Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

$1500 i7 Gaming + Multi-tasking, please advice!

Last response: in Systems
Share
May 1, 2009 3:02:40 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Mid~Late May BUDGET RANGE: 1400~1600 (after tax)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: 2D Gaming (Sprite-intensive), 3D Gaming, gaming while multi-tasking (Firefox, BT, mIRC, Skype, etc).

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitor, Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers, Sound card (use integrated), NIC (use integrated)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Any that is reputable/reliable and cheap. I live in California, if taxes/shipping makes a notable difference in price.

PARTS PREFERENCES: nVidia video card, probably a full tower case

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe (likely with 920, less certain with 940+) SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1200

Currently Selected Parts:
* CPU: Intel Core i7 940 Nehalem 2.93GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601940 - $544.99 +tax
Intel Core i7 Processor i7-920 2.66GHz 8MB LGA1366 CPU - $265.99 + tax

* Mobo: ASUS Rampage II GENE LGA 1366 Intel X58 uATX Intel Motherboard - $239.99 + tax
ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - $274.99 + tax

* RAM: OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory 7-7-7-24 - $94.99 + tax

* Video card: PNY VCGGTS2501XPB GeForce GTS 250 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - $149.99 +tax

* PSU: Corsair TX CMPSU-750TX ATX12V & EPS12V Power Supply - CMPSU-750TX - $114.99 + tax

* Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 932 RC-932-KKN1-GP Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - $139.99 + tax

* Cooling: XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler - $39.99 + tax

* HDD: Seagate ST3640323AS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive - $69.99 +tax (I have trouble filling up 100GB, going for speed/performance)
Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive - $74.99 + tax ( newegg has additional combo discount)

* Optical drive: 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 - $24.99 + tax (cheapest writer I found)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827118030

* OS: Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP2C 64-bit for System Builders (I know I need 64-bit to take advantage of 6GB ram, not sure about XP vs Vista/7).
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders - $99.99 + tax (newegg has additional combo discount)

Partial sub-total : $1280.90 ($1399.38 after tax)

Not-yet-selected parts (with $100~$200 left in the budget)
?

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
* In terms of online games, I only play Guild Wars, no FPS. I've bought Mass Effect though my current computer can't run it. Otherwise most of my games are mostly 2D (or low-polygon-count 3D) so I am assuming generally I want more raw CPU/RAM performance than GPU power?

* This is my first time attempting to build a system, I am generally inexperienced with computer hardware (though software-wise I would consider myself tech savvy)

* Because of my lack of experience, would using a full tower case be easier? I don't care about how much space the box takes up in my room, but I want to make assembling as easy as possible to compensate for my inexperience.

* I would like to avoid upgrading for 2~3 years, and when I do upgrade, I'm planning to only upgrade the GPU and RAM. I don't care about running games at the highest settings, I just don't want to be playing at minimal settings. Then after 5~6 years I'd get a brand new comp.

* I like to keep lots of stuff open, even when I play games. I am willing to shut down as many apps and background tasks as necessary to get decent performance out of demanding games, but generally if I can avoid it that's great.

* I kind of have $1500 free money to spend on the build, and I can pay a little out of pocket too. But I don't get to keep the extra money saved if it is under $1500. So if you are suggesting things that would put me noticeably underbudget, please also suggest which area I might want to consider invest more money in :kaola: 


any help is greatly appreciated!
May 1, 2009 5:00:42 AM

Well do you want upgrade proof?
I got a 1200Watt PSU to make sure I can upgrade in the future.
If you want fan cooling, I had a choice between the Coolermasters HAF or Thermaltake's Spedo. (can upgrade to liquid cooling later).
This is from my experience.
I know Rampage II Extreme comes with a sound card, not sure about the Gene.
May 1, 2009 5:02:07 AM

Usually NIC's are for FPS's, shave off a few frames, dont really think you need it.
Related resources
May 1, 2009 5:31:13 AM

dragonfang18 said:
Well do you want upgrade proof?
I got a 1200Watt PSU to make sure I can upgrade in the future.
If you want fan cooling, I had a choice between the Coolermasters HAF or Thermaltake's Spedo. (can upgrade to liquid cooling later).
This is from my experience.
I know Rampage II Extreme comes with a sound card, not sure about the Gene.


I guess I want upgrade proof, but I think I'm unlike to upgrade to multiple video cards (probably just swap to a more powerful single card?) Would that sill need 1200 Watt (for liquid cooling?)?
May 1, 2009 5:37:56 AM

No you can do liquid cooling with less wattage.
May 1, 2009 5:40:43 AM

If you want you can google "PSU calculator" To get the cheapest, and closest PSU to what you need.
I got the 1200W because I dont want to keep on buying PSU's. I'll just use this until its useless, which will probably be in 7 to 10 years???
a b 4 Gaming
May 1, 2009 5:44:06 AM

I posted this build on another thread, but it will work fine for you also. Also if you want to bring the price down you can always switch vid cards to something like a gtx 260 for $169.99 + Free Shipping @ newegg. Whatever you do, don't get that over priced cpu you have in your build up above. It's nothing short of robbery. This build is set up so you can over clock it if you choose, and it's also set up for SLI in case you choose to add another vid card later on. Seeing how you said you wont be going with SLI, you can change that psu to an OCZ 550w Fatal1ty modular for around $70 at newegg.

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/gigabyte-nvidia-sli-mo... <--- Gigabyte: Enable SLI On X58 Boards

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $74.99 Free Shipping*
COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

http://www.buy.com/prod/corsair-750w-tx-series-80-plus-... $114.99 Price After Rebate(s): $104.99 Shipping: FREE
Corsair TX CMPSU-750TX ATX12V & EPS12V Power Supply

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $199.99 ($184.99 after $15.00 Mail-In Rebate) Free Shipping*
GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD3R 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... $36.99 Free Shipping*
Scythe MUGEN-2 SCMG-2000 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $4.99
Tuniq TX-2 Cooling Thermal Compound - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $249.99 Free Shipping*
EVGA 896-P3-1170-AR GeForce GTX 275 896MB 448-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $89.99 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... $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/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... Combo Discount: -$20.00 Combo Price: $154.98
Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive - OEM
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders - OEM

Total: $1,217.89 | $1,192.89 w/rebates
May 1, 2009 5:51:04 AM

If you want you can wait for the new cores thats coming out. Once they do the prices on the i7 940 and 965 might come down to sell them out.
a b 4 Gaming
May 1, 2009 5:53:07 AM

The Rampage II GENE is a uATX (microATX) board. I would get a full ATX board.

ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $274.99

The Seagate drives are currently having reliability/firmware issues. I would pick up the drive/OS combo Why_Me mentioned above. A new build deserves a modern OS IMO.
May 1, 2009 6:20:11 AM

Yeah.. I have bad experiences with segate. Go western digital, VERY reliable people.
May 1, 2009 6:38:46 AM

Why_Me said:
I posted this build on another thread, but it will work fine for you also. Also if you want to bring the price down you can always switch vid cards to something like a gtx 260 for $169.99 + Free Shipping @ newegg. Whatever you do, don't get that over priced cpu you have in your build up above. It's nothing short of robbery. This build is set up so you can over clock it if you choose, and it's also set up for SLI in case you choose to add another vid card later on. Seeing how you said you wont be going with SLI, you can change that psu to an OCZ 550w Fatal1ty modular for around $70 at newegg.

...

Total: $1,217.89 | $1,192.89 w/rebates


Thanks with that suggestion. With about $300 to spare in that setup, what components should I consider throw more money at?


****
going to edit my first post to reflect feedback from everybody
a b 4 Gaming
May 1, 2009 7:09:10 AM

If you went with the ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 and upgraded to a GTX 285 you would probably be pretty close.
May 1, 2009 7:20:50 AM

shortstuff_mt said:
A new build deserves a modern OS IMO.


That logic in and of itself seem to make sense usually, but among the general stuff I've been hearing, the only stuff supporting using Vista are from Microsoft's marketing spiel...

I realize Tom's Hardware is hardware site, but can anyone give me a quick rundown on the advantages of using Vista 64-bit over XP 64-bit?

****

Also for someone inexperienced at building computers like me, would picking a full tower case make things easier (more space/room to work with) than a mid tower?

dragonfang18 said:
If you want you can wait for the new cores thats coming out. Once they do the prices on the i7 940 and 965 might come down to sell them out.


At what price points would 940 and 965 be considered fair?
a b 4 Gaming
May 1, 2009 7:34:11 AM

A lot of people on this site use 64-bit Vista without any problems. I currently run Vista on 2 home computers and haven't missed XP for a second. Since SP1, Vista is a very fast, stable, secure OS. Once it sorts out the HD indexing and which applications you use a lot it gets even faster.

Most people still bashing Vista either haven't used it (just "heard" that it sucks), haven't used it since SP1 was released, or are trying to use it with very old hardware or software (like ancient 16-bit software). I haven't had any compatibility or stability problems at all with Vista. I'm currently dual-booting Vista and Windows 7 on my backup machine. Windows 7 is also very stable for a beta release and is a bit faster than Vista. I would make the decision come down to Vista vs Windows 7 instead of XP. The support for 64-bit XP isn't very good. There also aren't as many drivers for 64-bit XP as there are for Vista.
a b 4 Gaming
May 1, 2009 7:37:34 AM

PanSola said:
That logic in and of itself seem to make sense usually, but among the general stuff I've been hearing, the only stuff supporting using Vista are from Microsoft's marketing spiel...

I realize Tom's Hardware is hardware site, but can anyone give me a quick rundown on the advantages of using Vista 64-bit over XP 64-bit?

****

Also for someone inexperienced at building computers like me, would picking a full tower case make things easier (more space/room to work with) than a mid tower?


If you game...then Vista 64 is the only way to go. DX10, fast with the SP1, easy to use interface, drivers, updates, etc.... Most all of us here use Vista 64 for obvious reasons.

That build used with XP would be a shame in itself.

http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,2845,2302500,00.a... <--- Vista SP1 vs XP SP3

Ok back to your build. You said you probably wouldn't be using SLI (dual vid cards)...and I don't think that's a bad idea you have. When that card gets outdated....ebay it and get whatever's hot on the market atm.

So check this out....

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $74.99 ($49.99 after $25.00 Mail-In Rebate)
OCZ Fatal1ty OCZ550FTY 550W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $359.99 ($339.99 after $20.00 Mail-In Rebate)
MSI N285GTX SuperPipe OC GeForce GTX 285 1GB 512-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card - Retail
Free Call of Duty: World at War w/ purchase, limited offer

That card up above is bad to the bone. It comes factory over clocked and it has a cooling system second to none. Change out the psu and vid card in that build I posted to this here. You would have a rig that would kick but in games, and it comes out to about the same price. Take the money you saved and...bank it for Windows 7 when it finally comes out. But wih that set up you wouldn't have to worry about upgrading your vid card for awhile I wouldn't think.
May 1, 2009 7:49:55 AM

PanSola said:
That logic in and of itself seem to make sense usually, but among the general stuff I've been hearing, the only stuff supporting using Vista are from Microsoft's marketing spiel...

I realize Tom's Hardware is hardware site, but can anyone give me a quick rundown on the advantages of using Vista 64-bit over XP 64-bit?

****

Also for someone inexperienced at building computers like me, would picking a full tower case make things easier (more space/room to work with) than a mid tower?



At what price points would 940 and 965 be considered fair?


Vista x64 vs. XP 64... Vista has much better driver support, better backwards compatability on older software, and is overall a faster OS once one gets beyond 2 GB. That said, if I had a current retail version of XP I'd use that until Win 7 released.

Cases are a personal thing. I want a case that will fit the space I have available on my workstation, and that has excellent cooling. You may prefer 'bling'.

I7 940? 965? Price point? At the price point that your pocket wouldn't squeal from the squeeze. 920's OC quite well, thank you, and with a good cooler are no problem.

Don't avoid ATI graphics cards, BTW. Overall, they generally give excellent performance for the price.
May 1, 2009 8:01:34 AM

croc said:

Cases are a personal thing. I want a case that will fit the space I have available on my workstation, and that has excellent cooling. You may prefer 'bling'.

I am looking for "Easy for a person inexperienced with building computers to work with" as the top priority. In my ignorance I am speculating that a full tower would generally be easier than a mid tower. Is that speculation generally close to the mark or quite off?


dragonfang18 said:
If you want you can wait for the new cores thats coming out. Once they do the prices on the i7 940 and 965 might come down to sell them out.

croc said:

I7 940? 965? Price point? At the price point that your pocket wouldn't squeal from the squeeze. 920's OC quite well, thank you, and with a good cooler are no problem.


Hmm, how much would you speculate the price-drop potential 920 has for when 975 comes out?


Why_Me said:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $359.99 ($339.99 after $20.00 Mail-In Rebate)
MSI N285GTX SuperPipe OC GeForce GTX 285 1GB 512-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card - Retail
Free Call of Duty: World at War w/ purchase, limited offer

That card up above is bad to the bone. It comes factory over clocked and it has a cooling system second to none. Change out the psu and vid card in that build I posted to this here. You would have a rig that would kick but in games, and it comes out to about the same price. Take the money you saved and...bank it for Windows 7 when it finally comes out. But wih that set up you wouldn't have to worry about upgrading your vid card for awhile I wouldn't think.


At that price, SLI two 1GB 250 cards would actually be cheaper o_O Would a single 285 outperform two 1GB 250 cards? (I know I said I didn't want to go SLI, but that was partially due to cost too. If SLI two cards is comparable to a more expensive card, I'd probably go with SLI)
a b 4 Gaming
May 1, 2009 4:14:08 PM

To answer a couple of your questions:

A case must hold all of your parts, past that, everything else is optional.
A full tower is not necessarily easier to work with. No case is really hard, unless you are looking at very small home theater types, or possibly water cooling rigs.
Here are some of the things I look for.
1) With a gtx260 class video card, will the case be long enough to fit it. Cases described as "gaming" will have enough room. If in doubt, google GTX280 and your case.
2) I don't like front doors. They get in the way of changing cd's
3) I like washable intake filters. Cases can gather dust, and the filters help keep it out.
4) I don't particularly like "bling" and lights.
5) Selling points like toolless construction and removeable motherboards don't mean much to me. You build the pc once.
6) A case must have good air flow. At least one 120mm intake fan and one 120mm output fan. Smaller fans are noisy, and don't push much air. Two of each is better, and is plenty.
7) The case must appeal to you.
As a starting suggestion, I like the Antec 300, or the Antec 900-2.

Download and read the manual for the case, so you get a good idea of what is involved.
You might do that for the motherboard also.

I would install an oem cooler up front. The stock cooler will do the job, but it's fan will spin up and become noisy when the cpu is under high load, or overclocked.
It is much easier to install a cooler initially, when the mobo is outside of the case. Fitting one later means tearing lots of things out, and I hate to do that with a running production system. Look for a Xigmatek S1283 1366 cooler. There are other good ones.

Skip the sound card. With an i7, any cpu savings are negligible, and some sound cards have driver issues. When the cpu was a single core mhz unit, then a sound card was helpful. Some claim that the quality is better, but onboard HD sound sis fine for me. Try onboard first, you can always add a sound card later.

Same goes for an add-in nic card. onboard is plenty good enough.


The i7-920 overclocks easily. Just change the BCLK value in the bios to 160, and you are at i7-965 speeds which is very safe. Even without overclocking, you will be shocked at how little your cpu gets used. With no 32nm variants showing up on the intel roadmaps that I have seen, I think the longevity of the i7-920 is greater than what we have seen in the past. The top end card like a has historically been priced at $1000 or so. I would expect a drop for the 965 and 940, but not much, if anything for the 920.


For gaming, don't skimp on the vga card, it is the most important component. I would suggest something like a GTX275 or GTX285. Faster than that, you get diminishing returns for your dollar. Don't add complexity with sli when a single good card will do the job. If, or when your vga card seems slow, and you want to upgrade, just sell it on e-bay, and get the next generation 40nm card which should start to appear by the end of the year.

Vista home premium-64 is probably what you want. You need a 64 bit os to use more than 4gb, and XP-64 bit has more compatibility issues. Windows-7 looks to be a winner. You might want to install it. When the public beta expires, presumably soon after general availability, you will have to buy your license and re-install. I think I might try that, you could always get a vista license if it doesn't work out.
May 1, 2009 5:14:53 PM

I am in a very similar price range as you are with my i7 build, however I am waiting until more like mid-june to make a purchase. However, something that you have that i don't is a "free" $1500. Do you want to spend the whole $1500 or not? If it was me, I would! :) 

I do not suggest upgrading to the i7 940 to fill the price gap. The performance value on the i7 920 is simply the best when considering overclocking potential. You don't even have to overclock much. You can change a few numbers in the BIOS and you are up to 3.33 GHz. I would suggest reading the article on overclocking the i7 920 (it's on this site). I can give you the link if you can't find it. It will tell you how to very quickly and without hassle get your system mildly overclocked.

As you say you aren't going to be playing FPS, and you do mostly 2d games, so I really don't see why you would need an awesome video card, but this is where I would try and fill that gap. For me, I would go with the gtx 285, but I am not sure if you need that much power. If anything, it would last you a long while. For me, I am hoping that the price for the 285 drops some. I am going for the EVGA brand, simply because of their great warranty and step up program.

For a case, it really is personal choice. I have picked the Coolermaster HAF 932. It's a full size case with three huge 230mm fans (i think). I want the bigger case because like you i assume it will be easier to build (this is my first system build). This case should also cool very well, but it is pretty big and heavy. It runs on Newegg anywhere from $130-160. Just make sure that whatever you do, you get free shipping on your case, because the shipping cost for those things is like $25. I know that right now the HAF 932 has free shipping on at Newegg, but it wasn't like that 3 weeks ago. You might want to consider buying your case early if you can get free shipping.

I have chosen the Asus p6t deluxe v2 as my mobo, and a lot of that reasoning comes from how much praise Tom's has given it. It's performance and overclocking are supposed to be pretty good for the price point, but make sure you don't get a dead one because i have heard a bunch of people complaining about that. I would like to see the price on this mobo drop about $30 though.

For the HD i chose western digital caviar black 640 gb @7200 rpm. I can't afford the ssd, and don't mind waiting a little to load games.

For the cpu cooler, i would get the xigmatek dark knight. I have seen great reviews on its performance with the i7 920, and it is only $40. It beats some of its $60 and $70 counterparts. You should have no problem mildly overclocking with this cooler.

I am using the same RAM as you, but i thought it was a lot cheaper than that at Newegg. I just checked, and its $75 after mail in rebates. very nice RAM too.

For the power supply, if you want something future proof, than you could go with a 1000+ watt. I'm not though, because I kind of think that performance parts will only become more efficient. I have chosen the corsair 750tx. It has SLI capabilities, and should leave you with plenty of room for some decent upgrades later. It will run like $110 on Newegg. It is non-modular, but the case i chose is supposed to have good cable management. I will find a way to tuck in the extra PSU cables that i don't need.

Vista 64-bit all the way. upgrade to win7 if you think you need it later down the road.

Sony optiarc 24x dvd/cd blah blah blah. You can't really go wrong here. Just get name brand and good quality. this one goes for $24. I am considering getting a blu ray drive when the prices drop further. It would be a nice addition to the capabilities of the system.

So basically i gave you my parts list. I also went back and reread your original list, and i posted some of the same parts. Sorry for that, but I guess we shared some thoughts in common. Right now my build is at $1513.71 with shipping, but before MIR, so it would drop another $40. If you want to the $1500, i would say go ahead and buy an NIC. If it's free money than sure why not. One last thing is before you build, make sure you do a search on the internet for coupons and promotion codes for your parts. Dell had a coupon for the gtx 285 where you could get it for $256 with free shipping. That's a sweet deal! It's expired now though. So be on the look out, because with the saved money you could buy even more stuff for your system like a nicer keyboard or mouse. This is a rock solid build for me, and i think it would probably be a little overkill (with the video card) for you. But why not use up the $1500 you have been given? This system will handle anything you throw at it. Period.

Good luck to you.
May 1, 2009 5:20:38 PM

I'm taking donations for a new rig...
May 1, 2009 6:10:56 PM

Quoted parts snipped to highlight specific points
geofelt said:

1) With a gtx260 class video card, will the case be long enough to fit it. Cases described as "gaming" will have enough room. If in doubt, google GTX280 and your case.
3) I like washable intake filters. Cases can gather dust, and the filters help keep it out.
6) A case must have good air flow. At least one 120mm intake fan and one 120mm output fan. Smaller fans are noisy, and don't push much air. Two of each is better, and is plenty.
As a starting suggestion, I like the Antec 300, or the Antec 900-2.

Download and read the manual for the case, so you get a good idea of what is involved.
You might do that for the motherboard also.

Yeah I agree with a lot of your preferences (not quoted), and will be paying special attention to the tips you mentioned above.

geofelt said:

I would install an oem cooler up front. The stock cooler will do the job, but it's fan will spin up and become noisy when the cpu is under high load, or overclocked.
It is much easier to install a cooler initially, when the mobo is outside of the case. Fitting one later means tearing lots of things out, and I hate to do that with a running production system. Look for a Xigmatek S1283 1366 cooler. There are other good ones.

The i7-920 overclocks easily. Just change the BCLK value in the bios to 160, and you are at i7-965 speeds which is very safe.
touchdowntexas13 said:
I do not suggest upgrading to the i7 940 to fill the price gap. The performance value on the i7 920 is simply the best when considering overclocking potential. You don't even have to overclock much. You can change a few numbers in the BIOS and you are up to 3.33 GHz. I would suggest reading the article on overclocking the i7 920 (it's on this site). I can give you the link if you can't find it. It will tell you how to very quickly and without hassle get your system mildly overclocked.

Going with 920, I will probably be overclocking. At what point of overclocking should I start to consider liquid cooling? Does liquid cooling replace all fans, or just an addition, or replaces some but not all fans?

geofelt said:

Windows-7 looks to be a winner. You might want to install it. When the public beta expires, presumably soon after general availability, you will have to buy your license and re-install. I think I might try that, you could always get a vista license if it doesn't work out.

Hmm, MicroSoft will be having free upgrade programs from Vista to 7 for OEM computers purchased during a promotion period. Considering newegg sells OEM OS's, maybe I should hold off my purchase to see if OEM Vista from newegg might be able to also get the free upgrade... (though I might not *actually* upgrade until 7 SP1)

touchdowntexas13 said:

As you say you aren't going to be playing FPS, and you do mostly 2d games, so I really don't see why you would need an awesome video card, but this is where I would try and fill that gap. For me, I would go with the gtx 285, but I am not sure if you need that much power.

Thanks, I'll probably look further into cases and cooling (including liquid cooling) options (read up more articles/reviews on this site), see how that impact my remaining budget, before finalizing on the graphic card then (-:
May 1, 2009 6:53:48 PM

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/overclock-core-i7,2...

Check that out if you haven't already. I couldn't find what cooling solution they used to overclock, but I would say getting the i7 920 to 3.33 GHz does not require liquid cooling, but rather just decent air cooling. I have even heard people making it to 4.0 GHz on air, but i wouldn't suggest it. To me, 4.0 GHz is for those trying to get maximum performance in benchmarks. I think the maximum overclock I was planning on (with air cooling) was 3.66 GHz. This can be achieved with a very mild voltage change, and the article shows that it gives the greatest increase in efficiency/performance. However, if you don't need it that fast you can oc to the 3.33 without any voltage changes at all, which is the simplest method for someone without much overclocking knowledge. I wasn't even going to overclock to that level until I felt I was missing out.

I did not put any liquid cooling in my post, because for one i have no experience in that area. I wouldn't know where to begin with liquid cooling, though I'm sure it's not as hard as it sounds. Also, being that this would be my first build, I thought that cutting out liquid cooling would simplify my experience and make things all the more easier. The case i chose has plenty of fans already installed and has awesome airflow. This cuts out some of the learning curve for me. Maintenance of liquid cooling can also be a little bit hairy, or so i have heard. When performing certain operations on your system, you have to drain everything which i read takes an hour if you know what you are doing.

A plus with the liquid cooling though is that you could get a smaller case since you wouldn't need the extra air flow. If I found out that by using liquid cooling i would save money by being able to buy a smaller/cheaper case and not having to buy an aftermarket cooler, then liquid cooling might be something i should look into. The case would need to offer the same amount of upgrade ability though, as some smaller cases don't allow you to install all of the parts you might want in the future. And i would need to think i was capable of doing the installation and maintaining it.
May 1, 2009 7:01:57 PM

"We used the following settings to overclock our Core i7 920. Most of the selected voltages were necessary to successfully and reliably overclock the processor to 3.8 and 4.0 GHz. Speeds faster than 4.0 GHz were not reliable on several air coolers, but we know that they can be achieved if you're willing to spend more on cooling.
Clock Speed Voltage"

There you go, page 3 of that article link i sent you. There is also a chart that shows what settings you need to overclock. I would read the whole thing, just because it's a good read for someone not so familiar with overclocking. It will definitely help smooth over your i7 overclocking experience.
a b 4 Gaming
May 1, 2009 7:11:20 PM

If you are new at this, don't even think about liquid cooling.

Liquid cooling gets heat from the cpu die, and(optionally the gpu) very efficiently. It then needs to get transferred to the room air using some sort of a radiator.

If the radiator is inside the case, the case needs to be even larger. If not, then you have an additional unit.

You have to worry about leaks, and regular maintenance of the cooling fluid. Too much hassle for me. And for what?

In the end, a decent air cooler will be just about as good as the typical liquid cooling setup.

If you are an enthusiast, looking for overclocking records, then go to it.


The free upgrade to W7 from oem vista applies to PC purchases from dell and the like. I don't think it applies to oem vista licenses purchased from newegg.
With the apparent enthusiasm for W7, I don't think microsoft has much incentive to make the upgrade free.
May 1, 2009 7:18:56 PM

geofelt said:
If you are new at this, don't even think about liquid cooling.

Liquid cooling gets heat from the cpu die, and(optionally the gpu) very efficiently. It then needs to get transferred to the room air using some sort of a radiator.

If the radiator is inside the case, the case needs to be even larger. If not, then you have an additional unit.

You have to worry about leaks, and regular maintenance of the cooling fluid. Too much hassle for me. And for what?

In the end, a decent air cooler will be just about as good as the typical liquid cooling setup.

If you are an enthusiast, looking for overclocking records, then go to it.


The free upgrade to W7 from oem vista applies to PC purchases from dell and the like. I don't think it applies to oem vista licenses purchased from newegg.
With the apparent enthusiasm for W7, I don't think microsoft has much incentive to make the upgrade free.


Totally agree. Just looked at liquid cooling systems and the cheapest is $90. I wouldn't even consider trying to expand the liquid system to the gpu unless you have done liquid before. I'm sold on air cooling.

Yeah i heard that you only get that free upgrade when you buy through dell, hp, etc. I haven't heard any word on free upgrades with the OEM disks. I will wait to buy the upgrade through my university, which I can get for $34. I don't know when they will have that deal available, but I am in no hurry for win7 as vista is still doing fine for me.
May 1, 2009 9:08:45 PM

Ok thanks guys, I'm picking the Coolmaster HAF 932 and Xigmatek Dark Knight per your suggestions to cool my 920 overclocking to 3.66GHz.

That leaves $100~200 to throw at a better GPU.

But before I go on, is there any online vendors that allows avoiding sales tax for California? (while having many free-shipping deals). 9.25% sales tax is quite steep, and if I can even get half of my components bought with no-tax free-shipping, that'd free up substantially more budget to play around.

Hmm, is it worth investing in an UPS?
May 1, 2009 9:13:07 PM

I don't really know about the tax. I had looked before at buying from no tax vendors, but it seemed like they all ended up just charging more to compensate for the tax free buy.

$100-200 is a lot. Which gpu are you leaning towards?
May 1, 2009 10:33:10 PM

touchdowntexas13 said:
I don't really know about the tax. I had looked before at buying from no tax vendors, but it seemed like they all ended up just charging more to compensate for the tax free buy.

$100-200 is a lot. Which gpu are you leaning towards?


The 275 would burn $100 (more than my currently listed 250 1GB), 285 would burn closer to $200.

I think I'll just whatever I can get with the leftover money once I decided on whether to get an UPS and any other accessories/upgrade first (even faster RAM?).

I'm gambling that the 250 will be able to run 2012 games at non-minimal settings with 1920x1200 resolution. Any more advanced video card would just be bonus.
May 1, 2009 10:39:13 PM

I wouldn't try for faster RAM. I don't think you will notice any difference. that RAM is already pretty fast, not to mention you can overclock that too if you thought it needed to be faster.

Idk about that 250 running 2012 games. i mean it would run them, but i'm not sure how pretty it would be. depending on how much you want to spend, i would say gtx 275, ati hd4890, or gtx 285.
May 1, 2009 11:01:38 PM

PanSola said:
The 275 would burn $100 (more than my currently listed 250 1GB), 285 would burn closer to $200.

I think I'll just whatever I can get with the leftover money once I decided on whether to get an UPS and any other accessories/upgrade first (even faster RAM?).

I'm gambling that the 250 will be able to run 2012 games at non-minimal settings with 1920x1200 resolution. Any more advanced video card would just be bonus.


Didn't read thru this whole thread, so apologies if it has been mentioned before. I would try and get the D0 stepping of the i920 since it oc's very well compared to the older stepping C0. Look for the label code SLBEJ. The D0's are like the G0 steppings for the Q6600 - lower stock voltages and hence cooler if you don't oc. Anandtech got their D0 to 4.3Ghz on air, and somebody on XtremeSystems got an i975 (D0 of the i965) over 5GHz on air, which I find incredible :) .
May 2, 2009 12:28:19 AM

fazers_on_stun said:
Didn't read thru this whole thread, so apologies if it has been mentioned before. I would try and get the D0 stepping of the i920 since it oc's very well compared to the older stepping C0. Look for the label code SLBEJ. The D0's are like the G0 steppings for the Q6600 - lower stock voltages and hence cooler if you don't oc. Anandtech got their D0 to 4.3Ghz on air, and somebody on XtremeSystems got an i975 (D0 of the i965) over 5GHz on air, which I find incredible :) .


Will this label code show up on Newegg? Do they even sell the older stepping CO? It would be nice to have, even though i wouldn't dream of oc'ing that high any time soon.
a b 4 Gaming
May 2, 2009 9:39:09 AM

PanSola said:
The 275 would burn $100 (more than my currently listed 250 1GB), 285 would burn closer to $200.

I think I'll just whatever I can get with the leftover money once I decided on whether to get an UPS and any other accessories/upgrade first (even faster RAM?).

I'm gambling that the 250 will be able to run 2012 games at non-minimal settings with 1920x1200 resolution. Any more advanced video card would just be bonus.


Not even. You might want to look up some benchmarks. The gts 250 1gig runs just a few dollars cheaper than the gtx 260, yet is beaten out by the ATI 4870 512mb. The gts 250 512mb runs about even with the ATI 4850. Your talking about putting together a $1,500 build, yet your planning on using a low range vid card. Your screwing yourself is what your doing.
May 2, 2009 11:23:27 AM

fazers_on_stun said:
Didn't read thru this whole thread, so apologies if it has been mentioned before. I would try and get the D0 stepping of the i920 since it oc's very well compared to the older stepping C0. Look for the label code SLBEJ. The D0's are like the G0 steppings for the Q6600 - lower stock voltages and hence cooler if you don't oc. Anandtech got their D0 to 4.3Ghz on air, and somebody on XtremeSystems got an i975 (D0 of the i965) over 5GHz on air, which I find incredible :) .


I have absolutely zero clue what the D0 / C0 / G0 thing is about, the few articles about overclocking I read on this site didn't really talk much (if at all) about it. Where can I read up on what it is about?
May 2, 2009 11:49:02 AM

5ghz on air....

was that even possible in the pentium 4 days?
May 2, 2009 5:15:40 PM

BTW, if for the video card I go with the 285, would 750W power supply still be sufficient? How about 700? Assume I will never go multiple video cards in future upgrades.

There's a good deal on the HAF932 case right now on newegg, it also has a combo-deal with a 700W PSU, not sure if I should just get the case alone now, or also grab the powersupply as well.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

****
Another question: For Mobo, I don't quite understand the difference between P6T SE and P6T Delux V2

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...

I am making the assumption (correct me if I am wrong) that the difference in audio and LAN chipsets and two extra USB ports don't really matter (to the point of making a $80 difference anyways), in which case the only other thing I can notice is the PCI Express 2.0 x16 modes, which I don't entirely understand either.

Are there other differences that doesn't fit into the newegg tech spec format? Like maybe the more expensive Mobo has higher QA threshhold and so have a higher life expectancy or something?

****
Right now considering the following video card:

Recertified: EVGA 01G-P3-1280-RX GeForce GTX 280 1GB 512-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card 90 day manufacturer warranty - $269.99 - $20.00 (promotion code) + tax (free shipping)

Recertified should be as good as brand new retail right?

or

BFG GeForce GTX 280 Video Card - OC Edition, 1GB GDDR3, PCI Express 2.0 x16, SLI Ready, (Dual Link) Dual DVI, HDTV, HDMI Support, VGA Support - $259.99 + $1.99 shipping (no tax)

or

EVGA 896-P3-1170-AR GeForce GTX 275 896MB 448-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - $249.99 + tax - $20 MIR (free shipping)
May 5, 2009 3:07:31 AM

get a new ones. Open box/ recertified is good if you are lucky. sometimes the things just broke and you have to pay the shipping to return it. not preferable
a b 4 Gaming
May 5, 2009 2:14:41 PM

For a UPS, I think the best units come from APC. Do some research at their web site. You do not need to match the wattage to your PSU. Your PC will operate at much lower wattages than the PSU rating which is a peak rating. You will also probably want to connect your monitor(about 100w) and modem. The VA rating determines how long you can run on battery power. If you want the UPC for line voltage conditioning and handling power spikes/drops, then only 5 minutes is enough and you don't need a high va rating. That gives you enough time to ride through a power glitch, or to shut down if power is out for a long time. For long run times, you need lots of battery power and a higher va rating.

APC also supplies a nice free application called PowerChute personal edition. It keeps statistics of outages, and shows how many watts are currently being used. As I am typing this, it shows 302 watts being used on my system. It includes a single 24" monitor. Under heavy load, it goes up to about 380watts, as I recall.

You might look at something like this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I think I would avoid recertified units. They were returned for some reason. If they were defective, I would avoid them, but there is no way to know why they were returned. Some retailers will only give them a cursory test and put them back on sale. You should get a very good discount before it is a good deal. I would rather buy used on e-bay from an individual seller with a good reputation.
May 5, 2009 4:49:10 PM

wait until late may when they launch core i5.. major price drop are expected..
May 5, 2009 6:52:18 PM

geofelt said:
You might look at something like this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thanks!

geofelt said:

I think I would avoid recertified units. They were returned for some reason. If they were defective, I would avoid them, but there is no way to know why they were returned. Some retailers will only give them a cursory test and put them back on sale. You should get a very good discount before it is a good deal. I would rather buy used on e-bay from an individual seller with a good reputation.


Does newegg have a good/bad/neutral reputation of testing returned stuff?

mansalim said:
wait until late may when they launch core i5.. major price drop are expected..


ooo nice tip. The only thing I found about i5 release date was "third quarter", and I have absolutely no clue what that means in terms of dates on the calendar.
May 5, 2009 7:02:00 PM

ive read somewhere in the internet ( sorry i forgot the exact location ), i5 will be released on May 31st, 2009.. if you can wait, its only 25days from now..
May 5, 2009 7:06:34 PM

about the refurbished product, my housemate did buy samsung t260HD at newegg at $300(refurb).. the item didnt even turn on. although newegg refund his $300, he has to pay $70 for the shipping. technically, he lost $70 for nothing. you may get a good deal for refurb, or you may get worse. IMO, play safe. buy new ones.
May 5, 2009 7:09:47 PM

do you really need an UPS? just a thought. i never use any of those. and you are getting Corsair 750TX, it has built in power correction. unless your area always had blackout, you dont really need an UPS IMO
May 5, 2009 9:15:16 PM

mansalim said:
do you really need an UPS? just a thought. i never use any of those. and you are getting Corsair 750TX, it has built in power correction. unless your area always had blackout, you dont really need an UPS IMO


Back in 2002 or 2001, there was a blackout that killed the PSU of my desktop, even though I had a surge protector. And even after getting a new PSU, the desktop had been unstable (not sure if the motherboard might have suffered minor electrical damage or not).

I also hate losing my work in rare cases of blackout (not frequent, but has happened) or some clumsy person tripping over the wire.

Those are the primary considerations behind why I am interested in a UPS. Whether I really *need* it or not, not sure. But if in the end I have like $150 left in my budget, getting a UPS might be a better investment than say ditching the GTX 275 for a 285.

*********
A completely separate question:

I was thinking about buying the components separately, waiting for good deals and stuff. But I'm worried that if I only get some of the stuff first and not others, I might not be able to test whether the components are good/bad until some later components arrive, and that delay can hurt my ability to return items.

Things like hard drive and optical drive I can borrow a friend's computer to test, so I can order them as soon as I see a good deal. But I imagine getting a CPU or DDR3 Ram a month before getting a motherboard is risky if the CPU or Ram is defective, etc (I probably don't have a friend who has a motherboard supporting DDR3). Can a motherboard be tested before getting CPU and RAM?

So, what are the testing dependencies of the components in a system (I don't have any professional tools)? Can the computer case be "defective" and would it need some other component to discover the defect?
May 5, 2009 9:26:49 PM

best things to do is gather all good deals and buy them all at once.. Those things are meant to be together. Many things can happen in one month. What is the point keeping a $300 mobo for one month for nothing? Im not sure if we can test individual components without the presence of the other.

Just buy all at once. If you like to wait, wait for public holidays such as thanksgiving, this coming summer( they sure have summer sale), back-to-school, black friday, good friday, every friday (weekend sale)

Those days, deals are like mushroom sprouting after a rain. :) 

a b 4 Gaming
May 5, 2009 10:21:03 PM

Many things have longer warranties. A cpu will be 1 year, ram and vga cards have lifetime warranties from good manufacturers. Cases, perhaps a year. Psu might be long. PC P&C has a 5 year warranty.

Cases are a good deal when you get free shipping. A case is heavy, and costs about $20 to ship.

The main problem with ordering piecemeal is that you might change your mind. Prices drop, and new units emerge.

When you order all at once from one place, you can combine shipping, saving some costs.


As to newegg, they have the best no hassle customer service around. They are marketeers, though, not necessarily pc people. They depend on others to assess functionality.

I would avoid open box(which might be missing parts) and refurbs if you are not comfortable with solving problems. As a new builder, I suggest you pass on such items the first time around.

I think the GTX275 is a better buy than GTX280. It has smaller mfg technology, and performs almost as well. Going faster gets you smaller increments of performance for your dollar.
May 5, 2009 10:37:56 PM

geofelt said:

I think the GTX275 is a better buy than GTX280. It has smaller mfg technology, and performs almost as well. Going faster gets you smaller increments of performance for your dollar.


seconded

!