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$1400 or Less i7 Build

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March 12, 2009 4:02:16 AM

Originally posted in CPU forum because I didn't know this one existed.

Building a computer, I have a whole $1400 to spend. I was originally planning on keeping it under $1000, and I probably could if I swapped out the i7 with a Quad Core to either bring it down below $1000, or allow myself to put a better video card in here. But the way I see it, the i7 is worth it so I don't have to upgrade as much down the road. Or am I wrong?

I will be using this computer for pretty much everything. Gaming, torrents, general internet use, etc.

1 x Cooler Master Elite 330 Chassis ($54.99)
http://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/PID-MX14200(ME).aspx

1 x Intel - Core i7 Processor 920 2.66GHz w/ 8MB Cache ($374.99)
http://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/PID-MX22588(ME).aspx

1 x Gigabyte - GA-EX58-DS4 w/ TripleDDR3 2100, 7.1 Audio, Gigabit Lan, 1394, PCI-E, CrossFireX ($279.99)
http://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/PID-MX22907(ME).aspx

1 x Patriot - Extreme Performance Viper Series DDR3 6GB (3 x 2GB) PC3-10666 Enhanced Latency DIMM Kit ($119.99)
http://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/PID-MX22582(ME).aspx

1 x Western Digital - 320GB Caviar Blue 7200rpm SATA II w/ 16MB Cache ($59.99)
http://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/PID-MX12534(ME).aspx

1 x eVGA e-GeForce 9800 GT SuperClocked 512MB PCI-E w/ Dual DVI, HTDV-Out
http://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/PID-MX21589(ME).aspx

1 x ANTEC - TruePower Trio 650W Power Supply w/ Triple +12V ($119.99)
http://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/PID-MX15223(ME).aspx

1 x Microsoft - Windows Vista Home Basic x64 (64-bit) DVD w/ SP1, OEM, 1-Pack ($115.99)

Grand Total: $1365 after GST

Now, there's a couple things. I have an older system I can steal some parts out of. Unfortunately the only thing that could really be used is the DVD-Writer. So that saves me $30 or so. There is a 160GB HD in there, but I don't know what speed its at. I'm going to turn it on later and check, and if it somehow happens to be 7200RPM I'll just use that instead, saving me another $60.

As well, I really am not sure what size of PSU to use with these parts. My friend suggested I get AT LEAST 700W, so I threw a 650W in there as a placeholder. Does anyone know for sure what size I will need?

And I know this question was somewhat answered in a previous topic I made, but is it a good idea to use the i7? I know it's expensive, and to keep costs down I had to skimp a tad on the video card and case, but I'm assuming it will last me a HELL of a lot longer than say a Quad Core. I know I could overclock the Quad to get some crazy good speeds, but I could also run this thing at stock for a while, and then a couple years down the road when it needs it, OC it. Can this chip take an OCing in comparison to others?

If you have any suggestions as to places where I could cut costs, or maybe should spend a little more, let me know. Like for example, getting a 9600 instead of the 9800 for cheaper. Or maybe a 4350? Stuff like that.

Thanks a bunch guys.

EDIT: Sorry guys, I just read another topic and forgot to include some stuff in this post. Newbie here, don't judge haha. I live in Canada, and will probably be buying all of my stuff off of www.memoryexpress.com. I checked out newegg.ca, and they have comparative prices, but then I would have to pay for shipping as well, which pushes it over what I would pay at Mem Express.

More about : 1400 build

March 12, 2009 4:23:07 AM

With a 9800GT as your video card you could get buy with a 400-500W PSU unless you're planning on using more than one....or possibly upgrading to a more powerful GPU later.

I think most everyone here would recommend the Corsair 650TX over the Antec TruePower Trio. The Corsair 550VX would also be a good choice. OCZ 600W GameXStream (+) or OCZ 600W StealthXStream (-) would also be acceptable PSUs from that source of supply. Any of those would handle 2x 9800GTX+ in SLI.

Core i7 CPUs overclock well, but depending on your monitor size / resolution (???) it might not do much good as you'll be GPU limited.

To be honest you'd do a LOT better getting a more powerful GPU then building the rest of the system you can afford around that video card.
March 12, 2009 4:33:19 AM

WR2 said:
With a 9800GT as your video card you could get buy with a 400-500W PSU unless you're planning on using more than one....or possibly upgrading to a more powerful GPU later.

I think most everyone here would recommend the Corsair 650TX over the Antec TruePower Trio. The Corsair 550VX would also be a good choice. OCZ 600W GameXStream (+) or OCZ 600W StealthXStream (-) would also be acceptable PSUs from that source of supply. Any of those would handle 2x 9800GTX+ in SLI.

Core i7 CPUs overclock well, but depending on your monitor size / resolution (???) it might not do much good as you'll be GPU limited.

To be honest you'd do a LOT better getting a more powerful GPU then building the rest of the system you can afford around that video card.


I am definitely planning on upgrading the video card later. I just don't see the point in getting a really damn good video card when it is so easy to upgrade them later on. Also, I have heard from quite a few people/places that Intel is sort of done with the 776 platform.
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March 12, 2009 5:14:31 AM

They are pretty much done with 775, Intel might release another round, but just because its their old platform doesn't mean its not good...its better than anything AMD has to offer at this point. Its second only to the i7. You won't see any difference in gaming between an E8500 vs an i7 920, at stock the core 2 might actually do better due to its faster clock. If this is a gaming build, you should really put more into the GPU, its much more important than the CPU.
March 12, 2009 5:14:39 AM

I've been looking through all the other posts on the i7, and have noticed a couple trends in opinions.

People seem to want to advise people to get a killer video card and a Core 2 Duo rather than a lesser video card and an i7. I realize that the GPU is where your system is most likely to bottleneck, and that getting a lesser card right now isn't going to take full advantage of the i7. But look to the future.

What are you going to do in 2/3 years when that 2Duo you bought has to be switched out with an i7 anyways? By that time your probably going to want a new video card as well for DX11.

From what I can tell from all the reading I've done over the past week or so on this subject, it seems to me that going with the Core 2 Duo and say a 4870x2 is a better gaming option than an i7 and a 4850 RIGHT NOW[\b]. IMO, would it not make more sense to future proof yourself with a CPU and more importantly a motherboard that is not at the end of its lifecycle?
March 12, 2009 5:30:54 AM

IMO futureproofing cost more than it saves. I build my system with the expectation that I'll replace the CPU/GPU or the CPU/Mobo/GPU/Ram every 12 months (basically costs me about $400 every year for the refresh).

But your right, if you want futureproof the system as much as possible an i7 DDR3 board is the right path because when you hit that CPU bottleneck you'll have to replace your Mobo/CPU/RAM if your using LGA775. If your on an i7 then in 2 years time you can switch the CPU and add some RAM.

The thing is that in today's gaming landscape I believe game system requirements won't esclate like they did pre-crysis. So, systems are going to have longer lives because of this software trend. The next big jump in PC system requirements is probably going to occur whenever XBOX 3 and PS4 arrive in full force.
March 12, 2009 6:01:49 AM

Do you guys honestly think that game developers will utilize FOUR cores so much to the point that two extremely fast cores (i.e. overclocked C2D) will be inadequate/bottlenecked in games within the next 3-4 years? I'm pretty sure most all of today's games can be run w/o problems on a P4 single core processor, and a modern video card. Just my $.02
March 12, 2009 6:14:44 AM

foolycooly said:
I'm pretty sure most all of today's games can be run w/o problems on a P4 single core processor, and a modern video card.


Most can run on a PII, probably. Indeed, neither Minesweeper nor Solitaire need any graphics card. But you don't want to play 'most' games, you want to play the latest, newest, best games.

Those are the ones that are going to need Mo Betta Power.

Due to the economy, game writers may try to avoid upping the ante too much this year, but in 2010 every decent new game will benefit from multiple cores (and from the latest GPUs as well).
March 12, 2009 6:49:24 AM

Siggy19 said:
...but in 2010 every decent new game will benefit from multiple cores (and from the latest GPUs as well).

What are you basing that claim on? I'm not saying I don't think they will, but from what I have seen multithreaded games are a ways off.
March 12, 2009 7:20:49 AM

xthekidx said:
What are you basing that claim on? I'm not saying I don't think they will, but from what I have seen multithreaded games are a ways off.


So is 2010.

It's a guess, but if I were writing a game at the moment that involved lots of things happening at once, I'd probably spawn a seperate child process for each of those things and the main application would then simply act as a conductor, responding to what the current status is at that moment.

Heck, I can actually see some problems in the early days with programs that run too fast on some systems because the programmer did not bother to include a way to synchronise the various threads. I am old enough to remember this happening on the 286 when it was introduced and the clock speed went from 4.77MHz to 8MHz or more - some programs couldn't cope and that is why the IBM AT had the famous Turbo button to allow the user to slow it down if needed.
March 12, 2009 12:20:18 PM

Siggy19 said:
It's a guess, but if I were writing a game at the moment that involved lots of things happening at once, I'd probably spawn a seperate child process for each of those things and the main application would then simply act as a conductor, responding to what the current status is at that moment.
Don't forget that a lot of 2010 "new" programs will run gaming "engines" built before 2008, and maybe if you're lucky, with some tweaks like DX11 support added. Rarely do you see a complete re-write of the game software. Even new production teams will re-use buckets of old code when they think it will save money.

And game developers don't want to shut out the "mainstream" of revenue, those people that have modest systems so they'll develop for the lowest possible spec they feel they can sell to maximize sales and profits (who believes those game box Minimum Requirements anyway?)

You might do the programming to "spawn a seperate child process" but you can bet game producers and publishers (and their accountants) are reluctant to pay the programmers to stop working while they learn new multi-threading programming techniques.

With game production costs easily hitting several million dollars and major titles running to eight figures there is a lot of pressure to not make the best game they can, but to make as much money as possible.
March 12, 2009 1:45:46 PM

Some interesting points here guys.. So I guess another option would be to get a much cheaper 775 Mobo, and maybe throw that Dual Core you mentioned in there..

How are the Quad Cores? Or for that matter the Phenom?
March 12, 2009 2:00:52 PM

Core 2 Quads are very good, they run the same processing chips as the duo's, but the duo's can OC higher due to lower temps and more cache per core. In games, since most will not use all 4 cores, it is better to have two high clocked cores than 4 fairly high clocked cores. However in productivity work, the Quads are more desirable because that brand of work will use all 4 cores.

Phenom's are garbage. Phenom II's are good, the cores of the AMD chips are not quite as good clock for clock, but AMD makes up for that with unlocked multipliers on many of their CPU's, and adding a third core on the x3 to compete with the core 2's, as well as undercutting Intel's prices. I think it would be wise for you to consider a PII build. The PII x4 940 will be a relevant CPU for at least 3 years I would say, and it handles very well in games, as well as overclocks very well too.
March 12, 2009 2:06:08 PM

xthekidx said:
I think it would be wise for you to consider a PII build. The PII x4 940 will be a relevant CPU for at least 3 years I would say, and it handles very well in games, as well as overclocks very well too.


Ya I was actually looking at a package deal that memoryexpress had for the x4 940. It was $500 for the cpu and mobo. Doesn't save a TON, but still something to think about.

I totally understand that the Dual Core can be overclocked more, and has better gaming performance, but I don't think I'd want to go less than a Quad at this point in time.

EDIT: There is a deal going on at one store thats close to me. It's a BFG GeForce GTX 260 OCX MaxCore 896MB for $199.99 CAD. It's a refurb. Would you recommend I pick that up?
March 12, 2009 2:22:54 PM

No dont' get refurbished or open box PC components, you will be more likely to have a problem with it than a sealed one. Sometimes you get a great deal that way, but the chances of getting a dud are too good for me to be temped by it.
March 12, 2009 2:44:14 PM

An open-box graphics card (or similar) can be a good deal... plug it in and see if it works... there really isn't much that can be wrong with it if it does work.

For anything that gets 'wear' (hard drives, even PSU) or where some parts may not be used on day 1 (Motherboard), I'd be less happy about it being open-box... too much chance of problems down the line past the return date.
March 12, 2009 7:12:24 PM

remlap13 said:
Ya I was actually looking at a package deal that memoryexpress had for the x4 940. It was $500 for the cpu and mobo. Doesn't save a TON, but still something to think about.

I totally understand that the Dual Core can be overclocked more, and has better gaming performance, but I don't think I'd want to go less than a Quad at this point in time.

EDIT: There is a deal going on at one store thats close to me. It's a BFG GeForce GTX 260 OCX MaxCore 896MB for $199.99 CAD. It's a refurb. Would you recommend I pick that up?


Here's an XFX GTX260 216 for $210AR
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=30572&promoi...
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