Complete i7 920 Build From Scratch [$2,000]

Right now I'm switching from mac to PC, so i need a complete overhaul. This is my first computer build.

I'm trying to design a computer that is quiet and maintains low temperatures (warm apartment + no AC).
Primary use will be online gaming (FPS, RTS), watching HD movie's and occasionally using Photoshop.

I don't plan to make any major upgrades in the next 3-4 years so I'm looking for quality parts. I plan on OCing to 3.4 and possibly higher at a later time. I do not have any experience with overclocking, so I'm not looking for anything too advanced, yet I want something that I could learn from at a later time.
Strong feedback would be most appreciated as I plan on making my purchase before the 27th.

My purchasing preference would be because they do not change tax & they have low shipping rates :D

Budget is $2,000.

After some thought I
Monitor -------> Samsung 2443BWX 24-inch -or- Samsung HDTV 24/26-inch
I really like the way Samsung monitors look. There's a large gap in price.
[$360 T260HD]
[$202 after shipping 2443BWX]
[300 2433BW]

Mouse -----------> Logitech MX Revolution
[75] Mouse

Case -----------> Antec Nine Hundred Two

CPU ------------> i7 920

MotherBoard ----------> LGA1366 or UD5 or P6T Deluxe v2
[190] LGA1366
[298] EX58 UD5
[310] ASUS P6T Deluxe V2

GPU -----------> Sapphire Vapor X HD4870 1GB DDR5 (Toxic?)
[167 ] Toxic

RAM -----------> OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600

CPU Cooler ----------> Zalman LED 9700
[80 after fans and shipping] Prolimatech Megahelems + [7] LED Yate Loon

Power Unit --------> CORSAIR 650w TX Series 80

Hard Drive ------> WD Caviar Green 1 TB Bulk/OEM Hard Drive 3.5 Inch, 32 MB Cache, 7200 RPM SATA II

Optical Drive: Not a main concern or priority at the moment.



Total Cost: (excluding MoBo & GPU)
$1033-$1180 (monitor included)
I'm willing to spend:
Mobo <$350
GPU <$250

I was thinking of a cheap SSD or flashdrive to handle all the start up processes. Would that be possible rather than using a huge 1T HD. Because as the drive fills up, load times will gradually become longer.

I'm not sure if the Vapor-X is the right card. What would be the next step lower? Keep in mind I would like a cool running card (no loud jet fans either). I find the card very attractive at just under 180

Also, the motherboard is an issue as I am now completely lost as of which one I should use. Moreover, I want a cool running/efficient mobo that will take OCing to 3.8. I might add another graphic's card in the future but not any time soon. And I definitely not plan on using 3 cards. I don't plan on installing more than 3-4HD's either.

Thank you everyone for your contributions! =]
13 answers Last reply
More about complete build scratch
  1. the only thing I have heard negative about that MOBO, the heatsinks around the CPU are quite high and will probably interfere with the CPU cooler

    i was going to use this one, and because of this i went with a Gigabyte UD5, i dont know much about the Asus P6T...i havnt built mine yet, just been doing a fair bit of research myself

    edit: after doing a bit of reading myself these two cards are very very similar, almost identical, just depends on which brand you like, you have me thinking about the Asus P6T now....hmm....
  2. I think I might get the GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD5 instead =] It seems to be a solid board with excellent passive cooling.
    The one thing that sets EVGA from the rest of the crowd is the real time monitoring of your mobo on a little digital tag.

    Link to the GB-UD5:

    I'm curious, what other components are you using/buying?
  3. The UD5 is a great board. I run the UD4P myself, because when I bought/built it couldn't be beat price/performance wise.

    Your Caviar Blue's will do fine, but you could think about upgrading to 640GB Caviar Blacks (6400AALS). With higher platter densities and a 32MB cache they offer better performance for a minimum price premium.
  4. My Build is as follows

    Intel i7

    GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD5 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard

    EVGA 896-P3-1171-AR GeForce GTX 275 Superclocked Edition 896MB 448-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card

    Power Supply
    CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply

    Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive (2 of These)

    HP Black 22X DVD+R 22X DVD-R SATA 22X DVD Burner with LightScribe

    OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage Desktop Memory Model OCZ3P1600LV6GK

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

    Thermal Compound

    ASUS VH226H Black 21.5" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen 16:9 Full HD 1080P LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 1000:1 (ASCR 12000 : 1) Built in Speakers

    COOLER MASTER HAF 932 RC-932-KKN1-GP Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case

    I will be purchasing all of this on friday once i am paid, all bought through newegg. I was trying to keep it around 1500...but a little more, so what. no point in compromise when you want something that is going to last.

    Total Price w/ Shipping: 1,633.66
    Total Price after Mail in Rebates: 1,553.66
  5. You might want to do some research on quiet computing and components at
    Look at the Antec P183 or P193 for a large quiet case.

    I think you are right on in looking for a quality monitor up front. I have used several of the xxT series monitors and been very satisfied. You will pay a premium, but a monitor is one of the few "future proof" pc purchases you can make.
    Look at the 245T, or 275T for a 1920x1600 size screen with a viewing resolution of 178/178. Perhaps two of them. Alternatively, consider the 30" 305T with a 2560x1600 resolution. It has the display acerage of two 1900X1200 monitors. The price is steep, about $1000.

    Go to a local computer store, and handle the various mice. See which fits YOUR hand the best.

    Corsair 750 is a good and appropriate psu. As an alternative, look at the PC P&C 750w unit. It is similar in power and quality, but it uses a rear mounted fan which may work better mounted in the bottom of a case.

    If you are not into first person shooters, your vga card requirements can be a bit more modest. Something in the GTX260/4870 class should be fine. No need for overclocked cards which will be hotter and louder. Look for a unit built on 55nm technology which should run cooler and quieter. By the end of the year, expect some new cards, that might be more effective and cooler. Look for XFX or evga that make it easy to trade up.

    Asus and gigabyte are good brands. All X58 based motherboards will perform about the same. Don't sweat minor differences. I use the P6T deluxe and have had no problems.

    A good oem cpu cooler, coupled with a slow turning 120mm fan is recommended. Your PC will be quieter and you can overclock more easily. Here is a review of the best units:

    Samsung makes a quiet sata dvd burner for about $25.

    There are several other good online vendors such as newegg, zipzoomfly, techonweb,, heatsinkfactory, all of which I have used with good results.

    ---good luck---
  6. Tri-SLI boards should only be used if you intend to Tri-SLI. Otherwise, you're wasting a lot of $$$.
  7. Anonymous said:
    Tri-SLI boards should only be used if you intend to Tri-SLI. Otherwise, you're wasting a lot of $$$.

    what other boards would you recommend??

    im gettin ready to build, and I dont intend to run 3-way SLI

    will be using the evga gtx 275 superclocked edition

    and was planning on the ud4 mobo, i read reviews on the ud3 and people say its crap
  8. I would have to agree. The lower end boards tend to lack many things.

    But I don't want to pay for something that i will not use. What board's could you possibly recommend?
  9. itsgrandpa said:
    I would have to agree. The lower end boards tend to lack many things.

    But I don't want to pay for something that i will not use. What board's could you possibly recommend?

    The majority of the boards are "tri SLI" yet in actuality only a few of them have sufficient room for three large vid cards in SLI. A lot of "tri SLI' boards are better suited for dual vid cards, and not three. The UD4P and/or the UD5P are both excellent choices for a dual card set up as is the majority of the Asus boards.
  10. $222.99 | $207.99 after rebate
    GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD4P Core i7/ Intel X58/ DDR3/ CorssFireX & 3-Way SLI/ A&GbE/ ATX Motherboard
  11. If you go to the Asus or Gigabyte web sites, they will have a page with specs for each board. There you can create a side by side feature comparison list.
    There are really very few differentiators between the various models.
    The cheapest models will support crossfire only, and not sli. That means that if you want to use dual cards they need to be ati radeon models, not nvidia. For a single card, nvidia is fine.

    Some will have dual lan.
    Some will have 14 usb ports vs. 12.
    Some will include a SAS adapter.

    They all will perform the same, possibly exceptint the ultimate overclocks.

    Buy based on the features that you need.

    Both brands are equally reliable.
  12. I think I'm going to get the UD5.

    Also, do you think getting ReadyBoost would be a good investment. I'm thinking of having a dedicated flash/SSD that would run the basic system applications. Then save everything else to the HDD.
    I'm assuming this would be very simple, does anyone have a similar setup?
  13. Readyboost is really not that helpful, and it is often misunderstood.
    It is simple enough. You take a suitably fast usb drive, and allocate up to 4gb of it to ready boost.
    Vista will then look for small modules that it can load faster from a usb drive than it can from the underlying hard drive.
    A usb drive has minimal access time, but the data transfer time is much longer than from a hard drive.
    Vista will create a list of those modules that you use, and pre-load them on to the readyboost drive.

    When you need such a module, it will fetch it from the ready boost drive. If the module is updated, it will be written to both places.
    If you unplug the usb stick, the official data is still on the hard drive.

    It is not that helpful because it improves the fetch time of small modules only, and they already took minimal time.

    Still, it doesn't hurt.

    It is NOT any kind of a substitute for ram or a paging device.
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