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Reconfigured my future gaming rig: i7 > E8400

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June 13, 2009 7:22:06 PM

Toms Hardware Fans, I need your help!

I was looking to build a HOT gaming PC.
(Hot as in awesome, not heat.)

I was going for the E8400 till someone in a previous thread informed me that I could get an i7 core system for just a little over my $$ amount which was $1,500.

So here she is, Chris' awesome (I hope) PC. I am looking for advise as regards to compatibility and better equipment. I am going to be buying this bad boy in about 1.5 months, end of July, I don't expect prices to skyrocket from now till then.

FYI: I am no fanboy, I am just looking to get my moneys worth. Something along the lines of "future proofing." If that really means anything in the computer world.

---------------------------------BOOM!-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

CPU: Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor - Retail - $279.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MOBO: ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail - $289.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: OCZ Gold 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage Desktop Memory Model OCZ3G1600LV6GK - Retail - $99.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

*all three of those ^^ are being sold in a bundle, saving me $50.00 as of right now, I am being realistic, pricing them out individually, knowing that the bundle wont be around until August 1.

CDROM: LG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 22X DVD-R 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner - OEM - $24.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

HD: Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM - $74.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MONITOR: ASUS VH222H Black 21.5" 5ms HDMI Widescreen 16:9 Full HD 1080P LCD Monitor Built in Speakers 300 cd/m2 1000:1 (ASCR20000:1) w/ SPDIF out - Retail - $159.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU: EVGA 896-P3-1255-AR GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail - $194.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail - $119.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

KEYBOARD & MOUSE: Microsoft Comfort Curve 2000 B2L-00047 Black 105 Normal Keys 9 Function Keys USB Ergonomics Keyboard and Mouse - OEM - $21.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OS: Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders - OEM - $99.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU COOLER: XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler - Retail - $39.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

THERMAL COMPOUND: Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM - $6.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

FLOPPY DRIVE (for the wife): BYTECC Black 1.44/0.72/1.25 MB 3.5" External USB Floppy Drive Model BT-144 - Retail - $22.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CARD READER: Kingston FCR-HS219/1 19-in-1 USB 2.0 Card Reader - Retail - $13.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SPEAKER: Creative Inspire T10 10 Watts RMS 2.0 Speaker System - Retail - $49.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


TOTAL: $1,530.84

GRAND TOTAL W/ SHIPPING: $1,578.31

$78.31 over my budget, but that i7 is going to be so sexy. JUSTIFIED!

That's what I came up with so far. Please, ANY advise or criticism is welcomed.

Thanks for looking!
June 13, 2009 8:18:21 PM

Even today with that budget for a gaming system, I'd focus on the three essentials - CPU, GPU, large monitor. Your picks missed all 3 things I would have picked.

Most games aren't going to run as fast on an i7 920 as they would on an e8400 at 3.6 Ghz or 4 Ghz. Why? Most games aren't written specifically for quad core which is why you see poor scaling and little gain.

Save the cost difference from the i7 and motherboard and apply it towards a GTX 275 or 295 and an 24 or better 26, 28 inch monitor. Now that's a gaming experience!!

Just ideas....

June 13, 2009 9:38:40 PM

I'd go with the Phenom II 720 and CF 4890's if you want to maximize gaming performance.
Related resources
June 14, 2009 12:06:59 AM

The one change I would make is to this Radeon HD 4890. $5 more, but you should get much better performance out of it. Everything else looks good otherwise.

While HundredIslandsBoy makes a good point, what he fails to mention is that if a particular game is only written to utilize one core on a CPU, trying to have it's performance scaled upwards on two cores is equally as futile as scaling it to four. For future proofing, I would stick with the i7, as games are increasingly being written to utilize multi-core environments, and you'll be right there to reap the rewards with it since you would already have 8 logical cores in place.

Regarding the comment of xthekidx, I would avoid any AMD CPU's right now unless you're planning to overclock the hell out of it. The Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition can be made to match the performance of an i7 920, but not without some moderate overclocking first. Only when pushing the 955 BE to it's OC limit will you be able to beat out the i7 920. Again, if OC'ing is not on your agenda, stick with the i7.
June 14, 2009 12:25:32 AM

I would save that $100 and not buy Vista and just install Windows 7 on it for the time being, and then either buy a vista license after June 26 so you will get a free copy of 7, or just wait till 7 comes out in October.
June 14, 2009 1:20:36 AM

The_Prophecy said:

Regarding the comment of xthekidx, I would avoid any AMD CPU's right now unless you're planning to overclock the hell out of it. The Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition can be made to match the performance of an i7 920, but not without some moderate overclocking first. Only when pushing the 955 BE to it's OC limit will you be able to beat out the i7 920. Again, if OC'ing is not on your agenda, stick with the i7.

You should be looking to overclock any CPU chose, I wouldn't say to run anything at stock. An overclocked 720 BE will be nearly as fast as an i7 920 when overclocked for gaming. The CF 4890's, will more than make up for that small difference in gaming performance.
June 14, 2009 7:53:13 AM

For me as a gamer on a limited budget, I want to have the best gaming experience now and for the next year. I don't want to sacrifice my framerates for the future because to paraphrase it, the future isn't promised, so having 8 virtual cores now is a waste on a 21 inch monitor with a mid range card. IMO, the i7 is overkill for gaming.

To me, gaming is about the visuals and the sounds of the subwoofer maxed out and you feel the 50 cals' thumpping (CoD4 fanboy here). As a gamer, "future proofing" is beginning to sound more like its for business apps and server hardware. Look at the gamers who clunked down huge cash for the Q6600 two years ago. Everything else equal, their framerates on Crysis, FC2, CoD4 are not much more than an overclocked e5200.

My main point, if you're a gamer on a budget, enjoy your PC building budget now and not 2 years from now. Think of a large monitor driven by a very capable GPU and a CPU in balance with the system. Don't forget the good subwoofer or a good headset for late night gaming so the neighbors don't complain - or call the cops but that's a different story.



June 14, 2009 8:20:38 AM

+1 to the OP for deciding on the i7

Here's pretty much your build but with a gtx 275 and the option to add another one later on for SLI. This build uses Windows RC 7 as an o/s. Btw, I like the screen resolution on that monitor you chose. It doesn't hog up your desk space yet you still get a decent resolution. Nice find. :) 

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

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $109.99 ($79.99 after $30.00 Mail-In Rebate) Free Shipping*
PC Power & Cooling S75QB 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply compatible with core i7 - Retail

http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=MB-EX58U4P Combo Price: $492.99 Free Shipping
GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD4P Core i7/ Intel X58/ DDR3/ CorssFireX & 3-Way SLI/ A&GbE/ ATX Motherboard
Intel Core i7 Processor i7-920 2.66GHz 8MB LGA1366 CPU, Retail

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.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product... $239.59 ($219.59 after MIR) Free Shipping
EVGA 896-P3-1170-AR GeForce GTX 275 896MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 (2.0v) Video Card 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

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $74.99 Free Shipping*
Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $24.99
SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X 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 Burner - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $22.99
BYTECC Black 1.44/0.72/1.25 MB 3.5" External USB Floppy Drive Model BT-144 - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $13.99 Free Shipping*
Kingston FCR-HS219/1 19-in-1 USB 2.0 Card Reader - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $21.99
Microsoft Comfort Curve 2000 B2L-00047 Black 105 Normal Keys 9 Function Keys USB Ergonomics Keyboard and Mouse - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $49.99
Creative Inspire T10 10 Watts RMS 2.0 Speaker System - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $159.99 ($149.99 after $10.00 Mail-In Rebate)
ASUS VH222H Black 21.5" 5ms HDMI Widescreen 16:9 Full HD 1080P LCD Monitor Built in Speakers 300 cd/m2 1000:1 (ASCR20000:1) w/ SPDIF out - Retail

Total: $1,501.82 | $1,371.82 w/mail in rebates

* Same build as above but with this monitor down below...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $229.99 Free Shipping*
ASUS VW246H Black 24" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 1000:1 (ASCR 20000:1) Built in Speakers - Retail
With HDCP support

Total: $1,431.82 | $1,451.82 w/mail in rebates

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/dd353205.... <--- Save yourself some money on an o/s until March 2010 and dl the 64 bit version of Windows 7

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... <--- more pics, specs, and customer reviews of that Gigabyte UD4P mobo used in this build

http://www.gskill.us/forum/showthread.php?t=532 <---That G.SKILL memory used in this build in action :sol: 
June 14, 2009 12:21:18 PM

Stilll a 21 inch monitor? Come on, a $1500 budget and a measly sized monitor to display the guts of your gaming glory rig? $500 for just the mobo and CPU? That's about the price of an e8400, a GTX 275, and a p45 mobo. I still say you'll want at least a 24" monitor so your first day on the new build you can go "Ahh, look at all this real estate on my screen!"

Where's the suggestions for AMD cpus? The guy says he wants to get his money's worth and there are several AMD cpus that are better for value than the i7.

Some people just keep buying into the Intel hype I guess.

June 14, 2009 12:21:30 PM

Stilll a 21 inch monitor? Come on, a $1500 budget and a measly sized monitor to display the guts of your gaming glory rig? $500 for just the mobo and CPU? That's about the price of an e8400, a GTX 275, and a p45 mobo. I still say you'll want at least a 24" monitor so your first day on the new build you can go "Ahh, look at all this real estate on my screen!"

Where's the suggestions for AMD cpus? The guy says he wants to get his money's worth and there are several AMD cpus that are better for value than the i7.

Some people just keep buying into the Intel hype I guess.

June 14, 2009 1:23:53 PM

For some reason Ci7 doesnt perform that well in games with only a single gfx card .
In fact it performs fairly badly .

In these benchmarks different amd and intel cpu's are used with a single GTX 260 .
http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/phenom2_955/8.h...

The web is full of similar benchmarks where i7 fails to perform in this kind of computer compared to much cheaper AMD rigs .
Its an utter waste to spend nearly $600 on cpu/mb and then have a restricted budget for gfx cards .

Probably the best option is a Phenom X4 945 , am3 mb and 4 gig of DDR3
That would leave a much healthier budget for gfx cards and/or monitor
June 14, 2009 4:37:30 PM

hundredislandsboy said:
Stilll a 21 inch monitor? Come on, a $1500 budget and a measly sized monitor to display the guts of your gaming glory rig? $500 for just the mobo and CPU? That's about the price of an e8400, a GTX 275, and a p45 mobo. I still say you'll want at least a 24" monitor so your first day on the new build you can go "Ahh, look at all this real estate on my screen!"

Where's the suggestions for AMD cpus? The guy says he wants to get his money's worth and there are several AMD cpus that are better for value than the i7.

Some people just keep buying into the Intel hype I guess.


This monitor here has the same resolution as the one the OP chose but it's a 24" and puts that i7 build I posted right at $1,500. But to be honest I game on a 22" monitor and I see no reason to have a 24" monitor sucking up what little desk space I have. 22" is not small, and it works just fine for gaming.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $229.99 Free Shipping*
ASUS VW246H Black 24" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 1000:1 (ASCR 20000:1) Built in Speakers - Retail
With HDCP support
!