Strict $800... again... heh.

Greetings, again, everyone. A couple of weeks ago, I asked for help designing a first-time build... and was pleasantly surprised with the amount of replies I received (particularly from Pyscho Sykes), so I'm back again, to finish this.

For those wondering why a 100-post thread was unable to resolve my problem, I must draw your attention to the academic discount on Windows 7 which was mentioned in it. I have spent roughly a month trying to get it... but, for whatever reason (and believe me, I can't figure it out) Microsoft has not responded to my attempts.

Therefore, with a bit of extra cash, and a renewed sense of urgency (my current pc is starting to have issues), I've
come again for help (since the discounts/parts I had been counting on are now expired/out of stock).

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

(excerpt from first post from original thread):


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:, 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.

Thanks again for your time, and I invite anyone with a comment/recommendation to post.
36 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about strict again
  1. I thought I should post a rough idea of what I'm looking at (to prove I've been trying, heh.)

    CPU & Mobo

    RAM & GPU

    Case & PSU

    OS & Hard Drive

    DVD Drive

    As you can see, I'm roughly $200 over the top. My budget has stretched a bit since I first posted... but not this much.
    Anyone who has read the original thread will know that the GPU is far above what I actually need... however, it was one of the few combo options I could find that included a decent GPU. As for the OS, though I would prefer XP, Win7 is actually cheaper with that combo.

    Anyone with advice, feel free to post.
    ... and thanks for taking an interest.
  2. With 4GB RAM and an i5 you prefer windows 7, even if you dont realize it yet.

    You are not doing that much gaming and you dont list screen resolution its hard to judge GPU requirements. For longer term GPU use a 5750 might work for you. Its cheaper, uses lots less power and has DX11. It is only 2/3rs the gaming speed of the 4870, but I'm not sure if that matters for you. it would allow you to drop down to a cheaper PSU even, though that is a great case/PSU combo you better grab while you can.
  3. I'm afraid I don't know my screen resolution (couldn't find any serial number on the monitor... though it should be there). What I do know is that it's not hd, and it's about 19" diagonally.

    Well, if Win7 is that good, I'm looking forward to being wrong.

    ... and as for the combo... is it worth grabbing a cheaper one, if the current discount makes the two items a "steal"?

    EDIT: My current monitor's max resolution is 1280x1024... I doubt the other is any better.

    ... I don't suppose anyone might know how long the case/psu combo will last? I was unable to find any information at newegg.
  4. Can't give you info on that combo, but I can suggest a bit:
    i5-750 Processor + EVGA P55 SLI Motherboard: $384.98
    G.Skill Ripjaw DDR3-1600 (CAS 9) Memory: $85.99
    XFX ATI Radeon HD-5750: $139.99
    WD Caviar Black 640GB Hard Drive + Cooler Master RC-690 Case: $99.98
    SAMSUNG Black DVD-Burner: $25.99
    Corsair 650W Power Supply: $109.99
    Win7 Home Premium + Microsoft Comfort Curve 2000 Keyboard and Mouse: $127.98
    Win7 Professional + Microsoft Comfort Curve 2000 Keyboard and Mouse: $167.98

    All that puts you at either $974.9 or $1004.9, around $200 over, of course.
    You could go for a lesser graphics card or power supply or memory, maybe the DVD-Burner too (though probably only if you switch to a drive), but the real money sink sits with that processor and motherboard. My first tip is to cut away the motherboard and go for something cheaper. You can get around $50 less, there, and still have a good board. The second option is to go for a lesser processor: a less advanced quad core, I suppose. In those areas, I'd first suggest this, for the motherboard: , but then I'd jump down to this or this: . They aren't better, of course, but I must point out the below:
    Cutting away the graphics card, power supply, and memory as above gets you down to $903.9, which is better, but not great. If you keep those changes and go for a lower motherboard the drop is to $868. On to the older quad cores, you can get anywhere between $974.9 and $873.9 for the good one, and $891.9 and $790.9 for the slightly lesser one. Finally, we have a winner.
    I suppose that's going to be one recommendation of mine, that final one with all the drops I listed, but really, for the purposes of upgradability, I don't like it. My true suggestion is to get the ASUS motherboard I mentioned earlier, the lower-priced RAM, maybe the power supply too, but most importantly I think you need to try and get a hold of a -true- budget graphics card. That is - can you get one for free, or borrow one, or reuse what you've got now? Next to memory, graphics cards are about as upgradeable as you get.
    It's a weak suggestion, I know, but that's all I can think of as a last resort.
    (Unless I did my math wrong. That would be great if I did.
  5. Best answer
    The combos on newegg last anywhere from a few days to 2 weeks. You never know when its going to disappear.

    At 1240x1024 a 5750 will work well. If you go up to a 22 inch 1380x1050 it will be OK and with a 24 inch 1920x1200 it would be barely adequite.
  6. Quick question before the case/psu combo expires... is it worth it? Apparently, I'm going to have to decide in a hurry, so anyone who can tip the scale in favor, or against, the Antec 900 for that price, please feel free to post.

    ... would anyone be able to say how it stacks up against the 300... or one of CoolerMaster's products?

    Regarding the psu, the 900 has several combo options... is my current selection the best for the money?

    Lastly, the GPU, I'm considering scrapping the combo, and just buying the RAM and GPU (perhaps snakej's recommendation?) separately, any thoughts?

    EDIT: To clarify, my budget has stretched a bit since my original post... so I can afford to pay a little more. Therefore if the 900 beats out the cheaper CoolerMaster ($20 less... but no free shipping), that's not an issue.
  7. is up to you, i mean we can do much better than that, its just your budget wont allow it, you say $800, normally we recommend AMD system with a powerful card, but thats mostly for gaming, for rendering you need a capable processor, so the i5 is better choice, i mean is up to you and how much you willing to expend.
  8. snakej said:
    is up to you, i mean we can do much better than that, its just your budget wont allow it, you say $800, normally we recommend AMD system with a powerful card, but thats mostly for gaming, for rendering you need a capable processor, so the i5 is better choice, i mean is up to you and how much you willing to expend.

    Thought I should draw your attention to the edit on my previous post (Sorry, I edited it before I saw yours... it should have been a reply).
  9. Anyone with advice/comments on that case/psu combo, I could really use your help.

    (See 3 posts above)
  10. well to reply that im just gonna say, You Got To Love New Egg Combos
    Check this out:

    CPU & Mobo:



    HDD & OS Combo:

    GPU & PSU combo:



    Grand Total: $982.77

    1 more thing, I know how the Antec 900 and the Cooler master cases look really good, i can tell as I have the Cooler master Scout, its great, but for the price that LIan Li beats most of them, if you have extra 50 laying around go for this in stead

    Nvm about the extra $50 i forgot the OS, its now included with HDD, damn, thats a little set back with price
  11. That lian Li has one front and one rear fan. Cant possibly have as good airflow as the cases with more fannage. For a sub $100 case the Antec 300 illusion will beat that Lian Li in cooling.
    It has combos with both the TP650 and TP 750 PSUs. Get the 300 illusion, not the 300 black because the illusion includes the two front fans and the black doesnt. Only warning is the 300 wont fit an 11 inch GPU like the 5870 (might fit, but its really tight). I put a 10.5 inch 9800 GTX+ in one and there is not quite 1/2 inch left to the HDD Rails. A dremel could trim a bit off the rail and make room pretty easy if you wanted.
  12. What about the 900 vs. 300 Illusion, though? (Given that the Lian Li's cooling may be an issue)

    Also, I really don't mind the price difference between the cases (small as it is).

    ... the 900's apparent lack of air filters may be an issue, though. I suppose I could purchase them later....

    On a side note, the 902 was released a while ago... but if I recall it wasn't as good.


    I'm continuing to surf newegg... and I've found a few alternative parts.
    Asus & CPU
    DVD Drive A
    DVD Drive B
    Original DVD Drive (included for comparison... due to the evenly split reviews, I'm unsure of where this one stands)

    ... the Lite-On (Drive B) is the same as the others, correct (the name and lack of specs are throwing me)?
    Anyone with a comment, criticism, or advice, please feel free to post.
  13. The 902 is better since it has filters, case fan switches mounted on the exterior and a bit better cable management but it is also more expensive (usually). The 902 has the same top as the 1200 instead of the angled top of the 900 has so many people prefer the looks of the 900 over the 902.

    The 300 is bit shorter and less deep, has the same front/rear fans as the 900/902 but a smaller 140mm top fan. I have had a 900 for over a year and just bought a 300 to make a game computer for my son. When I need to make another computer for my younger son, I will probably get another 300; its a great box if you are not using extra long graphics cards.

    I dont think there is enough difference in DVD writers for it to matter. Go with teh cheaper original and ignore the two reviews. One was written by Arthur Dent (read hitchikers guide to the galaxy) and the other was one that broke after warranty but is buying another. Niether looks very beleivable to me. Newegg reviews are notably bad, especially when there are only a few.
  14. I'll stick with the original DVD Drive, then.

    As for the case, the 902 costs roughly $30 more than the 900, with the same psu. That's just enough of a hike for me to view it in a less favorable light.

    So my question is, in your opinion, are the fan switches, air filters, and cable management worth it?

    (I assume I can install filters into the 900... correct?)

    Also, I'd like to thank you (dndhatcher) for taking the time to help.
  15. Considering I set the case fans on low and never needed to touch them I dont think thats a significant issue, but some people like to fiddle and complain about pulling the side panel off all the time to change the fans.

    Probably cost you more than $30 in time and materials to put air filters into a 900. I have my 900 on top of the desk, behind my monitor so I can look inside it. It doesnt get that dusty, i just open it up and canned air it out once every couple months. If it was on the floor then filters might be a bigger deal for me. If filters are important to you, get the 902 or the 300.
  16. Heh, I rarely dust... so it looks like the 902 is my choice.
  17. Alright, here's my build as it now stands.



    DVD Drive

    HDD & OS

    Mobo & CPU

    Case & PSU

    The case is still somewhat undetermined, since the difference between the 4 in question is roughly $25.00 (American).
    However, as far as I can tell, only the Antec 902 has air filters.
    Quick thread on case choice:

    I'm also considering my original motherboard choice (an extra $20.00).

    Does anyone have any thoughts on any of these points?
  18. Five dollars more gets you a faster and bigger hard drive/OS combo.
    Samfung F3 500GB/ Windows 7 64 bit Professional (Didn't see Home Premium in combos) $184.98

    I think that motherboard is a bit overkill since you probably wont be crossfiring/SLI so... $329.98
    ASUS P7P55D LGA 1156/ i7 750
  19. Thanks for bringing up that OS & HDD combo... I hadn't seen it.
    For only $5 more it's definitely a good addition.

    As for the motherboard, I may not be SLI/CrossFire - ing now, but I like to keep my options open.
    Plus, as I plan to reuse this mobo in another build, or two, solid manufacturing is big issue.

    ... and in general, the more expensive motherboard lasts longer... right?

    I'll keep it in mind, though, as it definitely brings the cost closer to my original budget.

    Many thanks, Rokez.
  20. I'm terribly sorry! :( I was a bit dedicated to the school because it's 2 periods now (from 8AM to 5PM) and the "holidays" are full of Homework from all subjects!
    Also I didn't notice the PM as I don't show the right column because it's too big..

    I'll re-post as soon as I can, I'm reviewing it now..
    Again sorry if i somehow showed any type of ignorance..

  21. psycho sykes said:
    I'm terribly sorry! :( I was a bit dedicated to the school because it's 2 periods now (from 8AM to 5PM) and the "holidays" are full of Homework from all subjects!
    Also I didn't notice the PM as I don't show the right column because it's too big..

    I'll re-post as soon as I can, I'm reviewing it now..
    Again sorry if i somehow showed any type of ignorance..


    Thanks for helping out, Medo.
  22. So, anyone have any comments/advice on the build? I was hoping to purchase the parts today, before newegg's site goes through its weekly price adjusting cycle.

    Since the popular choice seems to be the CoolerMaster HAF 922, rather than an Antec, or the Haf 932... I guess that's going to be my final case choice.

    One question, if I may, however... regarding the gpu, how much power am I losing (in terms of freezing, etc.) by choosing the 4670 over the 4870?
    ... and, given that these prices tend to drop, does it even matter (since I can upgrade in a few months)?

    Lastly, I'd like to thank everyone who's contributed to this thread, so far.
    (Including Sykes/Medo... who's been posting in a private thread).
  23. The 4870 is ATIs biggest power hog (for a single core GPU), the 4890 and even 5870 use less power.

    If you are talking about computation power, the 4870 is around 3 times as fast as a 4670. The 5770 is almost as fast and the 5850 is around twice as fast as a 4670.

    Of those cases, pick the one YOU like the looks of best. They are all good airflow cases.
  24. After doing a bit more research, I'm fairly confident that the 4670 will be fine.

    Besides, it's always possible to upgrade, later.

    As for the cases... I'm still a bit sketchy....

    Appearance means nothing to me, but I can't seem to get a definitive answer as to which case (price aside) is technically superior. Although it looks like popular opinion favors the CoolerMasters.
  25. The 900/902 has a bit better and more adaptable airflow since there are two front fans and you can move them to any height on the front. The HAFs will be a bit quieter because the fans are bigger and I believe they have a bit better cable management.
  26. After looking around a bit... I think I've answered my own question.

    Popular opinion rules that the CoolerMaster 932 is the best case... due to superior cooling, and size.

    Of course... no one bothered (with the exception of dndhatcher) to defend the Antecs, so they may have some good points that weren't mentioned.

    Posting (almost) final build:

    CASE & PSU

    CPU & Motherboard

    OS & Hard Drive

    DVD Burner



    Only two issues of concern remain (regarding the parts):

    1. Whether or not I picked the right case
    2. Whether or not the Asus mobo beats the Evga mobo from my original post.

    If anyone has a point to make on the compatibility/assembly of these parts... I would appreciate your taking the time to post it.
  27. 1> Any of those cases would be a "right choice". They are all good quality with good airflow. Which matches your decor better, red or blue?

    2> EVGA is a high-end motherboard manufacturer, they dont make cheap ones. ASUS makes a broader range but that motherboard is a good one. Either is going to be a good choice.
  28. No compatibility issues with the parts, then?

    932 it is, then.

    As for the motherboard, I'm saving about $20.00 by going with Asus. I presume the performance difference isn't worth upgrading to the Evga?
  29. If there isnt a feature you know of on one board and not the other then no.
  30. Hold the phone... I just noticed that the Antec 1200 (a step up from the 932) costs the same with a lower watt psu.

    Any thoughts?
  31. Alright, finishing up here... since time is running out.

    Final build (barring any "last-minute changes"):

    Case & PSU (I'm still considering a Lian Li, but probably won't change)

    CPU & Motherboard (considering original Evga for $20 more... but again, probably won't change)

    OS & Hard Drive

    DVD Drive



    ... and now for some newbie questions (pardon my ignorance). I realize that these are VERY amateur questions, so I understand if no one wants to answer them. I don't mind google-ing for the answers.

    1. I presume I need one SATA cable for every non-retail drive I buy, am I correct?

    2. I presume that, in order to continue using my ethernet cables (4 pcs into the same modem) I must purchase and install a network card, correct?

    3. The USB ports on the case are on the front, the motherboard's are on the back, I assume (I've forgotten a few parts of the Building a PC guide) that the mobo either faces the rear of the case, or it's ports show through the back of it?

    4. I assume that I will require no other cables/screws/specialty tools, other than what I've already stated, and what is included with the products, am I correct?

    Once again, I understand that these are very basic questions (and I should probably know the answers), but I'm only 80% sure of my accuracy... so please correct me if I'm wrong.

    Lastly, does anyone have a final comment/critique?
  32. 20 minutes from check-out, so it looks like I'll be going with the proposed build.

    Many thanks for the help and advice, guys.

    Best answer goes to dndhatcher for his help.

    (Anyone with a last-minute thought, I'd appreciate your posting it... particularly if it regards my aforementioned concerns.)
  33. ok i been off a little while, some1 said that the lian-li i provided didnt had good ariflow. although i posted a link to this
    that no one seems to realize, i knew the first one was a budget case, i was trying to keep into your budget, it says 800, the case should be the lease you should be spending on, concentrate into a good Mobo and GPU, those are the main parts of a good gaming rig, anyways any of those cases will do just fine, as for your questions above lets see:
    1. drives don't bring the sata cables the motherboard comes with all thats needed.
    2. no the Ethernet out is in your motherboard back plate no need for a card.
    3. the USb on front of the case will be conected to the USb header in the motherboard and all the fronts usb will fully operational, plus the one that come on your mobo back plate.
    4. all screw etc will come with the case and motherboard you will only need a screw driver and a table for you to work comfortable.
  34. Well that cleared things up.

    Heh, I was just about to start another thread on "best brand of SATA cables"... but apparently, there's no need.

    Since I already gave out the Best Answer award... I'm afraid that all I can do is offer my thanks.

    So... Many Thanks!

    ... and regarding the budget/uses, I'm sorry if I wasn't clear. My original case had been a budget choice, but this time I had a bit more to spend. Since this wasn't meant to be a gaming (meant mainly for rendering, though I'm sure the two builds are fairly similar) pc, GPU wasn't a major part of my plan... though the motherboard was.
  35. lol, no problem mate, i don't do this to get any kind of reward, just knowing i was of assistance to you is more than enough.

    feel free to send me a pm if run into any kind of trouble.
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