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$1298 Core i7 build for the wife

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September 27, 2009 4:40:07 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: within the next 30 days

BUDGET RANGE: $1500 before rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Business workstation for Office 2007, severe browser multitasking (50+ tabs), web-based games, Skype conferencing, and anything else my wife wants to do with it.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: purchasing everything new except webcam and Office 2007 (already have those on the laptop)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: NewEgg, possibly TigerDirect/CompUSA/CircuitCity for some bits if they are cheaper there or I can get a better bit for a comparable price.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: United States, TX (may see ambient temps of 80-85 in the office during 105+ degree summer weather)

PARTS PREFERENCES: She insists on the Core i7 920, she likes black and blue (hence the MSI mainboard, ECS video, and CM Elite 310 case, her favorite of the ones I showed her), and I insist on a highly rated power supply.

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe, but doubtful

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe in the future, but doubtful as she does not really game, and if she gets into it, $160 (or less) for another GTX260 is not out of the question (although cooling might become an issue with two of those).

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1440x900 or 1650x1080

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: My wife is currently running a Dell D620 laptop as her primary computer, C2D 2.16GHz (T7400) with 4GB of RAM and 945GMA graphics. She is frustrated with slow loading times and wants to notice a blistering speed change on a desktop system, and she'll use the laptop when away from home because she's used to it.

Here's my build so far, I like using NewEgg for wish lists because it's easy to change out things on the fly before putting it in the cart. I don't think I left anything out, and I'll order it as soon as she approves and hands me the debit card to make the order:

Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MSI X58M LGA 1366 Intel X58 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OCZ Obsidian 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ700MXSP 700W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ECS Black Series NBGTX260-896MX-F 448-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

COOLER MASTER Elite RC-310-BWN1-GP Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

COOLER MASTER Neon LED TLF-S12-EB 120mm Blue LED Case Fans (Qty 2 for front/side of above case)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

COOLER MASTER i5/i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-GP 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" Long life sleeve CPU cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I also have other things like an el cheapo flash memory reader which she'll never use (but I will), a Samsung 500GB 7200rpm SATA hard drive (she currently uses 30 of 100GB, not a big concern), LG bulk SATA DVD burner, 21.6" LCD monitor, DVI to DVI cable (since the monitor doesn't supply one), Arctic Silver 5 thermal paste, Logitech ClearChat Pro headset for the Skype, Logitech keyboard and mouse (wired, she doesn't want wireless), and Windows Premium 64-bit with the coupon to upgrade to 7.

At this moment, all those parts together total $1298 plus shipping, totaling $1341. The OCZ items currently have rebates totaling $55. She's ok with spending that amount of money but wants the most speed for the money. My question for discussion is...

If this was YOUR build and you were happy with it but you had another $150-$160 to spend to fill out a $1500 budget, what component would you spend the money on? Would you bump up to a i7-950 processor and cheapen out the video card and some other bits? Would you look for a GTX285 video card? Would you make small changes across the board (MB, PS, video, memory brand) to suit your personal tastes?

More about : 1298 core build wife

September 27, 2009 4:54:36 PM

AMD and ATI normally give you more for what you spend, for general office work you most likely wont need an i7. try this graphics card, it costs a similar amount and its one of ATI's best graphics cards. i wouldnt bump up the processor because any i7 processor other than the 920 costs a ton more. you're lucky to live in the US, you can get i7's for so much cheaper than here in canada. im going for an AMD 965 build because its $150 cheaper but you're getting an i7 and motherboard for only $60 more than an AMD build
September 27, 2009 5:06:33 PM

i would think an i7 is overkill for her needs a would rather get an i7 860 and a better case the gtx 260 is fine and maybe more ram

i7 860

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

asus board

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

8gb ram

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

550 watt power supply plenty for one gpu

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

xfx gtx 260 xfx has best warranty

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

lian li case very stylish your wife would appreciate the look

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

cpu cooler http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

total $1015 before shipping an mir

this psu if she would wanna sli in future
which isn't likely for her needs


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or $1034
with the 750 watt psu
Related resources
September 27, 2009 5:10:52 PM

WAY overkill. You should look in to a LGA1156 build. Unless your wife plans to play some intensive FPS games then SLI/CrossFire and the GTX260 is overkill. Again, unless planing to go i9, LGA1366 is not needed.

Quote:
She insists on the Core i7 920, she likes black and blue (hence the MSI mainboard, ECS video, and CM Elite 310 case, her favorite of the ones I showed her), and I insist on a highly rated power supply.

Those are just aesthetics/preferences and do not do anything to increase performance. As for MSI + ECS I do not trust either when it comes to quality.

For GPUs: XFX, EVGA, SAPPHIRE, ASUS

For Motherboards: ASUS, Gigabyte, DFI and maybe ASRock/XFX.

Quote:
She is frustrated with slow loading times and wants to notice a blistering speed change on a desktop system, and she'll use the laptop when away from home because she's used to it.

Loading times as in Web loading or program loading?

As for your current build:
The CoolerMaster case, HSF, Fans, and RAM are good choices. Good PSU, but I'd preffer this for a few $ more: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


As for TIM, AS5 is over rated, get IC Diamond, Shin Etsu, or MX2 (NOT TX2).
September 27, 2009 5:14:09 PM

with that nvidia card you would still be paying more than that ATI card and the ATI 4870 is better than the GTX 260
September 27, 2009 5:16:51 PM

Obsidian beat me to it. +1 for his build. Overall, you save ~$200, which you could spend on a 2nd LCD to help out with productivity as she seems to be multi tasking where a 2nd LCD will help. If you live near a Microcenter, you may want to check them out if you MUST go i7 920 as they have it for $200. Also you may want to check LCDs there as when you calculate shipping for an LCD, Microcenter may have it for cheaper. They had a pretty good LCD sale at the VA Microcenter a few weeks ago.
September 27, 2009 5:17:36 PM

shozzking said:
with that nvidia card you would still be paying more than that ATI card and the ATI 4870 is better than the GTX 260

heck, OP's wife doesn't need more than a 4850.
September 27, 2009 5:18:48 PM

she doesnt but its still cheaper than the 260, why buy something more expensive when you can get something thats better for less money? the RAM has a CAS latency of 9, you might want to get RAM with a lower CAS latency. 1333MHz RAM with a CAS latency of 7 will be faster than the RAM that you've picked
September 27, 2009 5:47:32 PM

OK, I'm working on some more builds now, she wanted the 920 for triple channel capability hence the 6GB of RAM. She wanted 12GB but after showing her the 3GBvs6GBvs12GB article on here, 6GB is more than enough.

That Corsair 750W PS was actually on my build list originally and I swapped it for the OCZ unit to get the price down to $1298 and because I wanted modular so I don't have so many cords tied up inside. With one hard drive, maybe a second hard drive later, a USB-based card reader, and only one optical, we don't need all those extra wires. A modular Corsair would have to be 520W to get it down around $110. I'll see what else in modular I can find from a proper brand that doesn't cost too much more. Would a 520 watt power supply be enough for a core i7 and a GTX260 (or HD4870)?

I was concerned about the latency of the memory, shozzking, I'll look for something in the 7 range to replace the Obsidians. It might cost more but if I can save in other places it'll work. But also probably moving back to dual channel to get the 860 processor. I've read a few more threads on here about the 860 and it seems better than the 920 unless wifey gets into video editing, which is seriously doubtful. If she does, she'll be making enough money to upgrade the MB/processor/memory later. LGA1156 it is.

obsidian86 mentioned a number of pieces I had looked at before, but I do want to stick with the Cooler Master Elite 310 case (that blue anodized stuff on the front is killer, and a side panel window is something else the wife really wants now that she knows it exists. I have to keep in mind, her last desktop was a P3 1.2, with 512MB of RAM, running Windows 2000, it was beige, and although it was a homebuilt computer, it might as well have been a Dell GX110 in a different case the way we put it together.

I do want her to have blistering speed above all things. If the LGA1156/i7 860/dual channel memory/ATI HD4870 combo works hard and fast, so be it. I don't mind making changes to the build at all, especially if it will work harder, cost less, and be easier to work with.

I'll add the other bits (drives, CM case, etc) to your build, obsidian86, and see where it gets me. Back after awhile.
September 27, 2009 5:55:18 PM

yeah a quality 500watt will power any single graphics card that cm case isn't the best for a high end build its cramped an not too good on cooling alternitives to the lian li would be antec 300 illusion or cm 690,my ram is cas 7
September 27, 2009 6:01:04 PM

Quick note...LCD shipping from NewEgg comes out to $8.98 difference when added/removed from the cart...yet sales tax on a $140 LCD in Texas would be $11.55...so it's a toss-up and if I can get a better deal locally I will. I always watch those emails and if I see anything favorable, I'm on it. I would rather have an Acer or Samsung or LG monitor anyway. Though to be honest, my 19" eMachines LCD has been just fine for the last year. A little dusty maybe...*sneeze*

I put together the i7 860, ASUS P55 PRO motherboard, G.Skill memory (8GB of it), XFX GTX260, and a 520W Corsair modular with the other bits. Comes out to $1353, only went up $55 and probably a MUCH better quality build. Still leaves room for say, that second LCD Shadow thought of. I can think of at least eight times in the last week even *I* could have used a second display if I only had room on my desk.

Wifey says "oh, I'll MAKE room for two monitors!"

We're looking at other cases now. Any thoughts on the CM Centurion 534, which was another case she liked before and isn't priced much higher ($49)? Comes with two 120mm fans already so I only need to add one more, saving $6 and effectively costing only $4 more than the 310?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
September 27, 2009 6:05:45 PM

dont go for that graphics card, the ATI is better and cheaper if you buy the one that i posted earlier
September 27, 2009 6:06:21 PM

the centurion is ok
September 27, 2009 6:26:41 PM

shozzking said:
dont go for that graphics card, the ATI is better and cheaper if you buy the one that i posted earlier


Looking at two HD4870's now, both have 2 DVI outputs, both are 1GB, both are about $155-$160. ASUS vs. Sapphire.

Sapphire: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
ASUS: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Am I looking at that ASUS wrong, or does it look like it'll blow hot air all over the case? Sure it looks badazz but will it be effective?

The Sapphire has a plastic cover over it's cooling system, wouldn't that direct hot air out the PCI slot vents? That would be much better than blowing it straight at the CPU cooler.

Forgot a CPU cooler in the build, I could use the same direct heatpipe contact CM unit from before ($30) or double that for this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$60. It's a V8. Whatever that means. Better than a V6, maybe? Horrible fuel economy though. Takes me right up to $1460 shipped with the Sapphire card and the V8 cooler. Out of money for a second display, but if she wants one badly enough she'll get it. $1589 shipped for everything even 2 monitors. $8.99 again to ship the second display even.
September 27, 2009 6:36:48 PM

the V8 is the best CPU cooler right now, you dont need an aftermarket cooler unless you're gong to be overclocking. the cooler that comes with the CPU will be enough for reguler use. both of the GPU's will do the same thing but sapphire is a better brand.
September 27, 2009 6:48:46 PM

The 212 is what I had in there before so I'll go back to that. Looking like $1560 shipped with two monitors and that's close enough to the $1500 budget. If I just have to get $60 shaved off, I'll pull the headset and bump it back to a HD4850 card. Sapphire makes one for $30 less than their 4870. She can keep using her ClearChat Pro until it dies and RMA it for a new one later. She wanted a new one because the old one is scratchy (it is only a month old, I want her to RMA it but she doesn't want to give it up until she gets another, go figure)
September 27, 2009 7:02:28 PM

that computer will be fast enough to do anything you want it to do, if you really want to cut $60 off the budget then you'll be able to take out that CPU cooler and buy it at a later time.
September 27, 2009 7:05:40 PM

shozzking said:
the V8 is the best CPU cooler right now, you dont need an aftermarket cooler unless you're gong to be overclocking. the cooler that comes with the CPU will be enough for reguler use. both of the GPU's will do the same thing but sapphire is a better brand.


The V8 is pure crap for the cost. I can name off a few cpu coolers that cost at least a 1/3 less than that V8 and do a better job.
September 27, 2009 7:11:08 PM

like the cm 212
September 27, 2009 7:15:48 PM

whats the best CPU cooler for the AMD phenom II X4
September 27, 2009 7:19:53 PM

shozzking said:
whats the best CPU cooler for the AMD phenom II X4


I don't know if this one down below is "the best", but it's a good one for the money.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $36.60 ($26.60 after $10.00 Mail-In Rebate) Free Shipping*
XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler - Retail
September 27, 2009 7:25:34 PM

and that'll work with AM3?
September 27, 2009 7:28:11 PM

^Yes.

Why_Me said:
The V8 is pure crap for the cost. I can name off a few cpu coolers that cost at least a 1/3 less than that V8 and do a better job.

+1. The CCF (note: CCF dosen't have LGA1156 brackets yet), Megahelem (IIRC Megahelem is the #1 Air right now, but it is quite pricey), S1283 (again, dosen't have LGA1156 bracket),CM 212 is one of the best that has all the brackets,etc come close to it for MUCH less money.
September 27, 2009 7:31:19 PM

Quote:
she wanted the 920 for triple channel capability hence the 6GB of RAM

Triple Channel has VERY little influence on real world performance.

As far as cases goes, I'm bias towards the following:
Antec 900
Antec 1200
CM HAF 932
CM HAF 922
CM Sniper
September 27, 2009 7:36:52 PM

i got a thermalright ultra on my 965x4 in the d800 case and runs like a champ it hasn broken 55c @3.8 ghz 10 hours prime
September 27, 2009 7:38:08 PM

Quote:
I've read a few more threads on here about the 860 and it seems better than the 920 unless wifey gets into video editing, which is seriously doubtful

Even then you don't need a LGA1366. You'll need that ONLY if getting in to rendering, pro level video editing,CAD,CFD,etc as upgrading to a 6 core will/should benefit these programs. My guess is you won't have to do a CPU/MB upgrade for at least 2-2.5 years. You may upgrade GPU or CPU, in about a year,but I doubt it.
September 27, 2009 7:45:50 PM

Shadow703793 said:
^Yes.


+1. The CCF (note: CCF dosen't have LGA1156 brackets yet), Megahelem (IIRC Megahelem is the #1 Air right now, but it is quite pricey), S1283 (again, dosen't have LGA1156 bracket),CM 212 is one of the best that has all the brackets,etc come close to it for MUCH less money.


This Noctua is spendy, but it's a good one.

http://www.google.com/products?q=Noctua+NH-U12P+SE+1156...


http://www.moddersmart.com/en/noctua-nh-u12p-se-2-cpu-c... 66.95
Noctua NH-U12P SE 2 CPU Cooler for (AM2, AM3, 775, 1366, 1156)- Four Dual Heat-Pipe, with 2x 120 mm SSO Bearing Quiet Fans
September 27, 2009 11:18:13 PM

^I know, but OP wanted to buy from Newegg. I don't see it listed there.
October 2, 2009 7:23:12 PM

OK, I made a few changes. Found some combos. Here's the new list...

SAME...

Logitech Clearchat Pro Headset
2 Vision 21.6" LCD monitors
Logitech 250 Desktop (kb/mouse)
CM Centurion 534 case and one extra 120mm fan
Samsung F3 500GB HD
LG DVD burner
CM heatpipe direct contact CPU cooler (the $30 one)
Arctic Silver 5 thermal compound
DVI to DVI cables (2)
Sabrent card reader

DIFFERENT...

i7 860 is now in a combo with the other 4GB of the Ripjaws memory and the non-PRO (but not LE) version of the ASUS motherboard (since I'm using ATI cards I don't need the SLI the PRO board offers anyway, and Crossfire would still be supported should I want to go there)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

hard drive is now in a combo with VHP64 to save $10

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Sapphire HD4870 video card and 520W Corsair PSU are out, replaced by XFX HD4890 with an OCZ 700W PSU

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

I know you guys liked the Corsairs, but this is a nice combo with a $70 instant discount, $20 combo rebate, and another $20 mail-in from OCZ. Basically making the power supply free with purchase of the XFX card (normally $220 I think)

My grand total is $1451 plus shipping, makes it like $1507 on my doorstep. And HD4890 instead of HD4870, 700w PS, but not modular.
October 2, 2009 8:46:08 PM

^NOOOO!!!! DO NOT get the CoolMax. It's cr@p quality,etc.
Get a quality unit from the following:
Corsair
PC Power & Cooling
Antec
OCZ

A 600W+ unit from above manufactures should be fine.

As for JUST the GPU, I prefer XFX due to warranty. If looking to OC without aftermarket cooling, the Sapphire.
October 2, 2009 11:17:01 PM

Hrmmm...maybe I better stick to the OCZ non-modular then. I'll just get creative with zip ties!
!