Looking for advice on a new budget-to-mid-range PC.

HI, a few months ago i was trying to figure what components to buy for my new gaming PC. I was into AMD setup, but recently i figured that the INTEL processors were much more faster and better, and more expensive too.

So during these months i was looking for Intel PCs.

CPU: According too tom's hardware and many other sites the new version of quad core Intel is the i7 using some new technology. But i find them to be too expensive.
These are new series and from what i understand they need 1366socket which is only used by this processors, and there are only 4 Gigabyte motherboards for this socket, and only x58 chipset.
For choosing CPU i think the E8600 - i don't know if this is the best, but what i need is CPU in the 100$-450$ range.
Q: What's so great about the i7?

Motherboard: Anything that could support 1. connecting to 2 or more graphic cards (either ATI's CrossfireX or nVidia's SLI) and the 2.CPU.
Q: Which Technology is better CrossfireX or SLI, which one is more popular?

Video Card: ATI or nVidia - the one that is better in price/performance ratio and in the 200$-400$ range.

PSU & Cooler: Any that could handle this build. After a year I plan overclocking this so any suggestions about overclocking are expected.

HDD: WD 500GB or 1TB SATA 32MB 7200RPM

Q: DDR2 or DDR3 and whats the difference, is DDR3 much more better than DDR2?

Final: How long this PC will last before it gets too old (outdated)?

Any suggestions or advices greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
2 answers Last reply
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  1. 1. The i7 processors are the fastest at multithreaded applications and applications that are optimized for quad core computing. The i7 920 is also competitively priced with the Q9550-Q9650 and the E8600.

    2. The socket 1366 motherboards (X58) run about $100 more then the P45 motherboards, and less then $50 more then the X48 motherboards when comparing same features. Some X58 boards also feature both crossfire and SLI capabilities.

    3. SLI and Crossfire seem to be trading off which is better based on drivers and based on which GPU has the best performance at competitive prices. SLI was the most popular before the HD4xxx series came out, now crossfire is more popular with the HD4xxx series and the AMD/Intel chipsets, the X58 with SLI available is having an impact though.

    4. DDR3 is faster, but not by much in terms of real world performance, we've also seen the prices of DDR3 dropping with the advent of the X58 platform.

    5. There is no such thing as "future proof", there is no such thing as "a free lunch", right now the i7 platform will be the longest lasting system to handle future advances in software, but it comes at a cost of between $100 and $200. If you can afford the extra money, then the i7 is the best answer........ at this time (imo)
  2. If you're looking for value, the E8400 would serve a better purpose since u can just get it cheaper and overclock. The core i7's are very good, but as you said, are expensive, but on the plus side, they are future proof. I find that they show their advantage in gaming when using multi-gpu's with sli or crossfire, so you may want to reconsider there and get the 920.

    If you decide on the E8400 or E8600, then a P45 motherboard would be the best value, maybe an ASUS P5Q, you would have to make sure it has 2 PCIe slots. P45 boards only support crossfire though. If however, you decide on the core i7 setup, the Asus P6T seems to have the best value, and they support both sli and crossfire, but reviews show that sli scale much better, for now at least.

    As for memory, it's not so much a question of which is better, just use what your motherboard requires. You will just end up getting the type of memory after you have decided what motherboard you're using. DDR3 is obviously faster, but its higher latencies sometimes give them a disadvantege in comparison to DDR2, and its more expensive and doesn't really offer a perfromance increase given the cost.

    Either of these setups will still be fairly good in the future, the i7 will live longer as it does use 4 cores.

    Video card: newegg has the 4870 512mb for as low as $195. Instead of getting crossfire, you could get the 4850X2 or 4870X2. For the i7 setup, I would recommend a couple of GTX 260 Core 216's for around $260 each on newegg.

    PSU: perhaps an OCZ GameXStream 800W. Just make sure it has about 4 PCIe connectors incase you want 2 video cards.
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