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Intel (was AMD vs. Intel) ~$600 Build [Ordered]

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April 11, 2012 6:25:49 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: (a) Over the next month / (b) in the next year
Budget Range: ~$550 (before rebates)

System Usage: LONGEVITY, home productivity (surfing, open office), light gaming (LotRO, Civ, ?), light development (Visual Studio Express, Vertrigo Apache Server, local Wordpress), light tv watching

I often have multiple things up at one time -- perhaps 30 or so browser windows, or Open Office and 10 browser windows, VS Express + a few browser windows, Vertrigo and a bunch of browser windows, LotRO and some surfing, etc.

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: none, really. The following list is based on newegg (wishlist: click on "Intel Build" below).
Country: USA

Parts Preferences: Mid-size ATX
Overclocking: Maybe
SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: Minimum of 1680x1050 (current monitor's max resolution, a Syncmaster 226BW)

Additional Comments:

Prices listed are sale prices as of today for some of the items, if you notice a price difference.

The base build below in the next month, then adding more memory, better graphics as needed in the next year.

This build is to replace a 3-year-old Dell Inspiron laptop. My system usage (above) is a little too much for the laptop, and the hdmi port on the laptop has failed.

This will be my first-time home build (surprising, since I've been playing with computers since '78, but then I made my living on the software side of things).

----------------------------------------------------------
Intel Build

updated per advice in this thread and circumstances

~$ 89.99 Rosewill BLACKHAWK Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case, come with Five Fans, window side panel, top HDD dock
~$ 0.00 Intel Core i5-3570K (gift)
~$ 99.99 BIOSTAR TZ77B LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
~$ 69.99 Rosewill HIVE Series HIVE-550 550W Continuous @40°C, 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified, Modular Design, Single +12V Rail, ATX12V v2.31/EPS12V v2.92, SLI Ready, CrossFire Ready, Active-PFC Power Supply
~$ 46.99 G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL
~$ 69.99 Samsung by Seagate Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ/ST500DM005 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive Purchased
~$ 99.99 Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit (Full) System Builder DVD 1 Pack
~$ 17.99 ASUS 24X DVD Burner - Bulk 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS - OEM Purchased
~$ 24.99 Rosewill RNX-N250PCe (RNWD-11005) Wireless Adapter IEEE 802.11b/g/n PCI Express 300/300Mbps Transfer/Receive Rate 2T2R 64-bit/128-bit WEP, TKIP, and AES WPA, WPA2

Post-Build

(within a year)
-- additional memory for a total of 16GB
-- nice graphics card per the advice below, noting what's best will change in a year


Thanks for the advice.

Update: Just bought the base build in three orders for $484.41 after instant rebates and promotions (the processor, though, was a gift and not included in that total)

More about : intel amd intel 600 build ordered

April 11, 2012 6:27:39 PM

For light gaming, I'd still go with the i3-2120 as the cores are better optimized.
April 11, 2012 6:59:14 PM

Intel is way better. I don't think you need a Z68 motherboard, since you're not overclocking. Your PSU also seems a bit excessive. Go with 8 gigabytes of DDR3-1600 RAM... it's definitely fast enough. Also, did you mean to not put in a graphics card? If you're using integrated graphics... they won't get you very far. At least get a 6850 (6870 would be better, GTX 560 Ti would be great, 7850 would be ideal).
Related resources
April 12, 2012 1:23:59 PM

ddan49 said:
Intel is way better. I don't think you need a Z68 motherboard, since you're not overclocking. Your PSU also seems a bit excessive. Go with 8 gigabytes of DDR3-1600 RAM... it's definitely fast enough. Also, did you mean to not put in a graphics card? If you're using integrated graphics... they won't get you very far. At least get a 6850 (6870 would be better, GTX 560 Ti would be great, 7850 would be ideal).


So, the Intel vs. AMD question: ya'll (and research) have convinced me that Intel is the way to go.

A couple of clarifications: I am seeking longevity, and I will add on certain, better components down the road (when I have more money saved!). So, since the Intel has an integrated chipset, I'll want to get a video card later.

Do I get more longevity with the Z68? Could I, say, plug in an i7 down the road?

I had been looking at 500-550W PSUs, but this 620W happened to be on sale for the same price as the lower watts. It doesn't matter if you're overpowered if it's the same cost, does it? (thinking about the longevity thing again)

April 12, 2012 3:48:14 PM

More important than watts is amps and quality, a low quality 620 watt is worse than a high quality 500 watt. Go with this psu.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Within a few weeks ivy bridge should come out which you might want to get. (especially if you are using integrated graphics). For the motherboard I would get an h67 if you get a sandy bridge processor, or h77 if ivy bridge.
Also this ram is cheaper
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Can you reach a microcenter? If so you could save a lot of money.
April 12, 2012 5:03:12 PM

Hey, I've updated the original post for clarity and for a power supply change (thanks adgjlsfhk).

I'm confused by the motherboard talk -- the Z68 is too much for my purposes, but I should hold out for the Ivy Bridge boards??

The RAM mentioned is only 1333; mine in the original spec was 1866. Is it worth it to shave a few dollars by going to a lower speed RAM (if only for a few months) then upgrading to more and faster RAM later?

My upgrade path (without replacing the motherboard) with this build is going from the i3 and i7 and increasing RAM speed and size. Is that enough for the next 3-4 years? I really am working on a limited budget here.
April 12, 2012 8:59:24 PM

Hmmm... if you want to upgrade later on, it might be a good idea to get a Z77 or a Z68 motherboard (if you will be overclocking with the i5 and i7). The PSU suggested is nice, by the way. I'll just address things one by one:

Z68 vs others: Z68 is for overclocking. If you're not going to overclock, you don't need it. However, if you will upgrade to an overclocked CPU, you may want to get Z68 (or preferable Z77) NOW, to not buy it along with your CPU later... although it's up to you. Atm, you do not need a Z68, and there are many cheaper and still good motherboards out there that don't let you overclock

RAM: Speed doesn't make a huge difference. Depending on how much the price difference is, it may or may not be worth it. More gigs of RAM is better than fewer gigs of higher speed RAM. Usually, a $800+ build will have DDR3-1600 with an i5-2500k, and a lower build will have DDR3-1333. You're not missing out on anything huge, trust me. Doesn't affect fps at all, it's about loading speeds.

You said you won't replace motherboard... then you'll have to fork over some extra for (preferably) a Z77 motherboard... the Extreme4 ASRock is nice, but it's $150. Maybe the Pro3 Z77? It's $120 I think.

Oops, just noticed you have a Z68. Yeah, I'd go with Z77 because it'll support one more generation of processors than Z68, just because it's newer. It also takes advantage of IB, which I would suggest getting if you can wait for April 29th.

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask them right here. I'm checking this thread regularly.
April 12, 2012 10:18:17 PM

If I were you I would not do an I7 upgrade but instead get an I5 now or when ivy bridge comes out. I7 does not give you an advantage for 95% of jobs. If you want to overclock get the I5 2400 or ivy bridge equivalent. If you want to overclock get the I5 2500k or I5 3750k (ivy bridge). It will add $100 now but will save you $200 later. Also if you can get to a microcenter, I would recommend this set of parts which will give you a lower price.

I5 2500k $179
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Asus p8z68-v lx LGA 1155 Z68 ATX Intel Motherboard $114
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Barracuda 7200.9 500GB 7,200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive ST3500641AS-RK $79
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

XMS 8GB DDR3-1333 (PC3-10666) CL9 Dual Channel Desktop Memory Kit $29
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit (Full) System Builder DVD 1 Pack $99.99
http://www.amazon.com/Windows-Premium-64bit-System-Buil...

LG 22X Super-Multi DVD Burner $16
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

COOLER MASTER RC-692-KKN2 CM690 II Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case $69
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Sorry I forgot the psu the one I suggested before should work well

This gets you an I5 and other similar parts for $638
April 12, 2012 11:43:47 PM

Thanks, ddan and adgjlsfhk.

The nearest MicroCenter is 3+ hours away, bummer.

Shaving $10 off to go from 1TB to 500GB hard drive might be worth it, as tight as the budget is. I typically don't use that much space and rely on a network storage drive for media. Definitely the slower speed of DDR3 as now I'm more educated on the speeds.

Still wondering about the i3 vs. i5. Am I really going to notice the difference now or in 3 years??

And the Z68 vs. an older vs. a Z77 motherboard. What's the difference? Besides overclocking or not? In terms of the upgrade path? (Like, get the Z77 because it makes it more likely to extend the life of the motherboard, meaning upgrade to a better-than-i7 down the road, or get an older than Z68 the upgrade path is future processor + new motherboard?? Or stick with Z68 'cause it's the middle ground?)

After the great advice here, my idea of upgrades after I build the basic machine

1) from integrated video chipset to good video card
2) from 8GB of DDR3 1333 to 16GB of DDR3 1333
3) from i3 to an i7??

...and in 4+ years
4) from a Z68 (or current alternative) to the latest motherboard and processor

April 12, 2012 11:47:13 PM

Quote:
If I were you I would not do an I7 upgrade but instead get an I5 now...

^Agreed. I wasn't really paying attention to that, but i7 won't offer you any practical performance benefit... especially if you're gaming. Again, if possible, I would wait for IB, but it would cost you a minimum of $36 more (which is really worth it, if you ask me). Also, you may want to think about a HAF 912 case. Very, very, tested and true case with solid construction and cable management.

Keep in mind that you won't be able to play many games without a dedicated graphics card. Also, make sure that you get your CPU approved by someone who can verify it has integrated graphics (for example, the i5-2500k has integrated graphics, while the i5-2550k doesn't). If you can wait for Ivy Bridge, it would really, really be worth it for you because the integrated graphics on IB is soooooooooo much better than SB (3750k graphics > than 2500k graphics).

A year is a long scope for GPUs, so we can't help you with that... completely new GPUs will be out in a year.

But seriously. Wait for Ivy Bridge. It's the best possible option for your needs.

EDIT: I think you misunderstood Z77. Newer boards don't let you get an i7 instead of an i5, they let you get the newer GENERATION of i5s and i7s. So a Z68 is good for SB (i5-2500k, i3-2120, etc.) while a Z77 is good for IB (i5-3750k, etc.). Because Z68 still SUPPORTS IB (although I wouldn't recommend it for a new build), that means Z77 will SUPPORT one GENERATION (so past Ivy Bridge, and into the next "tock") FARTHER. This has nothing to do with i3,i5,i7, etc... it has to do with the actual generation. Also, yes, you will notice a difference from i3 to i5 because i5 is quad-core, and more and more games will start using four cores. I wouldn't recommend shaving 500GB of storage off to save $10...

I'd suggest upgrading the motherboard NOW... and seriously.

Wait for IB. It's a great decision for you because of the integrated graphics hike.
April 13, 2012 12:38:01 AM

Waiting has its benefits -- what you're pointing out with Ivy Bridge makes sense. I can also stock up a little more money, hopefully, too.

It's just my laptop is really limiting what I can do now, between the cooling issues and the hdmi port dying.

I guess I hadn't clued in on the Z68 vs. Z77 being a processor generation thing, or that "integrated video" meant integrated with the processor, not the motherboard, so thanks!

Gonna think about this for a bit.
April 13, 2012 12:44:05 AM

For you, I would REALLY STRONGLY recommend waiting for IB. It's only like two weeks (April 29th), so if you can live... I know it's hard... ;) 

I'm waiting for early May (birthday + IB + saving money) to buy my new build. I'm on a six year old workstation laptop that's running IGP on a 1.6 gigahertz dual core Intel CPU... when I play a game (not BF3, either), I have to close explorer.exe (the task bar and folder... look at the bottom of the screen with the start menu. That.) because I've only got 1GB of RAM.

You don't know what it's like... O.o

:p 
April 13, 2012 12:55:44 AM

ddan49 said:
For you, I would REALLY STRONGLY recommend waiting for IB. It's only like two weeks (April 29th), so if you can live... I know it's hard... ;) 

I'm waiting for early May (birthday + IB + saving money) to buy my new build. I'm on a six year old workstation laptop that's running IGP on a 1.6 gigahertz dual core Intel CPU... when I play a game (not BF3, either), I have to close explorer.exe (the task bar and folder... look at the bottom of the screen with the start menu. That.) because I've only got 1GB of RAM.

You don't know what it's like... O.o

:p 



Ha! Yes, I am spoiled. I remember the Timex Sinclair computer my friend had back in the day... not enough umph to run a BASIC program more than 20 lines long.
April 13, 2012 1:19:54 AM

I don't... I'm fourteen! :p 

For me, a slow computer is one that has trouble opening fourteen browser windows while converting video!
April 13, 2012 1:50:24 AM

hey it's worth it for 3 hours away micro center... the cheaper parts you get there is worth it unless your paying more or something on your travel fees then it's not.
April 13, 2012 1:58:05 AM

Actually, I don't know. He saves about $40, right? Well, assuming he drives at 45 mph, with 20mpg, that means he drives a total of about 270 miles. At 20mpg, that's 13.5 gallons of gas. Gas is about $4 a gallon, so he spends six hours driving and $54 on gas. It's actually not worth it! Also, everything was optimistic, so I'm sure the mpg is less...

I did this calculation myself, then justified it by going to Chicago (the nearest microcenter) on a "birthday trip to the museums" and just "stopped by the microcenter". Basically, if you're going near the microcenter anyway, just stop by.
April 13, 2012 2:14:08 AM

You should wait for ivy bridge. Get an I5 because the extra cores will be useful. Also, Ddan49 I doubt that z77 motherboards will support anything after ivy bridge. The next generation will be a "tock" so there will most likely be a new architecture. That said, you might want to get a z77 for other reasons. Also microcenter often has in store deals that they do not advertise well. I have seen a $50 off any z68 mobo with an I5 2500k. These are not always there, but when they are, it is enough to justify the trip.
April 13, 2012 2:18:31 AM

ddan49 said:
For you, I would REALLY STRONGLY recommend waiting for IB. It's only like two weeks (April 29th), so if you can live... I know it's hard... ;) 

I'm waiting for early May (birthday + IB + saving money) to buy my new build. I'm on a six year old workstation laptop that's running IGP on a 1.6 gigahertz dual core Intel CPU... when I play a game (not BF3, either), I have to close explorer.exe (the task bar and folder... look at the bottom of the screen with the start menu. That.) because I've only got 1GB of RAM.

You don't know what it's like... O.o

:p 



I am working on an Pentium d single core at 2 gigahertz, 512 megabytes of ram. When I open a game (Minecraft on absolute lowest settings) I have to Firefox.
April 13, 2012 2:25:08 AM

adgjlsfhk said:
I am working on an Pentium d single core at 2 gigahertz, 512 megabytes of ram. When I open a game (Minecraft on absolute lowest settings) I have to Firefox.


Once you buy a new PC you will be blowwwn away. No joke
April 13, 2012 2:25:51 AM

adgjlsfhk said:
I am working on an Pentium d single core at 2 gigahertz, 512 megabytes of ram. When I open a game (Minecraft on absolute lowest settings) I have to Firefox.

Or if you do LOL.... awks
April 13, 2012 3:14:24 AM

coming from a pendium D single core at 2 ghz.

I assure you, you will be like WWWWWWWWTTTTTTTTTFFFFFFF!!!!!!!!!!!! from the performance increase.

try playing the first wolfenstein 3d game(those that fit on floppy disk) on your system now there are ways to play it using some sort of program. then after you get your new pc, go play bf3, at high settings. you will be so blown away
April 13, 2012 5:08:24 AM

ddan49 said:
Quote:
EDIT: I think you misunderstood Z77. Newer boards don't let you get an i7 instead of an i5, they let you get the newer GENERATION of i5s and i7s. So a Z68 is good for SB (i5-2500k, i3-2120, etc.) while a Z77 is good for IB (i5-3750k, etc.). Because Z68 still SUPPORTS IB (although I wouldn't recommend it for a new build), that means Z77 will SUPPORT one GENERATION (so past Ivy Bridge, and into the next "tock") FARTHER. This has nothing to do with i3,i5,i7, etc... it has to do with the actual generation.
Quote:

Wrong. The next upgrade path from Ivy Bridge will be Haswell 22nm cpu and will use the 1150 socket. Ivy Bridge is the end of the upgrade path from the 1155 socket.
April 13, 2012 5:35:33 AM

It's also better to just build a sandy bridge now when it becomes a bit cheaper when ivy is out then just built a new one when haswell is out or the next tock the one that comes after haswell should be a tick and the tock should be the one after it if i'm right
April 13, 2012 7:01:51 PM

Darnit. I guess I'm wrong. Ignore what I said, then :)  Except for the microcenter cost calculation. Don't go to microcenter :/ 

I would probably only upgrade CPUs every "tick", so I'm getting the "finished" version... I don't know, though, it's up to you. Every time you upgrade your CPU, you have to upgrade your mobo, as well (almost every time... unless you upgrade every year). I think 3.4ghz minimum (4.0 overclocked at a modest overclock) should hold most people for the next four-five years, though.
April 13, 2012 7:06:41 PM

I'm waiting until Ivy Bridge. Thanks for the advice!
May 12, 2012 12:33:47 PM

My Ivy Bridge processor is on its way! An i5-3570K to be more precise. :) 

So, here's my basic build.

Later, when I have more $, I will add

-- a good video card

and possibly

-- more memory
-- a SSD to act as a cache between system memory and the SATA drive


Thanks for all the help! Any comments?
May 12, 2012 2:19:03 PM

your link does not work.
May 12, 2012 4:21:41 PM

The link works now, now that I've remembered how to link correctly in these forums (I tested the link this time, too).

I also updated the original post if that makes for easier viewing.

Thanks
May 12, 2012 6:51:25 PM

I would have bought a cheaper motherboard, 8 gigs of ram and a HAF 912. It would have been more rounded. Also, what integrated graphics do you have? Hd 2500 is close to unplayable on low settings.
May 12, 2012 7:08:12 PM

A guy I know, a processor expert, mentioned 4GB of DDR3 1600 would see good performance for light gaming in combination with the i5-3570. Does that run counter to your experience? Will 4GB tide me over a few months while I save more $?

The processor should come with the HD4000 GPU, so hopefully that will span the time between now and when I have the $ for a better video card (up to a year, probably six months, depending if I buy more RAM in that time period).

What cheaper Z77 motherboard would you recommend?

May 12, 2012 9:27:24 PM

I would recommend a tz77b. I got one 3 weeks ago for my build and it works great. Here is a link.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
The reason to get 8 gigs of ram is not current usage, but price. 1333 GHz is not a big step down from 1600 GHz. Check out these various options.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
May 12, 2012 9:28:36 PM

Also, why didn't you get a cheaper case such as the HAF 912?
May 13, 2012 1:03:28 AM

Can't stand the way the HAF 912 looks. Some of the cases in that range I might be able to live with... but the Rosewill has really good air flow, good cable management, comes with several case fans, and it won't be ugly or too flashy in our living room.

I thought it might be worth $30 more for all the above.
May 13, 2012 1:05:11 AM

Hey, good advice! I did change over to the tz77b motherboard. The features of the TZ77XE3 were nice, but more than I needed.
May 13, 2012 1:06:24 AM

hey, do I need a CPU cooler? Beyond the case fans? If I don't overclock? I haven't listed one yet.
May 13, 2012 2:44:33 AM

If you will not overclock, there is no need for an aftermarket cooler. If you decide to overclock in the future you can add one then. Also if you want a better looking case I would suggest this. You do not need more fans, but if you want to, you can get a 120mm fan for about $3
Rosewill Challenger $49
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
May 13, 2012 7:58:47 PM

Hey, thanks for all the advice! This is great.
May 15, 2012 5:35:33 PM

Update: Just bought the base build in three orders for $484.41 after instant rebates and combos and promotions (the processor, though, was a gift and not included in that total)
!