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I7 build advice

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September 1, 2009 6:19:09 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: September BUDGET RANGE: $1500 canadian

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: web development, photoshop, video editing, web surfing, the rare game

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, DVD writer

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.ca, tigerdirect.ca (wherever is cheapest)

PARTS PREFERENCES: nothing specific

OVERCLOCKING: Yes (i7 920 to 3.2Ghz)

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1200

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

I believe I have finally settled on building an i7 machine. However, I have had some issues with pricing and cheaped out on some products. These are the main items I have chosen (my list does not include a monitor).

MB: MSI X58M LGA 1366 Intel X58 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

CPU:Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920 - Retail

RAM: CORSAIR XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Triple Channel Kit

Video: POWERCOLOR PCS AX4670 1GBK3-P Radeon HD 4670 1GB 128-bit GDDR3

HD: Western Digital Caviar Black WD5001AALS 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache

Case: Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

HSF: Noctua NH-U12P SE1366 120mm SSO CPU Cooler

PSU: Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W Continuous Power ATX12V

These are my following concerns:

Motherboard: I went with the cheapest i7 board on newegg.ca which is the MSI X58M. I am familiar with MSI products so I thought it wouldn't be so bad. But do you see any issues going with this board for a mellow overclock of 3.2Ghz on the i7 920?

Video: I have downgraded to the ATI 4670 for cost savings. I was going to go with a 4870 but will I see any marginal difference? I did notice that all 4670's were 128-bit compared to the 256-bit 4870.

RAM: Originally I was going with some DDR3 1600 stuff but have decided that I should be able to get by with 1333 stuff as long as I step down the memory multi before adjusting the BCLK to keep the DD3 within it's boundaries. Any thoughts on this theory?

HSF: Is the one I have chosen good and worth the money? Is their a cheaper alternative?

PSU: Is 650 enough? I don't plan to crossfire or SLI.

I appreciate all responses I receive regarding my post. I have been out of the hardware game for over 4 years and things have changed alot.

Thanks

More about : build advice

September 1, 2009 6:31:31 PM

MoBo: The one you chose is a fine MoBo for MicroATX, but are you sure you want to go with a MicroATX? I will go with an ATX MoBo instead. GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD3R, MSI X58 Platinum and Asus P6T are good budget ATX boards to chose. MicroATX MoBo are usually worser than ATX ones at the low price points and they have less room to work with (not to talk about the fact that you will have problems installing the Noctua HSF on it).

RAM: The difference with 1333 and 1600 is inesistent for what you plan on doing with the PC. For the OC you are going to put you will have ample margin with the DRAM divider. The only real problems with 1333 frequencies arise around 4 GHZ overclock.

Video: I will definetly change it to a 4870 at last (4890 if you can). An i7 with a 4670 is REALLY wasted, it is also without CF, but at last get an high-end single GPU. If you don't have the budget now just wait till you have, you will only lose money buying a 4670 that is barely sufficent to play modern games. At the resolution you plan to play then it's just impossible, at last you don't want to simulate an Amiga.

HSF: The Noctua U12P is a good mid-end air cooler. For 3.2 GHZ is more than enough.

PSU: Yes, 650 watt is enough for your system. I don't think you will draw more than 500W with a 4870 (because you HAVE to change the GPU, period).

Other thoughts: buy at last 1 fan for the Antec 300 to put in the front. 2 will be better. The Antec 300 while being a good budget case doesn't come with front fans installed and they are really needed for an high-end build as your own. If your budget allows it go for Scythe fans.
September 1, 2009 6:32:05 PM

avanluv said:
APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: September BUDGET RANGE: $1500 canadian

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: web development, photoshop, video editing, web surfing, the rare game

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, DVD writer

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.ca, tigerdirect.ca (wherever is cheapest)

PARTS PREFERENCES: nothing specific

OVERCLOCKING: Yes (i7 920 to 3.2Ghz)

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1200

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

I believe I have finally settled on building an i7 machine. However, I have had some issues with pricing and cheaped out on some products. These are the main items I have chosen (my list does not include a monitor).

MB: MSI X58M LGA 1366 Intel X58 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

CPU:Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920 - Retail

RAM: CORSAIR XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Triple Channel Kit

Video: POWERCOLOR PCS AX4670 1GBK3-P Radeon HD 4670 1GB 128-bit GDDR3

HD: Western Digital Caviar Black WD5001AALS 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache

Case: Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

HSF: Noctua NH-U12P SE1366 120mm SSO CPU Cooler

PSU: Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W Continuous Power ATX12V

These are my following concerns:

Motherboard: I went with the cheapest i7 board on newegg.ca which is the MSI X58M. I am familiar with MSI products so I thought it wouldn't be so bad. But do you see any issues going with this board for a mellow overclock of 3.2Ghz on the i7 920?

Video: I have downgraded to the ATI 4670 for cost savings. I was going to go with a 4870 but will I see any marginal difference? I did notice that all 4670's were 128-bit compared to the 256-bit 4870.

RAM: Originally I was going with some DDR3 1600 stuff but have decided that I should be able to get by with 1333 stuff as long as I step down the memory multi before adjusting the BCLK to keep the DD3 within it's boundaries. Any thoughts on this theory?

HSF: Is the one I have chosen good and worth the money? Is their a cheaper alternative?

PSU: Is 650 enough? I don't plan to crossfire or SLI.

I appreciate all responses I receive regarding my post. I have been out of the hardware game for over 4 years and things have changed alot.

Thanks


Looks pretty good, just a few things.

Get a 4870 from a reliable company, like Sapphire for example.
Get the Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD3R for not much more.
Get OCZ Platinum 1600 RAM.
Consider a XIGMATEK Dark Knight 120mm CPU Coooler
Yes 650 is enough, but I'd recommend the Corsair 750TX.
Consider an Antec 900?

Also, you forgot Hard Drives and Optical Disc Drives.

Tell me your preferences and I can help you with those.
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September 1, 2009 6:40:04 PM

Thanks for the advice selea.

I think I will definitely go with the 4870...my instincts were correct.

As for adding fans to the 300, I had thought that myself. I was going to add one to the front and one to the side. I've read though if you have fans on the front they should pull air in while the rear draws out the heat. Just want to confirm on that.
September 1, 2009 6:43:37 PM

I didn't see the MoBo is a MicroATX, read the edit. I will definitely change also that.

And yes, the front fans brings air in, the rear and up fans blows air outside (in the Antec 300 they are already setted as this). If you plan on a side fan you can do both with it.
September 1, 2009 6:51:55 PM

Yes, I did see your edit after. Hmm... the MicroATX is something I wasn't 100% on but I loved the price. The Asus P6T SE seems like a reasonable price and not too much more.
September 1, 2009 6:55:07 PM

The ASUS P6T is a good pick. The GIGABYTE UD3R costs a bit less if I remember well. Both are really good (if you wanted to go SLI then the P6T is the only choice). The P6T is really easy to OC. For 3.2 GHZ you will do it in less than 10 secs. Just use XMP profile and put the BCLK to 160, done. Naturally you can do it manually for better control, but I just wanted to told you how easy it is.

EDIT: Yes, MicroATX boards cost less, but IMO the price loss doesn't cover the trouble. For example you will have problems with the Heatsink, you will have to look carefully what things you can put it and what not. Since the price is not that much different I will spare the trouble and go with a full ATX MoBo.
September 2, 2009 12:47:40 AM

I went through a similar cycle. I ended up with a Core I7 920 and the X58M motherboard.

The X58M does really well except that the Northbridge tends to overheat even at idle - a small fan tie wrapped to the Northbridge heat-sink seems to have fixed that (after my first board burned up the Northbridge chip)!

Using the X58M "over clock" switches I get a consistent 3.6 Ghz on the processor with no overheating or other problems - 48hr error free on Memtest86.

I do find that stock Ubuntu 9.04 64 bit gives about a 20% performance increase over Win XP optimised (Superior XP64) i.e. Poser 7 render time is 2:52 Ubuntu/Wine vs 3:50 XP.

Based on previous experience that's ANOTHER 20% (total 40%) over the "out of the box" XP64 plus virus checkers etc. and at least 40% (total 60%) better than Vista64! I have not tried Poser 7 on either "stock" XP or Vista however.

My normal work environment is Ubuntu 9.04 with wine/VirtualBox for the Windows apps. that I absolutely cannot do without!
!