APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Next 2 weeks BUDGET RANGE: US$1200 SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: General Purpose, Longevity, Gaming (mostly strategy or things like The Sims), Programming, Surfing PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg.Com or Frys, if too heavy to ship PARTS PREFERENCES: I want to be able to easily upgrade after a year or two for a performance boost; overclocking, extra RAM, an extra Video Card, maybe adding an SSD as the OS and Application drive OVERCLOCKING: In the future, probably SLI OR CROSSFIRE: In the future, probably MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1200
CPU:i7-920 - $280 Motherboard: Asus P6T - $240 Is this okay for two 4870's in the future ? Cooler:Xigmatek Dark Knight S1283V - $40 Seems like the best balance of performance and affordability. Cooling Goo: Any suggestions ? I do not expect to need to replace the cooler so prefer something that lasts forever, I'm not planning to lap the CPU or Cooler, but may do so if I have to wait for parts and get bored. RAM:OCZ 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3-1333 - $100 CAS of 7, 1.5V and a heatspreader - sounds ideal for the 920... or am I missing something ? Video: Probably 4890 if I can get it for about $200. The 275 sounds like it will be a bit more expensive and may not be 100% available. However, is it wise to get newly released GPUs ? I would like the fastest single GPU solution I can afford since I may want to double it up sometime and I gather that 1 to 2 scales better than 2 to 4 (such as if I started with the 4850X2). Hard Drive:WD Caviar Black 1TB - $120 Case:Cooler Master RC-690 - $80 Must have front panel e-Sata, preferably near the top since I tend to have it beside the desk and a screwdriver-less design. I could perhaps get the e-Sata on a flash card reader, but I suspect that these run at USB speeds rather than SATA. PSU:Corsair 750TX - $110 UPS: I would like one that is affordable (up to $200) and will automatically shutdown the computer if there is an outage that lasts more than a few minutes, so it needs to be able to last long enough to do this. I have heard that there are issues with fake sine waves and active PFC PSUs, however. Any ideas or thoughts ? Optical Drive:Lite-on 22x DVD Burner with Lightscribe (retail) - $30 I'll maybe get a Blu-Ray reader at some point in the future, the $100 premium isn't worth it to me at the moment. Flash Card reader: Any suggestions ? I saw one with a built in e-Sata port, but I suspect that it actually runs at USB speeds which makes it useless to me (I have an external 1TB WD drive with USB and e-Sata options)
Total so far: about $1200 - I haven't updated all the prices since I originally wrote this.
Updated: Changed NZXT Tempest Case to Cooler Master RC-690, PSU from the 650TX to the 750TX (thanks for spotting the limited PCI power FullMetall) and RAM from Patriot to OCZ (same CAS and Voltage, better maximum speed, but $10 extra)
Also confirmed monitor and changed the GPU from 4870 to 4890.
Thanks, FullMetall... In my naivety I thought that Crossfire ready meant that the 650TX would actually power two video cards.
I don't want the Gigabyte with the 4 memory slots, since that limits my options for easily upgrading the RAM. The MSI looks possible, but the P6T seems to provide better performance from the reviews I've seen and I'm nervous about getting the cheapest possible option - The cheapest usually has every possible corner cut, while the most expensive usually is overkill - I like to get something in the middle unless I have a particular need or the bargain is highly regarded by people with more experience than I have.
I'm too busy with family stuff until 19 April to be able to actually use the new machine, so my wife has managed to persuade me to hold fire until then so having something worthwhile to wait for is actually a blessing for me. I've been planning this build for the last month and keep expecting prices to drop or new things to be released but instead the entire computer industry seems to be waiting until I finally press the 'Buy' button before anything will change !
Paranoid, Moi ? Of course not... I'm married which means that everything is my fault and so it is not paranoia, just an acknowledgement of my well deserved punishment.
Then again, I have finally learned that the worst possible words a man can say to a woman are "What's the matter ?". The conversation inevitably proceeds as follows;
M: "Nonsense, I know you're upset about something"
W: "If you loved me, you would know"
M: "I do love you"
W: "So why did you do it ?"
M: "Do what ?"
W: "You know what !"
M: "I don't know, honestly"
W: "Then why do you look so guilty ?"
M: (trying to avoid listing the many things he has done that deserve guilt, such as leaving the toilet seat up or farting in bed) "I don't look guilty !"
W: "So you admit that you are just a good liar, then"
M: (Realising the trap he fell into) "I have not done anything to feel guilty about"
W: "I don't want to talk about this any more. Leave me alone"
M: "Fine, be like that" as he storms away
W: "That's right, go off in a sulk because I caught you"
Wait a couple weeks before you buy so the GPU market can adjust to the release of the 4890 and GTX 275, prices will probably drop a little. I think why me did a great job on that build, some of the combo's aren't available anymore though. That G skill ram is a better choice and I would do that instead of the OCZ
I'm not keen on that Gigabyte Motherboard because it only has 4 memory slots. Sure I only need 3 right now (and according to Tom's recent article on memory use could populate those with 1GB modules) but I'd like to have the option of adding more in the future... heck, I can always use it as a ramdisk which would beat a flashdrive so long as I don't need to preserve anything stored there !
I didn't bother checking the combo deals because they change too often, but Why-Me's build is very nice.
All ordered apart from the OS... I'll probably run Win 7 beta until I can buy it... seems pointless to buy Vista and then have to pay to upgrade it.
Oh yeah, and I still need the thermal goo... Newegg is out of MX2, but I'll see if I can get it locally.
A few tweaks to the original plan;
I got the i7-920 from Microcenter since I was in Boston and bored, but sadly it seems to be a C0 Step chip although I gather it makes little difference for my purposes (not planning to OC more than maybe 3.2 or so). I also got Corsair XMS3 1333 RAM there since it was in the same ballpark as I was otherwise looking at.
From NewEgg, I have ordered the Asus P6T MB, the Xigmatek Dark Knight cooler, the WD Caviar Black 1TB drive (cost only $100 on a combo with the Xig), the Cooler Master RC-690 case, the Corsair 750TX PSU and the Lite-On 22X OEM CD/DVD Burner. I also decided to get a Sapphire 4870 1GB Video Card (the 4890 was a little bit more than I need, I don't like getting stuff that is too new and I hate mail-in rebates and the 270 is a little too expensive as well as the afore-mentioned issues) and I ordered a dirt cheap keyboard and mouse that will hopefully suit my old-school two-finger touch typing.
I should have everything midweek or so I hope. Wish me luck !