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$1100 i7 920 Gaming/General OC SLI

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August 17, 2009 8:05:55 PM

I put a fair amount of research and time into finding parts that I felt were popular picks, reliable, and cost-effective. Most of these parts have been widely used in many of the (i7) builds I have seen on these forums and on those on tomshardware. Currently I'm pretty satisfied with the parts I have and I'm just seeking advice on compatibility and perhaps opinions on preferred or better performing parts, in the same price range, than the ones I have picked.

Approximate Purchase Date
Within the next 7 days.

Budget Range
$1100 (USD).

System Usage From Most Important To Least Important
General usage, gaming, web surfing.

Parts Not Required
Keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers.

Preferred Website(s) For Parts
Newegg (only retailer I will be using)

Parts Preferences
Intel, Nvidia. Will list fully below.

Overclocking
Conservative overclocking of CPU only. Maybe up to 3200 or so.

SLI or Crossfire
SLI definitely although not immediately.

Monitor Resolution
1024 x 768. Pretty low-res I know, but it's good enough for me. I know some people still might say the parts I'm getting are overkill, but I don't really mind at the moment. Sorry if it seems stupid, I know it's not a good excuse, but I just like having a solid build with the budget I have.


Parts below this point.


Motherboard
EVGA LGA 1366 Intel X58 Micro ATX SLI - $209.99
Not too many features here but it has all I need.

Processor
Intel Core i7 920 - $279.99
Yes, I would rather have this than an extra video card at the moment. My GPU needs aren't so great anyway.

CPU Fan/Heatsink
XIGMATEK Dark Knight - $44.98
Seen this used a lot. Would like things nice and cool even if not absolutely necessary.

Power Supply
CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX 850W - $139.99
Now I'm willing to bet this may be somewhat more than meets my needs but after the rebate it's only $10 more than the 750TX (here) so I don't really mind.

Video Card
Update:
EVGA GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 Superclocked Edition - $189.99
Yay! New with warranty, free shipping, higher specs, and only $15 more after rebates! Who knows, maybe I will use the EVGA step up program instead of a SLI. Probably will be a better value. (Thanks Yoosty)

Old:
Recertified: EVGA GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 - $144.99
Yes, it's recertified but I don't think I will have any problems with it. Some people may recommend something more current for gaming, but at 1024 x 768 I don't think I'll need it. Plus, I may decide to go SLI with an identical card in the near future. I won't hesitate to put a game into minimum graphics settings if I have to.

Memory
OCZ Platinum 6GB DDR3 1600 - $114.99
Is there something I'm missing here? This deal beats an equivalent Corsair deal (here) that has higher latency, by $60. It also beats an equivalent OCZ Gold deal (here) that also has higher latency, by $10. "Platinum" is supposed better than "Gold", right? Why does this deal seem too good to be true? I assume that lower latency is a good thing, otherwise I'm a fool...

Case
Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower - $69.95
Another popular buy around here. Not sure whether to go with the standard Antec 300 though. Couldn't find the model specs for this one on the Antec website but the standard 300 I know supports micro ATX. This one comes with an extra fan and LED. Looks nice, plenty of fans, and barely costs more than the Antec 300. I'm pretty sure I'll have all the room I need for my parts.

Hard Drive
Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s - $74.99
Popular product. All the space I will ever need.

Optical Drive
Sony Optiarc Black - $29.99
Nothing special here.

Thermal Compound
Arctic Cooling MX-2 Thermal Compound - $7.98
Whatever works I guess.

Antistatic Wrist Strap
Rosewill RTK-002 Anti-Static Wrist Strap - $3.49
Bit of an after thought. Not sure if I'll need it but I like to play it safe.


Total: $1166.33 (before rebates)


Well, that wraps it up. I have no specific question to add at the moment as I'm pretty happy with what I have. Hopefully everything works together and fits. That's all for now, looking forward to hearing the opinions. One more thing, don't trouble yourself with finding combo deals and such, I will make sure to check them out just before I buy.
August 17, 2009 8:16:55 PM

I'm sure you already know but just in case, the board you have there is a micro and the 300 is a mid...that's all I could find, looks great!
August 17, 2009 8:19:19 PM

Swap the graphics card out for this, it saves you $25
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Drop the PSU down to a 650TX, it saves you 40 before rebates, and then fit a monitor into your budget you will be amazed at how much better a larger LCD monitor looks. There are onboard graphics from AMD capable of handling that resolution pretty well, this build wont even break a sweat even on the most intensive games.
Related resources
August 17, 2009 8:19:55 PM

Thanks for the input. I made sure to look on the manufacturer's website, the case supports microATX boards also. I don't mind having the extra room.

EDIT: You beat me hunter
Thanks for the input also but I'm planning on having a SLI configuration when the price drops for the GTX 260 216. On the PSU I know the specs are kind of high for my needs but I just feel better with the 850. If I was seriously over my budget I would consider it but right now everything works nicely. Also I'm future-proofing somewhat, which explains the i7, so I probably won't be considering on board graphics anytime soon. You make a good point with the monitor but since I already have one its not really a priority at the moment. I probably will consider it further down the road when I'm thinking about a SLI configuration though.
August 17, 2009 9:13:23 PM

Personally I would pay a little more to not get a micro board, but thats me.
August 17, 2009 10:48:23 PM

I'm more comfortable with the 640 GB cause I will be dual booting but thanks jbakerlent. As for the motherboard, did a lot of searching and I have come across that one but I decided to go with EVGA anyway, thanks.

Any reason not to go with a micro ATX by the way? I hope it's not going to give me less quality or anything? Reason I picked it is because it has all the features I need and nothing extra so I know I'm getting a good value.
August 17, 2009 10:51:31 PM

No Micro-Atx has no impact on quality, it can be a little cramped, in some cases less upgradeable, and could look kind of funny in a large case.
August 17, 2009 11:06:02 PM

Here are some suggestions to better your build.

Change Case to either of these, the free shipping will bring costs to the same as your choice plus they have better Airflow.
COOLER MASTER Storm Scout SGC-2000-KKN1-GP $89.99 Free Shipping*
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP $99.99 Free Shipping*
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For $10.00 more and Full warranty I would suggest this Graphic card, plus I would get this Mobo Combo with aformention card and save another $20.00.
1. EVGA 896-P3-1255-AR: $184.99 Free Shipping*

2. EVGA 141-BL-E757-TR: $229.99 Free Shipping*

Combo Discount: -$20.00
Combo Price: $394.98
$30.00 Mail-In Rebate
$20.00 Mail-In Rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Also go with this RAM/CPU Combo and save $12.00.
1. OCZ Technology OCZ3P1600LV6GK: $114.99 Free Shipping*

2. Intel BX80601920: $279.99 Free Shipping*

Combo Discount: -$12.00
Combo Price: $382.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Only one thing I would add is this, since you will need this 8-pin Power Extension Cable for most Cases that has Bottom Mounted PSU.
1ST PC CORP. 12" 8-pin EPS extension cable Model CB-8M-8F - Retail $8.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Left you other chioces as they are.

Subtotal using Haf 922 case before MIR's and before shipping costs is $1188.87
Total after MIR's are deducted and before shipping costs is $1118.97


Subtotal using Storm Scout case before MIR's and before shipping costs is $1178.87
Total after MIR's are deducted and before shipping costs is $1108.97


Hope this helps you out some and by the way EVGA Mobo's do not support Crossfire.



August 17, 2009 11:08:58 PM

Yoosty said:
Hope this helps you out some and by the way EVGA Mobo's do not support Crossfire.

That's not true. ALL X58 chipsets support crossfire, only some of the X58 boards support SLI due to licensing fees.
August 17, 2009 11:19:44 PM

shortstuff_mt said:
That's not true. ALL X58 chipsets support crossfire, only some of the X58 boards support SLI due to licensing fees.

My bad, you are right. Was going off on specs listed on NewEgg site that did not list in specs for support for Crossfire.
August 18, 2009 2:11:03 AM

Thanks for your great advice and find yoosty. That mobo/video card combo would have been a no brainer for me if it hadn't been for the fact that the EVGA x58 LE only has got 1 PCIE x16 slot with the rest x8/x4. The micro on the other hand has got 2 x16's so it takes precedence since I'm planning a SLI. Shucks.

One more thing. Is there any disadvantage to going with a bottom mounted psu such as air flow? I also considered your case recommendation. Is there any specific reason why those cases have superior air flow? The case I picked has got more fans as far as I can tell. Maybe there is an article or something that you could point out? I'm still trying to develop the experience to be able to spot superior products so please bear with me on these questions. Hopefully if I can learn to determine for myself I won't be so dependent in the future. Thanks for your help.

Edit: good point with that extra cable, you sure I will absolutely need it? Never even considered the possibility. To be honest I just now found out it was a bottom mounted case.
August 18, 2009 3:33:08 AM

http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx...

Thats a build I made...good for SLI, but you can switch the heatsink/GPU/case out for your preference...and also get the OCZ Platinum ram, not the gold on that list. More expensive than your build, but switch out some of the things I said and it will be less expensive/better performance

also make sure you find the combo deals...lots on that build, also like $70 in mail in rebates
August 19, 2009 12:31:16 AM

Hey JBeasty saw your thread! I think its great there being so many i7 builds on this forum that we can reference and help each other out.

That said I want to address the Crossfire debate 3 posts up. Newegg lists the Evga x58 as supporting crossfire and I'm pretty certain this is legit. Can someone confirm that Evga x58 mobo's do indeed support crossfire? Google seemed to think so.

Also, I may consider ATI as people mention it having a better value. But considering the great deal on the recertified EVGA 260 216 I may have to go with it. I also checked the benchmarks on tomshardware and they all seem to point to GeForce 260 216 having the better overall results than the Radeon 4870 which is in the same price range.
August 19, 2009 1:20:48 AM

sherlockmeister said:
Hey JBeasty saw your thread! I think its great there being so many i7 builds on this forum that we can reference and help each other out.

That said I want to address the Crossfire debate 3 posts up. Newegg lists the Evga x58 as supporting crossfire and I'm pretty certain this is legit. Can someone confirm that Evga x58 mobo's do indeed support crossfire? Google seemed to think so.

Also, I may consider ATI as people mention it having a better value. But considering the great deal on the recertified EVGA 260 216 I may have to go with it. I also checked the benchmarks on tomshardware and they all seem to point to GeForce 260 216 having the better overall results than the Radeon 4870 which is in the same price range.
This is a answer I got back on EVGA Support if there X58 Mobo's do support Crossfire. I was mistaken at the time and posted wrong info on them. Here is there reply below.
http://www.evga.com/support/faq/afmmain.aspx?faqid=5829...

Below is Link for all of EVGA X58 Mobo's at NewEgg, you will notice only two of them list Crossfire support, but only the E758-A1 shows it listed in features in the Specifications for that board.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...
August 19, 2009 2:24:37 PM

Well, that's settled thank you! I guess I'm pretty much set with this build. Thanks for everyone who helped. And thanks yoosty for finding that I needed that extra cable.

Well, I'm actually having some second thoughts about the graphics cars. Seeing how many different models EVGA has for the GeForce 260 216 (there's at least 5) I'm getting a little paranoid whether I'll be able to SLI in the future. Does the model have to be exactly the same for SLI to work or just the chipset? The different models also have different specs even with the same chipset. At the moment Radeons are looking a lot more simple...

edit: I'm really considering getting a cheap $50 graphics card and doing some more research on this before I commit to and dual-gpu configuration.
August 19, 2009 2:39:08 PM

for SLI you need to find another one with the same number of SPs and ram, and the clock speed will be reduced to the slowest in the pair. Keep in mind that in a few months time the new lineup of GPUs will be out which will out perform the GTX260 so by the time it no longer suits your needs you may be able to find a single card solution for about the same as a second gtx260.
August 19, 2009 3:01:44 PM

Thanks, that sure cleared up a bunch. Now I know that if I get a "superclocked" edition of a EVGA card I might be sacrificing clock speed if I end up getting a "standard" one later. Ok, I understand your argument about the new GPU lineup coming out, but wouldn't you think the GTX260 will also significantly drop in price? By the way look at this deal for a new "superclocked" GTX260 Core 216 (here) which is free shipping and $160 after rebates (thanks JBeasty for the heads up!). Don't you think it would be worth it, especially considering price drops that may occur in the future for a second one?

should I switch out the recertified for the superclocked? Will I be able to find an identical one later, or am i better off with a standard one?
August 19, 2009 5:10:48 PM

sherlockmeister said:
Thanks, that sure cleared up a bunch. Now I know that if I get a "superclocked" edition of a EVGA card I might be sacrificing clock speed if I end up getting a "standard" one later. Ok, I understand your argument about the new GPU lineup coming out, but wouldn't you think the GTX260 will also significantly drop in price? By the way look at this deal for a new "superclocked" GTX260 Core 216 (here) which is free shipping and $160 after rebates (thanks JBeasty for the heads up!). Don't you think it would be worth it, especially considering price drops that may occur in the future for a second one?

should I switch out the recertified for the superclocked? Will I be able to find an identical one later, or am i better off with a standard one?

Here is the Warranty you will get with the Recertified card.
Manufacturer Warranty
Parts 90 days limited
Labor 90 days limited

Now on a new Graphic card this is the Warranty you will get and also you can within 90 days of purchase use EVGA Step-up Program on a better card (which you only pay the difference between what you pay for your card and what the new card Price that is on EVGA website).
Manufacturer Warranty
Parts Lifetime limited
Labor Lifetime limited

Now which way would you go is up to you, some of us are just pointing out that you will be better off with the New card with the Full Lifetime Warranty. :D 
August 19, 2009 5:38:31 PM

(updated video card on first post)

Yeah I've pretty much made up my mind to go with a newer one which is only $15 more after rebates. It will bring my cash total up, but it does have free shipping and the $30 rebate (not to mention the warranty too!) which should equalize the cost. The step up program seems like a great alternative to the SLI Yoosty! Thanks everyone who contributed to this thread. I hope this also helps everyone else who is trying to make a i7 build and has similar questions. Looks like I will be closing in on the purchase some time soon. Thanks again.
!