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Building budget i7, please give advice

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December 24, 2008 3:04:41 AM

So I have never built my own system before, but I have spent a fair amount of time doing research on hardware. I will probably buy this through iBUYPOWER.com to avoid the headache of assembly and ordering each individual part. I have a friend who ordered through them and he was very happy with what he got. Here is what im thinking:

CoolerMaster CM 690 Gaming Tower Case
Coolermaster Real Power Pro 850w Power Supply
Certified CPU Fan and Heatsink
Asus P6T mobo (not the deluxe)
3 gb of DDR3-1333, will expand in the future
evga NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 260 216 shaders
500 GB HD, will add more later, thinking of going RAID 0 but 1 is good for now
LG 22X Dual Format/Double Layer DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW Drive w/Lightscribe
3D Premium Surround Sound Onboard
12-In-1 Internal Flash Media Card Reader/Writer
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 64 bit
Wireless 802.11g 54Mbps PCI Adapter
Built in ethernet

I'm looking for feedback on my choices, whether or not I need to upgrade anything or if something is excessive. I want a computer that will be up to date and capable of running most games/apps for a few years to come for under $1600. This will be used for gaming/video editing, plus normal everyday computer use. Thanks for your input in advance!!

December 24, 2008 3:21:11 AM

I forgot to mention that I will most likely be adding another gtx 260 down the road when prices fall and games become more demanding. Thanks again for the advice in advance!
December 24, 2008 3:28:56 AM

LOL, "budget i7" is an oxymoron. That's the most expensive approach to building PCs these days. The main culprit is DDR3 prices, followed by X58 prices.

I have no idea how much you're paying for each component at ibuypower.com, so it's hard to tell if you're getting decent deals or not.

Avoid the CoolerMaster PSUs. Try getting something like PC Power & Cooling 750W or 860W, Antec TPQ-850, Corsair 750TX or 1000HX. I'm assuming you will want SLI eventually, i.e. a second video card. If you don't, a Corsair 650TX or PC Power & Cooling 610W is enough.

500GB disks are slower than 640GB disks, true for both WD and Seagate. Try something like WD6400AAKS or WD 640 GB Black.

The CM 690 is good, and the choice of Vista Home Premium 64-bit is smart too.

Is that LG SATA or IDE? SATA would be better.

$1600 buys you something better for gaming if you buy from newegg and build yourself. Look up these parts at newegg and compare:

Q9550 $320
G.Skill 4 GB DDR2-800 $50
Visiontek HD 4870 X2 $530
GA-EP45-UD3P $117
PC P&C S75CF 750W $70
CM 690 $80
WD6400AAKS $75
Vista H.P. 64 $100
SH-S223Q $30
card reader/PCI adapter - no idea, let's say $100 together

Total a bit under $1500.

The Q9550 is slower than the i7 920, true, but in games it won't be noticeable (the video card and HDD will hit their limits before the CPU, most of the time, especially at high resolutions with lots of eye candy). In video editing the HDD will be the limiting factor, so again the two CPUs will not differ much. The 4th GB of RAM in the Q9550 build may actually help with the video editing and with the stuttering in games.
Related resources
December 24, 2008 3:45:54 AM

lol ya I realize the oxymoron, but since I want this to be a system that will be good later on, I figure I need to go with DDR3, and if I go that route, I might as well go with an i7 setup. I am also interested in perhaps doing some light overclocking in the future, and from what I have read the i7's are basically meant for it (i mean they have it built in!!).

Also I realize the HD will be a limiting factor so once I have saved a bit more money I plan on getting more and setting up a RAID 0 array. (This makes it much faster right??) The HD I'm getting is SATA.

Would you recomend HD 4870X2 over two gtx 260's? The ATI card is fairly power hungry isn't it?

Of the following PSU's which would you recomend:
Coolermaster Real Power Pro 850w Power Supply
Ikonik Vulcan MT 850 Power Supply 850w
Thermaltake Toughpower W0172RU Power Supply 850w

Also, would a 850w psu be enough for this setup with sli vid cards and two HD's?

Thanks for your input
December 24, 2008 3:47:41 AM

The cost from iBUYPOWER with my original set up is $1443 + S&H $65

The above PSU's are the options from iBUYPOWER at 850w
December 24, 2008 3:57:39 AM

+1 to AEVM's suggestions. Since I don't see the monitor/keyboard/mouse, I'll assume you have those already or have a seperate budget for them?? If not, than I'd suggest getting the s775 based system and get a good 22-24" LCD for around $200 or so and drop the GPU down to a 4870 1gb that is around $200-230. Then you could just get a Corsair 650tx and just use 1 GPU for your system. Then in a year or so, just upgrade the GPU to the latest and then your system will last longer on the newer setups. Who knows what's going to come of the i7 based systems and what chipset changes will come around. Maybe in a year DDR3 will be 40-75 for 6 gb's and x58 based mobo's will be at $150-200 or less. Than maybe you'll want to upgrade to it, don't know what the future has to offer, but it's something to consider.
December 24, 2008 4:04:11 AM

I don't have time at the moment to look at your selections too closely, but having a company build a computer for you is generally more expensive. Do you have a buddy who knows how to put a computer together? Ordering each part is not a hassle, as long as you purchase through one retailer.
December 24, 2008 4:07:43 AM

The ATI HD 4870 X2 consumes less than two GTX 260 cards. We're talking 230W vs 400W or something like that, IIRC. Performace-wise, it depend son the game and resolution. For example in Age of Conan at 1920x1200 HD 4870 X2 gets 56 fps and GTX 260 SLI gets only 46. Total disaster for nVidia here :) 
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3408&p=3

But then in Crysis it's 51 fps for GTX 260 SLI vs 40 for HD 4870 X2, so it's nVidia's turn to win.
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3408&p=4

I agree with Lunyone. BTW, just because you can spend $1600 doesn't mean you have to spend it all.

The Toughpower 850W is a very good PSU. The CoolerMaster PSU is lower quality, and I never heard of Ikonik Vulcan.

BTW, you've also got the option of getting two HD 4870 1GB cards ($220 at Newegg each; one now and another later if/when needed). Or an eVGA 750i MB and a GTX 260 now, and another later. That Toughpower 850W can handle all these scenarios.
December 24, 2008 4:10:00 AM

I already have mouse/keyboard/monitor squared away.

The cost difference for me would be +$61 if I went with 1 gb HD 4870. Is it worth the cost difference from the GTX 260 216 core?

If I decided to go with only 1 video card and not go SLI, would the corsair 650tx be enough to handle just about any video card in the future that I might upgrade to? And if not, How big of a hassle is it to install a different PSU on a system that has already been built?
December 24, 2008 4:18:33 AM

I took a quick look at what the components of this would cost at newegg and I found that it was basically the same, maybe like 50 bucks less (i just looked at the major expenses, not all the smaller parts), so I feel like the deal offered by iBUYPOWER is pretty decent, plus they offer a warranty.

Sounds like I will go with the Toughpwer 850W PSU...
December 24, 2008 4:22:38 AM

Well what resolution is your monitor at??
The 4870 1gb is a good GPU and the gtx 260 is also, so it's going to depend on what games you play on which one does better than the other. The p45 based mobo's support Xfire, but I'm thinking that your probably going to want to buy the latest GPU in 12-18 months from now and won't need to have a Xfire/SLI mobo. I could be wrong in that assumption, but 95% of people are just fine with a single higher end GPU over the complexities and power requirements of a SLI/Xfire setup. Now if your monitor resolution is quite high, than a SLI/Xfire setup might make more sense.
The Corsair 650tx is plenty for any single GPU out there. It has 52A on the single 12v rail and comes with 2 x 6+2pin PCI-e power connector, so there shouldn't be any connection issues!
For a slightly better PSU and at the same price (after MIR's), I'd consider the PCP&C 750w PSU. It has 60A on the single 12v rail and comes with 2 x 6 pin and 2 x 6+2pin PCI-e power connectors, so if you SLI/Xfire a 2nd card than you will easily be able to do that with the PCP&C PSU. Either PSU will work just fine, so take that into consideration.
Finally, I'd rather have a GREAT GPU and a decent support system than a GREAT CPU and a mid-ranged GPU, as far as gaming is concerned. That final decision is up to you, but even the C2Q s775 CPU's are very capable and are no slouches!
December 24, 2008 4:25:55 AM

xthekidx said:
I took a quick look at what the components of this would cost at newegg and I found that it was basically the same, maybe like 50 bucks less (i just looked at the major expenses, not all the smaller parts), so I feel like the deal offered by iBUYPOWER is pretty decent, plus they offer a warranty.

Sounds like I will go with the Toughpwer 850W PSU...

All of the parts at Newegg have at least a 1 yr. warranty with them. The PSU's that AEVM and I have been talking about have 5 yr warranties!! The big benefit with building your own system is that your going to know a lot more about your system than your friend who had it built for him. When you run into a problem later, it'll be easier for you to troubleshoot it and you'll also take pride in saying that you build the system yourself too!
December 24, 2008 4:45:23 AM

Thanks for all the advice guys, I really appreciate it.

So cost-wise/powerconsuption-wise/noise-wise/heat-wise; would you you recommend getting a higher wattage PSU now and getting a second card for sli later, or get a more budget PSU like the 650tx and just buying the next better gpu later when it comes out?
December 24, 2008 4:48:04 AM

There is nothing wrong with that Coolermaster PSU. The old eXtreme Power Plus CM PSU's did blow, but the real power pro PSU's are just as much or higher quality than what everyone else recomends.
(Their bad rep comes from not so great PSU's before the real power series, and the fact that they throw cheap outsourced PSU's in their affordable cases.)

Honestly you're getting a great deal on the eq that you're picking up for that price. I know for a fact that some people prefer a good warranty service and someone to professionaly assemble it for them. Not everyone is a hardware hobbiest, they just want to sit down and enjoy the game.

And if that's you, then you've picked a great machine that will last a long time with affordable upgrades and awesome performance.
December 24, 2008 4:57:24 AM

^^ Ya I'm kinda afraid I'd plug in a cable to the wrong port or something and blow the thing up (figuratively speaking of course), so I'd like to get someone else to assemble it for me if I can...and if that person will warranty it for me then awesome.

So what do ppl think about benefits/cons of 1 good card vs. 2 less good cards in sli/xfire? I know that 2 cards won't get double performance of the same single card, but I'm kinda noob at this techie stuff lol. Should I build a system to accomodate the GTX260 and get another one like a year or two down the road, or should I build a system to only accomodate 1 good card and replace the GTX260 when its not getting the job done?
December 24, 2008 4:57:32 AM

Well your not getting a budget PSU with the Corsair 650tx. The 400cx is what I'd call the budget PSU from Corsair. It's no slouch either, but it was build for a tighter budget system and your not in that category. The Cooler Master pro models have been better, but I still like the other brands over the CM ones (Corsair, PCP&C, Seasonic).
December 24, 2008 4:59:49 AM

I think for ease and simplicity it is better to build the system around a single GPU solution. In 12-18 months from now the GPU's out on the market are going to be better than 2 lesser GPU's right now, so that is why I suggest a better single GPU right now.
December 24, 2008 5:00:28 AM

lunyone said:
Well what resolution is your monitor at??
The 4870 1gb is a good GPU and the gtx 260 is also, so it's going to depend on what games you play on which one does better than the other. The p45 based mobo's support Xfire, but I'm thinking that your probably going to want to buy the latest GPU in 12-18 months from now and won't need to have a Xfire/SLI mobo. I could be wrong in that assumption, but 95% of people are just fine with a single higher end GPU over the complexities and power requirements of a SLI/Xfire setup. Now if your monitor resolution is quite high, than a SLI/Xfire setup might make more sense.
The Corsair 650tx is plenty for any single GPU out there. It has 52A on the single 12v rail and comes with 2 x 6+2pin PCI-e power connector, so there shouldn't be any connection issues!
For a slightly better PSU and at the same price (after MIR's), I'd consider the PCP&C 750w PSU. It has 60A on the single 12v rail and comes with 2 x 6 pin and 2 x 6+2pin PCI-e power connectors, so if you SLI/Xfire a 2nd card than you will easily be able to do that with the PCP&C PSU. Either PSU will work just fine, so take that into consideration.
Finally, I'd rather have a GREAT GPU and a decent support system than a GREAT CPU and a mid-ranged GPU, as far as gaming is concerned. That final decision is up to you, but even the C2Q s775 CPU's are very capable and are no slouches!



I have a Samsung SyncMaster 933BW ($129 after rebates from newegg)
December 24, 2008 5:05:24 AM

If you're going with an x58 board it doesnt matter either way. You're going to have expandability whether you want it or not.
December 24, 2008 5:09:47 AM

curnel_D said:
If you're going with an x58 board it doesnt matter either way. You're going to have expandability whether you want it or not.


I'm aware that I will have multiple PCIe x16 slots, mainly my question is about the PSU, and what are the benefits/cons of going with 2 good cards sli/xfire or 1 top of the line card.
December 24, 2008 5:11:15 AM

At 1440 x 900 your gaming will be pretty good with either the 4870 1gb is going to be plenty at that resolution, IMHO. The 4870x2 will be a waste, IMO, at that resolution. If you upgrade your LCD later though, the added power of the 4870x2 will be used more!!
December 24, 2008 5:16:29 AM

lunyone said:
I think for ease and simplicity it is better to build the system around a single GPU solution. In 12-18 months from now the GPU's out on the market are going to be better than 2 lesser GPU's right now, so that is why I suggest a better single GPU right now.

I am going with a better single GPU right now. I want to know if Down the road, when the GPU I have now is mediocre, should I have a PSU that will be able to accomodate another GTX 260, or should I just replace my GTX 260 with tomorrow's top of the line card and get a less expensive PSU now that is rated for lower wattage.
December 24, 2008 5:42:56 AM

A new thought:
Should I consider any additional cooling besides the fans that will come with my PC, such as liquid cooling or anything like that? Or will the fans be sufficient with what I have right now?
December 24, 2008 5:44:13 AM

I build systems for $150 and offer free tech support and will help with the 1+ yr warranty on all parts, plus I offer www.squaretrade.com warrantys on all my rigs. 3 years for about 12% total cost.

I buy warrantys from them for all my electronics, and the are very speedy if you need something done.


Heres a look at my i7.

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/258117-31-roadrunners

Mine cost about $1200 from Newegg.



My customers get my Office Number, and can call me direct, no Chineese persons here. I offer free remote assistance tech support anytime for the life of the machine.

If you want to look at my ebay store PM me, and I'll give you the link.

Send me a newegg wishlist, and I will build it for $150 labor. My rigs dont come with all that bloatware that slows them down. Mine come fully tweaked and optimized for SPEED!!!! I build em fast and make em last.
December 24, 2008 5:47:04 AM

The Corsair 650tx is a good solid PSU that will handle any GPU out on the market, which means even the 4870x2 (~264w peak, see link in signature-GPU power).
I personally would just stick with 1 good GPU now and just upgrade it later when you feel you aren't getting out of it what you want.
December 24, 2008 5:53:47 AM

Lol @ roadrunner. /comercial :p 
December 24, 2008 6:05:54 AM

LoL, no, almost, I didn't post a link. If I can save him money and give better support why not.
December 24, 2008 1:18:39 PM

Square Trade is a life saver for small buisness owners. I ran all my systems through them. Though I tried to make at least 175 from each machine. But with brick and mortar, things are a little different. :p  (Like me never showing customers prices of specific parts unless they were buying retail which was marked up 60% at the very least.)
December 24, 2008 1:55:27 PM

I wish I could make more, but 60% markup, I could never compete with anyone elses prices.
December 24, 2008 4:42:55 PM

Thanks but no thanks roadrunner. iBUYPOWER throws in some extras that I really like, such as a couple free games, mouse, keyboard. After warranty and building fee you want, it would be about the same price I'm getting right now.
Plus, no offense, but I'd just rather go with an established company.

Thanks to everyone who gave some advice/input on this topic, I greatly appreciate it. If anyone else has any ideas about what I should do, please let me know what you think! I probably won't order for a few more days and I will keep checking this discussion a couple times a day at least.

Thanks again everyone
December 24, 2008 4:50:55 PM

roadrunner197069 said:
I build systems for $150 and offer free tech support and will help with the 1+ yr warranty on all parts, plus I offer www.squaretrade.com warrantys on all my rigs. 3 years for about 12% total cost.

I buy warrantys from them for all my electronics, and the are very speedy if you need something done.


Heres a look at my i7.

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/258117-31-roadrunners

Mine cost about $1200 from Newegg.



My customers get my Office Number, and can call me direct, no Chineese persons here. I offer free remote assistance tech support anytime for the life of the machine.

If you want to look at my ebay store PM me, and I'll give you the link.

Send me a newegg wishlist, and I will build it for $150 labor. My rigs dont come with all that bloatware that slows them down. Mine come fully tweaked and optimized for SPEED!!!! I build em fast and make em last.

How much of this did you buy from Newegg? it says in your discussion of your rig that you had the HDD's and video card from another system, are you including that in your price of about $1200 from newegg?
December 24, 2008 5:32:38 PM

Yup. 100% newegg, got some parts onsale. I think with the SSDs it came to almost $1500. I had the 2x WD 640s but I figured the cost in.

It would be $1700 bought today.

I got some major good deals.
December 24, 2008 6:00:40 PM

roadrunner197069 said:
I build systems for $150 and offer free tech support and will help with the 1+ yr warranty on all parts, plus I offer www.squaretrade.com warrantys on all my rigs. 3 years for about 12% total cost.

I buy warrantys from them for all my electronics, and the are very speedy if you need something done.


Heres a look at my i7.

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/258117-31-roadrunners

Mine cost about $1200 from Newegg.



My customers get my Office Number, and can call me direct, no Chineese persons here. I offer free remote assistance tech support anytime for the life of the machine.

If you want to look at my ebay store PM me, and I'll give you the link.

Send me a newegg wishlist, and I will build it for $150 labor. My rigs dont come with all that bloatware that slows them down. Mine come fully tweaked and optimized for SPEED!!!! I build em fast and make em last.

I didn't think we were supposed to advertise on the forums??
December 24, 2008 6:06:48 PM

Its not a advertisement, its a suggestion.
December 24, 2008 6:08:06 PM

So if I suggest to the OP to buy from me, that wouldn't be an advertisement??
December 24, 2008 6:19:28 PM

No it would be an alternative suggestion, If you post a link to your sales page, it is a advertisement.

I never said buy it from me. I said buy it from newegg and I will assemble and support for $150.

I hate to see anyone buy a PC from any major retailer.
December 24, 2008 7:02:41 PM

I understand the buying from a major retailer, just didn't think a "PM me" for more details would've been a more appropriate method, but that is just me.
December 25, 2008 2:05:14 AM

So here is what my system is looking like right now:

CoolerMaster CM 690 Gaming Tower Case
Coolermaster Real Power Pro 850w Power Supply
Certified CPU Fan and Heatsink
Asus P6T mobo (not the deluxe)
3 gb of DDR3-1333, will expand in the future
evga NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 260 216 shaders
500 GB HD, will add more later, thinking of going RAID 0 but 1 is good for now
LG 22X Dual Format/Double Layer DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW Drive w/Lightscribe
3D Premium Surround Sound Onboard
12-In-1 Internal Flash Media Card Reader/Writer
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 64 bit
Wireless 802.11g 54Mbps PCI Adapter
Built in ethernet
19" Samsung syncmaster LCD
Logitec Mouse and Keyboard

If I am considering doing some mild overclocking and adding a couple more HDD's and another video card, should I also consider getting a better cooling system? Liquid cooling and so forth, or will just having the fans in there be enough?
December 25, 2008 5:32:42 AM

bump...
December 25, 2008 5:37:20 AM

Fans and a decent CPU HSF (Xigmatek s1283 for higher OC's or Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 pro for milder OC's). I don't see a CPU listed above, this looks like a carbon copy of your original post?? Did you not learn anything??
December 25, 2008 3:52:33 PM

I have learned quite a bit, mostly about what I will be able to expand to in the future and how I should accomodate that now. I will still be using the i7 920. I'm still kinda on the fence about whether or not to go with the higher watt PSU(for 2 gpu's in the future or not). I guess I will see how much $$ it comes out to. I might just go with 650tx and then use the extra cash for a better HDD.
December 25, 2008 7:38:09 PM

or you can get an upgrade on the GPU with the savings?? That would be the best upgrade you can get for a gaming system is the GPU!!
!