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Strict $800 first-time build

I'm looking to build a system, this will be a first attempt for me, I appreciate any recommendations you guys might have.
Hate to dampen spirits, but I have a firm $800.00 limit INCLUDING taxes, shipping, and any other charges (such as the OS, and any first-timer items).
Lastly, I do NOT need a monitor, I have an acceptable one (LCD) already.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: ASAP

BUDGET RANGE: US $0-800.00

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Flash animation/games rendering, internet browsing, music composition/listening, video editing, movies/gaming

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitor, and I am not adverse to grabbing a discount keyboard and mouse.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg.com, or anything with a clean reputation.

PARTS PREFERENCES: an Intel processor (AMD, if better bang for buck)

OVERCLOCKING: Despite no experience, I'd like to try and overclock. As for Crossfire/SLI, I'm not a high-end gamer, so... probably no.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I'm a big multi-tasker (4-5 internet pages, Sony Vegas, Notepad, Core Media Player would be typical), The extent of my gaming aspirations is a WoW-esque game. I render a lot of Flash, and I'd like to start doing some graphics work (anyone recommend a good pen tablet?). I hope to be able to upgrade and reuse this build for a couple of years (better graphics card, sound card, RAM, etc.).
Hard Drive size isn't a big concern for me (250gb or better is fine), but its access speed is. For the sake of not falling behind, I'd prefer DDR3 RAM. Finally, I've been using XP for years, waiting out Vista... so I'll probably go with a 64-bit version (Home is fine) and upgrade to 7.

Many thanks for your time.
133 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about strict first time build
  1. You can get an I5 Rig including the OS for roughly $840. If you can find the extra $40, the I5 would be perfect for those uses.
  2. Intel Core i5 750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor - Retail $210
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115215

    Intel BOXDP55WB LGA 1156 Intel P55 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $100
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813121388

    G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL9D-4GBNT - Retail $73
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231253

    PC Power & Cooling Silencer PPCS420X 420W ATX12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail $50
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817703017

    Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM $75
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136319

    Sony Optiarc Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD/CD Rewritable Drive - OEM $33
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827118030

    SPARKLE SX96GT1024D2HP GeForce 9600 GT 1GB 256-bit GDDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail $80
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814187053

    Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders w/ Tech Guarantee - OEM $110
    Microsoft Gift - Windows 7 Release Candidate 1 x64 64-Bit - OEM Free w/combo
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.208025

    COOLER MASTER Elite RC-310-BWN1-GP Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail $40
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119203

    Total $770.91 plus$27.22 Shipping to my house plus no tax = $798.13

    If money suddenly becomes available, first upgrade would be to buy a larger psu ~550W, eg this specific OCZ 550W:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341022

    Next upgrade would be more, or slightly lower latency memory. This PC would be ready for pretty hot gamin, should you desire, with only a new 5xxx vid card bought next year. Meanwhile, the 9800GT won't let you down, either.

    There is no keyboard, mouse, speakers, or monitors - use what you use now.

    I also assume you have a screwdriver :)

    PS: If you live close to a microcenter, we can save $30 on the cpu less whatever sales tax you pay.
  3. Alright I managed to conjure up a decent I5 set-up for under $800. Here goes:

    Intel Core i5 750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz
    +
    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1333 CL7
    Combo Price: $286.98
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.250493

    GIGABYTE GA-P55M-UD2
    +
    Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit
    Combo Price: $209.98
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.259574.13-128-405

    Antec Three Hundred Black Steel
    +
    Antec Basiq BP500U 500W Continuous Power
    Combo Price: $99.94
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.245591

    MSI R4850-2D1G OC Radeon HD 4850 1GB
    $119.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127435

    SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache
    $49.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152181

    LITE-ON CD/DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA
    $28.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827106289

    Grand Total = $795.87
    $15 Mail in Rebate
  4. +1 for build's build.


    Great CPU, can overclock and also significant turbo if using 1 or 2 cores. Good choice of motherboard as Intel boards don't overclock. Good solid case plus decent PSU. In turns of graphics card, that would depend on the software, if the rendering software takes advantage of CUDA or Stream then it's quite easy to decide on nVidia or ATI card. Personally I'm a fan of Seagate HDD as they are generally faster than Samsung but you have to stay within budget.
  5. Other than the after market h/s at the bottom of this post, everything in this build is free shipping.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.245591 Combo Discount: -$15.00 Combo Price: $99.94 Free Shipping*
    Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
    Antec Basiq BP500U 500W Continuous Power ATX12V Version 2.01 Active PFC Power Supply - Retail

    http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=MB-P55M-D2 Combo Price: $299.98 | $279.98 $20 off w/ code 3DAYCPU20 Free Shipping
    GIGABYTE GA-P55M-UD2 Socket 1156/ Intel P55/ DDR3/ CrossFireX/ A&GbE/ MATX Motherboard
    Intel Core i5 Processor i5-750 2.66GHz 8MB LGA1156 CPU, Retail

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.256305 Combo Discount: -$15.00 Combo Price: $184.98 $10.00 Mail-In Rebate Card Price After Mail-In Rebate(s): $174.98 Free Shipping*
    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL - Retail
    MSI N250GTS-2D512-OCv2 GeForce GTS 250 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.259577.22-152-181 Combo Discount: -$10.00 Combo Price: $149.98 Free Shipping*
    SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - Retail
    Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders w/ Tech Guarantee - OEM | Includes free Windows 7 upgrade coupon

    http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=SHS223B_BE $29.99 Free Ground Shipping
    Samsung SH-S223B/BEBE 22X SATA DVD+/-RW Internal Drive (Black), Bulk w/o Software

    Total: $744.87 | $734 w/mail in rebate

    *Same build but with this vid card set up.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.256276 Combo Discount: -$15.00 Combo Price: $199.98 Free Shipping*
    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL - Retail
    SAPPHIRE 279L Radeon HD 4870 512MB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail

    Total: $759.87

    This h/s below includes thermal compound and it's good for a light over clock.

    http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=FAN-RR910H $17.99
    Cooler Master Hyper TX3 RR-910-HTX3-GP CPU Fan For Intel LGA1156/775 & AMD AM3/AM2/940/939/754
  6. Thanks for the replies, guys.

    I'm going to need some help deciding which build is best... so anyone with an opinion, feel free to jump in.

    Looking over build's build, I noticed that the GB motherboard has been criticized for not recognizing all available RAM. However, commentators also claimed the problem was easy fix via the alteration of the BIOS settings. Since I'm trying to avoid leading my wallet to the slaughter (Never altered BIOS, before...heh....) should I be worried about the RAM/mobo compatibility?

    ... and even though, the Antec 300 ATX seems to be the case of choice, I'm not so sure 1 USB (I presume "Front Ports: USB, Audio" means 1 USB?) will suit me (my internet router requires 1... meaning no room to spare). Feel free to correct me (I'll be honest, I didn't read all 1400 reviews on newegg) if I'm wrong.


    Thanks, again, for the help, so far (and sorry for all the paraphrasing).


    EDIT: Would anyone mind commenting on how far I could SAFELY overclock these builds? I would appreciate it.
  7. ti1706 said:
    Thanks for the replies, guys.

    I'm going to need some help deciding which build is best... so anyone with an opinion, feel free to jump in.

    Looking over build's build, I noticed that the GB motherboard has been criticized for not recognizing all available RAM. However, commentators also claimed the problem was easy fix via the alteration of the BIOS settings. Since I'm trying to avoid leading my wallet to the slaughter (Never altered BIOS, before...heh....) should I be worried about the RAM/mobo compatibility?

    ... and even though, the Antec 300 ATX seems to be the case of choice, I'm not so sure 1 USB (I presume "Front Ports: USB, Audio" means 1 USB?) will suit me (my internet router requires 1... meaning no room to spare). Feel free to correct me (I'll be honest, I didn't read all 1400 reviews on newegg) if I'm wrong.


    Thanks, again, for the help, so far (and sorry for all the paraphrasing).


    Asus, MSI, Gigabyte boards, etc... all these P55 boards have been having that memory glitch. There's already a bios update in the works to fix that problem.
  8. Why_Me said:
    Asus, MSI, Gigabyte boards, etc... all these P55 boards have been having that memory glitch. There's already a bios update in the works to fix that problem.


    Until that update is ready, though, are these builds still stable? I'm assuming they are.
  9. ti1706 said:
    Until that update is ready, though, are these builds still stable?


    Stable as a rock. CPU-Z shows all the memory, it's a Windows glitch I believe that is related to Vista, and not Windows 7. So the update will either come via the new bios, or better yet a MS update. The memory is there, it's just Vista has a bug when showing it. Those boards are good as gold.
  10. Why_Me said:
    Stable as a rock. CPU-Z shows all the memory, it's a Windows glitch I believe that is related to Vista, and not Windows 7. So the update will either come via the new bios, or better yet a MS update. The memory is there, it's just Vista has a bug when showing it. Those boards are good as gold.



    Thanks for the simile, Why_Me.

    So, I guess that puts me back onto choosing a build... once again, anyone with an opinion, feel free to post.

    ... and might you (Why_Me) know whether or not the Antec has 1 USB, or whether it was poorly described?
  11. ti1706 said:
    Thanks for the simile, Why_Me.

    So, I guess that puts me back onto choosing a build... once again, anyone with an opinion, feel free to post.

    ... and might you (Why_Me) know whether or not the Antec has 1 USB, or whether it was poorly described?



    It has two front USB ports on that case. If you look at the pics on new egg...or better yet check this link out down below.

    http://www.antec.com/Believe_it/product.php?id=MjQ= <--- Antec 300
  12. Why_Me said:
    It has two front USB ports on that case. If you look at the pics on new egg...or better yet check this link out down below.

    http://www.antec.com/Believe_it/product.php?id=MjQ= <--- Antec 300



    I see (heh... I should have checked Antec's site....), thanks again.
  13. So, in an effort to maintain interest in my dilemma....

    The Votes Stand At:

    build's build: 1(StumpyStumped)

    Why_Me's build: 1(Psycho Sykes)

    Twoboxer's build: 0

    Personally, I'm starting to favor Sykes' choice... mainly because of his avatar... but, still....

    Any input is welcome.
  14. ti1706 said:
    So, in an effort to maintain interest in my dilemma....

    The Votes Stand At:

    build's build: 1(StumpyStumped)

    Why_Me's build: 1(Psycho Sykes)

    Twoboxer's build: 0

    Personally, I'm starting to favor Sykes' choice... mainly because of his avatar... but, still....

    Any input is welcome.


    On average the gts 250 run neck and neck with the ati 4850 with the gts beating it out maybe 6 out of 10 benchmarks. I edited my build up above to also give you this option. Personally I like Nvidea cards due to the fact they are low maintenance but this card down below get's better scores on average than the gts 250 and the 4850.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.256276 Combo Discount: -$15.00 Combo Price: $199.98 Free Shipping*
    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL - Retail
    SAPPHIRE 279L Radeon HD 4870 512MB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
  15. IF you can Wait a couple of minutes i'll update with a build of my own! :lol: (IF you don't mind :) )
    Then you have even more options :D

    Medo
  16. Best answer
    Do you REALLY need an OS??
    You can use the RC till next year (March 11th) then buy a retail version.
    Um...

    Medo
  17. psycho sykes said:
    Do you REALLY need an OS??
    You can use the RC till next year (March 11th) then buy a retail version.
    Um...

    Medo


    A few sites have that RC dl but not MS anymore. You would have to dl it off of one of those sites, and then pick up the key from MS site. It's doable though.
  18. psycho sykes said:
    Do you REALLY need an OS??
    You can use the RC till next year (March 11th) then buy a retail version.
    Um...

    Medo


    Being inexperienced, I'd like to minimize confusion... so having an OS right off the bat would be a plus for me.
    However, if the Release Candidate works fine, then I don't see why I couldn't use it....

    It's unlikely that my budget will change, though, so if the reason for doing this is to save money for better parts, it might not work out.
    Still, I might be able to buckle down for a bit, if the long-term benefit is worth it.
  19. ^ :D
  20. How about:
    -----------------------------------
    CPU: i5 750 Lynnfield -- $210
    Main-Board: ASUS P7P55D LE LGA 1156 Intel P55 -- $144
    RAM: OCZ Gold 4GB DDR3 1066MHz Cas7 -- $74
    GPU: GIGABYTE Radeon HD 4850 1GB -- $105
    HSF: COOLER MASTER Intel Core i5 HSF -- $30 Or 2 -- $20
    PSU: Corsair TX 650 -- $90
    Case: Antec Three Hundred Black -- $50
    HDD: Samsung SpinPoint F3 500GB -- $50
    DVD Drive: LITE-ON CD/DVD Burner SATA -- $29

    --------------------
    Total: $772 Without MIRs, Combos or SH and Tax.

    Tell me if you need anything else.

    Medo
  21. Till march 2010 I'm sure you'd be able to save $130+ by only one dollar a day!!
    So just save Dollar a day and get the Win7 2010 when it comes out (RC will start to shutdown on March 10th not 1m before!)

    Medo
  22. Or
    Case: COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC - $70
    -----------------------------------------
    Main-Board: GIGABYTE GA-P55M-UD2 LGA 1156 - $110

    ti1706 said:

    Personally, I'm starting to favor Sykes' choice... mainly because of his avatar... but, still....


    Thanks :D
    Though I don't look like this :) (Trying to :lol: )
  23. psycho sykes said:
    Till march 2010 I'm sure you'd be able to save $130+ by only one dollar a day!!
    So just save Dollar a day and get the Win7 2010 when it comes out (RC will start to shutdown on March 10th not 1m before!)

    Medo



    Well, that sounds like a plan. There are no hidden restrictions on the RC, then?

    As for the build, nice psu, and with the fan... how far could it safely oc?

    Does anyone else have advice? Why_Me?
  24. I don't know about the fan since there's no reviews yet.
    For the RC it DOES have hidden restrictions which won't affect you till March 10th 2010 when the auto shutdown (after 2Hours of operation) feature in initiated.

    EDIT: I added another Case and Main-Board for other options (previous post)

    Medo
  25. psycho sykes said:
    I don't know about the fan since there's no reviews yet.
    For the RC it DOES have hidden restrictions which won't affect you till March 10th 2010 when the auto shutdown (after 2Hours of operation) feature in initiated.

    Medo



    Sorry if I wasn't clear, with "restrictions" I was referring to anything other than the shutdown date. Sounds like there aren't any, though.

    In response to second mobo/case choices. I'm uninformed, but the Cooler Master does look a bit better, as for the mobo...?
    Since I intend to recycle parts over the years, I am presuming a good starting case is more important than the motherboard, or is that incorrect?

    Thanks for your patience, guys.
  26. A good starting case is essential just like a good starting Mobo.
    The Cooler Master case has more fans so better air-flow and better temps (though just 1C- still better :lol: )
    As for the mobo the Asus LE version has pretty much all what you need and only $13 more than the UD2 but just added it for reference or if you might want another option.
    For the RC that's pretty much what i know, Though i'll keep searching and PM you if i found anything (Hopefully not :D ).

    Medo
  27. Two worries, though... the Cooler Master is "tool-less" and according to critics, made of "cheap plastic". Apparently it's upset some Newegg users....

    Still, it sounds like the better case (cooling vs. extra 3.5" drive bay, cooling wins?)

    Mobo-wise, thanks for clearing that up. It looks like you've named a clear winner.

    Over all, the build looks good to me.

    (Provided I can find the RC... heh....)
  28. Well, guys, thanks for all of your help.

    Reality beckons, so I must be leaving now.

    I'll continue checking the thread daily, until I come to a resolution... but it looks like I've found a good build.

    Best to be careful, though, so anyone with a comment/advice, feel free to post.

    Thanks for the aid, Sykes (or do you prefer Pyscho?).
  29. ti1706 said:

    Thanks for the aid, Sykes (or do you prefer Pyscho?).


    "Medo" :lol:
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    So how does your final build look?!

    I'll see if i can find any download links (I'll avoid torrents if possible :D )


    Medo
  30. OK I tried and it didn't work.
    Can anyone try and verify??!
  31. ti1706 said:
    So, in an effort to maintain interest in my dilemma....

    The Votes Stand At:

    build's build: 1(StumpyStumped)

    Why_Me's build: 1(Psycho Sykes)

    Twoboxer's build: 0


    Psycho your supposed to be on my side :lol:

    Anyhow, mine and Why_me's build are pretty similar but his build turns out cheaper because of the parts from that other site. I'm not american so I don't really know any other sites other than newegg. You should go for Why_Me's build ;)
  32. Actually that's why i chose Why_Me's build (Price :lol: )
    "The truth can not be divided"
    And neither me is American :D .

    Best Regards (Don't take it :) ).

    Medo
  33. I was just jokin man, I would choose Why_Me's build too :lol:
  34. I said don't take it (have you taken it :lol: )
    I was Joking too (see the previous post added a nice word Ulined)
  35. I don't get you :lol:
  36. Well it's simple He hasn't chosen a build yet!! :lol: (Mine is currently top of the list :p :) )
    I meant don't take it personal :D
    Did you??

    Medo
  37. I just post builds so Why_me will be forced to chime in with a better one.

    The rare day he is on vacation, someone's gonna wind up with an Intel mobo lol.
  38. Oh not at all :D

    What I meant was, I would choose Why_Me's build over mine since it's cheaper.

    I didn't even see you had posted your own build because I clicked reply straight after I saw Why_Me's build :(
  39. Well Ctrl+F "Total: $772 Without MIRs, Combos or SH and Tax." w/o quotes and you're there! ;)

    Good (sometime!) :lol:

    Medo
  40. Twoboxer said:
    I just post builds so Why_me will be forced to chime in with a better one.

    The rare day he is on vacation, someone's gonna wind up with an Intel mobo lol.


    Um.. I can't understand what you're trying to say.
  41. Alright, I looked at your build. It doesn't seem to include an OS though, doesn't the OP need one?

    Didn't bother reading past the post where Why_Me posted his build :bounce:
  42. He Did but if you read the following posts you'll find we found a solution already :D
  43. psycho sykes said:
    Um.. I can't understand what you're trying to say.


    My build earned its "0" rating in part by choosing an Intel mobo to save $10 in a very tight budget.

    My excuse was, in jest, that the only reason I put up *any* build is to prod Why_me to compete.

    The day he doesn't, someone may actually wind up with that Intel mobo.

    Not worth explaining, but I didn't want to ignore you lol.
  44. Well the REALL reason your build earned 0 rating is because only 2 voted!! [3(builds)/2(contributors) = "X"!]
    No one like ignorance and here i'm.
    Do you actually know Why_Me ??!!
  45. Twoboxer said:
    My build earned its "0" rating in part by choosing an Intel mobo to save $10 in a very tight budget.

    My excuse was, in jest, that the only reason I put up *any* build is to prod Why_me to compete.

    The day he doesn't, someone may actually wind up with that Intel mobo.

    Not worth explaining, but I didn't want to ignore you lol.



    Medo/Sykes is right. I don't know enough to criticize anyone's build, so that "0" was just a vote count (not a 0/10 rating, or the like).

    It sounds like you think Why_Me is pretty good at this, not to sound antagonistic, but would you vote for his build over yours (I noticed you said his was "better")?

    ... and, as always, I appreciate all the posts, guys.
  46. build said:
    Alright, I looked at your build. It doesn't seem to include an OS though, doesn't the OP need one?

    Didn't bother reading past the post where Why_Me posted his build :bounce:



    Medo suggested that I download the win7 RC, purchasing the retail release when it arrives in March. In theory, it seems to be a good idea (I've yet to try that link, though). My one issue with it is the eventual cost.... I'm a student (hence the budget), so part-time work, and mounting expenses are all I have right now.

    Anyone with a build preference, chime in whenever you like. Particularly, Why_Me; I'd like to hear his thoughts on Medo/Sykes' build.
  47. Win7 will be released soon (Sep. - Oct.) but the RC won't start to shutdown till March 2010.
  48. psycho sykes said:
    Win7 will be released soon (Sep. - Oct.) but the RC won't start to shutdown till March 2010.


    Heh... can't believe I forgot that.... I must have read it while looking over computers, at least 20 times....

    ... ouch....


    ... now I'm starting to worry about yesterday's test's answers....
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