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First build - well rounded PC for roughly $1000 - need advice

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May 16, 2009 6:42:14 PM

Hi everyone,

I'm looking into building my own PC for the first time. I'm looking for a good all around system which will be used for gaming, photo-editing and general use. I'm looking for a good system which will stand the test of time and won't limit future upgrades. All prices will be in Canadian dollars.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: within the next few weeks
BUDGET RANGE: Flexible, looking at around $900 - $1200

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Surfing -> Gaming -> Photo-editing -> Office productivity

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitor (HP w2207), Video Card (Galaxy Geforce 8800gt from previous build), keyboard, mouse, speakers

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: I find the best prices in Canada are usually found on http://www.canadacomputers.com/ and http://www.pccanada.com/. But if you know something better then by all means, speak up!

PARTS PREFERENCES: I'm thinking that Core i7 is the most logical choice at the moment, even with the price premium. I've had good experiences with Antec PSU's and Cases, Asus Mobo's and OCZ RAM. But I'll defer to the experts if you've got some better suggestions. I'm looking for a Midtower case with good cooling and quite operation.

OVERCLOCKING: Yes, conservative - Looking to take the i7 920 to 3.33Ghz, as demonstrated by:

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Not needed.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: native 1680x1050

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I'm looking for a performance machine that runs quiet, cool and efficient (or as best as can be done without sacrificing too much performance).

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Here's a list of the parts I'm considering at the moment. I'm not married to any of these choices so if you've got a better idea let me know.

Intel® Core i7 920 Quad Core 2.67-GHz, w/ 8Mb (Socket 1366) (Retail Box) w/ Heat Sink & Fan : $364.99

Asus® P6T SE, Socket 1366, Intel® X58 Chipset w/ PCI Express x16 (ATX) : $249.99

OCZ 6Gb PC3-12800 DDR3 Triple Channel Intel® Core i7 Low-Voltage Edition (OCZ3X1600LV6GK) : $139.99

Antec Sonata III Quiet Super Mid Tower w/ 500W PSU Metallic Charcoal Color (Canada Computers Exclusive) : $129.99

Power Supply: Antec Earthwatts 500, included with aforementioned case.

Hard Drive: Something in the 500GB range, any suggestions? Approx $80

Optical: DVD-RW, any suggestions? Does it really matter? Approx $40

2.5 inch internal card reader, Approx $15

OS: Win 7 RC (for now), Ubuntu 9.04

Extra Cooling: A quite 120mm fan for the hard drive cage of the Sonata III, any suggestions? Also, will the stock cooler be fine for the i7 running at 3.33GHz?
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Any help will be appreciated, thanks in advance!

-Kanati

PS. Does anyone know of a good how-to guide for a system builder noob?

More about : build rounded roughly 1000 advice

May 16, 2009 7:57:27 PM

320 , 640 and 1 terabyte drives are generally faster so either the W 640 black or the equivalent samsung are the performance choices .

Buy a SATA dvd drive . I prefer liteon because theyre cheap and work .

Sonata is a classy case

Your mb is a great choice but a bit more expensive than the Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD3R which will do the same job
http://www.pccanada.com/viewitem.asp?id=9284
The ud3r has some limitations but they seem to be things you dont want anyway
Either of these boards would be more than fine
May 16, 2009 8:06:34 PM

you forgot a graphics card, you'll want a 4770 for mild gaming or at least a 4870/GTX 260 for 'hardcore' gaming.
Related resources
May 16, 2009 8:13:01 PM

Helloworld_98 said:
you forgot a graphics card, you'll want a 4770 for mild gaming or at least a 4870/GTX 260 for 'hardcore' gaming.



" PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitor (HP w2207), Video Card (Galaxy Geforce 8800gt from previous build), keyboard, mouse, speakers"
May 16, 2009 8:16:15 PM

Hey kanati, why did you choose Asus P6T over gigabyte GA-EX58-UD4P? gigabyte 4P can be bought for 235 (inclusive of taxes, MIR and shipping).
May 16, 2009 10:11:39 PM

Mostly I chose the P6T because I don't know a whole lot about motherboards and ASUS has never done me wrong. I've looked around a bit more and most reviews seem to favour either the P6T or the UD4P. Since the P6T SE is cheaper than the UD4P and all I lose is SLI (which I don't need anyways) I decided to go with that version. The UD3R is out because it only has 4 instead of 6 memory slots, which I'd like to have in case I one day find a use for 12gb of tri-channel memory. Also the P6T has a quickboot Linux OS built right into the board (or something like that), which I like the sounds of.

A 640gb hard drive is faster than a 500gb drive? Thanks for the tip!

As for memory, I chose the memory I did because it says core i7 right on it. Is this just a marketing ploy by OCZ, or is their Intel Optimised line of memory actually better for Core i7 systems?

Thanks for the responses,
-Kanati
May 16, 2009 10:34:08 PM

kanati said:


A 640gb hard drive is faster than a 500gb drive? Thanks for the tip!

As for memory, I chose the memory I did because it says core i7 right on it. Is this just a marketing ploy by OCZ, or is their Intel Optimised line of memory actually better for Core i7 systems?

Thanks for the responses,
-Kanati


Hard disk drives often have more than a single disc in side . They are stacked in layers
Till recently the most data any company had packed on a single disk was 340 gb . One gets you a 320 , 2 gets you 640 and 3 is a terabyte drive . Because the data is more densely packed it reads faster .

A 500 gb has two disks of only 250 gb each so the heads [ on average ] had to travel further

BUT , some companies are releasing 500 gb drives with a single disk inside . These should be faster again , but unless you can be absolutely sure this is what you are buying then WD 640 black or samsung 640 gb are the best option

With memory timing is important and so is voltage . Timing is expressed like 7-7-7-20 . LOWER is better . DDR3 is 1.65 volt memory but the timing could be lowered if you add more voltage so its not good value to pay for low timings and high voltage since its the slower ram with added voltage .
May 16, 2009 11:16:32 PM

Outlander_04 said:

With memory timing is important and so is voltage . Timing is expressed like 7-7-7-20 . LOWER is better . DDR3 is 1.65 volt memory but the timing could be lowered if you add more voltage so its not good value to pay for low timings and high voltage since its the slower ram with added voltage .


I've heard that anything higher than 1.65v might torch an i7 processor. So I'm looking for the lowest timings while keeping things below 1.65v right? Where does clock speed fit into this? For example, the OCZ PC3-10666 i7 Optimised modules run at 1333MHz with timings of 8-8-8-20 at 1.6 volts. The PC3-12800 modules from the same product line run at 1600mhz at 8-8-8-24 and 1.65 volts. So, the more expensive memory is clocked higher but has higher timings and a higher voltage. Does the clock speed advantage outweigh the timing and voltage disadvantage?

I guess this is where I should admit that I know very little about memory :( 
May 16, 2009 11:23:10 PM

kanati said:
Mostly I chose the P6T because I don't know a whole lot about motherboards and ASUS has never done me wrong. I've looked around a bit more and most reviews seem to favour either the P6T or the UD4P. Since the P6T SE is cheaper than the UD4P and all I lose is SLI (which I don't need anyways) I decided to go with that version. The UD3R is out because it only has 4 instead of 6 memory slots, which I'd like to have in case I one day find a use for 12gb of tri-channel memory. Also the P6T has a quickboot Linux OS built right into the board (or something like that), which I like the sounds of.

A 640gb hard drive is faster than a 500gb drive? Thanks for the tip!

As for memory, I chose the memory I did because it says core i7 right on it. Is this just a marketing ploy by OCZ, or is their Intel Optimised line of memory actually better for Core i7 systems?

Thanks for the responses,
-Kanati


Thanks Kanati, Even I'm building an i7 system and have chosen 4P because I can find a cheaper deal for it in US. Also, gigabyte seems to provide better organized overclocking options and I'll be overclocking for the first time.
!