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A newbie's $1k Intel/NVIDIA gaming build

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June 1, 2009 8:56:29 PM

Hello! I've been lurking about here for awhile, reading articles and viewing charts, and I'm wondering if anyone has the time to take a look at my ideas for a $1000 gaming rig. First time builder! And I know I can get better deals on AMD and ATI, but I'd rather not use them.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: June 15th, 2009 BUDGET RANGE: $1000-$1100

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: gaming, surfing the internet, watching movies

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, 20 inch 4:3 monitor, speakers, WinXP Pro

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com

PARTS PREFERENCES: I would like to use an Intel processor and an NVIDIA GPU

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe - I want it capable, but not anything extreme SLI OR CROSSFIRE: SLI, yes, but down the road.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1280x960 now, later 1920x1200, maybe even 2560x1600 after SLI

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Would I need additional cooling without SLI?

Case
Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail $89.99 (combo deal, see PSU below)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard
EVGA 123-YW-E175-A1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 750i SLI FTW ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $169.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80570E8400 - Retail $179.99 -$15.00 Instant $164.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

Power Supply
Antec EA650 650W Continuous Power ATX12V Ver.2.2 / EPS12V version 2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active ... - Retail $89.99 - $20 combo deal with case = $69.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8500CL5D-4GBPK - Retail $64.99-$10.00 Instant = $54.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thermal Compound
Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM $8.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hard drive
Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM $59.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD
LG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model GH22NS30 - OEM $23.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Tools
Rosewill RTK-045 45 Piece Premium Computer Tool Kit - Retail $29.99-$10.00 Instant-$5 combo deal = $14.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Subtotal: $907.90 (including combo deals)

Also available here: http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx...

What I'm most unsure about is the 650W PSU - I'd prefer a bit more power and it being modular, but this just seems like a great deal with good reviews. There's another combo deal with an 850W modular power supply for $30 off from a case combo deal, but it would still be another $70:

Antec TPQ-850 850W Continuous Power ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
June 1, 2009 9:02:16 PM

1) The Antec 900 case should provide adequate cooling for a SLI setup, but you'll probably want to get a 750w psu if that's your ultimate goal.

2) You don't need the Rosewill tool kit.

3) I'd switch the HDD to a WD 640gb 32MB cache black. You'll notice the difference.

4) Are you set on Intel? The e8400 is a great chip to OC with, but you don't have an upgrade path like you'd have with the AM3 PII 720 x3 at a similar or cheaper price.
Related resources
June 1, 2009 9:28:50 PM

EVGA GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 Superclocked Video Card - 896MB GDDR3, PCI Express 2.0 x16, SLI Ready, (Dual Link) Dual DVI, HDTV, VGA Support

Check out this card at tigerdirect it like 214.00
June 1, 2009 10:21:04 PM

drunknmunkys said:
1) The Antec 900 case should provide adequate cooling for a SLI setup, but you'll probably want to get a 750w psu if that's your ultimate goal.

Awesome, exactly the info I craved, thanks!

drunknmunkys said:
2) You don't need the Rosewill tool kit.

Is that because you think it's a poor deal? I have a really really crappy toolkit, with all the screwdriver bits falling apart on me.

drunknmunkys said:
3) I'd switch the HDD to a WD 640gb 32MB cache black. You'll notice the difference.

I was going to question the 640gb over the 500gb, but then I noticed that for $6 more dollars you get an extra 140gb. Not bad, thank you!

drunknmunkys said:
4) Are you set on Intel? The e8400 is a great chip to OC with, but you don't have an upgrade path like you'd have with the AM3 PII 720 x3 at a similar or cheaper price.

Do you refer to the Core i7 chips blocking the upgrade path? They'll probably make other Core 2 Quads that I could upgrade to, right? Or is that at the end of the line?
June 1, 2009 10:29:49 PM

christop said:
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...
Check out this deal... would leave money for a sweet card and hd...

Actually, that motherboard is not really SLI friendly from the reviews I've seen. A second card blocks access to the hard drive bays. Thanks for the info, but Tiger Direct doesn't seem to be having move of a deal compared to NewEgg pricing.

And wouldn't this deal be better deal for a processor:
Intel Core 2 Quad Q8400 Yorkfield 2.66GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80580Q8400 - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
June 1, 2009 10:46:12 PM

christop said:
EVGA GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 Superclocked Video Card - 896MB GDDR3, PCI Express 2.0 x16, SLI Ready, (Dual Link) Dual DVI, HDTV, VGA Support

Check out this card at tigerdirect it like 214.00


Do you know if there are benchmarks for the superclocked version? I'd be saving $35 bucks from the GTX 275, but is the performance drop worth it? The same card is available at NewEgg for $205 with a $20 MIR (but I hate rebates, and apparently EVGA sucks when it comes to rebates), so I've yet to find a better deal at TigerDirect.
June 2, 2009 12:43:06 AM

two things to consider, first, the phenom 2 is just a better cpu for the price.
look into it open minded, i know how hard it is for an intel junkey to swich as i am one
the mobo is i say a bit of a waist to much unneeded
also look into waiting for the intel i5
good luck
June 2, 2009 12:47:19 AM

Two things:

1) Seconding the larger power supply. nVidia states you need at least a 550W power supply for 1 GTX 275. I think that's a bit high, and intentionally so considering they don't know what else you'll have filling up your system, but considering the cards can draw about 200W apiece, 650W is not enough for 2. nVidia would probably recommend 850W for 2 275's in SLi, but I'm willing to bet 750W will be fine as long as you don't have an unusual number of other components like hard drives and the like (a bet I'm about to take myself, as I currently have a GTX 275 and a 750W PSU).

2) LGA 775 is nearing the end of its life, and you may not see much more come out for it. If you're not ready to delve in to Core i7 (don't blame you) but want more room for upgrades, you may want to wait. This fall Core i5 and the LGA 1156 socket comes out, and so far it's looking great. If you don't want to wait, simply expect to buy a new motherboard when you upgrade your processor. Not a huge deal.
June 2, 2009 12:48:59 AM

I know I'm being bullheaded about the Intel over AMD thing - it's not that I think it's better, it's just what I know. For my first PC build, I'll stick with Intel, but I"ll probably be more open minded in the future.

Also, anyone have thoughts on this:

EVGA 01G-P3-1280-TR GeForce GTX 280 1GB 512-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Edit: I thought they were offering me $50 off, but instead they offered a free game of that value. Hmm, it's in budget though, so I might jump for it.
June 2, 2009 3:52:04 AM

adamda said:

Also, anyone have thoughts on this:

EVGA 01G-P3-1280-TR GeForce GTX 280 1GB 512-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Edit: I thought they were offering me $50 off, but instead they offered a free game of that value. Hmm, it's in budget though, so I might jump for it.


Take a look at the charts, the GTX 275 is FASTER than the 280, and due to the newer chip, uses less power. There's no good reason to buy a GTX 280

I was thinking the same thing you were when shopping around for video cards, but went with the 275 after seeing the charts and realizing I'd be paying more, using more power, and getting less performance.
June 2, 2009 9:23:21 AM

zendax said:
Take a look at the charts, the GTX 275 is FASTER than the 280, and due to the newer chip, uses less power. There's no good reason to buy a GTX 280

I was thinking the same thing you were when shopping around for video cards, but went with the 275 after seeing the charts and realizing I'd be paying more, using more power, and getting less performance.

Thanks for the awesome feedback zendax! You know, I had seen that benchmark, but I had heard people say that the numbers are much better on the 280 in terms of being 512-bit and the full gig of VRAM. But I suppose you're right. Should I hold out for the BFG coming back in stock in NewEgg (I'd like one order for everything), or just get what's available?

BFG Tech BFGEGTX275896OCE GeForce GTX 275 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail (OUT OF STOCK) $250
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

EVGA 896-P3-1170-AR GeForce GTX 275 896MB 448-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail $250
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And in regards to LGA 775 finding the light at the end of the tunnel, I was worried about that too. The impending processor and motherboard updates are something I'd be wanting to upgrade to, more than I'd want this specific rig with SLI. A cheap but solid motheboard, PSU, and DDR2 800 RAM might be good for the mean time.

Is it a waste to spend $70 on the well rated Antec 650W PSU, and then just replace it in two years with a better modular one when prices go down, instead of just buying a solid PSU now?

I've got a friend convincing me to get a cheap Raptor as well to run games off of:
Western Digital Raptor WD740ADFD 74GB 10000 RPM SATA 1.5Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM $80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I've heard that there isn't much of a difference bteween SATA 1.5GB/s and SATA II's 3Gb/s right now (the pricier VelociRaptors). Is that true?

Any recommendations for a solid temp board?

Maybe this?
GIGABYTE GA-G31M-ES2L LGA 775 Intel G31 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $53
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And RAM?
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail $49
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
June 2, 2009 2:17:12 PM

Yes, Velociraptors are a waste of money. ~80% more price for ~20% more performance, and that's just loading apps and game levels. For the same price you can bet a WD 640GB Black that will serve you well.

It's never a waste to buy a good PSU. You should never run anything on an el cheapo psu.

You could get G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 ram for 6$ more.
June 2, 2009 3:50:11 PM

adamda said:
Thanks for the awesome feedback zendax! You know, I had seen that benchmark, but I had heard people say that the numbers are much better on the 280 in terms of being 512-bit and the full gig of VRAM. But I suppose you're right. Should I hold out for the BFG coming back in stock in NewEgg (I'd like one order for everything), or just get what's available?

BFG Tech BFGEGTX275896OCE GeForce GTX 275 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail (OUT OF STOCK) $250
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

EVGA 896-P3-1170-AR GeForce GTX 275 896MB 448-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail $250
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And in regards to LGA 775 finding the light at the end of the tunnel, I was worried about that too. The impending processor and motherboard updates are something I'd be wanting to upgrade to, more than I'd want this specific rig with SLI. A cheap but solid motheboard, PSU, and DDR2 800 RAM might be good for the mean time.

Is it a waste to spend $70 on the well rated Antec 650W PSU, and then just replace it in two years with a better modular one when prices go down, instead of just buying a solid PSU now?

I've got a friend convincing me to get a cheap Raptor as well to run games off of:
Western Digital Raptor WD740ADFD 74GB 10000 RPM SATA 1.5Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM $80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I've heard that there isn't much of a difference bteween SATA 1.5GB/s and SATA II's 3Gb/s right now (the pricier VelociRaptors). Is that true?

Any recommendations for a solid temp board?

Maybe this?
GIGABYTE GA-G31M-ES2L LGA 775 Intel G31 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $53
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And RAM?
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail $49
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


The BFG is slightly faster because it is slightly overclocked. Looking at the numbers though, you can easily overclock the EVGA board by that much without breaking a sweat (no luck of the draw with parts required). EVGA even provides its own overclocking utility for you to do so.

I am a big fan of G.Skill memory, their price/performance is tough to beat. The Gigabyte board you've chosen looks solid, but if you choose that board, you're forcing an upgrade upon yourself should you ever decide to do SLi.

I would buy a good quality PSU, because nothing major is going to change soon rendering it obsolete, and prices on PSUs don't really drop overall like other technologies. Find a good deal on a 750W PSU from a good brand, and take it.

That motherboard seems a solid choice, but you're forcing yourself into an upgrade should you want to do SLi. Even though the upgrade path for LGA 775 processor will likely be limited, the fastest processor are more than enough to make SLI worth it with current video card technology. In other words, when more games are out a year from now that have the potential to bring a GTX 275 to its knees, you'll see real benefit from buying and plugging in another GTX 275. You shouldn't completely lock yourself out of this option. ASRock makes a fine board with SLI Support, that's only about $30 more than the Gigabyte you suggsted:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157143


June 3, 2009 11:52:57 AM

drunknmunkys said:
Yes, Velociraptors are a waste of money. ~80% more price for ~20% more performance, and that's just loading apps and game levels. For the same price you can bet a WD 640GB Black that will serve you well.

It's never a waste to buy a good PSU. You should never run anything on an el cheapo psu.

You could get G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 ram for 6$ more.


i totally agree with the velocity raptor overpricing, better get another hd and make a raid-0 for better performance
June 3, 2009 1:34:15 PM

^+1

I got 2 WD 640GB Black HDDs and put em in raid 0 configuration. Just make sure you do that before you install everything...unlike me.
June 3, 2009 8:58:13 PM

First off, THANK YOU for having me take a second look at my Raptor plans. Looking at the benchmarks between the Raptors (not the Velociraptors, which were out of my budget) and the WD Caviar Black makes me want to cry. I have one of those Raptors. It's pathetic. I was going to include one for $80 in the build, but having seen this, I shudder at the thought:
http://preview.tinyurl.com/pc3jmr

RAID-wise, I've dealt with enough failed drives that having double the chance of failure from being striped really does not appeal to me. I totally understand the cost and performance benefit of just slapping those two WD Caviar Black drives together, but my paranoia prevents me from wanting to go that road.

zendax's point about having SLI as a solid upgrade path overruled my sudden desire for a disposable machine. I looked at the ASRock board, but it didn't look as robust when I pored through the reviews (plus no mention of SLI, only Crossfire). I fell back on my original EVGA 750i board idea, which is pricey but well loved. I went combo deal crazy, and found an Antec 750W for $90, which made me happy. Only finding one review on NewEgg was disappointing (albeit 5 stars), but I found a full on review here that looked promising:
http://www.futurelooks.com/antec-true-power-750-watt-tp...

Here's what I've got so far:

Case
Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail $89.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU
Antec TruePower New TP-750 750W Continuous Power ATX12V V2.3 / EPS12V V2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE ... - Retail $119.95 - $30 with combo deal w/ case = $89.95
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard
EVGA 123-YW-E175-A1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 750i SLI FTW ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $145.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Graphics Card
EVGA 896-P3-1170-AR GeForce GTX 275 896MB 448-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail $249.99 - $20 combo deal w/ motherboard = $229.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80570E8400 - Retail $164.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8500CL5D-4GBPK - Retail $64.99-$10.00 Instant = $54.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thermal Compound
Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM $8.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hard drive
Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM $74.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD
LG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model GH22NS30 - OEM $23.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Tools
Rosewill RTK-045 45 Piece Premium Computer Tool Kit - Retail $20.99 - $5 combo deal w/ RAM = $14.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Subtotal: $907.86
Grand Total: $1,001.39
$50 MIR not included in above totals.
June 3, 2009 9:04:44 PM

adamda said:

RAID-wise, I've dealt with enough failed drives that having double the chance of failure from being striped really does not appeal to me. I totally understand the cost and performance benefit of just slapping those two WD Caviar Black drives together, but my paranoia prevents me from wanting to go that road.


You don't double the chance of failure by putting two HDDs in raid, you just create a stripped array that allows for faster data access. If one fails, the other becomes corrupted as well, but it doesn't fail, so it's not double the chance of failure: its double that HDDs that are useless if one fails. That being said, if you have the cash I would recommend getting 2 HDDs in a raid 0 array and an external HDD for backing up your important files. Raid 1 arrays are just a waste of money at the home level.

That was you have redundency and extra performance.

The reason I said you didn't need the tookit is not because I know its bad (although it's Rosewill, which pretty much dooms it), but because you just need a screwdriver to put your computer together. You don't need to pay 16$ for a screwdriver.
June 3, 2009 10:11:27 PM

Having never dealt with mounting a motherboard or a processor upon a motherboard, I just assumed I'd need all sorts of tools. Hmm, thank you though. I'll toss it!

Also, I might just bite the bullet, buy a second HD, and do the RAID as you say. The machine shouldn't have anything super critical, and if need be I can invest in a cheap external. I'll stand my ground and keep Intel/NVIDIA, but my RAID fears are useless.
!