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Core i7 build around $1500 (first-time builder)

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April 13, 2009 5:56:07 AM

I am looking at building my first system ever this summer, probably late July or early August. I have been doing a lot of research trying to figure out good parts for the price, and i would really appreciate some feedback on why you would choose these parts or why you would not (please include your thought of a replacement). The parts listed below are current Newegg prices, and total $1427. This excludes any shipping or tax. I think that this price should drop by the time i actually make the purchase, simply because i expect some of the components (esp. gpu, cpu, mobo, ram) to decrease in price at least a little. I am willing to spend a maximum of $1600 (not including monitor), but if i feel i can get an awesome system for $1400, than i would rather do that and spend the other $200 on a monitor. Also, keep in mind that i am extremely new to forums and therefore might not know what i am expected to do or not do, but please correct me if i do anything against forum rules.

Parts:

Cooler Master HAF 932 Case: $150
- overwhelmed by number of different cases, this one has 3x230mm fans, full tower for sufficient upgrade ability, "quiet" but decent cooling

Asus P6t Deluxe V2: $290 free shipping
- cheaper than others, good overclocking, don't think i will ever go tri-SLI

Core i7 920: $289 free shipping
- 940 is waaaaay too expensive right now for me at least, good overclock on 920

OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) DDR3 1600 (7-7-7-26): $90 after rebates, free shipping
- lower latency, cheaper than corsair dominator or kingston

GTX 285: $300-? after mail in rebates, free shipping
- not sure about brand or whether to get factory o.c., heard evga has some legendary warranty, i am not against ati but for some reason i like the green team? in any case i am a consumer and am therefore forced to buy what gets me the most for my money. IMO that will be the 285 when i buy in august, at least i really hope so

Seagate Barracuda 500 GB HD @7200 rpm: $65
- don't think i need ssd or 10,000 rpm raptor (i am ok with slower load times), open to any suggestions though, would buy an external HD later for backup

Sony DVD burner: $24 free shipping
- should i go with a blue-ray instead? i could just wait for blue-ray to lower in price down the road. i only own The Dark Knight in BR :D 

Corsair 750W Power Supply: $105 after mail in rebates, free shipping
- is this enough for possible 2 gtx 285's SLI in the future, anything better about modular besides being cleaner with cables?

Akasa Nero Cpu cooler: $40 (is there only one online store i can get this from?)
- don't know anything about this but i read a review from bit-tech(Feb. 2009) that it had best performance/price out of all i7 cpu coolers

Keyboard?: $40?
- i don't think i need anything too fancy, just want to be able to keep up, i have a logitech g7 wireless mouse

Vista Ultimate 64-bit: $30 upgrade (student discount at campus computer store, must have an existing OS like xp or vista basic)
- IMO, xp will soon be gone, computers today can handle vista, i should get the free "upgrade" to windows 7 (i heard microsoft was going to have some sort of free upgrade deal for people buying an OS after a certain date) when i buy Vista but who knows if i will want it or not

Important things to consider:
-this will be my gaming machine and school/multimedia machine (is there anyway to do an internal tv tuner, or would it have to be a usb connection?)
-i would like to game at 1920x1080 (right now have hdtv @ 1366x768, suggestions for ~$200 monitor?)
-i would like the setup to last 2 years before any really expensive upgrades, i am ok with lowering image quality after a year if i am not getting good frames
-would like to be a very upgradeable system
-mild cpu overclock (3.2 GHz), don't know too much about cpu overclock, i have only watched other's do it in the asus mobo's BIOS
-possibly decent overclocking of gpu if necessary in future (don't care too much about getting really high benchmarking scores)
-overclock memory? i don't know a whole lot about it, is it even necessary for my setup?
-favorite games are FPS (BF2, COD4, UT3, Orange Box, Crysis even though i don't even know if i like it yet :kaola:  ), might like to try MMORPG's
-i do want quality parts with decent warranties in case i need support/replacement
-I will be purchasing right before school starts hopefully (late july/ early august)
-will prices of mobo, gpu, and cpu, decrease? maybe instead of all being at $300, they would be around $280 in 3 months? also ddr3 ram has been dropping a LOT
-I AM A FIRST TIME BUILDER, and therefore have no experience with quality parts. i have only ever bought pre-built from hp (i get a decent discount), so i am very new to looking at individual parts, but i think i have done a pretty decent job on researching my parts list.

I would really appreciate any feedback on my part selections, the inaccuracies of my descriptions of parts, or even general tips for building my first computer (ex. do i need that grounding wristband to protect against static elec.?)

Thanks everyone, and thank you Tom's Hardware! I really enjoy your reviews and your "Best GPU for the Money" articles.





April 13, 2009 6:55:27 AM

Hi...
Very nice setup....

Here are a few suggestion, that you can consider...

CASE - Very good...More of a personal choice...

Mobo -
If you are not planning to do a tri-sli, then you can get this ASUS board...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The Rampage boards have solid build quality and are overclockers paradise..
It has only 2 PCIe slots though...and has a high quality sound onboard, better than the Deluxe's...

CPU - Current best

RAM - Very Good with low timings...

Graphics card - More than enough for the 1080p resolution...
But get this...It has a free game and is factory overclocked and is just few bucks more...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you want to save some cash here, you can look into the GTX275...It performs similar to the 285 for resolutions upto 1900X1200 and is cheaper...

HDD - Get a faster HDD like the WD BLACK 640...Its just $10 more but you get more performance and more capacity...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD Drive - Well saving some money here and there, like switching to my Mobo suggestion , will save about $40...Getting the GTX will save about $50,
So you would save about $90 here itself and put in the extra cash and get the Blue ray burner...and still you will be under your budget...
Or wait... :p 

PSU - One of the best quality PSUs...It is sufficient for the GTX - SLI...As for modular, its again not important...the case would provide good cable routing so that the unused cables can be routed there...
But if you want modular, check this out...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Though not sure if it is as good as the corsair, but is a reputed brand and for a 750W PSU, comparatively cheaper than other modular PSUs out there...

CPU Cooler...Well just found one...but make sure the online store is a good one...
http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/aknecoemuncp.html

But your purchase date is around August, which implies most of the options above would be replaced with better ones for lesser price...
SO when you actually build the PC, come back again to the forums to see whats the current best value components...
Related resources
April 13, 2009 9:09:25 AM

Since this is your FIRST TIME BUILD, you must do plenty of research on future products and buying. I don't know why you're asking for what products to buy now when you have to buy 3.5 months away but anyways here's my advice :-

1) The 40nm GPU's from AMD (and perhaps NVidia) should release around this time and should quite affect the prices and performance per watt . Especially AMD 's RV870 which should release around August and should provide Direct X 11 support and about 20 - 30 % improvement over current top AMD products and go for around $200 and offer great performance per watt improvement.

2) Intel's Lynnfield will release around August. It basically is a not so overclockable core i7 with cheaper mobos. Also you won't be able to run hexa core gulftown processors on lynnfield mobo's so no upgrades. Though I won't recommend buying the gulftown processors as they won't be going under $200 and only offering around 20% + performance in games. Expect good mobos at around $100 and greater performance per watt.Since there are 3.06 ghz and 3.33 ghz core i7's about to release, you might be able to get a 2.93 ghz core i7 /lynnfield at > $300. You might be able to get at least about 20 % overclock with lynnfield. Though I don't like a great overvolt to get like 4ghz as it lowers the perf/watt a lot.

3) Are you sure you would be able to Buy a new system two years later? If so, then you might spend $1000+ on a system otherwise if you're thinking of keeping it for 5+ years than it would be a better advice to buy cheaper things now and upgrade later.

4)You should get a good PSU / Case as you can keep them for your next build if you're going to build around 2 - 3 yrs later.

April 13, 2009 3:03:11 PM

Looks good.

You really do not need a previous os to install Vista-64 upgrade.
Here's how:

There is a legitimate two step instalation process to install an upgrade version
You install vista from the cd, but do not initially enter the product code.

Just tell the install which version you bought, and do not activate.
After it installs, you have a fully functional vista for 30 days.
Step 2 is to insert the cd again, while running vista and then do an upgrade.
This time, enter your product code, and activate.
After activation. you may delete the initial version which is named windows.old.

This method is supported by Microsoft, because there is no other way to upgrade to 64 bit from 32 bit.
April 13, 2009 5:14:36 PM

Quote:
Mobo -
If you are not planning to do a tri-sli, then you can get this ASUS board...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813131371

The Rampage boards have solid build quality and are overclockers paradise..
It has only 2 PCIe slots though...and has a high quality sound onboard, better than the Deluxe's...

CPU - Current best

RAM - Very Good with low timings...

Graphics card - More than enough for the 1080p resolution...
But get this...It has a free game and is factory overclocked and is just few bucks more...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6814130446

If you want to save some cash here, you can look into the GTX275...It performs similar to the 285 for resolutions upto 1900X1200 and is cheaper...

HDD - Get a faster HDD like the WD BLACK 640...Its just $10 more but you get more performance and more capacity...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6822136319

DVD Drive - Well saving some money here and there, like switching to my Mobo suggestion , will save about $40...Getting the GTX will save about $50,
So you would save about $90 here itself and put in the extra cash and get the Blue ray burner...and still you will be under your budget...
Or wait... :p 

PSU - One of the best quality PSUs...It is sufficient for the GTX - SLI...As for modular, its again not important...the case would provide good cable routing so that the unused cables can be routed there...
But if you want modular, check this out...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6817379006
Though not sure if it is as good as the corsair, but is a reputed brand and for a 750W PSU, comparatively cheaper than other modular PSUs out there...

CPU Cooler...Well just found one...but make sure the online store is a good one...
http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/aknecoemuncp.html

But your purchase date is around August, which implies most of the options above would be replaced with better ones for lesser price...
SO when you actually build the PC, come back again to the forums to see whats the current best value components...


I really thought that the rampage was the more expensive motherboard...but it's good to know there is a quality mobo under $300

The hard drive and dvd drive are the two parts that i have researched the very least, so i will definitely look into your suggestions there. i still am not sure about blue ray.

Hopefully when i make a purchase, there will be deals like the one on the GPU you posted, i would love to get away with a factory o.c. if the price permits.

These forums are great! I will definitely come back to this forum at a later date to make a final post. I didn't think that major part upgrades were going to be coming out before i bought. I had read somewhere that nvidia and ati were going to be slowing down their "GPU war" and only coming out with a few major upgrades per year. I also thought that the next batch of intel processors have been postponed. In any case if and when major upgrades hit the shelves before i buy, i will have to consider them so that my system is more "future proof". But i will also be looking at whether their price justifies the performance increase. Really with this post i want to see if i am heading in the right direction so i can narrow down what i need to research. Thanks for the quick response!

when i use the quote feature, is it supposed to show who i am quoting from?

Quote:
Well, I have two recommendations for a cpu cooler.

I've only heard good things about the Xigmatek Dark Knight, $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6835233029

And the Zalman 9900 has had some good reviews, $60
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6835118046

The one you picked out would probably be fine as well.

I'd say they HAF has more than decent airflow lol :) 


Yeah aftermarket cpu coolers are something that i think are important, but as long as i look at the hardware reviews i should be in good shape. I think a $40 cooler should be sufficient enough for my setup (no extreme overclocking), so i like the Xigmatek Dark Knight you have shown here.

I really thought that the HAF had awesome airflow, but i figured posting "decent airflow" would cause less controversy lol

Quote:
Since this is your FIRST TIME BUILD, you must do plenty of research on future products and buying. I don't know why you're asking for what products to buy now when you have to buy 3.5 months away but anyways here's my advice :-

1) The 40nm GPU's from AMD (and perhaps NVidia) should release around this time and should quite affect the prices and performance per watt . Especially AMD 's RV870 which should release around August and should provide Direct X 11 support and about 20 - 30 % improvement over current top AMD products and go for around $200 and offer great performance per watt improvement.

2) Intel's Lynnfield will release around August. It basically is a not so overclockable core i7 with cheaper mobos. Also you won't be able to run hexa core gulftown processors on lynnfield mobo's so no upgrades. Though I won't recommend buying the gulftown processors as they won't be going under $200 and only offering around 20% + performance in games. Expect good mobos at around $100 and greater performance per watt.Since there are 3.06 ghz and 3.33 ghz core i7's about to release, you might be able to get a 2.93 ghz core i7 /lynnfield at > $300. You might be able to get at least about 20 % overclock with lynnfield. Though I don't like a great overvolt to get like 4ghz as it lowers the perf/watt a lot.

3) Are you sure you would be able to Buy a new system two years later? If so, then you might spend $1000+ on a system otherwise if you're thinking of keeping it for 5+ years than it would be a better advice to buy cheaper things now and upgrade later.

4)You should get a good PSU / Case as you can keep them for your next build if you're going to build around 2 - 3 yrs later.


Yeah i wasn't really sure on whether making a post this early was acceptable or not, but i figured i would need as much help as i could in heading towards the right direction. Like i told gkay09, i really just want to get a feel of what is considered good quality and value.

I thought that the next gen. of gpu's supporting dx11 weren't even coming out till the end of '09? IF it's true that ati comes out with a dx11 card around my build date, and IF it really does provide 20-30% improvement for around $200, then i would definitely consider a switch to ati. i couldnt pass up something like that no matter how much i like nvidia.

I am a little confused about your processor information. So right now the i7 is codenamed nehalem, or is nehalem a broader description?. so the next round of processors(lynnfield) are supposed to release in august? What is gulftown processors(do they utilize two sockets?) and are they going to give +20% performance in games over current i7? i would like good overclockability, but i can't see myself as someone pushing 4GHz. i see myself looking at something more around 3.6 GHz if i feel it is necessary.

I would like to keep the expensive components for at least two years, three if i can manage that (i am not sure how fast it becomes actually necessary for a serious upgrade). So i would like to spend a bit more now and upgrade much later. I am not sure what you were asking :??: 

I have heard that one of the most overlooked parts is the psu, so i will be sure to try and get something good that will last me. i think corsair does a pretty good job, but there could be other brands just as good that are cheaper. i just have no background in that sort of thing.

Thanks for the information. you seem to know your stuff, but being as i am not quite as tech savvy i find myself struggling with my response especially to your information about the processors.

Quote:
Looks good.

You really do not need a previous os to install Vista-64 upgrade.
Here's how:

There is a legitimate two step instalation process to install an upgrade version
You install vista from the cd, but do not initially enter the product code.

Just tell the install which version you bought, and do not activate.
After it installs, you have a fully functional vista for 30 days.
Step 2 is to insert the cd again, while running vista and then do an upgrade.
This time, enter your product code, and activate.
After activation. you may delete the initial version which is named windows.old.

This method is supported by Microsoft, because there is no other way to upgrade to 64 bit from 32 bit.


Wow thanks for the tip. i will definitely have to look into this because it would save me some good money. if i have any problems i will be sure to look back in these forums.

Quote:
Well as for the CPU cooler recommendation, you cant miss the TRUE...
http://www.crazypc.com/products/true-black-50984.html

http://www.frozencpu.com/products/ [...] _Xeon.html


Seeing that i have never overclocked a cpu before, and therefore probably would not feel comfortable overclocking to 4 GHz, do i need or do you recommend a $70 cooler? if i can get away with $40 or $50 than that would probably be the route i would take. I would just need to make sure it was a good $40 product.

Thanks again everyone!
April 13, 2009 9:52:57 PM

Well, I dug up one review of the Xigmatek with a core i7 processor

http://www.pureoverclock.com/review.php?id=719&page=1

Also, its worth noting that the heatsink comes with a backplate for the core i7 mobo, as well as an excellent fan, so those won't add to the cost.
I've also seen it recommended quite a bit on the overclocking forums here.

I have the Xigmatek HDT-S1283, which is very similar to the dark knight, and its been working well.
April 13, 2009 10:30:35 PM

irkjab said:
Well, I dug up one review of the Xigmatek with a core i7 processor

http://www.pureoverclock.com/review.php?id=719&page=1

Also, its worth noting that the heatsink comes with a backplate for the core i7 mobo, as well as an excellent fan, so those won't add to the cost.
I've also seen it recommended quite a bit on the overclocking forums here.

I have the Xigmatek HDT-S1283, which is very similar to the dark knight, and its been working well.


Well that makes my decision on a cooler that much easier. After reading that review, it seems as if the Xigmatek has the same performance (a slight bit better at full load) as the akasa nero. However what i like about the Xigmatek is that Newegg carries it, so it would definitely be my first choice! I also think it looks cooler. +1!

NOTE: i didn't mention this before, but my purchase date can really be anwhere from 2-3 months. I will not, however, wait any longer than that. If i learn that new parts are not coming out before the 3 month mark, and if i think prices are not going to drop much by waiting another month, then i will lean towards 2 months. Could be earlier if i get too anxious :D  . One thing that i have learned through this whole experience is how UNPREDICTABLE the computer market can be. Always new parts coming out and prices always dropping or rising. I have decided that i will limit my waiting game; i would rather have an awesome machine sooner than the latest and greatest (with possible problems) by waiting 6 months. The only reason i bring this up is i always see posts saying "should i wait until this comes out?" My answer would be if your system is already running pretty good, then wait, but also know that after your wait there will be something else right around the corner. If you are struggling in playing what you want to play how you want to play it, then go ahead and get something good that has already been proven to work.

I myself would probably be buying sooner, but 1) i am in school till may 2) summer internship=money and 3) i expect some price decreases

Anyways that's my take on waiting vs. buying. I know that at this point i am simply ranting, but i guess i just started typing and couldnt stop. I take the liberty to exercise my freedom of forum speech :sol: 
April 14, 2009 3:33:24 AM

No Nehalem is the broader defination, an evolution on the core microarchitecure of the new processors from Intel. Lynnfield processors use the Socket 1156 while Bloomfield processors use the socket 1366. The Gulftown processors are 6 core Westmere(32 nm Nehalem) processors which would also use the socket 1366. They "should" be compatible with current mobos, release around mid 2010 and provide about 20% improvement in games like crysis. So if you want to upgrade to these processors, then your best bet would be core i7(bloomfield). But I don't think that it's that great an idea. That's because Gulftown processors should never go below $200 (since Intel knows that there'd be plenty of core i7 people wanting an upgrade) and you could get much better performance by buying a new system 2 - 3 years later. Your best bet might be around 2012. That's because you should get 8 or 6 core 22nm AMD Bulldozer(highly hyped amd processors) or Intlel's 22nm version of Sandy Bridge (an improvement on Nehalem) at that time, with Haswell(improvement on Sandy Bridge) releasing at 2012 end. Also GPU's released around that time might be able to do raytracing then (as Caustic graphics is promising 200x improvement in ray tracing by 2010 end) and you could safely and reliably and cheaply buy an SSD too(like a 64GB for $90?). Though I don't know how much overclockable lynnfield would be.

About the RV870 release date, It was before announced that it would release in june 2009 along with Nvidia's 40nm cards. But now it seems that it would release around August. Of course you'd know more soon....

(Google / Wiki if you don't understand anything. Good luck for your build ;)  ) :hello: 
April 14, 2009 4:07:51 AM

zedx said:
No Nehalem is the broader defination, an evolution on the core microarchitecure of the new processors from Intel. Lynnfield processors use the Socket 1156 while Bloomfield processors use the socket 1366. The Gulftown processors are 6 core Westmere(32 nm Nehalem) processors which would also use the socket 1366. They "should" be compatible with current mobos, release around mid 2010 and provide about 20% improvement in games like crysis. So if you want to upgrade to these processors, then your best bet would be core i7(bloomfield). But I don't think that it's that great an idea. That's because Gulftown processors should never go below $200 (since Intel knows that there'd be plenty of core i7 people wanting an upgrade) and you could get much better performance by buying a new system 2 - 3 years later. Your best bet might be around 2012. That's because you should get 8 or 6 core 22nm AMD Bulldozer(highly hyped amd processors) or Intlel's 22nm version of Sandy Bridge (an improvement on Nehalem) at that time, with Haswell(improvement on Sandy Bridge) releasing at 2012 end. Also GPU's released around that time might be able to do raytracing then (as Caustic graphics is promising 200x improvement in ray tracing by 2010 end) and you could safely and reliably and cheaply buy an SSD too(like a 64GB for $90?). Though I don't know how much overclockable lynnfield would be.

About the RV870 release date, It was before announced that it would release in june 2009 along with Nvidia's 40nm cards. But now it seems that it would release around August. Of course you'd know more soon....

(Google / Wiki if you don't understand anything. Good luck for your build ;)  ) :hello: 


Ok well i think i have learned all of the codenames now, some of their differences, and their possible release dates. I read that Lynnfield only supports one x16 card or two x8 cards, and that it wont perform or overclock as well as the Bloomfield. This makes me lean towards the Bloomfield. Then around 2010 or so we should see the westmere's with 6 cores. However, it took long enough for quad cores to be utilized so i wouldnt see a need to upgrade at that point. I would most likely increase my cooling options and overclock my bloomfield 920 if i felt like i should be getting more performance. So like you said, i would probably be looking at my next mobo/processor upgrade around 2012. I would probably also be looking into a better gpu at that point. I would be satisfied if i can get three years of strong performance with this system (with overclocking obviously).

I will have to keep checking on that RV870 release date. I am really impressed with ATI's pricing recently, so that might be the better option if it comes out in time. Thanks again for the feedback!

Seems like i learn something new every day :) 
April 14, 2009 4:26:45 AM

Both of you are completely overthinking this. Who cares what processors are going to be out 3 or 4 years from now? I'd say definitely go with the i7 920, because the core i7 is the best processor available right now, and the 940 is way too expensive. You can always upgrade the video card 9-12 months down the road if you want to.
April 14, 2009 4:50:17 AM

tommylikewingy said:
Both of you are completely overthinking this. Who cares what processors are going to be out 3 or 4 years from now? I'd say definitely go with the i7 920, because the core i7 is the best processor available right now, and the 940 is way too expensive. You can always upgrade the video card 9-12 months down the road if you want to.


Well i can't say that processors being released 3 or 4 years from now are going to influence what i will be building in a few month's time, but i still think that it is good to always be looking ahead so that i can better prepare my knowledge of the direction the industry is headed.

I do agree with you in that the i7 920 is my clear cut choice, and i think i will be extremely pleased with it.

As for the video card, well i am going keep the gtx 285 as my first choice but i am going to monitor what ati and nvidia do here in the next 2 months as everyone else will too i presume. Generally i am not very disciplined in trying to get the most for my money(i just want the latest and greatest), so i will try and get what seems to be the awesome graphics card at the awesome price in two months.

Thank you for your input on the matter even though it was pretty blunt, but you are correct in that sometimes there are choices that are a sure thing and need no explanation :)  . Sometimes we do over think things, and other times thinking more thoroughly would be a wiser decision.

Thumbs up for the name btw.
April 14, 2009 4:58:35 AM

I wasn't trying to offend anyone. I was just simply saying that you should make your choice based primarily on what fits your needs right now, not in 2 or 3 years. Yes, intel and amd have there plans and roadmaps and whatnot, but nobody really knows what is going happen in the future.
April 14, 2009 5:04:13 AM

no offense was taken here. i was just explaining where i thought zedex was coming from in the information he was giving.
April 14, 2009 8:27:10 AM

you could save a few more dollars on your memory
OCZ XMP Ready Series 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory $97.99 ($77.99 after $20.00) Mail-In
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

and a few more on the cooler
Scythe MUGEN-2 SCMG-2000 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler $31.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
only a $8.00 difference by it looks like a better cooler
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/coolers/display/core-i...

keyboard
Microsoft Wireless Optical Desktop 1000 $29.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I like this keyboard and mouse. I've had mine for 4 years now and it works like new, basic layout and decent multi media keys
April 14, 2009 9:27:30 PM

tomslick said:
you could save a few more dollars on your memory
OCZ XMP Ready Series 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory $97.99 ($77.99 after $20.00) Mail-In
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

and a few more on the cooler
Scythe MUGEN-2 SCMG-2000 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler $31.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
only a $8.00 difference by it looks like a better cooler
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/coolers/display/core-i...

keyboard
Microsoft Wireless Optical Desktop 1000 $29.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I like this keyboard and mouse. I've had mine for 4 years now and it works like new, basic layout and decent multi media keys


On the memory topic, what's the difference between the xmp series you suggested and the platinum series i had originally posted? It shows that one is "xmp ready" and has two xmp profiles, each with its own set of timings. I had originally gone with the platinum because of the lower timings at 1600MHz, but the terminology of the memory you suggested is sort of bogging me down :??:  .

Yes all the reviews i have read about that scythe mugen 2 have been positive, but they also say that it is a major pain to install (newegg reviews). I don't remember seeing comments like that in the Xigmatech Dark Knight reviews. Since this is my first build, i would like to try and keep it as stress free as i can, so as of now i think the Dark Knight will be what i stick with, but i will keep the scythe in my parts list as a reference so that i can go back and look at prices when it's time to buy. Another plus for me with the Dark Knight is that as of right now i have no case lighting, and that cooler does have an LED fan. I'm not sure if the Scythe does, but i didn't see it in the specs or reviews.

I'm sure the wireless mouse/keyboard package is great for a lot of people, but i already have a gaming mouse so getting a keyboard/mouse combo would be somewhat of a waste. Maybe for the same price or a little bit more i could get a keyboard geared somewhat towards gaming with better wireless capabilities? i only say that because one of the reviews stated the keyboard was only good for 3 feet (idk if i would need more than that anyways, but it seems that there should be something a bit better). As you can tell i haven't done any research whatsoever on keyboards.

Thank you for your input though! As of now, you are the only one to suggest a keyboard, but that could be because people think its more of a personal choice. i still would like to know the gamer/occasional gamer favorite.

Also any suggestions on a monitor? 1920x1080 vs. 1920x1200? which res. is better to game on and which is better for dvd/blu ray play back? i am trying to keep it around the $200 mark and as much as maybe $250.
April 14, 2009 10:01:35 PM

The XMP Series comes with built in memory profiles for overclocking that can be set in the bios just by selecting the profile.
these timings are not a tight as the platinum buy are still very good, also after you start to overclock the platinum series you might end up with similar timings any way. Don't get me wrong, the platinum series was my first choice also, but for the price ($99.99 + $40.00 MIR at my time of purchase) I got them and have no regrets.

XMP Profile 1:1600MHz 8-8-8-24 1.65V
XMP Profile 2:1800MHz 9-9-9-28 1.65V

as for the Scythe it has no LED's and is only a pain if you have a cramped case, the FAH 932 is not cramped. Just affix the cooler before you install the motherboard and it's a breeze, It has really good instruction, all the parts and brackets, and even a wrench to remove the intel backplate. Just get good thermal paste (mx-2, OCZ Freeze, ect.). Not many coolers come with good thermal paste.

gaming keyboards are nice, but for gaming I prefer gamepads, joysticks, steering wheels and the like.
Some thing like this simply easy to use and familiar
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

just my thought on that
April 14, 2009 11:11:41 PM

tomslick said:
The XMP Series comes with built in memory profiles for overclocking that can be set in the bios just by selecting the profile.
these timings are not a tight as the platinum buy are still very good, also after you start to overclock the platinum series you might end up with similar timings any way. Don't get me wrong, the platinum series was my first choice also, but for the price ($99.99 + $40.00 MIR at my time of purchase) I got them and have no regrets.

XMP Profile 1:1600MHz 8-8-8-24 1.65V
XMP Profile 2:1800MHz 9-9-9-28 1.65V

as for the Scythe it has no LED's and is only a pain if you have a cramped case, the FAH 932 is not cramped. Just affix the cooler before you install the motherboard and it's a breeze, It has really good instruction, all the parts and brackets, and even a wrench to remove the intel backplate. Just get good thermal paste (mx-2, OCZ Freeze, ect.). Not many coolers come with good thermal paste.

gaming keyboards are nice, but for gaming I prefer gamepads, joysticks, steering wheels and the like.
Some thing like this simply easy to use and familiar
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

just my thought on that


Well, i have never oc'ed RAM before, so it may be that the platinum with lower timings at 1600 MHz (7-7-7-26) will still be my first choice simply because i am not sure if i will end up oc'ing. Are the results after oc'ing RAM that noticeable? However i am still very new to all of these terms such as "timings" so i really don't know how much more performance i would get with the lower timings. If the performance/price is not nearly as good as the xmp series, then i might have to put the xmp as my frontrunner. That can all change though if the platinum price goes down, like many ddr3 prices have been recently.

I would definitely prefer the gamepad for any racing game, but i am more comfortable with a mouse and keyboard for FPS and the like.

Once again thanks for helping me out!
April 15, 2009 7:49:39 AM

to be honest you will see no real difference in performance just in benchmarks, and if you overclock your cpu then those time will change any way. Like I said the platinum series was my first choice also, but for the price, either way both are good memory.


hey i forgot did if any one mentioned that microcenter (instore only) has the i7 920 for $229.99, so if you have one near by or a family member lives near one that would save a good bit.
April 21, 2009 1:55:10 AM

I'm surprised nobody's mentioned the noctua cooler...I've read a ton of reviews, especially on heat management and noise management sites that universally declare it to be the best you can get in terms of performance over noise level...and definitely top tier in terms of performance if noise is not considered.
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