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November 18, 2009 2:11:53 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: January 2010 BUDGET RANGE: 800-1200 Before Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, Home video editing, web surfing, movies

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, speakers

PARTS PREFERENCES: Looking for 24' Monitor and Intel processor

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe SLI OR CROSSFIRE: yes

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080, 1920x1200

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Most important thing for me is a computer that will be future proof for as long as possible. I currently am stuck with a Dell XPS 400 that I've maxed as far as the mobo will allow. I want to be able to play any game at the highest of settings. Thanks.

More about : build

November 18, 2009 1:22:28 PM

Your budget will allow you to build a good PC. Using Intel for "future proofing" purposes is some what of an oxymoron. They tend to release new sockets all the time. They will be keeping the 1366 platform for awhile but its pretty expensive and with needing a monitor, 1366 is way over your budget. If you really want an Intel PC I would suggest an 1156 platform. However, I don't believe Intel will be keeping that socket for very long. I believe 1156 was designed to compete with AMD on the price/performance factor and Intel has done a very good job with that.

AMD has confirmed keeping the AM3 socket to at least 2011 with the SCORPIOUS Platform. You can still build a DRAGON Platform and not worry about upgrade restraints. You will just need to upgrade the BIOS if you decide to upgrade your processor instead of getting a new motherboard as well. I feel that is the best option for you since you seem to be more concerned with longevity than CPU performance.
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November 18, 2009 1:40:02 PM

I agree. To try to future proof right now with Intel is way too expensive for you budget. It will require an overpriced processer, overpriced motherboard and paying for an additional stick of RAM just to get it to work. You won't be able to get an i7 and everything required and still SLI/Crossfire and stay within your budget.

I'd recommend looking at AMD Phenom II X4s to start. Make sure the board supports DDR3.
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November 18, 2009 2:33:46 PM

Depends on how long you think you will keep this machine, and how much money you want to sink into it in the future.

Currently, the i5-750 beats the Phenom II x4 by a pretty significant margin in terms of gaming performance; however, as mentioned, the AM3 has a far better upgrade path. So the question is whether you want to drop money into a CPU at a later date, or if you foresee yourself just adding a second GPU in SLI/Crossfire to boost your gaming performance. The i5 will still have plenty of oomph 3-4 years from now for gaming purposes; however, if you're looking for something more long-term (say 5-6 years), then AMD is your best bet.
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November 18, 2009 3:15:09 PM

Thanks for the responses. I was not aware of the expected upgrade paths for AMD and Intel. I would have to say any quad core processor should be sufficient for me for a long time. I've had a Pentium D 2.8 for about 5 years and just in the last year began annoying me with the bottle necking. At this point having to replace a CPU and motherboard in 5 years wouldn't bother me. I'll be happy with a computer that is simply upgradable as my Dell is not.
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November 18, 2009 3:16:59 PM

I have a few questions before I can go off recommending things.

1- Do you need to purchase an OS?
2- What size case are you looking for?
3- Do you want a modular PSU?
4- How much hard drive space are you looking for?
5- Are you willing to run Raid 0?
6- Do you plan on over clocking? If so, light,moderate or extreme?
7- 1 GPU or 2? Do you plan on sli/Xfire in the future if you need it?
8- Do you have any brand loyalty or brands you do not care for?

I will say, that as far as price for performance goes, an Intel 1156 setup will be your best bet. As much as I would like to give the nod to AMD, I don't see them being very competitive on the CPU front until the tail end of 2010. I am actually trying to hold out for the Bulldozer :-) But, you can only OC a C2D so much :-( So I will hold out for a dual core 1156 with HT and OC the crap out it next year.

Sorry to go off on a tangent :-) Hit us up with a little more info and we can start making you a list, then we can argue over said list :-)
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November 18, 2009 3:23:29 PM

i7 920/Gigabyte mobo - $458 ($15 rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
6GB OCZ RAM - $151
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Sapphire 5770 - $170
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Corsair 750w - $110 ($10 rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Samsung spinpoint f3 500GB - $55
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Xion case - $35
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
LG DVD drive - $27
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
windows 7 home premium OEM - $105
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This comes to ~ $1,111.00 before rebates.
- $25 rebates
= ~$1,086.00

You can add another 5770 later when you want to xfire. The PSU has plenty of power for it. The case is just a budget one I picked. You can swap that for whatever you like. An i7 920 system can be done in your budget, but it's close. It doesn't leave room for the 5850 unless you can find some real good combos when you get ready to order.
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November 18, 2009 3:30:17 PM

1- Do you need to purchase an OS? Yes, planning on Windows 7
2- What size case are you looking for? Most likely mid, but I would like room to make installation as easy as possible.
3- Do you want a modular PSU? Would be nice but not necessary.
4- How much hard drive space are you looking for? Min 1TB, preferably 1.50-2, of course can always add down the road.
5- Are you willing to run Raid 0? This is something I need to do more research on.
6- Do you plan on over clocking? If so, light,moderate or extreme? Possible, if I do it will be light because of my inexperience with this.
7- 1 GPU or 2? Do you plan on sli/Xfire in the future if you need it? 1 now, 2 later. Definitely eyeing the 5770 or 5870.
8- Do you have any brand loyalty or brands you do not care for? not really.
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November 18, 2009 3:41:25 PM

cschauble said:
Thanks for the responses. I was not aware of the expected upgrade paths for AMD and Intel. I would have to say any quad core processor should be sufficient for me for a long time. I've had a Pentium D 2.8 for about 5 years and just in the last year began annoying me with the bottle necking. At this point having to replace a CPU and motherboard in 5 years wouldn't bother me. I'll be happy with a computer that is simply upgradable as my Dell is not.


If I were in your shoes, here's what I'd do:

Get yourself a good solid case and power supply with plenty of wattage for future upgradeability. This will add cost now; however, it will make upgrades far cheaper later on (even in 4-5 years when you go for your next build).

A nice choice would be either the Antec 1200 or the Cooler Master HAF 932, with a quality 850W-1000W power supply. Yes, that much power is excessive, but we're looking for something that will last you through your next build. If current trends continue, future builds will suck down a lot more juice then they do now. A solid CORSAIR CMPSU-1000HX is a bit pricey, but it's modular, comes with a 5-year warranty, and has a 100,000 hour MTBF rating (that's 11 years of 24/7/365 use). Better to just spend a little extra coin now, and be done with it. 1 kW will be plenty of juice for any dual-card setup you will throw at it (now or five years from now).

Then just do whatever you want to with the rest... It sounds like you're going to pull it all out in 5 years anyways, and if that's the case, I would just stick with the i5 as has significantly better performance currently, and will be enough to last that long and still deliver acceptable levels of performance.
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November 18, 2009 4:37:24 PM

I agree with no fun on the case and PSU. I personally wouldn't jump for the elephant gun at 1000W, but go for something 800-900W.

I disagree with the i5, but mainly because I prefer the choices available with AMD's AM3 socket. I'm also not wild about Intel's prices. If you take the amount you save going with a good AM3 CPU instead of an i5/i7, you can afford to pop in a new CPU in 3 years with that cash. However, I do think an i5/i7 build will be functional down the road, but may not be able to play the latest and greatest games without a mobo and CPU replacement.
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November 18, 2009 4:49:46 PM

I disagree with the case/PSU suggestion. If you've got a set budget, use it on your core components that you want in your current build. Don't worry about 2 or 3 builds down the road because you don't know what technology and prices will be out there.

The video cards now are more efficient than they used to be. They consume less power, so you don't need to anticipate builds going crazy on power usage in the future (unless you're adding a 3rd or 4th video card).

The case simply needs to be large enough for your parts and have decent cooling. I love my HAF, but it's $100 more than the xion that I suggested above. You could buy a brand new similar priced case for the next 3 builds to equal the price of the HAF.
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November 18, 2009 5:08:54 PM

The Xion above only has two fans. That's not decent cooling. Why spend all your money on great components to have them fry in a budget case? Also, being a mid tower, there's not a lot of room for expansion. The HAF is a full tower, and is right in line with high quaility full tower pricing. Why not buy a case that you won't have to replace the next 3 builds? In addition, the HAF has better reviews.

If you spend the extra on the case and PSU now, the investment will last through a couple of upgrades. If you want to build a new one later, you have a reliable case and PSU already, saving the trouble of having to buy new ones. That's when (assuming you want to keep the old computer together) you can dump it into a budget case and a smaller PSU.

A 750W PSU would do it for SLI/Crossfire of 2 cards, but won't leave much head room. I don't think you'd need to go crazy, but if you have the budget, it's worth it to step up a little.
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November 18, 2009 5:57:52 PM

aford10 said:
The case simply needs to be large enough for your parts and have decent cooling. I love my HAF, but it's $100 more than the xion that I suggested above. You could buy a brand new similar priced case for the next 3 builds to equal the price of the HAF.


I use this argument all the time with a lot of things (why buy a Dyson, when I can buy 5 Dirt Devils for the same price?); however, in the world of PC cases I think that a quality case is well worth the money. It will cool better and run quieter, it's made of better quality parts which will last longer and vibrate less, and it has more options for expandability down the road.

Still though, keeping things in perspective, do you really NEED such a high-end case? No. But I would certainly buy at least a better quality case than the Xion as it will last for a few builds. An Antec 300 runs about $60, and the Antec 900 is another step up at around $90. Both are solid cases which will last for years. Not saying those are the only options, just the first things that came to mind. So no, you don't need to drop $140 into a case, but spending a little extra coin to get something more durable isn't a bad idea.


About the PSU, the Wolfdale cores ran at 65W, and were released about 2 years ago. The newest processor beasts suck up about twice as much wattage (and that's not even considering the motherboard's demands). Even the more mainstream i5 still eats 95W of power. If these trends continue, then 3-4 years from now we could certainly see processors requiring 200W or more. My point is, why buy a PSU with a MTBF of 100,000 hours, and then get rid of it in 4 years (before the warranty is even up)? If he's looking to use dual-GPU's, then he's going to be wanting somewhere in the neighborhood of 850W, which won't cost that much less. Might as well just add some breathing room now and not have to buy a whole new one later.

The HX1000 is pricey though, you can go for something cheaper like the TX950 which will run you about $160 and still has the same warranty and MTBF (but is not modular). Other companies may even offer cheaper deals.
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November 18, 2009 6:04:04 PM

I agree it will be worth it to buy a solid case that will allow me to grow in the years to come, as well as the PSU. I was already thinking 850W would be minimum for me. So:

I now have good ideas on PSU, case and CPU/Motherboard. How about hard drives, monitors, ram, tv tuner, and disc drives. I would like to burn DVDs and CDs. It looks like Blue Ray is still out of my price range though.
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November 18, 2009 6:22:40 PM

cschauble said:
I agree it will be worth it to buy a solid case that will allow me to grow in the years to come, as well as the PSU. I was already thinking 850W would be minimum for me. So:

I now have good ideas on PSU, case and CPU/Motherboard. How about hard drives, monitors, ram, tv tuner, and disc drives. I would like to burn DVDs and CDs. It looks like Blue Ray is still out of my price range though.


The elephant in the room is USB 3.0, which will become more mainstream towards the end of 2010. Right now, no case has USB 3.0 ports built in. Now in a few years (when you actually may want USB 3 in the front of your case), it will require some modding to your case to get the ports up front. But that's thinking way down the road, not to mention you will have to add a USB 3.0 card to your mobo to use it.
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November 18, 2009 7:15:34 PM

HDD: I would go with 2x 1 TB Samsung Spinpoint F1 $169.98

TV Tuners: I don't see how they're useful. I wouldn't put one in at first, but add one if you find you REALLY need to record stuff from a tv.

RAM: Might depend on if you try for i7 or AMD (Dual channel vs Triple channel). What CPU/Mobo are you using?

Disc drive: Go find some 24x burners and choose the cheapest.
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November 18, 2009 7:45:27 PM

MadAdmiral said:
The Xion above only has two fans. That's not decent cooling. Why spend all your money on great components to have them fry in a budget case? Also, being a mid tower, there's not a lot of room for expansion. The HAF is a full tower, and is right in line with high quaility full tower pricing. Why not buy a case that you won't have to replace the next 3 builds? In addition, the HAF has better reviews.


The xion has 2 120mm fans. It's more than enough to run a normal system. I also have a raidmax case with a C2D/4850/stock fans. I use it for a lot of video/3D rendering. The system doesn't run any higher than 52C at peak loads.

I wouldn't let the case make the decision for me on which CPU/graphics I could fit in my budget.

By the way, I really hope you don't base your advice on newegg reviews. They are flawed by consumers who aren't always well educated.
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November 18, 2009 7:55:01 PM

nofun said:
I use this argument all the time with a lot of things (why buy a Dyson, when I can buy 5 Dirt Devils for the same price?); however, in the world of PC cases I think that a quality case is well worth the money. It will cool better and run quieter, it's made of better quality parts which will last longer and vibrate less, and it has more options for expandability down the road.

Still though, keeping things in perspective, do you really NEED such a high-end case? No. But I would certainly buy at least a better quality case than the Xion as it will last for a few builds. An Antec 300 runs about $60, and the Antec 900 is another step up at around $90. Both are solid cases which will last for years. Not saying those are the only options, just the first things that came to mind. So no, you don't need to drop $140 into a case, but spending a little extra coin to get something more durable isn't a bad idea.


About the PSU, the Wolfdale cores ran at 65W, and were released about 2 years ago. The newest processor beasts suck up about twice as much wattage (and that's not even considering the motherboard's demands). Even the more mainstream i5 still eats 95W of power. If these trends continue, then 3-4 years from now we could certainly see processors requiring 200W or more. My point is, why buy a PSU with a MTBF of 100,000 hours, and then get rid of it in 4 years (before the warranty is even up)? If he's looking to use dual-GPU's, then he's going to be wanting somewhere in the neighborhood of 850W, which won't cost that much less. Might as well just add some breathing room now and not have to buy a whole new one later.

The HX1000 is pricey though, you can go for something cheaper like the TX950 which will run you about $160 and still has the same warranty and MTBF (but is not modular). Other companies may even offer cheaper deals.


Comparing a Dyson to a PC case is apples and oranges. A dyson is a high end vacuum. A PC case is exactly that; a shell to house components. If you want to compare it to anything, it's like sticking a 350 big block engine/K&N intake system/flowmaster exhaust system in a chevette. The body may not be the cream of the crop, but the guts are the important factor.

CPUs suck up very little wattage. They aren't even a factor when deciding a PSU. You could xfire 5850s with a quality 650w PSU. A 750w PSU gives some headroom. There's no harm in going bigger, other than a bigger electric bill.

I'm just trying to explain what I believe should take precendence in a budget.
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November 18, 2009 7:59:58 PM

MadAdmiral said:
HDD: I would go with 2x 1 TB Samsung Spinpoint F1 $169.98

TV Tuners: I don't see how they're useful. I wouldn't put one in at first, but add one if you find you REALLY need to record stuff from a tv.

RAM: Might depend on if you try for i7 or AMD (Dual channel vs Triple channel). What CPU/Mobo are you using?

Disc drive: Go find some 24x burners and choose the cheapest.


^ Good hard drive suggestion

There isn't much point in choosing a drive simply based on 24x. DVDs can only read/burn up to 16x. I'd suggest a quality SATA drive.
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November 18, 2009 8:35:43 PM

aford10 said:
By the way, I really hope you don't base your advice on newegg reviews. They are flawed by consumers who aren't always well educated.


I'm not. But it does say something if there are only 15 for xion and over 1000 for HAF...

Also, stating a temp without other info (background temp, overclocked speed, etc.) doesn't mean much.

Two fans would be found for a budget build, but if you're going to start putting in multiple video cards or overclocking, you might start having trouble.

And about the car metaphor...people DAMN sure care about what it looks like. I don't care how fast it goes, if it looks like a turd on wheels, I'm not going to buy it. Also, if I can't breathe while I'm driving it, I'm not going to be driving very long.

Also, just because it says 1000W doesn't mean its drawing 1000W. It will only use as much power as needed. The 1000W just means what it can draw at max. If you've only got a load using 500W, it will only draw 500W, thus no change in the power bill. In addition, typically the bigger PSUs are more efficient, meaning it could actually LOWER the power bill. And the differences would be very small.
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November 18, 2009 8:38:59 PM

shortstuff_mt said:
I wouldn't call the old F1 drive a good suggestion when you can get a much faster F3 for the same price.

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive $84.99

aford10 is correct. Make sure that whatever DVD burner you buy is SATA. I don't even know why they're still making IDE stuff.


All of the specs of the F3 are the exact same. How's it faster? Also, its not the same price. The F1 ships for free.

I assumed SATA was a given, and none of the IDE ones are above 18x.
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November 18, 2009 8:42:36 PM

The F3 drives use 500GB platters. The higher data density is what makes them faster.
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November 18, 2009 8:52:42 PM

MadAdmiral said:
I'm not. But it does say something if there are only 15 for xion and over 1000 for HAF...

Also, stating a temp without other info (background temp, overclocked speed, etc.) doesn't mean much.

Two fans would be found for a budget build, but if you're going to start putting in multiple video cards or overclocking, you might start having trouble.

And about the car metaphor...people DAMN sure care about what it looks like. I don't care how fast it goes, if it looks like a turd on wheels, I'm not going to buy it. Also, if I can't breathe while I'm driving it, I'm not going to be driving very long.

Also, just because it says 1000W doesn't mean its drawing 1000W. It will only use as much power as needed. The 1000W just means what it can draw at max. If you've only got a load using 500W, it will only draw 500W, thus no change in the power bill. In addition, typically the bigger PSUs are more efficient, meaning it could actually LOWER the power bill. And the differences would be very small.


The amount of ratings means nothing. The HAF is known as a good case, and has been around a while, so a lot of people have purchased it = lots of ratings. That xion model just hasen't received as many ratings. That has nothing to do with how good it is.

PSUs are most efficient up to 80%. If you aren't even coming close to 30 or 40% of the power, it's not at peak efficiency. = wasted power = higher bill. The size of the PSU isn't determinate of it being more or less efficient than a larger wattage PSU.

I have 2 4850s in xfire in that raidmax case. It's in an average room temp ~ 70F. It's not OCd at the moment. The raidmax case has 2 80mm fans (xion has 2 120mm). Doesn't go above 52C. That cheap $40 case does just fine.

Though, I do like my HAF :D  . But I had a higher budget when I built that system.
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November 18, 2009 8:54:36 PM

shortstuff_mt said:
I wouldn't call the old F1 drive a good suggestion when you can get a much faster F3 for the same price.

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive $84.99

aford10 is correct. Make sure that whatever DVD burner you buy is SATA. I don't even know why they're still making IDE stuff.


My fault....I'm at work and trying to respond quickly....I overlooked the F1 part. Thought it said F3.
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November 18, 2009 9:03:36 PM

aford10 said:
Comparing a Dyson to a PC case is apples and oranges. A dyson is a high end vacuum. A PC case is exactly that; a shell to house components. If you want to compare it to anything, it's like sticking a 350 big block engine/K&N intake system/flowmaster exhaust system in a chevette. The body may not be the cream of the crop, but the guts are the important factor.

CPUs suck up very little wattage. They aren't even a factor when deciding a PSU. You could xfire 5850s with a quality 650w PSU. A 750w PSU gives some headroom. There's no harm in going bigger, other than a bigger electric bill.

I'm just trying to explain what I believe should take precendence in a budget.


You make a good point. Also, I overestimated what a cross-fire setup would take. Still, nothing wrong with a little headroom... I defer to the veteran's wisdom on this :-)
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November 18, 2009 10:46:58 PM

Lotta stuff I can't agree with in here mainly that 100,000 MTBF means something will last 11 years. You don't think a 1.2 million MTBF HD is going to last over 100 years do you ? MTBF is a "made up number" for statistical analysis. A better explanation would be if you bought 10 of these PSU's, 1 of them would fail after 1.17 years.

Aford's build is a good one tho I'd have to agree that and extra $80 for say an Antec 902 still fits in the budget and provides for long term upgradability. I see no benefit in buying anything other than a "500 GB per platter" HD in this budget range.
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