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Buying the parts - a little advice?

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July 10, 2009 5:02:26 AM

OK, so this summer I want to build my first PC.
If anyone remembers (I know there's a lot of threads on this forum for new systems so I doubt any one remembers what everyone has posted...), I'm looking to build a mid-range quad-core gaming PC that I can get a few years out of at least.
I'm going with (in as little detail as possible to keep this short):

Intel Core i7 920 (preferably the D0 revision for cooler temps)
GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD4P LGA 1366 Motherboard (on sale at DirectCanada for $230 after MIR)
EVGA GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 896MB 448-bit
Patriot Viper Extreme DDR3-1600 low latency (8-8-8-24) memory
Corsair TX750 Power Supply (4 x 6+2 PCIe)
Antec Nine Hundred Two
Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB

Besides a few small upgrades later on (Thermalright Ultra 120 LGA1366 heatsink, more cooling fans, etc.), that's the system I've settled on.

MY QUESTION TO YOU GUYS:

To those who have more experience with system building, which is the most important of your parts to get?
My finances this summer should be pretty good, seeing as I got a decent summer job (returning college student in September...grr).
I'm just wondering in which way I should go about acquiring the components for my system...Should I save up and buy every component at once?
Should I prioritize and buy the most important parts first?

I've been contemplating purchasing the i7 920 first and foremost (I've read rumors about discontinuation of the lower-end i7's, in preparation for the Core i5's that are coming out by the end of this year), as I consider this CPU the best top-of-the-line chip money can buy, for a fairly reasonable price.
Second, because of the great deal on for the Gigabyte UD4P, I'd want to get the motherboard second, followed by the GTX 260 video card and the Patriot memory after that.

I figure the case, power supply and hard drive market isn't really going to change that drastically in the 6-12 months I'll be acquiring the essential components (with the exception of solid-state drives of course, a little out of my price range anyways).

The reasoning behind all this thought is that, in my opinion, the CPU, GPU, memory and motherboard hardware is the most volatile price-wise and availability, constantly fluctuating and being revised. Just what I've come to expect in the short time I've 'studied' computer hardware.
Anyways, I guess what I'm really asking is would it be a wise decision to buy my parts individually, a few at a time or altogether?
I've heard so many stories of people receiving motherboards that are DOA, faulty memory and things like that, and while it would be easier economically to purchase the "big-ticket items" first, I'm not sure if this is the wisest route to take.

Sorry for the long post.
Any feedback or advice would be greatly appreciated.

PS - Just to recap the requirements of my rig, as outlined in the forum sticky:
Approx. Purchase Date: Fall 2009
Use: Primarily used for gaming (don't want to sacrifice image quality, as I've done since I've started using the computer), web browsing, basics...A very small amount of video editing, some 3D modeling (I'm just a beginner) but no real specialized needs outside entertainment :D 
Budget: $1500 max
Parts not included: Key/mouse, monitor, speakers.
Parts preference: Most are listed above - Corsair or PC Power&Cooling power supplies, any good quality moderate speed DDR3 memory, Nvidia GPUs, Intel CPUs, Asus or Gigabyte mobos, any decent larger capacity 7200rpm HDD, black interior good quality case (choose the Antec 900-2 for now).
Preferred Resolution: 1680x1050 gaming resolutions at the moment, eventually upgrading monitor to 1080p / 1920 x 1200 resolution
Overclocking: Want to OC a 920 to 3.0GHz with a decent aftermarket cooler....I'm not experienced with CPU OC'ing
Crossfire / SLI: I would like to be able to upgrade with another GeForce card in SLI for a future upgrade (2-way SLI, don't see me investing in tri-GPU any time soon)

More about : buying parts advice

July 10, 2009 5:08:46 AM

Nailing down your 920 might be good. You can usually get a good deal somewhere on a combo though.
July 10, 2009 8:24:27 AM

Buy everything at the same time . Prices drift down regularly so paying for something now you cant use till later doesnt make sense .
The only exception is when theres a ridiculous deal on , but those can be hard to find and sometimes hard to pick .


I know i7 is the fastest desk top processor , but if you are building for gaming you wont get value out of it with that gfx card . There are cheaper systems that will give you higher frame rates with a single gtx 260 . You could save more than enough money to afford a better gfx card and have a better gaming experience

Look at this
http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/phenom2_955/8.h...
all with a GTX260
Related resources
July 10, 2009 3:04:30 PM

I would agree on getting nearly everything at the same time. Prices do fluctuate, but if the i7 920 disappears, that would be a bummer.

For $1500, you can certainly build a nice rig. Certainly the i7 920 you selected and a nice GPU setup as well.

I know you can get it for $199.99 if you have a microcenter near you. You've done a nice job on selecting parts - obviously have been researching.

Agreed about the GPU - if you are gaming, the GPU has a major impact (though it can be bottlenecked by lesser CPUs).

Good luck.
July 10, 2009 5:52:16 PM

Outlander_04 said:
Buy everything at the same time . Prices drift down regularly so paying for something now you cant use till later doesnt make sense .
The only exception is when theres a ridiculous deal on , but those can be hard to find and sometimes hard to pick .


I know i7 is the fastest desk top processor , but if you are building for gaming you wont get value out of it with that gfx card . There are cheaper systems that will give you higher frame rates with a single gtx 260 . You could save more than enough money to afford a better gfx card and have a better gaming experience

Look at this
http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/phenom2_955/8.h...
all with a GTX260

Hmm...As much as the $200 or so I'll save by getting an AM3 platform instead, I don't like the idea of Crossfire only Gigabyte MA790XT-UD4P.
I really like what I've read and reviewed about this particular motherboard (both the 790XT and the EX58 versions) so I don't want to go searching through motherboards again.

I can definitely see the advantage price-wise though. With an X4 955, 4GB G.Skill DDR3-1600 (as opposed to 6GB Patriot DDR3) and the GA MA790XT-UD4P, it works out to be almost $300 cheaper than the setup I've been looking at with the i7. Which would be great, if the AM3 Gigabyte board had SLI capabilities.
The reason I push SLI is 1) I've always used Nvidia cards and have had no bad experiences with drivers, heat, noise or anything like that, and 2) http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/crossfire_vs_sl... SLI GTX 260's can beat out almost everything in the mid-range to lower high-end multi-GPU setups, INCLUDING Crossfired 4890's, which to me is impressive as hell.

Anyways, so yeah, if I were an ATI fan (I had considered it, but the 1GB 4870's are just as expensive as the GTX 260s), I would definitely consider getting this setup, as opposed to the one I posted above.
However, because of the reviews and benchs I've seen with the GTX 260s, I will want a board I can expand with SLI later.
huron said:
I would agree on getting nearly everything at the same time. Prices do fluctuate, but if the i7 920 disappears, that would be a bummer.

For $1500, you can certainly build a nice rig. Certainly the i7 920 you selected and a nice GPU setup as well.

I know you can get it for $199.99 if you have a microcenter near you. You've done a nice job on selecting parts - obviously have been researching.

Agreed about the GPU - if you are gaming, the GPU has a major impact (though it can be bottlenecked by lesser CPUs).

Good luck.

Unfortunately, there are no Micro Center stores in Canada.
However, NCIX and DirectCanada have awesome prices and cheap shipping so finding the parts I want for a good price shouldn't be too hard.
The thing I'm worried about the most, with how I go about getting the parts, is getting faulty or damaged equipment and no having the means to test it when I receive it. Like if say I purchase just the CPU, graphics card and motherboard first, and the rest of the components down the road, just to find out one of them is DOA or faulty or whatever.

So it looks like I'll be doing some saving up this summer...Probably by the New Year I'll be ready to make my purchases, which is just swell with Lynnfield coming out...Will have to do some more researching to see if that platform turns out to be a better value.

Decisions, decisions. Thanks to everyone so far for their input.
July 10, 2009 10:59:21 PM

Im not a fan of either amd or intel or ati or nvidia , though I have more often used intel and nidia because they were the best choices .
Sometiimes not fastest but bang for buck made them best

I cant say I agree with your reasoning because Im always interested in bang for buck , but I do see you have a consistent logic that cant really be faulted .

Your computer is a good set of component choice and in as much as a computer can be future proof , your is .

The only possible improvement I can suggest is that you have a read of the memory scaling article on i7's . You may find that lower CAS7 latency 1333 MHz RAM is actually faster and cost less .
Good luck
July 10, 2009 11:22:45 PM

For gaming, the vga card is all important, at least up to the GTX275 level. There are new 40nm parts coming out, and they are supposed to arrive by Christmas. It would be good to see what develops there.

In the interim, I would be on the lookout for a few components which you could buy early:

Case: Research cases and look for a deal. Particularly for free shipping. A case is heavy, and can cost $20 to ship.
In the past, I have seen some great deals from Antec.

PSU: The size is gated by the vga requirements, but look for a good deal on PC P&C or corsair. If you get a 750w unit, it will always be useful.

OS: Jump on the windows-7 pre-order deal for half off by july 11.

Otherwise, prices tend to get lower, so plan on getting the rest when you will build.

Who knows, by the end of the year, we might see a good value SSD.
July 11, 2009 12:14:07 PM

geofelt said:
For gaming, the vga card is all important, at least up to the GTX275 level. There are new 40nm parts coming out, and they are supposed to arrive by Christmas. It would be good to see what develops there.

In the interim, I would be on the lookout for a few components which you could buy early:

Case: Research cases and look for a deal. Particularly for free shipping. A case is heavy, and can cost $20 to ship.
In the past, I have seen some great deals from Antec.

PSU: The size is gated by the vga requirements, but look for a good deal on PC P&C or corsair. If you get a 750w unit, it will always be useful.

OS: Jump on the windows-7 pre-order deal for half off by july 11.

Who knows, by the end of the year, we might see a good value SSD.

Hmm, yeah, the newer GPUs are due out around the time Lynnfield / LGA 1156 / P55 are released. Would be nice to see price cuts to the GTX 2xx line. I haven't seen a GTX 275 under $250 CAD, which is still a good price for all the graphics horsepower, I just might not be able to squeeze it in my budget. I reconsidering a GTX 260, from what Outlander_04 posted. An i7 wouldn't help with a mid-range card. We'll have to see what transpires in the new year.

@Case: That's what I've been researching for the past couple of weeks...I have a couple preferences, a black exterior and interior (I hate the black cases with plain gray int.), able to fit a modern GPU and have ample cooling. I would prefer to have the front I/O ports to be on the BOTTOM of the case but it seems most decent cases have top I/O ports...Hmm.
So far, it's been between:
Antec Nine Hundred Two
Cooler Master Storm Scout
Cooler Master CM 690 / NV 690

@PSU: I've always liked Corsair products and have heard unanimously great reviews about their TX line...I'd get a TX750W at least. I've also heard good things about the PC Power & Cooling 750W Silencer Quad (I think that's what it's called anyways) but it's not as available as the TX750 (seems to sold out a lot). Basically, yeah, exactly what you said. I like both these PSUs because they have more than 2 PCIe connectors, for when I expand my graphics setup.

@OS: I'm running Windows 7 RC so I'm good until March of next year or so. Luckily, I have copies of Windows XP Pro (32-bit and 64-bit) and Windows Vista Business (64-bit) so I'm not stuck for an operating system for awhile anyways.

I'd REALLY like to get my hand on an SSD for a system drive but yeah, it's a little out of reach this year for me. At least as it stands right now.
July 11, 2009 10:34:54 PM
July 12, 2009 2:04:56 AM


The idea of getting a 25" WUXGA monitor with the money I'd save is really appealing.
!