First time build - cheap i5 possible?

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: By next week BUDGET RANGE: 600-800 (would really like to keep it as low as possible)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: heavy multitasking, matlab, gaming (not top notch but would like to be able to run new games at decent settings)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg, tiger direct, etc

PARTS PREFERENCES: Ok, i'd really like to go with an i5 processor though I realize that may be difficult with my price range.


MONITOR RESOLUTION: Currently 1440x900, possibe upgrade to 1920x1080 in future

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: This is my first time building a computer so i'm fairly lost and hoping it won't be too difficult. I would really like to go with the i5 processor and am willing to sacrifice a bit in gaming/vid card to keep it within budget as long as the build is easy to upgrade. Thanks!
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  1. Good news is, its possible and under $800. Depending on the options for upgrades will effect how much under you can come though.

    From ZZF, must buy at least parts for these prices. And almost all ZZF products, including cases have free shipping:
    $183 amir i5 750
    $23 amir DVD burner
    You can pick any case you like, just adjust your budget accordingly. Try to look for free shipping as cases usually pop you for $20 alone.
    Neweggs cases w/ free shipping:

    From Newegg: All these items here have free shipping.
    $30 amir 500w OCZ StealthXstream PSU (ON SALE TODAY ONLY) We'll adjust and find something else if you can't grab this.
    $185 Gigabyte UD2 mobo and GSkill DDR3 4gb 1600 Cas7 ram
    This mobo isn't CF ready, so if you want that as an option, expect to spend another $50 or so.

    $155 500gb Spinpoint F3 HDD and Windows OS
    This can change as Windows 7 will be out Thursday

    So before the GPU, you have ZZF $280-$30mir + Newegg $390-$20mir = $620

    As for the GPU, at 1440x900, you can go lower end and upgrade later, or spend a little more now. Depending on how soon you can get a monitor upgrade really should determine how much to put in the GPU. I'll go the lowest and highest, you can pick where you want. What would be nice is if Toms hits us with an updated Best GPU article.

    Great for now, but won't do much on a 1920x1080:
    $40 amir 4670 1gb DDR3
    This card is a steal at $40 for 1gb DDR3.

    If you want to spend all the way up to the $180 left (depending on case and mobo choices) and have something that will run a 1920x1080, the 5770 is an option:
    There's some good PSU combos with these too so you can get a beefier PSU for the same cost.
  2. wow thanks alot for the help. Looks like a great build. Just a few questions:
    I'm a bit unsure about the case? It only has 1 rear fan? Will this be sufficient cooling for this system?
    Also, are the case/mobo/psu sufficient if i want to upgrade the vid card later?
    Would you recommend waiting for windows 7 over vista?
    Also, should I be getting 6 gb of ram instead of 4?

  3. If you're not overclocking the CPU, then the case will be fine. It offers much better cooling than an HP or dell ever would. You also have 2 side vents where you should be able to stick an 80mm fan if you really needed. My system is an OC E5200 and only has 1 side vent with a fan and nothing in the back and my 4850 dumps the heat into the case, not out the back.

    As for the PSU, the one I linked is upto $40, so we'll find you a different one when you're ready to buy. Depending on the mobo you choose, a 550w will be enough for most any single GPU that would fit your budget, and 650w w/ 4pcie connectors if you want a CF or SLI option. That also means more on the mobo as stated above.

    Windows 7 comes out tomorrow, if you can avoid buying tonight, you won't have to wait.

    Depending on what HEAVY multitasking is, 4 gb should be enough. The 6gb kits are for triple channel mobos, but the P55 boards are only dual. So you could go 8gbs, but I'd wait and add the second kit later if you find you are using all the first 4 gbs.

    Something else to consider depending on what the multitasking is, if you do take a lower GPU option and single pcie 2.0 x16 mobo, you could get the i7 860 and keep the rig under $800 still. Depends on what your goals are. Is it cheapest quad possible, or most performance for $800?
  4. Well, I've decided that I'm going to be spending $800 on this build after spending some more time looking at it. Unforunately, I've missed some of the combos such as the ram + mobo so it's going to be a bit more expensive. Additionally, I'd rather just order everything from newegg. Here's the current build that I have. I'm trying to find a way to get it down closer to $800 after rebates. The only thing I can think of is getting cheaper RAM or a cheaper case.

    LITE-ON CD/DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - OEM - $29

    RAIDMAX SMILODON ATX-612WB Black 1.0mm SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Foldout MB Computer Case - Retail - $60

    SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive $55

    SAPPHIRE 100283L Radeon HD 5770 (Juniper XT) 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail $160

    OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ500MXSP 500W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC ... - Retail $60 - 20 mir

    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBRH - Retail $110

    Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80605I5750 - Retail $200

    Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders w/ Tech Guarantee - OEM
    GIGABYTE GA-P55M-UD2 LGA 1156 Intel P55 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail combo $205

    Total about $890 - $20 MIR
  5. Best answer
    This will come in about $780 delivered.

    $180 amir 5770 and 700w OCZ StealthXstream

    $200 i5 750

    $157 amir Gigabyte UD2 and OCZ ram

    $155 HDD and OS

    $60 Case you picked

    $29 DVD drive you picked

    A few comments about this build.
    1. I'm not sure how you get the free upgrade for the OS. If you have to wait, might be worth the extra $10 to just get Win7 OEM. But the other way does give you the advantage of having a spare copy of vista.
    2. The Ram here is cas 9. Cas 7 is preferred if overclocking, but since you're not, thought I'd save some money.
    3. Lite-on DVD is a middle of the road brand. Samsung or LG make good drives for a few bucks more, but they all do the same basic job.
    4. You have a PSU capable of running 2x 5770s but a mobo that can only run 1. If you're going to get into gaming and want great graphics options, then might be worth cutting some other corners to get the UD4. This CPU/Mobo combo and then just buy the ram solo. That puts the total to $813. The place to cut would be off the case. There's good choices still at the $45 price point.
  6. Thanks alot Skora. Would have had alot of problems without your help. I won't be overclocking so I will go with the cas 9 ram and upgrade the mobo to the one you suggested. Just one final question before i put in the order. Will this case or any midtower case be fine with 2x 5770s in crossfire?
  7. The nice thing about the 5770 I have have there is its a dual slot rear exhaust cooling solution. So the majority of the heat produced will be vented out the back of the case, and not into it. Cases are a very personal choice. I recommend getting something you really like the look of.

    One note about that mobo and 2x GPUs I just noticed, being a micro ATX board and using 2x GPUs, you'll end up covering the pciex4 and pci slot from the case of each GPU. If you have no need for the extra slots, then its not an issue, but it does limit the option of adding any other type of cards. But they usually go unused anyway because the mobo has great sound and the network card built in.
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