard however. And although I went with the intention of buying the raven RV-01 case, I fell in love with a case that I have yet to see reviewed in any magazine or online article. The zalman MS1000-HS2. This case looks very elegant and has just about every feature you can imagine., Including 6 fully functional hot swap 3.5" bays that can be accessed from doors in the front of the case. Fan mounts with built in fan speed control behind the 3.5" bays (1 fan included.) Mount for dual SSDs. CPU heat sink cutout, holes for routing wires. Large dust filter for the intake. 120mm rear and top mounted fans. Location for additional 120mm bottom and top mounted fans. And thick walls with sound deadening material on the door. All of this and more in an elegant black or white satin finish exterior. There are no side windows, and no huge front vents with led fan lights shining through, but there doesn't need to be. This thing looks impressive and doesn't need a bunch of lights to get peoples attention. This thing next to a HAF or 900 case looks like setting a ferrari next to some kids riced out civic. The civic may grab your attention at first with all the sounds and flashing lights, but once you notice this beauty you forget the civic is even there.

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SANMANx

I have one and it does. I believe the SE is the one that doesn't. Nice rig...exactly like mine but different vid card.

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Xylogeist

Wow, my rig is better than this one and including the 24 inch monitor I spent about 1700$ on it.

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rockntrumpet

Seriously no pics needed, but I think we'd all like to know how your $1700 rig is better with a monitor.

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Xylogeist

Well, they could have cut cost here and there, my case was about 60$ cheaper, pluss the power supply I got had a 50$ rebate thanks to Black friday, and the monitor was also a black friday thing (100$), PLUS the dual 5700 series ATI GPUs. All in all the black friday savings were about 200$, and due to the higher GFX performance, my rig is only SLIGHTLY better, same amount of RAM (DDR3) which if I recall was 2000 mhz

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Thursday

Sorry but two 5700 in crossfire are not better than a 5970. Every benchmark out there will show you this. Might be better than a single 5870 in programs that scale well but not the 5970.

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dread_ire

I loved the write-up, its nice to see you can get a system that screams like that for a price that you won't need to take a second mortgage out for.  However I was disappointed to see MaximumPC recommend loading an upgrade version of Windows in place of buying a full version.  We all know it is possible but to recommend it and then link how to do it is not what I wold expect from a professional magazine.

I am thankful that MS still allows for clean installs from upgrade media, and I wouldn't want to give fuel for the fire for them to stop including that ability.  There was already a bit of blowup about it when another site posted the howto and an MS staffer got bent out of shape and raged in a blog post.

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bandeezee

They didn't recommend you buy the upgrade version.  They suggested it if you are a penny pincher and want to save a few bucks.  They recommended you buy the OEM version to save a few bucks over the retail version.

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dread_ire

That's just splitting hairs.  On one hand they "recommend" buying the OEM version.  Great, I would too.  On the other hand they also "suggest" that if you are cheap you can install the upgrade version as full.  Which is what I called them on.  "Suggesting" to users that they can just buy the upgrade version and use that for a full install without having something to upgrade from is, in my opinion, unprofessional.  Not something I would expect from a print magazine with the reputation of MaximumPC.

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mpmassey

As thorough as his comment was regarding the $2000 gaming system that Maximumpc suggests and given the specifics he gave on his proposed $2000 gaming system and why it is better than that of Maximumpc's, I would think Maximumpc should respond to that in order to set readers off in the proper direction for building their own system. For now, I think Dozer's system is better. What say you Maximumpc? Please compare and contrast your $2000 system with that of Dozer's. Thanks.

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rockntrumpet

What he said.  I know this is all heavily open to opinion.  It seems to me that dozer has a better system (yes even better than my own...hehe) but it also looks as if the purchase of several of his components is based off of user rating whereas MaxPC bases there recommendation off of actual lab testing.  And another thing, dozer complains about MaxPC linking all of their stuff from newegg, but dozer links an aweful lot of his own build from newegg.  Personally I don't see the problem linking from newegg as 97% of the time they have the best price.  The article exists as one persons OPINION.  If we can all accept the recommendations at face value as that, then I don't think there are really any problems at all.  But anyway...I love my new compy!

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dozer

  Before I spend money or take the time to build something, I always research the products and choices.  Unfortunately I do not have the money or acquaintances to physically test a product to the extent of MaximumPC.  What I do have is the reviews from other companies, websites and individuals that do test these products.  Each buyer should compare these results to determine the best choice for compatibility, efficiency, performance and cost.  95% of the test environments are perfect and not a real world scenario, so look at these results as the products optimal rating.  A buyer’s review posted on a product holds a wealth of information and SHOULD be read regardless if it is a bad review or a good one.  Each review is subjective to the buyer’s opinion so common sense needs to apply when reading them.  I look at a buyers review as a real world test, but not reading these could hinder the best possible choice on a purchase.  No one should ever consider purchasing a product until they research it from multiple sources that does multiple tests and read the buyers reviews from many different retailers.
 
My comment was not to take away the articles idea, but only to point out that this particular article was thrown together without researching the products choices and choosing the "BEST" product.  The writer made no attempt to actually do a $2,000.00 Gaming PC Buyers Guide.  A buyer’s guide should have, well, a guide!  What tipped me over the edge and convinced me to write my comment was not a need to beat the articles choices on prices or particular parts, but the links to the products themselves!  When I was finished reading the article and clicked the links to see what the specifications were for each product, I was AMAZED to see that I was directed to the wrong product.  We are all human and make mistakes, but this article had to go through a couple of people for proofing before it was posted, so this is considered unacceptable in my book.  Especially since the point of this article was to give a guide on which products to spend money on and $2,000.00 is a lot of money!
 
The first thing I did was check the date of the article because I know URLS can change, but it had only been posted for 12 hours!  So I wandered, if the links were wrong, are there better choices out there for a $2,000.00 Gaming Machine?  Truthfully there can never be a right and wrong when it comes to building a pc because it is all based on choice; there can be a good choice or a better choice, just ask Neo!  

At that point I decided to find the products and read the specifications on them.  Then I took about 15 minutes to compare the products with others in the same price range.  I was confused at some of the choices of this build after I did a comparison so I decided to bow down to Google and let it take over.  I read reviews and buyers comments for the better part of two hours on the articles different components.  Each product that was chosen is reliable, stable and would build one kick ass system, but if I was writing the article that is publicized worldwide, would I have chosen the same parts?  So the search was on for me to see what I would do with a couple grand.  If it was up to my wife, we would be in Honolulu, but for me, a beast of a computer.  Keep in mind that I said “I,” or “me.”  This comes back to the idea of choice; my choices, the articles choices and your choices.  Considering I only spent a couple of hours reading reviews, buyer reviews and comparing different parts, a lot of my purchases were through Newegg.  If I actually spent the amount of time I did when building my machine, I would have used 5 to 6 different retailers and would have focused on free shipping and MIR’s.  Hell, if I go back tonight and do the mock $2,000.00 system again, I would more than likely change some of my choices.  The hardest choice I had was as the article put it, “the most controversial pick”, would be the hard drive.
 
I was on the fence on which hard drive(s) to choose.  All along I had chosen two Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB hard drives from Best Buy for $99.99.  These drives scream on the benchmark charts and I could pick them up locally.  I actually DID get one a couple weeks ago and added it to my WHS server!  But, after checking a few lab reviews, the Spinpoint F3 is fast, I mean wicked fast.  It not only has a better average read time than the WD 2TB Black, but also a faster write and burst speed!  Now the WD does pull ahead with the random access times and this can be attributed to the fact that there are 2 processors and 64Meg of cache.  But make no mistake, this thing screams.  Keep in mind that through heavy load the Samsung will be louder than the WD.  This has been prevalent since the F1 series and F2.  Now, I run a stripped array and do not have an issue with it because I understand the consequences if one of the drives fail.  This will be the determining factor of a single 2TB HDD vs. 2 x 1TB HDD Raid-0.  But we want performance and best bang for our buck, so the Spinpoint F3 in Raid-0 wins this fight.

If you want to know where I looked to get my information, check here (I am not affiliated with any company or any website.  I am just a power user that enjoys technology and how it interacts with our everyday lives.) :

http://www.maximumpc.com/
http://www.google.com/
http://www.tomshardware.com/us/
http://www.anandtech.com/
http://www.bit-tech.net/
http://www.frostytech.com/
http://www.hwbot.org/benchmarking.do
http://www.theraptorpit.com/forum/index.php
http://www.overclock.net/
http://www.overclockersclub.com/
http://www.overclockers.com/
http://www.madshrimps.be/
http://www.tigerdirect.com/
http://www.newegg.com/
http://www.pricewatch.com/
http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php
http://www.frozencpu.com/
http://www.petrastechshop.com/
http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/

These are just a FEW of the websites I used to come to my findings.  Simply put, a guide should have focus and goals in mind throughout the entire reading. When it comes to a pc build you should not only focus on a budget, but what your goal is with the build to ensure you get every inch of performance out of your hard earned money.  I read every page of every magazine that MaximumPC publishes.  I believe you all tell it like it is and hold some of the highest standards.  I look to you all first before any purchases and I know I am not the only one.  I just have to say that this particular "Guide" was subpar and below a large publications standard, especially yours.  I expect this type of article in Consumer Reports, so step it up!     

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rockntrumpet

Well dozer, if you are looking to make a little extra money, I'd say hit up MaxPC for a writers job.  Not to toot my own horn but I'm definitely a researcher at heart (grad school does that to a person), so I whole-heartedly can appreciate your thorough posts.  Glad to hear there is a fellow thinking individual out there who loves him some computer hardware.  I second your call for better, more thorough writing that will stand up to the standards all of us expect from MaxPC.  (I also think you should give dozer a freelance writing job guys...just sayin')

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dozer

Thanks rock.  I understand those long nights scouring book after book.  The best part of research is not the time it takes, but the clarification and justification that you found an answer and have a better understanding of the subject.  Everyone is a researcher at heart, it just depends on what they are researching.  If my wife was researching computer parts, she would be asleep with drool on the pages in five minutes flat. But throw her some photography material and that woman could spend days looking things over! It's all about enjoying what you do. 

I know my posts are long but I do not try to write something that is just long, but as you put it, thorough.  I always want to make sure that I cover all angles and explain my thinking process without trying to be biased.  I think every person has this ability in them and it is what we all possess, common sense!  I would never spend money on something unless I know what I am spending it on.  I do not like to write something unless I feel my head and heart was behind it.  And as you can see I love technology, especially computers and networks!  We all enjoy doing the things we are good at, but making money and making a living at what you love doing is the hard part.  If you can accomplish this, then you are living the american dream. 

Unfortunately, I know my grammer is not great, but that is what an editor is for; right Will =D  I do not know how much of a writer I am, but if MaximumPC would like another opinion coming from a different angle, a no BS power users angle, I would love to get involved where possible.  As Wayne Brady puts it, Let's Make A Deal!    

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bandeezee

I hear your point on the Spinpoint F3, but the article said it was controversial pick.  Perhaps they wanted the most storage on a fast single drive.  I don't know about you, but I don't want my boot disk to be on a striped array.  I might want 2 Spinpoint F3's in Raid 0 for storage and load games from there or something, but I would want my boot disk to be a single fast drive or a mirrored array.  Plus the F3's tend to get noisy when under load, not a big deal for me, but maybe for some.

 

 If you really want a fast drive, why not opt for the new ASUS P6X58D Premium that supports SATA 6Gb/s and get the new Seagate Barracuda XT to utilize it?  It's opinion of which drive will be best for what person.  I personally have never had a WD hard drive fail on me.  I've been using my current one for around 7 years no hiccups, so I like WD and have no problem with their pick.

 I understand your frustration about the links not being right, but I have no problem with the parts chosen.   Don't get me wrong your build looks good too, but I wouldn't want a Raid 0 for my boot disk.  Just my 2 cents.

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dozer

Well, running in Raid-1 would actually drop your performance a little bit.  I do not have an issue with Raid-0 as my primary partition because I am using it now, but of course I understand the consequences.  That is why I posted a second comment explaining I understand the consequences of a failed drive and the fact the F3's are noisy under load.  We do agree that we do not have a problem with the noise because the performance would be better.  That is why they make sound dampening materials for cases!  Another viable option would be RAID-5.  That way you can have the benefit of a striped array but the security of a mirrored array.  You would actually have higher performance numbers using RAID-5 when compared to the other two arrays!  The one reason I do not mind a striped array is the fact I have WHS running and have good daily images of my machine!  If I need to, I will be reloading my saved image and be backup and running within a few hours.

Man we are on the same page regarding SATA 6!  I chose the ASUS mobo originally until I started reading lab results. The only 2 intel motherboards out at the moment are the ASUS and Gigabyte.  Come to find out they share the same Marvell SE9128 and the first actual lab reviews were not so hot with the Seagate Barracuda XT ST32000641AS.  The performance numbers with a SATA 6 HDD and mobo were actually the same if not slower in some tests than a SATA 3 HDD and mobo.  Hell, one lab review I read showed that a SATA 3 HDD with the SATA 6 mobo performed better than the full SATA 6 setup!  The technology is at its infancy right now and there needs to be more mature drivers released that show the true performance of this spec.  I think it is too early to adopt it right now.  Once Intel and nvidia gets into the game with SATA 6, we should start seeing the benefits of SATA 6 and USB 3.0. I think the real benefit of SATA 6 will be with SSD's and their ability to saturate the pipe.  Mechanical drives will catch up but they will start to get more expensive because of the added cache for memory, dual actuators and processors.  The way I look at it is more points of failure.

WD makes quality parts and I actually have one running a domain that is over 8 years old! I mean, the thing is a tank! Seagate makes great drives as well but had a bad run with the .11 series and failure rates.  Lets hope the new .12's and future models have a better life.  I think the mobo they chose is great and OC's extremely well, but there are better options out there with more features, higher OC ratings and more ports. Regardless, if you built a computer you would choose your parts. If I built mine I would choose my parts.  We all want the best parts with the best performance that holds to our budget.

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dozer

 

First off I have to say that I have subscribed to Maximum PC for many years and have enjoyed every article and review with the subtle humor that goes along with them.  But this article for a $2,000.00 gaming machine seems like it was thrown together in about 15 minutes.  It took longer to type everything in the article than it did to actual do a little research and see what could be done with $2,000.00!  I mean, that amount of cash is not easily thrown around this day and age.  With the questionable recommendations and let alone half of the links go to the wrong products, this is definitely below the Maximum PC standard in my opinion.  I spent a couple hours browsing around to see if I could not only match but BEAT your build with the same or different quality parts and a goal in mind.  My goal was to build a cost effective gaming machine that can have an upgrade path, overclock the hell out of it and hit my budget.   It seems that your goal was "Let's write an article for a gaming machine with $2,000.00, 15 minutes and my only link is to Newegg for their reviews.”  What really bothers me is that I do not review or constantly keep up to date with every piece of hardware, especially with my limited budget and time. So please do not make any more articles like this because there are children out there that value your opinions and they will go and purchase this system but they would be disappointed to know they could have done better. 

Here is what is wrong with the article:

memory, ok choice but there is better - link bad

motherboard, ok choice but there is better - link bad

s223B, I have one and love it but why not spring for the 24X model? - link bad

case, bad choice but great company - link bad

hard drive, bad choice - link bad

 

Here is what I would have done:

269.99 – Motherboard - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813188046

EVGA E758-TR 3-Way SLI – Not only will this be able to handle dual 5970’s, but it will run Tri-SLI @ x16/x16/x8 and not x16/x16/x4.  It clocks higher than the ASUS and is more stable. It has 9 SATA ports as appose to 8, Dual NICs, more RAID options and the accessories are of better quality and the board comes with EVERYTHING you will need.  The Asus comes with cheap cables and only a dual SLI Bridge!

304.99 - CPU - http://www.tankguys.com/intel-core-i7-920-d0.html

i7-920 D0 Stepping – Lets get specific here. Instead of spending 288.00 on an older stepping, choose the better stepping that generates a little less heat and clocks considerably higher! 4GHz on air is a breeze with this stepping of the 920’s.

234.99 – Memory - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145242

Corsair XMS3 6GB - TR3X6G1600C7 G – Not only is the quality name brand of Corsair, but now we are working with latencies or 7-7-7-20 1T and NOT 9-9-9-24 2T.  Yes the price is higher, but these things clock at 7-7-7-20 1T @ 1600MHz and at 1.56-1.58 volts! HOLY CRAP! Some people have ran them at 8-8-7-20 1T @ 1900 1.5v. When you overclock, don’t go cheap on anything, especially ram.

39.99 (25.00 after MIR) – Cooler - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835207004

9.99 ( 4.99 after MIR) – HS Retention Bracket - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835207005

Sunbeam CR-CCTF 120mm w/ TX-2 – Now there are many choices for air cooling and it is almost overwhelming, but head over to Frosty tech and take a gander.  This HS is #4 on their TOP 5 all time rated HS’s! The Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus is #6 but very respectable.  The CCTF is quieter and still cools better than the Hyper.  This cooler also comes with Tuniq TX-2 which is one if not the best thermal pastes out.  I have used AS5 for as long as I can remember but TX-2 beats it by 3 – 5C.  The only downfall of this cooler is the extra bracket that has to be purchased, but, after you add up the MIR, its $30.00!

629.99 – Video Card - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150453

XFX HD-5970 – I agree with the choice of video card because let’s face it, until Nvidia gets back into the ring, this monster is king of the hill.  What I don’t agree with is the brand. Not all brands are alike and when it comes to Diamond vs XFX, I’ll go with XFX.  The cards are practically the same, but support on the other hand goes to XFX.  Their technical support is better and they gove you a Lifetime Warranty on the card and not a 2 years limited.

30.99 – Optical Drive - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827151193

Samsung 24X DVD+R SATA – This is the new burner released from Samsung and it just hit the states.  Reviews are showing that this drive is faster than the 223A/B/L/Q.  Why not throw another dollar on there for the extra 2x?

159.99 - Power Supply - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139013

Corsaid 950TX – If you are going to spend the money on an 850, go with the 950 that has a real world efficiency of 85% and not 80%.   We are all maximum with our computers but that extra 5% will save you money, time and good old mother earth not to mention another 100watts for the extra 5970 down the road!

139.98 - Case - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119160

Cooler Master HAF 932 – Both cases are great, done get me wrong.  Silverstone is the best in the business, but let’s look at facts here: SS has 5 x 5.25” and 3 x 3.5” bays.  HAF has 6 x 5.25” and 5 x 3.5” bays. Winner = HAF. SS has USB / Audio on the front panel. HAF has USB / Audio / IEEE 1394 / e-SATA. Winner = HAF. SS has great cooling with 1 x 120mm and 3 x 180mm intake fans. HAF has 1 x 140mm, 3 x 230mm at the front, top and side. Winner = HAF. Not only is the HAF cheaper, but it is taller and wider than the SS.  I would choose the HAF but a case is a preference and the HAF has more features.

84.99 x 2 = 169.98 - Hard Drives - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152185

Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB – Instead of rolling with the latest 2TB WD or 2TB Seagate, why not buy 2 of these, run them in RAID-0 and smoke all 2TB drives?  Samsung drives are coming into there own but a lot of people don’t know them in the HDD market.  Lets face it, 32mb cache, 2 platters @ 500GB per platter and the same warranty as WD, I would take the performance of these two in RAID-0 over a single 2TB drive any day. Remember, we are maximum pc here and should have the knowledge of building a RAID system.

104.99 – OS - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116754

Windows 7 Home – At last we agree!! Man what a kick-ass OS this is.  It took many years, trials and errors but Microsoft has actually come out with an OS that is a power user or everyday users dream.  This has been beaten like a dead horse but we all get the point, if you use Windows, go to Windows 7. Now personally I own the Ultimate edition, but I do use BitLocker and have a domain.  The majority of people can get home, get TrueCrypt and use their local network with the same effect.

 

Total: $2010.88

MIR: $20.00

Grand Total: 1,990.88

I know a lot of people do not like to use MIR’s and say they don’t work, but have you actually tried them? I have never had one not work because I read the fine print and completed the necessary items to receive my moolah. All of these parts assume that you already have a monitor, keyboard and mouse.  If you need those three peripherals, lose one hard drive, drop a tier on the motherboard and memory.  You would come close to the performance and be happy with the purchase.  I apologize for the rants, raves and typos but come on guys, we expect more out here.   I think that the parts I chose not only have better performance, but I believe my build would have been a $2,000.00 MaximumPC.

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rickfred67

can u add a blue ray burner to this set up and if so which one, also im finding that the video card u suggest is hard to find right now and 75 to 150 more at this time do u recemmend any other ones

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turtle_x

I am thoroughly impressed with your post revising the $2000 pc (so much that I registered with this site to convey my gratitude). I am a first time system builder. I've been spending roughly 4 to 6 hours every night after work researching computer components and the science behind them. Your post was a great all around wealth of info for me. Great research. Like yourself, I have a burning desire to learn more. Keep the posts coming. Thanks again.

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tomastaz

All your base are belong to us!

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bigm0ney13

Isn't the Samsung F3 Spinpoint faster than a velociraptor and caviar black.   2x1TB for $160 is better than $300.

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TommyTheCat

both of those....make the switch to Linux Ubuntu...FREE

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straightawaykid

Thanks for this first review of a price-limited Bloomfield system, pie chart idea is excellent - I'm using it to compare with a Lynnfield I'm planning.  Still playing Quake 2 and Duke Nukem, I can use the slower gpu.  Right on time for me.  Duke says:  "Whaddya waitin' for, Christmas?".

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tomastaz

I got HAF 922 case

 

All your base are belong to us!

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m1k3_flrs

I need a new PC... I planned on buying an alienware but it seems to be a ripp off. I need it for some graphic design and one or two games. Any recommendations I would appreciate it, if you say building my own would be better....  I don't feel that confident yet to build it myself. So where should I purchase it?

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tomastaz

IBUYPOWER

Falcon Northwest (OC to max)

Its ok, im building for first time too.

 

All your base are belong to us!

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tomastaz

I have been waiting for this for soo loong. I couldn't wait anymore, and just ordered. Guess what, my stuff arrived today! just my luck

 

 

 

All your base are belong to us!

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proro1974

well that's an in-store price and more importantly MC isn't exactly widespread.

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tomastaz

thats instore only

 

All your base are belong to us!

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Gizmo

Creepy...

I just built this exact same system last week, except using a  Coolermaster Stacker 830 case.

Oh and the Scythe Mugen2 CPU cooler (I guess I didn't get the last issue soon enough).

 

Works well... loving the 5970. 

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kaybe

Case: NZXT Tempest EVO Gaming Tower Case
Processor: Intel® Core™ i7 975 Processor Extreme Edition (4x 3.33GHz/8MB L3 Cache)
Motherboard: ASUS P6X58D Premium -- Intel X58 Chipset CrossFire and SLI Supported w/ 7.1 Sound, GbLan, S-ATA III, USB 3.0, PCI-E MB
Memory: 6 GB [2 GB X3] DDR3-1600 Triple Memory Module - Corsair
Video Card ATI Radeon HD 5770 - 1GB - Single Card
Power Supply: 800 Watt -- Power Supply - SLI Ready
Processor Cooling: Liquid CPU Cooling System w/ 120mm Radiator [SOCKET-1366]
Primary Hard Drive: 320 GB HARD DRIVE -- 16M Cache, 7200 RPM, 3.0Gb/s - Single Drive
Optical Drive :22X Dual Format/Double Layer DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW Drive - Black 
Keyboard
Mouse
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional - 64-Bit
Tuniq TX-2 High Performance Thermal Compound - The best interface between your CPU and the heatsinks

 The whole system costs less than $2000, but with taxes and shipping the total came out to be $2160.

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bbecker42

I love Video Cars haha.

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nsk chaos

the link for the video card redirected to a 5870 and not a 5970. whether it's the link's issue or a misprint, please fix. thanks!!!

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norman

fixed, thanks.
-- Norm
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rockntrumpet

Motherboard:     Asus P6TDeluxe V2    $289            
CPU:                Intel Core i7 950        $279 (special employee price, hehe)
Memory:          Corsair XMS3 6GB        $145            
Cooler:            Thermalright Ultra 120E $80 (includes second cooling fan)           
Video Card:      XFX Radeon 5870        $399 ( this will let me get a monitor..)
Optical Drive:    Samsung SH-S223A     $60  (I got two for the heck of it)
Power Supply:   Kingwin Mach1 1000W  $169 (for eventual dual GPU upgrade later on...)            
Case:              Antec 1200                 $109 (combo deal with HD below)            
Hard Drive:      WD Caviar Black 1TB    $109            
OS:                Windows 7 Professional
                     64-bit                         $30 (student discount baby!)
Monitor:         ViewSonic X Series
                     VX2433wm Black 23.6'2ms  $199(nicely rated flat panel with 2ms response)
Keyboard/Mouse:    Logitech Wave Pro set    $65
Cable managing:    MOdsmart sleeving kit    $20 (to make everything so pretty...)

This puts me at $1953 and some of the above had a little shipping so that pretty much put me at $2000.  I know I could have changed some things around to get more disk space (not really needed as I am setting up a WHS anyway...) and I really wanted an SSD for my OS (especially since I get a sweet employee discount for that too (80GB Intel drive for $149 !) but this is what I finally decided on (the SSD was out of stock...still is...). 

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Havok

 Your "student discount baby!" is no match for my "Windows expert discount", Win 7 Ultimate, for 10 bucks!

 

 

CLICK.

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lunchbox73

How does one quality for that?

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Yo Dawg

Your "Windows expert discount" is no match for my "student discount", Win 7 Ultimate for $7!

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quickone

 Wow, we get Ultimate for $18, didn't think it could get much cheaper than that for student discounts. 

 

~~The difference between insanity and genius is merely succes~~

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cschwab

All students at my school get it for free :)

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tomastaz

I hate you techies lol

 

All your base are belong to us!

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