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Looking for final opinions on gaming build $900 w/o video card

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January 21, 2010 4:22:40 AM

The main concern for this system is gaming, I'm sure it will be more than enough for any school related projects.

I already have all parts in a cart on newegg, I'm ready to order them at a moments notice but want to make sure I'm not making any stupid mistakes beforehand. Any and all advice is appreciated.

Parts not needed: Monitor, Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers. I am planning on transferring my 8800gt video card for the moment, and upgrading in the near future to a 4890. Although it may seem like a better idea to wait until Directx 11 cards are more common, I'm not entirely sure. Since I am running at 1920x1200 resolution, I won't really be stressing about major eye candy until Starcraft 2 (Perhaps next holiday season? Maybe?)

CASE: Antec Nine Hundred Two Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
109.95
OR
COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
109.95

These 2 cases seem largely the same to me. I've seen the 900 being recommended here for ages, but it seems like recently the HAF is more popular. I can't tell any major differences, and, umm.... I like blue. Am I missing something as far as how these two differ?

CPU: Intel Core i5-661 Clarkdale 3.33GHz LGA 1156 87W Dual-Core Desktop Processor Model BX80616I5661
$209.99

This seems like an easy decision from what I've read. One confusing thing is that while the Clarkdale is the newest and "best" version as far as I know, I read in a review that the integrated graphics can actually cause it to be slower than the Lynnfield. I have absolutely no intention of it ever running without a video card, so would I be better off with a Lynnfield?

MOTHERBOARD: ASUS P7P55D-E LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
$159.99

This seems to be a heavily recommended board. I don't have any plans on SLI/Crossfire. The Audigy card that I've been using for the past handful years always seemed like more trouble than it's been worth, so I'm planning on using the onboard audio.

MEMORY: G.SKILL ECO Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBECO - Retail
$119.99

Again, this seems to be the go-to memory from most of the comments I've seen. Hopefully this will be good /enough/ for 64 bit Windows 7 until prices drop a fair amount.

HEAT SINK/FAN: I'm not sure which way to go here. I wouldn't mind some mild overclocking off the bat, nothing too intense though.

POWER SUPPLY: OCZ StealthXStream OCZ700SXS 700W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
$74.99

Another apparent favorite here. I would like a PSU that is relatively quiet.

HARD DRIVE: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
$89.99

Seems like a gimme after perusing the forums.

OPTICAL DRIVE: Sony Optiarc 24X DVD/CD Rewritable Drive Black SATA Model AD-7240S-0B
$27.99

I could transfer over my trusty old Plextor PX-716a, but it's IDE. Also, while it's been rock solid it does have a few years of heavy use on it.

OS: Windows 7 Professional 64 Upgrade. I can get this through Microsoft's webside with a hard copy for about $80 using the student discount. While not thrilled by only having the upgrade, from what I've read it's pretty easy to use it on a brand new build.

TOTAL PRICE: $902.10 with shipping, without aftermarket cooling

That seems to about cover it. As far as I can tell it's a solid bang for the buck. Please let me know your opinions, I am getting an itchy trigger finger on checking out of Newegg, and if I order it by Thursday afternoon it should arrive by Saturday so I can get it up and running by the time classes resume Monday.

Thank you!
January 21, 2010 12:31:00 PM

All the 32nm are dualies. I wouldn't touch 'em with a 10-foot pole. 900 doesn't include a quad. Are you kidding me? Get the i5 750 if you're an Intel ho.

What's your budget?
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a b U Graphics card
January 21, 2010 1:05:59 PM

The i5-661 is a terrible choice. Everything points to it being a failure. It's benchmarks are bad, especially for gaming, and it's more expensive than the i5-750.

RAM: Those are good, but the CL 7 Ripjaws are about $5 less for the same performance...

HSF: Only get one if you're definitely going to overclock. And you might not actually need one for a mild overclock, depending on your definition of mild. A good one is the Coolermaster Hyper 212.

Optical: An IDE drive will still work as long as that board has a PATA connector. And I believe it does.

Case: I prefer the HAF 922, but the price shot up to $110 from $80 in the last couple of weeks. It's still one of the best.
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January 21, 2010 1:19:20 PM

Another vote for the i5-750. The i5-661 is a good processor-if it were $70 or $80.

And just to be opposite MadAdmiral, I like the Antec cases:) 
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a b U Graphics card
January 21, 2010 1:31:17 PM

I love the look of the Antec cases (I've got a 902 right now), but at the prices right now, I like the HAF. It is as ugly as hell though...
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January 21, 2010 1:55:23 PM

Yikes I got so carried away with the nomenclature that I didn't even notice the CPU was a dual core. Definitely glad I posted this instead of making such a silly mistake.

Updated:
CPU: Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80605I5750 - Retail
$199.99
MEMORY: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL7D-4GBRH - Retail
$114.99

My budget is ~$900USD. It could increase by maybe $200, but I'm generally fairly happy about 'bang for the buck' at the moment and don't really have the money to spend for very marginal improvements. Of course, I'm open to suggestions.

As for the Antec v. Cooler Master case, if the general population is pretty evenly split between the two I think I'll stick with the Antec. It's 3 inches shorter but has an extra fan, so it seems like kind of a wash to me...

Looks like I'll use the stock cooling for now, maybe in a year or so look into overclocking if the processor speed gets quite dated. I'm up in the air about adding a new burner, I'll have to look for some benchmarks. According to the Newegg reviews the new one seems significantly faster than my current one.

A friend of mine whose (sp?) opinion I trust just recommended I get a 750w Corsair power supply. It seems like a bit of overkill for a single card system but I would rather be safe than sorry if it's at all borderline.

EDIT: CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail
$89.99

Maybe this guy would be the way to go? It's more expensive so that means it's better... right? :) 

Thanks again for all the help guys, hopefully I can get a couple more responses in the next hour or so and get the parts ordered and en route today.
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January 21, 2010 2:07:45 PM

Antec 902 is a great case and I also own one. I should note, though, that there is a $15 shipping on it as opposed to the free shipping on the HAF922. If blue is worth the $15, then go for it. :D 

Nothing much else to add, since you don't plan on a future crossfire/sli. Do upgrade to the p7p55d-e PRO for $30 more if you change your mind. Otherwise, the updated i5 build looks good.
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a b U Graphics card
January 21, 2010 2:48:59 PM

Corsair is a high quality manufacturer, but higher priced because of the name recognition. OCZ is just as high quality for a much lower cost. Either would be a good option, as would any comparable Antec Earthwatts, Seasonic, FSP, or PC Power & Cooling, but those tend to range in price from above the OCZ to around the Corsair.

If you are never going to Crossfire, the 650W would be more than enough. I just recommend the OCZ because it's typically cheaper than units that are a lot smaller.
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January 21, 2010 7:17:23 PM

Alright, I decided to stick with the OCZ but upgrade the motherboard to the Pro. I figure the extra $30 now is worth the future proofing for gaming.

Thank you very much for the help, everyone!
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January 21, 2010 9:55:27 PM

MadAdmiral said:
Corsair is a high quality manufacturer, but higher priced because of the name recognition. OCZ is just as high quality for a much lower cost. Either would be a good option, as would any comparable Antec Earthwatts, Seasonic, FSP, or PC Power & Cooling, but those tend to range in price from above the OCZ to around the Corsair.

If you are never going to Crossfire, the 650W would be more than enough. I just recommend the OCZ because it's typically cheaper than units that are a lot smaller.



Actually, I have seen numerous more complaints within the OCZ psu reviews than the antec or corsair scene. OCZ seems cheap and variably unreliable imo. And 750w would be more recommended probably from a crossfire and overclocking future standpoint.

Also, while the Haf 922 seems to be the easiest and best option for a cheap, good case; I have read reviewers constantly claim that it is a dust-magnet, and this room I'm in would probably destroy it. The mostly-steel Antec cases seem to be the best bet if you're in a dust-worthy environment. I'm currently contemplating which case to get as well, and I might just go all out and opt for an Antec 1200, or a 902, or just settle with the Haf 922 for its ease and sincere ugliness
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a b U Graphics card
January 21, 2010 11:50:24 PM

They're user reviews. Most of the negatives are going to have to do with the rebate too. Don't trust Newegg reviews...

All case without dust filter could be dust magnets. Grab a couple of dust filters if it really worries you.

I'm not going to say the HAF is pretty, cause that's a case only its mother could love, but it is the best case available for that price.
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