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First timer building an i7 machine on a budget. Need Advice!

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March 18, 2009 7:57:03 PM

I am looking to build an i7 machine at the lowest possible price without resorting to cheap components. This is my first time building my own PC and I've been trying to do my homework but there's a lot I'm still not too sure of like ram timings and PSU quality. So I'd appreciate any input you guys could give me in regards to component selection, compatibility and any other advice you'd like to give me.

I plan to use the computer for gaming at 1280x1024, but also at 1680x1050 or 1920x1080 when I eventually get a new monitor. I also plan on overclocking either immediately or at some point in the future, so I want to be sure my motherboard and memory will allow for that. I'd like to buy the parts within 2-4 weeks, and I'd like to keep my budget at $1000 or less.

Here's the build:

Case: Antec Three Hundred: $35 (will purchase used from a friend)

CPU: Intel i7 920: $230 from Microcenter

Mobo: ASUS P6T LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail: $249.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131359

RAM: OCZ OCZ3X1600LV6GK PC3-12800 6GK Intel Extreme XMP Tri Channel Kit: $133, $73 after rebate
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/rebates/B001MWRUZ8/ref=dp_rebates_1?tag=slickdeals&ie=UTF8&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&s=electronics

Video card: MSI R4870-T2D1G Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail : $199, $175 after rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127400

PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail: $95
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139005

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black WD5001AALS 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM: $75
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136320

DVD RW: LG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model GH22NS30 - OEM: $24
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136152

OS: Windows 7 64 bit Beta, will purchase Windows 7 64 bit OEM upon release

Price: $1041 before rebates, $957 after rebates (This assumes the rebates actually go through)

I was also looking at this CPU cooler and then the socket 1366 adapter:
Xigmatek 120mm HDT-S1283 3-Heat Pipe Universal CPU Cooler: $20 after rebate
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0288207
But I'm not sure if it would fit in my case. Can anyone hazard a guess if it would fit or not? It would be nice if I could buy it now because it seems like a great deal on a good cooler.

What do you guys think of this build? Am I skimping too much? Would there be a cheaper, yet still good quality PSU I could buy? I have no plans on running XFire or SLI. Will the RAM I selected still allow for OCing?

Finally, I was planning on having a friend pick up that i7 920 at Microcenter in Denver and then package and ship it to me in another state. Do you think this is a good/bad idea? I'd save $40-$50 this way.

Again, thanks for the help!
March 18, 2009 8:58:55 PM

Nice catch on the HDD. Having tons of storage isn't that important to me, but it's hard to say no to 140 more GB for $5!
Related resources
March 23, 2009 3:01:39 PM

Shameless bump.

Can anyone else weigh in on my build? I mostly want to be sure my ram will allow for overclocking, and I was wondering if I could save some money on a cheaper but still quality PSU.

Thanks for any help.
March 23, 2009 3:27:02 PM

Actually, I'd recommend you spend $20 more and get the 750TX instead of the 650TX. That would allow you to do Crossfire later when/if you buy a monitor capable of 1920x1080 or 1920x1200. Two HD 4870 1GB cards in Crossfire can deliver 60 fps at those resolutions in almost any game, but a single one can't. You do want to aim for 60 fps because that's usually the refresh rate of the monitor, i.e. as good as it gets.

Mind you, the 650TX can power two HD 4870 cards, but you'd need to buy two molex->PCI-E adapters.

The Xigmatek Dark Knight will fit in the Antec 300, no worries. I found a reviewer at Newegg who has that combination. The Antec 300 is 8.1" wide, just like the Antec 900 or the P182, and most popular coolers will fit.
March 23, 2009 3:42:27 PM

pvcasey said:
Shameless bump.

Can anyone else weigh in on my build? I mostly want to be sure my ram will allow for overclocking, and I was wondering if I could save some money on a cheaper but still quality PSU.

Thanks for any help.


That psu you have in your build is a bit light for Crossfire I would think.

http://www.buy.com/prod/corsair-750w-tx-series-80-plus-... $100.24 Price After Rebate(s): $80.24 Shipping: FREE
Corsair TX CMPSU-750TX ATX12V & EPS12V Power Supply

This mobo here is set up for SLI and Crossfire

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $209.99
GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD3R-SLI LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

This card runs right in between the 4870 and the 4850

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $159.99
EVGA 01G-P3-1155-TR GeForce GTS 250 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
Free Call of Duty: World at War w/ purchase, limited offer

http://techgage.com/article/evga_geforce_gts_250_superc... <=== test results for the gts 250 1 gig

http://techreport.com/articles.x/16504 <=== more test results

http://www.legitreviews.com/article/913/1/ <=== more test results

http://www.ninjalane.com/reviews/video/palit_gts250 <=== more test results

two boards that run Crossfire only

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $209.99 ($194.99 after $15.00 Mail-In Rebate)
GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $189.99 ($169.99 after $20.00 Mail-In Rebate)
MSI X58 Pro LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
March 23, 2009 7:29:57 PM

Quote:
Building an i7 machine on a budget


Your first mistake.
March 25, 2009 2:35:40 AM

I don't know, to not consider SLI or crossfire when going on an x58 motherboard, all of which sport at least two PCIe x16 slots... I mean, the x4 pathway on the last slot for the P6T would work for a 4870. Breaking the budget a bit for a 750w PSU really wouldn't be a bad idea to support an expansion in the future. It is an i7 after all, it's a waste not to utilize its full potential and expansion properties. It'd also be painful to toss away a perfectly good 500-650w PSU when that day comes you do want to crossfire another 4870.
March 25, 2009 2:41:02 PM

i7 on a budget=bad idea, very childish ideas
March 25, 2009 3:16:43 PM

And the i7 builds keep going down in price.... :) 

http://cmstore.coolermaster-usa.com/product_info.php?pr... $45.99
CM 690 Black SECC/ATX Mid Tower, W/O window, W/O PSU - Refurbished

http://www.buy.com/prod/corsair-750w-tx-series-80-plus-... $100.24 Price After Rebate(s): $80.24 Shipping: FREE
Corsair TX CMPSU-750TX ATX12V & EPS12V Power Supply

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $189.99 ($169.99 after $20.00 Mail-In Rebate)
MSI X58 Pro LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=I7-920 $265.99 Free Ground Shipping
Intel Core i7 Processor i7-920 2.66GHz 8MB LGA1366 CPU, OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $39.99
XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $6.99
ARCTIC COOLING MX-2 Thermal Compound - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $99.99 Free Shipping*
G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $79.99 Free Shipping*
Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $24.99 Free Shipping*
LG Black 22X (CAV) DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X (CAV) DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 22X DVD±R DVD Burner - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $189.99
SAPPHIRE 100259-1GL Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail / Heatpipes Cooling Design

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $99.99 Free Shipping*
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders - OEM

Total: $1,144.14 *(not including shipping and rebates)
April 20, 2009 6:19:09 PM

pvcasey said:


Can anyone else weigh in on my build? I mostly want to be sure my ram will allow for overclocking, and I was wondering if I could save some money on a cheaper but still quality PSU.

Thanks for any help.


I would actually not worry about the RAM, for now. DDR3 is still pretty immature, meaning that you'll pay through the nose to get good (for now) stuff. Kind of the way I bought a laptop with a m8600GT (half gig) in August of 07, when it had been on the street for like two weeks...and it was underpowered and overpriced in about two minutes flat. What I'm saying is that you'll probably be able to replace whatever DDR3 you buy today with something with a higher clock, lower cas, and more overclockability for half the price by Christmas...Your post-rebate price is great for what you're getting, but I NEVER count post rebate prices as legitimate...I'm getting similar RAM (8-8-8-20) to yours for $85, no rebate. Rebates are a scam....2/3 of customers lose the paperwork or don't bother and never get paid...another quarter get strung along for months and months in the hope that they'll give up and never get paid...rebate processors actually get paid part of the money saved when they make sure the customer never gets paid...I think I read that rebates are paid out in a reasonable amount of time about 7% of the time...and fewer than 1/5 ever get paid at all!
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