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First Computer Build (<$1500). Please Rate.

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June 4, 2009 8:52:01 AM


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APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Next two weeks (week of the 18th)

BUDGET RANGE: US $1000-1500

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: work (Autocad, Solidworks, Matlab, 3d modeling, photoshop, etc.), gaming (FPSs), multimedia (music/movies).

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Starting from scratch.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: As long as its reputable I don't care.

PARTS PREFERENCES: N/A

OVERCLOCKING: For now, no. SLI OR CROSSFIRE: In the future, yes.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050 or 1920x1080

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I don't plan on overclocking, but I am concerned about the heat and noise level of the stock fan and cpu on the i7 920. Is it wise to get a aftermarket cooler anyways? Or is it better to just save some money and deal with the stock fan?

Also, I probably won't upgrade for a while after this build (other than putting another card in SLI somewhere down the road), is there anything I should watch out for?
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These are the parts I am considering:

CPU: Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor - Retail ($229.99)
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD4P LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail ($219.99 - $15 rebate)
http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=MB-EX58U4P&show=p

PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ($109.99 -$20 rebate)
PC Power & Cooling S75CF 750W EPS12V SLI NVIDIA SLI Certified (Dual 8800 GTX and below) CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail

GPU: http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product... ($244.99 w/free shipping)
XFX GX275XADQC GeForce GTX 275 896MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 (2.0v) Video Card Retail

****I'm debating between the gtx 275 and 4890, but the gtx 275 is supposedly quieter...

Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ($79.99)
COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

HD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ($99.99 w/free shipping)
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drives - OEM

CD/DVD:http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ($22.99)
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

Memory: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ($99.99- $20 rebate w/free ship)
OCZ Gold 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
***I'm not too sure about the memory... do I have to change the voltage to get it to run at 1600?

Sound Card: http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product... ($84.99 - $25 rebate w/free ship)
ASUS Xonar XD

Monitor: Dell Ultrasharp 2209WA ~$209 (w/ codes)
http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/products/Displays/pr...

Keyboard: ?????

Mouse: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (39.99 w/free ship)
Logitech MX518 8 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB Wired Optical 1800 dpi Gaming-Grade Mouse - Retail

Total: 1446.91 w/ rebates: 1366.91
June 4, 2009 9:35:43 AM

^ Very Nice setup...All the listed components are the best value one...
But you can try this RAM...
Bettter Timings...Though like you said, you would have to set it in the BIOS to get the advertised speed and CAS...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

But you can get XMP memory, for which it is not required to go into BIOS to set the timings...
Here is a very good and solid RAM with XMP profile...but is about $25 more...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Keyboard - Maybe a G11 or G15 or RAZER Arctosa or Saitek Eclipse
June 4, 2009 9:52:51 AM

+1 for the ram bot that gkay09 suggested are great,IMO you made a very great build and you don't need our help anyway for the keyboard i would get

Saitek Eclipse II Keyboard (PK02AU) for 48$ and free shipping and it is one of the best keyboard on the market

http://www.amazon.com/Saitek-Eclipse-II-Keyboard-PK02AU...

if you can pull out more 40 dollars i would get because i am sure you will want to overclock or because it will keep your processor cooler

XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...




Related resources
June 4, 2009 10:01:38 AM

It's best to put your after market h/s on before you install everything. This one down below is a good one, especially for the price. Also that memory you have and the memory gkay posted is all great memory. This RAM down below gives you another option is all. Also check the Corsair 750w psu ...same price as the PC Power & Cooling yet it offers free shipping atm. And +1 for the gtx 275. Nvidea cards = good stable drivers for the most part. btw you have a very nice build going. :) 

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $39.99
XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing 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... $94.99 Free Shipping*
G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
June 4, 2009 5:23:58 PM

How important is Gaming vs CAD/3D modelling? They require two different kinds of GPU's. The GTX 275/GTX 285/4890 is going to be very slow compared to a low end workstation card for your working applications. Workstation cards are meant for the detail oriented work that is required for your working applications, while gaming cards are meant for fast frame rates in games, and they skimp on detail to make that happen. A $250 workstation card will be 5x as fast as a $250 Gaming card. However, the inverse of that statement is also true: Workstation cards suck for gaming. If your work is the most important, then you should look at a workstation card like these:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It is possible to softmod older gaming cards to use Workstation drivers (as most workstation cards have a gaming twin card that is identical hardware-wise), like an 8800 GT or 8800GTX ( I think the 8800GTS works too, but not sure) which can turn a $80 gaming card into a $1000 workstation card. Newer GPU's from the 9000 series nvidia and 3000 ATI or later GPU's are laser etched and cannot be modded into workstation cards.
June 4, 2009 6:37:11 PM

gkay09 said:
^ Very Nice setup...All the listed components are the best value one...
But you can try this RAM...
Bettter Timings...Though like you said, you would have to set it in the BIOS to get the advertised speed and CAS...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

But you can get XMP memory, for which it is not required to go into BIOS to set the timings...
Here is a very good and solid RAM with XMP profile...but is about $25 more...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Keyboard - Maybe a G11 or G15 or RAZER Arctosa or Saitek Eclipse


Oh thanks! I'll switch the RAM to the platinum. I think a little trial and error is worth saving $25. :D 
June 4, 2009 7:35:57 PM

xthekidx said:
How important is Gaming vs CAD/3D modelling? They require two different kinds of GPU's. The GTX 275/GTX 285/4890 is going to be very slow compared to a low end workstation card for your working applications. Workstation cards are meant for the detail oriented work that is required for your working applications, while gaming cards are meant for fast frame rates in games, and they skimp on detail to make that happen. A $250 workstation card will be 5x as fast as a $250 Gaming card. However, the inverse of that statement is also true: Workstation cards suck for gaming. If your work is the most important, then you should look at a workstation card like these:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It is possible to softmod older gaming cards to use Workstation drivers (as most workstation cards have a gaming twin card that is identical hardware-wise), like an 8800 GT or 8800GTX ( I think the 8800GTS works too, but not sure) which can turn a $80 gaming card into a $1000 workstation card. Newer GPU's from the 9000 series nvidia and 3000 ATI or later GPU's are laser etched and cannot be modded into workstation cards.


This is kind of a silly question, but would it be hard on the system if I switched cards according to whatever needed to be done? I haven't really needed 3D modeling THAT much so far (MAE student here ;)  and I secretly despise modeling). I just want the computer to be capable of doing it better than the lousy Pentium D's and whatever lousy card they have up at the school. It's going to be another 2 years before I enter the workforce, so I don't think the amount of modeling done will be a very significant amount at this point in time.

But, thanks for the input, it really made me sit down and think about my build (and the soft modding sounds pretty spiffy).

June 4, 2009 8:30:22 PM

Here is an 8800GTS if you want to try it:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I don't think switching between workstation and gaming GPU's is a good idea, I think you will run into driver incompatibilities and a lot of frustration. You can try the softmodding thing, or just go with a gaming GPU, it doesn't sound to me like its worth it for you to buy a workstation card. And your i7 will probably wipe the floor with those Pentium D machines unless they have a decent Workstation GPU in them, although seeing as how they are pentium D's, I doubt there was room in thee budget for a decent workstation card.
June 5, 2009 5:13:52 AM

^ +1...
Dont try switching card to often...
And if you want to try softmodding, then that 8800GTS or a 8800GT would work for you...
But as xthekid said and seeing you mindset, you wont need the workstation card...
So sitck with the original option of the GTX 275...
June 5, 2009 5:33:20 AM

Thank you everyone! I'm loving the look of that Eclipse II keyboard, and I think I'm going to swap the fxf gtx 275 for fxf 4890 1 GB and get that aftermarket cooler. Thanks once again!
June 5, 2009 6:47:17 AM

Go with the Nvidia card, Some of the work you will do will benefit from CUDA
June 5, 2009 9:58:35 PM

^Oh ok. I was unaware of that, thanks!
!