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$1000-$1500 multi-use system. i7/930 and 12GB RAM. What do you think?

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May 2, 2010 6:04:08 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This week
BUDGET RANGE: $1000 - $1500 before rebates, shipping, tax, etc.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: MS Office, multi-tasking (web-browsing), multimedia (movies/music), possibly some gaming. I'm on the computer a lot, and am looking for something to be very responsive for years to come.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: LCD monitors - I already have two I want to use for dual-display (I think one has a VGA connection and the other has VGA and DVI connections)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: I usually use Newegg, but whoever has the best prices. I found Micro Center has my CPU (i7/930) at the best price.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: Prefer Intel

OVERCLOCKING: Never got into it, but I hear it is easier now than ever before. Maybe I'll OC the CPU. Probably not the GPU.

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Probably not, since heavy gaming is not needed.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
I'm currently on a P4 2.0GHz with 512MB of RAM and ready for an upgrade! I built this last system several years ago and it has served me well. I'm looking to build a new one that will last me for a long time. Hence, why I am opting for 12GB of RAM and a higher-end CPU/GPU even though gaming isn't a top priority.

I chose the i7/930 for 2 reasons. 1) I believe it is best positioned to handle what I might throw at it in the future. Maybe I will get into virtualization? I also think it will better handle something like Windows 2013 (Windows 8?) 2) I found a great deal at Micro Center which put the price of the CPU on par with the i5/750 or the i7/860.

I'd like to have USB 3.0 and DirectX11 since those technologies will be more relevant in 2-3 years time. Are there any other bandwagons I should be jumping on now so I am safe in a few years time?

What do you guys think? Overkill? A good balance? Something I missed that I should include?

Thanks for your advice!

CASE - $60
Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I'm just looking for a standard, sturdy case. I am not overclocking and won't be getting into any fancy cooling solutions.

PSU - $90
CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I probably could get away with a 550W power supply, but I think the 650W is a safer choice.

CPU - $200
Intel Core i7-930 Bloomfield 2.8GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Model BX80601930
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
See comments above. I know the i5/750 is a good value setup now, but shouldn't the i7/930 outperform it years down the road when minimum hardware requirements grow larger? Since the CPU price is similar to the i5/750, it is hard to justify not going with the i7.

CPU COOLING - $30
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-G1
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I never OC'ed before, but maybe I'll give it a shot this time. How hard is it? This part seemed to be the universally accepted best bet.

MOBO - $210
GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This seemed to be the consensus standard motherboard for 1366 platform.

RAM - $380 ->12GB
2 x G.SKILL PI Series 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7T-6GBPI
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I've always been a big believer in having a lot of memory available, since this can often be a bottleneck moreso than CPU as a system ages. Still, 12GB is a lot, but I think I'll be happy with the decision after I still have this system in a few years. What do you think? Also - I am paying $20 more (total) for a CAS latency of 7 vs. 8. Worth it?

GPU - $155
HIS H577FM1GD Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
The 5770 is attractive because it offers DX11 support which will be used more often down the road. Also, ATI's EyeFinity is nice to have in case I ever want to add a 3rd monitor to my display. I won't game heavily, so I don't want to use Crossfire. I am not really looking to overclock the GPU, in case the real-world benefits are significant.

HD - $90
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I have no real reason that I chose this over the Seagate or Western Digital offerings, other than this drive seemed more popular on these boards. 1TB is cool just because it is such a huge number that I never imagined having 10 years ago. However, I doubt I'll use that much.

Optical - $24
LG DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model GH24NS50 - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
These drives seemed pretty standard from one another. I chose this one because it seemed to be referenced more often on these boards.

Keyboard - $15
Logitech Deluxe 250 Black 104 Normal Keys USB Wired Standard Keyboard - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I could use my current keyboard, but after spending so much on a new system, why not include a nice, new keyboard?

Mouse - $12
Logitech SBF-96 Black 3 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB Wired Optical Mouse - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Standard wired USB mouse. Same reasoning for the keyboard.

Speakers - $10
Logitech S120 2.3 Watts (RMS) 2.0 Speaker System - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
My current speakers are old and dingy. These are nice in that the Logitech brand will match up with the keyboard and mouse. Again, I'm not into heavy gaming, so any speakers will do.

Windows 7 - $100
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I'm still on XP and didn't regret missing Vista. However, I use Windows 7 at work and it is great. Really looking forward to moving into the 21st century.

Total price before shipping, mail-in rebates, taxes, etc: $1,376

Any suggestions on how I can make this system better? Either better parts or ways to cut unneeded cost? (keeping in mind that I want to keep this system for several years). Maybe someone knows of parts priced better at different sites? I'm not married to Newegg.

Thanks everyone!
May 2, 2010 6:25:14 AM

This is what I think:

1.) Get the Core i7 860 2.8GHz instead at MC for the same price IIRC, it's a bit faster in single and dual threaded applications. For what you'd be doing, I really would've suggested the Core i5 750, but considering you're getting it at MC, nvm.
2.) Get the ASUS P7P55D-E LX - you're not going to be using more than one graphic card, or use triple channel memory - thus LGA 1366 is pointless.
3.) Seriously, 4GB of RAM is plenty. 12GB of RAM is epic overkill, especially considering that you're not video editing. Any good 4GB kit will do - G.SKill Ripjaws 4GB DDR3 2x2GB CL7 1600MHz are a good kit.
4.) Your PSU is overkill, although far less so than the RAM. ;)  I suggest you get the Corsair VX550W - I've heard of people running two HD 5770s with a 520W PSU.
5.) You'll save around $100 on getting the cheaper motherboard, and $250 on the RAM, which means you've got ~ $350 'spare'. I suggest you use this to buy an SSD - just for bootup and some of the few games that you might play. A 30GB - 64GB would be ideal. Something like the Corsair Nova 64GB or OCZ Agility 60GB SSD.

May 2, 2010 8:44:13 AM

I would personaly get a better keyboard, mouse and speaker system. I have a sidewinder with a sidewinder x6 and it really makes a difference. It's much more beautiful (the chaos backlighting just rocks), the macros are a nice touch and they feel like they are made for your hands. I have a very expemsive speaker system I would'nt expect you to get one like mine but I would spend close to a hundred on it. ( mine was 1000+ in the time and I love it like no other)
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May 2, 2010 3:57:18 PM

Lmeow said:
This is what I think:

1.) Get the Core i7 860 2.8GHz instead at MC for the same price IIRC, it's a bit faster in single and dual threaded applications. For what you'd be doing, I really would've suggested the Core i5 750, but considering you're getting it at MC, nvm.
2.) Get the ASUS P7P55D-E LX - you're not going to be using more than one graphic card, or use triple channel memory - thus LGA 1366 is pointless.
3.) Seriously, 4GB of RAM is plenty. 12GB of RAM is epic overkill, especially considering that you're not video editing. Any good 4GB kit will do - G.SKill Ripjaws 4GB DDR3 2x2GB CL7 1600MHz are a good kit.
4.) Your PSU is overkill, although far less so than the RAM. ;)  I suggest you get the Corsair VX550W - I've heard of people running two HD 5770s with a 520W PSU.
5.) You'll save around $100 on getting the cheaper motherboard, and $250 on the RAM, which means you've got ~ $350 'spare'. I suggest you use this to buy an SSD - just for bootup and some of the few games that you might play. A 30GB - 64GB would be ideal. Something like the Corsair Nova 64GB or OCZ Agility 60GB SSD.


Great suggestion! After looking into it, I really like the idea of getting a SSD to bootup!

However, I'm confused about why I should switch the motherboard? Some questions below:

1. I thought my setup was using triple channel memory? I had 6 sticks of 2GB each, but now I think I will cut that in half and use 3 sticks of 2GB each. Isn't triple channel memory better?

2. The 550W PSU is practically the same price as the 650W. Why would I want to go with the 550W? Will it save on electricity or last longer? I was just trying to get the most watts for the buck.

3. I'm still debating if I should go for the i7/930 CPU and X58 LGA 1366 motherboard? Or an i7/860 with a P55 LGA 1156 motherboard? What are the pros and cons?

By dropping the RAM from 12GB to 6GB, I saved enough to get the Corsair Nova Series CSSD-V64GB2-BRKT 2.5" 64GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD). The price stayed exactly the same as $1376. Now I just have to decide which route to take with the CPU/mobo?

Thanks for the help! Please keep the suggestions coming!
May 2, 2010 5:30:39 PM

Hello albrchri,

I am currently in the market for a build very similar to yours, so I figured I would offer my suggestions.

1. i7 860 vs 930 (1156 vs 1366) I had originally opted for the 860 myself but others have swayed me toward the 930 due to triple channel ram and because 1366 will be around for a while longer. (I would especially recommend the 930 if you can buy at microcenter!)

2. Ram. It doesn't sound like you need 12GB at all! Save yourself the money now (only 6GB) and in a year or two (when ram will be cheaper) up your rig to 12GB. But I am jealous of the PI ram you selected... I would be getting that if the noctua nh-d14 wasn't a giant beast of a cooler.

3. SSD - this is a tough one because the benefits from a SSD can be very dramatic. On the other hand you could save your money now and instead of buying a 1TB F3... buy 2 500GB and use raid 0. (This won't be as fast as SSD but will be faster than a single HDD) Then in the future as SSD's become cheaper consider buying one for your rig?

4. PSU - modular? I mean why not... it's a feature that costs maybe ~$20 more and can improve the airflow (clutter) in your case. This is the 750w (80+ SILVER) i am planning on getting:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'm far from the most savvy around these forums... so hopefully someone will come along and point out the weaknesses in what I suggested (so then we both benefit!!)
May 2, 2010 5:55:59 PM

I don't see any weaknesses in your suggestion lol. I would have said the same. Though I still think a better keyboard, mouse and speaker system is worth the extra 150dollars. I'd go for http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... as keyboard, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... as mouse and http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... as speakers
I'd leave out the 12gb(and go for 6) take 2 500gb in raid. Forget the ssd(benifits are minimal and not worth the price right now). The macros on the mouse and keyboard might even save you more time than the ssd will in bootup LOL. And well I just go mad with 15dollar speakers. IMO buying a kick ass like that and saving on the connection between you and your pc is just strange. You can't deny it looks really do matter.
May 2, 2010 6:10:58 PM

The keyboard, mouse, speaker setup that was suggested is really nice. I'm not that heavy into it right now, but that is always something I can purchase later on without a problem.

I think getting a SSD for the os and office apps is the way to go. Everything I read seems to say the benefits are worth it.

I never heard of a modular PSU until now. It is something I'll consider. But I might be too stuck in my ways and just get a regular PSU. As someone said, 550W will be enough. However, I'm still not sure why I wouldn't want the 650W if it is the same price?

Because I can get a good price at Micro Center, I'm still leaning toward the i7/930 with the 1366 mobo. If the CPU was $100 more, I might consider the i5. But which would I rather have in 3-5 years? I'm thinking the i7.

I'm cutting the RAM from 12GB to 6GB. The savings will go toward getting the SSD.

May 2, 2010 6:23:21 PM

modular psu's save lots of space(I really mean lots). With that case I'd really go modular because it isn't really that big. I would stick with the 930 it's future proof and fast. An ssd is insanely fast but don't overestimate its size. 60gb is the minimum any smaller and you'll have trouble to even fit your OS. IMO I'd go with my suggestion(obviously :p ) since keyboard, speaker, mouse technology is stagment and buy those know. And later get the ssd which will be less expensive. And if you do opt for an ssd make sure you have a 2.5inch adapter.
May 2, 2010 7:38:31 PM

Somebody_007 said:
modular psu's save lots of space(I really mean lots). With that case I'd really go modular because it isn't really that big. I would stick with the 930 it's future proof and fast. An ssd is insanely fast but don't overestimate its size. 60gb is the minimum any smaller and you'll have trouble to even fit your OS. IMO I'd go with my suggestion(obviously :p ) since keyboard, speaker, mouse technology is stagment and buy those know. And later get the ssd which will be less expensive. And if you do opt for an ssd make sure you have a 2.5inch adapter.


Thanks for the 2.5 inch adapter tip.

Maybe I will do the modular PSU. Dealing with extra cabling is frustrating, and the case is on the smaller side.

Good suggestions!
!