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Feedback Requested - New I7 Build < $2,500

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  • Intel i7
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March 27, 2009 8:06:18 AM

I’ve been reading many different forums and want to begin putting together an I7 build…My existing P4 desktop is 6 years old and is of course showing it's age. I use a couple of laptops for work purposes but may also use the I7 for .net programming / sql development / MS Office automation…Otherwise intent is to put together a rig with enough horsepower to run games (1920x1200) for the next 3 to 5 years (w/the understanding that eye candy will need to scale back as the machine ages)…I enjoy MMO, RTS, racing, and FPS but w/current hardware haven’t played recent titles.

Budget: Up to $2,500
Desired CPU Overclock: 3.6 (stability for the long haul)

It’s been a while since I’ve assembled a pc from the ground up although am comfortable doing so. I am however cautious about component selection / compatibility. Selecting the first option on the following part list comes to $2,490.40 after tax & shipping not including any rebates. While I’m pretty sure this build configuration will work well, I’d appreciate feedback to improve overall build quality while perhaps reducing $$$

Aside from the I7 920, I’m not really tied to any one piece of hardware.

A couple of audio questions: Should I ditch the notion of a separate sound card & go w/onboard audio? Perhaps a different set of speakers? Looking to watch DVDs, listen to CDs, mp3s, etc with decent sound quality...

MOBO
GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD5 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $288.99

CPU
Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920 - Retail $279.99

HSF
COOLER MASTER V8 RR-UV8-XBU1-GP 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler - Retail $69.99

RAM
OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3P1600LV6GK - Retail $109.99 after $20 mail-in rebate
OR
G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL8TU-6GBPI - Retail $94
OR
CORSAIR DOMINATOR 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TR3X6G1600C8D - Retail $166

PSU
CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX 850W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply - Retail $109 after $20 mail-in rebate

HDD
OS…Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM $79.99
Or
Western Digital VelociRaptor WD3000HLFS 300GB 10000 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM $199 after $30 mail-in rebate

Data…Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EADS 1TB SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM $99.99
Backup…Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EADS 1TB SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM $99.99

GPU
SAPPHIRE 100251SR Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB 512-bit (256-bit x 2) GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail $384 after $10 mail-in rebate
OR
EVGA 01G-P3-1281-AR GeForce GTX 285 1GB 512-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail $324.99 after mail-in rebate
Option to SLI later

Case
Antec Twelve Hundred Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail - $179
or
CM 690 Black SECC/ATX Mid Tower, W/O window, W/O PSU – Refurbished $45.99
Or
Thermaltake ElementS VK60001N2Z Black SECC ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail $119

Optical
Qty 2 - SAMSUNG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model SH-S223Q - OEM $49.98

Audio
AuzenTech Auzen X-Fi Prelude 7.1 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Card - Retail $174.99
OR
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Champion Series 70SB088600007 7.1 Channels PCI Express Interface Sound Card - Retail $169.99

Speakers
Logitech Z-5500 505 Watts 5.1 Speaker - Retail $302.99

Already own
G15 USB Keyboard
G5 USB Mouse
Dell 24” Monitor
WinXP64 (newer installed)
Bose headphones

I’m considering a dual boot with WinXP64 & Win7 64, would you recommend this approach? Should I pickup Vista 64?

Thanks in advance for the constructive feedback!

More about : feedback requested build 500

March 27, 2009 8:15:39 AM

Ram: go with the G skills or OCZ's, dominators are overpriced IMO

GPU: Depends on the games you play, most likely the GTX 285 would be plenty, unless you like to play crysis with everything turned up, then maybe the 4870x2. The GTX 285 is cheaper though and the upgrade options are better with a single GPU than a dual

Any of those cases would be good, but take a look at these as well:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: If you can afford the Velociraptor its a nice option, but it doesn't offer much more performance than the caviar black drive. If you wanted super speed then you could raid 0 the caviar blacks for greater storage capacity and faster speeds, then use the 1tb drive for backups. I would get the 1TB Caviar Blacks because they are faster than the greens, but that is your call.

Do you really need those speakers? I mean you could shake a high-rise apartment building with those suckers...but if you are getting them then the sound card is a good idea. If you can go cheaper on the speakers, try onboard audio first, as its fairly good and usually its enough for most people.

Other selections look pretty good to me.
March 27, 2009 9:18:17 AM

well if he wants the comp to last 3-5 years most likely he'll have to eventually do tri sli with his gtx 285 in which case I don't think a 850 power supply will be enough
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March 27, 2009 9:24:42 AM

At that point you should just buy a new GPU which will be better than 3 GTX 285's in SLI, and cheaper than buying a PSU to support 3 GTX 285's. The Newer GPU will consume less power on top of that, saving more money when you pay the electric bill.
March 27, 2009 2:17:09 PM

+1 the kid.

Single GTX285 for the momment, SLI some soon ( 2-3-4 months depand on your needs and price drop ). The GTX285 is the geForce 7950 of the futur ... IN 2 years youll have a card twice as fast as the GTX285 ( and even more ... )
March 28, 2009 1:07:26 AM

Thanks a lot for the feedback guys!

Alright, sounds like the GTX 285 is the better choice for now. If going SLI with dual slot video, then I'll need to use a PCI Express based audio card then, right?

Should I look at something other than the X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty (assuming I go with the Logitech Z-5500 speakers)?

Did consider RAID 0 on the 640 Black but was advised against it due to something called a 'deep recovery cycle' that'll periodically break the array. Was told to go with the RE3 if going raid, thoughts? Would there be a noticeable real-world performance difference using mobo onboard RAID 0?

March 28, 2009 1:31:29 AM

If you mainly game, you dont need raid. I personally have 2x 250gb 7200rpm 16mb cache non raid ( one for windows and apps, other one for games and stock). Loading GTA4 take about 30sec and im playing. So going for 7200rpm 32mb cache is just faster. Gaming performance is more CPU-GPU-RAM (PSU) based. Mobo is concern too...
April 8, 2009 7:18:53 AM

Revised the build a little and have a few more questions:

Do you see any compatibility issues w/any of the following components or have recommendations to further improve overall build quality?
(Estimate 3 to 5 years before my next build)

Is the goo that comes w/the HSF good or should I buy something else for a 3.6 overclock?
SLI is an option later, should I stick with the GTX 285 or go for the GTX 275 instead (Games at 1920 x 1200)?

Appreciate the feedback!

CPU...............$289 i7 920
HSF...............$70 Thermalright Ultra-120
Mobo.............$289 GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD5
RAM...............$90 w/rebate OCZ Platinum 6GB DDR3 1600
Case..............$160 Antec Twelve Hundred
PSU...............$120 w/Rebate CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX 850W
GPU...............$260 EVGA 896-P3-1170-AR GeForce GTX 275
OS HDD..........$80 WD 640GB Black
Data HDD........$110 WD 1TB Black
Backup HDD.....$110 WD 1TB Black
Optical...........$110 LG Black 6X BD-ROM
Optical...........$26 LG Black 22X (CAV) DVD+R 8X DVD+RW
Audio.............$110 w/Rebate AuzenTech AZT-FORTE X-Fi Forte 7.1
Speakers........$303 Logitech Z-5500 505 Watts 5.1
OS................$100 Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit

Will also use an existing 250GB USB drive for disconnected backups (to help protect against data loss due to viruses).

April 9, 2009 9:51:03 PM

Nice build. SLI for the futurproof. I doubt this is going to kick for 5 years. No rig can. 2 years ago the 8800 was the top of the line. ( a 8800 ULTRA was 500$ :p  )

April 11, 2009 6:39:37 AM

Am ready to buy my new rig tonight and saw that that Auzentech Forte is out of stock. I'm trying to purchase from the egg where possible...

The X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Professional is available for $105 w/promo offer.

Any thoughts on purchasing the Creative card VS the Auzentech?

April 12, 2009 2:31:06 PM

get the auzentech, it's a better sound card, the fatality professional one has bad drivers and people have complained about crackling and popping sounds.
!