The agony of choice - i5 Budget Build for a Noob (help.)

Hey Kids,

I'm totally confused. Like a kid in a huge candy store who's told he can buy whatever he wants for up to $10. The agony of choice!

So I've read articles and gone through endless searches on Newegg looking for the good hardware at decent prices. I just don't know enough about computers to feel comfortable with my choices or to know what I'm missing so I'm turning to you all.

This is what I want: To build an i5 system that will have enough power and integrity to handle the latest game (with a future GPU), surfing, playing movies, music, maybe Photoshoping and last me about 3 years before replacing much. I have all of the peripherals already (including DVD).

I figured I'd start with a good but not top of the line GPU. In the future I could run a SLI or Crossfire configuration. Does that make sense? I'm about 3-5 years behind in gaming. I still have to play Half-Life 2 for crying out loud! Can I go with a lower card given how I need to catch-up with games?

Anyway, I'm completely open to any suggestions/upgrades. Here's what I've come up with for about $650:

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Umm... any day now. The case combo price ends 10/31.
BUDGET RANGE: $600 up to $800
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: moderate gaming, surfing, movies, music, photo editing, Photoshoping
PREFERRED WEBSITE FOR PARTS: newegg.com
PARTS PREFERENCES: What's good?
OVERCLOCKING: Maybe
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes
OPERATING SYSTEM: Windows 7 home premium 64bit

Combos:
AZZA Solano 1000 Black/Black Japanese SECC Steel/Metal mesh in front ATX Full Tower Computer Case
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.276573
Price After Mail-In Rebate(s): $139.98 (Free shipping)

OCZ Gold 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage Desktop Memory
OCZ StealthXStream OCZ700SXS 700W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.276942
Price After Mail-In Rebate(s): $144.98 (Shipping $9.65)

CPU:
Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz LGA 1156
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0317379
Price: $150.00

GPU:
MSI R4850-2D1G OC Radeon HD 4850 1GB 256-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127435
Price After Mail-In Rebate(s): $104.99 (Shipping $6.98)
or
ZOTAC ZT-98GEY3G-FSL GeForce 9800 GT 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814500115
Price After Mail-In Rebate(s): $98.99 (Shipping $6.98)

Heatsink: Suggestions?
Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835100007
Price: $6.99

HD: Suggestions?
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F1 HD753LJ 750GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152100
Price: $64.99 (Free shipping)

So there it is. What am I missing? What's crap that needs to be replaced? I'm willing to spend more if it will increase performance or extend the computers life.

Thanks all in advance.
12 answers Last reply
More about agony choice budget build noob help
  1. ^ Hi...
    The mahor component that you are missing is the mobo...
    Couldnt find one in the above setup...
    If you want to go SLI/ Crossfire, then get any of these boards...
    GIgabyte P55 UD4P, ASUS P55 - PRO, MSI P55-GD65, GIGABYTE GA-P55M-UD4
    These support SLI as well as Crossfire...

    And dont buy the 6GB kit...if you populate 3 of the 4 RAM slots on the mobo, you will loose dual - channel config...So get either 4GB or 8GB kit...Or if you want 6GB, then get 4GB(2x2GB) and 2GB(2x1GB kit)

    Graphics card - Certainly change it to the newer ones - HD 5750 - They are newer and are of next gen...so would last you longer...
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131183

    HDD - Change to this...
    Samsung F3 1TB
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152185
  2. Maybe this is a better PSU combo with a better GPU.

    SAPPHIRE 100283L Radeon HD 5770 (Juniper XT) 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
    OCZ StealthXStream OCZ700SXS 700W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply - Retail

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.275101
    Price After Mail-In Rebate(s): $179.98 (Free shipping)

    Ram:
    OCZ Gold 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage Desktop Memory
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227365
    Price After Mail-In Rebate(s): $111.99 (Free shipping)

    Or

    Patriot Viper 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820220365
    Price After Mail-In Rebate(s): $119.99 (Free shipping)
  3. lol, yeah, the motherboard! I was thinking of this one like you mentioned.

    GIGABYTE GA-P55-UD4P LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128400
    Price: $169.99 (Free shipping)

    Will a micro like the GIGABYTE GA-P55M-UD4 cause space problems in the future?

    So dual channel memory, thanks. Any suggestions as to what I should look for in ram?
  4. p55 board uses dual channel system, which means the RAMs are optimized to work in pairs instead of the triplet for x58 board. Both RAM package you stated are for x58 (1366 i7) system instead of i5.
  5. The mATX boards will have space probelms if you want to go SLI/ Crossfire...there will be no room for additional cards like TV tuner and sound cards...

    As for the RAM,
    Get any of these...
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.270007
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231278
    This RAM doesnt have that good timings as the above RAM sets but the combo is very good...If you wont overclock very high, then this RAM is also a good option...
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.279669
  6. I'm reconsidering the CPU. I've found that I can get a i7 920 for $200 at Microcenter. Would upgrading to an i7 be worth it? I think the big difference between the i5 and i7 is the hyperthreading right?
  7. orangearmlessmonkey said:
    I'm reconsidering the CPU. I've found that I can get a i7 920 for $200 at Microcenter. Would upgrading to an i7 be worth it? I think the big difference between the i5 and i7 is the hyperthreading right?


    You probably won't notice much performance difference and in some instances the i5 will do better. The cost diff will be more than $50 since the 1366 MB's cost $50-$100 more than the 1156 MB's. You could get a i7 860 which has hyperthreading and taking into account the cost of the MB, it will cost roughly $50 less than a 920 system.
  8. Why are you getting the artic silver compound? It looks like you'll be using the stock CPU cooler which comes with compound.
  9. Quote:
    Why are you getting the artic silver compound? It looks like you'll be using the stock CPU cooler which comes with compound.


    I thought I needed to have extra cooling and not stock which is why I put down "Heatsink: Suggestions?" If I choose a another cooling method I'd have to have the Artic Silver or something like it...right?
  10. ^ You can get the i5 at Microcenter for about $150...For gaming, you wouldn't notice much difference between the i5 and the i7...
    And as for the heatsink suggestions,
    IF you are going with i5, then any of these...
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103065
    or
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835186134

    i7 920 -
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835185093
  11. I just bought the following rig about 5 minutes ago from the Egg and it seems really close to what you are looking for. That's why I'm posting my purchase here. I actually came across your thread as I was trying to decide which motherboard to buy. So if you haven't bought your components yet, I hope this helps you out.

    I did a lot of research before buying all of these components trying to get the best bang for the buck. You will notice I didn't buy a video card, because I already have a Radeon 4850 512MB in my current computer that I bought about 6 months ago that I'm going to put into this one. For the money, I'd recommend the ATI 4870 GPU if you want to buy a new card. They are noticeably faster than the 4850, but for not much more money. The 4870 will crush the older games and will perform very well in today's games.

    I also didn't buy a CPU, because I'm going to head over to my local Micro Center and buy the Core i5 750 from them for $150+tax. You just can't beat that deal!

    There is $55 in combo savings from getting the antec 300 case and the WD Caviar Black 1TB drive and for buying the MSI motherboard and Windows 7 professional 64bit.


    DISCOUNT FOR AUTOADD #5497
    -$5.99

    DISCOUNT FOR COMBO #275677
    -$20.00

    DISCOUNT FOR COMBO #279998
    -$35.00
    Shipped from CA, USA

    SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223B - OEM
    Item #: N82E16827151187
    Standard Return Policy
    $30.99

    Nippon Labs SATA to Molex Power Adapter SATA-FM SATA 15 Pin male to Molex 4 pin female adaptor for SATA I and SATA II Hard ... - Retail
    Item #: N82E16812816038
    Standard Return Policy
    $5.99


    Shipped from NJ, USA

    Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
    Item #: N82E16832116758
    Software Return Policy
    $139.99

    MSI P55-GD65 LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
    Item #: N82E16813130239
    Limited Replacement Only Return Policy
    $154.99

    ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2 92mm Fluid Dynamic CPU Cooler - Retail
    Item #: N82E16835186134
    Standard Return Policy
    $33.98

    G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBNQ - Retail
    Item #: N82E16820231193
    Memory Standard Return Policy
    $87.99


    Shipped from TN, USA


    Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drives -Bare Drive
    Item #: N82E16822136284
    Standard Return Policy
    $109.99

    Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
    Item #: N82E16811129042
    Limited Replacement Only Return Policy
    $51.95

    Subtotal $554.88
    Tax $0.00
    UPS 3 DAYS $24.32
    Order Total $579.20
  12. Hey All -

    Thanks for all the suggestions. Special thanks to gkay09 for all the great advice. I decided to get the Radeon 5770 after you recommended it and I researched it.

    And Zangdog, thx but I just bought it all Thursday. Looks like you did well. I was struggling over the Radeon 4870 or 5770. Even though the 5770 is a bit weaker from what I've read, I finally went with it because it's Direct X11 native. I figure it will future proof the system and is more than powerful enough for my needs. If I need more I'll Crossfire it.

    So here is the final purchase:

    AZZA Solano 1000 Black/Black Japanese SECC Steel/Metal mesh in front ATX Full Tower Computer Case
    Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM

    Price After Mail-In Rebate(s): $139.98

    GIGABYTE GA-P55-UD4P LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard
    OCZ Obsidian 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory

    Price After Mail-In Rebate(s): $203.98

    SAPPHIRE 100283L Radeon HD 5770 (Juniper XT) 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported
    Antec TruePower New TP-750 750W Continuous Power ATX12V V2.3 / EPS12V V2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE

    Price After Mail-In Rebate(s): $214.94

    SAMSUNG Spinpoint F1 HD753LJ 750GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6822152100
    Price: $64.99 (Free shipping)

    Combo Discount: $95.00
    UPS 3 DAYS $21.68
    Order Total $740.57
    Total after rebates: $655.57

    Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor (Micro Center)
    Price + tax: $161.00

    Total System Price: $816.00

    Newegg did me in. They had free shipping on the case but by the time I went to buy it the price had changed and they no longer had free shipping. +$16.00. And they sold out of my original PSU combo choice. + $30.00. But the new one is better quality. For purely pride I had wanted to stay below $800.00 and would have if I had decided faster.
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