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First time build, help please.

Last response: in Systems
September 5, 2012 4:37:12 PM

I know these threads come up all the time, and it's probably inconvenient to re-read the same questions a million times, but I will say this, I was in the military for six years and at no point did I feel this terrible, gut wrenching fear that I have when it comes to trying to build my own computer.

Gaming and computing has been a longtime passion of mine, not always knowing the hardware, but being active in the community of electronics. Now that I am disabled and have so much free time, It is a passion that I want to grow, I want to learn how to do this, but I'm really,really,really scared to even begin to attempt this venture alone. I am really lucky I found this site and for the past few hours I've been studying every scrap of information I can find.

So, let's get down to the nitty gritty, as per request :

Approximate Purchase Date: Preferably within the next 3 months ( Currently Sept. 05. 2012 , Latest build finish : Dec. 05. 2012)
Budget Range: 500-700 Before / After Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Streaming, Gaming, Music storage, Art storage.

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Mouse, speakers, monitor, squeaky office chair.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: is the site I am most familiar with, I am willing to browse alternative sites at recommendation.

Do you need to purchase an OS : Yes, I will need to purchase one.

Country: United States, Alabama in the birmingham area.

Parts Preferences: I am not particular to any make or brand. I am a novice when it comes to computer hardware.

Overclocking: I feel I am not experienced enough to even try this, so No.
SLI or Crossfire: Too expensive from what I understand, No.

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: Aesthetics mean absolutely nothing to me. I want a stable PC, it doesn't have to run every single modern game at maximum settings, but I would like them to be very playable on at least medium settings ( for lower tier games) and low settings for upper end star lined titles.

Reason for upgrade : I run a very outdated and overused laptop that has seen the sand and sea, it's worn to the gums and doesn't have much life left. I feel it's time to invest and try to get some more enjoyment out of my gaming experience.

I appreciate any and all advice on this venture and I will do my absolute best to meet anyone who aids me halfway.

Thank you for your time and assistance,

Have a good day/night.

More about : time build

September 5, 2012 5:35:39 PM

there is a newegg guide on how to build a computer. its 3 parts and you dont really need to watch the first one given its about part selection

go to youtube
Related resources
September 5, 2012 5:52:51 PM

If I went a little cheaper on the GPU how much would it hurt performance ? Also, is there any other corners I can cut to save a few bucks if I take the gpu ? 700+ is a bit on the steep end for me.
September 5, 2012 7:37:31 PM

Here's a mesh between a build I just suggested on another thread with lower budget
and a better case from the other pcpartpicker build already in this thread:

It has a 22 dollar less expensive cpu that is a full on quad core with an unlocked
multiplier for overclocking. It should hit 4ghz+ easily with this mobo and hyper212+
cpu cooler, rivaling or beating the core i3 in various games and other tasks.

The mobo allows for lots of expansion with available pci and pcie slots, as well as 6 sata
6gbps ports should you decide you would like to throw in an ssd or 2 down the road.

There's lower latency patriot ram with finned heatspreaders for less coin.

Bumped the gpu down from 7870 to 7850. It should run any game on max at 1080p with
decent frame rates(w/o perhaps high levels of traditional multisample or supersample aa).
It can even run some modern games at 2560x1600 on max setting(sans aa) speedily.

The cooler on this sapphire model keep the GPU frosty while remaining quiet with dual
fans and copper heat pipes. It should allow for a nice amount of overclocking to let it
punch above its price bracket.

The Fractal Design Core 3000 is a very nice case for the price with a stylish yet under-
stated look, decent cable routing options, several large high flow fans, cpu cutout
and sidways hdd/ssd mounts. I admit I stole that from the other build on this thread.

Switched to the Antec VP 450 to save some money in this build(lower tdp gpu).
If I can quote myself from that thread( upgraded from SB pentium to Phenom II x4BE) :

"Also upgraded the PSU from the corsair cx500 v2 to an antec vp 450. Hardwaresecrets
had a very positive review of this PSU showing acceptable amounts of ripple, greater
than 80% efficiency with their standard load tests, and 75% efficiency in their overload
tests. The only reason it isn't rated 80+ is due to lack of power factor correction, but
it's built to a higher quality with split +12v rails than some others w/pfc and just 1 rail.

You can find the review here:

The antec vp 450 also has a combined total of 36A on its split rail design with two
+12v lines, providing 426w vs the cx500 with 28A/336w. You do have to balance your
power use on the rails, but with a later more power hungry gpu, you use the provided
6pin connector and an inexpensive adapter(2 molex to 1 6pin) on 1 of the molex lines
u will hardly use except for maybe a few case fans or something. Any card out now
with more than 2 6pin connectors is not worth the extra money, imho. Nothing higher
than gtx660ti or hd7950(either one you OC yourself)at around 300."

Other than a less expensive optical drive, this build also shares the same HDD and OS
as the other build above in this thread.

The total comes to 648.88 after 40 dollars in rebates. I hope you find it to your liking.

September 5, 2012 11:57:29 PM

1: im pretty dam sure that the ram you chose wont fit under the hyper 212. the useless heatspreaders are taller than you think
2:the only game you would be maxing out on max setting at 1600p im pretty sure is WoW.
3:eh id stick with xfx. their stuff is good (psu)
4:id stick with a better psu than the vp450 like the xfx 550w for 49.99

as for the phenom ii x4 965 vs i3 2100, here you go. they are more or less the same speed but the phenom generally is faster at multi-threaded tasks (a bit). keep in mind that the phenom can only do this while sucking around 50% more power
September 6, 2012 2:44:55 AM

Hey TheBigTroll, how's it goin yo?

I have taken your input and modified my suggested build:

2x4GB low profile patriot ddr3 1600 CL9 to fit under the hyper 212's fan

xfx core edition pro 550w has a single +12v rail @44A(528w), 80+ bronze efficiency,
can power a 300w gpu w/o adapters and is JonnyGuru recommended. That's a big plus.
This power supply will happily power the 965BE, graphics card and other components
while drawing less power from the wall than the antec. (serious about jonnyguru, btw).

Edit:another reason I switched from the antec to xfx is that the antec has a sleeve
bearing fan while the xfx has a ball bearing fan. The ball bearing fan may be
a little noisier but should last longer than the sleeve bearing fan.

The total now comes to 672.88 after 40 dollars in rebates. How are we doing?

(yes, big troll, I know you're not crazy about the 965BE and its power draw, but it will
be more beneficial than an i3 when games become more multithreaded in the future as
some of them are now. Now that I think of it, when the OP mentions streaming, could
that at all be creating video for the web? If that is the case an actual quad core could
end up being a better deal than an i3.
September 6, 2012 5:39:10 AM

Yes, that would be creating video for the web, not streaming content from youtube. I'm currently looking at both suggestions and I'm trying to figure out my best options here. I feel like I'm looking at an engine for the first time. I appreciate all the information, but as a skeptical consumer I'm going to have to melt the search key on google. I really,really appreciate the opinions, it helps a lot having multiple points of view here.
September 6, 2012 9:12:00 AM

Also, I'd like to mention that the 670 range is MUCH more doable for me. 700 is my figurative max, I was thinking around 600 for the build alone and anything over to be maximizing. Like I said, that may be complete unfeasible, but imo if there's a part that's 30 dollars more than something I selected with twice the performance, of course I want to pick it up. Now, when you mention power draw, I'm assuming it isn't all about keeping my power bill down, but strain on the system ?

As afformentioned, I'm not worried about BF3 on Ultra and 1920x1080 or anything of the sort, I'm more than happy to play in windowed mode at a lowered resolution and settings if it means not melting my wallet just to play.

I'm looking mostly for something that has great bones, but isn't completely fleshed out yet if that makes sense.

Question here, how greatly would dropping to 4g RAM hurt me ?

I feel like I should also mention my friend said that he has an i7 processor he will sell me for 200$, is that a good deal ? What sort of questions should I ask him about it to make sure I get a good deal ? He also mentioned a motherboard that's compatible, but again I don't know the specs, he said he would ask for 50 for that, should I ask him for details ?
Think he also mentioned a 2t hard drive he has for 50$, is that a venture I should trust ? 50 bucks sounds really cheap and yeah he's a friend, but everyone is going to try and make a buck.

Also, I see a lot of 2g cards in the reccomendations ( GPUs ), is that the standard now ? Like 2g or go home ? There are a lot of 1g cards I see for nearly a quarter of the price. Again, not trying to belittle suggestions, but pinching my pennies. I fear I may end up having to relinquish the hold on the wallet a bit to make sure this all gets done properly.

And as always, thank you so so much for all your help, I feel like I'm getting far more progress than anywhere else I was going.
September 6, 2012 11:00:21 AM

1: you dont need a 670. the 7850/7870 will do the job. the 7850 and 7870 is about 10-15% away from each other
2:video cards typically have 1-2gb. its a standard
3:4gb of ram wont hurt you one bit for games. it will suffer if you have a lot of tabs open on the browser or if you are trying to multi-task'
5:ask your friend about the i7. if its first gen, id prefer not to get it (given its from 2008)
September 6, 2012 11:17:01 AM

Okay, I can handle asking him about that.

Well, I only plan on having like a music webpage open ( pandora, etc ), my xfire and a game running. Will that absolutely devour 4g ? Or is that more weight on my bandwidth ?

Also, if the i7 isn't first gen, is it worth that extra 90$ investment ? If it's only going to give me a minor improvement for an extra hundred, it's not really worth it for me atm.
September 6, 2012 12:01:23 PM

bf3 chews 1-2gb of memory by itself

the only reason i suggest not going there is that triple channel memory kits are slightly harder to find and that most of the parts (especially the motherboard) are pretty rare.

heres a benchmark

ask him which i7 it is
September 6, 2012 12:10:41 PM

Well, I particularly stream WoW and LoL , which from my understanding aren't so intense. If I'm playing BF3 I won't be streaming at all ( I actually won't even buy BF3, I just use it as an example since it's the newest, high end title. )

Also, what do you think about those combo packs on newegg ? Some seem to be fairly cheap and at discounted prices, what money I save from the discount could go towards replacing shoddy parts in it,right ?

Oh wow, I didn't realize just how good that i3 2100 is. o_o ; I'm going to use this benchmark tool a lot more often.

It's got a whole ton of power for it's price, I don't think I would want another processor given it's benchmarks in comparison and judging by running a benchmark between the i7 you listed and the i3, the i3 wins. :o 

I'm learning something, it feels good.

September 6, 2012 12:18:24 PM

actually its a i5 that i was comparing to the i7

this is the i7 vs i3. they are pretty evenly matched with the i3 losing in multi-threaded tasks

if you can find some good combo packs, go ahead. just post them here
September 6, 2012 12:20:30 PM

Oh, I know, but I took it upon myself to compare the i3 2100 to the i7 you had compared to the i5. They're so close I can't even begin to think about paying the extra 100-200$ ! You just saved me a fortune and I really do appreciate that.

Quick question before I browse some of these packs.

Do I need an ATX or a Micro ATX mobo ? Also, will it say if it's intel or AMD chipset ? I'm scared I'll pick the wrong one and be sol.

Also, how do I know if ram is good ? Should I look for specific things on it ? I'm thinking of going with 4g now that you mentioned not needing 8g for anything but heavy multitasking. ( I can close a few windows if it saves me a few bucks. )

Also, is it better to go with like--2g x2 or a single 4g stick ? And, this may be a bit late to ask now, but if there's a cleaner way and an easier way to contact you that you'd prefer, I'm more than happy to accomodate. Don't want to trouble you more than I already have.
September 6, 2012 1:36:35 PM

Man you're good at this. :D  ; Same price and everything. So, with that setup, would I be able to use the 7850/7870 GPU ? And which of those two is better ?
September 6, 2012 1:54:12 PM

I would also advise to stay away from that PSU and mobo. Also I'd be concerned that you're going to fill up that SSD and then need to buy an HD at some point. In all honesty an SSD is a luxury that you can't afford given your budget.

A slightly cheaper and in some way better build that TheBigTroll's.

Intel Core i3-2120 Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2000 BX80623I32120 bundled with:1x ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner ... - OEM $133.98

ASRock H61M-DGS LGA 1155 Intel H61 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard $52.97

CORSAIR Builder Series CX600 V2 600W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply $39.99

Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case $39.99

Team Elite 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory Model TED38192M1333HC9DC $33.59

Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive $79.99

Total is $380.51 after rebates ($30 total) but does include shipping cost. (TheBigTroll's has shipping costs on some items)

With a copy of Windows 7 OEM for $91 from Amazon you're looking at about $470 AR without a video card.

You can go with this video card:
Asus AMD Radeon HD 7870 2GB GDDR5 DVI/HDMI/2Mini DisplayPort PCI-Express Video Card - HD7870-DC2-2GD5 $223.49 (after code SCRIMMAGE and $20 rebate). You also get a free code for Sleeping Dogs which you can sell for $20 to $30 on ebay (sort of a second rebate). That would put you right around $670 after rebates.

If you're a little short on cash at the moment you could skip the video card for now. You won't be able to do much gaming, but you'll have a state of the art system to use for other purposes right away and you can keep an eye out for a good video card deal that you can afford.

September 6, 2012 2:02:56 PM

1:the motherboard is slightly lower than the h77m
2:the cx600w 2 can only supply 500w and is not as good as teh xfx 550w

the ram is ok but mine was a bit faster

the SSD would be faster than the HDD. depends how fast you fill your ddrives. it takes me forever
September 6, 2012 2:05:46 PM

The SSD I mentioned only because the combo had it featured, It was an added bonus but I do agree that I would be much better off with a standard disk, especially considering I'm more concerned about storage rather than boot time. My friend has a 2T and if it's a good brand, I'll post it on here to see what you guys think about the specs.

I think at this point I'm going to definitely going to rush getting at least the core of the system without a GPU and sometime in the next few weeks begin working on grabbing the GPU.

Will not having a gpu be a problem later ? Bios and all that stuff kinda scare me, but from what I've read you can figure out the ideal settings from the booklets that come with your mobo and such, it's still a daunting task and I fear I'll mess up something, would hate to invest and ruin it by being careless somewhere.

I currently have my laptop, which can play games, but not well, so I won't be left with nothing to do, just something to tie me over with enough patience to finish the build. :) 
September 6, 2012 2:16:10 PM

TheBigTroll said:
1:the motherboard is slightly lower than the h77m
2:the cx600w 2 can only supply 500w and is not as good as teh xfx 550w

the ram is ok but mine was a bit faster

the SSD would be faster than the HDD. depends how fast you fill your ddrives. it takes me forever

When I said better I was thinking of the i3-2120 instead of the i3-2100, and the increased storage space.

As to whether the SSD fills up or not it really depends on how much effort you want to take to keep it clean and uninstall games as you move on to new games. Personally I would just rather have a large HD and not have to worry about it.
September 6, 2012 2:20:05 PM

nightflights said:
Will not having a gpu be a problem later ? Bios and all that stuff kinda scare me, but from what I've read you can figure out the ideal settings from the booklets that come with your mobo and such, it's still a daunting task and I fear I'll mess up something, would hate to invest and ruin it by being careless somewhere.

You may have to change a BIOS setting to use the video card after you install it, but you aren't going to ruin anything. If you don't do it right the worst thing is you'll have to pull the battery on the motherboard to reset things. But that's not likely.
September 6, 2012 2:20:28 PM

Well, Aside from gaming in general, I also fraps raids /arenas, so storage space is an absolute must. I know this is a bit late, but this should be capable of rendering right ? I do edit recorded footage / render it and upload it from time to time, should I expect any fires ? o_o
September 6, 2012 2:21:28 PM

you dont need to change the bios to install a video card. you just slot it in, install drivers and you are good to go
September 6, 2012 2:25:34 PM

Okay, that's a relief. I suppose if down the road I run into any issues, I can still come on here and ask for some help, seems like there's an amazing community here.
September 6, 2012 2:29:08 PM

Nightflights, pay careful attention to those benchmark comparison pages on anandtech.
If you look close you will see how they switch back and forth between the better score
being the higher one and a better score being a lower one. the older i7, even with a
500mhz clock deficit compared to i3, still stomps all over it in the majority of benches.

The PII x4 965BE at stock 3.4ghz trades blows with i3, but when it wins, it wins bigger.

Plus, you can oc that x4 to 4ghz+ pretty easy and it will smack down the i3 and compete
with a locked i5 quad that costs twice as much and has a less feature rich mobo in
combination with it. If you are doing content creation a higher capacity HDD and 8GB of
ram is a better fit than an SSD and only 4 GB of ram in your budget.

I know you said that due to inexperience you would take a pass at overclocking. Of
course no one is born with it and like your melting the google search button, you can
lean on the experience of others and read guides on the subject and take notes.

You should totally be able to reach a safe, stable, effective overclock by taking your time
and following the advice of those with experience and success in that area.

Here's the last pcpartpicker build I suggested, with gpu bumped back up from 7850 to
7870 for only 10 dollars more:

This HIS 2GB 7870 has a iceQ cooler with copper heatpipes and a blower fan that vents
out the back of the case for 199.99 after 20.00 mail in rebate. It is between 11.5 in and
12in long, but will easily fit in the Fractal Design Core 3000 case if you remove upper of
2drive bays. If you do a little googling, you will find out how to safely make this cool and
quiet card perform better than a gtx660ti or hd7950 with an oc that will be stable for
years to come.

total comes to 682.88 after 50.00 in mail in rebates.
September 6, 2012 2:30:54 PM

remember that the x4 draws like 170w with an overclock while the i3 uses like 45-50w at full load. you need 3x more wattage to achieve the same or more performance
September 6, 2012 2:37:40 PM

199 for that GPU is a really great deal, I might just have to jump on that early and buy a few other parts prior to trying to build. I may try OCing in the future, but first I want to at least get my feet wet with building in general. I don't want to be learning how to run when I don't even know how to walk.

I definitely am leaning back towards like 1 or 2T HDD with 8g of ram atm, it's much more suited to what I'm after, and if I lose some performance in comparison, it's worth the flexibility and room I have for data.

The 682 price tag is definitely more in my budget and I feel like it's a strong build, but the higher power usage of the AMD card concerns me, if it's burning 170w by it's self, will that mean I'll need to upgrade my PSU if I want to look at higher end GPUs ? Does OCing a gpu increase it's wattage ? I'd assume it would, is that going to strain my 550w PSU ? These may be dumb questions, but I'd rather ask a dumb question than do something dub given the situation.
September 6, 2012 2:40:45 PM

its the AMD cpu not the card. the card drawing 170w is normal

id recommend not going with a HIS card given a lot of people were having problems with customer support. xfx is a better bet

550w should be more than enough to handle the system power
September 6, 2012 2:46:16 PM

jtenorj said:
The PII x4 965BE at stock 3.4ghz trades blows with i3, but when it wins, it wins bigger.

Just to be clear, at stock speeds the i3-2100 has about 25% more performance per core than the 965BE. The 965BE wins by about 40% in any benchmark that can make full use of the 4 cores. If you're measuring performance in a task that can sometimes use the 965 BE's 3rd and 4th core then they'll be about equal.

And BTW the HIS 7870 IceQ is OOS (and has been for a few days). Who knows what price it'll be when Newegg gets more.
September 6, 2012 2:48:48 PM

Haha, sorry, that's what I meant when I said card. My lingo isn't up to par. So, the idea with a PSU is to have more than you need ? I assume that's to avoid strain and such ? Again, stupid questions, better than stupid acts.
September 6, 2012 2:54:23 PM

nightflights said:
Haha, sorry, that's what I meant when I said card. My lingo isn't up to par. So, the idea with a PSU is to have more than you need ? I assume that's to avoid strain and such ? Again, stupid questions, better than stupid acts.

550w is perfectly safe for operation of a i3 2100 and a 7870. its still good enough for a phenom x4 965
September 6, 2012 4:18:51 PM

Sorry. I didn't realize that 7870 was out of stock atm. You could just use the same build
with the Sapphire 7850 for 189.99 that lowers the total cost back to 672.88 after 20.00
worth ofmail in rebates:

You could run the 965BE stock for now but kept cooler and quieter by the hyper212+.

Then if you decide you want more performance later on, you could overclock it.

This newer stepping 965BE has a 125w tdp(versus the older stepping 140w) which is part
of why it is better able to hit 4ghz+ on air compared to its predecessor. A sandy i3 is 65w
and ivy i3 is 55w. This is a rough comparison, but from 3.33(10x333) to 4.0(12x333) is a
20% increase and the increase from 3.4 to 4ghz is a little less than that as well as being
a relatively simple multiplier change. Not x333 tho.If it was a clockspeed change alone the
rise in tdp would be purely linear(125+20%=150w), but if it requires a voltage bump, that
would increase power exponentially.

Example: there's a 4ghz 965BE @150w w/o volt mod or the same w/ voltage increased by
ten percent. That would use 165w of power. I have no personal experience overclocking a
phenom II x4, but a decent general rule of thumb seems to be not to exceed either 110%
of stock voltage or not to raise voltage more than .1 volts, depending on the processor.

If you get your cpu to a clock you like cool and stable w/o reaching those limits you will
use less power. Some people even undervolt to begin with to either save power at stock
or get a decent overclock w/o using a lot of extra voltage. At any rate, I think a 965BE's
tdp shouldn't get up to 170w, and even if u stress it with a program like prime95 it won't
actually pull that much power, let alone with a normal heavy workload or while gaming.

The xfx PSU is more than plenty(jonnyguru and hardwaresecrets are pals). If the 60w to
100w difference between the 965BE and a sandy i3 will make a significant dent in your
monthly power bill, you may want to consider the i3 over 965BE. It's like the difference
between your normal power use and the power use of the rest of the computer with a
60w to 100w light bulb somewhere in the house on or off all the time, if that helps at all.
September 6, 2012 4:47:00 PM

I'm not worried about my power bill being high, just over stressing my system. Stability is crucial for me, I want this girl to run a marathon, not a 400 yard sprint. :) 
September 6, 2012 4:58:33 PM

the 550w would be more than enough. its safe
September 6, 2012 5:01:05 PM

I was going to ask if the micro atx board would have room for more ram in the future, but I really don't see me needing 12 or 16 anytime soon. I'm assuming if I wanted to get another processor in the future that would be no problem provided it was compatible ?
September 6, 2012 5:40:43 PM

Most of the cheaper mATX boards have 2 memory slots. There are some more expensive ones that have 4 slots. I can't see you needing more than 8 Gb, but if you do and you've bought a mobo with 2 slots then you would need to replace your original 2x4 Gb kit with a 2 x 8 Gb kit. The question is do you want to spend more on a mobo now on the chance you might save money on a memory upgrade later?

Upgrading the CPU requires a compatible socket and chipset/BIOS. Be aware that both socket AM3 on the AMD side and socket 1155 on the Intel side are done in terms of new CPUs. There really is no upgrade path for the 965 BE, but if you go with an i3-2100/2120 you could upgrade to an Sandy Bridge/Ivy Bridge quad core at some point in the future. The locked SB quad cores will run on any mobo that the i3 runs on. If you want the option to go with an IB quad core you'll need a 7 series mobo. If you want the option to upgrade to an unlocked quad core (if you decide to give overclocking a try) you'll want a Z77/Z75 mobo. Again how much extra are you prepared to pay now to get the option on upgrades later?
September 6, 2012 5:53:06 PM

Well, considering these micro atx boards are only running at 50-70 dollars, I'm assuming these higher end boards double that ? Maybe more if you're going all out ? It's something to consider, but it seems like if I got down the road and really wanted to upgrade processors, I'd be willing to toss in that extra money to make sure it was done right, I figure most of my upgrades will be much like this build where I set a value in hundreds and see what I can do with it. It would probably be wise to simply be happy with what I can get and plan on paying for any upgrades I need in the future.
September 6, 2012 6:42:57 PM

LGA 1155 may be a dying socket but am3+ is not on its deathbed yet. First of all, there's
piledriver based FX processors in the near future:

Second, if you get a 965BE to run stock now but want more performance later, just over-
clock some(nothing extreme) and you will have a cpu that can go toe to toe with a locked
i5 quad(see charts in link above for comparison) that will remain that way for years on
that xfx psu that wont break a sweat.

Thirdly, the gigabyte GA-970-D3 mobo has lots of goodies like a couple pci and pcie x1
slots each, lots of usb ports including a couple 3.0, 6 backwards compatible sata 6gbps
ports and 4 dimm slots on a full atx mobo. This is with a dual/triple slot gpu and large
tower cooler installed in the system, btw.

You do pay somewhat of a premium for an intel chipset mobo compared to all the features
you get on an amd chipset mobo that is the same or lower price. I don't know about
the cost doubling going from micro atx to full size atx, though. Maybe only for ridiculously
overpriced asus mobos, but not for a decent atx mobo. In some cases a micro atx mobo
is the same price as its full atx equivalent since the micro atx is more of a niche product
to fit in smaller cases(assuming otherwise similar features between the two).

lighter17 beat me to it on that 7870 being back in stock. I almost forgot, actually. Perhaps
I am developing early onset alzheimer's (just turned 33 yesterday...).
September 6, 2012 6:52:03 PM

Happy birthday, Is that a gray hair I see ? Just kidding. I really appreciate the help guys.
September 6, 2012 7:01:00 PM

Okay, as an update, I'm am most definitely snagging that 7870 as soon as possible. It's mega cheap for what I get and no matter what I decide to do with the mobo and cpu, It's going to be an amazing investment that can powerhouse my system. So yeah, GPU is decided on I think. Anyone believe I could get a better deal than that 7870 for 199 ?

I'm kind of stuck between the i3 and the AMD atm. I like that the i3 is so powerful for it's cost, but at the same time quad core may not be over utilized now, but in a year that may be entirely different and I get kind of forced into the upgrade anyway, though moving up to an i5 wouldn't be all that bad I suppose.

Again I run into the issue of save money now, pay for it later, or pay a little extra now and save it later.

I like that jten's mobo has so many extra features, but in all honesty He could be telling me it comes equipped with it's own shiny stickers and I'd still nod my head and be impressed, I'm simply too novice to really know if I'll need those extra features, but I assume they're all really handy to have.

As for the am3+ socket, let's say in a year it's not really AMDs goto socket, that means I'll have to replace the mobo, correct ? Provided I want to upgrade cpu or whatever. Again, year is a very relative term and it could really mean 10 years from now, but I would like to know what I get myself into here if I make the selection.

The pricepoint and features are looking really nice for me and the money I save can go towards ensuring I have plenty of storage ( At this point, if I can snag the whole build for 670, I'm probably going to invest in my friend's 2T just for a freebie bonus. )
September 6, 2012 7:16:30 PM

I doubt you'll beat that price for a 7870 any time soon. If you do want it I'd order it ASAP since I wouldn't be surprised if it sells out again.

As to the AMD/Intel CPU decision, it's hard to say what will happen in the future with games. We do know that currently games don't generally use more than 2 cores. But other types of programs (like rendering apps) can use as many cores as you can throw at them.

One thing that may help make the decision for you is that if you choose not to overclock the 965 BE now you don't need to get an aftermarket CPU cooler for it. That takes about $25 off the cost of the AMD build which should make it easier to afford the 7870.
September 6, 2012 7:20:49 PM

Oh wow, Great information to know lighter ! :D  ; That does indeed swing me in the favor of the 065 BE. I hate to admit it, but I'm a cheapskate, lol.
September 6, 2012 7:32:13 PM

We're all interested in getting the best value for our money. :D 

One thing you might want to know before you order is that the HIS 7870 IceQ is 11.5 inches long. It looks like to fit it in the Fractal Design Core 300 case you'll have to remove the upper hard drive cage. It shouldn't be a problem, but just thought you should know.
September 6, 2012 7:33:45 PM

I'm going to assume that will just involve undoing some screws/ Clips ?
September 6, 2012 8:16:02 PM

Probably, but I don't have that case so I can't tell for sure. I don't see any other options for case in your price range that will work with a card this size without removing a hard drive bay.
September 6, 2012 8:30:27 PM

I'm not too scared of that much. As long as it doesn't involve a circular saw or something, I should be alright.