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Might pull the trigger.. Couple weeks worth of research

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November 26, 2008 3:04:22 PM

So I have until 5pm today to figure out what I'm doing, or continue to do more research. (tigerdirect/compusa's $1.99 shipping deadline)

Basically I'm building a complete new system, and I have the money. My current build is a 2003 rig, with the exception of a 7600GT AGP upgrade from a 5900XT. (P4, P4P800-E mobo). Games don't play like they used to anymore =P

I waited specifically for the I7's to come out, and here they are. However, I'm trying to figure out the best I can get for my money. (I'm the type of person who will build one computer every 4 or 5 years, so I'd like to buy stuff that wont drop 50% within a few months to get my moneys worth)

Remember, I'm just looking for estimates on the prices below. I know, and it's obvious nobody can tell prices a half a year from now, but a guess from previous generations and price drops might possibly help me on what to buy.

I DO plan on mild overclocking. I've overclocked my current system and haven't had ANY problems with it for 5 years (CPU stably sitting at 3.6 ghz on air) Video card too

Already in hand.: Antec 900 case, and Corsair HX1000 power supply, a WD Raptor and two 320 Gig HDD's for RAID-0.

I can already see the i7 920 most-likely wont drop under 280ish within the next half a year. So I'm fine with buying one for about 300ish. Price difference like that is fine with me.

I'm looking at the new EVGA x58 motherboard, gigabyte X58 motherboard (the ones for about $300). And no matter where I buy from, There's gonna be a $30 plus/minus price difference. Do you guys think the x58 boards will significantly drop within the next half a year? I'm talking like more then $100 cheaper then what they are now.

Edit: I was originally.. and also still looking into Gigabytes x58 flavour. Same price as the EVGA one. I'm a huge gigabyte fan after completing builds with their EP35/45 motherboards for friends. But I've also heard many good things about evga's motherboard overclocking capabilities. So I'm torn there too.

Memory: I'm planning to get either G.Skill DDR3 1600 8-8-8-21 ($295) or G.Skill DDR3 1600 9-9-9-24 ($250) since i'm overclocking. How low will DDR3 go between now and the end the end of Q1 next year? and is the $45 premium worth for the lower latencys? (note, these are the 6GB triple channel sets)

Video card: Everyone probably has the same question, and nobody knows exactly when the new ones from nvidia are coming out. There are some combos that you can get some great discounts on getting motherboards and video cards together. (Like saving an extra $40).

Mainly looking at this combo: EVGA x58 mobo and GTX 260 (216 shader version) video card Superclocked. After shipping/rebates will bring me at about $520. I was also considering the GTX 280, but that's over $150 more. I'm leaning away from that option.
Note: I eventually plan on adding another vid card for SLI, and possibly even using evga's 90-day step-up program.

Well, concluding everything I have above... The main thing I'm skeptical about are motherboard prices and video card prices.

What are the possibilities of those prices plummeting within the next 3 months or so? In that bundle, one way to look at it.. I'd technically be paying $300 for the mobo, and $220 for the vid card.

(as you probably have noticed already... I lean more towards nvidia graphics cards/intel chipsets) My dream finally came true in being able to SLI nvidia cards on an intel chipset without modding anything =P

Appreciate any and all input. Thank you folks!!
November 26, 2008 3:22:30 PM

X58 supports SLi and Crossfire at the same time.

Nobody know what the prices will be 3 months from now. Probably a little lower. We can't even tell you if the X58 products are good.
If you wait, reviews will come out and people will share their experience.
Right now it is kind of a gamble.

November 26, 2008 3:44:28 PM

Careful about doing SLI on X58 chipsets! It's NOT a default option, each manufacturer has to a pay a premium to have nVidia "enable" SLI on the particular motherboard model so do your research there very carefully. I would expect any boards that do get certified or whatever for SLI will be the most expensive.

With that said, I would go with ATI cards and Crossfire them. I know you prefer nVidia and to each their own, but Crossfire performance and cost is pretty good too and throw in the unknowns about issues with nVdidia's first go doing SLI on Intel chipsets and I just don't know if I'd put my money on that.

The Phenom II's seem to be shaping up really well and will be here in Q1 so it's hard to say what that's going to do for the market, though I would expect prices to come down nicely all-around for CPU's - assuming the phenoms continue to impress at launch.

DDR3 memory will probably drop the fastest out of everything since there are AMD and Intel chipsets that can also use it that aren't just for i7. What you can do though is just by 4gb now and then once prices have settled (or you find a good deal, ie this weekend or Boxing Week) grab another 2gb to get your 6gb/tri-channel.

I also have a thing for Gigabyte boards and would probably go that route, though generally the X58's are performance boards and you probably can't go wrong with any one of them (especially if you aren't an extreme overclocker or run a crazy RAID setup).

Oh and also about the video cards again, what monitor are you going with? I may have missed that. But if it's 22" or less you would be fine with Crossfiring 4870s or getting a single 4870x2 now and a second 4870x2 down the road when they're being replaced. Or the nVidia equivalents of course if you go with one of the SLI-certified X58s.

Good luck!
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November 26, 2008 3:53:58 PM

Yeah... I keep forgetting the fact that all fingers are pointing towards everything's getting cheaper and faster then previous generations, now that the economy will have an impact on these prices too. I think I will stick with the case and power supply for now, and wait a week or two to see what happens.

Thank you guys!
November 26, 2008 6:38:45 PM

I don't expect the motherboard dropping 100 dollars in the next 6 months. These are boards made for preformance vs value. The next gen of the p45(p55?) boards will be the boards that support the i7 that will be cheaper in my opipion. These may be fall in between the 150-300 dollar range when they come out. But as the EVGA x58 board i dought it'll drop over $100 dollars in the next 6 months.

Vidoe cards is hard to predict right now. Nvidia i'm sure is working diligentaly on taking back the top end market from ATI's 4870X2's. The GTX 260's might drop between 150-200 in the next six months only if they release a new card. But who knows exactly when their next card will be.

I disagree with Jeven saying that the x58 is not a smart buy if you plan on sli. early benchmarks have shown that sli is smoking fast with the new core i7. I think the x58 chipset is waaaaaaayyyyyy better than the nforce chipsets. Other than that he's right on the mark that board makers are having to pay a preium on any boards that are supporting sli. EVGA has worked a long time with the nforce chipsets so i'm assuming they will have a smooth tranisition into making a good board for sli. The price though still is a bit steap.

Jevon is right again that the thing that will drop in price the fastest is going to be the ddr3 memory. When that starts catching on it'll drop like ddr2 did in price. I think were really close to that point right now. I don't want to guess how much the drop will be but i'm guessing it will be big within the next 6 to 12 months.
November 26, 2008 6:59:25 PM

I read somewhere that the GTX260 cards are out of production or are about to be put out of production. As soon as they're gone, they're gone. The X58 mobo's are sli compatible, all but Intel. You have to check before you buy the board. No way will they drop $100 in the next six month's. We can keep our fingers crossed though. haha

The memory. You could buy the cheapest memory going and still get good performance. Read up on the net. The premiums aren't worth it. Not for gaming anyways. Just make sure you get the right voltages. Good Luck.

November 26, 2008 7:08:50 PM

The GTX260's with 192 cores are out of production. They have been replaced with a much improved GTX 260 with 216 cores.

Ya that is something I forgot to mention is make sure to take a look at the voltages of memory because they can damage the i7 if they are two high.
November 27, 2008 3:25:39 AM

You guys summed it up perfectly. Now that I think about it, I don't think I've seen an x38/48 performance board for under 200.

As for the SLI on the x58, both the EVGA and the gigabyte boards that are around $300 support it.

Thanks again for all the input. Made me waiting a tad longer to see if memory would drop in price.
!