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Brainstorming new Core i3 rig, any opinions/advice?

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March 3, 2010 10:05:35 PM

So I'm in desperate need of a new gaming computer, and my budget is quite low. I'm an Intel/NVIDIA guy so no AMD suggestions please! :kaola: 

OK so here's what I've got so far:

--->Intel Core i3-530 Clarkdale 2.93GHz LGA 1156 73W Dual-Core Desktop Processor:
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

--->MSI H55M-ED55 LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard:
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

--->G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory:
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

--->Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM:
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...

--->COOLMAX CU-700B 700W ATX 12V V2.2/EPS 12V V2.91 Modular Power Supply:
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Already have basic parts (monitor, keyboard, mouse, case, DVD drive, etc.)

I'm waiting for some new mid-range NVIDIA Fermi Graphics cards to come out so I'm going to use my old 9600 GT for now. Thats why I added a 700w PSU!

OK so please help me out with your opinions about compatibility, brands, performance etc, or if you have had good/bad experiences with these products lemme know. Thanks!
March 3, 2010 10:18:38 PM

A big NO on the Coolmax PSU. It's not worth anything, and a quality PSU is far more likely to run a future card than an inflated PSU from a known poor brand like Coolmax.

Generally, you want to go AMD in this budget range. Stop being a fanboy and get the best bang for your buck. At larger budgets that means Intel. At lower budgets that means AMD.

Start here:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/267801-28-buyer-guide


AMD PII 555 Calisto and 890GX MB combo
Now, there's a great deal. Current gen board with USB3 and SATA 6GB and a snappy lttle CPU, at a reasonable price.
March 3, 2010 11:30:48 PM

Thanks very much for the reply.
This is my first true full build, so I'm no Fanboy yet. In other words, you can still convince me! :p 
I do have a few points to make though:
-I just see more games that say "Plays best on Intel" at the beginning. Like Crysis and Far Cry 2. (My favorites)
-The Core i3 setup is newer, with fancy technologies and built in GPU until I get a real one, and the cost is only about 20$ more.
-The Phenom II is only 0.2 GHz faster, and doesn't have hyper-threading (each core does two threads, sorta "quad core").
-Pairing an AMD cpu with a NVIDIA gpu just doesn't feel right.
-I won't use SATA 6gb because I don't have and SSD or anything fast for storage.
-I can buy a USB3 PCI card if USB 3.0 gets popular.

Now about the PSU.
I agree and believe you about the Coolmax. However I though Coolmax was more of a mid-range brand, at my budget, I have to compromise.
Either a BFG 400w (or similar) for $70, or this Coolmax 700w for the same price. The reviews on the Newegg page for the Coolamx are pretty good. And if it arrives dead or dies right away, I can RMA it back to newegg. It's also on sale. I did my best at newegg.ca to find a good balance of Quality, Power and Price. If you can find a better product for me at newegg.ca please show me so I don't make a mistake.

I'm sorry I'm a little stubborn, but please keep working with me on this one...

Related resources
March 4, 2010 1:04:05 AM

5T3F-on-PC said:

-I just see more games that say "Plays best on Intel" at the beginning. Like Crysis and Far Cry 2. (My favorites)
-The Core i3 setup is newer, with fancy technologies and built in GPU until I get a real one, and the cost is only about 20$ more.
-The Phenom II is only 0.2 GHz faster, and doesn't have hyper-threading (each core does two threads, sorta "quad core").
-Pairing an AMD cpu with a NVIDIA gpu just doesn't feel right.
-I won't use SATA 6gb because I don't have and SSD or anything fast for storage.
-I can buy a USB3 PCI card if USB 3.0 gets popular.

Now about the PSU.
I agree and believe you about the Coolmax. However I though Coolmax was more of a mid-range brand, at my budget, I have to compromise.
Either a BFG 400w (or similar) for $70, or this Coolmax 700w for the same price. The reviews on the Newegg page for the Coolamx are pretty good. And if it arrives dead or dies right away, I can RMA it back to newegg. It's also on sale. I did my best at newegg.ca to find a good balance of Quality, Power and Price. If you can find a better product for me at newegg.ca please show me so I don't make a mistake.

I'm sorry I'm a little stubborn, but please keep working with me on this one...


There is an awful lot of info in my guide, stickied at the top of the forum, but I'll try to give you some quick answers.

"-I just see more games that say "Plays best on Intel" at the beginning. Like Crysis and Far Cry 2. (My favorites)"
Yes, Intel pays them to say that, literally. I'm not an AMD fanboy... see my rig in my profile. I will address this more in a sec.

"-The Phenom II is only 0.2 GHz faster, and doesn't have hyper-threading (each core does two threads, sorta "quad core")."
True, but this is not everything. Not terribly important for gaming, but yes Intel CPUs are in some ways better.

"-The Core i3 setup is newer, with fancy technologies and built in GPU until I get a real one, and the cost is only about 20$ more."
The built-in AMD GPU is better for gaming than the Intel.

"-I won't use SATA 6gb because I don't have and SSD or anything fast for storage."
So you are not planning on keeping this PC for two years? Technology moves fast. I would expect gaming computers to have SSDs as a standard by the end of next year.

On to the PSU. Coolmax is strictly low end, although as I recall they have one well reviewed unit...
http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...
Yes, that's the only unit from Coolmax I have on record as being decent, but then it's a very large one.

If you don't want to be bothered with learning about PSUs, I'll throw out a few sugestions. Again, you should read my guide.

OCZ 600W - The same 12V amps (only these are real and not imaginary) and built by a more reputable OEM (FSP). Fully reviewed here with hotbox, overload, and ripple tests:
http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/936/1
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Antec EA650 - Delta OEM, built like a tank. Reviewed fully here:
http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...



March 4, 2010 2:25:40 AM

OK well you've convinced me that I'll get similar performance from the AMD setup, for about $30 less. And that $30 can go towards the OCZ 600w.

I dunno why but I still have a subconscious idea that AMD is inferior to Intel. Like they are the "budget" brand. Like the Coolmax of CPU's :p 

This is why i got excited when the Core i3 was released, because it had the performance/price to compete with AMD's offerings, but carried the "cool" Intel brand.

Would you seriously object to spending the extra $30 just to have that brand "image"? Like are there any disadvantages to the intel path? (Other than the slightly higher price)

Also, in the spirit of getting the most bang per buck, how about overclocking. I forgot to mention it but I'm seriously interested in pushing the i3 to at least 3.5GHz.
Would you recommend doing this? and does the AMD overclock better? Notice the size of the cooling on my chosen mobo's mosfets: here's a pic:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/ImageGallery.aspx?CurImage...
March 4, 2010 2:36:12 AM

ok if your really worried about being 'cool' dont bother playing games on a computer thats not 'cool'. its 'cool' to play on xbox or ps3 so spend your money on one of those if your worried about label
March 4, 2010 2:40:03 AM

wsupduck said:
ok if your really worried about being 'cool' dont bother playing games on a computer thats not 'cool'. its 'cool' to play on xbox or ps3 so spend your money on one of those if your worried about label


Not at all what I meant. Please try harder not to be an idiot. Thanks.
March 4, 2010 2:44:53 AM

then what did you mean please explain
March 4, 2010 9:15:19 PM

I meant cool from my own perspective. Like the Intel brand seems cool to ME for some odd reason. I game on PC and I'm proud of that. Consoles can S my D.
March 4, 2010 9:58:23 PM

OK back to business. Is Rosewill a mediocre PSU brand? or are they just as bad as Coolmax? I found this PSU from Rosewill:
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

-Single +12v @ 50A is good.
-black to match my case
-on sale.

Is it at least a little better?
I rather save money for parts that actually impact performance. (but i guess i don't want em fried either) :p 

!