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Am I doing it right? New i7 build

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July 16, 2009 3:00:38 AM

Hi all,

Been reading Tom's Hardware since the old site style, thought I had an account but I musta forgot it so I just made a new one. My current system's starting to show it's age, I'm planning to build a new system in anticipation for the release of Aion which hopefully will last me for a while. I've built my last 3 systems but the last one I built (current one) was in Jan. 2006, so I'd just like some re-assurance or pointers if I'm missing something.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Beginning of September, will buy pieces up till then as they go on sale.

BUDGET RANGE: ~$1100 with monitor, b4 gfx card.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, I also keep my system on 24/7 so I need parts that will last.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keeping G5 mouse/G15 keyboard, 1 TB storage drive.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: I'll be getting a bulk of the items off of newegg, but if deals are significant I'll go with most known sites. Also should note I live near a Microcenter (Philly) for pickup.

PARTS PREFERENCES:

Case: ~$70 Thermaltake M9 or Antec 300 + 2 120mm fans (probably $15 scythes to be quiet)
Fairly open on this one, I was also looking at the 300 at first, but worried about running the power cabling around a large gfx card, so currently leaning towards the Thermaltake, If someone has another good option I'm open, just looking for something with good airflow for OC, I don't really care about the looks. I do prefer having the front usb/audio ports at the top of the case.

CPU: $200 i7 920 ($200 at Microcenter, I should probably go pick that up now and just put it on a shelf till I finish building the system, I don't see that going under $200 any time soon)

Mobo: ~$275? ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 currently looking for better price. After reading about heating issues with other models I decided to pay the extra for the V2. Please let me know if there's a deal I'm missing out on somewhere.

PSU: $60 OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ700MXSP 700W $60 after mail-in, I'm fairly sure this will fit me perfectly unless someone points out something better.

Memory: $115 CORSAIR XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) I'm not really sure what to do with memory for OC, from what I've read 1333 is all that's needed if I'm planning to go ~3.6ghz on the i7, and this memory is rated 1.5v and has decent timing. I plan on going with Windows 7 64bit, so I assume 6gb should be fine.

Cooling:
CPU Fan: ~$40 Currently choosing between Scythe MUGEN-2 and XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V
I've read reviews that the Scythe is easier to install, but the Xigmatek has a more adjustable fan. Any tips on this? Or other suggestions?
NorthBridge: $13 ZALMAN ZM - NBF 47
Read a review here that it was good to add this, I can't see it hurting for $13, I haven't changed out a northbridge fan before, is this something worthwhile?
Thermal Compound: $9 Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound
I've read this is one of the better than the norm, spending so much on the system and planning to OC I added it to my cart more as a precaution, but not sure if it's worth buying additional compound assuming the boxed processor fan comes with compound and I could just use that.

Storage:
System Drive: ~$100 2x 74gb 10k rpm Raptors I have 2x 37gb raptors in my current system in raid 0, and they rock for the system drive, ssd is still too expensive for my taste.
Optical: ~$20-25 Whichever 22x DVD-RW +/- combo is on sale when I buy the bulk from newegg.

Monitor: ~$200 I'm open for suggestion here, my current only goes up to 1200x1024 and has a poor viewing angle so looking to upgrade, if I had to choose one today I'd probably pick the ASUS VH236H Black 23" but I haven't done more than a filter search on newegg. I'm looking for a 1080p monitor that's good for gaming between 21 and 23 inches ~$200 give or take.
=============================
Total: ~$1100

OVERCLOCKING: I plan to OC to ~3.6ghz, I'm assuming with proper cooling it would be ok to keep this system on 24/7? I haven't done this large of an OC before but from what I read the i7 OC's like a champ, I just haven't read much about any long term issues.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

Gfx Card: Recently bought an ati 4850 in an attempt to boost up my old system. It's good, but my cpu is still on the low end for games that are coming out (amd 64x2 +4200) which is why I decided to rebuild. I plan on using this until the DX11 cards come out later this year, before I decide on a card. The specs on the Ati 5870 sounds sexy, but I'm more interested in the current cards dropping in price since the main game I'll be playing will be Aion. It all depends on prices, looking to keep a single card setup to lower power/heat in the box, will probably get something like an ATI 4890, 4870x2, or Nvidia 285 depending on prices and performance closer to the end of the year.

Thanks in advance for any tips, confirmations or links to deals.

More about : build

July 16, 2009 3:21:03 AM

Don't buy things over a period of time. If you want to get the best deal on PC components, buy everything within a week of when you are ready to build it. Prices will keep falling, they almost never go up. The only thing i can think of that actually went up in price after it was released was the 4770 GPu's because they were so popular.

CPU: be aware that you can only get that deal for instore pickup, so no mail ordering. That is only a viable option if you can drive to a microcenter store.

MB: Good. P6T would be a fine option too, but you can't go wrong with the V2. The V2 would be a better choice if you were looking at SLI or Xfire

PSU: Pretty good deal, but it won't support multiple GPU's. Only if you are set on a single GPU solution

Ram: Overpriced. I'd go with this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or if you want to OC:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Cooling:
CPU: Either would do well, both great coolers
Northbridge: Unecessary, and that is just the heatsink, no fan included. The Heatsink on the MB will do just as well. You can get a fan to stick on the NB, but its only necessary for super OC's.
Thermal: Good, but if you spill your screwed. This is safer:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Storage:
Raptors are a waste of money. WD6401AALS will be almost as fast, it will be quieter, cost less, and be much larger.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Monitor:
That one you are looking at is great, I have it and am very pleased, especially for the price.

Hope this was helpful, good luck.
July 16, 2009 3:51:15 AM

+1 to everything thekid said. Be sure to flash the MB to the new bios if it doesn't ship with it...you'll find its pretty easy to hit 4.0ghz on fairly low voltage and stay cool. No need to worry about a stable 24/7 OC on that i7/MB combo, they can take it without issue as long as you keep your case cool. Also the MB comes with a fan to cool its heatsink, so save that money.
You might want to consider a blu ray supermulti drive if you are a blu ray fan or want to output your to a big screen hdtv. They have really dropped in price and a few can be had in the $75 - $80 range.
Depends on when you buy, but newegg and compusa are always running specials and you can find 24 -25 inch monitors in your price range. If you're the brave sort you can check the refurb deals and get an even larger monitor in your budget.
Related resources
July 16, 2009 4:42:56 AM

xthekidx:
hmm, thx for the tip on the hd's I just looked over the charts, didn't realize the newer 7.2k drives had that much throughput.

I currently have a 1tb SAMSUNG Spinpoint F1 for storage, I might get a 2nd for raid1 to improve performance and stability.

Comparisons I read between the P6T vs the P6T Deluxe V2 often complain about heat on the older model, and say something about upgraded power on the newer, but I'm planning to stick to 1 gfx card, will I notice a difference? I'm worried about the reports of heat since I'm definitely overclocking.

belial2k:
I hadn't really looked into bluray yet, cuz of the price difference. I just did a quick search after you mentioned that and found this.
Sony Optiarc Black 5X BD-ROM & 12X DVD Burner
Filters are kinda funny on newegg for these types of drives, I had to do a word search for "blu-ray dvd burner" to find that. Thx, didn't realize they made the drives like that, and that they were under $100.
July 16, 2009 4:59:08 AM

the p6t and the deluxe v2 are the same pcb, but the deluxe just adds a few frills, but if you don't need the extra toys, the p6t will give you the same performance.

Below is the category link. Normally I would say only buy the retail version because you will need the blu ray software, but the oem you linked does come with some software, so it would be fine also. A few of the options will save you a litlle, but are also slightly slower. Just sort them from low price to high price and you'll see all your options. Be sure whatever you decide on comes with the software, though.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...
July 16, 2009 5:32:46 AM

ok, if the v2's really just for the sli, I'll probably get the P6T SE and save close to $100.

I'm pretty much set then other than case and cpu cooler. Does anyone have a personal review of either of the cooler's listed? or opinions on the cases, or suggestions of another case with good airflow and usb/audio up top?

Thanks again for the help. been itching to buy this, might get it sooner than later.
July 16, 2009 5:50:12 AM

uberpwnzorz said:


Cooling:
CPU Fan: ~$40 Currently choosing between Scythe MUGEN-2 and XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V
I've read reviews that the Scythe is easier to install, but the Xigmatek has a more adjustable fan. Any tips on this? Or other suggestions?
NorthBridge: $13 ZALMAN ZM - NBF 47
Read a review here that it was good to add this, I can't see it hurting for $13, I haven't changed out a northbridge fan before, is this something worthwhile?
Thermal Compound: $9 Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound
I've read this is one of the better than the norm, spending so much on the system and planning to OC I added it to my cart more as a precaution, but not sure if it's worth buying additional compound assuming the boxed processor fan comes with compound and I could just use that.



I've been lurking the Tom's hardware forum for a while now and this is my first post. I was reading the thread and noticed your choice in CPU cooler. Will the Scythe MUGEN-2 fit on your board? I was wanting that cooler for my computer that I am building, but I was afraid it would not fit.

See this thread: http://www.scythe-eu.com/forum/mainboard-compatibility/...
July 16, 2009 6:40:38 AM

After looking at some pictures and how things fit in cases, I think i'm going with the Xigmatek cooler and the Antec 300 case with 2x scythe slipstream they seem to be the quietest that still push decent air. let me know if there are better fan options.

With mail-in's right now, and picking up the cpu at microcenter that pushes the price of this down to ~$1040 w/ monitor w/o gfx card.
July 16, 2009 6:48:21 AM

Ultimaswc3 said:
I've been lurking the Tom's hardware forum for a while now and this is my first post. I was reading the thread and noticed your choice in CPU cooler. Will the Scythe MUGEN-2 fit on your board? I was wanting that cooler for my computer that I am building, but I was afraid it would not fit.

See this thread: http://www.scythe-eu.com/forum/mainboard-compatibility/...

Either will fit, I know from experience.
July 16, 2009 6:50:27 AM

From reading that you will run this 24/7 and OC. I would suggest a different case, here are a few below. Remember you also need to take into account the case depth, so you can mount most of any of the aftermarket CPU HSF Coolers', unless you will be runing comp. with side off all the time.

This one caught my eye tonight and it looks good and almost looks like the Antec 900/1200 cases.

AZZA Solano 1000 Black/Black Japanese SECC Steel/Metal mesh in front ATX Full Tower Computer Case $109.99
($69.99 after $40.00 Mail-In Rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel $114.99 Free Shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

COOLER MASTER Storm Scout SGC-2000-KKN1-GP Black Steel $99.99 Free Shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case $107.49 Free Shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The P6T SE will not have all of your OC tools in the Bios'. Would stay with either the P6T or P6T Deluxe V2.

Also on most bottom mounted PSU cases you will want to this this.

1ST PC CORP. 12" 8-pin EPS extension cable $7.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Would also suggest you go with at least 750w PSU, below are 3 that I recommend.

CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified $109.99 ($99.99 after $10.00 Mail-In Rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PC Power & Cooling S75QB 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified $84.39
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Would get this one if you get the Antec 900 case and save an additional $25 in the Combo deal.
Antec EA750 750W ATX12V version 2.3 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

A Core i7 CPU runs a bit warmer then a Dula Core CPU (amd or intel), so you will need a friendly air flow case and also you need the extra wattage in a PSU when you do OC.

Hope this helps you out some and Good Luck on your upcoming build.
July 16, 2009 7:00:19 AM

xthekidx said:
Either will fit, I know from experience.


Thanks
July 16, 2009 7:01:30 AM

Comparisons I read between the P6T vs the P6T Deluxe V2 often complain about heat on the older model, and say something about upgraded power on the newer, but I'm planning to stick to 1 gfx card, will I notice a difference? I'm worried about the reports of heat since I'm definitely overclocking. said:
Comparisons I read between the P6T vs the P6T Deluxe V2 often complain about heat on the older model, and say something about upgraded power on the newer, but I'm planning to stick to 1 gfx card, will I notice a difference? I'm worried about the reports of heat since I'm definitely overclocking.

ok, if the v2's really just for the sli, I'll probably get the P6T SE and save close to $100 said:
ok, if the v2's really just for the sli, I'll probably get the P6T SE and save close to $100


Three different motherboards have been mentioned in this thread: The P6T SE (low end), P6T Vanilla (Middle) and P6T Deluxe V2 (High end). The next step would be the Rampage II Extreme (Enthusiast level, waste of money IMO). You seem a bit confused on the lineup, so let me clear it up a bit:

The V2 is not a newer version of the P6T, but rather a newer version of the original P6T Deluxe. The Deluxe V2 is going to be the next step up from the P6T, and offers better overclocking (theoretically) and better cooling when using a dual GPU configuration due to the extra space between the PCIEX16 slots. It also has a better cooling design, but this only really matters if you are going for 4+ GHZ. The 16 phase power management supposedly gives more stability at higher overclocks than the 8+2 phase power on the P6T Vanilla, and the better cooling design. I have the P6T Vanilla in my personal PC and I can say that it overclocks very well, I got to 4ghz STABLE on a C0 stepping i7 920 using air cooling.

The Difference between the P6T Vanilla and P6T SE is going to be mainly SLI ability. The SE does not come with SLI certification, the Vanilla does. Otherwise, there is very little difference between the two. The P6T SE is newer than both the Deluxe V2 and P6T Vanilla. The SE will Crossfire just fine. From what I have heard, the SE doesn't have the OC options in the Bios menu that come with the Vanilla, which is why I would recommend going with the Vanilla.

Edit: Yoosty beat me on some of these points
July 16, 2009 7:07:25 AM

I think that the Antec 300 will work fine for what you want to do, but it is definitely on the lower end of the spectrum of what I would be considering. All the cases that Yoosty suggested are great cases, let me add one that I think is going to be the best deal for your money:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Free shipping promo code (good til 7/20): EMCLVMR27

The CM-690 is very spacious, you won't have issues fitting your components inside. It also comes with room to mount 6 120mm fans, or 3 140mm fans and 3 120mm fans. I also use this case for my personal PC and its excellent. Also lots of room for tall heatsinks.
July 16, 2009 7:08:34 AM

Thx, that cleared things up a bit between the boards, was getting confused between the different versions. I'll probably go with vanilla. Just to confirm, that's this one here right? ASUS P6T LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

And thx for pointing out the extension, i knew there was something else i'd need for a bottom mounted psu.

The cm-690 looks good, and the PC Power & Cooling S75QB seems like a good deal right now.

That would put my total build ~$1150 if i purchased today, which I might. I'll have to sleep on it :) 
July 16, 2009 11:08:18 PM

Oh and I was able to find a newegg promo code for the Asus P6T Vanilla that expires 07/20 for an additional $15 off :) 

EMCLVMR37

So I'll be getting this sooner than later.

July 23, 2009 2:53:36 AM

If you have a ati 4850 Graphic card that will be enough to run Aion at max and then some on your new system, even on your old system. I've beta tested Aion with a ATI HD 3750 AGP<-- and it ran it with no problems at all. Aion with any I7 build and your graphic card will work for this game for years to come. I have a gigabyte Micro atx kmv800m rv.2 with a 3.2 single core cpu(socket 754) and 2gigs of mixed memory. I am also beta testing it with my Blackberry curve tethered to my desktop. Getting an average of 35-45fps set on very high settings and on medium the fps was in the 45-60 and high as 80fps, Crowded cities wasn't bad at all any problems I think it was connection speed. Save some more money up, use your old system which will kill Aion and then build an ultimate system. Check out your local gaming store and buy yourself a beta pass for only 5$ to test your old system out. Remember to preorder the game and get the deluxe you will not regret it, once again if you havn't already done so. I don't think Aion is going to be a WOW killer but then again I am going to ditch my 2 lv 80s to find out. Keep this board in mind GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD5 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX. This is the board I plan to build my I7 shortly. Asus and Gigabyte both overclock extremly well but the Gigabyte seems to offer so much more. I believe the Gigabyte mobo will pay for itself now and in the long run. Though you can't go wrong with an Asus board either.
July 23, 2009 3:08:56 AM

What "so much more" does the gigabyte offer than the Asus? You are referring to the Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD4P and Asus P6T Vanilla right?
!