I need help deciding on a CPU/MOBO/RAM combo ... ?

I've been planning a "first-time" computer build for a few months now, and can't seem to decide on a CPU. I'm leaning towards the Intel i5-661 "hyper-threaded dual core" because with its onboard GPU, I wouldn't need a separate video card (for what I do). The i3-530 sounds too wimpy, and the i7-860 sounds like WAY more power than I need ... haven't really studied AMD options. I go on other sites and the majority of people say, "get the i5-750 at that price point, it's a quad-core," etc. And will the stock cooler be enough for me, with a case with good airflow?

So, by MY calculations, I need the CPU, MOBO, RAM (4GB, presumably) and a HARD DRIVE. If I DON'T go for the onboard GPU of the i5-661, then I need a videocard along the lines of THIS .

As for a HARD DRIVE, I've been reading good things about the Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200.12. At least a 750GB WD Caviar Black, I think ... your thoughts?

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: about two weeks from now

BUDGET RANGE: $600 or so (if under, then GREAT!), exluding parts already bought (listed below) [originally $1,000 ceiling]

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: surfing the internet, watching movies, streaming movies from Netflix, ripping/burning CDs and DVDs ... that's all I do NOW.

(the following is "maybe" usage ...) Eventually I might want to try some DJ/remixing software to manipulate MP3s. I don't play games, but being able to try some simple games (nothing more than "The Sims" level) might be nice

PARTS NOT REQUIRED (New, recently purchased):

MONITOR: (Existing 32" LCD Monitor/HDTV)
CM 690 II Advanced - $90
Corsair HX650W Modular - $120
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (OEM) - $90
Samsung SH-B083L (Blu-Ray) - $80
Samsung SH-S223L (DVD-R) - $25


Frys.com (there's a Fry's superstore about 25 miles from where I live, and I thought about paying them the $10 they charge to assemble the CPU/MOBO/RAM to make sure it's all operational before you leave the store). Otherwise, newegg or tigerdirect

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: (me or the parts?) USA or doesn't matter

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel CPU (but I'm open to suggestions)




ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Without spending a fortune now, I would like this computer to still be viable (for ME and my basic functions) five years down the road.
5 answers Last reply
More about deciding mobo combo
  1. The stock CPU cooler will do fine in an excellent case like the CM 690 II Advanced (unless you'd like to try your hand at some overclocking).

    The parts you have now would work equally fine in an AMD or Intel CPU combo. Either way you'd end up with a nice system.
    Since you're near a Fry's and already thinking along the lines of the Intel i5-661:
    Core i5 661 & Gigabyte GA-H55M-S2H Motherboard Bundle Combo @ Frys $284
    Kingston HyperX 4GB DDR3 1800 Cas8 $130
    SEAGATE Barracuda 7200.12 500GB HDD $60 (didn't see the 1TB versions of Seagate 7200.12 or Samsumg Spinpoint F3 HDDs)
  2. Its good to know you are flexible with your options which suits me coz am going to suggest an AMD build here.. Intel will become to pricey for your purpose.. So here are my recommendations -

    1. AMD Athlon II X4 630

    2. Asus M4A89GTD Pro

    3. G-Skill Ripjaws 4 GB (2 X 2 GB) DDR3 1333 MHz CAS 7 RAM Modules

    4. Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB SATA 3.0 Gbps Hard Drive

    5. Asus Xonar DX sound card

    The onboard video chipset is awesome on that motherboard and will please your purpose.. The dedicated sound card will enhance your movie watching experience and music listening several times better compared to the onboard crap.. You can drop down on the motherboard in favor of a 790X chipset based motherboard and use all the cash on getting a dedicated video card which i think will be good also considering You'll be watching blu-ray media.. Sorry i could not post any links as am posting from my mobile device which does not supports multi tabs anyway (nokia 6233)..
  3. There is a handy CPU comparison chart over @ AnandTech that lets you compare CPUs across a wide range or benchmarks:
    In this example it compares Athlon II X4 630 and Core i5 661
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