Hopefully not too expensive i5 750

Approximate Purchase Date: When I can save enough to buy it. Maybe spring?

Budget Range: I can stretch this a little since I have to save up for it anyway (just longer until I can build it, right) but I really can't see spending a whole lot more than $1000-$1200 or so. Less is better (of course)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: internet, games, tv/video.. once in a while I load up photoshop or something for fun but I really don't spend a lot of time in it, sometimes I do some html coding but... that hardly takes more than notepad and I could probably do that on a pentium 2 ;)

Parts Not Required: Really - I need everything, except I'll be taking my current monitor (samsung 2233sw or something like that) and replacing what I'm using on this computer with something budget for someone who will be doing mostly email and web. I can borrow an optical drive as a temporary measure (at least, if it's sata..I'm not sure that it is) but eventually will want to get a basic burner ( this one was recommended in several reviews here on TH) and maybe a bluray reader.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: In the end I'll get it where I can find the best price. I shop amazon, tigerdirect, and newegg just for an idea right now. Links to newegg are fine.

Parts Preferences: by brand or type (e.g.: I would like to use an AMD CPU & Biostar mobo with a 24" LCD and full tower case)

Overclocking: I won't rule it out but I'm not starting there. It would be hard not to be better than the p4 2.4 ghz I'm running now... I can't even watch a 3 minute 1080p video on youtube.

SLI or Crossfire: as above: not ruling it out if I have some spare $ somewhere down the line, but I won't start there. I understand SLI needs the card to be the same # and all so I was kind of leaning toward ATI for a little more flexibility - assuming I have that right.

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080, maybe with an eye toward dual display on a TV sometime

Additional Comments: I'm going to probably buy a case locally from what I like and what seems sturdy but not sure what to look for. Mid-tower size range. I like windows and bling but, well I can add shinies later ;) I dont care if it's super quiet as long as its not annoyingly loud - in other words if I can hear it, no problem, but if I can hear it in the other room (or at the wrong pitch), then that's a problem.

I need a system with longevity. I like games, but rarely the latest and greatest. (As a hint, the last game I purchased was Mass Effect - this month - and before that Guild Wars last spring.) So, something that will be reliable hopefully for a few years (I mean I am running on an 8 year old processor as it is..) and still reasonably up to date, or possibly overclockable to keep using would be nice. I don't have to run bf2 on full settings or anything like that (not that I would mind) and I'd prefer going as long as possible before I have to upgrade again in order to keep doing what I want to do.

After spending two weeks researching AMD vs Intel and painstakingly narrowing down to a couple chips (Athlon II x4 635 vs Core i3 540) I suddenly changed my mind and I want this instead:
I figure for another $70-90 it's a chip that will last me a lot longer before I have to upgrade.

Settled on the P55 chipset but I'm not sure about boards. I've always had a good feeling about Gigabyte and their longevity/durability. I guess ASUS is fast but from the experiences in my family they burn out quicker, too. Does that sound like a pretty accurate assessment of recent boards? I don't know much about other brands, haven't felt that comfortable with them really. But maybe I could be satisfied with something else.
Was looking at these two Gigabyte boards:
I like the USB 3 / SATA 3 on here. I'm not spending $200 on a 6GB/s Sata drive right now, but I might eventually. Looks like I shouldnt have any trouble with a 2nd video card if I wanted to put an extra one in. Not sure about the placement of those PCIEx1 slots though, am I right that a dual slot card in either of the PCIEx16 spots is going to get in the way of at least one other slot on the board? (or is that just normal and I should get over it now? ;) )
Cheaper, but it doesn't have SATA 3, and also looks like you can't run dual video cards. Or I should say - it only has one PCI-E x16 slot if I am reading it right.

I am really leaning toward Radeon 6850 (single at this time) on this one. I like the warranty on XFX although it is not the cheapest. Heard bad things about Sapphire's customer support - hopefully I won't need it, but you never know. HIS from what I understand has good cooling. Thoughts? Mentioned above but I am leaning toward ATI rather than NVidia for a couple reasons, one is flexibility - from what I understand you have more choices in setting up Crossfire than you do in setting up SLI, that with SLI the cards have to be nearly identical except not necessarily from the same distributor, but with Crossfire anything in the same family will work. Do I have that right? Also with the 6850 I like the HDMI 1.4a support. on NVidia 460gtx (which seems to be the comparable card) it has only mini-HDMI outs (is that even any different? I don't know!) and the only references to 460gtx and hdmi 1.4a that I could google up were ... in foreign languages. Except NVidia's own page, but then when I visited it I couldn't find anything specific to 1.4a, it just said HDMI.

I'm pretty clueless. I'm looking to get 4GB of DDR3, something that's a good value, not necessarily top of the line but not cheapy either (heard good things about GSkill but I dont know how the price compares so much). I read somewhere in the TH forums that with the i5 750, especially for overclocking (?) that 1333 mHZ is actually superior to 1600 mHz. Not sure I really understand why. I don't get what is the deal with timings either. Last time I built a computer nobody mentioned any of that stuff. Oh, and someone also mentioned for otherwise similar RAM that lower voltage is better RAM - and recommended not to run over 1.5 V with that i5.

Power - dont know much about PSU brands but I see Antec's name everywhere. Any suggestions for either how much power I will need or where to find a good reliable calculator to tell me that? at one time it was recommended to me to get a dual rail PSU but from a quick web search it looks like if I get a quality psu, it doesn't matter whether it is single or dual rail, and that being single or multi rail doesn't indicate quality necessarily either. Oh, and I find the idea of modular PSU unreasonably alluring. I'm sure I could get by without it. I keep telling myself that.

hard drives - not too worried about that, figure I will pick up a brand I recognize when it is on sale in a good size (100GB + for my initial drive and possibly as much as 1TB for a storage drive later when I can) and 7200rpm. sata of course. I've never had any trouble with western digital but are there other good brands to be on the lookout for?

sound - do I really need a soundcard? I cant imagine putting it in my initial build even if I get one. But should I care about getting one later?

cooling- the least and yet inescabably the most pressing concern... ;) There's so many brands and things out there. I dont have $ to get anything more than air cooling. Is it even worth buying anything like this if I want some pretty lights on the side of my box or is something that cheap going to ultimately be a noisy disappointment?

Speakers I'll get later, keyboard and mouse I will find some wireless logitech on sale when I'm ready (unless there's some compelling reason to do differently). Mostly always been happy with logitech. I'm not a picky or high needs keyboard buyer :)

So many questions - that's what I get for thinking and researching for weeks. I'm obviously going to have to pick up windows 7 64b too (xp won't know what to do with any of that!) but, I'll take care of that separately, I guess. Is there anything else I need to plan for that I haven't thought about (or at least mentioned)? Thanks in advance for your time everyone.


I think this motherboard GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD3 was the one I meant to post for my cheaper option. Don't know how I missed that when I was looking. It does have SATA 3 but has the same video options as the one I linked above.
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More about hopefully expensive
  1. CPU - You should know that Intel is going to launch their newer CPUs by Jan 2nd Week, so I would probably get that...It would launch at the current i5 price range, so should come within budget

    Mobo - Newer P67 boards

    Graphics card - Both ATI and Nvidia will be offering newer cards in a month or 2, so I would keep an eye for those...
    AMD ATI HD 69xx or Nvidia GTX 570 or 560 whichever offers better bang for buck/...

    Rest of the things can be selected based on the deals available then IMO...
  2. Am I wrong in supposing if new hardware is introduced at similar prices that the current hardware would then be cheaper and more easily obtained?
  3. ^ Yes, I guess it would, but not sure about the CPUs as Intel still sells Core2Quad and C2D at similar price points of the i5s...
  4. Honestly if you are going to buy a system more than 3+ months out, it would be best to wait closer to your purchase date (IMO no more than 2 months away). New hardware coming out may drop the prices of the old, and it may not. 6 months from now in Spring the whole landscape will be different, and what makes you excited now may be old news by then.
  5. Concur w/GKay09, By spring the Landscape will be better (For USB 3 and SATA III (6) support), I hope.

    On current build.
    MB: I have the P55-UM4P and love it. Do NOT recommend if planning on SLI/Xfire as you loose USB3/Sata 6 and you have NO pcie 4 X slots. Mechanical HDDs do NOT need the SATA 6, works fine on sata 3 - (Just a marketing ploy). HOWEVER; New SSDs will benifit from SATA 6, and downstream this would be a great upgrade. I'm quessing, but I think the P67 will fix this issue, If not then look at the 17/x58 or equivalent.

    Memory: I'm using 4 x 2 gig Ripjaws DDR3-1600 CL7 1.60 Volts with No problems. Just added the 2nd set (4 gigs). I've had the 1st pair (4 gigs) for about a year - I just select "use profile 1" and it set everyting up correctly and was easy to OC to 3.8 (I backed off to 3.2, but can go to 3.8 by just changing the multiplier.

    PSU: I do not use the PSU calculators - they tend to be on the high side to compensate for the POOR quality PSUs out there. What I do is look for a review of the GPU that you select and look at the page on power consumption, will normally indicate system power. In your case a good 650 W corsair would be great - Just wait and buy on sale (Newegg often offers the corsairs on sale. The I5-750 w/ATI 5770 will run fine on the corsair 450 W, but you indicated possible Xfire/SLI so the 650 should be fine. If You go with one of the Fastest GPUs and for SLI you would have to bump that up.
  6. RE the motherboard, good to know. Is there any current p55 board which does not have that problem? (losing sata3/usb3 when you use sli or crossfire)

    As far as timing, really I'd like it as soon as possible, but I can't see that I will be able to save up realistically before january at the earliest, probably longer than that. Of course if something else in similar or even better price comes out that's better in the meantime - my plans would change :)

    I guess the questions I would like answered can be boiled down a little bit:

    1. Do I understand correctly that with SLI you have to have practically identical cards (if by different distributors) but with crossfire you are more flexible to be able to use related but not necessarily exactly the same cards (for example two different radeon 5xxx cards)?

    2. Are Gigabyte boards a good/the best option for long life in an individual piece of hardware (motherboard)? Is my impression of ASUS as fast but short lived correct? Are there any other motherboard brands that have a reliable long life that you can recommend?

    3. Any brand recommendations or brands to stay away from on harddrives?

    4. Should I even worry about a soundcard or should onboard be fine if I'm not an audio nerd?

    5. Should I even bother putting <$10 fans in my computer if they have colored lights that I like, or am I just setting myself up to be disappointed when they die in 2 weeks or are noisy as heck? ;)

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