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$1,500-2,500 multi-use build

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December 8, 2010 1:37:43 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: next week or two

Budget Range: 1,500 - 2,500 / 1,500 - 2,500

System Usage from Most to Least Important: 1. Surfing the internet, 2. Watching movies, 3. Gaming - main rationale behind the upgrade is being able to play games again

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: http://www.digitec.ch (prices in CHF, for simplicity's sake assume 1 CHF = 1$)

Country of Origin: Switzerland

Parts Preferences: Intel, GeForce

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 (I assume)

Additional Comments: I'm currently exclusively using laptops (Lenovo) which are increasingly reaching their limitations in terms of gaming - mainly strategy games (e.g., Civilization 5, Empire: Total War) but also some role-playing games (e.g., Fable 2) and even 3D-shooters (secondary importance). I'd like to remedy that as well as get myself a desktop again. So, main usage will be surfing, watching movies and gaming and then maybe throw in some light picture/video editing, word processing, excel etc. Bonus time is just around the corner so I have some money to play with - could afford either of the two set-ups below but would of course prefer to go cheaper. In conclusion, main questions with the two set-ups below:

1.) Do they work the way they are? Are any of the parts incompatible/am I missing something?
2.) Is the more expensive one overkill for my needs, i.e. value vs power?
3.) Are there any immediate savings available in the two setups (without significant impact on quality)?
4.) Is the Windows version sufficient for a own build (or do I need a different license)?
5.) Monitor - any good, right resolution, completely off?
6.) Finally (and - obviously - most importantly), which one (and with what changes) should I go for?


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$2,500 build:

CPU: Intel Core i7 950 BOX, 3.06GHz, LGA 1366, 4C/8T - $309

CPU cooler: Prolimatech Megahalems CPU-Cooler - Socket 775/1156/1366 - $68

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R, Intel X58, LGA1366, SLI, CFX - $248

Memory: Corsair TR3X6G1600C8, 3x2GB, DDR3-1600, CL8@1.65V - $124

Graphics: 2x Gigabyte GTX-470 SOC 1.28GB DDR5, PCI-E 2.0 x16 - $666 ($333 each)

Hard Drives:
Western Digital Caviar Black, 7200rpm, 64MB, 1TB, SATA-3 (for data) - $99
OCZ SSD Vertex 2 Extended Cap. 120GB, SATA-II, 2,5 Inch, MLC (for system) - $249

Optical: Lite-On iHAP122-19, DVD Writer, black, P-ATA - $35

Case: Cooler Master HAF X RC-942-KKN1 Big-Tower - $219

Power: Corsair CMPSU-850HX, 850W, SLI/CF, ATX2.2/EPS, 80Plus - $181

Monitor: BenQ G2420HDBE, 24" TFT Wide 16:9, DVI-D, black - $199

Operating system: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64bit, OEM, -E- - $149

Total cost: $2,546

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$1,500 build:

CPU: Intel Core i5 760 BOX, 2.8GHz, LGA 1156, 4C/4T - $214

CPU cooler: Cooler Master Hyper TX 3 - Intel/AMD - $36

Motherboard: Asus P7P55D-E, P55, LGA1156, CFX, SATA-3, USB 3 - $156

Memory: Kingston ValueRAM, 2x2GB Kit, DDR3-1333, CL9 - $58

Graphics: Gigabyte GTX-470 SOC 1.28GB DDR5, PCI-E 2.0 x16 - $333

Hard Drives:
Western Digital Caviar Black, 7200rpm, 64MB, 1TB, SATA-3 (for data) - $99
OCZ SSD Vertex 2 Extended Cap. 120GB, SATA-II, 2,5 Inch, MLC (for system) - $249

Optical: Lite-On iHAP122-19, DVD Writer, black, P-ATA - $35

Case: Antec Three Hundred, Gaming-Tower, schwarz - $73

Power: Corsair CMPSU-650TX, 650W, SLI/CF, ATX2.2/EPS, 80Plus - $95

Monitor: BenQ G2420HDBE, 24" TFT Wide 16:9, DVI-D, black - $199

Operating system: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64bit, OEM, -E- - $149

Total cost: $1,696

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This is going to be my first build, so any help/advice is greatly appreciated!

More about : 500 500 multi build

December 8, 2010 1:59:40 PM

1, 2, 3, & 6 - Overall the two builds are good, however if you want an Intel build wait until the middle / end of the 1st quarter and take another look at the PC parts market. With the release of Sandy Bridge things will change in regards to price and availability.
4 - Do you have a specific networking need for Win7 Pro? Windows 7 Home Premium will probably be fine...
5 - Eh... 1920 x 1080 max resolution is alright, but if gaming you will probably want something that can do a higher resolution. Depends on your preferred game settings.
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December 8, 2010 2:03:36 PM

$2500 build:

Drop the SSD to 60GB, make sure its Sandforce based. Change the 1TB to a Spinpoint F3

2 x GTX 470 isn't really advised. Go with two 580's in SLI.

You don't need Win 7 professional unless you are creating virtual environments for older programs. Home Premium is better, and cheaper.

For what you said you wanted, right now i'd go with an I5 760 and a matching P55 motherboard. This will be a lot cheaper. Or at the very least go with the bottom level 1366 I7 and overclock with your CPU cooler.

I think that case is a bit overkill but it's up to you, why not take a look at the antec 902 or a silverstone raven mid tower case.

As for the monitor, seems fine so long as the specs are good on it. I tend to go for 22" 1080p monitors, better pixel density gives clearer picture.

You'll need to up that PSU to a 1KW with my suggested GPU's.

$1500 build:

Dont get the GTX 470, try two 1GB GTX 460's in SLI, they are well priced.

Same as above regarding the SSD and HDD.

Up the PSU to 750W with the GPU choices i suggested.

Same as above regarding Win 7 and the monitor.

Make sure the motherboard supports SLI in proper x8x8 fashion, not x16x4.
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Best solution

December 8, 2010 2:55:23 PM

Wait for sandybridge.
nuff said.
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December 11, 2010 3:21:16 PM

Best answer selected by pylades.
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December 11, 2010 3:22:09 PM

Originally thought this sandybridge stuff sounded like something only "fanboys" would worry about but looking into it a little more, I've come to agree - I'll wait until April now.

Thanks a lot for all the advice!
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