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Help w/ First Build - Mid-Range General-use PC (no gaming/video)

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May 9, 2010 12:32:21 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: a few days

BUDGET RANGE: $700-800 total (after tax/ship/rebate). I have no actual budget, but it seems to me that I don't have to spend more to get a solid machine.

SYSTEM USAGE: Sadly, no gaming at first, but I'd like to at least be able to if I decide to in the future. Sometimes I rip DVDs, but that's rare. This is really more for general multi-tasking. That said, I'm a developer and I run my machines pretty hard sometimes during day-to-day usage. Maybe I want to be indexing the drive, virus-scanning, torrenting, using some shareware tool to find duplicate mp3's by CRC, run some beefy, inefficient java app and I have a couple of flash vids buried and running in my 60 open Firefox tabs.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers (will get later, although wouldn't mind rec's on a nice sub-$100 set with good bass). A friend is giving me a case w/650w power supply: Antec Performance One P180 Silver cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case I hear this case has no speaker, not sure he'll include that.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: NewEgg/Microcenter (I'm right next door) or maybe Fry's (I can get my wife to go after work, but that's less desirable)

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: US

OVERCLOCKING: Highly doubtful, although maybe if it's very simple and safe.

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Doubtful I'll ever need 2 gpus.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Goal is to build a machine that will last me 2-3 yrs until I have to upgrade any of it. Would like to be able to stretch it for as long as possible past that point, though. So 6-7 yrs overall lifetime would be great. Basically, gaming or speed when doing heavy, optimized processing are consider bonus, not primary goals. How long can I push this machine til day-to-day usage slows down enough I have to move on?

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Everything is on this wishlist:
New Egg Wishlist

Also, just in case you are really curious, here's other items I've considered but that didn't make the cut for any number of reasons: New Egg Alternate items

$220 i7-860 Just reserved one at MC. Seems worth the $20 over the i5-750 for HyperThreading when I'm multi-tasking a few yrs down the road. I'm quite confident that chip that will work for me. The only thing I might consider is the i7-920 or i7-930 to allow for a socket 1336 mobo, but at the price difference (requires more $$ mobo, more RAM) it seems like I won't be gaining quite enough to make a difference. Also giving slight* consideration to the AMD Phenom II X6 1055T, but I would only go that route if it were overwhelmingly clear that it were better for my purposes (aka non-gamer, non-encoder, every day multi-tasker. A started a lengthy discussion of processors already, so any serious debate about this should probably go there: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/page-280550_28_50.htm... Edit: removed this due to sale on i7-860: $180 Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80605I5750

$130 GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD3 LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard I realize people are guessing socket 1336 will be more future-proof, but I would guess that in 5+ yrs or whenever I'd be replacing the CPU, it will be time to move to a new mobo regardless. Sata 6 and USB 3 seem like I'll get a visible benefit out them within the next 5 yrs, so a few dollars more seems like a worthy investment. However, I'm not sure in terms of how many PCI slots I need or anything else, whether this is a good board or not.

$105 Patriot G Series ‘Sector 5’ Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model PGV34G1333ELK I am guessing 4GB is enough for the next 2-3 yrs (although I'm not sure how much 64-bit Win7 will change that vs current XP install). At that point I go up to 8 or 16 depending on how cheap DDR3 is. Might reconsider and go with 6GB off the bat and only have to upgrade once (in like 4 yrs?) Co-worker says Patriot is cheap but "awesome"

$37 GeForce GT 240 1024MB DDR3 PCIe 2.0 x16 Graphics Card I know the rankings from the hierarchy page, and I'm happy to find this one that seems decent/low-midrange for a very good price. Won't mind upgrading it in the future. Edit 2: removed this one after finding out it in-store was a bait n switch: $58 XLR8 GeForce 9800 GT 1024MB GDDR3 PCIe 2.0 Graphics Card Edit: I switched from this one: $72 EVGA 512-P3-N987-TR GeForce 9800 GT HDMI 512MB 256-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

$100 Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive 500GB will be enough for a few years, but might as well go with 1TB (can I add another internal drive on this machine?) Co-worker strongly recommended the double-something(?) on the Caviar black as being worth $15 over the Seagate Barracuda I was looking at (see alternate list).

$22 LITE-ON DL + LightScribe Have ripped a few DVD movie backups but would like to be able to put back onto DVD without having to compress. Minor preference for Lightscribe. Edit: swapped out this one: $29 LITE-ON 24X DVD Writer Black SATA Model iHAS424-98 LightScribe Support

$100 Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM

Total: around $680 (I'm in IL so free shipping from NewEgg but 10.25% sales tax at MicroCenter)

Thanks to all who comment! Welcome to suggestions of other stores or missing parts! Don't think I'll need thermal paste since the processor comes w a heat-sink, and it's not like I'm oc'ing.
a b 4 Gaming
May 9, 2010 12:46:35 AM

The only thing I have to say at the moment is that you are spending quite a lot for CAS 9 1333mhz RAM, this is a lot cheaper and is better as it has lower voltage: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1333 F3-10600CL9D-4GBNT (9-9-9-24) 1.5V $104 or you can spend $1 more (with shipping if that's applicable) and get some CAS 7s: Crucial Ballistix 4GB DDR3 1333 BL2KIT25664BN1337 (7-7-7-24) 1.65V $114 ($2 shipping).
And that 6GB sets are more worthwhile in 1366 system as they use tri-channel memory, and is the only platform to do so.
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a b 4 Gaming
May 9, 2010 5:22:43 AM

No gaming no video 1055T + IGP chipset featuring SATA/USB III (a good clocker board hehe) and if gaming on thhe table the 'nest' is there to support something definitely with far more teeth for Full HD than 9800GT hehe Bout' $585
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May 10, 2010 2:52:13 PM

Thanks for the input.
Silvune said:
The only thing I have to say at the moment is that you are spending quite a lot for CAS 9 1333mhz RAM, this is a lot cheaper and is better as it has lower voltage: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1333 F3-10600CL9D-4GBNT (9-9-9-24) 1.5V $104
...
And that 6GB sets are more worthwhile in 1366 system as they use tri-channel memory, and is the only platform to do so.

With the mail-in rebate (which I hate), the Patriot costs about the same, and my co-worker was very happy with Patriot in terms of quality (I've had some bad experiences with Crucial), and he mentioned that the G-Skill was more gamer memory. Remember that I'm probably not overclocking this thing and I'll probably have more than enough power with 650W, so is the lower voltage much benefit to me? And do lower timings benefit a non-clocker?

Re: the 6GB of RAM, the thought was that I could go with one 2x2 and one 2x1 kit. Do all four channels need to be the same size to be optimal, or do they just have to be in pairs (i.e. is there anything wrong with going with 2x2 + 2x1)? The other advantage is that it 3 yrs I can toss the 1GB sticks and add a 2x4 kit to go up to 12GB.

If I start with 4GB, would I go with two 2x1 kits to use the 4 DIMMs? Is that better than going with a single 2x2 kit? (i.e. do I lose anything by leaving two DIMMs open for now?) Then, depending on how long it is until I need more memory, I could put in a second 2x2 or a 2x4...

Quote:
the Samsung Spinpoint F3 as it performs just about the same

On my alternates list, I originally had this one: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive until that co-worker suggested that the Caviar Black would perform noticeably better. It's even cheaper than the Samsung. Could anyone explain to me what the performance difference is? My co-worker mentioned dual-something, but I forget what.

Regarding the ODD, I think it must have been a combo deal or something, or the price went up. I swapped it out for a $22 LITE-ON since I have a small preference for Lightscribe support.

Thanks, everyone!
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May 10, 2010 10:11:03 PM

Winner, winner, chicken dinner: The i7-860 is on sale for $140 off at MicroCenter for $200 ($220 including tax), only $20 more than the it-750. That wins, right?
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May 10, 2010 11:21:07 PM

kghastie said:
Winner, winner, chicken dinner: The i7-860 is on sale for $140 off at MicroCenter for $200 ($220 including tax), only $20 more than the it-750. That wins, right?


Isn't the i7 930 also 200 dollars at MC?
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May 11, 2010 12:39:37 AM

It would appear that way. Is it better for non-gaming purposes?
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Best solution

May 11, 2010 12:47:31 AM

kghastie said:
It would appear that way. Is it better for non-gaming purposes?


If by non-gaming purposes you mean multi-threaded apps, then yea. However, motherboards for that build are somewhat costly. You'd also wanna get a triple channel RAM. Going up to an i7 920+ build could cost maybe an extra 100 dollars.
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May 11, 2010 2:33:46 AM

Not sure if that's exactly what I mean. I basically don't game or do anything hardcore, but I want this machine to last as long as possible in everyday use. So running a virus scan while I have 50 Firefox tabs open and 2 flash videos playing somewhere that I can't find, and I'm running some java duplicate-file-finder or something, for example.... Mundane usage, since the inability to game or encode video quickly enough will probably never be the reason I upgrade. It would be more: I am going to shoot myself if I have to wait while Chrome repaints my screen every time I tab, therefore I will upgrade. Make sense?

So if that is the case, how do the i7-860 and i7-930 stack up?
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August 12, 2010 2:54:25 PM

Best answer selected by kghastie.
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