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$1100, newbie builder

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February 2, 2010 11:10:55 AM

I'm about 2 months from undertaking my first PC build. I'm looking to create a QUIET general-purpose machine, but it often needs to be able to run 1-3 Virtual Machines and occasionally transcode Tivo video (some HD) to DVD. Otherwise, there's nothing that would tax most modern machines. I don't plan to overclock or play games, and I don't run very many apps. In fact, my Win 7 64-bit C: drive is only around 22 GB.

I'm not trying to get into every part at the moment. Just checking a few ideas. My budget will be $1100, excluding monitor, OS, keyboard, and mouse.

So I'm thinking:
*Core i7-920
*8 GB RAM
*"silent" or "quiet" mini-tower (or smaller) case
*40 GB Intel 25-v SSD for my boot disk (Win 7 64-bit)
*1 TB WD green disk
*fanless nVidia or ATI card
*2 DVD burners

I'd also like USB 3, eSATA, and SATA 6 Gb/s.

Yes, I know I haven't suggested a motherboard or power supply!

At this point, i'm wondering about some of the other Intel CPUs and whether I should consider any Core i5 models something that may be on the short-term horizon. I've had AMDs in the past, but for this time, I want to stay with Intel.

Finally, I guess a quiet, efficient power supply would also be needed.

So I'd like some thoughts and constructive remarks, but I'm not necessarily looking for exact parts and links. I don't want to waste anyone's time for something that is a few months away.

Thanks!

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February 2, 2010 12:27:08 PM

i7-920 might be out of your budget with everything else. Here's what I'd build:

CPU: i7-860 $280
Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD3 $135
RAM: 2x Corsair XMS3 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $110
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB $90
SSD: 40 GB Intel X25-V SSD $130
Case: HAF 922 $90
Optical: 2x cheapest SATA DVD burner $50
PSU: Corsair 450W $60 after rebate
GPU: Fanless HD 4670 $80

Total: $990. To get the i7-920, you'd need to spend another $75 on the motherboard and another $70 on the RAM, putting it just out of budget.
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February 2, 2010 1:53:48 PM

Intel core i7-920 - $290
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASRock X58 Extreme LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - $160
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OCZ Gold 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 - $160
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GV-R485MC-1GI Radeon HD 4850 1GB - $130
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Western Digital Caviar Green WD7500AADS 750GB - $70
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel X25-V SSDSA2MP040G2R5 2.5" 40GB SATA II MLC SSD - $130
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Any DVD-RW drive will work - $25

OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ600MXSP 600W - $50
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Heatsink - $30
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec Three Hundred - $60
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
* The case comes with 2 adjustable speed fans so you can adjust them to your audible liking.


Total Price: $1140

Depending on when you purchase, there will usually be combo deals or MIR's that will lower the price some.
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February 3, 2010 1:16:02 PM

Just an fyi - the SSD drive is available at amazon for 120 w/ free shipping.
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February 3, 2010 1:18:48 PM

actually - even better is zip zoom fly - 109 w/ free shipping (after 15 MIR)
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February 3, 2010 1:27:23 PM

Nicely done, snurp.

You *might* want to look at a different RAM kit...I've heard horror stories about serious incompatibilities between the ASRock x58 Extreme and the OCZ Gold kit. Oddly, I own that exact motherboard and that exact RAM kit, and had no problems whatsoever, but many peoples' experiences seem to differ.

-Will
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February 3, 2010 1:31:49 PM

I've actually heard that with the OCZ RAM in general. I think it's mostly due to the need to manually set the RAM timings and voltage in BIOS. Most of the complaints are through user reviews, which are generally done by people who don't know what they're talking about.
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February 3, 2010 1:34:59 PM

MadAdmiral said:
i7-920 might be out of your budget with everything else. Here's what I'd build:

CPU: i7-860 $280
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB $90
Case: HAF 922 $90
Total: $990. To get the i7-920, you'd need to spend another $75 on the motherboard and another $70 on the RAM, putting it just out of budget.



Thanks for your suggestions! I'm looking through yours and a few others and wondering if I should also consider Core i5-750. In one of the reviews here (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/intel-core-i5,2410-...), the author states, "But based on our benchmarks here and our game testing with single and dual Radeon HD 4870 X2s and GeForce GTX 285s, we’re most excited about the value of Core i5." Granted, I've just started reading on these new Core CPUs, but it seems I should at least CONSIDER the i5-750, even if in the end I go with your suggestion of i7-860.

As for the HDD, I haven't really begun to look at those yet. I'm really only familiar with the Seagates and WD, and Seagate scared me a bit late in 2008 with their firmware debacle. I guess I'll revisit this nearer to purchase time.

As for your suggested case, I like most of what I saw EXCEPT for the fan at the top of the case. Sometimes the top of my case becomes a small "table" for papers, so I'm reluctant to go with this unit. I'm not ruling it out, mind you, but I'd definitely like to find some competition for it before deciding.

Again, thank you for your time. You've given me a very good starting point!
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February 3, 2010 1:43:08 PM

The i5-750 is great for strictly gaming. Most of Tom's reviews and articles are written with a slant towards the best for gaming performance. With everything else, the i7-860 is a better choice.

For the HDDs, Seagate did have trouble with their 7200.11 series. However, things have drastically changed since then. WD is now behind on both price and performance. If you look around the forums, I doubt you'll see anyone actually recommending WD right now.
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February 3, 2010 1:43:40 PM

snurp85 said:

Antec Three Hundred - $60
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
* The case comes with 2 adjustable speed fans so you can adjust them to your audible liking.


Total Price: $1140

Depending on when you purchase, there will usually be combo deals or MIR's that will lower the price some.


Thank you for your response. After seeing Mad Admiral's suggestions, I'm starting to think I should go with the i7-860. I will also CONSIDER an i5-750.

I'll particularly look at your case recommendation. Though it seems like both your suggested case and Mad Admiral's suggested case may have more room than I will ever need. I'm thinking I just want 2 DVD burners, 1 sdd drive, and 1 large 3.5" SATA drive. I cannot see myself adding anything else internally. MAYBE an extra sdd or 3.5" SATA drive one day. Maybe.

So I wonder if I could go with a somewhat smaller case? Or will I end up with a smaller case that is louder in order to achieve good cooling? My priority with the case is quiet first, small second. Thanks.
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February 3, 2010 1:50:04 PM

MadAdmiral said:
The i5-750 is great for strictly gaming. Most of Tom's reviews and articles are written with a slant towards the best for gaming performance. With everything else, the i7-860 is a better choice.

For the HDDs, Seagate did have trouble with their 7200.11 series. However, things have drastically changed since then. WD is now behind on both price and performance. If you look around the forums, I doubt you'll see anyone actually recommending WD right now.


Thanks for the fast response! It sounds like i7-860 is the CPU I should focus on! Is there any new Intel CPU being released in the near-term that should give me pause?

Thanks for clearing up some things on HDDs. I'll peruse the forum to check a few more things out.

Last concern at the moment. If I go with the i7-860, I'll get only 4 slots of RAM, vs 6 with the i7-920. I'd be a little reluctant to go with a 4 GB build with 1 GB per slot. I also imagine that 2 GB DIMMs can be a little pricey. I guess this is something I'll need to think some more about.

I appreciate all the responses here.
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February 3, 2010 2:07:55 PM

There will be, but they'll all be very expensive. I wouldn't except the recommendation to change, but after a while the price might.

Actually, 2 GB sticks are pretty much the norm now days. If you look back at the builds, both are using multiple sets of 2 GB sticks (mine is two kits of two sticks of 2 GB RAM for a total of 8 GB). They really pricey sticks are the 4 GB ones, which you have the option of upgrading to later.
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February 3, 2010 2:41:14 PM

MadAdmiral said:
There will be, but they'll all be very expensive. I wouldn't except the recommendation to change, but after a while the price might.

Actually, 2 GB sticks are pretty much the norm now days. If you look back at the builds, both are using multiple sets of 2 GB sticks (mine is two kits of two sticks of 2 GB RAM for a total of 8 GB). They really pricey sticks are the 4 GB ones, which you have the option of upgrading to later.


Yes, I *definitely* missed it was 8 GB of RAM, which for my foreseeable future is PLENTY!! Thanks!
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February 10, 2010 11:29:40 AM

Best answer selected by bmgoodman.
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February 22, 2010 7:37:27 PM

OK, I'm rethinking the entire issue of case. I'm now intrigued by the Antec 200 (http://www.antec.com/Believe_it/product.php?id=MjEyMQ==) with its Front-loaded hot swap 3.5" SATA hard drive caddy. It makes me think I could swap out the SDD for a standard HDD any time I feel like "testing". I'm not too keen on the top-venting fan, but I suppose I could live with it. I'm hoping this isn't a noisy case, either with fan noise or rattles. Anybody have one?

I also just got an OCZ Agility 60 GB SDD ($129 after MIR) instead of the 40 GB Intel Value SDD.

I think I'm starting to get into this idea of building myself. March should be very doable.

Thanks
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