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First Ever Build! (Gaming PC, ~$1500, i5-750)

Last response: in Systems
May 26, 2010 5:27:41 AM

EDIT 1: switched out HDD for a 1 TB samsung spinpoint and added a Radeon 5870 card to compare with the Nvidia one I'd already picked out. Still on the fence about switching down to an i5 though.
Edit 2: I'm going with banthracis's build near the bottom of this page.

This is what I have so far: Sam's i7 930 build


BUDGET RANGE: ~$1500 After Rebates


PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitor (I found this alienware monitor on sale for an absurdly low price, so I snatched it up



PARTS PREFERENCES: I'm pretty confident I want to use an intel i7 930 CPU and 6 GB of RAM but could be convinced otherwise. I'd like to have a video card with HDMI output


SLI OR CROSSFIRE: In the future, if necessary


ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I don't care so much if the computer is loud, I just want to make sure:
  • It won't be a total nightmare to assemble (this is my first build after all)
  • It'll keep cool during prolonged gaming sessions.

    OTHER QUESTIONS: Are the mouse, mousepad, and keyboard I've picked out good for gaming?
    I've read that the stock heatsinks and fans are fine if you aren't overclocking, is that true? Do I need to invest in additional cooling equipment?
    I showed this build to a friend who said I'd want a 750 watt PSU for the components I have. I tried using the power supply calculator and it recommended something in the vicinity of 500 watts. Is the power supply I picked total overkill?
    I'm willing to spend some extra cash to ensure that the computer will run well for a while and will be easily upgradable; that's why I got more power than I needed and a mobo with SLI support and 6 slots for RAM but only one video card and 3 sticks of RAM. Have I constructed a near-future-proof computer?
    One more thing: I've been reading reviews and all of the stickied threads on building your first computer with the goal of picking out components that are top quality for the price, but I'm worried I've overlooked ensuring that every part will work well together. Is there some glaringly obvious way in which these parts won't all fit together to make a happy computer?

    I'd really appreciate any input you might have about the build, even if it's just to say that you took a look and it seems fine. Thanks very much.
  • More about : build gaming 1500 750

    May 26, 2010 9:18:34 AM

    It is a nice build, personally I would drop the i7 and go with the i5 750. The i7s were not designed for gaming in mind (by this I mean the extra features you get from the i7 over the i5 is near irrelevant for gaming).

    The only minor downside to the i5 750 is that the P55 boards only XFire/SLI in x8/x8 instead of x16/x16, I call this a minor downside because if you don't XFire or SLI it is totally irrelevant, and if you do XFire or is still almost irrelevant - it has been shown that the speed difference has a miniscule effect on Framerate. Given that the card you are going to be using will be rocking your games for a few years and then when you Xfire it will be even more years before the tiny framerate loss is noticable especially at your resolution, that's a long time away (generations away in terms of computer technology). For me personally it is even less of an issue because I prefer to have a single powerful card rather than 2 weaker ones so I never XFire anyway

    i5 750 - $194.99

    Asus P7P55D-E PRO - $189.99 (6gb/s, 3.0 USB)

    G Skill 4GB 2x2GB RAM - $109.99

    Total: $494.97

    Compared to the i7 stuff you were getting for $718.97
    That is a saving of $224 with near no loss in gaming performance (note that for gaming no more than 4gb is needed, so the loss of 2gb is fine for the i5 750 build, obviously if ever more RAM is of use for gaming you can just pick up more, though I think we will see DDR4 by that time)

    The other changes i would make are small things. If you mainly just game, is a 1TB Harddrive needed? Either way, I would go with the Samsung Spinpoint F3 500gb or 1TB depending one what you need. It is not a huge difference but they are widely know as the best HDDs.

    I can't give any info on your mouse and keyboard - I game just fine with a $15 mouse/keyboard bundle :D  so will leave it to experts to tell you how good your choices are.

    The final change I would recommend is the 470 Nvidia. Don't get me wrong, I love Nvidia, they have been by my side for years and years helping me game, but if you are building this computer for gaming, I would avoid the latest Nvidia cards, they just don't make sense to buy as a gamer. I strongly suggest buying the ATI 5870

    The GTX 470 you are thinking of getting was designed to best the ATI 5850, which it did, however it has got a price tag almost equaling the 5870 which is a BETTER card (in fact, right now on Newegg you can get the 5870 for the SAME price as the GTX470). So, currently the GTX470 is worse performance, a power whore, overly hot and very noisy AND the same price as the 5870

    I would stick with the 750W PSU, I always like to have spare power.

    I would also buy a Hyper212+ cooler if you do decide in a few years you want to overclock for extra juice. It is only about $30 and is an excellent cooler and quiet compared to stock cooler
    May 26, 2010 11:47:52 AM

    the nvidia 470 gtx is highly underrated. On single screens on high settings it performs close 5870 with premature drivers. While costing 50dollars less. Yes on average it gets an ass kicking from the 5870 because it fails on low settings and very high resolutions. Neither of these concern you though.

    I think both ati and nvidia make very good cards but in this case the nvidia is more suited.

    It is true that you can get 5870's for 380dollars but those don't have combos which make them a worse buy the the 400dollar 5870's.

    You'll be happy with both cards. Nvidia has the best frame per buck but it's hotter(which is irrelevant I don't know why people cry about it) and louder than the custom cooling solutions for ati which aren't available for 470's yet.

    And as we all know its not best friends with efficiency.

    So in the end they are both good deals IMO
    Related resources
    May 26, 2010 12:41:11 PM

    I would be very surprised to see Nvidia getting the best bang for your buck with latest cards, they tend to be very pricey. The GTX470 is not a lousy card by any means, you certainly would not be unhappy with it, but that does not mean it is the best buy. I mean, if someone said to me 'here, have a GTX470' I certainly wouldn't be turning my nose up and saying 'No thanks, I'd rather a 5870'

    Given that the 5870 is a better card, for the same price, or $20 more, the 470 still seems a hard sell to me.
    Performance wise the 5870 wins, efficiency wise it wins, noise wise it wins, temperature wise it wins. Price wise it is the same or at worse slightly more and given what you get for it, I would say it wins that too.

    I don't like to sound like some ATI fanboy, I really don't care who designs my GPUs, I just care about getting value for money and I just feel the 5870 is a better deal.
    Only if you can get a great combo deal is the GTX470 worth considering over the 5870.
    May 26, 2010 1:03:02 PM

    yes I agree but the you ussually can get great combos with the 470gtx thats why I said it would be a good buy because I agree that a custom cooled 5870 for only 30dollars more is a far better deal without combos.
    May 26, 2010 1:14:42 PM this a great combo for example is amazing. A ridiculously god psu for the price of a 750tx.

    also very good if you go i7.

    and some other great combos

    psu and free 8gb flash drive

    even better psu and 8gb flash drive

    very fast ram and free dvd burner

    this is what I mean lots of combos and free stuff because they can't go below the RRP
    May 26, 2010 2:05:25 PM

    Well you have me beat there, over in the UK I don't get the pleasure of combo deals and am not used to searching for them.

    I still prefer the 5870 because it is a more powerful card, however if due to combos the price difference becomes more significant than $20 or $30 (I don't know what deals you can get with the 5870) then the GTX470 could well be a contender

    It's still to noisy, power hungry and hot though (I know heat is not really that significant with a well built machine, but it can make a difference if you have a cheaper case or lack the air flow or just a very hot place you live)
    May 26, 2010 2:44:04 PM

    There's actually a buncha things you should change with your build.
    1. No need for the HX PSU, TX is fine. Modular doesn't do much in a bottom PSU mounted case.
    2. BAD BAD RAM choice. Surprised no one caught that yet.
    3. You don't need a mousepad, haven't needed once since optical mouse came out.

    If you want the best gaming performance possible for $1,500 go with a i5-750 and 5970 build. Anything more than an i5-750 is useless for gaming and it won't push out more FPS.

    Full build below
    May 26, 2010 2:51:12 PM

    i5-750 $195

    ASUS P7P55D-E LGA and 750TX $255 w/ $20 MIR
    not a xfire board, but with a 5970, don't need xfire, nor will the 1156 really benefit from more than that anyway.

    Ripjaw DDR3 1600 7-8-7-24 $110

    HAF 922 and 7200.12 $120

    5970 $700

    Lite on $20

    Mx518 $40.99

    Saitek Eclipse $28.50

    CM Hyper 212 Plus $29.13


    Total $1498.53 before shipping and $20 MIR
    Shipping is only $10 to NYC (almost everything is free ship).
    May 26, 2010 3:03:21 PM

    Good catch on the RAM, I have to admit I didn't give it much focus - the minute I saw i7 930 for a gaming rig I immediately went onto the i5 750 focus and picked out G Skill RAM to go with it
    May 26, 2010 3:30:25 PM

    Thank you so much to everyone who's posted here. I really appreciate you taking the time to help out this total computer building noob. I have a couple questions:
    1. Am I right in assuming that the consensus is that if I'm only gaming, the i5 will do just fine today, and intel is going to create a new set of CPUs soon so I shouldn't bother getting the i7 just for the sake of future-proofing?
    2. Holy cow, banthracis, that's a crazy GPU. One question about it, though: its interface is PCI express 2.1 but the motherboard only has PCI express 2.0 slots. That doesn't create a problem, does it?
    3. If you wanted to spend a bit more cash (<$100) to ensure that more parts from this build could be carried over to future builds, in which component would you invest? A single stick of 4 GB RAM? A better motherboard (maybe the one asteldian suggested in his first post)? Or am I better off saving the cash and using it for some future upgrade?
    Thanks again.
    May 26, 2010 3:49:10 PM

    1. Yes i5-750 is the most expensive CPU you'll need for gaming. Anything more is just a waste.

    2. Ignore that, unless you really want the technical explanation. It works fine on any PCIe 2.0 slot.

    3. There's only real way to improve is to add an SSD. I wouldn't recommend going anything less than a X25-M 80Gb though, $195. Don't need xfire mobo as 1156 isn't build to handle 2 5970s. 4gb RAM is plenty for gaming. Games are still coded using 32 bit, and 32 bit applications can't use more than 2gb RAM without Large Address Aware headers. This limit occurs regardless if you're on a 32 or 64 bit OS.

    Gaming wise the build will easily last you until next gen consoles come out, 2014 earliest. The issue here is that no major game company will design games that won't work on consoles, DX9 with 4 year old hardware.

    The 2 possible exceptions are Blizz (but they makes games that'll run on a netbook...) and Crytek, though considering their next game will be build to work fine on consoles, not much expectations for extreme hardware requirements despite marketing hype.

    If you want to see what native DX11 games should look like, run the Heaven 2.0 benchmark.
    May 26, 2010 4:04:03 PM

    1. basically, its more complicated than that but not worth trying to wrap ur head around it unless ur really particularly interested (im also lazy to type about it)
    2. it shouldnt, backwards compatibility and all... also, yes its an awesome gpu and for a gaming build its a good idea to put the heaviest investment in the gpu
    3. save the cash, just go with banthracis' build

    the idea with this build is that parts shouldnt need to be replaced for ~4 years
    and by that time u should be wanting a fresh computer anyway :D 

    i hope i beat banthracis to the punch!...

    edit: errghhh, this is what i get for opening these in a bunch of tabs and not refreshing them before posting
    May 26, 2010 4:08:21 PM

    You guys are awesome. I'm going to buy banthracis's build today! One more question: is it worth buying one of those anti-static wristbands for when I assemble this, or are they not worth it?
    May 26, 2010 4:27:17 PM

    as long as u r careful to ground urself (touch the metal of the CASE) before handling any of the equipment ull be fine
    if ur unsure, or clumsy (im clumsy but i still dont use one) get one of those anti-static wristbands
    theyre not worth it, but if u f*$# up without one then ud be wishing u spent the x amount of dollars for one
    May 26, 2010 4:30:53 PM

    Wait a minute why a 5970 over 470 sli? one 470 will perform better than half a 5970, because the 5870's in the 5970 are downclocked to 5850 level. And considering the 4percent loss due to the x8/x8 lanes and a bit more for the sli scaling. I think they will perform fairly equally.

    So we are looking at :

    470 sli: 4screen capable, cuda, physx, 3d, hot, inefficient., lots of combos

    5970: 2screen capable(6screen with a 100bucks adapter), 1 card, very large card, minimal OC capability.

    They are overall quite similar but I'd see which suits you best
    May 26, 2010 4:34:48 PM

    It's really just a waste of money. Just do what beer said and ground yourself. Just build it on a non conductive surface (wood table for example) and you're fine.

    Also, please don't build this while standing on carpet, especially not thick wall to wall carpeting like a certain college roommate of mine once did...
    May 26, 2010 4:47:56 PM

    Limited OC on the 5970?

    That's well over 5870 speeds, nearly 100 mhz over in fact, and I've seen even higher and still less heat and power than Fermi's.

    PhysX is dead and CUDA is not relevant in a gaming rig.

    5970 is up to 3 screens with a $20 passive adapter.

    Also, 470 SLI would require a larger PSU.

    You can give it a try, but I don't think you'll actually be able to do a 470 sli build with gaming keyboard and mouse for under $1,500.

    $40 more for SLi board, $20-40 more for another PSU.
    May 26, 2010 4:51:39 PM

    Somebody_007 said:
    Wait a minute why a 5970 over 470 sli? one 470 will perform better than half a 5970, because the 5870's in the 5970 are downclocked to 5850 level. And considering the 4percent loss due to the x8/x8 lanes and a bit more for the sli scaling. I think they will perform fairly equally.

    So we are looking at :

    470 sli: 4screen capable, cuda, physx, 3d, hot, inefficient., lots of combos

    5970: 2screen capable(6screen with a 100bucks adapter), 1 card, very large card, minimal OC capability.

    They are overall quite similar but I'd see which suits you best

    decent point, but then he'd have to get a better motherboard, which would add more to the cost...
    though u did point out there r some decent combos for the 470s, the combos r things like triple channel memory,
    or things he doesn't need. and he would have to buy two, so unless there were 2 good combos that he finds it
    may not be worth it.

    i dont know how well, or badly, the 5970 overclocks, but from reading other threads i seem to get the impression that its pretty decent.
    anyone have any links to some benches?

    May 26, 2010 5:19:25 PM

    Ok sorry I could be wrong just heard it from someone. Sice the two Gpu's are in 1 card you can't really OC much because it would heat up too much is what he said.

    So I'm wrong there then, but is that a reference 5970 or a custom cooled one?

    but I still maintain that 470gtx sli is a viable solution. Although as you pointed out it would be slightly more expensive.

    although with these 2 combos:


    that makes 15 dollars more for the psu. faster ram for 10 more. 20 less because of free dvd burner. modular psu. And than the more expensive and better mobo.

    In total its still a good buy

    May 26, 2010 5:38:18 PM

    Both articles are reference designs, ie unmodified.

    Guru 3D specializes in extreme OC's, so what they manage is pretty close to the limits of the cards.

    They actually have a nice 4way 480 sli article.

    They did require a specialized extended ATX MOBO to run 4 way SLI (there's certain issues, so it won't work on a normal MOBO).

    Some funny results
    1. Total power usage 1529 Watts...
    2. Temps 90C.
    3. Fans were maxed out to 62 DBA
    4. Time to increase room temperature noticeably...a few minutes.

    May 26, 2010 5:40:30 PM

    Imagine having that in your room lol. 62DBa lol If I play backround music it's not even much higher than that. But then again to some people 4 480's is music :p 
    May 27, 2010 1:04:47 AM

    Hey guys, I'm from Brazil and I intend to buy some components in USA during a vacation trip. My build was the as Sam's i7 930 build, but i already have a gtx 275 (=S), then, reading this thread, I really changed my mind about buying a i7-930.

    I wanted it because I thought i7 would be ok for many years you know, but now I see that the same happens with i5. Because i7 just like i5 will be overpast in a few years, then there's no point in getting a i7 while i5 would give me the same performance, am I right?

    If that's right, I should get a i5 build, but I don't even know what mother board or ram I should get. And I have another doubt, I got a gtx 275 isn't it bad?

    Another problem I'm not gonna make an online shopping, I want to buy everything at Fry's.

    Please really need your help.
    May 27, 2010 5:36:17 AM

    thats a good psu but th one I mentioned is much better a lower cost