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Building a new i7 build on a budget please give me your advice

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March 6, 2009 9:36:41 PM

Hello everyone this is my first post in TH, :) 

I've saved enough money for a new rig from my part time job.

I'm thinking of building a decent gaming rig that will last me for the next five years. My maximum budget is $1500 CDN before S&H and Taxes.

I'm in Canada and a University student and I havent built a new computer in 5 years or so, I did a ton of research for these parts by reading reviews and looking at other peoples builds. My current computer has a P4 HT 3.0 GHZ :p  But still plays my steam games allright but It feels like it's time to get renewed. I will be reusing the optical drive and also my soundblaster card from creative if it will support Vista. Also will put in a WiFi card from my old build.

I'm going for the i7 because I allways have more then 10 tabs open in Firefox and more then 4 Apps running at the same time. And I got programs that decode files in the background such as Winrar. I also have Documents open to as I need to work on them for school. Since the i7 has quad core seems like a no brainer and the reviews are great.

On the new build I will be installing Vista 64 bit builders edition. Might be interested in overclocking the CPU/GPU but not at the present. In the future might upgrade to SLI and also get more memory.


Here are the parts:

Case:
Antec Twelve Hundred Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail
NZXT Tempest EATX Mid Tower Case Black 3X5.25 1X3.5 8X3.5INT No PS Front USB Firewire Audio

PSU:
CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail

CPU:
Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920 - Retail

Motherboard:
ASUS P6T LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

Memory:
Patriot 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model PVT36G1333LLK - Retail
OCZ Gold OCZ3G1600LV6GK 6GB DDR3 3X2GB DDR3-1600 PC3-12800 CL 8-8-8-24 Dual Channel Memory Kit

Harddrive:
Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

GPU:
MSI N260GTX-T2D896-OCv2 GeForce GTX 260 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
BFG GeForce GTX 280 602MHZ 1024MB 2.214GHZ GDDR3 PCI-E Dual DVI-I HDCP HDTV Out Video Card

The total price before taxes and shipping and handling is: $1,515.43 CDN
There is also Mail in rebate in USD of 45$'s which is $57 CDN Which will bring my total back to $1458.43 CDN


Please let me know what I should replace or if there is anything wrong with my choice of hardware.

Also is it a good time to build a new pc in this time due to the recession? It seems that if I wait the prices will go down in less then a month instead of 6 months as I usually see them.

Looking forward to hear your thoughts and opinions.

Updated:

For those who are intrested I got it to $1,420.66 CAD after Mail in rebate.

Before mail in rebate it's $1,503.28 CAD

Shipping and handling is free. Paid $194.13 In taxes $22.07 for Shipping insurance.

and thus after that it's $1,697.41 before Mail in rebate or $1,614.79.

Thank you everyone :) 
March 6, 2009 9:52:32 PM

Looks fine... but CPU cooler?
March 6, 2009 9:57:35 PM

Is there something wrong with the stock cpu cooler?

Also I should add it's allways winter in here and my room temp is around 19C right now as I type this. We get only two months that gets over 20C.

Edit:

maybe when the price of the cpu cooler drops I will get this one. And overclock to around 3.8 GHZ

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...
Related resources
March 6, 2009 10:31:24 PM

Thanks to you I just saved 13 dollars, Also the PSU price just dropped when I checked by 19 dollars.

Thats 32 Dollars of savings :) 

Also there is still a MIR of 20$ USD which is 27$ CDN

My total now before taxes and S&H is $1,483.93 CDN and with the MIR is $14,53.93 CDN

March 7, 2009 4:32:31 PM

Buy from ncix.com. No PST if you're outside BC and they will price match. Check pricecanada.com and shopbot.ca for best prices. And if you add a $10 gift card to your order you get free ground shipping.
March 7, 2009 5:09:32 PM

They just increased the price of the case that I really want :( 

Original price: $214 and there is a -$60 instant rebate which makes the case $154.99

Now the price is : $268 and there is a -$70 instant rebate which makes the case $193.99

Check out the before and after pictures of the Antec case price!

I had screenshots of my cart so I would know what I was getting.

http://img21.imageshack.us/gal.php?g=salepriceafter.png

I'm sad now I don't think I'm going to make my purchase now will wait a bit longer.

theAnimal I'm going to check out your options but NCIX seems to be higher priced compared to newegg.ca, but I have to pay GST since I'm in Nova Scotia.
March 7, 2009 5:21:06 PM

sassan said:

theAnimal I'm going to check out your options but NCIX seems to be higher priced compared to newegg.ca, but I have to pay GST since I'm in Nova Scotia.


They will price match, and you can get free shipping with the purchase of a $10 gift card.

You will pay GST, but you shouldn't have to pay PST.
March 7, 2009 6:27:11 PM

theAnimal this is awesome :)  I can save quite a bit if the price matching does work.

I can't seem to find the $10 Gift card from NCIX for free shipping.

Where can I find it?
March 7, 2009 7:56:05 PM

sassan said:
theAnimal this is awesome :)  I can save quite a bit if the price matching does work.

I can't seem to find the $10 Gift card from NCIX for free shipping.

Where can I find it?


Here. (From the top of their weekly sale page.)
March 7, 2009 8:04:16 PM

Thanks, I had found it but forgot to post back.

Who do they ship through with the free shipping?

Going to get the big box to.

Is insurance really necessary?
March 7, 2009 8:25:50 PM

AFAIK it's Purolator. I think the insurance is worth it.
March 7, 2009 9:38:31 PM

Their good,

I'm thinking of changing the case and change it with Antec nine hundred two, what do you guys think? Worth it?
March 7, 2009 9:56:16 PM

Personally I think the main argument for the 900 is looks. The CM 690 probably has the edge for room and cooling.
March 7, 2009 10:31:48 PM

The list is quite good. But, here are some of my thoughts:

The case looks good with lots of "bling" If you want to save a bit, consider the Antec 300. It has superb cooling and will hold your parts, and then some.
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
Watch out for shipping costs on cases; they are heavy, and can cost $25 to ship. Shop around, or consider buying local.

You can save some on the psu. The PC P&C silencer610 will do nicely:
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

The zalman cooler looks nice, but it is not as effective as the lower cost Xigmatek dark night:
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...
I would get this up front. I really hate to tear apart a working PC to install such a cooler later.
The overclock of an i7 is limited primarily by how well you cool it. A good oem cooler also will be much quieter than stock when the cpu is under load.

Since you are a student, look into an academic license for Vista. It should cost much less.

---good luck---
March 7, 2009 11:24:40 PM

You can configure a Studio XPS with an i7 at Dell for $1203 including a 24" monitor.

It's not absolutely perfect (6x1GB memory, 4670 Video and 640GB HD), but those are upgrades that can be bought from Newegg for less than Dell charge and you get some money back courtesy of eBay for the parts replaced.

Most of the Build Your Own options come to about $1200 without the OS or the monitor so this is a difficult one to discard.

My hesitations are not knowing the Motherboard (how flexible will upgrades be later), I would like an eSata port on the front panel and I am trying to find out whether the monitor is 1920x1200 or not.
March 8, 2009 12:06:35 AM

How about NZXT Tempest?

Is that quite and cool? And I'm really considering getting that cooler now, but I need to get brackets for the i7 cpu. And I need to keep the budget under 1,500 Before tax.

What is the best for value and performance in terms of temperture and noise level?
I'm considering Full ATX and Mid Tower.

Also I need to decide if I should get this Gtx 280, for an extra 30 Dollars I can buy this instead of the 260.

http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=30770&promoi...
March 8, 2009 1:29:04 AM

Read the reviews on the tempest and I like it,

Ordered :) 

Things that I have changed from my original list is:

Ram: OCZ Gold OCZ3G1600LV6GK 6GB DDR3 3X2GB DDR3-1600 PC3-12800 CL 8-8-8-24 Dual Channel Memory Kit

GPU: BFG GeForce GTX 280 602MHZ 1024MB 2.214GHZ GDDR3 PCI-E Dual DVI-I HDCP HDTV Out Video Card

CASE: NZXT Tempest EATX Mid Tower Case Black 3X5.25 1X3.5 8X3.5INT No PS Front USB Firewire Audio

Thank you guys.

For those who are intrested I got it to $1,437.23 CAD after Mail in rebate.

Before mail in rebate it's $1,532.60 CAD

Shipping and handling is free. Paid $197.94 In taxes $22.50 for Shipping insurance.

and thus after that it's $1,730.54 before Mail in rebate or $1,635.17.

I hope everything gets shipped with the price matches that I have done.

Can't wait to build it.

Thanks everyone :)  specialy theAnimal, you made my budget happen.
March 8, 2009 1:41:17 AM

Tempest is a good case that I keep on my short list of recommended parts... well it's a big list actually.

It sounds like you got a pretty good deal in loonies :)  Do they even make loonies anymore?
March 8, 2009 1:55:08 AM

LOL, shoulda gotten here earlier (You already ordered parts?) , but this video card is better and cheaper than your MSI 260.

Only 255 USD after MIR

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Edit, Sorry, it's not cheaper. Your card was 288 CAD, this is 334. Sorry! Canada Link:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

But if you have the extra $50 (and haven't ordered parts yet) This card kicks the ass out of that other one.

Much Higher Memory and processor clocks, plus it has 216 Cores, compared to the standard 192(?)
March 8, 2009 3:06:42 AM

I got this instead:

BFG GeForce GTX 280 602MHZ 1024MB 2.214GHZ GDDR3 PCI-E Dual DVI-I HDCP HDTV Out Video Card

http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=30770&promoi...

It was on sale :) 

@Proximon
I liked the look of it and It seemed to have a good price. Reviews said it will fit more than one GTX 280. And the Antec didnt seem to be a good one for large video cards.

My current computer has 8 fans and it's a helicopter.

Yea we still have loonies :p 

March 8, 2009 6:06:18 AM

sassan said:
Thanks everyone :)  specialy theAnimal, you made my budget happen.


No problem! :) 
March 11, 2009 6:37:28 AM

Those are both good. I favor the V8 a bit, but the Noctua is probably quieter.
March 11, 2009 4:44:07 PM

Does the V8 overclock better?
March 11, 2009 4:58:14 PM

The impression I get is that Stock <= Aftermarket Fanless < Aftermarket with Fan < Water Cooling, but that within each category the difference between best and worst is relatively minor.

Therefore, it tends to be things like size and noise that determine people's preference rather than raw cooling performance.

Heck, a water cooler in a case without adequate ventilation is probably worse than the stock cooler with 7 case fans blowing the right way.

Unless you are trying to find the last milliHz of clock speed, I doubt that the overclockability of a cooler matters that much with the relatively limited range of coolers available for the i7; Noctua, Xigmatek, Cooler Master V8 and V10 seem to be the main choices but the 6 memory slots can cause problems with some of the bigger coolers anyway.
March 11, 2009 5:16:23 PM

Siggy19 said:
The impression I get is that Stock <= Aftermarket Fanless < Aftermarket with Fan < Water Cooling, but that within each category the difference between best and worst is relatively minor.

Therefore, it tends to be things like size and noise that determine people's preference rather than raw cooling performance.

Heck, a water cooler in a case without adequate ventilation is probably worse than the stock cooler with 7 case fans blowing the right way.

Unless you are trying to find the last milliHz of clock speed, I doubt that the overclockability of a cooler matters that much with the relatively limited range of coolers available for the i7; Noctua, Xigmatek, Cooler Master V8 and V10 seem to be the main choices but the 6 memory slots can cause problems with some of the bigger coolers anyway.


Thanks for the reply siggy, I was thinking around 3Ghz on stock cooler.

Max I would go for if I get a cooler is 3.8 Ghz.

Is it safe to overclock to 3ghz on stock cooler?

What is a safe temp to stay on?

That is what I'm worried about that my CPU will blow up hehe
March 11, 2009 6:02:14 PM

Always just go to Frostytech for your cooler reviews:

http://www.frostytech.com/
Although they seem to be having some issues with their LGA 1366 testing. They use a different methodology to test coolers, and it's much less prone to error and gives more reliable results.

The Noctua and the Xigmatek both use the same Heatpipe Direct Touch (HDT) design, and should give similar excellent cooling. The V8 will probably come in about 1C warmer over all, but has the manual fan adjustment and will mount easier (I think.)

If it were me, I would go with the Xigmatek. But then that's just me playing safe as I already own the LGA 775 version and get great temps out of it.
March 11, 2009 6:32:30 PM

sassan said:
Thanks for the reply siggy, I was thinking around 3Ghz on stock cooler.
Max I would go for if I get a cooler is 3.8 Ghz.
Is it safe to overclock to 3ghz on stock cooler?
What is a safe temp to stay on?
That is what I'm worried about that my CPU will blow up hehe


I'm no expert, but if you follow the instructions, overclocking has pretty much no risk, I gather...

I gather that this is the basic process, but others can advise you better on the details, such as what temperatures to look for etc.

Try a small overclock. Run Prime95 on all the cores for at least an hour. See how hot the CPU gets and whether any errors occur.

If all is good, bump up the overclock a bit and try again.

When you get an error, drop it down two steps and run Prime95 on all the cores for 24 hours. If no errors, you're set.

If you don't tinker with the voltage, you should be fairly safe, although you won't get the maximum overclock. Tinkering with the voltage can fry the CPU, but again, you should be okay if you take it slowly and follow the advice of the people who know what they are doing.
March 12, 2009 12:47:13 AM

Proximon said:
Always just go to Frostytech for your cooler reviews:

http://www.frostytech.com/
Although they seem to be having some issues with their LGA 1366 testing. They use a different methodology to test coolers, and it's much less prone to error and gives more reliable results.

The Noctua and the Xigmatek both use the same Heatpipe Direct Touch (HDT) design, and should give similar excellent cooling. The V8 will probably come in about 1C warmer over all, but has the manual fan adjustment and will mount easier (I think.)

If it were me, I would go with the Xigmatek. But then that's just me playing safe as I already own the LGA 775 version and get great temps out of it.


It seems that http://ncix.com/products/?sku=35245 Noctua will make alot less noise than the Xigmatek. Damn this is a hard decision now! I want to figure out which one is better, I don't want to get one and regret it.
March 12, 2009 1:08:37 AM

sassan said:
It seems that http://ncix.com/products/?sku=35245 Noctua will make alot less noise than the Xigmatek. Damn this is a hard decision now! I want to figure out which one is better, I don't want to get one and regret it.

Coolers don't make noise; the fans that they use do.

The noise that the fans make are primarily due to the RPM at which they spin, and that is under YOUR control.

There are minor differences in the efficiency of coolers, and under what conditions, just like there are minor differences in sound characteristics of fans.
Don't sweat over those differences.
Still, you will be pleased with either cooler& fan.
March 12, 2009 6:09:47 AM

geofelt said:
Coolers don't make noise; the fans that they use do.

The noise that the fans make are primarily due to the RPM at which they spin, and that is under YOUR control.

There are minor differences in the efficiency of coolers, and under what conditions, just like there are minor differences in sound characteristics of fans.
Don't sweat over those differences.
Still, you will be pleased with either cooler& fan.



+1 :) 
March 12, 2009 5:15:09 PM

Thanks again,

Allright check this one out Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme 1366RT Heatpipe Cooler LGA1366 120MM Fan FDB 1600RPM 28.0DBA 63.7CFM

http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=34994&promoi...

It's on sale now for $69.99

Performance/Value wise would you go with that or

Xigmatek

More CFM and same design I belive.

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...

And it's 49.99$'s


Then there is Noctua NH-U12P SE1366 LGA1366 i7 Heatpipe Cooler W/ 2XNH-P12 120MM Fan
http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=35245

Comes with two fans

$79.99


Anyone has any experience with these? For value/good performance which one would you guys recomend? Any reviews?

March 12, 2009 7:11:06 PM

Sassan, you may wanna try Canadacomputers.com. That is where im going to be building my computer and they have sine pretty kick ass prices.. I am from ontario so I can just go to one of their stores and order the parts without paying S&H, but you still might be able to get a better price on your computer.
March 12, 2009 8:32:16 PM

Actually lightadam, The price of the parts before taxes are

$1,643.93 on Canada computers.

Same parts I got from NCIX with price match all total for $1503.28 Including free shipping and handling.

And so far NCIX has been very nice, I'm just waiting for my parts to get shipped.
March 13, 2009 2:15:17 AM

lightadam said:
Sassan, you may wanna try Canadacomputers.com. That is where im going to be building my computer and they have sine pretty kick ass prices.. I am from ontario so I can just go to one of their stores and order the parts without paying S&H, but you still might be able to get a better price on your computer.


With ncix, you will pay no PST. Plus the OP got free shipping.
March 19, 2009 2:00:38 PM

My parts just arrived :D 

Going to build it, It's been a long time since I've done this.

Wish me luck
March 22, 2009 2:03:40 PM

So the build is finished,

I installed windows 7, everything seems to be okay.

Is there a tutorial on how to benchmark an i7 build?

I want to make sure my memory is running at the advertised speed.

Any help would be good :) 
March 22, 2009 5:50:23 PM

sassan said:
So the build is finished,

I installed windows 7, everything seems to be okay.

Is there a tutorial on how to benchmark an i7 build?

I want to make sure my memory is running at the advertised speed.

Any help would be good :) 


CPU-Z will tell you what speed your ram is running at, among other things like your clock rate and bios level.
!