Building a gaming computer and would like critiques on my choices

I’m pretty new to this but I have some tech friends for help when I need it. I’m looking at putting this together:

Case: Cooler Master Centurion 5
Power Supply: BFG GS-550 (550W EPS12V)
CPU: Core 2 Duo E8500
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P (P45)
Memory: OCZ Platinum PC2-8500 2x1-GB **-OR- ** OCZ Reaper HPC Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar SE16 500GB SATA 3.0 Gb/s
Video Card: Radeon HD 4850 512MB -OR- DIAMOND 4870PE5512 Radeon HD 4870 512MB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card
Sound Card: 8-Channel Integrated
CD/DVD-ROM: Samsung SH-S223F 22X SATA DVD Writer

It’s really the “or’s” I’m interested in. I have a little extra money to spend and I’d like to make sure there aren’t any obvious bottle necking or incompatibility issues I’m missing.

Thanks for any help.

I’m planning a similar build for a machine that can run Illustrator CS4 without a hiccup, so I look forward to reading this thread with interest.

One thing you may want to consider before the DVD writer is how likely you will be to want blu-ray capability sometimes soon.

Even the best (edit: and the Samsung is one, I have two and they can read everything) DVD writers won’t top $30. Most cases, including the Centurion, have plenty of drive bays. Get one now, blu-ray prices haven’t bottomed yet.

For RAM, get the dual-channel 4GB kit.

The rest? Get what you want. Good cpu and video comparison charts can be found here: http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/

I have Sapphire Radeon HD4850 and it can become pretty hot, about 50°C/122°F idle and 70°C/158°F in heavy gaming.

Well, the 4870 is pretty much de facto better than the 4850. Here are some numbers! <http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/gaming-graphics-charts-q3-2008/compare,794.html?prod[2060]=on&prod[2116]=on>

Honestly, tho, I’d have to say the boost in performance from having double the RAM would make a more balanced computer. Obviously, both 4GB of RAM and a considerably better video card would be best. :smiley:

I strongly reccomend a sound card that is not built into the motherboard. The built in sound tends to have… how shall I say this… influences from the motherboard. Whines and loops.

I use a Razer Barracuda AC-1, cost me $50.

I would recommend 4gb Ram and the Radeon 4870
The power supply seems kind of light, especially if you’re considering the Radeon 4870. Someone with more knowledge of PSU’s can probably give you more info though.
The E8500 is a great CPU.
I am not an audiophile but the past 3 computers I’ve built, I’ve stuck with the integrated sound and it was fine.

What OS are you planning on using?

I bought almost everything from newegg and they gave me lots of “combo” deals and specials, and I probably saved about $150 doing this.

My build:
Raidmax Smilodon Case (Ok, but would not recommend)
ASUS P5Q PRO Motherboard (very nice)
Corsair 4gb DDR2 800 memory
Western Digital 80gb HD (A bit too small, am going to get a 120gb)
Corsair 750TX power supply (not modular, but very nice otherwise)
Intel E7200 CPU
Radeon 4870 HD video card
Integrated sound
Acer 19" 1440 x 900 widescreen monitor
Windows XP Pro
Logitech G5 mouse
Sennheiser HD280 headphones

Windows XP can’t address more than 3 gigs, of course.

unless you have an app with known issue with vista, like some of the SQL server modules, go Vista. Little reason not to these days on new hardware.

I recommend at least looking at the Ars Technica guides
Latest gamer guide: http://arstechnica.com/guides/buyer/guide-200807.ars
Most recent general guide: http://arstechnica.com/guides/buyer/guide-200809.ars

Brian

[hijack]
That’s the third time I read this thread title as “Building a gaming computer that would like critiques on my choices”.

I wonder how the guy’d do it, but then I realize I wouldn’t want to hear “No, Dave, that’s a stupid move you’re making. Dave, why did you take that quest ?”
[/hijack]

I just upgraded my pc with that motherboard, the Reaper memory you are considering and a 4850 1GIG graphics card, and am very happy with the choices.

I went with the 2 sticks of 2gb because I’ve read that there are sometimes issues with using 4 sticks of ram instead of two sticks, but never tested it myself. You may end up dealing with this issue if you go with the Platinum memory and want to upgrade later.

I agree with Apocalypso about your power supply. From your motherboard choice, it looks like you might be planning to add a 2nd graphics card later on. I would reconsider the power supply in that case (no pun intended), and get something a little stronger. You have a good set-up for overclocking and would want the stronger power supply for that as well.

If you have the money for a 4870 then get it. You can also get a Sapphire 4850 1gig for $170 at newegg atm.

Anybody know (or can opine on) if the ATI Crossfire scheme (i.e. two linked vidcards) helps with non-game graphic apps?

Can you give us an example of an app you have in mind? Essentially it’s a 3D accelerator. If it’s a 3D intensive app, chances are it will help. However, the whole system is based around gaming concepts, and some things that are typically to be found being done in a game engine, aren’t going to necessarily be found elsewhere.

That’s almost exactly the same computer I built for myself recently. (I got the 4850, but 4 gig of ram and a 600W Power supply) Plays Crysis in medium mode at a rock solid 60fps, and everything else I’ve thrown at it maxed right out. Cost around 1100, worth every penny in my book.

Well, I’m musing on rendering in 3D Studio Max or Maya, Adobe Illustrator CS4, Photoshop CS4 and Premiere.

64-bit Windows can address up to 128 gigs of RAM.

ETA: Just to clarify, it’s true that 32-bit Windows only shows a bit over 3 GB, regardless of how much is installed.

I should point out that a substandard sound card will slow the game down. Sometimes noticeably. People kvetch about it. Usually a driver issue. I did notice a performance boost when I disabled the built in one and put the fancy card in. Not major, two-three FPS, maybe a little less hesitation.

Might just be me.

You got it covered, but one thing I’d like to say to everybody reading this who might build one is to not try to get cheap when it comes to the case. Buy quality cases, your knuckles will thank you. Beat myself up plenty on cheap cases that hadn’t been burred.

Michael (Blood, sweat, and tears are not just an adage)