Need help choosing a CPU and motherboard

I could use some help with picking a couple of components for a new gaming PC. It's been a long time since I've built a new computer so I'm still trying to get myself up to date with everything.

First off is the CPU. I know that I want to go with Intel and that I can afford one that's about the cost of the i7 920. Now while normally I would just take it, the motherboard along with the DDR3 that has to come with it put it out of my budget so what I need is the next best thing. the extreme edition quads and the Q9650 are both out of my price range so as far as I can tell I'm left with either the Q9550 or the E8600. From the benchmarks I've been able to find there's no clear winner so which is the better choice? (or should I go with something else entirely?)

And then there's the motherboard which is what I know the least about. I know that I need it to support DDR2, I don't need RAID (but it's not that big of a deal if it does have it) and that if it has built in support for 4.1 speakers it would be great since I won't be needing a PCI sound card then (also not that important if it means that I can get a better preforming board without it). Whatever the choice is it should obviously support the CPU that I take. As for the price it should ideally cost at least 30-50 bucks less then the CPU but I can be flexible if the results are worth it.

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More about need choosing motherboard
  1. You should use the CPU that best fits your personal usage. See my guide linked in my sig or at the top of this forum. It will help you choose the CPU and explain some of the motherboard choices.
  2. Between Q9550 and E8600, I'd say you should pick the Q9550. That's simply because you have kept your current CPu for a long time and I'm assuming you will do the same with the new CPU. Long-term, the quad is better.

    Check out the GA-EP45-UD3P and G.Skill HK 4GB DDR2-800.
  3. You're probably right about the Q9550. in all the benchmarks I've seen even if the E8600 is ahead then it's usually not by much although when the Q9550 is ahead it's by a pretty decent margin.

    As for the GA-EP45-UD3P, it looks pretty good and so does the GA-EP45-UD3R. they're almost identical as far as I can tell so any one of them will do.

    Thanks for the help, much appreciated.
  4. If you want a INTEL i7 920 with a good motherboard for $785.00 check the link below on ebay.

    Or you were saying you could not afford a QX9650, so y not buy just the Q9650 its the same as the QX9650 only without the overclocking features, for instance the QX9650 is $679.00
    and the same> Q9650 is only $339.99, both of these can be found on ebay or maybe cheaper somewhere else like
    This would save you alot of money on a i7 system, because i7 systems cost alot of money with all the DDR3 features, where as with a Q9650 system the motherboard & ram would work out alot cheaper and you would still get a world beating system.
  5. Between GA-EP45-UD3P and GA-EP45-UD3R, the "P" allows two video cards. That's useful if you're a manic gamer and have a big monitor and expect to use Crossfire. Also useful if you expect to use 3 or 4 monitors at some point (because a typical video card supports two monitors, and with the "P" you can add a cheap second card.) If none of those applies to you then you might as well save the difference and get the "R".
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