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Core i7-860 Gaming Build (Sub $1k)

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September 24, 2009 8:21:42 AM

Greetings!

I am new to the forums, but I've been scouring as much info as I could get on Tom's Hardware for about 3 months now. I'm ready to see if my research has paid off. Now I'm still deciding on the I7 vs the I5 for my needs, but the HT on the I7 might come in handy in a non-gaming situation... correct me if I'm wrong.

Feel free to go nuts on this! Thank you in advance!

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, Internet, Movies

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Mouse, 19" Monitors (All Dell), CD/DVD Rom, HD

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel and NVidia (but will go ATI if persuaded :D  )

OVERCLOCKING: Yes SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050

Currently I have:

COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail - $70 Free Shipping

MSI N275GTX TwinFrozr OC GeForce GTX 275 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail - $230 Free Shipping

CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 ... - Retail - $100 Free Shipping

COOLER MASTER R4-S2S-124K-GP 120mm Case Fan - Retail - $16 + $3 Shipping


Intel Core i7-860 Lynnfield 2.8GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80605I7860 - Retail
GIGABYTE GA-P55-UD4P LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
G.SKILL Trident 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2000 (PC3 16000) Desktop Memory Model F3-16000CL9D-4GBTD - Retail
- $535 Free Shipping


*COOLER MASTER Silent Pro 700 RS-700-AMBA-D3 700W ATX12V V2.3 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active ... - Retail

*COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

$155 Combo Free Shipping

*EVGA 896-P3-1170-AR GeForce GTX 275 896MB 448-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail - $240 Free Shipping

*G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBRH - Retail - $95 Free Shipping

*Intel Core i7-860 Lynnfield 2.8GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80605I7860 - Retail

*ASUS P7P55D PRO LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

$425 Combo Free Shipping

*Cooler Master Intel Core i5 compatible Hyper TX3 Socket 775/1156/AMD 130W 92mm "heatpipe direct contact" CPU Cooler RR-910-HTX3-GP - Retail
Free!

Total: ~$950

Edit: Don't need an HD, but will take recommendations.

Edit: Reconfigured some things, please critique!

More about : core 860 gaming build

September 24, 2009 9:02:35 AM

Few changes to the setup -

CPU + Mobo
i7 + 2. ASUS P7P55D PRO LGA 1156
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

CASE + PSU - The Corsair 650TX no doubt is a very good unit but even this is good...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

And if you really want to stick with Nvidia, I would change the graphics card to EVGA GTX 275 - Reason - EVGA Step-Up program - Would allow you to upgrade to the GT3xx series when they are out(Most probably by November end or December...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Or HD 5850 - It is said to have the performance of a GTX 285...
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product...

So with these changes, it should still hover in that budget range...
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September 24, 2009 3:46:17 PM

I have that case. It comes with front and rear fans, so you may only need to add two more (top and side). If you like the subdued blue glow of the front fan, you may want these instead: COOLER MASTER R4-L2S-122B-GP 120mm 4 BLUE LED LED Case Fan - $10: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Trivial, I know, but...
I assume you'll need a hard drive. Either a Western Digital Black or the Samsung Spinpoint F3 should be decent.


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September 24, 2009 4:45:57 PM

gkay09 - Thanks for all of this info! I had a couple of questions to shoot at ya if ya don't mind.

gkay09 said:
Few changes to the setup -

CPU + Mobo
i7 + 2. ASUS P7P55D PRO LGA 1156
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Now, I've only owned Gigabyte boards in the past and I'm very comfortable with them and their quality, but I know that Asus is it's best competitor (from what I read on the Egg and Tom's). What makes this board a better choice than the Gigabyte I chose? Or is it just the brand? They seem very similar.

CASE + PSU - The Corsair 650TX no doubt is a very good unit but even this is good...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Hm. Yea, a friend always recommends Corsair because of their quality, but this CM PSU looks promising. It also has a single 12V, which is better than mutliple, right? Does CM usually make good PSUs? I've only known them to make good cases.

And if you really want to stick with Nvidia, I would change the graphics card to EVGA GTX 275 - Reason - EVGA Step-Up program - Would allow you to upgrade to the GT3xx series when they are out(Most probably by November end or December...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You know, that was my first choice. I may have to wait until it goes back in stock because it is sold out right now, sadly enough. I chose this one because it was quite cheap and had free shipping. Step-Up is software, correct? Do you know if the GTX300 will be in the same price range as the current ATI 5xxx cards? I'm guessing no, but if so, I'll get a GTX260 now and upgrade again at the end of November. I'm not trying to spend 500 on a new GTX3xx card...

Or HD 5850 - It is said to have the performance of a GTX 285...
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product...

Was considering the 5870, but it is sold out on the Egg. Even after multiple page refreshes, I couldn't seem to get any of them to add to the cart! When will the 5850 hit the Egg, I'd like to see the price and compare. If they are price comparable to the GTX275, I'll have to switch on over.

So with these changes, it should still hover in that budget range...

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September 24, 2009 4:48:36 PM

Onus said:
I have that case. It comes with front and rear fans, so you may only need to add two more (top and side). If you like the subdued blue glow of the front fan, you may want these instead: COOLER MASTER R4-L2S-122B-GP 120mm 4 BLUE LED LED Case Fan - $10: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Trivial, I know, but...
I assume you'll need a hard drive. Either a Western Digital Black or the Samsung Spinpoint F3 should be decent.


Thanks for the reply jtt283, I didn't know that I only needed two more. Thanks for catching that, I'll probably get the case fans you reccomend. How are you liking that case? What were some of the others you were debating on getting? I was selecting primarily between the Antec 300 and the CM690, but this one won me over with the PSU opening at the bottom.

As for the HD, I'm going to use my existing one for now, but I'll take recommendations!
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September 24, 2009 4:51:12 PM



I've seen the Ripjaw Gskills recommended over and over on these boards. What makes them better than the Tridents? Is it the OC performance? Quality? There are hardly any reviews on the Egg, but I always see good things about them on these forums.
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September 24, 2009 8:15:49 PM

As requested, heres my build

SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner - OEM

Antec Nine Hundred + EA650 Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 650W Power Supply - Retail

EVGA 896-P3-1170-AR GeForce GTX 275 896MB 448-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBRH - Retail

Intel Core i7 860 Lynnfield 2.8GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor - Retail + ASUS P7P55D PRO LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders w/ Tech Guarantee - OEM + SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM The O/S Includes free Windows 7 upgrade coupon

COOLER MASTER Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-GP 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" Long life sleeve CPU Cooler - Retail

Total: ~1100 w/o tax + shipping

Not sure on the price because I changed some things and haven't re-added it up yet.

However some notes: Look at the ram you want, The timings on it are 9-9-9-27. It will make it harder on you to O/C it with those timings. I recommend going down to the 1600 lvl and getting the ones I am getting. The timings are 7-7-7-24.

Also I know the i7 860 comes with a free heat sink, however if you are serious about over clocking then I would recommend looking at the one I am getting because the free one really wont do the job beyond the basic level.

Anyway just reply here if you have any questions or just wana chat about your builld/my build, etc.
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September 24, 2009 8:56:48 PM

cgleckman - Thanks alot for taking the time to do that. I've seen so many recommendations for the RipJaw memory and now I understand why. So, it does have to do with OC capabilities.

What was your reasoning with the Asus board over the others? I have only used Gigabyte, so naturally I chose the Gigabyte board, but others recommend the Asus. I'd just like to know if it's about brand loyalty, features, OC, etc.

Again, thanks for showing me your build. Hopefully that GFX card becomes available soon, yea?
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September 24, 2009 9:04:35 PM

era86 said:
cgleckman - Thanks alot for taking the time to do that. I've seen so many recommendations for the RipJaw memory and now I understand why. So, it does have to do with OC capabilities.

What was your reasoning with the Asus board over the others? I have only used Gigabyte, so naturally I chose the Gigabyte board, but others recommend the Asus. I'd just like to know if it's about brand loyalty, features, OC, etc.

Again, thanks for showing me your build. Hopefully that GFX card becomes available soon, yea?


Ya it does, and as for ASUS, I went with it because of recommendations and because they have a really nice utility that allows for overclocking with a few clicks and key strokes.

As for the GPU, it will be available probably within a week. Generally it goes out of stock for no more then a week.
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September 24, 2009 9:12:46 PM

I just realized you want a sub $1000 build. Is that with tax and shipping or without? Also take a look at the Cooler Master RC-922M-KKN1-GP Haf Mini 922 Haf 922M ATX/Micro ATX Include Two 200MM Its a decent case and highly recommended from what I have read. I don't know much about the case you chose so you should maybe ask around on the forums. Its up to you, but just a suggestion. I went with the Antec 900 because I think its better, however the price difference is quite noticeable.
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September 24, 2009 10:07:54 PM

era86 said:
...How are you liking that case? What were some of the others you were debating on getting? I was selecting primarily between the Antec 300 and the CM690, but this one won me over with the PSU opening at the bottom...

I like it. It is roomy inside, has cable management clips, and was of much better quality than the really cheap CM cases (I've switched to Rosewill for cheap cases). I thought about the Antec 900, and there was a deal on it around the time I bought, but I kept seeing that some found it small, and I thought it was a bit flashy to have in the living room, where my computer desk is located. I do like the subdued glow of the RC690 though. I don't think the Antec 300 was out yet, but I'd consider it today unless my PSU had a bottom-mounted fan. In the RC690, the Enermax Liberty I originally used could draw its own air up from below. The SG-650 I'm using now has an end-mounted fan though, so it wouldn't matter.
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September 24, 2009 10:30:27 PM

era86 said:
Hopefully that GFX card becomes available soon, yea?


The video card is available again.. Just got relisted.
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September 24, 2009 11:41:06 PM

Just made some changes to the build. Please check it over and let me know if prices should change and I should wait. Anyone hear on the release of the 5850 yet?
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September 25, 2009 1:58:48 AM

era86 said:
Just made some changes to the build. Please check it over and let me know if prices should change and I should wait. Anyone hear on the release of the 5850 yet?


If you can create links for the certain things you list that don't have any links that would help.

As for hds, new benchmarks show the samsung f3 retty high up there.. 500gb for about 50 bucks...

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
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September 25, 2009 4:03:10 AM

Sure thing, sorry about that.
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September 25, 2009 4:06:44 AM

era86 said:
Sure thing, sorry about that.


not a problem. BTW Why the change from the 275?
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September 25, 2009 4:12:34 AM

It should still be on there. The EVGA one?
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September 25, 2009 4:16:07 AM

Sorry i somehow read another build and thought it was yours and replied to this page while reading that page...dunno how that happened
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September 25, 2009 4:43:56 AM

The other main reason for suggesting the ASUS board is the combo deal...Else both the UD4P and that board offer similar features...

And as for the RAM, the Trident are also very good RAM sets...If you want to overclock you RAM higher than the rated settings, then go for Trident as the taller heatsinks offer better heat dissipation...But the Rip jaws are not bad wither...they are a better value kits as you get tighter timings for less...

If you still have doubts, do post it here...people here would help you out... :) 
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September 25, 2009 4:51:30 AM

I guess I never really planned to do any crazy OCing. So, I never really looked into it. I guess I'll have to do more research on how memory affects OCing. Thanks for the help though. If you have resources I could read up on, that would be much appreciated. In the meantime, Google is my friend.
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September 25, 2009 5:02:34 AM

Here at TOM's forum, we have a separate section to help people out with overclocking...It would be of good help...If I find better i5/ i7 overclocking resources, I will post them too...
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/forum-29.html
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September 25, 2009 5:52:45 AM

imafiretruck - Congrats! I went to your forum and took what I could from it. I think I might get a better case, it seems the one you got is very popular. I like the price of mine though :) .
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September 25, 2009 7:37:09 PM

Alright, so I did some reading up on memory. So, for OCing purpose, I want lower CAS latency (thus the 7-7-7 timings on the RipJaws) and a higher voltage (1.65 on the RipJaws). Now, the question is, there is another set of memory with 7-7-7 timings, but with only 1.5v. With the 860, I have read that you really only need to up the voltage to 1.4 on the CPU to get a good 3.8 OC. Do I need the 1.65v memory? Or will I be alright with the 1.5v?

My logical reasoning might be messed up somehow if I'm still missing something about the memory. Let me know if I'm getting something mixed up. Thanks so much!

BTW, planning on ordering either tonight or tomorrow morning. I'm pretty set on what I've listed above.

Can anyone recommend a good HSF for this build?
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September 25, 2009 11:00:22 PM

Well... I just ordered. I didn't get the video card yet because I'm waiting on the 5850 to drop. I'll let everyone know how it goes!
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September 26, 2009 3:06:29 AM

do you have a fry's or microcenter nearby?
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September 26, 2009 6:31:28 AM

all in all a good setup. the "ripjaw" class of ram is rated slightly less-overclockable than the ($5 more expensive) 'trident' series...

the CM silent series psu gets decent reviews although it's not too silent... svc.com has a terrific special on an OCZ OCZ780MXS ModXStream 780W (normally $140, now $65). 100,000 hours mean time between failure, good efficiency. go jump on that deal if you can.

the evga 275 graphics card is a terrific choice. i have the 285, and i greatly prefer a single gpu card -- half as much heat, half as much power/amps required, and in many games they will beat a equally priced multigpu card... i think id still go with it over the 5850... *shrug*

the lga1156 with the i7 860 beats the pants off everything even remotely near it in price. you get all the benefits of the i7 platform (cpu core virtualization, hyperthreading,...) PLUS all the benefits that the lynnfield chips have (TURBO MODE, BABY! integrated memory controller) over nehilham(sp?)...

there is only ONE choice in heat sync. :)  go with the Noctua NH-U12P SE2 (moddersmart.com has them in stock) it's the best of the air coolers, and even beats the closed water coolers and the 'under $300-500' water cooling rigs. you only other choice is the hyper 212+ which is half the price ~$30 avail at provantage and microcenter. Buy the $7 IC Diamond Thermal Compound at Petra's Tech Shop, or elsewhere: it's simple to apply and in comparison tests cools the pants off everything else, except maybe the liquid metal stuff, which is like playing a game of 'Operation' on your pc where they want to you roast your cpu for 15min while hopping on one foot and text messaging...

your biggest bottleneck is going to be your hard drive... see if you can find an identical drive on ebay or something and run it in raid0 so you can double your bandwidth. if you have win7, dont forget a speedy usb drive configured for readyboost. newegg has a highly rated patriot xt 8gb drive for $15 and 16gb drive for $30 after rebate (both have free shipping). reformat it in exFAT. :) 
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September 26, 2009 6:51:54 AM

proro1974 - I have a fry's nearby. I already ordered everything but the GPU and HSF. So I'm still looking for those. Any recommendations?

rkaye - Thanks for the info, but I've already went with the RipJaws seeing as to how everyone seems to recommend those over the Tridents. We'll see how it goes though, yea?

I've decided to hold off on the GTX275 and wait for a 5850 to drop. I'm going to spend money on that instead.

The 860 vs 920 game was a very rough one, but the 860 wins IMO. All the 920 folks seem to want to defend their purchase, but the 860 suits my needs WAY more than the 920 does.

The Noctua was a sexy choice for HSF, but is the cost really that necessary? I've seen som CM and Thermaltake fans available, but I'll look into the Noctua. I don't plan to do any crazy OCing right off the bat. I'll check out the stores you mentioned, but I would like to get the cooler from frozencpu.com if possible.

As for the HD, could you recommend some specific products? I usually just sort by price :) .

Thanks for both of your responses!
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September 26, 2009 8:54:43 AM

Yeah $65 can be a tough sell on a cooler; although it's still far less expensive than the next higher priced cpu -- isn't like +$325 for a 200MHz increase? My justification, which was a little thin, $60 for +800 to 1200Mhz beats it hands down. the hyper 212+ is a great cooler for $30. i spent hours and hours looking at coolers and ended up with those two as air choices.

overclocking is a world of difference from even a few years ago. today the software basically asks you if you want to o'clock, then tells you to go away for a few hours while the pc does it's thing. it auto trys different voltages and runs the cores at full speed, reboots trys again, etc till they find a good stable temp.

HD -- I just get ye ole standard 7200rpm sata2 drives. i always use drives from the same manufacturer, same capacity and usually the same drive model number. raid0 is fairly simple to do and the performance increase is very visible. what HD were you planning on carrying over to your new system? any chance that you might be able to find another drive same size/model?

more often than not, new is oddly cheaper than used. teh prices i see on ebay typically are terrible. new drive prices are $0.19/gb at 250gb drives, $0.16@320gb, $0.11@500gb,... that each drive you add takes advantage of that huge sata bandwidth, so the more the merrier (until you hit 5 drives, then the performance boost for the 6th on arent as good).
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September 30, 2009 11:34:24 PM

Alright all, just a quick update... I completely finished ordering all the parts for my system today! I ordered the 5850 on Newegg and now I just have to wait for everything to come in. Overall, I spent about 1200, which is not bad considering I got a much more quality build.

Final system buy:

ASUS P7P55D PRO LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
169.99

Intel Core i7-860 Lynnfield 2.8GHz LGA 1156 95W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
289.99

COOLER MASTER Silent Pro 700 RS-700-AMBA-D3 700W ATX12V V2.3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
109.99

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
88.99

COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
69.99

HIS H585F1GDG Radeon HD 5850 (Cypress Pro) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
267.86

Cooler Master RR-B10-212P-GP Hyper 212 Plus 775/1156/1366/AMD/AM2/AM3 Universal Direct Contact Heat-Pipe 120mm Fan CPU Cooler
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002G1YPH0/ref=ox_ya_o...
26.17

Cooler Master 120mm Silent Blue LED Case Fan 2-in-1 Value Pack - (R4-L2S-122B-GP)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000O8JZIG/ref=ox_ya_o...
12.94

SAMSUNG SH-S223B 22X SATA DVD Burner Black Drive Bulk
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product...
29.99

WESTERN DIGITAL Caviar SE320GB Hard Drive WD3200AAJS 320GB SATA II 7200 RPM 8MB Buffer Hard Drive Bulk
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product...
45.99

Total Before Combos = 1111.90
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October 8, 2009 10:58:38 PM

So I the parts in and put it together.... works sooooo smooth! Accidentally installed Windows Vista 32 bit though... ugh. Getting 7 tonight!

I just wanted to followup on anyone else's builds. I know a couple of those who helped me out were on the same track as me.

How did your systems turn out?
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October 9, 2009 4:49:52 PM

Glad to hear it went smoothly for you. Can't remember where I was in mine we discussed last (cgleckman's thread? mine?) but I ended up coupling my i7 860 with the Gigabyte GA-P55M-UD2. Feature set was enough for me and based on some of the reviews (AT) I went for it.

Only problem I had was installing the OS. Couple failed tries - disc spun but nothing happened - and suddenly it worked. The next day I couldn't get any DVDs or CDs to be read. Took the drive back (Samsung Black 22x SH-S223B) and got another one. It didn't work either. Took it back, moved up $5 to the Sony Optiarc x24, plugged it in last night and it worked. Finally! I was beginning to suspect my board or OS (Win 7 RC).

Only a couple minor events with the display to sort out now. Last night I tried to watch Hulu full screen and the monitor went black on me. Getting closer, and compared to some of the problems I've seen others post, I can't complain.
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October 9, 2009 6:42:00 PM

Hmm.. I've had some issues installing Windows 7, but it was from a faulty disc write. What kind of HD do you have? And vid card? Strange that Hulu would cause your screen to go black. I'm thinking this might be an OS problem.
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October 10, 2009 5:26:05 AM

I hope so. Seems like that'd be easier to fix. I've got a WD Caviar Black 640GB and am using an HD 4670 GPU.

I thought I found some good leads earlier that it was Chrome running on x64. And sure enough when I tested with IE it worked ... the first couple times. The third time I tried it, screen went black right away. Once in a while it would sort of show a piece of my desktop or the cursor or something, usually at a much lower resolution (e.g., a really large arrow for the mouse pointer). I have to reboot everytime it happens.
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!