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Well my son and I went out and bought some parts and put together a pretty awesome gaming rig this weekend. He is eleven and was really enjoyed helping me pick out the parts and putting it all together.

Only issue we had was a little issue with the memory and getting the GPU in the case because it was so huge. We used a Antec Sonata case that I had from another build.

  • Intel Core i5 2500K Quad Core Processor
  • ASUS P8P67 B3 Motherboard
  • Corsair TX750W 750W ATX
  • Corsair CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9B Vengeance Blue 8GB 2X4GB DDR3-1600
  • Western Digital Black 1TB
  • Asus Radeon 6950 with 2GB of DDR
  • Bl-ray Drive
  • Windows 7 Professional
Total Cost $1,080.

The biggest cost was the GPU which $280.

Don't know if I will need to but the CPU and GPU can be overclocked but for now, this puppy screams.
 

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DavidT, Thanks for the advice. I was going to investigate that tonight along with EFI.

This is my first computer with EFI so I need to figure out how to upgrade.
 

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Asus have made upgrading the EFI ridiculously easy.

Just place the file on any USB drive or SD card. Boot up into the EFI and load the Advanced menu. Under the Tools tab select "EZ Flash". Select your drive, select the file, click confirm and it starts upgrading!

The EFI interface is really nice and a welcomed change, although oddly enough I still find myself using the keyboard more than the mouse :p
 

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Very nice little build, now you just need an aftermarket CPU cooler and let that baby loose! :cool:
 

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Reading reviews, the 2500k is clocking at 4.4 or so with the stock cooler. I'd assume that goes with the great energy efficiency.

Hugh, what are you upgrading from, or comparing it to. Just curious what your comparision is that you are noticing the increased system speed.

I am picking up a used x6 1050t for a cheap cpu upgrade for my current AM2+/AM3 board, but Intel has really knocked it out of the park with the Sandy Bridge. The 1050t double the CPU power over what I have, and logically I know that is fine for us, but dang I have upgrade fever looking at the new Intel offerings. Logic is losing.
 

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Asus is a great choice, GPU almost surely has a lifetime warranty. And I dont see Asus going anywhere anytime soon (knock on wood). BFG-Tech however...

Probably would've gotten a more bang for the buck with AMD, and I'm pretty sure AMD's are generally better for gaming anyway. Correct me if I'm wrong though.

What disc drive did you have in your older build? why not skip on the blue ray and maybe invest in a SSD?

Congrats, either way. I still feel SSD's haven't matured to a good enough r/w speed as a decent cost/gb. I'm still holding out.
 

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Sandy Bridge takes out the AMD value equation

I've mainly built AMD systems for 15 years, as the bang for the buck is usually there. But, if I was doing a motherboard upgrade or a new system, the sandy bridge Intel systems is great value, and IMHO knocks out AMD's value advantage. The advanced architecture, fast memory read/write, and raw power of the 2nd generation i-core comes in faster than the X6s and around the same price points. For non-overclockers, H67 chipset boards from mainline makers are as cheap as $60.

AMD needs a strong response and fast. That would be good for the market as well. In the sub-$100 cpu AMD may hold the value edge now, the X4 Athlons deliver excellent bang for the buck, but when you are looking at $150 to $200 the Sandy Bridge are impressive.

AMD will likely be forced to cut the X6 prices a fair bit, and get Bulldozer to market ASAP.
 

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I've never been wedded to AMD or Intel, ATI (now AMD) or Nvidia. I have always bought the products that I think provide the best value.

I went Nvidia for about 4 video cards and the last three have been Radeon. CPU wise I was AMD for awhile but recently Intel.

Right now, I firmly believe Sandy Bridge is the most powerful and the best value. GPU wise, I debated between an Nvidia and AMD card. Ultimately went 6950 with 2GB because it was $15 more than the Nvidia 560ti with 1GB so the $15 seemed worthwhile.

Hugh, what are you upgrading from, or comparing it to. Just curious what your comparision is that you are noticing the increased system speed.
Well we have a number of computers in the house so I was really comparing Starcraft II performance vs other computers. We are also now playing it at 1920 x 1080 resolution.

So at 1920 x 1080 with every option set to ultimate, Starcraft loads in a flash and plays beautifully. Might consider some extra monitors now!

I also expect to get Duke Nukem Forever in June so I want lots of pixel pushing power.
 

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I tend go with whatever hardware is most suitable with an eye for value. For some time, that has been Intel and nVidia for gaming/performance or AMD and ATI for video/value. ATI is also good for high end gaming systems. Those equations do tend to shift from time to time, as we are seeing now.
 

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How about in non-game apps, where the upgraded GPU would not have as much impact, is the 2500 giving you snappier system?

Buying my daughter a laptop to start university and am definately looking for a Sandy Bridge product.
 

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Spensar, I have not checked. My "work" computer is an i7-860 with a Radeon 5770 so I'm used to excellent performance with regular computing. I've always felt if you're working with a tool for eight hours a day, pay the extra and buy a good one.
 

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CPUs and GPUs usually have "sweet spots." That's just before price/performance values take a big drop. That also applies to energy consumption. which affects TCO. For example, a particular CPU line may have a sweet spot at 3GHz because the 3.2GHz model takes a big jump in price and energy consumption. The same is true of GPUs. They often make big jumps in price and energy consumption between minor model numbers, for example nVidia 460 to 480 or ATI 5600 to 5800. For most tasks, the difference between models may not be noticeable but may be significant with something like gaming.

Spensar, faster CPUs will almost always provide snappier performance but the effect is mitigated by overall system performance. It's usually best to evaluate the entire system and upgrade the slowest component. For example, if Windows Experience Index rates the CPU at 7.5 and the graphics at 3.5, the best bang for the buck will be a graphics upgrade. Sometimes, one component can be ignored. For example, if a system is never used for gaming, ignore the gaming index. Similarly, I ignore the Aero index on HTPCs that are always used with a dedicated HTPC interface for video.
 

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Scarybob, please don't derail my thread. We are talking gaming rigs here. If you want to pontificate on HTPC's and Windows Experience index, then please create your own thread.
 

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@costa: I recently put in a 50 GB SSD into my i7 920. I loaded Linux/debian onto it. Boot time is 25 sec vs 70 sec with the WD Black. I do not put any files on it since it is such a small drive, only software. I used it for photo editing and it is really fast (altho I did not time it). I would imagine games would play faster with an SSD?
 

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Load fast yes, play fast no.

I would guess the CPU/GPU/RAM (and motherboard, if not matched) would be your limit once the game is loaded.

Most gamers just put the OS and their games on the SSD, and the rest on the HD.

I am sure some HD dependant programs would see gains, though.

Myself I am just waiting for the price to come down a bit on SSD's before I convert, my RAID 0 is doing me well for now.
 

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Nice rig Hugh, there should be some sweet AMD Catalyst updates this year revolving around performance for your GPU.

What kind of games will you be playing on your new set up? Looks like your a Duke Nuke fan :cool:
 

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Honestly, I'm not a big gamer anymore.

While I will get Duke, the primary play right now is Starcraft II for my son and the odd game of Starcraft or Age of Empires for myself. I will also use the computer as my second office computer running such high end programs as Word and Excel!

What makes this more of a gaming rig is the 6950 which was $280 vs. the $120 I might have spent on a Radeon 5770 and a bigger power supply.

I figured the extra $200 was worth it so we could all play games as well as work.
 

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As far as SSD, load times will effect gaming in many ways. IE. You play wow, and you're waiting for the everything around you in the major city to catch up. Your GPU plays a huge role too.

I'm a NVidia/AMD guy. Also, fewer but bigger (more memory) RAM sticks are the way to go.
 
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